Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hello July

Where did June go? Seriously, I can't believe it's over. Aren't summers supposed to be lazy and carefree? I always romanticize how wonderfully laid back the summer is going be and it never happens. REALLY, NEVER.

It has been non-stop fun. The kids have been a blast. We are finally in a great routine of chores, play time and outings. I am finding that my kids are great cleaners. The first week of summer I was frustrated with how messy the house was getting. I started posting chores for each kid every morning and the problem was solved. So before playing, swimming, watching TV, playing video games, etc., their chores must be completed. They have been so compliant and hardly ever complain, because if they do, they get another chore. It's beautiful!

Father's Day was a great day in our home. The kids served him his favorite breakfast of french toast in bed at 9:30. Olivia made a paper mache  "T" in art class for him. All the kids gave him a digital photo frame for his office.  I got the kids ready for church while getting dinner and dessert ready for after church. At Travis' request, we had his favorite dinner, chicken cordon bleu with his mom's german chocolate cake. I love to cook and bake, but after this day, I was ready to get out of the kitchen. I felt like I was doing dishes all day long, but it was worth every minute of it. I also made my dad some chocolate chip cookies.  We visited my parents after dinner and then got the kids to bed. I was ready to crash when Travis said, "I'd love a massage." Well it is Father's Day, it's all about spoiling the dad, right? 

Travis is such a loving, kind, patient, fun dad. I am completely blessed to have him as my husband. He deserves to be spoiled and waited on much more than one day a year. 

a self portrait after my new haircut. I love it! I'm not sure if I'll ever go long again.

Our Greer getaway............we stayed in the coolest cabin with 3 other families. I was leery about bunking with 8 adults and 18 kids in one cabin, but it turned out amazingly fun. The guys took care of all the food and the girls just went along with it. They did a great job. We had such a great time and can't wait to do it again.
Olivia immediately ran around the woods and collected wildflowers with Ella.
I found it hilarious to find Ethan arranging flowers on the table.
Our friends, Kathryn and Ashley hanging out on the front porch.
We saw some elk grazing off the highway. 
We went to Hawely Lake to do some fishin' with all the kids. This is the complete brood. What a bunch of cutie pies. They sure did love the lake. It was really beautiful.
Kath with her four kids. They lasted about 30 minutes on the lake with the rental boat. They were such great sports.
Hayden and Olivia on the dock. The weather was gorgeous and the scenery doesn't get much better.
Shaun with his kids. He is a true fisherman and stayed on the lake the longest. Ashley came back with us. She, too, was a great sport.
The Porter family win the "Most People in One Boat" award. They took all 6 of their kids out on the lake and did fabulously for a long time. Dan and the boys dropped off the girls and stayed with Shaun a couple hours longer.
Ryan was so excited. What an adventure!

I was very impressed by Travis' fly tying skills. He looks like such a mountain man. 
Ella made the first catch of the day (and her first fish ever!) on her Barbie fishing pole. She was thrilled! She stated that it was her fish and she was going to eat the whole thing by herself!
Olivia loves to fish but had a couple tricky fish get away before successfully catching one.
Ethan was just happy to be there. 
In the end, each kid had a fish and everyone was proud and happy.

Swimming has saved me this summer. All 4 of my kids are fabulous swimmers and love to go out and swim. It was burned off tons of energy and kept them happy and occupied for many hours so far. They love nothing more than to have me sit on the sidelines and photograph them doing crazy stunts into the water. 

I am amazed at how much each of my kids has matured and grown up lately. They make me smile when I hear the sweet and funny things they say. My girls are such little versions of me. I hear them correcting the boys and being little mothers to each other. Surprisingly, especially Ella. She sounds just like me when I hear her say, "Ryan, pick those toys up before you do something else." She brings her purse with her when we run errands in case she wants to buy something with her own money and I catch her taking out her lipgloss and applying it several times on a single trip. She makes her own breakfast and does her own hair and loves to take care of everybody. She adores her baby cousins and wants to carry them around. I have to remind myself that she is only 6 1/2 years old.

Olivia is almost 11 and has become the greatest babysitter. Other than being a little bossy and coercive at times, she is wonderful with the kids and has become an enormous help to me. She is capable of so much. I am excited to be teaching her to cook dinners, do laundry and give her more responsibilities. I showed her how to make my famous (in our family)chocolate chip cookies one Sunday afternoon and we took some over to my parents for dessert. My dad commented on how great my cookies always are, when Travis told him that Olivia had made them. It sure made Olivia feel great. I can see the pride in her eyes as she learns to do new things and gain more independence.

Ethan is nothing short of astounding. He is mature beyond his years in many ways. Travis took him on a trip to Sportsman's to get some flies for the fishing trip. Ethan noticed that the flies were 99 cents and they got 6 of them. He said to Travis, "Those flies will cost $5.94." Travis couldn't believe how Ethan had deducted that so quickly on his own. He is 6 years old and reads chapter books daily. We went to the library and got several books on Monday. By last night he had read all 6 of his books. His comprehension is amazing and I take absolutely NO credit. He just has it.

Ryan will always be my baby but he also is our little comedian and clown. He is 4 1/2  now. He says the funniest things every day. I should take note of them better because they are too cute to be forgotten. But it's late and I'm drawing a blank. But he does love to snuggle with me and I can still get him to take naps a few times a week. He is definitely going to give us a run for our money. He's mischievous and loves to wrestle his siblings and dad. He has serious issues with eating at dinner. Last night he sat at the table for 1 hour until his chicken alfredo was all gone. It's agony for me, because the whole deal is a constant negotiation......"how many bites of this," and "how many more bites." It's been going on for a couple years now and I keep telling myself to stay strong and it will get better. It hasn't gotten better by much yet. He is so stubborn and apparently a slow learner. But he is darling and I couldn't love him more.