Friday, August 15, 2008

A Perfect Day

I do not think I have ever experienced such a beautiful, perfect day as today. The summer temp was a mild 80-ish, with no humidity, feather light breezes, brilliant blue skies with gorgeous puffy white clouds, and no where to go, nothing to do, but to play in the water and swim in the lake with friends. For a person who hates being hot, and frankly, for anybody who is alive and breathing, today was fantastic. We could have stayed out there forever....and today we nearly did!

The kids were begging to go swimming from the moment we woke up (which was an hour later than our sleepover guests because we are so lazy!), even though it was a cool kind of weather! We enticed them with the playset instead which was located on one end of the resort. My ever-impressive friend, Lisa, insisted I leave all the kids with her (for a total of 9 little ones---my two oldest are at home with Daddy until Monday) while I made a large grocery run for the necessary supplies to feed my family for the next 10 days. With guilt, I left them behind, with the exception of Laura who has had more separation anxiety than Tubby lately. The kids love Lisa, and everyone had a great time at the park. When I came back to the cabin, all the kids were content playing Hullabaloo, and my baby was settled on her shoulder, not even caring that I had returned. Gee whiz. On Wednesday night, he waved good-bye to me with a big smile on his face as I left for hockey. He didn't even shed one tear for his baby is truly growing up! (sniff, sniff)

After a very speedy lunch of hot dogs and chips (perfect beach food), the kids finally got their wish to play in the lake. They remained in the water for the next 6 hours! From splashing near the shore, to jumping off the dock, floating on noodles and inner tubes, to riding hydrobikes, balancing on fun bugs, peddling paddle boats and maneuvering kayaks, these kids were BUSY! They tried it all, and then started all over again. While most of the kids enjoyed all the resort has to offer, the two 4-year olds looked on in longing to try too. At one point, I brought them both out on a paddle boat ride. Funny, after begging for several hours to do something fun like the big kids, they were both ready to go back to the beach to swim after about three minutes. Silly kids! The two babies were enjoying the water and sand so well that they did not even realize that they were missing a thing. Both of them even took a long, several hour nap on the sandy beach....what a way to relax!

Lisa and I enjoyed visiting again (although not quite as easy to do with nine kids running around, swimming here and there and halfway across the lake). We had done our main visiting the night before, after the kids had gone to bed. It is about the one time per year I can manage to stay awake until nearly 2am is our best chance to talk, when we have 11 kids between the two of us! The kids play so nicely together, and her kids are so well behaved, and such good helpers.....certainly very nice kids. We look forward to this trip every year. In fact, this year marks our tenth anniversary of "Watermelon Day" vacation!
I had better be off to sleep....after such an active day, we all could use some extra rest before our Watermelon fest tomorrow. We are also excited to see our Miami cousins....but I am going to have to come up with some really creative ways to hide Melissa's bad sunburn from my dermatologist sister-in-law. I kind of missed Melissa in the sunscreen line up this morning, and boy, does she look hot (in a very bad way). Poor girl. I feel a scolding coming my way!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Welcome Home

The fish are now proud owners of a new home. Cleaning three separate fish bowls everyday was not a fun option for me, so yesterday, Crispy, the girls, and I went on a search to find the perfect home for our new little guys and gal. After debating way too long in the stores (I have no decision making abilities whatsoever), we came up with the perfect home. Some of you know us too well, and already saw this coming:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fiddler on the Roof

Let me just say, that this was an awesome performance! Anyone who had just walked off the street would have never guessed that these kids had only been rehearsing since Monday! It was amazing how well these kids did. Not only acting, but singing, choreography, and set maneuvering. Very impressive. I would have to say it was even more impressive than the one week play put on by the Prairie Fire Children's theater at the beginning of the summer. We have some very talented adult volunteers in this church!

Jonny did so well, as always, and you could just tell that these kids were all having a blast. Such a classic play, and they did it very well. We are already looking forward to the performance of Godspell in the fall.

We had a very late birthday party for Uncle Alan who turned 80 cool is that to turn 80 on 08/08/08! We had cake and ice cream at Grandma ?'s apartment...perhaps the last time we will be there before she moves down to the farm for good. :(

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day at the Fair

Today we took our turn at the County Fair. We brought Grandma Connelly with us, and all the kids (all seven of them) seemed to have a good time. Today was 2 Riders for the Price of One day at the fair....being so many of us, I have to take advantage of specials like this. We still seemed to spend way too much money on a bunch of little rides, but we got to eat mini donuts, cheese curds, and fresh lemonade without the ginormous crowd of the Minnesota State Fair....that's priceless.

