a family trip to Florida!

We spent last week in sunny Orlando with Deric's parents and his brother's family and took the kids to Disney World for the first time. It was actually my first time going to Disney as well! There are a few too many photos from vacation to share in one post, so I'll get to the Disney photos soon and share pictures from the rest of vacation first.

We spent two days at the parks and the remainder of the week swimming and swimming and swimming some more. It was fantastic! Even after spending all day at the parks, Jake begged to go swimming when we got back to the hotel. (We did indulge him one night even though it was bedtime--because after sweating all day long how can you say no?!)

Jake lived it up and probably jumped into the pool about 500 times over the course of those four days. He was just nonstop (as I imagine most kids are who don't have daily access to the water)!

We brought a beach ball and his water gun and he'd go back and forth between throwing the ball to his dad or grandpa, or shooting everyone in the family with the water gun (with permission first, we don't want him to be that kid!). I've got a short video of Jake standing on the edge of the pool and throwing the ball to his grandpa, then shooting him with the water gun as he jumps in. Quite the combination!

Thankfully the pool water was warm enough that Reid got to swim too! There is nothing cuter than a baby all ready to swim. Between Deric, the grandparents and myself, we rotated through nap duty in the hotel room, naps poolside and swimming with Jake so we were all able to enjoy swimming and napping. Deric was usually more than happy to head up to the hotel room to "supervise" Jake's nap, AKA take a nap himself. And I was perfectly content to read a book by the pool during that time, so we were all happy.

Deric was ready to buy this stroller that we rented for the week. It was perfect for naps both poolside and in the parks, comfortable for both boys and small enough to fit through doorways. Reid loved it too. ;)

Ready to swim!

Taking a break from all that jumping to give Reid a kiss!

I've watched this video repeatedly because I love that gummy, wide-open smile!

Swimming with Reid from Ashley Skinner on Vimeo.

One of my favorite memories of this trip will be Jake's "cannonballs". I tried to show him how to do a cannonball in the pool one afternoon but didn't actually jump in because the pool was only four feet deep. So I explained it and lifted up one knee to show him. For the rest of the trip, his cannonballs were basically a regular jump into the pool but with his hand on his knee. Or on both knees for a double cannonball. ;)

On Friday afternoon the hotel had some poolside entertainment and they started a cannonball competition. And wouldn't you know it, Jake was the first one to do it! I was so proud of him and could just die over his little attempt. He even told the MC his name and where he was from (although you can't hear him in the video)!

Cannonball competition from Ashley Skinner on Vimeo.

It hit me a few days into vacation how perfectly timed this trip was for us. With Reid joining the family and all of the usual things that have to get done, I feel like Jake's been on the back burner a little. So to spend afternoons at the pool with nothing else to distract me from playing with him was so good for both of us. I would catch him jump after jump, watch everything that warranted a "Mom, watch this!" and play goofy games without chores, dinner, and whatever else looming in the background. Deric and I took turns playing in the water with Jake and holding a sleeping baby while catching up on books.  It was truly a vacation!

I absolutely love this photo. This kid is growing up so fast, but he's still so little too! I'm so glad we took this week to relax, have fun and slow time down for just a second.


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!