sad news

I am sad to report that I switched over to blogger because wordpress wanted to charge me to upload more photos. Lame sauce, right? I’m really super duper bummed about it.

Anyway, read about our weekly adventures here from now on.


winter marches on

February 17-23

I have two words to describe this week: cold & snow. Everything was cancelled: school, church and anything school or church related. We really only got 4-5 inches but with the amount of traffic around here, that can and does cause some major havoc.

So, lets start with the snow.

Here’s our street:

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getting ready to go out:

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*Quick note: I took A LOT of videos this week. I was trying to capture funny things, every-day things, cool things, etc that I want to always remember and I probably over did it. But most of them are very short. Just so you know that I recognize that I have a problem. 🙂

Feb 17 (7)

Oakley’s first snow angel:

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Feb 17 (15)

Tuesday was the first day of snow. We went out twice that day and both times I couldn’t get over how blue the sky was. I don’t know if it was the lack of clouds, the whiteness of the snow, or my lack of outside exposure over the weekend, but it was literally unbelievable. And there were bald eagles everywhere. We counted six in the sky at the same time. It was one of those moments that I hope my memory never fails me. Watch this video and you’ll get a glimpse of the sky and the eagles, although the camera (especially on my phone) does it no justice.

Our snowman “Samantha:”Feb 22 (12) Feb 22 (14)

I hope you can take a minute to notice the awesomeness that is Oakley’s snow suit. It makes me laugh so much. Like every time I look at her. When we’re getting ready to go out, she says: “Mom, I’m going to look so awesome!” My infectious joy with putting her in it has spread into her little psyche. I always laugh and I tell her it’s because she just looks too awesome. It’s almost like she’s wearing a fat suit because she looks 5x bigger in it. And she waddles when she walks. But it sure does the job!

On Saturday Dave and I had a date planned but that date quickly turned into a fiasco when we foolishly decided to drive in a blizzard only to find out that our planned activity was cancelled. So instead of finding something else to do we decided we’d better pick up the kids before the roads got any worse.

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A good decision made a little too late. Our friends who were babysitting the kids happen to live at the bottom of a huge hill. After picking up the kids and attempting to get back up the hill several times, I thought we might have to spend the night at their house. And I secretly promised myself that our next car purchase would involve 4-wheel drive.

Well on our second to last attempt, we had a small collision with another car, who was also trying to get up the hill. It was really scary; one of those slow motion moments you always hear people talking about. Thankfully no one was hurt. Our car suffered only minor damages to one of the headlights and the other guy’s car came away unscathed. That was definitely a tender mercy. While Dave was outside exchanging insurance information, I looked over to one of the houses nearby to see some guy, who was out shoveling, taking pictures of us with his phone. I’m sure it was the most exciting thing he’d seen all day. I wish I had taken a picture back! When we set out again, I said many silent little prayers of gratitude and pleaded for heavenly help to get us up the hill. We did and I don’t know if I’ve ever been more relieved than I was when we drove into our very own garage. Never again will we go on a date in the snow. Lesson learned.

Feb 21 (7)

Saturday night that snow turned to ice and we woke Sunday morning to a thick sheet of ice on everything.  Needless to say, we didn’t go to church that day.

Feb 22 (7)

And now for the cold. There was some of this (Thursday):

Feb 19 (2)

And a bit of this (Friday):

Feb 20 (1)

Record cold temps, according to the news people. And these happen to be the days I decided to go on my first post-surgery runs. But I honestly didn’t care how cold it was, I was ready to GO. And it felt good in a very painful sort of way.

Because it was so cold, we spend a lot of time inside.

Oakley really likes to take videos and pictures with my phone. It can really get out of hand. Most the time I find that she has filmed the floor, her foot, her knee, or the back of someone’s head. But sometimes she gets some good stuff.

Feb 17 (2)

Here’s a super short one of my pestering Peter with the camera:

She can also work-it in front of the camera, too. Even without music:

Feb 18 (2)Feb 17 (3) Feb 17 (4)

I am so grateful for story time! We are regulars. It’s the one place we go consistently every single week.

Oakley is the perfect age. Peter is the perfect age for wrecking havoc on the library. And I am the perfect age for chasing him around for half an hour replacing all the books he rips off the shelves. It’s a fun time. The turnout this week was really low thanks to school being cancelled. Normally it is packed.

Feb 18 (5)

Speaking of books, I finished book #2 this week. It pains me to say that I was very sadly disappointed. I don’t want to go into all the details of why I didn’t like it because maybe someone out there did. I think my expectations were too high? Anyhow, now I can mark it off my list and gladly return it to the library.

Feb 18 (4)

Thursday was a really wierd day. Oakley slept in til 8:15. When has this ever happened? Like never. So, that was the first wierd thing. When she finally did wake up she was acting strange and lethargic and kept wanting to lay down. I kept checking her temp and asking her if she needed to throw up, but she never showed any symptoms of being sick.

Feb 19 (1)

So around 9:30 I was getting Peter dressed and she totally zonked out on the guest bed. And slept for TWO HOURS!

Feb 19 (3)

Which is even more impressive when you consider that we hosted Music Makers that day, which means that all these little peanuts were running around our house. And not quietly, mind you. Oakley is in this pic because she woke up just in time for snacks. She seemed to be feeling fine at this point and I figured she was done with being sick or feeling tired or whatever it was.

Feb 19 (6)

….. until we get to the commissary that afternoon and I turn around to find her asleep in her carseat! What is going on with this girl? She never did get sick. And this sleepiness only lasted a day. A friend suggested a growth spurt….. and before she mentioned that I had thought that Oakley did look taller….. weird. I’ll probably never know.

Feb 19 (10)

Awake and bugging hugging her brother:

Feb 19 (12)

Peter found the container of blueberries in the fridge and made quick work:Feb 20 (1)

On Friday we had nothing else to do so we went to the hospital to torture Peter. I mean…. get his vaccinations. He made some friends in the waiting area, like he does everywhere he goes. He sure is good at fooling people into thinking he’s a real sweet, friendly little guy.

