Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer Synopsis: 2011

I decided to just collage "the best of" the summer of 2011, and just randomly load the collages in whichever order they came up. Warning: extreme "collage barrage," to borrow my fellow blogger, Ali's, phrase! Grandparents will love it, the rest of you may feel the need to skim it...and if you are part of the "summer crew," there's probably pics of you and definitely pics of your kiddo(s) in here!
I find it quite fitting that my collage of "the summer crew" popped up first! These are the 13 little people that I was blessed to spend a whole lotta time with this summer. They belong to friends Keri, Stephanie, Annie, Bridget, and Kara, plus my two. We had pool and park/play dates each week. The kids had a blast together and the Mamas did too. :) From top to bottom: Baby Ian, Natalie, (Holden's future wife.Ha!), Chase, Patrick, Baby Luke, Jonah, Ava, Colin, Holden, Hunter, Colin, Cade, Corinne, and Lauren. We were quite the crew! Stephanie just delivered  Baby Dean two days ago, so there will be a new sweet little face this summer!

Annie invited us to a Cornbelter game at the beginning of the summer. Looking back now, I am amazed at how much younger the kids look, especially the little ones! There are so many fun things to see and do besides watching the game. The kids got their faces painted, enjoyed the inflateables, and were excited to see Corny. (Somehow I didn't get a picture of him during this outing. Probably because I was too busy chasing Hunter, who was at the time toddling wobbily with no fear, as well as crawling at the speed of lightning.)

More pics from the Cornbelter's game. It got chilly that evening, so Kim bundled little Luke up like a burrito. A good time was had by all!
Annie's mom took a pic of all the mommies and babies. It amazes me looking at this pic now from just 9 months ago and seeing how much smaller/different they all look! Time sure flies with little ones. Chase apparently liked my necklace. :)
And here's one more with Stephanie added. She was the only mom without a baby...but Ava is still HER baby (holding her own baby! Lol!) so we figured it works.
Holden took gymnastics at the Jump Spot over the summer and loved it! He was in a class with friends Cade, Natalie, and Lauren. It was a great outlet for him to get out some of that massive energy that he seems to store up. Wish I could soak some up for myself! His favorite part was the trampoline.

A new activity this summer was "Wee-Ball" through Parks and Rec. Beginner's tee-ball. They taught the kids the basics. Holden's friends, Brady, Michael, and Gabrielle were also enrolled. Gabrielle is the girliest of girls, but she actually really enjoyed it and kept up with the boys while running the bases in her cute little skirts/skorts. I love Holden's expressions in some of these pictures. He took running VERY seriously.

More tee-ball pics. Holden bats lefty. He was very proud of his ribbon! All of the kids received one.
Team picture day. Holden is in the front row, far right.

It wouldn't be summer without the Fun Run! Both boys participated this year. It was neat to see Hunter's progress from beginning to end of summer. At the beginning he was not quite walking; I had to hold his fingers to help him. By the end he was running! Although not necessarily in the right direction. Ha! Holden really got into it this year and decided by the third week that he wanted to run all on his own without me with him. This was a blessing to me; Jay works Friday nights now so I was running TWO heats since the boys are in different age groups. My parents were wonderful in meeting us each week to cheer us on and to keep an eye them alternately while I ran with the other. We did make it to trophy night and once again Holden was extremely proud of his trophy. Hunter could have cared less and just wanted the cookies and juice. Lol.

We had lots of friends join us each Friday! The Cunningham boys, Ava, Katherine and Robert, Corinne, Natalie, Gabrielle, and some of Holden's preschool buddies were frequent participants. Such a fun thing for the kiddos.
Papa and Holden were fishing partners again this summer. They even competed in a fishing derby out at Comlara Park, where Jay patrols. Special times for the two of them.
I uploaded a bunch of random summer pics from my cell phone:

Jay convinced Holden to use some of his birthday money on this pool. It was a good purchase; they enjoyed it almost every day of the summer. Cousin Chelsey sometimes joined in the fun.

Hunter at "the purple park" with Aunt Allie


Riding the train at Grady's fun park.

Also at Grady's: Hunter's first taste of onion rings. Just like his big brother, he LOVES them! Can you see his eyes tearing up from the onions?! Didn't slow him down.

