Free Food, Family Pics, and Alpha Bots

The day Stephanie left was Cow Appreciation Day AND 7-11 Day.  Free Chick fil A and free Slurpees all in one day?  Awesome!  The kids and I went to Chick fil A for lunch and got Slurpees afterwards.  Jace carefully avoided stepping on cracks to and from the car.  The sidewalk was much easier than the decorative brick crosswalk!  We played in the car (why do the kids love that?) and Jace cut his leg.  But a Slurpee made everything better!  We played at home all afternoon, then headed back to Chick fil A with Adam for dinner.  And round two of Slurpees, of course!  Luke wasn’t too sure about the whole cow costume thing….

The kids got carseat upgrades.  Luke moved out of the infant car seat and into Jace’s car seat (since it can be rear-facing).  And Jace got a new high-backed booster (still a 5-point harness) with TWO cup holders.  It’s pretty exciting stuff.

Some random pictures….  Luke loves walking with his lawn mower.  We went to Sam’s Club and the first sample when we walked in the door was ice cream – yay!  Jace crawled into a pack n play with the cat and asked me to take his picture and post it – so here it is!  More popsicles on the back deck.  The kids played catch with the velcro paddles.  They took turns wearing Adam’s shoes, then finally contented themselves with each wearing one of his shoes – and putting both feet in at the same time!  And Jace posed in front of his sunflower (so tall!) and showed off our tomatoes and jalapeno from the garden.

We had a park playdate and our friends brought chocolate covered donuts.  SO MESSY!  We met some friends at Friendly’s for breakfast and had a great time – and the kids were all really well behaved!  Our hibiscus tree is doing better now – we think.  We got crayons for the bathtub.  And we had a playdate with Jack, which was going pretty well, until Jace and Jack decided to dump every toy from every bin in their entire basement.  It was chaos and happened SO fast.  Luke seemed a bit overwhelmed, then walked right into the fray, grabbed the toy cash register, and walked out.  He was looting!  And speaking of Luke and the bathtub, his new favorite post-bath look is to wrap up with a towel around his waist.  And hand towels are the perfect size for him!  So cute!

We rearranged our playroom and I really like it.
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Luke does EVERYTHING that Jace does.  EVERYTHING!  If Jace pets the dog, Luke pets the dog.  If Jace jumps off the bottom stair, Luke jumps off the bottom stair.  If Jace sneezes, Luke fakes a sneeze.  Luckily, Jace likes having a little shadow (most of the time).  Here are pictures of them at the park (both hanging from the bar), in the Target parking lot (sitting together, walking together), and hanging out on their couches with their favorite toys (foam darts for Luke, Alpha Bots for Jace).

Which brings me to Alpha Bots.  Alpha Bots are Jace’s new toy.  They’re pretty cool.  Each bot is a letter – that transforms into a robot!  Given his Rescue Bots obsession, Alpha Bots are right up his alley.

We have a squirrel!  We’ve had suet out on our deck for months now.  The birds love it.  Jace and Luke love the birds.  It’s a good system.  Well, in the last few days, a squirrel has found our suet block.  And he’s a brave little squirrel!  Banging on the glass and a barking dog don’t deter him at all.  We’ve spent a lot of time watching the squirrel.  When we let Cuervo out on the deck, the squirrel finally runs away.  And we get to watch him jump from the deck to the nearby trees.  It’s pretty cool.

When we’re not watching the squirrel, we’re usually playing outside.

Family pictures.  I want family pictures.  And cute pictures of Jace and Luke.  Adam has been working with Jace on his smile (he’s in that toddler phase where “smile” translates to “scrunch up your face, close your eyes, and bare your teeth”), the kids both got haircuts (they look great!), and we took some pictures at Jacobsburg on a pretty day with green grassy backgrounds.  Hopefully we’ll get some good ones evenutally – these three look promising!  🙂

Which brings us to today.  Today the kids and I went to a PBS Story Hour.  We went with Ella and Max.  Ella and Max walked right in, so Luke walked right in too.  Jace got to the door, froze, and refused to enter.  Luke noticed, so he ran to the door, left the room, and refused to enter.  Sigh!  Eventually they both went into the room and sat together on a beanbag chair.  Backwards.  Oh well, it’s progress.  They were very excited to see the TeleBear and pick out a free book after story time.  And tonight, Adam and I went on a date!  It was our second time using a babysitter, and I think it went pretty well.  Jace loves our babysitter and had a great time.  Luke wasn’t thrilled, but he was all smiles when we got home.  And our server at dinner made us a special dessert plate that said “Horray for our babysitter”.  Ha.  But it was a fun date night.  And now it’s almost 1am and I need to start packing.  Yikes!  Pictures of our next adventures soon!

Sun, Sand, Surf… And Steph! And Goats.

STEPHANIE came to visit us!  Hooray!

We kept busy the day she was scheduled to arrive.  Scrunchie noses on the couch, scrapbooking our scavenger hunt day at Monocacy with friends (the kids made their own books – they’re pretty cool! – and our picture was in the newspaper!), and going to the movies in the park with other friends that evening.  The kids insist on bringing the chairs for each movie – then spend a total of 3 minutes sitting down and watching the movie.  This time we played with glow sticks when it got dark!

By the time Steph’s plane finally made it in, both kids were asleep in the car.  But they were excited to see her in the morning!  It took Luke about 3 seconds to warm up to her – especially once she started playing with the foam darts and the stomp rocket!  Jace played with blocks.

Playing with Foam Darts with Stephanie – video

After a leisurely morning, we headed to the orchard.  Because that’s what we do.  We picked pounds and pounds and pounds of cherries and then played at Firetruck Park.

That evening we got our first red tomato of the season!  Fun!  Luke took Steph on a walk.  And Jace went roller skating.  We made – and ate – a cake (I don’t even remember why we did that, but I do know we had candles and Jace sang Happy Birthday to Baby Luke!).  We ended the evening by teaching Stephanie how to catch fireflies.  It was a great day!

Jace wanted to play with me instead of going to bed.  After trying to get him to sleep for a long time, Adam gave up.  So Adam went to sleep and Jace came down to play with me.  I made cherry pies and he played with playdough.  And then we played with flashlights in the dark.  Until ONE IN THE MORNING.  Ridiculous!

The next morning started pretty slowly.  Jace slept in (surprise, surprise!).  Luke and Steph played with the stomp rocket.  And we read some books together.  Eventually we decided to head to Imagi Nation.  We had a good time playing – then it was time to make ice cream.  They’ve added a “taste experience” to the ice cream making, so Luke got a tiny cup of ice cream and a plastic spoon.  And he chowed down.  Literally.  How do you eat through a plastic spoon when you only have four and a half teeth?!

We recently set up our second iPad.  Luke wants to do everything Jace does – including watching the iPad.  However, Luke doesn’t have much interest in actually WATCHING a show.  He just wants to push buttons and carry the iPad around.  Which is fine.  But they are pretty cute when they sit together on the couch and watch their respective shows (Rescue Bots for Jace, Mother Goose Club for Luke).  They were extra cute watching their shows in the fort!  But Luke lost interest pretty quickly and moved on to the sandbox.

It was a Saturday, so Adam was home for work.  So we ALL headed to the dairy farm!  Adam had never been there with us, and neither had Stephanie, so Jace got to show them everything.  We spent a long time feeding crab apples to the goats.  We also explored the hay barn, visited the three different areas with cows, and ate some ice cream.  Yummy!

Feeding the Goats – video

Sunday morning, we headed for the shore.  We opted for Asbury Beach – a “quiet” beach.  HA!  Luke stayed awake the entire drive to the coast, then fell asleep while we circled looking for parking.  So Luke and I hung out in the car while Jace and Steph explored the beach.  When Luke woke up, we met up with them.  And spent the afternoon (and evening!) on the beach.  Despite all the people, we had a good time.  And the kids were really excited by all the planes flying around with banners.

The water was really shallow (you could walk out a long ways and only be waist deep).  We spent some time in the water, some time on the sand, and some time at the playground, then headed for our hotel.  Jace opened all the drawers in our hotel room and was so excited to find some books!  He crawled onto the bed and relaxed with the Book of Mormon.  He even read some of it to Luke!

The next morning we went to Point Pleasant.  What a fun beach!  We played on the sand for a long time.  When it was time for Luke to nap, we hit the boardwalk.  Luke slept in the stroller while Jace and I rode some rides and played some arcade games.

Jumping Waves with Stephanie – video
Jace and Stephanie had a great time playing in the waves.

When Luke woke up, we headed back to the sand.  SO MUCH FUN!

We headed home late that night (after stopping at McDonalds for happy meals – and seeing a cool praying mantis!).  The kids slept most of the drive and we were all ready for bed when we made it home.  Steph flew out the next morning.  Hopefully she had a great trip!

The 4th of July

11 days ago (oops), we celebrated the 4th of July.  We started the morning by making white chocolate covered strawberries to make a strawberry flag….  Kinda.  The kids were big helpers.

 

 

We spent the afternoon playing outside with some friends.  This is our third year doing the 4th of July with them.  Here are pictures of Jace and Jack over the years (2015, 2016, 2017).

 

 

This year the kids played in the dirt, ate lots of yummy food (Luke was so excited about the corn on the cob!), played with water blasters, played in the pool, and played with the water rocket.

 

 

But the main event was the WATER BALLOONS.  They had so much fun!  And afterwards, Luke got control of the hose, so that was fun too.  They were all DRENCHED!  The video is a little long (just over a minute), but it’s cute.  And Jace is super sweet to Luke at the end.

 

 

4th of July Water Balloons – video

We opted for an afternoon picnic because we knew Luke wouldn’t want to be around fireworks.  After the picnic Luke took a nap and then we had our own mini-celebration in the backyard with ice cream cookie sandwiches and sparklers.

 

 

We ended the night by catching fireflies.  Luke loves when Jace catches a firefly and comes over to show him.  They watch together until the firefly flies away, then Luke shouts, “Bye!”  Very cute.  It was a fun 4th of July!

 

 

18 Months Old!

Luke is 1.5 years old.  Crazy!

He’s starting to talk (has a few words and a lot of Luke-words that are just sounds that generally mean a specific item).  He shrieks a LOT – every time he sees a bird, cloud, leaf, dog, cat, fly, ant, etc.  He’s very excitable!  He has 5 teeth.  He’s pretty good at walking (though he skins his left knee so often it never gets a chance to heal), he’s learning how to jump, he can hang from the bars at the playground, and he’s recently learned how to do a somersault!  He gets frustrated when he can’t make himself understood and he’s quick to let you know when he wants something or when he’s unhappy that you’ve taken something from him, but overall, he’s still an incredibly happy guy!  Yay Luke!

Here are his 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 month pictures.

And my favorites from his 18 month photo shoot.

Ice Cream and Skinned Knees

The kids are just so much fun.  I really tried to have a low key week, but it just didn’t happen.  Our first “home” day was nice.  Relaxing.  Played with toys, played outside.  Fun.  Our second “home” day was okay, but we were all itching to do SOMETHING.  So by day three, we were out and about.  We did focus on doing some activities “just us” this week instead of with friends, which was really fun, but we saw a lot of friends too.  But it was a good week!

We spent most of our “home” days in jammies.  The kids watched the trash truck, did some coloring, we played with the firefighters and fire station, Adam and Jace mowed the front lawn, and, of course, we played with the hose.  Adam took a picture of Luke post-bath.  He’s not a huge fan of baths lately, so he wasn’t very happy.  The next morning, I turned my back for two seconds and both kids ended up STANDING ON THE TABLE.  They thought it was hilarious.

We picked some more cherries (a new variety too!) and then headed to Firetruck Park.  We got to use my new picnic blanket (which the kids and Jack thought was perfect for rolling/somersaulting across) and my new cooler.  And we spent the evening looking for fireflies.

