Jul 22, 2014

Christmas in July - Ault Park Fun

Once everyone was finally feeling better and the weather warmed up, we were finally able to enjoy three great days of fun outdoors.  First up...Ault Park!

We spent a few hours exploring the park on Wednesday morning.  It was so fun to take the kids to the place Mommy and Daddy had their wedding pictures taken. :)  We walked a lot, played with Gavin's new boomerang and soccer, had a family game of tag, and did lots of swinging.

We had a lot of fun having races and exploring the flower gardens.  We shared stories with the kids about things we used to do at the park {Ault Park Nature Camp horror stories!} and how Heidi got pooped on by a bird when we were there to have our wedding pictures done. 

 It was such a fun morning!  I just loved that we were all spending so much time together, enjoying the beautiful weather, and creating wonderful memories.

Jul 21, 2014

Christmas in July

I have hundreds of pictures to share, so it's hard to pick and choose.  First, some background.  A couple months back, we realized that because of our surprise trip to Disney in October {shhhh....the kids still don't know!} it would be difficult with Jarrod's work schedule to also do Cincinnati in November like we normally do.  And so...the idea of Christmas in July came up.  What started as a joke started to sound more and more like a great idea and I *think* I can speak for everyone when I say we loved it!

 Our drive there on Saturday started out with a rough start when Gavin woke up crying in pain with his ear.  We ended up driving straight to an Urgent Care when we arrived in Cincinnati and found out he had swimmer's ear.  Wah-wah!  He was so excited to show off his new swimming skills {wait...I don't even think I blogged about that yet!  I suck at blogging these days.  I interrupt this blog post to report that Gavin finally overcame his fear of going under and successfully completed his swim lessons this year, going under, swimming on his own, jumping in and going down the water slide!  Something clicked and he was finally ready to swim!!!} 

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled blog post.  So...Gavin wasn't able to show off his big skills in Cincinnati because he had to avoid going under for a whole week.  :(  We were all so sad.  Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of our bad luck streak.  Over the next three days, we also dealt with Riley spiking a fever, having allergy issues with lots of coughing, falling and busting her lip, and Gavin throwing up.  Fun stuff.  AND, we were experiencing unseasonably cool weather and swimming wasn't really enjoyable in the beginning of the week...COLD water!

Despite all the bumps in the road, we were able to spend Sunday evening having our traditional Christmas celebration.  Mom went all out and even made our usual dinner!  It was so yummy.  Ham, potato salad, pea salad, cole slaw, beans...the works!  We did a lot of rearranging but were actually able to fit 15 of us on the back screened in porch for a dinner together, and then headed inside for Christmas presents.  As usual, the kids were s.p.o.i.l.e.d.

 I have TONS more to share.  More coming soon!  {And why are our kids getting so big???}

Jul 16, 2014

Do you AIM for Happy?

What a fantastic trip to Ohio!  I have a lot of catching up to do, and I have hundreds of photos to sift through and decide which to share.  But first, I wanted to share information about my newest journey...AIM for Happy.

This is a project that has been on my mind for some time now.  You can read all about the challenge I participated in back in January on my new blog: http://aimforhappy.wordpress.com/
  After the challenge, I felt this strong desire to help others get healthier, but also to share just random tips that I often get asked about by my friends - how I get the most of out my day, organize my toy room, help the kids with learning activities, meal plan, coupon, etc.  The wheels starting turning in my head, and after about 5 months, I decided to launch AIM for Happy; that is what it's all about, after all.  Be happy with who you are and what you accomplish.  Make every minute count.  Cherish the memories you make.  Be healthy and a role model to those around you.  Make everyone smile.

Make no mistake.  I AM NOT AN EXPERT.  I'm learning as I go...everyday.  And I'm excited to share my adventure with everyone around me, helping others (especially moms) make everyday count.  Part of AIM for Happy will be monthly challenges just like the one I did.  It changed me; motivated me to make fitness a more important part of my life and encouraged Jarrod and I both to make changes in our nutrition.  Feel free to ask any time about participating in a challenge of mine!

You can follow along on this new business venture in many ways.
@aimforhappywithjen on Instagram
or email me:

Let me know if you have any questions at all!  I'm really passionate about this new part of my life and would love to share it with you.

Jun 24, 2014

End of the Year Party!

I just realized I never shared Gavin's special end-of-the-year party pics!  We had a beautiful day to spend at a local park and splash park and of course, I was so excited that Riley and I were able to attend.  She even lasted almost the whole time!


There was a toss game set up for them to play.  I just loved seeing the competitive side of Gavin come out just a little bit with his friends.  Mrs. R even commented on it.  The look on his face when they won was priceless. 

Still so little...

Being silly with the hula hoops!

We had a picnic lunch before walking over to the splash park.  The kids all had pizza, which they just loved!

Gavin around his school friends certainly is another Gavin!  I wasn't sure how the splash park would go because he's never been a huge fan in the past, but he LOVED it and had so much fun.  Turning 6 sure has brought about a new personality for this kid, and I love how brave he's being now!

We even got a surprise visit from Daddy!

Honestly, we couldn't have asked for a better day.  All of the teachers and parents did a great job making it a memorable event for these special kindergarteners.  We've enjoyed our year so much and I can't wait for more memories next year!

Jun 17, 2014

Kindergarten Celebration

Kindergarten Celebration!!  Wow!  This year flew by.  I feel like I just found myself on the couch late at night, crying because my baby was growing up and I'd see him less through the week than his teacher did....and now I find myself up at night, crying because this year flew by and he's already SIX and, according to him, practically a first grader.  Seriously, time....SLOW DOWN!  I'm not enjoying your speed at the moment.

His program was so sweet.  I was shocked that he never talked about being nervous beforehand.  This is the kid that cried when his class had to lead the Rise and Shine program back in August and he didn't want to be on stage.  Boy, has he come a long way!  Was he overly photogenic?  No.  Will he be our drama club member?  Ha!  But he did great and we were so proud to see him up on stage.

Of  course, thanks to his awesome size, we had a great view of him.  Front row, baby!  And, he got to sit right next to his best bud, Gunner.

The program started with a slideshow, that {of course!} brought me to tears.  So many sweet memories during his kindergarten year! They sang a few songs, and in between songs, each class was introduced one by one and the kids got to do a little wave.

It was nothing elaborate - no cap and gowns, no handshaking...it was a simple celebration of all the hard work they put into their full year in elementary school!  Such a huge accomplishment and they have so much of which to be proud.

We had a great year with Mrs. R!  I love how she said she 'had Gavin pegged' from Day One and knew his personality style.  She worked with him to get him to stand up for himself; he learned some tough lessons this year.  He went from a beginning reader to reading chapter books and testing at a third grade level.  He can do multiplication!  He seriously amazes us...and we couldn't be more proud.

He says his favorite thing about kindergarten was getting away from his crazy sister.  I can only imagine what they're going to do to each other during their six weeks away from school!  Little Sister, though she got bored through the program and took out her braids, is really proud of you, too.  We all love you so much, Gavin Jack.