Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vacation break

Not planning to post anything for a couple weeks...getting ready for vacation and then going on vacation:) But lots of great pictures will be coming, probably, after that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


The kids walked to the Celtic Festival parade in Saline on Saturday...I would recommend it to anyone with small children. Much better than the Memorial Day parade from a child's point of view- TONS of candy, horses, men in kilts playing bagpipes, twirlers, and karate demonstrators. Not very long, but very satisfying.

They walked with the VanderVeen cousins, and Jane and Ellie moved Andrew and the wagon along the whole way there.

Lucy and Jane experimented with mixing all the various beads, beans and rice that we have had on the shelves lately...and realized it takes a lot longer to clean everything up than it does to dump out.

Grandma Patti and Grandpa Ken came over for brunch on Sunday- very nice:)

Sunday afternoon has been "Family Art Time" lately...Brendan traces pictures from a coloring book, and the kids color them. Gene was getting into his coloring book, and talking excitedly about having an art class when he goes to school. This is GOOD for him, as art has not been interesting to him, ever.

Gene and Lucy have been going to a neighborhood church for a Children's Choir/ Music class taught by a friend of mine, and tonight I brought Jane because Brendan played softball. She ate her dinner in the parking lot- a Parking Lot Picnic.

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 16

Garden and yard work yesterday...I actually managed to work outside for more than 6 hours! With a measly half-hour break for lunch. And I enjoyed it immensely:)

Meanwhile, Jane came out to play in the sprinkler for a few minutes... (her bathing suit was at Grandma's)

And Gene came out to play football for a few minutes (I think baseball season is winding down). All three kids spent the rest of those 6 hours in the basement. Building forts and playing "house". Very strange, as they haven't played down there in months. Gene came out once while I was mowing the lawn and said, "I would like to request three lunches in the basement." They had set up little tables with placements and everything!

In other news, Lucy loves drinking with a straw.

And Gene's latest passion is playing the piano. He is into the major scales right now. And he plays every chance he gets.

We walked to the Dairy Queen tonight after dinner.

Gene and Lucy rode bikes, I pushed Jane's bike. She is still learning how to ride it...steering is so hard!

Hope you all had as good of an evening!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

At home

A morning at home, so nice. Jane was up at 6am, so she did quite a bit before she napped at 9:30...she keeps pulling out the sandpaper letters, and despite the fact that she's not catching on as quickly as Lucy was at this age, she is still learning them, and still interested. That makes the comparison not matter (I know it doesn't matter anyway, but what parent can keep from comparing between children?). She has just about mastered the sounds of four letters, and today thought of a fun extension all by herself...matching up the magnetic fridge letters to the ones on the wall.

After Jane napped, we went over to Grandma H's to go swimming. Just what we needed. The kids all took turns "napping" on the inner-tubes.

The girls really wanted to help with dinner, so together we made chocolate pudding and snapped green beans. Their first time snapping, and they quickly got the hang of it. Jane, surprisingly, was even quicker than I was! (Lucy and I snapped the ends off, and passed the beans to Jane so she could snap them in half.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday at home

A mostly uneventful day, stayed home and did housework. Usually I have the kids help, but today they kept themselves pretty busy and I just gave them a break. So...

Lucy put up "stop signs" all over Jane's guardrail in their bedroom. She has been making them often for the last few weeks, along with some signs that say "go". Or actually, I take that back. The signs just have a big letter S or G, but they are colored in the appropriate colors. She made a pair of signs for everyone in our family once. I don't know the significance of having them on the bed, but Jane seemed pleased nonetheless.

Jane pulled out the hand puzzle, and tried to fit her hand in. She made me do it, too. She hasn't done this puzzle in a LONG time...I thought she was getting too old for the wooden puzzles we have, but this is one of the trickier ones, and she enjoyed it.

Gene, with a bit of prompting and some help, constructed a model of our neighborhood. They brown blocks are roads, and they yellow and red pieces are houses of people we know. He figured this out pretty fast, and it was easier for him than figuring out where things in a specific room in our house are.

Lucy and I made corn muffins for dinner. She really wanted to feel all the ingredients, so I gave her a little sample of them in a bowl.

She has gotten quite good at leveling, and got to practice with the cornmeal, flour, sugar and baking powder.

We brought the kids to the Rec Center daycare while we ran on the treadmills, then B and G ran/biked home. The Major League All-Star game was on, and we all stayed up REALLY late!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The weekend and since...

Jane built a "mat" out of blocks...

And played Memory by herself (she sometimes announces the "score" like Gene does when he plays games by himself, but it is always "3 to 4"...)

My dad and Aunt Kate took the kids to the zoo (thanks again!) and Lucy consulted the map, probably looking for the giraffe section. That's all she kept saying she wanted to see.

