Mountain Trip 2017

Whew!  We had a quite a fun-filled trip to the mountains of Virginia.  We have several family members who are in the Staunton area, so a long summer trip has been on my agenda for some time.  The kids and I were able to go a few days before the Mr.  We enjoyed staying with “Granny” and spending lots of time with Auntie Brookie plus other family favorites.  ❤

Our first excursion took us to the Explore More Discovery Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  I thought this was fun and very appealing especially to younger kids.  Both kids had a ball, but I think some of the stuff was a tad babyish for Holden.

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Our group had a delicious lunch at Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza.  Everything was delicious, and the service was great!  Holden and Helen also took their first pony ride that afternoon.  Both kids loved it!

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Our second day of exploring led us to Chiles Orchard.  Peach picking was very easy there.  Although I wish there had been a little more explanation about how to pick the best ones.  My head picker selected a few duds.  This was very fun though.  The peaches were great in a fruit crisp.

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I was so glad that Auntie Brookie decided to take off a few days from work and hang with us.  We had play time and a picnic at Mint Spring after our picking was complete.  This place was just in a beautiful setting.  I do love an ocean view, but these mountains were so lovely too.

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This is when Daddy joined us.  We were very happy to see him at our meet-up location, Monticello!

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I have to confess that we were a mess on this tour.  Little Miss is in the process of *trying* to drop her AM nap meaning we will be down to just a PM nap.  HOWEVER, she was particularly tired and very vocal about it during the house tour.  Perhaps this is why this wasn’t my most favorite historical stop.

We had lunch at Michie Tavern afterwards.  I have mixed feelings about it as it isn’t necessarily my favorite type of food, but I can’t say it wasn’t good food either.  I don’t think Holden was too taken away by the historic setting or the period clothing of the servers.  He would have been just as happy somewhere else!  But…there was an Armory & Artifacts Shop very nearby that he loved.  We’re talking old money, cannonballs, weapons, etc.  This was definitely a favorite of his!

I have no pictures of the boys’ trip to the county fair for a night event, but you can imagine I guess.  Demolition derby.  Need I say more???  Holden loved this!

Although I believe everyone was feeling the car woes (particularly Helen!  Girl hates the car 100%), we continued on with our last big excursion to Sherando Lake.  I’m so glad we did!  We did the short hike around the lake (lower one) and loved the views and easy terrain for little feet.

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There was little island in the lake that the Mr. and I swam to.  Gosh, I forget how even though you can be physically fit in one way you can be completely out-of-shape in another!  We were huffing and puffing on that little five minute or so swim!

We all summoned up our last bit of energy to see the sights at the county fair.  We saw tractors, all sorts of animals, and rides there!  Holden rode the Ferris wheel for the first time.

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He’s getting too big!

Our final day was spent in and around Staunton, Virginia.  We went to the local farmers’ market, played at the park, visited with family, and enjoyed yummy “zoodles” for the first time!  It was a very full and very fun week!  So thankful to have this time to spend with our loved ones!  We made lots of special memories and look forward to our next trip.

Natalie

 

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Weekend = Run and Beach

Well, well!  August 1st, we meet at last.  It seems like the countdown to back-to-school is on everywhere you look.  There have been some kids starting school (!), and school supplies all over the stores.  I even saw the Christmas (yes, Christmas!) decor going up in A.C. Moore today.  The Halloween stuff is already 40% off!  I have just a little less than four weeks until I start my tenth year of teaching.  20 until retirement!  Ha!  I kid…sort of.

I can tell you that I’m going to be one sad turkey that Monday morning to be heading out the door well before 7AM.  I’m going to be sad not be enjoying lunch with my two out of my three favorites.  I also can tell you that I’m going to be very eager to get out of there ASAP in the afternoon (just say no, traffic!).  I will miss the leisurely pace of our mornings…nursing Miss Helen, coffee that gets to be enjoyed mostly leisurely, staying in PJs until 7 (we’re crazy around here, aren’t we?), the dual nap time (so thankful for 2-3:30ish this summer!), and just exploring around with these two kids.  However, let’s look at the bright side for a few minutes…

  1. I will talk with adults (and older children) multiple times a day.  As much as I love having one-sided conversations with Helen and dinosaur/pirate/Star Wars/etc. conversations with Holden, it will be nice to speak with an adult.
  2. I will look more presentable in general and probably wear non-workout clothes.  This could be a positive or negative depending on the day.
  3. I will be spit up on less.  Little Miss H spits up A LOT.  I am fairly certain that I vaguely (or strongly – depending on the moment) smell like her spit up all day.
  4. Roscoe the dog will get the rest he needs.  Poor dog has been tired since April.
  5. It is fulfilling to actually accomplish something in a day.  Like teach something?  Maybe do a lesson plan?  I don’t know….get real crazy and write some IEPs!?!?  Working at home aka mom life is challenging and rewarding in its way.  I do admit that sometimes I just want to do my TO DO LIST!!!!  I DO NOT want to baby talk, sword fight, read books, or pick up more mess!  There, I confess!  With that being said, I know that all that stuff is the most important stuff.  I know I’ll be DYING to do all that after about 3.5 days of work.  Right now, working quietly at a desk sounds somewhat appealing.
  6. The Mr. and I will get to clean together…do laundry together…make baby food together!  Oh goodness!  Lots of WORKING TOGETHER!  I am only halfway kidding….it’s so wonderful to have partner in all this stuff.  During the summer, I try to do as much as possible of the yucky, chore stuff, so we can focus on enjoying our summer days with more free time for fun stuff!  Just like what we did this weekend!

