Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fall Festival-ing

Back when Anna was just starting to get sick and the rest of us were still healthy, we had tickets to a fall festival that were “use-it-or-lose-it.” So of course we had to use it. Judging by Anna’s smiles, it wasn’t like we dragged her and she had a horrible time. But regardless of the fun the kids enjoyed, the festival was definitely lame and I am here to give you a full report :)
_DSC1412
Weeks ago, Luke emailed me at work and told me that he bought a deal off LivingSocial – tickets for two adults and two kids to the 1st Annual Tysons Fall Harvest. It was $20...which actually didn't save us a whole lot because kids under 16 were free and adult tickets were $10 had we purchased in advance anyway. The package did give us some freebies that we would otherwise had to pay for, such as the petting zoo, bouncy house, and hay ride (which ended up being canceled due to insurance reasons). Anyway, it was just a fair deal for our family, but I assumed that since there was an admission fee, the festival should be pretty good, right?

WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. SO WRONG.

It was nothing but vendor booths with a few kiddie attractions (that cost extra money)! For the past 2 years, we had gone to Fall for Fairfax, which I disliked because it was just all marketing but at least that was free. So having to pay $20 for the same thing was ridiculous. Haha, I sound annoyed, but really I wasn't. The whole week we hyped up the event by telling the kids that they were going to go on pony rides and getting their faces painted. So when they got to do exactly just that, they had a great time. And it was fun for us to see them happy.

Stuff we did:

A $3 pony ride around a circle that lasted less than a minute. On the bright side, the kids enjoyed their first riding experience and we were first in line so no wait!
_DSC1424
On the event website, it read, "Enjoy the Hay Maze for FREE all day ... try not to get lost!" Um...how could you possibly get lost when the hay bales were only, like, a foot tall? Will sure had fun leaping, though. Just look at him go in the picture below.
_DSC1394
We also visited the petting zoo (freebie through the LivingSocial deal) and did pumpkin bowling (also a freebie because of the missing hay ride that was promised), although instead of rolling with a pumpkin, like advertised on the website, it was just with a ball. Whaaaa?
_DSC1392
Anna really wanted to get her face painted so we let her do it ($8). She picked Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony which was perfect since she's really into that show right now. Will skipped the face painting and went to the bouncy house instead (another freebie).
_DSC1430
To sum it up - I would be shocked if there was a 2nd annual Tysons Fall Harvest. You definitely won't find us there again. With that said, the kids didn't want to leave when we finally left.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, October 27, 2014

stomach flu, go away, don't come back ever again.

Wow – I did not mean to be away from the blog for more than a week. But I have good reasons. Two Fridays ago Anna woke up in the middle of the night, puking – not once, not twice, but FIVE times – up her entire dinner. I spent that night half-awake, listening for the sound of gagging so I could rush to her room to catch whatever she was throwing up.

For the next few days, she didn't have appetite for anything. I honestly can’t remember what she ate, probably because nothing at all. We kept her from school on Monday and took her to the doctor. The doctor confirmed that she did have a stomach bug but it was working its way out of her system. We sent her back to school on Tuesday. She was still weak, but ok otherwise.

Just as she was getting her strength back, it was my turn. Body aches, chills, nausea, vomiting, the works. It was bad timing because Luke was having a busy week at work and I was basicially solo-parenting. Man, it was ROUGH. He got us take-out food so I didn't have to worry about cooking, but that food actually didn't get touched until he ate it himself days later. I survived on water and toasts because I couldn't stomach anything else.

Shortly after I started my bug, Will got it too. Oh yes, that meant 75% of our household wasn't feeling so hot. Three miserable people in one germ-filled house. Will missed three days of school...but luckily daycare still took him so when I took time off from work to rest myself, I could just curl up in bed instead of taking care of him.

It has taken an entire week for the three of us to feel all better, but just as we thought we were in the clear, Luke started feeling queasy last night. If he follows the exact same pattern as us, he should be better by the end of the week. I am just grateful that this is happening now and not in EXACTLY 9 DAYS when we are off to Disney World. At least timing was on our side.
_DSC1381
When you are sick in this household, you get Popsicles and TV.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Will's First School Picture Ever

School pictures....they are the best! Can't wait to collect them all!
WChong-School_Potrait_2014
(Will, taken on 9.30.14, at 2 years and 10 1/2 months old)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

first "fall foliage" outing of the season

_DSC1359
Earlier this week, my parents and I took the kids for a short trip to Great Falls Park. It was raining so I had second thoughts before we left the house, but I was glad that we threw on our rain coats and went anyway. It turned out the kids really enjoyed the little outing..probably more so BECAUSE of the rain. Their reactions to the falls were anticlimatic, but they skipped and ran enthusiastically everywhere else. Had it not started raining extra hard all of a sudden, we probably would have walked a trail, but on that day we just went to the three overlooks within 5-10 minutes of the visitor center. The first outlook was the best. It had an obscured view of the falls, but I liked it because of the big rocks that we had to scramble over. The kids did just fine even though the rocks were wet and slippery. I used to think that they are still too young (4.5 and almost-3) to do any real hikes, but they are definitely capable.
_DSC1320
Because of the weather, the park was nearly empty. From personal experience, I know that on nice days, cars line up just to get in. Unfortunately though, we were a few weeks too early to catch the vibrant fall colors that I was looking for, but the view of the waterfalls was pretty just the same. I took this picture at Overlook 2.
_DSC1349
_DSC1377
I asked the kids if they enjoyed the park and received a resounding, "Yes!" :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pumpkin pumpkin big and fat...

Happy Columbus Day! School is closed and I have the day off too. If the weather holds up, my parents and I are going to Great Falls Park to hopefully catch the beginning of fall foliage. It's so nice to have an extra day off :)

This weekend we carved the tiny pumpkins we harvested from our yard. And this year, by "we," I am not completely lying. They kids actually sort-of participated. First I got them to pose with their pumpkins and make the faces they want the hubs to carve:
pumpkincarving2014
Then we put papers down on the table and got started. After Luke cut off the tops, we asked the two of them to help clean the inside. They were reluctant...although I definitely see improvement from last year. Anna daintily picked out the seeds one by one, but Will refused to lay one finger on it. He kept on saying, "Yuuuuuck!" So Luke scraped everything out for him with a spoon and left one seed inside and told Will to get that one seed out or else no jack-o-lantern for him. Instead of reaching in, he turned the pumpkin over and dumped the seed out. Haha. So yup, he helped too.

Then Luke carved and Anna entertained us with a rhyme she learned at school.

Anna decided she wanted a little smirk and, of course, Will's is his signature wink-y eye smile. We put the jack-o-lanterns in the kids room, as an additional night light for them. I am glad the kids swiped those battery-operated lights from Uncle Paul's wedding :) So useful they turned out to be.
_DSC1290
So did you carve pumpkins this year yet? After Halloween I am going to hit up Target and see if I can find any no-carving decorating kits on sale...will have to try those next year!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Anna and Will, an Update

It’s time for an update on my favorite sibling pair!

I will start with Will.

Will has been attending school for over a month now and things are going great. Sure he has a touch of separation anxiety whenever I drop him off, but at noon when we pick him up, he always says, “I had a great day!” Right now because of our work schedules, my dad picks up Will the most often and takes him to daycare. I am glad that my dad is available to help or else we would never be able to swing this arrangement. As much as I like Will’s school and daycare, I hope once he turns 3, a spot in the 3’s class at Anna school will open up and Will can attend the same school as Anna. That would make my life a lot simpler! But in the meantime, Will is thriving at school and even though he says he doesn't like school, I know he enjoys it. I just love digging through his backpack to find art projects and hearing the songs he sings to himself. It’s so nice for him to be in a more structured environment rather than the homey environment at his daycare.

Will continues to be a mellow little fella who love love loves to snuggle with me. He falls asleep in his own bed, but comes over to sleep between me and the hubs in the middle of the night. This may be a big no-no for some families, but honestly? I kind of love it. He’s my little snuggle buddy and sometimes he wakes me up by laying on top of me and pressing his face against mine. Just this morning he wouldn't get off of me because he wanted to "snuggle with you (me) all day long." Haha, so sweet and funny. He gives kisses and just so darn affectionate. I never expected this from a boy, especially since the girl I have is quite the polar opposite!

Right now, I will say that Will needs a lot of practice in fine motor skills. Even before Anna turned 3, she knew how to hold a pencil correctly and use scissors properly. Will? Not so much. He’s nowhere near knowing how to draw people, he has a hard time peeling stickers, and he has no clue about using glue sticks. But the good thing about having an older sister is that whenever he sees her do doing homework, he is curious about it. And little by little, I am sure he will catch up.

The most notable thing about Will is that he’s almost always happy. The only time he cries is when he’s hurt or when I spank his bum. Being physically hurt and cry is one thing, but I think when I spank him, it’s the emotional hurt that he feels. I’ve mentioned before that Will is a sensitive soul and this is definitely a perfect example. He will cry and cry after a spanking unless we make up (ie. hug it out). He still asks, “Mama, are you happy?” all the time. I’ve learned that he gets really stressed out if I say, “No.” So now I just say, “Yes, I am always happy when I am with you.”

It’s hard believe my boy will be 3 soon. For his birthday, he tells me he wants a dinosaur party and everything yellow. We will probably have a very small gathering for him, filled with all his favorite things, but the biggest celebration of all is that we will be heading to Disney World again right around his birthday! Can’t wait to see how he will enjoy Disney second time around.
_DSC1242
This is turning into a novel so I will keep it short for Anna.

