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Monday, May 30, 2011

Bonfire at the Lake

Yesterday our friends Scott and Candy had us over for a bonfire at the lake.  We joined a few other families for a relaxing evening of great food (oh, the smoked chicken with homemade rub - yummmmm!), great people, and a lot of fun for the boys to run around with their friends.

Who doesn't love to jump on the trampoline?

Thomas enjoyed the tree swing.

Cutie patootie neighbor, Peter.

Boys vs. girls tug-of-war

Hanging out on the hammock

And then Mr. Scott took all the kids tubing!
Somehow our boys got to go first.

The sunset was gorgeous!

After dinner and tubing we had a bonfire, complete with s'mores.
Wonderful evening to share with friends and the Grandmas!

Architectural Tour

My mom, Nan, and my mother-in-law, Carolyn, are in town this weekend!  We are having so much fun.  They arrived Friday night and we've kept them rather busy.

Saturday morning I had 15 girlfriends over to Meet the Moms at brunch.  And, I didn't take a single photo, which I could just kick myself for.  We had delicious food, mimosas and bloody marys, a lot of fun catching up, and everyone was dressed in adorable summer outfits.  Why, oh why, didn't I take any photos?  But I do have some recipes to share soon.  Really, the food was delicious!

After brunch we headed downtown for the Architectural Tour.  A little walking, a lot of time on the bus checking out all the buildings in town designed by noted architects.

Brennan, Nan, Thomas, Carolyn

Most of the following photos were taken by the boys, who enjoyed seeing the tour from behind the camera.

Two Chihuly art pieces 

After the architectural tour we went to the newly opened Commons where the boys got to play on the super cool playground.
Photo above courtesy The Republic newspaper

Our downtown is certainly changing and it is really fun to see.  The boys love to visit downtown - there's really a ton to do.

Photos above courtesy of local friend Trent Wirth

After the playground we went across the street to Zaharakos for sandwiches, fountain drinks, and the best ice cream (their mint chocolate chip is awesome!) 

It was a really fun day with Grandma Nan and Grandma Carolyn on Saturday!
We love it that they're here!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Photo-a-Day: Church Directory Photo

May, 2011
Thomas - 10.5
Brennan 9

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Photo-a-Day: Tornado Damage

iPhone photo

We have been through some bad storms and tornadoes the last few days.  Tuesday night high winds took out trees near our neighboorhood and last night the sirens went off 7 times between 3:30 p.m. and 2 a.m.  Lots of tornadoes sighted.  We've been without power since 6:00 last night and don't expect to get it until (hopefully) tomorrow.  There are more storms coming through this afternoon and evening.

This is a barn about a mile from our house.  We always check out the horses and cows that live here as we're driving into town.  I hear they all fled to the field and were OK when the tornado took out their barn.  Across the road from the farm the power lines are all hanging down.

David had the yard and pool looking pristine clean on Sunday and now it is leaf and debris covered, but that's the extent of our "damage".  We're thankful everyone is OK.  The kids had a 2-hour delay to school today which helped.

Praying for those families in the midwest who've lost family and property in the storms!

Photo-a-Day: Vegetable Eater

iPhone photo

Tuesday night after swimming Brennan chose where to go for dinner since Dad had plans.  He decided on a Chinese buffet.  While this is not my favorite pick, I also knew that the boys would get a good meal and I wouldn't have to cook. 

Brennan is a GREAT vegetable eater.  You see his first course here, and this doesn't count the mountain of cauliflower he had already eaten.  He loves broccoli, green beans, black beans, asparagus, mushrooms, peas, salad, and spinach on his sandwiches.  And no sauce - he prefers his vegetables raw, roasted, or steamed.

A couple of years ago I got tired of the pickiness at the dinner table.  I went on a quest to introduce more foods into the boys' diets and encourage them to try everything out, even if it ended up not being their favorites.  They had a dislike/like attitude that I was trying to change into a "scale of 1-10" way of looking at food.

I let them pick 2 things that I would never make them eat (raw tomatoes for both; mushrooms for Thomas), but everything else that had to have a good attitude about.  It has worked beautifully.  And even though we still have discussions and reminders, it has allowed us to open our minds to what we're willing to eat.  And it makes meal planning a lot easier for me!

Brennan still loves his sweets, but as long as he balances it with a good fruits/veggies habit, I'm all set!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Photo-A-Day: Water Baby

iPhone photo

Two or three nights a week you'll find me at one of the local high school's pools.
Brennan has chosen swimming as his sport and is on the local swim team.

This is my view from up in the stands with other parents, talking and watching our kids work on their strokes. 
Brennan's favorite stroke is Freestyle.

But really, he just loves to float and could spend hours in the water.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Summer 2011 Blog Header

For those of you who read the blog through email or Google Reader, I just wanted to share our summer 2011 blog header with you!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wine Club - Zinfandels

Barry and Leigh hosted our 4th Wine Club last night and it was a fantastic evening!

They are wonderful hosts and set the bar very high for all of us who will be hosting in the future!
The food was delicious.
Leigh put out the chocolate that they received for having the winning Shiraz at our house.  It was great with the Red Zinfandels.

