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Everyday life » The Adventures of Noah and Lia
Oct 152015
 

Part of me wants to wait till November to make it a cool 6 months since my last dump update but I thought nah…nothing’s been consistent in here in a very long long time so why not. So, since May we have…

Noah:
– full blown kindergartener now. With the exception of one day where he refused entirely, he dutifully gets on the bus in the AM and heads to school. I think I struggled more than he did on the first few days. Just the loss of control in seeing him arrive at his destination and then getting on a bus to get to his next destination (he goes to Elm school in the AM then at lunch goes to daycare since our district is only half day)
– He’s learning to read and loves to “read” (ie: recite books he’s memorized) to us
– He’s still my sensitive little boy. We’re working on curbing the constant crying when he doesn’t get what he wants. He also cries when a sound startles him (like Lia having an all out fit) or when one of us raises our voice
– His listening ears are hidden in his backpack most days and only worn for his teacher. When he’s home, all bets are off. Stickers have stopped working so we’re resorting to cold hard cash…quarters for things.
– He will let me snuggle him occasionally (usually at bed time)
– He’s incredibly proud of himself when he masters something new – the glow on his face is awesome (which makes me want to find more and more that he can master so I can see it). He does frustrate easily and takes lot of encouragement to keep trying (total opposite of Lia)
– Has the best memory! He drags out things from the vaults on a regular basis and usually when they are somehow related to the activity at hand.

Lia
– she’s 3 now! and don’t you forget it:) She went from being 2 to being 3.5 overnight. Her party was a BLAST! (we rented a waterslide for the yard). I’ll have to post on it sometime (or just transfer the Photoblog entry:)).
– fully potty trained – night and day. We just made the night leap two weeks ago and she’s doing pretty good so far. Limiting the fluids in the evening really makes a difference.
– loves to play with her dolls. She mothers them, wraps them up, puts them to bed, and snuggles with them at night.
– good with independent and imaginative play. She’s much more independent than Noah was. She will sit and build duplo blocks for hours and build houses for her babies.
– She loves to dress up. We’re amassing quite the collection of princess dresses and costumes.
– She loves make up and doing her hair. When I’m getting ready in the AM, so is she. She wants me to put on her make up. She’ll even pretend to put in her contacts.
– She can count to 100 with a little help with the 10’s. She loves to count things (and spell her name)
– still a carbon copy of her brother when it comes to doign things. If Noah does it, so does Lia.
– she’s a dancer and a singer! I love it! I find her all the time singing to herself, making up songs, and dancing to the tune in her head (or on the radio). I see dance classes in our future.
– She’s still my little lover. She’s very touchy feely and loves to give hugs and kisses. If I haven’t had one from her in a while she’ll walk over and say “mamma, you need hugs and kisses”. She snuggles with the best of them.

Family in general
Kloepping Photography has taken off. I filed all the right paperwork to be a real grown-up business and really started to push marketing etc. I’m on track to barely break even this year but I expected that. I’m excited for what 2016 holds for the biz!
– Both DH and I are in the same jobs that we have been. They ebb and flow with how busy they are so we have flexible days for the most part. I’m really enjoying the work/life balance (and the projects are pretty cool too).
– The “new” house is not all that new anymore. We have more neighbors than we did 6 months ago and the kids are finding more and more kids to play with. I still haven’t yet gotten around to painting anything – we did hang some art though:)
– The big “addition” was the deck off the back of the house. I think DH mentions every day how much he loves that deck.
– I’m still running. Just finished one half marathon and have two more in the next 6 or so months (Nov and March). I think I found my rhythm. RnR in March, Pittsburgh in May, Hershey or Diva in Sept/Oct and Richmond in Nov. They’re all races I really enjoy so I don’t mind doing them over and over.
– I’m waiting for the cooler weather to pick up on some of my quilts and crochet projects. Right now it’s far too busy with photography stuff but that will slow down as the winter sets in (when it will just be newborns and a few family sessions).

Overall it’s been a good few months:) So, until next time….here are some pics to tide you over (or go to Kloepping Photography to keep tabs)

May 152015
 

Gosh, it’s been a while. Sadly blogging here is a once and a while thing for me now. Keeping up with work (which starts at 7am generally these days due to working with overseas), the weather (because I want to spend every min outside in the beautiful weather with the kids), and Kloepping Photography (because I’ve been seeing an increase in sessions – yay!) I’m plum exhausted at the end of the day and have little time to blog personally. I feel bad because this has been a collection of stories as Noah grew and poor Lia has kind of gotten the shaft. At least I have lots of pictures of her since she’s the only one that will sit still for me and smile:)

So what’s new?

