Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Postcard Album (a vacation tradition idea)

Today I wanted to share a quick and easy vacation tradition idea-- a postcard album...

We just got back from a visit to Disney World with my parents!

As I was packing up the van, I had a slight how-did-we-get-here moment.  I remember feeling  "grown-up" when we started having to spend money on things like a new roof or our replacement HVAC unit, or even when we bought the minivan last fall.  But traveling with baby gear oozing out our ears, a travel potty seat, and an entire bag devoted to wipes and (two different sizes of) diapers is a whole new level of times-have-changed.

 And it's awesome.  I'm not sure if it was the full house moment preparing to depart or maybe our iconic destination, but en route to Disney I recalled an idea I had bookmarked several years ago--a family postcard album.  I don't know where I initially came across it, but the idea is really simple: you buy a postcard from each vacation destination, journal some notes and memories from the trip on the back of it (and/or have the kids do this), and keep them together over the years in some kind of a flip album or even a coffee table box.  What a treasure trove of memories!  We will have pictures for sure (I took almost 1000 last week!), but I love that this idea is kind of old-fashioned, and so tactile in a fast-paced digital age.
image source

I can't wait to record some memories of our visit to Disney World onto our first postcard!  It was so much fun to watch Reed love everything about the experience so enthusiastically. :)  We would never have ventured to Disney at this stage in our lives without the invitation and extra hands of grandparents, so I'm super thankful we got the opportunity to take and enjoy Reed at age 2 1/2.  (Thanks, Papa and Grammy!).  And Molly was on her best behavior, as usual.  Thankful for her smiles too!

I hope to try to fill in postcards for all the places Matt and I have visited together since we got married!  I also thought it might be a good idea to let each child pick and fill out their postcard, so everyone could have an eventual version of the album.  Simple and meaningful.  I love it!  Do you have a similar tradition?  Anything else you would add to the postcard album idea?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Summer Report (aka picture overload)

Oh my my.  It is September, and (officially) there are only 10 days left of summer!  May and June feel like centuries ago, but looking back at our "goals" and through our pictures makes me smile on so many moments of summer 2012. :)  With two Bulldog W's behind us, the changing leaves outside our windows, and the glorious cool temps at night, I'm going to go ahead and call the season and retire our report card! :)

Not too shabby!  At our initial check in, we had already crossed off the pools, a Braves game, watermelon, a cookout, ice cream cones, and our date.

Since then, we've made good progress!  We've...

Splashed in more pools!
Pool party with Malli

and had more ice cream cones.

Had a water fight (with Uncle J and cousins from California)!

 Enjoyed some picnics.

Had our first (and second and third) family movie night :)  Here, we watched Veggie Tales.

Reed also saw his first movie in the theater this summer with Grammy and Papa (Madagascar 3), but I don't have a picture. :(

Been to story time at the library.  The story was about a dragon.  See the fire-breathing dragons?

Eaten gummy bears.  (That was Reed's main contribution to the summer list!)

Been to the beach!

And we built a sand "castle."

We played at parks and playgrounds.  (This picture is at Mimi's playground!)

We made popsicles.

We went it to the Children's Museum 3 times!  (Grammy and Papa renewed our membership!)

We've also painted with water, gotten artsy with sidewalk chalk, played with bubbles, and hit the zoo...

We visited a farm... of sorts.  (At Stone Mountain Park).

We had a nature hunt.

There were also a few things that we "sort of" checked off...

Lemonade.  When we were eating at City Market in Savannah, I looked up and saw a big lemonade stand, the kind where they squeeze the lemonade in front of you.  I thought about our summer fun list and grabbed Reed's hand.  He loved the lemonade, and I loved crossing it off our list without actually making it! :)

 And potty training is "in progress."

(What a cute little tush!)  We've been letting Reed go on the potty whenever he wants to, but not forcing the issue when he's not interested.  We're heading to Disney World this month, and decided to wait to wear his mickey mouse underwear full-time until after we get home.  Nevertheless, potty training has been a fun(ny) part of our summer. :)

Also, the backyard treasure hunt idea got overtaken by our yard project... But something tells me tractor time was just as exciting. :)

Plus, we did get in some swashbuckling at cousin Cam's pirate party...

And there were a few things we didn't check off...

The sprayground.  We went a lot last summer and I thought we would visit at least once this summer, but I just never got inspired for the 40 minute drive when we had other water fun options.

Papa's canoe.  Maybe in the fall?

When I tried to make a cheerios necklace with Reed one morning over an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, he had a total meltdown.  He didn't even let me get done with my explanation.  I thought he would love it, but shows what I know! :)

And no rainbows either. :(

Last but not least, we ended up with some "extra credit" summer fun too!

Reed's first bowling experience.  Go, Reedy, go!  (At Sanctuary Youth bowling night).

Molly's first swim. :)

Boating with our buddies!

Ben & Chloe's visit, (and them meeting Molly in person)!

GA trip for Andrew & Emily and family (and uniting Reese and Molly for the first time) :)

Feeding crocodiles.  (One rainy evening at the beach).

 Horse carriage tour of Savannah.

First visit to Sublime Doughnuts (Amazing! ...you will never eat another "regular" donut again!)

Celebrated our Uncle Zach's graduation and next adventure.  (Love R's face here).

Stone Mountain.  We didn't originally think of visiting Stone Mountain this summer, but Reed had a ball and we will definitely return.

Also, Reed attended his first rave.  Just kidding.  (B-day Party).

I sort of thought this summer would be stressful and/or somewhat uneventful.  But I was pleasantly surprised, and am so thankful that we were able to have fun and make lots of sweet memories!  Now that Molly is almost five months old, we've really started to settle into our stride as family of four.  I'm looking forward to a new season of fun this fall!  Thanks for sharing in our summer pictures!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Nature (Play) Date

With fall just around the corner, I thought our nature activities from this week would be fun ideas to pass along!  (Romantic atmosphere optional). :)

First, we hit the outdoors to make nature bracelets.  (I first saw this idea here at IAMHMR).  All we did was make a little wrist cuff out of clear packaging tape, sticky side out.  Then Reed and Collins explored outside and collected anything they wanted to attach to their bracelets.  They really enjoyed it!  (This would also be fun at a park!)

Reed added a few extra steps of removing and re-adhering, but Collins left her pretty bracelet intact:

You could easily do the bracelet activity with an even younger toddler!  (Our kids are almost 2 1/2).  Later in the fall, I will probably try some more advanced scavenger hunts with Reed. :)

Before we went inside, I had each of the kiddos collect three green leaves.  We set up at the table and made the leaves appear magically with crayons (aka good old-fashioned leaf rubbings). :)  The actual coloring technique was a little tough for Reed and Collins, so mommies helped a good bit, but they both liked the result.

Last, we had "sticks and acorns" for a snack.  The sticks are pretzel sticks (obvs!), and the acorns are made out of nutter butter bites split in half, hershey's kisses, and extra peanut butter for glue.  You can use a broken piece of pretzel for an acorn stem if you really want to get crazy. :)
(Source: I saw a few variations of this on Pinterest.  You can also use mini nilla wafers for the top of the acorn, and either mini chocolate chips or a dab of icing for the stem).

Depending on your children's ages they may need help with part of the assembly, but their efforts, even in just unwrapping the kisses, are good fine motor practice. :)

Hope you enjoy!  Let me know if you have a nature day, or think of fun additional activities! :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Molly 4 1/2 Months

My little Molly Bette is 4 1/2 months old today...

She is my smiley lil' snugglebug these days!  And just a little
more of everything... "talking" more, laughing more, grasping more.  She loves to take her pacifier out of her mouth, but hasn't quite figure out how to reinsert it every time. :)  At her 4 month appointment, she weighed 12lbs, 13.5 oz and was 23 3/4 inches long- still 50th percentile for both.

At 3 months, I had bemoaned the fact that Molly had started waking up for her pacifier at night.  I am happy to report (I am sure it was like a cliff hanger for you...) that we took her out of the swaddle and this happened the very first night:
Found thumb!  Boo-yah.  (She is not in the sleep sack anymore either.  That was so last month.) :)

My new complaint (gotta have something) isn't really Molly's fault, but frustrating all the same.  I've started trying to tackle my baby blubber and dropped several pounds pretty quickly, but I think it is affecting my milk supply. :(  Molly, my 8pm-8am sleeper, has been waking up almost every night hungry for a week and a half.  At first I hoped it was a growth spurt and unrelated.  Not cool.  To be baby blubbericious or to sleep at night, that is the question...  I'm thinking maybe I can add in a few extra healthy snacks and figure out the right balance.  I'll keep ya posted.  (You'll be on the edge of your seats, I'm sure.)

My favorite new development is that Molly has become extra snuggly.  When I pick her up, I love to feel her wrapping her soft little arms around my neck, or rubbing her face on mine if she is tired.  She is also babbling a lot more and finds her high octave every once in a while (yikes).  She loooves to gurgle, and wants you to gurgle right back.  And she knows it is a game; she will look at us and make her little noise and then flash a "your turn" smile.  Melt.

 Molly has tummy time every day.  Sometimes we get good back and neck muscle action, or rolling over...

Annnd sometimes we get this:

Ha ha... Minimal progress toward rolling back to front too.  What can I say?  She is just a content little thang. zzzz

At 4 months, we also started playing in the exersaucer for a few minutes each day.  She likes it, but still gets off balance easily.

Oh, and Molly got to meet her twinsie cousin, Reese, for the first time a couple of weeks ago.  They are only 2 days apart!

We haven't yet started any solid foods.  Hoping to wait until closer to 6 months.

It is still so special to watch Reed love Molly.  He is genuinely disappointed when she is away napping. He likes to be Mr. Helper, and just says the funniest things.  Last Wednesday was a particularly long evening, and I was trying to get them both into bed before I collapsed or cried (and before 10:00!).  Reed rushed to get his step stool while I was changing Molly and asked how he could help.  I told him his job was to talk to Molly.  He climbed up to see her, stretched his little arm up over her, and whispered, "I keep you safe.  I love you always."  I don't know where he gets this stuff, but it made my eyes leak while I changed her diaper.  The day to day is draining for sure, but my heart is full and I am so thankful for my babies.

I can't believe Molly is going on five months old!
 She has officially outgrown every bit of that newborn-ness, and is fully baby now.  (I think God made babies do cute things as they get older to help mommies cope with the grief of the passing time!)  Trying to cherish every bit of it as much as possible...  We love you, sweet Molly!