Saturday, August 26, 2017

Day In The Life: Summer 2017

Tory, Aden and I spent the entire summer at the lake this year, and it was as magical as it seems. I feel lucky to have spent so much quality time with my kids in a natural, carefree environment and even if it never happens again, I will always cherish the memories we shared this past summer. It sounds sappy, but it's true!

In keeping with my long-standing tradition of documenting a day of our lives during each season of the year, I took a bunch of photos one day in July and jotted down notes about what we did ... and then completely neglected to blog about it! While these photos are a month old now, I still wanted to write about our day as it's always fun to look back and remember what our life was like at various points. Here's a Day In The Life on Thursday, July 20, 2017:

Andi and I are both 36 years old
Tory is 5 years, 10 months
Aden is 3 years, 8 months

6:30am: I wake up naturally by the light of the sun, and blink my eyes open a few times to gather my bearings. Tory and Aden are still asleep, as we've all been sleeping in later and later as the summer rolls on. The lake cabin is completely quiet except for the sounds of leaves rustling outside my bedroom window and birds chirping in the trees.

6:45am: I check Facebook and Instagram on my phone, use the bathroom, and then pour myself a cup of coffee. 

7:00am: With a coffee in hand, I walk over to the sliding glass door, open it, and give thanks for these beautiful surroundings. Birds are chirping, crows cawing, bullfrogs bellowing ... I love it all. It's crisp and dewy outdoors this morning; a chilly 61 degrees. I will never forget waking up to this view every single morning this summer; one of my favorite sights.

I sit down at my pseudo-office for the summer (the kitchen bar) and send out some messages to prospective challengers in my fitness group.

7:45am: Suddenly, Tory flings open her bedroom door on the middle-level of the cabin and makes a huge racket. Crash! the door slams into the bedroom wall. I fly off my chair and down the stairs thinking it's Aden making all the noise, but instead see Tory standing outside her door in a sleepy daze. I grab her by the hand and lead her back upstairs. She crawls into my bed, turns on the TV (a skill she's recently learned to do herself) and starts watching Strawberry Shortcake.

8:00am: Aden walks up the stairs shorter afterward grinning ear to ear. I wrap him up in a big hug and carry him over to the sofa to snuggle for a bit. This three-year-old moves a mile a minute during the day, so mornings are one of the only times I get to sit and snuggle my sweet little boy. A few minutes later, he tells me he needs to use the potty, so I carry him into the bathroom ... then proceed to clean up the pile of urine he trickles onto the floor. He eventually meets Tory in the master bedroom and crawls into bed to watch television with her.

8:15am: Tory requests chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, so I pop some pre-made ones from the weekend into the microwave. I let the kids sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on top. True to form, Aden only eats the chocolate chips, mutilating the pancakes themselves. He asks for more chocolate chips and isn't pleased when I tell him he's got to eat the pancakes on his plate first.

8:30am: We have absolutely zero groceries - like I haven't left the cabin since Wednesday (as in, last Wednesday!) so I've got to make do with food available. No fresh fruit. Very few veggies. No eggs. Looks like it's an oatmeal kind of morning even though I've been trying to steer clear of gluten lately. I mix my oatmeal with half a frozen banana, cinnamon and maple syrup. Of course it boils over in the microwave... of course it does.

8:45am: I glance at the table and admire the absolute breakfast destruction. Aden dumped his entire plate of pancakes on the table. I push them back on his plate and try convincing him to eat it, but no dice.

9:00am: Aden has chocolate smeared all over his face and hands, so I chase him around the living room to wash up. Eventually he follows Tory to the bedroom to finish watching Strawberry Shortcake and I hear her tell him, "I'll give you red chips (aka: Doritos) if you shut the door..." Ha. She has him figured out.

9:15am: I down my pre-workout drink, then head outside to get my workout in. I set up my weights and jump mat on the patio because, seriously, how can I not workout outdoors on this beautiful day?

I spy an eagle fishing in the bay!

