Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beach Day

So it's been a very cool summer here in Kenosha.  This is thanks to the horrible winter we had.  The Great Lakes became 94% iced over, which means continuing cold lake water, which means cool temps as the wind comes right off the lake here.  It's the second-to-last day of July and we haven't yet hit 90 degrees.  And days in the 80s have been few and far between.  Not great for this summer lover, but Jim is thrilled.  It was pretty cool here while we were in Indiana, but we were greeted home by a mini heatwave.  It was supposed to be mid- to upper-80s on Monday and Tuesday.  While I was looking forward to a "normal" Monday, which included grocery shopping and a visit to the bookmobile, I thought we should take the opportunity to spend some time at the beach.  Even though it was supposed to be warm on Tuesday, it was also supposed to rain, so Monday it was!  We had a quick lunch at home, threw on our bathing suits, and hit the beach.  

Such a beautiful day.

The water was very chilly (for late July), but Lena didn't waste any time jumping right in!  As much as I love the water, it was too chilly for me.  I could stand in it for a few minutes, only about to my knees, but then my feet would start going numb and I had to get out!  I don't know how the girls managed to play in it for so long.  We were there almost three hours and they were in the water most of the time we were there, with brief interludes on the beach.

My beach babes.

Making sand angels.

The girls loved covering themselves with sand.  

And I loved how they became instantly clean again with a quick dip in the water!

Daddy and Lena playing Lake Zombie.

The girls just love going to the bookmobile on Monday afternoons, so when it got to be close to that time, I asked them if they wanted to go so we could visit the bookmobile.  I reminded them that it would be a whole week before we could go again, but they both said, "No way! We want to stay at the beach!"  

I can't believe this awesome beach is only 3 miles from our house!  I really hope we can go again before the summer is over.  Come on hot weather!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Indiana Trip

Summer vacation time!  Jim took his two weeks off work, and we decided to spend most of one week visiting family and friends in Indiana.  I didn't take as many pics as I usually do, but here are some highlights of our trip.  (Thanks to Mom and Tammy for filling in some gaps for me!)

 Lena posing for me when we stopped at Hardee's on the way to Indiana.  

 Of course, Eva had to do it too.

 We went straight to Grammy Tammy's where the girls spent the first three days and nights.  Tammy really wanted to have some fun sleep-overs with the girls in her camper.  Jim and I took that opportunity to visit a bed and breakfast in Hillsdale, Michigan.  It is a little apartment that some fellow Lutherans rent out.  It was so nice!  This is the bedroom, with a king-sized bed and a cute window seat.

 Desk and bookshelves.  The door is a small laundry room with washer and dryer.

 Sliding glass doors that open onto the deck.  The weather was just gorgeous while we were there, although a little chilly for me!

 A full kitchen.  Instead of making breakfast every morning, the wife, who is Austrian, bakes homemade loaves of bread and brings them over each evening for us to eat in the morning.  The first morning we enjoyed a delicious cinnamon raisin bread and the second morning we enjoyed some small braided rolls with poppy seeds and carraway seeds.  The fridge was stocked with milk, orange juice, butter, and homemade yogurt, and there were cereal and oatmeal packets available.  They even provide microwave popcorn and all the makings for smores!  Even though it's not part of the deal, the owners invited us to their home for dinner on Wednesday night.  They also invited their pastor, who Jim kinda knew through Facebook but hadn't really met in person yet.  So we enjoyed a lovely homecooked meal and getting to know this pastor, his wife, and their five kids.

 Living room view of their beautiful yard.  They have a gorgeous little farm with a horse, and goats, and some chickens.  We were invited to pick raspberries and they sent us home with two gigantic zucchini too.

 We went out for a nice dinner on Tuesday night, then spent Wednesday doing some shopping in Hillsdale and Coldwater.  We stopped at the Goodwill in Coldwater, where I found this most unusual item.  A customized coffee travel mug with pictures of Jesus and a watermelon.  How weird!  We found it so hilarious and so unique, that we just had to buy it.  It was worth the $1.99.

