Monday, April 30, 2012

Playdate with Sarah Catherine & Benjamin!

It feels like forever since we all were able to get together, when in reality it was only about a month ago. The little kids grow so much in a month, it's crazy. Vivi and Benjamin shared a little kiss before they had to head home. Owen & Sarah Catherine were shy when we pulled out the cameras, but we caught one with them both enjoying a snack. It was a fun playdate catching up with our good friends!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Feeding the ducks at the bridge

There is this place which Owen and Ben refer to as "The Bridge". I knew it as a place where Ben would take Owen sometimes on the weekends, usually after a trip to Home Depot or the grocery store, as a way to tire him out before his nap. I thought it might be their little secret, but this weekend they let us girls in on the fun. 

After dinner tonight, we decided to take the last two pieces of bread to the bridge to feed the ducks. I have fond memories of feeding the ducks with my parents and my Grandma at the Hershey Lodge after church some Sundays, so for me this was such a fun thing to do together as a family. 

The bridge is actually a wildlife preserve that was built by a home builder in our town as a way to set aside land for the animals. It's a long wooden pathway over a swamp area, and there are tons of birds that fly all around. At the end of the walkway, there is a small watching area with benches over the water where you can see geese and ducks. There was a mama duck and her ten little ducklings there which we fed the bread. We also saw a bunch of turtles and some turtle babies. The kids had fun and we definitely did the job of wearing them out before bedtime, as they both fell asleep very easily tonight, which is always a plus.

How Vivi does basketball

I think she just likes the shorts.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Aunt Hillary visits!

Aunt Hillary is dog-sitting for Kel & Matt, so we invited her over for dinner tonight. Ben made yummy veggie burgers on the grill. The kids had a blast catching up with their Aunt Hill. :-)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pots & Pans and help with socks

I've never been a fan of letting the kids play with the pots and pans while I'm doing stuff in the kitchen. So much banging and racket - you know how delicate my ears are people. I much prefer plopping them down in front of the TV for an educational program like Super Why. 

But today I was feeling nostalgic, and while I was washing the juicer parts, I turned my head to find Vivian taking out my pots and pans, just like Mike and I used to do when we were kids. I let her play until my ears were bleeding, then told the kids to get their shoes on so I could take them to the library.

Next thing I knew, I hear Owen saying, "Here Vivi, here's your sock," as she lifted her foot for him to put it on. Had to grab the ipad to take an Instagram. :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Loudoun Valley Vineyards

This morning was gorgeous, so we packed a picnic again and headed over to Loudoun Valley Vineyards to meet up with Molly, Tim, Nate and Drew. We stopped at a Farmer's Market stand on the way and bought sweet corn, radishes, and tomatoes. We also had time to stop at a small winery that sells fresh eggs. {Tried the eggs for dinner and they were AMAZING! So different than grocery store eggs.}

We got to the winery just in time - right when it opened - and enjoyed having the place to ourselves for an hour before the party bus arrived. Nothing like a group of thiry 20-somethings who were already happy before they got there. :)

We got to admire their circus tricks as you can see from these pics:

Vivian supervised Drew's nap. {Love me some baby rolls.}

Big Brother teaches Little Sister

Found Owen reading to Viv this morning. {cuteness}

Cheers to better health

Mike and Lindsey introduced us to juicing. They were introduced to it by our good friend Kenny and his girlfriend Ashley. This morning while Owen was at preschool, Vivi and I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy a juicer. We got the Breville Juice Fountain Plus which came with a free DVD - Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dying - a documentary created by an Australian guy who turned his life around with the help of juicing. He did a 60-day juice fast (we are not doing that anytime soon, but maybe a shorter one in the future) and lost 100 pounds and was able to get off all his medication for the debilitating skin condition he was suffering with.
The main point of the film was that Americans are so hooked on processed food and sugars, that they have forgotten that fruits and vegetables are the best food available to us. In an effort to help Owen and his #2 issues, and also to feel better, I've decided to take processed foods out of our diet as much as possible. I'm sure we'll have occasions when we'll have to eat it, but if we can help it, I'd like us to focus on eating whole foods and whole grains.

