Sunday, August 30, 2015

More Pictures!

 I love cooking over the campfire! And this year, I cooked bacon and eggs on the fire...delish!
 The view over our tent
 Tyler loved getting water from the pump. This pump was very fast and powerful. He told me that was because it was red, and red is an angry color. "And the blue one is slower, and calmer because blue is a calm color."
 Katie and James took a  ton of pictures! This one is Katie's.
This is what happens when I ask them to look like they like each other.

 Pretty queen anne's lace
 Tyler's maiden voyage in the canoe. We talked to some random guy and his daughter at the dock and he ended up giving each kid a little ride in the canoe which they thought was the best! Part of me was screaming "You're not supposed to trust some random dude with your kids in a boat!" and the other part of me was like "what is this worked coming to when I suspect some nice guy who is just offering to give the kids a boat ride!?" And it was fine. :) Of course.
 More campfires. The kids scavenged the wood from empty sites and I build the fire. And we all roast marshmallows. Pro Camping Tip O' The Day: Marshmallows are good with breakfast too.
 Lots of playing at the dock, looking for fishing gear
 There were TONS of lily pads and these beautiful lilies
And...drum roll please! I am a long time botanical nerd. From a very early age I would sketch endless pictures out of my Audubon North American Flower guide. This particular flower always intrigued me but I never, ever saw one in real life and always wanted to. When I went to turn a log over to look for salamanders....I found them! Indian Pipe! I was so excited, and you are probably thinking I fell off the turnip truck....but woo! Last year, I found a Jack-In-The-Pulpit in a marsh, and that was also one I wanted to see 'someday"...I'm on a roll! haha

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Triple Surprise Camping Trip: Part One

This summer has been crazy and long and full and we hadn't yet squeezed in a camping trip. Camping is an essential part of summer fun if you ask me (or the kids). However, other things conspired to keep us at home. Last week was going to be the week, but it got really, really hot and humid. No thank you. This week was touch and go because I had some orders to do and life, not to mention camping with three children takes lots of packing. Wednesday we decided to make it happen, on Wednesday. (Surprise #1) I cruised the internet trying to decide where to go, and the packing (and 'when are we leeeeaving?') commenced. We headed out around noon, with Beyonce (our car) loaded up with tent, food and children. Once we set up camp, I cooked dinner over the fire which was the BOMB dot com, if I do say so myself, thankyouverymuch. (recipe courtesy of Dad) Afterward, we headed over to the lake to watch the sunset. I took a picture and sent it to my brother, suggesting he play hooky from work and come join us the next day. Something about a 'boss' and 'work obligations' was thrown around, which is sooooo last Tuesday if you ask me. But alas, he was able to sneak out of work early and come up and spend the evening with us yesterday. The look on the kids faces' was priceless when they saw him walking up to us. (Surprise #2) Also, unbeknownst to the kids, Dad had spontaneously (yes, I just used "dad" and "spontaneous" in the same sentence!!!) decided that he and mom would drive up and hang out with us today. They showed up at breakfast time with donuts! We went to both lakes, then headed out to this really neat historical site nearby. (I'll post about that separately) It was really fun, and I am sure the kids will remember it for a long time! I'll try not to put up too many photos ;)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cowboys and Indians

The kids like to make up Cowboy and Indian 'shows' for me. They will plan among themselves, then ask me to come out and watch. All their shows have the same characteristics, making them hilariously awesome to watch:

  • They dress Tyler up in James' cowboy gear, and Katie whispers in my ear "Doesn't he look cute?" and he does. Skinny little Tyler, with an oversized bandana and holster running around is pretty cute.
  • They all grin these happy, cute little grins during their gunfights, which is totally ridiculous given the nature of their 'show' but shows how much they enjoy playing their part in the show.
  • When one of them plays "dead" or "sleeping" they peek up from time to time to see what's going on. 
  • At some point during every show, one of them (usually Tyler) forgets what they are supposed to do next. First, they try to signal the errant cowboy with "the look". If that doesn't work, next comes "Psssst!!! Psssssssssst!" and if that doesn't work "TYLER!!!! You are supposed to be SLEEPING!!!!" To which Tyler usually replies "oh" and goes on to fake sleeping.
  • Katie likes to shoot from behind trees and play it safe (smart girl)
  • James likes dramatic falls, so he will have Tyler "shoot" him out of the tree. His fake falls give me heart attacks. 
  • Tyler hoists up his holster and/or shorts every 12 seconds, because he is a twig and the holster falls right off his little frame. 
  • Tyler is always the last man standing. He never gets shot (the other two told me he doesn't like "being dead"). The other two lay there for dramatic affect, until they decide the show is over.
In other news, only a week and a half til school! (I will resist the urge to add more exclamation points there) School starting is a good thing, because these are the kinds of conversations we've had on a regular basis lately:

