Tuesday, July 30, 2013

June-Week at the Cabin with Cousins

One of the highlights of this past summer was spending a week at the cabin with some of my favorites-three of my sister in laws and their kids.  John and the boys were at scout camp, and we had no important commitments to keep us in the heat of summer.  So I packed up with the youngest four and headed to the cabin in the mountains to play.

The kids were in heaven, being surrounded with their best friends and cousins.  And I loved all the quiet, relaxed time with my sisters.  I love being with them and always feel like I learn so much from them.  They are all so fun, so creative, so kind. I'm lucky to have them.

One of the most enjoyable parts was getting to know my new niece, Kathryn.  My three girls couldn't get enough of her, especially EmmaClaire.  It does my heart good to see those nurturing qualities demonstrate themselves in my girls when we have little babies around.  

Being at the cabin is Boy Heaven for my Buster.  There is so much wildlife, perfect weather for outside play, lots of fishing, hiking, rock throwing, fort building, Indian playing, creating. . . Andersen was in absolute heaven.

There was plenty of time to just sit on the patio, watch the kids play, and visit with my sister in laws.  I love how much my girls admire and respect their aunts.  And I also love how these women show so much interest in the lives of my girls.  my girlscouldn't pick better role models to follow.  They are sure that their aunts are the coolest ever.

Here's the gang, always palling around together.  You'd think that with this many little kids around, we would have plenty of fighting and arguing, but that wasn't the case here.  For the most part, all of the cousins, even the very little ones, got along great.

Aunt Shawnne brought nail stuff.  Way to think ahead.  The girls loved all the attention they got from her.  

It was a wonderful, relaxing and fun week for all.  The only thing that forced us to come home, other than our husbands, was a wedding. And that's for another post.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Kate is 3 Years Old!

Our SweetCakes turned 3 towards the beginning of the summer.  Hard to believe that I have a three-year-old without anyone else below her.  I've never been in this position before (babyless), and I have a lot of mixed feelings about it.  But that's all for another post.

Another little neighbor, Colter, on our culd-e-sac was born about 10 hours before Kate.  Kate and Colter hung out together in the hospital and have since developed quite the love-hate relationship.  I'm good friends with his mom, and she came up with the great idea of hosting a joint birthday party for the two of them in her backyard.   And since my backyard was still quite muddy and out of sorts from relandscaping, I took her up on it.

It was a great time for all the littles in the neighborhood plus a few cousins.  Kate wanted to show up to her party as a princess.  Not sure why, because it was a water party.  But she figured that her princess dress could pass for a swim cover-up. 

  Here's one of her favorite cousins, Caleb.  Just a few months apart, they have always played so well together.

 Trying to figure out how to get those fingers to work. . . it sure takes a lot of focus to keep the thumb and pinky finger tucked down.  After working for a while, she finally got it.

Now she got it.  How old are you Kate? 

Kate, sitting next to Colter, getting ready to blow out their 3 candles.
Giant slip-n-slide provided plenty of fun for all the little people.
 One of Kate's cousins, Jackson, thought the big bubble thing was a sword.  Totally cracked me up.  And you can tell by Kate's face how excited she is with the princess set she got. Within minutes of opening the gift, she had everything on--a crown, princess shoes, and lots of jewelry.
  Kate has lots of fun friends right on the culd-e-sac that she loves to play with.  Jane, Kate, and Ansley.
  This is one of my favorite pictures.  It shows John's bow-legged legs, and Kate's knock-knees.  Kate can't put her feet together without her knees running into each other. On the other hand, John can't even make his knees touch for the life of him.  Not sure where the genetics lined up there. . .
 A new pair of sun glasses to add to the princess collection.
 And for dinner that night, Kate was excited to eat off the custom-made "LeSueur Special Plate" that John and I made a few years ago.  It hangs on our wall in the kitchen and gets taken down for only VERY special occasions. 

