Blog Archives for tag Grauntie Rose

Len Christmas in July, Year 3

This year our celebration was at Rose & Jim’s cottage on Houghton Lake. The weather started out a bit sketchy—chilly and windy—but within an hour it was absolutely gorgeous! It was a perfect day with lots of delicious food, fun watching the kids, a fun gift exchange, and conversation!

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I’m only posting this picture because it’s the first “in the wild” picture of me that’s been taken and…I had ZERO idea who it was when I first saw it!

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Hitting a box of $5 garage sale golf balls into the canal—well, trying to get them across the canal onto the island but not many made it there. :)

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This happened quite a bit!

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Katie wanted to fish…but only for about 32 seconds at a time and then she was off doing something else.

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Alex caught the first fish!

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Feeding the ducks off the back of the pontoon!

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Going out to hunt for turtles for turtle races!

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Apparently the tradition is to kiss the first fish you catch… What a sport!

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At first, Katie wanted nothing to do with the boat—she didn’t even want someone to set her on the boat! But after the second trip she was jumping onto the boat herself and loving every minute of it! Owen loved it, too!

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They caught a previously-caught-and-tagged turtle—no one here is C.B. :)

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Owen said fishing was boring—we told him yes, it was. He’s used to fishing at the Fish Hatchery where the fish pretty much jump in your bucket. :)

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Aubrey tagged her turtle!

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I lined the kids up for their annual shot and didn’t even realize until afterward—when Aubrey pointed it out—that I did it wrong! She told me “I’m older than Owen!” And I agreed with her and then realized they had been in the wrong order!

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Nick is 12, Owen is 7. Nick had the slight edge on Owen last summer and it looks very similar again this year…though I think Owen gained a very tiny bit on him. We didn’t set them on flat ground so we can’t be 100% sure.

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In the right order! Katie (4), Owen (7), Aubrey (8), Gracie (10), and Nick (12).

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All of the cousins: Jessica (an upcoming senior), Alex (an upcoming freshman), then Nick, Gracie, Aubrey, Owen, and Katie.

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Maggie was FASCINATED with the turtles!

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Marge gifted all us girls with one of her ostrich eggs!

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Turtle races!

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Trying to scoop up the golf balls that rolled in the canal!

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It was exciting for everyone when Greg caught this huge dogfish! (Katie is still talking about it days later!)

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We celebrated Katie’s birthday a day early!

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And Aubrey’s two days early!

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Uncle Timmy diving for turtles!!

The second run of turtle races (after they went out on the boat to get more turtles)!

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Owen’s turtle winning the second race!

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And a Then & Now throwback picture:

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Len Christmas in July, Year 2

This year the party was at my mom’s house! Katie “helped” with the party prep!

Katie loved her Anna dress from Grauntie Rose!

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The cousins being silly!

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If there’s water, the kids will come.

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Bubble wands at the ready!

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The annual by-age lineup: Katie (3), Owen (6), Aubrey (7), Gracie (9), and Nick (11). You’ll see a direct Owen/Nick comparison tomorrow. :)

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Everyone always complains but I think they secretly enjoy the family photo! :)

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Our little Santas.

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Owen was GIDDY with the bazooka Grauntie Rose got him! It’s almost like she knows him exactly like I do. :p

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Katie LOVES her Frozen magic music wand from Grauntie Marilyn.

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No snow? Grass angels!

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Ice cream face!

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Overall it was a great day—the kids all had a blast together, the food was abundant and delicious, and everyone had fun relaxing and playing games. I think it was the right decision to move our Christmas to the middle of summer!

Len Christmas in July

The family decided to have Christmas in July this year and the Besons hosted. It was a GORGEOUS Michigan summer day on the river spent with our AMAZING family! Timmy supplied about 32 different types of brats (okay, maybe only about 12) and we stuffed ourselves silly on them plus all the other good food everyone brought. A good time was had by all and I think we may officially be moving our holiday celebration to the summer from now on!

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Owen was a bit shy at first, so he and Katie were both in Nick’s room playing by themselves.

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Katie loved the boat. LOVED. LOVED!! She would have sat out there all day if we let her and kept wanting to go back.

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Finally Owen wanted to play!

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Owen is six months younger than Aubrey. I know, right?

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Cousins Katie 2, Owen 5, Aubrey 6, Gracie 8, Nick 10, Alex 12, and Jess 15. We never actually got Owen back-to-back with Nick, but I think they were within a fraction of an inch of each other (with a five-year age difference). And Katie seems to be pretty close to Aubrey, who is four years older. I guess we really DO grow them big. :)

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Last year:

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Lisa B. made these AWESOME ladybug cupcakes for Katie’s birthday.

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And these for Greg’s birthday. (I missed a pic of the ones for Aubrey’s birthday, but they were Frozen-themed.)

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We did pretty good keeping track of Katie all day (when there’s so many people around, there’s always someone half watching) and then we failed right at the end. People were running around cleaning up and putting things away…and before I know it, Tom is carrying Katie back from the front yard. Apparently Katie was wandering down the driveway and Greg caught her and brought her back. Phew.

