Camping {6 pictures, 6 things}

As I mentioned in my last post, we just got back from four days of camping on the coast (New Brighton State Beach, to be exact). That camping trip left me pretty dang exhausted. My friend Anna always makes camping with kids look so easy, but this time was very hard and draining for me. That's not to say that there weren't good times to be had. It was just an exhausting trip.

 1. Connor was afraid of the camp fire and didn't want to be near it. He even moved his chair way far away from the fire pit, as seen in one of the above photos. My poor kid and his fears. 

2. Both the kids were crazy into marshmallows. And Connor finally enjoyed a smore (he usually refuses them because of the marshmallow getting on his hands) and referred to them as a "sandwich".

3. We drove around every evening to put the kids to sleep, then came back and slipped them into their sleeping bags. This came about after a disastrous first evening of trying to get the kids to sleep. 

4. We shared our campsite with five raccoons that never left us alone. I have to admit, as annoying as those things are, they really have a cool little thing going with the black "eye mask". 

5. The nights were loooong with Isla waking numerous times and the raccoons rattling our food locker constantly, but coffee at the campfire in the morning helped redeem those long nights. 

6. Connor literally woke with the sun each morning. One morning as I was walking him to the bathroom and trying to keep him quiet he said "Why are people still asleep mommy? The sun is out, it's morning!" (Cue Joey's "morning's here" song from Friends in my head). 

We did a lot more than just hang out at our campsite while gone. I will be sharing more as the week progresses...and I sort through all 850 pictures I took. 


We have been camping on the coast for the last few days. This picture was taken at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk yesterday. I picked this picture for the week because I just can't get enough of the serious look on Connor's face and the fact that he is totally "driving" the truck, like turning the wheel when the road turned and everything. My cutie is certainly growing up fast.

This week:

  • I have added sleeping on the ground to the Murtaugh List (anyone know that reference?). Seriously, I'm too old for that!
  • I have introduced Isla to the potty. The thing is, she doesn't want to sit on it for me, but if anyone else asks her to, she'll do it. Stinker! 
  • After camping for a few days and being able to pee out in nature, Connor walked himself into my inlaw's backyard and started peeing on their lawn. 
  • Isla found her shadow this week. It was about the cutest thing ever. 
  • And speaking of shadows, Connor has been super into them lately. He likes walking "in" mine and saying "Now I'm in your stomach mama".

After camping for a few days, I am beat. I'm looking forward to the week and getting some rest...ha, ha! Or at least drinking copious amounts of coffee and faking like I am rested! 

Preschool Open House

^^ Can I just say it freaks me out a little how grown up Connor looks in this picture?!

Connor had his preschool open house this week. Preschool open house folks! Talk about a cuteness overload. And, well, having never been to one before, I wasn't fully sure what to expect. When we walked in, one of Connor's teachers (he has 3 for a class of 18 students) gave us a checklist. Basically it was a list of things in the classroom we were to have Connor show us. Connor was running around the classroom so quickly, not to mention under and around people, that it was next to impossible for us to keep up.

^^ This particular craft project was made the first day of school and Connor has wanted to take it home since then. It wasn't a project they could take home on open house night, so it will continue to torture him! 

Connor was all sorts of excited to be able to show off his classroom to his grandparents (both sets came). He had been talking about it for days before. They had made crafts a couple weeks ago for open house and he didn't understand why he couldn't take them home and would ask to take them home every day at school. He was able to take most of them home at open house.

I have to admit, open house was a tad bit (or maybe a lot) crazy, so Connor actually telling anyone anything about his class at that moment didn't happen. But, guess what Connor's favorite part of open house was? Showing everyone the playground!

^^ Connor with Ian's parents (Papa and Grammy)

^^ Connor with my parents (Papa and Memaw) this point he had so much energy, he would not stay still for a millisecond 

Ever since open house, Connor constantly asks me, "When will it be closed house?" It's cute. 

I still can't believe I have a preschooler, but am secretly excited that we still have two years together before he starts real school. Being apart five days a week just seems like so much. Now that I think about it, maybe preschool is more for the parents than the kids!  

Books for Toddlers

I have mentioned over and over how important reading is to me. I love reading and have such fond memories of curling up in a particular chair at my parents house and reading for hours on end. Thus, my love of reading is something I have wanted to pass on to my children. As a result, we probably have triple the amount of books as the average family does. I mean, my kids are only toddlers and we have hundreds. There are collections of kids books in every room of the house! I told you it is something important to me. 

Anyway, one thing I have noticed is though I like classic children's books, we tend to like other books better. And since my kids like reading so much, I have discovered having books with actual sentences (rather than a word or two per page) are so much easier for me to read. 

