I haven't been feeling very good this month, but we've still managed to have some fun. :) On the 3rd of August, I took the kids and Emm's friend Annie to Brookfield Zoo for the day. It was a really warm (hot!) day, but Nick made sure we saw every exhibit there, LOL.
Here's Ben and a sleepy snow leopard:
This seal had the right idea ~ it was fast asleep under the water, keeping cool!
Ben, Annie, Nick, and Emm:
This raccoon didn't want us to leave! He came right over to get attention....
Ben and Nick pet some goats:
All ready for the dolphin show! Ben, Emm (with her face painted), Annie, and Nick:
Ben... not quite as tall as a grizzly bear!
Right after I took this picture, these bears (who are brothers) started fighting over a bone ~ they are very loud when they growl!
Annie, Nick, Emm, and Ben:
Annie, Emm, and Ben cooling off under the giraffe mister!
On the 6th of August, the five of us drove over to my Uncle David's farm, near Van Orin, IL, for a family reunion of sorts. My mom grew up on this farm, and my grandparents lived here until I was 10, so I have many wonderful memories of the place. We were there for lunch and supper, picnicking in the front yard:
The kids and I spent a lot of time on this, the best merry-go-round ever. :) It goes up and down and around! Here George is pushing it for the kids.
Nick on the rope swing:
The merry-go-round and the farmhouse:
Nick and Ben in the corn:
My cousins Sandy and Keith, Keith's friend Kim, and my Uncle David:
Ben, playing beanbags:
Kim, Aunt Jeanette, and Sandy:
Me and Grandma:
Uncle Chuck, Grandma, Uncle Ron:
Nick and Emm, trying to learn how to jump onto the merry-go-round when it's moving. (Like George said, "If you get hurt, then you KNOW you're having fun!" LOL)
Uncle David, Austin, Hannah, Braydon, Amanda, Bella, and my cousin Bradley:
Uncle David pushes Ben and Austin on the merry-go-round:
Uncle David, Bradley, and Braydon:
Throughout the summer, Emmalie has been volunteering at the local library, 2 hours every Monday. While there, she's helped to create this origami castle (the teen summer reading program theme this year was "A Midsummer Knight's Read") and she has also been teaching origami to others. On the 10th, there was a "Final Feast" party for all the volunteers and teen readers. Ben and I dropped Emm and Nick off there ~ they really enjoyed all the snacks and the medieval weapons demonstration!
On the 15th, the kids decided to camp out in the backyard. George started a fire in the chiminea so we could make smores, yum:
while Emm and Nick put the tent up in the dark!
Ready for bed!
Except, then, Ben's 4th tooth came out! He came inside to clean it off and to put the tooth next to his bed, "because the tooth fairy might not be able to open the tent zipper!" :)
Later in the week, Ben modeled a hat that Emm knit for him earlier this year. It's a very fuzzy hat!
This week, I took the kids school shopping. Ben was SO excited to pick out items for Kindergarten! :) Can you tell he loves "Ka-chow" (Cars)? He now has a Ka-chow backpack, folder, and 2 new shirts!
Nick had a HUMONGOUS list of supplies he needed for middle school, whew! Tons of folders, notebooks, 4 binders plus a Trapper Keeper, a flash drive, a special kind of calculator, PE uniform, and much, much more!
Emm didn't need quite so much for high school, thank goodness! I think she especially enjoyed picking out 2 new outfits, complete with new earrings. :) She got new shoes, too, but we forgot to put them out for the picture:
On the 18th, I took Nick over to the middle school for Open House. He got to find his locker, figure out his lock (we ended up exchanging it for a brand new one because his original lock was VERY hard to get open), and find all of his classrooms. Here he is at his locker (he looks thrilled, huh?):
And in front of the school:
We also walked around the school's "prairie", an area that's only about 10'x10'. It's crammed with prairie plants, however!
I've been taking pictures of my gardens, as well. Luckily, all the weeds haven't killed off my flowers. Yet. (It's been way too painful for me to bend over for any length of time to take care of them all.) Anyone want to come weed for me? LOL
George spotted this cicada in our maple tree one day:
My asters are blooming:
As well as all the coneflowers that I got from my friend Kirstin last year:
And the hostas:
The Russian sage:
And zinnias in various colors. :)
At the end of May, we had to cut down our redbud tree because it had died over the winter. :( Several new shoots were popping up, however, and some have gotten quite big! Hopefully they will keep on growing:
Our little vegetable garden:
This was the first cucumber from our garden, yum! We've picked 2 others since this one, and have several more growing:
We've also had several tomatoes:
And we have two tiny watermelons growing. Not sure if they'll grow big enough before the cold comes, but we'll see....
And then there's this. A surprise vine by our shed. We did NOT plant anything back here, but somehow, among all the weeds, this vine appeared and has grown quite large. (I took this picture about 2 weeks ago, and the vine is probably at least 7 feet longer now, plus it has also grown around the corner you see here, along the back of our shed.)
We *think* that it's an acorn squash plant, but don't know for sure. If anyone recognizes it, please let me know! The fruit starts out looking like this:
Then like this:
And now like this. We have TONS of it growing on the vine!
After all the pain I've been in this summer, I finally went in for laparoscopic surgery yesterday and got some answers (and solutions). Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon!