Sunday, June 27, 2010

Legos and Pizzas and Pets, Oh My!

There's this fabulous little pizza parlor here that Dylan and I first discovered while out for an evening with my brother last December. And we, in my family of animal-loving Lego maniacs, were delighted to learn that once a month over the summer, it will be holding Lego creation contests with different themes. The one dollar entrance fee is donated to the local animal shelter, and the first, second, and third place winners of each age group get a trophy, ribbon, mystery mini figure, a coupon for a free pizza, and a chance to win one of two grand prizes in August! Dylan and Caitlyn were so excited to participate in the first challenge last weekend. The theme for this first contest was "To the Moon and Beyond", and I think their entries were wonderfully creative!

Dylan decided to make a moon scene display, covering one of his green base plates with white and gray bricks to simulate the surface of the moon. He included a space shuttle, a lunar rover and space station, both of which were manned by astronauts, an American flag, a UFO, and an alien in a landing pod.

Caitlyn took a different approach with her creation and chose to make a display of an audience gathered to watch a rocket launch. I thought hers was so cute! There was a cowboy mini-figure whose horse was grazing alongside him, several other mini-figures whose Lego racers were parked in the road, and a fire truck on stand-by in case of catastrophe. :) And, c' adorable is that rocket with smoke plume?!

They both did well with judging and each ended up winning third place in their age groups! Darren and I were so proud of them! The next competition will be held in July; the theme will be "American Freedom". I can't wait to see what my clever, creative kids will design!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Six Month Photo Shoot

I can't believe that Austin will already be six months old on Saturday! I'm working on switching out the photos in our hallway (exchanging 8x10s for 5x7s) and since I always spend way too much money when I take the kids in for actual studio portraits, I decided to just take my own and order prints online. Austin looked so cute this morning that I couldn't resist taking these a few days early. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I love June. It's always been one of my favorite months because, hello! Summer vacation! But also because it's my birthday month (I'll be 33 a week from today!). I still remember being very, very excited every year to get my little postcard in the mail from Baskin Robbins, entitling me to a free scoop on my birthday. (Darren cannot for the life of him understand why I always chose pink bubblegum). And oh hey, look! Guess they still do it! I'm totally signing my kids up. :)

Anyway, I love June for so many more reasons now than my own birthday, including (and especially!) my husband's birthday! Darren's big day was about a week and a half ago, but we've been so busy that I just haven't had time to post pictures. He said it was one of the best ever, though, even though I didn't buy him any gifts (sorry, honey!). We spent much of the day outside, which was awesome, and even had a wonderful (but too brief) thunderstorm late that afternoon. Breakfast was a huge success--fruit salad, coffee, and the most delicious cinnamon rolls at our patio table.

This month has been absolutely perfect. It's so nice to be on break from school, with more relaxed days and virtually no agenda. Last week my sister-in-law decided to come down for a visit with my niece and nephew, which was an absolute blast! Totally spur of the moment and totally fun. On the day they left, Darren's mom, sister, and nephew arrived from Texas for a weekend visit and while we loved seeing them, our time with them went by much too fast! It had been six years since we'd seen his sister and nephew, but I sure hope it won't be another six years before we see them again!

We've been spending much more time outside than I ever remember doing at this time of year, but at the right time of day and with the right circumstances it's really so very pleasant. Mornings in our backyard are just lovely, and evenings can be quite nice, too. Our gardens are doing so well right now and we are just so pleased with the wide variety of little critters who are frequent visitors to our yard (especially the quail--so cute!). I laughed recently to see that Darren and I had taken nearly identical photos of our garden at different times of day, his in the morning and mine towards evening:

We're amazed every day at how tall our sunflowers are getting. I can hardly wait to see how beautiful they'll look later this summer!

I've set a few goals for myself this summer, including (but certainly not limited to): learning how to pickle; learning how to grill; making Dylan's 2nd grade and Caitlyn's Kindergarten scrapbooks; and maybe, possibly, re-reading the entire Twilight series (ugh, I can't even believe I just said that. It's my SIL's fault!). Also I'd like to get a much better start on planning our new school year, including actual written plans for both school work and liturgical celebrations. And, I'm really, really itching to rearrange rooms again. (Honey, just pretend you didn't see that!) Oh, I'm just dying to make some of these darling hanging book displays, except that I broke the needle on my sewing machine a few days ago and I have no idea how to change it. Maybe I should just ask Dylan to take a look at it for me. He could probably figure it out. ;)

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Leah Peaches!

The last lonesome kitten being given away at the Farmer's Market yesterday morning...and now the newest member of our household. :)

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Butterflies in our backyard

I considered uploading all of these butterfly pictures in the new extra large format offered by blogger, but realized that quite probably nobody else will be as interested in them as I am and also, it didn't seem fair to feature them more prominently than photos of my own children. ;)

Except I just couldn't resist enlarging this last photo of one of our many black swallowtails. She was so gracefully circling me two days ago but never would land, so I finally decided to zoom in and hope for the best. This shot came out way better than I hoped for; I hadn't even noticed that caterpillar (on the far left stem) until I transferred these photos to my computer! So, while I still feel like I'm just biding my time until I can afford a sweet new DSLR, I suppose my little point-and-shoot will work just fine for a while longer, after all. :)