Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Living next to the Mellings- soaking up our time with them!

I've been lucky enough to have my sister living 15 minutes away from me in Alexandria. It made for great times with our kids playing at the zoo, at our homes, parks and splash pads!

We held a family home evening together before Thanksgiving to express all that we are thankful for. We made "giving trees" and had the kids come up with drawings (or words for Tarn) too. 
We're thankful we had 5 year with the Mellings (a short of that being before they were married) living close by. 

They are now in California because of a new job. I'm thankful for the close relationship my kids were able to develop with their cousins. From feeding them bottles when just weeks old to chasing them around the house, they have loved their time together! 

In the last few weeks before their big move, we got to babysit Cora and Braden so they wouldn't be in the way of all the packing and heavy boxes. We took special trips to the park and walks around the neighborhood.

I love this picture of Cora and Taryn!

We will miss living so close to family but we consider ourselves  lucky to have had family so close to us for so long. Especially since this is the East Coast and the majority of my side of the family lives on the complete opposite West Coast!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Smiths Leaf Peeping at Shenandoah Dark Hallow Falls!

Let me just start off saying how much I love that man right there. He knows how to adventure, pick the best road trip music, pick the best scenic route and pull over to gaze at breathtaking sights. I love him. 

We headed up to Shenandoah to do the skyline drive. It was stunning!!!!! 
Had we gone a few days earlier, it would have been the peak but I can say going when we did was still amazing! We are leaf peepers now! 

Our girls are getting better and better at adventure taking. We no longer take the stroller with us, we still pack a ton of snacks, but I can say that our girls hardly complain (if at all) when we head out and I love that. I know we have so many adventures ahead in life and I feel like we've laid the ground work for some beautiful moments in the future. We've already had so many great ones. 

Love them!

Those colors!!

Made it to Dark Hallow Falls and it was gorgeous! 
It was also freezing! I was wearing a long sleeved shirt, a vest, a running jacket and a winter coat. The girls were layered up well and we made it through! 

We happened to arrive at the Falls just before another family so we had someone to take a family photo for us. I would have totally set up my phone and done a timer, but this way was SO much easier! 

My lover boy. 

Just gazing from the car at all the beauty this world has to offer. Also, the wind was blowing really hard and cold at this point so we were happy to have an inside view. 

Tys and I were cracking up when we saw another guy down the road posing like this. So on our next stop, this was the first thing Tyson did. I can't believe this photo didn't come out blurry, I was laughing so much :)

Just look at those colors!!! I was gasping with every turn we took. The colors were so vibrant and brilliant. 

Winding roads and autumn colors. 

Gosh, these girls! I'm trying to take my DSLR Cannon camera out more. These photos are some of my favorites of my cute girls. 

We've been to Shenandoah several times now and I have loved going each time. even when we saw a bear running parallel to us! It is an amazing place and a gem of the world. We feel pretty lucky that we can easily make this a weekend adventure. 

Halloween 2017 Craving pumpkins for the first time as a family!

Ever since the girls were little, we've painted pumpkins because it was easier for them and easier for me! They never showed much interest in carving and Tyson hates it, but this year I wanted to give it a try. 

Taryn and Haddie did not like it at all. I don't think Haddie even touched anything inside. Taryn was willing to give it a try, but as you can see from these candid pictures, she thought it was the grossest thing!

But she also found it kind of funny, and wanted to try a bit of everything. 
Both girls thought the pumpkin smelled soooooo bad inside. 

Taryn area a picture of what she wanted the pumpkin to look like and I followed her instructions. Haddie tried her hand at carving every once in awhile but preferred to dance around in her dress ups. 

These girls makes life fun! 

To celebrate Halloween at Taryn's school, they let the kids dress up in costume for the last half of school and participate in a parade. Parents come and line the streets around school to see them walk by. I am impressed with the creativity of the children at Taryn's school. We got some creative ideas for the next Halloween. 

Love my little Haddie! Always in a costume! 
And around Halloween, she changes at least 5 time a day to get the most out of her dress ups.

And my Tarbear dressed as Rey from Star Wars. She was looking forward to wearing this costume for months, especially to school! 

Trying to make Halloween a fun full day event means adding some yummy and cool looking food to the menu. Not to mention this is my way to get my kids to eat something else besides candy for the whole day. You should see their lunch boxes and dinners for the weeks following Halloween. I do put a candy or two in the lunch, but dinner is filled with even more fruits, veggies, and grains to make sure their getting a little more balance to all that candy. 

I love how Haddie is holding her dress in this picture. Ready to be a princess at any moment!

I told Taryn about this hair do and she wasn't really into it. Actually, she pretty much protested it. But once I told her she could take it out if she absolutely hated it, she let me try it out (not without showing her Rey pictures from Google to prove that Rey had that same cool hair do)
She got so many complements on it that she asked for it for days after Halloween. 

We layered as much as we could without sacrificing their costumes and they couldn't wait to get started! This year we went out a little earlier than normal so the girls could be in bed at a somewhat reasonable time because it was a school night. The lighting was so nice on the famous Halloween house in our neighborhood. 

We drive by this house almost every day in October to see how they are coming along on their outrageous decorations! We love love love this house so much. We've met the owners several times and they are the kindest people. They seriously LOVE Halloween and use their skeletons year round for their garden, Christmas and more. It's the best place to start out our Halloween trick or treating. 
Tyson took this photo and I absolutely love it! 

Tyson said this is his favorite part of Halloween - counting and trading candy at the end of the night. We definitely take our share of Mom and Dad taxes... those peanut butter cups don't last long!