Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Favorites: It's OFFICIALLY Summer Here!!!

I woke up this morning without a gazillion lunches (okay, four) to pack. If that doesn't put a smile on a Mama's face, I don't know what will. :)

We enjoyed a leisurely pancake breakfast with not a care in the world or a place to be rushing off to...and ten minutes in, Miss Bookworm is bored. The one who I have to force to go outside and play because she lays around all day reading, has decided that TODAY will be the day she won't pick up a book. What?!?!
(In case you're dealing with the whinies too, here is a round-up of fun and easy summertime activities!)

Anyhoo. Today is humid and rainy, but the past week was gorgeous. Most evenings after dinner you'll find us playing frisbee or track ball out back and then jumping in the pool. We've even spotted the first fireflies of the season. Nights like those are my absolute FAVORITES.

I don't know anyone who doesn't love a pretty bunch of flowers, but backyard bouquets hold a very special place in my heart. They are my FAVORITES. I get so excited every time I check on our plants and see new blossoms. This was the first official bouquet of the season. We had a dark and wet spring, so I feel like all the flowers have had a much later start than normal.

I haven't shared his nursery yet, but it has been almost two weeks since we moved Levi out of our room and into his own. And wouldn't you know, from the very first night, his sleep improved dramatically. Like, dramaaaatically. Sleeping babies are my FAVORITES.

I've been meeting up with different friends in the mornings to walk for an hour or more, then we play at the park. On this morning, baby C feel asleep about five minutes after this, with both legs up on the tray, ha ha ha, and Levi looks like a grumpy old man...
  ...but he had lots of fun swinging!
Listening to baby giggles is one of my FAVORITES.

And traditions. Every year on the last day of school, we have ice cream sundaes for supper and supper for dessert. Traditions are my FAVORITES.

 Lots and lots of blurred excitement after this one had a little taste, ha!

And getting to celebrate our Dads is always a FAVORITE. We are trying to give more meaningful things in our family, so instead of random gifts, we all got in the kitchen together and made a blueberry pie from scratch. If any of you have been reading for a while then you know that pie crust is typically the bane of my existence. Well, it has gotten better, and I almost feel totally at ease with simply whipping up a pie crust. Almost.
Regardless, the pie was delicious.
 Ethan was playing around with the scraps and fashioned this crown. He guessed that it would collapse in the oven but I insisted it would be fine. Oops.

Now I'll be a little vulnerable here and share that as this day has worn on, it has been one of the worst in a long while. (As it's taken me, um, over four hours just to hit publish on this little post dealing with this, that and the other.) Not what I'd had in mind to ring in the official start to summer. At least the sun is shining now, right?
Grace grace grace, for myself and for others. And secret stashes of good chocolate. ;)

Joining in for Friday Favorites
and 5 on Friday today!

Have a great weekend, friends!
If you're new here and want to read more about my family and me, click HERE.
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Catching Up

June is flying by and I haven't been posting as often as I'd hoped. I learned my lesson last year...having to go back and "recreate" is really not any fun at all.

We had some family birthdays to celebrate earlier in the month. My brother's birthday is the 7th, Bill's is the 8th, and my aunt's is on the 9th. Plus, the 6th marked five years since her husband, my Uncle Harry, died. On the one hand, it feels like it was just last month, and then on the other, like it was nearly a lifetime ago. Time is a strange thing, that's for sure. I miss my uncle. I have lots of special memories with him and my aunt and my cousins.

I made arrangements with my in-laws to come over and play with the kids while I took Bill out for Chinese food and a long walk in our favorite local park. I had really wanted to head to the beach or to the mountains, but when you only have three hours tops, and it takes an hour to get to each place... you stay local and make the best of it. :)

Neither of us was feeling our selfie mojo that night, so I'm not even going to post our attempts, ha ha. But we had a nice time.

Classic cheesecake with cherry topping (and whipped cream)- his favorite!
Normally I add a chocolate layer, but that's more for me because I like it that way. Not this time, this was all for him.

Here's the face you get when you tell him "no more treats."
ha ha ha ha

There happened to be awards night at the high school that night as well, so we headed out for that, just what everyone wants to do on their birthday, right? It was kind of a mess, and they could have cut the time in half, but it just dragged on and on and ooooonnnnn. I ended up taking Levi home when he couldn't contain himself any longer.

Looking as concerned as ever because there are way too many people for his comfort level. :)

 I had taken this monkey out into the hallway when Bill comes running after me... "Ethan's award, you missed it!" Ugh. I was not amused.

I didn't even get a picture of him with his award. Boo.
I cannot fathom the idea that he will be leaving home so soon. And to think, this had originally been his senior year! He has come a long way since that awful concussion, but truthfully, he is forever changed- he will have to contend with some issues for the rest of his life, mainly the increased possibility of secondary concussions from events that would not harm a "normal" person (happened already), and certain motions that trigger his symptoms. But he is well and recovered and we are so thankful.
So handsome, too, and friendly and respectful and smart...just an all-around great person.

Except a little forgetful sometimes. We brought him his lunch on this day, but we didn't mind. :)

We'd been enjoying the beautiful morning outside. Why does my baby look like he has the legs of a four year old here? I know they're long, but, really!

There have been so many wonderful summery days and evenings, which make it such a tease when you have to go to bed and get up for school in the morning. Two more days!

I'm going to have to try to get a better picture of his little pucker! Cutest thing I've ever laid eyes on!
Yet somehow the closer the wand gets, the lip purse disappears and the mouth wide open emerges. So funny.

Lots of time in and around the pool. I admit, it is a lot of work to maintain a pool, but I like that there is always something fun to do in our own backyard.

