Thursday, July 5, 2018

Hocking Hills Vacation

Three years ago, my whole side of the family rented a cabin in Hocking Hills for vacation.  It took a few years, but we finally made it back!  In 2015, there were 3 kids ages three and under and one on the way.  This time, we had 7 kids ages six and under plus one on the way! Despite all of our crazy schedules, we managed to get a family from Colorado, two families from Indiana, and two families in Ohio in the same lodge for four days and three night.

We rented a humongous lodge for us all to share.  My favorite part of the lodge was the bunk bed room which had 4 sets of bunk beds in it!  What a great place for cousin fun!  Eliana, Will, Claire, and Hannah all shared this room (Will was the only one who wanted to sleep in the top bunk).  This resulted in some late bedtimes, but lots of great memories.  The weather was beautiful but hot!  With so many little kids, we did not do a ton of hiking, but we did play lots of games, eat tons of cookies, watch movies, roast marshmallows, and celebrate a birthday. I love these times with my family!

My dad with the youngest grandchild - baby Naomi

Will doing some baby yoga with Naomi

Lots of pj time on the trip! We strategically placed my parents in the bedroom next to the bunk bed room. So in the mornings when the kids got up, they woke up Grandma while the parents got to sleep in!  As the babies woke up, we would usher them into the kitchen with Grandma and the kids, then head back to bed!

Hannah, Eliana, and Will playing Paw Patrol Bingo

Eliana loves babies! She was happy to get to feed Naomi.

Hannah, Eliana, Rosie and Will swinging on the porch. Will doesn't like to have his picture taken.

Eliana with her Godmother Aunt Rebecca
Our hike to Ash Cave. Your choice for the hike was a paved trail or the creekbed.  Will choose the creek.

Checking out the sandy cave. Rosie is not a fan of water!

Laney heading towards the waterfall.

Eliana and Will splashing in the shallow pool by the waterfall.

Great family photo of Michael, Melissa, and Claire!

We did one other family hike to Old Man's Cave.  We managed to get everyone in a group photo! Lots of kids in backpacks. Some had to abandon the hike early, but we were all together for a few minutes!
We celebrated Will's 4th birthday on the trip with cupcakes and ice cream.


Laney thought her cupcake was better than her spaghetti.




We ended the trip with a family picnic. We bribed the kids with ring pops to get this picture!

Ring Pop Power!

Best family photo!  David asked a little bit ago if we should try to get some professional family photos taken since we haven't in a while. I said, no, the last time we tried, a different kid was crying in every picture. This is what our family photos are going to look like for a while! This just might be our Christmas card photo this year. At least we keep things real.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer swimming

June has been so hot!  We have been anxious to get in as much water time as possible this summer!
First stop - Hilliard Station splash pad.  These pictures are actually from May (also a very hot month!).  As you can see, I did get Laney her own suit so she doesn't have to wear her brother's.



Laney wasn't so sure about the fountains. She didn't mind them when they were small, but they would unexpectedly start shooting high again, which she definitely did not like. I think the fact that they changed was the hardest part for her.

Laney decided the best way to play in the fountain was to drink it. She was in for a bad surprise when it started shooting up higher again!

Our first trip to the pool! I learned an important lesson on this trip - Laney needs a floatie.  I had taken all three kids to the pool last summer by myself, and didn't really have any issues.  Eliana could swim fairly well, while Will hung out in the baby pool, and Laney was not mobile yet and let me hold her.  This summer, however, Will and Laney both want to go in the deep pool!  And silly Laney has no fear of the water (I don't think she has a very strong survival instinct. She tried to drown several times and that did not deter her one bit).  Unfortunately, the puddle jumpers that I own are too big for her.  I will need to invest in an infant life vest so we can venture back to the pool again.  I've never had a baby like the water so much!


Swim Lessons
Eliana and Will both took a week of swim lessons. I actually signed Will up for the same level as last year because he had been so scared and had such a hard time.  But this year after a couple of lessons, the swim instructor said that he was swimming so well, she thought he should move up to level 2.  They actually let us switch mid week, which was great because then he and Eliana had lessons at the same time.  
Eliana showing off her loose tooth while waiting for Will's lesson to be done.