Now that Anna goes to a bigger-kid school, she sputters out all kind of smart stuff, like “It’s fall and winter here, but spring and summer at other places because the Earth rotates around the sun.” Or she suggests that at the dinner table if anyone wants to talk, he/she should raise hand so we don’t talk over each other. She asks intelligence questions, like where we get our food or where do animals go in the winter. She's learning sight words, learning to read ("They want me to read. I don't know how to read, I am only 4!"), and learning to write. It’s such a big difference -- before at her old school, all she ever said was that she “played” and the classroom job she had for the day, but now she has a lot more to share. I love hearing her stories. Beside her core class, she’s also enjoying the extras, like music, computer, tumbling, and ballet. Everything is her favorite.

Of course she still gets a tad upset whenever I drop her off, but I think the intensity of it is definitely a lot lower than before. I just make it quick, “Love you! Have fun!” And whenever I pick her up, she’s always smiling so I take it that it’s all good. We have a parent-teacher meeting coming up and I will learn more about her progress. I am looking forward to hearing what her teachers have to say about her.

Anna just turned 4.5 years old and I think she takes after my introverted personality. She’s happy with just having one friend at school and when I took her to a birthday party a couple of weeks ago, she was perfectly fine with being on her own instead of following the crowd. It was a party at the Little Gym and she wasn't shy about trying new things, but I can tell that Anna dances to the beat of her own drum. She isn't a follower, nor a leader, but she’s just herself. I see a lot of myself in her. When I was little, I was anxious about school, wasn't a social butterfly, and was OK with being alone. But while I was painfully shy and soft-spoken, Anna isn't afraid to speak her mind.

Here is why.

This Sunday we went to Meadowlark Gardens and, while playing at the children's section, other kids came along and they all started conversing. In one instance, an older boy egged Anna to sit on a decorative garden structure, which was very apparent that it was NOT for sitting. When Anna refused, he got on himself to demonstrate. The hubs and I watched the whole thing unfold. Instead of following along, she stood her ground and said, "No, you are not supposed to do that!" and walked away. Luke and I were so proud of her! Then another group of children (siblings I think) came over and wanted Anna and Will to leave where they were sitting. Again, Anna spoke up and eventually the group left them alone. Luke and I were so happy with her that, on the way home, we went to McDonald's for a treat!
halloween2014
Right now both kids are anticipating Halloween. Will asks, "Are we going to Halloween?" all the time. Haha. We tell him, "Halloween is not a place you go, buddy." They both have their costumes ready and Halloween parade & party at school, which I will surely join them for the festivities. Being a working mom can be downright crazy and tiring and frustrating, but 99.999999% of the time, I wouldn't trade this for anything in the world.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Can you spy the baby guppies?!

baby guppies

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

a list of books that the kids are reading / sept 2014

What have you been reading to the kids lately? Here are some good ones we are reading!
sept14books1
|1| I think this is a book that all families can relate to -- the importance of intentionally spending time together. When I read it to the kids, we talked about the illustrations and Anna was able to tell the story in her own words just from the pictures. I like that it’s a quick read but with a profound message :)

|2| Will has been learning about colors and mixing colors at school so this book is a hit with him. It’s also a win for me as well because I like books that are easy and quick to read. This book is both.

|3| The hubs read this book and we all listened. Such a cute and fun book with clever rhymes, just like all other Julia Donaldson books. My other favorite books by the same author is What the Ladybug Heard, The Snail and the Whale, and Room on the Broom (perfect for Halloween).

|4| Iggy Peck is no regular toddler -- he makes towers out of diapers, cathedrals out of apples, and a chateau of chalk. This book encourages imagination and perseverance, which are both great things. Highly recommend! I will have to pick up the companion book, Rosie Revere, Engineer from the library.

|5| You can't go wrong with any of the Elephant and Piggie books. My kids always get a kick out of them and it's great for teaching word recognition.

|6| I am a 36-year-old grown woman and I really REALLY like this book. Lots of pictures, not too many words, and hilariously funny and sweet.
sept14books
|7| I love this book and author. The story is so cute and simple with great drawings. It's definitely a book that I can read over and over again and not get tired of it.

|8| I can't comment on this one because Luke read it to the kids. I got it based on the raving reviews on Amazon -- a perfect 5-star....I had to give it a try.

|9| I loved the Berenstain Bears growing up and now we are slowly reading through every single book in the series with the kids. With Halloween coming up, this book is perfect. This one actually has 3 stories, all with just the right amount of spookiness and all with happy endings.

|10| A super cute story about friendship and taking turns! We all love it and I have already reserved more books by Helen Cooper at the library. Seriously, I am a new fan.

|11| Since we grew our own pumpkins this year, this was a fitting book to read. My kids are probably too young to fully understand the science behind it, but the illustrations are great. I will probably check it out from the library again next year when they are older.

|12| This is a funny, charming Halloween story that introduces some of the traditional frightening monsters of Halloween like a green-faced witch, vampire, ghost, bat, and a mummy but in a non-scary fun-filled way. Great book!!

--
how we borrow library books, books from april 2014, books from nov 2013, books from sept 2013, books from april 2013

[+/-] Extra Sugar!