Between Trips

We had a little less than two weeks between our trips.  Here’s what we did in those two weeks….

The kids got a tool bench, which they love, and they played “builders” a lot.

We chased a lot of bugs….  Swarms of ants are always fascinating.  And Roly Polys are great bugs to put in the bug kit.  After catching Roly Polys, the kids FaceTimed with Grandma and Grandpa to show off our new creatures.

I had a lot to do between trips, so I tried to get the kids to watch TV and play on iPads a bit.  Luke’s mildly interested in the iPad.  It’s more a novelty that he likes to play with intently for about 5 minutes.  But I can get a lot done in 5 minutes!

We played in a pool at Jack’s house.  And then played Coffee Shop with Ella and Baby Max (really fun!).

We attempted an IronPigs game, but as we were grabbing our shoes, Luke fell asleep on the couch.  We let him nap and headed to the game late, but Jace fell asleep in the car on the drive over.  Soooooo, we got Frostys and went home.  We’ll try to catch a game in early September.

The kids and I went on several walks/bike/trike rides.  And we explored the Wungle (Weis Jungle).  We visited the lobsters and said hi to some of the neighborhood dogs.

We had a lot of events over the past two weeks.  We went to National Night Out (Adam has most of the pictures, but I did have this one of the kids in the front of the cop car).  We went to Kids Workshop (really fun this month – it was a cool truck AND they had cupcakes!).  We went peach picking (again, Adam has most of the pictures….).  We went to PBS Story Time and gave TeleBear high fives.  We drained the battery to the car and had to wait for AAA to come rescue us (oops), then headed to Rita’s for a treat with Adam while the car idled/recharged.

We had fun at the house – and on the back deck.  The kids did several “car washes” for their construction vehicles (I think they just liked playing with the foam soap).  We had popsicles, Jace used his firetruck to rescue Astronauts Casey and Bailey, and the kids played with Alpha Bots and Optimus Prime on the driveway.

The kids love playing with my shoes.  The like to put on my boots and run around being “cowboys” – then they kick the boots off and see how far they can make them fly.  Ha!  We got a new stroller (since our current double stroller doesn’t fit in the car and our current single stroller caught on fire!).  The stroller seems great.  I left the box laying on the side on the floor and the kids were all over it.  I heard giggling and figured one of the kids was in the box.  Nope, BOTH kids were in the box!  It was funny.  The last two pictures in this group are Jace originals.  I love his artwork!   The first is jumbo chalk on the driveway.  The second is bath crayons on the shower wall!

We had some nice weather, so Adam played with the kids in the backyard.  They LOVED it.

Pictures of the pets!  The cats have been loving the stroller lately (sometimes it’s hard to figure out where one cat ends and the next starts).  And Cuervo’s such a pretty dog and he’s so happy outside in the yard!

And lastly, our plants!  Our herb garden is doing well.  Jace likes to open the window and pick little pieces of each herb for us to share as snack.  It’s fun.  We had a hail storm that filled my herb garden with ice and tore a bunch of holes in the sunflower leaves (so sad!), but things seem to have recovered.

AND CHECK OUT THESE SUNFLOWER PICTURES!  I’m so impressed with the sunflowers.  Jace planted these from seeds in preschool.  And now they’re 6′ tall!  They haven’t flowered yet, but they’re pretty close.  Adam has been sending us daily picture updates while we’re away.  Jace is so excited about his sunflowers.  As he should be.  They’re awesome!

Family Pictures

We got family pictures taken for the first time.  Yay!  The pictures turned out okay and the kids didn’t hate it.  We might try it again in a year or two.  For now, I’m excited to have a picture of the four of us!  Here are a few of the pictures we got from the photographer….

The four of us (and one of me and Adam):

Jace:

Luke:

The kids:

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the pictures!

Colorado and Cousins

We adventured to Colorado last week.  The trip started off with some excitement – we arrived at the airport in time to see our flight get cancelled – but Adam came back, picked us up, and took us home for a few hours.  Luke got a nap and Jace and I picked tomatoes and caught a huge cicada.  We headed back to the airport a few hours later, discovered the new play area at ABE, and boarded the plane.  The kids were adorable.  We played at another play area in Philadelphia, ate some pizza, then headed to Denver.  The kids were great on the airplane.  We landed really late at night, but the kids were still wide-awake and happy.  Kevin picked us up and the kids were asleep as soon as they got strapped into car seats!

The next morning we went to the zoo.  The highlights were feeding the giraffes and feeding the birds – and playing in the play area, of course!

We spent the rest of the afternoon playing at the park and playing in the backyard.  And Ronyn and Jace had a great time playing with Barbies during bath.

The next day we went to see Coffee Grandma.  Luke loved all the dogs (they have five!) and both kids had a great time tackling their Uncle Dane.

The next day, Auntie Mel took us to The North Pole.  So cool!  It’s a Christmas-themed amusement park – and there were no lines anywhere.  Perfect!  The kids loved the rides.  Luke could ride most rides with an adult, so that was fun.  And it turns out Jace has the stomach for the fast, spinning rides.  Good thing Uncle Dane was there, ’cause that is NOT my type of ride.  Jace even got Auntie Mel to ride the Ferris Wheel with us!  The only down part of the day was when the stroller caught on fire.  Yup.  Parked it next to a mirror while I changed Luke and the reflected sunlight got a bit hot….  Sigh.  But it was still a really fun day!

The next day we explored the backyard and watched Rescue Bots.

Then it was back to Aunt Kelly’s house for my time with the cousins.  They had a water balloon/squirt gun/hose fight….

They played with “catchable” bubbles….

They jumped on the trampoline, played t-ball, chased bugs (there’s a picture of Optimus Prime meeting a grasshopper), and played, played, played.  And played some more.

We spent a morning at the park, we went to the swimming pool one evening (no pics, oops), and we played at the playground in the mall.  Doing anything with that many people is just fun and chaotic and exciting.  My kids got so much attention!  There was always a cousin who wanted to play or someone to help Luke down the slide or take Jace up a big rock.  Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!

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We ate all our meals together.  And celebrated all the May/June/July birthdays – with birthday cake and candles and presents!

We got a chance to meet Baby Vince.  Luke was pretty excited about Vince, actually.  It was cute.

The kids did sand art, shrinky dinks, played with glow bracelets, and Luke had fun with the Hulk fists.

And of course, we attempted some group pictures….  It’s hard to get nine kids to look at the same place at the same time!  The picture of the four little boys is a little rough, but it’s the best of the 20+ pictures I took!  And Kelly and I remembered to get a picture together this time!

Next, we headed back to Coffee Grandma’s house for some movies, splashing in puddles, and making s’mores with Coffee Grandpa.  The kids ended the night by exploring Coffee Grandpa’s shed and playing together on the back deck.

The next morning, Coffee Grandpa took us up to Denver to catch our flight home.  The kids were adorable in the airports.  They both wanted to wear their backpacks all the time, they held hands a bunch, and they were both so excited about moving walkways.  We had a loooong layover in Charlotte (delays!) and the kids did great – and entertained everyone in the boarding area with their antics!  We finally made it back to Bethlehem and back to Adam.  It was good to be home!

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.