Friday, March 31, 2017

Going to Great Falls, VA on a Free admissions day!

On Presidents day back in February, we went to Great Falls National Park, on the Virginia side. 
The park had free entry that day and the weather was usually warm for a winter's day so we knew we had to be outside. 

My crew

Always running, skipping, jumping that one...

I love Haddie's little leg pose. Not sure where she learned that one ;)

The views are fantastic and we get all our wiggles out. 
The girls threw rocks in the water and tried to spy the ducks along the path. We watched some kayakers for a long time in the water as they battled the current. It seemed like quite the workout to me. 

When we came home we were getting ready for Family Home Evening when I remembered that I had ordered girl scout cookies and needed to pick them up. What a perfect FHE treat! We sampled a cookie from each box (Samoa's, Thin Mints, Tagalongs and the new S'mores) We learned Tyson and Taryn don't like Samoa's or Tagalongs. Haddie and I loved them. Also, Haddie is a huge mint fan and gobbled up the Thin Mints. The S'mores cookies were good but not my favorite. I just love that they created this cookie for the 100 year anniversary of Girls Scouts, because it was at a girls scout campout that the S'mores were "invented." 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Harper's Ferry - Round 2

A few weeks ago we headed on a whim to Harper's Ferry with some friends. We've been before with the Haley's and loved our time there so going again was an easy YES!
I think drives are made better because of these great kids, Tyson- the ultimate navigator, and some good tunes. Don't get me wrong, the kids were definitely done sitting in the car after about 2 hours- right as we were searching for parking, but they do a great job at being awesome and entertaining themselves in the car. Snacks definitely help too. 

We park and take a shuttle down to the historic little town main road. 

The view from one of the churches on top of the hill. There are a few hikes that are too hard to do with little kids we will save for another time, just across the river. We have hiked up to Jefferson Rock in the past, just about 15 min past this point pictured here.  Definitely worth it! This time around, I think there were too many little kids (and strollers & bags) so no one was terribly interested so we didn't go. When your with fun friends it doesn't matter too much what you do because it's all fun. 

On our walk down the group spread out on this long road. I love the bricks and stones used in these buildings and how you can catch a glimpse of some windows that haven't been redone since they were built. You know, those old "coke bottle" glass looking windows where you can't get a clear picture when you look out. I love it!
We also saw old time advertisements on the sides of buildings and even on the rocks surrounding the hills/mountains. 

On the main street of Harper's Ferry. Some friends had gone into a store and we were letting the girls run around the grass area (because it really is a tiny town and the side walks are small- no room for wiggling when there are hoards of people coming up and down, trying not to get hit by the cars) Our friends came out with ice cream for us to share. It was the sweetest thing and took us by complete surprise. Good friends are always thinking of others. 

I have to say one of the best parts of day tripping with other kiddos is the candid photos you catch of them. These kids were feasting on Nerds Candies. We always stop at a Antique Candy shop and get our favorite dark chocolate covered whipped molasses- "Sponge Candy." The lady at the store gave us an extra bag for free too- I think because Tyson was raving about Sponge Candy to all our friends while in the store and she overheard. The store owner hand packaged our sponge candy so we could take some home (apparently they had just run out. ) I appreciate those Mom & Pop shops who value their costumers and take time to make sure they are happy. 

How cute is this door?!!

Another from the main street, while our group walked by the shops. We were trying to stay out of the way!

Love our family day trips. This guy really knows how to enjoy weekends!

The group tried throwing rocks into the river and the boys tried to get the rocks over the old bridge stands in the water. One of our friends informed us that throwing rocks could get us a the fun stopped after that ;)

Some casualties of the trip: 
During the last 30 minutes of our stay Hadleigh fell (which isn't unusual) and cried for the rest of the time we were waiting for Daddy to get the car. 
The boys went to walk and get the car instead of taking the shuttle. It ended up being quite the hike for them and I feel bad that there was no cell service until they had already gotten the cars so there was no way to communicate with us. We didn't mind on our side because the kids were able to run around for about an hour, soaking in the last of the sunlight and getting all their wiggles out before our drive back home. 

Ending the day at Chik-fil-A with friends after sight seeing is a great day to me! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

If you give Tyson a map.... Fort Washington and beyond!

If you give Tyson a map....

He will spend days planning out family vacations and road trips for the next year :) And I love that!

We found ourselves at Fort Washington a few weeks ago. We've seen this Fort from across the Potomac for years as we drove to one of our  LDS buildings and we finally planned an adventure to see it. 

The day was cloudy and chilly but perfect for sight seeing at this Fort. Hardly a soul was there and the girls loved running around all the open spaces. Taryn had a million questions about the cannons that were stationed there and Haddie was cautious with every step we took down the steep staircases. 

The Fort never saw a battle and was abandoned pretty quickly but it still has the best view of the Potomac River. 

We thought this would make a better prison than Armory storage. 

Serious stairs leading to creepy underground walkways. 

Here you see a handsome fellow ;) and a majority of the Fort with its cannons (now sealed) in the distant. I kid you not when I say are kids were running EVERYWHERE!

