Say Cheese!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Last year, on Cullen's first beach trip, we started a tradition of taking a family picture every year at the beach. I really love how some of these turned out this year, and can't wait to get them in frames.

It has already been made clear by other family members that I cannot choose our colors next year. Something about I only pick colors based on pieces in my closet. Not true...I was just lucky enough to find this dress after I picked the colors. I decided on the colors based on what Cullen already had. ;)


Tuesday, July 29, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, we went on our annual family beach trip. We usually take our time getting down their and try to be at the beach house by lunch time. We decided to mix things up this year and left early enough to make it to the aquarium just after it opened.

Cullen loves animals and always has fun at the zoo, so I was thrilled to see his reaction to all the sea creatures. And it did not disappoint. It is a bit of understatement to say that Cullen loved every minute of the aquarium. He pointed out every fish, turtle, crab, snake, shark, and lobster he saw. (His favorite were the turtles!) I think he would have sat at each tank all day watching the fish swim around.

The best part may have been the touch tank. He got to pet a starfish and horseshoe crab (and would have been able to pet a sting ray if they weren't so quick!)  If we had let him, he would have jumped right in the tank. Talk about pure happiness. I mean, look at that smile!

I wish I could fully describe how beyond excited Cullen really was and capture how infectious his smile was the whole time. I'd say making our little animal lover's day was worth getting up at 4:30 in the morning!

I'll be back later this week with more about our week at the beach. What have y'all been up to this summer? Any fun trips or adventures?

Eighteen Months

Monday, July 21, 2014
Cullen got to celebrate his half birthday at the beach. He's so lucky. And so much fun! I think it's safe to say this is my favorite stage so far. He is a smart, adventure seeking, belly laughing eighteen month old. He so much fun to be around and constantly makes us laugh.

Cullen's favorite activities these days are wrestling, building, coloring, and dancing. He will out of the blue yell 'wrestle' and then body slam you. Or he will walk to the middle of the living room floor, lay down, and demand that you come 'wrestle'. He also loves building with his mega blocks. He yells 'build', dumps all of the blocks out on the floor, and gets to work. He will knock over what anyone else builds, but he wants you to play with him. Go figure. Coloring mainly consists of a few scribbles in a coloring book and trying to keep him from eating the crayons, which he finds hysterical. (Side note, have you seen these crayons. We love them!) His favorite song to dance to right now is "Happy". He claps and sings "yeah" and "happy" right on cue. It may just be the cutest thing ever!

I am constantly amazed at how articulate Cullen is and how many new words he picks up every day. He can repeat and remember just about any two syllable word. And three syllable words are shortened, but usually still recognizable. You can tell he is the child of a math major because he knows what a protractor is and calls it a 'uhtractor'. He is also starting to put words together. He tells Macey to 'um ear' (come here) when he wants to play or thinks she needs to go outside. He says 'not me' when he may or may not have done something. And he says 'get it' or 'i get it' when he wants something. Like with wrestling and building, he tends to announce what he is getting ready to do. Which is super helpful in keeping up with him. He even yells 'water' right before he dumps the dogs water all over the floor. 

While he makes plenty of messes, he is always eager to help clean them up. If he spills milk, he asks for something to clean it up by saying 'mess' until you give him a paper towel. And he loves to point out dirt on the floor I haven't cleaned. Isn't that sweet of him?

One of my favorite things these days is how Cullen holds my hand all the time. He holds my hand going up and down the stairs, walking outside, taking me to the pantry for a snack. My heart melts into a puddle every time his sweet little hand reaches up for mine. And every time he blows a kiss or gives a bear hug. I love this little red head more than I ever thought possible!

Happy eighteen months Cullen!

Our Fourth of July

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. We certainly did! We had Corey's family and my family over to grill out on Friday. Cullen greeted each grandparent with big smiles and huge bear hugs. He was beyond thrilled that everyone was there to see him! Because let's face it...that's the real reason everyone came to visit. ;)

I made sweet tea and a summer punch, Corey manned the grill for burgers and hot dogs, and everyone brought a side to share. It was all so yummy!

After we ate (and got the leftovers back inside away from the flies) we pulled out Cullen's water table and pool to help him cool off. It wasn't too long before all of the adults joined in too. In case you are wondering, three adults can comfortably stand in the baby pool at once. Cullen drank water straight from the hose and shared with everyone else. Nothing says summer more than drinking from the hose on a blistering hot day. I loved watching Cullen play with his grandparents, aunt, and uncles. It melts my heart to see how much he loves each of them!

Cullen went to bed as the sun started to set, and the rest of us got the fire pit going to enjoy some smores and neighborhood fireworks. 

Before everyone left, we pulled out some sparklers for some last minute fun. All of the big kids men got in on the action and let me play around with my camera while they danced around played with the sparklers in a manly way. LOVE was the only four letter word we could come up with, but the picture turned out pretty great! (For a first attempt especially.) Maybe Cullen will stay up long enough to enjoy the sparklers and fireworks next year.

I love any excuse to have everyone over, and this holiday is always a great time of food, fun, and celebration! How did you spend your July 4th?

Seventeen Months

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Things have been a little quiet around here lately.  We have been busy trying to fill our summer with fun and I have been trying to be more intentional about being a part of the fun instead of viewing everything through the lens of my camera.  That means less to share here, but I don't mind.  It is nice to take a break every once in a while and enjoy making memories instead of being so concerned with documenting them. But after a little break, I am ready to get back to posting more often.

Our little boy is definitely not a baby anymore. At seventeen months old, he is growing up way to fast. He thinks he is too big for a high chair, thinks he can go up and down the stairs himself, thinks he is too big for naps, knows how to tell us exactly what he wants and knows where everything is (mostly snacks), and repeats everything we say. 

I can't even keep track of what words he knows anymore.  I think he adds a handful of new words to his vocabulary every day. I love listening to him talk, especially when he doesn't know we are listening. He has the sweetest little voice, and makes even the most insignificant words sound adorable. My favorites these days are the way he says cookie, bug, 'sicle (popsicle), 'side (outside), and of course mommy and daddy. I know every mom thinks their child is a genius, but seriously, Cullen is the smartest toddler ever! He has a fantastic memory, knows a lot of animal sounds (cow, sheep, snake, owl, horse, dog), says "shhhh!" when you tell him a secret, points out every car, bus and bird we pass on the road, and voluntarily throws away any piece of trash he finds. 

Cullen's favorite activities these days are going to the pool, where he desperately wants to play with the big kids and flirts with all of the teenage girls, searching for bugs, eating popsicles, jumping on the couch cushions, and playing outside as much as possible. 

Aside from the few temper tantrums we are forced to endure, and the joys of teething, this is a really fun age. Cullen is so much fun to be around. He has the most infectious laugh and we have the best time playing together. I love the little boy that he is becoming. He is smart, bold, sweet, and loving. His wrinkled-nose, whole-face smiles are my favorite, and he can brighten even the grayest of days. I hope the memories we are making now stay with us forever!

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