Friday, September 30, 2011

The Lake House

Every summer for the last six years we've gone to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It has become one of my favorite places, and it's a dream of mine to someday own our own house there for summers and holidays. Until that happens, though, we rent a different house to stay in each summer. This summer Peter really wanted to rent a lake house. I wasn't crazy about the idea--having a lake in the backyard when you have young children is not my idea of relaxation! But I decided to give it a try. There were good things about it, like the beautiful views from the back deck of the house:

(My niece Lizzie checking out the sparkling waters one morning.)
And there were not-so-good things about it, like it not even being a swimmable lake! It was one of those lakes that are nice to look at and fun to canoe or kayak on, but swimming? Not so much, when there's algae and plant life brimming just below the surface all over the place!

Pretty swan family, and not-so-pretty plants growing up near the water's surface

The lake did make a nice background for pictures, though!

Also, there was a stairwell down to the water with a locked gate at the top to help prevent the kids from going to the dock on their own, but it didn't always work, which was a little scary. So we learned our lesson! If we ever get a lake house again--when our kids are older--we'll make sure that it's a good swimming lake with safe access!

Sam liked to play on the stairs and the dock (unfortunately!)

Luckily for us, there was a good swimming lake just up the road--

And Sam was happy (and safe!) doing his favorite thing there (that would be throwing rocks in the water)

This would be a great place for a lake house! Such nice, clean water!

We've already booked our house for next summer. It's one that we stayed at two years ago that I absolutely loved. It has a big private backyard that is securely fenced in (hooray!), and the beach is an easy walk down the street with a playground nearby. Now THAT is my idea of relaxation!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Danger of the Missing Comma

Never underestimate the importance of proper grammar!

Whenever I see grammar or spelling mistakes in books, magazines, business signs, or anywhere else, I want to whip out a pen and correct it on the spot! Just doing my part to save lives. :-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sam Turns Two

Last week on September 20th, my little Sam-man turned two years old! I went out of my comfort zone and even made a farm animals barnyard cake for the occasion. I can't adequately describe how much I love this little boy and what a blessing he is to me and to our family. I tell him corny things constantly, such as "You rock my world!" and super-corny things like "You're my little toddler and you've just toddled into my heart forever." And I really mean it! For me, true happiness is sitting in my favorite armchair with Sam snuggled up all warm and cuddly on my lap. I love him!

This doesn't seem like it was all that long ago...

I haven't uploaded my September pictures yet so I don't have any of Sam on his actual birthday to post right now, but these are a few of my favorite pictures of him from this summer.

This was at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where he had fun running around and exploring the woods.

My mother's yard:

And here I am with the object of my affection:


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Little Bit of This and That

-Did you notice my new URL? The "blogspot" is gone and it's now, and it's mine, all mine! For about $10 a year you can buy your own domain name and Google/Blogger will manage it for you. It's really easy!* And easy is good. Now I feel a bit more "invested" in this blog (ha ha).

*It's NOT really easy! I thought it was when I wrote this, but I soon found out that I was wrong! I wrote this post on Sunday evening and published it then. On Monday I noticed that nobody had commented on it, which was odd. After doing some investigating I discovered that my blog isn't updating in other people's feeds, rendering my updates invisible to my blog friends. So if my blog is listed on your blog or in your reader, it's not showing that I'm publishing new posts (i.e., the last post you probably have is my Summertime reading post from a few weeks ago, when it should be this one), so you aren't visiting my blog because you don't know that I'm posting on it. This is a major problem! I've been all over Google/Blogger trying to fix it but to no avail. Google isn't helpful in fixing these kinds of problems. I'm a paying customer now and their customer service should be much better than this--they can certainly afford it! So anyway, if I'm listed in your blog list, can you please update my URL to Maybe that will fix it. It's worth a try!  

-Another blog problem I'm having with this dumb domain name switch: somehow the lists of my friends' blogs got deleted (as well as the list of Fashion & Style blogs that I sometimes read, and I don't remember their URLs and don't know how I'll find them again, sniff sniff), so now I have to figure out what all their blogs are and type them in again. Blah! (So if you're reading this and you have a blog that I read, it would be very helpful if you'd leave a comment so that I can more easily get your blog listed. Thanks!)

-I got a pair of Pajama Jeans. You can laugh if you want, but I LOVE them! They're cute and super-comfortable and they fit well. They look a lot more like jeans then I thought they would: they have a dark blue rinse and are boot-cut and they have a cute butt (that is essential in a pair of jeans, even when they are fake jeans). I still wear real jeans out for shopping and errands and social gatherings, but when I'm home I'm in Pajama Jeans. (And this winter, I'm sure I'll be venturing out in my Pajama Jeans more often. I can get away with anything if I wear Uggs with it, right?! Besides, Pajama Jeans seriously do look a lot like jeans!).

