Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day at the Zoo

First Taylor's new 'do!
It is so cute on her!
After taking Ella to the zoo to meet up with my old friends, I decided to buy a zoo membership.  We used to have one when the girls were quite a bit younger and Taylor still enjoyed the zoo.  As long as we use it twice, we have justified the cost.  Well it is now mid September and we used it once as a family.  So we need to squeak in one more this fall or spring.  We really like John Ball in Grand Rapids because the kids like the penguins and sting rays.  I also want to go to see the new bear exhibit and the cable cars!
Anyway, this time we went to Binder Park Zoo and Brendon was able to go with!  He rarely does, so it is always a little more special when dad goes.  Happy faces..
The carousel is still a favorite.  It took them two go-rounds to find the perfect beast to sit upon.
Feeding the giraffes is mom's favorite
The goats are definitely dad's fave, but it always brings back great childhood memories for me.  Some days I wish I could raise the kids on a small farm like we had growing up, but the sensible me knows that I would never find time for barn animals.  We will stick to petting zoos.
Play ground fun!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Great Train Robbery

Earlier this summer I bought a Groupon to go on a themed train ride up in Coopersville.  (which is about a 1 hour and 20 minutes north west of here)  Brendon and Taylor were busy so I took the little ones.....who aren't so little any more...
Anyway, we had so much fun!
Upon arrival we bought cowgirl hats to get in the mood! :)
Sisterly Love
 We were given money and jewels, an actors (which were all volunteers from the County's Mounted Division and local sheriffs and their families) had stories and played their parts so well!
 A real sheriff on and off the train
 The story was we had all just gotten paid after working in a town 50 miles from our home town and were on our way back home.  However our train was stopped by bandits with guns, they ran by our windows and shot at the train.  They put on a cowboy horse show out the window and me even kid napped one of the main characters.  Then they boarded our train and demanded all of our money and jewels!
 Ally, of course, was not going to give up her cash for anyone!
 When one of the robbers hopped on to our train car, Ella yelled for the sheriff!  And luckily, the sheriff was able to arrest this bandit and others and all was restored back to normal.  For a nice quiet train ride back :)

With one of the main lady actresses - she was fun to watch because it was obvious that she loves doing it!
 On the caboose, saying goodbye to the train!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer In Review Part One

Let's do an infamous photo montage!
After doing The Color Run downtown Kalamazoo in April, the Run or Dye was a bit of a disappointment.  It was really warm that day and they had no water stations, or bottled water at the end for that matter.  We walked around a dirt track at the fairgrounds and they really had nothing 'fun' for the kids.  But we still made the best of it and enjoyed it!  It was the girls first color run.
 Both the girls were signed up to do the mud run with me, but they had a soccer game that morning and their dance recital dress rehearsal was at the exact same time as the kids mud run.  So I went out and did the run while my mom took the kids to their activities.  I flew home so quickly, showered and took off - managed to get to the auditorium before either girl had practiced their first dance.
 After the recital
 Girls Night Out at Happy Our Art, we were the only party they had that night!  
Ally started a Random Acts of Kindness club and cut out sweet sayings, taped them to licorice and handed them out during the last week of school.  "You are smart!"  "You make me smile!"  "Cute shirt!"  Among many other sweet nothings :)
Taylor cut and dyed her hair, although by now it is much shorter!
 First day of school.....last day of school
 Last day of 1st and 3rd grade
 Last soccer game
 Cousin Britnie married her high school sweetheart and the kids were excited to be there!  (We all were!  What a beautiful wedding it was!)
After all the years I have been to Shipshewana, IN I found out there is an animal park there that is run by an Amish family.  They are very nice people.  Admission includes a horse drawn ride through the park with your own bucket of food for the animals.
 Where else can you hold hands with a monkey?
 Believe it or not two seconds after I snapped this photo Ally was laughing.  She was in shock the first time she touched the monkey and screamed.  Then almost immediately got a case of the giggles!

