Sunday, July 17, 2011

The new playhouse

Keary and Dad put a playhouse together yesterday for the girls.  The one I built them eventually fell apart after it rained multiple times, so Dad got them a new one for their birthdays.  And even though it has been almost one hundred degrees outside, both girls have really enjoyed playing in it.  It has a kitchen, phone, doorbell, and window flower boxes which make for hours of entertainment.
Linking up with I Heart Faces: Props, 52 weeks of happinessSweet Shot Tuesday, and Tuesdays around the world

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I took the girls to get haircuts last week.  Gwendolyn had been begging to get her hair cut "short like Maggie's and your's" for several weeks.  While I resisted the idea at first, thinking she would wish it was long again after cutting it, I finally agreed that as long as it could still be put in a ponytail, she could cut her hair however she wanted.  It is just hair, it'll grow back (though Gwendolyn's seems to grow more slowly).

Here is Gwendolyn's after shot.  She ended up having three of four inches cut off and some layers added. It is very cute and she is super pleased with it.

It was Maggie's first time to get her haircut.  I really expected it to not go well since she is not too keen in sitting still or people she has never met touching her.  She did so well though.  She sat very still and let the hairdresser trim her hair.  She didn't have much cut, a quarter to a half inch-not enough for anyone to notice, but it has helped with the tangling tremendously.

Linking up with Live and Love Out LoudProject AliciaSweet Shot Tuesday52 weeks of happinessTuesdays around the worldBlack and White WednesdayLittle Somethings: ChildrenPhoto Story/ Give me your best shotFabulous FridayLive Every Moment

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Booms and crackles

Growing up, we never shot fireworks on the fourth of July.  If we really really wanted to watch them, we could generally see the fireworks being shot off at the park a mile or so away from my grandparents' deck.

My grandfather was an ophthalmologist and so he saw the effects of people playing with fireworks when they shouldn't, whether it be because they didn't know what they were doing, were too young to be playing, or just too close to the action.  He pretty much convinced us that we would lose an eye if we got too close to the fireworks, so we stuck to watching them from the deck.

 Not that I needed an excuse to stay away from fireworks.  I didn't like the noise so I was completely okay with not getting near fireworks.  and I stuck with it to through adulthood; I have tended to dread fourth of July evening and the evenings all around it because of the noise and jolt I get from being surprised with the crackles and booms.

Gwendolyn was super excited about the fireworks this year though.  She talked about them for two weeks leading up to the fourth.  "Can we go watch them?"  "I can't wait to see the fireworks.  We can just watch them on television." "I'm so excited about watching the fireworks!"

So we agreed to go watch the fireworks.  We went out to one of our friends' house, just outside of the city limits, and they shot off fireworks for about 20 minutes.  Twenty minutes was about long enough for the mosquitoes to try to carry us off.

And as it turns out, Gwendolyn takes after me and the noise associated with fireworks bothers her.  Maggie, on the other hand, hooted and hollered and cheered the fireworks on.  And I wasn't bothered so much by the crackles and booms this year.

Linking up with Photo story Friday and Fabulous FridayPhoto Challenge: Something Patriotic

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The sprinkler

We broke out the sprinkler for the girls to play with this weekend.

They may not have been the only ones to play in it.

What?! I had to show them how it is done.

Linking up with Project AliciaLive and Love out loud, and Embrace the camera

Monday, July 4, 2011

our 4th of july

The girls and I made a fruit pizza to take to the fourth of July cookout.  We used a recipe from Our Best Bites and it turned out wonderfully.  We didn't use drizzle chocolate over it after we were done like they did, but it was still very good.

As you can see, Maggie kept sneaking blueberries from the pizza. She replaced them later though.  The girl just loves blueberries.

Seriously, she ate berries until I took them away.

We went to the cookout at my cousin's and swam until the early evening hours.  We all looked waterlogged by the end of the day.  Then we went and watched fireworks.  Gwendolyn had been super excited to go see the fireworks all week.  Once we got out to see the fireworks though, she complained they were too loud.  Of course.  Maggie, on the other hand, was completely unfazed by the booms and cheered them on.

