Friday, July 17, 2009


On our last day at home, I got to spend a gorgeous day outside with Tanner and Kylie, and my brother Jeremy, and Todd. Jeremy and the kids and I looked for a few geocaches at the lake where Todd's folks live.

It's hard to explain how a small man-made lake in southern Ohio could have such a hold on my heart, but it is one of my very favorite places in the world.

Then in the afternoon we headed to Beaver Creek State Park, which is a gorgeous hilly spot along Little Beaver Creek. You can canoe, hike, fish, and also see remnants of the old Sandy and Beaver Canal from pioneer days. I hadn't been there since high school, and we didn't have a whole lot of time, but it was really idyllic.

Kylie has a dragonfly captured in her hands here.

We practiced skipping stones.

It wasn't super hot, but it still felt great to take off the shoes and socks and do a little wading in the cool water.

Wish I'd had time to get a few more pictures, but no photo can capture a perfect summer day, the wind blowing in the trees, the sound of the creek flowing, the sight of puffed white clouds floating past in the blue sky...aaah. I want to go back!

Building bears.

While we were home, I took my niece Kylie to Build-A-Bear Workshop. We always try to do something special with my sister's kids while we're home, since we only get to see them once or twice a year, so while Tanner went to the flea market with Uncle Todd, Kylie and I headed for the mall.

I have to confess that I've always wanted to go to Build-A-Bear. I first saw one 8 or 10 years ago at a brand-new shopping center in Columbus, and I was so envious of all those kids and their stuffed animals!

Kylie and I had a blast. First you pick out what kind of animal you want to make, and get a limp "pelt" from one of the bins, then you take it to the fluff machine and have it stuffed. You can also insert a special heart that you wish on. Here's Kylie with her bunny...I made a bear.

Then you get to dress your stuffed animal--and boy oh boy, there are a million options. Sports uniforms, jeans, halter tops, Disney princess costumes, pajamas, you name it.

We had SUCH a fantastic time trying all sort of clothes on our bear and bunny. The store was empty for most of the time we were there, so we had lots of room to pile up outfits and tiny shoes. And the employees were really sweet and helpful to us.

We decided on play clothes for them, and then decided to get party dresses...and then pajamas. I couldn't resist the cuteness.

Here we are with our dressed animals. Kylie's is named Valery and mine is named Lizzy. You get to print out a birth certificate for them and everything.

Then that night we had a sleep-over and the animals wore their matching nighties and robes.

It was so cute to listen to Kylie talking to them like a little mom, and watching her take care of them. I don't think I could have come up with anything more perfect to do with an 8-year-old girl!

The only problem is, now I want to go back and make some more animals! They have a cute turtle, and they just came out with an owl...I can see where this could be addictive.