Friday, February 23, 2018

A National Zoo Trip with the Haley's

These silly kids keep us on our toes in the best way possible. They love to be with one another, they all play well together and they always have a blast! I love love love hearing there combined giggles. 
And those poses ;)

Watch out, these zombies will eat all your snacks!
( Can you tell this was from October 2017?!)

Love Lynne! 

This was our first time playing in the prairie dog playground. Lots of tunnels and paths to take. The kids thought it was amazing. And they may have gotten stuck a few times. 

Haddie is almost always willing to take a photo and throw in one of her original poses. Sometimes I'm surprised when she picks a place for a photo. "Mom take a picture with me and the otters!" Well, ok then!
That poor bruise on her cheek! She was playing at the playground, trying to swing from the money bars when one hand slipped off, throwing her body forward. She landed cheek first on the rung of the money bar ladder. So so so many tears and the biggest puff face from immediate swelling. That bruise lasted for over a month, and even now you can still see a little dent. Her doctor said it will be a new dimple for her now :/

We're so lucky to have the National Zoo so close to us and that we can go so frequently. We've gotten the system down of how to avoid meltdowns (that big hill is killer when you have tired kids) and we had more successful trips than not. I love watching Taryn love on all her favorite animals. And she got to see the cheetah for the first time!
We love the Haley's and the time we get to spend with them. Our weekly playdates (with Carson and Haddie in tow) are more for catch up with Lynne and I, which I love! 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Haddie turns 4 years old!

Our little Haddie turned four years old back in October, 2017. 
She talked about her birthday for months! She changed her requests for a birthday cake several times and also what she wanted to do for her birthday. We finally settled on a costume party. What I loved the most was her adding "If my friends don't want to dress in a costume, that's ok, they can still come to my party. And if they don't want to eat pizza, it's ok. They can still come to my party. I just want my friends to come and have fun at my party."
Love that sweet girl!

She was happy with her birthday pancakes (a special request and a little break away from our normal birthday cake breakfast.) Haddie knows just what she wants! She asked for a big stack of pancakes with a number 4 birthday candle on top. So that's what she got! Oh, and that "Shimmer and Shine" costume was a special request birthday present as well. Such a fun girl. 

Excited to start her day off in style!
We decided that having a birthday in October when it's 65 degrees outside means you should have a party at the park. But we didn't want Taryn to miss her sister's birthday so we pulled Taryn out of school over her lunch time so she could have lunch with us and dress up in costume too! 
I know Taryn loved this special treat. Also, Tyson happened to be really sick that day and stayed home from work. I didn't know how much help I needed for a simple birthday in the park. I'm thankful he was there. He did leave after 30 minutes because he didn't want to spread anything to the kids. Man- that guy never takes a sick day. He was a trooper for helping so much. 

Haddie was so excited to have all her little friends and their siblings there. 
Gwen, Madison, Kaytlin, Olivia, Lincoln, Emerson, Eliza, Simon and Rachel. Some friends couldn't make it but that's ok. 

My sweet little girl requested an Elsa cake which was fun to do. The downside to making cakes as a hobby is that the girls want to change their birthday cake requests every time they see a new cake! Haha! Thankfully this one was an easy seller for me. 

Costco pizza, fruit, veggies and doritos and juice boxes were a total win! 
Keeping it simple but fun. 

We were thankful Aunt Brittany could be there with Cora and Braden. Haddie was being a stinker and very tired by the end and didn't want to have her picture taken with them. (Can you see her in the background refusing to come??!!) But I was a sneaky mom and still got her in the photo. Birthday blues are a real thing and when there is too much attention on Haddie, she will show her dislike after she gets tired. 

We love our little Hadleigh and the joy she brings to our family. She has a funny personality and makes us laugh easily with her sharp wit. She is a cuddle bug and never fails to say "I love you" several times a day. She is stubborn and has the strongest will I have ever seen in a child. Hopefully she will be able to use that for good as she gets older. She loves to dance and sing and will cry if you turn off the car music before a song is done. She can dance laps around our front room to The Greatest Showman soundtrack and changes her dress ups at least 5 times a day. The best spinning dresses always win out. Haddie has the best poses for pictures (not taught by me, just something she does on her own :) And we love her to pieces! Haddie and Taryn play so well together and I'm grateful every day they have each other. 
We love our Haddie Paddie. 

The Smiths visit the White House to see the Fall Gardens

Our friends asked if we wanted free tickets to the White House Fall Garden and though our weekend was packed, we thought it would be so fun!
 Notice my very Fall appropriate attire. But I was HOT!

This is our exhausted Taryn, just having run her first 1 mile long race that morning. May I add that I accidentally made our family park 1 mile away from where the race was so Taryn was walking a lot that morning already. Add on parking downtown D.C. and having to walk another 1.5 miles to the White house, then wait in a slow moving line while standing. It's amazing that neither girl complained. Taryn did take a rest here and there where she could, but no complaints! 

We carried Haddie for a bit here and there but honestly she walked most of it. 

Though it was a Fall garden tour, it ended up being a lot warmer of a Fall day and we had walked a lot! 
(Almost 8 miles total!!)

So we stopped for a cool treat in the shade of the trees along the National Mall. 

One thing I hope to always remember about Haddie is that her first priority is to find a seat on my lap or Tyson's. She is our cuddle bug and loves to be hugged and held close. It's something that I love so much about her. 

