Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot summer fun!

We've been having a lot of fun this summer. Both girls are at such great ages for exploring, discovering, and just having a good ol' time in general. We started off with the Tulip Fesitval in May.
Aunt Tammy gave Katen a sucker, which she shared very nicely with Ana. Watching this was pretty funny. Ana looked like a baby bird.  :)
 We've visited the splash pad (Ana is our big fishy), and we've gone out to some local, organic farms and done some strawberry, black raspberry, and blueberry picking.

We've also  taken advantage of the local farmers' market. The people get a kick out of the girls at the market, because they're so excited about the fruits and veggies. I've never made it back to the car yet without the girls digging into something that we've picked up, and they wear their food proudly. The produce this year is just gorgeous! It makes the girls excited to help cook too which I think is great!

We have our own garden this year as well. It's been a good learning experience. I've learned that I need to start as many things from plants as possible instead of starting from seed. We learned that pumpkin grows well and that no matter how hard you try, a bunk packet of beans will never sprout. We had a huge storm a week ago that laid our corn down flat, but it's back in action now. Our fruit trees are a new addition as well and they're hanging in there. We got two apples from our apple tree and two berries from our blueberry bushes. The pear tree is just doing its thing and the cherry tree... well we may need a new one. It's a little finicky. We'll have tomatoes, peppers, and purple, white, and orange carrots soon though! The girls have already plucked a few cherry tomatoes for snacking. Some of them may or may not have been ripe.

Ana has spent the past few months perfecting her vocabulary. She started off as not much of a talker. Then all of a sudden she started trying every word she heard. Now at 19mos, she's speaking in phrases.  "Who put that there?"  and her favorites - "Where's KK?"  (She calls Katen "KK"), and of course, "Why?? But Why??" She always has to know why.  Ha!  She's also able to tell us "Love you!" which obviously is sweet. She tells Daddy "Have a good day" before he leaves in the morning, and greets Katen with "Good Mo-ning" every morning. Katen likes to sleep in. You'll find her up and around at about 9am. Ana, on the other hand will come up the stairs any time between 6:15 and 8:30. Usually earlier rather than later.

Daddy is in charge of putting Ana to bed. If I do it, she expects me to rock her until she's asleep. If I don't, at least 30 minutes of crying, getting out of bed, me putting her back in bed and waiting in the hall for her to come out again occurs until someone gives in. We're about 50/50 on that one. We figured out when I flew to Connecticut in an attempt to be a surrogate for another couple, that Ana doesn't expect that out of Daddy. He sings her a few songs, (listening to Ana and Daddy sing the ABC's is adorable) and then says goodnight and closes her door. She's happy with that. What a stinker. 

Ana is also in her big girl bed. I've know that she was capable of climbing out for a few months now. She's really tall for her age and extremely coordinated. No idea where that comes from. Not me for sure. Anyway, I found her standing on top of her book case one day after a nap. She was in a big girl bed by bedtime.

Along with her vocabulary, Ana has also learned to count to 10 and say her ABC's from Katen. They love to sing together. Ana has quite the playlist of songs that she knows. Hearing the girls sing is so darn cute. Especially when they interpret words differently from what they're supposed to be.

Katen has given up dance for the time being. She loves to dance and sing, but much prefers to do it on her own terms. She had an amazing dance teacher though who was kind, patient, and most importantly FUN! For the summer her game is soccer. Soccer seems to be more fun for her. The only challenge with that is keeping Ana off the field. Katen has done a good job of teaching little sis to dribble the ball, so sitting on the sidelines isn't what Ana would prefer to do. The games have been pretty cute. There are a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds out there kicking at the ball like a flock of chickens. Every once in a while they are actually directing the ball toward their own goal and now and then a goal is made with much celebration. There are no goalies but that's fine with the kids. Ha! The heat has been pretty intense for this last session of soccer. Most of the practices have been done in 95+ degree heat with high humidity. They're taking lots of breaks though for water which helps. Practices are also just 45 minutes which helps.

As I type, I'm sitting on our almost completed, new deck while the girls go nuts on their outside table with playdough and snacks. I am so grateful that they're not doing this inside because out here, I can just hose it off the deck. (the decking is a composite material, so the playdough doesn't stick at all AND I don't have to worry about splinters.) Mike, his Dad, brother, and our good friend Justin have been working in this blistering heat for the past few weekends and evenings to get it done. It will be nice to put the girls to bed and sit on the deck, enjoying a nice glass of wine once the weather cools down. Right now the low for overnight is around 80 degrees. Not exactly "sit outside and enjoy the quiet night air" type of weather.

We've got lots of fun left in the summer, wading in our kiddie pool, playing on the swing set, playing with friends. I'm sure we'll have to hit the Iowa State Fair at some point as well. Katen starts preschool on August 22nd and has had her backpack packed since we signed her up. To say she's excited would be an understatement.  I'll be sure to take lots of pictures! Here are a few to tide you over.

We made "fireworks" shirts for the 4th of July using pipecleaners and paint.
Ana really liked the fireworks. Katen wasn't as impressed.

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