I guess they found it:)

"Squish Gene" is a favorite game, especially when Grandpa is involved.

The kids painted pictures (belatedly) for Kate's birthday. We may send them to you, Kate, but I think this picture is probably cuter than what they actually painted.

Gene, my parents and I went to visit my Aunt Linda and various cousins at the boat races on the Detroit River.

And, closer to home, Lucy investigated the various properties of her black barrettes. She resists getting her hair done every day, in a way, by finding something else to do as soon as we walk into the bathroom. Usually she tries to wash her hands, or play with the handle of the door, or, or, or...she cannot possibly just stand still. She is definitely a "hands on" kid, much more so than the other two. And there's nothing wrong with it, since she doesn't really get into mischief with the things she does...I just laugh when I see what she comes up with next when the brush comes out.

Reading a book. Notice her hair. Took all of a couple minutes, and she didn't touch a thing.

Gene typed a list of "Things to Do For Gus (In three years)". Uncle Emmet got a little dog recently, and (supposedly) promised Gene he could have the dog when he turned 10. Gene, who never forgets, is banking on this and has been talking about it off and on. Today he was figuring out who in our family would do which dog "chore". He, of course, would feed and walk Gus. But everyone else had at least one chore.

We sampled some honeycomb we bought at the Saline Farmer's Market on Saturday.

Lucy took a little "test" of the lowercase letters she knows how to write. I haven't officially taught her how to write, but she does write a lot, mostly in capitals. She surprised me by knowing about 20 letters correctly in the lowercase. Now I know where to start, since I want to work a little bit on writing before school starts. At least finish up those last 6 letters, and introduce writing on lines. She is SO ready.

I built a block model of Gene's room, and another of the girls' room. It took them awhile to figure it out, but all three of them worked together, and it was interesting to hear them thinking out loud. These models are an intro to maps and such...we also pulled a bunch of related books out of the library. Gene is the right age to learn how to read (and make) a basic map, but this is not one of his strong points. And Lucy is quite young for it (still not 5) but is more advanced in this area than Gene. So it should be good for both of them.

And Jane had a productive day using some of the new things I've put out:

Two big pots with beans to ladle between the two...

Duplos (these were a hit since they've been in storage for months)...

She is learning to make patterns, and made this one by switching around every other cylinder in the cylinder blocks. She also had the sandpaper letters and sound basket out, and we reviewed the three sounds she's working on. It's going pretty slow, but she keeps pulling them out. A good sign.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hendricks Family Staycation 2010

This is mostly a picture diary of our week spent at the Hendricks Household (aka Hannah's parents' house). There was quite a crowd there, and here they are, in no particular order, to showcase the events of the week... (we are only first because for some reason I have to upload the pictures in reverse order and I forgot about us till last, so we showed up first. Does that make sense?!)


Brendan is not a sun-bather, but you can't tell in the picture that he's in the shade. It was in the 90's just about all week, by the way.

We were babysitting our niece and nephews for the first weekend (over the 4th) and Hannah (adult on left) is holding Andrew, standing next to Ellie.

There was a lot of pool time (did I mention it was 90+ degrees!). Brendan and a few others tried to stand up on a raft. It didn't really work...

Hannah was the designated photographer, so there were really no more pictures of her:)

On to our kids. Again, I didn't really mean to do our family first!

Lucy spent a lot of time reading...We had a family quiet time out by the pool, and enforced it for the kids as well so they would let the adults read for awhile. Fortunately, they like to read.

Lucy built an airplane out of blocks, and said the small cylinder blocks were water bottles for the passengers.

She spent a lot of time in the pool, and no she never drowned. But people kept wondering about her:

While the family was playing baseball, Lucy opted to walk the stone path in Grandma H's herb garden.

Hanging out with Brendan. He is wearing Emily's sunglasses.

Lucy was the only one to successfully stand on the raft. She actually made it all the way up while my camera was processing this picture.

Arts and crafts during rest-time in the living room.

Reading on the floor of the garage while we all went out to watch Grandma ride a motorcycle. She didn't really watch, she just read.

Gene spent most of his time playing sports, swimming, or hanging out with other people. He is not at all shy around family, and buddies up to all the newbies.

He read with everyone during poolside reading-time...

He spent a little time doing math, figuring out with bead how many pages he'd read so far for the library Summer Reading Program.

He was the self-designated ball-boy for the water basketball game.

Was so excited to play baseball with the fam.

Really enjoyed learning to play ping-pong with Grandpa, and even played doubles with some of the Aunts. What wouldn't be attractive about a game that involves a ball??

Jane had a good time over the weekend. She loved to be in the pool, and hang out with people.

