Monday, September 29, 2014

Basketball and the Boys

Getting some instruction from the coaches
First Basketball practice with instructions from the referee
Luke is showing me his dribbling skills
Sweetest Finn on the tire swing.  This may be the last time he gets to wear my favorite outfit this year.    
Finn wanted to push this around the entire store.  Note his new red shoes, he's walking a lot more so he got his first pair of tennis shoes!

Finn loved this little grocery cart.

Aiden wanted me to take his picture in this chair he loved.  He was doing some very quick shopping with me.  Aiden and Finn are quite the pair during the day when their brothers are gone at school.  
Luke and Liam began their first instructional basketball program on Saturday with several kids from their school.  They love playing basketball on the driveway at home so hopefully this will be a good way for them to learn some additional skills and (as always) burn energy in the process.  John is an assistant coach so the boys really thought that was cool as well.

I think we are beginning to establish a new routine with school, homework, activities, etc...I still haven't figured out the best way to manage the afternoons as the boys come home with a lot of energy after sitting so much during the day.  They are too brain dead to do their homework immediately so usually a snack and running up and down the street helps! Not sure what we will do when winter hits us.  The hardest part is still the time from about 3:30 until 5:30 pm when everyone is tired and hungry.

Finn is 14 months old as of today.  He is slowing starting to walk more than crawl.  He waddles around the house and gets into all kinds of mischief.  He loves to unplug things, open and close the trash can, and try to go in the bathroom (probably because he knows I don't like it!).  He is still a sweetheart and loves to cuddle with John and myself.  He screams over his brothers when he sees John pull up in the driveway after work.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Apple Jack's Orchard

Mom and Finn waiting on the cow train on a beautiful, chilly fall day

Finn loved the cow train for a minute or two.  Luke was super excited to have him ride in his lap.

Finn loved the corn pit.  Who knew this would keep him so busy??

When his brothers were not dumping corn on his head, Finn would dump the corn on  himself

Checking out the kernels with Liam in the background

Who is that pouring corn on Finn's head???  Hint:  its not his brothers or his mother.

1, 2, 3, 4

Finn also loved the animals

Aiden is checking out the chickens

Look at all the pumpkins!
Hey, this is FUN!

More dumping.  We will be washing corn for at least a week.

Liam wanted me to take a picture of him swimming in the corn

All the boys

Each fall, we try to make a trip to the apple and pumpkin orchards.  Before the big boys started school all day/everyday, we usually made several trips to the orchards because they are so much fun.  When we pulled up, the boys realized where we were going and asked why we don't come to the orchards more often??  Its hard to fit in everything on the weekend, but we managed a trip to Apple Jack's orchard over the weekend while the weather cooperated on a sunny (yet chilly) fall day.

The boys loved the corn pit, especially Finn.  He thought it was hilarious when his brothers dumped corn on his head (thankfully, he liked it).  I am tempted to put one of these in the backyard to keep him busy.  He really could have stayed in there for longer, he was so busy digging and scooping and dumping corn kernels.

The big boys also loved the jumping pillow which is like a trampoline, but lower on the ground and maybe even more bouncy.  They also enjoyed the animals, picking out pumpkins, eating caramel apples, etc...It was a fun fall day for everyone and hopefully we will fit in another trip to a different orchard before the season ends.

Happy Fall!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

September Update

Finn and Aiden at the park.  Times have changed a lot for us with Luke and Liam in school everyday.
Guess who tries to play hockey all the time?
Luke and Liam's biggest fan

Luke at a hockey camp

Liam at hockey camp
The leaves are beginning to change, the days are getting shorter, and the temps are getting cooler.  And just as the season is changing, things have changed a lot for us over the last two weeks as Luke and Liam began school all day everyday.  So far, they are really enjoying school.  I still don't get a lengthy report about their day at school, but it seems to be going well.  Aiden doesn't mind the extra attention while his brothers are gone.  Although we miss them a lot, a little more quiet here at the house isn't such a bad thing occasionally.

Luke and Liam are also doing a hockey camp called the "Little Wild," after Minnesota's NHL hockey team "The Wild."  The purpose of the camp is to teach kids how to play hockey and to promote the sport in general.  They provide all the equipment to get started as part of the camp.  Buying all the hockey equipment is obviously a huge deterrent for most people considering the sport of hockey.   They love to skate and constantly ask us when they will have their next "hockey practice."

Aiden is also enjoying school a lot.  It has been a big step for him to do two full days rather than two half days.  He enjoys eating his lunch at school and has several new friends, all of which are girls!  He enjoys swimming lessons and playdates on the days that his brothers are at school.

