5 for Friday

This post is all things summer.  Totally fitting as this the last week of official summer.  To me, August always seems lightning fast and full of preparing for the school year to kick in. Here are five “summery” things on my mind!

{ONE}

Family & Trips – We have had SO many fun times with family this summer!  We’ve had lots of long weekends and a few vacations days for the Mr. that have allowed us to really soak up lots of family love.  Our weekends typically are full of either travel or enjoying our guests here at home.  This weekend we actually have no official plans with no official guests, AND we will be at home.  This seriously hasn’t happened!  We were supposed to be heading out of town for a little couple’s getaway, but we’ll be hanging out as a party of four instead.  In the spirit of our typical weekend, here are a few pictures that are from our time in Staunton this past weekend…

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{TWO}

New Pictures Are Up! – It feels so good to have checked off one big summer “to-do.”  I have sorted and put all our prints in albums.  SO HAPPY TO BE DONE!  I’ve also changed out our hall pictures and put out new picture frames with up-to-date pictures.  Yay!  I love how welcoming our front hall table looks with the pictures!  Holden even told me at dinner that the table by the door looks “cute.”  🙂

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{THREE}

Countdown to the Half – I’m loving my summer goal of training for the Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon!  I’ve really been trying to challenge myself to beat my time, and I hope to do so by working on my cadence (definition of fancy running word:  Cadence in sports involving running is the total number of ‘revolutions per minute’ (RPM), or number of full cycles taken within a minute, by the pair of feet, and is used as a measure of athletic performance. Courtesy of Wikipedia).  I’ve also been getting FREE magazines from the local library…Running Times and Runner’s World.  Very inspiring!  Makes me want to do another race soon!  Maybe the Wicked 10K?  I’ve also read about the Monument Avenue 10K in the spring and the Dirty Girl Mud Run.

P.S.  Don’t you just love this quote from Kate Grace?!?  “I am a discomfort master. I thrive in all conditions. Everything I need to succeed is already within me. It is here to stay.”

If you don’t know, Kate Grace is an elite runner and running in the Olympics which are coming up very soon.  Read her blog post here.    It’s about being calm on race day.

{FOUR}

Cookie, Cookie! – I’m getting ready to do some serious baking in preparation for Helen’s baptism and some other party things coming up.  I’m thinking of keeping with the traditional chocolate chip cookie and oatmeal raisin cookie.  Of course, I’m going to do some lemon cookies that are famous in my family.  I’m not bragging…people do actually remember and request these cookies!  I’m unsure about my other two selections.  Should I do the oatmeal and the chocolate chip?  Something more exotic?

These chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookies are semi-homemade and look delish!

I tried these Cream Cheese Strawberry Cookies, but they didn’t fair well in the heat aka not refrigerated.  They melted into a blob!  😦

M&M Cookies – They look so cute and cheerful!

S’mores Cookie Bars – Too rich?  Or too perfect?

Please share your opinion in the comments below!  I’m being so indecisive.

{FIVE}

Beachin’ It – I love going to the beach, and I actually don’t mind taking kid(s) to the beach.  Not sure Helen counts as she isn’t mobile yet!  A friend emailed me asking for tips for taking kids to the beach.  Here are my top five!

  1. Go early!  I like to leave by 8:30.  Our beach is about 10-15 minutes away.  It will be cooler and less crowded.  Bonus:  You will be home in time for baths, lunch, and naps.
  2. No big meals there!  I only take water and snacks.  If I do pack a snack or sandwich, I wrap the food in aluminum foil.  It can double as a plate.
  3. This goes without saying (I think), but put sunscreen on kids and yourself before leaving the house.  I take spray sunscreen for Holden to use at the beach for reapplication.  He doesn’t like having the sand rubbed into his skin when you reapply regular tube sunscreen.
  4. Chairs for little people – reduces sand all over…kind of.
  5. Use a backpack to help carry stuff and keep your hands free.  Fortunately, I’ve been able to go to the beach lots this summer and had extra people aka extra sets of hands.  However, I would take things in a backpack when Holden was younger, and I’m sure I’ll do that again when Helen is more mobile next summer.  Right now, she rides to the beach (from the parking lot) in our Baby Bjorn carrier.  This lets me have my arms free.

BONUS – Get a fan if you have a little one!  We got this one from Babies R Us.  I use it all the time and especially at the beach.

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Hope you have a great Fri-YAY!  Here’s a few more pictures from our week (yes, we are at the library again!).

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Natalie

Summer Goals- 4 weeks left!

