Okay, so maybe *I* haven't actually been jumping through July, but the days sure have been going fast, as if I'd been jumping through the calendar.
Emmalie has been taking a driver's ed class three days a week this summer. On July 1st, she and I went shopping at the mall for a bit while the boys were at camp, and afterwards, I let her drive around the deserted part of the parking lot. It was her first experience behind the wheel! (Note: in the first picture below, the car was in PARK. Actually, it was parked for both pictures, since I didn't want to distract her with the camera while she was driving... but I didn't want anyone to think I was letting her drive alone in the car while I stood outside, taking pictures!)
The 1st was also Nick's last day of camp. He spent a week at Volkening Heritage Farm, 9:30am to 2:30pm, helping to take care of the animals there. (And also doing other camp-y activities, like games and arts & crafts.) He especially liked being with the animals, of course. He and the other kids fed the chickens, horses, cows, and pigs, searched for eggs in the chicken house, and got to milk a cow, among other things. These photos were taken after camp, as Nick introduced me to all his new farm friends. :)
By the end of June, we finally had our pool pump working correctly (it had to be taken in twice to be fixed), and July brought us the hot weather to encourage us to use it! Here are Ben and Nick on the 2nd, trying to keep cool:
Also on the 2nd, my mother-in-law Fran and brother-in-law Nathan came to visit us! On the 3rd of July, we took them into the city for awhile. We started out with lunch at the Taste of Chicago:
And chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick, of course!
Then we walked around Millennium Park. We stopped in Lurie Gardens to cool off our feet a bit...
then continued on to the "Bean". Benjamin couldn't believe his grandma had never seen it before!
We stopped at Crown Fountain, too, and the kids had fun splashing around there for awhile:
On the 4th, all of us but Fran jumped into the pool for awhile. The kids and I even talked Nathan into playing our version of Pool Quidditch. :)
We all enjoyed red, white, and blue popsicles:
George grilled us a special, yummy holiday supper, and then we headed over to the park for the fireworks:
As always, they were very good!
When we got back home, it was time for sparklers:
and homemade ice cream, yum:
On the 5th, the kids played in the pool some more, while the rest of us watched:
Fran and Nathan headed home on the 6th. Later that same day, I picked up my friend Jackie from the airport. Flying from Las Vegas, she'd come for the PAWS scrapbook retreat, which was held in the Chicago area this year. My friend Mimi and I hosted it. Jackie ate supper with our family, and then we drove her down to the hotel in Lisle. I stayed at Mimi's house that night.
On the 7th, we picked Jackie up, then headed to the airport again, where we picked up Heather and Judi. (They flew in from Canada!) Then we drove into the city, and met our friends Jeanne and Katie (from Indiana) under the Bean. :)
Next, the 7 of us headed to Navy Pier. We had lunch at the famous Billy Goat Tavern, and then we went on an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River. Though the sky looks gray in my photos, it was actually a beautiful day, sunny, but not too hot ~ perfect for the tour and walking around the city!
After the tour, we walked around Navy Pier some more. We also rode the ferris wheel and the swings!
(Jeanne decided once we were on the ferris wheel that she didn't really like being up that high.)
That evening, Mimi picked up our friend Katy from the airport (she traveled from Maryland!), and then the 8 of us went to Las Palmas Restaurant for supper:
The actual scrapbook retreat began on the 8th, at the store Memories & Beyond in Downer's Grove. Other friends (Sue, Angie, Glenna, Stephanie, Tammy, and Kim) drove in for it. We had a lot of fun scrapping, telling stories, and laughing! :) That night, we had supper... authentic Chicago-style pizza, of course, at Giordano's.
We scrapped some more on the 9th and got a group shot of everyone:
We had lunch at Portillo's and then supper was catered in from Brown's Chicken. I think we succeeded in providing everyone with a taste of the Windy City! :)
On the 10th, it was time for everyone to head home, unfortunately. Those retreats always go by way too quickly!
VBS started at our church on the 11th. Ben, Nick, and I went there every day, but Emmalie could only attend 2 days due to driver's ed. Ben had a blast with his kindergarten class, Nick loved helping out in the nursery, and Emm and I enjoyed our chaotic but fun hours in the craft room!
On the evening of the 14th, Emm, Nick, and I headed to the theater to watch the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2". We dressed up, of course... though Nick refused to wear a cape:
Ben didn't go with us that night, but he wanted to join in the fun of dressing up, and had Emm draw a Harry Potter scar on his forehead, LOL:
We arrived at the mall just a little after 8pm. (Yes, four hours before the movie!) We got a few pictures by the movie posters:
Then got in line. There were only about 15 people ahead of us.
We all had the Deathly Hallows symbol drawn on our hands:
Emmalie took out her book, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard", and began reading it to us:
Surprisingly, we only had to sit on the hard floor for about an hour before we were let into the theater! I was really glad to have a more comfy seat for the next 3 hours, especially since I wasn't feeling well that day. The three of us thoroughly enjoyed the movie when it finally came on after midnight!
We still had to get up early for VBS on the 15th, and I took a few pictures while we were there. This year's theme was Son Surf Beach Bash:
Emm shows off the surfboard bulletin board we made in Crafts that day:
Despite all the sizzling heat we've had this month... with no rain... my plants have still been doing fairly well, mostly thanks to Nick, who's been watering them for me. Our clematis is huge, as always:
The day lilies have been blooming:
as well as the lavender:
more of the bee balm:
and the tiger lilies:
Our vegetable garden, though planted late, is also doing well, and we finally got to enjoy our first 3 cherry tomatoes the other day:
It's hard to believe that the summer is half over already!