Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vacation, Take 1!

We had the BEST week at the Lake. We had perfect weather, kids getting along (glory be!), good little sleepers at night, donuts every single morning and fun fun fun! We are home for this week and then we head back out again for another week--our summers are pretty rough. ;)

Daddy had just flown them outside the wake. WOO HOO!
My 5 most favorite people in the whole world

Daddy was the only person who could get our little blond Goldilocks jump in the still-chilly lake. Daddy and his boating buddy!!

There was some serious fishing as well. Look at this 24-incher Max reeled in. (He looks like he's in pain, but trust me, he's having the time of his life! I think he was squinting into the sun! )

And look at this 27-incher that Zoe got! Seriously!! It was a BIG ONE! And our fearless girl wanted to hold it, throw it back, look at its teeth...goodness gracious!

Our kayaking champ! We got so much use out of the kayaks (thank you, Shannon!)--Charlie is a natural and paddles like a pro. It was fun to see him get so much confidence on the water.

It was another great week making so many precious memories. We are so blessed that my grandparents open their home to us and give us these opportunities to have the perfect family vacations each year. It just gets more and more fun! Can't wait to go back--T-minus 4 days! Happy Wednesday, friends.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Potty training prodigy

So much of my day the last couple of weeks has been spent here:

Fun times, right? And NOT because I had a problem ;) but because this little wonderboy has been a potty-training genius!

Is there ANYTHING in the world cuter than a little boy in baby briefs?

I wanted to potty-train Tate during the summer months because I think it is easier to get them out of shorts and swimsuits (or run around in their birthday suits) than it is to get them out of jeans or other heavy clothes. This being said, I potty-trained Zoe in the dead of winter. :) So it's not fool-proof. But I was noticing that my "window" for training Tate was slowly opening and wanted to seize the moment. I was prepared for weeks-long accidents and staying close to home but I kid you not--Tate has been the easiest of all 4 to potty train and that's saying a lot because Zoe was pretty darn easy too.

For anyone who doesn't want more details on our potty training, feel free to end your reading now. :) For anyone else who may benefit from my fairly limited experience, I wanted to share a few things that worked for us...I read several other blog posts before I started training Tate that were helpful for me (it has been 3 1/2 years since I've potty trained anyone!) so wanted to pass along other helpful hints as well.

I do think it helps to have older siblings to watch and learn from. But that's not to say a first child won't be easy as well! My number 1 piece of advice would be to be ready when the child is ready. That may be months after you the parent are ready (hello, Max!) or months before you the parent are ready (hello, Zoe!). Zoe was DONE potty-training by the time she was 2...I was fully planning to wait until she was at least 2 to even start. Max on the other had...we gave it a shot (did not last long) when he was a little over 2, and he was right at his 3rd birthday (literally days before he could start preschool) before he even showed an interest. So I figured Tate is 2 1/2, let's see what happens.

We did start out on the little-boy potty, something I had actually never done with any of the other three, but Tate seemed to be really afraid of the regular toilet at first. So for 2 days we used the little potty but let me tell you, that got old really fast. So we tried having him sit on the "big potty" like his brothers and sister and they were the BEST cheerleaders ever. We had a huge celebration with each little accomplishment. And a lot of it was just cheering and hugs...although I am not above bribery. It works. For the first time we got a #1 on the "big potty" Tate got to pick out a toy at Target (fun little motorcycle) and for the first time we got a #2 on the big potty Tate got...get this...a skateboard. Big brother Charlie had just gotten one for his birthday and Tate was obsessed. It was perfect timing because boy oh boy did Tate want a skateboard. So he did the deed and look at this happy guy!

There's his little Cars-themed skateboard and helmet. And if you think it wouldn't last with such pathetic maneuvers, it did!! He now hasn't had an accident in over a week and is staying dry through naptime. I seriously take very little credit for this--Charlie was actually much the same way. It was like we said "OK, you have to go on the potty now," and Charlie (and Tate for that matter) said "OK, I will." And that was that. So...maybe this has helped someone a little, maybe not. But be encouraged, not filled with dread about potty-training. It can be a fun time to learn more about your child, spend uninterrupted time with them (lots and lots of uninterrupted time!) and is another reminder of how they develop and learn. And keep in mind, too, that EVERY child is unique, and you have to find what will trip their trigger. For mine--shameless bribery. :) That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Happy Friday, friends.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Look who's 7!!!

I truly can't believe my second sweet baby boy is 7 years old--as of June 30 (I'm still catching up here!). He is a fun-lover, enthusiastic about life in general, spends his day walking around hand-drumming on any surface possible, and was voted "most-improved" on his team at Drake basketball camp on the very day of his birthday! It was a super special day for our guy...a day celebrating Charlie...what could be better than that??

Riding high at his friends party at Chuck E. Cheese. Seriously, could my kids pick a place I like any LESS?? :) How I love them...

The birthday boy with awesome cousin Will!

Can't have a Chuck E Cheese birthday without the ticket blaster--he trapped so many tickets he got a full-size basketball! :)

Brothers and BFF's!

Birthday high-5 from Chuck E and friends.

Cool guy!

Everyone having fun--Max, Will and buddy Kade

Our guy all decked out with his fun new present--a skateboard from us and protective gear from the grandparents. :) Love this kid!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Catching up...

We have LOVED summer so far. But it is flying by--going way too fast. I can't believe the kids will be in school in a little over a month. That is just too much to think about. We have so many fun things to do before then--including 2 weeks of Lake time. So here are some catch-up pics from earlier in the summer. We had a great day at the zoo here in town on one of the first warm days early in June. The kids are at such perfect ages right now--still love hanging out together, but getting easier to take out and about for a whole day without an extra set of hands. :) Here are a few fun shots of our perfect day at the zoo.

Everyone loved the giraffes! They were very friendly that day.

This was as close as Tate would get to any dinosaur there. :)


Of course--had to take a train ride. Tate loved the "TUNNEL!!!"

The dinosaur exhibit was so fun--except that we had to zip through there because Tate cried through most of it. Poor guy did NOT like the roaring of the dinos.

We got great views of all of the animals there--they were all out wandering around. Both the lion and lioness were very photogenic! :)

We are excited for the rest of summer! Happy day, friends.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Long time no blog

As I was picking dried pieces of grass out of Zoe's hair tonight (she had rolled in the grass at a friend's birthday party), I said "wow, there's a lot of this stuff in your hair."

Zoe: "Well it's a good thing it's just grass and not elephant poop!"

This is true...