Friday, July 31, 2015

High Five for Friday (7.31.15)

1. We're home! After a month-long trip to Wisconsin we finally pulled into our garage (after driving the nine minutes from the airport) on Tuesday night at 11:30pm. We truly enjoyed our time away - we visited with lots of family members on both sides and made loads of magnificent memories - but it feels good to have unpacked our suitcases, taken care of the laundry, sorted through the mail, restocked the refrigerator, slept in our own beds, and hugged and kissed Tux until he couldn't take anymore lovin'.

So now it's time to settle back into our summer routine (or lack there of), get together with all of our friends, catch up on work, and start preparing for the new school year. Where, oh where, has the summer gone?!

2. Last weekend my boy impressed us all with his water skiing skills. He made it up once last year but only for a second or two, so when he popped right out of the water and stayed upright for 10 seconds we couldn't have felt happier for him. And he couldn't have felt prouder of himself.

His little girl shadows wanted to ski, but both melted down once donning the heavy and cumbersome skis. They tubed instead, insisting on riding in the tube together but never once agreeing on a speed. If you look carefully you can see the simultaneous "faster" and "slower" visual commands in the second picture…

I love spending time on the water, and while we take the boat out less frequently now because getting everyone organized takes hours and a level of patience I can't always reach, I'm always happy when we make it happen.

3. Madison has gone a little overboard with regard to the rights of human pedestrians…and now Wisconsin has gone a little overboard with regard to the rights of animal pedestrians. Watch out for livestock when you're driving through my home state, friends!
I may not love the law, but I got a kick out of
how the information was shared on our grocery bags.
4. Will and I struggle to find him books he considers appropriately difficult and I deem appropriate for his age (his reading level has outpaced his maturity level), so when I came across a compilation of "books for your tween boy" on Pinterest I took a few minutes to click through the selections. The list included Gregor the Overlander and the next four books in the Gregor series. Though I hadn't heard of the books before, I had heard of the author - Suzanne Collins of The Hunger Games fame - and knew immediately the series was worth a look.

After reading online reviews and summaries of what to expect in the first book, I decided Will and I would read it together. I read a few chapters, and then Will read the same few chapters afterwards; staying a little ahead of him allowed me to keep him from reading anything I considered too mature. (And reading the same book meant we could talk about it together - kind of like our own book club.)

After a slow start - both Will and I had a little trouble getting into Suzanne's "world" (kind of like how many readers struggled to understanding the society Suzanne built in The Hunger Games) - we picked up speed and never looked back. These books may have been written with tweens in mind, but I LOVED them, cruising through all five in less than a month. And Will? Well, Will left me in his dust. After the first book I decided to let him go ahead at his own pace, and he finished the series a week ahead of me after blazing through the 425-page finale in less than 24 hours.

Looking for something good to read this summer? Check out Gregor the Overlander!

5. Happiness Highlights:
Will and (trying to be brave and holding back tears) Hallie,
getting ready to ride the kids roller coaster at Mt. Olympus.
After once around the track she discovered she loved the
roller coaster…and then road it 10 or so additional times.
Cuties on the iconic University of Wisconsin Union chair.
Dinner music courtesy of Sara on guitar and Grandpa on ukelele. 
Sailing toy boats (popsicle sticks) in the street streams.
Ready to rock. Or swim. 
Will's first go-kart experience.
Dress up in adult-sized Halloween costumes.
Under duck!
I kind of wish they didn't insist on standing
up immediately after the under ducks though...
Beer can chicken on the grill - yum! I love summertime
grilling, especially when it isn't 100+ degrees outside.  
Riding the zoo merry-go-round.
Happy Friday, friends!

Linking up with High Five for Friday!

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