Tag Archives: summer

Our Fairy Garden

My grandma, Mimi, has been creating a little fairy garden in her lawn beside her driveway for the past few years, and I’ve always thought it was just the cutest thing. Miniature furniture, mushrooms, maybe a gnome or two – count me IN. As a little girl, I was obsessed with anything tiny. I read The Borrowers and The Littles series, I played with Polly Pockets (and other tiny dolls), and I always wanted to find and save for last the tiniest grapes on the bunch. (That last one’s a little weird…) I’ve been waiting and hoping for the day Charlotte might express some interest in creating one of these adorable little gardens….

And that day has come! 

She brought it up last week, and Daddy and I delivered. We spent a small fortune at Earl May and Menards getting the supplies, but who cares when it comes out this adorable? Behold, our fairy garden:


It’s still missing our cute pair of ceramic bunnies that suffered a near causality as soon as we brought them home, but once the glue cures we’ll plop those right in there to play amongst the moss and mushrooms. 

Now, I have no clue how this will look after it finishes raining tonight, but half the fun is arranging it anyway. I don’t think we’ll mind having to do it again. 

And on that note, Happy Mother’s Day to all! 



Summer’s Last Hurrah: Our trip to Hayward

We were lucky to spend the first week in August on vacation. My dad arranged for our family and my uncle Jim’s family to stay in Hayward, Wisconsin, on Grindstone Lake.

There were fourteen people and three dogs staying in a house and cabin right on the water.

The hizzouse and some brothers

The hizzouse and some brothers

El cabin (Thank goodness the bedrooms were too small for Charlotte's pack-n-play! ha)

El cabin (Thank goodness the bedrooms were too small for Charlotte’s pack-n-play! ha)

We didn’t have TV or internet, but we did have my dad’s boat, the lake, and oodles of daddy long legs to entertain us! (Right, Mary?)

The guys on the lake

The guys on the lake

Plastic bag fun. We really are in the woods.

Plastic bag fun. We really are in the woods.

Catch of the day!

Catch of the day!

This dock was broken when we arrived. Chris bit it big time before it was fixed. Poor Daddio!

This dock was broken when we arrived. Chris bit it big time before it was fixed. Poor Daddio!

Ooooh! Crayfish!

Ooooh! Crayfish!

On the last day we went to a Wilderness Zoo, where this happened and my mind was blown.

I TOUCHED this adorable fawn. eeee!

I TOUCHED this adorable fawn. eeee!

World's Cutest Pioneers

World’s Cutest Pioneers

There was a sign by these little rides that read, "We cannot guarantee these work!"    haha

There was a sign by these little rides that read, “We cannot guarantee these work!” haha

Cute baby goats, but Charlotte was more interested in the armadillo. And she's a little peeved that I didn't get any pictures of it.

Cute baby goats, but Charlotte was more interested in the armadillo. And she was a little peeved when we got home when she saw that I didn’t get any pictures of it.

Aunt Mandy and Sadie fed a camel!

And Charlotte looooved the family of deer.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for a great trip! We feel very lucky to still be able to tag along with our parents on vacations. One day, we’ll take you somewhere! xoxo

I just had to leave you with this picture because COME ON, can she get any cuter???

I just had to leave you with this picture because COME ON, can she get any cuter???

Charlish: Late Summer Edition

Charlotte continues to say some pretty cute/funny things these days. To be honest, I kinda expected to take note of every single cute thing she’s ever said and then document it here so that I can remember it forever….

…I’m doing my best?

Well, here is approximately point three percent of her cute sayings from the past month.

  • Charlotte and I went out for ice cream over a month ago. I got a cone and she had a cup. When I got down to the cone and took a bite, Charlotte said, “Mama eat the bone part!”

  • She’s made all the typical pronoun mistakes, which is adorable. Some of my favorites are “My too” for me too, and “Can I have you’s?” I haven’t heard my too in weeks, though, so I suppose she’s moved on from that already. *tear
  •  Either Wisconsin is a hard word to remember, or Charlotte really thinks the Wis part is exchangeable with whatever or whomever she associates with the place. So far, she’s called it Sadie-sconsin and Yo-yo-sconsin. The yo-yo one is pretty funny considering that yo-yo in the living room of our house was about the least significant aspect of our entire week.

