Friday, August 30, 2013

Coffee Date Friday: With A Little Clemson Cheer

Hi there! Sorry to have missed our caffeinated conversation last Friday (via a link up with Rags to Stitches), but I'm back and ready to resume our weekly virtual coffee date. Before we begin, though, may I just say...

Fight Tigers! Fight Tigers! Fight, Fight, Fight!

Circa 2001: From my Clemson Rally Cat days

That's right, folks: Football season has finally arrived!! So, as we toast our mugs and dive into our chat, let's also acknowledge the air of college football excitement underlying our coffee-filled gathering today. 

From our first game as a family of four last year

That being said, I would first ask, how are YOU? What's new with YOU? How is YOUR week going? Anything exciting happening for YOU on the horizon? Fill me in on the latest and greatest. 

After ensuring I was properly educated on all things YOU, I would share the following about little o' me and the current comings and goings in my life:

...I would share that, at the beginning of the summer, my hub played a song for me, saying it reminded him of us and the summer we met and, subsequently, spent side-by-side. Imagine my surprise when, the other day, Banks asked me to play his favorite song for him. When I asked him what it was, my jaw dropped when he requested the same song my hub had played for me months ago, Brad Paisley's "Beat This Summer." Now, one of my favorite things to do is to sing this song at the top of my lungs, with the accompaniment of Banks, while riding around town.

...I would tell you that my Raleigh is developing the sweetest Southern accent. Example? What the rest of us would call a /chip/ she pronounces as "chee-uhh-pp." That's right. Three full syllables for that short little word. And, as a Southern born and raised Momma, I would also tell you that I love that little Southern twang!

...I would admit that I was oh-so-happy when I discovered that "Teen Mom 3" started the other night. Yes, I realize I am 15 years older than most of these girls, but there is something about the trainwreck of a show that captivates. Don't tell my Wall Street Journal-readin' hub. He may just disown me. But. I'm already ready for next week's episode.

...I would tell you that we made some major strides with our home decor revamp this week, including ordering a new rug, pillows, and sconces for our family room, painting part of the dining room, having curtains made for the kitchen, and re-framing three pieces of art that hold so much meaning for us. Although it has been busy, busy, busy with all this going on this week, there is still much that needs to be done. Whew! I can't wait to see the finished product. And, of course, I'll do a revamp reveal at some point, for anyone who may be interested in that sort of thing. 

...I would try to take deep breaths to reduce some of the stress I am feeling related to events on the horizon for the next few months, including throwing a couples wedding shower for my baby sister, pulling off my little buddy's 4th birthday party, attending my sister's wedding, soaking up family time for the Thanksgiving holidays, hosting a baby shower for my awesome sister-in-law, and getting ready for the Christmas season and celebrations, not to mention attending several family birthday parties. Whew! Inhale, hold, hold, exhale. Repeat as needed. 

...I would share that Raleigh and I accompanied Banks to his pre-school Open House earlier this week so he could meet his new teachers and reunite with his old classmates. Although a little timid initially walking into his new classroom, it melted away the second he spied guessed it...race car. After seeing all the cars that await him at school, he didn't want to leave and immediately asked if we could come back to school later that day. Ha!

...I would ask, most importantly, that you keep my sweet Raleigh in your thoughts and prayers. WARNING: For those not interested in hearing about poop, please stop reading now. The thing is, for over three weeks now, my little girl has not had a single, solitary solid poop. You can read between the lines for what that has meant for her poor tummy, and poor hiney, for the month of August. At first, I attributed it to a stomach bug. Then, to teething. But now? Now, that it's been almost a month? It is problematic. I took her to the pediatrician one night earlier this week and we decided to try a probiotic to attempt to nip this thing in the bud. However, if that doesn't solve the problem, I have been instructed to collect a stool sample for further testing to make sure it's not something more serious. So, please say a prayer for my little girl and cross your fingers that this probiotic puts an end to this messy month. 

