Thursday, July 31, 2014

Preparing for our Family Vacation and another Thriller night!

Its been crazy week for us here at the Andersen clan! I have a lot going on with my hip hop and gymnastics classes this week, plus we are leaving tonight for Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake's wedding weekend family vacation! Yay! This is the first time we will be going on a family vacation since before Anna was born. We are not going to Canyon Ferry like we traditionally do for our vacations, but we are headed up to Flathead Lake, some 10-12 hours away from here. Due to my class scheduling, we will be doing the trip in two sections: tonight we will drive from here to the Helena area, before grabbing a hotel for the night. Then tomorrow, we will drive the last few hours to Flathead Lake.

The wedding is on Saturday but Friday evening will be spent decorating and setting up the reception area and with Miss Natalie's Bacherlorette party! Sunday will be a family vacation day for us. We do not have anything specific planned, just fun touristy stuff. I want to go to the lake at some point, since we are staying in the campground and the wedding is in a surrounding meadow. But as long as Lon and I are together with the kids, I will be fine with anything! :) I absolutely cannot wait for the vacation, it has been a long time coming! Lon is not looking forward to the drive up there, but I am sure he will have a good time once we arrive. I personally cannot contain the excitement!

I will not do any posting for the remainder of the week. We will be camping, so there will be no internet there. And I believe in unplugged from the online world during family vacations, so I will only be using my phone for calls and taking photos. I may send a few snapshots to Facebook, but I doubt I will even be checking that. I will post asap next week though! :)

Before I leave you all for the weekend though, I wanted to share with you this amazing picture. As someone of you clever readers may have guessed from the title, we performed another Thriller last night with my hip hop class. They did wonderful, they were full of expression and executed each movement the way their chosen monster would have moved. I loved the whole thing! But I do have to admit, the BEST part of the whole performance was one of my students' costumes. I have been waiting for many sessions for someone to dress as Michael Jackson in the Thriller music video and finally one of my students did! It was such an awesome costume, made out of duct tape and a leather jacket. I loved it so much, I started crying a bit! I love the dedication that my students have for their art form! You are all amazing! Here is his costume, with yours truly at his side! :) Congratulations my BBoys and BGirls!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I will post again next week!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Book Review: Life in Motion by Misty Copeland

I have quite a few book reviews to catch up on, this summer I have been reading about two books a week. Its been crazy, but I love that I can get back into the old things I used to love doing. I have always enjoyed getting lost in a book, so happy I can do that again now! Truth be told, it has been driving my hubby and family crazy though. Every chance I get, my nose is in a book lol! It has been a great source of stress relief for me, which is good. But here is my first of many book reviews for this month lol. Enjoy!

Life in Motion by Misty Copeland

Life in Motion is a non-fictional autobiography by Misty Copeland, the first African-American female to perform as a American Ballet Company soloist in twenty years. She didn't come from a typical upbringing that a ballet dancer would have either, she and her siblings lived in a poverty stricken area with their mother. They experienced hunger, gang violence, domestic abuse, and homelessness as children. Misty also has anxiety and migraines like I do, not the best combination of things to have when you are living such a rough life. She helped raise her siblings, has protected her mother from her many husbands, went days without eating. She hadn't found her calling until that one fateful day at the Boys and Girls Club: when she found ballet. Ballet came to her naturally, her first teachers almost instantly labeled her as a child prodigy. At a young age, she was admired by Debbie Allen and Alvin Ailey alike. And to watch her dance! Since reading this book, I have watched several YouTube performances of her, she is phenomenal! But she still had a lot of stigma to overcome in the ballet world.

You see, here is something that the ballet world likes to keep quiet from the rest of the world. Ballet itself, was seen as a sport that only white people could flourish in. If you were of a different skin color, not only was it hard for you to get an important role, but you usually had to put on lighter makeup to perform it. This was quite offensive to me when I read this, it is one thing to have someone change their look to fit a character's look but it is a different thing entirely to have to lighten your skin for every. single. part. you. play. Nope, not okay in my book and definitely not okay in Misty's book either. When she started out at the ABC, she also had everyone critiquing her every move, every look, every breath. At one point, she actually had a weight discussion with her ABC director. He told her that she needed to lengthen her body, a specific word they use to avoid legal problems later down the road. How rude! Misty struggled with finding balance and happiness in this tough dance world. She eventually found it in herself and in her African-American counterparts who were also experiencing the stigma of being black in ballet.

I feel like I can definitely relate with Misty at certain points. I have a deep love for dance and am quite the perfectionist as well. After reading this book, I realized that I should have focused more on ballet then modern dance, I am so obsessed with perfectly portraying the correct positions in dance. Looking back too, I was always my ballet teachers' favorite. I feel like I can also relate to all the obstacles she had to overcome to get to this point. I may have not had to flee abusive step-fathers and we have yet to live in a hotel room like they did, but we have been struggling a lot this past year. Living as a divided family for almost a year has been hard on my family. I miss my husband, my kids miss their dad, its hard living like this. I feel like people that don't come from the best places usually have the most to fight for. I have grown up so much in this past year, have developed so much determination to succeed. I can definitely relate to her from that stand point.

I would recommend this book to any girls. This book would be helpful to the girls who dance in the ballet corps in their studio. It would help the girl struggling to succeed. This book would also work for the woman feeling like she doesn't belong anywhere, this is what I struggle with. This book teaches women to overcome the bad things in life and use them as fuel to succeed! It is a great book for anyone to read really.

"I know that I'll never perfect the ballet technique- ever. That's why I love it so much. It never becomes boring, even though I've done all these movements in this very studio a million times over thirteen years. Its my safe place, where I can experiment. I sweat, grunt and make faces that would never pass on the Metropolitan Opera House stage. Its the time to push myself beyond the limits so that my performances feels effortless, fresh." (page 3) 

Instead of picking a song to go with the book, I figured that I would show a performance of Miss Copeland's. Here she is performing her Firebird solo, the one mentioned in the book.

My next book review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Dirty Dash 2014 and the Cold Water Challenge

Disclaimer: Be prepared for a photo dump and a quiet week around the blog, this weekend is Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake's wedding day. We are preparing for the big trip all week long! I don't have too much time to sit on the computer, but I really wanted to get a post or two in before leaving. I will have so much MORE to write about when I get back lol, including a book review or two! So tune in next week as well, but enjoy the photos (and hopefully the video, if I can get it to load) from this post! And check out Dirty Dash when it comes to your town!

Someone's all ready for our family vacation!
So I have never done the Dirty Dash before, only Color me Rad. However, they are both put on by the same group of people and that group has been urging me to come volunteer at their other gig for some time now. Finally, this year I decided to help out. It was an absolute blast! I loved every second of it, its always good for the soul to get down and dirty and do some hard work. :) I will definitely be participating again next year!

One of my besties and I at the Dirty Dash

Our main job while the Dirty Dash was going down was selling water balloons and water bottles to fundraise for our BOLD/GOLD program at the YMCA. BOLD/GOLD is a program that gets preteens and teens out into the back country of Montana. They focus on connecting with the outdoors and learning how to backpack, fish, hike, etc. safely. I love this program, its very hands on and their classroom is always outside! We used to have a similar program at the Y when I was a kid, but it was called Trailblazers. I loved it then and I love that they are continuing the Montana traditions with BOLD/GOLD. They are awesome!

I also had to participate in the Cold Water Challenge at the Dirty Dash. The Cold Water Challenge is an online thing, started by the police department. You are required to dump 5 gallons of ice water on your head within 24 hours of being nominated or you donate $100 to a charity of your choice. Since my 24 hours would be up by the end of the Dirty Dash, I had to do it there. It was sooooooooo cold, brrr! Pretty sure it was more then 5 gallons for me, just saying. :P I screamed and flailed my limbs until all the water was out of the bucket, then I took off lol! I am glad to say that I won't have to worry about that again!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Morning Musings

I know, I like never write on the weekends! What has gotten into me??????? Well, for those of you who know me personally know that I only don't write most weekends, because that is my family time. It is the time where all four members of our family are available, so we spend as much time as possible together, doing fun things. I am usually too busy to post during the weekend, I just recap everything from the weekend that following Monday. In fact, the year I started this blog, that was one of my personal rules: No posting on weekends. But today, I woke up early before the children and I thought I would go online for a bit. Started checking my FB and then my blog and I decided, hey why not post today? If I have something to write, why shouldn't I write?

So here I am, typing up a post for today. It will mostly be filled with random thoughts and musings from the weekend. I still want to save my Dirty Dash post for Monday. :) But I have like a billion and two little things I have been wanting to share with you, plus I found another fun little survey to share. Enjoy your little Sunday reading! I'll start with the survey, I found it from one of my Top Baby Blog moms. Its a "currently" style survey, which I greatly enjoy, but this one is a little different from the last. I really like it!

Alan at the library earlier this week, making a wish at the wishing pool
Making: a great effort to find us a new place to move into

Cooking: nothing unfortunately, its too hot out to cook right now, even in the morning

Drinking: raspberry white tea, yummy!

Reading: Life in Motion by Misty Copeland and Doctor Sleep by Steven King and (do you want the WHOLE list lol?) Responding to Infants: the Infant Activity Manual by Inez D. Moyer and rereading Gymnastics Risk Management: Safety Course Handbook by USA Gymnastics

Wanting: my daughter to wake up so that we can start our day! :)

Looking: forward to the school year starting back up in a month

Playing: with the thought of cutting my hair really short after Natalie's wedding next weekend

Wasting: my time on the computer, I should be catching up on folding laundry before Anna is up

Wishing: that our family vacation started today instead of this upcoming Thursday

Enjoying: the bright sunlight shining in the window this morning and the peace that it brings

Waiting: to see that handsome nephew of mine!

Liking: this teacher's manual I found at work the other day, it has developmental activities for infants and toddlers!

Wondering: how we will manage a 10-12 hour road trip with two wild children, I have things planned but am still apprehensive about the whole idea!

Loving: my silly kids, even if one is still asleep and the other is driving me bananas because he can't wait for his sister to wake up

Hoping: that we will get this apartment I applied for

Marveling: at how obsessed some people are over the 50 Shades of Grey series and new movie… It belittles women hardcore yet they are the top readers! How?

Needing: to get off the computer now… lol!

Smelling: fresh fruit that I cut up for breakfast this morning. Yum!

Wearing: pajamas still! :P

Following: so many blogs that I need to catch up on

Noticing: how long this survey really is!

Knowing: that I have so much to do before we leave for Flathead Lake

Thinking: that I should have done more ballet as a child, I am obsessed with this book I am reading!

Feeling: a little tired still, I haven't been sleeping well lately

Bookmarking: some favorite spots in my Risk Management Handbook now that I am rereading through again

Opening: up a new chapter in our lives soon, with a new house and with school starting up. New house, new family, new me! :)

Giggling: at Alan's goofiness! Love my boy!

We went on our first family walk with Anna's new bike this weekend,
this was my lovely view for the whole walk. :)

We took the kids on our first family walk with Anna's new bike the other day. We only went around the block, but Miss Anna loved it! She doesn't keep her feet on the pedals the whole time still but is figuring it out. And Mister Alan needs a real bike with training wheels! He is almost too big for that tricycle my mom got him for his third birthday. He zips and speeds around on it, but has starting tipping it over a lot more. I cannot wait for his birthday, we are getting him a bike too. :) He will just love it! For right now, I have been borrowing Uncle Kalvin's old bike and walk around with him on it for the balance. I totally remember when my parents taught me how to first ride a bike, we used to go to Rose Park every summer evening and ride around the basketball court. Those are precious childhood memories for me, and I am just so excited to be going through that with our own children now! Love it!

Its official, Anna is a Diversity Dancer now! :D My mom and I signed her up for their creative movers class in the fall. Its every Tuesday morning for 45 minutes! I am pretty sure that she will just love it, she struggled with all the transitions of the gymnastics classes, I think she was just a bit young for them. We will start her up with gymnastics again when she is 3 years old but for now, I think that dance will be perfect for her! I get to stay during the class and we are only in one place for the whole 45 minutes! I seriously cannot wait for her to start! One more month!!!

