Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer recap

I realize I have become a less than stellar blogger.  Life just never slows down and I just can't seem to fit "regular blog entries" onto my priority list these days.
I do have quite a bit of catching up though, so here is a taste of what we did over the summer.  :)

We pulled Jemma out of school on the last day of school because we wanted to go to Ti-bee Island in South Carolina on a friday...hoping it would be less crowded.  Well, it was PerFecT.  We had a wonderful time and even got our first (seriously needed) exposure to vitamin D for the summer.  :)

 Allow me to back up a little though...before we pulled her out, they had an end of the year field day with all kinds of fun races and relays.  Prior to the actual field day, they had all of the 1st graders race to see who would compete in a 50 yard dash.  Out of all the girls in Jemma's class, she came in 2nd and the girl who beat her has unbelievably long legs, so there you go.  ;) 
Here's Jemma competing in a balancing relay.  She didn't drop that little stuffed chicken once!  I was quite impressed.

 Carter also graduated from Pre-K.  We really liked his preschool and were sad to see it end...especially because kindergarten is ALL day here.  (LAME, LAME, LAME).  He loved his teachers, especially his MUSIC teacher, Miss Tammy.  She was hysterical and all the kids just LOVED her.
 In the interest of conserving space on this post, here's Carter with just the boys...Michael, Collin, Howey and Owen.  I heard about these guys pretty much daily...for being such a shy dude, I was grateful he managed to make a few friends.  :)

For Father's Day, I had the kids all take a picture in Brandon's Air Force boots.  They were just too cute not to post.  :)

 We also snuck into his office and I took a picture of them at Brandon's desk, then we framed the photos and put a poem about dads in a photo collage frame for him to hang in his office.  :)

 The kids also participated in a two week swimming lesson session at the beginning of the season.  Jemma and Carter made huge progress and are now swimming across the pool confidently and going off the diving board and slides without any flotation devices!  Woo-hoo!  This was especially important for Jemma who later accompanied Brandon and me to Hawaii!

Gavin, on the flip side, only attended his class 3 out of the 8 times and when he did go, he sat on the edge of the pool crying and refusing to get in.  The very last day, I told him that he didn't have to go over with his class, but that if he did, he was not allowed to cry and he needed to try to get in and do what his teacher asked.  Well, he finally got in and one of the guy lifeguards actually spent a fair amount of time with him jumping into the deep end (with a life jacket).  Sheesh!  This kid.    

Our 4th of July was a little sad.  It was pouring rain most of the day and into the evening, so all the parades and firework shows were canceled.  We decided that that was not going to ruin our celebration, so in the morning, the kids did their own parade (We watched our friends' youngest child, Greyson, while they were on a, the little blonde on the end is not ours :), but he could have been one of ours by the end of the week.  Our kids LOVED having him stay with us and he was a super easy goin' dude.)  We also had several friends and their families over for a bbq in the late afternoon and the rain even stopped long enough for us to set off fireworks in the front yard!  Yee-ha! 

We planted a garden and ended up with more produce than I could put to use!  It was exciting to go out and find things growing and ready to harvest.  This picture is of ONE harvest on a Saturday morning.  :)

We started off the summer with A LOT of fighting.  The kids were constantly at each other's throats!  But by the end, they were best buddies, always coming up with very entertaining forms of imaginative play.  Here's one shot of them I got on another Saturday morning.  LOVE the dress-ups.

 We also made it out to California for a few weeks at the end of the summer.  We got to see just about everyone we could possibly have wanted to, even our good friends, the Hamiltons.  Alan and Alee Hamilton were both influences for good in Brandon and my life as teenagers and have continued to be people we care about and look forward to seeing whenever we make it back home.  We had an opportunity to spend a morning with them and they had this hilarious little buggy still decorated for the 4th of July parade in their area, so they sent Brandon and the kids off for a ride.  Too funny.  :)

We stayed with Brandon's mom and dad most of the time (minus our 8 days in Hawaii - that trip requires it's own post). Their property is awesome and the kids played outside A LOT.  Trey, our kids only cousin on that side of the family, was staying with them during that time too, so our kids had an opportunity to do a little bonding with him.  Here are a few shots I took one of our last night there.

