Weekend Snapshot: Fall Fun!

I haven’t blogged in awhile! Mostly because I’m adjusting to the new rhythms of life with fall back in the swing of things! I thought it would be fun to do a weekend snapshot of what our weekend looked like and an update on the Lopez Twinsies and what’s been going on in our neck of the woods!

Lopez Twinsies:

  • Slaying preschool: Amazing teachers, new friends, learning so much – I LOVE PRESCHOOL. I will miss this school deeply when they have to move on to kindergarten. They’re learning to read which is awesome and I feel like my babes are so loved.
  • Fiercely Protective of Each Other: Mess with one twin, you are messing with the other. “Don’t do that to him! That’s my BRUDDER [brother]…” this is a line you can hear them saying often. I love how they have each other’s backs.
  • Extremely Entertaining: If you want to be entertained, listen in on a conversation between four-year-olds. In the morning, Micah stands over Josiah’s bed shouting “WAKE UP JOSIAH! WAKE UP! THE SUN IS OUT!” We have unplugged the light in their room, removed the lamp, done all we can to try to keep it dark (room darkening shades) and buy us more sleep time in the morning. They are still up at 7 am or earlier every day. Yes, I know some parents are up earlier but what we wouldn’t trade to sleep until 8 or later!!
  • Fighting/Whining is Super Real: You haven’t lived if you haven’t listened to toddlers fight and whine for 48390284 in a row. This part of this age is not too fun! We have been working on how not to be a whiny baby all day long. They are still works in progress.
  • Snugglefests Going Strong: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it a thousand times. One of the things I love most about this age is the unrestrained, uninhibited love, snuggling, and just affection these boys shower me with. It hasn’t stopped at four (as it shouldn’t!) and hopefully it never stops. Love being a mommy to these two!!

 Weekend Snapshot: 

This weekend was really nice because it consisted of a lot of family time! Hubs and I can have a schedule that can be opposites at times, so it’s a really fabulous thing when we can be at the same place at the same time and dedicate time to some solid uninterrupted family time!

Friday night we decided to carve the pumpkin we got from on the boys’ field trip this week to a farm, which was a blast!

Friday Night:

Spent time carving the pumpkin, as mentioned before. The boys were super excited, even though daddy obviously did most of the carving. It was fun and a nice tradition that we started last year and plan to continue with them.

After pumpkin carving, towards their bed time, mommy got to catch up with one of her besties and have a night out which included in typical mommy fashion: Panera Bread and Target. AND I’M NOT MAD ABOUT IT. Praise Him y’all.

Saturday:

The boys and I spent some time meeting up with a friend and her daughter at a local park! They had the chance to walk through trails and explore which they love to do. This also gave Dad some time to do some things for work and around the house without having us all follow him all the time (which is honestly what we all do haha).

Sunday: 

Favorite day of the week for so many reasons! First off, it’s the day we have our church service. I love Jesus and love my church! Sundays are a huge highlight for my family. Today I had the opportunity lead worship, which is always a blessing! My highlight for this weekend though, was heading down to the shore with my babies. We told them that we had a surprise for them and were taking them to a “surprise.” After church finished and we got in the car and told them where we were going, THEY WERE SO EXCITED. Like their mom, the beach is one of their absolute favorite spots to go to and I knew this was probably going to be the last hurrah as the weather starts to cool down. I’ve written about it before but it is our fave!

We wanted to grab a bite at our favorite pizza spot, but we couldn’t get to it because it looked like the boardwalk had been torn up and it was blocked off around that area! Because we were starving, we went to Manco and Manco’s instead (which is our second favorite spot for pizza) and made do.

Manco and

After that, we went to grab some ice cream!

The boys decided they wanted to walk around on the beach. They insisted on being able to run into the water, which meant drenched jeans and rolled up pants, but they had a blast! It was such a breath of fresh air being able to take some time as a family and go to our favorite place. Especially before we dive into a really hectic week!

 

As the boys were playing in the sand and I was watching them play together, all I could do was just be GRATEFUL. Grateful to have a happy, healthy family. I’m a blessed woman.

