We packed some fun moments into our Fourth of July weekend! Here are some of the highlights!
We had planned to attend a neighborhood bike parade and barbecue on Independence Day, but we woke up to lots and lots of rain. I took advantage of the time to take some patriotic photos of the kids - and they outdid themselves with adorableness. (If I do say so myself! Ha!)
The sun came out by the afternoon and the bike parade and barbecue was on! Brian was very excited. And let me say - I was VERY impressed. The whole event was hosted by a couple that not only JUST moved into the neighborhood... but she delivered her second baby immediately after they arrived! So they're in a new home with a newborn infant and another toddler and volunteered for all of us to crash their home! Can you say Superwoman?? It was actually a nice way for them to meet some new neighbors - especially those of us with future playmates for their children, like me!
Brian decorated his bike with the help of two of my favorite neighborhood girls (he's no dummy! Ha ha!)...
...and then it was time for the traditional group shot before the parade.
Here's Brian in the parade:
The kids went to the top of the street before all of them decided to turn around and go back to play. I was all like, "What??? I trained for this 'round the block' event!!" And then I went back to the house and ate a cheeseburger and rice krispie treats.
The next day we celebrated Hope's 31st Saturday with us! I didn't take as many photos as usual - can you believe it? Here are the best ones.
She is getting much better sitting up by herself!
Her hair is coming in fast - and dark. It's interesting to me that my little girl has the least hair as a baby! Gavin and Brian were born with a head of hair!
She loves "Bella the Bunny."
If you don't know the story behind her bunny - and why I take a photo of her with it every week - read HERE!
Yesterday, while Ed was out enjoying a "guy day" on the golf course with some friends... I decided to "love bomb" Brian. Hope was there and the two of us had a ball doing all the things Brian wanted to do. We watched a movie... went to Wegman's to pick out a dessert for dinner... and went to a new Toy Store in the Mall that we'd never been to - "just to look, Mommy."
But here's the thing. Brian can be very disciplined. Mommy? Not so much. When I saw this "Extreme Soaker" I had a brilliant plan.
We raced home to the driveway...
I'm pretty sure it was the best $7.00 I've spent in a long time. Can you hear the giggles from here??
Another big event? Hope ate Mangoes for the first time - in her brand new high chair!
The high chair is a funny story. Gavin and Brian both had the Rainforest high chair by Fisher Price and we loved it. But, like all the other baby things - it was sold before we found out about Hope. Then I bought one used - but it didn't quite work out. I thought about trying a new kind of high chair and spent days looking at every single one ever made. I looked at reviews on several different sites. I even tried her in different chairs at the store. But - at the end of the day - I decided to stick with what I know. After all that... she ended up with the same chair. What can I say? I love this high chair. Not many high chairs come with this awesome detachable toy. And NO high chair is sentimental like this one. I can practically hear Gavin's giggling as he would spin the toy and watch the lights. Why did I ever think another chair would do?
As soon as her bum hits the seat she is ready. And impatient!
Oh - and if you're wondering, Mangoes are a big hit.
Today was Brian's first day of Vacation Bible School at a local church! The theme of the entire week is "Weird Animals." Taken at face value, it's a fun animal theme - with lots of great jungle decorations. When I saw the elaborate way they decorated their church this morning, it was hard for me not to cry.
I'm always very touched when people go out of their way for my children. This Vacation Bible School week is practically free, it's so cheap. And you KNOW that volunteers spent their own free time constructing those huge palm trees and jungle vines... and came up with cute skits and dances to catchy songs. I'm always so grateful for these kinds of things - and it truly makes me emotional.
When we went to pick up Brian, all the kids were in the church to sing a few songs before dismissal. Hope was enthralled with everything, as you can see, and was practically dancing on my lap! The kids were asked to wear a different color every day - and today was yellow. Brian was thrilled that his sister wore yellow, too, in solidarity. He had been a little bummed last night that he couldn't wear his favorite color, red, today. But he can tomorrow!!
The deeper meaning of "weird animals" is that God makes us all unique and different. He filled the world with a lot of crazy creatures - including them! Sometimes kids can feel weird or "too different." But even when they feel left out - they can know that they're never really alone. And that God loves them no matter what!
I love this message. I was always keenly aware that Brian might grow up feeling different because he had a special needs brother. I used to worry that he would be made fun of for that... or that he would need to stand up for Gavin if others were making fun of him! Now, unfortunately, I worry that he will feel different because he has a brother who died.
Brian is such a caring little boy and he's very sensitive to others feelings and needs. He's also very accepting and I'm not sure it's even in him to make fun of someone or be mean to anyone. I think that having a special needs brother definitely shaped him... but I also think that this is just who he is. We feel lucky to be the parents of this strong, sensitive, thoughtful little boy.