Friday, July 20, 2012

The Best Ofs. . . . . .

Summer Recreation has concluded.  Yippee!!  It actually was fine and the kids loved the activities they chose to participate.  As I was watching them on the final day, I was thinking about how unique each child is, especially in their approach to playing.  So here is my list of Summer Rec Awards (if there were such a thing).

The Most Enthusiastic:  Hands down it goes to Sweet Potato.  No matter what he was doing, he had a smile on his face and a spring in his step.  It was fun watching him play, simply because he enjoyed it so much.

Most Determination:  This belongs to Honey Bunches.  He worked really hard at each of his sports; football, basketball and swimming.  Even when there was a skill that challenged him, he kept trying and didn't give up.  His determination was endless.

Most Likely To Be Reincarnated As A Fish:  Cucumber.  I don't believe in reincarnation, but she was a natural in the water.  She showed little fear and was constantly paddling around, even when she probably shouldn't have been (like when her teacher was giving her instructions!)

Most Passionate:  Gummi Bear.  Whether it was gymnastics or volleyball, the girl lived and breathed those sports.  Each night, she would practice in the yard after supper.  She talked endlessly about each sport and looked forward to practice the next day.  She wasn't ready for these two activities to end.

Most Likely to Believe She is Michael Phelps When She is Only in the Preschool Beginners Level:  That would be Sweet Pea.  This was her first "lesson in the big pool" experience.  I would consider her to be a pretty typical beginner in the water.  However, in Sweet Pea's mind, she was far beyond her limits.  I watched as her teacher persuaded her to complete (or at least try) each skill.  Sometimes, she simply refused.  After her lessons I asked her why she wouldn't do what was asked of her.  She expressed, "I can do it, I just don't want to."  Then as we watched some of the Olympic Trials, she told me that she swims like that.  Mmmhmm.  She squealed quite a bit while in the water, which proved her having lots of fun.  That, alone, was worth it.

Most Loving Her Time Alone With Grandma:  Of course it's Pumpkin.  She was too young to participate in any of the activities, so she spent most of her time with Grandma.  And might I add that they had a great time together.  They went for a few walks (which ended up at the Bakery), they did a little shopping, they colored and played games, folded laundry together, went visiting and watched movies.  Pumpkin didn't mind so much not being with the rest of us.

I think we found a nice balance of structured activity and down time over the past few months.  We still have a little over a month to enjoy these hot, summer days.  I look forward to waking each morning and asking the Love Bugs what they want to do that day.  I'm going to try really hard to relax a little more and enjoy this time with them before school begins again.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My "Girls" Weekend

As a child, probably the two most anticipated days in my life each year were my birthday and Christmas.  Well last weekend was parallel to my birthday and Christmas, all rolled into one.  It was my "college girlfriend" get together, which takes place once a year.  Days leading up to the grand event, I could hardly contain my excitement.  I truly felt like a kid again.

The five of us gathered for a relaxed, fun-filled 2 1/2 days.  Each year it has little to do with what we actually do and more to do with time spent catching up and sharing much laughter and sometimes a few tears.  We tend to drink too much, eat too much, laugh until our cheeks hurt, our sides ache and tears stream from our eyes.  These girls are treasures in my life and I count myself extremely blessed to call them friends.

Friday night we celebrated with a Mexican Fiesta, reminiscent of our Spring Break Trip to Cancun, oh so many years ago.  Gina, our hostess for the weekend, cooked an amazing dinner.
Margaritas in Mason Jars

Saturday was spent getting pedicures and doing a little shopping.

Coffee in a mug made by one of Gina's artist friends


No get-away would be complete without a trip to Sam's Club!

Saturday night, we ventured out to down-town and shared more fun times over a delicious dinner.

Here come the tears from our laughter

Sunday arrived too soon, as we packed up and said our "good-byes."  As much as I missed my family, I also know that this time spent with friends comes around too seldom.  Due to our busy lives, once a year is about the best we can do for now.  I came home tired, but refreshed.  I have a heart that is full of gratitude - for family that watched my kids while I was gone, to a husband who encourages me to take this time away, for the gift of genuine friendship which has blossomed into an extension of family.  I  love my "girls" and look forward to the next time!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Swimming and Swimming and Ball, Oh My!

Swimming lessons have begun for Sweet Potato, Honey Bunches, Cucumber and Sweet Pea.  From 10:30 - 11:00, Sweet Potato and Cucumber hit the water.  From 11:00 - 11:30, Honey Bunches and Sweet Pea take their turn, and then from 11:30 - Noon, Gummi plays volleyball.  I find it good fortune that we were able to schedule that way.  Everyone in and out in less than two hours.

The kids did great at swimming.  This was Sweet Pea's first time in the pool and she cried when the instructor called her name to come forward.  I gave her a nudge and the instructor grabbed her hand and led her to the pool.  I watched with great anticipation, knowing that once she warmed up, she would do just fine.  Within 20 minutes, Sweet Pea was dunking her head under water.  I was swallowing back tears as I watched her progress.  Also, I'm considering changing Sweet Potato's name to "Bob."  He could quite easily be spotted in the pool today amongst the great number of kids.  He bobbed up and down the entire time.  His group would be hanging onto the side of the pool, and there was Sweet Potato - up and down.  Up and down.  Up and down.  It wouldn't have been so noticeable, but he was the only kid bobbing.  Then it struck me later this afternoon as he was playing WipeOut on Wii.  He jumped up and down his entire turn.  He gets so excited and can't control his enthusiasm, that it just comes out in his jumping all around.