Feb 20 (4)

The only cool thing about going to the hospital is that Dave works there and sometimes he can meet up with us. If he hadn’t have been there, I wouldn’t have been documenting this torture session. I would have been the one pinning the poor kid. Oakley insisted on sitting on the table with Peter.

Feb 20 (7)

so, so sad.

Feb 20 (9)

Something funny about Peter is that he does not like to be comforted. He gets over things really quick but initially he’s just angry and the last thing he wants is a shoulder to cry on. His most common outlet is pulling, or rather ripping, books off of bookshelves. It cracks me up. Sometimes I just want to hold him and cuddle with him  and comfort him when he gets hurt. But that’s not his cup of tea. So much for a mama’s boy! He is definitely not that.

The kids love seeing Dave:

Feb 20 (10)

And watching him shave. Ha! Very entertaining. Feb 21 (1)

Dave gets a gold star for making dinner on Sunday. This is actually the omelet I made for breakfast……. but later that day Dave made this rice/bean/chicken casserole that was really yummy. Even Oakley ate some.

Feb 22 (25)

And the perfect picture to end this post. Feb 23 (2)

Funny quotes/notes from the week and more videos:

2/17/15- A few times recently Oakley has said: “Mom, I’n so proud of you for being happy!” And then something like “don’t be mad ever again, okay?” She’s good at reminding me to be happy. I certainly need it.
2/18/15- A couple weeks ago I was reading Old Testament stories to Oakley and going over the different pronunciations of EliJAH and EliSHA. Now she says them all the time, at random times, making sure to emphasize the last syllables. Today for the first time EVER, Oakley told me she was tired around noon so I told her to go lay in her bed. She did and fell asleep for two hours! ALL BY HERSELF. That really has never happened before.
2/19/15- Oakley likes to come with me when I put Peter down for a nap or down for bed. Her job is to shut the door and as she’s doing it she says things like, “Peter just one nap, okay?” Or “after you wake up we can pway togeder!” and “close your eyes, okay?” Always in a very motherly tone.
2/20/15- Peter does NOT like to be comforted. He gets angry when he gets hurt.
2/22/15- Peter are almost a whole can of olives today.
2/23/15- Oakley sometimes gets her senses mixed up. Like today she walked into the bathroom and said: “I hear something that smells good!” And all the time when she tastes something she doesn’t like she says: “That doesn’t feel good.”

Grandma to the rescue

February 10-16

I slept in almost every day this week. And I took naps. And I changed less stinky diapers and wet underwear. And had a few intelligent adult conversations. And I didn’t unload the dishwasher, do the laundry, or clean a single thing…. yet my house is clean, my clothes are folded, and all my dishes are put away. It was magical. Enjoyable. Fantastic.

It was my mom.

And now she’s gone and I’m facing the fact that I have to start cleaning again. And getting off my lazy butt to get Peter out of his crib in the morning. He’s always so happy to see me (italics=sarcasm). It’s been an adjustment. Saying goodbye is hard.

I miss you, Mom! We miss you. (that is not sarcasm)

Feb 14 (10)

Feb 14 (11) Feb 14 (12)

It was so awesome to have my mom here for Valentine’s Day. Mostly because I love to spend every day with her, but also because it is bliss going on a date and not having to worry about what your hired teenage babysitter is going to do to your kids, i.e. sit them in front of the TV for 3 hours, feed them a ridiculously large amount of raisins resulting in days of diarrhea, neglecting to take them to the bathroom before bed… you know, all those babysitting hazards. It happens and we survive, but needless to say, Grandma babysitting reduces a lot of stress. Maybe someday we’ll live hear a Grandma or two….. maybe.

Now more about that date. Dave and I are terrible planners. “Reservations” isn’t really a word in our vocabulary. So Dave scrambled to find something for us to do just a couple hours before we were supposed to go. But it turned out to be tons of fun! First we went to a theater that was showing the Oscar-nominated animated short films. Some of them were really good. Others were really bad. We both agreed that we like the funny ones the most.

Afterwards we went to Barnes and Noble, drank hot chocolate and tried to look high brow

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or stalker-ish in my case

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And then we went on a scavenger hunt. The categories included (in Oscar-inspired fashion)(this was Dave’s idea, of course): best cover, best title, best author name, best title to describe each family member, most acurate likeness of us, most likely to be a movie, most romantic, etc.

We didn’t end up getting through a lot of the categories because we kept getting distracted by books. Imagine that. The employees had to come tell us the store was closing in 10 minutes like twice.

Anyway, here’s what we came up with:

Best book to describe Oakley and Peter:

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Best title to describe Oakley:

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Best author name:

Feb 14 (42)

Best title to describe Peter:

Feb 14 (41)

Dave’s favorite:

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Best cover (I actually ended up buying this journal because it made me laugh so much):

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Best title:

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Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the romance section to find the most acurate likeness of us. So, this will for sure be a repeat date. I can’t wait!

Valentine’s Day was fun too. We surprised Dave with a heart attack at the bottom of the stairs and breakfast in bed.

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Oakley helped me make some special Valentine’s treats. They were fun, easy and cute. But very messy.

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Dave had a few surprises of his own…..

Feb 14 (15)

Earlier in the day Mom went out on a walk and on her way collected sticks and rocks and poky balls (not sure exactly what they’re called but that’s what we call them) to make a “heart tree” with the kids while we were out on our date. She is so creative. I love that about her.

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And to make the day even more awesome, Aunt Lesly came down for dinner! In fact, she brought dinner. Complete with spiralized zucchini. It was delicious. The kids love Aunt Lesly. Especially when she comes with raspberries. 🙂

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So, that was Valentine’s Day. Now for the rest of the week.

We took Grandma to the trampoline park on Tuesday. I wanted to jump soooo bad, but restrained myself (for the most part. Give me a break. How can you walk on a trampoline and not jump?). Nonetheless, it was a really fun time.

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We had dinner with the Katie, John Isaac and “baby Kaleb”. They are so fun to be with.

