Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Summer Days Driftin’ Away

Not only is summer drifting away but it is now officially over.  We had a great summer, full of so many wonderful memories.  Be prepared for picture collage overload.  Instead of catching up with lots of individual posts, I’m gonna jam it all into one big, fat summer post.  Here’s our summer recap in photos:

We started our summer with a big surprise birthday bash for my dad’s 70th birthday.  My sister and I spent weeks planning and hoping it would be a perfect and memorable weekend for my dad.  My sister and her family flew into town and we partied all weekend long.  Started Saturday with a surprise breakfast in our custom tshirts (logo courtesy of my awesome brother-in-law, Jeff).  Then we played a Decades game that highlighted the big events from the last seven decades.  Competed in  “70 seconds to win it” (Minute To Win It, 70th birthday style).  Laughed and enjoyed being together at The Princess Bridesmaid at Desert Star Playhouse.  Spent Sunday together at church then dinner and birthday cake at my parents.  Played a white elephant style birthday gift exchange.  Everyone brought an inexpensive gift that reminded them of my dad.  There was lots of Utah Jazz paraphernalia, Uncle Remus books, Spanish stuff, soda pop, mugs, world globes, doctor kits, black licorice, fig newtons, pistachios, etc.  Then we gave him a digital scrapbook from all of the grandkids with a birthday letter and pictures from each grandchild.  We ended the night with a talent show put on by the grandkids and a DVD that highlighted the past 70 years of his life.  The next day was Memorial Day so we went all together to visit the cemeteries then visited our house on Chevy Chase Circle where we grew up.  We ended the birthday celebrating with rollerskating, laser tag, bumper cars and mini golf.  It was such a fun weekend, full of great memories.  My favorite part of the weekend was that everyone was involved in every activity, from 2 years old to 70 years old, everyone created lasting memories with their Dad/Grandpa.

A few weeks later, Gavin’s dad also turned 70!  We headed down to St. George for a quick birthday weekend.  The girls and I stayed at a hotel and had so much fun being together and living the hotel life for a few days.  The pool was the perfect size for Morgan since she was just getting herself used to swimming again and after the long winter.  The highlight of the weekend for everyone (but Mia) was going to Veyo and fishing for crawdads with a stick, string and hotdogs.  The kids caught lots of huge crawdads and then released them back into the stream (Morgan was more than willing to dump them on the ground or back into the water, even when her cousins didn’t want her to).  We had a fun birthday celebration and gave Gavin’s dad a scrapbook from all of the grandkids and did the white elephant gift exchange again.  We ended the weekend with a viewing of The Lorax.  Then the kids all went out to dinner and Nan and Papa went home to bed.  A sure sign they've now entered into their 70’s.

Father’s Day was great.  I took the kids to the dollar store to pick out some presents for their dad.  He got some great stuff . . . plastic baseball bat and ball, bouncy ball, cowtales, treats, cards and a cute poem and treat from Primary.  We had my family and Gavin’s brother's family over for a BBQ and croquet. 
Many Sunday evenings were spent together with the Stewarts rotating outdoor locations with the beautiful weather.  We made it up Big Cottonwood Canyon for hot dog roasting and smores.

Jack spent most of the summer at camps.   Starting with basketball camp at his high school.  Then he went with his friend, Jake, to EFY at BYU campus for the week.  He loved it and came home a changed man, for a few hours.  He gave a beautiful testimony of his Savior in church the next day and made us all proud of the man he is becoming.

Jack went up for a rebound on his last day of basketball camp and got punched in the jaw and bit his tongue.  We tried a few instacares but were sent to the ER, luckily he didn’t need stitches since it didn’t go all the way through the tongue.  It healed up within a few days and now he’s got a nice scar to help him forever remember basketball camp.

We thoroughly enjoyed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Murray Park Amphitheater.  It was a beautiful summer night and nice to be all together.  The highlight of the play for my little ones was the live camel on the stage.

It wouldn’t be summertime without some sidewalk chalk drawings before bed.  Mia colors all. of. the. time.  But I realized she never draws or even tries to draw so I was impressed with the cute little people she managed to draw on our sidewalk.  4 year old drawings are my favorite.

My friend, Rebecca, from facebook came into town (we’d never met but just knew each other on fb because we both have a daughter with Down syndrome) with her cute family and we toured around The Gateway with them and spent most of our time at the Children’s Museum.  My kids LOVED it.  Morgan didn’t want to leave the ball area but found there were just as great other activities there as well, like playing in the water and shopping in the pretend store, garden and farm.  Hadley and Matisse spent most of their time cleaning up the store and putting everything away.  It was an endless, full time job that they seemed to enjoy.

