Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pool Time

Elise has mastered a new skill...

Swimming without her floaty. Snif... It makes her seem like such a big girl.

Not only does she swim without her floaty, she jumps...or launchs....into the pool. She isn't quite airborn in the picture but note her tongue....?!?
SPLASH!!!! This is when I say a quick prayer that she'll surface...which she always does.
My own little fish.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another project

Do you ever feel like home ownership is a series of unfinished projects?!? Some days, renting looks like a much better option.

This project has been an ongoing project for the past 3 years. When we have the time, the weather never really cooperates. We've had an amazing break of cooler weather and we decided to finally tackle this project again. It involves replacing the above with this...

Much cleaner and neat looking, don't ya think?

And here's why this project has taken so long. Have I mentioned our rather large deck? I couldn't even get it all in one picture. And it wraps around and continues on the other side. And there is section between the deck and pool. And....and...and.... (can you get the feel of how overwhelming this seems?)

The other unintended project? Killing TONS and TONS of wasps as we open up each new section. Who knew so many of those little buggers would create such large nests under a deck? We've gone through about 8 of these cans (and we're only about halfway done).

Sigh.....if the weather turns hot or the wasps start attacking, this might take another 3 years to finish.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Carson's room

OK, I'm finally posting some pictures of Carson's revamped room. Nothing fancy, we rearranged some furniture and slapped on a new coat of paint. I actually love the new color. It's a greyish blue. It went on asphalt grey and I was sure it was a huge mistake, but the blue came out as it dried.

The hammer in the wall picture from when Carson was at camp created this...

This was all dead space in Carson's closet and it had turned into the black hole of junk. With all the critters in his room, it was all getting way too crowded. Perry came up with the idea of using this dead space for some drawers and storage/display. It allowed us to move out his dresser, freeing up some floor space.
Carson really likes it. He has more room to spread out.
And he's been keeping it clean. Yes, I'm SHOCKED!

Monday, July 20, 2009

My newest pastime

Welcome to my newest pastime...

This is where you'll find me in the evenings during the weekends. Just hanging out enjoying a nice fire. (And surprisingly, the weather has cooperated with some nice cool July!)

Since we have a big ol' WOOD deck, I've been very leary of having a fire pit, but we managed to turn a back corner of our yard into party central by putting in a fire pit (using old landscaping bricks and a bag of play sand that we had around so it was a FREE fire pit!)

The dogs weren't so sure about the fire the first night, but they've warmed up (tee hee) to the idea!

Especially if it means someone mindlessly scratching behind their ears.

Or the possibility of food.

Lots of s'mores have been devoured since we put in the fire pit. My son likes his marshmallows really toasty brown.
And I had to include a picture of my sister's new dog, Cami. She's ALMOST as cute as my dogs (shhhh....just don't tell my dogs.)

Cami was pretty comfy by the fire. (Or maybe Cliff was making sure I didn't hide her away so they'd forget to take her home!)
The fire pit is a great place to curl up and make girlie plans with Aunt Kristin.

I just love hanging out by the fire with my family.
Of course, I'm not sure my brother-in-law was enjoying the family quite as much! :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kids with cameras

I think I've created a few photog monsters!

The kids kept clammoring to take pictures.

Which, on one hand, was nice because we actually got some pictures of Perry and me. Not a bad picture with the falls and Canada behind us and viewing dude looking over my shoulder.

Of course, there were a few where our heads were cut off. If nothing else, they've learned my lesson of take LOTS of pictures in the hopes you get one decent shot.

Not my favorite picture (I don't like any picture that includes me) because we were hot and sweaty from hiking. I also believe Perry is a little stressed about what he's seeing...which would be the child holding the camera and doing something that might endanger either the child or the camera.

This would have been a great shot...had my husband smiled. I think we both need to learn to relax a bit when the kids have the cameras. They've proven to be responsible and careful when using the cameras.

Although, sometimes you end up with odd pictures like the above. It's a picture of the dress I wore to my Grandmother's memorial service. Nice shot.

Or you end up with pictures of pictures. Guess the kids didn't realize that I actually have an original of this picture. But it was sweet that they thought to take a picture of it (and every picture that included them in the photo albums at her service...more pictures than I'll post here!)
It may be time to invest in an indestructible camera for each kid.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Being in such a beautiful place, we all had the itch to get outside and explore. These are in no order!

We found so many interesting spots for pictures, like this tree with an interesting exposed root structure.

I love the variety and size of the trees in this area. I particularly enjoy looking UP through the trees.

There are so many unexpected waterfalls and streams.

This is just a beautiful part of the country!

And provided some great spots to grab a few pictures of the kids.

Even some goofy pictures of the kids (but these are the ones I really, really like!)

Elise stole my hate and sunglasses at one point. I have to say she wears them better than I do!

Another sweet shot of the kids. Elise is fighting the urge to make her bunny face in this picture.

Carson and Perry at the top of Panther Mountain. The next time I looked over, Perry had Carson hanging over the edge by his ankles. I did NOT take a picture of that (I had my eyes clenched closed!)

I love the rolling mountains. Such a beautiful sight. We live in Illinois...FLAT Illinois so this is such a welcome sight.

Some of the hiking paths were a bit more rugged than others. This one was covered in wet mud and much of it over rocks so it was a bit slippery. We sure did get a workout in.

I love the rockiness of this area. You see these gigantic rocks all over the place. You'd pay a fortune for something like this in Illinois, but these are everywhere in this area.

Carson sitting (again) a little too close to the edge filming Auger Falls.

Elise and her daddy. I was surprised he didn't end up carrying her on his shoulders on our hikes, but she was able to do the hikes all by herself.

Just to put the rocks in perspective, here's Carson standing in front of one. HUGE!

We loved these little streams that you could explore by walking out on the rocks.

Some of us went much further out on the rocks than their mother's would have liked.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Niagara Falls

I'm just finding a quiet moment to go through some more pictures of our trip. I go back to work tomorrow after a week and a half of vacation. It's a dreary rainy day here so I don't feel quilty about being inside, doing laundry, baking cookies, grabbing a few moments to read a good book and catch up on some blogging.

We spent some time at Niagara Falls on our way back home. Having grown up in New York, I'd visited the times several time as a child. It was fun taking the kids there for their first visit.

I've always loved going to the Canadian side to see the falls but we decided too late in the game to visit and I didn't have time to get passports for the kids. What a bummer. I'm getting on that now so we don't have that problem in the future. We decided to do the Maid of the Mist boat tour so they could see the Horseshoe Falls from the water.

They didn't know what to expect when we were handed these lovely blue ponchos and neither kid was very excited about going!

I love the look on Elise's face when she realizes that something fun was about to happen!

Love, love, love seeing the falls from the water. There is something so magical about it. Such natural beauty and force beyond anything that human hands could create.

We then hiked up the access point to view the falls up close and personal! Now that I have 2 kids clamoring to take pictures, we often end up with a good one of Perry and me.

Kids - with poncho (Carson still has his in his room...what IS he going to do with THAT?!?)

Kids - without ponchos.

We then had to walk along the river leading up to the falls. Again, it was amazing to see from the top. Elise had to give us her "fabulous" pose.

Both kids enjoyed the visit after their initial hesitation. They thought it was "cool" and worth the time. If you haven't visited, it's well worth your time.