Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Can you believe Collin is two already? I feel like every birthday our kids have had I am saying something similar...

Like we did for Drew's second birthday, we decided to take Coll-brother to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a day of fun for his birthday as well. He loves all things "feeeesh" right now, so it seemed fitting. His birthday fell on a Saturday this year, so we just made a day trip of it. We left early early enough to arrive when the aquarium opened, which turned out to be a pretty good call as I had forgotten how crowded that aquarium can get on a Saturday afternoon mid-summer! Fortunately, the boys were pretty oblivious to the crowds....they were just there to have fun, and fun they had!

Right before we left for the day, Nathan had gone out to the truck to load a few last minutes things. When he came back in, he told the boys there was a surprise outside. A giant "birthday" balloon floating right outside our front door....fitting. :)

Our drive out to the aquarium was uneventful. Like I said, it got a bit crowded by the afternoon, but when we initially got there, we could get right up close to most of the exhibits...in this case the otters! This little otter stayed right near the glass where the boys were, which they of course, loved!

Jellies! (...Just for Auntie Kimmie)

I realized while going through pictures, that I managed to catch an awful lot of the backs of the boys this time, but not a lot of the fronts. Guess that's a good indication of the fun they were having...no time for photos, Momma, there are things to explore!

Yes, I took a picture of the light fixtures...I can't get over how cool they were!

And my favorite (Poppi's too!), the Leafy Sea Dragon.

These guys were cleaning the glass of the big floor to ceiling tank. A real live scuba diver?? Highlight!

We tried really hard to see as much of the aquarium as we could before we took the boys over to the kids' area because as expected, once we were there, that was where we spent the rest of our time.

When we finished at the aquarium we walked down Cannery Row to the beach and park to eat lunch. The boys spent plenty of time running off energy (yes please, considering we were still facing a car ride home!) and playing on the beach.

This little grouping of rocks also provided quite a bit of entertainment in the form of climbing, jumping, sitting, playing follow the leader, etc.

How old are you Coll??

And finally, when we were all done we went on the hunt to find our birthday boy a cupcake. Unfortunately we had no luck with the cupcakes, but we did find ice cream!

On Sunday, we had a small birthday dinner at home. We had saved cake and presents for the day after Collin's birthday this year since the aquarium was a pretty big day in and of itself. We also had gotten home late and with two very tired boys, it just seemed logical to save some fun for the next day when they would actually enjoy it.

Silly brothers...

I thought that maybe this year he'd choose to eat his cake with a fork....nope!


I usually try not to post specific gift pictures, but some of these turned out pretty cute and since my parents weren't here to share in the fun their gift brought Collin, I thought I'd post them here. Collin is so proud of his new bike! He's just barely tall enough to make the full rotation with the pedals....

...but that didn't stop him from finding someone who could fully pedal him around! Drew spent the evening very slowly and cautiously pedaling Collin around the house. It was cute, he was very protective over Collin's safety on his "big kid bike". Pretty fun new toy Lala and Poppi, thank you!

Doug and Kathleen ended up being out of town this year for Collin's birthday, so we celebrated with them over this past weekend. I will try to get those pictures up and posted soon because we had a fun afternoon spent swimming and enjoying time over at Grandma and Grandpa's house too! 

Happy Birthday again Coll-fry! We love you!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Just so you know...

...We haven't fallen off the face of the earth around here.

There's just been a mad photo shuffle going on between computers. I should have everything in one place by tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be posting about Collin's birthday soon. For now though, I'll leave you with my favorite photo from the day. Love these sweet boys.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Three Things

Three Things about:


1. Loves to swim. After swim lessons this year, it’s like he gained all the confidence he needed. Last year, he could technically swim across the pool if he wanted to, but wouldn't unless he was actually at swim lessons. This year, he's more than willing to swim anywhere there's water (including the lake, which surprised me!). This has turned out to be great for me, because all of that swimming has made for very easy bedtimes or nap times…he comes home exhausted!

 2. Is getting really good at counting up to 100 and recognizing both letters and numbers. He is also starting to tell me the sound each letter makes.

3. Loves to talk to the baby. He usually asks to tell him goodnight or what he and Collin are doing, among other little things throughout the day. He's also very interested on exactly how the baby will get out….this has made for a few rather, um…interesting (?) conversations.

BONUS: Just moved into sharing a bedroom with Collin. Translation: Bunk beds! This was a huge deal for Drew. He was excited not only to be sharing a room with his little brother, but he was super excited that he was big enough to sleep on the top bunk.


1. Doesn't understand the concept of saying "Cheese" for photos yet. He will enthusiastically say “Heeeeeeeeeese!!”, but the result is a sort of grimace instead of a smile. So the other day, I tried telling him “Show me your teeth!” in an effort to see an actual smile with teeth instead of the goofy grin he's been giving me. The picture on the right is what I got instead….a literal showing of his teeth. The kid is a nut!  

2. Loves to gallop instead of walking right now. He'll gallop just about anywhere...in the store, from the car to the house, at the park, down the hallway, etc.