...Finally, I would tell you that I need to wrap things up and get to packin'. You see, first thing in the morning, specifically 12 HOURS before the Clemson game actually begins, my hub and I will be leaving to meet up with 14 of our closest friends before heading to Clemson for a FULL day of tailgatin', GameDayin', chattin', eatin', drinkin', football watchin', and cheerin' on our Tigers. And, thanks to my parents, we will end the day with (hopefully not just a W!!)  a stay in a Greenville hotel while my kiddos soak up time with their Bammy and Digby. So, like I said, it's time for me to start packin'. 

From our Clemson girls weekend, circa 2010

I so appreciate you taking the time to enjoy this cup o' joe with me, and I know it goes without saying you'll be cheering on my Tigers, right? 

Until next time!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Banksisms, Part 9

He's at it again, my little comedian. I just never know what's going to come out of Banks' mouth, and I must say, we tend to stay pretty entertained these days by his commentary. Without further adieu, I present Banksisms, Part 9:

(After hearing he had to eat some vegetables before being excused from the table): 
Banks: "But my tummy's full! There's no more room in there! There's lots of food in my tummy and it took up all the parkings." 
Apparently EVERYTHING is relatable to cars in my little buddy's world. 

After putting on his new sweatpants, and no shirt, Banks walks out of his room with his chest puffed out and says, "I'm sleeping like a MAN tonight!!"
No words...

Banks: "Raleigh, you can't have a guaranTEE....Daddy, isn't a guarantee a grown-up drink?"
Ha! Only in the South. And only with a little Firefly mixed in.

Banks: "Mommy, what are motorcycles with three wheels called?
Momma: "I'm not sure, honey."
Banks: "I think I'm gonna have to ask Daddy. He knows everything."
For the love. Seriously?!?

(Interrupts conversation between Momma and Daddy):
Banks: "Daddy, Daddy, Dad, Daddy, Dad, Dad, Daddy..."
Daddy: "Just a minute. You need to wait until Mommy and Daddy are finished talking."
(Proceeds to wait patiently while parent conversation continues for a few minutes)
Daddy: "Okay, Banks, now what did you need to say?"
Banks: "Can I go poop super fast?"
I guess we should have let him interrupt us this one time.

Banks: "Mommy, can I get up early today?"
Momma: "I guess so."
Banks: "Thanks, Mommy. You're on it, girl. You're a rockstar."
Love that I got to laugh so early in the morning thanks to my buddy. :)

Atta boy. I can't wait to hear what comes out of that funny mouth, next!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Family Fill-In: Alphabet Week!

I'm stepping away from my Coffee Date Friday posts to return to a series I used to do each week and have been missing this summer: Friday Family Fill-In. Basically, these posts are a way for me to document what I've been doing with my kids throughout the week so that I can (1) Refer back to it as needed at a later date, (2) Preserve the memories of our weekday fun, and (3) Maybe help a Momma or two out who may be in a rut brainstorming fun activities to do with their own kiddos. 

For me, the primary reason I stay home with my kids is to try to maximize all the time we are lucky enough to spend together at this stage in our lives. As evidenced by all the "first day of school" photos plastered all over Facebook this week (which, don't get me wrong, I love seeing. Really! I really like seeing photos of my friends' and families' beautiful babies), these young years pass by way too quickly. So, I have made it my personal goal to try and fill these days, these weeks, these years with fun activities for my littles before they, too, head off for elementary school.

While we certainly have plenty of downtime during our day, I also try to include some fun and educational activities as part of our daily itinerary. Some days are more successful than others. Some weeks are more successful than others. But this week? This week was a good one. I think, in large part, it's because I entered the week knowing my hub would be on the other side of the country from early Sunday afternoon until late Friday night. That makes for a loooooong week. And so, to avoid Momma burnout, minimize preschooler whining, and reduce toddler meltdowns, I came into the week (a week forecasting lots of rain) with a plan. 

