Saturday, June 30, 2012

Molly's Birthday Party

Today we celebrated Molly's sixth birthday!  It was a couple of weeks early, but we will be on vacation for her actual birthday so it seemed appropriate to celebrate early.  This year we chose to rent the pool at our gym (Del Norte Club) so her friends could enjoy the warm weather and go swimming.  So a "beach" theme seemed appropriate for the celebration, complete with hot dogs, a watermelon shaped like a shark and a sand castle birthday cake!

The kids seemed to enjoy themselves and Molly had friends come from all parts of her life... SMOM, church, school and family/cousins.  It was really special to see all these wonderful people that have been such a big part of her life all in one place.

Garrett also had a fabulous time with his betrothed, Meigan, who continue to declares to the world that she will be marrying Garrett.  He didn't seem overly interested in the marriage prospect, but DID enjoy hanging out and playing with her!

Molly finished the party with the declaration that it was the "best party EVER!".  She came away from the day feeling very celebrated and very loved... and what more could a mother want!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

First Camping Trip

Steve and I both love to camp!  So when we had kids we were really excited about sharing that experience with them.  Unfortunately, the reality of having twins meant that we weren't really feeling capable of taking them camping until this year.  But it was worth the wait.  Last week we went for two nights at Calaveras Big Trees State Park with three other families.  We. Had. A. Blast.

Packing for such a trip is no small endeavor and when we got to the site, we realized that I had left an entire box full of gear back home in the kitchen.  Thankfully, it just had our cups and plates and kitchen stuff in it, and being that we were there with three other families, there was plenty of that stuff to go around.  Phew!  The kids enjoyed seeing their friends and it gave Steve and I time to set up the rest of our gear.

One of the challenges we were facing by camping with toddlers was potty training, and the knowledge that they would need to go much more frequently than the rest of us.  So we brought our potty and parked it outside of the tent.  Let me tell you, it was one of the smartest things we could have brought with us.

The first night there the kids enjoyed biking around the campground and getting absolutely and completely covered with dirt.  I had to laugh when at one point I watched Molly in a serious conversation with some of the older boys and then have her come straight over to me with a serious look on her face.  I asked her what was wrong and she said, "Do we have 'meat' in our body?".  I said, "Well, yes... our muscles could be considered meat."  At which point she answered, "OH NO!  Bears eat MEAT!".  She seemed to be much warmer to the idea of camping though after we started the fire and broke out the fixings for smores.

The kids stayed up pretty late and had a hard time getting to sleep in the tent, so I was a little worried about the fall out the next day.  But they surprised me by over-coming their exhaustion with excitement.  One of the fabulous parts of camping at Big Trees, is that they have regular naturalist programs geared towards both big and little kids.  So the next morning we took the kiddos to the Nature Center and the little ones learned all about camouflage.   The docent was FABULOUS and so good with the little kiddos.  I was very impressed.  They even got to make animal masks at the end which they enjoyed.  And Faye found out that they had nature kits that you could bring back to you campsite for further study, including equipment to look at critters and count the rings on a tree.

In the afternoon we piled everyone into the vans, and headed to the lake.  It was a GORGEOUS and hot day, and the kids had so much fun digging in the sand and playing in the water.

Paige however, started feeling the effects of sleeplessness and was soon begging for a nap.  So I laid down a blanket for her and within five minutes she was out and slept for almost an hour and a half!

Steve and Jeff (Keilani's Daddy) took some of the kids fishing.  This was something Molly had been BEGGING to do since she knew we were going camping. 

They fished for a couple of hours without much success.  Then Keilani caught a small trout and shortly after Molly caught a beautiful 16 inch trout.   She was SO excited and we brought it back to camp to eat with our dinner.  There were several fishermen out there that told her that was the biggest trout they have seen pulled out of this lake.  She was so proud (as were her parents).

Then it was back to camp for dinner.  We had WAY too much food between the four families and we were all stuffed afterwards.  So we decided after our meal to go for a walk through the meadow and burn off some calories.  

Then it was back to camp and enjoy some Jiffy popcorn and more smores.  The kids were getting such a kick out of the popcorn exploding.  Meigan (Keilani's little sister) had been spending a lot of time with Garrett all day, and it was that evening that she declared to everyone that she was going to marry him.  The older kids were all giggles, and when they asked Garrett who he was going to marry he said "myself".  Good answer Garrett... although if he was going to marry into any family, the Quayles would be a family we would fully approve of.  So now we joke that these two are betrothed.

The next day we packed up camp (no small feat) and then went for a hike through Big Trees Park.  It became instantly obvious where the park got it's name from... the massive sequoia redwood trees that were big enough to drive a truck through!  It was really worth seeing.  The big kids walked the entire trail, but the little ones hitched a ride in the wagon brought by the Quayle family.  Thank God they had it with them, because we would have had some extremely whiny preschoolers/toddlers.

 And here's our family standing inside of the one of the massive trunks of a sequoia tree.

Then we made a quick stop for a swim at the lake, and we were on the road back home.  All in all, a fabulous trip.  The kids all played so well together and had a fabulous time.  We are already looking forward to our church camping trip in July, where we get to do it all again at a different camp site!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day!

This Father's Day was pretty special.  We started the morning with a late breakfast, while Steve opened his gifts from the kids.  This year I made him a special photo album that contained photos of he and the kids together, and included drawings and sentences that Molly wrote in it to describe Daddy.  It took us a few weeks to complete and Steve was pretty surprised!

Then we were off to church.  After church we spent some time calling all our respective fathers and father figures!  Upon calling Steve's step-dad, we learned that he was on the road for business and was only three hours from Sacramento.  Seeing as we had nothing else planned for the day, we piled the kids into the car and met him for dinner.  It was such a fabulous excuse for an impromptu road trip and the kids were thrilled to get to see Grandpa!

And of course I took a moment to snap some cute pictures of the kids. 

After dinner we all piled back in the van, said good-bye to Grandpa, and headed back to Sacramento.  It was a very special treat to see him on Father's Day... a gift for everyone!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Last Day of Kindergarten

Today was Molly's last day of kindergarten.  Yes... my sweet little girl is going to be a first grader!  EEEK!  The school had a commencement ceremony for the kindergarten classes and it was so amazing to watch how grown up the kids had become.  Here's Molly receiving her graduation certificate from her teacher, Mrs. Lorca.

Then everyone went back to class to celebrate with cake and treats!  Paige didn't leave my side the entire time but Garrett was eager to hang out with Molly and her friends.

They also celebrated the birthdays of the children who were turning six in the summer... including Molly.  She wore her birthday crown the rest of the day!

And here she is with some of her close buddies... Jordan on top and Hana on the bottom.  I'm so happy she's become friends with such sweet little girls.

And here she is just before we left... all grown up and ready for first grade.  Where did the time go?