Sunday, October 30, 2016

October Halloween Fun over the past month

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve

This month has been full of a lot of great family outings, BEAUTIFUL weather and lots of crazy  Halloween activities that keep us all going. 

We've been taking advantage of our ample Sunday family time by taking walks in new places- usually Nature preserves. Each walk fills my soul with happiness. The girls love exploring. Tyson loves planning out our route through the preserves and then to home through  fun side streets. It's a win, win win.

JoySchool/Preschool at my house (only half of the kids)- Halloween themed. So of course we dressed up over and over again!

The girls knew back in August that they wanted to be For Halloween.  A green butterfly For Haddie which, by the way,  finding that costume in Costco just moments after Haddie's very specific request was nothing short of a miracle!And Taryn wanted to be a nice witch (another Costco find!)

But that didn't stop the girls from a month long adventure of dressing up in various costumes, just having fun!

We visited Great Country Farms back on Labor Day and loved every second of it. I was actually afraid to take the girls to another farm for fear it wouldn't live up to what they had already experienced in September. I also didn't want to pay to go to one again because in Peak Season the farms are expensive (although fun.)

Nails Produce was such a great combo of October farm fun without the steep admissions pricing and no commitment to buy anything. The tiny white pumpkins were calling my name for Thanksgiving decor though. I may have to take Taryn with Haddie and I she can experience it...of course ;)

GOURDS!!!! How fun are these!

I love how all the colonial homes on the East decorate with unique gourds, making their homes even more beautiful. I love East Coast Falls. Seriously- I think I say this every year but I fall in love with the East Coast over and over again in the Fall. 

These little buddies are the cutest together! Our playgroup is amazing. My kids love it and I love chatting with inspiring women. 

This pumpkin wall is spot on. I think I will recreate this one year when we own a home. 

It does feel weird to do these little outings without Taryn. 
But I'm glad I've got Haddie to come along! One on one time with her is a lot of fun. 

On our walk to school one day last week, Taryn ran ahead and said, "Mom, I want to hold a leaf!" Que camera! She posed for me and I love that above shot of her. Such a cutie! And all those fall leaves! It was picture day so she was excited to get her hair curled :)

These are some spooky zombies I took home with me the other day. They love Halloween!

Our Ward Trunk or Treat was at the same time as Taryn's soccer game. She was totally split between the two but ultimately chose Soccer. Haddie and I went to the trunk or treat because I was entering the Bake Off competition (I won!) Taryn and Tyson made it back in time after her soccer game to trunk or treat which was great. I was so happy to see them pull in the parking lot! I knew the cars would be wrapping up their trunks soon and that Taryn would be devastated not to have a bucket full of candy. But it all worked out. We had to improvise on a backup Halloween costume for Taryn. I had all her witch stuff but because they were pushing it on time, we decided Taryn should be a "soccer player" as her costume so she could fill her bucket sooner. It worked out really really well! 
Parenting Win!

Gwen and Haddie always have a blast together! They are a year apart in age by besties for sure. After she saw Gwen's Aurora costume, Haddie went home and declared she wanted to be Rapunzel for the  neighborhood Halloween parade we went to later that day. 

Taryn is always on the search to make others laugh and LOVES to scare people. One of the trunks passed out these fun and goofy toys and the girls loved. I was sad that I didn't get a picture of Haddie's little goofy mask. I realized it when I sat down and sifted through the past few weeks of photos. Oh well! 

The month of October has flown by and I will take a deep breathe as November and December whiz by us. I love this time of year! 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Work, play, and everything in-between

Taryn had Columbus Day off, and a few days before that for parent teacher conferences so we lived those days to the fullest! We made it to the Zoo with friends and played a lot outside in this gorgeous fall weather. I love that every time we go to the Zoo we see a new animal. This time we saw a beaver!

Tyson texted me and asked how the Zoo was going. I responded with this group Selfie with Lindsey & Celia and with the caption, "GREAT!" Always fun to be in good company. 
Once Tyson found out we were heading to the zoo that day, he called and asked if I wanted to meet up for lunch. His work is super close to the Zoo (remember how he was able to arrive so quickly when Taryn fell and got a hole in her head last time we were at the Zoo?!) 

The girls and I love meeting Tyson for lunch. This time we introduced them to Panas, an empanada place Tyson and I had gone on a date to. The girls loved the empanadas and were super adventures trying the different dipping sauces and various flavors of empanadas. 
Way to go girls!!! It's always sad when Daddy has to go back to work and we have to say goodbye. Driving in Dupont is not my favorite, especially at lunch time, but with our team work of "find a parking space", it's never that bad. 

