Sunday, August 24, 2014

catch up

I'm slowly playing catch up (mostly for my own record keeping), but for those who have been asking, I'm now caught up through June, which includes: 

Boston Marathon (weekend and race)
A trip to Springfield, IL
Day trip to Galena, IL

And a few others in between. I postdated them all, so for some reason they weren't coming up in any RSS feeds. 

Next up is the last seven weeks of our little summer. And after that I hope to get back to some more thought-provoking posts that have been swimming around in my head, as opposed to a travelogue. Though I wouldn't trade those travels for anything (except maybe a cure)! 


Friday, August 1, 2014

july in an instant

We decided after our lengthy car travels in June, our family hadn't had enough. So, July was filled with a little more traveling. 

Ryan escaped to New Zealand and Australia for 3+ weeks for work and the girls and I road tripped to Kentucky (a new state for all three of us!) one weekend to visit my (visiting) sister and a long-lost cousin, and Chicago the next to visit some Rett friends (and IKEA and Trader Joe's, of course).

We traveled nearly 20 miles on our six little legs on the trails. Double our goal - those girls are rock stars. 

Leah traveled a few cities over for her first-ever summer camp. It was a hit. 

We received a Box Tops label in the mail that traveled all the way from Fiji. Thanks Grandma! 

I traveled up and down the hill in my backyard 60+ times mowing the lawn for the first (and second) time. And Leah ran up the hill all by herself. She was beyond pleased. I don't have words for the incredible feelings I felt watching her. 

And we traveled all around town checking things off our summer bucket list. 

It was a well-traveled and much enjoyed month! Now for the pictures...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

the 'burbs for a day

When you have a wide open weekend in the middle of the summer, and your husband is on another continent for three weeks, and you know you need to keep yourself and your girls busy, and you have Rett friends who live in a suburb of Chicago and are willing to let you hang out with them for a day, you go. You just do. 

First, you stop at IKEA to grab some supplies for a few home improvement projects. And you eat meatballs for dinner. 

Then, you blow up a mattress and sleep in their playroom with your girls. And you wake up to a house full of squealing and giggling and even more girls. (Poor John.)

Then you head to their village's summer block party that has live entertainment and darling tiny carnival rides. You let your 2 year old ride all the rides (while you die, figuratively, of cuteness). 

You let your 7 year old run wild on the grass, and then rest in the stroller (the stroller that is waaaaaay too small for her, but you're trying to figure out how to afford the $1,500 one she needs). 

And you let a few things slide because, well, 2 year olds can't read. 

You feel so incredibly welcome and normal, even, in their company. Because even though you have amazing friends from all walks of life, sometimes it's just plain nice to be with another family who deals with what you deal with on a daily basis. 

After a day filled with fun (and sun and humidity), you pile back in the car and wave goodbye. Not because you want to. But because you have to hit up Trader Joe's on the way back home. 

And while you're at Trader Joe's you realize your 7 year old is also riding in a cart that is waaaaaay to small for her and you wonder when, exactly, she grew. 

But you're still glad you went because you get to munch on delicious food on the way home AND the kind employees give your two year old stickers that will entertain her for an hour until she falls asleep. 

And then, when you get home, you immediately check your calendar to see when you can do it all again. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

John Deere Classic

Ryan and I nabbed some tickets to go to the John Deere Classic golf tournament this year. Neither of us had ever been to a professional golfing event (let's be honest, I've never been anywhere that isn't miniature), so we didn't really know what to expect. We got a babysitter for the morning and headed to Illinois. They chartered buses to get us there and we definitely brought the average age of individuals on the bus down a notch...or two. 

There were no pictures allowed once you actually entered the course, but it was a beautiful day and such a well-run event. I was actually very entertained. The golfers were amazing! I guess they don't call them professionals for nothin'! Even the ones in the back of the pack are pretty incredible. It was a lot of fun to just sort of wander and be part of the peanut gallery. 

We will be going next year and we'll definitely make a full day out of it. Just remind me to wear a hat. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Our 45

Iowa Public Television Kid's Club is, apparently, turning 45 this year. They have requested kids send in pictures of themselves with 45 of...something. Anything! They periodically show new pictures that kids from throughout the state have submitted during their morning programming. So, we jumped on the Kid's Club bandwagon and made a morning of it with some friends. The girls got to choose their own "things."

Miss Ribbons obviously chose hair accessories, 44 on the board and one in her hair! (And this is a fraction of what we actually have stashed in our bathroom.)

