Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Check Out AJ's Blog!

Check it out - Hallie made it on to her soon-to-be-famous AJ's blog!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Hallie Claire has discovered the imaginative world of dress-up and make-believe. But despite having countless animal, professional, and even princess costumes, she has no interest in dressing up as a lion, a doctor, or Snow White. She is, however, interested in dressing up in tutus. With no shirt, most of the time. And with the occasional firefighter hat.

Friday, June 24, 2011


One HUGE benefit to living in Texas is that when it’s time for swimming lessons, no one complains about having to get in the water. If anything, the child not scheduled for swimming lessons cries about having to sit on the deck chairs, because on the deck chairs, temperatures reach 112 degrees.

On our first outing to the pool last summer (Will was three-and-a-half, Hallie was one), both Will and Hallie cried for an hour straight – no joke – and refused to even stick a toe into the baby pool. I called my mom on the walk home, nearly in tears, because I was so frustrated; I’d taken both kids swimming multiple times throughout the past year, and Will multiple times before Hallie was born, and I felt like all my hard work had been in vain.

I was determined though, perhaps more determined than I’d been with anything kid-related since I’d taught my kids how to sleep, so despite the protests, pleas, and tears, I packed those two up and marched them to the pool at least three times each week for the entire summer.

They were both making progress, but the real strides began when we started meeting Will’s friend Alex, who’d had similar struggles in the water as Will, at the pool. Suddenly everything in the water – playing with toys, searching for diving rings, venturing into deeper water, jumping off the side of the pool, and yes, actually swimming – became a competition between the two boys, and soon they were no longer afraid. By the end of the summer, Will was “swimming”. Or at least kind of dog paddling while gasping for air.

Though I’d taken the kids swimming a few times between the end of last summer and the beginning of this summer, I was worried about how they’d do when they hit the pool this year. I needn’t have worried though – Will picked up exactly where he left off, and Hallie, though it took her a couple of dips in the pool to remember that water can be fun, is doing really well. And because I think it needs to be said, Will is actually swimming this year. He jumps in off the side into water that’s over his head and swims about 15 yards. I am SO, SO proud.

Will swimming (this was about three weeks ago, right as he was getting the hang of swimming - now he can swim about three times this far before he gets tired)

Hallie jumping in - and going under!

And a few pictures from Will's swimming lessons:

He looks so little!

Practicing with his teacher.

Getting ready to slide...

...And sliding in style!

Future swimsuit model. :)

And yes, Will wears his sunglasses all the time, for every lesson.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This Old House

We’re about three and a half weeks into our second go at home ownership, and I’m about three and half times more tired of painting than I was before we owned the house.

Here are a few in-progress pictures – please try to ignore the “photo crasher/bomber” who pops up in a number of them.

(And a big shout out to Grandma Brenda, who came last week and worked her tail off for six days straight, and Grandpa Paul, who joined us just for the weekend but who also worked extremely hard. We enjoyed your visit and are so very grateful for your help!)

Dining room (painted) and the temporary dining room table

Back porch (new porch fan)

Kitchen (painted, new countertops, new backsplash)

Backyard (landscaped, mowed)

Master bathroom (painted, new light fixtures, new mirrors)

Master bedroom (painted)

Living room (painted)

Will's room (painted, but still waiting for the Batman cityscape painting)

Kid/guest bathroom (painted)

"Finished product" pictures to come in a few weeks!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Madison Vacation

Though our time in the Midwest was short, we packed a lot of fun into the few days we were in town. (Sorry to those we missed!)

We ate and rode the Merry-Go-Round at Ella’s Deli.

Visited the Henry Vilas Zoo and Vilas Park.

Played miniature golf at Vitense Golf Course.

Fishing the ball out of the drink.

Having a chat.

Went to Grandpa's soccer game.

Good form!

Still got it!

Somehow this set-up doesn't seem fair...

And shopped for donuts, cookies, and cheese curds at the Madison Farmers’ Market.

Lounging on the steps of the Capitol.

Hallie discovered a love for mine and Sara's American Girl Dolls, Kirsten and Molly, which made me smile because I now know those dolls will be played with once again. And because I won't have to buy Hallie one.

We also spent an evening in Stoughton with “Aunt” Marsha, “Uncle” Jim, and “cousin” Avery (camping family members). Avery and Hallie are only seven weeks apart in age, so we hoped they’d enjoy each other’s company. Below is a photo series chronicaling their first real encounter, during which we tried to get them to hold hands for a picture.

Another highlight was an evening at Brat Fest. We rode plenty of rides, listened to a few rockin’ bands, and filled up on beer, grilled corn, cotton candy, hotdogs, and BRATS baby.

Will was beyond excited for this year’s Brat Fest. He has literally been talking about going on the bumper cars with Grandpa for months.

Plotting their attack.

Poor Grandma was Grandpa and Will's primary target.

A great trip!