Since I neglected to put up a single post this entire summer (until today – 3 Alaska posts plus this one might be a new record, ha!) I thought I would show a glimpse into what we have been up to.

While we were spending 2 weeks in Alaska, the best Mimi (and Gramps, but we all know Mimi did 99% of the work!) ever watched our precious kiddos.  She made memories, loved on our kiddos, was patient, did special things with them, and made our time away a joy for us.  It took about a month for them to stop calling me “Mimi” but I am ok with that!  We are so incredibly blessed to have parents who will watch our kiddos for such long periods of time so that we can get away.  We know not everyone has this blessing and don’t take it for granted. We are blessed and so are our kiddos! 
girlies slide

Tea party at Mimi’s housetea party

Gramps and Mimi braved the rain for the local parade with the kiddos on July 4th!
skippack parade 01

skippack parade 02

And took them to see fireworks!
finale fireworks

Emma picked some flowers for us while we were away (and informed us that she is getting married)!
emma flowers

Before we left for Alaska, Justin’s baseball team won the championship!
bball 02

After we got back from Alaska, me and the kiddos dressed like cows for free Chick-fil-A food.
chickfila 01

chickfila 02

chickfila 03

On hot days we swim at our next door neighbor’s house.

While the big kiddos were away at the grandparents Emma was my buddy … and she also beat me at “I Spy.”
emma game

I missed my big kid helpers, but at least Emma is cute!  We have been busy freezing zukes, making pickles from cukes, freezing green peppers, making BLT’s with garden fresh tomatoes, and eating lots of fresh food from the garden!
emma garden

I was happy to have my big kids back home!

Emma and Callie love to climb this little tree.
girlies tree

Sydney takes a morning walk or bike ride across the street every morning to visit her horse friends, Cody and Angie. Our kind neighbor lets them pet the horses, help clean them, brush them, give them treats, ride them, and spend as much time as they want climbing on the fence to visit them!
sydney horse

Brian’s brother, Derek, and his fiance, Joy, came for a visit to play some doubles tennis and to ask Callie and Emma to be their flower girls.  We had a blast and the little girlies are absolutely thrilled (and eagerly anticipating March)!

Emma got bike lessons from Daddy … kiddos #5 on a 2 wheeler.
emma bike

Emma turned 4!
em bday 02

She got new pig pj’s from Mimi … a big deal when you are girlie #4 and new pj’s are rare!
em bday 01

And last but not least, we started school!
first day of school

Although we don’t start Classical Conversations until the Monday after Labor Day, we are gradually getting back into a routine around here.  Because of that, don’t be too surprised if another couple of months goes by without a post!  I need to learn the art of short and sweet posts.  I am hoping to get up a school post showing our schoolroom, some favorite supplies, and what we are using this year for school.  However, that post will not be short and sweet so who knows when and if it will happen!


>These are a few of their favorite things …

>We’ve had some beautiful weather recently and have taken full advantage of enjoying the outdoors! On warm, sunny days the kiddos have been loving riding their bikes/scooters, playing in the sandbox, enjoying the swing set, and of course enjoying the little creek out back …

Justin insists that Hailey’s old (purple) rain boots are much more comfortable than his camo ones … so he often wears those instead. And those shorts he is wearing are actually a nice sky blue color (thankfully with a little bit of oxy clean they returned to being blue again!). Sydney did not do this to herself … that’s what big brothers are for … to make sure that sisters get muddy too.
While they have been busy getting dirty in the creek, I’ve been busy getting dirty in the garden …
Although, I must say that I have three great little garden helpers … they pull weeds, help me dig holes, bring me the plants, use their cute little watering cans to water anything (including each other!) and brave the heat with me all day!

And in the evenings one of our favorite things to do as a family is to have a campfire in the backyard …

Callie will often play on a blanket, although she is always on a mission to roll off of it onto the grass so that she can eat some. She does enjoy watching the fire though and will usually stay put for at least a little before one of us has to put her back on the blanket!

A few other updates around here …
~Callie is in the “put anything and everything in my mouth” phase which has already given me a few opportunities to watch her gag and spit up what she was eating … flowers, leaves and paper seem to be her favorites. Twice she has sneakily snagged a flower or leaf off of the bushes near the house on the way in the front door while strapped into her car seat … then about a minute after we get into the house I hear her gagging only to realize that she is eating something and gagging. And it amazes me the things she finds on the living room floor to put in her mouth … evidently I don’t clean the floors quite often enough!
Callie’s recent stats continue to show what a chubs she is (at least for a Herr baby!):
16 lbs. 15 oz.
27 1/2 inches

~Sydney loves to sing and will often be singing while doing whatever else she might be doing throughout the day. In the mornings, she loves to go in and talk with Callie after she wakes up and make her laugh.
Another one of Sydney’s new interests is sleeping on the bathroom floor for half of the night! That girl is something else. We recently had a little chit-chat with her about walking back to her bed all by herself after going potty during the night (previously she would plop down on the bathroom floor and whine/moan/call for one of us to come and get her to put her back in bed) … well, evidently she has come to the conclusion that if she can’t be carried back to bed then she would rather sleep on the bathroom rug. For 3 nights in a row I found her in there sleeping when I got up to nurse Callie around 6 a.m. I have no idea how long she slept in there each night, but if she wakes up to go potty during the night it is often between 4-5 a.m. I’ve talked to her about it, and asked her why she sleeps in the bathroom after she goes potty and all she says to me is “because the rug is warm and comfy” … I don’t know how it could be warmer and more comfortable than her bed, but oh well!

