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!

IMG_3855.JPG

IMG_3819.jpg

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.

IMG_3822.JPGIMG_3824.jpgIMG_3829.JPGIMG_3831.jpgIMG_3834.jpgIMG_3845.jpgIMG_3846.jpgIMG_3850.jpg

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

Summer Shore Trip

Happy July!  Can you believe how fast summer is going?!?!  We got to enjoy lots of family time over the last week on the Shore.  It was also Helen’s first overnight (really several nights) trip!  The last week was filled with yummy food, staying up past bedtime, lots of baby holding, games, beach trips, fireworks, a parade, a fishing trip and just plain old fun!

We headed out of town right after Holden finished up his last swimming lesson.  Here’s little sister and me waiting for the master swimmer…Excuse the spit!

IMG_3600.jpg

We got to my parents’ house that afternoon after a very sketchy picnic.  I’m a big-time picnic lover, but I confess that the location was super creepy.  This was especially true when we had to stay a bit longer for me to nurse Helen.  I honestly can’t remember if people (aka siblings + Uncle Michael) came over that night or the next.  All I remember is that I ate good food and relaxed.

The next day we (my mom, Holden, Helen, and I) met up with my cousin and her two adorable girls for a little beach time.  It was so nice to catch up with her!  We went to the same church growing up, were in Girl Scouts together, and just hung around each other quite frequently.  Wish we could get together more often!

IMG_3604.JPGIMG_3601.jpg

After our morning beach trip, we got to enjoy a “ladies’ lunch” of seafood salad with Aunt Sarah Beth.  Holden was unimpressed with the main course, but he was totally down with the sparking apple juice.  My mom always has the fun food/drinks!  We visited my grandmother’s best friend and caught up with her that afternoon.  We also went down to a local landmark and checked out the views…

IMG_3621.jpgIMG_3617.jpgIMG_3624.jpg

Holden was running all over this place!  I love his enthusiasm for things/life!  I also confess that it is a tiny hope of mine that he stays a lifelong runner.

On Friday, a delegation of family went to the beach at Assateague.  This is the typical “beach” that I remember from my childhood.  Specifically, I remember going with my grandmother.  She always had Coca Cola, Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, Egg Salad, this hideous Raggedy Ann blanket, and the intention of getting us new friends and/or a boyfriend.

P.S.  Doesn’t Holden look like 25 in these picture?!?!?!

IMG_3628.JPG

IMG_3631.JPG

If you look hard, you can see Miss Helen chilling in the beach tent with a fan DIRECTLY on her face.  Ha!  Got to do what you got to do!

Uncle Michael on kid duty in the picture below!

IMG_3634.jpg

IMG_3674.jpg

Hands-on grandma right here ladies and gentlemen!  My mom was all over that beach!  She was chasing down Holden aka preventing a drowning, sticking Miss Helen’s feet in the sand and water, AND generally gossiping with my sister and me.  When we left, she said that she didn’t think she had been this sandy since me and my siblings were small!  I was/am so thankful for her!

IMG_3641.jpg

Running yet again!  Great form in my humble opinion ; )

IMG_3657.jpgIMG_3676.jpg

Holden had a great time splashing around!  I was so thankful for the extra hands.  My poor sister even got her lovely bathing suit spit on by the Spitter aka Helen.  Around 11, we left in a mad rush when Miss Helen had had quite enough fresh air!  Plus, there were crazy storms that popped up midday through the afternoon.  I was very thankful we seized the day and got another beach trip in!

The Mr. joined us after finishing out the work week, and I was very happy to see my partner in parenting/life!  He is one grade A beach-goer (especially with kids and all the lovely accessories they require!).

Saturday turned out to be a girly day with my mom, Helen, and I taking in the sights (and some lunch!) after I finished up my 7 mile run.  I went back over to Assateague to do my run.  Such pretty scenery!

