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!

Father’s Day Weekend

We had a nice weekend!  On Saturday, we went back to the orchard to pick more cherries.  We flew through the 1.33 lbs of cherries we picked on Thursday, so on Saturday we picked 4.26 lbs.  We haven’t finished them, but we did put a pretty serious dent in the bag.  So yummy.  Plus, the whole orchard experience is really fun.

The trees didn’t have many cherries left on the tips of the lower branches (which is the only part Jace can reach on his own).  Next time, we’ll take a stepstool.  But for this trip, Jace solved the problem by climbing on Adam’s shoulders.  I liked all the facial expressions.

The next morning, Adam slept in while the kids and I played.  I told Jace it was Father’s Day.  He got soooo excited about taking Adam breakfast in bed.  I had planned to make cherry pancakes for breakfast, but Jace insisted on cherry pie.  So Jace, Luke, and I made cherry pie.  From our fresh cherries!  The kids were so cute.  I had a LOT of help.  With every single step.  The rolling pin was very popular.  Eventually, we had three 6″ cherry pies in the oven.  We toasted the extra pie dough, cut it into the shape of a heart, and drowned it in the extra cherry pie filling.  Jace was super excited to carry the plate up the stairs.

We walked into the room and he said, “Good morning, Daddy.  Happy Mother’s Day!”  Oops.  Adam said, “You mean Father’s Day.”  Jace stared at him blankly for a second, then said, “It was a joke.”  Good cover.  Ha.  He followed it up with, “We brought you a sharing pie!  Even you can have some of it!”  And so we all shared Adam’s breakfast in bed.

It was a low-key day.  We played on the deck, played with trucks, and went to Taco Bell for dinner (Adam’s choice!).  We finished the night with Menchies and then cherry pie.  Happy Father’s Day, Adam!

A Week of Fun

Last week was a big week!  Here are the highlights….

Saturday!  Gorgeous weather, so we headed to the farm to pick strawberries and peas.  Then we had popsicles (notice Jace’s blue tongue) and played outside with the stomp rocket (big hit!).

Sunday!  Apparently it was a low key day.  Luke gave the kitties a treat and went on a walk with the bubble lawn mower.

Spin, Spin, Spin – video
And the kids played in the spinning chair.  As always.

Monday!  We went to the Pop Jet Fountains at the outdoor mall.  So much fun!  Both kids had a great time running around in the water.  Not many pictures because I ended up soaked and couldn’t hang on to my phone.  Then they watched ants eat the crumbs from our picnic with friends.  On the walk back to the car, we found a painted rock.  It had a facebook group on the back – apparently painting and hiding rocks is a thing!  So we took the rock and we’re going to paint some and hide our own too.  Eventually.  The kids checked out every ant and flower on the walk back to the car.  Monday evening, Adam brought his work truck home so he could pick up a new lawn mower.  The kids thought the truck was awesome.  I know Luke looks like he’s falling over in the pictures, but he was just holding his arms up in the air (in triumph?).

An Amazing Trick – video
Jace showed off his spinning/jumping moves when we were getting into swimsuits for the Pop Jets – and requested I take a video.  So here it is!

Tuesday!  What a long day.  We played a tiny bit in the morning, then spent the ENTIRE day running errands.  DMV (new license – should have been a 10 minute stop but it took over 90 minutes), Social Security Office (to fix a typo – also should have been a 10 minute stop and also took over 90 minutes), the bank, returns, and more.  Not so fun, but the kids did great (look how cute they are in the chair at the bank!), though Luke did chew through the envelope that had all my important papers!  When we fiiiiinally got home, we headed to the park!

Wednesday!  We went to the park in the morning, had a picnic lunch, and went on a bike ride with friends (Jace led the way the whole time!).  We watched some ducks cross the street in front of us, did the Freeosk at Sam’s Club, and put decorative mushrooms in the garden.

Thursday!  The kids wore their boots on their hands for a while (“to be pups!”).  They were laughing soooo hard!  Then we went to the orchard to pick some cherries.  It was great weather, there were TONS of cherries on the trees, and we were the only ones out picking!  The three orchard attendants were great – they helped the kids reach cherries and listened to all of Jace’s stories.  After picking cherries, we played at Firetruck Park (for a long time!), had our picnic lunch, and headed home.  Then we went on a walk/bike ride to get food for dinner.  And we finished the evening with a plate of cherries.  Yummy!

Friday!  On Friday we went to Imagi Nation for Dino Day!  The kids used pipettes and hot water to “free” dinosaurs from chunks of ice, made dino-themed ice cream, played with the post office and with blocks, and spent a lot of time in the manufacturing room.

And THAT was our week!


Pinto Beans to IronPigs

June has been a big month already!  The amount of activities we’ve done in the past week is a little crazy….  But first, this post will cover the week and a half before our crazy last week!

Jace had his 4 year check up (he’s doing great) and both kids had their dental check ups.  Jace got x-rays (and did great) and Luke had his first dental exam (and hated it).  But both kids are healthy and have healthy teeth.  Hurray!  Jace’s new firetruck came to both appointments with us.  As did “creatures” (a spider and a tiny flying bug) that he found in the respective parking lots.  After both appointments, I asked the kids what they wanted to do as a treat afterwards.  The response?  Play in the car!  And so we did.

We got out the pinto beans.  What a mess!  Jace got a cement mixer for his birthday and needed something heavy to use in the drum.  Pompoms weren’t cutting it, so we opted for pinto beans.  And then our playroom was covered in pinto beans for several days.  Luke had a GREAT time throwing them around the house.  Jace had a great time rescuing the Paw Patrol pups from a pinto bean volcano.

The kids played with their giant piano – soooo much energy.

Jace showed off his handwriting (and spelling!), he and Adam cuddled up on the couch, the kids chased bubbles on the deck, they hung out on the couch together, they played with bubbles in the tub, and then they showed off matching tummies in their matching jammie shirts (?! I dunno, but Jace requested a picture!).

We spent an afternoon at Imagi Nation (and we were the only ones in the whole place!).

We had to take Cuervo for a check up, so we spent an afternoon next door at Chuck E. Cheese – with a preschool friend!

We had 20 minutes to burn before picking up Cuervo, so I thought we’d stop at the bank and order new checks.  Bad plan.  Poor Jace was running up the path to the door and tripped.  He caught himself with his hands, then tipped some more.  Owwwww.  Poor Jace!  We gave up on the checks and headed straight to Petsmart where we spent our 20 minutes staring at the fish.  Luke was entranced.  He would stare in silence and then SHRIEK in excitement.  So loud!

We checked out a new park with friends.  It has a “zipper” – you drag this suspended platform to the top of a little hill, then climb on and slide all the way to the other end.  Jace loved it!  There was also a kid-friendly culvert to explore.  Fun, fun.

Random pictures – a picture I forgot to post from the fishing tournament, Luke showing off his climbing skills (seriously, you turn around and he’ll be on top of the box of pinto beans on top of the table, sigh!), Jace knocked out his birthday thank you cards, Jace gave his pups check ups – and bandaids with their own pictures on them!, and we played in the sandbox with the trucks.

We tried Hello Fresh – and it’s really fun!  Adam cooked some super fancy and delicious meals for us.

We spent a loooong afternoon at the park.  Luke’s starting to get the hang of the slides.

Luke on the Slide – video

We spent another afternoon at a different park.

We went to a movie in the park at Steel Stacks.  It was fun!  It was the first movie for Jace.  We saw The Secret Life of Pets.  It started at 7:30pm.  Jace watched a decent amount of it, then ran around off to the side with his friend Cara.  It was great weather for a movie in the park.  And aren’t the kids cute in their camp chairs?!

And lastly – Jace and I went on a baseball date!  Baby Luke stayed home with Daddy and Jace and I went to the IronPigs game.  We shared all kinds of fun snacks, played catch on the grassy hill, watched Hambone win his first Pork Race of the season (“cheer for your favorite meat!”), sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and watched some fireworks.  Fun!

Fish and Butterflies

For his birthday, Jace got a cup of caterpillars.  It’s cooler than it sounds….  It came with a whole butterfly hatching kit.  We watched the caterpillars grow for a week or so (and you could actually see them growing over the course of a single day), then they formed their chrysalises, then 10 days later, they emerged as butterflies!  Here are some pictures.

The kids were pretty into it.  So were the cats….  We had one near-disaster when we left the newly emerged butterflies alone in the house.  Cody discovered them, pulled their entire “house” onto the floor, and sat on top of it.  No good!  Luckily, the butterflies seemed to have survived that encounter.  They lived in the guest room after that.  With the door closed.  The butterflies didn’t move much in the guest room, but as soon as we would take them outside to the sunshine, they’d flap their wings and fly all over the place!  That caught Claire’s attention, but we were there to keep her in line….!

The butterflies were SO active today, that Jace and I decided they probably wanted to be free.  So we released them “to the wild”.  Jace was adorable.  He said goodbye to all the butterflies, told them it was nice to meet them and he liked being their friend, and told them to enjoy “the wild”.  With plenty of anticipation, we unzipped the top of the butterfly house.  And…. Nothing happened.  Those butterflies didn’t move!  It took some coaxing, but eventually we got three of them to fly off on their adventure.  The other two took a LOT of coaxing.  Jace kept telling them to “prepare for take off” and then he’d do a countdown.  And nothing would happen.  Finally he started helping the butterflies out of their home with his fingers.  He actually got a butterfly to land on him for a little bit!  And eventually all of our butterflies made their way to the wild.

Here are FOUR butterfly videos.  They’re short.  And Jace’s dialogue is my favorite part.

Active Butterflies – video

Butterfly Pep Talk – video

Countdown to Take Off – video

Flying to the Wild! – video

As for the fish….  Last weekend Adam’s company had their annual kids fishing tournament.  This is the first year that Jace actually fished!  In years past, he’s had a great time throwing rocks and playing with his 2′ Spiderman fishing rod.  But this year, he had a real fishing rod (that he won last year) and real bait (nothing was biting with Power Bait, so Luke and I went to the bait shop for worms!).  For the first half of the tournament, the kids wandered around, threw rocks, found tons of creatures (they’re so into bugs!), “fished” for sodas for Grandpa (even though he’d flown back to Alaska a few days before), and ate a bunch of snacks.

For the second half of the tournament, Jace did some serious fishing.  AND HE CAUGHT TWO FISH!!!!  His first one was a Sun Fish.  His second was a 4″ trout.  He was so excited!

The kids both won tackle boxes and a football (Luke) and a soccer ball (Jace) during the prize drawing.  It was a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.  Here’s a short video of Jace catching his first fish.

Jace Caught a Fish – video

And here are pictures of Jace with his two fish!