Why Bother?

As a parent of 3 young children, there are some things we do that I sometimes wonder to myself ‘why bother?’.  Hear me out;

This morning we woke up earlier than anticipated (ahem, Amelia) and figured we could go to early church (before Sunday school) instead of late church (which is after Sunday school).  We no more than get into our pew this morning (on time, for once), and the shenanigans begin. Amelia dumps cheerios everywhere.  Lucy proceeds to unpack the diaper bag looking for some elusive item she believes to be in there. Lucy and Gabriel fight over a book. Amelia and Gabriel fight over a book. Amelia yelps for the umpteenth time. Amelia proceeds to follow in Lucy’s footsteps and tries to not so gingerly unpack the diaper bag and finds a ball-like lip gloss that she plays with. Until it rolls away in front of the pews in front of us. Amelia yelps some more. Books and sippy cups get shoved under pews into other peoples legs.  Sippy cup leaks on the floor. More fighting between I don’t even know who. More dropping of cheerios. More crunching of cheerios under my feet, more destroying of the diaper bag. More time of me tending to my children and less time of me paying attention or actually participating in Mass. Lucy goes up a few rows and sits with an adoring cousin for awhile and it helps. 2 is a lot less than 3 some days, it seems.  All of a sudden it’s Communion time and I realize I have sung 1/2 of one song and have no idea what the Gospel or any of the readings entailed. We go up front for the Sacrament and return.  By the end of Mass, J and I look at each other and just shake our heads. Some times are better than others. Some Sundays our kids behave great, other days are more like today. We stopped taking loads of toys to church because they ended up being more of a hassle than it was worth.  So why bother?

Turns out, J and I have very similar beliefs on church. Go figure. We both feel very strongly that our children need to be present weekly IN church.  All of our children attended their first Mass before 2 weeks of age, which was also their Baptism.  They may not understand or know all of what is going on, but if they are not there, how are they going to learn? We are ok with them reading or looking at a book quietly during Mass since they are so young. Gabriel is getting to the age that he can participate in more of what is going on and we are trying to encourage him to do so.

We bother, because for us, it’s what we do and how we live. It’s how we build our life, base their upbringings. Its how we learn morals, values, and church practices and teachings. It’s important that our kids are there with us.  And it’s extra rewarding when we see the fruits of our labors thriving. Today one of Gabriel’s Sunday school teachers informed us that he was one of the few who could recite the Lord’s Prayer during their class. Lucy was the only one in the 3 year old class, which I help to co-teach.  I love hearing the kids’ questions about readings and God, sometimes quite humorous.  Today Gabriel specifically requested that he could have ‘The Kids Bible’ for his looking book during quiet time. And last night when G and I were out on a date, he didn’t blink an eye when I told him we were going to pray before eating our pizza, and he said the whole prayer. To us, it’s very important they are there with us.

Next time you see a family with young children attending church or any other social event, for that matter, be thankful they are there. They care enough to take their kids to a somewhat uncomfortable and possibly very embarrasing situation, in hopes that they are raising their kids in a better way, in a way that will hopefully produce positive influences on society and moral citizens.  And please, keep smiling at them, because that helps a little too. :-)

Dear Amelia;


Dear Amelia;

Well, we are all bunkered down for the ‘Snowpocalypse 2015′.  We ran around and did errands this morning and now due to numerous cancellations due to impending weather, we have nowhere to be until 8am Monday morning. Ahhh, bliss. I kinda like snowstorms!

You are asleep in your crib upstairs while the rest of us are watching a movie.  Tonight, for the first time ever, you didn’t want to be rocked to sleep.  I have mixed emotions about this.  My lap and arms felt empty, but it did leave me some free time to write this blog. Lucy as usual has been cuddly and is on my lap.  Very unusual for you, and I hope you still like to rock to sleep some nights  :)

In getting some things crossed off my to-do list today, (one of which was hanging kids pictures around the house), I realized that you have not had any professional pictures taken since 6 months old.  You are 14+ months and I haven’t even had your 1 year pictures done.  No wonder third children area always feeling jipped!  I did get around to buying you a picture outfit and shoes today which are super cute! You ran away from me at least 6 times in the store today.  I’m sorry I missed your 9 and 12 month pictures :(

I am so interested and excited to see how your personality forms.  So far, you know how to work it.  You always seem to get what you want. G and L love to make you happy.  You love people but are shy sometimes. You do not like to be alone, probably because you never have been. You even sleep with 2 others in your room! You love to sing.  You are getting very good at picking up and love to put things where they go. On the contrary, you also love to pull anything and everything out of it’s place.

