Connor: He got himself a squirt gun and is pretty impressed with it. It's cute watching him want to show it to his friends when they come over. 

Isla: This picture sums her up so well. Girly, yet into boy things at the same time. 

" A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

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I Cleaned My Room

Remember back when I declared that I never make my bed?
Yeah, everyone remembers that. It became my most popular post EVER in a matter of a couple hours.
Apparently people like a snarky, sarcastic Jessica...as my friends would call a "normal" Jessica 

^^ A piggy bank and a picture of my hubby on his 18th birthday...we have a super cool room

Well, it turns out I do make my bed from time to time. In fact, I cleaned my whole room. You see, when I walked into our house after camping, it literally looked like a bomb went off in our house and we hadn't even unloaded the motorhome yet. I remember us scrambling to pack, but I didn't remember the house being that bad. I actually went back outside, grabbed Ian's hands and said, "It looks like we were robbed, but we weren't. We are just slobs."

^^ Don't act like you don't have a picture of you biting your husband's ear in your room! That is also known as our engagement pictures. And that
reaction is totally real, as I randomly just decided to do that.

A super trashed house stresses me out. When there is just stuff everywhere, I don't know where to start. Guess where I started? The place I never start out at, let alone get to...my room. I started by throwing all the kids crap out of our room. Why do they need to drag every single last one of their possessions into our room anyway?! Then I put away my clean laundry...which behind making my bed, comes in a close second for something I never ever do. Then I actually decluttered our dressers. I meant business. Finally, I made my bed. Yep, I did it last and that is something that goes against every cleaning expert on pinterest. Those cleaning experts don't live in my house anyway, so I guess I say what goes around here. I also stuffed our decorative pillows for our bed behind a chair, because, lets be honest, they never make it to the bed anyway!

I'm not going to lie, it feels good to have a clean room. Not for the reasons you are thinking though. My head doesn't feel more clear. My life doesn't feel more in order. Nope. I just keep thinking to myself, "Take that people, I do make my bed!" I'll enjoy it while it lasts because I probably won't make my bed again for at least another year.

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A Weekend of Camping Fun

This past weekend we went camping. It was our first foray into what I will refer to as resort camping. Up until this point, we have always stayed at state campgrounds. State campgrounds are beautiful, they are lush and they are great. But resort campgrounds, they have play structures for kids, activities for kids and really just tons of things for kids. And our campsite was right against the playground!

^^ A train ride at the campground. It was totally corny, but the kids LOVED it.

There was another first for us on this trip as well, we ditched the tent and took the in-laws motorhome. Ian is a tent camper at heart. I have always happily gone along...until last year. It was just a very hard trip. Enter the motorhome. I know it crushed Ian a bit, though I told him he could pitch a tent next to it if he wanted. But it seriously worked out so well for the kids. When they needed some downtime, they had an easy (and clean) place to play. Putting them to bed in the motorhome was about a thousand times easier than in a tent. And bathing them was much easier too. I'm not saying there aren't downsides to motorhome camping, because there are, but it really makes camping with kids so much easier. 

Less than a mile up the road from where we stayed was a nice state beach. We had brought our bikes to bike to the beach, but some friends convinced us that the tiny road to the beach was super busy (and small) and not safe to ride with the kids on. So they gave us a ride instead. All was good until I went to strap Isla into their son's car seat. She was angry. She was pissed. She screamed and cried and kicked and clawed at me the entire ride to the beach. I was convinced it was going to be an awful time at the beach. But, she quickly calmed down after we got her out of the car. We had an amazing day at the beach. We stayed for hours and brought lunch to eat while we were there. The weather was beautiful and the kids just played. It was all fun and games until we went to leave. Again, Isla lost the plot. Except, this time, she was wet and covered in sand. Ian walked back up to the parking lot with a hysterical Isla (he said he thought people were going to think he was trying to kidnap her...she was THAT BAD) and I packed up and lugged Connor and our stuff back up. By the time we made it back to Ian, Isla was thankfully calm. 

It was fun getting out of town for a few days and having nothing on the agenda. We did a lot of sitting, eating, chatting and fire staring. Even if it wasn't a "real" camping trip, like purists like my hubby would like, it was good enough for me. 

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The Same, but Different

It's not often that I end up with pictures of my kids that are virtually the same. When I was looking at these, I couldn't believe how much their personalities come out in these pictures. Both kids love the bath, but in different ways. It is a party time for Connor. He plays big in it. Water goes everywhere and he really enjoys himself. Isla is calm in the bath. She takes the bath toys and makes a mommy, daddy and baby and makes them talk to each other. 

I enjoy looking at the kids personalities and preferences now and wondering how that will translate in the future. Just yesterday, I realized we really do have an "Ian" and a "Jessica" on our hands. Ian was a firstborn and so is Connor. I am a second born (and the oldest in my family is a boy) just like Isla. I'm not sure what Ian was like as a kid, but I often hear from my parents and my aunts that Isla is just like I was as a toddler. Hopefully she picks up on my good qualities though, and not the bad ones. 

Though I like to wonder what my kids will be like as they grow and develop, and even become mom's and dad's themselves, I sure am enjoying the ride. I have really been focusing on being present even more. Trying not to see bath time as a break where I get to play on my phone, but as a break where I can watch my kids be themselves and have some peace because, well, I don't bathe the kids together so they aren't fighting! Hopefully, just as my older brother and I stopped fighting, my kids will as well...I just hope that happens sooner than it did for my brother and I...because we certainly gave my mom a run for her money with all the fighting we did. 

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Connor: It was a big week for Connor, finishing his first year of preschool and all. And, he has already asked when he starts school again! Though I want him to enjoy being around me, I am glad he enjoys school so much. 

Isla: My little flower picker. This girl loves her the outdoors and everything that goes with it - flowers, rocks, sticks, you name it. 

" A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

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Connor {4.5 years}

Weight: 37.8 lbs
Height: 44 inches

Recognizes all the numbers
Can count up to 100
Gets himself dressed
Buckles himself into his car seat
Can spell "Connor"

Watching kids grow up is a blessing because you can watch them grow and change before your very eyes. Like when you are driving and hear from the back seat "Connor, C-O-N-N-O-R, Connor". Or when the fear of dogs barking is gone, just gone. Day to day, it's hard to see the changes. But then they come and just smack you in the face. And the pride that comes from your child learning and growing is like nothing I have experienced before. 

Some of Connor's current favorites in life are all things Lego and Minion. He would prefer to be playing with his friends all day long, than being at home with his 'ole mom. He has an obsession with ham, thanks to my dad. And really, he would rather eat sweets over anything else. Water is about the worst thing in the world to him and he will choose milk to drink over water any day. Connor has declared his favorite color blue. He still enjoys reading, which makes me really happy. Some of his current favorite books are The Berenstain Bears and too much junk food, Warning:Do Not Open this Book, The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark and anything Dr. Seuss.

Connor's imagination is alive and well. He can often be heard in bed, talking away. The same goes for car rides. And I always find it fascinating and funny when he starts talking as soon as his eyes open in the morning. I figure it is something he was dreaming about, like, "I want to go get a minion shirt where the minions are at the beach." He has gotten really into role playing with his legos and really enjoys having there be a good and bad guy. And if Ian is playing with him "one more time" before bed, Connor won't arrest/catch the bad guy, so he can stay up as long as possible. 

There are so many things that Connor can do on his own now, it is almost weird to me. He can fully get himself dressed. And if he doesn't like what I have laid out for him, he goes in his drawers and picks out new clothes. Basically, if I didn't lay out a minion shirt, he goes looking for one until he finds it! He can also completely buckle himself in his car seat. He is still in a 5-point harness. While he is buckling himself in he repeats, "Don't go, don't go, don't go...ok you can go now!" It's actually really cute. 

Connor has figured out that people seem to come in pairs. He loves asking people, "Who is your man?" or "Who is your girl?". Then it is usually followed with a, "Is your man at work?" He is definitely learning how our family works and has learned through asking so many questions that other families don't work the same. After learning that one of my friend's works and her husband stays at home, he suggested to another friend that maybe she should go get a job so her man could stay at home. It was pretty funny. He also suggested that my sister-in-law and brother should get together after realizing that they each didn't have someone in their lives. That kid! 

