art in the backyard

Can you guess what we have been up to today?

Of course, it is Monday.

And on Monday, we like to get messy.

Today, they got really messy.


In a good way.

They fingerpainted. Even big(ger) kids like to get their hands messy with paint.

And then they washed it off.

In the sprinkler.

And they definitely did not have any fun.


Sam tried out his karate moves.


They danced on the edges.
Alice didn’t mind getting wet.


So she jumped in.

Mason washed his hands very carefully.

The water is cold.

Paige got soaked and loved it. Now they are all cleaned up and had fun doing it. Who needs a bath when you got a sprinkler in the backyard.

Even the deer came over to play and get a bite to eat.

Happy Monday to you all. Go out and have some fun.
Jennifer

A Week{end} Full

Saturday morning, I ran a half-marathon (the highest downhill half in this country, over 10,000 feet) starting at the Loveland ski area and finishing in Georgetown. I was really happy to finish in just under 2 hours at 1:56:33. I took no pictures…..


Saturday we had the neighborhood ice-cream social in our yard. It did rain a bit but didn’t stop any of us from filling our mouths with yummy goodness.

Saturday evening, Alice had her first-ever slumber party to celebrate her 7th birthday. 5 little girls took over the house and had a blast! They had pizza and cupcakes, watched High School Musical, did tons of crafts, played upstairs, downstairs and outside and listened to lots of girly music. (As you can see, Alice inherited her grandmother’s ability to accessorize well).

Sunday morning, Sam and Scott went to church and Sam sang with his fellow VBSers. They had a fun week learning about Jesus and having a galactic blast. The space theme kept everyone excited.

Looking forward to a quieter week ahead! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. We are going to have a nice quiet Sunday night.

Jennifer

Food- It Does the Body Good!

In the recent months I have had a couple friends ask me about how we handle the food issue at our house. Let’s start with the disclaimers. First, I want to say that I have been blessed with kids that like to eat and eat a lot. Second, we have bad food moments with our kids just like everyone else. Third, we are not perfect and we do occasionally feed our kids fast food and things that may not be “healthy”. That is just life. Fourth, of course, these are not my original ideas, I stole them from friends, books, etc. Just a good combination that works at our house. Most of the time 🙂

Okay so here goes. My (our) take on food at the Wescott house. We never really talked about how we would deal with food with our kids, it just seemed to happen and worked so we went with it. I definitely did some reading while I was pregnant with Sam and knew that I wanted to start with breastfeeding. I was pretty sure that once we started solids, I wanted to make my own baby food. It seemed silly to me to buy the stuff in the jar when I could easily make it, without additives and preservatives. Now I can’t say that I never bought it, food in a jar that is, but it was usually when we were in a pinch, traveling or just for a treat. Before all the new handy contraptions for collecting homemade baby food, I froze my kiddo meals in ice-cube trays. When they first started eating, I froze plain veggies and fruits. When they were able to eat a bigger variety, I combined foods, pureed them and the froze em’ up in the ice-cube trays. The ice-cube trays were a perfect serving size for my little munchkins, and as they grew I just added cubes to their meals.

We tried really hard to give our kids alternatives to sugar before the age of two. By alternatives, i don’t mean sweeteners, I mean natural sugars. Whole fruit, honey and natural applesauce were nice ways for my kids to get sweets without the refined sugar. One thing that was always a given was that our kids had to eat all their food before getting their sweets. As they got older, that turned into eating everything before dessert. I was definitely more strict with this rule when Sam and Alice were babies. Paige lucked out as the third child and got a bit of refined sugar before two. Mason was almost two when we brought him home and well, with three older siblings, he hit the sugar jackpot 🙂

We don’t eat dessert after every meal. Maybe once a week or less. That way, it is a treat and not something that they expect. I hope that this helps them regulate their sugar when they are older and have to make those choices for themselves.

A pretty typical dinner at our house looks like this….

A meat like chicken, fish, turkey, a veggie or two, a carb like brown rice or whole wheat pasta and sometimes salad or applesauce. My kids get a small helping of meat (size of their fist), spoonfuls of veggies determined by age (Sam gets 3 or 4 spoonfuls and Mason gets 1 or 2, depending on veggie), the same for the carb. I give my kids less food than I know that they will eat so that when they finish their meal, they feel like they have accomplished something. They can have seconds on anything they want as long as they have finished everything on the first round. This way they don’t eat up all their applesauce and think that they can keep going back for more applesauce without eating anything else on their plate. Nope~ doesn’t work with me.