Morgan had her first echo cardiogram in 10 years.  She had one before her AV canal surgery and one a few weeks after and then nothing, beside her annual Xray and EKG.  It was time and luckily she didn’t need any sedation and even luckier . . . everything looked perfect!  Then it was time for the battle to get her blood drawn for her annual thyroid screening.  It took 5 of us to hold her down and 2 pokes and then we were done.  She is not a fan of the hospital and hates to have her blood drawn.

We were so excited when my parents finally got their pool fixed and filled with water.  Summer just wasn’t summer without their pool.  The kids loved swimming lessons with Uncle Blake and progressed a lot.  Griffin is swimming everywhere.  Mia is starting to swim in the deep end on her own.  And Morgan is a little fish, who finally likes to wear goggles.

This was our first time to go the Princess Festival at Thanksgiving Point.  It was so hot and very little shade but Mia and Morgan loved it.  Mia’s favorite was seeing what all of the other girls were dressed up as.  We met up with my friend Kecia and that was the highlight of the activity for me and Hadley who adores her family, especially her twin baby girls.

We made it to Raging Waters a few times. . .

And we fit in a few Down syndrome swimming get togethers at my parents’ pool.  There really is nothing like the Down syndrome family.  It’s as close to real family as you can get.  Love all of these mamas and their kiddos.

Enjoyed an evening at the night lighting of the hot air balloons.  I think I enjoyed this more than the other members of my family.  I love summer nights and free events.  So this was a win win for me.  Free music, beautiful weather and the sky lit up by the balloons.  I just thought they were going to take flight and was a little disappointed and naive to think they could fly and land in the dark.

We spent a hot summer day at Lagoon Amusement Park for Down Syndrome Day.  It’s a good thing we have DS Day or I don’t think we’d ever get to Lagoon.  It’s not my favorite activity but the kids love it.  The exciting news is that by next year all of my kids should be tall enough to do all of the big rides so we can all finally stick together.  Morgan was brave and went on the Wild Mouse and the crazy, bumpy, not-so-white roller coaster.  She was done with the big rides after that.  Griffin was incredibly adventurous and went on every ride that he was tall enough to do.  We all went together on Rattlesnake Rapids and got soaking wet.  Morgan was so upset and let me know it,  “I am IN MY CLOTHES!!!” as wave after wave went into our boat.  It’s always such a fun day and had fun with Jeff and Rae’s family and Brittany and Jamie’s family.  Jack met up with a friend from school and the big kids took off with her and her family for most of the day.

I turned 41 years old in July and sometimes it’s best when your birthday picture turns out like this when you’re not getting any younger.

Hadley made me a cute birthday candy bar poster and then we spent the night with Katy Perry at the movie theater.

Park City is beautiful in the summer and we made it up there twice.  The first time we got there just in time to do one trip down the alpine slide and see some of the snow skiers practices their jumps into the pool.

Sundays at the park with the Stewart family.  Celebrating birthdays.  Playing on ancient playground equipment and wading in the river and skipping rocks.

Jack went to two weeks of scout camp.  High Adventure and Bear Lake Aquatics.  Ryan joined in on the second one.  They had a great time and the house was so quiet with both of them gone.

Hadley took a babysitting course at our children’s hospital and is now ‘Super Sitter’ certified.  She loves to babysit and is so good with younger kids.  She continues to amaze me with all that she does with her younger siblings.

Gavin surprised me with Wicked tickets for Christmas and we got to go together this summer.  We were way up at the very top of the theater but it was still such a great show and fun night.  We saw it a few years ago in San Francisco but honestly I had forgotten most of it.  Old age.

Annual Neighborhood BBQ in the circle.

Someone announced on facebook that there was a free concert at Usana amphitheater.  Loving concerts and anything free, my sister, niece, Hadley and her friend all decided to give it a shot.  We had a fun night singing and dancing to Belinda Carlisle, Tommy Shaw and Kenny Loggins.  Hadley and her friend, Ellie dressed as twinners (so remember doing that with my BFF at that age) and danced along with us.

Mia had her very first sleep over with her cousin Lily.  They giggled and played and snuck out of bed a few times but they finally fell asleep a few minutes before midnight.  

We ended the summer with a road trip to Bonneville Salt Flats for family pictures.  It was a long drive with hungry kids but we made it and had so much fun.  It’s only 2 hours away but I’ve never been there.  Driven by it a few times but never stopped to walk around on it.  It looks like snow, it’s smooth like ice and sticky like rice.  We took a bike and scooters for photo props and the kids had so much fun riding all them all over the salt flats.  And it made for quite an incredible photo backdrop.
And there you have it.  The highlights of our summer.