I almost stopped blogging.... For real! Not just a whoops-two-months-went-by hiatus, like I normally do but a total delete of my blog. No more. Nada. You see, some CRAY CRAY person took my pictures and started their own blog. They stole my stories as their own... They even were pretending to be me on some on-line forums. CREEPY! Now, I never felt in danger. Just really creeped out! In the end, I decided just to move on. I had Google take down their blog and I called the DA's office and they are looking into it, but I didn't want to waste one more second of my energy worrying about it or thinking about it. And ultimately, I love my blog. It's like my journal of (most) everything that has happened in the last 4 years. I refuse to let some weirdo keep me from doing what I love!!
SO, with that being said, I am going to tell you in one post about our summer and how I did (or not did) with our bucket list!
P.S. If you are a creepy person, please stop reading and go away! (hee-hee.)
I had SUCH good intentions starting off the summer. I made my list and started checking things off. But as with everything I do, life gets in the way and I procrastinate and then we have one week left and I am hustling trying to cram something everyday!!
The majority of our summer time was spent in the pool! (They don't wear floaties anymore... I'll blog about their swim lessons later.) I am SO thankful that we bought a house with a pool! It really made the summer more bearable.
Ivy, Mitchell, Luke, Sidney and Brie
I also LOVE our community pool... Awesome lazy river and splash pad for the little ones. I did not love the blue slides you see in the background of the below pic. The kids would want to slide, then get to the top and get scared and start crying and then be afraid to climb down and cause a major traffic jam. Then the ones that finally would go down wouldn't swim very well to the side, so I would be in the water waiting at the bottom of slide and not be able to help fix the traffic jam at the top and... OY, I am tired just thinking about it!! Needless to say, I quickly put the Kibosh on the blue slides.
Our sweet neighbors went with us our first time and it was awesome with the older ones watching and entertaining the little ones. (Not to mention managing the blue slide chaos!)
Laylah, Jake, Luke and Sidney with Mine
We played outside a lot.... How many babies does it take to teeter-totter??
The kids went to summer school two days a week, so there were really only a few weeks where I had to figure out how to run my errands with them. I guess because I have gotten used to it, I always wonder why we get so much attention. Then I took this picture and saw what others see and got it. It kinda is a lot of kids! (Plus, we have to rotate seats frequently, so we are not the quietest of shoppers!)
One of the items on our bucket list that I was SO excited to do was go to the beach to build a sand castle. I really wanted to rent a house for a week, but apparently so did all of Houston. There was nothing, nothing, nothing available. (I should probably plan for next year now, but I don't think it's in my DNA to plan that far ahead.) We ended up deciding to go to the beach for just a day... We had been to Surfside before and it was so much better than Galveston in terms of clean beach and clear(ish) water that we decided to go there again. Well, we get there and all we see is piles and piles of seaweed! NO sandy beach. It was like a two feet drop off from the top of the seaweed into the water! We decided to make the most of it and it was our Uncle Damon who made the day more bearable by persistently hacking the seaweed to make a path to the ocean and by bringing his fantastic sangria!
This doesn't even do the huge amounts of seaweed justice!
For several weeks in the middle of the summer, it rained, no, it poured every day here in Houston. So we put on our rubber boots and stomped around and used mason jars to catch the obscene amount of bugs that the water brought. (I had to be very intentionally not squeamish during this process because I do not want my kids to be afraid of bugs. Of anything for that matter...)
Mitchell, Brie, Ivy, Luke and Sidney
This is the retainage ditch by our house... Completely full!
Catching and Drinking Rain Water
I also found a farmers market this summer! There are plenty in Houston, but I wanted one close. Although this one is teeny, you can order a crate and choose the 10 things that you want and pick it up on Friday and it's only $20!! I always struggle in the grosh about buying organic vs. non-organic and this is a nice little way for me not to even have to think about it and it supports local farmers.
For July 4th, we busted out the surrey and went to a parade in our subdivision with our friends RJ and Susan and Eli... It was HOT so thank goodness the parade was short!
Off We Go...
Luke, Sidney, Ivy, Brie, Eli and Mitchell
Then my brother and sis, Neal and Alit, had everyone over to their new house in Katy... I LOVE being with my family... Lots of love, amazing food and the best homemade ice cream eva!
