after school selfies

After I picked Jake up from school on Tuesday, I asked him if I could take a picture of him holding his craft and showing off his little USA bracelet that he got at school. He promptly told me "No" but then changed his mind and asked if he could take the picture with me. Big ole shocker, because this kid is just now humoring our requests for posed photos (for all of half a second, usually) and he typically denies my requests for pictures of us together as well. So when he wanted to take a picture with me, I was definitely up for it! And then he wanted to take the picture himself...and then it was like the toddler version of "If you give a mouse a cookie"...

If you ask to take a toddler's picture, he'll want to see himself in the camera.

If he sees himself in the camera, he'll want to hold the phone.

If he gets to hold the phone, he'll want to push the button himself.

If he pushes the button himself, you're guaranteed a bunch of blurry bursts of photos on your phone that you'll have to delete before you find a few worth saving. ;)


heard around here (in March)

Somehow this blog post didn't see the light of day back in March, and the memories are too cute to forget! I feel like I'm always grabbing my phone to write down the goofy things Jake says but it's so worth it to remember "toddler speak". And I have the worst memory ever; usually I can't remember what it was that he said even a few hours later when Deric gets home. So I fill up my Notes app on my phone and relive his antics hours or even months later!


While reading Eric Carle's "Rooster's Off to See the World", I usually change up the animals to make Jake laugh. Tonight I switched the turtles for kangaroo and Jake kept saying, "No Mom, tow-doles!" Deric and I laughed and asked him to say turtles again. He did and then threw his hands up in frustration and said, "Oh no! I can't even say my own word!" Hilarious.

sous chef!

We ate lunch outside today and while Jake was munching on his celery and peanut butter, he kept saying "This is my best part." At the end of the day I usually ask Jake what the best part of his day was, so this must have been his way of saying he was really enjoying that celery. ;)

Jake fell hard while running down the hallway. I told him that maybe we need to walk in the house and he said through his tears, "I just wanna run!"

A couple of months ago he had recently mastered putting on his tennis shoes by himself. He came in from the mudroom and showed me his shoes (which were on the wrong feet). I told him I was proud of him and he replied, "Something's not right here."

Also a few months ago, Jake heard Deric open the outside door to come in from work. He jumped up and said "Daddy's coming back to me! I better open the door." He takes his job of opening and closing the door from the mudroom to the garage very seriously, always shutting the door behind Deric in the mornings when he leaves and greeting him when he comes home.

^how he reaches the faucet to wash his hands

While tucking him in one night I told him it was time to be quiet and go to sleep. He immediately said, "So, how's Daddy?" I said he was good. "So, how's Mommy?" I said good. "So, how's I am?"

Talking about his army men: "This [gun] is a shooting thing. You shoot things out of it."
Me: "What do you shoot out of it?"
Jake: "Gums. Just like Daddy's gums."

He will ask us randomly, "Mommy/Daddy, are you having a good day today?" Extra cute when its first thing in the morning.

A while back, I let him try some hot chocolate in his very own mug and asked him, "So what do you think of your hot chocolate?" He replied, "I do think it!"

Randomly: "I have grapes in my kitchen...but I also don't."

^that little tongue always makes an appearance

"Mommy, you can make dinner but first let's play for three to five minutes."

"A cake is like a party that you eat." (Maybe we were talking about birthdays? Either way, this should be cross-stitched onto a pillow!)

After hearing "jealous" on his new favorite show, Dinotrux: "That guy is jealous!"
Me: "What's jealous mean?"
Jake: "Jealous is when you put something in your hair in the bathroom."
Me: "Like gel...?"
Jake: "Yes!"

In the middle of breakfast: "Daddy, I'm so proud of you for waking up!"

^blowing raspberries

While making a pile of army men: "Look! I made a heart for you and me!"

