Another School Year!

Sunday, September 18, 2016
I secretly loved last year because there weren't any "firsts" or new steps in heading to school.  Everyone already kind of knew their way.  This year, Cole is alone at the elementary (handling it just fine) and Will ventured onto junior high.  After a slight feeling of overwhelm the first couple days, he has rose to the occasion and seems to be keeping up just fine. 
Truth: this is the second day.  #momfail

Locker combo stress!  Wish there was a way to promise them after a few days it will be nothing!

Junior Highers!  Truth: Paige got dress-coded for these shorts.  What can I say?  We were (ARE) still in summer mode.
I am forever thankful for the ease at which all things "school" come to my kids.  Overall, each day is relatively stress-free and enjoyed by them!  I know this isn't true for everyone, and so I try to remind myself of that regularly.

After the first week, the kids and I worked another successful Farm Day!  And...BONUS! We came home with a new pet!  This is Rio, the $5 bunny.  Only she really cost near $100.  But, after some getting into routine, she proves to be a fun addition!

The cage doesn't look a thing like this anymore, and learn.

Was going to be everyone's pet, but lives in Paige's room and she mainly cares for her.  But fun for all!

Harness: $12.  A good idea in theory, but bunnies are escape artists and we probably don't trust this harness.
Cole finished up his football season (but still plays plenty backyard and playground football) in the first week of school...

Not a winning season, but a great win to close the season!
Up next, a great getaway to Michigan on the first 3-day weekend!

Summer Summary Part 3

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

At first, we weren't committing to the two-part Wisconsin camping getaway my sister and family had planned, but finally signed on and are glad we did!

It started with 3 nights in Oshkosh for the air show.  We spent 2 days at this great event and the rest of the time fishing, jumping on the jump pillow, swimming in the pool and hanging out at the campground.
gone fishin'

virtual flying reality.  Emphasis on reality because when Cole did it, he actually reached for the joystick.

They all did the bungee trampolining

A sky-written thanks to the volunteers.  Major flying talent!

We got to meet these pilots

A Star Wars plane?  That's worthy of a picture!

Flying drones, virtual planes, etc.

Pilots in training.

Ready for the airshow.

Then, we skipped over to the Dells area where we camped right on the river in great sites and got passes to the Chula Vista water park.  These days were filled with water parking, river swimming, boating, and enjoying the campground.  (Also a little food borne illness for Shawn and split open chin for Cole, but details).
pontoon boats: faster than they look

river rats

This guy was in charge of our safety

Four steps down from our campsite

Downtown Dells

And the joy of really enjoying a sunset

Well, we've done more things...visits from friends, fun days out, but this pretty much sums up our summer.  I mean, Will just finished his summer reading project with hours to spare, so let the school year begin!

Summer Summary Part 2

Sunday, August 14, 2016
I'll start with 2 major birthdays.  First, we officially have a tween in the household.  Again.  In case you're not keeping track, that's 2 junior highers, leaving the elementary school days of snack time and field days dwindling to 1 kid.  I'm excited for Will, of course.  I think he needs this challenge and though it will be a transition, look forward to seeing him rise to the occasion.

He still wants a birthday party, though.  Preferably with balloons.  This time we went to the movies and had a few buds spend the night, then had the family over to help celebrate.
the boy gang

Lucky kid...with an accomplished birthday wishlist.

eleven candles

The other birthday party we celebrated was Rich's grandmother's 92nd.  She and Aunt Ginny have been visiting for quite some time now (heading back to the sunshine state today), that allowed us to gather for this occasion!  We had a nice somewhat surprise dinner in her honor.

Later, Olivia had her first solo sleepover at grandma and papa's house, but first we all went to the Cougar's game for Frozen night.  Olivia was getting tired at about her bedtime until we fueled her with cotton candy, dippin' dots and more!  Then she was ready to stay late for the great fireworks display!

Don't be fooled.  She's just here for the Dippin' Dots

Then we went on a great Wisconsin camping vacation.  This will get its own post.

After that, we got together with my dad's side of the family which we termed "cousin fest."  We have many cousins on this side of which we have not seen in a very long time.  This gathering of all 16 great grand children of my grandmother's (who got to join us for a while) was unprecedented and quite special.
Count them if you don't believe me

Jacob (10 months) and Annie (7 months)

Name a (somewhat dangerous) backyard activity...we did it.  Zip lining, tractor driving, roof climbing, etc.

Great grandma Jo and Annie Mae - separated in age by a mere 95 years.

72 hours until school and still more summer to catch up on...

Summer Summary Part 1

Wednesday, August 10, 2016
My goal is to update the rest of our summer in a series of posts before the onslaught of homework, bus times and schedules in less than a week. 

Let me start by saying that Will had a great time on his team's All Star baseball team.  They were undefeated in the tournament!

Every summer I make a master list of fun ideas of things to do with our days and a list of things that need to be done (think doctor appointments, band camps, etc.).  This way, if we see a stretch of days  with some nice free time, we can go to our list and pick something that sounds good to everyone.  We went for a picnic lunch to nearby Cantigny Park in Wheaton and the Eggers joined us.  I knew it was fun to walk around and there were cannons the kids were encouraged to climb on.  The day was beautiful and we were completely wowed by the war museum!

Then, there are those activities that are a the 4th or July!  Celebrated again at the Fox's backyard campground.  Again, blessed with great weather and days of eating & playing, we instantly look forward to the next!
He's goin' in!

We bring Milo.  He's the life of the party as you can tell.

Panoramic view

We met new friends

Bags tourney

Ready for the candy haul at the parade!

Celebrating America's birthday - CHECK! Stay tuned for other noteworthy events of July (including some other birthdays!)

Prairie Fest Weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Parenting has changed.  Here's proof.  This is a picture of our little town's summer festival 6 years ago:

Checking out the inside of a firetruck or ambulance in the "touch a truck" attraction - one that we don't even bother with anymore.

And here is a picture of Prairie Fest this year:
Me and some girlfriends hanging out with only rare sightings of our kids.
So the moral of the story is that my kids are getting big and it changes the complexion of events such as this.  There is so much coolness to this, but I also miss seeing them ride every ride, seeing one doze in a stroller and heading home for nap time.  Nap time rocks.  Let's just all admit this.

But Prairie Fest was a long, hot, packed, great weekend with its fair share of baseball thrown in.  Here are some pictures!

The 1 milers

Some special people cheered on all the runners!

Prairie Fest concert


Girls enjoying the concert on a beautiful evening!

Sigh.  We love this weekend and are sad it's over, but look forward to more summer free time and special occasions on the horizon!