I think I got some decent pictures of fireworks.  We'll see.  It was probably the first time in ten years that I watched fireworks at all, and the first year I tried to take any pictures.  I had some issues trying to figure out the best shutter speed, but I have had issues with that all week since I clicked over from aperture priority to manual.  I'll get it figured out.

The theme this week at I heart faces is red, white, and blue.  This was the first picture I thought of when I saw the challenge, and it was taken last October.  Look how much Maggie has grown!  She still wants to wear that supergirl outfit, though she outgrew it long ago.  So now I am on the lookout for a supergirl or wonderwoman outfit to hopefully replace that one.

Also linking up to Sweet Shot TuesdayTuesdays around the World, and 52 weeks of happiness

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Maggie's busy week or why my hair is more gray

Look at her, so sweet, just sleeping there with her Mickey Mouse.  Her Mickey Mouse makes everything immediately better, simple as that.  Looking at her you probably wouldn't know just this week she has single handed contributed to 10 percent increase the amount if gray in my hair.

It started on Friday.  My sister came over to watch the girls so I could go get my haircut.  When I got back we visited for a little bit and Maggie sat on the couch next to her and when she tried to get up, Maggie couldn't and she needed a hand.  Then she limped and cried as she walked across the room to me.  I assumed her leg had just fallen asleep.  When Keary got home, she didn't want to walk and just wanted him to carry her.  That is nothing really out of the ordinary, but combined with her leg having bothered her earlier, my suspicions were raised.

The girls were supposed to stay with my dad so we loaded up and Maggie cried all the way there.  Once we got inside, we tried to have her walk and she kept acting like she couldn't put any weight on her right leg.  So we got back in the car and went back across town to see my uncle, the chiropractor.

She was hysterical by the time we got there, but she could walk somewhat better.  He examined her and said he thought her hip was out or the hip joint was locked up, but either way he didn't want to treat her while she was so frantic.  He said if she started acting like it was worse overnight to call our pediatrician and that he was try to adjust her the next day.

The next morning, we woke up and she was able to walk and run just fine.

Nothing out the ordinary over the weekend, then she treated me to a house that smelled like a watermelon jolly rancher.  We got home in the early evening from swimming and I gave the girls baths and Keary got supper together.  We ate and then I had to step outside for less than three minutes to take the trash out and rinse out the trashcan.  I stepped back inside to hear Gwendolyn yell upstairs to Keary "Nevermind! Mom is inside now.  She can take care of it."

I went into to bathroom to see Maggie had emptied at least half a bottle of watermelon shampoo all over herself and the bathmat.  "Bath!" she smiled at me.  I took the mat outside and sprayed it down.  There were bubbles and foam all over the driveway and backyard.  Keary put Maggie into the shower and eventually got all the shampoo off of her.                          

Our entire house smelled like a watermelon jolly rancher for 4 days.

That was all in addition to her regular hijinks of climbing as high as she can and jumping, thinking she she exist on poptarts and candy, writing all over every piece of paper she can, and waking up multiple times per night.

Bill Cosby says that "Gray hair is God's graffiti." I believe it.

Linking up with Saturday ConfessionsSunday Citar, and simple things

Friday, July 1, 2011

Quarterly top 5 pics of my kids

My five favorite photos with my kids that I have taken in April May, and June.  I overlooked the part where my children needed to be in the pictures at first and had a few others picked out so I swapped out a couple pictures and had my husband help me narrow it down to just five.

 Dad and Maggie, originally posted here

  Keary and Maggie, originally posted here.

Gwendolyn, originally posted here and here

 Keary pitching to Gwendolyn at her last at-bat this tee-ball season, originally posted here.

Maggie and St. Francis, originally posted here.

Naptime Momtog

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Embrace the camera: Swimsuit Edition

I'm embracing the camera again today.  I haven't taken many with me in them this past week so this is from last week.  Maggie LOVES the pool.  She has absolutely no fear of hesitation in the water.  In this picture, I had been throwing her up and into the ring she is floating in.  "Do it again!" she'd yell over and over again.  

