Thursday, August 30, 2012

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Will is almost always incredibly sweet to and protective of Lily.

Will is not, however, very sweet to or protective of Hallie (except at the gym, for some reason), and Hallie is not very sweet to or protective of Will OR Lily. (I think Hallie is threatened by Lily's status as the "baby" of the Mueller family.) We're working on them, I promise.

These personality "issues" make it difficult for me to capture pictures of the three of them together. Which is why I was so happy to catch them in this sweet moment while we were on our way to the splash pad in Madison.


Not if you'd seen them from the front. I'm reasonably certain that one was crying, one was complaining, and one was doing her best to keep the crying and complaining going.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

May the Force be With You, Young Lily

For a while she sat, smiling, on the backyard swing, watching him hone his craft.

And then he, master that he now is, taught her everything he himself had learned from his father.

Someday they will together become a force to be reckoned with.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mt. Olympus

Our summer bucket list included a trip to Schlitterbahn Water Park in Texas, but we haven't made it there yet and I'm certain we won't before the end of the summer season. I feel alright about that, however, because we took the kids to Mt. Olympus Amusement and Water Park in Wisconsin Dells during our month-long vacation to Wisconsin.

We actually had three kids (Will, Hallie, and Lily) and six adults (me and Tom, my parents, and Sara and Jeff) on this adventure, which as it turns out, is the perfect ratio of children to adults when visiting a water park - I can't imagine how stressed Tom and I would have been at Schlitterbahn with a one-to-one ratio of children to adults.

As we could have predicted, Will and Lily rocked the water park. They both love the water and are basically fearless when it comes to water slides. Lily was of course limited by her height (she's only 19-months-old), but Will was finally tall enough to take on some of the bigger rides and with crazy bravery and either Grandpa Paul or Uncle Jeff, went down water slides that even I found intimidating (and I'm not afraid of scary rides).

Hallie, on the other hand, wasn't all that interested in getting wet, even though it was at least 100 degrees and sunny that day. Eventually I bribed her with cotton candy and ice cream (at least I didn't have to promise her a bowl full of toys) to go down this teeny, tiny water slide on my lap. She did it twice, but then wanted nothing to do with slides for the remainder of our water park experience.

Schlitterbahn is still on our list of places to visit - it is the "hottest, coolest time in Texas" after all - but perhaps we'll wait until next summer, when Hallie's willing to, you know, get wet.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hallie's New Loves

As she demonstrated during a recent weekend trip to Dallas to visit Uncle Joel, Aunt Teresa, and cousins Katy and David, Hallie has recently developed a love of tap dancing:

And dogs:

Though she'd probably prefer a dog, she stands a much better chance of getting tap shoes and a visit to The Puppy Store at the mall...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reading for Uncle Jeff

Uncle Jeff asked me to film Will reading a Magic Tree House book for a school-related project, the purpose of which (I think) was to provide teachers with an example of how it's possible for a pre-kindergartener to not only read, but to read at an advanced level.

Capturing this video took more than 30 takes - not because Will had trouble with the reading piece of the puzzle (though we did switch passages after about 10 takes because Will couldn't correctly pronounce "mammoth" and got upset every time he said the word incorrectly), but because he'd either forget to introduce what he was reading or he'd let the book drift up to cover his face. I figured Uncle Jeff wouldn't want a video of the cover of a Magic Tree House book, so each time that happened we started over. It was a long 30 minutes of filming.

I can't believe this boy starts kindergarten next week...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yard Sale 2012

Every three years or so, Grandma Brenda, Aunt Sara, and I (along with the rest of the family) hold a garage sale at Grandma and Grandpa's house. The sale is of course about selling our stuff, but it's also about spending time together in a relaxed and generally fun setting.

We usually hold our sale on a Thursday and Friday in the summer - Thursday and Friday because we don't like to give up our weekends, and in the summer because all of us are usually free during that time of the year. In the past we've had great luck with the weather, which always helps the actual sale of our items as well as our moods throughout. This year we used history as our guide and assumed that the two-month-long drought Madison had been experiencing would go on for a day or two longer. We set up all of our items in the front yard the night before the sale, covered the tables with a giant tarp, and headed inside for dinner.

An hour later, as I walked downstairs with a fresh-from-the-shower, naked (though wrapped in a towel) Hallie in my arms, I heard yelling coming from the front yard. My stomach sank when I saw only darkness and sheets of rain through the glass window. I pretty much dropped a confused Hallie on the living room rug and ran outside to find my parents, Sara, and Jeff, scrambling to raise the center of the tarp (which because of the rain water had been weighed to the ground in the middle and was therefore no longer covering the outermost items on the tables) into a tent-shape. Jeff and Sara had crawled under the massive (20 ft. by 30 ft.) tarp, and while Jeff held the tarp up, Sara searched frantically in the darkness for items to pile up where he stood. The rest of us resecured the edges of the tarp with ropes and stakes and boards while thunder boomed and lightening flashed around us. It was my second Hunger Games experience (read about my first here).

