It was a very lovely weekend at the cabin in Wisconsin, the kick-off of what I imagine will be a wonderful whirlwind of a summer.
It was also a stark reminder that Dan and I are currently, whether we like it or not, deep deep DEEP in the throws of parenting young children. This life, this stage we're in, it is HARD WORK. Like for real. I went to sleep each night feeling like I had run a marathon. We'd sit down on the deck after the kids were asleep, have a beer and some laughs, do a little self-check... we survived today? Yes, praise the Lord! Let's do it again tomorrow!
Hard work, yes. Exhaustion and frustration. Most definitely.
Also? SO MUCH JOY.
There are these moments, like when Dan is running around the yard trying to keep a kite in the air, being chased by Gus and his giggling cousin... and I'm watching and smiling and thinking... I love this. This is so awesome. We get to do this! This man I'm married to is over there freaking flying a kite and my little free-spirited kid with his adorable mop of blonde hair and chirpy munchkin laugh is having so much fun.
When I pause to actually think about it, being a part of these children's lives, from the very beginning, and getting to be there and be a witness to them living out their "childhood", well it is seriously cool. It really is.
It also means I sometimes feel like I'm spending three quarters of my life putting children down for naps, or feeding them, or wiping faces, or changing diapers, or standing watch as they play with others to make sure they are giving hugs and kisses or high-fives rather than pushing and kicking and hitting.
All that to say, this weekend was a big old smorgasbord of all of that. Relaxing, but at the same time exhausting and chaotic. Joyous and fun, yet often frustrating and stressful. The hard parts (i.e. SLEEP!) were extra hard because we were away from home for four days and three nights, but the good parts were extra awesome because we were outdoors for the majority of the weekend, where Gus was able to run like the little mad man he is and get extra dirty and eat ice cream sandwiches an hour before dinner. And best of all we were with this big huge family full of people who love us and love our kids. Can't get any better than that.
Now the pictures. Indulge me, I took a lot of them.
Welcome to the cabin baby boy! Louie is super excited to be here for the first time, clearly.
Gus's first time fishing off the dock.
Abby and her mother, scooting around the yard.
Getting snuggles from grandma as we pass the time inside on a dreary rainy Saturday.
An afternoon nap with her newest grandson.
This sandbox couldn't be any messier. Love than Dan is getting in on the action.
A break for a snack.
Back inside during another rain shower.
Gus and I went for a walk early Sunday morning, down to the "waterfall" (tiny dam) and bridge. He walked soooooo slowly, I had to keep saying to myself, "enjoy the moment, you're not in a hurry, the whole point of this is to pass time while everyone without toddlers and babies are still sleeping away in the cabin." Why am I always in a hurry? To do what? NOTHING.
Checking out the waterfall.
Walking. Soooooo slowly. Dragging his toes. Shuffling along.
Showing off his flag twirling moves.
It was such a beautiful morning on Sunday, nice and green from all that rain the day before.
I love this kid. You can tell from this picture right, even if you don't know him? That this kid has a BIG personality. I love that about him. He is his own self, through and through.
This one too, my little boy nomming on his apple. Dan is in the background eating breakfast. He has just gotten back from a 4-mile run with his sisters. I went with them Saturday morning, so he got today. These morning runs were actually a WONDERFUL break from parenting for both of us I think, and a perfect way to start a day at the cabin where you'll inevitably eat and eat and eat for the rest of the day.
Still in his jammies.
Dan found this Lightening McQueen kite inside, and the little kids were thrilled!
I'm guessing he's not wearing a shirt because he did something ridiculous that got him super dirty or muddy. Or maybe full of ice cream? I don't know, I can't seem to recall this particular incident. That's okay, we brought a lot of shirts.
I love this picture of Gus and Kari. I wonder what they're talking about?
John and Dannell drove into town with the specific intent of purchasing a slip and slide. Best parents ever. It was a fantastic idea, because it was HOT and humid Sunday afternoon.
Five week old baby Matthew did a whole lot of sleeping this weekend. I only saw his eyes open a few times, but heard he smiled right at his daddy for the first time, right there out on the deck. Perfect.
Get offfffff me GUS!
During his ice cream sandwich.
Louie is crazy drooling these days. Teething? I don't know, maybe. He's certainly sleeping like he's teething these days, up pretty much every hour to two hours throughout the night. Good times. Good thing he's so gorgeous.
After the ice cream sandwich.
On to making home-made slushies with Dannell and the kids.
Louie and his great-grandma.
Bella is at home here. And will probably just lounge around the house and sleep all week long to recover.
A sweet moment between my nephew and his Uncle James.
Yeah, I wore no make-up all weekend long. Ack! I always at least do some bronzer and mascara, but these kids kept me that busy that I honestly didn't even think about it.
Love these pictures of Dan trying to siphon water through the hose from the kiddie pool across the lawn, while holding Louie of course. The hose doesn't reach all the way to the sandbox, so they made a valid attempt at it, and my nephew did a good job of directing. Gus looks confused by what his Dad is doing. I was both impressed and pretty grossed out that he would do that with a dirty hose.
Super cute, these boys, but why can't I ever get a picture of all three in a happy, cooperative mood? Smile Gus!
More fishing on Memorial Day.
That would be my ridiculous dog swimming frantically, trying to catch the bobber.
I really love the fact that little kid life jackets have those handles on the back. Super convenient, almost wish all of Gus's clothing had little handles. But then I guess I'd essentially be like one of those people who put leashes on their toddlers, and I realize that's frowned upon. (Though I sorta get why they do it, and will never personally judge.)
Finally, we have my beautiful cherubic niece, per usual, doting on little Louie. She loves the babies.