Saturday, October 29, 2016

2016 Pumpkin Patchin

Fall wouldn't be complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch. This activity is usually at the top of our fall to-do list along with painting pumpkins, roasting marshmallows, and going on a hayride. I'm happy to report that we have crossed the latter items off our list along with visiting not one but two different pumpkin patches so far this season. I've obviously been spending more time in corn mazes than blogging, but I'm hoping that the photo overload below will suffice as an apology. There's just so much to do this time of year and with these 70 and 80 degree temps hanging around, the last thing I want to do is be indoors on the weekend.

I must say that the pumpkin patches in mid-Missouri have really stepped up their game! The amount of activities for the kids (and the variety of snacks for the adults) is quite impressive. For our first visit, we decided to try out Lloyd's Pumpkin Patch in Ashland, MO (our soon-to-be hometown) where we all had a great time. We arrived just before noon on a Sunday, and it was the perfect time to go. The weather was cool and overcast and the kids were in great moods. Taylor loved the barrel rides, corn maze, and ducks, and Logan was mesmerized with the giant corn pit. We only stayed a couple of hours as nap time was quickly approaching, but we definitely got our money's worth and will be sure to put it on our list again next year.

Logan in these bibs makes my heart swoon. I swear, I envisioned him in this exact scenario when I purchased them during my pregnancy.

Our second visit was to Pete's Pumpkin Patch in Rolla, MO. We had so much fun there with my parents, sister, nieces, and nephew last year that we decided to make it an annual thing. Jake was out of town competing in his first Tough Mudder, so the kids and I headed south for a weekend at Granny and Papa's. If you're anywhere close to this place, I definitely recommend checking it out. It is by far the best pumpkin patch we've been to (and we've been to our fair share). Although there are a lot of activities and it's usually packed with people, you'd never know it. It's very spacious and built to hold a lot of people at once. Our kids ran around like chickens with their heads cut off, constantly pulling us in different directions because they were so excited to get to every activity. We had our usual kettle corn break halfway through but substituted the hot chocolate for ice cold water since it was 75 degrees and the sun was blazing. After a long, sweaty afternoon running from one activity to another, we headed out to the patch, picked a few pumpkins, then headed home. Logan was asleep before we pulled out of the parking lot.

How funny that my dad thought he could nonchalantly take Logan for a ride on the train without everyone else wanting to tag along! I took the first photo below and before I could even get out of the way, the rest of the troops were climbing into the car with him. Definitely more than he bargained for!

As I was going through my photos, I realized that the photo below depicts each of their personalities to a T. Taylor always looks sweet and innocent but is usually up to no good. Riley (to Taylor's right) is mother hen, watching over the younger kids and tattling to the grown ups whenever they do something they're not supposed to. Garrett, the sole boy of the family until Logan arrived, is typically quiet and usually tries to make a friend wherever we go so that he isn't stuck dealing with a gob of girls. Logan is interested in what everyone else is doing and is probably trying to squirm out of Nat's arm so that he can eat something off the ground. Nat is the oldest of the group and therefore the true mother hen. She is so good with all of the kids and usually has 2 or 3 of them in her sights wherever we are. She is the absolute sweetest, most selfless person I know. And then there is Reagan, as sassy and outspoken as they come. She knows no limits and has no fears. A true force to be reckoned with.

I love these kids with every ounce of my being and spending time with time with them is always entertaining. I hope that we can continue our pumpkin patch tradition for as long as possible, and I can't wait to watch little Logan running alongside the big kids next year. Hope you're all having a wonderful (yet warm) fall!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Life Lately

In case anyone is wondering, no, I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth nor am I being held captive without access to the internet. I have just been consumed with tending to two very needy little people, embarking on a new career path, remembering half of the things I need after I leave the grocery store, folding endless loads of laundry, and constantly shopping for Logan as he continues to outgrow everything I buy him. Life is truly wonderful and I am thankful for every blessing that I have been fortunate enough to receive, but, man, a lot has been going on.

First things first, I took a giant leap of faith in myself and decided to embark upon a new career path earlier this year. Upon returning from maternity leave, I began a series of interviews that ultimately led to a job offer in a field that is vastly different from anything I have done before. Thankfully, I am still with the same organization which has made the transition much easier. It's always nice when you don't have to start completely over and are able to see the same friendly faces day after day. My new role offers more flexibility and allows me to utilize my degree, get involved with the community, and hopefully have an impact in something that I am very passionate about. It really is a win-win. I have successfully survived my first month and have dove in head first with the utmost confidence in my abilities knowing I have a great organization behind me. I feel like the sky is the limit, and I'm incredibly grateful for this new opportunity. Thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated as there is a great deal of (local) travel involved!

Let's see...what else? We traded in my Explorer for a 4Runner this summer, and I am in love! I have always wanted a 4Runner but could never afford one (since they hold their value so well), so when we stumbled upon a fairly new one that was in great condition and in our budget we went to see it immediately. Now, test driving a vehicle with 2 kids is certainly not a fun experience (more like car seat rearranging hell) and waiting for the dealership to work through financing paperwork by yourself with 2 kids is probably even worse, but the rush of accomplishment I felt upon signing those papers was totally worth it. Although we completely destroyed the waiting room, left a trail of Honey Grahams through the main lobby, and walked out of the place looking like the Hot Mess Express, I felt like a total badass pulling off the lot in my brand new-to-me ride. But my moment of glory was quickly shattered by Taylor's screams of hunger and Logan's dirty diaper, and before I knew it my 2 year old was throwing french fries on the floor while I was changing what may have been the worst blowout ever in the back of my brand new car. Ah, motherhood.

