Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Crystalin, Ricky's sister, and her kids were here this past week, so I got to spend some fun times with them. So of the many activities we got to enjoy were: Seeing Despicable Me 2 in the theater (and taking a picture with the Monsters University display); 
dinner out with all of the adults, while the older kids watched the younger kids; getting pedicures with the older girls; 
celebrating Jared and Lenell's baby with a baby shower;
going to Tropicanoe Cove; 
(After a long day of playing hard, the boys were out cold!)
taking a road trip to the Albanese Candy Factory in Merrilville and then getting pizza at Costco; and late night movies.

It was so great to spend so much time with them as they are living in Mexico City now.We miss them already and hope to see them all soon!

I finally got some pictures of the kids at swim lessons. They loved them and all improved from the lessons. It is a great way to enjoy the summertime! 
Dylan swimming to his teacher.
Lauren waiting her turn to show her teachers how well she can do head bobs.
Ethan holding hands with his buddy, Jack! Those boys are so cute together!
We have had a great month with family and summer fun! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Lauren!

Lauren's birthday was spread out this year. We celebrated with Ricky's family on Saturday at the cabin. Then on Sunday, her actual birthday, we drove all day. Not so fun. So when we got home, we planned a little tea party for Lauren and a few friends. She kept asking if she would be 6 after her party with her friends. I tried to explain it, but she didn't understand. She is still just 5, thankfully! I don't want her growing up any faster than she already is! 
Here she is on her birthday!
 All dressed up! (it's always fun to see what Lauren wants to wear!) It was so much fun watching the girls get all dressed up. They had a great time putting make-up on, then having 'tea' (fruit punch) and cookies.
 "Tea" time
I can't believe that my little princess is 5! I love you so much!

Pigeon Forge

Last week, we had a fun road trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We drove down on Tuesday, July 9th and came home on Sunday, July 14th.We met up with Ricky's parents and sister's family to carpool down. We ended up with these crazies in our car! It was a ton of fun! My kids travel very well and we only had to stop 2 times!
Wednesday, we headed over to The Smokey Mountain State Park to explore. We hiked to Cataract Falls and then went to the highest point, Clingman's Dome. Fun fact: The top of the Dome is the highest point of the Smokey Mountains at about 6,600 ft. Crystalin (Ricky's sister) and family live in Mexico City, Mexico where the elevation is about 8,000 ft. I thought that was very interesting. The kids did great and we had a wonderful day, minus the heat. It was very hot!
Lauren had a special bond with Grandpa this trip. It was really cute. 
The best shot of our family in front of the Cataract Falls.
Dylan had a blast hiking around.
Looking out at the mountains from the base of Clingman's Dome. It almost looks like a photo-shopped picture, but we were really there! Ethan didn't want to get too close to the edge. He was a little timid (and I'm glad he was. It was a long way down!)
At the top of Clingman's Dome.
Ethan resting on daddy for the long walk back down the mountain.
After a long day, we enjoyed ice cream sundaes on the deck overlooking the mountains. The kids loved to eat outside.
Thursday, the older kids and the brothers went White Water Rafting. Our brakes were squeaking really bad after driving through the mountains, so we had to take it in to get the brake pads replaced. Fun times! I hung out at the cabin with the kids under 8, Ruth, Spencer, and Crystalin. We thought it would be fun to take the kids to the park down the street. It was really fun, but we were sweating so bad we couldn't stay long. The kids didn't seem to mind! Ethan is such a big boy! He walked across this rope bridge all by himself!
After dinner, we all headed over to a go-carting place. It was so fun to race all of the family! The little kids even likes these rides.

On Friday, all of the big boys went ATVing up the mountain. They had a blast! Here is Ricky looking out over the mountain at the top of the hill.
Ruth, Lenell, Crystalin and I took the younger kids to the pool. They loved it and it felt soo good to be in the cool water. It was so hot outside that we were instantly sweating when we walked outside.

Keegan and Ethan loving the little pool.
Dylan decided to grow up on me and jumped off the diving board. I just looked up from the shallow end of the pool and saw him standing on the edge of the board. He loved it and jumped off about 10 more times! Way to go Dylan!
The kids had to stop for a snack break!