Knowing that Banks will be returning to preschool in a few weeks, I wanted to capitalize on the Back to School fun! So, we officially declared this week "Alphabet Week" in our household, with lots of fun (and alphabet-a-rific!) activities and snacks to boot! 

So, without further adieu, I present, our Alphabet Week:

Alphabet Flashcards:
A few different times this week, I pulled out these slide-and-see flashcards, which Banks received as a birthday gift from one of my best friends last year. This was a good way for me to see which letters were automatic for him and which tended to be mis-identified. Although I am not usually a flashcard kind of Momma, it was helpful for me to see which letters to really focus on during our activities. Nonetheless, the rest of the activities were purposefully made to be hands-on for my energetic little buddy, primarily because 3-year-old boys don't like to sit in any one place for an extended period of time, and because I know that multisensory learning tends to be the most successful approach to education at this age (i.e., a fancy way of saying less sitting, more action). Regardless, here are the cute flashcards in case anyone is in search of some good ones:

Alphabet Fishing:
I found a pack of magnetic letters in the dollar bin at Target a few months ago and snatched  them up, knowing they would come in handy once I got around to having "Alphabet Week." By pairing these letters with some magnetic fishing poles Banks received as part of a Christmas gift last year, Alphabet Fishing was born: I would simply tell Banks which letter to fish for. He then had to search out the array of letters (thus, good exercise for visual scanning) until he spotted his target. He loved it!

Alphabet Golf:
A while ago on Pinterest, I saw the idea to carve holes in a box for indoor golfing for a rainy day activity. I decided to take this idea a step further, adding detachable letters overtop the holes. I would call out a letter and my little buddy had to recognize the letter and then putt away, aiming for the correct letter hole. Thus, Alphabet Golf was born. Another big hit!

Color By Letter:
I'm sure most of us remember those Color-by-Number coloring pages from when we were little, right? Well, I just created my own, but used a Color-by-Letter code instead, in keeping with our Alphabet Week theme. For example, B is for Blue; so, every time Banks saw a letter B, he had to color it blue. Although he is not one to sit and color for long periods of time, he really enjoyed this activity.

Alphabet Reading:
Although most of the activities this week were geared toward preschool age, I tried to involve my little toddler whenever possible. The best way to do this, of course, was reading books related to the ABC's. My Raleigh loves nothing more than reading books, so she was happy to participate in this activity. 

Alphabet Target Practice:
This may have been my favorite activity from the week. Although I originally saw the water balloon/target practice idea on Pinterest, I modified it a bit, adding all 26 letters to the target. I would then yell out a target for Banks to hit, and bombs away! This was another activity Raleigh was happy to join in. 

Grocery Store Letter Hunt:
There is very little I enjoy less than going to the grocery store. I have not been shy to write about my lack of enthusiasm for all things cooking; so, the grocery store is sort of a devil incarnate for me. But. Admittedly, this week's grocery stop was a lot more enjoyable for my dynamic duo and me. I quickly created this Alphabet Hunt board using a spare piece of foam board I had laying around and grabbed a packet of stickers out of my kid craft stock. So, while I was busy crossing items off my grocery list on Aisle 5, Banks was busy searching for letters on all the products that lined the shelves, which he was then able to cover with a sticker once identified. And Raleigh was just happy to get her hands on a few stickers for awhile. Win-win. 

Alphabet Yogurt:
Completing all these fun alphabet activities throughout the week had us hungry for some delicious snacks! Enter yogurt alphabet bits, which were easily created by covering a small tray with parchment paper, cutting a small hole in the corner of a Go-Gurt (aka yogurt tube), writing out the ABC's, and then freezing them during naptime. This meant, once my kids woke up from their naps, they had an educational, nutritious, and delicious snack a'-waitin'.

