Summer break is already over… Kids are back in school… and now, we’re all trying to adjust to a new, strict, organized routine, which is no fun. Who’d have thought that I’d be the one to have a “Back to School Breakdown” instead of the kids?!? Waking up early is just torturous. I have zero excuses as to why I can’t get my house clean when the kids are at school all day. I also have zero excuses for why I can’t make it to the gym without my three wild childs in tow. Yup, I’m headed for a breakdown… (Breaking Benjamin’s song Breakdown now loudly begins to play in the background)
And, since I’m having a difficult time adjusting, may I take a break from my laundry pile to present: My Ode to Summer (in Photo Collages):
We had a great summer; nice, simple, relaxed. There are some things that just didn’t get photographed…. GASP! EXCLAIM! like the movie watching, video game playing, swimming, playing with neighbors, etc. But rest assured, there are plenty of pictures included in this post, which will hopefully make up for the fact that I didn’t blog too much this summer. Here, we have container gardening with the daughter – we planted cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, basil, strawberries, and bell peppers, along with a couple of flowers for color and insect repellent purposes. Now, if there was only something to repel the bunnies… My big, bad, guard dog, Maddie Mae has been laying down on the job (quite literally) laying down in the air conditioned house, on my soft, cozy bed, under the glorious breeze of the ceiling fan, ALL summer long, while the bunnies run rampant in my backyard…
And, I don’t know… but who’s really gonna take this dog seriously?!? Certainly not the bunnies. She’s too cute and smiley! We call this her “Bat Grin” because she lays upside down, exposes the belly, and smiles like an adorable little fruit bat! The kids spent MORE time than usual snuggling with Madds this summer to the point that she was getting highly annoyed. Every five minutes, Alex or Christian was hugging and kissing on this poor, mistreated pet…! 🙂
Learned how to Geocache with the Girl Scouts! This was a fun adventure! Alex and I rode bikes from our house to the park, which was the first time that Alex had ever made such a long trek. She did great but was worn out after riding to the park, walking/riding to the various geocache locations, and then riding back home. I think she slept really well that night! At the park, we followed clues and coordinates to hunt down geocaching treasures. Some were magnetic key holders with little slips of paper to sign our name and date showing that we had located the cache. Others were coffee tins inside of wooden boxes with small trinkets inside. The rule is: you take one thing, you leave one thing. Alex’s group found a couple of trinket geocaches; Alex took one item and left 3-D Girl Scout stickers behind.
We enjoyed the Geocaching so much that we took the boys out to the park that weekend and hunted down a few more! Of course, Ben and Christian were thoroughly intrigued to go treasure hunting. My eager little explorers!
The kiddos and I went to Exploration Place, whilst Gregg was working in Boston, to check out the awesome dinosaurs! It was hilarious because the kids walked up to the huge, fenced T-Rex to take a look, and it immediately started ROARING at them and moving around… None of us expected that… and all three kids were startled – it kinda freaked them out, just a little bit… The exhibit inside was pretty cool too with more animatronics and loads of information about the prehistoric era.
Our summer was filled with girl scouting activities; some just for Alex and I, others for the whole family. One of our favorites was the Bison Ranch. We were given a hay rack ride out to the middle of the prairie and were allowed to throw food out to the bison. I enjoyed seeing their pack mentality – STAMPEDE takes on new meaning to me now! And, I loved seeing the babies follow their mamas around!
This was most definitely the Summer of Flip Flops! Finished up embellishing these pairs and shipped them out. A team has already delivered the entire group’s flip flop donations to Nicaragua to some very excited, happy children! Craft Hope’s grand total (decorated and donated) was 2,747 pairs of flip flops, equivalent to 500 pounds of flip flops!!! WOWZA!
