First Quarter

The first quarter of a school year is rough on me, apparently. Changing over from the relaxed summer pace to a DO-ALL-THE-THINGS-NOW pace of life is rough. Obviously, since I haven’t updated this blog in just about 3 months.

Lots of things have happened. But rather than try to write about all the things, I’m just going to pick a couple highlights from the camera roll.

The big one, of course, is that my first baby is officially in kindergarten.

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Its crazy that she’s already in school. This whole homework-school-every-day thing has really thrown off my groove! πŸ™‚ But Jaylee has LOVED it, and she’s learning so much. She’s started to read sight words and sound out other words, and she’s made a lot of friends. Its fun to watch her learn new things. Right now she’s really into being a scientist – studying wood and tornados. She’s also learning piano, and had her first recital a couple of weeks ago. I’m so stinking proud of her.

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Jaxton is really into dinosaurs. A fact we exploited for potty training.

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He did really well with the training – only a couple of accidents when he wasn’t able to get our attention and let us know he needed to go. He’s still not trustworthy overnight, but its just SO NICE to have only one set of diapers to wash at night. I’ve been doing cloth diapers for half a decade now – I’m ready to get a break!

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Baby Jace is crawling all over the place. But his favorite crawling destination is me – he always wants to be my little ride along. Which is usually ok, because he’s pretty darn cute. It can be a bit disheartening that he will be happily playing with the rest of the family until I come into the room. Mom entering the room means its time to immediately switch to fuss mode.

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But he’s just so darn cute. I won’t always be this popular, so I’m trying to remember to be thankful and soak it up. I don’t mind carrying him around everywhere when we’re out and about the town. Its hardest when we’re at home and I need to get ridiculous tasks like laundry finished.

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Jordan joined a flag football team that plays on Thursday nights. Its been fun to get to go watch him play – especially since Beth usually keeps our kids on Thursday nights. Its some nice relaxing adult time.

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My big event of the last several months was completing the Fort Fortitude 10k. I’ve lost 30 pounds since my last 10k, so I was almost 10 minutes faster even though I didn’t train. It was a great race.

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I was surfing the internet one morning on my sleep-in morning, and saw someone post up a free 75g aquarium. So Jordan and I jumped on it, and I got to combine my two reef tanks into one. Now I have a big, beautiful aquarium to expand my reef in. And for free! I’m super pumped.

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Of course, getting it moved in and keeping all the livestock safe (with children everywhere) was quite the challenging weekend.

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Let’s see, what else. Its been pretty standard life around here, if a bit hectic. We’ve viewed the solar eclipse..

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…gone to Elitch’s for the day…

….hung out at the library…

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…played lots of toys….

…spent many days waking up babies so we could go pick up Jaylee from school…

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….and started the Halloween parties.

We’re so blessed to have such a wonderful little family.

Baby Jace’s first birthday is tomorrow, and I’m feeling pretty conflicted about it. I’m happy to be getting rid of all the baby STUFF in my house, but I’m sad my last baby is growing up so quickly. I’m sure I’ll be a big mess this weekend at his party.

But I’ll leave that for another post. Hopefully less than three months from now.

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The End of Summer

Well, not summer the season. But summer break for me.

And its been a great summer break. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve made use of all of our museum memberships. We went to the Children’s Museum.

Baby Jace finally made a piece of art to hang on his hanger downstairs. The other two kids have had art on theirs for a while, but it took a bit longer for baby Jace.

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Our membership expired at the end of July, and we’re definitely going to renew. But we’re going to wait for Christmas, as that seems like a good Christmas present for the family. And honestly, its unlikely we’ll have much chance to go back before then (especially since we have the other memberships too).

But we still love this place. We’ve been members for 3 years straight.

It reminds me of a place my parents used to take us when we were kids in Enid, Oklahoma – called Leonardo’s. Some of my best memories are from that place. And I hope to be able to give that gift to my children too.

Its nice to have such a high quality children’s museum so close to home.

And this last time, we decided to ride the trolley as well. Of course, Jax ADORED this. That child LOVES trains. He talked about riding the “yellow trolley” for days (which is a long time for a 3 year old). Β He even found a video of the trolley on his iPad so that he could watch it during “rest” time.

