Thursday, January 31, 2013

built-in friends

Some of my earliest memories of "friends" are ones  filled with my cousins.  I was blessed to grow up with a handful of my cousins close to us and at the same school and that made for real-life best pals. It is one of the things I wanted for our own boys as we started a family and began parenting right alongside our siblings. So many of our kid's cousins are also some of their favorite people to play with these days and I know that bond is rare and special. 

One of the things we love about vacationing with our extended family is the chance for our kids to just hang out, learn about life, and build their relationships with their cousins...their built-in friends. It is a great time to let our kids learn the basics of life alongside people who will always be a part of their life...learning to share, being kind, forgiveness, working together, compromising, being encouraging, taking a joke (and giving them), having fun, and just being yourself...all things we get to watch our kids and our nieces and nephews do together. What a blessing. 

The Dells has created that little pocket of extended time for all such things to happen...from the thrill of a huge water-ride together to the morning bed-head acceptance and the choice of food differences and the nightly jammies and just hanging out and just being together. I have come to love the Dells trip, but mostly I love all the people that make the drive each year to just be together.

Working together to create their one-of-a-kind ginger-bread house...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Jumping right in!

We just returned from a week long stay up at the Dells. The week went by so fast this year and I was very thankful for a slow start back to life...canceled church Sunday and delayed school start today. Thank you, Mother knew we were moving slow adjusting back to real life.

This was our first year being on vacation and having an actual sick kid with us. Austin developed croup literally about 4 hours after we arrived. He had some awful nights that even scared his mom a bit as we moved to the steamy shower a few times to help his breathing and slept with him propped up on me. For as awful as he felt at night, he was such a trooper during the day. With some meds and some naps, he never missed a water-park. I didn't know what to do with a sick kid on vacation...stay back? take him home? just go? I didn't we did the best we could and he tagged along enjoying himself at the parks and snoozing in the room when he could. Regardless of the croupy boy, it was still a fun week and I came home a bit tired and happy in my heart just the same. 

The first full day we hit the waves! Everyone loves the wave pool...warm sunshine coming through roof windows and plenty of space to spread out and enjoy!

 Carson was hesitant at first...he stood close to Dad for awhile with one finger in his mouth ..slowly taking it in...

 The kids were all too familiar with the kiddie station and headed right over...

 This is so Austin...just doing his own thing, happy to be in the water and having fun. Can you tell he is sick? :)

 Jaxon makes my heart skip a beat in the waves...but he LOVES them and is pretty good in them... he could barely run through the water the first year we came. Now look at him!

 Uncle Aaron is always up for making the waves spectacular alongside him...he even pulled a little girl out this year as she got swept away. Good guys we have in this fam!

 Carson finally liking the idea of this place!

 After a full afternoon in the waves this is where we land...jammies, hot cocoa, snuggling cousins, and the TV. 


                                 I love this photo...the boys and their blankies :)

And once the kids hit the hay...the adults can veg out :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

3 little monkeys

Being iced in all day causes a bit of creativity...our roomie, Natalie, put together a fun clip of our very own little monkeys :) Cheers to a late start tomorrow! Happy you-tubing!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

a few faves

It has been a great week here at the Dells, despite a boy with croup. As we gather around the fireplace tonight with a fire going, a baby boy sleeping, and the relaxing comfort of a movie and comfy pj's, my head is full of fun memories and my heart filled with joy for the time we've been able to spend together this week.  Here are a few of our three boy's faves at the Dells ...                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
 Carson watched for a bit before he headed in...but once he found his place in the water, he loved it! One of his fave's this year... the swing that went right over the water!
 This boy is a perfect age for all the parks...or maybe it is his personality? He was so happy wherever we of his fave this year? Riding the tube in the wave pool!
And this big boy loved the big slides, but I never got a good photo of him on them...he also had loads of fun on the famous "green slide" chasing his Uncle Aaron down!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

At the Dells!

It's that time of year when the winter has surely set in and the holidays are long over...our house full of busy boys is ready for a change of scenery and a chance to beat the cold.  So we pack the van and head north! This marks our fifth trip to the Wilderness Resort (check out here), where we stay in a beautiful presidential suite thanks to my hubs great vacation deal finding on-line.

