May 2008

Memorial Day
We had a picnic at Jordan Creek Elementary on Memorial Day, May 26.

The girls having their picnic

Troy and the girls on one of the schools' slides

Troy gives Jenna a hand

Troy and Emma at the top of the climbing platform

Emma blows on a dandelion… there were definitely enough of those there to keep her busy a long, long time. :-)

The girls jump on the playground "bridge"

The girls and me

I taught Emma how to make chains from dandelion stems

So, Emma made a bracelet from dandelions. :-)

Troy had also been wanting to fire a rocket he'd built. (He used to build a lot of model rockets as a kid.) So we did that, too.

The girls helped count down, "3-2-1… blast-off!"

The rocket in the sky

Troy actually managed to CATCH the rocket!

The second launch of the rocket

The trajectory was off a bit with the second launch, and Troy didn't quite catch the rocket that time

The girls run to go help Troy

Fun in the Sun
The girls (and Joe) had a blast playing in the backyard on May 25.

Joe was the first one in the pool, getting a drink before Troy even finished filling it!

Troy thought it would be a good idea to put the sprinkler ON the trampoline

The girls thought it was fun…

But mean Mom put an end to the "emergency room visit waiting to happen" after about five minutes. :-)

Joe LOVES to be in the backyard when we're back there. He really likes to run laps.

More fun in the sprinkler

The girls had fun in the pool, too

Troy pours water over Joe to help him cool off

Our little cuties, in the pool

Joe may like to run laps in the backyard, but his favorite thing might be to play fetch with his stick

…Until his stick lands a little too close to the sprinkler for his comfort. :-)

Band Festival Fun
The girls got to be in Mason City's Band Festival parade, on May 24, along with Grandma Reed. Around 30,000 people come to see the parade, and the girls were REALLY excited! (More photos are in our online photo gallery.)

Jenna wasn't quite sure about photos… yet.

Now she's all smiles!

The bank where Mema works is celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, so their float was a giant birthday cake.

Who is sillier — the girls, or their grandma? :-)

The girls had a blast being on the float

They had the "queen wave" mastered. :-)

Grandma Reed and the girls, riding back to one fo the bank branches after the parade was done.

Jenna's photo day, part 2
Jenna had her class photo retaken on May 21, which meant curlers and hairspray… again. :-)

Waiting (mostly) patiently

Emma was all smiles, too

Our princesses

Happy Jenna

Jenna Turns Four
Our "little baby" turned four on May 12. She's doing a great job writing her name, and is even starting to read lots of words! She brought popscicles for her birthday treat to school and told us, "We're going to make a BIG MESS!!!!" :-)

Jenna and her presents

Joe wondered if there was a present for him, too

"Come on... there's GOT to be one for ME up here somewhere!"

Emma helps Jenna read her card

Jenna got to open two presents before going to school. She wore the Princess watch she got to school.

"So I know it's JENNA's birthday, but isn't there SOMETHING for me?!?!"

Jenna also opened her life-size baby before school... big enough to wear real baby clothes and diapers!

Jenna finished opening her presents after dinner. She got new diapers for her new baby.

Jenna got lots of real baby outfits, too!

And a baby blanket

Time for cake!

Jenna blows out her candles

My Kind of Town…
Jenna decided that she wanted to go on a trip for her fourth birthday, instead of having a big birthday party, so we took a quick (and great) trip to Chicago on May 8-11. After checking into our hotel, and eating dinner at Ed Debevic's, Troy and the girls had a blast swimming on May 8.

Troy "waterskiing" with Jenna

Emma "waterskiing," too

Troy made the girls laugh and laugh, by seeing how big of a splash he could make in the pool

Double piggy back rides in the pool

Off to Downtown
We spent May 9 in downtown Chicago.

The girls waiting for our train, to go downtown

Our first stop was Navy Pier

Jenna made a Friends-2B-Made doll at the Navy Pier Build-A-Bear store. Here she is getting ready to put a heart in her new doll.

Then she helped stuff the doll.

Before getting her dressed, Jenna gave her new doll an air "bath."

Emma and Jenna at the Navy Pier Build-A-Bear store

Jenna and her new "baby," Ashley

Then we went on the 150-foot-high Navy Pier ferris wheel.

Of all the things we talked about before going to Chicago, Jenna was most excited about going on this ferris wheel!

Emma and me on the ferris wheel

A view of the skyline from the ferris wheel

The rest of Navy Pier, and Lake Michigan, from the top of the ferris wheel

The ferris wheel may have been high, but we were going to be heading much higher later in the day – to the top of the Hancock center (the black building in the right of this skyline photo)

Jenna and Emma, with the Hancock Building in the background

Silly Jenna!

