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Tiaras and Trucks

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our Village

It's become a summer tradition for us to make the drive over to the west side of the state to visit our buds Amanda & Joe and to trek over to South Haven for a day at the beach.  Those of us living on the east side of the state don't have the pleasure of being so close to Lake Michigan, so we take advantage of this trip each year to enjoy the serenity and picturesque beaches found there.  I should note, however, this summer's trek to South Haven found an e coli warning, so we drove on to Oval Beach in Saugatauk.  Beautiful but rocky - great for lounging and playing, not so great for frolicking in the waves!

We have a (relatively) small family; Ryan's an only child, and it's just Donnie and I on my side.  That means that our kids only have one uncle and aunt - and a wonderful uncle and aunt they are!  Luckily, we are blessed with some amazing friends that are great surrogate siblings, aunts, and uncles for Abs and Dylan.  Amanda & Joe are two of those people.  They welcome our over-packed, chaotic family with open arms, and I couldn't love them more if they were actually related to us! 

Abbey stayed up until midnight the first night we were there, partying hard with Aunt Amanda - eating ice cream, playing with kitties, and riding a little toy all around the house.  She finally crashed and announced to Ryan that she was ready for bed; I don't think she has ever said those words in her life.  The rest of the weekend was lovely as well, Dylan snuggled to my chest in the Ergo and Abbey soaking up the delicious food and company that we always find with A & J.  A successful weekend all around.
um, Abbey, the feather is for Bonus to play with, not you
ok, that's better
sitting by himself (but carefully supervised) on the kitchen bar chair
chillin on some cushions
cooking on the floor
thrilled that Aunt Amanda is letting her use real rice (Mommy generally gives her imaginary food)
and for a final treat, Abbey tried her first s'mores this weekend
she proudly announced that she "liked her sandwich"
and wore some of it on her dress the whole way home

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tornado Tuesday - Best Outfit Ever

Hmmmm, best outfit ever?  I could talk about my super rad Get Used overalls that I rocked in junior high, one strap left hanging down, of course (thankfully, that was before the digital era, so pictures of that are hard to find!)  I could talk about my wedding dress, which made me feel truly beautiful, not only because of how I looked but because of how I felt that day.  I could have gotten ready without a mirror and still felt like the most perfect version of myself.  I could talk about the hospital gowns I was wearing when I gave birth, because those were life-changing outfits.

But I won't.

I'm going to talk about a pink, Disney princess bathing suit. 

Relax.  I'm not the one wearing it.

In the midst of summer fun, I can't think of anything more worthy of a "Best Outfit Ever" distinction than a little girl wearing her pink bathing suit on a gorgeous beach, on a perfect beach day.  Here in Michigan, we don't get that combination very often, so I've included about a billion pictures of my little sprite, soaking in the sand, the lake water, the sun, and the time with her daddy. 

This is a girl who has taken to spontaneously reminding me, "I love pink, Mommy.  I like pink a lot."

This is a girl who spent about a minute tiptoeing in the sand before diving head first into the golden warmth.

This is a girl who was covered, practically from head to foot in sand for the entire time we spent at the beach.  Ryan would clean her off in the water, and she would be covered again in minutes, plopping down like she spends all her free time lounging on Lake Michigan.

This is a girl whose spirit will change the world.  It has already worked its magic on me.

Chatting with us in the shade
Sleeping peacefully, sweetly waiting his turn to toddle into the sand for the first time.  I already can't wait for next summer - and every moment between now and then.

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Monday, June 28, 2010


That ka-boom is the sound of my heart exploding with love for my babies.  These are pictures from dinner time at our house today.  Never mind that dinner is supposed to be about eating; Dylan still doesn't eat solids, and Abbey is iffy about staying in her chair for more than five minutes.  Abbey can do just about anything and Dylan is in awe of her.  Running around the table is obviously the funniest thing in the world. 

And yes, that's our dining room in its current state, not a Toys R Us show room.  We're working on it.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Forever Remembered

Pap passed away this January and we had his memorial this past weekend.  My grandparents retired to Tennessee years ago; since I didn't spend time with them on a daily basis, I think that his death was still an abstract to me until the memorial this weekend.  The only grandfather I ever knew, my memories of him stretch to the earliest memories of my life.  Seeing our family together without our beloved Pap was difficult, but I think that we celebrated his life in a fitting way - spending time with each other and enjoying our family.
All of the stories floating around this weekend, including those memories that were spoken about at the memorial, were held together by a common thread.  Pap loved and cherished his family.  He was endlessly kind and patient with his grandchildren; I will never forget the quiet, loving presence he always had.  From his love of Loretta Lynn and bluegrass music to the loyal patriotism felt by so many of his generation, he was a special soul, and I am lucky to have known him.  
he would have been so proud to see the flag ceremony
Nan looking so beautiful


