Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Beach Bums

We had the privilege of spending last week at the beach with this lovely bunch! The original "DuFrene 6" has multiplied into the "DuFrene 17" (18 when we are lucky enough to have Grandma Grandma join us!) and by December, there will be two more! 

For nearly a week, the 18 of us shared one house (with just 2 1/2 bathrooms!). It was loud, chaotic and we occasionally got on each other's nerves. But oh the memories! There's not another group of 17 people I would rather spend a week with!

The boys had been looking forward to the trip with eager anticipation. Andrew asked all week leading up to our leaving "I go on vacation?" As such, I was terribly naive to think that our first venture down to the beach would just be a chance to put our toes in the sand and that we could skip the swimsuits. Suit or no suit, Jackson was ready to dive right in!  

Properly outfitted the next morning, we settled comfortably into a week of being beach bums.

Five kids aged 7 and under makes for rocking dance parties, giddiness over fake tattoos (the more the better!), impressive pillow forts, and lots of opportunities to talk about sharing (especially when the object in question is a glow stick...even when there are no fewer than 50 of them available).

For a slight change of pace one day, we decided to head to the pool in one of the neighboring towns.

Another day, we took a picnic lunch down to the jetty pier. Jackson was convinced we would see crocodiles there, but we only saw fish and sea turtles!

At the end of the week, with our suitcases a little bit heavier from all of the sand, we packed up to head home. But not before stopping for our now traditional photo!
The last time we were here, Andrew was still in utero and Jackson was just a little toddler!
We actually made a stop in Houston before heading home to celebrate the birthday of our sweet Evie who was turning 4! Jackson and Andrew will tell you that Evie's party was their favorite part of their vacation, so I would call that a successful party!

What a great week! Thank you so much Grammy and Pop for the opportunity to make memories together as a family!

Monday, July 27, 2015

30 Weeks!

How far along? 30 Weeks, 5 days -- less than 2 months to go!

How big is baby? BabyCenter says about 16 inches and about 3 lb, 4 oz. He's gaining weight fast now--about 1/2 a pound a week. 

Best moment this week: Finishing up conference season at work and beach vacation with my family! Recap and picture overload coming soon!

Movement: A little less movement now that it's getting pretty cramped in there, but when he does move it's forceful. You can see almost all of his movements on the outside now. Jackson and Andrew can regularly feel him moving without any effort. Hiccups are a common occurrence. 

Sleep: Sleeping well now that I'm back in my king size bed! The double bed while we were on vacation without my two king size pillows was a little rough. 

Food cravings/aversions: Benjamin seems to have a sweet tooth...especially for chocolate.

Gender: Boy! Benjamin Thomas!

Symptoms: Starting to feel really big now. A day of post-vacation chores, grocery shopping and 5 loads of laundry yesterday resulted in me looking up chiropractors by bedtime. When people ask me how many weeks are left, my response is "too many". 

Labor Signs: Braxton-Hicks contractions continue, some strong enough to take my breath away. 

What I miss: Being able to pick up the kids. It was so fun getting to swim with them when we were on vacation because I can actually hold them and play with them in the water. 

What I am looking forward to: Taking the boys to the circus this weekend!

On the to-do list: Still pretty much everything related to getting ready for the baby. Justin may start getting stuff out of the attic this weekend. 

Daddy is...maybe just a teensy bit tired of rubbing my back every.single.night. Sorry babe!

Jackson and Andrew...had a great vacation but I think they too are at least a little bit happy to settle back into their normal routine. And Jackson starts Kindergarten in only FOUR short weeks!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Looking for a fun and easy summer activity to do with your little ones? Look no further!

A few Saturdays ago, we had run all of our errands in the morning and had an hour or so after naps before Justin and I had plans to go out that night. The boys were driving us crazy rough-housing and getting on each others' nerves inside. I said "Quick! We need an activity!" Not surprisingly, Justin looked at me blankly, but my good friend Pinterest didn't let me down!

I remembered a simple sidewalk chalk paint recipe that I had pinned a while back but never tried. We had all the supplies on hand and the boys were happy to help me whip up the recipe.

All you need is equal parts cornstarch and water and some food coloring. I think I used about a cup and a half of cornstarch, mixed it in a bowl with the cup and a half of water, and then poured the plain white "paint" into muffin tins. Easy peasy!

Then, the boys helped me choose the colors and we even made it a little educational as we mixed the colors asking questions like "what happens when I mix the red and blue together?" 

And then the fun part!

Actually, I think maybe they liked the clean-up just as much!

We have plans to kick this activity up a notch with a slight variation to make it squirtable and ERUPTING sidewalk chalk paint!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

New Car!