Hoping to get back on the blogging bandwagon regularly again soon! Until next time!

My Top 10 Places in and Around South Jersey to Check Out if You have a Toddler

Top 10 Places to Visit with Toddlers in South Jersey

I’m the momma to two very active three-year-olds who will be four this summer. As a teacher, summer is EVERYTHING! I try to make the most of my time with my boys and since they’ve been born, I’ve gathered some of my favorite things to do with them and my favorite places to go.  Majority of these places work fine in the spring, summer, fall, and even winter. This list is compiled with things that we’ve personally enjoyed in the past and recently. This is not an all inclusive list though, so share what you love to do with your little people! Most places, except for two, are located in South Jersey! All located in the TriState Area. Please comment and let me know what places you enjoy and what activities you like to do over the summer!

My Top 10 South Jersey Places to Visit if you Have toddlers

1. Ocean City, NJ – the shore.

By far, my absolute favorite place to go in the summer is Ocean City. Maybe it’s because as a teenager I vacationed here with my best friend and her family or maybe it’s just the amazing food – Ocean City is a win and when you have kids, it’s a double win. First off, the beach is reasonable and if you buy beach tags for the summer, you’re good to go. Second off, Ocean City is super family friendly and there is a lot out there for toddlers including rides, strolling the boardwalk, surrey rides, parks, and more. We spend out time on the boardwalk and beach and it’s our favorite!

Toddler Fun in Ocean City, NJ

2. The Cape May Zoo.

It’s FREE. FREE. FREE. You can make a donation of your choice if you choose. Cape May is a fantastic zoo for toddlers. It’s very walkable because it’s not insanely big. It’s perfect. On top of that, it has an awesome park for the kiddos! There are plenty of pavilions so you can pack a lunch or you can buy lunch there. It’s not far from the Cape May beach area either, so you can do a combo day where you spend half the day at the zoo and half the day at the shore. Score!

Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo

3. The Philadelphia Zoo.

We are pass holders here because by the time you add the price of the tickets together, it makes sense to buy a season pass and reap the benefits: free parking, 10% off your food purchases and gift shop purchases, and free parking. This zoo was the FIRST real zoo in the US. It’s spacious, has tons of animals and sites to see, and is really easy to walk – though because it’s so big we bring the stroller just in case! You can spend a good portion of your day here!

Toddler Fun at the Philadelphia Zoo

4. The Garden State Discovery Museum or Please Touch Museum.

I LOVE the Please Touch Museum. It’s a bit pricey at $19 per person (unless your child is 1 and under). HOWEVER, they offer $2 admission on the first Wednesday of each month from 4 pm to 7 pm. My husband and I like to arrive as soon as it opens. By the time we’ve gone through the whole museum and are ready to leave, that’s when it’s starting to get busy. The $2 fee on the first Wednesday of each month from 4 pm to 7 pm is unbeatable at that price, so if you’re on a budget that would be a good time to check this place out. The Garden State Discovery Museum is cheaper and discounts on Groupon are frequently offered. If you don’t feel like dealing with Philly traffic or driving into the city, The Garden State Discovery Museum is a fun spot too!

 

Toddler Fun at The Garden State Discovery Museum

5. Storybook Land.

This place is essentially designed for toddlers and for small kiddos. It’s a load of fun, lines were short when we went in the summer, and it’s not hard to access/park. Tickets are around $23 if you buy them online and are a bit more at the door! I would choose Storybook Land over a place like Six Flags any day of the week. It’s not as packed and my boys could pretty much get on anything. Also, it’s themed after different classic children’s stories. FUN!

Storybook Land in Mayslanding, NJStorybook Land in Mayslanding, NJ

6. Sesame Place.

In my opinion, if you’re going to go, summer is definitely the time to go! They have awesome an awesome water park! We took the boys here for the majority of the day and we were pooped! Check out my post about Sesame Place for more detailed information about our experience here!

