Sunday, July 31, 2016

Vacation Bible School and Finn's 3rd Birthday!

Luke and Liam's group at VBS singing their songs

Aiden and his group of upcoming first graders

Finn loved watching his brothers sing

Fun day at the park to celebrate Finn's 3rd birthday with our best friends!

Lunch at the park to celebrate

Group of VBS kids on root beer float night
The big birthday boy!

We rented a bouncy house for Finn's party (the boots were his choice)

Before the party started, we got in a few jumps

Happy 3rd Birthday Finn (with his birthday crown from Aunt Sarah)

Are you really singing to ME!?

Happy Birthday to me!

Finn and his buddy Kathleen

Finn and his buddy Landon

Paw Patrol mini figurines!!  He kissed the package when he opened it

Tools from his friend, Kathleen and her family

Luke, Liam, and Aiden attended the elementary VBS at our church last week and had an awesome time.  They have always loved VBS and this year was no different.  They spent the week learning about Jesus, singing, and playing with their best friends.  The week was topped off with a Root Beer Float night where the kids sang all the camp songs they learned.

At the end of the week, we prepared for Finn's big birthday bash.  Thankfully, we were blessed with some gorgeous weather (the Saturday before his party, it literally rained ALL DAY LONG).  The temps were pleasant, the bugs were not terrible, and we had a wonderful evening with some of our closest friends in Minnesota.

Finn was so excited about his party and talked about it all week long.  He could not have been anymore elated to have everyone sing Happy Birthday to him and bring him gifts.  He received birthday wishes from near and far.  Aunt Sarah, Uncle Jason, and Cousin Calvin sent him some cute gifts that he opened on his actual birthday.  Mimi sent him a balance bike that he is still getting used to riding, but loves it since all the neighbor kids his age have one too.  Grandma and Grandpa Carrithers sent Finn a couple of books that we have already enjoyed.  Finn also has a few close friends that are his age in the neighborhood (Kathleen, Silas, and Landon) that he loves to play with who attended his party and brought him several gifts that he loved.

On his actual birthday, we spent the day at one of our favorite parks with friends.  We played in the sand, ate lunch, and went on a nature walk.  The following day was his big party in the backyard.  We rented a bouncy inflatable that was fabulous for keeping the bigger kids occupied and out of the house.  They jumped and jumped and jumped until they were exhausted.  It was perfect.  John smoked some pork for all of us to enjoy and we had a few salads, guacamole, fruit, along with cake and ice cream.  It was a perfect night that we enjoyed so much with our friends.  Thanks to everyone for making it such a fun and memorable birthday for Finn!!

We love to Finn Morse Carrithers and we would not be the same without you.  You are spunky, smart, and happy all the time.  You are never at a loss for words and you have more energy than all of us combined.  Happy 3rd Birthday Buddy.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Our Week in Review....

Luke's card house (hard to tell from picture, but cards are standing up)

Super cute boards with pictures from Aunt Sarah and Calvin's visit.  Aunt Sarah made them and sent to us.  So cute!
Finn's cotton candy at the carnival


Dunk Tank with Finn
When I turned my back briefly, Finn helped himself to a plate full of parmesan cheese!

Luke at the pool

Veggies from the neighbors garden.  We are taking care of their garden for a few days and have enjoyed  the things we have picked.

Awesome Pool Day with Friends

Pool fun for Liam and Jack

It was a HOT week in Minnesota as was true for much of the United States.   Most of the things we did involved water because it really was too hot to run around at the playground or in the backyard. We are so thankful to have a pool in our neighborhood now which has made going to the pool a 100 times easier than it used to be.  We can walk, drive, or bike to the pool and we can come and go a bit easier now if some of us are ready to go home or if Finn needs to nap.  With the heat this week, the water felt amazing and the boys played for hours and hours at the pool without much interruption.  It was kinda like a mini vacation!  

We also attended a carnival in our neighborhood to raise money for the families of children who are battling with cancer.  The family that organizes the event lost a child from leukemia when he was around 5 years old so they put together the carnival each year to honor their son.  The boys had a blast with all the games and prizes.  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Parade, Park, and the Potty

Standing in the rain waiting for the parade to begin

Waving at the firetruck

Luke, Finn, and Liam waiting for candy at the parade (Aiden was at a birthday party)

Fun at the park with a bunch of boys!
We enjoyed a nice week without any camps, sports, or other activities.  I hesitate to say it was "more relaxing" than other weeks because we stayed pretty busy.  We played with friends at both the pool and the park, went to a few birthday parties, attended a parade in our city, and enjoyed several beautiful summer days in Minnesota.