Here are some of the current favorites around our house:

I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak

This book will always hold a special place in my heart. It was one of a couple books I bought when I was pregnant with Connor. And both my kids have enjoyed reading it. In fact, Isla even fake laughs and cries when we get to the line "I love your laughs and cries". Yeah, it's pretty stinking adorable. And since we ended up with both the US and UK versions, I can tell you there are slight differences, like a "hullabaloo side". And, well, the UK version wins hands down because, well that was the one I bought when I was pregnant! 

The Moon Shines Down by Margaret Wise Brown

This is a good book because it is nice and long (in terms of toddler books), so takes some time to read. Plus, I love my kids saying "MOON!" and pointing to the moon every time I turn the page. And when Isla was a newborn, Connor used to point to a mama and baby on one of the pages and say "Mama and sissy". It pretty much melted my heart. 

My Little People Busy Town by Elenor Fremont

We actually have a few of these Little People flap books. Both the kids love them. They have a lot going on in them and are great for teaching things like colors and shapes. Even though they don't have much in terms of reading, they have tons of flaps. And, well, kids love flaps. 

Wait for Elmo by Molly Cross

This is an older book, but the story is too good not to love. Basically Elmo is too young to keep up with the older kids and ends up getting left behind. Instead he has a great day with another kid's grandpa and the kids are sad they missed out. It doesn't hurt things that Elmo is the main player in the book because, well I have a daughter with a pretty big Elmo obsession. 

I Love You So by Marianne Richmond

Lets just say that my favorite line in the book is "I love you without liking the naughty things that you do" and may have used it a time or two when Connor was really acting out. 

Given that we read a lot of books everyday, there are many more that we like including the Maisy series, the Clifford series and anything Elmo or Sesame Street (Isla's current obsession). 

Oh, and almost all our books have been purchased second hand. And most of them looked brand spanking new when we got them. You see, unless I really like a book, I am not going to pay full price for it because I want my kids to actually look through it and it is much easier to swallow when my kid tears up a book I paid 25 cents for vs $10. Parents out there, I'm sure you understand. 

Since I'm always looking for good kids books, I would love to know what some of your favorites are. Feel free to share some books that you loved from your childhood too. 

My Little Conductor

This little boy of mine is changing right before my eyes. And they are always slow and small changes that I seem to not notice and then one day they hit me like a ton of bricks. It's just like how I don't notice him growing taller until I see him standing next to what used to be his way taller friend and they aren't taller anymore. Or him putting on his jeans that are now high waters. Slow and steady and then BAM!

It's crazy to watch the evolution process we call growing up. I have watched as Connor's obsessions have become knowledge. More knowledge on random subjects than most adults would know. Just ask him about trains. He knows all the technical terms. And road signs? That kid notices road signs I have never noticed before. And from asking, he now knows what they mean.

And then there is his personality. This little boy is overflowing with personality. He said something sarcastic the other day and it totally caught me off guard. Sure, I shouldn't have been surprised. I mean, come on, he has two very sarcastic parents! But still, he isn't even four and GETS sarcasm! And he totally tries to work his charm to get his way at all times. But don't you worry, he doesn't always get his way. And when he doesn't, he is sure to let me know he isn't pleased. But we are working on know, learning how to control ourselves. 

The memory on this kid is amazing. He will all the sudden start talking about something that happened a year ago. And since he refers to anything that happened in the past as "yesterday", he throws people off a bit with his stories. And the detail he remembers is amazing. 

Recently Connor grasped the concept that he was once a baby. This has lead to him wanting to see the stuff from when he was a baby a lot. Pulling out that stuff and seeing how small his little hospital band was amazed me. And I can remember that band falling off because they didn't get it tight enough! And the thing is so dang small! Now he asks me things like, "When will I be one again?" It's philosophical questions like this that Connor doesn't mean to be philosophical, but they always get me thinking. It's weird for me to have to say, "Well, you will never be one again." But it is also good. It reminds me that every day is a day we will never get to go back to again. Not only do I want to live each day to its best, but I want my kids to enjoy every single last minute of their childhood because they will never get to go back to these days again. 

Look at me, always getting sappy! 


Good thing I stocked our freezer full of popsicles earlier this week because well, fall came to us totally out of left field on Saturday. I was cold for the first time in what feels like forever...but was really like 6 months. But, hey, I am on the same page as my kids and popsicles; a little cold weather won't stop us from enjoying a frozen treat!

This week:

  • Before the weather turned, the kids squeezed in one last impromptu water play session in our front yard...and I taught Connor how to use his finger to squirt water farther with a hose. I'm still not sure if that was a smart or stupid decision. 
  • For the first time in what seems like years, I sat down and watched a movie that I didn't feel like was a waste of time - Olympus Has Fallen. It's good folks
  • Isla had a few nap-less days this week. An afternoon Starbucks run then became necessary. 
  • I changed the pictures in the frames in our living room for the first time in YEARS. I am enjoying having recent pictures up...because, well, some of the pictures were more than 8 years old! 

And in case you are feeling a case of the Monday's coming on, just re-read (or read for the first time) some of the funny things that come from the mouth of Connor and smile.

