Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Baptism Birthday

In mid-July, Jaden and Cody celebrated their 2nd baptismal birthday. This year, because they understand what's going on a little more than last year, we wanted to do something special to remember this date.

So, after dinner, we took out their baptismal candles (the ones that were lit during their baptism service), sang a little "Happy Baptismal Day to You" song, and let Jaden and Cody blow out the candles.

I had considered baking cupcakes (perhaps even with blue frosting to symbolize water) but ended up going with an easy brownie mix instead. Jaden and Cody love brownies much better anyway!

Then, we talked with them about their baptism day two years ago-- who was here, who baptized them, what it means, etc. They especially loved touching the shells that were used during their baptism service.

Finally, Daddy brought home his guitar so that he could play and sing for the boys the song that he had written specially for their baptismal service. We all enjoyed hearing Daddy play this meaningful song again!

We fully intended on showing the boys photos of their baptism service, too, but then completely forgot. A few days later, we showed Jaden and Cody the photo book of their baptism weekend that Uncle Jon and Aunt Chelsea had put together.What a great memory this book is! The boys love pointing to their family members and calling each by name.

We look forward to recognizing this day in the future, too, so that Jaden and Cody will always remember the precious gift of their baptism. We thank God for making Jaden and Cody part of His family!

Home Videos

Here is a random smattering of videos from the past month:

#1 How Old Are You?
We're still working on showing age with our fingers. :)

#2 The Beloved Pick-up Truck
This little vehicle is quite likely the most sought-after toy in our household at this point in time. Both boys sound quite amusing when trying to identify this pick-up truck. Often Cody adds even 4 or 5 extra syllables to the word than is shown in the video.

#3 Scooter Jaden
We bought this Radio Flyer scooter with birthday money from Uncle Andy and Aunt Beth. Although only Jaden is shown on the scooter in this video, both boys LOVE riding it and figured out rather quickly how it works.

#4 Roll and Play Game
This game was another gift purchased with birthday money from our church friend Ms. Doris. The boys are REALLY into it, and Jason and I have loved watching how much the game has taught them. We're not really playing by the rules in this video, but usually you roll a color cube, draw a matching color card, and then do the action stated on the card. In the video, we skip the cube-rolling, and Jaden simply demonstrates some of his most favorite action cards.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mommy's Birthday

For my birthday this month, the 3 lovely boys in my life worked together to make a birthday cake. Jaden and Cody truly were involved in every step-- readying the baking pan,

mixing the ingredients,

and supervising Daddy with the mixer.

When it came time to frost the cake, the boys were very excited to demonstrate their knowledge of the birthday celebration procedure. Here is Cody, blowing out the imaginary candles. :)

Thankfully, by my birthday afternoon, I was starting to recover a bit from the crummy fever I had come down with the day before. Of course, it doesn't take much pushing to get me to eat some cake with chocolate frosting! :) What a treat! Thanks Daddy, Jaden & Cody!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

CO Springs - Last Day

The last full day that our family was together happened to be the 4th of July. So, our outing that day was a festive one-- a 4th of July parade.

 As we waited for the action to start, Jaden, Cody, and Abby passed the time with some snacks. Doesn't Jaden look especially relaxed? :)

The parade began with what was advertised as a "Children's Parade," which basically just ended up being community kids riding on their bikes (probably not worth arriving 30 minutes early for, but at least we got decent spots!).

One of the first parade entries to pass by was a guy with a cannon. He selected a kid from the crowd to "shoot off" the cannon. It was loud!

It was quite a good parade, though it was a bit long for our little ones. We enjoyed the wide variety of animals, costumes, dancing, and music.

Back at the home, we got in some good last-day playtime. Sarah captured a neat perspective of the kids' favorite "runway."

Just when it was nearly time to go, Jaden and Cody finally started warming up to everyone. :)

Cody, Uncle Andrew and Abby watch some "Abby videos."

Aunt Kim reads to Jaden & a whole couch full of others.

Cody loved Ian's bumpy horsey rides!

Our "organized playtime" involved a few different activities on this day. Kim brought out spray bottles filled with water and foam shapes for the kids to stick to the window. My boys LOVED this!

I'd never tried spray bottles with Jaden and Cody before, so they were amazed with these new instruments. Cody was hilarious to watch with his "I'm concentrating really hard" look.

I had to add this picture too, since it shows the line of cars and trucks that my boys loved forming along the window sill. Grammy was a patient teacher, helping all the kiddos understand what to do.

We also tried some bubble wrap painting prints. (Jaden and Cody got REALLY bothered by the thought of wearing smocks and couldn't be convinced to try the painting, even when we took the smocks away.) Ian and Ryan loved the time with paint, though!

