Sisters, friends, blessed.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Alaska Cousins

We got to spend this past weekend with ALL of Kyle's family!  Kyle's brother, Kurt & family, from Alaska were down in the midwest for a little vacationing (with the exception of their eldest, Brent, who was hard at work back home - we missed you Brent!).  That meant 10 of the 11 cousins, ranging in age from 20 on down to Piper at almost 3, were together!  Lots of good laughs, good games, good food, and good times were had by all. Much has changed since the last time we were all together -Piper was just a baby (3 months old), Brent & Paige were still in high school, and a few nameless souls were still under the age of 40...{I apologize in advance for the sheer number of photos that follow, it was just too much fun!}

For starters, let's see just how many Andersons we can squeeze on a single ATV?  Just a wee bit redneck?

The (younger) girl cousins after having fed the sheep with Uncle Scott - Piper almost 3, Sydney 11, Ava 5, Kennedy 11, & Hadley 4.5

Checking in on those little chicks up at Uncle Kraig's that we saw over Memorial Day.

We spent all of Sunday over in Hayward taking in the best outdoor tourist sights.  First stop: Wilderness Walk (which the girls loved last year on our family vacation!).

Cole 15, Hayden 13.5, Ava, Tyler 17.5, & Hadley {Note the calculated position of Ava & Hadley... anywhere near Tyler! More on that later...}

Ava & Hadley (or Sydney, below) didn't seem to mind the little fawn nibbling on them, but Piper was not too keen on it.

We were a little unsure how Pipey would do without a stroller, but with SO many aunties, uncles, & cousins who wanted to hold her hand or even carry her she did great.

Getting some Auntie Anne love.

My sister-in-laws; how lucky am I!  WI Anne, Alaska Anne, Me, Kara, & Kim

Some Uncle Nate (Kyle's 'little' brother) love too!

Even some Auntie Bev love (Jim's sister from out West)!

Next stop: the Taffy & Fudge shop!  Where the girls got in a little snuggle with Grandma A.

Followed by: the Homemade Ice Cream Shop, oh my!

And the final stop: the Go-Karts!  Piper wanted to drive with 'careful' Auntie Kara, and not one of her 'crazy' older boy cousins.

Hadley chose 'our' Paige.

You can see Paige & Hadley in the rear, Kara & Piper just in front of them, Kyle up front leading the pack, but Bev trying to sneak by on the inside!

WOW!  What a crew!  That's Nathan in the upper left corner, followed by Kraig's family, Kurt's family, Jim & Carolyn, Kyle's family, Kim's family, and Kara's family (with Brent, we'd be a perfect double dozen). 

While it was short and very busy, the time spent together with everyone was such a blessing.  The laughter, hugs, and love the girls got from so many cousins will bless them the whole summer long.  Love you guys!

Since my mother-in-law doesn't really use a computer and therefore read this blog, I can kind of sneak this one in here... wouldn't this be an excellent 'gag' Christmas photo when I print them up for her?  Hehe. 


Fan Club, Posse, Back-up Singers, Groupies, or Roadies.  Any of which would suit Hadley & Ava's behavior over the weekend.  Wherever Tyler was, the two of them were as well!  (You can probably see why they like him so much.)  He was uber patient and sweet to them, and patient with all of us Aunts who kept taking pictures of the three of them too! Without further ado, here is Tyler and his ladies...

Now if only we could convince him to come to WI for college next year...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011

We left it up to Kyle as to how to spend Father's Day this year, and he chose to take us fishing!  We picked up a small used aluminum boat last fall, and finally got to take it out on its maiden voyage this morning.  I expected to do my share or more (it is Father's Day after all) of rowing, but Kyle gave me one of his sparkly grins this morning as he pulled out a brand new trolling motor and said, "Happy Father's Day to me."  And while we caught not a single fish, we had a great time out on the water together.  We picnicked on the boat, had some good laughs, found a little sand for the girls to play in, and surprisingly no one fell in!  Not even Piper, who rode home wearing very little clothing as most of hers were soaked...

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Before there was Piper, before there was Hadley, and even before there was Benelli, there were hostas.  While I was patiently (or not so patiently at times) waiting for God to help me start my journey as a mother, nothing seemed to ease my tension, soothe my spirit, or feed my soul like digging in the dirt. 

During the summer of 2002, Kyle and I began dreaming of a life after graduate & chiropractic school, and we somehow felt pulled to Wisconsin to begin that next step.  We were driving through the area looking for potential office buildings and homes with Kyle's mom & sister, Kara, when we spotted a sign for hostas.  At the time, I had not a single gardening bone in my body, but was utterly amazed at the endless and exquisite variety of green before my eyes.  Mark was his name, and expertly growing hostas was his game.  And by that I mean he had some 300+ different varieties in his own residential backyard. 

