WARNING: If you don't like pictures - lots of pictures - do not proceed.
This is my last ditch effort to document our summer adventures someplace other than on our external hard drive since school has started and life is already crazy busy.
So here you go, a glimpse into said adventures to carry you through the months of May to September.
Home of the Hoosiers. I don't think the pictures do this campus justice - it is exquisite. However, in the name of full disclosure, I'm glad I was only there for two months rather than for two (or more) years for a graduate degree. The campus? Awesome. Bloomington? Not so awesome. The city itself is tiny and I think I would feel claustrophobic if it was my permanent residence. But, like I said, the campus is stunning...
Some of the grounds
Scenes like this are found all over the campus
A building I walked by every day on my way to class (my building...not so pretty)
The main entry to the University looking out onto a street in downtown Bloomington
Steve and Bug came to visit one weekend, so we headed to Nashville and went on a pretty hike in Brown County
Seeing the sights in downtown Nashville (Indiana, not Tennessee).
Showing Steve and Bug around campus.
I hope we end up somewhere where the soil is good for hydrangeas. They're some of my favorites.
"It's nine o'clock on a Saturday..."
Steve's parents came in June, and we loved having them here. We wanted to take them somewhere new, so we decided to show them Hocking Hills State Park.
Beautiful people, beautiful scenery!
Teaching the Bug how to skip rocks. Steve skipped, Ainsley chucked.
AJ loved spending time with her grandparents.
We felt compelled to introduce Bug to lemons while she had an audience. She didn't love it, but we sure did! If you haven't seen the youtube video of one-year-olds tasting lemons, YOU MUST WATCH IT!
The Irvine clan met up in Pennsylvania in July to take part in the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle at Gettysburg. We decided to break up the drive and spent a day in Pittsburgh before joining the rest of my family. Steve is the travel guide for these jaunts and he found an awesome building that we spent a few hours exploring on the University of Pittsburgh campus called the Cathedral of Learning. It's hard to explain, but each room represents a different nation, and each room's decoration reflects their culture, heritage, history, etc. These are working classrooms too, which we thought was pretty cool.
This is the Hungarian room.
And the room representing India (one of my favorites).
This building is located across the quad from the cathedral of learning. I liked the architecture (Gothic) so I thought I'd share. =)
The other must-do in Pittsburgh was to take a ride up the Pittsburgh Incline and see the lookout over the Monongahela river. Three rivers converge here, and we thought the sight was pretty spectacular. Pittsburgh has one of the more colorful downtowns we've come across. We bet the Autumn leaves would look phenomenal against this backdrop.
We took a small detour on our way to Gettysburg to see the Flight 93 memorial in Stonycreek Township. It was....somber. You see it, but you still can't really comprehend it - at least that's how it was for me. I was in NYC two weeks after 9/11 and even though I saw smoke, dust, debris lingering on the air, and the wreckage (from the distant boundaries), I still couldn't wrap my mind around what happened. This memorial, however, is a beautiful tribute to the lives that were lost. This walkway wraps around the flight path, and the line of trees you see in the distance is the farthest boundary line of the plane wreckage.
The passenger's names mark each segment of the stone memorial. The names have been colored in black, as you see above, and some of the names also contain their titles (not colored, just carved into the stone) like the captain, the flight attendants, etc. One of the passengers was pregnant, and they mentioned the unborn child beneath the mother's name.
I didn't really have a good concept of what exactly happened on Flight 93, but it is remarkable what the passengers and crew did when they figured out what was happening in a very short amount of time. The panels at the memorial were informative and touching, but not over-the-top.
We made it to Gettysburg, and enjoyed listening to talks by Union and Confederate generals and soldiers when we weren't watching the battle reenactments. Here we have the actor playing General Robert E. Lee on the right.
A taste of the battle preparation.
It was smokin' hot, in case you couldn't tell from our sweaty faces and red cheeks.
We were all a bit surprised that Bug LOVED the cannons! She wasn't phased at all by them (we thought she'd be freaked out), and we were sitting fifty feet away from them. She's a champ.
