Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cardboard Box Morning

I had a few deliveries yesterday and instead of tossing the boxes, we decided to make something with them today. Harper and I looked for some ideas on the WWW and he and I settled on making a pet home.

The red and blue on top is duct tape and Harper came up with the idea to make the stripes. Dakota wanted the triangle door and Harper suggested the windows and the toilet paper tube chimney....I just did what they asked. We found a little blanket and pillow to put inside and both kids grabbed a stuffed toy to play with, Harper chose a baby seal and Dakota picked a little elephant. 

While they played I went downstairs and found some lights to add and then Dakota ended up dragging her entire kitchen set over and we draped the lights over it as well. Then, they played.

They played in there until lunch time and got along nicely. After lunch, Landon was sweet and played with them a bit. (No pictures because he'd have been mad and quit playing.) Dakota asked him to be her baby, and he went along with it and just made her day! It was cute listening to them play and he was really nice about it instead of picking on her like he usually does. It was also a great way to sneak in a little alone time with Harper (we read a few books he picked out). 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer’s Here!

I’ve been keeping the kids pretty busy now that schools out. The only downside to keeping them busy is wearing myself out every day!

Last week we got to meet up with some preschool friends for an open play time at Rolly Pollies. Since my kids no longer attend the classes there, they were super excited to go back and play.



One of the little girls that will be in Dakota’s class this fall was there and they played together really nicely. Harper, of course, was happy to play with everyone, whether he knew them or not! Their personalities are SO different!

Landon had his last day of school on the 18th, and man was he happy to be finished with 8th grade. It’s wild that he’ll be going to high school in the fall!


We’ve been making an effort to go to the pool every day and the kids are loving that. We usually go when Tony gets home and stay until it’s time to head home for dinner, so we’re there about an hour and a half to two hours. Sometimes our plans are thwarted by passing thunderstorms, but we do try to get down there at least once a day.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Blue Hair Don't Care

Landon asked me a few weeks ago if he could dye his hair for the last week of school. Originally he wanted "hulk" green, but when we got to the store yesterday he found a blue he liked better.

I'll admit that while his hair looks really blue in the above picture (I used a filter), it doesn't so much in real life. In real life it had a blue tint to it and looked more gray and dull than anything else. He seemed okay with it though, and that's all that really matters anyways. He's got tomorrow and Thursday and then he's finally done with school for the year. It seems impossible that he'll be heading to high school in the fall.

The two youngun's and I hung out here at the house all day today. We played Lego's and tea party and dress up in the basement. We put dinner in the crock pot, watched cartoons and chased eachother around the living room. Harper pretended to be a super hero and Dakota pretended to be my mommy. Dakota buckled me up in my car seat and Harper shot us all off to the moon. Imagination is not a problem in my house...we have tons and we know how to use it.

I saw the cutest project on Pinterest the other day and knew right away it was one I would do with the kids. They LOVE the song "Going on a Bear Hunt" and we make up all kinds of versions when we're in the car. We've swapped the bear for a ghost and a goat and gone on adventures through haunted houses and farms. It's a great way to kill time in the car and they just can't get enough of it.

Well, the project I found on Pinterest centered around the original song lyrics and we got busy making a bear hunt map.

We made swishy, swishy grass. We made a dark, cold river. We made icky, gicky mud, tall trees in a forest, a cold snowstorm and a cave with the bear inside.

Harper's Bear Hunt Map

While this project might not look like anything major, I would have to say that it was one that they really enjoyed. They were so involved in each step and sat happily putting their maps together for about 1/2 an hour. Harper loves that there is a door on the cave and Dakota really liked making the mud,
Dakota's Bear Hunt Map

After our art project they wanted to play at the table so I grabbed an alphabet puzzle and had Harper hide all the pieces under some "water" and then Dakota had to find them to put her puzzle together. 

While Dakota was busy fishing for letters Harper worked on a workbook I got him last summer. It was nearly finished but we found a few pages to complete. He completed the book today and he's ready for the next one...

I went upstairs to fold some laundry and when I checked on them I found them like this:

He's "reading" her his super hero book. They were looking over the pages and he was telling her all about Iron Man. She looks really interested in the photo above, and I suppose she probably was for a few minutes, but apparently she really wanted to play puppy.

Before bath tonight we all went out in the back yard to check on the garden. I was surprised to find the green beans were ready to be picked! 

