Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eco Adventure

A friend of Harper’s invited him to a place called Eco Adventure today. We had wanted to go a few weeks ago but because no one else had called to register for that particular day, it had been cancelled. So, this play date was the perfect opportunity for us to try this place out.

It was a cool place with lots of animals to look at and lots of little play areas to explore. There was a room for arts and crafts type activities  and then another larger room for active play. There were costumes to dress up in, little animals to take care of, balls to bounce, books, puzzles, play dough, and a sand box. The larger activity room was nice because there was lots of room for the kids to run around and use their imagination. The playtime was from 10:30-12pm and it took Dakota nearly the first hour to get comfortable enough to play…and then, of course, she didn’t want to leave.

Harper had a wonderful time playing with his friend (and the other kids that were there!) and I got to chat with his friends mom which is always nice.

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I think Dakota’s favorite thing to do was play with a little stuffed puppy. It came with a crate and a bunch of dog necessities. She sat on my lap and took care of the puppy for a long time before I asked her if we could try something else.

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Harper and his friends played with the puppets for a long time. They weren’t using them as puppets but as creatures that were attacking each other. Lots of running and falling down and laughing.

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After awhile they called all of the kids into the main room to see some animals up close. They got to see and touch a toad, a baby alligator and a snake. The lady even put the toad onto the carpet and tried to get it to eat a worm in front of the kids, but the toad just kind of played with the worm as the worm tried to escape. The toad never did eat the worm.

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After learning all about the snake, alligator and toad, it was back to play time.

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We had a really good morning and as we were leaving both kids asked if we could go back again another time. At $10 per kid it’s not something we’ll do weekly or anything, but I know we’ll definitely go back!

Go Kiddo’s, Go!

The two babes are playing together in basement this morning, happily and quietly, so I’m taking the opportunity to blog. Go me! I know this peaceful playing won’t last forever though, so no deep thoughts today!

  • Potty training is such a big deal when you’re a parent. It doesn’t matter which number child it is, it’s always such an accomplishment on the part of the parents and child when it’s a done deal…and, it looks like I’ve just potty trained my last baby. I decided that the winter break would be a good time to start, so we did and she’s done really well with the whole thing. She immediately got the potty part, but the pooping part took some work. At first we used a pull up just for when she had to go poop, but then I decided no pull up whatsoever (except bedtime) and we had some messy situations, but now, she tells me when she has to go and she goes. It’s so nice not having to change diapers, but it sure is a huge milestone that makes me a bit sad because it signifies my baby is now a big girl. Go Kota, go!
  • Harper is growing by leaps and bounds as well. He does things now that were really hard a year ago. He dresses himself, helps me with folding laundry, helps to take care of Ginger (our dog), follows the directions to build Lego creations on his own, practices writing his letters on his own and so much more. Last week, when it was my turn to put him to bed (Tony and I switch kids each night) I decided we’d play a game. Ever since that night, we play a card game or board game before bed and he really looks forward to the one on one time. It amazes me how big he is and how far he’s come in the past year. Go Harper, go!
  • Landon handed me a course selection sheet for next year. A course selection sheet for HIGH SCHOOL! I played it cool in front of him, but inside, I winced a little. That boy has grown so much in the past year, it’s crazy. He’s taller than I am and he’s become interested in working out, so he really looks like a young man versus a kid…and he’s only 13. He still struggles with school, but he’s doing better now than before, so we take what we can get. His attitude about school is poor, but we keep working with him and we are attempting to teach him a little about work ethic along the way. He’s still really into dub step type music and I still catch him practicing his dance moves here and there. He’s, of course, still into video games and is beginning to get into texting with his friends every once in awhile. He’s really a super cool kid. Go Landon, go!
  • Zoe started her last semester of college on Tuesday. You heard that right, last semester of college. She’ll be graduating this May! It’s so weird. Since she just started classes she doesn’t have a whole lot to say about them yet, but she’s only going Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this semester, so she has lots of off time, which will be good for work and/or studying. The catering business is at a standstill right now, but hopefully it’ll pick back up soon when the weather warms a bit. Go Zoe, go!

That’s a pretty decent update on the kids, but I really need to jot down more about what the two youngest are up to since they are going through all those super important milestones right now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Project Life, Weeks 24-26

As promised, here are a few weeks of Project Life that I’ve completed.

Week 24

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Week 25

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Week 26

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I just printed out pictures for the last week in June and then I’ll try to get July done just as quickly. Fingers crossed that I can keep up this momentum!

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Day at Home

The kids are out of school today and tomorrow because of the high school’s testing schedule. The high schoolers had their mid-terms last week on Tuesday through Friday, then the teachers need time to grade all of those tests so they have off today and tomorrow. January always feels like such a waste of a school month, but whatever.

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I had thought about taking the kids out to do something since they’re all home, but mother nature kept us in the house with threats of snow. It did snow all morning pretty much, but there wasn’t any real accumulation. There was just enough to cover the grass, but anything that hit concrete melted away.

Landon, the two little ones and I ended up spending the day inside. We played and played and played, and then we played some more. Dakota didn’t want to take a nap today and she was handling herself pretty well, so I didn’t make her lie down. I did issue a mandatory quiet time though and she and Harper both sat on the couch playing games for a little more than an hour while I vegetated and browsed Facebook.

I remembered that I had picked up a Kiwi Crate at Target for Harper to do, so I pulled that out for us to work on as well. Dakota loves to paint so she too got in on the activity. It was messy, but they loved painting the pieces. That’s really all they did though because it wasn’t easy enough for them to assemble on their own and I ended up doing it.

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The end project was a space mobile, and here’s how it turned out:

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They sure are proud of their creation and now I’ve just got to find somewhere to hang it.

Scrapbook Page, Fathers Day 2014

I loved the photos I took of the kids this past fathers day and I knew I wanted to make a regular scrapbook page out of them. I had an idea in my head about how I wanted to the page to look too, so this page went together really quickly.

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It’s simple but I like how it turned out.

I’ve been making regular pages and including them in my project life album. I’m just sticking the full size pages in with the weekly pages by month. So, this page will just slip in with the other photo’s from June. I’m liking this way of incorporating traditional scrapbook pages with the newer method using pocket pages.

I should be able to put up a few more project life pages tomorrow since I’ve been working away on them!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bits and Bobs

  • Dakota is at a point where naps aren’t always necessary. Some days she does just fine without one and other days I can’t get her down quick enough. This past week she took a nap nearly every day and while she slept, Harper and I got to hang out doing what we like. He worked on a few Lego projects and I did a little scrapbooking. It’s fun having him to myself for a little bit, and I just love listening to him chatter away as he works. He needs my help occasionally too, so it’s good I’m right there with him.

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  • Tony and I decided to try our luck taking the two little kids to the movies this weekend. Landon spent the night at a friends house Friday night so we got up Saturday morning and took the two little kids while Landon was away. (Landon said he didn’t want to go.) We went to see Paddington, and it turned out to be a really good experience with them. When we first went into the theater, Dakota was really scared because it was dark and quiet, and for all the previews she sat on my lap with one arm covering her eyes. But, once the movie got started, she relaxed and did a terrific job just sitting on my lap watching the movie. Since it was her first time and only Harper’s second, we made it a big deal and bought them their lunch to eat while the movie was on (great for keeping them in their seat!) and smuggled in some candy for after lunch (even better for keeping them in their seats!). Paddington was only an hour and a half long too so that made it nice. All in all it was a very good experience and it reminded me of all the times we’d get up on Saturdays with Zoe and Landon to go see a new movie. I sure miss those days with them. (The photo below is terrible, but it was the best I could get when so many people were waiting to get pictures. I didn’t even know that getting pictures with displays was a thing! Also, Dakota refused to stand and have her photo taken, so it’s just my little cutie Harper!)

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Project Life, 2014

Just as I knew I would, I got sidetracked on the whole Project Life thing again last year. I always have the best intentions when it comes to that type of album but I NEVER end up staying with it. I’ve resolved to finish last years album though, so while at my scrapbook event last weekend, I worked on it a little.

Here are the pages I got done:

Week 22

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Week 23

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I’ve got the next week almost finished as well, but I won’t post it until it’s complete. I’ll bet you can guess what I’m going to be working on tonight!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Snow, Rolly Pollies and Lego’s

With all the time Harper has had off of school lately, it sure was nice to get to take him to school for a bit today. He’s really missing the routine we had going and I’m missing it as well. He will have school Friday but they are out again on Monday…but after that we should have several normal weeks, unless mother nature messes it up for us!

After dropping Harper off at school I took Dakota to her last Rolly Pollies session. It’s her last one for a while because she keeps telling me she doesn’t want to go. I figure why spend the money if she isn’t having fun anymore? Same thing with Harper, his last one was today too. Since it was her last one, I was sure to get a few pictures.

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I think we’ll probably be back at some point, but right now it’s time to try something new. I’ve started looking for a replacement but haven’t decided 100% on anything just yet.

As we were having our typical Wednesday lunch at Chick-Fil-A, a little bit of snow began to fall. By the time Dakota and I got home, there was just enough to cover the grass and part of the road (Harper went on to Rolly Pollies with Mema.). It was the good, heavy kind that kinda smacks you in the cheeks as it falls. Heavy on the tree branches and perfect for eating…at least that’s how it looked.

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As soon as Harper got home from Rolly Pollies he wanted to work on a Lego set we’d started the day before. I told him yesterday that I thought he might be old enough to work on it by himself a bit and sure enough, he nearly did the entire thing by himself!

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I had to help on a few pieces, but he really did do most of the work himself. It didn’t take him much more than 30 minutes to complete and once he was done building it he sat and played with it for a good while. Dakota liked it too and she sat and played with it for a good 15 minutes once he was done!

When Tony got home from work today, the kids asked him to take them outside. (They asked me, of course, but I told them I wasn’t doing it today, so they went to daddy.) Tony wasn’t thrilled about it, but he did get his coat on and take them out for a little bit. They didn’t last too long though because it was pretty cold out.

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Scrapbook Page Update

As soon as I published last nights blog, I got to work on the layout I was unhappy with. I added a little of this and that and I’m much happier with it now!

So, here’s what I posted yesterday:

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And, here’s the newer version:

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Mushrooms, rub-on’s, washi tape, a few bugs and a cloth banner made it look much better, in my eyes anyways! I’m much happier with it and ready to move on to my next page!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Scrapbook Pages

Here are some of my most recent scrapbook pages. The first one is just about a trip to JoAnn’s that went from being a necessary errand to a fun trip out with two cute kids. I just love those silly elephant hats and those two sweet faces! It’s hard to tell in the photo below, but the bottom pictures are actually a little tri-fold pull out with a couple other pictures behind.

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The next one is from a trip we spontaneously took to Annapolis Inner Harbor. We decided to go walk around for the morning and ended up having a great time. I just love days like that!

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This one is an ode to a messy but beautiful little face. It’s like a requirement to feed a toddler spaghetti and then take pictures of the aftermath, right? This little chick was into it too! Look how she’s got the bowl up in her face!

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The next one is a double pager and the one I’m least happy with. It is just so plain! I’ll be doing something to it to spruce it up, hopefully as soon as I’m done with this post. If I ever really do get around to it, I’ll post the after picture.

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My last page is one final Halloween picture. I printed this picture ages ago and it’s just been sitting on my desk waiting to be scrapped, and I finally got around to it this past weekend. I love how the page turned out and I think Halloween is probably my very favorite holiday to scrap.

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A Couple Videos

One day last week I took the two little kids to open play at Sky Zone. We met a couple friends there and we had a great time. Jumping on those trampolines is exhausting though, so after an hour, both of my kids were ready to go. I got a little video, but for the most part I didn’t have my phone with me because I was afraid it’d bounce out of my pocket!

Yesterday Harper sat down at the table to work on his homework. He had to cut out a pair of mittens and then decorate them. I got a little video of him cutting because it’s amazing how good he’s gotten with the scissors!

I love how he says “snip, snip” while he goes along! Also, Zoe’s doing all the talking in the video but if I didn’t know it, I’d swear it was myself talking!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Crop

I got to attend a scrapbook crop this past weekend and I had such a great time! I didn’t get much done as far as making pages goes, but it was nice to be able to concentrate all my energy and attention on a hobby I enjoy. Tony spent the weekend caring for the kids and keeping the house running as normal, and he did just as good a job as if I’d been here to do it myself.

I was at the crop on Friday for a few hours, from about 4pm-10pm, then I went home to sleep so that I could get up and go again on Saturday morning. I wasn’t sure how Dakota was going to take me being gone, but when I left that morning, the two little kids gave me big hugs before I left and there were no tears, which was nice. I was gone all day Saturday, again returning home around 10pm for sleep, and I set my alarm the next morning so that I could go before the kids got up. I thought if I saw them I’d probably not go to the final day of the crop, so I got up early and was out the door by 7:15am or so.

The crop was over at 3pm, but to avoid the rush to pack and get out of the hotel, I headed out around 1:30 or so. When I got home the kids were sitting in the kitchen playing with a couple new toys they’d gotten and when Dakota saw me she ran away from me and “hid”! (She “hid” as in she ran away from me and covered her eyes with her hands.) I’d had a feeling that she might be a little mad at me since I’d been away, and when I asked her if she was mad at mama, she said she was. I felt so horrible! It took a little convincing, but I sat and played with her and Harper for a long time until she came around. Harper told me he’d missed me and was glad I was home and gave me the sweetest hugs and kisses…that boy knows how to make a mama’s heart happy!

Today, things got back to the regular schedule, except that there was no school in honor of Martin Luther King. We didn’t do a whole lot. We got up and dressed and then headed down for breakfast and breathing treatments and then down into the basement for hours and hours of playtime. Dakota and I played blocks and with her Calico Critters and Harper and I had many battles with his Switch and Go Dino’s. Zoe showed up after her doctor’s appointment and after Landon was up and ready to go we headed to Firehouse for lunch.

I sure enjoyed being away for a bit this weekend, but I definitely was happy to be back home again. I’m such a wimp when it comes to leaving my kids, even when I know they are in perfectly capable and loving hands. I’ll try to post the pages I finished sometime tomorrow, but as usual, no promises!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Play, Play, Play

Since Harper’s school is still closed, we’ve been playing in the basement playroom a ton. We spend hours and hours down there playing all kinds of games.

Harper and Dakota have really been enjoying the dress up clothes my mom got them for Christmas. They dress up pretty much every day and I never know what they’re going to end up as since they pretty much mix and match everything together.

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Harper was all conductor this day, but Dakota was a mix of doctor and ballerina. You can see her fluffy pink tutu peeking out of her jacket.

Another big hit in the basement right now are the building blocks. We make buildings and tunnels and tracks for the cars, and most recently we’ve been building zoo’s for the animals.

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There are days where we go downstairs after breakfast and don’t go back up until lunch time. I’ve learned that if I can lend myself to them completely, they are a happy pair. They play nicer when I am engaged with them and I know they enjoy my undivided attention…and I totally love hanging out with them, so it’s a win-win!

And, when we finally do get tired of playing and head upstairs, we can always hang out and watch Roomba! (They ask me to run it nearly every day so that they can watch! I think they like it as much as I do!)

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How To Go To The Bathroom, by Harper and Dakota

So, I found this little paper tutorial hanging in the bathroom the other day. I don't know where I was while this was being made, b...