Sometimes all that swimming tuckers a little guy out and he just wants to rest his head on Mama's face. loooooove.
And I'm sure I am 100% biased, but does he not have the most perfect little head?! I still try to inhale baby smell when I snuggle up against that head, but it is long gone. Why can't baby smell stick around for at least a couple years?

Recently, we've had sweltering days when you can't even breathe because the humidity is so thick and heavy, so we play inside.
Of course he never stays on the towel, and then the tiles get all wet and poor little guy slips all around, which he thinks is fun...until all of a sudden it isn't. Then he's done!

Levi still shows zero desire to walk on his own. He doesn't really even like standing all that much. If he were my first baby, I think I'd be completely worried. But he isn't, and I'm not. ;)

We had to bring Caleb in for physical therapy for some back issues, poor guy. It was pouring buckets this day, and we nearly slipped walking through the puddly parking lot. Flips flops and inches of water aren't such a great pair! Levi did a great job, considering this first visit was more than an hour.
Even still, we opted for drop offs after that. ;)

This is what happens when you have a fan base everywhere you go. Someone holds you and someone else props up blankies to give you shade. Those afternoon ball games are no joke at some of the fields where there is NO shade. Whew!

And now I hear someone calling...gotta go! Here are a couple last pics of some serious cuteness. Have a great day!

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Round Up of Ideas To Banish Boredom This Summer

I know most of you are already in the throes of carefree summer living, but we still have four more days of school here! 

Just in case your kids are driving you nuts already you're in need of a little inspiration, here is a round-up of our best simple and easy summer fun ideas for kids. Enjoy!

This remains our most talked about activity...ever! It is so much fun, every single time.
It requires a little prep work and some time for the shirts to freeze.
Hands down, one of our all-time favorites!

Playing with water is always a hit on a hazy, hot summer day. Here are some fun and super simple games that will get your kiddos moving and everyone laughing.

 You can get more ideas for some summer Olympics fun from our oldest son's summer birthday party.

I'm sharing two Round-Up posts that have some terrific ideas to banish boredom. The first is specifically for older children, though with supervision, many of the activities are completely appropriate for anyone. Click on the links below the photos to read the entire posts.

Pardon the pun, but ice really is cool. It's a great tool to engage imagination and discovery of all kinds. I love these activities because they are like summer arts and crafts projects but without having to constantly monitor and oversee, and it keeps their minds engaged and their creativity flowing. 
Older kids can handle these ones all one their own, and the results are pretty spectacular!

Lastly, this Round-Up features all kinds of interesting and engaging activities that you can participate in with your children if they are very young, and they are FUN! Some are actual crafts, while others are simply ideas for when you - and everyone around you who calls you Mom - needs a little break, and there's even a fun summer snack or two. Click the link below for more!

So the next time you hear, Moooom, I'm bored," you'll have some new tricks up your sleeve. Have fun!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Ten on Ten :: June 2017

We are heading to the finish line, maybe limping a bit. ;) 
Ten more days of school.
I'm sure there's so much valuable learning going on right now.

We had a really busy but fun weekend, and the weather got hot hot hot so when we've been home, it has been out back in the pool. I'm looking forward to some fun pool parties this summer. 
Saturday was the 10th, and someone was not terribly thrilled to have to stop and have his diaper changed before heading downstairs for breakfast. #roughlife

Since it was Saturday, the day began the way 99.9% of all Saturdays begin: Daddy makes waffles. Perfection.

Big changes were about to happen for him and me. Big.
I knew this would be the very last time to snap some pictures of him playing in his crib tucked in the nook of our bedroom, so we played in here together for a long while and I savored every moment.
Levi is still obsessed with the law of gravity. :)

Checking on the flowers and plants in our front yard for a few minutes. I planted a couple other Hydrangea bushes last week and I'm thrilled with how they all look in front of our house.

Daddy took the older kids to the library, Ethan was at work, and I worked on a cute little outfit for Levi for the 4th of July after getting Levi settled for a nap.

After lunch, time for baseball. We were trailing by quite a bit but then had a couple of great innings, which closed the gap considerably. We lost 11-7, but then yesterday (Sunday) we won 8-4. Go Caleb!

After baseball, we had a graduation party to attend. I was taking notes, believe me, for next year when I have to go through it...I mean, when we get to celebrate Ethan. ;) My friend did such a great job with the party and I'll definitely be asking her for advice! 
Someone may or may not have screamed when it was time to step out of the car, ha ha.
Look how happy he is (while driving anyway)! So cute!

Then back home for another swim - we were so hot and it had been an action-packed day!
Silly me thought this was going to be a fun, somewhat relaxing summer. Umm, clueless maybe!
I will be sweating profusely as I corral and bodyguard this little guy. Oops. Maybe next summer? I had to keep him out of the pool area entirely if I wasn't in the water with him, and this is what he does watching everyone swim- he peg-leg crawls to the fence and puts his little face right up to the bars. It's both adorable and kind of sad.

Only a morning nap today, so feeling a little worn out.
I am in love with the little swirls of hair coming in. What is it about baby heads in general? Can't get enough!

And this.
I will write a post later and share more pics of his sweet room.
It still feels strange at night. I can go in my room and turn on any light I want after 7:15 pm!

We were prepared for the worst. I had Isabelle sleep over at my parents in case he cried all night, which he did Friday night.
But on this night?

He slept so well! He only cried when he needed a diaper change in the middle of the night, poor baby- his tummy had been bothering him, and I figured that would help. He woke up in the best mood!

Change is so very hard, and some things just feel much harder than others.
But we felt that it was finally time, even though I thought it was time back in February, for a variety of reasons, we just couldn't go through with the move then. It didn't feel right, but this time it did. He seems really happy to be in there!

And that was a snippet of our busy weekend...what did you do?

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