Ahhh...this is where we started our day and now we all are snuggled into naps, cozy places, and around the fireplace with enough food at our fingertips to keep us all satisfied. Vacations are good, really good. Feeling really thankful for a chance to get away this winter and find rest in a place made for families, fun, and time together.  A great start to 2013...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Too cold for snow?

Today we made our way out into the sunshine and wet snow and breathed in fresh air as we trudged around the block and up the snow piles. But on those days when it is too cold to get outside...we bring it in!  
 Carson's first encounter with snow this winter was in nothing but his dipe and this grin. 

 Austin can find a way to bring his cars into everything...

And Carson is thrilled to learn the tricks of the old trade.

 Even Jaxon will join in for this hands on sensory fun with the littles :)

Inside or out, you can't keep the snow fun away here with these boys!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Break for our Boys!

Anyone else feel like Christmas break went way too fast this year?  We had an early start even with the last two days of school canceled due to snow. We didn't mind now, but we will come June! We had a great break, despite starting and ending with a flu bug. Austin began break (his birthday, actually) with strep that thankfully nobody else got it as bad as him. He also ended break with the stomach flu...which unfortunately we all have gotten and still recovering. But, the middle was great and for that I am thankful! We packed a lot of nothing and everything in and I think we all enjoyed a little time to just let our family be. 

 The big boys had some good one on one time together, both inside and out.  Jax has been showing Austin the ropes with some new computer games.

 Carson discovered candy did my bed-spread, coffee-table, and walls. Thanks buddy!

 Our kids get 3 gifts each year for Christmas...Three Kings gifts we call it. Austin's "gold" gift this year or something he would enjoy a lot was this beautiful handcrafted barn. One of my fellow farmers market vendors makes them...he is 81. And this was prefect for our farm loving boy.

 The boys made a lot of creations with magnaformers and math blocks.  For our math loving boy, this was a great time passer by activity!

 Carson just loves having us all home! Plenty to keep up with and people to follow around.

 We did a bit of painting and Austin sure enjoyed this wooden tractor project. 

 We spent some time outdoors too! Carson loves the snow and keeps up fairly well with his steadfast snow loving big brothers. 

 One moring it was just warm enough to be outside and a beautiful snow was falling. We headed to Hartman for the morning and it was a very perfect start to our day!!

 The boys filled the quite air with their giggles and the deer were there to greet us too.

 We pulled the little boys on sleds...

 Made snow angels...

 And took lots of breaks to just sit, walk around, and take in the scenery. It was beautiful!

 We had a full day of basketball too! The little boys stayed entertained with the crowd, snacks, and plenty of bleacher activities.

 The big boy came out a bit more confidant then his last tourney and had a great day! We love our group of kids and coaches he plays with, so the day is fun for all!

 We had some nice napping time! yeah!

Jaxon had fun figuring out his new tablet and the lazy days to do such things.

 And these two dominated the wii Mario games...and then some :)

 Our buddy boy who just seems to be catching every bug this winter...tis the season to first year in school and holiday gatherings :)

And of course, some reading time too.

Whew, throw in our family Christmas's and church and sleeping and we had a blessed break. On to 2013 we go!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Diggin' Dudes

The boys had some good mornings of just doing "nothing" over break together. Austin for the most part loves having his brother home with him. As we dropped Jaxon off today for his first day back to school after break, Austin asked how many days til Jaxon can stay home again and about 3 different times this morning wanted to know when we could go get him. Despite their typical brother feuds, they do have fun from time to time :)  

 The boys got some neat gifts this year and one of them was this dinosaur fossil project.

 Austin took it very seriously... Jaxon caught on to the fun after some convincing from his younger brother.

 Jaxon is a kid who will complain about what we are doing at first and then usually ends up loving it....but shhh, don't tell him :)

 Even Carson woke up for the final fossil digging.

 And by the end we had a 5 year old declaring his future job from farmer to dinosaur digger.

Guess that diggin in dirt thing can lead to a career when you grow up!! :-)