As simple as it is, it always seems that the Merry-Go-Round is the favorite of all:
Jonny had ridden each ride at least once when he had been at the fair yesterday, so he took turns bringing Melissa and Crispy on some of the scarier rides. One tumbling ride looked like it was banging Melissa up pretty badly, and she had had it half way through. But all of them enjoyed the effects of inertia on Zero Gravity, and Crispy got his thrill on the Power Shot that straight drops you from about 4 stories high. This is one of my favorites too, but it is scarier than anything. I love the expressions on their faces as they are falling!
Melissa and Laura love the glass house with mirrors. They must have gone through it 5 times.
Tubby only tried a few rides, and was always ready to jump out halfway through....even when we were up in the air in the helicopter.
The duck pond was a safe activity...we remained on the ground at all times(and out of the water).
Of course, our visit to the fair would not have been complete without trying their hands at winning a goldfish. Melissa and Michael were the lucky winners today!

What am I going to do with all of these fish?!?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Meet Swimmy

Jonny spent the day at the Carver County fair.
I spent the day in Maple Grove with the girls.

Jonny went on unlimited rides.
I drove around for what seemed on limited access roads, searching my way to the clinic from the opposite direction than is usual.(15 minutes late again)

Jonny ate good food.
We had Taco Bell.

Jonny ran around without constraints.
I had to rearrange all the furniture in the waiting room to trap my baby from constantly running away down the halls searching for Laura.

Jonny won a free goldfish.
I spent $39 on a new home and food for the free goldfish.

I later learned that Jonny spent $10 trying to win the free goldfish.
Meet Swimmy....the $50 "free" goldfish:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Little Taste of Normalcy

Jonny is really enjoying his theater camp at church. They are working on the classic Fiddler on the Roof and getting some really great exposure to some fantastic music. They have been working hard from 9am until after 12 noon, rehearsing, singing, putting together costumes and props, and just having a great time. The big premiere is on Saturday evening...I can't wait!

After a long day driving Jonny around, picking up two additional kids somewhere in between, and spending the afternoon in the hot backyard with the water slide, I was SO ready to get out of here for hockey tonight. It was fabulous. I love it. This clinic is great, with helpful drills, lots of challenging exercises, and tons of good learning information about the game, how to play your position, why we do what we do, etc. It's awesome. I am so glad we are finally in the right spot with women at our same level. That sure took a little bit of trial and error to get it right!

Some women were going out after practice to Famous Dave's. I immediately had my "My baby is home waiting for me" excuse out. But instead, I called my husband, who encouraged me to go (despite my wanting to be a chicken). I am really glad that I did, because I had a great time. These women were so nice, and we all were moms who have kids around the same age (ok, I can pretty much match ages with anyone I meet unless they have college kids). The evening was beautiful and cool, and the food was so good! I do not get out much at all, and this was my first time being at Famous Dave' was all so very very yummy! So, going to hockey, out for dinner and drinks, sitting around talking and laughing, sharing stories and funny kid this is what it is like to be a "normal" adult! I wonder if I will get to experience another "normal" event again someday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mommy Has Lost It

I have no idea where the time went today. I remember driving Jonny to theater camp at 8:25am, taking a super speedy shower, bringing the baby to a well-child visit, picking Jonny up again, going to Target to finish off his costume, finally getting back home, and then it was 5pm. How was that possible? It was like I lost half of a day! Doing what? I have no clue.

What I DO know is that from 5pm on, the kids were making me nuts. Now, I think I have a decent amount of patience, and normally these little buggers can make all the noise they want. But, with the baby sad from his shots, Laura whining as she does at 5pm unless she has fallen asleep on the couch, Melissa "growling" at everyone because she had turned into a monster from playing video games all day while I was gone (this was NOT a pre-authorized parent-approved activity), the neighbor boys ringing our doorbell every 5 minutes (probably NOT an exaggeration), Alex threatening to walk across the highway to get Chinese food for dinner, and Michael pushing buttons on everyone, Bob out golfing until 10pm, AND, I am still feeling yucky from my heat stroke of yesterday......AHHHHHHH! Everyone just STOP IT!

I tried to make one phone call during this time, and my own mother can attest to the craziness and noise occurring. It felt truly insane. So at 6pm, I ordered everyone into the truck. "Where are we going?" they asked. "I don't know," I replied. "Just get in the truck." So, with no plan in mind, my truck filled with all of my kids (even Alex!), we pulled away from our neighborhood, and just started to drive.

The kids continued their questioning, and I continued with my "I don't knows", and honestly, I did not know. As we left Waconia, then passed St. Boni, going north into dried up farmland, the older kids began to worry. Alex looked really concerned, and I think Michael was ready to dial 9-1-1 to rescue them all. I think the thought that their mother had really lost her mind became a real possibility to them. The younger kids just giggled, dreaming up fun destinations like staying at a hotel, or going to a fancy restaurant. Yeah, right...with this crew tonight? Keep dreaming!
I finally decided on trying to find this quaint little place we had passed on the way to therapy one early morning. We have yet to go the same way twice, but I was pretty sure I was headed in the right direction tonight. But once again, road construction foiled our plan, and between the detours and an urgent, emergency phone call from my neighbor, I ended up losing my trail and getting us lost in the middle of very small town Minnesota. We drove around for an hour and 20 minutes, stopping once to ask for directions, and then later(after getting lost again) calling the information line. Finally, at 7:40pm, starving and so very sick of driving, we made it to our destination: The Peppermint Twist. "Funny" thing was, we had been within 300 feet of it 3 times as we drove around looking for it!

