Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer wrap-up

By now-kids across the country are back to school.  It is hard to grasp that this summer has come and gone.  I feel like I was just handing out report cards and asking my former students about their summer plans.  Why does summer always go so fast?

So much has gone on this summer.  We've dealt with all the logistics of selling and buying a home in another town, while living separate. We took our first vacation as a family of four.  We've had countless play dates, days at the park, outings to the library, the zoo, the museum.  It is crazy how different this summer is than last.  Obviously, having two kids was different, but man oh man, when I looked back at the beginning of summer to now, those two peanuts have changed and grown leaps and bounds!

Here are some of the wonderful changes I'll always want to remember:

I can't believe how much you've grown.  Your personality has really come out strong and I am in love with your always happy, lit up the room smiling, content being.  At the start of summer, you were only rolling. You've gone from rolling to army crawling to a one leg drag to the bear crawl. Your upper body strength is incredible as you scamper across the room so fast and pull up to anything you can get your hands on.  You love to play, especially with your big brother.  You want to be a part of whatever he is doing, sometimes to Hud's dismay.  I hope that the two of you will always be close because the adoration between you two is so clear.  You have also shown that you are fiercely independent.  You want to try things for yourself, whether it is been at mealtime or when you climbed into the tub on your own fully clothed.  You definitely keep us on our toes. But when you are into mischief, you are not going to be easy to discipline.  Any time I tell you know, your face immediately crumbles and I, of course, scoop you up because I hate to see you cry.  Your dad and I will have a long road if one of us can't get tough. :)  You, sweet Beau bear, are also a lover.  You love to be close whether it is me holding you, you sitting on my lap, or just resting your head on my hand or leg- you love to feel the presence of those you love close to you.  We can not wait to see how the rest of your first year unfolds.  

You have become such a little man this summer.  I am amazed at how smart you are.  You ask so many questions and are definitely into the "why" phase.  We try to answer the best we can because we know you take everything in and have an uncanny ability to remember what you're told.  You have become so independent, wanting us to always let you do it.  You have mastered so many things this summer. Getting dressed and undressed by yourself, buckling your car seat, putting on your shoes. I love that you want to pray before your meals and never forget.  I love the way you *usually* use your manners.  I love the way you talk to Beau, such a mini-parent.  The way you tell him it's ok or reassure him when he cries.  It blesses my heart. With dad being away so much this summer, it has also been wonderful to see the helpful side of you grow.  You love to get a "chore" whether it's putting your clothes in the hamper, switching laundry to the dryer, "folding" clothes, picking up your toys.  You are such a great little helper.  I love how we "read" together and after a few times you are saying the words with me.  I know God has big plans for you.  You are so, so special sweet boy.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

State Fair Fun

Yes, I know the state fair was over last weekend but it's been busy and all my good intentions of sitting down to blog about this day only amounted to intentions but never fear, I am finally sitting down to document this day to look back on.  Because what a day it was! It was by far one of our best family days this summer!

I feel like I am like most women.  I get an idea in my head about how wonderful an event or trip is going to be and I see it all unfolding beautifully like a Norman Rockwell painting but as the event actually unfolds there are mishaps and bickering and who forgot to bring a paci...ANY ONE out there hear what I'm sayin'?

As I reflected on all those failed less than perfect outings, I realized that sometimes it was just a lack of planning.  I did more wishing and hoping for perfection than planning to aid that happy day along.  So instead of another family day biting the dust, I said NOT THIS TIME!! And I planned.  Which, in all reality, took about 10 minutes so why I never planned before is beyond me?

I found a map of the fair and printed it out.  Andrew and I discussed all the things we wanted to do during our day, things that the boys would be interested in.  Then we went about figuring out where best to start, etc.  We also nixed conservation world because, in my humble opinion, that place is the biggest waste of time for a bored mom, toddler, and baby.  No thank you.  (A small piece of me attributes that non-stop as a part of this years fair success :)) I also stated the the See It, Eat It rule.  We were going to the fair.  It was going to be a day of fun.  If you wanted ice cream and we saw it but hadn't really had lunch yet, who cares? See it, eat it, and let's be on our way.  See- such a simple plan but it led to LOADS of fun!

We arrived at the fair upon opening which was great because I swear we were never crowded at anything we did.  It seemed as soon as we finished up something a large group of people arrived.  I don't mind crowds I just like to constantly be going and so waiting is sometimes hard for me. Especially with two little ones who don't wait well either.

The first stop we made was right inside the gate at the Little Farmer's Helper.  This is where kiddos grab a basket and make their way through different exhibits of farm life, learning about what cows make, or how seeds are grown, all while collecting trinkets that tie back to the learning.  I of course love this educational part of the fair, and Hudson loves it because he is into all things farm.  It is so neat to see him learn about the agriculture and industry that is a large part of our state and to be so interested in how it all works.

The second part of that area is where little ones can ride on toy tractors, see baby chicks, and do some other activities. AKA- HOG HEAVEN! Give Hudson a tractor to ride on and he'll be your friend for life.  We also went to see the big Clydesdale horses and we had to walk and look into
every stall.

From there we entered the fair and (only because the food vendors weren't open yet) headed towards the big slide.  Last year, probably due to poor no planning, we didn't do the slide with Hudson.  I wasn't sure if he would want to do it because he can be a little scared to try new things. Ride a huge tractor? Sure. Go down a tunnel slide at the park? Take it or leave it.  So this was going to be a gamble but we bought our tickets and began our walk up the steps.  I'm not sure if you can tell from his face or not but he loved every second of it! So much so, that Andrew got to take him down the second time!

Beau was super enthused at this point.

No, seriously!

We then decided to heads toward the pony rides because still, no food vendors were open.  I know, I know. It sounds like we went to the fair for the food.  We did.  100%. That and the memories.  But mostly the food. :)

After the pony ride the vendors were open and everyone was getting a little hungry.  So we got corn dogs, fries, and a lemon shake-up.  Fair food staples.  Hudson loves him some fair food!

From there our family continued our trek towards the animals.  Cows, horses, pigs, llamas; we saw them all.  Hudson was fascinated at all the animals...just as long as he didn't have to get too close.  As we made our way towards the animals, we shared some dessert. Tom Thumb donuts and a deep fried brownie.  Even Beau got in on the fair food action!!

After all the animals we took Hudson to see the fire engine. He loves police cars and fire trucks so thought it was pretty neat to get to sit up in one.  There is something magical that happens with parenthood.  All those experiences you have forgotten about or that somehow have dimmed overtime, you get to experience through the eyes of your children.  It is such a humbling and wonderful thing.  I love watching their excitement!

From there we went to the Dairy Barn. No trip to the fair is complete without seeing the Butter Cow...or an ice cream cone.

Four hours later, filled up on fair food, our boys were reaching exhaustion.  So we took one more ride down the giant slide and headed back towards our car.

A week later and Hudson still references the fair and asks when we can go back.  I love building memories together as a family and having fun, simple traditions.  Until next year!