Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Lake

My little guys love the lake.  Actually, that's an understatement...they want to live at the lake, grow fins, and swim, swim, swim forever.  At the lake they loose all of their fears of the water and they become these brave little fishies that can swim, jump underwater, go out into the 'deep end' without mom or dad, and float in the sun without a care in the world. 

 Our friends are so kind, so welcoming.  And, every year {it's been so many, I can't remember the first time we were there}, they invite us to visit them at 'the lake'....or as Parker says, "Ben and Junelle's Lake"...or as Brandon says, "The Potato Lake"....officially named Pomme De Terre.

This year was especially fun.  What made it so fun?  My little guys and our wonderful friends.

Both of the boys enjoyed every minute of our time at the lake.

Andrew's favorite thing to do at the lake...that's easy.  Andrew enjoyed walking out into the water, with his little water shoes, and obnoxious {hand-me-down}  Looney Tunes life jacket, to throw rocks.  This little guy, he threw more rocks than any boy I know and I am honestly surprised there are still rocks on this beach.

His other favorite thing to do: Throw rocks in the water and watch Bella jump in after them.

 This guy loves his dog.  He really loves his dog when she is swimming and diving for rocks.  He laughed and laughed and laughed at our Bella girl.

And, what did Parker enjoy this year? 

Swimming.  Freedom.  And, feeling like a big guy.  Parker must have swum back and forth from the shore line to the ladder on the dock 50 times.  First, he had to use the noodle, but as the day went on, he became that brave fish and he lost that noodle - announcing to everyone that he could swim to the dock without it! 

As a mom, this kinda freaks me out.  My Parker no longer needs me to hold him while he swims...he can do it on his own...I don't even need to be in the water...or near him...and if I even tried, he wouldn't allow it.  Big guy.  I think he grew 5 inches this weekend.

Here's what we {Brandon and I} enjoy: The quiet and peaceful environment at the lake.  It's totally laid back.  We love our dear friends who are more than that, they are our family.  We love their families that are so welcoming and who feel like long-lost aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas...although they are of no relation to us.  We love the food.  The smiles.  The water.  The boat rides.  The late nights laughing and being silly with friends.  Chasing fireflies.  Cooking some S'Mores.  
 {View from the shore.}

We loved the new 'Island Oasis' that we brought to the lake.  We love the dogs.  We love the swimming.  We love the way our boys are at the lake and every second that we get to spend with them, having fun and loving nature.  We love the golf cart rides and the 'lake neighborhood'.  We love it that Ben always has a project going, Junelle always watches out for the boys, and Jayma is always giving out hugs and kisses to my guys.  The boys love these friends and they mean so much to us.

 {The Island Oasis}

 {Morning Fishing}

{Our home away from home.}

 {Andrew was stomping on bugs.}

{Andrew was smiling on his first boat ride.}

{It was a windy ride.}


 {We enjoy staying up late enough to watch - and catch- the hundreds of fire flies that come out at dusk.}

{I love this view!}

{Swimming, swimming, swimming!}

We love the lake and all of the memories it holds.  Thank you for this, sweet friends {Ben, Junelle, and Jayma} - we'll see you at the lake in August!

Friday, June 22, 2012


I love going through the photos on my phone and last night, the little boys and I were doing that...laughing at the silly faces they make, admiring the cute ones, and while doing this I found some videos that I've been wanting to share, but just haven't had a good moment to do so...

Here is Andrew in motion on the Jumping Pillow!

This is Parker and his friend Carter at the swimming pool.  We were getting ready to leave and they kept jumping...one more time...one more time, mom, please?!

And, here is one of my favorites.  This is just us, hanging out in the morning.  Being silly {Although Parker acted like he 'really' didn't want his picture taken}.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Silly Andrew!

Andrew loves doing this.  Maybe it's because he's just learned how to throw his leg up and climb up the ottoman.  Maybe he's watched one too many Wipeout shows with his brother.  Either way, he is silly. 

Every time he says something like, "ow!" or, "oh!", but he climbs back up and does it again.  Silly Andrew!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Camp at the Farm

I believe this is the 3rd year now.  The 3rd Annual Summer Camp at the Farm.  Four days when my Mom and my Step-Dad loose their minds and decide to take on four little boys.  What I love about this is that I remember spending time at my grandparent's farm when I was a child.  I remember climbing the fence to feed the horses, climbing on the hay stacks, finding a snake in the barn {eeek!}, wearing grandma's oversized hats, eating stuff I was never allowed to eat at home, having sleepovers on the floor, and just being a kid on a farm.  Those are memories I hold dear to my heart, especially now that my grandpa has passed and those memories are all that I have.

I love summer camp because it's a tradition for these boys.  It's something they look forward to every summer and they know that they'll get to spend time with their cousins {without parents}, they'll get to stay up late, eat popsicles, swim in the {teeny tiny} pool, take care of the animals, and be super duper silly.  It's something they will always treasure and something they will remember about their grandparents when they are grown.

Because I don't know all of the stories behind these photos, I can't give you my words to go with these photos, so I've asked Parker to help me out.

Here we go.

