Sunday, August 30, 2009

Age of Discovery '09

Sammy, Lauren, Ashley & Tara
The X4 Micro's and The Tiki Micro's hanging out at the Event...
(arguably 4 of the most photogenic girls ever!)

Saturday was the 6th Annual "Age of Discovery" Geocaching Event. We are proud to say that we have been in attendance for all 6, and we always have a great time. It's one of our favorite events each year. We have been in charge of running the game for the past several years and it's a riot. This year, we had the idea of a "Log" fast can you find the cache, open it, sign the log book, put it back as found and get back to the starting line! We had an adult division and a kids division as well. In case you were curious, the fastest time was 22 seconds! Crazy!

The weather held out yesterday and it didn't start raining again until the event was just wrapping up. It has been so cold in Michigan this year. We never had a Summer. It's still August, although we're at the tail end, but you would think it was the end of October. High's in the 60's and low's in the 40's makes for unseasonably cool days and nights. I'm actually irritated that the girls never even got to wear most of their Summer clothes-it never got warm enough. I'm also realizing that they do not have much in the way of Fall clothes either. I love shopping but darn, it's expensive. Gotta keep watching for those sales and Old Navy coupons! :)

Life has been super busy and September is turning out to be a crazy month already. The good news is that the girls start Gymnastics Preschool on the 4th, regular Preschool on the 15th, Mike and I have a weekend planned in Chicago the 18-20th and then we leave for a week-long vacation to Florida on the 26th. Ahhhh, vacation. I can't wait! And, at least Florida should be warm!

Monday, August 24, 2009

"Uh, Mike...what is that?!

This weekend was spent doing yard work. It is really the first time since we moved in that we have been able to spend a whole weekend just working on the outside of the house. On Saturday, we took down a big crab apple tree that was blocking the entire front half of the house. There is finally sunlight in my living room and it makes the entire house seem brighter!
We also took down about a dozen smaller trees and trimmed up about a half dozen others. We trimmed all the hedges and bushes, planted some hostas, mowed the lawn, etc. It really is starting to look better and I can't wait til next Spring when we can really concentrate on the landscape.
Anyway, in the course of working in the back yard yesterday, I was standing by the shed and I noticed something in the woods, right at the grass line. As I was staring at it, I realized that it looked like a bobcat. Now, I have never seen a bobcat in real life but what I was looking at was no house kitty but it wasn't a cougar or coyote either. Mike was close by and once I got him to focus on the cat, we both couldn't believe our eyes! A BOBCAT!? In Michigan? In our suburban neighborhood? I tried to run inside to grab the camera but by the time I returned, the animal had walked off deeper into the woods and I was not about to go looking for it...
It was crazy...I know that we have deer, rabbits, squirrels, and other woodland creatures in our yard and neighborhood but a bobcat is just insane. I really hope that I can catch a glimpse of it again...and then again, maybe not!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Falling Leaves

As Mike and I were working hard to finish putting the shingles up on the roof of the shed Sunday, I noticed movement behind me. When I turned around, the biggest smile crept across my face. Here was Lauren, running around the yard with an old laundry basket that they use for their sand toys. I quickly realized what she was up to.... the wind was pretty feisty at that moment and some of the early leaves were falling off the trees in our back yard. She was trying to catch them in her basket.

She was so engrossed in her mission. So joyous each time she caught one. So completely oblivious to anyone watching her. It was perfect and I loved every minute. These are the moments that I cherish being a mother, when the great emotions of pride, devotion and love bubble up and out. Just to be in that moment is enough.

To the wonder and joy of children....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Braces of the World Unite

Brace Family Reunion

On Saturday, we made our way up to Baldwin, MI for a family reunion with the Brace side of the family. Although I can't be positive, I do not believe that there is anyone still living from Mike's Grandparents generation. Most of the family represented are the surviving children, mostly born in the 40's and 50's. Family flew in from Alaska, Washington, Canada and from all over Michigan to be there. It was interesting that Mike & I and Tim & Erin were only ones there to represent our generation and the twins are the only children, period, of the next generation.

Connie and Joe's "cabin" is heavenly. Located on a quiet lake, with their own private beach, wonderful open deck and walkway down to the water, first class accommodations in an all wood-designed house-does it get any better? Plus, they live in FL in the cold months! Sign me up! Anyway, the food was great, the company pleasant and the conversations flowed easily. I look forward to the next time we can all get together and hopefully more family members will be inclined to join us! Wish that we could have stayed longer....