They love each other!

We headed to the Nazareth Pool.  We went early so we could play at the park before going swimming.  I thought I’d take a picture of the kids before we started playing.  Jace looked so cute in his new swimsuit!  But Luke was NOT in the mood for a picture.  Oops!

We had an ice cream treat while we were there.  Cara managed to stay completely clean while eating her ice cream.  Jace and Luke?  Not so much!  But they sure were happy!

Lucky for me, the chlorine cleaned them both right up!  Nice!  And they were all smiles as we sat on our towels and waited to dry off before heading home.  So cute together!

Some random pictures….  We played in the tunnels, Luke climbed all over Jace, we had a sand art playdate with some friends and my kids spent the entire time playing with toys instead of doing the craft, we went to Kids Castle with Jonathan and Dylan, there was a pretty rainbow during a sun shower, so Jace and I played in the rain (with front-end loader), and Jace made a cool “creature house” at Kids Workshop.

The kids played hide and seek, practiced somersaults, and played with their car ramp.  Then they wanted to have outside popsicles, but it was raining a little.  Their solution?  Have me hold an umbrella!  Spoiled kids!  But I did it, so maybe they’re just smart kids!  After their popsicles, I went to get a birthday pedicure with my friend.  It was raining pretty hard on the drive over.  About the time we got our feet into the water, the power went out for the whole shopping area.  We got pedicures by the light of our cell phones.  Ridiculous!

The kids worked on some correspondence (ha!  Jace would pick a card, write in it, and seal it, then tell me what name to write on the front of the card – they’re getting dropped in the mail soon!), they hung out in a pretty floral garden – in the atrium of the mall in front of Kohl’s (but didn’t it look pretty?), they played with the hose again, and Luke caught his first lightening bug all by himself (he was so excited!).

The kids made fishie faces.

Luke and I hung out from 2-4am.  He skipped nap, so his nighttime sleep was off.  He wasn’t fussy and didn’t cry, but he was NOT going to stay in bed.  So we went downstairs.  I gave him a cracker and he sat on the couch, silently, with his uneaten cracker for 45 minutes straight, then asked to go back up to bed.  So strange!  When we got upstairs, he went right to bed.  And his sleep was back on track the next day.  Random!

Today, we went to Monocacy Park with Ella and Max.  The goal was to do a photo scavenger hunt.  We had checklists and the kids would find the items (a leaf, a bird, a flower, etc) and use our phones to take a picture.  The next step is to turn the pictures into a little book.  I’ll spare you the pictures, but my phone is currently pretty full of blurry rocks and leaves.  I think they had fun, though.  Highlights were the geese, the duck and duckling, and playing with the spray bottles.  The low point was the skinned knees.  Jace slipped and got his knee and his finger.  He was actually bleeding, so he wanted a bandaid.  As I focused on his knee, Luke tripped – hard – and skinned his knee.  He was bleeding a LOT.  I got them both cleaned up and calmed down and decided it was time for a break.  As we sat down for a snack, Max tripped and skinned his knee too!  So we had three boys with three skinned left knees.  Jace is doing fine now.  Luke has a pretty serious mark.  Poor guy.  But, Luke being Luke, he was all smiles anyways.

The scavenger hunters and spray bottles:

Geese and skinned knees:

We made it home in time for Luke’s nap, and Jace and I got a chance to play together for several hours.  So much fun!  When Luke woke up, I got a picture of the three animals, both kids, and myself all hanging out together on the deck.  And most of us are looking at the camera!  I also took a picture of the kids sampling the herb garden together.  And a picture of the kids reading together.  They’re the best.

And now, it’s time for bed!  Adam’s off work tomorrow for the 4th.  Yay!

A Lot of Videos

This post is all video.  And you’ll lose interest.  And that’s fine.  The videos are kinda long and kinda slow.  But I want these videos on the website anyways!  They’re very representative of our “now”.  And I like Jace’s voice.  And the kids laughing.  So, here ya go!

