Sunday, August 20, 2017

End of Summer Review

Well, we finally pulled the trigger and bought a minivan! I think we all knew this day would come. We resisted for a long time. And honestly, I loved my Mitsubishi Outlander and did not want to give it up. It was a good car and fit 3 car seats across and had a built in changing table in the back. It was not technically created to be a diaper station, but the very back part of the car came down and made the perfect spot for a quick change on the go. Anyway, I was sad to let it go but I am very thankful for our minivan and I am enjoying the extra room and the new features. The kids love it a little too much, as they are always making a mad dash to the back as soon as I unbuckle them just to explore and climb and turn on lights. So then I am crawling all the way back there and trying to wrestle uncooperative children out of the car while breaking a sweat and trying not to be late to all the places. They also love the push button sliding doors as much as elevator buttons and are constantly pushing them. But I am glad they like it.

Here's me awkwardly standing by my old car

New van, woo hoo!

We did one more round of swim lessons at the Y for Cambry. It was just 4 days in a row but a good little bit of extra help for her. This time we did them in the evening so it was nice that we could all go as a family and let Colton and Lainey play in the baby pool.

I took the kids to the movies for the first time ever! They show $1 kid shows in the summer and they were playing Sing. We didn't get there early enough (who knew it would be so crowded at a 10am showing??) so we ended up 2nd row. But they didn't mind. Lainey insisted on sitting on my lap the whole time but they all did great and loved the movie. We will definitely have to take advantage of that more next summer.

Greg's parents came to visit us for a weekend. We tried out a delicious new restaurant, rode the trolley, and walked around a bit. They kids had so much fun with their Nana and Pops!

Our friends the Brandenbergers came to visit us with their cutie pie, Mallorie. The kids loved her and all wanted turns holding her. They are our best game friends and have introduced us to many fun board and card games. Even with all the kids we managed to get some game time in while they were here.

 We made a quick trip to College Station to see some of our old church friends that are now in different cities. I love that we can pick back up right where we left off. I took Cambry, along with the other moms and daughters to see a play there. It was a neat experience although the kids were getting a little antsy so we didn't end up staying the whole time. But they had just as much fun playing together back at the house and we loved catching up with old friends.

We also had a very fun day at a bounce place that my mom treated the kids to. We arrived shortly after they opened and there was hardly anyone there! It was so nice to let the kids play while it was so empty instead of doing constant head count checks in a sea of kids. I didn't get any pictures though.

We have been having some serious wardrobe drama going on lately. I'm sure you are thinking, umm, Cambry is 5. How are you going to handle it when she is 16? Legitimate question. I have no idea. But it's been an issue, to say the least. Although Cambry and I did have a fun girls shopping trip which included smoothies and CFA recently. I will be making a trip back to return the clothes soon since there was a change of heart, but at least it was fun while it lasted.

It think that wraps up our summer! Maybe if I blogged more often my posts wouldn't be so ridiculously long.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

While it technically may be summer, it is the end of the summer for us and beginning of the fall "semester". We now have a kindergartner! I can't believe it. Cambry just started and Lainey starts preschool in a week. Our schedule is completely changing and we are entering a new chapter of life.

There has been a lot of nerves leading up to the first day of Kindergarten. We had meet-the-teacher night a couple days before school started. Cambry's teacher seems so sweet and loving. Her classroom looks really fun and we have heard nothing but great reviews of the school. Even the library looks amazing with a castle inside of it.

I walked Cambry to her classroom on the first 2 days of school and she did great going in, hanging up her backpack, and finding her table group. Overall she had a good first day. By day 3 the parents had to say goodbye at the door but Cambry did great going in by herself. It is a longer day than she is used to so it will take a while to adjust, but overall I think she is going to really enjoy it. I have been praying that she will meet some sweet girl friends in her class. Who knows, maybe some will even become life long friends. My life long BFF and I met in second grade so it is definitely possible. And I am hoping to get to know some of the moms and meet some more families in the neighborhood.

Her teachers has been sending out daily questions to ask the students based on specific things they did that day so we don't just ask "how was your day?" and get a "fine". I really appreciate that! She has also been taking pictures (like they did at her preschool) so we can see what the kids are up to during the day which I really enjoy.