SUMMER FUN CLOSE TO HOME
Bug finally experienced splash pads this summer. She was too little last year to get anything out of them, but she had a blast this year. The water was frigid, but she still loved getting soaking wet.
Bug's favorite activity is pushing anything and everything around the house. For the sake of our ears one lovely afternoon we decided to take the noise outside. We're also trying to cure AJ of her fear of the (real) vacuum, so we figured a little fun would go a long way.
We found Bug like this one afternoon and laughed.....and then cried.
There are a million festivals in Ohio during the summer and we wanted to check out some new ones. The following pics are of Peach Daze and a side trip to Clifton Mill.
I'm not a huge fan of peaches (I prefer nectarines...it's a peach fuzz thing), but the ones we brought home were super tasty!
Outside Clifton Mill
GoRGeoUs! We loved this place.
Marysville Hot-Air Balloon Fest
We'd never been before and had no idea what to expect, but this was really fun. They probably launched around thirty hot-air balloons, and they had all of the usual (and unusual) festival food, drinks, games, etc. I say unusual because I don't think I've ever noticed fried alligator at one of these festivals until now.
Bug loved it. She couldn't take her eyes off of the balloons.
Evidence (from inside the screen...hence the crazy gradient) that our tomato plants grew taller than 5'3".
Because sometimes, you just don't have the patience to climb the stairs in order to jump in the tub.
She's obsessed with shoes right now - hers, mine, Steve's, it doesn't matter. Not even two and she's already workin' the heels. Nice.
ROADTRIP TO DELAWARE
My brother and sister-in-law moved to Delaware last year, and I wanted to see their new digs and spend some time with them in their new city. Steve couldn't take time off from work, so this was a girls-only trip (until we got there, then Cullen ruined our streak).
They took me to one of the most beautiful gardens EVER! If you ever go to Delaware, you must visit Longwood Gardens. C'est Magnifique! I'm a bit obsessed with flowers, so I was in heaven. Bug had a blast too.
Because they had a KID AREA with WATER!
She literally painted the town.
Aside from the cool sights, it was really nice to hang out with my family. My siblings live all over the place now, so it's nice that we could spend the weekend with two of them before summer slipped away.
Cullen is a pretty talented pianist if I do say so myself (and I do!) and Bug always enjoys listening front and center.
Need more proof?
Only now she wants her own seat to get in on the action herself.
In case you were thinking that our lives are all rainbows, teddy bears, and ponies - that's not the case.
This happened a week or so ago. Sad day! Steve was hit by a lady who didn't stop at the intersection. Fortunately, this happened after work before he picked Ainsley up, so she wasn't in the car. Her spot in the car is behind the passenger seat - the area that got hit - and while she would have been okay, it would have been pretty scary for everyone. We're so grateful that it wasn't worse than it was, but it was still bad. You can't see from this picture, but that tire slants into the car - we think the axle got messed up in the accident. There's a part of me that is really sad about the fact that my car might be totaled. =( This is truly my "first car." I've had it since 2004, and we've seen many miles together. We'll find out this week how bad the damage is (inside and out), but again, we're grateful no one was injured.
Somewhere in the middle of all of our summer adventures Bug grew into an adorable toddler. Who knows when that actually happens - eighteen months? two years? - but she has changed so much in so little time it's almost scary. I am starting to appreciate why my dad still tells me that he's going to turn me back to four.
Managing the playground stairs and slides all by herself.
As much as I wish that I could say AJ takes all the credit for her wardrobe selection, I can't. We did that to her. Hehehe...
Check out those wings! BAHAHAHA! She will likely make fun of us in our old age, but we can always pull out the evidence and give it right back. =) Family is the best!
This is probably my favorite 'do - she sports this right after nap-time.
This was from May, but since July just passed (sort of), we'll pretend that this was for the Fourth of July, even though it wasn't.
And there you go - our summer 2013 adventures. Even though it slipped by too fast, we made the most of the time we had with the most normalcy Team Adams has seen for awhile.