After a long day at the pool, we came back to the cabin for dinner and games or a movie. We had a great time hanging out with everyone! 
 Saturday morning, we all (minus the 2 prego ladies) headed over to a stable where we got to ride horses in the woods. Dylan loved it! The single riders got to go on a different trail and left about 15 minutes before the double riders. It worked out great as they got back a little after us, too.
The little ones waiting to get on the horse.
Lauren petting her horse, Cinnamon.
Ethan and I rode Mr. Gray. He loved it and had a great time!
Such a great time horseback riding!
After we got home from the stables, we celebrated Lauren's birthday. (Her birthday was Sunday, but we were driving home all day. I thought it would be more fun to celebrate with everyone!)
She got her ballerina barbie and movie (the only thing she asked for), along with another barbie and some clothes. She had a great day!
This is what the kids enjoyed doing around the cabin! What did we do before technology?
After lunch, we went back to the pool for the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day! After dinner, we headed out to go mini-golfing, but the big boys got distracted by the go-karts. We got bored, so we went to a couple of little shops in town and got some ice cream. Much more fun!
The little kids watching the big boys on the go-karts.
We had a wonderful week at the cabin in the mountains! This view from our balcony was hard to leave! This was one of those vacations that you don't want to end. My kids even asked if we could move to a cabin in the mountains, they had so much fun! We will have to go back again soon!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fourth of July

This year for the fourth of July, we spent the day with some friends. My parents and Ricky's parents were on vacations at the time. We were invited to a cookout and then our own fireworks show. I was a little bummed, because I really like the fireworks shows, but it was so much fun. The big boys had fun setting off the fireworks while we all watched them. They had some big ones, so it was really fun. I couldn't believe how chilly it got, especially for Indiana! Lauren and I had to pull out the jackets for the fireworks. The kids enjoyed playing with the sparklers.
 Ethan even got in on the fun!
 I didn't get a family picture this year, so this will have to do! Ethan was a little unsure of the fireworks. They were a little bit loud for him. He just sat in my lap and covered his ears and he was ok with them.
Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


We have been keeping busy with swim lessons these past two weeks. Boy are they time consuming, but way fun for the kids!
Ethan is a little fish in the water! He loves it!

Lauren and her friend, Makiah.

Lauren is enjoying a summer program called Kindergarten Readiness. It has been great for her, as she wants me to stay with her. We are getting better and I know she is enjoying it! The first day, she was crying and didn't want me to leave her. Close to the end of the third week, she wanted me to let her walk down the hall by herself. She didn't really need the schooling part of it, but I'm so glad she was able to get the social aspect of the program. Her she is on the first day:
And here she is on the last day:

 June 11th, we went to the Columbian Park Zoo. I had been wanting to get over there, and we finally made it. The kids had a blast!
And of course, Ethan had to sit on the water fountain. He rode home in his underwear. Silly boy! (I should have brought extra clothes for him, but forgot. Oh well!)
A fun afternoon with some friends enjoying the beautiful weather!
Happy Father's Day, Ricky! The kids had so much fun picking out gifts for dad this year! I love how excited they got! We love you and really appreciate all that you do for us!
I had my last day with Jack and Cadence last Thursday (June 20th). It was really bittersweet. I miss them, but am grateful for the time I get to spend with my kids this summer.
We went to the pool on Friday with friends, so much fun!

Last Saturday (June 22), the kids and I went to my parent's house for the day. We went swimming and played games. It was a nice afternoon until Ethan started screaming. I ran in to find his little fingers smashed between the metal hinges of my parents new couch. (It has a fold out cup holder/tray.) It was bleeding pretty bad, so we took him into the ER. 2 hours later, we came out with 5 stitches in his first finger and cuts and bruises on his second finger. Poor little guy! It is not broken, thankfully, and he got them out on Monday. His fingers are healing pretty well, but we still keep them covered to keep infection out. It also helps remind him not to use them for everything! 
Here he is right after getting home from the hospital.
And here his is all tuckered out with his fun new finger wrap.
We got a new mattress last week. Ricky wanted to get a king size bed, and we finally did.  It has a lot more space, and is way comfortable. I am so happy with our purchase! Now we just need to get a bed frame for it!

For our last day of swim class, we packed lunches and had a little picnic with all of our friends at the playground. Dylan had a great time climbing to the top!
Saturday, I had the opportunity to go to Chicago with 2 of my friends. We went to the temple, then to lunch at Wild Fire (amazing food, if you've never been!). After lunch we were deciding where to go and ended up going to the beach. It was overcast and windy, but it was beautiful! The other girls had never been there before, so it was really nice for them to see it. On the way home, we had to stop and get a Giordano's pizza for the family and then some candy from the Albanese Candy Factory to keep us going. It was so nice and relaxing to spend the day with the girls. Thanks!
We have been taking it slow this week. Nothing on the schedule and I love it! Cleaning is getting done, the kids are going crazy, just normal life! Just in time for our family vacation next week, yeah!