Saturday, June 29, 2013

Discovering The Dunes!

The sand dunes were a new adventure for Steve and I and the girls this year! Apparently, the rest of the family discovered them last summer, but since we don't get to go every year, this was our inaugural visit! We were greatly forewarned about the steepness of the sand dunes and warned that we would want to kill ourselves walking back up.
I was pretty convinced by the time we actually got there that I was not about to walk down whatever the sand dune was because walking back up seemed super-sucky.
Making the walk to the dunes...this was the easy part! 

We started out in sweatshirts and quickly stripped down to t-shirts once we got to the sand!

It was a beautiful day! This was an observation deck just before we reached the sand.

The family! 

Nothing says cuteness and Summer like a pair of cut-off jean shirts.

Starting their treck down the "mountain".

It was really steep once you got the whole view!

Aunt Stacey and Evelyn matched!

Me and the Squirt

Starting the climb back up! They did great and Steve didn't die, so it was a great adventure!

Father's Day 2013

We celebrated Mother's Day in Florida and Father's Day in Michigan, so both holidays were a little different than what we normally do.
Since Father's Day fell on our first morning in Oscoda, we were definitely more low-key. We had just arrived at about 11:30 the night before, so we were still a bit hazy.
The girls and I had a good mix of fun and sentimental gifts for Steve. He's been wanting a range set for shooting, which includes eyewear, earplugs, and a sassy little bag to carry it all in, so we got him one of those. He'd been looking at a new watch for a couple of months now, so I surprised him with that as his "big" gift.
Bella had brought home some crafts on the last day of school for Steve to open on Father's Day, and they were really cute - a popsicle frame with her picture inside and a great card with her drawing of Steve on the front. It's pretty awesome!
My favorite gift for Steve took a little tweaking to figure out. When he was little, he made his dad a poem with a set of his handprints on it. I've known for awhile that I wanted to make Steve something like that, but thought footprints with Evelyn might come out a little easier, so I used the original as inspiration and started looking for a poem that would fit!
I finally found a great poem about "little feet" that was perfect and found a verse that could go along with it, too! It came out so great! Steve loved it! (I think he even choked up a little when he opened it. Score!)

I had to get at least one picture of Evelyn on Father's Day; she's just chilling while Daddy reads his cards. (And P.S. Notice that awesome wood paneling behind her. When we go on vacation, we go first-class all the way!) 

This is the best shot I could get of Steve's picture, but it has a pretty frame, too. I didn't realize Bella's feet were so big until I started sizing them on the paper! I kept having to make the font smaller so that everything would fit and the paint wouldn't cover too much of the wording.

A closer shot of the poem - I loved that it was positive and encouraging for Steve to remind him what a great Daddy he is!

Reading his cards from the girls...

Look at that smile! She loves her Daddy!

Fishing And Canoeing

When we weren't eating or sitting on the beach, our two favorite Oscoda activities are fishing and canoeing! Bella got to be involved much more this year and really enjoyed going places with her cousins.

Grandma got Bella her own Princess fishing pole. She wanted to drag it with her everywhere, and was so excited to get to hold it on her own!

Uncle Matt, Grandpa, and Braden, walking to the Whirpool.

Learning the ropes from Daddy...

Uncle Matt and Bella, reeling in a fish!

Bella didn't actually catch a fish on her own, but Uncle Matt and Grandpa let her reel in and touch the fish that they caught. She didn't know the difference!

Focusing on Grandpa while he unhooks the fish.

Braden caught a huge crawfish while we were thee, and Bella was pretty enamored by both of them - the crawfish and Braden!

Riding an old school bus to the canoe site.

I was actually pretty impressed by Steve and I's ability to row in sync this time! The last time we did this, we were almost divorced by the time we reached the end of the river. We stayed at a steady speed, weren't exhausted, and were able to enjoy the ride as went! Oh, and we didn't want to throw Bella overboard - winning!

This is my "I'm so artsy because I took a picture of my shoes and the canoe" picture. Aren't you impressed? I knew you would be. 

Julie, Kinslee, and Stacey

Grandpa, Kelem, and Carter

Braden, Brycen, and Craig

Matt, Kaylie, and Maddie...brave, brave man!

