Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Bucket List

It seemed like a good idea 2 months ago. It was the first day of summer and we had weeks and weeks ahead of us! We made up our summer bucket list...a list of 59 things (cause that is what fit on the poster board) we were going to do this summer! Some were free...some cost money...some were spur of the moment things...some needed planning. The idea was to make sure we were intentional...and doing some fun stuff with the boys...and to give us some ideas on those "what do you want to do today" days.


Well...we have 10 days left as of tomorrow...and we aren't 1/2 way through our list. Now, I know in my heart that we have had a busy full summer! 3 birthdays + Ice cream Social + vacation to lake Michigan + VBS + vacation to Holiday World...and none of those were on our "list". Plus...we've had so many 90+ degree days which just seem to DRAIN all of our energy.


But...I'm determined...we're going to do it...well, maybe not pick strawberries, cause I don't think that is even possible! Maybe I'll just buy some and scatter them across the backyard.


It looks like we have 28 of them done...so that leaves 31 of them left! I look at a few of them and think, "we've done that..." but according to the master, Seth...we haven't! Evidently game night MUST be more than 1 game..and coloring must include the whole family.


So...31/10 = 3 a day! Whew...so much for the lazy days of summer....and we've got several "other" things already on the calendar for the next 1.5 weeks. Maybe...just maybe...it will be an "official summer" bucket list and we'll go until Labor Day...or hey...isn't the first day of fall not until September?

still growing too fast!

This kid just cracks me up! The other day...while doing dishes and vacuuming...this is how we found him:


yes, wearing 2 winter hats...and it's been like 90+ degrees out! We're never quite sure what he is going to be up to! Lately...he has taken to grabbing wooden spoons out of the drawer, giving one to Seth and saying: "FIGHT. "


He continues to be fascinated with water and says he wants to go "swimming tomorrow" everyday! I really don't think he knows what "tomorrow" means...but he says it! And...he has a new fascination with dumptrucks and excavators. We drive by a lot of construction (what's new in FW) and he is always saying: "I see a dump truck" I see an excavator" But...really...any vehicle that is not a car...is a dump truck...so we see a LOT of "dump trucks"


We did venture and take him to his first movie theatre movie the other day! Winnie The Pooh is out...and it's only an hour so we thought that might be a good iniatiaion. He did really well...he was quite verbal at the beginning..saying: "I see a _____" anytime anything came on the screen...and he was quite intrigued by the light coming from the projector. Overall...he did really well and tells me often he wants to go to the "big tv tomorrow" Yes...he is growing up way too fast...is it me...or does he look like a 4 year old in his 2 year old pics?

I could just eat him up with all those curls!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A evening at the county fair

Seth spent a few days with Grandma and Ted earlier this week...just by himself! It was a special treat for him and as always, he was genuinely spoiled. After 3 days away, I missed my boy so we headed to Portland to pick him up....but spent a few hours at the Jay County Fair...the HOT HOT fair.

Grant was not too impressed with the animals...but most of them were lying down...just trying to stay cool
He was impressed with the tractors...suddenly he is totally enthralled with big machines...especially dump trucks, excavators and tractors

We grabbed some dinner...first stop was some grilled corn...complete with a total butter bath! Thankfully Seth's front teeth have come in enough he was able to eat his first ear (on the cob)this summer!




Then...Grandma treated the boys to some rides...this carousel ride seriously went on forever...it was almost comical. I was glad I didn't ride cause I would have seriously been sick by that time. I really think the "carny" fell asleep.

The boys rode a little roller coaster...what a great big brother!



Thankfully Grandma can stomach all those whirly rides...my stomach just can't handle them and Seth seems to adore them.



Grant was happy with all his little rides... he just seems so big riding all alone!



And what's a county fair without some elephant ear! YUM YUM!


It was hot, but it was fun! Thanks Grandma and Ted for a fun night out...and for keeping our big boy for a few days and loving on him! Just wait...Grant's turn is coming.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The long trip home

We took our time packing and getting ready on Wednesday morning...we were in no hurry to get back out into the heat! It just seemed to be getting hotter and hotter. We pulled out around 11 and headed into the town of Santa Claus and explored the Christmas store and museum.
The boys wrote letters to Santa...can't wait for him to write back! They even got to ride in his sleigh!

We found a roadside sign and took a picture...just to make me happy!



We met my parents for lunch and then drove a few miles to Lincoln's Boyhood Home. We explored the museum (while Grant slept in the stroller) and watched a video on Lincoln growing up. Then...we headed out to the working farm and the replica of his home. It was really too hot to even enjoy it.




