Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sisters together - the last few weeks around here

We walked up to Target during their Pokemon ball stage and Taryn LOVED it. She wanted me to take a picture so we could send it to Tyson. Taryn and Tyson love playing Pokemon Go. They've played caught less in the past few weeks, but Taryn will still ask about Pokemon Go every once and awhile. 

There she goes on the balance beam and dismounting! 
Taryn is amazing at sports. She is super athletic. Anything that she touches she excels in when it comes to sports. 

Taryn loves to find my phone and take pictures around the house of toys, rooms, and of the family. 

I love how Haddie is so happy to pose for Taryn, jumping on command so her sister could get a good photo :)

And then there are these selfie's Taryn took! Hahaha- that's a pretty great Duck Face she has going on there. 

Sleeping while Taryn does gymnastics.

These girls play hard!
 Haddie doesn't make it through picking up Taryn without falling asleep and Taryn is struggling with the long days of Kindergarten. Sometimes the girls crash in the car on the way home from school. I'm not sure that anything will help but giving it time, but I feel for their tired little bodies. Sometimes I wish Haddie would still nap in the afternoons (and I wish I could nap too!) 
The other night I was sitting on the kitchen floor with both girls crying in my lap. One of them had taken popcorn away from the other, there was someone who hit the other on the arm and there were tears everywhere. I knew the girls were completely exhausted so I just sat down and held both of them (after each had said sorry to one another) It was a hard, long day for both of them and they had had it right before bed time. 

Meeting up with Tyson on his way home from work is one of mine and the girls favorite times of the day. It falls right when we all get antsy, when we need a breathe of fresh air and a change of scenery. We pass this park on our way to meet him and sometimes we decide to get our wiggles out by running around on the grass until we spy Daddy. 
I will never get tired of all that green! 

Since Taryn started Kindergarten, the girls have been playing better together. I think they realize how little time they have together and they are anxious to start their days (bright and early) with playing. One of the first questions out of Haddie's mouth in the morning besides "Can I have milk?!" is "Can we play ponies?!" It's hard to have to say, "After you get dressed, make your bed and have breakfast etc..." because I know that Taryn will be going to school and she so badly wants to be with her sister! I love those moments that I find them playing so nicely together. It makes those moments of fighting seem a lot less.

I feel like we've started on the next generation of Parks & playdates with all my friends who just sent off their Kindergartners. Haddie looks so old to me now as she plays with her friends and it feels weird not to have Taryn there with us. Taryn is definitely missing seeing her best friends throughout the week. Playdates are hard because our school gets out at almost 4pm and everyone is involved with their own after school activities. Then there is dinner, baths and bedtimes. The day goes by so fast!

Chocolate milk mustache :)

I watch 5 kids under 3 a few weeks ago. It was a little touch and go as I tried putting multiple children down for naps but once all was done, the house was so nice and quiet! Haddie loves her little friend Madison. With the storm trooper masks on, They kept calling each other Darth Vader no matter how many times I corrected them. 

"Hi, my name is Cookie Soup and I'm making dee-wish-isa tup takes!" (delicious cupcakes) 
I couldn't help but giggle when Haddie came up to me in the kitchen and said that sentence. She's got a fun imagination and doesn't mind playing with herself. I love hearing her little voice talking to her barbie dolls, pocket puppies or ponies. 

We ran into our friends the Lowery's while apple picking over Labor Day weekend. It's never ending smiles when these three are together! Such a fun photo that captures their pure happiness. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A fun Labor Day weekend and a Nats game as a result

Over Labor Day weekend, we had a lot of fun! 
Tyson got off work early on Friday, which was reason enough to celebrate by jumping for joy :)

We met Tyson in downtown D.C. to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Tyson just recently finished a book about the Wright Brothers so he wanted to check out the exhibit. Years ago on the Epic Scott South Trip we spent time in Kitty Hawk (when I was about 10) learning all about the Wright Brothers. I still remember how windy it was and it didn't occur to me then that thats the exact reasons the Wright Brothers chose to try and fly at Kitty Hawk, N.C. The wind was a perfect tool to help lift their planes in the air! 

