Monday, September 23, 2013

Summer Wrap Up

It always seems like the last month or so of summer is just a whirlwind of activities.  For us, that included a family reunion in Bear Lake, a week of girls camp, camping with friends, and a lot of prep for school to start again.  So, along with about 300 pictures, here is a wrap up of our summer from about July until current.

It is our family tradition that on your birthday, you get to pick a place to go out to eat.  Well, Chad's birthday was a little busy with family in town and his baptism the next day, so once all the festivities passed, Chad wanted to have his birthday dinner in the mountains instead of at a restaurant.  How can you say 'no' to that, right?  So on a Friday afternoon, we headed up to our favorite local campground, we call Justice Park. 

 The boys love that there is a little stream that runs through part of the campground, and they love to walk in the water and build dams to try to hold it all back. 
 Chad even made sure Jenna got to be involved in the fun as well. 
 I'm pretty sure Tyler build at least 50 dams across this stream, but he never seemed to tire of it.  He's even learned to fill in the small cracks with rocks and mud to make it water tight.  It doesn't really work, but he has a lot of fun trying. 
 If this picture isn't all BOY, I'm not sure what is!  I had to laugh at Greyson's bum by the end of our excursion.  There was a fairly seep incline to get to our site, and he took it upon himself to just slide down it each time he descended.  His pants were black!!!  We enjoyed a fire and I think it was the perfect fit for Chad's birthday dinner. 

Our next trip was the Jones family reunion in Bear Lake.  It is the trip my kids look forward to probably most each year.  I imagine that some of that is simply because it is the one trip we take consistently each year, and the other part is that they love the KOA where we stay and all that we do up there.   We stay in the Garden City, UT KOA.  Now, let me defend that statement a little.  I love real camping.  Like the sleep in a tent in the dirt in the mountains with a pit toilet kind of camping.  And when we first started going to the KOA, I called it pansy camping.  Because it is-it isn't hard camping.  But, it is SO MUCH FUN!  This particular KOA has so much to do for the kids.  There is a swimming pool.  Each night, they also do some sort of activity for this kids.  My childrens' favorite one is the train ride. 
 They have taken a lawn mower, I think, and made it look like a train engine.  Then, they attach barrels for the kids to ride in.  My kiddos will drop everything to go get in line for a ride on this.  I think they went around in it about 4 times this year. 
 The KOA also has bikes to rent.  Of course, we take our own bikes, but these are banana bikes, where you sit reclined and steer with little handles on either side of the seat.  They are extra fun! 
 Then, there is this thing-the Jumping Pillow.  It is just a big rubber mat filled underneath with air, and my kids love it.  It is like a trampoline, but extra fun just because it is different.  Greyson jumped on it for a major part of every day. 
 Of course, outside the KOA, there is the beach.  We discovered a new beach closer to our campground this year, and that was fun.  We tried paddle boarding a bit and played in the sand.  Chad's favorite beach is the North beach on the Idaho side of Bear Lake, which we had to hit for a few hours on our way out. 
 We built some pretty awesome castles, and waded as far out into the water as we could, which is pretty far at this lake.  Jenna did pretty good putting up with all this major disruption to her schedule. 
 On the way home, we always stop at a local park in Soda Springs.  It has become tradition to take a picture of Dave with the kids at the end of our Bear Lake trip on this purple dinosaur at the same park each year.  We have one with he and just Chad, then Tyler joined our family, several picts with all three boys, and they were all pretty excited to have Jenna join the picture this year.  Of course the extra special part about this picture is that Greyson doesn't have any pants on.  He had a major meltdown as we left the North Beach, and all we succeeded in doing was getting his wet and sandy clothes off and underwear back on.  So, hours later, that is still how he was dressed.  :) 
Dave and I left the morning after our Bear Lake trip to head back to Soda Springs for girls camp (Dave came as one of our priesthood leaders).  

I had to include the next two pictures, because I love it when my boys help with the canning.  Greyson always puts two or three teaspoons of salt into each jar, rather than just one, but at least they are helping instead of me just sending them off to watch a movie while I can.  
 They seem to enjoy helping too. 
 One of field trips that my boys really wanted to take this summer is to a community splash park up in Rexburg.  I don't know shy I get off thinking I can manage a trip like this on my own, because it always turns out CRAZY!!!  Then I got the idea to invite a cousin to join us, so that made 5 kids, 8 and under.  Thank goodness my sis in law joined us for the day with her little man.  My kids seems to enjoy the carousel that is next to the splash park as much or more than the water part, and we always take a few rides on that. 
 Jenna mostly just sat and played on her blanket, as she didn't seem to like the water much when I tried to put her feet in it. 
Back to school started creeping up on us in mid August.  I can feel it.  Like in the air.  There is just this winding down and get ready feeling that seems to overtake the end of summer.  

One preparation we needed to make was hair cuts for both of the older boys.  Chad had decided at the beginning of the summer that he wanted to go the whole summer without getting his hair cut.  I said that was fine, thinking he'd never make it, that it would bug him too much, but no such luck.  I did make him get the front trimmed for his baptism, but other than that, both he and Tyler went the entire summer with no cuts!  We had a little fun with their long hair the night before we went to get it cut, just to help us remember how long it really was.  

Chad started 3rd grade this year.  He is super excited and enjoying it so much, in part because he has the teachers he most wanted.  He has two teachers that each teach two days a week and rotate Wednesdays, and one happens to live next door to my parents and the other lives 2 houses down from my parents.  They are also the most fun teachers on the planet! 
 Seriously!!! Check out that backpack!  That was a lot of supplies, and Chad didn't want me to take him that first day, so he carried that huge thing on the bus! 
Tyler started kindergarten this year.  That is hard to believe, and at the same time, he seems so ready, and really, so much older than Chad when he started.  He is pretty excited to be going to school with Chad this year.  
 Greyson, of course, started preschool with me, which seems to be going alright, although I'm discovering something about him that I never knew before.  He. is. a. perfectionist.  He wants everything done right.  I don't know where he gets that. :) 
Tyler started soccer this fall too.  Chad opted out for the season, and I'm pretty sure Tyler's only motivation was the treats after the game, but he seems to enjoy it.  Sometimes during the games, he totally is in his own world, but sometimes, he gets in there and kicks that ball.  He loved his bright blue and neon green cleats he picked. 
 Over Labor Day, we fit in one last camping trip.  One of our friends (actually Dave's boss and his wife) bought a new camper and wanted to take it on its maiden voyage.  We went up to Island Park and enjoyed the weekend together. 

 This is Big Springs.  I had never been there (at least not that I recall) and it was really cool!  The water literally just bubbles out of the ground and flows from under a mountain.  Like a LOT of water!  You look to find the rest of the river  from whence it flows, but there is isn't one. 
 Our boys sure had fun with their new friends.  It actually made the trip quite enjoyable because they always had someone to play with.  We need to do that more often. 

And now here we are, nearing the end of September and summer is fading into fall.  I always look forward to summer, and yet it never seems to be quite the same as an adult as it was when I was a child.  But looking back on these pictures makes me smile as I recall the memories we made this year.  The next three months are always gone in a flash as fall turns to Thanksgiving and then to Christmas.  I think the Lord must have known that we would need seasons of change to look forward to and add variety to the mundane. 

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