Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fourth of July (almost a month late)

We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood with lots of families with young kids. As seen in previous posts, our children really enjoy playing with our neighbors next door to us and across the street.  Fourth of July this year was spent with our next door neighbors, "The Bushwacks."

The weather was unseasonably cool for Missouri.  We were blessed with temperatures in the 80's and clear skies that day.  Matthew is at the age where he thinks fireworks are the most amazing thing ever.  He had his own countdown going until the day we could do fireworks.  We live next to a residential area who is legally allowed to shoot off larger fireworks, so we are always guaranteed a decent display.

Our evening started with dinner at The Bushwacks.  Natalie had the chance to eat corn on the cob for the first time and I can honestly say I may now be a fan of pork steaks thanks to the fabulous ones we ate that night!

After dinner we had to wait for the sun to at least start to set before we lit up any of our holiday goodies.  Snappers kept the kids entertained for quite some time and I am thankful Mr. Sharktank purchased all the boxes he did.  I forgot how long it takes for it to get dark in the Summer!

Finally it got dark enough to bust out the sparklers, ladybugs, bottle rockets, snakes, and whatever else the Dads purchased.  Natalie was not into the lights and noise of the Fourth of July the previous year, so we were not sure how she would react this year.  The snappers were a success with her, so she was very ready to try a sparkler.  She loves our neighbors, so her only request was that she do her first one with Mr. Kirt.  

Matthew was ready to do the sparklers days before the holiday, so he jumped right in and "wrote in the air" right away!

I am thankful for a place to document all of these memories.  The images are still fresh in our minds today, but I know years from now The Sharktank family will love having a place to go back and look at all of the fun times we had!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Family trip to Chi Town

Back in June (yes, more than a month ago) we took our first family trip to Chicago.  We took trips in the past, but never planned a trip for the four of us just for fun. So, at the beginning of the month we packed up our car, boarded up the dog (we finally found a place who would take him), and made the road trip up north to where the Mr. and I used to live.

Our first stop was in the suburbs to catch up and spend the night at a friend's home.  We both were pregnant at the time (she has already had her beautiful baby girl), so we got the chance to catch up while our kids played in the backyard and the men enjoyed some beverages.  Have I ever mentioned how fantastic Summers in Chicago are?  I don't miss the Winter weather, but the Summers are beautiful up there (compared the usual of constant humidity and high temperatures of Missouri Summers).  We were blessed with perfect weather the entire time we were up there!

The next day we took the kids to their first game at Wrigley Field.  Mr. Sharktank and I love going to games there, so he thought it would be a great idea for the family to finally experience a game together.  Matthew was very excited to finally see the Cubs play in person.  The day was a great 82 degrees, no rain, mostly sunny, and we lucked out with great parking.  The kiddos were very excited walking to the stadium and observing all the craziness that makes Wrigleyville so much fun.

Mr. Sharktank found a great deal on tickets to the game.  We purchased seats that were covered, but we still had a great view of the field and were close enough to get a good look at the players.  Anyone who knows us knows that Matthew has been to his fair share of baseball games at Busch Stadium. We were lucky enough to sit about thirty rows behind home plate every time we went, so unfortunately Matthew thought that was our usual place to sit at every baseball game.  Once we arrived to our seats at Wrigley we noticed our little man getting upset and he started to cry.  We asked him what was wrong and he proceeded to throw a fit telling us he wanted to sit closer and in the sun (pretty much behind home plate in seats that are just not worth paying for when you have two kids with you).  The fans around us chuckled telling us, "Yeah kid, I want to sit there too," but not really understanding why Matthew was so confused.  Here is Matthew in the middle of his fit...

After he realized our seats were actually pretty decent and he could still see the players, have ice cream and soda, and still see all of the action he calmed down.  The kids made it to the seventh inning and we ended up at On The Border restaurant in time to see the game end for a Cubs win in the thirteenth.  Turned out to be a perfect day for the kids to experience their "first professional baseball game," as Mr. Sharktank says.

The kids were all smiles!

The next day Mr. Sharktank took Matthew to Legoland in Schaumburg.  Apparently, he was a little overwhelmed at first, but once he got comfortable he enjoyed it all.  They learned how to make legos, rode rides, and explored the magnificent work of lego building.  We thought Natalie was a bit too young to enjoy Legoland, so her and I stayed in the hotel room and watched Frozen for the millionth time lol.

We rounded up our trip in Chicago and headed to Indiana to see Mr. Sharktank's family.  We made a stop to visit his grandparents and some of his aunts, uncles, and cousins before we headed to stay with his parents.  Quite a few of them live on a lot of land, so Matthew had the time of his life riding all sorts of equipment.  His favorite vehicle was a real John Deere tractor and Uncle Tom even let him help drive!.  

Our trip ended with a stay at Mr. Sharktank's parents' house.  We are lucky to have his parents very involved in our lives and they live close enough that we can hop in the car to visit.  The kids (and the dog) always enjoy their large yard and the fact that their cousins live a short drive away.  We stayed a night there and left with full hearts and bellies.  Mr. Sharktank's mom is quite the cook and I am constantly eating at their home thanks to her cooking!

I'm closing this post with a couple of my favorite pics from the inlaw's backyard.  They have a fabulous tree that the kids love to hide behind (and makes cute pictures).