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How did you celebrate Father’s Day?

In our house we let daddy sleep in until about 7:30am, made him french toast and scrambled eggs, and then let him enjoy his cup of coffee in semi-quiet.  The emphasis is on semi.  The boys then gave daddy a biscuit joiner as his father’s day gift.  Yes, I know it’s not as creative as the wonderful mother’s day gifts that I received, but it’s something he has been begging for for a long, long time.

And then, Ryan took daddy to see Toy Story 3 in the theater.  This was Ryan’s first movie on the big screen and daddy said he did great!  He watched intently and ate all of his popcorn.  He even sat still through the whole movie.  Ryan was so proud when he got home and was so excited to tell mommy and Owen all about it.

Mommy:  “Ryan!!  How was the movie?”
Ryan:  “Good!  Really, really good!”
Mommy:  “What was your favorite part?”
Ryan:  “Ummm….. the popcorn!!”

Oh well.  I should have known better with a question like that.  He did actually love the movie too though and told me bits and pieces about it all afternoon.  He thought it was pretty funny when Buzz switched to Spanish mode and started dancing.  He even showed me how he danced.

Daddy and Ryan both gave the movie two thumbs up!  And now mommy can’t wait to see it.  Who knows?  Maybe mommy and Ryan will go again before it comes out on DVD.

After a little afternoon nap (yes, all four of us slept!) we headed out for a late afternoon swim.  The boys did great and are becoming quite the little fishies in the water.  Owen even practiced jumping off the edge of the pool!  He went from screaming in the water on Saturday to jumping off the edge on Sunday.

You never know what a day will bring…..

We hope you had a super fantastic Father’s Day daddy!  We love you lots and lots and lots.

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It’s hard to believe that these two cutie pies are actually friends.

Don't even think about it!

They were born 3 weeks a part and have been having play dates since they were only a few months old.  Granted the play dates were more for the mommies and the little guys just hung out unaware there was another baby in the room.  But they are now finally at the point that they play and every once in awhile they even play together.  And it only took 22 months.

Owen knows what it’s like to have a big brother.  And when you have a big brother you have to always be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Why you ask?  Well it’s because you need to be ready to defend your popsicle in the event that the big brother swoops in and takes it away when he finishes his own.

So Owen decided that he was going to give the evil stares and put the warning out there that if Pace swoops in for his popsicle that he will regret it.  And Pace is completely unaware of these unwritten rules and is just enjoying every lick of this super special summer treat.

It was a sticky red mess when they were through, but oh did they enjoy it!  And remember how my OCD and popsicle don’t mix well?  I can guarantee you that it wasn’t my idea (daddy) to put bright red fruit punch in the popsicle molds.  And I won’t even mention who it was that did it (daddy).   But boy did the kids enjoy it.  So despite the red stickiness, thanks daddy!

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Since time out doesn’t seem to be working for Ryan and Owen right now, can mommy take one instead? I will gladly go sit in the other room with the door closed.  Alone.  Quiet.  Away from the temper tantrums.  Quiet.

We’ve had a tough stage with Ryan and the temper tantrums have resurfaced from his early terrible two stage.  But this time it’s far worse than it was back then.

When he was going through these tantrums at the age of 20 months it was clear he was frustrated and he didn’t know how to and couldn’t communicate what the frustrations were and what was causing them.  But with the tantrums now he clearly knows what the frustration is and can verbalize it, but instead he flat out refuses to listen and he will scream and cry and yell and hit and become so upset that you can’t calm him down.

What should we do?  How do we stop this?  How do we deal with the tantrums?

What we have been doing is definitely not working.  If we put him in time out he will just scream.  And I mean scream.  It’s not crying, but screaming at the top of his lungs.  If we take something away (like a favorite toy) he doesn’t seem to care.  You can not talk to him and reason with him until he’s calmed down.  And when you do talk with him he knows exactly what he did and why he was being naughty.  And his response “I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.”

Clearly, he did mean to though.  Otherwise he wouldn’t have done it.  He knew what his actions were and why they were naughty.

Mommy:  “Ryan, why are you in timeout?  Why was mommy so upset with you?”
Ryan:  “Because I didn’t listen.  Because mommy said to put my jammies on and I didn’t listen.”
Mommy:  “That right Ryan.  And why else is mommy so, so sad right now?”
Ryan:  “Because I hit mommy.  I didn’t put my jammies on and I hit mommy.”
Mommy:  “And why did you do that Ryan?  Hitting is not nice and it is not acceptable right.”
Ryan:  “I sorry momma.  I didn’t mean to.  I love you sooooo much.”
Mommy:  “I love you too buddy.  But we cannot hit.  If you are frustrated and upset you need to tell me and not hit ok?”
Ryan:  “O-tay momma.”