Friday afternoon, we went to the library for some cool fun and new books. The kids and I hadn't been there in some time. It was nice to go back and check out new books for the whole family. The kids played in the play area, made wishes in the wishing pool and then we checked out our books. I picked out a ballet biography and the new Stephen King book (an adaptation sequel to the Shining, gah so excited to read it!). Alan picked out two Rugrats books and a Woodstock book, he loves his Peanuts Gang so much! Anna picked out a book about the jungle and a Stellaluna board book. I read Stellaluna so much as a child, I love that she chose that book as well. I also picked out some silly books to take with me to work for my daycare kiddos. We have a small book collection there, that the poor kids have read over and over and over lol, my personal job has been to bring them in new and interesting books to read! I think that they will enjoy the two I picked out for them. :) It was a lot of fun!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Birthday Celebrations

So yesterday was my birthday. Isn't that so cool, that my mom had her first child the day before her birthday? Yeah we always thought so too lol. :P

My friend and I at Relay this year,
sorry I took no photos of my face on my actual bday lol

I didn't do too much crazy things for my birthday, in fact when I told my friends at work my plans, they all teased me and said I sounded like their parents lol. I guess most people don't think 25 year olds want to take their kids to a water park and then go out to dinner with their husband for their birthday, partying and bar-crawling was the typical idea they had. But I am no typical lady. :) I had a good birthday too! I was able to see all of my favorite students at school, they sang to me twice there. I took my kids and my brother to an awesome place (even though we missed my bestie and her kiddos because we were too slow, boo), and then I got to spend some quality time with the man of my life. It was a perfect birthday, even if it seemed like it was one for a 30 year old lol.

After I got off of work, we took the kids up to the Oasis Waterpark. We were supposed to meet up with Kelsie and her boys, but we ended up just barely missing them. Darn! We still ended up going with Uncle Kalvin, Grandma Melanie and Kal's friend Gabe though. And we saw so many YMCA kids there, it was crazy! We had a great time! The Oasis has four main areas: the baby water park, the splash play area, the Lazy River and the big kid slides. The kids and I mostly stayed at the baby water park and the splash play area. Both kids did go swimming through the Lazy River with Grandma Melanie a few times though!

Grandma Melanie, Anna and Alan swimming the Lazy River

After swimming for about an hour, we had a birthday treat and dried off. The kids both picked a Jolly Rancher Swirl Popsicle and I had an Ice Cream Sandwich. Yum! Then it was time for us to head home so that I could prepare for my dance class. We were only probably there for two hours total, but it was just long enough for the kiddos. It was a raging hundred degrees out there yesterday! Blah! Swimming was the perfect plan to keep us nice and cool!

My dance class was awesome! We had a little birthday party planned and four kids in my class brought me little birthday gifts! Aw, it was so sweet! I got two bracelets, several adorable cards, a Peep yellow colored nail polish and several amazing works of art! I also got so many hugs I couldn't count! We had a rainbow fruit salad for my birthday treat, instead of cake or cookies. We like to always be healthy at the YMCA and the kiddos loved it! We talked about the differences and similarities of the fruits, which colors of the rainbow had multiple fruits, and which fruits were their favorites. I think that each kid filled up on fruit though, because their was nothing left afterwards! Lol, at least it was healthy. :)

Lon took me out for my birthday dinner after dance class. He let me pick which place to go to, but as most people know, I am terrible at picking out things! I can never make a decision that I stick with, it drives most people crazy! I wanted to try Hibachi Steakhouse and Grill, but you have to have a reservation. I thought that we should also try the new nightclub in town Island, but I decided that we should just go out to dinner. We are such old people lol… So after an HOUR of sitting around asking each other where to go, we decided to go to Outback Steakhouse again. It was quite good this time around too! I do have to say that Outback is officially on my favorites list!

My handsome husband with his crab claw friend

Lon was wild this time around and got himself a Huckleberry Hooch and some Crab claws for dinner. I stuck it "old school" and got my normal French Onion Soup with a Chicken on the Barbie. I had some of Lon's (everything but the crab, yuck) and it was delicious. Mine was also just as amazing! My chicken had a lot of tenderness and moisture for being cooked on a grill. Yum, yum, yum! Unfortunately, I spaced taking so many photos. I only got these two! Blogger Mom Fail! Lol, but I had an amazing time with my handsome husband, does it make up for the fact that I didn't take any pictures of myself? Yes…

All in all, it was a pretty fantastic birthday. I do have to say though, I certainly don't feel 25 right now. Is it supposed be a sudden change lol? Just joking! :P By the way, only a week until we leave for Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake's wedding. ONE WEEK… I cannot even believe that its that close!

Happy Birthday Grandma Melanie!

Today is my amazing mother's birthday.