Emma took this photo of Troy and I

…And Jenna wanted to take a photo of us, too – from a little bit lower vantage point. :-)

Emma's top thing she wanted to do in Chicago was go to the American Girl store

Jenna and Emma each chose exactly the same thing at the American Girl store – a little black cat named Licorice

"I'll take that one, and that one, and that one…"

Our two tired American Girls. :-)

We were headed to the top… Our last stop before dinner was to visit the Hancock Observatory

Emma outside the Hancock building

Poor Jenna slipped and scraped her shin outside the Hancock building. She felt better after some loves from Dad, though!

Jenna and Emma check out Lake Michigan – from 1,000 feet up!

Emma looks at Navy Pier, and more of Lake Michigan

Troy and Emma in the Observatory's "Skywalk," an open-air viewing area.

All of us at the Observatory, with the Sear's Tower in the far right background

Troy and the girls also stopped to pose for these silly pictures, that make it look like they're resting on a beam above the Hancock Center pavillion.

Emma took this photo, showing we were on the 94th floor!

For dinner, we went to the original Gino's East, just off of Michigan Avenue. One of the cool things about the restaurant (aside from the phenomenal Chicago-style pizza) is that you can write or color on the walls… which the girls thought was way cool!

Emma takes her turn coloring the walls

My addition, to the window behind us :-)

The pizza takes 45 minutes to make, so the girls played with some of the new things they'd gotten that day while we were waiting

The pizza – which was Troy's favorite thing about our entire trip to Chicago (yeah, it's that good) – was huge! The crust was so big, Jenna had to take little bites out of it; she couldn't even fit it in her mouth!

Emma works on her pizza

After a long day, it was finally time to catch the train back

Just like any of the other commuters, Emma "worked" on the way back… So maybe most of the other people weren't using a stuffed Sleeping Beauty horse as a pillow, or circling American Girl things they wanted, but I'll guarantee you she took her "work" just as seriously as anything they were doing! :-)

Emma was very focused on her "work"

Emma and Troy relax at the hotel, when we got back

Jenna liked playing with all her new toys when we got back to the hotel

Off to the Zoo
We spent a beautiful day at the Brookfield Zoo on May 10.

All of us at the hotel, before heading to the zoo

Emma rocking her shades!

The girls both looked like rock stars with their sparkley sunglasses on!

Troy and the girls

The girls and me

Emma and Troy on the Motor Safari

The zoo is a "city within a city," and even has their own police force

This brown bear made us laugh, because every time we saw him (which was three or four times, throughout the day), he was sleeping in pretty much this exact same position!

Our little joeys

This hippo was taking a rest in a comfy pile of mud

The alpha wolf stayed on top of this rock hill – always on guard – the entire day, too

A mom and dad geese – and their babies – had mad the zoo home, too

Troy and Jenna wanted a closer look at the babies

Troy and the girls, waiting for the dolphin show

The dolphins and their trainers

This dolphin jumped out of the water, to tap the white target

More amazing dolphin skills. (Emma liked this dolphin and its trainer – because the dolphin did the coolest demostrations, and the trainer looked just like the director of her before- and after-school program, Amanda.)

Jenna and Emma watch the baby polar bear, Hudson, who was born in February

One of the neatest areas of the zoo was the Family Play Zoo. We loved watching the lemurs play there.

The lemurs had a great time exploring this empty bag. They'd poke at it, put a paw inside, then finally get enough courage to climb inside the bag.

Emma and I don ties in the Family Play Zoo's dress-up area.

The girls loved the fish puppet area in the play zoo, too. Jenna liked "feeding" the fish.

Jenna with her octopus puppet

Emma "feeds" Jenna-fish, too. :-)

The girls loved watering plants with spray bottles in the Play Zoo's greenhouse. (…Making their Grandma Reed proud!)

Emma really liked spraying the huge leaves on this plant. … Just don't tell her you're supposed to spray the roots not the leaves. :-)

The girls even got to water the banana trees, behind Jenna in this photo

Outside the "Zoo at Home" exhibit in the Play Zoo was a really cool elephant made from yarn woven through wire, which the girls thought was awesome

Our two little elephants

It's Grandma Reed's worst nightmare – her family has turned into reptiles and amphibians! ;-)

This alligator in the Swamp exhibit was almost 11 feet long!

One of the activities in the Swamp exhibit was to let the kids "fish" for crawdads

"Hey, this fishing stuff isn't as easy at it looks!"

A sign of things to come? Okay, so it will probably be on cell phones in the future, but the girls liked "talking" on the phones at a Tropic World display

The girls check out one of the rhinos at the zoo, which are part of the Pachyderm House

Troy and the girls, after a long day at the zoo

The girls and I went for a swim when we got back to the hotel that night

Homeward Bound
On May 11, we headed back home from Chicago… after stopping for some shopping along the way. :-) The girls got to watch three movies on the way home, and they did awesome on the trip back!

Back to 2008

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