New Favorite Games

A few months ago I started talking about some of the board games that Corey and I like to play. Our friends got us into tabletop gaming earlier this year and we are completely and totally hooked. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Corey sold everything in our house that he could get his hands on this summer (that we no longer needed, of course) to buy more games. He has been spending all of his personal money for the last few months on new games for us, and we’ve quickly amassed quite the collection…

Yeah. We have a problem. So, since we’ve got so many new ones and there are quite a few of you out there who are fellow gamers, I thought I’d share my new favorites.

 

Rampage

 

This game is completely silly, totally ridiculous, and a blast. It’s based on the old arcade game, and you’re playing monsters who are trying to destroy a city. You get to actually interact with the board by dropping your monster to destroy buildings, throwing cars at buildings, and eating the little people in the town. It’s so much fun to play and it’s unlike any other game I’ve ever played before!

Lords of Waterdeep

This is one that I shied away from at first because it looks so nerdy (and is part of the “Dungeons and Dragons” world, which upgrades the nerd factor by 7 million) but it’s such a fantastic game. It’s a worker placement game, meaning you have a few different “people” at your disposal and you can place them around the board to accomplish different things. It’s quick to learn and so much fun to play. We love that this one works well for just the two of us but is also really fun with a crowd – we’ve bought one of the expansions so we can play with 6 people, and it’s great playing with everyone!

Takenoko

This game is pretty adorable, and also a ton of fun. It’s great for two players but also works for up to four…and it’s a great game for when you have younger kids playing – we haven’t had the chance to play this one with my nieces yet, but they’re dying to try it! In this game, you and the other players are both controlling a panda and a gardener in a bamboo garden, and you score different points for completing goals (for example, the panda wants to eat certain colors of bamboo while the gardener wants to grow them). It’s pretty simple to learn and it’s a fun, light game…and I can’t get over how dang cute it is!

Mr. Jack Pocket

This game is a very quick two-player only game. It’s a puzzle game where you are trying to strategize more efficiently than the other person, and it can be HARD! Corey and I like this one for when we’re in the mood for something fast, and it is one that makes us think! We hear the full version of the game is a lot of fun too, so we may have to get that eventually as well!

The Resistance

This one is a party game, and is perfect for a big crowd of people – up to 10 can play! We played this recently with my entire family and we laughed so hard. The idea of this game is that the entire group is playing as a group of people forming an uprising and they’re going on missions to overthrow a corrupt government…but there are spies in the group who are trying to sabotage the efforts. It’s really fun to accuse each other of being spies (and to try and hide it if you are one!) and it’s another one that’s very easy to teach. It’s hard to find games that are good for a lot of people, so we love having ones like this as an option!

We’re still playing and buying new games regularly around here (we just recently tried Survive and loved that, and we’ve gotten into some heftier games like Twilight Struggle and Nations as well), and just about anytime anyone comes over to hang out we rope them into playing with us. Our plan is to convert all of our friends and family to being as obsessed as we are (or, you know, close)! With how many games we’ve been getting these days, I have a feeling we’ll need another bookshelf soon!

What games have you been playing lately? We’re particularly looking for some good family games that  can be played with a lot of people (when my family comes over, there are 8 of us!). I love getting your suggestions – we bought Dominion thanks to you guys last time I posted about this, and we LOVE it!

What We’ve Been Up To

Well, hello there.

School has started back up – could you tell by my sudden disappearance?

It’s mind-boggling how busy and insane things are now that I’m back to working full time and trying to squeeze in family time, friend time, and time with Jackson. It’s exhausting, but we’re surviving it…and starting to fall back into a routine, so hopefully I’ll be able to find a bit of free time once again soon.

We haven’t been doing much around the house (honestly, we haven’t been doing much of anything aside from working, cleaning, and playing with Jackson) so I figured today I’d pop in with a quick update on how things are going around here, and also fill you in on a few of the fun things we did at the end of the summer (because I was determined to get out and try new things as much as possible!).

We went to the Zilker Park botanical gardens earlier this summer – we hadn’t ever been before and I immediately fell in love with it. The gardens are beautiful and it was so fun to just wander around and take it all in. Jackson was obsessed with the ponds and little waterfalls, and I swear if I would have let him he would have dove into the water to try and catch a fish.

