Mama *might* Attempt a Blackberry Pie

BB picking 2015

We woke up early today and hit up our local farm…fresh blackberry picking. Opening day, to be exact, so the majority of the blackberries weren’t exactly ready to be plucked yet, but we had made the mistake of promising Ava one too many times a trip to the farm to pick strawberries over the past many weeks, and every time we actually made the two mile trip over there, it was “closed for ripening”. They finally reopened today for blackberry season, so we jumped on it this morning, so as not to miss it again. We actually lucked out and got some strawberries, too!

Blackberry picking 2015

Ava was all about the pickin’ (the girl would not stand still), but as you can see from the pictures…Jake was a little less enthused. He just moseyed up along the vines, putting the occasional blackberry in the box if it was handed it to him. All – in – all, it was HOT and we lasted maybe thirty minutes before both kids started complaining about the heat. As we were leaving, I asked Ava if she wanted to live on a farm and she emphatically said, “NO!” I thought for sure we had a farm girl on our hands as much as she loves the outdoors and getting dirty, but apparently the heat won this morning. City, it is.

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Happy Birthday Baby Boy!

Jake is TWO!


 It is hard to believe that this little dare-devil has graced this earth for two whole years now. Sometimes I look at him and see the sweet little baby boy that I fell for on day one, while most other days, I see his determined, adventurous father reincarnated in the rough-and-tumble body of a little boy, no longer a babe. One moment he’s snuggled up on your chest, giving you the sweetest hugs, kisses, and cuddles, only to throw his head back with a big ROAR and sprawling dinosaur hands….and sometimes he’ll even try to sneak in a little bite or two. He’s a feisty one.


Jake has grown immensely over the course of this past year of his life: taking his first steps shortly after he turned one, climbing the peaks of every playground we ventured by the sweet age of 18 months, and finally the momentous descending of the household staircase on his riding John Deere Tractor. His vocabulary matches his tenacity for life, his favorite saying being, “made a mess.” He announces his messes quite often, “oh no. made a mess!” In fact, I believe he makes messes on purpose, just so he can announce that he made one. (And no, he does not like to clean them up…unless you sing the “Everybody Clean Up” song.)


I have no idea what the future holds for my little man, but I do know that whatever it is, he will take it in stride and with the biggest smile on his face: Jakey style. With his personality, he is destined to do BIG things.🙂

Happy Birthday Jake!

You make my heart thump, thump, thump…

We are spending this Valentines Day like any other day — hanging around the house in our jammies. Valentine jammies, of course. Daddy is laid up in bed after surgery yesterday, so it looks like mama’s littlest valentines will have to do for the day. We’ve been really busy today: taking a bath with our clothes still on, dumping an entire box of crackers….and then pretzels, attempting circus acts on top of the ottoman (that ended fairly bad, Ava’s slightly black eye serves as evidence, however this happened thankfully after these pictures were taken), beds were jumped on, toys were stolen from each other, and yogurt tubes were squirted e v e r y w h e r e….. but, amidst all of the chaos, I did happen to get a few seconds of sweet serenity. It may have been forced, but it was thoroughly enjoyed by all. See below.🙂

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Jake’s turn at a rainy day…

This morning was a pretty gross morning. We battled the rain taking Ava to school, came home and made breakfast and coffee, then snuggled up on the couch for some morning cartoons. After a bit of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and some plane watching outside the dining room window, Jake was dying to go outside. After about twenty minutes of whining, I gave in. Let the puddle jumping commence…

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Ava turns THREE!


My baby is turning three tomorrow.

Hard to believe that she is already three years old; hard to remember life before her.

This FACE.

This FACE. 



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Death glare when brother walks in front of the camera with a stick.

Death glare when brother walks in front of the camera with a stick.



This face. Again.

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This summer has been amazing. Not only are we getting a glimpse of life as civilians for the first time in seven years, but we are also getting an even better deal: student status with summer break! We’ve enjoyed days at the beach, time spent with family and friends, and many…many…many days of lounging around the house and watching everything Netflix has to offer — Curious George can be pretty addicting.

Even though boredom often set in, I wouldn’t have changed a thing! The quality family time we got to spend together this summer was life changing, to be honest. In our previous life at Bragg (as it honestly seems now), Luke barely ever saw the kids throughout the week. Most evenings, he was home late after dinner, only to pass out in bed during the kids’ bath time or very shortly after I would get them into bed. Many nights, the kids were in bed before he even got home. While he has always been a hands-on dad, he has actually been able to be a part of the day-to-day lives of the kids. Not only taking care of them and playing with them (rousing game of hide-and-go-seek = broken toe), but helping me make important decisions, like where to send Ava to school. He was able to go with us to Preschool interviews and Jake’s one year well-baby appointment, both things he previously wouldn’t have been a part of.

Sadly, our summer of freedom is coming to an end as of this weekend. While Luke’s schedule shouldn’t be anything like that of the past seven years in the 82nd, I’m a little nervous to be given the task of entertaining both children all day long again. I see many, many cups of coffee in the days ahead! (Where is Fall? Pumpkin Spice Latte, anyone??) In the meantime, I will bask in the joy on my children’s faces as they enjoy one of this summer’s greatest adventures: the purchase of a backyard playground.

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Ava & Jake