I remember when we bought those little boots for Taryn a few years back. It's like DejaVu seeing Haddie with them on. That sweater, her hair  and that same park too! They look so much alike that the age of 3 yrs. 

Taryn is doing so well at Soccer. We love watching her and cheering for her. We're working hard on teaching Haddie the concept of cheering for Taryn and playing after at the park. It's a hard concept, which I totally understand. I just wish the park was closer so I didn't have to always go up with Haddie and miss being on the sidelines to watch Taryn. We may have to bribe her with our phones and a promise of lots of park play after the game is done. 

The cutest little puppy and a green Fairy.

Our neighborhood does a fantastic "Boo Ha Ha" fall festival. The girls had their faces painted (it's amazing!!!!!!), they jumped in bounce houses, ate popcorn, decorated mini pumpkins and took a hayride with Tyson. Taryn stayed in character for almost the entire time that face paint was on her. She and Haddie cried so so mdWe saw lots of our friends there which always makes the activity even better. 

If you give Tayrn anything to write with and a surface to go crazy on, she will write the Alphabet and her numbers up to 20. She LOVES learning  new words to spell and has really gotten into coloring since starting Kindergarten. 

On Sundays we take our family walks around beautiful Virginia . This walk was at Green Springs Gardens in Fairfax, VA. It was a perfect place for a peaceful Sunday walk. Gardens, ponds, animals, butterflies and lots of running space for the girls. We toured the manor on the 31 acres that was first used as a Tobacco farm. I love the rich history in the area!

Last week was my last week of working nights in a bakery. It's sad to say goodbye to something I love but I have to admit that sleep is calling my name! I feel that without these 2 years of working nights in a candy shop and 2 bakeries, I wouldn't be where I am today and I wouldn't have enough confidence to start my own business selling cakes. I'm excited to start this next chapter of my life and learn along the way. This week is already filled with 5 cakes! Woohoo!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Life for the Virginia Smith's over the past few weeks

The gardens of Taryn's school. 

A part of me wants to title this, "Life as Haddie knows it" because I realize that more of these pictures are of Haddie than not. Now that Taryn is in school, Haddie must endure my endless pictures by herself. It's a good thing that she doesn't mind giving me a smile most of the time! 

Hadleigh usually falls asleep on our way to get Taryn from school. That short walk from our car to her classroom usually lulls her to sleep pretty quickly at that time of day.

Waiting for Taryn at her soccer practice. 
We usually play at the park and I sneak a peak at Taryn's soccer practice. I'm very grateful for Taryn's coach who volunteered  for the position (their daughter is on the team too) It's hilarious to watch these cute kids play soccer and learn as they go about the rules of the game. They have become so much better and Taryn looks forward to her practices and games so much. 

I can't believe I haven't shared about Taryn's soccer team! 
She plays on the "Tough Puppies" which should have been a big sign to us that this experience was going to be amazing! Taryn, the dog lover, fell in love with soccer fast! She has great hand eye coordination and is a super fast runner. We were surprised to watch her at her first game and realize that she is terrific at passing the ball to her teammates (I hope that lasts!) I almost wish she would just shoot the ball into the goal because she gets so close to it and passes the ball but at the same time, I'm glad she has a natural instinct to look for her teammates.
Her team won their first game but who's keeping track :) 
Actually- Taryn was! She kept running past Tyson and me and shouting the score to us when there was a goal made ;) 
She has a very strong competitive streak that runs through her. 
I feel like I've reached this great parenting moment in life. I have a kindergartener and she now plays soccer. I can't tell you how much Tyson and I have talked about this moment in our lives and now we are here! I often tell stories of myself playing soccer at the age of 5 to Taryn. I love that she loves it so much. 
Watching the kids play soccer makes me laugh and makes me proud! After half time, the kids came out onto the field doing cartwheels - haha!!! But I'm proud of them for knowing how to hustle for the ball, encourage each other, and enjoy the game. 

Sometimes we take the "long" route home after we walk to drop Taryn off at school in the morning. Haddie loves to explore and play... and spot the pumpkins & kitty cats. 

During General Conference weekend, the girls and I painted our nails while Tyson was at the Priesthood session. Well, during the Sunday morning session, the girls felt like Tyson was missing out on the whole "painted nails" thing so they got to work on his. It bought us 10 minutes of quiet conference listening and Tyson wore flip flops for the rest of the day to show off his red & teal glittery toes. 

