Thursday, July 31, 2014

4 is a fantastic number!

 Trying to rewind and remember what we did since the last time I posted!  I feel like a broken record saying I need to catch up and repeating that we have been busy... I've had these pictures ready to go for quite awhile now, but haven't had the time to get them to the blog and narrate.  The majority of the blog is about the 4th of July Festivities and Elle Marie's 4th birthday party.  Door County pictures are done as well, so be looking for that post soon!

4 is a fantastic number!  We celebrated the 4th of July and Elle turned 4!!!

We were invited on a play date with Aunt Missy and her friends and after the weather wasn't cooperating for the Water Park, we headed West to Stillwater's Teddy Bear Park.  It turned out to be the perfect weather for the park and a picnic.  Not too hot and not too cold!  It didn't take long for the boys to find the sandbox.  *Note to self - next time bring a sand toy or two.  They wanted to play with other kids' trucks and there was no room to play their baseball stuff they did bring ;(
 It fenced in and it was nice that the kids could just run and play, although it did get busy around lunch time.  The boys are getting more independent, but still like me close and to stand at the end of the slide their first time down it in case "it's a fast one!"
 I'm not sure what they enjoyed more... playing or grazing.  Our picnics always turn into take a bite... run... play,,, come back for a bite... repeat.
 Thanks Elle and Elise for inviting us along and including us with your friends!
 Such a lucky girl, Elise had THREE older boys at the bottom of the slide to catch her!
 Playing and showing Elise how to climb.
 Aiden was brave to climb the real rock wall to the slide.
 The Teddy Bear statues were a picture must.

 More HUGS!
 A favorite... maybe a framer!
 Ashton found a big friend, Aiden didn't want to pose.
 Ashton found another friend, as Aiden was too busy playing!
Ashton is looking too grown up!!!
 We were finally able to make it to one of Uncle Dave's baseball games.  It seems like every time we thought about going, it rained.  The boys have so much fun playing with all the other kiddos.  We are lucky to watch enough of the game to see Uncle Dave hit!
 They play their own baseball games...
 and Duck Duck Goose!
 If we stay all the way until the end, they get to run the bases.  Ashton and Aiden think that is pretty cool!  *Side Note - tonight at dinner I asked the boys what they wanted to do when they had to go to work and when they get bigger.  Aiden said "Drive an excavator."  Ashton said "Be a baseball player and hit the ball over the fence!"  Tonight putting Aiden to bed he said, "Mom I can do two things when I get bigger.  I can drive an excavator and play baseball right?"
 I started off the 4th of July festivities with the Annual Freedom Fest 5K.  Aunt Katie signed up to do it as well!  They boys and Adam came down to cheer us on.
 After the run, it was onto the lake.  Some friend's of our bought a pontoon, so we needed to help break it in ;)
 Stopping at a sand bar and skipping rocks with Brigs.
 Thanks for inviting us on your boat Reese! 
 Finding treasures and fossils (so the boys say)...
 The best thing about boating?  The snacks!
 Aiden and his friend idol Brigs.
 After boating and a nap, we went to the Hasse's for their annual get-together with food and fireworks.  There are so many kids and so much room to run, it is a blast.  Each year we get to sit back and watch the kids entertain themselves and enjoy themselves.
 A surprise guest... Marcy!  She lives close by and they rode their 4-wheeler up.
 Boating was so much fun on Friday, why not do it again Saturday?  This time we visited some friends at the boat houses and Ashton had a little time to fish.
 While Aiden had some time to play on the tube with Caz.
 Sticking close to Daddy... not completely comfortable around the water, and that's OKAY!
 Lunchtime with their friends, Reese and Caz.
 Many thanks to out captain for driving us around safely!  
Nate had some help from Hudsen  ;)
 After a busy 4th of July we had some tired eyes on the boat ride home!
 Again, the best part about boating?  Snacks!
 Nate and Brooke live on the lake... so beautiful if it wouldn't get green and stinky in August!  Hanging out here only makes Adam want a cabin on a lake even more.  Some day hopefully!

 Two long days, being busy, late nights, and in the sun = tired boys!
 Ashton is usually the one to fall asleep, but this night he was faking it just for wanting his picture taken...
 We try to find something to do every day... this day we loaded up the bikes and road on the trail by our old house.  They boys still like to go past the horses we used to see nightly.
 We have had two little boys asking to go to the "Dinosaur Museum" for quite a long time, so when Adam had a day off, we headed to St. Paul's Science Museum.  We had two EXCITED little boys, and Ashton still trying to get the thumbs up thing down.
 Got it!
 We were a bit nervous taking them because last summer they were TERRIFIED of the dinosaur exhibit at the MN Zoo.  But, we talked about it and talked about it and they said they wouldn't be scared.  Also since the last year, they have been into dinosaur movies and more into dinosaurs.  They loved it.  They were in heaven.  I think it helped that it was the bones, and not huge dinosaurs that looked "too real."
 They had toy dinosaurs that they needed to match up with the bones.
 Not sure who got into it more... daddy or the boys!
 Standing by the T-Rex.  Otherwise known as the "Sharp Tooth" in our house.

