Friday, July 25, 2014

Home from Chautauqua

We are home now from our totally fun vacation. Our last day was as great as the previous ones....

We began our day with fun in our vacation house's backyard... Lucas loves the swingset and the newly built tree house Connor made....
At least one day on vacation, we all go out for a big family lunch. While Julie, Wendy and I drove the mile or two up to The Casino at Bemus Point Restaurant, everyone else piled into the boat and sailed over. We made it there first, of course. The Casino is known for their wings and seafood, plus it's neat that you can just boat up and dock outside. They also have an arcade. I gave each kid a dollar's worth of tokens for the Chicken Machine, which "lays" plastic eggs filled with junky things kids love like skeleton necklaces, seahorse keychains, little plastic shoe charms, beaded necklaces.... The kids loved it.
Lucas liked his skeleton necklace and the green nubby ball we won in a claw machine!
The big hit at our lunch table was the Buffalo Wing quesadilla.... I had the "Wings and Rings" plate with BBQ boneless wings and onion rings. Yum.

After lunch, we all went fishing. 
I caught the biggest fish of the week! A heavy, big wide mouth bass!
Lucas and Gracie didn't catch anything,
But Cece did! Three in fact!

After fishing a while, Lucas and I snuggled up together and he rested in my lap for almost 45 minutes. I covered him with a blanket and he just sat there quietly, his head on my shoulder and we listened to the waves lapping against the shore and the ducks quacking. It may have been my favorite part of the whole week.

Or craft yesterday was rock painting. Yeah, kinda simple compared to the others, but they enjoyed it nonetheless.
Wendy also roasted marshmallows for s'mores. Yummy!
Just before dinner, the kids all went out for a boat ride. While they were gone, I fished again, but didn't catch anything....
After dinner, we sadly packed up our lake chairs, our towels and swim shoes, and our water toys and bade everyone farewell. Leaving the lake is always a bummer. No one wants to go back to reality!

To cap off the final day, we drove to Lake Erie to watch the sun go down. No matter how many times I see it, Lake Erie always leaves me in awe.
Another great lake 

On Sunday, I leave for my service trip to the Bahamas.... I have the next 24 hours to prepare. Lots of laundry and packing, not to mention last minute shopping for supplies. Whoa....

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lake Life Suits Us....

Camp Tara continues with lots of fun.... The past couple of days have been great for Lucas, as he has really bonded well to his cousins, playing happily with them and less with his trains! A lot of times, he likes to play alone, so we have been so glad he's liked cousin time so much.

The kids have loved playing with all the floats, either in the water or out... 
We updated our tie dye wardrobes from a few summers ago... The girls really love doing these projects! 

Connor, Tessie, Cece, Lizzie, Kelly (the girls mommy) and Grace were psyched to learn swirls, stripes and donuts for tie-dying. Each kid did three shirts. 
They looked awesome. I couldn't find blue anywhere, so we compromised with purple, yellow and red.
We went swimming 
and kayaking, too. Lucas came out with me on the kayak for the first time-- well, he came out while he was a bun in the oven, but never since! He liked it, but for just a bit. I, on the other hand, loved it.
We played inside with our lacing cards, cars, rocks from gem mining, coloring books and puzzles.
We had great food, too: taco night, BBQ favorites, baked chicken..... Plus, lots of ice cream!

 Cece and her ice cream-- doesn't this picture just embody "vacation"?
Yesterday, we celebrated Aunt Patty's 60th birthday.... It was a surprise party. Nana took her out under the pretense of grocery shopping, but surprised her with a massage. Meanwhile, back at the lake house, I was in charge of decorating and enlisted the kids to help me. They colored a sign, made paper plate pictures and doodled on foam flowers that we hung. We even blew up some balloons with a helium tank Aunt Wendy happened to have and hung streamers. The kids were so excited and really wanted everything to look perfect. If you ever have to decorate for a party, get a gaggle of kids to help.... They don't mess around.

Cece, Tessie, Lizzie and Grace worked so hard on the sign!
Nana had hidden this delicious marble cake in Uncle Paul's room for two days. Aunt Patty was so surprised when all the kids (and adults) jumped out of their hiding spots to yell "SURPRISE!"
(a very convincing reenactment!)

We had cake at lunch,
And Julie, Lucas and I gave her an autographed picture of her favorite man-- well, other than her favorite man, Uncle Terry....

After the lunch party, the kids worked on building a rabbit habitat with Connor. They've tried to catch a bunny or a duck for days now. The habitat is actually quite impressive and, at last check, there was a dining room, bunny hammocks, an extensive restroom area and a gym. 

After a while, we had craft time, where we made grass head people with stockings and lots of decoration.
Lucas eventually opted for one huge eye and one little one....
Lizzie loves craft time.
I think he may have age on his side, but Connor's grass head guy was the best one. 
Tessie likes to be silly all the time. What a great laugh. You can see her silliness in her funny grass head man's wacky purple mouth!
It began to rain and I piled all the kids into the living room under blankets and put on Shrek. It was a daytime slumber party!

We finished up our day with more play time and then some tadpole hunting in the creek that feeds Chautauqua.
Today is our last day and hopefully, if weather agrees, we have a field trip planned!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lake Time!

We have finally arrived at the lake! This is one of our favorite weeks each year....

So far, Lucas has excitedly and happily reunited with his cousins Connor, Grace, Lizzie, Tess, Cece and baby Ian for two fun days of play. 
Here's the cousins trying to catch a duck with Lucas' net,
We all attended a show at Patterson Library...
 It was the Bubble Mania Man. It was really cool. He did lots of tricks with bubbles, like the bubble volcano and the bubble caterpillar.
The library had a train table, too...
Yesterday at Camp Tara (I am in charge of the kids activities) we made a flour and baby oil beach... This was a favorite last year and was loved again this year, too.
Naturally, the flour beach required a train wash....
Connor caught 15 fish! Lucas was thrilled by this.
We also caught a bunch of yucky looking Bryozoans...
Aunt Patty knitted everyone in the family green hats!
More fun to come!