  •  She calls sprinkers bro-colli  (???) haha

  •  When Charlotte temporarily forgets words, she’ll either mumble something unintelligible in its place, or she’ll insert another word she knows that has a similar amount of syllables. When we were in Wisconsin, my uncle Jim and aunt Amy brought their sweet dog Petunia along. Charlotte (and everyone) really, really loved her. She called her Ah-petuna. (Again, ???) Since we’ve been home, Ah-Petuna has been used to replace multiple words during her brain farts. In particular, tortilla. Just like this: “I want cheese in my Ah-petuna!”

  •  Charlotte sees something in a book/real life that she thinks is one thing but is really something else. Example: Char: “Look! A mama ostrich and a baby ostrich!” Chris: “That little one is an emu, but it does look like an ostrich, doesn’t it?” Char: “No. That’s an ostrich.” This sort of conversation happens ALL THE TIME. She is such a little know-it-all.

  • Elevator = elegator

  • “I want to do it my byself.

Rarely, when we are really lucky, we get something funny on video. WE DID TONIGHT, folks! We were trying to get her to sing on camera, which, like usual, did not happen. But we did discover that she’s taking lessons from The King. How, where and why? We have absolutely no idea. But these fun little surprises are one of the best parts of being a parent.

Protected: Oops I Ignored July Part 3: Two weeks in Glen Ellyn

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Oops I Ignored July Part Two: UI Natural History Museum

My last post was my first attempt to catch up on everything I failed to write about this July. And here is my second. (This is where you jump out of your seat and shout yahoooo!)

[And, yes, it has been awhile. Ooops. Bad blogger. Hopefully, I’ll get back into the routine of this now that school/normal life is resuming once again. 🙂 ]

2) The UIowa Museum of Natural History

I’ve lived in Iowa City now for seven years. Seven! I know, time flies. And this month, I’d never been to the very free and very awesome museum located in one of the buildings at the Pentacrest right downtown.  I’d been trying to think of indoor things to do with Charlotte since we had temperatures this month like the red desert of death fire when Chris reminded me of this museum downtown. He hadn’t been there either, actually, but since Charlotte loves talking about museums, we figured we ought to take her to one.

So I did. And we LOVED it. So much, that we went back three more times within the next two weeks.

For our little animal lover, this museum is perfect. It’s pretty much all stuffed animals in glass cases. A frozen zoo. (I’m ninety percent convinced that at last half of these animals were poached back in the day…and let’s pretend that giant diorama of Lysan Island birds aren’t extinct now, mmmkay?) Oh, and there are skeletons, too. And a giant (fake) sloth. So, yes, this place is a little creepy on a slow weekday when you are the only one there with your toddler and have a thousand owls looking at you behind a thin pane of glass.


Charlotte loves the display of eggs, arranged from top to bottom, largest to smallest.

And the gift shop, of course, where she may have come home with a new pet elephant and zebra.


She even grew to love that giant sloth.


Oops I Ignored July Part 1: Nana & Bob Visit


Anyone still out there?


I know, I’ve abandoned the blog for a little while. This is actually the longest blogging break I’ve had since I started this little thing more than 2.5 years ago. I’ve enjoyed my “time off,” but I’m excited to share what we’ve been up to for the past, oh, MONTH. Sorry, July. I ignored you around here.

So I don’t bore anyone (including myself), I’ll share a few pics and keep it brief. How about a little list action? (I’ll finish the list in later posts)

1) Nana and Bob come to Iowa City

In the middle of the month, we had a super fun visit from Amy and Bob. The days they were here were probably the hottest days we had all summer, so we tried to avoid the heat with trips to the mall carousel, the Natural History Museum (more on that soon), and the hotel pool.

Since I tend to flake out on taking pictures when someone else has a camera, all these pictures here are stolen from Amy. Good thing she and Bob took great ones! 🙂



We had dinner one night at the Iowa River Power Restaurant, which is where Chris and I had our wedding reception. After dinner, we took Charlotte to the bridge outside the restaurant to check out the river. She ran across the entire thing…and back, which was probably about a half mile. Future marathoner?