Guess we'll be having green beans with dinner tomorrow! :)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Celebrating 15 Years

Tony and I went out to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary tonight. Usually Tony takes the lead and books a table somewhere, but when he asked me if I wanted to go to Bonefish Grill, I told him I'd rather try Cantler's in Annapolis. He looked into making reservations but their site only allowed reservations for parties of 10 or more.

This restaurant is definitely off the beaten path. To get to it you drive through all kinds of different neighborhoods on winding roads that just seem to go on forever. As we rounded a corner to the restaurant we noticed a guy standing in the road talking to the cars ahead of us. We pulled up and he told us that the parking lots for the place were full and that we'd have to just wait in the car line until a parking spot opened up. I was a bit surprised that there was such a wait as early as it was but we decided to wait and see what happened. The guy suggested that one of us get out and walk up to the restaurant to put our name down and get a buzzer...and since Tony was driving that meant me. :)

I walked up and there was another line just to get in the door to get your name on the list for a table. It didn't take long, but when I asked how long the wait was she said it would be about an hour! I texted Tony because I wasn't sure he'd want to wait that long but in the end we decided we'd wait because we wouldn't be able to get anywhere else much quicker anyways since we'd driven so far out of the way...and there was nowhere for him to turn the van around with the narrow roads and people milling about all over the place.

We ended up only waiting about half an hour and then we were seated outside. It was in the 90's so it was quite warm outside, but under the covered portion of the deck it was decent. All of the seating is at picnic tables and we were plopped down right between two other parties. Our waiter came over and put some brown paper on our table, gave us a pitcher of water and took our order: a dozen medium male crabs ($50) and an order of their crab dip ($15). Tony also ordered a Sam Adams Summer Ale and I had to laugh a little when they brought him a can of beer and a little clear plastic cup! He's so used to either having draft or bottled beer that it was funny to see him get a can. We also ended up trying a Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy because the waiter accidentally brought Tony the wrong beer when he asked for another. I liked the shandy though because it really tasted like lemonade with some beer in it!

We only waited a few minutes before a woman came out of the indoor dining area carrying a tray of crabs meant for us. She had them on what resembled a school lunch tray and when we confirmed that we'd ordered a dozen mediums, she tilted the tray and dumped all the crabs right in the middle of our table.

It's been quite awhile since I've eaten crabs and it took me a minute to remember how to pick them, but I got the hang of it quickly and wow were they good! I kept finding the broken off claws and picking the meat out of them because they're much easier than pulling the meat from the crabs and the claws don't have any of that special dipping sauce that the body comes with! :) I think Tony ended up eating 8 crabs to my 4. He's a faster picker than me and I was too busy eating the crab dip! Let me tell you, if you ever go to Cantler's, make sure you order that dip! It was delicious!

It was nice being able to sit outside to eat and our view was lovely:

I thought it was super cool that some people were docking their boats right outside and walking up to the restaurant for dinner. 

I'd totally recommend this place to anyone looking for a good place to get dinner. They offer more than just crabs but I'm not sure why anyone would order anything but that. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Monday Bowling

We headed to the bowling alley Monday morning to use our summer bowling passes. We met up with Harper's friend Colin, his little brother Wyatt and their mom, Lisa. The kids had a GREAT time bowling so I'm thinking that I'll try to get them there once a week. It's a great way to kill a few hours away from the heat and it's free so that makes it even better!

Dakota was little miss independent, as usual, and wouldn't let anyone help her hold the ball or bowl. She even got the ball for Wyatt when it was his turn to bowl. (Wyatt is turning 2 next week so they're about a year apart. Dakota just loves him because he seems like a baby to her and we all know how much she LOVES babies!)

Harper bowled a 107 on his second game! He used a ramp and gutter guards but still! :) He had so much fun bowling and it was even better that his buddy Colin was there. They cheered each other on and kept an eye on who was in the lead. It was fun listening to them!

I thought the kids would take much longer bowling two games than they actually did. We got there around 9:30 am and they were done before 11. We decided to go to a nearby park to let them run around and play a bit. Harper and Dakota's favorite part of going to that playground was running up and down the hill. Harper must have done it a dozen times.

When they were good and worn out we packed up and headed home. It was probably one of the quietest car rides ever...I guess they were worn out! :) 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Graduate Photo Shoot

The day before Zoe's graduation she drove down so we could decorate her cap. Since she was here anyways I thought it'd be fun to get some pictures of her in her cap and, off we went!