We saw multiple Eagles and this beautiful Hawk that decided to follow us on our walk around the Fort. We were able to get so close to him. There was a "birder" out with his binoculars and he showed us the Eagles nest near by. 

Tyson was excited to share this lighthouse with his brother Travis who "collects" lighthouses. 

I love the team work that came from trying to get a National Parks stamp from these girls. 

Haddie from across the Fort: 
"Tare-wren! You come hold my hand?"
Taryn: "Sure! I'm coming!"

Taryn ran down the hill and across to her sister to help her off a little hill so they could explore together. My mama heart was so proud and happy :)

When we returned home, we had mail from our favorite "Greek" puppy, Bella. Well, she's not really Greek but Bella lives there with her family (Phil Babits and Jane Lloyd with their son James.) Tyson and Taryn hunted for "Bella banana" on their family blog and won! We adore Bella (and her family.) Taryn asks us when they are coming back all the time. We love getting Bella mail! 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Valentine's Day with my Sweeties 2017

I'm trying to be better at planning ahead for holidays, even the "little" ones. So I planned a fun breakfast for Valentine's Day- whole wheat pancakes (because Tyson and I are doing a health challenge) a strawberry banana smoothie and eggs. I even decorated the table the night before. 
Tyson bought flowers for all of us girlies the night before so we could use them on Valentine's Day ( I love that he did that!) and also gave the girls cute little M&M Valentine containers (the brown bears on the girls place settings) For a family home evening treat that night (Monday), he brought home Krispy Kreme Valentine donuts, which is quickly becoming a tradition as well, since Tyson works across the street from one -we try to keep a balance for the health challenge ;)

In the picture above, Taryn is doing the biggest fake smile she could. She was in tears all durning breakfast because she said the whole wheat pancakes "didn't taste right!" She toughed it out and ate a whole pancake, hating it the whole time. We can laugh about it now but it was a rough go on a holiday morning. No matter what type of whole wheat pancakes I make, the girls hate them. Not one can convince me that there is a good whole pancake out there. They all taste bad compared to the fluffy buttermilk pancakes. 

Taryn and Haddie stayed up an hour past there bedtime to make Valentine's for their friends. The next morning they were excited to dress in pinks, reds, white, and purples for the day. 

At Taryn's school, the Kindergarteners get a special "Sweetheart Lunch" where the parents come in and eat lunch with their child. It was super fun to interact with Taryn's friends. I tried to pack as much  heart shaped items or red foods I could (strawberries cut to look like hearts, cucumbers cut as hearts, heart sandwich, pink heart candies, and hearts drawn on her cheese stick wrapper, with a love note  on the top of it all.) She loved it and we had a lot of fun visiting with her. 

Grandma/Grandpa Smith sent homemade Valentine cards and Grandma/Grandpa Scott sent a bag of chocolate Dove heart candies and cartoon Valentines (Strawberry Shortcake, Kung-Fu Panda and Care Bears)
The girls loved getting mail and they had a blast all day long (except for the whole wheat pancakes ;)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Saturday bird watching

What do you do on a cold winter Saturday morning? Bird watching!! We went to Long Branch Nature Center and spent a lot of time indoors watching the birds from the window peak at the multiple bird feeders. We saw many birds that are new to us, which we added to Tyson's growing list of "sighted birds."
The girls are excellent bird spotters and know the different types of birds that live around our home. They get so excited to see them. 

We wore them out!
Birding is great because it gets you outdoors, its free to view the birds with your eyes, and the kids love it too. Total win! We're really loving this new family hobby. 

Love these girlies and their silliness too! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Taryn's 6th birthday!!!

Our Taryn turned 6 years old last week!

With Taryn turning 6 years old so close to President's Day, we decided to take advantage of the day off of school and work. Taryn's request for our family activity was to go bowling. We all love to bowl and we love that we can do the Kids Bowling Hour in Georgetown (Pinstripes) for only $12 for the whole family (including shoes!)
The girls helped each other bowl, cheered each other on, and Daddy won, like normal ;)

Afterwards we went to &Pizza. Super yummy and cheap! I was really surprised! We would love to go there again and try their unique pizzas. 

Last Wednesday was Taryn's 6th birthday. She requested a blue heart cake for her big day. Blue is her new favorite color, so blue was a common theme throughout the day. 

A present from family members! 

I noticed that the weather was going to be about 65 degrees on Taryn's birthday. Unheard of for the middle of February so we planned a last minute Park birthday, Taryn's first ever outdoor birthday party. Notice the blue cupcakes?! 

The best group of kids!

Love this girl!!! 
She has a heart of gold. 
Always caring and loving to others, a friend to everyone she meets, athletic, spunky, beautiful, sweet, super smart and happy. She is the one that gets our family laughing! 

Taryn had a good mix of church and school friends who came to play at the park with her for her birthday. I was blown away at everyone's responses to our last minute party. So many came and made time for Taryn, and brought gifts (which weren't needed but Taryn greatly appreciated them!) I was overwhelmed with gratitude for our friends who took the time to celebrate Taryn's 6th birthday. We are blessed with great friends. 

Two sisters after a day of partying! 

And to top off the day, we had Chinese food for dinner, Taryn's favorite! 

Happy 6th birthday to Taryn!