James: What are we doing today?
Me: Nothing, just hanging out.
James: But what else?
Me: Nothing, you can play with Legos, read, play outside.....
James: So what are we doing tomorrow?
Me: Going to the Grange Fair and taking a walk after dinner.
James: And what else?
Me: Uh, seriously? I'm taking you to the Grange Fair and a walk. There is nothing else.
James: So we're not doing anything else?
Me: **Runs away screaming**

Also this:

J/K/T: Mom, I want to make a gocart/climbing wall/soccer goal/microwave/working sailboat and I need duct tape/fishing line/plywood/PVC/cordless drill/power saw/unicorn dust to make it. Oh, and I need it RIGHT NOW or I'm going to die. What????? You won't let me use that good sheet of plywood for an ill-conceived plan to build a climbing wall up the side of the tree?!?! You're so mean! What am I supposed to do? I have NOTHING ELSE TO DO!!!!! I'm so BORED!!!!

So yes, while I am incredibly grateful for my kids' creativity and ingenuity, they are driving me nuts with their endless demands for building materials and power tools. They need Home Depot to sponsor them, but until is coming!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Yesterday James caught a cricket. Jokingly, I told him to eat it. His eyes flashed with that 'I'm actually contemplating it' look and I was surprised, since is the self-professed 'mosty gaggy-est Groves child' when it comes to being squeamish. Being the good mother that I am, I offered him a quarter to eat it. He held it up in the air for a moment, and I realized if he actually ate it that I should probably give him a dollar or something, maybe spare him from future therapy for me paying him low ball prices to eat disgusting bugs.  (ha!!) Still, I didn't think he would eat it. He ripped it in half and scrutinized its guts, hanging out for the world to see. At this point, I was cringing like no other at the thought of my baby eating a cricket, but I also knew that lots of people eat crickets and even find them tasty. And I still didn't think he would do it. I am pretty sure you know where this is headed: he ate the cricket. First, he ate the bottom half. And he chewed it. I repeat, he CHEWED it up. Now if I were eating a cricket, I would swallow it whole and be done with it but that's just me. After he finished chomping away, he looked again at the gooey, even more disgusting half of the cricket, threw it in his mouth and chewed it up. There was some gagging, and difficulty swallowing but he ate it and kept it down. Holy moley! And eww! He reports that it was very crunchy, not bad, and its guts were gooey. Later that day, we were having vegetable chowder for dinner, which we eat frequently and James loves. He somehow bumped his bowl and spilled some on the table. He took one look at it, jumped up and ran from the table shrieking pathetically saying 'Its gross! It looks like throw up! I can't eat it anymore! I can't clean it up!' At this point I non-sympathetically reminded him that for the love of Pete, he had eaten a CRICKET that morning and why was he crying over spilled soup. He repeated his tirade and Katie (also non-sympathetically and very sarcastically) said "James, you ate the crickets BUTT." She's a quick thinker, that one.

In other news, after watching an episode of Cupcake Wars, the kids decided they all wanted to make cupcakes...which we did. If you don't have children, let me tell you that baking with children is not a smooth operation nor is it particularly enjoyable per se. But life skillz, man. So we made ye olde cupcakes, let them cool, mixed up the frosting (everyone had their own job) and frosted them. Tyler was in charge of setting up the sprinkle station, which was a bad move. After making cupcakes with kids, I had snuck away to take a much deserved 5 minute break and didn't scrutinize his choices. When I came back, I went to sprinkle my cupcake and was puzzled by the sprinkles he had chosen. I didn't remember buying them, and they didn't look right. And indeed they weren't. They had sprinkled the cupcakes in a combination of blaze orange sprinkles and .......poppy seeds! haha