Lazy days of summer

Ah summer time. We are so enjoying the season. This past weekend we visited the Saugatuck Dunes, hiked a mile through the sandy hills, and arrived at a wonderful beach on Lake Michigan. For those of you who don’t know little details about our kids, Josh isn’t big into water while Ellie is passionate about it. She couldn’t wait to get into the icy waters. We didn’t expect to swim figuring the water and air would be too cool, so hadn’t packed suits or towels. We were planning to hike. These omissions didn’t stop Ellie. In no time she was in the water, giggling and dancing without a care in the world. She could have stayed there all day. Apparently her enthusiasm was infectious, because after a few minutes Josh joined her. This represented a huge break through for the little guy. He was just as bubbly as her! We had a great day on the beach, hiking in the dunes and visiting some of the communities in western Michigan.
The summer has been so much fun! We purchased a membership at the Meijer Gardens this year and have visited it a few times. They opened a delightful children’s garden that the kids really like, but I think their favorite part is the 1800s farm that’s been meticulously replicated on the property. I’m not sure if our kids’ practice doing “chores” at my mom and dad’s house has made them experienced farmers or what, but they seem to think the Meijer farm is theirs. They strut around showing visitors where the animal sculptures are and providing little descriptions of stuff. It’s so cute.
We have visited Grammy and Grandpa’s house a few times this summer. Josh and Ellie love to go out in the mornings and evenings to help Grandpa feed and water the cows. Ellie helped plant some beans. My dad couldn’t help but chuckle when she got on his lap, took the wheel, paused, and said, “Grandpa, if there’s one thing I don’t know about it’s planting beans.” We all sometimes wonder if that’s the only thing Ellie believes she doesn’t know about. Josh is fascinated with trucks and tractors but from a distance. They’re too loud for him now, but he loves to watch and plans to ride in one when he gets a little bigger.
Josh moved up at our preschool this past spring. He is now a Jelly Bean. The change has been amazing. Let me back up. Josh was a staunch Sweet Pea. He often said that he didn’t want to leave that room, but his transition was smooth. He never looked back and has been loving it ever since. The fact that his teacher Speranta made the move too helped I’m sure! He plays school now at home and has turned in to a much more social, fun-loving boy. He also sees humor in using words like “booty-head,” “poop,” “puke,” and a few others I won’t mention. He occasionally belches just to make himself laugh. Boys are such interesting creatures. I asked him a serious question about when he was planning to be done with his diapers. He said, “When I get bigger.” I asked him how much bigger because I need to know how many more diapers to buy. He paused a little and said, “When I’m forty-two.” Great! At least he’ll be out of one set of diapers in plenty of time to start the next set.
We have had lots of fun with the Fowlers too. The Fowlers consist of Ellie’s best friend Molly and her parents Melinda and Britt. Ellie claims Molly as her sister and Sean and I really enjoy her parents. Sean described the parade over the 4th of July in a previous thelancasters.net entry. Last Tuesday we met them at the park on the lake here in town for some live music and snacks. The girls quickly took off with some other friends. They headed straight for the stage and danced the night away. Josh watched by the stage and ran back to sell pretend ice cream to the adults. He still shies away from anything he considers “too loud.” He would have probably considered Ellie’s group of friends as too loud by themselves and the music thrown in put it over the top.
Last week we visited Ellie and Josh’s first babysitter, Kim, and the kid’s friends Austin and Katie. Kim has a pool in her backyard. Of course Ellie had a great time. She had no problem jumping in by herself and “swimming” around the pool. Josh played with some trucks on the side of the pool the entire time. Twice he stuck his feet in, but that was it. Kim had some cute little bug catches that go on the kids’ wrist for each of them. The bug catchers came with a little plastic bug in them. Josh’s had a centipede in it. All the kids took out their bugs and were comparing them and playing with them. At one point Josh took his out, held it up, and said, “Who wants to see my recipe?” Recipe, centipede, close enough. None of the kids seemed to mind the mistake.
Next week we head off to Minnesota to visit Sean’s relatives and spend time with the Mellards at their cabin. We absolutely can’t wait!! The kids have been practicing casting and reeling. They’re excited about boat rides but less excited about the long car rides. I’m sure we will adventures to share.
Sometimes I wish I could freeze everything as it is right now. The kids are at such a fun stage, the weather has been beautiful, and we have so much to be thankful for. In my nearly 40 years (I can’t believe I’m admitting this on the Internet) can’t say that I remember a better summer.

Happy July 4th

So, we had some great fun over the 4th of July weekend. We spent a lot of time with the Fowlers. Ellie’s best friend is Molly Fowler and we been hanging out with them quite a bit lately. On July 2nd, we went to the Fowlers to decorate bicycles for a parade in Grand Rapids. The actual parade was on July 3rd.

Ellie and Molly decided to bike in the parade and they managed to bike the whole parade (over 1/2 mile). They both have a little bit of problems with steering but nothing too major. Ellie did crash one time into the curb. She flipped up onto the grass and hopped right up, ready to jump back on her bike. Such a trooper. Joshua decided to let Paula carry him in the parade…They dropped back and eventually Paula, Joshua and Molly’s mom (Malinda) — with the dogs decided to sit down and wait for us to finish and return to them. Great time was had by all. We all went out for breakfast afterwards.

On July 4th, Ellie wasn’t feeling well, so Joshua and I went to the Fowlers for the East Grand Rapids parade, which starts right by the Fowler’s house. We grabbed a bunch of candy and knickknacks. That evening, the Fowlers came over to our house and we used my new grill:

After a wonderful dinner, we headed off to the town lake to watch the fireworks. It didn’t take Joshua long to realize that he didn’t like the boom, so he grabbed his blue blanket and covered up. Everything was just fine once he had his security blanket on. He was quite the funny site to see peeking out. In fact, if you click on the “Our Photos” link on the left you can view some photos from the past week.

I mentioned earlier that Ellie wasn’t feeling well. We finally got her in to see an after-hours doctor and learned that she had a mild case of pneumonia. Poor girl. If there is a virus running around, Ellie is bound to catch it. The good news is that she is doing much better and the medicine appears to be working.