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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Heat Wave

Holy smokes did we have a heat wave recently!  With temps in the high 90s and 100s, our little window A/C units just couldn't keep up.  When the high humidity caused our downstairs unit to leak, we gave up and headed to my parents house for their central air and the lake. 

Cal didn't wait a second before he made a beeline for the lake.  He didn't even change into his suit - I was lucky to get his shoes off.  The water was so warm and the breeze off the lake was so refreshing that I could have played out there with him forever.  It was the perfect way to beat the heat.

Watching boats from the kayak.

I love his little sandy bottom!

Friday, July 20, 2012

4th of July

The Fourth of July was filled with family for us.

We spent the morning having breakfast with Billy's family.  His aunt Patty and cousins Brandon and Darci were visiting from California.  It was really nice to see them.  I forgot the camera, but Patty took several family pictures - I will have to get them from her.  After that, we walked around the outlet mall and picked up a few things, including a new bathing suit for Cal.

We spent the afternoon over at my parents house on the lake.  We were joined by the whole family, including my aunt, uncles and cousins, plus a few friends.  It was a relaxing, low-key day - just sitting in the lake, hanging out, grilling a few burgers and dogs.  Cal took a nap when we first arrived, so he missed this:

Look at their faces...they are terrified!
But he did wake up and join the party.  Cal loves the little beach.  He plays in the sand and throws rocks and watches the boats.  It was tough to get him out of the water!

Boat watching.

Playing in the lake.

Too busy to look at the camera.

It was a good day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Adventures with Grandma and Grandpa

I have fond memories of staying with my grandparents and all the fun things I got to to there (dress-up!).  They also took me on some great adventures (Storybook Gardens!). Cal is very lucky to have the same opportunities with his grandparents.  Over Father's Day weekend, Billy and I went camping with some friends and Cal stayed with Grandma and Grandpa.  Look at all the fun things he did!

Playing on the beach!

Visiting the petting zoo.

Telling Grandma about the "doggies" (he thinks goats are dogs).

Going for a walk at Kensington.

Out for breakfast (with an entire pancake shoved in his mouth),
I love that Cal has such a good time with his grandparents.  He gets a huge smile on his face when we pull into the driveway. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

In the craziness that was the end of my school year (packing up my classroom for a building move for the third year in a row), I totally forgot to share one of our June adventures: Cal's First Tiger's Game!

Cal's Tiger's clothes from last year no longer fit, so I wanted to buy him something new.  Billy and I actually went to the game with my work the Friday before and I looked in every shop trying to find something.  There were no classic options for toddlers!  Everything had a cartoon tiger or Mickey Mouse.  I ended up buying a shirt from Meijer - and then forgot it at home.  Oh well.  At least we had good seats: three rows behind the visitor's dugout. 

Cal enjoyed a ride on the carosel with Daddy and the ferris wheel with Mommy.  He was content to stand and people watch until about the 8th inning when he decided he had enough and curled up in Daddy's lap.  It was a good night.

He was a little unsure about the whole thing.

He loved the Cracker Jacks!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Staycation, Part Six

Our final adventure took us to... our backyard!  We had initially planned on using our time off to work on some home projects, but scrapped most of them in favor of enjoying time with our guests.  We were able to squeeze one project in though: our new (to us) swing set.

My sister has become obsessed with Freecycle and has found some treasures for Cal.  One of them was a woodern swing set.  It had definitely seen better days, but comparable new ones were going for more than a thousand dollars!  All this one cost was the hour and a half it took us to disassemble and move it.

We still need to buy a new slide and install a replacement board as well as stain the whole shebang, but we got the ball rolling by prepping the base for the structure.  Billy and I, along with David, marked out the area with spray paint then used shovels to level the area before laying down some landscape paper.  After a few discussions, we chose pea gravel as our base and called up a local landscape company to arrange delivery .  I was super pleased with their driver, who neatly backed his truck through our back gate and dumped the load perfectly in the middle of the area we prepared.  All that was needed was a little spreading.

Cal watching Daddy.

Child Labor
Of course, shoveling gravel on a 95 degree day is tough work, so a little cooling down was in order.  We broke out the sprinkler Cal had received for Easter and he and David had a blast.

Hopefully we will have a chance to tackle the rest of the project soon!

Why pea gravel?

  • My mom (a former elementary school teacher) told us that her school preferred gravel because sand attracted animals (giant litterbox) and wood chips attracted bugs.
  • Gravel does not freeze or get muddy when it rains.
  • Young House Love recently built a "rockbox" and has some great reasons on why it was better than sand.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Staycation, Part Five

Our next stop on our Staycation: 2012 adventures was an outing to the Detroit Zoo.

