Sunday, August 17, 2014

End of the Summer

Whew!  Time has really flown since my last post in May.  I guess that's what a family of four does to us.  I think we have just had too much fun to be spending time blogging, but it's probably about time to share a few of our memories.  WARNING: LOTS of pictures below:
 Lena LOVES bath time, and she has from the very beginning.  Clay likes to take baths with her; "I want to take a bath with my sister!" is pretty common to hear in the evenings.

 The above scenario is about the most common way to find these two stinkers.  From the time we brought Lena home, Clay has been an absolute sweetheart of a big brother!  He (still) loves to lay and watch her, tickle her, talk to her, and "teach" her how to do things.  She likes watching him too - he can usually get her to laugh easier than anyone!
 We were happy to have most of the Busch girls visit us in Columbia a couple weeks after Lena was born.  They were all excited to hold her, and she was such a sweetie, until, of course, we were all eating at Shakespeare's and Lena decided to cry a little.  I guess she wanted the attention - she ordinarily doesn't fuss much at all!  If she is hungry or tired she will whimper a little, but it's rare to have a good, hard cry.  We certainly aren't complaining....

 Lena was grandchild #4 on my side, and #14 on the Busch side.  She didn't hold the post of youngest grandchild for long, however, because little cousin Isabelle was born just two weeks after Lena.  I suppose that is a good excuse for why the Schweich girls didn't make the trek to CoMo!
 Just cheesing....
 Happy St. Patrick's Day!
 This photo was taken the same day we ended up in the hospital with Lena.  She was about four weeks old and had a little cold, that turned into a bigger cold.  We weren't too worried until she started to eat less, and we could tell she wasn't her usual self.  I made an appointment with the pediatrician, and they sent us immediately to the Women's and Children's Hospital.  Yikes!  Lena had low oxygen levels because of her congestion, and they were pretty worried about it.  Thankfully, they used the "super-size booger sucker" and gave her some oxygen, and we were able to go home the next day.  The girls stayed in the hospital, while the boys came to visit in the evening and stayed home.  It was a rough night, but we all survived and were happy to come home!  She just looked so sad with the little oxygen tubes in her nose and taped to her face, but I guess we should be thankful we were able to get some help for her.
 Clay's preschool had weekly visits from the Gym Bus throughout the school year, and they learned something about most sports and exercises.  They did tumbling, kicking, throwing, jumping jacks, balance beams, etc.  At the end of the year, there was a "performance."  It was such a fun day, and you can tell Clay was quite proud.  He didn't even do anything too embarrassing!  It was quite sweet to hear him yell, "Dad, did you see that!?" from across the gym though!

 The trophies were the best part!  Clay had seen a friend's trophy from the previous year's performance, so he knew that was coming at the end of the show.  So proud!

 We were finally able to meet the youngest Busch cousin, Isabelle, at Easter.  She is such a sweetie!  I hope they grow up to be great friends!
 Watching the Easter activities at the Busch farm!

 It was a very long day - I think egg hunting started a little after 7:00, and this photo was probably taken around 8:30.  The kids (and parents) were worn out!  We sure love getting together with everyone though! 
 Clay and I got home one rainy day and decided to take the umbrella for a walk.  Lena and I stayed in the garage and snapped pictures, while Clay took a little stroll.  He was so excited to be using the umbrella on his own!  This kid is fascinated and excited by some of life's smallest pleasures - he certainly doesn't need fancy or expensive toys to make him smile!

 This was probably early June, and Lena was just starting to sit in the Bumbo a little.  Funny - I seem to remember Clay was never able to sit in it, because by the time he was strong enough, his legs were too chubby to fit in it!
Speaking of new toys, this has been a MAJOR hit at the Busch household!  Thanks to Aunt Susan and Uncle Kevin for picking it up (Susan found a great deal!) and traveling to MO with it in the back of the truck.  The Mustang has two speeds, slow and fast.  We tried slow speed for a couple weeks, but he is now a speed demon in high speed!  He is actually pretty good at driving, and we have learned that regular crashing into the curb isn't much to be concerned about.  I can't wait to see the first time he is able to drive his little sister around!
 No, Clay, she isn't old enough to eat your Teddy Graham!
 I have no idea what Clay was telling Lena at this point, but I am sure it was something very important!  I think she has already tuned out by this point, or maybe she is focused on the camera flash!
Best friends!