Noah
– He’s registered for Kindergarden in the Fall – WHAT?! When did he get so big!
– He’s such a little man now, demanding normal undies instead of character ones, wanting to take showers instead of baths and insisting on getting his own breakfast in the am.
– He’s super helpful with Lia (when he’s not antagonizing her for one reason or another) and I can actually ask him to help her with things like opening up her yogurt or getting her a cup of milk etc.. I even found them eating breakfast one morning when neither DH nor I were awake yet to get them fed. They did it themselves (and without making a mess!)
– I just can’t get over him some times. He’s so smart (I know, every mom says that about their kid but he really is!) He remembers everything and recalls it at random (and often hilarious) times. He likes to tell me about the things he learns in school, like the fact that octopuses lay eggs and so do chickens but we eat chicken eggs and not octopus eggs (and that he got to collect chicken eggs at Jeb farm).
– He’s still pretty obsessed with anything fire department related or anything construction related. He has a rubber mallet that he uses to bang rocks, knock wooden posts back into the dirt and other general “construction” stuff. He carries his tool bag around filled to the brim and insists on helping DH with everything in the shop (he has is own corner or scrap wood and a hammer and some nails)
– He wants to be a construction worker when he grows up – some days he wants to do roofs others he wants to be the digger.
– He likes to tell me what his house will be made of bricks when he’s a grown up and that he wants 7 kids – all boys.
– His best buddies are still the ones he had as a baby – Gus and Ben although Reid is making his way in there too now.
– He has a new bike and loves to go “mountain biking” on the dirt roads in our neighborhood (and the mulch paths – which are great fun apparently). He rides along side of me as I run, he’s a great coach.
– He has a skateboard as well and he’s actually quite good on it. He can’t turn but he’s got great balance.
– He started t-ball this year. I’m still holding my breath. He’s great and excited when it comes to batting but when it comes to fielding, he’s off day dreaming as the ball sits at his feet and the kid runs by. He needs a position that’s more engaging – like pitcher:) Maybe he’s a mountain biker or swimmer….
– He’s doing chores now for quarters instead of stickers – saving up for some spy gear or a lego helicopter.
– He likes legos and putting things together but I’m still working with him to use his imagination and not the instructions (or in addition to the instructions)

Lia
– Working on potty training still. I think this time around is the time. She went all week so far in undies and dry. It was like overnight it just clicked.
– She is the most caring and loving little creature there is. She’s concerned when you cough or say ouch and goes out of her way to make sure you’re okay (and kiss your boo boo). I hear “you okay mom?” a bunch from her. I also get “i’m sorry” and a quick pet when she hurts you (like when she smacked me in the head with a stick).
– She’s a hugger and kisser. She’ll snuggle in and then kiss you all over (and request the same back).
– She usually ends up in our bed at some time in the wee hours of the AM although this past week we’ve had a run where she’s managed to stay in her room all night long. Maybe we’ll get our bed back sooner than later.
– She’s a baby doll lover and mothers them. I find her toting them around, feeding them, tucking them in (and flipping them on their faces to “nap”).
– Is loving her new daycare (we switched them in April to one closer to our house)
– We still call her “repeat” because not only does she repeat what you say but has to do everything that Noah does. I find that she’s actually more daring than he was (and quite a bit more coordinated). She still doesn’t get the hang of the balance bike but I have a feeling she’ll get it by the end of the summer.
– She LOVES to run. Puts on her “running shoes” and she’s off. She insists that she must run if she’s in her running shoes.
– She loves to sing to herself. I find he in the corner playing with dolls and singing them songs. She also likes to put her books on the piano and pretend to play from them (like mommy does)

and no update post is completely without pictures..

Nov 132014
 

Since Lia and Noah are at a bigger center, we get to do things we didn’t with his small daycare – like field trips! Once a year they take a trip to the pumpkin patch. DH went with Noah last year (and Lia was too little) so I got to go this year. The bonus was that Lia got to go too!!

This was her first time on a school bus (that she was aware of at least) and you would have thought it made her life. She was so excited to ride on a “cool bus” that she couldn’t stop saying it even weeks later! She also talks about going to the “bumpkin patch” to get a “bumpkin”.

We ended up leaving the patch with two more pumpkins (take our total on the porch to 14 pumpkins of various size and shapes) and 3 gords.

They kids had a great time both with me and their friends (and I got to scout a new photo spot in their Christmas tree area!).

Nov 042014
 

I think DH comments at least daily about how much he loves our neighborhood and I totally agree. All of the time hunting to figure out what we wanted and didn’t want then trying to find a place that checked all the boxes has really paid off. We love it out here. What makes it even better is that we’ve had some awesome neighbors move in around us. We have 4 families in close proximity and they all have kids. Two have kids whose ages match ours and the other two have some a bit older.

The guys across the street have one Noah’s age and then three a bit older. We all end up outside in the evenings just hanging out and playing. I love that the older boys are not entirely annoyed when Noah wants to play with them (and their little sister). Lia’s just happy to be along for the ride most times.

