Monday, September 15, 2014

One Sunny Fall Afternoon

Last Saturday was a gorgeous fall day- not cold, just crisp- and Frank decided we should go to Sugar Grove Nature Center.  We try to go there at least once a season.  (Remember this post from last year?)

The Nature Center has an indoor museum with snakes and frogs, etc, and they also have a huge wooded area where kids can play.  It's not a park, per se, but they have rustic structures where the kids can play.

Um, do you know my kids?  Playing outside with leaves and sticks is right up their alley. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but I did get some pictures on Frank's phone (this is my way of apologizing for the quality... normally his phone takes great pictures, but I think it was just too bright outside and most of these have a glare.)  You can still get an idea of our afternoon, though...

Mama-Daddy selfie!

Probably the craziest thing of all--- Carter on the same bench one year later.  Look how he's grown!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

School and Races and Birthdays and Dragons

A few weeks ago, Jacob started has second (and final) year of preschool.  Since it is his second year at the same school, it was not that big of a deal.

Our First Day of School pictures did not go well, however, and the best picture I got was of him turned towards the door (because he was mad at me).  Needless to say, I never posted it to Facebook!

The first day was a short day where parents attended with the kids, so I was able to snap some pictures.

I love his little shark backpack!

At the end of the week, we went to Gary and Anna's.  Frank and his friend Mike signed up for a 5K on Saturday morning that a neighboring town was holding as part of their centennial celebration.

It was so humid on Saturday morning, and it rained sporadically on the runners.  I got to go cheer them on and take some pictures.

Don't you love small towns?

There was a clown in the race.

This is Frank, a few hundred feet from the finish.  I love this one, because I knew at this point how well he had done.

Medals!  Frank took 4th overall in the race, and 1st in his age group.  Mike got second in their age group.  He joked that next year he's not inviting Frank so he can take first. :)

That evening, we celebrated Anna's birthday/retirement with a family dinner at a 1920's gangster-themed steakhouse.  It was pretty cool.  They had a live pianist and we had him play Happy Birthday as they brought out the cake.

The following morning, we took the kids to "Castle Park" in Carbondale.  This park is the most unusual park I've ever seen.  (You can read more about it here).  Carter wasn't in the mood to have fun, though, so we wrapped it up pretty quickly.

Whew!  I think that catches you all up on the past couple weeks!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Camping-Themed Birthday Party

I tossed around a few ideas before finally setting on a camping-themed birthday party for Carter.  Even though he's a just little guy, some of his favorite things are playing in our tent and making s'mores (or "'mores" as he calls them).

Decorations were easy-peasy, since almost everything were things I already had.  I used some free printables to make a sign for the door.  (It says, "Camping Party," but you can't read it very well here.)

 In the backyard, we had the firepit, the tent, and a little banner that said, "Camp Carter."

Frank tended the firepit

while Uncle Brian worked the grill.

We had hamburgers, brats, and hotdogs, along with "camp food" like corn on the cob, chips, fruit, and baked beans.  I saw this cute idea where you float plastic bugs in your punch bowl, but my plastic bugs sank!  I guess that made it an even bigger surprise when you got to the bottom of the lemonade and found a bug?  I'll tell myself that, anyway.

 The one idea that did work was the gummy-worm centerpiece.  I couldn't find a tackle box in good enough condition to serve food from, so I bought a little grey pencil case that served as a tackle box.

I made a Dirt Cake for his birthday cake, and I was a little nervous because Carter has never had Dirt Cake. How sad would it be if he didn't like his own birthday cake?!  Fortunately, he loved it!  He was a little unsure about the gummy worms at first, but then he decided those were pretty cool, too.

As we were finishing lunch, it started to sprinkle.  Not good news for the campfire or s'mores.  We got really, really, lucky though, and it turned out to be a brief shower that didn't even extinguish the fire.  Soon, we were headed back outside for s'mores making!

When Carter was ready to unwrap gifts, he got some help from his BFF Jenna and, of course, Jacob, who I might add, spent most of the day telling Carter he didn't like two-year-olds.  Jealous much?!

The best part of the day, though, was just all of us hanging out and having fun together.  For days, the kids had been so excited about playing with all of their grandmas and grandpas and cousins all at once.  And it was no small fete, either, since Gary, Anna, Rachael, Jenna, and Brett had to drive 3.5 hours one way... and 3.5 hours home in the same day.

Carter (and Jacob) loved playing with everyone, and we all just had the best time.

All the fun eventually caught up with the Birthday Boy around mid-afternoon, and he went down for a nap shortly after everyone left.

Carter had a very fun-filled day, and he's a very blessed little two-year-old to have so many family members remember him on his special day!