Sunday, July 28, 2013

One more state to visit this summer...

Just for "fun", we decided to swing by Lake Michigan on our way home from the cousins' reunion.  Specifically, we decided to try out Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan.  Kinley gets to add another state to her list of states traveled to and the boys get to swim in Lake Michigan.  Win-win.  And, we knew that from there, it was a straight shot down into Indiana for the 3 hour trip home.  Very manageable.

We stopped to eat at the Michigan welcome rest area.  There was an awesome playground there that had some cool climbing equipment.  The boys equated it to American Ninja Warrior climbing challenges.  Whatever keeps them entertained.


From there, it was about another 30 mins to the dunes.  Of course, we had to wait in a line to get into the park, but once we were there, the parking lot was right between the sand dunes and the beach. Perfect.

Andy and the kids walked about halfway up the dune.  It was so hot and bright out.  July. Midafternoon.

Kella was not interested at all in the lake.  She chilled with me and a sleeping Kinley.

The big 3-Marcus, Cale and Ewan

When Kinley woke up, I took her to the water to get her picture in Lake Michigan.  She wasn't a big fan of the water temp or the waves.

We left there and, with the help of Garmin, took a country road trip to find the road that would lead us home.  Thank goodness for our big van, DVD player and headphones.

We made it home around 10pm.  Pretty late for the kids.  Everyone held it together pretty well until the last 20 minutes of our trip.  Tired, thirsty kids began to cry and complain and whine (mostly Marcus).  Thankfully, we weren't too far from home.  Even though they were exhausted, I know they had fun and I'm glad we took that little detour to the lake.  It's something they will remember as part of our summer.

OK.  These last two pictures I just included for fun.

Kella does enjoy wearing her cape and flying around the house.  I think she likes to feel the cape fly behind her.  We call her "Super Kella".

And, one from Kinley the other day, relaxing outside.  She is wearing a 3-6 mos outfit.  Can't believe she's big enough to wear that size and that that size fits her great.
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

The annual cousins' reunion

2 weeks ago, we ventured back into Illinois.  This time we drove north, almost to Wisconsin, to go to a reunion on my side of the family.  We try to go every year.  It's the one time I get to see my aunts, uncles and cousins with their kids.  The cousins that host it have a nice, shady yard to hang out in and a pool to play in. It always makes for a relaxing afternoon of catching up with family.

The annual balloon toss.

Kinley, snoozing outside

The annual kids balloon toss

Kella and Aunt Sue.  Kella followed her all over and tried to go home with her.  We think it's because Aunt Sue has short hair and glasses like Grammy Pammy.  Kella was devastated when she got handed back to her actual family.

The annual piñata filled with Tootsie Roll candies

The kid cousins play so well together.  It's fun to see that they remember each other from year to year.  It's nice that they have cousins their age to play with when we come.  This year Joe taught our kids how to play bean bags (or cornhole as it is known here).  Marcus and Joey were on a team.

playing against Cale and Catherine

Another nice thing this year, was that our hotel was not that far away.  We did have to stop to get some sandals for Liam since he left his shoes at home (and his parents didn't check to see if he was wearing any before he got in the car).  We got two rooms again and everyone went to sleep earlier than the last time we were in a hotel.  Even Kella had a better night.

Kella and Liam chilling in bed, watching a video on the computer.  So glad we brought the computer to use in the hotel room.  Slowly, the kids are getting better and better to travel with.  I'm looking forward to many more trips in our future.
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Friday, July 26, 2013

More of Marcus's 10th birthday

Here are some more pictures from celebrating Marcus's 10th birthday.  Double digits. 

We went out to eat as a family.  I bet we look pretty intimidating when we roll in with 6 kids.  We went to Applebees (we had coupons from the library reading program for free kids meals).  The kids did great and Marcus got some grilled cheese. (according to him, his favorite food)

Marcus wanted to hide under the blanket and try to guess what his presents were.

We convinced him to just close his eyes.  Better for picture taking.

The Harry Potter cake.  The original plan was to use H.P. lego people that we had.  Unfortunately, various body parts were MIA and we printed folks off the computer instead.  I think it turned out pretty cool.  Marcus liked it and that's what counts most.

The annual "holding Marcus like a baby" picture.

Marcus and mom (and Kinley-2 years ago it was Kella that was the baby in the picture with us)

a fine close-up
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Look out! Lots of pictures from around the 4th of July!

Here we go.  The first of several "catch-up" posts.  I'd do it all in one, but there would be toooooo many photos.  One day I'll be more prompt in blogging, but for now, I'm enjoying holding my little baby.

Andy was away at the end of June/beginning of July.  I still managed to take the kids to the festival that happens every year at the park that is near us.  I think they enjoyed getting out of the house.  And, this years temps were so much better than last year.

First, here is a 1 month photo of Kinley doing what she likes best-being held and sleeping on my chest.

I had to get one with her quilt that Aunt Sharlyn made.  Kinley is also wearing the outfit she came home from the hospital in.  Filling it out a little more in this picture.

Kella wanted her picture taken with her quilt.

4th of July parade time!  Kinley is sporting an outfit from our neighbor, who loves to buy clothes for my girls-especially matching outfits.

We got our awesome seats for the parade.  Seriously, it took us less than 10 minutes to walk there since the parade started at the library.  We always sits at the beginning of the route-its closer to home.  And, the parade folk throw lots of candy to the crowd and seem to throw more at the beginning of the parade than at the end.  I won't lie when I say that my kids first course at lunch was candy/sugar at the parade.

Someone passed out flags to wave.

Our 4th of July décor.  The kids made these windsockets at church.  I'm glad I got a picture, because that afternoon, a 20 minute downpour occurred and destroyed them.  They were pretty while they lasted....

Banana splits for the 4th!  We did it last year, we'll do it every year!

Kella (in orange) with some neighbor girls

Did I want to keep the kids up for the fireworks.  No.  But, when you live on the corner where you can see the fireworks, and the other kids around you are still awake, and all the kids are playing together....Did they even really watch the fireworks-no.  They pretty much just ran around, playing in the dark.

Marcus, Cale, Ewan and neighbor Nate

The next day, we went to the festival twice.  Once, so the boys could spend their money at the pioneer village on kiddie bows and arrows (not real ones), and then in the evening to the kids carnival and a concert.  They loved the games.  They tolerated the concert.  I didn't care.  It got them out of the house for another experience.  And, it occupied them until Andy got home that evening from his trip.

Kinley slept through everything.  When she woke up, it was time to go home.

Brought some popcorn with us so I wouldn't have to listen to the kids complain that they were hungry. (even though we had just had dinner)

Sporting some funny glasses won at one of the games.

Liam got a yo-yo.  And that was all he talked about for the rest of the night.  He loved that thing for about 24 hours before moving onto the next object of his affection.

The next night was the balloon glow.  I stayed home with whoever and Andy went over. Cale and Ewan went with him.  I love the balloons, but Kinley needed me to stay home. So....

I think they had fun.  There is always so much to do around here for the 4th.  It's one of the reasons I love living here! 
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