You love chocolate and I do too.  You are definitely my daughter.

Thank you for being a better sleeper! At 14 months you seem to have a better handle on the whole thing.  After 12.5 months of you waking anywhere from 1 to 6 times per night, I was tired, to say the least. You are now going on a few weeks of going to sleep on time  at 8pm and staying asleep until after 6am. It’s kind of nice.  But I still wake a lot, tossing and turning. Sometimes I feel like I’m actually missing having you in our bed.  Sometimes I feel like waking you up so I have some company ;)

You sure do like your pacifier.  We cannot seem to get very far without one. Many times, you carry 2 pacisin your hands so that you can flip them in and out of your mouth intermittently. You sleep with one and definitely prefer one in the car, or it gets pretty loud.

I hope you like hand-me-downs. With an older sister already, you are not getting too much new-to-you stuff. I’m more than ok with it. I hope you learn frugality at a young age and embrace it!

As you can tell, I’m having some varying feelings about you growing up. You used to be such a mama’s girl, and mama’s girl only. Last weekend you stayed at Aunt Jen’s house for a few hours and didn’t even cry when I left. You never cry when I leave you with Nana either.  You like to run away from me now, but sometimes still to me.  You are starting to say words like ‘more’, ‘mama’.  You don’t need me for everything like you used to, and you are becoming more independent. I hope that you don’t grow up too fast. I hope that we relish everything you do, learn, say, become.  I hope that you retain the amazing spirit and headstrong will that you possess, and all the things that make you you.  I hope that you love this crazy family of yours, because we sure love you!



Maple Street Estate Update: Getting there!

View from the landing of the stairs; don't mind the 5 year old rolling up carpet...

View from the landing of the stairs; don’t mind the 3 and 5 year old rolling up carpet, that’s their stage…

So we have some floor! The wood floor we chose to install was a bit more complicated and timely than originally planned (what isn’t?), so it has taken a lot longer than we had planned (again, what doesn’t?).  Of course you have to *nail* every board every 4-6 inches with a pneumatic nailer and lay each piece one by one by one and painstakingly make sure they are not even 1/8 in off……..but hey – it looks nice, right? We don’t yet have any living room furniture as we got rid of what we had at the other house, so the kids love having all the open space to play tag, run races, or play soccer. We may/may not have family indoor soccer matches a few nights a week. So far, so good ;)  We still have about 2/3 of the kitchen to go.  It’s getting there!

The electricians came 2 weeks ago and gave us light! I cannot tell you what a difference this has mad in the functionality of our house! Yes, we have a fully functioning upstairs, but downstairs we had a lot of dropcords and lamps working. It was a bit of a hazard with 3 littles.  We still need to buy/install the light for above the island, but that may be awhile. The one we have picked out is a bit on the over-priced side….but isn’t it sweet?!  One can adjust the height using the ropes and pulleys by the handle on the bottom.  I’m just hoping the kids don’t figure out how to swing from it.

Farmhouse 44" Kitchen Island Light Fixture - Adjustable Pulley Pendant Fixture

A glimpse of some of the lighting

A glimpse of some of the lighting

And a bit more

And a bit more

We also have 6 cupboards in, with many more to be added. These have also made a big difference in the functionality of the house. The kids were getting into everything before the cupboards were installed. I had few places to keep kitchen things and many ended up in totes on the floor = play kitchen for kids.  It’s much better now :)  The lower cabinets are in progress.

