5 for Friday ~ I disappeared AGAIN!

Hi there!  Gosh, I’m so so so bad about keeping up with posting during the school year!  2017 has been quite a doozy so far, but I’m thankful to have faced some challenges together and come out the other side.  Nothing crazy major…just logistics situations.  Let’s jump right in to five things on my mind this Fri-YAY!

{ONE}

CHILDCARE

I don’t think we really knew completely how challenging it would be to live away from family.  Our closest actual “family” members are about 1.5 hours away.  Then, there’s some 2 hour people and then more like 3+ hour away peeps.  We’ve had some logistics issues pop up this year so far that includes the stomach flu, ear infections, and one very awful daycare upset that resulted in a big disappointment and the necessity to immediately find a new place for Miss Helen.  😦  I am so thankful for my mom and sister who dropped all their plans to come over and help us out.  They are busy, working gals, but they made us a priority.  I hope to be able to help them out one day…like one day when I’m not totally out of leave with two small ones who like to pick up all sorts of fun, unique germs each week!  🙂

{TWO}

Holden’s 5th Birthday

Our little boy is five!  How did this happen?!  Words can’t describe how thankful I am that God sent that little boy to us 5 years ago!  I do not have a doubt in my mind that God uses him to refine and shape parts of me that are kind of ick and help me to rely on Him more.  I pray that I can be the mother that God needs me to be to Holden.  I tell Holden all the time that God gave me the most important job, to be a mommy to him, and that I try very hard to do a good job.  I want that little boy to be fully prepared for whatever work God has for him on this earth.

He had a super fun gymnastic birthday party with his friends this past weekend.  That boy gets 110% sillier when he’s around his school buddies!  I love silly little boys (+cool girl!)!  Holden is very much looking forward to his family party this weekend, and we are too!  Many people are coming from out-of-town to celebrate with us.  This is a real treat and a gift itself to have everyone visit us!

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The Mr. was there…he was just taking all these great pictures!  Love the guy with the “dad cam!”  😉

{THREE}

Career Changes

Whew!  This is a big one!  There are MANY things up in the air with my job and the Mr.’s job.  I should begin by saying that I’m thankful we both are employed with no reason to think that will change.  The real issue is that the where of my workplace (and kind-of the Mr.’s too).  We are exploring a few options, but no one plan seems to be jumping out as the “DO THIS!” option.  I’m waiting for my burning bush….anytime now would be great!  🙂

I’ve been working at the same school for ten years now.  There is a certain comfort that comes with this situation.  Also, there are relationships forged and connections made that really make me a bit sad to lose.  However, there’s something to be said for a clean slate, a starting over.  Not to mention…I’d LOVE to be closer to home!  My drive is about 30 minutes with good traffic.  Thankfully, I *typically* have pretty good luck with the traffic. Whatever option I/we pick requires a change in childcare.  Again, back to #1.  Driving me crazy since the beginning of February!

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Image from Pinterest

{FOUR}

Summer Planning

This is about the time I start planning our summer trips, activities, special events, etc.  I like to maximize the “fun-ness” of our summers off.  I’m hoping to add a summer outdoor pool membership to our weekly summer fun.  I do love the beach, and I still want to go a bunch.  BUT it would be so much easier for me to take two kids to the pool vs. the beach.  I’ve found a pretty inexpensive option about 15 minutes away from home.  Although it’s not as close as I thought, I think it will definitely work!  We are also planning lots of family visits.  I really hope we can do a little one night trip for the Mr. and me.  I have yet to spend the night away from Helen.  I’m totally OK with it, but I do feel like it’s easy to let marriage fall by the wayside now that there are two.  You people with 3+ kids…I’m amazed!

{FIVE}

New Hair-Do

I confess that I have been seduced by how pretty long hair looks on other people without considering how it looks on me/goes with my life.  I feel like I’m being choked by my hair RIGHT NOW!  I so want a hair cut!  I’ve got an appointment one week from tomorrow.  I’m so excited!  I want to have a few inches cut off.  I’m thinking of a longish bob???  Right now, I’m being indecisive on the bangs.  Thinking about trying it without and seeing how I feel…

I also know I’d like to incorporate more curl into it vs. the stick-straight look.