Feb 10 (10)

Oakley requested to “say goodnight” to Grandma every night. In other words, can you lay with me and tell me stories and tickle my back until I fall asleep? But it usually turned out that Grandma fell asleep before Oakley did. That girl can outlast any adult in this house.

Feb 11 (1)

an empty laundry basket calls Oakley’s name.

Feb 11 (2)

Beans in a swimming pool. The beans were my idea, the swimming pool, Dave’s. It’s a GREAT winter boredom buster if you’re looking for one.

Feb 11 (3)

And fort building

Feb 11 (10)

Sometimes Oakley and Peter seem to really like each other:

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Wasn’t as warm this week as it was last week, but we got outside some.

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Oakley got a very special surprise in the mail from her Grandma Shaha. Nancy made one of these poodle skirts for all her granddaughters as a tribute to her mom, Great Grandma Williams, who made one for her when she was little, which she wore to bits. Oakley loves hers. And it looks especially good when she twirls in it. Thank you Nancy!

Feb 11 (18)

Music Makers. Peter’s got to be in the middle of everything.

Feb 12 (7)

Drawing with Grandma. I wish I had inherited an inkling of Mom’s artistic talent.

Feb 13 (3)

On Friday, we met up with Aunt Lesly at the Baltimore Aquarium. Oakley LOVED it. She was so excited about everything. All Peter wanted to do was go up and down the escalators.

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We had lunch in a room with a beautiful sunny view of Inner Harbor.

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Aside from the escalators, Peter was super into the scuba divers who were in the tanks feeding the sea creatures. It was so funny. When they’d swim away, he’d turn around and put his hands up like “where’d they go?” He could care less about the shark that just swam by. Silly kid.

Feb 13 (12)

Have you every seen a sea turtle? They are HUGE! I was so surprised. This one was missing one of his front fins.

Feb 13 (14)

mornings with Grandma.

Feb 14 (18)

This is my new favorite picture. I put it as the wallpaper on my phone I love it so much.  And that’s really sayin somethin.

Feb 13 (25)

goofy bubs

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Stink-eye bubs. This look shoots lasers. My mom told me that once you’ve seen this look from Peter, you don’t forget it. It’s even better with a blue chin. photo cred to Dave.

Feb 15 (2)

On Sunday, as part of my lesson, I had my class listen to “I Lived in Heaven” and draw what it made them think of. One of my students was so very kind to let me keep his drawing and I saved it because it makes me laugh. I love the depiction of the Holy Ghost. And the mustache.

I teach 14 and 15-year-olds, by the way. 🙂

Feb 15 (20)

The time came to say goodbye to Grandma and it was hard. But we made it through the tears with chocolate covered rice crispies and conversation hearts.

Feb 15 (11)

On Sunday evening our friend Riley came over for a semi-sleepover. (meaning she got picked up in the middle of the night).

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After I took this video, the kids started running around the house chasing Dave. He would hide and jump our from around a corner and scare them. One time he did it and Riley turned around to run away and ran smack into Oakley who was right behind her. Oakley literally bounced off of Riley and both walked away with impressive goose eggs. I so wish I had still been filming. Anyway, Oakley was balling and Riley was walking around like nothing happened. So Dr. Dave got them some ice and they looked so funny standing next to each other, holding the bags to their heads. When Dave got the camera out and said “smile!” Oakley immediately stopped crying, smiled, and then went back to crying right after the picture was taken. It was the funniest thing ever. Oh and Peter was still running around the house like “C’mon guys! Why’d ya stop?”

Feb 15 (9)

When we left them to their own devices in Oakley’s room, I was hoping Riley would maybe, possibly teach Oakley how to read or something. It was so funny to sit downstairs and listen to them talking and reading books to each other. When I went up, I found them arguing over the letters in the alphabet. Maybe one or two more sleepovers with Riley and Oakley will be ready for Kindergarten. 🙂

Feb 15 (13)

They finally zonked out around 10. And Riley left around 11.

Feb 15 (16)

Our favorite Monday morning activity is to watch the garbage man take our trash. That’s about as exciting as it got today.

Feb 16 (2)

Oh and winter storm “Octavia” is headed our way. It started this afternoon and is supposed to continue all night. I guess I’m glad mother nature can finally get this out of her system but I really do hate snow. So I hope it melts like tomorrow, preferably.

Feb 16 (6)

Feb 16 (12)

Post-surgery note: I did try to take it really easy this week (again, thank you mom!), hoping to speed up the recovery process. But really since about day three or four I’ve felt really good and the last couple days I feel back to normal. But I haven’t run or exercised at all since the surgery, so getting back in the habit is going to be a painful process…. and difficult with 8 inches of snow on the ground. But I am so grateful to be feeling so good 10 days out, physically and emotionally. Love from family and friends helped with that. Laparoscopic is the way to go!

Funny quotes and more videos:
2/10/15- I was reading “Moo, Baa, La La La” to Peter and at the end when I said “It’s quiet now, what do you say?” He let out a big man burp. Perfect timing.
2/11/15- Peter came into the bathroom while O was sitting on the can and she said, angrily: “Petah! Don’t tell me any something!” Oakley was singing and we heard her sing: “the drum takes a wife, the drum takes a wife, hi ho the derry-o, the drum takes a wife.”
2/12/15- In her prayer at breakfast, Oakley blessed grandma to “feel safe and be healthy.” Later at dinner she said: “bwess Peter and our nap to feel good.” Her prayers are becoming more articulate and sincere. It’s really sweet. Peter’s new favorite thing is to pretend to be a snake. He crawls around the house on all fours and makes a hissing sound.
2/14/15- As we were heading out on our date, Oakley said to Dave: “Be careful with mama, okay?”
2/15/15- We were talking about our time with Aunt Lesly last night and dessert came up, which was fruit and chocolate and Oakley said: “Those raspberries were reeeewee good with aunt weswee!” During sacrament meeting Oakley said to Dave “Dad! You don’t have any hair on your pants!” (In a congratulatory tone). Tonight Oakley and Riley collided heads while they were running around the house. Oakley was balling so Dave got them both some ice and got the camera to take a picture. When he said “smile!” Oakley immediately stopped crying, smiled, and then started crying again right after Dave took a picture.Ha!

grief and gratitude

February 3-9

This was a week for the books. Prepare for an epically long post.

