Lucas played T-ball this summer through the YMCA. Every Monday night through June and July we watched him play. It became a fun family outing that we looked forward to each week.
He loved it! Although he still declares soccer to be his favorite sport ever.
Mike's parents, Gram and DooDad, came to visit at the end of May. They purchased an RV and took a month long trip across the country. Thankfully, Oklahoma City was one of their stops and we got to spend some time with them. Here we are at Martin Nature Center enjoying a fairly cool summer day!
On June 4th, we celebrated our15th wedding anniversary.
We went out to eat at our favorite lakeside restaurant, Red Rock Canyon Grill. Then we got a hotel room downtown and just enjoyed a quiet night away. After sleeping until 10 o'clock (!!) the next morning, we got some coffee and scones from our favorite local coffee joint, then did a little shopping to prepare for our up coming vacation. We picked up the kids from my dad and step mom later that afternoon. It was a nice, relaxing getaway.
Katie and me
In June, we traveled to New York for my cousin Katie's wedding. She's an attorney in New York City, but originally she is an Okie like us. She and her husband (who works on Wall Street) have the life of a young, powerful, professional couple living in the Big Apple. We are pretty proud of her! Her parents, my Uncle John and Aunt Mary, rented a huge house on Long Island for us to all stay in and enjoy the festivities of the wedding weekend. It was awesome!
At the rehearsal dinner, my kids got to see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. They were so excited!
Lucas looking out at the waves, contemplating the meaning of life.
Or more likely, how far out he can go before he drowns.
Our family before the rehearsal. Leah and Hannah were the flower girls and Lucas was the ring bearer.
Fun facts: I was the flower girl at Katie's parents' wedding back in 1984. And Katie was the Junior Bridesmaid in my wedding in 1999. Her younger sister, Molly, was my flower girl.
The morning of the wedding was sunny and so we hit the beach again. This time in proper swimming attire. This picture of Leah sums up how my kids felt about the ocean. It was love at first sight.
The wedding was "semi-formal" which meant Mike had to buy a suit. It was probably time for him to own a suit, and I think he looks rather handsome if I do say so myself!
This picture was taken at about 10:30 pm. We stayed until 11:30 at which point my kids were in complete meltdown mode.
Here we are at the reception. Awesome dinner, open bar, fantastic band (the lead singer looked and sounded like Bruno Mars), tear-jerking speeches, lots of dancing.....need I say more? Fun times were had by all. Oh, I guess I will say more thing: one of my cousin's bridesmaids is dating an NFL player (plays for the Ravens, not sure of his exact name), but he was out on the dance floor taking selfies with just about everyone. He also loved my kids and most of the night they were on his shoulders or by his side. Thanks Mr. NFL player! Don't remember who you are, but you made my kids night a lot of fun!
After the wedding weekend, we drove over to New Jersey to spend the next seven days with Mike's family there. To be specific, his mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, Tracy and their kids: River, Hailey, Corban and Connor. On the drive there, we stopped at Coney Island to spend a fun day riding rides and people watching. There is good people watching there, folks. We ended up spending the entire afternoon at Coney Island before arriving at Mike's parents' house just in time for a Father's Day cookout with all the fam.
Our first full day in Jersey, was spent at the Jersey Shore! More beach time!
We did all the typical beachy things: sandcastles, digging massive holes (that's a thing, right?), swimming, boogie boarding (the girls were really into it), collecting seashells, jumping over waves, feeling the warm sun on your face and soft sand beneath your feet.
Mike and the kids in Times Square
Of course we made it into NYC for a few days. On this day, we took the kids and did kid-friendly things like the Central Park Zoo and FAO Schwartz. We walked through Times Square and had a slice of NY style pizza. The kids had to do a LOT of walking, and they were troopers. Mike and I made it in to the city by ourselves on another day. We explored Chelsea Market and walked the High Line and enjoyed our day there just the two of us.
Leah getting ready to serve some soup.
One of the most special things we did while visiting Mike's family is take the kids out on the Relief Bus to serve the homeless in NYC for a day. In 1987, Mike's parents started a ministry called New York City Relief which takes old school busses converted into soup kitchens out to the poorest parts of NYC to serve food, provide clothes, basic health care, counseling, and referrals to a host of programs from shelters to drug rehab facilities. Teams of volunteers are needed to keep the busses running, and we joined up this particular day with a youth group from St. Louis as we went out, served soup, bread, and lemonade in Chelsea Park. The girls did an awesome job serving. They greeted each person with a smile and told them to have a good day. They got to see and be a part of something much bigger than themselves, and I think it made an impact on them.
Hannah passing out bread.
For more info, you can check out the Relief Bus website!
The Scream. Literally. If this picture only came with sound effects.....
Another day of our vacation was spent visiting Mike's brother and his family in New Jersey. They took us to an amazing sculpture garden in Trenton where we spent an entire afternoon wandering around the beautifully landscaped gardens, looking at all the amazing statures. Then we finished the day off with dinner at their farmhouse, watching the sunset as we roasted marshmallows over the fire pit.
Here's another sculpture from the gardens. They were HUGE.
Hannah displaying the festive cake she made for the Fourth!
(By the way, it's wacky cake, a yummy vegan recipe we have loved for years now. My friend Maria shared the recipe on her blog back in 2010.)
We came home from our ten day East Coast trip just in time for the Fourth of July.
The tradition we've had for many years now is to swim and cook out at our friends Beth and Justin's house. They have a great pool where we swim until it's dark enough to light some sparklers. Then we end the evening by driving to the nearby University for a big fireworks display.
My lovely friend Beth and me on the Fourth of July
Leah started taking horseback riding lessons back in April, and those lessons continued throughout the summer months. This is Grit, a 25 year old retired ranch horse who is living out the rest of his days peacefully at my friend Leslie's home. She has three other horses that she cares for. Leah thinks Grit is about the best thing since sliced bread.
At least once a week, we had a swimming date at Beth's pool. Usually my friend Nikki and her three kids were there too. It is our little slice of heaven because all six of our kids are old enough to swim on their own. Like, no assistance needed. So the three of us ladies find ourselves sipping ice water (or sangria!) and chatting while relaxing on the lounge chairs where we do keep a close eye on the young ones and occasionally jump in and play a bit too.
My Uncle Jim, Aunt Anne and Cousin Becky came from California to OKC for a visit a few weeks ago, so we had a lovely family get together at my Aunt Lindell's house. Have I mentioned that I have a large extended family? Let me explain: my mom was one of six, my dad was one of five, and I have 16 first cousins many of whom are now married and have kids.....so yeah, lots of people.
In July, we went to the CatVid Fest at the amphitheater by the Myriad Botanical Gardens. I had never heard of this festival before, but it was so up my alley. I love cats. I love weird YouTube cat videos. What else do you need to have have a funky, cool festival? Seriously, this is a national touring festival that happened to make a stop in OKC. It celebrates all things feline: cat face painting, cat portrait painting (yes), cat t-shirts for sale, and many local cat rescue groups were there promoting their cause and accepting donations. There were food trucks and live music and the evening ended with a 60 minute video of the best cat videos around.
Weeks before the event, you could submit your own cat photos which would be displayed in a slide show before the movie began. Here's our Tundra, looking awesome.
This was one of our favorite videos of the evening. Meet Henri, La Chat Noir.
I also continued to work out/teach this summer with Body & Soul Fitness. This is me on stage with our awesome director, Ruth Ann. I am only a sub instructor, so I fill in when our main gal, Jamie, can't be there. I love the accountability and friendships I've made working out here. And I sweat like a pig every. single. time.
We spent lots of time at Martin Nature Center this summer. It's close to our house and it always delivers the peaceful break from busy life that we need. This summer was unusually mild compared to Oklahoma summers of the past. 2011 and 2012 are two that stand out in my memory. Over 60 days of 100+ temps. I might still be slightly bitter. However, we've barely had any 100 degree days this year. In fact, we've had many days with the highs in the 70's and 80's and lots of rain to boot! Alright, Oklahoma. I forgive you.
On one of those 90 something degree days, we were invited to go ice skating with some friends. The girls had been once before, but Lucas had never gone, and he is always up for an active challenge. Thankfully, the ice rink gave him this walker-thing that helped him maneuver the ice quite well!
I'd recommend it as a way to beat the summer heat. And get exercise. And wear your kids out so that they fall asleep as soon as their sweet little heads hit their pillows.
Lake Hefner Sunset
Yep, this summer was pretty good to us. We laughed a lot. We spent time with friends and family. We stayed up late and slept in. We watched movies and read books and enjoyed a break from any kind of schedule.
And then two days ago this happened.....
Hannah and Leah started 4th grade and Lucas started Pre-K
Mike and I with our big boy. He was pumped because he's now at the same elementary school as Hannah and Leah. It offers all day Pre-K, so he's there 8:35 to 3:35 just like his big sisters. Having three kids in school full time is new territory for me!
Ok, school year. Let's do this!