Oliver and Ansel love to go snail hunting in the courtyard of my doc's office. They find a lot of empty shells, but yesterday they found some live specimens. They put them in plastic cups and called them their pets. The best part is the names they gave them! Oliver's new pal is John Coop (middle name: Vancouver) and Ansel's little buddy is Tickle Beethoven (middle name: Bon Bon, as in the French name for candy). These are regal snails.
Lately, I've been reading blogs where people report on their trips to Europe. Many individuals share photos of Switzerland, and man, that place is beautiful! It takes me back to a trip my parents, three of my siblings and I took a good while back. What great memories. It makes me want to travel with my little family soon!
My sister and I up high with mountains behind us and a glacier in front of us.
My sisters and I enjoying the view of the Matterhorn from our Zermatt hotel balcony.
My dad, who has Swiss heritage, living a dream and playing the alp horn in the mountains of Switzerland. We all look very serious about this moment.
August is here! And again summer has gone by with many things going on. Most of the time has been wonderful. Some of it has been hard with sad family news. The strange dichotomy is that when sad things happen life goes on and you've got to keep doing the little things each day. The hardest part is being powerless to make the situation right, but that's when the support mindset kicks in and helping with all those little things make dealing with the situation a bit easier. I know this is all so vague but there you have it. With that said, we've been able to spend quality time doing fun things to fill in these summer days. Boy, how I love a lazy summer morning where the boys get to play and laugh until it's lunchtime. And walking barefoot outside, what a luxury. I don't care if I step on a twig, this is the life!
Below are some pics of some of our doings these days. Scroll through as desired.
One weekend afternoon in June was cold and rainy. Not to worry! Oliver put together a miniature golf game and we played a few holes. Needless to say, there was some bending of the rules, but it was a good time.
I may have been the last person to realize that there was an awesome canyon-inspired splash park at Liberty Park, but we've taken full advantage this summer. Such fun at that park. Always lots of kids and my boys love it (doesn't hurt that Banbury Cross donuts is just down the road either :).
These kids have taken to bike riding this summer and they do it A LOT.
We visited a petting zoo and pretty much had the place to ourselves. We got to see goats, alpaca, sheep, chickens (Ollie got to harvest the eggs), pigs, chicks, horses, and rabbits.
Tennis lessons for Ollie were awesome. He had a fun time and I learned a few things myself listening to the coach. Where can I sign up?
Jess' birthday (complete with a half cake) was great. Those boys were very eager for him to come home and blow out the candles.
Ansel learned to pump! Ahh, the freedom for him and me. Wahoo!
Sparkler magic on the 4th of July. Ansel loved the carnival we went to and is planning the rides he will try next year. I think Oliver was counting down the days to this holiday the day he got out of school.
Two front teeth, gone. Apparently, Oliver does not want anyone but himself to pull his teeth out. "It's my goal to pull out my own teeth," he says to anyone asking.
Cousin group hug! Speaking of hugs, Ansel is the sweetest 3 year old and likes to give out hugs. Kisses too. I can't get enough.
Brother fun after a doc appointment. Ahh, the fun. On a different day they found lots of empty snail shells in the garden. We found some live ones too. Poor garden but good times for snail exploration.
36 weeks pregnancy photo in the perfect lighting of a golf course bathroom. Man, those bathroom lighting people know how to do it right. Anyhow, I've never posted a pic of a pregnant me on this blog or anywhere for that matter, but I find that I miss the fact that I can't go back and see that for my other two kids, so there it is. And I know I won't get professional photos done. I have now joined the selfie in the bathroom club, as well as the selfie as a pregnant person club.
A visit to my mom's grave with Jess and the boys. Jess always does a great job cleaning around the headstones. I help too, but he's got the skills.
Cousins at the creek up Big Cottonwood canyon. We were there for 4 hours and never did I get asked "when are we going home?" My sister and her family came to visit and it was so nice.
Alpine sliding and good times. Ollie did it by himself and totally enjoyed it. Ansel couldn't wait to go on the lift and then slide down. They wanted to go again and again. If only the pricing for such a thing were like the good old days. Oh well.
This summer has been a summer of "conquering fears" for Oliver. He's told me this a few times and it is true. I am very happy for him and all he's done. As for Ansel, he wants to do everything and anything Oliver does, the kid wants to do tennis and golf and swim lessons. He is ready to try soccer and has a "need for speed." Jess and I have recently celebrated another year of marriage and friendship. We do a lot of listening to good music and going to places our kids want to visit. And that is that.
I'm sitting here in the living room all by myself at home. This is a rarity. Home alone and it's quiet. Jess and the boys have been gone for a total of 4 minutes and I'm already missing them. Cheesy but true!
