We found a new fun spot to spend a hot summer day - Altitude Trampoline Park!  We jumped for over 2 1/2 hours.  That's right...we jumped.  I bought a parent pass and jumped the whole time.  I didn't want to stop at the end of our session!  It's great exercise and so much fun.  We'll be back for sure!

The Slides


The first day we went to the pool, Evie decided she was going to try the slide this summer.  She went down once with big brother, then she went on her own, with happy screams all the way!


Sam went down the big blue slide and swore he'd NEVER do that again!  It's a rough one - much tougher than it looks!


This spring it was Evie's turn to raise butterflies!  She was two when I did this with Sam and I knew she didn't really remember any of it.  Because I ordered the caterpillars through Amazon, we knew exactly which day they would arrive.  It was a Wednesday, so when I picked her up from school, she made a bee-line for the mailbox, and when she didn't find anything, came back inside crying.  I had to point out that she ran right by the kitchen table where the cup of caterpillars was already sitting!


As of right now, Evie is adamant that she wants to be a scientist when she grows up.  So I made her a little butterfly journal where she could record her observations as the caterpillars changed.  She was very into it - she wanted to fill out all the pages on the first day!


As fun as the journal was, I think she was a little disappointed when she saw the caterpillars for the first time.  I prepared her ahead of time that they would be tiny at first, not like the cute, fat caterpillars you see in books.  But I'm not sure she understood what I meant until she saw them.  It was a bit underwhelming that first day.  But they grew fast and for the next week we read lots of books about butterflies, watched our caterpillars fatten up, and waited for the second stage...J-formation!


We had two caterpillars in J-formation when I woke up on a Saturday morning.  As soon as Evie woke up I told her to come look at her caterpillars.  She had massive bed-head and her face was all puffy from sleep, but the first thing out of her mouth was, "They're making their j-shape!"  Then she said, "I need my journal".  So she sat at the table and journal in her jammies.  


A few days later our caterpillars had all formed their chrysalides.  It took a long time for us to reach the next step - over a week and a half - and right before they emerged I thought maybe they had all died because they were turning black.  A quick Google search and I learned this was the sign they would emerge at any point.  And sure enough, within minutes of my noticing the color change, one popped out.  They come out fast, too.  Sam had not quite left for school yet, so I had him wake Evie up.  She was so asleep it took her a minute to realize what was happening.


After we got Sam off to school we sat outside on our back patio to wait for the others to emerge, but the three that came out that morning were it for the moment.  I wanted to catch one coming out on video, but had to get Evie to school.  Fortunately I made it back just in time to record the last one!


Once again, she rushed in the door from school to see her butterflies and write in her journal.  Such a dedicated scientist!


She was so excited to feed them.  We made a sugar-water solution, cut some blooms off of our knockout rose bushes and sliced some fruit.  Evie dropped some "nectar" onto the flower petals and we put everything in the cage and waited to see if we could catch one of them using their proboscis to slurp up all the sweet stuff.  We saw some tongues unfurl and curl back up again which was pretty cool!


We kept them for a week, which was the maximum recommended time to keep them before releasing them, and even then, Evie wasn't ready to let them go.  We even lost one - it died the day before.  But once I convinced her they needed to fly around and do butterfly things, she was excited to set them free.  I thought the minute we opened the top of the cage they'd all fly out, but we had the hardest time getting them out.  I'm thinking they didn't want to leave the fresh-fruit buffet that was laid out for them every morning! 


I was so glad she got to hold one on her finger, I just wished it would've stayed there a bit longer.  It flew away so fast I hardly got a photo.  Evie had the idea to place the dead butterfly on one of the rose blossoms and we set it in our landscaping in the shade.  She checked later that day and the flower was there, but the butterfly was gone.  We talked about how it may have ended up as a snack for one of our neighborhood birds.  Circle of life!  

We had one butterfly that hung around for a long, long, time.  It just sat in our Hawthorne bushes, warming up in the sun.  Such a pretty butterfly!  Eventually it flew away and that was that.  Bye-bye butterflies!

Providence Patriot Fair


Evie and Sam had a great time at the first annual Providence Patriot Fair.  Evie had an especially good night as she ate her way through the fair.  Donuts, cupcakes, popcorn, lollipops...the treats just kept coming.   


Sam walked around on his own, playing games by himself and hanging out with friends while Evie walked around with us.  She made a great throw at Football Toss, and our friend Noah helped her at the bowling station.  We even got to hang out in the petting zoo with baby bunnies, goats and piglets.  


Her favorite activity was the bounce house obstacle course race.  She did this one over and over and over.  Had to burn off the donut and cupcake sugar somehow!


"Our" First Sleepover


Sam had his first sleepover at our house with his friend Dallas, who lives a couple of doors down from us.  They'd been planning one for a while and were excited to finally get the green light from Brian and me.  What they weren't probably planning on was that Evie thought it was her sleepover, too.  They were nice enough to let her hang out with them most of the evening, starting with a game of candy land. 


Brian and I pulled her out of there several times, resulting in some mini-tantrums.  She slept in her own room, of course, but hung out with them on the air mattress right up until bedtime.  Even now she refers to this night as "our sleepover".  This girl will do whatever it takes to join a party...

Sam and Dallas had a good time - we had pizza for dinner, they slept well and Brian made pancakes for breakfast.  A successful first sleepover!

Chick-Fil-A Field Trip


Pre-K for Evie just continues to be fun, fun, FUN!  Today was an extra-special day...a field trip to our neighborhood Chick-Fil-A!  They pulled out all the stops for our little preschool.  The kids were divided into three groups - The Chicken Nuggets, The Waffle Fries, and The Ice Dreams.  After some learning some group-cheers and dancing with the Chick-Fil-A cow, we moo-ved to our stations.


Evie was a Waffle Fry and her first stop was to learn how to make Chick-Fil-A lemonade.  Just lemons juice, water, and sugar...lots and lots of sugar!  The kids got to use the ingredients to make their own cup of lemonade.  I had some of Evie's and it was really good! 


Afterward, our group toured the kitchen.  We saw where all the lettuce was washed, stepped inside the walk-in freezer, and spotted some little stuffed-animal cow footprints in the biscuit flour! 


Finally, our little Waffle Fries stepped up to the ice cream machine and served themselves their own Ice Dream cone.  And ate it before lunch!


Once dessert was done the kids ate their lunch, played on the playground, and got back on the bus (which is an exciting adventure all on its own!).  This was Evie's favorite field trip, and the most unique one, to say the least.  We'll remember our special day here each time we visit!

Popsicles with the Principal

Exciting things are happening for Evie Straka - Kindergarten orientations are starting!  We'll have a Kindergartener in the family soon.  Today was our first orientation and it was an extra-fun one...popsicles on the playground with our awesome principal, Mrs. Diggs.  We met some Kinder teachers and played with some soon-to-be friends, too.  It was a great event.  I think this girl's ready for school!