The original Wright Brothers Flyer. 

After a museum visit, we enjoyed a carousel ride with the girls. Haddie is super obsessed with riding those horses lately and Taryn gets a kick out of the unique animals/creatures. This time she picked a Sea Dragon to ride. This carousel was one of the fastest I've ever riding. It terrified Haddie once we got started and I had to hold on to her as her white knuckles gripped the bar. She was happy when it came to a stop :)
 I never realized how interesting the background stories are of most carousels. I try to read about each one now when the girls ride them. 

We don't take a lot of pictures together, but I love each one we get! Taryn's actually pretty good with her photo skills. We should get her to take more of us so we don't have so many selfie style photos. 

A family asked us to take their picture and in return, took ours. But Haddie decided in that moment to become super shy so....well... there you go. 

On Saturday afternoon we went to Great Country Farms and had so much fun! I've already posted about our adventures there so onto our first adventure on that same Saturday. 

Early on Saturday morning we donated blood at the Nats Stadium again and we were able to get 4  grouped tickets to a game so we could go together a few weeks later. 
Best FHE ever! We had so much fun on one of the first cool nights of September. It was so much better than our last game where we sweated so much. Each game was fun but I prefer to be comfortable and not melting! The girls danced throughout the game again and shared a cotton candy bigger than their heads! Taryn said it was "the best day ever!" Maybe we won't mention that it was a school night and the girls were exhausted by the time we got home.... 

I love these fun family memories we are creating together! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Taryn starts Kindergarten! Learning how to handle all that comes with it!

Taryn started Kindergarten the day after Labor Day. She picked out her own outfit to wear and I have to say that I love how much she loves those panda pants. I'm also in love with the new Cat & Jack line at Target mainly because of the reinforced knees. I can't tell you how fast Taryn rips through her pants. And she hates wearing jeans so we have to go with leggings. I will sew them up 1-2 times but anything after that, it's just a goner. So I'm happy someone helped me out and thought to make pants with thick enough knees that they won't wear out too quickly and they are under $10! Yay!

She has been looking forward to school all Summer long. She did cry for a long time when she found out she wasn't going to be riding a bus. I guess most TV shows or movies depict children riding the bus to school. We thought we lived too close to bus but I was surprised to get a Bus letter days before school started saying she could ride. Now to figure out when she will get to. We like walking her to school each morning (except Tuesdays when Haddie has preschool and the timing is too close for walking) and the girls look forward to it everyday too. So it just might have to be a special Tuesday bus ride day. 

On the first day, Taryn was marked late. 
And it's a touchy subject for me because it all has to do with some dumb parents, REALLY dumb school policies, and the fact that it was the first day of school and complete mayhem! I'm learning quickly that although I love the East Coast and where we live, I'm not loving all the overprotective personalities of the parents in the area, and the overzealous school systems. 

I'm thankful we live in a community that is involved. Really, I do. But sometimes it's a bit much. 
It didn't phase Taryn but I was completely overwhelmed and had to press restart on my whole morning process of getting out the door. 

All ready to go! 
Haddie tried everything possibly to make it so we did NOT get out the door that whole first week and part of the 2nd (one of the reasons we had set backs on the first day of school.)
 I was at my whits end.
 I tried every trick in the book, and even promised treats, time on my phone, playing princesses and ponies and more!!!!!
One things for sure, I have very stubborn children. 
Every morning we were trying new ways to get out of the door with no tears or fighting or complaining. 
Man, why didn't anyone warn me that it would be hard in this way!??!
 I was ready for Taryn to start Kindergarten because I knew how great it would be for her. I knew that Haddie would have some hard moments of missing Taryn. But I was not expecting the start of school to flip my world upside down! 
By Thursday night I was in tears and I cried on Friday morning on my way to Costco too. Ya, never saw that coming. I just kept thinking of various ways to make our days run smoother. 

Many of my good friends had their first day of Kindergarten too with their oldest child. We all texted each other with uplifting thoughts and our emotions for the morning. 