Things I love about our 3 year old SweetCakes that I don't want to forget:
  • shes' a pleaser and loves to be a helper
  • she has compassion; if someone is sad or gets hurt, she's always the first at their side, giving kisses or saying sorry for what happened.
  • her smile and laugh are contagious, and she brightens up our whole house with how fun she is
  • I love love love her dark brown chocolate eyes that light up when she smiles
  • she sings throughout the day.  sometimes it's to songs she has learned, but most of the time she makes up her own tune to her own words.  For a while, the song lyrics were "I love _______ because he/she is soooooooo nice".  Darling!
  • She idolizes her older sisters and loves to be by their side.  She won't sleep with anyone else but Abby and loves it when EmmaClaire plays school, kitchen, or beauty parlor with her.
  • Frequently when John or I show affection to her (tell her we love her or give her hugs), she hugs us super tight and pets our arms or hair over and over again while sighing.  Love it.
  • And for the record, at her well child check, here are the growth stats:  height 87%, weight 90%, and head circumference was completely off the charts and would have been around 150% if there was such a thing. 
Happy Birthday Kate!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer is Over

I can't believe how fast this past summer has flown.  Taylor started school this past week, and the rest of the bunch start this coming week.  Part of me is sad to see our lives start filling up with commitments and schedules.  On the other hand, all the kids will be glad to get back to routine, which makes life happier for all of us.

Summer started with a nice week of down time--no schedule, late nights playing games and goofing off as a family, sleeping in and being lazy in the morning, huge yummy breakfasts at 10 AM, and lots of swimming.  It was a perfect way to start summer and enjoy just being together with no major commitments. 

I started an entry towards the beginning of the summer but never posted it.  So, to start off our summer. . . .

"Summer has been in full swing for almost two weeks now. The kids have gotten into a good morning routine that includes morning jobs, school work, exercise, scripture study, practicing, and reading. At first when John and I introduced the summer plan, we got a lot of slack and complaining, especially from the older kids. They thought that summer should be a time for hanging out and wasting time, no school work, sleeping in, being lazy, and watching a lot of movies. Pretty much, all of my least favorite things.

But after two days, the kids realized that if they were consistent and diligent, they could easily finish their assignments by noon and have the rest of the day to themselves.

They are all involved in activities through the afternoon. EmmaClaire and Andersen have swim team every day, all three boys have basketball camp, and Abby has volleyball camp later in July.

The days are long, super fun, and really busy. Not very relaxing for me, but I'm OK with that. I figure, my job is to keep the kids learning, creating, and happy. There is constant need from at least two children all throughout the day, constant mess in the kitchen, constant crafting going on with the girls and their friends, and daily swimming.   And we're loving it!"

And now it's over.

Here's our littlest swimmer.  Love how her goggles are totally crooked, upside down, and off-set.  But hey, "they're pink".

And a little hip action.

For a quick overview of our summer:

EmmaClaire and Andersen were involved in swimteam each afternoon, Taylor and Mason did a 2-week basketball camp at the high school, Abby enjoyed a week-long volleyball camp in late July, and Andersen LOVED his little basketball camp-first ever.  It made him feel so big and strong!  Taylor and Mason also enjoyed scout camp with their Dad while I played at the cabin with some of my favorite people.  Then we came back for my brother's wedding, then left the following day to Utah for a family reunion for over a week. Then home for 4 days, then back up to the cabin with my parents, then home again for another week of fun with my parents, then some major home projects, then sending my oldest to HIGHschool this past Monday. . . . Sheeeesh!  It's all happened so fast. 

First day of school for Taylor.  9th Grade, 5 feet 9 1/2 inches tall, at least 145 lbs, braces, and super smart and handsome.  And cool enough to use his sister's pink and blue lunch bag full of leftovers for school lunch(because we were out of bread and sandwich meat).
I still can't hardly believe I have a highschooler.  I still feel like a "young" mom with little toddlers and preschoolers. I guess I am that (a mom with toddlers and preschool aged kids). . just not the "young" part.  Taylor loved his first day, loved his second day even more, and has walked in the door from school with a smile on his face every day since.  He is maturing quickly and I couldn't be more proud of such a fine young man to call my own. 

I'll post separate entries for all of our summer activities within the next few days so I don't remember all the details later.