Saturday, July 29, 2017

Summer Playtime

A good portion of our summer days have simply been spent at home. With Adley being so young, it's often easier for me to address her needs from the comfort of our home. Thankfully, Cody and Jaden truly enjoy their time at home and are at a stage of life in which they play fairly well together. This is when having twins is such a blessing! I enjoy seeing their creativity as they play, too. Here are a few recent playtime activities:

Wild Kratts
Cody and Jaden are obsessed with this PBS show. It's such a good one, as it's taught them SO many random facts about animals. Definitely a Mommy-approved show. :) For their birthday, Cody and Jaden received these Wild Kratts creature power suits from Grammy and Papa. The suits have been such a hit in our household. It's cute to see and hear the boys act out scenes from the show.

Stuffed Animals
Cody and Jaden have had a renewed interested in their puppets and other stuffed animals this summer. At the beginning of the summer, the boys put on a few puppet shows. They've given each of the animals names (some practical ones like "Stinky" the skunk or "Humpy" the camel, but others very random like "Star of the State" and "Star of the Country" for their look-alike dalmatians or "Bongo Stingerhead" for a small dog). These animals appear all over our home doing all kinds of things! My favorite was the day the boys stuck smaller animals inside each of the puppets and said that they were all pregnant! :)

The Goods Restaurant
One morning after playing with Magnatiles, the boys called me upstairs to show me the collection of food they had created.

They wanted me to order food from them, but I kept forgetting all of their options. When I suggested creating a menu for their restaurant, Jaden and Cody jumped right on board. I have never seen them work so hard on writing their letters! They even came up with a name for their restaurant (The Goods) and made a sign for the door.

Here is their restaurant menu.

The boys were so eager to have Daddy visit their restaurant when he came home from work. Daddy was quite impressed with the menu... and the great service!

In addition to this creative at-home playtime, we've also met some friends and family for some playdates away from home this month:

Family Gatherings
The playmates that Cody and Jaden see most often are their cousins. As of May when my brother and sister-in-law moved to Texas, we now have ALL of the boys' cousins (from both sides of the family) living in the same area. Woo-hoo! :) I love knowing that our boys are developing such close bonds with all these great kiddos. Here are the Walquist side grandkids:

And the Schleicher side grandkids:

Children's Museum
This museum is starting to be at the upper end of Cody and Jaden's interest level, but they still seemed to enjoy themselves well enough on this particular visit. We attended with our young neighbor Jack, who was visiting the museum for the first time, so Cody and Jaden him showed him the ropes of what to do.

Towards the end of the month we met some of our life group friends at the bowling alley. Jaden wanted to use the ramp for most of his frames.

Cody was determined to roll the ball on his own. I was so worried that he would drop the ball on his foot (or drop the ball behind him!), but he did okay. Throwing the ball this way gave it some good speed.

Both boys were very interested in watching their scores appear on the screens. They are certainly growing to be competitive little guys.

The kids at the lane: Jaden, Ella, Cody, Andrew, Brie, Ellie

Splash Pad
And, of course, in the Houston summers we frequent various splash pads as regularly as we can! This trip was Adley's first time. She didn't particularly enjoy the cold water.

Or perhaps she didn't like that her 6-9 month swimming suit was already too small for her! :)

Adley's older brothers had a blast with their friends, though!

Grandpa and Grandma Time
Also this month, we had the pleasure of spending time with Grandpa and Grandma who traveled down to Texas after our new nephew Noah's birth. Although Grandpa and Grandma stayed with Noah's family, they spent a few afternoons at our house for some playtime. Grandma brought over a new matching puzzle that Jaden and Cody enjoyed.

Grandma and Grandpa thought that 3-month-old Adley looked quite a bit bigger than the 1-month old Adley that they held on their last visit to Texas!

Jaden and Cody taught Grandma and Grandpa their new favorite game of the summer-- Outfoxed. It's a super cute Clue-type game that our whole family has enjoyed playing. Some days the boys will play 8-10 times. Obviously, they love it!

They played an old favorite together too-- Chutes and Ladders.

Grandma read a few books to Jaden and Cody as well. This particular one, Mr. Tuggles Troubles, was a recent favorite from the library. Thanks for spending time with us, Grandma and Grandpa!

We are certainly enjoying our summer days!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wild Week

For this summer's Vacation Bible School, Jaden and Cody got to experience a lot of Daddy's teaching. The boys loved seeing Daddy play his guitar and teach from on the stage. Jaden and Cody enjoyed having quite a few of their friends from preK plus their cousin Abby in their VBS class too. The boys never had any hesitation when I dropped them off for the morning sessions. They loved their Wild Week experience! 

One day was Crazy Hat day, so they wore these Micky Mouse hats that were gifts from a friend in Billings several years ago.

