Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yay, More Friends

This weekend was the arrival of the Yarhams! Mr. Brian, Miss Mandi, Katie, Emily and Joey came to our house Friday night and stayed for the whole weekend! The kids were beyond excited to have their "Ohio Friends" come and sleepover at their house! The weekend was packed full of fun as we tried to enjoy the last days of summer. Friday night Caleb and Addie sat in the dark, waving flashlights down the road to show them the way to our house. Saturday we were able to show them Millenium Park and had a great time splashing in the water and playing in the Splash Pad. The kids spent practically the entire weekend outside, which was a really nice treat for everyone. On Sunday Caleb was able to show his friends where he'll be going to school. The playground there is the best and Caleb mastered the monkey bars there for the first time! After the playground we headed to Sundaes at that Cottage (or "Sundays at the College" as Caleb calls it) to enjoy one of our last ice cream treats with our friends before they headed for home.
It was so nice to have the company and really made us miss home. But now it's time to start gearing up for school and all of the fun activities that come with it. Here are some pictures of our busy weekend!


Caleb and Addie waiting for our friends (they're headlights can be seen WAAYYY in the distance)



Emily, Katie, and Caleb decorating cupcakes



Brian and Matt fighting off wasps







Avery, Mandi, and Joey



Caleb spooning Mr. Brian



Caleb and Katie playing their version of corn-hole



The Gang
Joey, Katie, Brian, Emily, Addie, Caleb, Matt, Avery



Caleb on the monkey bars



Enjoying icecream



Joey drinking his icecream



Addie



Avery signing "more" after her first bite of icecream





Monday, August 25, 2008

Poop Party

So on Sunday, the 17th, Addie decided that she was done with her diapers. This was a wonderful surprise, since we originally figured she would probably be in diapers until she was 7. For months she has showed signs of readiness: going off to do her duty (more appropriately, "doody"), telling me when she was wet or dirty, later telling me before she was wet or dirty, and most recently actually bringing me a new diaper when she needed to be changed.
All of this was wonderful except for the fact that the mere mention of the potty sent her into hysterics followed by shrill screams of terror.

...So...we left it alone.

Out of nowhere, however, she woke up Sunday morning, took off her diaper, and announced that she needed her potty. Never, in the past week, has she had an accident. I'm amazed that she seems to know just what she's doing -- it also helps that she can hold her #1 for 8 hours!.

Now #2 has definitely posed a problem. I have to be careful how much I share and need to remind myself that one day she'll be 12 and not appreciative of how much of her "problems" I have shared with the masses.

Let's just say that she learned very quickly to use it as a weapon - not literally, thank goodness. Like many kids, the thought of #2 frightened her, so she would just hold it ... and hold it ... and hold it. Well, of course holding it just makes it worse, which leads to more fear of #2 on the potty, etc. Long, too-much-detail story later, the night came when we finally were able to coax her onto the potty. We were all so excited that we threw her a Poop Party -- complete with her own choice of party treat (chocolate Tofuti with marshmallows and M&Ms, and Doritos -- yes, I know...) and hat. She wore this hat proudly for two days and even begged to take it to some of the neighbors who played along quite nicely. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment (don't worry, Matt wouldn't let me take one of the actual deed):














Monday, August 18, 2008

Addie's Debut

The kids have been really into performing lately, and I am putting up our first performance from Addie. Now Caleb has many songs under his belt, but we haven't gotten many on video during this past year. Performing for the camera has become quite a regular occurrence, so I decided to start putting them on here for everyone to see, since that is, after all, what the kids expect. Actually it literally is what Caleb expects. He asked me the other day while we were driving to the store, "When can people see me on the internet?" I had no idea what he was referring to or how he knew what the internet was, but I took that as his cue for me to get them set up on here. Haha. So here comes Addie ... (I'll post more in a few days)

The words are supposed to be:
D-D-D-D-D-Dora, D-D-D-D-D-Dora
Dora, Dora, Dora the Explorer ... Dora!
Boots and Super-Cool explorer Dora
Grab your Backpacks! Let's Go! Jump in!! Vamanos! (meaning "Let us go" in Spanish)
You can lead the way-ay
Hey, Hey!
D-D-Dora, D-D-Dora
Swiper, no swiping! Swiper, no swiping!
(Oh, Man!)
Dora, the Explorer!