A few weeks ago we ended up outside playing baseball in the street (the street does not yet continue past us so no one comes down this way). Our neighbor patiently explained to Noah how to play and what to do and then stood there and pitched for him (and his daughter) for what seemed forever. It was really nice of him and made Noah so happy!!

Seems Noah has a knack for baseball so it looks like I’m going to be signing him up for spring ball:)

Nov 022014
 

A few weekends ago Papa and Memaw came down to visit. Unfortunately our plans of apple picking were thwarted by rain but that didn’t bother anyone. A day-in snuggling with the grands was just what everyone needed. Memaw and Papa got some valuable bonding time in with the kiddos and mommy and daddy got a ton done around the house.

Oct 092014
 

We spend quite a bit of time down at the lake here in our neighborhood. It’s just so pretty and quiet and a 5 min walk from our front door. During the last few days of summer we were down there almost every night for sunset.

This time around I took the big camera with me and got some pics of Lia mostly but did managed to sneak in a few of Noah on his bike. He looks so big on it and more like he’s riding a toy than real bike.

Oct 072014
 

Weeks behind here because it’s been so busy (and I’ve had some client work to do in the evenings) but a few weeks ago we took the kids on a hike in Great Falls National Park. It was kind of a warm up to see how Lia would do on a longer walk and it was great!

The hike is an easy one – one big up hill on fire road and then a meander down hill on trails. We let her walk on her own for as far as she would go (which was surprisingly far) and when she got tired we plopped her in the backpack. She ended the hike walking on her own too.

Noah had already done that hike with DH so we knew he’d be fine. Although, on the long boring hike up we had to be inventive with how we kept his attention so he wouldn’t whine and want to be carried. Searching for the various leaf types worked pretty well (or pretending the trend on the side of the trail was a deep crevasse that he had to navigate.) I love watching his little imagination work.

In the end we covered about 4 miles I think – nothing big but pretty good for the kids! This was a great set up for our next few trips out (including a back pack trip!)

Sep 242014
 

The end of the crib era has arrived in our house! We took Lia’s crib down this past weekend and put up her big girl bed for no other reason that it’s getting too hard to snuggle with her in the rocking chair haha.

She’s put her foot up a few times in her crib but showed no desire to climb out so it wasn’t that. It was just the fact that I love to snuggle with her and it’s easier if she has a bed vs. bringing her back to ours and starting that habit.

I would have done it sooner but I couldn’t find the bed that I wanted. I was waffling between a Jenny Lind that I could paint a fun color and a plain metal bed that wouldn’t compete with her pretty dresser. What I found wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but it’s perfect just the same! It is a metal bed but not entirely plain. It’s delicate and pretty and I love it! (and I’ll have to take a picture of it later..)

Lia’s adjusted pretty well to it. We have rails up on either side and I noticed the other night those are necessary (I found her smashed up against one). Plus, we put a gate on her door because she’s at the top of the steps and I fear she’ll wonder out and fall down. So now when she wakes (usually around 4:30am), she’ll come to her door and yell “mamma!” or “daddy!” at the top of her lungs until we come out. Once she sees us she generally turns around and climbs back in. Lately she’ll do that then pat the bed next to her for one of us to lay down too. Who can say no to that?!

Now I just have to get her big girl quilt made to cover her bed (just like I did for Noah). More on that later.

Aug 202014
 

The theme of this vacation was “seize the moment”. With a bit of unpredictable weather on the docket (it was supposed to rain every day we were down there), we took every non-rainy moment to get out and do things. We even took a few rainy moments to play on the beach (we were getting wet anyways).

In the end, we had amazing weather a vast majority of the week. The skys were a bit overcast but the humidity was low and the air temps were moderate so it was very comfortable. We took the hottest day of the week and drove down to Nag’s Head figuring a few hours in the car would allow us to avoid some of the heat. It worked. We had a great day stopping at Jockey’s ridge for a bit and then continuing on to Nag’s Head.

The rest of the week was filled with early morning beach trips, lunch time naps at home and then afternoon pool sessions or biking around the neighborhood we’d figure out dinner and then take a walk on the beach for sunset. I don’t think we could have asked for a better week (maybe a better house…but we weren’t in it much and it had a pool so that made everyone happy)

These pics are from one evening down at the beach. DH and I took the kids for a walk to find shells and I dragged the big camera along. I’m so glad I did!

(and it looks like I mixed my watermarks again…oh well..)

I have a bunch of pics from the rest of the days but need to finish working on them but right now I’m working on two crocheted hats for a very special little girl!!:) I’ll share those in a bit.

Jul 242014
 

This backyard is living up to our hopes for sure. Noah and DH have camped out a handful of times and now that we have the play set we pretty much spend every evening out there before dinner (and often times eat dinner on the picnic table under their playset).

These pics are just a few from this past weekend. DH went off to play volleyball so the kids and I rounded up a bunch of toys and headed out to the tent to play for a bit. It turned into a pool and slip and slide session pretty quickly after (after Lia pointed to the pool and said “pool – outside – please”..how can you deny that?)