He gets it.  He definitely gets it.  But that is what is so frustrating.  He does get it, but he still does it.  I know he’s only 3 and a half years old.  And I know that temper tantrums happen.  But HELP!  It’s wearing mommy and daddy down right now.  We’re both stressed with work.  We’re up late at night to get everything done that needs to get done.  We’re tired.  We’re crabby.  And our patience is worn thin.

I know that part of Ryan (and Owen) reacting the way they have been with tantrums and such is a direct reflection of our stress and lack of patience.  I am aware of that.  And I am trying to recognize it and not let it show, but it’s hard.  And it’s especially hard when you have a toddler throwing a full out temper tantrum because he didn’t want to put on his pajamas.  Little tasks like that should never result in what seemed like the entire family crying last night (yes, mommy and daddy included!).

My cousin is going through the same with her 2 year old right now at It Keeps Getting Better.  And between the two of us, we need your advice.  HELP!

How do you handle tantrums?  Is there an easy way to avoid them before they start without just giving the child whatever it is that they want and letting them rule your household?  Does anyone out there have any simple advice to offer?

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Another week is gone and another Tuesday is here!  Another busy week behind us and I’m sure another on the way.

This week’s Tuesday Ten is a listing of the ten places I have traveled to that I love, love, love!

  1. New York City, NY:  I love the busyness of this city and everything it has to offer.  I love how there are so many people in such a small area and how there is always something to do at any given moment regardless what that desire is.  I love all the culture including the Broadway shows, restaurants, museums and of course shopping!
  2. Minnneapolis, MN:  The land of 10,000 lakes.  I love the Spring, Summer and Fall there (notice how there is no mention of Winter?!).  I love boating and biking and walking and spending time down by the lakes in South Minneapolis.  Love this city!
  3. Breckenridge, CO:  We got married there.  We got married at this really cute little yellow church with a red door by the most awesome pastor ever.  We rented out this bed and breakfast in Dillon, CO for our family and friends to stay in for our wedding weekend.  What a beautiful weekend it was.  It even snowed that weekend while we spent time in the hot tub.  Oh, I should mention that our wedding was June 11 so snow was not expected.
  4. Gordon, WI:  This is the place where our cabin is located.  I love Gordon, WI.  Things are simple there.  Cell phone reception is not great.  Beers are $1.50 each and you can see Northern Lights and shooting stars as you sit around a bonfire at night.  Everything is just so still and calm there.  You can hear the leaves crunch under your feet as you walk and as the geese land on the lake you can hear the swooshing sound the water makes when they hit the water.
  5. St. Maarten:  Who wouldn’t love it here?!  Are you kidding me?  Sandy white beaches, clear blue waters and relaxation around every corner.  Aaaaahhhhhh……
  6. Big Canoe, GA:  Hiking trails, lakes, winding roads and beautiful views.  It reminds me of a mix between the Rocky Mountain towns (Breck, Vail, Aspen, etc.) with a little bit of Gordon, WI thrown in.
  7. Denver, CO:  The mile high city.  There are views of the mountains everywhere you look.  It’s the most dog friendly city I have ever been to; there are places to hike, bike and jog; and you encounter wildlife every where you go.  And for all of you who think that Denver gets tons of snow and has really cold winters, you’d be surprised!  It’s not what you think…. It’s not only the mile high city, it’s the mild, mile high city.
  8. Middle of the Ocean:  Cruises.  I love cruises.  We’ve been fortunate to be able to go on two of them since Jim and I have been together.  We got engaged on one and we went on one as a family last Christmas with Jim’s grandmother, mother, step-dad, aunt, uncle and cousin.  It was a blast.  You can read more about that adventure here.  So much fun.  In fact it was so much fun that every morning when Ryan wakes up we ask him “Ryan, what did you dream about last night?” and his response is always “The ship-boat.  And the beach.  I built a sandcastle on the beach momma.”  Yes, it has been 6 months since we went, but every morning he talks about it and swears he has dreamt about it.  Me too, Ryan, me too.
  9. London, England:  It felt like London was a cross between NYC and Chicago.  They had an awesome Broadway scene, great restaurants and tons of historical venues to visit.  It had the busy feel of NYC in a smaller setting like Chicago.  It was so easy to get around on the Tube.  Or maybe it was my unofficial tour guide (thanks Joel B.).  I loved my experience there and would love to go back some day.
  10. Our Home, GA:  I love our home.  I have traveled for years over the course of my career and while I loved every single minute of it (well almost), I absolutely love being home with my boys.  I love having a routine and sleeping in my own bed each and every night.  I love seeing the smiles on my little guys every morning and I love to kiss them goodnight each night and snuggle with them before they drift off to sleep.  I love our home and those inside of it.

