HADLEY, PIPER, and BRYNDEL

Sisters, friends, blessed.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

'Fairy Land' Park

We discovered (thanks to a little tip) a new park this morning.  It was described as a little fairy land, and as you will see from the pictures the description did not disappoint! It was rich with summer green, dragonflies, frogs, warmth, wooden bridges, willows, winding creeks, rocky paths, waterfalls, and adventure.  We will return soon with a picnic, my good camera, and a lot of bug spray.
Moments after this picture was taken, a large frog hopped out of the water and right up toward the girls.  Piper jumped and Hadley just got all the closer. Prior to the large frog, Hadley actually found this one herself...




























  

















Hadley wanted to love on her little sister, but Piper was not up for it.

















That is Piper's  (3rd and final) attempt to smile for the camera.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Como Zoo

We chose a day filled with sunshine (and heat!) to visit Como Zoo yesterday.  It is the third summer in a row that we've gone, and it was certainly the best year as both girls were fully able to enjoy it all. 
Hard to believe that Piper was just a baby last year when we did this. 

















Cotton Candy, can you believe it?  Hadley had her first taste last summer, and still loved it, but Piper did not care for it at all (much to her dad's delight)!
















We tried a train ride this summer, and while Hadley smiled and waved the whole time, Piper hardly cracked a smile.  That's pretty much what she looked like the entire ride.















The butterfly house was a hit again this year.  Hadley was especially amazed by the colors and sizes of all the fluttering bugs, but really really wanted one to land on her. 

















We finished up the day in, my personal favorite, the Conservatory.  The girls were just tickled by the fish swimming in the little lily pad pond.















It was a great family adventure, and another absolutely perfect summer day. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sydney

The girls are blessed with a dozen cousins ~ 3+ in MN, 5 in WI, and 4 in AK ~ and love each and every one of them.  We were lucky enough to have 10 year old Sydney join us for three days this week!  Sydney is very special to me; in a lot of ways she is kind of like my first 'real' niece.  Kyle & I were engaged just two days after she was born, and it has been fun to mark the length of our relationship by her age and growing height.  She is a delightful girl, patient with both Hadley's questions and Piper's whines, quick to laugh, and very creative. 
We hit our favorite local animal park with Sydney.


















And got pretty friendly with the white tiger!
















Hadley was thrilled to have Sydney to run (and jump) through the fountains at the park.















Piper and I chose to stay dry, but thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment.

















Hadley & Sydney were pleased to learn that the other enjoyed painting as much as they did.  They could have painted the afternoon away if we hadn't convinced them that the Golf Club pool was calling our name.







We capped off the evening with smore's by the campfire.


















We finished out the visit with a quick trip down to the Farmer's Market this morning before we had to hand her back over to her parents.  We could have kept for her for a loooooong time :).  Love you, Sydney!  Thanks for coming!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rug Burn Theology

Kyle is just a big kid in a very tall man's body.  Anyone who knows him, knows that.  The girls and I set up a makeshift bowling game the other day complete with My Little Ponies, baby bottles, and plastic fish.  It was a fun game, but Kyle came home last night with an improved version.  Giant hard foam rolls that have been overused at his office for neck/back exercises and no longer serve their purpose.  While bowling proved to be a little challenging with just a bouncy ball full of air (wonder how he'll improve that?), he did come up with a few other fun ideas with the foam rolls.  One of which proved to be a winner; that is until he tried it himself.  We lined up all 8 rolls and used them as a conveyor belt type slide while pulling the girls across on their tummies.  They loved it, but Kyle wanted a piece of the action too.  He dove head first into them, and while he did roll for nearly the length of the playroom, he got huge rug burns on both elbows!

Just a short time later it was time to get ready for bed, and we were all in the bathroom brushing teeth.  Looking carefully at Kyle's now bleeding and seeping elbows, Hadley asked very seriously, "Can you see Jesus now, Daddy?" 

It took Kyle & me a moment to process what she had just asked before we started laughing so hard we could hardly see one another.  A few weeks back, Hadley started asking the big questions about Jesus again...where He lives, how we know He's here if we can't see Him, etc.  Our anwer has always been some version of 'He's ALL around us, but also inside of us too.' 

So, if your following this theological conversation through the mind of a 3.5 year old... if you have open bleeding seeping sores on your elbows, might you be able to see Jesus in there then? 

