Monday, June 30, 2014

Happy Second Soliversary to our Little Sunshine Soliana

It was two years ago yesterday that we first met our second granddaughter, Soliana.
We met her as she came off a plane from Ethiopia holding tightly to her mama's shirt who was carrying her.
Imagine what was going through her little mind.
She had just left the only place she had ever known, a care center in Ethiopia.
She had left behind the nannies who had raised her and loved her so much and would surely be missing her.
What a wonderful meeting that was for John and I.
Another beautiful granddaughter.
The name, "Soliana" means Sunshine.
How fitting for this sweet little girl who was joining our family after the death of our grandson, Natnael.
She truly was the sunshine after the storm.

Yesterday we headed up to Oshkosh to celebrate our second Soliversary with her.
We started with a bike ride to Caramel Crisp, her choice, for lunch.
Soli enjoyed her grilled cheese.
After a great lunch, we rode our bikes over to the park.
Soli wanted to go "sailing" so that is what we did.
Courtney, Soli, and I went on one of those big bike type boats and Paul and Tiz went kayaking.
John stayed on land and took photos.

Soli just loved steering our boat.
She was really good at it, too.
After sailing, John, Soli and I went on the train.
Paul and Tiz were still in the kayak.

After the train, it was the merry go round.
On the way home we stopped at the globe to point to Ethiopia and then enjoyed popsicles back at Courtney and Paul's.

We ended our Soliversary with a gift of a new pink wiggle car, now both girls have one.
We also had pink cupcakes!

It was a wonderful way to celebrate our little sunshine, Soliana!
Happy Soliversary Soliana!
We love you so much.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summerfest, Storms, and Cell Phones

Last  night, we changed our cellular plan to a cheaper one.
We will be saving $60.00 per month and we won't be losing any of our services.
That, my friends is the good news.
After changing our plan, we celebrated with pizza and beers at Rosati's.  I had a gift card from a student so the meal was free.
We had a lot of reward points from U.S. Cellular, so we spend 3000 of them to buy Summerfest tickets.
We have not been to Summerfest for years so we were excited to go and see if we had missed anything over the years.
We got to Milwaukee about noon and found a nice, cheap parking lot about 8 blocks away.  It was actually a very beautiful summer day.
We decided to have lunch at Saz's right on the lake.  We sat outside and our view of the lake was so nice.

We ordered a sampler of pulled chicken, ribs, and brisket.
It was so yummy.

We were about halfway done with our meal when our waiter came over and told us that storm was moving in and it was due to hit in a few minutes.  He told us we should move into the covered part of the restaurant, so we did and just in the knick of time.
The rains came down so hard, it actually started running into the building and there was about six inches on the floor in one area near a clogged drain.

The workers had to pull up the cover and drill holes into it so the water could drain.
Never a dull moment at Summerfest.
After the rains stopped we ventured out and enjoyed some serious people watching while listening to a few bands.
All was going well, until I realized that I could not send any texts or make phone calls.
Something was wrong with my phone.
We decided it was time to head over to a U.S. Cellular store before they closed for the night to find out what had happened with this new cheaper plan.
We certainly did not want to be without service.
We headed over to Delafield, the closest store we knew of, had to wait the usual half hour, but the girl was able to find the problem and restore service to our phones.
Good news again, we still have the cheaper plan with all our services!
We ended our day at Culver's in Oconomowoc and then a walk around the lake.
It was a good day despite the cell phone fiasco.
It is never easy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Waiting for the third shoe to drop or something like that

John was cutting the lawn on Sunday.
I was simply trying to open the kitchen window above the sink.
In my defense, the window is very sticky and hard to open so I tend to push on the top window to help push the lower one up.
As I was pushing on the top window, I pushed right through the window and broke it.
Number one thing - broken window.
Luckily clean up was easy because the glass fell in the window sill.
Problem is that half the window is till intact.
As I was cleaning up the broken window, John was walking by outside without the lawnmower, I called out the now open, broken window to let him know that the window had broken
It was then that he told me that his dad's lawnmower had finally broke after 30 years.
He was holding one of the wheels in his hand.
Number two thing.

I have always been told by my mom and her by hers that bad things come in threes, so we are just waiting for the third thing to happen around here.

The window works as is so until we come up with a plan, it stays as it is.
John purchased a new lawnmower and has since cut the lawn.

This is the broken window.  It is hard to see where some of the break happened, but about a third of the window was broken.
And here is the broken lawnmower.  You can see the wheel that fell off.
So, we wait for the third thing or hopefully, that old wives tale will be proven false once and for all.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Visit with Joan

Last night we had a great night with my college roommate, Joan.
It had been over a year since we had last seen one another so it was high time for a visit.
We started out at Joan's house with some snacks, beers, and wine.
She shared her photos books with us from her travels to South Africa, Tanzania, and Russia.
It was fun to see these places through her beautiful photos.
After visiting at her home, we headed over to the Panther Pub in Greendale.
We enjoyed some more beer, wine, and  great bar food.
It was a wonderful night with a great friend.

