Friday, July 13, 2018

Water Balloons

When my kids told me they didn't know what to do with themselves yesterday I suggested they go outside and play with the water balloons. They didn't want to at first but when they couldn't think of anything better they decided to go on out.

I went out with them at first but I had a lot to do inside so after setting them up with the first batch of balloons I went inside to finish what I'd been working on. I was pleasantly surprised when I went back out to check on them and they had taken matters into their own hands and were filling up some more balloons to play with! It's so nice to have kids old enough to do some things on their own!

Swim Lessons

The kids finished their swim lessons this week and they were sad to see them come to an end. I feel like the lessons were great for them and that they both learned quite a bit in the eight short lessons they had. We will definitely keep lessons in mind for next summer as it's always a good idea to refresh their knowledge and keep up their skills.

Both kids began working on the freestyle and I was surprised at how well they did.

And Harper's group got to try the butterfly:

They also started working on diving from a kneeling position:

On their last day they had about 10 minutes of lessons and then they were able to play the rest of the time. Harper stayed in the 5 feet diving for toys with some classmates while Dakota dove for toys in the 3 foot area. 

Both kids had a great time and it was definitely worth every penny. Now I'll just have to help them work on those skills at our pool so that they don't forget them!

Celebrating Landon's 17th

July 10th marked Landon's 17th birthday. Why is it that 16 still sounds like a "kid" age while 17 seems so adult-ish?

Since we celebrated over the weekend with a trip to NinjaBe, his birthday was pretty low key. He got to sleep in (his most favorite thing in the world) and when he got up I gave him the gifts people had sent. He got some money and gift cards mostly, stuff people his age need and appreciate. The wood sunglasses were from Brandon, and he loves those.

That evening we let him choose a place to go to dinner and he picked The Olive Garden, one of his all time favorites. Mema met us there so she could give him his gift and we made sure to have the wait staff sing Happy Birthday to him despite his protests. I mean, if you go out to dinner on your birthday there really should be singing even if we are all way too full for dessert. 

When we got home and our food had settled a bit we baked some cinnamon rolls (something he loves), lit some candles and sang one more time for him. 

I sure love this kid. Happy 17th to my first son. 💓

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

NinjaBE for Landon's 17th

Since Landon's birthday falls on a Tuesday this year we decided to go out and do something fun with him on Sunday since he'd be off work. It's always tricky finding things we can all do as a family since the kids' ages are so far apart but we'd been thinking of trying NinjaBE and I thought Landon's birthday was a good enough reason to finally do it.

We went to lunch at Noodles and Company, one of Landon's favorites and then headed over to do some ninja training. For the five of us to use the facility for 90 minutes plus buy a pair of their (mandatory) socks it cost about $135.00, which isn't too bad when weighing the cost of a full on birthday party.

Our time was from 1:30 to 3 pm and it went by pretty quickly because there was a lot to do. I didn't end up trying anything because every station warned against trying it if you'd had a neck or spine injury. None of it seemed worth the risk of hurting my neck again so I just watched. (I just wish I'd have known that going in so I could have saved myself the money.)

The first stop was at the mechanical bulls:

Tony and Landon tried the thing in the next video several times throughout the time we were there but they never could do it. 

Tony, Landon and Harper were all able to get to the top of these vertical walls and Dakota tried several times. She just needs a little more speed. Unfortunately I missed the one time Harper made it to the top and he was too tired to make it again. 

I don't know what you call this but it was kind of funny to watch everyone try it!

This was the Shinobi zone and all four of them spent a long time here. 

This was also fun to watch because the conveyor belts were working against them as they raced to the top and then down the slides. I couldn't ever really tell who won but I think it was Landon and Harper.

Saturday Swim

To round out an already busy Saturday we went over to Tony's brother's house for a cook out and dip in their pool. With it only being about 78 degrees outside it was perfect for sitting NEXT to the pool but being in it was another story! The kids enjoyed swimming but once they got out they were freezing! They managed to have a really good time despite being cold though.

Chris grilled some chicken and Lori made an amazing baked potato salad and then we all had ice cream cones for dessert. It was delicious! Lori also picked up some beer and some Seagram's Escapes to try. The Seagram's flavor was Ocean City Crush and it was really good! So good in fact that I stopped by the liquor store on the way home to grab some more! 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Blandair Park Challenge Course

On our way home from the brewery on Saturday I remembered a cool playground (Blandair Park)I'd taken the kids to a long time ago and thought it'd be fun to let them play a little before heading home. As we approached the playground I could see it had changed since the last time we were there and when I pulled into the parking lot we saw what looked like an obstacle course. As soon as the kids saw it they were excited to give it a try, and off they went!

The challenge course is really meant for kids age 13 and up but my kids (and Tony) seemed to enjoy it anyways. After running the course a couple of times we got in the car to go find the other playground but the parking lot was so packed that I decided it wasn't worth it. I mean, if the parking lot is packed you can only imagine what the playground looked like! So, I promised them we'd go back sometime during the week when it'd hopefully be less busy. 

Haircuts and Pub Dog

Since we were already out on Saturday morning for Paws to Read we decided that we might as well go get some haircuts (Tony, Harper and Dakota) in preparation for our upcoming vacation. (Landon has to work 11-7 on Saturday.) Dakota got just a 1/2 inch off the bottom while Tony and Harper got their usual cuts.

Then Tony mentioned another brewery he wanted to try out in Columbia so we headed that way. 

When Tony told me it was a brewery and pizza place I was a bit skeptical about the pizza but figured we'd go ahead and give it a try. I'm so glad we did because the pizza was really good! (I'm not a beer drinker so I didn't care about that although Tony seemed happy with what he ordered!)

It was a gorgeous afternoon so we sat outside. Harper read a new library book while Dakota colored the pages they offered her.

I ordered the BBQ chicken pizza, Tony ordered the White pizza and the kids split a cheese pizza. They were all really tasty! 

With so many breweries popping up around here lately we have a lot of new places to try. Too bad I don't like beer! 

Paws to Read

Saturday morning the kids got a chance to participate in the Paws to Read program at our library. It's a chance for emerging readers to sit and read to "canine tutors". Harper and Dakota love dogs and when I told them about this they both wanted to do it, so I went ahead and signed them up. They had two dogs available that morning so both kids were able to read during the same time slot but to their own dog.

There was a very small older dog named Pipsqueak that Dakota read to and a larger, much younger dog named Pixie that Harper read to. Pipsqueak was totally relaxed and calm while Pixie was a bit more playful and curious. Both dogs were very well behaved though and very sweet. The dogs come from our local SPCA and are accompanied by their trainers while the kids read. There is also a sponsor from the library on hand to help out if the kids need it. Parents are asked to leave the room so as not to distract the kids or dogs so while the kid's read, Tony and I went upstairs to look around. Their session was only 15 minutes long and it blew by!

When we went back to get them we were allowed to take pictures of the kids with the dogs and both Harper and Dakota were a little disappointed at how quickly the time had passed. We spent a few minutes taking pictures and asking questions about the dogs before saying our goodbyes. The library is hosting this event again in August and I'm hoping I'll be able to snag them a spot again because they just loved it!

Dakota and Pipsqueak

Harper and Pixie

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fun Friday Afternoon

We have been so busy the past few weeks that today seemed like a good day to stay at home. Of course we weren't here all day (swim lessons, dinner & last minute vacation shopping) but a huge chunk of the afternoon was spent in the calm of the kitchen and dining room.

Harper wanted to try out some science experiments from a kit we have while Dakota wanted to try out a new pom pom maker toy she got for her birthday. It's kind of great that they are both so competent and can do a lot of the stuff on their own! I was available to help and did spend a lot of time going back and forth helping them out but it was great for them to read directions and do their best without me. 

Harper made "magic ooze" and when I decided to make this little video of it he could hardly answer my questions because he was so engaged with playing with it! He stood there playing with that stuff for a good 10 minutes before cleaning up and moving on to the next thing.

