Thursday, June 30, 2011


I never did my nostalgic "I can't believe he's five" post for Garrett's birthday. I CAN'T believe he's five, but as previously mentioned, we've been too busy doing stuff to really sit back and reminisce. But for some reason, the birthdays of friends always make me more weepy than the birthdays of my own kids. Today is Garrett's best bud Xander's birthday. Its pretty awesome that these two boys have been friends since they were six months old. At first, it was the mommy friendship more than the boys, but now, its all of us.

This past year, the Shumans and the Compton families have boated, bar-b-qued, attended school events, and just generally hung out more than we have any year in the past. And that's saying something, since most of our major holidays have been spent with our "Florida family"

We have had a LOT of great friends come and go in the past few years. We've been so blessed to have such excellent friends. I grew up as an only child, so I love that not only will Garrett have his sister to play with, he also has his wonderful neighborhood friends to call on. Its pretty awesome to say you've been friends with someone your whole life.

And Jess and I were talking that even if they have their little falling outs as life goes on, they will have to make up because even if they don't want to hang out with each other, the families still will.
They've had so many "firsts" together in the past five years . . .
And goodness knows there will be plenty more.
Part of the reason I've been putting of the "five" post is because I haven't been too sure what to say. Garrett is amazing, he's reading and busy and incredibly adventurous. He can be mean to his sister, then incredibly sweet to her in the next breath. He loves his dogs. He loves to play. He's always busy. Its hard to summarize all the changes and amazing things in a few paragraphs. But if I ask him what he wants to do on any given day, his first responses is almost ALWAYS "Can Xander come play?" He declares to me on a daily basis "Xander and I are best friends!" He even asked if he could take Xander with him on the much anticipated trip to Grandma's house in a few weeks. So, I can't believe they are BOTH five. I'm really looking forward to watching them share the next five years of this wild, crazy ride together.

And, since I haven't given you any new pictures in this post, just a recap of the old ones, enjoy this one of Garrett going off the diving board at Xander's 5th birthday party!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How we've spent our summer vacation (SO FAR)

I can't believe there are only 58 days left before Garrett starts Kindergarten. So far, this has been the BEST summer we've ever had. I know that it comes from the fact that this is our first summer since Garrett started school, and that I've been completely focused on being in the moment with the kids as much as possible. Garrett and I take turns calling the shots for the day--he'll pick something fun and when that's done, I'll pick something structured.

We've been reading a lot. We just finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and began The Goblet of Fire. In addition, Garrett is working on reading his Bob books and a few very simple Level 1 readers on his own. Everything he reads on his own gets a link for his reading chain.

We're participating in the summer reading program at the library AND Garrett has his reading list for kindergarten, so we also started a reading journal for the books we read together. These are helping him get in handwriting practice, which he really isn't too keen on doing.

We're playing a LOT of games. Uno is by far our favorite. We had a party favor uno laying around with tiny little uno cards and its his favorite thing.

We swim on a daily basis. Thanks to Grandma Sherry, Garrett is signed up for private lessons. The kid is a fish, and we decided we'd see how much he could learn in the way of swimming stokes. He also couldn't really float, because he just can't be still for that long. He can now though. We both love his teacher.

We had decided not to sign Summer up for swimming lessons because she has been a little bit of a scaredy cat in terms of being on her own in the water. But yesterday at the Y she finally discovered she can swim on her own holding on to a noodle and now she loves swimming all over the pool. We'll probably sign her up for some group lessons at the Y once she turns 3, for both social interaction and to get her used to swimming without me. She loves the water.

We do lots of fun things in the back yard. For some reason the kids think hitting the bouganvilla with sticks is one of the most entertaining things ever.

Garrett has taken to climbing the huge oak tree in our back yard. He also likes to "look for dinosaur fossils" in the lake.

And of course we occassionally play in the front too. Summer likes to take Minnie and Mickey for walks in her stroller.
And we've been going to the park occassionally, although it is hot. They BOTH decided to be monkeys at Audubon the other day.

We've been building things with our legos. Here's an awesome boat he got from Ms. Leanne for his birthday.
We've played with our friends a lot. We've had friends over to swim, we've picked up the Shumans early from school to come over to play, we've gone to the zoo with the Davis clan.

Xander's birthday is coming up (in fact his party is today), so Garrett and I have spent some one-on-one time for that--he and I went shopping together for his gifts (which Garrett picked out). I HATE buying gift bags and/or wrapping paper, I think it is the most wasteful thing on the planet, so Garrett and I crafted this cute gift bag out of an up-cycled T-mobile bag. He had a blast putting the presents in once we were done.

And of course we had to make the card too.

