Saturday, July 30, 2016

Fun in K-town

The town I affectionately refer to as "K-town" is Kinston, NC.  I attended my last two years of high school in this county in the eastern part of the state, and K-town won its way into my heart.  Okay, I admit those fond memories have more to do with the people that I was hanging out with those days.  One of my favorite old high school friends and one of the few that I still try to stay connected to is Regina.  We just couldn't visit the New Bern area again which is less than 30 minutes from Kinston and not catch up with our pals, Regina and Cooper.  Cooper and Evan are nearly the same age and really hit it off last summer.  Life, work, etc. keeps us from getting together nearly as often as I would like, but I am thankful for these summer trips that are allowing us to hang out.  Since we had done most of the sightseeing around New Bern last year, I wanted to hang out in Kinston for the day because I knew that there were some new additions to the town.  It was never a very big town when we were younger and still isn't, but it has gotten a few more fun updates.  I enjoyed seeing how this little town has grown and thrived through the years even through tough economic times.  And of course, the company made it even better. 
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This water park has been built in recent years as a collaboration between Kinston's Parks and Rec Department and their local Woodmen of the World Insurance business.  Mattox was still feeling a bit under the weather since our trip to the beach that weekend so he wasn't loving the water.  He mostly sat with Mommy and Ms. Regina and watched the bigger boys play.

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The boys loved the lazy river.  Regina pointed out that it wasn't that "lazy" of a river for relaxing because you would frequently get sprayed with water as you floated along. 

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I thought Mattox would enjoy this little lion which was a small slide for the younger kids.  He wasn't able to slide down by himself yet, and he wasn't happy about being put into the cool water.   Brody, of course, loved the slide.  There were 3 slides, but this one was the only one he was old enough to do although with a life vest, he would have loved the other ones.  I went up the stairs to encourage him to try it and then had to follow him down.  I had to overcome a severe case of claustrophobia for that feat as I hate enclosed and tight spaces like this slide.  We prefer more open slides, but Brody went down numerous times after this and loved it.

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He was very proud of himself for doing it all by himself. 

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Cooper demonstrated for Evan how to go down the zebra slide on a float. 

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He did it but never seemed to love it.  I think he prefers the slides without floats. 

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Happy water baby!

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He is so silly!

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It wasn't an easy feat to make the boys pose together for a picture.  Evan and Cooper just think they are too old for such nonsense these days.  Sigh. Brody did love following Cooper around, and you would think they were the brothers.  Haha!
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After eating lunch at a K-town landmark known as Pizza Villa where we spent many of our early school dismissal days eating lunch, we headed over to check out this little nature museum.  Cooper demonstrated how to touch a horseshoe crab.  Evan wasn't so brave although he did manage to touch one at the aquarium the next day. 

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Ugh, yeah, these are not my friends.  North Carolina boasts several varieties of very poisonous snakes like this copperhead and rattlesnake, and I take no chances and avoid them all. 

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These animals were a little cuter.  The bird loved singing "happy birthday."  I think the prairie dogs and even that little skunk lying on his back were pretty cute, and turtles are always a hit.

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But these creatures....ahhhhh!  Yep, they are the World's Most Dangerous Creatures!  Haha!

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Yikes, does that mouth need a cleaning.  I feel like I needed to scrub that tongue.  Haha!  The boys loved playing inside though.

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Brody investigated being digested in the stomach.  Yes, I am that mom who told him he came out as poop.  Haha!

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And exploring a giant heart.  The big boys had already left him to do big boy things, but we enjoyed being entertained by Brody.

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A little replica of the local hospital which actually had an under the sea theme inside.  Brody also entertained us with a puppet show and a magic show.  He is a multi-talented guy.

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Poor little Mattox still wasn't feeling well as he watched from the stroller.  He is just so sweet.  Maybe he was being hypnotized by the Foucault Pendulum?  Have you ever just watched one of these?  The principle is that it shows Newton's Laws of Motion at work as the pendulum never stops moving as long as nothing contacts it.  It appears to move in different directions throughout the day, but you have to realize that the pendulum isn't moving or changing direction so it must be the floor and the earth that is rotating. 

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As their last fun activity together, we took a little train ride.  Brody may have developed many other interests lately, but he still appreciates a train.  He loved spying things like this horse and totem pole on the ride.

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There were also miniatures of local buildings and a cave with a BEAR!  Yikes!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Enjoying June {2016}

As has become the norm, our June was short and busy as the only month our kids will get out of school for the summer and as we spend half of it traveling with Daddy for work.  We tried to pack a lot into the month around our traveling adventures.  The weather wasn't as hot as the previous year, and we didn't start getting really hot until July.  Still, we do stick to activities to help keep us cool as the weather heats up.
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Evan finished up the 3rd grade and got to bring home this big art project he was very proud of.  He painted his life size Egyptian mummy coffin complete with his name in hieroglyphics. It is currently hanging on his closet door in his room.
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My little Ferdinand with a flower he picked.
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This little guy has become so independent lately and loves feeding himself.  He ate all of the egg and sausage from his biscuit for breakfast.  We do have to watch him and keep him from stuffing too much food in his mouth because he just wants to keep shoveling it in.

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This boy entertained Evan's class at his end of year project presentation.

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Cousin Grady came to play and enjoyed turning the sand table into a mud table by mixing the water and sand together.  He's a mess. 

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Little Mattox watched the fun from the window and really wanted to join the fun.  It was very hot although most of our patio was shaded.  I put water in the water tables to help them keep cool. 

