Tuesday, July 31, 2012

swim lessons

yesterday the boys finished their summer swim lessons.  they both impressed me and the teachers with their massive improvement from last year.  maxer now jumps freely into the deep end then swims to the shallow or the ladder without any assistance or fear. he even can do the whip kick and backstroke sans help.

 bear bear can swim the entire length of the pool without any help.

swim lessons really reveal the differences in my sons.  maxer just makes my heart burst with pride as he strives to do his very best with every task placed before him.  miss kim would stop him and explain what direction to turn his head to breathe and then ask if he understood and he would always respond "allright".

bear on the other hand, started crying about 10 minutes into the lesson screaming that he was cold and done.  well, lucky miss morgan sweetly would convince him to swim.  or to sink.  bear always pulled through much crying and thrashing and whining to actually do the lap as he was asked, but watching the process made me so happy i am not a swim teacher.

after day one of swim lessons, i asked bear if he could remember his teacher's name.  instead of saying morgan, he seriously told me it was lassie. 

even ayla jo went swimming!  by herself!  by accident!  she fell in whilst i was trying to capture one of maxer's dives, his fave part of lessons. baby blue was right by me and i immediately ditched the camera and dove in with my clothes on to rescue cupcake.  when i held her in my arms all she said about the scary episode was "go unda".

cutest thing happens when you get to chill by the pool every day for swimming lessons, the boys get this crease tan line on their nose from wrinkling it up.  sersiously adorable, just a glimpse makes my heart all convulsive with delight.

see the crinkle while maxer is splashing with hunter?  thats what causes the darling tanlines.  presh!

bear claimed to be so frigidly cold during lessons that he would insist on sitting outside the pool wrapped in a towel until his turn again at which time he would howl until finally relenting and quickly doing what morgan asked of him.  aylaroo and i were there to keep him company.  us girls were very encouraging for our superstar swimming boys.

i truly enjoyed the lessons because while my boys were swimming, my daughter and i got to chat with the other mamas and babes.  unless of course aylaroo was throwing herself in the pool :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

stars of our summer

i suppose about every mommy blog is currently lamenting the speed at which this summer is progressing.  mine is no exception.  august is quickly approaching and i can hardly fathom that possibility.  our days are so full, not necessarily of plans and activities, but just of summer loving.  here are some of the stars of summer:

tractor rides
this summer we had wheat in our field,much to the delight of our sons, and occasionally our daughter. we have witnessed and participated in harvesting, chiseling, discing, and planting our field.  so exciting.  it always surprises me that the adorables still get so very excited to ride. it just does not get old for them!  nor for me, there are few things more beautiful than seeing your sons and daughter sitting beside or on the lap of their incredible daddy.  my fave is getting to listen to brads and the boys' interpretation of the conversations that are had in the john deere.  lots of talk about the process of farming, lots of stories from bear when he was a little boy, and lots of content silence spent marinating in one another's company. 


at last, the motivation behind the barn building is complete!  we have a fully functioning basketball hoop.  all family members are completely concentrated on this new fixture in our yard.  maxer is quite the baller already.  bear tends to get a little frustrated as his abilities are slightly less accurate compared to his big bro.  ayla jo is already excelling at cheerleading. 

with the building of the barn came lots of cement.  this addition has been a welcome one, lots of biking, scooting, and strolling has already occurred.  as we do not have a sidewalk, this is our one and only area that is not gravel on which to ride. 

bear is beyond excited about the cement

with the construction of the barn there has been sand piles in the back of our house, enhancing the sand play in the sandbox down the yard a bit.  the adorables have dedicated many busy minutes getting themselves full of sand, head to toe.  i have never swept so much or felt so much like my sweeping was completely ineffective. 

 baby blue is getting quite tricky.

 we go through popsicles like 27 a day.  approx.  the babes are in love with frozen sugar.

the drought of 2012 makes for sad crops and livestock, but happy kids who get to spend every single day outside. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

jubilant july

our july is full of fun filled festivities.  independence day, my bday, and my dads bday all fall within 1 week.  that is some intense celebrating.  my dads wife naomi surprised him by setting up a little cake party with the kids.  we all arrived at different times and pretended we were just dropping in.  my dad was absolutely enthralled by the party. 

so were my adorables, for a different reason.  joel and nomes live in this little condo community on a lake.  they created a little beachfront on their property and it is full of creatures and and craziness.

 i took this pic to give insight into my participation in the craw daddy situation.  that is my shadow, a safe and sure distance away, reclining in an adirondack chair sipping wine.  ayla jo was not at all concerned with the dangerous bucket of creepy crawlers.  her mama is.  not a fact that i find particularly awful, but not one that i am proud of either.

when phil was over this weekend, he brought his adorables along.  they got out of his truck and promptly found a baby snake.  omg, eew.  while i screeched and flailed, the kids were very amused by the slithering snake.  confused, they asked for an explanation of my odd behaviour.  i just thrust them a jar from the safety of the porch and told them to have fun.

