Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Bucket List Weeks 6 & 7

Swim team and swim lessons have dominated our summer. When they ended last week, we tried to squeeze in all of our errands, housework, and appointments that we have neglected the past two months.   Even though the past couple of weeks have been filled with more have-to-dos than want-to-dos, we did still manage to have a little fun.  Just fun activities that were close to home and could be squeezed in between all those errands and appointments.  We went swimming almost every night, instead of going in the day, once swim team was done. Hopefully this week we will check off some more of the bigger things on our Bucket List.

We had our last home meet of the season last week.  Each of the younger swimmers, the Someday Sting-rays, did a demonstration swim for 25 meters.  Ryan chose to do Freestyle.  He made it the entire way without touching the bottom even once!  We were very proud of the great strides he has made in his swimming this summer.

I think this pic is hilarious.  It looks like he is staring right at Chad in the middle of his lap!

Andrew also swam in the demonstration and then in 4 events.  He did a relay, freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke.  He has also become a much more competent swimmer this summer.

I know this kind of goes with number 31, but swim team has really been such a large part of our summer, I had to reserve a bucket list item just for our last day of swim practice and getting our trophies.   The entire swim team did a massive game of Motor Boat at the very end of the last practice.  It was hilarious to see the teenagers blow bubbles to start their engines like they have Molly do in swim lessons.  The kids loved it!

Both boys received these nice trophies.  Andrew received ribbons for some relay races he participated in and an improvement ribbon for shaving 4 seconds off of his Freestyle. The awards ceremony was on a Sunday, so we chose not to go.  We missed cheering on our teammates and the team picture. The team manager was very kind and brought our boys their trophies early, on the last day of practice.

I am sad that the only pic I got with our cell phone caught our swim coach with her eyes closed.  All three of my children ADORE Rachel.  She was the boys' coach and Molly's swim teacher.  Our team has been undefeated for 11 years!  (Not that we had anything to do with that, but we do have wonderful coaches).

Besides awards for swimming, all three children have participated in some summer reading contests.

We turned in our library reading logs and received certificates.  They used to give presents, but I guess they don't do that anymore.  We turned in our reading logs at Barnes and Noble and received free books! Both boys loved their books!  They wouldn't let preschoolers participate, so we let Molly choose a book to bring home, too.  She chose Dora the Explorer.

So most of the items on the summer bucket list are the children's activities.  But this one was MINE!  I got to can tomatoes with my mom and sister this week.  It was wonderful!  We canned tomatoes, listened to music, and even watched a movie while the lids sealed.  Can't wait to can peaches next!

Summer is a great time to pull out old favorites.  Anyone who has known our family at least 4 years, knows that when Andrew was a younger boy, he was more than a little bit obsessed with trains.  Then Ryan came along and was obsessed with them, too.  Trains used to be the only toys in our house that got any lasting playtime.  We have three large boxes filled with Geo Trax sets.  But the boys have gotten older and moved onto Lego sets, ninjas, Star Wars, and Bionicles.   So I was a little surprised when they asked to play with them this week.  We pulled them out of the attic and had a great time!

Molly had never shown a real interest in the trains until this week.  She is loving the little people she can put in the train cars.  

Ryan enjoyed playing with the trains the most.  He loved helping construct the tracks, operating the remote control trains, and playing pretend. Andrew seemed to at first.  Then in his most serious voice he declared, "Ryan, this isn't as fun as I remember it being."   I am sad to think that my little boy is too old for trains.  It is happening way too fast.  I wish I could freeze time.

One of the best things written on our Summer Bucket List is to go out to lunch with Grandma Stone 3 times this summer.  She has been very busy taking care of relatives who have been sick, so this was the first time we were able to go!

We headed to Cracker Barrel for a yummy lunch and stopped a moment to take pictures at the end.  Ryan really wanted to sit in the red chair, which is why he is so far away from everyone.  We all enjoyed being with Grandmother.  I am very blessed that my children have 2 great grandmothers to love and spend time with.

One of our appointments this week was in King.  When we were done, we met Molly's friend, Amanda, at a park we had not been to before for a picnic.

It is a beautiful park, and we had a great time.  The park also has a Veteran's Memorial.   I love being able to take moments with my children to reflect on the sacrifices of those who have protected our freedoms.  I know that they don't really understand its importance today, but hopefully when they are grown-up, they will remember that it was important to me.

 This digger was definitely Molly's and Ryan's favorite part of the playground.  Andrew's favorite part of our picnic were these squirrels that kept coming and trying to steal our food. They were pretty bold. One ran off with our friend's sandwich!  Andrew went chasing the squirrel, who dropped the sandwich.  But no one was really interested in eating it after that.  :)

For one of our fun learning activities this week, we did pudding writing.

Molly practiced writing her name and my name.

Ryan and Andrew practiced some spelling words.  And Ryan gave himself a mustache. Such a goofy cutie!