I do limit our red meat consumption. We eat mostly vegetarian, chicken and fish. My kids like to call themselves carnivores so a good burger every once in a while works for all of us! We live close to a really good burger joint, if you are ever visiting. Their burgers are made with locally processed all-natural beef.

Our pediatrician gave us this great advice and we definitely took it. Don’t ever make food an issue. As long there is a meal served three times a day, your child won’t starve.

When my kids come to the table, take one look at their plate and say I don’t want to eat this. I come back with, Great! I bet you will eat a good breakfast in the morning. Usually they sit down and start eating because they know that I will not make them something special or feed them later. I know that sounds really harsh and mean. However, I don’t expect my kids to eat everything I make either. Not a fight I want to have. I know that they will come to the next meal hungry and choose to eat. Never has one of my children gone on a eating strike for more than one meal. It is okay with me if they choose not to eat, I just don’t make it an issue.

Snacks. Hmmm. I love to snack. My kids get a snack at school in the morning and then they get one when they get home from school. One healthy snack, like a banana, apple, dried fruit, nuts or a granola bar. They are hard workin’ at school and they burn a lot of energy. In the summer, we have a couple healthy snacks a day. If the kids want an extra unhealthy (or healthy) snack at the pool, they have to buy it with their own money.

My kitchen is not a buffet and is not open for business all day long. I am not a waitress just a chef with one meal on the menu.

I think that I am sort of going backwards but lets talk about breakfast. My kids have the choice of what they want for breakfast. Almost every morning they each have a banana, two helpings of instant oatmeal, juice or milk and some yogurt. If we are out of that, they have a bowl of cold cereal, usually Ch*erios. If I have fruit I will throw that in with it. Breakfast is the meal where our kids eat and eat and eat. Sometimes I have to cut them off so that they aren’t late for school.

We haven’t had a ton of issues over food. Most of the time our kids get it and understand.

I am not saying that our kids never get sugar. Believe me, they eat plenty of ice-cream, cake, cookies and candy. When at home, we try and limit it. Ultimately, we want our kids to learn to eat healthy and responsibly.

This summer we have joined a farm co-op and are buying our veggies and fruits locally. Since this is our first go at it and all we have received so far is quite a variety of lettuce, I can’t give a thumbs up yet. I think that I will at the end of the growing season because it seems that it will work nicely with what I already buy and prepare for my family. Right now, we are eating lots of salads.
As the CEO and head-cook here at the Wescott Inn, I try my best to feed my family with organic and natural foods. I read labels and buy organic when I can. With four kids, it gets pricey. We try and eat as naturally as we can. Once in a while, a box of mac n’ cheese tastes really good and that is okay. If you know what I mean.

Just Another Day in Paradise

That was my thought as I was driving home tonight from the pool. As I drove past Garden of the Gods just as the sun was going behind the mountains. I know that I am totally bragging but I love where we live. It is beautiful.

Today, Sam and Alice had another swim meet. They each swam three races and Alice also did her first relay. I have to brag again because today Alice went off the block for the first time in a meet. Normally she jumps in off the side but today they blew the whistle to get ready and up she went like it was no biggie. I couldn’t believe it. Well, she is seven now 🙂

This evening we met the Young’s at the pool for some dinner and swimming. We grilled some yummy terriyaki chicken and feasted on edemame, salad and pineapple. As always, we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Just another day in paradise. Seriously.


Good night.
Jennifer

{Seven}

Today, my sweet little ladybug turned seven. I really cannot believe how fast the last seven years have flown. Seven. It just doesn’t seem right. Tonight we celebrated with my mom and dad at the house. Alice asked for spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and I obliged. Happy birthday to my sweet girl Alice Margaret.

Camping

This post is going to be a post in pictures.

I am tired.

We have returned from a fun weekend of camping. We camped in a yurt in one of the many Colorado state parks. We love our tent camping but staying in a yurt really feels like a luxury. It has bunk beds, a table and chairs and a heater.
Yurt: a portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. A yurt is more home-like in shape and build, with thicker walls than that of a tent. Thank you Wikipedia.

Everyone had a blast and got really dirty. Enjoy the pics. I am off to find my pillow and fall into bed.

Good night, sleep tight.

Swim Run

Sam completed his first duathlon today and he rocked it!!! He did awesome! I was one excited (and nervous) momma!!!! He finished his run with a huge smile on his face! Perfect.

Sam and his friend Clare before the race showing off their numbers. Very cool.
Checking out the competition 🙂

Waiting in line for the swim start.

Swim for your life!

Finally out of the pool and into transition.

Nearing the finish!