Ok, I Am The Worst Blogger Ever

Well, what can I say....life is getting in the way.  Working full time, doing 5am work outs, kids in school and in various activities....I feel like a taxi service.  A short order cook.  A homework inforcer.  A maid.  (Which I am failing desperately at)  Admittedly I have been in a bit a funk for awhile as I feel like I am rolling through the days on auto pilot.  I feel stressed out and grumpy some days.  Others I feel ugly and under appreciated.  Don't get me wrong - life is good.  Very good.  But when I sit down, and its quiet, its hard to write.  Who am I kidding?  When it's quiet?!  When is it quiet?  Oh I know about 11pm when my insomniac child has finally fallen asleep, and then lets face it, I crash. And six hours later, it starts all over again.

I haven't blogged all summer.  Shame on me.  It was a really good summer but it was the fastest summer ever!  The kids had to go to school for an extra week because we ended up with 10 days snow days!  The winter was horrendous!  One of the worst on record.  And our summer was mild.  We only had a hand full of days where it was above 85.  I took the girls to the beach twice.  And both times I was wrapped in a sweater and froze.  Once the water was in the 50s - in June!

Brendon and I got to go on our first ever vacation since Alyssa was born!  It was wonderful!!  We went to Las Vegas and treated that as our "home base" and spent days in Zion, Grand Canyon, Red Rock, Mt. Charleston and Hoover Dam/Lake Mead.  What an amazing adventure.  Some day we will go back and stay the entire time in Utah.  Utah is breath taking!

Two weeks from today I am surprising the two younger girls with a trip that Taylor and Brendon didn't want to be a part of, at least initially.  Now, sadly, I think they both would rather go with.  I do fear that missing a week of school will be too much for Ella.  She's getting to an age where school is harder to miss and harder to catch up on.  So we will have to make sure we enjoy every minute while we are gone, which I can assure you we will!

Taylor has joined the Dive Team at school  She is still learning the dives but is hoping to be able to compete soon.  Ella is doing Lyrical dance and baton this year while Ally is doing soccer and gymnastics.

I will upload photos as soon as I am able to!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Girls On The Run Is SO Much Fun!!

This year Ella was able to do Girls On The Run and I was lucky enough to be able to be the Assistant Coach.  Although her team had three coaches, I still felt very much included and lucky to be a part of it.  Ella loved it!  Mattawan had 8 teams!
Here's Ella's...
Back: Natalie, Savannah, Sydney McKenzie, Brenna
Middle: Meredith, Lauren, Ava, Maggie
Front: Julia, Ella, Sophie, Lindsey, Ella, Kiirsa
 Getting Ready to Run
 One of her BFF's Kyleigh. - we ended up running/walking together with one of Kyleigh's team mates.  Ella and Kyleigh were on different teams
 Our coaches:  Carol, Susan and Amber - and Sydney, who I truly believe someday will be a famous actress!
 Almost time to line up
 We did, the girls finished their first Girls on The Run 5K!
 I am very proud of you Ella!  You did amazing!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Semi - High School Reunion at The Zoo

Yesterday I met with three of my girlfriends from high school.  We took our kids to Binder Park Zoo.  My youngest was at a birthday party, my oldest with her dad so it was a rare 'Mom-Ella Day'.  This year marks {GASP} 20 years since we have graduated high school!!  Although not a one of us look a day over 29 ;)  I love these ladies dearly, but I gotta tell you - I am sure glad I wasn't drinking the same water they were drinking a few months ago!  You see, Kelly is 36 weeks preggo, Elizabeth - 24 and Cristi - 20.  It was the first time I have ever been the small one, hahaha!! :)
Watching the kangaroos while waiting for Kelly and Michael
They have a new black bear exhibit and inside is an Arctic blast wind tunnel.  This should be recommended for hot days, or at the end of your zoo day when you don't care what your hair looks like afterwards!
Feeding the goats
Ashton almost 3, Michael 4, Bridget 6, Amelia 8 and Ella 8
Note to self, when posing children on a cement camel, place the bigger kids in the front....not that back (Smooooosh)
Patiently waiting for the next train
All Aboard!
We had beautiful weather, great conversations and lots of fun!  Hope to do it again soon!