Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trip to the Movies: Nut Job

Apparently about once a summer (2014, 2012) I like to try out the movie theater experience with my kiddos. Today we went for it thanks to the kids summer movie series at the theater. Today's showing was "Nut Job", a movie with lots of animals that we'd never seen :)

Kids did great! Cass got a little squirmy in the middle of the movie so she climbed from my chair to hers and back :) Then at the end she just snuggled with me as we finished it out. (It helped they spent an hour running around at the Y immediately prior to sitting still for a movie for an hour and a half.)

Troy loved it! He enjoyed getting his own "tray" of popcorn with a drink holder built in. And sat well for the entire movie start to finish. You have earned more movie dates with us in the future, Troy! :)

And the movie? It was pretty good. There were some "bad guys" in the movie that were kind of slapstick humor-oriented, and so the entire theater would burst out laughing at times. Cass would look at me and say, "FUNNY!" So sweet that she's learning the words for different things now (and that she would say "funny" versus laugh. Love that girl!)

Douglass Park, New Splash Pad

"Always doing something", as my husband likes to say, the kids and I were looking for an easy (and FREE) way to beat the heat one afternoon and we found ourselves at the newest splash pad to come to C-U.

Troy obviously wasted no time as he ran in while I was still getting Cassidy dressed. He had asked permission :)

Cass was not so sure about this experience. Not a pool, not a park...

Eventually she warmed up as you can see in the video below. 

I give this place a gigantic two thumbs up. My kids loved it. Its designed well, and they keep it very tidy. (Read - not lots of garbage and no mystery sludge on the ground like Hessel the other one in town.)

This moment, oh, melt my heart. A new little one arrived and was very unsure of the splash pad much like Cass was. Cassidy walked up to her and said, "Baby, WATER!" And walked back out there with her new friend along. I pray this part of my girl's personality is always there, looking for people that might be on the sidelines and inviting them into the fun with her.

Then she started to get tired and came over to see me and kept giving me a kiss and sitting back down. Giving me a kiss, sitting back down.

Love that little lady, she's coming into her own!

39 Big Ones

Mike's birthday, his FAVORITE time of year (NOT) arrived this past weekend. Now, when I began dating this guy and learned he didn't like to celebrate birthdays, I went quickly to work on amending that. And I have to say, I've got him to come a loooong way since that first summer 8 years ago.

His day started out spending several hours holding the fort down while i went to a coaching get-together about an hour away in Bloomington-Normal. They went to the Y, ate some PB&J and when I came home, this was the site I was greeted by :) Downstairs at least, as Cass was sleeping upstairs. Yes, they are on "megacouch" which is a "special occassion" request from Troy (and us!) sometimes!

The #1 way I make my man's birthdays special is to spoil him with food. He likes the tradition of getting to pick what you eat that day for your birthday. Earlier this summer, I made bacon-wrapped shrimp and well, we ran out quickly. ALL FOUR of us love shrimp and bacon. So his request was not only for bacon-wrapped shrimp but a double batch of what I made earlier this summer! Order up!

Troy LOVES shrimp. He's a master at removing their tails now.

Afterwards we went big for birthday indulgence and went to cash in his free Coldstone sundae on campus. And we arrive and they were CLOSED! Oh the disappointment. Though I assume functioning coolers are important when you're an ice cream shop. Nonetheless, snapped a cute pic on the way back to the car.

Never to fear, going out for yogurt where you pick all your own mix-ins was a pretty great back up! Happy birthday baby, you deserve the best and so much more! Love you!

...now back to my planning of his big 40th celebration next year.... hahaha!

Summer Library Trip

Confession time. Okay, not confession time, because there's nothing to be sorry about :) We don't go to the library much. Just a handful of times in the last several months. I don't know why, other than you can only go so many places "regularly" without overbooking yourselves and our schedule and rhythm has been working for us, so the occasional spontaneous trip here and there it is.

It has been HOT lately though so visiting somewhere close and indoors sounded good. The main attraction at our Urbana library are the toys they have, not necessarily the books. (Even though this is a great library, I'm really looking forward to the smaller Mahomet library so we can go just to focus on books, and while there are kid toys there, its much, much smaller.)

Nonetheless, the kids love the library. Cassidy was cracking up the librarians and other parents with her stuffed shopping cart as she roamed the aisles.

Then she transported them to the "stage", set them up, sat back and admired her work and said her favorite phrase right now: "there!"