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Sweet cousins playing together.  Those boys were soaked!

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I wouldn't let them back in the house when they were covered with sand and water so we hosed them off.  They loved Daddy chasing them with the water hose.  And you got to love little boys running around in their underwear and diapers.

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Mattox climbed through the tunnel by himself with a little help from big brother Brody.

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The boys love this pretty fountain water feature and playground at a shopping center in Cary where we like to eat at one of our favorite places.

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Most of the playground is very hot with no shade in summer, but they have a little kids' play area with a big umbrella over it for shade so Mattox could enjoy playing for a little while.

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These boys still haven't seen The Angry Birds Movie.  I think we went to see Zootopia at the cheap theater that we love. 

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The boys and I were just killing time in Raleigh and decided to walk around my old college campus at Meredith.  It was pretty hot outside so we decided to check out the library and were pleasantly surprised to find they had added a whole kids' section downstairs.  This area used to be taken up for research books, law books for the paralegal program I took, and my old college campus job at MCTV station (the college's TV station). 

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The boys love a good fountain, and I just knew I was going to have to pull Brody out of this one.  It is very shallow and almost ground level around it.  This one is in the middle of the main courtyard with the main dorm buildings surrounding it.  I remember my first winter here when we got one of our biggest snow storms on record.  This whole courtyard filled up like a bowl with snow at least 12 feet deep.  It was so fun!
 End of School Pool Party!

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Evan's Cub Scout friend, Kyle, and his parents hosted lots of school and Cub Scout friends to a fun pool party at their home.  They live on some beautiful property with two ponds, a huge yard, and a beautiful house and pool.  The boys had a blast on one of the hotter days of the month.  It was actually Memorial Day weekend so our neighborhood pool was filled to capacity, and we were thankful to be able to enjoy swimming in a less crowded pool.

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Evan enjoyed a crazy water gun fight while Brody preferred to enjoy the full ice cream sundae bar.  He had two bowls of ice cream.  Sigh.

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Mattox enjoyed hanging out with Daddy in the shade while taking a swim break.

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Of course, the boys loved the diving board.  Evan had missed having a diving board to practice his jumping.  No diving yet.

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But he can get some crazy high jumps.

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My baby and I enjoyed cooling off in the shady side of the pool.

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And Brody was not going to be outdone by big brother Evan and enjoyed doing some jumping too.  At most public pools, he wouldn't be allowed to jump off the diving board since he still wears floaties, but I love that he got to enjoy himself here.  We are working on swimming some without our floaties, but he is still pretty hesitant.

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We started Evan's second week out of school by visiting this little splash pad at the playground we love in Cary while Evan was taking a little art class at an art studio in the shopping center.  I had checked the week before when we were there and realized they were doing summer art classes and this week was the only one he could really do it so I signed him up for Monday's class when they would be painting their own versions of Van Gogh's Starry Night.

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This baby was not thrilled with the cool water shooting out in the splash pad and did his very best pouty face.

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Brody enjoyed the water and running around with his truck in the water.

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Mattox did touch the water a little before he attempted to crawl away and then stayed over at the fence as far from the water as he could get.  He loves water, but he still doesn't like moving water very much.

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Big brother Brody loves letting the water shoot him in the face.  Haha!

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There was no shade, and I was afraid Mattox's head would burn so I tried to keep his hat on him.  He usually takes it off as soon as I put it on, but he will keep it on longer when it is backwards.

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Big brother showing us his masterpiece.  This was his first experience painting on canvas, but I think he would benefit from more instruction.  This "classes" are just handled by young high school students so they really don't teach much technique. Evan finished his painting quickly so he could color which kind of disappointed me.  We decided to do some painting practice at home later in the month to see what he could really do with more instruction and supervision.
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This kid is a mess.  He plays hard and sleeps hard.  I found him sleeping like this in the living room half on the end table and half on the couch one day while I was fixing us lunch.

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Yes, we do think Mattox's hair looks very similar to Mr. Einstein's.  Haha!

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The boys were playing cowboys together one morning.  Brody is the bandit, of course.  Mattox won because he was holding the canteen.

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We have been doing baby walking boot camp a lot trying to get this boy to let go and walk.  He did get really good at standing on his own while we were at the beach. 

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We stopped to leave some flowers for Nana on our way home from our travels to the coast.  I had planned to take these flowers way back at Easter and then Mother's Day.  Her birthday was June 18th so we got them to her just a few days after her birthday.  She is buried beside her parents, my grandparents.  Granny died at age 90 the year Evan was born.  I am so glad she got to meet Evan.

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We enjoyed a few days at home before heading to the mountains the next week.  Mattox just looked too cute that morning.  I love the silly face with his tongue hanging out.

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Brody had missed his pal, Cocoa.  She couldn't go to the beach with us and stayed with Grandma.

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My little soccer fan was excited about the Copa America tournament that weekend.   We had lucked out and found this USA Copa America jersey at TJ Maxx that week, and he wore it proudly.

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We started our painting projects for Father's Day while we were in New Bern waiting for Daddy to finish his first teacher's academy. Evan and I had picked this painting from Pinterest as we thought he could it better and get a good idea of blending colors and brush techniques.

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I painted my own version of Starry Night, and Brody and I worked on this cute dinosaur art. 

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Brody enjoyed taking some silly pictures of us while we were watching the Copa America championship in our hotel room.  He caught Mattox in a fussy mood while I was trying to cut his fingernails.  Do all kids think this is torture?  He hates having to sit still and let me hold his hands. 

That just wraps up the in between moments from our month of traveling. 


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