Fireflies! – video (0:24)
We went out looking for fireflies.  There weren’t a ton in our yard (too early), so we went on a walk to pass some time.  We brought Cuervo.  Luke was on the trike.  Jace took his bike.  When we were on the path, the fireflies were really out in force.  Jace is surprisingly good at catching fireflies.  I thought it was a cute video.

Bubbles – video (0:27)
Luke really likes bubbles.  Not sure why he’s sitting in a chair on a chair, but that’s okay.  His smile at the end is the typical Luke smile when he realizes there’s a camera pointed at him.  He’s so smiley with his five little teeth!

Scrunchie Nose and a Slap – video (0:14)
Luke was scrunchie nosing.  Jace thought it was hilarious.  Then Luke slapped him.  Not really sure why, but this was the start of Luke’s slapping phase.  We’re working on curbing it….

Bedtime Stories with Jace – video (1:51)
For a while, Jace really liked it when I would make up stories for him.  His favorite stories always involved people getting lost and then firefighters coming to the rescue.  We haven’t told stories like that in a while, but apparently it’s still fresh in his mind.  So here’s a bedtime story from Jace.  It started out okay, built some momentum, then everything deteriorated.  But I’m too lazy to edit the video right now.  And I don’t know where I’d cut it off anyways.  He got a little distracted talking about house numbers (he recently started searching out where house numbers are shown – on porches, on the garage doors, on the roof line, etc.).  And then Luke got a little bored with the story.  And Jace was clearly just stalling so he wouldn’t have to go to bed.  Oh well….!

Luke Dancing – video (0:47)
Luke likes to watch videos on my phone.  He doesn’t really like cartoons yet, but he loves watching 15 second videos of Jace or of himself.  I was tired of the same videos (over and over and over and OVER), so we recorded a video of Luke sitting with me while I sang the ABCs.  And he loves it.  When I play it, he dances.  Usually, when it ends, he claps (thought not this time).  And then, he grabs my hand and has me restart the video.

Playing Together – video (0:59)
This isn’t a super exciting video, but it’s pretty representative of the kids interacting with each other.  They’re cute together.  They laugh together.  And despite Luke swinging the bat for half the video, he never hits Jace.

Jace “Reading” a Story – video (4:03)
This one is long.  And it probably makes more sense if you know the pictures he’s looking at while he’s reading.  But it’s still fun.  And I like hearing Jace’s voice!  He’s reading “Darth Vader and Son” to Adam.  Since Darth Vader’s son is Luke Skywalker, Adam always refers to him as Luke.  So Jace refers to him as Baby Luke.  And he now thinks the book is about Baby Luke’s adventures with Darth Vader.  Cute.

And that’s it for videos for now.  Pictures from the week coming soon.

Fun in the Sun

We had a week of great weather.  And we took full advantage of it!

Monday – the kids played in the sink, Jace ate breakfast with Optimus Prime while watching Optimus Prime on his iPad, we played at a new park, went for a bike ride/stroller walk, looked at creatures on the bridge, Luke tried out Jace’s bike, we cooled down in the car, and we made it home just before it started pouring.  Since we had to stay inside all evening, we re-purposed the lawn mower box!

My favorite pictures from Monday.  Jace is such a good big brother!

Tuesday – we had a really fun playdate with Becky, Ella, and Max.  Our car was in the shop (inspection), so we walked to their house.  It was HOT.  Luke had a great time on the roller coaster, Jace loved the cupcakes, and Luke discovered ketchup (he would dip a chicken nugget, lick it clean, and dip it again – over and over).  On our walk home, the kids convinced me to stop at the park.  And so we did.  They had a great time dropping sticks in the grate.  By this point, it was too late for Luke to nap.  So we filled up the pool and played, then had popsicles.  I sent Adam to Weis for dinner and he took Luke on the trike – and he fell asleep!  Oops.  After his 5 minute nap, he was energized and stayed up til 10pm.  Ridiculous.

