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Friday, August 30, 2013

100 degrees

It's hot as Hades but when you have sisters who run a spa and a mom who due to her dislike of extreme heat happily obliges all requests for strawberry milkshakes, it's a very good life.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A germ free back!

In a very sweet gesture one of the girls rubbed my back over the weekend.  She even went to the trouble of using lotion, except she didn't use lotion, she used antibacterial hand soap...because hey, they're similar??  That night I broke out in hives and ever since my back itches like crazy!  Never a dull moment.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just add water

I mowed what remains of our poor parched yard yesterday afternoon, it was 93 degrees and just plain hot.  Sweaty and tired from the job I turned on the hose to cool off and instantly got a great obstacle course!  I knew the girls would be hot, hot, hot after their walk home from school and figured a simple little obstacle course might just make their day.

Tomato picking wasn't on the course but they were just too tempting!  We have been getting a steady stream of cherry tomatoes for a few weeks now but no regular sized tomatoes yet.  We've got a ton of tomatoes on our plants though and while I'm trying not to count my tomatoes before they ripen  I'm thinking that with this heat it will be nothing but BLTs and caprese salad this weekend....or at least I'm sure hoping that's the case!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

So many reasons every single day to smile

Lucy loves the tv show Kipper.  One of the main characters is a dog named Tiger.  Today she was telling me how funny he is.  I said...Tiger is so funny!  She laughed "not Tigurr mommy, I'm talking about Tigah".  Which made me laugh because all of the characters on Kipper have a British accent, and she's right it's Tigah not Tigurr.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Who needs a desk?

Not these girls!  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Simple Saturday

It was so nice to wake up this morning and know--it's Saturday!  

These girls are down in our basement right now working on their fort....they've spent hours working on it and playing in it!   Eleanor had her friend Libby sleep over and Emma went to Libby's house to have a sleep over with Libby's sister Natalie.  It's so nice when that works out and the girls can have their own time in the house.  

Today's agenda includes an 8-2  training at church for Kevin, breakfast with Christy (I better get going on those pancakes!), a soccer clinic for Eleanor, and church this evening.  What a lovely Saturday!

In less happy news, Janie is still not 100%--BLEH!!  The back door is not latching all the way and this is draining the battery, also the back door seems to be opening with a little less finesse every time we use it.  Oh boy.  Looks like I'll be talking to Stu again on Monday.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

She's back!

51 days and 3055 miles later and she's back in service.  Happy day!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Just yesterday

It seems like just yesterday that this was how Lucy walked to Captain school

but actually just yesterday this was how she walked to school

The girls have been back in school for a week and things are going great.   They both have excellent teachers and such a sweet group of friends.  I feel like every single day my girls are a little more "themselves", less arguing and more compromising.  The last couple of days they've really been appreciative too, even thanking me for packing their lunches and making snacks and dinner....they are so hungry!!

 El's teacher is teaching her class that people respond better with words drizzled in honey than in vinegar and a smile goes a mile.  I just love it when someone outside of this house talk about those things, seems as though that's when those little lessons really sink in.

With her sisters back in school Lucy and I have been enjoying hours at the park and in the back yard, slow rambling trips to the zoo, and scooter riding at her pace.  These morning adventures (I love it, I remember when El went through a phase of calling everything an adventure, Lucy is doing the same thing) have been wearing her out and she's been taking two and a half hour naps.  This means I've had some quiet time and I'm slowly getting some chores done that have piled up during our fun summer...I've tracked down the atrocious smell in the laundry room, I've cleaned out the food storage and discovered we have a lifetime supply of cannellini beans,  I've organized my bill paying folder and rediscovered the budget..ahem,  I've baked and cooked and every day at 3:00 I can't wait to walk out the door and pick the girls up.  Things are feeling wonderful around here!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Second and Fourth

They're off to a great start!  Both girls were a mixture of excited and nervous this morning.  Once we got to the school playground I saw the girls relax and it was clear that we're headed for another wonderful year.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bicker, bicker......

Tomorrow is the first day of school around here.  It's been a great summer but oh man am I ready for school to start.  It's still too early to have the kids take showers and baths but if I could I would.  Yes, I'd have them bathe, feed them some dinner, read them a story and put them to bed and it's not even 5:30.  That's a sure sign, I'm out of summer steam.
I'm sure they have but it feels like they've never fought like this before.  It's making me CrAzY! They can turn anything into an argument. And the drama over the tiniest little things!
Both big girls had play dates today and the mom and nanny of the other girls were just as exhausted looking as me and despondently shared that the sibling fighting in their homes is at an all time high.  Both of these families also have 3 kids but their families are spaced closer than mine and all of the kids are in on the bickering, poor them.  Luckily most of the time I just have 2 fighters.  I guess we all need some space and a little room to move.

