unfortunately this year not all the Shannons could be in Grand Forks at the same time. This is the first year since I joined the family that this has happened and it was a big bummer. The kids were the ones who were most disappointed because it meant not spending time chasing their cousins.
We did still manage to have a lot of fun. Michael especially had a blast. Michael would coerce anyone who would look into his big green eyes to play a round of Munchkin with him. Uncle Steve and Uncle Jon spent most of their break battling monsters of all levels with Michael.
Elise spent most of her time shadowing Grandma Shannon.
Every once in a while she would give Grandma a break and play in Patrick’s imaginary world.
Patrick really did spend most of his time like this, sitting on the floor playing blocks. He floated from the board gamers to Grandma and Elise, but really I think he enjoyed a break from all the Christmas chaos and just had some serious chill time.
It was a really relaxing and nice way to round out the Christmas break.
If Patrick grows up and works behind a desk in a cubicle from 9-5, Monday – Friday it will be a waste of something so special.
Patrick’s imagination, creativity, story telling and empathy blow Tim and me away. There couldn’t be more nondescript blocks than these oversized Legos but that didn’t stop Patrick from seeing those blocks as complex monsters and robots and creating an intricate story line that had a full story arc. He played quietly with those blocks for hours.
The Shannons came to visit us over Labor Day weekend. It was a weekend full of hanging out watching the kids play, late night board games and trip to the MN Zoo.
These are some photos from that weekend. It took a long time to get these posted because unlike after a weekend with my family, no one called, email or texted me telling me they couldn’t wait to see photos. I appreciate the excitement from my family but I also appreciate the Shannons letting me get to the photos in my own time! School started the day after the Shannons left so since they left things have been crazy around here. Have you noticed the drastic decrease in posts on the blog? Yes? That is because the level of crazy in our house directly correlates to the lack of posts on the blog.
Back to it. Here are some photos of the weekend. I didn’t take as many photos as I should have while everyone was hanging around the house because I was too busy hanging around the house with them. At the zoo however, I got some fun shots.
Zach later showed all the big boys up by scaling to the top of the web without any hesitation. The kid is a monkey!
I think Patrick and Steve have a lot in common. They are good buds.
We have been to the Zoo almost a dozen times since we bought our family membership but we have never actually done the Butterfly exhibit. It was really fun. We will definitely hit it again next time we go.
The kids had a lot of fun trying to track down all the different species of butterflies
The fish were another BIG hit.
The baby monkeys were in rare form and the kids got a kick out of seeing them wrestle “Just like we do!”
Here are my favorites from the day.
Patrick was my buddy for the day. We both love to take photos.
And then when we tried to get a rare photo of all five cousins together Jon photo bombed the photo and what was a cute photo became an awesome and memorable moment. Meet Uncle Jon the Big Scary Spider!
For the record cranky Elise is mad because she was sitting directly behind Michael and I had Tim move her to the other side of Michael so she could be seen in the shot. Girls… they are awesome.
She got over it pretty quick when we asked her what a baby bird in a nest looks like.
More photos here
My kids are lucky. One set of Grandparents has wide open fields, creeks to splash in, rocks to throw, and 4 wheelers to drive. Their other set of Grandparents have awesome parks right near their house and an indoor pool.
Tim and I count our blessings because the kids had just as much fun spending a week at each set of Grandparents as they did at Disney World. This makes vacations on a budget a breeze when all we have to do is gas up the van, drive to the grandparents and then spend a week eating all their food and playing with all their toys!
Today’s photo favorites are from swimming at Grandma and Grandpa Shannons. They are all taken with my little blue camera. Some are okay photos but most are out of focus, but do such a great job capturing the kids’ joy that I don’t care if they are not great photos.
I think my favorite part of the entire trip was spending some one on one time with MIchael in the pool. He has come so far in his swimming that when he asked if I would teach him how to dive, I said yes. Diving is a scary thing if you don’t know how to do it. Kids can snap their neck so easily if they don’t learn how to dive shallow, so teaching how to dive was not taken lightly and Michael knew that. He worked really hard, and I regret not having a photo but I was too busy diving with him. He did so well and was so proud of himself. It was a great day.
The water was really cold. They were in the process of installing a new heater while we were there but the 68 degree water temps didn’t keep us from having fun we just had to take breaks to warm up every once in a while!
Here is Patrick being Patrick. I told him I would do a cannon ball if he got his hair wet…
Everything became infinitely more fun when the cousins arrived.
Something happened in the last 6 months since Christmas time. The age gap between Elise and Zeke shrunk and they became really good friends. It was fun to see and I think Elise was so relieved to have someone closer to her size to play with.
And of course an obligatory shot of Elise and her ruffled bum.
many many more photos here.