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Jul 032014
 

I walked past the front door this past weekend and saw this strange white belly looking back at me from outside. Upon closer inspection it was a little tree frog stuck to my side light. Never to miss a teaching moment I grabbed Noah and Lia and a box top and off we went to check it out (and get it out of the baking sun).

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It took me a few min to catch him but once we did he stayed relatively settled in the corner of the box. Noah just wanted to poke him and then feed him.

He turns out to be a Grey tree frog and they’re quite common around here. Especially around areas where the grass has recently been disturbed (which makes sense since they just dug out the lot next to ours…).

After we learned all about him and checked him out thoroughly, Noah and I walked down to the treed area in our backyard and looked for a good bush to release him into. We found a nice shrub with strong branches, a little sun and a little shade just incase he wanted one or the other.

I checked back a few hours later and he’d climbed up higher into one of the bigger branches and settled into the place where the branch joined the tree. I figured he was waiting out the daylight and biding his time until his family started calling back to him in the evening.

He was gone this morning when I went out to look. I hope that means that he found his friends.

Jul 022014
 

kayak ride that is…the only other time she’s been out is when she was in my lap while my dad paddled. This time we suited her up, distracted her with cookies, and she and DH took off for a lap around the lake.

She really enjoyed it I think. She didn’t try to get out or climb around. In fact, she seemed to just relax back into the life jacket and almost take a snooze. I don’t blame her, it’s quite peaceful out there.

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Click to enlarge this one – her face is awesome!!!
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What was even cooler is that one of the neighbors had just come off the lake in their kayak and let me take Noah out with me so all 4 of us were paddling a the same time. So awesome!!!

Jun 062014
 

We knew going into this thing that living in a construction site would be thrilling for Noah. His obsession with Bob and all things construction started pretty early. So, when we can go on a family walk just down the street and “bump” into Scoop, Rolley, and the rest of the crew you can expect this little boy to want to play.

The cabs are locked on these guys (which is for the best:) ). So we settled on just playing around the equipment. DH was close at hand to make sure that Noah didn’t get hurt.

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I know that DH has more on his phone too with some of the other equipment but in each, his face is the same. He loves these things!!! And now that the construction has moved closer to our house (there are 6 houses going up right around us) he gets to see these guys up close and personal.

Jun 052014
 

I remember as a kid how cool it was to do experiments at home on our own as we explored the world around us. It’s still early with Noah to get into some of the more complex stuff but a friend’s post on Facebook made me think of a cool thing to do with him that he’d understand (and it tied in nicely to what they were talking about at school a few weeks prior).

I ordered a kit of butterfly caterpillars from Insect Lore. I’d looked a few others but they were rather pricy. The caterpillars themselves was not that bad you need to do overnight or 2 day shipping so it added up.

When the package arrived it had everything in it we needed to raise our caterpillars into Painted Lady butterflies packaged inside a box that actually contained all the instructions necessary.

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I’m missing the first picture of the caterpillars because I was out of town when DH and Noah set it up but they were tiny!! Skinny little buggers only an inch or so long.

It didn’t take long for them to grow into these 2.5 inch giants! Along the way you could see them shed their outer skin in order to grow bigger.

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After about a week, they started to make their way to the top of the cup and get into the classic J hook shape that indicated that they were ready to pupate. Once in the J hook they molt one more time and then the chrysalis forms. This happened very quickly – overnight for us so we went to bed with J hooks and woke up to a bunch of chrysalises (plural chrysalis? haha)

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I didn’t manage to get a pic of the chrysalis some how – they were in there for about a week. We gave it three days or so to harden and then moved them into the butterfly enclosure where they spent the rest of the week. About 7 days later it was time for them to emerge – they started to do what my friend referred to as “bleeding their colors”. There is a waste byproduct (meconium actually) that exudes from the pupa right before they emerge. That’s the red staining you see around the enclosure. They actually continued to exude that for a few hours after emerging.

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We missed the emerge process too – I went to work and they were pupas and I came home and they were butterflies. Noah was so very excited to see them out and about. He wanted to hold each and every one. I gave them a day or so to dry their wings and then let him stick his hand in the enclosure so they’d sit on him. I really wish I’d gotten a picture of his face…so awesome!

We kept them in the enclosure for a few days to enjoy and then, with Papa and Memaw in attendance, released them one by one in our back yard.

I’d grab one, put it on his hand, he’d say a quick good-bye and wished them well on their way to Mexico (yes, that’s what he said…he said “bye bye, have fun in Mexico”). I later found out that they read a book at school about Monarchs and their journey from Mexico on North so he thought they’d to Mexico too. I love what his little brain retains and applies!!

Anyways, this was a great little experiment to do with him. I actually find myself looking for them when I’m washing dishes (because that’s where they sat on our counter). We’ll definitely do it again next year!! Thanks Christine for sharing yours on Facebook which in turn inspired me to do it.

