Monthly Archives: May 2011

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memorial day 2011


We had a wonderful holiday weekend. It was way too short. I guess it was just a little prelude to summer vacation. Hot summer days, here we come!

Our weekend was spent here at home, at Jake’s mom’s and at my parents’ farm. It was filled with a little of this …


… some of this …


… and this.

Sunday night, some storms blew through while we were at Mom+Dad O’s. We saw lots of lightning and a ton of heavy rain. About 10 miles south of their house, Battle Creek was hit with a lot of damaging winds that pulled trees out by the roots, knocked power lines down, and much more. Thankful we didn’t get hit with anything serious.

We had a blast at the farm on Memorial Day, running around outside, despite the heat. We were smart and wore our sunscreen and drank lots of water all afternoon. And we took some breaks in the air conditioning, too. It was a fun weekend!

Love Mom’s snowball bush. So pretty. Reminds me of my Grandma.

Only seven full days and two half days left of school. At this point, we’re starting to count down the days! Can’t believe this school year is almost over. Trying to remind myself daily to slow down and take it all in. It will all be a thing of the past before I know it. :(

GR rocks

Grand Rapids is such a cool city! Love this!

a week in may


Chloe and Brooke. our front yard. may 20.

The month of May has sort of flown by almost without me noticing. I hate it when that happens. It seems we’ve gone from event (soccer practice) to event (soccer game) to event (barn floor raising) to event (Spring concert) to event (last soccer game). And now here we are at Memorial Day weekend with the number of days left of school in the single digits. Must remind myself to slow down and really take each day in.

The Spring Concert was a lot of fun this year. Chloe had a line, which she delivered perfectly. And, as you can see from the pictures below, she didn’t have one bit of stage fright. She was blowing kisses to the audience and singing her heart out. It was cracking me up.

We had our first overnight guest this past weekend, too. Chloe has been wanting to have her friend Brooke over for a while now and we finally made it happen. The girls immediately went through Chloe’s closet and dressed up so they were wearing the same color. They ran around outside for a while and played in the dandelions and I got a few pictures of them. She’s such a sweet girl and I’m happy they are friends.

Jake just returned home from a trip to New York this week for work. He was at a book publishing conference and there were a ton of booths and at one was our favorite home improvement guy, Mike Holmes. Jake didn’t get to meet him ’cause the line at his booth was too long, but he did snap this picture of him with his phone.

Love him. Wish he’d come to our house and fix all the things that were done wrong to his house before we bought it.

Last week, Jake and I went to the Middle School for a parent orientation meeting for Zach. What? My baby boy is going into middle school? How did this happen? Just another reason why I need to slow down and absorb as much of life right now as I can.

No big plans for the Memorial Day weekend. Just praying the rain will stop so we’ll have some nice family days. Then the last days of school are upon us and we pick up speed with field days and class trips and assemblies. I do love that feeling of the first days of summer, when you have three months of nothing spread out before you. What shall we do to fill them all up? A whole lot of nothing sounds pretty darn good!

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!

old fashioned barn (floor) raising


Zach wanted to help, but we didn’t want him to be crushed by the 700# beams.

Last weekend, we got up bright and early and headed over to my parents farm to lend a hand. Mom and Dad invited several friends, family, neighbors, fellow farmers over to help build a new floor in their barn. There was a great turnout and they got the job done in about four hours. I know my parents very much appreciated all the help and I was there to capture pictures of everything (well, most of it … chloe had a soccer game). I think it was good for the kids to see. All those guys coming together to help a friend. A good lesson in how to give of yourself and serve others. They got to help a little here and there with small tasks, too.



Lovin’ all the plaid. haha! It was a fun morning.

the many faces of chloe

I really wasn’t kidding when I said Chloe took a ton of self portraits on our trip to Virginia. And these aren’t even all of them. Such a funny girl. I guess she takes after her mama. :)

photo find


photographed May 2010

Yesterday, I was going through pictures from 2010 for a ‘year in review’ book and I came across this gem. Sometimes I just can’t believe how beautiful she is. I love her cute little shirt, the sunlight shining on her hair, the little wispy hairs around her face and that cute little smile. Please excuse my gushing. I love my girl. :)

spring break 2011 | jamestown and virginia beach


Our last full day of vacation, we got up early and headed to the Jamestown Settlement for the morning. I had been there by myself a few years before and I just knew the kids would like it there. I was right. Zach mentioned that he liked it best. That made me smile and I knew I had done something right in choosing Virginia for our trip.

