Friday, July 31, 2009

A Wednesday Visit to the Meijer Gardens

***ATTENTION, ATTENTION: We interrupt this regularly scheduled post to inform you of Keely's magnificent growth. At the Dr. Wed morning, she measured in at 8lbs 9oz and 21.5in long. (for comparison, 2 weeks ago she was 7lbs 6oz and 19.5 inches long). Now back to the post.***

The Meijer Gardens has really stepped up their children's recreation opportunities. Word to the wise: Dress your kids in their swimsuits. Just do it. It will save a lot of pain and suffering. DO NOT dress your children in white. It's stupid. May be really super cute, but pretty is as pretty does. And here, pretty gets DIRTY.

For starters, Mom and Adalynn took me on their weekly walking trail. This trail just happens to follow a pond with duckies

and turtles. Adalynn loves the ducks.

We got an up-close and personal visit with a good sized turtle along the walking path. Adalynn isn't so fond of turtles. (vision check: can ya see him? he's camouflaged..)

Keely slept while Adalynn played with Grams, showing off a slight snicker.

Adalynn learned lady-like lessons in the tea parlor.

She's quite adept at pouring.

And the water play...perfect timing as the sun began to shimmer.

Oh, the boats.

And more boats.

And then lunch, and ready for home; the girls were sufficiently sleepy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Heartfelt THANK YOU.

After a couple hours of sanding on Friday, on Sat Trav had the final basement rooms to be painted looking like this:

Main Room Wall
(i'm in somewhat of a quandry trying to name this room...rec room? basement big room? the Hole?)


Another shot of the Bedroom


Laundry Room

Don't ask me why the laundry room has a coat of paint on it while the bathroom and bedroom still needed sanding. I don't understand a guys' time management, I really don't. So Trav sent out this e-mail enlisting assist from our dearest family and friends:

YOU are cordially invited to the Masselinks one time annual finish the unfinished basement party

When: Starts Thursday and ends when it's finished. really shooting for this Sat (the 25th)

Where: Our place, downstairs

This gives you a great opportunity to come and see your new Grand-daughter/niece/cousin/cutest baby in the world Keely Nicole. We are looking for any and all help that we can get. As we do not have any more money to pay out to finish our unfinished basement, we do have a large extended family who loves to help out others. Come and sand a get to hold the baby, don't like sanding and would rather can still win the chance to hold the baby, don't like working and want to hold the baby...well lets just say you can change the Can't make it because your wife is pregnant and due any worries my neighbor is Medically trained and this wouldn't be his 1st delivery (though it may be yours). Have dogs so you can't make it...we'll leave them home, then you don't have dogs. Have kids and you want to leave them at home cause there won't be anything for them to do...Au Contraries, there is plenty to entertain the little ones (outside). they can weed the gardens and flower beds, find all long grass in the yard and cut it to an equal length (mowing makes it sound like a chore), or they can play in the neighbors 2 doors down have a pool. not sure if we can use it, but they do have a pool.

Food will be provided....if only 2 people are here to help it will be steaks, if a lot of people show up it will be pizza. Beer, wine, pop, juice, water...of course we'll have beer. if you want one of the latter just e-mail back your preferences on drinks and we'll see what we can get.

Thank you to all for you help in advance and can't wait to see you this weekend.

If you feel that someone has been left out of this e-mail feel free to forward it to them and I apologize in advance for leaving you out.

Please RSVP (I figure there's only sanding and painting to do...not much at all)


And in response we received help on Day #2 from Troy (our neighbor), Deb and Ed, Scott and Laura traipsed over to our house to help out. THANK YOU!!! You guys rocked, and got everything covered in primer and cut in with paint.

Scott was the Cutting-in Master Man

Deb started our Chalkboard Wall

The bathroom Primed

Laundry room DONE!!! (well, all except the's not staying like that.)

Seriously, thank you. You angels-in-disguise took a big load off our minds, and we really, sincerely appreciate it. And it was good to see you too, and hang out. Very fun!!! (sorry Laura, i'd hoped that maybe Keely-in-person would be able to talk the littlest nephew out. arg! still working on it...)

And so, today (before i go down and organize):

The Bar Area

The Bedroom

The Bathroom
i think we will paint the wall opposite the vanity...something...chair rail maybe? depends on the tile we choose. but for now, i'm deeming it "very liveable".

Had to share awesome hubby.
Thank you, babes, for being motivated to get the job done. It rocks my world. Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Discovering Dairy Farm Life at Dairy Discovery

Nana, Aunt J, Naomi, Adalynn, Keely and I had a ball this morning at the Swiss Lane dairy farm in Alto, MI, engaging in a program that they call "Dairy Discovery". Last week I scoured the internet for fun, interesting activities for Adalynn...some which would allow her to socialize with other kids, so she wouldn't get too bored hanging out with Keely and I this summer. I came across the West Michigan Parents Network website, and they advertised this dairy farm tour as an activity. And so we decided to check it out.

Keely possibly could have cared less, resting easily in Aunt J or Nana's arms for the duration.

First, we sampled dairy products. After all, we had to know what we were getting ourselves into. Chocolate milk and cheese later, we were fueled up and ready to go.

Starting at the beginning, we saw little baby calves. Most were Keely's age - born in July. The farm keeps all the cows to rotate into their dairy herd, but sells the bull calves at the auction.

