Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Adventure is out there!!

Now that Memorial Weekend is officially over and we are home, summer with mommy begins.
Last Friday was the kid's last day of school.  We walked to school and enjoyed a
extremely short day of recesses, last minute party activities and learning who their teachers are this fall. Mommy could have used a few more hours to prep for our weekend camping trip, but it was nice to get on the road a little earlier.  The kid's school does something at the beginning and end of the each school year.  They have a school wide ceremony at the front of the school raising and lowering the American flag.  It brings all the kids and parents together and really solidifies school spirit. 
The only hard part is trying to round up three school age kids in the mass of people. 
(we had lost Rosie for a few minutes but eventually found her at the other side of school)
{Gigi and her Kindergarten teacher} 
{Bubba with his First Grade Teacher ... Gigi loves her too!}
I surprised the kids on our walk home by telling them I was taking them out for lunch. 
We walked a little past our house to Habanero's (a Mexican restaurant) which serves our favorite, queso dip.  We were waiting for Daddy to get home from work so it was a great lunch with my four lovebugs.  
After we walked home and emptied their backpacks with all the pencil boxes, report cards, and random papers from their desks/cubbys we were ready for our adventure!
For the three day weekend we decided to head to Omaha, Nebraska. 
Nate and I had never been there and we had heard great things about their zoo.
It was a 5 hour car ride pulling the camper, so we had to be creative in curing the "are we there yets?"
I had purchased lais for the kids to wear to start summer and they were dancing in the backseat to Daddy's music selections.
We also picked up a travel scavenger hunt game to play. 
It was easy for all the older kids to play and we spent at least an hour trying to find everything from a green car to a car with a bald man in it to a really dirty car.  Daddy even pulled the smell it card.  He had to smell something really bad.  (the key was NOT inside the vehicle)
Daddy unofficially won the game.    
This trip was our first stay at a KOA campground. 
Before this, we had mostly stayed in state campgrounds with limited amenities.
The KOA had organized activities and a large play area complete with a jumping pillow. 
The kids spent hours and hours on the jumping pillow.  Mommy and Daddy even enjoyed sometime bouncing around on it until Mommy had to find the bathroom.  Bouncing and laughing really hard don't mix!
I had made the kids a little end of the school year gift. 
I quickly whipped up library bags for the older kids and got each of them 2 books to read over the summer.  I was overjoyed that they loved it.  Before we had even left the driveway, the kids had their nose plastered in their books.  I was one proud momma.  Bubba who usually tries to find anything else to do but read, was really engaged in reading his first chapter book. 
The weather forecast was not good for the whole weekend. 
I was obsessed about checking it every couple hours to see if the thunderstorms they predicted were really going to ruin our weekend.  Surprisingly the rain didn't spoil our weekend.  It rained every night when we were sleeping, but during the day we only had the occasional pickle shower. 
Saturday we decided to head to the zoo after seeing the rain was going to pass us by. 
The Henry Doorly Zoo lived up to its reputation. 
We had a blast.  
We rode the skyfari across the zoo which was a little scary.  I wasn't nervous until we were up in the air and I had the two little girls to keep in their seats.  My mommy death grip on their legs, we gazed at the giraffes, cheetahs, and rhinoceros below us.  I was proud of Rosie who was really scared to go on it, but when she got off at the end she wanted to go again! 
Lil Miss was fascinated by the animals and really liked all the monkeys and gorillas. 
Bubba got to see his favorite animal up close and personal.  The peacock.
We cooled off, yes it ended up being really hot, with sno cones and frozen lemonade. 
When we left the zoo right before closing the kids fell asleep right away.  We successfully wore them out.
On Sunday we headed back into Omaha to the Durham Museum.  In doing research we had discovered that the Dino named Sue was going to be at the museum starting that weekend.  Rosie learned about Sue this year at school and couldn't wait to see it person. 

{Dino Sue} 
Nate expected her to be bigger.  I blame Jurassic Park who depicts the T Rex a lot bigger, but she is 42 feet from nose to tail.  
There were trains in the museum to explore, which used to be a train station.  

The weekend in Omaha was fun and the kids are still talking about all the things we did. 
Hayrides, donut decorating, horseshoes, campfires, and more,
what a way to start the summer.  Going to be hard to top that!

Friday, May 24, 2013

School's Out!!!!!

