Monday, August 29, 2011

4th of July

Yes, once again in real time it's near the end of August and I'm pretty behind on this blog. Summer has been soooooo busy!  Every year I think it won't be as busy and then it goes by so fast. But we still have almost three weeks left of summer, and I don't want it to be over too soon. I'm gonna do my best to post once a day til I'm caught up.

So, 4th of July. We started the day by going to a parade with the Steve's parents. It was so nice just to walk to a parade instead of driving.

You'd have thought it was Halloween with all the candy they threw out of the cars and floats.

Steve made his BBQ ribs again, which were awesome! It's been four years now that we've hosted 4th of July at our house. I really love doing it, but by the end of the night I feel like I didn't have that much time to talk with anyone.

The kids had a great time. Our next door neighbors came over with their daughter, and the kids made bubbles with a bubble gun my brother brought over for them.

We thought we'd drive to the fireworks this year, but we wound up circling and circling until we gave up and went back home. I don't even know why we attempted to drive anyways; we can see the fireworks great from our front lawn.  It was another beautiful, memorable holiday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hikes & Bikes

July has been a month of hiking a biking. We started off in the beginning of the month with a trip to Mattheissen State Park.  We were headed for Starved Rock, a nearby State Park, but Steve wanted to stop at Mattheissen first. He'd remembered going there with his family as a teen and wanted to see if they still had the same stepping stones across the creek.

We wound of staying there the rest of the afternoon. I'm glad because I think it was more beautiful than Starved Rock. Maybe it was just the section we were in, but I loved the cliffs, the narrow gorges and creeks.

Both kids still ride with training wheels ( I think that's partly our fault for not taking them off and letting them practice more), but they can sure make their bikes fly! It's the first year that it's actually been fun to go bike riding. We can go for longer trips, and both kids do great keeping up.

We took a three mile bike loop ride around the Brookfield Zoo, stopping every once in a while to swing on branches and throw sticks in the water. We also took another longer bike ride in the woods near the Grau Mill in the Fullersburg Woods. Halfway through we stopped at the nature center for some play before riding to the creek and throwing branches in the water.

After the long, hot, sticky afternoon, we came back home to roast some hot, sticky Smores over the fire pit!

Another weekend in July we drove to my sister's house. My mom and I took Alexa and my sister's son for a bike ride around the block and then down to her pond. I'm so glad that even though it's almost the middle of August as I write this, the kids arn't about to go school in a few weeks. We don't have to think of this as the end of summer, but can look forward to at least two more months of great weather to go out and explore more wonderful nature areas near our home. I love our unschooled life!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wet & Wild Summer Fun

It's been a fun, fun summer this year. We've been out a lot more than last summer;  I think that's because it's been a lot hotter this summer than last. There's been hose play, pool play, and fill up bowls and dump them out play.

Our area has been hit pretty hard with storms this summer. We've been very blessed not to lose power for more than five minutes at a time. We've had a lot of big branches come down but none that have caused any damage. We've flooded once, which is a big pain as we've had to totally disinfect the entire basement floor. During one rain, Steve went out with the kids to float boats near the curb.

There's also been lots of crazy, silly fun, too.

This is their "little old lady" look.

They like to pile every blanket and pillow in the house to make a "roller coaster."

Jared LOVES to tie things up, even himself!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Friends

There are a few girls that stay next door with their grandmother during the summer months. They're just a few years older than the twins, and they love to come over and play with the them.

The neighbors have a small pool, so the kids have been over there a lot, too. It's been nice because they haven't been into swimming that much. It would be nice to know they can swim since we love being around water as often as we can. It's also been strange having the kids have "friends." They've always had kids they've played with, but now they run out of the house the minute other kids are outside. Please don't grow up too fast!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weekend with the Family

The last weekend in June we had a wonderful visit with Steve's aunt and grandmother who came in from Missouri for a visit. We usually only see them once or twice a year, so it was a great treat.

It was also great to go for a second weekend in a row to Steve's brother's house. Even though they only live about 40 minutes away, for some reason we hardly see them during the year, too. The kids also played with a few of their cousins for a while, too, something that also doesn't happen that much.

The next day we had Steve's aunt, grandmother, parents, and sister-in-law over to hang out and then order some pizza. We put out the pool for the kids.

I kinda felt bad that I didn't cook for everyone, but they don't get to have pizza like we do near Chicago, so it was a treat for them.

My favorite, favorite part of the evening was when the kids ran around the yard collecting fireflies and bringing them back to their granddad. I just can't get over the look of wonder in their faces. May it never disappear.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June 20-24

We've been weaving together days full of slow, random fun at home with busy days full of activities away from home. I think the days at home are the most creative. Lately games have been put to different uses than what the developers had in mind :)

My daughter would be on the computer, or with her nose in a book all day if I didn't suggest other things to do with me. She LOVES anything to do with different cultures or animals. We found two great computer games at the library she's been playing the past two weeks.

Explorapedia (we actually bought this later at a thrift store) is really more like an encyclopedia than a game, but it's all about animals. Alexa loves reading facts about animals and telling us what she's learned.

Travel the World with Timmy follows Timmy the Turtle to different countries of the world.

The kids ransacked our underwear drawer and decided to play "underwear warriors."

We were over one weekend to my husband's brother's house. They have a new huge trampoline that the kids adored. Fun, fun, fun!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Father's Day

My dad loves fishing. Besides baseball, fishing was the only other thing he really liked to do when we were little, even though he didn't get to do it that often. My sister's husband loves to fish, too; he has his own gear and everything. Steve, on the other hand, is kinda iffy about fishing; he'll try it if everyone else is doing it. I think his dad is the same way, too.

So, to give it a try, we went to the Lake View Nature Center in Oakbrook for Father's Day. We met everyone after church and a quick lunch as Tom's. My dad and Joe caught some small fish, but no luck for the kids. I guess you can tell who the real fishermen were!

The center usually has paddle boats you can rent for $3 per half hour, but they weren't renting that day. So, we hung out in the nature center for awhile....

....and then took a walk around the pond, a run down the hill and ended up at the playground.

Before saying goodbye to Steve's parents, we gave his dad our gift to him - some lights for his backyard and a new grill top.

After leaving the nature center we went to my mom's house for a chili dinner and dessert.

I am so thankful for my wonderful husband. I've never met another man who spends as much time with his children as Steve does. We're very blessed to have him.