Yesterday we initiated Hazel into an awesome summer tradition:  backyard sprinkler fun!!  Once she got the idea, she was hilarious!

PlayingPlaying in the Sprinkler

In fact, it looked so fun that Amos jumped in as well!

She had a great time and stayed until she was almost shivering, which is no mean feat for late June in Alabama.  And, as a bonus, here's a video of Hazel singing her ABC song in the middle of her breakfast.  She always sings a different version, and I suppose this would be the abridged one.  When we sing it together she gets quite a few parts of it right!  

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Playing Ball

STL tomorrow!!  

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Vacation Weekend: Take One

This past week Hazel and I settled more into our routine.  I went through the house like a maniac on Thursday, unpacking and hanging up wall art, until almost everything is in its new, proper place.  While doing so we were rocking out to some jams, some of which Hazel particularly liked:
By the way, can the still image for that video be any more goofy-looking??  LOL
After all this we began to prepare for our trip to St. Louis.  Every year the women on my mother-in-law's side get together for a tea party, a tradition that is sweet and fun and Hazel & I wanted to attend!  So we're getting all packed up, and literally 10 minutes before we walk out of the door, Amos (finally) calls his mom to touch base before the trip, and she tells us that the tea party is NEXT WEEKEND.  She wasn't expecting us whatsoever, and here we were, ready to put the rubber to the road!  After a quick meeting we all decided that we should just come up anyway.  After all, we're only 7 or so hours away instead of 22, so we can handle two weekends in a row!  Thus we have a two-part vacation with some normal work stuff tossed in the middle 🙂
Saturday, since Jim and Nancy had a scheduled band job, we decided to take Hazel to The Magic House.  This is the biggest and best children's museum I have ever been to!  It's been a St. Louis staple for the past thirty years, so while Amos has memories of visiting as a child, there has been so much more added and updated that it was new even to him.  Hazel had the BEST TIME.  She was running and jumping and playing like a crazed woman.  
This is Hazel playing on the musical chairs, which was the first thing we saw inside.  Her expression clearly shows the "holy moly I can do whatever I want in here" revelation that's running through her brain at that moment.  
Magic HouseMagic HouseMagic HouseMagic House

Obviously we'll be taking her there again.  She didn't even go outside of the little kids area; we still have a good 3/4 of the place to see, I would guess.  After a couple of hours here, which included a trip to the gift shop for some fun toys that I'm putting aside for her birthday, we headed back for a very long nap.
The rest of our trip was low-key, which was perfect.  We spent time out in Nancy and Jim's spectacular garden; we even headed home with some uprooted day lilies ready for replanting in our yard.  Next weekend we will be attending both a graduation party and the ladies' tea, so it will a whole 'nother kind of trip!  We are some lucky ducks, living fairly close to St. Louis again.
Is she smiling there?  Maybe?  LOL

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Playing Ball

In the bright a$$ sun!!!  Jeez Louise is this picture overexposed!!  :)

Today was more like a normal day.  Hazel and I walked around a few stores after dropping Amos off at work, then came back for lunch, some ball-kicking in the newly mown yard, and nap time.  While Hazel slept I got to work on a new project:  stripping, sanding, and repainting the poles that hold up the carport on the side of our house.  The paint, which is of course several layers (and colors) thick, has been rusting away off these things for who knows how long.  Because they are rusty, and because Hazel is so small and could hurt herself, I have decided to redo the lot.  Amos helped me pick out the correct supplies, and today I got started, stripping & sanding two poles in the two hours that she naps.  It was hard, but satisfying, work.  
Next up on the docket is redoing a deep freeze that my mom and stepdad gave us.  This was secondhand to them, and while old and messed up on the cover, it works just fine.  I'm going to sand the whole thing, taking off the rust on the top, and repaint the whole thing white again.  I'm going to do that here in a few minutes so it can dry overnight without us running around. 
After that I'm planning to strip, sand, and stain this chest of drawers I have had for years.  It's white, badly painted, but real wood, and I got it at a thrift store right before we moved to New York.  Of course, after we got into the apartment I had no room for a project like that, but the carport that we don't use (the advantages of having only one car are countless!) is begging for some DIY!  Hey, I gotta have something to do in the month I'm off school!  When I start back with one class in July I'm sure this will slow a bit – well, probably.  I've been waiting for years to have the space to do these kinds of things, and now that I've got it I'm sure the novelty will not wear off anytime soon!  :)

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Moving is hard, even when you hire movers!  

