Wednesday, July 31, 2013


This morning we met the Wolfe ladies at WaterWorks.  We had a BLAST!  Hallie and I debated not going because it was not going to be very hot, but we are so glad we did!!!  Last summer, I learned that there are several park district pools around us.  Most of them charge a nominal fee to get in, and they all have slightly different features.  Obviously last summer was not a good time to try them all out, but this summer I wanted to check some out to see what was a good fit for us.  So far, we've made it to one pool (Veteran's with Brandi and the kids)...  There are also two water parks.  WaterWorks is slightly smaller, and it is closer to us.  On Wednesday mornings for several weeks during the summer, they offer a Playdate option: $3.50/child.  No admission for adults and the hours are 9-10:30am.  We definitely got our $3.50 worth!!!
 The adorable kid area is definitely separate from the larger pool and slides.  It was well-staffed with lifeguards, and everything was just perfect for Jackson!  There were a couple of slides, tons of sprayers, and then a toddler area with a small slide and squirters shooting up from the ground.  I think the water was a bit chilly for Graham, but he was a pretty good sport.  The bigger kids were going the whole time!  Mostly they were throwing themselves down the slides and then racing back up the climbing net or the stairs to go again!  Violet and Graham hung out in the toddler area and were good sports as Hallie and I took them several times to go down the bigger slides with their sisters and brother :)
 Down go Izzy and Jackson
 The three "big" kids!
 Group shot attempt...
And, another...

We had SUCH a fun time!  I'm just bummed that this was the second to last week for this opportunity since Jackson has camp next Wednesday :(  We will definitely be coming again!

Monday, July 29, 2013

First Father-Son Golf Date!!!

 Josh booked a tee time for him AND Jackson this afternoon!!!  Aren't they a cute two-some???
 Checking out this golf cart business!
 So cute, yet fast forward 12 years, and that thought is slightly terrifying!
 Josh reported that they had a great time!  Jackson played one whole hole on his own, he played lots more from the fairway in, and he putted on every green :)
 Such a little golfer!
 They had such a nice day!
LOVE these two :)  Can't wait to add Graham to this one day...
Paw Paw would be so proud :)

I am SO glad Jackson is enjoying many of Josh's hobbies already!  It makes me happy to see them both happy :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My New Snack Tote!

Now that Graham is more of his own little person, he requires his own set of drinks and snacks while we are out and about.  I was finding myself leaving all sorts of paraphernalia in the car because I didn't have enough hands to carry all of the water bottles, cups, snack cups, baggies, etc in the house, and I rarely remembered to go BACK out to the car to get them.  I was in Trader Joe's while we were visiting my mom and dad, and I saw the reusable bags labeled as wine bags hanging by the register.  It occurred to me that those compartments would be PERFECT for water bottles and cups!  I added one to my order, and I have been using it ever since!

The above picture is actually showing it all filled up, and it is holding drinks for four kids and one adult and snack cups for all of the kids!  The Snack Traps stack wonderfully on top of one another!  This has been life-changing in terms of keeping track of all of our snacky stuff.  Plus, Jackson knows exactly where his drink and snack are and can help himself and put away.  

I showed Josh, and he (rightfully so) asked, "Pinterest?"  I said, "NO!  I came up with this myself!"  He said I should pin it.  So I did :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Adventures at the Mall and Playground

On Monday, we ventured to the mall.  We were on a mission for matching outfits for yesterday's photo shoot, some recreational shopping, and some playtime at the play area.  The kids did really well!  We put together a cute selection of shirts for them to wear, and we just enjoyed walking around :)  Brandi got these adorable pictures of Graham playing with his new basketball hoop!
 He loves the idea of putting the ball in the hoop!
 So many things I like about this picture: the angle, the chunky ankles, the basketball reflection on the floor and Graham's shadow on the door :)
 Slam dunk!
 Yesterday we started our day off at Fantasy Playground in Lake Ridge.  The kids did pretty well going where we wanted them and posing :)  I love the assortment of faces in this shot!
Such good friends :)
These two...
Close-up of their sweet faces
LOVE this one!  They totally posed themselves :)
So sweet...
...and then there was this!  LOL 
I love all of the photos Brandi took, but I especially loves this little series of my boys and me :) 
 Brotherly love for sure!
 Big tire, little baby 
I am so glad Graham sat up there so well!  This was an adorable shot!
They are actually lined up in age order!  
Graham--13 1/2 months
Liam--2 1/2 years
Kaitlyn--4 years
Jackson--4 1/2 years
 Brandi told the kids that she would take pictures of them doing their favorite things after we did our posed shots.  First, Jackson chose the rings...
...and then the firepole!
 We must have this kid trained--he finished sliding down the pole, and then he just paused like this so Brandi could get the shot :)
KK's turn on the rings
I love this shot of Liam!
These wooden stairs just screamed for this kind of pose :)
So excited it worked out to have these three all to ourselves for almost a whole week!!!
You can't quite tell, but Brandi and I managed to match the kids too :)  This photo is actually two put together!  We tried having a stranger take our picture while we all sat on a bench, but even though Brandi had the camera all set up, and all the lady had to do was push a button, our heads got cut off :(  So, Brandi stood below this bridge and took a picture of Jackson, Graham and me.  She made marks in the gravel where she stood so I could line up in the same place.  She also told me where she focused the camera.  I counted how many planks over I was standing, so she could stand next to where we had been.  We switched, I took a pic of her, Liam and KK, and then she put them together--it looks awesome! She has some serious talent :)  I'm happy to lend her my kids as test subjects any time!
 After lunch and naps, we drove over to Quantico to reminisce :)  We drove by the Buerstatte's old house, we did the loop that we walked countless times, and then we visited one of our favorite parks where we would play with the Buerstattes on any number of mornings/afternoons :)  The kids loved playing!
 Beautiful smile on a beautiful girl! 
 Climbing monkey 
After the playground, we headed home for some quick baths before going to pick up Josh at the Park and Ride.  Then we all headed to Qdoba for our last dinner together :(
Graham had quite the companions at every meal :)

The Buerstattes left early this morning, and it was so sad to watch our playmates go :(  Josh has been working a crazy ton, and it was the perfect time to have some live-in friends!  Just makes us even more excited for when they make their big move back to the Chicago-area!!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mama Road Trip!

Thursday morning Brandi picked us up, we loaded our stuff in her NEW VAN, we waved goodbye to Bampa, and we were off! 1 minivan, 2 moms, 4 kids four and under, 738 miles, countless applesauce pouches and fruit snacks, tons of toys on the floor, about four movies, and a few stops later, we made it!!!  The kids did AWESOME!  I was the most worried about Graham, but he was actually the one we heard from the least--LOL  He slept at all the right times, and apparently there was plenty to amuse him when he was awake.  Jackson and Kaitlyn were such big kids sitting in the way back, and they did really well sharing toys and snacks.  Liam was a trooper, as always.  We did make good use of the built-in DVD player, but it was pretty easy to agree on movies.  We stopped at Culver's for lunch and Chick-fil-a for dinner.  Culver's was delicious, as always, and the kids were able to play a bit at Chick-fil-a.  There was a bit of drama with the cow, but by the end of the meal everyone had high-fived and hugged him :)  Much to Josh's chagrin, I managed to stay awake for MUCH more of the drive than I do than when I'm with him.  Brandi and I had a lot to catch up on--what better than 14 (mostly) un-interrupted hours?  :)

Everyone seemed to sleep well and while Josh trooped off to work, Brandi and I loaded everyone up once again to do a big grocery shop at Wegman's!  The kids were so well behaved, but we got quite a few strange looks.  They have amazing double carts at Wegmans that are built for two kids each in the basket, so we had two of those between us, but we kept getting the weirdest looks.  I do love shopping at Wegmans, but strange things have happened there...

After the long drive, I definitely didn't feel up to making lunch, so we picked up lunch at McDonald's, went home to put away groceries, laid everyone down for naps, and then we had some pool fun outside! 
 Ever since we got the playhouse, I've been thinking about putting the slide IN the pool!  We finally got to do it!  Everyone loved it, even Graham :)
 So happy playing with his friends!
 So squishy!
 These two had so much fun with the fishing nets and all the little toys we have accumulated!

Brandi is always an awesome wing-woman, but she really rocked the bath and jammie time!  She got the three big kids bathed and dressed while I worked on dinner.  We put everyone to bed on the early side and then enjoyed a relaxing dinner with Josh :)

On Saturday Josh headed to Staunton for Aunt Jeannie's surprise birthday party!  Brandi and I took the kids to Veteran's Memorial Pool after an early lunch.  We had such a good time, and it was a great way to beat the heat!  There is a zero entry area in the kids' pool, and that was perfect for us all!  Jackson was much braver than previous summers, and he ended up loving running in and out from under the spraying mushroom!  Graham LOVED the little squirters that shoot up from the ground.  He kept putting his face right in them trying to hug them!  LOL  We headed right home for naps and then more outside pool time.  Again, Brandi rocked bath and pj time!  Such a nice little routine :)
It was warm yesterday, but we headed to The Bear Park anyways!  We started out by hiking the kid-friendly trail near the playground.  We only had the three big kids, and they had a great time together :)
 Photo #1 for future wedding slideshow ;)
 Photo #2 for slideshow ;)
 Climbing the bear wall 
Sweet Lady in the ladybug 
Snacks are really a large part of Brandi's and my success :)
 After dinner, we did some more of our fireworks stash with KK and Liam!  Sparklers were a hit!
So sweet!
 And, who doesn't love the poppers?

We quickly got everyone situated in bed, and then Brandi and I escaped to The Cheesecake Factory for some delicious dessert :)