Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Life with Leo: Cute Chaos

Leo is just a little over 2 and he's so so busy.  He keeps us on our toes.  He keeps us laughing and cleaning up messes all of his waking hours.  I know this stage won't last forever so I try to snap pictures of the chaos.  Laugh instead of cry - right!?!

We jokingly call him The Mayor.  He loves to talk to everyone.  People always comment on his sweet smile, friendly demeanor and big brown eyes.  If people don't make eye contact with him he loudly says SAY HI until they say hi.  He recognizes people's vehicles and expects them to be with their car at all times.  He waves bye and smiles at anyone coming and going at stores.  He hates messes and trash and points them out everywhere we go.  He would prefer that we pick up every piece of trash we see.

He has a uniform - comfy clothes (a few 4Ts and mostly 5Ts these days!), a hat, Crocs and cars in his hand.  He won't leave the house without that combo.  He weighs 48lbs and my shoulders and elbows scream at me when I carry him around too much.

Leo is learning new things every day and has realized he can have access to all kind of new things when he carries a kitchen bar stool around with him.   He still naps and sleeps great every night. 

He sits down and pats the spot next to him to invite you to sit down by him.  Everyone in our family says that Leo is their favorite.  He's so squishy and lovable.  He still loves to snuggle every morning and his favorite words are:

Mom & Dad

Sis & Fuff = Fletcher

Duck & Woose = Goose

Mimi & Papaw


Dat = Hat


Uck = yuck


What is this?

Hi & Bye

Blub Blub = Shower

Nummy Nummy = That's delicious!  I want more ASAP.

All sorts of animal noises

Leo is making progress in being nicer to the cats.  He's carrying them better even though they'd probably prefer not to be carried at all.

I walked into the kitchen to find him sitting in the sink watching Cocomelon.  Never a dull moment.

More kitty progress.  I found him gently petting them and driving cars on them while they enjoyed laying in the sunshine.  This feels like a big milestone.

Leo thinks its his job to empty the Keurig pods.  He can't be trusted around them because he likes to dig out the coffee grounds, but he's very proud of being able to remove the used pods.

Further proof that #wildmanleo is the perfect hashtag for this wild guy! We sure do love him!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

It's Never Too Late for a Summer Bucket List

Have you made a Summer Bucket List with your family?

I had envisioned sitting down with the kids the first week of Summer to make our Summer Bucket List, but that just never happened.  We have been doing lots of fun things in June and I'm feeling a little sad that Summer is flying by so quickly.  I knew that having a list would ensure that we do a big variety of things that everyone wanted to do this Summer.  We sat down together over the weekend to write out our hopes and dreams for a fun Summer.

It was fun combining a mix of all of our favorite things - free things, fun things, local things, short trips, long trips, at home activities, inside/outside activities, adventures, family and friends.  We hung our list on the garage door to keep us accountable.

2022 Summer Bucket List:

Wish us luck for a happy Summer!

If you haven't done a Summer Bucket List with your kids - it's never too late - write one out this week and enjoy crossing things off your to do list while the weather stays hot.


Throwback to our 2021 Summer List:

We started earlier and had a longer list last year.  We like this format - makers and a big piece of paper - the kids say all of their requests and I write them down.  We lived in a different city totally clueless that we'd be in a new home/new city the following Summer.  It's WILD how much life can change in a year.

 Happy Summer!!

Monday, June 27, 2022

We Broke a Parenting Rule for Art Camp

Olive and Fletcher went to the best art camp last week at University of Evansville.  Kevin got an email about it and signed the kids up right away.  Which worked in their favor because it filled up very fast and there was a 40+ kid waiting list.  They felt very lucky to get in.

We decided it was the perfect time to break our parenting rule - Don't sign your kids up for something unless they really want to do it.  We almost always follow that rule.  I don't want to be dragging kids all over town if they don't want to go to something.  I'm happy to let them play!  But we knew the kids would really enjoy this camp together.  It was right up their alley with creative art fun so we signed them up even though they said no thanks.

I'm so glad we did!  They got to do so many creative projects all week long.  They learned important art techniques, learned new skills and finished up camp with a little more confidence in the creative department.

We got invited to their art showcase on Saturday and then they put on their own art showcases for anyone that stepped foot in our house the following days.  They tie dyed shirts, painted on all kinds of things, sewed a pillow, used oil pastels, made collages, mixed colors, made boxes out of paper, shrinky dinks, learned different paper techniques, learned how to care for their box of art supplies.




A surprise bonus of going to camp was that they learned how to navigate their way around campus!  Olive showed us the way to their exhibit and felt super confident leading.  Hello, Neu Chapel!  We got married there almost 18 years ago :)

These two just loved going to work with Kevin every morning and heading off to camp.  Olive says she can't wait to go to college with Dad one day.

Remember my rule - if my kids ask me to take their picture - I always say yes.  Cute Fletcher loved this shady spot.

Another cool part about the camp was that the kids were given huge art kits and taught how to use them.  Then they got to keep them.  Both kids have set up their art stations during Leo's nap time and have stayed busy creating.

