That Was Then & This Is Now: The Beach Version

Three years ago we took our first trip to the beach, with a wee one in tow. Wesley was seriously like 5 weeks old and Daniel was younger than the age Wesley is now.

We were a new family of 4!

But that was then,

And this is now:

Wesley didn’t need to nap in a bouncy seat hovering above the sand, nurse under the umbrella, or be worn in a baby carrier as we walked across the street to the sand and surf.

Sweet Daniel was no longer terrified of the waves and actually had  to share pails and shovels with his mobile brother!

And we’ve been a family of 4 for 3 whole years, with two boys that are growing too quickly!

We had a great, albeit short, vacation. I have more pictures to post, for sure, but I’ve just been in awe of the contrast between last time we stuck our feet into the ocean as a family, so I wanted to share our little “then and now.”

 “God is good, the world He made is extraordinary and His comfort in like nothing else on Earth.”

-Shauna Niequist


While Still in My Twenties……

I’m walking in the final days of my twenties. That’s right, the sweet age of 30 is knocking on my door. I’m totally pumped about turning 30 though–honestly! I have been told by more than one lady that has lived through and moved past her 30s that these years are fantastic. Bring them on, I say!

Until it is official though, I am still 29, which is an age I will never be again. I am about leave a decade behind, entering into a new and fresh one. With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to mark out what my last week as a woman in her twenties entailed, mundane and all.

Sunday: I went to church. After church, I took Daniel to a swim party for our cousin Carter, who turned 2. Wesley stayed home with Thomas so that he could nap (we had plans that night and I wanted him rested for them). Carter got a guitar and just went to town playing songs and dancing. There is not much sweeter than a 2 year old singing “I’ll Fly Away.” Once Daniel and I returned home from that, we celebrated my brother’s birthday, who turned 38, by eating steaks, fresh cut by the butcher. We concluded with some sort of peanut butter pie that my mom made, much to the disappointment of my brother. It turned out to be quite the joke for the night.

Monday: The kiddos were enrolled in a little day camp/VBS at our local church, so before I loaded them into the car, I took this picture of them:

And in case you are curious, I am fully aware that Wesley looks pitiful, like he was mugged by a boy with scissors for his lunch money or something. That boy just does not like having his picture taken—and he has been cursed with his Daddy’s hair.

After taking their picture, Daniel wanted to take mine and Thomas’s

(forgive Thomas’s hair. I let him sleep in late since he never gets to do that—and well, you can see where the Wesley hair comes from) While the boys were at VBS, Thomas and I had a little day date, since he had the day off. It was so odd being out and about during the day without the kiddos, but it was certainly enjoyable. I even got to log some miles on a nice run, for our weather finally cooled off slightly and I could run at some time other than wee hours of the morn. That night, I met up with some local Thirty-One ladies and had dinner. We chatted and laughed and just enjoyed each others’ company.  I also got this fortune:

Tuesday: It was raining, which is something we have really needed. I had opened the garage door and when I opened up the house door to enter back into the garage, I was greeted by this fella:

He was totally freaked out by the rain, which doesn’t surprise me because it has seriously been way too long since we had some.  He was eager to get out of the wetness, so he just opted for my garage. I literally almost stepped on him when I opened the door and he freaked me out slightly, but he was gentle and kind.Thankfully, his tags identified him as “Bear” and had a phone number for his owners. The kiddos enjoyed the visitor for about 20 minutes until the owner showed. Next, I took the kiddos to camp and went to Bible study. I am studying Nehemiah with a group of ladies, young and old, at my cousin’s church. After I did a little shopping at a local outlet mall and found a new pair of shorts. I came home and did some grading and took a quick run before picking up the boys. For dinner, I totally made up a recipe, which is not something I tend to do. Generally I follow recipes and don’t know what to do much without one. The ingredients were olives, tomatoes, feta cheese, and spaghetti squash. I used broccoli and chicken leftovers to make it even tastier. Highly recommended! (and yes, I took a picture—cause apparently that is what I do!)  It was found by me to be soooo yummy, so I will call it a success:

Wednesday: A friend brought her daughter over for about an hour before camp so she could get to an appointment. The boys basically went nuts trying to keep Lila’s attention. They acted like we never have people over! I guess we just don’t have people over that early in the morning, so they were super excited. Lila was a fantastic little lady that morning.

When I was dropping off Daniel in his classroom, I said, “Have a good day! I love you! Give me a kiss!” while he ran out to his friends to play. Lila then jumped right in front of me and puckered up for a kiss! It was so cute!

It was bike day at camp and the boys were thrilled with the car wash that was created for them to ride through.

After taking the kiddos to camp, I came home and got busy doing this and that around our home. I seriously felt like I was moving every second of the day, cleaning and prepping for our coming trip to the beach. I cleaned out the entire car, making it look like I took it to a detailing shop. I did sit down and eat leftovers from the meal above and watch men gymnasts attempt to qualify for the Olympics.

After watching that, I totally had to work out, so I hit a Crossfit WOD that aims to assess basic fitness. I was pleased because I nailed my 400 meter run. I either set a PR by a few seconds (like 5) or I didn’t run a full 400m run. Either way, not too shabby. I knew that I would not be able to complete all the pull ups, mainly because I have a pull-up bar that does not allow for kipping (which is basically swinging with your own body weight rhythm to move into the next pull-up), so each one had to basically be a strict pull up. That was expected. As hard as I tried though, I could not get those last 3 push ups worked in within the 5 minute limit. If I had done any of the 97 on my knees (“girl” style) I would have done it for sure, but I wasn’t going to pull girl style for some when I had not done it on any before.

Before picking up the boys, the director of the little camp texted me this picture  of Wesley praying and basically made my heart melt:

(Although he is wearing another orange shirt, like he did on the first day, I promise it is a different day with a clean and new shirt. just check out the shorts!)

Thursday: We had more rain today, which is a good thing! I made some blueberry and banana muffins for us this morning but my baking was ill timed because although out of the oven, they were too hot to eat before departure time, so I promised the boys some when they got home from camp. The boys went to camp and I ran errands, like taking the trash off, getting some car work done (just in time for our trip) and buying some food for our journey. While I was out, I found it imperative to get a pedicure, for a girl needs cute toes for the beach, right?

I also ended up eating lunch out, since I was out and about and got hungry. Trust me when I say this one:  you do not want me to get overly hungry. It gets ugly my friends. Eating a meal, alone, out in a restaurant is a bit unnerving for me. I just don’t like to do things like that. Fortunately there was no waiter, so I was able to just eat and go. I find the silence a bit awkward and would totally prefer a friend there too, but not having to break up a fight between the kids over something we are eating, while they spill the water all over the floor was quite enjoyable. I also realized that 99% of the time I end of sharing my food with one kid or the other, so when something felt “off” I realized it was I could eat it or not, but no one else was asking for it.

The kiddos had movie day at camp and I was able to see this picture of their day (Wesley is again in this one. Look for the kiddo in the front in car pjs, complete with a bad looking haircut)

I also typed 90% of this post on Thursday :O)

Friday: Basically Friday can be summed up in a few words–waiting, anticipating, driving, and (eventually) full blown excitement.

Most of the day was spent in the car, with me sitting between both the boys in the back while my mom and Thomas sat in the front.

That’s right, a family vacation with Grandma in tow= double joy for the kiddos. We tried to pass time as best we could, with activities and toys that I packed for them, but regardless of my vain attempts, there were way too many “It’s taking a long time!” statements uttered by Wesley.

Sure enough, it was taking a long time, but once we finally arrived, it was pure excitement. And when happiness is abounding, why put a cap on it, right? So, the kids, and the adults, got into the ocean fully clothed.

It was basically a perfect closure to a long drive.

Plus, suddenly, all those moments of frustration while in the car were swept away with the waves, and I looked at Thomas and said, “I’m so glad we did this,” followed by a sweet kiss.

Saturday (today!): We got up early–because that is what my kiddos do, get up early–and went straight to the beach, still in pjs, to look for shells.

We found some good ones and then headed back to the condo for breakfast. Food gobbled up, we headed to the beach for many hours of sand, sun, and fun. Eventually we all came back to the condo and took showers and naps. Currently, everyone is still sleeping/resting while I type. Tonight, we head out for pirate dinner voyage! The kids are going to freak out from excitement.

So, that’s my last week in my twenties, the mundane and the grand. As I sit and type this outside with a great view of the ocean, I realize that I only have a few hours left before the clock ticks me into my 30th year. If the next decade is anywhere near as blessed and full as my current one that is drawing to a quick close, I will be one lucky momma.

So that’s it friends. Bye for now….I’ll chat with you again when I’m 30 :O)

Food Photo Fetish

I think I have a fetish.

Thomas clued me into it the other day after I snapped a photo of my dinner with my phone. His response: “Did you really just take a picture of that?”

Yes, yes I did.

Once I thought about it, I realized I take pictures of my food all the time. Once I went back and looked at the photos on my phone, I definitely confirmed that I have a fetish, an irrational relevance placed on taking photos of my food. I think it has to do something about spending the time making it and then being pretty happy about getting ready to actually eat it; I want to capture that moment.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner—I take photos.