IMG_3677.jpg

IMG_3679.jpg

The guys (my dad, the Mr., Uncle Cullen, and Holden) went fishing, and Holden officially caught his first fish!  It was a pretty good size or so I am told.  However, it was out of season.  Don’t those “jorts” on my brother make you want to grab a pair of jeans and some scissors?!?!  ; )

DSC_0467.JPG

Later on Saturday we had to meet with the preacher who will be doing Helen’s baptism.  She also married the Mr. and me and baptized Holden.  That evening the Mr. and I went on a date!  We went to Bloxom Winery for pizza, salad, and wine except beer for me.  I’m just not cool enough for wine.  IMG_3691.jpg

Sunday was church and lots of rain!  The rain pretty much continued through the 4th.  😦  We spent some time with Holden and Helen’s Meme and C-Pa on Sunday through Tuesday.  We had some swimming plans, but they just didn’t happen.  Thankfully, the rain took a break the morning of the fourth, so we could participate in the motor-less parade!  Holden did this last year on his bike.  This year he was so speedy!  I’m thinking next year will be without the training wheels!  Maybe little sister can even ride in a wagon.  🙂

DSC_0484.JPG

IMG_3703.JPG

Holden’s fan club came to see him…  🙂  Notice my mother’s phone (made the picture!)…this woman likes her smartphone!!!

DSC_0479.JPG

Check out Miss Helen!  She was sporting some stars for the special day!

DSC_0499.JPG

We ended our holiday with some fireworks!  Helen’s first time!  No crying (except from Roscoe the dog) and way big eyes taking it all in!IMG_3710.JPG

IMG_3707.jpg

I confess to having a holiday hangover that has lasted through today.  It was a little hard to get back into the swing of things like grocery shopping, laundry, and kiddy tasks like reading two million books before 9AM.  I’m so very thankful for our family vacation and all the memories we made!  We are so blessed to have so many people who loves us so much.

The good news is…it’s Hump Day AND weekend visitors are coming!  My sister-in-law and her fiancee are supposed to arriving on Friday.  We are excited, and Holden is asking if they are coming tonight!

Hope you have a great week!

Natalie

Fall Photos and Updates

Hi there!  Wow!  Can you believe it’s October 25th already!  Where did this month go?  The fall is so so busy for me {and our family}.  Over the last few weeks, we visited family on two separate occasions.  It is so nice to be with them and enjoy food and time together, BUT wow, being away from home really makes me miss my own bed and just relaxing in my loungey clothes on a Sunday afternoon {versus driving back home}.  I went to a sweet baby shower for an old friend one weekend while H enjoyed playing with his grandparents.  The next weekend H had fun apple picking at a local orchard with his Moochie and Auntie D.  It’s definitely been a fall bucket list item for me.  I’m so glad we got to do it!

IMG_2913 IMG_2914 IMG_2915 IMG_2923

We also visited the Discovery Center in Pocomoke, Maryland.  This was such a neat place!  I loved all the hands-on exhibits, and H did too.

IMG_2917 IMG_2918 IMG_2920 IMG_2921

Here is H driving the steamboat.

IMG_2922

This weekend we had a “party it up” Saturday with an AM birthday party and a PM neighborhood pumpkin carving party.  H is pictured below with his birthday party favor swag.  His blinking ring was a huge hit {until it ran out of juice at the end of the day}.  IMG_2928

During the week, we’ve been enjoyed the nice weather, lots of work for me, and working on some preschool art projects.  We got H’s first school Lifetouch portrait, and WOW!  I’m pretty biased, but I think he’s one cutie!

IMG_2925

T-minus 6 days to our Peter Pan costume Halloween!  This week is going to be another busy one.  I’m so looking forward to it (Halloween, not the crazy busy-ness).

1950F063759FBD8D5632F4CA61CFC2E6

What’s Up?!?!? (Wednesday)

Can you believe that we are at the half-way point for October?!?!  Wow, this month is flying by!  I’ve had lots of changes in my work life in the past week, so I’m kind of thrilled they are behind me.  My school lost one special education teacher due to “numbers” not being high enough to keep the position.  There is a system in which school officials calculate the “need” of each student based on daily minutes provided.  All the teachers that I know go above and beyond those minutes, and I know that I certainly help all students who are struggling…not just those with official “minutes.”  You may guess that no one asked a teacher’s opinion at my school.  They have their budget and reality of how they have to do things, BUT it certainly made for a stressful mess for my school and teachers.

