Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The End of an Era

It started about five and a half years ago......  
We introduced our first child to the pacifier.  He loved it.  We affectionately named it "Resi" (rhymes with Bessie), short for Rescue Me!!  Well, the name Resi stuck.  All 3 children have loved their Resis. We were recently camping, it was raining, and all of Nora's Resis were in my bag in the car, quite a distance from our tent.......I decided that rainy night, that Nora was done with Resis.  It has been our easiest weaning!  We bid you farewell, Resis.  You have served us well!!! 




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Mom Camping"

The husband is a camper.  When I think of camping, 3 things happen:  I have visions of outhouses, strung with webs of wolf spiders; I get a whiff of those outhouses; and I get hit with feelings of claustrophobia from being in a cramped, stuffy tent.  I camped growing up, and somehow, this is what I remember the most.  (Sorry to my parents!).

I was asked to go "Mom Camping" by some friends.  Well, the husband overheard the invitation, and got really excited.  Not one to disappoint, I agreed.   I was up for the challenge!  "Mom Camping" is just that, no dads.  Just Moms.  And kids.  Lots of kids.  

All loaded up for 2 days of woodsy fun! 

I got a crash course the night before...the ins and outs of tent erection and the proper way to use a Therma-Rest.  I felt ready.  But...the Day 1 of camping forecasted some tricky weather.  A storm was expected, and gale-force winds made setting up the tents very challenging (we were unloading and setting up tents while keeping a watchful eye on the 9 children we have between us).  Thankfully, I was in great hands.  My seasoned camping friends were champs at driving stakes into the ground!

We were fortunate to land 3 sites in a row, on a peninsula, with Big Sandy Lake on one side, and Sandy River on the other.

We had a Camp Host.  I never did catch his name, but he made rounds to check on us, deliver firewood, refill our water container, and pass out gumballs to the kids!

Each mom took a turn preparing a meal.  It was like a vacation!  Minimal cooking and cleanup, and the food was great!

The campground not only had showers and flush toilets (and one of the cleanest public restrooms I have ever been in), it also had 2 impessive parks.  

Ellie and the babies of the group, Lauren and Nora.  

Audrey and William with the necessities.

The first evening was rainy, so we retreated to our tents early, but the second night we had a great campfire, lots of marshmallow-roasting, and s'mores.

This was my kids first camping experience.  Audrey and William slept well both nights in the tent, but Nora had a hard time settling down.  It was her first night *ever* not in her crib or pack-and-play.  All in all, I think she did very well, and less-than-restful nights certainly did not slow her down during the day!!!

~peaceful, finally~

All 9 children (only 2 boys!)

Many thanks to my fellow Moms, Melissa (super mother of 4, who has everything conceivable to make camping a success, all tucked away in well organized bins!); and Jen (sweet as can be who helped me with my girls and loved on little Nora)!

Thanks for a great time!  All 3 kids had a blast!  My outlook on camping has changed so much that we already have a family camping trip planned!!! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

.....Almost 10 of us!

The Witciks came to visit us recently.  There are 5 of us, and almost 5 of them.  This makes for HUGE fun!  We had a (surprisingly) relaxing 5 days with them, considering there were 5 children under the age of 6 in the house!!

Playing football, flashlights, and fancy headbands.  Look closely for the sequined headbands!

I was giving paddle boat rides.

E taking a moment to relax.

2 men and 3 children venture out in a canoe.  They did great!

Family fun in a paddle boat.

A beach scene.  The kids play so well together!

 William acting as the paddle boat guide. 

Little Noah loved playing in the sand and building volcanoes and bridges!

Not all our time was spent on the sand...we spent our share of time on the water.  We parked the boat in the middle of the lake and swam off of it.  The water was lovely.

Ellie was such a brave jumper!  It was so fun to see how excited she was about jumping and swimming!

Mike and E

Audrey and Ellie always enjoy each other's company.

Look at that line-up of kids!  Aren't they cute?!

Ellie sharing her popsicle with Nora.

Geez...lots of popsicle sharing went on!

We had campfires and roasted marshmallows....

.....and witnessed some spectacular sunsets.

There was some 4-wheeling.....

...and memories made on the beach.  It was perfect.


We had a great time with the Witciks.  We watched a lot of Olympics, ate a lot of ice cream, and were able to catch up.  The husband and I actually felt like we were on vacation as well, because we had such a mellow week.  

Typical chaos that ensues when we whip out the cameras and attempt a group photo....

BUT...I am married to someone who is the oldest of 4 siblings.  This position comes with skills...he decided to engage the kids in a game of Simon Says...
"Hands on your belly!"

"Clap your hands!"

"Simon says raise your hands!"

We had a blast, E, Mike, Ellie, Noah, and Baby W.  Come back soon!

Pump It Up--A Weekend With the Pumpers!

The weather was hot and sunny the weekend the Pumpers spent with us....great company plus perfect beach/boat weather equals lots of fun!

We enjoyed adult refreshments and popsicles.

Audrey and Ava were so glad to see each other!

Nora enjoyed hanging out with Stacy.

The girls gearing up to swim off the boat.

Don't they look relaxed here?!

Jon and a lot of kids in the middle of the lake...what a good sport!

The men decided to take the kids canoeing, which meant the ladies got a chance to catch up.

An obligatory group shot of the kids...a necessity because the kids grow so fast!

 I look tired...the result of a late night of Bananagrams and cards.  Thanks for coming, Jon, Stacy, and Ava!

A Visit to Eagle Harbor

I was able to see my oldest friend (other than my sister) a few weeks ago.  Jaime and I were in the same Kindergarten class, and that was the start of a long friendship!  Jaime and her family have a cabin in Eagle Harbor, Michigan, where they summer.  (Eagle Harbor is in the U.P. of Michigan on the Keweenaw Peninsula).  I have wonderful memories of spending time in this idyllic place...and I was so happy to share this with my kids!!

Jaime and Lola.  The kids LOVED Lola, and she was so patient with them!

The beaches of Lake Superior were our playground.  We spent time at the majestic Sand Bay, pictured below.

Before heading to the beach, we stopped at the Jampot, a tiny shop run by monks of the Society of St. John.  We were greeted by the delicious smell of baked goods wafting from the shop...we had a hard time deciding on beach treats because of the wide selection of baked goods and confections!!

These girls love the beach!

Nora got a lift down the steps.

We lucked out on the weather. It was sunny and warm, and the typically-chilly Lake Superior wasn't too chilly.

The sand is fine...perfect for building sand castles!

Jaime and I decided to venture in.  We look a little cold here.




William surfing with Dad's help! 

Time was also spent at the rock beach behind the cabin.  There are plenty of rocky coves and hiding spots, which provided tons of entertainment for the kids.

We worked really hard to get a picture of all 3 looking. 

Nora on the rocks.

The adventures of William and Audrey!

The men decided to look for blueberries in the woods that bordered the beach.  They were glad to find some!

This child is fearless.


A trip to Eagle Harbor is not complete without a campfire on the beach (or as William would call it a BOND-FIRE).

Playing on the beach at dark, and a bedtime snack around the fire was the right way to end a fun day!

We had a blast in Eagle Harbor!  Thanks, Jaime!  We can't wait to see you again.