Day 1067 | Garden Update

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Back home with some good naps, unpacking, and four loads of laundry. Our vacation recovery day was actually much better than usual. None of the typical vacation-withdrawal symptoms from the boys. Quite a lovely surprise.

One of the first stops we made this morning was out to our garden to see what's been popping up. I haven't gotten any good photos of our "bounty" of vegetables mostly due to the boys eating everything before we can get our harvest in the house. Today I managed to sneak these two cucumbers, a green pepper, and the remaining handful of cherry tomatoes (they ate the rest) inside to enjoy with lunch. 

We've had a pretty good harvest...at least I think so. Our green bean plants did pretty well for themselves (with the boys constantly snitching them) and our tomato, cucumber, and green pepper plants are still blossoming like crazy. The verdict is still out for our broccoli, carrots, and leeks, but I'm remaining optimistic. I'll keep you posted on the progress but for now enjoy...

Five things that have surprised me about our garden

  1. Cucumbers are pokey. You have to wipe off the little pokey nubs before you can actually handle them.
  2. Broccoli grows in a surprising way. The veggie comes straight out of the center of the shoot. We weren't sure if our bunnies had killed off our plants but there are definitely broccoli heads peeking out now. See photo.
  3. Cucumber plants are crazy impressive. First their little climbing off-shoots are creepily alive and super strong. Then there's the fact that the plant can support these giant vegetables (in comparison to the vines they're going on). See photo.
  4. Tomato plants can get huge. Ours hit the top of the roof before the weight of the tomatoes is finally pulling them down. I guess I was supposed to do something to inhibit such tremendous growth. Oh well, live and learn!
  5. Bunnies are intense. See note above about broccoli. I rarely see them snooping around our garden boxes but they're definitely making their presence known. They've swiped the low-hanging tomatoes, nibbled back our green bean bushes (which were looking quite full initially), and annihilated our broccoli leaves (by far their favorite). I can only image what they'll do to our carrots if they ever discover them (because bunnies love carrots, obviously).

Day 1064 | Beach Bums

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It's been awhile since the boys (or I!) have stuck our toes in the ocean, but we remedied that today! It was the perfect beach outing. The boys really enjoyed the water (for the first time ever) and were total champs when it came to the sand, and sun, and chaos. It helped that Mae was there to lend her vast experience (at 11 months old). 

Of course we had various other adventures including a potato chip factory tour, a stop at a candy store, a yummy Italian dinner (notice a food theme?), and evening stroll through the harbor, etc., but I think we'd all agree that the beach was the best part.  

Day 1063 | Cape Cod

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We started the morning by treating the boys to their first continental breakfast (and it was even a decent one!). After that, onto Heritage Gardens in Sandwich, MA, for some leg-stretching, flower-admiring, carousel-riding, and tree-house-climbing (see photo).  

Then into Hyannis for lunch, some quick shopping, and a delicious ice cream treat before making our way to our hotel for some swimming. 

A lovely dinner with some of my favorite people (including my favorite almost one-year-old) and there goes the day. No surprise, we're all wiped. Here's hoping for a good night's sleep so we can do it all over again tomorrow.  

Day 1060 | Camping Success

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After about ten loads of laundry and a good portion of the day dedicated to cleaning and putting away camping gear, we can definitively say that our first weekend camping trip with the boys was a big success. The weather cooperated, the campground was great, and the boys were troopers. I could have used *a bit* more sleep (sleeping through the bright sun + chatting birds takes some practice), but the morning sleeping bag snuggles with my favorite little ones [pretty much] made up for it. 

Maybe it won't take us four years to work up the motivation to do it again! 

Day 1058 | Summer Reading Program

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The boys are showing off the new books they earned by completing the summer reading program at our library. They got to name their own goal this year so Robbe got to check a box every time we read four books. Chase's challenge was even more impressive. He had to read a book on his own for each box (his first attempt at reading). There were 36 boxes to check so this was no small feat. 

Unfortunately, I don't have computer access right now, or I'd include a couple of historical links to how cute the boys looked completing  summer reading programs in the past. Maybe I'll include it, just for fun, in a future post.   

Day 1056 | Beaver Creek

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Another item off the summer bucket list! We checked out the Butterfly House at Beaver Creek Reserve today. I'll be honest, it didn't really compare to the butterfly room at the National History Museum, but it was definitely still fun!  

Afterward, we hiked down to the creek that the reserve is named after. Thankfully, it was a short walk because the mosquitos were out in full force. We did manage to escape with minimal bites, though. I was surprised, too. 

2017 EC Summer Bucket List

  • Discover 3 new parks - CHECK!
  • Take a pony ride at a festival - CHECK!
  • Weekend camping trip
  • Pick strawberries - CHECK!
  • Pick blueberries - CHECK!
  • Attend a city or county fair - CHECK!
  • Build a tree fort
  • Bike a city trail - CHECK!
  • Stay up past bedtime - CHECK!
  • Visit an animal shelter
  • Swim in three different pools - ONE DOWN
  • Play mini golf
  • Complete summer reading program at the library - IN PROGRESS
  • Ride the mini steam train
  • Eat a s'more (Chase has requested one without the marshmallow) - CHECK!
  • Attend an Express game - CHECK!
  • Visit the Butterfly House - CHECK!

