Thursday, June 27, 2013


These four kiddos are so much fun. And I had the privilege of teaching them through a PreSchool co-op. with some friends. When we moved here I knew something like this would be perfect for Taryn but I thought I would hold off until she was 3, plus- pretty much all the kids her age were already in a preschool group so I knew we would have to wait for some kind of opening. Well, where we live, we have families moving in and out of the area as part of the State Department or other agencies/businesses. Most are here for about 3-6 months for training in Washington D.C. (language or technical) before they are posted abroad/ state wide. So (lucky for me!) we had some new families move in, some kids become older, and other kids become available and we were set! 

My first preschool I taught was a lot harder than I had expected. It was fun, yes, but draining too. I gained a whole new respect for K-6 grade teachers. I don't know how they do it every day.  I turned to experienced family members and friends for advice, teaching tips, and teaching materials. I'm still learning a lot, especially from those awesome moms in the group who come up with the cute, creative, and smart ideas to teach these kiddos. 

Some pictures from their last PreSchool day together 

Oh, my! You kids are hilarious!

We love to ask Taryn questions about her day at preschool. Sometimes she tells us about songs they sang, snacks they ate, animals they learned about, or the letter of the day. 
Now Taryn points out objects and says "_________ starts with the letter ________ " 
Sometimes she gets it right but other times, I have to gently correct her. 
It's fun to see her learning, applying, and making great friends. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On the first (official) day of Summer

Taryn attended her first informal dance class which I found just perfect! 
4 little girls ranging from 2-4 years old, with one of the moms as a teacher. 
Best part?
It's free.
And just down the street from where I live now.
Taryn jumped right in and besides trying to climb up some couches & remove the cushions, she followed right along. I loved watching her look over her shoulders at me, giving me a big smile.

We played at the park and and spray park (of course.)

We had ice cream as a family after a dinner of BBQ Chicken sandwiches & "Cheesy Chips"
In order to be a Smith grandchild, Tyson knew he had to teach Taryn that Sour Cream & Cheddar chips -a new favorite of mine since our marriage- are called "cheesy chips" in Smith households thanks to Taryn's Great Grandmother Smith.

Before the night was done, these two magically became super heros after bath time thanks to the few dish towels that Tyson was using to dry some dishes.

Hey summer, you are off to a good start.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Going out on a Saturday night

How lucky were we that my sister & brother-in-law happened to volunteer to babysit for us the same day that we received some gift certificates? It must have meant that Tyson and I really really needed a night out. 
We chose a restaurant and enjoyed every minute of our time together. By the time we were done with dinner and walked outside, we realized that we had only been gone for one hour! 
So...we made our way to the Crystal City Water Park (not the kind that Taryn can play in) where the running water and beautiful flowers were the perfect setting for us to sit back and talk about our past and our future. 
It's amazing how rejuvenating a night out together can be. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some shots from a few weeks past

Air & Space Museum

Finding the ONLY puddle in D.C. in front of the Hirshhorn Museum. And then jumping in it, laying down in it, and becoming soaking wet. Hey, it was super hot outside....all I did was stand by, laugh, and take pictures. Can you blame a kid?

The beautiful Smithsonian Gardens

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Those perfect summer nights

Saturday was one of those days I would put down as "practically perfect." 
Although things didn't go as originally planned, we still had a wonderful day.

Tyson had gone for a run in the neighborhood and spotted a yard sale- complete with a art stand (whiteboard/chalk board) at a great price- just calling Taryn's name. So we stopped by on our way to pick up our pizza--- funds going to help the youth of our church attend camps this summer.

After eating lunch ( Lil' T & B's favorite- yum-pizza!) Tyson headed to the library to work on his thesis (yeah for being almost done!) while Taryn napped and I caught up on house cleaning....and a nap too :)

With the heat/humidity rising, the spray park was once again calling our names. So we met Tyson (after the library closed at 5pm) at the spray park where we played for hours, ran into lots of friends (unplanned get-togethers can be some of the best!) and came home right before the sun started to set at 8pm.

We ate a quick late dinner of BLT's, chips, and grapes- the quintessential summer meal as Tyson called it-  and took a trip outside to see the fireflies dance above the grass and in the garden's flowers.

Little "Curly Sue"

(This & the one above- from a few days before, taken by me and Lynne)

 I hope we can have more of these productive & fun summer days. Maybe a little bit of ice cream thrown in next time too? :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

 Thailand, 2011 -Taryn (5 months old) meeting Grandpa Smith for the first time

 California, Taryn (2 weeks old) meeting Grandpa Scott for the first time

Disneyland, 2013 Mike & Tyson

Cabo San Lucas, 2012 Craig & Brianna

Taryn and I are the luckiest ladies to have Tyson in our lives as a husband and a father. Tyson and I  are also so lucky to have such wonderful fathers of our own who constantly support us. Taryn sure has many great men to look up to! Happy Father's Day

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Our friend came from Germany!

Waiting for the Metro

We couldn't wait to meet up with Daniella in Washington D.C. this past week. We knew since last year that she would be coming to the U.S around this time so we were so excited! Daniella had been apart of the first year group in Bologna, Italy with us. But for her 2nd year, she remained in Bologna (1 of only 2 students to do so.)

