Monday, June 30, 2014

Fireman's Picnic Weekend!

It is one of our favorite weekends of the entire year, and this year didn't disappoint! The weather turned out to be perfect for the annual Fireman's Picnic and parade - a tradition I have loved and looked forward to since I was my kids' ages. There was fun to be had, and we had it! :)


This was an especially great year, because all of our kids were old enough to enjoy it. We definitely saw a lot of Reagan's smirky-smile as he got to ride all of the rides with his sisters. On Friday night we packed up and went in search of blinky lights, sweet smells, and music. :)



Check out that smirk. 


We pulled out all the stops, and there was no carnival fare left behind. We rode the rides, played the games, devoured funnel cake and drank lemon shake ups, bought cotton candy....in other words - it was quite an expensive weekend, haha. The kids had a blast. 



The girls had never shown much interest in playing games in years past...maybe that's because we always tried to steer away from that part of the picnic. :) But they were so into it this year. We couldn't resist letting them try their hand at a prize or two - and since every one is a winner, well...how could we refuse?




The man running the fishing game was super nice to us. Technically Reagan didn't play his game (we certainly didn't pay for him to) but when it came time to pick out prizes, he handed Reagan a purple ball of his own. That made our son very happy. Thanks carnival guy! :)

We went home that night with our dinner (dodging the color runners - we had to turn around three times to get to our house, haha) and enjoyed relaxing and watching some Netflix. It was a great night!

Saturday was a full day of events that I didn't get to go to. My 10 year class reunion was on Saturday, and months ago I had told Eric he should take off of work so that we could go. Well...last week it hit me that we had never followed through with that plan and I was on my own. Then we discovered we were low on reinforcements this weekend (grandparents out of town), and there was NO WAY I was taking all three of my kids to my 10 year high school reunion on my own. Even though it was a family-friendly event, it would have been no fun for me at all chasing my kids around. So we settled for "date night" with all of the kiddos along for the ride on Saturday night. Lots of shopping, and later that evening, a walk around town.

Sunday found us at church in the morning. I didn't know Eric was taking pictures in Sunday School, but I found them on our computer, haha. Here we are getting ready to start our lesson for the day.


We had a great morning in Sunday School!

After lunch and naps, we joined my mom and John for some fun at the Fireman's parade. 


Ready to set out for the fun!





I think we took more video than pictures of this day. (Maybe I can put up a vlog this week!) It was a long parade, and the weather was awesome! The kids really enjoyed themselves. Even Reagan, who wanted so desperately to run out in the middle of the road to get candy with the big kids. We only had...oh...one or two meltdowns from one of ours who is "too old" for a nap, but who still needs one. :)

We ended our weekend in a similar way that we always do....


With a long walk around town and a terrible phone photo to prove it. :)

It was an awesome weekend full of family time. I'd like to say we did it all for the kids, but I have to admit that there was some selfishness involved. I love it all just as much as they do! Maybe even more. I can't go to the picnic or the parade without immediately being taken back to my own childhood days of summer with my cousins. So much fun, so many great memories. I hope my kids look back with fondness on it all, too.

I know so many of our friends had similar weekends to ours. Wherever you are, near or far, I hope that you had a good weekend, too!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

5,4,3,2, FUN!

When I first mentioned that our family was going to get to go on our first real vacation together, one of the overwhelming responses I got back were friends sending me links to vacation countdowns. This just proves that my people (many of YOU) are awesome, as we were already riding on the same wavelength, haha! It's amazing to me how many different ways folks have come up with to countdown to the fun.

Of course, countdowns are great for SO many different things - not just vacations. Special events like birthdays or trips to grandma's, holidays, back-to-school, you name it. They are perfect for kids who may not quite have a grasp on time or numbers yet and who need a visual to understand. It's one way to really build up the excitement and to hopefully curb the constant, "How many days??" questions. :)

Today I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite countdowns that I've come across and show you what the girls and I decided to make for our countdown to Disney World this September. We are just about to start ticking off the days until we leave!

It's funny...if you search for "vacation countdown" the vast majority just happen to be for Disney. So while all of these are Disney themed, they can be translated over to any ole theme you desire.


Paper Chain Countdown

source in photo

This is by far the most popular countdown, and I love it! A paper chain is the perfect way for kids to physically see that the special event is getting closer and closer. Great for the younger set, seeing the chain get smaller let's them know the time draws nearer without using any numbers at all. I almost did this one for our countdown, but I didn't. Mostly because I didn't have a great place to put it that I knew Reagan wouldn't get a hold of it and rip it to shreds. :)

The Clothespin Countdown

source in photo

This countdown caught my eye because it's just so stinkin cute! There are numbers for the older kids to see, but once again there is a visual element for the younger kids as the clothespins get flipped over or taken off of the circle. I wanted more numbers on our countdown, but this is perfect for shorter countdowns! If the holiday or trip is about a month away or less, this one would be so fun to do!

