Happy 2015!

Well, hello there! I’m still here and I do love to share snippets of our life but it is a bit hard at times. You see screen time is a rarity for my children so I try very hard not to spend big chunks of time on the computer when they are awake. Then when they are asleep I am too exhausted or have more pressing matters to attend to that the blog gets pushed aside (again). I like having these memories to look back on so, (once again) I am going to try to get more pictures on here. We shall see if I can manage a weekly post this year. New years are all about dreaming big…

Soooo, the 2 big kids are out with their dad doing errands. Going to the dump, bank and Lowes to buy a toilet seat is extra special when you get dad time! So, while Lucas tears Jack’s room apart I am going to get some pictures on here. I left you off with our beach visit last time so here is the rest of September…

IMG_6413Ella was very curious about this Praying Mantis that was hanging out on our porch. She got right in it’s face. πŸ™‚

IMG_6421We visited Monticello with Seth’s parents to attend their Heritage Festival. It rained off and on the whole time but we all really enjoyed it. The kids got to pet some animals,

IMG_6422watch and participate in all kinds of trades and crafts,

IMG_6434the music was a big hit with Jack,

IMG_6440as was playing with the hoop.

Even Thomas Jefferson (see him in the background?!) said he was really good at the game!

IMG_6450He ran full speed ahead for a good long time!

IMG_6427Checking out the beautiful gardens was more our speed. πŸ™‚

IMG_6430Ella taking a break out of the rain.

IMG_6483We celebrated Lucas turning 1!

IMG_6494He is getting so big…12 teeth, taking steps but still prefers to crawl (fast), climbs on everything and loves putting anything inside of containers.

That little popper toy he is holding is so fun but one of the guys is missing and I’m really hoping he didn’t throw it away. Seth is constantly finding toys in his work boots!

IMG_6489He is still my little love bug but has recently turned into a daddy’s boy! Which makes Seth so very happy!

Oh wow, they still aren’t back so, here is October too…

My good friend, Rachel and her husband came for a visit sans kids and we had a wonderful time together! Who knows why I didn’t take a single picture while they were here…sigh. Next time, we agreed she needs to bring her kids so, they can entertain each other and we can have even more talking time. πŸ˜‰

IMG_6530We like to take nature walks in our back field.

IMG_6501Sometimes Jack finds a feather and this time he wanted to turn it into a pen. So, we got creative with some black paint!

IMG_6559He also built this motorcycle! Seth just helped him hammer in the nails.

IMG_6526Gak was a big hit again!

IMG_6565I found some like new Adidas sneakers in Ella’s size at Goodwill. Anyone who knows Ella knows she adores shoes so, waiting for them to dry after I washed them was a bit torturous. She just pulled up a chair and waited. πŸ˜‰

IMG_6584Super happy!

IMG_6591Jack turned my kitchen into a giant geoboard while I was getting everything ready to make applesauce.

Don’t get too attached to my beautiful (ahem) kitchen. Plans are in the works to make some improvements this year…I can’t wait!

IMG_6594Lucas is pretty excited about it too!

Well, my family is back with their Lowes purchases and some kitchen catalogs!

See you back here again sometime soon!

Outer Banks 2014

How about a beach post to warm ourselves up? It’s almost like I planned it this way, lol!

Our beach vacation this year was one of the best ones yet! We had great weather and a relaxing time. Here are some highlights… Be forewarned there are quite a few pictures but we love vacation memories…

Vacation Treats

IMG_6139Jack was pretty impressed with a truck that sells ice cream! I couldn’t pass up the nostalgic experience.

IMG_6140He already knows what he is going to pick next time!

IMG_6141Watching the hot, fresh donuts come out of the machine.

IMG_6143Those were good donuts!

No picture of our giant bag of Corolla Crunch popcorn but it is greatly missed and longed for…

Swimming

The pool was a little intimidating for the kids at first but after everyone got used to it, it quickly became a daily activity that everyone looked forward to.

IMG_6347My parents LOVE the pool and had some nice downtime when we weren’t out there with our rowdy crew!

IMG_6357A little Lucas loving

IMG_6150Our little mermaid

IMG_6309Grampy and Gammy got Lucas a birthday gift and we had a little pool party with locally made cupcakes.

IMG_6313He was a little hesitant but it quickly turned into this…

IMG_6321and this was just after a few licks! I’m afraid I took it away soon after.

IMG_6330It was a fun pool/birthday party!

Wright Brothers Museum

IMG_6186We have been wanting to go here ever since our firstΒ  OBX vacation and the timing was finally perfect to make it happen. A few weeks before we left we studied the Wright Brothers while homeschooling. Jack was very excited to see everything when we arrived.

IMG_6170Jack’s shirt says, ” Two wrongs don’t make a right but two Wrights make an airplane”.

IMG_6202Jack and Ella sitting on the replica

IMG_6208Lucas was as happy as can be on my back!

IMG_6228Here is a close up of the monument.

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IMG_6239Lucas decided to fall asleep probably 20 minutes before we left.

IMG_6245Walking back down from the monument was beautiful with views of the sea all around us.

We headed to a family owned pancake restaurant for lunch. It was delicious and may just become a new tradition.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

IMG_6263This was the one day with some rain that affected our plans a bit. We were going to do our 2nd annual breakfast on the beach but we opted for the van instead. You don’t get very many re-dos with little ones so, we just made the best of it.

IMG_6265My little hand holders!

IMG_6285We checked out the nice little nature museum nearby after the lighthouse. Jack decided to use some of his hard earned vacation money (from helping Seth put in new windows and do garden work) to make a a flattened penny with a lighthouse engraved on it. I think he was very impressed with all the gears and would have made many pennies if allowed. πŸ˜‰

The Beach

IMG_6361We came across this deserted masterpiece one morning and the kids had a lot of fun playing with it.

IMG_6362This girl was fearless. She would just run into the waves!

Someone always had to be holding her hand or she would get knocked down. She loved it but ,my goodness it was tiring! Thankfully, my parents gave us some kid free down time and we could relax as well. You guys are the best!

IMG_6391Pure joy

Hanging Out

IMG_6292Ella would find my mom’s shoes or bags and dress up during play time. This time she also used my mom’s empty Starbucks cup for a little caffeine fix. πŸ™‚

IMG_6303Sorry Dad, it was either this or the one of you in the hot tub!

We had a Facetime conversation with Megan in Bahrain. Maybe next vacation, Megan and Logan can really be with us here!

IMG_6255Sigh…the beach.

We miss you and the kids keep talking about you. Seth needs more Corolla Crunch. I need some more feet-in-the-pool-sipping-iced coffee while reading a good book.

Until next time…

June & July

Our summer consisted of gardening, playing inside and out, traveling and starting our first year of homeschooling! Here are some of the highlights for these months…

 

IMG_5601Our garden

It was a learning year and we will definitely be making some changes next year. We had problems with cabbage loopers and deer. Hopefully, next year our precautionary measures will keep them away.

IMG_5692Some of our first cucumbers (which we all LOVE)! Suyo Long and Edmondson varieties

IMG_5676The kids needed a break from the heat so they came inside for a bean snapping lesson. πŸ˜‰

IMG_5642Outside the kids used their imagination and came up with all kinds of games.

This one was collecting “garbage”…

IMG_5660a LOT of digging happened as well as making different things out of scrap wood.

IMG_5599We read outside.

IMG_5649When it was too hot to play outside we built forts,

IMG_5652read books for the library’s summer reading program,

IMG_5585and made lots of fun marble mazes (which I found at a garage sale for $1!).

Months 7 & 8

Sweet Lucas is getting so big! He is definitely sitting like a pro now and moves from sitting to crawling and back to sitting. He mostly army crawls but is starting to throw in some knee crawling here and there. He pulls up on things which has resulted in a few tumbles. He is brave, this one. He is adventurous too. He makes his way all around the first floor now and will come up and tickle my legs and feet when I am at the kitchen sink. He has found his voice with squeals and growls. He says mama. He is attempting to wave. Oh my, SO big. We love you little Lukey!

 

IMG_53247 Months

IMG_5336He’s a happy guy!

IMG_5263He is also pretty tolerant. πŸ˜‰

IMG_5343He really loves his brother and sister. He always lights up when he sees each of them in the morning.

IMG_5285He loves watching the kids play.

Can you just see his wheels turning?!

IMG_5374Going outside is fun but swinging is even better!

IMG_55148 Months

IMG_5560I’m very happy he isn’t disturbed by grass.

IMG_5524Such a big boy!

We love you Lucas!

The Long Winter ~ Part 2

Aren’t you impressed I am actually posting 2 days in a row?! That is a record for me lately.

IMG_5037Jack came up with a game that involves going camping and having a picnic. You may notice they have stones in their bowls. They love reading Stone Soup (we have read many versions from the library) and acting it out. One night for dinner, we made a real stone soup (or dump soup as Seth’s family calls it) and manna from a recipe in Jack’s devotional book.

Books and food are always winners with my kids!

IMG_4947Jack has an invention basket. Basically, it is full of trash treasures that can be turned into anything he wants to build at the time.

I helped him make a snow plow one day and he had a ton of fun plowing up the pom-poms. Those fuzzy balls have been so many play things!

IMG_5227Blocks are another item that get played with a LOT.