I asked him the other day what he wanted to do. He usually responds with simply "play". But that day he said "I'm building a house for us today. That's my project!" Guess we're churning out a mini weekend warrior. He loves to help Deric out in the garage with whatever building project he's in the midst of. This last weekend he came inside and asked me to get his tools for him from the toy closet, then marched back outside to help his daddy. On the way out he said, "Bye Mommy. Have a good day making peanut butter and jelly!"

bringing ALL of his tools to Kroger


lots of lovin' on baby Reid

I've been MIA lately for all the best reasons, like snuggling this cute and teensy guy--and his big brother--and taking plenty of naps whenever I can. While I'm so ready to be able to sleep all night long, I still absolutely love having a baby in the house again! Deric's always preferred the toddler phase but my favorite is definitely this brand new stage. All those cuddles and the way they melt into you because they can't lift up their heads yet! Its the best. 

Reid has had a steady stream of visitors coming to meet him! We've had family in town for more than two weeks now: first Deric's parents, then Sarah and Joel, and finally my parents, who just left yesterday morning. Its been so fun to have family around, plus the extra sets of hands have been so helpful!

Jake and Joel are so much fun to watch together. They're good little buddies and I think that when Joel starts talking, they're probably be best friends! It makes me really excited that Sarah's baby is a boy as well-- being only five months younger than Reid, it'll almost be like having twins around!

Thanks to a dollar bin glowstick (and Pinterest for the idea), the boys loved taking a glow-in-the-dark bath! They were both feeling a little possessive of that glowstick during their bath (and even the next morning when it didn't even glow) as well but they're pretty good at sharing.

Jake warmed up to his Aunt Foo pretty quickly! I came in the living room one afternoon to see both boys fast asleep on her (pregnant) lap--what a good aunt! Sarah told me she'd been holding Reid and Jake came out after his nap, saw them and apparently just laid right down. He slept that way for about ten minutes before he really woke up for the afternoon.

My parents got into town the day before Sarah and Joel went home, and probably ten minutes into their visit Grandad had already taught Joel a new use for pliers. ;)

Each morning, Jake would wake up and beeline into the living room to find Grandad, the only adult awake at such an ungodly hour. Deric and I so enjoyed an extra hour or so of sleep every morning! And Mom had Reid napping like a champ: swaddled, unswaddled, couch, crib, it didn't matter. He got in some solid naps! (And so did I, by extension!)

We decided to enroll Jake in a Mother's Day Out program twice a week for June and July to ease the transition with Reid. We figured he would get some socialization and play time, and I would conversely get some peace and quiet. ;) He loves going to "school" and Reid and I enjoy time to run errands, clean up the house and relax in the mornings.

Packing Jake's lunch the night before his first day--while wearing newborn Reid--just felt crazy. It really was a life-flashing-before-my-eyes kind of experience. Most days I still feel so new to motherhood (and really I still am) but at the same time, I've been a mom for three years now! And even just a month of being a mom of two has been totally different and surreal.

Seeing him in that backpack about kills me every time! He looks so big and so little all at the same time. I'm hoping the backpack will last him through kindergarten but its crazy to think that's even on the radar!

Deric and I enjoyed a rare lunch date--with our little sleeping third wheel-- on the first morning Jake was at school. We need to squeeze in a few more dates before school lets out!

Speaking of dates: since my parents were here for over a week, Deric and I went out twice for dinner. Twice. In a week. That hasn't happened in...ever. Or at least it feels like it. ;) We tried out a new restaurant downtown on our first date night, Babalu. Dinner was delicious but the best part of the date was taking our time coming home since we weren't paying a babysitter! We took our time downtown and then hit up a bookstore and browsed for a while before heading back. It was so nice! We ate at Bonefish Grill the second night we went out. I haven't eaten there since prom in high school but man, those bang bang shrimp are where it's at! We're already planning to go back soon so I can order the shrimp as my entree this time. ;)

I'd been wanting to take Jake to a newly renovated splash pad nearby for a while but its been tricky to get out because its just too hot for Reid to be outside for long. So last week Reid stayed home with Grandma and Jake and I went to the splash pad and then to "the pizza store" for our first little date now that he's a big brother. There were a lot of neat features at the splash pad and I'm excited to take Jake back hopefully sometime soon-- I figure if Deric comes, we can tag team keeping Reid cooled off. We took a break from the fountains just long enough to eat popsicles and then get back into the water. Jake's not a fan of the really big fountains but he found what he was comfortable with and had a ball!

