a month-ful of memories
Here are a few of the summer blooms in my gardens....
"Wild" coreopsis... I think a bird must've planted this. I don't have any growing anywhere near where this sprouted up! White liatris in the backyard:
July started out with a bang. Well, kind of a fizzle and then a bang. We found out on the 2nd that there would be no Chicago fireworks on the 3rd. We were quite disappointed about that ~ we've been going to those almost every year since we moved here from Iowa 16 years ago!
At first we thought we might just skip going into the city altogether, but Emmalie and Ben convinced us we should still drive in for the Taste of Chicago. (Nick would've been right there with them, I'm sure, but he was in Wisconsin with a friend.) In the end, we were glad we went... but we sure did miss seeing Chicago fireworks! We parked the car at the Millennium Park garage, then walked over to the Taste:
Compared to other years, it seemed like there was hardly anyone there! We didn't have to wait in line at all to get food... a good thing, of course, but strange, LOL! We each got what we wanted for lunch:
and then we all had some chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick for dessert. Yum.
We walked over to Buckingham Fountain for awhile:
Then walked back to Millennium Park. We stopped in the Lurie Gardens to cool off a bit:
to look at the flowers:
and to watch trains:
Next we walked over to "the Bean", where Ben sought refuge in its shade:
Finally, we stopped at Crown Fountain to splash around:
We all ended up getting pretty wet, so sat in the sun for a bit to dry off:
I was impressed by the shade provided by this skyscraper!
On the 4th of July, we played in our pool:
and enjoyed some red, white, and blue popsicles:
We also threw a bunch of Pop-Its ~ Ben loved making noise with them!
Nick came home later that day. George grilled us a special Independence Day meal, and we ate it out on the patio:
That night, we walked over to the park for our local fireworks:
We stopped by Emm's BFF's house afterwards to chat with her family awhile, and the kids had fun on their trampoline:
When we got home, we lit a bunch of sparklers:
then had ice cream with berries and headed to bed.
On the 8th of July, I headed to St. Louis with my friends Mimi and Glenna. We met up with several of our other scrap friends there for a weekend retreat:
We had an awesome time, and even got some scrappin' done. :)
The following week was VBS at church. The theme this year was Egypt: Joseph's Journey from Prison to Palace. I don't know who made all the decorations, but whoever it was did a fantastic job! Emmalie and Nick wore some of their own Egyptian costume gear (made by Christine) one day. Here is Miss Cleopatra herself:
Part of the skit performed for all the kids by high schoolers:
Ben was in the preschool class, but both Emm and Nick were helpers at VBS this year. Nick had signed up to help in the nursery, but there were only 3 babies and 5 helpers (plus an adult) most of the days, so most of the week he helped with snacks. He helped prepare them, and then later on he would take snacks to the younger kids' rooms and pretend to "sell" them items:
He did enjoy that, but enjoyed getting to help out in the nursery on the last day even more.
Emmalie helped in the Crafts Room, which is also where I helped out. One day the kids decorated pillowcases with fabric markers and paints. Emm and the other teen helpers got to try it out for themselves before the classes came in: Emm also helped in the face painting booth when kids had finished with their crafts. Here she's painting a snake on Ben's arm:
Nick and Ben by the Nile:
That Sunday morning there was a special VBS service where the kids sang the songs they'd been working on all week. Here is Ben afterwards, with the collar he made in crafts:
The same week as VBS, we adopted a new family member! A feathered one. :) My friend Kirstin raised Icarus (aka Ickie) from a chick, and has had her for 10 years. Now Kirstin's family is moving to a new house where they won't have room for her, and she needed to find a new home for Ickie. At first, I said no... mostly because of space issues. As soon as Nick found out about it, though, he cleaned his room thoroughly and made room for a cage! George and I finally gave in, and Ickie came to live with us. She is a sweet little bird. :)
Ickie does chirp quite a bit, but she's MUCH quieter than this guy:
(Thought it was only fair to Tucker to put up a picture of him, too, LOL.) It's kind of funny ~ Tucker and Ickie have been "talking" to each other, even though they are in different rooms, on different levels of the house. One will start and the other will answer, and they will go back and forth for quite awhile sometimes!
The pool's been getting quite a bit of use this month... it's great for all the hot July days!
On the 24th, our town had its annual Summer Celebration parade. It rained and rained and RAINED the night before, and was still raining that morning. Thankfully, it stopped about 30 minutes before the parade! We took umbrellas with us, just in case, but really only needed them briefly when a strong wind was blowing raindrops off all the trees. Here are Nick and Ben, ready for the parade to start (Emm chose to stay home):
Ben with the bag he'd decorated at camp. He used it to put candy in during the parade ~ it was TOTALLY full by the time the parade ended!
It wasn't quite the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, or even ISU's Veishea parade, but it was fun to watch all the same. There were clowns:
several different ethnic groups in bright costumes:
bands, marching and otherwise:
political parties handing out flyers:
and crazy vehicles:
Plus, lots and lots of candy. :)
Later that afternoon, I took the kiddos over to the Summer Celebration festival at the park. Ben and Nick went on the giant slide: Emm and Nick rode the tilt-a-whirl:
Ben rode on the little train:
and Emm braved the Gravitron, which she loved:
Ben also played some mini golf:
and we all enjoyed some Italian ice.
After we got home, my brother-in-law Nathan arrived for a visit. George grilled us some supper and then that night we went back to the festival to watch the fireworks. I am always impressed by our little town's awesome fireworks, both on the 4th and at the fest!
On the 25th, we all headed into the city. We took Nathan through Millennium Park to see the Bean and other things:
We stopped in Grant Park for a picnic lunch:
Then walked over to Shedd Aquarium, via the lakeshore:
Once inside, we visited the belugas (mama and baby):
and the Touch Pool:
We walked around to every exhibit and saw all kinds of sea creatures:
We even spotted this little mouse in the Amazon Rising exhibit... we don't think he was supposed to be in there, LOL!
This turtle looked like he was saying, "Hey, what are you doing in here??"
Then we walked back to the car. When we left Shedd, we could see Buckingham Fountain shooting way up into the air. We were hoping it would still be going by the time we got there so we could stand in the spray and cool off. Unfortunately, just as we were climbing the steps near the fountain, the "geyser" stopped!
George had to work on Monday, the 25th, and Emmalie was gone with her BFF all day, berry picking in Indiana and hanging out at the Warren Dunes in Michigan. The boys and I decided to take Nathan over to Volkening Heritage Farm and Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary. We started out at the farm:
Then headed down the trail to the woods:
This pond was green:
Nathan and Nick at "the sitting tree" (Ben did NOT want to be in the picture):
We walked through the prairie, spotting all kinds of vegetation:
We eventually made it to the Visitor's Center where we hung out for awhile, then walked back, through the prairie, through the woods, and through the farm to the car.
Tuesday was a pretty quiet day. We all played some board games, hung out in the pool, etc. Yesterday Nathan headed back home, and today, Nick left to go to Wisconsin with a friend. Busy, busy, busy! I can't believe there's less than a month left before the kids go back to school!