Haddie fell asleep during the last session of conference. 

Taryn and HAddie we coloring one morning on our way to school drop off. Taryn announces that she finished her drawing of "Rapunzel zombie" and showed me this drawing. It made me laugh out loud and I told her I would send a picture of it to Tyson, the zombie lover in our family. I'm really not sure how she learned about zombies because we've never let her watch anything with zombies in it. She gets the worst nightmares still so they are totally out of the question. Her depiction of them isn't far off :/

Haddie modeling a new birthday dress from Grandma. That pose is all her own -haha!

My little Institute buddy. 
I just couldn't help but sneak a picture of her while we were walking into church on Thursday. Just too cute!

Haddie try to catch a little cat nap here and there now a days. Naps have snuck back in a bit for her and I think it's been a really good thing. She is great at sleeping on the go and transferring. So while I watch Taryn at gymnastics, Haddie gets some zzz's in to help her make it through the day. 

I love these two girly girls so much! They are always up for an adventure and love to play together (most of the time!) 

I snapped this picture while in the middle of my latest cake creation, a log cake. This one was so much fun and really pushed my creative buttons. Taryn and Haddie were fascinated by the process, and also tried to eat everything! I hope to instill a love of cooking and baking in them, even though sometimes my anxiety sky rockets when they are baking along side me- I'm working on that! 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hadleigh turns 3 years old!

Our Haddie is 3 years old! This past Monday we celebrated her birthday as a family in the morning with the traditional birthday cake send off! 
Best way to start the day!

Taryn was such a wonderful big sister the morning of Haddie's birthday. She & Haddie woke up at the same and the first thing Taryn said was, "Happy birthday, Hads!" Hadleigh was all smiles after that moment. Taryn kept asking Haddie if she was excited to go downstairs and eat cake and open presents. She was helpful in distracting Haddie while I finished making the eggs and putting the candles in the cake. 

Haddie said, "I a happy birf-day gurl" and "it's my golden birf-day!"

 I made her an Ombre pink drip cake. Two new techniques I haven't tried before but were super fun! I love how it turned out and would do both techniques again. I can definitely perfect them. 

Haddie got right to playing with her new birthday toys and loves them so much. Her little hands have been clenching some kind of little toy every moment of every day this week!

Hadleigh has been wanting a Tea Party for such a long time. She talked about wanting to have animal circus crackers (the frosted kind with sprinkles of course), having her little friends over, and using tea cups. It was the perfect theme for a 3 year old obsessed with everything glittery, twirly and princessy. 

The girls were encouraged to wear princess attire ... i.e...a twirly dress, princess shoes, a tutu, or jewelry. There was lots of excited squeals as the girls arrived. they all danced and twirled to Disney princess music  for about 10-20 minutes.

I just can't get enough! Look at the excited little girl! 
Once the girls spotted the tea sets on the table, they were hooked. They sat at the table so happily as if they've known all their lives what to do at a fancy tea party. She helped pour "tea" (otherwise known as her favorite "red juice" crystal light) for all of her little friends. They sat so daintily at the table, holding their tea cups. It was such a fun sight to see. 

We had little cupcakes with pink buttercream frosting and little crown molds on each. Haddie later told me that her favorite part of the day was blowing out the candles. She got to do it many times that day.

It's the sweetest when your child is being sung to on their special day. 

Haddie and her berry filled plate and her little friend, Gwen. 

The spread. We kept it very simple with fresh berries, Macarons, cupcakes, frosted animals crackers and marshmallows. Can you say sugar coma!??
The purple bags were little favors - a little tiara, a beaded necklace and a wand each child created on their own.

I love this and she did too!!

This is the girls making their wands. They carried them around and danced to even more princess songs with them. 

The "Princess play dough" was a big party hit (thanks Olivia!) All the girls joined in, which meant grabbing lots more princesses  and play dough. They played so sweetly for about 20 minutes before their moms came to pick them up. 

Seriously one of the easiest and most successful birthday parties I have done. I loved these happy little girls and their love of princesses. They all looked so adorable twirling and singing to "Frozen" songs. 
I'm so glad Haddie has these cute friends to play with! 

Our friends the Plowmans gifted Haddie some books, hair clips and this Elephant mask which made it's appearance on several walks we had to and from school recently. 

We love our silly Hadleigh who is so full of love, kindness, determination, will power, and laughter.