I can’t believe that it’s only a little over 4 weeks left of my maternity leave/ summer vacation!  It has been (mostly) so wonderful!  I really want to make the most of the time I have left, so I made a list of some end-of-summer goals.

House Stuff:

  • Make a chalkboard sign for the kitchen
  • Redo hall pictures
  • Clean out summer clothes
  • Put prints in photo album
  • Buy blender for baby food making

 

Me Stuff:

  • Renew blog?  Always torn about this!  I’m always really into it in the summer, but I tend to fall off in the other seasons.
  • Keep running (and lifting and yoga and just fitnessy stuff)
  • Get ready to do budget recon in September – I plan on writing down EVERYTHING I buy in the month of September.  Oh.my.
  • Get a haircut! – I haven’t had one since March!
  • Organize school papers/materials that I brought home in April (seems like a lifetime ago)
  • Read 2 books for fun
  • Eat as much watermelon as possible

 

Holden’s Stuff:

  • Finish baby book – Yikes!  I really fell off the bandwagon with this one.  I’m trying to be inspired by Helen’s and finish up Holden’s.
  • Get Holden’s school supplies
  • Get fitted for a little boy tux for Auntie Brookie’s wedding
  • Art Museum Pre-K Day
  • Visit Farmer’s Market
  • Maybe another fishing trip???
  • School shoes!
  • Fro-yo date – Mommy & Holden

 

Helen’s Stuff:

  • Work on baby book
  • Outfit for Auntie Brookie’s wedding
  • Find some cute clothes to fit this growing baby!
  • Review baby food making business – I love this book!  
  • Baptism and Reception – Planning, Decorating, Cooking, and Enjoying!
  • Get everything ready for the daycare transition

 

Whew!  We are going to be busy!  Hopefully, there will be some beach days in there as well.

Natalie

How’s your summer been?

Any last items you want to check off your summer list?

Favorite summer treats?

Over the hills…

Hi there!  Today totally feels like Monday to me, because we just got home from a weekend trip to Holden’s Granny’s house out in the western part of Virginia.  We left early (6:15!) Saturday morning to ensure a sleeping Helen.  She slept almost the whole way!  The early wake-up and rushing was completely worth that!  Once we arrived (after Holden asking 53,246 times if we were there yet), we unloaded our numerous bags and visited with Granny and Holden’s aunt and uncle.  We had lunch at Shenandoah Pizza and Taphouse.  Sadly, I can’t rave about the food as my veggie wrap was missing goat cheese.  😦  However, I take the heat for not asking for it to be added.  I just requested ranch dressing for dipping.  It was hard to focus on the food when we were enjoying the company so much!

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The afternoon meant naps for the kids and even a little work-out for me.  I love my mother-in-law’s spacious basement!  Perfect for working out during nap times!  The Mr.’s aunt and uncle joined us for lots of good summertime food that evening.  Miss Helen tried to stage a revolution with her cries for freedom from the constrains of naps and a schedule.  We prevailed (eventually), and she slept very well that night and the next day.

On Sunday, I was able to do about a 25 minute hilly run.  I’m so not used to this and just ran for time not distance.  It was beautiful views the whole time!  The decreased humidity was heavenly.  After my run, we loaded up for the Frontier Culture Museum.  I LOVE any type of educational/historical thing!  I’m the person who wants to read every sign/caption and take my time checking it all out.  I think this may have passed down to Holden.  🙂  We were peas-in-a-pod meandering through each “village” showing how life was in earlier centuries in different parts of the world.  The heat was a bit oppressive, and we had to wrap up our trip before noon.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing and enjoying the left-overs and family.

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Sadly, all good things come to an end.  We left early again (6:15 again!) on Monday to head back home.  What a great visit!  We are so thankful to have such a wonderful family only a car ride away!

I’ve got lots of other cute pics to share later this week.  I hope you all have a great week!

Natalie

5 for Friday

It’s time for another five for Friday!  Let’s jump right in!

{ONE}

Running – Lots of running happening around here!  I completed my 10 mile long run of the week on Thursday morning.  I did this, so I would not be running (a long one anyways) over the weekend when we are with family.  This meant I had to rise and shine at 4:30 in order to fit in breakfast and the digestion of it.  I calculated my pace at about 8 minutes 15 seconds.  I must admit that I didn’t really enjoy that particular run.  Some hip pain that alternated sides which I believe may be the result of some toe callouses (lovely image, right?) that were throwing off my stride.  However, I’ve been having awesome shorter runs.  I did the run below on Tuesday in the comfort of my low-humidity home.

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Love that fast last mile!  Looks like I ran that last one in 7 minutes and 2 seconds!