Totally Tubular ABCs:
If you know my hub and me, it should come as no surprise that we have quite the competitive son on our hands. Ev-e-ry-thing is a competition to Banks. Ev-e-ry-thing. So, adapting this Pinterest activity to one that was alphabetic in nature was a no-brainer. Simply tape plastic cups to the end of a table, use Dry Erase markers to write different letters on each cup (Dry Erase is key so that you can erase and write new letters after each round), and hand the ever-competitive child a toilet paper roll and a ping pong ball. Then, identify the lettered cup you want him to aim for and watch his competitive spirit take over as he tries to sink his shot. 

Initial Painting:
My little Picassos really had fun completing this crafty activity. I taped off each of their initials on a piece of cardstock and then let them paint away. After the paint dried, I peeled off the tape, and voila! Initial art. 

ABC Pancakes:
Every time my hub travels overnight for work, I make breakfast for dinner at least one night, knowing full well that cooking up some eggs, bacon, and biscuits is not only quick and easy but will also always be consumed in its entirety without a single complaint from either of my eaters. This week, I did, in fact, plan for breakfast for dinner one night but decided to shake things up with some ABC pancakes. Bon appetit! 

Letter Shaping with Playdoh:
Now this was an idea I stole straight from Pinterest with no need for modifying to suit our Alphabet Week theme. I simply wrote letters on a piece of cardstock and then encouraged Banks to create the letter by filling it in with Playdoh. He was so proud of his work, and we did this activity, with pages of different letters, for quite some time. Success!

I hope you enjoyed hearing about our Alphabet Week. I know the kids and I had a fun time with our themed activities and foods. Although it took a little advance brainstorming, it was a lot of fun to see how excited Banks got every time I told him it was time for a fun, new  alphabet activity. 

I'm thinking for our next themed week, I'll gear the activities/theme more towards the toddler-age group so that Raleigh can join in on more of the activities, with Banks being able to take on more of the "teacher" role at times. 

So. I'll be back sometime in the next few weeks with another fun, Friday Family Fill-In. 

For now, though, C U later (Too much? Okay. Sorry for the cheesy pun.). Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Remember Not to Forget, Part 2

First and foremost, I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the prayers for my unnamed prayer request. I received many kind words and prayer promises both publicly and privately, and you truly have no idea how much they mean. I will continue to pray. I hope you will, too. And again, truly, thank you. 

On a different note...

Back in March, I wrote a post I called Remember Not to Forget, and I have recently been feeling the urge to write a Part 2. You see, lately I have been tapped slapped punched in the face with the reminder that every good and precious gift is from above, and I need to remember and relish these childhood moments as they pass. Because although the days may feel long at times, the years are short. 


