Friday, October 14, 2016

September: To the Brim

September was a very good month for us. We were in the school swing-of-things. Vivian had very definitely decided she liked school, her teacher, and her classmates. Mommy and Felicity started storytimes at the library - we love our library and librarians! And Miriam turned in her first 4-H projects and did very well! Plus some good travel...and it's no secret that we love a good trip.

We started off as tourists in our hometown, checking out the installation of metal sculptures around the downtown area. A local arts group organizes outdoor artwork each summer that's free to view and always interesting. This flower was the girls' favorite piece this year.
We kicked off September with the annual Labor Day Weekend ACD Festival Cruise In...including this lovely yellow car that caught Felicity's eye. She LOVES all things Lell-low.
Then off to Canada for Baby Catherine's first birthday party. Catherine was much more interested in playing in the sandbox than eating cake. What a health nut.
These girls LOVE them some Baby Catherine to the point of smothering her with their affection. Catherine isn't really a baby anymore and is probably counting the minutes until these girls are distracted by their own baby at the end of October and another new cousin in December.
Labor Day was spent at the lake celebrating Aunt Michelle's birthday...
Mema and Great Aunt Shirley - the matriarchs of each side of Tim's family - conspiring.
Miriam has been a monkey bars professional for about a year. This Labor Day she began training Vivian in the art. Viv practiced and practiced until she had blisters on her hands. But she figured it out and is a little monkey now, too!
One last dip in the lake for the season!
But the swimming isn't over! The girls are taking swim lessons at the Y. Mommy is always amazed at their fearlessness when it comes to the water. She gives all the credit to Daddy who played with them early and often in Mema and Pepa's pool. Now they have the lake in the summer to keep them confident and strong in the water. Both the pool and the lake are a blessing for these girls! Felicity's teacher asked each of the children in the class to jump into her waiting arms. Felicity took her turn with this. The next time she was asked to jump in, she told the instructor, "Don't catch me!" So Miss Therese let her jump in and waited for her little head to bob back up before putting out her hands for Felicity to grasp. Vivian likes for her teacher to stand far away from the wall before she jumps in to her. And Miriam's endurance in the water makes Mommy huff and puff. All three are very tired and ready for bed at the end of the evening, but they're getting stronger and gaining some great skills for the lake next summer.
Felicity and Mommy are also continuing our themed weeks at home. She asks each morning when we're going to do activities. We start out reading together on the couch, then say our ABC's, maybe a page in a preschool workbook, and then a few things related to our theme that week (we did Zoo, Farm, and Transportation in September).
Mid-month we zipped over to Chicago to visit Aunt Bridget and Uncle Ryan in their ADORABLE new suburb. On the way, we stopped at our favorite Italian restaurant. The back of the property is bordered by a defunct amusement park. The girls are fascinated, but it's more than a little creepy to watch it sit idle year after year, slowly rusting, nature taking over.
In Chicago, the girls found several Fairy Gardens. It was enchanting. And has become a little bit of an obsession.
Felicity and Uncle Ryan practiced their statue skills. Have we mentioned he's the silliest? He is.
We made a stop at the farmers market and took in an art fair. And ice cream.
Aunt Bridget is due 8 weeks after Mommy and we're sure these cousins will be best friends.
When we got home, Mommy pulled out some craft supplies and the girls got to work designing their own Fairy Garden. It's as fancy as fancy can be!
The older girls had a Thursday off of school...and being the people we are...we ended up taking a day trip to Indy to see Aunt Maria's campus. It has a Japanese Garden that reminded the girls of a life-sized Fairy Garden. They couldn't believe their good luck to find that treasure!
We went to the campus library. Maria explained that on the first floor some talking is allowed, the second floor was quieter, and the third floor was for silence. Miriam immediately accepted the "challenge" of silence. Vivian looked up to the top of the steps and said, "Do you think we can do it!?!?" Well, we went to the third floor and lasted about one minute before their parents said, "Yeah, let's get out of here." Silence is not our strongest skill yet.
We went to the Children's Museum in the afternoon and then had dinner with Aunt Michelle and John Michael.
Mommy and Daddy went away again soon after that to Grand Rapids for Art Prize. We had been looking for an opportunity to spend a weekend just the two of us before Baby arrives and are very blessed that we were able to make it happen!
The art at Art Prize is always so unique. This is our third time we've gone and we love the talent and creativity!
Glass tile mosaic of the United States
A close up of Florida
 At a distance this one is nice...
...but when you get closer and realize it's made of perfectly rolled and placed pieces of paper...amazing.
There were many technical entries that caught Tim's eye. His wheels were turning and each of the artists loved discussing the hows and whys with him.
Made of pieces of old shoes!
Do you see the waffle maker and the irons?
This is actually tiny squares of duck tape!
The lighthouse on South Manitou Island where Sarah and Tim have been several times.
So much talent, so little time! After two days exploring the art and Grand Rapids (which is a fun city even if Art Prize isn't happening), we were tired and hadn't seen everything yet! When we got home, we installed our own piece of art! Tim used old barn wood we have here at the house. Bridget used her ridiculous skills and free-handed the drawing and painting. A little more art in our home making it feel like it's really ours, we really live here! Maybe in another year we'll put up a few more things on our still bare walls.
The next week was Fair Week and Tim's Birthday.
Felicity loved the Ferris Wheel. Miriam and Vivian are both big enough to ride some of the big kid rides that whip you around and fling you into the air. Daddy was so happy to have companions to ride with him! Sarah isn't one for roller coasters or crazy rides. He's been training the girls to be dare devils for years and the time has finally come to put the training to the test. There was A LOT of screaming during the ride, but afterward they claimed it was SO FUN AND THEY CAN'T WAIT TO DO IT AGAIN! All Tim's dreams are coming true! Mommy sees Cedar Point in our not-too-distant future...
Miriam turned in her Flowers & Gardening and Food projects the week before the fair. Since these wouldn't last until Fair Week, just her pictures were exhibited. We were really proud of all the work she put into completing the manuals. She had a nice conversation with each of the judges about what she learned. We'll probably never get over the joy of watching these girls grow and learn.
And then there's Baby #4 who is growing and growing, too. 36 weeks pregnant and eagerly anticipating holding our next tiny family member.