Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Big Sleepover

A couple of weeks ago, Will slept over at Logan's house. Hallie felt a little jealous, so Tom offered to "sleepover" with her at our house. They had a fabulous time, and I enjoyed myself as well; I popped in a couple of times to take pictures, but I otherwise kept to myself and read, wrote, and watched old episodes of Drop Dead Diva on Netflix.

The date began with a little singing, dancing, and making dinner in the kitchen. (This is my new favorite video of Hallie - "what's a fire, and why does it - what's the word? - BUUUUUUURRRRNNNN?!?!?!")

After dinner, they watched and danced to Cinderella (the Rodgers and Hammerstein version, starring Brandy as Cinderella).

And after the movie they read books in Hallie's room.

Tom intended to read his book until Hallie fell asleep, but as is usually the case, Tom fell asleep long before Hallie did. I know that Tom fell asleep first because if you look closely, you can see that she put a stuffed Eeyore on his face after he dozed off.

Tom woke up in Hallie's room around 2am, moved to his own bed and slept there until 6:30am, and then moved back to the floor in Hallie's room so that he was (still) there when she woke up.

Sweetest sleepover ever.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Round and Round and Round He Goes

It's rare to come across the kind of playground I played on as a little girl, and even more rare to find playgrounds that still have actual merry-go-rounds (at some point, the playground powers-that-be decided that spinning wildly on merry-go-rounds causes injury and much to my dismay, had nearly all of them removed).

We found an "old school" playground on our summer travels though, at Mahoney State Park in Nebraska. I absolutely loved watching Will - and then Hallie, once she'd watched Will for a while and figured out how to get on, stay on, and climb off - experience the thrill of a playground merry-go-round for the first time...just like I did as a little girl, Will ran around the merry-go-round until it picked up enough speed, leapt on, and then hung on for dear life until the ride slowed to a crawl. Over and over and over again.

I, on the other hand, rode the merry-go-round for only one full rotation before I had to hop off and return to my safe place at the covered picnic table. I didn't tell the kids it was because I thought I might vomit...

As a 34-year-old who now has motion sickness, the lion's head water fountain was more my pace.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mini-Tom, Part 2

Though baby Will was the spitting image of his daddy, Will's look has changed over the years and I now think he actually looks more like me than he looks like Tom (except for his nose, which is 100% Ferris).

Hallie, on the other hand, looked nothing like either of us at birth (I actually thought she looked exactly like my camping cousin, Allison, for the first six months of her life), but has now taken over the position of Tom's mini-me.

Which is why I set up this photo comparison...

Tom, circa 1984-ish:

Hallie, last week:

Mini-Tom, right?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mini-Tom, Part 1

When Grandpa Mike and Grandma Susie moved earlier this year, they came across a few boxes containing Tom's "most prized positions" from his elementary, middle, and high school years. The boxes came home with us at the end of our summer vacation, and because Tom couldn't bear to go through them - he HATES all forms of organizing, sorting, etc. - I volunteered to start the process for him.

The boxes held items that fell into three primary categories: awards and commendations (of which there are A LOT), high school photos (of which they are A LOT), and brain puzzles/games. The boxes also held a few outliers that the rest of the family has had a little fun fun with: a stuffed Eeyore for Hallie, a minature football for Will, and these glasses for me.

Ok, so they were Tom's glasses in elementary school, but they fit me now. He has a big head. I have a small head.

Here's a picture of Tom wearing the glasses, circa 1988-ish:

And here's Will wearing the glasses, last week:

A chip off the old block, that boy is...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Another Epic Battle

A few weeks ago, Tom and Will engaged in an epic, Star Wars-inspired sword fight (they even played Star Wars music in the background to make the battle feel more authentic) in the backyard.

Shortly afterwards, Will took the sword-fighting skills he'd learned from his daddy and turned them on his best friend, Logan. The boys chose noodles over swords as their weapons and the island in the middle of the swimming pool as their battle ground, and fought time and time again (seriously, like 25 times) to "the death". Logan must have learned a few sword-fighting skills from his daddy as well, because the two were very evenly matched.

Can't wait to see Hallie up there with a noodle sword next...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Beautiful Balance Bike

Hallie was making absolutely zero progress learning to ride her Dora bike with training wheels, so we finally gave in and bought her a beautiful, pink balance bike. She loves it, and rides whenever she's out back on the patio. Unfortunately she's not out back on the patio all that often these days, thanks to the 100+ degree temperatures and oppressive humidity.

She also loves to just sit on the bike, so after taking a few pictures of Hallie riding her bike, I took a few close-ups of the faces she was making while sitting on it.

 I'm hopeful that by next summer I'll be able to report that Hallie has joined her brother as a no-training-wheels bike rider!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Vacation: Madison, WI (Part 4, Week 4)

Our last week in Wisconsin was a busy one. It always is.

It doesn't matter how long our visits, there are always a few things we want to do that we don't end up having enough time for, and we often spend that final week - or least the last couple of days - trying to cram in as many activities as we possibly can.

Grandma and Grandpa needed to have two large trees in their front yard taken down, so Grandma scheduled the operation to take place while we were in town so that the kids could watch. They LOVED it. 

Will very politely introduced himself to all of the workers, but then he used his secret squirter ring to spray them with water. I worried that Grandma would need to pay the company extra on account of the less-than-desireable working conditions (constant questions plus water fight provocation), but the workers assured me that my parents' house was their most enjoyable job of the day.

Will gave water-skiing another go this year, and made it up for approximately one second. We managed to photograph the before and after, but unfortunately that one second was missed. If you think Will looks kind of miserable out there, you'd be right. It was about to storm, so the already-chilly water was compounded by clouds and wind. He was FREEZING.

We took three horseback riding lessons while in Madison, from a great ranch called Madison Horse Connection (I'd highly recommend it should you live in the Madison area and want to learn more about and how to ride horses). My parents plan to vacation at a ranch out west this fall, so they're taking lessons in preparation for their trip; they were nice enough to let the kids and I - and Tom, the weekend he was in town - join in on the fun.

We did quite a bit of baking during our time in Madison. Actually, we did quite a bit of baking in Nebraska, Iowa, AND Wisconsin. I like to bake.

Will's favorite were these ninja cookies.

We ended our vacation with another trip to the Union and then Alt-n-Bach's Bar and Grills to celebrate Grandpa Paul and Connie's birthdays.

It was a great trip, and going home was almost as difficult as it was to drag Grandpa and the kids away from the pinball machine in the bar...

Peace out, Wisconsin - see you next summer!