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All Hair Images from Pinterest

Well, that’s what’s up with me!  Here are a few fun pics from the past few months.  🙂

Have a great weekend!

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Massanutten Fun!

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Water Park ~ Holden and I had so much fun!  I pray I remember how scared I was when we both went down the big grown-up slides side-by-side when I’m 85!

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Helen and I at swimming!  Love her sweet serious face!

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Waiting for big brother at gymnastics!

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at her new daycare – We are SO thankful to have found a wonderful, loving lady who takes excellent care of our sweet little one while we are at work.  Here she is having fun while Mommy is at work!

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Always pretending to be a billy goat!

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Home Depot Builder

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Natalie

Welcome 2017!

Whew!  Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year has arrived.

Here’s random sampling of some pictures from our holiday season…

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We did two Thanksgiving!  This is a sporting event that I suggest you properly train for.  We have perfected it over the years.  😉

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Plus a few more…img_4410img_4415img_4424img_4431img_4466img_4474img_4487img_4492img_4494img_4504

We are day 4 of snow, and I am so thankful to be home {except for an urgent care doctor trip + a library visit} with these people!  The Mr. had to work both weekdays, but he played it up with Holden over the weekend (and celebrated his 32 birthday!).  I just got the call that schools are closed tomorrow as well.  I know we will have to make it up in some form…I just love this unexpected time off!

2016 was quite a year!  Holden turned four, started Pre-K, played two soccer seasons, did awesome at swimming, and just plain grew a ton before our eyes!  We can’t forget the addition of sweet Helen Elizabeth back in April 2016.  She’s such a blessing, and we are all over the moon for our little girl.  She is small but quite strong in body and spirit!  🙂

I didn’t do any resolutions directly on January 1, but I have done some thinking about it and some areas that I would like to improve upon.

  1. Gossip ~ Isn’t this just a the hardest?!  It’s not like you are stealing, killing, etc. BUT it can steal your joy, and it can kill others’ happiness.  I find this one hard, because I do actually like to talk although I’m not really outgoing with a large social circle.  I really want to make the effort and succeed to not talk about others in a negative light EVEN if it’s just recounting facts (which is how I usually validate it to myself).
  2. Respecting My Husband ~  Whew!  This is a tough one as well.  I do feel like I respect the Mr.  HOWEVER, I tend to not do the best job that I could.  I must accept that I married an imperfect man (just as he married a very imperfect woman) who cannot give me everything that I need and want at exactly every moment of the day.  Just as I cannot do that for him.  The really struggle is when he corrects Holden.  This is a very tough one.  I really feel like parenting/education/kids is MY area.  I’m the expert.  Sounds a bit prideful, huh?  Although I would say I have put lots of time and effort into this area, I want to handle disagreements or critiques of how he handles situations for a time when we can talk about it one-on-one.  It is my hope that this will make us more productive parents and more on-the-same-page.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Ephesians 4:29

“God doesn’t want me to be a ‘fix him’ wife, God wants me to be a ‘love him’ wife.”

– Lysa TerKeurst

“My husband is one of my greatest blessings from God. His love is a gift that I open everyday.”

– Darlene Schacht

Do you make resolutions?  What is your favorite holiday, Christmas v. Thanksgiving?

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day?

Happy Tuesday!

We Meet Santa!

Hi there!  Wow, it was a full weekend followed by a very busy Monday.  My mom came into town on Friday evening, and we were all very excited to have her stay.  The Mr. left to go hunting VERY early on Saturday morning.  I also was up and at ’em early on Saturday to help serve breakfast at our church’s winter shelter for those who are homeless in our area.  It was an experience I hope we can share as a family once the kids are older.  I think we tend to label and put ourselves (and others) in categories.  As humans, it soothes us to organize our existence and make sense of our environment and those in it.  I think we (meaning me too) forget that we all have more in common than we think.  The people I served early on Saturday morning were just people whose circumstances are different from mine.  There were some morning-people, some cranky people, some polite people (actually no rude people), just people.  I’m very thankful for the experience.

So…after my early morning activities I picked up my mom and kids to head to the Breakfast with Santa event at my school.  It was so low-key!  It was the perfect recipe for a casual conversation with this guy…

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They both did great!  Holden asked Santa for a Captain America costume…Helen just chilled on his lap!  No spit-up and no tears!

