Tuesday, August 21, 2012

'Trailer-ing' - Trip #1 (July)

Jason and I had talked off and on for the last year or so about getting some sort of camping trailer, but Jason become very serious about it this past winter.  In early spring  Jason   we bought this bad boy!
Yep... that would be a 35 foot quad bunkhouse travel trailer.  You would think that by the size of this thing that we have been camping our whole lives, but oh no, neither of us know a thing about camping with a trailer.  We have always been tent campers, so when I talk about camping now, I call it 'trailor-ing'.  What a difference there is between using a tent and a trailer!  

We were gung-ho and planned three different destinations, each two weeks long.  Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking, or drinking, when I agreed to all of this! ;)

We spent our first two weeks at Hungry Horse Campground in Dorr (about 25 minutes from home).  I tried hard to pack the trailer well, and guess at all of the needs that we may have.  But, I still wanted to stay close to home and shopping so I could grab those 'oops, totally forgot items'.  

Ellery and Easton share one side of the bunk area,
and Quin and Gianna share the opposite side.
Of the three places we went, Hungry Horse was the most rustic.  There was no pavement - lots of dirt and very dry grass! (We didn't have much rain in June or July)
Easton was in heaven.  He loved playing with his trucks in the sand that surrounded the trees.  They also had three playgrounds, all with sand under them.  I despise sand (unless it is at the beach!).  I was craving a playground with woodchips!
I see a future Olympian!
Hungry Horse had a wonderful pool set up for us!  They have two pool areas - one is a regular pool, and the other is a wading pool with a coconut tree that dumps water at random times.  Up to this point, my kids have had no interest in water!  Sure, they would randomly run through the sprinkler or stand in our blow up pool, but when it comes to swimming, they would seriously run the other way.  

They loved being in the wading pool!  At the deepest, it was only 12 inches deep.  

About half way through our stay, they wanted to try out the big pool - yahoo!
Gianna took to the water right away!
Ellery is fearless!
Quin is cautiously interested.
And Easton, would still rather just stand by and watch, but will at least venture in when he doesn't think we are watching.

At times, it was too hot to be outside!  What a crazy summer we have had!  It was nice to hangout in the air conditioning every once in awhile and play some games.
It only rained one time while we were there, and it was in the evening.  We had a pedi/popcorn/movie night.  The kids were in heaven!

Twice a week, Hungry Horse offers hayrides.  This was a perfect activity for my tractor loving boy :)  All of the kids enjoyed sitting in the front of the hayride and watching the tractor!
Half way through the ride, they stopped at a neighboring home and we fed their horses.  

One of my favorite pictures from our entire summer!  I LOVE this smile :)

My sister came to visit for a day, and brought two of my favorite kids... Lincoln and Isadora!
Aren't those rolls the BEST!
Jason found this guy hanging out on the side of the trailer.  I think he looks pretty happy with this resting place!
Overall, I will be honest, I am a cottage girl!  If only I could afford one!  I like to have more space between myself and my neighbors and I don't love being in a confined space with four kids.  My kids can go from love to hate in about 30 seconds, and it is hard to quickly turn that around without space to separate them.  Jason was working during this trip, so it was a lot of work to be there alone during the days with the four kids.  We were blessed with beautiful weather, which I was so thankful for!  In the end, it is all about the memories that we were making, right?!?!?
Please tell me that they will remember this! ;)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

4th of July

We hung out close to home this year for 4th of July.  
There were two nights of fireworks this year, one set on the 3rd and the other on the 4th.  In order to try and avoid a super late night for the kiddos, we decided to do our at-home fireworks and then try to chase the beach fireworks from far away (which were on the 3rd).
We started off with some 'pop-its' and snakes.
Jason bought a small kit of actual {but tame} fireworks.  They drew some varied responses...
Quin loved them!
I didn't get a picture of Easton, but he loved them too.
Ellery liked to watch, but thought they were way too loud.
And then there was G :(  She was NOT a fan, and needed a lot of persuasion to come back to watch.
After a short while, they all enjoyed them - from the comfort of my lap.
I saw this idea on Pinterest  - brilliant!
It put me at ease, while the kids loved the sparklers!

We then loaded into the car to chase the fireworks.  I had hoped to find a place to see the fireworks well, but not get trapped in the traffic afterwards.  We were pretty unsuccessful.  :(  We could see them, but it was pretty far away - we will do better next year!
Ellery and Gianna passed out while we were looking.

We hung around our house on the 4th, while my parents came over!  

I saw this idea on Pinterest, but did not pin it and can't find the original post now.  My kids love blueberries, watermelon and marshmallows - so I knew these would be a hit.  When the kids woke up, they helped me thread the skewers and cut the watermelon.  It was great for their fine motor and pattern practice, and I loved how Quin decided to change the pattern for a few of them! (And, as you can tell by the bottom right wand, a certain little boy would rather eat his marshmallows than thread them!)
It was an incredibly hot day, so we beat the heat with water activities.  
They had been bugging me for days to blow up water balloons.  We blew up the balloons and used the cornhole boards as targets.

My mom brought some new books and the kids were more than happy to listen to her read - in the shade!
My last Pinterest try for the day were layered patriotic drinks.  My kids were SO excited (mainly because they are usually only allowed to drink milk and water).  I tried a few different red, white and blue combinations, but they were all failures :(  The kids didn't mind though - they chugged them faster than I could blink.

July - Look Mom... No Training Wheels

Quin has been itchin' to take the training wheels off of her bike.  With much reservation, we took them off...and....  she did SO WELL.  I have to admit, I was a little surprised.  It only took a few passes up the sidewalk with support, and then she took off!

I love the look of determination on her face :)  She has always stuck her tongue out when she is in full concentration mode.
Way to go Quinners!

Those of you who know me, know that I am not a big crier - but this moment took me by surprise!  I was thankful that I was wearing my sunglasses ;)  Riding a bike without training wheels is, well... for big girls.  There is something so symbolic about it for me.  No support needed.  {HUGE SIGH}  Just another example that my kids really are growing up :(

June/July - Butterflies

Two summers ago Quin and I 'raised' butterflies - and she talks about it often!  Now that the triplets are the same age she was then, I thought it would be a great summer project to repeat.  All four kids LOVED watching the process.  I missed pictures from the caterpillar to chrysalis stage - oops!  
They 'hatched' over a few days, so it was neat to see the 'older' butterflies become strong fliers, while the new guys really took a lot longer to move around the netted home.  
No surprise, Gianna (who is my butterfly lover) couldn't get enough of them!

When we were ready to let them go, all five of the butterflies lined up along the top edge.  I thought for sure the moment the top was lifted they would all take off.

Three of them did!  Gianna was amazed, and somewhat afraid, to see them fly.
The last two butterflies hung around for quite awhile.  We loved watching them with the top off.
Quin and Easton lost interest fast, but Ellery and Gianna stuck with the last two.  
This picture makes me smile!  Gianna took the 'microscope' from our playset and tried to spy the fly-aways. She makes me laugh!
This is one project that never gets old.  I love it every time!