Friday, September 27, 2013

I love CAKE!!!!

Keeping with the Badger theme - Patrick and I created a Bucky Badger cake.
Surprisingly we could not find a Bucky cake pan,
so we created a Bucky face using a Hello Kitty pan.
Patrick sketched in the first layer of frosting so I had
something to follow and then I dotted the second layer on. 
Then the cookies were Grandma Herrmann's special cookie recipe - Patrick's (and now James') favorite!

We also made a smash cake for James to enjoy all to himself!

We sang Happy Birthday

We had been practicing blowing out a candle each night the week before - but no luck!
Next year!

Then it was time to take off the jersey and let the frosting fall where it may!

Once Patrick gave him a taste - he was ready to dig in - face first!

This one cracks me up!

John is checking out what all the noise is about and wondering where his slice of cake is!

And post cake --- what a mess!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What a day for a party!

We celebrated James' first birthday with a Badger tailgate last Saturday and had a blast!
The game was at 2:30 so we were able to enjoy all of the birthday festivities before kick-off and then, those that needed it, took a nap during much of the game.
 It was perfect!

One of my favorite pics from the day!

 Aunt Amy, Aunt Betty and James

Claire and James. 
Claire was loving her role as the biggest cousin (after Landon and Elise left).
She did an awesome job of playing with the boys and keeping them happy!

 Uncle Eric and James

The big cousins - Landon, Elise and Claire

James and Johnny playing in the kitchen - James was quick to show John the tupperware drawer!
Aren't John's bibs AWESOME!?!?

Grammy, James and Buppa

 Grandma, James and Grandpa

Landon, James, Jack and Uncle Jo-jo

During presents everyone squished into the family room - this was the stadium seating back row.
They were fake cheering while I was taking the picture.

My favorite quote of the day:
Landon: "Aunt Jenn - your house looks really small from the outside, but once you are inside, it is like a mansion!"
Thanks buddy - that made my day :)
 While it was a packed house - it was clearly filled with love and joy and we wouldn't have it any other way!

And one last photo that made me laugh -
Johnny eating his cake and wearing the Harry Carey glasses!
Too cute!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Birthday James!

Hard to believe it - but we have a one year old!
Happy Birthday to Jimmy James!

More party pics to come --- but until then,
here are a few favorites from his one-year-old photo shoot!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Patrick and I signed up to volunteer at this year's Ironman - NOT because we were looking to get in line to sign up for 2014 - but because it is a fun way to support the atheletes and be involved.
We came back from South Haven late Saturday night so we could be downtown for the start of the race Sunday morning.

Dusty, Patrick and Derek before the swim.
 They look so much more relaxed than in a similar photo from last year! 

Derek and Connie offered to watch James while we volunteered (Thanks again guys!) So after the swim started, Patrick and I headed off to the bike racks to help athletes transition from swim to bike. It was a really fun, fast paced job. The entire top level of the Monona Terrace parking structure is lined with bikes - we were each in charge of one or two racks of just 20 bikes. As racers come out of transition, volunteers start calling out their race numbers. It is similar to a large (and loud) game of telephone. People shout out the numbers as they run by so the volunteer with that athlete's bike on their rack is ready to grab their bike and have it waiting for the racer to grab when they get there. It was really fun and as usual - all of the athletes are so appreciative of any help and cheering.
Patrick and I ready to support the atheletes in our volunteer shirts.

Here are the first atheletes coming through - the first non-pro out of the water came by in less than 48 minutes - insane for a 2.4 mile swim! There were probably over 100 volunteers at this spot alone - it became an aisle of cheering for the athletes --- really cool!

After our shift we spent the day watching the race - definitely at a slower pace than last year!

Patrick and James on State Street - James enjoyed some pizza and clapping for the runners - but it was a long day for us all. Fun to remember all of the excitment from last year but enjoy the day with Patrick this year too :) Congrats to all of the athletes - we will see you again next year! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

South Haven

In early September we got to spend a long weekend at Andy & Beth's family beach house in
South Haven, MI. It was a fantastic time with college friends and family - the weather was perfect and the food and company were excellent too.

Here is a picture of the beach house. 
It is right on the shores of Lake Michigan and a beautiful place that sleeps about 40 people!

Different than the last time we went as a group (Patrick I were last there in 2009) - there are now four kiddos in the group!
The Meillers are expecting baby #3 in December - so Callie was praticing sharing lap space with her daughter Robin and Johnny.

The beach is gorgeous - if you didn't know better, you would think we were on the ocean!
We pretty much had the beach to ourselves - so we spread out and enjoyed every minute.

Here is a family photo of the Meillers - one of my favorites from the weekend...
Tyson is buried in the sand and Robin is sitting on him!

Patrick and James playing in the sand

Post swim - the water was chilly - but James didn't mind.

Johnny - upclose and sandy!

The Ulrichs have a great beach tent that provided some much needed shade for kids and adults. Robin is a few months older than John and James - she was running circles around them - but probably not for long!

See what I mean about the ocean feel? It is the best of both worlds --- beautiful and salt free!

The house has an awesome screened in porch that we spend alot of time in when we are not on the beach.  Here we are enjoying fresh salsa from multiple family gardens --- James decided he didn't need chips!

Another photo of the porch - there is enough wicker for everyone!

Perfect sunset to end the day.

These next 3 photos crack me up --- John was eating a banana before dinner and James decided that he needed to get in on the action. He climbed right across the table to take his bites.  Aunt Betty and John were happy to share and now James prefers to eat bananas whole - awesome :)

Such cute boys!

Both patiently waiting for Beth to peel the banana for the next bite.

In addition to the screen porch - there is a huge wrap around porch with more rocking chairs.
 James was a fan!

And here are the four kids --- Saturday was Tyson's birthday so we got to celebrate.

More time on the porch swing.

And a quick staged birthday shot.  We were not with John on his birthday - so we snapped a photo of us and the boys for John's birthday book.

It was a terrific weekend!