Friday, August 14, 2009

The New Shed

We needed to build a shed on our property to keep all of our lawn and garden equipment stored in. Our garage is for cars, but you wouldn't know it. We haven't had a car in the garage since we moved in and it was starting to get really annoying. But, we couldn't do anything until we had a place to move almost 1/2 the garage into. The solution: a 10 x 10 shed kit.

We built the framing for the floor ourselves using 4x4's on the exterior and treated 2x4's up the middle. Then we used 3/4 in. treated plywood for the floor. The shed kit itself went up pretty easily and with help from Mike's Dad, Shaun, and the girls (*wink*), in no time, we had space again. The only thing left to do is to put up the shingles and build a mini-ramp so it's easier to get the riding lawn mower in and out.

All in all, we are pretty happy with it. I think that if we would have built it by hand, we would have made a few design modifications, but the functionality is there, and that's the important part. So, happy shed and happy garage!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Thing about Garage Sales...

Garage sales are fun, not only to go to, but to have as well. Not only are you able to devoid your dwelling of unneeded items, you make a few extra bucks in the process and feel good about helping someone else find a treasure or two for very little cost. The not-so-fun part is getting ready for the sale. Since it was going to be at my house, we had to have the garage available. Duh. Too bad it was filled floor to ceiling with boxes, yard gear and lawn equipment.

We needed to build our shed in the yard in order to move out a good portion of tools and such, to make room for the sale, but more importantly, for the actual cars that should be residing there. I'll leave the details of the shed for another post, but needless to say, we got it all up and put together mid-week (minus the shingles) and were able to start weeding through the mess that was our garage. By Thursday afternoon, 3/4 of the garage was clean. It lasted this way for about 10 min.

Setting up went pretty well but we needed more tables. Luckily, my mom came through and we came up with a good plan for our setup. Friday was a gorgeous day and we had steady traffic the entire time. None of the big stuff sold though, which was kinda disappointing. But we figured that more people come on a Saturday anyway and we would be good after another day. Too bad Saturday never even saw a sale. Not one. It rained in buckets constantly until right about the time we had everything packed up and put away, or 1:30 in the afternoon. Bummer. My garage is still full of stuff. Bigger bummer. We're going to have to do it all over again in a few weeks at my sister's house (which is in a better location I think). Total bummer.

And....I did learn something funny about having a garage/yard sale in Cascade Township. Don't be surprised when your shoppers pull up in Hummers and Corvettes and Lincolns! Ha ha ha ha....perhaps their frugal garage sale finds allowed them the privilege of owning a vehicle like that....or, perhaps not. Either way, it made us all laugh. Only in America...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Family

My Family
(from Left to Right)
My brother Kevin, his wife Renee, my Mom, my sister Anna, Mike, my niece Hailey, my Dad, my brother-in-law Shaun, Tara, Lauren and me.

Although I have the rare privilege of getting together with my entire immediate family on a regular basis, for some reason we never record it with pictures. It's my theory that because we do this so often, meaning at least once a month or more, it just doesn't seem all that important. Today we were celebrating my father's birthday at Boulder Creek Country Club and I thought everyone was looking so nice, and happy (and well fed), that it would be really nice if someone could snap a photo for me. Luckily the clubhouse had extra staff that could assist us and I think the picture turned out pretty well considering the substantial wind, humidity and 90 degree heat. Not a bad looking bunch if I do say so myself!

We then headed over the Casino Club for their "Family Fun Day" where we were entertained by Dee Jay the Clown, had our faces painted, bounced in the "Bouncy Castle" and played cutesy carnival games for cheap prizes. The kids loved it of course and I even won the gigantic carrot cake during the "Cake Walk"! It was nice seeing a lot of familiar faces and the blue cotton candy wasn't bad either...

After all of this, we were so hot and looking for a pool to relax and cool off in. So we headed over to our friends Ken and Barb's house for a little splash time. Their pool was SO refreshing and the girls are getting so brave. Tara loves to jump into the water from the highest spot and she is now "swimming" with her head under water. Lauren was jumping from one raft to another all by herself and she was so proud! Pretty soon those arm floaties are coming off and they'll be like little fish. Way to go, girls!

So much was going on last week that I had no time to update. Frustrating. I'll be getting caught up this week with "shed" pictures, our trip to the Children's Museum, and the fun of garage sales! Stay tuned....

Monday, August 3, 2009



Tara: "Momma, "Just a minute" means "A really long time", right?

Me: Endless laughter...... :)