Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tea Party in the backyard

 Tea Party Day!  Popcorn and candy and granola bars-- 'tis summer!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Results are In! (Washington County Fair Update)

The kids and I were at the Washington County Fair early this afternoon to check out our results.  The verdict:  A victory for team Marotz!
Justin:  First place for his pillowcase, Second place for his painted wooden dolphin , Fourth place for his watercolor painting, Fourth place for his mixed-media fern drawing, Fifth place for his acrylic painting!


 Alex won a RESERVE CHAMPION ribbon for the rock collection project she put together!
 She also won a first place for her soft handwork heart, a first place for her landscape photography, a first place for her watercolor painting, second place for her photography of Kolachi, second place for her acrylic painting, second place for her knitting, and a third place for a 'cartoon' painting.




As a reward for all their hard work, we took a pony ride!  Justin rode completely solo-- a first for him, I can't believe how big he is getting!
Ms. Jazzie the balloon lady was making some amazing creations!

....and even Mama got in on the ribbon action!

All in all, a very successful year for team Marotz! 

Caterpillar Saga: Rainbow and Sparkles

As you can see, our babies are growing....well, it's kind of hard to see unless you know what you are looking for.  I'll draw an arrow.
 We did get a few library books out about caterpillars and are having an impromptu science unit.  Alex was excited to announce this morning that caterpillars breathe through their skin. 
 We've found two more, and they all have names that are variants of "Rainbow" and "Sparkles"..... I've lost track.  The important thing is that we have a lot of self-directed education going on here! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Justin in the Kitchen

My pickle-EATER decided he wanted to help be a pickle-MAKER this summer.  After a stop at the Farmer's Market, we were ready to rock and roll!  Since canning requires a lot of sterilizing and boiling and generally hot and dangerous things, Justin had a few specific tasks that he was in charge of.  Task #1: Cutting the dill.
Task #2: Filling the jars with dill and ice-cold cucumbers.
Task 3: Mixing all the brine and pushing the button for the food processor. (Since we avoid corn syrup to help J's tummy issues, we decided to make all our own sweet relish this year.  Seriously- check your relish label.  HFCS is everywhere!)
Task #4: Applying the labels the next morning.  Only a quarter of them are upside down- I'd say that was pretty well done for a three year old!
Task #5: Helping Mama carry and organize them in the pantry.  Here we have 12 quarts of chicken 'noodle-less' soup (we add noodles or rice when we reheat), 10 quarts of dill pickles and 5 pints of sweet relish!  That's all in a good day's work!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dropping off our Fair Entries

The opening day of the 2014 Washington County Fair is only two days away!  The kids have worked and worked and worked on their entries.  We have paintings, crafts, needlework and even a collection this year!  Here's Alex's finished Rock Collection- all rocks that she has found herself!
 She even sacrificed a few of her gold flakes from panning in Hill City!
 Waiting in line to pick up our exhibitor tickets--
 Entertaining themselves when we dropped off all of our work.  Poor Justin had a rough time of it.  He didn't quite understand that he would be getting all of his things back in a few days.  He really was AGAINST letting anyone have them (especially the pillowcase he made).  I bribed him with a stop at the gas station for a candy bar.  Parenting win.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Visiting Vera

Vera and her new Mama and Daddy came home from the hospital yesterday, and Papa Bob is also in town, so the kids and I made a trip to visit them.  I have to admit that that little 7 lb baby weight is just perfect for holding....but it's awfully nice to be the Auntie and get to hand her off to the next set of loving arms in the room, too!

 Uncle Sam is one tough dude.  Despite being up all night with a newborn, he was still game for playing outside with the nephew and niece.  Mama Carrie wisely napped and rested.  She's doing great, and has this Mama-thing nailed!
 Look at this bunch! 
 Perhaps my favorite part of the visit was when I snooped checked out Vera's closet.  I spied more than one of my 'little' Alex's dresses hanging in there-- I tried to get Al interested in the fact that she was once a baby, but it was all in vain.  They grow up so quickly!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Caterpillar Mania!

Every year, our little potted dill plant seems to attract swallowtail butterflies and, then, their caterpillar babies.  This year Alex's keen eyes spotted the young caterpillars SO early!  They are absolutely tiny! 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Big Bubbles!

Alex initiated a bubble project all on her own today.  She came into the kitchen and requested "Dawn Dish Soap"....  I may or may not have been preoccupied at the time, and vaguely gestured under the sink.  The next thing I knew, she was outside making these FANTASTIC bubbles with the bubble wand that Miss Toni and Uncle Willy gifted her for her birthday a few years ago.
Wow!  We've never been able to get the success that she got today-- and all on her own.  She studied the book, mixed the solution to perfection and perfected the technique.  What an awesome six year old! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Guess Who?!?!?

We stepped off of our plane and hopped into Daddy's car, eager to get to the hospital!  Wait...what?  BABY VERA ARRIVED THIS MORNING!!  Alex had a special drawing for Auntie Carrie all ready to go, and we brought two very tired, but excited, travelers to meet their new cousin!

 Here she sweet and pink and new!

 Guess who else we saw at the hospital!  A very proud Grandma of three :-) 
We're so excited to meet you, Vera, and so looking forward to find out who you are!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chicago: Day 3- Sears Tower and a splashpad!

Since poor Alex's little legs walked sooo far yesterday, we made sure she got a seat at the back of the stroller for our adventure today.  We took the train downtown again, but this time our adventure took us to Sears...uh... Willis (but really, it's Sears) Tower.  Cathleen had never been here, and we had an unexpectedly awesome visit!
 The observation deck is on floor 103.  Which makes for some pretty spectacular views.

 ...and then there's the Ledge.... which is, well, a plexiglass ledge that you can pose in.  I was hoping that the kids' self-preservation instincts would kick in a little more than they did.
Justin crawled RIGHT out onto it and wanted to look down the entire time!  Alex was equally absorbed in the experience, but she'd at least look at the camera for some photos!

 After our high-rise morning, we got some lunch and then hit the city splash pad/fountain.  I am so glad there were two of us adults to keep two pairs of eyes on these kids.  They were in some pretty colorful suits, so that's also a plus.

 Alex was our solo fountain-goer for a while. 
 I think it was hotter out today than it was yesterday, and Justin was too hot and tired to even think about getting in the water.
 After he got his toes wet, however, he began to see the appeal of splashing around the fountain.

 Still wet, we headed over to the Bean, took some obligatory Chicago photos, and hailed a cab to get back to the apartment and relax on last night in the big city.

 These kids are PROS at hailing a cab.
 Our last night in the apartment.  Somehow I think this is a bit messier than when we arrived.....sorry Cathleen, but thank you SO MUCH for your hospitality!  It takes a special kind of friend to let two kids under 7 crash at your pad for three days!