Saturday, August 31, 2013

Another River Day

A few weeks before school started we took the kids up to the river with the other Jacobs family.  Here are a few pictures of our adventures in nature.

Please enjoy.

Jim saw this little fish thing swimming around and had no idea what it was, so we took a picture.  Anyone know?  It had a sharp ridged back.

Hunty playing in the sand


As usual, Jim caught a lizard.  The kids had fun with it.  Maybe too much fun.  It bit Jovie's lip.  Silly lizard lips!

Messy faced Hunty

Crossing over

Our little spot of paradise

Anson in the water

Jovie dancing

Tralee showing off the minnows she caught in the water bottle.  She named them  Jinx and Gus.  They were belly-up by day two.  RIP Jinx.  RIP Gus.

Hunter exploring.  He also found a stick that he made into a sling-shot.  Pretty cool.

Jim's new game involved diving to the bottom of the river, and finding a huge rock to swim to the surface.  He was the only one playing this fun new game.  

That's all!  Best to everyone.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The First Day

The first day of school arrived yesterday.  Tralee was excited and ready to take on another school year.  I was happy she had a positive outlook.

Walking to Meet the Teacher

Tralee's new classroom

We started a back-to-school tradition in our home.  The night before school starts, we take the kids to Meet the Teacher night at school, then go out to dinner.  We took them to a Japanese Hibachi restaurant Monday night.  The whole experience was hilarious.  The first time the chef lit the grill on fire Hunter put his hands on either side of his face like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone and his eyes got really wide.  After two rounds of "Japanese fireworks" Hunter told the chef, "Okay, that's enough fire."  Tralee on the other hand wished for "More fire!  More fire!"

So excited at the restaurant!

Our chef was really fun!

After dinner, we came home and I gave my kiddies their gifts.  The next part of our back-to-school tradition involves me picking out the perfect book for my kid-os, and writing an inscription (more like a mother's love letter) wishing them a wonderful school year.  I wrap up the books, and once they're opened, we save the story and letter for their bedtime.

This year's books were:

For Tralee:

 For Hunter:

As soon as I flipped through each of these books, they totally reminded me of my children, and I knew these books were "the ones."  The idea behind the book tradition is, when they graduate from high school they'll have a nice collection of books and love letters for them to take with them throughout the remainder of their adult lives.  Each letter is filled with advice and reminders that their mom and dad will love them always.   The letter also included things that pertain to them as individuals in that stage of their life.  So, in a way, it's a nice memory for them as well.  Also, as an English major, I think a book is a pretty awesome gift.  Hopefully my children will feel the same!  I hope they get excited to see which book I'll pick out for them each year, and see what advice awaits within the front cover. 

After opening their books, Jim gave each of the children a father's blessing, and then we got ready for bed.  Tralee dressed in her pajamas, and laid out her first-day outfit.  Hunter won't start pre-school until next week, so he happily watched as Tralee readied herself.  At bedtime we said family prayers, and then Jim and I read the children their letters and books.  After the lights were out, it didn't take long for the wee ones to drift into slumberland.

The next morning, the kids were up before the alarm even went off.  We ate a healthy breakfast, took some pictures, and before long it was time to walk to school.  Tralee couldn't wait!

Before walking to school

Tralee decorated this "First Grade" page and gave it to her teacher.

Walking to school

Hunter and I dropped Tralee off, and then had the whole day together.  It was pretty quiet around here, but nice to spend some time with my little man.  I don't know what I'll do with myself on the three days a week where Hunter is in pre-school.  It's been six years of having kids around me 24/7.  All of a sudden I'll have no one to look after and play with for a few hours a day.  Part of me is excited about this new chapter, and the other part of me worries I will feel a bit lost.  I'm sure I'll find my way.  

Tralee, right before heading into her classroom

Tralee walked right in, found her place, and didn't look back!

