Earlier this month we went on a major road trip! I’m hoping the kiddos will remember it as fondly as I will. Over the week of July 4th, we visited Colorado, Jackson Hole, The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Mt. Rushmore. There is probably not a better trip to take to celebrate America and all it has to offer.
The Tetons and Yellowstone have some of the most amazing views I have ever seen. On our first hike of the trip, Eli asked where the exit was. We told him we didn’t know because none of us has been on the trail before. He told me that if it was close by, I’d have to come back and pick him up. Once I told him that wasn’t possible because the area we were in wasn’t accessible by car he told me it was a good thing I had two other kids because he wasn’t going much further. By the next hike which was twice as long, he realized that he would in fact survive, and was completely focused on the getting to the end which was a boat ride. He led the way for the second half of the hike. At times, Brian had to run to keep up with him. Nothing like the Tetons to teach mind over matter! On this trip the animals practically performed for us. We got close ups of elk, antelope, deer, buffalo, and a grizzly bear. Pawpaw and Brian jumped out of the car with cameras in hand at the slightest mention of bears (crazy)! Alysa wanted to hike for 20 steps, and would then ask to be put in the carrier we took. Eli surprised me at Mount Rushmore by listening to the entire audio tour. If he retains any of what he learned, it is a huge win! It was an amazing trip. We got to visit with both sides of the family. Eli and Jax were a little put out at first that we didn’t spend our entire vacation with cousins. The kids got over it somewhere along the way and we sealed the deal with their first experience on an alpine slide.
The kids are in Temple this week visiting Bunny and Granddaddy. It has been strange to log onto facebook to see what they are up to. I can tell they are having an amazing time. Bunny and Granddaddy are going all out. They have visited a ghost town, made pizza from scratch, and played Minecraft and PvZ Garden Warfare. I wasn’t surprised when Eli told me on the phone that he is never coming home. It has been a nice break from Brian and me. Brian is texturing and painting the bathroom as a nice continuance of the longest do-it-yourself renovation in history. It is looking good so I have no complaints!
I’m going to mix it up this time and go out of birth order. Jaxon just had his 7 year old wellness visit. He is approximately 51 inches tall and 62 pounds. He is really starting to become a great defender in baseball, soccer, and basketball. We have been on a few hikes lately and we discovered he is part mountain goat. He loves exploring and is often the person that will spot a snake or lizard. He is clearly a middle child. It is hysterical to watch him when he is bored. He watches both of his siblings to determine which one he wants to play with and he finds a way to get their attention… usually by hitting them or taking a toy and running. His favorite song right now is “The Walker” by Fitz & the Tantrums.
These days when we have a story to tell about one of the kids it is usually about Alysa. She is approximately 37 inches and 33 pounds. The clothes I’m buying for next season are the smallest sizes in the girl’s area (crazy for a 2.5 year old). She also has HUGE feet! She still entertains us all, including her brothers. She has her own room, but prefers to sleep in their room. The boys take pride in teaching her video games. While playing one recently, something in the game didn’t go the way she wanted it to and she said “Seriously?!” Brian and I can understand most of what she says and she speaks in full sentences. She is very sweet. She loves to help and is actually pretty good at helping with chores. She watches a lot of Strawberry Shortcake and Disney Junior. She has conversations with herself in the car asking her invisible audience if they can help her find the moon. “Is this the moon? No, that’s a house. Is this the moon? Nah, that’s a tree. Is this the moon? Yes! Great Job!” Alysa loves to sing in the car with her brothers. She usually asks for Mickey Mouse or “Let It Go” from Frozen when it is her turn to choose. I've signed her up for dance lessons... oh boy.
Eli is the glue that keeps the kids playing and living in harmony. He loves to teach and play with his siblings. He is occasionally asks for one more baby. He is the BEST big brother ever. He has to sit in between AJ and Jax in the car because he is the only kid that leaves his siblings alone by nature. Alysa trusts Eli implicitly, but wisely has a healthy skepticism of Jaxon. Eli is almost 5 foot tall (within an inch) and 115 pounds. His feet are so big, I can wear his shoes! His most recent shoes are a men’s size 8.5! He loves playing video games more than anything. Once you can pry him away from video games, he really enjoys baseball, swimming, and playing with his friends and siblings. He is still ridiculously good at understanding technology. He has surpassed me (at age 8) and I now generally ask him to fix the tvs, ipads, and other gadgets if they aren’t doing what I want them to. Both boys already find me relatively useless when it comes to technology. Eli continues to show musical talent. His favorite song right now is probably “Everything is Awesome” or “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark”.