Friday, November 24, 2017

Adventures of the Summer 2017

Over the summer I started training for a Half Marathon that would take place in September. I took the girls on lots of my runs, Haddie in the stroller and Taryn on her bike riding next to me. The girls loved it and would often beg me to take them on a run. Great motivation!!! On the mornings I would have to wake up early and head out before they woke up to get my workout in, the girls would cry and beg to go back out with me. I love that they enjoyed running with me (or in Haddie's case, being pushed by me!) 

This is what I saw on every run with the girls. Haddie would sit contently in her stroller, feet crossed and eating her breakfast or snack. She was living the life!

Taryn can fly on her bike!

The morning views were gorgeous and I loved taking the girls on the endless trails around our home so they could experience this beauty. 

Don't be fooled though, it was HOT most mornings. We carried lots of water and I was usually drenched in sweat but it was worth it!
My training came to an end with an injury and it made me so sad. But thankfully with a few months of rest and light running in-between, new shoe inserts and a few other tricks, I'm good to go! But I'm not sure if I even really want to pay the money to run a Half Marathon. But will I work to get myself up to that mileage? I will try- and I'm excited about it. But truth is races out here are expensive!!!!

We filled our days with as many park days as we could, meeting up with out friends or heading out to explore a new park. These kids love being together with friends. We would pack their bathing suits even if we weren't specifically going to a place with water because you better believe my kids would find a way to get wet during the hot summer months. Above the girls played in a small river run off (possibly gross but....) and they loved it. 

This was my attempt to give summer a different fun twist. Animals frozen in ice cubes. This lasted about 5 minutes but I know now that my kids love smashing things- haha!

By August, my girls had picked out their Halloween costumes. We've learned that 1.) I'm not crafty and don't plan to make elaborate costumes 2.) Buying in August means you get the size your kid needs 3.) Costco has CHEAP Halloween costumes!

We love love love the Yards Park in D.C.
We've grown out of splash pads (though we visited a few) but I did notice that with the decline of splash pad visits, my kids did not get sick at all this summer. Correlation?!?

Frying Pan Park Fair was great for kids 3-12 years old. But man, I wish people would do fairs in the spring or fall more often. It's just soon hot out. This weekend we did actually was beautiful so we lucked out! 

Happy 5 Years of living in Virginia for the Smiths! I never thought we would be here this long, but here we are and we love love love it! It's far from family but we've been blessed with many visitors and opportunities to go back West to visit them. 

Teaching my girls the art of selfie stick picture taking... I think they got the hang of it, though it's still too heavy for Haddie to hold with the extra length added on. 

Sometimes our family adventures take us into D.C. and around the monuments. We've mastered parking and how to get around. That doesn't take away the frustration that sometimes comes with finding the right spot and the heavy traffic. 

Those scooters have been the best purchase for both girls. They love to see the city via scooters and we're getting further and further away from the stroller. I love it!

Heading into D.C. with friends to check out special exhibits like the new Narwhal exhibit. Truth be told, I had no idea narwhals were real. I talked to one of the Natural History Museum's staff about how I'm not the only one who thinks that way. Crazy! We learned so much.  

Taryn and Hadleigh mastered puff pancakes all by themselves during one hot summer day. I was so impressed and they loved the process. They've mastered egg cracking.

Biking and biking all around town. To school, on walks, at parks and more. 

Haddie LOVES her dress ups. Everyday she tries on at least one costume. Sometimes she sticks with one all day long, but there have been times where she's gone through at least 6 in the course of the day. I love her creativity!

These curly haired twins will be separating soon which is so sad. But they've had so much fun while these past years! 

Summer picnics - our favorite! 

Taryn showed us her drawing of our family face timing with Grandma. 
I thought it was very sweet that she showed this moment that she loves.  So thankful for technology that makes it possible to connect with family that lives far away. 

Haddie's drawings are getting better and better. She makes cute birthday cards for her friends and tells stories about the people she has drawn. This stage goes by so quickly where they draw stick figures. I have one of my drawings in a baby photo book that is so cute and I want to make sure I capture these beginnings of her drawings. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens -Summer blooms

After living here for about a year, I heard about these fantastic lotus blossoms at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in D.C., but it wasn't until 4 years later that we finally found ourselves in D.C. while they bloomed! Usually, we are vacationing the month of July and miss it. 