The cutest thing was when Grant started pounding the mash..all the chickens came running!

In front of the actual location of Lincoln's cabin!



Then we headed east. We decided to get a hotel for the night. We got our room and after getting unloaded it just didn't feel cool. I went to the front desk and told them. They were sold out of rooms. They offered a discount rate and a fan! Nope...that wasn't gonna work! So...instead, they offered the only available non-smoking room......the jacuzzi suite! SWWWEEET!

So...we enjoyed our nice...COOL 2 room house! The boys watched some cartoons and then we headed to Walmart to buy sweatshirts since we were planning to go to a cave. That was weird...buying sweatshirts when it was 100! After a quick dinner at Culver's we hit the hotel pool and then had more fun in the room tub! I think the boys had more fun in the jacuzzi than than the pool. Then...it was bedtime...it was a treat to have the boys in a separate room...and to have a KING size bed for us! It felt HUGE after our twin bunk beds the past few nights!


A good nights sleep was had by all...we all slept in (including Grant who was on day 4 of no real nap!) and then dined on the "free" breakfast.


Then a 15 drive to Marengo Cave. The constant 53 degrees felt wonderful...infact, I didn't even use my brand new from last season on clearance sweatshirt from Walmart. Seth really enjoyed it...and Grant just kept saying: "Where are we?" The 40 minute 1/3 mile walk was perfect for the boys.







Had the heat not been unbearable...we might have gone elsewhere...but we really didn't want to be outside anymore! Plus...it is always nice to be away...but nicer to be home. We were home in time for dinner (carry-out, since we have no groceries), bath and some downtime! It was a good 5 days away....and now...on to the last 3 weeks of summer! Where has it gone?

Holiday World

After a wonderful VBS celebration at church...we quickly headed south for a short family vacation. It was my birthday...so Andy treated me to Moe's on the way. The boys did great and overall it was a pretty easy drive down to Santa Claus, IN. We met up with my parents and my brother's family at the campground. My parents took their RV and rented a trailer for the rest of us. It was great. My cousin and her husband who live nearby were also there and we all dined on a gourmet birthday dinner.

I teasingly told my dad I wanted peel and eat shrimp and crab soup for dinner (since that was what we had last year at the beach!) Well...being the awesome dad he is...he didn't let me down. In fact...the soup was even better than the Lobster House in Cape May! YUM YUM! Plus some fish and fresh cucumbers made for a great birthday dinner. Cousin Martha brought some homemade blueberry cobbler that was awesome (and I'm not even a cobbler fan!)

All four of us were in 4 bunk beds in the trailer....it was some great family bonding time!

We woke up Monday morning and headed to Holiday World...it was a short little shuttle ride. It was already HOT...and I mean HOT! Nana and Oompa took Grant and Andy, Seth and I rode a few rides. We met up with Grant later and went on a few more rides and grabbed a quick lunch. Then...back to the camper for a nap! HA HA! Grant was no where close to taking a nap so we changed and headed back to the water park! By this time it was REALLY hot! Grant and I played in a kiddie area while Andy and Seth rode a few waterslides. Then...we switched and all went on the lazy river. Unfortunately, it was really crowded and the lines were quite long for the big water slides.

By this time the lines were short in the amusement side...everyone was at the water rides...so dad and I tackled THE VOYAGE..the number 1 wooden roller coaster! Wow...what a ride...I've never been so shaken up after a ride. Andy and Seth were off playing and Nana had Grant. We met up with Nana and took Grant on some kiddie rides, including the roller coaster for kids..he did so well!

Back to the camper for a quick dinner and back to the park for a few more rides. Lucas, Seth and I tackled another roller coaster and the boys rode the scrambler again (one of Seth's favs).

We all crashed when we got back...but Grant was SUPER for only catching about 15 minutes in the stroller.

On Tuesday we decided to hit the water park first thing...Nana and Oompa kept the little ones while the rest of us rode a few water rides. We then found some kiddie slides where Grant had a glorious time...all he would say was: again! I know he went down those slides at least 50 times. The bigger boys were loving the wave pools. We spent the rest of the afternoon just playing in the water (trying to stay cool) as it was at least 97 and HUMID!!!! We were all just dripping in sweat.

Andy took Elijah for a while...we kept Lucas...Andy went back...the boys and I did the lazy river and had ice cream. It seemed like we were all split up at some point...but keeping 11 people in the same place was impossible. Doug's family had to leave after dinner...so the rest of us went back to the park for a final 2 hours.