I texted this picture of an empty seat in our jogging stroller. It was weird to be running without Taryn. 

But it was still beautiful on the trail. 

Routines and schedules, that's how I roll, so it's figuring them out that's key for me. 
Also, so much Pink above! I love it!

It took a week and a half but I think we might be onto something with our new schedule now. Brushing and doing hair still brings hesitation and some tears but we're out the door when we need to be and that's what matters! We pack lunches the night before and continue to talk about how Taryn goes to school everyday like Daddy goes to work everyday. And I try to think of every possibly delay tactic that Haddie might throw at me. 
The girls love walking to school each day and Haddie loves the chance to play with my phone on the way home. Round trip, it takes 1 hour to and from school. I know that seems long. There are some pretty tough hills getting there (great calf work out) and I'm pushing almost 80 lbs in that stroller. But the way I look at it is I get a great work out every day and I'm taking my child to school. Killing two birds with one stone. Taryn is Miss Chatty all the way there :)

Modeling her pink & white outfit. Complete with swan print pants :)

She walked out of her class on the first day of school and screamed, "That was so fun!!" She loves her teacher and talks about all the fun things she gets to learn. Some of her favorite parts of the day are P.E. and Spanish. She is really good about talking through her day with us. I'm super impressed. I had other moms coming up to me days after the first day of school saying they still couldn't get their children to tell them much about anything to do with school. 
I would feel weird if Taryn didn't tell me about her day so I'm glad she is really open about it. 

Almost everyday, we stay after at the school park to play with friends, chat and get out all those wiggles from the day before returning home. Then comes gymnastics, soccer, dinner, workbooks and more. Any ideas on how to battle the 5:00pm monster that comes out in my children from pure exhaustion at the end of long days?!?

Tyson came home one night and said, "Do you realize that now we have a child that's in the system. We are on a track now" in regards to starting her in school. It is strange to think that now it will just get harder and harder to spend time with Taryn as she gets more involved. I love that she will grow in her independence. But it's also a hard pill to swallow. 

This was just one of the happy moments from last week. Both girls wanted a chance to walk. They held hands by themselves. When Taryn grabbed Haddie's hand, she realized her hands were freezing (yay for cooler weather and sweaters!) so Taryn tried to put Haddie's hands in her Taryn's jacket pocket. It didn't last long, but I was very touched with Taryn's care for her little sister. I loved watching them skip and run together for a bit of our walk to school.

I love that Taryn & Haddie miss each other during the day. I love that they are eager to talk about the day and listen to each other. I love that Haddie loves to see the different prizes Taryn gets for completing tasks at school. I love that Taryn gives Haddie huge hugs and kisses before leaving and waving goodbye in front of her school each day. She always says, "Kisses, Hads?" and wraps her arms around Haddie, squeezes her tight and says, "Love you Hads." I love that Taryn gives me giant hugs and kisses, even after I was the one doing the hair brushing in the morning :) She always walks through the doors of school and waves one last goodbye to us. 

They play well together for a good long time after school now.

I'm excited for Taryn. I know she will do so well with school. I love that Haddie misses her sister. I love that I cried after picking up Taryn on her first day because I realized I missed her voice a lot. It may be a big learning process for all of us (i.e. 5 minute melt down outside our home from Haddie about not wanting to drop off Taryn- with neighbors watching and walking over to us...) but I think we are getting the hang of this! 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A visit to the Farm

Great County Farms 
Bluemont, Virginia

After giving blood at the Nats Stadium early Saturday morning on Labor Day weekend, we came home and looked up fun activities to do during the glorious weekend weather we were having. Both Tyson and I came across this farm in our search and knew it would be best to go now while the weather was cooler, but not freezing like last year. 
We picked the perfect activity!!!!!

Those twisty steep slides were no joke! Super fun and a bit scary at first for Taryn who said it dropped her really fast. 

There was so much for the kids to do and the farm was huge! So big in fact that we had several friends who happened to be at the farm during the time we were there, and we didn't even know it. 
Taryn and Haddie were so excited to explore every inch. 

