The Great Outdoors

We are enjoying some incredible weather in Minnesota and it's come at the perfect time.  We were all starting to go a little stir crazy a few weeks ago, when we had a string of cold, rainy days but recenlty the Lord has outdone himself with glorious, summer days and are very thankful!! 
 I am realizing that we are in a great season right now, for being on the go!  My kids love to be outside, love to get in the car and go somewhere, and love some sort of adventure for the day.  It's been 3 summers since I've felt like I could actually be outside a lot, without someone needing to stay cool or be in the shade or be home for multiple naps.  I have to say, I love this extra freedom! 
We've developed a weekly routine that involves lots of playtime, park time, walks around different lakes and friends!! 
 Despite the scowl on Carter's face here, he especially loves the excitement of being out.  This double jogger has been an incredible blessing to have and Travis and I are enjoying many walks/runs with it.  The kids love being in it and it's so easy to push.  Have I told you the story behind it??  It's brand new, a Bob Revolution jogger, and retails for $600.  Crazy.  A sweet friend gifted us with her jogger, which was a few years old and in great shape.  Her kids outgrew it so she passed it on to us.  There was a tear in the inside corner of one of the seats, so I made some calls to try and figure out how to repair it.  To make a long story short, I ended up at REI, which is where they bought it 5 years ago.   I just needed a recommendation for a repair shop, but after they realized it had come from their store, they offered to just replace it.  I assumed they meant the seat fabric, and at some cost to us, but no.  They took the 5 year old stroller, for which we had no receipt and didn't even purchase ourselves and gave us a brand new one.  We paid $30, which was the difference in price over the 5 year span of inflation.  Isn't that amazing??  And a total blessing!!!  The Lord has done so many things like that to take care of us and provide.  Travis has wanted a double jogger for a long time but I kept holding out for a great deal on Craig's List or a garage sale.  This beat any deal, hands down!  We are so grateful everytime we pull it out to use it and we just love it.  He was SO, SO good to us and my friend also received the double joy of giving hers away and then watching the Lord multiply the blessing! 
Is that face cute or what?? 
This kid has some killer lips. 
We're going to have our work cut out for us when the girls notice him someday :)
 I've waged the summer war with my kids over wearing hats and after many days in a row, I think I'm winning!  They both have such fair skin and I just do not want them to burn like their Mommy, so I am a big hat pusher.  We've got several and I'm always on the lookout for cute ones.  It's so much easier that putting sunscreen on their faces and the look so cute in them!  I wasn't sure Carter would ever keep one on, but he's doing pretty well. 
We discovered a new park and the kids love it, mostly because of this swing.  They totally fight over it and I don't blame them.  It's a pretty sweet ride!
Even spiderman needs to take a break and swing, in between adventures of course.
Sometimes Carter forgets to put his legs out and his feet up while he slides.  He ends up just walking down the slide, which makes me laugh beause it sort of defeats the purpose of sliding, but if he's happy about it, whatever!
She has turned into a monkey this summer, doing all the things I said "no" to last summer!  And I've realized she is her mother's daughter because she's a good little climber and she has very little fear.  I definitely passed that down in the gene pool! 
She kills me in that hat.
I ask her everyday if she wants a braid or a pony-tail in her hair and most days she just begs me to leave it down.  It's getting so long and makes her look so old! 
Thankfully, I still have some baby cheeks left to kiss, that is when Carter sits still long enough to let me!
Sleep, eat, park, play, repeat!  We've got a great thing going :)
We have been feeling Daddy's absence a lot more lately, as his schedule has picked up and gotten pretty crazy.  They are starting to notice more and more when he's gone and we're all struggling a little bit with it.  But, I've been trying to think of fun things to distract us aWand ways we can add a little inexpensive excitement when he is not with us.  Dairy Queen is our new pit stop and they love it!
I order them a mini blizzard and ask the workers to split it.  It's the perfect amount of ice-cream and surprisingly, these two do a good job of eating more of it than spilling it.  Warm summer nights and ice-cream are a great combo for everyone!
Finally, because we can't always be at the park and we don't have a back yard that's our own, I've relented a little bit and emptied out our little porch of all it's cuteness to make room for more toys.
When we moved in, this little porch was so darling.  I had great furniture, tons of plants, candles, and a bistro table where we ate dinner lots of nights.  I've always loved this porch. 
But now my kids love it.  They like playing outside and I like that they are enclosed and safe.  They drag tons of things out there and I knew I needed to make more room for them, so I did a clean sweep and got rid of lots of my stuff. I put their bigger, plastic toys out there (mostly what I have having in the house) and they love the extra room.  I left the bench because we still like to sit out there with them and they like to sit on it too.
I got this slide on Craig's List for $5 and so far, it's been the best $5 I've spent this year! 
They love it and I'm happy to have it out of my living room :)
I couldn't quite bear to get rid of my pots, so I am planning on filling them this week with some plants and some herbs.  I've never done that (although I don't have any idea why) and I think they should do great out there.  Anyway, I'm also in a hurry to fill them so Carter will stop playing in all that dirt :)

I thought we'd be outside a lot today, but since I've started this post Ava woke up sick and has thrown up twice.  I just woke Carter up at 10:15, which sounds great but leads me to believe that he's not feeling well either.  So, who knows what this day will bring.   Hopefully this will pass quickly, there is nothing worse than your kids being sick and not being able to do anything about it.  Especially when they are this little and can't understand why I am withholding food :( 
Poor babies...

Hope you have a happy Monday!

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