Apr 292016

October 2015 was my last update on here and my oh my how so much has happened:)

– Noah’s almost done with Kindergarten! He’s made so much progress it amazes me. He’s reading and writing on his own and very much takes after his daddy – it’s a whiz at math (those are certainly not my genes!)
– Lia’s riding a bike without training wheels! We took them off a few weeks ago and she finally set out on her own last week. This is about when Noah went without training wheels too:) Mark is over the moon excited (I am too!)
– We’ve been hiking a lot with the kids trying to get them to a point where we can actually do a short family backpack trip. Last hike was up in Shenandoah and was a short 4 miles but super steep and rocky. Both kids did amazing!
– We hiked the Billy Goat Trail in MD – only a mile of it but it took us 2+ hours due to the terrain.
– We survived Snowmageddon 2016 – 40ish inches of snow over a three day period. No school for almost a week. Lots and LOTS of digging out (the snow blower was ineffective once you get past about 18 inches…)
– The kids are both doing soccer this year – pics to come (not in the array below)
Kloepping Photography is kind of going crazy right now. I’ve figured out that 2 newborns and 4 family sessions in one month is too much to keep up with. I need to plan better…
– Our neighborhood is finally sold out. There are still a bunch of lots to build but they are all sold. We find new kids in our backyard every few weeks and love it! Noah and Lia have so many friends now to play with. We spend all day outside when it’s nice (and even when it’s not quite nice).
– Sold the blue car and replaced her with a shiny new silver car – woohoo:)
– White car almost died on us totally – a couple of grand later and she’s supposed to be good as new. Better be for that price

Those are the highlights. We’ve been doing a lot of driving back and forth to see family as well as trying to get the kids out and about to enjoy nature. Week nights are full and weekends even fuller but it’s all a great time.

Here’s a quick summary of pics – mixture of the snow storm, noah’s Old Rag hike with Mark, our hikes in Great Falls and more.

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…

– 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.

– 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)

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 012014

So we’re going a bit out of order here since this is the order I finished working on the pictures:) Last weekend we had a lot going on but had to take a bit of time out of the rush to go for a family hike in the AM. The weather was a bit windy but beautiful! Perfectly cool and crisp which makes hiking so much fun.

Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve is just a 15 min drive for us to get to and offers quite a bit of hiking. It’s far enough out to make it peaceful but not a super long drive.

Oct 152014

Even before we had kids DH and I would dream of the times I we could take the kids out in to the backcountry with us for some serious backpacking. Once Noah learned to walk we started counting the days before we could get him out on a hike in the woods.

Now that Lia’s old enough and steady enough to walk over uneven surfaces we’ve taken both of them on longish (for them) day hikes but had yet to backpack. The logistics of taking 2 kids that can’t really carry their own weight backpacking were overwhelming at first. Not only would we need a bigger tent but we’d need sleeping bags, clothes and extra food etc. We’re not light packers by any stretch of the imagination so to figure out how to accommodate all the extra stuff (with the possibility of carrying a child at times as well) without killing our backs was tough.

So we looked for a short hike in figuring we can carry extra weight for a short period of time and if things went south we could potentially bail in the middle of the night (at 1 mile hike out in the dark, though not ideal, is doable). We found a place about 45 min away that was perfect!! It took us two tries (first one was thwarted by thunderstorms) but Sky Meadow State Park has walk in primitive campsites that you can reserve for $15 a night. There’s a non-potable water pump and a few vault toilets back there but otherwise there are no amenities. Each site had a well drained tent pad, a picnic table and fire ring. Some of the sites were right off the trail. Others, like ours, were down a bit from the trail and into the woods. It made it feel like we were really out there by ourselves (well, except for the sounds of campers around you:)).

What was really funny was that when we got there we found out that you could rent a wheelbarrow for $10 in order to carry your stuff back to the site. So, our visions of a rugged hiking path were met with a bike/stroller/wheelbarrow friendly meander through grass lands and fire road. We were already packed up to carry it all in on our person so we passed on the wheelbarrow – but it was nice to know that it was there in case and the kids didn’t care that it wasn’t trail. They were just happy to be out.

The trip was fun and thankfully uneventful (last time we were at that park Noah was stung by a caterpillar). We did struggle to make a fire because the wood was wet but managed to make enough so the kids could roast marshmallows (and smoke out every bug in a 4 mile area). The kids slept terribly as did we but I expected that being that this was Lia’s first time in a tent (plus it was her first big sleep over outside of her crib with all of us and the dog aaaand she had a marshmallow right before bed…to say she was amped up was an understatement). But, the pack-up and hike out the next AM was so beautiful and even though we were exhausted, it was the perfect trip. I can’t wait to do it again!

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