Connor is definitely a daddy's boy. He much prefers his daddy to tuck him in at night to me. If Ian isn't around, then I will do, but he then will ask over and over, "When will daddy be home?" Ian and Connor have taken to reading books in bed with a flashlight and it is pretty sweet. Connor still sneaks into our bed pretty much every night at some point. Some days it isn't until Ian is already up for the day. Other's, it is right after we got into bed. But I don't mind. I like having a cuddle bug around. 

If you care to check out past updates of Connor, you can here

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Connor's Last Day of Preschool

Connor didn't even act like he cared that yesterday was his last day of school. I kept asking him things like, "Are you going to miss your teachers? Are you going to miss your friends?" and kept getting stares back like, "What are you talking about crazy woman?!" I have a suspicion that a couple weeks into summer, Connor will be asking how many sleeps until school again. Either way, I was saddened, yet happy, about Connor's last day of school. Saying goodbye to an amazing set of teachers. The realization that my little man is growing up. It all just got me a little. But, I am super excited for summer. For sleeping in (haha) and going on little adventures. 

When Connor started school, I asked him what he wanted to be and he said "just Connor". Since he seems to love fire and police men, I wasn't surprised that he said he wants to be a fireman.

I knew there was a pizza party at the end of school today, but it was more than I expected. They showed a slideshow of pictures of the kids throughout the year. Then they did a little promotion and all the kids got a certificate. It was cute. 

^^ Oh sibling love! I'll take what I can get through. 

Congratulations, you have almost made it to the end of the post. I know you are thinking, "How many pictures did she really need for one last day of school?!?" I actually picked out even more, then realized I was a little out of control. So if you are feeling saddened because, say, you didn't get to see a picture of Isla clapping at her brother graduating, I am sorry. But if you felt like this was a picture overload, you're welcome that I stopped when I did!

Here's a little comparison from the beginning to the end of the year. It doesn't seem like Connor has changed that much, but when I think about it, he really has. He can do many more things (like count to 100) and has developed a like love for minions. In case you want to go back a little (like this sentimental mom), here is the post from Connor's first day of school

Now let's bring on the summer fun!

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Walls Covered in Art

I was pretty dang excited when my dreams of having a child artist finally came true. Said child artist really has taken her role seriously and always makes sure the house (and all its contents) are covered in one of a kind artwork. So thoughtful of her!

You might be thinking, "How does Isla get all the alone time to do this damage?" Just know it takes seconds, mere seconds. One night, while I was making dinner, Isla managed to color on walls, the floor and a piece of furniture before I caught her. And all I have to say is WASHABLE CRAYONS ARE THE BEST INVENTION EVER. Like seriously, ever. They wipe right off the walls. Regular crayons take a lot of elbow grease to get off. I don't understand why anything but washable crayons are made because they are pretty much the best thing ever. 

In case you were wondering if I got mad when, say, I realized our entire bedroom was covered in crayon...like seriously, everything. Our closet, walls, mirror and bedside tables. I wasn't mad at all. In fact, I laughed. It was really all I could do. Well, laugh and praise crayola once again for their washable crayons. 

My house may not be perfect, in fact, far from it. But (as long as no one is coming over) I really do embrace the mess the kids make. I wouldn't trade these kids and their crazy messes for anything. I mean, I finally have a child artist on my hands! 

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We were in southern California this past weekend to attend Ian's sister's graduation from vet school...crazy right?! She now bears the title Dr.! Moving on. The next day, Ian's parents took us to Legoland. We went last year, but this year was better because Isla was bigger and could ride most the rides.

Even though Isla was technically too young for this driving ride (it was for ages 3-5), I decided to let her go on it anyway. She totally enjoyed it, but stopped pressing the gas petal, so a worker just pushed her car around the track! Connor was the pro driver of the track and enjoyed purposely bumping into other cars and swerving all over the track. 

At the end of the day, Connor literally ran after a life size lego man that was walking through the park. I wish I could have captured a picture of the ginormous smile on his face once he caught up to the guy. I think he was more excited about the life size lego man this time then when he met one last year. 

At stuff like this, I always think one of the perks of having kids is being able to enjoy kid things again without totally being judged by others around you! Because it wasn't just the kids that had fun, I totally had a fun day too. 

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