May 182014
 

(or “enemy action” depending on what Rule of Three definition you want to go by..)

As always I’ve been in a start/stop mode with the whole working out thing. I was doing really well when I was training for the half and even signed up for another half to try to keep it up. Unfortunately somewhere in the working, commute, trying to dinner made, kids fed and bathed and into bed, I fell off the wagon. Seems that falling off the wagon, which I’ve done more than three times for sure, has become my pattern.

Fortunately for me, patterns can be changed if you try hard enough. I realized that I have to stop viewing my efforts as a diet and rather look at it for the lifestyle change that is necessary to live healthier.

Before kids DH and I were out every night doing something active. Our mountain bikes never sat idle for more an a day or two and our backpacks got a regular beating at least every other weekend. It was our lifestyle.

Fast forward a bunch of years, a house, a dog, kids, and the responsibility that surrounds those, things changed (as one would expect them to). Our lifestyle changed and while we’re just as happy as we were before we’re not as healthy. Face it, trying to cook a healthy dinner every night while dealing with a long evening commute and kids that are starving when they get home doesn’t always happen. It’s really easy to resort to bag meals, frozen chicken nuggets and PB&J sammies and exercise is the last thing on my mind.

So when a friend of mine was looking for accountability partners for a 90 day challenge and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to kick off a lifestyle change and try to get back to that active state as a family.

What this meant for me (which will hopefully trickle down the family) was:

1. Planning my lunch and dinner menus for the week and shopping for it (generally on Saturday).

And writing it down on the menu board so everyone knows. Having the plan means that I can avoid the 20 min “oh-shoot” stance in front of the fridge wondering what I’m going to make. It also allows me to try to prep things ahead of time on the off occasion I have the energy left over at the end of the previous day. I’ve been doing this since Lia came along but have in the most recent weeks skipped it. So, I’m trying to get back into the habit. I don’t always follow the menu but it’s nice to have it there when it is needed. (I usually plan 4 meals, 2 backups and one assume “out” night per week). I added my lunches to this plan as well to keep from eating out every days.

2. Switching to a more whole foods diet and cutting way back on the processed foods

This is the biggest switch I think. This means ditching soda, alcohol (except for special occasions), and as much processed food as possible. And switching to lots of whole veggies and fruits and meats. I’ve been really trying to shop the outside walls of the grocery store vs. the aisles (because you find more of the prepackaged and proceed foods in the aisles generally).

We’ve also cut our eating out at restaurants way back. Which, aside from being an awesome calorie saver, is a money saver too!

3. Logging everything in MyFitnessPal

So that I can keep a sense of what I’m eating on a regular basis. One of the goals of this lifestyle change is to get back to a healthier weight. Which I know will come with improved eating and activity but while I’m still learning portion control and making better choices in the food department, I have MFP to back me up (and the community that surrounds it).


4. Picking up a work out that I can do in my limited time in the evenings.

My friend introduced me to the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge which is what spurred much of this change. I’d love to get out for a run every evening to keep active but truthfully I have about 20 min to spare and that’s generally after the kids are in bed (so it’s dark out – I don’t like running in the dark). In those cases in the past I would just make up an excuse and move on (and I still may some nights:). However, BBM takes 30 min or less but still gets the heart pumping so I’m able to fit in a quick burn and feel good about the day. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to jump at the chance for a long run or ride, but as for daily exercise – this does it.

We’re also, as a family, trying to find activities that we can do together. DH and Noah go out for a kayak ride sometimes in the evening or a bike ride as I’m putting Lia to bed. We’ve been grilling out a lot so that we can play soccer or kickball in the back yard as dinner cooks. On the weekends we go for at least one big family walk or bike ride a day.

Bottom line, I want to make sure that as Lia and Noah grow up, they favor the outdoors like we do and want to do things that get them out and stretching their legs and lungs. So far so good – they’d rather be outside playing than inside so we just have to keep it up!!

May 172014
 

So, I’m only a little behind schedule with these posts. Such is life:) I just managed to get these off the camera and edited at least a little bit.

We spent Easter up at DH’s old hood this year (we alternate venues each year). As has become the tradition, his mom did an Easter egg hunt for the kids and then his sister hosted for dinner. It’s always nice to get everyone together. Noah loves his cousins so much and I’m so happy that they’re able to spend time together as they get older.

Probably the one family photo we have of us since Christmas. I figured we were nice and dressed up and relatively coordinated:)
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The kids checking out their haul…
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The best pic I got of her in her dress. My grandma bought that for her last year
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Apr 062014
 

Before we even moved into this neighborhood, DH was talking about how much fun we’re going to have with our kayak on the lake. Funny thing though, we didn’t actually own a kayak. His chatter increased after we moved in and hit a peak the last few weeks because of all the nice weather. So, we finally broke down and took advantage of the fact that Costco had a kayak at a relatively reasonable price and took the plunge.

