Saturday, August 29, 2015

Aunt Brooke comes to visit!

Waiting to pick up our Costco pizzas is always a good reason to share a little frozen yogurt!

My youngest sister Brooke came to visit!!! She was kind enough to take time out of her summer in-between semesters at college to help out Brittany with the twins. I am definitely receiving all the benefits of family coming to visit the babies and help out!! Please- more visitors! :)

It's so nice that I only live one city away from my sister and that it only takes 10 minutes or so to get to her house. I find myself finding reasons to stop by way more frequently now! It's fun to just drop in for a few minutes while running errands. Hadleigh knows exactly where we are when we pull into Brittany's apartment complex. She always says, "Mimi (Brittany), babies?!"
It's even better when family is visiting because then I have even more reason to swing on by. We really miss how close we lived to so many family members in Arizona. Never take it for granted!

One Sunday night everyone came to our house and as we were feeding the babies and chatting, we realized that all the girls were on one side of the room and the boys on the other. The girls heavily outweigh the boys! (Though in this picture, Braden is in Hadleigh's lap)

Brittany has been trying to get out more and more so we join her for walks and little adventures. This walk was down the street from where she lives. My girls were happy to play at a new-to -them park. Also, note my very luxurious double stroller. Ha! We thought we would be able to get away with not owning a double stroller but with some upcoming adventures we will be buying an inexpensive umbrella stroller for Taryn. She's good for 90% of the time but that 10% can be brutal (for us and her!) But until then, our method works! And Hadleigh actually loves it too!

Brooke joined us for our ward temple trip. 
She had a friend from her Jerusalem study abroad come out the same day as her to Arlington- visiting family that was in our ward who just had twins as well! And they both stayed for two weeks- all the similarities were becoming kinda creepy at that point- haha! 
 So Brooke and her friend Marty were able to catch up at the temple, meet up in D.C. for little adventures at some museums etc… it was so nice the days that I was unable to play with Brooke and Brittany said it was good to learn how to juggle the twins on her own. 

A stop at Good Stuff Eatery is always a good idea when we have visitors! 

We also decided to take on Mt. Vernon! 
Phew! I was super impressed with Brittany taking this on with Cora & Braden only being 1 month old and all the walking there is. She took breaks to feed them, nursed them while walking (!) and changed diapers on the go. She did awesome!

I loved watching my girls get so attached to their Aunt Brooke! Haddie would like to call her "Bookie" and both Taryn and Haddie loved playing with her. 

When did Taryn get so big!!?? 

These rams were so loud when they chewed their food! I couldn't stand there too long because it started to creep me out hearing their teeth clicking together so much. 

Taryn fell in love with this horse. He was so calm and gentle. Haddie asked all day long to see another "horsey" as they were being ridden around the Mt. Vernon property but as soon as she got up close and personal, she was terrified and didn't want to touch it. 
I rode horses for about a month growing up and I kinda wish I had stuck with it. The horses terrified me too though. I felt so small and incapable of controlling such a large animal. I will always have a sweet spot for horses and I look forward to the day my family and I can go horseback riding all together- hopefully the opportunity won't be too far in the future. 

Thanks for visiting Brooke! You are so fun, happy and always such a big help! It's always great to be around you. We miss you!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Rehoboth Beach, DE. Our Summer Adventure to the Beach!

We decided with a bunch of our friends that a few weekends ago would be the best time to head out to the beach. We couldn't have planned a better weekend. 2 weeks before in the beginning of August, we had decided this is what we wanted to do and we kept our fingers crossed that all would work out. Just  days before our Saturday trip, the news reported that this was going to be a fantastic weekend weather wise and that everyone should head to the beach! I felt like screaming, "SHHH!!! Don't plant that idea! We don't want too many people there with us!" 

Planning is what Tyson and I do best. 
We like schedules, advanced notice etc….though we have been known to go with the flow too ;) So we planned to leave our home at 5:15am so we could make it to the beach before the crowds. We packed our lunches and all our supplies the night before. I didn't sleep well and Tyson later said it was because I was so excited! We woke up the girls the next morning thinking they would fall asleep in the car but they were too excited too! So though they were a little out of it for a first hour or so, they were happy on our little road trip! We made it to the beach around 8:30am (making one 20 minute stop)  and it was beautiful!! I love the beach in the early morning. On the recommendation of my old boss, we got an all day resident parking pass on 30 Lake Ave ( I write this to remember for next year) and that gave us a head start in the day. BEST DECISION EVER. Not only did we save money but we always saved a bunch of time. While our friends had to keep an eye on their watches to know when they had to feed the meter or re-park their car (what a headache!) we were able to sit back and relax knowing that we had a fantastic parking spot right off the beach and we were good all day long. 

