Tuesday, August 21, 2012

sights of summer, part 1

It's been a loooong time since I posted anything here.  It's been a busy summer, filled with fun, and I've taken many, many pictures.  I decided not to put them all in one post, but to divide them up.  Here are some glimpses of what we were up to in June:

Ben painted a flower pot for his teacher, and then we planted some geraniums inside.  He gave it to her on his last day of school, June 1st:

I also made a little photo album for his teacher, with pictures I took while volunteering in the classroom over the year:

 For their last day of school, the Kindergartners had a family picnic.  We sat out by the playground and ate our lunches, then the kids played on the equipment:

 After awhile, we all went inside the classroom.  Ben enjoyed one last time in the reading center:
 and all the kids had fun helping to clean up the classroom.  They especially liked clearing off the white board:
 Ben with his teacher:
 On the 2nd of June, the 5 of us went to Volkening Heritage Farm and Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary.  Right away we spotted this big snapping turtle in the creek:
 We also saw several farm animals.  Moo:
 Baby pigs, just 3 days old!  One moment they were all asleep:
and the next moment they all woke up and raced over to their mother. "We're so hungry, Mom!":
 Emm, Nick, and Ben walk down the path:
 Some cool fungi on a tree:
 By the frog pond:
 In a tree:
 Water lily:
On the 3rd, one of Emm's best friends, Shruti, came over so the two could hang out one last time before Shruti moved away to a different state:
 Nick got a new -- and very pretty -- betta fish.  He named her Paint Pot.  Unfortunately, she only lived for a few weeks:

 The first week of summer vacation, the kids spent a lot of time in the pool!

 On the 7th, Emm's friend Taylor came for a sleepover.  They played in the pool that day:

 Emm also made supper that day, a yummy chicken and fruit salad with some delicious bruschetta:
 and this heavenly blueberry lemon trifle.  Yum:

 That night we all roasted marshmallows and made s'mores:

 The next morning, the kids (plus Taylor) and I headed to Brookfield Zoo and spent the day there.  We had a great time seeing all the animals!:

George's birthday was the 11th of June.  We all went out for supper at the Hibachi Grill, then came home for birthday "cake" (chocolate chip bars) and ice cream:

My birthday was the 13th.  We had pizza at Lou Malnati's, then angel food and Oberweiss ice cream at home.  Yum!:

On the 14th, the kids and I picked George up after work and headed east!  We only drove a few hours before stopping in Elkhart, IN for the night.  The next day we drove and drove -- through the rest of Indiana, through Ohio, through the northwest corner of Pennsylvania, and up into New York.  We stopped at our hotel in Cheektowaga, then got some supper, then drove to Niagara Falls to see Nik Wallenda walk across it on a tightrope!  He was hard to see in all that mist, but we did spot him a few times.  Then we headed back to our hotel:

If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you might be able to see the red spot in the mist.  That's him!
On the 16th, we drove back to the falls.  I had been there with my family way back in 1983, and then George and I visited Niagara in 1994, but the kids had never been there.  They were amazed by all that rushing water!  (So was I, even though it was my third time!)
The Maid of the Mist boat down below:
Here we are, ready for our boat ride:

After that, we walked on a boardwalk to see the water closer up:

The observation tower:

Later that day, we walked over to Goat Island.  We saw the falls from this side:
and then got ready for the Cave of the Winds tour:

We got to see the falls up close and personal... and got completely soaked despite our rain ponchos!  (But it felt good on such a warm day.):

Then we walked to the other side of the island to see the Canadian falls:

One would hope this sign is unnecessary:

Late that afternoon, we left Niagara and headed north.  We stopped at Brennan's Irish Pub in Youngstown, NY, for some supper.  Oddly enough, the Irish pub served Italian food.  But, oh, was it ever yummy!  And HUGE.  See our calzones:

We walked down by the Yacht Club for awhile:
Then drove a little farther north (and east) to Fourmile State Park, so we could see Lake Ontario:

We got back to our hotel in time to have some fun in the pool:
It had its own waterfall:
On the 17th of June, it was time to head back home.  We decided to go a different route, to see a little bit more of New York and Pennsylvania.  We drove through Jamestown, NY and down into Warren, PA, then followed the Allegheny River over to Oil City, PA.  We passed the "infamous" Route 666 that George and I drove on in 1994 -- we thought at that time that it was aptly named, and chose NOT to go on it this time around!
We stopped at a park along the river for a picnic lunch.  I had a very strong sense of deja vu there ~ I'm thinking I must've been there before, sometime during the summer of 1994:
Since it was Father's Day, we later stopped at a Cracker Barrel in IN for a special supper:
We finally got home later that evening.

On the 21st, Emm and Nick went on another trip, camping and canoeing with a church youth group, to Shades State Park, IN.  They were gone for 3 days.  That evening, George and I took Ben over to the park near our house:

On the 22nd, I took Ben to the DuPage Children's Museum.  It was our first time there, and we really enjoyed it!:

In a wind tunnel:

I think this was Ben's favorite part of the museum, getting to try out real tools!:

Also in June, Ben took swimming lessons at our local pool:

The 27th was George's and my 20th wedding anniversary.  We went out for a fancy dinner at The Millrose, then went to see the movie "Snow White and the Huntsman":

On the 29th, the kids and I drove down to Willowbrook Wildlife Center.  We walked on the trails through the meadow first, to see all the flowers:
and the sandhill cranes:

Then we visited all the wildlife cages:

There were animals inside the nature center, as well, like these tiny baby opossums:
At the end of June, George decided to take down part of our backyard fence because the posts had rotted and we were afraid it would fall down in a strong wind.  It was strange to have that big gap there for several days, but we replaced the posts, then put the fence back up, good as new:
Nick helped:
Our veggie garden grew well in June:

We had lots of flowers blooming, as well.  Alyssum:
 Petunias and marigolds in a barrel:
 Bee balm:

 Bell flower:
Our overgrown clematis (lovingly referred to as Cousin It):

 And the clematis in our backyard:

 Day lilies:
 Lobelia in a hanging basket:
 Boxes of pansies on our porch:
 More petunias:

 A flowerpot mixture:
 Queen of the Prairie:
 Tiger lilies:
 Window boxes of geraniums:
 Yarrow that grows wild in our lawn:
 And this mystery flower that popped up from a wildflower mix.  Anyone know what it is?

Whew!  Well, that's it for June.  I'm hoping to get the rest of the summer pictures up soon.... :)


Blogger Katy Cameron said...

Good grief that was a packed month! Looks like loads of fun for all though :o)

August 21, 2012 1:13 PM  

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