I wish I had taken more pictures because their house is right next door to my parents house. They both have huge back yards that run into each other now! The kids have acres of yard to play in and explore and it so reminds me of growing up and exploring and playing and it makes me happy that my kids have that too. (Especially since our yard is small.) I'll show y'all pics later....
Neal, Marg, Jim, Alit
Papa's Famous Potato Salad
My Maiden Name is Hare
My Maiden Name is Hare
The Q's in the back of the Green Machine
Bibi, MarMar, Mimi, Me and Nain
We went to a bowling birthday party downtown for our cousins Ethan and Ava! First time bowling and they had a BALL! Unfortunately, the cell phone pics look awful... I tried to re-touch but they looked worse! I had to include them because it was such a great time!
Ivy, Brie, Sidney, Mitchell and Luke
I did it!!
Stephen helping get the ball down the lane before we found the big metal "hills" that the kids could roll the ball down.
Another unexpected first was riding the escalator! I didn't even realize that we hadn't ever ridden an escalator as a group until we got to the top and I expected everyone to know what to do... It was comical for a minute until Stephen and I came up with a game plan to get everyone on and standing up in one piece. HA! I never touch the side of an escalator, so to see these little hands grappling the sides grosses me out a titch, but I guess that's why they made hand sanitizer, right??
Another cousins Hello Kitty birthday party... If my girls weren't already obsessed with Hello Kitty they are now! The life size walking Hello Kitty balloon is asked for daily in our house!
Sidney, Ivy, Kaeli, Brie
I love the city! Everything about it.. the big buildings, the city noises, the hustle and bustle, the interesting people! I would live there if I could... I always say when we are millionaires, I'll have an apartment in the city in addition to our kid house!
Well, I figured mine were old enough to go exploring our city. So I called my faithful side kick sister Amy and we headed for downtown Houston. Our plan of attack was (a.) ride the light rail, (b.) view the observation deck on the 60th floor of the Chase building and (c.) dinner in a kid friendly restaurant with sand box and view of the light rail for entertainment. But after (a.) and (b.) we were so wiped out and had no more energy for wrangling kids... We will try (c.) another time.
The kids really loved the adventure and I loved exposing them to new and different things. They saw things they had never seen before, like facial piercings (Mommy, she has sparkles all over her face! - Sidney) and electric wheel chairs (MOM! That chair is moving all by itself! - Mitchell) and an intoxicated weird man wagging his finger in Brie's face after she stuck her tongue out at me. (Not something I was thrilled about, but I haven't seen her do it since. Ha!)
It's always amazing to see things through their eyes... Almost like it's your first time experiencing it too!
Mitchell, Ivy, Brie, Luke, Aiden, Sideny, Brynne
At Aunt MarMar's Alma Mater
Aunt Mimi With Ivy Brie and Brynne
On Light Rail
Mitchell and Aiden
Me with Sidney and Luke
Amy with the crew in front of (chopped off) Chase Building.
Staring down at the teeny people and cars.
Our final outing of the summer... The Blue Bell Creamery. It is about an hour away in a town called Brenham. I loved going here when I was little, so I wondered if it would be the same... It's better! They take you on a tour of the factory to see how all of the ice cream is made and then they let you try the ice cream. I remember having a little individual serving with the pull off lid and a small wooden spoon, but now they have 20 different flavors that you can choose and get a huge portion. And trust me, it doesn't get any better than ice cream right off the line! I think my favorite was Susan's peach cobbler...
If you have kids and live close, you MUST go! (Blue Bell Creamery)
Trying all the flavors... Everyone shared with everyone... SO cute!
Luke, Sidney, Ivy, Aiden, Brie, Mitchell, Brynne, Eli
My always-by-your-side-helping-chase-kids friends!
Me, Amy, Susan
And lastly, I went through a funk that felt like lasted forever, but realistically was most of the summer! I couldn't shake it. Just going through the motions. Lots of play dates intended but not scheduled, lunches with girlfriends missed and promises not kept and I really hate that. But I am snapping out of it and forgiving myself for a not so perfect summer! I have found my smile and am ready to embrace the fall. (Does that mean pumpkin spice lattes are here?!?)
My Peeps and me!