Swim Class!

The entire month of March, and over Spring break, the boys have been learning how to swim! They were going twice a week in March, and over Spring break, they both really were able to show me some amazing things that they have learned. Parker has been moved up to PS3, and Mason is in PS2. Parker can hold his breath for longer and can grab things at the bottom of the pool and come back up with the object. He is also able to “swim” to the instructor and come up for breaths like he’s supposed to. I put swim in quotes because it’s more like doggy paddling. He’ll learn how to perfect his strokes when he moves up to PS4. Mason has done great floating on his back and has been starting to learn how to keep his face under water and swim (doggy paddle) without a float. He’s not quite there yet, but he’s been doing great! I’m so proud of how they’re both doing and I can’t wait to spend the summer with them at the pool with their new learned skills!
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New Fish Friends

We got some new fish! We thought it would be fun for the kiddos if we got a little aquarium. We got a little ten gallon tank to start off with. We know nothing about fish except that we had them as pets when we were little. So, we’re all learning. We’d love to eventually get a saltwater tank, but we’ve heard it’s best to make our mistakes with little five dollar fish, than to make our mistakes and kill a eighty dollar fish. The kids are having fun with Stripe, Sharky, Nemo (of course), Orangena and two snails named Turbo and Bertha. The kids love watching them and feeding them! Please pray we don’t kill them, and have to give a speech about death to the kids.

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Working on my Fitness

It’s past due.  I’ve had a few hiccups in getting back to my pre-baby weight.  The busyness of life mixed with many obstacles such as overcoming poor health from Lyme Disease, moving and getting settling into our new home, raising three kids… the usual.  I decided a few weeks ago that I’d had it.  I’m tired of the excuses.  I needed to do something consistent every day if I wanted to see results.  My problem was, that some days I would do great.  Sienna would go down for a morning nap, I would zip off to the elliptical trainer, get some cardio in, and maybe again in the evening I would go for a walk before or after dinner, but then some days, I had laundry or something else that needed my attention and my exercise routine always suffered.  I knew that if I wanted to  see results, then I had to come up with a strict plan and stick with it!

yoga-tree-poseAbout a month ago I convinced a friend to come to a yoga class with me at a nearby studio Breathe Yoga that I had been eye-ing up since we moved here.  After my first class, I knew it was something that I wanted to make apart of a weekly routine.  It centered me- for lack of a better word.  I have three kids, I’m a busy Mom and our house is loud.  This place was quiet.  My house has demanding expectations. This place leaves expectations at the door.  It is a place that helps rejuvenate me and when I leave there, I leave with a boost!  It also helps me be intentional about having “me” time.  I can do something for myself without the title of “Mom” or “Wife” or “Friend” or whatever.  Of course, I am all of those things, and will always be those things, but for the hour and ten minutes that I am intentional about the practice of yoga, I get to be in the moment with just me.  Just my breath.  I can choose to invite God into my heart and mind, and meditate.  Or I can choose to have some quiet time alone focusing on my breathing.  I love that!

So, after a handful of visits to the studio, I found which instructors I like the best, and I am regularly going twice a week now.  Saturday mornings they have an intense Hot yoga class, which is my favorite class and on Tuesday nights they have a “Yoga for Everybody” class which is less intense, but a great addition to my week.  On the days I’m not practicing yoga, I’ve made a commitment to wake up every morning at 6:20am and hit the elliptical trainer for 30-35 minutes and then rotate doing some muscle strengthening exercises following that.  The kiddos start stirring around 7:15, so it gives me lots of time to get my cardio on why they’re still asleep.  Dan takes off for the gym early, so I bring the video monitor downstairs to listen out for any early risers.  The boys have a clock that turns green in their room at 7:20 and they know to play in their rooms until it’s green if they’re awake.  Most of the time, they abide by that rule.iworkout

There you have it.  I’m SERIOUS about working on my fitness.  Going on almost a month of this fitness routine and I’ve lost six pounds.  Still working on being more conscientious about my food intake.  Quality is ok, quantity is not good.  The good news is though since I’ve been working out, I’ve felt less hungry and have had more energy throughout the day.  I am ready to receive the kids in the morning with joy instead of feeling irritated that they’ve woken me up to start a new day.  I’ve been more intentional about my quiet time with God and I feel that I’m growing spiritually too, which is huge.  I know in order to be in the best overall health, it requires me to transform my mind, body and spirit to focus on HIM.  That is my mantra!

Easter Photo Shoot

It’s the week before Easter, and I decided I would break out the camera and dust of my 50mm lens (I usually use my 28mm lens because it’s better for life with movement photos).  I didn’t have a ton of creative ideas for what I wanted to do for the pictures, but I wanted to get pictures of them dressed nice with their basket.  Here’s the lowdown on their Easter attire:

Parker and Mason:

OshKosh Button Down shirts- sale rack from Target, Calvin Klein easy zip ties-Macys (definitely recommend this easy-to-tighten style!), White Ralph Lauren Polo shorts-Macys, OshKosh grey lace-up loafer shoes-Target

Sienna:

Rare Editions Brand Dress- Given to us by a friend, and Smart Fit white leather buckle shoes- All4kids Consignment

I prefer to take seasonal photos prior to the actual holiday.  That way among the fun, I don’t get distracted about trying to get the perfect shot, and I’m able to enjoy the holiday itself.  Over this next week, the kids will be attending three Easter Egg hunts between playdates, school and Easter.  We’re working on incorporating the true meaning of Easter among all the fun, too.  Last night I read Parker the story of Jesus’ death.  Tonight we cover the resurrection.  It was nice to have a deep discussion with him about this important topic that is so crucial to our belief in Jesus as our savior.  It’s been great learning about Christ’ crucifixion through the eyes of a four year old!  The questions and curiosity has given me a great reminder of what he did for us that day on the cross!  We’re waiting to discuss the details of Easter with Mason.  I just don’t feel like he’s old enough to understand in great detail.

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Sending abundant Easter blessings to you and your family!

 

A Disney filled weekend with Mason

We started our trip to Orlando with Mason flying on his first ever airplane!  He loved it, and he honestly wasn’t nervous at all.  He had plenty of fun little distractions, but preferred sitting by the window, staring out and telling me what he saw.  I’ve never been a big fan of flying, and I’m glad that I didn’t pass my fear onto him.  After a little while, we broke out the iPad, and Mason enjoyed playing a little Mickey’s Road Rally.  Happy as a clam with bear-bear in tow!

MasonDisney07I loved the time I spent with Parker at Disney so much right before his third birthday and that was one reason why we decided to continue the tradition and bring Mason there for his third birthday as well!

We arrived in the afternoon and Mason took a quick snooze in the car on the way to the hotel.  That was perfect, because then he was recharged for fun! I told him the hotel had a pool, and he immediately wanted to go for a swim!  It was perfect because he played in the kiddie pool, and Mama got to relax and enjoy the sunshine for a bit!IMG_5276

After a nice dip in the pool, we headed to Downtown Disney for some yummy dinner and to look around at the fun stores!  A nice tip for those of you dining with one child and heading to T-Rex, SIT AT THE BAR! There’s always a few seats available and best of all, you get the same fun filled atmosphere with NO WAIT.  Those wait lists are ridiculous spanning over an hour for a table. With kids… No. Thank. You.  Granted, they do have a cool place where you can dig for bones, and a gift shop, and other fun things to keep your child busy, but still… when they’re hungry, they’re hungry.  Meltdown could ensue… so either get there early or if there are just a few of you, then hit up the bar! It’s totally kid friendly!

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This was a busier time of year than when I took Parker.  Mostly because quite a few people had their spring break.   We still made the best of it, even though the lines were a bit longer.  We arrived early before the gates opened and Mason LOVED seeing all the characters open the park!  It is one of my most favorite times. The anticipation of seeing all the characters just brings a big smile on my face! I loved seeing Mason’s face for the first time when he saw Mickey.  Pure Joy!  He DOES NOT normally like characters either.  He LOVED seeing Mickey though!

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We got on a lot of rides right away when we first got there because we were there so early.  Buzz Lightyear ride was first, then tea cups, race cars, flying saucers, and Dumbo… Lots of fun!!!

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We ate lunch at the Crystal Palace.  I knew Mason wasn’t too fond of large stuffed characters, but the lunch is truly fantastic, with it being a buffet, and free for kids under 3.  I tried to get him to warm up to Pooh, and a few of his friends, but he wasn’t having it.  It didn’t help that Mason was starving, and as soon as we were seated, the last thing he wanted to see was a fuzzy bear in a suit.  He wanted food.  I didn’t blame him either.  It was pretty hot out, and it was easy after all the fun activities to work up an appetite.  MasonDisney10

MasonDisney09After lunch, we enjoyed seeing the parade, and we headed back to the hotel so Mason could get a nice nap.  I wanted him to get a good nap, so we could hopefully stay out late and avoid potential meltdowns.  Meltdowns were averted, and we enjoyed the rest of the evening!

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MasonDisney12DisneyMason12Mason and I made some sweet memories together.  It’s been fun seeing his sweet personality shine during this trip.  It is so different from Parker’s personality and I love him for that.  When Parker went to Disney he wanted to do the fastest and scariest rides, and loved all the Winnie the Pooh characters. Mason on the other hand loved the siging and dancing of the parades, meeting Mickey, and the outdoor rides and wasn’t as fond of the Winnie the pooh characters.  When we left after the parade that night, I felt like we did everything in a day that we could to make it a fun special time for the two of us.  The weather was nice, and afterward Mason said that he really loved the time we spent together.  That alone made it all worth it.  Sharing memories that I know he’ll remember for many years to come!

MickeyDisney13 MasonDisney14 MasonDisney15Our last day in Orlando was St. Patty’s Day.  We went back to Downtown Disney and did some shopping and had fun at the Lego store, and ate lunch at the Rainforest Cafe before going to see the Lego Movie at the theater.  A great way to rap up the weekend! {iPhone pics}

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Mason Turns THREE!

For as long as I can remember, Mason has been obsessed with Monster trucks! It started when he saw Mater’s Tall Tales and he really loved the Monster Truck scene on the movie. It really solidified the obsession when we took him to see Monster Jam live at Phillips Arena in January. He just couldn’t get enough of the trucks, big tires, and the free style moves they did! So, naturally we wanted to do a Monster truck theme for his party. I found a few print files on Etsy for purchase and printed a monster truck themed banner at home, and cut and assembled it myself. This is one of the reasons why I wanted so badly to get a color printer for Christmas. It comes in handy for fun party planning things such as this! I think it turned out great, and it also came with little monster truck add-ons for the birthday hat, and signs to add to the mailbox and door. Such cute graphics! The party favor gable boxes I got from the same place I got Parker’s super hero boxes for his party, since I was so pleased with them.
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Since Mason can get a bit overwhelmed in large groups, especially those where he doesn’t know very many people, we decided to stick to only familiar faces, and little friends he sees regularly at school, church or playdates. The party went well, but there were still moments when he got a little overwhelmed, but that’s okay. We recognized it, and then moved on and enjoyed the party.

Before the party festivities started, he was allowed to open one present.  We did two presents this year, one from Daddy, and one from Mommy.  He opened the one from Daddy first.  Dan found a great deal on Ebay for a whole set of 15 monster trucks. They were used, but in good condition, and Mason didn’t seem to mind one bit.  He was so incredibly excited!  He even brought them outside and put them on the driveway for his little friends to play with when they arrived.

Masonturnsthree03We decided to go with something different for the entertainment this birthday.  We have done the bounce house before with Parker’s birthday, and got burned a little because it happened to rain the entire day, pretty much putting a damper on the party entertainment.  Also, Mason has gotten hurt a few times in those things and it has turned ugly pretty quickly, and I wanted to avoid that, since it was after all a party for him celebrating HIS BIRTHDAY.  Dan had suggested going with the Fun Bus.  We had seen it before at the Touch a Truck events that were around town, and it was basically a bus that has been refurbished to house gym mats and equipment for an inside gym.  It was perfect to keep with the four-wheels-themed party, and to also give me peace about being able to still use it in inclement weather.  So, it was a win-win!  Mason was nervous at first, but once he saw how much fun it was, he jumped right in and had fun with his friends!

