The boys turned 8 in Orlando at Universal Studios….It was so fun! We tackled the Harry Potter stuff and they were on cloud 9 (or platform 9 3/4). The boys got to go to the wand store and because it was their birthday, they had a private ceremony of the wand picking them. I think that was their BEST memory. They loved the train ride between the parks. It felt like you were a part of the movie. They were a little nervous about the simulator rides…well to be honest more like a LOT nervous. Ben also didn’t care for the fire breathing dragon. It may have been a little too real for him.
We didn’t tell the kids we were going till the night before we left. It was such a fun surprise.
I am not sure how this happened, but we are already at the start of October. YIKES! Here are a some fun things that happened:
- We went to Omaha for a whirlwind day over Labor Day. It was quick but fun to be with family. We got to meet our new niece and spend quality time with Lynn before she passed away.
- We created the “Wakonda Quad” then accomplished it: tennis, swim, golf, and dinner all in one day. So fun!
- We started soccer for the kiddos and volleyball for Livi. It’s been fun to watch all the activities.
- We celebrated Grandshe’s BIG 7-0 in a BIG way. Party, family pictures, mother daughter pedicures (that might have been my fav). By the end of the celebration, I think she felt all the love.
- We sent Livi off to her first homecoming (our first to send a kid).
Things I don’t want to forget:
- Ben pretends the “audience” at soccer games are strictly there for him. He puts on his own half time show on the way to the bench to talk to his coach. One handed cart wheels, round offs, and a BIG wave and kisses blown to the parents before his water break.
- Will had to make a church at religious ed and list all the people that support him and lift him up. At the top of his list was his friends Luke and Blake then family. It completely melted my heart and makes me so thankful he loves his buddies.
- Josie was at the store with me and I told her she could pick out a bouncy ball. One was more expensive than the other, so I said “What’s the difference”? I was thinking why was one more expensive than the other, what does this one do that that one doesn’t? Without hesitation, Josie said “Three dollars!” I couldn’t stop laughing. She said “I thought you were giving me a pop quiz.”
On August 11th we welcomed Livi from Switzerland into our home for the school year. The idea of having a Foreign Exchange Student came this summer, but we were thinking of doing it in a couple of years. After playing on the website for a few weeks, we decided to request more information. I emailed on a Thursday, had a conversation that afternoon, filled out paperwork on Friday, had a home inspection on Saturday, and by the following Tuesday we found out Livi would be living with us starting three weeks later!
Since Livi’s arrival, here are a few things we’ve done:
- Took a surprise trip to Orlando to go to Universal Studios, 5 days after she arrived.
- Started school
- Started volleyball
- Lake weekend at our friend’s cabin
- Tried a donut (her favorite new food)
We are learning how to have a teenager (a few years earlier than planned) as well as having 4 kids. We think it will be a great adventure for all of us. #bemispartyofsix
We are getting closer to the end of summer and I don’t think any of us want it to be over! We are having a blast. Here are our July highlights:
- 4th of July weekend, we went to our friend’s lake house. They have all the fun lake toys: boat, tube, kayak, stand up paddle board…the kids were entertained (and so were the parents). We got to watch fireworks from the boat in the middle of the lake. Wendy and I did early morning walks. It was a perfect get-a-way.
- On the 4th of July, Ben had his debut show of synchronized swimming. He rocked it! He had a solo to the Lion King’s “I just can’t wait to be King”, duet to “Anything you can do, I can do better”, and a group dance to “Cuban Pete”. The team welcomed him with open arms and Ben had the time of his life! At the end of the season, he ended up getting first in all of the above for his age division against the other country clubs.
- The boys finished up their swim team season. They had so much fun. I loved having something to do everyday at the start of summer, now I am looking forward to more down time and hanging at home.
- Josie and Will wrapped up golf lessons. They both got 2nd place in their age division in the final competition.
- I rode my bike across Iowa, well part of Iowa. RAGBRAI was fantastic.
- Billy got in as much golf as he could.
Josie is officially 10. We celebrated here, there, and everywhere!
We started with her very first slumber party. The girls had a blast and are such a great group. They did essential oil roller balls, painted a picture frame, ate lots of treats, hit a piñata, played outside, and watched a movie. Everyone was a sleep by 10:30pm – SCORE!
Josie’s actual birthday was celebrated in Alabama. She loved having her extended family with her! She rode go karts and ate cake by the ocean…which was one of her wishes. When we got back home and Grandshe returned from Spain, we celebrated at home with Grandshe.
Things about Josie:
- She is still the kind caring kid we all love
- She is still an old soul
- She still has a gift with music, she can call out a song a few chords in. Especially oldies.
- She’s really into reading the Sisters Grimm and Harry Potter
- She is playing piano really well
- She loves sports, but would pick watching a movie any day
- She makes us very proud
What an amazing trip to the Gulf Shore. We would definitely go back again. It was the kind of trip you don’t need a vacation from your vacation when you get home, so relaxing! The ocean was so peaceful and spending time with our extended family was just what we needed. Even Josie said her favorite thing was spending time with everyone outside of the holidays.
- Billy kayaked in the ocean a TON. He took out the kids (especially the boys) and the two of us got out there twice.
- Josie officially turned 10 in Alabama, how cool is that?
- Joanne and Ben put on a tap dance to Elvis Presley’s “Teddy Bear”. It may be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
- We had a fun parents night out while Grandma, Grandpa, and Josie watched the kids.
- Lots of fun on the beach! We took a sand castle class, we played soccer, raced, walked, and so much more.
- Uncle Johnny knocked his tooth out when a big wave hit his Stand Up Paddle Board. Luckily, the tooth stuck in the board!
- The boys had a peanut scare that involved me having to stab them in the thigh with EPI Pens as we drove down the highway to the ER. Will unbuckled his seat belt and later told us he was going to jump in the trunk. I stabbed him about 4 times before realizing I was using the one I already did on Ben. Ben’s entered above his knee cap versus on his thigh (he kept guarding his thigh) so his knee was sore for a day. The check in nurse said, “You’ll hurting anywhere besides where mama stabbed you?!” The doctor said I saved their lives and I cried.
Ben had his second recital at Capital City Dance Center and once again proclaimed he is made for the stage. He had so much fun.
In December, Billy took Ben to the Nutcracker at the Civic Center to see our friend Lucy in it. In August, Ben is old enough to try out for the Nutcracker, here’s his latest Google search:
“How tall do you have to be to be a rat in the Nut Cracker at the Civic Center” This was after he brought the program (from last December) to the park for his own rehearsal.
On stage, rehearsal, and my fav pic from observation week.