We bought our first house the next year (2003) and with my heart tense and my thumbs twiddling due to the 'hold' on motherhood, I ventured on over to Mark's backyard the summer of 2004.  You could say the rest is history.  My hosta collection has grown to over 150+ different varities, my understanding of gardening has slowly increased, my loooooove for gardening has exponentially increased, and Mark has become more than just the 'hosta guy.' He is now a trusted and wonderful friend.  Crazy enough, we now live just blocks from him and he is one of the girls' favorite visitors!  He stopped by just the other day to drop off one of his latest hostas, and by this I mean one of the hostas he has bred himself.  He called it 'Hadley and Piper'. 

Hostas mean a lot to me.  They are faithful, even after a long WI winter.  They are hardy, even during a dry WI summer.  They are tolerant, even as they now play second fiddle to the busy busy children joyfully running haphazardly through our yard.  And every time I look at them poking out of the brown earth in the early spring, I am reminded that God is patient, and God is faithful, and hardy, and tolerant.  And I am so thankful that He was all of those things even when I couldn't be. 
The east side of our house, this April.

This May.

This June.  God is good, huh.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Girl Vacation

While Kyle was up in Canada fishing this past week, the girls and I headed south to Grandma's lake home and filled our week with fun 'girly' activities. 
Hadley practically sprang from her carseat into Grandma's arms and outside to go exploring.

As you can probably tell from Piper's body language, she was not quite convinced that she could touch the water like Hadley and NOT fall in. 

While the next part of the girly weekend was probably the highlight, I have not a single picture of it!  My mom hired a friend to come out and snap pictures of the first and hopefully not the last, 'Generational Wedding Dress Extravaganza!'  Seriously.  If you count the flower girl dresses, there were 5 generations of wedding gowns at the party, with most of us actually attempting to squeeze into our dresses for the pictures!  Stay tuned for some hilarious photos!

We awoke to the perfect puddle jumping weather the following morning, and the girls definitely took advantage of it.

I could never grow tired of listening to them laugh at one another :)

Yes.  Hadley is still jumping, even as she holds Grandma's hand.

Skipping on home.

We got some Auntie Heidi & Kenzie love in later that day too.  As you can see, they were still enamored with Kenzie and really enjoyed their chance to try and feed her too.  Hadley did well, but Piper would stick the spoon into her mouth, and then just take her hand away and leave it hanging.

The next morning we met up with Mike & Family to play at the park and picnic together.  It was a lovely morning to be out with cousins! 

Savannah 1.5, Piper 2.75, Jeremiah 3.75, Hadley 4.5, and Brooklyn 5.5

And while the air temperature never really got warm enough for a swim, Grandma happened to punch up the heat just a little (92 degrees!) so that we could enjoy the pool before our girl vacation came to an end.  And did we ever!

Thanks for a truly awesome girl vacation, Grandma, we love you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Kyle is a dreamer, and a big one at that.  He's one of those guys who does nothing halfway either (I think my mom is married to one of those guys).  So I should not have been surprised when we pulled up to our land and I saw the incredible size of the garden he invisioned for us to experiment with this summer.  Keep in mind we have a very nice, and appropriately sized I might add, vegetable garden right in our own backyard filled with the start of cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, and herbs.  But compared to this tilled piece of dirt out at the land, our backyard garden looked like an ant hill.  Thanks to Kyle's new (1960's old) tractor, roughing up the dirt was no problem.

But the actual planting took a wee bit more time and energy.  Despite the 85 degree temperatures, we dressed a little on the warm/covered side to ward off unwanted ticks.  The girls were great helpers though, and when they weren't helping to plant or water they were off exploring or playing in Kyle's truck bed happily together.

When the sun finally started setting, it brought a most welcome reprieve from the heat, but along with that came the nasty mosquitos!

Apparently Piper's clothes were thirsty too?

Ah yes, this is not the happiest picture of me to date (that is a plastered on fake smile).  The size of this giant garden, you might ask, is a whopping 8 feet by 100 YARDS.  Not 100 feet, but 100 YARDS. Uh huh.  Dreamer.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Splashy Weekend

In an effort to stay cool this weekend, we spent a lot of time splashing in water.  It all began with the slip n' slide on Friday night.  We were all having a rousing good time cooling off, when much to the girls' dismay the slip n' slide suddenly popped.  Without another word, we threw on cover-ups and went straight out to buy another $9 dollar slide.  While out we also spied an equally inexpensive plastic pool, that just seemed to be calling our name. While the pool was filling with freezing cold hose water, back to sliding we went...
Concentrating on getting just the right amount of speed.

Pure joy!

Piper couldn't quite figure out how to run and slide onto her tummy, so Kyle 'helped' her out a little each time.

For as scared as she looks, it did end in a smile each time!

And now for the fast version...

We hit the Farmer's Market on Saturday for the first time this year, and the girls were just enamored with the river.  In keeping with our weekend 'water' theme, here are a couple photos from the river.
Then it was back home to try out that new little pool.  And no, it is not deep enough for goggles, per say, but its still fun to try!
While we could hardly get Piper out of the pool for meals, Hadley preferred to dip her body into the pool and then run around the yard like a crazy kid.
Ahhh, could summer be any better?