This cartoon really made me chuckle.  So true. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Lucy is three!  We celebrated on Friday with a long visit to the park.  I'm sure we could have ended our festivities right there and Lucy would have been happy as can be.   We continued though with a party on Saturday afternoon.  It was a perfectly Lucy kind of party.  Totally laid back.  Lucy had fun running from the front yard to the back, and giggling and playing.  I loved watching her!  To her delight there were two dogs in attendance.   My step sister and brother in law brought their sweet 12 week old English bulldog Ruby to the party.   Ruby is so sweet and just Lucy's size!   Though Ruby was a hit Lucy received her own puppy for her birthday.  A fluffy white puppy she named Sophia.  Sophia  is already housebroken, doesn't shed, never jumps, or chews, or cries in the night. She also has an off button.  We love Sophia!  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Saltwater in my eyes....

 I've spent the last 3 days detailing just how perfect our vacation was.  It really was perfect, but not perfect because everything went just the way we planned.  There was a 2 hour traffic jam in Georgia,  we ate a Huddle House, we had to have 2 separate rooms in Atlanta because per their regulations 5 is too many for one room, we took a wrong turn onto the wrong highway...and that all happened before we even got to Hilton Head.  Perfect doesn't mean that the children didn't squabble, they did, or complain about the long drive, they did that too.  Perfect doesn't mean we loved everything that we did....remember the bike ride? There was also a campfire that we left before the s'mores because it got boring.   Lucy had an ear infection and she wasn't supposed to get her ear wet, you can imagine how well we did with that one.  There were broken sunglasses.  There was a bathroom door that got locked from the inside while no one was in there so maintenance had to come unlock it.  There was sunscreen and saltwater in the eyes.  There was that two hour span of time one evening when Kevin and I alternately prayed and berated ourselves because we were convinced Lucy had a terrible, probably 2nd degree sunburn.  She didn't, she wasn't even tan.  Poor kid must of just been a little hot and got red and Kevin and I were ready to haul her into the ER.  There was the shuffleboard we meant to play but never got around to.  But it was all perfect.  Perfect because the gift of time together, no matter where we might be is the greatest thing we'll ever give our kids.  I could literally see in the kids eyes their absolute delight in a whole week away with their dad....nobody else got his attention, just them.    Perfect because we laughed and talked and just got to be.  Perfect because over and over again I thought these are the my favorite people am I so blessed that they all belong to me?  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Storybook Shoppe, the Lighthouse, Savannah

We read about this bookstore on a map of Hilton Head which we were given when we checked into our condo.  It sounded just right for us so one afternoon we drove about a half an hour away to Bluffton, SC to check it out.

The store was adorable with a great selection for all of the girls and a very sweet, helpful owner.  

In a terrific stroke of luck we just happened to be there on Thursday afternoon and it just so happens that every Thursday at 2pm there is a farmers market, with live music along with food trucks.

 Spanish Moss hung from the trees and vegetation of all sorts covered the ground.  It was a sticky, warm afternoon in the South where everyone was happy and friendly.

While we ate lunch at the Old Town Dispensary, which was established in 1893, the kids played a game they bought at the bookstore.  Vacation bliss.

Another little trip we made was to the Sea Pines Resort area of Hilton Head.  This is where the famous lighthouse is.  There is also a popular restaurant there called The Salty Dog which is where we had dinner that evening.  There was big storm while we were there so we don't have many pictures.  The Salty Dog was fine, a huge tourist trap.  We went very early and I'm so glad we did, we walked right in for dinner but when we were leaving the wait was an hour and a half (we'd never have done that!!).

The wind was howling and rain was pouring while this picture was taken!  Lucy and Eleanor wouldn't come out!

This picture may help you see just how windy it was!  Right after this picture was taken I was scolded by the slightly grouchy souvenir saleswoman at the top of the lighthouse.  Since Lucy and Ellie wouldn't come out I left them inside while Emma and I took a look at the view from the lighthouse.  She thought that was pretty poor parenting on my part, or in her words "they could have fallen down the stairs and then you would have sued ME".  Eleanor was so offended that this woman would think that she would let Lucy fall down the stairs that she spent the half an hour drive back to our condo venting.  Oh, where was Kevin you ask?  He likes to read all of the information in museums, the kids do not...go figure.  So he was busy reading while we were being a delinquent family!