William swimming. So proud of how far he has come!

Eliana swimming (although she looks like she is sinking in this picture...). By the end of the week, Eliana could swim from one end of the lap pool to the other without stopping!! She is like a little fish now!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Playdough


Always a favorite, and fun to make too! Will especially likes to make rattlesnake families (with a mother, a father, a big sister, a brother, and a baby) with his playdough.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Father's Day

For Father's Day this year, David unfortunately had to work at noon through the evening. So we planned him a special Father's Day breakfast. He got his two favorite things - donuts and Subway! The kids and I let him sleep in while we drove off to collect all of his favorite foods.  When we returned, it was a "Breakfast in Bed" ambush!




While breakfast in bed might be nice in theory, it can be difficult to eat when you have three kids jumping in your bed. So David opted to actually eat his meal at the kitchen table.
Unfortunately as a summer holiday, David did not get the many handprint gifts like I did that the kids made in school.  But we did give him a subscription to the monthly magazine The Magnificat, which David was quite happy about. Happy Father's Day to one amazing Dad!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Count

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Will attended Zoo Kids preschool zoo camp last month. On the last day of zoo camp, the kids attended the show Surfin' Safari, which featured many many rescue animals doing tricks plus several exotic zoo animals like kangaroos and emus.  During the show, animals like cats, dogs, and birds would go from one point on stage to another, like having cats climb a ladder to enter a door at the top of the stage. After the show, the animal visitor for zoo camp was The Count, a retired show cat.  He was very friendly and allowed 15 preschoolers to pet him all at once.  As part of the announcements after camp, the instructor let us know that Count was actually up for adoption since he was "retired." David and I have talked a long time about getting a pet (Eliana has wanted one so bad), but we had agreed to wait for another year or two.  However, after hearing about The Count, I was just drawn to him.  He sounded so friendly, was already well trained, and the zoo was giving him away for free to a good home.  So I broke my own promise and we got a cat on June 5th, a year and a half before our agreed on timeline!  It also happened to be mine and David's 8th anniversary, and we decided that was our present to each other. 

It's not often that you go to the zoo and leave with a pet!  This reminds me of the story "Dear Zoo" by Rod Campbell.  In the children's book, a boy writes to the zoo and asks for a pet.  The zoo then sends him many pets like an elephant or a camel or a lion, which don't work for obvious reasons, and all have to be sent back.  The last pet the zoo sends is a dog, which was the perfect pet.  So now when I read the book, I end it by saying, the zoo sent us a cat named The Count, and we kept him because he was perfect. (Also check out "How do Dinosaurs Choose Their Pets" by Jane Yolan - funny in light of our zoo pet).

Count has adjusted well to our family. He has not been shy at all, and only hid for about a day before he seemed to make himself right at home.  Eliana does great with him and has been a big help in feeding and caring for him.  Will pets him nicely for a while, but then seems to get a little mischievous and will push him or pull his tail.  Getting a little too excited, Laney doesn't know what to do with Count.  She is completely in love with him and squeals with joy, but she is pretty rough.  She mostly pets by hitting, so we are trying to go slow with Laney and give poor Count lots of breaks.  Hopefully she will grow used to him and learn from her big sister better ways to interact with your pet.  My favorite time with Count is in the evenings after the kids go to bed.  Count will come upstairs and sleep on the couch next to me as I fold laundry and watch TV.  I find it so comforting to have him there beside me, sweetly sleeping. I'm glad I broke my own rule and got a pet early. He's just what our family needed.


Pretty Kitty



Thursday, May 31, 2018

Memorial Day and the last day of school

For the last 4 years, a member of the Bond family has run in the Upper Arlington Memorial Day 5 miler.  I had been planning on running again this year, but then for health reasons, I had to stop training. In the end, it turned out to not be a bad thing to miss the race because it was HOT out.  Temperatures were in the high 80s even at the beginning of the race, and I saw multiple people get sick after the race from the heat.  Despite his better judgement, David raced the 5 miler this year, if nothing else but to keep up tradition.  I forget his exact time, but it was obviously not his fastest race.  At the end of the race, David was so sweaty that he looked like he had taken a dip in a pool!  I'm sure he would have rather been doing that, than running so much in the heat.