Once everyone in our family changed into their swim suits and was lathered up with the first round of sunscreen, we headed to the beach with our packed lunches and lots of sand toys. It was so relaxing to be there with friends and see Taryn take to the ocean water so quickly. It helped that the water was a great temperature!  The last time she was in the ocean (that I can remember) was when she was around Hadleigh's age (about 18 months) and we had just returned from living in Italy. That seems like forever ago! Hadleigh took some time to warm up to the idea and even then, we couldn't put her down. But at least she let us take her in the water and get wet! Taryn loved floating out beyond the break with Tyson and then with me. Hadleigh liked the sand better!

We took a break for lunch and redid our sunscreen. At this point, we could see Hadleigh was ready for a nap and luckily for us, she easily fell asleep on our beach towels. Another smart decision was renting a beach umbrella for the day for $15. *At the beginning of next summer, I will now know that we will have a need for a beach umbrella and buy one for the same price as renting one at the beach.* 
We were so happy to have shade to take breaks from the sun. I'm sure we would have fried if we hadn't. 
While Hadleigh napped and I rested next to her and visited with friends, Tyson played "shark" with Taryn and her friends. They played for a good hour! Tyson would get in the water and let the waves take him in where the kids were standing, waiting for him. They squealed and laughed as they ran away from Tyson each time. He is the best Dad!

After Hadleigh woke up and Taryn took a bathroom break, we decided to explore the boardwalk. We let the girls pick one treat each and they both chose cotton candy (bleh!) You can kinda see Taryn's blue lips and teeth above. Tyson and I chose to eat at the ice cream shop with 100 different flavors. It was good, but I am looking forward to trying the salt water taffy next year! We also told Taryn she could choose one ride at the "Fun Zone." She picked a fun one! Little helicopters that moved up and down when you moved the bar. Taryn is a dare devil for sure! She controlled the bar the whole time and mainly had it up as far as it could go. Hadleigh was scared and burrowed into my side as soon as we took off :) Then it was back to the water and sand!

 East coast beaches are so different from the West Coast. At first thought those itty bitty fences on the sand were strange and the fact that there was grass growing only a few feet from our towels was weird. But we learned that those dunes help protect the beach from eroding which is pretty cool. It also creates a visual difference between the coasts which is fun, making each experience unique. 

After spending all day on the beach, we decided to head out just before 5pm as we could see our girls had reached the point where if we had extended our stay even 30 minutes more, we would have faced big meltdowns. We headed to our car and covered everyone in baby powder. I had heard about how awesome it was for removing sand especially for kids. Oh man- I love that stuff! It will be a beach going essential for me form now on. We changed the girls into jammies and hit the road again. 

 I felt like this whole trip for our little family was perfectly timed. We got the girls in the car and we were able to stop and grab a quick bite to eat for dinner close by before they fell asleep for the entire drive. Transitioning them into their beds was a dream! The beach really wore them out and they loved their time there, as did we! We loved being able to cross off Delaware from our "States to See" list too!
I can't wait to go next year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

One happy little cherub

Cutie patootie on our walk around the neighborhood, fully equipped with her shovel and bucket. 

  Hadleigh is such a happy little babe. 
She enjoys so many activities, she is a good listener, and loves to love her family and friends. She pulls the funniest faces and tries to make us laugh. Hadleigh brings laughter and happiness wherever she is. She definitely has an excitement for life!

Completely covered in chocolate and completely happy about it :)

Just the sweetest little babe and her snack along on our Saturday adventure a few weeks back. 

Making sure her baby is near by always makes it easier to fall asleep on long road trips. Hadleigh is a dream in the car! 

It really is the sweetest thing to see our girls develop relationships with Tyson. I don't even mind if they only want Tyson to do certain things for them. I just think it's adorable that they are so eager to hug daddy in the morning when they wake up and when he gets home from work. 

These selfies Haddie took by herself (I have about one million of her toes, legs and shoes) made me realize how huge that bow looks on her! And I also realized again that she is the best at making faces- pretty sure she has learned all her skills form Taryn.  

This is a "law-moor" as Haddie likes to call them.

One more of this cutie with those curls the last that never stop!!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Our not so little Taryn

We've been talking about Preschool a lot lately and Taryn is super excited about it. So the other day we picked out a little backpack and a lunch pail for her to take with her on the first day (she will have the cutest little cubby there!) She modeled it for me when we got home and I couldn't take it! She looked like she was ready for 1st Grade! Maybe it's because she is already super tall, or that she just recently had another huge growth spurt, but my goodness, she is growing up so so fast! One morning I asked if if she could stop growing for me and she shook her head oh so seriously and said "No. I grow when I sleep and I want to get bigger." Ok, well, if you insist then I guess it's ok.

This girl rarely naps anymore and it's usually when she is playing quietly then when I go to check on her she has either put herself to bed or fallen asleep somewhere- like right now she fell asleep in our front door way watching the construction men re-do the street of our cul-de-sac. I love the picture of her  and her little animals waiting on the side for her, looking as if they are anxiously waiting for her to wake up and play! And those pillows she placed on her self!

Water and rocks = Taryn's heaven. 