Monday, July 19, 2010

2010 Graham Family Vacation

Beginning when I was 8 years old, my parents began taking us on a summer vacation every year.  We hit the Black Hills that first summer and laughed really hard at Nathan, who was only 3, when we arrived at the Bad Lands.  He looked around very confused, and asked where all the "Bad lambs" were?  We have been laughing and vacationing together ever since.  Some years we stayed close to home and enjoyed a cabin in Northern Minnesota, other years we ventured down to Florida, or Arizona, or even the Bahamas.  Regardless of location, we laughed until we cried and became even closer over that week. 

We actually took Kyle on one of those vacations the summer we were engaged, but have since taken to vacationing right at my parent's lovely lake home each summer instead.  Its like a resort in every sense of the word, except that it is home too.  Lots of crazy competitions have arisen over the years and have included: water volleyball, pfeffer tournaments in the pool (with waterproof cards of course), coming up with the best 'on a stick' food (we brought apple crisp on a stick that year), cherry pit spitting, jumping backwards (you should try it, its hilarious), leg wrestling (one of the only things that having long legs backfires on Kyle, hehe), being pregnant in a swimsuit (this is the 6th vacation in a row that one of us has been pregnant... Heidi did a dang fine job of it this time), and this year Mike challenged us to make up a Top 10 list to make everyone laugh around the campfire.   

This year was no different.  I left feeling utterly and completely blessed by my family.  My original 5 person family, my every day 4 person family, and my new and ever growing 13+ person family.  Here are just a few highlights of the 2010 Graham Family Vacation...














Celebrating Jeremiah's 3rd birthday!  Piper's infamous words were spoken very loudly and repeatedly until her demands were met, "I need a pa-late!!!"
The kids were thrilled that both sets of great-grandparents attended the party that night as well.  Piper just loved all of the attention those great-grandmas were giving her.
Saturday dawned 90 degrees hot and humid.  We hit the pool early.  (Man I hope I look like my mom in 20 years!)








Hadley was even adventurous enough to try out snorkeling with Grandpa!



















Followed by the lake, all before lunch!  This was the 1st time we have all been out on the lake together... My parents are now the proud owners of an incredible pontoon! We all feel incredibly lucky being able to use it.

Hadley was even brave enough to come swim out in the deep water with me!

















Hadley was quick to request her fishing fix that evening.  Grandpa happily obliged.
We finished out the weekend with a professional family photo shoot (hopefully I'll be able to post some of those soon), their very first squirt guns (bribes for the photos - nice work, Mom!), and lots more cousin love.
I think Piper's face says it all in that last picture.  JOY.  Love you all!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Toads

After an eventful, fun filled weekend visiting the fair (rides, animals, and cheese curds included) and a picnic at our house with some of our closest friends, the girls were thrilled to realize that last night's rain left behind FIVE toads in our window well!  I 'claimed' that I was not big enough to get down in the well and make it back out with the toads...Thankfully, Kyle was more than willing to oblige when he arrived home tonight.  They could not have had more fun!










































Hadley became quite the little handler, two fisting it much of the time. Pipey thought they were hilarious to hold but couldn't quite pick them up without Hadley's help... It was funny to watch the role reversal happen so quickly; suddenly it was Piper hollering out demands and Hadley jumping right to it!




Piper also got very daring and decided she needed to do the monkey rings like her big sister...Thankfully Kyle was there to catch her every time!



















Monday, July 5, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tyler

We were extra lucky, and got to have Tyler's last day in the midwest spent with us! The girls had a blast with him, and he & Kyle spent most of the evening laughing it up together. While he was here, Kyle & Hadley took him out to our land, and Hadley made sure to lead him to some berries (she held his hand nearly the whole time they were out there!).













So, I'd venture a guess that if Kyle had a son, he just might look like this :)


















Hadley got Tyler to try out the slide and even squeeze his tall body into their teeny playhouse. He was such a great sport, and the girls just ate it up!

















Piper warmed to Tyler as well, and really got into sliding. She bumped into Hadley at the bottom once, and thought it was hilarious. I am talking to her about 'pummeling' Hadley in the following video, apparently it was still funny.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Black Cap Raspberries

Thursday morning, as I've probably mentioned before, is the best morning of the week; hands down. Kyle has that morning off, and we usually find something out of the ordinary or special to do as a family. This morning was no exception, as we ventured out to our land and picked as many black cap raspberries as we could get our hands on!
Hadley was quite the little berry picker, and filled her bucket several times. However, I don't think she contributed a single berry to the ones we brought home... guess she is a good eater as well!

Piper was thankfully content to ride
along in the stroller. That is, as long as I kept her little bowl laden with berries! Look at that face!
















Where is Mom? I was carrying the berries up that steep hill, while Kyle was being the superhero dad carrying the real precious cargo!















And this is what it looks like after having eaten hundreds of black cap raspberries...