The short version is that I will not be working with my kindergarten students (They were so sweet about me leaving!  They made a card, and we had donuts on my last day!).  I will be working with both third grade and fourth grade this year.  English all day.  Yippee.  I really don’t mind teaching English, but it is nice to have some variety in life.  Two SOL TESTING grades is also a challenge.  In conclusion, it sort-of feels like the first day of school again for half the day.  I so don’t like the first day of school!  Getting to know the kids, revamping/doing lesson plans, and just adjusting to working with a new teacher can make one stressed!  In fact, I was so stressed this past weekend (although I don’t think I admitted how bad it was getting on my nerves!) that I broke out with a nice case of hives for my Saturday night fun!  Not to worry!  Those lovelies have faded, and hopefully things will start smoothing out at school as well.

We did get out of town this weekend to visit H’s Granny and for the Mr. to do his first fall hunting.  He’s slightly excited about hunting season.  🙂  (<-that may be the largest understatement of the year).  Although it sprinkled a bit on Saturday, Granny, H, and I did get a little outdoor play in plus a trip to the farmers’ market.  Granny treated H to TWO light sabers (one for his opponent who is typically Daddy).

IMG_2878 IMG_2883 IMG_2881

I got to take two nice walks with Roscoe the doggie while we were there.  Aren’t these flowers growing in a soybean field pretty!

IMG_2884 IMG_2885
IMG_2888

Sunday was a baby shower for an old friend.  The food was delicious, and I was so glad that I could make it there.  It’s funny how you can go from seeing someone so much to seeing them hardly at all.  As life has gotten busier for both of us plus a couple moves for her, it was nice just to catch up and do baby/kid talk for a little bit.  After the shower, it was back to reality for us!  Groceries, laundry, and prepping for my first day as a third and fourth grade teacher!  Another mountain to climb this week was to figure out why I’m sneezing and itching my face off!  I’ve never been one to have allergies, but I have been getting super sneezy and just miserable every night.  This has resulted in a lot of lack of sleep!  Not good!  Well, this week we went on the attack.  The Mr. had our home inspected for mold.  None present!  Yay!  We thoroughly cleaned our bedroom from top to bottom including under the bed and closet.  We even washed curtains and every single bit of our bedding.  After continued sneezing, we decided to throw money at the situation.  On Monday, I was feeling way tired from the lack of sleep, so I left work ASAP to buy an air purifier.  I know…it kind of seems like a hoax.  I can happily report that I’ve been sleeping much better since purchasing it!

IMG_2893

I’ve also been using my Neti pot every night!  It’s basically a pretty snotty, gross event.  Whatever it takes to sleep through the night!  I’ve been feeling like a fussy infant or the princess and the pea!  Here’s a link if you want to buy…  I’ve always heard great recommendations about these things.  Seem to gross to try?  Here’s an article from WebMD about the benefits and who should give it a whirl.  Another recommendation is to wash your hair every night.  I know this stinks especially if you’re more stylish than me and like to do your hair in the morning.  I’m not at all hair-motivated in the morning.  My hair is fine, so I can easily curl, straighten, or put up my washed-last-night-hair.

Unknown

So I’m happy to report I made it from 10PM to 4:40AM last night!  Victory!  Unfortunately, my nose got a little stuffy around that time.  This is a HUGE improvement!  I’ll keep doing what I’m doing!

Any allergies tips that have worked for you?

It’s beginning to feel like fall around these parts.  Do you have any favorite fall traditions or a fall bucket list?

1950F063759FBD8D5632F4CA61CFC2E6

Scarecrows in September

Happy Sunday morning!  Gosh, aren’t weekends the best?!?!  I especially love weekends at home in September as my work week is super busy this time of year.  We had an especially fun Friday and Saturday as my mom/H’s Moochie paid us a visit.  My dad even joined in and made the trip over on Saturday.  Although there was plenty of wind and rain, we managed to check off lots of “to-dos” and have some fun too.  We started off Saturday with the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters event – Make-a-Scarecrow.  This is a great event that we’ve participated in for the past three years.  There is a $25 fee, but all the proceeds go to CHKD.  Typically, it’s outside, but it was moved inside due to the weather.