At this precious stage in my babies' lives, I want to remember not to forget:
  • The fact that my sweet baby girl, Raleigh, is, without a single, solitary, doubt, the most verbally affectionate child I have ever been lucky enough to know. Y'all. You think I'm exaggerating? I'm not. Rals says, "Love you," at LEAST 30 to 50 times per day. Per. Day. To me. To her Daddy. To her big brother. To family. To friends. To the man stocking groceries at Harris Teeter. To the gentlemen checking us out at Target. Basically? To anyone and everyone who passes her love-sharing path. She is just the suh-weetest thing. Until her little dear-Lawd-she's-a-handful attitude kicks in. But that's a whole other bullet point.
  • The adoration, as in complete, head-over-heels L.O.V.E., my sweet little buddy, Banks, feels over all things race cars. He is, in a word, Ob.Sessed. No really. He sleeps with race cars. He grabs more cars than his little hands can hold the second his eyelids pop open in the morning. We tell race car stories alllll day long. We race his many, many, MANY race cars around the playroom, kitchen, back porch, swingset, driveway, any-flat-surface around, all day, every day. On family movie night, every Friday night, we almost ALWAYS watch "Cars 2." I create fun race car activities for him simply because I just cannot wait to see the expression on his face. Yep. Race cars are his love language. And he is fluent.
  • My completely non-biased opinion that I think my girl is a little smarty pants (don't we all say that about our babes??). My most recent example: She recently (completely independently) started using first-person when talking, skipping over that whole third-person business. Specifically? Rather than saying "Raleigh do it," (a stage she just seemed to totally bypass), she will say, "I do it!" Or, for example, I ask her, "Are you having fun?" She will smile broadly and exclaim, "I are!" When I say, "No, Raleigh, you can't have that," she'll exclaim, "I want it!!" I know this probably sounds trivial to most, but knowing that this is a skill not usually acquired until closer to 3, and the fact that she is 19 months, makes a Momma proud. Okay. Bragging moment over. Until maybe the next bullet point...
  • That my little buddy is incredibly outgoing and friendly. He loves socializing with others, whether they be his friends from our weekly playdates or the strangers he encounters in the grocery store, he never hesitates to smile, say, "Hi!", and interact with anyone within his line of vision. And, while my little girl tends to initially clam up around others, especially in a big group setting, she will quickly follow suit when she determines that her big brother feels comfortable with those around them. 
  • That my little girl seems quite coordinated and flexible for her age. It is not uncommon to find her jumping off of every object she climbs (no matter how high), hopping around the room, swinging from the table with her legs out in a "pike" position, doing splits, etc. Did I mention I am signing her up for gymnastics this Fall? Look out, McKayla Maroney.
  • The way that my Banks has always, always been an early riser and always will be. He has no pause button. No off button. He has endless energy and needs to one way or another every day. He is certainly not one to sit quietly and independently for long periods of time. His favorite thing is interaction, which means, during the day, constant interaction with his Momma. Constant. All the time. Always. Every minute. And, while exhausting sometimes, given his boundless energy and seemingly ever-present desire for dependent play, I constantly remind myself that these moments are precious and I should take full advantage of the fact that right now, one of his most favorite playmates is his Momma. 'Cause one day, when those teenage years hit? He may want nothing to do me.  
  • The fact that my little girl has a hard time with listening. It's not just that, though. When she hears no, she will do EXACTLY what she is being told NOT to do. In fact, when she hears no, she will frequently need to do exactly what I have told her not to do just one more time. And, often, she will look me in the eye, say, "Love you!", and then do what she knows she is NOT supposed to do. She is also starting to develop quite a temper. So, basically, when she's not being the most lovable child on the planet, she is screaming, running in the opposite direction of where I tell her to go, and then throwing a full-blown tantrum when I re-direct her course. Yep. This lovable little lady is going to be a handful. Whew.
  • The way that my children love each other with their whole hearts. When you ask Banks who is best friend is, his first answer is always, "Raleigh." And while they may steal each others' toys every other minute and play too rough sometimes and simultaneously want their Momma's attention almost all the time, the conclusion is always the same at the end of the day: They simply adore each other. And that's enough to make any Momma's heart soar. 

So, again, I say I will try my hardest to remember not to forget, not only the beauty of these moments, even the tough ones, but also how truly beautiful these memories will be, safely guarded in my heart forever. 

Monday, August 19, 2013


I don't understand why some of us are dealt more difficult hands than others. Why some of us have to face incomprehensible challenges while others just seem to float through life, seemingly unscathed, without having to face any real adversities. And I especially don't understand why sometimes, even those who have faced even the toughest of situations, STILL encounter devastating road blocks through life. It just doesn't seem fair. To be honest, I sometimes get angry and think, "Okay, God. Xxxx has endured enough in his/her life. Give him/her a break." But it just doesn't go that way sometimes. And it makes me sad and frustrated and hurt and confused. 

I will never understand why the world works the way it does. At least, not during my time on Earth. As my favorite blogger, Glennon Melton says, life is beautiful and brutal. Life is brutifal. I'm just not sure why some have to face more of the brutal sometimes. It just isn't right. 

What I do know, is that life isn't fair. But what I also know, is that during these times, when my beliefs are shaken and my world view narrows and my heart starts to harden as a form of self-preservation, is that I need to turn to my faith. 

So, I pray. I pray with all my might, for good things to happen for good people. For faith and hope and love and good to persevere. 