One of our favorite parts were the animals that were scattered around the farm. Around every corner there were baby goats, bunnies, chickens, turkeys and so much more for the girls to observe and feed. 

The farm wasn't just for young kids. Tyson enjoyed this maze with Taryn. It took them a bit but eventually they used their smarts and got through the maze to the look out tower.
I love how they conquered it together and didn't give up!

Haddie grew tired of the maze fast so we ended up in the corn bin :)

The slides were incredible. Made from normal farming equipment, these slides were big, long, and not too fast. Taryn would lap Haddie climbing up the long staircases but each of them giggled all the way down. 

A sample of our view from the top. Tyson and I couldn't let the girls have all the fun. We joined in on the sliding action too!

That's me and Haddie at the top, looking so so tiny. 

Pure joy!
Taryn does everything full force. Play is definitely included in that. 

Before we had even stepped foot on the farm, Tyson and I talked about eating Apple Cider Donuts. We had both tried them for the first time last year at Cox Farms and fell in love. This year didn't disappoint. I want to start off each fall with those glorious donuts. Totally worth giving up our "sugar" point for the day in our Health Challenge Tyson and I are doing. 

There was a corn maze, a Lady Liberty Corn Maze to be exact. I was instantly terrified to step foot inside with two little kids who were close to meltdowns. I kept telling Tyson I was scared of getting lost. A mom and her teenage daughters had just walked out of the maze, saying how they got very lost and that the maze was very hard. It did not sound like fun. Tyson knew it too. So we compromised and walked a bit of the corn maze (because we both wanted to go inside ) but we made sure to go through for only a few minutes and turn right around. 
We made a really good decision. 
Not moments later  of us deciding to turn around, Taryn started getting scared of being lost, the girls had to go to the bathroom, were thirsty, and tired. 
Tyson and I both said that we would love to do the corn maze together or when the girls were older. I normally don't like limiting ourselves with activities just because we have young kids, but we both knew that it would make a fantastic trip turn bad real fast. 
Again, we had made the right call. 

There was a live guitarist playing on a small stage where we ate our donuts. It was such a great atmosphere. The girls made little shakers out of bird seeds, baby water cups and colorful duck tape. In this picture, they just couldn't hold back from dancing alone to the music :)
I loved this spot on the farm. So picturesque. 

The farm was so well tailored to all ages of children. Tyson was mainly with Taryn as they explored rope swings, mazes and bigger slides. Haddie and I had a great time on this creative horse swing made out of tires, playing in the corn bin, and watching the animals. 

I loved how the girls watched the animals move. They were so interested. 
But Haddie was not impressed with the pigs. When she saw the giant pig, she said he was too dirty and smelly. Haha!

Part of the farm is made up of orchards of apples, peaches, grapes for wine and more. We each picked and apple that we would eat as a snack on the road home. 

Who shows this girl how to pose like that !?! She's killing me with cuteness! 

"Daddy, I got my apple!!!!" running up to Tyson on the top of the hill to show him her prized apple she picked. 

Taryn thought it was a fun game to throw her apple in the air and try catching it. That's when we had to explain to her that the more the apple dropped after unsuccessful catches, the more bruises it would have and therefore it would be mushy. Taryn is always creatively thinking of how to turn whatever she's doing into a game :)

The tractor ride back to the main farm. 

We had run into our friends briefly and they offered us the rest of their animal feeding pellets. We couldn't find a working feeding pellet machine so the fact that the girls were going to have a chance to feed the goats made them super happy (as if the farm hadn't already delivered endless smiles!)

Taryn talked about how the baby goats really liked her and how they must be really hungry. 

I was really surprised at the girls confidence in feeding the goats. Months earlier we had seen a boy get bit by a donkey, trying to feed the donkey apples. But these two sisters loved every second of sharing that feeding pellets and holding their little hands out for the goats to nibble at the food. 

We came home covered with farm dirt but so very happy that our spontaneous farm trip had gone so incredibly well. 
This was our start to the Fall Bucket List and so far, it's off to a great start.