This past weekend we had a huge house breakthrough. Get ready for it…..WE CLEANED THE GARAGE. I know, epic, right?  Well, it was.  When we first moved in, we put almost all of our belongings in our 3+ car garage due to the remodel and whatnot. It was stuffed, to the point that you had to walk the perimeter and finding anything was like a needle in a haystack.  My rule is that nothing comes into the house until it has a place to go, so there’s still a ton of stuff out there.  So Saturday, while J and L were staining cabinets, myself, G and A took to the garage. J and I decided that we did not need the majority of the stuff that was in that garage. After all, we have gone 5 months without it, and did just fine. We ended up keeping about 1/3 of it, the rest was taken to either a consignment shop or Goodwill.  A few things were put out for trash pickup.  So much less STUFF.  The best part? I can park my Expedition inside now and won’t have to scrape windows any more! Yes!

In other Costello news;

Gabriel and Lucy are loving school, after finally getting back into the groove after 3+ weeks off at Christmastime due to inclement weather.  Hard to believe that their school year is half over! Amelia is walking and climbing stairs like nobody’s business, and continues to scream for approximately 50% of the day, to express any emotion that she has (ie: happy, sad, angry, excited, to get your attention, laugh, need/want something, yell at a sibling, chocolate in sight).  She is getting closer to saying a few words, such as ‘yes’ and ‘hot’ and ‘mama’ (not all together ;) ), and she’s so darn cute.  I realize how much we have all tuned out the screaming when we go places and we get a lot of looks and people covering their ears. Ha! Oh well! The Costello’s make a presence! Is it a bad sign when your 14 month old sings lyrics to “Let it Go”?  L starts ballet again this weekend and G will do spring soccer come April. The one kids activity at a time seems to be working well for us, so we are sticking to it. L is already planning her birthday party for April, and I’m pretty sure the tri-county area will be invited if she has her way. J is coaching basketball at his school this winter (although he’s never played a day in his life), I’m finally resuming attendance with my monthly book club, as well as beginning volunteering at a local crisis pregnancy center (something I’ve felt called to do for a long time).  L got the green light at her last orthopedist appointment to do whatever she wants with the arm, including monkey bars, to her delight. We will go back in 3 months to look at it again.  G did amazing at the dentist this past week (so did L), but he has never had a successful trip to the dentist prior to this one. Hooray for a bit of maturity!

He did so well!

He did so great!


Selfie in the library bathroom!

Selfie in the library bathroom!

Have a great week!

-The {busy}  Costello’s

A Surgery Story

Yesterday Lucy had her surgery to repair a bone cyst in her upper left humerus.

It was THE MOST EXHAUSTING DAY AS A MOTHER that I think I have ever experienced.  Right up there with unmedicated childbirth.

We had been prepping Lucy for weeks about the surgery. She’s a very smart little thing and likes to know how, when, and why things happen, especially to her. So we told her everything that would happen, and she understood.

We were early getting to the hospital because, well, what else do you do when you are awaiting surgery? Lucy watched more TV in the pre-op room than she has in probably 3 months. I’m not exaggerating. They were late to get the surgery going as the procedure prior to Lucy’s took a little longer than expected. More waiting. We were going on 3 hours of waiting at the hospital. I’m about fit to be tied. One of the many times a nurse asked Lucy her name and she replied, ‘I’m a Costello!’.  J couldn’t have beamed more!

Finally the OR nurse, Val, comes to our room and introduces herself and tells Lucy they are going to go to a special room and ‘blow up bubbles’. She gets to ride in a wagon back there with her doll, if she would like to come. Sounds like a plan.

Then the anesthesiologist comes in. He will do a general anesthetic with a __???__ kind of device in the back of her throat to keep her breathing during the surgery. Its not intubation but she will have something in her throat. They will wait to do IV and all that jazz until she’s asleep.  Again, I’m about jumping out of my skin.

Dr Pyevich, the surgeon, comes in. Asks if we have any questions and explains how he will do an xray guided procedure to the cyst. If he cannot aspirate or fill it completely using just a needle, he will have to make a 2″ incision and go in manually to work on it. I’m thinking about having an anxiety attack.

The wagon shows up. Lucy gets in. I kiss and hug her a million times more and tell her that I love her and to be a brave girl like we talked about. J does the same. We tell her we’ll see her soon. She nods and Val wheels her away and the giant doors close.

Lucy, Val, and Cinderella

Lucy, Val, and Cinderella

And that’s when I lose it. 1/3 of my heart just went in for a surgery and I have no control over the next 1.5 hrs. J does much better than me and suggests we venture to the cafeteria for lunch. I tearfully oblige.

No more than 30 mins later the phone in the waiting room rings and Val tells us Lucy was successfully put under and they got her IV on the first try.  She will call again when surgery is over. Lucy’s surgery number on the screen changes from ‘Pre-procedure’ to ‘Procedure’. I lose it once more. I cannot stand the thought of my daughter having something put down her throat while she is unconscious and giant needles inserted into her tiny bones, causing her pain. I don’t want her to have pain!

No more than 10 mins later the screen changes to ‘Closing’. The procedure is finishing up and she will go to recovery soon. It was quick. Dr Pyevich returns to us and tells us he was able to fill the cyst completely. He will see her in 10 days and for several more followups over the next year when we will re-evaluate the cyst.

45 mins later we are still staring at the screen waiting for it to change from ‘Recovery’ to ‘Phase II’, meaning that we can come in to see her. The phone rings for the 3rd time and I answer, they are looking for ‘Lucy Costello’s family’ and that we can come back.

Lucy is sitting upright in the same chair we were in earlier, same room.  The nurses all tell us she was extremely well behaved, is the cutest thing ever, and that she was just having a conversation with the nurse about why her hospital bracelet is waterproof.  She’s quite pale, confused and wants her IV out immediately. She’s also not too fond of the arm immobilizer that she will be stuck in for the next 10 days.

We hang out about another hour while she drinks, gets sick, and we get discharge instructions and med scripts. She’s doing pretty well. We venture to the drugstore, she gets sick again, and we finally get home. I make a nest for her in our bed and she stays the entire evening. She complains her arm hurts and stays very still.

She hates that thing

She hates that thing



Today about 10am she kind of came to life again. She’s telling me stories and making me and G act out her scenarios in her head. She’s still in a moderate amount of pain and I can definitely tell when the meds wear off, just as I could overnight. She refuses to wear a shirt due to the immobilizer but I at least get her to change pants.

She’s a trooper.

Sleeping peacefully as I write this

Sleeping peacefully as I write this

To any mother who has ever had a young child undergo surgery, whatever it may be, my heart goes out to you.

I’m glad that’s over with.

-The {healing} Costellos

PS- An awesome recipe that I’m sharing. Made this week!             http://pinchofyum.com/spaghetti-pie

Never a dull moment

Common questions I am getting lately.

“How’s your family?  How’s your house coming along?”

What I want to say is,

‘Not sure you have enough time for that answer. There is never a dull moment around here. For real.’

Amelia: Turned 11 months today!  She is standing constantly, has a new love of saying ‘eh?’, and chocolate chips.  She loves to smile and get people’s attention.  She still wakes up the most unhappy baby I have ever seen, and fights going to sleep almost always.  She is my biggest mama’s girl but weighs in as my smallest baby, 18lbs currently.  She loves interaction with her siblings and tolerates G carrying her around all the time. She squeals at the sight of a wagon or food.  3 weeks ago she was a terror of a baby, only at night; and I am putting it lightly.  She would *scream* for up to 30 minutes at a time, at any hour of the night, repeatedly.  I thought maybe we needed an excorist’s intervention, but after 3 weeks of very little sleep at night I finally took her into our doc. Yep. Mom of the year, right here. Double ear infection. No fever, no unusual ear pulling, just insane night screaming at the top of her lungs, and fine behavior during the day. I’m glad to say she is sleeping much better now. However, during the 3 weeks of crying, she also decided to stop nursing all of a sudden.  Yep, now a nursing strike on top of everything.  Just another thing to add to the list of things she has done to keep us on our toes. The pump and I have made amends for the next month, as my best intentions of nursing past 1 year have slowly faded. I’ll just be happy to make it to November 25!


Bro underwear + baby

Melts my heart! He doesn't know I uploaded this-- muahaha!

Melts my heart! He doesn’t know I uploaded this– muahaha!

Future marathoner?

Future marathoner?

