August 19, 2014


{red for a little pop of color on the cottage}

Every summer we generally take the kids on some sort of mini-vacation before they go back to school but with Jon being off work we needed to stay close to home so we decided to go to our cottage for the week.  What we didn't think through was how everyone else on the street was going home Sunday night and leaving us to entertain ourselves.

My cousin Whitney showed up Monday night and asked to take the little ones fishing at the cove, a little place on a dead end street where they clearly invite people to hang out on their property and catch fish.

We didn't get hauled off in the back of a police car and the kids caught a few good fish so I'd call it a success.  Haylee caught three little ones and were about to leave but with Ryan's long face Whitney decided we couldn't go until he reeled one in; his fish did not disappoint!

Tuesday morning brought rain so we got in the car and took the kids to a matinee, thankfully the sun was out when we left the theater so we had a chance to get outside in the afternoon.  We rode bikes around the lake...and stopped at the ice cream shop for a cone.

Whitney and I also had the bright idea to make the kids a slip and slide out of a large tarp that was in her dad's garage.  We drizzled the tarp with dish soap, set up a sprinkler and let the kids have at it.  Whitney and I even took a few swipes across it and I'll have to admit it was pretty fun.  


Jon had to be at the fire station back home on Wednesday so my friend Katie planned to come to the lake with her kids.  We packed a lunch and Whitney (after she and I battled a bee hive under the seat the size of my head) took everyone out on the water.

{the Pell people}

Kendall, Katie and Haylee took a turn tubing behind the boat, I was quite surprised that when Haylee went alone she kept asking for Whitney to speed up.  She rode for about ten minutes going full speed!

{Katie showing the kids how it's done}

{the little ladies enjoying the ride}

After tubing we stopped by the sandbar and let all the kids out to swim, ate our lunch and then headed back...we had been out there for a few hours and everyone was pretty drained.  But not too drained for ice cream before they left town!

Nearly every night I built a fire at our place or over at my aunt's place, it's one of my most favorite things to do I think because it's so relaxing.  At one point I sat and read a book for about twenty minutes before the kids were standing in front of me asking what I was doing, they must have smelled my contentment.


Jon had brought David back with him on Wednesday night so when we got up in the morning I had planned a project for all of us that I had seen on Pintrest.  We were going to turn a stump sitting next to our shed into a "gnome home".  I was determined to finally turn one of my ideas into a finished project.

The kids and I took a walk into the woods to see what we could find.  We found some twigs, bark, broken glass and rocks.  We then found some things at my aunt's house that use to be my grandma's (the buttons and some little craft trees).

Everyone had their own jobs, I mainly searched for buttons to put on my sign while the little kids were painting and the older two were cutting and hot gluing.  My grandma always signed her name "G" so I used her buttons to make a big G and then painted the rest of the words on the sign.

{it turned out pretty cute}

On Friday morning Whitney found out that her dog has passed away back at home so she asked that we spend the day on the boat while we waited for the working people to arrive for the weekend.  I packed a cooler of snacks and the five of us headed out to find a place to fish. Whitney and David fished for quite some time and their catches entertained the two little ones.

While everyone did their own thing I sat and admired the pedicure I haven't had in quite some time.

{equivalent to hooves}

David and Whitney showed some of their moves jumping off the boat into the deep water, but the littles refused to get out until we arrived at the sandbar.

{picking muscles off the rocks ~ nasty}

My sister offered to take my kids on Saturday night so Jon and I could have some alone time and we somehow ended up at the racetrack...Jon, David and I went to a dirt racetrack, romantic huh?

As with any extended period of time with three children, I was anxious to get back to work and get back into a routine.  Although we did something every day there was a lot of downtime where I had at least one of the kids in my face asking "what can we do now?" or saying "I'm bored."  I don't know how many times I had to say GO FIND SOMETHING TO DO but they just kept coming back!  Soon enough they will all be in school and even those few minutes of relaxation will be a faded memory.

August 14, 2014


Fourth of July has always been a fan favorite for my family, we refuse to spent it anywhere besides the little town where our cottage is.  There is nothing overly special about what goes on at the lake, I'm sure they do it up just like a million other towns across America but it's been a tradition for us.

While my favorite cousin and partner in crime and I were waiting for the parade to come by we snapped some selfies, she loves to pretend like she's a ghetto superstar but deep down she's a softy.  When it came time for the parade she decided to sit on the opposite side of the road and got herself a load of sympathy candy because everyone felt sorry for the overgrown child sitting all alone.

{uncle Warren and aunt Amy}

While we were waiting for the parade to come by I asked Jon to take a picture of me with the kids in the same pose we did last year on 4th of July.  I have made many changes in the past year including ditching the glasses and getting rid of the curls but I've REALLY been struggling with my weight loss!  I got down to an all time low around May/June and have just been packing it back on like it's my job...the way that is affecting me mentally is a whole post in itself.