 While we were having fun up in Michigan, the girls were having a blast with Grammy Tammy and Roger.  Lena was so excited to ride Grammy's horse, that it was all she could talk about in the days leading up to our departure.  Grammy sent this picture of Lena finally getting to ride her first horse!

 She loved it.

 That crazy girl also rode a goat!  She wanted to ride the goat, and Grammy told her he probably wouldn't let her ride him.  She got on, and the goat immediately bucked her off.  She loves to tell how she almost fell in a pile of manure.  Most kids would have been upset and possibly traumatized by this, but not Lena!  She got right back up and onto that goat, and before you knew it, she was riding him around like a piece of cake!  I always call her our little animal whisperer.  She can get an animal to do anything!

 We left Michigan Friday morning and picked up the girls and took them to Grandma Sheryl's and Grandpa Lee's.  We had a lovely lunch on the deck.  Eva found this locust and just picked it right up!  Being at Grammy's must have gotten her more in tune with nature, because usually she freaks out if there is a fly in the bathroom.  I was so astounded to see her carrying around this humongous squirming bug!  

 Its wings were flapping like crazy but it didn't faze her at all.

 The weather cooperated with us and we were able to swim in Grandma's pool.  (It rained every day we were there last year.)  The water was a little on the cool side because it had been cooler earlier in the week.  But it wasn't too bad.  We got used to it pretty quickly.

 Love the Lena photobomb!

 Aunt Hil, Noah, and Kara came out that day too.  Noah didn't really want to swim, but he had fun throwing the ball to Grandma, then going to find it when he threw it too far.

 We put floaties on Lena and were surprised to learn that she is tall enough to walk around in the pool all by herself!  The water was just below her chin while she was standing.

 Kara didn't swim either; it was more fun to sit on the blanket and put a swim diaper on over her shorts.

 Eva got cold in the pool, so she got out to have Aunt Hil warm her up.

 Swimming made Lena hungry, so she snagged a Kraft single and put on Grandma's floppy hat.

Striking a pose.

 After we were done swimming, Grandpa Lee got out his little tractor and gave tractor rides to the grandkids.

 Lena had fun chasing Grandma and Grandpa's kittens around.  They were all cute, but this little calico is Grandma's favorite.

Grandma has been trying to decide what to name this little cutie.  She asked Lena, and Lena said, "Junior Peatie!"  (Our cat, Peatie, is also a calico.)

 Grandpa Lee got out a bigger tractor and hitched up a trailer.  We all took turns going on rides around the property.

 Jim took a short video of our ride.

 After we were done riding, it was time for popsicles.

Fearless Lena jumped off this tall tractor tire.  Thanks for a super fun afternoon, Grandpa and Grandma!

 That evening we had dinner at the Ahlersmeyers'.  They are Eva's godparents.  We hadn't seen them for two years, so it was really great to catch up with them.  Several times throughout the evening, Eva went up to Kate and said out of the blue, "I love you!"  

The next morning we had breakfast with Grandpa Brian at the Harlan Cafe.  Then we visited Great-Grandma Zink (forgot to get a pic with her, oops).  Then we headed up to Auburn and visited my friend Karie and her cute kiddos.  

 That afternoon was Kara's birthday party.  

 Hilary did a lemonade theme.  It was so fun!  She made homemade, hand-squeezed lemonade and some really yummy syrups to flavor it with: strawberry, cherry, peach, and blackberry.  

 Who could resist buying lemonade from the cutie running this stand?

We all had fun watching Kara open her gifts.  She got lots of cute clothes and two dolls.  She is so adorable giving her baby its bottle!

Saturday evening Grandpa Brian grilled out and we had a nice dinner out on his deck.  The next morning we went to church at St. Peter's, then hit the road.  We had lots of fun on our vacation.

We have been enjoying this second week of our vacation as a stay-cation, just hanging out at home.  Pics of our day at the beach coming up next.