Monday, June 29, 2009

keeping busy

Even with Em and Nick gone, we still had a busy week last week! It started out with Father's Day ~ we did yardwork, watched movies, and George grilled for supper. Here are Ben and Dada: On Monday, VBS started at our church. This was Ben's first time attending VBS, and he absolutely loved it!! This year's theme was SonRock Kids Camp, so his teachers had a tent set up in their room:
as well as this paper campfire:
And this campsite was set up outside the sanctuary:
On Tuesday, we met up with our friends Karen and David for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, yum! Then Karen and I took the boys over to Woodfield Mall and the RideMakerz store. Ben and David were so excited to make their own toy cars!:

For several days now, we've been watching this Mama Robin who built a nest in the wisteria, under our front porch roof:
One day I saw her leave to go get food or water (probably the latter, as hot as it was last week!), so I took the opportunity to get this picture of the eggs:
Hopefully soon I'll be taking photos of baby birds! :)

On Friday night we attended the VBS closing program. Benjamin couldn't wait to sing for us and all the other parents! He is in the front row, the only one in a light blue shirt (apparently his teachers forgot to tell me that the 3-year-olds were supposed to wear red to the program!):
On Saturday, the 27th, we went to a picnic hosted by our friends Don and Cathy. This is an annual event, and Ben was very excited that we were going back to this park... he still remembered it from last year!:
George helped Don with the grill:
Ben especially loved playing in the sand with his truck:

but he also enjoyed throwing beanbags, blowing bubbles, and so much more!:
That day was our 17th wedding anniversary:
so when we got back home from the picnic, Em's friend Tori (known as Gigi at our house... because that's what Ben has called her since he learned to talk) came to babysit. She watched Ben for 5 hours while George and I went out for dinner and a movie:
Yesterday we finally got a chance to play in our pool. It was the first time the 3 of us have been in it this summer. (I'm sure it won't be the last, though!):
As usual, I've been taking lots of pictures of my flowers. :) Here are a few of them...

Ben helped me plant alyssum seeds along the front walkway, and they are finally blooming:
Some of our astilbe in the backyard:
Red bee balm:
Pink bee balm:
A whole bee balm garden! (And the ones with white flowers aren't even blooming yet!):
Some more daisies:
A daylily:
More lavender:
One of our marigolds:
Queen Anne's Lace, growing wild in our yard, unfortunately. (Yes, it's pretty, but very invasive! We've been trying to get it out of our lawn since we moved here 4 years ago. And to think that I actually planted some of this at our old house... the people who live there now are probably cursing me, LOL!)
Another queen... this one is Queen of the Prairie, and we WANT this one in our garden. :)
A tiger lily:
And a few tomatoes... not quite ripe yet! LOL:

This summer has been flying by... I can't believe June is almost over!

3 outta 5 ain't bad...

Em and Nick have been gone for 16 days now, and there are still 9 more days till they come home. They've been having a lot of fun out west with their grandma and grandpa, and have seen many cool sights, including the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Devil's Tower, and Glacier National Park. They'll be heading to Yellowstone tomorrow, and then will start the long drive back.

The 3 of us left behind have had to adjust to being a smaller family unit. We've discovered this does have some advantages, LOL:
  • no bickering driving us crazy
  • it's much quieter around here!
  • fewer messes around the house
  • less laundry to do
  • groceries are much cheaper! (Last week was the first time in YEARS that I didn't have to buy milk when I went to the grocery store... we still had plenty in the fridge!)
  • our $$ goes further, LOL
  • I only have to share the computer with one person (who's usually busy playing with his toys!) during the days
  • when we need to make a phone call, we don't have to ask Em to get off the phone first

but 5 outta 5 is better...

We do miss having our whole family together, though. We really miss having instant babysitters, LOL! But more than that, Ben misses playing with his two best buddies, and we all miss seeing Em and Nick's smiling faces every day, hearing their laughter, and just having them here, to hug and kiss, to talk with, to make our family complete.

Having a good time... wish you were here!

Friday, June 19, 2009

another year older...

I can't believe that it's already been a year since I was blogging about George's and my 40th birthdays! Yet, here we are, now 41. Yikes. We've been busy since school got out last week, and I've taken a *few* pictures. Here are a couple....

First some garden photos. My flowers have been doing great with all this rain, though I think we are all ready for some sun now! This barrel is along the side of our house, filled with petunias and marigolds:

A bellflower:

New this year, cheddar pinks:
Our overgrown clematis. You can't tell from this picture, but the plant not only goes all the way up the trellis, but it's also obstructing the sidewalk leading to our front door! I really need to do something about that....
Daisies... these were actually growing wild in our yard, so I moved them to the garden where they'd be safe from the lawnmower:
Hardy geraniums:
Meadow sage:
Another peony plant... apparently I have some that bloom in May and some that bloom in June!
A pincushion flower:
And my big flowerpot with petunias and verbena:
The 11th was George's birthday. We took him out for supper at Stir Crazy, one of our favorite restaurants. Here's the birthday boy with Em:
And me with the boys:
When we got home, George opened his presents. We all got a kick out of his new book "Goodnight Bush". (Not really recommended for kids, however!)
Instead of a cake, I made George's favorite, chocolate chip bars:
Two days later, it was my birthday. I drove down to Aurora for lunch with my friends Glenna and Mimi. They took me to TGIFridays, yum! When the wait staff had finished singing "Happy Birthday" to me, Glenna grabbed my camera and told them to give me a birthday kiss. Our waiter actually did... several times... until she got a picture, LOL!
Here I am with Mimi and Glenna:
Besides the complimentary birthday sundae, Glenna insisted on buying me the vanilla bean cheesecake for dessert. It was heavenly!
I don't look a day over 20, huh? ;)
That night we had cake and (more) ice cream. A funny thing about those candles... I realized as I was buying them that not only could we use them for George's birthday, and then for mine, but the 4 can be used on Ben's next cake, the 1 (plus another) can go on Nick's next cake, and then both of them can go on Em's next cake, just in the reverse order! Guess this is the year for fours and ones!
Em, Ben, me, and Nick:
On the 14th, we drove over to the Iowa Welcome Center along I-80, just across the river. We met Fran and Nathan there, had lunch with them, and then "gave" them Em and Nick! They are gone now, until the 8th of July. Almost a whole month, eek.

The eastbound lane of the I-80 bridge was closed. Since we were going to have to take a detour anyway, we decided to drive up to Dubuque, to see our friends Scott and Janet. We hung out at their new house for awhile, and then they took us to Tony Roma's, along the river. It was very yummy! Afterwards we went for a short walk before heading home. Ben loved watching the boats and ducks in the river:
Janet, Eleanor, and Ben:
Eleanor (she's such a cutie!) and Ben:
George and Scott:
On Wednesday, my friend Dawn came to visit. We had a nice time just hanging out here, and then last night we drove into the city, to meet our friends Aimee and Holly for supper at Ed Debevic's:
Me, Aimee, Holly, and Dawn. Aimee and her husband are visiting Chicago this week from CT, and Holly drove over from MI with her girls to spend the evening with us:
Bleu cheese burger, cheese fries, vanilla malt... mmm... mmm... good! I love all the fun signs at Ed's:
Ben had to try out my hat when we got home:
Today I took this photo of Ben with the paper chain I made for him, to help count down the days until Em and Nick's return. He's been doing okay so far, but does miss them quite a bit... *only* 19 days left.... Em and Nick have been in Ames all week, but today they started their western adventure ~ they headed to South Dakota this morning with my parents. I know they will have an awesome time... sure wish I could be there!