Saturday, August 29, 2015

Drivin' my blue car, Baby...

In February of 1999, just before I moved to Illinois, Pete bought himself his first new car. 
 It very much became a part of him, and of our lives.

 Yesterday he took it in to the VW dealer that sold us our van to see what we could get for trade-in value. This morning it wouldn't start.
 It must have known the inevitable was coming.
 So long little blue Golf. You saw us through many many miles. 152,995 miles.
It was not easy to say goodbye.'s pretty exciting to go for your very first drive in your brand new car.
So now, this: 
Welcome to the family, New Blue Car. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back to School

Henry and Clara (and I) started school on Tuesday. It's impossible to believe that Henry is a fifth grader already. His report from the first day was that he loved it! His favorite thing was when Mrs. Lifshitz gave groups a bag of stuff (paper plates, tubes, tape...) and said "make something with a purpose". His group made a habitat for the class lizard. 
Clara's report was that second grade was great! And that "we got to eat candy all day!" Ummm....
Frederick is back today. He went in yesterday for a quick meet-the-teacher. Pete reported that he "waved to every friend and hugged every teacher." 
I think it's going to be a pretty good year. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Summer in Review

I'm juggling a lot of photos on this one, so I'll keep the comments brief, and you'll understand if it's a little messy....
We started our summer with a lovely dinner at Chicago Cut, with Mary. This was something we had wanted to do for a long time, as Pete knows the owner (pictured here) from high school. Sadly, we were never able to get there with Peter Sr, but we did do a toast to him that night. 

One of the first official acts of any summer is to sign up for the library's reading program. This year's theme was super heroes.... Frederick, in particular, enjoyed putting on a cape for every visit this summer.

I believe this photo is from the first pool trip of the summer.
This chocolate chip pancake breakfast was a celebration of Frederick spending his first diaper-free night clean and dry. I'm not sure how we were blessed with such easy toilet-learners, but I'm not complaining!
The summer included much time in the treehouse. The big kids did spend a couple of nights sleeping up there as well, but that happened more recently this summer. 

Pete was away on business a few times this summer. We took advantage of one of his absences to dress up in his clothes and have a photo shoot. It was sort of a father's day gift...
Henry was  very interested in seeing the movie Jurassic World, and had to display a lot of patience while Pete and I made sure we were really okay with him seeing such an intense movie. I also made him write a persuasive letter. This was page one of 3.
Pete did come back in time for father's day and our traditional mini-golf experience.

Near the end of June the kids and I headed to Iowa. We spent some time at the farmer's market...

We celebrated Eleanor's 8th birthday...

And then we took Henry for his first year at camp!!
Clara and Frederick and I enjoyed a few days with Grammie. The two made a pie out of blueberries we picked with Amber and the girls.
Then, Pete came to town via bus and we took Clara for her half-week in the TeePee village.
It was so exciting to pick both Henry and Clara up on Saturday and hear them sing their songs. They had a great time!! I'm so relieved. I'm not sure what I would have done if they didn't want to go back.
We whisked those tired kids right back to IC for some Jazz Fest, which Pete and I had already been enjoying for a couple of days.
When we got home the kids had to create their own fun. They tried out the shed as a new place to read.
We got to spend some quality time with second cousins, as Pete's cousin Rachel and her family were in town.
Uncle Bruce and Aunt Ellen also came to town to get a little more time with Rachel, Guillo, Eve and Noah. We all spent a lovely day at a Cubs game.
Henry and Clara even got to run the bases when the game was over.
We went to Ravinia for the first time of the summer.
Later in July, Frederick stayed with Grandma so that Pete and I could take the big kids for their first trip to Six Flags.
We all had an awesome time!
Here's a very lovely photo of us on the log ride.
The 3 monkeys and I went to Brookfield Zoo and enjoyed their new Wildlife Encounters area.
It included a visit to feed these parakeets. The kids loved it!
At the end of July we went up to Minneapolis and then on to Will and Sandy's place at Kemo Lake. Much fun was had.
After 3 nights camping at Kemo we went back in to town and stayed at this lovely house near Tofte. It was called the Finn House. 
This was a view from one of the picture windows in the family room.
It was Fisherman's Picnic time in Grand Marais, so we spent some time listening to music, eating fish burgers, and browsing the art booths, in addition to throwing rocks in the lake and eating donuts. 
One night we went up to one of the resorts to listen to Bill Hansen and a friend play some music...
There was a gorgeous blue moon while we were at Finn House.
We drove up to Sawbill one day and took a paddle out to a campsite where we had a picnic and the kids did some skinny dipping.

I miss these donuts...
Here's our whole crew shortly before leaving Finn House. It was a great time. I hope we can go back with Rob and Carrie's family some day, too!
Carrie did come to Northbrook with the girls for a few days. We went to Northbrook Days and rode the rides...
We spent a day at the Field Museum...

And then, towards the middle of August we went back up north to Dad and Kathie's place in Wisconsin.
There was fishing and swimming and eating and hot-tubbing.
Katie took this photo of Pete and I on the pontoon boat on our 12th anniversary. That night, Grandpa and Nana babysat so Pete and I could have some dinner at the Chippewa Inn.
We've been back for our last week of the summer... Mom is back so that I could be in at school setting up my classroom, and to help out with the kids when I go back to work and before Frederick goes back to school.
We spent this last Friday at the Morton Arboretum, which we hadn't visited since Henry was about Frederick's age.
They are getting ready to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Children's Garden....which means Henry is getting old.
Friday night Pete was playing at a gig for a farmer's market group in Roger's Park. We were able to have a lovely dinner and talk to some really interesting people.
Mom found some roller-skates for Frederick, so this last weekend of summer has been filled with skating and spending time at the pool.
Here's our final tally board for the summer! We did pretty well. And now we all need a vacation. It's back to school for me tomorrow, and the kids will go with Grammie to meet their new teachers. It's an exciting time, but very bittersweet.