Two sweet girls

I grew up very close to my mom's sister Cakie and her kids Joy, Angie and Joey. We were really more like brothers and sisters - both my mom and my aunt worked in schools so we would load up the station wagon when summer came around and head to our family home near lake Michigan for a few weeks at a time. I have the fondest memories of my summers at Poppy's house. There was never a dull moment. We'd walk to the beach, hang out in town or make up our own games to play outside until dark. We'd cry when we had to leave each other at the end of vacation and couldn't wait until the next reason to be together, whatever it may have been (birthday party, first communion, etc.)

My sister and I are very close. Even though a 5 year age gap didn't always prove to be the easiest thing for us to endure. When she was putting on makeup with her friends for a Friday night football game, I was peeking my pig-tailed head in to spy on them and wishing they'd let me play with their makeup too - ha - not a chance!

But as we've gotten older, and have more in common as adults, there is no doubt that our relationship has come full circle. We now compare ourselves to "the moms" (what we call my mom and my aunt Cakie) and I want to make it a priority for our kids to be just as close as we were to our cousins. With a move to Texas in our future I wanted to do something fun with my sister's two girls, Lilly (5) and Avery (2). I invited them down for a few nights to have a slumber party with their cousins and to give my hard-working sister and her husband a few nights of kid-free time.

Ethan and Aiden were both ecstatic to pick up their cousins on Thursday evening. Although I was definitely looking forward to it as well, I was also realistic in my thinking and I knew that taking care of 4 kids ages 5 and younger was going to be a challenge. Being the planner that I am I laid out a detailed schedule well in advance. And again, being realistic, I knew that those plans may not all happen as I'd intended but I also felt comfort in having something to look to if I ran out of ideas on the spot.

I'm happy to report that the weekend was a success! I borrowed my mom's van so that I was able to venture out with all 4 kids in car seats/boosters. We had "movie night" Thursday evening where they spread out their sleeping bags in the family room and had popcorn and drinks. We played outside in the grueling heat on Friday - sidewalk chalk, bubbles and bikes...until the pesky horse-flies scared me the kids inside. We had craft time - finger painting with the big kids while the little ones napped. We had healthy snacks and 3 well-balanced meals.

On Saturday, we headed to the Louisville Science Center, followed by a picnic lunch in the park and play-time at the splash park on the waterfront. The kids were all so good and honestly I was surprised at how easy it was to take care of all of them. There were a few moments of whining and toy-taking, but in general, things were smooth. They definitely enjoyed having the extra playmates around and boredom was never an issue. As for myself, I felt on top of my game. I think the threat of chaos gave me a boost of motivation to keep things under control. In the end, I think it was a boost to my confidence as well!

I absolutely, 100%, without a doubt, loved having my two sweet nieces here for the last 3 nights. I miss them already and will have them back any time.

See Ricky (honey...sweetie pie...) 4 kids wouldn't be so bad now would it??? Maybe our next will turn out to be twins! That would be awesome! (Right honey?) :)

PS - no, I'm not pregnant in case you're wondering.

PPS - I have pics from this weekend, but once again I didn't have my camera so they are all on my cell phone. Have to upload sometime soon...

Keepin' Busy

We've been so very busy the past few weeks that I've totally neglected my blogging. Then, it gets a little overwhelming when I think about writing because I know that I have sooo much to talk about to get everyone up to speed.

So...this is the perfect time to do a short but sweet "list" post as a transition back into my regular posting.

What have the Skees' been up to this summer?
  • Aiden and I flew to Boston, MA along with my mom, sister and aunt Cakie at the end of June for the Children's Craniofacial Association Annual Family Retreat. It was a great experience and we met many of the family's that I have up to this point only talked to through email or heard of in the quarterly CCA newsletters. We were also able to explore Boston a little bit - including a trip to Harvard's campus and Harvard Square, the Boston Aquarium, the infamous Cheers bar (the show's inspiration), Paul Revere's house, and Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
  • After having the return trip from HELL (delayed flights, bad weather, exploding diapers, more delayed flights...) we got ready for a 4th of July trip to my parents house for the annual Edgewood parade/block party. We then headed to King's Island with the boys and later, my brother outdid himself with an unbelievable fireworks display in his neighborhood. Ethan LOVED it. And to my surprise Aiden didn't freak out like he did last year. Although he only lasted through half of it before taking cover inside with Nana.
  • We've also been swimming a lot to stay cool. Aiden has totally become a fish and loves every minute of splashing in whatever pool I put him in. Many of you might remember how I paid for swimming lessons with him a few months ago and he screamed and cried through the entire class. Yeah, we quit after the 3rd one. But now, not sure how or why, he loves it. I guess he just had to prove he likes to do things in his own time...when he's ready.
  • Ethan got his haircut!!! I'm not talking a trim. I'm talking bustin' out the trimmers and all of his fine, long baby hair hitting the floor while I stood there bawling like an infant. At first he didn't like it. But now that he gets to use his daddy's hair gel to spike up the front a little, he thinks he's pretty cool. Who am I kidding, that kid always thought he was pretty cool. (I'm a bad mommy, don't have a picture. I was too busy crying to take any).
  • When we are inside escaping the sweltering heat of the summer, we're playing with toys and watching movies. We took Ethan to see his first movie at the theater, Toy Story 3 in 3D, and he absolutely loved it. So Toy Story and Toy Story 2 have been on repeat in our household and Ethan is completely obsessed. He knows every character, can do their voices, and has memorized every word of "You've Got a Friend in Me". I captured the whole thing on my cell phone, so now I just need to figure out how to upload it to my computer and I promise I will share it with you because it is by far the cutest thing you'll ever hear (well, it's the cutest thing I've ever heard anyway).
  • Being inside so much is definitely making it a bit harder to keep up with the cleaning for the numerous house showings we have since our house is STILL on the market. Ugh.
Anyway - I hope everyone's summers are going well. I'm getting really excited to share with everyone all of the cool things I've got in store for Little Fire Big Heart...but that'll be another post. :)