Our Blog

First Day of School: Preschool


My second baby on his first day of preschool.  Cason was SO EXCITED to finally go to preschool.  He had been talking about it for a whole year!  When the night before came, he was even too excited to sleep.  We found him quietly sitting at the bottom of the stairs at 9:30pm.  I was curious as to how he would do when I dopped him off.  Sometimes he gets really nervous about being left so I thought there might be some of that.  But he was in no way needing me to stay.  I asked him if he wanted me to go or if I should stay longer.  He said I could go.  His teachers told me he did great!  And he was super excited to tell me everything he did.  He is much better at that than Corbin.  

I love my sweet Cason and am so excited for this new stage of his life!!  


This is going to be an awesome year!!

First Day of School: Kindergarten


My first baby on his first day of Kindergarten.  This is extremely bittersweet.  Okay, it's mostly just bitter for me at this point but I'm sure that we will all come to love it eventually.  Corbin never seemed nervous, just always excited and I am glad for that.  It would probably be harder to let him go if he didn't want to.  And I've been plenty nervous for the both of us.  I think it's mostly that I will have less and less control over his day to day life and that's frightening.  

That being said, it is also really exciting to get to see the growth that will happen in this new stage of life.  I am confident in Corbin's abilities socially and academically so I think he will do great and any problems that do come up I know we can handle it.  The majority of 5 year olds survive Kindergarten with no life lasting problems.  

We love our sweet Corbin and can't wait to hear all about his first day!


Our Summer of Fun

End of Summer Thoughts:

I thought this was a really fun summer and even though there were surprises and my summer schedule didn't work out exactly according to plan, I was glad I attempted it.  I think it will make future summers easier and I will have a better idea of what works and what doesn't.  (Tip 1: Don't move if you want a smooth summer!)

All in all, this will definitely be a summer to remember and I'm glad I took this summer to spend extra time with my babies.  There is definitely nostalgia as we are about to send our oldest off to Kindergarten!


I decided since this will be my last summer with all my kids home before real school starts that I wouldn't put any of the kids in summer school.  This way I could also put both boys in swim lessons every day for 6 weeks to help them become better in the water.  I have also seen ideas to create a theme for each day to help schedule activities a little better and use less TV and iPads, etc.  I knew that this schedule would work best for all our personanalities, but of course there is flexoibility and relaxing to help make it a little less strict.

Here are some quick links of what we do each week and the pictures and explainations that go along with it.  I will be adding to these throughout the summer so you can check back to see what we are up to!

Make it Monday

Take it Easy Tuesday

Work the Body Wednesday

Time to Read Thursday

Field Trip Friday


Field Trip Friday

Fridays theme was kind of stolen.  I came up with the name to make it fit in with Friday's but the concept is the same as others.  Some of the places we want to go on a field trip:

-childrens museum
-hiking spots

Week 1

Our first summer field trip was to Abe's work where they were having a big carnival to celebrate 25 years.  They had so many different booths of food, with, rides, bounce houses, a Cirque de Soleil show, crafts!  It was great for the kids and nice not to have to pay for anything!  


Week 2

We deciced to go to the Children's Museum since I saw they had a Curious George exhibit and the boys have been liking Curious George lately.  It was also good to be inside since it has been very hot lately!  Here are some of the pictures.


Okay, so I'm going to rant about the above picture.  I figure this is our blog and this is definitely something I want my kids to know and learn and DO, so this is for them!  

We got into the Curious George room and the boys saw this exhibit where they could turn that wheel and there was a lever that would move these blocks around.  So, of course, Corbin wanted a turn.  But there was a boy already there.  We moved on and would come back.  After about 10 minutes, Corbin said he wanted a turn.  I looked over and saw the same boy there.  I told Corbin to go wait in line.  So he did.  He waited and waited and waited and waited.  For at least another 5 minutes or so.  The boy would not budge and the boys grandfather was not saying anything.  Corbin said he still wanted a turn, so I told Corbin to ask the boy if he could have a turn.  The boy said no and the grandfather did nothing.  Corbin would wait a little bit longer and than ask again.  "No" would always be the reply.  The grandfather kept trying to get Corbin to take a block to put in the machine so his grandson could stay at the wheel.  I told the grandfather that Corbin was waiting for a turn at the wheel.  The grandfather just said "okay' but did nothing.  Finally, I was getting really fed up and I started asking the boy to give Corbin a turn.  I was getting more and more insistent when finally the grandmother came over and tried for a few more minutes to get her grandson to give up the wheel.  That is when Corbin finally got his to do it for one minute before we let another kid have a turn.  