The 9 unique Zinfandels were wrapped and set up for our tasting to begin.

Our group is growing and changing so we all had a great time snacking, sipping on non-Zinfandels, and catching up with everyone before the tasting began.

Jeff, Rob, and Lora

Roger, Greg, and Vinita 

Rosann, Mary, and Jan 

Everyone took a seat in the living and dining rooms with our glass and scoring form.

Ginger and Lora

The tasting was a lot of fun (our group is split between wine pros and whin-o's).
Zinfandels are delicious!

Our hosts tallied our scores and announced the top 3 wines.

We were the winners!
We won a great set of wine tasting scoring forms.
Confession:  We learned about the winning wine from an earlier party at Barry and Leigh's. 
They should really claim the title!

And our top 3 were:
#1 Earthquake
#2 Rendition
#3 Elyse

It was a beautiful evening with friends.
Thanks Barry and Leigh!

Next up:  Malbecs!

Photo-a-Day - Mood Changer

As I said on facebook, it's amazing what 80 degrees and sunny can do for my mood! 
I took this photo yesterday while sitting in the car line at school, enjoying the beautiful afternoon.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Daily Photo - Homework

This is a daily site at our house.
While the boys have desks in their rooms, they generally do their homework and Kumon packets in the kitchen with a snack while I clean up and cook dinner. 

Brennan is diligent about getting his homework and piano done each afternoon so he can have lots of free time. 

No dawdling here.

Because of all of our snow days our school year has been extended this year. 
8 more days (counting today). 

We're Ready for Summer!

What We're Reading #4

Welcome to the 4th month of "What We're Reading"! 
Join us by linking up a post on your recent reads or leave a comment below.
Ricki Jill at Art@Home and I host each month and we'd love it if you would join us!

In the past few months I have been reading lots, lots.
I found myself slowing waaaay down in May.
As the 20th was approaching it occurred to me I should really get on it so I'd have a couple of books to share with you!

I put Bossypants, by Tina Fey, on my library reserve list as soon as I heard it was coming out.  I must have been first on the list because I got it the day it came out.  And, what a great read.  It was funny, entertaining and very well written.  I especially liked the chapter about her dad.  I don't read many celebrity books, but this one I'd highly recommend.

Two weeks went by after I finished Bossypants and I couldn't bring myself to start another book.  Then I saw a glowing recommendation by a friend on goodreads.com for a short and sweet young adult novel that takes Pride and Prejudice to a 2011 prep school.  The reviews were great so I gave it a try.  I really, really enjoyed it.  It was exactly what I needed - a sweet, well-written story, that I was able to read over the weekend.  The parallels to the original were well done.  Great beach read!

And, sadly, that's it for me for the past month!  I started two books that I ended up taking back to the library, not really interesting.  I have lots of books on my to-read list for the next several weeks, so I'll have several to share with you next month.

And now it's your turn!
Link up with us below and let us know what you've been reading!

Happy Reading!
~~Bonnie and Ricki Jill

All of my previous book recommendations can be found by clicking here

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photo - A - Day: The Trumpeter!

Several of my blog friends do a great job of capturing a photo a day in their lives and sharing these special moments on their blogs.  I'm going to join them and do the same, starting today.  Check out Sarah's blog here for a great example!

I think a lot of my life is made up in the little things that happen in the 2:30 - 6:30 timeframe every day.  I have a color-coded calendar.  Anything to do with the boys is in blue.  My afternoons are all blue!  And I love it.  I am so grateful to have a chance to be at home with the boys and taxi them around every afternoon.  A friend on facebook made the opposite comment the other day.  While I didn't weigh in, I completely disagreed.  Those 4 hours/day are totally worth it to me.

Today's photos are all about Thomas.  These were taken yesterday (somewhat stealthily) on my iPhone.
As Thomas starts 6th grade in August (HOW is that possible??), he had the opportunity to test out instruments yesterday to join the 6th grade band.

Thomas plays piano and does pretty well on it, so I wasn't sure he'd take on another instrument, although I was going to strongly encourage it.  No need - he came home telling me all about his wish to play the trumpet.  Now, the trumpet is super popular and we understand not everyone gets their instrument choice, so we went in with an open mind.

Our appointment was for 4:00 and Thomas kept watching the clock to make sure we weren't late, in fact, better to be early.  Their music teacher had already tested the kids on a number of skills and Thomas had then circled his top two choices - percussion and trumpet.

The high school band director worked with Thomas yesterday,

then called me over for a consultation.  Thomas had proven equally good at both and he had his choice.  Trumpet.  The band director asked him to consider percussion as well because he did really well on it and it's harder to master.  Trumpet.  He tests all the kids on a scale on the brass instruments.  Those who struggle hitting the high notes would have a harder time.  Thomas nailed the scale easily.  Trumpet. 

We now have a trumpeter in the family!
We rented our new instrument and he'll start Band Camp with the rest of the group on June 3rd. 
I can't even tell you how excited he is!

Don't forget about our "What We're Reading" linky party tomorrow, right here! 
Join us and link up with your latest reads!