Things have been running at lightning speed around here this summer.  Lots of changes and new things are becoming a part of our lives and lately I've been struggling to keep up with them all.  If one thing gets taken care of, it seems that at least three other things come up that need some attention too.  It's easy to feel like you're being swallowed up by life at times.  Tonight, Jake took the kids out of the house so I could have some peace and quiet.  And what do I decide to do with my time?  Edit pictures of my kids, of course!  They are my world whether they're in my vicinity or not!  :)

Here's a recap of our summer...I'm making the photos a bit smaller than usual because there are a TON.  My apologies if your computer crashes while reading this post.  :)

My sister and her family, along with my parents, came for the long weekend over the 4th of July.  We were having fun playing around with getting photos of her dunking.  Seriously?  Two kids later...she is pretty stinking awesome!

There was a 4th of July parade in the town we were living in at the time so the kids decorated bags to catch their candy.

It was sooooo great having these two buddies together.

The kids quickly learned that if they waved, they would get loaded with candy.  I'm pretty sure they waved at every person that went by and the parade lasted almost two hours!

We were pretty much dying in the heat at the parade.  Once we got back, we cooled down with a swim in the lake.  This was the kids' first time ever in the lake.  Cole wasn't so sure about it at first but was eventually out on the swim dock with my dad, Adam and A.J.  I'm kicking myself I didn't get a picture of that but want to remember it for sure.  The rest of us joined the guys later in the evening and I was so proud of the girls for jumping in too!  We could have stayed out there all night.  So sad the sun went down!

 Laina walked around like this all day.  Heather and I kept calling her Jane Fonda.  :)

We surprised my mom and celebrated her birthday which was just a few days later.  (Laina is in the house sleeping).  What a fun crew!

We took the kids to their first (and mine) drive-in movie...Cars 2.  This was the sun on the way there.  I had to have a picture of it!  Beautiful.

The drive-in had a park where kids could play until it got dark and the movie started.  Laina cracked us up having to keep up with the big girls.  There is no way you can distinguish her as "the baby" as much as the older kids try!

The twins also had their first time on a teeter-totter.  This thing was as rickety as they come!  But they loved every minute of Jake and I controlling their ups-and-downs.  :)

I love the look on Maurah's face and Cole pouting in the background is a nice touch too.  :)

I love this one of Laina.  She melts me.

And those ankles again!  I can't get enough of them for some reason!  Who knew that chubby baby ankles would be my thing?!?

The kids lasted the entire movie and most of the way home.  I think it was 11:30 before they were in bed!

The "no girls allowed" phase entered our house this summer.  The girls were devastated but it really just makes me smile.

In a desperate attempt, I had Cole come up with some things he could do to help me around the house.  While we're still working on these things, it was so awfully cute what he came up with and his little signature at the bottom is so precious.

More recently, I had the privilege of second-shooting some very dear friends' wedding in Arkansas.  We got to do the road trip with our best friends.  It was definitely a weekend not to be quickly forgotten!

 We had some great visiting time (even if only a day) in Michigan when we got back to pick up the kids. I got to get my hands on this little guy (our nephew) and couldn't have been happier about it.  He's growing way too quickly!
 Apparently, ragamuffin hair is a much needed accessory for this summer, didn't you know? :)

I love this.  I think they were all coming up with a game at this point but they all seem a bit lost in thought, don't they?

I love this picture because it's my little buddy who came to snuggle on the hammock with me:

 I'm thinking the sun was bright...Popeye!  :)

Yes, this is what matters.  Now we are looking ahead to fall which brings about even more changes, most noticeably, Cole being in school full-time.  Tomorrow is our last day at home to have the whole day as a family before the fall schedule is in full swing.  The lunchbag is here, our ordered school clothes will be delivered Saturday and before you know it, we'll be carving pumpkins and watching football!  I'm not a huge fan of summer, but these faces were definitely enjoyed this season.

A New Spark

June also brought with it a somewhat new adventure for Maurah.  She joined MainStage Academy of Dance in the winter and showcased her work t...