cousins in town!

Isaac and Cana came to visit us last weekend! They stayed at our house for just about 24 hours while Tim attended his grandfather's funeral and while the reason for their trip was unfortunate, we're so glad they got to visit us! After seeing Jake and Cana become such close buddies in Port Hope this summer, I knew Jake would be over the top excited to have them stay at his house. We lived it up for that one day-- we went to church, out for barbecue, spent the afternoon playing in the pool in the backyard, and then to the church picnic. By the time Tim picked them up on Sunday night, we were all beat.

Pancake breakfast thanks to Deric! Jake has occasionally been waking up around 6am, about an hour earlier than normal, and this was one of those days. Deric and Jake had breakfast completely ready when the rest of us woke up. Even though we use the same recipe, somehow Deric's pancakes always turn out so much thicker and fluffier than mine. I don't know what he does better, but I think I'll just hand over weekend pancake breakfasts to him completely, sit back and enjoy.

A big perk to this barbecue joint is their free ice cream (and kids eat free Sundays, so win/win!)

Isaac and Deric teamed up in the church corn hole tournament and made it to the semi-finals! Isaac was by far the youngest player--everyone else was a teen or older. I'm pretty sure he could win at anything corn hole or frisbee related. While they advanced through the tournament, Jake and Cana stayed busy with a water balloon toss and playing on the playground.

Look at that concentration^^

Jake practiced with Isaac in between rounds.

Isaac wanted to practice with his eyes closed. I think he was feeling pretty confident. ;)

It was a quick but very fun visit with Isaac and Cana! Hopefully we'll seen them again soon-- I'm tempted to make the six hour drive to their house, if only to get out of this ridiculous heat. ;)


Reid // 3 months

Reid is getting too big too fast! He's found his feet and loves to hold onto them. He rolls over to his left side pretty frequently, which is funny because I distinctly remember that it was Labor Day weekend when Jake could also officially roll over, and to the left side as well.

That's about where the similarities stop, however. Reid is proving to be a bit more lively than I remember Jake being at three months old. We've already tried him out in the Bumbo seat and he sits there like a tiny champ! (For a few minutes at least, and then he gets a little worn out.) He tries to sit up on his own any time he's in a semi-reclined position in his car seat, bassinet, etc. And because he can't quite do it--he gets stuck in this little baby crunch position-- he gets pretty ticked off. When he gets really upset, his cries sound like he's saying "mom" which I love, even though I'd prefer the crying to stop. But when the cries are that cute, its easier to forgive.

I don't remember exactly when--maybe about a month ago--but Reid just all the sudden began to sleep about twelve hours a night. I know, he's an awesome baby! He's usually the last one of us to wake up in the morning. Jake starts stirring around 7:00 so Deric usually intercepts him to go start playing in the living room, and Reid stays sound asleep for at least another hour. There have been a few mornings where we've all finished breakfast together before Reid cracks open an eyelid. He isn't in his crib all night yet, despite his long hours. That's partly because he still stirs at night when he looses his pacifier so its easier for us to pop it back in if he's nearby. And he also doesn't sleep well if he's laid out flat in his crib--he likes to be contained a little bit in his bassinet. Its too warm to swaddle him so the bassinet is the better option. And to be honest, it makes me too sad to think that he's almost big enough to sleep in another room!

Reid is always, always knocking out his pacifier because he's trying to get his fists in his mouth. And I would let him since it makes him so happy to chew on his fists, except that 1) I'm terrified he'll become a thumb or finger sucker and 2) he's gagged himself while chewing on his hands. So Jake and I are on constant "paci patrol" and keep putting in the pacifier to avoid fist chewing.

His hair is slowly thinning out, leaving a dark strip along the back and a fuzzy half-mohawk on the top. Makes me wonder if his hair will grow back in brown or blonde, like Jake's did. I'd love for him to be a brunette just to see a difference but I have this feeling he and Jake will look a lot alike. Either way, they are the cutest boys I've ever seen!


monthly catch up

I always have the best intentions to stay on top of blogging...and then before I realize it, a week or two is gone! This past week was a total blur of allergy and cold-induced misery. All four of us got sick at the same time--which has never happened--with some variation of the two and we were all just beat. Deric got severe sinusitis, Jake got a cold and congestion, Reid just a cold thankfully, and I got a sore throat that made me lose my voice plus that dry cough that drives you insane. We're just barely getting our acts together a full week later and I can't wrap my  mind around how we got that sick in August...August! Months away from cold season. Maybe this means we've done our time and won't catch colds in the winter?! That only seems fair.

Anyways, some photos from the week before last when no one was coughing up a lung. ;) (You'll have to pardon the photo quality--my phone is acting up and preventing me from editing them as usual.)

We were invited to the zoo with some friends so we braved the sweltering heat and had a great time checking out the animals. We hadn't been to the zoo since last fall so it was almost new again to Jake. And we got to see the lion "show", where the trainers check the lions' overall health and appearance and reward them with hamburger on a stick. The trainers told us this as they were getting the lions' attention and I actually appreciated that it wasn't a big trained show. Just watching the lion up close--since usually those lions are on the clear opposite end of their space--was pretty incredible. Jake thought the hamburger on a stick was funny. He's also big into sunglasses at the moment, which I love. He's wearing mine in this photo but his little sunglasses are just too cute on him, and I'm glad he actually likes to wear them.