At the Reef recently with Grandma Melanie, Aunt April and Aunt Natalie
She is such a cool person, seriously! I swear that I'm not biased either, even though she is my mother, I can bet that most people feel the exact same way that I do about her! She is just that awesome! :) My mom… what can I say? She gave birth to me 25 years ago, raised me and my siblings, has worked her butt off for 25 years teaching. She is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, loves everyone and everything, and gives selflessly to those who need it. She is always their for her three grandchildren (all three of whom are pictured above with her), they all love her like none other. We are so lucky to have her in our lives! Happy birthday Mom, I hope its amazing!

Grandma and Alan, March 2012     Grandma and Baby Anna, July 2012

I am not sure what we have planned for my mom today, but we got her a birthday card and the kids plan on making her a picture at daycare today. Other then that though, I told her I would watch the Kal-Man so that she and my father could go out tonight. We usually trade kids for our birthdays like this, she watches mine on my birthday so that Lon and I can go out, then I watch Kal for her on her birthday so that she and Dad can go out too. It works out nicely and its free! Bonus lol!

Can't post a birthday post without my wedding photos lol!
Here's my mom with all of her girls.

Happy birthday Mom. We love you so much!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Anna and Benton's Birthday Party Weekend!

Yay! We finally got through the big birthday parties that Natalie and I have been planning, in detail, since probably March lol. Phew in my opinion it was quite worth it though, both kids had a wonderful time! Plus, Natalie and I were able to be apart of both parties! :D We did it! Lol, I just want to take the time now to thank everyone who helped us make these parties soooo awesome! Thanks to Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake for helping me plan the parties and helped with Anna's birthday cake. Thanks to my parents for supplying the chairs and tables and for helping us with transportation. Thanks to Aunt April for helping supervise the crazy kiddos and to Uncle Kalvin for entertainment. Thanks to my friends from work for helping with the bubbles and the kiddos too. :) And a HUGE thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate! Honestly, Anna's party wouldn't have been as special without all of you guys! We love you all! Thanks again! :D

We started our day at Benton's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Both Aunt Natalie and I worked there when we were younger, and Aunt Natalie had some sentiment towards the place. She sooooooo wanted her first child's first birthday to be there, and she got her way! :) It was a great party! I don't want to jabber too much about B's party lol, that's for Aunt Natalie to do. But I will show a bunch of pictures!

Anna, Benton, Aunt Natalie and I with the Cheese himself!

The birthday kiddos with Grandma Melanie

There was this big Ticket Blaster machine thing that the birthday kids got to go into as a part of the birthday package. It swirls the tickets around you in a funnel room and you have to grab as many as you can out of the air! We had never done it before (it was waaaaaaaaay before my time working there lol) and it looked quite interesting. However, Benton and Anna were too young to go inside by themselves, so big Alan and Uncle Kalvin went in for them! I was pretty proud of Mister Alan for going by himself, he seemed a bit scared of the whole thing at first, but then he warmed up and ended up catching over 50 tickets! Good job Alan! Uncle Kalvin caught the 1000 ticket paper and won big for Benton too! :) It was awesome for everyone!!

After Benton's party, we had to rush to Terry Park for Anna's birthday party. We had Lon saving our spot in the park for us, I ran and grabbed her birthday balloons with Miss Anna, my mom and sisters ran to get the cake and chairs. We thankfully made it all in time, okay we were probably 8 minutes late lol. :P But I was quite proud of everyone, we hustle very well!

We all started out playing in the water park. There were so many kids in our party, I think we had a total of sixteen kids at the party! Biggest party I have had by far! The kids eventually got bored of playing in the sprinklers and started a massive water fight. It was crazy, Lon and I got soaked! The kids had a blast though, so it totally was worth it. I swear people must've thought Lon was either crazy or totally awesome, he had all the kids chasing after him pretty much the whole darn party! Lol, love my husband so much! He is fantastic with children!
Anna with Daddy and her birthday balloons
Walking around the water park with Mama
So let me tell you a story about Anna's cake. I had all these big things planned for her cake: try to cut off the edges of the sheet cake and then placing them on top of said cake to frost and make it look like a castle. Yeah, that definitely did not work out right. I didn't do more research and forgot that stacking cake means it needs pillars… The darn slices slid right off as I started frosting them. I wasted some cake, wasted a lot of frosting and frustrated myself beyond belief. Then I took a deep breath, calmed myself down, reminded myself that Anna would love it anyways because it was pink, and I fixed it. Was it the beautiful, amazing castle cake I had planned in my head? Certainly not. But it WAS Miss Anna's birthday cake that I had put so much thought, so much work, so much LOVE into. And everyone thought it was delicious and awesome! Mama score even though it felt like a fail? I think so!

