a space-themed Halloween!

Halloween was so much fun this year! Every year has gotten more fun as the boys understand trick-or-treating a little more, plus I love seeing them dressed up in their costumes. We had friends over for dinner and then scoured the neighborhood with them. I feel like we got a late start on trick or treating but we started at 6! We had a group of kids ring the doorbell at 5:30 and it totally surprised me. So by the time we headed out just a little later, it seemed like we were the last ones out the door...and we were the last ones walking home at 7:45, surprisingly!

Jake was hung up between being a robot or an astronaut for probably a month leading up to Halloween! I'll admit, I steer his decisions based on what I can feasibly create, but he also loves robots and astronauts so I didn't feel too bad. ;) But then after looking online for costume ideas, I worked harder to steer him in the astronaut direction because 1) we already have an astronaut costume and 2) the diy robots just weren't that much fun unless you want to go all out with a cardboard head, and I knew Jake would hate to wear that. So he settled on the astronaut as long as he could have a "robot" jet pack, aka a jet pack he could actually play with! That was just fine with me. Deric figured out the jet pack while I worked on making Reid a rocket ship costume.

(I thought I might have better luck with some photos if I put them in their costumes earlier that afternoon before the excitement but clearly, no. Reid couldn't stand the thought of staying *on* the porch long enough to get a picture!)

This one's a framer. ;)

I love how the rocketship costume turned out but it was freezing that night. So after we stuffed Reid into two jackets, the costume was a *bit* snug. (I'd planned for just one jacket!) But he didn't care. He managed to walk to a few houses and then Reid and our friends' youngest snuggled up in the double stroller and let the big kids get the candy for them. Smart move!

We loved being able to trick or treat in our own neighborhood this year and meet a few more neighbors! It makes me excited for years to come and traditions to continue!


camping trip!

Last week we packed up  every blanket and jacket we own (or at least it felt like it!) and camped at Raccoon Lake, a gorgeous campground less than an hour west of us. We booked a campsite about a month ago with only a recommendation to go off of and totally loved it. We've got plans to go back as soon as we can. (Unfortunately the temperatures at night have really dropped just in the last few days so we may have to wait until spring!) We only planned for one night because we weren't sure how Reid would do or how everyone would sleep and although we all would have loved to stay another night, judging by how quickly the boys fell asleep on the way home-- I think we wore them out!

We set up camp pretty quickly....once we switched campsites and hauled stuff to the new one. Not in our plans but the campsite we'd reserved backed up to a drop off and I couldn't handle the added worry about Reid! Our campsite was perfectly positioned between the bathrooms, playground and water source so we wandered over to the playground while our sweet potatoes cooked in the fire for dinner.

Easy but delicious dinner! Brats, sweet potatoes and fruits/veggies on the side. It balanced out the s'mores that came later. ;)

The campsite we switched to backed up to a trail that led down to the lake so after dinner, we hiked down and spent some time exploring and throwing rocks into the lake, of course. Jake's working on skipping rocks and got one or two with some practice! He had so much fun running along the shore, climbing the rocks and jumping off.

We keep a soccer ball and shovels in the back of the van at all times! They almost always come in handy.

One of us always has a hand on this child when we're outside ;)

Deric's been training him in the art of silly faces for every picture. ;)

Jake sat up with us that night and we looked at the stars while warming up by the fire before going to bed. He is at such a perfect age for camping and he loved every bit of it. Exploring the lake and the campsite, helping roast brats and marshmallows, looking at the stars...hands down the best part of the trip was watching how much he enjoyed it.

My favorite part of camping: the food! Even though we didn't do anything gourmet, drinking hot chocolate and eating breakfast by the fire (even if it was a bit wiggly with Reid!) is so fun. And man if he didn't look adorable in his penguin jammies! I almost didn't want to change his clothes for hiking.

Little brother watching big brother throw the walnuts!

Deric cooked hash browns over the fire and admitted he burned them a bit because of the uneven flame. For some reason Jake thought it was hilarious and kept talking about "the burnt hash browns!" As in, "Mom, can I have more burnt hash browns? I'm almost done with my burnt hash browns!"
Hilarious...and still delicious.

The lake is surrounded by hills and trails wind up and down these hills, over bridges and up log stairs. One of the trail heads was right by us so the next morning after breakfast, we loaded Reid up in the backpack and went out to explore.

Jake was so happy out on the trails. We always designate him our navigator and let him "read" the maps to figure out where to go (with some helpful hints along the way!) He was singing and running and playing and having so much fun. There were so many pretty views of the lake that I'm bummed I couldn't capture them on camera!

Wish we could go back this weekend, but we'd freeze our rears off if we did! I'm so glad we were able to squeeze in a trip on the last week of beautiful weather!


splashin' in puddles!

When its rained for the first time in months....

and its still 70 degrees outside...

and your backyard has the biggest puddle, just waiting for you to come and play...

how can you not take advantage of it?!


backyard campout!