While drawing a birthday card for our children's minister, Jake drew a "cross". He told me that "Jesus died on a cross, soo....give that two thumbs up!" This morning, Jake asked me out of the blue why Jesus died on the cross. I turned the question around on him to see what he thought and he told me that Jesus died on the cross because the Philistines didn't like him. Philistines/Pharisees...close enough!

A few weeks ago, Jake told me "Mom, I love God and you love God! And I keep God and Jesus safe when they come down from way up in the sky!" Clearly our conversations about heaven are being totally understood. ;)

We took advantage of a cloudy and somewhat mild morning to play at a nearby park. A little bit of sand castle building turned into Fort Skinner complete with trenches, bridges and a leaf flag bigger than the castle itself. Jake also adopted a "seed" (walnuty-thing) and brought it home to plant in our garden bed.

Later that evening we went to a Smokies game with friends. Jake was more entertained by the game than I expected he would be. I think his favorite part was dancing to the music between innings--his little moves actually got him on the big screen for a minute! And he was a total trooper staying up way past bedtime. We changed him into pajamas for the forty minute drive home, fully expecting him to fall asleep. But nope, we got home and he wanted something to eat and then wanted to read some books and chat about life...and around 11:30, he finally konked out.

Thanks to some friends, the boys have these cute coordinating outfits! I can't believe I don't have more for them to wear; I mean, they've gotta have at least a few cringe-worthy pictures to look back on when they're older, right? ;) Reid's little collared shirt and overalls just kill me.

And lastly, our garden has pretty much exhausted itself. The oppressive heat combined with our lack of attention has done it in. And yet somehow, the cherry tomato plants just keep on going! Our windowsill has been full of cherry tomatoes all summer and I love it. They're perfect for Jake's lunches and snacks and for topping our salads so easily. I can't believe this was the first year we've planted cherry tomatoes. We'll be sure to plant them again next year!


Port Hope video

I've just realized that I never shared our video from last month in Port Hope! It turned out better than I even hoped and was so easy to compile. I asked our family to take quick videos throughout the week with their phones and send them to me at the end of the week. It was easy and took no time at all to compile all the videos into a movie that we can watch repeatedly, enjoying those special moment with family over and over again. Jake will ask for the "oh oh oh" song and most of the time he'll start to dance as he watches the video. Watching this video makes me so excited for years from now, when we've got video footage of multiple summers in Port Hope to look back on as the kids grow and grow! Its such a special place for our family and I love having yet another way to relive the memories.

Port Hope! from Ashley Skinner on Vimeo.


August already??

We've been laying pretty low lately thanks to serious heat waves that just won't let up. I miss daily trips to the park but with Reid being so little, we'll just have to wait out this heat and look forward to the fall! In the meantime, we've found plenty to do at home: painting, puzzles, rotating through all the toys...and watching all the Olympics! Deric and I have been anxiously waiting all summer to watch and it has not disappointed.

While Reid was napping one afternoon we did venture into the sweltering heat to have a carwash and we washed all of Jake's wheels: his truck, trike, scooter and train. (If that kid gets another set of wheels, I'll no longer be able to park in the garage!) After we washed all the toys we ended up washing Deric's truck too. And once the truck was clean, Deric and Jake played in the hose to really cool off.

Our garden has not been very successful this year, probably thanks to our almost non-existent gardening skills. We pretty much plant it and forget it, just barely remembering to water the garden on the days it doesn't rain. Unfortunately we had to pull out our snap peas and green beans because they got blitzed by the heat back in July. I've made fried green tomatoes a few times but some sort of bug beats us to the tomatoes just as they turn red. Thankfully our cherry tomatoes have been going strong and Jake heads out to pick tomatoes every day, sometimes twice a day. Most of the tomatoes don't make it back into the house. ;) It definitely doesn't get old seeing him out in the garden eating the vegetables straight from the vine! The basket he's got was made by our neighbor and given to me for my birthday. Its perfect for Jake's little harvests.

Nothing keeps Jake entertained like helping me cook dinner! He'll cut up cheese until its microscopic and roll dough (and eat it every time I turn around) forever. Yesterday I enlisted his help rolling out tortillas. He did a great job rolling them out--plus the taste is what matters, not the shape. ;)

Reid has slept like a total champ the last two nights! A ten-hour stretch on Monday night and then almost twelve hours last night makes me, well, really happy and rested. But it also makes me think it may be time soon to move him into his crib.

During the day, he'll get restless and start fussing when he's tired. As soon as I give him his pacifier and rock him, its lights out. Yesterday afternoon he was fidgeting a little so I stroked his face and those little eyelids just went down. And his little hand holding onto mine...he's too much!

Jake climbed up next to me while I was nursing Reid and asked me to take his picture...and this is the face he made. He's really turning into a ham and I'm totally okay with it.