Wednesday, July 31, 2013

VBS!

I can't believe I haven't posted on this yet!

Jay had his FIRST Vacation Bible School this month!

I can't believe he's already that old!

I have the absolute best and most wonderful memories of Vacation Bible School at Memorial growing up. It was always such a blast to sing and laugh and learn about Jesus. They always had a hilarious puppet show and the teachers and people who volunteered were truly amazing.

Now it was Jay's turn!

My best friend, Courtney and I signed up to coteach the 2's class since our boys are both in there. Let me just tell you- teaching 2's is like herding cats! Mass chaos. Courtney and I have taught the 3's and 4's together, so we figured we could do this. And you know what? I think it was our best year yet! It was a GREAT group of (13!) 2 year olds. We had wonderful helpers in there and the kids honestly were fantastic.

This year's theme was Paul: Growing a Christian Network. It was all about how Paul was in the dark about Jesus for so long and then God showed him the light. His journey, some of his trials, and of course his teachings. Paul is such an incredible person with an amazing story- I love learning about him! It's a lot to cram into four days and especially tough to "dummy down" some of the info (stoning of Stephen!), but we made it work and the kids actually remembered a lot of it! Ha!

The first night we got there and checked in and loaded into the pews. Jay just stood there with his buddies and he seemed SO big all of a sudden. I was SO glad I was there to witness it. He didn't even need me around- which was probably the greatest feeling I have ever had as a mom! He was so confident and independent and it made me SO insanely happy! He just sang the songs with his friends and danced and acted silly- just like he was supposed to. I loved watching him!

I seriously got a little teary eyed that first night watching him- such a sweet and special moment.

Meanwhile Anthony was at home with little miss. Our VBS is at night so that working moms and working parents can come and be involved, too. It's such a great thing, but it didn't start until 7 pm M-W! That was a LATE night for these little guys. So we kept Charley at home with her daddy (2 is the first year they are in class- if they are younger than that they go to the nursery) and let her get some good nights of sleep. Can't wait until it's her turn next year!

(BFFs Wyatt and Jay. Good thing their moms are BFFs too!)


Norah, Wyatt, and Jay... I think these three will have LOTS of memories together!
They will all be in the same grade (Norah is 3 weeks younger than Jay and 3 weeks older than Wyatt) at the same school!
Jay and Wyatt also LOVE competing for her attention! Ha!

Cousin Jake was the helper in the next room!

Love. 


Chatting with Mr. Mike- the youth minister!

:)


Praying. Sweetest. 

In Paul's boat!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Day Trip!

Last week I got a wild hair. Anthony had an out of town work thing (overnight) and the thought of filling a LOOOONG afternoon and night with the kids (after several late nights and weekend meetings recently) was totally overwhelming.

So I decided we were taking a day road trip by ourselves. Just the kids and me! 

We headed down to Galveston around nap time Thursday (noon). Charley fell asleep right away and slept the whole hour down there. Definitely a SHORT nap for her but it was better than nothing! Jay slept only about twenty minutes (which is about two hours shorter than his every day). I knew this little trip could go one of two ways with little sleep. But I figured fussing in Galveston was more fun than fussing in Houston doing the same old thing. 

So we set our sights on Moody Gardens! We had never been and they had a dinosaur exhibit that I was dying to show Jay. That plus a HUGE aquarium, plus a rainforest, plus a water park sounded perfect. Not to mention the kids were free, so that offset the astronomical price for me! 

Jay and Charley LOVED the aquarium! They watched the seals swim forever. We identified tons of fish/sharks/sea creatures. They touched and saw and smelled and listened. It was great!





Then we headed to the dinosaurs. Oh my- Jay was in HEAVEN! They moved and breathed and roared and he loved every bit of it. Charley was scared, but not terrified. She just preferred to watch from the stroller. :)








The rainforest pyramid was next. It was HOT and humid just like a real rainforest. It was cool, but I wouldn't do it again for a looong time. Just meh. 

Then we hit up what was the best part of the trip- the water park! I would say this is geared perfectly for a 7 year old. Because of this they had a TON of areas that were PERFECT for my two. Most pools were wade in. These are great because Jay can go deep and swim and Charley can play in the shallow area. 

But the absolute favorite part from the day (other than the dinosaurs for Jay) was the wave pool. Both kids had a BLAST. Jay amazed me with his swimming abilities. (Side note- just last week I put a video on Facebook of him swimming. Well he has CRUSHED that in about four days. He is now swimming across our pool, diving deep, and just 95% independent in the water. It's crazy). Every time he would hear the buzzer for the waves to start, he would take off swimming for the deep part. Then he would tread water and dive through the waves. Honestly, I'm glad I was there to see it because I probably wouldn't have believed it. I did make him come back closer to me multiple times though because it just made me so nervous. He was awesome!  All the meanwhile Charley Kate and I were about chest deep for her. I would pick her up as a wave came and she'd jump with it. She laughed every time. We were in the wave pool over an hour. It was SO fun! 

I made us leave after three hours there (!!) because it was already 6:00 by this point and I knew dinner and bed needed to come soon! We dried off and changed in the grody public changing/shower room. Ick. 

We headed to the Strand and went to a burger place (thinking it would be quick and easy). It was neither :) It took our food FOREVER to get made. And in the middle of us waiting Jay needed to go poop. I load up toys, iPads, our buzzer and bags and ran two kids around the restaurant looking for the bathroom- only to discover it was UPSTAIRS. So we hustle up there and Jay takes care of business. Only this isn't a short thing for this guy. So as he's sitting on the disgusting public toilet, I am trying to keep Charley from touching trashcans, other toilets, the floor, etc. On top of all that, our buzzer starts going off that our food is finally ready! It went off for so long and eventually stopped. Ugh. 

We finally go back downstairs to find our food has been put up along with our drinks. Back to square one. Sigh.




We finally eat and head for our very last stop- La Kings on the Strand. It's an old-timey ice cream parlor and candy shop. It has lots of sentimental value because we always went there growing up. I knew the kids wouldn't remember or care- this stop was for me. :)

We ate ice cream, ordered candy, and loaded up on salt water taffy. Perfect!



(Love CK in the background of this one as she realizes Jay has her ice cream!)




We finally got in the car for the last time and started to head home. Charley was out in about five minutes (it was just after 8). Jay stayed up the entire car ride home (!!!!) but was great company. I drove home absolutely pooped- but in SUCH a good mood from such an awesome day. 

We got home and Charley woke as we pulled in the driveway (of course). Jay stayed in the car and watched the last part of the DVD as I got her (very quickly) back to sleep. Then I went and got him and it took about five minutes for him to pass out. 

It was seriously SUCH a good day! It wasn't perfect and I was exhausted by the end, but I had such a blast. After a rough couple of weeks, I really needed a special, fun day with my babies. It was such a great time to see them having so much fun and laughing and enjoying each other. I love the friendship that they are developing and I hope they carry that forever. 


On another note, here are some things that weren't fantastic about the day:
-Taking a huge stroller. I absolutely had to have it, but it was TOUGH weaving in and out of people and displays and parking it. No way I could have done it without, but it sure made it tough. 
-Taking our pool bag (suits, diapers, sunscreen, towels) around everywhere with us. I wish they had lockers we could have used!y shoulders were tired from carrying all the bags all day!
-Fighting in the stroller. Come on, I didn't claim they were perfect. 
-No pictures. I had all I could handle with two toddlers. No way I could have gotten anymore pictures! 
-Chasing Charley. She was usually ok, but occasionally something would catch her eye and she'd take off. And when coaxing didn't work, I'd just pick her up. This was met with screaming, crying, going limp noodle, and sometimes scratching. Good times. 
-Our food consumption. I brought some snacks, but we were gone a long time and definitely needed to refuel. Soft pretzels, Cheetos, French fries, burgers, ice cream, and sprites just to name a few. Mom of the year right here. 
-Being "on" for three straight hours at the water park. This was a little dicey for me. Jay is really good at swimming now, but it was crowded and I still worry. I felt like I was constantly darting between the two- with no break! 
-Dinner. See above. 

All in all they did so awesome. I just can't say enough how much fun we had. Love little adventures with my littles. ❤


Friday, July 26, 2013

Cross Dressing Lady

So Charley Kate is in a phase right now where she wants to do/be/copy all things Jay. She loves her big brother (and loves to fight with him) so much. She just wants to be around him and do what he's doing all the time. Jay likes elephants? Charley likes elephants. Jay runs around crazy and yelling? Charley runs around crazy and yelling.

And the newest obsession- wearing Jay's clothes. She's obsessed.

It started with just wanting to wear his big boy underwear. She really prefers to wear them all the time (with nothing on under), but we finally convinced her to let us put a diaper on her first (most of the time). In fact, she was wearing just his underwear in Austin when we went to visit a few weeks ago. Last minute we decided to stop for dinner on the way out of town, and all we had was a cutesy little tunic (definitely too short to be a dress) to put on with the underwear of Jay's she was already wearing. So we went into this restaurant with dinosaur underwear and a pink/purple top. At least Austin is weird and she seemed to fit right in ;)

Anyway, she now requests Jay's shirts (100% of the time) and Jay's shorts (50% of the time) when she goes to bed. I think it's adorable that she wants to wear his clothes (and the perfect time, too. What girl doesn't love to wear her hubby's oversized shirts to bed?!).

But she looks like a little boy/homeboy/skater dude/cross dresser! It's precious and Jay now helps pick out what clothes he wants her to wear!

Jay's Shirt




At least she still rocks it with heels and a purse!

Jay's monkey underwear! 



I must say, girlfriend can still rock a cute little dress or girly outfit likes it's no one's business  :)


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Food for Thought

I wanted to share what's being put on our table this week, and a few new recipes I have found and loved!


Monday:
Steaks, roasted cauliflower/kale/spinach, steamed artichokes


Tuesday:
Broccoli, chicken, rice casserole (I haven't had this in forever- such a comfort food!!!) and roasted eggplant


Wednesday:
Mustard pork chops, glazed root vegetables (recipe here, courtesy of Greenling prepped foods)


Thursday:
Veggie stir fry with pumpkin seeds/sliced beef (recipe here)




Here are a few other recipes that people have asked me to share (or ones that I wanted to share!!)...

Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken (I don't even like honey mustard and this was GOOOOD!)
Rosemary-Lemon Spaghetti Squash (This has quickly become a family fave!)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic Aioli  (I have become obsessed with BS lately!)
No Bake Cookies (A long-time favorite... Easy to make and you probably have all the ingredients already!)
Greek Yogurt Pancakes (Y'all know how much I LOVE Greek Yogurt! I haven't tried these yet but plan to this weekend! Yum!)




Happy Eating, Y'all!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Move

So we've officially moved Charley into her big girl room!

You think I'm crazy? That's ok. I probably would, too, if I wasn't me. But we moved Jay to his new room at just before 17 months and he ended up becoming an amazing sleeper once we made the move. So we figured since Charley wasn't a pro-sleeper anyway, what difference did it make?!


We made the move almost two weeks ago (now almost four weeks ago... I have had this post half-written forever! Oops!). The first two or three nights she woke up once and cried out for me. I went to her and put her back down (it's a queen sized bed). After those initial nights, she has slept through the night (and might I add- is doing better than she EVER did in her crib!!!). Her naps are great- she's just really rocking it!

One of the things I was worried about was putting her to sleep. Anthony and I have made the choice to stay with our kids until they fall asleep. Yes, sometimes it's a lot for us, but our kids have become great sleepers because of it. We could argue and look at research until we are blue in the face, but this is our choice and it's working out great for us- so no comments please :)

Anyway, we used to rock her to sleep either breastfeeding her or bottle feeding her- it was SO easy. Like, so easy. Then we took the bottle away and were worried about that transition. No worries- it was a great transition! Then, once we got her in the big bed, I was worried about how she would fall asleep. We lay next to her (not both at the same time- one is with Jay!). The first week she would twist and turn and sit up and try to get out of bed (she only tried to get out a few times). She loved her new room so she would point to things and say "Nigh nigh" to her things on the walls and new decorations. Once she got over that, it's gotten SO much easier! She goes down for naps and nighttime so well! We are definitely blessed!

Anyway, I'm so pleased with how her room has turned out. We didn't want to paint the walls, but I really did want a lot of purples, pinks, and turquoises! So I tried to get as much color in there as I could otherwise! I love her new room- and so does she! :) I also promised Anthony I wouldn't spend a ton of money. We used the bed and furniture that was already in there and just got new bedding (I stalked it until it was on sale at PBKids!), and just a FEW accents that we didn't already have!

So here are a few before/after pics of the room... We moved her before we had anything ready for her room (haha who does that?!). So I put the bedrails on the bed in the before pictures (and she slept like that for two nights before I did rearranging). Did I mention I moved every piece of furniture ALL BY MYSELF? These are things I LOVE to do while Anthony is at work- he doesn't love this kind of stuff, so he just appreciates the end result! :)


I swear our room isn't that yellow! Ack! iPhone pics!
But yes, nothing fancy... 





The new set-up!






Hello self! 

(Repurposed chalkboards from Michelle's wedding, then Charley's birthday party, and now her room!)

My crafting!





I promise the pictures just don't do it justice! It's super cute and colorful (and not yellow!) in pictures!

Fingers crossed that she continues to do well! Jay LOVES showing it off to people! It's so cute! "Wanna come see Char's/Charwey Kate's new room?" He's so proud! :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

We Love the Circus!

Oh man, we love the circus!

I have such great memories of going to the circus when I was little. Every single year we would go. It was always so much fun. I remember one year when I was in high school, my boyfriend and I went. We both got picked to go down to the center ring and be part of the clown act. It was hilarious (and we made the newspaper!).

I was so excited to take Jay (and Charley but she was only 5 months old) last year for the first time. Especially since he loves elephants!

Fast forward a year and the kid still LOVES elephants! So we loaded up- Jay, Charley, me, my mom, Jennifer, and Jill. We got seats on the middle ring on the second row- and these seats did NOT disappoint! It was worth every penny to watch the kids' faces and feel like we were really part of the show!

Not to mention- we lost circus elphy about 6 weeks ago. We have no idea where he went, but he just vanished. So we were READY to get a new one today! We got a big one (like the one we previously had) for Jay and a small one for Charley. Well, a certain someone decided he wanted a small one, too, and as grandmothers do, my mom got it for him. Kid was in HEAVEN. We got it right before the show started- right after we walked around on the floor watching the elephants and tigers and lions. Well, as soon as we got it, Jay said, "Ok, wet's go home, Mommy. I ready to go pway with my new elphies." Ha!

This year's group minus me! 

My guy!

So so happy! 
And look at his shirt! Perfect!

You mean I can really have TWO?!

So happy she finally gets one of her very own- and her own size!

 Jill volunteered to participate in the pre-show!

Waiting... We're not very good waiters! :)


He ended up loving the show and watched the majority of it. And the parts he thought were boring? Well, he played with his new toys! :)



I wasn't going to take Charley this year. She's my squirmy one and since she isn't quite as obsessed with animals/elephants as Jay, I thought that wrestling her for three hours didn't really sound all that fun to me. Well, after date night last weekend (babysitter) and VBS every night this week (no mommy time at night), I just couldn't leave her again. So we loaded her up, too. Surprisingly, she did better than Jay. Other than a squirmy ten minutes at the very end of the first act, she did so well. She watched the ENTIRE show (and shoveled popcorn). She loved the acrobats and clowns, and all the trickery that went on. She clapped and waved, "Hi peepow (people)!" the whole time. She definitely loved being there. She also fell asleep RIGHT before the elephants had their big part, and slept on my mom for about 20 minutes.






I can't wait to go next year! So fun!