5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . {BLASTOFF}

You know what’s so great about my family at this stage in our lives!?! Everyone goes along with my ideas. They’re boys, so they really do not have much opinion on what the want to wear . . . and if they do, I convince them otherwise. For example, our Halloween costumes this past year. I mean, obviously the space theme was my idea and it was fantastic one!

I knew that I wanted Mars to be, well, Mars. So, the search was one for a planet costume . . . it was a tough search. Apparently planet costumes are not a thing. I found one pin on Pinterest that provided me with a little insight on how I could make the costume, which I have never ever done before.

I ordered the largest red lantern that I could find, this one on Amazon and red duct tape for reinforcement and bought some red acrylic craft paint in deep red and bright red to add some depth and make it look like a planet instead of just dressing him up as a paper lantern. From there, it was all just piecing stuff together and cutting holes where they needed to be, which was harder than I expected since the paper lantern has wires running through it. I had to use wire cutters for those parts. Another thing that I had to consider was how to make it stay in a circle shape, without the wire support that goes into the lantern. My solution was to cut a large embroidery hoop in half and tape half to each side. Then, I taped these lights to the inside of the lantern and used the battery packs as weights in the bottom.

Mars

Chan’s costume was much easier to find. I bought this Melissa & Doug astronaut costume second hand and then I was shopping in a thrift store one day and scored this silver, handmade, with hand sewn patches, and a handwritten “Armstrong” badge astronaut costume, likely from the 50’s for $4.99 and I couldn’t pass it up. You know I love vintage!

DSC_3575AstroChan

The dog got in on the fun with a rocket costume from PetsMart, which I picke up the day before Halloween for 75% off the original price.

DSC_3614DSC_3583I was a galaxy. I bought my leggings and sweatshirt from Amazon. Made a star headband out of ribbon, glitter, and felt, then painted my face to match.Crystal GalaxyIt was raining all day and I neglected to get a good family photo in the daylight. But, wanted to share a photo of all of our costumes together. Like I said, my husband is down for my ideas as long as all he has to do is wear a themed t-shirt . . . haha! It’s all about compromise.

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To the moon & back . . .

Moon-Man---Chan-to-Mars

 

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Nighttime {NOTES}

To my boys:

Chandler {CHAN} you are growing like a weed. Outgrowing all of clothes faster than I’d like to buy them. You are working on your sight words, and doing awesome! You told me that you want to learn how to read this summer, before you start Kindergarten, so we have started working on that. It seems as though you are barely going to preschool these days . . . I used to be pretty set on you going all of your scheduled days, then I realized that this is the last year, for 13 years, that you are going to have the easy option to skip school and go do fun things! So, I’ve loosened up and you’ve only been going one to two days a week now.

You are doing an awesome job taking care of your dog, Romeo. It’s amazing how much your relationship with him has turned around, he now respects you and listens to you like you are his owner, instead of his kid. You feed him, water him, and take him out. He lays in your bed until you fall asleep at night and he waits for you to wake up in the morning before he gets out of his bed.

Marshall {MARS} I cannot believe how much you’ve matured lately, especially in the past week! You’re now 25 months old, you’re potty trained (for 3 weeks now), you told me that you didn’t need your binkie anymore and handed it to me before bed last night, you are speaking so clearly, speaking in sentences, you learned your ABCs, and you are killing it on your educational games on your tablet.

You’ve finally learned “fear”. Things have been frightening you lately and it came as a shock to your brother, whom assumed you were fearless, and always made you lead the way into a dark room or scary situation. You’ve been frightened to tears several times this past week, and to be honest, I love consoling you afterwards. It’s been awhile since you’ve stood still long enough for me to hug on you. You are always on the go. Jumping, running, climbing, eating, and just overall busy . .  all. the. time.

Sleep tight little ones!

Love,

Your Mommy ❤

Moon-Man---Chan-to-Mars

{FIFTY-TWO} Weeks

52 weekScreen Shot 2015-12-31 at 9.26.54 AMs in a year; each documented by a photo of brotherhood, a look into a growing relationship, a relationship that changes on the daily. I had a hunch that this project would show the growing bond between Chan & Mars and I was right.

To recap: In 2013, I did #365daysofchandler and in 2014, I did #365daysofmarshall. In 2015 I decided to do a photo project that included both of them, together, with #52weeksofchanandmars.

Without further ado, unfortunately, in no particular order. I give you 52 weeks of Chandler & Marshall . . .
Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.28.35 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.28.51 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.29.38 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.30.02 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.30.18 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.30.32 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.30.47 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.31.01 PM
Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 1.32.19 PMApple picking, bike rides, bedtime stories, popsicles, puddles, fair rides . . . Awwwww, can I do it again next year? Maybe just continue the hashtag!?! Although, I do already have another project planned. In 2016, I’m planning to do a one second video per day. Not necessarily just of the kids, but of our everyday life, using the 1 Second Everyday app. I’m intrigued to capture a year of our lives in video.