After being disappointed yesterday because it was cold and windy, today turned out to be the perfect day for a spin. So, we saddled her up on the wagon and headed over to the launch point which is about a 3 min walk down the road.

Noah was so excited to get out there although he was a bit pissed we wouldn’t let him paddle. We still have to get a smaller paddle (that floats) for him to use. The ones that were included are just too big for him.

It was so nice. Quiet, beautiful, and relaxing. I can see this becoming something we do in the evenings for sunset.

Mar 172014
 

I found out a few weeks ago that the big dino exhibit at the Natural History Museum was going away for a while so they an update it, clean the bones and do some analysis. They say it will be closed for 5 years?! Which means Noah will be almost 9 and Lia almost 7…so I knew we had to make one last trip down before this happened.

Our first stop was the museum but things didn’t go they way I thought they would (therefore I don’t have many pictures of us in there). Noah’s to an age where life sized things are really real to him and therefore he’s pretty darn scared of them. The T-rex dino that he loves in his books was just too much for him in person and he ended up running through the exhibit as fast as he could not really stopping to look at anything.

Same happened in the Mammals room where I think we scared the living daylights out of him at the bat display. He was looking at the fruit bats and I was trying to shield him from the bat with the mouse in its claws when he looked over his shoulder to see one of the large black bats (which is about the size of a small squirrel) staring back at him with its yellow eyes. He screamed (an honest terror scream) and started to cry. He buried his head in my shoulder and refused to come out until we were far far away from the bats. I was trying really hard to stifle a giggle because his reaction was priceless but I didn’t want to downplay his fear. He was really terrified and talked about it the rest of the afternoon (how he hated the bats..).

Anyways, we made quick rounds of the museum because of this fear (DH walked Lia through everything while I took the shortcuts with Noah) and it left us some time before DH wanted to head home. It was nice enough outside so we decided to walk the 10 blocks down the Mall to the Capitol building. We’d never actually been down that far so it was a fun thing to do. DH wanted so badly to stand on the steps but they were blocked off. We were able to get to the lower plaza and take some pictures.

Finally the cold started making it’s way back in and we had a 20 block walk back to the car. It was waaaay past nap time and Lia had had it. So, DH left me with her on a park bench and ran with Noah back to the car. I totally win mom of the year because she had no hat nor gloves (DH had them both) and I was keeping her occupied and still using goldfish crackers. That is..until that wasn’t enough and she started to wail. I caught a few sympathetic stares as well as a few judgmental ones (likely because of her lack of hat – I did put her hood up but she wouldn’t leave it). Regardless, it was a nice day with an eventful ending but we have all the great memories from it.

Mar 132014
 

We had a break in the super cold weather right around Noah’s birthday so we took advantage and went for a walk around our neighborhood.

Noah wanted to try out his new fishing pole so we walked down to the lake so that he and Daddy could find a spot in the ice to cast into. Mean while, Lia and my dad hung out on the chairs and watched.

Mar 062014
 

(as it goes in fits and spurts, I manage to find one night a month to catch up on things so here goes a glut of picture heavy post for posterity…)

We had a bunch of snow the last few days and Noah’s just at that age where he’ll spend hours outside shoveling, building forts and sledding. This time DH took him over to the big hill in our neighborhood (the back half of the dam) and had some fun. On their way back, he leashed up the dog to the sled and wanted to see if she could do it.

Macie slept well that night!!

Feb 042014
 

Another from the archive:) That’s how backed up we’ve been around here…

Halloween at their new school was so much fun. I took the afternoon off to go help with the parade and hang out for the party. Lia was some version of Tinkerbell with an obnoxiously large tutu that was so freakin adorable (everyone agreed) and Noah was his version of Bob the Builder. We wrote “Rt. 50 construction worker” on his name tag which made people that noticed howl (rt. 50 is a stretch of road around us that has been, and will be, under construction for a while and causes a massive headache for commuters)

Feb 022014
 

Digging back into the archives for this one. I realized I never actually ever posted about this trip. DH grew up just down the road from this place and had fond memories going as a child and we’d always wanted to go with our kids. Soergels Orchards are located in Wexford, Pa and feature a fall festival complete with pumpkin patches, hay rides, and a wide array of attractions for the kids.

We had a blast riding the tractor up the hill to the pumpkin patch (it was actually pretty crazy and steep) and then walked back down. We bought a book of tickets which was enough to keep Noah occupied for a few hours. Lia even seemed to have a blast. What we didn’t prepare for was how cold it was. It was much chillier than we’d anticipated so we were lacking the basic things like hats and gloves which then limited our time outside.

None the less, the kids had a blast and slept the entire way home and we made some beautiful new memories.