10:00am: I finish my workout as the kids bop in and out of the cabin around me. Tory writes me a note and leaves it next to my computer on the deck. When I'm finished, I read it and the message melts my heart. What a sweetheart she is!

10:15am: Aden turns on the hose and is busy washing one of the Cozy Coupe cars. We inherited this one from a cabin neighbor so I don't care if they fill it up with water or play with it on the beach. Have fun, kids! While they're playing together, I quickly log my workout in my fitness challenge group.

I run inside and change out of my workout clothes and into my swimming suit. I'm a sweaty mess; perfect time to go jump in the lake!

11:00am: The kids move over to the swing set now and are playing, climbing and sliding down the slide. It's a little too fast for a three and five-year-old to manage, so I had to add the pool floatie at the end for cushioning. (Sorry about the dead grass, Andi)

11:30am: The three of us move to the lake eventually, and Aden and Tory help me rake up some of the weeds that've blown into our beach. Our cabin is located in a bay on the lake, so there's not many waves or boat traffic around to keep the water moving; hence, we have to rack our beach every few days to clear the lilypads and grass clippings that accumulate. Tory and Aden use nets to catch the ones floating in the water while I use a rake to drag the rest into a pile.

Noon: The kids ditch beach chores for playing, and take turns slipping down the slide into the water and playing trucks on the beach. Half-way through the summer, they're finally brave enough to swim out to the floating dock about 10 feet away from land, so they find their way out there eventually.

Now they're floating around on a floatie together playing "king and queen." Aden is the king, of course, with his yellow bucket crown. "Take me over there, King!" Tory directs, as Aden paddles them around in the water.

1:00pm: I convince the kids to get out of the water to dry off and have some lunch. "Ah, this is the life," Tory says to nobody in particular as she and Aden lounge on a chair side-by-side.

Aden is not pleased about coming inside the cabin while I get the food ready...

1:30pm: For lunch, I make cucumbers rolled in deli turkey for me, leftover taco meat inside a flour tortilla with shredded cheese, cucumbers, and a yogurt for Tory, and a hot dog, grapes, and pretzels for Aden. I also make them "fancy drinks" by garnishing their water glasses with a slice of cucumber. Tory is very impressed.

2:30pm: When I walk by Tory's room later, I notice Aden has dumped all the clothes out of her dresser again. UGH! I don't know why he does that, but it's annoying. I spend a few minutes folding all the clothes and then notice he's done the same thing in his room, too, so I spend a few more minutes picking up his mess as well.

3:00pm: Outside by the lake again, we finish raking up the weeds on the beach. I hitch a small trailer to the ATV and pull it over so I can use it to transport the weeds to a nearby field. Aden is fearful I'll leave on the "TB" (the ATV) without him, so he sits patiently on the seat and waits for me to finish. While I'm raking up the weeds in the water, I step on something sharp and slice open the bottom of my foot. It doesn't hurt too badly, but it's a really deep cut and won't stop bleeding. Oy.

Meanwhile, Tory's paddleboarding around the bay ...

4:00pm: Aden and I haul the weeds to a nearby field, and dump them. We come back to the cabin and he decides to drive his John Deere Power Wheels tractor around while I put away the ATV and the rake. And, in true Aden style - even though I warn him to stay near our cabin - he drives off to the neighbor's cabin to find his friend Via. I hear the wheels of his little gator rumbling down the road, so I know exactly where he is. I walk over and scold him for not staying close to the cabin as I directed. He shoots me a ornery look, and peels away toward our place. As I chase after him to take away his tractor, I see Tory hop in and together they ride around the backyard. Sigh...

4:30pm: I ask Tory and Aden if they'd like to drive into town to a big farmer's market happening on Thursdays, and they agree they'd like to go. They shower off in our outdoor shower, then I wrap them both in beach towels and shower myself. We all get dressed, and I slam a quick snack (tomato with fresh basil and balsamic) because I know there won't be many healthy food options to eat at the farmer's market (ironically, in a place where they sell local produce!)