~Not much is new with Justin … he seems to be growing like a weed these days, and constantly talks about starting school in a few months (he’ll be in Kindergarten). He can’t wait to have “official” school work to do this year. I’m praying that the excitement stays when we actually start school!

~Hailey has completed her school for this year and is already talking about starting 1st grade. She actually asked me if we can keep doing some things over the summer … I guess that means that she enjoyed doing school which is a good thing! I love how she serves me around the house, often asking throughout the day how she can serve me. Some of her favorite ways to serve me are unloading/loading the dishwasher, doing dishes that don’t go in the dishwasher, cleaning the bathroom, dusting, sweeping and putting away clean wash. Whenever I’m in the kitchen getting dinner ready she wants to know what she can do to help … I’m a blessed Mommy to have such a great helper. And I love how Justin and Sydney want to be like her in that way (even when they fight over who can help me!).

~Maybe, just maybe I will get around to posting again before another 2 weeks goes by (but don’t hold your breath waiting just in case).

>A Big Box With Sand, Garden Pics, and Baby Update …

> As of today, the sandbox is empty no more! A friend borrowed a dump truck for us and then went and picked up 5 tons of sand to fill the once empty box. The kiddos were very excited and spent the morning enjoying the sandbox amidst the hot and humid weather. I’m sure I’ll be finding sand all over the house … but hey, at least they will have hours of fun playing and since we have hard wood floors it doesn’t seem so bad (it’s not like they’re that clean these days anyway!). Hailey said that after they play in the sandbox they will swing and run around so that the sand comes off before they come inside … sounds good to me! Our neighbor was outside when we were dumping the sand in, and said it will be just like they are at the beach with a sandbox that size … being as it is 10′ x 8.5′ and 2′ deep she is probably right! There is plenty of room for cousins, friends and baby Herr to play too!

While I was outside taking some pics of the kiddos enjoying the sandbox, I also decided to take some pics of the garden (especially for you Dad and Mom Herr!) …

My basil is doing great … I’ve already trimmed it a couple times to use in pesto and other recipes that use fresh basil!

The kiddos love to find things growing and were so excited to see this cucumber getting bigger …

Our once struggling cherry tomato plant is now doing great after being transplanted out of too wet soil back when we got flooded one weekend … and all of our regular tomato plants are doing great and just starting to get little green tomatoes on them!

And our pole beans are really starting to climb …

As for a baby update … there isn’t much new and exciting to report. I had another monthly check up this past week and all is well with our little girlie. Heartbeat was strong at 150 and I gained another two pounds! This little girlie loves to kick me, particularly when I am laying down trying to nap or go to bed at night. And she’s really good at kicking my bladder making me have to go all the time … although that might be because of the loads of water I’m drinking too! I don’t know if I mentioned this on the blog or not … but I’ll be having monthly ultrasounds (good thing we found out this time … saying no 5 times would have been tough!) to monitor the growth of the baby due to thyroid antibodies in my body that can possibly affect the growth of the baby. Since we tend to have wee little ones already, they want to make sure she’s continueing to gain weight. So, in another week and a half I’ll have an ultrasound update!

>Ice Cream and Tomatoes

>Saturday evening after dinner Brian decided to take me and the kiddos to Dairy Queen. He told the kiddos we were going somewhere … so they loaded up into the van. As we were driving to DQ, Hailey started asking questions about where we were going … so Brian decided to give her some hints. Here’s how the conversation went …
Daddy: We’re going somewhere that has something good.
Hailey: Something to eat?
Daddy: Yup, what do you really like to eat?
Hailey: Ice cream!
Daddy: Maybe … can you think of anything else that we might be going to get?
Hailey: Tomatoes! (with the same amount of enthusiasm)

That’s our girl … or pretty much all of our kiddos for that matter. They love tomatoes!

In other exciting news around here we got everything planted in our garden over the holiday weekend! Dad and Mom Herr, along with Derek (Brian’s brother) came yesterday to help out. We weren’t sure what all we were going to get in after the load of rain we got in the previous two weeks … but they used their gardening skills to get creative and now everything is planted! We planted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, zuccini, green beans, and herbs (lots of basil!). We were so thankful for the beautiful weather that we had all weekend.