Sunday, July 15, 2018

Heidi Anne's 10th Birthday Celebrations

Okay, an honest moment here. If it weren't for pictures everything since July 1st would be one big blur.

On July 1st we went to Aunt Em's to celebrate Heidi Anne's 10th birthday! (I feel so old). Anyways, they had a cousin's sleepover and Aunt Em volunteered to host a BBQ at her house for the whole extended family. 

Aunt Em has an awesome playground at her house. The Littles were drawn to it like a moth to the flame. 
Rowan climbed up the ladder with ease. He was like a little mountain goat. Then he'd go down the twisting slide. He was set on repeat mode. 
Anastasia was confused as to why she couldn't get up past the first rung of the ladder. (She's going back into Occupational Therapy in August because she's delayed in these and other areas). She contented herself with standing at the bottom of the slide and making her voice echo or have Rowan crash into her. They would both laugh and repeat the game.
After a wonderful BBQ, that took everyone's dietary preferences in mind. There were nearly 20 people, including kiddos there. To have something that anyone and everyone could enjoy is no easy feat in this extended family.  
Aunt Em presented a beautiful Red Velvet cake, which is Heidi Anne's current favorite cake.  Aunt Em made the cake from scratch - not even from a box - but really 100% homemade cake with homemade cream cheese frosting topped with fresh fruit. It was amazing and so delicious. 
Every 4th of July for the last few years Char has posted this meme on FaceBook. I figure it finally deserved a place on my posts.  
July 4th we went down to Grandma and Grandpa's house to help make Raspberry jam and have a lunch BBQ. I got some cute pictures of the kids on the way down.
Here's Rowan on the drive down. His shirt says Mr. Independant. We didn't dress very festive this year. But my friend, Valerie, did an amazing job of painting fireworks on plain white tee shirts. Oh, she added pony beads on the girls' shirts. I might give that a shot next year OR maybe tie-dye white tee shirts red and blue. (We did that on Heidi Anne's 1st 4th of July.) 
Charlie had work that night we wouldn't be able to make the dinner BBQ. By the time we got there (10:30-ish in the morning), they had pretty much finished making jam. We helped clean up instead. 
We brought Cass the dog along for the journey, too. Everyone brings their fur babies in the family, so it wasn't weird to bring one of our dogs down to Grandma's house. Yeah, Cass is like a small pony and only 6 months old. Here he's just resting his chin on Char's knee.
Since everybody began to trickle in, Grandpa decided we'd have a big BBQ lunch with the whole family around 12:30-ish. He even got me turkey burgers! Anastasia was snacking the whole day until lunch.
Rowan played on the piano a little bit. Yeah, I don't have many pictures of them outside. It was so hot out there that the kids didn't stay out very long to play. We were even planning on eating outside but the heat changed our minds. 

When Uncle M came he showed everyone what he had made for the very first time with his 3-D printer. It was a little Yoda and a big hit with everyone. (He later made 3 beautiful butterflies for Heidi Anne's birthday). 
The kids played outside and in the water a bit. Everyone was everywhere. Some kids were in the playroom, some were outside. I was more occupied with monitoring the kiddos then taking pictures. 

We had to leave pretty much after lunch since Char had to get to work. It's not fun being the first to go at most gatherings but for Char duty calls, and we tend to have quite a drive ahead of us. At least we try. 

On July 6th Heidi Anne got to open her gifts from us because she'd be spending the night on July 7th at Aunt Em's and Dad had work that night as well. 
She got some Girl Scout gear, here's her uniform sash, she wanted it on right away.
Plus a Girl Scout tee shirt (that was on sale at an affordable for even my kind of price.). 
Pearler beads and bases.

It's not much but we're trying to focus more on activities with her versus just presents. Her activities were to go to a fun swimming pool, get her first mani-pedi with Aunt Em and the cousins, and a matinee movie with just Dad (thanks to some gift cards we had).   
July 7th was officially Heidi Anne's 10th Birthday. Grandma, Aunt Em, and her girls came up to go to the aquatic center with us. This was Rowan and Anastasia's first time at a pool EVER. *Little Reminder - These 2 children HATE baths and water.* We planned on being there anywhere from 30 minutes to hours upon hours. 

Everyone meet up at the pool and we thought we got there early, but there was already a line. With more people streaming to be in the queue.
Anastasia did amazing for not liking water. There was a toddler section of the pool where the water went from your toes to 18 inches deep. She loved it and went down water slides until bigger kids showed up.    

Rowan wasn't a fan at all of the water. He went in deeper than Anastasia but he was only in for like 15 minutes. He had enough and began to meltdown. Once on dry land, he just froze - almost like a shock victim. Finally, he decided to give the splash pad a shot. That was just the right amount of misting water for him. 
Anastasia would come out of the pool occasionally, and run through the splash pad with him. Those two really get each other. 
Heidi Anne had a blast playing with her cousins in the pool and eating some pizza for lunch. They floated a lot in the lazy river. After a few hours, the littles had enough. We left but the others stayed a tad longer to enjoy the pool. 

Later that day Heidi Anne got her very first Mani-Pedi with Aunt Em and the girls. On top of that, they had sushi for dinner, which is Heidi Anne's favorite food. She had a great 10th birthday week. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Bear River Refuge

On Saturday I was very brave and took all 3 kiddos to the Bear River Bird & Wildlife Refuge all by myself. It was the last task Heidi Anne needed to complete for her Animal Habitats Badge.
Unfortunately, we got there an hour early. I decided we'd drive around Brigham City to kill some time. However, Heidi was worried we'd get back to the refuge late and it would be crowded. She took a lot of reassurance that everything would be fine. It finally got close to opening time and Heidi was thrilled to see we were the first visitors there. 
Heidi checked out a free Junior Ranger backpack (it contained items to gather bugs, binoculars, butterfly nets, and a variety of field guides. She also got a booklet of activities to do. If a child in either Boy or Girl Scouts completes at least 5 activities they qualify for a fun patch. Naturally, Heidi was determined to get that patch. 

At the visitor's center, they have a little porch in the back of the building. It was surrounded by cliff swallows and their little colony of nests. 
The back porch is also the beginning of a 1-mile hike that even I could manage (so anyone can do that "hike") while pushing a double stroller without much difficulty.
On the hike as learned an important lesson, it's best to visit the refuge in spring or fall. We found a blue heron, cliff swallows, a few ducks and LOTS of insects. At least most of the bugs were dragonflies and butterflies. I promised her we'd come back around September.  
The "hike" took us about 90+ minutes. However, we'd stop at each bench along the trail so Heidi could work on a task. We had nothing but time and the Littles were fairly good. Except Anastasia kept trying to throw her shoes in the marsh or toss them in the tall grass and cattails. Hence, she has no shoes in this picture. I love this picture, everyone is mostly looking in the same direction and Heidi is searching the skies with the binoculars. 
After 90 minutes outside in the hot summer heat the Littles became cranky. Fortunately, Heidi Anne completed her last task. She got a certificate and earned the patch. Since it's a bonus fun patch to get, it'll be placed on the back of her uniform. Apparently, some National Forests have a similar program, Heidi just has to find one and help make a plan on how to get there. All the Scout things are Heidi driven, I'm just encouraging her. (Also I'm taking her to these places / activities.)