So what do I want my kids to learn from this?  Please be considerate!  Please, please, please!  I've always said that the number one quality I would love for my kids to possess is kindness towards others.  I really truly believe that is the most important thing I could ever teach them.  There will be times in their lives where they are taken advantage of and that will be hard but it's just a part of life.  There are times where they can sacrifice something they want for the benefit of others.  There will be times where they CAN stick up for themselves and they can STILL BE KIND!


Week 3

Since yesterday was the 4th of July and we were up late, I didn't want to do too big of an outing.  The boys had been wanting to go to the Lego store for a few weeks now, so we went to the mall to have lunch and check out the Lego store.  I had planned on letting the kids play at the play place, but they didn't want to leave the Lego store.  I also was able to get an errand done while there!  Yay!


Week 4

Kinsley had a rough night the night before so I wasn't really wanting to do much field tripping and since we went to Happy Hollow the day before, I didn't think it was super necessary.  But in the late morning it was becoming very clear that we needed to get out of the house.  I wasn't feeling good, the kids were crazy so we headed out for a walk.  Since it was going to be close to lunch time I decided we better go out for lunch.  My first plan for lunch didn't work since there was construction and it would have been hard to get there by walking.  So we went to the next place.  Armadillo Willy's.  

As we started ordering, I realized I might look crazy with these 3 kids by myself.  That was confirmed by the man taking the order asking me if I'm just extremely exhauseted every night.  I told him I'm exhausted every morning too and he thought that was pretty funny.  For some reason, I don't think that's very funny.  At this place, they give you a pager to pick up your food, and this worker told me he would bring the food to me and if I wanted he could get me the drinks too.  Very nice!  Not so many people offer to help so I appreciate it when someone does!

Once we sat down to eat, I started noticing the kids were being really good.  The TV had the Tour de France on and they would ask me questions about it.  They were sitting nicely in their chairs, eating their food, talking at a normal level (instead of screeching or screaming) and it was all around just a pleasant meal.  At one point the A/C was pointing directly at the boys and so they were getting cold.  Corbin pulled his chair closer to me and I put my arm around him and Cason brought his plate to me and he sat on my lap.  But still they were being so good.  I was sitting there just enjoying them and this (rare) moment when a man came over and said "I just have to tell you that your kids are so well behaved.  It is so good to see."  I thanked him and smiled because I felt the same way.  I made sure to tell the boys how great they were being and how much I appreciated it.  

So even though we didn't get much of a field trip (and no pictures) it was a specail moment for me!

Week 5

Driving to Utah!

Week 6

Driving home from Utah!

Week 7

Since this was the last full day with Nana, we decided to do something fun.  Nana got us tickets to Gilroy Gardens.  None of us have ever been there and it was a lot of fun!  It also counts as a field trip!

IMG 7978

Week 8

Since we went to the beach earlier this week, we stayed home.  But we did have a play date with friends who will be moving soon and then had Uncle Cole come visit.  None of which I got any pictures of.  I did get a fun video of some dancing!

This browser cannot play the embedded video file.

Week 9

We went swimming at my mom's pool and I didn't get any pictures.  But it was fun as our last field trip of the summer!  Kinsley did try to be a big girl later and ride her brothers bike.  STOP GROWING UP LITTLE GIRL!!!


Time to Read Thursday

This idea I stole again.  Having reading be a big part of summer is important to me and I want it to be important to my kids!  Some of our ideas (besides just reading):

-story time
-make books
-put on a play
-story bag
-tell stories

Week 1

We started the morning off by coloring and telling stories about what we were drawing.  It's fun to hear what their minds come up with.


We had some books we needed to return to the library so we went there and checked out some new ones. 


 (A side story about one of the books and my dad.  There is a book that Corbin LOVES called "The Littlest Dinousaur" that we check out periodically.  Years ago, my dad read this book to Corbin.  But I hadn't reminded him about it or anything.  When we were walking out of the library and he had the book in his hand, Corbin asked me, "Mom, how old was I when Grandpa Jeff read me this book?"  I told him about 3 or 4.  Then when Connor got home from work he told him that.  I am hoping that this will be a memory he always has of my dad since I know there won't be too many (if any) from any of my dad's grandkids.)

Week 2

I found a way to make a simple book out of a single sheet of paper and showed the boys and they thought it was pretty cool.  So we made books and then read the rest of the library books we hadn't finished.  


Week 3

We were busy celebrating the 4th of July.  See HERE for what we did this day!

