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 132013

Thinking the whooooole way back to the first week of Sept we decided to take a quick family vaca to Virginia Beach. Given the general chaos of our life at that time we decided a close beach was a better idea vs. driving to OBX or Myrtle (or flying to the Pacific NW which was my other choice). Anyways…Virginia Beach is less than 4 hours drive (counting stops) and is a really family friendly beach. It’s not overly crowded with plenty of food options and entertainment. Although, we arrived just after labor day so the options were much less than if we’d been there just a few days prior but honestly, I we were totally okay with that.

The weather was amazing – cool but not too cool and it only rain the day we arrived and the day we left. We couldn’t have planned it more perfectly. We ended up with a ground floor suite right next to my in-laws which mean that after the kids crashed we could just hang out on the patio and enjoy the ocean. Best idea ever (the suite that is).

We went for walks/runs/bike rides (we brought Noah’s bike so we could run and he could ride) on the boardwalk in the AM, spent the times before lunch at the beach (which was 10 steps away!), then Noah spent Lia’s nap time playing at the 4 different pools at the resort (which catered to kids without being obnoxious). Once Lia woke up we’d head to dinner (where Noah generally crashed) and then back to the hotel to either put the kids to bed or load them up and walk the boardwalk.

4 days ended waaaay too quickly but at the same time it was the perfect length with the two kids. We did a quick trip to the Va Beach Aquarium before we started on the road back and still made it home by 6pm. All in all a great trip. I can totally see us doing that again next year.

Mar 012012

It’s taken awhile to get thru all the pics but here we are, a post about our recent vacation. It was kind of impromptu in that we only booked/planned it 3 weeks in advance. I had vaca I was going to lose and we both had deadline/launches that we had to dodge so we settled on a date that was just a few weeks shy of Noah’s second. There are some great benefits and drawbacks to this.

First, the details of the trip. We flew to Miami (noah in our lap – huge benefit #1..not having to pay for a seat for him) and hopped on a Carnival cruise ship destined for the Bahamas (and a few other ports). Super excited to have a balcony room (a must have with a toddler) and only one full day on the ship before we hit the first port we set off. Here’s where the drawbacks of being just two weeks shy of your 2nd birthday come in. He was pretty much ineligible for any of the kids programs on the ship…well, not pretty much…he was point blank. We were able to use the kiddie club between 8am and 10am before the programs started and that was it. Plus, he’s not potty trained so the pools (even the splash pool) was off limits. I won’t lie, we cheated a little the last day on the ship. Noah had already done his dirty bidness so we figured it was safe to let him splash in the wading pool…no one even noticed.

In the end the no pools thing wasn’t a huge deal. We had oceans in all three ports that were fair game (and honestly, he hated the sand which made the oceans a little challenging but we’ll get to that) but I think next time we’ll wait until he’s potty trained (and therefore older than 2) to cruise so that he can take advantage too. We did a lot of running around the decks of the ship to burn off steam. He seemed perfectly okay with that, DH and I however, were very tired.

We got to our first port – Grand Turk and hopped off the ship as early as they would let us. We needed land and an open area for Noah to run. Too bad it was all pretty much sand and he’s still terrified of sand. I eventually coaxed him into playing but only if he was on the lounge chair or on a towel. Oh well, small victories.

DH lugged along an inflatable raft that I chastised him endlessly about it. I couldn’t believe he’d bring this ridiculous thing the whole way along for the ride expecting to have Noah in it while we hung out in the water with him. And this is where I eat my words because in the end, it was the only freakin way we got him in the water. It worked out perfectly. Noah was in his little PFD, sitting atop his raft while DH and I took turns snorkeling. I admit now that it was a genius idea that worked just as well the second day in Half Moon Cay (Noah even zonked out and took a little snooze while we hung in the water…sooo perfect!).

Port 2 was a private island – Half Moon Cay and was a tender port therefore making it harder to get back and forth to the boat (you had to take a little boat from the big boat). Once you were on the island you were there for good (or at least until you wanted to go back to the boat for the day…it wasn’t worth making more than one trip back and forth). Fortunately they catered to us on the island and there was really no reason to go back until it was actually time to leave. We still hadn’t won any battles between Noah and the sand phobia but with a few fruit snacks I did manage to get him back on the raft and into the water. I even tried to lure this kid into the sand with the prospect of a trip down a waterslide….no go. He was not having it.