 {Backdating: at Mike's recommendation, we also watched Food, Inc. and Fresh - two more documentaries about the industrialization of the food industry {both on Netflix}. What an eye opener - I had no idea. I wish we would have watched them when they came out back in 2008 and 2009. Please watch them if you haven't yet, and tell me if your eating habits don't change. I dare you.}

Monday, April 16, 2012

Frying Pan Farm with Andrea & the kids

Today Andrea had some free time to burn since Tim is giving his presentation, so we met up at Frying Pan Farm to show them one of our favorite places to go on a nice day.

There were tons of baby animals out with their mamas! Three litters of baby piggies were born in March - they were so cute! But very stinky.

We had a picnic in the shade (Andrea took a great picture of us all on self-timer) and the kids played in the grass and dirt. Such simple fun, I loved it. So glad I had an extra day to spend with our friends. {love}

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Winery picnic at Chrysalis

We had to say goodbye to Tim, Andrea, Olivia and Mason today. :( But, the good news is, we're already planning our next get-together for early 2013: a 10-yr anniversary child-free all-inclusive vacation - yes, please!

This morning we packed a picnic lunch and headed over to one of our favorite Loudoun wineries - Chrysalis. Molly and her boys Nate and Drew (Tim was sick and opted to stay home and rest) and Kelly, Matt, Kayla and Ryan met us there.

The weather was perfect and the kids burned off tons of energy blowing bubbles and running around the grounds. It was such a fun day and we're already planning on hitting up another one next weekend so Tim can join in.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Old friends are the best

"We will be friends until forever, just you wait and see."
~ Winnie the Pooh

Even though it had been a few years {and two kids less} since we all were together, it was as if we hadn't missed a beat. Yesterday afternoon the Hertels arrived at our house for a two-day visit and we were all so happy to have the chance to spend time together.

We kicked off the weekend with happy hour at our house. The kids took turns on the slide. We had cheese and crackers. We explored the big tree area. The kids took turns blowing bubbles and popping them. Vivi was smitten with Tim from the time they arrived. It was so cute.

Then it was time for dinner. An early dinner at Clyde's on the patio was just perfect. We had a nice big table on the perimeter of the patio so that we could enjoy the weather and the kiddos wouldn't disturb {too many} people around us.

The food was delish, the company was divine, and we were swiftly approaching the bedtime hour. Amen for that.

Upon arriving back at home, we tossed all four kiddos into the big tub, poured in some bubble stuff and toys and they had a ball getting clean.

Finally it was the most wonderful time of every parent's day: bed time. :) We read Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site together in Owen's room and then it was time to say night-night. Owen was pretty crushed that Olivia didn't want to bunk next to him in his room, big tears and all, but he recovered pretty quick. The kids fell asleep easily and then it was our turn to really relax and catch up.

We made some yummy drinks {marshmallow vodka, anyone?} and pulled out the old board games. Several rounds of Cranium later and we were all ready to call it a night since we had to be up early the next day. {Our Cranium clay had sprouted salt crystals, so we used Owen's playdough instead}

This morning started out with yummy waffles made in our heart waffle iron, fresh fruit, milk for the kiddos, and coffee for the sleepy parents. We made it out of the house around 9ish, in time to see the parade as we walked into the Natural History Museum.

We opted to skip the parade in favor of beating the crowds at the museum, and after we left we realized what a good decision that was. The kids had so much fun running around checking out all the exhibits.

We headed over to the Air & Space museum next, and were planning on getting lunch in the food court there. But since the weather was so beautiful, we decided to grab McDonald's at the food stand right outside the building so we didn't have to fight the lunch crowd and more importantly, so we could enjoy the sunshine.

After lunch we took a stroll around the first floor of the Air & Space museum before the kids started to fade fast. We headed home to take naps and rest before dinner.

Ben made pizza {two ways} on the grill and I threw together a salad. The kids were so tired from all the excitement today that they went to bed so easily right after we ate.

Then it was time for game night, round 2.

See all those red chips? Ah, yeah. That would be how Andrea dominated Domination.

