Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Pro Bono Lemonade Stand

On one of the record-breakingly hot days this summer, Madeline asked me if we could have a lemonade stand. So we all walked over to our grocery store, and had fun mixing up a batch of good ol' Country Time. I realized back home that we didn't have any ice and charging for hot lemonade on a 102 degree day just didn't seem quite right. Plus, I didn't have any quarters or small bills to make change; who knew so much thought went into a kiddie lemonade stand? So we gave it away, calling it our Pro Bono stand. I sort of tried to explain the concept to the kids, but they were as interested in my "teachable moment" as Maple is in learning algebra. Cars stopped, walkers crossed the street, and even teenagers asked for a cup. I've since realized there's a Whitefish Bay Lemonade Stand Code of Ethics, which is that you go out of your way to buy lemonade from kids. This place is Pleasantville.

We were lucky enough to have our dear friends Ellie and Sophie (and their baby brother) visiting that day from Rockford. Between Buffy's kids and mine, they made about six dollars, despite yelling, "Free lemonade" as loud as their little voices would carry through the muggy heat. That's a fortune when a couple of pennies in a piggy bank is still a big deal.


July Birthdays Galore

Making 34 wishes!!
Rob, Sandie, Ning and my dad all have July birthdays, so we partied the month away!

Ning's dear friends, Pat and Patrice, came up to Milwaukee for her birthday and we had a super fun dinner party on our new patio, singing along with Darius Rucker and enjoying Patrice's imported birthday meal, made from scratch.

Next came Sandie's big day. The Vlachs drove up and the kids treated her to a very special birthday cake that they decorated themselves with anything they spied in the overstuffed pantry.

For my dad's 60th, we went to a fabulous beer garden a mile from our house where you could blink and believe you're in Munich -- live accordion, blue umbrellas with gravel underfoot and a giant beer stein in your hand. Then we had a seafood extravaganza and almond birthday cake back at our house. We took turns reading "60 Reasons Dad's/Papa's Great," a gift from Mollie, Kenny, Andi, Kyle, and our little family of five. One of Charlie's reasons was "Because you have a fish on your shirt and Caterpillar on your belt and that's pretty cool." One of Madeline's was "Because you're a mighty man and everyone loves you."

And finally, Rob took the 31st off work so we could celebrate all day long! Madeline and I made him a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache that called for a pound of dark chocolate. Now that's love. He got the special treatment at our favorite breakfast spot -- all the staff sang him happy birthday over a birthday muffin while he wildly tried to make them believe it was actually my birthday to deflect the attention. Nice try, bud. Then he went fly fishing, had a fun family lunch at a milkshake shack on the beach and took a birthday nap in the afternoon. He said it was his favorite birthday ever!
John's totally in the mix these days.
Happy birthday, Sandie!
The Glamour Girls.
The Johns.

Our Wednesday Adventures

Swimming at Klode Beach
Every Wednesday morning all summer long, Madeline, Charlie and I have gone on a big kid adventure while John naps at home with our darling babysitter. We pack a lunch and set out to the Milwaukee Public Museum to see the dinosaurs and visit the butterfly garden, to the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center to hike and catch penny toads, swim at the beach, or go to Preschool Time at the Betty Brinn Children's Museum. Some Wednesdays, we just go for a relaxed Starbuck's date.

These mornings have truly been a a highlight of our summer!
Superman reporting live. Big sister waiting for microphone.
Preschool Time at the Children's Museum
Catching Penny Toads at the Audobon Nature Center
The butterfly room at the Milwaukee Public Museum

Maple's 15-Minutes of Fame

During Milwaukee's Bastille Days Festival, Ning asked if we'd like to sign Maple up for the Pooch Parade. Fun...of course! But we soon learned (only after we were selected as one of the 15 participants) that it was actually a doggie talent show....on stage, before an audience, with a potential radio interview afterwards. And Maple's idea of performing a trick is licking her paws clean after she finishes rifling through the recycling bags in the garage (her guilty pleasure). Uh-oh.

It not only all worked out, but we had a blast! We dressed her up as a Fairy Dog-Mother -- with loads of kids in the audience, she was definitely a crowd favorite. The morning of her debut, Madeline, Charlie and I smeared peanut butter all over one of Madeline's magic wands, trying to teach her to her spin for her performance, but instead she just pinned the wand to the ground and licked it clean. I wish I could have heard her inner monologue that morning.... "This costume is humiliating, but I like peanut butter, so it's all good."

At the festival, Madeline and Charlie paraded around Cathedral Square with me and Maple, and then they actually joined me on stage -- we were first up! I introduced them to the crowd as Maple's "fairies-in-training." When I touched the (peanut butter-free) wand to her nose, she sat and shook for us. The crowd cheered like she'd just danced on her hind legs. And then what do you know....I looked over and Madeline had unexpectedly grabbed her paws and made her dance like she's watched Rob do since they were brand new puppies. 

Ning's mom was adamant that we were robbed for not winning. Family's great.
The parade before the talent show portion