Port 3 was Nassau and by then we’d had enough of the beach and trying to get Noah to like it. We decided instead to head over to Atlantis and pay for the aquarium tours (since Noah loves fish). SOOOOOOOO worth it! Probably the best $80 we spent the whole trip. We spent all day on the grounds of Atlantis visiting the 9 or so aquariums they have set up there – loving each more than the last! By the time we were finished we were all exhausted and perfectly happy to head back to the boat a bit early. Noah napped great and so did I!

Dinner most nights was trying. He’s your typical toddler who can’t sit still for more than 4 seconds. We did dinner in the formal dining room just three times out of the 5 and only with the help of the wait staff, a huge bottle of milk, and fruit snacks. The staff would take him for a quick walk (always in our eye sight) while we scarfed our meals or perform magic tricks to keep him happy. They did a wonderful job. There was one night where Noah crashed early and we were able to put him in the stroller and actually go see things. Otherwise we were asleep in the room with him by 9…not a bad thing, just not what you’d expect to do on a cruise with great night life.

All in all it was a great trip and we really enjoyed ourselves. We were well rested and had just the right amount of sun by the time we made it back to NoVa. There are things we’ll do differently next time (taking the grands, waiting until they’re potty trained, etc..) but nothing that ruined the trip for us.

Feb 152012

Okay, as I’m weeding thru all the pictures from our cruise I have to share this story about Noah. He’ll totally kill me when he’s older but I still laugh thinking about it.

Here’s the scene: We were in the Miami airport getting ready to come home. The gate area is full to the brim with people because we board in just a few min and Noah’s standing there with his hand down the back of his pants (this is a new habit…ugh). I ask him nicely to take his hand out of his pants and he looks at me and smiles…(in the back of my mind I’m thinking…”hmm…glad there aren’t any poopies in there”…and now you can see where this is going). He whips out his hand and yells “poopies!!” with as much volume and glee as his little body could project. Yes, there he was, hand covered in poop, in the middle of the gate area with 100’s of people around us.

DH was mortified but quick on the trigger and grabbed the napkins next to him, wrapped up the poopy hand and then passed him off to me to go clean up. I couldn’t stop laughing. As I run and get Noah cleaned, DH sits back to survey the horrified faces around us. Only, there were none. No one had noticed (or if they did they didn’t make it obvious). Phew….I came back and he was laughing hysterically at the comedy of it all.

It could have gone so differently (and so much worse). I’m sure the older gentleman across the aisle would have been super excited to be greeted by a poopy little toddler hand had Noah decided to turn to him rather than us. sheesh…

Oct 082011

I’d planned on a series of posts about our adventures to the OBX (Outer Banks, NC for those not down with the lingo) but seeing as it’s taken me two weeks to even get thru the pictures we’re going to cover it in one big one with lots of pictures!

NOTICE: SKIP TO THE BOTTOM IF YOU JUST WANT THE PICTURES….I won’t be offended (well, at least not a lot offended)

Overall our week in the OBX was thoroughly enjoyable. In the days leading up to it the weather outlook was bleak. They were still recovering from the hurricane and then tropical storm and the weatherman was not hopeful we’d have any sun. We arrived to lots of rain and stormy seas and had to unpack in very wet conditions. Fortunately for us the rain stopped around dinner and we were able to get our first glimpse of our beach. It was rough and stormy and there wasn’t much to it but it was our beach!

Where I’m more prone to grab a book and read on the beach, DH (and his parents) are doers. They like to get out to do and see things. It works well with a toddler that gets bored quickly so everyday there was an adventure or two. We hauled our bikes the whole way down there so on three of the mornings we decided to take them out for a spin. First day we started at our house and rode south into Duck and around. We rode thru neighborhoods and down to the beach and back. As we were making our way back to the house we decided to huff it up one more set of little hills and *snap* DH’s chain breaks. This was the first of three bike related calamities!

Day two of biking we rode north. About 5 miles in I noticed my ride was getting a little tough, kind of like I’m plowing thru sand. I looked back and my rear tire was low. We stopped for a second to check it out (in a bad spot where the mosquitoes were munching hard on us!) and you could hear it hissing. DH always carries a pump and a spare so we just had to roll to a more convenient spot to fix it, no problemo. Haha..right! The pump didn’t want to work so we were sunk. MIL and I worked our way back to a nearby diner (me carrying my bike because it wouldn’t roll anymore) and DH and FIL headed back to the house with Noah to fetch the car. DH spends the rest of the afternoon trying to get my wheel fixed so we can go out again later in the week (which yields ride #3 and flat #2 – this time on DH’s bike, not mine!)

