Tuesday, May 26, 2009

memorial day weekend

We had a nice 3-day weekend. It wasn't as exciting as Nick's ~ he went camper camping in the Wisconsin Dells with his best friend and his family ~ but we had fun all the same. I got a lot of yardwork done and took a few pictures of my flowers in bloom.
A peony:
The pinks in front of our house ~ I love these when they are all in bloom like this! Just wish the blooms would last longer....
A "wild" vinca vine. I always put vinca vine in the flower pots next to the garage. Last year one of them ended up trailing on the ground and setting off a new shoot. I was very surprised that it lasted through the winter, grew more leaves in the spring, and now is flowering!
This cute little bunny was an early birthday present from my mother-in-law:
While we were outside, George spotted this young robin in our forsythia bush:
I sat still and watched it for about 20 minutes or so, and was rewarded with the site of a mama (or daddy) robin coming to feed it twice:
Eventually, they both flew off.

On Saturday evening, we took a picnic supper over to our town's newest park. I'd never been there before, but I'm sure we'll be going back! There were all kinds of fun things for the kids to play on. Ben especially liked the many slides:

And he LOVED the splash pad, even though it was a bit chilly out by the time we got there!

I didn't get any photos (I know, shame on me!), but we had a cookout on Sunday and played croquet in the backyard. Yesterday I worked on cleaning out our garage, and then after Nick returned home, we all went to see the new Night at the Museum movie. All in all, a nice weekend. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

party on!

Emmalie finally had her birthday party over the weekend, only 2 months late, LOL. (With me having problems with my neck, and her various friends going out of town, this was the first weekend since her birthday that worked for everyone!) It was our first time hosting a slumber party. We've had plenty of sleepovers with just one friend, but this time there were five 13-year-old girls running around the house. I think they all had a good time!

We started the party at our town's indoor pool, and we all swam/played there for 2 hours:
The girls... Em, Jamie, Carly, Tori, and Julia:
Ben had a blast! : Nick did, too:
Then we came back to the house. Em handed out the goody bags ~ they were filled with nail polish, Lip Smackers, body lotion, fun socks, nail files, toe "separators" (for painting toenails), candy, mini notebooks, and cool pencils:
The girls spent a lot of time hanging out in Em's room, listening to their iPods, texting, and giggling! (Em didn't do any texting, though... she has MEAN parents who don't think 13-year-olds need their own cell phones, heheh.)
We ordered some pizza for supper:
And then Em opened her gifts:

She chose to have an angel food cake with Cool Whip and strawberries, yum!

Apparently the kids still hadn't had enough sugar after that because they talked George into going to the store to buy s'more fixins and building a fire for them:
Then it was "spa" time. While they watched the movie Twilight, the girls soaked their feet in warm water, used a sugar scrub and other lotions, and then painted their toenails:

I made an avocado face mask that Emmalie found a recipe for (basically avocados and olive oil). Everyone watched her apply it:
as well as cucumber slices for her eyes:
Tori was the only other one brave enough to try the avocado mask:
but Jamie and Julia did try the cucumbers:
Nick had to get in on the act, too, LOL! The girls were nice, and let him watch the movie with them:
After that, it was time to get out *more* snacks... M&M's, pretzels, popcorn.... The movie ended around midnight, and the girls retreated into Emmalie's room. I finally went to bed around 2am, but the girls were still going strong! In the end, they were up until almost 5 am, yikes!
The next morning, I made overnight french toast and bacon for everyone. The girls stayed until noon or so. I'm guessing they all took a nap when they got back home, LOL!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

may flowers & much more...

I've been neglecting my blog again, oops! We've been keeping busy, as usual, and now I have a couple million photos to share. :)

To finish up with April, here are a few of my daffodil pictures. We have several varieties ~ they are probably my favorite flower, though I love most other flowers, as well! : This variety has miniature blooms, only about an inch across:
Benjamin brought me this lovely dandelion bouquet. :)
Here he is, helping Daddy put down some new soil. George had dug up a big clump of tiger lilies to give away (we have WAY more than we want), then filled the hole and put down grass seed:
Also in April, Nick had his last drama performance at church (at least until fall). Here he is with his drama director:
Emmalie and her handbell choir also had their last performance of the school year:
My grape hyacinths were SO pretty! They have been spreading, and I am so glad! I'm not really a "red" person, but do have a couple red tulips in my garden:
Ben learned how to ride his tricycle in April ~ he was so proud of himself!:
Some of my white tulips:
And these red and yellow tulips that just appeared one year ~ I did not plant them! These are my favorite tulips, with double blooms:
My friend Dawn came to visit me at the end of April/beginning of May. We drove over to Long Grove, IL one day and I snapped these photos:

And here Dawn and I are, back at home. We all enjoyed having you here, Dawn! I LOVE my bleeding heart plant, and only wish that I could see it from inside the house.... :
These creeping phlox are new ~ I'm hoping to line our walkway with them!
One day at lunch, Ben decided to get a little creative with his carrots and peas before he ate them. :)

On May 7th, Em and I attended the WELCA Spring Dinner at church. There was so much yummy food there, including these fruit kabobs for dessert: On the 8th, we drove to Ames. That evening, we went on a walk around the paths at Ada Hayden Park with my parents and Christine. We saw this cute toad:
and also these rain clouds rolling in!:

We forgot to bring jackets along, so Ben had to borrow this one of Mom's. It was a *bit* big!
On the 9th, Mom, Dad, Fran, Em, Nick, and I went to the graduation ceremony for the ISU College of Design, to see our favorite grad, Christine! We got there super early, and waited and waited and waited. Then, ten minutes before the ceremony was to begin, the fire alarm went off, and everyone had to evacuate the building! Here are Em, Nick, and Christine outside:
Dad, Christine, and Mom:
Finally, we were able to go back inside. Here's the new grad with her diploma... er... poster:
It was a really exciting ceremony. Here are Nick and Fran sleeping, and Em doing origami, LOL:
After the ceremony, we all went for lunch at Valentino's. George and Ben met us there:
Mmm... ice cream. (That's my boy!):
Back at Mom and Dad's, we got a few more grad pictures: Christine graduated magna cum laude, with a degree in city and regional planning. Way to go, Christine!!
Later that day, we played ball behind Mom and Dad's:

and then we went to Inis Grove Park for a picnic supper:

We even played a rousing game of croquet!

Our Mother's Day started off with brunch and the sight of deer behind my parents' house:
My dad had gotten corsages for me, Mom, and Fran:
Christine gave me these beautiful mums: And Mom gave me this cool penguin to add to my collection! :)
We attempted to get a good picture of me with the kids, but none of them were cooperating especially well!
Here are the 3 moms:
Fran with her 3 sons, James, Nathan, and George (the oldest and shortest, LOL):
Me, Mom, and Christine. I don't know WHY it looks like Mom is holding our arms down. It's not like we would give her bunny ears for a picture or anything....
In the afternoon, we all spent a couple of hours at ISU's Reiman Gardens. Besides the plants and flowers, they currently also have a few dinosaurs on display!:

This is a cool whale sculpture, made out of willow branches (I think). It is big enough that you can go inside the mouth and sit down on a bench in there!

We drove back home on the 11th. Instead of taking the interstate as usual, we went a more scenic route. We were planning to go up into this tower near Galena, IL, but then found out it was closed for repairs. We still saw some pretty scenery, though:
This week, Nick had to give his class a presentation on South Dakota. He was supposed to bring in a food representing the state, so we decided to make kuchen, SD's state dessert. We'd never made it before, but I'm sure we'll be making it again in the future ~ it sure is yummy! Nick helped mix the dough:
Roll it out: Add apple and blueberry fillings:
Top with a creamy custard and cinnamon:
Bake and mmmmmm.....
Nick also had to make a 3-D project related to his state, so he decided to make Mount Rushmore. I did help him some, but made sure it was mostly HIS project. We used styrofoam and Model Magic, plus a few scrapbook supplies. :)

The kids have been taking swimming lessons this month, and having a lot of fun with it:

We also have some more plants blooming now. I just bought and planted this thrift. The picture isn't great, but the plants are pretty in real life, and are supposed to bloom until fall!
Our lilac bush:
Some of my forget-me-nots. I love these dainty little flowers!

Some columbine: And dead nettle. Why does such a pretty plant have such an ugly name?
Last, but not least, here is one of my new pink tulips that I planted last fall:

I can't believe that it's the middle of the month already, but I guess it is! Happy Birthday, Mom!!