Our Weekend –

Holden and his Daddy enjoying the water

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We somehow got sunscreen all over my phone.  Hence the blurry picture!  Please note that my child went to the beach in her plain white onesie…all the babies of social media are trotting off to the beach with cute one and two piece suits.  Nobody got time for that!  This was actually her bedtime outfit…straight from the crib to the carseat to the beach!

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Baby toes in sand = PRECIOUS!

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She finally gave up and took a little nap.  It was so nice (for me and her!).

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Before our beach trip on Saturday, I did my 11 mile run.  I was actually a very mixed run.  I have really been hating the first 2-3 miles of my longer runs.  I have no idea why.  I think maybe because I go all the way to the end of a dead end road and have to turn around.  I know I always instantly feel better when I turn around.  Well, the middle part of my run is typically “ok,” and the last part (last 2-3 miles) has been great!  I was getting all excited for the last 2.5 miles on Saturday…well I ended up having to stop and go home.  Then, I rerouted my course and started again.  It was a bit of a broken run.  BUT I did finish it!  I was very happy about that.  We wanted to head to the beach right after, so I didn’t stretch (naughty) and took a quick shower before we headed out.  We enjoyed lunch at home and some fro-yo.  Then, I did lots of errands in some dumb flip flops from Old Navy (aka the $1.99 ones) and in the rain (#notwinning).  I was tired and a little peeved by the time evening rolled around.  On Sunday morning, I woke up with lots of foot pain on the outside of my left foot.  😦  I took Roscoe for a walk anyways with Holden (dumb).  Then, we all went to church.  After lunch, I proceeded to make 4 different types of cookies…all while standing (dumb again).  What a hot mess!

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I finally decided to take a load off and google diagnosis myself.  Well…a popular search result was STRESS FRACTURE which is causing me to STRESS!  We did some “at-home” tests to self-diagnose (yes, I made the Mr. try to be a dr.) with mixed results.  Today I woke up with some pain, but it is better than yesterday.  I’ve been icing like it’s my job.  However, I did do lots of errands today.  I can’t sit still.  😦  I also drank some almond milk so that should take care of any bone issues right???  P.S.  Recommended fix for this diagnosis is 6 weeks rest!!!!!

I’m going to attempt to be nice and calm to these people…(love them!  How cute is this picture?!?!)

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I’m going to rest and not run tomorrow.  I plan to hop out of bed tomorrow morning like a child at Christmas and hope my foot is all better.  We will see.

P.S. My foot is so chilly right now that I can’t feel anything.  Problem fixed!  😉

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

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

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!

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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!

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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…

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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?!?!?!

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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!

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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!

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

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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!

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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?!?!  ; )

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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.  🙂

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

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

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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

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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

Father’s Day Weekend

Hi there!  I hope you’re doing well on this first official day of summer and what I think is the longest day of the year.

We had a great weekend that started off with a 2 month check-up for Helen.  She’s growing and gaining weight and now…vaccinated!  🙂  It’s so funny how she’s such a little peanut compared to Holden at the same age.  She’s 25th percentile for height, weight, and head circumference.  A very proportionate individual!  The Mr. joined us for lots of family fun in the waiting room and exam room.  We just hung out at home before and after that appointment.  Holden was super proud of his dinosaur puzzle that he did all by himself while I ran on the treadmill.

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My sister arrived that afternoon, and we were so glad to see her!  She works way too much in my humble opinion and lives too far away {all in my humble opinion}!  We enjoyed some DIY pizzas, lots of talking, and baby-free time that included a few shopping stops and some fro-yo.  Helen was in rare form that night and may have emotionally scarred my sister from every having kids of her own.  Since then, she’s been an absolute angel for us!

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On Saturday, I got a gym workout in AND a walk!  Yay!  My mom and cousin arrived later in the day for a little birthday celebration.  The tourist scene is cray cray right now, but we braved all that and ate lunch at Waterman’s down at the Oceanfront.  My mom is so tech savvy these days and quick to whip out her smartphone!  She snapped this picture of me enjoying some sunshine and fresh ocean air…

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We tried to get a fun dessert afterwards {fondue}, but we had to settle for gelato.