I have read articles on the benefits of block play. Children go through different stages as they play with them through the years. Ella was at the lining up stage until one day she created this out of the blue. She was pretty happy with herself! πŸ™‚

IMG_4959I wanted a moveable alphabet for Jack but I’m a bit too frugal to pay Montessori catalog prices. I bought these wooden letters instead at Michaels with a coupon. Jack had a lot of fun helping me punch them out of the sheets.

IMG_4965We had a big painting party!

IMG_5019I painted only 1 side to prevent him from facing the letters the wrong direction. He did a good job and I’m sure these will come in handy this upcoming Kindergarten year. By the way, I still can hardly believe we have reached the school years.

IMG_5157These kids are too cute!

They love books and singing so, why not combine them?! They were pretending they were in church. πŸ™‚

IMG_5031Seth has an amazing garden planned for us and he helped the kids plant some seeds. Our little plants are really growing and will be going outside soon!

IMG_5137We got outside as much as we could too. Jack has had fun with a pulley (like) system I rigged up for him.

I remember having all kinds of grand plans for my garage as a kid. I think it involved moving baskets that brought me things along a line of ropes…it never happened.

We have a vintage copy ofΒ Andrew Henry’s Meadow that belonged to my grandma. Andrew Henry has some pretty elaborate pulley inventions and amazing building skills .

I don’t know who loves it more, me or Jack? πŸ˜‰

IMG_5248Water play, inside and out, has been one of Ella’s favorite things to do. Many wardrobe changes have ensued but it has been totally worth it for the amount of time it has kept her busy!

So, there you have it. Some of the things that kept the kids busy this winter.

If nothing else, at least I will have these things documented for future ideas when I stand amongst the chaos that small kids can bring!

The Long Winter~ Part 1

I think we can safely say that spring is here now but it sure was a long winter. I was looking back on our winter pictures and I thought I would share some of the things that kept the kids busy during those long cold days. I actually have quite a few pictures so I will divide this up into two posts.

When they weren’t chasing each other around the house or riding the trike (yes, inside) we did some structured activities.IMG_4929Play-dough

We made our own too but I guess this wasn’t one of those days.

IMG_5021Coloring

IMG_5108Painting

I know you are saying, “Yawn, we know all about those crafty things. What else do you have for us?”

Well, let me tell you of an amazing craft that kept my kids busy for hours at a time. Seriously.

Homemade Gak!!!

IMG_5080Very fun stuff!

IMG_5077Stretchy, mess free (mostly) and endless possibilities.

IMG_5089Moms can even drink coffee and read in peace. Yes, please.

IMG_5217The 2nd time we made it we didn’t use food coloring and the kids colored it with markers instead.

IMG_5214They really enjoyed doing that. However, I would say they didn’t play with it as much and the Gak didn’t last as long.

Either way, stock up on Elmer’s glue at the back-to-school sales and make it…lots of it. πŸ™‚

IMG_5111The kids really enjoy sensory containers of beans or rice.

IMG_4426We gave our rice a rainbow makeover because who wants to look at boring white rice when the world outside is white…

IMG_4600Happy rice

Until next time…

 

Winter Days

On these cold days, we have been staying busy inside and out.

IMG_4814We built an egg carton bird feeder.

IMG_4841It is a little hard to see but a Tufted Titmouse was really enjoying it. We enjoyed seeing it up close!

IMG_4794Ella got theseΒ rainbow window blocks for Christmas. During the morning sun, we have fun building with them.

IMG_4798They are also fun for an impromptu game of peek-a-boo!

IMG_4797Funny girl πŸ™‚

IMG_4836We made a “wheel shop” one day out of our various sizes of cut logs.

IMG_4847When the snow came Jack had a great time shoveling and clearing the snow off of our vehicles.

IMG_4842I stayed inside to cuddle the little ones.

IMG_4876LOTS of books have been read…

IMG_4893My dad got the kids the High Five (Highlights) magazine for Christmas.

Last month’s issue talked about building a library. Jack really wanted to do that. So, we did!

IMG_4891Ella has a new found love of brushing her teeth.

IMG_4881Sweet baby boy

IMG_4882He has been laughing at us a lot lately!

IMG_4914Gammy got Jack this nice outfit for Christmas. He looked really handsome for church that day. πŸ™‚

Stay warm!

Β 

Jack’s 4th Birthday

On November 12th, Jack turned four! It has been such a joy to watch him grow. This year has been full of so many changes and he has handled them so well. He loves his family and is always looking out for his siblings. He loves vehicles (still), books, the library, blocks, instruments, the alphabet, playing and working outside and garbage trucks/workers!