{TWO}

Outings – I love doing little outings with Helen and Holden on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  This Tuesday we went to the library for a reading of Stellaluna and a real live bat presentation.  Holden was such a good boy.  He sat and listened…even raised his hand with a legitimate question!  I remember taking him there when he was just a little over a year and working on those very skills!  I got to just hang out in the back with Helen.

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We also played at the park across the street afterwards.  Gotta take advantage of these temps that AREN’T in the upper 90’s!

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Here’s another picture of our Thursday outing…Mt. Trashmore and Goodwill!  Holden even got to pick out a toy!  For $1.25!  😉

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{THREE}

Checking off my to-do list – I posted back at the beginning of summer a “fun list” of things I hoped to do.  Let’s see how we’re doing!

  • Sprinkler time not yet
  • Sidewalk Chalk sadly not much interest on Holden’s behalf – I think a fun game might work!
  • Visiting all the Eastern Shore family did it!  So much fun!
  • Color Me Pottery {paint your own!} Yes, Holden painted his crab coffee mug 😉
  • Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, VA may opt out of this one
  • Brickheadz {Lego Play Center} Unfortunately, this place has summer camp until 12 each day.  We do best with morning outings, so I’m not sure if we will make it until fall.  
  • Norfolk Zoo Holden is actually going on a summer camp field trip there!  
  • Farmer’s Market Hope to do this in the next couple weeks!
  • Jamestown Visit check!
  • Visiting Granny (& Auntie Brookie and Uncle Michael) Soon!  🙂
  • Fishing Trip for Daddy, Big H, and Poppy Yes!  Holden caught his first fish!
  • Baseball Game – Try, try, try again at this one! We enjoyed seeing the Norfolk Tides play.
  • Beach – Hopefully, we may even try some quick trips with me and the two H’s. 4 trips total for me and the kids.  Two for the Mr.  Hoping to go again soon!
  • 4th of July Parade – Holden loved being in the parade last year.  We’re looking forward to doing it again! Yes, this was so much fun.  
  • Swimming Lessons These were great!  Now, we just need to keep him practicing all his skills.  
  • Library Visits Oh my stars!  We’ve definitely done this one.
  • Little H’s Baptism in August

Menu for Baptism…

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  • 1 night getaway for me and the Mr. in July – It will be the first night away from kids since Little H’s arrival!  We had to cancel this one.  
  • Play Dates with new and old friends We’ve done some biking with our neighbors!
  • Ziplining Date with the Mr. at The Adventure Park Yes!  This was so much fun.  

I’m so excited about all these things!  My personal goals for June include

  • Put together easel and little table for Holden to use this summer check!  Actually, I delegated these jobs out.  🙂
  • Develop a little summer schedule for Big H’s days at home {He will be attending summer camp starting in July MWF for half days.} with some fun activities We do a little mini “school” on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We have a pretty good schedule going too.  
  • Read 3 books!  Not sure if I met this one…just try to read a little in the evening before bed.  
  • Take Holden on a Mommy – Son date I do feel like most of our days are a Mommy & Holden date since Helen sleeps when we are out and about in the morning.  
  • Run outside once a week For sure!  Every since signing up for the half-marathon I’ve been doing lots of running!  😉

Another item on my work to do list was to wash and wax my car.  Holden helped me wash one morning this week, and I waxed while he was at summer camp.  It always reminds me of my grandfather.  He was the first one to show me how to wax a car.  I remember being underneath a large pine tree in the backyard with him…just waxing away!  He had definite opinions about the right way to do it.  Never would have approved of this wax!  It did the trick though.

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{FOUR}

Bizarre Food I Eat – I think everyone has some weird stuff that they like to eat.  This week I’ve been enjoying a hard-boiled egg (sliced) on two pieces of toast with BBQ sauce.  Absolutely delicious!  I know you’re probably grossed out, but (like I tell Holden) you should try it before you say you don’t like it!  I’ve been eating the same breakfast for like a month a half.  1/2 cup oatmeal + 1 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter + 1 tbsp. Trader Joe’s raspberry jelly + lots of boiling water.  Then, I let it sit covered for a few minutes.  Last, I microwave it for like twenty seconds.  If it isn’t soupy enough, I add extra water.  I love this breakfast!  So filling AND sweet!  No picture of either of these items as I’m sure the pictures would do them no justice!

{FIVE}

Summery Desserts! – I’m going to pick up the ingredients to try out these Strawberry Lemonade Bars this afternoon.  I have really been enjoying lighter desserts since the weather has been so hot.  Don’t these look delicious!?!?