We have been in Alabama since late Thursday, but of course we've been crazy busy and discombobulated since.  Friday we were tired, Saturday the movers delivered, Sunday we had a family cook-out all day, and Monday & Tuesday we shopped/unpacked.  Today we are down to unpacking all the little incidentals, although Amos still has to move his ASU office stuff over there & unpack all of it.  Honestly, as busy as we have been, I don't have much to say about it.  I mean, I'm unpacking all our normal stuff, the same stuff that we had, and what new stuff we've gotten has been junk like dishcloths and sponges and toilet paper, and who cares about that stuff?  Not me!
I have taken a few pictures of Hazel playing and being silly with everyone.  She was a Nervous & Naughty Nellie for the first couple of days, but once we established some kind of routine here, even the temporary "we live at Nana's" one, she settled down a bit and has been having fun.  Watching her play and interact with everyone makes the extreme drop in salary worth it, although I admit to being pretty depressed about the tsunami our finances have taken because of this move/job change.
But anyway!  Pictures!  These will cheer up even the Grinch.
WagonFrisbeePigtailsPlayingSwimmingSwimming with DaddyDon't you love that face???Wagon

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11 Months Old

This is scary.  Eleven whole months!  It's a cliche because it's true; the time just flies away.

Here is Hazel from last week, eating puffed wheat and playing with my sunglasses.

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Slovenes, Wine Country, and B&Bs

Last week was the wrap-up on our whirlwind vacation summer.  We took one last trip in mid-July, meeting up with Amos's parents and kind of tagging along on their vacation.  We had a great time, but I've been too pooped out to write or even look at those photos until now.

The first stop on this vacation was New Castle, PA.  New Castle looks a lot like Utica:  abandoned and creepy.  There was a little downtown part that looked like they were trying to fix it up, but I guess they just started on that effort.  But we weren't there to sightsee; we were there for the Slovene festival!  Carnival food vendors, bands, musicians, and polka lovers flocked from all over the country to this days-long jam session.  The site was also a campground, so we took advantage of the picnic tables, playground, and pool while there.  Actually they had a little wading pool, I guess you'd call it, which was only about 3" deep and had fountain streams jetting into it.  Amos walked Hazel around in it, and she loved it.  

Lemon SlushPoolPool

Unfortunately she was still having a bit of a hard time with her tooth coming in while we were here, so Amos and I spent more time in our hotel room trying to get her to sleep or eat or calm down than we did at the actual festival.  I think Jim and Nancy had fun, though, and we did while we were there.  I also will say that we encountered no good food there, with the exception of this one greasy spoon.  It was something like $14 for the 4 of us to eat breakfast, which is just awesome.

After the festival we headed up to Geneva, NY, which is located in the Finger Lake/wine country region of upstate.  It's actually really close to where we live, only about 2 hours away.  Geneva definitely had more curb appeal than New Castle, though it was surprising in its way.  The downtown area, which we could walk to from our B&B, looked cool, but really there wasn't much there.  This seems to be common in the NY villages we've visited; the buildings and downtown area look cool, but have things like attorneys, real estate offices, just places that you don't visit.  

So, being a family of problem-solvers, we drove to other places during our 3 days in Geneva.  We visited Canadaigua and racked up at the Salvation Army there, and also visited Naples, which is tiny but had some nice wine and a pretty nature trail.  Hazel was feeling much better during this part of our stay, so we were able to get out and do more.  Also, we stayed at the cutest place here called The White House on Washington.  It was comfortable, elegant, and relaxing, plus the host, Eric, kind of let us go crazy.  The 5 of us took up the 2 rooms in the B&B, so we kind of also took over the kitchen.  Nancy even cooked dinner there a couple of nights instead of going out.  I hope we get to stay there again!

After all the fun it was time to come home, and I was honestly ready for it.  We have been on the road this summer, me more than the other two Confers, and I have enjoyed just being in my apartment with my stuff doing my laundry.  This was a great summer, though, and I'm so happy we got to visit all these people we love and see all these new places!!  

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Lucky Preggo

This is what my husband does on his days off.

I'm lucky to be pregnant and starving with such a creative and amazing cook.
Speaking of starving…hahaha!

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