We had noticed that the rental trailer seemed really hot...we asked them to check the air conditioner while we were gone. Glad we did...cause it was shot...but luckily they just installed a new one while we were at the park.

We rode a few more rides...dad and I did another roller coaster and then closed down the park with a final carousel ride.

It is a very cool park...very clean! They offer free soda/lemonade/water/tea throughout the park. They are called Pepsi Oasis and it is the best thing EVER...especially when it feels like it's 110 degrees. Although some of the lines were a little long...it was still a great vacation. I am so thankful to my parents who provided this for us...what a great treat and what wonderful memories they are building with our boys. It's all Seth talked about...all they way home. And Grant...was a complete angel, even without a nap...as long as that kid is busy, he's a joy!





Our not so little 2 year old!


Every mom says it...but really, how can my little baby be growing up so fast. He is the funniest thing ever. It amazes me at how different he is from his older brother. He personality is really shining right now...and his vocabulary is exploding. He is even learning little phrases...like "right now". He also has the cutest inflection of his voice when he asks a question.


He turned 2 at the beginning of the month...I had been thinking in my mind that it was time to try and do some paci bootcamp. He has a love/hate relationship with those things. Some of the time he is screaming for them...he hasn't gone to bed for 2 years without one. They bring him a lot of comfort when he's upset...and can bide us a few minutes of quiet when he is screaming (especially in the car!)



However...he also loves to chuck them anywhere...at me, in the grocery, in the van. For some reason, at some random point in time...he will just chuck it as hard as he can. Usually, within in a minute or 2 he is screaming "paci" all over again. And lately, he has been hiding them...under pillows, in the couch and in any random hole/opening/box he can find. Sometimes I find them in the cereal box...sometimes in the utensil drawer.


Well...on July 3 it was nap time and I couldn't find 1 single paci anywhere...and I know there are at least 10 of them somewhere in this house. I bit the bullet...cold turkey..I told him that the pacis were all gone. Amazingly...he fell asleep. And amazingly again...he fell asleep without a mention at bedtime. Amazingly...it's been almost 3 weeks and no battle.



He has even found some of those said missing pacis in the house since then. He'll come to me with 1 in his mouth all proud...I'll take it away and say no more pacis...and not another word. I'm so proud of that little guy...giving up a 2 year old habit so easily (now if we could only get the 7 year old to go cold turkey with his blankie).


We went to his 2 year well kid check-up. No surprise he continues to be off the chart on height and at about 75% for weight. The doc predicted around 6'6" to 6'8"...YIKES! He checked out completely healthy and appeared to be ahead of the "crowd" when it comes to talking and physical abilities (steps, catching, jumping). Interestingly, we just found out that Grant means big and tall! Hmmm???


What a blessing to be this little spitfire's mommy! He can make me scream...but can also bring the biggest smile. Just the other night...he brought me to tears...while singing to him as he slowly fell asleep...laying there so sweetly...cuddled with me on the bed. Those are the moments I want to cherish ALWAYS (not the ones when he brings me to tears cause he just did a killer head but and broke open my lip!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

PandaMania

Last summer, our children's pastor asked me if I would be willing to direct Vacation Bible School at our church for next year. Because I have a hard time saying "no"...I said yes. I started working on it off and on in about January. In the beginning of June it started picking up as I started organizing volunteers...but I wasn't able to fully focus on it with the ice cream social and all those cookies.

As time passed, the volunteers were signing up and so were the kids. Based on past years, our children's pastor said we would probably average about 50 or so. I planned for 75. About 2 weeks out we hit 75 of pre-registered kids! So...we ordered more supplies...taking us up to 100!

Well...the numbers kept growing and I was worried. We had to add 4 more rooms to accommodate the 40 preschoolers that were registered. What about decorations?


And then God showed himself. We got a call from a church in town doing the same curriculum and asked us if we wanted all their left over decorations. So...on a Thursday night at 8:30...a team of 5 of us took the church mini-bus and filled it to the max with supplies...including 75 bamboo poles made out of carpet tubes! It was such a blessing. We took almost everything they had.


Meanwhile...more kids were signing up! More volunteers were stepping up! But...we were low again on craft supplies. Then...more God! Another church called and they had left over craft supplies---the same ones we were short on. I jumped in the van and drove to Ossian and picked up another vanload of stuff!


Well...VBS was here. As of Sunday, July 10...100 kids were pre-registered. An amazing knock-out team of about 25 volunteers stayed all afternoon on Sunday and we transformed almost the whole church into a bamboo/panda infested forest. I was blown away by the dedication and talent of so many






And then the kids started coming...all 117 of them the first night (which is a whole lot more than 50!) And on Monday...146 kids showed up! WOW! We were officially way short of supplies. We found another church selling their left-overs for 1/2 price. Our children's pastor drove to south of Indy to pick them up! It definitely took a whole team to pull this off!