I was asked to photograph an event for Vance Music Studio at Botanica – Composition was a music and art festival with dancing, theater, different art mediums, yoga, bands, and music students placed throughout the gardens for kids, families, and individuals to enjoy and to sometimes participate in the action! I photographed Vance’s students performing in the entrance walkway (playing their instruments as attendees walked up to enter the gardens) and also in the terrace room (where students were performing for the public and also to meet recital requirements for the month). In between times, I was out on insect safari photographing butterflies, dragonflies, and bees, which is one of my all-time favorite things to do. I could chase insects for hours…! This was such a fun event to photograph AND attend!
This photo collage is called Date Week!!! Jan (Nonnie) & Carroll (Hammer) took all three kiddos to spend a week of quality time and fun with them in Oklahoma! Gregg and I were blessed with a date week and a very quiet house. Every possible chance that we were able to spend time together and get OUT of the house without having to worry about a babysitter was taken advantage of – to the fullest. Gregg’s pesky work schedule slightly interfered…. but what are you gonna do? While the kids were HUGGING the heck out of Nonnie and Hammer, playing at the park, frolicking through the splash pad, catching fish and naming pet worms, making masterpieces, and visiting a most awesome aquarium, the Hubbs and I were dining out (checked out some of Wichita’s food trucks like Cake Face, Flying Stove, and BS Sandwich Express), feeding ducks at the park, photographing the Keeper of the Plains, listening to live music at Botanica’s Tuesday on the Terrace, watching movies at the theater, and having friends over for board games, snacks, and chatting. We were ALL living it up, yo!
My grandfather passed away this summer (seven months after grandma)…. The day of his funeral was sunny and not too hot, and interestingly enough, after much worry and concern in weeks prior, my extremely stubborn stargazer lilies finally decided to BLOOM!!! It was such a nice comfort and blessing on that day; most definitely a God thing! After helping to go through things at my grandparent’s house, I brought a few things home including this quilt that grandma had made using pictures she’d taken of grandpa with the model planes he’d built. Christian fell in love with it and is using it to keep warm each night. I also brought home some of my grandmother’s costume jewelry. One of my besties, Becky, realized that she and I now both have owl necklaces (from our late grandmothers) which we’ve decided makes us Owl Sisters!
There was a little crafting involved over the summer, but not much… I made some box style pencil cases, water-proof ear bud cases for the gym, a bright orange happy candle, and learned how to make homemade chalk paint (thanks to Becky) which enabled me to refinish a small table from my grandparent’s house as well as a thrift store photo frame. Lovin’ me some chalk paint! No sanding? No priming? Homemade?!? Sold!
The Bolinger Family attended Youthville’s Chalk Festival at Old Town Square, an interactive art exhibit aimed at bringing awareness to one of the largest, non-profit, child welfare agencies in Kansas. It was SUPER COOL! Our whole family participated by leaving some chalk art behind. I colored our last name onto the side of a small brick wall, while Gregg drew his GenRocket company’s logo! The kids drew Minecraft characters and scribbled big blobs of color in various places! FUN FUN FUN!
Some of my favorites from the day… with my absolute favorite being the girl with the rainbow hair! The floating balloon/mountain scene was a crowd pleaser because it was a very creative photo opportunity. Wichita has some fabulously talented artists! I was impressed!
Went to a Kids’ Pinterest Party – awesome, fun, messy party that was thankfully not at my house…! Let’s just say it out loud, “Angie T. is a BRAVE woman!” All of the moms brought food (preferably something seen/tried on Pinterest) and the kids kept busy with water fights in the backyard, homemade moon dough, and homemade slime! It was awesome sauce!
That’s going to be it for the trip down Summer Memory Lane. This has worn me out…! We’ll just have to see what else gets done… Hope you ALL had lovely summers?!? What have you been up to? Fellow moms, with school age children at home, are you getting back into a routine during the kids’ first week back to school, or are you headed for a breakdown like me? Hoping and praying that things get settled soon. We probably won’t get our schedule completely figured out until September once all of the kid’s extracurricular activities kick in. Wish us luck!
Happy to have had a wonderful summer making awesome memories with my Hubbs and my Threebies!!!