Wow…this summer flew by! We spent most of June traveling and also made a couple of short trips in July. The kids did so well in the car, despite making several trips that were over 7 hours. Here’s a not-so-quick recap of our summer and a little blurb about each of the kids.
We started the month of June with a trip to my parents new house in Cincinnati. I think in another couple of years I’ll come to terms with the fact that they actually live there, but until then, it’s a nice place to go visit. The kids made themselves right at home and quickly destroyed the basement and every other part of the house that my mom had cleaned. We got to see the town and hit up the Cincinnati Zoo, which was so neat!
Next up, we traveled to Branson, MO where we met up with Ben’s family. I think some of us had our doubts about Branson, but it is such a neat town! We barely scratched the surface, but really enjoyed the activities that we did there. It was fun to catch up with everyone and to share some new experiences together. The kids were so excited to be with cousin Oliver and, unfortunately for Katie, couldn’t keep their hands off cousin Juliet either (who should make her debut in the next few weeks!).
We were home for a couple of days, then jumped back in the car to pick up Deda and head on to Pittsburgh. We were so glad to be with everyone there. We went on walks, had big family dinners, and played a lot! It was our first trip in a long time that was long enough to actually relax and hang out instead of trying to squeeze everything in to a short weekend, and that was nice!
From Pittsburgh, we drove to North Carolina. We got to spend a day with Ben’s aunt, uncle and cousins and their kids, which was so fun! The kids all had such a great time together, but it was especially funny watching Andy and James together. They are cut from the same cloth, which would probably prove dangerous if they spent too much time together! Hahaha! My Aunt Nancy and Uncle Tony only live about 30 minutes from Ben’s family, so we scooted over there and spent a few days at the lake, visiting and being entertained by many animals. Poor Ben had to work, but the rest of us had a great time together, swimming, boating and playing.
Our first July trip was to Chicago to see Ben’s grandparents and aunt and uncle. We had an early 4th of July celebration, and Eden declared it the best dinner ever! (Loaded hotdogs, watermelon, potato salad, baked beans and potato chips, plus s’mores, in case you were wondering!) The kids played inside and out which gave us time to talk and catch up with them, which was the real treat!
Finally, we made one last trip to Pittsburgh for the summer. We surprised MOST of the family there at Billy’s birthday party. I drove by myself with the kids and while the trip there and back were not our smoothest to date, our time there sure was fun! We partied on Friday, we went swimming at the country club that my grandparents belonged to when we were kids, which brought back so many memories. Andy went to a Pirate’s game on Saturday night while we had a girls+Patrick picnic at the park. Sunday the family surprised us by coming to church and then to lunch before we made the long trek home.
In between all of our travels, we did VBS, swim lessons, soccer camp and playdates, went to the zoo and several parks. Eden and Andy start school next week and Grace starts the Tuesday after that, so our summer is coming to an end. We have a couple more things to squeeze in but then this summer is a wrap! And none too soon, for the sake of my sanity and the cleanliness of my house!
Whew! If you’re crazy enough to keep reading (or if you skimmed the top because you didn’t really care about our summer ;-), here’s what’s going on with the kids.
Eden- Eden is a mini-me. I alternate between being horrified and proud of that. She’s a classic first child, rule-lover, baby-nut who loves school and being in charge. I love and hate her desire for independence, but honestly, rely on it. I can count on Eden to do the right thing, and to do it quickly, and she’s always helpful with her siblings. She’s SO creative and the kids have more fun when she’s around to make up games and entertainment. I may have mentioned before that 6 is not my favorite age because there’s a bit too much sass and bossiness. Fortunately, the times that she really pushes us, or dares to challenge us, are few and far between and she almost always ends the day with snuggles and lots of hugs and kisses before bed. Eden can’t wait for first grade and is growing up too quickly!
Andy- I spend a lot of time laughing at this little boy these days. He’s HILARIOUS!! His faces, his timing, his comebacks…it’s too much sometimes. He picks up on things that other people overlook, he asks a lot of questions, he wants an explanation for everything and he loves detail. He can turn a pile of legos into something amazing in no time, which I can’t understand, because I can’t build anything without directions. Plus, he’s suddenly this little man instead of a wild boy. He follows rules and makes sure others are too, he takes turns, he waits patiently and he is kind to others! He’s still occasionally too rough, but for the most part, he’s all grown up. He’s always been laid back and sweet, and he’s not easily upset. He’s heading to Kindergarten in a week and he’s cool as a cucumber about it!
Grace- Wow…that third child. Someone should have warned me! Her personality is WAY bigger than she is and I’m pretty sure she’s what you would call a ‘free spirit’. Being a first child, I’m baffled by that term, but I’m equally baffled by Grace. She is all love and cuddles one minute, than the next she’s bossy and annoyed, then the next she’s stomping and yelling at you with her hands on her hips, then just as quickly she’s thanking you for helping her in her little sweet voice. Poor Grace is still so small, but she wants to do everything herself. This results in a lot of tears and a very pathetic, “…but I’m too wittle!” Grace is very proud to be a big sister now, and she reminds us all the time that she’s one of the big kids. I love that I can still scoop her up in my arms and cover her in kisses. She’s very confident and loves attention and can’t wait to start school.
Sarah- Where is that kid going to fit into this family? So far she’s the darling baby that everyone dotes on. And she’s quite happy about it. She wants to be in the thick of things and learned early on that she has to be loud to be heard in the midst of everyone else. Sarah’s smiley and flexible, but makes sure we know when she wants something. I’m looking forward to being able to spend time with just her this school year, although I know we’ll both be missing the big kids.