Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Last Weekend in June

The only thing we had planned for this past weekend, other than church on Sunday morning, was a cookout at the park with my sister and brother-in-law for Sunday evening. We started off Saturday by sleeping in (to the tune of 7:30), and then both Luke and I ran, showered, made a grocery list, and headed out to Walmart to get our grocery shopping done for the week. We kept our meals simple so we didn't have a whole lot to buy, and we were in and out fairly quickly. Awesome- go team W!

Once we came home, we sat on our deck to enjoy the low 80's, super low humidity weather while the littles played in the baby pool. We ate our lunches outside, the kids enjoyed popsicles, and eventually we headed inside for Jonah to nap and Noelle to have some downtime. It was wonderful! In the evening, we decided to head out to Goodwill to find Jonah some cheap summer time PJs. We have a lot in his size that are the fleece zip-up kind, but he already wakes up sweating in the morning from all the blankets he insists upon sleeping with. We found a few shorts and t-shirts that we figure can be added to the pajama rotation as well. And Noelle has recently had an obsession with all things "America"- anything red, white, and blue, she wants. I told her if we found something "America" in her size at Goodwill, we could get it. She ended up with a little t-shirt with a turtle holding an American flag. Done and done.

Thanks to Grandma, we have the Chick Fil A calendar card, and our freebie for the month was getting ready to expire. We decided to grab dinner through the drive-thru, along with our free frosted lemonade, and go home for a movie night. We even made it a semi date night movie night- the kids watched 101 Dalmatians upstairs, while we watched The Barkley Marathons documentary in the basement. The movie was recommended to us by multiple friends, and it did not disappoint. Basically it's a crazy endurance race in Tennessee that has so many quirky things involved, and very few people have completed it since it's inauguration.

Sunday we headed to church, and then had a slow afternoon before heading to the park with Heather and Jason. We'd had so much fun a the park the week before for Father's Day, that we decided to go again. The park was way less crowded and we sat at a picnic table near our favorite play ground. The kids played and we wandered down by the water while Luke and Jason cooked the pork, corn on the cob, and asparagus. So yum- and day two of perfect weather in Maryland!

Jonah seems to have a hard time remembering Heather's name- he's called her Becky multiple times, and yesterday when we saw them walking up to our house, Jonah yelled "Uncle Jason!" but nothing about Heather. Whenever we ask him who she is, he says "I dunno." Such a stinker and he knows it! Heather's due date is less than a month away now and we're all SO excited to meet baby boy! And whenever we see a cute baby outfit in the store, Noelle says "We should get that for my baby cousins!"

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Some Snippets

One of the CDs that we have for the kids is called The Kingdom of Heaven is Like This by Rain for Roots. The first song Open Our Eyes is basically a prayer for God to open our ears to hear and eyes to see that our faith will grow, including the line "grow it up like the tallest tree." Our kids have changed it to the "the Thomas tree." Luke and I laugh every time we hear them piping up from the backseat with their little, out of tune voices "grow it up like the Thomas tree!"

We celebrated our anniversary on Tuesday by getting takeout from Beck's, one of our favorite local restaurants. I knew I wanted crab cakes, and we'd heard good things about theirs, so Beck's it was! Luke was supposed to get home around 6:00, but the area a little to the west and south of us was hit by a tornado and his regular route home was backed up, as well as the other back roads he tried. I explained to the kids that daddy was stuck, but would hopefully be home soon. Thankfully he made it home around 7:00, and as we were loading everyone in the van to go pick up our food, Jonah kept saying "daddy suck, daddy suck!" Luke and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing. "Daddy stuck", "daddy suck"- we know what you meant, Jonah!

Last Friday I was outside talking to my neighbor while our kids played, and she invited us to join them for dinner at Pizza Hut to celebrate their daughter's last day of kindergarten. I tried to snap a picture of the four kids before we headed out, and got the girls posing and the boys doing who knows what. But it was a fun time, and all four kids did really well while we were out. (Carbs and cheese are the way to go!)

Also, I just finished reading Noelle her first chapter book! It makes my book loving heart so happy that she was interested enough to make it through. It was the first book of the Misty Inn series, Welcome Home!, which includes bits about ponies and Chincoteague Island, and makes my pony crazy self happy.

Noelle also had her first week of swim lessons! The first two days she did okay, but then she decided she'd had enough, and before we even left for the pool on Wednesday morning, she was crying about having to get in to the pool. And then the entire 30 minutes of her lesson she was that kid- the one crying, saying she wanted her mommy. I did laugh a little when the instructor had the kids "jumping" in to the assistant instructor and Noelle's head went under just a little bit. That brought on more crying, but she survived, and the next day was quite happy when stormy weather cancelled the lesson. Luke taught swim lessons at that pool 10 years ago, and said he had kids who cried a lot all the time. And as he says, at least she's getting experience around the water even if she's not really learning how to swim. We'll see how this next week of lessons goes!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Father's Day By the Lake

So Luke kind of got jilted on Father's Day this year. Sure, I got up early with the kids, but he ended up taking them to church by himself so that I could finish getting things ready for our Father's Day lunch, and then he did the work of grilling for our families. Thankfully he loves manning the grill and making his own bacon wrapped hamburger creations. But still- I'm so thankful for him! And for his skill at grilling.

our grill master
We took both of our families (all the grandparents, Heather and Jason, and Lyd) to the local county park where we're on year two of a season pass. There's a giant lake, two play grounds, a nature center, trails, paddle boats/kayaks/canoes, and picnic tables with grills galore! The park was the most packed I've ever seen it, but we had no problem finding two picnic tables next to each other with a grill. We were under some trees for shade and not super close to the other families in the park.

Uncle Jason is so ready to be a dad!
Luke grilled burgers and hot dogs while we munched on a veggie platter and chips and salsa. It had been awhile since he'd used a charcoal grill and we hadn't brought enough charcoal so things were being cooked sloooowly. Jason ran out to get more, and then we all enjoyed our meat, fruit salad, BLT pasta salad, and the delicious banana crumb cake my sister made. The kids ran around, played on both play grounds, threw rocks into the water, enjoyed the slushies Uncle Jason brought back when he ran out to get charcoal, and I'm sure ate more chips than they should have!

And since the banana crumb cake wasn't enough dessert, we all headed back to our house to eat ice cream cake my mom brought. Super delicious, and it's a good thing I'm on a diet to gain weight!

I am so thankful for my dad, and for how he raised me. He's steady and strong, proud of his children, financially savvy, and a hard worker. Though he's quieter, he's steady and sure doing life with my mom and serving our church.

My father-in-law is always ready to give me a hug when we see them, as well as a hug good-bye. He's encouraging and kind. He loves his children, and I know is always praying for them. He runs his own business and works another job without complaint, and his love for his wife and Jesus are just a part of who he is!

I love watching Luke as a dad. He's far better at being the disciplinarian in our parenting, but he's also the best at just having fun with them. Turning the beginning of a tantrum into giggles, and distracting them with something funny. He works so hard and never complains about his commute (aside from the one time some crazy person on the metro stole his money!) We sure love him!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Eight Years

Today marks eight years of marriage for us! As always, how has the time gone by so quickly?? We've officially been parents for half of those years, and I think that has made time fly by even faster. Marriage has its seasons, and I feel like the last year has seen a season of hard times with the infertility (mostly because of my response to it all!), as well as a joyful season of just loving the little moments we spend with just the two of us or with our little family.

This past weekend, my mom offered to take the kids on Saturday so that we could get away for a little while and just celebrate us. And Luke being the amazing husband that he is, fulfilled my desire to get outdoors and go hiking! We headed up to the Catoctin Mountains to hike to Hog Rock and Wolf Rock. The weather was great for a June day- in the 80's with low humidity.

We spent about three hours hiking, and covered about seven miles, the last hour or so only going about two miles as we went straight up to Wolf Rock and then straight down (and we were thankful that Monday was not a leg day for working out!) We spent our time talking about all sorts of things- how we still need to make a will and determine who will get custody of our children should we die, funny things our children have said and done, the fact the infertility costs so much money, what big trip we want to do for our 10th anniversary (you can never start planning too soon!), and so much more. I love that after all this time and knowing each other for over half our lives, that we enjoy just doing these little things together. Now to find the baby-sitters so we can do this more often!

After we were done hiking we went into downtown Thurmont to Kountry Kitchen to grab some food. We'd eaten there when we went away for our first anniversary, and even though it's just a random little diner, it was fun going back and eating yummy food. Since we were there around 3:00, we were the only ones there and our food was brought out quickly. It was delicious and we finished it off with a chocolate cupcake!

Meanwhile, the littles got spoiled and went to see Finding Dory and ate pizza for dinner. After a quick trip to the grocery store for Father's Day supplies, we met up with them, and capped off the night with a trip to Dairy Queen. We went home covered in sweat and ice cream and smiles on our faces.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Snapshots of Our Week

After church on Sundays, I try to grab a picture of the kids as we're walking out to our car. Luke always looks at me, like "really? again?", but they're both just so cute, and it's my attempt to capture glimpses of them growing up. And since they're always so hungry after church, even though they've just had a snack in nursery, they're usually eating something. This past week, it was lollipops.

On Monday we decided to head to the library for story time with our favorite librarian. A friend from my MOPS group had met me there a few times, and we both decided that he's the most entertaining- both for the kids and parents in the room. He's pretty funny, and he plays the ukulele. It had been awhile since Noelle and Jonah had been, and they both were so excited to be there. At one point Noelle started crawling around saying she was a cat, and Jonah immediately copied her. I think for the summer at least we'll try to make Monday library time a regular thing!

A friend texted me around 3:45 Monday afternoon right after Jonah woke up from his nap asking if we wanted to meet her and her girls at a local farm to feed the goats. We headed over to the farm and the kids had so much fun running back and forth from the goat pen to where they food was kept. Lots of squealing and laughter. And Noelle named the goats Sparkly, Purple, and Sparkly. Clearly a girl, and clearly so creative.

On Wednesday we picked up a friend who was without a car for a little while for a play date at another friend's house. Her little guy is 3 months old, and his car seat fit just right in between Noelle and Jonah. Noelle especially was so excited to have a baby in the back with her. I texted a picture to my sisters saying this is what my car will look like once my sister has her baby and we go on adventures together!

On Thursday we had a play date scheduled for MOPS that was supposed to be at a play ground, but since it ended up being the one day this week that was rainy in the morning, we changed to meeting at the mall to play in the play area for a bit, and then lunch at Chick Fil A. It was fun and chaotic, and I think the first time I've ventured into the mall with both kids without a stroller. As soon as we left the van without the stroller, Noelle was like "my legs are gonna get tired!" Oh girl, you make me laugh. And we of course ended our trip with some fun on the carousel.

Now onto the weekend to celebrate the dads, and gear up for our 8th anniversary!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Baby Shower and Strawberry Picking

Last Saturday we celebrated my sister and her baby boy with a baby shower! My mom and I attempted to work with Heather to make the theme "travel" since that's what they are doing for the nursery. And by attempt, I mean my mom and I are not super creative when it comes to that type of thing. But my mom is a great organizer and host, and so I think everyone enjoyed the party, and got the gist of the theme.

The lunch was food from around the world- pita and hummus, pot stickers, fried "rice" quinoa, croissants, 7 layer taco dip, and "Swedish" meatballs, with of course a veggie salad and fruit salad. And cake for dessert. Our napkins and plates were images of an old world map, which my mom was able to get a picture of on the cake. We gave out globe wrapped chocolates as part of the party favors, which also included chocolate chip cookies made by my mom and sweet tea made by Heather. Noelle and I had a lot of fun celebrating, and baby boy will be one well-dressed little dude!