On Memorial Day weekend, we were excited to have high school friends Kelci Miclaus and Julie Bonnot and families over to visit!  Even though Julie and I live nearby now, we only see each other occasionally in passing at church.  We hadn't seen Kelci since she was pregnant with young Georgi, so this was a special reunion!  It is amazing how much we have grown up in the last 15 years ( yes, 15 years since I graduated high school!), and it was so fun to watch our families have fun together. 
 The kids (minus Lena) having Shakespeare's.  Yum!
The parade...
 A sign of things to come??  I wouldn't mind - Georgi comes from a good family!
 "Now what does this thing do?"

 Yep, that is clearly a worm on my son's belly!  Ever since the rainy day with the umbrella, Clay wants to play in the rain whenever possible.  On this particular day, he was hunting for worms! 
In early June, we took a mini-vacation to the Lake of the Ozarks with good friends Jeff and Alison Francis, and their boys Tyler, Nathan and Grant.  It was quite exciting to spend time together and watch the kids have fun with each other.  Five kids under 5 - whew!  I didn't get many pictures from the weekend, but I suspect we were too busy keeping everyone in line!  I also suspect these boys will grow up to be good buddies.  Hopefully they don't pick on Lena, the only girl, too much. :)
 Making cookies for our new neighbors!
Our superhero boy with his "beautiful princess" sister.  Love these two!
 She is getting so big so quickly these days!  It is fun to watch her grow through photos.  This was around 4 months old, and below is her first taste of cereal.  Big brother is anxiously coaxing her along!  More fun times below, most being fairly self-explanatory:

 Yes, that is a pair of undies on his head.  I'm not quite sure why, but it was probably part of a costume idea.  It may be obvious, but Clay has quite an imagination.  He also likes to dress up in costumes.  Most days, when we get home in the afternoon, he runs to his room, closes the door, and puts on blue jeans or some sort of costume.  He would wear jeans every day of the year if he could, but we are pretty strict about not wearing them to preschool in the summer.  It's just too hot, and his little body already sweats like crazy.  So, that is typically the first thing on his mind when he gets home.  Or, I guess underwear on his head is a good option instead??

 The only explanation this one needs is that Clay is pretending to be "Donnie" (one of the Ninja Turtles for those who don't have young boys around).  That's his "Donnie stick" in one hand, and the Ninja Turtle headband on his head.  I am pretty sure he was protecting his sister from something terrible.

This weekend, the Mizzou volleyball team was signing autographs with Truman.  We love going to volleyball games, and made it almost every home game last year.  I hope Lena is cooperative this year, because it really is a good time (we even saw the game when they clinched the SEC championship!).  On the way, Clay was excited to see Truman, "my best buddy ever!"  He high-fived and hugged Truman, but the little stinker just stood and stared at the volleyball girls.  Maybe so many pretty, tall girls were intimidating?  Or was he taking a page out of Dad's book by acting quiet and shy, just to reel in the girls??
 After the excitement of the volleyball girls and Truman, we decided to take an adventure to ChuckE Cheese.  All I can say is, "Oh my!"  I hadn't been before, and it was certainly an experience.  We all had fun, Lena fell asleep, and I believe we were on sensory overload by the time we left.  It certainly is fun to see the excitement in his face!
 Today, a new friend came to visit us.  "Croc Ninja Turtle" showed up by our front porch.  He is a feisty little box turtle, and he may stay on our porch (in the shade) for a day or two.  Clay was so excited to find him and play with him, although I don't believe Croc was exactly thrilled with the new attention.  Fun Sunday times!
If you are still reading and looking at the pictures, kudos to you!  I will try to post a little more often, but the not-so-new status as a family of four doesn't leave a lot of spare time.  Our days are filled with costumes, wrestling, making and trying new baby foods (yes, I am making our own this time around), and experiencing life!  It is amazing to watch these kids grow up, and to watch our relationships grow stronger with each passing day.