Play. Pretend. Make Believe.
It's something I think most of us take for granted.
It's something we assume all kids just 'do'.
I am beginning my 12th year teaching, in a district that values the inclusion of all students.
And I'll be the first to tell you that there are kids who cannot just 'make believe' or 'pretend' or who do not enjoy 'play'.
So when I say I am blessed that my kids know how to play, I mean it.
I am fortunate for that. I hope that someday when they are in school they will seek out those exceptional children who are somehow different, and do their very best to play with them.
On that note, they did a lot of playing in Pinetop. There were cars and planes and drawing and just general make believe. I elbowed Brian the other day to grab his attention and make him listen to Ethan across the couches who was playing with a scooby doo airplane and and Finn McMissile. "It's okay McMissile! I will rescue you! Vroom Vroom.." I don't know why but it just put a smile on my face to listen to him use his imagination so well.
And then there's the whole CARS bit. They love em. All of em.
I had found this fun tablecloth while shopping at the Walmart up in Showlow and it was a perfect place for them to be creative without a whole lot of preparation needed!
But don't be fooled...just because you're in the mountains by the lake, doesn't the mean the sun won't melt your crayons if you leave them out!
And then there's this. I'll give her credit because I didn't think they'd go for it-all of them-quite the way they did. My mom had found this little tea party set in a thrift shop or something and she took care to 'set the table' and invite all her little grandbabies to her tea party.
They were HILARIOUS! So cute and so serious. They took such great pains to pour their own 'tea' and sprinkle in their sugar. (Some more than others....see the little girl below....) It was just generally so cute watching them pass each other tea and cookies and use their nicest manners.
The best part is that now, anything that resembles a party, is to them, a TEA PARTY! Birthday parties, celebrations and even yesterday while back home, I took the kids to school with me for a few hours. While visiting the office, my office manager Mollie surprised the kids with a cupcake each! As she led them out to the picnic table to enjoy their cupcakes, they adiosed me and proclaimed that they were going to a tea party! Thanks Mollie! They loved it!
As if a day with tea parties could get any better, we went on a shopping/lunch trip with the kids. My mom and Mary took Hunter and Brinley, and Brian and I took the little boys.
Let me tell you all, and I mean no offense to any of you with one or two children, but going out with 2 kids felt like a walk in the park, piece of cake, a vacation within a vacation! It was a strange feeling and I constantly felt like I was forgetting something, but it was fun. Also a strange feeling to have people pass us by and comment on our 'twins.' It was just...odd. But it was fun for me to hang out with all my boys together.
We had taco bell for lunch....
So excited about their new airplanes even that they had to bring them in to show Gigi! (And such a good sport she is at 102, exclaiming, "An airplane? Wow."
And now we interrupt this regularly scheduled play post for a breath of fresh air, the feel of soft green grass beneath your feet...take it all in.....aaaaahhhh.
And a smile from my cheeky monkey niece.
Here, she helped herself to Uncle Emilio's shoes.
And a few days later, I found her underneath the table, trying her hardest to tie Aunt Mary's shoelaces.
STOP TRYING TO GROW UP!!
And then there's this.
Let me say first that Hunter is extremely observant. And I mean exTREMEley observant.
At this point in time, if you were to compare her to the boys, (which I don't suggest doing), she is like having a 5 year old, with two 3 year old boys.
On this particular afternoon, she was preparing to go play tennis with her Aunt Mary, Uncle Emilio, Al and Brinley. She put on her own shoes, probably her own pants and then we momentarily 'lost' her in the house. After just a few moments, she appeared before us just like this....
Without making a fuss, without asking anyone for help, she had watched where Aunt Mary keeps her lipstick (which, by the way, is inside a zipper pouch inside her purse) and she knealt down in the corner where the purse was, put on her lipstick and then appeared, ready to play tennis, just like all the big girls do.
My heart was literally hurting at how badly she wants to be big. Prideful that she's so responsible, and cringing that she IS growing up. And if I may say so, she did a pretty splendid job for her first go-round with lipstick! Oh Hunter Olivia, you ARE a big girl.
Here she is, lovin on her Gigi.
Hunter was pretty happy about putting bows in everyone's hair, including Gigi's.
What a photo op! Sure to be treasured photos some day.
You wear that flower well Gigi!
And one afternoon, we took Hunter and Colton out for a walk while Ethan spent one on one time with his dad.
Luckily, we had Mary to take some pictures. :)
I adore these kids.
Uh, did someone say something about growing up?? Hello poser.
Then we thought we'd try for that classic 'everybody jumps' photo. But trying to explain to kids to try and kick their own butts is not easy. So we just jumped instead.
I LOVE COLTON in this photo below!!
And just a mish mash of photos:
Fishies a catching.
And photos a snapping!
Mary and Emilio
My mom and my kids.
Mom and Al
Brian and me
Then there was the evening my mom tried to teach the kids how to play poker. hee hee...not really.
But she did create a fun 'Go Fish' Sorting by colors type game which they greatly enjoyed playing!
And that's a wrap. The end of the vacation!