Also, fun fact- I'm pretty sure my baby shower for Noelle was almost exactly four years before Heather's first baby shower. I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed, and how many things have changed!

On Wednesday this past week, Maryland had some amazing weather- upper 60's, sunny, and no humidity. A friend of mine texted me on Tuesday to see if we wanted to join them for strawberry picking the next day, and based on the weather report, I hopped right on that. We met her and her little guy at our favorite farm, and picked a good supply of strawberries. Jonah and Noelle were excited for the first little bit, and then Jonah spent the rest of the time eating (or at least taking one bite of) all the strawberries he picked. Noelle hung out on my back as I crawled around picking the berries.

We had hoped to head over to the main part of the farm after we were done to see the animals, but right as we pulled into the parking lot, it started pouring and got super windy. We thought about waiting it out for a few minutes, but decided to just head back to our place to play for a bit.My friend and I got to catch up, Noelle ate her lunch (food all the time for that one!), and Jonah learned some lessons in sharing our toys with others.

Our Friday included a sunny picnic play date with friends from our MOPS group. There were seven moms there, and between us we have 12 kids (one of which was in school.) Out of all those kids, Noelle was the only girl. And a lot of the boys have turned, or will turn, two this year. Lots of crazy shenanigans in our future!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"Best Day Ever!"

This morning started a bit chaotically with some whining (them), disciplining (me), and general craziness (all three of us). But after an hour of going around in circles of making a second breakfast for both littles, putting shoes on, taking them off, changing a dirty diaper, and switching over the laundry, we finally made it out the door to go grocery shopping.

After a quick(ish) trip we came home and Ellie and Jonah played together while I did some cleaning. Before we'd left for our shopping trip, we filled up our little pool so the water would have some time to warm up. Once at least a little bit of cleaning was done, I changed them into their swim suits and quickly threw together some PB&J sandwiches for a picnic next to the pool.

They devoured their sandwiches, and then dove right in to the strawberries. If I hadn't cut them off, I have no doubt they would have eaten the entire carton. Then, in a classic summer day moment, they slurped up their freezie pop popsicles. Noelle exuberantly exclaimed "this is the best day ever!"

Indeed, a day that feels like summer is one of the best days ever! And there was also some fighting over my protein shake. At least they were slurping up some spinach.

And after a nap and some t.v. time, we ate dinner, enjoyed another popsicle, and played outside with the kids next door until daddy got home.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Donuts and the Library

One month from today, we will have a FOUR year old!! Officially a little girl (or medium as she would say), talking and thinking like a real little human. I'm so not ready!

And some quotes from the almost four year old:
Me (as we're walking down the stairs): I can't hop you down the stairs. Only daddy can- he's stronger than I am.
Noelle: Of course you're not stronger, you're medium!

And when Jonah lost part of a toy the other day:
Noelle: Daddy can find it- he's an expert finder!

Today is National Donut Day, so after running some errands we headed over to Dunkin Donuts to celebrate. I ordered my drink and got donuts for each of the kids, plus one to take to Luke, who was working from home. Jonah was nice and shared a few slobbery bites of his with me, and Noelle of course chose the strawberry icing with sprinkles donut.

snapchatting it all, of course
Yesterday we met up with my neighbor at the library for story time. It was geared for 0-24 month olds, but my kids loved it! We read a story, sang songs, shook little shakers, blew bubbles, and played with toys- which of course are the best because they're different from what we have at home. After the story time was over, we played for a little at the train table and Noelle did a puppet show for me.

As we were making our way towards the checkout to borrow yet another Paw Patrol DVD, we stopped at the little mini-golf hole they have set up for a fundraiser they're doing. The kids had no clue what they were doing, but had fun pushing/carrying/putting the golf ball into the hole. As soon as Noelle got it in, she exclaimed "Alrighty!"

And we spent the last hour before daddy got home from work yesterday with a walk and some time on the play ground. Princess style of course for Noelle.