Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lagoon, Cousins, Swimming

The title of this entry makes me smile because it's so perfectly summer. I'm really enjoying this summer because the kids are just blossoming like crazy. Atticus finally has a schedule day and night, Stella is starting to write letters and is dancing like an angel, and Emerson is figuring out how to spell words on his own and playing number games.

We've had a fun and busy month in July, starting with our stake's Lagoon (local amusement park) day a couple of weeks ago. Despite the hundred-degree temperature, it was really fun. Emerson and Stella rode all kinds of rides with their church buddies and even got to go in the water park with Tad. Atticus and I spent the afternoon in search of slightly less roasting locations where I could attempt to nurse him semi-covered as I literally dripped sweat on him. But he was a champ and the older kids could have stayed all night.

Last week Tad's brother, Tim, and his family came into town. Caroline, Tad's sister, was also able to come in town with her darling little baby, Afton, to enjoy the fun. We had a fantastic time, hitting up the zoo (with Dalan, Tim's brother-in-law as our family photographer), the dinosaur park in Ogden (an awesome experience I highly recommend to all with dino-enthusiast kids), the local pool, and the mountains for a fun hike. We also crammed in a LOT of eating, both at favorite restaurants and family barbecues to celebrate Pioneer Day. The barbecue we hosted at our house was capped off by a neurotic Crosby attacking the largest firework, picking it up in his mouth, and running around the yard with it as we all screamed and dodged. All of the kids got along superbly, switching off playmate combinations in fun and flexible ways and Emerson was so sad to say goodbye to his cousins that he literally broke down sobbing. Three days after their departure, Stella is still asking if our cousins will be there whenever we go anywhere. Cousins Karina and Sullivan were so sweet to Atticus, kissing and holding him at each opportunity. What angels!

Swimming is our new favorite activity this summer. I say new because until this summer Emerson and Stella loved our little wading pool more than the big real pools and neither would ever allow his or her head to go under the water. With the beginning of our swimming lessons, they both decided, for some as yet undiscovered reason, that they were ready to go for it. Now Emerson is jumping in, going down smaller slides, and bobbing all the way under. He's constantly giving me the thumbs up sign during swimming lessons. And there is nothing cuter than Stella furiously kicking her little legs as the swim teacher guides her around the pool.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Twirly Tutu Party

Three years ago last month, our sweet Stella arrived. Her bright, beautiful eyes and natural inquisitiveness captured our hearts right away. She is an amazing sister to her two brothers, endlessly cooperating with Emerson's imaginary scenarios and forever giving love to Atticus. We feel like she has arrived at her third birthday suddenly and are constantly surprised by all she can do. When she tosses her head just right so that the curls fall back from her face, looks into our eyes and demurely says, "Sweetie, we're just going to do dress-ups now," our hearts
just melt. We celebrated her third birthday Saturday with a twirly tutu party in preparation for the dance lessons she started the following week. There is little in this world more adorable than watching six little girls assemble tutus, put them on, and then join hands and dance. Stella was on cloud nine as she danced with friends, at pizza, opened some truly special gifts, and blew out candles on her Princess Aurora birthday cake.
Emerson had his last day of preschool last month as well. He'll start kindergarten this fall and after being at the same preschool since he was two, he's a little nervous to leave his buddies behind and venture to a new school. To help him maintain some continuity with his buddies, we had Emerson do another soccer session with them and with Tad as the coach. For some u
nknown reason, Emerson decided that he's completely excited about chasing the ball this time. He gets multiple kicks each game and cheers his teammates when he's on the sideline. Tad is, as expected, an awesome coach. The kids all love to give him five after scoring a goal and they are somehow undefeated after six games.
Atticus is a perpetual motion machine, with his left leg being the driving force. When he's nursing, he kicks his left leg; when he sits in his bouncy seat, he kicks his left leg to bounce; when he's lying on a blanket, he thumps the floor with his left foot. But when he's in the bathtub he uses all four limbs to splash with such intensity that the parent bathing him ends up soaking wet. The other night we let him have some snow cone ice (his first solid experience) and he absolutely adored it, smacking his lips and grinning like a cheshire cat.
Tad's biking development continues. He's now become the canyon master, climbing at least one canyon per week in addition to his daily ride to and from work. He also finally proved his manliness in the automotive arena by successfully replacing the starter motor on his car in just over an hour. In May he and a friend also turned lumberjack and sawed down the giant dead maple trees in our front yard. The transformation is really great. Tad's also been assigned to a homicide case at work and is learning new things all the time.
I'm finding life as the mom of three really great -- not to say it isn't challenging. I just feel more confident and like I can find ways to make things work pretty well most of the time. Emerson is frequently my little helper and his help is essential. In June I had some varicose veins surgically removed and so have much less pain than I've had in six years. And after a bout of food poisoning, I'm loving running again and can't wait to get up to longer distances. I'm also enjoying our garden so much. It's such a challenge to figure out how to solve the various pest, water and sun problems presented by our various plants and I love going out in the morning to find a new zucchini or butternut squash has seemingly appeared over night.
We also celebrated the Fourth of July as well. It was so much fun to participate in the Millcreek bike and family parade, play at the park afterward, and have a great barbecue at our house that evening. Tad's brats have never tasted better and it was so delightful just to take time to talk to everyone and see the kids run wild in their bathing suits around the back yard. The highlight was definitely when Stella stripped off her suit and peed on the big pine tree in front of everyone. Ah, that's my girl.