I believe in the power of prayer. 

And so. I ask you to please, right now, as part of an unnamed prayer request, take a moment and send a prayer up to our good Lord. I've had many a conversation with Him. He'll be expecting your prayers. He'll know what they're in reference to; so, don't worry about the whole "unnamed" part. 

Thank you in advance. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Coffee Date Friday: With My Sentimental Mug

The happiest of caffeine cheers to you! Today, should we meet for coffee (as part of a link up with Rags to Stitches), I would clink mugs with you using my beautiful new mug my sweet baby sister surprised me with earlier this week. She knew I regretted not buying it during when we were shopping around town during her recent Bachelorette weekend and gifted it to me earlier this week. I absolutely love it and the sentimental value it will always hold. So, cheers to thoughtfulness, family, and the fact that it's Friday!

Today, I would share with you:

...That my hardcore boozin' kickball team has our first game tonight at 6:30 pm. Woot! Now, dear Lawd, puh-lease don't let me pull a Charlie Brown and totally whiff when up at kick. 

...That, as I mentioned during our last coffee date, I am home for the next two weekends and am beyond excited to be a full-blown weekend homebody for a bit. While the last month o' traveling has been fun, fun, fun, I am tired, tired, tired. And have quite a few things to accomplish around the house.

...That I woke up yesterday feeling refreshed and rejuvenated as a Momma. That I found my creative kiddo spirit again and am excited for some fun things that I have planned for my babies in the up-coming weeks!

...That I am excited to head out for some solo outlet shopping for a large portion of the day tomorrow to (1) Stock up on fall/winter clothes for my kiddos, and (2) Soak up some quality me-time and quiet solitude before the craziness that awaits me next week (more on that at a later date). 

...That spending time with my girlfriends is so, so good for my soul. There is just nothing like being in a room full of women I love and admire, all so different but all so aware that the friendship we share is special. 

...That, while I absolutely LOVE to write-it is certainly my favorite personal pastime-I have had less time, and at times, less of a desire, to do so lately and am trying to quiet the voice that insists I write, write, write and instead focus on writing when I feel the urge. Quality not quantity is key for me. But. Still. Writing is my therapy and I think I need to try to carve out more time to do one of the things I so love to do. 

...That we recently tried a cowhide in place of our huge ugly outdated blue shag rug in our family room. While we were excited for the change, we decided we are definitely not cool enough to pull it off. So, back to the drawing board for home decor. Hopefully, things will go as planned, and we will have a major home decor do-over by the end of September. 

...That, to be honest, sometimes I struggle with my identity: of what I am good at, of what I was put on this earth to do, of what I want to accomplish during my life. I see others who are good at certain things, and enjoy doing those things, and wonder why I lack that talent and desire. But, as my favorite pastor, Andy Stanley, says, "There is no win in comparison." I couldn't agree more. I am going to really try to focus on being the best me and not the best somebody else. 

...That there are still just a few more images I need for my children's book. I may make one final plea for the remaining photos soon. I'm ready to see this thing in print!

And, now that our mugs are empty, I would give you a tight squeeze, thank you for being a good listener, and wish you the best as we went our separate ways to kick off the weekend.  I would also let you know that this will be our last Coffee Date Friday for awhile, as I have something else up my sleeve planned for the next few weeks. Stay tuned, and have a good one! Cheers! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Bucket List 2013: Making Progress

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good list. I don't go anywhere without my trusty notebook tucked away into the deepest depths of my diaper bag. Anyone who knows me also knows that if I don't write it down, I probably won't remember it. So. Again, my lil' notebook must be readily handy. 

Thus, it should come as no surprise that I love me a good, seasonal bucket list. Not only does it hold the promise of fun summer activities, it allows me to keep track of what we have done and what we hope to do before Labor Day arrives. 

