28 July 2008

Zach's totally awesome birthday party!

We made up for Zach's traveling birthday by having an awesome laser tag birthday party at ZapZone. You can see my stellar birthday cake making skills with Zach's baseball birthday cake. He thought it was awesome!
Zach has been hoping for a laser tag birthday party for over a year, and the reality was just as fun as he hoped it would be! Any game with strategy, really cool gear and teams with a flag, and he's in!
It must definitely be a boy thing! Based on the very high decibel level that they were describing their amazing moves and comparing scores, I would say they all had a good time!
There's nothing like glow in the dark to make everything much cooler!

Finally- food storage!

Will gave me this great food storage unit for my birthday in February. We finally put it up in July. We are so on top of it!! I am really excited to get all of our food storage organized in our food storage room. The only problem is, the kids will actually know what food we have down there now, and it might disappear faster now!

A traveling birthday

Zach had an interesting 9th birthday this year. He turned 9 at 1:36 am and wanted to be awake at the exact moment. We were traveling back from Missouri and he set his alarm. The alarm went off on his watch, but he didn't wake up. He was all the way in the back of the minivan where we couldn't reach him and so we just got to listen to the alarm for awhile. We finally got him to wake up, celebrated by singing and eating a cookie, and he was soon back to sleep. We got to Grandma and Grandpa's in Indiana after 2 in the morning and got up to go to 9:00 church. We barely made it through Sacrament Meeting. Dad was sitting next to me and the only time I think that he was awake was when I poked him. We gave up and went back to mom and dad's and took a long nap. Grandma helped Zach's birthday feel a little more like a celebration when she made him homemade cinnamon rolls. Every time we see her, he begs her to make them, so he was happy!
I love this picture of the kids with Grandpa sitting on the front porch of their house. They love their grandparents!
Ashley and Natalie felt sorry for Zach that he would spend his whole birthday in the car driving back to Michigan, so they planned a little "car party" for him while we drove, complete with confetti (we're still finding remnants!!) They made up a game they played with him and then watched "National Treasure II" on the DVD player.
We're so glad that Zach is in our family. He definitely adds a mischievous spirit, but also a sweet one. We needed a boy in the family with all these girls. He keeps the girls on their toes with his teasing!

Our Fun Fourth of July!

A vacation with the Herveys just wouldn't be complete without Robert making us his fantastic ribs! We went to Meramac State Park where Robert and Amy were great hosts. They knew just the right places to go and what to do. Roberts ribs were heaven, even for me (and I'm not a big rib eater) and Zach couldn't have been happier.

Has anyone seen Glen or Zach!?
The kids had so much fun playing! I loved just hanging out with family and talking with mom and dad, Amy and Robert and Will. Elise is a mommy's girl and never strayed far from my side.
Afton and Ashley made a very cool fort, but come to think of it, I never saw any kid ever actually go inside it. Of course we had to make the best of the typical brother/sister rivalry and play boys against girls in capture the flag.
We brought our stomp rockets, and I don't know who had more fun doing it- the kids or the adults! I think that Ashley was the best at getting them to go really far, but I think that there at the end Will was catching up. Grandpa liked the hand-held rockets, and Mom and I had a good laugh acting like kids and shooting each other with the squeeze rockets.
We ended our picnic with a great game of softball, and it was fun to see that I could still hit the ball. Will and Grandpa hit home runs every time. We had to remind Ashley and Zach that it was all in good fun when they got a little too competitive!
We all watched fireworks together in a little tiny town and loved spending time together. We sure wish we could see the Herveys more often. It was a great 4th! Happy Birthday America!

27 July 2008

The Guys' Night Out

Our first night in Missouri, the guys got together for a great guys' night out, while the girls stayed home and had a pizza and movie party. Will scored four tickets to a Cardinals game, and they even got to be in a suite! I think that the endless supply of wings and brats may have excited Glen and Zach more than the actual game, and Will and Robert enjoyed the game, soft seats, food and good company.

Swimming in Missouri

We had so much fun visiting the Herveys the first weekend in July!! It was so much fun for cousins that don't see each other very often to spend time together. We went swimming in nearby Union, and because of the threat of rain, had the pool nearly to ourselves. Since Kristine and Natalie were the most timid in the water, they were a perfect pair (and so cute, too!).
Glen and Zach were so glad to have a boy somewhat close to their age to hang out with, especially since they are both always surrounded by sisters! They got along great!
Ashley and Afton were inseperable! They are both so cute and interested in the same things, and only a month and a half apart in age.
Hollis is quite a little swimmer and showed us her great backstroke. She a little smartie, too!
Elise and Will had a great time together as well. Elise loved the slide and went on it over, and over, and over. Amy and I loved spending time together, too. I have such great sisters, who are also my best friends. Her little Will is cute enough to steal a few hearts!