Can you believe this is an Oreo cookie mess??!!! Tyson taught the girls how to dunk their oreos and it may have gotten a little out of hand towards the ends. Those mushy cookies had to end up somewhere I guess

Classic Taryn- always giving me a heart attack… just kidding…but seriously… she will climb anything and everything. Hard core Parkour!

From our recent Natural History Museum visit, Taryn found out that she is almost as tall as an elephant foot!

She is the sweetest and is the best little buddy. Sometimes I can't believe how mature she is and other times I'm grateful for her silly nature. She keeps me on my toes with her never ending curiosity and she is one great big sister (in-between those times where they fight here and there.) It always warms my heart as I watch from afar when Taryn takes care of Hadleigh. Whether it be sharing food or a toy while we are at the park or helping her sister do things like read books, I just love the relationship they have. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Keeping busy and having fun

Taryn took swim lessons for two weeks in the middle of Summer. She loved it and was excited to move on up but we were wait listed for the next level. Never fear- Taryn proved that she can do it all on her own! Taryn taught herself how to swim just about 1-2 weeks after finishing class. She had watched her friend Logan swim so well and I'm convinced that his example is what helped her have the courage to get out and go. That and I accidentally forgot her puddle jumper when we went swimming at Logan's! We all got in the water and Taryn said, "Mom! look at me go under the water!" (in the shallow end where she could stand- she loves to hold her breath under water) She went under water and then swam forward!!!!!! I told her when she resurfaced, "Taryn!!! You just swam!!!!" and she responded, "I did??" It was awesome! There was no stopping her after that! She tried swimming out further in the pool (little by little) and she loves it. She requested goggles so next summer she will be a goggle wearing swimmer! 
It's tough to live in a city where pools are scarce and where my kids (only Hadleigh now) think that "swimming" means going to the spray park. I think about their cousins back in Arizona and Utah that have lots of  pool exposure and how they start swimming at age 2! I can't help but feel like my girls are behind on swimming but I have to remind myself that it's all situational and we teach them what we can when we can. I am SO glad that Taryn knows how to swim now though it doesn't mean I watch her less at all (as Tyson and I discussed with this new found "freedom") We've learned from our days in Arizona that you can never be too cautious in the water even with experienced swimmers.

Its really fun to have the $1.00 movie option on super hot days or muggy rainy days. Fortuatley, we've only had to do this once all summer because the weather has been pretty terrific except one really really hot week where we barely went outside (ha!- can you believe that AZ family?!- yes, we are now wimps!) Hadleigh did so well in the theater. I was shocked! But then again, Rio 2 was pretty fun and entertaining. 

Sometimes Taryn asks me to take pictures of her creations :)

And Hadleigh nap time play is really fun with this cute girl 

But it's not so fun when you put a bucket on your own head to be funny and then realize it's stuck. It took me about 5 minutes to figure out the trick to getting this off. A good head position and a little tug pulls it off! Because, she thinks it's hilarious to do over and over again until it's time to take it off.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Sisters make the Best Friends" Grandma Larson

I love catching little moments where these two are being so sweet to each other. That's Taryn putting her arm around her sister while the other kids played school or something like it. 

We took a walk before dinner a few months back. Hadleigh had figured out that making crazy faces was all the rage so this is what I got! Of course, her baby had to come along for the walk too. 

By the end of the walk (which was not far at all) Hadleigh was being pushed in the baby stroller and Taryn made sure her baby was carried on her back because she was tired too.

On days where we work in the garden, it's super hard to keep these girls from wandering out in the cul-de-sac street- no matter how many times we tell them. Really, it's Hadleigh who has the problem so we have to stay very close by (which is hard when you are trying to get a lot of work done outside and trying to do it quickly!) So first thing I do is try to find lots of worms. It's never hard because Virginia has any bug and you can bet there are about 100,000 right under your feet- kind creepy really. But I gather up worms and put them in our front garden area and let them watch the worm wiggle and move. They love it and we get to work lots!

I really do love these moments of them helping each other. ….

… whatever form it comes….even giving your sister a ride in the kitchen on your blanket….pure fun right there!

Coloring buddies at church

We all thought it was hilarious when Hadleigh put this bucket on her head for the first time and walked around jabbering to herself. Now that she's gotten bigger, it's so much harder to get it off her head!!! 

Milk shake sharers


Playing in the kitchen we got for free from a friend. I love when others outgrow their toys and my girls fall in love with them. We're planning to do a little makeover to the kitchen soon.

Taryn and Hadleigh explored the Natural History Museum together a few weeks ago and loved it. Luckily we located the dinosaurs which had moved because that was the whole reason Taryn chose that museum! Nothing like a good ol' T-Rex to make my four year old happy!

My Grandma Larson hand stitched a pillow for me when I was younger. On the small pillow, she stitched the words, "Sisters Make the Best Friends." I kept that pillow on my bed for years and years. Even now, Taryn uses it to make her bed. It was a great reminder each day for me growing up that my relationship with my sisters mattered and I should strive to do my best to develop that relationship. I love each of my sisters!