After my baby-free afternoon, I was exhausted!  I think it may have had something to do with the late bedtime the night before.  Sunday was church {both kids were angels!!!} and a pool party.  Plus, celebration time for the dad of the house!  We enjoyed bacon and cinnamon buns for breakfast, and I gave him a pass on dish duty after breakfast.  Since he’s into his WWII book these days, he definitely took me up on the offer.  By the way, the cinnamon buns were delicious!  I followed Justine’s recipe which you can see here.  Just love her blog!  One of the best things about the recipe is that it is semi-homemade.

Holden saw one of his best buddies from preschool as soon as we got there, so he pretty much ignored us except when he wanted food.  I’m thinking this is a lot like it will be when he’s 13???

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Today was the first day of Holden’s swimming lessons.  I could tell at the pool party yesterday that he had regressed some from where he was at the end of summer.  Totally expected!  It did make me a little worried for how lessons would go today.  I shouldn’t have!  He was yanking his shirt and shoes off and eager to get in the pool!  He was a bit reluctant to swim too far from the side with the instructor, but he definitely warmed up by the end of the lesson.  I’m sure he’ll be a little fish at the end of these two weeks of lessons!IMG_3498.jpg

If you live in the Virginia Beach area, I highly recommend Lynnhaven Dive Center for lessons.

I hope you have the best week!  Ours is filled with swimming lessons and fun little morning outings.

Natalie

5 for Friday

Hi there!  It’s officially Friday, and I’m up extra early due to Miss Helen’s 4:30 feeding request.  She has actually slept through the night {9:00-5:00/5:30} a few times since Memorial Day weekend.  However, she’s still little.  When she wakes up that close to her official wake up time {5:30 – this will be the time she has to get up when I go back to work in late August}, I feed her just a bit and put her back to bed.  That leaves me up though!  I decided to get a few moments to myself.

{ONE}

Home with Two – Today will be day 3 of being home with two kids.  Wow.  I knew it would change the routine that Helen and I had gotten into.  I also knew it would challenge my patience and force me to rearrange my expectations.  Well, it has been everything I imagined and more!  Whew!  I feel like I’m doing the hardest work ever right now!  It is very sweet to be with both of them.  Holden is such a good boy and big helper.  He was my dusting partner when we were cleaning yesterday.  He always tries to play with his sister when I ask him to…like when she’s crying during tummy time!  Does any baby really like that time?  Plus, I am amazed at how blessed I am to have these two beings with me.  They are such gifts.

{TWO}

School in the Summer – Yesterday I began a few activities that I want to keep up with off and on with Holden this summer.  We are focusing on reviewing letter and letter sounds.  I have a set of flashcards that we use with capital/lowercase letters and key pictures.  Holden’s very good at identifying these letters and sounds, but we are also working on getting him to apply his knowledge.  There are so many great resources on Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers {just check “free” and search for worksheets/activities}.  I’m trying to keep it light and quick.  I think early morning will be best.  Holden is the most alert and agreeable {ha!} then.

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He was done at this point in the picture above.  He was playing an elaborate game of “good markers, bad markers.”  The universal boy game.

{THREE}

Breakfast Idea – I’m kind of over some of my breakfast choices these days.  I usually love oatmeal, but I need a break.  I’m not a big cereal or smoothie fan in the morning.  Eggs are okay.  I really prefer a sweet taste in the morning…but I want something healthy too!  I had the 2 ingredient banana pancake recipe one day this week, and I plan to enjoy it again this morning.  I followed the recipe except for the part about making the pancakes small.  This apparently was a key point as my pancakes looked a HOT MESS and NOTHING like the ones in the photo.

{FOUR}

Fitness and Family – Well, I’ve given up on a fitness goal that I wanted to take on this summer.  I planned to sign up for my second Rock and Roll Half-Marathon.  I had been doing two weekly shorter runs on my treadmill during the week, and I got up to 6 miles on my long run.  However, it is SO hard to find time to exercise.  I’m talking about a 4 mile run or a quick strength routine!  In order to prepare for a half-marathon, I would have to be doing one long run a week.  This would have to be on Saturday or Sunday, so the Mr. could stay home with the kids.  As my mileage got higher, I could be gone for as long as 2.5 hours in the morning.  I confess to wanting that time on the weekend with my family more.  As my mother says, there is a season for everything.  I think as women we are truly convinced that we can do everything.  That is such a lie that sets us up for failure and disappointment.  I can do lots of things…just not all at once.  It looks like my fitness focus {for now} will be on getting it in when I can and enjoying moving my body.

P.S. This is my little shadow during my home workouts…which typically happen M-F.  It seems like I’ll only be a gym-goer on the weekends.

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Breakfast and Books!

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Father’s Day Weekend – Happiest of Father’s Days to my daddy and to the Mr.!  Dads are so important to their wives and to their kids!  Thankful for these two!

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Check out this cute video – Dad Song.

Happy weekend!

Natalie