Leo really missed Sis & Fuff all week, but I think he kind of liked having my full attention again for a few hours each day!

Are your kids going to any Summer camps??

Friday, June 24, 2022

Ft Myers Favorites

Happy Friday!  It's been a good week to be home and get back into our Summer groove.  

I have a fun Ft Myers recap for you today. We had a really fun week there.  I got lots of messages about the food reviews I did yesterday.  While we didn't have the most amazing food finds to share, we did really enjoy our cozy condo with ocean views and had a blast going to the ocean and pool several times a day.  

We LOVED staying so close to the ocean.  I'm so glad we got to try this condo set up!  We definitely recommend visiting new cities and finding new favorites even if they don't end up being some place you'd go again.  If we returned to this spot, we learned a lot from our first visit and we could navigate things even better a second time around.

My favorite family picture from the trip - our last night, at our favorite spot (Tommy Bahamas in Naples) with my favorite people!

1. We arrived in Ft Myers late at night, in the rain at dark so it was SUCH A TREAT to wake up to these views!  We've never stayed ocean side before.  We could see the ocean from our room.  The weather was perfect the entire week we were there.

2. Leo loved the water and loved driving his cars in the sand.  He somehow had a growth spurt and needed a Target run to buy some emergency 5T swim suits!

3. It was really fun to see what each of the kids enjoyed doing at the ocean.

4. I built tons of sand castles for Leo's trucks to destroy.  I shell hunted with the big kids and we all found favorite things to do.

5. Everyone felt relaxed and cozy in our condo.

6. Sunset strolls at the ocean were my very favorite.  Best shelling.  Best views and just so relaxing.

7. We found lots of places to rest and relax.

8. Flowers!!  The tropical flowers and trees in Florida are gorgeous.  To me, it's a wonderful reminder that you're on vacation far from home.

9. Cheers!  Kevin was so sweet to set up our chairs and umbrellas every day for us.  He packed a cooler with all the essentials.  He was relaxing when Leo took note.  He pulled up a chair by Kevin and reached for a Capri Sun :)

10. We did a fantastic job of making sure the kids didn't burn, but we both got a little roasted at the start of the trip.  We took better care of each other after that.  Good team work!

11. We saw several fisherman catch baby sharks while we were in Ft  Myers.  It was cool and scary because where are their much larger parents hanging out!?!  This poor Hammerhead shark washed up on shore one evening.  We tried to save it, but it wasn't breathing.  None of us had ever seen a Hammerhead in real life.

12. HUGE shells.  We found so so so many shells.  Fletcher and Kevin are probably the best shell hunters.  Fletch was really proud of this clam shell.

13. Leo was a total trooper adjusting his routine to work in vacation mode.  He had some meltdowns and all the normal toddler craziness, but he really did great rolling with things.  He had quite the fan club by the end of the week.  He's shout SAY HI to everyone that walked by.  Everyone would say hi and smile at him.

14. Play in the rain.  We thought we were going to dodge the rain, but we ended up just enjoying a nice walk in the rain.  We were all in our swim stuff so it worked out perfectly.  We met a new friend that later in the week realized our whole family was in some of her sunset pictures.  She sent me this one!  I love it so much!

15. New Crocs!  One of the highlights of going to the beach is a trip to the outlet malls.  The kids all got new Crocs - all agreed that orange was the color and they wanted to match.  They spent a good chunk of time debating which charms to get.  They were all thrilled with their picks.

16. This is our stage of life - toddler in the shade playing in the sand with one parent and the big kids in the ocean or collecting shells with the other parent.  Divide and conquer.

17. New freckles and new adventures together.

18. We headed to The Naples Zoo one day because it's our very favorite zoo.  It was about 30 minutes away from our condo.  It's gorgeous and has really cool animals.  It was HOT, but we still enjoyed ourselves.  The big kids fed the giraffes and we zoomed through all of our favorite animal encounters.

19. Gosh, I really loved all our opportunities to watch the sun set at the ocean.  We didn't have to worry so much about sun screen, chairs and umbrellas, snacks and stuff.  We'd just take a few things and walk and play.  It was probably my favorite part about the whole trip.  The beaches were not crowded, people were very friendly and there were lots of shells to find.  Big win for Ft Myers.

20. Sunset swims!  We followed sunset at the ocean with a swim most nights.  It was fantastic!  I'm standing outside of our room and this was our view.  Lovely!

21. Starfish twins!  A few years ago Olive surprised me with starfish earrings for my birthday when we were celebrating in Florida.  Then this trip she surprised me by getting herself a pair of starfish earrings.  She planned that we'd wear them together at our last dinner.  9 year olds are so fun!

22. Souvenirs.  I really enjoy collecting Christmas ornaments when we travel.  I picked out the sand dollar and the kids surprised me with the flip flop ornament.  I write the date we visited in Sharpie on the back.  Fletcher collected shark teeth souvenirs, Olive collected ankle bracelets and Leo collected cars.  Kevin grabbed a t-shirt and koozie.

Whew!  What a fun trip!  We enjoyed Ft Myers.  Message me if you have any questions!

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