Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lagoon, Aquatic Center, Splash Pad, Repeat

I am very motivated by fun.  I feel it is essential for me to get out of the house every day, and my kids seem to do so much better if we don't spend too much time at home.  I find it easier on my nerves to be out of the house as well because the alternative is watching my children 1) mess up/destroy the house or 2) micromanage their activities to keep order.  Both drive me crazy!!

We are all more productive if we are looking forward to an outing.  I like that I can motivate the kids to get their morning chores, reading, piano practice, etc. done by creating an afternoon incentive. In response to those needs we have planned weekly trips to Lagoon and to the Aquatic Center this summer.  Swimming was a top priority for the kids this summer, and we have done a lot of it!!

Andy, Cara, and Caleb have all gotten really brave with the high dive! We have a private swim teacher come and help then with strokes occasionally, but they are more interested in playing than learning.

Johnny has become really brave and independent as well.  He does awesome with a life jacket and he is brave enough that he goes to the top of the slide, indicates that he needs to be caught, and comes down, all by himself, when no one else is willing to go with him.  Not bad for a child that just turned 3.  I love independence!!

I had to include the picture of Ali too because she is such a cute little swimmer.  She and Johnny both LOVE their lessons and are so anxious to learn.  I keep them in life jackets because they are a little too confident, but it won't be long until they are swimming on their own.

Having Lagoon season passes has been a real treat.  I thought I'd be more burned out than I am.  I actually enjoy getting out of the house and going to Lagoon.  I've found that if I leave here around 2:00 with everyone in swim suits we can enjoy the hottest part of the day at Lagoon-a-beach.  I like to sit in the lazy river on a tube and Johnny and Ali "swim" near me in their life jackets.  It is relaxing and cool and then we spend the evening, from 6-10 or so doing the rides.  It makes for a late night, but a great day! I think I especially like it because we usually go with friends.  Our neighbor friends also got tickets this year so we go with the Campbell's, the Knight's, or the Holman's.

This is the only picture I have with Caleb.  He is too tall for the "kiddy" rides so he takes a cell phone and a friend and goes on the "big kid" rides.  It has taken all summer for him to get brave enough to go one most everything, but I think he has overcome most of the rides he was fearful of.  

Another place we've gone frequently, almost weekly, this summer is the splash pad.  There is a new one just a mile from our house.  The price can't be beat: FREE. And you don't have to worry about kids in the water.  I get a really big kick out of watching Johnny trying to drink from the jetted fountains.

Ali doesn't have enough body fat to keep her warm so she spends a lot of time laying on the hot concrete to warm up.

Almost daily you can find the kids jumping on the tramp with the sprinkler going.  It is not uncommon for them to change back into their suits after a day at the pool or splash pad, to jump on the tramp with neighbors or friends in the evening.

When things are slow, which isn't often, you'll find the girls out on the deck doing crafts.  (Yes, this is the kind of mess I try to avoid by going out.)  They love art.  Cara is bugged that she doesn't have a crafty mom, but she sneaks in crafting whenever she can.  Cara and Ali are doing a little neighborhood art camp twice a month this summer.  That helps to meet their artistic needs.

I'd say we are making the most of every minute of the summer!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

God Bless America

I love the feelings of patriotism I get around the 4th of July.  I love America and feel so bless to have been born in this promised land of opportunity and abundance.  It doesn't take much international travel to know how truly blessed we are!!

Utah was experiencing a major heat wave over the 4th this year, but we celebrated despite the heat. Johnny was so cute waving and the princesses at the Hyrum parade.  It almost made the sticky fingers and candy melted in the car worth it.

We tried something new this year for the 4th.  We went INSIDE the stadium for the fireworks at USU.  It was actually a great experience.  My advice to anyone going would be to realize it is going to take a long time to get out and just enjoy and take your time.  Park as far away from the stadium as you can stand to walk.  We had a wonderful time!!

The fourth was SO HOT this year.  We spent the afternoon at porcupine reservoir kayaking, swimming and cliff jumping.  We met our neighbors, the Millers, up there and enjoyed their company and playing with their toys.  It was such a fun day!!

Josh and Caleb wanted to go to the Cruse In (car show) parade on the evening of the 4th.  The rest of us were happy to stay home rather than cooking in the sun.  It worked out perfectly because Josh waved down one of Caleb's best friends, Carter, and his family and they rode on their convertible IN the parade rather than watching it.  They had a blast.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

June Flew

June flew by . . . We were happily busy and made the most of every moment.