We also took an impromptu trip to College Station at the very end of the summer. We both miss living there dearly (and have agreed that if it wasn’t for our family in Austin we’d move back in a heartbeat!) and absolutely love to visit. We went to a game last year and wanted to go to one again this year, but we thought it might be a bit much for Jackson…but we still would love for him to be able to say he visited College Station every year of his life (even if it’s not for a game), so we headed up for the day to visit campus, see some friends, and see some of our favorite places around town. It was a pretty wonderful trip and it was a perfect way to end the summer. We stocked up on Aggie gear for all of us, gawked at how much the tiny town has changed since we’ve been gone, and lamented the fact that we can’t come back every weekend for every football game.

Another favorite from the end of the summer were our trips downtown to eat at the best food trucks in Austin. There’s one called Gordough’s that has nothing but donuts…they have some sweet and some savory ones and they’re the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten. I can’t get enough!

And that pretty much wraps up our summer. The school year has started off with a bang – we’re working in the same district now, which is absolutely amazing, and it’s crazy how much more time we have together during the week now that Corey isn’t working over an hour from home. We’re still adjusting to not being with Jax all day every day, but we’ll get there.

How was the end of your summer? Anyone else as excited for cooler weather and all things fall as I am?

Brain Dump

Well, hi there! Have you noticed the radio silence around here lately? I sure have… my free time lately has been completely consumed by graduate school and I’m getting sick of it. I’m currently 3/4 of the way through my last class of graduate school (as in, ever…I graduate next month!) and it’s kicking my butt. I think I’m finally over the hump of the hardest assignments and am starting to wrap things up so hopefully I’ll have a little more time for blogging soon.

Since my mind is completely bogged down with writing papers, turning projects in, and reading research articles, I figured I’d do a quick drive-by post today with a few things we’ve been up to lately…and issue a promise that I’ll have actual content up soon. We’ve actually done a little bit more work around the house!

The first thing I want to tell you about is the new chairs we got in the dining room. I don’t want to spoil anything because I want to do a more thorough post on them later, but I’m in l-o-v-e with them. We finally gave up on the head chairs that we’ve been talking about reupholstering for like two and a half years now (do you remember those? no? that’s because it’s been over a year since I’ve even mentioned them…) and got these instead – and I’m thrilled with the decision! More on them later, just know they’re awesome.

We had a fabulous Fourth of July weekend – had some pool time, had friends over, did lots of relaxing, and just enjoyed our time together. So basically, it was like every other day we’ve had so far this summer. Perfection!

Jackson is officially starting to actually eat some of the food we put in front of him (mostly just avocado as of now, but he had a few bites of squash and sucked on some toast the other day) and it’s so fun to watch him start to explore it. We’re doing baby-led weaning and we’re taking it very slow, since he isn’t quite six months yet. We’re mostly just letting him play around and try a few different things at this point, but I have a feeling that within the next couple of weeks he’ll be ready to start eating more – he ate a whole slice of avocado last night at dinner!

I’ve had a lot of questions about Jackson’s high chair – it’s the Blames high chair from Ikea and we also bought the Pyttig support pillow, since he’s still a bit small for the high chair on his own. We love both of them and have been very happy so far. The high chair is very easy to keep clean and actually looks great at our table – some reviews I’ve read complain that it sits kind of low, but it’s perfectly level with our table, which we love because it feels like he’s really participating at meal time. The support pillow has been fantastic to help him feel more secure in the chair, and we’ve even brought it with us to restaurants a few times so he can sit in the big high chairs there too – we’re thinking about getting another one to keep in the car! I’d highly recommend both of them for anyone looking for a high chair.

(Just because I can’t resist a couple more cute photos)

And that’s our update as of right now. I’ll be back soon (hopefully later this week!) with a real post, promise!

How was your holiday weekend? Anyone do anything exciting?

Our Summer So Far…

Y’all, summer is the best. Ever.

I feel like this is the first summer Corey and I have really been able to enjoy together as adults – last summer (the first year we were both teachers), I was pregnant and sick most of the time. The whole summer was a blur because we were so caught up in the newness of me being pregnant, and I spent the vast majority of my time sleeping or laying around on the couch. This summer, though, we are both home with no obligations (other than one last graduate school course that I’m finishing up) and we are enjoying it as much as we possibly can.

I said in our summer bucket list that I wanted us to have at least one fun outing every week, and we’ve stuck to that so far. I’ve been really good about taking photos of what we’ve been doing (another one of my summer resolutions!) so I figured I’d share a quick roundup of what we’ve done so far.