She didn't take many naps, but one day she crashed... Why do kids not believe you when you explain it's too hot to use a blanket? Especially a winter comforter! The house was air-conditioned, but not that much!

She LOVES this yellow floaty tube.

Jane got a lesson from Aunt Bekah in the world of fashion magazines. And notice the fashion Jane is sporting...

She built a random tower on the back porch.

The steps of the pool are a favorite play space. And get nice and congested when everyone is getting in and out:) Sometimes the girls bring out all the pool toys and arrange them nicely right around the edge of the steps, making it fairly difficult to enter.

Trying on someone's hat...must be Aunt Bekah's!

Here we go...

Squirting Grandma.


Ben, Ellie and Andrew VanderVeen. Cousins to my kids, get along well with them. Not so sure about the rest of the family, though! Pretty shy and overwhelmed with the crowded house and pool area. Good thing the house was large...Ben was a master at hiding from the adults and had a fairly good time with new toys and books around. Ellie went everywhere Jane went, and spent a fair amount of time in the pool. Andrew stayed firmly attached to my hip, and was perfectly content to not be put down. He napped well, ate well, and didn't seem to mind being there.

Bekah painted Jane and Ellie's nails- they ALL loved it:)

This is a great picture of Andrew, but it is misleading. He didn't actually like to be in the water:)


My dad's sister Linda came to visit for one day. She drops in now and again to family get-togethers, and we enjoy having her!


My mom's sister and brother-in-law spent a couple nights...they are always fun to be around.


Great job hosting this hoopla! There weren't any major hitches, and everyone was bedded and well-fed. Nobody got sunburned (too badly) or eaten alive by bugs. Good job Mom and Pop!

Mom rode on Craig's (see further down post for details) motorcyle, but it was WAY too hot for that jacket!

Pop enjoys having someone play piano so he can sing along...and Emily is definitely the one to do it! She's the only one of us who can really play without stopping to figure out every other note.


They joined us for the second half of their stay in Michigan, before continuing on their trek from Boston to New Mexico. They're halfway through their military commitment, and will stay 2 years in NM. Then where, and doing what? I'm so curious, and hope they'll end up here, of course!

Bekah and Jane, the two curly-girlies.

And from the back:

Mike and Janie. I think he likes to share his sunglasses with her...I think we got a matching picture last year of the two of them...

Mike tried a flip in the pool. His first ever, so he claimed. And he didn't do too badly...

A family dinner outdoors. See Bekah and Mike (front, right) and all of the those other people? Oh, middle left is Emily's long-time friend Meghan. She came just for that one dinner.

Bekah played baseball sporting the newest spring fashion... Running skirts are in, maybe baseball skirts are on the way:) (You looked cute, Bek!)


Emily flew out from California to spend almost a full week here! Yeah! It's been ages since we've hung out for that long with her. And her "friend" Paul flew in a few days later. First time he'd ever been to the Midwest, and first time we'd all really seen him and Emily together. They're definitely a fun couple.

The kids and I picked Emily up from the airport...she took this picture herself...

We walked to the park after picking her up, to get the kinks out...

Then we went to Mom's and hung out at the pool, of course!

Emily really impressed all of us with her diving ability. She used to dive a bit when she was a kid, but to remember it years later is a feat. She did front, back, flips, twists, swan...I don't exactly know the lingo. Can you tell that I didn't dive?

I think Emily and Lucy could be kindred spirits someday. They both have that creative streak...

And here is Paul. He plays guitar (that's how he and Emily met, she answered a Craig's list ad for a drummer in his band) is learning piano, knows how to cook, and is an all-around nice guy.

He and Emily decided to chicken fight against nobody one day...they dominated the basketball game (I think, I mean they were really tall right?!).

Emily treated us all to a family sing-along of random songs she found in the house piano books.

And here she is, one of my favorite sisters...Yes, that shirt is interesting. She swears they understand it in San Francisco...

The guys had a couple random diving-for-rings contests. I think they're discussing the rules in this shot:

Paul was not as successful as Lucy trying to stand on the raft.


They came a few days later than Emily, but well in time for the 4th. They've been dating for a while, in Chicago area, and you'll have to ask them how they met. I think it was through a Catholic dating site, but I could very well be wrong. Needless to say, they live close to each other and make a good couple. Craig rode a motorcycle here while Kate drove, and they made it safely.

From the looks of these pictures, Kate was busy...

Basketball (maybe just passing the ball back to one of the guys?)...


Ping-pong... Maybe Kate has more in common with Gene than she thinks!

I guess Craig zonked out at one point (we all stayed up REALLY late every night) but I didn't take this picture. Kate? :)

Dining with the happy couple...

That is the end of this post. Really long, for being relatively short of words. To summarize, a good time was had by all.