Bella wanted to man the oars at least once, and she didn't drop it or hit me! She was super-proud!
We had so much fun on this trip and loved that Bella was old enough to come along and be involved! I was really proud of her on the canoe trip!

Oscoda 2013

We got to spend a week with Steve's family up in Oscoda, Michigan, and it was great! Nothing to do but eat, read, and spend time with cousins!
Bella finally remembers her cousins in between visits, which makes it a lot more fun for her!

Bella was non-stop all week and loved it! She didn't mind the freezing water or the 60-degree weather!

This is what Bella did when she wasn't running - she plopped herself down in the sand next to her cousins and talked. And talked and talked! The cousins were so patient and wonderful! The older girls let Bells follow them around all week and never complained.

Playing in the water with Grandpa!

Dragging her mermaid float all over the beach.

It looks like we let Evelyn pick up trash from the beach! 

Evelyn had a good week, but she was a little overwhelmed by "new" people and was extremely clingy. She loved the beach as long as all of the factors lined up ('Cause that always happens, right?).

Catching Up In A Major Way...

My wonderful friend recently pointed out that it's been forever since I've updated this blog! Between traveling for 10 days, jumping right into VBS at church, and just life in general, I've felt about zero motivation to post pictures and all that.
But, I know I need to jump back in, so here it goes...
I'll try to update on Father's Day, baby news, Oscoda, and everything in between.
These were taken before vacation - Bella and Evelyn licking off a spatula full of chocolate!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Daddy's Home!

I love the girls' faces when Daddy comes home!

Teaching them to love Chick-fil-A tea at an early age. It's the important things in life...

"Sharing" comes and goes, but Bella's getting better at it!

Look at those cheeks! And those lips! And that little nose!

Upside-down baby!!!


Oh, okay, and more kisses...
I didn't get pictures of Bella, because she moves too fast, but as soon as Steve's car gets to the driveway, she squeals, runs towards him, yells, "STOP!", and gets in the passenger side to help him "drive" up to the garage.
We love us some Daddy around here!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Forts And Sisters

One of my favorites memories of "sister play" growing up is forts. Mel and I had so much fun building them inside or outside, with blankets, chairs, and trees.
Bella is just starting to build her own, or at least try to, so yesterday, I lent a hand and made a very basic fort out of her blanket and chair. Evelyn was playing in Bella's room, too, and of course, if big sister does something, little sister wants to do it, too!

I used a thumb tack to hang Bella's blanket from the window. It wasn't very big, but at least they both fit inside!

They caught me peeking at them.

"Mama, I need to 'bee-lax' because I'm sleepy from building my ship."

Weaning Evelyn

Weaning Evelyn has been much less traumatic than I imagined. Bella was on formula, and weaning her to solids was an easy, step-by-step process. I just switched out bottles for "meals" and it worked pretty well. I had no idea what to expect for Evelyn, and I was worried it would be a hard transition for one of us.
At 10 months, she was still nursing 3 times a day, but losing interest quickly. During the day, she would only nurse for about 2 minutes and then get distracted, so I took the hint and substituted solid foods for "lunch" and snack times. It worked out really well this way, because I didn't have to worry where I was or if I was able to stop and nurse. 
She's not completely weaned yet, and I'm so glad. I can definitely see that when she doesn't nurse at all anymore, it will be something that I miss. She uses a cup and eats solids just fine, and she doesn't take a bottle at all. We still nurse every morning; most people have told me that the nighttime feeding was the last one they gave up, but for Evelyn and I, our special time is in the morning. Steve has left for work, Bella is usually in my bed watching PBS, and I can bring Evelyn into bed with me for a few minutes of snuggling.
Sometimes I nurse her in the middle of the day, too. In those situations, it's just a comfort thing, but I like it. Since I'm at home, I have the freedom to calm her in this way; I'm not sure if others would do it like this, but it's what works for us and has ended up being a special thing, too. 
We'll see how it goes from here. She's 13 months old, so I imagine she'll slowly taper off on her own, just like she's done up to this point. For now, I love having our time in the morning, and I'm enjoying it for as long as it'll last!