Also if you are in the market for a life jacket for your kids, I recommend one like Maggie is wearing.  You can let out the sides as the kids grow.  Gwendolyn wore it for a season and a half and now Maggie has taken it, so it is pretty durable too.  

I'm linking up with Emily and embracing the camera.  Take a picture of yourself with your kids, dogs, honey, friends, etc and link up too.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Maggie and the slide

Like generations before her, Maggie climbed on top of the storm cellar at my grandparents' house so she could slide down the door.  Unlike generations before, apparently it is okay for her to slide down it.  We always got in trouble for it.  Not that it stopped us.

Linking up to Project AliciaLive and Love Outloud

Favorite picture of June

I know I just showed this shot yesterday, but I went through all my photos and I think it is my favorite from the month.  I like the pink being repeated throughout the photo, how deep in play Gwendolyn was, and the lighting.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Princess Gwendolyn

Gwendolyn is fancy child.  Whereas I am content in jeans, a t-shirt and flip-flops, Gwendolyn prefers sparkly, frilly, fancy.  One of the very first things on her birthday list this year was "a princess dress and princess shoes."  She got her wish in the form of a couple dresses, a cape, some shoes, and a crown. 

Here she is wearing her princess outfit while playing with her princesses.  And if you look behind her, you'll see some of her regular shoes that add sparkle to her outfits: silver sequined sandals and ruby red glitter shoes.

She has princesses of various sizes, fairies, and other odd and end dolls, and on this day, they were all lined up under the rocking chair.  I asked her about it... I never got a clear answer on why they weren't in the three story dollhouse next to the chair.  It probably has to do with my not understanding fancy 5 year old logic.

                                                                 Shutter Love Tuesdays
Part of the reason the dolls had to camp under the chair appear to be because she has a minivan and a pink barbie car in the house.  You would think the princesses or whoever is in charge there, maybe Cowgirl Jessie?, would park the cars outside.  Gwendolyn had Yogi checking things out.  

You see that unicorn in the top left of the dollhouse?  Yeah, she asked my dad to get her a unicorn for her birthday.  I'm not certain she wasn't asking for a real unicorn, but she is playing with the toy one too.  

She spends hours every week upstairs playing with her dolls and dollhouses.  I listen to her make them talk and make plans, and she laughs and sounds like she is having a huge time.  So I decided to catch her with my camera.  She is a Michigan J. Frog because I went up there and she was serious business the entire time.  Never cracked a smile, barely even looked at me...  Until I got up to leave.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


On Father's Day, we went to Weiner to my grandparents' house for a cookout.  While I was enjoying the not too hot temperatures and porch swing, I watched Maggie play with Grandma's yard statues.  She was very carefully and sneakily take birdseed from St. Francis's plate and then force swans to eat it.  She was very serious when she realized I was watching her.

Linking up to Simple Things and I Heart Faces: Whimsy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Easy Alternative to the Baby Book

I saw a picture like this done on Pinterest and knew I wanted to do them for my girls.  I think it is a good way to keep track of changes through the years.  Especially if you are like me and maybe haven't filled out your kids' baby books.

Gwendolyn had a big birthday.  She had the party at Chuck E. Cheese and a family party at my cousin's pool where she had a rainbow cake and loads of family and friends around her.  And this weekend we are celebrating June and July birthdays on my mom's side of the family so she has another birthday party.  Then hopefully we will get back to our regular schedule and do more off of our summer fun list.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rainbow cake

For Gwendolyn's family birthday party, I talked her into a rainbow birthday cake.  It didn't take much persuasion since she is a pretty big rainbow fan.

In years past, my stepmother has always made the cake, but she always got super stressed about it so this year I decided to make it myself.  

I got a boxed cake mix and followed the instructions.  Then I divided the batter into five different bowls and mixed in gel food coloring.  

Then poured it into the cake pans, one color at a time.