Lainey starts preschool in a week. She will be attending the same school Cambry went to last year. She will go MWF. I am nervous how she will do, but praying that it will be a great experience for her. We have meet-the-teacher and parent orientation this week. Although I have already met one of her teachers last year and she is so very sweet.

I still don't know exactly what our schedule will look like this year. In addition to drop off / pick up for elementary and preschool, we also have ST, OT, and gymnastics for Lainey, and dance for Cambry. We are still trying to workout time slots for therapy through school and private therapy.

Even though it is 100 degrees outside (literally) I am SO EXCITED about fall. I love seeing pumpkins and halloween decorations up in stores even though it is August. October-December is the absolute best part of the year, so why not start the excitement now? I am looking forward to fall weather, pumpkin things, Lainey and Colton's joint party coming up, I am already planning out halloween costumes, we have family pictures scheduled, and on and on the list goes.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Summer Time: July in Review

July has been just as busy and fun as June!

It started off with a trip to Waco. It had been quite a while since we had been so it was nice to see everyone (except Michelle, we missed you!). The Bryants took us out on their boat and we had a great time. Colton had a panic attack over his life jacket at first, but eventually warmed up to it and actually wanted to get in the water towards the end. Lainey rode in the tube for the first time and loved it.

On Fourth of July our friends, the Gentrys, came to visit us. We avoided the heat and played inside. The kids were so happy to see their girls and we enjoyed visiting with them. That evening we went to a local park where they were having some festivities. We didn't stay for the fireworks but we walked around and let the kids play on the playground.

We have really been enjoying the Woodlands pools on the weekends. It is typical summer heat in Texas so swimming is pretty much the go-to activity. Cambry has enjoyed practicing her swimming skills and Lainey loves floating around in her puddle jumper. Colton has really warmed up to the water too.

Greg took off work on a Friday and we spent a night at La Torretta resort in Conroe. We went with 3 of the families from our old small group. We went with them 3 years ago, and it was so much fun to go again this time with more kiddos in the mix. They have great pools and a lazy river and kid areas. We spent hours and hours out there and the kids loved every minute of it. Us moms even got some girl time after all the kiddos went to sleep. I'm so thankful for these friendships even though we don't live super close anymore.

The kiddos, though missing 2 in this pic

They gave out popsicles in the afternoon and then set up fire pits for s'more roasting in the evening.

 I definitely want to go back next year. We missed all the families who couldn't make it!

This past weekend we went out to dinner and then afterward rode the trolley around. Then we walked around one of the parks we hadn't been to and listened to the music right next to the concert pavilion. We found a cute little maze for kids and enjoyed walking along the waterway. There are so many pretty areas in the Woodlands.

We have had some "summer attitudes" at times lately. Probably due to boredom or lack of schedule or looking forward to school activities. But there are lots of things I do love about summer and am so thankful for all the fun we have had together. I love that it stays light outside late, going to the pools, not having to get up early for school yet, being able to randomly go to the splash pad and Sonic without having a schedule, getting to do the moms group at church, and just enjoying being together. It's been a fun July.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer Time: June in Review

We have been having a full and fun summer. At the end of the school year I was wondering if we might be a little bored this summer but we really haven't. We have had lots of fun things going on and also some nice, laid back days.

June was full of activities!

Cambry started swim lessons. They were Monday-Thursday for 2 weeks at the Y. There were a couple days I put Colton and Lainey in child watch during the lesson, but most days I let them swim in the baby pool. Lainey loved it, but Colton either wanted to be held, or just run all around the pool area. By the end of the 2 weeks I was singing hallelujah that lessons were over. Cambry made some good progress and really enjoyed it.

Cambry also started dance lessons. The only extra-curricular activity she has ever done has been gymnastics at her preschool. I wanted to let her try dance to see if she likes it. She is giving me mixed signals so far. But she looks adorable doing it. I love watching little kids dance!

Lainey has continued with her private gymnastics lessons. She is doing well and having fun. Her favorite is the trampoline and the pit. At first it was all I could do to keep Colton off the gym floor during her lesson. But he and Cambry have gotten pretty good at entertaining themselves. They find random items on the side lines and Cambry creates obstacle courses for herself.