House Drive By - Under 6 Weeks

Anytime we go to Mahomet for any kind of friend gathering or otherwise, we have to stop by the house. Because we have a new HOUSE people! We can hardly believe it still. Here we are sitting out front.... #stalkerbuyers

Our new neighbors told us deer are out nearly every morning running through the back. We were pretty excited to get to see one ourselves!

Picture of the day from our Mom2Mom get together was this large crowd of boys around a pile of fire wood. Nothing like a big ol' manly pile of firewood to get a group of boys curious. 

Just give 'em a chicken leg

I'll never forget pulling my first-time-mom jaw off the floor when a very well meaning woman handed my barely one year old son a chicken leg to chew on because "he'd like it". I promptly whisked it out of his hand and couldn't believe people let their babies gnaw on chicken legs...

Fast forward to now when Cassidy was pushing her baby stroller around the house with what? A chicken leg (and a toy sheep). Because you know, she understands babies like to gnaw on chicken legs.

Deep Dinner Conversation

A normal conversation around our house... just making Daddy proud!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Top Ten Things

Often inspired by fellow bloggers (especially ones I happen to know in real life!), my friend and blogger Holly suggested I make a "top ten things" list of things I'll miss about Urbana and life as we've known it. It can be VERY easy to mentally move on and look ahead to all that's to come (which, is SUPER exciting) but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to have certain things I'd miss too. Also helps to stay focused on the things I have loved about residing in Urbana so that as I pray for the future owners they may enjoy many of the same things that have blessed our family these past 6.5 years!

So here is my top ten things I'll miss about residing in Urbana....

1. "Horse way" and "cow way"
We go to the Y about five days a week and we have two different options on how to get there (through the U of I ag area) - horse way or cow way. My kids LOVE seeing these animals nearly daily and it helps on the 20ish minute drive to have something to look forward to there and back. And sometimes, if you're lucky, like today, horse way turns into cow way and you get to see BOTH!

2. Farmer's Market - (click here for a collection of market posts)
So many mornings I've rolled out of bed and into the car by myself, with one kid, with two kids, or with a hubby and two kids and headed five minutes down the road to what is said to be one of the best Farmers Markets in Illinois. Its truly phenomenal! And while we'll still go and see Farmer Stan for our meat, I doubt we'll go quite as often as we've gone while residing in Urbana.

3. Sand pit
This little corner of our yard turned into a sandpit last summer and the kids just LOVE it. We have several beautiful garden beds waiting for us at our new house but no sand pit. We said we'd re-evaluate next summer if we'll put one in or get a sandbox or something but for now, bye bye sand pit, thank you for (truly) HOURS upon HOURS of entertainment!
4. House memories
Setting up the Christmas tree in the corner and picturing teeny brand new Troy in front of it while Mike and I scrambled for a Christmas photo at like 3 days old. The window that Bear always used to look out while lounging on the back of the couch. Bringing babies home. New Years Eve fondue at our kitchen counter. So many other things I can't even start to list. We will always have fond memories here.

5. Two minutes to Aldi
I love Aldi. I love living two minutes (literally) from Aldi. I will miss living two minutes from Aldi.

6. Yellow park
Our neighborhood has a small playground you can easily walk to just a couple blocks away. Many times I've been loading the kids into the car to go to another (and much bigger) park and I'm met with opposition when Troy realizes we're NOT going to yellow park. We've had a lot of visits to "yellow park" and we will miss a playground within short walking distance like that!

7. Toads, baby toads, "frog house"
Every.single.summer we have big ol' toads that show up in our yard from time to time, and this year, we've had the added bonus of TONS of babies here too. We have a spot called "frog house" on the side of our garage because that's where they tend to show up, and that's where we put any we find when we go inside (so they can go free if they so choose). There have been lots of tenants in frog house over the years and those toads have brought ALL of us so much joy!

8. Ten minutes to Campus
Going to a football game? No problem. Scoot on down the road and we have a spot we usually park in just at the edge of the $20 parking spots that's almost always available. Just Mike and my Dad going? We can drop them off and go back to get them its so close. And one time earlier this year I even ran the five mile loop from our house to campus and back. LOVED that run. Even more than the 10k I was training for a couple weeks later. We won't live MUCH farther but it will be too long for us to run to or simply run someone to and from the football game.

9. Corn park
Late in the summer season, the corn is tall enough that there's a path cut right through it at the edge of our neighborhood and we can walk through it. We've loved exploring it and usually find some critters back there and talk about how the corn grows. Two years ago Troy appropriately called it "corn park" as it was tons of fun like a park, just missing the playground equipment.

