(Thank the LORD!) Little Brother has developed a new habit ... drum roll please ... sleeping through the night! He also has weaned himself and is on whole milk. I'm not sure if it's a coincidence, but as soon as he started refusing to nurse and we put him on whole milk (2 weeks ago - around the 10 month mark), the sleeping through the night thing also started. Hallelujah! He is busier than ever and due to his speedy crawling, we broke down and bought a new gate for the stairs which really does give me peace of mind that he won't take a header down the stairs. Little B can go up stairs all by himself and shows very little fear so the gate is a life saver!
Big Brother's latest most popular phrase has been, "Mama, will you keep an eye on Little B so he doesn't get my toys?!" He literally asks me this at least 10 times a day. Who can blame him? The little tornado that is his brother can be quite destructive to Big Brother's Star Wars/outer space world. Our kitchen table has a new normal as it has become the landing pad for all things Star Wars. For awhile, Big B could use our kid table to play on but now that Little B is pulling up on things and getting quite efficient at getting into everything, the kitchen table is the only place he cannot reach. So, we now find ourselves cleaning up toys to recover our eating surface before meals.
Big Brother experienced his first VBS this summer! He loved every minute of it. He attended at the church where I have participated in MOPS and one of his good friends was in his class with him. The theme was "Amazing Wonders Aviation" and if you say to him "Awesome God!" he will most likely shout back "AMAZING POWER!!" He cried on the last day because (in his words) "learning about Jesus was so FUN!"and he wasn't ready for it to end. I think his favorite part was singing songs. My favorite part each day was picking him up and asking him questions about his day. We would play 20 questions (or more!) as I tried to guess what his Bible story was about each day. I think I figured them all out but it was hilarious to compare notes with my friend whose daughter was in his same class. VBS brought back lots of great childhood memories for me and I still can't believe my oldest child has experienced the fun of summer VBS!
We found out in June that our boys are fantastic road trippers. I'm thankful to know this as we enjoy traveling and seeing new sights. First we spent the night in IA, while Ross helped to perform a wedding of a Bethel couple. From there, we grooved on to Psalty's latest album "Faith It!" on our way to Colorado to meet our 'new' niece, born to my sister and her husband in May. After a few fun-filled days with them, we headed back east to Kansas to spend some time with my college roommate and her family. I believe we put about 2400 miles on the car in one week but we had a blast and I really do love time spent together as a family of four. A box of library books, snacks, the state license plate game and music to sing along to entertained all of us for the whole trip.
While I have lived in Minnesota for 12 years this fall (if you count my college years, which I DO because I lived through winters here and never knew how beautiful MN summer was until post-college), I have yet to see some of the great Minnesota landmarks. Summer is a great time to get out and about, so one of the places I am crossing off my 'to experience' list is Minnehaha Falls. It was extra special because not only did I get to see the Falls, but my niece's Swedish Choir was singing at a Festival there, so we got to watch her perform, too.
Another 'new to me' Minnesota experience happened over the 4th of July. Ross's parents have a tradition of going up to Canal Park in Duluth to watch the fireworks and we decided, at the last minute, to join them. We stopped for a picnic lunch down in Canal Park before heading up to Enger Tower. We ended up getting a great deal at a hotel with a water park and we headed there for the afternoon and Big Brother enjoyed swimming, Ross and I went down a slide on a double tube, Little B experienced his first indoor waterpark and we enjoyed dinner right by the lift bridge with Diane and Jerry and great fireworks! It was a fun overnight!
The whole family attempted a new experience this July - camping! We only were able to spend one night out in the woods of Forestville State Park because of needing to get home for church on Sunday. For this Mama, that was long enough with a barely one year old who just wants to crawl to the fire pit as soon as he's on the ground and a four year old who is very busy and wants to roam freely through the woods. It was a beautiful state park and despite the sticky heat, we had fun exploring the woods, creek, clay cliff and cave. We will always remember the raccoons and how they stole food from our box right in front of us and Jerry's big wipe out going after the coons. :) We made some great memories with our Manders' family and cousins.
I don't know about you, but I have been anticipating the 2012 Summer Olympics for some time now! It's hard to believe that 4 years ago, I spent lots of time nursing 2 month old Big Brother on the couch, watching the olympics take place in Beijing! I'm looking forward to sharing the Olympics with Big Brother this year and helping him to understand more about our country as we talk about cheering on our USA team. I'm looking forward to more 'new normals' as the summer continues on ... til next time! Go Team USA! :)