On the days we didn’t ride we went out and explored Duck and the surrounding areas on foot. There was still quite a bit of debris and standing water so places we’d normally be able to go were close or so mosquito infested that it wasn’t worth it. There were tons of shops and stuff to keep us busy. DH even played the part of my hero when I dropped the camera lens cover off the side of the boardwalk into the water and he climbed down to retrieve it!

Later in the week the weather they’d been talking about all week finally arrived we spent the day at the aquarium on the main land. It was a nice change and Noah really enjoyed himself. He actually sat down with DH and watched the divers shows in the big shark tank! I couldn’t believe (nor could I believe that I ran the whole way back out to the car to grab the dSLR because it’s better in low light only to find when I got back to the building that I forgot to swap the battery and it was dead – oops).

Anywho, I’ve talked enough. On to the good stuff…

Oct 212010

It’s been a busy week in the Little Kloep house! Momma has a new job so I’ve been trying to get all my last min activities (things I’ve been putting off but really need done like switching out my summer for my winter clothes and weeding thru to find what goes to Goodwill). In my head-down frenzy I never got a chance to post the pics from our weekend!

We had a really busy but fun weekend! Saturday started with a consignment sale with two of my gal pals. I scored a bunch of 12-24 month clothes and a few toys for just over $40! I can tell that these sales are going to be a habit – a very bad but good habit!

Then we headed out to the pumpkin patch at Cox Farms. I was really worried that it would be completely overrun with people and just a total hassle but ended up being a lot of fun! We met up with my gal pal, Brenna, her hubs and their little one Kayla. We topped off the night with dinner out.

Sunday we all (DH, Noah, and myself) headed out to Shenandoah for a short hike. We figured the fall colors would be in full force or at least close and we were right. Noah did well on the hike in the Ergo although it because very clear that we need a hiking backpack for him. He’d rather look out and around than into daddys chest. I think I know what we’re getting for Christmas:)

Here are a few pics from our weekend!

Oct 182010

Yesterday we headed out for a hike in Shenandoah and as I’m packing Noah’s diaper bag I remembered these cool little pouches of baby food that I bought at Target the other day. The pouches are from PlumOrganics and come in a bunch of yummy flavors. Today’s selection was pumpkin and banana!

I bought them because I thought they’d be good for on-the-go type situations and I was right! Check out Noah having his lunch on the trail:

The little pouches are quick to open and easy to reseal. The spout on them actually works well without a spoon (Noah even figure out how to just suck on the spout to get the food out). I saw on their website that you can attach a Boon spoon if you have one but I found that not necessary.

They’re a tad bit more expensive than the jars of food but the convenience of them is unbeatable so it’s totally worth it!

I was in no way prompted or compensated for this review – I just really thought these were cool and that my mommy friends should know about them!

Aug 162010

So, our summer travel season is just hitting its stride! This past weekend we drove down to Virginia Beach for a volleyball tournament for DH and I decided that since we were making the trip, that we should make a weekend out of it:) The commute not withstanding, we had an awesome time!

I have to say, I forgot how nice Va beach is! It’s been forever since I’ve been there in the evening and actually this is the first time we stayed the night at the beach (instead of in Newport News – 10 miles outside of the shore). After DH was done at the tournament, we all got ready (Noey in PJ’s) and set out to find dinner on the boardwalk somewhere. We saw lots of bands setting up and knew we were in for a treat later. We ate dinner watching the clouds change color over the ocean and listened to some Buffet courtesy of the two guys at the bar.

Noey dozed on and off in his stroller as we walked up the boardwalk stopping to listen to a magician or a band. We even saw some folks that we knew getting packed up after the games had ended and stopped to chat. No night at the beach is complete without ice cream so we just had to stop (sooooo blew my diet this weekend…back on the wagon today!). In the end, Noah fell asleep for good around 9:00 and we continued to walk around on the boardwalk and listen to some of the bands playing until 10:30 or so. I was happy to find that I wasn’t the only mom who had my child out at such hours:) We saw many a stroller pass us with sleeping little ones in them. I mean, if he’s going to sleep, why lock ourselves in our room – he can sleep just as well in his stroller as he can in his pack’n’play:)

