Sunday, July 28, 2013 continue to enjoy Mark's leave

...with lots of 'normal' activities.

Lazy mornings.

Coffee on the porch.

Family runs.

Playing catch.

Baking cookies.

This last week of Mark's leave will be much of the same.

If the weather cooperates we hope to get in some time at the beach an evening out to dinner and hopefully some more down time outside on the porch together.

And...thanks to our friends' the Morrow's and the LaGrange's, Mark and I will be able to get away for a few days.

The good life.

That's what we are living here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013 take the family on an outing Boldt Castle.

The summer is filled with so many great things to do up here in Northern New York.  The weather has been really mild but it has made most outdoor activities very enjoyable.

Today was no exception.  And Mark and I decided to take the kids up to Alexandria Bay to see Boldt Castle.

The photos that I took can't compare with seeing this treasure in person.  Just to give you a hint at the size of this 'house' here is a photo I took of the 'playhouse' that he had built for his (2) children.

Um.  Yes please.  Could I have please have four of these?

I was really impressed with the butler's pantry...

What would Mr. Carson (Downton Abbey) think?
I took a few snapshots of the family while we were taking a break outside on one of the many patios....

Only Abbey was willing to be silly poses of course.

she's about to lose her first tooth...and she wanted me to document it.
I did manage one group shot before our ferry ride over to the island...

And a couple shots at the ice cream parlor:

I am not sure our children were nearly as impressed as we were, but I thought Boldt Castle was a beautiful treasure to explore.  I would love to go back again.

What a lovely way to spend the afternoon!

Sunday, July 21, 2013 rest and relax

...from our adventurous day yesterday!

Amy and I came across a groupon for White Water Rafting.  Little did we know that Watertown has some of the most exciting and and difficult rapids in the Northeast!

There were many bends, turns, rapids, and even calm areas throughout our trip; at one of the most exciting points a person from the company took photos....

Mark and Donnie are bravely leading the raft into the rapid:

Neither of them lasted last very long:

So long my love!

Somehow Donnie made it back into the boat.  

Only to push me out a few moments later.  You can see the look of fear in my face when I recognize his intent!  He claims he was trying to help.  However, the evidence in this photo suggests otherwise.


So long brand new water shoes (if you look closely my left one is still on at this point although eventually it also comes off...the crashing water had already swallowed my right) that I bought just for this adventure.

At this point, if you can believe it there were still six people left in the raft!

Look closely...Amy is smirking in the photo.  She's one of few that have figured out how to actually stay in the boat!  

What a crazy, fun, exciting adventure!  

Monday, July 15, 2013 watch some baseball of course...'s a favorite past time for our family.  (Well most of us...)

We watch lots of Tiger's baseball.

We were lucky enough to attend three games last week!

The guys before the game in Toronto.

My guys.

My 'lil gal #1.

'Lil gal 2.
'Lil gal 3.  Isn't she her scowl sweet?
Abbey & Grandma.
After having so much fun in Toronto watching them win...we decided to head down to Cleveland to cheer them on there.

After the first Cleveland game.
Most of us enjoyed cheering the Tigers on.  Only one of us isn't a baseball fan yet.  She'll remain name-less yet is sort of pictured above.  Sigh.

However, because of our little Queen, we decided that Mark and the big kids should have a do-over on Sunday afternoon.
After the second Cleveland game.
The do-over was a huge success!

Thursday, July 11, 2013 celebrate 15...

...'years of wedded adventure'.

Well said Sean Cutler (our long time friend)!

What a great way to think about all the pieces that make up the last fifteen years.

So many adventures:  Places we have lived, the friends we have met, the jobs we have done, cities we have traveled.

And the life and family we have built together.

It's a pretty good one.

Homecoming.  The Fourth of July.

Tigers vs. Indians  

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 celebrate FOUR for #4.

...Happy Birthday 'lil queen.

You sure have grown!

