The End of a Very Good Summer!

Have I mentioned (a time or two thousand, perhaps?) that I am very behind in most everything in life right now?
I am.
We took several fun trips just before school started.  They involved an airplane, a minivan, a slide, and a train.

Finally - catching up on the end of summer fun!

The day before Ellie's birthday, we loaded up (the kids & I, that is) & headed to Dallas to see friends & have some doctor appointments.
Due to very, very early appointments and the fact that 2/3 of us are not morning people, we drove in the afternoon before.
Will insisted on greeting our friends as "Super Will"
Thankfully, they went with it.

It's quickly becoming our annual tradition to go with the Krausses to their neighborhood pool.
It's pretty awesome.

 I have two little daredevils.
 Will really wanted to do the giant tunnel slide.
But he was nervous.
He finally worked up his nerves and as we walked to it, he kept saying, "I have courage."  It's our new mantra around here.  Maybe if we say it enough, we'll start to believe it?
He was terrified at first - it is dark!  But he did it & then proceeded to do it again 397 times!
 I'm not sure why I didn't get more pics of our kiddos together but Will & Caroline played great & Ellie & Matthew are becoming little buddies & we are so thankful for their friendship!  Thanks, Krausses, for letting us stay!

The next morning, we headed to the hospital EARLY.
Will was asked to play a pirate in a photo shoot.
He happily obliged & as his first mate, I carried all of the Captain's accessories.

 He really got into character.

 So.  Scottish Rite Children's Hospital has lots of random things.  I highly recommend exploring the halls with your kiddos (you know, if you happen to be at the children's hospital with your children with spare time to wander.)  (The hospital has a policy of never turning down a donation.  Therefore, they have lots of, shall we say "interesting" items scattered throughout on display.)   We've done scavenger hunts and Will loves that.
For 5 years, he has admired this pirate ship - through the glass.  The door to it is always locked and apparently no one ever goes on it.
But Captain Will and the professional photographer?  Apparently someone had connections.
He thought it was amazing to climb on it & is going to be very sad tomorrow when we go back as regular patient Will & don't have access!
(On board, he found a treasure box.  Inside the chest was several "jewels" (aka necklaces from Bally's Las Vegas!)  He was allowed to keep the treasure & proudly wore his Vegas necklaces for his appointments all day!)

 I'm not in a mood for a medical update but it was good appointments for all & surgeries are a comin'... maybe I'll post a med update soon.
(at the rate I'm going - my kids will be in surgery & I'll be sitting in a waiting room by the time I get to it!)

A few days later, we boarded an airplane (the kids & I) & flew to West Texas to see Honey & G-Dad & family!
A few months ago, I emailed my mother in law & asked when we could come visit.  We finally found dates that worked for everyone & the kids & I had a blast!
There was lots of swimming
This is one of my all time favorite pics of the cousins EVER.

 Sweet Hayden, the eldest cousin, planned an "Elliegante" tea party for Ellie.  
He even brought Starbucks scones!  And they dressed up "handsome" for the tea party!
(ps - that's Ellie's "happy" face)

 I will forever save the "schedule" for the "Ellie" gante Tea Party.  Love!
(Notice it was supposed to be a 2 hour party.  It only needed about 15 min with a two year old!)

 There was lots of playing & dancing too!
Ellie & Honey played ball a lot 
 G-Dad helped teach the value of working on a project and seeing it through to the end.  He even let Will use a new tool!

 They have stairs.
Ellie loves practicing stairs.
Stairs are awesome therapy.
My back ached but I bet we did those stairs together 3,910 times.
Yay Ellie!
 More swimming!

 Great Grandmother even drove in to visit.  Look at all those cousins!  What fun!!
(thanks, Grandmother, for coming to see us!!!)
 Love the jumping boys!
 I knew it would be special for Will & Ellie to celebrate their birthdays with grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles so sweet Honey & Aunt Melinda got a cake and pizzas & we had a poolside pizza party!

 My kiddos were thrilled to get to open new presents & play with them with their cousins!

 I made the stair therapy last a little longer by insisting Ellie practice standing in her walker when she made it to the bottom.  She is doing awesome & I'll post soon about her new accomplishment!!!
We had an awesome trip to West Texas.  It was relaxing and we had fun seeing family, playing with grandparents and cousins, making fun summer memories, & (for me) catching up with girlfriends way too late in the night (but so fun to hang out and just talk and laugh - I've missed my dear friends!)
Thanks, Honey & G-Dad for hosting!

The kids & flew home in time for Will's birthday & to start school.
But before kindergarten, we took one more trip... by train.
For Labor Day weekend, I booked us tickets on a historic train.  I ended up getting various deals & only had to buy one ticket! 
So - I plugged in the address to my phone map & it looked like it was 20 minutes away.
That was because apparently it is 20 minutes away from the Home Place Suites in a nearby town.  Which I've never been to but oddly enough my phone used that "home" address instead of our "home address."
So we left with plenty of time to make the train  - if it were 20 minutes away.
It was 55 miles away.
And have you ever heard about train schedules?  Apparently they like to run on a tight schedule.

Thankfully, we made it with one minute to spare.  It was not a relaxing car ride.  At all.
We literally each grabbed a kid & RAN to the train where the conductor was holding our ticket and yelling at me to not trip while holding my child.

 The ride started out very exciting.
 We were supposed to have a "lone ranger/ horseback bandits" come up beside the train & rob us.
Will was prepared.
 But apparently the lone ranger called in sick that day.
So it was a rather long ride of looking at trees & no bandits to be seen at all.

 Ellie entertained us with her facial expressions.
We spent a lot of time walking back and forth between cars & to the concession stand.

We hung out on the caboose looking for bandits.  We saw none. 

 At the two hour point, we stopped for a picnic lunch & watched as the engine was moved.

It was fun but could have been just as much fun in an hour... instead of 6 (4 hour train ride, 2 hours driving!)
Definitely made some memories & I'm now required to double check my maps! 
So - our last three trips of the summer were a success!
on to fall!

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