Gwendolyn oohed and awed at each step.  Then when I took the cake out of the oven, I must have jumped the gun and not waited for it to cool enough.  It fell apart.  Many words were muttered.  I considered making cake pops with the cracked and crumbly cake, but last time I did that, they tasted like crap. So I got to work making cupcakes.  Same process but takes much longer.  

And because I was posting pictures on facebook as I made progress on the cake, I had multiple people more crafty and experienced making cake than I am tell me that the cake was salvageable, just use lots of icing.  

Honestly I had Keary do that step.  I was pretty sure I would mess it up further.  And it turned out!  It wasn't the cake I had in mind, but it stuck together and tasted good.

                                                                     Happy Monday: Something Cute
Maggie sampled it.  Quality control and all that.

 Final product.  It tasted decent and everyone was impressed about the multicolored batter.

even if the cake had ended up not turning out and we had to go get a cake from Walmart, the day would have been good and happy, but it was all the more sweet because I made the cake.

Linking up with Sweet Shot TuesdayCommunal Global, and 52 weeks of happiness

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I heart faces: Let's hear it for the boy

The theme this week at I Heart faces is "Let's Hear it for the Boys."  (So now I have that song in my head and the impulse to watch Foot Loose.  (I'm always so impressed with John Lithgow and his acting range: he is such a jerk in Foot Loose and comical in 3rd Rock from the Sun and creeped me out in the fourth season of Dexter.)

I took this picture of Keary and Maggie yesterday toward the end of Gwendolyn's birthday party.  Maggie was exhausted and fell right to sleep in Keary's arms, and Keary was looking over at me smirking. She is generally not one to so willingly fall asleep but she had played very hard all day.  It is tough work being the little sister at a birthday party you know.   

Today is Father's Day so I want to wish Keary and my dad a happy Father's Day.  I often give them both a hard time, but I wouldn't do that if I didn't like them.  It is when I stop talking and interacting with you that you should start wondering.  :)

And a happy father's day to all the dads out there.  Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Gwendolyn turns 5 today, technically at 12:41 this afternoon.  Since she is turning 5 and 5 seems like a big deal, we decided to splurge and let her have a friends party and family party and let her have her friends' party at Chuck E. Cheese.

I do not like Chuck E. Cheese.  I think it is too expensive and I feel overstimulated going there between all the flashing lights, sounds, kids running around.  It is just too much.  But Gwendolyn loves it so I agreed.  And told Keary he had to make the arrangements.

That went over about as well as you might think.  He put it off for a few days and then when I was like "I have to send out invitations tomorrow.  I need to know about the party," technically he made the arrangements, but he came downstairs after every step to ask me what he was supposed to pick and decide next.  So much for him making arrangements.

Leading up to the party I was was nervous too that none or very few of her friends would be there and she would be upset.   She invited nine kids and I think there were 5 to show up so she was happy.  Not that they played together or talked except when it was pizza time.  All the kids ran in different directions after I handed them their tokens.

Some iphone pictures since i haven't uploaded from my camera yet.  I know some people can take really clear pictures with their iphones, but I am not one of them.  Honestly the phone I had before I got my iphone in December I had for 4 years and it took much better pictures.

My sister L and Gwendolyn playing airhockey.

Maggie playing skeeball.  In another mother of the year moment, Maggie peed massively out of her diaper (and all over Keary's shirt) and soaked her shorts.  And I didn't have any spare shorts for her to wear so she just wore her shirt and diaper.

Gwendolyn was very pleased when Chuck E. came out to sing and dance.

I was afraid they would massacre Gwendolyn's name so we just had them write Happy Birthday.

Here she is while they sing Happy Birthday to her.  She is a bit shy so I had to make her not cover her ears.

We got to bring home the big balloon and Maggie has played and danced with that until they popped it this morning.  She calls it "Me Meow-se."

I have better pictures on my camera I'll upload this weekend and through the week.  I also documented my making Gwendolyn's rainbow cake and it's crack up when I tried to take it out of the pan to ice.   We salvaged it.  It is not very pretty, but it probably tastes good.  (Please let it taste good.  Please.)

