I mean, you only read this blog to see photos of the adorables, am I right? So, a 23875347 page long post is *just* what you've been waiting for!! Right?!? Right?? Right?....
Hey, bear with me. I'm trying to document LIVES here, people!
July, even though it was almost 2 whole months ago, was VERY memorable this year. For one, we lost a member of our family, we also lost a first tooth, and we found peace? Ida know.
The month began with the annual Bass Pro Shops Summer Camps. Niecey was here for the summer, and so was Ethan, so the 4 camped through all 9 camps that month!
|Seriously. Look at those shots! ALL BULLSEYES!!|
|Baby Ray got to visit some distant cousins!|
Via my instagram, us girlies in our anchors.
I got this new lego set, purely for the porta potty, of course. Just another 199 of them and I'll be ready to set up the Lego marathon...
From the kiddos Nature Journals:
More Frontier City fun!
This was the time daddy got to go with us. And you haven't seen bliss until you've seen this little boy when daddy joins in on the fun.
This was right after he mouthed the words "I love you" to me, for letting him sit next to daddy on the roller coaster. Daddy had just shown up and Evan was going to sit with me, but was torn once his daddy showed up. I had told him I really wanted him to ride with dad because, you know, dads are scared of the roller coasters sometimes, and they need brave little boys to sit by them.
Emma on the go-karts was PRECIOUS. She was the slowest, most cautious driver by FAR on the track. She had told me that she was going to practice driving safely, since she would be driving soon. (!?)
More nature journalling.
Fourth of July!
We spent the evening out at Grandad's cabin, cooking out and eating.
We did some of the smaller, cute fireworks while it was still a little light out, so we could watch them.
By the time we left the cabin, it was going to be too late to find parking and get to the lake where our city puts on the firework display, so we pulled off the road a couple miles down the road onto a big hill that used to be an oil rig, and watched the skies. We actually got to see several different firework shows going off all at once. It was really nice. And any time the kids get to spend time with their uncles is a good time!
There's a tiny Statue of Liberty on the drive out of town East, and we always love to pass it by and laugh about how we" saw the statue of liberty this summer"! This time we stopped and let the Lego Castros visit. Their instagram audience demands it, of course.
These boys were really into it this year. Our family is all about the Sharknado series, and with the 3rd being released this summer, it was major shark time.
We celebrated with shark tees...
...shark hand sanitizer...
...and more cool shark stuff that failed to get documented. Ha!
The kids helped me color birthday stickers for my planner, this year in a Lego theme, surprise, surprise.
And more nature journalling...
(This time with Ethan and Niecey!)
A sunburn with the shadow of Eli's necklace.
If you follow me on instagram (ManagerOfMischief), you saw this unfold...
Last baby tooth smile...
FIRST BABY TOOTH OUT!
I cried. Like, seriously cried 2 days before and 2 days after.
Sentimental is an understatement.
But, you GUYS. It's his FIRST tooth!
Some random daily scenes...
...and then painting targets for dad...
You like that crotch shot? That one was for Em's archery practice. Because, well.
Pug in the pool!
Harley turned THIRTEEN this summer!!
He gets his cake every year in the glass dish Grammie got him. :)
And now, the post turns to a sadder mood.
Harley had been having health issues for awhile now, and we all knew it was time. In fact, I had already commissioned my dad to make his little box, which Harley slept in, loved, and approved of.
And the day after he celebrated his birthday, it was time for him to go home.
He had been there for our wedding.
He had been there for emma's birth.
He moved to California.
He was the one that alerted me that something was wrong the day Eli died.
He was there as we coped with his loss.
He made a dozen airplane flights in the cabin, where passengers fell in love with the flying pug.
He was there on our roadtrips home.
He was there for Evan's birth.
And now, we were all here to say goodbye, as he left us.
Nothing hurts the way this does. Going back and forth with your own guilt, wishing he could talk. Wishing he could tell you this was for sure the way the go. That he was for sure ready.
But he was.
And now he can see.
And now he can hear.
And now he can walk and run on his own, ears flapping in the wind.
And he can be with us all the time.
He was buried beside his cousin, Shadow.
In the very yard he came home to, thirteen years a day ago.
We love you, sweet pug.
That night we had a glow swim to celebrate his life, and those that loved him.
The stars seemed to shine brighter that night, in a rainbow of colors.
A couple weeks later, the baby was turning SEVEN.
Our annual trip to Toys R Us made me realize that either seven was really growing, or their carts were shrinking. I didn't care. I twisted and turned that little boy until he was inside that baby seat, just as before, for the annual picture.
But, unlike before, he got out right afterwards. Apparently, if I ever wanted grandkids, he needed to be freed from the cart seat.
A run with my love.
And then, we headed off to a small vacation for the birthday boy, who wanted to zipline in lieu of a birthday party. We headed to Branson, Missouri for that adventure.
We arrived a little while before our appointment, so we snagged a couple geocaches to kill some time, and got to check "Out-of-state geocache" off our summer checklist.
And then it was time for our zipline adventure!
I have to admit, taking that first step off the platform is a little scary, but we all did it! Evan cried after the first one, and cried a little less on the second, but by the end, he was zippin' like a pro!
We were zipping upside down, spinning, dropping off backwards, and doing flips by the time we reached the end.
It. Was. Awesome.
Then, we got back in the van and headed north to Springfield, where we caught a Cardinals game.
Look who got a game ball!
We opted for "lawn seats", which are the best for us because we don't have to squish into hard seats next to a lot of people, and the kids can play and run. PLUS, my rainbow quilt got to experience it's first baseball game!
We left a little early so the kids could swim at the hotel before bed.
The next morning, we headed out early towards home, taking historic route 66 along the way.
Gorgeous sunrise, no?
Stopping at the BIG Bass Pro was a must EVERY time we go through Springfield.
We stopped at the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge first, which was the "Largest Trainspotting Footbridge". There was a puzzle cache there that we couldn't find, but the bridge was AMAZING!
There were 14 tracks underneath us, and TWO trains passed under while we were there! The steam from the trains was so hot, and so close to our feet, it felt like we were standing in an oven!!
The next stop was the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage. We hadn't been there since before we had kids!
Once we reached the Oklahoma border, we got onto the ONLY remaining part of historical Rt.66 that you can still drive on! It was originally only 8 feet wide, and was taken out of service officially in 1937. How cool is THAT?? I couldn't help but think about the many travelers that traveled that road. Where they were going, what they were thinking, what the scenery looked like, what their cars looked like.
Fell in love with this old gas station, now a Rt. 66 attraction.
We grabbed a letterbox stamp on our last stop in Catoosa.
The next morning was Evan's "official" seventh birthday, and Em made him breakfast.
And for that seven year old's birthday, he got a broken toilet, of course.
Happy Birthday, Peanut.
We love you!