Now... (good luck) ...

. video

A tip for playing: Once play begins, hit "pause" and let the bar fill to gray. Then press Play so that you can listen without interruption.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Anniversary Surprise

So today was the big Wedding Anniversary #5!! Never, ever, ever would we have thought that we would have accomplished all that we have in the 5 short years we've been married.
My wonderful husband thought enough of the day to request this weekend off. It worked sort-of well as he at least had Saturday, our actual anniversary, off. We spent a great day with our greatest accomplishments of these past five years -- our kids. Though we have been here all summer we had yet to check out Lake Michigan, so we had a big breakfast of pancakes and sausage, packed a lunch and headed for Holland State Park. There we found beautiful white dunes, an expansive beach, and very cold water!! The kids had a great time in the waves, though the girls are more partial to the warmer water at our Millennium Park. Caleb really enjoyed "body surfing" -- though I don't think anyone took him too seriously with his bright green swimmies on. After the kids had gotten sand in every possible crevice we headed for home where Matt had planned a wonderful evening for the two of us. The night was a surprise to me and, though not out of the ordinary for most couples, was a huge treat for us. He planned dinner, ice cream, and a movie and the best part was that not one thing was rushed. We took our time and enjoyed each others company without kids or a pager to interrupt the night. And, to Matt's delight, we got home in time to catch Michael Phelps win his who-knows-what-number medal.










Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Visit to Ohio

This weekend I decided relatively last minute to take the kids to Ohio for a marathon weekend of friends and family. We arrived Friday, earlier than first planned, to join their old playgroup for a pool party. I didn't tell the kids where we were going or who we were going to see, nor did I tell our friends that we were coming in to join them. It was a great surprise and super-fun! That night we spent some long-overdue time with Dave, Jami, and Cam Man. It's hilarious to see the kids together. They get so excited to see each other and spent most of their time together jumping up and down and trying to wrestle with each other. Saturday we spent the day with Grandma Jan. She had a great idea to take the kids to Lake Farm Park in Kirtland. The kids were a little apprehensive at first (specifically Caleb), but really enjoyed themselves once they got outside and were able to touch the animals. Addie keeps talking about the goat she was able to pet. Caleb was just impressed by the miniature train track they had set up in one of the buildings. Saturday night my mom surprised Jami and I by getting us tickets to see "Mama Mia" -- it was so fun going to a movie with just the girls! The kids spent some time with my dad since he had to work the rest of our visit. Sunday the kids and I went to church and were supposed to spend the rest of the day at a shower and then a graduation party. We only made it through half of our events before we crashed for the night -- those poor kids had been going non-stop. I was able to wake them only long enough for dinner before they conked out again for the night. It was a long day but nice to feel like we could still be apart of some special events. Monday was a very fun day spending time with some more friends. We had a special play group with about 12 of their little friends at one of our favorite parks, then headed back to Grandma's for naps before small group in the evening. We headed back for home the next day, but not without meeting a couple more of their friends at a park on the way back to Michigan.
It was most definitely a whirlwind trip, but so nice to get to see (almost!) everyone. It's looking like we may not make it back until December, so we'll try to stretch that trip out so we can breathe a little bit and actually spend some quality time with family. I'm sure my mom felt like she was a Bed and Breakfast. I kept forgetting my camera, but did take lots of pictures at the farm with Grandma Jan. The kids did get a kick out of pretty much everything -- except the cow milking ... I don't blame them.

