The girls had a "late over" with our neighbors this weekend while Daddy took Gabriel putt-putt golfing. Everyone was really in to it, which made it so much easier on me. When they arrived, they had a screaming party for about 3 minutes. That was awesome.
Then I asked, "Who wants to paint their nails?", and they had another screaming party for another 3 minutes.
Ruby, Claire and Lilly
Lilly painted her nails most of the time she was here. Over and over again, all over her hands. It was awesome.
I know it's blurry, but I still think it's hilarious.
Then "Lady and the Tramp", and then they go home.
It was fantastic.
Saturday we were adventurous and tried to go hiking. We actually try to go hiking all the time, but we usually end up looking for a trail for an hour (in the car), and then going to the park or something that is not hiking.
We asked around town this time and discovered Horsetooth Mountain, west of Fort Collins. It was perfect because it wasn't too hard for the kids, but it wasn't too easy for the adults.
And at the end there was a little waterfall and pond of water to cool off our feet. The kids loved it! I gave Ruby a piggy back ride back home and she fell asleep on my back. So it was easy going up hill because I was slanted already. Downhill was difficult because I still had to slant forward.
We hike now.
Last week, the last week of summer, we finally went to the pool. It's been a cold summer. There's a pool here that does Family Friday evenings, where the whole family gets in for $10 after 4 pm. Well, every Friday at 4, the clouds roll in and it becomes 75 degrees. Not ideal for swimming.
Also, I'm not allowed to go swimming by myself and 3 kids. Bad things happen. So luckily, we had our Tia Jessica here with us so we could go during the day while David was at work. This was the first year that Gabriel was tall enough to go down the slide alone. He's getting so big (sniff, sniff).
The last Saturday of the summer we decided to take a day trip to Estes Park, CO. It's a little mountain town with lots of outdoorsy activities.
My little Ruby always finds a dog to adopt. She hugged and loved that one to its limit.
Me and Claire
Daddy and Ruby
We found a lake with a trail all the way around it that was stroller friendly. I love this picture because Gabriel is the master photo bomber and Claire finally gave some back. He's totally posing for what is supposed to be an important picture for him.
We made it all the way around the lake! Note the adult to child ratio is equal. Very nice.
Then the first day of school finally happened! David and I walked him to school (he rode his scooter), and as we were leaving the house, Gabriel shouted, "First day of school, here I come!".
Claire is in afternoon Kindergarten, so I took her later. Her class was all lined up and ready to go in when one girl went crazy, crying and screaming for mommy, quite insanely. The look on the other kids' faces was that of horror. Luckily, Claire watched Gabriel go every day last year and he lived. As she walked in to the school, I realized she was the smallest one and I had a good cry. I've anticipated that moment forever because she's always been so anxious to learn and participate in life. I never thought she would be scared or in anyway the under dog. But I should have known better. She's very cautious and shy. And after I picked her up she had a melt down, saying that school is scary and "I'm too shy!".
I tried to be a fun mom and let the kids make smores for the first day of school with our neighbors. The fire was by far the best part. For the boys. Claire just walked around the fire asking every minute if she could pour water on it.
First day of school!
Here is a 10 peso version of July. A few moms and I got together with our kids at the creek and ate lunch and fished for mud bugs. They found a ton and they were so discusting but it occupied the boys for hours and they loved every minute of it, so... SUCCESS! The girls did their own thing, adorably. All I had was my phone camera because I didn't want to take my real camera to the creek.
We took a trip to Utah to see my niece, Bridget, get baptized. It was so wonderful! I'll skip the pictures because they're already on Nicole's blog.
But, with Utah comes In 'n Out Burgers. I love that place. They give the kids stickers and hats while you wait. The kids had to rotate the one hat.
Modeling with serious enthusiasm.
Claire informed me that we had to leave the "crown" there.
Off to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Pocatello! The girls immediately found the Mandy dolls and all their clothes. They had to sleep with their dollies because Grandma had made them sleeping bags, which means sleep overs. Here they are sharing lunch with their new friends.
And my mom got them to watch "Summer Magic", which I've been trying to get them to do for a while with no luck. So, thanks, Mom!
When it came time to pick raspberries and tomatoes, I informed Gabriel that these plants had food in them. He couldn't believe it and was so amazed. In my defense, I never told him that food appeared magically, either.
My girls pick flowers wherever we go. so when they were told that they had permission to pick tomatoes and raspberries, they were on it!
Can't go to Pocatello without going to Jungle ReTreat! I love Grandma's hair in this one!
This one of her hair is better. On the way home!
Thanks for a great visit!
When we got home, David's parents were already there, waiting for us with dinner ready and the house clean. It's like having servants. Just kidding! They're way better than servants. Only this grandma would obey Ruby's command to put her feet into the water like this.
Summer means finding new creeks!
