Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A wild couple of weeks!

As I stood outside my door admiring the delightful welcome home sign from Ryan, I knew once I opened that door, my vacation would really be over.  And I was right!  Michael had surprised me by beginning our kitchen remodeling project while I was away, and so all of our kitchen items--fridge, microwave, table, food, dishes, you name it--were all in our not-huge-to-begin-with living room!   So, I went from vacation to decidedly NOT vacation very quickly!  But it was wonderful to see Michael and my sweet children again, and nothing could really get me down, because I had just spent an amazing couple of weeks doing amazing things with amazing people!

I am SO grateful to Kelly and Ken for keeping the kids during our boundary waters trip, to Michael for keeping the children during my Europe trip, to Abbey and Spencer for coming to stay with Michael and the kids to help out for 3 days, to my friends Allison and Stephanie for taking my kids on other days, to Caitlin for taking Sophie to tumbling class, and to AnnaMarie for taking the kids one day for me, too.  So many people made my amazing trip possible, and I am so grateful!

I have exactly one picture from all that babysitting, Abbey sent it to me, and it's a good one!  Hannah and her beloved Uncle Spencer at the nature center!


So, we worked on the kitchen and I combined bedrooms so I could turn Ryan's room into a storage room fro kitchen stuff, and I reassembled our living room so it was functioning once again, and we jumped back in to regular every-day life!  For about 5 days, that is.  THEN I drove my kids plus Luke, Evelyn and Lily up to my parents' house for a week of fun and day camps with Grandma and Grandpa!

The drive up wasn't nearly as terrible as I worried it might be.  Luke is almost like an adult, so when I had to take people to use the bathroom or what not, he just stayed in the car with the others, and that made it totally doable!

Spending time up at my parents' house was lovely, as always.  The kids had a great time all together!  Kelly and Ken came up the next day with Cora, and then they left for a little vacation up to Winnepeg, while my parents and I watched their kids.  And you know what?  It turned out just fine!

The kids LOVED their camps!  Lily, Sophie, Evie and Calvin went to art and music camp at UND, and they loved it so much!  They got to do coloring, painting, crafting, got to listen to bagpipe and gillanpipe demonstrations, watched a bellydancer demonstration, played real instruments, lots of fun stuff!  Sometimes my dad would keep one or both of the babies, and sometimes I would bring them with me.  It was the kind of camp where they wanted parents to stay and help, so I often felt like the crazy lady, juggling one or two toddlers and cutting, pasting, gluing and admiring things for 4 kids.  It was wild and crazy, but the kids loved it, and they had an amazing time!  I'm often impressed at Calvin and his artistic abilities.  He really does have a knack for it!

Lily and Sophie ready to go on the first day of camp:

Calvin and Evie:

 Cora and her snacks:


She looks very pleased with herself, doesn't she?


Keeping Cora occupied.  Love this little monkey:

More painting!

Playing the tiniest violin I've ever seen:


While I was taking kids to camp, Ryan and Luke stayed home with Grandpa.  I think this was their most favorite time of all.  No one to bother them, and just the two of them to do big boy stuff!  After camp sometimes we would meet up with Grandma for lunch or come back for naps, or go play outside on the bike trail.  The kids had such a great time riding bikes and playing outside!  Grandma and Grandpa's house rocks!

Playing spies and sneaking around in the bushes.  With a mowhawk helmet on...

Happy little Hannah:

My girls:

Grandpa helping Cora:

Hannah really loves Lucy the dog!

Good little buddies:

 Love this one:

The girls having a girl club on the patio:

Happy Calvin:

Happy little CC and me:

A whole bunch of crazies at the lunch table:

Luke found a frog:

Cora found a fork:

Sophie and Lily had a great time climbing all over this tree:

One evening my dad and I took all of the kids to the park.  It was a beautiful evening, and the kids all had so much fun there.  One of my favorite memories was watching my dad spin all 8 grandkids together on the merry-go-round.  He is such an awesome Grandpa, and they all love him so much!  After Grandpa gave them a push, we had the babies get off and another family came with older kids, and they hopped on while the dad pushed all of the kids.  And let me tell you, they went FAST.  So fast, Luke got sick to his stomach and Sophie refused to eat for hours and hours.  But none of them wanted to get off!  My dad said at one point Sophie was hanging on with just her hands, with her legs dangling off, going super fast so her legs were straight out in the air and she was holding on for dear life.  That's when he suggested they stop and go do something else :)

Babies driving a car.  Watch out.

Look at that happy little monkey:


Merry go round:

Grandpa pushing the big kids and squirting them with his water bottle:

Giving all 8 grandkids a push on the merry go round:

Happy babies in swings:

Cora was just a bit too small for this one:

Sweet picture of Ev and Cora:

Sophie and Evie going for a joyride:

Cora finally gets that merry go round all to herself!

Another highlight was Grandma doing manicures and pedicures for all of the granddaughters out on her front porch.  They all squealed with excitement and Grandma was ever so patient when they each requested a different color for every finger and toe.   Such a fun time together with Grandma!

Other exciting activities included going out to eat, waking up to Grandma's pumpkin muffins, watching movies on Grandma and Grandpa's bed, doing plays on the stage downstairs, playing with Lucy, and all of the kids' favorite things to do at my parents' house.  It was a lovely visit!

Hannah really got excited about this helmet:

More of Hannah and Lucy.  Hannah LOVES dogs, especially Lucy:

Also, Hannah loves tomatoes:

Girls getting all clean:

 Movie night with Grandma and Grandpa:

On Thursday after art camp ended, Kelly and Ken got back from Winnipeg and we all went out to lunch, then I loaded up the van and drove my kids back home where we stayed for 30 minutes, picked up Michael and then headed up to Ironwood to spend the fourth of July up there!  That, however, is another post!