10. House memories (again)
I know, I already listed this. But seriously that's what I'll miss the most. We're incredibly thrilled and excited for the chapter ahead and know we have many, many more memories to make there (yes I've already pictured what prom photos will be like out back) but I will definitely be saying goodbye to several things that are just normal daily life and small but meaningful memories. Thankful for things like this blog to be such a great account!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Backyard Bliss

Some days I get completely tapped out as a parent, feeling like I've been "on" all day and totally depleted of any energy I might have. And then other days, well, they just come a little easier :) Like spending hours (literally) outside in the yard with my kids with some water and baby toads. No fights. Literally at all. Love those afternoons and love those kids :)

Below, not the most exciting but a mere 60 seconds in the life of our yard. Don't know why they were squeaking like dolphins but whatev.

I like to think of myself as doing a good job as a parent when I let my kids freely drink from the hose :) Particularly when belly laughs are involved!

Sunday Funday

The kids and I had the opportunity to meet Gramma, Grampa and Beema for a Sunday morning brunch date halfway between here and Chicago. The kids have been doing great in the car lately and this trip was no exception. I love hearing their little songs and hums in the back seat.

Below, waiting for our table at the Cracker Barrel and learning about checks, dino style.

Once we were inside, there was plenty to keep the kids amused while we waited.

And finally we dug into our breakfast! Cass had two gigantic buttermilk pancakes delivered to her from the kids menu. Mommy may have had some :)

Afterwards we said goodbye and turned around for a quiet trip back to our neck of the woods. The kids slept and we went straight to the Y. With some time to kill before childcare opened, I was able to get Troy a spot on the rock climbing wall while we waited. Cass has always been checked into childcare during climbing times but this time she got to watch. And intently watch she did!

My son rocks :) All time PR of climbing the 30 foot rock climbing wall FOUR times in less than thirty minutes.

With their permission, Cass was able to go up to the wall and check it out. Unsurprisingly, she knew just what to do and tried to figure it out. Wait until you're 2 Cass and then you can start climbing too!

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Back in 2009, Mike and I road tripped to Alabama for my first ever trip to Troy University. On that trip, in our pre-kids life, we went bonkers at the Troy bookstore buying things. Including about five Troy University stuffed animals. They've sat on the Troy display case for a looong time and while Mike would probably prefer that's where they stay, the kids ADORE playing with them.

Just look at the joy :)

Mommy and Cass mornings

While Troy was at camp and I was (mostly) on vacation this week, Cassidy and I had some quality time together. Below, the sad little face I carried away from camp drop off ALL FIVE DAYS. Someone does NOT like seeing her brother march off into a fun place.

We ran errands, like a trip to Target and a detour to play with the toys...

We swam together and played the fun game of "let's keep Cassidy awake while we wait for Troy"...

And we capped off the week with a donut trip just for her on the last day. She was a huge fan and made sure to lick EVERY sprinkle she could find on her little hands :)

Troy goes to camp

Troy had another fun NEW experience this week when he trekked off to camp for the first time. The Y had a preschool camp held for one week during the mornings M-F. He was pumped! Below, walking in for his first day.

Highlights included getting to ride a school bus for the first time (literally around the corner from the Y to an indoor play area) and making new friends. I know that the naysayers will say "kids these days don't know how to have any old fashioned fun" but his camp experience reminded me that plain old regular camp still hasn't changed and is STILL out there (even nearly a decade removed from my own experience). His week of unplugged fun included how to do the crab walk, "make rain" by drumming on the ground and using his hands, went on nature hikes and jumped through "holla hoops". Thank you Y, for giving my kid an awesome first camp experience!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Scovill Zoo: Free Thursdays

Spontaneity doesn't have to go by the wayside in parenthood :) We had a showing to get out of the house for smack in the middle of naptime. My options are 1) force an early nap and wake Cassidy up early or 2) drive around somewhere and let her sleep in the car for a bit. I decided to head over to the Scovill Zoo in Decatur, which is free on Thursdays all summer, so that she could nap on the way there/back if she wanted and we could visit our fav small town zoo (because the summer is rapidly flying by!)

First things we saw were the eagles. Troy was impressed, but not as impressed as Daddy when I sent him this pic!

The pop up penguin area is fun to get at penguin level :)

Goats, the ever highlight of this zoo. Troy found this one right away and called it "my guy". He said he "loved this little guy" and wanted him to be his.

Cass just kept saying, "Nice.... nice...."

Nice... nice...

This is about the time Troy said this was his best day ever.

And then when he stopped and looked back at me and Cass and asked if she wanted to touch it too. This tender moment was too sweet.

Coming around to the other side to check him out.

(((Blink!)))) And just like that I have two big kids at the zoo.