Friday, August 31, 2012

Moments with Joel

I suppose I should start catching up on August happenings now that July has been recorded. Hannah's birthday was almost the first thing that happened, but before that, we had the pleasure of Joel's company for a couple of weeks before he headed south to North Carolina.  I haven't been great about taking pics of Hannah with our many visitors that we've had this summer, but I did manage to snap two of Hannah and Joel snuggling on the couch.

In the first, they are watching the Olympics on Joel's iPad and munching on pizza.

This one was taken shortly after Hannah and I returned home from the library with a stash of new books.

And now Joel is en route back to New Zealand which is a total bummer for us. As always, it's hard to say goodbye to Joel, but we're happy we got to spend the first part of this week with him at the beach. That's another blog post all together though.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hannah meets Aunt Sharon and Uncle Tom

The weekend that we were driving home from Michigan happened to be the same weekend that my dad was visitig his Aunt Sharon and Uncle Tom. They'd arranged a huge family gathering and BBQ with everyone who lives in the area, and since their house is barely off the path home, we joined in.

We woke up as early as possible on Saturday and managed to make it there in time for dinner. Hannah had just polished off a pint of raspberries in the car though so she was more interested in swimming.

She got cold and changed her mind pretty quickly. Cleaning the pool was a much warmer endeavor.

An even warmer endeavor was sitting by the fire with Pappy and helping him roast wienies on a stick.

On one of our many stops off the turn pike, Eric let Hannah pick out this little stuffed dog in a plastic crate. She was very enamored with and showed it off quite a bit, here to Pappy and Granmda Sondra.

The reason I was into the idea of stopping off at Uncle Tom's and Aunt Sharon's is because although I only remember meeting them once, I remembered them as being really awesome. They haven't changed a bit! Hannah hit it off with Uncle Tom, who is incredibly charismatic and silly, and spent a good portion of the visit hanging out with him.

Pappy made sure to get in on the tickle fest too.

After the wienies, they broke out the marshmallows. Real marshmallows, not the healthy alternative I provided when we went camping at Assateage earlier in the year. Hannah was smitten. We decided that marshmallow roasting was a good time to get some group photos.  Here's Hannah sitting between Uncle Tom and Aunt Sharon, waiting patiently for a marshmallow.

If you're looking for a little family background (I always am since I find that I rarely know who anyone is), Aunt Sharon is my dad's mom's sister. (I didn't know this on the way there--that's how disconnected we are from family. I got the low down while we were there though. Let's see if I can remember it all...) Aunt Joyce (bottom left) is another sister (and that's her husband behind her). I feel like there's one more sister but maybe I'm just confused??? I'm sure Aunt Sharon will confirm/correct after she reads this. 

I let Hannah have a partial s'mores leaving out the chocolate. After streaking the marshmallow through her hair, Hannah let Grandma Sondra pull it back into a ponytail.

Clean up time! It was just one marshmallow, but it ended up everywhere!

If I'm remembering right, and there's a good chance I'm not, Aunt Sharon has four daughters, one of whom, Tammy, is having a seriously intellectual conversation with Hannah in the pic below.

Kim is another of Aunt Sharon's daughters. I tried desperately to get a picture of her and Hannah laughing together but Hannah refused to remove the puppy's crate from in front of her face.

Debbie is another sister, but I didn't manage to get any pics of her. We did, however, pause to get a pic our little sect of the family. 

We took Hannah in to bed when the sun started to set, and although a ton more family members showed up shortly after, we were beat and didn't make it much past hello before excusing ourselves to go to bed. We were given the whole basement which was super comfortable and awesome and much better than being in a hotel. Since Hannah had requested pancakes for breakfast, we woke up to pancakes and chowed down. After breakfast we packed up the car and did some last minute outdoor exploring in anticipation of being car bound for a few more hours. Uncle Tom took us on a tour of his garden and sent us home with corn, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes--all of which were amazing and devoured pretty quickly. 

It was awesome to be able to see everyone and introduce them to Hannah and Eric, and it was also awesome to watch Hannah run around their giant yard the way a dog does when it's been cooped up in a row home for a while. She ran and climbed trees and picked flowers and seemed to really love the open space. I hope that we can provide her with a little open space one of these days....

That's it for July now. Let's see if I can get some August posts up before the month is over, starting with her birthday post...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our annual voyage to Michigan

This year we went to Michigan a little earlier than usual (in July) and drove instead of flying. I was worried about restraining Hannah in her car seat for that long--after all, this is the kid who screams on the hour drive back to Hagerstown--but the portable DVD player made it all possible. I wish our kid weren't such a TV addict, but in this case, it worked to our advantage. We stopped off at the library first to rent some new flicks and then we hit the road. We drove halfway there on Friday (about 6 hours with all our stops) and then stayed in a hotel. After an early morning swim in the hotel pool, we drove the other 6 hours and arrived at Grannah and Granpah's Saturday afternoon.

Joel's presence was the highlight this time around since he's been sailing around the world and living in New Zealand for the past couple years and has missed the last few family get togethers. Hannah and him settled in on the floor with the toys immediately upon arriving.

