Wednesday, August 31, 2011












Thanks to my kids for being frogs. RIB-BIT. And thanks to Daddy for the pictures.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ewwww. Too Stinky.

This has been the summer of "Too Stinky." That's what the kids say to make each other giggle (every.single.time) or what they say when they don't like or don't want something. Occasionally with an EWWWWWW preceding it.

"Gillian, do you want a waffle?"

"Colin, do you need to go potty?"

"Do you guys want peaches for breakfast?"

Apparently it's a universal answer. And a universal insult. Pretty handy.



Every August my Grandpa drives to Chambersburg, PA and picks up a huge truck load of peaches to share with family and neighbors. They are DELICIOUS. And usually a really good bargain (given that a quart of peaches at our Farmer's Market sells for $5). In the past I've ordered a 1/2 bushel for our family, but this summer I ordered us a whole bushel. And they arrived just as we were leaving for Niagara Falls. I was afraid I'd come home to a bushel of fuzzy peaches, but, luckily, they were just about perfect when we made it back! So, we've been working our way through the peaches. Eating some, making freezer jam, freezing lots, and baking some yummy stuff. I sliced the last of them yesterday! Phew, made it! And not a single fuzzy one!

The kids enjoyed them too!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Average Morning

I thought I finally take the camera along on Monday morning to document our usual summer morning fun activities. I've mentioned that we spend a lot of time in the county park, and Monday was no different! We decided to take some bread over to the ducks and see what our buddy the peacock was up to.

This was our first trip to the duck pond without a second set of adult hands; previously I didn't trust the kids with all the abundant goose poop to brave it alone. But, we did well this time. Phew.

See? Fowl!

And bread throwing!

Gillian likes to let the geese get very close to her. Too close for MY comfort, but she likes it. Daddy says that last time we went the geese were eating out of her hand. I did NOT see that.

Colin was more interested in seeing his friend Mr. Peacock.
Unfortunately, the peacock wasn't interested in showing off his tail on Monday. He did talk to us quite a bit though. I think he was in a tizzy because he and the peahen had AN EGG!
Obviously, the no one was sitting on the egg, so I doubt they will make any progress with it, but cool, nonetheless.

After our visit with the birds, we headed down the hill to the playground that we frequent the most (note: not the kids' FAVORITE playground, but the one I make us go to most often). It was a beautiful, beautiful day on Monday and I would have stayed outside forever, but for some reason the kids only wanted to play for about 30 minutes. It was kind of sad!

We had some fun anyway! Climbing:


More climbing:

Some swinging (and silliness):

Oh yeah, and selling ice cream:
There is just something about that little metal half window that makes kids want to sell ice cream from it. C&G just started doing it one time in early spring and like to sell a cone or two every visit. And I've seen other 3,4,5 year olds walk up and do the same thing, without seeing anyone else do it! Not sure if that's what the playground designers intended, but they've set up some nice pretend play areas too!

So, anyway, that's a view at a typical summer morning for us. Lots and lots of outdoor play and exploring!

Summer Shoes


I just wanted to document G's summer time feet. I picked up these sandals in late spring and Gillian immediately loved them! They are the ONLY shoes she will wear this summer; it's barefeet or rainbow sandals. That's it. I think she's worn her swim shoes 2 or 3 times, but that's it. The rainbow sandals have been through wet, mud, mulch, dirt, and, yes, pee (several times). I usually pass along G's shoes to someone else. Not so much with this pair.

Oh, and the bright pink, chipped, dirty toenails are par for the course too. A total reminder of all our summer fun.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Get Away!

Last weekend Daddy and I took an opportunity to take a little kid-free get away! The timing was great, as we had just celebrated our TENTH wedding anniversary on August 11th. Grammy Lynn was beyond happy to volunteer to run "Camp Grammy" and keep the kiddos for a few days. Perfect, right?

So, last Saturday we packed up and first drove north to deliver the kids to Grammy and Papa Frank. The whole morning, Colin kept telling me that "NO!" he did not want to stay at Grammy's and he didn't want us to go away. Ummm. Ok. I was really, really hoping he wouldn't mind when we left once he was ACTUALLY at Grammy's house! And, thankfully, that is what happened. Once they saw the baby apple trees and their Grammy toys and all their favorite stuff, they could not have cared less that Daddy and I left! Phew.

That meant Daddy and I were free to head MORE north to Erie for our first stop! My best friend from high school was getting married on a lovely spot just off the shore of Lake Erie!

The lovely bride!
That's not a great picture of her dress; it was gorgeous and I loved it!

And a BIG hug!
It was a pretty wedding and nice to spend some grow-up time hanging out with Matt and Rachel, who were also guests! After the wedding we had a nice drive through the local grapevine fields to our hotel. The next morning we were up and at 'em and headed EVEN MORE NORTH!

Our destination? Can you tell?

That's Niagara Falls! The American side looking across to Canada, in fact. I had never been there before and Michael hadn't been there since he was 12 or so. It was a reasonable drive and we thought, WHY NOT? It's supposed to be romantic, right?