this little fox does not respond similarly.  cupcake is sporting this rainbow sun hat so delightfully.  its just the cutest ensemble of daughter.

despite the sultry temperatures, auntie beans and bopa took the boys out on a paddle boat ride.  adorbs. 
lucky for the ever curious adorables, this visit to bopa and naomi's turned into a learning experience involving intense observation of crawdads and frogs. 

maxer has easily grown 3 feet this summer.  look at that handsome!

such a weston face, even his sweet smiles are a little naughty.

good times, birthdays.  aylaroo is next up in our fam and let me tell you, i am very, very excited about her turning "three in august" as she tells everyone who will listen.  she will be two.  that is plenty.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

the fourth and festivies for my bday

first of all, i recognize completely the privelege it is to live in a country that is free, where we are free.  the fourth of july provides such a beautiful opportunity to celebrate and appreciate that freedom, and to really take a moment to consider if we are taking complete advantage of the very thing for which our forefathers fought. 

we spent the day considering at the kamphuis pool. 

the boys went golfing with brad, phil, and his eldest two in the am.  by the time we hit the pool, my golfing adorables were hot, hot, hot.  lots of swimming, brats, and brownies later, we were spent.

i was the only witness to the fireworks that night, the rest of my babes were sleeping inside with brad, so i snuck out and marveled by myself.

i had a lot on my mind anyway, turning 29 and all.

because on july 6th, i did that, i turned 29.  this. is. huge.  the number is huge, and the milestone is huge.  i feel that i am probs where i dreamed of being on the precipice of 30.  mama to three cutes, married to the man of my dreams, home to love on them each and every day; all of this is literally a dream come true for me. 

but still the thought of turning 29, the year i will be claiming to be for the rest of my adulthood, had a sobering effect on me.  my birthday brought some reflections, some resolutions, and some very very deep gratefulness to god for his abundant blessing in my life. 

my baby sis kels even came home for a visit, and i got to see her on my day.  so maybe she did not come home for me, it was still so great to bond a bit.  the rest of my sibs joined kels and my darlings for some chinese and captain sunday birthday cake.  i felt so loved and so honored to be a part of this exceptional group of peeps.

the celebration continued on saturday with a boston market outing, and on sunday with a hot dog feast at the lampens.  yes, every festivity demanded food.  in fact, brad gifted me with food, a mcdonalds, subway and captain sunday gift card boquet.  that is love.

as a 29 year old woman, notice the old next to the woman in that phrase, i am rejoicing for the life i have lived.  i anticipate many more years of joy.  in this place, here and now, i am feeling like 29 is a good reminder to take life seriously, jubilantly, but seriously.  it is a gift, not to be wasted, and i am determined to make mine count. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

happy third of july

tuesday morning dawned and i was still feeling that i was catching up from the camping excursion.  we loaded up the veen to run some errands and accomplished all of our goals.  this included three different stops, library, tip toes, and meijer.  being outnumbered three to one, children to mommy, i felt very good about successfully making these goals come true.  all it takes is for bear to have one of his infamous meltdowns during which he makes all his muscles go slack and ends up howling on the floor of whatever store we are in for me to seriously reconsider my abilities as a mama and give up the rest of my tasks.  however, on this day, we made it. 

my dad brought us lunch and regaled us with tales from his honeymoon, while the boys entertained him with camping conquests.  bear's fave part of camping, his big girlfriend.  max loved the pool.

after this productive and exciting morning, the afternoon brought sweet peace and calm.  ish. 

brad was running wheat in our fields out back.  and he had company.  the boys absolutely cannot get enough of combining with daddy.  so sweet.  im sure the presence of our boys really alters the experience for brad, but he always is willing to take them along.  maxer literally remains engaged with rapt attention as brad harvests row after row.  bear adds some silliness to the mix with his crazy antics.  ayla jo even had the opportunity to ride along on thursday night when i had to go into work and brad just had a few rows to go.  i literally dropped all three adorables off at the combine and headed downtown.  that was a first.

baby blue was inititally unsure, and by unsure i mean hysterical with fear.  i truly entertained the idea of just taking her to work with me for a bit.  i am very experienced at doing everything with a baby on my hip, why not retail?  but brad assured me she would be fine. and she was.  after just a few minutes, the boys were helping to ease her mind and entertaining her by pointing out deer beds and bunnies.  strangely, cupcake calls deer beds "o beds".  not sure, but still adorbs.

july 3 though, my darling daughter was with me enjoying the kiddie pool while her brothers rode in the combine.  my heart was full as i watched the combine filled with my fave guys in the field while my aylaroo and i splashed in the pool. 
she was entertained by pouring water on my piggies from her baby watering can.

the temps were in the upper 90's, so even a bathing suit was to much extra to wear, naked was a must.

bear did suffer a devestating injury whilst riding beside his bro.  in his own interpretation, bear said he was attemtpting to fall asleep when maxer creamed him right in the kisser.  somehow i dont think that is exactly what happened.  but nonetheless, he hurt his lip. 

