Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sleepy Gal

So Annika's going through this hard phase where she positively refuses to nap in her crib.  She's still tired though, so occasionally she dozes off in the most unlikely of places.  This first pic was taken about a month ago.
Not the most sanitary of resting spots.

We really do have nicer blankies.

At this very moment she is once again resting, looking like this:
Sometimes I find all those stairs exhausting too.

Sweet dreams, baby girl!

Three's Company

The best part about living minutes off of I-80 is that occasionally you get company!

Okay, okay, so my sister Callie didn't just happen to be passing through.  Even so, we were thrilled to have her spend a week and a half with us at the beginning of August.  Here's a picture of the beautiful gal while at Stokes for her birthday dinner.

My cousin Betsy also came to visit in August.  She's a writer who received funding to travel to Nebraska City and let her creative juices flow for three weeks.  Fortunately, she was able to make a couple side trips to Omaha for inspiration as well.  Here she is with my father at the Kanesville Tabernacle. 
Years ago, my Dad was heavily involved with the rebuilding of the Kanesville tabernacle--an extremely challenging yet worthwhile project.
The gardens were beautiful!

I love how this sculpture captures the strength of the early pioneer women.

Last but not least, some great friends from our Illinois days stopped through Omaha during their move out to Rhode Island.
The kids enjoyed playing together both inside...

...and out.

As I looked at this great picture, I had to chuckle and imagine what it would have been like to see this photo when we first moved to the U of I nine years ago.  Not only would I have collapsed at the sight of so many munchkins, I probably couldn't have guessed which kids would eventually go with which parents.

Life certainly is unpredictable, but in great ways.  Thanks for the visits!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Treehouse Dedication

Papa K and the grandkids have had a special project going on all summer long: building a tree house.  I'll admit that I was a little skeptical when Mr. Anonymous first came home from the library laden with books on tree house construction.  When he pointed out the apple tree he had in mind, I just couldn't see how it would work.  Obviously Dad's vision was greater than mine.  Well done, Papa K, well done!

On August 14th we held an official tree house dedication. I was so lucky to have Callie in town to help me pull it together since we switched the date at the last moment in order to catch the best weather.

On the menu: ants on a log, strawberry ladybugs, veggie patch pizza, pretzel branches, and of course apple slices in honor of our very own Giving Tree.  (We made deviled egg spiders too, but accidentally left them in the fridge.)

Let's not forget our wormy dessert!  Dirt never tasted better.

A candid shot of our man-of-the-hour: Kay LeGrand Andrus.

Eli climbs up to show off the treehouse's special features, such as the changeable flag and magnet board.

Despite its new age, this treehouse has already gone to the dogs.  (Sorry we couldn't find a pug, Zoe!)

The dumbwaiter is perfect for shuttling toys, books, and apples: just not siblings.

Talia likes the hammock.

Annika loves to climb up and down the repurposed wooden ladder.

Solar lights!  We think this treehouse totally deserves an EnergyStar and LEED certification

The treehouse may not look that large, but it's plenty sturdy.  We managed to squeeze five adults and four kids up there for the dedication ceremony without much trouble.

At the dedication, everyone had a chance to share a favorite memory, song, or poem.  Brooklyn and Talia wrote this great poem:

Trunk of a Apple Tree
Recyclable Wood
Energy Efficient
Epically Awesome
Hidden in the branches
Owned by the Andrus's and the Wheeler's
Unbelievably Fun
Super Safe
Enjoyable for all ages

Papa K turned to a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for his inspiration:

I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downware bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.

Finally, we renewed our commitment to live by the Treehouse Oath that Brooklyn composed several months ago.  (A laminated copy hangs in the treehouse.  If you come and visit, chances are that you'll be asked to sign too.)

After the ceremony was over, the munchkins decided to stay up high and read.  What a perfect book nook!

Best of all, the fun lasted all night as the kids got to sleep in the treehouse while Papa K dangled below in his hammock.  Once they finally fell asleep, the munchkins rested well, despite the fact that a squirrel likely kept them company, as evidenced by the half-eaten apple on the treehouse floor.

Brooklyn and Talia show off their different sleeping styles--Talia catches flies while Brooklyn buries herself deep beneath the covers.

A treehouse is even the perfect place for dumping buckets of ice water for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Next time we'll have to explain to the munchkins that they're only supposed to dump the water, not the bucket.

In case you missed it, Uncle Justin, Kestutis, and Uncle Adam--you've all been nominated to either donate to ALS or dump your own bucket of ice water.

Thanks Papa K, for the marvelous treehouse, and thanks to everyone for continuing to combat ALS.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Good Day Sandwiched by Yuck

Vomit at the breakfast table, sewage water leaking through the ceiling into the front room at bedtime...

Fortunately, the middle of the day was better than the start or finish.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Playin' with the Prettiest Pug in Puyallup

August is running out, and I have yet to share what we did in the middle of July: we visited Aunt Callie and Uncle Adam in Puyallup.

Of course, we all know the real reason we stopped over in Washington on our way home from Alaska: Zoe.  :)

Callie, it looks like you've got this babe and a pug thing down pat.

Annika sure seems content in her Auntie's arms.

After eight days of cruising, all we really wanted to do was crash on the couch...

...or sit in a daze on the floor.
Of course, the munchkins were back to their innovative selves in no time.  Here's Brooklyn posing with a toy plane that they spent hours trying to improve so that it would actually fly.
As much fun as we had playing inside, the weather was so gorgeous that we packed up and headed for the beach at Point Defiance.  Oh, to have both mountains and ocean right outside your door!  Not that I'm jealous.
Brooklyn collecting seaweed.

Callie and NomiAnn hanging out.

Annika wonders, "What's all this stuff down at my feet?"

"Hey, sand!"

Brrr, that water's cold!

Despite cruising all the way to Alaska, the closest we came to a seal was at the beach.  It was amazing!

This picture gives a good perspective on how close the seal actually was.  We called the kids out of the water just in case it was looking for lunch...
Annie and I with Mt. Rainier in the distance.
Callie takes a turn with her niece.
Out of all the days of summer vacation, this peaceful beach day was probably my very favorite.

Talia agrees: so relaxing!

Callie and Adam were kind of bummed that the "giant toy" (playground) right outside their condo was being renovated during the our visit.  Fortunately the Puyallup/Tacoma area has plenty of other great outdoor spaces.
Here's Eli playing in the water in downtown Tacoma.
Here are NomiAnn and Callie at Bradley Lake park in Puyallup, just minutes from the Wilhoit condo.

Like his Mom, Eli sticks his tongue out when he's concentrating.
Talia enjoys hanging out.

Meanwhile, Zoe's plenty content to chill in Bump's new stroller

This next park was all about Zoe.  What better treat than an off-leash dog park with great waterfront access?  So if this park is all about Zoe, why is her Daddy holding hands with another gal?

Must be the other gal is pretty cute too.  (Not to mention, a good guzzler.)

Brooklyn spins Annika at the human section of the park.

Meanwhile, NomiAnn tries to sneak in a belly pat for Bump.  Callie's retort: "Don't touch my pudge!"
Yes, there was abundant love for both babes and pups.  The most adorable affection, however, was between the two species.  Annie Mae started off the visit shrieking with fear when Zoe came to lick the stick off her face.  By the end of the visit, she kept putting her face right in front of Zoe's with hopes of getting more pug kisses.
Joy from participants and spectators alike.
I'm sure that somewhere I have gut-wrenchingly adorable baby/pug video footage.  It will have to wait for another day though, because now it's time to say...

...good night.