Tuesday, September 25, 2012

another birthday

A mere 2 weeks after celebrating Clara's birthday, we were at it again.  This time, daddy turned a year older.  Great grandpa mailed a birthday card to me and of course included a couple of toys for the girls (tugboats that Janny is proudly holding).
I fear that Clara and Janny are turning into night owls.  Last night Clara needed to go potty at 11:30 (maybe she was awake until then, but we don't know for sure), and was heard running in the living room afterwards (to get more toys to play with).  As I'm writing this at 9:50 local time, they are in their beds, but Clara is playing with wooden toys and Janny is humming-singing.
Janny likes to read books now.  Yea!  Both girls like to watch Toy Story 3 every day.  Smartly, we have figured out that we can start the movie about 2/3 through.  As long as they get to see the end, they are happy.  Not sure how long before Clara protests this strategy.
To mix things up a bit for my birthday celebration, we invited lots of friends to an old fashioned pizza party, albeit with a slight twist.  Village Inn has a few video games inside, but outside there are sand volleyball courts and softball fields.  We had planned to play a little volleyball before lunch.  A few brave souls joined us to battle strong winds and rather chilly (for September) temps.  Very quickly, we were inside eating pizza and cake.
 This is how we look in fall 2012.
So far, it feels good to have a another prime number age.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

scary bridge

With a little help from google maps, I headed out (needless to say via bicycle) to a local bridge that I'd never seen before.  As I suspected, it is quite not maintained.  But surprisingly, there were no barricades on either side and no warning signs.  As a civil engineer who knows nothing about structures, I decided it would probably not collapse if I walked across.  Several planks were missing and there is no guard rail.  I was pleasantly frightened by the height of the bridge, maybe 20 feet to the stream below.
Riding across was out of the question, as I'm no Danny Macaskill.  I rode the race bike out there, so I had my fancy bike shoes.  I won't do that again.  I also have no plans to take the girls here ever.
Recent rains have decreased our drought severity to moderate (from extreme!), but the corn still remembers the hot, dry summer.  Many corn fields around here look bleak, though the soy beans seem to have done better.
Janny has been a little sick this week.  Except for a fever, she hasn't had many symptoms other than crying-all-the-time-isitis.  Somehow she mustered the strength to ham it up for the camera.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Clara is 3 now!

Clara turned 3 this week!  In her mind, she has been 3 for four months, but the actual birthday finally arrived.   There was much celebration.  In the morning, several of her good friends (and their moms) came over for the kid party.  I took a long lunch to see the 2nd half of the festivities.
Jill made this yummy cake and cupcake spread.  She also made chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies which were shared with friends and neighbors at the evening open house party.  And Jill's Mom and Dad did a story and games for the kid party, plus they did a ton of cleaning and served food at the open house.  We'd have been crazy to attempt the 2-party day without them.
I am already starting to feel like Steve Martin in Father of the Bride.  It's so hard to experience the kids' big events and document/prepare for them also.  I like the enthralled looks on all the kids faces for this photo.
Turning 3 was no ordinary milestone for Clara.  It also meant that she could join a preschool class (that has been in session for 2 weeks already).  Her monkey backpack has 3 bottles of glue for upcoming crafts.
Mommy and Janny accompanied Clara for the 3 block hike to school.  Clara was so excited that she ate even less breakfast than normal.  Somehow she doesn't starve.
The verdict for preschool:  Clara loves it.  And what is not to love?  There are lots of other kids, toys, and even tricycles.  Her teacher's comment was that Clara is not shy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

mini Mi reunion

We drove up to Athens, MI, to spend some quality time with the maternal-paternal side of the family.  Since Jill is now watching an additional 2 year old on Wed and Fridays, we couldn't get on the road until after 5.  Which meant that we didn't get on the road until closer to 6.  An hour later we ate dinner at Burger King in Gilman.  Not much later, I made a wrong turn.  Later still we (except for the sleeping Janny) had to eat ice cream treats at a gas station.  At 1:45 am local time, we arrived at great-grandpa's house to a warm greeting (I think/hope that he was sleeping prior to our arrival).

On the way home, we drove during the day.  I'm preferring night driving now. At least one of the kids is asleep and we need to stop way less often.
We visited an apple orchard that was hurting for apples due to the great 2012 drought.  Our county is 9" short of rain on the year.
Fabulous cousins (now with spouse/fiancee/girlfriend) and uncles and aunts joined the reunion.  Local-boy-made-pastor Rick preached at Factoryville Bible church on Sunday morning.
Athens is super-duper rural.  Dirt roads abound.  This broken bridge means that instead of 3/4 mile between Aunt Kevin's house and great-grandpa's, one must drive 4 1/2 miles.  It's still strong enough for fishing.
On the way home, we drove across a covered bridge near Centreville.  The roof and supports are clearly not original, but it still has a wooden deck.  We saw a big green frog on a log near the river.
Only 3 days remain until our biggest kid turns 3.  She's been looking forward to her birthday for a solid 2 months.  Grandma S is planning the games for the morning kid party, and we invited a whole bunch of friends for an open house evening party.