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Girl Talk

Abbey hangs out with a lot of dudes.  Her best friend Brendan, since in-utero, is a boy, and there are more boys than girls her age in our MOMS Club.  She is a tough cookie and doesn't mind playing with the boys on the playground or riding bikes or things like that.  She really does run like a girl, it's more of a pony prance than a run, but it gets her where she's going, and it is adorable.
However, this weekend, she got to spend time with Madi, my cousin's daughter.  (Second cousin? I'm not good at those relationships.)  Madi is five, and I am pretty sure it was love at first sight (at least on Abbey's part.)  They technically met each other last year, but Abbey was too young to really play with Madi.  This year, Abbey just adored Madi: her sparkly shoes, lip gloss, and reckless abandon on the swings.  They were adorable together, and I can only hope that Madi had half as much fun as Abbey.  Unfortunately, Madi and Jenny live in Texas; we would love to spend more time with them!
playing with Aunt Jane's "dolls"
thank you Aunt Jane for being a good sport!

Abbey was enthralled by Madi's purse and its contents 
m: do you like lipstick?
a: oh yes (excited)
m: regular or sparkly?
a: sparkly (in a voice that sounded like Christmas morning)
they really seem to be dishing the dirt

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Boys & Beer

I hear that Pap liked to throw back a cold one after a day of work, back in the day.  He even told me some stories about going on beer runs while he was in the army in Germany.  Of course, he didn't call them beer runs, and it's still hard to wrap my head around my grandpa going out drinking with his army buddies, but it was a funny story.  In light of those things, I think he would have been happy to see his sons, grandsons, and grandson-in-law kicking back with some Coors Light this weekend.  And by some Coors Light I mean several thirty packs of Coors Light. 

Don't let the pictures fool you.  His granddaughters and granddaughter-in-law held their own in the beer-drinking party!

I am not making light of the memorial weekend at all.  I just think that sometimes, the best way to celebrate a life is to enjoy the company of those around you.  We talked a lot this weekend about how much Pap loved his family, and I am glad we were all together to share that love with each other.

Abbey thinks that Uncle Dave is like a dragon since he can blow smoke out of his nose.  I don't know if she's ever seen anyone smoke before!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tornado Tuesday - Handcuffs!

So, Tornado Tuesday requests a post about Handcuffs. I guess I'll get all figurative today and talk about the kids. It's not really a stretch, because as much as I would give my life for my children (and I mean THAT literally), there are times when they just tie my hands and stifle that spontaneity I used to cherish so much. There are so many things about life that change when you have kids, and one of those things is the lack of being able to do absolutely whatever you want, whenever you want. Don't get me wrong, there's a different type of spontaneous that happens with kids; stopping and seeing what they see can be thrilling and perspective-changing as well, but it still doesn't come without its compromises.

This weekend, we went to Niagara Falls. It's a trip I've made countless times, since my mom grew up so close to them, but it was the first time we've taken either of the kids. If you've never been there, they are truly a wonder to behold. Absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful and awe-inspiring. Of course, it's a giant tourist draw, which means there are several attractions that come along with simply viewing the falls. One of those attractions is the Maid of the Mist, which is a boat that takes you very, very near the falls themselves. I've never been on it.

Obviously, we couldn't take Abbey and Dylan on the Maid of the Mist. So Ryan and I didn't go on the Maid of the Mist either. I wish I could say that the trip was magical enough that I never thought about the boat ride again. However, the whole day was a bit of a comedy of errors, beginning with several "detours" on the way to the falls and continuing with a trolley ride that lasted about thirteen hours (well, it felt like thirteen hours). Abbey enjoyed the falls for about five minutes, and then said, "I want to do something else now." And such are the handcuffs that come with children.

Yet, for all of the forsaken Maid of the Mist boat rides and the harried moments of folding up a giant double stroller to lug it onto the trolley, there are the indescribable moments of love and joy. Dylan snuggling up to go to sleep in the Ergo, Abbey sitting on "her own special seat" on the trolley, convinced she was on a bus, like in a favorite tune: The Wheels on the Bus. Those are the moments that will remain etched in my heart, when the false starts and annoyances of the day have long faded from memory.

nature at its finest

the previously mentioned Maid of the Mist

my cousin Jessica (and a ferris wheel that Abbey wanted to go on - maybe next time)

Abbey and Grandma

Dylan was not impressed

the biggest hit of the day - a little seat for Abbey

we all could've used that nap!!

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