Lucy: Lucy is really enjoying ballet, preschool, Sunday school, and creating drama.  It’s true, as much as I have tried not to encourage it, drama follows Lucy around.  The latest is this: upon our very last followup for Lucy’s fractured arm (she actually broke it in June), the orthopedist declared that the bone cyst was still present and we now needed to see a pediatric orthopedist. Yikes. A specialist of a specialist.  Can’t be good. We saw the new doc yesterday and got his opinion. If we don’t treat the bone cyst, Lucy will repeatedly break her arm in the same spot, guaranteed.  Due to Lucy’s quite massive bone cyst that covers over 75% of her humerus cross section, they recommend doing an injection of donor demineralized bone.   What this involves: she will be put under general anesthesia, a needle will be put into the bone cyst to aspirate the fluid that is filling it, then another needle will inject the demineralized bone which will come from a cadaver.  The demineralized bone is basically a framework or scaffolding for Lucy’s bone to replace and re-build itself.  Makes sense to me as a healthcare professional, but scares the bejeezus out of me as her mom and expert worrier.  We talked with her about it and she understands it perfectly and has no fear.  In her words, ‘They will make me go to sleep and give me a shot in my arm to fix my broken arm to help it heal.  Then I will have to wear my sling again for awhile and I won’t get to do the monkey bars.”  Ah, the simplicity of a child.

Other than that whole mess, Lucy is a lot of fun and hilarious! She has the most vivid and creative imagination I have ever seen.  She is constantly playing make believe, pretending, or making up stories.  She’s become quite versed in drying silverware at Nana’s and folding washcloths at home.  She’s always outfitted in some sort of dress up clothes.  I am on the hunt for fall and winter appropriate dresses as that’s all she will wear, and she reminds me nightly that ‘Mom, I can wear a dress tomorrow?’ Oh Lucy…

Teddy bear tea

Teddy bear tea




Gabriel: Gabriel is the least dramatic of my children right now. No nursing strike, no impending surgery.  Let’s keep it that way!  G has become a very dependable and passionate 5 year old as of late. He has recently taken on some new jobs at our house; taking-out-the-recycle-and-trash-guy and mail-getting-guy, as well as unlocking-the-door-when-we-get-home-guy.  This is the first time we have ever had a PO box so this one is especially exciting for him ;)  He has a new obsession with boxing; he makes pretend dummies to box, practices shadow boxing, and tapes his hands like a boxer.  He was severely peeved today when we would not let him ascend the ladder next to Jeremiah to fix the vent on the 16 foot roof.  He does a great job of keeping an eye on his sisters while I run down to the basement or out to the garage.   He’s making a lot of progress in preschool and loves it. I have never heard the words, ‘I don’t want to go to school.’  He has started to get an opinion about his clothes for the first time ever. It’s interesting. He wants to go hunting. He really enjoys the Maple Street Estate home remodeling…..which leads me to:

Yep. So mature.

Yep. So mature.

Barrel train!

Barrel train!


US: Jeremiah was the assistant athletic director at his school this fall, which meant that he attended all the home games/matches and worked on staffing and planning for those events.  Once that got over, he somehow got ‘roped into’ (ie he was easily persuaded) into being an assistant wrestling coach.  They guy has issues with saying ‘no thank you’.  Just kidding! Most times I love that about him.  I’ve been busy working part time, being wife/mom/chauffeur/master planner/crock pot connoisseur/painter/plumber/stuff seller/backsplash installer/crunchy mama friend.  We’ve carved pumpkins and We’ve taken the kids to the pumpkin patch, soccer games, ballet showcase, teddy bear tea, the zoo, field trips and Menards more times than they wish to remember.  There is now disdain in their voices when they ask, ‘Mom. Are we going to ‘Nards again?!’  Due to the awesomeness of Papa Bart and Uncle Cameron, J and I have been allowed not ONE but TWO dates within a month. Say what!? A few weekends ago we went to a great steakhouse together after shopping just the 2 of us and buying J a terribly overpriced pair of new wrestling shoes.  A few nights ago we ventured to a local (ridiculously good) Mexican place and stopped into a quaint shop where J got into a deep conversation with the shop owner about eating/not eating alpacas.  Don’t ask.  No, we don’t even have dull moments on dates.

Train at the zoo!

Train at the zoo!


How tall this fall?

How tall this fall?