We had a fun packed day of adventure, goal reaching for Taryn and walking....lots and lots of walking! 
Now that we've seen the gardens, I'm ready to tour the inside of the White House! Luckily we have friends that can help us set up a tour, which will hopefully happen soon!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Fall 2017

We worked hard to check off our Fall bucket list while trying to take advantage of the beautiful Virginia weather. The Fall is my favorite season to be out and about!
Nails Produce is the cutest little nursery with an adorable pumpkin patch, flowers galore and fun local goods like jams and honey. 

Love my Tyson and his willingness to go on adventures. Even when our schedules are jam packed and we have to squeeze them in, he is happy to do it. Tyson finds things that wouldn't stand out to me otherwise, like finding the most delicious berry syrup to take to a waffle party we had that day. 

Those cutie pies are always up for an adventure and I love that about them!

We went home with some fun pumpkins to decorate our front porch with and be bought a giant one from Costco to carve for the first time!

We took advantage of the time we had left with my sister living close by. 

We met at Green Spring Gardens once morning before General Conference to run around a bit and talk. 

The cousins chased each other

Posed for several pictures on their own

And rode their scooters and bikes all around.

I love this picture of Haddie.

The fall leaves had just started to turn colors but we found some dead leaves to have fun with. 

Braden and Cora thought this was the best! Taryn would throw the leaves in the air and they would follow suit. Haddie didn't want to get dirty :)

And Tyson was the favorite. Cora and Braden would run to grab his hands and Taryn & Haddie followed to be with them. 

They walked around a lot of the Gardens like this 

My sister Brittany and me. Sometimes people say they can see the resemblance (I kinda can) but the biggest thing we have in common is our voice. It's almost identical. 

Coming back home for General Conference, the girls kept busy with drawing and crafts. Conference is getting easier and easier to pay attention to now that the girls are getting older. 

On her way to ballet and posing with our front porch decor. 
Man, I love our little hose with all my heart. 

Taryn had taken a bigger interest in what she wears and shopping. I'm loving it! She likes to be a little more fancy (dress, cardigan and occasionally booties) at school now but she still has to be comfy :)

On the weekends we try to plan bigger adventures when we don't have other responsibilities. 
And sometimes on the way there, we find Civil War sites. This was the battle of Aldie. I had Tyson pull over so I could read the signs and take pictures because it was gorgeous. So much history all around us out here on the East Coast. 

Then to our favorite Farm- Great Country Farms! We feed the animals, play on all the giant tube slides, eat the yummiest apple cider donuts and bounce on the giant pillow. 

This year our favorite attraction was the Ninja Warrior obstacle course. Taryn and Haddie both did it and loved it. 

We met up again with my sister Brittany and her family. The kids loved all the animals and going up and down the slides many times with their cousins. Braden and Cora were giggling so much. 

Here we are watching the automated T-Rex crush a pumpkin with our friends, the Tripps. We were able to see lots of friends that day at the Farm even though it was hotter than expected for this Fall day. 

Taryn got picked to help "floss" the T-Rex's teeth. She loves to be apart of the show!

Hot, dusty and dirty... but they loved it. 

We finished the day at the farm with a cold treat (ice cream) under the shade of the giant cow :)

Throughout our Fall adventures, we had many opportunities to get face painting done. We found out that the girls are willing to wait for over an hour to get their face painted and don't mind having to wash it off before bed anymore. 

We went to an indoor jump park on a no school holiday so they offered free face painting. Score!

Waiting at the neighborhood Boo Ha Ha and getting their face painted. 
I think we did this and each got to pick which jump house they wanted to go in before the Boo Ha Ha closed. We got there a bit late because of Taryn's soccer game. But faceprinting was still a priority!

One Fall family tradition includes Family Photos with our favorite photographer Caitlin Sheffer. We bribe our kids with getting donuts after if they smile and corporate for the photos :)
Works every time! Caitlin suggested this adorable bakery in Fredericksburg called Paul's Bakery. It was delicious and hit the spot after a morning of smiling. 

My sweet Taryn and the flowers she picked for me while we were on a walk :)

Voting!!! Oh so important and I love taking me girls with me. Those future voter stickers are super cute too. 

I've been practicing my photography skills as I work on more cakes. I used Haddie and her little friend as test subjects. They move a lot more than cakes do :)

One weekend when Tyson was busy with helping someone move, the girls and I tackled the larger than life project of racking our fall leaves for the vacuum collection the following week. These girls worked hard and did a fantastic job. I was super impressed with their dedication and how they made the job fun. 

Look at this fashion choice of Taryn. Adorable dress, cute furry vest and my pashmina ;) On our walks to school every morning, Taryn finds a bush with these red berries and stops to pick them. She calls them her love berries and throws them around the side walk while we walk. She says she's "spreading the love all around." I love that sweet girl and her big heart. 

Small hikes are our favorite and take only 15 minutes to get to where we live. Some hikes even lead to a park, which the girls find as a big bonus. I guess this is training for the girls for when we start hiking bigger distances. 

Caught Tyson in his element. Outside, spotting birds, and taking pictures. 

Taryn and Tyson took off on a race together while I walked up the big hill with Haddie. They have a special relationship. Really though, Tyson has a special relationship with both his girls. He is an excellent "girl dad" and believes teasing will toughen them up, tells them (and me) he loves them every day and takes the time to play with them whether it's card games, races, legos or dolls.