Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer Means...

Road trip! 

We've pushed off our summer road trip till the almost-end of summer vacation, but here we are, packed up and on the road. We broke the news to the kids yesterday and immediately began enduring the questions. "Where? Are we going to ____? How far away? Is it a ____?" Over the next eight hours they managed to squeeze three clues out of us. 

1. It's in Wisconsin. 
2. There's a big horse.
3. Pack your swimsuit.

Archer swiped a Wisconsin road map from David's car and they began studying it. One side is the map, the other side is the list of tourist attractions we should visit. Archer and Shelly carefully reviewed the thirty or more attractions, seeing if any of them matched up. I walked in the room and Archer pointed out his top few guesses. His number one pick was exactly right, but of course I couldn't tell him. I said the picture he was looking at didn't show a big horse, and he countered with, "I saw a commercial for that place and they have a giant horse." They went back to studying, I continued helping Elijah pack his bag. (The first thing he had to pack was a snack. I kept trying to put him off and said we need his clothes but he just kept carrying around that big duffle bag talking about a snack. Finally I gave in and let him pack a box of crackers so we could get on with packing everything else.)

Anyway, at 9:00 last night we caved and gave them a bit more information. It's northwest from us, its more than 30 miles away and less than 130 miles. Circles were drawn on the map, a wedge was drawn to narrow the field to everything northwest of us. And the speculation continued. Archer announced that Wisconsin Dells is right in the center of that area on the map, I told him it wasn't even listed and he said he KNOWS Wisconsin Dells is there. 

I can't wait for the "I told you so! I knew it!!" that's coming in just a couple of hours when we pull into the parking lot of the place he guessed. And better yet, I can't wait for the fun we're about to have!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fourth Festivities

First some pool time and reminiscing about that same day 11 years ago (a whole different crowd of kids, a whole different plan for the day).

Then staking out the perfect spot for fireworks, and the wait begins.

Still waiting...

Waiting some more...

It's really cooling down out here and we're still waiting...

Any minute now the sun will go down, the show will start and the kids will settle in.

Happy Independence Day, America!

Summer Nights

It's all about the games, the racing around the yard while the rules change every five minutes, the newly drawn racetrack, the minor injuries and bouncing back up to run some more.

Shelly on her guitar

E delivering mail

Arch showing off scooter tricks

Me gathering up flowers from my beautiful children

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

He's Hoooommme!

Our world traveller has returned to us at last! He brought home half the stuff he left with, a hundred mosquito bites, lots and lots of stories. He was met by his siblings who couldn't get enough hugs from him, a banner made by Shelly and a hundred questions from Mom and Dad. Did you take any showers? Brush your teeth? Use deodorant? Sunscreen? No, not ever, nope, NONE! He looks like he's gained two inches and a year or two in the last four days. How did he grow up so much?

We celebrated his return by taking our party (and Chinese takeout) to Grandma and Grandpa's house. The kids are all now fast asleep in bed, recovering from the day's fun, finally!

Welcome home Archer!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Archery for All

Not to be left in the dust, last night was Shelly's turn to join the fun and she had an archery session at a local club. Only one other kid showed up, and she was already pretty skilled. So Shelly got the full attention of the three gentlemen who were coaching, she got lots of tips and encouragement. Elijah even had a chance to try out a couple of bows, but he's just not quite ready yet. I'm looking forward to seeing how she improves over the summer!

Shelly's quiver is nearly as long as her leg! Also, its a good thing she was wearing shorts under her dress so she could tuck the dress out of the way and attach the quiver to her shorts.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Busy Busy

While Archer is busy with this...

(thanks Rick for putting your camera phone to good use, also I see the boys have graduated to compound bows)

Shelly and E are up to this...

After a quick intermission inside, E says, "I want to get even more wet!" And back outside he goes!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Up Up and Away

We've been working up to this for a few years now. Archer joined Cub Scouts way back in second grade, we camped out a time or two every summer with the Scouts and one of us (David or I) always went along as helper/leader/chapperone/crowd control on the "Scouts only" events.

Anyone who's ever purchased popcorn or batteries or wreaths has helped send Archer to camp. Anyone who's helped Archer with important life skills like baiting a hook, rolling a sleeping bag, making his own sandwiches has contributed to his confidence in taking this next step.

This year we decided to let him go it alone. Not really alone, he's known these leaders for a few years, he's known the other kids since kindergarden, we've spent a lot of time with these people. So not alone. But without family, he's going without family and we're all excited for him on his new adventure. He packed his own bag, made his own lunch for the road this morning, and off they went. Seven boys, two leaders, lots of snacks and joke books for the road.

Last night I asked him if he was going to call me twice a day to let me know he's ok. "No." Will you send me a letter or two every day? "No." Cry yourself to sleep every night because you miss us? "No." Every question made him laugh at me more, and I was glad. I'd hate to be the one that holds him back from getting out there into the great outdoors with friends!

We spent the day wondering what Archer was doing at that moment, "Probably having lunch now... I wonder if he's already done the swim test?... Probably dinner time for Archer... Do you think he's sleeping yet? Nah, maybe a campfire right now."

Anyway, we really are excited for him, and eager to hear all his stories when he comes back home to us.

In the meantime, Shelly's come up with a project to keep us busy - she made a  mailbox and we can all write notes to him, so he comes home to a mailbox full of letters.

Have fun Archer, and don't forget to change your socks! And take a shower. And USE THE BUG SPRAY FOR GOODNESS SAKE! And deodorant. And have fun.  :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pool Time!

We swam and swam and swam until our fingers were all wrinkly and we were all worn out. We practiced stuff we'd learned at swim lessons and splashed around and Archer swam across the pool one way and then the other.... 

That's right, Archer swam from the shallow end to the deep, then back again. He passed Grandpa's Test! He did it three times before we said he'd have to be done for the day becaue the rest of us were too cold and hungry to watch a fourth time.

I am SO PROUD of him, I didn't think he was ready but he proved me wrong three times over, and I'm so glad he did!

I can't wait for him to show Grandma and Grandpa when they get home from their road trip.

PS - Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa for letting us use the pool while they're away, I hope everything got put back in order to their satisfaction, the kids told us where everything goes so if its not right...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Here We Go!

Summer's in full swing!
First there was this...

Then prepping for upcoming major life event (Scout camp) and subjecting Oldest Son to a long talk about the importance of sunscreen, bug spray, deodorant and SOAP

Then a little rest

And now movie night starring popcorn everywhere and Legos!

Everything is awesome!!! (That's a Lego Movie reference - Google it!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Who has time for work when...

There are so many other things to do?

Getting boys unstuck from little puzzles

Getting boys off my desk

Chasing rabits out of the garden (hey wait, its only eating the weeds, maybe I should let him stay?)

Watching children dancing in the street (only 5 more days till soccer camp starts!!!!)

Celebrating the last day of school

And spending the morning in the hot sun playing instead of learning on the last day :)

Movie party with friends

And FINALLY Soccer Camp!!!

Trying to cool down because we STILL haven't bothered to turn on the AC (not that we've needed it, its barely been warm enough to even THINK about AC)

Bike rides

More games

More magic at the library

More... I don't know, what IS that thing??

That's been the beginning of summer, but it feels like its already halfway over. Oh well, we'll make the most of every single minute!