It was an amazing week! God provided in so many ways....kids...volunteers...supplies. It was a humbling week to see so many dedicated volunteers...so many kids excited about God's world. It was a rough week though...I was up until at least 2 almost every night preparing for the next day.


Andy was amazing..he was so much help...with the boys and around the house! I had to go to church each afternoon and make copies and prepare for that night. Also...he just totally stepped up at VBS wherever there was a need.


It's a tough week...but so rewarding. Even Grant had an amazing volunteer who taught the toddlers lessons. It was so cute to hear him say: "God made Grant!"


We finished the whole VBS up with a Sunday morning celebration at church on Sunday, the 17th. We easily had at least 100 kids come and sing their songs and share what we learned. Even Seth was willing to stand up in front of the whole church and talk!


Overall it was good.... a lot of work...but good! I tend to put my whole self into large projects like this...so at times I probably seemed pre-occupied with VBS...but in the end I can say I did my best. I learned a lot about VBS...and our church and the volunteers. It felt good to give of some of my gifts. The whole week....I was in awe! Awe of a God who totally showed himself in so many ways.


It was great celebrating a God who is WILD ABOUT US!

July Update



It's been a super busy July and it is going way too fast! I haven't even been able to keep up with my blogging...here's a few updates for the first couple weeks of July.

After celebrating Grant's birthday it was the 4th. We attended our association's annual bike parade. We decorated the bikes and bike trailer with all sorts of red, white and blue stuff. We rode down to the starting point, only to discover we were early! But we took advantage of the extra time and rode on over to McDonald's for some smoothies.

At the end of the parade, we jumped on moonwalks, rode in hostage units and ate some pizza.



Then...after cooling down for a while, we stopped by my parents for a cookout and then headed to Leo for the fireworks. Our church had a huge area staked out...so we were able to visit with some friends as well. It was a beautiful night. Grant wasn't a fan of the fireworks and after crying for about 20 minutes...finally calmed down once I hid him under a blanket on my lap.




It's been super hot...so we have been playing in the backyard and swimming a lot!









Plus...


--we went to the 3 River's Festival Parade and walked around downtown


--Andy spent hours and hours painting street signs in a neighboring neighborhood (for which he is their "handy-andy"


--growing and tending to our garden! Not bad for a few sprouts that came home from kindergarten in a paper cup!



and a lot of time just trying to stay cool. I am so ready to turn off the air-conditioning...but that's not going to happen anytime soon!




Oh yeah...there was 1 more thing that kept us all busy..stay tuned for my next post!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Grant!

Wow...talk about a FAST 2 years! I figure you can call a 1 year old a baby still...but once they hit 2...they are too grown up...and that's what I have...a very tall, very talkative and very ORNERY 2 year old!

Andy took Grant out this morning for a doughnut! It was kinda fun for him to have some one on one time with Grant. Then...we just spent the morning at home. I took both boys to McDonald's for a quick lunch. I always think that he is old enough to go up in the germ tunnel...but evidently, he isn't! After about 10 minutes of screaming, I finally found an younger teen who went up and found him! Yeah...done with that for a while.

Then we ran a few errands and picked up his cake and bought balloons before coming home for a nap.

The family all came over for dinner, presents and cake. Cousin Nia was all about helping unwrap...and we heard a lot of "MINE!" Fortunately, we gave Nia a gift as well (as we had missed her birthday in April) so she was soon entertained. However....there was a 7 and 8 year old really willing to help.



The winner of the night...a soft ball/bat combo! I felt so sorry for him...he just wanted to play with his new toys and we kept pushing him to open more gifts!




He was also quite excited about the new scooter. However...he thinks he can just stand on it and it will go since Andy was pushing/pulling him back and forth. But, knowing Grant, it won't take him long to catch on.


Time for cake...took the easy/cheap road and ordered from Sam's...I was quite impressed! Grant is ALL ABOUT Elmo, so it seemed a logical theme.







When it was time to blow out the candles, he hit his finger on the table...so this was his demeanor for most of the song!


But he quickly cheered up when it was time to eat the cake!



Wise move momma, to take off the clothes...that red icing was dangerous!




It was a fun low-key, 1/2 way relaxing evening. Grant did really well and seemed to enjoy himself. Not quite sure if he understood everything...but he had fun! We are blessed with a wonderful family who just loves on our little --well, not so little anymore---guy!