I think that both parties were a HUGE success! Benton and Anna had such a wonderful time, and so did everyone else! Before I leave you, I want to post our family photo from the party. The last one we had was Christmas and the kids were so wild and wiggly. It made for a blurry photo, but I am proud to say that six months later, the kids are older and our photo is clear! Yay! :D Thanks again to everyone who helped make things so special for the kids, you are all so fantastic!

Happy birthday Benton and Anna! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer So Far

I figured after yesterday's post that today I would post about our summertime happenings so far. Because we have been BUSY!!!! Lol, so I will share each big event with you all. So far this summer we have:

Alan's T-Ball Game

We were asked by my boss to join in on the last T-Ball game of the season. They were short one player and Alan was the man to help out! :) Alan was a bit upset at first that he didn't come prepared with a mitt like the other children, but after a friend lent him one, he was all better. He was pretty good at being an Outfielder, he loved running after the ball and throwing it to the next kid. He just forgot to always stay in his area lol. Alan also did a good job batting but struggled with the concept of running from one base to the next lol. Kids… :) He still did a wonderful job trying though! Go Team Orange!!!!

The Renaissance Faire

Aunt April and I took the kids to the Renaissance Faire at Zoo Montana for the first time ever. They have had it there before, but I had honestly never thought of going. But I figured with the kids a bit older now, they would enjoy it more then they would have the previous years anyways. And I was right! They loved checking out all the interesting booths, looking at all the animals, listening the minstrels, meeting the King and Queen of the Faire, watching the jousters and all the other performers. It was quite a learning experience too! I talked with Alan a lot about all the differences between life now and life back then. He is so curious about everything now, I just love it! Anna loved all the pretty ladies in big dresses too, but she was too shy to say hi to the Queen. She did however pick out a butterfly hair clip from the Fairy Queen though! She told her "Thank You" even! Big girl!

Tatum's Tie-Dye Birthday Party

We celebrated Miss Tatum's fifth birthday party as is tradition with our family. Tatum is a family friend and we have known her and her family since birth. Alan and her are great friends, we have been to almost all of her parties! :) This year's party was a tie-dye water gun fight! So creative! I wish I was as creative as their mama Heather, she always hosts the coolest birthday parties! Alan, Anna and I all participated in the fights and Alan had a blast! He was a goofball and kept falling over during his fight but he still got covered in dye! Anna had more fun running around Alan's fight, when it was our turn, she got quite upset that she could not figure out how to shoot the water gun. But she still got nice and covered and her shirt turned out very colorful! :D Thanks for always inviting us to your AWESOME birthday parties guys! We love them!

Cousin Sophie's Rainy Birthday Party

We always celebrate Sophie's birthday party shortly after Miss Tatum's party. I believe this year they were actually on the same week! :) We love our cousin Sophie, she is such a sweetheart! Alan and her are officially at that age of "Boys v.s. Girls" now, so they chased each other around and around for most of the party lol. We were supposed to go swimming at the little wading pool they have at the park, but it started raining and they closed the pool down. We didn't mind the rain though, it was cool and we were already planning on getting wet lol! :) One of the really cool things though, my cousin Ashley (Sophie's mama) announced her new pregnancy at Sophie's party! Congratulations Weis family! I was so shocked to find out, last I had spoke with her they weren't planning on having any more kids. But they clearly got bit by the bug again lol. :P She is due sometime Fall/Winter 2014, I am so excited for them! I hope she has a boy, I don't know that Sophie could handle having a little sis to compete with. She is the sass of the family after all!

Alan's Summer Soccer Camp

Alan started soccer camp the following week. Its every Saturday for the remainder of the summer at Pioneer Park. He did soccer in the spring too, and loved it, so I decided to sign him up for the outside camp this summer. He remembers almost everything he learned from the last time, and has been helping the other kids learn too. :) My big boy is so helpful! Love you boo!