Cambry did VBS at our church in June also. She had a great time there. She got super excited to give money to their collection. She has a very sweet and generous heart and is always eager to give money to church.

When we got back from our Galveston beach vacation we came home to see that a rabbit had moved into our backyard. She lives under our deck and Cambry has named her Raleigh Rachel. But let it be known that I am not allowed to call her Ray-Ray or I get fussed at. We feed her carrots and lettuce and apples. We are slightly concerned that she may eat all our nice new grass. But she is cute.

Greg and I went on a date one weekend. It was just a quick dinner but it was fun. We need to do this more often!

We also celebrated Greg's birthday and Father's day. Well, we actually didn't do much for Father's Day...poor Greg. Greg likes to eat BBQ on his birthday (he claims he only gets it once a year, which  is mostly true). Unfortunately the place was closed when we went! So we settled for a nearby Mexican food restaurant. (Side note: we did eat BBQ this weekend to make up for it!) On Father's day our church handed out strips of bacon to the dads which I thought was so awesome. Then on Sunday afternoon we went to our friends' gathering in honor of their son's "Heaven Day". We miss Roane very much and our hearts still break for his family.

Besides all those activities, we have been enjoying the Woodlands pools and parks. There are so many to discover. The heat and mosquitoes are so bad that sometimes it makes playing outside difficult, but we still try to enjoy the outdoors as much as we can.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Grosse Family Vaca 2017

The annual Grosse family vacation was to Galveston beach this year. We stayed in a nice beach house right on the water and had a blast. Cambry and Lainey loved the beach and had no fear of the water. They wore puddle jumpers most of the time because the waves were pretty rough. They enjoyed building sandcastles and Cambry loved hunting for shells.

Colton, on the other hand, did not enjoy the beach. That is, until THE VERY LAST DAY. We joked the whole time how he was not cut out for beach life. He was cut out for beach resort life. He did not want to get in the sand, he just wanted to lounge, be held, or go to sleep. He would continually run back toward the beach house. Then for some reason on the 6th day he decided to just start playing in the sand and walking along the shore!

We celebrated several birthdays at the beach. Ashley's, Cody's, and Greg's birthdays all fall within a week of each other in June. Mom made a cake and put up decorations to celebrate these 3.

Then another day we celebrated Kyler's early birthday with another cake. You can never have too many cakes on vacation.

Obviously we had to continue the tradition of jumping photos. I think the guys nailed it.

This is what happened when we attempted to take a group cousin photo. This is literally the best we could get. But kinda perfect. It pretty much summarizes the chaos of this stage.

Lauren bought these hats for the girls when we visited them in Phoenix and I just think they are the cutest things ever when they wear them. 

We always end up with a couple beach nappers. And they are usually our kids.

We were all keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Cindy which was threatening the gulf coast while we were there. Thankfully it didn't come near us and we only ended up with about a day of rain. It was pretty amazing how the tide came all the way up to the grass. With gray sky all around and absolutely no beach one day, we built an awesome sand castle on our pathway. My dad has always been a great, and serious, sandcastle builder. I have inherited that gene as well. I love building castles and making them very neat and pretty. I don't really like it when little hands try to "help" on my section of the castle, haha. "Let's everyone work on our own separate parts, mkay??"

We took all the kids to the Galveston Children's museum one day and they had so much fun. It was a great museum with lots of rooms and so many things for the kids to do. Then we stopped at restaurant for a seafood lunch. That was really our only "outing". All the other days we just enjoyed the beach...sometimes twice a day. Some afternoons we had relaxing time and introduced the kids to Moana and Trolls.

I'm so thankful for the quality family time we had together. The cousins had a blast playing together and having bunk bed slumber parties (for the 4 big kids) every night. The adults had several game nights after the kids went to bed. One of our favorite family games to play on vacation is Pictionary. My mom always brings a big easel and drawing pad and we just crack up at everyone's drawings. It's always sad to leave the beach after such good family time. Thanks Gigi and Pa for a great vacation!