Picture Frame Countdown

source in photo

Another super popular way to countdown the fun is with using a picture frame. My favorite thing about this countdown is that it is compact and discreet - not quite as loud as some of the others. :) It sits propped up on it's own little stand, so there is no need for hanging. These countdowns are great for older kids, probably Kindergarten age and up, who have a good grasp on numbers and what their values represent. Not so great for us, as it wouldn't matter if the numbers 50 or 15 or 5 were on the countdown - that pretty much means nothing for my kiddos just yet, haha.

Similarly, chalkboards or numbered cards can be used for the same type of countdown, like on this one:


So cute!

The Envelope Countdown


The idea here is to fill numbered envelopes with little trinkets (stickers, tattoos, etc.) that have to do with the theme, or even fun facts or activity ideas for that day. I mean...if I were a kid, this would be one of my favorites, but as a parent, it seemed like a lot of work. Haha! Still, I thought it was really clever and would work for a shorter countdown. (We started our countdown at 70 days, and there's no way I would stuff 70 envelopes with stuff!)

Present Countdown


If you thought the envelopes were a little over the top, what about GIFTS to countdown the days? The creator of this countdown shopped at Dollar Tree and found other very inexpensive things to wrap up as part of the fun of counting down to their Disney World vacation. These were all items that could be used on the trip or in the car or plane. Very fun, but once again, I have three kids and I wanted our countdown to last longer. Just not practical for us!

Magnet Countdown


I thought this magnet countdown from etsy was such a clever use of space. It's numbered, but it's also visual as the amount of magnets go away with time. My children can't seem to leave magnets alone, so it doesn't work for us, but very cute for anyone who doesn't want to hang something on the wall!

There are so many more ideas floating around out there...from balloon popping countdowns (which would so NOT be a favorite of mine, haha) to wooden block sets. But if we didn't do any of these, then what the heck did we do? 

I'm almost afraid to show you, as ours pales in comparison to the cuteness of so many of these!

The girls and I cut out a zillion little Mickey heads on the Cricut (or as Evelyn would say, "affidion" Mickey heads. That's her number for really really big, haha.) All of my pictures keep uploading onto blogger blurry, which is annoying, but ah well.


We combined several of the ideas to come up with something on our own that would work well for us.


Tada!

Using poster board and a poster frame, we took ideas from the numbered calendar type countdowns and also from the picture frame countdowns. Because there is a plastic cover over the numbered Mickey heads, we can use a dry-erase marker to x out each of the numbers every day. So we have something that's a little more compact, out of the way, and visual for my younger kids.

Here ya go, a different angle. Ka-chow! (Name that movie!)


I decided to add some Mickey ears, feet, and some sparkly Michael Jacksonesque gloves to the poster frame, haha.

The best part is that it can be wiped clean and used again in the future! Our countdown starts at 70 days, which is right around the corner for us. We are precisely 72 days out from the day we leave for vacation as I type this. I would say that it can't come soon enough, but I have so much to do still, and that also means summer vacation would be long gone, so...it's okay. We'll just keep dreaming for now. :)

Making countdowns is absolutely nothing new. One of my most distinct Christmastime memories from when I was in preschool was when my teacher sent us home with a giant Santa head and a ziploc bag full of cotton balls. We were to glue a cotton ball onto Santa's beard each day through the month of December, and by the time Christmas Eve came around, Santa's beard would be full of fluffy white cotton. I loved that. Loved it! I looked forward to gluing that dang cotton ball on every morning. And since it's a quarter-century later and I still remember that, I'd say it left a little bit of an impression on me. 

Maybe my kids will remember x'ing off the days each morning to our very first vacation together, too. :) This is the kind of thing that makes being a parent fun for me. If we can't build up a little anticipation and excitement about things, well what are we good for anyway? Haha. Maybe you can come up with something fun to countdown with your kids this summer! No matter if it's big or small. Make some memories of counting down to your own fun times ahead!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Great Flood

**Can't believe I published this without giving you an update on yesterday! Eric passed his test!! Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and prayers. :) **

The girls and I have been working on a little project that we hope to show you tomorrow! I didn't have it quite finished enough to take pictures of yesterday, so until tomorrow....

Can we talk about the monsoon we had yesterday??

