Monday, July 17, 2017

Three Saturdays in July

Saturday, July 1st was our 11th anniversary. We've kind of turned our anniversary into our Family Birthday. The kids love it, and it's a good excuse to help them reflect on all the effort that is put into building and growing a family.

Last year we celebrated with cake and ice cream, but this year we had a real party. We went to one of the kids' favorite restaurants: China King Buffet. Reid was over the moon excited about eating crawdads. Yuck! Nell loves the fish, and we all love the noodles (especially Saturday at lunchtime when they have their Singapore noodles out!!!). After that we headed over to the library to update our summer reading charts and check out some new books.

We decided to sneak some naps in for the littles before heading off to the pool for our final celebratory act. Reid and Nell were both so excited to show Ben everything they'd learned in their recent swim class. Ben commented that he just couldn't believe how grown up Reid was -- swimming all over without any need for help. He loved showing us how deep he could jump into the lap pool. He also loved going down the slide on this back, so he could pick up as much speed as possible. Even Nell went down the slide all by herself (just once) to show Ben how much she has improved.

Mara might be our biggest fish though. That girl loves to splash herself and can sit calmly in the water for hours at a time. Coraline -- that girl needs to turn 3 soon so she can take some swim lessons! Such a wimp. Even with a life jacket on she insists on being held the entire time.

At about 6:00 we picked up a babysitter and went out for dinner, just Ben and I. We had absolutely nothing exciting planned, but just avoiding bedtime for one night was thrilling enough! Well worth the two hours away and the subsequent pay. I think Family Birthday is quickly becoming one of my favorite traditions.

Saturday, July 8th We met Brian and Jamie Szilagyi family at the beach in Racine, WI. It was such an awesome day! The waves were huge, the sand was perfect, and the cousins were so happy to be reunited.

These pictures are very inadequate at capturing the great time we had. Coraline and Parker loved playing on the beach together. Reid, Allie, and Jackson were little fish that we could never get out of the water (after about two hours I had to drag Reid out, purple lipped and quivering his entire body through). Nell was a little unsure of things, but had a blast each time Ben or I took her out to the sand bar.

The sand bar must be documented. Even without pictures. It was fabulous. It was about 40 yards out from the beach, and the adults could walk to it the entire way. The waves out there were significantly bigger than they were back at the beach, so the kids were in heaven on the sand bar. Reid was fighting those waves like crazy. I mean that literally. He was hitting each wave as it passed. Karate chopping it right in half. At one point we were all out there but Ben and Mara (when we got back to the beach I snapped that napping picture). It was so much fun.

Saturday July 15th was ridiculously busy -- even though we stayed right here in town. We'd planned to go to the Oshkosh Corp parade, but Reid was also invited to several other awesome activities. His friend Livi was hosting a charity lemonade stand and wanted his help, and his friend Ben invited him over for a playdate. It's so rare that he has these kinds of opportunities, so I figured out a way to work everything out.

We woke up and did some basic cleaning before things got too busy. Ben's mom dropped him off at our house so he could come along with us to the parade. The kids played a bit before we loaded up the van. Once we arrived on the parade route, we found a nice spot on the grass under a couple of trees. It was perfect for letting the kids ran around and play a bit while we waited for all the big trucks to come by.

There was certainly a wide variety! Oshkosh Corp (as you can gather from the photos) is a utility vehicle manufacturer. They are probably most known for their large military contracts, but I'm always most impressed with their fire trucks. They were celebrating 100 years of business. I'd say I'm grateful they host such great events for the community -- but I'm also kind of torn over what a waste of tax dollars they are, so ...

Ben (friend) played at our house for about an hour or so after the parade. We all ate lunch, and the the two little girls and Ben (husband and father) all went down for a nap. I took the three big kids over to Livi's lemonade stand to buy some treats. I left Nell there to help out a bit while Reid and I took Ben (friend) back home.

We only helped Livi out for one of the four hours she hosted the stand, but she still let us stick around for the swim party afterwards. I was so impressed. She (and all her helpers) raised almost $500! As word spread, an other $100 donation (from a local business) came in. All the proceeds will be given to a local warming (homeless) shelter. When the shelter found out how successful the event was, they asked to arrange a special event for the kids (and their parents) to come drop off the funds. We are going to miss that, but I'm so proud of these little neighborhood friends we have and the wonderful experience they created.

Coraline napped for more than three hours! So she wasn't at all tired come bed time. Reid and Nell however, had been playing in the pool for almost two of those three hours, so they were wiped out! Once we put them and Mara to bed I took my Lou with me on a little grocery run. She was beaming with joy (and I was too). I love special together time with my little kiddos.

And I also love busy, fun weekends with my entire family. So far, July has been exceptionally good to us!

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