I think what I liked about Va beach is that it was very family oriented and had lots of entertainment in the boardwalk area. There aren’t many (if any) arcades but there are lots of bands, theater actors, and other performers as well as small carnival rides here and there. Plus, you have miles and miles of beaches to hand out on and listen to the surf. I’m anxious to go back and spend so more time down there when Noah’s a little older (and can enjoy the beach instead of just laying around and eating sand)

The only damper to the weekend was the trip to and from. The commute to and from was awful – I’m never letting DH control the navigation again (we headed out the opposite direction we needed to be going just to try to circle around traffic – it didn’t work!). We both concluded that unlike in California where you have amazing mountains, national parks and beaches within a weekend trip, the East coast really just has their beaches. The mountains here are pretty but not your typical vacation destination for folks (unlike Cali where Tahoe is a fine place to vacation for a week) and since there’s really only one North/South artery (and only 2 or 3 east/west ones) you’re destined to sit in traffic somewhere – that’s the reality. I do need to remind him that even in Cali we had horrible traffic on the way to Tahoe and Yosemite….especially if you left after work on Friday:)

It’s definitely not a deterrent but rather our new reality living on the East Coast.

Aug 112010

It may not seem like it based on the pics so far but we did make it to the beach!:) DH and I went running in the AM’s on a few days and generally went back down later in the day for at least a little bit. Due to the excessive heat, we only took Noah with us a few times and either early in the AM or later in the day.

I have a video of him putting his toes in the ocean but all he did was scream because it was cold…cute but heart wrenching at the same time. Poor kid…such torture:)

Aug 102010

We figured out that Noey just wants to be part of the action and the more time he spends up right rather than laying down the happier he is. So, during one of our crafting times, my mom and I put him in the high chair with all of his toys to keep him entertained and he’d hang out, playing, talking and just generally having a good time.

Aug 092010

…we do! I’ve mentioned before about an upcoming fundraiser my mom is spearheading and my contribution will be to the bassinet booth with hand painted and appliqued onesies. We used our time at the beach to make progress in our efforts and took over the rather sizable dining room table (and thus relegated everyone to take their meals at either the bar or the smaller kitchen table on the other side of the room)

There’s just something relaxing about crafting and painting…it was the perfect way to spend the hot hot hot mid day hours

Aug 082010

This coming week will be full of posts about our trip! I could post them all in one post but that would make this post super long and I’m sure I’d lose many of you by the end of it. So, at least this way I can spread the torture out to maximize the effect…haha.

Here’s the happy family before a heavy storm rolled on thru…:) Yes, the pic is blurry – it’s not your eyes. In our haste, we didn’t notice that our lens was not focusing correctly…oh well, this will have to do..

Lesson 1 from the trip: Leave early or leave late…do not, DO NOT, leave at 8am from Northern Va and expect a normal trip. Traffic once you hit the last 30 miles was horrific! There were people walking faster than we could drive!

Aug 012010

8 hours in a car with a 5 month old has the potential to be a real miserable situation. Thankfully Noah was cooperative and aside from one meltdown (while on a bridge with no option to stop of course) he made it the whole 8 hours with a smile on his face!

Happy Baby!

Our goal was to leave at 4am to avoid much of the traffic but things never go as planned. Around 8:00 we finally pulled out – Noah with a full belly and fresh diaper. He promptly fell asleep and I’d hoped it would be for a good part of the start of our trip but alas, he was enthralled by the passing scenery

This is how he spent much of his waking time. Alternating between talking to me (when I was in the back) and his toys (when I sat up front with daddy). He’d get fussy when he was hungry and I’d crawl back to feed him a bottle. We only stopped long enough for the grown ups to get some food and change his diaper.

Even the dog was calm and collected…

Towards the end (where it took us 3 hours to go 30 miles ) we’d started using the GPS to find alternate streets just to feel like we were moving. Noey started to get really restless right as we drove out on to the bridge that connects the mainland to the OBX and ended up all out wailing by about mid span (mind you, it too 30 min to get across the 3 mile stretch). DH took hold of the GPS and as soon as we were off the bridge, we were short cutting thru neighborhoods in hopes of finding a place to stop to change and feed little man. After a quick change, I put a naked (save for a diaper) Noey back in his carseat and off we went.

8 hours after we started we finally pulled in to our new digs for the week! Now, I’m ready for some fun and sun and relaxation:) Posting may be sporadic but I’ll do what I can:)

Jul 242010

So, our last full day in the bay area was full of family and friends. We met up with our good friends and their little man for brunch and a quick walk around Sausalito in the sun. It was a BEAUTIFUL day on the bay but I ended up soooo sunburned…haha.

