July 27, 2012

He Has a Name!

I realize that the title of a new niece/nephew post is usually "He/She's Here!" but you already knew from the last post that he was here, and what we have been waiting for this time was the name.  It took some time for the parents to decide (it is the name he will have the rest of his life, after all).  During the time that we were waiting and waiting and waiting (it was less than 24 hours, it just felt like forever!), I couldn't help but think about how his name would be a surprise to us, but God already knew!  Before we even knew this little boy existed, God knew his name and was creating him to be this perfect little guy.
 I love being reminded how much God really knows us.  God knew his face before he was born, God knew his name before his parents, and God knows his unique talents and personality traits that will take us years to discover.  Cool.
 Isn't he handsome?  I know he has more pictures than any other new cousins' first post but it is because 1) I didn't know I could steal photos from facebook with the first and 2) the other cousins we got to see shortly after they were born, so I didn't go crazy collecting pictures because I got to hold them...this little guy we won't meet until Christmas, so I'm hoarding every picture I get!
With his quilt made by Aunt Mindy!
They've already had their first night home, and everyone seems to be doing well.  I just love pictures of  mamas with their snuggly new babies.
I love the twins' response to the new cousin.  For their first cousin, they were babies, so they never really knew life without her.  For D, they were still pretty young so it was like, "Oh, a baby.  I'd rather play."  For H they got the concept of a new baby being cool, and were into the novelty of him.  For this little guy it was all about how he suddenly came to be here.  They were very aware that he was in Lala's tummy (last we saw her), but confused about what happened after that.  They kept saying, "He was in Lala's tummy, right? And now he's not?" and I thought it was just a cute observation.  Then we went to the store, and they started telling everyone about their new baby cousin who is, "in OUR tummies now."  So, I had to explain that once we are born we don't go back into anyone else's tummy before they were convinced they had something growing in there...

We made the traditional "Welcome to the World" banner.  The twins had fun adding their own special touch :)

 Dear Baby T, we are so happy to have you as part of our family and we can't wait to meet you!
Welcome to the World!
We love you!!

July 25, 2012

Car Wash, Yeah!

Squeezing in one last post while we wait for our newest nephew to arrive…

Our vehicles were filthy, and Lucas suggested the twins are at an age where they would think washing the car was really cool.  I immediately imagined their excitement going through a car wash, and agreed.  Then I realized Lucas was thinking something a little more hands on…
I will admit, his idea was totally better.  They loved helping!
Getting to hold the hose

Prepping soapy water
Even scrubbing the car (which quickly turned into washing their bikes…their vehicles were dirty too)!
Their friend, L, came over – even though we felt a little badly having her help wash our cars (she was so excited about it though!)
 Of course, it didn’t take long for them to figure out that he who has the hose has the power…
…he looks a little too happy at his sister’s distress…
The kids had so much fun, I imagine that our cars will stay clean because they will keep asking to wash them every time we go outside!
(I know the picture is blurry - but I love how it shows the energy and excitement of the activity!)
Update:  my internet went down in the middle of posting, and by the time I was back online the baby was born!  Nephew #2 has arrived!  A post (and poster) to come as soon as we have a name J

July 22, 2012

Up, Up, and Away!

We just had one of the coolest afternoon/evenings ever.  We've done a lot of cool things, but this stands out as unique.  Every year, just a short drive from us, there is a big Hot Air Balloon Jubilee.  We have wanted to go the past few years, but have been gone.  This year we were home, and I was determined not to miss this event.  I'm glad!  It ended up being so much more than we imagined.  

When we first arrived we headed to a tent that had a bunch of carnival games for kids.  Each kid was given a punch card.  At each game they got their card punched.  Once their card was full, they got a prize.  Did I mention that one of the "games" was a moon bounce?  Did I mention that there was absolutely no charge for anything in the tent?  Did I mention that Allie said her favorite part of the day was picking out her prize (that I later lost...mommy fail)?  It was pretty awesome.
The baseball toss.  Ryan refused to go up to the "little kid" line!
Allie had no problem getting as close as they would allow...and throwing a 2-handed pitch...but she got a pretty good strike...
 After the fun games and prizes we hit the playground where we met up with the cousins.  We kept the kids occupied there as long as we could before they begged us to go to the main event - the rides!  We had scoped out 2 rides we knew the older 3 could ride (we were confident D could do 1, but not sure about the other).  We thought we were going to have to wait for the first, but the guy told us there was a 4-seater car open.  All the cousins in 1 car?!  That's the best photo-op we could hope for!
Getting ready to drive away!
Enjoying the ride :)
I can already picture the 4 of them as teenagers driving off somewhere.  Sigh.
Anyways, next was the roller coaster.  D ended up not quite being ready for this one, but my kids were crazy excited about this one.  Allie has wanted to ride it at the fair the last 2 years.  The first year she was too small.  Last year it rained and the roller coaster was closed.
pre-ride - Allie was being a total ham.
 So.  Much.  Fun.
 I love seeing these two have so much fun together :)
 Oh, did I mention that the only thing we had to pay for the entire time was the rides?  We found free parking, the event was free, and everything (aside from the rides) was sponsored.  Oh, yeah.  