After we dried off somewhat, we split a pizza at our favorite restaurant and got home barely in time to crash for a nap. It was fun to have some one-on-one time with Jake, whose been so patient while I've learned (and am still learning) to balance both boys' needs by myself. Although he does like to tell me pretty frequently that "Mom, you can put Reid in his boppy [pillow] if you want to play with me." Break my heart kid! But unfortunately for you, your brother does have to eat... ;)

While I'm looking forward to figuring out our new routine with two kids, I'm so sad that family has left. Thankfully we'll see both sides of our family again in just a few weeks!


videos: hopscotch and sprinkler fun!

I can't help but feel time flying right past me lately as we celebrated Jake's third birthday and then gave birth to Reid. I get a little panicky sometimes thinking about how there's just no adequate way to really save these moments of my kids growing up. I'm pretty good about taking pictures of anything and everything, but I've realized that I don't have as many videos as I'd like. Videos can capture so much more: the way Jake pronounces so many words with "ber" at the beginning (bertach= attach; berchine= machine; bersaster=disaster), the way he runs with his arms pulled way up and his elbows stuck out, the way Reid grunts and groans when he's lost his pacifier while sleeping. So I've been trying to take more videos of these little moments and hopefully one day I'll figure out how to compile them all into home videos!

First up, Deric tried to teach Jake to play hopscotch. He didn't quite understand it but he's really into jumping over cracks in the sidewalk, pillows, and anything else so he liked the idea of hopping on the squares!

Learning to play hopscotch! from Ashley Skinner on Vimeo.

I think we changed Jake's clothes three or four times this day. Every time we went outside we inevitably got out the hose or the sprinkler or the water table and never bothered to put Jake in swim trunks. But with a baby around we're doing tons of extra laundry already so what's a few more tee shirts?

It made me laugh to see Jake run through the sprinkler with his mouth open every time. I guess he was trying to drink the water...or just be goofy. Either way, it was pretty funny.

Sprinkler! from Ashley Skinner on Vimeo.

Sprinkler time from Ashley Skinner on Vimeo.


the first two weeks with Reid

These first two weeks with Reid have really been a dream. Before he was born, I was obviously unsure about how Deric and I would balance both kids and how Jake would adjust to a little less attention from us, since he is all about his quality time. But its been great!

Of course, not every minute has been butterflies and rainbows (I actually got mastitis yesterday but with Tylenol and antibiotics, I'm feeling so much better today) but overall the transition to being a family of four is going pretty smoothly.  Deric took the week off from work which has definitely helped ease the transition and its been fun for all of us to have so much time with him home.

It seems like summer appeared just this week with temperatures edging close to 90, so we've spent a lot of time outside in the shade with all of Jake's water toys at his disposal. The water table we got for his birthday has already paid off and after pulling out his pool and seeing how quickly he'd outgrown it, we used some baby shower gift cards to purchase a much bigger inflatable pool. It arrived today so I'm sure we'll put it to good use this weekend...and all summer long! But even with the tiny pool, Jake had just enough room to make a pretty good splash and get just wet enough. He's not one to go all out on anything right away, so it worked out well.

^that face!

Reid and I supervised. ;)

Our first outing was to visit the library and the neighboring park. Some new books and movies have have helped keep Jake occupied when we're busy with Reid, plus the park next to the library is shaded and quiet and Jake loves to play by the stream. He and Deric rock hopped across the stream and he was so excited!

Since I no longer have to watch my blood sugar, we visited Menchie's for some long overdue frozen yogurt! I'll admit that its been hard not to go totally overboard on all the foods and dessert that I missed while pregnant, but certain things--like Menchie's-- just had to happen!

^Jake wasn't too happy to stop and take a picture in the middle of eating his yogurt. ;)

Jake was intrigued for about half a second by Reid's first bath but I think the crying scared him away. Thankfully Reid was back to his calm self as soon as he got snuggled back up. I hate those first baths when it seems like you're torturing the poor child!

Last Sunday night our church held its annual Memorial Day picnic and block party. Since our church is right next door, Reid and I came over to eat dinner and watch Jake ride his bike through the "car wash" that was part of the Mini Indy 500 event for kids before we went back inside because it was so.dang.hot. Our children's minister captured these really cute shots in that short time frame!