Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Randomness

August was our "last hurrah" month for the summer of 2014.  We had plenty to fill our days up with before we sent our big girl Addison off to school.  Here's just a few things we enjoyed during August...

Jump Zone!  The older two kiddos were running around like crazy monkeys.  This monkey wanted to stay by me and the little kid playground.  I was totally fine with it since it meant I didn't have to crawl inside a huge bounce house.  She's my little buddy and I love it.
A Daddy & Jonas selfie while picking blueberries.  I believe with was a "pre-sweat" picture instead of a post-sweat pic.
Jonas and Daddy went Blackberry picking.  As you can see it was a pretty hot day but they still had a blast.  I think they should have recorded Jonas' starting weight and ending weight and charged us for the difference.  From the looks of those lips he looks like he may have sampled a few-hundred while he picked.
A nice reflective moment whilst picking the berries.  I'm guessing his thought was "Which one do I want in my belly?!"  99% sure that's where those little berries ended up.
"C'mon puppy.....go!" Says Jonas as he pulls Brooklyn by her binky chain.  So fun watching these two bond while Addison is in school.
Addison was lucky enough to go on a "Mommy-Date" with me as we went to a Young Women's activity.  This activity happened to be a fun swim in a friend's pool.  Here she is getting brave (with the help of the YW cheering section) as she chose to slide down the fun slide.  After she conquered it she went down it again about a billion more times.
And of course, after the pool fun she was able to sit on a horse with my YW Avery.  What could get more fun in one night than a pool AND a horse ride!?  She's a happy little girl.
This was the Sunday I realized that I dressed my child up as "Pebbles" from "The Flintstones."  It was a total accident (albeit a funny one) and never occurred to me until after church was over.  Such a cute Pebbles she is! 
One of our many trips to the "Poppy Store" (aka: Target).  This is what happens when Hufford children get the sniff of the corn.  They LOVE them some popcorn.  It's in their DNA after all.
A friendly neighborhood wagon ride.  Apparently, Jonas wanted to protect that noggin even while riding in the wagon.
My Sunday morning "Twinners".
Again, Jonas and Brooklyn bonding over cookies & giggles while Addison is in school.  I'm always fascinated with what they choose to do with their time but I'm quickly learning that their little minds are more similar than I originally thought.  Two peas in a pod.
While I'm mopping the floors, he asks me in his deep manly voice.... "Want me to sing 'Let it Go' Mom?  Yes please!  After finishing he says "Amen."
Nothing like a last-minute stay-cation to make our Monday exciting.  It's the only good thing to come from a broken AC unit at home.  The kiddos loved it.  I did too....until we had to go back to a hot house and wait another day for a working/replaced unit.  Merry Christmas in August to us!
Hanging out with this nugget, in the driveway, in the van, with AC blowing at max, as we wait on AC replacement quotes on the house. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mini Family Vacay

This year's "Official Family Vacation" consisted of a handful of smaller low-key vacations.  Which, when you have so many kids as young as we do, it's a blessing in disguise.  Really, it is.  Our final mini-vacation consisted of a long extended weekend trip to visit Grandma Parr and Aunt Ann and Uncle Roger.  Ever since John and I have been married, we've been talking about taking a trip to visit them.  I had never met them until their earlier visit just this year to Arkansas.  They were just so fun to hang out with that we didn't want it to end and decided THIS would be the year that we finally followed-through and made the trek to Albingdon, IL.  Of course, with any trip with little kids, our drive consisted of a lot of little stops along the way to help break up those long car rides.

Brooklyn is liking this trip so far!  Who knew it'd include french fries!?
Jonas and Addison got quite the hook-up with fun driving activities thanks to Mommy.  Jonas is such a novice to coloring that he has yet to learn what crayons are actually used for....besides poking in things.
The trip itself was about 8 hours (one-way).  Luckily, we went through St. Louis on our way and decided to make it our half-way stop.  We arrived in time to check in to our hotel and unpack.  Unfortunately, since it was so late we didn't get to take advantage of the hotel pool and ended up going straight to bed with sleepy little kids.  However, we did arrive just in time to evacuate the hotel due to a fire alarm being set off.  Literally, it was within minutes of us dumping all of our suitcases, and kids, off our arms and sitting exhausted on the beds.  Once we heard the loudspeaker in the room telling us to evacuate John and I both immediately looked for Jonas and were asking him "Jonas, what did you touch!?"  It was funny really....only after we confirmed that he had nothing to do with the alarm or the evacuation.  But it did set our hearts aflutter for a minute there.  

