But here's a wrap up:
Feels like a lifetime ago now, but one of our town's many summer festivals was in the middle of June. Marin rode the rides every day and loved them, including a "roller coaster" called the Dragon Wagon that she has been asking to ride since she was 18 months old, but wasn't tall enough to do so until this summer. We enjoyed night after night of live music and dancing in the streets and staying up waaaaaayyyy past our bedtimes. We indulged in one too many corn dogs and lemon shake ups, and ate lots and lots and lots of corn on the cob.
At the last minute, I signed the girls up to be in the kids day parade and decorated our wagon in Swedish Days colors. They had a ball and WON third place!!!! They called the girls names and we all went up on stage and (wait for it) they got a trophy! Marin has it proudly displayed in her room, where it might just remain until she goes to college. She was SO proud!
Marin and two of her neighbor friends took a camp together for two weeks, also in June. We also signed up for school camp, which was once a week for six weeks, and has just ended. Marin had a ball playing with her friends and making new friends. She'll often point to a three year old I've never seen before and tell me, "Mommy! That's my friend!" Only to find out that she has made a friend at camp all on her own.
Marin loves to go to the "market" on Sundays, which is just a short walk from our house. We often drive to our house, park there, and then walk our old route. Both girls like this a lot. Sometimes on our walk we stop at Grahams 318 for coffee. One day we ran into Parker and Lola!
We spent a fun overnight at Jason's family's cabin, and had a great time with Neal, Nicole and Calvin. Lindsay came too, and Neal and Nicole's friends Amelia and Chris. A lot of laughs that night for sure, and all of the kids slept like champs! We even got to sneak in a quick visit with Aunt Vee and G.U.B!
Back (and front) yard water playdates:
Since it's been so hot this summer, these have been abundant and refreshing! Swimsuit or not, both girls love splashing in the pool, having water fights, and at a most recent playdate, riding bikes through a homemade bicycle car wash! The girls eat fruit by the fist fulls outside and Emilie, especially like watermelon. I bet she's eaten close to three whole watermelons this summer by herself.
Forth of July:
Next to Christmas, the Forth of July is by far my favorite holiday! I have such fabulous memories as a kid running in our friends the LaBoube's backyard, swimming in the pool, all capped off by fireworks at night snuggled up on a blanket between my mom and dad. This forth of July it was 104 degrees outside, but we still managed a walk in the morning and a little bit of pool time. At night, we headed to the fireworks with our friends Josh, Deb, Web and Kristy and all of our kids. We had a fabulous spot on the hill, we brought glow sticks for the kids and adult beverages for the parents, and we sat together and watched the sky light up. Marin loved the purple and pink fireworks especially. Emilie loved them all, as she pointed to them. I love the white ones that look like chandeliers. When I die, I want fireworks after my funeral. Lots of them.
The Bike Race and the Big 34:
We love the professional bike race that come to town each summer. Hundreds of bike riders whizz right through the downtown street and practically right in our backyard! This year, Marin chose her favorite (spoiler alert: anyone wearing pink) for each heat, and we'd cheer them on at each lap. It's a fun and exciting day!
This year the bike race was the same weekend at my birthday. Jason organized a small dinner out at one of my favorite restaurants in town, and Molly and Bri made a special trip out. Friends Mike, Georgine, Web and Kristy joined us as well. It was a great and fun night! The next day, my mom and dad fixed all of my favorites for a family dinner, topped off with root beer floats!
What is summer without a Patterson Cousin's trip?! Beth said it best this trip- that some of the funniest things she has ever experienced in her life have happened on these trips. It is so true. We seriously show up laughing and don't stop until we leave. Oh my gosh do we have FUN! So many pranks, so many pile ons (although these are notably diminishing since the majority of us now have children sharing our rooms), and a running "that's what she said" marathon. We ski, tube, knee board, and this year (almost for me) wake board. A bathing suit is out of the question for Marin this year, but she happily wore underwear (or not) and her life jacket on the boat all day. She loved pulling the rope in and "rescuing" the person on the water when they were done with their water sport. "Just hold onto the yellow rope, Bob, and you'll be just fine!" she announced. Emilie especially loved the boatrides, as did Marin. And we took a long one almost every night. Our kids all play so nicely together, and they love each other too. Even Emilie getting a mouthful of teeth and screaming her head off for two days straight didn't slow down our fun. These are summer memories we will all remember forever, and I hope our kids do, as well. One night after announcing that she was ready for bed, Marin told Lindsay, "I like treasures, and you are a treasure!" As a bonus, we got to see Ross and Emilie twice!!
