My camera loves Spring.
We had another good weekend around here. I love when the weather is just right for finding easy ways to entertain the kids that don't really cost anything. I love being deliberate in planning our days and our excursions -- the simple activities with just a little touch of "special" to make them memorable. Something as small as a bottle of juice from the downtown coffee shop can put a smile on their faces all day long. And I love being exhausted on a Sunday evening - not from being too busy - but from lots of fresh air and happiness. As I cuddled in bed with the kiddos on Sunday evening, the sun was setting outside their windows and their heavy yawns sounded of happy childhood contentment. Those yawns are adorable, and I think I will be living for them this summer.
As it had been all week, it was raining. We were tired of evenings stuck inside, and we had a birthday present to shop for so we took the kids to two of our favorite places - Barnes & Noble and Target. Brandon loves playing with this train table, Jaden loves looking at the musical books and they both were very focused on finding the perfect Power Rangers present for their good friend Jack.
They settled on a Mega Blocks Power Rangers toy, and Jaden's report after the party on Saturday was that Jack LOVED it.
In the morning, Brandon's last swimming lesson. It's a good thing this was the last one for a while because the past two weeks, he has lost total interest. He loves being in the pool, but he is no longer interested in doing what the instructor tells him. He just wants to play. And though he likes jumping in, he is no fan of the back float.
Since it was the last class, they changed it up by doing something special with the two kids that bothered to show up. They got to try on life jackets and play in the big boat. Brandon loved this.
Jack's birthday party was Saturday afternoon, and Jaden couldn't wait. We moms decided that from now on we're going to schedule all birthday parties at 8 a.m. because our kids were driving us crazy all day in anticipation for the party! I had to force Jaden at 8:00 in the morning to go PLAY at something. He was just pacing back and forth waiting to go to the party, and he still had five hours to wait. ;)
While we waited, he made a card for Jack. I told Cody that he was old enough now to make his own cards rather than us buying store-bought ones. Jaden loved the hand-made birthday card he received from his friend Wes this year, and it's a great way to practice his writing. He did such a good job with his letters, but I failed to capture the funny picture he drew on the inside of Jack himself. ;)
Brandon was pretty bummed that he didn't get to join Jaden for the party so we took him on a few errands with us. We stopped at Menards because they were having a sale on fire pits. We got quite the deal on one, but Brandon is now asking for a water fountain for our yard. He loves these things. Maybe someday. ;)
We quickly learned that we werne't going to accomplish much shopping. Brandon started throwing a fit in the shopping cart at Target, and even though he hardly ever naps anymore - he was in desparate need of one. So we took him home, and while he slept (for almost three hours!), I took a tour of the aisles at Hobby Lobby. I came home with straws for my mason jars, a citronella candle and these most adorable little ice cream bowls and spoons for the boys.
Brandon woke up from his nap a much happier boy, and while Daddy put the fire pit together, I explained to the boys what a S'more was...
Tim and Deanne stopped over Saturday evening for our first go at our own fire. We made the fire small while the boys were outside, but I know this is going to be a staple of our summer evenings. My husband is happiest sitting by a fire, and the S'mores were a hit.
Brandon now loves "MUSHmellows." ;)
We put the boys to bed, Tim and Deanne left... and we made the fire bigger. We later found out that the boys were sneaking into bed together and watching the fire through their bedroom window. We all had a later night that night. ;)
Sunday was gorgeous.
We promised the boys a trip to some parks, and I wanted to try one we hadn't been to before. So after church and leftovers for lunch, we drove to downtown Cedar Falls, parked in a gravel lot... and walked.
Brandon has a relatively new fascination with bridges and driving over bodies of water so he loved walking this bridge over the Cedar River. We took our time, pointed out how fast the water was going and explained to them the difference between a lake and a river. We had a destination in mind but were in no hurry to get there.
We trekked to Cup of Joe, an adorable coffee house downtown and refreshed with juices, pop and an iced coffee for Mommy. I adore our downtown.
After purchasing our refreshments, we carried them back over the bridge to drink them at the park. On the way back over the bridge, we passed a patch of dandelions on the ground. They went unnoticed until Jaden stopped everyone by saying, "Wait! WAIT!" He then back-tracked to the patch of flowers, picked one out of the ground and handed it to me. "Here's a flower for you. Because it's the nice thing to do." Oh my, be still my heart...
The boys love trying new parks, and this is one of my new favorite spots. So much to see and so much pretty everywhere.
We were at the park at the perfect time because right in the middle of our visit, the train came by.
We heard it before we could see it, and both boys stopped what they were doing, stood in complete silence and waited...
So cute... hands behind their backs!
They were thrilled to see the whole train from engine to caboose, and it was hard to get them to leave this place. We had to promise them a stop at a different park on the way home.
Sunday evening brought another cookout with my parents at our house. We blew bubbles, colored with chalk, played basketball and set up our new telescope.
Brandon took his brother's lead and picked a dandelion just for me. :)
Now we are eager to put this telescope to use! The boys wanted to try it last night, but we told them we'd have to do it when it's not a school night since it will have to be dark and past their bedtimes. I'm not sure who is more excited - them - or my dad. ;)
We wrapped up the weekend with two sleeping boys, Nashville on the DVR, my coffee scent in the Scentsy Pot and a Mud Pie blizzard from Dairy Queen. That's a lot of good things.