{I weigh exactly the same in these two pictures}

After the parade we had a little BBQ at my aunt's house, everyone usually decks themselves out with some head bobbles, hats or necklaces and always with the red, white and blue.

{me and my momma}
{mom and her sister}
My grandpa was a key member in our little town's Lions Club so every year Jon still sells flares with the old guys on grandpa's behalf and every year on the fourth we have taken a flare to his grave and lit it off, after everyone left the BBQ I headed to do this before fireworks started.

Before the actual fireworks started my family gathered back at my aunt's house (she lives one street over from us at the cottage).  She and my uncle have always provided a great pre and post fireworks show of their own for the entire family/neighborhood.  They actually travel out of state to pick up the fireworks you cannot get here in Michigan.  Everyone has their "thing" and this is theirs.

{a small portion of their haul}
My cousin had some friends visiting so instead of going out on my aunt's boat like we have in year's past with them we stayed back on shore and hung out with the group on our own street...thankfully so because my kids were so tired that they actually asked me to take them home to bed half way through the show over the lake.

My dad and his girlfriend along with my cousin's family were all due to come up the next day and spend time at the lake so we got up early Saturday morning and got everything ready for our visitors.  After lunch we hung out in the sun catching up and watching the kids play at the lake. 

My dad and Laurie took our bikes for an attempt around the lake but didn't quite make it before turning around {ya big babies}.

{David and his cousin Bryelle ~ beauties in blue}
As the afternoon died down into evening the adults pretty much hung out by the fire having cocktails and catching up, we don't get chance to see each other often.
{Jon's attempt at recreating Mabel's snaggletooth}

{they brought their jet skis ~ fun}

{my cousin and I getting gangster for Instagram}
Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays...who am I kidding, I love EVERY single holiday! But it's definitely in my top three behind Halloween and Christmas.  I know we are supposed to be celebrating our independence but I simply celebrate any time that my family gets together for tradition's sake!
Oh and because this is a post about July I have to just share this last picture that makes me LAUGH OUT LOUD and if you don't have the same reaction then I'm pretty sure we could never be friends in real life.

August 10, 2014

Extreme Ink Makeover

  (my attempt at hand drawing the original tattoo}

When I was a freshman in college I had a professor (who was clearly still stuck in the seventies) assign a paper in which he wanted us to do something we would normally never do and write three pages about it.  He said "you know, like dress in drag and go to church or go get yourself a tattoo!" 

My eighteen year old self obviously lacked any sense of creativity so I  took one of his suggestions and decided to get a tattoo.  My friend Katie and I along with a girl from my sociology class piled in a car and headed to Lansing one Saturday night and did just that.  I can remember driving home that night feeling such a high after going through that experience, probably one of the first adult decisions I had made in my lifetime.

The original tattoo was of a black and purple throwing star type of design, I don't think I actually have a picture of it...but fifteen years after getting the butterfly/flower cover up that throwing star started showing through.  I had always hated the butterfly/flower coverup I had gotten, it lacked in so many ways.  A friend and I had gone to a hole in the wall place on a whim, the guy freestyled it and I toted it around for fifteen years (woof).

Earlier this summer when I saw everyone in the gym wearing the racer back tank tops I thought I'd like to wear one of too but my tattoo is so old school and ugly so I started pondering.  I wanted the piece to be meaningful because I'd already thrown something on there willy nilly twice and been unhappy with what I'd done.  I've always been a Wizard of Oz lover so I poured over the internet for a few weeks looking and when I came across this picture I immediately fell in love with it.

My grandma really liked the Wizard of Oz as well, her name was even Dorothy!  We were extremely close and since she passed I've thought of doing a tattoo to memorialize our relationship.  So my idea was to cover up the butterfly/flower with the locket that housed these steam punk style gears (which I totally dig) and also tattoo the words the Wizard said to the Tin Man which were "a heart will never be practical until it can be made unbreakable."  In my mind that was symbolizing like mechanical pieces can be fixed so that heart IS unbreakable unlike my own did when she died. 

When I arrived at the shop they said the words would be too small and may bleed together so I had to ditch the words.  She also had to add something to cover up my butterfly wings so she added a red poppy from the movie.  In the first session she did just the outline which took probably 90 minutes and hurt like a mother legs were uncontrollably shaking and I wanted nothing more than to throat punch her by the time I was done.

I had to come back two weeks later for the color because the outline had my skin so swollen and raised, I looked forward to that visit like I look forward to a hemorrhoid but it had to be done.  I had to sit for probably another 90 minutes but I will admit when it was done and I finally got a look at it, I was very happy with what I saw.  It's now a tattoo that I am not embarrassed about showing to anyone, the detail work is absolutely beautiful.

Third time was a charm with this once, twice, three times a tattoo.