hands on house!

This is our kind of place right, a house where it is in fact preferable to put your hands all over things. And then use disinfectant because well you aren't the only child getting handsy with that lobster in the grocery store there pal!

We used to have a membership here way back when David was barely toddling around so it has been literal years since we have visited. But I had some free admission coupons courtesy of Letty that I shared with my sister and sister-in-law and off we went! Poor Letty missing out on all the fun in search of higher learning. The price you pay for being the eldest, am I right?

The Hands-on House can be a bit overwhelming to a first time visitor; there is a lot happening everywhere you look. But we had a nice afternoon exploring and letting the kids be kids and all of that. The biggest hit being the grocery store. I mean kids really we don't have to spend $9.50 a person for that! Just come with us to Giant, okay? Except those lobsters are not for hands on.

Now if only they served coffee we would have been set!


the first swim, ever!

The first time that it was actually warm enough to use the pool was a few weeks ago and Matt had to be in the office all week. This next to never happens to him and the timing of it all was incredibly ironic, the poor guy. And so it turned out to be me and the three kids, swimming for the first time, in water just barely over 70 degrees. Which sounds warm, but it really isn't. Lips turned blue and the boys were shaking, but we gave it a good go. And I made them wait all day for Letty to get of the bus, because I'm mean mom/fair mom.

The consensus? Everyone just loves the thing! They could spend all day every day just climbing up the ladder and jumping back in. Over and over. Dominic too! Which, he is going to give me a million gray hairs by the time summer is over because there's this whole holding breath thing that is not happening with him. He just jumps right in mouth wide open with his perma grin on and then coughs out the water and... repeat. We are working on it and already see progress but... can never let your guard down when he's around...

The first of many many swims to come I'm sure of it! If it would only warm up and the sun would come out and play...As we face yet another day of clouds and rain. Forks. But without my favorite group of vampires...



Happy Memorial Day everyone! If I was a more technological saavy individual I would record my two eldest doing their whole Pledge of Allegiance thing because it really is just so stinking cute but alas, video and the blog, that's a whole other ball game. So instead I did my best to type out how they say it....Hope everyone has a wonderful day today and thank you thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all those who serve and who have served!
Dominic, age 2 years: Slacker youngest child doesn't know his pledge yet, tisk tisk. But he sure loves to wave his flags! Wave em good, bud!

David, age 4 years: I pledge allegiance to da flag of the United States of Amewica and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. For all!

Letty, age 6 years: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Nited States of America and to the rebublic to which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisble with liverty and justice for all.

And I promise next week to move past the white wall but that room just has the best lighting in my humble opinion...

Past weekly shots found here.


my summer goal

This weekend marks the unofficial kick off to summer, right? And a happy Memorial Day Weekend to you all!

It's no secret around here that routines and set schedules are my love language. During the school year, during the summer, it doesn't matter. Towards the end of last summer though as I knew the days were fleeting and I would sit back and watch my children just be children... Running around with dirty feet, smelling like camp fire smoke and chlorine, and I started to wonder if maybe I was denying them some things with my rigid schedule. Obviously I do all the things in all the land with my kids during the day but then come night time I bring the hammer. The late nights my kids had last summer were very few...and most of the ones they had were when we were on vacation...
So. A goal of mine this summer is to not bring the hammer. From the end of August to the middle of June we are stuck with the school's schedule. The bed time has to be on time because no matter what, school comes the next day. Even on weekends the late nights would take a lot out of the kids and make the weekends extra difficult. Now knowing what's coming in the fall for the older two kids I want them to have a summer to remember. I don't want to be watching the clock for 7 p.m. so they can all go to bed and I can hop on the elliptical and just sit and relax and watch tv with Matt. I know that will happen some nights and it will need to happen some nights... But I just want to be more "go with the flow." I want this to be the Summer of Yes.

We have a pool now, for one thing, obviously. I want to do night swims. I want the kids to stay up and see the sunset. I want to look at the stars with them. I want to use a telescope and spot the International Space Station. I want to have fires and do s'mores and catch fireflies. I want to go out for impromptu ice cream dates with my family. I want to stay late at Hersheypark and unload sleeping kids from the van straight into their beds. I want them to go to bed where their only bath that day was the pool (except on Wednesdays because well, that's new bed night, let's not get too crazy here.). I want them to sit out on the deck and watch fireworks. I want to take them all to a drive in movie. I just want to hang out with them, with no schedule, no bedtimes, no routines, and let them be little and young and free. I want to tell them "yes" more.

Most nights. I'm sure there will be days where tempers will be shorter than they usually are and we will just be really looking forward to their bed time. But in general. I want life this summer. A sun kissed hair and dirty feet kind of summer. A Summer of Yes.

Let's see if I even make it a week! Any bets? Ha!

Anyways I hope you all have a great weekend! And hug a veteran!


the backyard reveal!

I know, the mind reels that it has taken me this long to get around to posting all of our finished backyard. But in my defense, it just wasn't completely finished until last weekend when Matt and I (yeah, I even helped a little) stained the playset. And then I wanted to wait till it was actually sort of sunny out to take these but it appears we are back in Forks for the next week or so, so overcast photos it is! I know I mentioned before, but we had quite the plan for this backyard. Oh the enormity of the plan!

Here is an aerial view of the finished back yard as seen from David's window....
What did we do, you may query? Well, I shall tell you.

Removed old fire pit.
Rebuilt fire pit on concrete slab.
Moved playset.
Seeded where playset used to be.
Seeded around birch in the back corner.
Had someone come and install the pool (wow, what a game changer that was).
Built the deck around the pool.
Built sliding barn door type gates.
Stained the deck.
Stained the playset.
Landscaped all around the pool, including moving around twelve already established bushes from before.
Installed outdoor speakers.
Installed solar lighting around base of pool.
Installed solar lighting on deck steps.
Installed hooks on either side of steps for towel drying needs.
Got locks for all deck gates/fence gates.
Planted a zillion arbor vitaes. By a zillion I mean 28.
Got all new chair cushions.
Got all new towels.
Planted all the pretty flowers.
Got palm trees (any palm tree parents out there? I need help with these, I think they got a rough windy spell when I first brought them home and they look sad to me). 

So first up is this gate. My dad actually came up with the general idea and then Matt implemented.... and I came in as Debbie the Downer with wanting it to be basically like my own Fort Knox out there. Pool safety is something that keeps me up at night...So... closed:
Open! Just look at that wide open pool viewing area:
Up close all locked up tight:
The main deck area:
The lower deck area which is all new of course:
The view ground level as one walks around the pool, including all those new trees:
The new fire pit area and play set:
My many flowers! So in love with my flowers! Some on the deck and some down in my garden and give me all the blooms please! Including my favorite rose bush that's going rogue and a hibiscus that is being shy about blooming and that dahlia! Salmon geraniums! Yaaaaaay!
Taken at night to show a bit of the lighting:
So there it is! The finished product! In a few years when those evergreens get all nice and big we will have quite the private oasis back there! It's a dream and it's awesome and we couldn't be happier with how it all turned out! Matt says that from now on he is always going to need a pool in his life. My little cabana boy; I may just agree with him.

And just for fun, the backyard as seen in October and then as seen on Sunday afternoon...
Insert enormous eye emoji here.