Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Great Falls

Riley had been begging us to go hiking for most of the fall and every weekend something seemed to come up. There were weekends of rain, even snow, soccer games, impromptu trips and before we knew it November was upon us. So we set aside the first Saturday of the month to go for a family hike at Great Falls. Luckily the day dawned sunny with beautiful blue skies and not a cloud in sight. TG packed our lunch, I bundled up the babies and we hit the road.

 The babies wore my sunglasses, for almost the entire drive.

The usually short drive became a little longer when the Gar-mean decided to take us off route, so we were excited when we finally tracked down this sign.

My little kittens were in awe of all the water.

Sassy loved leaning over the rail just a bit and feeling the spray in her face.

Little man kept saying, "Das a wah-der!"  Yes bubs, das a lot of wah-der.

My kids get their love of water from their Mama. I've always felt the happiest and most calm near the water.

There weren't any kayakers out there this time, but the view was still spectacular.

After we visited the overlooks we headed out onto the trail.  There was a lot of tough terrain for little man to manage so TG helped him out for a bit. We stopped for a picnic lunch near this beautiful tree. Little man only ate a bit before wandering over to check it out.

After lunch we hiked a bit further, saw a trash the dress shoot which left Riley mouth agape, let Cam use his walking stick and attempted a seriously failed family photo shoot before calling it a day.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


When I was little my Dad had this cool German walking stick. Tata and I used to love playing with it and using it on nature hikes. I'm sure my Dad still has it somewhere, safely tucked away.

So when I saw little man with this stick, using it to help negotiate the rocky path I immediately had a flashback. Of taking nature walks with my Dad. Of playing with my sister. Of happy times together with my family.
I hope my kids have flashbacks like that someday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Self Timer Fail

Last week we tried for a family of four photo op while we were hiking at Great Falls. I was actually very optimistic because everyone was fed and happy, the weather was absolutely perfect, and the location was gorgeous. Well we tried and we failed.  Epically.

Riley's bow and the top of TG's head. Whoops.  Time to readjust the scarf I'm using to prop the camera up on a rock.

Horrible lighting. No view of the Potomac.  Camden falls, bangs his knee (quite badly we later find out), screams bloody murder. Hence half the family is missing.

Give it a go anyway. Riley finally looking. TG decided at second 9 of the 10 second timer to take off his sun-gees. Poor Camden.

Switch locations.  Can see the river and the gorgeous fall foliage.  Lighting still awful.  Big Camden crocodile tears.

A real life V family moment. Can't even see TG. Riley is completely in her own world. Little man screaming. Me going to my happy place.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Skeleton Dance

Did you know that you can get a connector that lets you play your iPad through the TV?  TG discovered this a few months ago and we love it.  There are a lot of perks to it, but what we really love about it is the ability to make our at home preschool sessions more interactive.  We play all sorts of educational videos for the kids during circle time and instructional time and they absolutely love it!

In the weeks before Halloween we played this youtube video on repeat. Most of the kids just watched in happy silence, but then of course there is our Riley. She's always ready to get down.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dancin' bones,
Shake your hands to the left,
Shake your hands to the right,
Put your hands in the air,
Put your hands out of sight.
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle...wiggle your knees.
Doin' the skeleton dance!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snapshots Only Sunday

My super adorable hubs ready for Halloween.
Our ornery little man sitting in his tub of little people.

Little man and I snuggling on the couch watching football.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Peas In a Pod

Two little kittens, whose Mama is smitten,
With sweet little matching hats, oh my two baby dears,
Please grin ear to ear for a photo, yes just like that!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ordinary Day

I've done one of these posts before and I've been meaning to do another for a while. Someday I know I won't be able to remember the details of an ordinary day in our household. But I know I'll wish I could. So on a Sunday a couple weeks ago we started by staying cozy in our footie pjs and we...

Watched dogs out the window saying, "DAS A DAH!" (that's a dog) every time he saw one.
Pretended to be a "wittle kitten" prowling around looking for "treaties".
Played together with the race car track Gammy and Gampy gave Camden last Christmas.
Became a house divided in preparation for the big game between our two teams and snapped a family photo using the self timer. It's important to note that the Steelers won. Here we go!
Loaded into the car for an impromptu trip to our favorite antiques place where we saw some drool worthy pieces like this little beauty which was my favorite find of the day.
And a crop of pink pumpkins still covered in the snow from the day before which was Riley's favorite find of the day.
Came home and took naps and after some more indoor play headed outside with Mommy to give Daddy a chance to watch the football game in peace. 

