Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Beach Trip, swimming lessons, and a baby shower

We went down to visit Grammy and Granddaddy for our summer beach trip - which had to be scheduled the earliest possible this summer so I could even travel. We did our favorite activities, but we were a little less busy and a little more relaxed this year (because I needed to be)!

Seth, as usual caught a bucket full of sea creatures - mostly fish, but also a crab this year.

Carolyn dug a hole for a little pool and carried buckets of water in an attempt to fill it.

She had hand-me-down swim suit pieces which looked ok on her, but were a little loose once they got wet, so she got 2 new swimsuits (a one piece pictured here and a skirt/shirt combo for times when a two piece is more convenient). So far, she's only worn the 1 piece. I'm glad she's in adult womens'/juniors sizes now; it makes shopping bargains for her so much easier.

Kaitlyn built a sand castle and spent just a little time in the ocean. (After putting together the first blog book recently and reading and remembering how much she used to love the ocean and run in and out for the entire time we were at the beach, it surprises me that she mostly keeps to the sand these days.)

Alee got as sandy as possible and also got Grammy as sandy as possible. (The sand went almost up to her knees when she was finished.)

Natalie rode the waves on her new Little Mermaid boogie board she bought a few months ago. She loves the ocean and with Seth kept inching out farther than we wanted her.

Everyone loved the pool. 
It was a little cold for me still, so I mostly just put my feet in and watched the kids play. I like it really hot before I get into the water. My swimsuit was comfortable though in actual use.

At Grammy's house, we found a new "toy" of Grammy's she got at Christmas. This fitness board was a hit. All the girls loved twisting on it!

I might need to get one after the baby is born to work off my "baby fat" (once I get the "OK" to exercise). I tried it out a few seconds until my mom walked through the room and fussed at me to get off before I fell. (I couldn't have gone much longer anyways...pregnancy is a real energy drainer!)

Grandma and Gramps came to visit on Saturday before they headed home. (They had been staying at the beach all week.)

(We also saw Jean's family Monday night and visited Daddy Tom on our way out the last day, but I forgot to get pictures.)

Game time! I think SkipBo (and uno) are the two favorite games at the Edwards house. I might add backgammon this year. 

On Monday, Alee got her ears pierced. She's been asking for months. (I have no restraint on time/age when they can get ears pierced. My only rule is that the girls can get one pair and they have to understand that it's going to hurt for a minute and they need to be prepared for that.)

She was excited.

Then she was nervous. (So far only Natalie has cried when they did it. Alee got nervous and started crying before they even started. We told her she could back out up until the moment that they started, but she decided to go through with it.)

Then she was excited and proud of her new earrings.
She must have asked me 20 questions about caring for them and what she was allowed to do and not do, etc. She has started doing the daily care (putting the cleaning solution on them every day with me) to learn how to care for them. And she knows that her 3 week mark is July 3rd for being able to change them.

The day after we got home, we started swim lessons.
Natalie and Alee were the only two I signed up. They have both taken them before, but Natalie had tubes in her ears last time and was too nervous to put her face in the water, and Alee was stubborn and mad that they wouldn't let Mommy in the pool with her, so she refused to participate more than one day.

So 3 years later (I think?), here we are again. This time we are taking them out at the club we joined through Rob's work. The lessons seem a little less pushy than the ones we did a few years ago, however, the girls like the instructors and are much more willing to try the exercises and activities.

In fact, at the end of the first day, they took them to the diving board (yes, all of them! even the non-swimmers!) They had 3 lifeguards out in the deep end to help catch kids and bring them to the side (as needed). Alee needed a little help the first day, but after that, she was good. It's probably her favorite thing to do at the pool. She can jump in, swim to the top, and swim (doggy paddle) to the side. (They are just learning correct form, but they have both gotten the confidence and some basic skills to keep them up within the first few days.)

We stay after lessons so all the kids can swim for a while.
At first, I was in the deep end with Alee to help her in case she needed help diving, but by day 3 she and I were both confident that she was fine. (I'm still in swimsuit ready to drop the phone and jump in if needed, but she's good.)

 Friday I bought some pool toys (floats and diving things) while I was shopping so they have more to play with in the pool. They were a big hit!

It's hard to tell what is going on here - let me share. Carolyn has a little bit of a compulsive personality when it comes to order and organization. (I know I have instilled organization and order into them all - or at least I have tried! But she takes it to a new level.) Here she is arranging the floating things on the shallow end/deep end rope so that they are evenly spaced along the rope.

