Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lunch Dates

A few months ago Josh and I decided to start meeting up at least once a week for lunch dates.  I love doing that because it gives us a chance to reconnect in the middle of the day.  It's something we all really look forward to.

Recently, though, Josh thought it would be fun to take the girls on individual lunch dates with him.  He would leave a special note on the kitchen table for whoever would get to go out with him that afternoon, but they would get to pick the place.  As you can see, they are thrilled when it's their turn.

Summer picked her restaurant in advance :)

Today we captured Josh and had a picnic in the park.  We picked up some subs {the girls' were free because of the summer reading program} and set out to one of our favorite parks.  I think some of the other moms there were jealous.  They should be.

This is one tradition I hope to keep for a long, long time!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Michigan: Part 1

Earlier this year, Josh and a group of his college buddies began planning a "Mancation"-- a vacation just for the guys.  It was decided that they would all meet up in D.C. in early July.  It just so happens that my cousins {whom I haven't seen in forever!} were free for a reunion of sorts around the same time.  So last week the kids and I {and fish} headed North while Josh headed East. 

As you can see, he had a terrible time.

Josh had such a blast reconnecting with his friends.  I'm so glad he got to go.

Meanwhile, here is how our weekend went.

We arrived early in the afternoon.  I could have kissed the ground because I've never taken the kids on a trip by myself before!  That evening we hung out at my parents' house and just enjoyed being together and soaking up the gorgeous weather.


That night was a rough one.  Jackson had a fever and kept waking up every half hour on the dot.  All night long.  Twice he threw up.  The medicine did help get rid of the fever but for the rest of the trip his sleeping schedule was a disaster.  When he did actually sleep, he was quite cute.  I'll give him that.

We were supposed to meet up with some friends at the beach but our plans quickly changed when I started the van and saw this:  
Long story short: the engine needed some coolant.  I'm so glad that's all it was!

By the time we left the dealership we realized that there just wasn't enough time to get to the beach.  I suggested that we go to a park, one that the girls weren't familiar with.  They were so excited about that!

Kramer played games with the girls tirelessly throughout our visit.  Bless him.

That evening we met up with my dad's side of the family at my grandparents' house.


That would be my 89-year-old grandpa pulling the kids in the wagon.  

Jackson with his cousin, Julian.  I love that they both have afros!  

There was a lot of this throughout the weekend because Jackson wouldn't go to sleep any other way.

We traveled up to Reed City to meet up with my cousins and their families.  It was so great to spend time with them!  We're hoping that this will become an annual tradition.

The kids got along great, as if they'd known each other forever rather than having just met.

My cousin, Cheri, definitely has a way with kids.  They all LOVED her.


For the life of me I couldn't figure out how to get the timer to work on my camera so Brenda's 6-year-old took this picture.  I'm SO sorry for anyone who is not happy with the way it turned out but this is the best one we had.  You get the idea, right??

The kids fell asleep almost immediately on the ride home.  An afternoon of running around will do that to you!

We attended church with my parents. 

And later we enjoyed yet another beautiful day.

We made the 4-hour drive home.  The kids couldn't have done better!  I think the secret was having Kylie seated next to Jackson.  She felt so special handing him toys and food.  Maybe the best part of our driving experience was stopping for a picnic lunch.  We took advantage of the great weather and ate sandwiches outside, which allowed the kids time to soak up some sun and run around.

Josh arrived home just a couple hours after we did.  His friend, Scott, stayed the night with us before catching an early flight this morning.  Summer took to him immediately.  I hope that next time the guys have a reunion the families can come too!

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming in a few weeks!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Independence Day

We checked out CarmelFest on Thursday evening.  We spent way more money than we should have but it was so much fun!  We'll definitely be going back next year.

Because our previous evening went so well, Josh and I had high hopes for Independence Day.  

The kids were so excited to be amongst friends at the parade.

Some of our friends brought along stuff for face painting.  The word quickly spread that there was "free face painting" going on so there was quite a long line of kids stemming from our section of the parade route.  This poor guy had no idea what he started :)
But the enthusiasm began to fade as everyone's lack of sleep was only magnified by the noise of the parade.

The rest of our day pretty much followed suit.  Despite our efforts to lay low and encourage nap times throughout the day, the kids were still exhausted.  The early part of the evening was SO fun.  We went to a BBQ and they had all sorts of fun things happening there: ping pong tournament, bounce house, trampoline, yummy food and treats.  We all had the best time!  It was super convenient too because we walked to the end of the street {literally} and watched the fireworks.  Two of the three kids were crying before the fireworks even started.  This was our view as we headed back to our car.

Our day didn't quite go according to plan but I'm still grateful that we were able to enjoy so many fun things this weekend.  The best part was just being together as a family, hanging out with some of our closest friends, and enjoying the gorgeous weather.  I'm so thankful for the servicemen and women who make so many sacrifices so we can enjoy this free country of ours.  I'm so proud to be an American!