Sunday, August 30, 2009

Can You Do The Can Can??

Well, on top of Thomas' birthday and a few other things I decided to re-finish my dining room chairs (all 7 of them) and do a little canning in the last 2 weeks.

I'll post about the furniture later when I finish the table too. However, I have canned about 15 jars of Zucchini Salsa, 7 jars of Raspberry Rhubarb jam, and 35 jars (about 65 lbs) of peaches. I must say, I'm pretty proud of my accomplishment. I am absolutely exhausted!! but VERY proud! Now on to my next projects...2 quilts and re finishing my dining room table. Oh yes, and getting my kids ready to start school next week!!

Thomas is 3!

This is the birthday boy right before his pre-birthday haircut...he was REALLY past due!
Here's our little sweetheart on the big day! We had already been to another birthday party that morning and so he had some nice "swim hair" going on.
I had made a little lion cut out for our game (Thanks Holly for the was a HUGE hit). But before we fed "Leo the Lion" (or "Kevin" as Zac called him) his water balloon diet I had all the kids get their picture with him.

Thomas was SO excited to greet his party guests as they arrived...
Let the water balloon throwing begin!!!

Most of them weren't the best shot... but boy did they have fun!
We had some pizza and crazy bread...Thomas was in HEAVEN! I couldn't get him to stop eating long enough to get a picture. When asked what he wanted for his birthday he said he wanted "pizza, cake, ice cream and a red present". He doesn't ask for much!

We did a Jungle party theme...and here was the cake...
We sang happy birthday and we're pretty sure it was Nixon that actually blew out the candles but Thomas was sure trying (He thought he did it on his own).
I love how Elise is the only one in this picture singing (enthusiastically too I might add).

We had a pinata and presents but I didn't have my camera out for those. Every gift has been put to good use already! Thank you everyone! The kids had a blast running around outside. The weather was perfect, not too hot or cold and no humidity!! It was a busy day but all worth it for our sweetheart. Happy Birthday Thomas! We sure love you!


As the "Activities Chairperson" I was was in charge of putting on the annual church family camp out again this year. I'm not a rugged camper by any means so we camped at a beautiful camp ground with wonderful modern bathrooms and a nice big pavilion to eat our breakfast in (which came in handy when we were caught in a crazy downpour by about 9am). It was nothing too fancy, once you get the kids out doors with their friends, give them some s'mores around the campfire and throw in sleeping in a tent...what more entertainment do you need? We bought our first tent this year. I couldn't decide what to get (that was within our budget). Once we were at the store we realized that the picking was slim (being the end of the season) so we were stuck between SQUEEZING the 5 of us into a 4-6 man dome tent or an 11 man tent. Since I am famous for OVER packing and we are soon to be a family of 6 we went for the larger one (and boy is it BIG!). I will admit it might be a little bigger than we NEEDED...we had 2 queen size air mattresses in there and easily had room for a 3rd. At least we will never out grow this one.

The kids had a blast running around with their friends and telling "scary stories" in the dark. Here is Elise with 2 of her friends.

One by one the kids came to me ASKING to go to bed... we had the 3 of them sleeping sideways on a queen size air mattress and it worked quite well.
I LOVE when my kids are in a deep sleep...Thomas looks so sweet and innocent (he's probably just dreaming about wrestling and "punching the kids"...). Oh, my sweet little Thomas!

I will admit that after only a few hours of uncomfortable sleep I wasn't the sweetest camper in the took me a few days to be able to walk "normal" again but over all the camp out was a success and we will definitely do it again.

Dead Fish Anyone??

This summer we put both Elise and Zac in swim lessons (Thomas was too about 3 inches). Zac, (as I mentioned in an earlier post) has started to overcome his fear of water this summer. We thought that we had better jump on this opportunity to get him in the pool with these AWESOME instructors. Elise had them last year and she LOVED them! As for the "dead fish", the pool is on the canal and for the first week of lessons there were a few dead fish in water by the boat ramps. This was SO exciting that Thomas would wake up in the morning just beaming saying "we're going to see the DEAD FISH!". I admit that they were pretty gross to look at...especially by day 5! But, it got the kids up and moving out the door a lot faster if they new that we could try to see the dead fish before lessons.
Well the first few days the weather was a little chilly (did I mention it's an outdoor pool?). Once the weather warmed up the kids were in full swing and having a blast in the water. I didn't take too many pictures but here is Zac (with the red noodles) swimming around. The first session he had a bunch of little boys in his class with him...actually another named Zac. He came home one day and said "Mom! there's ANOTHER Zac Rhodenizer in my class!". I had to explain that there was another Zac but not another Rhodenizer.
He had a lot of fun and the instructors seemed to know how to handle him just right so he would cooperate.

Here is Elise going down the water slide with her favorite teacher "Mr. Nick". I'm sad that we didn't get a close up picture of her with her teachers (Thomas was running to the playground by himself at this point so I needed to snap a quick picture and run after him). She did very well this year. She passed level one and had a lot of fun in level 2. Now she is swimming under water and doing cannon balls without a life jacket!

