Monday, August 31, 2015

summer fun {part 2}

For our anniversary we enjoyed some Patachou.

Then off to the zoo we went.

The orangutans were my favorite that day. We had never seen them so active. They were playing peek-a-boo and wrestling with each other, swinging from the vines, and scaling the walls.

We also did our annual camping trip. In the backyard, of course :)

It's a lot of work just to go camping in the backyard. I can't imagine packing all of this up (plus more!) and camping somewhere else. Phew!

The kids did a great job sleeping. Lincoln and I stayed inside, which was a smart move since he was up most of the night. I thought AJ would have been the one to not get any sleep out there with the kids, but instead I was the one who only slept about 3 hours straight. At one point AJ texted me at 4 am because he could hear Lincoln crying all the way outside!

No matter how much work it is, the kids always enjoy the "forest castle".

The kids have been asking for months to get some frozen yogurt.

So we went and they enjoyed this special treat. Selah was so cute...AJ took the kids up to pick their flavors and he handed Selah a sample cup to try a flavor and she marched away with it because that is what she wanted to eat out of. Maybe next time we will be able to get away with sample cups for all the kids! :)

And once the sugar set it, they just wanted to make silly faces.

On our anniversary we thought we would eat at our dining room table. Ari said "Who is coming over?" Because the only time we eat in there is when we have company. Our little anniversary dinner was just for us, candle-lit and all.

And these are the pictures that turn out when your 4 year old takes them :)

These cousins are 8 weeks apart.

We also got free tickets to an Indians game. Since our last one got rained out we were able to stay longer at this one. 

It was pretty hot, but we got to enjoy a free concert ahead of time since it was Faith and Family Night.

And we kept putting off getting our corn and green beans, but I was worried we would miss our opportunity so we spent about four evenings freezing sweet corn and canning lots of beans. So glad we did so we can enjoy these all year long.

summer fun {part 1}

Besides getting used to school, we have had a full schedule of fun things to do.

AJ got free tickets to see an Indy11 soccer game so we took a picnic and ate at the zoo beforehand.

We also did a little walking through the gardens. I've never seen lily pads so large in my life!

Lincoln missed out on the picture since he was hanging out in the stroller.

The game was so much fun. We could only stay for half, but it was super exciting and the kids even enjoyed watching it. Poor Selah wasn't feeling well which ended up being a two week ordeal :( But so thankful the chest x-ray came back clear and she finally recovered.

We've enjoyed playing a new frisbee game together. The kids decided to get inside and run around instead. :)

AJ and I celebrated 8 years of marriage and the kids wanted to take turns taking our picture.

We've also been having fun with my niece four days a week. The kids love to help out with her. Since they don't ever get the chance to feed Lincoln, I usually have a volunteer to help with her.

We also got free tickets to Mallow Run Winery to see Time For Three. What a fun experience! The kids have listened to their music online so they really enjoyed being able to see them in person.

Even though it was crazy hot, the kids did an excellent job. We were prepared for it to be loud and remembered Evangeline's ear muffs :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

1st Grade

I'm still somewhat in disbelief that my baby is in first grade! When did he get so big, so mature, and so confident?

Sending him off to school has been an adjustment for all of us. We are three weeks in and my emotions are finally under control when I drop him at the door and I watch him walk in the building with his head held high, wearing his over-sized backpack. Well, most of the time anyway:) He absolutely loves it and that makes it a little easier on me.

The girls and I are finding our new "normal". It's really quiet when he is away, like too quiet. It's been almost 7 years since our house has been this quiet. Evangeline doesn't have her best friend to play with and she will even ask "What do you think Ari is doing right now?"

Selah and Evangeline are starting to figure out how to play well together. Selah has always been by my side while the other two go off and play, but I think the girls have figured out they only have each other for most of the day so they better make the most of it. Every day is a little better. Evangeline helps out a lot more and has taken on some more chores and responsibility. 

I'm still getting used to our life revolving around school: waking kids up in the morning, dropping him off, picking him up, getting homework done, then getting to bed on time. Phew! There's not enough time in the day to get all the things done I need to, but we are figuring out this new routine. I'm just happy that he has transitioned well. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

5 months {Lincoln}

We have now entered the grabby phase. Lincoln is interested in anything near him and will grab a hold of anything in his reach. Usually things like my shoulder, my hair, and toys the other kids dangle in front of him. But it's not enough to just grab, most things go directly to his mouth.