I always enter summer with a little hesitation.  It is hard having five busy little kids home all day every day.  It is hard that the sun doesn't set until 9:00 or later, and the perfectionist in me almost goes crazy with the little messes and the constant grazing in the kitchen.  This summer I promised myself that that I would enjoy the little things.  So far so good!

We always have a wonderful "Romer Family Reunion" the second Saturday in June.  I love getting together with my cousins.  Family really is the most important thing, and I'm grateful we have that reunion to be together and catch up!

We always put safety first.  Well. . . except when there is a line of kids all waiting for a turn.  This is my cousin Jeff's wife, Nikki, taking her turn as the 4-Wheeler driver.

Cara loves pets!  Of course these dogs were loving the attention they were getting from Cara and my cousin Emily's daughter, Kedzie. 

Three cousins that don't get to play often enough. Ali (mine), Lexi (my cousin Jeff's), Kate (my sister Christie's) They are all 5 and they all showed up with side pony tails braided! 

Andy kept a snake in his bug collector.  He was very proud of it and happy to scare people. 

Caleb is 11 now so he is in "real" scouts (aka Boy Scouts as apposed to Cub Scouts).  He isn't as excited about scouts as Josh and I are.  He "just want's to shoot guns and bows." He goes to the campouts just in case there is a chance for him to shoot something.  He did a lot of camping in June with Josh and the scouts.  Josh, after a few months break from young mens, is now in 11 year old scouts.  Some how I feel so much better about it because Caleb is there too.  I like to have Josh watching out for him.  Here Caleb is pictured at scout camp with our neighbor, Logan. Yes, Caleb is a head taller than everyone his age.  He turned 11 in February and is 5'4".  He is about 95 lbs.

Here is Josh working really hard at scout camp.  It is obviously a huge sacrifice for him to be there.

Here are the boys getting ready for the canoe challenge.  Caleb really had a great time!  I'm so grateful Josh would take the time away from work to be with him.

The first day of summer I was encouraging the kids to dream and I asked them what they would do if they could do ANYTHING this summer.  I suggested going to Hawaii or Europe or gong to Space Camp or Disney World.  The things they said were all things we were doing . . . season passes to Lagoon, Cara said art camp, and both Caleb and Cara said their ultimate trip would be going to New Mexico to spend time with their cousins.  My mom was over for dinner when we had this conversation and decided, since she was planning to go to New Mexico anyway, she would take Caleb and Cara with her.  They went for 9 days in June.  They had a WONDERFUL time, despite the very long drive.  I am so grateful to my mom for taking them!

Cara and her beloved cousin Emi.

My sister, Cathie, and her kids are really big runners.  Caleb and Cara are not.  (It is genetic.)  While they were in New Mexico they ran a recreational race with the Coombs Family.  Caleb beat his best time from the Wellsville Mile training by almost 2 minutes. 

I would think that having Caleb and Cara gone wouldn't be that big of a deal, but I seriously felt like I was on vacation.  For 9 days NO ONE screamed from being teased or picked on and complained about being board.  Bedtime was so easy without Caleb resisting.  It was so nice for me to have that break and to enjoy my three younger kids.  I did something fun or special with them each day and we all really loved it.  It felt light and carefree to just have three kids rather than the five.  I did really miss having baby sitters when I needed to go somewhere quickly, but it was worth the trade off.  Here Andy, Ali and Johnny are posing outside of Cold Stone. 

We like to have neighborhood campfires out in the cup-de-sac.  The kids were so happy!

I had to take a picture of this line up of kids "helping" Andy get his reading done so that he could go out and play.  We have SO MANY children in our neighborhood that it is almost comical.  My kids (especially the boys) tend to disappear for the day when I let them go out and play so they have to get their chores done before they go out.  Sometimes they get a lot of help.  I feel like the "other mother" for a lot of children and I'm grateful to have so many moms looking after my children as well.

I am shocked at how well Johnny and Ali play together considering they are 26 months apart and different genders.  They have really become best friends.  At Johnny's three year well child visit in June he was 95% across the board, head, weight and height.  Ali is significantly taller than him, but he weigh's a solid two pounds more than her and they have had the same size shoe for nearly a year.  (You can see his head is bigger too.)  The down side of having them be best friends is that they can play in their bedroom for hours after they are tucked in for bed.  I've gone in there at 11:30 or even midnight and they are still just quietly playing.  I poked my head in last week about that time and Johnny was finally sleeping.  Ali had laid down by him and sang him to sleep.  Josh had enough of the playing after bedtime last night and pulled Johnny's bed into the office.  We will see if they can gain the self control to continue to share a room, but no matter what I LOVE that they are best friends!!