They are off to what Ollie has termed "boys camp." Since I go up to girls camp with the young women (and was up there yesterday), the father and sons campout or what now has become the neighborhood family campout is "boys camp" to Ollie. He has been talking about going on this campout since he got home from the last one last summer. Often he would count down the days to said boys camp, "Mom, there are 12 days til boys camp." And this time around Ansel gets to go. He is just as excited. He helped pack his own bag and remembered not to forget his compass. He even buckled himself into his car seat 5 minutes before anyone was even outside getting in the car. Needless to say, they were pumped.
Their excitement made me want to jump in the car with them and go. But this 7 month pregnant body would be a-twisting and a-turning in the night all the while trying not to wake them up, so I'll forgo boys camp. Plus, it's special to spend time just with dad. I hope they have a rip roaring time.
These three, what a great crew!
Just a bit ago we had the chance to take a trip to Hawaii (or Ha-why as Ansel says). It was wonderful. Enjoying the sun, the sand, and family was luxurious. The kids loved it! They played and played and enjoyed cousin time. Some days I'd just stare out at the beach and ocean in the morning listening to the waves. Therapeutic.
Some pics below of our travels.
We rode a boat out to a sand bar and swam. So cool! During this stop we tried paddle boarding and Jess was approached by a turtle. It was neat to see one up close.
We visited the Dole Plantation and rode the train. We laughed because most of the train ride narration was filled with little plugs to buy expensive pineapples, CDs, chocolates, and coffee. We skipped that stuff but did get Dole Whips.
We went on a hike up Diamond Head. Ollie didn't complain once and Ansel was carried up 2/3 of the way (thank you Jess!). The view at the top was spectacular. The boys had more energy to climb trees afterward.
We went on a couple of other hikes/walks too.
We walked up to Waimea Falls and swam in the pool surrounding the falls. This was something that I've always wanted to do. Specifically to get my hair to look like that. Just kidding. I really loved it!
One morning after some pancakes with macadamia nut sauce we took a walk to the Makapu'u lighthouse. The views were wonderful!
And of course, the beach. Oh, the beach. What a pleasant time we had at the beach. I always say the beach is THEE place to vacation because it suits all ages. Plus, look at that water!
I always hesitate to put photos of other people on this blog due to privacy issues, but the family members we spent the vacation with were, of course, top notch. We had so many good conversations, fun adventures, and great times: blessing a new babe, meeting two new cousins, spear fishing, going to Island Snow for shave ice, watching the aircraft at the Marine base, bird watching, eating outdoors, and getting in our quarterly fill of HGTV. A vacation for the books.
I'd have to say that I really enjoy being a mother. It takes work, but it's sure something that makes my soul full of joy. It makes me grow and develop in ways that stretch me. It can be hard, like for instance when you worry to high heaven about one thing or another or when you're at the airport during a lay over and your kids want to play soccer and shoot goals with the tennis ball you brought. I guess I should have known better, bringing out that tennis ball.
Yesterday was a day to celebrate mothers. I sure had a great one. An optimist with a can-do attitude who didn't let anything stop her. These are qualities I keep striving to gain.
On Sunday, I was treated to salmon with fresh peas and a salad that Jess has become famous for in our house. I received hugs and kisses from my boys and it was wonderful. This group is the best.
Oliver is very much into Rube Goldberg Machines, which he currently calls RGMs for short. He uses everything from books to the tape measure and everything in between to build them. Jess and I were just saying that only weeks ago Ollie was asking us to help him build his marble run. Now his marbles runs are way better than what we ever built and his RGMs or contraptions are creative and clever. We have lots of marbles, dominoes, blocks and whatnot strewn across the floor on a daily basis. I am amazed at how Ollie brings the chaos together to create. He called this RGM the "best of the best."
Ansel gets in on the chaos too, making RGMs 3-yr-old style. And right now he's very much into playing board games with me. For example, Pictionary. His version is drawing something. Telling me what it is. Choosing a card and saying that what he drew is on the card (imagine that!). Moving his game piece. Rolling the dice. Taking a look at the hour glass timer. Repeat. He's also writing what he calls "easy letters" on paper. That includes O, L, T, I and the newest member V. He's also very independent and wants to do everything. Including dress himself.
Jess is busy caulking our bathroom shower. And to tell you the truth, I always think I could get it done faster but his precision and attention to detail will always produce better results. He also won our latest family bowling tournament. Yo.
As for me, I'm pulling weeds and really enjoying the beauty that spring brings to our front yard. And I finished our taxes. Woot.