Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Great Day!

Last year when I was pregnant I made some friends online who were all having babies in August 2006. Most of us have kept in touch through our babies' first year also. One of my online friends from Seattle was in Michigan on vacation and only 10 minutes away from my house! Today we met her, her two daughters, husband and nephew at the petting farm. We had such a great time.

I tried sitting Ian next to E. to take their picture, but he didn't like sitting on the grass at all and came right over for me to save him.

S. also has a daughter that just turned 3. Alison loved playing with her. Keep in mind that she didn't need help turning the crank. It's just that there was a goat slightly to the right of the girls and if Alison would have turned the crank herself, she was too close for her comfort to the goat. But why were they turning the crank in the first place you ask? There is a treat cup attached to the belt and you put some treats in, crank it up and the goats wait up high on a deck and the treats spill out onto a platform for them to eat.
Now back to the party prep! It was good to get away for an afternoon and actually meet one of the other August moms.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Party Planning Central

We are smack in the middle of planning a huge double birthday party for next weekend. Ian turns one on Saturday the 4th. So it was easy to decide when to have his party. But, Alison was starting to get jealous that Ian's party would be before hers. We tried to explain 100 different ways why it was ok that his party was first. But, it just didn't matter to her. It seemed sooo unfair that he would be first. Plus, Alison was having a horrible time deciding on a party theme. This is highly unusual for her. Every year she knows exactly what kind of party she wants at least 6 months in advance. It was getting very frustrating for me because she was changing her mind 20 times a day, sometimes 20 times an hour. Seriously.

Finally we came up with the idea to have her party the same day as Ian's. It solved our first problem of her being jealous of his party being first. Besides, we already knew that Dan had the day off. Then we started talking about what kind of party to have. We looked through several back issues of Family Fun Magazine and saw one party that had a camping theme. Soon we were talking about what we could do for a camping party. (Yes, I'm surprised too. It wasn't princesses or Barbie or anything that I expected.) Before I knew it, Alison had drawn a picture for her invitations. I wrote up what I thought was a good invitation, but when I read it to her, it wasn't quite what she wanted. So she dictated what her invitation should say and I wrote it down for her. She decided exactly what she wanted for the party favors and even came up with a game on her own (pin the flame on the fire) and an activity that she saw in the magazine. I came up with a couple other activities too. It wouldn't surprise me at all if she was a party planner some day. She's good at it. We still haven't quite decided on what type of cake yet. Although she did draw up a plan the other day. However, it was really too complicated, so we have some revising to do.

Between Wednesday and Thursday we got everything bought for the parties except the food. We need to precut and prepare some of the supplies for the activities to make them easier to do at the party. That part is more fun than work though. I know the next week will fly by, so I'm trying to get everything done now so I won't be stressed out this week.

If I don't add another post this week, I'll definately do one after the party with lots of pictures. For those of you who are coming, we can't wait to see you! For those of you who can't, we miss you and wish you could be here!

Friday, July 20, 2007

What a Zoo!!!

Literally! We went to free day at the zoo today. So, it seems, did everyone else within driving distance. It was crazy! The cars were lined up at least 1 mile before the entrance. The normal parking lot was reserved just for handicapped parking. The overflow lots were overflowing and when we got there (only an hour after the gates opened), we had to park out in a huge field. There were people everywhere. It's the first time we've ever had to stand in line to see the animals. Wow. It was neat though, there were activity areas set up around the zoo. She played a fish pond game, got a temporary tattoo, had a hat personalized for her and decorated a cookie.
She also made me take this picture. It's hard to tell, but this is the guys working on the new lion pen. She is sooooo excited that there will be lions at the zoo again. She wanted this as proof that it really was going to happen.
One the way out, they made us leave out a back exit that I'd never used before. I kind of got lost, in a little bit scary part of town, but somehow ended up by where I had had some classes in college. I jumped on the highway there and felt pretty good about getting back on track. BUT, there was all sorts of construction and I missed the exit to get home. There was no turning back because I was still in a construction zone going one lane on the opposite side of the highway. There weren't even any exits off the road and when I could see the signs on the other part of the highway that was shut down, I didn't recognize the names of the roads or towns. I was seriously wondering where we would end up and how long it was going to take me to get home. Then I saw a sign for a town called Sparta. Now, I know how to get home from there, but I had no idea when I took the exit how to get from the exit to the town (ends up it was 7 miles of country roads, thank heaven for the signs pointing the way). Luckily, the road I was on, took me to exactly the right place where I could get myself home from. I was so relieved. So instead of a 40min drive it took about an hour and a half to get home. But we were safe, saw some neat country side scenery and most important the kids didn't seem to mind. Although, Alison did say at a couple points that she really didn't remember ever seeing this part of Michigan before. That's my girl.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

More teeth and other fun stuff!

Ian just hasn't been himself the past few days. He'll randomly start to shriek and cry and then, before we know it, he's himself again. Upon closer inspection, I found that he is getting 3 new teeth at once!!! Poor little guy. The unusual thing is that it looks like he's got a canine tooth popping through (I can feel the sharp edge. I just can't get him to stay still long enough to see if it's exactly that tooth or not.) He also has the tell-tale white line and bump for his first top front tooth and a smaller bump next to it for the 2nd top front tooth. I was joking with some friends yesterday that if they keep coming in like this, he's going to look like a gap-toothed hockey player!

Alison's cucumber plants are getting big and they have tons of blooms on them. We hope to be eating fresh picked cucumbers soon. I read a book a while ago called Square Foot Gardening. In it the author says that you can grow vines on trellisses to help maximize planting space.