Week 4

The only thing reading related we did this day was return books the library before swim lessons.


We were invited to go to a little zoo/theme park that afternoon, so we did that instead.  


Week 5

We left for Utah late morning so there was nothing but finishing packing for the trip, packing for the move, and driving left to do this day.  

Week 6

We were on our way home from Utah.  We saw a lot of this:

IMG 7910

Week 7

Still not being the best of keeping our schedule but we did tell stories before nap time.


Week 8

In the morning, Connor read on his iPad with Kinsley.  She kind of took over.  Dad is a pushover for his baby girl.


After Kinsley's nap we headed to the library to trade in the boys reading lists for their new book.  


THe librarians were impressed they had read so many books.  Cason had 32 and Corbin had 28!  They also wanted to give them an extra prize for having their name on their list.  Apparently, no one does that.  We LOVE reading in our house!  Corbin chose a Star Wars reader book and Cason chose Sponge Bob.  

Week 9

We did do some reading this day but I didn't get any pictures.  Just this cute close up of Corbin!


Work the Body Wednesday

This idea I came up on my own.  I wanted a day where we focused on being active.  Some of the ideas we came up with:

-jump rope

Week 1

I will admit that this day didn't go exactly according to plan.  The boys had gotten home from swim and didn't feel like doing anything but playing with toys.  I tried to get them excited about some of the things, but they didn't want to.  So i just changed up plans and decided that after naps we would be more active. and we were.  We walked to Target after naps.  


After dinner we walked to another store and then came home and played bubbles and jump rope before bed!


Week 2

I was determined to have a better work the body day today.  So as soon as Kinsley was down for a nap, we went outside to play.  The boys rode bikes, scooters, did jump ropes, chased bubbles, and we had races.  


Then we had lunch with Daddy!


Week 3

I knew since this was the 1 year mark since my dad passed away that I couldn't be too worried about sticking to our summer schedule.  It turns out we got to do some fun outside play and "work the body" things anyway.

I thought it was especially cool that my boys wanted to play a little baseball.  Here are some of the fun things we did!


Week 4

There were things we needed to take care of this day so I couldn't do much in the way of working the body.  They did jump off the couch onto the bean bag and ran around when we met Connor for lunch, so I count that!


Week 5

Does letting kids play while I move stuff count?  Well, it's going to have to since that is what we did!


Week 6


Week 7

The kids sort of helped Nana out in the yard.  Kinsley ate dirt.  That has something to do with the body.


Week 8

Another not really sticking to the schedule day.  Corbin did lose his first tooth right after swim.


We also went and dropped off our keys to the old place.  I let the kids run around our empty old house for a minute.

IMG 8036

Luckily, the boys said they still want to live at the new house!

Week 9

We tried a little harder this time to work our bodies.  


Playing ball and then walk to the store.


Take it Easy Tuesday

Tuesday theme idea was my own.  I needed a day that we could just not have set plans.  We could use it for play dates, park days, errands, or just hanging around the house doing.  I still came up with ideas for us to do in case they got bored.  So far, my kids have never said they were bored.  But I did find a cute sign another mom made just in case they did get bored.  I'm sure I will use this more as my kids get older.

Been creative?
Outisde play?
Read a book?
Exerciesed for 10 minutes?
Done something helpful?

Some of our taking it easy ideas:

-play at home
-got for a walk
-run errands
-board games

Week 1

We really did just stay at home.  The boys have really been into legos so they played some of those for a little and we just genreally relaxed!


Week 2

Today we relaxed and played a few games  and then went for a walk!


Week 3

Today the boys really wanted to play with the iPad.  Since it is on the list of stuff to do this day, I let them.  


After Kinsley woke up from her nap, we went to our ward's park day.  It was nice this park had a splash pad since it has been really warm lately.  Kinsley LOVED it.  She spashed and played and squealed!


This browser cannot play the embedded video file.

Week 4

With getting ready for moving and our trip, I've been slightly slacking on our summer schedule plans.  I still try to take a picture every day even if it's not exactly the theme.  This week for our take it easy day, I let the kids watch a show.  


Then we went to park day.  Here's Kinsley on our way.


After dinner we went to a cupcake shop where Kinsley looked so old sitting at the kids table.


The boys loved this rocket ship but I was annoyed that a worker yelled at the boys for touching it.  Come on?  A cupcake shop with shelves and shelves of toys and a kids table but you put in a rocket ship that kids can't touch?  Makes no sense.  Corbin asked me to get a picture of him with it though.


Week 5

For this taking it easy day, I packed and the boys played.  Hey, I got kinda jipped on the taking it easy part.