And before we knew it, it was time to head out. Katie didn’t make it to the end of the road before she fell asleep, and Owen lasted about 15 minutes.

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And still more gifts…

There was such an over abundance of gifts this year that we opened some on four separate days…and today we finished them.

Owen got Tinkertoys from Grauntie Rose and Uncle Jim. (I miss the wooden toys of yesteryear, but these are cool, too.)

>>> Tinkertoy Transit Building Set

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He had to open them right away!

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Charlie liked the box!

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First we built a windmill (one of the patterns given—I’m not that smart):

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Then we tore apart the windmill to build the train. Gramma was impressed with how quickly I put it together…but I’ve had practice with Legos and this was far fewer pieces! Then I left Owen to his own imagination and he built this spachship:

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Then he opened his Lego book from Doug and Marie: “OH. MY. HEAVENS.” :)
>>> LEGO Minifigure Year by Year: A Visual History

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More morning toy fun

She loves to play with this game of Owen’s—it’s a bunch of letters that look like cookies!
>>> ABC Cookies

We have since moved the contents to a screw-top container! :)

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The light sabers got him!

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She’s liking her pony a bit more now!

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Just a little confused as to how to correctly sit on it. :)

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New bath toys from Grauntie Rose!
>>> Sassy Soft Swimmers Animal Characters Bath Toy, 3 Pack

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Great Wolf Lodge, Day 1

I had been planning on heading to Great Wolf Lodge when Tom returned from Afghanistan…but he suggested we go beforehand. So he took two days off work and we headed up this morning. I had the brilliant (if I do say so myself) idea of taking our babysitter, Virginia, along for an extra pair of hands and eyes…and as it turned out, it was completely AMAZING—it was great being able to pay more attention to Owen (who will remember it) and be able to take tons of pictures (though Virginia is in most of the pics with Katie!). But seriously, Virginia was awesome with Katie the whole time—even when we weren’t actually at the water park.

So without further ado, the pictures.

Proof we were actually here, LOL—though this picture was taken as we were checking out. :)

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We splurged and got a Kid Cabin suite—complete with log cabin bunk beds and a day bed (and their own TV which we never even used). Owen was excited about his own room/bed and testing out the bunk bed steps. He didn’t make it to the top because he was too scared. :)

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The view of the outdoor pool area from our third-floor balcony.

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Katie was (of course) intrigued by the new annoying band on her ankle.

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Sneaking one of my fries. Tom ran to get us Chick-Fil-A while we got settled and into suits. We figured we’d be eating at the hotel enough (and spending enough money on overpriced food) that fast food was acceptable for our first lunch.

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Waiting in her 2T suit. We had brought her 12m suit (that Grauntie Rose got her for her birthday) and I actually put it on her but it was really too tight.

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Ready to go with Miss Virginia!

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She SEEMS to be interested in the bubblers, but unfortunately it only lasted about seven seconds (if that). She just wanted to MOVE. This is where Virginia came in really handy.

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Owen liked them quite a bit, however.

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Of course, she was more entranced with the hole that had no water coming out of it…

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This is how Owen watched the 1,000-gallon dump bucket—far away from the action on the sidelines…

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…in the bubblers. :)

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One of the few things Katie could reach and was semi interested in.

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Miss Virginia on constant vigil—keeping Katie’s face out of the water as she tried to drink it.

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FEETS!

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This is where she liked to crawl.

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Making sure I actually get in a photo!

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She LOVED the lazy river (Owen hates it with a passion—he has some strange fear about inner tubes).

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The outside frog slide that he loved!

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Just hanging out. I cropped the pic so he appears closer than he really was. He was pretty far out. I love that he’s old enough we can let him do that and not worry or freak out.

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It was about this time that Tom and I decided to splurge on drinks from the bar…since it was right there and all…and it was HOT outside. Yeah, we only had one drink because while they were certainly tasty, they were NOT worth the price. But, as a bonus, while we were standing there waiting for the drinks and Tom was holding Katie, she peed on him. (She had a swim diaper on, but they can only hold so much.) :)

I then had Virginia take a family shot—and she only took three and one of them came out really well!

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This is how Katie crawled most of the time—her knees were sore (yours would be, too, if you were crawling on cement!) so she would kind of drag one leg while actually putting the other foot down (if you look closely you can see the foot prints on the right side).

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Owen having fun in the pool with the water toys.

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Virginia spent a lot of time walking Katie around. Again, brilliant idea.

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Owen on his favorite indoor slides. It was terribly hard to get good pictures of this due to timing and the new camera that I wasn’t totally familiar with the best settings to get the best shot. So lots of the future shots might look a little off. I did the best I could. :)

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The other area Katie liked—the waterfall station (well, it was more like a sheet of water). It was somewhat interactive because the water did crazy things when you stuck your hand in it.

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Tired boy…and we had only been there 2.5 hours at that point!

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Climbing in the ropes with dad. They headed to the top to attempt the waterslide…but once Owen got to the top he said NO WAY (even though the one he went on in Kalkaska was about the same).

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Back at the room for dinner. This is where Katie loved to crawl.

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Miss Virginia taking a break.

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Owen and daddy taking a break.