We had just gotten back from a big vacation and we were all tired, but I figured we could go for 20 minutes, love it and be done. It worked great!

The girls had the best time pointing out the huge dragon flies, geese, frogs, turtles and the blossoms bigger than our heads. Awesome!

And their poses?! Haha- totally made up by them! 

It really was a sight to see and I hope we can come back with Tyson next year. 

Yup- tired of walking (and still recovering from vacation) I had timed our trip just right of this year. 

One last funny pose (her doing!) and then back to home to finish resting and recouping from vacation. 

It's totally worth a visit so if you come into town during the middle to end of July, we will take you here! We also lucked out that it wasn't hot and humid that day Double win for the Smith girls!

Summer Swimming lessons

This year's swim lessons were great of both girls. Haddie takes a few weeks to remember how much she likes swimming and can do it by herself. There were a few days that we stayed after swim lessons to play around in the water and I practiced more jumping solo into the water while Taryn jumped over and over again. Haddie gained back her confidence so quickly! Her teacher was shocked at how well she was doing (he happened to pass by our a few times.)
Gaining strength in the water means so much to me because we spend so much time in the water during the summer months. Weather at the beach or at Lake Powell or a friend's pool. It's so important that kids know how to swim!

Taryn was a rock star with her lessons this year. I pushed her ahead in her class and signed her up for a few levels up, knowing she could handle the change with no problem. 
It was a really huge jump, turns out. And it was hard for Taryn. So hard in fact that she would come to me after practice and just start crying. She would do all that was asked of her during her lesson and melt down right after. This class forced her to find out just what she is capable of and how she can get through anything. Every week was a struggle to get her to swim without tears. She would say it was too hard and she would get too tired. I kept telling her what a fantastic swimmer she was and that she could do anything she put her mind to. Well, turns out she was one of the top swimmers (and the other two good swimmers were twice her age!!!!!!!) She really reached for the stars and pushed herself to do something hard. I am so proud of her. By the end of her lessons, she was loving it all! And I'm happy she can swim laps and laps by herself with no problem. 

Oh ya- when you give your kids a shower after swim practice, they might accidentally spray you with the shower head hose ;) 

Swim lessons wasn't enough for these girls. We would find ourselves swimming in D.C., with friends at a splash pad or occasionally at the beach. I love that they love water so much!
It was a successful summer for swimming!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Berry picking at the Farm

I was so excited to pick berries with Taryn and Haddie for the first time. We've picked apples and pumpkins before, but there was something about the berries that made me even more happier to pick. Maybe it was the fresh jam I kept dreaming about. Or the possibilities of the yummiest cobblers and pies. 

Turns out, Taryn is an amazing berry picked. You give that girl a task, such as only picking the ripe berries, she will do that task to a "T." She picked every berry in sight and gave tips to the other kids and adults as to which berries were ready to be picked :)  Her goal was to fill her little basket up to the top and that she did. 
I really admire that quality about Taryn. Setting out to accomplish something and doing it with gusto. Love her so much. 

Haddie did a great job at grabbing all the berries at her height level, occasionally asking for help in reaching the "good ones!" She had a lot of fun with her little friends who were there too. They ran up and down the fields and picked a lot of fresh berries. I loved that they shared berries between their baskets as well.

A job well done!

Look at that face! Pure happiness!
I loved the joy that Haddie expressed with every discovery of a new berry that was ready to be picked. "I found an-otter one!" said in the most excited voice ever. And she would wipe around with the biggest smile looking for me to approve of her picking.  

She was a girl on a mission! She wouldn't let me distract her and she wouldn't leave the fields (to have the basket weighted) until she had picked every last berry in sight. 

I think we'll make a tradition out of berry picking. Next year we will pick a day that's not so hot!
Our home teacher came over and gave us homemade challah bread just days after our jams were made. So we swapped a jar of jam for a fresh challah loaf. It was the best combination!