School starts in just a couple weeks for us, so we are trying to cram in as much fun stuff in these last days of summer as we can! It's only been less than a month since I last posted but I've got a ton of catching up to do.
Summer is the best time to splash around, so of course we have gone to the splash pad a few times. Maggie, ever the picture poser, must be half mermaid with how much she loves the water!
The day I got home from camp, Eric, Tyler and our friend from the army, Nate, took a horse pack trip up into Montana. Eric has been wanting to do that for SO long, and finally decided to make it happen. They packed up and headed out to the mountains for several days. I missed not seeing Eric and Tyler for almost 2 weeks! But they had so much fun. They said the horses did great, they did some fishing (Tyler was the only one who caught fish!) but the fishing wasn't great because the rivers were so high. Because of that they actually came home a day early, but they still had a fun time. I only posted a few of the pictures, but man, is it beautiful where they went! Huge meadows full of wildflowers, rivers and streams, green grasses and tall pine trees. I think it would be really fun to go with them some time! Tyler had a blast also--he is very allergic to horses but we've been doing the allergy shots (immunotherapy) for a year and half now and it's been a miracle for him! He used to break out in hives and his eyes would swell up and he'd be sneezing every 2 seconds around the horses. Now he has pretty much no reaction! They even added his other allergens to the serum so he doesn't even get hay fever anymore. It has been a huge time commitment but totally worth it. And totally worth it to see the smile on his face being the fish master!
Look at these two handsome men...I'm so lucky to have them both! And that is Oreo's behind. Nice.
And here is Eric with Nathan. Cowboying it up! Eric came home smelling like horse, dirty, in his cowboy duds, hat and boots with spurs, and a scruffy beard--and a big smile on his face! He said on the way home they stopped in Jackson Hole and all the tourists were taking pictures of the horses sticking their heads out of the trailer, and then when the guys walked down the street to get a bite to eat, with spurs clanking and everything, people were staring at them saying, "Whoa! A real cowboy!" Ha ha. What a fun trip for the guys.
One evening Jacob was begging to go fishing and Eric and I let him talk us into it. We ended up going up to Payson Lakes and fishing up there. It was a little slow at first, but it picked up a little and the kids ended up catching some fish. I think Jake caught 2 or 3, Tyler caught 2 but he was kind enough to let Joey reel in one and Maggie reel in the other one. How sweet--see...my kids can be nice to each other every once in a while! Jacob was getting pretty good at casting out!
And match-up number 4--Tessa and Jake (with Maggie in the middle here). These two got along so well--really all the kids got along so well. It was fun to see the kids be able to play and have fun together like they have been friends forever. Really these kids were my kids' first best friends. At Fort Irwin, Tyler and Emma, Jake and Tessa and Maggie and Ian were all each other's best friends. It is so great they can pick up where they left off after so long!
The above pic was the day we spent at Yellowstone. We saw a big buffalo herd. Of course! But no bears.
Another favorite of the trip was Ranger rides. Besides driving around for fun, the kids would pile on and we would drive the short distance to the lake. Pretty sure we were breaking many laws and capacity limits, but it sure was fun!
And here's Tyler, Jake and Tessa at the overlook for the Yellowstone Grand Canyon. At one point I was walking with all 10 kids (and they all look like they could be siblings pretty much) and a few people were staring at me like I was crazy. Ha ha.
Another favorite activity (I guess the list keeps growing) was rafting the river. We got a smorgasbord of gear so we could try everything out. Rafts, canoes, kayak and even a paddle board. We switched it up and kept it interesting. Eric and Joey liked the kayak....row Joey, row!
This summer has really been jam-packed. Much of it hard work--in the yard and corrals and such. But so much of it fun too. I will miss the fun times once school starts! But...I'm definitely ready for a little structure...and a little mommy time!
Lastly, Tyler had his 14th birthday 2 weeks ago. I can't believe how old he is getting! I also am shocked every time I look at a picture from just a year or two ago how much he has grown! He is no longer a little boy, or even a tween--he is a big teenage boy now! But still not too old to give his mom a hug and a kiss, even in front of his friends. Love. Tyler is really such a sweet, tender hearted boy. Yes, he does argue and get annoyed with his siblings, but overall he is so kind and sweet and thoughtful. I have had countless friends, teachers, scout and church leaders, pull me aside and tell me what a thoughtful boy he his, polite and respectful, kind. He is a good kid. I need to remember that, when I stress about his school, or other things, that in all the ways that really matter, I am so lucky that he is the way he is. He has always been so good at seeing people's needs and noticing when people need a little extra love or reaching out. I love that he loves music, he loves reading. He is always there with a hug for me, and even a kiss on the cheek. Part of me wishes he would stay little forever, but I guess my job is to raise him so that he doesn't need me anymore. Isn't that the sad part of parenthood? If you do a good job, then you have no job! I love Tyler so much, my first kid, he, (like all the others) holds a special place in my heart. Happy birthday Tyler! And yes, I'm about to post a bunch of pictures of him--I had like 100 I wanted to post, but here are just a few....
I. Love. This. Boy!!!!!