There is nothing quite like a summer rain storm. I love em. I love when it gets dark in the house in the middle of the day. I love a good excuse to snuggle with a movie and light some candles - even when it's 90 degrees outside. :) It's cozy! But yesterday was just...a rain DUMP.


The kids couldn't resist going out on the back patio to take in the smell of the rain. And to reach out their hands and try to touch it....


I always look out of the back door when it starts raining, because inevitably there will be a giant stream running through our backyard. It kind of makes me laugh, even though it's not funny, because the city keeps "fixing" the problem, but yesterday was the WORST I have ever seen it. Those poor people that live on the street behind us. Their road gets completely flooded. (Which means at least one way to get to and from our house is closed off, too.) I know I've shown pictures before, but yesterday my jaw dropped.

You see the skinny stream flowing through the yards in those first pictures? I came back out 10 minutes later, and it had turned to this:




That is so ridiculous, haha.

There was a little girl out wading in it once the rain stopped. A free swimming pool. :)

The kids were just learning about Noah's Ark in Sunday School this week - or "Noah's Arctic" as Evelyn calls it. And how very timely that there was a flood right in our own back yard, haha. Didn't take long for the water to take over, that's for sure!

Speaking of all of that, did you guys see this article about the new oceans that have been found in the earth?? Check that out! Pretty cool stuff. Then flip your bible back to Genesis:

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

The underline was mine. Oh, science. Getting closer to the truth every day. :) Of course, this has been discussed among believers for years and years. It came as no surprise to Eric and I when we saw that article last week. Well, duh there's "great" bodies of water in the Earth, the bible said so thousands of years ago! Cracks me up. 

I love true science, by the way. Makes me smile how much it points right back to God. Don't try to tell science that, though, really makes it uncomfortable. :)

Haha. ANYWAY. 

We hope you have a great day today! Hopefully we can get out today without needing a canoe! Or an arctic. :)


Monday, June 23, 2014

First Summer Weekend!

Happy summer!

I had such a great weekend. Best one in quite a while! Friday was pretty chill, I'm trying to remember what we did, but I think we just took a walk.

Saturday was full and fun. Reagan was cracking me up at breakfast. :)



Bagel face! Or I guess I should say, cream cheese face.

The girls were all set to go to cheerleading camp on Saturday morning. I don't think either of them really knew what to expect. Grace kept asking me if they were going to be roasting marshmallows at camp. Haha. Uh, no, Gracie girl. 



After the girls had left, Reagan and I embarked on a mission to spy on casually walk by the park and see all of the cheerleading cuteness. We tried out the new walking trail at Lincoln Park which connects to our subdivision....


What I saw when we walked by was...hilarious. All of the girls were doing bridges (like a backbend) except of course for my children who had no idea what to do, haha. I saw Grace laying on the ground trying to figure out how the other kids were doing what they were doing, and Evelyn was just standing there with a look on her face that said, "No way. Not even trying that." :)

In all fairness, the girls were the youngest ones there. I got the impression that most of the other kids were returning cheerleaders for the Muskets football team. And then Evelyn fell on the ground and scraped her knee, and that was it. Not feeling it. She came home early. :) Gracie stuck it out a little longer, as she was actually enjoying herself. But I think the heat was getting to her, and she didn't make it all the way through, either. Ha!

I asked the girls, "Do you want to try again next year when you are a little bit older and bigger?

Evelyn: "Nooope."
Grace: "But I do!"

That is SO their personalities. It doesn't look like Evelyn is going to be a cheerleader anytime soon. Grace, however, was doing jumps all over the house for the rest of the afternoon. :)

On Saturday night Eric and I had a great "date night." I don't know if there is much I can say about it, except it was a great night out with my boys...both of them. Shopping and eating, sounds good to me! We came home, got our girls, and finished the evening with a family movie night.

On Sunday after church I had a girls day out with my mom. We went to see Maleficent, which we both really liked! It was nice to get away for a little while with just my mom. It's funny...I don't know how many of my friends can say this, but my mom still has kids at home - including a first grader. So it's very rare that we get to go out and do anything where at least one of us doesn't have a kid or two in tow. Ah, freedom. :) Thanks for a great day out, mom!

That evening Eric and I had dinner plans with some of Eric's co-workers, which is always a good time. It cracks me up the places we choose to eat. Several people drove several miles to meet us in Red Bud and have...drumroll please...the DiCarlos buffet! :D But hey, it's DiCarlos, worth the drive right? Haha. 

We met up with the kids at the playground afterwards, and took them over to my parent's house to see John's new pet - Biscuit!


They are enamored. All I have heard this morning is, "When can we go see biscuit? When can we go see biscuit?" 

