Monday, June 25, 2012

Father's Day continued....

Here is Abbey washing off her geode...

Ben shows off what it looks like inside!

It was a great day!  We stopped on the way back for dinner and everyone was very well behaved during the day, especially considering we skipped naps (although they did all fall asleep on the drive back).  

Paul, thank you for being an amazing father to our 3 crazy kids.  I am so thankful to be sharing my life with you.  I love you!

And, Happy Father's Day to my wonderful father, father-in-law, and grand-father.  I love you all so much and am so blessed to have you in my life.
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Father's Day!

Every year we look forward to Father's Day so we can celebrate what an amazing Daddy we have in our family! We started the day by making a big breakfast for Paul - the kids were sure to help - and then we headed out on an adventure to the Cave of the Mounds near Madison, WI. I had seen an ad for it in Chicago Parenting Magazine and knew it would be a good day trip for us. The kids were excited, but slightly nervous that we would find bears in the cave! The day was beautiful and it was about 2 hours away, so when we got there, the kids were anxious to get out and play around on the beautiful grounds by the cave!

Juliette enjoyed walking on the "balance beam"!

I had packed a picnic lunch for us...

The picnic was a great way to start our adventure!

While we waited for our tour to start, we ventured over to the kids area where they could dig for treasures (that you could then buy).  The kids had a lot of fun in this area because it was basically a huge sand box with treasures hidden in the sand!

Good job Abbey!

Daddy enjoyed it too :)

But then it was time for our tour of the cave!  The girls were a little nervous at first, but then they got into it.  It was really amazing!

The kids are doing their best bear impressions...

I love Juju's bear in this picture with Daddy...

Awww, how sweet!

The cave had a lot of stalagmites and stalactites.  It was just amazing to see all the cave formations. And we learned that when a stalagmite and stalactite grow together it forms a tower.  This one is almost forming a tower...

And there were a lot of cave drippings, which they called cave kisses, and Ben is trying to get one in this picture.

Yay Daddy!

I thought this was a cool tunnel with water flowing down it.

After the tour was over, it was back to the kids area for more digging.

We didn't buy any of the treasures that the kids found, but they did have geodes you could buy that they would then split open to find a pretty treasure.  So we got one for the kids to share.  Here is the woman using the machine to split it open.  The kids were very enthralled.

Amazingly, it split into 3 pieces!!!  So everyone got a piece and then we went to wash it in the mining area.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Strawberry Picking

After we got back from TN, we went full swing into our summer activities. Monday morning, Ben had swim lessons, Abbey had dance camp, and Ben had rookie ball that night! Whew summer is busy! So on Tuesday, we were able to do a fun summer activity...we met up with Aunt Domi, Caroline and Hunter and went strawberry picking! We went last year too, but we went a good bit later in June and the berries were pretty picked over at that point. So this year we wanted to go earlier, especially with all the heat we have been having (meaning the crop was ready earlier this year). Good decision...there were a ton of strawberries and we all had fun picking them! Here is one super cute strawberry picker...

Look Juju...can you find one?

Here's the group...

Oh she found one!  She actually ate a lot of strawberries along the way too.

Abbey liked going from plant to plant to find the best ones.

Great job Ben!

He took it very seriously!

All the kids filled their baskets by the end of the morning.

And then it was time for a tasty donuts and strawberry smoothies! 

What a great group!

That was a lot of fun - I love activities like this!  We came home with 10 pounds of perfectly red and delicious strawberries!  We made strawberry muffins to start with.  I had a lot of plans for using them,  but the kids have eaten them all up!  I put some on salads and we used it as a topping for ice cream, but other than that, we have just eaten them all!  They were all really sweet and yummy!  Can't wait to do it again next year!
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TN Visit

Ben's last day of kindergarten (sniff, sniff) was Wednesday, so we decided to kick off summer with a quick trip down to Tennessee to visit Mama Kay and Papa and hang out at the lake. Paul had to work, but luckily we were able to go down with Aunt Domi, Caroline, and Hunter. So early Thursday morning, we loaded the kids up and drove down to TN. The trip went relatively smoothly (considering we had 5 kids with us) and we got there in plenty of time for a nice afternoon swim, some delicious bbq, and then a PJ cruise on the boat! I think the kids are excited about the PJ cruise...

My cuties... 
They each got to take a turn driving the boat!

And they loved riding in the front of the boat and watching everything! 

Someone had to keep a hold of Juju though as she leaned so far over the boat that she could have fallen in!   

This was also Belle's first trip to the lake.  She was pretty excited to be there, although I don't think she was thrilled when we threw her in the lake.  It was pretty amazing to watch though - she just instantly knew how to swim.  At first she was a little clumsy at it making big splashes, but before long she was gliding gracefully through the water.  She didn't love it the way Chien did, but I seem to remember having to throw Chien in a lot when he was a puppy too so I am holding out hope that next summer (or maybe the summer after that) she will be jumping in herself the way Chien did. 

The kids also love going out on Mama Kay's boat! 

These two loved being on the motor boat...

And this is Caroline using the beginning water skiing float behind the boat!

This is what Ben thought about that float though... 

We went to the beach/playground they have that the kids really enjoy!  I helped Ben make a moat around his castle. 

Juliette loved the water a bit too much.  She would go deeper and deeper and thankfully I kept a very close eye on her and only had to sprint across the beach once to pull her up from under the water - yikes!  It was scary for me, but she was only under a second or two before I got to her.   She is fearless when it comes to the water.

The kids buried Abbey in the sand. 

Good dog! 

On Friday night, Paul flew in and early the next morning, the kids were anxious to go fishing with him off the dock.  Here are Abbey and Juliette checking out the fishing equipment. 

Daddy helping Ben fish... 

Yay!  They caught one!  The best thing about fishing off the dock is that you usually catch something pretty quickly, so the kids love it and don't lose interest (which can happen when you fish for hours without catching anything). 

Ben and his fish. 

Daddy had a rule that whoever caught the fish had to kiss it, but he was the only one who actually adhered to that rule! 

This is what Caroline thought about Paul's rule... 
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