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!


first day of pre-K!

Jake started prekindergarten at church a few weeks ago! He goes three mornings a week just until noon. He loves school so far and has had no hesitations about going, excluding a few minutes of nerves when we dropped him off on the first day and he realized we were leaving him there. ;) But he comes home and tells me about the things he made and the snack he had--so many cupcakes right now to celebrate all those summer birthdays!--and then I pry more information out of him because I just wish I could be a fly on the wall in his classroom.

I believe Deric was saying something along the line of "eyeballs" to get these genuine laughs and smiles...what a goob!

I took the inside photos first that morning and I wasn't sure if I got a good one so I lucked out and got some genuine smiles on the front porch too!

I love seeing him put on his backpack each morning! He just looks so big and so small at the same time. Its hard to believe he's already old enough for "school" and that his real school career will be here in no time! But he's so ready and I'm proud of all the new things he's accomplished lately!

summer '17 recap

This summer has been a whirlwind of settling into our house, finding new routines and getting some of the more immediate projects taken care of. We've had lots of trips to Lowe's, lots of naptime and after-bedtime DIYing going on...and that's just how we like it, even if it is a little tiring. ;)

Immediately after our week in Port Hope, all four of us went to camp! Deric had been asked to speak in the evenings to the high school group and they kindly let me and the boys accompany him for the week. So we spent our days mostly playing in the sand volleyball court with another family of boys, plus some fishing lessons for Jake (first time!), a few "hikes" through the woods and the puddles and Jake even climbed on the roof of a fire truck one night! The truck came out as a precaution while the camp set off fireworks. Jake got to have a late night with Dad that night and watch the fireworks with the big kids. He was happy but so tired!

We've been sharing a garden plot with friends this summer since we didn't have a yard at the beginning of the summer. But because of a really busy few weeks with our move, plus our friends' moved at the same time, our garden is looking so sad. The weeds just took over everything in no time and the only plant to survive was our tomatoes. I did harvest enough tomatoes one week to try my hand (again) at marinara sauce-- and it worked this time! Delicious. But other than that, we got a few green tomatoes to fulfill my fried green tomato BLT quota for the summer and then a friend let us pick their green beans one week so we got fresh snapped green beans! I set Jake to work one morning during an episode of Curious George and quickly realized my mistake-- with George playing, the green beans were getting snapped about once every five minutes. ;) 

Anytime Jake gets down on Reid's level, Reid comes over and either belly flops on top of Jake or sits on him and bounces. Thankfully Jake thinks its funny and is patient enough to wait for Reid to move instead of throwing him off when he wants to get up.

Reid figured out how to climb into his wagon...but he can't get himself out. And since he won't stop getting in I taught Jake how to get him out. And then Jake figured out how to give Reid wagon rides! Its actually great entertainment for both of them (and for me). Its so cute to see them going in circles around the house.

We love our backyard but the single drawback is our lack of shade. We only have one tree on our property and its in the front yard, so the backyard gets a *bit* warm in the afternoons. We do what we can for shade and when all else fails, we get out the water!

One afternoon while Reid was napping, Jake and I tried our hand at chalk paint! It was so fun for both of us! Simple, too. We grated chalk with a cheese grater into a plastic container, mixed in some water to the right consistency and painted away! Jake enjoyed grating the chalk and mixing it into paint more than drawing, but I loved painting the ground! The chalk paint goes on really thick and is very vivid compared to regular chalk drawings. Its such a simple twist on an old standby and Jake asks to do chalk paint every few days. He can pretty much do all the grating and mixing now; I just help him gauge the amount of water he'll need so its not too watery. 

Farmers market! I'd wanted to go all summer and finally one night while Deric was at church, the boys and I happened to drive by the market so we went! It was a lot of fun. We didn't need any produce but we definitely needed kettle corn. I told Jake he could spend up to $5 on something of his choosing and he chose a family size bag of kettle corn. We all appreciated that choice. I also bought challah bread that was divine and we had fantastic french toast one morning. I love baking so now I'm excited to try my own challah bread one day.

We're so lucky that our neighborhood is connected to the town's greenway system. I'm majorly impressed at the greenways here: we can get basically all over our town on the greenways. (And its mostly flat, thank you Indiana!) Our nearest grocery store is exactly a mile away; we can access all three major parks in town within about three miles; and a bike ride to church/preschool is three miles. Deric bikes to work as often as his schedule and the weather allows and he's taken Jake in the bike trailer to preschool at church as well. The boys and I go out on bike rides fairly often as well. There's little "free library" book stop about .5 miles down the greenway so its a great distance for Jake to bike. We check out the books inside, put our own book in to share, and head back home...or farther down the trail if Jake is up for it! I'm excited to see the greenway when the leaves change this fall.

And there you go, the summer at a glance! The air is starting to get cooler here and Jake's at school three mornings a week, plus playing soccer on Saturday mornings. Wednesday nights at church have started up and that means we're officially in a new season and new routine. I'm half sad and half excited about it but mostly excited to experience a new season--of weather and of life-- in our new home!