Thursday, December 4, 2014

July highlights

Paul and I decided to fit as much into our year living near DC as we possibly could. so that included spending the evening of the fourth of July on the national mall with 700,000 or so of our nearest and dearest... or nearly a million strangers.
we got there near sunset, and found a little spot to set up our blanket
Asher wanted desperately to wander around and meet everyone, he did succeed in making friends with everyone around us
the kids and I wandered a bit and found a booth offering free face-painting, so we waited in line for what seemed like forever (though the kids proved they can be endlessly patient when it's something they want!), though it only seemed that way to me because the booth was right across from a Christian Rock band (very Hard Rock) that was giving me fits.
the girls got these cute little mask-like decorations
malachi wanted to be a firework. he wasn't as tired as this picture makes him look though, he must have been blinking or something. the kids all napped so they could stay up really late :)
I thought it was quite beautiful, despite the crowds (everything was beautiful except the port-a-potties---EeW)
and I know you've all seen fireworks before, so I don't really need to post a picture, but I had to include one with the Washington Monument. seriously, it's an incredible place to live!
and yes, the hooligans were exhausted by the time we made it through the crowd to the metro (it was probably after 11!!! nap or no, that's a long night)
Unfortunately, as we were wandering the mall and waiting for face paint, Paul was on the phone trying to arrange some time off work, because his Grandfather had passed away the day before. Fortunately, we were able to go down to Florida and be there for the funeral. His family was very accommodating in helping us find a corner to sleep in, and everyone worked together to celebrate Grandpa Vorwaller's wonderful life. And to truly honor him, we had to hit the beach. Grandpa V loved the beach, and joked that if some Florida sand can get in your shoes it'll keep itching until you go back (we came back! and we'll come again!).
I didn't take any pictures of the funeral or burial, though I stole this one from Elaine:
Paul was proud to wear his AF uniform and honor his Grandfather in that too.
the boys playing in the sand
the girls with aunt Sarah and cousin Caroline playing in the waves (Afton got pretty proficient on the boogie-board)
can you see what I almost stepped on?!

glad I saw him before those pinchers got me! (he was only about 6-8" across, but very fearsome ;) )
And I wish for all of you to make it out to Florida sometime to play on the beach and think of Grandpa!

some of July

Despite the fact that we didn't feel we'd have time to have fun in July, what with moving and all, we managed to squish a few activities in. One fun thing we did every week was try out a new playground. We found a list of 'Imagination Playgrounds' on the county website, and hit them up. there were more than we could get to (and some were pretty far away), but we were VERY impressed with the playgrounds we went to! this one had a woodland-wonderland theme. unfortunately, I only got 2 pictures:
crazy-long slide! (something like 50 ft, going all the way down a hill)
little play house
There were misting flowers to cool off in (and a skunk that sprayed water), lots of bugs, a little treasure hunt (looking for animals and bugs and things), and all kinds of 'tree houses' and things. We had a list of dozens of people from school, church, and other playgrounds that we met along the way that we invited to join us... most weeks we didn't have more than a couple friends, but this one happened to have almost everyone come for at least part of the time. I think it was a favorite for most everyone too!
we didn't always have far to go to have fun either! nothing like a water-fight in your own back yard!
I couldn't pick a favorite picture either, so here's three :)
clearly it was dad vs 3 big kids... I'm not sure who 'won' but I know they all had a blast!
(pun intended)
Getting ready for another Imagination Playground visit... this one clearly had a pirate theme... and I forgot to bring my camera to the actual playground
the kids really got into the dressing up, and they brought a bottle with a map in it... and notice afton's cutlass? the bubbles were a huge hit with the summer-camp that happened to be there the day we went (over a hundred kids! we didn't actually stay more than an hour, we went back to one of the other parks, it was just too crowded!)
but it was enough to tucker out this little pirate! I love his beard and mustache :)
Though I knew there was some construction happening on our street (something with water pipes), I was really surprised on 2 separate occasions to look out the window and see that I was trapped in my own house! that's my driveway... I once had to drive across the grass, and once I managed to sneak between 2 giant machines on a metal plate... nerve-wracking and frustrating.
if only I had nowhere to go!
and one of our favorites:
Daddy's birthday!!!
no pictures of presents or cake, but I think he looks pretty happy just the same :D
And just a few more random pictures
just mowing the back yard while not wearing pants
you may have noticed Rayna wore this dress in a lot of the pictures... it's her Elsa dress from her birthday, and I think she just about lived in it all last summer (she was done just in time for Halloween where she didn't want to wear it)
one of our sunflowers! Malachi wanted to plant them, so we did, and they were gorgeous! this one was over 7 feet tall! unfortunately, they weren't quite ready to harvest when we had to move, but still, gorgeous :)
and one more IP, this one with a dragon/medieval princess theme:
this was the belly of the dragon, it was really cleverly designed playground, with a dragon tongue slide I particularly liked
and some dragon eggs. the kids were playing with caterpillars from the bushes all around us. there were hundreds of fat white caterpillars, I'm not sure what kind, but I'd probably call them the 'infesting-kind'
And for those of you that remember Malachi's problems with hair-cuts, we had another idea to get him more amenable to people touching his head.
Chalk. He likes having colors and things to make his hair special, so it gets me touching his head more often, and presumably it'll make haircuts less traumatic too...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Spring Camping trip