These boys ate a LOT of S'Mores. And sometimes just the marshmallows. Usually with no shirts on.


The "summer crew" at the mall food court. Crack me up. We took up a whole section.

One of many excursions with the Sit N' Stand. One of the best purchases we ever made.

Sandbox pals. (Until Hunter would start throwing the sand on Holden. Then things got ugly.) Daddy bought blue sand for them this time.

The summer of 2011 will be remembered as the summer that we had a polka-dotted yard. Jay tried to use some weed kill on the weeds. Too bad it killed the grass too.

Adventures in bowling.

Monkey see, monkey do. Hunter loved Holden's bike helmet.

Yes, he is flirting with the Old Navy mannequin.

Sweet baby boy! He often crashed in the car between his big brother's activities.

Mommy and Holden at the park down the street.

Peek A Boo!

Holden and Daddy rolling down the park hill! This makes me smile.

The boys playing in the fountain in Uptown Normal.

He just thinks he is hot stuff! Stole big brother's water bottle.
Typical hat and lots of trucks.
Playing on the fire truck at Safety Town.

Holden went with Memaw, Aunt Teresa, and cousin Kyle to a fire truck parade/exhibit one day. He got to climb in the trucks.

Neighbor buddies: Holden, Brady, Kylie, and Owen on the Adams' trampoline. The kids would often play until dark.

Dinner...and cheeseballs...a neighborhood affair.

Holden liked to shoot hoops at Prairieland school with help from Daddy.
We took lots of walks to the Fransen Nature Park up the road. Here's happy Hunter walking along the gravel path.

LOVE this picture!

Back to the collages: it was a rare day that we were NOT in the water somewhere! Summer of 2011 was one of the hottest summers I can remember in a long time. It was one of those summers where it was so hot that you could get out of the pool, be dripping wet, and already feel hot. We enjoyed our Tues/Thurs swim days with "the summer crew," usually at Anderson pool's toddler area, and also enjoyed Fairview pool and a few trips to State Farm Park when friends would invite us. Holden calls that one "the cool pool." :)
Enjoying ice cream on a hot summer evening.

Holden had his first trip to the dentist! He was very excited and loved the pediatric dentist office that we chose. It was so kid-friendly. He chose "birthday cake" flavored toothpaste for his cleaning! He sees Dr. Hall. We passed: no cavities! He got to put a token into the treasure machines (top left) and pick something out afterwards.

To celebrate a good report from the dentist (no cavities!) we went to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch. We actually went to see the big mouse several times over the summer just because it was a fun place to play in the air conditioning. Unlike Holden at his age, who used to be petrified of Chuck E, Hunter adores him and literally stalks him when he is out. He will follow him around and giggle. :)

Holden and Ava at Firehouse Pizza. We met her and Steph one evening for pizza and playtime at the Discovery Museum. Here they are winking at each other. LOL! Love how Holden just squeezes both eyes shut!

Fun at the Discovery Museum with Steph and Ava
The boys love to visit Jay when he's patrolling Comlara Park/Lake Evergreen. They have some fun special events for kids, too. One evening (coincidentally one of the HOTTEST evenings of can see how sweaty we are and how red Hunter's cheeks are) they had a dinner to thank people who work for the county. My parents joined us and the boys had a great time despite the heat. Lots of fun activities for them.
Some randoms: Hunter was obsessed with the remote (and chewing on it) at age 1, the boys playing in the new mall play area, (great for days where the heat index was just too hot for the park outdoors) Papa and Grammy took us to Hudson for the second year in a row to see the neat train set that someone has in his backyard, Holden got a new Spiderman bike, wrestling with Daddy when he gets home from work.

More randoms: pool and water fun with friends/neighbors/cousins, making S'mores with Daddy and friends, riding in the car cart at the grocery store, (it's a lot heavier with two little boys!) MESSY EATER Hunter. At age one he started swiping all of his food off the high chair tray once he was done with it. With foods like mac n' cheese, he also "fingerpainted." Always with that ornery grin. Hard to get mad at. :)

Oh, how we love the Cunningham boys! Just a few of the numerous pics I have of the gang. We had several S'mores and water play evenings out back. The bottom right is after Chelsey helped them catch lightning bugs. They caught 20-something of them in that jar. Jay was also a real trooper and slept with them in the tent a couple nights as promised. One night it was in the 90's and he kept sneaking into the house to cool off. Annie had sent her boys in warm fleece pj's thinking they might get cold. HA! They were out there with their shirts off and thought they were really cool.