PICTURES TO COME -- I HAVE TO PULL THEM OFF OF A CD

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Zoo

Today was our first visit to the "Michigan Zoo", as my kids call it. My cousin, Erin, lives about 30 minutes away and we have been able to see each other a handful of times over the summer. This week we decided to take the kids to the zoo. My kids were very excited to be going and were quite curious as to all this zoo had to offer. John Ball Park Zoo is about 15 minutes away from our house. It is much smaller than the Cleveland Zoo, but seemed to have exhibits that the Cleveland Zoo didn't (or at least ones that I may have missed since I'm sure there is a large part of the C Zoo that I've missed). We got there around 11 and stayed until lunch/nap time at 1:00. The kids had fun, as this zoo offered a lot of hands-on exhibits. My favorite, by far, was their kangaroo and wallaby exhibit. In fact, I was so impressed that I'm sure people were looking at me like I had a minor obsession. The kangaroos and wallabys were out wandering around the walking trail and everyone was able to pet them when they passed by. A couple of the wallabys took an interest in the kids which was kind of fun, but the part that got me quite excited was that we were able to see a little joey in its mommy's pouch. Whenever it jumped out the pouch kind of sealed up, which was awesome to watch. Then we'd watch the little guy hop back in and go for a ride with Mom.

Caleb also was able to pet the stingrays and sharks, just like at the C zoo, but here he could also feed them which was kind of fun. I think that the kids were most excited because the lions here were actually awake! Here are some pictures:














Sunday, August 3, 2008

Spaghetti Night

Matt and I always love Spaghetti Night at our house because it's the one night that we can actually attempt a conversation without it being interrupted. Our kids love spaghetti, and more than the taste, they love the adventure of trying to collect it all on their fork and transferring it into their mouths before it all unravels and they have to try again. Tonight we let Avery try her first taste and I think it's safe to say that Spaghetti Night will continue to be a hit with her as well.










Saturday, August 2, 2008

Yay -- New Visitors!

This weekend our friends from Ohio drove up for a day-trip. Tricia is a friend of ours from high school (middle school for Stef -- me) and she came with her boyfriend Manoli. When we told the kids they were coming Addie ran to grab her Dora doll that Tricia gave her for her last birthday. "Disha day me dis por my birday" (Translation: Tricia gave me this for my birthday) what the first thing she said after the news of their visit. She carried that doll around for three days after they left (you may notice it in a picture below). The kids were so excited to see them (as were we) and, as usual, they spoiled the kids with fun gifts. The kids had fun showing off their new swingset, and Caleb showed off his baseball skills - of course. That night the four of us were able to go out to a nice dinner and enjoy the beautiful weather on the patio of a restaurant in downtown Ada called The Daily Grille. Two of the female residents from the hospital came over to watch the kids, which was very fun for them. Even though the only people they have been spending time with is adults, they seem to really be enjoying everyone's company. One of these days we'll find them some friends their own age!


Caleb dressed in Matt's old soccer uniform to play soccer with Manoli.


Addie painting with the new watercolors and paper (among many other things) that Tricia and Manoli brought.


Avery hanging out in the yard.


The "new" swingset being put to good use.
(Notice Dora in Tricia's arms)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Finally a Swingset

After weeks of searching we finally found a swingset for the kids on Craigslist. Matt and his dad drove an hour to pick it up. We thought perhaps we could hide it from the kids for a bit -- until Matt rolled up with it in the driveway. The next weekend Matt attempted to put it up by himself -- he actually managed to lug the entire tower off of the trailer and all the way to the back of the yard by himself. I have no idea how! This thing had to weigh over 300 pounds! I didn't have the heart to take a picture of his effort. I just stood and watched him pick it up and heave it - 12 inches at a time - through the yard, hands on his knees and purple in the face after each heave. But he did it! Our wonderful neighbors came over towards to end to help hold things in place. You may notice our neighbor, Lorraine, trimming her tree from our yard...

The night of the arrival


Figuring out what's next


The finishing touches