After that meeting, we headed back up to pick up DH’s uncle and head out to see the rest of the cousins. They have two little ones that we’ve never met – one just a few months younger than Noah and of course they’ve never met Noah. We spent the afternoon/evening talking, catching up and just generally enjoying the day. We tried some swimming but the pool was way way cold – I only got to Noah’s ankles before he freaked out and wailed.

Anywho….I was sad to see our trip end. It was nice being back in the city by the bay and visiting with family. If we had unlimited money we’d buy a house there and spend our summers there living it up!

And for everyone’s viewing pleasure…pictures!

Jul 222010

Warning: Another very image heavy post….

Day two was another day full of walking around the city! This time, rather than wearing Noey (because it was stinkin hot in the city), he decided to push him up and down the hills in his stroller. I would have paid to see it…he found some of the steepest hills and decided to push Noah up them.

Today was spent walking to the Embarcadero and then back to the hotel. I came home to a crashed out daddy and Noey!

Jul 202010

Warning: VERY picture heavy post ahead…
So, while I went to work, Dad and Noah went for a trip around SF. We arrived early on Wed so they had a full day to have fun. He strapped Noah to him in the Ergo, stuffed the diaper bag and off they went. Here are a few pics from their day…

The wandered around Yerba Buena gardens, took the cable car up to Lombard, walked down to the ocean and then back around to Market. Dad attests that Noah did wonderfully and had a good time wandering the city.

Jul 192010

So, when Noey was born I knew it wouldn’t be long before we needed to make a trip out to California due to my job. I say “we” because I don’t think I’d survive 5 whole days without his smiling face so I knew he’d have to come along and if he’s coming, DH was too because I’d have to work. Plus, who needs more of an excuse to fly out to San Francisco than a free hotel room and the opportunity to play tourist in the city.

So, this past week we loaded Noey up and took our first cross country trip. Here are a few things I learned when flying with a baby:

– You don’t need to buy them a seat. Children under a certain age (2?) can ride in your lap. With Noey being so little, there’s no way I was paying $300 for a seat for him:)
– If they do ride in your lap, make sure you tell the airline prior so they can add them to the reservation as an infant in the lap. You need to do this because he needs his own boarding card to get thru security and on to the airplane.
– We took his carseat and snap’n’go to the gate and gate checked it but really only used it as a luggage cart to carry my laptop, the camera bag, and his diaper bag because I wore him the whole time.
– Wearing him in the Ergo was easier and more comfortable for him. You have to take them out of the carseat and break everything down to get thru security and that would have been a nightmare if he was sleeping so having him in the Ergo meant he could sleep and hang out as we made our way thru security
– We swapped our over the shoulder diaper bag for a backpack (my day pack) because we already had two over the shoulder things and knowing DH would be walking around SF it was just easier – best choice ever!
– Lots of toys! Noah was pretty good for both flights but on the second one he got into a “must be entertained” mode that required all the toys we had avail (plus the help of the pretty ladies across the aisle).
– Pack more of everything than you’ll think you need…formula, clothes, diapers…and don’t count on a changing table in the airplane.
– Bottle, boob, or paci on the way up and down. It helps them equalize as the pressure changes.

Overall he did a great job! We had a few squawks on the landing on the way out and a bit of fussiness on the way back (the “entertain me” moment that necessitated the toys) but overall he did soo well! He even adjusted to the time change and back with great ease!

Now, having a baby in a hotel room is another story entirely. I was happy to check out of there and check in at hotel Uncle Ralph (DH’s Uncle) – the room was quiet and the food was fab!

Jul 192010

Okay, first things first. I weighed in this AM and no surprise, I’ve gained. A new scale, coupled with good eats and water retention from the salt in the good eats have put me up a few lbs. We stand at 136.5 today and I know a good part of that is water just based on how even the embroidery on Noey’s onesie left a deep impression in my skin.

I’m on glass number two of water today…hopefully I can keep this up and the water retention goes away.

Okay, now…lots of catching up to do. Over the next few days I’ll have posts about our trip adventures in San Fran (rather, Mark’s trip adventures – I was working). He and Noey had an awesome time from the looks of it!

He took his first plane ride and did awesome! Plus he adjusted to the time zone change pretty well (and seems to be adjusting back quite nicely).

Anywho…stay tuned…lots of pics and stories to follow!

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