Mosiah 3:19 says:  “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”

This scripture popped into my head as I lay on an operating table last Friday afternoon, about to go under general anesthesia to remove an Ectopic pregnancy. I memorized it months ago but that phrase at the end about being “willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him” has often crossed my mind when things get tough, but it was especially pertinent as I wondered why this was happening to me and how on earth I was going to get through it.

So, remember that pain that I mentioned last week? Well it actually went away and for about 5 days I thought I was in the clear. But what I didn’t mention last week was that I was pregnant. And my repeated trips to the lab during the week indicated that I was still pregnant, despite all the irregular bleeding. But I went through the week trying to think positive thoughts, with a faint glimmer of hope that it would somehow turn into a viable pregnancy.  But a late-night ultrasound Thursday night revealed that there was still nothing in the uterus, which wasn’t good. So Friday morning I got a call from an OB staff member at Ft Belvoir Community Hospital telling me that I needed to come to the hospital NOW for surgery. It was a crazy shock, to say the least. Dave had worked all that night and was suddenly faced with staying up all day with the kids while I went to the hospital, and a recovery period for me that would put a huge burden on him. I am never thrilled to go to the hospital but this time I was especially dreading it. My heart was heavy as I drove away from our house. I felt very alone at that moment.

But throughout the pre-op process (lots of paperwork, lots of questions, and lots of reminders of all that could go wrong), I begin to feel a calm assurance that everything was going to be okay. Thoughts (like Mosiah 3:19) came to my mind that helped me gain a better perspective and trust that everything was in the Lord’s hands.

The procedure went well. I don’t remember a thing. Waking up from that anesthesia was the BEST feeling- and then they took all those heated blankets off and that dreamy, drousy feeling was replaced by nausea. The next couple days I experienced (and continue to experience) a few of the lovely side effects that accompany abdominal surgery. But today what I feel is an immense gratitude for modern medicine that probably saved my life, a supportive family who buoys me up, and a loving Heavenly Father who knows me and how to help me grow.

Jan 30 (9)

So that was by far the most significant event in our week. But here’s the good stuff:

Peter. He sticks out his tongue a lot. Pretty much for almost every activity that requires concentration, which is every activity for him. It’s funny because his Grandpa Shaha does the same thing.

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Feb 3 (4)

Feb 3 (5)

It was a nice week weather-wise. Behold the highs:

Tuesday- 44°

Feb 3 (15)

happy to be out, not happy to go back in.

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Wednesday- 60°

Feb 4 (4)

Feb 4 (7)

Thursday- 41°

Friday- 37° (the best day of any to be in the hospital, I suppose)

Saturday- 50°

Feb 7 (15) Feb 7 (11)Feb 7 (12)  Feb 7 (8) Feb 7 (3)

Sunday- 75° (!!!!)

Feb 8 (4)Feb 8 (2)

a play-by-play Peter conniption. My mom says he’s a 17-year-old in a 1-year-old body. It’s kind of a perfect description.Feb 8 (8) Feb 8 (9)Feb 8 (10)Feb 8 (11)

Needless to say, we spent some good quality time outside. It was nice. And we saw some AWESOME sunsets on the Potomac.

Feb 3 (21) Feb 3 (25) Feb 3 (29)

And…. back to the homestead. This is not as gross as it looks, although still gross. Tuesday morning, someone squirmed their way into the refrigerator and pulled out a tupperware of leftover soup. And this is what I found when I felt the need to investigate.

Feb 3 (30)

And no question in my mind as to the culprit. Look at that trail! It’s actually kind of funny (now) because when I found him with his hand in the goop, he looked totally disgusted. I wish I had a picture of that face.

Feb 3 (31)

Oakley is always putting her friends down for naps. This day it was Patches’ turn.

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And when all her friends are tucked in and cozy, this is what she does when she’s bored. I really love it. Like a lot.

Peter has the BEST belly laugh. I kind of want to eat him when he does it:

I was a really lousy reader last year, so this year I made a goal to read 12 books, or one per month. First up was Flyboys. This was a good book; very eye-opening and very hard to read at times. But I like history and I liked this book, even though it’s hard to know the cruelties of war sometimes.

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One of the pros of going to the hospital so much this week was getting to see our favorite doctor. The kids love that, especially Peter.

Feb 5 (2)

And I’ve been trying for weeks to catch the excitement of Dave’s homecoming every day on video and I think I finally got it. Best part of our day.

Our friends the Laxes came over for lunch on Thursday. They are so awesome and Oakley is SO sweet with “baby Kaleb.” She loves that kid to death. I have rarely seen her so sweet to and so giddy about another human being.

Feb 5 (7)

Our Iowa/Vietnamese friend Truc sent Oakley this outfit for Vietnamese New Year (Feb 19). She looks so stinkin cute in it and what a cool thing to have.

Feb 5 (12)

“Bye guys. I’m going to work”

Feb 6 (5)

So THIS is what I was looking forward to Friday night. And these pictures are for the doctor who LAUGHED at me when I said I wanted to postpone my surgery because I didn’t want to miss the Iowa wrestling meet. It does seem pathetic now, but at the time I was really angry at her insensitivity. But we did end up going. Dave picked me up in my half-awake, light-headed, slightly nauseas state from the hospital and we drove straight to the University of Maryland to see the Hawkeyes scorch the Terapins 33-3. It honestly saved my sanity. I miss college sports SO MUCH!

Feb 6 (7)

See that guy with his hands on his hips? That’s the strength and conditioning coach for Iowa and a friend from our time there. He’s really cool. We made a weak attempt at saying hi, but…. it was weak. I wish now we had louder voices or something.

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On Saturday, we bopped around post and found this Valentine’s display at the PX. Oakley’s always game for a picture and I seriously almost burst out of my stitches (literally) laughing at these pictures later that night.