Where are some of your favorite places to visit?  What makes them special to you?

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Am I referring to the inseparable brothers who do absolutely everything together and mimic each others every move?

Or I am referring to the pea pods that are now thriving in my garden?

We discovered the pea pods on Friday and have been enjoying eating them all weekend fresh from the garden.  Yum!  Who would have thought that we’d be eating fresh veggies so soon after we planted our garden?  I wasn’t expecting to have anything edible until much later in the summer.  I guess I thought that because I grew up in Wisconsin and that far north you can’t even plant a garden until end of May or into June.  But here in Atlanta we had our garden planted the middle of April.  Those are some of the perks to this ridiculously hot and humid weather we’ve been having lately.

Our garden started here and now we’ve grown it to this.

Yay me!  I’m officially a gardener.  And not the kind I was doubting here. But don’t ask about the peach tree.  That’s a sad, sad story that I will share later this week.  I’m hopeful that I’ve managed to save it and don’t want to report on it has made a complete comeback.  Doesn’t sound good huh?!

Interested in reading more from other garden bloggers?  Here are a few I suggest:  Feet off the Table, Dreamfarm Girl, and It Keeps Getting Better.  If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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As you know we have been working hard on our backyard this summer.  We’ve cleared the hill of the insane amounts of overgrown weeds; we’ve planted both a vegetable garden and a flower garden; we’ve been digging up bushes that had become diseased; we’ve planted new cedar trees and we’ve been on a search for a playset.

So what are our ultimate plans with this newly renovated backyard?  Well, we’re not entirely sure yet…. but we do have some ideas.  I came across a website a few weeks ago that has given me some great ideas for where to take our backyard.  It’s a company called Outdora and they sell everything outdoors.

Our backyard has so much potential, but it’s not easy to figure out what to do and how.  We have a decent size yard, but unfortunately we have that crazy hill taking up a good portion of it.  And while we’d love to push the yard back some and install a retaining wall, it’s just too expensive right now.  So we’re moving on to other plans.

One of the things we have enjoyed the most about our yard is grilling out.  Outdoor cooking is far better than anything that could be made on your stove and/or in your oven.  Why is that?

Since we dug up the diseased bushes along our house we have decided that we are going to extend our patio over into that area which will provide more outdoor living space along with a larger grilling area.  We currently have a small concrete patio already so we are trying to figure out how best to incorporate what we already have with what we want to put down for our new extended patio.  We have a great nook space that we can hopefully use to build a small outdoor kitchen area with an outdoor fridge perhaps??  I have already shown Jim where and how I want more planters built with a bench connecting them.

I also want to add in an area for a wood burning cast iron ring.  I absolutely and positively love bonfires.  I know I’ve mentioned that before in one of my Tuesday Ten posts, but there is nothing like sitting around the fire at night, roasting marshmallows and listening to the popping of the fire.

But before we move forward with any definite plans we need to first draw out our outdoor living blue prints.  And with that comes a lot of research.  Jim has been busy trying to find outdoor flooring options and I’ve been spending my free time researching outdoor fridges and wood burning cast iron rings.  I think I got the better end of that deal because I found both on one site! I even have my eye on a new Barbecue grill now!  Who would have thought it would be that easy?!

No final decisions have been made yet though because we’re still trying to work through the play set options and we need to be sure that everything will fit into our space and still leave room for the boys to golf with Delta.  Because if we don’t, we’ll have one sad little puppy!  She is definitely addicted to the game of wiffle ball golf.

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Happy 5 year anniversary honey.  I love you so much.   And if you want to know my favorite things about you, you can read my Tuesday Ten post here.  But for now, I would just like to share some of my favorite wedding photos.  It’s hard to believe it’s already been 5 years.  I mean, it’s not like we moved cross country from Denver to Atlanta, started new jobs, bought a house and had two children or anything?!  I mean seriously?!  What have we accomplished in the last 5 years?!

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