Walked the block and then filled an empty box with some leftover snow to throw in the air and on the street. Amazing how something like a box of snow can happily occupy over an hour of their time.
Stomped on and danced in the snow after the box was empty like it was the most fun thing we have ever done.
While looking as cute as possible in a kitten hat.
Lately I keep hearing the Alan Jackson song "Remember When" and I get chills every time he sings "Remember when, the sounds of little feet, were the music, we danced to week to week."   That's the stage of life we're in right now and there are definitely some hard moments, but I think this is one of the sweetest times in our little family.  We're watching our babies grow right before our eyes and it's happening so quickly.  I just want to savor these days of their innocence together.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

La la la la

It was Elmo's World for Halloween.
Camden loves, loves, loves that red monster and we figured if he was going to tolerate any hooded costume it would probably be that one. When we first tried it on him at Party City he began to throw a hot fit and we thought it was a no go. But TG scooped Cam up and put him in front of one of their full length mirrors. After a moment of staring at himself he said "EL-mOOOH" and tried to hug/attack his reflection.  He wore this thing quite happily three separate times leading up to Halloween.

I wanted the kiddos costumes' to match so after some thought we decided Riley would go as Abby Cadabby. She's become a huge fan of Abby's Flying Fairy School so she was happy about the switch.  I made her costume with a plastic tablecloth, pink hair paint and a glow in the dark magic wand.  The rest of the items we had in the house.  Riley fully committed to her costume and LOVED having her entire face painted pink.  I was thrilled to later discover that the stuff washed off very easily - the black eyeliner and mascara I used not so much though.
The weather was perfect that night - the air was crisp, skies were clear, and thankfully there wasn't much wind. We only went out for about an hour before little man let us know he had enough.

Walking up to our first house of the night.
Riley was a total pro, and ran from house to house happily filling her treat bag. I had the idea to attach a flashing ghost light onto my shirt (thanks Mimi!) so she could see me at all times.

Cam was completely skeptical at the beginning, but like most first timers when he realized that he could get candy he was thrilled. He decided to skip the use of his treat bag and started going up and filling his little fists instead.  Camden turned into Mister Manners that night and every time he got a treat he would say "che-chu MA" which is his way of saying "thank you Mom".

More TREATS!!!

In addition to a few treats while we were out both kiddos got to pick one piece of candy from their bag when they got home before bed. Then we discovered that little man had found the bucket of treats we left out on our porch. He tore through the Kit-Kat wrapper with his teeth and was found swagger-ing around downstairs happily munching.
It was a wonderful night and even though I've never been a big fan of Halloween I have to say that celebrating this day with our own children is growing on me!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Air and Scare!

Oh dears, I was utterly exhausted after last week. Somehow the combination of a very full pre-Halloween weekend of fun followed by a full Monday of Halloween festivities wore me out. By this past Friday I was running on pure Diet Coke and coffee fumes and literally passed out in my bed at 8:15 pm and slept until 8:30 am Saturday morning. After another long nap on Saturday the trick or treating fog finally lifted and I felt like myself again.

Just in time to backtrack and blog about all of our Halloween fun with you. :)

Last Saturday we had a nor'easter here. Never mind that the local weather teams said we had a 10% chance of getting any "inclement weather". There was snow on the ground when we woke up and the snow and sleet continued all day long. It was cold and wet which is not my favorite weather combination.

We stayed hunkered down at home for most of the day, but we rallied that evening to go to Air and Scare! which is a Halloween event at the Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum. Udvar-Hazy is a local favorite spot of ours and if you have children (or a love of air and space) you need to familiarize yourself with this gem. It's completely indoors, it's HUGE with tons of space for toddlers to run (ie tire themselves out), and it's chock full of airplanes, fighter jets, helicopters, hot air balloons, hang gliders, and yes an actual space shuttle.

On Air and Scare! Saturday they turned down the lights, set up treat and activity stations and opened their doors to thousands of children and adults dressed in costume.

Riley went as Minnie Mouse.
Camden was Elmo.
They were both very excited to be there.
He ran.
She got her face painted.
They both met R2-D2.

And we filled our bags so full of treats that Mama had to carry them...and us.
We had so much fun trick or treating, watching R2 whistle and beep at Riley, getting tattoos, and chasing after our little Elmo.  It was the perfect kick off event for our fledgling trick or treater and a great chance to wear our costumes more than just once.