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.


Port Hope 2016

I'm finally getting around to sharing pictures from our week in Port Hope! Despite the long drive with kids, I love that our family (and extended family!) is carving out time to spend together in Michigan, where *usually* the cool weather is an added bonus to all the outside time, good food and great company. This year the temperatures were a little higher than I'd prefer but with no mosquitos and low humidity, we still spent plenty of time outside!

My favorite part of Port Hope is how natural it is for everyone to be outside for the majority of the day. The grass is perfect for bare feet, the yard is flat and perfect for bikes, and there is so much space for kids to run and play, plus plenty of seating for adults to relax and keep an eye on all those tiny, sweaty hoodlums. ;)

What I'll remember most about this year was how hard Jake played: as soon as he woke up each morning, we'd get him dressed and send him downstairs where Grandad was already awake and working on a project. By the time we came downstairs (around 9, bless it!), Jake and Cana had ridden probably a few miles on their tricycles. At the end of the day, he was red-faced, sticky and sweaty, but so happy. It's exactly how I think summer days should be spent.

Speaking of those two, they were instant buddies this year! Unfortunately we don't get to see Isaac and Cana very often throughout the year but they sure made up for it this week! They were constantly riding trikes together, playing in the bee house and holding "meetings". I think the meetings started as Cana's idea but Jake was willing to go along with it! Sometimes when I would check in with Jake to see what he was up to, he'd tell me so seriously that they had a meeting and go running off to the bee house. Too cute! I wonder what went on in those meetings? Towards the end of the week they started to play "school" in the bee house and one night, Uncle Marc had all the kids in there and apparently they drew a picture itinerary of their day. All we could hear was belly laughing, which is pretty common when Uncle Marc is around!

On the first afternoon, I took Jake and Cana with me to the gas station--a super fun excursion to take in the Mule--to get a Coke for myself. I had enough change to buy them both 25 cent Ring Pops and every afternoon for the rest of the week, those two asked to go get Ring Pops. We caved every afternoon but the last one because we actually depleted the stock of Ring Pops at the store, plus we were tired of sticky hands and faces for like hours on end every time they ate them. But to hear them laugh at the colors on their tongues was so funny!

Jake and I riding in the back of the Mule on a trip to Annie's store with Sarah, Courtney, Joel and Cana! Still has his Ring Pop...he became a pro eventually at making that thing last for.ev.er.

Jake found this bow and carried it everywhere for a few days. He never really bothered with the arrows, although I attempted to show him how to shoot them. I think he wanted it more to sling on his back and run around like a hunter or something. Who knows, but he looked so cute.

And of course, we ate our weight in ice cream! The first night, Jake ate his cone first and about lost his ice cream. We saved it with a cup and each night after, Jake requested his ice cream in a cup. Why even chance losing your ice cream, right??

Courtney is the queen of tie dye and she set up everything for the kids to tie dye t-shirts one afternoon. Jake chose the colors for himself and Reid and they turned out great! The next afternoon, Sarah Courtney and I took all the kiddos to Annie's store and they were all (including Sarah and Court!) wearing their tie dye. We probably looked like a little hippie gang. ;)

Cana was pretty intrigued by Reid and was so proud to be able to hold him a few times!

That matching tie dye--I just love it. Jake's not gonna be able to hold Reid much longer!

Lest we forget all about Reid, I'm not sure he even noticed we'd traveled. That kid really knows how to relax on vacation-- he basically took turns sleeping on different aunts and uncles and grandparents. Or wagons. He's not picky. Pretty much what Jake did on his first trip to Port Hope. (Two separate links there--two posts from that summer!)

Tim and Isaac took the rowboat that my Grandad built about thirty years ago for a ride around the bay. Grandad was pretty sure it had some leaks to be fixed, but it turned out to be in great shape! Jake surprised me and asked to ride on the boat with Tim and Isaac so he went with them for a few minutes. Grandad and Mom took a turn, then Dad and Mom went out as well. Tim and Isaac used it a few more times to go fishing, and I think that boat will get regular use in the years to come.

We took the paddle boards out on Friday afternoon to beat the heat. I talked Jake into sitting on the board with me and when we turned around to head back to the dock, he wanted to get in the water. Unfortunately he wasn't used to the life jacket and quickly asked to get out of the water, but even after that he was willing to stand up on the board with me and help "paddle". He did so well and I was so proud of him for being brave! After paddle boarding, the kids went to play in the water with Deric and Courtney. Jake kept the life jacket on long after it was necessary. ;)

And to wrap up a very long post, we can't forget about our ten hour drive with seven people in one van! We were totally packed but it really wasn't as bad as I expected it would be. We thankfully didn't run into any traffic or accidents and just kept handing out snacks and toys to pass the time. This photo totally cracks me up-- we were on our way home and stopped at Panera for lunch. I was letting the boys run around to get out the wiggles before we had to get back in the car and was showing them how to do some stretches. This is Joel's attempt at a lunge. He's pretty proud of himself, and I couldn't stop laughing.

Sarah and I are talking already about next summer and the possibility of us staying a week or so longer than we usually do. I'm looking forward to next year so much because Reid will be one and newly on the move, so he'll be up for all kinds of exploring!


Reid @ 2 months

Reid is just the sweetest baby. He's so okay with being on the go as we chase Jake around and he's rarely upset. If he is crying, its the cutest sound and all it takes is a pacifier and being rocked to sleep to get him back to his sweet self. He's starting to interact with us and smile as we make silly faces or sounds at him. He's mesmerized by the fan--aren't they all?--and chews on his fists when he can't find his pacifier. Occasionally he still wakes up at night to nurse but more often than not, he'll sleep from 10:30ish to 7:00, when Jake wakes up and the day begins whether we're ready or not. I'm so looking forward to watching his little personality unfolding in the coming months!