Love Overflowing

4th of July

A day to celebrate our freedom. A day of parades and bbq. A day to kick back and relax. A day to watch the sky be lit up with fireworks. A morning of rain??? Not what you were expecting. Not what we were expecting, that’s for sure.

Rain, all morning long. We were really debating if we were going to make it to the annual parade on Main Street. Emily was really looking forward to it and was very disappointed when we woke up to rain. And then it stopped. We loaded up the car and started to head down to find a spot to enjoy the festivities. And then it started pouring. Crying ensued. After checking the radar, we determined that the rain would probably just blow over in time for the parade. And it did. Partially. It stopped raining long enough for us to pick a section of wet curb to watch the parade. We even got to watch about half of the parade before it started raining again. We were down there, darn it! And we were prepared! We had umbrellas! We were going to tough it out and finish what we started. Persistent? Or self-preservation from crying? It was a great parade, despite the rain. The kids had a great time and got to visit with Grandma and Papa at the same time.

Normally we go to Stephen’s parents for a bbq later that evening but Stephen’s mom is in a cast from her thumb surgery. We couldn’t let tradition blow out the window so we had everyone over at our house! It was fun. The kids got to play with Aunt Nina and silly Mike while Stephen grilled some brats and burgers. We ate, chatted and had a great time.

We ended up watching the fireworks from the parking lot of our church this year. The park we normally go to was very soggy. So soggy that the carnival rides had to be set up on the street. Emily didn’t mind. She could see the fireworks just fine and didn’t have to worry about crowds or people blocking her view. It was a great night!

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Sibling love

I looked in the rearview mirror the other day and I saw a sweet sight.

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He really was happy, even if he doesn’t look like it in the picture. This is what I hear:

Emily: “Zachary, do you love your big sister?

Long pause

Zachary: “I don’t.”

Huh?!? Surely, I thought, he didn’t just say that. Then Emily yells “He said ‘I don’t’!!!!!!!” Yep. I must have heard it right if Emily heard it.

And then she smacks his arm. Wonder why he said that?

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Nature in our backyard

Squirrels, rabbits, birds, cats. Those are normal things to expect to see in our backyard. Stephen was doing the dishes one Sunday morning and was looking out the kitchen window. I hear “What IS that?!?!” I walked, carefully, to the corner of our fence to investigate. This is what I found:

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Pretty cool!

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This is what happens….

This is what happens when you forget to take a diaper out of the pile of clothes from the pool and wash it. At least it didn’t explode!

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Botanical Gardens

I know there are many, many single moms out there. And I know there are tons of stay-at-home moms with multiple children. All who have accomplished what I have accomplished recently. Taken an almost 18 month old and a 4 1/2 year old on outings. With the 4 year old walking, not riding in a stroller. Just the three of us. I am going to take a second to pat myself on the back. We have all made it home from every outing. In one piece. Without major incidence. Unless you count not being able to find your way back to the highway…But that’s another story.

Recently, the kids and I decided to spend a beautiful June day at the Botanical Gardens. It was on Emily’s “Super Summer Fun” list and the weather was perfect. I loaded up the kids, packed a lunch and away we went! You never truly get to see as much at the Gardens as you want. Especially with two little kids. We looked at some flowers. Oooh’d and aww’d. We checked out all of the tree houses that were displayed. I must admit, the tree house exhibit was pretty spectacular. There were some really neat ones. Ones that I think would look perfect in our backyard. Then we hit the Children’s Garden. And that’s it. There’s no more seeing the rest of the garden at that point. Really you are just trying to make it out alive at that point, especially when you are outnumbered.

Zachary was ecstatic to get out of the stroller. He wanted to sit and play on every little thing outside the actual Children’s Garden. And then we went it. And there was a slide. Oh the humanity. And he wanted to go down the slide 800 times. I would set him on top with Em, run down the stairs so I could be there waiting when they got down. Then he’d want to do it again. I would run back up the stairs with him, set him down and run back down. Rinse and repeat about 8 times. Seriously. I had to pull him away from the slide, screaming. Good times. Finally got him interested in other things. Water. What kid doesn’t like to get wet? I swear he and Emily would have stayed at the spraying water area (for a lack of a better term) for the rest of the day. More screaming as I changed them out of their dripping wet clothes. (I atleast had the foresight to bring dry clothes with me. No towel mind you. Just clothes.) They played on a few more things and by that time I. Was. Done. More crying ensued. More good times. At least the crying was due to the fact that they were having a great, fun time and not because they were mad or bored I suppose.

After our picnic lunch in front of the gardens, we attempted to head home. I got a little turned around trying to find the interstate. Even with my trusty iPhone. Especially when it doesn’t take one way streets into consideration. I ended up in The Grove. Not a scary place by any means. I just knew I wasn’t where I should be when I saw a group of middle-aged men on scooters, wearing rainbow wigs. Gay Pride week folks. They were just out having a good time. Finally I found the correct interstate. Finally we were on our way home.

We truly did have a wonderful time. I do enjoy spending time with both of my children. I love seeing them interact with one another. I savor every moment. Because, I am sure, in the future there will be lots and lots of bickering.

 
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Timothy turned 3!

Cousins. Cousins. More cousins. With 7 first cousins, really 8 considering Kaleb just flows in the immediate cousins, you are bound to be celebrating a birthday. This party was for Timothy, who turned 3 at the end of June. That makes me think….We have Kaleb (my cousin Jessica’s little boy) who is 5. Emily is 4. Chloe is 3, Ben is 3, Tim is 3, Cameron is 2. Cole and Zachary are both 1. We know how to stair step it, don’t we?