The next day we woke up early and got pumped for the Fine Lake biathalon. This is an event that Eric created many moons ago. He runs the 5 or so miles around the lake and then swims the 1 mile across the lake and back. I did it with him the first year I went and participated in just the swim the second year. This year I hopped on a bike and we buckled Hannah into a trailer that we attached to the back.  (Photo credits for the next two go to Grannah.)

On the home stretch of the ride/run, I got attacked by a swarm of horseflies who bit the crap out of my back. It was terrible. Trying to swat them and hold the bike steady was impossible, and then trying to scratch the itches while steering was equally insane. I made Eric take a pic when we got back to the house so I could see if it looked as bad as it felt.

The welts went down after jumping in the lake and were pretty much gone when we had finished our swim. Joel and Granpah took out the boats (one in the fishing boat with Hannah and one in the sailboat) to keep me and Eric on track and protect us from other boats. Sadly, I have no pics of this second part of the biathalon.

Justin showed up shortly after we finished our swim. Yay All the Kellogg's together for the first time in eons!

Group snuggles are one of Hannah's favorite activities; we do it all the time. In this instance, she pulled in the brothers for a family hug.

Later that afternoon we headed over to Eric's closest friends' house for a birthday pool party for their oldest son. I snapped a pic of Hannah jumping off the diving board since it was her first time, but then I didn't pick up the camera again.

At some point (maybe the next night??), we walked the bike trailer back to the owners (Grannah's friends) and found a pond full of frogs and this sprinkler.
I think this was also the night that Eric and I headed over to St. Mary's lake to hang out with his bestest friends again (this time adults only) on their pontoon boat. Somehow I neglected to get any pics of this too...Not sure what I was thinking (or not thinking), but I'm going to blame it on being pregnant, even if I didn't know at this point.

We spent all day, every day putzing around the lake this year. It was very relaxing, especially after the long drive there. On Tuesday Hannah spent the morning catching blue gills. I think she caught 5 total. I took way too many pictures of this...

Here she is reeling the first one out of the water.


Casting out again.

Caught another!

She took a break then to swim a little and then hopped out to warm up on the dock with Uncle Justin. In the midst of all this is when I looked at the period tracker on my phone and realized that I had mixed up my days and that I was actually at day 29 of my cycle (I thought it was day 26). Since my cycle is usually 25 days, I knew what this meant, but I peed on the stick anyway. Yep. Preggo!

Back to the fishing!

Caught another one! It took us a while, but we finally managed to talk her into holding up the fish by its lip.

Granpah is quite inventive! To water the grass in the dry area, he poked holes in the bottom of a bucket and hooked the bucket handle around a hoe. He dips the bucket into the lake to fill it up and then dangles it across the patch where he's trying to grow grass. Hannah liked helping.

Hannah also really liked having a bunch of new toys to pull out and spread all over the floor.

And she loved having her uncles around to play with! (This photo is courtesy of Uncle Justin.)

 We took out the kayaks later that day. Hannah started off in Eric's and then after a little swim, ended up perched on the back of mine.

That evening (Tuesday), Grannah and Granpah had an early birthday party celebration for Hannah. Hannah helped decorate.

After some pizza and broccoli, Hannah opened presents. This first one is from Uncle Joel.

He brought back the Buzzy Bee from New Zealand where it is a very popular toy. Hannah liked it too. She pushed it around the table, pulled it around the house, and then rolled around with it and put it on the bottoms of her feet while she held them in the air so that it could "fly".

Next up was a set of magnetic dolls from Uncle Justin. 

Then came the bike from Grannah and Granpah. Her legs are still a little too short to pedal this, but she likes trying.

After dinner we headed down to the lake for a boat ride. Granpah found a turtle trying to cross the street and let the kiddos say hello before dropping it into the water.

Hannah boycotted the family photo. After a while we gave up trying to get her to take the towel off her head and just took it without her.

Granpah borrowed a pontoon boat from his neighbors so he could take everyone out onto the lake. 

Grannah had invited over her friends, the kids she babysits, for the birthday party. Hannah enjoyed having other children to play with.

We got up the next morning and drove to Uncle Justin's in Grand Haven. Ahhh, beach days! On the first day, they dug a hole to China and then a river to connect it to Lake Michigan.

Joel and Hannah spent most of the day there.

Justin has one of the awesomest playgrounds close to his house. We went there first thing the next morning, but had to hightail it to the car when the rain came down.

We came across this headless mermaid sand sculpture during a walk on the beach one afternoon. Hannah is a little small to pose behind it, and the angle I have on it is all wrong, but it's still pretty funny, huh? Sand sculpting is so amazing it me. 

Another of Justin's presents to Hannah is a round rainbow kite that spins in circles.  Hannah liked flying it and spent a lot of the afternoon doing so.

We hit the road pretty early on Saturday morning and drove more than halfway to my great aunt and uncle's house in Pennsylvania where we met my dad and a bunch of other relatives for dinner. That'll be my last July post, then I can move on to August....Maybe I will eventually be caught up!