Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer Lovin'...had me a blast (part 3)!

What summer would be complete without....WATER?

In addition to spending time in boats and at lakes, the kids had a great time at a sprayground (aka sprinkler park) as well as at the Mahoney Park Aquatic Center.  The picture above is actually of the kids relaxing in the wave pool there.  (And they NEEDED to relax -- those waves were INTENSE!!) 

There were two water slides that the kids went down all by themselves.  And Samantha even went off the diving board for the very first time!  She did great!  A girl in front of her went off the board and needed some lifeguard assistance to get to the ladder -- this concerned Samantha a bit, but she went off the board and got right over to the ladder without ANY problems! 

The kids went CRAZY at the sprayground!  Hunter couldn't get enough of it!

Even Easton enjoyed the time there -- he had just learned to walk, and was SO proud of himself for going through the water!  (I must admit, though, that it took him a few times...have you ever watched a little one walk through water?  It hits them in the face and they stop and shut their eyes and try to get out of it but can't because they keep walking right into the spray.  It's definitely good for a great laugh, and he was laughing, too!)

Hudson thought he needed help, though, so he carried him all over.

So, of course, that meant that Samantha needed to help, too!  Easton is lucky to have such great older siblings!

It's amazing to me how much better my kids are in the water now than they were at the beginning of the summer.  Between swimming lessons and simply being in the water (weather it's a lake or a pool), made such a difference for them this year.  I can't wait to see how they do next summer!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer Lovin'....had me a blast (part 2)!

In our house, the last full weekend of July is reserved for one thing -- a trip to Yankton, SD.  Every year, my dad's family (all EIGHT siblings and many of their kids -- it's nearly impossibly for all of us to make it) gather for a family campout at Lewis & Clark State Recreation Area.  Gavin's Point Dam is located here and there's a HUGE lake.  We've been holding this family weekend for so long that I have lost count of years.  I remember my youngest cousins on that side of the family being babies, and now two of them are in college!  Since Christmas and Thanksgiving are so jam-packed and we often don't get to spend those holidays with my aunts and uncles on that side of the family, we try be there whenever possible even though we no longer spend the night and are only up there for one day.  (Camping with four little ones isn't really an easy thing, but in a few years, we'll be able to spend the entire weekend!)

To say that the kids look forward to their time boating and being outdoors is, well, a huge understatement.  They LOVE to be outside and on the boat.  My parents bring their boat, as do several of my aunts and uncles.

This year, the temperatures were pretty cool so there weren't TONS of boats on the water.  It was so nice!  Samantha tried to waterski, and Matt spent quite a bit of time in the tube with the kids.

Because there so little boat traffic and the kids have gotten to be so much more comfortable in the water this year, we let Samantha and Hudson ride alone in the tube.  (Mommy did hold her breath the entire time, I must admit.)

Even Easton took a turn in the tube...while were stopped and swimming in the water.

Easton also thought it was TONS of fun to drive the boat with Poppa. (Even though the picture below does not seem to show that he loved it, he really did enjoy it!  He was laughing and smiling, until I tried to snap a picture!

And he spent LOTS of time in the water.  Have I mentioned that this child is part fish?  No, seriously.  I mean it.  I think we need to check for gills.

In all, it was another great Saturday in Yankton -- we are already excited about next year's weekend!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Lovin'....had me a blast!

With summer officially behind us and a new school year in full swing, I thought it was time to take a peek back at the fun things we did this summer.  Each day this week, I'm going to (try to) post about all the adventures we had...starting with bowling.

My sister clued me in to a wonderful program called "Kids Bowl Free" (it's a website -- look it up!)  Now I am not a world-class bowler by ANY stretch of the imagination.  In fact, I think that at least one of the kids beat me each time we played this summer; I think on one occasion they ALL beat me.  (Hanging my head in shame.)  Oh well -- God blessed me in other areas!  Back to "Kids Bowl Free"...

This WONDERFUL program provides 2 free games of bowling EVERY DAY during the program (ours started running in May and I think it might run through Labor Day).  Shoe rental was not included, but that's okay --  you could buy a pass to cover their shoe rental cost.  I ALSO purchased a family pass allowing up to four adults to bowl 2 free games each day -- this was well worth the $25 I spent on it. 

All three of the big kids LOVED bowling.  We went at least once a week at Sempeck's Bowling Alley, and were often joined by my sister and her boys, or my mom (who happens to be a rock-star bowler).  And Easton was a trooper -- he hung out in the stroller and watched.  When we started bowling he couldn't walk, but now he can and he'll be joining his older sibs next year when we participate again.

Here's a few shots from bowling...