We weren’t real hopeful about the kids getting to play outside as we were driving into town. It was pretty rotten and overcast. It even rained for a short bit. Surprisingly, it cleared off and it wasn’t too muddy. It even cooled down quite a bit. The kids were able to play outside, eat snow cones and be as wild as they wanted to be. Which is really wild.  I am so glad that there were able to be outside.

It did start to get really windy so we moved inside for cake. The kids got good and sugared up and then played dress up. Even Ben and Cameron got in on the action. Blackmail photos. Just wait until they bring home their first girlfriends. Mean old Aunt Karon….. The kids had a great time. I hope Timothy had a wonderful birthday!

 

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Zachary only slept for about a half hour in the car on the ride home, much to our dismay. I am really glad we headed home when we did because a huge storm was rolling into the area. As we were crossing the bridge, we saw some scary looking wall clouds, complete with fingers dipping down. And then it started hailing! Luckily we were in the subdivision so we were able to speed into the garage. After a brief downpour, we were able to get the kids into bed. Just in time too. The heavy, stronger storms were later that night. We were very lucky that we escaped the flash flooding that affected many residents in our city. Way too many storms recently.

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A trip to the zoo

After last year’s lack of zoo visits, I am determined to get use of our zoo membership! This trip was our second trip of the year. I guess that’s not too bad, could be better. But it beats last year’s lone trip.

We wanted to take advantage of the unusually cool June days we were having and were trying to decide what to do that was outdoors. Museum of Transportation? Zoo? Botanical Gardens? I happened to see that Ariel and Sebastian from The Muny’s production “The Little Mermaid” was going to be there taking pictures and signing autographs. That sealed the deal for us. Emily is so excited about going to see this she just about jumped out of her skin when I told her about Ariel being at the zoo. So the kids, Grandma and I headed off to the zoo.

Apparently, tons of people had the same idea we did. I think it was a combination of beautiful weather and Ariel being there but it was packed well before 10am. We had to drive around Forest Park to the other lot because the first one we went to was full. I wasn’t going to park miles away and hoof it considering we have free parking. Not with antsy kids. It worked out well though because by the time we made it in, it was time for Ariel to start signing autographs and we didn’t have to wait in line long. We were able to enjoy the rest of our day!

We always, always see the elephants first. We persuaded Emily to see the orangutangs first this time. And ride the carousel. There is always so much to do at the zoo. And we never get to see it all. By the time we had lunch and saw a few animals it was well past nap time. We never even made it to the stingrays, giraffes, birds and Children’s Zoo. I guess it just means that we will have to go again!

 

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Irish Days 2011

Irish Days…. Brings back so many memories of growing up. The little town in Illinois where my aunt lives has a festival every June called “Irish Days”.  I honestly don’t know how long it’s been going on. A long time. I do have very fond memories of going every year as a kid and spending the weekend at Aunt Di’s. Much of our family went. Grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins. It was a time to come together and have fun. The adults got to visit and the kids got to have fun. There  was tractor pulls and bike races. Poker games. Carnival rides. Lots and lots of eating and laughter. Not much sleep was to be had.

Farmersville was and still is small town America. Everyone knows everyone and everyone watches out for everyone. I am not sure how true that is now but I know growing up that we couldn’t do anything wrong without our parents knowing about it. It was the type of town where you could stay out late without worries. Nobody locked their doors. It was safe. I have very, very fond memories of spending time with my cousins there.

Last year, we decided that we needed to revive this tradition in our family. Start taking our families to Irish Days so they can experience some of the stuff we did as a kid. Unfortunately, my family was not able to go. I still had a broken foot and couldn’t handle the car ride or being on my feet for that long. This year, not only were we going for Irish Days but we were also going to celebrate some milestone birthdays. My Aunt Mary Beth was turning 50. And that’s a big thing in our family. We have this little “ceremony” and she is inducted into the Red Hat club. That tradition started back about 9 years ago with my Aunt Julie and has been going strong ever since. My Aunt Di is also turning 60. There was much to celebrate.

The kids all had a wonderful time. Irish Days isn’t Irish Days without a parade. And tons of candy. It was so much fun watching the kids really enjoy themselves. It also makes me feel old. It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that we were the kids getting into trouble, not being the parent and having to watch for the kids. It is amazing though to see the next generation come along. There are so many kids already! I have to think it was like this when we were little. All the cousins getting together. The six sisters visiting and having a good time. Now it’s the cousin’s kids getting together and making their own memories. I hope they make some very lasting ones. I hope they can look back and recall all the fun that they had as much as I can.

I think we are definitely keeping this tradition going.

 

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Father’s Day project

Emily wanted to make something for Father’s Day as well as buy Daddy a gift. I saw that Michael’s had canvases on sale and had the idea to have her paint a picture for Stephen and Dan. She LOVED the idea and decided that Papa’s picture needed to be for his birthday, the day before Father’s Day.

Best. idea. ever. She had so much fun expressing herself on canvas for her daddy and papa. Another plus was that this project kept her busy for well over an hour. The only thing I had to do was rinse out paint brushes when they became too saturated.

A budding Monet or Dali? Who knows!

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Some summer fun has been had already

I am so very behind on things. Not really sure where the time goes. I do love to blog but unfortunately, it is one of the things that has been put on the back burner for the time being. It’s already July. It’s hard to believe that we are already through with a month of summer. We have been keeping pretty busy. A few things require a post all their own but this one is a hodgepodge of things we have done.

Just to name a few….

Played in the sprinkler, several times
Went to the park, several times
Gone swimming, a few times
Had fun at a church picnic
Lots of family fun
Gone to the zoo (more on that later)
Checked out the Botanical Gardens (more on that later)
And lots more.

Emily is starting to be able to mark a few things off of her super summer fun list! Yay! After looking at it again, I am thinking there might be a few things that remain…. Just gives us a start for next year.

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