Monday, October 13, 2014

Camping at Blue Springs State Park -or- How To Take A Camping Trip In Less Than 24 Hours

We are crazy. I know we are crazy because we went camping last weekend. With a potty-trained-ish toddler, and a seven week old baby. And three other kids. And two tired parents. C-R-A-Z-Y. But fun!


Here's my advise for your less-than-24-hour camping experience--in 10 easy tips.

Tip #1) Wait to start packing until after lunch. (Any earlier, and you might make a list of what to bring, which is counter-productive for a short trip.)

#2) Have your kids help pack. (This is very important. It ensures that neither the father nor the mother has a clear idea of what they are taking on the trip. This is crutial for tip #5)

#3) Bring a baby. (Enough said. However, if possible, bringing a baby that is a heavy spitter-upper is even better. Only bring 5 bibs.)

#4) Bring a nearly potty trained toddler. (4 extra undies should do the trick. And 2 emergency diapers. Yep.)

#5) Do not bring bug spray. (If you had that you might stay longer, and that is not the goal.)

#6) Arrive at the campsite at dinner time. (That way you will hustle more when you set up camp, and be extra hungry for dinner.)

#7) Do not bring water. And...

#8) Bring lots of sugary drinks. (This is very important for getting the most out of tip #4. Sugar is said to move the that will help you keep your camping trip short.)

#9) Go when the weather is nice and warm. (Or slightly hot. It will help motivate you when it's time to pack up.)

#10) Choose a campsite that is less than an hour from home. (By far my best tip.)

SO--even though I followed all my own tips, we still had a great time--that is, after I made an emergency run for bug spray.

Peter, Zack, and I stayed in the tent most of the evening while the guys made dinner.


The big kids were totally entertained by the many grasshoppers they found. They took tons of pictures of them.


There's at least 4 in this picture. I think they had rounded up 7 or so by the end of dinner?


Still was doing some bug swatting even with the spray...


We had a good night...truly amazing with such a tent-full of kids. Here's a good-morning picture.



This is my favorite picture of all...Tim using Grandpa's cookware. A million thanks, Grandpa, for setting us up. Tim is my dream husband--cooking breakfast over the campfire. And good-looking to boot.


They weren't sour dough pancakes, but they were Gluten Free and tasty.



Peter obliged us by sleeping through breakfast. (that's a picture of him sleeping in his cradle in the tent.)


The kids had a good time with their hatchets out in the woods. (I know...scary. But with 5 boys, what am I going to do?) We may have come home with poison ivy...the jury's still out on that.


Tim took the boys to swim in the fresh spring--68 degrees year round! Brrrr... Peter and I stayed home and napped.




It was a great first trip with 5 kids for us. I think if we wait another month we'll have a good shot at a really pleasant time. Really made me miss you, Mom and Dad, and Grandma and Grandpa. Thanks for all the precious memories of camping growing up.

Zack's Birthday

Zack is 3 years old today! He has been waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting....for his birthday. ALL YEAR LONG. His birthday is LAST, according to him. I can't count how many birthdays we have celebrated--sang the birthday song and blown out candles--since he started looking for his birthday. But it is finally here, and he had a great day!

Last night we celebrated at Sharon's house. He had a good time getting ready: he helped make his cake, and also helped make a humongous pan of red jello.


Most of the sprinkles wound up Right Here.


We took the cake to Sharon's and put on the candles. I think candles are the main attraction about birthdays for Zack, and this was a Very Important event...the candle arranging.



Everyone helped.


And it turned out great.


Such a sweet picture of Zack and Mary Grace...


If you haven't already, notice the Minion shirt (a favorite) and the cape tied around his neck. He wears it all day, every day. Even to the store.


He actually blew the candles out before we started to sing, and we had to relight them. He was so eager :)


Today we had Gluten Free donut holes for breakfast, and then Zack went out for the morning with Sharon. When he got home he opened presents. He got lots of fun toys.


He got his first lego set...


...and had no lack of helpers to get it built.


The boys did a really good job of letting Zack do the work "by Self". He was pretty pleased.


We watched his new Super Friends dvd...