I got to see a few students and introduce them to my kids.  We also visited the book fair, and Holden purchased a book for himself and one to give his sister for Christmas.

After a quick pit stop at home to pick up my sister, we were off for lunch at Dish.  This was a fun restaurant in Virginia Beach…”Scandinavian specialties along with our great American favorites.”  -from the website

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My delicious smoked salmon sandwich with avocado pictured below!

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We ended our celebration (it was my early birthday celebration!) with a visit to The Royal Chocolate in Town Center for fondue.  IMG_4370.jpg

I think it’s clear that Holden was excited.  🙂

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We were so full we hardly ate dinner later that evening!

Sunday was super quiet.  We (the kids and me) staying home all day except for a walk to the park.  I really hate missing church especially during Advent, but Helen is quite a wiggle worm during worship service.  I think we need to take the plunge and drop her off in the church nursery for worship service.  Clingy mom and baby problems!

Here’s Holden doing some crafting on Sunday…

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We were so glad to see the Mr. on Sunday evening…he came home with two deer!  Lots of venison in our future!

Monday was back to work/school, but we enjoyed seeing Holden perform at his Christmas program.  The Mr. was on “dad cam” duty with the pictures, but I did snap this one of the three spectators (Moochie and Poppy were present but not pictured…we were so glad they joined us!)…what do you think of the Mr.’s face?!?

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Whew!  I can’t believe it’s only Monday evening!  I’ve got THREE meetings this week plus just regular school stuff.  I can almost taste winter break AND am so excited!

My Christmas fun list still has cookie baking and some Rudolph watching on it.  🙂  What are you looking forward to in the Christmas celebration season?

Have a great week!

Natalie

 

What’s Up Wednesday

Happy hump day!  This week is absolutely flying by!  I feel like October will have come and gone before I can turn around!  I’m linking up with Shay, Mel, and Sheafer.  Here’s “What’s Up” with us…

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What We’re Eating…

Lots of wraps!  I have had a almond butter, raisin, agave syrup and banana whole wheat wrap three mornings in a row!  I bought a big pack of wraps from Trader Joe’s to make veggie wraps for lunch last weekend.

What I’m Reminiscing About…

Previous falls!  I love these pictures of Holden taken at the annual CHKD Make-a-Scarecrow.  ❤

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Here’s this year’s!

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What I’m Loving…

Catching up with my mom twice this week.  This is a big deal since I don’t live around the corner.  She came and stayed with us on Saturday, and she stopped by with my dad this evening on their way back from an appointment.  So nice to have a little talking time that does not involve a cell phone!

What We’ve Been Up To…(and Sort-of What I’m Dreading…)

For me, it’s been work, home life, sleep, repeat.  I have started going to the gym in the mornings two days a week.  It’s a little challenging find that time to workout for myself with two little ones in the afternoon.  Thankfully, the Mr. is super helpful, and he gets both kids up and going in the morning.  Love him!  Holden has been up to some soccer, lots of “creations” aka making things out of stuff in the recycling bin, and all sorts of fall-themed activities at his preschool.  Helen is eating solid food(!).  She’s had rice cereal, bananas, and avocados.  Bananas are her favorite.  Shocking, right?  The Mr. is heavily anticipating hunting season.  I’m happy for him, BUT I do really miss him when he’s off on those adventures.  Check out these funny e-cards (all from Pinterest) below…

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What I’m Working On…

Feeding Helen solid foods!  I take my food prep, children’s food, etc. very seriously.  I’ve been making all sorts of food (sweet potato, pear, banana, avocado).  I hope to do some winter squash this weekend.

What I’m Excited About…

I’m actually excited about decorating for Halloween this weekend AND our costumes this year.  Holden decided on “Indian!” and we’re all following along.  The Mr. is still saying that’s a big N-O to him dressing up.  However, I hold out hope.  We are making Holden’s, but I did buy him a little bow and arrow and a brown shirt.  We’re going to make him an Indian vest out of a paper grocery bag.  I so loved doing this as a kid!  Have no clue why we did it, but I vividly remember it.  I also got elastic headbands (and a brown onesie for Helen) for both kids that I plan to hot glue feathers to.  Here’s Crayola’s advice on how to do it.  

