Sunday, August 30, 2009


This week I turned 40 and Aaron turned 9. Peter spoiled me completely, with seven days of surprises -- including lunch with my high school best friend, dessert with some of my grown-up pals, a drive to Chicago to spend time with my best college friends, our parents/family having pizza and cake, lunch with some good friends from church, and lunch with two dear former co-workers . . . I joked with him that I would be gaining 40 pounds to celebrate my 40th birthday!

And then came the big surprise: a freebie 2-night jaunt to Seattle, courtesy of our frequent flier miles! Wow!! We love Seattle since we honeymooned there, and we made sure to have dinner at a seafood restaurant where we ate on our 2nd night as a married couple. This time, we stayed with a good college friend and his wife, whom we haven't seen since Peter officiated at their wedding 4 years ago. Peter is so thoughtful: I am a little bit of an introvert, and would've been overwhelmed by a big surprise party . . . so Peter just spread the party out into little groups over an entire week. He knows me so well, and is an amazing man. I am so grateful that God joined our lives together.

On a totally different note, one of the kids' gifts to me was a ShamWow . . . totally cracked me up! Nathan has only seen two infomercials in his life, one for the ShamWow and one for the Little Giant ladder. He must be their target audience or something, because he was completely fished in by them both. (Thankfully, he didn't try to talk Peter into the ladder!)

We celebrated Aaron's birthday today with his friends at a local planetarium. He had a space theme, of course, complete with a rocket cake and activities such as the Moon Rock Relay, building spacecrafts out of marshmallows and toothpicks, and seeing a show in the planetarium. He was so excited all morning, and kept asking what time the party would start. We do a "friend" party every other year for the boys, so it's really a special occasion for them.

This year, Aaron had chosen to ask for pet food for our local humane society, so we will have the fun of delivering bags of dog and cat chow to the shelter tomorrow. Then, tomorrow night we will celebrate with the grandparents. More cake!!

Aaron, we love your character and can't wait to see how you will make an impact on the world as you become a young man. Your love for God, your sweet nature, your consideration for others, your desire to learn, and your great sense of humor . . . these are just a few of the things that make you a remarkable boy. We have been so blessed to be your parents for nine years, and we love you always. Happy birthday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


We took our last little trip of the summer, to visit Aunt Alicia and do some fun Milwaukee things. If you only think of beer and Harley-Davidson when you hear the word "Milwaukee," you really have to come visit, especially in the summer. There's a gorgeous, long stretch of beach on Lake Michigan, complete with rows of volleyball nets, and all kinds of outdoor recreation. We spent some time watching sailboats out on the lake -- beautiful.

There are also some wonderful museums right on the lake. We visited a new one, which was an instant favorite of Nathan's and Aaron's. It's called Discovery World, and focuses on science and the Great Lakes. During our visit, we also spent a day at the Wisconsin State Fair. In addition to seeing all the animals, and spending lots of time in the DNR Park (that's the Dept. of Natural Resources, not "do not resuscitate"!), the kids also learned how to hook up a milking machine (those are the photos with the plastic cow).

Our other fun game of the day was keeping track of all the different -- and frightening -- food-on-a-stick options!! The winners this year were fried macaroni and cheese on a stick and chocolate-covered bacon on a stick. (I am not making that up!)

The boys, Peter and Aunt Alicia also went to a Brewer game one afternoon while Anya Rashi napped and I had a few rare quiet hours to myself. It was a great way to spend one of the last weeks of summer.

Today we went to the boys' school because the class/teacher lists were posted. Anya Rashi was asking questions about "her" school the entire time . . . she meant Sunday school (where she finally is comfortable), and the YMCA, where I've been exercising for the past four weeks. I hadn't been to Strength and Resistance since Anya Rashi came home, and my back was really starting to let me know it wasn't happy. I've been going in the mornings before Peter leaves for work, but the class time changes when school starts -- so I've brought Anya Rashi to visit the short-term child care a few times. We will see how she does when I'm not there! I'm hoping we will both be pleasantly surprised. :o)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer's not over yet!

We've been having that feeling of urgency that means summer is drawing to a close. Aaron and Nathan played their last baseball game, and have been asking "how many days are left until school starts?" In another week we will find out who their teachers will be, we just received a boy choir schedule for the year, we scheduled our piano lessons -- all sure signs that August is ticking by.

But -- there's still lots of fun to be had before September! We traveled to Green Bay to go to an old-fashioned amusement park on the shore of the bay. Rides are 25 cents for little kids, and 50 cents for the 'big' kids. We had a ball for hours, and spent $12. :o)

We've done our share of swimming, since we finally had a few warm days during this unusually cool summer, and we're headed to a Brewer game and the State Fair later this week.

Last week brought a favorite new holiday to our home: Raksha Bandhan, an Indian celebration of the love between brothers and sisters. The kids all shared sweets and tied on string bracelets to symbolize the lifelong bond between them . . . and talked about the new baby sister who will celebrate with us in future years.