Our last day was spent in Savannah, Georgia.  It was about an hour and half away from Hilton Head, in the direction of home so it was a great side trip.

We took a narrated trolley tour and really enjoyed it.  It took an hour and a half but you can get off and back on if you like.

We got off the trolley and walked around the market and went to see Paula Deen's store and were super excited as you can tell.

Here's something they were excited about...Mellow Mushroom!  It was our second time (different locations) on the trip.  

We had a great tour guide, Cindy, who was an excellent story teller and said y'all about every 10th word.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

The beach!

Our resort was not on the beach.  It did have access to the beach though with a beach house and pool.

If you look carefully you can spot Kevin ( he had orange swimming trunks) putting up our sun tent.   I do mean tent, no umbrella for us :)! 

  Our first day we rented bikes and rode the 1.5 mile bike path to the beach.  There are really nice bike trails all over Hilton Head and they are highly used.  However, there are parts of the path that are right next to traffic, really right next to!  Like last year's horse back riding, this year's bike riding had me praying out loud.  We took the shuttle to and from the beach after that adventure.  

We carted a lot with us each day but we were never sorry to have any of the things we packed!

                                 The water was incredible, really warm and full of big, fun waves.

We built a little sand village, which obviously had to have a library, that's the ringed building, and a zoo, that's the structure with the whale.

And then the tide started moving in closer and closer so the girls had nearly as much fun destroying the village.

The beach house pool was smaller than the resort pool and didn't have a slide but the girls still had a great time swimming.  Lucy loved playing in the splash pad and of course they all loved the Mickey bars and Dole whip.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hilton Head Island

This winter Kevin and I made a map titled "Possible Vacation Spots".  Our map has St. Louis as the starting point and includes spots in all directions, all 12 hours driving time or under.    We looked at quite a few really great possibilities but decided on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  We chose Hilton Head because -

1.) it has a beach
2.) it fit our driving criteria
3.) we easily found a resort which fit our other criteria

which was

1.) family friendly
2.) a condo
3.) a resort feel
4.) beach access

The resort we decided on was Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort.  We loved this place and would  highly recommend it to any family.    Like all other Disney properties it was pristine and the staff was excellent.  Staying at a resort that caters to kids meant that it was just really easy to be there with kids.  There was a playground on site, a beautiful walking/biking path throughout the resort, hammocks all over the place, shuffle board, a pirate party and dinner one night, free Disney movie rentals, a resident dog, cookies and lemonade set out at the main lodge for hungry kiddos, a campfire with smores in the evening and the list goes on.  And our condo was totally kid proof!    When we arrived there was a pack and play (along with two queen beds) in the girls room, we told Lucy that Mickey brought it for her.  She loved that and slept like a dream in it every single night.  Amazing.   Another amazing thing was we never had a ask twice for the kids to bathe or shower.

You guessed it, passy was in full use for this trip!  NO nap were taken or even attempted but passy pulled us through!
  This was the tub in our room, the kids had their own but these two loved this one!  As if they'd not already had enough water time each bath was at least a half an hour long, sometimes longer.  That little window was into the master bedroom.  They were even known to watch a Disney show in our room while in the tub....I must admit, it was pretty easy to get myself showered and ready with this set up!

Here's our little home sweet home.  I called a few weeks before we got there and requested a second floor condo by the pool, which was indeed a great locale for us.  This picture was taken while we were at the pool.

We all had shriveled toes and fingers every day of this vacation!  The weather  was great with temps in the low 80's and the pool water was 84 degrees.  It made for very fun swimming.  Lucy loved this one foot toddler pool.

The big girls had fun in the bigger pool.  I took this photo from our condo porch.  The pool was never busy (except for the night of the Pirate Party) and on several occasions....we were on Missouri time in the Eastern time zone so we were pretty early risers...we had the pool nearly all to ourselves.

The water slide was a huge hit with the girls!

Of course there's always time for reading!

Our days were fun and active and by the evening we we had some really tired kids 

  who loved the fact that the room had Disney channel, something they do not have at home.  They logged some good time here a lot of evenings!  

Our week ended way too fast and this is exactly what we all thought of that!