My Baby is FIVE!!!

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I know they say Time Flies..but FIVE?!?!  Where did my sweet little baby go? Lil’C has been very sweet this birthday with extra hugs and encouraging words for me.  “It’s okay mama, I am five now, it’s okay.  I am still your little girl but I need to be five.”

She is right, she does need to be five but I still want permission to take a step back today and say, “WOW!  When did that little 6 pound baby that shot into this world (literally) turn into such an amazing little person?”

IMG_4444Lil’C is a person who is not afraid to show her emotions.  When she is happy, the whole world is happy along with her.  When she is upset or mad…WATCH OUT….her screams and “tears” can be hear round the globe!!  Lil’C is an enthusiastic and creative little being who brings so much joy to our family and this world.  She loves hard and we are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Happy Birthday Lil’C!!!

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Friday Finds….Non-Toy Ideas for the Holidays

IMG_3301Hello all!  It has been a long time since I have done a Friday Finds and I decided to start up again by sharing this great old blog post about Non-Toy Ideas for the holidays.

I don’t know about you but I get easily overwhelmed by all of the gifts given to my kids for the holidays.  Some of my favorite gifts are those that are practical, educational or experiences that the kids can do at a later time.  My kids have been given Theater Tix, Sporting Event Tix, money towards their music classes, coupon books for adventures, sleeping bags, magazine subscriptions and Scott and I always give them a museum membership every holiday.  These gifts don’t take up much space (if any) and create memories that last beyond the holidays.

So click here to find 100 ideas for non-toy gifts for this holiday season.

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The Winter Visitors

IMG_6437As we packed up the lake yesterday, I was reminded of one of our favorite books by Karel Hayes….The Winter Visitors.  In this book the Summer Visitors (another favorite book from Karel Hayes) pack up their lake house and head home for the winter.  The Winter Visitors, a family of bears, move into the house and enjoy a wonderful winter.  The bear family moves out just before the Summer Visitors return in the spring.

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As I stripped the beds, packed the linens in plastic bags, covered all of the dishes and small appliances and moved the porch furniture into the house…..I thought about the Winter Visitors coming to stay at our house over the next six months.  It is much more fun to imagine a family of bears moving in and enjoying our space rather than picturing the mice and squirrels who will actually take up residence there.

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October is always a bitter sweet time at the lake.  It is great to see our lake family and spend time together but it is also sad to watch everyone pack up and get ready to leave.  It will be six long months before we see each other again and set eyes on that beautiful mountain view.  Through the teary good bye, my heart was filled with so much gratitude.  We are so blessed to have such a magical place to visit and even more blessed to have such special friendships as a result of that place.

IMG_6454The kids and I went to say “good-bye” and “thank you” to the lake before we left.  This is a ritual that we do each and every time we leave, even if we are only leaving for a few days.  As we sat on the end of the dock, I told them to take a photograph with their minds.  At first they looked at me strangely and asked what I meant.  I told them to freeze the lake view in their minds so they could have it to think about during the cold winter months ahead.  They loved this idea and closed their eyes tight to take their own mental photo of the beautiful foliage and mountains.

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I hope the Winter Visitors enjoy their time at the lake.  We will be back in the spring to open up again and look forward to another wonderful season at the lake.

Some photos from our weekend…..

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Last trip to the Country Store

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Girls Trip to the Loon Center

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Family Hike (Can you spot Scott and Lil’C?)

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Cousin Time

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Hiking the Tower

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Two Little Miracles

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Just about a week and a half ago, these two beautiful babies joined our family.  My youngest sister Kristen and her husband were blessed with twins!!  Baby boy P and baby girl E are the final additions to our family on my side.

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The twins came into the world 5 weeks early and thus had to spend over a week in the NICU.  They are now home and everyone is slowly settling in to their new life and routines.  It was love at first sight with these two, aren’t they the cutest?!?!?   Lil’C and Z are so excited to meet their cousins and should have a chance to this week.

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I am so happy for my sister and brother in-law.  I can’t wait to spend some more time with these sweet babies.  Congrats K and M….We love you so much!

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Work Weekend

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This past weekend was a work weekend for the family.  We all gathered at the lake to make cement for two pilings going underneath one of the houses.  We started work at 8am on Saturday morning to try to avoid the rain that was forecasted for later in the day.  Being a homeschool mom, there is not much I do at 8 in the morning other than sip coffee in my jammies.  I got up a bit late, wolfed down my breakfast, skipped the coffee and made it to the worksite at 8:02!  Not too bad….photo 3

We were surprisingly quick with the making of the cement and finished the job in under two hours!  It was really fun to work together and we each ended up with a specific role.  I was the “Switch Girl” and would turn the machine on (not off, that was not my job) and then I would go and open a new bag of cement and then go and get my shovel to help pour it into the bucket.  It really was fun to do something so different and work with my family.

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The rest of the day was spent on various projects and prepping for a little birthday party for Mr. Z and Lil’C.  Grammy J came for the night with her dog Koda (one of Caroline’s favorite friends) and we had a nice visit with her.

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Despite the rainy Saturday, we had a great weekend. Lil’C and I had a Mama/Daughter kayak ride on Friday which was very sweet.  We got up close and personal with a cormorant which was fun.

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On Sunday the weather was perfect for leaf catching.  With the wind blowing, those colorful leaves were ripe for falling.  We had folks of all ages running around like idiots and laughing while they tried to catch the falling leaves.  It was so much fun and the perfect end to a great weekend!

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The Gift of Indian Summer…..

photo 1Our plans got changed at the last minute on Sunday afternoon and with the sun shining and temps in the 80’s…..we took that trip to the beach that we had wanted to take for weeks.