The next night, Charlotte put her new swimming lesson skills to the test at the hotel pool. John, Carla, and Madeline joined us for swimming, and I stayed on deck to be everyone’s photographer. I must say, I took tons of adorable pictures and videos. Charlotte and Madeline were the cutest things ever playing in the water. Charlotte blew bubbles in the water for the first time, too, which she proudly showed off at her lesson the next morning.



Thanks, Amy and Bob, for such a great time!

Charlotte and Daddy’s Trip

At the end of June, Chris took Charlotte to back his hometown to visit family. I was bummed to miss out on the fun, but Chris took lots of really great pictures and some cute videos, so I got to see what everyone was up to. They were only there from a Friday to Monday, but they managed to pack in a lot of adventure.

A trip out to his grandparents’ farm where Charlotte checked out the cows, played in the creek, and rode around in the gator.

DSC_0003(The brick house in the trees is where Grandma Pat lives!)

DSC_0025Looking cool with wind-blown hair and Grandma Pat’s shirt.

Later, she took a train ride through rural Boone Country, crossing the famous High Bridge over the Des Moines River.

DSC_0029Hanging out with Papa and her T-Rex in the train car.


Remember Kramer, the sweet horse Charlotte met last year?

This year, she was brave enough to take a ride!

DSC_0087Giddy up!


Kramer is the horse that started it all for Charlotte. What a gentle guy!


AND… before returning home, Nana took Charlotte to the Blank Park Zoo.


DSC_0138Baby Roo


DSC_0163Just a typical Charlotte face for you.


Thanks to Charlotte’s Iowa grandparents for such a fun weekend!





Book Review Time! This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

this_is_where_i_leave_l(image via)

I heard about this book on People.com, of all places. Until about a month ago, I had never seen an article about book recommendations, even though I’m on that website every day never ever on that silly site….

The article featured three books, and this one caught my eye. First of all, the cover. I just plain like the multicolored letters, and the title is intriguing. This is Where I Leave You. Leave me where? Why? I need to understand!

Then I read that there was a movie in the works for this film staring Jason Bateman. SOLD. I checked it out the next day at the public library. It was even waiting for me on the Recently Returned shelf right near the entry.

The story is about Judd Foxman and his dysfunctional family who has to sit Shiva (the seven day mourning period in Judaism) together in one house per their deceased father’s final wish. Who doesn’t love reading about family dysfunction? Seriously. And there are all too many skeletons in this family’s closet.

For instance: Judd just left his wife after walking in on her and his boss in an, um, embarrassing (and disturbing?) position. His mom is a famous child psychologist who’s pretty much done every thing wrong when it comes to her kids. His older brother is married to Judd’s high school girlfriend, and his younger, promiscuous 25 year-old brother is trying to get his life in order by dating a 45 year-old life coach. Judd’s sister has three kids she’s hardly interested in with a husband who never gets off the phone with work. And to top it all off, Judd finds out his wife is pregnant. (Plus a lot more.) It’s seven days of hell.

Now just imagine Jason Batemen dealing with all this stress. Perfect, right?

This book isn’t for everyone, but I tend to like messed up stories with messed up characters, so I enjoyed it.

And, Bonus! I think it will translate well to film and make a pretty funny movie! 

Oh, and Tina Fey will be in it, too?!

…I think it’s perfectly acceptable to read a book because you are excited about the actors who will be cast in the movie version…

Thanks guys…

Before I begin on this post: A big thanks to who have supported me this week regarding my last post. I was clearly venting, and do not always feel so down in the dumps, but it happens enough to sometimes make my life feel a little hard. But all those comments and phone calls really lifted my spirit, and I had a great rest of the week! It sounds a little unbelievable to me that simply reading the words “hang in there,” or “I’m thinking of you,” can make a difference in my state of mind, but I’ll take it. I should ask for your cheerleading more often…. 🙂

In terms of how I’m feeling physically, I’m no better than I was on Monday. In fact, I’m actually a little worse (blech.) BUT I’ve changed up my morning routine a bit this week, and it’s made a difference in my daily productivity. It’s hard to explain without getting into too much boring detail, but it’s been a really positive, albeit simple, change. So even though my skin has been a huge pain in my itchy butt, I’ve had a better, happier week. Thank you for helping me through it.