Jaden and Cody's group leader was a friend of mine, so she sent me a few pics of them throughout the week. This pic was taken during an outdoor game.

This was during the Bible teaching time. Daddy used Jaden and Cody to help him with an object lesson on trust (notice Jaden's silly socks for Crazy Feet day?).

Jason blindfolded both boys and asked them to jump into his arms.

Jaden and Cody told me later that they weren't nervous at all to do this. They trust their Daddy!

The week capped off with a Friday night family celebration that was very well attended. Chick Fil A food was catered, there was a Robot-a-thon contest (families made robots at home and brought them in to be judged on creativity), several youth were baptized, and the kids sang a few of their Wild Week songs.

It was a very hot & muggy evening but a great social event. The kids all loved playing on the playground with their buddies. One of our Life Group friends, Ella, gave our little Adley some cuddle time. What a cute pair!

Because the kids had raised a certain amount of money (I've forgotten the exact amount) from their offerings during the week, both Jason and his co-VBS leader Amanda agreed to receive a pie in the face. All of the VBS kids were sooo excited about this!! This video is from a friend's phone, so it's not the best quality, but you get the idea. Jason was so messy afterwards!

On the Sunday morning following Wild Week, the children went on stage at church to sing a couple songs from their week together. Jaden and Cody are wearing green shirts near the right of the picture.

A brief clip of the first song, "You Are Good"

...and the second, "I Will Sing Forever."

Daddy ran a wonderful VBS week!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Swimming Lessons

At the beginning of June, Cody and Jaden took two weeks of swimming lessons. They didn't make leaps and bounds of progress like they had last summer, but their confidence in the water this year was so nice to see. Last year, the boys were nervous about even putting their faces in the water. Look at them just jump right in on day 1 of lessons!

The biggest thing their instructors worked on with them this summer was taking breaths while swimming. Most of the time, Jaden and Cody would do okay with their strokes but then stop and touch the ground whenever they'd run out of air. Or, they'd lift their head up for air but not actually open their mouth to take a breath. Watching my boys learn how to swim sure makes me appreciate the complex process that swimming truly is!

Hunter, our teacher Mrs. McQuary's son, taught Jaden and Cody how to doggie paddle in the deep end.

A few videos of Jaden's swimming:

Cody's swimming:

We're excited to have plenty more months of summer here in Houston to practice our swimming (or at least that's a way to put a positive spin on the LONG muggy summers!). We are proud of our little swimmers and the progress they've made!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunday School Graduation

Shortly after school got out for the summer, Cody and Jaden moved up to a new Sunday School class. This is a big deal at our church because they go from being a part of Discover World, the infant to preK group under Ms. Amanda's care, to Discover Club, the K-2nd grade group which is led by Daddy! To recognize this big transition, Ms. Amanda holds a graduation ceremony for all of her outgoing preschoolers.

The after-church celebration kicked off with ice cream sundaes. Cody and Jaden were fairly nervous about the idea of walking across the stage during the ceremony, but the ice cream sure helped to put them in the right spirits! Grammy and Papa joined us at Salem for the ceremony as well.

Ms. Amanda dressed all the kids in graduation caps & tassels, gowns, and "Congrats Grad" necklaces. How cute is this?!

Jaden and Cody were NOT happy with me when I continued taking their pictures even after their friends started walking into the clubhouse to begin. Can't you just see the urgency in their expressions?-- "Mo-om, we're supposed to go in!"

The program officially began with Ms. Amanda talking with the class about how much she had enjoyed them and their high-energy this year. From all that she said, I gathered that this group had been a somewhat rowdy bunch.

The preschoolers then sang two songs together.

First, the "Hippo Song"...

...and then a cute, fun song called "The Fruit of the Spirit." The kids energetically waved around their instruments and laughed along with the CD of the guy shouting out, "The fruit of the Spirit's not a BANANA... or a WATERMELON!"

Next, it was time for the boys to get their graduation certificates. Each boy walked nervously across the stage after his name was called. This was a big moment for them to be singled out in front of a crowd!

After all the kids got their certificates, Daddy a.k.a. "Mr. Jason," talked to the whole group and welcomed the kids to Children's Ministry.

The program ended with a large confetti explosion! Ms. Amanda sure pulled out all the stops. :)

The boys really enjoyed their time with Ms. Amanda over the past two years. She has been a great leader for Jaden and Cody-- seeking to know them individually and modeling Jesus' love to them. We're so thankful for Ms. Amanda!  

Jaden & Cody with Ms. Amanda and their buddy Joshua
The Proud (and tired) Discover World Graduates!

We pray that Jaden and Cody's knowledge of the Lord continues to grow each day and that their love for Him deepens as well!