Uncle Cam's moustache, G's scary face and L's princess tiara

Uncle Cam’s moustache, G’s scary face and L’s princess tiara jack-o-lanterns

The house: The Maple Street Estate is coming along, slowly.  We have about 90% of the painting done, as I just have to apply the final ‘spiced vinegar’ paint to the upstairs hallway.  Where do they get those names?! In our downstairs alone we have cottage green, patches, spiced vinegar, jute and sand fossil for paint. Today I got a working stove/oven (YESSSSS) and more of the plumbing was finished. Don’t worry, we have a full working bathroom upstairs, but I still don’t have a real kitchen sink. :(  Yesterday we priced flooring and think we have it nailed down as to what we are getting for the living room, dining room, kitchen and foyer.  7″ plank Bolton oak hardwood anyone?  We also scored a 3 by 6 foot maple butcher block top for our kitchen island yesterday for an insane deal.  We’ve been stalking the lighting sections of our favorite stores (again, ‘Nards) and have an idea of some different types of lights that will grace our kitchen and living area.  Our kitchen cabinets are being made by a very talented family member and the upper cabinets should be done in a few days.  I’m hoping next weekend we will be breathing the headache-inducing fumes of wood stain as we stain and varnish our cupboards and I will be happy :)

And as I’m writing this blog, my handsome husband and his brother are opening a bottle of wine with a screw, drill, and hammer. The crazy part is that they were successful.

#can’tfindthecorkscrew  #auntmelisproud

Tools have multiple purposes here

Tools have multiple purposes here

-The {never a dull moment in this house} Costello’s


Move: Complete!

I type this blog, while sitting in our new master bedroom (master suite as I like to call it–it just sounds fancy), listening to the soft rain on the garage roof, content as my 3 little people sleep soundly in the room next to us.  Just perfect…..

Now let’s step into the reality of what actually is at the project house, AKA Maple Street Estate, as of now.

I’ll start at the beginning.

3 weeks ago I coincidentally ran into a post on facebook in a local group of a family looking for a home to *rent* in Cedar county.  They came and looked, we liked them, they signed a lease. Awesome! Our home is rented out to a nice family and our prayers have been answered. We can now move into our new house! (ie the Maple Street Estate, as we like to call it).  Just one little problem; they need to be in before the end of September, and our  it’s still majorly under construction!  The 2nd floor of the home was 1 step from being 100% done, but the rest was a work in progress, to say the least.

2 weeks ago I frantically started packing, moving things into our massive 3+ car garage/shed at the new house. We could not move anything into the house yet due to the construction.

1 0 days ago the drywallers began hanging drywall.

7 days ago the drywall finishers arrived and began taping, mudding, texturing and priming the first floor of the house. We have done mostly all of the work ourselves and with some very talented family members, but we decided to hire this out due to the *ahem* time constraint.

5 days ago the carpet layers arrived, and had a showdown with the drywall finishers, who were both trying to complete a job simultaneously; one very messy, one not messy at all.  By the end of the day they had the drywall finished in the first floor and the carpet installed in the 2nd floor.  The 2nd floor was now move-in ready.

3 days ago we moved the remainder of our home into the garage and 2nd floor of the house.

2 days ago we gave the renters the keys to the old house and said goodbye to our house of memories. We were completely moved out. WE MADE IT.

So reality is this:  I sit in my newly remodeled master bedroom, with a heap of clothes in the one half of the room because we don’t have a clothes washer hooked up yet, although we have 3 possible hookups in the house, 1 on each floor. (side note, I LOVE our master bedroom/bath/closet! We have never had anything like this before!)  The rain is tapping on the roof of the garage that is full to the brim of our stuff, lumber, drywall. We have a makeshift kitchen as of now that includes a refrigerator, utility sink, crock pot and microwave. (side note, you have to switch out the extension cord to run the crock pot vs the microwave–just fyi). The kids are actually sleeping soundly in the room next to me. The kids will be the first to tell you that you have to wear your shoes on the first floor, but take them off if you step one foot on the new carpet beginning at the base of the stairs.  I cannot find much of anything.