We got some IKEA furniture on the way home from the beach (knowing I wouldn't be able to travel much and having wanted a few things from there for a month or so). Rob put together the pieces that make our new computer desk. Carolyn put together the new scrapbook shelves. Seth only helped when required.

 She did a good job.

This week's outdoor movie night (which ended up in the garage due to rain!) was preceded by burgers and apple cobbler. (I think I'll alter this recipe a little in the future but it was pretty good, just needs some tweaking.) We do supper just us, but then we invite friends and family over for the movie later that night. Bethany's crew and Kristen's crew came over to watch Finding Dory with us last Thursday.

Saturday Carolyn hosted a baby shower for me (with help from several adults). My mom, my mother-in-law, sister-in-laws, and a few adult women from church that offered help (along with her friends that began the planning) put it all together. I told her I wasn't helping to throw myself a baby shower (that's ridiculous), so she had to do it on her own and give out assignments. And she did.
 Carolyn made the "babies in a blanket", the watermelon baby, and the diaper "tricycle" cake. My mom did the pretzel rods. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law did the vegetable trays and HersHEy bar party favors. My other sister-in-law did the cupcakes. Friends from church helped with punch and decorations and games.

Two creative gifts - this one from my brother Will. (We are not decided on the name yet, but you get the point...right?) I'm not explaining this.
Seth thought it was funny. The girls thought it was gross. No one was put off from eating them.

One of my friends made a "bouquet" of baby things (washcloths, socks, onesies, etc). It was so cute.

While we were at mom's/dad's house, I hit the 8 month mark. And I am feeling it! I forgot how hard it is to move, bend, get up, get down, roll over, etc with this bowling ball on the front of me (plus the decreased energy and swelling).

I've been feeling mostly ok. It's just normal end of pregnancy stuff. I feel about the same as I did with Alee (I think I actually swelled more with her). The kids have been super helpful - all of them, but especially the girls. (Seth is willing, but has to be asked. The girls offer help often, and sometimes have to be asked.)

They haven't complained about extra work, and have been surprisingly grown up about the chores they are able to do. They've even told friends down the street, "sorry we can't play right now, we have chores left to do." No tears.

Seth wins the award for most patient babysitter.
Carolyn wins the award for being able to take on the hardest jobs and do them well.
Kaitlyn wins the award for teamwork.
Natalie wins the award for most available and best endurance when doing chores.
Alee wins the award for efficiency.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

I love summer break!

(even if they spend the first week fighting)

We finished the school year with an impromptu family visit (since the original family visit was postponed/cancelled), our annual spring/summer recital, memorial day time with friends, and school awards.

 Saba and Nonny came Saturday afternoon and we hung out and played Saturday afternoon/evening, and again Sunday afternoon, and they left when Rob had to go to Seminary Graduation Sunday evening. (He's in charge of that.)

This was probably one of my favorite recitals. We decided to go patriotic and held it on Memorial Day. We started with solos (arranged by the kids from a lead sheet) of the songs representing the 5 branches of the armed services.
Then, we did many other patriotic songs as duets.

If you missed it (or loved it so much you want to see it again) - we have videos on YouTube!

Or watch them right here!

(Those links are to the individual recordings put together in a playlist- I uploaded whichever was best - rehearsal recording or recital recording - or post recital recording for 2 that weren't recorded during the recital. You can go through the playlist or pick and choose which you want to see again.)

If you want to re-watch the live feed, that's available on YouTube also.

That afternoon, we had some relaxing friend time.

The twins did safety patrol this year. Natalie did it the entire year. Kaitlyn started 2nd quarter and petered out at the end when the whether got hot. (Safety Patrol is like jr helpers to the teachers running the car rider line. They did afternoon duty.)
 (Carolyn did safety patrol in 4th grade also. She couldn't do it in 5th because I wasn't sure how it would work out with the middle school pick up; it wouldn't have. Seth was always one of the first to the car rider line and his class was RIGHT beside the line, so we needed to be one of the first in line.)
For the twins, they will also not have the opportunity to do this again in 5th grade. I need less on my plate next year, so every little thing can't be a "yes". (Between 3 schools and a new baby on his own little nursing napping schedule, I think I'll have my plate half full already.) Natalie was a little disappointed, but Kaitlyn wasn't thrilled with the heat, so she didn't care that I vetoed this activity.
The same was true for district honor choir - Natalie was disappointed that I vetoed that and Kaitlyn didn't care.

I think most of their awards were in music this last quarter. (Not surprising since we have had a heavy focus on music preparing for our recital. Naturally, that focus would continue with them into the school setting.)
 (They also both got all A's all year.) Good job, but enjoy it now girls; it gets harder!

