Start of Summer

Why, hello world!

How have you been?

Is your summer off to a good start?

Ours has been delightful. Truly.

In the interest of being completely truthful I will admit that we have had one bad, bad day. The kids weren’t on their best behavior and apparently mommy wasn’t either. (“Dear Heavenly Father please remove the memory of this wretched day from their sweet little heads…”) But we got some bad choices out of our systems, learned a lot from it, and have forgiven each other and moved on to better times. Hallelujah.

Other than that one day it’s been so, so fun! I love having all of my little duckies with me!

Favorite things so far include:

-The reinstatement of nighttime reading to Jack and Aly!


During the school year the boys read to themselves before bed, (Jack is almost done with the Harry Potter series! I have mixed feelings about it… you can ask me sometime.) but they decided they’d like me to read to them again during the summer. We have started with The Mysterious Benedict Society and are totally loving it.

-Watching sibling relationships blossom. For the most part we have had little contention and lots of love. I am so, so proud of them! It has been especially wonderful for me to see the older boys include and dote on Truman and Dorothy. Seriously. Is there anything better to a mom than watching her children be friends with and serve each other?!?

– Finding our groove and balance between play, work, and re-cooping. We play hard. We work hard. We relax and have alone time too. It’s been a bit of trial and error but I think I can see a pattern developing that seems to work for us. And I am also pretty good at reading their cues of when we need more or less of something.

-Enjoying the absolutely perfect weather we’ve been having. Upper 70’s-mid 80’s in JUNE? In ILLINOIS?!? Whaaaaaaat? Yes, please! We’ll take it!

The first day of summer break we wanted to make special with a trip to Homer Lake Park. Unfortunately it was raining in Homer, sooooooo…. we improvised! We took a walk to a favorite gazebo and had lunch:


(Energy Bites, String Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes, Bell Peppers and Pineapple — Lunch: Ashlee’s New Favorite Thing!)

Truman and I had made the energy bites together that morning. He and Alaster are my two right hand men in the kitchen:


Then while the babies napped Jack and Aly made a treasure hunt for each other. I donated all of the spare change in my wallet for treasure (I let them keep it and was dubbed the coolest mom in the world. Sometimes it’s so easy to please!) and they each made 5 clues for each other around our house. I wish I had captured more of Aly’s clues before they got thrown away. His were so, so darling! He tried to be poetic and mysterious. I was impressed!


Then Jack did some creating (because he wouldn’t be Jack if a day went by without making something!). Can you guess what it is?


It’s a top made of a toothpick and masking tape! It worked surprisingly well 🙂

We also tried to make jello dinosaurs. It was a failure but we had fun anyhow!

The next day all was well in Homer so off we went. We enjoyed a hike to the lake:


And then skipping rocks at the lake when we arrived. Jack is an expert rock skipper. It’s amazing. That kid can do anything he tries. The rest of us did our best. He really wanted to teach me, but I am just not so good I’m afraid!


We did this for about 20 minutes until we noticed where everyone else was playing at the lake… a really, really fun play-scape on the other side. We wanted to go, but that meant hiking back to the car and driving over. Everyone was on board. Everyone except…. Truman. Oh man was he upset! He just wanted to throw rocks until the cows came home. He bawled the entire. way. back. I ended up having to give Dorothy and her stroller to a very obliging Jack (“Don’t worry mom, I’ve got her. I can do it! It’ll be fun!”) and carrying that kid the whole way. Truman is the sweetest boy on the planet. Except when he isn’t 🙂 And thank Heaven for Jack!

Never fear! We made it to the playscape area and there was still a lake and still plenty of rocks to throw into said lake for Truman. But first… some lunch!


On the menu: Egg Salad Sandwiches (with Romaine Lettuce so the bread didn’t get mushy!), Whole Wheat Banana Nut Muffins, Kiwis and Baby Carrots.

That collage is somewhat of a lie. Yes, we all sat down together to start, but they didn’t last too long when there was so much fun to be had! Every once and a while someone would return to the blanket for a bite and then off they went again!

Aly did the most exploring of the play-scape. It had lots of fun, different fun areas and Aly went to them all!


Truman did nothing but throw rocks in the lake. Seriously. He would run up to his favorite rock spot then run back down and toss it in. “I frow ’em in Mommy! Wook! A big one!” “A frow away!” This place was huge and keeping an eye on him was a large concern. I didn’t want him accidentally falling in the lake when I wasn’t looking (You are in wonder at what a good mom I am, right?) so sometimes I had to persuade him throwing rocks in the waterfall or sitting down to eat for a second was acceptable (it would work for about 2-3 minute intervals, but that was usually enough to get us through!). But mostly… the lake it was! And every morning since going to Homer he has asked me “A pway wocks today?” (play rocks today?) Jack has even taught him to skip them in a little pool of water in our backyard. It’s pretty danged cute!


Jack was most excited about playing in the waterfall and exploring the untamed areas around the playscape. As you can see he also found a stick and perfectly shaped rock to make a spear with.


Looking around the uncharted areas yielded rewards. He caught a frog! It was a little guy so I don’t think you can see it too well in these pictures, but he brought it to show me and Aly. Other children gathered around too. A frog is an exciting discovery!


Then later in the afternoon he and Aly discovered some other wildlife and spent a good HOUR following and torturing getting to know them. Can you spot one of their new friends in this picture?


How about this one, taken by Jack himself:


Jack is still thinking about those little water snakes (one of which bit him, which he couldn’t have been happier about!). He made one for himself the next day with fangs and everything:


Where was Dorothy all this time? Mostly in my arms. We were at this lake pretty much the whole morning and afternoon, and the poor dear couldn’t get any sleep! I wanted to sit with her on our blanket and let her fall asleep in the shade but the boys were all so spread out. I had to keep finding places where my eyes could be on all of them, and she had to come with me. While we were eating I did get some cute shots of her attempting to rest:


Even though she couldn’t sleep she was pleasant as could be. What an angel! Don’t worry, she went to bed super early (ahem…4 pm…) and we made the next day an at home/work day for her benefit.

All of this play made me miss and appreciate Corey. I get to have days like this with my kids because I have a handsome, hardworking husband that puts in 60+ hours a week providing for us.

I said so to the boys and we decided we’d pick up ice creams on the way home and bring one to him:


Then we went home and CRASHED.

So yes. Summer is off to a good start! Every day so many cute/funny/interesting/sweet things great things are happening with my littles. I wish I had more time to record it all! Aaaah well… Living it is more important! Still, I’ll try to get some things up when I can. I know I will want to remember these glorious summer days when I am old and moldy!


2 thoughts on “Start of Summer

  1. I am so glad that you post your lunches for your kids. I feel like I’m always in a lunch slump and get tired of making the same three things all week. I needed some fresh lunch ideas! Happy summering!

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