He's super into super heroes. The Superman on the right is the new one. He sat and just gazed at them for awhile.


He requested corn dogs for dinner, and Tim made some awesome jello stars that were Super Hero worthy.


Zack was singing about the jello stars. They were so pretty and tasty.


He had such a great day. If you ask him how old he is, he'll tell you he's three. But then he'll tell you he's actually five. :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Kim and Miles Come to Visit + September Pictures

We had visitors! Kim and Miles came to visit! We had such a good time with them.


One night we went out to dinner. Zack drove us there.


Just kidding. He tried though! (He is so funny. One day he went and got Tim's keys. I asked him what he was doing and he very matter-of-factly stated that he was going for a drive. He went out and got in Tim's truck and put the keys in the ignition. I'm so glad I saw what was going on! We really have to keep our eye on that kid.)

We took some pictures at the new restaurant The Full Moon.


Nice shot of Peter spitting up--it happens dozens of times a day


The weather was wonderful while they were here. Zack relished having extra hands to swing him. He and Kim had a great time talking while he swang :)


One day he found a teeny tiny inchworm, and put in on his swing tray to swing with him.


It was pretty cute.

IMG_3631 - Version 2

Miles picked up some fun things to work on with the kids.


Some sort of moon sand or something...


...and a model jeep. They all really enjoyed that for several days.



We also went to Adventure Land and had all kinds of fun. I've only got one picture of that. :( We were there for hours, and the kids and Miles won thousands of tickets.


Afterwards we headed to soccer. Zack fell asleep in the truck. He was tuckered out. (In a side note: he has pretty much given up naps. And I have given up trying to make him take them. When he has a nap he is up forever after we put him to bed. It's just not worth it. He's only 2. Pretty sad for Mommy...)


Zack loves to help with Peter, and likes to push his stroller at soccer.



We did lots of hanging out with Kim and shopping, eating out, 2 Adventure Land trips, and a trip to Chuck e Cheese. We were so sad when Kim and Miles had to leave. Zack still randomly comments that he misses them.

With them gone, we had a very quiet week. Trevor was in Washington D.C. with Grandma and Grandpa, so it's just the 6 of us at home :) We took a walk--just the Littles and me. Zack rode his little yellow bike and Peter slept in the stroller. Zack made it almost all the way home, and then a big hill wore him out and he rode the stroller the rest of the way.


One night we went to eat sushi with the family. Zack LOVED the soup--a surprise to everyone--


and Peter enjoyed lots of snuggles.


We've done some laying around...


...and cuddling.


And we finally made it to soccer as a family unit--all riding in the same car.


We are slowly trying to re-establish a normal life with our newest member :)

Peter is a very sweet baby. He has started smiling and even cooing just a little bit. He loves to "exercise"--like holding his head up and standing on his little legs. He loves noise, and sleeps great in the play room with the kids all playing around him. He seemed to like the arcade when we went with Kim and Miles, and slept peacefully the whole time even though it was super loud.

We have finally started back to church. Tim had been going with all the kids while Peter and I stayed home, which was great, but I'm ready to be back in the land of the living.

Zack is still doing great with his potty training. He's actually pretty funny in his commentary. He shouts through the house every time he poops. He likes to do it standing up--yes, standing up on the toilet. It's a bit of a splash hazard, but at least it's in the toilet and not his pants. Hopefully he makes the switch to standard pooping posture soon :)

The big kids are doing well. Trevor is back home and had a great time in D.C. I can't help but feel sorry for him as he readjusts to real life.

The boys are a great help with Zack and Peter. William especially has gotten comfortable picking Peter up and carrying him around. They also are slowing growing in their ability to help out around the house, which is super important these days. Tonight (Sunday) Samuel and William made our smoothies! Samuel even let Zack "help" which is extra challenging. The smoothies were delicious!

Soccer season is almost over. Trevor and Samuel have one more game each. The weather has finally cooled down enough that the last games should be a real treat to go see.

This brings me up to date through the end of September. :) Finding time to blog has been tricky! But Zack's birthday is coming up in a week, so hopefully I can get that blogged in a timely manner. We'll see...