Lucky for us, meeting up with Daniella and Liz - classmates from Bologna, Italy who lived on the floor  above us in our small apartment building-  fell on a day that was practically perfect in every way. Taryn and I had enjoyed the morning at the spray park, Tyson was home that day, and we all had a free afternoon to spend doing whatever we wanted.  We met up for lunch and from there, floated to any place we pleased. The weather was great and Taryn took a wonderful stroller nap (the spray park wiped her out!) It's always fun to catch up with SAIS students whom we spent so much time with last year in Bologna, Italy.

ok- super hard to see I know- This is one of the original robes from the Harry Potter movies in the American History Museum. Daniella, Liz & Tyson were so excited to hear about a new Harry Potter exhibit. When we found out it was just this robe, it was a little bit of a let down. I was happy to go along for the ride because - GASP- I have not read the Harry Potter series......yet.....(I know, I know)... I like Harry Potter ...don't get me wrong! I got to page 12 in the first book and got bored. Little did I know way back then that I had to get past the first 30-50 pages before it became really interesting. (or so I've been told a million times) Don't worry- it's on my Must Read list.

Next stop was the Butterfly Exhibit in the Natural History Museum. It was Tuesday- free day!- and Tyson, Liz, and Daniella had never been. Taryn and I were so happy to go again! This time, Taryn kept calling to all the hundreds of butterflies, "Come here, butter-phies! Come wif me!!" She wanted so badly for one to land on her hand just like they did for her cousins when they came to visit in March. No such luck- this little one likes to move around too much for the butterflies. But she did get a nice "butterfly kiss" when one took off and flew right into her face. She cried and cried. The butterfly scared her so bad. We kept telling her that the butterfly just wanted to give her a kiss but she was so scared and mad. So, that ended the butterfly exhibit for Taryn and me.

Tyson, Liz, Daniella and Taryn 

Another blurry picture but oh well. 
Daniella, Liz, me, Taryn (eating her yogurt covered raisins) and Tyson
Natural History Museum

You meet so many wonderful people in life. 
These two ladies (and the other two missing Bologna roommates- Ashley & Melanie) are definitely wonderful. Tyson and I were so grateful to have them in our same building last year and grateful for the lasting friendships that we have made with them. 
Until next time!

Friday, June 7, 2013

She's a water babe this year

As happy as came be!

When it wasn't raining this past week, you could find us at the Spray Park just a few blocks down from us. 
This girl is a total water babe this year. I'm so happy she loves to play and splash around and get WET!
It's going to make this summer much more bearable -heat wise.

We arrived at the park next to the spray grounds on Tuesday to play on the slides & swings only to be surprised to find little ones were dressed in their swimsuits and mamas applying sunscreen while they anxiously awaited the water to start at the spray grounds next door.
The spray grounds had opened just a few days ago- ahead of schedule!

When Taryn saw the water turn on, her eyes got so big and she started to scream and giggle. "Mommy, look at the water! Let's go!!!"
We ran back to our house and grabbed Taryn's swim suit and raced back. We were supposed to be in D.C. to meet our friends in 1.5 hours and I wanted Taryn to get all the fun play time she could. 

We had a blast and more of our friends showed up to play too. We went back the following day- and would've gone back again and again had it not been for the rain that poured over Thursday & Friday (today)

It's safe to say that we will be camped out at this spray park all summer long- because I never really thought about the fact that I would begin the summer being 5 months pregnant (not that big a deal) but end it being 9 months pregnant (because it doesn't cool down around here til' Oct.). 
  Oh boy.
 I'm sure we will be spending tons of times at pools, spray grounds, and inside cooled museums.

Bring on the sunshine! 

* Side note- I love picking up Taryn at the end of the day before her bath and smelling her sunscreen lathered skin. It takes me back to the beach every. single. time.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Feeding the Ducks in Alexandria

 My sister & brother-in-law had us over for dessert on Sunday night. They had just discovered this great park near their apartment and took us their so Taryn could feed the ducks, turtles, and fishes. The canadian geese were so happy to be fed (even though some decided to hiss at us while we were walking to the bridge) and the turtles were swimming and climbing on each other so they could get the food. Some geese even started walking on the turtles shells close to the surface of the water so they could have the first grab at the bread. 

Notice the dark, rain heavy clouds in the background? 

After we finished off our bag of old bread, the clouds opened up and dumped a bucket of never ending water on us. We were soaked so quickly. Tyson and I both thought back to our time living in Arizona during the monsoon season. There, the rain comes quickly and in LARGE amounts, drenching everything in sight and leaving the biggest puddles you have ever seen. I remember going for a run in August around 5pm years ago and within 10 seconds of the rain starting, I was completely soaked to the bone. Same thing happened here on Sunday. 
Taryn held on for dear life as my sister and I tried to keep her under the "family of four" sized umbrella. The boys were totally soaked and finally gave up trying to stay under the umbrella. Instead they made a run for the car. 

We were laughing. We were soaked. And Taryn sat in her car seat saying, 
"Mommy, I wet." 
Over and over again. 
It was hilarious and it took two days for my Rainbow sandals to dry out. 
We borrowed clothes from Brittany & Seth to get out of our sticky wet ones. Taryn ran around in just a diaper, completely happy, talking about how the rain came and she got wet. 
Having warm pizookies with ice cream was the best way to end our Sunday night adventures together. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The 3 amigos in the Smithsonian Fountains

Things have heated up around here fast! For playgroup this past week we visited the Air & Space Museum in D.C. After some touring around inside, we had lunch in the Smithsonian Gardens behind the castle. These fountains were just calling the kids names (ok- I wish I could have jumped in too!!) And when it's super hot outside, there is nothing better than finding a way to get wet! It was a great day. Just before finding this fountain, Taryn found a puddle in front of the Hirshhorn Museum as we were walking over. She ran in and out a million times and finally laid down in the puddle. I couldn't help but sit back and laugh and take pictures.