Such a fun day! We're sad to have to say goodbye tomorrow. :(

Friday, April 13, 2012

They're here!!!

And we couldn't be happier!

Vivi was so happy, she ate cement.

{I am back-dating after a fun-filled weekend with Tim, Andrea, Olivia and Mason}

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How Owen does dinner

What? You mean you don't stack your nuggets to build a tower before devouring them one by one?

Yeah, Vivi doesn't bother either. She just gobbles them. That's my girl.

Mommy's little climber

Vivian is all about being where I am these days, including in my chair when I'm at the computer. She can just about climb into the chair without assistance, so I may be handing over blogging duties to her as soon as she learns how to type and use the mouse. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Driving the ambulance ride together

after a quick trip to the Leesburg outlets.

I have learned through trial and error over the last few years as a mommy, that sometimes a bribe reward is the best way to be assured that you'll get your errands done without a meltdown (times two). Be it a sweet treat {read: fruit/veggie puree pouch}, a trip to the library {yes, that works with my kids}, or a ride on a mechanical toy ambulance, I have found the way to save my sanity.

Not ashamed to have been using this on an almost daily basis lately.

We're all the happier.

Go Mommy.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Future sluggers

After naps yesterday, the first thing the kids wanted to do was run outside to play tee-ball. Owen is a natural. We're thinking Spring of 2013 is going to be his first tee-ball season. Ben thinks Vivi may be a future softball star. :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

We had such a lovely Easter! Grandma and Grandpa joined us for church this morning, while Hillary played Easter bunny hiding eggs in the backyard for the kids to find when we got home. The weather was so incredibly beautiful. Ben cooked a delicious ham and twice-baked potatoes, and Curt, Hillary & Tish made shish-ka-bobs of scallops and veggies and a yummy rice pilaf along with a salad with a special plum dressing from Cape May.

{Vivi's pink bunny bib says "I'm sweeter than chocolate" made with love by Grandma Killi} We ate until we were stuffed and then the kiddos promptly fell asleep in their respective beds for really good naps. :)

Owen & Vivi send a big "thank you" to all the Easter bunnies in our family!

Happy Easter everyone!

While we were at church....

the Easter bunny realized he forgot to leave a few things.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Grandma & Aunt Hillary visit

Aunt Hillary came over today to bake cookies with the kids while Grandma took me shopping to pick out an Easter outfit for Owen.

Isn't he gonna look handsome in this little number? :)

Thanks so much Grandma & Aunt Hillary!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bike trailer for 2

Tuesday night we hooked up the bike trailer and buckled both kiddos in for an after-dinner ride. We biked over to Kayla's and home and even saw the Easter bunny on the trail near our house!
{Vivi only cried 1/2 the time. mainly when her helmet fell forward over her eyes. and when Daddy biked over bumps.}

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Playdate with Colin and Zach!

Colin and Heather came over with tiny baby Zach who is just 7 weeks old. We were so excited to play together and meet baby Zach. The boys got a little rambunctious, but hey, they're boys. So we switched on a little "Fireman Sam" while us mommies ate lunch and chatted.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kelly's birthday playdate

Kel's birthday is tomorrow and since she's spending the day at the spa {lucky!!}, we all decided to get together today to celebrate. (or should I say, Kel decided.) :)

We played inside while everyone munched on lunch, and then headed out to the playground behind our house for some sunshine. When we got back to the house, it was time for cake!

Happy 40th Kel! We love you!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Playground playdate

We met up with Mindy & Ashley {and Lucas, Cole, Ricky & William} at a nearby playground for a picnic and playtime. It was such a beautiful day and all the kids loved running around before, during and after lunch. :) Lucas even met a few new girlfriends and they let him and Owen throw their nurf football around for a few minutes.

Before we called it a day to get home for naps, we took some pictures of the six kids in a row. These guys are getting to be really great buddies and it's so fun to see them interact. {In the one picture you can tell that Lucas is explaining something very important to Owen, who is listening intently.} :)

And of course no picnic would be complete without your big brother sprinkling grass in your hair.