I had brought the kids here one other time during our first summer. As I recall, the normally 17 minute trip took us more than 40 minutes as we drove back and forth looking for the cute, pink, little place. It is a unique little drive up restaurant as were the old A&W's. But this one includes a great yard for the kids to play in, full of chairs, tables, porch swings, trains, cars, rocking horses, hula hoops, and balls. There is even a jukebox and dance floor where the kids could get jiggy! The kids came across a fun, new addition....a pair of body boppers. These were enormous inflatable tire-like things that you slip around your body, and then safe sumo wrestling for kids. I really hope my kids were not too rough....I was a little afraid that the body boppers looked a bit sad after Michael and Jonny got done with them.

We all found something on the menu to make us happy, Alex even got to eat shrimp, and the ice cream treats seemed to pick up our moods. The kids had so much fun exploring the large yard and playing with all of the unique toys, and we were all sad to leave when the cute little outdoor restaurant closed it's gates at 9pm. But, I had achieved my goal of reducing my stress, and turned what could have been just another annoying evening at home into a fun, memorable outing, enjoying the pleasant summer evening weather. Icing on the cake: it only took us the usual 17 minutes to drive back home.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Shhhh! Don't Tell Anyone...

Don't quote me on this, but I think I actually had fun playing golf today. I played in a fund raising tournament for the Waconia Hockey Association with 3 other extremely nice women on my team who never play golf either. We were well matched (though two of them could drive the ball pretty well), and spent 5 hours basically laughing at ourselves and having a really nice time. Not only did I look fabulous in a lilac and white golfing outfit matched with my pink and lilac clubs, but I actually had several decent shots today.....we even used 4 of MY shots on one hole alone! It was really necessary for me to have some mild success after all of these golf lessons. With several bad times at the driving range over the past few weeks, I was ready to throw it all in the lake and never look back.

If it had not been for the horrid heat of what, 178 degrees and 235% humidity and no breeze(I don't know where my husband gets the notion that I over exaggerate things), it would have been a lovely day indeed. I think I had a bit of heat stroke, as my teammates insisted we skip the last hole to go inside....I must have looked bad, because despite my insisting we could go on, they all argued back that they preferred to skip a trip to the ER. See, heat intolerance is one thing I am NOT over exaggerating!

The Waconia golf course was beautiful! So many winding hills and trees galore. It was like being in a whole other world....hard to believe I was only 3 miles from my house! We enjoyed a gourmet dinner after our game (I never looked, but I would guess we came in around last place amongst the 111+ golfers). I got to experience a little bit of what the "rich and famous" in Waconia are all about in the room full of thick pocketed hockey parent big wigs. Why is it that something as simple as a children's hockey program has to be so laden with inside "politics"? It just takes some of the fun out of it all. Oh well, I can't imagine Bob and I ever being that involved, so as long as it does not affect our own kids' enjoyment of the sport, we can keep our distance.

And where was Bob during this prime golfing opportunity? He was at home watching the kids! How's that for a change! Poor Bob...I think it nearly killed him to be missing this! Thank you!

Thank you to my mom who picked up Jonny from theater camp at our church (they are working on Fiddler on the Roof this week with a performance Saturday night), and then spent some time with the kids before Bob came home with Melissa from riding. The kids were excited to have you come over!

Friday, August 1, 2008

August Arrives

Happy August!

With August comes the stress that summer is winding down and school is just around the corner. Today we strove to put that thought behind us and just enjoy the (HOT) day.

Crispy and I started to day off right by dragging our old kitchen table and chairs out of the basement and to the front yard for donation pick up. We got to help somebody in need, and all the kids who could understand felt good about that.

Grandma ? came over to hold the cranky Tubby while I took the 3 Muskateers to open skate. It was our first time in the new Waconia Ice Arena (though Michael has been there 3 times a week since it opened in early June). It was nice and clean, bright and cheery, with music to skate to, and plenty of room to move, as we nearly had the place to ourselves. The girls impressed me with how well they did with the skate helper though having had so many months in between our skating sessions. Crispy gets better and better each time we go, and today skated very well despite wearing winter clothes that were 4 sizes too small for him and no socks.

Melissa enjoyed the company of her best friend this afternoon, and the rest of us hung out in the backyard. The shade was surprisingly comfortable, so we spent several hours playing in the sand box, swinging, and playing on the water slides. Jonny has been going to a day "Survival" camp at a nearby nature center this week. He has climbed a rock wall, started a fire, cut down a tree, and spent today canoeing, just to name a few activities. He joined us in the yard when he came home, and made all the kids giggle like crazy by pushing them high on the swings. After dinner, the kids continued to play outside as Bob ran the yard sprinklers. Good for the kids to enjoy these beautiful summer days!