We've gone to the free movies at flagship. We go for bike rides, usually to the pool or to the grocery store. We spend a lot of time at the library. We've done science experiments, learned about the phases of the moon, and talked about the diet of almost every animal imaginable. We've enjoyed having no real place to be at any set time. Most of all, we've just enjoyed each others company. It has truly been an excellent summer.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Catch-up : The end of school and the end of Grandma's visit

Garrett finished his first year of school on June 9th. June has been/continues to be a total blur. The first 2 weeks of June were insane--Grandma left, work was absolutely out of control, and I had extra kids several days to help out our neighbors. INSANITY. Complete, UTTER insanity. Which is why I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.

We remembered to get a picture of Grandma with Brad and the kids while she was here:
Garrett was SO proud of himself on his last day of school. He told me "I'm ready to start Kindergarten TOMORROW". He loved loved LOVED the bear the school gave him.
And I will forever be greatful to his amazing teacher for giving him such a wonderful first year of school, which has set the tone for the rest of his education.

Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives. ~Andy Rooney

Kindergarten starts on 8/22, which is only **59** days away. I can't believe how fast summer is flying by. We're really happy with Garrett's intended school, and its finally a sure thing that Xander will be going there as well. X is actually going to come stay with us every day after school--which will make our neighbor's life easier since they won't have to make to seperate stops to pick up their kids from different schools, and will make MY life easier because all Garrett ever wants to do is have Xander over to play anyway. We're loving summer but I know its going to be over before we know it.

Next up: how we're spending our summer (so far)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Flight

Sorry updates have been few and far between. All I can say is that we've REALLY been enjoying our summer. I haven't even managed to do the "I can't believe he's 5" post I had planned in my head. I really can NOT believe he is 5, but as a function of trying to be in the moment with the kids, there really hasn't been that much time to dwell on it, and certainly no time at all to blog about it.

A few weeks ago, we had a REALLY awesome opportunity thanks to our neighbors, Julie and John. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times--we are BEYOND blessed when it comes to our extended family down here. John is a commercial pilot and we were surprised by a call from Julie a few Sundays ago -- John was at the airport getting checked out in a Cessna 172 and did we maybe want to come out to the airfield for a flight. We regularly go to the airport for picnic lunches just because all three of my favorite people are absolute airplane nuts. So I knew everyone was going to be beyond ecstatic! Brad loves flying, but hasn't been able to in just about forever.

All the kids enjoying the airfield:

Summer being a nut:

Luke, the cutest baby ever:

Garrett and Brady enjoying the Stomp Rocket X and Logan brought:

Summer getting smooches from Ms. Jess:

Getting ready to fly with Mr. John:

Seriously the cutest pilot ever (John let him fly the airplane most of the time we were in the air):

View of the airport from the plane:

Garrett loved the whole thing. Brad OF COURSE was in heaven. As for me, this was my first time in a small plane too, and I am SUCH a lightweight. It made me sick. I freaking always get sick. I've always loved being on the water and even THAT makes me sick. Even considering the nausea, we can't say thank you enough to Julie and John for such an awesome opportunity.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Monday Mayhem - Garrett's Birthday Weekend

Garrett had a busy weekend for his 5th birthday last weekend. In addition to Friday being his graduation from Pre-K, we also did cupcakes with his class. He was very specific about what he wanted--Transformer chocolate cupcakes with ice cream. Ummm, sure. I had no idea how to fill that order. But then I found a recipe for ice cream cupcakes online. They were actually super easy and turned out extra yummy!! I ordered cupcake rings and Transformers cupcake liners from Amazon and ta da, Transformers chocolate ice cream cupcakes. These cupcakes will definitely be on our list of sweet treats for the summer!

I love these kids and am going to miss them all next year.
Digging in.
Summer really wishes she were old enough for Ms. Denise's class.
Saturday was Garrett's actual birthday. We didn't plan anything big this year because Garrett asked for a trip to Disney and got it at the end of March. We gave him a stamp set and paints for his birthday, which he spent the morning playing with.

Of course Summer had to get a few new paint things too. She loves art in all forms!

Then it was time to open Grandma's goodies.

He'd been wanting Lego Hero Factory guys for a while, so this was super exciting. Lego Jr. Magazine = excellent marketing strategy for the lego folks!
At this point I got lazy about taking pictures. Garrett, Daddy and Grandma went to see Pirates while I stayed home to craft the cake. Chocolate truffle torte cake-yum!
Almost finished
Next we went to the dive shop to pick Garrett out some snorkel gear--his present from Grandma Becky!

In the evening we had a bbq with our "Florida family," the Esters, Shumans, and Largents. All the littles: Grace, Summer, Brady, Xander, Logan and G
So proud of this cake!
G and Grandma (and the cake!)
He loved the characters from the top of the cake
Awesome ear protection from the Largent clan. Perfect for Monster Jam, the track and more :-)

Best buds-Xander, G and Brady
And the day ended with fire works and GIANT sparklers, courtesy of Jess's dad.

More fun to come--I still have to write about Memorial day and the last day of Grandma's visit!