So I thought I was all caught up to the stuff before June, but evidentially I was wrong, because I just found this all organized and ready to go (but without words) in my drafts!
Last spring sometime (I'm sure I could find the dates, but it sounds like too much work for such an insignificant detail right now), we went on a family campout. we tried to talk some friends into coming with us, but everyone was too busy, so we gave up and went alone, but turns out we had a fabulous time just the same ;)
everyone rearing to go, as we headed out!
the girls climbed this tree while we were waiting for a park ranger to register us for a campsite
sitting around at breakfast (you know, when I finally remembered to get the camera out)
posing for mom
I just loved this little lumberjack look! baby in flannel and jeans :) :) :)
we went for a walk over the river and through the woods
can you see what we almost stepped on
such diligent explorers
beavers ... or evidence at least, we didn't see any actual beavers, lots of trees with beaver-teeth marks, and some little dams
the craziest thing about this trip to me was the sheer number of inchworms!!! there must have been millions in the park, and I don't think that's an exaggeration. fortunately, no one's afraid of inchworms, and they don't bite! (and there were still leaves left on most of the plants... it wouldn't surprise me if a few days/weeks later it was pretty bare)
and headed back home
that's what a success looks like :)

catching up JUNE

okay, this time I'm serious. the computer's been giving me fits since before we moved, and Paul just spent some time trying to fix it, so I have no more excuses... and I will catch up. it's actually kinda fun looking back on the summer pictures, especially since it's so cold!

without further ado, here's a snapshot of JUNE:

I didn't take many pictures in June, as we were packing up our house and doing lots of boring stuff, but I did get a few fun ones:
the kids played in the 'sand' box under our deck a LOT. mostly they got muddy when they did this, we're still cleaning mud off some of our outside toys 6 months later! but as you can see on their faces, they loved this pastime.
I don't remember a reason for this one, but I love my boys!!!
we had a fun, impromptu visit from one of my old friends... we haven't really seen eachother since we were about 15, but she was headed out to the east coast for a wedding and a baby for some other friends, and decided to make a trip out of it, so she stopped at our house for a couple days to do the DC thing, between trips to NY and NC :) she brought her two oldest kids too, which was tons of fun for my brood, they all played nicely together :)
and a couple pictures from our trip to the 'beach' in MD. We went to a river-beach for a day-trip because it was closer than the actual beach, and free :) it was also jellyfish-free, and the kids had a blast
Asher eating strawberries (if I remember correctly)
malachi showing off a bucket of shells and crab-parts he collected
the girls are really getting to be pretty good swimmers, though the water wasn't deep. it may have been a perfect place for them to practice.
everyone going for a walk along the fishing pier. it was a pretty long T-shaped affair with lots of fishermen and crabbers enjoying the day.
I'm sure there was lots more we accomplished in June, and lots of fun too (including our Imagination Playgrounds, more on those soon), but I don't really remember what
--poo to bad camerawork (to do the remembering for me) and to lousy computer-problems.

Friday, August 1, 2014

finishing up other May-June... cause i've just gotta :)

I have a million pictures I keep meaning to get up here on the blog, so sorry for those of you that count on me :)... if there's any left!
without further ado, here's a bunch of old pictures, (think of it as making room for the new ones!)
I still have a couple other things too (birthdays, etc) that have to get posted, but I figured this was enough for now:
would you believe me that they do this voluntarily? they seem to love it :)
most Sunday afternoons I can find these two snuggled upfor afternoon naps, and when I do, they are invariably in the exact same position as each other, sometimes together like this, sometimes not even touching on their backs or whatever... they look and act so much alike it amazes me!
seriously mom, you think this is gonns stop me?! we took the chair/stair-blocker away after a bit, he's definitely afraid of falling, so I don't worry much...
afton built this apple tart almost completely by herself.. but mom burned it a bit. it still tasted yummy!
umm, I thought it was an apple? (good thing he didn't have teeth yet ;) )
first tooth!!! (the second wasn't far behind)
he can seriously do push-ups like this folks! go, go gadget AF-arms!
all I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth!
chubby baby legs!
Afton's braids... she doesn't do it as often as Rayna, but it's sure nice not to have to hound her to keep her hair out of her face or brush it out!
Kindergarten promotion
Ms Rose
field day volunteering... our game was pop-the-balloon-with-your-bum
field day tug-of-war (afton's class, they lost... so did rayna's, and so did the volunteers vs teachers, though we were winning til they cheated :) )
Chi's been loving the bunk-bed fort... we actually have the top bunk upside down right now, with the mattress on the 'bottom' of the bed, but a fitted sheet makes for the perfect tent-library (yes, my kids use tents to play library!)
Afton has an uncanny knack for finding 4-leaf clovers... this one is kind-of the worse for the wear, but I never have my camera handy when we need it... I think this was the 3rd or 4th one she found this summer, but she's now up to 8!
Afton's end-of-year awards
and GONE!!!
the best Father's Day gift dad (or mom) could have EVER gotten!!! Malachi got dressed for church not only with no screaming, but he beat dad dressed all on his own! (with Rayna's encouragement, that's why she's in the picture too)
and the best part, this has continued EVERY sunday since! it truly is a miracle!!!
pear pie for Father's Day
I'm sooo helpful!
smile, I'm ADORABLE!!!