We pulled out another fun toy from the basement that doesn't get seen very much during the school year....Rock Band!

Yes, that is our folded clean clothes on the couch behind them.  I did say we are way behind in housework this summer, right? :)

Our last fun activity of the week was our Ward Pioneer Day Picnic.

It rained all day Saturday.  And not just a little rain. A lot of rain.  The streets were flooded, puddles were the size of small ponds and calf deep, the retaining wall at the playground turned into a water fall.  The kind of rain that umbrellas are pointless in.  So in true Pioneer spirit, it was decided that we would not cancel the picnic and that we would go ahead and hold it outside anyway at a local park under a shelter.  The couples in charge set up tents to protect the food.  Amazingly, we had a great turn out!  We filled the large shelter! Dozens of families came.  I think everyone was so worried that no one else would show up, so we came so that the families hosting the picnic would not be there alone.

Molly was very excited to wear her hair in braids and to wear a bonnet like Laura Ingalls.  I got the entire series on DVD for my birthday and we are enjoying watching them as a family.  Braided pony tails are Molly's current hairstyle of choice.  I tried to do pigtails this week and she burst into tears and told me people would laugh at her is her hair looked like that.  She insisted they must be braided to look nice.

Once we got there, she wasn't quite as excited.  I was a mean mom.  Okay, not mean, but anxious.  It was thundering continually for the entire hour we were there.  Non-stop. I wouldn't let my kids play out in the puddles or on the metal playground equipment.   I made them stay under the shelter. They were sad that all of their friends were playing and thought I was unfair not to let them go.  It did not actually start lightening until we were leaving, so their friends were all safe.  But I was really nervous that they would get electrocuted.    

Chad got a great video of  the down pour.

We had a great time talking with friends and the food was amazing!  Well worth the trip in the rain.  And I guarantee it is a picnic we will never, ever forget!  We are grateful to the families who worked so hard planning this activity!

The kiddos also went to see a movie this week with their wonderful Nana and Aunt Rachel.  I was not there, so there were no pictures.  But they LOVED the movie.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Bucket List: Week 5

Sadly, we are half way done with summer.  I am not ready for it to be over.  I love having all three of my kiddos home with me all day every day.  "Only" three major bucket list items this week.

Our biggest event this week was our annual Cousin Camp.  This year, Grandma and Aunt Emily decided to host it in Pinehurst.   I forgot my camera at home, but luckily there were enough other photographers there that we have the event well documented.  :)

When we arrived, the children decorated t-shirts.  They did Sharpie Tie-Dye.  It was awesome, and even our youngest cousins were able to do it!  I love how they turned out!

While our t-shirts dried, we walked to the park and ate lunch.  On the way we sang a chant Aunt Emily taught the kiddos.  "We are the cousins, the Carolina cousins.  Everywhere we go, people want to know, who we are, so we tell them. We are the cousins....."

After our lunch and playtime at the park, we headed to the pool.  Unfortunately, it started to thunder almost as soon as we arrived.  Aunt Jen entertained the cousins with fun games while we waited out the storm, but unfortunately it never stopped thundering.

When we got back to the house, Emily had a fun cooperative obstacle course planned.  The cousins worked as partners to guide a blindfolded cousin through the maze.

Afterwards, we celebrated the July birthdays with cake and pie.  We ended our fun day with a Dance Party on the Kinnect before driving back home!

All three of my kids had a great time! They love their cousins!

We celebrated my birthday this week, too.

Last year we did 37 Random Acts of Kindness on my birthday together as a family, and had a great time. This year, I asked if we could create 38 Blessings Bags for the Homeless.  My sons thought this was a really weird birthday party.  I hope that someday they will think of it differently, and will understand how blessed our family has been and how wonderful it is to share with others.

We started the morning shopping at the Dollar Tree for items for our Blessings Bags.  On the way to the store, we talked with the children about what it means to be homeless.  We discussed what might be helpful to someone who does not have a home.  When we got to the store, Molly told me she wanted to buy a "really big house" to put in the bags for the homeless.  I thought that was so very sweet.

When we got home, we set up an assembly line to make our bags.

The children made 38 cards to add to the bags, too.

We will place a few in each of our cars, to share with people we see in our community that are asking for help.  The rest we are taking to a day shelter next to our sons' school.

We went to dinner at Newks together.  It was delicious.  We ended the evening with cupcakes from Gigi's at my mom and dad's home.  My parents' good friends, The Thompsons, arrived in time to join us for both! It was so great to see them!

I received these beautiful flowers from some dear Relief Society friends.  Aren't they lovely?  Other friends dropped by with fruit and chocolate.  The day before my birthday, Rachel took me to get pedicures.  I felt very loved on my birthday and truly am a very blessed woman!

We have another annual tradition of dressing up like cows each summer to get free chicken.

We went swimming, to the library, had play dates, and played at Nana's this week, too!  There just aren't any pics of those things.