We had a fun day together as a family on his birthday and then we celebrated with Seth’s parents later that week. Seth made him chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and he had mini cupcakes for his birthday treat. He wanted a “pink and plump and perfect cake” for dessert when his grandparents came. He got that from one of our favorite books The Seven Silly Eaters. Together we found a recipe for a strawberry white chocolate chip cake. It was pretty yummy and maybe even a little perfect for the birthday boy. πŸ˜‰

We got him someΒ outside yard tools, a container of rice with construction vehicles, aΒ construction vehicle puzzle and the long awaited traffic cones. Somehow he saw those cones almost a year ago in my closet and he hasn’t let me forget about them! Seth’s parents got him a wheelbarrow that he loves! My parents got him some nice (and needed) clothes, a book and game. My sister’s family got him a train set and a tent. The tent is still set up in his room and he and Ella have a blast in it!

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The birthday boy with his balloon (a birthday tradition).

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I found these vehicles at the Dollar Tree (shh, I saved 2 other ones for Christmas).

Yes, my kid was excited to get a big container of rice! He loves to dig in it. πŸ™‚

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The Cones!!!

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He really likes the magnetic crane. Good job finding a Brio train set at a garage sale Kari!

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The tent is lots of fun!

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He raked up leaves and…

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took wheelbarrow loads over to the garden.

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Happy Birthday Jack!

We love you!

We Are Still Here

Somehow a whole month got a way from me. Moving is hard. Being pregnant and having little kids that are adjusting to all the new changes is even harder. Thankfully, things are settling down a bit and we are falling into a new normal. I did take some pictures in my absence but truthfully not many. We have been doing repairs, picking strawberries, celebrating patriotic holidays, exploring our new surroundings and visiting with family. My mom came for over 2 weeks and even though I didn’t take a.single.photo the evidence of her being here is all around us. She hemmed curtains for the kid’s rooms and kitchen, made a cushion cover for the $3 highchair I found at a garage sale, made some really cute tissue paper flowers for Ella’s room and just kept me sane with all of her help. πŸ˜‰ Kari and Audree came to pick her up so we had a few days to visit and play with them as well.

The kids are growing and changing. Jack has started to call this house “home” instead of “the new house” so it seems to be sinking in. Ella is becoming more independent too. She said 3 new words just today and will climb on and in anything. She would still rather crawl than walk but has taken some steps and is becoming more confident. I’m pretty sure she will decide running is the way to go so I can wait… at least a little longer. πŸ™‚

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Jack enjoys driving his trucks on the front porch.

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Ella is banned from the front porch since all she wants to do is go up and down the cement steps out front.

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Jack drew his first person on Mother’s Day which I thought was a great gift. We called him “the muscle man”. πŸ™‚

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My talented husband built amazing shelves for the basement and took the time to let Jack help.

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Strawberry picking this year was a bit disappointing but we still got some yummy dessert and baked oatmeal from our efforts.

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Jack enjoyed the tractor ride more though.Β  He actually was a great help getting all the berries washed once we were home.

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My patriotic family!

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We have been exploring our pasture out back and enjoying the blackberries in granola and fruit salad.Β  The snakes and mosquitoes…not so much.

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We visited a new park and I’m sure we will be back. Especially since they have train rides on Saturdays and Sundays!

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Ella’s hair is getting long and curly! I think she was trying to tell me something the day she took a fork out of the dishwasher and started combing her hair with it.

We have since bought little Ariel some hair pretties!

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1 box+ dirty laundry= an excavator digging dirt and dumping it into a dump truck in Jack’s world!

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Ella decided pushing her stroller around the house was a much better use of time. πŸ™‚

So, that pretty much brings you up to date. Hopefully, I will be back before another month passes!

Out Like a Lion

As I sit here by the window, watching Jack play in yet another late winter/early spring snow, my spring fever is growing. We are starting to get over a nasty cold we caught from our play date. We have gone through at least 2 boxes of tissues. Ella seems to be taking it the worst. Her cold started off in her chest and is now in her head and boy does that girl not like anyone messing with her nose. On top of that, her molars have been coming in and morning naps are about to stop and she has been pretty miserable. March seems to be going out like a lion. Come on April!

On one of our recent bath days, I pulled out a bag of Easter eggs I got for 90% off after the holiday last year. I have big plans to have a Resurrection egg hunt (maybe next year) but until then they make great bath toys!

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Ella likes to splash!

ImageWe all like to watch the bubbles when we dunk them under the water and then watch them drain out when we lift them up.

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Jack likes to shoot them off his nose like this or throw them like grenades once his sister is out and getting dry!

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Peek-a-boo is always fun especially when she pronounces it “keek-a-boo”!

One of the best 20 cents I ever spent!