Bruce with his boy, Zabien. Annika and Zaby are nearly the same age.
Last but not least, here's Eliza, the oldest in the Richards Herd (well, at least for this generation.) Eliza was three when this picture was taken, but has since turned a noble four.
All of the Wheeler munchkins clowning around on the Polar Bears.
Talia and Eli share the love.
Monkeys in the Lied Jungle.
Annika's going to be so sad when Brooklyn goes back to school in a week and a half!
A master of one-handed maneuvers, Brittney manages to assemble lunch while holding Hazel.
Next stop, the giraffes.
We stopped off to take a few photos on this butterfly bench. It cracks me up that Eli's favorite shirt says "I Love My Dog." Definitely implies that we own a canine, but nope, we don't.
Annika posed nicely for a photo here...
...and then all of a sudden she was gone. We stopped to count heads at the bottom of the hill, (1,2,3,4,5,6--where's7?!!!) and found her back where we'd been, trying to board the Skyfari. So terrifying! As best as we can figure out, she crawled out of her stroller while we were loading more kids into a different one.
Nothing like playing in the water to calm a frazzled mother's nerves.
Once we were safely back home, Hazel decided to try out our swing. She doesn't seem quite sure what to think.
Bruce and Brittney, on the other hand, seemed to think our blog books were pretty fun. It was amazing to look and back and see how many posts they are featured in during our Illinois years. So many great memories together!
Fortunately for us, the Richards Family planned to stop off in Omaha again on their way back home, so we knew there would be more happy memories yet to come.
Summer just wouldn't be complete without a slip-n-slide. Here's Talia zooming up the Andrus hill.
Talia gets ready for take off while Jason adjusts the spray.
Talia and her friend Adelle, enjoying the adventure together.
In the evening, we burned a few sparklers. Papa Kay was the only one brave enough to light the fiery wands.
Even as an adult, sparklers still make me smile.
Brooklyn, looking much more like a teen than a child.
Seems like just yesterday we could bundle her up in our arms like our Annie. Hard to believe how quickly the babes grow up, right NomiAnn?
The next morning was the actual Fourth of July so we got all decked out for the Field Club parade. Here's Talia, looking positively adorable in her Cute Girls Hairstyle.
Like the star? A little time consuming, but not difficult.
Annika also had a star in her hair, albeit one that was much more subtle.
With or without ribbons, all family members are stars in my eyes.
It just wouldn't be the Fourth of July without Papa Kay's flag shirt!
The Jefferson Elementary Girl Scout troops all marched together in the parade.
Brooklyn and Talia, my very favorite Junior and Brownie.
Nearly all dentists agree, when it comes to candy, 'tis better to give than receive.
Be that as it may, Talia's tongue looks ready for that sugar.
Our favorite leaders, Angie and Megan.
Off on the sidelines, here's the cheering squad.
The cutest little parade in a lovely old neighborhood, Field Club welcomes participation from local groups and families. This entry was my favorite.
Overall, it was lovely to celebrate our nation's independence by joining with our local community. I know that large-scale politics can feel free frustrating and disappointing, but great change often begins close to home.