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Our trips to the beach are always pretty simple….two chairs, a bag of sand toys, a few towels and some snacks.  We always get there after 3pm and stay until dinner.  The beach is quieter at that time, there is still plenty of time to play and it is just enough time for us to relax and soak in that salt air.

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There was no swimming this trip, though many others were in the water.  We filled our time with sandcastles, football fun, racing waves and we played one last game of shadow tag for the year.

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We headed to dinner after a few hours of play and then out for one final outdoor ice cream cone.  We left feeling refreshed, content and renewed.

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Sunday was a gift.  The warm weather, the unexpected change in plans so we could head to the beach and the time with family to play and be together.  It was a wonderful treat for all of us.

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Celebrating the 8th Trip Around the Sun!

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Happy Birthday Z!  We love you so much and are so excited for all the adventures in store for you this year as you take your 9th journey around the sun.  It is hard to believe that 8 years ago today, you could fit so snuggly into our arms.  We are so proud of the young man you are becoming.  Your energy and enthusiasm for life is contagious and we love to watch you create and build new inventions and LEGO creations.

We hope you enjoy this special birthday weekend!

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Fall is Officially Here….

IMG_3472Fall is officially here and this past weekend was a preview of the good fall fun to come.  The weather was quite chilly, the leaves at the lake are starting to change and we had a great time hiking, roasting marshmallows around the campfire and “exploring” a local corn maze (we got quite lost and had to cheat to get out!!).

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IMG_3501I have finally come to terms with the fact that fall is here but couldn’t resist one last plunge into the lake.  Scott, Z and I put on our swimsuits on Sunday afternoon and took the 70 degree day as a sign that we should go for one last swim.

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Z was the first to jump off the dock and his little yelp and quick swim to the shore let us know that it was very chilly in that water.  The night time temps have been in the high 30’s up there so the water was bound to cool down.  Scott and I decided to jump together and I assumed we would swim to the raft and do one more family jump.  Oh how WRONG I was!!  As soon as my body hit the chilly water it wanted OUT!  It was ice cold and it was all I could do to follow Z and get to shore as quickly as possible.  The air felt like a warm blanket once out of the water and we declared that the official last swim of summer.

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It was a great weekend and we were so happy to have Scott there to enjoy it.  He flew in from London on Saturday afternoon but made it in time for dinner prep and campfire fun with friends.  It was a great weekend.

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Indian Summer is in the forecast for the weekend.  I am a bit sad that we will not be at the lake for it but happy for the couple that is going to be married there this weekend.  After feeling the cold water on Sunday, I think it will be okay to not be at the lake this weekend with the temptation to swim.  Instead we will be home celebrating the 8th trip around the sun of my sweet little Z.  No party this year (for either kid), just an adventure and some good old family fun!!  Happy Fall.

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Right Now I am Grateful For….

photo 1Gratitude is an ongoing practice in my life.  LIke many things there are times when I am dedicated to it and try to see all of the blessings in my life and other times it goes by the wayside and gets buried under a pile of unwashed laundry and dirty dishes.  As I put my children to bed tonight, we talked about the blessings of the day.  I walked a way smiling and wanted to share with you some of the things that we are grateful for.

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Right now Lil’C is grateful for…..

cider donuts, apple picking with friends, her new MOPS class with her good buddy, a letter from a lake friend and a special dinner play date where she got to play princesses.

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Right now Z is grateful for…..

seeing so many friends today, playing Minecraft Kingdom with his friends tonight, his new MOPS class (so much more fun for him than last year and he has his good buddy), apple picking and his stuffed penguins.

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Right now I am grateful for……

a friend who interrupts her “regularly scheduled programming” to invite us over for supper and chat time, the pizza man for delivering our dinner tonight, a new intimate MOPS group with wonderful women and an incredible theme for the year, pumpkin custard, a certain CNN video and my husband who has such passion for his work, loving homeschool friends to share this journey with, fuzzy slippers, a note from a former students mother thanking me for making such an impression on her in third grade (she is now 21!!) and friends who are understanding when you have to back out of something because there is too much on your plate.

I enjoyed our little gratitude moment at bedtime and hope to make it a regular part of our routine.  What are you grateful for right now???

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Autumn has arrived…

IMG_3388 The calendar may still say SUMMER but AUTUMN moved in this past weekend.  The winds have changed, the temps have dipped and I even turned on our pellet stove to take off the chill this morning. Last week I was fighting the change of seasons.  I couldn’t imagine not diving into the lake one more time or feeling the warm sand through my toes.  Now that the air has changed, I am coming to terms with the change and may even be getting a bit excited. P1050528 I am looking forward to the slowing down that fall and winter brings, this time of RETREAT.  I am looking forward to cozy sweaters, warm fires, pumpkin muffins, apple cider and yes Mom, MUMS.  Every year I try to convince my mother to hold out until at least September to buy her mum plants, and each year she begrudgingly agrees. IMG_3390 The kids and I spent part of today creating gnomes for our Autumn nature table.  We LOVE our gnomes and are excited to have some autumn figures to add to our growing gnome collection. IMG_3398 We also made a new leaf fairy to add to our decorations and are thinking of adding a few more.  Lil’C also had me add some hair and a cape to the “Elsa” she had painted last weekend and asked that I turn one of her other peg people into “Anna”.  She LOVES them and had a good time playing with the castle that Z made her two Christmases ago. IMG_3391 Z was feeling left out so he created a Zombie from Minecraft.  He wants to make some other figures as well to add to his Zombie.  He has plans for Steve and maybe an animal or two. IMG_3397 RETREAT……It was not something I was feeling okay with last week, in fact we were swimming one week ago today.  But RETREAT sounds pretty good right about now.  I think I will go and bake some pumpkin muffins and ponder this idea….I think I may just be ready for Autumn. IMG_3389

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