On the very last day of summer before school started, I asked the kids what they wanted to do....BOWLING!  So we headed to Sempeck's Bowling Alley for one last hurrah.  This time we splurged (thanks daddy!) and enjoyed lunch, too.  They were SO excited by this very special treat!

This was a WONDERFUL summer activity that we all enjoyed doing.  I can't say enough good things about it or about Sempeck's Bowling Alley.  I know the kids will always have great memories of this!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

And they're off... school, that is!!  With barely over two months of summer vacation (thanks to Mother Nature's unrelenting winter), we officially have two kids in school.  It is so hard to believe that Samantha is old enough to be a second grader and Hudson is a kindergartener.  Let me tell you about their first day...
It started out with cinnamon bun pancakes (which, by the way, if you have never had...well, you simply must -- email me for the recipe) and scrambled eggs.  This breakfast was by request, so they were VERY excited.  Following breakfast we, of course, had to take a few pictures (okay, maybe 18)...

 Samantha is a pro at this by now -- can you believe how TALL this child is getting?  She's surely going to pass me up in the 4th or 5th grade, I think!

 She's a knockout, my 2ND GRADER, and smarter and sweeter than most.  And she LOVES that backpack.  It was like love at first sight...seriously.  Shopping for her school supplies, and backpack in particular, was like taking a trip back in time to when I was her age and counted down the days for school supply shopping! 

Wow, look at that big guy!  I can hardly believe this one is in KINDERGARTEN!!  He was admittedly nervous about going, but also so very excited.  He couldn't wait to see his teacher (who was also Samantha's kindergarten teacher), but I think he was a little apprehensive, too.

Hudson was also quite proud of his backpack, even though he could have cared less about it when we picked it out.  But now he LOVES it.  He was very excited to wear it and take care of it.

Samantha was very sweet to her brother.  Sensing that he was nervous and not sure about this whole kindergarten thing, she reassured him that she was really just down the hall and there for him even if he couldn't see her.  She also told him she'd come get him after school to bring him to our meeting place.  His teacher, of course, took care of getting them to it, so when she came to find him and couldn't, she "got SO worried, mom!".  It was quite sweet, especially considering the level of fighting that these two can reach.

Wow.  At one time, I was counting down the days until Hudson went to school because he was such a strong-willed little guy (and he still is, but we all know how to manage it now).  Now, he has turned into a sweet, compassionate, generous and patient boy.  I was really sad to see him go to school.  We've come a long ways, little man.  How I love this child!

This one...well, she is going to be off to college before we know it.  I know, I know.  It's only 2nd grade.  But 2 years ago it was only Kindergarten, and in 10 years, she will be starting her senior year in high school.  SLOW DOWN, I SAY!  How I love this child!

So after pictures, it was time to head to school.  You'd think these two have been doing this forever...
Oh Hudson and his backpack -- it's almost as big as he is!  As my aunt Hudson wearing the backpack, or is the backpack wearing Hudson?  I love it!

It's time find their teachers.  First up is Samantha.  You'd think she'd done this a time or two before -- there was a quick hug (and I do mean quick) before she waved goodbye and said hello to her teacher...
This is Mrs. Lombardo.  Samantha was SO excited to be assigned to her room.  She seems so sweet.

One down, one to go.... it was time to find Mrs. Stine, Hudson's Kindergarten teacher.  We LOVE this teacher.  She is amazing and incredibly talented.  I couldn't dream up a better kindergarten teacher than this one.  And Hudson was very VERY excited to learn he'd be in her room...Can you tell?
This was the best smile he had for pictures (which, I knew, was because he was so nervous).  When he saw Mrs. Stine, though, he was on top of the world and not nervous anymore!  His great big smile was back again!  He gave me a hug and a kiss and told me good-bye, then proceeded to wait in line in the sweltering (and I do mean sweltering) heat.  (For the record, yesterday was the hottest day in Omaha in more than 2 years.  Yuck.)

See -- there's that wonderful smile.  Be still my heart.  I know he'll do great in school -- he's an awesome kid!

And there he goes....waving goodbye to me, smiling, as the line starts to head inside.  Wow. How did it go so fast?

Okay, they're gone....and I promptly turn around and cry all the way back to the car.  I'm sure Hunter and Easton thought I'd lost my mind. 

At the end of the day, they came bouncing (seriously, bouncing) through the front door so excited to tell me all about the first day.  Hudson gave me a huge hug and told me he had a great day and couldn't wait to go back tomorrow.  And Samantha declared that she has the best 2nd grade teacher at Ackerman.  "She's AWESOME, mom!"  It was quite the day.  Here's to another year -- and not blinking.  Because if I blink, it will all be over.