Sunday, January 26, 2014

Snow Week

Tonight is the unofficial end of 'Winter Break part 2'.   We're just ending one full week out of school.  Monday was a holiday and Friday was a teacher prep day.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday ended up being Snow Days.
The big storm that was supposed to happen didn't really, but we did get four inches and some really cold temperatures, for this area especially.

We loved the week off!  I just wished I would've been a bit more organized and realized day to day that we might be out the whole week.  But we managed.  Here's to us facing reality again:).

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Messages .... not in a bottle

Sophia (she prefers to be called that now;)) and Kate are very artistic.  They are leaving pictures and messages taped and left all around the house.  These are two that I thought were picture worthy:).

This first one is Kate's message.  Since our hot chocolate stand last year, she's got the entrepreneurial bug and is always making and trying to sell stuff, mainly to her family.  This is what I found on our kitchen bar one afternoon.
*fresh water ... get it from the sink yourself it's free.  If I get it it's 75¢.

This one is from Sophia.  Our neighbors handed us down their trampoline and it's a huge hit.  We set it up on a Saturday and it just about killed our kids when we told them we didn't want them to jump on it on Sundays, as a Sabbath observance thing.  Well, that's not about to stop Joshua.  This picture is Sophia's interpretation of the events on that first Sunday morning after getting the tramp.
*Joshua.  Our door leading out to the deck.  Joshua going down the deck steps.  Joshua jumping on the trampoline.  Joshua at our shed.  Joshua riding his bike. Joshua on the trampoline with Wes and Kate trying to get him off.   .......... what she didn't include was Wes and Kate getting on the trampoline, jumping, and saying they were just trying to get Joshua off;).


Wesley and Kate turned eight at the end of November.  This year it ended up being the day before Thanksgiving.  Back in the summer, Matt and I invited our parents to the baptism have Thanksgiving with us.  We were surprised and excited that all four of them said yes!  We even gained the bonus of two aunts as well!  Matt's sisters, Bonnie and Laurel, haven't been to visit us in Maryland and decided to see what all the fuss was about:).

Much planning went into this.  We wanted to invite as many of our school and neighborhood friends as possible, so they could understand a little more about what makes us tick, and the church in general:).  We ended up inviting 30+ friends, and were pleased that five came, a family in our neighborhood and the principal from Wes, Kate and Sophia's school.  Our church family supported us a ton too, and we were even lucky enough to have Matt's cousin and her family come from across the bridge (D.C. area) to be with Wes and Kate (Thanks Caytee and Preston!)
 Kate was most nervous about the Bishop interview.  But after we talked about it and reminded her that Bishop Hoppes is one of the nicest people around, not to mention her good friend, she decided she wouldn't hyperventilate:).

It was a really nice day.  We were so happy to have so many family and friends share this day with us!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Operation "21 Trees"

Well, I think we're unofficially calling it quits with tree removal on this little lot of ours.  21 trees in 2 1/2 years is our official count. With those 21 trees gone, don't worry, we still have 19, and actually there are 4 others that are officially on our lot, but not within our fenced area.

The last eight came down this week - all Loblolly Pines, and all in the front yard.  This picture was after they cut down one and were started on the others.
This is what it looked like after they left.
It may not look like much of a difference in the photo, but it really opens up our lot, especially in the corner of our drive way where there were three of these beasts towering overhead.  I'm SO EXCITED!!! After raking pine needles and cones over and over and over again, I'll be happy with just leaves.

The tree guys told us we'll have to treat our yard with lime quite a bit to bring the pH back from the acidic dead that the needles caused over the past 60-75 years (we counted the rings:)).  Maybe we'll actually be able to grow real grass!  I look forward to mowing that grass instead of weeds all summer.

This was my view from the laundry room as I folded away on Monday.  It gave me great joy:).

Meanwhile, our kids have been in a natural playground heaven for the last few days.  So much so that I've declared some of their clothes unsalvageable, due to pine sap.  But it's been worth it!

Wrapping up December

We've had a really nice winter break.  Our Christmas was nice, we've spent time with extended family, and the weather went from the low 80s on Dec 22, to upper 30s a week later.  We're glad Mother Nature finally realized it was December.  The weather was crisp on Christmas Day, but sunny and beautiful, and perfectly suited for Wes to try out his new roller blades.  After a little persuading he was nice enough to let Kate have a go at them too:). 

 Sophie spent much of the time inside prancing around in her high heels and coloring her cardboard castle.    

On Friday we visited D.C. since Matt's aunt and uncle were visiting their daughter who lives north of the city.  It was so fun and we hadn't seen the train display at the Botanical Gardens since three years ago.  Joshua was totally in his element.  Seeing Thomas and Percy chugging along those tracks was probably the fulfillment of his biggest dream ever thus far.

We walked around a bit, saw the Christmas tree in front of the Capitol, then went back to the hotel for a little swim time.  That is still our children's most favorite thing to do when we go on these little jaunts. 
Saturday I got to go to an early morning temple session and then we hit the city again.  This time starting at the National Archives (we were totally surprised at how faded the Declaration of Independence is!), then went to the Ford's Theater (which was closed due to a matinee of The Christmas Carol) and then on to the White House.  Our feet (and kiddos) were pretty much done by that time.  So we made our way back to the van and headed to the temple.

We got there just as they turned on the lights, within just a few minutes it grew darker and it was beautiful!  Our children have never seen Temple Square during Christmas (I take that back, Wes and Kate were one year old), but they've seen D.C.'s temple square three years running:).

It was such a fun get away!