Finn is really getting around these days.  He climbs everything.  I found him up on top of the kitchen table the other day.  He is walking more, but it is still only a couple steps before he falls to the ground.  His preference is still crawling.   I think he needs a part time janitorial job at the hockey rink after all the things he picked up off the dirty floor while we watched the big boys skate.

Enjoy your week!

Monday, September 8, 2014

John's 40th and a new routine

Someone had a big birthday this week and he got a very big smoker!

Finn is helping Daddy put the smoker together
Its beginning to look like fall around here.  Finn is trying on his new fall pajamas from the Barnes Family

Just to reiterate....someone had a really big birthday this week....Here he is with a gift from the boys.  Its a bean bag toss game for the backyard complete with Iowa Hawkeyes on the front.
Finn and our neighbor, Kevin, enjoying a gorgeous afternoon on Labor Day

Best invention ever for a dressing room....Aiden started swimming lessons and we kept Finn off the floor in this nifty little chair while I helped Aiden change his clothes after the lessons.  Doesn't he look so BIG?

Aiden and his buddy, Rylen, at the MN Fair

Luke and Liam started some skating
We had a very interesting week with the beginning of a new routine as Luke and Liam started all day everyday school and Aiden began two full days of preschool.  While my work load during the day was cut in half with Luke and Liam at school, the afternoons and evenings were a bit rough at times.  It is going to take some time to get used to school on a daily basis.  I am still trying to figure out the schedule of how to get everyone where they need to be when school begins and ends at essentially the same time for everyone.

Overall, it was a good week.  The boys really like school so far.  They love riding the bus and seem to enjoy their teacher and classmates.  That's about all I know about the week since they are not a wealth of information when they return home from school.  We are lucky if we find out who they sat with at lunch or on the bus.  And when we asked Liam for the names of two people in his class, his response was Luke (his brother) and William (himself!).  I feel quite a bit removed from the process of school since I no longer drive them to and from school daily and walk into their classroom to visit with their teacher before and after school.

Lastly, we celebrated John's 40th birthday this week!!  As many friends and family members know, John loves to smoke various types of meat.  So, he received a much larger smoker to accommodate more meat for his smoking hobby.  He received a smoker around 10 years ago that still works well, but it doesn't hold a lot and we decided to upgrade it a bit for him.  He also received a corn hole bag toss game for the backyard complete with the Iowa Hawkeye design painted on it.  Although it was a normal work day for John, we did our best to celebrate this big milestone with him in the evening.  The boys were excited to try his favorite dessert...cheesecake.  None of them were exactly fans, but I thought it was tasty!  Happy 40th John!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of School 2014-15

So the first two pictures are not school pictures, but Finn is determined to keep me busy while his brothers are away.

O.k., this is what I was trying to do.
Breakfast before the first day of school!

Luke and Liam started FIRST grade today

Finn was not too excited about a picture with all four

Aiden started his final year of preschool

Ready for School

First grade and Preschool

Heading to the bus

Waiting with our friend, Savannah

There are just a few kids at the bus stop in our area and this is one of two bus stops!

Getting on the bus....

Today marks a big milestone for us in many ways.  Luke and Liam began first grade at the local public school this morning.  This means that for the first time they are going to school ALL day EVERYDAY!  That is going to take some time to get used to for me.  Last year, they went to kindergarten for three full days but I often saw them at lunch or recess when I picked up Aiden after a half day of preschool.  In addition, we still had a few days each week where we didn't attend school at all.  But, this year is much different.  Luke and Liam are riding the bus by themselves, eating lunch at school, and there is much less involvement from me than there has been in the past.  In a sense, it will be a whole new routine for us this year.  I am not exactly sure how it will all work out, but I know the boys are excited and I pray that they will grow and learn and enjoy this new phase in life.  Luke and Liam were most excited about riding the bus, finding their friends at lunch and recess, and having their own desk at school.

Our next big milestone was with Aiden.  For the first time in three years, Aiden went to school on his own.  He will attend two full days at the Montessori school where we have attended for the last four years.  We are very thankful that he will continue to have the same teacher, Ms. Kristi, whom he loves.  He will be able to do preschool work with his peers in the morning and kindergarten work in the afternoon.  This will all be a big challenge for Aiden, but it will provide something new and enable him to grow and learn as well.  He is most excited about eating lunch at school and playing more outside, of course!

The 2014-15 school year will be an exciting one for us!  Finn and I are adjusting to how quiet the house is when everyone is gone....