Jan 292014
 

We’ve had quite the cold snap lately. After the first snow Noah was anxious to get out and play – even though we only had about an inch. It was pretty darn cold so he only lasted a few min before charging inside asking for hot chocolate. Now it’s a bit of a thing…he goes out and plays for a bit then comes in for some hot coco….I love it!!

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Jan 232014
 

I stumbled across these pics while off loading the latest and realized I never posted them. We ended up with a beautiful few weekends in September and decided to take advantage of the wineries that are close to our new place.

Cana Winery is about 20 min from the new house and welcome picnics and families on their lawn. On the weekends in the summer and fall they have live music so you can enjoy your wine and snacks while the kids play and you relax to music. Pretty stellar afternoon if you ask me.

Oct 142013
 

We have 4 different playgrounds within a 2 mile walk from our place so on the really nice days we find ourselves taking long family walks to visit each. One of the perks of our temporary neighborhood. This playground is actually at the elementary school just two streets over so we visit it alot!

Noah’s getting better with that hanging thing and Lia’s always following him and climbing right along with him (giving me a near heart attack regularly). Since a large majority of the homes around here are town homes or homes with no backyard and there by no space for a play gym you’ll find a lots of kids pretty much all the time. Great for meeting people – bad since we’re moving away from our new friends. Regardless, we’re living it up while we can:)

Aug 202013
 

So, it’s been quiet around here for a pretty good reason. I’ve mentioned it a few times in passing promising a full story later but just never got to it. Short of it is that we sold our home in June and signed up to build a new one ready in December. This weekend we pack up a 26 ft moving truck with the contents of our house and try to shoehorn it into a temporary townhouse in the mean time. Sounds like fun!

The long of it starts back three years ago when we started to look around casually at new houses. Just after Noah arrived we knew that once #2 came along we’d want something with more land and an extra bedroom (plus a basement). We were nowhere near ready but wanted to get a feel for the neighborhoods and areas where we’d like to move to. Thus began 3 years of watching Realtor, Zillow, and Redfin and taking weekend trips (during nap time) to drive around neighborhoods and check out open houses.

This past spring we finally had enough cash in the bank and the market was ticking up so we decided to pull the trigger and sell. The plan was to sell, ask for a 60 day close and then try to find something to buy. Problem was…inventory was low. That was good for us as sellers – it only took 5 days to sell our place but as buyers, well…we were in a hard spot. there was nothing out on the market that ticked all of our boxes. We’d considered building but no one had large lots (for some reason .25 or less even is really popular with the new builders). So we’d kind of settled into the idea that we’d be in a rental long term. Until a few days before the 4th of July when one builder we’d been talking to called back to tell us they’d released the second phase and they had .5 acre lots.

We’d already seen the house and priced things out and it was under budget. The bigger lot size mean a little bit of a larger base price but still within budget so we decided to go out and walk the open lots. We spent a few hours just walking around, checking things out and trying to decide. We then roused our poor realtor from his vacation to join us on the 6th of July to sign the paperwork.

We’re building…holy crap:)

So, we’re just waiting for them to break ground on the new place and are moving to a temporary place in the mean time. It’s really odd not to be homeowners anymore. Sitting in this house that we used to own but don’t any longer is just a weird feeling (we’re at the tail end of our 30 day rent back pd.). I think it all started sinking in when I arranged the service cut off for here and the new service start up at the new place.

December can’t get here fast enough I’ll tell you…ahhhh….we’re building..ahhhhh….

Without further adieu – our land:) hopefully soon to have a house on it.

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Jun 052013
 

Wow…so not keeping up with this thing. So..why are things so quiet around here? Well, simply put – life is getting in the way:) Let’s see if I can summarize in bullets…

– I started a new job last week. Things were winding down at my current job and my contract looked to be in jeopardy (and if nothing else I was looking at another 30 day extension…living your live in 30 day increments is tough when you have plans…). So I sought out something more stable. Funny enough, the company I landed at actually came to me. I would have never looked at them on my own. It’s a lot what I’ve been doing already but the team is not local to me so there will be some adjustment working them them. I’m excited and nervous.
– We’re putting the house on the market so we’ve spent the last few months doing the big projects. Then the last two weeks we’ve been buckled down decluttering and doing those last min little fixes so she’s in tip top shape. We don’t quite know where we’re going yet. There are a few options on the table and we figure we’ll figure it out after we sell. The inventory is so low right now so we may look at a rental until we can find something we love. Who knows….what I do know is that I’m going to miss this place. There are a lot of things I love about it – the neighbors, the parks near by, the cul-de-sac location. And for the most part I even love the house – we’re just growing out of it. We’d always said it was our 5-7 year house and here we are approaching 7 years and you know we’re plan followers:)
– Lia’s still not sleeping well so I’m freakin tired all the time which means on the nights I’m not running around like a maniac trying to clean the house or finish projects, I’m asleep by 8 (generally in bed next to Noah or in the chair with Lia). You’d think with that much sleep I’d feel rested but somewho I don’t.
– I’ve had an uptick in photography jobs which means lots of editing time in the evenings. So I get to edit their pics and not my own. Hazard of the job I suppose.
– I’ve also been choosing to unplug at night when I can and sit down to read or just hang out with the hubs. Plus the weather has been amazing in the evenings so we push bed time a bit and let Noah play outside until he’s ready to pass out. If figure, I spend 95% of my work day behind a screen and I just need to get away from it when I’m at home.