It's the last day of school. 
I pick the kids up in two hours and then
summer starts!!
Can hardly believe a whole school year is over.
It seems just like yesterday that they were taking their new spotless backpacks and kissing me to leave for the FIRST day of school. 
Now their backpacks are frayed, covered in sharpie marker (miss Rosie!), and they
are another year wiser.
{Last Day of School}
It was chilly this morning as we left for school. 
They were not so excited to sit on the cold concrete for a photo!  :-)
{First Day of School Pic}
Can't believe this girl is going into third grade!!! 
This boy is so ready to rock second grade. 
I saw a lot of growth in him this year in maturity.  He is such a sweet boy.  
Oh, and my little pumpkin.  She is not a kindergartner anymore. 
Makes me cry seeing how much they have grown up.  
Can time just stand still? 
Oh and our Lil Miss is growing like a weed too! 
Summer Here We Come...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Creative Kids

It's that time of year, when the kids are bringing home everything from their desks and all the papers they have completed over the course of another year.  Our heaping mound of school papers will have to be thinned before stowing away for memories, but a few of the drawings/stories must be kept for pure enjoyment.  I have gotten a lot of laughs over the silly stories they write about.  Where do they come up with this.  Gigi brought home a story she wrote this week that went something like this...
We were going to go to the Park,
But I could not find my mom. 
So I got on my horse to find her.
I found her. 
The End.
Oh boy, does that girl want a horse or what!
Bubba brought home a group story a few boys worked on in his class. 
The story was called If...
It went something like this:
If frogs could puke out rainbows. 
If Earth could be held.
If toothpaste was blood. (eww gross!) 
{If fat was skinny}
AND my favorite one....
If zebras were Xaviers and stripes. 
Followed by a very well done drawing of a zebra with Xavier's head (complete with glasses) and stripes.   
The imagination in these kids!!
And Rosie is always bringing home beautiful drawings. 
This one is a poster size drawing of dinosaurs. 
She apologized that she messed up and made one dinosaur's butt pink.  

Gonna have to keep these beauties for the kids to see when they are older. 
Love these memories!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


This past weekend didn't quite goes as planned, but you know when plans change sometimes it is for the better.  We had planned to go on a camping trip with some of Nate's coworkers this weekend, but looking at the weather all week many of us were worrying about the rain and if it was going to be much fun.  We decided to just can the camping trip and have everyone over for a cookout (rain or shine) at our house.  I was secretly relieved because it gave us a weekend off at home. 
That weekend off didn't mean NOT busy though.  We still had baseball practice, a soccer game, a sleepover, a flag football game and a cookout. 
Friday night we did relax though.  I let the kids get their swimsuits on and play outside after supper in the sprinkler.  It was chilly when the sun went down, so it turned into a play outside in your swimsuit kind of night. 
Mommy and Daddy enjoyed a cool beverage.  YUM!  
Love his use of empty paper towel holders.  He has a pile in his room that he keeps creating things out of.  Recycling the empty cardboard into new fun toys.   We can never have enough light sabers around this house.  
Even though the weather was supposed to be yucky all weekend with possible rain at anytime, we lucked out.  It would have been a perfect weekend to camp, but we spent it at home instead.  Weather is unpredictable.
{here is the eerie sky during Bubba's football game} 
The storm passed and after a slight delay the boy's were back on the field playing their last flag football game for the year.  Such great boys!!  
{Archie ran out into the hail on Sunday night.... he wasn't out there long} 
We finish off this exciting school year with Bubba bridging over to the Wolf group.  Monday night after a baseball game (hence his mixed up outfit) he had his bridging ceremony where he received his new yellow neckerchief.  So proud of this boy this year.  He has earned many belt loops and can't wait for his first boy scout camp this summer.   
Love our little Scout!!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Summer Mommy Camp