One of our next big celebrations will be Finn's 3rd birthday on July 29th!  He began potty training about two weeks ago and he's doing great.  Although he showed no interest in the idea of potty training, he caught on very quickly.  With Luke, Liam, and even Aiden, I made an effort to stay home for several consecutive days to work on potty training.  With Finn, this really wasn't an option.  Seemed more logical to me to teach him how to potty "on the run" because he won't really have the luxury of staying at home since he's the youngest of four.  

I picked a week when the big boys had camp in the morning so that we could focus on potty training for at least a few hours without interruption.  His favorite candy, Mike and Ike's, were used as bribery when he went to the potty.  For the first 3 days, we went to the potty every 45 minutes to an hour and after that he started telling me he needed to potty.  Telling me he needed to potty happened much earlier than it did with his brothers, but it was a very welcome surprise.  Despite a few accidents during the first week, Finn caught on quickly and is doing great.  In fact, yesterday he convinced me to let him wear his big boys pants to take a nap (we usually still wear a diaper at naps and bedtime).   Way to go Finn!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer Fun!!

Special ice cream and cookie desert after a game of bowling on a rainy weeknight

Where did it go??

Rock climbing at Camptastic
Getting ready to climb with buddies, Dylan and Callan



Team Russia being announced before game

Aunt Ann and Finn at the pool

Finn and his favorite...a bonfire!

Daddy and Finn

Finn and one of his best buddies, Kathleen

Liam, the ninja

Dinner on Lake Minnetonka with Aunt Ann and Uncle Dan

Team Mexico

All the teams at the soccer jamboree!!
We enjoyed a week with all kinds of fun summer activities.  Luke, Liam, and Aiden attended a camp at a local park on Tuesday through Friday and really enjoyed it.  They got to rock climb, paddle board, canoe, geocache in the woods, and attempt log rolling.  It was a fun outdoor camp with lots of new and different activities.

Over the weekend, we enjoyed a quick visit from Aunt Ann and Uncle Dan.  It seems that getting away from their own chaos at home while their older girls were at camp and their son was doing other activities was too boring so they decided to join our chaos.  Although the visit was short, we had a great time an enjoyed each other's company.  We went swimming, played outside, enjoyed a fun dinner on Lake Minnetonka, and topped it off with a bonfire before bed.  The boys loved all the extra attention and people to play with.  Thanks for making such an effort to visit Ann and Dan, we had a great time!

Lastly, we had our soccer jamboree over the weekend.  Luke, Liam, and Aiden all played in the same league this season just on different teams.  It was a very recreational soccer league, but the boys loved it and learned a lot in the process.  They announced each child's name at the jamboree and then each of the teams played three short 20 minute games.  We were fortunate to find a babysitter for Finn so that John and I could actually sit and enjoy watching the games rather than chasing Finn around the soccer field.  

Monday, July 4, 2016

Books and Basketball

Aiden wanted a book on Tigers since his hockey team was the tigers!

Luke and Liam at basketball camp.  You can see the height difference among Luke and his peers!

Basketball camp

Liam and his books.  He loves cheetahs and other cats

Luke wanted books on hockey and lions
Finn loves his smores!

Happy 4th of July from Minnesota!  John created his "hockey flag" for us to display.
Fireworks in the backyard on the 4th of July!!

Bookmarks for our reading challenge!

While the boys enjoy books and reading, we are not the best readers.  We consistently read on a daily basis, but its a struggle for the boys to really enjoy it.  If given the choice, they would much rather play outside, build with legos, ride their bikes, climb the play set, or play any number of sports all day and everyday.  This is particularly true in the summer.  I have tried many things to peak our interest in reading.  We are really trying to get in a solid 30 minutes of reading each day over the summer before we do other things like play dates, camps, playing outside, etc...Aunt Sarah witnessed our reading struggles when she visited so she and Calvin devised a reading challenge plan for us to work on this summer.  We made a trip to the library and picked out several new and fun books about sports and other topics they love.  So, here we go with our reading challenge!  The boys are most excited about the prizes.  Whatever it takes.....

Luke, Liam, and Aiden also attended a basketball camp at the high school last week.  They really enjoyed learning more about basketball and the competition among their friends.  This was Aiden's first experience with basketball and he seemed to enjoy it.  He pointed out that he doesn't like it as much as hockey and soccer, but it was pretty good.

Happy 4th of July to our family and friends!