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another sunset:

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Oh and my mom dropped everything and flew out to help me with the kids for a week. How lucky am I?! She has already lightened my burden so much.  Thanks Dad and Gabe, for letting her come.

Feb 8 (25)

Grandma always brings fun surprises.

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Feb 9 (3)

And as soon as she found out about the surgery, my Aunt Lesly ditched her job and drove down from Annapolis, MD to help with kids. She is such a fun person to be around and always brings lots of kicks and giggles to our house. 🙂Feb 9 (5)

Now that’s what I’m talking about when I say how grateful I am for a supportive family. The amount of love shown the last couple days is crazy go nuts! Thank you for all the calls, texts and e-mails. It is so nice to know that someone is thinking of you.

For Family Home Evening tonight, we spent most of the time pushing the kids around in this box we got at Costco. I love when they find joy in such simple things. Because it’s fun… and doesn’t cost any money. Priceless. I could be on an American Express commercial.

Feb 9 (7)

And lastly, poor Dave. The transition from nights to days is always hard for him but throw in all the craziness of the weekend and here you have a very very tired man. Sleep deprivation is real. But I’m so grateful for him and the rock that he is.

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Good quotes from the week:
2/3/15- When I say “on your mark, get set….” Peter says: “Gah!!”
We were looking at the calendar this morning and Oakley saw that yesterday was Groundhog Day and she said “Mom, what’s today? Penguin day?” Later, we were out walking and Oakley said, after seeing some trees: “Someday I will grow into a tree!” And on the way home there was an annoying little kick dog ferociously barking at us and Oakley says: “I fink dat dog is saying Merry Christmas!”
2/4/15- We were at story time and Miss Lisa was reading a book about napping and she made some snoring noises. Oakley, loudly, says: “that sounds like my mom!” She redeemed herself later when she came running into the kitchen to say: “Mom did you clean the bathrooms?!” I said “yeah!” and she said “oh that was nice of you!” She was dancing to the Lion King music and said to me: “yook mom! I’n getting down!” It made me laugh. She really does have some awesome moves.
2/5/14- I came out of the bathroom and Oakley said: “Mom did you go tinkle or poop?” I said “tinkle” and she said “just like tinkerbell!” We were in a hurry this morning and Oakley was taking her precious time eating her yogurt. I said “Oakley hurry and eat you yogurt, we have to go!” She responded: “You help me cause I’n finking about Jesus.”
2/7/15- When Oakley says her prayers she says: “pwease help mama to feel better and help her belly to go away…. And bwess all our bwessings.” We drove by the hospital one day last week and Oakley says: “That’s where dada lives!”
In her sleep last night, she yelled “I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT!”
2/9/15- Last night I spent part of the night with Oakley in her bed. She was talking in her sleep again. She said… “Where’s the cupcakes? Where’s the cupcakes?….. MOM! I WANT MY CUPCAKES!”

one toenail down

January 27-February 2

Jan 28 (5)

A few things I’m especially grateful for this week: 1.Dave 2.a warm house 3.lollipops 4.socks 5.Dave 6.our car 7.the Book of Mormon 8.Dave

I wasn’t feeling super hot for a couple days. A trip to the hospital Friday night gave us no answers so I came home feeling crappy, confused and frustrated. More on that later, possibly. But that’s why I’m grateful for Dave x 3. He’s like superman, saving one sick person at a time. This week that sick person was me!

Here’s our week:

I found these unlicensed drivers at the commissary. Reckless driving to the max!

Jan 28 (4)

baking. we did lots of baking last week. Oakley is my ever-faithful helper.

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It was dang cold this week, too. And it snowed. Oh joy.

Jan 27 (23)

This was Peter’s first time in his snow suit. It was a nightmare getting him into it. I didn’t know if we were going to make it out the door alive.

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If it were up to me, I’d stay inside, read a book, and drink hot chocolate- not a big fan of cold, wet, white stuff. But Oakley begs and begs and begs to go out when it snows, starting at about 6:30 am or whenever she wakes up. I don’t know why, because we’re out for 20 minutes before she begs to go back in.

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Lunch and play date with friends. MUCH better than freezing in the snow.

Jan 27 (4)

Jan 27 (5)

I was putting Oakley’s socks on one morning and she complained that her little toe hurt. So, I took her sock off to discover that her pinky toenail was hanging on by a thread! It came off shortly thereafter (with a little help from yours truly). Is that weird? Does this mean her shoes are too tight? Too big? I have lost many a toenail, but not at this age. But that means I also know that it’ll grow back. So, not worried.

Jan 28 (7)

Fun in Peter’s crib and more camera experimentation. Notice the Peter-stepping-on-Oakley’s-face picture and the Peter-pulling-Oakley’s-hair video. That’s normal. And it goes both ways.

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Something Oakley’s been working on is getting dressed by herself. She gets frustrated really easily so this has been a long and painful process. Independence seems to manifest itself in her slower than most, but we’re getting there.

Jan 30 (2)

Peter has… uh…. 9 teeth? I think? Anyway, I’ve started trying to brush his teeth but he won’t let me. He insists on holding and chewing on the toothbrush himself. And if you know Peter, you know that he almost always gets his way. This kid has got the lungs and temper of a banshee.

Jan 28 (9) Jan 28 (10)

Which….. is why I keep a secret supply of dum dums. It’s crazy the magical effect these things have on children. You would NEVER know he had been screaming for 10 minutes straight- at the top of his lungs- just before this picture, would you?


Jan 31 (2)

Peter agrees with me in that real men wear hair bows:

Jan 30 (6)

wear sparkly shoes:

Feb 1 (3)

and read princess books.


Feb 1 (11)

We went swimming as a family on Saturday. This photo sequence of Oakley cracks me up:

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Watch out pool honeys! Look at this physique:

Jan 31 (19)

More baking. This time with two helpers.

Jan 31 (6)

eagerly awaiting the chocolaty goodness.

Jan 31 (1)

Oakley was showing us the “potty dance” which she, by the way, has perfected.

