Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer Snap Shots



Well, howdy folks!

Long time, no see! Everyone is probably dog gone sick and tired of hearing me complain about how busy we are, so I will spare you that excuse. I'm behind on my blog and it's been nagging at the back of my brain for weeks. I have to settle for less words and focus on sharing the photos most important to me. I'll get back to writing when I get more caught up!

The Old Western photo at the opening of today's post makes me so happy. It's the third one we've had taken with the Blasers. They helped complete our summer with a visit to Utah. Per tradition, we met at Lagoon twice. James (previously known as Talon) and Eliza rode most every ride together. Henry was happy to be spending time with her other boys. As for me, being with Michelle made me so happy. It's like no time had passed at all. We always talk about a return visit to South Carolina. It's been five years! I'd be thrilled if Andrew and I made it happen.

Lagoon has been our gathering place this summer. Sometimes we were there with just our family, other times it was with extended family: cousins, grandparents, etc. We met friends and also enjoyed date night there. We certainly got our money's worth. Here's a slew of photos that represent some of the memories made there.

Lagoon with family:





These cute cousins were asked each visit if they were either sisters or twins. :) 


We loved the visits when Papa and Nana Marie came!



Henry took that giant leap from kiddieland to big kid rides this summer!
He has conquered all of those big coasters: Cannibal included.
He was a nervous wreck, near tears even, as we went up that hill on the fire dragon.
I almost felt bad for him until I saw his terrified expression shift into one of total joy!
It was one of my favorite Lagoon moments of the summer.

Lagoon with neighbor friends





Lagoon with the Blasers








Cherry Hill was another summer favorite.









And finally, some of the best memories were made playing in our own backyard. The kids played for hours in an inflatable pool; with and without cousins. There were plenty of Popsicles enjoyed on the porch, time spent in the sandbox and movie nights on the lawn. Here's a few misc. photos that I love.


Henry started violin in July! 
Wow! What a commitment this is, but so far he is loving it. 
I am a part of each practice and lesson. 
But I realized right away that this would be a good thing as it carves out special one on one time together. 


I was sitting on the floor doing laundry one morning 
and looked up and saw a werewolf watching t.v.
It was so funny to me.




She is a big time tween now. 
Big time.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Of Fireworks and BBQs

It's fun thinking back on the events of the 4th of July and then comparing it to the 24th of July. Each of these holidays proved to be two of my favorite days spent this summer. One, however, was carefully planned while the other was a day of spontaneity. In planning the fourth of July, I did my best to carve out time with both of our families. I packed swimming essentials for Lagoon-a-beach as well as a sleepover bag for us to stay the night at Nanna Teresa's. Each of us, with the exception of Andrew, looked forward to the day with anticipation. The reason for his negativity was that he was upset with me because I backed out of our original plan to go to the cabin that weekend. Not able to let that dream go completely, he was able to sneak down to the cabin with his Dad for two days and then was home to join us on the fourth.

Rather than braving the heat of a parade, we took our first (and so far only) trip to Lagoon A Beach water park. We met the Chamberlains and Nana Marie there. After renting our tubes, the adults split up in order to supervise different groups of kids. Somehow, during that first shift, I ended up floating in the lazy river with my Mom and sister Ami. Andrew had Forrest and Lottie was off roaming the water park with Uncle Adam and cousin Sara. It was so nice to enjoy that time with them. I found myself able to relax, laugh and really soak in that the freeing feeling of summer. Andrew soon met up with us which made me happy. I was able to ride tube slides with my older kids and then chase my younger kids through the kiddie area. It was a great way to begin our day.

After lunch, we made our way to Nanna Teresa's. For some kids, it meant more swimming. For others, read: Forrest, it meant nap time. Huzzah! Then, we readied ourselves for a delicious BBQ.
Mini Katie and Mini Andrew.
These two melt my heart. 

Later that night we rejoined my family for the Holladay firework show. My brother is a Detective there and as a perk, he's able to secure us a fantastic parking spot each year. 

Detective Mike, me, Alaska brother Mark, beautiful sister Ami
(not pictured: baby brother Matt)
The cousins (minus Joey)
I don't express my patriotism as much as I should. I think that's because I'm typically blogging about Motherhood, so grant me a moment to express it. I feel so thankful to be an American. I love where I live. I feel privileged and blessed to be able to raise my children here. Yes, there are days when I am disheartened by the direction the country, the world in general, is headed. There are many reasons to feel scared, disgusted and concerned. But, it is my daily hope and prayer that God will continue to bless and heal this land. This may sound totally crazy to some, but I do believe that Christ will come again. As I was lamenting the other day that I hope that day comes soon, Eliza said to me, "I sure hope I get to go to prom first." She was being totally serious. :)

She also asked me if I thought there were more good or bad people on the Earth. My automatic response was that there are more good people. And as I've thought more about my answer, I stand by it. The awful, ugly and scary are all out there. But so are the everyday heroes; the ones who are seen and the others who serve quietly. I feel encouraged when I peruse my instagram feed, as an example, and observe the way other families, couples, great individuals in general, are living life. I see them uplifting, supporting and loving one another. I value and respect "regular" Mom's like me... the non-famous types that have a handful of followers; I see that they are simply trying their best to raise good children. (I respect and admire some of the more well known people too... I'm just trying to make a point, here) These parents are teaching their children manners, reminding them that they are children of a loving Father in Heaven, as in the business of making happy memories together, ask for prayers when times are hard and are trying to laugh at the crazy, stupid things that sometimes happen.

It's easy to feel envy when watching other parents do their thing; especially when it seems like they are doing parenthood so much better than you. But awhile back, I had the thought that maybe one of these Moms is raising a future spouse for one of my kids. What if that Mom, who seems like an over achiever, is currently raising one of my children's future college roommates or missionary companions. Those feelings of jealousy and inadequacy have since shifted into feelings of support. I'm able to cheer these Mom's on... sometimes I do this silently and other times its in the form of a comment filled with an obnoxious amount of emojis. And in the rare cases when I just can't get over those less than righteous feelings, I unfollow that person and move on.

Forgive the huge detour, but I'm grateful that I live in a country where these parents that I so admire, like us, are able to raise their children how they want. We are able to establish a foundation of faith in Christ in the our children's young lives; and share that hope that it will sustain and support them when life gets hard. I'm grateful for our religious liberties, for the physical beauty of where I live and the great neighbors and family close by to help Andrew and me in our own pursuit of happiness. God bless America, land that I love. And God bless the men and women who work so hard to defend and protect our freedoms.

Moving on... sheeesh... that was an embarrassing amount of thought and emotion right there...

I hadn't thought much about the 24th of July. Earlier in the day we'd had cousins over to play. My evening plans had mostly consisted of laundry. What a thrill, I know. But like blogging, I am perpetually behind on laundry. My friend Katie was here visiting from St. Louis. Her Mom, known around these parts as Miss Nancy, lives two doors down. Her kids become my kids best buddies each summer when they are here. Anyway, she invited us to join them for swimming and fireworks. We were thrilled. I ran to the store so that I could hurry and make a batch of cookie salad before joining in the festivities. It was a great, great night.

Mr. Scott made an awesome water slide out of the black tubing. 
Forrest loved it. 
Lottie is smiling because she was burping in my face as I took this picture. 
Yes. As parents, I mentioned, we TRY to teach our children manners. 
Some parents, I am not one of them, are more successful than others. 

Forrest surprised me as he bravely jumped off the diving board for the first time.
It was during this moment when I wanted time to stand still. 
I love these people and am so grateful I get to raise my children in their midst.
Happy birthday Utah.
You have my heart forever.