Day 1055 | Christmas in July

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I know it's August and I should have done this post yesterday (the title would have made more sense anyway) but I just couldn't contain my enthusiasm any longer. Check out all these sweet (and really thoughtful) gifts I got in July. I'm not sure how I ended up with such generous family, but I'm beyond excited and super appreciative.

Top left: My mom made this amazing cowl for me! She made it! We spotted it at a local fabric store and she recreated it with contrast stitching and all. Although there's no part of me excited for colder temperatures to creep in, at least being able to wear this new scarf will make it more bearable. 

Top right: Chris brought me back this funny + adorable sloth print from his recent trip to Asheville. I love it...and him for that matter.

Middle right: I scored this Turkish towel from Chris's brother's family that lives in...wait for it...Turkey. That's right, it's the real deal. I've heard rave reviews about these towels so I'm excited to experience their magic first hand.

Bottom left: My sweet niece hand-selected this little cat clutch for me when they were on vacation. She knows me so well! I'll think of her every time I use it. 

Bottom right: My best-gift-giver-ever sister in-law found this amazing necklace for me when on (the same) vacation and I couldn't be more excited about it. I'm not kidding that I've been needing this exact necklace for so long and just haven't had the time/energy/motivation to go out looking for it. And now I own it! I think I've worn it about three or four times a week since she gave it to me. Seriously perfect! 

Thank you again, dear family, for showering me with such generosity. I'm feeling loved, that's for sure. :)

Day 1054 | The Things Kids Do

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Chase's dining room chair was in need of a modification. This specific chair grows with the kids (see how cute they were just three years ago!), because you can move the seat + leg boards down as they get bigger. I made the appropriate modifications to the chair and then Chase decided he needed to completely dismantle it during nap (because allen wrenches are just so fun). I'm not complaining. It kept him happily entertained (and using his fine motor skills) for a good chuck of the afternoon.

Don't worry...we did get it back together.

Day 1053 | Lego Exhibit

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After yesterday's crazy day, I opted for low-key and quiet existence today. We did end up with a bit of a family gathering for dinner with my uncle from out of town, but I didn't snap any photos. Eek!

So, instead, enjoy this gem of the boys in front of their favorite 4-H exhibits yesterday: the Legos. If Chase wasn't excited about 4-H before, he is now. And he already knows which Lego set he'd like to bring to the fair next year (the police station). Check back next year to see if that dream comes true. 

Day 1052 | "Busy Day"

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We woke up knowing today was going to be a big one. And it was.

  1. It started out with a morning at the Eau Claire County Fair (with lots of 4-H exhibits, animals, games, and tootsie rolls).
  2. We ate a quick lunch, then onto Madagascar: A Musical Adventure put on by the local children's theater. It was the first full-length musical for either of the boys and it was the perfect introduction for them. 
  3. Back home for a bit of a break then onto Chalkfest at the local university. It remains one of my favorite events in this city. I wouldn't have minded a few more clouds as we were admiring the crazy-impressive art, but I'll take what I can get. 

All in all, a busy but wonderful day--three of my favorite activities all wrapped into 10 hours!. A big (HUGE) thank you to my parents to treating us to all the fun. 

**Special note: You'll notice the quotes around today's title. Robbe just kept repeating "busy day" over and over again all day. That's when you know there's a lot going on.

Day 1050 | VBS Crafts

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Man, this church doesn't mess around with their Vacation Bible School program. 300+ kids, 170+ volunteers, and a church over-flowing with energy and spirit.  

And the crafts? They're no joke either. My mom and I volunteered two days this week and the ladies running the craft tent are serious about cranking out projects. So far, they've colored footprints for a mural, painted handprints on fabric to be made into quilts for the less-fortunate, tie-dyed shirts, created + painted handprint cement stepping stones, braided (with assistance) bookmarks, made faux stained glass window hangings, painted bible-verse coasters...and they still have tomorrow! Whoa. Crafting does seem to be a universal answer for the kids' best part of their days so it's safe to assume they don't mind all the hard work. 

Don't you love where the boys placed their stepping stones? In our garden boxes, of course! Chase said it's to keep the bunnies away from our broccoli. He's a problem solver, all right.  

Day 1048 | Meet Swish Deedee

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That's right, we're a family of five. The boys were beyond ecstatic to pick out their very own fish yesterday. We went with a baby beta fish because they're the easiest, because, well, you know how it is with little kids. Fingers crossed we picked a good one. 

The boys also created this pretty sweet house for our new family member, Swish Deedee. For the record, the name Swish was selected by Chase and Deedee was Robbe's top pick. It's just about perfect, right?