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Jan 31 (9)

A well-deserved salad after a long fast.

Feb 1 (2)

“Mom, this is what girls do when they wear dresses”

Feb 1 (5)

the bowtie:

Feb 1 (8)

the bubs:

Feb 2 (6) Feb 2 (7) Feb 2 (8)

On Groundhog Day we went to this trampoline park called “Flight” that we’ve been wanting to check out since like forever. It was so much fun! Imagine a big warehouse filled with trampolines and really loud music that makes you want to jump. a lot. Oakley had a blast. We will definitely be going back.

Feb 2 (16)

Later that day Oakley and Dave went out to fly the kite. It was really windy and the kite got stuck in a tree, but Dave rescued it. Thankfully, the Penguin kite will live to see another day.

Feb 2 (2)

More baking. I promise I don’t take pictures every time I bake. It must be this whole blogging thing.

Feb 2 (3)

Oakley’s baking face:

Feb 2 (5)

The result: Groundhog Day cupcakes. Totally copied from my friend Laura. Thanks Laura! Imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?

Feb 2 (22)

Quotes from the week and a few more videos:

1/27/15– Washing Oakley’s hair in the bathtub is always traumatizing. Tonight as I was pouring water over her head she says: “I’m crying because I’m just a wittle girl!” As we were going into her room I noticed that her zebra was in there when we normally keep it downstairs. I asked her why it was up there and she said: “He’s in time out because he was getting bad things and his eyes are kinda creepy.”
Peter gets SO excited when he sees Dave. He literally screams Daaa-Daaaaa! It’s his only word. I have never seen a kid show favoritism to one parent so much. It kind of hurts. Thankfully Oakley prefers me….. sometimes.
1/28/15– This morning Oakley got on her “patches” (horse) and Peter got on the zebra and Oakley said: “Petah! Do you want to go on a benture (adventure)!?” Then she turned to me and said: “Mom! We’re going to a calf!” (huh?)
Later, she was looking at all our movies and she pulled out “Guardians of the Galaxy” and said: “this is the one that big girls like.”
At the Commissary she leaned her head on the cart, sighed, then said: “I’n just finking (thinking) about santa clause.”
I spilled some fruit cups all over the kitchen floor this afternoon and as I’m about to clean it up Oakley comes over, looks me in the eye, and in a very motherly voice says: “Mom, when things happen we clean them up, okay?”
Later I caught her dangling Iowa bear over the bannister and I heard her say: “You have to be brave, okay?” Ha! Poor Iowa bear.
1/30/15– Oakley came to bed with us in the middle of the night like she always does and around 4 am I heard her talking in her sleep. She said: “Hey mom? Danembah dat woodpecker hurt my hand?” And then she went back to sleep.
1/31/15– I came downstairs after taking a shower and Oakley said: “Mom, you look so clean!”
In the bathtub Oakley kept calling Peter a “bum-bum.” “Petah! You wittle bum-bum!”
Sometimes she makes up songs by combining all kinds of primary songs, kid songs, and pop culture songs along with her own lyrics.
She also likes to put wooden crates on her feet and pretend to “roller skate” around the house.
2/1/15– I put Oakley’s church dress on this morning and then she folded her arms and said: “This is what girls do when they wear dresses.” Before every nap or bedtime, Oakley always asks: “Just one nap?”
2/2/15– Instead of “You’ve got a friend in me,” Oakley was singing “You’ve got a dude in me”

haircuts and bowties

January 20-26

When I got the idea to blog every week, part of me thought it would be a flop because some weeks go by that we just don’t do much, or at least that’s how it seems. This week felt like one of those… until I started uploading pictures….. and good gravy! And what you see is only a small percentage. I guess our weeks are more filled than I thought. Or maybe I just take too many pictures of boring things. You tell me!

Where to begin? Probably Tuesday. Yeah, Tuesday.

So, I’m doing this “introductory experience” with Oakley at a local kid’s gym where we get to scope out different classes. Last week we tried gymnastics and this week was a dance/gymnastics combination.

Oakley was pretty pumped:

Jan 20 (2)

And because it happened to be “parent involvement day” (what gives? I didn’t sign myself up for this!), Peter got to take part. He was actually pretty into it, almost more than Oakley. And almost more than me cuz you know how much I LOVE to dance (see video).

Jan 20 (5)

There are many times throughout the day when a kitty named “Sully” graces our house and demands to have her snacks fed to her on the floor.

Jan 21 (3)

I fell in love with this house and this place when we drove to the Darm’s for Music Makers this week. Just the day before I was lamenting to Dave about my wishes to someday live in a place where we don’t have neighbors. It was an especially trying neighbor day that day. Think dog poop and thin walls (not simultaneously. ha! that’s gross) Solitude sounds so good sometimes.

Jan 22 (1)

I love finding wilderness in the middle of metropolitan Northern Virginia. It’s like a huge breath of fresh air.

Jan 22 (3)

Dave continues to run to work and back.

Jan 22 (4)

getting closer….

Jan 22 (5)


Jan 22 (6)

who is that hot dude?!

Speaking of breathing fresh air… seeing Dave is one of the happiest parts of my day.

Jan 22 (7)

Thursday night Dave tackled the kids while I endured the DC traffic for a pretty spectacular prize…

Jan 22 (8)

ta-da! Well worth all those brake lights.

Jan 22 (10)

one of our dear I mean, deer friends

Jan 22 (11)

A popular cold day activity- building forts:

Jan 23 (4)

A trip to the optometrist for some new glasses:

Jan 23 (7)

pretty great fit!

Jan 23 (16)

Actually, it’s me that’s blind, not Oakley. Lookin pretty nerdy:

Jan 24 (72)

This is Oakley’s “hey Mom, look at my beautiful eyes!” face:

Jan 23 (11)

Don’t they look SO excited to go for a run with me?!