This one is easy.  Every year the boys paint a bench that will forever be on the farm.  The put the year and their hand prints and they write their own names.  They wear old, big shirts and get paint everywhere, but this is something they look forward to every year.

 This is Parker and Grandpa in the garden.  My mom has a wonderful garden.  It is full of cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach/salad, peas, zucchini, onions, garlic, and so much more.  These boys will go out there, pick a pea off of the vine and eat it.  Just like that.  No ranch dressing needed.

These boys love to be outdoors.  And, when it's hot, they need shade.  Never mind that there are huge trees out at the farm.  They make a tent out of an old sheet, grab their coloring books and spend the afternoon coloring in their tent.  This was day one.

This is Andrew and Grandpa going to visit the goats.  What is it about goats?  I'll tell you.  They are gentle.  They will eat leaves out of your hand {or anything else for that matter}.  Baby goats will run and jump and play like a puppy.  And, they are cute {kinda}.

 My sweet little Andrew loves hats.  But, I never knew he loved to play the kazoo while wearing a hat.  This is a talent he acquired while at summer camp.  Let's just say we left the kazoos at the farm.

This is a kazoo band.  They love to play the kazoo in their pajamas.  What more do I need to say?

This year at summer camp the boys made visors.  They are very pretty.  Sparkley.  They have planets and letters on them, with no rhyme or reason.  I love the visor because it gets these boys crafty.  Oh, and they are awfully good piano players...with their visors on.

Here is Parker and Cameron painting the bench.  Parker says: "Mom, first you have to brush the bench to get the old paint off.  Then you can put the new paint on.  It's dusty."

What is is about a swimming pool and {lack of} swim trunks for these boys?  Every year they end up swimming in their skivvies.  I swear...one day these photos will resurface...like at a high school graduation party or when I hot date arrives.  Rest assured, those Super Man undies will go down in the scrapbook hall of fame.

Every year the boys make a tie-dyed shirt.  This year they made 4, each.  They also eat lemonade popsicles, made by grandma.  In this photo, Andrew looks like a loner...or maybe those big boys ran him off.  Either way, it makes me want to run over and snuggle him!

Parker said they are eating more popsicles and goat watching in this photo.  Sounds good to me!

This was their last day at summer camp.  When we pick them up, they are very stinky, sweaty, tired boys.  Their cheeks are sun-kissed, they have a few chiggers, and they are wearing rubber boots.   They are dirty, sticky, and they look like they haven't slept in days.  But, know this, they look about a foot taller, have huge smiles on their faces, and their hearts are full of love from their grandparents who decided to give up their four days to focus on their grandsons.

One photo says it all...


Thanks Grandma Robbie and Grandpa Mahlon for volunteering to have summer camp at your house every year.  This is a tradition that will last forever {or at least until they're 18 years old}.  As the boys grow up, they are going to treasure these moments even more.  You are the best and these boys know it!  They love you so so much!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jellystone Park

When we heard there was a Jellystone Park in Lawrence, we knew we needed to plan a trip this summer, so we put it on the calendar for Father's Day Weekend and booked a spot for the camper.

If you have kids....and love the outdoors...and you don't want to travel far...this is the place for you.

We went swimming, had ice cream with Yogi, Boo Boo, and Cindy, did crafts in Yogi's bear den, played tether ball, and played shuffle board.

But, our favorite thing about Jelllystone.....the Jumping Pillow!

I've never seen anything like this before.  Look at the air our Super Dad is getting on this thing!

We had a hard time prying the kids away from this giant pillow full of air.

{Look at that form.  Parker is destined to be a runner.}

Andrew's favorite- running back and fourth, back and fourth, as fast as he could and falling down every time one of the big kids jumped his way.  Saying, "ow", and then laughing like the silly little boy he is.

So. Much. Fun.

I do believe that we have the makings of a tether ball champion.  When was the last time you played tether ball?  For me, I think it was in 6th grade.

That's the huge jumping pillow on the right....and my sweet Andrew on the left {and, all of our swimming gear, right there in the middle...make yourselves at home, Riffels.}

Look at this guy's face when we tried to tell him that we were done jumping for the day...

When we told him it was time to eat, he perked right up!

While Andrew was napping, Parker got to go eat ice cream with Yogi.  I have another silly son.

We got a shot with Yogi and his friends.

We got to ride a firetruck with Boo Boo...and sing songs...and wave at all of the campers.  Parker wanted to ride again.  {That's Parker in the Super Man shirt....all of my men wore those shirts on Saturday and I loved it.}

They had these awesome bikes that you could rent and ride around the campground.  I think Brandon and my sister Lauryn had as much fun riding as Parker did.

Don't forget the S'Mores!  We ate them.  Marshmallows and all.

Our sweet Bella girl came along!  She's such a good doggy!

We got dirty.  Really dirty.

So then we took baths in the camper...look at that white tushy!

And, before we left, we even had time to feed some fish with Yogi.

Isn't this what it's all about?  Creating memories with our kids that they will never forget.  Jellystone Park does this.  Just ask Parker and Andrew {and all of the kids we met}.