July 29, 2013

We have teeth!

It's kind of hard to tell from this picture but there are two tiny little teeth poking out of those bottom gums!

The biggest clue was the fact that he is drooling constantly and can't seem to take his fingers out of his mouth. 

I have a feeling he'll be pretty excited to chew on some solids in a few weeks!

July 23, 2013

Summer is hard

On Sunday, I planned to go for my morning running before the kids got up. Well, my alarm went off and I could hear Finley talking in her monitor - so that changed those plans. I decided to come up with an alternative.

After naptime we loaded both kids up and drove to Algoma Park, just a couple miles down the road. Paul and Finley were going to play on the playground while I pushed Fisher in the jogging stroller around the 0.65 mile looped path. It was only 80 so not TOO hot (although much hotter than it would have been at 7 am!) and the park was not crowded - PERFECT.

Not so much, after my third lap around the loop I turned the corner to see Finley's legs in the air near the swings. Apparently she was trying to swing on her belly and got a little too crazy and landed face first in the mulch. When I got closer, the poor girl was covered from head to toe in mulch, tears and snot.

I'd like to say it's looking better but it actually looked worse as the night went on. I guess the one thing I can be thankful for is that the kiddos had their pictures professionally taken LAST week, and not this one!

July 22, 2013

Town & Country Days

Every year the town of Sparta is all a buzz for Town & Country Days. There are all kinds of festivities from 3-on-3 basketball tournaments to craft shows, a local 5k to tractor pulls. We decided to strap on our townie hats and participate as best we could in the 95 degree heat. We took Finley to the Boy Scout games booth where she played Plinko, dug for treasure and picked a floating duck. Then we walked all around the carnival, allowing her to pick out one ride that she could go on.

After touring the lay of the land. Finley decided she wanted to go on the Dizzy Dragons (kind of like the teacups in Disney). But as soon as we approached the Dizzy Dragons, she saw a little girl going around and around on the train and she changed her mind. So train it was.

July 16, 2013

Day trip to Ludington

Last week, we planned a day trip to Ludington, which is a town on the coast of Lake Michigan about an hour and a half northwest of Sparta, where we live. Our desire to explore Michigan has us reaching into new territory for us. It reminded me of a news segment that was on the local news when I grew up in Ohio - "One Tank Trips" where the TV personality highlighted fun things that you can do with only one tank of gas.

Anyway, we had our plan for the day and hit the ground running. Our first stop was SandCastles Children's Museum. It was a cute, small childrens museum with mostly pretend play exhibits (vs. science exhibits which are geared toward older kids). Finley LOVED sitting in the real airplane and buckling and un-buckling her seatbelt. "Safety First" she kept saying ;)

Fisher is still a little young for the Children's Museum...

Finley enjoyed pretending to pick vegetables. She only picked the carrots and told me that she didn't like onions or beets.

She was a pro at going through the grocery store. She put her food up on the belt and paid some random girl who was pretending to be the cashier.

Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this Children's Museum! It was affordable (I think it was $4.50 per person), just the right size and had plenty of fun for Finley.

Next we hit up the beach. We knew that the beach would not be an all day thing for us so we opted to use the free city beach park vs. the state park, which you have to pay to enter. First we had a picnic lunch which we had packed. Then we changed in to suits and got ready for the beach!

Fisher and I mostly hung out on our beach blanket. I am paranoid of him getting in the sun since he isn't old enough for sunscreen yet so he stayed shaded in the comfort of his carseat.

Meanwhile, Paul and Finley played in the cold water and sand for a couple of hours.

After the beach, we cleaned up and put both kids in strollers to walk around the antique shops in town. Not all of the shops were very stroller friendly but we managed to get in and out. At our last shop of the day, Paul may have found a diamond in the rough.... but that is TBD as we're waiting to see what he can get for it. I'll keep you posted!

July 15, 2013

5 months!

A few days ago, we celebrated Fisher's 5 month birthday! Well actually, we didn't really celebrate it.... just noticed that he was 5 months old on the calendar.
Here he is posing with his turtle on the growth chair:

Of course, Finley wanted in on the action too...

July 6, 2013

Mystery Trip

Yesterday we met up with Paul's family for a "Mystery Trip". They planned to take everyone to a surprise fun location so we were on board!

After loading all the family up into three different cars, we drove through the country roads and arrived at Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park. It is kind of like a zoo but it is privately owned. Even though it is smaller, as in area (not as much walking!), I'm pretty sure it had just as many animals as a big zoo! There were zebras, giraffes, crocodiles, peacocks, wildebeasts, monkeys, snakes, lizards, etc.
The kids (and adults) loved it!

Finley petting a waloby when we first arrived:

The animals were so close for petting!

Finley is NOT ready for a pet chick, we're pretty sure she almost squeezed it to death.