Week One

We kicked off the first week of summer with some serious nap training for Jackson, so we tried to stick pretty close to the house for the most part. We’re the type of people that need to get out of the house frequently, so we went somewhere most days but it was usually just a quick trip to Target or the grocery store. We did, however, manage to squeeze in a couple of fun outings.

We took a long walk to the local park one day and let Jackson sit in his stroller without the carseat for the first time ever. He loved it. He was talking and cooing almost the whole time, and he didn’t get fussy once on the entire 45-minute walk. I think we’re going to try to make this a regular outing for us, because it was fantastic.

We also spent one afternoon at my sister’s house playing in their inflatable splash pad. It was Jackson’s first non-bath experience with water, and he was fascinated. It took him a little while to warm up to it – for the first fifteen minutes or so he was just sitting there staring at the water, trying to figure out what was going on. But once he got the hang of it, he was all about it. He kept trying to lunge away from me and crawl across the pool area (he can’t crawl yet, so that didn’t work out too well for him…) and he loved just hanging out in the water. We spent forever playing around with the water that afternoon, and I can’t wait to do it again with him!

Week Two

The second week of summer (last week) we headed up to San Marcos to meet my best friend and her family for lunch at a gorgeous restaurant. They used to live in Fort Worth, which is about a 4 hour drive from us, but her husband is in med school and just started his residency in San Antonio, so they’re only two hours away…and San Marcos is a perfect halfway point for us to meet up! She has a daughter that was born exactly six weeks after Jackson, and it was our first time meeting each other’s kids. It was a blast and I can’t wait to start meeting up more often with them!

Week Three

This week is a bit crazy for us because I’m at a conference for work today, tomorrow, and Friday…so things have been busy! We spent most of Monday doing work stuff – Corey had an interview and I worked on moving stuff to my new classroom (I’m moving to a new school within my district this year). I’m still hoping we’ll be able to squeeze in an “official” fun outing this week, but we’ll see how things go! If nothing else, we’ve been doing a good job of going on lots of walks and spending some extra time outside!

What have you been up to so far this summer?

 

Our 2013 Yearbook

Corey and I have had a tradition of yearly scrapbooks since we first started dating eight years ago. I made our first scrapbook for his 17th birthday, and I have made one every year since then.

(2012′s book!)

I used to make actual old-school scrapbooks, but to be honest I’m not the best scrapbooker. Actually, I’m pretty awful at it. So in the last few years, I gave up on that and started to have photo books printed through Blurb instead – and it was the best decision ever! Last year I finally landed on a good format for the books and started making them a little more “official” and I love how they have turned out. They’re so much easier to store than the big, bulky scrapbooks I used to make, and we’re a lot more likely to keep them on display (and flip through them on occasion!) when they’re nice and small.

We just got our 2013 book a couple of weeks ago, and it was so fun to look through the year. Putting these books together always reminds me of how I don’t take enough pictures, though. I’m trying really hard to be better about it this year, and while I’ve taken about 11 million photos of Jackson over the last four months, I still don’t feel like I’ve been awesome about taking other pictures. I’m determined that when I’m putting 2014′s book together in January I’ll have plenty of photos to choose from!

One of my favorite features of these books is the very end – I do a two-page spread of what our house looked like at the end of that year. It’s fun to see how it has changed, and I like having this little record of what it looks like each year!

(2012)

(2013)

This year we also had a second book to order – my pregnancy scrapbook! I was really good about taking photos each week (I only missed one week) and documenting how things were changing and what I was feeling, so I wanted to make sure we had a book printed with all of my weekly updates. It took forever to put it together, but it was so worth it!

I’m currently working on a one-year book for Jackson with all of the weekly photos we’ve been taking of him. I’ve been trying to update it as we go with the pictures I take each week so that it’ll be easy to just order it at the end of the year rather than trying to put it all together at once. It’s going to be a big book, but it’ll be another good one to have…I’m of the mindset that you can never have too many photo books!

(A sneak peek at Jack’s book!)

How do you record your memories? Anyone else do photo books? What about regular scrapbooks? I wish I was good at making those!

(The Blurb link above is an affiliate link, meaning if you follow it and purchase something I will get a small cut. I didn’t get any of these books for free or on a discount – I just really, really love Blurb and their products!)