Saturday, December 31, 2016

The early winter days and the girls

Before the weather turned really cold, we took this walk along the Potomac. Our Sunday walks were and are always so fun. I love being together with my family, outdoors and enjoying a new place together. Tyson is really great at finding new locations for us to explore and the girls are super happy to come along. The more leaves, bugs, sticks and water the better! In this picture, the girls were busy picking leaves of different colors. I'm in the far back, helping the girls find different shaped leaves. 

We pulled our Little People Nativity out- which I love so much. Every day the characters are found all over and in different arrangements. This was one of my favorites for the Christmas season, done by Hadleigh. All the characters gathered around baby Jesus. Perfect.

Back in November- I voted. I'm thankful I get to vote!

I found this in my pile of papers as I was cleaning and sorting. This is our map from Philadelphia back in August when we took a family trip out there to see the new temple and explore a "new to us" town. I love that this map is covered with notes from Tyson and the park ranger Tyson asked many questions to. It was the park ranger who guided us as to what would be the best to see and it was Tyson who plotted out the most PERFECT route for our family. As we've learned in our many many travels, food comes first, plan play time for the kids (release the wiggles) and enjoy the traditional historical landmarks.
Tyson and I go so well together. I plan what we need to see and Tyson makes it happen. He plans our route and takes into account our family's needs. He is the map holder and I make sure we've checked everything off our list.

Taryn loves reading and wants so badly to be able to read everything. She's learning quickly and I love watching her put words together. 

Reading before bedtime. It's usually Tyson's favorite bed time "job" to do but every now and then, I jump in. And apparently Haddie took some photos or something! 

I'm really getting into having the girls match. They don't mind it so much either! It's just so fun! I almost bought a set of matching mother/daughter floral dresses but I decided I should probably draw the line there. 

All day. Every day. 
You can find Hadleigh in a princess dress. Recently, she's been really loving Belle. She loved watching the original Beauty and the Beast movie with us as a family.  That was the Disney movie we bought for our family this year for Christmas. It was preparation for the live action Beauty and the Beast coming out in 2017.

Hadleigh's hair  is long enough to put into piggy tails! She calls them her Elsa braids but it's just so cute I can't correct her. I love them!

Preschool days. They are the best kids and I feel super lucky to have them to teach. They are all super sweet and play so well together. 

Haddie came down with a super high fever - 104- for 24 hours a few weeks ago. She did nothing but snuggle on the couch with me or by herself, and watched movies and Disney channel all day long. It was so sad but I was so happy she got so much rest- drifting in and out of sleep all day. It's so hard to see kids sick. 
But I do have to say that if your child has Kidney problems like Haddie does, a fever of any degree gets my mama heart pumping super fast. I tried getting her temperature several times but it was a battle. I tried making a doctors appointment to get her urine tested but had to wait until the next day. Thankfully, after having woken up before 6 am to get the one open appointment for the day, her fever had broken over night and she woke up just fine. 
I can't tell you the relief I felt. I get super concerned with every fever for both the girls. And I think I will for the rest of their young adult life. U.T.I's are no fun and I will do anything to keep them at bay or get them under control quickly. 
Got to keep these girls healthy!

After 24 hours of being sick, it was time for Haddie to get outside and get some fresh air. We went to a local park by ourselves and really enjoyed our time picking up sticks, leaves and playing a bit. 
I'll be thankful every day for our daughters' health. 

Taryn took a free hip hop class to see if she would enjoy it from a local fitness studio. She loved it so much and now asks to do hip hop class. I think it helped that she was with a friend too. Taryn loves to move and be active. It's one of the characteristics that I love most about her. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

December is here!!!!

We bundled up the girls and headed to our neighborhood tree lighting ceremony where we would get to see Santa at the beginning of December, which already seems like months ago. Why does time have to fly by??!!
They had such a great time running under the giant Christmas tree after it was all lit up with all the other kids. 

These girls and their face painting love! 
They will find a face painter anywhere we go! 
They waited through the bitter bitter cold (30 degrees!!!!!) to get their faces painted after seeing Santa. 
Their determination is amazing. 