With number three arriving in just a few months, we knew a new car was on the horizon since my 2008 Ford Escape just wasn't big enough for our growing family. We started considering our options quite a few months ago. I thought for sure I would end up with a large SUV, but once we started looking at features and the price tags, we realized that a minivan really made much more sense for us.
So then we narrowed it down to the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey. Justin was ready to buy the Sienna without even test driving it, but I insisted we check out the Odyssey too. 

We had planned to wait until August or September to buy the new car, but then the A/C in my Escape started going out so that sped up our plans a bit. So on Friday, Justin and I took the afternoon off to test drive both options without kids in tow. We went to the Honda dealership first and realized that we could fit three car seats across the second row which was a HUGE selling feature since Jackson can't quite buckle and unbuckle his own seat without assistance. The Sienna only fits two carseats in the second row. Done deal. We called the Honda salesman as we were pulling out of the Toyota dealership to tell him to draw up the papers. We went and picked up the boys from school and then went back to sign our lives away.

A couple of hours later and we were proud minivan owners. Crazy!

The boys watched a movie while we signed our lives away.

First ride! Jackson really was excited about the car...just not about taking pictures!
 Here's to years of family memories!

28 Weeks

How far along? 28 Weeks, 4 days -- I'm seeing my OB every 2 weeks now! It's getting closer!

How big is baby? BabyCenter says about 15 inches about 2 lb, 4 oz. 

Best moment this week: Getting a new car! Now I can actually tote around all three kids! Also, not this week, but at my last appointment I had my glucose test for gestational diabetes and passed with flying colors! (I failed the first test with Andrew so I didn't take it for granted that I would pass.)

Movement: Lots of movement still. He moves all day long but definitely gets cranked up about an hour after I eat and when I lay down at night. He definitely prefers hanging out on the right side of my belly. The left side is always squishy and I rarely feel any kicks on that side. 

Sleep: Still sleeping pretty well. Back sleeping is definitely out now, since it's uncomfortable for even a few minutes. 

Food cravings/aversions: Nothing in particular. Still going with the crazy bad heartburn.

Gender: Boy! Benjamin Thomas!

Symptoms: Moving into the generally uncomfortable most of the time phase. Doing chores around the house or being on my feet for too long makes me achy in a hurry. I can still get comfortable laying down, but that's about it. 

Labor Signs: This is a new category for the updates! Lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions and I think he's settled head down now.

What I miss: Being able to get off the couch without significant effort!

What I am looking forward to: I have my last week of conferences this week and then finally a much more normal schedule! No more late nights working! Yay!

On the to-do list: Pretty much everything related to getting ready for the baby. Getting out the baby clothes, getting all the gear out of the attic, etc. Funny how we've started this process later and later with each pregnancy. By this point with Jackson we had his nursery pretty much all set, clothes hanging in the closet, diapers stockpiled and a running list of all the "stuff" we still "needed". Since it's our third time around we know that newborns really need very little. Simple clothes, diapers, a safe place to sleep, a couple of blankets. We'll be fine to wait a few more weeks to get started on all that. =)

Daddy affectionately referring to my growing belly as "the ticking time bomb". I get a little bigger each day and his time to get things in a good place at work and tackle projects at home grows smaller.

Jackson and Andrew...are giving us a run for our money. Andrew who is usually pretty laid back has been going through a very disagreeable phase, and Jackson who is typically pretty headstrong is really testing his limits lately. I think some of it has to do with how much I've been working--they really hardly saw me last week so I think they are acting out for attention. Hopefully now that things are settling down they will improve.
Don't let the sweet picture fool you! This was only between the dozen tantrums we experienced today!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Field Trips, Field Trips and more Field Trips!

Jackson has been having so much fun on all of his summer field trips that I can hardly keep up. Justin and I have been lucky enough to tag along for just a couple of them in the last month. 

I got to go to the Fire Station with this fun bunch!

First, the crew was instructed on fire safety. Jackson was extremely attentive and wore this very worried expression throughout. Fire safety is serious business!

Climbing through the fire truck was much less anxiety provoking!

They toured the inside of the fire station, and even relaxed like the firefighters do!

Firefighters are our friends!

The next week, Justin got to make the trip to the Zoo with them.

Before taking off, everyone diligently studied the zoo map. It's always smart to have a plan! 

And then they were off!

What a fun day! This kid was happy to have his dad spend the day with him. 

Then last week, the class went to a local bakery for a tour and each child got to make a little loaf of bread. 

Fun and delicious!

Weekends at home with boring old mom and dad may be a little bit of a letdown compared to all of the fun he is having at school!