I'm so glad we made the time to go out and get these pictures! It's kind of funny too because we went and took these pictures in the morning and later that afternoon we both went and got haircuts so here she has long hair but for her actual ceremony her hair was short. She's cute either way! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Jaron's Big Day

When Zoe graduated high school I decided then and there that I wasn't going to miss my nephews graduation. I missed my sisters college graduation, my brothers high school graduation as well as Kiersten's high school & college graduation. I've regretted missing those important moments and I was not about to miss Jaron's big day! I knew I'd probably have to go alone and I was prepared to do that if I had to, and it ended up being exactly what happened. (Landon's still in school, Zoe and Tony had work and I didn't think the little kids would enjoy such a quick trip centered around a boring albeit important event.)

I flew out of BWI on a Sunday evening. Tony dropped me off at the airport around 3:30 pm for a 5:40 pm flight because the kids were going crazy and I was super nervous about leaving them. The first thing I looked at upon entering the airport was the flight status board and I was surprised to see that my flight had been two hours. I wanted to call Tony and tell him to come back and get me, but after having to walk away from my crying baby girl, I couldn't. So, I sucked it up and went about my business. I filled the time reading The Maze Runner, had some dinner and then read a little more until we were finally able to board the plane. Once we were all seated we were told we were going to sit for another 10 minutes or so while maintenance did some work...that 10 minutes turned into 40 minutes and we were all getting a bit antsy. Finally, we began taxiing down the runway, but as we got close to taking off, the stewardess got back on the intercom and said that the control center said we'd have to wait another 12 minutes (give or take) until we could take off. Grrr!

I finally arrived at Charlotte, NC airport around 9:45 pm or so. My mom and sister were able to find me pretty easily and then we were off to their house...but not until after we'd stopped to grab a bite to eat at Zaxby's! :)

We didn't have any exact plans for while I was there except to attend the graduation, of course, so my mom and I just made up the day as we went along. Monday we met LaTisha and Jaron for a little shopping and lunch and then we headed to our favorite shopping spot, Carolina Pottery. That evening we went to a Mexican restaurant that's near their house (San Jose) and then called it a night.

Tuesday we were up bright and early to go to Jaron's 8am ceremony. We were supposed to be there an hour early which meant a very early rise and shine for all of us. We left the house around 6:40 am and arrived at the stadium a little after 7. The ceremony only lasted about an hour and it was really nice. Nearly all the speakers were graduates and there was one boy who sang (HE WAS AWESOME) and a girl who played an Alicia Keys song on the piano. Then, all 200+ names were called and the thing was done. Poor Tisha sniffed her way through the whole ordeal, but I know she was incredibly proud of her boy...we all are.



We parted ways for the afternoon but all met up again that evening for dinner at The Melting Pot, Jaron's choice. It was a really nice dinner and we had a good time chatting and eating.

My flight home was originally scheduled to leave at 7:10 am. I don't know what the hell I was thinking when I booked that flight, but Tuesday night we got online and changed it to the flight leaving later that evening. My new flight time was 7:40 pm arriving at BWI around 9 something...but, as luck would have it, my flight was delayed. It was only delayed by half an hour this time, but I was feeling pretty anxious to get home.

It was a quick trip but I'm still very happy that I was able to go. I know my two little kids wouldn't have enjoyed the trip since all we did was run around so I'm glad they didn't have to go...but I sure did miss them!

That wraps up the graduations for this year. Next year Lauren graduated high school and after that it'll be 3 years until Landon graduates. I can't even begin to imagine how much will change between now and then, so I won't. I'm just going to take these days one at a time and enjoy them as much as possible.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Art Fest Annapolis

Every first Sunday of the month, Annapolis holds an art fest. Tony reminded me of it yesterday and I knew the weather was going to be nice so I thought we should all go. 

There are several local craft people out selling their goodies and you just never know what you might find. I saw some of the coolest stuff...and I got some pictures...

These were mosaics created from glass that a guy had leftover in his basement from his old job of making stained glass windows for peoples homes! What a job, right? He said he traveled to Italy and learned all about glass making and when he got home he had an epiphany and thought what better way to use his left over glass than to make gorgeous mosaics! I only got this one picture from his stall, but everything in there was gorgeous.

The rugs in the picture below are all woven from recycled plastics. Pretty neat, huh?

This was just one of those awesome things I saw and thought I could duplicate. Wood, paint, sea stars...

This also looks like it could be reproduced pretty easily, and I just love how it looks!

I loved these wreaths the last time I saw them but they are quite pricey. They're made from sea glass found on our beaches. 