We also took a trip to the natural history museum – and we even packed a “picnic” to eat with cousin Jaina while we were there.

This kids had fun during a world drumming program that we happened to catch. They have such high quality programming for kids – we learn something new every time.

And, of course, we spend a lot of time just learning through play. That’s my favorite part.

And of course, we went back to the aquarium. This time with Jordan.

When Jordan gets to come, we get to do more fun things. Like take scary pictures.

And see the 4D movie.

And its easier when just one of us gets to isolate the kid who is melting down and help them get into a better attitude.

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The aquarium is really so much fun. I could go every week. I just LOVE to look at the fish (though I didn’t get to do too much of that on this last venture).

We had a handful of playdates these last couple of weeks as well. The kids had fun painting little airplanes at Bella and Jax’s house.

It was interesting because (my) Jax actually had more fun on this playdate than Jaylee did – even though it was her bff’s house. The girls didn’t really get along that well. But all the 3 year old boys had a blast playing in the clubhouse. Its fun to see Jax making friends as well. Typically, he just follows Jaylee.

7/19/17

One of the hardest events of the summer (for me) was when Jordan had to travel for work. It was 3 days of just the kids and I. What’s ironic is that EVERYONE ELSE IN MY FAMILY was also traveling. So since I knew this was going to be a challenging time, I tried to schedule some fun activities to do with the kids. We started by going to a splash pad with our good friends, the Iron’s.

I packed us a picnic, because everything is more fun with food.

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But the kids were more into the playground than the splash pad. Jaylee was the only one who really truly got soaking wet. Jax and Jace were not into the water AT ALL.

It was good fun, nonetheless.

The second day Jordan was gone, we went to a local park that has a petting zoo, little river, and fun little train to ride. Thankfully, this day was much cooler on the weather front.

And again, picnics make everything more fun.

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Though there was plenty of fun to be had anyway. The “petting zoo” must be magical for children, because it was kinda depressing as an adult. I felt bad for those animals, but the kids seemed to have a good time.

We also played in the little creek for a while. The water was very cold, so the kids didn’t really want to get in very much.

But the real show-stopper was the train. We rode it twice, it was such a hit.

We’ve been to this park before, but it was two years ago. It was fun to get to visit again with kids who were a little older and more excited about the various things to do.

On the last day of Jordan’s work trip, we went to monkey business and played. This is a perfect place to go when you’re sick of the heat and sunscreen, but still need the kids to run off some serious energy.

Plus I had a coupon off admission, and a coupon for a free drink. So those help as well.

At the end of the third day, we headed to the airport to pick up Jordan. The stars aligned so that we were right on time. Which of course meant that his flight was delayed about 30 minutes due to bad weather.

So we hung out in the airport.

Hanging out in the airport after bedtime with three babies is not a ton of fun. Thankfully, there is an outdoor area where we could go and look at the cool public art (and be as loud as we wanted without bothering anyone).

It was SO GOOD to have Jordan home. We all really missed him.

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I’m glad that he doesn’t often travel for work. Life is not the same without my love, and the kids missed him. Baby Jace couldn’t stop smiling at him in the airport. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Life around here continues as usual.

As the summer draws to a close, I’ve been trying to be more intentional with my time. Trying to say “yes” more often when the kids ask to play trains or play zombies or play in the front yard or make a ridiculous cake.

Jaylee starts kindergarten this fall, which feels wonderful and weird all at the same time. We don’t have many days left of lazy, carefree seasons where the only schedule is the one we make ourselves.

And while I’m not the kind of mom who tracks screen time, I do want to make sure my kids are getting a variety of childhood experiences. As messy and wonderful (and sometimes boring) as that may be.

Baby Jace is growing so quickly. He wants so badly to be able to crawl. He lunges forward to reach for things, but he can’t figure out how to work his legs into a forward motion.

He babbles constantly, and has a special laser beam gaze for me. If I’m in the room, then CLEARLY I need to be holding him. I don’t usually mind. πŸ™‚

He turned 9 months old. But 9 month old photo shoots look different when you’re the third child.

Jax did eventually allow me to get one of JUST Baby Jace. But it took some convincing.

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As I look back over the summer, I’m pretty happy. We did a lot of cool things, and did a lot of “nothing”. We saw friends, we learned new skills, we played video games, we read books.

It seems like we struck the right balance of fun and relaxing and scheduled activities. School starting just means we’ll be a new season of activities: football, pumpkin patches, cooler weather, changing leaves. The predictability of change is soothing to me.

Its been a good season. And the next one will be just as magical.

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Family, Fun, and the Fourth

Well, its been two (three?) weeks again. I guess that happens sometimes, right?

7/15/17

Sleeping butt-up

We’ve had several fun family trips over the last couple of weeks. We went to the Children’s Museum one morning.

This was the first time we’ve gone since Jace has been sitting up and “scooting” (trying to move, mostly unsuccessfully). So it was fun to get to put him down and let him play a bit.

7/1/17

We had a couple good friends (and all their children) over to our house for a BBQ the week before the fourth. We all originally met at church, and ended up all having our children around the same time. So its fun to get together with them and watch how the kids have grown since we first met 6 (!) years ago.

Plus we did fireworks and glitter tattoos, which are always a big hit with the preschool crowd.

I drove down south a ways to meet up with some old friends from MIDDLE school! I hadn’t seen them, or met many of their spouses/children, in MANY years. So it was awesome to get to catch up and see everyone. It’s been 19 years since we’d really hung out as a group. I can’t believe its been that long.

7/2/17

For Jax, the biggest event of the last two weeks is that we received two new rolling trash bins.

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He spends many mornings out inspecting them, lifting their lids, and asking me to take his picture with them.

6/28/17

We think this looks like a senior photo – but with a trash can. He ASKED me to take this photo.

We’ve been up to our garden plot at my school a couple times. The kids enjoy getting to water the plants and harvest the peas. Jaylee even helps clean them up at home! Though they both hate “aphids” (any garden bugs). So they need to be clearly inspected before the kids will really touch the harvest.

6/27/17

The kids finished up their swim lessons, and they’ve really grown a lot on their skills in the water. We will probably do swim lessons again next summer. They had a blast and learned a lot. But we’re taking the last two weeks of the summer off so we can do other fun activities.

Like play dates. And legos.

Chillin on lazy mornings. And stroller naps.

These are all essential summer activities.

Jaylee was asking to start music classes (mostly because we temporarily had Jax enrolled in a mommy-and-me class). But rather than put her in a preschool intro-to-music class, we just found her a piano teacher. So she’s been learning to play the piano, practicing her music every day.

7/11/17

Really, I am totally capable and skilled enough to teach her piano myself. But she doesn’t want to learn from me. So she goes to her lesson with her teacher once a week, and has private tutoring (where I help her with her practice) every day. Its been good so far. She’s enjoying it.

The fourth of July is always a big holiday for our family. We start the day with the neighborhood parade at my in-laws house.

And then later in the day, our whole extended family gets together and has a BBQ before we go watch fireworks.

This year, we also got to do some fireworks in the front yard. It was the kids’ first time to play with sparklers. They were a little nervous, but got more comfortable as time went on.

My sister was also there with her camera, and she captured some beauties of my babies and hers.

And as the sun started to go down, we headed over to watch the city fireworks. But since it had already been a full day, Jax fell asleep during the car ride over.

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And he remained asleep through the first 20 minutes of a 30 minutes professional fireworks show. You could feel the booms in your heart, but that didn’t bother my sleeping prince. When he did eventually wake up, he laid with his daddy to watch the rest of the show.

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The rest of the family enjoyed the show as well. Baby Jace did pretty well for his first fourth of July! (and being up 3 hours past his bed time)

It was a great fourth of July. Unfortunately, it fell right after Jordan and I had started to get serious about losing weight. So we didn’t get to indulge as much as I would have liked to. But we’ve started to see some progress on that front, so its encouraging.

We’ve made some simple changes, like planning low-calorie dinners and making mason jar salads to eat on weekdays. Its not exciting, but hopefully they are sustainable changes that will help us lose the weight and keep it off. Our grocery bills have gone up though – eating healthy is much more expensive than eating unhealthy.

And the last of our shenanigans since my last post was a trip to the aquarium. We have a membership there which we got for Christmas (thanks Chelsea!), and it came with some free passes so we can go with friends. So this past Friday, when our plans fell through, I texted my friend Cameo to see if she and her family wanted to join us (since I knew they generally had Fridays off from work). They were available, so off we went!

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It was really fun to get to go with friends. I enjoy looking at fish ALWAYS. But its even more fun with company.

Plus, these are the friends we get together with to take biannual family photos. They’re both really good photographers, so unlike my other trips out with the kids, I have a bunch of photos from this one! And I’m actually in some of them!

We were able to catch the aquarium mermaid show while we were there, which was fun. Jaylee was so excited, she couldn’t unclench her fists!

We had a total blast. Except that the pattern continued: by the time we get to the shark exhibit, Jax ALWAYS loses his mind from hunger. And this time was no exception. We had to skip that part and go to the snack shack, where he wanted “nothing”. Once I talked him into eating something, he went back to his normal (mostly) happy self. I wish we could carry snacks in there, but his hangry self just can’t be appeased.

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Oh well. It was great fun anyway.

Two-ish more weeks of summer left! How has it gone so fast?

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I. Love. Summer.

Ok, the summer heat not so much. But the laid back easy-going schedule and cool evening activities? I LOVE them.

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The no lesson planning or grading thing is pretty nice too. Which is ironic, because I am actually doing some of that. But there’s not the time pressure to get it done like during the school year. The relaxing pace of this season is just wonderful.

Don’t get me wrong, I melt in the heat. I had a legitimate melt down at 8pm one night when the A/C wasn’t working and I couldn’t get my baby to sleep in his boiling hot room. It was an adult tantrum for the ages. My poor husband.

6/21/17

But if you use “season” to refer to our current rhythms of life – I love it! It nice to be able to send out the group text to see if anyone wants to go swimming in the evening, and have most of your family show up. Its nice to take the kids to meet their cousin at the park after dinner.

I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job of relaxing and going with the slower pace – not planning lots of cleaning to do while my kids have to entertain themselves. Instead, I make it a point to try to sit down and do fun, special things with them.

We do actually have a daily commitment to swim lessons at a local rec center. But this is perfect for me because it gives us something to do at a set time every day. And the kids are learning SO MUCH.

Jaylee and Jax were in the same class for two weeks, and they made such great growth that I signed them up for another two week class. And the teacher recommended Jaylee move up a level. Both kids have gotten so much more comfortable and safe in the water. Its been a great experience! Plus its the same program that I learned through YEARS ago at the YMCA, and I was able to go from the “shark” level into varsity swimming in high school. So you could say I’m highly confident that its a great program for learning how to swim.

6/19/17

Baby Jace and I just sit and chill for an hour while the kids learn. After swim lessons are over, its almost noon – time to go home, have lunch, and take a rest. Its great timing for an activity every day – not so early that you have to rush to get there, not so late that you mess up nap time.

6/26/17

Jordan and I have been working out and eating healthier in an effort to lose weight. Its hard work to control your eating! But we’ve both started to lose weight and feel like our clothes are getting looser. Hopefully we’ll be nice and trim in time for next year’s beach vacation. The kids should be great swimmers by then!

6/24/17

At the theater to see Cars 3

We’ve done a couple big activities recently. This past Saturday, Jaylee and I went to a princess tea party put on by a party-booking company at our local rec center. It. was. a. blast.

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It was a 2 hour tea party with dancing, singing, decorating cupcakes, a story time, a coronation ceremony, and plenty of pictures with princesses. It was the darn cutest thing I’ve ever seen – Jaylee was in heaven.

She was so excited to meet all her favorite princesses (and make sure Moana knew the heart of Te’Fiti was inside her necklace).

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The princesses were so kind and wonderful with the little girls (and boy!). I was massively impressed. I would totally hire them for a birthday party, if we didn’t just get finished throwing one of those. πŸ˜€

I teared up a couple times – it was so magical. THIS is what people dream about when they find out they’re having a little girl. And it was everything I hoped it would be.

6/24/17

But no perfect day is complete without a complete disaster to follow it up, right? I give you: the Unicorn Festival.