A great end to a great race. Watermelon. Doesn’t get any better than that. Good thing he didn’t know about the watermelon before the race…He might have skipped the swim and ran straight to the good stuff.

Congrats Sam! We are so proud of you!

What we have been up to….

Alternately titled {the longest blog post ever}
Monday, otherwise known as Art Monday around here, was busy with swimming, gymnastics and errands. For our art project, we made a garden stone for the yard. We are still trying to finish up our under the sea mural. More pics coming soon.

Tuesday (Field Trip Tuesday) was busy with swimming, tennis, gymnastics and then back to the pool for a swim team potluck. After lunch we managed to squeeze in a field trip to the Colorado Springs Xeriscape and Demonstration Gardens. Very beautiful and interesting.

Who knew pine cones could be so much fun? We used them to make towers, work on grouping and addition and subtraction.

This cement water pipe kept the kids busy for a long time. It spurred a ton of more good math conversation.

Today (Movie Wednesday) was busy with the older kids first swim meet. Alice was VERY nervous for her first race but did really well and won her races. Way to go! Sam also did really well and took 6 seconds off his 25 free. They were troopers this cold morning. The air temp was only 63 degrees with no sunshine.

Sam getting ready for the 25 backstroke.

Alice and Abby waiting for their heat to line up.

The 8 and under group waiting to swim. Alice and Sam are right in the middle. Not sure what they were talking about?!?!?

Mason and Paige had their annual well-checks today. They both did great until they had to get their shots. 4 for Paige and 2 for Mason. I tried the “as soon as you get these shots, you are officially a kindergartner” routine, but Paige wasn’t buying it. Mason wasn’t completely sure what was going on for the first shot but definitely didn’t want the second. This fun visit to the doctor’s office did not earn me my good mommy badge, that is a sure thing. The chocolate shakes gained me some love back, a little bit anyway. Now they are watching a movie and I am enjoying my snack and the quiet.

Okay, so I guess this wasn’t the LONGEST post ever but it seems like it should be, what with all the stuff we have packed into the last three days. Who said summer vacation was suppose to be relaxing?!?!?!?
Tomorrow is Cinderella Thursday. That means that we clean. And after the week that we have had, this house needs it!

Fishing and Swimming

Just another Sunday in the life of the Colorado Wescotts….

Yesterday after church we took the kids to Quail Lake for a little fishing. We didn’t catch anything but the kids had tons of fun…….and nobody got wet!! Even better 🙂 After dinner we headed to the pool for an hour. This time everybody got wet (Except me…I took the pictures).

Cuteness Oh My!

Mason got a well needed hair cut this morning and he is looking oh-so cute!!!! Bless his heart, he is always up for an impromptu photo shoot. He LOVES the camera and always asks to see his picture after I have taken it. His response is usually, Awwww! It also helped that he got to play with the sprayer on the hose.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
We are having a really nice weekend. Friday we spent all afternoon and evening at the pool. Kent and Victoria made an awesome dinner on the grill to celebrate Scott’s birthday. By awesome I mean cedar plank salmon, roasted potatoes, salad and strawberry shortcake. We ate well. The kids played in the pool non-stop and only got out to eat 🙂 We are loving our fun start to the summer. Today, Scott worked a bit and then we walked to the park. It was nice to spend the day with the kids and just be without having to rush anywhere else. Scott and I both got in runs this afternoon as well. Looking forward to another warm day tomorrow. We are contemplating taking the kids fishing. That should make for some interesting moments, for sure.

I am really enjoying the relaxed nature of summer vacation. The kids and I are having a blast. Our radishes started coming up this weekend and everyone is excited about keeping our garden box watered and watching the veggies start to come up. On Monday we are going to make a garden stone for our yard and Tuesday we are taking a field trip to the xeroscape gardens near our home. Hopefully we will squeeze in a couple hikes as well.
The kids signed up for the summer reading program at our local library and are really motivated to get in all their reading minutes. Reading is not something that we have to prioritize. My kids love to read. If you can’t find Samuel, he is either building with Lego’s or reading. Alice also loves reading and is really interested in Magic Tree House books right now. Paige is right on the cusp of starting to read and is doing really well with her sight words. We have started working on the Kindergarten list and she is super excited to master those. Now she just has to master NOT sucking her thumb. I am always up for a good challenge 🙂
Scott is doing well. He works more than he would like to. He is looking forward to getting his bike out of the shop and hitting the trails. He is running more and still contemplating running the Denver Marathon with me in October. I told him he had better start training to run slow. He can run circles around me…
Have a great night.
Jennifer