Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dinner Dates

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These two monkeys bring me so much joy!  I took them out on a dinner date the other evening, and it was all smiles, silliness and giggles.  Ellie decided that she didn’t mind if her hair was a mess.  No need for a brush or a pony tail.  So, we hopped out of the house and let Daddy put Gracie to bed.  We ate at the kids favorite little place, Otto’s.  The menu consists of quesadillas and hot dogs.  What more could a kids ask for??

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After dinner they took turns passing the ipad back and forth while sipping on strawberry milkshakes and ice cream with sprinkles.  It is all of these little moments that you hope don’t pass you by.  The giggling, the random sticker on her dress, the tongue rolling six year old that thinks he is hilarious, and the little sister that thinks that tongue rolling is just as funny.  These are the moments.  The small ones that matter.

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The big moments are just as special.  But there is just something magical about a normal Wednesday night and dinner at their favorite little place in town. 

Summer is right around the corner.  Kindergarten is ending in just a few weeks.  Soon I will have a first grader.  I really can’t even say the words.  It is just absolutely terrifying how quickly this year went by.  School, bus pick up and drop off, lunches packed and eaten, snacks to be made, library books to return to school, show in tell to bring each week.  The week is so packed full of “to dos” that you forget all of the little things that happened in between.  And how little time I have with Bradley each week, makes it fly by even faster.  I am so looking forward to having him around this summer.  I have missed him so much.  But, first grade, really?!!

Somebody pinch me, it is going so fast already!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Best of Charlottesville

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We might just live in the best place on Earth.  Really, it can be magical. 

It all starts with where you live.  Our neighborhood might just be straight out of a different era.  We have camp outs and cook outs, movie nights, and 5k runs.  Halloween bashes, and Christmas carolers.  Our pool overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains, and there is so much beauty right in our neighborhood.

campouts…

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pool play dates with a view…

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strawberry fields just minutes behind our neighborhood…

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Another little gem of Charlottesville is the wineries.  There are many of them just begging for a visit.  Two of my friends put together a winery tour a few weeks ago.  We hit up some new spots (for me) and had a lot of fun in the process.  We ended our wine crawl at Blenheim Vineyards which was designed by Dave Matthews.  We managed to get a group shot with the beautiful view in the background.  Amazing day!!! 

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The best part of this wine tour adventure was the lack of seats in the passenger van.  The previous van renters must have removed the seats to pick up some cargo or furniture.  Well, we unfortunately didn’t inspect the van very closely when we picked it up…..SOOO we all took turns riding in the back of the van between wine stops.  Part hilarious and part car sickness.

Rachel, Fotini, and I hanging out in the back of the van…

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We also visited Pippin Hill Farm, which was absolutely breathtaking!  I really want to go back again with the kids and take a picnic.  (check out the pictures on the website, stunning!!)  In the middle of our wine tour we went to the new Trump Winery.  It was recently purchased by Donald Trump (duh) and it was really fun to get to visit there and try their wines.  Very yummy!

I had to grab an action shot of people loading into the back of the van between stops.

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I really think we might just live in a little slice of heaven.  So many fun places at our fingertips.  It was a great day with friends and I can’t wait for another girls winery tour!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

what NOT to do during a nature walk

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I really have so so much to share.  Family stuff.  Girlie Fun.  Gracie updates.  But, I have been stuck for a few days in technology hell.  I have been trying to switch my main email account for awhile now, but just haven’t had the energy to face getting everything changed and set up. 

Well, I decided that it needed to be done.  So five hours later, I finally have my new email working.  Whew.  Why did it only take 2 seconds to change on my iphone and several HOURS with Chris and I both looking at it in Windows Live Mail to get it working on my PC??  Once you can’t send outgoing messages for a few days, you quickly realize how much we rely on technology to communicate. 

On to more important things, like our spring adventures and nature walks.

We decided to go on a little adventure the other afternoon.  It was one of these beautiful spring afternoons that is just begging you to step outside, take a deep breath, and get excited for summer.  We love to visit our neighborhood creek and wooded area.  When we were down there finding sticks our neighbor told us about some standing water that had hundreds of tadpoles.  After going to look at them with her, we decided to head back there again with our buddies, Evan, Max, and Molly. 

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Bradley really wanted to bring back some tadpoles to our house.  I wasn’t too thrilled, seeing as we just got done releasing our butterflies and I can sometimes hardly keep up with our dog.  I told him to bring a small container and we would take just a few home.  As you can see from the photo there were hundreds of tadpoles (all of these little black dots are tadpoles!!!).  I actually caught a picture of Bradley doing the WRONG thing.  He collected so much mud and barely enough water for our little tadpoles.   Needless to say our tadpoles were dead when we arrived home!! 

After a huge crying session Bradley and I headed back out to the small pond at 7 pm to collect another batch of tadpoles.  We made a much larger aquarium for them, and I used a net to get them out this time!!  All is right with the world, and we now have 9 tadpoles in our new, very large aquarium in the basement.  I figure it can be a part of the preschool this fall too! 

I am sorry that I am truly a city girl at heart sometimes.  Who knew that tadpoles would drown in lots of mud??

This is our second attempt at a temporary aquarium….not bad!  

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Talk about multitasking….Here is Sarah getting tadpoles with a 12 month old on her hip, her six year old supervising beside her, and Max deciding if walking in the mud is a good choice.  Oh, life with three!! 

This little family has become some very special friends.  Not only are our children pretty much the exact same age, Max (her three year old) is going to be in my preschool this fall, and Sarah used to teach Kindergarten too.  Sometimes you just meet a mommy and you know that you are kinder spirits, and going to be life long friends.  Thanks for joining us Sarah!  She of course has a blog too Live Laugh and Learn, and wrote about our adventure here… 

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Thanks for joining us Sarah! 

After our tadpole collecting we took the kids to the creek.  That didn’t go as planned either.  Bradley was holding Ellie’s hand while they made their way into the very shallow, but FREEZING water.  You can pretty much guess where this is going…

Bradley falls while holding Ellie’s hand and Ellie gets dragged into the freezing cold stream too.  I was proud of them, Bradley laughed it off, and Ellie didn’t get too bent out shape.  Grace was going crazy, because I was wearing her in the Eurgo and she wanted in on the action.  Not long after our spills I called it quits.  I slowly walked home two dripping, freezing children, and a screaming toddler in the Eurgo.   

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Unfortunately this is what a lot of my mornings and afternoons look like lately.  Grace crying uncontrollably over something.  Anything pretty much.  The above photo was her crying because I carried her out of the bathroom in the basement.  She kept going in there and closing the door on herself and then getting upset because she couldn’t get out.

After three children I still have no clue about the mind of a toddler.  none.

I pretty much covered what not to do on a spring adventure. 

Don’t…

Don’t drown your tadpoles in mud, it makes Kindergarteners cry. 

Don’t let your kids going into a freezing creek while they hold hands with each other. 

Don’t wear your toddler near the creek.  She will scream at you to get in the water, and go crazy when you don’t let her.

Do…

bring a friend, it always make adventures with three kids more fun.

laugh at yourself.  parenting is a humbling experience. I am constantly reminded of this, and how I often don’t know what I am doing.

bring a really big container to collect tadpoles, and a net.  They won’t drown in mud and then your children will be happy.

lessons learned.