Friday, August 30, 2013


You know when you go to store and find the shortest line. There's a lady almost done with her large order and you hear those dreaded words '"Oh, I'm going to have to take a couple things off". The guy behind you sighs and switches lanes, but you feel stuck because most of you groceries are already on the belt. You try to look sympathetic as she looks your way and apologizes. The lady starts digging through items that have already been bagged. Her children seem to take this as their cue to start arguing about whose turn it is on the mechanical pony, and come whining to her just as she hands back the box of donuts. Her child witnesses this and cries out about not getting the donuts and how she had promised they could have them. Her other children start pushing at each other and messing around. She's trying to comfort one child, discipline the others, and still dig through her items, to reach a manageable total.You can tell she is both embarrassed by her children's behavior as well as having to void off so many items, you're thinking just get out of the store already. You see the guy who switched lanes walking out the store with his order bought and bagged; just as the lady finally leaves.

We've all been there right, behind the dreaded "Please void this" lady. How many of us have been that lady? Today that lady was me. Those misbehaving kids were mine. That stack of voided items were mine. It's a horrible feeling opening your wallet and realizing that the $50 that was there, you spent it two days ago on gas; and now you have to be the "Please void this" lady.  I can tell you I wanted to get out of the store as fast as the lady behind me wanted me out. My kids wanted to get out of the store as fast as the lady behind me wanted them out.

How to you respond when we get stuck behind THAT lady?  Do you empathize with her, knowing how she might be feeling? Are you the guy who sighs heavily and switches lanes?

Finally Skating!

We usually don't get to skate much, there isn't a rink anywhere close to our home. After attempting to go Monday the boys were really looking forward to going. We ventured back down there to skate, knowing for sure they would be open. When we pulled up there was only a handful of cars (again), this time knowing better than to assume we had the whole place almost to ourselves, my first thought was they closed today for some reason or another or I had gotten the times wrong. Thankfully when we pulled on the door handle they were open. Plus there was maybe 15 other people there. Halleluiah! We'd get to skate! After trying on many pairs of skates to find some that actually fit or didn't have the soles ripped out of them, we hit the stake floor. Jordan took off with out a backwards glance and Joey was right behind him. Jacob made his way to the partition wall and slowly worked his way around the rink. After locating and storing everyone shoes into an over priced locker, I set out to catch up with my boys. For about an hour and half I alternated between whipping around with Jordan to skate dancing with Joey, and keeping Jacob company as we made our way cautiously around. After a quick rehydration break, Jordan and Joey reluctantly  joined me in the Hokey Pokey and The bird dance. The DJ announce a girls only skate and I joined the other 6 females in looping around for the length of one really long song. My boys were kept entertained by waiting at the edge to slap me five as I came there way. Then it was boys only skating, all three got back out on the floor. Somehow remembering that wwwaaaayyy back in the day, that they used to do this right before a couples only song then it would be time to go; I got a jump on things and trade my wheels for my shoes and had the kids' shoes ready. Then a faster paced song came on and the DJ called everyone back to the floor; confused I looked at my clock, we still had an hour left. I thought my legs had already had enough skating, but the boys thought I could handle just one more hour. The nice lady who put my skates away allowed me to have them back and I headed back to my boys.

Slowly throughout our time there Jacob slowly started to inch his way away from the wall. During the last few songs he was rolling near the center of the rink. YAY, Jake!! I'm so proud. Joey learn to move with a little more speed and can sure put on a show with his "Skate dancing". Jordan made a couple attempts to learn to skate backwards, but preferred to whiz past everyone instead. We all had an absolute blast and plan on visiting again sooner. I'm so proud of all my boys for pushing themselves to try new things. (I'm proud of myself for staying out on the floor the whole time, and my legs for keeping me upright the while time)
Being close to Grandma's (again) we stopped by for my coffee and swimming for the boys. My kids sure do love hanging out at Grandma's and again we stayed way longer than planned.

Monday, August 26, 2013

That's How We Roll.......When We Can't Skate

Today's plan was to head down to the skating rink and spend a couple hours there, then head over to Grandma's for a quick dip in pool and a cup of coffee for me. The boys were looking forward to spending a few hours skating in circles. We pulled up and noticed the lack of cars and though "Cool, we've got the whole place almost all to ourselves!". Wrong!! The only day there are closed is Monday's! Go figure, right!? A nice gentleman opened the door to inform us that we were either a day late or a day early. He was very kind and gave us free admission passes. We're hoping to try again later this week.