One of David's requests for his visit was a trip to the zoo.  He has grand designs for opening up his own zoo one day and wanted to do some research.  He exhausted the battery on his DSi quickly taking pictures of not only the animals,but their habitats and the informational signs.  I spent much of the day being directed to take specific pictures for him.  I think I might make a photo book as a reminder of his trip.

We started our tour off with the penguinarium, aviary and butterfly garden.  Then we made a pit stop at the playground - it was the best choice ever!  Cal had a blast running around and going down the slides, and was content to rest in the stroller for the rest of our trip.

We strolled through the zoo, checking out exhibits until we got the the Arctic Ring of Life.  Cal loved the viewing windows and tunnels, plus it has the benefit of being cool, which was nice on a warm day!  We ran into some friends and their son there too!

After visiting the polar bears, we took a walk through the Outback exhibit - and by through I mean literally right through the enclosure.  It is pretty neat!  Most of the kangaroos were napping in the heat, but I hear that one of them is quite friendly and often gets pretty close to people.

We then headed over the the giraffes, as we were lucky enough to score a ticket for David to get to feed the giraffe! It was pretty neat to be so close!  We also got up close and personal with one of the zoos wandering peacocks while we waited in line.

After our feeding appointment, we leisurely wandered back to the front, visiting the rest of the animals as we went.  We had a great time and a zoo membership is officially on our Christmas list for this year!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Staycation, Part Four

In addition to Billy's grandmother being in town, we were also blessed with a visit from my oldest friend Kathryn and her daughter Caroline.  We have been lucky to see them about every 6 months, no small feat when you consider they live in North Carolina! 

The last few times we have gotten the kids together, three months older Caroline has completely dominated Cal! 

The last time they saw each other.  Cal looks defeated.
Luckily they are much more compatible in activity levels now!  We started with a little play date at the house, but Caroline was a little afraid of Billy, and Cal was not doing a good job with sharing his toys, so we decided to hit up a park.  I have mentioned some of my favorite local places before, but in keeping with our staycation theme of appreciating local adventures, we decided to try a new park: the Paradise Peninsula playscape at Waterford Oaks County Park.

Photo Credit
Like our other local playgrounds, this one is designed to be accessible to kids of all abilities.  The ramps also mean that it is very easy for a toddler (and the parent chasing them) to navigate.  Cal and Caroline enjoyed the slides and log cabin, and even tried to steal some poor kid's Jeep (but seriously - who brings a Power Wheel to a playground?). I tried to snap a few pictures, but they were often running in separate directions.  It turns out that chasing toddlers is not very conducive to catching up, but luckily Kathryn and I were able to catch up over drinks after bedtime the next evening.

Cal being a bossy passenger.

The only picture where they are both sort of looking at the camera.

Caroline in the cabin

Running away from Mommy.
We were sad to see them go, but are looking forward to their next visit in November - perfectly timed for Cal's second birthday and the birth of my new niece or nephew!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Staycation, Part Three

No rest for the weary!  After a few days sans guests (they stayed with the in-laws while Billy studied for and aced a test and I learned about teaching a cyber class, worked and re-certified my lifeguarding credentials), we were right back at it on Monday morning!  This time we decided to hit up Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford for a little history and cars.  It was a perfect day for walking around- sunny and low 70s.  After a little research, we figured out that if we wanted to go to both the village and the museum with 4 adults and 2 kids, it was actually cheaper to purchase a membership.  Billy and I are now proud supporters with a Companion Flex membership, which allows us to take two guests with us each time (anyone want to go?).
Billy and his grandma

The boys in front of an old tractor
An attempt at a family photo...

We wandered around the village, checking out the buildings and demonstrations for a few hours (and grabbing lunch - including Faygo in old-timey glass bottles!) before heading over to the museum.  Cal fell asleep in the stroller, but only slept for about 30 minutes before mommy accidently woke him up by trying to recline the stroller.  My bad.  Luckily the museum had a lot to hold his attention.  Obviously he loved the cars, and the planes (something he has just started to notice).

The musuem also had a few great hands-on exhibits, like these train tables.

(to the staff at the Henry Ford:  we are very sorry about the piece of Duplo train on the tracks underneath the passenger car display.  Cal likes to throw things.  We thought it was better to leave it there than climb the barrier and retrieve it ourselves.)

We were on our way out when we stumbled on the interactive garage.  This alone is worth the price of admission for Callahan.  You can change the tires, work under the hood and crawl under the car.  He was in heaven. 

We plan on using our membership often.  Billy is super excited - he even mentioned that he would like to volunteer there in the future!