While he was sciencing Dakota was figuring out this pom pom maker she got for her birthday.

She made this really cute little key chain which is now dangling from her purse strap.

She also made this banner which is hanging from her bedroom door knob.

She made a bunch of pom pom flowers and wasn't sure what to do with them so I gave her a blank canvas which she painted and then adhered the flowers. I don't have a photo of the finished product but you can take my word that it turned out very cute!

What's Missing?

It's been a very eventful week for Harper and his baby teeth! He had a loose top tooth for a week or two and it finally got wiggly enough that he decided he'd had enough and he pulled it out on Tuesday. When he pulled it out there was a rather large blood clot left behind and he was simultaneously embarrassed and disgusted by it. He kept his top lip firmly tucked on top of his upper teeth when he was talking so that no one could see it and so that his tongue wouldn't accidentally brush against it. It was effective but made it kind of hard to understand what he was saying. I assured him that it would slowly shrink away and it was mostly gone the same afternoon. By midday on July 4th he was talking regularly and the blood clot was gone.

Fast forward to last night, July 5th. I was helping him out of the shower and we were talking and somehow, in some weird unfortunate accident, his other top tooth got hung on the ring I was wearing and when I moved my arm away, it nearly pulled his tooth out. That tooth wasn't wiggly, at all, and I know because just about 10 minutes before this happened I asked him to let me see if it was wiggly. I thought it might be a little loose since the other tooth wasn't next to it but when I checked there wasn't any wiggle. There was lots of crying and blood and the tooth was barely hanging on but it hurt too much for him to let me just help him pull it out. He went back to using his top lip to cover the painful tooth and spare us from seeing the hideous dangle. By some stroke of luck he didn't swallow it in his sleep.

He went all morning with his tooth aching (breakfast, swim lessons, playing at home) and lightly bleeding, poor kid. At lunch time I was joking around with him and told him that I bet if he pushed his tongue against the back of it while making a weird noise his tooth would pop out. I said it'd probably shoot across the room and you can only imagine our surprise when he did push on it with his tongue and it popped out! It didn't shoot across the room but it landed right on his tongue! He started to gag and then laugh and Dakota stood there with a look of horror on her face. I was thankful that it worked so that he'd be able to eat and talk normally again!

I forgot how absolutely adorable kids are when they're missing those two front teeth! Of course after I got the cute picture he had to do some silly one's as well...

That's his hand pulling his lip up like that, not mine!

So he's up to 4 lost baby teeth now. He's a bit behind his friends but I suppose if things keep going like they have been he'll catch up in no time. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

How We Spent our Fourth of July 2018

This is the third year we celebrated the 4th of July with our friends the Wakefield's. It's kind of cool to have this new tradition and even cooler to see how the kids change with each passing year. (Here we are in 2017 and 2016.) Zoe and Brandon were here again this year as well which is always nice!

We got started a bit earlier this year since we finally had nice weather and were able to go to the pool.  (Landon was at work because he wanted that holiday pay!) We all met up at the pool at three and stayed until the ribs were done in the smoker around 5 pm.

While perusing Pinterest Harper and I saw a cake that had sparklers on it and he begged me to make it for our holiday dessert. I didn't really want a cake but he was so excited about it that I relented. Plus it made things super simple since I just bought a cake mix, slapped some white frosting and red/white/blue sprinkles on it and called it a day! 

Zoe made a dessert too and I thought hers tasted way better than mine...she thought the opposite! Hers is brownies layered with whipped topping and then the strawberries and blueberries. It was really good!

After dessert we headed outside to do some sparklers and get photos before it got really dark. 

Dakota came out with this giant bow in her hair but quickly got tired of it so Brandon and Zoe took turns wearing it. I think Brandon liked it the most because he ended up wearing it most of the night. 

Dakota wasn't a big fan of the sparklers or firecrackers this year. 

When they were out of sparklers they set to work arranging their loot from smallest to largest. 

Water Balloons

When my kids told me they didn't know what to do with themselves yesterday I suggested they go outside and play with the water balloons....