Sunday, July 29, 2012

Monster Jam 2012

A couple of years ago you could bet that I would not have been writing a post about a monster truck show. But I am the mom of two boys, and my two boys happen to love monster trucks. Luckily for them, we have friends whose entire family loves monster trucks and invited Roman and the boys to join them for Monster Jam 2012 in Stafford Springs, CT. Roman and Braeden went with them last year, but this was Evan's first show. From what I hear, they loved it!
This is one of the drivers. She signed both of their hats and apparently won the competition or whatever it is they do there. Roman said she's an amazing driver and blew the rest of them away. I wonder if she drove the truck in her hot pink stilettos? Evan acquired a new Grave Digger hat and got all of the drivers to sign it. Good thing he's so cute.
That's her!

 The Grave Digger motorcycle

 Some seriously big tires!

Braeden's "favorite" truck - El Toro Loco.

Maggie and I had a nice relaxing day at home. We went to church, had breakfast with my parents and then came home to peace and quiet. That's pretty rare around here! I even got to finish the last book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. My opinion on that could be a whole other post.. We had a great girls day, but we were very glad when the boys got home filled with excitement and stories. I think the funniest story was that Evan actually took a nap during the show. I guess when you're tired, you're tired. I'm so happy they had a great time. They are already looking forward to next year. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

And She Walks!

Maggie has been taking a few steps at a time for a few weeks, but she was definitely taking her time putting it all together. But then last night we were sitting on our friend's deck having dinner when all of a sudden Maggie stood up near a chair, let go and walked about 4 feet across the deck. My view was partially blocked, but I was pretty sure she wasn't holding on to anything. I asked Roman and Scott who had the best view and they said that yes, she had walked all by herself!! After that she just kept walking back and forth from the door to the table. It was as if she'd waited until she really got it before she attempted her big reveal. I didn't have a camera with me so no pictures yet, but I will get them. I am so amazed that our baby is now a walking one year old. I have been waiting for her to reach this major milestone, but at the same time it makes me a bit weepy to acknowledge that all of the "baby firsts" have come and gone for the last time. But enough of the sappy business; it's time to celebrate. Way to go baby girl!

Not a walking picture, but too cute not to share.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Nothing screams summer like s'mores. Usually by the time we are ready to sit out back and start the fire Maggie is already in bed. But it is a fun activity to do for the boys since they are old enough to be near the fire without trying to dive in. Braeden tried one for the first time this year, but after a bite resorted to eating only the chocolate and the graham crackers. Evan will eat all of the components, but not together. They still have lots of fun burning toasting marshmallows even if Roman and I have to eat them for the team.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Friday Fun at The Friendly Farm

On Friday morning we took Maggie on her first trip to The Friendly Farm. When the boys were little they were timid around the animals, but not Maggie! That girl touched any animal that got close, giggled when the goats jumped on her stroller and thought the chickens were just great. 

Apparently the chicks were funny.

Even Braeden held a chick. He had done it at school this year which is a HUGE deal for him.

This goat was headbutting Maggie from behind. It was pretty funny!

While we were busy playing with, and feeding the goats, one of the workers came to ask if we wanted to help feed the baby cow. Well of course! That's one of our favorite parts of visiting there. We've only ever fed goats before so a cow was a big treat.  

Everywhere you go, there are goats VERY willing to eat..

The brown sheep kept following Brayden around. He gladly obliged by feeding it.

We decided to try and get some group (or as many of the group as we could get to cooperate) pictures.. I'm sure everyone in the world with kids knows how hard that is. Add the distraction of chickens and goats continuing to walk around you and it becomes even harder, but we did it!

Notice there is no Evan. He was way to busy to stop and pose. 

We love to go to the Friendly Farm and we were very glad to take our friends with us who were going for their first time. It's great for little kids because it's small and there aren't any big intimidating animals like a zoo. Don't get me wrong, I love the zoo, but I wouldn't want to be wandering around inside the fences with lions or giraffes.. Can you believe that the same horse that was there when I went as a kid is still at The Friendly Farm today? Kinda crazy. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturday at the Beach

We set out (not early enough) yesterday morning for Maine to visit some friends and take the kids to the beach. We don't usually attempt the busy beaches during the summer, but our friends have a campsite at Old Orchard so we took the opportunity to show the kids what fun it can all be in the summertime. It took us 3.5 hours to get the bridge headed into Maine when it should only take 2. Not a great start to the day. We were just a tad stressed, but the kids did awesome and Maggie only got fussy when we were already in Maine. I am so grateful for how easy going my children are. Their ability to adapt and go with the flow makes it possible for us to do these activities as a family.

 Waiting for the trolley to the beach!

A few more people than we're used to...

Maggie's first time in the ocean. She didn't mind it at all until a wave hit her in the face.. oops!

All of the boys loved playing in the water. I didn't know what Evan would think since he has been so opposed to going in any water outside of his own pool this summer. But to our surprise, he got right into his bathing suit and ran immediately into the water when we got there. There was playing and sand castle building attempts and body surfing and all around good times. It was a beautiful day and all of the kids would probably have played until the sun went down if we had let them. 

They were however, easily enticed out of the water to go the amusement park. Braeden was brave enough to go on the log ride with Melissa and I and Evan even went on a ride all by himself while we were doing that. Go Evan! Maggie experienced her first ride ever when Melissa took her on the Carousel. I get too dizzy to go on rides so it was great that Melissa offered to take Mags. 

 She liked it!

Braeden thought it was pretty cool that he got to ride a goat..

My camera died after that, but we continued to have a great time. We had dinner and the kids played at the playground. Then after the boys went to take showers at the campground bathrooms (a big thrill to them), even though Neil and Melissa have a shower in their camper, we went to get some ice-cream before heading home. Fortunately the trip home was the usual 2.5 hours. Thank goodness. I think Roman might have had to be committed if he had to sit in traffic anymore. 

We are having the best summer this year. The kids are so happy to go on adventures and try new things and it is making it so fun for me because I get out of the house and experience new things too! I know I say it over and over, but we have amazing family and friends and it's so great to have people to spend the summer with, having fun, swimming, and eating too! What would summer be without lots of barbecues, ice-cream trips and spur of the moment decisions to have lunch or dinner with friends. We are so blessed and happy. 

Friday, July 20, 2012


Braeden started his golf lessons last week. I didn't make it to the first lesson, but I was able to go today to get some pictures. It is so much fun to watch these little guys try to play a sport that is difficult for many adults. All of the kids approach it so differently and are at varying levels of skill, though they are all in the 4 to 6 year old range. I'm so proud of Braeden for trying and taking interest in something new. For only his second lesson, I think he's doing pretty well. He's making contact with the ball (which is great), but he's having a bit of trouble transitioning from his baseball swing to a golf swing. But most of all, he likes it and is having fun learning. I think the best part is that Ethan, Brayden and Riley are all playing too so they are all having fun and trying something new together. I love it!
Before we left 

At the driving range waiting for instruction

 Ethan and Braeden

 Riley and Brayden (He's a lefty which is why he's swinging opposite)

I think one of the biggest thrills for the kids is the golf cart ride at the end. The instructor and his helpers load the kids into the carts and drive them back to the clubhouse. The lucky parents get to walk back carrying the kids clubs. Good thing a five year old's bag doesn't weigh anything. 

Smiles after a great lesson!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Maggie's First Birthday Party

For the last couple of weeks it has been D.R.Y. here. No rain to really speak of in the forecast. Except of course for Sunday afternoon during Maggie's birthday party. My plan for outdoor decorating was changed so that the paper pom-poms wouldn't be destroyed if the rain did come. I knew that as long as there weren't thunderstorms rolling through, the kids would all be fine playing outside even if it was raining. They would be in the pool and sprinklers getting wet already so rain wouldn't phase them. As it turned out, it only sprinkled a few times during the party, much to the chagrin of my poor plants that have been desperately waiting for a good drenching.

The theme of her party came from the shower my mom and sister-in-law had for me before Maggie was born. Stacy made tissue paper pom-poms to decorate and I loved them. I brought them home and as I kept seeing them in my craft room, I decided it would be fun to decorate with them for her first birthday too. The originals were a little too "loved" to use for the party, so I had to make new ones (with Jean's help - thanks Jean!).

I also made a tissue paper wreath to match the colors and hung it over the mantle in our living room.

My favorite decoration was the banner of her monthly pictures I made. I had originally planned to hang it from the fireplace, but I put it on the mantle while I figured out how to hang it and I really liked it there. Plus, being up higher made it safe from little hands. 

The kitchen had more pom-poms, balloons, and her actual birthday banner. 

(I don't have a picture of just the decorations)

The birthday girl

Maggie was so good the whole time. She enjoyed playing with the kids and entertaining the adults. She willingly opened most of her presents and only got upset at cake time because there were so many people so close to her. But she didn't cry until the singing was over and the candle had been blown out. It was so different than the boys first birthday parties. Both of them were more shy at this age than Maggie is. It's so much more fun to be an experienced mom at a first birthday party. I remember Braeden's and I was so worried about everything going right and how he was going to act that I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I should have. By this time around, I was able to let it flow however it was going to go and had fun! 

Cake time. She couldn't take her eyes off of my aunt singing Happy Birthday.


A crown that one of the kids at the party made for her as a present. So cute. 

Here is how she spent the rest of the night until it was bedtime..

It was a really wonderful party. I'm so happy that everyone we invited was able to come and celebrate Maggie with us. It was fun to watch the older kids playing and having such a good time together. Maggie was happy and smiley and enjoyed every minute of the attention. I love that we have such an amazing group of family and friends who love my kids so much and are able to enjoy these milestones with us. Thank you to everyone for coming and making it a great day!