We made another slightly larger purchase at the end of the summer when we closed on piece of land in Ashland, Missouri, a small town about 20 minutes from where we currently live, where we plan to build our forever home. We decided early on that we did not want to send our kids to Columbia Public Schools (mostly due to the size and ever-changing district lines) and decided that Ashland would be the perfect place to raise our children based on size, community, school system, safety, and distance to work. After watching every decent house in our price range sell within 24-48 hours of going on the market, we quickly realized that building was going to be our only option. We went back and forth on whether to build on a smaller sized lot within a subdivision (similar to our current home) or buy a few acres out of town to provide ourselves with a little bit of privacy. At the end of the day, we decided that building within a subdivision would allow our children to be closer to school, the park, and their friends. And when we found out that our best friends had purchased a lot in the same subdivision we were interested in, our decision was made. We ended up buying the lot adjacent to their property, so we will literally be next door neighbors to four of our favorite people in the entire world. I couldn't be more excited! Well, I guess I could if we weren't waiting until Spring of 2018 to break ground, but life is expensive and we hope to pay off our land before building which is basically like buying the most delicious looking cheesecake, sitting it on your kitchen counter, and then telling yourself you can't eat it for 18 months. It's just not fair.

Aside from buying things and making big life plans, we have mostly just been enjoying this amazing weather and some bonding time with the kids. Jake is gearing up for his rush season which will completely consume his life in about 5 weeks, so we have been making the most of our weekends by alternating trips to visit friends and family (and pumpkin patches) and spending leisurely weekends at home (complete with neighborhood walks and trips to the park). Jake's mom and step-dad came to visit in late September, and we celebrated not one but THREE birthdays in the same weekend. Of course, Taylor's took top billing with a carnival themed party that she is still thanking us for. The kids and I had our first bout of sickness last week, so that was fun as well. I'm looking forward to a couple weeks of health before the next round hits. Tis the season!

All jokes aside, this life really is oh so good, but if it could slow down for just a moment I would really appreciate it. One thing is certain, 2016 has been very good to us, and I can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Logan 7 Month Update

Seven has been a ground breaking month for Logan. He learned to sit all by himself, roll across a room in a matter of seconds, inhale an entire tub of baby food in one breath, and even added a new word to his vocabulary. He has officially hit his stride. 

Logan's 6 month check up was a couple weeks overdue (as is this blog post and everything else in my life at the moment), so I'm using those stats for the sake of this post. My aching back and bulging biceps can confirm that this boy is as solid as they come, weighing in at 20 lbs 5 oz and measuring 27 1/2" and solidifying his rank at the top of charts for yet another month. Although he continues to grow at warp speed, he continues to consume five 6 oz. bottles each day. The difference this month is that we have increased his solid food intake so that he is eating three actual meals in addition to his formula. His increase in calories has been equally matched with his newfound mobility. This guy can roll/wiggle/squirm his way anywhere he wants to go, including directly into Taylor's dollhouse where she immediately told him, "No, no Logan. You don't go into sissy's dollhouse. It's for pretend babies only!" 

He continues to babble and blow bubbles and has learned how to move his finger up and down against his lips while humming in order to make the most adorable (albeit annoying) sound. He also blurted out a new word while spending some quality time with his uncle Adam during Taylor's birthday party. I walked in his room just in time to hear him say, "Adam," and watch my brother-in-law's face light up with excitement. He was on a roll saying "dada" nonstop but had recently ceased all communication until this past weekend when we were at my sister's house and Adam got him to call him by name once again. I don't know what it is about that guy, but kids absolutely love him! ;c )

I am so happy to report that after three months of teething this boy finally has a tooth (and another one not far behind)! It has been a rough couple of weeks filled with lots of drool and diaper rashes, but that pesky first tooth has finally broken through. Unfortunately, it comes right on the heels of Logan's first sickness so that sense of relief will have to wait until his fever breaks and this virus passes. Fortunately, it hasn't dampened his spirits much. He continues to be as happy as ever but has insisted on a few extra snuggles (which I'll gladly take). 

His sister continues to rule his world as he loves nothing more than to be the center of her attention. She sings him songs and reads him stories, and he babbles and laughs the entire time. They splash their way through bath time and sit side by side on the couch watching cartoons. They get along about 90% of the time, but it isn't uncommon for them to be playing nicely one minute and then screaming and crying the next. No matter how well they may get along now, one this is certain: life will likely get much more interesting with these two over the next couple of years. 

You are the sweetest little love bug but 100% boy. You like to play rough, make growling noises, and read "Little Blue Truck" on repeat. You like being naked, hearing animal noises, and playing on the floor by yourself (as long as one of us is close by). Those chubby cheeks and infectious smile are swoon-worthy on their own, but when you cup your tiny hands around my face and pull my forehead to yours I turn into a big pile of mush. You are light and love wrapped in the most adorable little package. Thank you for being ours!