Summer of Fun. One of my most favorite times of the year. :)
To be honest, I was a little worried about this year's Summer of Fun. I mean, I'm planning for a soon-to-be seven-year-old (Friday!), a five-year-old, a seventeen-month-old, and a four-month-old (that I'm nursing). And I'm responsible for all of them! But I have to say: so far, so good. I think it's been so long since we've had a summer where I wasn't pregnant (two years!) that I'd forgotten how much easier it is to get around and manage the heat and actually have energy when there's a not another human being growing inside of you! Don't get me wrong: everyone's had to practice a little bit of patience and it takes a little more planning on my part (we can't just walk out the door on a whim) but our summer sure is shaping up nicely!
We followed up the cruise with a series of pretty fun (and cheap/free) events last week. The one thing that is more difficult for me now that I'm simultaneously keeping an eye on the big kids, sprinting after Emmy, and making sure Thatch is in a safe place is taking pictures. I've resorted to my phone quite a few times but did manage to remember my actual camera a couple of days last week.
On Monday (after a trip to the doc to check out Thatchy Buddy's lungs--he had a cold he just couldn't shake), we met the Lockharts and my BWF (best work friend), Jennifer, and her two kids at Everland Play, which just might end up being my new go-to indoor play spot. It was impeccably clean and there was TONS of stuff to do...dress up clothes, slides, ball pits, a jumping pillow, art stations...you name it, they most likely had it. And we got in for cheap with a great Groupon I purchased last month! I think it's safe to say that this year's Summer of Fun is sponsored by Groupon. I'm not sure how I managed before Groupons were around.
Anyway, we spent the morning playing our hearts out before making the (somewhat poor) decision to hit up Which Wich for lunch. Jennifer and I love Which Wich and eat their quite frequently at work and Ben and I have even taken the kids quite a few times...but nine kids and three adults at a sandwich shop where you write down your own orders during the lunchtime rush probably isn't something we're going to repeat again. Nothing terrible happened--the kids were well behaved--but it was just a little too stressful for my taste.
But even the lunchtime experience couldn't dampen our Everland fun! Below are the memories I captured on my phone. I'm sure will be returning again soon!
On Tuesday, I promised the kids a trip to the library once we finished up with Thatcher's follow-up appointment at the pediatrician. I failed to consider the library's actual operating hours, though, so we pulled up and had about two hours to kill before we could check out any books. :( I made the quick decision to and postpone our library visit until after naps and hit up the playground instead. (See, I can go off schedule!) We had fun exploring a new-to-us playset and made it home in time for lunch and naps/room time.
Once we were well rested and had finished our afternoon snack, we headed back to the library to sign up for the summer reading program, check out a few books, and enjoy some of the quiet activities there. My little Emmy has basically become Harris' shadow. If he can do it, so can she.
The kids decided to work on some of the activity sheets they received as part of their summer reading packet when we got home. The library is one of my very favorite places to have summer fun!
Thatchy Buddy did a great job supervising all the coloring. :)
On Wednesday, we cashed in some "punches" on the Aurora Theater punch card Mom purchased the kids forever ago. We had front row seats to "The Air Up There" science experiment show. We've been to The Aurora Theater for Christmas performances before but this was our first time taking part in their Children's Playhouse Summer Series. We'll definitely be making this outing a permanent addition!
The show basically consisted of a "scientist" performing all different kinds of experiments involving air. There was lots of audience involvement and all of the kids (even Doe!) were mesmerized the entire time (I think being on the front row helped!).
For Thursday's outing (yes, I like to get out of the house at least once a day!) we headed to INK with Jennifer and the Lockharts. INK is always one of my favorite places to go and it's such a great fit for my entire crew! We got smart and packed a lunch this time and our kids played and played and played...we ended up not leaving until around 1:30, which is waaaay into nap times for my babies! Emmy didn't bat an eye, though...she was having way too much fun!!
Harris and Quinn were cracking me up. They have suddenly become "big kids" and were walking around that place as if they owned it. Harris later told me they were planning on walking up to the "daycare kids" (not sure where he heard that phrase...I mean, what did he think Primrose was?!?!?!?!) and using their middle names as fake identities to say things like, "Hey, my name's Ethan and you need to get off this plane." I don't think they actually went through with it but we still had a talk about rude behavior. It cracks me up that they thought to use their middle names, though!
Emmy caught a quick catnap on the ride home and by the time we made back it to the house it was close enough to afternoon snack time that we decided to swing by Johnny's to see Auntie and grab some dough balls.
We pretty much devoured them.
On Friday we once again joined forces with the Lockhart girls and went to the Brown Bag Concert on the square. We packed picnic lunches (I cheated and brought McDonald's chicken nuggets) and spent a couple of hours on the lawn listening to live "island music," dancing, playing instruments, and enjoying the free crafts and crazy hair and face painting booths.
The kids even got in on a little limbo action (my three somehow ended up in charge of the pole!) and paraded around the lawn with their "island" instruments, too!
Thankfully, the day was slightly overcast so we didn't completely sweat to death. By the time it was over, though, I'd pretty much had my fill of the outdoors for the day. :)
I am loving the loose "schedule" I've created for the day as well as the weekly menu (that includes our plan for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert every day!). Ben (and a few of my friends) got a pretty good laugh out of all my planning, but I figure I'm only two kids away from the number my state-certified in-home childcare provider keeps so I better have my act together! And so far, it's worked out beautifully! In addition to our outing, each day also includes "room time" (naps for the babies and, literally, time in their rooms for Harry and Babe) and "workbook time" (Harris and Hadley typically complete about two pages a day in the summer workbooks I purchased for them). I also take the whole crew to the gym twice a week (I get to go on my own the rest of the time!).
Here's hoping the rest of the summer is as great as this past week was!!!
Summer of Fun forever!