Alee is such a ham. She was super excited that she got perfect attendance this year. (I usually scoff at that award since it's really the "I didn't get sick all year award" - something I feel the kids have little control over. You can't always help it if someone passes on a stomach bug - (or worse - lice!) on to you, requiring missed school days.)
 Last year Alee had a lot of stomach issues (some were real vomiting issues and others, I believe, were anxiety issues. So, for this year for Alee, perfect attendance was a really big deal. Not only did she not get sick, but she didn't feign sickness because of anxiety. Love that she had this as a goal and accomplished it.

 (Seth and Carolyn actually skipped the last 2 half days of school. They went walking with me that morning and worked on getting some daily priorities for summer straightened out during those last two half days.)

Since the break has begun, I've spent a day grocery shopping, a day getting 2 appointments done, celebrating the library kickoff, and another day getting Alee's fillings done at the dentist. (I should have fit in an oil change, but I'm taking it easy, scheduling only about half of each day at most.)

We've probably done more have-to's than want-to's, but they spent the other half of each day with just free time. We have new neighbors with little kids (one Alee's age, one 2 years younger, and a toddler, but they don't play with him), so they've enjoyed free time with the neighbors.
We went to the park, but since none of their friends were there to meet us that afternoon, it was decided it was boring and time to go not long after we arrived.
We also spent our "tokens" from dance to get some pelican's snoballs.
I love the new musical (loud) toys at the park this year.

 Water time. (I've got to get some things set up so that water time doesn't equal wet grass and water throughout my downstairs every time they want to play in water outside.)

Kaitlyn made little chocolate pops for our FHE treat. (The kids are getting a little more adventurous in the kitchen, doing things independently.)

Carolyn can make box mac-and-cheese and scrambled eggs and a few other things. Kaitlyn made waffles this morning (with directions; they were a little light, but they'll improve with them). She already knows how to make grilled cheese, so she made that for lunch today.
Natalie wants to do scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow by herself.
Seth can do some things, but only does kitchen stuff if required. He did want to learn oatmeal, so we'll work on that after scout camp.
Alee's not quite ready for meal prep, but she can make toast in the toaster, her own PB&J and other things that don't involve the oven/stove or blades.

I'm encouraging them to learn basic little meals or pieces of meals so that they can be useful in the kitchen after I have the baby.

Library summer reading kickoff party!

We decided to do some outdoor movie nights this summer on the big screen. We did one the day school got out. We tried one last night, but with the weather threatening rain, we moved it indoors and skipped inviting the neighbors.
We'll do more; we want to invite church friends to one and family to one and have one that's just open to anyone.

I decided it was time to expand our skills to include a grill and dutch oven, so we are going to try something outdoor cooking for each movie night (before guests arrive) since they kids won't be showering before dinner anyways.

This week's was a really good chocolate cake in the dutch oven. The recipe for the cake was really easy.
I think I would decrease the time next time (or maybe take a coal or two off the bottom), but it was really good. (Especially with the homemade ice cream Natalie helped me make last week - it had leftover frozen brownie chunks and hot fudge swirled into it.)
  (No pictures of the hot dogs because we burned those, but I couldn't taste any burn. The zucchini we grilled was perfect though.)

I drew up our summer poster calendars the kids like every year - look how full June is! (We've tried to squish the beach trip, scout camp and young women camp, visit to grandparents, swimming lessons, and appointments all into the month before the baby is born.)

July is intentionally empty-ish. (I listed scheduled things like library activities, but only the youth conference for Seth and orthodontist for Seth are have to things. And I don't have to be the one to drive him.)

I worked on a swimsuit at the end of May and finished it just before Memorial Day weekend. It's both maternity and nursing. (The shorts I already owned - I just flip up the yoga waistband to cover my big belly.)

I really like it overall. The color is a little more "crossing guard / highlighter yellow-green" as opposed to lime green, but it's hard to tell what you're getting when you shop online for fabric! It's ok - none of the kids will lose me at the beach or pool this summer! And look - my flip flops match. (I also thought those were lime in the store until I took them out in the sun.)

(It has some flaws and I had some bumps in the process, but you can't see them from the outside. I used various things to draft my own pattern. Next time, I will buy multiple patterns and put them together because altering a pattern is easier than drafting my own. Natalie's swimsuit was a breeze because I just altered a pattern I bought from I'm getting better at sewing with knits and lycra/nylon fabrics. I'm not very fast at sewing those though.)

We'll spend the day packing and then we're ready for the beach!