Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pool Party

It was our turn to host the small group this month and somehow in-between a trip to Chicago and a trip to Florida we squeezed it in.

Luckily the weather cooperated and we were able to enjoy the pool.

Even the littlest of swimmers enjoyed the deep end with their floaties.  

I had to post this cute picture of Jamison.  I had sequestered him inside so I could snap a few pictures and this is the look he gave me.  So cute!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

More Chicago Fun!

As our trip to Chicago winded to a close, we wanted to take the kids to a playground for some group fun.  They had a good time there and while Jamison and Heming pretended they were big boys and tried doing everything the older boys could do.  

Wish I had known, Dani was hiding her face with Heming's!

Just to give you an idea how big our bedroom was.  you can see much of the floor space in front of our two queen beds.  On the opposing wall was a crib (converted to toddler bed), a desk, and a few book cases.  

We threw another mini-shower for our hosts.  It was nothing as elaborate as two years ago but we still wanted to give them some new stuff for the baby boy on the way.  

All five boys playing together, so sweet.

It was much cooler this year on our visit than in 2012, so there was no swimming in Lake Michigan.  The boys would have froze!  They turn blue in water less than 85-65 degrees.  We still took a walk along the waterfront one morning.

That wraps up our trip to Chicago.  A wonderful time, wonderful memories, and wonderful friends that allowed us to invade their home for a week.  We have started to make this an every-other-year tradition.  I'm not sure if we can stay away next year.  The boys are all growing up too fast!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Date Night!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this on the blog or not, but Derek and I have tried to have a date night once a month.  Sad to say, it has proved to be a challenge.

We take turns planning it and July was my month.  I was fortunate enough to have some built in baby sitters so we were able to get away one night after the kids were in bed.  We took a nighttime architectural river cruise.  Pictured above is the "corn cob building," one of my favs.  

It was much chillier than I would have expected, but we still had a good time.  I enjoyed listening to all the history of Chicago and the buildings we passed by.  What a special treat for an out-of-town date night.  Thanks Dani & Danny!

Brookfield Zoo

Today was the Brookfield Zoo.

We planned to take the train out to the zoo, but outbound trains didn't leave the city until 10:30 a.m. so we took a taxi.  I used a spare carseat for Jamison since I don't really like the boys riding without carseats, even though it's legal.

We were there right at 9 a.m. when the zoo opened and thanks to Dani, had free passes for this as well.  Since M & J were both under 3, our whole family got it for free.  We did have to pay for the dolphin show and the carousel ride, but it wasn't too pricey.

After seeing a few of the big cats, we headed to the seal/sea lion exhibit.  This was definitely a favorite.  There was one seal that was especially friendly and loved having the boys at his/her full attention.  I think we could have stayed at this one exhibit all day.

The seal would follow the boys along the tank and I love this upside down, open-mouth smile.

Just before lunch we headed in to the dolphin show.  It was a very good show.  Nothing like SeaWorld in terms of the elaborate music and dancing, but the dolphins sure did their share of tricks.  This was definitely worth the $4 (I think that's what we paid).  Below, a dolphin gets ready for a back-flip.

We had lunch and then Jamison and I headed into a remote walking trail to find a shady spot for a nap.  While he napped, the big boys (and Daddy) went exploring.  I missed out on a lot of the zoo, but that's okay.  Maybe another year.  

When I finally caught up with the boys, I was told I just HAD to go see the monkey exhibit.  I'm glad I did.  It was really well done.  I think it had sections for three different continents.  Very, very cool.  I hope we can visit the Brookfield Zoo again.  We really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Children's Museum x 3

The following are pictures from the Chicago Children's Museum on Navy Pier.

Overall, I really like this museum, but I do not like the fact that they no longer reciprocate memberships with other museums.  Somehow they think they are worth $14/person!  This adds up very quickly when there are six of you.  Luckily, Dani was able to get us free passes for a family of four and Jamison had not yet turned one (wink) so it only cost us $14 each time we visited (3 visits in two days).

The boys love trucks!

A favorite thing that the boys did this time was in the building area.  They had a blast constructing a fort with real tools and nuts/bolts.  I just had to keep my eye on Jamison with al the tiny pieces for him to swallow.  Luckily he is still using a binky (yeah, I know we need to work on that!) so it helped keep little parts out of his mouth.

Here's Brighton inside of the fort.  I think we spent the good part of one hour working on this before we dragged the boys away.  We were in this fort area again the next time we came too.  

Jamison is such a cutie pie!

Maverick's favorite thing to do was this climbing tunnel.  He wanted to do it again, and again, and Again!  The climbing tunnel had two parts, a longer, more challenging first stage, and a shorter second stage.  The big two started at the bottom right away (recommended for ages 5 and up).  Maverick did not want to go, so we walked up stairs to watch the big 2 finish.  Then I saw the second shorter stage that you could enter from the 2nd floor.  I told Maverick to give it a try and he was hooked.  He did that again and again and eventually got up the courage to go downstairs and try the entire course.  He was so proud of himself when he made it all the way!

After you finish all the tunnels, there is a series of bridges to cross.  You can see Maverick happily sprinting toward the finish.

One day there was also bubble play outside.

These crafts were an attempt to salvage an excursion planned that went bad.  The boys had really wanted to ride one of the six seater bikes, so we decided to give it a try.  Well Daddy forgot the rule on vacation that you never divulge our children's ages until you see how old/young they need to be.  Our children's ages are very flexible on vacation.  Apparently, you need to be two to sit in a child-size bike seat and Jamison couldn't ride.  I believe that the companies that make those seats recommend age ONE, and he's ridden in one plenty of times before....but I digress....