3. Loves to wear Drew’s clothes….as in, will dig through Drew’s dresser, pull a few things out and absolutely insist upon wearing them. This drives Drew crazy, but fortunately for the most part, he's been very willing to share.

BONUS: Says quite a few bigger words…helicopter, What’s that?, puppy, holfball (golfball)…but not simple things that I would have expected to hear first (cup, dog, duck, etc)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Swimmy, swimmy, swimmy...

Took a small hiatus since all of the sisters have been here for the last 10 days. When I get all of my pictures sorted through, I'll post on that, but for now, swim lessons!

We have spent a good portion of the month of June pool side with the fun folks over at Jan Thomas Swim School. Both boys just finished up their lessons for the summer, and dare I say, they're looking more and more like little fish. Drew loved his time there and Collin seemed to enjoy his too. The first lesson for Coll was a little rough, but after that initial lesson, he was all smiles and silly games with his sweet teacher Nicki. However, heaven forbid he actually admit that it was fun to Mommy...he'd burst into tears like it was the absolute most awful experience he'd ever had the moment his lesson was over and it was time to be handed back to me. I'm onto your games kid. I saw those ear-to-ear grins while you played in the water.

Drew ended up by chance with Scott, the same instructor (that he loved) from last year. Drew remembered how much fun he had with Scott last year and was super excited when he found out that he'd get to be with him again this year. I was impressed that our first day back, Scott was able to recognize and say hi to Drew in a kiddie pool full of other kids....how many kids do those instructors see each summer? Not to mention the fact that it's been an entire year and Drew is bigger. I'm telling you, Jan Thomas's swim school never ceases to amaze me. I love the instructors they hire on!

Anyway, enough talk...how 'bout some pictures of the little guppies??

Before the lesson begins the kids get to play in a kiddie pool that's connected to the big pool. Between the toys they can play with, and the company of the other kids playing in the pool, it seemed to faithfully serve its purpose of warming the boys up to the idea of their upcoming lesson. The kiddie pool also served as a great entertainer for the days when the boys had lessons at separate times. While one munchkin was in the big pool for a lesson, the other would be in the kiddie pool and then they'd swap. Easy entertainment and happy kids, win-win!

Such a fascinating little shark!

Collin started lessons swimming in stink bug fashion...with that little hiney of his in the air! It made both me and his instructor laugh because he would consistently stick his head way under the water, kick those little legs, and about two seconds later, there his little bum would be, like an island. It seemed to me that it would be harder to swim like this, but without fail, this is how he would swim.

By the last few lessons he had finally evened out to swim somewhat normally.



Jumping off the wall has become Collin's favorite post-swim lessons activity. In fact, his confidence in the water is almost scary as he is so much less cautious near water than Drew was at that age (I think it's because he has an older brother to follow). We have had to keep major tabs on him whenever we're near a pool because he will gladly hop straight into the water with or without anyone nearby. (Let's just remember that this little munchkin is by no means a swimmer yet. Learning, yes...but definitely not there yet). He jumps in and sinks straight to the bottom. Nathan and I have had quite a few jump-in-after-Collin moments at this point. Thank goodness the pools we visit are all fenced. Because of this, when Collin has jumped in, one of us has been right behind him and thankfully, already in a swim suit since that's what we were there to do in the first place!

Just like last year, at the final lesson the instructor has a parent hop into the water to learn what's been taught throughout the sessions (the hope is that parents will continue the learning throughout the summer on their own). Last year I managed to sucker Nathan into this part, but this year...in all my pregnant glory...I was on my own. Collin's last lesson was scheduled during a time that made it nearly impossible for Nathan to jump out of the office to meet us. Thankfully, it wasn't nearly as traumatic as I expected it to be to waddle my ever expanding self into the pool in front of a bazillion strangers, and Coll and I both had fun.

At the end of the last lesson of the summer, the kids are awarded a gold medal and a blue ribbon for their achievements. They put the kids up on a podium and make a big deal of announcing how great a learner and swimmer the kids have been. As you can see, as much as Collin loved Nicki and his time in the water, he was not thrilled to be up on the podium. It really did make me laugh. Such drama from this kid!

As for Drew? We officially have a swimmer this year! And although they did work on other things, the main emphasis was on swimming across the pool...

...rolling over to take a breath...

...and then flipping back to finish the swim to the other side of the pool. 

It wasn't all work and no play though. Scott and Drew had plenty of time for fun as well...

Collin, checking out Drew's lesson from the kiddie pool

Like Collin, Drew was also awarded a medal and a blue ribbon for his achievements at the end of his lessons. Drew had been talking about this medal since the very first day of swim lessons this year. He remembered getting one last year and would ask me about when he would be getting it this year after almost every lesson or anytime we saw another kid finishing up their swim lessons and receiving theirs. On the last day then, he knew what was coming and kept asking Scott if the lesson could be over so he could have his medal. Unfortunately for Scott, on the last day he was stung by a bee during the last five minutes or so in the pool, so we ended the lesson and headed to the podium just a wee bit sooner than we would have had he not been stung. Thankfully, Scott was fine, but he did make sure to tease that Drew had sent that bee to sting him just so he could get that medal a smidge bit earlier.  :)