Friday, July 24, 2015

Ryla's 1st Gymnastics Showcase

Ryla started gymnastics one year ago, and she has had nothing but fun ever since then. The first few months were a bit crazy. She changed classes about every four weeks as her teachers tried to get her into a class level that was best suited for her. Now that she's gotten settled and had some times to learn some skills, she loves going to the gym. This past week, she had a showcase. We were excited to get some time in the gym with her to see how much she had learned.


Lemonade, Sweet Tea, and Arnold Palmer's

Last week, Aidan tells us that he wants to buy a snorkel and some flippers. We tell him that he better get busy on doing some chores. Then he has the best idea of his life. He asks if he can open a lemonade stand.  We spent some time talking with him about how he would need to buy his supplies, learn how to make some drinks, and find a place to sell them. So, our little business man comes up with the idea of using the money he had saved so far to buy supplies, using some old fence material to build a lemonade stand, and having mom and dad post some pics of his stand in our neighborhood Facebook group. For a six year old, that's a pretty solid business plan!
Step 1: Recycle some old wood from our fence to create a storefront. Yes, dad did a lot of the work- especially with the saw. But, there wasn't a piece of the build that Aidan didn't help with in some way. He helped hold the wood steady for the saw, he ran the drill, and painted the letters that mom traced.

 It was dad's job to make sure we had a little store front, and mom's job to teach Aidan a thing or two about presentation. We did teach him to make an Arnold Palmer- which he decided was super awesome.

 The younger two had to be close to the whole enterprise. They were under Aidan's feet the whole way. They were also Aidan's first customers. Ryla got things started with a lemonade. Aidan over-filled the cup a bit, and without thinking, he took a gulp off the top. We had a little chat with him about not doing gross things to people's drinks....

 Between the great friends we have in the neighborhood, and the the supportive neighbors, opening night was a great experience for Aidan. Over the course of about 2 hours, he had a steady flow of customers. Everyone was extremely generous, encouraging, and supportive. He really loved being able to do something that people enjoyed.

 We tried to help Aidan learn about as many aspects of business as we could. Everything from price points and margins, to investors and overhead. At the end of the day, the thing he learned most clearly is that if you work hard, treat people well, and make a good product, things usually work out ok. This lesson was reinforced when he did his end of night accounting and realized he had made $35 bucks in two hours. We had to remind him that he needed to subtract the cost of supplies. He wasn't super excited about this, but he was really excited that, after covering expenses, he still made enough to get a new wallet, a snorkel, and his flippers!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Farm

Now for round two of the family vacation posts. We left Springfield and headed to Grandpa's farm in Cuba, MO. It may have rained quite a bit while we were there, but it didn't stop us from getting out in the woods and doing dirty, awesome, farm stuff. This is always a big deal for the kids because it is an experience so different from their day to day life.

Let me first introduce you to Bear. He's a 100 pound Great Pyrenees that follows the kids everywhere on the farm to make sure they don't get in to too much trouble. I think he was relieved to see Noah go. Keeping that kid out of trouble is more work than this dog has had to do in the past year combined. We spent a lot of great time hanging out on the porch just listening to the rain and watching the dozens of hummingbirds whiz around our heads.

Insert obligatory goofy kids picture here:
Let's not forget the fishing adventure. The farm has a small pond on it that was stocked with catfish about 15 years ago. These dudes are fed on a regular basis and have never really been fished. Which means it's pretty much impossible not to catch a fish. We actually made four casts and caught three, 10+ pound, catfish. It should be no surprise that dad is the only one not to catch a fish.

This giant fish is about 8 inches shorter than Ryla, who happened to be the one to catch the monster. Just imagine this 28 pound peanut, hauling in a fish that is more than half her took a while.

This is a game we like to call "Let's be passive aggressive and hope people think we're cute." Ryla always wins at this game.

We headed into town to catch the 4th of July parade. I think Grandpa bribed a shop owner to save us street side seats, and we're glad he did! The kids thought it was the greatest thing in the world that people would drive past them and wildly chuck candy into the air.

Yes, Noah found a way to injury himself while at the farm. Just for the record, he's not crying because he lost half of the skin on his forehead...he's crying because we took his picture. 
This is a working farm, with about 15 head of cattle running the pastures. So, if the kids want to eat, they have to work. I'm pretty sure grandpa made me work harder than he makes the grandkids...

I'd be remiss if I didn't offer a big thank you to Grandpa for taking such good care of us on the farm. It's always a special time with so many great experiences.