Monday, July 27, 2015

31st Birthday Princess Party

It was my birthday yesterday, and we go big on birthdays in our house.  Jackson told me a couple months ago that he wanted me to have a princess party where I wore a princess dress and danced with Jonathan.  He wanted Jonathan to twirl me around and lift me over his head.  As not to break Jonathan's back, we skipped the dancing but had other princess-themed activities :).

At 9am, this showed up at our house:
We had it for 5 hours, and we got quite a bit of bouncing in.  The boys were so excited to have a bounce house in our backyard.
It was around 100 degrees and felt even hotter with the heat index, so we had to take a lot of heat stroke prevention breaks in the air conditioned house.

Mary came into the bounce house for a few minutes, and she thought bouncing around with me was hilarious.  She spent most of her time inside, though.
The boys helped Jonathan decorate for my little party.
Jonathan made steak with a chimichurri sauce, chips and guacamole, and salad for lunch…delicious.  For dinner we went out for pizza.  The best gift you can give someone who is responsible for making all of the food in the house is to give them a day where they don't have to cook or wash any dishes, so that alone made my day!

After pizza we came back home and had cake.  It was a chocolate cake with a chocolate cheesecake center and chocolate bavarian cream.  They (mostly Jonathan) sang me the Happy Birthday song, and I blew out my candles.
Jonathan gave me my birthday gift a few weeks ago, which is a new camera.  They also got me a new pink and teal iPhone case that Jackson picked out himself, which I opened right before having cake.  My birthday card was very appropriate considering the number of cake pops are children have consumed in their short lives:
We ended the day with some time on the slip and slide.  It stays hot into the evening, so Mary played with a fan blowing on her to keep her from getting overheated.
After the kids went to bed Jonathan and I were talking about the first time I flew out to Colorado to visit him and see if we were really interested in each other beyond our phone conversations.  I flew out to visit him the week I turned 24 and spent that birthday with him.  For my birthday we took a motorcycle ride through the Colorado National Monument (National Park) and ate Mexican food.  Birthdays are celebrated much differently now, but I appreciate how much time and effort he puts into making it special.  We still have such a good time, and he does such a great job of making me feel loved.    

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mary's 10-Month Update and Backyard Shenanigans

Mary turned 10-months old on July 5th, and this was the first month it was nearly impossible to get a picture of her.  She was chewing on things, watching everyone behind me, drooling, and trying to get out of the seated position to reach for stuff.  Here's the best one:
Here she is trying to get away from me:

This summer has been pretty hot, so if we want to go outside it usually has to involve water.  Mary hasn't gotten into any water yet, but I had her try on her new swimsuit.  I love her little leg rolls.
We got a slip and slide from Sam's Club that the boys have been enjoying.  It includes 2 surfboards to slide down on.

 Jonathan even got in on the fun one day.
There was one day where the boys spent 2.5 hours on the slip and slide, and their only break was to sit on the porch and eat their lunch.

Mary gets hot and bright red very quickly, so if she's not napping while we're outside we have to find her a shady spot to play.
We also have 2 different kinds of sprinklers, the kiddie pool, and the trampoline.  It's like we never have to leave our house :).

Grandma and Grandpa Brink in Town

My parents drove down to Oklahoma for a short but fun visit.  They got here on Sunday afternoon and left Wednesday morning.  Monday morning we went bowling.  Owen spent most of his time wandering around all of the arcade games while my dad followed him.  Jack and my mom had a lot of fun bowling together.  Mary and I were just spectators.

Tuesday morning I had the opportunity to go to the dentist for the first time in two years while my parents watched the kids.  I got Mary dressed and then handed her to my mom to get dressed myself.  When I came back out I realized that I unintentionally dressed Mary and I the same…twinsies!
Tuesday afternoon was our fun food time.  We went to Chick-fil-a, and it just happened to be Cow Appreciation Day.  Owen is still talking about the cow tickling his tummy, but Mary was not quite as amused by the cow.  The boys were also excited to get a balloon and small stuffed cow.
We also went out for donuts after lunch.  The boys love a good donut :).
It's not often that Owen gets new clothing items since he generally gets hand-me-downs from Jackson.  Ever since Jackson got his red Nike shoes, Owen is always putting them on and saying that they are his.  He gets angry when we try to put his shoes on that were handed down.  My parents took Owen out after lunch to get his own new pair of shoes.  He got the identical pair to Jack except in bright yellow.  He was so excited to choose his shoes and carry them to the counter.  He tried to wear them to bed for naps and at night the entire next day.  Thank you Grandma and Grandpa.
I had to take a picture of Owen sitting outside by himself while we were all inside trying to escape the heat.  He sat there for about 10 minutes just staring out at the trees chewing on a straw.
We wanted to get a picture as they were getting ready to leave.  I literally took 142 pictures using the rapid capture feature on my phone, and I was able to pull out about 9 where everyone was looking at the camera.
The kids had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa, and we look forward to the next visit!

Owen's Toddler Bed

About 3 weekends ago, I believe it was June 27th, we transitioned over to a toddler bed.  Owen had known how to get out of his crib for a while, but for some reason it was this psychological barrier for him where he wouldn't get out on his own in the mornings.  I was very happy with that situation, but Jonathan wanted to let him feel like a big boy and have his own special bed.  Jonathan and Owen made it a project for them to do together.  Jonathan sanded down the toddler bed that Jack grew out of several months ago and painted it with the same blue chalk paint he used on Jackson's twin bed.  The project took about 3 days, and all Owen could talk about was his 'big bed.'  
Overall, the transition was easy.  He stays in bed once we put him to sleep at night without any problems.  The big thing that changed is that he started waking up earlier than normal and coming down to our room.  He used to sleep until at least 8:30am, but he wakes up anytime between 6:30-7:15am now.  Each morning you know he's up, because you'll hear his door open and then slam closed as he leaves his room.  I have been telling him every day for 3 weeks now that he can leave his door open, but he's obsessed with closing doors right now.  Luckily, Mary doesn't wake up from it even though his room is right next to hers.  There was one night last week that he came out of his room an hour after he went to bed and talked to us over the landing.  He went back into his room, but he came back out another  hour later asking what we were watching on tv.  I guess he was just having a hard time sleeping.

One more picture I wanted to share is just of another project that Owen helped Jonathan with.  Owen is definitely a projects guy who loves tools and working with his hands.  He's always following Jonathan around while Jonathan's working on stuff at the house.  When Jonathan gets the hammer out Owen says, "it hammer time!"  In the picture below Owen was using the electric sander to help Jonathan refinish our table.

Fourth of July and a Visit from Auntie Amy

Five out of the last six years we have been lucky enough to have Auntie Amy visit us for the Fourth of July.    She came with fun decorations for the house and festive sunglasses that the boys loved.  
Owen loved spending time with Auntie Amy and even tucked himself into her bed to spend time with her one morning.
Amy and I had fun doing selfies with Mary.  Mary loves seeing herself in the camera, so you can usually get the best smiles out of her during a selfie.
Jonathan and I don't seem to get into very many pictures, Jonathan especially, but Amy captured us in a few.
Owen was out and about sporting his festive glasses at the park even when it wasn't the actual holiday.
We read a lot of reviews about fireworks in our area saying that it took an hour and a half or more to get home afterwards, and the shows wouldn't even end until about 11pm.  We decided it was best for everyone's sanity to do fireworks on our own.  Oklahomans are very big on setting off fireworks at their own homes we found.  We purchased a smaller package of fireworks that Jonathan set off in front of our driveway.  It was fun to just sit in our driveway and watch Jonathan play with fire :).  The people around us must have spent a pretty penny on fireworks, because there were some huge displays going off all around us from neighboring houses.  Some of them looked professional grade.  We ended up getting a pretty good show from our own purchases and our neighbors without having to leave the comfort of our home, and our children only went to bed about an hour later than normal…I'll call that a success!
We also had a great time bowling while Auntie Amy was in town.  It was the boys' first time, and they were mesmerized by all the lights initially.  They got to use this little dinosaur tail to roll their ball, and the bumpers came up when it was their turn.  They both got a great workout carrying their ball to the lane, and they insisted that no one help them.
Once the holiday weekend was over, Amy stayed at our house the next week but had to work (she works remotely) most of each day.  We got to visit with her in the evenings and at meals, but we were back to our normal routine overall.  Jack takes an art class each Wednesday this summer for an hour, so Owen, Mary, and I usually go to the grocery store during that time.  Here's Mary's first experience in the car cart.  She had a lot of fun!
I love the two selfies the boys took below…brotherly love.  They also have fun together in the car carts.
 I just wanted to include this next picture, because she's so adorable:
We're so happy Auntie Amy could come hang out.  The boys call her Emmy Amy, and they love her a lot!

Father's Day

Father's Day this year was a lot of fun, and the boys were excited to make it a special day for their dad.  One of Jonathan's favorite things to do is go out for breakfast on the weekend, but it's really hard to do these days with Mary's morning nap taking up so much time.  I made sure to have the boys dressed before Mary woke up, and as soon as Mary woke up we headed out the door to make the most of her 2-hours awake in the morning.  We were able to all enjoy a relaxing breakfast and still be home in time for Mary's nap!

I was trying to decide what dessert to make Jonathan, and I remembered these Hope's Royal cookies that he loved from about 6 years ago when we lived in Denver.  Jonathan's sister, Amy, had managed to recreate them and sent me the recipe about 4 years ago.  After digging through my email, I found the recipe!  The boys helped me with the mixing and adding of ingredients, and we presented Jonathan will some of his favorite cookies.

Jack and Owen each made Jonathan a card that had a Father's Day survey glued to it with their individual answers.  They also painted a picture frame for him and put the top photo you'll see below in it so he could bring it to work.
 Here are the adorably cute surveys from the boys:

And a daddy/daughter Father's Day selfie:
Jonathan is the most amazing dad to our kids, and he makes every second that he is home with them count.  He is always finding ways that they can all have fun together whether it's letting them help wash the cars (kids love it), taking them out on little adventures, reading them stories every night, or basically turning our backyard into a water park of slip n slides and sprinklers for them to play in.  We're so thankful for his hard work and love for our family.

Putting Some Weight on Mary

We had to return to the doctor for Mary on Monday, June 22nd to see if we could put some weight on her in a week.  Her weight the week earlier was 14 lbs., 8.5 oz., and her weight at this appointment was 15 lbs., 7 oz.  She gained 14.5 oz. in one week, which the doctor was really happy about.  We didn't have to do any thyroid testing since she proved she was capable of gaining weight with some nutritional changes.  One of the biggest challenges was that she does not take a bottle or sippy cup, so I had to get creative with supplementing with coconut milk or regular milk.  I ended up making puddings with full-fat coconut milk blended with chia seeds to make it thick, and I added dates and other fruits to sweeten them.  She gobbled those things up along with A LOT of avocados.

Here's an example of one day's meals:
Breakfast: 1 whole egg + 1 yolk scrambled with half and half and cheddar in ghee and olive oil, 1/2 avocado, blueberries

Lunch: Pudding (1/2 cup coconut milk, 2 dates, 1 Tbsp chia seeds)  Multivitamin powder added and 1/4 tsp FCLO-Butter blend supplement

Dinner: About 1/4 oz ground beef dipped in full-fat yogurt sauce, 1 Tbsp zucchini w/ olive oil, and Strawberry 'yogurt' (1/3 cup coconut milk, 1/3 tsp chia seeds, 1/2 date, 1/8 avocado, 1 strawberry)

She still eats quite a bit at meals, but she started to slow down at the end of the week.  It's almost as if she caught up, and her body said it was ready to slow down a bit.  Hopefully she'll continue to steadily grow, and we'll check back in at her regular 12-month appointment.

Jackson's Pre-K Graduation

Somehow I forgot to post Jackson's Pre-K graduation from May 19th.  He started at First Baptist Church of Jenks Preschool in January where he went to school from 9:30am-2:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  There were 3 Pre-K classes, and each class sang three songs.  After their program was done, they walked across the stage to receive their certificate.  Here's Jack's picture after the ceremony:
He starts his Pre-K program through the public school system next month.  He will be going from 8:15am-3:15pm five days per week.  He's our lover of anything academic, and he loves structure and rules.  His teachers this past year said that he has great fine motor skills and a strong ability to write his letters and numbers.  They also said he is a very active participant in class activities.