July 2012
You celebrated your special day with your favorite foods:

Sausage & Gouda Souffle from Panera for breakfast.
Egg & Bacon Artisan sandwich from Starbucks for lunch.
Vanilla greek yogurt & apple juice for snack
Beef tenderloin, broccoli, and cous cous for dinner at home followed by a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting and strawberries on top!

You watched your favorite shows:

Doc McStuffins
Jake and the Neverland Pirates

And you played with your favorite things:

Matchbox cars
Jake and the Neverland pirate ship

Your sister Abbey is still your favorite person in the whole-wide world.  Although you adore each of your siblings.  Although you have them wrapped around your finger.  Each of them almost always does exactly what you want them to.  Thus, how you have acquired my little nickname for you.  'Lil Queen. 

You still love to sleep with your didi (and each and every stuffed animal that you played with on that particular day!).

You do not like to sleep much (you still just don't require too much sleep...about 9 hours per day).

And you don't like things that are not familiar.

You HATE getting a drop of water or food on your clothes.  And will disrobe immediately if you get wet/dirty.
You don't like the grass to touch your feet.
And you don't particularly like to paint; because of the mess it creates.

You always get dressed right away in the morning and make your bed before you come downstairs (Can you train your siblings please?).

You love to play 'house' with your sister but you are equally happy playing with your toys by yourself.

Your smile.  It's my favorite thing about you.  Always genuine.  You aren't going to use if you don't mean it.

Fits...Wow.  You sure can throw a good one.  We can't figure you out child!  Sometimes it's the smallest detail that sets you off.  This weekend at the baseball game had to share a sip of your water with your big sister.  

Stamina...Crazy.  You can stand your ground.  

I can't wait to see what year five holds for you.

Happy Birthday.

Thursday, July 4, 2013 do a LOT of awesome things

  1. Welcome Mark home!  Woot Woot!!
  2. Celebrate Independence Day.
  3. Go to another country (Canada counts?!?).  (Although this doesn't seem very patriotic.)
  4. Stay at a hotel with a swimming pool (says Abbey)!
  5. Have an awesome reunion for our little family of six when we finally meet up with the big kids in Toronto!
  6. Watch the Tiger's beat the Blue Jays.  (Is there anything more American than baseball on a hot summer day?)

Sounds like it is going to be a pretty full day.

I am going to make a guess, that if there was a contest for which Detroit Tiger's fan traveled the farthest to attend this evening's baseball game...that Mark would win.

All the way from Afghanistan, just in time.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 share a few photos from our trip

...back to Michigan.

I said to my big kids more than once, they have had the best first-two-weeks-of-vacation EVER!

We started our trip off with a drive to Sandusky, OH to Cedar Point.  My kids had never been there and  as you can imagine they LOVED it!  Fifteen Viele's drove down to enjoy the day with us and we had a blast.

I don't have many photos that turned out (and never thought take a big group photo) but these two photos given an idea of how our day ended...

wet. cold.

The next day the big kids and I headed to see the Tigers play at Comerica Park with my mom and Richard.  It sure was hot but that didn't spoil our enthusiasm!

thes two jokers sure snagged a lot of loot!
And the fun continued with a visit from our good friends' the Moynihan's all the way from Minnesota!  We ate, played outside, and swam in the pool for two days straight.  

Yes...two of the children (who will remain nameless are still in their PJ's).

Lazy.  Days.  Of.  Summer.

The fun continued with time Shreves...

Time with the Rose's...

Time with the Viele's...

Of course we spent lots of time early in the trip with my Dad but I think this is one of the few photos I have of him...(at least it is a great shot of us all!)

We also got to spend a few days with my mom and Richard...

Time at the water park in East Lansing...

And yes, there were some simple, traditional-moments-of-summer...

time with brother

break-time from the pool
contemplating a skinny dip...yes her bum is bare.
And ice cream...

Lots and lots of ice cream.

Lots and lots of fun.

Time with family.  Time with friends.  Memories made.

I only wish, we had been able to spend more quality time with those I didn't get to (or barely got to) see at all...especially my Grandma's and the Viele's of Dimondale proper.