Here, Joan is holding our rock which we took from a place called Swank a long time ago on one of our nights out.
We pass the rock back and forth between each other and keep track of all of our get togethers on a paper included in a box with the rock.
Here are some pictures from past visits:
 Christmas 2012, our last visit which included our friend Doe, too.
November 2012 somewhere in Greendale
 I think this is at Fat Boy's
Yep, definitely Fat Boy's for New Year's Eve
 This was at a place called Tulips, yummy martinis
 This is the Harley Roadhouse
 This is a walk for Alzheimer's with Joan's mom.
Joan walked for her dad and I walked for my grandma.
 A visit in Delafield with our moms.
We are both blessed to have had such fantastic moms.
Joan's mom is watching us from heaven now.
I am so thankful we had these times to get them together.
 A visit at Margaret's condo
More martinis with Alissa
I was wearing a circus tent here.
 A hot summer night at Swig, I think
Christmas 2012 again.
Joan has been such a great friend to both John and I over the years.
Whenever we get together, it is like no time passed at all.  We are just able to pick up where we left off and that is what real friendship is all about.
We love you, Joan!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More Adventures in Babysitting

Courtney and Paul just picked up the girls after our six day babysitting adventure.
Courtney and Paul went to Jamaica and we had the privilege of watching the girls while they were gone.
What a fun time and just want being a grandparent is all about.
Our adventure started last Thursday afternoon.
The girls were dropped of in Watertown around three.
When John got home from work, we started with dinner at Culver's in Oconomowoc.
Who knew that Culver's would become such a big part of this adventure?
After grilled cheese and chicken strips, we took the girls over to Imagination Station to play.
Imagination Station is a fun park in Oconomowoc with lots of unique things to play with, in, and on.

Girls slept great that first night.
Had their breakfast in front of the TV, always do when they are here at Grandma's.
On Friday morning we went to the park and fed the ducks.
 After feeding the ducks and playing on the playground for awhile, we headed home for lunch in front of the TV and then we made some shirts.
We used permanent markers and designed them to look like a Kandinsky painting, then we sprayed them with rubbing alcohol.
They turned out really cute.
Grandma says it was a pinterest success.


While our shirts were drying, we went to the Watertown Aquatic Center with Grandma.
It was pretty cool outside, but we braved the cool temps and had fun.
Tiz went down the big slide three times and Soli ventured out into the deep water.
We finished up the day by playing in the sand area where we dug our own little pool and sat in it.
It was a fun pool day.

That night we went to On the Rock with Gigi and Mallory.
Soliana fell asleep on my lap after devouring her grilled cheese and stayed sleeping the whole night.
We must have tired her out.
Here are a few photos that Mallory too when she walked the girls down to the river by the restaurant.

On Saturday we took the girls on a road trip to Bloomington to visit Alissa and Nathan.
They are wonderful travelers and except for a few snack stops and potty breaks the drive was so fun.
Tiz read lots of books to me and Soli just sings to herself.
She did learn to chew gum, to she chewed through a whole pack, never swallowed it, just chewed it for awhile and then spit it out and got new.  It was funny.
We had lunch at Culver's with Lissa and Cheddah, what is new?
Then we went to the Bloomington zoo and met up with our friends, Kim, Verna, Kenley and Chase.
It was a very fun afternoon at the zoo.
Ended with a run in the splash pad before heading to our hotel.

We had so much fun at our hotel, swimming with Lissa and Cheddah.
After swimming, they took us to a pizza place with very yummy pizza.
They always take us to the best places when we visit.
When we got back to the hotel, we played some games and then it was lights out.
All of us slept well after our busy, fun day.

On Sunday, the four of us went swimming again.
Not sure Grandma and Grandpa are quite as much fun as Lissa and Cheddah, but it was a good time.
Lissa and Cheddah came to our hotel and watched some TV with us.  After that we headed to Steak and Shake for lunch.
It was yummy and it was not Culver's, but Soli still had grilled cheese!
We came home to Watertown, relaxed for a bit with Gigi and then we headed up to Oshkosh for the next two days.
John took Tiz to swimming lessons and then to track camp while Soli and I hung out and played at home.
We had lunch at a drive in on Monday.
After track camp we all went over to the park and rented a boat that Grandma pedaled around the lagoon.
We all rode the train and the girls rode the merry go round.
It was a fun park day.
When we got home, we made a special rainbow cake for mama and papa's homecoming.

 The girls also made posters for their mama and papa.

It was hard to believe that our six days were coming to a close.
So bittersweet.
On the way back to Watertown we stopped at the splashpad to cool off and then ate our last meal together at, get ready for it, Culver's.
Mama and Papa arrived around 8:00 and took the girls home.
Today when I woke up, I turned on the TV and saw Sponge Bob.  The last ones to watch my TV had been Soliana and Tizita.  It made me just a little bit sad.
I miss being with them.
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