Bike Rides to the Park:
We have been going to the park whenever the weather is cool enough to not melt your skin right off upon stepping out your front door. Marin's helmet bothers her, so I just said the heck with it and have been letting her ride without it. In my day, we rode our bikes two towns over and never once wore a helmet. I'm willing to "risk" it for her happiness this summer. Marin is quite a rider. She is really good on her little princess bike with training wheels- a garage sale find from O.G. and G.G. We like to ride our bike to swim lessons, and to the park. Emilie loves the swings, and keeping up with her big sister.
Daddy's Softball Games:
Jason plays in a softball league with his buddies on Friday nights, and often times the girls and I will go and cheer them on. The both love to go and play with their friends and splash in mud puddles, which is what they end up doing more of than softball watching, but they leave happy and tired!
We have been having a lot of picnics on my parents spacious front porch. This is a favorite spot for all of us. It's also a great spot to do crafts. We have finger painted and drawn a billion and one pictures out there. One day, we hosted Joy and Lily for an adventure hike where we collected artifacts of nature, and then came back to the front porch for popsicles, water from fancy glasses, and a craft where we made murals of everything we found on our adventure walk. That was a great day.
The Butterfly Farm:
We love visiting the Butterfly Farm just a few minutes from my parent's house. There are hundreds of butterflies in a greenhouse filled with a stream and beautiful flowers. The girls love spotting their favorite butterflies and seeing them up close. Grandma came with us the other day, and we had lunch afterwards together. The highlight of the trip is when a butterfly landed on Marin's finger and stayed there for a long time. We told her that it meant that she was a great friend!
This week the girls and I and my mom took the short train ride from Geneva to Glen Ellyn to have lunch at Two Toots Cafe. Two Toots is a train cafe where they serve your food on a train that runs along a track lining the entire cafe. It's a lot of fun, and a treat for the girls for sure. After lunch, we did a little shopping at cute store called M and Em's across the street and then Grandma treated everyone to the candy store. It was a great afternoon!
Fire Station Visit:
Erica organized a visit to the Fire Station by her house, and it was fantastic! The firemen could not have been friendlier, giving us a tour of the entire facility, including showing us their bunk room, kitchen and hang out room. They let the kids climb into the ambulance and the firetrucks, including an antique Model A fire engine. They posed for pictures, let the kids feel their heavy gear, and sent everyone home with fire hats, coloring books, stickers and temporary tattoos. Marin put all of the tattoos on right away. She like tattoos a little too much. She even asked me if she could get one. Things you never want to hear your daughter say for 500, Alex.
Girls Night in the City:
I had such a fun night meeting my college girlfriends in the city a few weeks ago. Mika met me on the train, and we were both wearing the exact same bright purple shorts. What are the chances? Its not like we were both wearing bright colored shorts, or we were both wearing the same khaki shorts. We were wearing the exact same bright purple shorts. One lady in the train station even said to us, "Cute shorts, girls." I was quick to point out that it wasn't planned. :) We met Sarah, Joey and Hannah and decided to try and have a drink a Girl and the Goat. And guess what! There was a spot open in the lounge, so we grabbed it and stayed for dinner! It was so delicious and such a great time. After we were full to the brim, we headed for a few more drinks along Randolph, and laughed until I literally wet my pants a little bit. Such a great night with great friends!
Concerts in the Park:
When it isn't scalding hot outside, we have taken advantage of a few night concerts in the park! What fun the girls have had dancing and seeing friends!
Jason and I went to the Cubs vs. Cardinals game at Wrigley this weekend with Lindsay, Jon, Jon's brother Dan, and our friend Don. We had a blast, and the Cubs won! We even got to see Kiep for a little bit after the game, which was an unexpected bonus!
Aunt Vee and G.U.B. were kind enough to offer to come up to watch the girls for the day, since my parents were going to be in and out with plans that day and evening. The girls had a great time with them! When we got home, we all went out for pizza.
The Art Fair:
The next day, we went to the Art Fair, which is another great festival in downtown Geneva. We loved looking at all of the different wonderful art, and Marin even got to make some art of their own at the kids tent. Of course, we stopped for ice cream. And we even got a cupcake from the cupcake shop!
So even though this summer has had its rocky moments, it has been chalk full of fun activities, great friends, wonderful family and lots and lots of ice cream.