Friday, July 31, 2009

Kohler-Andrae State Park

We spent the last three days and two nights camping at the Kohler-Andrae State Park. It is just south of Sheboygan, WI on the beautiful Lake Michigan. The lake is 118 miles wide at its widest point which means there is no sight of the opposite shore from where we sat on the beach. It made it just like being at the ocean except that it was fresh water. We stayed in the tent and realized once we got there that we had forgotten a lot of our normal camping supplies. Oh well, at least we had swim suits and sun screen. It was a wonderful time and we can't wait to go back again.

Fun with Dad

Brian was off of work this past week. It was a sort of temporary layoff. Temporary being the key word, he returns to work this Monday. While he was home he and I worked on our "to do list", but the best part I think has been the fun the kids have been having. We got to go to the Henry
Villas Zoo in Madison. The kids and I had been, but we got to have some fun with Dad this time. We enjoyed a picnic lunch and the got to see: a grizzly bear swimming in its pond, chimpanzees, lions (both male and female), a tiger going for a swim, rhinos, tapirs, a giraffe and camels plus others. Another day was spent
playing in the backyard. Brian set up the sprinkler and the kids had a good time running around through it. It was a little weird seeing the sprinkler on in our yard, as it was the first time the yard has been watered this year. It is not really something done around here. Weird, I know, but when in Rome... Brian and Angela spent an evening making Connor a truck out of a cardboard box. Connor really enjoyed getting into it and getting pushed around. Angela really enjoyed making a project with Dad. Another day, Angela was outside doing some work with Brian when they found a toad in the yard. She thought this was pretty darn neat! This last picture is Connor playing around with Dad's swimming goggles. To put it in a fun perspective this is a picture of Angela at about the same age doing the same thing.

Columbia County Fair

Saturday July 25th we went to the Columbia County Fair here in Portage. We enjoyed seeing: cows, pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks, turkeys, geese, piglets and llamas. There

was a lot of oohs and aahs over the tractors and how big they were. Then we made it to the rides. Originally we were going to skip these, but they just looked like too much fun. Connor got to ride a roller coaster. I had to have Brian take the pictures, because I was tearing up that my baby was on a ride all by himself. I am blaming this on hormones. He then rode on a truck ride that went round and round. We had to pay for him to go a second time because he wouldn't get off. Angela got to enjoy

herself on some twisty apples, bumper cars and the swings. She said the apples were pretty boring. She had some trouble getting the hang of the bumper cars and of course she started to get it right about time the ride was over. But the swings, she said these, "Were totally awesome Mom!" It turned out to be a fun day at the fair.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Biker Girl

Brian is out of town for the next three days for work, he'll be about three hours from home. Since he would be gone, the company gave him yesterday off. It was pretty weird to have him home during the week, but he and Angela got a lot of work done. Brian made me a shelf for my stamps and I love it! Angela got her chores done and then dad said, "Let's have some fun." He had just gotten done tunning up his motorcycle and decided to take it off road for a ride. Once he was done, he came home to pick up Angela. She was scared to go with him. She said she was nervous about the turning and leaning the bike into the turns. I had a talk with her and she was ready to go. Once she got home, you could tell the fear was gone. She had a wonderful time riding around with Dad. Since she was not used to it, they did not go off road, but regardless she is ready to do it again.

In this last photo, I told her biker girls don't smile, so she is trying super hard to not smile!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finger Painting

Yesterday and today have been gray, cloudy, rainy and wet. Good thing we did our finger painting on Monday.

The kids received finger paints for a present a couple of years ago. I have been too chicken to let them use them for fear of the big mess. I finally got a good idea, or so I thought. I bought a big roll of paper and put them outside. They were in old grubby clothes and got to have a great time painting up their paper. It was a warm sunny day and they sat in the shade of the tree painting away. Angela used her fingers and hands while Connor used fingers, hands and feet.

Here are some fun pictures of them painting and of their finished work.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Air Pop Popcorn

We made air pop popcorn for snack today. It is nothing new, we probably do this once a month or so, but it is fun. Angela likes to grump a bit because there is no butter but she eats it down just as fast as Connor and I. I like it because it takes me back to my youth. More excitingly, I like it because of the kid's faces. Watching the anticipation as the kernels are moving around, waiting for them to POP. Then once they start to pop and fill up the chamber, their eyes get so huge and they start shouting "yeah" and "hooray" etc. It is pure joy and wonder! What could be a better way to spend our afternoon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Banana Splits = Yummy

We made banana splits yesterday for dessert. Complete with banana, vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, strawberry topping, crushed pineapple, whipped cream and nuts. All we were missing is the proverbial cherry on top. I can't seem to remember if Angela had ever had one, but I know that this was Connor's first. They both loved them.

Fence Building

Brian spent this last week working on a new fence for our yard. The yard was fenced when we got here, but it was a pretty small space. Also, you had to walk out the backyard, down the walk way to the gate to get into the back yard. That was not that big of a deal until Connor would decide to let himself outside. So we decided to fence in more of the back yard that way you would go right out the back door and into the backyard. The work that Brian did was very top quality and it doubled almost tripled our backyard space. Many of the neighbors and people passing by stopped to tell him how nice it looked and how well he did. I am very proud of him!