-I'm thinking about applying to join the University of Pennsylvania's Alumni Secondary School Committee Network. If I were to be a part of it, I would interview high-school seniors applying to Penn and I'd participate in recruiting events. I'd love to help Iowa kids and Midwestern kids get into the Ivy League and go to college on the East Coast. I had a wonderful time at Penn and I learned so much during my four years there. I'm a little worried that Penn won't be all that impressed by my current career of stay-at-home mother and occasional freelance copyeditor. I know it's not glamorous or high-profile, but I love that that's what I'm doing with my life right now. Anyway...if I apply and they reject me I'll be ticked!

-I'm going to start doing "Wordless Wednesday" posts soon because I take pictures of many different things and I can share some of them easily that way instead of writing a whole blog post about them. Although many of these posts will probably not be completely wordless because I often feel the need to explain things or set the scene, but they will be quick, easy posts that people can comment on with their own caption or thoughts or just look at and enjoy the view, whatever it might be.

-Summer is my favorite season but I'm glad that it's fall. Fall is lovely! Especially now that the ragweed that had been saturating the air isn't making my life miserable anymore!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Summertime, and the Reading Was (Mostly) Good!

Reading is one of my favorite things to do in the summertime. I love it year-round, but usually I do the most reading in the summer. It feels great to relax and laze around with a book on warm summer days and nights. These are the books I read this summer, in order from my most favorite to least, with a brief commentary on each.

1. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (I LOVED it, and I can't wait to see the movie when it comes out next year.)

2. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (I neglected my children because I couldn't put it down.)

3. These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901, Arizona Territories by Nancy Turner (I don't like the title but the book itself is very good.)

4. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (Her stories are magical, sweet, and mysterious. I read one every summer!)

5. The House on Oyster Creek by Heidi Jon Schmidt (I liked that it's set on Cape Cod, and for once features a couple in love who shouldn't be who make a responsible choice about it.)

6. Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin (Great inside-look at a marriage.)

7. A Modest Proposal by Michele Ashman Bell (Well-written LDS chick-lit and I liked that it was set in Manhattan.)

8. The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn (Her ghost stories are written for kids but I still enjoy them as an adult!)

9. A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson (Not the best writing; the main character got on my nerves; melodramatic and unrealistic; but good historical fiction and I liked the ballet parts.)

10. Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Depressing, dark, disappointing.)

11. Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand (Horrible, dirty, pointless story; I felt like my mind needed a cleansing shower after reading this crappy book! I won't be reading this author again.)

Overall, despite those last two, it was a good summer when it came to the reading. If you like to read, did you read anything really good (or bad) this summer?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Boys vs. Girls

Let me preface this by saying that I'm not pregnant, and I don't expect to be anytime soon. But the other day I was in the extra bedroom in our house and I was thinking about what a cute nursery it would make, and John was in there with me. Envisioning paint colors and crib bedding and wall hangings, I asked him if he'd rather have a baby sister or another baby brother. He answered that he'd want a brother.

"Why?" I asked. "What's wrong with girls?"

"Mom! Girls are just pretty and fancy! Boys are fun!"

Which made me laugh, because he's right about both of those things. But of course he's missing the fact that girls are fun too, sometimes simply because they are pretty and fancy. Now I kind of hope that our third child, whenever it makes its way into our family, will be a girl so that he can see how fun girls can be! (Although he does in fact already know this--some of his favorite friends are girls. Hypocrite!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Attack of the Killer Geese!

On a pleasant Saturday evening in July my mother and I took Sam to a lake near her house in Massachusetts. I introduced Sam to the joy of throwing rocks in water and he has loved doing that ever since. For the rest of the summer, whenever he's picked up a rock or sees a rock he automatically says "water" and looks around for water to throw it into. He's hooked!

The fine art of rock selection...



We were having a good time, and I thought it would be even more fun once these geese swam up to say hi. 

I was wrong! These geese were not there to say hi. They were there to harass us and make us go away, which they succeeded in doing. They literally narrowed their evil little eyes at us and hissed threateningly and followed us around for a few minutes. I didn't put Sam down and he was so mad that I'd taken him away from the rocks and water. Everyone in the otherwise peaceful, quiet park heard his screams. But at least they weren't screams that came as a result of being the victim of a goose attack. Although in a way, they were. Dang geese! I wish they'd been cute quacking ducks instead. I'm glad that geese fly south for the winter--good riddance!