Well, since I didn't really write much this summer, I decided to do a quick summary of what we've been up to. First of all, we ended our 2 year stay at Notre Dame with Darren's graduation from the MBA program. Darren's parents and 3 cute sisters came, and his aunt, grandma, and my brother, Ben. Thanks guys for coming!! Great job Darren!!! I'm so proud of you! There were days when it seemed impossible and it felt like it would never end, but now looking back it went by so quick. We made so many great friends and learned so much and now we really miss it and our friends. We'll always have a special place in our heart for Notre Dame! :)
Our friend, Bryan Smith, made a frame for Darren's diploma as a surprise graduation gift. It's really cool. He's made frames for the Conference Center in Salt Lake and the Nauvoo temple, etc. Anyway, it's amazing. Thanks Bryan!
After graduation we took a quick drive up to Chicago with Ben to see some sites and drop him off at the airport there. And of course we went to Giordano's. When we lived in Chicago for Darren's internship last summer, we tried plenty of Chicago pizza and Giordano's is by far our favorite place. Poor Ben was freezing the whole trip, he's gotten too used to the California sunshine. Thanks for coming so far Ben! Thankfully we only live a few hours from Chicago now, so hopefully we'll still be able to make some fun weekend trips.
We closed on our house right before graduation and then Darren's company packed up all our stuff and moved us out to Iowa. The first thing we did when we got here was start a garden. It was a LOT of work, but fun. Darren bought an old rototiller that was broken and fixed it! I was amazed. Despite the fact that we don't need to water anything in the Midwest, Stratt wouldn't leave the hose alone. I guess it's the novelty of playing with all the things we've never had. They are loving having a yard and lots of space.
We also made sure to have lots of time for just hanging out at relaxing too. Or as Stratt would say, "We're just belaxin' Mom."
Well, I've never seen so much rain in my life as I did this summer in Iowa! The ground was so saturated that anytime it would rain (which was like every day) there was nowhere for the water to go. Our basement flooded a few times, but thankfully it is unfinished, so there wasn't any huge damage like a lot of other people had. We feel really lucky. Part of downtown on the river, down by where Darren works, a few streets were flooded for awhile. We met Darren for lunch at a park by the river one day and then went down there again the next day and it was all under water, it was crazy. We also had a really big storm where huge trees were uprooted all through town. One really big tree in our backyard broke in half, another fell on our trampoline and smashed it. Their were trees all over the place, it was crazy and was a lot of work to clean up.
We have so many little creatures in our neighborhood: bunnies, frogs, snails, fireflies, spiders, etc. It's a little boy's paradise. But the least of the animals I thought we would see is a snapping turtle. But sure enough, we had one show up on our driveway this summer! It was actually pretty scary, those things are mean. Quince and I pestered it with our toy singing turtle and then when Darren got home from work, we took it down to the river.
We had a fun birthday summer. We celebrated Stratt's 2nd birthday and Darren's 30th birthday. It was a big year.
Darren cut the boys hair this summer, but before we chopped it all, we tried out a little Ben Franklin look for Stratt. What do you think? Pretty nasty.
We've been working hard trying to get the house painted and trying to keep the boys out of the paint. Finally after Stratt had already ruined several outfits from messing with the paint, we put them down by the shed and let them have at it. They had a great time and ended with a big paint fight that left them covered from head to toe (wish I had a picture).
The boys spent lots of time this summer getting really dirty and taking lots of baths. They also had a great time cooling off in the pool. I love this shot of Quincy in the pool reading the Michael Phelps Sports Illustrated (Grandpa Roger brought it for him when they came to visit). Quincy loved every minute of watching the Olympics. When we were getting the pool ready, I asked him what he was doing with the magazine. He told me he was just going to relax and get some sun. I guess I've told him that one too many times when he wants me to get wet in the pool. He kept yelling at Stratty to quit splashing, but nothing stops Stratt. It was pretty funny.
It was a really busy and fun summer and by the end of it we were all exhausted and ready for school to start (especially mom).
It was hard to see Quincy all grown up and going to kindergarten for his first day of school, but I think Stratt took it harder than anybody. He misses his big brother during the day.
I can't believe we have a kid in kindergarten! It's so weird! We must be gettin' old.
I got a call from the principal the 2nd week of school saying that Quincy had gotten in a fist fight at school. I had flashes of my Mom and the hours she spent at Silver Sage Elementary having visits with the principal about my brothers and their snowball fights and planning wars at recess. I couldn't believe this was happening to me, he is only in kindergarten. I have a vivid memory when I was probably in 1st grade of watching my older brother get issued a pink slip at recess (the worst possible punishment that can happen) and being horrified as he defiantly ripped it to shreds and threw it in the trash. I couldn't believe it. Anyway, the principal said that Quincy told her that he saw some kids fighting and decided to "join in and throw some punches." So that's exactly what he did. She told me that usually kids get suspended for fist fighting at school, but thankfully she showed mercy on my sweet little kindergartner and he just missed some recesses instead. Wow, he is such a boy. But I love him. We've had some nice long chats since then about fighting, so hopefully this won't happen again.