Fourth of July Fun!

My parents went out of town for the Fourth of July, so we didn't end up doing anything too wild and crazy lol. We were originally going to go to the fireworks show at Castlerock Park, like we did the year I had Anna, but decided to stay home and watch fireworks on the tv instead. It kept trying to storm and rain the whole day, so we didn't want to risk getting rained out. But I cooked cheeseburgers and made salads for the holiday, we had rocket popsicles for our treat, and then the kids played with their glowsticks after bath time. A very low-key holiday but it really was just what my family needed. We were happy and together for the whole day! :) It was perfect for us!

Anna's Second Birthday

Anna turned two years old three days after the fourth. We didn't have her birthday party on her actual birthday, only because we wanted to wait until Aunt Natalie, Uncle Jake and Benton were present for it as well. We woke up nice and early, had a birthday breakfast with her, then we took her birthday shopping and to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch. Afterwards, we visited Grandma and Grandpa to open some of her birthday presents. It was a pretty fun little day! Happy birthday beautiful girl. :)

Alan's Preschool Summer Camp

Alan went to his first week of preschool summer camp the week of Anna's birthday. He just loved it! The week's theme was Mission: Possible! and they explored a bunch of spy and science stuff! He learned about magnets and water and many other awesome things. They went to Pioneer Park for swimming one day and the library for story time as their field trip day. He even got an awesome camp shirt! :) His next week of camp isn't until the week before school starts, but he can't wait. As I said before I snapped this photo, "Raise your hand if you love summer camp!!"

Relay for Life 2014

I participated and volunteered in my second Relay for Life this summer. For those of you who do not know what Relay is, it is a walk for cancer awareness and research put on by the American Cancer Society. We have had it in Billings for years now, and I had never thought to participate until I started working at the YMCA. It is such an amazing experience, so much beauty and love all wrapped into one night, I can't believe that I never thought to try this out! But I am glad to do this with my Y family. We are all so close, our kids could be confused as cousins the way they all interact, I love my whole group of co-workers! :D We worked the bounce houses for the beginning of the event, then celebrated our LIVESTRONG group as they walked the Survivors' Lap, then we proudly walked with our huge LIVESTRONG banner for the Company Walk. Alan and Anna only stayed until the walking began, but they had a blast playing in the three different bounce houses. It was a wonderful event for all!

Jurassic Quest: Walking with the Dinosaurs

We heard about this awesome new event happening at the Metra Park called the Jurassic Quest: Walking with the Dinosaurs. It was quite expensive to go to (even Miss Anna costed us about ten dollars to play) but in my personal opinion, it was totally worth it! We went with Grandma Melanie and Uncle Kalvin, we were all there for probably three hours total. There were so many different things to look at and do! They had an animatronic dinosaur museum area, full of probably 30 different types of dinosaurs that moved! It was pretty sweet! They had five different bounce houses DINOSAUR-THEMED too, one where the kids even came out from underneath a triceratops dinosaur! They had fossil digging too, a science section, face painting, walking puppeteer dinosaurs, a craft section and a dino photo booth area. They also had animatronic dinosaur rides, Alan and Anna both had to go on those! It was so cool! I hope they come back next year too, the kids just loved it and it was a wonderful way for everyone to beat the heat and learn something about our earth's history and the animals that once lived on it. If you have the Jurassic Quest headed to your town soon, do not miss out on it! Even though its a bit spendy, your kids will love it and you will too!

Aunt Ariel's 14th Birthday

Aunt Ariel has officially been a teenager for a year… What a weird thought! Her birthday is ten days before mine and we had a special day of fun planned for our young lady! We took her to Tipsy Cupcake and then to the mall for some shopping. It was the perfect birthday celebration for a teenager, she loved it! Happy birthday Ariel! :D Okay, let me divulge on these cupcakes, they were amazing but they were so rich. Ariel got a German Chocolate cupcake, I got a Black Tie (Chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and chocolate sprinkles), Alan had a Chocolate Craziness (all chocolate lol) and Anna got a Party Animal (all vanilla with rainbow sprinkles). They were sooooooooo good! Yum! Definitely gourmet cupcakes though, I could only have a bite of Alan's it was so darn rich!

What have YOU done this summer? Keeping busy and healthy, I hope!