The following morning we assessed the damage and were grateful to find that very few things had been actually ruined. Nearly all of our clothes (which I'd spent SIX hours folding, sorting, and displaying the day before) were wet, however, so the day was filled with taking piles of clothes inside, running them through the dryer, and then refolding, resorting, and redisplaying them. I was not happy, but the donuts we had for breakfast (we always have donuts for breakfast on garage sale days) improved my mood a little.

That was the lowlight; here are a few of this year's garage sale highlights:
Music to sell by, courtesy of Grandpa Paul (he
always plays his guitar during our sales).
Hallie, requesting Call Me, Maybe.
Sara, modeling a denim dress, pink high heels,
a scarf, sunglasses, and a grill tray for buyers.
Believe it or not, someone actually bought the
dress and the shoes off her.
Lily HATES and Hallie strongly dislikes
carseats. Yet at the garage sale, neither of
them could get enough of this infant seat.
They literally spent hours playing in it.
Will had to see what all the fuss was about.

At the end of the day(s), we had a great time and made a little money in the process. I'm glad, however, that our next sale won't be until the summer of 2015...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Teeny, Tiny Shorts

Here's my sweet little girl, when she was nine weeks old, sporting a little hot pink onesie and little light pink shorts.

And here's my sweet little girl, at nearly three-and-a-half years old, wearing the exact same pair of shorts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Heaven's Trampoline

A sweet, seven-year-old little girl named Helen lives behind my parents. Both Will and Hallie love her (Will likes playing with her and Hallie likes following her around like a puppy), and her trampoline.

The first time Hallie and Helen jumped on the trampoline together, Hallie called Helen "Heaven" at least 35 times. Eventually Hallie learned to pronounce Helen's name correctly, but "Heaven" kind of stuck and we started calling Helen's house and trampoline "Heaven" because the kids thought it was pretty much the happiest place on earth. Next to Disney World, of course.

Though nervous at first, Will and Hallie eventually got the hang of jumping on the trampoline.
While Hallie jumped, Will rode his bike.  When
Hallie's turn was over, Grandpa notified Will via
walkie-talkie that it was his turn once again.
The next day I decided to give the trampoline a try. It was scary at first - I was kind of nervous about seriously injuring myself - but after about five minutes, quite a bit of my gymnastics training came back to me. So I taught Will a thing or two. Well, maybe just one thing. Then he asked me to get off.
Seat drop (I love the view of Hallie underneath my legs).
Stomach drop.
Stomach drop.
Playing popcorn.
Playing popcorn.
I'd been going back and forth between a swing set and a play structure for our backyard, but now a trampoline has been added to the mix. I wish we had room for all three, but we don't - how will we decide?!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Little Roos

This is one of the only pictures I have of Will and Hallie together from our trip to Wisconsin.
They spent most of their time trying to literally torture each other to death, which as I'm sure you can imagine, made it difficult for me to capture very many cute and cuddly brother-sister photos.  Seconds after this picture was taken Will trapped Hallie in the kangaroo's pouch and Hallie kicked Will in the shin.  They'll be friends someday, right?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


A girl OR a boy....

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wrap-Up Wisconsin

Most of our Wisconsin pictures and experiences - at least those with in-depth stories behind them - have been posted and documented on Midwestern Girl, but I still have a few cute pictures that are worth sharing. Here they are!

AJ and Hallie reading Pinkalicious in
the hammock at the Lodge
4th of July fun.
Waiting patiently for the fireworks to start.
Out for a walk on a sultry Saturday morning.
Identical sisters.
Out for dinner on Grandpa's birthday.
Playing in a fountain on State Street.
Will and I ventured into this downtown fountain first,
but Hallie followed soon after.
Will, before the fall...
...and Will, after the fall.  It may have been
10:30pm, but it was still 95+ degrees outside
and the water felt WONDERFUL.  Not to mention
how fun it was to play in a fountain with my kids.
Will reading to Lily.
Lily and her very first orange push-up.
That girl was MAD when it was gone.
Hallie on the Shoe Slide.
Five years earlier, Will on the Show Slide.
And finally, Will literally running circles
around Grandma.  This is a metaphor for our
trip - Will and Hallie ran circles around me
and my mom each and every day.