One big thing that’s been going on around here are Charlotte’s first swimming lessons! She is in a parent-tot class so she can swim with Daddy. I’ve been watching from the bleachers and getting a real kick out of how funny she is. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to take pictures at the pool, but I did get this very pathetic video (because I didn’t know the camera was in movie mode) before I was informed of this rule (and then grudgingly put my camera away):

Yeah, that’s about as lame as it gets.

Oh well. Next year I’ll pull the I didn’t know act on the first day of lessons and try to get an actual picture.

Charlotte is a little iffy on how she feels about her lessons. She is very cautious when it comes to the water (and always has been), so she doesn’t like trying things that get her face or head too close. She says all done at least twenty times during the 45 minute lessons, but at least she never cries or complains when we don’t actually get her out of the pool. Even though she isn’t a fan of everything she has to try, she has been a real trouper about it. I think the reason she sucks it up every day is because she LOVES the five minutes of free playtime at the end of each lesson. There is a basket of silly toys and she’ll talk about playing with the t-rex or the seahorse or the fire engine for the rest of the day.

My favorite moment from lessons this week was when I came in late on Tuesday morning. I walked by her group in the pool when Chris was gliding her across the water on her tummy. When she saw me her face lit up, and with the biggest grin on her face she called out, “Look at me, Mama! Look at me!” She absolutely shows off for me, and it’s pretty darling.

We have one more week of lessons beginning Monday and our goal for Charlotte is to have her blowing bubbles in the water. They call it “motor boating,” and there is even a song they sing for it (of course). Charlotte will have a chance for some extra practice when we visit Amy and Bob at their hotel pool this week. We’ll try to recreate swimming lessons there so that I can get pictures and video. Crazy Mom Alert!

Happy Birthday, ‘Murica!

Happy 4th (er, 5th) of July, Everyone! 

Our day yesterday started out by cleaning poop, pee, and barf out of the carpet. Yay! Charlotte was responsible for the first two, and Buddy has been ralphing up a storm these past few days (including 5 times this morning. ack!). Charlotte’s been having accidents the last couple of days, and she said something tonight that makes us suspect she is doing this on purpose so that she can have an extra bath (tricky girl!)….It’s a far cry from the baby who absolutely loathed the tub back in the day!  Anyway, because of all this, we actually spent the early part of our day yesterday buying a steam vac.

Life for me is pretty low key these days since my skin is really limiting what and how much I am able to do in a day, but, unlike last year, we did get out of the house!

Since Iowa City’s fireworks aren’t until tonight, we hit up Coralville’s show. We went out to dinner late around 8:00, and somehow, Charlotte was still going strong by the time we set down our blanket in the park around 9:30. Charlotte loved “getting cozy” with us on the blanket, and at one point, she decided to lay right on the grass and pull the blanket over her, tucking herself in. That only lasted a minute though before she was up and off wandering and singing to herself again.

Of course the moment she wandered just out our reach the fireworks started. And because of a “computer glitch” (read: human programming error), this show started with the finale – a nonstop boom and roar that lit up the sky for about minute [to watch an actual video, click here!]. Chris and I didn’t actually see much of it though because, upon hearing that first explosion, Charlotte took off running in the direction she was already headed – away from us. We had called out her name, but it was too loud for her to hear us. Chris had to chase after her through the crowd until she finally stopped and started sobbing. Luckily, he was only a step behind her at that point and could scoop her right up.

The rest of the show was pretty calm and lackluster. Charlotte sat with us quietly, at first refusing to watch before eventually allowing herself quick peeks. Phew. We were worried our child may have been scarred for life. She did, however, keep thinking about that moment of panic and reminding us about what happened about fifty times: “I run away and the big thunder comin’.” She brought it up this morning, and I think she’ll probably remember it next year, too. This kid forgets nothing.

Here are a few pictures of our girl in her red, white, and blue: