Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rantoul Aquatic Center

We didn't buy a pool pass anywhere this year for two reasons - 1) we don't expect to spend as much time at the outdoor pools now that we belong to the Y and 2) when we are at outdoor pools, it would be nice to pool hop and try some different ones.

Enter our inaugural trip to the Rantoul Aquatic Center. We have friends with a pass there so we met them in the early evening. The gal at the counter gave me the rundown of what all was there while we paid and Troy overheard her say he COULD go down the waterslides (she was referring to family nights ONLY) when in fact he did not mean the minimum to go down the slides anytime (including this particular day).

Oh the drama once we got in. Seriously do I have a four year old or a fourteen year old? And seriously Troy, you cannot do EVERYTHING you see EVERYWHERE we go. Splash around and love life, little guy :)

Eventually he came around. And ended up having a great time! Thanks for having us Sarah and Benjamin!

Project: weights like Mommy's

For the first time ever, I completed a 30 min workout at home while BOTH kids were awake. I can't say this is my favorite way to workout. But some days, you just need to get the job done.

In addition to Troy "coaching" me and telling me I needed to REALLY stretch my arms out "like the girl" (Autumn Calabrese on my workout video) and telling Cass not to cover up my eyes (while I pressed some weights) so that I "didn't drop weights on my head" it was a comical morning.

He asked for my weights when I was done so he could make his own. After tracing them he colored them a little and declared them done. So that he could get strong, he said :)

"OUT! OUT!"

Ah yes, remember that post of the happily sleeping toddler in her crib from Saturday afternoon? Psssh. Fast forward to 2am on Saturday night. We wake up to the screams of "OUT! OUT!" from Cassidy's room. I pull up the video monitor and see my girl hanging over the crib rail with her feet off the actual bed.

And so ends the season of a crib in our house.

We converted her crib to the toddler bed and left the mattress as close to the floor as we could get it. And after bolting furniture to the wall, prayed for the best come naptime.

And this is what happened. Oh, the mess. I was just glad she wasn't crying so I let her be and watched the whole scene unfold.


Bedtime went better but mostly because she was exhausted. About an hour after putting her to bed she rolled right off. Waiting for the cries, I was surprised to see her just curl up in a ball and go back to sleep... Eventually at some point that night she crawled back on to the bed but didn't seem rattled enough to call out for us.

The other nights have been hit or miss. There was the night she walked over to the door after I walked out and fell asleep with her bear and baby there. That was a rough night.

But we had another good night last night and there will be more of those to come. I think she'll like being in a "big girl bed" as time goes on and she already seems to be getting used to it.

And below, a sleeping child pic because as I say, those NEVER get old :)

Best Daddy Ever (BDE): 2015 Edition

So glad to have this special dad in our lives home this weekend for Father's Day! The kids and I all love Mike and I can't imagine a more perfect dad for these two than him. He gets our kids. He parents them just like they need it. And he loves them to the moon and back. Literally :)


Oh yea. And he's a human hurdle.

weekend nap

This incredible rarity happened on Saturday afternoon. Cass was sound asleep in her crib...


One tired road warrior passed out on the floor...

And this guy put his head on my lap to watch a movie and dozed a bit.

Don't move a muscle, Amy. Not.a.muscle :) Enjoy the quiet.

Uncle Brian visits

Mike's best friend from back in the day in Sweet Home Alabama lives over in Maryland (read: they don't see each other often!) But of all places in the country for Mike to land, we do happen to live within five minutes of Brian's wife's family here in Urbana :) So every couple years, we get a note that Uncle Brian will be coming to town for a visit and thankfully, the timing of this year's visit worked out well with Mike's travel schedule!

Below Cassidy sizes this stranger up for the first time but Troy has no problems wrestling around with Uncle Brian from the get go :)


A couple short days later on Father's Day, Cass and Uncle Brian were buds.

We all went out for frozen yogurt to celebrate these two special dads. The kids approved of this celebration!



Below, Brian with one of his sons, not-so-little Brian and Mike with Troy :)

Cookout with friends

Our friends Sarah, Fred and Benjamin plus Uncle Brian came over for a cookout last weekend. Sarah is in my current challenge group and I knew I didn't want to derail any of her efforts for the sake of serving traditional cookout food (that we don't even really eat anymore to be honest). I appreciated their family's total adoption of our low carb meal and had a great time catching up with them while the kids played and played and played.

On the menu - steaks (in an adobo marinade) with fruit salad (thanks Sarah!), sauteed broccoli with peppers and spanish cauliflower rice. There was also chips and guac before that!


Troy and I made some homemade frozen yogurt that afternoon to enjoy later. Everybody dug in and made sure to at least eat the chocolate chips if not licking the whole bowl clean :)
Thanks for this great shot of Troy, Sarah!

Nomination for Best Summer Photo of the Year... and sibling love



As I posted to Facebook earlier this week, this photo WAS in fact just as sweet in person as it appears here in this photo. These two man, they just get me every time. Troy the creature collector and Cassidy his sidekick spend hours in the backyard collecting bugs and worms and then "taking care of them". It's pretty amazing actually. Very rarely do they fight and I sit back and stay out of the way as much as possible. And snap photos when they pop up. So I do hereby nominate this photo for the best summer photo to date.

You saw Cassidy's tantrum photo. And if you're anything other than an only child, you can only imagine the fights that these two have already (and yes, they go both ways giving it to each other, one does not have the upper hand anymore).

But WOW I have to step back and be thankful for the MANY many moments we have now where they play well. Like ridiculously well. And just like that we're out of the baby phase. We have two big kids that play together. That eat together. That watch TV together in the mornings (for a few minutes at least). Did I mention that play together?

This happened last week when they scurried upstairs and closed the door. For a looong time they happily played in Troy's room.


Cass gets out of her carseat at the Y or at stores and the first thing she says is "hand! hand!" She wants to hold Troy's hand :)

Meal times are getting easier. Sometimes Cassidy asks for help eating but most of the times she takes care of it herself. I can eat with them more instead of afterwards :)

And don't forget my view from the stove while I cook dinner. Two kids, in a sand pit. Yes they come in filthy. Its the single best way for me to get dinner cooked and they have fun too.

I'm so thankful for these two! So I guess my encouragement to any parents of two or more is that you'll be past this season soon. It really doesn't last very long. And the amazing reward of seeing your two kiddos play together is priceless!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Turn down the volume...

It's time for one of those "not all rainbows and unicorns" posts here. Miss Cassidy has become quite skilled at throwing a good ol' tantrum. This was because I wouldn't let her have the entire bag of animal crackers, which, inevitably, would end up being shaken upside and squished into my carpet/stuffed in my air vents/ etc.

Enjoy :)


Daily Life: Oatmeal for Breakfast

These two are loving oatmeal these days. I'm loving more and more of Cassidy feeding herself so well! And that they eat something super filling to start the day and curb the near-constant "I'm hungry!" pleas :)

Cass talks: "Oh no!"


Project: Rattlesnake


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Great America, here we come!

I felt like this was "the year" for Troy to experience his first theme park. I have SO many memories of Six Flags Great America as a kid and have had the opportunity to return twice in recent years  (most recently in 2011) with my cousin Emily. I simply couldn't wait to have Troy join in on the "cousin day" tradition and check it out!

With Cassidy in Gramma's hands for the day, Troy and I threw on our sweatshirts and met up with cousin Emily. It was a cool (low 60s) day out and some drizzy rain forecasted in the morning. AKA the perfect day to avoid some crowds and hopefully have short lines! We weren't afraid of getting a "little" wet, with the promise of the weatherman that it would clear later :)

We got there just before opening and parked literally right next to the handicapped spots. Score!

Excited kiddos below. They didn't even protest taking a pic for me!

The very first ride we went on was probably the most intense of the day and set the bar high for my thrill-seeking son. And a roller coaster fanatic was born. That 42 inch height minimum opened up a whole bunch of rides for him!

Afterwards, we headed down a path with some far more chill rides. Like the hot air balloons, and one of the few all three of us could sit together for.

And the octopus ride, one of my favs as a kid. I rode it with Troy first...
... and then let he and Emily ride it again and again after I deemed it secure enough my boy wouldn't fly out :) 

We saw the Batmobile outside of the Batman ride and I think he thought one of two things. Either he was going to get to RIDE the batmobile or he was going to get in line to ride the humongous Batman coaster behind it, neither of which was on the docket for this day.

The rain finally showed up and so Emily and I let Troy ride a bunch of the kiddie rides (covered) while we stood in the covered watch areas.


As the rain drew to a close, it was time to return to our (very close) car for a picnic lunch. Thanks for packing one for us, Gramma!

We headed back in and the weather was GREAT. Dry now and still a nearly empty park :) The favorite ride of the day for Emily was the Whizzer coaster, and Troy loved it too. He really wanted to ride that one with Emily the second time but I deemed it one that I would only let him ride with Mommy's arm wrapped tightly around him. He didn't like that one bit, as I'm sure you can imagine. He got over it quickly though.

So then we came upon the teacups. I watched the ride and thought, eh, you know, I don't really need to ride that. Harmless enough. And so they spun. And spun. And I snapped a pic and next thing I knew my kids head disappeared. He tipped over and slid off the little bench thing (inside the teacup, of course). That was our own "casualty" from the day. Not too shabby. I felt a little bad but he was unfazed. I think I felt worse for Emily as she sat worried next to him. Sorry, Em!

Rides, rides and more rides later and we found ourselves standing at the water rides. I had promised we could do them at the end of the day. So here we were in our sweatshirts ready to go. (Well, we took those off right before so we'd have something warm to put on after!) Em and I were cheesing it up and Troy was just starting the Roaring Rapids ride we were standing over down, ready to get in on it :)

We all rode it once and got SOAKED. Then they asked if they could ride it again and I thought, why not? Below, I let them go on their own a second time.

Picture of the day was the log ride!

Every bit as priceless as the last time we got a picture on it in 2009 when Emily wasn't much older than Troy :)


Not surprisingly, after 7.5 hours of park time and 6.1 miles walked (according to my iPhone), this happened on the way home. I think he's still recovering two days later!

A friend made a comment on Facebook about Troy's "adventurous spirit" and that's a very good word for it. Not once during that day did he show any fear or reservation about any rides, including the most gigantic and ridiculous ones there that he's nowhere near tall enough for. I'm doing my best as a mama to just embrace it and let him try things (within reason) that he wants to do. Otherwise I'm afraid I'll end up with a rebellious 18 yr old who galavants around the globe doing all kinds of crazy things (annnddd that may still happen, too!) At least he'll feel supported and not rebellious though lol. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kids Meet Joey

Nat brought Joey over to my parents' house shortly after our arrival into town. The kids hadn't met him yet! Troy said a quick hello before he disappeared to play with the awesome train Gramma had set up prior to our arrival... Cass on the other hand was enamored. She's Joey's biggest fan on Facebook and loves looking at his pics. And here he was in person!


She kept looking at us saying "out! out!"

So we took him out :) Then she got to see him up close! Such sweetness and looking forward to the adventures my dear friend and I will have as mommies to these awesome kiddos in the years to come!

Mom2Mom Playdate - Homer Lake

Our mom's group had a playdate out at one of our favorite summer spots, Homer Lake. Our friend Sailor joined us which was a tremendous help since Cass wants to do it ALL, all the time, everywhere.

They wasted no time hopping in the water.


I simply adore the little waterfall feature. So do my kids since they can get right up to it.

The playscape runs down to a very shallow part of the lake, which is where Troy and a couple of boys spent the bulk of their time. I don't know what they were doing down there until...

They found a dead crab! Ew! Then their little group multiplied in size and they were on a mission to find more creatures. I think someone found a dead fish later too. Ew, ew. #nature

Everyone was TIRED after a full morning. Such a beautiful place to spend some time in the sun with friends!

Mommy Son Date - Ice Arena

Thanks to the best mom community a gal could ask for, our local resource chambanamoms.com, there was a FREE night at the U of I ice arena with free skates for all. I decided to take Troy over there for some rink time, as he had tried it once before with Gramma, Uncle Andy and Auntie Daria, but I'd yet to try it with him.

He was excited to get all laced up!


This was at our first break, about 120 seconds after we got out there initially...

There was some of this... YAY!

...and WAY more of this than the pic above :)

After about an hour he was pretty fed up with falling down and getting frustrated. We called it quits and just as we were ready to leave the zamboni came out. I don't think he had a very good feeling towards ice skating before that, but the zamboni redeemed all! (As a side note, I also didn't have a strong desire to come back ice skating any time soon. Kids, blades, hard ice, tears.... and lots of gear. I'm cool with skipping this one until they're quite a bit older.)

Knowing Mommy is a softie for walks, Troy begged to go on a walk where we got outside. We walked to the quad and people watched for a bit. There was lots to look at of course. And there was our little four-going-on-fourteen year old right in the middle of it.

A pic with my old stomping grounds, Lincoln Hall, in the background. Such a beautiful night!