Right after we dropped Tralee off,  Hunter and I snuggled while he ate his waffle,  and planned out how to spend our first day as just the two of us.
Hunter and I took Corky on a nice long walk, then visited a near-by park.  While on our walk, Hunter found some chalk, and then wrote his whole name for the FIRST TIME EVER!  SOOO exciting!  I helped by telling him what letter came next, but he did all the letters himself.  Usually he stops after the "U."  This time, he did his whole name, and even asked how to write an "E" and "R."  I was very proud of him.  He acted like it was no big thang!
Hunter after writing his name


So. . . I hope this year is filled with many happy adventures for my babes and myself.  I know it will be a great year for all of us!   

Friday, August 23, 2013

Recent Happenings

Hi there.  School starts in a few days.  I'm gearing myself up for it.  I'll be sending Tralee off for full days now, and it breaks her mamma's heart a bit.  She keeps getting bigger, smarter, stronger, and more independent.  She challenges me daily, and I her.  I need to remember how quickly her first six years have gone, and make more time to enjoy special moments together.

Hunter will be in pre-school this year.  This is the first time I'm sending a kid to a pre-school instead of homeschooling or doing a co-op.  I feel confident in my decision.  He will benefit from a more structured curriculum for two hours at a time a few days a week.  Hunter is also in a little boys' playgroup once a week.  There are eight boys total, all three and four-year-olds.  Hunter's excited for his playgroup and pre-school to start.  I'm excited for the rest of the time when I get him all to myself.  

My kids are getting older.  Meanwhile, my sentimental heart breaks with this realization.  My babies aren't really babies anymore.  I know that's the way of it, and I'm proud of their every accomplishment, but, heaven help me, let them infinitely know my arms are always willing to embrace them, my lips eager to smooch their cheeks, and my mouth happy to give them words of encouragement and advice.

Realizing school is right around the corner, we've had some fun these last weeks of summer.

We ventured into nature and played by the river with some friends. 

We walked our family dog, as well as Tralee's new "dog."  She was super excited about this.

We visited some parks. . . 

We rode bikes

We played outside everyday.  Some of us played outside in our boots and briefs.  Others of us snapped pictures and whispered a prayer that these childhood days will slow down a bit, because moments like this are too much fun to be over so quickly.

We went to church when we were home.  This meant we actually did our hair!  I swear, moments where my hair is done and make-up is on must be documented. . . they're few and far between.

Jim and I took the kids to the fair a few days ago.  Tralee dressed herself for the fair, dumped all her piggy-bank money in her backpack, and was all sorts of excited to get her fair on.  

Hunter on the carousel 

While at the fair, Tralee wanted to go on a ride that looked wonderful and fun to a six-year-old, and horrific to a 31-year-old mother of two.  This was really the ONLY ride Tralee was interested on going on, she even skipped the carousel so she could save her tickets for the spinning ride.  So. . . I bit the bullet and rode with my girl.  I will say, the ride WAS wonderful and fun. . . for about 30 seconds. After about a minute I was done.  Then one minute turned into two. . . and I swear about three hours later the ride finally stopped.  I thought maybe the man in charge of starting and stopping the ride must have died, and the reason it lasted so long was the fair people had to find his replacement.  When the ride finally slowed down, I waited for the world to stop spinning as well before I could get up.  Tralee, on the other hand, was ready to ride it again.  Unfortunately for her, her parents aren't the spring chickens we once were, and once was my limit.  Jim couldn't even watch us ride without getting sick, so zero was his limit.  Tralee realized her wish to ride the spinning ride multiple times wasn't going to happen, so we moved on to playing some games. 

Before the ride started. . . she was so excited!

We also pet some animals at the zoo, that's always fun. . . even when goats try to eat your clothes.

Our last bit of summer news is this:  For the last few weeks we've been watching a swallow's nest by our front door.  There were four eggs we've been keeping our eye on, and finally one day when we checked on the eggs, we discovered four baby birds!  ADORABLE!!  We have yet to think of names for them, but their parent's names are Pepper and Hank.  Pepper and Hank have been very protective and kind parents.  I'm sure their little nest-full will fly free and far when the time is right. . . just like my birdies during this next school year.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

More Reception Photos. . .