Kate was determined to do animals. If you know me, you know I don't love stuffed animals. I periodically get rid of them when the girls aren't paying attention. Somehow we scrounged up 45, which included at least 30 finger and hand puppets, which I don't mind having on hand (no pun intended). 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day

On the Fourth of July, most of our friends from Iowa were out of town visiting their families (note to self for next year!), so we celebrated as a family of four. We started out with one of our walks on the trail and the girls were thrilled to show Ryan our routine. 

Later that night, we donned our red, white and blue and ventured out to the River Bandits game, our local baseball team. We didn't pay attention to the game at all, but rather marveled at the beautiful sunset and how crazy it was that we were sitting in the middle of a flood. 


It rained and rained and rained a few days before the fourth and the baseball stadium is right on the Mississippi River. The stadium has metal walls that barricade the water, so it doesn't flood. We had to walk on a temporary bridge the erected over the flooded parking lot and down into the stadium. It was incredible! 

We sat on a blanket on the grass in behind the outfield. Kate wasn't a fan of Rascal the River Bandit, but she was a fan of running away from us any chance she could get. 

Near the end of the game, the winds shifted and were blowing right where we were sitting, so they evacuated everyone on the grass so they wouldn't get harmed by the fireworks. So, we wandered for a bit and finally found an empty table to sit on and enjoy the fireworks. Leah loved them, as usual. We weren't so sure about Kate, but she was fascinated. We warned her beforehand that they would be really loud and she just stared at the night sky saying, "Fireworks. Loud. Fireworks. Loud." 

A few days later, we had a USA themed dinner (at least the decor, the food was Italian), with some friends who had just returned home from vacation the night before. 

It was quiet and quaint and I loved it. It was wonderful to celebrate and talk about the blessings and responsibilities that come from the freedoms we enjoy with my little family for the first time in our new town. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

ten miles

I'll admit, I'm worried about summer vacation. 

For the last few years, those words - summer and vacation - haven't always seemed to fit together. When you have a child that needs help going to the bathroom and eating every bit of every meal, being home all day just sounds like more work. Because it is. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Leah. I love being with her. And I honestly don't mind doing those little things for her each day. Sometimes it just makes me tired. 

So, this summer, I decided a few things:

  • I want some structure to our summer. Things to look forward to each day or each week. 
  • I want the girls to get outside (because, um, we can't do that for 6 months of the year apparently). 
  • I want the girls to move their bodies and stay active (watching TV/listening to music and books is the only thing Leah can do all on her own...and it's almost too easy to just let her do it). 

That's when I decided we would have a running/walking goal. If you saw the three of us in action, you might call it a herding cats goal. But however you put it, we have a goal to run/walk 10 miles this summer. That doesn't seem like a lot, but running up and down the hallway and rocking on the couch don't count, so it actually is a lot for the four little legs in my care. 

I have two days each week set aside to do this. And so far, we've gone both of those scheduled days. The girls get about a half mile out and then we turn around, making about a mile each time, depending on how much they wander. 

They stop and smell the flowers. All of them. 

And they pause to rest on the benches. All of them. 

We aren't fast. And we look like a circus. But it wears them out and gives me energy, so, win-win! I'll report back in six weeks. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

june in an instant

So, June happened. 

Really fast. 

Some days seemed like they'd never end - like the few we spent driving through Nebraska. But mostly the days flew by. 

Really fast. 

Hoping to catch up and document all that we were lucky to be a part of...

...really fast. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014


With no long runs scheduled these days, our Saturdays have been feeling mighty free lately. Sometimes a little too free and we end up wasting an entire day. So, we decided to take a short drive to Galena, Illinois today to check out its famous Main Street. 

Kate perfected her lip balm application skills, Leah out-ate both of her parents at a local cafe for lunch and Ryan was in root brew heaven at a little store called Root Beer Revelry. I counted at least 50 different brews and he chose a mere 13 to come home with. 

Other than the ridiculous humidity (seriously, I might as well have been swimming fully clothed) and the apparently too-small shoes I chose to wear, we had a great time. 

Plenty more to see and do, and plenty more root brews to try, so we'll be back. 

Friday, June 27, 2014


Our friends are out of town this week and they asked if Ryan wouldn't mind mowing their lawn for them once while they are away. In an effort to sway his answer in their favor, they mentioned the girls were welcome to come jump on the tramp while he mowed.

We took them up on their offer. Though, have the record show, we would have done it even if they didn't own a trampoline. 

The girls and I bounced our hearts out. I haven't heard them giggle that much, continuously, maybe ever! It didn't stop...unless I stopped. Which I did a few times because apparently I'm not 15 anymore and jumping (in 99% humidity, no less) is a workout! I was drenched by the time we left. 

I don't think Ryan had as much fun as we did...but the lawn sure looks great!