And as proof, and as perhaps inspiration to your own food photo taking, I present to you much of what I have eaten here of late :O)

Because I bet you are just dying to know, right?

Turning 3, Super Hero Style

I can’t believe I let the whole month of June finish out before posting about my sweet Wesley’s birthday and party. In fact, I let the whole month of June go with only posting once! I promise to do better here in July. In keeping with that, let me tell you a little about my second son’s big day!

On his actual birthday, he immediately began asking for his cake when he woke up in the morning. I guess when you turn 3 you don’t think it is a birthday until you blow out a candle or something. In an attempt to appease, I made him pumpkin muffins for breakfast. This boy just *loves* them and they are pretty simple to create, just some pumpkin and coconut oil and a few other things and they are ready to bake. He also got to open a gift from his Uncle John, still with the “sleepies” in his eyes, as I use to say when growing up (and he has shorts on, promise. The boys are just real big now days about sleeping with no shirt).

That night, the family went out to eat at Chili’s. If we are going to eat out, we tend to eat here, only because they very frequently send e-mails out with TWO free Kids’ meals with an adult entree. They have some pretty healthy choices, and if I order something (we will sometimes go when Thomas is at work), both kids get to order a meal—for free! They had a coupon out available for use on Wesley’s actual birthday, so that is just what we did. While there, he got to open a present from us, a Spiderman toy and an Avengers shirt. He was so excited about each and had to put them to use right away. The shirt he wore in was taken off and his new one was put in its place. The server saw that we were celebrating our little man, and since Wesley was very eager to tell everyone “I 3 today!” the waiter  helped us celebrate by bringing out a brownie with ice cream–for free! We had a good time and Wesley was very happy.

There was a little gap between his actual birthday and the big celebration, but when it finally arrived, Wesley was pumped. We did a general super hero theme, which made planning and staging really simple, for any super hero worked! I had found a load of Batman supplies at a consignment sale for $5 and then I found Spiderman stuff clearenced out at Target, so we got all his themed items for a great price. I intended to do so much more in celebration but my time couldn’t catch up with my plans. So, I did the best I could for my little man, and since he is 3, it was plain perfect.

Everyone was asked to “help us save the day” and wear a Super Hero shirt.

I blew up some balloons and had Thomas cut out some bats and we made a cool Batman balloon banner (and it is still up—I liked it :O)

I had big plans of making all these super cookies look like Captain America shields but I realized after about 5 of them that I am not enough of a meticulous or type A person, so the rest of them just ended up being solid, bright colors. At least a few looked great, right?

I got all goofy and put colors in the lemonade and named them Super Hero names. Daniel assisted by coloring the labels, for he was really persistent about contributing to the celebration, much of which was officially assembled while Wesley napped.

The table was decked out with fruit, veggies, olives (a Wesley favorite), chips and salsa, and what were self-acknowledged some of the best cupcakes I have personally ever made. They were soooo good. Thomas also grilled hamburgers for us. He is always so good about making the main course food!

We opened gifts right away, for who wants to make a newly 3 year old wait?

You can see Wesley with the shield my brother brought and the cape my mom wore, while arriving as Captain America and Batman. Whether they intended to or not, Wesley got to keep them, for there was no way he was letting those two items out of his sight.

He later spent 20 minutes jumping off our ottoman yelling “To The Bat Cave!!” or “BATMAN!” while throwing his arms out and spreading wide the cape. It was pretty stinkin’ hilarious–and cute (and yes, we had a wardrobe change—because his Aunt Chelle and Uncle Austin got him a shirt he had to put on immediately!)

To the Bat Cave!

All in all, it was a great little event. We kept it pretty simple, just ran around the yard playing with toys, no official games. The birthday boy was happy, and that makes me happy, so I will call it a success!

My kids consistently refuse to cooperate with pictures, so it seems, and my nephew has this unending need to do bunny ears in every photo, but this is pretty genuine and true to form, so I like it.
The little “I can’t believe you were this tiny 3 years ago!” set-up, along with the plates and napkins,
Happy Birthday, Wesley Reesse! Enjoy being 3!
Holy smokes, it’s Batman! Or maybe just Daniel…..
Our sweet neighbors with their thanks for coming gifts–a Spiderman cup, Spidey paper with markers, suckers, and Captain America tattoos.
Aunt Chelle and Grandma help to prepare Wesley for his jumps!
Last minute shot, to prove Thomas was at the event!
Daniel took this of me and Elizabeth. Great shot, Daniel!