I stole some more reception photos from Jim's sister Cammi's Facebook page.  

Enjoy. . . 

Jim and John showing Joni some of their more refined dance moves

It's like Night at the Roxbury. . . only with two brothers and their little sister which makes it extra weird.

Jim and his sisters from another mista - Nikkers and Tranny (P.S. all three of these individuals have the power to make me laugh until my tummy aches)

Towards the end of the reception, most of the Jacobs crew put on our dancin' shoes and strutted our stuff.  We danced to some classics from The Backstreet Boys, Michael Jackson, and then busted out our best moves to Carly Rae Jepson's Call Me Maybe.  Guys, I loved it a lot.  Like, I think our family should just host various dance parties throughout the year for no reason except to get together and shake our tail feathers.

Cassi, me, Nikki, Tranny, Joni, Cammi, and Shannon (my new BFF)  We're super stellear dancing ninja princess superstars -- each one of us.  Booyah!

I love my MIL's face here.  Nice moves Judy!

Can you tell we're dancing to Call Me Maybe?  

John showing us what his momma gave him. . . and we all liked it!

I think that just about does it for the wedding festivities!  Like I meantioned early, it was a brilliant weekend.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Before the Wedding

Joni and Aaron's wedding weekend was a blast!  Mostly everyone in our family stayed at the same hotel, and several of us were even on the same floor so we could pop in and say, "Hey what's up?" whenever we felt like it. . . or you know, pop in and have a pillow fight as Jim and Channing are demonstrating below:

A few days before the nuptials, a group of us trekked to Park City to do some shopping and Alpine Sliding.  We all had too much fun until. . . 

. . . WE GOT RAINED ON!!!  All was groovy until those pesky clouds rolled in, and canceled the rest of our day o' fun.  Luckily, we managed to make it down the slides twice before the rain hit.  However, our zip-line adventures were put on hold until another day.  Ah poop!
Getting rained out

The other not-so-great thing the rain caused was a huge accident on the road back to E-town that shut down the freeway.  Yikes!!  We had to make it back for Bones' wedding shower, so it took some figuring out, but we took a round-about way back to Evanston, and made it JUST in time to take this lovely photo of myself and the bride at her shower. . . 

. . .and this one of my beautiful nieces Tandra and Cassi with their crazy Aunt Leslie

We even managed a group shot of the ladies on the Jacobs' side of the family at Joni's shower.  Some of my favorite ladies in the world are in the picture below

 That's why I'm so happy in this next picture.  I'm all, like, "I'm SOOOO happy!!  I'm surrounded by some of my favorite women!  YIPPEE!!  Also, Joni's getting hitched!  Double YIPPEE!!"

The day before the wedding, Cassi Jacobs and I took our kids to Walmart to get some stuff to keep them occupied in the hotel rooms, as well as some nail polish to paint our nails with for The Big Day.  The boys were busy golfing.  Also on this day, some creepy old guy in Walmart came up to Brynli in the cart and told her he was going to steal her.  It wasn't even in a sweet you're-so-cute-I'm-gonna-steal-you way.  It was more of a I'm-a-creepy-old-dude-who-likes-to-scare-little-girls-till-they-cry way.  Weird!  Luckily, Brynli had Aunt Leslie there to. . . stare awkwardly at the dude in disbelief until he walked away.   Lexi (Brynli's big sister), on the other hand, wanted to be much more productive and tell the man to back the heck away from her sister and stop being a creepster.  I mean, who would want that when you could have me just standing there instead?  I'll let you decide. 

After our Walmart adventures, the kids piled into this little car--clown style--and went for a .50 cent ride.  

Later in the day, we met up with Tricia and Jeff for a picnic at the nature park.  The kids explored, threw rocks in the water, and we had a nice time hangin' with the fam!


After our picnic it was time to head to The Machine shop to help decorate and rehearse for The Big Day.  Everything went pretty smoothly.

Our time before the wedding was fun-filled and memorable.  I would definitely do it again, minus the old creepy man.