Friday, June 14, 2013

End of School, Summer begins!!

Two weeks ago, we got to say our farewells to school.  Blessed day!!  I love summer.  I love having the kids with me.  I get just as excited as they do over our daily itineraries........good ol' summer vacation.  
We wrapped up school with a couple of performances by Madelyn:  a singing program, and a school play.  She did great and she does love to be on stage!  :)

She even had her cousins there to see her perform.  She was a penguin, and she did have orange socks like the rest of them.  I worked hard and searched high and low for orange socks.....then just in time for the performance, they got lost.  That's just how it goes sometimes I guess...

I'm not sure why my pictures are weird....
There were field trips/parties/testing/holey pants and shoes and all that wonderful stuff that comes with the close of  a school year!!  
Drew and Madelyn excelled wonderfully in school this year.  I'm so happy for them and all of their hard work.  They are awesome.
My sister joined us in the middle of May from her 3 year adventure halfway around the world.  It's been so nice to have a sister around and my kids are loving having cousins to buddy up with all day.  Their family arrived after an adventurous travel experience at 2:30 A.M. Drew and Hannah and my sisters boy James stayed up all night after that.  I knew it was pretty much pointless to persuade them to sleep, although at 5 AM I did try.  I think Drew did make an effort to go back to bed, I was a little worried for him since he had school the next day.  But, they hit it off and instantly bonded and that is an experience they will not soon forget!!
It was pretty busy there for awhile trying to get my sister Julie situated for life in this part of the world.  But now she is set.  We've had some adventures together, like assisting her in buying a car with our safety backup plans....:)  Funny.
Drew cooked us dinner one night and planned a family fun night.  We played kickball, roasted smores, and had a pinata.

Big party time.
We've made a summer time bucket list in attempts to not hear "I'm bored" around these parts.  My kids are usually pretty good about that actually, but I love having ideas of fun things that everyone helped pick out.  And we've made some good progress on that list.
First day of swimming lessons.  they LOVED it.  We did swimming lessons in January at our regular place and Hannah did not enjoy it one bit.  I mean, crying every time she was asked to do anything....asking to go potty multiple times per class, etc.  We tried a new place, Heise, and everyone absolutely adored their lessons.  Lily and Hannah had a spectacular teacher....seriously.  Lily loved it and learned quite a bit, and Hannah did not shed one tear and was totally excited to go this time.  Success!!
 On the last day of their lessons, they get to do the big waterslide and diving board.  Hannah told me flat out she would be big enough to do it next year, before we even arrived.  Lily has nerves of steel and didn't flinch when her teacher asked her if she wanted to go.  So she went down twice and Hannah decided (after an emotional battle with herself) to do it too!  They all did so awesome on the slide, and I was so glad that they stretched themselves to do something that seemed a bit scary in the beginning.  
Way to go guys!!
 I don't have the greatest photographic timing....but you get the idea...

 Madelyn super excited to come and tell me all about it.  Cute!
 Way to do hard things Hannah!!
 The diving board was fun for Drew and Madelyn....
 Madelyn needed a little extra help.
 Then a free ice cream cone afterwards??  Seriously does a day get any better?!

 We had such a blast playing around and enjoying the nature and sunshine afterwards.  Claire loved exploring the new grounds.

 I'll miss driving up here every day!  So beautiful!!

 I saw a photo opportunity and took it....
 Man I love these guys.
"Are we done yet?!"
One of our bucket list items was to make cookies together.  So everyone helped out to make these beauties:

 Then we ate them on the porch...

Good times.
Don't worry, summer sounds like bliss, and there are definitely there moments of it, but just to make it quite clear it isn't always so.
On the first Monday of summer, we were off to a rocky start I tell you.  It was Claire's birthday, and it seemed like I had everything under the sun to do that day.  Including a trip to Wal-Mart that was only a few hours before family was headed over to celebrate.  It was chaotic.  Seriously.  I wanted to cry in the middle of Wal*Mart, no exaggeration.  Claire was screaming, the kids wanted to buy everything, there was whining, and children almost getting slammed into with carts at every turn because they were running around and goofing off, etc.  They aren't usually quite that crazy......but Drew and Madelyn were totally out of the shopping routine because of school and the younger girls were more than happy to indulge in wild behavior.  Then the checkout lady kept commenting (keep in mind there is absolute screaming going on on Claire's part) about how it must be hard to spread and share the love when I have so many kids.  Then after I was almost done she said Claire just needed some mommy time alone.  I just wanted to cry.  It's not easy giving everyone the time they would love.  So often I feel spread so thin, and I'm just doing my best.  Of course I wanted to give Claire mommy time, especially on her birthday.  But the stars were not aligning for anything like it on that particular day.  I had a breakdown that night, poor Jed.  But since I've worked on setting expectations and our annual summer goals have been set up, and we've definitely gone over shopping ettiquette!!  Things have gotten better.
Even though there's the tough times, I sure do love summer.