Friday, June 30, 2017

First Official Trip to Sholem This Year

With nearly daily visits to Sholem Pool for swim team, it FELT like we were there all the time! But Cass and I had yet to have our chance to splash around there. This may have been one of the most epic pool trips to date in my mom life of nearly seven years.

I always say that every single year at the pool feels completely different than the year before. This was no exception.
First trips to the pool in years past here - 2016, 20152014201320122011...


All the obligatory mom snapping photo opps before I actually put my phone down and got in.

First, this happened. They BOTH wanted their own tubes. WHAT?! No one is insisting on riding with me? No one is complaining this is boring? Lazy river win. 2017 is the year Mom gets her own tube BACK at the pool!

Cool and content, floating around the river on her own.

Then, THEN, this happened! I knew Cass met the height requirement for the big slides AND that the lifeguards would catch her at the bottom too but was unsure if she'd want to do them with Troy. Guess what?! She did! I went up the first time with her and then she and Troy did it several times on their own. 2017. The summer Mom sits (or stands, let's be real) at the bottom of the slides and watches BOTH her kids shoot out.




When we were done with the lazy river and slides, we returned to this sight! The pool all to ourselves. Unreal! Fifteen minutes of bliss until they closed.

This sight, on the other hand, was NOT a surprise. She was completely wiped!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Old Glory

Troy had been asking us to get a flag for some time and then the surge in interest for the army and America in general sealed the deal. We had him help us pick it up and hung it in the bracket we already had out front. He was excited for this new addition to our front porch and I have come to really enjoy it too. Thanks for the encouragement, Troy!

Date Night Just Because

Ok, summer patio nights aren't my absolute fav. Summer DATE nights are my fav. I asked Mike on a whim if I could find a sitter, would we want to try to have a date night that weekend. He said YES! And I found a sitter easily. HOORAY!

I love these two littles like crazy but it is SO nice to plan a night out without them sometimes.


First up was the #1 sushi place in Champaign according to Yelp review. Shockingly, it was NOT Ko Fusion. So we gave it a try. It got two big thumbs up from us!




Not quite ready to head home yet, we decided to stop for a drink at Wedge. Once we got there, we wished we weren't so full so we could try some of their special guacamoles! Ah well. Next date night!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer Patio Nights are my Fav

Through the earlier parts of summer when Mike was traveling, I waited with anticipation for the return of summer patio nights! Alas, it was time! These nights are my favorite :)


Dinner outside is absolute perfection.

WBGL Backyard Bounce

Troy added this one to our summer line-up! We heard on the radio the words "bounce houses" and his ears perked up! Fortunately, we heard the announcement just in time, I think the day before the event actually took place. It was a BLAST for both the kids!


Orange and blue slide is always a winner :)

The lure of the playground and the splash pad eventually drew them away from the bounce houses. I forgot to mention we had their check-ups at the pediatrician scheduled right after this. It was in this moment I reminded myself that our doc is awesome and would probably pat me on the back for letting my kids play in the sun, water and dirt all morning instead of keeping them inside :)

Troy worked with a large group of kids to construct a river that ran from the splash pad clear across the playground. They were all very proud of themselves!

Fast forward through a minivan clothing change and their annual check ups at the pediatrician and we treated ourselves to custard at Jarlings. Yum!

One final errand to run for the day to the post office and this happened on the short car ride over there. Not a shocker if you look back at the previous several hours and all we did!

What Summer is Made Of

Troy's friend Caspian was spending the afternoon with us and we made the most of our summer afternoon. First, we went frog hunting, and while we spotted several, we were unsuccessful in rounding any up.

This is how my daughter feels about hiking in 90 degree heat.

Everybody voted for a cool off OUTSIDE versus inside when we got back home. Watermelon and sprinklers for all!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Father's Day Feast

None other than bacon-wrapped shrimp for my guy for Father's Day this year. We love you, Daddy!

New Skills For Everybody

Little by little, Cass is working on her name. This was the best attempt yet. Those "S"s can be really tricky!


Troy had some spelling help on this one as he was challenged by one of his favorite YouTubers, Coyote Peterson,  to write down a list of all the creatures in our area and send it to him so that maybe he could adventure by us someday. Troy took this YouTube challenge very seriously and we emailed it promptly to Coyote Peterson!

Army Men

After the great Dells Ducks adventure, Troy become SO interested in learning about the army. We picked up a small collection of army men at the party store and they enacted all kinds of battle scenes around our house!


Summer Mornings

My goal for the summer, this first summer for me at home with the kids instead of managing sitters and my work days, was to strike a nice balance between planned activities and "away from the house" activities, while also having plenty of "white space" time at the house with zero plans just to let summer happen.

Swim team was a big part of those plans! With practice all five mornings a week, we could go to as many as we wanted and Troy could work on his swimming skills to kick off the day while Cass and I enjoyed some sunshine. Practices were just 30 minutes, just the right amount of time!


My little fish was very excited for swim team (or pre-team as it technically was called).

Cass served as his number one cheerleader every morning.

The playground right across the parking lot was our usual after-swim destination.

I have plenty of shots saved up from Cassidy moments like this one, catching some rays...

... or this ridiculous face. I have no clue where she learned this. 

Much, much better, my three year old girl.

Post swimming snacks were pretty epic. Troy would be HUNGRY and eventually I just started doing lunch at like 11am to curb all the snacking.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Spontaneous Glee

When you have a bud right next door to you that you see outside nearly every night, stuff like this just sorta happens :)

The Great Pantry Project

The project continued on once the construction crew was gone. With Mike still on a trip (he had been gone for much of the past month) I felt ambitious and started playing around with some shelving in our basement that was no longer in use. I *thought* it could be repurposed into a nice started set of shelves for the pantry.. and I was right!

Before, when I was realized I was in fact doing this and this project was underway.


And after! With the shelves deconstructed, moved, and screwed back together. And with FOOD on them! Amazing!

The kids were perfectly content while I took this on. But there was quite a bit of a mess of crafts when I finally checked out the situation. Nonetheless, I was thankful they entertained themselves for several hours.

I sent this pic to my mom and chuckled because this pretty much summed up all the foods we'd eaten on vacation throughout the week and clearly, was at the top of Cassidy's mind when she put her plate of food together! Ha!

Basement Before and Afters


We tackled a big project in the basement this year with having a contractor come and bring his crew to tackle a two step project. First, we wanted to move our washer and dryer to the basement. It was currently in a laundry room right off the kitchen, which we considered would best serve us as a pantry if the laundry could relocate. Then, they drywalled the ceiling for us and added quite a few lights. The basement felt completely different when they were done!

Basement before (top) and after (bottom)




Laundry room (on first floor, before, left) and in the basement (after, right) 


Checking out Jurassic World at the Field Museum

After returning from the Dells, the kids and I extended our time away with a little more time in Chicago. Troy and I picked up Uncle Andy from his downtown office and headed down to the Field Museum to see the new Jurassic World exhibit. Cass stayed behind with Gramma.

The entry felt very similar to the movie. They did a good job with the whole experience!

This is Troy with what I *think* is a diplodicus bone. He was impressed by its size!

Checking out some slides under the microscope in the "lab".

The real excitement began in the three biggest areas - the velociraptor pen, the T-Rex area (with the jeep) and the Indominus Rex. Troy was enamored. And reminded us over and over and over that they were not actually real because (insert reasons 1, 2 and 3 here).

Velociraptor below...

And the T-Rex...

And the Indominus Rex that stared Uncle Andy right in the face!