IMG 7644

But I can't complain because this was the day we got the keys to our NEW HOUSE!


Week 6


Week 7

Unpacking.  But the boys did go to a movie with Nana and Papa.  That was taking it easy for those boys!

Week 8

I guess we took it so easy that the only picture I took was in the evening looking outside our bedroom window.


Week 9

We ran errands and played and had the missionaries over for dinner.  The boys are so into Legos but they aren't allowed to play with them until Kinsley is taking a nap.  So as soon as they see me start taking her to bed they put away the toys their playing with and get the table all set up for their Legos.  Seriously this is every day.  


The plastic bags were my feeble attempt at trying to keep the colors organized.  I gave up but the bags still go in the bin.  Connor told me I was crazy to try and keep them organized but the boys would ask me to help them build the car or the helicopter or whatever it was they had the instructions for and it is SO hard to do without them organized. But now they are doing a little better just building whatever they can.

Funny faceS!


Cason did have a bit of tantrum.  It's not unusual but I did take pictures which was the unusual part.


He didn't to share a half a bite of his lunch with Kinsley and was very upset that I took some.  

We had the missionaries over and ate on the deck where we eat the majority of the time now.


Make it Monday

Mondays theme idea I completely stole from someone else.  But I figured it would encompass a lot of activities we could do!  Here are some of the ideas I came up with and also I used Pinterest for more ideas:

-fruit/veggie kebabs
-rice krispie treats
-4th of July craft
-science experiments

Week 1

Our first official day of summer, the boys wanted to make chocolate chip cookies.  I have been trying so many different recipes lately to find the perfect cookie.  And I think I finally found the one.  Funny thing is that it was the first recipe that came up when I googled "Chocolate Chip Cookies".  

It took the boys a few minutes to realize that they were going to help me make the cookies and not just me make them for them.  Cason usually likes to help but Corbin not so much.  Luckily, he seemed really into it!


Week 2

I saw a cute and EASY 4th of July craft and since next week is the 4th, I decided today would be the day to make it.  We came home from swim and got started.  They are fire crackers made out of the toilet paper roll.


After we made our craft, Cason and I made him hot chocalte.  Sounds crazy to do in the summer, but they had swim lessons in the rain this morning so they needed warming up.


Week 3

Today we decided to make 4th of July cupcakes to celebrate this week.  The boys have been really excited about the 4th of July and keep asking when we are going to have a "firework party".  I saw this idea on Pinterest and figured it would be super easy.  Unfortunately, we had a few mishaps in making easy cupcakes.  First, I accidentally turned off the oven timer while they were baking.  I thought I was turning off the oven light.  Oops.  The cupcakes are a little well done.  The second mishap was I think my shortening I used for the frosting was bad.  (I didn't even know shortening could go bad) So the frosting tasted weird.  So I made a new batch and it was much better.  Then for the top, we put red and blue Pop Rocks to give a little kick, like fireworks.  The boys loved to eat them…not so much make them.


Week 4

Cason has been begging me to let him paint so today's project was to let them paint.  The funny thing is Corbin lasted A LOT longer doing it than Cason did.  EIther way it was minimal prep and clean up so it was good all around!


Week 5

Since we were packing for the move and our trip this week was sort of a bust as far as our summer fun schedule went.  I tried my best but it is what it is.  Legos was the best I could manage of something to make.


Week 6


Week 7

Another lame-o week since we have been trying to get the house unpacked and put together.  I don't think I even took one picture.  Next week hopefully should be better.

Week 8

My cousin was visiting this week and she wanted to go to the beach.  So for our Make it Monday we made SANDCASTLES!  


Week 9

I tried to get the boys to help me make dinner for tonight.  I thought they could cut the olives for the enchiladas.  They did about half a can and then told me they were going outside to play.  When it was time to put the olives on I asked them to come help but they weren't interested.  I did get the one picture of them cutting the olives though.


Swim Lessons

I signed the boys up for 6 weeks of swim lessons this summer!  It was great.  It felt a lot like summer every day because we were at the pool so much.  They got to learn a lot of the basics and get better and more comfortable in the water.  We didn't have too many problems and overall they seemed to enjoy it! They were split up into 3 sessions, 2 weeks per session.  That meant changing teachers.  The boys loved their first session teachers so I was a little worried how the next one would go.  But luckily my kids are pretty resisilent and did really well. By the last session they seemed more afraid of going off the diving board though.  Not sure what that was all about. Here are some of the pictures:


© The Duke Fam 2014