The giraffes were hungry!

They had several crocodiles, I couldn't believe how big and close they were!

Fisher enjoyed it all too :)

July 5, 2013

Don't put a worm on your brother's face

On the 4th of July, Paul and his dad headed out to Burley Park to sell their "inventory" (aka junk) at a big holiday flea market.  Although I am glad that Paul has a profitable hobby, (like my profitable sewing hobby...) I have absolutely NO interest in accompanying them to the flea market. So the kids and I stayed home for the day to relax.

We spent the morning relaxing. Finley watched a little PBS while I finished up some work projects. We soon decided it was time to paint our toenails blue and color a birthday card for Big Poppy (Paul's dad). Later in the afternoon, the kids and I went outside to weed the gardens. Finley was getting antsy and wanting to go back inside. She kept singing the clean up song and was taking all of my gardening tools back into the garage. The trick to buying some more weeding time was finding a big, juicy worm for Finley to play with.

Never did I realize the words "Don't put your worm on Fisher's face", "Please don't touch the worm to your mouth" "Please keep the worm off of Fisher's arm" would come out of my mouth so frequently. Surprisingly, this single worm entertained Finley for at least 20 minutes until Paul and Big Poppy came home. Toward the end of her time with the worm, Finley came up to me and told me she made a worm sandwich. I looked in her hand and in between two pieces of mulch was a curled up, not moving (dead) worm. I told her that he was sleeping....

July 3, 2013

Finley at the Dentist

I've been dragging my feet on when to schedule Finley's first dentist appointment. My dentist's office had told me they like to do the first appointment when the child turns one, just to sit on the dentist's lap and get used to being in the office?!?!!? Well that sounded like a load of nonsense to me, especially since Finley's first tooth didn't errupt until 11 months. So I've been procrastinating ever since.

I set a goal for myself that she'd go to the dentist before she's three so with six weeks to spare, we headed to the dentist today. We've been prepping for the dentist for weeks. We've watched youtube videos on going to the dentist. We've pretended to play dentist when we brush her teeth. We try to hype up things that might be new for her so we hope it is exciting, not scary. I think it worked.

When we got to the dentist, she was first excited to play with the toys in the waiting room. Then the hygenist came out to get her. Finley jumped into her arms and said bye to Paul and I.... I think it caught the hygenist off guard. Needless to say, we went back to the room with her and cheered her on from the corner. She counted all the teeth and Finley opened wide like a champ.

She thought the grape toothpaste was tasty and the polishing toothbrush tickled.

All in all, it was a good visit. Apparently 2 year old's teeth should have little gaps in between each tooth. Finley's top teeth are kind of tight together which essentially means she's going to have some janky adult teeth. Basically we were told braces are in her future. Awesome. I guess we'll go from saving for preschool to saving for braces. :)

July 2, 2013

Pitiful Pantry

I like being organized but it is definitely not my strongest skill. Paul, on the other hand, is AWESOME at putting stuff back where it belongs and having a system for organization.

Today, my goal is to get this monstrosity closer to a neat organized pantry ......

Ugh. I have my work cut out for me.

Any suggestions for pantry organization?
P.S. I'm slightly embarrassed that I'm putting this out there for all to see.

June 30, 2013

Pure Michigan Summer

In Michigan, the tourism industry has advertisements titled "Pure Michigan" which highlight the fun, outdoorsy, cultural things you can do throughout Michigan. In addition to being surrounded by the Great Lakes, this state is also known for it's thousands of tiny lakes which range from ponds to all-sports vacation mecas. One of my goals for this summer is to take advantage of some of the natural recreation areas that we have practically in our backyard.

During the school year, Paul's schedule dictates much of what we do as a family. But during the summer, Paul doesn't go into school much at all and has an ABUNDANCE of family time. Now that I'm working part-time, I was really looking forward to this summer to have the opportunity to take little day trips as a family.

After Finley's nap on Friday, we told her we were going on a surprise trip. Unfortunately it started thunderstorming during her nap. I kept my eyes on the radar and thought that maybe the lake that we were planning to go to may have missed this cell of storms. So we decided to take our chances and drive about 12 miles to Grose Park at Crockery Lake.


I think the weather scared the people off because we were literally the only people at the beach.

Finley braved her way into the water and played around with Paul.

Fisher and I hung out on the sidewalk that surrounded the tiny beach.

Afterwards, Finley and Paul played on the playground (which they have both big equipment AND preschool friendly equipment) while Fisher and I observed their fun.

We definitely will be returning to this park. There were also hiking trails that had mileage marked off in case Paul and I want to go for a run and then dip in the lake to cool off.

So, who wants to come visit?

June 27, 2013

Channeling my Amish Goddess

Yesterday, my mom plus the family headed for a one day road trip to Shipshewana, IN. This Amish community has become a meca of antiques, craft stores, a flea market and antiques auction. Although the real reason I wanted to go there was for the bulk foods store.