Half of my current kitchen. Notice the carpet remnants covering the plywood  and lovely halogen lights ;)

Half of my current kitchen. Notice the carpet remnants covering the plywood and lovely halogen lights ;)

We still have a ton of work to do in the house.  We are hoping to get the downstairs painted this weekend so the electricians can return to finish the wiring job and we will hopefully have working outlets, switches, and lights/fans by the end of next week. After that will be getting the kitchen a bit more, modern?, shall we say, and getting the first floor hardwood floors figured out. One step at a time.  There are a LOT of steps to be done, but it’s a home that is going to be great for us!

It’s a mess. It’s an adventure. It’s a lot of work.

As Lucy said a few days ago, out of the blue, “Mom! This is a GREAT house!!!”

Agreed, Miss L. Agreed.

-The {remodeling} Costellos





Summer bucket list

Summer rocks! 

$1 birdhouses and 69 cent paint makes for 2 happy, very entertained kids for an afternoon project

$1 birdhouses and 69 cent paint makes for 2 happy, very entertained kids for an afternoon project

Last summer we did not get to do much fun stuff. I was already uncomfortably pregnant and was not handling much in terms of heat or activity, let alone the two together. So this summer we made up for it. We squeezed as much as we could into this summer, especially these past few weeks before the kids returned to (pre)school.  There is such a nice array of active fun family things to do around here that I want our kids to have an appreciation (and love) for! That and my kids behave better, are in better moods, and get along better when we are out and about and active.

We took our kayaks out a handful of times.  Lost Grove lake and Bennett park a few times. G and L have each been out on the water with us.  Lucy really loves it, G is still trying to get over his fear of water that he cannot touch the bottom in.  J and I are hoping to take out the kayaks at least 1 more time for a day-long paddling trip.

One morning I took all 3 kids hiking at Wildcat Den, a State Park only about 30 mins from here.  We gathered ‘nature stuff’ (per G) and put some miles on those little legs!  The kids loved the rock formations, the wildlife and the trails.  We explored around the old Grist Mill and even got to go in and get a tour. The kids waded in the creek water and got to help grind corn themselves at the mill.  2 massive diaper blowouts, courtesy of Amelia rounded out the day and we were ready to pack it up!

We trekked over to West Lake Beach for an afternoon with some friends.  The kids had free passes from their summer reading program, but I am not sure why we had not went to the beach earlier in the summer.  They have a nice little wading area for kids and the 6 of them had a blast all together.  Sand + sun = 3 tired kiddos and a good afternoon nap!

Spray parks are my new favorite summer activity for the kids. They are A) FREE. B) Easy to watch your kids while there and less worry about deep water C) Hours of entertainment for little people. D) A nice way to cool off. E) Did I mention they are FREE?!  We went to 2 different spray parks this summer and had plans for another that fell through due to rain. All 3 of the kids really liked them, and now that Amelia is mobile she is even more of a fan. 

Amelia is getting quite curious

Amelia is getting quite curious

This past weekend we went to the Old Thresher’s Reunion.  Based on the name I could hardly contain my excitement (note sarcasm) but I was pleasantly surprised.  The ‘reunion’ is more like a fair with a lot of demonstrations and re-enactments of yesteryear. We saw grain threshing powered b a 2 horse treadmill, the kids rode a steam-powered carousel, rode  a train to the ‘log village’ of pioneer days, and watched people make sugar from sorghum.  Everything was really interesting and we all had a good time.  


Zonked after the Old Thresher’s

Pony rides!

Pony rides!

This past weekend we also went to Backbone State Park for an annual family picnic.  That place is so pretty!!  We had gotten a shelter by the beach and hoped to let the kids splash in the water all day.  Good thing we checked the DNR website a few days prior as the park was one of several in Iowa rated unsafe to swim in due to abnormally high levels of E.Coli bacteria in the water earlier in the season.  Yikes! No kids were allowed in the water, and It rained off and on all day but we had a great time.  My kids LOVE getting together with their cousins and we hear about it for weeks afterwards.

This week the kids returned to school and our summer bucket list concluded. (Now onto the fall bucket list–apple orchards and pumpkin patches here we come!) G was beyond ready to return to school.  He thrives at school, does well with his peers and really enjoys his teachers and activities.  I cannot tell you how EXCITED Lucy was to begin preschool and how much she BAWLED on the first day when she realized she had to go home after class was over. I guess that is a good thing?!

-The {active} Costello’s