Anywho, I’d promise to do better but we all know that’s not going to happen haha. I do have some updated pics that if I can stay awake tonight I’ll finish up and share. I also have a “Shape Up” post started that I hope to finish soon.

Apr 142013
 

The weather has finally turned here and with the longer days we’re able to get out as a family in the evenings and take a walk. I love this time of year.

We have an awesome set of trails right close to us with playground along the way so a few mile walk takes most of the evening which is totally fine!!

Jan 222013
 

Last Christmas Catch up post I promise….:)

We rounded out our Christmas celebrations at my parents for New Years. Since the holidays landed on Monday’s, we did the weekends prior to each traveling up to see family. That let us have the actual holiday at home with just the 4 of us and spread the travel out a bit to make it more manageable (my parents are 4.5 hrs away and DH’s parents are 2.5 hours away)

We lucked out and arrived just before the snow really started coming down (they had a bunch from earlier in the week and a fresh coating that arrived just after we did). This is the first time Noah’s really gotten to play in the snow this year and definitely the first time that he actually wanted to play in the snow (vs us suiting him up and pulling him along in a sled).

I guess after about 30 min he was cold and asked to go inside. DH and my dad were having too much fun so DH set Noah up at the door looking out so he could see what they were doing. They were building him an 8 foot snow man. Any time my DH is involved in snowman making it’s a behemoth of a snow man (we made a 7 ft man here at home a few years back). He said it too him and two neighbor guys to lift the middle and top pieces of the snow man into place. All the while Noah just hung out watching Cars on the phone and watching daddy out the window.

I think the best part of the snowman was the week following as he slowly compacted and started to lean. Frosty had a slight lean as soon as the next day and was listing even more the day we left. We all expected him to come crashing down in the day or two that followed but no, he stood strong for almost 4 days and at points was leaning so far over that his tree branch arm was touching the ground. He fell on New Years Day and when he did fall he fell in one piece, from the base and split his head open. My mom posted a pic of poor frosty on Facebook generating a pretty hilarious conversation about how Frosty celebrated a little too much on NYE and had a splitting headache to follow.

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Jan 212013
 

So the plague has hit me and Lia hard (so far Noah and DH are okay) but as such I’m not uber functional after taking care of mandatory daily tasks. So these catch up posts are pushing on and on and on….haha. I think I have just one more after this and we’re on to non Christmas related catch up…haha)

Christmas morning was so nice and relaxing. DH and I decided that Santa gets to give one or two bigger gifts and the rest come from us or from family. It worked out really well that way. We get to indulge Noah’s new found understanding of Santa without going overboard.

As luck would have it, Noah slept in that morning so it was just Lia and I awake at 8:00 enjoying the tree, presents, and some coffee. It was so peaceful and quiet. Once Noah woke the fun began. We have a loft so he was able to see the tree and presents almost immediately (there was nothing there the night prior, we set everything out as he slept). So he made his way downstairs in a half excited, half confused manner. We left his Santa presents over by the fireplace along with his stocking. He ran excitedly to check out if Santa ate the cookies only to find that not only did he eat the cookies and drink the milk but the reindeer took a couple of chomps out of the carrots we left (DH did this and I totally love it. I actually fell asleep early that night and DH finished setting up…he had as much fun as Noah did I think).

We left his big Santa gifts unwrapped mostly because they were big but also because I wanted him to see them right away and get excited. I think the best part of everything was the fact that as Noah opened a present, he wanted to play with it. So we’d open one, play with it for a while, then open another and play with it etc….it took us a few hours to get thru all the presents and I was totally okay with that. He was having so much fun.

With no where to go that day, after we finished with presents I cooked up breakfast (french toast) and we just hung around and played with toys. We made the calls up to the fam and even Skyped with them so they could watch Noah open some of their presents (my mom and dad had stopped down a few weeks prior to drop off the presents from them and my grandparents so the kids would have them for Christmas morning since we wouldn’t be seeing them until New Years).

It’s still odd to me to just have the 4 of us for Christmas. Growing up I remember running all over creation to visit family on Christmas day. We’d do at least three houses in one day to catch everyone. This is our second year doing it just us and I’m still adjusting. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy not having to pack everything up and drive all over but I still miss that house full of people hussel and bussel that comes with family at Christmas time.

That said, I think this was the best Christmas yet just because of Noah’s enthusiasm for the holiday and watching him and DH work on his toys together to get them working. Like I said, I think DH was as excited (if not more) than Noah:)

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