Gummi loved volleyball today and wanted to practice after supper.  Her and I headed outdoors this evening to work on passing and setting.  A few weeks ago, I tried teaching Gummi how to position her hands when passing and emphasized the importance of bending her knees; not just swinging her arms wildly at the ball.  She wasn't taking instruction very well from me (apparently I'm just "mom" to her.  The notion that I may know a little something about athletics must seem preposterous!).  Well wouldn't you know, tonight she was doing all the things I was trying to tell her to do.  She of course gave credit to the actual coach.  Eventually her sisters came outdoors and wanted to play with us as well.  Gummi bent over and was positioning Pumpkin - quite thoroughly I may add.  Once Pumpkin was "set-up", Gummi passed her the ball.  Pumpkin bumped it over to Cucumber.  In the thrill of having actually bumped the ball, Pumpkin clapped her hands and jumped up and down, very excitedly while yelling, "I did it!  I'm so good at soccer!"

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pumpkin's Third Birthday

Three years ago yesterday, I was mowing our yard on a very hot afternoon, with hopes of inducing labor.  I finished mowing, showered, poured myself a glass of lemonade and turned on the t.v.  I began having contractions - about 10 minutes apart, but very steady.  About 10:00 PM, my contractions were ranging from 3 to 5 minutes apart, still very steady.  Monkey decided it was time to take me to the hospital, as he was getting nervous.  Me. . . I wanted to stay home a little longer, but knew that we should side with caution.  After a sleepless night in the hospital, Pumpkin decided it was time to meet the world.  This child has kept us on our toes ever since!

This picture was taken this past January.  We had brand new carpet installed in the bedrooms.  Less than 12 hours later, this is what I discovered.  Pumpkin found a marker and decided to draw on the floor.

Since we are just coming off of the July 4th holiday where we spent much time with family, we decided to have our own celebration for Pumpkin's birthday.  The boys were off to the cabin this past weekend (again), Gummi was at a friend's house, so Monkey, the 3 youngest and I headed out for dinner and a movie last night.  We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings (where the waitress asked if the girls were triplets) and then saw the movie Brave.  It was such a great night, even though it got late and the girls were really tired.  This afternoon, once the other kids returned home, we settled in for a lovely and fun party.

Pumpkin picked the menu of grilled hamburgers for supper and pink, strawberry cake for dessert.

Pumpkin wanted to frost her own cake.

The finished product.  Notice the frosting on Pumpkin's cheek.  Hmmm. . . .

Getting ready to blow out the sparklers.  I love Cucumber's reaction in the background.

A little Neopolitan on the side.

Willing to share, upon her sister's request.

All of the gifts Pumpkin received:  headbands (she decided to wear all 3 at once), a new suitcase filled with little gifts from her siblings- gum, mints, hair binders, lip balm, hair glitter, fingernail polish and cash.

It is hard for me to see Pumpkin, the baby of the family, growing up so fast.  She's not a baby anymore.  She is an active, outgoing, smart little firecracker!  She's bossy, but loving.  She shares her humor, and a little sass.  She often thinks herself older than she truly is, yet will curl up in my lap to snuggle. She's loud, yet enjoys whispering "I love you Mommy" in my ear.  She likes girly things, but loves Power Rangers.  She keeps me guessing each and every day and rarely fails to surprise me with her creativity and wit.  She can melt my heart with her bright smile.  I look forward to seeing her develop into the person that God has created her to be - but not too soon.  Although she has declared her big-girl status since turning three, she is, and will remain - my baby.  I love you Pumpkin!  Happy Birthday!

My favorite picture from dinner last night

Thursday, July 5, 2012

And Then There Was One

Monkey Toes reminded me yesterday that it's been awhile since I've blogged.  It certainly isn't due to lack of "material", but this summer vacation thing we have going on is pretty amazing.  I find myself losing motivation for structure and leaning more towards the attitude of "wherever the wind blows."  I'm in uncharted territory here!  This way of life is short lived, however, as next week begins swimming lessons with my brood.  That will make for very busy days.  I am not exactly sure how much posting I'll be doing over the next month and a half (wait a minute. . . what happened to the month of June?!?!?!).  If time permits and I feel the urge to sit and type, then I'll keep everyone as up-to-date as I can. 

After having 5 children go through the diaper stage and eventually being potty trained, I have learned a very important lesson;  Their will.  Not mine.  It hasn't seemed to matter what trick, bribery, strong desire Monkey and I have exerted.  If the child does not want to use the toilet, very simply, he or she will not.  We are now down to having one in diapers.  Pumpkin will be three years old in a matter of days, and the girl has no desire to toss out her diapers.  I have offered her new underwear that she can pick out at the store.  I have offered her books, toys, snacks she can have while sitting on her potty seat to keep her entertained, but she won't even try.  So imagine my frustration when the following situation took place.

After lunch, I was getting the younger kids ready for their naps.  Pumpkin was in her room playing with the little kitchenette.

Me:  Pumpkin, let's change your diaper for nap time.
Pumpkin:  I am going to cook and poop.  Please close the door and I'll come out when I'm done.

The very thought that this child is now speaking in complete sentences and expresses herself so well, boggles my mind that she won't use the toilet.  One would think that I have this potty thing mastered by the time child #6 comes along, yet here I am admitting that this matter is completely out of my control.  Trust me, when this girl decides to throw those diapers out, I will be the one doing the "potty" dance in celebration!