Wednesday – we went to Klein Farm with Jorie, Jonathan, and Dylan.  Despite there being ice cream, friends, and a huge playground, Jace and Luke were all about the animals this time.  We spent over an hour by ourselves with the cows.  Afterwards, we watered our garden (check out our hibiscus tree!), played with water balloons, and had a snack.

Wednesday night was movie night at Steel Stacks.  We sat down with Heather, Cara, and Matt, but the movie (Kubo and the Two Strings) was fairly dark and had a lot of loud sounds.  Luke was NOT happy.  And neither was Cara.  Jace was just completely uninterested in watching a movie (as usual).  Sooooo, we spent the first half of the movie running around on the grass and the second half of the movie walking around on the trestle.  I think they’re cool pictures.  Then we headed home and looked for fireflies.  The kids did their goodnight hugs (a nightly event) and then it was off to bed.

Thursday – cherry picking!  Again!  There was a new variety of cherries available for picking – Emperor Francis – so we had to try them out.  Heather and Cara came cherry picking too, then we headed to another new park for a picnic lunch.  Luke fell asleep the second we got in the car to head home, so Jace and I got some solo playing time – and we “shared” a blue and red popsicle.  That evening we decided to walk to the pool.  Good plan.  I got the kids in suits, got our towels and snacks and toys, and loaded up the stroller.  When we got there, the pool was closed for a swim meet.  Sigh.  A lot of other people were turned away too – the website had the wrong date posted for the meet.  Oops.  Sooooo, we jumped into the car and went to Nazareth to check out their pool.  It was a 20 minute drive and Jace – the kid who never naps – fell asleep in the car at 6pm.  Crazy!  I woke him up and after about 2 minutes, he was ready to splash.  And so we splashed!  It’s a fun pool.

Friday – we needed a day to recover!  Ha!  After a low key morning with the PAW Patrol pups, Heather and Cara came over.  We played while Luke napped and Jace taught Cara all about color mixing.  Then it was an early bedtime for Luke and Jace and I got a chance to play some with Spack Rock(et).

Saturday – hot and sunny, so naturally we started the day with water….  We played with the hose, watered the garden, and filled up the pool.  That afternoon, our neighbor stopped by with a birthday present for Jace – a super awesome remote controlled dump truck!  Very fun.  He loves it.  Then we headed to Kohl’s to do some returns and buy Jace some bigger clothes (he grew since last summer – ha).  Jace was so funny at Kohl’s – in the first picture, he’s showing me the “statue of a booty!” and in the second picture he’s hiding from me.  He hid again after that, but he somehow shimmied himself underneath a clothing display.  I had the hardest time finding him and he came out sooooo dusty.  Sneaky guy.  After shopping we got Rita’s (delicious) and Luke made Jace laugh by climbing on the car.  Jace and I finished the day by playing more Space Rock(et) – in the dark with green stars!

Sunday – we started the day with the new dump truck toy, naturally.  Then we moved on to the Talking Ginger app on the iPad – both kids were laughing soooo hard!  Finally, I was worried we’d wake Adam, so we headed outside (with the kids still in jammies!).  I thought we’d play in the driveway.  Luke grabbed the lawn mower and took off.  Jace grabbed the tool kit and took off.  I asked where they were going and they looked at me, Jace said “cookie club”, and they turned and kept walking!  Luke walked all the way to Weis.  Pretty impressive.  They stopped along the way to rest under a tree, fix the road, and mow the Wungle (Weis-Jungle).  When we got to Weis, they both agreed to hang out in a shopping cart, so they ate cookies, talked to the lobsters, and made each other laugh the whole time.  Cute.  We spent the rest of the day just hanging out – spent some time on the deck, played in the sandbox, Jace stood next to his sunflower plants in the garden (planted from seeds in preschool!), Jace proved that you don’t need water in the pool to have fun, both kids played with the stomp rocket, and Adam and I finished the evening with cherry pie.  Fun!

And that picture-intensive post sums up the week.  I promise not to make a habit of posting a day-by-day with this many pictures.  We have plans for a mellow week this week, so we will see how THAT goes!  The kids really do have fun together outside in our yard.  I’m so lucky they have such a good time playing together!