Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Catch Up

I have done a TERRIBLE job documenting our summer adventures!  Half the time I either forget to take pictures when we're out and about or have left my camera at home.  And then there's the whole uploading-pictures-to-the-computer thing which for whatever reason is the slowest, most laborious procedure EVER.  But I put it on my "to-do" list for today and here is what I've taken over the course of the summer.  Enjoy!

For a Memorial Day celebration, my side of the family (my parents, two brothers and their families) got together at my parent's home for swimming and a cook-out.  Natalie certainly is a little fish - she loved not only being in the big pool paddling around but splashing with her baby cousin Ian in the play pool as well.

PLAYING AROUND - One of her favorite things to do is get into the drawers in the kitchen, pull out my oven mitts and wander around the house with "robot" hands.  Hilarious.  I don't have the heart to lock that drawer because A) it isn't hurting anything, B) it keeps her entertained while I cook and C) it is absolutely a riot to watch. 

Natalie's Aunt Sis is the head basketball coach at the local high school and it has become a tradition that Natalie attends the first day of camp and "registers" as a camper.  

Craig and Natalie about to head out the door.

Even though she's at basketball camp a girl still has to coordinate her outfit!

Following around the big girls - certainly one of her favorite activities.

Headed out into the melee - no fear in the gym whatsoever.

Little ball hog - every ball is her ball.

A team player - gotta help clean up the balls!

NAPTIME - We've gotten her on a great napping schedule this summer.  We play all morning, eat a quick lunch around 11:00 or 12:00 and then she usually passes out for a two hour nap in the early afternoon.  Usually.  

One day Craig got her up out of bed when she cried after taking a nap, but apparently she wasn't REALLY ready to be up for the rest of the day.  

When I lived on my own in the apartment, my living room furniture consisted mostly of IKEA tables and an entertainment center.  Before Natalie was mobile I had a pretty coffee table set up in front of the television but since the rug in the living room is where she spreads out her toys and plays.....the coffee table was pushed into the corner.  This summer Natalie has really gotten into scribbling coloring and needed a space in the living room where she could sit, eat snack and color.  Craig and I headed up to IKEA in search of cheap kids chairs that matched our existing furniture and our trip was an absolute success!

So excited to sit at her own table and color!

Of course, no coloring session is complete without a buddy present.

Pigtails.  I repeat.  PIG......TAILS.  Oh the cuteness.  Since her hair was getting so long, I tested out some piggies on the Fourth of July and I venture to say that they were a resounding success, no?

This picture just kills me.  What a face.

We live in Texas.  It is hot here.  Duh.  From the hours of 11:00 to 4:00 it is pretty much unbearable outside - especially for a sweet sixteen month old little girl.  One Saturday afternoon Craig and I were antsy to get out of the house and do something so we Goggled some kid friendly places around Dallas and off we went to the aquarium.  We chose the smaller (and cheaper) Dallas Children's Aquarium over the Dallas World Aquarium and it ended up being an AWESOME decision.  Not only was the place smaller and geared more towards younger children and their short attention span, but it wasn't crowded and Natalie had the freedom to walk from tank to tank at her own leisure.  And right now?  She is craving independence so she was a happy camper.

Pointing and jabbering at the fish.

One of my favorite photos of the two of us.

She was in awe of the fish - she would run back and forth from tank to tank just shrieking, jabbering and waving her arms around.

She would wave and give kisses to all the fish.

 Not too interested in the albino alligator.

Heading over to pet the sting rays with Daddy.

Look at that face!  She is so expressive.  I love the shark lurking in the background.

Wrapped up in the octopus' tentacles.

We have to eat which means I have to cook.  Over the years I've actually grown to enjoy the challenge of taking a recipe and making it edible for my family.  My mother is a wonderful cook who absolutely detests the process of cooking.  Strange.  Her specialties include all kinds of Italian dishes, best of which is her lasagna.  There is cream cheese involved.  Lots of it.  Mmm.  Craig was scheduled to have knee surgery last week.......during volleyball camp........during his big NCAA basketball tournament.  Yikes.  I anticipated being exhausted from taking care of four children (one on crutches, one almost three feet tall and two with fur and four legs) after a long morning at camp so I invited my mom over one Saturday morning to put together some frozen casseroles for me to heat up during our crazy week.  We had a lovely time hanging out in the kitchen, listening to the iPod and chatting with the three generations of women.  Natalie loves to pull a chair up to the island and "help" cook meals so she was rewarded with her first Baci - an Italian chocolate that is by far my mother's favorite sweet treat.

Natalie was a flower girl this past weekend in Craig's cousin's wedding and a hair cut was definitely in order before her big debut down the aisle.  I didn't want to do anything drastic (for fear the curls would disappear) BUT something had to be done about the baby mullet that was starting to form at the base of her neck.

Trying to get her to look at the camera these days is mildly impossible.

See those wispies at the bottom and on the sides?  Mullet.

Such a big girl sitting so sweetly in the pink Cadillac.

Big girl bangs and layers in the back to enhance her curls.

All done!

This past weekend Craig, Natalie and I loaded up in my car and made the four hour trek down to the Texas Hill Country for Craig's cousin's wedding on the lake.  It was a small, family affair but every wedding still needs an adorable little girl in a pretty dress throwing flowers, right?  I was a little nervous about what exactly she would DO while walking down the aisle but she was WONDERFUL.  Craig and I tag-teamed and were able to get her going in the right direction AND throwing the flowers.  Of course, being my child she felt the need to pick up the flowers that she had thrown, but that just added to her adorableness.  I was afraid that she would see all the people and get a little scared but this is where she and I differ.  I shrink from all that attention and she thrives on it - once she saw everyone looking at her, she walked faster and more confidently and the small smile on her face grew into a gigantic grin.  

Such a big girl.

After her flower girl duties were over, she was rewarded with a stuffed dog, goldfish and water.

Being a cute flower girl is obviously exhausting - she fell asleep on Craig's shoulder at the reception and then slept for two more hours in the hotel room!  

Summer vacation is winding down but we still have a few exciting things lined up - my friend Emily's 40th birthday celebration this week, my birthday is next Tuesday and then we're heading down to San Antonio and Sea World for three days before we go back to school!

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