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photo & recipe from the baker upstairs

P.S. I realized I didn’t snap any pics of baby Helen this week!  Poor girl!  I’m going to blame it on having my hands-full when she’s awake!  I’ll try to do better by the sweet girl this weekend.  Have a great one!

Natalie

Botanical Garden and Bike Riding

Wow, it’s already Monday!  This weekend was so fun, but it really flew by.  Friday started out with an oil change for me (and Helen).  Unfortunately, we found out about a problem with my car that will need to be fixed in the next few months for a lovely $600 price tag.  That is no fun Friday fact.  Here’s Helen so nicely sleeping for me at the auto place…

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We also had another bit of a bummer Friday evening with a loss of power due to heavy rain and winds that came through that evening.  It was quite a steamy night in our house.  Power came back on that morning.  Just in time for me to head out for my 9 mile run!  Wow!  It’s a good thing I go early, because I’m drenched in lovely sweat running at 6:30.  I can’t imagine waiting until later.

After that run, it was a quick change before Aunt Sarah Beth and Uncle Cullen got here for a trip to the Norfolk Botanical Garden.  Here he is working on his stroller skills!

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We did a little exploring in one section of the garden, but rain forced us to make a run for a gazebo.  We waited out the rain and then continued on.

Clearly, Holden didn’t let that keep him down.

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Miss Helen was snoozing, so she missed the photo opportunity.

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We were so glad they came to visit!

Here’s Holden checking out a big tree in another one of our “let’s seek some shelter from the rain” moments.

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There was a butterfly festival going on there.  However, it was EXTREMELY busy around that section.  I didn’t take a single picture.  We also didn’t make it through the butterfly house due to a very long line.  Holden and I had seen it last year, but I was slightly bummed to miss it.  That line was cray though!

Holden got a little water action in the WOW Children’s Garden…

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Here’s the view from the top of the NATO Tower there…

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Despite the rain, I think we all had a great time!  Afterwards, we went home to enjoy a late lunch.  I made these Beer & Cheddar Burgers from Mix & Match Mama.  Along with the burgers, we had corn on the cob and home fries.  For dessert, it was a Lemon Raspberry Pie.  I really liked the burgers, and the Mr. really liked the dessert…so there you go!  Saturday was also a big day in the bike riding world!  Holden is riding without training wheels!  Woo-hoo!  We are so proud of him, but I think he may be even prouder of himself!

On Sunday, I went to church and left the dudes playing Legos.  Holden had a birthday party for his very good buddy who is moving away in a couple weeks.  He had a great time celebrating with him!  Sunday finished up with an at-home workout for me and some swimming time for the Mr. and Holden at a friend’s pool.

Whew!  What a full weekend!  We are having such a good time this summer.  It’s hard to believe that we are just a little over a month away from our “fall” routine.  I hope you’re having an excellent Monday so far!

We don’t have a whole lot going on this week except for summer camp, a library event, and the never-ending laundry routine.  😉  Have a great day!

Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Love

Okay…it’s official.  I’m in love with summer vacation.  If I was on a typical maternity leave plan, I would have gone back to work just a week ago.  Instead I’ve got lots of summer days ahead of me with these two sweet kids.  I’m SO SO SO thankful.  Holden is loving his MWF half-day summer camp, and I’m loving the time it is giving me to talk, read, and just play with Helen.  I also am able to get SOMETHING done when she goes down for a nap around 10:30/11:00.  We pick big brother up at 12.

Tuesdays and Thursday are our ready-for-fun with all of us days!  On Tuesday, we went to Mt. Trashmore.  Holden did some bike riding while I walked with Helen in the BOB and Roscoe.  Holden also played for a bit at the Kids’ Cove, and we flew his kite at the top of Mt. Trashmore.  So fun!  It was a nice and windy day…perfect for kite flying!

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A boy and his kite!  Best Dollar Tree purchase ever!

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After lots of outside time, we took Roscoe home to cool off and headed to Chik-fil-A for Cow Appreciation Day aka a free entree if you dress up as a cow!  I printed off our costumes and cut out the details.

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Yes, I walked up to the counter (it was a drive-thru/counter window only) at Chik-fil-A with a paper cow tail taped to my pants.  We ordered up some nuggets for Holden and a grilled chicken sandwich for me.  After that, we hit the road to make it home in time to feed Helen.  We enjoyed our lunch with some sides from home.

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After naps on Tuesday, we did a little home work-out…

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even Helen was exercising!  Get those neck muscles girl!

 

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Wednesday was summer camp for Holden and lots of cleaning for me.  Daddy also came home early, so we got a little walk in before dinner.  Yay!  Holden is doing great with this mini glider that the Mr. borrowed from a co-worker.  It’s really helping him work on his balance as we prepare to take off the training wheels.  I would highly recommend buying one of these even before getting a traditional bike.  See link to buy here.  