7. Parvin’s State Park.

Located only fifteen minutes away from where we live, we love going to Parvin’s State Park. There are plenty of nature trails that we explore as a family and so many outlets where the kids can skip stones, dip their feet into the lake, and even bicycle. One of my favorite places to go and best of all it’s FREE. I think they charge in the summer to swim/go in the beach area, but I wouldn’t know because we never go to that part.

8. Sahara Sam’s or Diggerland.

We have done Sahara Sam’s in the past but haven’t checked out Diggerland yet, though according to my friend’s, it’s a must. In fact, Diggerland has made it into Redbrook and some other magazines as a destination to check out on this side of the coast! I can speak for Sahara Sam’s and say that we had a fun experience here over the summer. It is an indoor and outdoor waterpark. It’s best to get here early because it gets really packed with different groups and camps coming through. I felt like there was enough for my boys to do at their age and the pool was fun because we could swim with them.

9. Smithville

Smithville is a really cute little historic town located in Atlantic County. When we go here with the boys, we spend maybe about two to three hours here tops. It’s not geared towards toddlers but we still have fun here! It’s quaint, cute, decorative, and a good place to hang for a few hours and do breakfast/lunch/dinner. My kids get a kick out of the ducks that walk around. There’s also a carousel and train rides. They also have different activities and events, so check out their calendar. Price wise: free. Can’t beat that.

10. Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ

This is a new one for us! We literally have JUST had the chance to check this place out. You can spend a good portion of your day here and your little ones will have a blast. This aquarium has plenty for the boys to see and do and they absolutely loved it. Price wise, it’s pricey! $28 per adult and $21 per child. As a teacher, we get discounts through ticketsatwork.com which saved us $30 from the total bill. Definitely worth a visit!

Toddler Fun at Adventure Aquarium Toddler Fun at Adventure Aquarium Toddler Fun at Adventure Aquarium

This summer I’m looking forward to creating new memories with my family and also discovering new places and things to do while revisiting some of the things we’ve done in the past! What about you? What’s your favorite summer activity or place to visit? We love to travel and I’m always looking for new places to check out!

Then they were THREE! A prayer for my boys.

As my boys turn THREE today, this is my prayer for them. Originally wrote it in my prayer journal, but wanted to share!

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Dear Lord,

Thank You for the privilege of parenting not one, but TWO miracle babies. Thank You for the surprise and gift of raising two boys. Two boys that are so clearly filled with purpose and destiny. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that the plans that You have for their lives are special, unique, and beautiful. I pray that my babies would love and pursue You every single day. Let their lives speak of Your miraculous power. Let their hearts love You and love people purely. Let their hearts be filled with a desire to serve you and to serve others.

My Josiah. For Josiah, I pray that you would use His strong will and determined attitude for good things and for YOUR purposes. I pray that Josiah would stand strong against things that are wrong and that he would stand for JUSTICE and freedom for those that are oppressed. That he would be a voice for the voiceless. I pray that He would sing songs of hope and songs that bring joy. I pray that when he plays instruments, heavy hearts, and broken hearts are made whole.

For Micah, I pray that You would use his sensitive, gentle spirit to comfort others. I pray that he would uplift those that are broken. I pray that He would have compassion that burns for the forgotten. I pray that Micah would see those that are ignored by society and offer them that hope that He has within. I pray that Micah’s ability to listen and observe would translate to a person who hears others and leads in humility.

For both of my boys, I pray that they would have an unshakeable bond and brotherhood. I pray that they would be loyal to You and to each other. I pray that they would be men of courage, integrity, and valor. Let them pursue You relentlessly and love You wholeheartedly. May YOU always have first place in their lives. Give them favor with You and with men. I pray that they would dream HUGE God-sized dreams with no limitations, and run after them, accomplishing more than we ever have in our lifetime.

I thank You for the gift of Micah and Josiah. Thank You for choosing ME and entrusting me with the amazing opportunity to raise these boys. Continue to give me the grace I need to parent two world changers. My heart is overflowing. I love You.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

 

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I have truly loved this age. Here’s to onward, upward, and seeing what THREE holds in store for us!