Jan 23 (12)

Peter brings me dresses and shoes and necklaces and gets angry if I don’t put them on him. He also loves tea parties. Dave hates it. But come on, the kid hangs out with girls all day. He’ll grow out of it, right? I’m going to make this picture extra big just for fun. 🙂

Jan 23 (17)

I don’t know how to flip this picture but.. it’s a puzzle. Sometimes I do the kid’s puzzles when I’m bored. A girl can only pretend to be Prince Philip so many times.

Jan 23 (18)

I know I JUST talked about how I could never cut Peter’s curls. Well, last Friday night I decided I just couldn’t take the hair in the face anymore. So, with an open Saturday we took the kids to get haircuts. Peter sat surprisingly still….. as long as Dave was holding a sucker in his mouth. I think he ate two of those things, maybe three. so. much. drool! It was so cute to see his little head sticking out of that blue apron thing that I almost squealed. Look at those cheeks!

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Oakley was really very scared (can you tell?) but we’ve been talking about “being brave” a lot lately in preparation for our next trip to the dentist, and I could tell she was really trying hard to be brave. The lollipop and movie (Frozen) certainly helped. 🙂

Jan 24 (53)

The result:

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I was scared for Peter to get his hair cut; questioning my decision all the way to the barber. His hair is kind of like his defining characteristic. I thought he wouldn’t look as cute without all his hair. But I’m pleasantly surprised. His big brown eyes look even bigger now. And I don’t miss the curls as much as I thought I would, Although I still miss them.

Jan 24 (63)

Dave and I’s Christmas present to each other was a new camera. A really nice one. But it’s not our first nice camera. We’ve experimented with our share of cameras, and a few of them have frustrated me to the moon and back, but this time we (I say “we” because Dave’s on board this time) are bound and determined to learn the art of photography. Even if that involves spending a Friday night watching a super awesome amazingly exciting DVD about how to use the camera. It was SO EXCITING I thought my brain was going to explode from yawning. just kidding. Here are some experimental shots from an outing on Saturday:

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Nose-picking time at the mall. I actually caught her on camera numerous other times this week with her finger up her nostril but decided for the sake of her future dating life not to post them all. She can thank me later.

Jan 24 (64)

Need some caffeinated Oakley?

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Peter, sporting his new ‘do at church. SO many people commented about how much older he looks. It’s so true. It’s like a whole new era of his life. But he can’t grow anymore because he just can’t grow out of this suit. Not allowed.

Jan 25 (3)

This is the usual scene when we arrive home from church. Somtimes they stay asleep (yeah!), sometimes they don’t (blast!).

Jan 25 (11)

Oakley, passed out, with her “prayer bear” (that fuzzy brown thing) that she got in primary on Sunday. She loves that thing. Jan 25 (9)

We check out a lot of books from the library every week. I usually try to avoid books without words, because they feel awkward and weird to me, probably due to my lack of imagination. But I grabbed this one on a whim and am SO glad I did. Definitely worth a read if you can find it. Very, very cool.

Jan 25 (7)

Dave is currently working nights. This is where he sleeps when he’s home during the day. In the basement. On a cot. Sounds depressing but I think he gets more sleep down there than he would upstairs… right Dave? Not like it was my idea or anything….

Jan 25 (10)

And lastly… pictures from today. A fun package from Grandpa Harris containing colorful sharks:

Jan 26 (1)

And homemade ice cream with sprinkles for family night treats: Jan 26 (2)

Funny quotes from the week and a few extra videos:

1/20/15- When Oakley hits her head on something, or when I hit her head on something, she says: “ouch, I just dunked my head!” Or “mom, you just dunked my head with the camera!”
For the last couple days, I’ve heard her singing, “let’s get down to business, to defeat the Huns!” (from Mulan).
When we pulled up and parked at Oakley’s dance class, she resolutely stated, “mom, I’m not gonna pick my nose today.” I turned around to encourage her and she totally had her finger up her nose.
She combines the phrase “do you remember that?” into two words: “danembah dat?”
1/21/15- We were hanging out in the living room after dinner and Oakley suddenly runs in and yells “fight pillow!” (instead of pillow fight).
When Peter tries to throw a pillow he puts it behind his head and sometimes it gets so heavy that he just falls over backwards.
Oakley likes to quote Studio C. She always says: “Katniss, go. Get outta here. Go.”
1/22/15- On our way back from music makers we saw some horses in a gorgeous pasture. Oakley says: “Mom! Those horses are not pretending! They are real! Someday I will be a real horse!”
On occasion Oakley randomly says to Dave or I: “You know what?” Me: “what?” Oakley: “I love you!” It’s very cute.
1/23/15- Amidst all the power struggles and fighting, Oakley can be really sweet to Peter. This morning at breakfast she said: “You are my sweet darling, Pete!” At Costco, she kept hugging him in the cart and when he didn’t reciprocate she said: “ohhhh, Peter doesn’t love me!” But later at home I heard her say to him, “you know what, Pete? I love you!” and then yelled to me, “mom! I love Peter!”
I was hugging Oakley and said something like: “I just want to squeeze you!” And she said: “but I’n not a wemon (lemon)!”
She still loves kiss attacks and nose rubs. Peter not so much.
1/24/15- In the back of the car, Oakley was supposed to be sharing her goldfish with Peter. He was crying and demanding more fish and I heard her say: “Nope, not until you smile, okay?”
1/25/15- We passed a big field on the way home from church and Oakley exclaims: “Yook! That’s where soccer lives!” Later we were listening to primary music and the “Fathers” song came on. There’s a line that says “Fathers are so special with a very special love” and after that line Oakley looked confused and said: “a very special DOG?!”
1/26/15- Oakley was hesitant to change her underwear this morning, so she asked “does pwince Phiwip change his underwear?”
At nap time I was laying with her and she said: “mom, guess what?! I am a child of God! And I am cute!”
Later at the dinner table she said the prayer and in her prayer said: “pweese help the sacrament to feel good…… bwess the Lamanites… And bwess the Book of Mormon.” ha! Dave and I were both snickering (discreetly, of course).

a new resolve

So… last week I was feeling really awesome and motivated for a brief time (yes, that actually happened) and decided I needed to start blogging again. But it had to be in an orderly, organized fashion. Like one post, once a week, on the same day every week. Kinda like my rockstar friend Shelly. 🙂 So I decided Monday would be the day. And up until about 2 hours ago I was pumped. And now I kinda feel like I’ve felt for the last 14 months: not in the mood. But that’s been my excuse for way too long and it’s lame, so here I am. blogging. Even when I don’t feel like it. And for the sake of your poor eyes and stamina, I will only blog about the last week, not the last 60, or however many weeks have gone by since November 2013. What happened right before I stopped posting?

