Friday, June 27, 2008

Sand, Sun and Water

Manistee 2007

We didn't plan many activities this week except one: the beach. All week, I promised the kids that we would go back to Stony Creek Park and visit the beach on Thursday. Since Thursday started out a little slow, I decided to text Todd and ask him to come with us. He usually gets off at 12:30p on Fridays so I suggested that he leave early Thursday instead and join us. Around 2 pm we headed out to the park and the weather couldn't have been better. The sun was hot, the wind was blowing and the water was actually not too cold. Todd crashed on the beach blanket and I stayed by his side soaking up skin damaging rays for most of the 2 hours we were there. The kids spent every moment in the water. We did take a break to get ice cream and I ventured out to test the water for a short time. We haven't had a chance to do anything so relaxing as a family in a very long time. I really enjoyed it!

Now, I am surrounded by suitcases, piles of clothes and a list of unending things to pack. We will be leaving for Manistee on Monday and inevitably we forget something, so I am determined to remember as much as possible. I can't wait to enjoy the sand in my toes, the big bubbling waves and the entire atmosphere that comes with camping. I even enjoy sleeping in a tent. There is something about sitting around a campfire, laughing and playing cards to all hours and then slipping into the warm sleeping bag to sleep that just makes me happy. (Maybe not the midnight trips to the bathroom, though!)

I promise to post some great picture when we return!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Great Summer Outings Week 1

This summer has only just begun, but I am already on a mission to find fun, cheap ideas to keep the kids and I busy. This week, we had the opportunity to do several free or cheap outings so I thought I'd share them.

Monday, we went to River bend's Park and visited the skate park. Hannah brought Rollerblades and Caleb brought along his scooter. We learned a few things that we will keep in mind next time. The most important was that between the hours of 10 and 11:30 only children 10 and under are allowed. We went later in the afternoon, so there were high school students and children a bit older than Hannah and I was a little uncomfortable with that. The other thing I learned was that the nature center is not open on Mondays or Tuesdays. The kids were disappointed when we couldn't visit it. Other than that, we had a nice time and it was all free.

Wednesday evening, my neighbor told me that River bend's Park was having a "Kid's Day" from 6 pm to 8. Since Todd was gone for the day, the kids and I scarfed down spaghetti and went to the park to check out the fun. There were blow-up slides, a climbing wall, petting zoo, fun games to play for prizes and even a small train the kids could ride. A nearby dance studio also had a 30 minute performance. Afterwards, we headed over to McDonald's to use a "free ice cream" coupon with our neighbors. The entire day cost around $5 (all ice cream) and we had loads of fun.

Today, we went to Stony Creek Park and visited their nature center with my niece, Haley, my friend, Linda and her daughter, Emma. I had not been to the new building and it was really nice. There were lots of small animals for the kids to checkout and even a bee hive where the kids could watch the bees through clear plastic. After about 20 minutes or so of wandering, we took the "Reflection" nature walk (1/2 mile) and enjoyed seeing and touching nature. When the walk was over, we found a picnic area with a play set and had a picnic. We spent over two hours there and it went by really fast. We plan to visit the beach next week when the weather is warmer. The cost of our trip was $20 for Linda (I already have an annual pass thanks to a discount my father in law acquired), but after today, all of her visits are free!

If you have any ideas for fun stuff to do around our area, I'd love to hear them! More next week!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"My Daddy's Shoes"

A few months ago, our daughter, Hannah, told me she had an idea for a card she wanted to make for Father's Day. She thought it would be really cool to take a picture of her feet in her dad's shoes and add the phrase, "I want to walk in my Daddy's footsteps". I thought it was a wonderful idea and though we ended up throwing together the card on Saturday, I hope that Todd felt the love behind that card. Hannah has always adored her dad and with good reason! I hope she continues to use him as a guide for choosing the right boyfriend (many years from now) and eventually the right husband (light years away).

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dancing Feet

Last Friday, Hannah performed in her fifth dance recital. For the last two years, she has been a part of "Happiness is Dancing". The studio is run by Pat Tokar and though its not as high quality as some of the studios around us, we couldn't be happier. Mrs. Tokar prides herself in keeping the studio "Christian based". There are no inproper dances, costumes or music used. They also have a fun variety of classes, including Hawaiian, acrobats and baton. Hannah took tap, ballet, jazz and acrobats this season. It was a real stretch for her, but she did a great job.

It is Finished!



Thursday, June 05, 2008

I swear...

Today was the last day that I will hopefully have to take a shower at the gym or bath out of necessity. I told Todd I was taking a shower at home on Friday and I meant it. I realize that both get me just as clean, but there is something about having privacy when you shower.

After my trip to the gym and breakfast with my mom, I headed to the school for "field day". Field day is suppose to be a fun time for the kids to rotate to different stations where they play things like "relay races", "hula-hoop" and "sack races". I was assigned to the T-ball area and thought it sounded pretty simple. Give them two balls to hit, have them retrieve them for the next person and so on. The first group was 3rd graders and they seemed to get the directions okay. Then came the four grade and it went fairly smooth as well. Suddenly, though, several older groups came and it all went down hill from there. I think over half of the teachers had substitutes and all of the substitutes (minus the one who happened to bring a whistle) could care less about being there. Even some of the teachers would sit around talking completely ignoring what was unfolding before them. I had many kids in the out field throwing balls into the t-ball area, children grabbing the bats and balls and hitting in every direction, boys who took 5 turns before the girls even got up to bat and then at the end of the rotation, when the alarm sounded for them to switch, the children would hit multiple balls out all over the field and then leave them.

After having balls and bats coming inches from my face I have decided to swear off field day...FOREVER.

That is unless they can assign me to something easier like hula hoop or bubblegum blowing.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

So its been two weeks now that we have been without a fully functional bathroom. Before we left for Colorado, I finished the floor but there was a lot more waiting for us when we returned on Tuesday. I spent 10 hours working on the bath/shower tile on Thursday and then grouted Friday night until 3 am Saturday morning. (I seemed to have forgotten that you have to wait 2 hours after grouting to clean the tile of excess). After all those body aching hours, I truly do not want to see anything that has to do with tiling for a very long time. Despite all the work, I have to say I am truly excited to step into our bathroom now. Though there are a few small details to finish (fixtures, caulk and a few misc.), I feel so much pride knowing that we accomplished such a huge undertaking.

My next goal is to be able to use the shower!