This event had such promise, but they just plain sold too many tickets. I won’t go into the details of all the bad. The good things were: Jordan and I stayed calm – which is especially notable because he hates crowds and waiting in endless lines, which pretty much sums up this event.

Another good: the kids were oblivious to the complete madness. They were happy to play on a (free) playground and enjoy the beautiful Colorado day.

And the best part of the day was that baby Jace fell asleep in the carrier, which he never does anymore.

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We’re getting our money back, so at least there’s that. But this is definitely one of those events that will go down in the family joke book – hey! at least its not as bad as the Unicorn Festival! πŸ™‚

I can’t believe its already the end of June. I need this laid-back lifestyle to continue for a couple more years! Not one more month. 😦

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Family Vacation and Birthday Week

So its been a whirlwind of an early June!

We started by taking a family vacation to the new Great Wolf Lodge that opened up in Colorado Springs.

We planned the trip as a family vacation/birthday present for the kids. We arrived on the day that Jax turned 3 and left on the day that Jaylee turned 5. And it was, by far, the most relaxing family vacation we’ve ever had. All our other vacations involved traveling long distances to stay with family. But this one was much closer to home, and just our little crew.

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The resort was awesome. They have an awesome pool area that has tons of stuff for kids, even the little ones. So we spent a good portion of every day just playing at the pool on all the water slides, sprinklers, and wave pool.

And then when we needed a break from the pool, they had a lot of fun little activities for a family to do together. Like “panning” for gold.

And build-a-bear.

And little-kid bowling.

They even had a cute little spa where Jaylee got a little pampering session with some of her birthday money.

The kids got money from our grandparents for their birthday, and they were able to use that to do some of the extra activities. We saved for this vacation, and we stayed within our budget for food and activities. It was definitely not “cheap”, but so totally worth it.

When I booked the reservation, I told them that the kids were each celebrating their birthday. So they got cool birthday ears (that Jax refused to wear). Whenever an employee say them wearing their ears, they’d say Happy Birthday – something Jaylee absolutely soaked up.

Colorado Springs / CO / United States - 6/7/17

It was such a wonderful relaxing vacation. 4 out of the 5 family members took a nap mid-day on the second day. We never left the resort, though Jordan did get to go see a movie the first night while I stayed and relaxed in Fort Sleep with our kiddos.

I think we’ll definitely be going back (after a while, when we can save up the money). We’re currently going to focus on saving money for our family beach vacation in North Carolina next year. But if we’re able to meet those goals early, maybe we can squeeze in another trip here. It was so close and so fun. 2 nights was a perfect amount of time to be able to get away and enjoy each other.

After we came home, we also had a family BBQ birthday celebration and Jaylee’s gymnastics birthday party with her friends.

6/11/17

We had her birthday party at our rec center where she takes gymnastics classes. It was a perfect little snapshot of all the important friends in her life: her BFF from my moms group, her BFF from church, her “betrothed” (mom and dad’s friends), her BFF from preschool, and her in-state cousin. Plus all of the afore-mentioned’s younger siblings. There was only one little girl who couldn’t make it. Other than that, all her favorite little people were there.

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They played gymnastics games with her gymnastics teachers for about an hour.

I missed most of this because I had an important date who needed some lunch sooner rather than later.

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And then after the games, they came back into the room and had pizza, ice cream, and opened presents. I LOVED throwing the birthday party this way – it was affordable (especially looking at other places!!) and the gym did all the work, including providing paper goods, the ice cream cake, and the space. We just bought pizza and goody bags. I didn’t even have to clean my house! And the kids (and hopefully adults) all had a great time! Mark this one down as one of the easiest birthday parties of all time.

6/11/17

Back at home, we’ve settled into a wonderful summer frame of mind. The kids have been playing with all the new toys they got for their birthdays.

Including some giant inflatable toys – like a big water slide and a pool/ball pit.

I mean, isn’t this just the picture of an awesome summer?

Aurora / CO / United States - 6/11/17

The kids have also started swim lessons at a rec center up north. I wasn’t sure about them since Jax was just barely at the cutoff age of 3. But we’ve gone every day this week (and every day next week), and he’s already made remarkable growth after the third day.

Jaylee does really well – she knows how to learn in a class thanks to preschool. But Jax is still young. No big deal, he’s getting better. And I just want to make sure they’re safe in the water. I really like the program – its the same guppy/starfish/minnow program that I took when I was a kid at the local YMCA. And that gave me enough skills to letter in swimming during high school.

6/12/17

Though its been a whirlwind couple of weeks, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the summer (though it’d be awesome if the AC wouldn’t ever break again, thankyouverymuch).

6/13/17

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“Spring” Family Photos

I know its a bit late to be posting Spring family photos, but let me live my life.

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We met our friends to take these photos oh… a month? ago. And I quickly remembered that I’m supposed to make sure Jax has a snack packed and ready to go. Whoops.

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It also rained. Because Colorado.

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Even so, Jason was able to capture some great shots of our little crew. Now I just have to get a couple of them printed and up on the wall. I’ve got a few spots in our house where I keep the most “recent” of the portraits. And other places which are just for the long-time favorites.

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Ordering the prints is on my lengthy to-do list. But you know what’s not on that list anymore? This post. πŸ™‚

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Warm Days and Late Bedtimes

Woo hooo! Its summer!!!

5/26/17

Also, I had a birthday. I’m now the ripe old age of 32.

I’m not big into my birthday, which bothers my family members. But I do LOVE hanging out with all of them. So my mother-in-law throws me a birthday party every year at her house where we eat dinner and cook smores and burn stuff in the fire pit. No cake, no song. Its absolutely perfect for me. I love it every year.

Aurora / CO / United States - 5/27/17

 

The next day were our bi-annual family photos. You know, spring photos. haha.

We got some REALLY good ones, but I kinda want to make that its own post. I adore the Irons family though, and I love this time. Plus – we all chose the colors blue and yellow. Great minds think alike!

5/27/17

On Memorial Day, I went and ran the Bolder Boulder with my mom and sister and 100,000 of our closest friends.

Boulder / CO / United States - 5/29/17

It was a fun race. I’d been “training”, and I was happy with how I did. Only 2 minutes slower than when I ran it two years ago. And I’ve had a baby since then. But you see that storm in the background in the above picture? Yea, that moved through on our bus ride home. The bus ride where the driver didn’t know where to go. And had to stop to go to the bathroom twice…..

Boulder / CO / United States - 5/29/17

It was a rough ride home. But at least the race was fun!

 

This little guy turned 7 months. And we did sleep training. It only took him a day (3 days max) and he figured it out. Now he’s sleeping fully through the night and taking nice long naps. PRAISE JESUS.

5/27/17

So we’re fully into the summer swing around here. We head to all the parks and splash pads and host all the play dates.

6/1/17

The kids finished their running race series today. It was a series of 5? little races for kids. I think they both cried the whole time through the first race, but Jaylee caught on quickly. And by the last week, they were both running the race completely independently – though Jax just kinda shuffled his way through while clutching his hands to his chest. Jaylee was really having a good time by the end of it.

And they both like the medals.

Aurora / CO / United States - 6/4/17

This past Saturday, we met some old high school friends of mine at Chuck E. Cheese. The kids had a BLAST playing all the games, and it was nice to get to see my old friends and their kiddos. They have a daughter that’s exactly one year younger than Jaylee, and they play together so well. I foresee many future playdates this summer.

Jax and I are taking a parent-and-tot music class at the gym. The first one was this past week. He was a little hangry when we went, but he warmed up by the end of it and was having fun. It lasts for 6 weeks, and its nice to have a special thing to do with my middle child. Plus its his first activity, and I’m glad to get his feet wet before he starts gymnastics in a couple weeks (especially since we’ve already paid for it).

Life is good around here.

6/2/17

 

And its birthday season! Tomorrow is Jax’s birthday, and Jaylee’s birthday is on Wednesday. We leave tomorrow for our family vacation celebration! The kids’ family party is on Saturday, and Jaylee’s gymnastics birthday party is this coming Sunday. Its gonna be an awesome week full of partying. I can’t wait!

6/4/17

Posted in Family Fun, Jace, Jaxton, Jaylee, Uncategorized | Leave a comment