So it was a disappointing afternoon when I declared since Jamison (and therefore I) couldn't ride that nobody could.  We headed back to the Children's Museum for craft time and made the above "monsters"  The kids quickly got over it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chicago 2

As we continued our week in Chicago, we had to make sure we did all the "touristy" things like:

Splash in the Crown Fountains and visit the Bean.  

We even managed to take the whole gang out to dinner.  We walked to a nearby Thai restaurant "DAO" (also Derek's initials) and ordered way too much food and ate family style.  Jamison is not much for sitting at a table very long, so it was challenging to say the least.  Heming had never been out to a restaurant, so we did our best to make this happen, although I think Heming was better behaved than Jamison on this night!

On Monday of the week we headed to the Museum of Science & Industry.  We had never been to this one before since it's quite a way from the city.  It's probably good that we waited as this museum is a little more advanced for the preschool-set.  All the boys had a good time though and one of their favorite things was watching their toy tops get made.  It was really cool!  I wish I had a picture, but keeping up with all of them and Jamie while the assembly line machine did it's work was enough.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Welcome to Chicago!

I know I am WAY behind on the blog!!  With all the traveling we did in July, I am wiped out!

Here's a recap of the first major trip we did....Chicago!

Once again, my pen-pal, Dani and her husband, Danny hosted our family for a wonderful trip to Chicago.  To say we are grateful for their hospitality doesn't do it justice.  They are the nicest friends and the most gracious hosts you will ever meet.  

We stayed with them in their spacious (think over 2,000 sq feet) penthouse.  They have one son, Heming, and are expecting again this November.  

To begin our adventures we headed to Navy Pier where we rode the Ferris Wheel (pic 1) and also let the boys splash in the fountain (pic 2) clothes and all.  We walked to a nearby park and had a picnic lunch overlooking lake Michigan.  

When we weren't traveling all over Chicago visiting the museums, the boys had plenty of room to stretch their legs in the apartment.  There were many soccer games held in this room.  

Here's the kitchen with the spacious island that I took over with all the groceries that I bought for the week.  We lived on PB&J for lunch, but were always treated to a nice dinner.  

The big boys took up an entire row on the plane flying in to Chicago.  The day we arrived there were storms and we had to circle the airport for a while before landing.  Luckily we had left early and therefore were of of the 1st in "line" to land once the storms passed.  

Heming, who is about 3.5 months older than Jamison was adorable.  He took a shine to me right away, and who could resist?  I think he loved the chaos my family brought into his life and all the toys we left him too!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Chick-Fil-A Day

Chick-Fil-A is about the only "fast" food that I tolerate on a somewhat regular basis.  The other place that has "happy meals" is only for when we are out of town and there is nowhere within a 30 mile radius that will suffice.

Since we were headed out of town for a week and had to leave at 5 a.m. the next day it was rather convenient that the dress up like a cow and get free Chick-Fil-A day was the day before we left.

Did I mention that the kids and I did this for both lunch and dinner??

Yes, I managed all 4 at a crazy, busy, place solo for lunch and then daddy joined us for dinner.

I felt sorry for all the people that came to Chick-Fil-A not dressed up and actually had to pay for their food.  Not to mention wait in the longer than usual lines.  Can't wait till next year.

Oh, and since I was solo at lunch, there were no pictures to prove it, so Daddy snapped this one at dinner.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Yes, it's that time again....

Granddaddy Bob got a new car.

The boys can't wait to go crusin in this "boat".

Let's just get some working seat belts in the back, okay?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th!

For the 2nd year in a row we were at home for the 4th of July.  

My friend, Jill let me know about this fun parade for kids in Wake Forest.  Basically kids decorate their bikes/wagons/scooters and walk in a parade through Wake Forest ending at a local playground.  It sounded like fun and something to do, so we decided to go.

The line up began at 10:00, with the parade starting at 10:30.  We got there early enough, but in hindsight it would have been better to park closer to the end of the parade route (not the beginning).  We'll know for next time...

Maverick rode his bike for about 1/4 of the time and then got in the wagon and so I had to carry it.  Luckily, it had no pedals and it pretty light.  We had also stopped and picked up some dum-dums for me to toss to the kids along the parade route.  That was definitely worth it.  I loved seeing the kids' faces light up as I would toss the candy out.

There was quite a crowd participating in the parade, but they did space out the groups, so it wasn't too bad.  I hadn't been in downtown Wake Forest in ages, and it brought back memories of going to my grandparents' house in Nashville (before 540 and 64 connected we'd drive through 98 in Wake Forest)

After the parade we treated the boys to snow cones and then watched a few tug-of-war games before heading home.  On a whim, I made this cake.  I thought it turned out pretty good and the boys loved it, which was the whole purpose in making it.

We put Jamison to bed like normal at 7:30 p.m. and for a treat, let the big 3 stay up watching a movie until it gets dark and then we'll light up some fireworks.  Yes, that's right, our kids all go to bed by 7:30 p.m.  Sometimes I feel like we are the only ones that do this, but I go to bed pretty early myself and Mommy and Daddy need some adult time :)

I'm sure the fireworks will be a hit!

Happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tiger Cub

Today the Cub Scout Pack had their rank advancement celebration.

I'm incredibly proud of all the hard work that Derek has put into running this group.  It was a great first year and there was a lot learned and ways to improve that will make the next year even better.  Derek presented all the Tiger Cubs with their rank badges (and some belt loops too).

Derek then talked about all of the leaders and let them present the rank advancements to their boys.

Afterwards we posed for a family picture.

The banquet also featured a catered dinner from Dickies BBQ.  Yum, yum!