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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gram & Gramp Camp

Last weekend the kids and I made our way 3 hours Up North to trailer-camp with Grandma & Grandpa for a few days.  This is my kind of Camping!  The small kids & I shared a very nice trailer that you could easily live in (my mom & John do when they volunteer over the winters!) while Jenna stayed in the cottage with Grandma & Grandpa.

The first night the kids were beyond tired and acted hysterical until they passed out by 11 (and so did I), but the rest of the time was great!  I love how they are getting older and can do more things than they did last year.  My favorite is they all can bypass naps now and still do decently but then sleep like rock stars (actually, the boys rarely nap now.  If they do, they are having a party past 10 in their room that always includes at least one stripping despite crazy-taping diapers and stern warnings to keep clothes & diapers on).   But I digress.
Fun times at the beach!  The weather was warm (70's) but a little windy and the water was cold, but the kids didn't mind.  Actually, it was perfect because there were barely any other people at the beach & playground (easier to keep an eye on my kiddos when they are the only ones playing!)

Tanner on the playground by the beach, and the other picture is from our house before we left- I just love how the kids play with grandpa!  

Do you see those random towels on the sand?  My sleepy, tired, and cold children are under them.
BUT- everyone slept like a champ that night so it was a win in my book!

Grandma giving everyone bedtime snuggles.  It's so funny how the kids want nothing to do with me at bedtime, and everything to do with her!!!
Sleeping like angels.  
Ahhhh, I LOVE it when my kids sleep hard like this.  
It is a sigh of relief to me, and it also afforded me to spend good quality time with Jenna at dusk!

Jenna fished with grandpa and Mr. Nels, a neighbor.  She had so much fun and good success!

We went to the beach and played a lot and had breakfast, lunch & dinner with grandma and grandpa.  Now, how could it get any better than that?

Tyler LOVES his pancakes!  He literally can eat more than I can.  Don't let that 26# body fool you ;)
Hannah is quite a big fan of the pancakes, too.  Heck, we all are!

Lauren petting Buddy gently
 Spending some great quality time with Jenna one night-- eating s'mores around a campfire!

Ahhhhhh,  Pure Michigan!



Monday, June 15, 2015

Suddenly Summer

The month of May gave me whiplash this year, and suddenly we are near the middle of June.  SUMMER VACATION is HERE!!!

Here were some fun end-of-the-year highlights from school:  Jenna's school carnival, (with our neighbor and friend Lanie), and the Spring Sing Concert.
These girls were so excited to play games and go on the bounce houses
I promise you Jenna, on the right, is wearing shorts under that dress.
Lanie (on the left) is sporting great slide form!
The carnival was so much fun!

The best picture I could get.  All the first and second grade students did a lovely job singing many songs in the High School's Fine Art's Center.  Jenna is the one nearly in the middle with a hot pink shirt on.
And just like that, Jenna is officially a second grader.  So old!  

The other kids are also growing like weeds.  They can in no way, shape, or form ever be referenced to as "babies" again.  The have definitely outgrown that title!!!  Every day they are talking, discussing, arguing, bickering, snuggling, and giggling more than the previous day.  A constant companion (or 4) is always close by, and I love to listen to the conversations among themselves as they mature!

One of the cutest things they do lately is apologizing and forgiving.  When one party fouls the other (which always happens), that person needs to apologize to the offended.  But the offended also seems to always want to say "I'm sorry" too, even if he/she did nothing wrong.  And then they both cheerfully embrace, both telling the other they forgive them, even if there were tears and howls only seconds earlier.  Warms my heart!!!
Twinsies!  Both Jenna and Lauren got matching flowers painted on their cheeks during
Ada Bible Church's end of the year bash for their Children's Ministry.  
Lauren is an independent little girl with a mind of her own, we're finding out!  (the first picture is her feasting on chocolate covered graham crackers that she confiscated from the pantry!)  
Always climbing.  Always.  Love my Tyler Monkey.
My sweet Tanner boy under a parachute with Hannah!
Hannah pretending to drink mommy's morning fix: she calls it "poffee"- so cute!
Grandma does a pretty good job keeping all four on her lap, and we certainly love that she and Grandpa are back home!!!
The boys are into Goodnight Moon right now.  They have it memorized and find joy in every page as they find the mouse and comment on the status of the moon in each picture.  
Because they are boys, they have ripped all 3 beloved copies we had.  
And because Grandma is Grandma, she bought them a new one. THIS one is staying out of reach!!!
Almost every night seems to become bath night in the summer, because these kids play hard!
I wonder how much longer all four can fit in the tub at once???
Nothing says summer like kids playing outside, so I had to get tires filled and training wheels on!  So far the tricycle and red car are favorites, but Tyler is always trying to master a bike with training wheels.

Exploring in the woods...
Look what we found!

The boys and daddy's trailer.  Like flies to honey.
And these two pictures pretty much sum up our outdoor play.  Above, Lauren in a dress she found and put on herself (probably the 3rd or 4th one of the day); The boys undressing as the play time goes on, Tanner upset because Hannah has taken "his" car away from him, and Jenna getting frustrated by the craziness of it all and because she can't control them to do what she wants.  
I can relate to that one!
The longer the kids play outside, they branch out more & wear clothes less.  There is a Tyler naked bum under the *.

Even though Summer isn't even "officially" here yet, we have already met up with a fellow mom-of-multiples (MoM) at a zoo, and plan to go up North camping with Grandma and Grandpa soon.  

Papa (a.k.a. Grandpa Ted), Mimi, Grandma & Grandpa all with one very happy Jenna
A new yard addition, courtesy of Grandma & Grandpa (& put together patiently by Grandpa!), is a new dome/spiderweb.  The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

I also just bought a used but bigger swing-set, and we may or may not have purchased a trampoline for 5 little Monkey's upcoming birthdays... add these to the already existing tire swing and zip-line from Auntie, and our yard is turning into the place to be!
And look, the dome even doubles as a picnic area!

Of course, all this fun and something was bound to go wrong, right?
Well, that something was my back!  
What started out as an irritating ache at the end of the day turned into a very painful and disabling back pain that spasmed one morning as I bent down to reach my hair dryer from the bottom drawer.  Turns out, I had a bulging disc.  It is a very common thing to happen when one is repeatedly bending over, as in with toddler care, and thankfully my chiropractor was fantastic at pinpointing exactly what was wrong, where it was, and what I could do to fix it.

Now 3 weeks later, it still can get sore (mostly because I over-do it), but so so so much better!  I need to be aware of body mechanics and do my stretches to keep on top of it, but I am very glad I got the care I did.  Seriously, if any of you live in the Grand Rapids area and have back pain, check out Dr. Aaron Buys at  I don't get anything for referring him, but he certainly gets my vote.  I was so dang limited in range of motion and in so much pain, but now I am not!  Yippee! 
Hannah gently sitting on my lower hips as I pressed my upper body up (the weight felt good) & "playing with mommy's hair."  Win win! 

That's all for now, enjoy your Summer!!!  
I know we are!