Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer: The Second Half!

Talk about playing catch up! It's freezing outside -- November is less than a week away -- and I'm finally writing about July and August! But it's a sign of the times. With three kids at full speed ahead, my computer time has become more and more limited.

Here are the fun highlights...another summer gone by:
  • Madeline and Charlie loved swimming lessons! Until Charlie didn't love swimming lessons anymore. Then, the boys and I played in the baby pool while Madeline worked on her stroke. We really enjoyed belonging to the pool just up the street this summer. Next year, swim team?
  • Next up, tennis lessons! And yes, Madeline wore her whites. They loved it and are both real athletes! Madeline whipped the ball over the net and Charlie cracked the college girls up with his animated stories, calling them all Coach in his husky little voice.
  • We had a summer check list of fun things to do! We took Maple to the Alterra on the Lake, climbed up NorthPoint Lighthouse, went to Jazz in the Park with my dad and Ning several times, visited the Milwaukee Zoo and so much more...
  • Rob took our little family of five to the Brewers v. Cardinals game. He pulled out all the stops -- Italian ice, licorice rope, gallon-sized Diet Cokes, popcorn and peanuts.
  • Our friends, Virginia and Cameron, invited us to spend the day with them at their family's cottage on Lake Michigan, about 30 minutes north of Milwaukee. They have become great friends; our kids have a blast with their children, Conrad and Mary Jane.
  • We took Madeline, Charlie and John to Kids Day at the Bastille Days french festival, where Madeline took a ballet lesson from Milwaukee Ballet dancers, and Charlie hit a hokey puck with the Admirals!
  • Took a fabulous family vacation! More on that soon...
  • We celebrated Rob's 35th birthday party with a group of about 20 friends at The Bay, a new restaurant/bar around the corner.
  • Of course, the Fourth of July is when Whitefish Bay is in all it's glory! We bounced between the parade down Silver Spring, four parties in the neighborhood, and fireworks at my dad and Ning's fabulous high rise!
  • Madeline and Charlie went to Vacation Bible School again. Charlie still sings his bible songs every single day.
  • I loved my first sailing lesson on a choppy Lake Michigan with my dad. Technically, I was his crew. Only at first, when he threw out commands, I didn't even know which way to look! Soon though (with lots of instruction), I sailed the boat past the breakwater and out into the open water, then tacked back in. Exhilarating! The instructor was fantastic and so knowledgeable (but not familiar with the iPhone camera...every shot he took came back as a close up of his confused face or of his thumb).
  • I trained all summer and ran a half marathon at the end of August. It was my first long race in 11 years. Rob and the kids cheered me on! Madeline and Charlie even crossed the finish line with me.
  • Little John, my dad (Big John) and I flew to Atlanta to visit my grandma Madeline. It was the first time I'd seen her beautiful active retirement village she moved to around the same time we landed to Milwaukee. I treasure these visits more than I can say. We did so many special things, including a day trip into a charming mountain town, but my favorite moment was lying on the couch with my eyes closed while my grandma softly rubbed my ankles.
  • Rob and I sat at the Caterpillar table at the Discovery World black tie gala. 
  • Rob went to Cape Cod with his buddy, Matt Pawlak, whose family has a beautfiul home in Brewster, MA. The guys relaxed, swam and caught up now that Matt lives in Texas and we're in Milwaukee.
  • Our friends, the Browns, came up and spent the day with us!
  • We spent a long weekend in Geneva with Rob's folks, had a four-generation playdate at Sandie's house, and went to Swedish Days! 
  •  We checked our fairy gardens in the mornings. Quite often, there were magical visits in the night!

Most days, we had nothing planned and just enjoyed being together. Everyday activities like going to the grocery store, walking to the playground, playing in the fountains, having picnic lunches and going to the movies on rainy afternoons were some of my favorite times. I cherished having all three of my little buddies together and watching their friendship bloom. What a magical, relaxed summer it was...