Summering

The past few weeks have been really FULL for our family. Just a typical week is usually more than enough for me, but we’ve really been packing in the activities this summer, and I’ve struggled to find both the time (away from the attention of my Munchkins) and the energy to update. So forgive the lengthy blog post and take your time scrolling through the pictures. Who knows when I’ll get back on here to update again!

First of all, our Little Man is learning to walk. He took his first wobbly steps in June and has been slowly growing more confident and steady on his feet. He still prefers to walk on his knees, just like his sisters did for so long, and he can scurry around like lightening on all fours, but soon enough he’ll be keeping up with the rest of us all the way up on his feet. When he gets tired he starts to cry and looks around for Mommy, and if I put out my arms to him, Paul will scurry right over and grab on to pull himself up to both feet. (Also, we painted Paul’s room a few weeks ago, and you can get a glimpse of that in the picture below)

 photo IMG_0890_zpsgjnq23hw.jpg

The kids love to play outside, and they especially love to play with their Daddy outside! They squeal and run when he gets up and chases them like a bear, then giggle uncontrollably when he tackles them in the grass.

 photo IMG_0882_zpspkdgb1vc.jpg

 photo IMG_0879_zpsfcvy9ahg.jpg

Like most 16-month-olds, Paul likes to eat dirt.
 photo IMG_0876_zps5f6lkwmr.jpg

A few weeks ago, we packed up and headed North for the first time since Christmas. We had fun at the beach, and National Cherry Festival, and were able to stop and visit lots of family throughout our trip. (I didn’t get as many pictures with family because I was just too busy catching up to stop and take any.)

We took the kids to the downtown splash pad, then continued through to the Kid Zone at the Cherry Fest, and on to the Open Space.

 photo IMG_0891_zpsynd20k6p.jpg

 photo IMG_0893_zpsryn8uo1o.jpg

It’s amazing how much fun Little Ones can have just playing in a sandbox full of (clean) cherry pits!

 photo IMG_0904_zps56yn6kmf.jpg

“Want some?”
 photo IMG_0908_zps3y0iaqkv.jpg

Lydia loved the free giveaways (sunglasses) and the free cherry samples.

 photo IMG_0909_zpsvgf2j6jp.jpg

Paul too!

 photo IMG_0920_zpsi5l2gzlf.jpg

And meeting Cherry Man!

 photo IMG_0911_zpsyoobcl1a.jpg

One morning we decided to drive up the peninsula to our favorite cherry picking farm. Much to our dismay, the farm had just sprayed all the trees and was closed for the day. We decided to keep driving to see if there was another farm. We ended up driving up the peninsula until we were so far along, it seemed silly to turn back. Eventually the open grape vineyards and cherry orchards were replaced with some Up North, Pure Michigan woods that brought me right back to my summers as a Camp Counselor.

 photo IMG_0933_zps4ilq9hbv.jpg

Funny enough, I was wearing a Camp t-shirt that day and happened to run into a family of other former Camp Counselors on Old Mission Peninsula. We had a nice little reunion before the rest of my family got out of our car to explore. We were met with this beautiful view.

 photo IMG_0934_zpsqhgt5orq.jpg

We meandered down to the beach and spent a while just enjoying the blue skies and clear water.

 photo IMG_0939_zpsgvakzavm.jpg
 photo IMG_0946_zpsxmowksvi.jpg
 photo IMG_0945_zpspvffywxo.jpg
 photo IMG_0935_zps4z84kiid.jpg
 photo IMG_0947_zpsckbn3omy.jpg
 photo IMG_0948_zpse7onxbuj.jpg

Then we headed back in to Traverse City for some more Cherry Festival fun. Since this was our “vacation” for the summer, we splurged and let the girls ride their very first carnival rides. Abby thought she was pretty sweet getting to “drive” a car. And, much to our surprise, Lydia did not get scared on the Dumbo ride that she so eagerly wanted to ride on with Daddy. (Please note, we made sure Lydia and Daddy got to ride in the Dumbo and we let the girls wait in line an extra time so they could get the highly-sought-after purple car.)

 photo IMG_0928_zpsbjfsh2xf.jpg
 photo IMG_0923_zpsgizxxbhq.jpg
 photo IMG_0922_zpsfrcfy7xa.jpg
 photo IMG_0916_zps02ltuwjv.jpg

Our last full day in Traverse City was largely spent with some of my family at the same beach where I spent most of my summer days as a kid.

Abby felt so big lounging next to her Nana.

 photo IMG_0950_zpsaqgwyxse.jpg

And Abby and Paul both thought it was great fun to lounge in their cousin’s beach toy.

 photo IMG_0958_zpskvx4ty9y.jpg

My favorite part of the trip was jumping in the waves with Lydia. She’s a little dolphin, although she kept telling me she was a little penguin.

 photo IMG_0956_zpsoood54wg.jpg

We took advantage of our beach time by catching up with my oldest sister.

 photo IMG_0961_zpse39qhreq.jpg

Who also had the great idea to take a family picture for us. Thanks Christina!

 photo IMG_0960_zps24g3rb70.jpg

Afterwards, we treated the kids to dinner at a restaurant. Lydia thought it was especially cool that there were sandboxes to play in. Paul was too tired to care about much of anything. 🙂

 photo IMG_0963_zpswgnofxb8.jpg
 photo IMG_0964_zpsjqpte0wn.jpg
 photo IMG_0965_zpsxw06e8rk.jpg

And so ended our trip Up North, but not our fun! The following week was “Camp Tikva”, our church’s annual Vacation Bible School Program. But maybe I’ll save those pictures for another post.

Our Up North Christmas

The very first Christmas present I opened this year was a new camera from Dan. My last camera stopped working several months ago and I was so excited to have something better than Dan’s phone to take pictures on. Sadly, as I was playing around with it one night, I deleted all of my pictures.

:'(

But my brilliant husband suggested, “There must be a way to get them back”. And he was right. I’m in the process of retrieving those pictures now so that’s why there aren’t any pictures from Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Sorry friends. Check my Facebook page in a few days (or weeks or months since I never have time to upload pictures with the three Little People running around).

🙂

The Taylor family (us) celebrated a rushed Christmas on Christmas Eve morning before packing the car and driving up North for an extended family Christmas Celebration (on both sides). Lydia didn’t sleep the night before Christmas Eve because she was SO excited to go up North and to open presents. Remembering those feelings myself, I was sympathetic, but we were exhausted because we couldn’t sleep either and when we did doze off for fifteen minutes we’d wake up to Lydia yelling, “CAN I GET OUT OF BED YET AND OPEN PRESENTS. I’VE BEEN ASLEEP A LONG TIME!”

So began our Christmas adventure.

 photo IMG_0148_zpsrjtozgxe.jpg

Christmas Eve we showed up just in time at my grandparent’s house for a traditional Matson family Swedish Christmas feast, followed by carols and presents. It was a sweet time and fun to catch up with cousins and watch the kids run around together.

Christmas morning we woke up after ANOTHER sleepless night (I only told her she might get to open a present from Grandma and Grandpa but someone must have let the cat out of the bag because this night wasn’t much better than the first!) We enjoyed breakfast with my parents and brother, took a quick walk around the block and then waited for the rest of my siblings to come with their families. All of the kids, and grandkids were together for the first time in a long time (ever?) and it was such fun. Oh, and there were presents, lots of presents (much to Lydia’s great joy). As much as we enjoyed the gifts, it was the time with my family that we cherished the most. The day went by all to fast and the next morning it was already time to pack up and head over to Dan’s parent’s house for the other Taylor Christmas.

 photo IMG_0137_zpsjzm4zhin.jpg

There was good food, lots of visiting, a bit of Euchre, and, of course, presents. Abby was so cute when she realized she got to open some too.

“Presents? Me?!? Presents? Me! Me!”

Among other goodies, the girls got a collection of kitchen food and gadgets. They love them. And so did I. (Until we got home and the 100 piece collection scattered itself all over our house three days in a row. It may have disappeared after that. Good thing Grandma also got us some toy storage!)

 photo IMG_0184_zpsdtasatp9.jpg
 photo IMG_0185_zpsjiueoiwe.jpg
 photo IMG_0181_zpsjebra9xe.jpg
 photo IMG_0180_zpsumv0nyoe.jpg
 photo IMG_0179_zpsmrszbowz.jpg

Is this picture overload? I can’t help it. She was so cute sitting there so absorbed in her toys.

As you’ve already seen, there was a little bit of Wii playing. We even let Lydia have a turn.

 photo IMG_0213_zpsdaphlwso.jpg
 photo IMG_0188_zpspisocvcs.jpg

Paul got in lots of snuggle time. With everyone.

 photo IMG_0215_zpsabsp7pma.jpg
 photo IMG_0227_zpsnv5jlnhk.jpg
 photo IMG_0195_zpsyxzafsmi.jpg

And Lydia and Abby got to make some special Christmas cookies with Grandma Taylor.

 photo IMG_0199_zpsjbsycchz.jpg
 photo IMG_0224_zps3jydowhk.jpg

After a few days, we braved the bad weather and drove home with a few days left in Dan’s break. So, we took Lydia ice skating. She has been asking to go since she found out winter was on its way. It almost turned out to be a failure when we got out on the ice and she couldn’t stand up. Someone gave us on of those “pushers” (anybody know what those are actually called?) and that helped, a little. Dan got out on the ice with Lydia and helped her figure it out. Soon she was holding onto that pusher with all her little might enjoying the ride, frequently reminding us, “Not too fast!”

 photo IMG_0245_zpsvnnt1wvw.jpg
 photo IMG_0254_zpstxyonaf3.jpg

In the end I think ice skating was a smashing success.

 photo IMG_0246_zpszng1qiuz.jpg

Finally, we rang in the new year with a quiet night at home, the kids sleeping in their own beds. Daddy and Mommy stayed up until midnight, just barely. We snapped a quick “new year” picture while we washed cloth diapers. I know, I know, doesn’t sound like much of a party, but some quiet time at home with Dan was just the way to wrap up 2015.

 photo IMG_0262_zpsemmbxnn2.jpg

Happy New Year everyone. And a special thanks to our parents for hosting us for Christmas and the days after. Traveling with the Littles isn’t easy, but you all help a lot. And I know we created memories in our and their little minds that will never be forgotten.

Back to Northport

 photo northport2_zpsa9twaldz.jpg

“Hey Paul,” Lydia said as she lay on the floor looking at her baby brother, “we’re going up North next week. We’re going to see Grandma and Grandpa and go to Nana and Papa’s, and Daddy’s not going to work for a whole week but Ford is still going to pay him!”

That’s Lydia’s explanation of why I won’t be posting next week. We’re busy down here getting ready for our first family vacation on our own. We’ve gone “up North” many times to visit family but this year we’re taking a few days to revisit our honeymoon town, this time with the Munchkins. We’re planning some fun times relaxing, visiting the beach, and maybe watching a sunset or two. I’m excited to go back up where we had our honeymoon and, like Lydia, spend a whole week with Dan.

See you when we get back!

 photo northport_zps8ovg27bc.jpg