Masonturnsthree02 Masonisthree01Mason had a wonderful time with his friends, and we couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day! The weather was just perfect and we were happy to share this fun time with all of Mason’s little friends.  My Grandad isn’t doing very well, so Nanny and Mason’s Godparents and Aunt/Uncle couldn’t make it, but we are so thankful for great friendships that help us celebrate our sweet Mae Mae!

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Next was cake time!  Mason enjoyed every bit of attention… and his beloved Grave Digger cake!  I decided to give Publix the duty of cake making this time, and just had them hold the food coloring.  Not only is it not good for you, but I really think it alters the taste of the cake, too. A big thanks to Sarah and Lauren for helping out with a few of these shots!
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It was overall a great party and we’re glad that Mason enjoyed it. We appreciate the friends who came, and made him feel extra special that day!

A few things about Three year old Mason:

  • Mason is fully day potty trained and wears underwear but we are still working on night time.
  • He’s enjoys figuring out things on his own and tries to undress himself when he needs to, but still needs help with socks, buttons and shirts.
  • Mason has strong emotions and can turn them on super fast without notice.  Suddenly, if something upsets him, he can go from laughing and playing one minute to upset and crying the next.  He can also very quickly go from very upset and crying to laughing and cooperative.
  • Mason loves to sing. He likes to tell me all the songs he sings at school, and loves to “sing” the dinner prayer
  • Mason’s favorite shows are Dora the Explorer, Mater Tall Tales, Sesame Street, Word World, and Little Einsteins.  He’s starting to get into movies, but much rather play with toys.  He can sit through most of Toy Story (all of them), Cars 1&2, and Peter Pan
  • Mason’s best buddy is definitely his brother, Parker.  They role play a lot, and they love to pretend to be everything from super heroes, to bad guys, to pirates. I’m so glad they have each other.
  • Mason seems to be a bit of a Mama’s boy and still prefers me to tuck him in, read to him, and comfort him when he gets hurt. He’s also been known to get upset when I drop him at preschool or is in a situation where there are a lot of people or he feels overwhelmed.
  • Mason loves story time. He has a few monster truck books that he loves, “Axel”,  along with “Digger and Tom”, “Good Night, Good Night Construction Site” and any books that have counting and peek-a-boo flaps.
  • Mason is still a great eater.  He’s narrowed down some of his dinner preferences, but even if it’s not his favorite meal, he knows he won’t get anything else, so he usually still eats it, just not as much.  Most favorite meals: Spaghetti, quesadilla , “chicken on the bone” as he likes to call it, and pizza. He likes corn on the cob, avocado, green beans and broccoli in the way of veggies. Least Favorite Meals: Meatloaf and Shepherd’s Pie (he has issues with ground beef unless it’s in spaghetti).

I’ve loved watching Mason grow these last three years.   I know he will continue to grow and change and I just love that I get to see little glimpses of who he will become when he’s older now.  He’s very smart, caring and enthusiastic and I know those traits will evolve and grow into something even more amazing as the years go on. I’m just thankful that we get to share in this journey with him. Happy Birthday, Mason!

Wake up slow, mmm mm, wake up slow

♪♫… the telephone is singing
Ringing
It’s too early
Don’t pick it up
We don’t need to
We got everything
We need right here
And everything we need is enough
Just so easy
When the whole world fits inside of your arms
Do we really need to pay attention to the alarm?
Wake up slow, mmm mm, wake up slow ♪♫ ~Jack Johnson

 

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I LOVE lazy Saturday mornings. Simply my favorite! All the kids pile in our bed, and they get snuggly, jumpy, wild and crazy until Dan and I eventually give in and get up. I know one day they’ll be too old to crawl into bed with us, so we are savoring these sweet memories while we can!

 

Zoo Time!

We had a wonderful time at the Zoo a few weekends back! Here are a few favorite photos.  I really love that the boys are getting into enjoying the animals and really learning about what they like to eat, and their habitat.  Parker’s current favorite show is Wild Kratts, and he has learned so much about animals from that show too.  It’s MUCH more fun to see them in person though, and it was the perfect weather for it.

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Snow Storm- Round Two!

So, this time around it was a bit different. Dan had a business trip scheduled and he apparently didn’t think it would be too bad, and decided he needed to leave on Monday to keep his scheduled meetings with his clients. Boy was he wrong! The snow coming down on Tuesday and Didn’t stop until after Thursday! Snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain. I was home alone with all three kiddos, terrified that we would lose power while Dan was traveling. I am so thankful that we didn’t have any issues and it ended up just being a snowy few days that was an inconvenience to those who wanted to leave the house, but not anything more than that! It was actually surprisingly fun being home with the kiddos. Not that it normally isn’t fun, but I think normally we get tied up in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for preschool, rushing around to and from drop off and pick up, naps, etc. and it was really nice to just be home and find things to do to entertain the kids. I brought out the big craft bins and we did valentine cards, crafts from Kiwi Crate and just enjoyed using our imaginations.  We used this opportunity at home to also have Parker practice holding a pencil, writing letters, and writing his name.  He wrote his name out for the first time on a little Valentine he made for Daddy. Round2Snow_1 IMG_1348 We missed Daddy a lot, and kept in touch by doing FaceTime.  It was nice to catch up with Daddy and let the boys talk about their day and the things they got to do.  On Thursday after snowing all morning, the snow let up a little bit and I brought the video monitor with me while Sienna napped, and we played outside in the snow.  The snow was MUCH more conducive to build a snowman this time, so that’s what we did.  We had so much fun making memories.  The boys did some sledding on some of our lids from our rubbermaid totes, and we built our first snowman together.  It was so fun!  It was also great to get out of the house since we had been stuck in there since Monday.  A few of our neighbors came out and joined in the fun as well.

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After we stripped our wet snowy clothes and warmed ourselves inside for a bit, I got an idea to make a banner for Dan welcoming him home since I had heard that his flight had been cancelled for the fourth time and he was now put on a Friday flight which would be Valentine’s Day.  Parker got another chance to practice his name, as well as a few stick figures, and they loved covering the welcome banner with valentine hearts, too. Mason had a lot of fun adding his flare to the banner as well.  Sienna woke up from her nap and wanted to help, but after trying to eat a few stickers, and me taking them from her hand, she wasn’t too happy.  I guess judging from my last post, and now this one, Sienna isn’t a big fan of snow days (and the activities that come along with being trapped indoors)!  It was a fun indoor activity and the boys loved it!

round2snow_5 Round2snow_6 Round2Snow_7 round2snow_8We also had fun making cookies.  I found this recipe on Mama Natural’s website and thought I’d give it a go and make some Valentine’s Cookies. It’s is a pretty natural recipe, and I had all of the ingredients so I thought it would be a fun thing to do with the kids.  They didn’t turn out like the recipe said, but I didn’t have coconut flour, and used quinioa flour instead. I’m not sure if that’s why it didn’t turn out right, but it was pretty runny dough, and adding more flour didn’t do the trick, so unfortunately we weren’t able to use the heart shaped cutouts.  We saved them and used them the next morning for heart shaped pancakes.  Instead, they dressed them up with sprinkles and they tasted yummy!  They also had a recipe for icing with coconut oil that was super yummy.  We added that on top of the sprinkled cookies as well. Dee-lish and so much fun!

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Friday, I piled all the kids in the car and headed to the grocery store.  It had been four days that we had been home and we were ready to get out.  I wanted to get Daddy a little Valentine gift and since we had been stuck inside for so long, and the roads were finally clear, I asked the boys if they wanted to surprise Daddy at the airport.  They were so excited, so that’s what we decided to do.  They brought their little cards they made him.  I thought the banner would be too big and heavy for them to bring, but I brought my bouquet of Hershey’s special dark candy bars that I knew he would love.  He was so surprised to see us! It was a fun adventure for the boys as well, and something that we will all remember.  The snow storm, round two, where Daddy was stuck away all week, and we came to surprise him on Valentine’s Day.  Fun memories were made, so all, in all I’m glad we were able to take some time and pause.  To just be thankful for each other and celebrate our love for one another in a unique way.

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