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Today was a busy one!  We had planned to go to a Lego build place today, but the place has a summer camp running from 10-12.  😦  That’s our prime “let’s go out for the day!” time.  Plans changed, and we toughed it out at the local park for a little bike riding and playing time.  We pretended to be hunters looking for bears.  🙂  Roscoe the dog came along too!  It did get too hot (in the 90s) after a short time.  Then, we returned Roscoe to the abode.  Holden painted a crab mug at Color Me Mine last week, and we were off to pick that up.  Unfortunately, I ran over some spilt nails from a work truck on the way.  I couldn’t see the situation until I was already driving through it.  I’m so hoping the Mr. can fix it up.

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I gave Holden a lesson on checking tire pressure!  He was very interested!  To wrap up our day, we popped into the library for some new books for all.

Well!  It has been a busy week!

I hope yours has been a good one!  If you’re looking for a fun, light read, pick up this one…

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It got it at my local library.  Yes, yes I am icing my knee.  I have an odd “twinge” below my kneecap.  😦  We’ll see how that goes…9 miles on the agenda for Saturday morning.

Have a great day!  Almost Friday!

Natalie

Weekend Whereabouts

Hi there!  We had such a busy weekend filled with lots of family and fun times!  The Mr.’s sister and her fiancee came into town late Friday evening.  The kiddos and I were already tucked in, but we were up early to visit!  I started off the day with an eight mile run in very, very humid conditions.  I had a terrible side pain in the first three miles that I had to tough out.  It’s funny, but I never have a great run when I think I’m going to.  They always sneak up on me.  The latter half of my run was much better.  Everyone else had breakfast while I was out.

We loaded up the cars (yes, we require two cars now due to two bambinos) to head to the beach.  I was a little apprehensive that it would be too hot for baby H, but it was perfect.  Sunny with a breeze!  We got there a little after 9 and stayed until about 11:30.

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Holden loved having more people to splash with him (and climb all over in the waves!).

He also made a friend with a very nice boy with a football!

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After our beach time, we headed home for showers and quick changes.  Then, we were off to Chick’s Oyster Bar for some seafood.  We got to see lots of boats coming and going and enjoy some good food.  I had the Flounder BLT grilled.

The rest of Saturday was spent lounging, cooking, eating, and watching a new Tom Hanks’ movie – Bridge of Spies.  Truthfully, I missed most the movie due to baby duty and a phone call to my sister.  #priorities  ha!

On Sunday, we said good bye to Auntie Brookie and Uncle Michael.  😦  Then, Miss Helen and I headed off to church while the boys stayed here for a little home improvement project.  We didn’t have too much time to relax though.  We did make time to roll Holden up in a yoga mat, smear a tad bit of peanut butter on his face, and try to get Roscoe the dog to lick it off!  Roscoe wouldn’t play our silly game much to our dismay.

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Moochie and Poppy arrived mid-afternoon for the baseball game!  We went to see the Norfolk Tides play the Syracuse Chiefs last night.  Holden asked 789,451, 390 (approximately) questions during the game.  I tried my best to answer them since they were on topic at least!  That brain of his moves fast!

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Poor Moochie drew the short straw (willingly!) and was the babysitter for baby H.  Unfortunately, baby H was not wanted to be babysat!  Girlfriend would not take a bottle, would not sleep, and would not CHILL for anything.  😦  I honestly didn’t have too much time to worry/think about what my mom might be facing due to Holden’s rapid fire questions!  Let’s just say I don’t think the Mr. and I will be having any nights/days away anytime soon.  I think that once fall comes aka a real routine things will smooth out.  Mommy’s got to work in 6.5 weeks!!!!

Today was Holden’s day at summer camp.  The baby H and I enjoyed a bottle (for her not me!) = Victory over the bottle wars!  I also took her for another shot 😦 and a walk with Roscoe the dog.  🙂  We picked up big brother in time for lunch and a little outside pirate action.

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PS The grass is so tall in our backyard, because I broke the lawnmower on Friday.  Friday was a so not winning day…however, I did get the front yard cut.  We’re looking totally put together from the road.

We have dinner guests coming tonight – Uncle Michael (the other one) and Aunt DD!  We’ve also got plans to dress up as cows tomorrow – free Chik-fil-a – you know you wish you could too!  We also might make a trip to a local Lego play and build place on one hot morning.  There’s also rumors of an oil change for my car aka waiting in a room with kids while someone does it in a hopefully speedy manner.  Hope you have the best week!

Natalie