I wanted to do the 1 mile fun run with the kids, but Eliana was ambivalent at first.  The race begins at a playground and her preference was to just keep playing. However, as the announcer was counting down to the start of the race, she changed her mind and jumped right in.  I hopped into the race as well, pulling Will and Laney in the wagon.  We were joined by our friends Holly, Adele, and Hannah.  I was surprised because Eliana took off running and just kept running (must be all the soccer she has been playing).  Two years ago when she did the fun run, she ran for a bit, then wanted to walk, then run again. This time, however, she was off like a bolt of lightning and never looked back for us slow pokes.  The kid's race is a half mile out then back, so after several minutes, I see Eliana heading back towards us.  Pulling the wagon, our group was near the very end of the participants still walking. However, as Eliana ran by, we all just turned around and headed for the finish line (it's a very casual race!).  Haha!  Eliana completed the 1 mile race in about 10 min 30 seconds! I couldn't believe how fast she was! I'm pretty sure I couldn't run that fast in high school. I'm glad she decided to run it after all. We finished with more playground time, then relaxing for the end of the holiday weekend.

My fast racers!
On Wednesday, Eliana had her last day of kindergarten.  (Why the school made the students come back from Memorial day weekend for a day and a half of school, I do not know.) I can't believe how fast the year went! She definitely learned a lot at school this year.  She is starting to read, and I'm just blown away by how much math she can do.  We were playing school the other day and she was the teacher, having me do math story problems.  She then showed me several techniques to solve the story problem such as drawing a picture, using the ten frame, and using a number line. I was impressed!  She has made tons of new friends. She also tells me that she now wants to be an author and illustrator when she grows up.  I'm proud of my big girl!  Off to first grade next year!

Last day of school



Thursday, May 24, 2018

Zoo days

Each Wednesday during May, Will went to Zoo Kids, a three hour preschool class at the zoo. This was such an awesome activity for him because he absolutely loves the zoo! He has been saying he wants to be a zoo keeper when he grows up, and the theme for this month was actually "Zookeepers!" The very first class, they got to make zookeeper badges and go behind the scenes at the Manatee Cove.  Funny enough, after this first class, he declared that he no longer wanted to be a zookeeper.  I asked why, and he replied, "They have to clean up poop!" Haha! However, he seemed to forget that unpleasant aspect of zookeeping, and by the next week was back to his original excitement about his career prospects. Each week they visited a different animal at the zoo and would have different animal friends come to class to pet.  I think we will have to sign him up for this class again next fall or spring. It was something he definitely really enjoyed.

The one tough part of the class was that it started at 1:30pm, Laney's nap time. Each week we tried out different napping schedules. First keeping her up and trying to get her to nap after I dropped Will off (didn't work, she feel asleep in the car and took a very short nap). Then I tried having her nap before the class (worked once but usually it was tough to get her to go to sleep that early). So one day when Laney took a good nap before dropping Will off, I decided to stay at the zoo with Laney until it was time to meet Eliana at home when she got off the bus.  Laney and I had a special mommy/daughter time visiting some monkeys, bears, elephants, and birds.  The funniest thing was when she would imitate the animals she was looking at.  When the water monitor (big snake like lizard) would stick its tongue out, so would Laney.  When the duck would try to clean its feathers under its wing, Laney licked her arm.  When the tiger was sleeping, Laney laid her head down on her arm. It was so cute!

Sticking her tongue out like a water monitor

She loved watching the sloth bear and did not want to leave this enclosure.

Laney loves birds so she really enjoyed when we walked through the aviary. She walked up and down the path several times, but kept coming back to see these ducks.

Laney also thought the little birds like this cardinal flying around the zoo were an especially great part of our zoo trip.  She chased them all over the sidewalk.

Mommy/Laney date!

Checking out the rhino statue.