Monday, July 18, 2011

Eight is Great

Last month Samuel turned eight. He has been looking forward to this birthday since January and not just for the party and the presents. Eight years old is a big deal! In our church eight is the age of accountability when we believe a child is old enough to decide if he wants to be baptized and officially become a member of our church. After baptism they are then confirmed a member of the church and receive the Holy Ghost to be a constant companion and advisor. Samuel is a sweet, sweet boy. He has the biggest heart I know and just wants to love everyone around him. He has a wide-eyed innocence and imagination that has somehow, miraculously survived two years of grade school. (Longer than I expected!) He is very smart and loves to play and learn and do all those things that boys do at that age. He has a huge spirit and more faith than I ever had when I was a kid. He was SO excited to get baptized! He has been anxiously awaiting his turn since his cousin, Nathan, was baptized last February. We have talked about the baptism non stop since then. Unfortunately, we had to make him wait a couple of weeks after his birthday to get baptized so that we could give family members a chance to finish school and get to Philly. But it was totally worth it! We had a great time and Samuel felt loved with so much of his family around him.
Some things about about Sam at age 8: He loves to read ( especially the Magic Tree House books- which are too easy but he loves the stories). He loves to play with Legos and would do that to the exclusion of all else if I would let him. He loves playing kickball and dodge ball. He can ride his bicycle without training wheels but it makes him a little nervous. He LOVES the water- ocean or swimming pool, it makes no difference to him. He loves the Narnia movies, Star Wars anything and Harry Potter 1-3 (he is still too young for the rest). He loves the fads: bey blades and silly bands and webkinz. He still wants to be a zebra doctor when he grows up. He is really excited to be a cub scout and enjoys passing off the various tasks in his manual. He is a great big brother who maybe teases a little too much but clearly loves his brothers more than anything. His best friend is still Keith- has been since Kindergarten and he is still friends with as many girls as boys and sees nothing wrong with that. As far as he is concerned, there is no such thing as cooties.

I love my Sam and his big heart!

Here are some of my favorite (recent) pics of Samuel:

The boys in their suits.

Our new cub scout

Red, white and blue- Happy 4th!

Can't you just see Sam as a zoologist?

The day he learned to ride minus the extra wheels.

Baptism Day!

All ready!

Singing with cousins?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Myrtle Beach

We took our annual family trip (AKA John's medical conference- you can ask him all about that aspect in person) to Myrtle Beach in the middle of June.  We did the math and realized that it was our sixth year and we have no desire at all to find someplace new.  It is the perfect vacation for young kids.  Although I have to say we did miss our partners in crime, Gavin and Jamie and the girls, Aunt B, Laura and kids and the Andrus family representative, who couldn't make it this year.  Instead, Tip brought a couple of friends, one of whom was the self-proclaimed Exercise Nazi, Pat.  She even got Jacko out exercising which is something of a miracle!
While in MB we rediscovered that Matthew has a disconcerting character trait.  He is a wanderer.  This is totally new to us because Sam and James always stuck right next to us in public.  They did not like crowds or strangers or being separated from us even a little bit.  Matthew has no such qualms.  Case and point:  The first evening we were in MB, we got back from the beach and got the boys bathed and dressed and set them in front of the TV so John and I could get ready for dinner.  We had two bathrooms so John and I each hopped in a shower.  When John finished he noticed that the front door to our condo was wide open.  He heard screaming and looked out.  There was a woman standing in the parking lot holding Matthew who was screaming his head off.  Our little guy had figured out how to open the door, climbed down the long flight of wooden steps, and wandered into the parking lot.  This lady saw him and had just picked him up, wondering what to do with him when John got to the door.  John yelled down, "I think that is mine.  I would come down and get him but I am in a towel."  The lady was nice enough to bring Matthew up to John and we learned our first lesson- blockade the door to avoid unwanted exiting-  there wasn't a deadbolt.  A couple days later Matthew pulled his disappearing trick again, this time in an amusement park with hundreds of people around.  John found him about 100 feet away from us just happily bobbing along. 
Luckily we all made it home safe and sound and had a good time in the process.  Here are some pics to prove it!

Matthew "helping" stuff his bear at the kids' activity tent.

S & J at their favorite place- the water park.

Riding the train with my boys at Family Kingdom.

Matthew tolerated the water slides- and maybe even liked them a little.

Taking a nap in Nonno's arms

Dinner at the Home Plate pizza buffet.

Issac, our favorite busboy, remembered us and signed some balloons for the boys.

Matthew wasn't too sure about Issac.

I have wanted to take family pictures on the beach since our first visit to MB.  This year I finally got around to it.

But it was really windy.

And the boys were being goofy.

There we go!

They clean up well!
I tried to add a couple more pictures- including the traditional pic of James sleeping through dinner- but my computer is malfunctioning at the moment- or maybe it is just blogger.  Will try later.