IMG_2829 IMG_2848

Here is a picture of H last year among the pumpkins…

IMG_0174

Time is passing so quickly!  I can’t believe it!

After Larry {our construction work scarecrow} was assembled, we did a quick trip to Burlington Coat Factory before ditching the guys for some serious shopping.  I think they made out just fine with lunch, arcade games, and an aviation museum.

IMG_2845 IMG_2846

My mom and I did a little wedding dress shopping…

IMG_2831

Mommy is NOT an accomplished photographer, but we laughed A LOT while she tried to take a few.  I’m holding the dress since it’s a size too big.  I plan to order it online form Nordstroms.  I think it may end up being one of the most comfortable dresses I own!

Mommy’s first selfie {and her idea}!

IMG_2843

We did more shopping at a few mall stores followed by Target and Old Navy.  H was the primary reason for our shopping, but I did pick up a baby shower gift and a couple small Christmas gifts.  We took a break and had a delicious lunch at Grilled Cheese Bistro.  We both had a the Gouda, caramelized onion, olive tapenade, and sautéed mushroom grilled cheese.  I had tomatoes added to mine, and Mommy had roasted red peppers.  Way delicious comfort food!

I hope you are having a great weekend so far!  All this wet, windy weather does make it seem more fall-like.  Here are a few “fally” pictures from earlier in the week when H and I were playing in the backyard.

IMG_2821 IMG_2822 IMG_2823

Happy Sunday!

1950F063759FBD8D5632F4CA61CFC2E6

Swimming and Storming

Hi there!  It’s a quiet Sunday morning here while the dog and kiddo sleep.  We made a quick trip to visit family on Friday evening and were back in our own beds this past evening. The Mr. wanted to do some work on his hunting property, so H and I joined him for the ride.  Instead of doing lots of manual labor in the woods, we played, visited the local farmers’ market, and did lots of pool swimming!  Which would you pick?  😉

Before we left on Friday, we squeezed in our weekly beach trip.  I really made it a goal this summer to do more of these, and we’ve been achieving this goal!

IMG_2428 IMG_2429

Check out this cutie!  He thought he was so funny in Mommy’s stuff!

IMG_2436

Here’s my pretty Saturday morning view walking around my mother-in-love’s (I truly think mother-in-law sounds a little scary – crazy to think I’ll officially be one in the future!) garden.

IMG_2437 IMG_2438 IMG_2439

Isn’t the picture above a great one for the saying – Bloom where you are planted.  This pretty one is just popping up right in the walkway. 🙂

IMG_2441 IMG_2445

What lucky ducks are we!  We visited two different pools yesterday!  You can tell it had really gotten overcast in the second picture.  I love the Mr. and H’s closed eyes like the were bracing for impact!  I’m so glad we joined the Mr. on this quick trip, but..what a storm we came home too!  The lightning was crazy, and the flooding was too!  Poor Roscoe the dog was very, very, very upset about the whole thing.  He ended up riding the last leg of the trip in my lap and the last few miles in his daddy’s lap.

IMG_2443

Thankfully, I had a Cracker Barrel gift card left over from the end-of-the-year student presents.  We used that to pick up dinner to-go. I got totally soaked getting in and out.  While I was waiting for the rest of our order (I mean, we gotta have the biscuits!), I snapped this picture that reminded me of my sister and a little bit of the Mr. and I (although we aren’t hardcore like her).

IMG_2442

Well, my favorite thing last night was to get home, eat, and put my PJs on!  Hope you had a great weekend so far!

Natalie

The Art of Vacation Hopping – Part I

Hi there!  Can you believe we are already a week into July?!?!?  Craziness!  We just got back recently from our vacation that consisted of hopping from family house to family house.  It was so fun, busy, and action-packed!  Here’s a little photo journal.

We started off a kind of blustery Saturday with a visit to NASA Wallops Island.  It was their 70th birthday!

IMG_2102 IMG_2103 IMG_2104 IMG_2105 IMG_2106 IMG_2116 IMG_2111 IMG_2112

We had good company with Moochie and Aunt D.  After checking out the rockets, we headed to a nearby park for some play and a picnic.