it felt so great to have the easy events of july 3rd.  the fam together just enjoying life on the farm.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

while we were away

lots happened on the farm while we were gone for our week of camping adventures

the wheat ripened, ready to harvest!

the garden grew

we picked beans the afternoon we got home and had them with dinner that night.  i also made zuchinni bread saturday morning.  we ate it with dinner saturday night, the boys devoured it!  an entire loaf in one day.  yum!

the kittens got bigger

but not smarter, because they did not run away. duh.

the outside of the barn is complete

 progress is being made on the inside, but in the meantime, the boys are using the scraps (hopefully they are scraps :)) to build ramps and other creations.

ayla jo's hair grew!  i know, you cannot really see it well in this pic, but trust me, it is longer!

as always, the adjustment to home life is sweet.  our house seems huge, our days full and our laundry endless.  it is good to be home!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

hungry horse

our first camping trip of the summer was to hungry horse.  o what a trip!  i am currently schlepping basket after basket of dirty laundry, dirty toys, and dirty dishes in from the camper to be cleaned.  this is the worst part of camping, the unpacking.  but even this chore is sweetened by the memories of the good times we experienced in dorr. each load is a reminder of an amusing campfire conversation, a beautiful baby moment or a cute bonding event. 

perhaps most memorable is bear's girlfriend.  their love connection began on wed, but i did not really witness the event until yesterday at the pool where bear blinked is his mile long lashes in her direction.  she is 10.  her name is trinity.  she considers herself more like a babysitter, but bear is smitten.  even now he is chatting away to me that he would have liked to stay with his girlfriend.  she is only ever referred to as girlfriend, never by her name. 

bear's girlfriend snuggled him on her lap while he dried off at the pool.  she watched movies with him in her camper.  she went on walks with bear.  brad and i felt very very awkward whenev she was around because bear was obsessed and it was embarassing.

part of the bedtime routine whilst camping invloves watching a show for a bit while brad and i sneak out to the fire.  each of the adorables got to choose a dvd from the librabry before we left, and ayla jo came home with lassie.  one night i plugged it in for the babes and they one and all adored it!  lassie is in black and white people.  and pretty much all she does is bark and run around.  we are talking a far cry from bolt.  however, they were glued.  at the end of the dvd is a bonus episode in color.  o how the cuties were thrilled when we saw that one.  lassie is beautiful they said. 

bouncy balls
we camped with the darling nyhofs and ellie, being the eldest of all the kiddos, came prepared.  she had an entire token holder from chuckie cheese filled to the brim with quarters.  as elle has an exceptionally generous spirit, she distributed quarters to my boys without reserve. the item that so captivated the kids were huge superballs.  they bounced high and came in different colors and patterns.  well, they were sold.  i think i counted 10 different balls we came home with.  that's $5 worth that we owe the nyhofs...

there were none.  i mean i took a shower every couple days, but the adorables only used soap on their hands.  we left the rest of the cleanliness to the pool.  i know, eew.  but for real, the second they were clean maxer would literally set up his bike so it was stationary and could spew dirt when he pedaled.  head to toe dirt nuggets.  we frequented the pool, though it would only be for 20 minutes or so at a time.  the boys are both wild swimmers, going under and making up exceptionally dangerous and cool jumps.  baby blue love to jump in and would hold my hand and drag me in so she could "go undah". 


hungry horse has a huge hill up by the office, and that was a big draw for all the adorables.  the boys would often bike or scooter themselves up the hill and practically fly down with speed.  cupcake would trot along in her flip flops "peenk ones" and make my heart skip beats in fear of a crash.  thankfully, there were only minor injuries this trip!


our group had campsites all together in a little arrangement near two parks.  this allowed the kids to run back and forth all within view. maxer mastered the monkey bars with gusto.  bear became obsessed with hauling sand up the slide until he had a large pile at the bottom.  then the adorables all took turns sliding into the sand and making a sand sploosh.  the little dolly enjoyed swingning on the baby swing and managed to climb up the steps to the slide all on her own.  she was scared of coming down on her own though, so i would be sitting around the fire until i heard aylaroo screaming loudly "mommy! mommy!" she was not a big fan of allowing anyone else to assist her.

love was in the air.  check out this cutenss.  all on their own, maxer and aubrey gathered snacks and blankets and set up a little picnic scene for themselves. 
until the other littles bombarded their romance.  still, fun was had chasing and hunting down the lovebirds.

this was the first year ayla jo did not sleep in the pack n play.  she had the kitchen table converted into a bed.  the prinpress (princess) slept soundly and was fabulously sorrounded by pink and pillows, one night she did awake screaming because she could not find her ringworm on her arm.  drama mama. having our table otherwise occupied forced every meal to be consumed outside.  so much nicer of a cleanup.  and the birds loved it!

thanks for the memories fellow campers!  now i must drag the clean cutes from the tub so they can find some dirt to play with at our house.  home sweet home!