The girls were happy to be home and warm by the end of the night and I loved seeing them in their matching Christmas jammies. 

And another picture of their matching jammies because I've fallen in love with having them match as much as possible these days!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Our Thanksgiving Weekend 2016

We started off our Thanksgiving Day with flag football. Tyson played and the girls and I played at the park near by. I always think it's a great idea to get out in the morning (after the Turkey is in the oven!) and enjoy some fresh air before the feast. 
These guys played for hours and had a lot of fun. Thankfully, no one was hurt!

Back at home, the table was set and it wasn't until days later that I realized I forgot my little white pumpkins in my table scape :( But I still loved how it turned out. 
The girls couldn't wait for our guests to leave because they wanted to have the job of blowing out the candles. They kept asking if it was time for our friends to leave :/

2016: The first year we hosted Thanksgiving. 

2012: Our first "Friendsgiving" in Williamsburg with the Dansie's 

2011: SAIS Johns Hopkins Thanksgiving in Italy Part 1 and Part 2

It's crazy to go through these photos from past years and see how much we've all changed!

Taryn was a great little helper. The day before Thanksgiving, I started prepping lots of the food, including this crunchy apple pie. Taryn was quick to say, "I want to help!" So I put her to work, peeling the apples. 

The beautiful pie dough. 

Seriously, I love how it looks and tastes!

I had a lot of prepping to do so I needed to find ways to keep the girls occupied for more than a minute. This painting activity was a great fit and I love this little scene. 

 We also found out that Taryn is allergic to Juniper Berries... or at least that's what we think she is. While I was cooking my brine to dissolve the salts and Taryn walked into the kitchen and said she couldn't bend her fingers. When I saw her hands, they were all puffy and swollen and so were her feet. So I drained the brine (the house smelled of Juniper berries- that's why we thought it was the brine's fault. ) Then we got out of the house after opening all the windows. As soon as we got to a store nearby, Taryn's swelling had gone down. So crazy!!! Thankfully Juniper berries aren't used much in anything.

A few days before Thanksgiving, we had a Family Home Evening about being thankful. I had cut out leaves from construction paper and everyone went around writing (or drawing in Haddie's case) what they were thankful for. We heard things like Health, kitty cats, friends, chocolate, car & jobs etc... Taryn and Haddie really loved helping put up the leaves on our wall tree. 

The day after Thanksgiving, we headed to Luray Caverns. We were happy to find out our friends the Bratts were going there as well so we met up with them and enjoyed our days with friends. 

This is what the kids do on a 2.5 hour drive :)

These caverns were amazing. The girls loved it and Taryn always amazes me with her ability to remember facts. She was pulling out information the tour guide has told us and asking very great questions the whole time. 

This reflection picture makes it look like you are seeing something like the grand canyon. But in reality, it's just a few feet of water- clear as day- reflecting the stalactites from above. 

Because we were all the way out by Shenandoah Mountains, we decided to do the famous Skyline Drive. It was beautiful, even though all the fall leaves were gone. Taryn was a trooper and stayed awake despite our busy day, jumping out at look out stops with us along the way to see the view. 

She grabbed her crayons and paper to draw what she saw. Love that girl!

And while we took in the beautiful views, Haddie crashed in the car and caught up on some much needed zzzZZZzzz's.

One of my favorite pictures of Taryn. 

And these as well. They always make me smile. I feel like they perfectly display Taryn's personality :)

" Follow the yellow brick road"

On Saturday, we went to Oz. I love Thanksgiving weekend. It just keeps giving! We were able to have so much time together as a family and we explored all around us. 
This park was amazing. 

They really took this Wizard of Oz theme and ran with it. Our girls loved it and played until they were starving for lunch. 

They seriously thought about everything!

We had a fun filled day, again, meeting up with friends and laughing together. 

We came home that night and crashed. Finishing Gilmore Girls- the reboot, was the perfect "chill" we needed. 

Thanksgiving was wonderful and I felt blessed to be surrounded by friends and family. I really enjoy cooking and baking, and sharing a great time with those you love.