IMG_2117 IMG_2118

Final stop was Island Creamery.  I admit to not being a super big fan of ice cream in general, but I know people LOVE this place!  If you are vacationing on Chincoteague Island, be sure to try it for yourself.  The ice cream is homemade, and it was rated the #1 ice cream parlor in the U.S.!

IMG_2119 IMG_2120

I got “Pony Tracks” and would definitely recommend it.

IMG_2121

Don’t let the face fool you…he LOVED IT SO MUCH!

The next day I elected to skip the 8 o’clock church service which I was bummed about after the fact.  😦  8 o’clock is just so hard sometimes!  Once my mom got back from church, we hit the country roads and saw all the local sights.

IMG_2127 IMG_2128

Seriously, he was in heaven.  🙂

We ended up at a little beach on the bay near my sister’s house.  We hunted for sea glass and found a good bit.

IMG_2129 IMG_2130 IMG_2131 IMG_2143 IMG_2133 IMG_2135 IMG_2138 IMG_2142

Next, we had a “double day” of pool and boating.

IMG_2146

Ok…I must be getting old now.  I mean, do we really need to have one.more.sex.tip magazine right at a child’s eye level.  It’s kind of gross, and I honestly never thought about it until it was potentially my child’s eyes.  Let me tell you…H the kiddo knows what that first letter is in SEX and the sound it makes.  Believe me, that boy will ask a million questions a day.  I really don’t feel like explaining that one is at…say 4 years old!  #annoyed

IMG_2147

Anywho…stepping off the soapbox…here we are on our dinner cruise aka boat trip with Moochie and Poppy to a barrier island.

IMG_2150IMG_2152IMG_2154IMG_2155IMG_2156IMG_2158IMG_2159

That’s our stuff!  We were the only ones around.

IMG_2160IMG_2161

Cool shell and picture – bad finger photo bomb!

IMG_2162

IMG_2163

If you look closely in the above picture, you’ll see H wailing!  He was way upset that Moochie and Poppy dared to go for a stroll down the beach without him.  😉

IMG_2170 IMG_2171 IMG_2201 IMG_2186 IMG_2187 IMG_2188 IMG_2189 IMG_2190 IMG_2191 IMG_2196

We saw the duckies below on our way back to the dock.  Cute little duck family!

IMG_2199

We also went to the beach at Assateague Island {Virginia} with Granny.  It was a picture perfect beach day!

IMG_2202

Prepare yourself for crazy cuteness below!

IMG_2207

We picked some yummy veggies at Uncle and Auntie’s house.

IMG_2208 IMG_2209

Although most of our trip was super fun, we did have a bit a crazy 24 hours.  My mom and I were going to visit my sister after putting the little man to bed.  I thought it would be a good idea to bring the doggie along with us.  Well, he saw “something” and took off into the woods.  I was freaking out completely!  He came back after a few minutes which seemed like eternity.  We hopped in the car and took off down the road.  When I looked back at Roscoe P., there was blood all over my mom’s car!  Long story short – He cut his ear, and it was a a total bloody mess!  Thankfully, Holden’s Memé is a veterinarian.  She fixed him right up!

IMG_2215 IMG_2213

This terrible picture is due to prevention from a nasty mess in my car!

We cheered back up with a playdate with some sweet friends at a local park and some swimming at Granny’s.  IMG_2240

IMG_2239

IMG_2228 IMG_2229

Aren’t there flowers beautiful?!?!  Granny’s garden is full of great blooming flowers now.

IMG_2230 IMG_2224 IMG_2225 IMG_2226 IMG_2227

We picked up our Mr. Roscoe P, and he looked a bit different than he did before!  Poor guy is stuck in the cone for 2 weeks!  I’m so relieved that it wasn’t anything more serious!  We also attended a little get-together at my sister’s house on a WEDNESDAY night!  It was nice to be able to be there.  The food was delicious, and the company was superb!

IMG_2232

Whew!  As you can see, we were very busy!  I can not say enough how happy we were to be able to spend more time than we usually do.  I’ll be back soon to share the rest of our trip aka the 4th of July edition.  Have a great day!

Natalie