25 July 2008

Fun in Indianapolis

My sister, Sarah, and I enjoy spending time together. I also love hanging out with my sisters Michelle and Christine who were also there, but were busy chasing kids. We took all of our kids to "Jump and Play" where the kids were in heaven. I loved snuggling my cute little nephew!

Zach, David, Ashley and Brayden are cousins that have a really great time together. They wish they lived closer and could hang out more often.
My cute nephew, Garrett, never stopped running, jumping and sliding. This was a perfect playground for a little boy who's autism makes this kind of environment heaven!
Natalie and Rachel are our two little princesses. They wouldn't believe anyone who told them otherwise!!
Elise loved going up and down the bouncy blow ups, especially with big sister, Ashley. Here she was brave enough to go down on her own.

Ann Arbor Hands On Museum

On July 1st, the kids and I went on a field trip to the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum. We had to have the house clean and car packed before we left because we were leaving straight from there to head down to Indianapolis and then to Missouri for a little vacation. I loved this picture of Elise and Natalie, the two little buddies.
One of our favorite things at the museum was standing on this platform and pulling on a chain, which would bring a hoop up around you and encase you in a giant bubble. We got our money's worth out of this one!
Another favorite was making faces in a giant pincushion thing (I can't remember what it's called!!). The kids got a big kick out of making funny faces and then pushing their faces into the back of this thing. In the picture above, Ashley's face is in the top and then Zach and Natalie's are on the bottom. We had lots of fun!

24 July 2008

Oval Beach

We spent a wonderful afternoon at the pristine Oval Beach where we could hardly get Zach or Grandpa out of the water. Elise loved the sand, but wasn't so sure about the waves, although by the end she was getting braver and would sit in the surf.
Kids don't think like adults! They loved being buried in the sand, crawling in it, digging in it and getting covered in it head to toe. Adults still love playing in it, butare more worried about having the itchy sand all over them and no way to shower off before a long ride home. Kids just live in the moment and love it!
Natalie liked going in the water, as long as she had a firm grip on Grandpa.
It doesn't get much better than the beach on a beautiful day! We didn't want to leave!

Saugatuck, Michigan

Saugatuck is such a charming little town and very artsy. It is a great place to walk around and shop, even dad enjoyed all of the little stores and art galleries. Natalie loved this store's display, since she is all about "fashion"!!
Our noses led us to the most divine smell, a chocolate shop with homemade chocolate, fudge and ice cream. YUM! We all got some ice cream and then ate it in a little sculpture park. Natalie and Grandma loved their raspberry sorbet.
Zach chose cookie dough, his favorite, but our little cookie monster ate more of it than he would have liked!
We went on a ferry ride on the river and then out onto Lake Michigan. It was so relaxing and fun to see all of the cool homes on the water (my someday dream is to have a home on the water).
Natalie was tired and loved snuggling up to Grandpa.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!

Happy 35th Anniversary Mom and Dad! We're so glad that we were able to celebrate with you!!

Saugatuck Dune Rides

On the 20th of June, Zach, Natalie, Elise and Jennifer (me) met my mom and dad in Saugatuck, Michigan for a very fun day! Will and Ashley missed out on the fun and we missed having them with us. Ashley had a softball tournament in Livonia that weekend. Our first fun activity was the Saugatuck Dune Rides, a really fun ride through the sand dunes on a stretch jeep. We all loved it, except for Natalie who was scared when we went flying down hills or around corners.
At one point, we were able to get out and play in the sand. Elise loved running her fingers through the sand and didn't want to get back into the jeep.
There was a very steep dune to run down, and mom and dad had a great time jumping down it.
We will definitely have to go back and take Ashley and Will. Our driver was a real character and kept us laughing and the drive was pretty and really, really fun!

Father's Day

Our kids may be biased, but they know that they have the best Daddy in the world!! We loved celebrating his special day with him, especially the pool tournament we had at the end of the day in the basement. Will loves the kids and loves to spend time with them, especially doing active things like playing pool, ping pong or foosball, or throwing the ball around or shooting a little hoops. He is so good to them and we are so glad to have him!xoxoxox
Will had been talking to someone on the phone and Natalie was waiting for him to carry her up to bed. She didn't quite make it up!! One minute, she was playing on the stairs with her toys, the next, Will was quietly calling to me, "Quick, Jen, you've got to see this!"

The end of a great soccer season!

Zach had a really fun soccer season this year, with Will as the head coach again. They had their best season yet and ended up with an 8-0 record. Undefeated!! They all really improved and had a really good time. They are a great bunch of boys and the parents are all really great, too.
Natalie had fun playing soccer, but probably most of the fun came from waving at the crowd and rolling down the hill in between. She was awfully cute!
Will coached her team, too, and learned not to get frustrated when Natalie was too busy looking at the crowd to notice where the soccer ball was! He did a great job.
Zach's team had an end of the season barbeque, where they presented Will with a ball they had all signed. It was a really good experience for both Will and Zach.