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Day at the Dells

Yesterday we spent a day at the Dells. For those of you who may not understand that reference, the Dells stands for a town near us, the Wisconsin Dells. The Wisconsin Dells like to claim that they are the water park capitol of the world. I do not know if that is truly accurate or not, but they do have a gazillion and two indoor and outdoor water parks. Although, yesterday we did not enjoy the water parks, we went and experienced a few of their other attractions.

First we took a ride on the Original Wisconsin Ducks. If any of you have been to Seattle, you may have heard of the duck rides. These are the old army ducks that are the amphibious land vehicles. We drove through the Wisconsin woods and then "dove" into the Wisconsin river. There were neat sand stone cliffs lining the river. Next we "crawled" up into a creek and then back up onto the land. From there we splashed down into Lake Delton. Our driver was full of bad bad jokes and one happened as we entered the lake. He reminded us that Lake Delton is an artificial lake (it is man made), so therefore it must be artificial water and thus none of us were actually wet. I felt fortunate that I was sitting towards the front so I did not experience the splash that came up and over the rear of the duck. Lake Delton had an accident last year. It decided to empty all the way out into the Wisconsin River. I guess in early June 2008 the lake received an extra 2" of water and it could not hold it all in. Thus it broke out the land that you see in this picture and flowed into the river. (The lake is on the right side of the road and the river is on the left). There were three or four houses that got washed down with it. As I understand it, one of the houses floated down the river nearly intact and floated right past Portage. If you are really interested in more about that you can see video on youtube, I did and it is unreal. After the lake we were back up on the land and heading through the woods again. At one point we went through what he called the "tight squeeze". It was a narrow gorge that at its smallest separation is 8'6" wide. Mind you, he told us the duck is 8'2" wide, now you understand the name "tight squeeze". For me, leaving land and entering the water was a weird feeling, but overall they were a fun ride.

Next we went to the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory. It is a robotic, space, science place. There were a lot of things to see and touch. Most of them would have been great learning tools, but the kids were not interested in learning, then just wanted to touch and play. Go Figure! This building must have been built in the 70's, it really looked it, but it was a great place to play and have fun.

After that we enjoyed the Tommy Bartlett Show. It is a ski, sky and stage show. There were people doing all kinds of tricks on their water skis, ski shoes, wakeboards, bare feet, and their boats. It was amazing to see the skiers jump and flip in the air. I really enjoyed the pyramid they made that was three levels high. There were also other performers that did stage shows. There was a family that walked on two huge spinning wheels that got up to 65' in the air. There was a goofy juggler. But the most unique and enjoyable was Dave the Horn Guy ( This man worn a pair of orange coveralls with bike horns stuck all over it. Each horn was designed and tuned to play a single note of the scale. Thus buy bending limbs to honk the horn he was able to play music. It was very ingenious. We rounded off our evening with a yummy pizza dinner. Next time we head to the Dells might just have to be for the water parks.

Swim Meets Two and Three

Angela had a swim meet this past Saturday. It was much bigger than her first meet. This pool was a full 25 yards and eight lanes wide. She swam the 25 free (placed 19 out of 20), 25 back (18 of 18) and was part of the 100 free relay (3 of 5). She did a really good job swimming and cheering on her team. This was a great meet for her to go to and get some experience.

Angela clowning around at the pool. Far right side, third lane from bottom.

Second lane from top, middle of picture. Happy after swimming!

She also had a home meet this past Wednesday. She swam the same three events. This time she had a little harder time of focusing on what she was there for. She wanted to play and not swim. This could be due to the fact that she had not been to practice and may not have been geared up for swimming. But she still did good: 25 free (placed 14 out of 14), 25 back (11 of 14) and was part of the 100 free relay (1 of 3) We will get back into the swing of things and be ready for her next meet in just over a week.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Housewife Ramblings

Yesterday, I had a lazy morning, but come mid-morning I got moving. I cleaned the TV room, living room, dinning room, kitchen and mud room. I also swept/vacuumed all the fore mentioned rooms as well as mopped the mud room. I did enough dishes that I had to fill the strainer very full twice. I also washed and dried three loads of laundry. After all of that, I looked at the house and thought why does it not look like I did anything? Brian was outside the whole time I was working and when he came in he didn't notice the work that had been done. When I told him he was very appreciative, but it is hard when it does not seem like anything has been done. Today I feel the same way. I have washed and dried four loads of laundry then folded all seven loads. I washed dishes, only once this time. Spent time grocery shopping. Cleaned and organized the fridge, freezer, snack cupboard and the food pantry. Then I also made a loaf of banana bread. At least the banana bread made it smell like I did something. Sometimes it seems like we work so hard at the day to day grind and there isn't much to show about it. But, I know that I don't work in vain.