Monday, June 27, 2016

9 Swimmers, 1 Tiny Little Pool

This past weekend was one of those times when I need a vacation from my weekend.  I knew going into it that it was going to be exhausting, and I also knew I'd be looking forward to Sunday evening, once everything was quiet!

I spent almost every night this week doing at least one errand to prep for Ava's "friends" birthday party...Dollar Tree, Target, Dollar Tree AGAIN.  We also squeezed in a trip to the library, so Ava could collect her first summer reading prize...and stock up on more books!  She's off to a great start!

On Friday night, after my final trip to the Dollar Tree, and then a trip to pick up G, the four of us headed to South St Paul for the Kaposia Days Parade.  The last few years have been a very meh parade...lots of advertising, big gaps in the flow, and just not very good.  This year, they must have gotten the memo, because I thought it was so much better!  All of the SSP kids stuff came first, there were only a few pockets of political stuff, all of the Winter Carnival floats were grouped together, and there was very little advertising. It made sense, and it flowed well!  Plus, we had great weather...sunny, warm, comfortable.  After the parade, we visited for a little bit, and got back home around 10pm to tuck the kids into bed before we crashed, too.
Saying HEY to the South Metro Fire Department!

Kicking the crap out of this Sponge Bob toy

The assembled party treat buckets...a fun late Friday night task!

I managed to sleep in (by accident) until almost 8am on Saturday, and then it was a whirlwind of activity for the next few, laundry, showering, and getting everyone ready to go.  We drove out to Zimmerman (1.5 hours northwest of here) for a family birthday party (Scott's sister's three boys all have summer birthdays)...we got there around noon, had a great lunch visited a little bit, watched a flurry of gift openings, and then hit the road back to the cities.  Once back in town, we had to pick up Ava's birthday cake, some miscellaneous odds and ends at the grocery store, and oh, a new fridge/freezer for the garage. Our upright freezer pooped out on us last week, so we needed to find a quick replacement.  We managed to track down a nice fridge/freezer combo for a good price at a tent sale, and brought it back home to drop off.  At this point, G had been in the truck for way too many hours that day, and was having a meltdown.  But, we weren't done yet!

This was the last of his patience...

During one of our very brief stops at home, we said hi to this little guy in the front yard

We then met our good friends (and their 2 kids) out for dinner, and then all headed back to the house for an evening of chatting, wrangling the older kids to bed by 11 (another late night for them, however, G went to bed before 8pm...lucky guy) and working on party prep for Sunday's fun day.  Our friends were spending the night with us since they live out of town, and we always have so much fun talking and catching up, so we didn't get to bed until after midnight.

And then it was Sunday!  Got up, did more laundry, finished up the last few items for the party.  The weather was great and the kids were in good spirits!  Our very kind neighbors had an unexpected pre-party at their house when they brought out their outside water toys, and Ava, Isabel, Evie, Cece, and G thought they needed to check it out.  They played for about 30 minutes over there, and then we corralled them back to our was time to start the party!  More friends had shown up, so we had a full house!

Everyone had fun splashing in the pool and kinda playing in the was hot, and they were nice and cool...and happy!  I did a sunscreen check and then switched gears to a beach ball game (it was an icebreaker for kids since not everyone knew each other.)  And then we moved into the treasure hunt game which was a HUGE success...we filled a wheelbarrow up with sand, and then buried fun trinkets.  I gave each girl a spoon (by the end they were using their hands) and gave them timed sessions where they could dig and find their buried treasures.  They LOVED it! I remember doing a similar game in a big sandbox when I was little, and thought it was the best thing in the world!

The pool got very good use...

The cool sprinkler was only a backdrop, though...

Isabel took a break to hang with her Dad

Silly Evie...but my friend Tiff was an AMAZING help at the party. Couldn't have done it without her or my mom!

We still had control of the party, but not kidding you, every time I went inside, I checked the clock to see how much time was left.  At this point, we had an hour to go, so it was time for cake and ice cream and gifts.  Hooray!  And then they attacked a bowl of blue jello with Swedish fish (was supposed to be decor only, but...well, they demolished it and ate it.)  And then after that, we shooed everyone off of the deck so Scott could hose off the edible party remains before they set into permanent stains.  Yikes!

Love how the cake turned out!

G didn't totally mind being the only boy there...

Time to open the awesome was a Shopkins-Barbie-Minecraft kind of birthday!

Finally, it was time for the girls to get changed, and take some pics with props!  They each got to take a party sand bucket with treats, and then we bid them a sweet adieu. 

Heehee - Isabel did a great job getting G to wear these sparkly flowers!

Isabel S. and Ava

Ava and Cece, sharing a lei...

Little Evie! (Our front door is open randomly...weird)

Ava and An

Ava and Riley

Darren was a good sport, too :)

Evie, Ava and Isabel W. - friends forever!

It was the longest two hours ever. But, the kids all had fun, and Ava was happy...and that's what matters.  Grandma Deb then came to pick up Ava (she'll be there until Tuesday night) and then it was just me, Scott and G.  Grandma Karen and Grandpa Doug stayed for a few hard-earned beers, but they are low-stress and not high-strung 8/9 year-old girls.  So, that was fine. :)

We had dinner, did the flurry of Sunday night chores, and then all hit the bed - kinda!  Even thought I was exhausted, I stayed up until 11:30pm, reading and enjoying the silence.  And then had a really hard time falling asleep, and then woke up at 3:30.  I'm going on about 4 hours of sleep after a incredibly busy weekend, so I have a feeling I will be a big pile of mush by tonight.

So much to do, and clearly, not enough time!  Not sure that's the best way to start a Monday, but...whatcha gonna do?!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Eight is Great!

