Thursday, July 31, 2014

camping, rain edition

We arrived home from camping last night.  
A day early.

it was wet.  Really, really wet. We tried to stick it out, but puddles/lakes in tents, flat air mattresses, soggy foam pads, wet pillows, wet clothes, wet blankets, with no chance of sunshine to dry them was just a little too much.

But oh goodness was it gorgeous.
So, here's my list of the top five awesome things about camping in the rain:

1. No flies. The last time Kent was able to go on this yearly family camping trip with us, there were terrible biting flies that got in your face and were super annoying. Kent almost went beserk.
This year? No flies!

 2. Kids in raincoats.  Our extended family has nearly 90 members now, and we've got hoards of darling littles.  All these kiddos running around in raincoats and rubber boots? Super cute.  And the rain didn't stop them for a minute. They were having the time of their lives, running back and forth, using sticks for guns/swords/bows and arrows, stomping in puddles. They loved it. As they always do.
We camp for the kids, really.
Also, the wet ground didn't get muddy thanks to the pine needles, and it wasn't dusty. The kids stayed way cleaner than usual.  So, that was awesome.

 3. Family closeness. 
Oh yeah. We spent a lot of time huddled together around the snack tote underneath the kitchen tent.  It was dry, plus there was food.  

4. Camping food. We've always said that everything tastes better when you're camping anyway, but when you're camping in the rain?  That hot bowl of broccoli cheddar soup is amazing.  

5. These: 

It was seriously so beautiful. We were very sad to have to leave.  I could have stayed up there for weeks.
If I'd been a teeny bit drier, that is.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Nicholas and Ellie speak

 This little girl is a talker. And she says some pretty strange things:

Ellie was wearing a superhero blanket cape outside, Sarah asked her if she wanted to touch the ant they found. "Um, so, sorry, but superheroes don't really get along with ants very well." 
Then she turned and walked away.

She asked me what an airport is (She's often asking "what's that mean?" for every new word she hears). I told her it's where planes land and people get on and off. She sat up straight and asked "Does it have meatballs?? Meatballs are mine favorite food."

Ellie, sitting in silence at the table one afternoon. Looks up and asks, “Mommy, what is Pocahontas’s mommy’s name?”
I honestly don't even know. Anyone?

I helped Ellie get her pants on and her underwear was bothering her.  She just kept tugging it off again and yelling “Mine underwears is bonky! Mine underwear bonky!”

Lately Ellie has been finishing every sentence with "there you go, mine majesty."

At Church, Ellie asked me if the man speaking was Jesus. Um, no. "Where is Jesus then?" I told her He lives in heaven. "Oh. Well can we just pretend that man is Jesus?"

While eating lunch at In And Out. Nicholas sighs out of the blue and says "my head's pretty big."

Nicholas was super mad at me because I told him he couldn't have a cookie... He took out a paper and pencil and drew four people on it. Three of them were smiling. He pointed to the fourth and said, "that mean one is you, mommy."
Our family, according to Nicholas. I'm the grumpy one top right.

At Grandma and Grandpa’s house, Nicholas scraped his back while Sarah was helping him get dressed. He wailed and cried and laid down on the floor. He started rolling back and forth and he wailed, “Now I can never walk again! I’m going to have to roll around, forever!

In the car, Ellie said "um so, mommy, I love you twenty days!"
Then Nicholas added, "mom, I love you twenty ways."

I love them too.

Friday, July 18, 2014

the riverbed

 Just as I'd hoped, our dry riverbed has become one of the kids' favorite places to play, especially in the evenings once the shade reaches it.

Last weekend my mom and my youngest brother, Nathan, came to stay the night. They had to pick up my sister really early in the morning the next day.
We were so glad they got to come and play for the day, though!  Nate took the kids out and played with their little animals in the riverbed.
 While we were out there, a golfer drove past, stopped, and asked me if I ever let my kids watch TV.
"I've come past four times in the last two weeks, and your kids have been out here every day!" he said.

I laughed. 
Yes, my kids do get to watch a little TV each day (Mom needs downtime, for my sanity) 
but, they do spend a lot of time outside.  That's what summer is for, isn't it?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

my date with Nicholas

Nicholas is in swimming lessons this summer.
He loves them.
Well, let me rephrase that.
He is scared, crying, refuses to get in, and screams for me when he's in. For the first five minutes.
But then, he starts swimming and stops crying,
and when he gets out of the pool, he's beaming and laughing and shouting "Thank you!" to his teachers.
And for the rest of the day, he's telling me how much he loves swimming, and how he wants to swim forever.
Until we get back to the pool the next day, when the cycle repeats.

On Monday I thought I'd try to help by taking the kids to a nearby community pool.
It was crowded, Ellie was nervous about the strangers, and she refused to leave the steps.
Nicholas paddled around nearby, but I knew he'd have more fun if he could go farther. 

So after Kent got home from work, I took Nicholas back, just the two of us.
It was wonderful. The pool was nearly empty, the sun was setting, and Nicholas swam and swam and swam back and forth for almost two hours.  He and I had so much fun together.