Which meant that these little calves needed to eat. Lucky us, we got to feed them! Hello little suction cups...I'm glad that Keely isn't that strong! Adalynn helped hold the bottle. The calf was a little rambunctious and needy for her to complete the task independently.
Then we saw more cows....

The cows housed here are taking a break from milking and are ready to give birth, sometime in the next 2 months.

Adalynn and Naomi were too cute, all holding hands and sticking together. Awww...

The kiddos got a chance to check out the playground while waiting. Super fun, but it was getting hot!

Then it was our turn to step inside the milking parlor. Holy Udders! This parlor runs 22 hours a day, closed down 2 hours for cleaning. Adalynn was a little hesitant about the pumps...they had a mind of their own. They must have had a sensor for when they were done milking, and automatically detached themselves and hung themselves up. I can totally see her hesitation, it was a little freaky the first time we saw it happen and it reminded me of a scene from Arachnophobia (i would think. i never actually saw the movie).

Adalynn enjoyed herself, talking about cows, Naomi, Nana, and more all the way home. Now she's crashed...I whole-heartedly recommend it. Educational, and great for wearing the kiddos out!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cloth Diaperpalooza 2009

In the exciting life of Keely last Friday, not only did she get to meet her Aunt Amy, Uncle Henry, and cousins Megan and Henry John; but also, her belly-button fell off, signaling her quick growth through the early stages of life.
This also meant that she was ready for her introduction into cloth diapers. Woo-hoo! Adalynn was 5 months or so before she first wore cloth, but with this baby I was more prepared (or something that closely resembled least in the cloth diaper dept). Actually though, if it wasn't for a co-worker, I would be attempting to wrap Keely up in the industrial microfiber cloths that I purchased to make inserts...but didn't ever get around to. I'm holding out that I will, once I can set up my sewing machine in the basement for good.

So now that Keely is ready, she is sporting bright white Prowrap diaper covers and soft chinese prefolds. Adalynn wants in on it too, and so most days she's been wandering the house with thick cotton under-roos and a mommy following close by to wisk her to the toilet should the need arise. What's that saying? The more wash the merrier? Some evil man made that up...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Note to Keely

Please, WAKE UP!

Can't ya see it's daylight?

*Sorry about the recent lack of prose. I'm blaming it on sleep deprivation.*

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Moooove over Betty Crocker!

I feel like I'm nesting in reverse. Today I was a fool in the kitchen. A lean-mean-cooking-machine. A grating-shredding mess. And I mean that quite literally...I am NOT clean in the kitchen.
The vacation in the kitchen was sponsored by the copious amount of zucchini that I discovered when I visited the garden this morning. As it had only been 2 or 3 days I never imagined that the zucchini would have grown to mammoth size - but they had. Some squashers were ready too, so I grabbed them and hustled them up to the house.

I've been hoarding recipes the last couple of days, realizing that a zucchini and squash baby boom was on the horizon. I was super excited to try this Baked Couscous with Summer Squash and Herbs, as well as try my hand at this Pineapple Zucchini Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Really. Excited.
So I made the Summer Squash dish for lunch today.

This picture doesn't do it justice. At all. I used Quinoa instead of Couscous (didn't have any), 1 real egg instead of egg substitute (yuck), and a shredded cheese blend instead of the fancy stuff (didn't have any). But both dishes contained a grain, summer squash, egg stuff, and cheese, so really I did follow the recipe. Really. And it was really good, even with my variations. I had 3 servings. (shush it, i'm not a pig, i'm lactating.)

Then I spent an extended amount of time trialing methods of grating zucchini for freezing. Hmmm. First, I tried my trusty little chopper - a $5 device that I bought one Christmas thinking it would be good to have around. And it has been, it is my best friend for making baby food. Unfortunately it is not friends with zucchini. The zucchini looked like a watery blob when the chopper was done with it...not cool.
But, it gave me a very good excuse to make the cake. And it was fabulous. And I didn't even frost it. Trust me, it'll trick your little ones to eat a veggie - Adalynn dove in and didn't even notice. Adalynn, the recently turned anti-veggie eater, ate 1.5 pieces. (i took a picture of it, but the picture is U-G-L-Y. so go to the pioneer woman's post about it, she took some beauts)

While the cake baked, I realized I still had 4 zucchini to deal with. 4 Very Large Zucchini. I tried a manual grater - I don't recommend it. Then I pulled out this circa 1960s food processor that Linda has graciously let me borrow for an extended period of time.

It is a GODSEND!!! I flew through those 4 suckers so fast they didn't know what hit them.

The best part? I have exactly enough Zucchini in each bag to make that cake ALL WINTER LONG. MmmmmMMMMM.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Little Helper

Not only is Adalynn a great gopher, she is learning the fine art of putting away laundry. She exhibits strengths with transporting items from the couch into the designated room, but continues to require assist to maintain their folded status during the transportation process. And she did well following direction to carry them to her bed, but still needs a couple of inches to be able to put them away into the closet. Next on the lesson plan: Learning to make the bed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Best Sisters 4-EVA!!!

Adalynn hasn't been so keen on sitting for pictures lately. In fact, when the camera is in my hand, she gives me a shy eye and then looks away and says "CHEESE!!!"
Such is life in a 20-month-old's body.
So, like a good mother, I tricked her.

Used a cute 'lil sis to hold her down.

It isn't like Adalynn minded. I think she may have even liked it.

I think the feeling was mutual.

But you know babies, they wear out fast.
"No mo picta's Mama. Talk to da hand."
Allrighty then.