We have entered the week of birthday festivities! Yesterday was Ava's eighth birthday...I'm not sure where the last eight years have gone, because last time I looked, she was still my little girl. We had a low key day yesterday, as Scott worked most of the day, and Ava had a friend over to play for a bit in the afternoon. And it was hot...nothing was moving too fast around here!

Here's our little peanut, eight years ago...

Ave and I did make a trip to Barnes & Noble yesterday, and picked up a new Minecraft book for her, along with a yummy cupcake for her dessert last night (birthday cake will be had tonight with the extended family, as well as another cake next weekend at her friends party...we have a tendency to overdo it on the cakes so I'm trying to dial it back a bit...)

I made her requested dinner of pigs in a blankets and mac and cheese...everyone cleaned their plate last night! And then it was gift time! We bought her a new bike earlier this week, so that was her big gift from us this's neat to see her on a big girl bike as opposed to the one she got when she was four!

It was "Wacky Day" at her Summer Power program on Friday, so she came home with pink, purple and sparkly hair!

Love those bright blue eyes!

That's a BIG candle for a little cupcake!

I love how G keeps his eye on the cupcake at all times...

G is trying to figure out why Ava is so excited...she is thrilled to have three new American Girl books to read!  Thanks, Steph!!

What a ham...

G has been fighting a fever over the last week, but I think he's finally kicked it...he hasn't had once since Thursday night.  Poor kid!

Having fun coloring, while cooling down...

Tonight all of the grandparents are coming over to help celebrate Ava's birthday, as well as Father's Day.  And then next weekend, we'll be hosting 9 little kids for Ava's friends birthday...I'm really hoping for good weather so we can be outside and let them burn off some energy in the sprinkler. This week is all about planning for that party! Ava and I did pick out the cake that she wants for next week, so at least that part is decided!

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful dad, as well as Scott...he's a great father to our kids and constantly makes them laugh. And eat their vegetables. Lol.  Enjoy your special day!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

See Ya, Second Grade!

It's official, we have a third grader! Ava's last day of school was this past Wednesday, and she passed second grade with flying colors. Not that there was any concern, but when I checked the "Grade Placement Next Year" box, I was thrilled to see Grade Three. Seriously, no worries there...but it really hit home that she's flying through elementary school. Exciting, but yikes! Slow down, kid!

Next week starts her Summer Program...and months of packing lunches every day. But, this summer, I'll be getting some help with that task from the crew. Yay!

G wasn't feeling so hot this week...he had a fever since Thursday afternoon, and as such, he's spent a LOT of time at home over the last few days. I'm hoping he wakes up tomorrow and has a better day.  I know he's excited for his Daddy and big sister to come home (so am I.)  They left on Friday afternoon to head up north to do some fishing and spend some time with Scott's best friend and family.  Sounds like they have caught (and released) many fish over the last few days.

Ava's fish!

We helped Grandma Karen celebrate her birthday on Friday night. There was cake, ice cream, gifts, and a whole lotta G being adorable. Happy Birthday, glad that we're able to help celebrate in person!

Ava drew this picture for I was examining it, I noticed that the bottom "unicorn" wasn't really a unicorn. When I asked Ava what it was, she told me it was a dog dressed up as a unicorn...notice the tie-on unicorn horn, the different ears, tail, lack of mane? I love, love, LOVE how creative she is!

My workplace kicked off the summer with a concert on Thursday afternoon...great music, weather, and friends having fun! This is my friend Grace wearing our custom coozies...much like Wonder Woman!

It is way too early to be up on a Sunday...Lucky is relentless about getting her breakfast, though!  And then she wakes up Darla....and it's too hard to ignore two hungry beagles pacing around the room.  Should be a good, but tired, Sunday!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Turtles and Dragonflies

What a wonderful end to the long holiday weekend!  I've been saving articles about fun things to do in our area, and we are trying to make a point of taking the kids out to see new things. On Memorial Day, we went on the "Storywalk" around a lake in Lebanon Hills.  All along the path were posted signs with nice verses of encouragement for the kids.  It was a gorgeous day, and I'm so glad we were able to go.  Plus, we now want to check out the beach one of these days, for a change of pace from the pool!

They were watching the turtles!

We thought this was interesting was dead, but the vines from other plants were covering it.

Poor little G...barely in the picture.  Great shot of Scott and Ava, though!

 This little guy was nice enough to stay in one place to have his picture taken (and yes, it was alive.)

I had told both kids we were going to a park, so G was confused when we went to the Lebanon Hills park, and there weren't any slides, swings, etc.  So, after we ran a few errands, we stopped at a "real" park so the kids could play for a bit.

I love this picture...notice how goofy Ava is acting in the background!

She was watching Scott on the level right above her...

Heehee...these slides are made for little kids, not big boys!

And then we went back to work, and the rest of the week is a blur.  BUT, I do know that G is officially in his big boy bed, and he has figured out that he can get out and play, any time he wants!  So, we've had some earlier mornings this past week. But, that's ok...he's able to entertain himself, and not always relying on someone to keep him busy.

Ava's last day of second grade is this coming Wednesday, and that has made me a bit more aware of how quickly both of these kids are growing up.  I'm so happy that they're becoming their own individuals, but boy, it hurts a bit at times.  Oh well.  This happens every day, to all families...and people learn how to deal with it!

Yesterday, Ava decided the three bears needed to have a tea party...and Elvis is providing the entertainment!  Note: the three bears were made by my mom...and originally, only Ava's bear (closest to Ava) was invited to the party.  G freaked out and thought the bear was his, so we quickly had to bring the other two bears to the party!

We're supposed to have PERFECT weather today - hooray!  Scott is going to work on his dad's car for a bit, and then Ava and I are going to head to the library to pick up a summer reading game board.  She's participated the last two summers and we both love it.  It's a great way to keep her reading throughout the summer!