It also means Colorado Rockies games! We picked the perfect night to go to Denver for a baseball game. The weather was great and they won the game! Best night ever!
My little girl is 3 years old! She's such a joy to our family and it's hard for me to remember us without her.
Ruby has always been a petite little delicate person. She loves animals and her brother and sister. When they were at school, she would ask me the whole time where they were.
When she sees dogs at the park, she always asks me "Can I pet she dog?" (as in, can I pet her dog?). Then she affectionately strokes the dog while the dog licks her face. And she loves it. To each her own, I guess.
I think she's been talking since she was born. People are always surprised to see such a little person speaking so well. My favorite is her enthusiasm at the prospect of playing with someone. She'll say, "I want to be she friend!". That means she wants to play with them. Also, everyone is still a "she" to her. My other favorite is when the sprinklers come on and she says, "Oh, Mommy! The sprinkles are on! I need my swim suit!".
I love this girl! All 24 pounds of her.
I love this girl! All 24 pounds of her.
Our little Claire turned 5 last week! I honestly can't believe she's only now 5. It seems like she's been 5 for 2 years already. All of her friends have been 5 for a while now, so in my mind, she's been 5, too.
Claire was born with a lot of cheek. Luckily she's grown in to them. I'm not going to lie; she was not the cutest baby. But that's ok, because after just a few months she turned in to the most beautiful person I've ever seen.
Though quite crusty and icy on the outside, she's very soft in the middle. She's an anxious child who holds in her emotions in public and then dumps them all on me when we're home. I'm glad I can be there for her, but it's been hard to know what to do with it all. This one won't go to sleep unless she's touching me. It's my moment to remember that she's a sweet child, so I stay with her.
She's working hard every day on her violin Twinkles!
And she loves to dance. She makes Ruby put on shows with her all the time.
She's also an excellent chip bag opener. Yes, I'm putting it on the list of talents. Gabriel and Ruby automatically hand her their bags and ask her to open them because they like it when she makes it explode from squeezing it. She's a good sister.
Favorite Claire memory: Her first night in a big bed. We had bought bunk beds for her and Gabriel and we threw them together. I left the monitor in the room and closed the door. She was only 2 and had never been able to get out of bed before and had never had anyone to talk to at night. She would not stop talking to Gabriel. I kept hearing her say, "Dabble! Dabble!" (her version of "Gabriel"), and poor Gabriel eventually out of his mind with frustration, finally crying to make her stop talking. After a few hours I put her back in her crib. The next night, we tried it again, and Gabriel said, "Oh, no! Not this again! Get her out of here!". I think that's another reason I stay with her until she falls asleep: so she can't talk all night.
Last week we got to go to Disneyland. David had to drive out there for work to pick up another car, so we had to drive. It was a long 2 day drive. We will never do that again. The kids had no idea what Disneyland is because they've never been to any kind of theme park. We stopped for lunch and they looked in the window of a near by office building and asked if Disneyland was in there. Judging from their low expectations, we thought their minds would totally be blown away when we actually did arrive at Disneyland.
We were right about them being blown away. They didn't seem to be too impressed and had no desire to walk for miles all day. David waited in line for one ride for over an hour with the older kids. Ruby was too short, so she and I explored while we waited for them. It was beautiful weather, but it was a little bit humid, so the sweatiness began early.
It was weird and awesome to be alone in a fun place with my Ruby. We rode the carousal
and another kiddie ride in the Bug's Life area.
We discovered that our kids do not like roller coasters on the first day. They're more into carousals, so we rode that many times. Luckily there was never any line for it. The second day we scouted out all the shows throughout the park and made sure we were there with good seats. We still walked a ton, but it was great to have a break to sit down and watch a great show. They were all very impressive.
When we first walked into the park, we came across a girl wearing the exact dress that Claire was wearing. She later told us that that was her favorite part of Disneyland. Apparently making dreams come true is more simple than we thought.
The line to meet Frozen princesses was hours long, so we didn't even tell the girls that Elsa was there. They were very happy to meet the others. I loved how all the princesses were in character and gave my girls hugs and talked to them for a minute. They were all so sweet. Ruby reminded me for several days after this about the time they met Mulan.
The last stop of the day was Toon Town. It probably should have been the first.
They seemed to have the most fun there.
I think we were lucky. There were no mental breakdowns, no one got lost, and we all lived through it. A successful trip! I had 2 awful blisters on my foot by the end of the 2 days and Gabriel was pretty much begging us to not take him back to Disneyland tomorrow, but I think it was a great trip.
Before we went home, we stopped by the Los Angeles Temple. This is where David and I were married 10 years ago. We hadn't been there for about 6 years. I cried as we pulled in to the parking lot, just remembering that special day and feeling such gratitude for all who made the sacrifice to be there. Then seeing my children there was sweet. I'm grateful for my eternal family.