 And no trip out there would be complete without quad and tractor rides out in the pistachio orchard.  TOO FUN!

 But all good things must come to an end, and so, after 3 weeks of AWESOMENESS we reluctantly came back home.  :(  Home to humidity, bugs, freaky spiders, daily rain and thunder storms, school, structure and routine.  Alright, it's not all bad...I'm just feeling extra lazy here in the last trimester of this pregnancy and I sure enjoyed living a more flexible, relaxing lifestyle for 3 weeks.  I'll get over it.

  The boys, however, are LOVING the rain.  They get to go out and play in it every time it starts pouring, to which I have no problem as long as there is NO THUNDER and LIGHTNING.
Hey, your only a kid once. 

Like I said, you're only a kid once...and those are some TALENTED kids.  I can't even do that!

And here are Jemma and Carter on the first day of school...BOOOOOO!  I have cried almost every other day when I drop them off.  I still can't bring myself to put them on the bus.  Maybe next week...or when I'm finally in dire need with a newborn.

When did they get so big?  Sigh...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Boys' Birthdays

 So it's only been three months since we celebrated the boys' birthdays, (Carter, May 14th and Gavin, May 20th) but it would be criminal not to blog about them.  Just as a preface, yes, there are like four times as many pictures of Carter's birthday than Gavin's, but that is only because is was a "friend party" year for Carter...his FIRST party, to be a little more specific, and he requested a Pirate Party.  It was SO RIDICULOUSLY FUN planning this thing, but boy was I tired when it was over.

Here are a few of the details.  :)

Above: Gavin and Greyson enjoying some of the snacks.

Below:  The battle; most of Carter and Michael's teammates defected to the other side, so I was forced to join in the fun.  :)

 Below:  Walking the plank.

The pinyata - full of Salt Water taffy all the way from California because I couldn't find it ANYWHERE in our area...THANKS MOM for sending all of that!  We sure enjoyed it.  :)

Below:  Opening presents with friends.  Ok, so this is one of the prime reasons I LOATH friend parties.  I have been to A LOT of birthdays where the kids act like rotten brats and don't say "thank you" or just chucks the gifts aside that were less than stellar in their opinion.  Rude, rude, rude.  We're all glad you were born, but that doesn't give you the right to be a jerk.  No way.  So, I made it very clear to Carter than he be gracious and grateful to each of his friends for each of their gifts.  He did pretty well, and it's a good thing too, cuz I would have been mortified. 

After all the friends left, the kids put on pirate tatoos...I totally thought I had purchased stickers...darn it.  I'll have to check better next time I guess. :)

And that evening, we celebrated as a family.

 Carter is NOT a fan of cake, so we just had ice cream cones.  I was certainly not complaining.  I got out of making a cake for cryin' out loud!  
Happy 5th birthday Carter!  You are getting so big!!!  We LOVE you!

 6 days later, Gavin turned THREE!
This little guy has changed SO MUCH in the last year.  When he turned 2, he was barely uttering 30 words and was super low, he is a constant stream of words and rather lengthy, high vocab sentences, and quite frankly, is anything but low maintenance.  He is a stubborn little dude with insurmountable energy.  Man I envy that.

 He requested taquitos, NOT the homemade ones.  He specifically wanted the ones from the freezer section, with a jar of store bought salsa, chips and fruit.  It doesn't get much easier than that.  AND, to top it off, he wanted to choose a cake from the store.  AWESOME!  I totally got off the hook this year.  Hey, he was happy (and so was I).

 A few weeks prior when he and I were out birthday shopping for Carter, he spotted some toy yard tools and told me over and Over and OVER again that he wanted a blower and an edger for his birthday.  That's pretty much all he talked about from then until his birthday.  And, that lucky little dude, got what he wanted. He's completely obsessed with yard fact, the lawn mower he received for his birthday last year from Nona and Papa is still one of his favorite toys. 

Blowin' out his candles.

We sure love you Gavin!  Hope you had a fabulous 3rd birthday!!!