It made for an exciting adventure to load up all three kids and once again exit the hotel via three flights of stairs, in the dark of the night, in a big city.  Luckily, it was a nicer part of St. Louis so that helped.  We had fun watching the firemen and the bright fire-truck do their thing while we waited for all floors to be searched.  Eventually, we got to go back in and settle in to bed.  With kids in tow, anything can be an exciting adventure, even the frustrating, boring, scary, fire-false-alarm evacuation.
We were all quite enamored with the pretty sparkling lights at 11:00 at night.
The next morning we were off to explore the St. Louis Zoo.  I spent my single years visiting this attraction frequently so I was thrilled for the opportunity to share it with my little family.  The best part of the zoo is that it's free!  And of course, the other best parts is that it is quite a nice zoo.  Since the day was soooo hot and we were only halfway to our trip destination we didn't spend a ton of time there.  We quickly had tired kids and tired parents and were ready to hit the road to IL.  We did enjoy the seeing the monkey's, the reptile house, and watching a sea lion show that had us all enthralled.

Checking out one of Mommy's favorites...the orangutan.  
Trying to keep cool in the heat.  This big mist blower was probably our favorite attraction.  We are Hufford's after all!
Eventually, we made it to our destination and were SO happy to see Grandma Parr and Aunt Ann and Uncle Roger.  They were beyond hospitable and the kids just thoroughly enjoyed our stay at their house.  Once I got past the anxiety of my kids trying to play with (break) all of the fragile decorations, I enjoyed myself too!  

Aunt Ann with Brooklyn and Addison.  They loved sitting in these two wooden chairs so much that Aunt Ann gave them to us to take home.  We were thrilled!  Especially since they apparently belonged to Grandpa Joe when he was just a little boy.
Jonas and Addison were quite impressed with Uncle Roger's disappearing quarter tricks.  I must say, I was pretty impressed myself!  The man has skills!
Tucking Jonas into bed.  He and Addison were lucky enough to share a room and also got to cuddle with their own stuffed animals provided by Aunt Ann.  She thought of everything folks!
Addison cuddling up in her bed for the night.
Grandma Parr & Aunt Ann were SO good with the kids.  Aunt Ann bought toys specially for these kiddos to play with when we arrived.  They also immediately took them on a walk to the park once we arrived which gave Daddy & Mommy a much needed break!  We were all smitten with them pretty quickly.
All in all, it was a great relaxing trip.  They showed us so much of their hometown, treated us to so many yummy breakfasts out at their favorite diner, and even made the yummiest homemade meals for our dinners.  They were even kind enough to not tell us their house was haunted until AFTER we finished our stay.  Cool but definitely creepy!  It was a beautiful house and had LOTS of history so I'm not too surprised but I'm very glad the ghosts decided to leave us alone while we were there.  They showed us a cool small airport that had such old classic planes that were taking off and landing.  Roger, Ann, and Grandma Parr were so hospitable and we were so grateful.  I'm very glad we had the opportunity to visit them and their stomping grounds.  Until next time!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Daddy's Birthday Celebration

It's that time of year again where Daddy gets another year older and wiser too.  I always enjoy celebrating his birthday for many reasons.  One of which being that it reminds me he will always be OLDER than me.  Not by much....but still older.

We always enjoy showering this guy in love and gifts and cuddles.  He doesn't ever require much attention on a day-to-day basis so it's pretty easy for him to be overlooked.  He provides so much for our family in so many ways so its only appropriate we get the chance to show him our gratitude every once in awhile.

Helping Daddy blow out his birthday candles.

Apparently, I was a little too busy running the celebration festivities and didn't get much opportunity to document the event with pictures.  I'll choose to spend this time talking about all the amazing things we love about Daddy....

He's always happy.  Really, I would say about 95% of the time he is happy and positive no matter what is going on.  

He loves me.  I'm grateful for this and also grateful that he expresses his love for me so often.  He shows and tells the children how much he loves me and he also tells me when it's just him and I hanging out.  He is always happy to volunteer his feelings toward me and his gratitude for what I contribute to our family.

He loves his kids.  Not only does he tell them frequently but he also shows them.  And this is my favorite.  He's always down on the ground playing with them, wrestling, giving them pony rides, going out in the snow, throwing balls back-and-forth, and of course cuddling.  I love seeing how much they love him in return.  Before I ever met him I always wished and hoped I could find a future Daddy just like him.  I'm so grateful that I picked him and that he was everything I was hoping for way back when.  I'm grateful my kids get relationships with their Dad that I always wanted to have when I was their age.  It was and is always very important to me.

He loves anything and everything.  He does!  He'll eat or try just about any type of food.  He'll also try any type of hobby out there.  He's always open to trying new things.  This makes him very experienced in lots of different areas when it comes to home repair, car repair, or cooking yummy food concoctions.  I love how well-rounded he is and I have this character trait to thank for it.

He loves his family.  Not only immediate family but extended family too.  Both my side and his own.  He accepts and loves and looks past everyone's weaknesses and loves them regardless.  Again, not only does he verbalize it but his actions toward them just reiterates it even more.

He's funny.  He makes all of us laugh with his witty sense-of-humor.  He is great at entertaining the kids and making them giggle and then he can turn around and say something witty and get me belly laughing almost in the same instant.

He is a hard and smart worker.  He loves his job.  Even on the days he doesn't he's always devoted to working and supporting our family and takes that responsibility on happily and accepts his duty.  He is also good about leaving work stuff at work and clearing his mind when he walks through the door at the end of the day to play with us.  He definitely has a lot on his plate at work...pretty much 24/7 but we rarely hear him complain or deal with it at home.  He gives us his undivided attention and we are very grateful.

He is very helpful.  Not only does he do a lot during his day job but he is always willing to step in and help out at home and the responsibilities that need to be done.  I'm grateful that our kids understand that Mommy & Daddy are partners in life and in our home.  Daddies do dishes, Daddies do laundry, Daddies help at home.  And he never complains when dinner isn't made, or laundry isn't washed, or the house is a mess.  

I could go on and on about our wonderful Daddy but there are more posts to be made and I need to leave some of our favorite qualities of him for future posts too!  Needless to say....we are all pretty smitten by this guy.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Our Big School Girl

The day has finally come.  This little girly is now officially a kindergartner.

First Day of School!

Thanks to her open-house the week prior, we were able to find out that her first ever elementary teacher is named Mrs. Bush.  And we also quickly learned that she did not have any church friends in her all....which is rare considering there are maybe at least 10 kids in her church group that are her same age...and attending the same school.  Secretly, I was quite grateful for this realization.  While Addison is a VERY sweet and loving personality, she is also a bit timid.  I knew since she was going into a classroom where she didn't know anyone that it would help push her past the wall of just clinging to a "friend" she already knew and force her to not only make new friends but learn to step out of her shell a little.  I'm almost positive she gets her timid-ness from me so I feel like I can speculate in this situation with some merit.  ;)

Class List!
Meeting Mrs. Bush for the first time!  It didn't take them long to be smitten with each other.
Regardless, it was so fun checking out her classroom, her teacher, her desk, her future friends, and putting all of her new school supplies in their places.  It's so fun having a child in school.  I love to see the excitement (and nervousness) on her face as she experiences all of these firsts.

Showing off her very own cubby.
Right outside her classroom.  She was so brave and so excited.

Mommy got designated as the "form-filler-outer-person" and was busy at work on the first day.  Who would have known that I would have had all the homework so soon!?

By default, Daddy was designated as the "keep the children entertained while Mommy was busy" person.  They chose to take selfies.  No telling where Jonas was off exploring during this time.
The rest of the gang was pretty thrilled for her too.  Daddy made sure to take a late day at work so he could join us in all the "first-day festivities" and he was so glad he did.  Jonas was a little envious of all the excitement she was experiencing and tried several times to join in on the fun.  He insisted that he wear his spider-man back-pack to her school, that he join in all of her pictures (including the picture with the teacher), and I think he may have been a little shocked that he wasn't allowed to stay in the classroom with her.  Not too long buddy and you'll be experiencing all these same firsts for yourself!  Brooklyn was pretty indifferent and obviously didn't quite know what exactly was going on.  She loves her Addison though so she was pretty thrilled when it was time to get her off the bus later that day.

Jonas spent most of the morning convinced that he was also going to school like Addison was.  So cute that he insisted on wearing his "pack-pack" as well.
Daddy & Addison right before it was time to say good-bye to her for the day.
Taking the customary 'Mommy Picture' before heading into her big girl school.  Jonas was not wanting to be left out.
Heading to the bus stop to pick up our Addison for the first day!  We all sure missed having her home with us!
Jonas waiting patiently for the bus and his Addison.  I think he probably missed her the most out of all of us.  They are pretty good buddies.
Jonas burning off some energy and excitement while hanging out at the bus stop waiting for Addison. 

Eeeek!  Here comes the big yellow school bus!  We were all a little excited to see our Addison.  We missed her so much and were so anxious to hear how her first day went!
Her first ever bus ride!  I remember looking for school buses with her ever since she was a baby.  Now my baby is riding one as an official kindergartner!
And of course, I just HAD to make her some of her favorite cookies to eat when she got home.  It was her only request so I was happy to oblige.  She quickly asked if she was going to get some the next day too.  I just told her that we'd put the extras in baggies and eat the leftovers tomorrow.  This Mama doesn't have much time for THAT much baking.