I really loved this artwork. The lady who made it told me all about how she created it. She used an old screwdriver for the butterfly body and the wings she drew then cut out. The flowers were made using an old window screen and beautiful and unique! I'd love to try making something like this!

I asked Dakota which piece she liked and she picked the one below. She said she was the little girl and I was the mommy in the picture. I love how the footprints are hearts in the sand. I wish I'd bought it now. 

I thought these ocean life silhouettes were awesome. The dark silhouette is just mounted to light paper and then little shells, seaweed and related drawings fill in the surrounding paper. It's a simple concept but they are really neat! 

After lots of walking and browsing the kids started asking about lunch so we headed over to Chick & Ruths Delly.  It wasn't as good this time as the last and next time we're downtown we're definitely trying a Mexican place that we walked by because the food looked AMAZING! 

Harper's Pre-K Graduation

A week after Zoe graduated college, Harper graduated preschool. It's really wild that he's already finished two years of preschool and is heading to Kindergarten in the fall. I'm sooo not ready.

The morning of Harper's graduation started like any other preschool morning, but Tony and Landon stayed home so that they could attend his ceremony. Harper was to be at school by 9:30 so that he'd have plenty of time to get his picture taken and have a little play time with his friends before the ceremony began at 11am. I had planned to drive him to school, stop at the store and then go back home to get everyone, but things didn't quite work out as planned. Once I told Dakota that I was taking Harper to school she freaked out and wanted to go with us instead of staying home with Tony and Landon. (She wasn't dressed or anything but she raised a stink and I decided it'd just be easier to take her with me than leave her home screaming.) So, I dressed her quickly and we bolted out the door. As soon as we got to the school Harper started crying and saying he didn't want to go. I walked him in and showed him what was going on and did my best to ease his fears but nothing I did worked. He just kept crying and carrying on and hanging onto my arm begging to go home. He was making quite a scene so I brought him into the bathroom to wait for him to calm down, but that didn't work either...

Finally, after 20 minutes, I'd had enough and realized I wouldn't have time to go to the store before going home to get Tony and Landon so I passed Harper off to his teacher and off I went. Dakota and I dashed home so that I could fix her hair and grab something to eat before heading back to the school. We made it back with time to spare and almost immediately after I walked in a couple of the other mom's assured me that as soon as I'd left he'd been fine. Of course.
The kids marched in to the traditional pomp and circumstance (Harper was smiling like nothing had ever happened) and took their seats up front without incident. There were a couple very short speeches (the president of our school wrote the sweetest poem for them!) and then the kids sang us some of their favorite songs from the year. After the songs they were handed their "diplomas" and we were given a second to get a picture of our grad with his/her teacher and that was that. The school provided a nice cake for the occasion and we parents supplied the other finger foods and desserts. It was a really nice little ceremony and I'm sure glad Harper was able to get it together and sing the songs, because it really was the best part!
And, with that, preschool is officially over for my little guy.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Our First College Graduate

On May 20th, Zoe walked across the stage at Towson University and became our first COLLEGE graduate. It's bizarre that she's already finished her first leg of college when it feels like she just graduated high school yesterday.

We couldn't believe it when she told us she only got 4 tickets for graduation. Four tickets wasn't even enough for just us since we're a family of 6! On May 11th the school released unused tickets and Zoe was able to log on to the site and secure 4 more tickets which brought us up to 8. And then, a few days later she was able to get a few more and everyone that was able to go got a ticket. There were 10 of us that went in total: Myself, Tony, Landon, Harper, Dakota, Brandon, Meme, Papa, Mema, and Umpa.

Can you spot her down there? She's in the very last row, 5th from the left corner. She's partially hidden behind the guy standing in front of her, but if you look closely you can see her (blurry hands) clapping and smiling! :)

We got there early enough that we were able to get center seats but unfortunately the seats we picked were directly under a fan that was blowing air in from Antarctica. We were FREEZING the entire time and it wasn't a warm day outside either so there wasn't any relief. We sat through it and suffered though so that we could cheer Zoe on as she crossed the stage. After about an hour and a half listening to various administrators give their speeches and words of wisdom and encouragement, they finally started calling out the graduates names. Zoe was very close to the end with only about 15 people behind her so we had quite a long wait...

When the ceremony ended we all went out into the courtyard to find our graduates. There were so many people out there it was nearly impossible to find Zoe, but after a bit of a search and rescue mission, we found her. And then we took tons of pictures...

One graduation down, two to go...

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....