Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Perfect Saturday Morning in the City

On this particular Saturday morning, I wanted to get out. At this stage in Judah's little life, it just works better for us to stay home for his morning nap so that he can get a good solid 2 hours or so, and he just doesn't get that when we are out and about. But I do miss getting out in the mornings for some kind of outing with the kids. Since Tad was home this Saturday morning, I decided to take Maddy out for a little time together, to be back when Judah woke up!! I took her out in the jogging stroller and I got to take a little jog on the way to one of our favorite playgrounds near us!! We have little pet names for all the playgrounds near us, and we call this one the "nanny park" because you won't find too many parents with their kids there!! Just nannies and kids! It's close to the lake, at less than a mile away from our house. We love it!!

Yes, it's a city park, yes it is gated and surrounded by tall buildings. But that's city life. We are fortunate to have little nooks like this in the city to play in.
On a weekend, though, you will find more parents with their kids since they are off on the weekends. Well, some of them.
Being crazy on the swing!!
I think this was right before she took a flying leap onto the swing, and missed, and landed face down in the wet pavement. She cried, shook it off, got a hug from mom, and just got back to playing!!
Look at the CAMERA!!

She is such a climber!!
Goodbye, park. Now off to the market!! One of my favorite summer things in the city is the Green City Market!! There is one right on our street on Saturday mornings, so we just walk down the street, and there it is!! Sometimes we buy, sometimes we just stroll through, and sometimes we just walk through on our way to the nanny park.
We love the little stands; the tent to the left sells awesome homemade hummus, which we love, and we love some of the jarred homemade sauces, the grilled jalapeno cheese, the fresh bread, foccacia, herb plants...the list goes on. You just can't beat fresh stuff from the market!! Local, fresh product right at your doorstep!
These beautiful hanging baskets always catch my eye, but I would rather spend $25 on something else, thank you very much. In fact, I once saw hanging flower baskets on sale at Aldi's for $.99. Not. joking.
But I will just stop and admire.
Beautiful fresh basil!! My potted basil just died, so this fresh stuff is looking more and more tempting, but for now, it will just look nice in my pictures.

I wish I had more pictures of that morning, but this is all for now. Thanks, Maddy for a fun morning!!


I love June, and strawberries, and getting out of the city!!! One of my favorite things to do all year is to go fruit picking. So I drag my family out of the city every summer to pick strawberries, blueberries, and apples in the fall, and it makes my day!! Hopefully they enjoy it too!!
This is the second year we have driven out to Susie's Garden Patch to pick strawberries, which is about 1 1/2 hrs. out of the city, but about 2 1/2 hrs. with traffic. But it is well worth it!! The kids take a nap in the car, and we pack our lunches to eat before we go out to pick!!
It was a perfect June day!! The kids and I had just gotten back from Ohio, so it was a nice thing to do as a family when we got back!!
My babies are getting so big!!
Judah is such a happy baby!! I told Tad that putting him in the front pack might get hard, that he should put him in the carseat facing away from the sun, with a blanket, but daddy always insists on the front pack. I won't say that it did get annoying, that he did forget the pacifier, that Judah got tired, and it was really hot. I won't say that.
They have fun stuff for the kids: a swinging horse, animals to pet, playground (country style, with an old tractor to climb on), and little picnic table.

Maddy loves to pick berries, but loves eating them more!! Every year she gets more and more helpful!! This year she actually picked quite a bit!! Last year she probably ate more than we bought!!
Good job, Maddy!!
Yes, we finally get out of the city and away from the noise, and Tad is on his cell phone talking in this big open field. About work. Silly daddy.
Me, I was breathing in the fresh country air. I'm really a country girl at heart. Trapped in the big city!
These pictures make me happy!!

Here's my little country girl. If you ask her what kind of music she likes, she will say, "country and kid music." And my personal favorite, "I'm a country girl."
They had baby calves that were only 2 weeks old!!
Of course there is much work to do after picking all those strawberries!! And I almost missed my deadline, because would you believe those strawberries sat in the fridge for almost a week before I did anything with them?? I finally got on my A-game and got cooking, all in a days work I made these scrumptious recipes. I was looking for lighter versions of the things I wanted to cook, and got lucky with some great healthy (or healthier) versions. Here is what I found!!
Delicious: Strawberry-Orange Muffins from the Eating Well website. With some easy substitutions, these are healthier than the usual muffin, and taste awesome!!!
Note to self: Lower calorie muffins consumed in higher quantities equals the same or more calories consumed. Lesson learned. Maybe these are too good to make if you are on a diet!
Fresh Strawberry Pie from People, this only has 6 ingredients and was soooo good!! Of course, this too was consumed by my little family in 1 day.,1953,134186-240193,00.html

Creamy Strawberry Dressing from Taste of Home. We made a salad for dinner one evening after we got home from the beach. Lettuce, strawberries, mandarin oranges, sliced almonds, blue cheese, and this amazing dressing. A perfect summer dinner!!,1953,134186-240193,00.html

So all in a day's work: Strawberry Orange Muffins, Strawberry Pie (which by the end of that day there was no pie left to photograph), creamy Strawberry dressing, Strawberry Jam, and I used the rest of the strawberries and crushed them up for cereal or whatnot. So yummy!!!

Blueberries are next in July!! We will probably go back to the same blueberry farm for the 3rd year in a row!! I love summer!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Dad!!