From the Mouth of Connor {three}

Loudly, in a stinky public restroom, Connor exclaimed, "Mama, who pooped and made it stink?"

Riley eat me, then got to Papa and Memaw's, poop me out and I stay there forever.
  ** Riley is Papa and Memaw's dog

I have little hair here and here (points at arms), but I have big hair on my head.

After I gave Connor a piece of gum:
Connor: Daddy would not be happy I have gum. 
Me: Should I call and tell him?
Connor: No, He will just not be happy when he comes home. 

When I get bigger, I'm going to work at the gym and teach sissy how to swim all by herself.
  **Says the kid who hates getting in the pool!

Playing with my nose ring:
Connor: Does it keep your nose from getting boogies?
Me: No, just makes my nose look pretty. 
Connor: NOOOOO!!!

I like M&M's. They are goooood for my tummy. 

And one of Connor's new favorite things to say to me pretty much every time he gets in trouble:
I want you to stop saying that to me! 

That kid! He's always keeping me on my toes.

Nuby No-Spill Cup {nuby product review}

The Nuby No-Spill Cup is like a non-sippy cup, sippy cup. Follow that? I didn't think so. Even though it is a sippy cup, it really isn't at the same time. With it's fun colors, straw and cool lid, it appeals to the "older" crowd. In fact, Connor instantly declared it as his as soon as he saw it. But with it's silicone straw, it works great for those younger toddlers as well.

What I like about it is it is BPA free and the flip top that keeps stuff off the straw (and drink out of my purse) when I throw it in my bag. I also like that the flip top is easy enough for my kids to do...and sometimes they get great entertainment out of it!

The No-Spill cups by Nuby are available at a variety of retailers, including BuyBabyDirect,, Dollar General, Amazon, Walmart, Buy Buy Baby, Sears, Kmart and CVS.

I did not receive any compensation for this post, although as part of the Nuby Mommy Blogger program I may receive items to sample or review. All opinions are my own and 100% honest. 

You can stay up to date on all things Nuby by liking the Nuby Facebook Page, following Nuby on Twitter, following Nuby on Pinterest, and watching for Nuby Photos on Instagram.

Holding on to Summer

I used to think summer was my favorite season. I think it had to do with no school, staying up late and playing in the pool. Now don't get me wrong, I still love summer. Now a days it is because of things like the hubby not working until all hours of the night, bbqs, the sun staying up in the sky longer, the kids playing in their kiddie pool, things like that. But if I now had to pick a favorite season it would be spring, with fall coming in a close second. Those seasons don't have the heat that summer does.

And even though I get excited for fall because of the leaves and the pumpkin patch, I also feel a sadness in my soul. I am not huge on winter and it doesn't have to do with the cold so much. It more has to do with the short days and the hubby working more. Of course, there is some rain and well, I like rain.

Since there are technically 4 days left of summer, I am going to live it up all I can. Hello popsicles, playing out outside and enjoying the sun. Because you know what? Even though I don't like the winter, I sure do like the fall. So here's to enjoying every last bit of summer left and then fulling embracing fall!

Just Being Real

That cereal mess you see on the floor is only about 1/8 of the cereal that ended up on my floor from Connor deciding to get his own cereal...and milk wasn't even included in the mess. But all the cereal in the box (the box was about half full) ended up on the floor. It happened in the kitchen, so I am unsure how it ended up all over the dining room floor as well. And before I got the chance to clean it up, both kids traipsed through it a couple times. You know, just to help mom out a little.

It's on days like this (and mostly every day of the year) that I am glad we don't have carpet.


Life is always an adventure with these two! Isla now thinks she is too grown up for the seat in the cart and wants to sit in the basket. And well, Connor apparently decided the bottom of the cart would be a good place for him. In case you are wondering, he did good on the bottom of the cart for about 3 minutes, then it all went down hill from there!

This week:

  • I have instituted a quiet time for Connor during Isla's nap time. It is going relatively well, though he constantly thinks he is being punished and says "I'm can I come out of my room?"
  • Isla was playing with my phone on the way home from the store the other day and took 91 pictures of the back of the seat. In her defense, some included her foot and some included a side profile of me driving. 
  • With the whole preschool thing, it now makes just staying at home on the non-preschool days feel so decadent. 
  • Speaking of preschool, when we ask Connor if he has to go the bathroom, he has taken to saying "It's okay, I'll hold it until preschool." And we aren't talking about the morning before preschool! Crazy kid. 
  • I made a couple crockpot meals this week and was once again reminded why I love my crockpot. That thing rocks! And it makes clean up a breeze. And in case you are looking for crockpot inspiration (I know I always am), I made a roast and veggies one day and cheesy ham and potatoes another. 

I am enjoying some "cooler" weather (you know, something that isn't the triple digits) and family time this weekend. I hope you have a great weekend too!

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