Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mornings on the Lake

We got into a nice morning rhythm on our lake vacation-  Wake up, have a little breakfast and head out on the water to beat all the other boaters and enjoy some smooth boating!
Alex is learning how to drive a boat.  She's a serious kid.

Homemade fishing poles didn't have a very high yield....but they were sure fun to make and use!

Thanks for the fantastic get-away, Gramps and Grams!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bridal Cave

I was surprised when both children said that they wanted to go see a cave.  Grams and Gramps took us to Bridal Cave- perhaps the most naturally 'ornate' cavern I've visited!  I attached my little pen light and safety whistle to Alex's jacket, and with this 'magic feather' in hand, she was the bravest six year old I've ever seen in a cave!  Justin fell asleep on the way there, and woke up just before our tour began.  I was expecting him to want to stay up top with Grams, but he wanted to go spelunking, too!

The features were gorgeous, and the kids were transfixed by the out-of-the-ordinary sights under the surface of the earth.

After our visit, Alex swears that she caught sight of little green, blue, yellow and red cloaks zipping in and out of the cavern rooms.  I wouldn't be surprised if the Math Gnomes were visiting!  Justin walked for a good deal of the time, at least when I couldn't carry him because the pathways were a bit tight or low.

 After the tour, the kids were treated to a souvenir each.  Alex chose a bag of sand to 'sluice' for precious gems.

Before 9am

Justin and I were up at 4:30 this morning-  he was an early riser, and I'm still trying to adjust my time zones.  We were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise!
 After Alex and the rest of the gang were up and going, we decided to take an early morning boat ride.  She was anxious to try tubing, and I was ready to brush off my water-skiing skills.
 I was a little nervous that she might freak out about falling off the tube and being far away from the boat, so we practiced 'slipping off' and waiting for the boat to bring the tow rope back to us.  Apparently that was the right tactic, because it is now her favorite thing to do....which makes for some pretty boring tube rides.  At least she'll have best practices for water skiing down!
 Justin is beginning to enjoy some speed and wind during a fast ride!
 I skiied a little (after a few failed attempts), we swam and had a blast.  We were completely worn out and back to the house by 9:20am!  After a little rest we hit a local crab shack for lunch.  I think Justin was the most excited of any of us to crack some sweet, delicious crab claws!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lake of the Ozarks

I arrived home from my Scandinavian Adventure (a quick update to come in the next week or so), had one day to get my head screwed on in the correct direction, do half a load of laundry, and then jump on a plane to St. Louis with the kiddos-- where Gramps met us and drove us to his Lake House at the Lake of the Ozarks.

My traveling companions:
 As always, they both received several compliments as to their stellar in-flight behavior.  We traveled minimally this time, with only a blanket, a 'friend' (Miss Kitty and Lynxy), a book and their movie player of choice.  Yay for 'airplane days'!
 First order of business:  an evening boat ride to get our bearings.  While Justin has been on a boat ride before, he was much too young to really remember it-- he was a bit hesitant to go 'fast', but I have a feeling he'll get his sea legs under him very soon.
 Our home away from home for the next five days-- not too shabby, huh?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

a short hiatus

I will check back in after my 2 weeks in Scandinavia-- renewed, invigorated and ready to tackle this Mama thing once more.... :-)

Twinkle, Twinkle, Baby Vera!

Rorie, Alex and I were honored to help Auntie Carrie celebrate the upcoming arrival of our newest family member- Baby Vera!  As I am leaving the country tomorrow, Carrie was kind enough to agree to have the party at her home.  We swooped in, set up, had a party, and (with the help of quite a few kind family members) cleaned up almost every trace of the shower before leaving again.  Whew!  What a fun and exhausting day :-)
Alex and Auntie prepping the food-- Alex cut all the cheese into perfect little stars (the theme of the shower was "Twinkle, Twinkle...", as Vera is having a space-themed lavender and gray nursery.  Susan (Carrie's mother in law), helped me cut and assemble watermelon star pops!  Yum!  Rorie prepared herb-stuffed "peas in a pod".

 The only real "game" at the shower (Carrie isn't really into we only had one) was a "Who's Who" game.  I printed out black and white baby photos of everyone in Sam and Carrie's family (genetically related to them), and gave each guest a worksheet
 I may or may not have taken the more 'recent' photos and fuzzied them up a bit when I converted them to black and white.  It definitely made the game trickier.  Only Alex got all the babies right....but she DID spend about thirty minutes trying to decipher faces!
There was quite a bit of scratching out going on!
Good thing we had some sweet 'star' treats around for nibbling.
Speaking of food:

 The gifts were nestled in the gorgeous antique wicker bassinet that Sam's family has used for every baby!

Above it hung Rorie's gift to Carrie-- a personalized star mobile for baby's room...

  Mama-to-be and Grandma Mary-- eagerly awaiting her third grandchild!
 Alex crocheted a little warm hat for her baby cousin.  She was quite proud of her work!
Ladies-- lots of ladies--

As a 'thank you' favor, each guest got to bring home a star cookie-cutter, so they will always remember Vera's shower.  We can't wait to meet you, lovely girl! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

An Early June Walk

On our first official day of 'summer', we took an early run/walk to "The Woods"- a little stretch of 1/4 mile path that meanders through a gently forested area that has been allowed to remain (somewhat) untouched by the housing development around it.  
 Wild Geranium
 Jack in the Pulpit-- this guy was just steps off the path- I feel very fortunate to have spotted him!  The kids got a kick out of peeking carefully under the flap to see "Jack".
 Justin is really interested in ferns-- probably because his dinosaur books are teeming with them.  He chose a frond to bring home and press.
 The one problem on this gorgeous morning walk:  Mosquitos.  As soon as we stepped into "The Woods", they greeted us with a million tiny mosquito voices. We had to keep moving to keep them away-- even so, I think I have about twenty new bites!
 Some treasures-- Alex and I hastily collected a handful of acorn caps to use as manipulatives in math class.  We'll have to go back with bug spray on and take our time to collect some more.
 We did stumble upon some tiny little mushrooms whilst looking for caps.  They were pretty cute...

Later on, we attended Alex's Kindergarten Picnic-- our annual viewing of a puppet play followed by a potluck feast.  It was so fun to visit with all of our friends.  After lunch, we poked our heads behind the kindergarten cottage to check on Alex's iris.  It is ALMOST blooming!  We donated a few bulbs from our garden two years ago, and it finally felt strong enough to produce some blooms this year.