Being that we were already down by Grandma's we'd head that way. First we needed to stop and get a new gas cap, it had snapped in two Saturday night (and I kept forgetting about it yesterday). Luck was on our side that the bowling alley is right next to the auto parts store. With a couple spare hours on our hands, why not stop. After purchasing a new cap and securing it safely back where it should be (I don't know what happens if you drive around without one. Maybe the car blows up, maybe nothing, but I wasn't chancing it.). Knowing my family is once again safe, we went bowling.

I love bowling with younger kids, because you get to use the bumpers. Oh Boy, do I use the bumpers! Joey was in the lead up until the 9th frame, I stayed 2 or 3 pins behind him the whole time (not on purpose, I'm just not that good at bowling). Jacob had a rough game, only knocking down 2 or 3 pins each frame. We came up with everyone had to wiggle their fingers to help his ball that bounced side to side down the lane reach the pins, that worked for a while. He decided it was the bowling alley, we usually play out by our house, if we were at the other one he'd have already gotten a turkey. Jordan maintained 3rd place until the 10th frame when he tied me for the win.

Having not gone swimming yet, and about coffee time for me, we went to Grandma's.  I had the fixings for water balloons in the back of the van, so we played Hot Potatoes with water balloons and balloon toss for a bit. Then got in the pool and really get wet. The pool thermometer lied, there was no way that water was 80 degrees, but not cold enough to turn our lips blue. I got in with the kids anyways, and they splashed and dunked be for a few hours. Grandma came home and rescued me by having donuts for a snack. After coffee it was time to go, the boys were reluctant to leave so we changed plans and ended up staying for dinner too.

I like to plan things ahead of time, but the last 13 years as taught me not to hold too tightly to my plans. I'm very fortunate that my boys are easy going and don't get too upset (usually) when plans change.

A Day with Good Company

Yesterday was Jordan's last day volunteering at the nature center at one of our metro parks. He loves helping out there and is going to reapply for next summer. He would have continued through the school year, but I want him to focus on his school work.
While we were out that way we had made plans to meet up with some friends that the boys won't be seeing at school anymore. We met at the nature center and they got to see Jordan doing his thing showing the critters to everyone. Our friends did a picture scavenger hunt while we were there, then we walked the half mile nature trail. While on the trail my boys tried their hand at photography by taking pictures of things in nature that were interesting to them. I limited them to 10 pictures so they had to be choosey about what you wanted to capture. We headed over near the newest playground to set up for our barbeque, due to it being such a lovely day it was too crowded. We found a small picnic grove a little ways down, where we had the whole area to ourselves. The boys played Frisbee, catch, and just ran around while they waited for our meats to cook. An extra bonus was that my boys friends' dad was there and the absolutely adore him. Jordan likes that he can joke around and rough house with him, he won't get into trouble for being too rough (or snotty). After dinner the kids made s'mores, then we headed back to the playground. It was starting to get later and we thought we head over by the boats to watch the sun set over the water. As we rounded up kids, we had just missed the sun on the horizon. Now with the sun down it was time to pack up and head home.
It was a wonderful day spent outdoors with great company. Although we won't get to see our friends as often now that my boys are going to a different school, we'll still make a point for more get-togethers like we had yesterday.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

3 Ring Circus

So times I feel like I live in circus, today that was pretty close to a reality (but in a good way). We went to a Touch a Truck event. We have been to this event the past couple years and loved it. I wasn't really impressed with the limited numbers of trucks that were there. We however checked out the petting farm and exotic animals, where we met up with some of our friends from our neighborhood. There was a tent set up for Macomb Children's Hands-on museum, the kids did a couple neat experiments and took a closer look at some creepy critters. The museum isn't built yet, but they were getting word out about it, and raising funds for the build. (I'm excited to have a Hand-on museum closer to where we live). They also had a short circus act. Before the act the kids had a chance to try out some of the equipment. They were determined to stay upright on the unicycle; Jordan did really good, but didn't quiet manage it. Jacob liked the tightrope and after several attempts could make it also halfway. Joey floated between all the activities. being a big kid myself, of course I tried to do all the stuff the boys did; just not as gracefully. We all tried out the bike with the giant wheels. While a guy helped the boys navigate their way, he gave me instructions and sent me out on my own. It was a lot harder to pedal when you are not situated with the pedals beneath you and steering was confusing until you got the hang of it. We watched the act and if course they made it all look extremely easy. We grabbed an elephant ear (that we didn't get to have at the fair) and were headed home. Almost to the van, we stopped to watch the pig races. It was so crowded near the pig race track, that only the younger two were able to wiggle their way close enough to see anything. From what the kids told me it was so cool, they got to watch the pigs swim in the 3rd race.
After a couple hours of fun at the event it was back to Grandma and Papa's to run through the sprinkler and jump in the pool. They are trying to get in as much swimming as they can before it is time to close down the pool. They're in the freezing cold water with purple lips saying that the thermometer says 80 degrees, so they're good to swim

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Soda Geysers...More of a fizzle

A few years ago my cousins did this really cool soda geyser. This thing shot many feet in the air. The boys and I thought we would give it a try. Even though we didn't have the neat little tube my cousin had that stopped the mints. Joey came up with using an empty pill bottle upside down with a hole cut into it. It only held 5 mints so we fit a toilet paper tube around the bottle so it would hold all the candies. Jordan made a stopper out of cardboard that we could pull out of the way with a long piece of yarn. We gather some original Mentos candies, some soda, and our own homemade tube, and headed to the park. (There was now way I was chancing having soda explode all over my yard). We set them up, Joey was first, he yanked the string and we watched the soda shoot up a whole foot from the bottle. Not what was supposed to happen. Jordan thought he'd try dropping the mints in with out using the tube. He managed to get 5 or 6 in before it started to erupt, again only about a foot high. Jake used our contraption but only put in 5 candies. His only bubbled out the top. Determined to make this work they even tried shaking the bottles with the mints that were already in there. They tried to shake up the soda and drop in a few more mints. It just wasn't happening for us.  
Although our geysers weren't nearly as impressive as we had hoped they would be, they were glad we had attempted them. At least they did something, even if it was just a fizzle. We  are going to  shop around for one of those tubes, so we can send soda flying higher than our heads. I have heard that the trick is to use Diet soda, so we will give that a try too. It may take us a couple tries but eventually we'll figure it. I'll post pictures when we finally get the good geysers going.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Helping hands

Our second attempt at volunteering went a lot better. The boys were really excited to help with filling the backpacks. They quickly fell into a pattern to efficiently fill the packs. Jordan filled the pencil boxes with some of the small supplies, pencils, sharpners, scissors, etc. Joey put in notebooks, a ruler, and folders. Jake checked to make sure everything was in them before moving them to the finished pile. They were able to fill all the backpacks that were available which was 60+. 
After taking a lunch break they wanted to go back and complete more. During our break time the people from the pantry went shopping for more packs. The boys made quick work of most of those packs too. They also prepped the supplies so that after a dinner break they can come back to help with more of the filling. It became too late in the evening to return, the boys are hopeful that we will receive a call tomorrow inviting them back. There is still some more work to be done, they would like to see this project through.
They really enjoyed helping out. This was a perfect volunteering opportunity for our family. I'm so thankful that we're able to get connected with the right people and participate with the project. This has also sparked their interest and they are looking forward to future volunteering chances.

We also had helpful hands pet sitting for a friend that is out of town for a couple days. They have gotten a taste of what it is like to take care of a dog. They have had to make sure they wake up early enough to head over and let the dog out and to feed him. Also stop by during the day to let him back out, and again at night to feed him and let him out again. They like that the dog was excited to see them (our cat could care less about when we're home and when we're not).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Any Volunteers?

I really want to teach my boys the importance of volunteering and to giving back to the community we live in. We may not be currently able to financial help other, but we can always give our time and of ourselves to others.

Before school even let out Jordan has inquired about working at a nature center we frequent. This was a choice he made totally on his own. After learning that he was much to young to get paid, but was more than welcome to apply for a volunteer position. Jordan has spent every other Sunday throughout his summer vacation volunteering at one of our metro parks nature centers. He loves it and doesn't realize that he being a huge help to the center. He does it because he loves the animals and sharing his knowledge about the animals there. He has learn a lot of cool facts about both animals within the center and in near by areas.

Both of the younger boys still have a few more years until the will be able to volunteer at the nature center. In order to show them that they are able to help out regardless of what their age we started looking for opportunity near our home. We had talked about going to a senior living center and spending time there. They really like the idea of using those really cool sticks and picking up garbage off the side of road. We checked into helping distribute food at our local pantry, unfortunately we were turned away due to the being too young to uphold the privacy policy. The pantry had suggested we call the fire department and maybe they could lead us in a direction of something we could do as a family. We were connected to a guy from the DPW, whom we met up with Monday morning. The boys got excited thinking "Yes! we're picking up garbage with those garbage stabbing thingies!"; they were close, we were handed garbage bags but also 3 pairs of gardening gloves. We were set up with pulling weeds from the flowerbeds in front of our village offices. Although it was not their first choice as to what they would have liked to do, it was a job that needed done. The 3 of us (Jordan was camping, therefore missing out on our fun) got right to work. It took us just over an hour to fill up two garbage bags with weeds. I was proud of my boys for following through and helping with the weeding, and the teamwork they used to accomplish it. They were also proud of themselves for making the plants look so much better.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tough Conversations

We have been working hard on our summer bucket list, we're getting close to completing our list just over 25 left. We've had so much fun doing the activities and have been focusing on finishing our list. So last light when I heard my youngest crying at bedtime, I was concerned.

All the fun we have been having had him thinking about his father and his daddy not being here to enjoy our activities. His father had passed when he was only a few months old, and he's never known him. occasionally he misses him, he has only ever known life with mom and his brothers. We had a very heart felt talk about how daddy watches us through the holes in the floor of heaven and how he can talk to his daddy whenever he wants and he'll hear him.

Talking about his daddy not being here had also brought about worries of losing another family member. Both of my younger ones were very upset that one day everyone will die. They expressed that they want everyone in our family to live forever because they don't want our family seperated. That they would miss us and wanted us to stay forever to do fun stuff with them. I did reassure them that I plan to live a very long time, as do Papa and Grandma.

I wish I could tell them that of course we'll live forever, but I won't lie to my boys. I wish I could tell them that only really sick or really old people die, but they know that's not true. They know that my brother passed when he was young and J3's daddy was in good healthy when he died.

Mortality is a tough subject even for adults. Its heart breaking to see my little guys try and understand it and to have the worries so heavy upon their little hearts. Although its common for children their age to have concerns about death even when death has no affected their lives.

How do you help you children deal with sure a tough topic? What books are videos did you share with them?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Behind the Wheel

We have really been focusing on our bucket list and doing all our fun activities, but took a day off to do a non-bucket list thing. Although I'm sure it will be added to next summer's list. The boys were such a great help with the garage sale and with clearing out their toy boxes to help contribute. They did make a few bucks off their treasures they sold, but not enough to cover the cost of go karting. Knowing how hard they worked I pitched in the rest, and we hit the track. Jordan had been to the go kart place before, but did other activities therefore never actually drove before. So this was the first time for all of them and my first time since I was about Jordan's age. Jake wasn't tall enough to drive solo on any of the tracks except the Rookie track. The Rookie  track was just a wide donut shape track, he would have loved to do more than just keep turning left. He did have fun knowing that he was driving all by himself. Joey ended up driving the Rookie track also. Joey was tall enough for the Turbo track and after standing in line for 20 minutes and getting in to the car, he could reach the pedal but wasn't tall enough to actually push it. I took turns taking the younger two in a two person kart around the Indy track, with a hill and lots of turns not to mention a little bit more speed. Jordan tried out the Indy, but decided he had a need for speed and hopped over to the Grand Prix. He says he likes the Grand Prix better because you have to be at least 12 years old to drive on it, so there weren't any little kids driving crazy and cutting everyone off or trying to crash into them. 

I was really proud of how well they all did. It was a little scary for me to have my babies behind the wheel. They did real good and ended up not bumping into any other drives or side barriers. Now knowing their need for speed has me a little worried about when they will be behind the wheel of a real  There were many more cool things to do there and the boys can't wait to return to try the laser tag, batting cages, and bumper boats. We chose to stick with the go karts and save the other stuff for another day.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lazy Day - Bucketlist activities

With the very unlike August weather we have been having we spend the whole day indoors, and managed to mark off three bucket list items. I wish we could more summer weather, but with the cooler temperatures I don't feel as guilty hanging out inside all day; at least we had things to keep us busy.

With the temperature only in the high sixties we stayed snuggly warm in our pj's all day. It was a great day to be lazy and recuperate after a busy weekend of holding a garage sale and camping. Everyone slept in late then lounged around in in jammies watching movies and playing video games. Until I couldn't sit still any longer watching them overload on screen time. We broke out all our less than 200 pieces puzzles and put them together to see if any still had all their pieces (they didn't).

Later that evening we broke out the snacks and a deck of cards. We played many rounds of "trash", one of their favorite card games. I almost never win cards verses the kids, but for some reason I managed to hold me lead and win. The boys say its because Jordan taught me how to cheat and that's how I won. Ha Ha, mom doesn't cheat (not unless its let one of the kids wins). Our game took longer to complete them we had thought, so we are planning another card night soon. We had hoped to play trash, war, and king's corner.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mom2mom/Garage sale

I finally got around to holding a sale, it's been over 3 years since I've had one. It can be hard to find the time to go through the boxes of clothes and memories of when my boys were younger and harder to find the time to dedicate a whole weekend to sit around to sell the clothes they looked so sweet and adorable in. As part of our bucket list, we chose have a garage sale as one of our activities; therefor making a point to allow my parents to reclaim their basement and sell off the clothes that the boys had long since out grown.

It has taken us over a week to sort through everything and decide on prices. The boys have been a huge help from sorting toys, scrubbing down outside toys to sell; clearing out some of their less used toys from their rooms to helping move tables.

Today was our first day of sales, and everything went pretty smoothly. Everyone woke up earlier enough to head down to grandma's (where we are holding our sale) and they were exceptionally good about keeping themselves entertained and out of the way when customers were present. J2 was so proud of himself for earning a dollar tip for helping a couple carry some larger items to their car (that was within my eyesight and running distance). They even took turns (somewhat) manning their table of 25 and 50 cent toys. The deal was whatever they chose to sell from the toy boxes that they could keep the money they earned, either to split amongst the 3 of them or to use for an outing as a family. They are torn between a new Xbox game and going to a the go-cart place. There is still a couple more days of selling before they can make the chose based on what they earn.

The boys have money on their brains now, due to our garage/mom2mom sale. They want to make sure they earn enough money to do something cool. After we cleared the tables away they got to work helping out Grandma and Papa to earn some cash. J1 and J2 cut the grass and did some gardening.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Work in progress- Bucket list

We haven't completed any bucket list items this week. Although it is going to set us behind on our goal, we'll be able to play catch up next week. We have however been working on a couple more  time consuming ones. It took me a little while to find a coloring book that was just a coloring book without any activities in in it, but finally I found one at a dollar store; we have slowly been working towards complete a whole coloring book. To aid in returning to our school year habit of reading every night before bed we started our read a book as a family (a little each night), we're only a couple chapters into The Candymakers. So far it seems like a version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but we'll have to see. Our most time consuming one is we have been preparing for a mom2mom/garage sale. The boys have been huge0 with helping sort toys, scrubbing down some of the outdoor toys to be sold and putting price tags on clothes. Today was our first day of our sale, and the boys were a great help with selling and helping carry larger items to nearby cars. There will more  to follow soon. Tonight I am exhausted after long days and late nights preparing for the sale. The full story on how our adventure with holding a garage sale (along with pictures) will be up in a couple days after we have completed our sale.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Staying close to home -Bucket list

We've got tons of board games. Usually during the summer months they sit forgotten on the shelf, as we spend most of our time outdoors. We have been having unseasonably cool weather so to keep ourselves warm we stayed indoor and marked off play board games. One of their favorite games (and my least favorite games) is Sorry, we almost never make it all the way through the game without hurt feelings and some tears. When they chose it as our game for the evening, I suggested we start with a happy friendly game of Candyland before seeking revenge on each other in Sorry. I was a proud mama when we actually made it to the end of both games without any hurt feeling. I however had to keep sacrificing my poor little pieces to keep the peace. I manage to only have 3 pieces still at start when the game concluded :)

We have a habit of saving toilet paper tubes. You never know when they'll come in handy for a craft. We had about a dozen on hand and used them to create bird feeders. The tubes were much easier to spread peanut butter on versus using pinecones. Except the only peanut butter we had was chunky (I don't recommend it). I had left over yarn from my crochet projects which served as hangers for our feeders. The only thing we had to buy was bird food to roll the peanut butter coated (really really coated) tubes in. We had to wait a couple days to hang them due to more rainy weather.

Even though we've been to a new zoo this summer, it's tradition to visit the Detroit Zoo. We chose both a great day and not so good day to go. That evening The Verve Pipe was playing (a band I'd loved back in the 90's, but now does children's songs). It also rained for most of the time we were there. We thought most of the rain had passed before we headed down to the zoo, but played it safe by my carrying a little umbrella with us. (I know if we would have carted our big "keep the whole family dry" umbrella with us , it wouldn't have rained a drop.) Once we reached the far corner of the zoo the constant drizzle started. We took turns with the little umbrella so none of us had to get too wet and made our way towards where the concert was being held, only seeing the animals that were on our way there. We sat on our rapidly getting wet blanket huddled under our little umbrella and listened to half the music performance. During one of their breaks Jake, Joey, and I went to get pictures taken with the band members. Jordan stayed put on his tiny dry square of the blanket with the little umbrella. The band's drummer even let the boys go up on the stage so Joey could get his picture taken at the drums. A short time later, we decided we had had enough of the rain and ventured back into the heavier downpour to the butterfly house to warm up (with the rain came even cooler temperatures) before taking our soggy selves home.

It had been a very trying day. The recent weather had meant too much together time cooped up in house when they've been used to running outside. The boys were driving me nuts with the bickering and to me it seemed like they were searching for ways  to aggravate each other. We were in need of an attitude change and none of my usual tactics were working. So with a quick run to the store for ice cream and root beer , in hopes that making Root beer Floats would help change their mind sets. When we returned I couldn't find our float cups off hand, not wanting to chance arguments starting over who was going to get which color straw; I grabbed our sundae cups. We made 2 mini floats instead of one larger one. YAY, for mom! Thankfully it had worked, and they were in better moods. We made it more peacefully through the rest of the day.

After too many rainy days, we got a small break of sunshine and found a bucket list activity we could do outdoors. Joey loves paper airplanes; every note that was sent home from school was fashioned into a plane of some sort for me to have to unfold after he threw them towards me. With some of bucket list activities not being something Joey was into, this one was geared towards him. We made basic airplanes, nothing fancy like the ones we tried from the origami books a couple months ago. We decorated them to make them more personal, went out to a nearby field, and flew them a whole 2 yards before they crashed. This was another great in theory activity, we had envisioned flying them at least 5 yards. We soon switched out our paper planes for foam planes. These ones we much more fun; not only did they fly more than 5 yard but also glided, looped, flew upside down and dive-bombed. Where as the paper airplanes had kept them entertained for 5 minutes, the foam planes kept the laughing and running around for 45 minutes (that's when one finally landed in a tree).

Friday, August 2, 2013

Out &About

With the school year quickly approaching we have a limited number of nights left for the boys to stay up late before having to start getting in the habit of earlier bedtimes. We had a mini movie marathon and stayed up late watching movies. Choosing the three Chipmunk movies, might have not been the best choice; the younger two get up and dance during every song (and to the music during the credits), so they were pretty wired by the end of the third movie. Add to that the snacks they had during each movie, a different snack for each movie popcorn, dye free Gummy Tummies, and dye free Sundrop candies (they're like m&m's); I'm glad they were dye free otherwise trying to get them to actually sleep would have taken hours.

We had planned to complete blow bubbles while we were watching the sunset over the water at the park, because it would have looked so cool. Instead we headed to a nearby field and blew bubbles until someone dumped most of their bubbles. You know its going to happen, and that it will be a complete accident, but someone always spills the bubbles (when I was a kids that someone was me).

Later that evening we headed back up to the field to see if we could catch fireflies. I tried to get picture, but by the time we got out there it was to dark for pictures. Jacob really liked seeing hundreds of fireflies blinking amongst the trees that surround the field. Jordan was the first to catch a firefly, actually he caught two. Joey didn't catch any, but not from lack of trying. Jacob caught his while it was walking on the ground. We would have stayed out and caught more, but we weren't the only ones out there. There were 3 or 4 bats that were swooping down pretty close to us trying to catch their own bugs. Jacob and Joey decided we should just let the bats have the bugs before we ended up getting a bat tangled in mom's hair. The boys named their fireflies Jacob called his Jacob Junior and when he released it, it wouldn't fly away it just kept walk around on his hand. Jordan named his Peanut butter and Jelly, while releasing them only one flew out of the jar. Joey quickly captured it and was very excited that he had caught one, he called it Flick.

It was a really rainy day and Jacob and Joey were disappointed they couldn't play on the playground while Jordan worked the nature center. We walked the nature path to keep them busy, using the trees to help shelter use from the constant drizzle. Along the way I took pictures in preparation for our upcoming picture scavenger hunt. Also we hung out at the nature center for a bit and the boys  talked another volunteer into ducking down behind furniture and being part of their play they preformed for me. Normally I don't like spending time at the nature center while Jordan is working. It makes him nervous and feel like we're watching his every move and the boys ended up following him around most of the time. Thankfully this time Jordan was in another part of the center while we were there. As the boys practiced for their puppet show I took more  pictures for our scavenger hunt. On our way back to the car we started a game of tag, we had to end our game after about a half hour because we were starting to get really wet from playing in the rain. Instead of heading straight home we did a couple Geocaches. It seemed that while we were driving it would stop raining, but as soon as we got out to search for our cache it would start again. Eventually it started raining too heavily to continue. So we hunkered down in the van and ate pizza while we waited for the storm clouds to pass before heading home.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Spending time with nature

You would think that being at the nature center every other week that we would have completed our walk a nature trail. This year ticks have been really bad, so bad that I had my first ever encounter with one earlier this summer also unfortunately all my boys (and my nephew) had their first experience with them. It made us a little leery about venturing out onto the trails. The season for ticks seems to have passed and we are once again wondering the trails near the nature center. After Jordan finishing helping out at the nature center, we walked the trail slowing down after a busy couple of days and just enjoyed the beauty that was around us.
We had planned to spend the whole day at the park so we had an itinerary of what we had hoped to accomplish. After our (tick free) walk through nature we set off to spend a couple hours playing at the beach. Then off to my first time taking all 3 boys in a row boat by myself. In the past row boats and I haven't really gotten along, one time my mom and I took one out on the water for a while and almost crashed into a much bigger boat when we tried to dock it. Knowing my history with boats, I was prepared for just about anything, like maybe dropping an ore and watching it sink. Thankfully luck was on my side and we had a pretty uneventful ride. Each of the boys took turns rowing and we spend a great deal of time going in complete circles and getting splashed when they smacked the ores back into the water. While on the water (more acturately in the seaweed) the boys spotted a few paddle boats and now would like to try their hand (their feet?) at them, we'll have to put that on next summer's list.
Once we were back on land, we set up our little barbeque and painted rocks until the coals were ready. With all the planning I did in advance you would have thought I would have checked to make sure none of the paints had dried out, well I didn't and we only had a handful of colors to use. The boys didn't mind much but would like to do the project again with a complete rainbow of colors. Each of the boys completed at least 3 or 4 rocks. There were some cool smooth rocks that came in the kit we used, we also had some Jacob had found with some new friends at the beach. I think they actually prefered the more textured rocks with the different sizes and shapes.
We roasted hot dogs and had a delightful dinner, followed by s'mores. We had hoped to watch the sunset over the water, but we were on the wrong side of the park. By the time we almost reached a great viewing spot the sun had already set. All of us were a little disappointed about missing the sun setting, so on the way home I took a detour to a frozen yogurt place a friend of mine had told me about. There were about 15 different flavors that lined the wall and 50 different toppings to chose from as well as syrups . We marked off make ice cream sundaes, although it wasn't ice cream (yogurt is better for you anyways). The boys made some very interesting sundaes (I even lifted the no food dyes for the night). Jordan had chose brownie batter yogurt topping it with cookie dough bits and white chocolate chips. Joey knowing what he likes, chose vanilla topped with Fruity Pebbles and gummy bears. Jacob had a small taste of the cheese cake flavor and chose to get a whole bowl of it topping it with sprinkles and cookies dough bits. I took a simpler route of pineapple twisted with coconut and toppings of pineapple and shredded coconut. Joey and I were the only ones happy with out concoctions. Jordan and Jacob ended up sharing mine and I ate theirs. I had them scrape the topping off the best they could and combined the brownie with the cheese cake, actually it wasn't bad. The only thing about the trip that surprised me was it had cost me $26 for yogurt. I had been warned before hand that they charge by the ounce (Jordan's was almost a full pound), and the bowl/cups they provide are HUGE thus making it difficult to judge just how much your actually putting in them. The kids absolutely loved it there, they plan on saving their allowance so we can return. The atmosphere there was fun and upbeat, with thick plastic orange and white chairs and tables even couches to lounge in while enjoying your $7 bowl of froyo.