Monday, April 24, 2017

Easter 2017

We had a great Easter this year.  The girls really make all of the holidays so fun!  It's awesome to see the holiday magic through their eyes.  I mean, look how excited Abby is in the picture below! That was taken just as she'd found their Easter baskets in the toy room.

Hazel was perfectly happy to find 1-2 eggs and then sit down to enjoy her candy.  She left all the other eggs for Abby to find...she had what she needed (sugar) and nothing was going to stop her for enjoying each and every piece of it.

This Easter we headed back to Freeport for the day to spend it with my parents, Joey and Andy (and family) and my Aunt Peggy.  Dan and Ellyn had planned to join us as well, but decided last minute to stay home because Ellyn wasn't feeling 100%.  So, since we wanted to get going on the road, we did a quick Easter hunt here at home before loading up to celebrate with the family.

Unfortunatetly it was a little rainy on Sunday morning, so we couldn't do an outside egg hunt.  Since moving here to Marengo, we've been loving every single inch of our yard and I was particularly excited to do our egg hunt outside this year.  Maybe next year....

Hazel and her "treats".  This kid....if there is one thing I've noticed, it's that the second kid gets WAY more treats than the first ever did.  Abby would have had eggs filled with Goldfish or Animal Crackers at this age...but trying to tell Hazel that she can't have the same candy as her sister just is NOT a battle I'm willing to fight. So, sweets and candies for both peanuts it is.

After letting the girls enjoy a few candies and pick a toy or two from their basket we quickly got dressed and loaded up to head to Freeport.  Of the MANY reasons we love our new house is the proximity to both my parents and Ryan's.  We are about 45 minutes away from Ryan's parents and about 1 hour 15 minutes from mine.  Meaning that day trips are totally doable. So, off we went to Freeport to join everyone else for Easter lunch and yet another egg hunt.

Like at our house, Abby and Kayden did the majority of the egg hunting.  Hazel found her 3-4 eggs and plopped down to munch her way through the treats.  Abby and Kayden had so much fun driving around the new power wheel truck my parents bought to spy out egg after egg after egg.  These little kids are so dang spoiled...and they are so lucky that they have so many people that love them.

Peggy came down to join us for the weekend and we were so glad to spend the day with her too. She's been making the trip from Milwaukee to Freeport more often in the last few years and we're so thankful for the time we get to spend with her!!

As with most holidays, we ate too much, had a few drinks, some laughs and of course, did a little work.  I'll be blogging about some upgrades we've done to the house since we moved in, but one of the big ones is installing a wood burner that will heat our house, the pool and Ryan's shop...meaning we will relay very little on propane but, it means we have a LOT of work ahead of us as far as wood cutting goes.  So, on Easter Sunday we swapped out our nice clothes for work clothes and loaded an entire dump trailer full of wood, destined for our house.

All in all, it was a great weekend and we're so thankful we got to spend it with some of the people we love most in the world!

Friday, April 21, 2017

1 Family x 12 (April)

Guys - I've been terrible at blogging these last few months.  It's like I forgot I had a camera and a blog to keep track of our lives.  But, I promise I've got some posts coming at you in the coming week including updates on some house projects we've been working on, pictures from Easter and just some random things I think you'll enjoy!  But, for now, here's our family picture for April!!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Wisconsin Dells 2017

Well, another spring, another trip to the Wisconsin Dells.  This year the kids were SO much  more excited about the water than they've ever been.  About 3 months ago Ryan and I decided to enroll both kids in swim lessons.  We took Abby when she was a little younger than Hazel but ultimately weren't consistent with it.  Now that we have a big beautiful pool just a few steps away from our back door we knew we needed to get the kids feeling comfortable (and safe) in the water.

Both kids did so good this year, I was so impressed.  They needed to wear life jackets in and around the pool for safety reasons (of course) but even Abby, my scardey cat, is used to being in the pool without her life jacket.  Fingers crossed they'll both be ready for the pool in just a few month.

I don't even know how it's possible, but somehow I ended up with ZERO pictures of Tanner/Jenny/Jack who also joined us on this trip.  I mean...come on!  I'm getting worse and worse at this picture taking thing.  Gah!  And, if I'm honest, part of the problem was that I forgot my camera entirely for this trip.  Doh!  Good thing Jamie had hers and there is always the trusted phone!

Last year we stumbled on a little known pool area at the Wilderness called Wilderness on the Lake.  It's a much smaller pool/play area but it is SO MUCH less crowded than the other areas.  There are no big slides for the adults but the kids were in heaven in this little area and we adults were happy to sit sidelines and watch the little ones run circles around the play equipment.  Abby's favorite was without a doubt the green slide.  I bet she went down that slide at least 100 times each time we went.

