Monday, August 30, 2010

We're Packing...

... which means we're leaving soon. Tomorrow, to be exact. Crazy. The summer has FLOWN by, but we've made lots of memories. I leave with mixed emotions. Lots and lots of mixed emotions.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Auntie and Uncle Love

My sister in law has been planning a special "Alia day" for quite some time now (and trust me... I'm sure she's already planning one including Larren for next summer!). And since Alia LOVES animals, the zoo was a great place to go!

My siblings have "kidnapped" Alia on a number of different occasions while we've been home! They have fed the ducks, gone out for lunch, fed the fish, gone for ice cream, and of course, gone to the park! Alia just SOAKS it in!

I am absoultely amazed by the love they have for my children... seriously, it blesses me beyond words!! They would do anything for them... without thinking twice! Each of them is going to be a fantastic parent someday!!

Josh and Erin snapped quite a few pics from their zoo outing and were kind enough to let me download them the second they came home! Well, the second after I carried a half sleeping, but still grinning little girl upstairs to continue her nap! :)

Alia wasn't so sure of the huge polar bear... but if Auntie says it's okay, than it must be!

Seals... I've always been a little concerned with the polar bears and seals being in such close proximity in front of little eyes, but here's to hoping the kids don't connect the dots on that one!

Seeing Alia's favorite animal... the giraffe's!!!

We told her that the giraffe's were Lukey's cousins... so she brought him along to show him his long lost relatives! Josh and Erin said she kept yelling "Lukey's cousins, Lukey's cousins!!!!!"

"Playing" with the kitties... she was pretty excited that she was touching his paw! They usually don't sit still long enough, I guess!

The fish...

Auntie Erin and Uncle Josh even took her on a big train that went around the zoo!! She was so super excited!

The two besties after a long fun day...

She didn't last long on the way home!

Thanks, you guys, for treating my children the way you do. They are so blessed to have you in their lives! Wish they could be with you more often... but we'll cherish the times we do have! Love you... ever so much!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Swimming Glasses

We have no idea why Alia calls these her "swimming glasses"... but no other name quite settles with her!

Mr. Potato Head let Larren borrow them the other day, the fashion idea being compliments of her big sister!

At a young age Larren got a whole new outlook on life, through lime colored glasses!

There's never a dull moment, I tell ya!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

They are how old?!

My best friend, Amy, has a little guy who is just a tad bit older than Alia. It took her and Luke some time to warm up to each other... but now, after a number of visits, they are great buds!

We were all hanging out the other day, enjoying the summer sun, when our stomachs started to rumble. Amy and I went inside to fix lunch, leaving the two older kids to play in the sand box. But... the sand box just wasn't what they had in mind!

They opened the shed door, by themselves...

Got out the swimming pool and put it in the yard, by themselves...

Unreeled the hose and drug it to the swimming pool, by themselves...

then Lukey turned on the water...
while Alia manned the hose!

I glanced out the window, saw what was going on, and sprinted to get my camera before they realized we were on to their little two man show!!

If this is what they are capable of as two year olds, I can only imagine what next summer will bring! Forget cardboard boxes to play in... they will have a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath tree house built in no time!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nothing Runs Like a Deer

My brother, Joel, was having fun with my camera the other day and snapped some great (and rare!) pictures of Larren and I together.

The girls have learned, from an early age, that green is the tractor of choice in this family!

Alia is a farm girl at heart... really! She'd prefer going bare foot on any given day, but sometimes a girl just wants to feel pretty. And everybody knows that shiny, sparkly, glitzy little pink sandals make driving a tractor way more fun!!

And... she's off!

Larren has figured out how to get where she wants to go! She sticks her cute little bum in the air, gets up on all fours, wiggles back and forth a bit, then lays down on her belly and scoots backwards! When reverse isn't quite cutting it, she just rolls over or keeps pushing herself in a circle until she gets pointed in the right direction!

Her method does the job, but more often than not this is where she ends up...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New York... New York

... oh, how I enjoyed thee!

Camping, lakes, vineyards, wineries, hiking trails, beautiful century old houses, Amish simplicity, quaint little shops... the Finger Lakes region has SO MUCH to offer!!

My parents left a day early and took Alia with them...

and of course, they had a grand ole' time! One highlight (so I was told!) was putting Lukey up through the sun roof to "fly!" Thankfully Grampa had a tight grip on him, otherwise our little vacation could have went south in a hurry!

My parents` best friends let us borrow their camper... and it worked out quite well! Since my parents had a cottage, we didn't really hang out at our campground much, but the camper was a blessing indeed!

Ahh, wonderful lazy vacation mornings!

And okay, fine... I'll admit it. We didn't cook outside even ONCE at our campsite! We ate our breakfast there, and the occasional lunch... but other than that we were spoiled by wonderful suppers at the cottage. And yes, that is macaroni and cheese you see... like mother, like daughter!

Out for a stroll around historic Penn Yan (derived from the names Pennsylvania and Yankee)

Taking a peek at the river...

Penn Yan had a huge old wheat mill that is still in operation... it would have been interesting to see inside, but naps were a calling!

There were historic houses and architecture everywhere... I couldn't`t get enough of it! I could have devoted a couple weeks to looking at all the houses, ALONE!!

Beautiful farmland...

My parents and my aunt and uncle rented a cottage on the lake, so boating was a big part of our fun.

My family has always had a boat... but what fun to see the girls experience the joy of the water too!

Larren was calm as could be on her first boat ride!

One of my favorite parts of the week was taking Alia on her first tube ride. As most of you know, Jonathan is the super duper fun parent in our equation, so it was an honor to experience this event with her! She did go for a faster, longer, and riskier ride with her daddy the next day... but that`s okay! A first is a first!

Geneva had a huge splash park, so we went up there for a picnic and play time!

I wasn`t the most thrilled with being in a bathing suit with hundreds of people around... but the splash park was SO much fun that I soon forgot.

I can`t help but think of the Lion King when I see this picture!

The vineyards were just beautiful... and there were wineries at every turn in the bend! I have never cared for, nor thought much about wine... but I`ve come to realize that
1. - I really like white or blush wines
2. - I like the wine tasting crackers more than the wine!
3. - I`m not allergic to wine
4. - I must still look young enough to be carded
5. - making wine really is an art form
6. - there is so much to learn about it!

In Watkins Glen we were planning on going for a huge hike... but because of rain the four of us went on a boat tour instead.

And since the rest of the family was still out galavanting when we were done we got to join them for some exercise and gorgeous views! But boy am I glad we only joined them for the tail end of the hike... carrying two little ones on slippery trails made this mama a little nervous!

We ended up liking NY more than we thought we would and extended our vacation an extra day. We then headed to Niagara Falls on the way home...

We didn`t have much time there so we only went on the Maid of the Mist... and the line ups were pretty long on a VERY hot day!

But the girls did great!

Our little tour guide in training!

The views of the Falls made the wait worth it...

Rounding the bend to the Canadian side of the falls... which Jon claims were much better! :)

Our little family of blue rain coats!

Larren liked the ride so much that she conked out half way through!

My love and I...

The girls in front of the falls... kind of!

And the ever famous ``carrying the stroller down the stairs with like a million other tourists`` shot!

As I mentioned... we had a terrific time! Having two little ones made the trip a bit difficult at times, but I`m learning to let the little things go and just enjoy the moment.
Let me say that again... just enjoy the moment, Renee! I haven`t mastered it yet, but I`m intentionally making an effort!

All in all, I would go back in a heart beat! And next time we`ll even plan a bon fire or two!