After the rides we wandered a bit.  Considered the (free) elephant rides.  Briefly watched the Piston's Drum Line.  Then we headed to find a spot to set up and have a picnic.
Aunt Mindy pushed the entire troupe in her stroller!  Arms of steel.
First we picnic'd.
Then we sort of just hung out...
 ...and hung out some more...
 ...the time that the balloon flight was supposed to start came and went, and the kids started to get silly...
pretending he was sleeping.
 "I'll hold you, Buddy."
 Playing "Duck, duck, goose" - which basically became a free-for-all game of tag.
 We discovered that the balloon launch was delayed (due to high winds), and we began to have to work harder to keep the kiddos entertained.
Picnic blanket turned parachute.
 Picnic blanket swing rides (which may have been the highlight of the evening)!
Tired Allie makes a make-shift chair.
The cousins (one of whom had missed her nap) were getting restless, and the balloons showed no sign of launching, so they decided to pack up and leave.  Lucas took a load of chairs to the van, while the twins and I waited to see if there was any chance of seeing the event that was the whole point of our adventure.  Just then I heard people cheering.  And pointing.  I was trying to figure out what was happening at the tree they were all pointing to when I saw this pop up from behind:
A balloon!  Yay!  We were all so excited!  It wasn't long before there was another.  Then another.
Pretty soon there were balloons being blown up all around us!
Can you guess what this is?
There was so much going on that we hardly knew where to look!
We were so close to some that we could really see everything going on - from blowing up the balloons, to the crews working hard to hold it down while the balloon was blown up over the basket, to the people flying in the basket as it took off!
It wasn't long before they started taking off in bunches.  Every balloon brought a cheer from the crowd.  Seeing them fly so close, right above your head, was amazing.

It's the Sugar Bear!
 We did end up leaving before all of the balloons had launched (we had company coming over and we needed to get home before they arrived), but we still saw enough that we had a complete blast.  The twins kept saying how cool it was to see the balloons.  I kept talking about how cool it was to see the balloons!
This is definitely an event we will look forward to attending every year from now on!

July 21, 2012

Boat Ride!

We don't have a boat.  I can't imagine us having a boat anywhere in the near future.  But we know people who have boats, and one of those couples invited us over to their house (on a neighboring lake) for a bbq and boat ride.
Getting ready to head out.  Ry-guy with his cheesy camera smile and Allie too focused on what was happening with the boat :)
 We took a ride around the lake just to see what was there and the amazing houses (some of them have nicer yards than I will ever have of a house...just gorgeous).  Then we pulled out the tube for some rides.  Lucas was first.  The twins thought it was hilarious that we were going to pull Daddy behind the boat!
 Watching Daddy.
 They were desperate to get in the water, so as soon as we finished the tube rides they wee jumping off the dock and swimming around.  Daddy helped them on the tube and pulled them around a bit.  They thought that was pretty funny.
Just another part of lake life that we are enjoying this summer!

p.s.  Ryan was telling me about how he just went on a boat ride recently, and I was so confused because we never go on boat rides.  Then he told me he went with Nana and Gigi and I was even more confused because I couldn't remember us ever going on one with them here.  Then he told me Baby H went too, and I was convinced he was imagining it and then I remembered our River Walk Cruise!  Memory of steel, that one.

Update: the couple who invited us over surprised us at church today with a photo book of all the pictures she took that evening (I forgot my real camera and was so bummed.  The phone can only do so much...).  We are so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives!

July 18, 2012

So You Had a Bad Day

We had a bit of a bad day... Remember our Taekwon Do classes that we love?  Well they sort of ended...abruptly...9 hours before class with no prior notice.  It became a morning of e-mails and texts - some of them tense and not so fun.  But mostly, I was just so sad - so sad that I had to tell my children that one of their favorite things had ended.  To soften the blow, Lucas and I decided we would do something special this evening.  

So, I told the kids, and they were sad.  Then I told them that we were going on an adventure and they were so excited!  There was just one problem...we didn't know what our adventure was going to be.  We thought and looked and googled and thought some more, but it turns out there isn't a lot in our area for last-minute adventures...in the end we decided on a routine, but still exciting, trip to the local ice creamery for a treat.  We were a little bummed we couldn't provide something more exciting or out of the ordinary.

Then we walked out the door to get in the van and Allie started yelling, "I see something!  I see something!"  Turn out she saw a turtle
The twins are convinced that the turtle was their beloved Tuck from Wonder Pets.
 They were thrilled that they got to pet him.  We ended up taking him back to the water (there is nothing but streets near us, and we wanted to save him the long - and potentially dangerous - walk).  It was incredibly exciting and a fun boost to the evening!

Then we had ice cream.  Yum!

I am always telling the twins that we can choose our attitude, and that we can choose whether or not to let a "bad" day BE a bad day.  I discovered today that when the disappointment of my children is on the line, it becomes much more difficult to choose a positive attitude when I just want to be angry.  But thankfully I have children for whom I want to set a good example (especially when it comes to handling disappointments) to help me rise to the challenge.  What started as a bad day ended up being a really great adventure :)