This post could also be titled, "All the things that would have had their own post had I been more on top of it, but instead are being combined into one super long, pictured saturated post."
We did a session and a half (four days a week for three weeks). The big kids did all three weeks and Mason and I joined them in the water the last week and did the Mommy and me class. All the kids did a great job. Little Man progressed amazingly and at the end of our last session graduated to the class in the deep end! I still don't feel entirely confident in his swimming skills, but he is getting there. He can get himself across the pool width wise without any help. Kiwi struggled a little bit at the beginning and didn't really like swimming lessons, but as time went on she decided she liked it (she even said it was her favorite thing at one point) and did really well. Mason didn't cry in the water and that's really all we were going for at his age, so I consider it a success.
We discovered a fun, outdoor pool not too far from our house we went to. Some of the mornings were a little grey and overcast, but the water was heated so it was never too bad. There was also an open swim for everybody who did lessons, so several times we enjoyed a picnic lunch and the kids played at the adjacent park after lessons and then we went park for open swim.
It was nice to add some structure to our summer, but it was also nice when it was done to enjoy a couple of weeks before school with no where to be in the morning.
Some fun projects at home
Decorating cupcakes with cousins (after playing with the water toys outside). I love that summer gives us more time to do some of these activities and I always love it when they can be outside (what is it about outside that seems to be easier to clean up?)
Although I sometimes wish our backyard was a little larger, I try to always follow that thought with remembering how grateful I am to have one. The addition of the swing set and patio furniture last summer has really made it a space that we all enjoy being in. I remember the days I used to long for a backyard to send the kids into and on days that they are happily playing outside while I get dinner ready listening to them happily play through the screen door I can't help but feel like I am living out one of my dreams. And on days that they are fighting and the noise isn't as pleasant, I still feel grateful that it can be outside (until they bring the fight to me...)
Enjoying Summer Treats
Although not cupcakes specifically. A new self serve frozen yogurt place recently opened up just down the road. It's one of those where you choose your own flavors and toppings. It is a dangerous thing to have just a half a mile away from a family who loves cold treats. Especially in the summer time. Especially, especially when one of those people is a pregnant person. We have been several times as a family...and twice Mike has went and got him and I some after the kids were in bed. Little Man literally asks every day if we can go. I usually stand firm and say no, but I think he can sense how close he is to breaking me (I can hear the California tart yogurt with all the fresh berries on top calling to me now)
Outside family outings
Love this little girl
Walking through some botanical gardens.
They had this neat suspension bridge that literally had you walking through the treetops.
At the beach with cousins.
Hiking up by Mt. Rainer
Too many pajamas mornings in a row have me longing for structure and activity and too many structured mornings have me longing for p.j. mornings. We have enjoyed a combination of both this summer.
We did the summer reading program at the library and both big kids earned a gold medal through their elementary school program. In addition to our normal bed time books, most afternoons I would make them do twenty minutes on their own and even though they sometimes complained, they always end up liking it and it makes me so happy to see me kids with books. Kiwi just looked at the pictures, but Little Man can actually read some chapter books now which is crazy.
Creating at their art table
We loved watching the Olympics. Mike and I fell asleep on the couch most nights watching and Little Man would wake up and watch highlights on the TiVo. He had a medal count where he kept track of different countries medals and the kids decorated below the counter with pictures printed out from the computer of Olympic sports that they had colored and cut. Kiwi liked the gymnastics, diving, and anything we would let her stay up late to watch. Little Man liked it all.
A few days after closing ceremonies we held our own family Olympics. We did a bike ride around a nearby park. Little Man claimed gold, Mike silver, and I grabbed the bronze (which I thought wasn't bad for a pregnant lady towing two kids in a bike trailer behind her. Our gymnastics was an all around competition consisting of the rings and floor routine. Kiwi came away with the gold, Little Man silver, and Mason bronze. We did a boys vs. girl soccer game where Kiwi and I won by one goal. We also did several races including a family relay and a Mason race where the kids ran Mason's speed.
Spending time with friends
We also enjoyed many play dates with friends and park trips, but apparently any pictures I took of those are on my phone. We enjoyed getting together with a couple of church playgroups and impromptu park trips/slip sliding in the park yard play dates.
Farewell Summer! You are my favorite. Until next year...