Chloe loved going through the little Powhatan village. She kept touching all the animal furs that were hanging on the wall and she said the fox fur was the softest.

We walked through the village and watched people making baskets, preparing food, drying out deer hides, etc. Very interesting.


Next we entered the replica of the fort. Zach actually told us beforehand that it was shaped like a triangle and had little circular areas on each corner where they would stand and guard and protect the fort. That was the first thing we noticed when we entered. Good job paying attention in school, bud. :) We toured several of the buildings including the church.



Jake and the kids had fun dressing up in the armor there. Although, Jake’s didn’t quite fit. LOL.

We watched a muzzleloader demonstration …

… then we headed to the dock to take a look at the ships. This pic is one of my faves.

Chloe was dying to do “the Titanic thing” the moment she stepped foot on the first boat. “I’m flying!” she exclaimed.

This is another favorite. He didn’t know I was taking his picture. I was standing on the dock as he toured one of the smaller ships and I just noticed him standing there on the deck kind of taking everything in. Love it.

After we finished seeing everything, we ate a nice lunch at the little cafe there before driving to Virginia Beach to see the ocean. Before leaving, we made a quick stop in the bathroom. This is important to note as it goes along with the next part of our story.

We arrived in VA Beach and found parking near Neptune’s Park. I grabbed the bag I had brought along with towels just in case the kids got wet. The weather was too chilly for swimming, but Chloe has a tendency to swim in her clothes, so I came prepared.

As we were getting out of the car, Chloe started freaking out that she couldn’t find her digital camera. It was nowhere. I suddenly remembered our bathroom break and said, “I know where your camera is. In the bathroom at Jamestown.” Her face just dropped and she started crying. She had left it on top of the toilet paper rolls, she said. So after calling and being forwarded a couple of times, I finally got ahold of the wonderful ladies at the customer service desk there and one of them took a peek in the bathroom and found it exactly where Chloe said she’d left it. They put it in the safe overnight for us since they were closing within the hour and we wouldn’t be able to make it back. This was definitely a teaching moment for her and we let her know how lucky she was that someone didn’t take it and not turn it in. I’m sure she will never lose sight of it again.

Virginia Beach was beautiful. It was sunny with beautiful blue skies. But it was very windy and cold, which we expected. We walked down by the water and got some pictures. The boys goofed around a bit, while Chloe ran over by the Neptune statue, where there is playground equipment. Within ten minutes, she had made several friends including another little girl named Chloe, who was also from Michigan.



We hung out there, sitting on a bench and people watching, while Chloe played with half a dozen of her new best friends. She had a ball. She could have cared less that the ocean was just steps away. Give her monkey bars and a slide and other kids and she’s all set.

After an hour, we decided to head back to the hotel. Mom told us to get her and the kids something at the drive-thru and she would stay at the hotel with them so Jake and I could go out to dinner and have a little date. I have the sweetest mom ever. So, we got ready and headed down the road to the nearby Black Angus Grill. We had a nice dinner together and then stopped and brought Haagen Dazs ice cream back for everyone.

In the morning, we went back to Jamestown and retrieved Chloe’s camera when they opened at 9am. It postponed our drive home, but at least we got her camera back. It would have been sad to lose all the great pictures she took.

Our drive home … well, let’s just say it was interesting. We decided to find an alternate route home instead of taking the toll roads, which was quite pricey. For some reason, Google Maps decided that the best route for us would be through the mountains. Not just that, but on these winding roads with curve after curve after curve. At one point, I got behind a truck filled with rocks and he was driving 15mph. Miles and miles through these hairpin curves going 15mph. It was so annoying and tedious. We were happy to get around that truck and off of that mountain. It wasn’t all bad, though. It was very picturesque in places along the river. We would come around a curve and into a little coal town at the base of the mountain with these big wide views of the river and hills above. Pretty.

Even though our journey home was long and our heads didn’t hit our pillows until nearly 2am, we were very happy that we had such a wonderful vacation together.

Hmmmm … where should we go for our next trip? Any suggestions? Leave a comment if you’ve been somewhere great that kids would love.

AJAXed with AWP