{SUPER}Chan’s 5th Birthday

 

SuperChan’s fifth birthday party was a {SUPER} good time! Chan & his cousin, Car, are one day apart. This year, they both wanted a superhero party . . . so we decided having their parties together would be a lot of fun. All the little superheroes that attended had a blast playing the superhero games and running around in their capes that my Aunt and I made for them.

Chan-to-Mars-Blog---Superhero-Party---Super-CakeChan to Mars Blog - Superhero Party - Cake TableI made the boy’s cakes, then my Aunt & I added the fondant buildings. Super easy with a large impact! I made the buildings and cake toppers using a laser cutting machine. The black and white polka dot background is wrapping paper. My aunt made the superhero suckers and the dipped marshmallows. Of course, we couldn’t have a superhero party without having a Capt. America fruit tray 😉 Chan-to-Mars-Blog---Captian-America-Fruit-Tray---Superhero-PartyChan to Mars - Superhero Party - DetailsMy Aunt & I made each little superhero a personalized cape! We picked up the Ironman glider balloon at a local party store. It was a big hit with the kids & a nice greeting for the party guests. Chan-to-Mars---Superheo-Party---Pop-ArtChan to Mars Blog - Superhero Party - Black & White - Pop Art CakeChan to Mars Blog - Superhero Party GamesWe had four games; Hulk Smash, Pin the star on Capt. America’s shield, Get through Spidey’s Web & the Bat Signal. Hulk Smash was definitely the biggest “hit” of the party. Chan-to-Mars-_-Superhero-Party-_-FamilyWith love from my {SUPER} family to yours!

Five in {FIVE} Days!

Everyone says it, every day, but, seriously . . . where has the time gone? My baby will be FIVE in five short days. He’s absolutely ecstatic about it! He cannot wait to grow up, me on the other hand, I can wait.  I mean c’mon, look at those long baby eyelashes and that adorable freckled face. In another five short years it’s all going to be different.DSC_5274Chan-to-Mars---5-Years-Old-Every year he seems to grow leaps and bounds above the last, and this year is no different. He’s learning everyday, not just from school though, he’s very observant and constantly learning from others. I love to teach him because he’s always willing to soak up the knowledge. He just started his last year of preschool and he was so excited. He’s made several friends in our subdivision this year and he loves when we go on bike rides over to their houses to play. He loves to play with his brother, but hates to share. He’ll share with friends, just not his brother! He loves going out to the “farm” and going camping. He loves to eat junk food, so we have to be sneaky about the healthy foods. He loves biscuits & gravy, cheese toasted ravioli, and pizza. He likes sneakers and comfy pants. He likes collecting toys. He likes to play with cars, trucks, remote control cars, and superhero costumes. He loves to drive or ride anything motorized. He’s a surprisingly good driver! He’s still super funny, strong willed, with a phenomenal vocabulary, and an adorable smile.
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The {COUNTRY} Life

Chan to Mars - Boys in the Creek Chan to Mars - 5 Year old creek photoshootChan to Mars - Creek PhotoshootChan to Mars - 1950's Ford Truck PhotoshootChan thrives in the country life, as did I. I grew up in the country, in the middle of 12 acres, in the middle of nowhere with a creek on the back of the property, complete with a field of horses. My hometown is much more developed now than it was when I was a child, but it’s still what I would consider “country”. When we’re not camping we love going back to our hometown to visit with family and subsequently throw the boys into the country life . . . if only for a couple of hours, it’s worth it.

Nighttime {NOTES}

To my boys:

Chandler {CHAN} you’re really something . . . funny, independent, strong-willed, and determined. I don’t want to squelter your strong-willed mind, but at the same time I have to parent you, you have to be respectful, you have to be kind, you have to grow to be a caring and honest man. God gave us you to lead you, raise you and shape you into the person that you’re meant to be. At this point in time, I’d say we go through a power struggle on a daily basis and sometimes more than one. We’re all learning everyday! Your dad & I are learning that now is the time, although it probably should’ve been sooner, that we need to be really consistent in our parenting. We need to implement rewards and repercussions and stick to them.

11705434_10153116521561553_6083899514733047599_oYou’ve been saying really funny things lately . . . things that wouldn’t really be funny if an adult said them, but they’re hilarious when your little 4-year-old self says them. The other day your daddy said to you, “You’re really funny, huh, Chandler?” You said, “Mm, I don’t know. A lot of people seem to think so”. We laughed so hard, which proved your point. You’re just figuring out how to verbally express yourself more, it’s keeping us laughing and keeping us on our toes.

Marshall {MARS} you’re getting faster, wilder, and more talkative everyday! Our lives are so different this summer than they were last summer. This summer you are running, talking, yelling, eating everything and exploring on your own. You are obsessed with balls, particular bouncy balls and golf balls. You love “wah-wah” (water), “bahs” (clif bars), “Tanler” your “uh-bah” (brother), “ella”s (elephants), and “an-mols” (animals). You can say well over 30 words and you’ve started grouping 2-3 words together to tell us something, everyone’s favorite around here seems to be when you say, “hot poop”!