You may remember when I first posted our 2013 Summer Bucket List. Well, I am happy to report we've been busy having sweet, summer fun 'round these parts and have checked off almost everything on our list! And now, for my own memory's sake, some photographic documentation of some of our bucket list adventures: 
  • What's summer without running through the sprinklers? (Apparently, summer fun does NOT require sprinkler running for my Rals, who refused to get anywhere near it):
  • I think donut picnics should be a monthly occurrence from here on out!
  • We read a lot of books together in our home, but there was something extra special about doing it outside during our outdoor story time
  • Last summer, I took Banks to see his first movie and couldn't wait to do it again this year! On our second annual Momma Movie Date, we saw "Monster's University," which was entertaining for all ages. And my ever-inquisitive little buddy even obeyed our pre-movie discussion about holding all questions until the end of the film. He sat quietly, snacking on popcorn and Skittles, while totally focused on the movie. Next up on the movie agenda, "Planes"! 
  • Sometimes parents get to have all the fun! After a delicious 9th anniversary dinner (and several glasses of wine), my hub and I opted to continue the Carowinds! We showed up two hours before closing time and rode every rollercoaster in sight over and over. It was an anniversary I'll never forget!
  • One of my favorite memories from this summer so far is the water balloon ambush the kids and I pulled off. Such a surprise! And such a blast!

  • Sometimes, you just gotta mix things up for breakfast, right? I mean, oatmeal and waffles can get a little boring morning after morning after morning. Enter: banana split breakfast. Yummy!
  • We let our artistic side shine through one day last week with some family face-painting. Ta da!
  • Sometimes it can be a little tricky to find activities that are fun and educational for both a toddler and pre-schooler, which is why we have frequented a few different children's museums this summer: Fun for all ages!
  • We started a new family tradition this year for Father's Day, which just so happened to be an item on our Summer Bucket List: backyard s'mores. Mmmmm!!!
  • We are also big fans of library story time, particularly when stories end with dancing and bubbles!
  • Just this week, we crossed another item off our list: Backyard Bowling. Banks was getting strikes left and right, while Raleigh had a few mulch gutter balls. 
  • If there's one thing Fort Mill is known for, it's the delicious strawberries that abound! So. Checking off strawberry picking from our bucket list was easy peasy!
  • My little buddy, and little lady, too, love collecting rocks. Throw rocks and painting together in one activity? Well, it was a fun afternoon for this duo. 
  • One of the things I love most about my family is that we are really active; so, it's been really fun spending time hiking the greenway that lies just across from our neighborhood...before the sweltering South Carolina sun heats things up by mid-morning, that is!
  • Hear ye. Hear ye. Please stand as we welcome King Banks and Queen Raleigh, my royalty sporting their summery flower and fern crowns. 
  • My little crafters (and peanut butter lovers) seemed to really enjoy making a bird feeder using peanut butter and bird seed, which now hangs from one of the trees in our backyard. 
  • Given that anything and everything sports-related is always a big hit with my two-some, they were excited to see a few different baseball games this summer: One involved watching their Daddy play on our church's softball team and another included the experience of Banks standing on the field during the National Anthem during a Charlotte Knights game. Play ball!

  • Another one of my favorite summer traditions for our little family? Puddle-jumping. Banks and I started this tradition last summer and continued the fun this year (while Raleigh was napping away). What could be more fun than throwing on a swimsuit, dancing in the rain, and jumping in every puddle in sight during the middle of a summer storm?! Nothin', I tell ya. Nothin'.
  • Given that I take hundreds of photos every month, it should come as no surprise that Banks thoroughly enjoyed acting as kiddo photog for the day. He captured some great shots!

In addition, we have managed to check off: building sandcastles during our trip to the beach, continuing our annual tradition of making cement footprints as part of our outdoor decor, and allowing the kids to choose the dinner menu (breakfast for dinner: their favorite!). 

While we still have a few more items to check off our list before Labor Day, we've had a great time so far with all these Summer Bucket List adventures. Hopefully, we'll finish up with a few of our must-do summer activities before it's time to generate a new list for Fall!