Oh yeah. Peter.

But what really motivated me to get back on the horse was a moment of boredom (or possibly one of my “escapes” into the bathroom) several weeks ago when I found myself perusing through my old posts. It was so fun to see pictures of us from years ago and read about our happenings and my thoughts about them at different points in time. I thought “why did I stop doing this? someday I’ll regret it.” And I think the kids will enjoy these things when they’re older, too. AND I’ve also come to the conclusion that my life is never going to “calm down.” It’s only going to get crazier.

So without further delay, here is the last week of our lives.

January 13-19

We started out our week like this:

Jan 13 (1)

sick. cranky. fevers. snot. everywhere.

Jan 14 (1)

It soon passed. But those couple of days felt fantastically looooong.

Sometimes I have to wake Peter up from naps when we have to be somewhere. So when I do, I take my camera in and snap some pictures of him sleeping- just to savor those last few peaceful moments.

Jan 14 (3)

Oakley loves the primary hymns. She likes to pretend to play them on the piano, or open up the book and “weed” (lead) us in singing with her.

Jan 14 (8)

classic Peter faces:

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Jan 14 (12)

and very, very classic:

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Jan 14 (15)

Oakley bug.

Jan 14 (17)

Dave had Lasik eye surgery on 1/15/2015. Which means no more contacts or glasses. What?!  This guy was almost legally blind before the army granted him this opportunity. But let’s be real. I think he really went through with the surgery JUST so he could wear these goggles. How fantastic are they?! I keep thinking Quicksilver moved into my house.

Jan 15 (1)

Jan 15 (5)

Fun at Music Makers (our weekly playgroup that involves some parachute action. Awesome!)

Jan 15 (8)

Oakley had her first gymnastics class last week. I was nervous that she’d be timid and clingy but she jumped right in and had a great time. She kept coming up to the plexiglas window and waving to me. It was super cute.

Jan 15 (17)

She of course had her moments of solitude:

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And she was picking her nose the entire time. How did I only manage to get one picture of this grossnes? I don’t know. Boggles me.

Jan 15 (22)

And if you want to be further grossed out. Watch this. I caught her, on video, picking her nose and then wiping it on the wall! Unconditional love, people. Unconditional love.

Watch the first 13 seconds:

Fun with John Isaac at Kids ‘n Motion:

Jan 16 (11)

And who needs lunch when there’s Costco samples? My kids live on snacks.

Jan 16 (1)

Dave and I decided to bust out a puzzle my mom gave us last Christmas because it had collected far too much dust. 550 piece, presidential pins on an American flag. Does it look hard? No, it doesn’t. But it took us two nights and hurt my brain more than it wanted to be hurt. I didn’t even contribute that much. Dave is the puzzle master around here.

Jan 16 (2)

Some cold outdoor time:

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Jan 16 (16)

Our fellow Jadwin loopers who help us to brave the cold. Oakley was thrilled to be outside, as you will see.

Saturday night we went on a date. For a while we’ve been wanting to explore Old Town Alexandria, so explore we did. My favorite was this store we happened upon called Decorium. VERY cool. But not one I would bring the kids in. They’d break something. But I found the most comfortable hat that has ever graced my head. omg.

Jan 17 (2)

We also ate cupcakes. Twas a good date. 🙂

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Jan 17 (13)

Peter’s hair. I love it. But it’s growing. And people are starting to think he’s a girl. or a hippie child. But seriously? Who in their right mind could chop these curls?!

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Jan 17 (5)

Not me!

Jan 17 (7)

Video chatting with my parents. They have had super duper slow internet from the beginning of time up until 2 days ago, so video chatting has been a disaster in the past. Hopefully we’ll get to see these faces more often!

Jan 17 (14)

The kids’ newest favorite thing to do is “pants jump.” It looks exactly how it sounds:

Jan 18 (2)

And my favorite part, the aftermath:


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the dynamic duo:

Jan 18 (5)

And today we went to Mt Vernon. It was cold. And fun. I was hoping the third floor would be open since this is a low-traffic time, but it wasn’t. The house and grounds are still amazing and I love learning about GW. He was the man.

Jan 19 (11)

Oakley. Taking an applesauce break and soaking up the view from George Washington’s porch, overlooking the Potomac:

Jan 19 (16)

There were a few animals, but they weren’t too exciting. I think they were just as cold as we were.

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Funny quotes from the week:

1/13/15- When Oakley sings the ABC song, instead of “LMNOP” she says: “ah-ma-ma-ma-ma P.”
1/15/15- As we were leaving Music Makers, Oakley said “Mom! That was a fun time!” And it was extra funny because she spent most of the time staring at Sister Maney (the music leader) like she had lobsters coming out of her ears. Later as we were getting ready for nap time, Oakley asked if it was nap time or bedtime. I told her it was nap time and we’d get to read some of our new library books. She responded: “that sounds wonderful!” Never heard word around naptime!
1/19/15- Oakley kept saying “we’re going to aunt Vernon!” when we were on our way to Mt Vernon this morning. After we got home we were eating lunch and Oakley says “hey guys, am I cute?” and she was looking especially cute with her face resting on both her fists. Later she and Dave went out to fly the kite and I stayed home to get some things done. As they were heading out Oakley said: “mom, you can make brownies if you want!”
And a few more videos:
Peter helping Dave do sit-ups:
And Peter’s first time doing “Ring Around the Rosies.” He loved it!
And so it begins.
Friends. Hold me to this weekly goal!