Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer Solstice

There's something magical about the longest day of the year!

To celebrate this year's summer solstice we let the kids stay up and catch fire flies (or lightning bugs as I called them growing up).  Their light show is mesmerizing.  Like a fire works display put on by mother nature. 

The little ones ran around the yard with nets (from a board game) and mason jars with lids.  Unfortunately, we had little success actually capturing any fire flies, but we sure had fun while we tried! might need to run!

Off on an adventure...


Going in for the capture...

Sorry about the blurry photos.  I was playing around with my camera settings and trying to us the manual setting.  Clearly, I have some learning to do!  :)

It's been a busy week...Vacation Bible School, swim lessons, ballet, etc, AND the two little boys both came down with fevers.  A minor viral infection, I 'm sure, but it sort of knocked the wind out of our sails and required a bit of extra TLC from the momma this week.  Hope to be back to blogging regularly next week.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday (1) Father's Day at the Fire House


Father's Day at the Fire House (2011)

Daddy, We hope your Birthday and Father's Day were extra special this year!

Mary Catherine, Benjamin, & Luke

Our oldest, Mary Catherine, LOVES photography.  She's owned TWO kid cameras which have both failed her!  I have begun to allow her to use my Canon DSLR.  It was a bit nerve-wracking at first, but she really is very responsible and always wears the camera strap around her neck.

Here's a tour of Lenexa, Kansas Fire Station #3 through the eyes of an almost-7-year-old.  Girlfriend's got potential as a photographer!

I'm linking up with Flip Flops & Pearls for {Semi} Wordless Wednesdays!  Feel free to hop over and join us!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Weekend in Wisconsin

I am joining up with Susan over at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.  Please feel free to click over to visit other fascinating and beautiful outdoor venues. 

Last weekend, my husband was able to take Friday off so that we might travel to Wisconsin to visit his grandmother.  Armella is 88, soon to be 89, and lives completely independently.  In fact, I think she has more energy than I do.  She's a petite thing...maybe 4'11" tall and 90 pounds, if that!  But she's got "cold living" down to a science and I swear it is what keeps her going!  (Did I mention that she takes her neighbor, Albina, to both church and the grocery store on Saturday nights?  Yes!  And Albina is 98...and lives on her own as well!!!)

Fortunately, the heat wave in western Wisconsin snapped and we were welcomed with cool, refreshing temperatures.  Almost downright cold!  Which is a good thing since Chris' grandmother does not have air conditioning in the house!

We decided to take full advantage of the beautiful weather and took the kids hiking.  Although it was cool and overcast in the morning, the sun finally shone in the afternoon.  We visited several sites and locations in both  Prairie Du Chien, WI and McGregor, IA situated on the upper Mississippi River.

First stop...the "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign.  This travel stop is located right on the banks of the Mississippi River welcoming visitors from Iowa.

Welcome to Wisconsin!

Next stop...the Lady Luck Casino.  Now, I promise you that we did not take our three kids to do some gambling...or eat buffet...

Giant paddle wheel at the restaurant.  The actual casino is on a river boat.

...rather, we wanted to get their pictures taken on the giant pink elephant!

This elephant has been around since my husband was a child!

Luke isn't sure what to think!

We also took the kids hiking at two different parks. First, we went to Pike's Peak State Park in Iowa.

"In 1673, the first white men to see what is now Iowa, explorer Louis Joliet and Father James Marquette, reached the mouth of the Wisconsin River and beheld the great, unknown river now known as the Mississippi. After the Louisiana Purchase, the government sent Zebulon Pike in 1805 to explore the Mississippi valley and select locations suitable for military posts. Pike recognized the park site as an important, strategic point, and an excellent location for a fort. The government agreed on the vicinity but selected the prairie around Prairie du Chien (now Wisconsin) for the fort. Several years later, Pike was again sent westward by the government and named Pikes Peak in Colorado." 
Pikes Peak State Park
The confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers

Next we visited Effigy Mounds National Park.  Sacred burial mounds, a replica bald eagle's nest, and a trip to the gift store made this hiking trip complete!

Eagle Scout Project
Sunday arrived and found us returning home.  But our trip through the state of Iowa would not be complete without a quick stop in Strawberry Point. And yes, they do have an annual strawberry festival!

I hope you enjoyed our brief tour through eastern Iowa and western Wisconsin.  The upper Mississippi River communities are quite quaint nestled along the river banks, and I encourage you to plan a trip at least once in  your lifetime to see these majestic river bluffs and powerful Mississippi.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bathing Beauties

In addition to the photo shoot I did on Friday of the petite ones dressed up in Daddy's work clothes, I also did a series of bathtub photos that turned out adorable.

I decided against framing those for my husband's office...and instead decided to frame and hang them in our hall bath.  Something along the line of "three little monkeys"...

Wishing the grandpas, our fathers, and my husband a most blessed Father's Day!

A father carries pictures where his money used to be.  ~Author Unknown

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day Photo Shoot...Playing Dress Up

Looking for some last-minute inspiration for a simple, but heartfelt Father's Day gift?

Why not create a photo collage for Dad of the kids playing dress up... HIS clothes?!!!

That's just what I did this week to create some unique framed photos for our daddy's office.

You'll need...

  • Some "work clothes" props
  • Access to previously printed photos or 1-Hour processing (Target, Kodak Gallery, Shutterfly, etc.)
  • Frame

And for the finished product...

 Your daddy's not a fire fighter?  How about a farmer photo shoot with hay bales, seed packets, and cowboy boots?  Daddy's a doctor or nurse...lab coat, stethoscope, and non-latex gloves?  Businessman Daddy?  Tie, brief case, dress shoes?

The possibilities are endless and your kiddo's father is sure to love this gift from the heart!

Wishing you all a wonderful Father's Day weekend.  We've got big celebrations planned including an afternoon boating (Daddy's favorite activity!), a wedding reception, and a big Birthday/Father's Day celebration planned!  (Our daddy was born on Father's Day in 1967.  What a wonderful gift for a "first time father", my father-in-law, Gary!)