We are having a swimming party today with family and the radar is showing rain.  Hopefully it will just blow on through and be fine later.  If not, we will all come inside and party inside.

Linking up to instafriday and saturday confessions

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pool Days

I shouldn't have to say it, but it is hot.  Well at least it is hot here.  I keep seeing people north of us talk about how it is just barely breaking 70 and is cloudy and rainy. Not here, not so much.  It has been in the upper nineties for weeks and rained this week for the first time in three weeks.  It is hot and steamy.  

(Yes, steamy.  Humidity of 100 and frizz.  You don't even have to be a meteorologist to know that, just look at the girls' and my hair.  Very large.)

We are lucky though because my cousin has a pool that we can use as often as we can get out there.  And we definitely use it often as I have another adult to help me with the girls.  Gwendolyn can't quite swim yet even though she is five years old (tomorrow is her birthday!).  I think it is time for her to swim independently of floaties and I think she can, she just won't.  Maggie will likely be swimming before she is.  Maggie has no fear though and will jump in the pool and put her face in the water.  

Going to the pool is now with two kids is much different than before I had kids.  Before I would just throw on a bathing suit, grab a towel, some sunscreen and tanning lotion, a bottle of water, and maybe a radio to listen to.  Now... ha.  I swear I spend more time getting us ready for the poo than we spend at the pool some days.  Finding bathing suits and towels.  Gathering snacks and drinks.  Slathering on sunscreen spf 65 on all of us (and I still looked lobstery after the pool Saturday).  Blowing up floaties and rings.  Then once we finally get in there is no lounging and peacefully floating.  Instead I help them both swim and calm them after water gets sucked up their noses.  And within 45 minutes Maggie will decide she is done swimming and want to go sit on the side of the pool.  

Of course, the few times I have swam without both kids and had the opportunity to float and relax, I couldn't and just didn't know what to do with myself.

Linking up with Crazy Days of Summer: Water over at Project Alicia

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fruitcake Reads: I am Number Four

The first time I heard mention of I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore was by Miss Zoot.  She was talking about wanting to hurry up and finish reading it so she could see the movie when it came out.  I looked the book up and put it on my soon to read list in my head and then forgot about it.  Then I saw the movie trailer and remembered I wanted to read it, put it on my to read list in my head and forgot about it again.

I finally picked it up to read a couple weeks ago and promptly devoured it in a couple days.  It isn't a completely original idea and at some points it definitely feels like you have already read it, but still a good summer read.

I Am Number Four centers around a 15 year old boy, John Smith, who just wants to fit in and have a regular high school life.  But he is an alien and is developing special super powers so he is also having to hide all of that from his peers, friends, and girlfriend.  Oh and he is being hunted by another set of aliens who want to kill him.

This is apparently part of a developing series of books, centering around these teenage aliens with superpowers. I didn't love the ending of the book; it felt rather contrived and used, but I think if the series was read together, it would probably be better.

What are you reading?  Read anything good lately?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

last tee-ball game and a medal

Gwendolyn had her last tee-ball game of the season on Thursday.  And in a surprise turn of events, Keary was the pitcher for our team.

Yeah, surprised everyone, but he was pitching during practice to a couple of the girls and the coaches asked why he hadn't been pitching all season.  He said "well, I guess I can if you want me to," and then hoped they would forget all about it and pitch themselves.  That didn't happen though so he pitched, and all but a couple of the girls ended up hitting a pitched ball instead of off the tee.  

Here he is pitching to Gwendolyn.  

After the game, the team had their last huddle and "go team."  

Check out the socks Gwendolyn decided to wear: green and black with spiders of course go great with red, gray, and black team colors.  But also notice her french braid pig tails- I've been practicing!

I had told Gwendolyn before the game that she would get a trophy at the end of the night.  She was pretty pumped for that and didn't really know what to think when her coach gave her a medal.  Since then though she has worn her medal around the house daily.  She wears it to bed at night and it is the first thing she puts on first thing in the morning.  That little medal has made her super happy.  

Linking up with Live and Love OutloudProject Alicia