For the last couple weeks I have been preparing for the kids to be home all summer from school. 
I have been pinning things on pinterest to do, printing out worksheets to do over the summer, and organizing things for us to keep busy over the summer.  Last year, I really tried to use the summer to keep learning.  Rosie was attending Sylvan 2 days a week and I was trying to do a few creative things and science things with the kids every week.  This year I have expanded on that and am prepared even more. 
I am calling this summer "Mommy Camp". 
Every week we are going to have some learning worksheets (math, reading comprehension, time, and money counting) and fun things to do.  I have compiled some learning themes for each week to make it even more fun.  One week will be Space where we learn about the stars and planets.  I have pinned many things on pinterest to help emphasize the lesson.  Learning the phases of the moon with Oreos, sewing with thread different constellations, star gazing, and even space themed snacks.  Rosie can't wait for this one because I also picked up a Magic School Bus Space kit and she can't wait to open the box. 
Our other themes are: 
Fruits and Vegetables
The World
{my summer mommy camp board on pinterest}
I have added to my binder from last year and compiled lots of math worksheets (most from www.math-salamanders.com) and book reports.  The kids each have a reading log hanging up in the laundry room to keep a list of all the books they read over the summer.  For Rosie, I am having her write a short book report for each book she reads to help with reading comprehension.  We will see how this works. 
{book logs}
I have reorganized the kid's boxes and added new things into each for busy work over the summer.  I had to add harder stuff to Rosie's box, adding multiplication and division work for over the summer.

{inside Rosie's box}
So we will put all this to the test next week. 
Doing little things like this each week, keeps us always doing new things and off our butts.  Excited for summer to begin!!
4 days!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Being a mother

Everything I am as a mother, I owe to my own mother. 
Happy Mother's Day to all the great mommas out there! 
To those first time mommas who are experiencing their very first mother's day (Angie you are doubly blessed!) to my own mother who has been doing it flawlessly for decades, you guys rock! 
I have learned so many things from being a mother the last 4 years. 
Some of things I am proud of, others not so much. 
Here are just of the few things I have discovered about being a mom.
You know you're a mom if peace and quiet is found in the bathroom. (just one minute, please!!)
You know you're a mom if most of your jewelry is made out of string and pipe cleaners.
You know you're a mom if "mom's night out" consists of you going to the grocery store.
You know you're a mom if you've caught vomit in your hand. (remember that Tony?)
You know you're a mom if a child in pain brings instant tears and heartache.
You know you're a mom if dandelions are the most beautiful flower ever.
You know you're a mom if you find baby wipes in every spot in the house. (purse, car, bathroom, bedroom, living room... everywhere!!!)
What are some other lessons you have learned by being a mother?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Putting my feet up

This is what I call a Mother's Day weekend. Sunny Spring weather (even though it is a little chilly), the smell of the campfire, and I am actually sitting here with my feet up underneath a grove of pine trees. Peaceful. Serene. Even with the yelling of my kids in the background from the playground, I am happy. Maquoketa Caves was actually Nate's idea this year for our first camping trip. I had never heard of it, but I am always willing to try something new. This is our tenth camping trip in our fifth wheel and we have yet to stay at the same place twice. The caves are only an hour from our house which was ideal for a weekend we had to be close to home to go to Bubba's soccer game on Saturday and his flag football game on Sunday

This is the life!!
My Mother's Day bouquet
Last Night's dinner of pizza pudgy pies. YUM!! Nate has mastered the art of cooking supper in our pudgy pie griddles.
Today after our orientation by park staff on the white nose syndrome that is killing bats, we headed off for the caves. The chance to get really dirty and crawl on rocks, cross streams, and get filthy was almost too much for the kids. Lil Miss enjoyed her spot in the backpack behind Nate once again. She has gotten a little heavier from last year.
Some caves we could walk right in, some we could only peak in, and some (like this one) the kid's could really crawl far into. I shimmied as far in as I could get but it wasn't pretty. When I couldn't see the light from their flashlight I had them turn around. Rosie Posie was above getting dirty and was disgusted when mommy got out of the hole covered from head to toe in dirt. There's always one in the crowd. ;-)
As campgrounds go, this campground is beautiful. There aren't that many spots so it isn't swarming with people, and the playground is right along a trail through the woods. I give it a A+. Now going to enjoy an afternoon matinee of Mary Poppins while a few of my kids drift off on a nap.
To all the mother's out there. Those who are spending time with their kids, those whose kids are all grown up, those who have children up in heaven, or for those whose children have four legs or who go my the name niece or nephew, enjoy this weekend. A mother's job is so important. I don't take my job as a mother lightly. Having been blessed with the most amazing mother myself, I only hope to be half the inspiration my mother was to me. Remember those mother's in your life this weekend and every day of the year.
Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in the time to come...and on her tongue is the law of kindness... charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears The Lord, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31:25-30