So we are experimenting with growing cucumbers in a tomato cage in a pot. We may need to add a 2nd tomato cage soon. It's hard to believe that these little plants barely touched the bottom rung of the cage just a few weeks ago. (Sorry the picture is sideways, I can't figure out how to turn it.)

I just had to share this picture too. Ian's hair is always a little spikey, but in the tub with wet hair, he's a wild child. Plus, I love the way he sticks his little tongue out when he's happy!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Party Week!!!

This was one busy fun week! Every day I'd get home and think, "I should write about what we did today!" and every night I'd fall exhausted into bed. So here it is, Saturday night and I've just got to get all this written down. Grab a cup of tea cause this one's going to be long!

Tuesday we went to my parent's house. My dad's sisters and their families from Tennessee and Iowa came to Michigan for the annual July get together. We had a fun time catching up with each other. Some of them hadn't seen Ian at all or not since he was a tiny little guy.
Plus Alison and I went to the Farmer's Market (where my grandma sold tomatoes forever) and got blueberries, cherries, apricots, and cucumbers. Ian loves apricots and blueberries. I haven't tried him with cherries yet, just because of the mess factor. I've either got to strip him or find an outfit that doesn't matter if it has pink spots.
And Tuesday was Dan and I's 8th anniversary. Scary how fast time flies by. Even scarier is that I have known him for twice that long. This November, it will be 15 years since we first met and started dating. Crazy I tell ya!

Wednesday we took Ian to get weighed. He's almost 23 pounds!! Only 2oz shy. Wow he's just grown so much, nobody can believe it.

Thursday, we went to the library. They have a summer reading program for the kids and this year they started one for the adults too. I got a call on Monday that I had been chosen to pick a prize! So I was pretty excited. I ended up getting a coupon for a sewing shop for $5 off an alteration or to get a pair of pants hemmed for free. Hmmm, not something I really need. Anybody here in town need it? If so, let me know. I'm serious, I don't want to waste it, but I really don't need it at all.

Friday, another cousin from Iowa was in town so we met him, his wife and kids at a playground and had a ton of fun! It was so good to just be able to talk and play and have fun. We got home just in time to go to dinner with the rest of the family. We didn't get home till almost 11pm. We all slept till 9am! This is highly unusual for my little wake with the sun kiddos.

Today, Saturday, I took Alison to a tea party at the library. They got a grant to focus on teaching history so their first activity was a Victorian Tea Party. The tea was served by members of the Victorian Ladies Society and one member gave a short etiquette lesson. Another explained the clothes that were worn and the rules about wearing them (like teachers had to wear 13 petticoats!). Another explained the formalities of victorian living and calling cards. There were also 2 members from the YarnSpinners Story Telling group. They recited a story from Little House on the Prarie and an Aesop fable. We also had tea, finger sandwiches, and other refreshments. The final activity was making a tea bag doll. I had never heard of that before so it was something interesting for us to do together.

We came home and rested up for a few hours and then had a birthday party to go to. Another cousin of mine here in town has a little girl who will be 2 this week. We had lots of fun there too.
Alison met another little girl named Allison. They had lots of fun playing and swinging on the big swing. I couldn't believe how high they were going!

I just can't tell you how many cute kids we have in our extended family. They are all so much fun to be around and you can tell that each of them is loved a ton. It makes me feel really fortunate to have such a great family for my kids to get to be a part of.


I forgot to ask if it was ok to post pics of you all, so if there are any pics that you want me to take down let me know. Jennifer

Friday, July 6, 2007

Summer Celebration

Those of you who are from Muskegon know about the Summer Celebration. It's a big week long summer festival. With lots of stuff to do. We usually go take advantage of some of the free daytime activities. So today we went down and met some old friends.

The first thing we saw was a motorcycle stunt show. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures, but here is a video they posted on YouTube. The guys are amazing, jumping off-road bikes, full size and mini-bikes. The street bikers were doing wheelies, burnouts, riding sitting backwards on their gas tanks, cool stuff. Ian was a little scared of the noise. He didn't cry, but he had a grip on my shirt and kept hiding his face in my chest. I was proud of Alison. She doesn't normally like loud noises, but she didn't cover her ears or anything. She cheered everytime they did a trick.

The next show we saw was a Native American family who demonstrated some dances and showed some of their drums and shakers. During this part they asked for volunteers. Out of the 7 kids with us, none were brave enough to volunteer.

After that Alison spotted the carousel and wanted a ride. I was worried about how much it might cost, but lucky us it was $1 ride day! So she got to ride.

We had lots of fun and it only costs us $1. Plus we got to get reaquainted with old friends. It was a fun afternoon!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy July 4th!

So I'm a day late, oh well. We had a really relaxing 4th of July. We were going to skip the fireworks, Ian only took one nap and was in bed by 8pm. Poor Alison was devastated. She went to bed, but was crying and saying couldn't daddy just stay home with Ian. So I tucked her in and talked to Dan about it. A few minutes later I decided to get her out of bed and run up to Whitehall for the fireworks. I didn't bring the camera, but we got a great spot right on the waterfront. It was so fun to cuddle up with her and talk and watch the fireworks. I'm so glad I did it. Little things like this mean so much to her. She thanked me over and over for making her day special. She even fell asleep on the way home.

The kids have a new game. It can be played with any object really and it's totally a game that every baby loves, but not every baby has somebody who will play it over and over and over. It's the drop the object game. But in this creative twist, Ian made it into the"How fast can I throw Daddy's water bottle after Alison sets in up for me" (Click the link for the video!) They had great fun (as you can tell)! A couple times Alison has made exasperated comments like "Ian, why do you make my life so difficult?" But she still keeps playing along. She's such a trooper.