We took advantage of a blissfully cool weekend in August to do a camping trial run in our backyard! We've got plans to go camping over fall break in October but I wanted to be certain that everyone would sleep well before we traveled to a campsite. We (Deric) set up the tent outside and we left it empty so the boys could play in it for a few hours while we had friends over for dinner. After dinner and s'mores, our friends headed home and we set up our 'campsite'. I put Jake's crib mattress in the tent for his bed and the pack n play for Reid, and they were just as comfortable as if they were in their own beds! We got them ready for bed inside and then read books in the tent by flashlight until they were drowsy. I went back inside to clean up dinner for a few minutes after we put the boys in their beds and when I came back out, they were asleep! That cool night air is magic I tell ya. Our original plan was to stay up and sit on our patio by the firepit once the boys were asleep but we ended up going to bed soon after the boys did. And really, that was what we needed. We all woke up around 7:00 the next morning when the sun came up and that was the most sleep I've gotten in one night in a while!

It makes me excited for our camping trip coming up soon because sleeping in fresh air is so refreshing! And of course, the boys will love playing in the tent, cooking over a campfire, exploring the lake near the campsite...we're ready for fall break!


Reid Warren, 16 months

The days have been racing by lately! I completely attribute that to Reid, who gets faster and faster every day. About the only thing he does slowly is waking up-- lots of murmuring to himself and sitting up, then laying down, then sitting up again--but once he's thrown his paci on the ground and wants to get out, he is full speed ahead! For the past few days I've caught him trying to climb out of his crib and thankfully he can't (yet) but we have a video monitor on him for a reason.

Just in the last few weeks, Reid's really taken an interest in books. I love this stage! I love how he brings books to me and settles himself in my lap. He's not usually in the mood to read books in their entirety and would rather flip the pages pretty quickly but he has a few favorites that he'll let me read completely. Big Red Barn is a favorite of his. (One bonus of memorizing my kids' books: I can "read" the books to Reid while actually getting something else done. Case in point: trying to get ready this morning, I could "read" the book and put on makeup while he sat at my feet and turned the pages!)

I haven't worn him in a carrier in probably ten months or so, but the other morning he just needed me so much and I needed to get our kitchen clean, so I savored a few minutes of snuggling before he was off and running again.

I think because he's my second child and I continually think of him as a baby, I've kind of forgotten that he's at the age to learn a lot of new things right now! It caught me off guard when we were reading before his nap the other day and I asked him where the dog was in the picture and he found it! So then while changing his diaper, I asked him where his belly was: found it. Nose? Found it. Ears? Yep. And all I can think is, how did you learn this when I haven't actually taught you?! So now I'll be upping my game and actually working on these skills with him. ;)

Reid gets hungry the instant I start meal preparations so I always end up feeding him crackers or something easy while I get our meal ready. This time, a little smoothie saved from breakfast saved the day! He is all about smoothies!

First try feeding himself yogurt resulted in a bath immediately after dinner, but he actually did pretty well! 

Reid really likes dogs (compared to Jake who is terrified!) and he loves to watch the two retrievers who live behind us. Anytime he hears a dog bark, he freezes in place until he can find the dog and then points emphatically at them until I can steer him away. ;) When we pass by dogs at the park, he does the same thing and points and grunts until we've gone pretty far past them. Thankfully he hasn't braved actually petting a dog and I kind of don't want him to, because he'll probably love it and then he'll try to pet all the strange dogs!

Swinging at the park but trying to spot the dog he could hear barking!

Head first down the tunnel, the slide...anything that will give me a heart attack.

Oh, and he managed to climb onto the kitchen chair the other day, so now I get to watch out for that little trick too. ;)

He's going through that "love of shoes" phase right now and constantly tries to wear Jake's shoes. He'll get them on but then get so frustrated when he can't move around in them. Just today he wanted to wear a new pair of boots I got for Jake for the winter (if this heat wave will ever end...). So I put them on his feet, zipped them up and he klonked around for a few minutes. But then he got tired of wearing them and tried to kick them off but because they were zipped up, he couldn't get rid of them. I had to jump in and rescue him before he really got ticked, but his attempts were pretty cute. 

Reid loves to wrestle and climb over anyone who's dared to lay on the ground even for just a second. Jake is thankfully very patient and lets Reid climb on him even if he doesn't want to be climbed on. Reid has a signature move that a friend deemed his "tripod", where he puts his head on the ground and his booty in the air, sometimes even putting his hands up and getting on his tippy toes! He thinks its hysterical and then we all do too.

He loves to dribble balls around the house, and toys too. He kicks anything thats in his way--not like a tantrum, just like everything is a soccer ball and he's surprisingly good at it. Just this afternoon, Jake and Reid passed the ball back and forth between each other for the first time! It was so fun to see and I'm so looking forward to when they can truly play with each other!