Wednesday, July 28, 2010

George's 11th birthday!

Yesterday George turned 11. There is something about a firstborn as he hits those milestones first and brings more emotions to surface. As each birthday passes I look back and see how much more grown up he is and how much he has changed over the year. We had a good day yesterday.

George loves celebrations and tradition and has been counting down for so long and planning. He is my planner and while he hung streamers around the house he casually reminded me to put the traditional streamers in his door when he woke up, as if I could forget :). In my haste to try and accomplish things being that we had just returned from vacation, I was planning a quick breakfast of oatmeal when it dawned on me that I needed to make his favorite. So, I had a late night staying up to make the dough but it was worth it as I saw the happiness on his face as he awoke and realized that I hadn't forgotten.

John's family is visiting this week from Missouri so we had 25 people here for the party but I love a house full. I did try in vain to convince George to have an easier meal but again, he loves his traditional meal of kabobs, pasta salad, and fruit kabobs with a few extra things also.

This year George and his brothers are big into Daniel Boone. My Mom has the DVDs and they love to watch them and then role play. So, of course the cake he chose for this year was "Boone's Burrow" and while he had the picture in his mind of what it should look like it took a bit for me to get the mental picture. In the end, we figured it out together. The only downside was that I didn't order the figures I found in time and so the cake was just landscape but that didn't matter to George. He helped me put it together and decorate and it turned out cute, even without Daniel Boone (who of course arrived today).

Happy Birthday to my favorite 11 year old! :)

Boone's Burrow Cake
With Powder Kegs inside

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rainy Vacation

**Update -- Thank You Lord! The rain cleared and by early afternoon the sun was shining!

We are on vacation -- finally a real family vacation. Our last one was four years ago. Sure, we have traveled every summer but one since we were married but that was always to go racing. We tried to make those times restful and do a few fun things too but we always camped at the race track and it wasn't quite the same.  This time we are at a real campground with all the hookups and do not need to use a porta potty. Woo hoo!

So, we are in Wisconsin Dells a place I've been so many times since I was little that there is a lot to reminisce about when we return. We arrived on Wednesday and it was one of the most relaxing days John and I have had for awhile. We just sat at the pool soaking up the sun and watched the kids have a great time. George told us "this is the best vacation ever!". :)

But the next day the rain began and not just a little rain. We tried not to let it get us down and found one indoor thing to do and shopped a bit hoping for the rain to clear. It did for awhile in the afternoon so the kids could swim again but by that time our canopy on the motorhome had broken due to the weight of the rain. What a pricey thing to have break! Now, we are certainly thankful we don't do tent camping but not having the canopy stinks as we don't have enough space to keep things dry. Lincoln is with us and being that the rain won't stop he is sleeping in his crate in with us. As if our space wasn't cramped before. The kids look at all of the big motorhomes that have bump outs and only two people and wonder why they have more space than we do.  Maybe we could trade -- haha.

We woke up this morning to yet more rain and as I keep watching the doppler I see that it will be with us again most of the day. We are a bit discouraged as this is not the vacation we had planned. The kids are waiting to go on a boat tour and see a show - both outdoor activities and of course we all want to lounge by the pool again but we'll see what the day holds. John is ready to pack up and leave but more rain awaits at home so...

Hoping the rain will take a break!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boys and White Tile Floor

I am very casually starting to potty train Seppy. I have found the summer to work best for this task as I can let the child run around outside with a bare bottom and a long shirt. Seppy however has decided that he doesn't need a shirt to cover him and just runs around with nothing on. We live in the country where there is no one to see him so we're okay there.  His little body has quite a few mosquito bites in places I'd rather not have them but he doesn't notice.

Yesterday Seppy squatted down by the dog pen and left a little present there then excitedly ran into the house announcing it to us with evidence on his hand! Lovely. But it is a start at least and he was so happy to show us the spot. "I'll show you!" he kept repeating.

Today he was headed for the toilet insisting that he stand and lean in the way his friend "No-nan" does. But he made a puddle on the floor instead. I am still wishing that when we installed our white tile flooring in the bathroom that we would have known then what we know now. White tile floor and boys do NOT go together! And to top it off we now have a dog who loves to get through the gate every chance he gets to drink from the ever refreshing toilet water shedding his black hair in the process. Oh well.

Anyway, if I am consistent maybe Sep will get the hang of it in the near future and we will be diaper free! I can't even imagine!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Still Racing -- a bit smaller!

If you have been visiting my blog for awhile you may recall that John raced off-road (click on off-road race category on the side to read more) and each summer was spent with him working on his race car and us traveling to the various races. John had decided that he would take off a year as he needed a break but ended up selling his car instead as he thought it better to get out when he could. The night his car and trailer were picked up was an emotional one for all of us as it was so final.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="John's race car leaving for the final time. :("][/caption]

He would love to race again but the way things are going now you really need a major sponsor and those are hard to come by.  John's ideal would be to do as the pros do and have a crew to work on the vehicle and he basically just drive it. But that is most likely not going to happen. And so, he has gone back to the form of racing he started with when he was a boy -- Remote Control Racing! :)

Last year the off-road races were sponsored by a company who makes remote control vehicles and so when John would win a race he would also win an RC truck. Now, each of the boys have one and John has a truck to race. He built an off-road track for them in our fields to race on and that has been a lot of fun. Now though, he found that 20 minutes from here there is an off-road RC track to race on and that has become John's new way to get in his racing.  He is quite good and the guys at the track said if he continues to come they won't have a chance. This is a lot closer of a venue and much more economical!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="469" caption="John has the black & red truck. "][/caption]

This weekend would be an off-road racing weekend up north at my favorite track. (Partly because we really like the church we worship with there). Each time we come to these weekends it is with a bit of nostalgia and thinking of what we would be doing if... those were good times together. But we are enjoying our summer and John is relieved that he does not have to be spending so much time on his car.  We are finding many things to fill up our weekends -- not sure how we ever did race.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fun with Photography -- Eyes

I have been looking online for tutorials and lessons to learn how to better use my camera. One of the sites I have been on is called I Heart Faces and last week I entered their contest with photos all focusing on eyes. My favorite pictures that others take are often focused on the eyes that have a brilliant light or a "catch light" to them and they really "pop". This is not always possible but I found the best time to look for the light shining in the children's eyes when outdoors is early morning or at dusk.

I am starting to get the hang of it but it is all in the positioning. Indoors it only works next to a window using natural light.  When you start noticing it, you'll catch on. I have found of course that many photos have the eyes enhanced using photo editing and now that I have PhotoShop Elements 8 (John bought me for my birthday!) it is quite fun to play with. Here are my two favorite eye pictures. Too bad they aren't of my own children! Mine aren't sitting still enough lately to get crystal clear eye shots. And when trying, we all zoomed in and took pictures of each others eyes including my own and I discovered that close ups of my own eyes really show wrinkles and that I do NOT like to see! (Pete told me that it doesn't show when I have my glasses on) :)

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="See the sparkle in his eyes?"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="He isn't smiling here but I love his big blue eyes. The pilot cap he wears to keep his hearing aids in really brings out the blue."][/caption]
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