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Virginia stayed in the room with Katie while I took my real (i.e. non-waterproof camera) down to try and get some better pictures of Owen.

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Owen liked the sheet of water, too.

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This is him doing his robot through the falls.

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Back up at the room on the balcony with Virginia and Katie. Katie liked to push the furniture around and stick her feet out the slats.

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Completely THRILLED that she got the remote and we didn’t take it away from her!

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Owen in his own bed!

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Katie had only slept about an hour in the car and then didn’t get an afternoon nap at all…so we were hoping it would help her fall asleep quickly. And it did…she only screeched for about four minutes before she was out cold. I’m sure Owen wasn’t too far behind, and Virginia even put away her laptop and went to bed about 9:20. Tom and I turned our phones off about 10:30 as we were exhausted, too. However, I didn’t have a great night’s sleep…I tossed and turned and it felt like I had slept a loooong time but when I looked at the clock it was 1am. Ugh. The cycling of the A/C pretty much kept me up/woke me up—when it was running, it was COLD and you needed to be under the covers…and when it was off, it was WARM and you didn’t want the covers on. Plus my back hurt (as usual) from the car ride and what carrying of Katie I did (though Virginia did most of it). Plus it was only a Queen bed. So I knew I’d be exhausted the next morning…

Happy Early Birthday, Katie!

Her second first birthday onesie!

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Her birthday balloon and bib at the hotel for her party!

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Making faces with Papa.

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Amazingly, she didn’t dive into the cake.

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Singing Happy Birthday and big brother helping blow out the candle! (Yes, it’s a little blurry. I have a FAIL every now and again.)

Also amazingly, she didn’t make much of a mess. Yes, SHE got messy, but she ate the whole piece and none hit the floor!

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Her new suit and coverup from Grauntie Rose!

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Up and out completely on her own!

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She would have dove in had Tom let her.

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It was impossible to get all three looking at me at the same time.

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She kept trying to drink the water!

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She loved playing with Papa’s toes!

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Drying off with Grandma Marsha.

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Waiting to open presents!

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A fun game Katie had with some grandparents…

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Family Reunion

Since we typically miss the Christmas get-together, we got everyone together for dinner in Bay City!

Owen did okay getting back in the car again but Katie was. not. thrilled. and let us know. :( However, during one moment in which Katie was momentarily quiet, we heard Owen pope up: “Good job, Katie. You’re being patient.” :)

Everyone adored Katie and most of them said she was a mini Jenny (we still don’t see it).

A birthday balloon for Katie from Grauntie Rose:

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On the move…

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Rocks taste good:

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First beer!

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Owen LOVED playing with Jessica and Alex…but obviously liked Jess just a little more!

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With cousin Aubrey, who is six months older—can you believe it?

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The gaggle of young cousins:

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Nick (almost 9), Gracie (almost 7), Aubrey (almost 5), and Owen (4).

And the same group two years ago (April 2011). Nick (almost 7), Gracie (almost 5), Aubrey (almost 3), and Owen (just turned 2). Owen outweighs Aubrey by at least 12# and is about 5# less than the 5yo.

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An attempt at a family photo:

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Timmy did the grilling!

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With Aunt Lori:

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And Gramma Jean:

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The whole family (minus Greg, Aunt Sue, and Uncle Marv…plus friends Chris and Pete):

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Katie in a fancy dress… Lisa brought a few bins of 3T clothes for me to sort through for Katie—a bunch of which were winter clothes and fancy dresses (which we don’t need) but this dress was SO cute I had to put her in it just for a few pictures. She loved it!

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Owen had SOOO much fun he didn’t want to leave, but we had to drive back to Grayling… The big test was to see how the kids did sleeping in the car and being taken directly into bed…which they both passed with flying colors!

Grauntie Rose meets Katie

BUBBLES!!!

The Gazillion Bubble Machine is a HUGE hit!! Thanks for Owen’s birthday money, Aunt Rose!

Owen vs. The Sprinkler

Aunt Rose bought him this cool water toy awhile back, but we left it in the package so it would be a special treat once we moved. Well, he keeps seeing it and getting super excited..so we finally got it out…and it kinda freaked him out. :) He wasn’t too sure what to think of it…and he’s still not sure but he did have some fun with it.

New toys!

Aunt (Grandma? Grauntie?) Rose sent Owen a new outfit and some toys—which he just loves! He LOVES the the “mp3 player” and gets so ferocious with the spinny toy that it never stays suctioned for long!

THANK YOU!

(This video is a combination of three separate videos.)

Family Visit

Our agent had plans with other clients, so we took the opportunity to have my mom and David come down for the day. My aunt Rose also decided to join them (since they would practically be passing right by her house!).

It was a crappy, rainy day…but we had a good time visiting! Mom brought homemade chicken noodle soup for lunch and that was delicious! Aunt Rose brought homemade pickles for us to share with Lori and Steven (they were actually out of town for the day) so that was a special treat! Mom also brought homemade spaghetti sauce for dinner, but we opted to go out instead (mmmmm, we highly recommend Victoria’s Delights in Oxford!).

It was a nice break from house-hunting, that’s for sure!