Gosh, we have the cutest clan of little girls.  I mean, how can you resist!?!

If there were two things I could change about this trip they would be:

  1. The Stadermann family would have been able to join.  We missed them a ton this year!
  2. We'd have reserved a different room setup.  Upon check in we were super annoyed to find out that our 3 bedroom loft condo really meant two full bedrooms and the third bedroom WAS the loft.  Stupid.  It was not ideal but we made it work.  All of the adults ended up squishing out in the little screened in porch in the evenings so the kids could sleep (even poor Tanner in the loft).  

All in all though, I'd have to say that we successfully planned and executed our fourth year at the Dells.  Every year we do it I am astounded by just how much crap it takes to move a family of four 3 hours north to a hotel for the weekend.  Good lord!  We had the entire van packed.  Part of it is having small kids, part of it is that we cooked most of our meals in the condo, and the other part is that well, we have a lot of crap!  HAHA!

I mean, that smiling face made it all worth it though!  These are memories I hope they have forever and ever.  I remember back to the spring trip our parents planned for us each year.  It was usually around President's Day or Columbus Day when we'd been cooped up inside for too many months and we just needed a change of pace.  My parents and Jamie's would rent a hotel room somewhere not too far away but far enough to seem like a trip and they'd let us swim and play and be loud and eat pizza and just enjoy being somewhere other than home.  This trip is just that for our family and I hope we keep the tradition alive!

Summer will be here before we know it! (Right??).

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

1 Family x 12 (March)

Every spring, just about when the kids are going to lose their minds if we don't get out of the house and do something different, we pack up way more things than you could ever imagine we'd need for two days, invite some friends, and head to the water parks in the Dells.  We've been doing it since Abby was a baby and it's always a great time.  This year we missed our normal partners in crime, the Stadermann's, but they'll be with us next year, god willing!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

1 Family x 12 (Feb)

It always feels like the winter months are slow for me on the blog. But, I couldn't let the month of Feb get away from me without posting our monthly family photo.  I don't think I've missed a month since we started and these pictures tend to be my most treasured ones throughout the year.

This past week the weather has been AMAZING - think 70 degrees in mid Feb.  I mean, we don't even know what to do with ourselves.  I sent the girls to daycare today in t-shirts!  This past weekend we decided to take advantage of the warm weather and get going on what will likely be our new favorite pass time - making fire wood.  In the spring we'll be installing an outdoor wood burner that will heat our entire house, shop and pool all year round.  So - we need to start stockpiling that wood now!  Ryan, my Dad and I spent nearly 2 full days cutting and splitting wood and while we made a big dent in it, we're going to need more.  Bring on the steel toed boots and ear protection!

Monday, January 23, 2017

1 Family x 12 (January)

A few weekends ago we ventured into the city with the girls to check out the Shedd Aquarium.  We had a great time and now we're looking into yearly museum memberships for the family.

Oh, and pigtails....let the cuteness begin!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A special gift for a special friend (Quilt)

You guys, I am so in love with this quilt.  It turned out better than I could have hoped.  Plus, the bright rainbow colors help to brighten up these cold, dark winter days!

The back features Dr. Seuss fabric because the recipient of this quilt is an avid reader just like me and I knew she would love it as much as I did.

It's been a LONG time since I finished a quilt.  I think my last quilt was for Baby Brennan and I finished it when I was on maternity leave with Hazel.  I've spent a ton of time this past year knitting and I'd almost forgotten how much I loved to quilt.  This one came together pretty fast once I had the fabric cut.  Each of the squares was 2.5 inches (2 inches finished) and the blocks are made of "scrap" fabric.

Scrap quilts sound easy right?  You just use what you've got on hand....which, while that is true, this one proved especially hard because I was trying really hard for contrast within  my blocks.  So, not only did I need 13 different fabrics for each block, but I needed to colors to be similar.  So similar greens or reds...meaning I had to cut a LOT of fabric to get to this point.  I figured, as long as I was cutting I may as well cut enough to make a few so, I've got piles and piles of 2.5 inch squares ready for my next scrap quilt.

I've learned that I really enjoy scrap work when it's organized, like this quilt.  It's just a random mish-mash of fabrics, but it's coordinated and used as the focal point by incorporating a lot of white space, allowing your eye to focus on the bright spots.  I've also learned that I love working with 2.5 inch squares.  This is the third quilt I've done in this size and they blocks are just big enough that they are fiddly.  Finally, if you can't tell by now, I love color off set by a good neutral.

After quilting for nearly 4 years now I'm finally finding my groove.  Here's to 2017 being the year of the quilt.  Hazel's photo project quilt is on deck next and I've already picked out the pattern.  Next step: cutting.  So. Much. Cutting.