Sunday, August 16, 2015

Back to Soccer

Fall soccer has begun. Xander enjoys the fall season more than spring. It's a little longer, and more importantly, it's held outside. The indoor environment can be difficult at times, with the noise levels and the heat levels. Outside, even in the heat, he does really well.

The first half of practice is drills, which is more difficult for him. He doesn't always like to pay attention or wait his turn, but with the help of a buddy, he manages. But the second half of practice, the scrimmage, is where he excels.

Here he is blocking a player from taking his ball away ...


And here he is running down to score his first of four goals on the day ...


Our athlete. He's so competitive and loves scoring goals. He gets incredibly frustrated when he misses or when the ball is taken away. But when he gets a breakaway from the group and runs down the field to score, he's the happiest little boy in the world.

Photo credits to Connor. He wasn't happy to be at his brother's soccer game (never mind the HUNDREDS of baseball games his brothers have attended for him), but he was happy after I handed over my Nikon.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Family Vacations

Family vacations. We've not done a lot of those over the years, certainly not without some extra help from the grandparents. It's hard to find things that all three boys will enjoy and will be able to do at the same time, without that added supervision.

This year was no exception. We re-visited a past trip, taking the boys to a nearby amusement park for a few days. And we invited Grammy and Pappy along to help us out with the boys. Aunt Kelly even drove up to join us later.

For this trip, we opted to spend the night. We even found a cute little private lake and cabin complex where we could spend our first day swimming, fishing and grilling out dinner. Of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans ... shortly after we pulled in the skies turned dark. Lots of wind and lightning. The outdoor swimming pool was closed. We managed to unpack before the rains arrived.


We also managed about 30 minutes of fishing before the clouds really rolled in ...


Connor and Xander both enjoyed fishing off the dam. Sawyer was less impressed. Though he did enjoy throwing in some of the complimentary fish food that our hosts provided when we check in. He loved watching the fish swim up toward the food then scatter away again!


We also attempted to grill, which was made challenging by the storms. We eventually had our steak dinner, but Daddy had to stand over the grill with an umbrella to finish the steaks in the rain!

We ended our night with a little night fishing (again Connor and Xander enjoyed, and Sawyer was unimpressed). And then Grammy brought S'mores for the grill. There was a fire pit across the creek we were going to use, but the earlier rain had made the area incredibly muddy and we ended up using the grill on the back patio instead. Connor liked cooking and eating his S'mores. Xander just enjoyed lighting the marshmallows on fire and watching them burn. Over and over again.


Our second day was the day to visit the amusement park. Aunt Kelly drove up and met us that morning, and we all made our way inside. Loved this moment Daddy caught on his cell phone, Connor and Xander holding hands as we made our way to the first roller coaster of the day.


And the rains showed up again. Xander was very unhappy about the rain. He "borrowed" Daddy's sun hat and put it over his head, then when that started to get to wet, he moved under the overhang at the food vendor.


And here's Mommy and Sawyer watching the roller coaster go above us in the rain. Sawyer was so cute. We weren't sure if he liked the roller coasters or not, at first. After we got off the first time, we sat down here under the umbrellas to wait out the rain. Each time it went by, he pointed up and then signed "more" to us. Pretty sure he liked the roller coasters, after all.


The Pepsi crew trying to stay dry under another umbrella ... Aunt Kelly, Grammy, Pappy and Connor.


Mommy and Xander waiting in line for another turn on the really fast, upside down roller coaster that all the boys loved!


Sad face. It took us a while to figure this out. Immediately after the rides were over, the boys were both in tears. At first, we thought they might not have liked the rides (too noise, to bumpy, to fast). And then we realized, no, they were just unhappy that the ride was over and they had to get out to wait in line again.


Grammy and Pappy tried to make the boys happy again after finishing a ride.


Going round and round on a little ride that would make most people dizzy. Our boys loved it. Grammy and Sawyer first ...


Then Mommy, Xander and Connor next. The motion sickness people of the group, Daddy, Aunt Kelly and Pappy, sat this one out.


We rode a few more roller coasters. And we visited some of the bigger water park rides, including tube slides for two and four people, then we made our way to the boys' favorite two places ... the buckets and the wave pool. We didn't take as many pictures this year, as we wanted to just enjoy the time with the boys without worrying about getting our camera wet. Here are a few from the wave pool ...

Sawyer and Xander letting the waves crash on the "beach" at the wave pool ...


Happiness is waves crashing, Sawyer says.


Happiness is laying in the waves, Xander says.


I would say that poor Connor didn't get as many pictures as his brothers. But the truth is, he was off with other people riding lots of the water park rides. I think he'd rather have the rides than the pictures.

We also enjoyed pizza, french fries and chicken fingers as a late afternoon lunch in between all of the water park events. All of the boys actually ate the park food, which was an impressive thing in and of itself.

It was a long, fun day. The boys managed the wait times incredibly well. We were fortunate that the early rain showers actually thinned the crowds, so wait times were pretty minimal even on the larger roller coasters. We also are thankful to a thoughtful park employee who noticed the boys struggling with the crowds at one point, who not only told us about the park's disability pass, but took it upon herself to call guest services to have the passes created and waiting for us at our next ride so that we could simply pick them up.

Despite the rain, it was a fun trip. The boys really seemed to enjoy it, and we love having a place that we can take all the boys and know that all of them will have a good time.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Bruno

Another month ... another update on the puppy ...

Bruno in his play stance ...


Just hanging out with a little chew toy, also known as a piece of firewood ...


Jumping up to catch the tennis ball that Mommy keeps throwing ...


Success ... he has the tennis ball and his favorite chew toy under his favorite shade tree.


One happy and tired puppy ...


Bruno is now just a little over a year old and weighs about 105 pounds. Mommy's big, sweet boy.

Summer Time

... and the living is easy. One last trip to the lake before school starts again for the year. The boys and I headed down to visit Grandma and Grandpa at their cabin on the lake for a few days. We avoided the heat of the day and took a late evening trip onto the water. Those are the best days ...

Three boys swimming off the back of the boat ...


Xander saying "cheese" for the camera ...


Sawyer not saying "cheese" for the camera ...


Connor's head and feet above the water in the fading light of the day (he's wearing a ski-belt instead of a life jacket, so his body is lower in the water than usual) ...


Sawyer finding his brave and jumping off the top step of the ladder ...


Watching the approaching sunset ...


There's nothing better than late evening on the water, especially as summer turns into fall.