Paul found some good deals at the auction which he plans to resell. Finley was enamored with all the horses and even posed for a picture at a horse display.

Fisher was pretty much cashed out in the carrier all day. Paul and I took turns carrying that 18 pound sack of cuteness around in the carrier.

But the highlight of our day was a huge haul at the bulk foods store. 50 pounds of oats, 50 pounds of flour, 3 pounds popcorn, 6 pounds brown rice, 3 pounds Rice Krispies, 2 pounds wheat germ, 2 pounds mini chocolate chips and 3 pounds of spices: I'm pretty sure we're good on these staples for a little while.... I plan on continuing to make boatloads of homemade granola bars and tons of cookies for my brother's wedding.

Now on to researching proper storage of flour and oats..... Oy! I may have bit off more than I can chew!

On the docket today - work, meet with a private client, get a quick run in at the Y and weed the garden... it's getting ridiculous!

June 25, 2013

Versatile Bean Salad

A few times each year we have Paul's team over for dinner.  I usually try to have tasty, home-cooked foods that college students will enjoy yet are still a little on the healthy side. Additionally, we host small group at our house two Sundays each month. We have a loosely organized pot luck dinner and I'm always trying new recipes. To be honest, I often take the opportunity to try a recipe that I think Paul might not love so I won't be stuck with a ton of leftovers!!

Anyway, the last time that I had the team over and last Sunday for small group I made this Bean Salad. (Adapted from here). It's super easy, relatively affordable and pretty versatile. It can be served as a side dish, as a dip with tortilla chips or (as shown below) as a topping on top of a salad with a few crushed up tortilla chips. A few people asked for the recipe so - here ya go!

Three Bean Salad

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
3/4 cup red onion, very finely minced
3/4 cup carrot, very finely minced
1 jalapeno, very finely minced
Large handful cilantro, minced
2/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 teaping tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Combine beans, corn, onion, carrot, and jalapeno in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over bean mixture and cover tightly. Refrigerate a few hours. Stir and serve.

Serves a crowd: Makes 12+ servings!

June 24, 2013

USA Outdoor T&F Championships

Several of Paul's athletes qualified for the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, IA so we decided to make a family trip out of it and fill up the team van with carseats for an 8 hour trip out into the Great Plains. I crammed my booty between two car seats while Finley entertained a few of the athletes on our trip.

We made it to Drake Stadium and it was HOT. But Finley was a trooper, even stopped to pose with the Drake Bulldog.

The first two days we watched Paul's athlete, Deon, compete in the Junior Decathlon. It's all the same events as the regular decathlon, just for athletes under 20 years old. We moved around the stadium from event-to-event and even found this little nook of shade for the high jump and shot put.

Fish and Fin were troopers though. We kept Fisher in the shade the majority of the time by keeping him in his car seat with the shade up. We kept Finley slathered in sun screen and made her drink more water and Gatorade than she could ever imagine.

Day 3 started the senior decathlon (as well as other events!) This is Ashton Eaton, the current world record holder in the decathlon, about to start the 400m in the decathlon. We also saw several world records broken that day.... crazy!

We made it home safely, and needless to say, the kids were exhausted! (As were mom and dad!)

Indy for Father's Day

For Father's Day weekend we packed up the kids and drove five hours down to Indianapolis. Paul's brother, wife and our nephew live there and we were also joined by Paul's parents, brother Daniel and sister Molly.

The main activity of the week was beginning to build a gargantuan deck. But the kids decided that playing in the pool and blowing bubbles was much more entertaining!

But we managed to pick a ton of strawberries for making jam.

Also a walk around the neighborhood. My work is piloting an activity competition app so I needed to make sure I got my 30 minutes of activity! I think I may have burned about 100 calories at the pace that we were going :)

 Finley and Aunt Molly swinging on the front porch - yes, finley has on safety goggles.

Up from the dead

I've decided to resurrect my blog, with a little revamp in mind.

First, let's do a quick update on all the family members since I last blogged 10 months ago:

Finley: Now almost 3, talking up a storm, opinionated, a big helper and a big sister!

Fisher: Born in February 2013, affectionately referred to as "The Tank", quite possibly the most smiley, mild-tempered baby I've ever encountered.

Paul: Getting busier by the day, still a track coach but now also working on his MBA.

Jody: Mom of 2 crazies, now working part-time, still enjoys creating in the kitchen, trying to get back in shape, and crafts for stress relief.

I've decided that this blog will become more than just a recap of what's going on in our lives for our out of town family to keep up with us. I am also going to share recipes that I've tried, use it as an accountability for my workouts, post pictures of new crafts I'm making AND regular ramblings of whats going on with our family.