Love the trio of Cade, Holden, and Colin. Giggly boys! Top: Moe's. Bottom: the mall food court. We dubbed the middle picture, "Holden and his entourage." LOL. We were leaving the mall and he had quite the cute little gaggle of girls with him: Natalie, Corinne, and Lauren.
Jay played softball on the Schulz Heating and Cooling team with his cousin, Tim, and some friends. The boys enjoyed going to the Maxwell Park Complex on Wednesday nights, especially when Cousin Kyle was there, too. We played at the playground, cheered Daddy on, and had some wild times with the bright yellow softballs.

Summer is not complete without a trip to the McLean County fair! This year we went with Steph and Ava on a hot, sticky, August day. We had to get some yummy ice cream to cool off. The kids had a blast despite the heat. We looked at the animals, climbed on tractors and fire trucks, Holden rode a pony, Hunter thoroughly enjoyed the fair foods (a boy after my own heart!) and Ava and Holden enjoyed some rides. I even took the plunge on the giant slide with him-my tummy was in my chest and he giggled all the way down. Good times!

The boys and I had our hands stamped so we could return in the evening. Jay was patrolling the grounds that evening so we got to say hi to him. Holden had a choice with the money Daddy gave him: more rides or one of the shows. He chose to purchase tickets to the demolition derby. The boys LOVED it!!!! Fast, loud cars ramming into each other, fire trucks and ambulances on the sidelines, and big tractors to pull the damaged cars away: what's not to like for a little boy? Holden still plays demolition derby with his matchbox cars and toy vehicles, and can't wait to see them again this summer! Hunter had a grand old time climbing on the bleachers and flirting with some little girls above us. It was still HOT even as the sun went can see how red his cheeks are and how sweaty his little head is. He was FILTHY by the time we left. The tub was brown after I washed them that night. :) Sign of a great day.

One of our summer Dr.'s checkups. I think this one was a follow-up ear appt? I should have been better about writing these things down. Yes, we humor ourselves while we wait by taking pics in the waiting area and waiting room. 

This was either his 12  or 18 mo. appt. I think I may have even posted these once already but can't remember. Sticking them in just in case. Getting measured and happy as can be while waiting...and then came the shots. Poor buddy! I made Daddy do the holding down so I wasn't the "bad guy." On our way out he pointed at the nurse and said, "NO, NO, NO!" 

CHEESEBALLS! These pics just make me smile.

One of my all-time favorite pics from summer 2011: "Nanny Jay" and some of the crew! I laugh every time I look at it! This was one of our numerous days at Anderson Pool toddler area. We met up at least twice a week with friends and brought our lunches. The kids all love when Jay joins us because he is a big kid. They apparently piled on him for this shot. 

Basement Mommy/Holden time one evening. After Hunter went to bed (usually around 7:30), Holden and I would have some one-on-one time doing things that we couldn't when crazy toddler baby was awake. Here we were doing a bunch of his truck puzzles. With some hats. LOL

Movies with friends! Our local movie theater provided free matinees on Wednesdays each week. On a few rainy or super hot days, we met up with friends. I was blessed to have Grammy watch Hunter so I didn't have to chase him around the theater. :) Here from the front is: Kara with Baby Luke (Kim and Lauren were in the bathroom), Corinne (this was her first movie!), Natalie and Bridget, Holden, Brady, Kylie, and Kam. We saw Shrek Ever After.

The boys love to visit Daddy's friend, Corey, on his farm. Corey grows sunflowers and he called us when they were tall so that we could get some neat pictures by them.

More pictures at Corey's. The boys got to help pick sweet corn. Holden takes this role VERY seriously. LOL. I also took some scenic shots along our drive there. I love the country-side. So peaceful.

And there's summer 2011 in a nutshell! Just wrapped up in time for summer 2012 to start! Oh dear...I'm only a year behind....! Can't wait to see what this summer has in store for us and what new memories we will make. Stay tuned for fall 2011! I may be behind but I am determined to continue.