On Sunday we drove up to the American side of the falls, through a horrible storm, thinking that it was going to rain cats and dogs all day and we wouldn't be able to do anything! Fortunately, the storms stayed south of the Falls, and besides a few sprinkles, it was just cloudy all day. Phew. I really didn't want to have to spend all day inside the casino! So, we hung out on the American side most of the day. They have a pretty nice state park with multiple "attractions" to explore.

Mostly we just stared at the falls. And I got anxious. I was seriously freaked OUT by all that water and the POWER it had. I just kept imaging people/things being swept OVER. It made my stomach drop. We saw one family that had walked out on a rock jutting out into the river above the falls and were busy taking pictures and their kids (probably 8-10 years old) were hopping about 4 feet from the rushing water. Ack. So much anxiety. I have issues.

But anyway, the views were pretty, the Falls impressive, and I didn't have to hold any youngsters back from the edge, so we enjoyed our day! Some of our Sunday pictures:

River headed towards the Falls:

Bridal Veil Fall and "Cave of the Winds" attraction (that we did NOT do because I don't do caves....more anxiety there):

American Falls and Observation Deck (that we did NOT do because I wasn't paying $$$ for the view):

Happy people!

After a yummy lunch in a, thankfully, non-touristy cafe we decided to head over to the Niagara Aquarium. We saw this handsome guy and a few funny sea lions, but not too much else.
It was a pretty sad aquarium, definitely NOT worth the $10 per person admission! It did make us quite thankful for our lovely PPG Aquarium here in Pittsburgh.

After our thorough exploration of the American Niagara Falls, we headed across the Rainbow Bridge into Canada! We were a bit early to check into the Bed and Breakfast where we were staying and my feet were quite tired, so we took a driving tour of the Canadian side and got our bearings. Finally though, we checked in, took a quick snooze (AHHHHH) and grabbed some dinner! This child-free travel has some perks!

On Monday morning we decided to play dedicated tourist and check out "The Maid of the Mist." Like this:

They give you these:

The views from the boat were just awesome! This is the American Falls again. Those rocks tumbled down in two gigantic slides in the first half of the last century.

Bridal Veil Falls again.

The Canadian Falls:

"The Maid of the Mist" was very much worth the time! Awesome views and you got such a sense of the power in all that water! And, actually, we didn't get wet at all!

After our boat ride we explored the views on the Canadian side. And I will say, half of the fun of exploring the falls was the people watching. I'm not sure why I didn't think of this before, but there was a very, very large international flavor to the tourists. We heard multiple Asian and Indian languages, French, German, and several accented variations of English. It was pretty cool. But anyway, more pictures!

(Sadly, the evening before I took this picture a young Japanese tourist was climbing the railing right next to where I took this picture, she fell in, and was swept over the falls.)

For lunch on Monday we met up with an old friend of ours' from high school, Deb. She and her husband were having their own get away in Niagara to celebrate their 5th anniversary! It was pretty funny to meet up with them in Canada since we live in PA and they live in North Carolina! It was nice to visit with them and catch up, and while we ate lunch together, our kids were playing together back at Camp Grammy! They had fun too!

After lunch we took a nice drive up the river to a little town on Lake Ontario called Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was very historic and quaint. Lots of little shops, inns, and restaurants. It was fun to explore and catch a look at Lake Ontario. We had left the camera in the car though, after Michael stopped to take a picture of this:
That's a hydroelectric dam. I think he would have preferred spending the afternoon touring the power plant!

That evening we had a really nice dinner at a steakhouse inside the Falls View Casino that really did have a (slight) view of the Falls. We had a lovely waitress who, while chatting with us after dinner, had a really cool Canadian accent. She talked hockey and said "eh." It was awesome. After dinner we took one last stroll along the Falls and took some shots of the Falls all lit up (somehow it cracks me up that people shine giant colored lights on this huge, amazing natural wonder, I mean, do they think they can do better than Mother Nature?):

On Tuesday morning we were up and ready for breakfast, as directed, at 8:30. We realize we were the only guests that morning, but still....nothing is ready in the dining room. No set table, no coffee waiting. Nothing. Michael knocked on the kitchen door...nothing. Finally we call the number for the house where the owners live (a block or so away) and the wife says, "He (her husband) should be there!" And she came right down to check it out. Turns out her hubby had tied one on the night before and sound asleep, hung over. Nice. I felt pretty badly for the lady. Michael and I are pretty sure this wasn't a one time occurrence for them. Anyway, she was apologetic and asks us what we wanted to do. She offered to cook up some breakfast, but it would take a while. But, really, I was ready to head home to my kids. So they gave us a discount on our stay and we stopped for famous Canadian doughnuts for breakfast. Sigh. At least it was a memorable send off!

So, home we drove! Well, first we stopped at Camp Grammy to collect our lovely little ones! We were all quite happy to see each other! Then we went home! It was a great getaway! So appreciated and needed! From what I hear, the kiddos had a great time without us, so maybe we'll get to repeat it sometime!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


GraGra and Papa Greg kindly gave Daddy a plastic flamingo for his birthday (as a gag gift)! And, since the kids are wild for flamingos, we were sure to put it in our back yard. Where the only people who can see it are us!! Anyway, the kids told me the flamingo was a girl and we settled on her name as Fancy.

Yep, Fancy. Middle name: Classy.