The Feldt family is now opening up a petting zoo. Dogs, fish, birds, and now a guinea pig! There is no shortage of small animals around. :)

This morning finds us all relaxing and Eric sitting at a computer taking practice tests for an exam he has later today. PLEASE say a prayer for him! It's a big deal that he passes this test the first time, because he really really doesn't want to have to take it again in a month, haha. It's not an easy exam. (It's for work, not school.) He has to drive to Marion to take it, and he will get the results back right away. So we're keeping our finger crossed for good results! We can all take a deep breath if he passes. :)

I'm looking forward to getting my house in order today, and gosh darn it, gotta take those kids to see Biscuit. (They just asked me again.) Hope you have a great day and a great week. Goooo team! ;)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Life's A Picnic

We won't be celebrating the first official day of summer until Saturday, but whew! Could have fooled me. It has definitely felt like summer around here, so we decided not to waste any time getting to work on that bucket list of ours. The girls and I wanted to switch things up for lunch this week, so we packed a little cooler full of goodies and dug our picnic blanket out of the closet to cross off #1 on the list:

1. Have a family picnic. 

Check!

(Well...it was a mostly family picnic. Eric was at work!)



There is a perfect tree for spreading a picnic blanket under right across from my parent's house in the schoolyard. In the shade with a nice cool breeze blowing it seemed that we were set for a dreamy little lunch. I sighed as I began making plates for my kids, happy that we chose this day to picnic before it really does get surface-of-the-sun-hot around here. 


A drink for me, a drink for Ken. Haha.




The kids were loving it, and so was I. Until....

The flies started attacking our food.
A spider ran across my camera.
And a small green worm decided to fall on me and do a little dancing/burrowing jig on my forearm.


It was beautiful, but I think the longer I'm married to Eric, the shorter my tolerance is for the great outdoors, haha. I sort of lost my appetite after the worm thing. :)


It was at that point that I started rushing the kids along. "Okay guys, let's finish up here!" 

Seriously, I didn't want to stick around and see what friendly creature was going to fall out of the tree next. Nooo thanks. 

Reagan found a toy.


"Alohomora!"


He's really hoping for a Hogwarts letter in about 10 years. :)

As I was cleaning up our mess I noticed the ants start marching in - making a beeline for the lemonade. And that's when I knew that I made the right choice to get the heck outta dodge. I'm super glad that we were able to accomplish a summer goal - even if we were ambushed by nature. I guess we were sort of on the bugs' turf, haha. 

But the kids had a blast. They thought it was totally awesome that we had lunch-to-go on the ground. I think this is a perfect way to have a little summertime fun with your kids this year. Only...I hope you have better luck with the bugs than we did. Maybe that "perfect" tree we chose was just extra buggy and not so perfect for our purposes. We may have to try again in a new location! 


If my kids have anything to say about it, we will definitely be doing it again. :)

Later gators! 



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Circus is in Town

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls! Step right up for the show! Featuring the one-ring act of the AMAZING, SUPER-STRONG, DEXTROUS, HIGH-CLIMBING baby: Reeeeeagan Robert!

(Applause applause.)

Watch as he somehow (mysteriously) gathers the strength to pull a ladder out from under a bed, props it up himself on a teetering ledge, and climbs the wobbling steps to reach the highest of heights on Country Club Dr. - the top bunk.


Look at that smug stinker.

I have no idea how he did this. But he did it. :) Somehow, without breaking his neck, he did it. I would have had a heart attack if I saw him in action, but all I heard was my sweet little boy crying out, "Mom! Mama! Moooom!" from the bedroom. I went in to see what the precious darling wanted, and I gasped. Haha. "REAGAN ROBERT!"

I did what every other red-blooded American mother would do in this situation. I left him at the ledge of the bed and said, "Wait there. I have to get my camera!" :D


As you can see, there was a shoe casualty in the performance.

At first my child was way too cool for mom's pictures. I just climbed up here by myself, mom. You don't realize how awesome I actually am.


But he couldn't hold it back for long. Dude was WAY proud of himself.

I now invite you to scroll through the evolution of my son getting a real kick out of scaring his mother. 






"Thank you, thank you!"

And now...your prayers would be appreciated that we make it through the next 16 years or so without too many injuries. :) No turning back now. He is Gracie 2.0. Champion climber. Maker of mischief. The stuff of mother's anxieties. Also cute. Very very cute. :)

Join us next time as Reagan scales the computer desk, masters the barstools, and tightropes the kitchen counters. It's been a wild week with this kid!

Happy Tuesday!


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