 The boys loved the iPads and I was impressed how many age levels it was appropriate for!  What did we do before iPads?
The Gigantasaurous is bigger than the T-Rex!
There was a huge screen playing a dinosaur movie showing how big they would have been next to us.  It looks like Aiden was going to get stepped on.
 Aiden likes hanging with the moving dinosaurs.  Ashton, not so much.  They were making too much noise!
 Each station had a stamp to get.  All filled up!  They are now certified Junior Paleontologists!
 Pretty neat seeing the size in comparison to their hands.
A claw and a tooth...
 A vertebrae.
 Looking for fossils.
 Taking a break from the extra dinosaur exhibit, we went down stairs where there is a lot of hands on activities for kids of all ages.  I remember some of these stations from when I was in elementary school and we took a field trip here!  They liked the wind tunnel.  They created a object with pipe cleaners and material and "flew it" up the tunnel.
 We stood in a mini tornado made with fog...
 and the air stream thingy...
 and something else to build...
 We then saw some more dinosaurs... the other favorite of the boys, the stegosaurus.
 Then back to hands on things...  we could have stayed busy the entire day! 
 Aiden proud of the tower her built.
 Then Ashton had to build one.
 Then Aiden had to make his "bigger". 
 The boys are quite competitive lately.  *Side story - Ashton has bigger feet than Aiden so one day Aiden said, "Mom, next time I'm born I can be born first so I have bigger feet?"  Ashton constantly reminds Aiden that he was born first and had bigger feet, so I told Aiden he can say he has darker skin.  So now we hear, I have bigger feet - No I have darker skin!"
 Pretty cool to go into a preserved tug boat!
 I had to sit back and enjoy the day.  I had to remind my self that we were there for the boys and I didn't have to rush them past certain things to "keep moving" or to see it all.  I was fine with what they wanted to see and where they wanted to spend their time.  I really had to be patient, when they wanted to sit and do puzzles that we could have done at home!
It was a great day.  Sad the exhibit is over at the end of August.  We would definitely go back again!
Random Picture.  We are needing some work done to redo most all of our cement work.  This means our back patio, our sidewalk, our garage apron, and front porch as well.  It has cracked and actually sunk, so we are most likely preparing for our porch to be jack hammered out and all cement replaced.  Grrrrrrr... so I took pictures of the front of the house to make sure it gets put back together just as we have it!  I hope they don't have to mess with the retention wall and I'm so glad I only did pots this year and didn't plant any bushes!

 Elle Marie turned 4!  We joined her at the water park for pizza and some swimming.  Then we walked over to Uncle Dave's baseball game.  I love how Elise is looking at the big kids to see what they are doing.
 Everyone show how old Elle is!  Even Elise is trying ;)
 Gramma played some baseball too!
 Elle had her party the Saturday following her birthday.  We had to patient boys watching her unwrap her gifts!
 She had one last gift to open from Us and Gramma and Grampa.
 What is it?!?!?!?
 A 4-Wheeler for the 4 Year Old!
 The boys stepped right in to help Daddy assemble it while we headed in for cake!
 Such a cute mermaid cake!
 Happy Birthday Elle Marie, now stop growing so big!
 Cake Time!
 The riders.  We brought our 4-wheelers for some riding after the party.
The new grass needs to get broken in sometime, right Uncle Dave?

 I could follow Elise around all day and take pictures of her expressions!
 We sort of took a minute to also celebrate Grampa's birthday too!  
Happy Belated Birthday Grampa!
 But then it was back to 4-wheeling.
 Elise took me into the back yard to show me the dirt...
 and probably a bug too!
 I think it's safe to say the Elle liked her present!
 Uncle Adam was teaching her a riding pose...  love it!
 On Sunday the boys were invited to another 4th birthday pary for their friend Remington.  He had a four wheeler theme!  They were loving riding on the gas powered ones!
 Another hit was the Pinata...
 They scored some goodies!
 So backing up really quick to the patient boys watching Elle open her presents... not so much with Remington.  I realized the difference between the two.  Until Elle opened her 4-wheeler there really wasn't anything she was opening that they were interested in (they would tell me that "It's girl stuff!"  At Remi's party when he was opening skidsteers, John Deere tractors, trucks, etc they weren't so patient.  It killed them to look at what he was opening and not want to rush in and play ;) 
In other news... a few randoms from my phone.  I can't imagine what day we did what because it feels like forever ago, but we also joined some friends at Irvine park one morning and played in the fountains.  We have met weekly with some of my co-workers and their kiddos.  It has been great getting to know more co-workers outside of school and watching our kids connect with each other!

We met Reese at the water park on afternoon.  We haven't been there as much this summer being busy with other things, so we are trying to get our money worth of the summer pass we have!  Bring on the heat of August!
We will end this post by saying WELCOME BACK SHRINER'S!  By the looks of it we stayed busy while our friends were on vacation, but we had some lonely nights outside without Finn and Molly to play with and Mike and Bethanne to have a beer and chat with!  We were excited for having them back from their Disney vacation... we decorated their driveway for a surprise when they got home.
I always say I won't get behind, but I always do.  I just need to enjoy the moment with the boys, set down my camera sometimes, and not stress about the blog.  We are definitely on a summer schedule.  Aiden has been not napping some days and they go to bed later.  I used to use the time between the boys going to bed and me going to bed to work on the blog and get other things done, but that just doesn't happen anymore.  We use every ounce of daylight playing outside, so when they boys go to bed, so do I!  I dread having to move back to our school schedule, how do you go to sleep when the sky is still awake?

Stay tuned for the County of Door 2014 post shortly!

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