 We finished the night with a special treat from the concessions stand.  
 I think we're going to make parent/child date nights a regular thing.  With all the daily tasks and work we have to do, with the day-to-day discipline and other correction that needs to be done, it's hard for me to feel like I'm connecting heart-to-heart with my kids like I want to.  They need to know that they are valued and important. And really, we just need to have this kind of fun together.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

at the river

 On Saturday we took the kids to a park near my parents' house.  It's always been one of my favorites.  
Huge green willow trees, a shallow, slow flowing river, bridges, and lots of soft green grass.
 Nicholas insisted on wearing the life jacket.  The water was only about 4" deep.
 I adore toddler legs.
 My cute parents braving the frigid water.  
When they got in and gasped, Nicholas chimed, "It gets better!  Once you can't feel your feet!"

 Ellie decided she'd rather just play on the banks than wait for her feet to go numb. I don't blame her.

Yep, we had a lot of fun.

Monday, July 7, 2014

4th of July birthday

 Kent's birthday is the 4th of July.
It's pretty much the best day to have a birthday ever.

On Friday, Nicholas woke up very early.  He was WAY more excited about Kent's birthday than Kent was.
So I took him downstairs (to let Daddy sleep in a tiny bit) and we made cupcakes. Tres Leche with peaches and strawberries on top.  
Cupcakes for breakfast is always a good thing.

Nicholas was so excited about the presents.  The day before, I'd taken the kids to the store and let them pick out presents for Kent, all on their own (as long as they were less than $5.)  
Then, they also got to pick the wrapping paper and help me wrap them. 

Nicholas chose the heart wrapping paper for the biggest box because "Then Daddy will see how much I love him!"
As I was prepping breakfast, Nicholas arranged the presents into a smiley face, "to make Daddy happy that it's his birthday!"
At some point between present arranging and present opening, Nicholas dressed himself with shorts and then a pair of underwear on the outside....

And, this is the present Nicholas chose for Kent.  Toy dinosaurs.  At the store, Nick picked those right away, "Because they're SO awesome, and Daddy loves dinosaurs."  When Kent opened them, Nicholas suggested that maybe, it would be fun to share them?

Ellie gave Kent a package of cookies, also suggesting that he share them.

After breakfast, we loaded up the van and drove to my parents' house to spend the weekend.  

That night, after dinner we set up lots of chairs, a couple of tables, and loaded them with things to be roasted:
Strawberries dipped in marshmallow fluff
S'mores with raspberries and nutella (Oh.My.Delicious.)
"wolf-'ems" (Also super delicious)
Rice Krispy treats
string cheese wrapped in biscuit dough
fruit, chocolate, marshmallows, and lots of grahams.

We called it our "Flambe Buffet." 
Because it's fun to say.
And fun to do:

We'd put the kids to bed before we even started this, because we followed it up with fireworks,
and I'm tired of trying to convince Nicholas to not be afraid of fireworks. No matter what we say, he just screams and wants to go inside.
It's just not happening.
So we put them in bed, and they slept soundly through the whole night.

Which is actually amazing.
Halfway through our fireworks show (Kent and some of my cousins were lighting them off) we might have kinda started several fires in the field, exploded fireworks into the crowd, and possibly even hit one person.
Our fireworks launching board apparently wasn't sturdy enough.  One arial tipped over and went haywire.  Thankfully, oh so thankfully, no one was seriously injured. And Kent dashed to the rescue and stomped out the field fires before they spread.

All's well that ends well, right?  We won't be forgetting this birthday anytime soon!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

playing with Grammer

 While Kent, his dad, and I were working on the river bed, 
Grammer spent most of the weekend in the playroom.
Playing "cooking." 
 Nicholas owned a restaurant.
The restaurant was named "Come, Come, Come." Fitting.
He'd take their orders (from storybook menus; Are You My Mother and Little Bear)
 Then wait patiently while the food was "cooking."

 He did have to take some complaints. I believe Ellie is explaining here that she asked for apples with her basquetti and meatballs, not corn.

After the unsuspecting patrons enjoyed their food,
Nicholas would throw in the plot twist.

It was poisoned.
And they'd have to die. Or go to jail.

All thirty-five times they played this game.

(Just so you all know, Ellie is wearing what Daddy picked out for her after she'd waited just a little too long to rush to the potty...)

Thanks for coming to play and work, Grammer and Papa!  
It was the best weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

carpet, take 2

On Thursday, we did this again:
It's a party in the dining room!  We can eat breakfast while touching the couches AND the piano! 
Imagine much giggling and climbing and "doghouse" pillow fort building.

We had to got to do this because of these, among others:

 The first install job was horrendous. Really.  
When we finally decided we couldn't take it anymore and called Home Depot, they sent someone out to check it and told us they couldn't believe we'd lived with it for that long.
We're talking gaps, bulges, frizzies, seams, everywhere.

Plus, I wasn't digging the beige on beige on beige look we had going.  It was pretty much exactly what I have been trying to avoid with this home.  
But, since repainting the walls would take me years, 
and Home Depot was replacing our carpet anyway,
we decided to go darker.

 I love it.

Now this is the "Ahh, I love my carpet, come see it everyone!" feeling I'd been missing the first time around.

And as much fun as the kids have when we cram all the furniture into the dining room,
I'm really hoping we don't have to do that again for a long, long time.
Our piano is ridiculously heavy.