Here is Zac with his FAVORITE teacher, "Miss Frankie". He thought all the male instructors were pretty cool but he would try ANYTHING if Miss Frankie asked him. They would both light up those beautiful smiles as soon as they saw each other everyday...and on the last day Miss Frankie asked if Zac could wait and get a picture with her. This is how Zac looked every time he was with her...

I sure hope that we can squeeze in one more session of lessons next summer before we leave (and put Thomas in as well). This is one part of Michigan that we will REALLY miss!

4th of JULY!

Well, would it be a holiday weekend without trying to squeeze in another project?! Not at my house is seems. Our neighbor had moved out and offered us her old picnic table. It was still pretty solid but the top was falling to pieces. SO...I had Josh run to Lowe's and by some new planks for the top while I pulled off the rotting wood planks and pulled out the nails. We still had some paint left over from when we painted the play scape so we sanded, drilled and painted the morning away...
and sadly, I never took an after shot! However you will notice the table being used in some of my later posts (as I get attempt to get caught up on my blogging).
Then we were off to a BBQ with a bunch of friends. It is so nice to get out, let the kids run around and visit with friends. We started off at a near by park playing a little baseball/kickball. Here's Elise waiting to run to second base (wearing a skirt and wedges of course...always glamorous!)
Thomas was happy just knowing that if anyone came to take the kick ball away he had a bat near by to fight them off... He wasn't up for the the "traditional" game, more so just holding all the supplies. Here's Zac getting a quick tutorial from Dad for his first time up to bat...


and it's GOOOOOOOD! He was so proud of himself for hitting it he wasn't quite clear on what to do next, but hey! a hit is a hit!
After the games we walked back to the Thurman's for a VERY delicious potluck BBQ spread. I admit I ate myself silly (as did most). Thomas was in HEAVEN!
He didn't mind helping himself to more food...again and again...notice the pile of strawberry stems on the table (he was standing there for a while).

After dinner we had fun letting the kids run around with sparklers and set off a few fireworks. By this point Zac had about 15 mosquito bites (they looked more like goose eggs-poor boy) and had stepped on a hot coal with bare feet. SO, with the kids now exhausted from all the fun and excitement (Zac melting down with itchy bug bites and blistering burns but still not really wanting to go) we headed home to bed. It was a WONDERFUL day spent with friends. THANKS guys for putting it together!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sweet Neighbors and a Sweet Ride!

We have been VERY lucky where ever we go to have wonderful neighbors! We've had neighbors that are so quiet or rarely home that you don't even realize that they exist OR even better, the kind that become more like an extension of your family...that is what we have here. We have very thoughtful, sweet neighbors that we will miss very much when we leave here.

Well, earlier this summer our neighbor (Nick) knocked on the door and said he had an old tricycle and a little motorcycle that he was wanting to give to the kids if they wanted them. Any parent knows that for a kid there is nothing better than another kids toys! So we agreed and assumed he was cleaning out his toy box... I don't think that this would have fit in a toy box!

or this one...

Here's Nick showing Thomas how the power wheels work. Once we charged up the battery, it didn't take Thomas very long to find the "power boost" button. He would have it floored riding down the street screaming WAHOOOOO!! Thank goodness they only really go a few miles an hour! He was riding off into the sunset...very slowly.

Here's one more of Elise and her friend Lilly. They have been almost inseparable this summer!

Summer Fun...

Well, these are just a sampling of what we've been up to this summer, of course with the warm weather and being outside comes the joy of that first BRUTAL sunburn! (or in this case 3 Brutal sunburns).
I love how Thomas, though in pain will still smile for the camera! What a trooper!

The boys and I were just hanging out on the front lawn when Zac decided to strip down a little...of course Thomas has to follow suit.
Zac HAS to wear his hat backwards...not sure who showed that to him but it is a must!

What could be more fun than jumping around in the "Lake" that appears at the end of our driveway every time it rains? I'm not sure why we insist on rubber boots when they do it because the boots end up FULL of water by the time they are done.

Zac has recently overcome part of his fear of water...this was in the early stages of that new found confidence...yes, they are running through the sprinkler WITH an umbrella!

It's been a fun summer so far, still more to come. August should be a little slower though...thank goodness!

Elise's Graduation

I can't believe that Elise is finished Kindergarten! She absolutely LOVED her teacher! This year has gone by so fast and I realize that we are about to be starting another in a few weeks. We are so proud of Elise and how hard she worked all year!

Project Group to the RESCUE!!!

Well, it's been a while since I've blogged (big shocker!). So, this post is from back in APRIL! The play scape in the back yard is a common meeting place for not only our kids but the neighbors as well. Poor Thomas and Zac had started coming in with splinters from head to was obvious that the play scape needed to be refinished. I quickly did the math and realized my next turn to host the project group was the end of I prayed for warm weather! Josh and I took the power sander and had it all sanded and cleaned up before hand so that when the troops arrived we could get to the painting! I forgot to take a Before picture so these are "part way through" pictures. After only a few brush strokes the play scape was looking better than ever!

I didn't realize just how bad it really was until we started painting...
We were exhausted! Josh and I finished up around supper time that night. It was a LOT more work than we anticipated but worth it! Isn't it beautiful?!?!!?

I think Thomas' reaction says it...

Now these 3 can get back to playing on their "brand new" playground (...instead of the roof of Josh's old car).