If he hasn't found an object to put in his mouth, then his fingers suffice just fine. We have seen him put all five fingers in along with his pacifier!

He loves his tag blanket and will kick his arms and legs when he sees it.

The others still ask to hold him and always help get him toys and pacifiers.

We have tried out a new toy, but so far he hasn't lasted in it for more than 5 minutes. Not sure why, but he still prefers his bouncer or play mat.

Oh yeah, and another favorite for his mouth are his toes!

He is so happy 99% of the time. Even when he wakes in the middle of the night. We have had a few rough weeks of sleep with him waking up at  12 am and 4 am just to hang out for an hour. (What?!) But I think we are past that and we are back to the routine feeding at 4 am then going back to sleep. So sleeping through the night would be ideal, but this beats the alternative :)

And we have already done some sleep training to get him to go to fall asleep on his own, so maybe with time it will happen. Maybe.

And he has rolled over 3 times so far. He doesn't try very often since he seems so content laying on his back, but it's so cute when he does. Look at that face of confusion :)

The two most frequent comments we get from others are on his darker skin complexion and also on how much he looks like AJ. And true story: a lady even asked if he was mixed. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hilton Head

After all of the crazy house projects in June, we were ready to get a way for a while. We love vacationing in Hilton Head and have found this little secret gem to stay in. You can see how motivated even Selah was to get packed up!

The kids couldn't wait to eat breakfast out by the beach. This place is special because we love the seclusion it brings.

Here is Lincoln's first time in the ocean!

A big to-do on our list was to get some gelato. Favorite flavor of all time - espresso (with mini chocolate chips)!

Like father - like son. Makes me happy.

This babe loved the beach just as much as the others. He was happy bouncing away in the shade while we played.

Selah wasn't a fan of the beach the first few days...she cried at the crabs, the sand, the shells, the tidal pools, and even the other people walking on the beach. (Note: she has always had an irrational fear of things floating in water, so the tidal pools brought lots of issues). But she finally came around and enjoyed playing in the sand.

Ari impresses me with his frisbee skills. That kid can throw...and catch.

In this area, the tide goes way out (several football fields long) and leaves tidal pools to play in. And when the tide comes in, the water still isn't too deep for the kids to swim in.

We did have to walk through some muddy parts to be able to walk way out on the sand bars.

Besides the beach, we also enjoyed the pool. Our days pretty much went like this: breakfast, beach, pool, lunch, naps, beach, pool, dinner, beach, and pool. And we did that for 7 days.

This little man did such a great job on vacation. We have taken all of our kids on vacations at this age and it has always worked well. He was big enough to be on a predictable schedule, but still small enough to nap wherever we were and not need to be in a bed.

Here the waves were coming in and the kids were enjoying jumping over them.

I have to do a double-take on this photo of Selah because she looks so much like Evangeline!

The kids enjoyed a morning walk before heading out to the beach.

The wild life is amazing and you could always spot a bird looking for its next meal. And not to mention the crabs. They were everywhere!

Oh and it wouldn't be much of a morning walk without visiting the "island".

What a fun climbing tree!

Our favorite restaurant here is the Skullcreek Boathouse. It was so sunny I don't think any of us could open our eyes :)

But this place has fun outdoor activities for kids while you wait for a seat (large jenga blocks, large lego blocks, and bean bag toss. We didn't have a wait at lunch so we played a little afterwards until we were dripping with sweat (and ready to go!)

Another place the kids always ask to go to is the Salty Dog Cafe. I miss the fresh seafood already!

AJ took the big kids up to the top of the lighthouse. The camera didn't work well so all the pictures turned out too bright and you can't see the background :-/

We walked around Harbor Town for a bit and even got some ice cream.

We made another trip to get gelato with my grandma.

And thanks to my mom, AJ and I were able to take a sunset walk on the beach after the other kids went to bed.

The kids really enjoyed having access to the beach and pool anytime of day. But sometimes we felt like a walking circus hauling all of our stuff and four kids out there. 

But once we made camp, it was totally worth it.

We were not ready for our vacation to be over, but at some point we had to get back home to reality.

We picnicked at the pool before driving home.

The kids did a fantastic job of being in the van for that long. And it didn't take long before they started talking about how they missed the beach already.