My dad has been such a blessing in my life. If I had to think of one word that described him in my life, it would be pillar. That sounds like a weird word to describe someone, but with all the female hormones of my mom, sister, female dog, and myself, he was the only man in the house, and we all relied on him emotionally, because he was always stable!!! I could always go to him for wisdom, advice, to fix anything that needed to be fixed, to ask for prayer, to run something past him, or to just sit and talk.
There are so many good qualities about my dad that I have really appreciated over the years. He is such a caring, compassionate man. If anything is ever going on involving someone being sick, ill, hurt, or anything else, he is quick to pray for them regularly, get other people to pray, visit them, get them the help that they need, etc. If he noticed someone who needed extra attention, love, or care, he would be the first one to give it. He is a romantic, and always treated my mom with the utmost devotion. He treated my sister and I like princesses, always getting us flowers, corsages, and making us feel special. He taught 1st grade Sunday School at church for about 10 years, ever since I was in 1st grade. Everyone knew him for his quirky jokes, kind manner, and the fun class that he taught.
In my opinion, I always had a "cool dad." He is a rock 'n roll junkie, can tell you every piece of information on every band, singer, songwriter, and song. I brag that he came in the top three to almost get the President of the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. He has been in lots of bands over the years, playing drums and singing. He toured with a band for a year when he was in his 20's. We grew up on rock 'n roll, riding in Ford mustangs with the music turned up, going to car shows and drag races, and riding on the back of his motorcycles.
But besides being a cool dad, he has always been there for us girls. We knew that he loved and cared for us more than anyone, and that he would do anything to keep us safe, happy, and protected.
After I went away to college, I could see his faith really grow through some hard circumstances, and he came out continuing to love God and being the prayer warrior that he has always been. Our relationship grew a lot deeper when I went to Chicago for school. We talked on the phone a lot, and developed an adult relationship where we could share things and be real. It was a great transition from living at home, and I'm so glad for our special relationship. He has been there for me through some really hard times. When I'm struggling, he is one of the first if not the first person I call or text; I always know he is praying for me and all the more through trying circumstances.
When I go home to visit, we often stay up several nights just talking and talking about anything and everything, and I love that. Hearing old stories from his childhood, talking through current issues, getting his opinion about things in my life, and talking through hard stuff. I know we have a real relationship, and we can be open with each other about anything.
He has had a pretty tough life, and a lot has happened to him through the years. If you know him, you can attest to that. He lives day to day with a lot of physical pain, with little sleep, and gets around with his trusty cane. But his sense of humor, strong interest in politics, love for music, devotion to his family, and compassion for people are as strong as ever.
There is so much more that I could write, but I just want to make it known that you are such a great Dad, I love and appreciate you so much, more than you could imagine, and I want to say Happy Father's Day, from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ohio Trip

What a trip!! The kids and I went on a trip to Ohio to see my family, celebrate birthdays, and to watch my sister Briana's senior voice recital at Cleveland State. While we were there we worked on a Father's Day project for Tad, and it was interesting to say the least! But it turned out really nice!
We had to make sure we found WASHABLE paints, and instead of doing Judah's handprint, we had to do his foot since it was easier!! We had fun! Thanks for helping, Dad!
Handprint!! Maddy loved it!
The girls decided to dance on the stage at Briana's recital!
A pic of the family, and my sister's husbands family. They have two kids, Arianna (6) and Gabe (20 months). So my parents have 4 crazy grandchildren.
She did 41 minutes of music, including pieces in French, German, and Italian. It was amazing!! I was so proud of her!! And she even had to dodge the interruptions from her son yelling, "Mommy!" She will graduate from Cleveland State with a degree in Music Therapy, and will be moving to Colorado in August with her family and will continue her internship there.
My friend Jess was visiting her Aunt in Ohio, so we got to see her twice while we were in Ohio. She was nice enough to come to my sister's recital, and she ended up watching the kids outside so everyone could watch in peace. Thanks Jess!
Birthday dinner at Grandma's and Boopa's (Grandpa) house. Maddy enjoyed pulling brother in the wagon.
We also got to see Arianna's violin recital. After a few tears, she got up there and did a great job with her little group, the Twinklers!! Good job, Arianna!
An Ohio favorite: the Tearoom. Compliments of Grandma. The girls love it!! Poor Boopa! Tad has been once, and he does not want to go back. Lots of teacups, lace, and flowers. The girls get pink lemonade in a teapot and pour it into a little teacup, and Madelynn adds cubes of sugar for extra sweetness :)
The girls and their pink lemonade!!
Me and Boopa! He is so cute!! And always gets dragged to the Tea room!!
Grandma with her four great-grandchildren!!
Nana and Grandma.
Arianna, Boopa, and Briana.
Yummy iced tea!!
My little girl! This was the first time she really enjoyed the tea room as a little girl instead of running all over and acting bored.

We went over to the Dawson's house, they have 5 kids, 4 and under, and the kids got to play in the sprinkler, ride the Barbie car around, jump on the trampoline, ride the golf cart into the woods and get sticks for the fire, and play with lots of toys. Maddy had a blast!
This is their youngest, 8 week old Olivia. Judah looks huge compared to her!!
Judah and Gabe jammin' on the keyboard!
Such a woman driver. She would drive this thing and if she ran into something, she would keep her foot on the gas, like that was going to somehow accomplish something. We would say, "Maddy put it in reverse!!!" We were at a very nice house where Liz nannies for a little boy, so running into the house and the landscaping was not a great idea. But she had fun!
Maddy LOVES to spend time with Judah in the crib. She sings to him, plays with him, and cuddles him when he wakes up.
Papa reading her bedtime story.
The girls playing in the sandbox at Arianna's house.
Thanks for visiting, Jess!!
Playing at the playground at my parent's apartment complex.
Great friends!!

Sorry it has been so long since I have posted anything. I have been so busy, and we have so many trips planned this summer!! Stay tuned for more summer posts, recipes, and updates on our travels!! As always, I love hearing from anyone who is reading!!