5:00pm: Tory, Aden and I load up into my car and drive about 25 minutes to the Country Lane Farmer's Market. This is one of our favorite place to go during summers at the cabin and surprisingly, it's the first time we've been this year. It's a large market with food and craft vendors, face painting, a playground for the kids and a bulk foods store. We could easily spend all afternoon here.

5:30pm: Our first stop is the face painting booth; Tory and Aden's favorite. Unfortunately, the line is about 10 children long, so we decide to go get some freshly-popped kettle corn to snack on while we wait. 

Aden makes friends with a few kids also waiting for their turn at the face painting stand, and rolls around in the grass with them. Nicely, they share a piece of their cotton candy with Tory and Aden. Finally it's Tory and Aden's turn. Tory picks a purple heart design for her face and Aden selects a rocket ship for his arm. This is actually Aden's first time having something painted on himself; I'm proud of him for sitting so still and waiting for the artist to finish!

6:00pm: "Can we go play now, please, please, please?" both kids beg, as they race off to the playground equipment in the center of the farmer's market. I stand around and watch them swing and climb around for about 30 minutes wondering if I'll ever have a chance to browse the local produce stands.

7:00pm: Finally I convince the kids to break away from the playground equipment so I can buy a few vegetables and something for dinner. I'm starving! After surveying the offerings, I pick the healthiest thing I can find (a wood-fired margarita pizza for Tory and I to split) and a hot dog (again!) for Aden. I only have enough cash left for one bottle of water, and they're both belly-aching about sharing it. After we eat, I tell the kids it's time to go and end up dragging Aden kicking and screaming out of there. They are not happy about leaving!

7:30pm: I stop by the grocery store on the way home from the cabin to get a few other foods on my shopping list that I wasn't able to buy at the farmer's market. Aden is a maniac inside the store, repeatedly running away from me and filling his little kid shopping cart with 20 random canned goods from the store's shelves. I'm a wreck by the time we leave; shopping with him is my least favorite thing to do. Like, I'd rather have a root canal. Seriously.

8:00pm: When Tory, Aden and I arrive back to the cabin, we're greeted by Andi - surprise! He moved some things around on his work calendar and drove up to the cabin 24 hours early. What a treat! We talk for a few minutes, and then get the kids ready for bed. Andi takes over bedtime duty for Tory while I read to Aden in his bedroom.

8:30pm: I'm exhausted and so is Andi, so we cozy up in bed and catch up on the events from the past week. We eventually watch a TV show (Kevin Can Wait) before turning in for the night. I sleep so soundly having Andi with us at the cabin. Ahhhh, here comes to the weekend!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Nebraska Trip - June 2017

Tory, Aden and I visited my family in Nebraska during the early part of June. It's become somewhat of a tradition for us to visit this time each year while Andi is traveling during his busy photo shoot season. This year, we drove back on a Wednesday and stayed through the following Friday making it a full 10 day trip.

My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary while we were there, and my sister, brother and I hosted a small celebration for them. 40 years! Quite a milestone.

We also visited the Lincoln Children's Zoo one afternoon which is always a fun experience. I love the size of this zoo, and how focused on play it is. Of course, Tory and Aden's favorite part is the red train at the end.

One afternoon, my sister Ashley and I took our kiddos to Lincoln to meet my cousin Jen. We met at Pain Yourself Silly to celebrate Reese's 4th birthday, then got ice cream and played in the urban park. These low-key outings are my favorite! It's so fun to spend time together.

Ashley and I also took Brooke, Neeley, Tory and Aden miniature golfing one afternoon. I remember playing here in high school with friends, so it was a trip being back again! Fortunately, we had the entire course to ourselves so the kids were able to play the holes in the order they chose, and we weren't worried about distracting others.

Tory was took to golfing, actually, and was surprisingly lucky putting the ball. She even scored a hole in one!

Despite the distance, I'm thankful we're able to spend time with my family each summer. The older Tory and Aden grow, the more they appreciate the memories we make with our Nebraska family.