Then we played a hide-and-seek game with a musical bear. Grammy brought this Christmas bear from home because it talks for a REALLY long time (basically summarizing the whole Christmas story!). It was perfect for this game! One adult or child would pick a hiding spot for the bear, start the music, and then let the others look. The hiding spot could actually be quite difficult, since the music led the kids to the bear.

It was a fun little twist on the normal hide-and-seek game. Jaden and Cody loved trying to figure out where the music was coming from.

It really confused them when Papa had the bear hiding in his shirt! Only Ian figured out this challenging spot.

We also played a game of Hullabaloo downstairs. The boys don't know their shapes at all, but they love running around to the right colors and even follow some of the directions at times (to spin, stomp, or crawl to a certain shape).

The directions say you're allowed to share a space. Jaden wasn't too pleased with this idea... :)

 In the evening, Mom and Dad volunteered to stay back with the sleeping kids while the rest of us went to watch fireworks. We figured that our parade festivities were enough of a celebration, though, so we all just stayed at home together to play some games, share a whole slew of pictures, and to have a final special dessert (as if we hadn't already eaten enough all together!). Matt, Andrew, and Jason planned a treat for us all-- gourmet s'mores! These guys roasted the marshmallows to our individual liking and then made the s'mores with quality chocolate (regular Hershey's, dark chocolate, Reese's, white chocolate, and I forget what even else was in their list of options).

Yes, these s'mores were quite tasty!

What a wonderful week with family!! We loved our time doing a variety of activities, having plenty of down-time, and being in the relaxed atmosphere of a home. Thanks for the fun memories, family. We love you!!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

CO Springs - Day 4

Right away this morning, the 5 kiddos were in need of some entertainment. Sarah came to the rescue! She brought out her bag of homemade play dough, moon sand, and a really cool type of play clay made with (I think) cornstarch and conditioner. 

All of the kids, including Jaden pictured here, enjoyed experimenting with all the various textures.

They enjoyed pushing, playing, stretching the dough and stamping it with cookie cutters. What a great activity!

Our outing on this day was my overall favorite of the week because the boys absolutely had a blast. We went to the North Pole, an amusement park specifically designed for kids aged 10 and under.

We have never before taken Jaden and Cody to any type of amusement park (just our state fair, but we rode no rides), so we weren't sure how they'd do throughout the day. Our first ride was on a carousel. Although Jaden started out on this reindeer, he quickly decided that he'd be much more content sitting on a carousel bench with Mommy.

Everyone else loved their carousel rides...

...even including Papa! :)

Some of the rides at the park were designed for parents to ride with their children, like this Christmas tree ornament ride.

On other rides, parents were allowed to accompany their kiddos, but the tight fit wasn't too comfortable. Love all the adults awkwardly sitting sideways here. :)

 Many of the rides (a surprising amount, actually) allowed the small kids to experience fully on their own. In fact, Ian was a bit too tall for some of these rides!

It definitely felt a bit strange to strap our boys to these rides and then walk away. They still seem so little! Neither boy seemed to mind at all, though. In fact, the only tears they shed were when they had to get off the rides!

Yes, we became some of "those parents" who excitedly (obnoxiously?) wave to their kids as they pass by, saying hi and snapping tons of pictures. :)

It made us laugh that Cody was always fully engaged, holding on to the reigns, handlebars, steering wheels, whatever the vehicle had to offer. He was ready to go! 

Jaden, on the other hand, would typically grip tightly on to the sides, appearing as though he was frightened. Every time we'd get him after the ride's end, however, he'd ask to go "more, more, more."

Probably the ride the boys were most excited to get on was this one since it was full of a variety of fun vehicles. Cody looked like a little pro on this motorcycle!

On this video, you can see/hear Cody eagerly honking the horn, while Ryan and Jaden casually ride by in their bus.

All of us got to ride on a train together...

...and a ferris wheel. The park claimed that this was the "highest ferris wheel in the world" (due to the high elevation of Colorado to begin with).

We also attended a brief magic show,

and fed some animals at a petting zoo.

 We (our family at least) ended the morning with a ride on these old-fashioned cars. Our boys were nearly falling asleep on some rides, so we knew it was time to return home. Grammy and the TX Schleichers stayed for an extra hour or more.

What a perfect amusement park for our little guys! They obviously loved every minute and completely wore themselves out.

Later on in the evening, the family celebrated my July birthday a little early as well. Andrew whipped up his famous chocolate souffle recipe. Delicious! 

Jaden helped me with the candle...

...and Cody provided the extra encouragement. :)

One day left to go in our full family week!