You’re pretty fearless! You’ll climb anything, jump off anything, and somehow you manage to not get hurt. You’ve always had this fantastical way about you . . . you could take the nastiest fall or do the scariest looking thing (like riding a 360 bike backwards down an inclined driveway), but you manage to come away unscathed. You’re amazing at catching yourself when you fall which always protects your face, it’s usually unfortunate for your knees, but a few scraps and bruises are your badge of honor for all your reckless stunts you perform.

Sleep tight little ones!

Love,

Your Mommy ❤

Moon-Man---Chan-to-Mars

Hot Town, Summer in the {CITY}

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty . . .

Regardless of the 93 degree temperatures and 90% humidity levels, we refused to stay in the house and took in a couple of outdoor activities in St. Louis this week. The St. Louis Zoo is absolutely fantastic! We always have a wonderful experience there and every time we go we see something new. Unfortunately, the big cats and the new polar bear were not visible when we went on Tuesday, but a lot of other animals came out to play . . .

butterflies, cheetah face Chimp Phil Sealions

Today, we visited Grant’s Farm and totally pushed Chan out of his comfort zone by feeding baby goats, riding a camel and throwing food into a camel’s mouth, he’s a little skittish around animals, especially large animals. His favorite part was running through the water mister and eating a snow cone.

Carousel & Camel Rides Grant's Farm Goats Misters

HONY-QuoteThis quote captured by HONY in 2011, reappeared in my Facebook newsfeed today & I thought it was totally appropriate for the summer. I’m going to let you in a little secret and with all the camping that we do, you’re probably not going to believe it . . . here goes; I hate summer, I hate bitting bugs, I hate heat, I don’t like to get “tan” & have a strong dislike for pools, beaches . . . and, uhg, don’t even get me started on water parks! But, I go out and do it anyway, I sweat through it, and endure the heat of that hot miserable sun to make memories for me and my boys. Summer breeds memories! Think back to your childhood, what do you remember most? SUMMER . . . swimming, frolicking (yep, I use to frolic) and playing outside all day long!

Camping With Kids {WITHOUT} Other Kids

Last summer we went to visit our friends that travel for a living, since they were a mere six hours away instead of 10-12 hours like normal. You can read about that trip here: Have Camper {WILL} Travel. Well, this summer they moved back to the same campground in IL after spending the winter in TX. The first weekend that we both had available, we packed up our things and made the trip again!

Camping with kids - Chan to Mars Blog Camping with kids - Chan to Mars Blog

Last year, we actually visited on my birthday weekend. This year we happened to visit on mother’s day weekend.  Now, I’m not going to lie . . . this is a hard trip for the boys because there are no other kids to play with. What 4-year-old wants to go camping only to be “stuck” to play with his little brother, who he plays with all the time? Definitely, not my 4-year-old! We only had one day of good weather this trip. Compound bad weather, limited outdoor play, no escaping your baby brother & you have a recipe for a disaster. There is nowhere for the boys to have their own “space” in our camper, so if they’re not playing outside then it seems like they are fighting inside.

Here’s some things we did wrong on this trip:

  1. Forgot multiple toys. Meaning two of a certain type of toy. We {ALWAYS} over-pack in the toy department & the kids barely play with any of it. Well, the time that we probably should have over-packed, the time when we are going without the entertainment of other children, we severely under-packed on toys. We forgot our sports balls, which keep the kids entertained around the campsite while we’re cooking meals. We forgot one of the bikes and we forgot to pack the little brother his own separate toy cars to avoid fights over his big brother’s toy cars.
  2. Didn’t pack rain gear. It rained the entire way there, while we were setting up, and while we were packing up. We forgot rain gear!! Rain coats, boots . . . we didn’t have any of it. We had two options; let the kids get soaked and cold or contain them in the camper. We let them do a little bit of both by alternating them in and out of the camper while we were setting up and packing up.
  3. Did not stick to the kid’s meal schedule. The only nice day we had, we were so excited to get out and about that we totally neglected the kid’s eating schedule, which is breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. Luckily, Mars snacked so much throughout the day that he didn’t even notice that he missed a meal. But, Chan was hanging with dad and frankly dad’s just do not think about those things. It did not end well.

Even though we made mistakes this trip and there were a few meltdowns, myself included. Our drive home was wonderful. It was a splendid Mother’s Day drive. We stopped at a lovely rest area in IL that had a little walking trail, picnic tables & a playground for the kids to run around and burn off some energy. It was my husband’s idea and it was a wonderful one. If you’re traveling with kids, definitely take advantage of rest stops for potty breaks and meal breaks . . . and eat the food you have packed! Way less stressful, healthier and free entertainment.

Rest Stop Trail

Happy Camping Y’all!
Moon-Man-in-Pines