Thursday, October 30, 2014

My mid-week "fix" ...

It was a lovely Wednesday afternoon yesterday, made even nicer due to the fact that I got to spend some quality time with my Little Fellow. Since one of his favorite things is car washes, I decided to … wash my car (even though it didn't need it!) … so we went to the car wash across from Meijer over on Plainfield Avenue. It's a nice LONG car wash and it isn't very expensive.
It was really really noisy as we drove through, and Brendan (who was extremely tired) took it all in a little apprehensively!
I attempted to take some pictures of him throughout our time inside, but my camera lens fogged up and I couldn't get it cleaned up in time ...
Brendan was SO serious (I think due to exhaustion) after we drove outside! Thankfully, we weren't too far from The Beach House and he stayed awake as we drove there and got more and more animated as he finally realized where we were going … Gramma's house! 
 My Little Fellow is quite a lighthouse fan (!!!) and I'm finding in him a kindred spirit about all things nautical … fancy that! He will wander around my house pointing out various lighthouses and then ask to play with them. The one pictured above Brendan called a "lighthouse boat." He also pointed out all of the lighthouses on my area rug in the main room and was very pleased to see them.
We played a little bit with our Matchbox tracks today, mostly to simulate a car wash using some pom poms and a few brushes we found around the house. 
Brendan got Paco the Pig out from the playroom and included him in all of our activities throughout the afternoon. 
Brendan super liked the wintertime lighthouse with the rotating light. It is my favorite too, because it was a gift from a very special person ... 
I was out in the kitchen rounding up some food for us when I heard Brendan's little voice singing, "The wheels on the Bus" and I knew I had the book somewhere around here. I was able to find it so that he could look at the pictures and sing to me … which he did!  

 Brendan is very easy to be with. He almost never complains, and he plays and plays and plays … with true contentment and joy. What a blessing he is.

 We were pretending the cars were all following the school bus ...
 … and then we had a crash.
I've had this IKEA rug for … probably 8-10 years now … it works out nicely in the playroom. All of the kiddos enjoy playing cars and trucks on it. 
Paco the Pig enjoyed playing with us! 

No nap for this little guy … he just keeps right on going ... 

 As we were driving down Cannonsburg Road, I heard Brendan say, "Rainbow, Gramma Carol!" And he wasn't kidding!
I so wish I had been in a better place to shoot a picture of this gorgeous rainbow. I really haven't seen many in my whole life (!) and taking pictures while driving isn't a very good idea … so this was the best I could do.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Another Sunday afternoon adventure

Yesterday (and today too!) was one of those rare and extremely beautiful October days … where it made it up to 70 degrees (75 today!) without raining! The sun was out … and it was just completely intoxicating to be outside enjoying God's marvelous creation.
The grandkiddos and I drove out to Pickerel Lake, only a 15 minute drive from The Beach House. I love it out here. 
At the entrance to this beautiful park that Frederick Meijer turned into a nature reserve, there is a very LONG boardwalk that crosses the western end of the lake. My sweet Emma Joy absolutely refuses to walk on it! She says she is certain it will break apart in the middle and all of us will be thrust into the swampy water! 
So instead of beginning our hike where most people do (on the boardwalk), we went through the parking lot to the right and walked a pathway to the turnstile and squeezed our way through it to walk around the lake going the opposite direction of most folk. 
 Matthew found a nice walking stick almost immediately!
 Emma brought her nature backpack with her and had her binoculars all ready to go.
We had such a great hike around Pickerel Lake! Of course, I didn't TELL the kids that we were actually going to walk around the entire lake ... 
 … because I KNEW they would say it was TOO FAR and they couldn't do it! Instead, we just started walking. I told them we were looking for signs of beavers … and perhaps we would even meet a real live beaver!
 We took lots of little interesting detours along the way ...
 And now and then, we would stop and rest ...

Being out in the woods like this, especially this time of year, is definitely one of my favorite things to do. There are NO mosquitos to fight with and hardly any bees bothered us … we were able to walk and explore and admire God's creation the whole time we were there. 
We had walked quite a way when Emma finally asked me how we were going to get across to the parking lot without crossing that terrible boardwalk she hates so much ... 
 I told her we would figure something out when we got there.

In the meantime, we just walked and walked; and as we walked, we talked and laughed and … well, it was wonderful.
Thankfully, we found a map that showed an alternate route, a small "road" that would take us around the boardwalk and end us up on Ramsdell for a short distance … but it looked reasonable enough to try. 
 Finally! We found EVIDENCE of beavers at least. I handed my camera off to Emma to get a close-up of this gnawed off tree trunk. Good job, Ems!
We finally got to the alternate road which turned out to be marked "private property" with a sign that said: "Private property. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again." But that sign wasn't posted until we had walked halfway to the end gate … so we proceeded and hoped we wouldn't hear any gun shots! I took this last picture from that private road … I love the reflections, don't you? 

The kiddos were pretty tired out … but we actually accomplished hiking around the entirety of Pickerel Lake. I was so proud of them! We drove home and enjoyed a huge taco dinner … we were very hungry! And our Bible story was about Peter being rescued from jail … a wonderful story of faith! Another Sunday afternoon of sweet memories … thank-you, Lord!

"Train moofie, Gramma Carol?"

First of all, the picture below has nothing to do with a train movie … Dylan and Kelly dressed up as a … can you guess? A twin whale?! That would have been MY guess looking at this hysterical costume!
But no … they CLAIM they are dressed up as a mustache! I know! Isn't that just about the funniest thing you've ever heard?! They tied each half around their middles and when they stand next to each other …. voila'! A mustache! 
 OR … since this is an extra versatile costume, it can be tilted vertically and become … quotation marks! Yikes. Brendan dear did not want to be left out of these pictures! So he ran and put his little arms up to his mama and made it just in time for me to click the shutter!

After Dylan and Kelly left for their party, Brendan and I played trains. He has a really nice collection of wooden track and lots and lots of train cars (not pictured).
Michal joined us in all of our play ...
Brendan is an entirely musical little fellow. He has perfect pitch! What a gift! He can completely duplicate the ringtone on my phone … and he does it with great joy! 
 I love his little face ...
Soon, it was time for couch cuddling and thankfully I brought along a movie (or, "moofie" as Brendan pronounces it) that Brendan had never seen. 

We were having a serious discussion about it: Michal, Brendan and me … and then I opened my backpack and showed him what movie we were going to see! 

The Polar Express! 
Little Fellow was enthralled with every second of this story. He followed everything carefully, and he LOVED the music. His entire body got into the music. I loved watching him interact with it. When it was over, and following potty-time (it was 10:30!), I suggested that it was bedtime. Brendan was very sad because his mama wasn't home yet. So this is what he asked me: "Train moofie, Gramma Carol?" Ah! Why not? So … we watched the whole movie over again. He loved it the second time too. We had such a sweet time together. Love you, Brendan!