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What I’m Watching/Reading…

I did watch the presidential debate and instantly felt like an informed citizen (If you know me, you know this is a lie.  I’m usually clueless about current events).  I just finished Beautiful Day.  I would recommend it if you like an easy read with lots of family drama that isn’t your own!  I love the setting, Nantucket!

What I’m Listening To…

I jammed out to Mariah Carey’s “Hero” this morning.  So good!  I typically listen to Christian music mostly all the time.  I like this new song, Thy Will.

What I’m Wearing…

I’m still sporting all my summer clothes.  It really doesn’t feel like fall here yet with temps mostly in the 80s.  I feel like I need to be wearing rain boots all the time.  We had so much rain last week that school was closed on Wednesday and 2 hours late on Thursday due to flooding.  I kind of want this trucker hat…why does a hat cost 20 bucks?!?!

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What I’m Doing this Weekend…

Cleaning, Soccer Game, Visiting with the Hs’ C-Pa and Meme, finishing up Sunday School online training, teaching Sunday School, enjoying being with my fave people, and lots of other things!  Weekends are busy!

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month…

  • my sister-in-law’s wedding
  • Halloween and Granny’s visit
  • some teacher work days plus Veteran’s Day off with my babes
  • cool breezes
  • some runs before it gets chilly out there (I’m such a baby when it comes to running outside in cold weather!)

What Else is New…

Not much!  I will say my attitude is new this week.  I’ve been really trying to focus on gratitude, finding as much joy in the day as I can, and just being super thankful for all that God has given me.  I want to treasure all these blessings and use/tend them the best I can.

Hope your day has been a good one!  Only two days until the weekend.  Hip-hip-hooray!

Natalie

 

 

 

 

 

A Sweet Weekend

It seems like our weekends are just as busy as our weekdays!  Honestly, I think I kind of like it that way.  I do have a tendency to overuse the “b” work aka BUSY!

I was admittedly very tired and more than a little overwhelmed on Friday afternoon.  I received a text from Helen’s daycare that she was a little more fussy than normal.  😦  Also, I had a lot of work that sort of plopped in my lap towards the latter part of the day.  Unfortunately, it had to be done THAT DAY!  Hate when that happens!  Lots of flaking out for us on Friday evening.

The Mr. left early Saturday morning to work on his hunting property, so the Hs and I had a nice, quiet morning until we went out around 10:30.  Holden and I made pancakes.  Helen and I snuggled bunches.  IMG_4095.jpg

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Our errands included Dollar Tree, the library (duh!), a make-your-own-chocolate-bar event (at The Royal Chocolate), the car wash, and the drugstore.  Whew!  We were home by 12:30!

Holden picked gummies and marshmallows for the inside of his bar and sprinkles for the outside.  We got to mix it up and then pour it into a mold.  Next, we sprinkled on our super-cool sprinkles!

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The chocolate event was a last minute plan that I found on My Active Child.  This is a great website for local events if you’re in the Hampton Roads area.  It’s also got plenty of local stuff that just adults might be interested in!  Check it out!  We also walked over to the little pond across from Town Center that we used to frequent when we lived there.  We saw a little duck family!  Then, Holden asked to throw some change in the fountain.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon lunching and trying to nap.  It was wishful thinking, and both the kids were restless.  Once the Mr. got home, we loaded up (along with some pea salad – here’s my recipe!) and went to our church’s annual BBQ.  Holden had a blast in the bounce house.  We enjoyed not doing dishes!  Just keeping it real!  I’m a hot mess and more than a little tired, but I was so glad we went.  I love our church and am so thankful to have such a positive place and people in our lives.

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Sunday was a very busy day!  We got a phone call very early that my mom was not feeling well.  Thankfully, all is better now!  We wanted to rush over to our Moochie but decided to wait a bit and see if things improved.  I’m happy to report they did!  Our Sunday was lots of church (I had Sunday School training), grocery shopping, gym-going, baking (2 lactation snacks – aka all Mommy’s treats), and a little neighborhood walk.  Gosh!  I need a day to recover from my weekend!  😉

How was your weekend?

What’s the summer food you’ll miss the most?  Mine is watermelon and the easy to grill veggies like zucchini and squash!

What are you most excited about this fall?  I think I’m most excited about the decorations and just being cozy at home.

Have a great week!

Natalie

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

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