Monday, April 28, 2014

Scott's Run Nature Preserve (aka Our First Family Hike)

We went on our first family hike on Sunday.
To be honest, I was a little worried about how the kids would behave, but they both surprised me for walking pretty well and the only low point was when a big dog licked their face. But besides that little hiccup, no other extreme meltdowns occured so I am declaring it a success :)

If you are interested in planning your own trip, here is the scoop: We went to Scott's Run Nature Preserve, which is less than 15 minutes from our house. There are two parking lots -- the one we parked at was at the interesction of Route 193 and Swink's Mill road. From there, we took the most direct route to the Potomac River via a half-mile gravel path. At the river, we saw gorgeous views and a surprise waterfall. It took us (our family and my parents) about a hour and 15 minutes roundtrip, including some rocking-throwing, stopping for snacks, and an impromptu change of clothing for Will (the guy slipped while walking across a creek 5 minutes into the walk, haha).

Now for the photo tour:
We had to cross the creek twice. Although there were concrete stepping stones, we purposely dressed the kids in sandals because we knew they would enjoy getting their feet wet.
And they did.
The kids had a great time throwing rocks! Also, see the little waterfall in the back?
As I said, the hike was a hour and 15 minutes long and I thought it was just right for Anna (4) and Will (2.5). It could be a little shorter so Luke didn't have to carry the both of them like this toward the end:
But definitely not any longer or else we would have had fussy children at hand.

I am not an outdoorsy person, but little hikes like this where the kids can enjoy some nature-loving fun is something I can handle and hope to have more of this spring and summer.

Also over the weekend, we went to a fun birthday party. I don't know who had a better time because as much as the kids enjoyed themselves, Luke and I loved watching them having a blast. I wish I had taken videos instead to capture their laughters.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

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

Time for another edition of a-list-of-books-that-the-kids-are-reading!
|1| This is a tale about a dog who makes various animal sounds because he somehow swallowed all those animals. It’s crazy silly and the kids adore it. We have read it so many times that Anna can almost recite the entire book

|2| The first time Anna heard this book was at a story time and it captured her attention. We are not Korean and we have never had bee bim bop, but it’s a story about a little girl helping her mom in the kitchen, making dinner together. Love. It also has super cute rhymes so very fun for me to read! Plus, I love the fact that it features an Asian family and gives the kids the chance to see a family similar to ours in a picture book.

|3| I really enjoy this sweet story about a zookeeper and his animal friends and the kids seem to like it too. The illustrations are very well done. This book is only a few years old but it has such a classic feel to it. Easy to read.

|4| The illustrations are delightful and the few lines of text on each page are easy for little ones and their grown-ups to relate to and understand.
|5| We started reading the Berenstain Bears when Anna was around 2 (we have this big book collection), and at age 4 they are still a favorite around here. The stories are long, but I enjoy reading them because I grew up with them (oh memories!), and they always teach some kind of lesson.

|6| / |7| / |8| Like the Berenstain Bears, Anna enjoys all the books in the Curious George series, but I vastly prefer reading the Berenstain Bears because George is a little troublemaker. Luke doesn't like reading these books at all, though.

|9| Without a doubt, we like all Pooh bear stories around here, but this is the one we have been reading lately. I am still trying to explain the difference between a dragonfly and a dragon flying to the kids.

|10| This book is an absolute HIT with Anna and Will. As I said, many fights have already been fought over it. They can listen to the cd over and over and over.

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

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Just a few pictures

I snapped using my phone to document the Easter weekend:

I found this drawing in Anna's backpack and it made me smile. She has been drawing people since she turned 3, but the sky and sun is new. It's pretty exciting that she's adding more details to her drawings :)
We went to another egg hunt this weekend. A free one. Opened to all. And our new family motto after this event? If it's free, we are not going. Sure there were lots of goodies (full-size Reese's peanut butter eggs!) up for grabs, but there were way too many people. I was glad we paid $12 for Colvin Run Mill last weekend so at least the kids had a nice civilized egg hunt experience. This one ended with one of my kids in tears.    
On Sunday morning, I gave the kids their Easter basket. The Frozen Read-Along book was by far the most popular, many fights have already instigated from it.
It's spring planting time! We went to The Home Depot and got a couple pots of herbs, just like we always do each year. But just as we were finishing up, we tore open a new packet of sunflower seeds and scattered them through our little herb garden. Anna will be so excited if they really pop!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We are never going into DC to see those cherry blossoms again.

With little kids in tow, Luke and I just don't deal well in crowds and traffic, so this year we skipped going into DC to see the cherry blossoms and, instead, drove 10 minutes to Meadowlark Gardens. Best decision ever. Not only the blossoms were just as beautiful, but there was zero agitation and annoyance and frustration on our part. Bonus: no one photo-bombed our pictures either :) We took many pictures and I thought I would share a few of my favorites. The nice, breezy weather, combined with the gorgeous scenery of fluffy pink and white blooms, made this a perfect Sunday morning outing for our family.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, April 14, 2014

We Went on an Egg Hunt

The weather over the weekend was simply marvelous and we got to do everything that I planned and I am here to tell you all about it :)
Easter egg hunt 2014 at Colvin Run Mill. Anna waiting for the show to start.

About a week ago, I signed the kids up for an Easter egg hunt at Colvin Run Mill, the same place where we saw Santa during the holidays, and the event took place this Saturday. Despite the threatened rain, it never happened so it was a perfect spring day for hunting eggs.

The kids' excitement started way before we even left the house. After a long winter, they were thrilled to just put on shorts and short sleeves. Look at me! I want to wear my pink bike shirt! Yellow shirt! YAY! Haha, so cute.

Then after breakfast I handed each of them an empty basket for the egg hunt and they couldn't stop beaming about that. I am going to get 5 eggs! No 10! Thanks Mama, I love my basket!

They just went on and on like this for ages. And I thought it was so adorable and hilarious and beautiful and innocent and just an example of how children enjoy such simple things with sure pure joy. I watched them with a huge smile on my face.

Once we finally got there, they were practically skipping. Where are the eggs??! Can we get them now??!

The event was very organized, but there was a lot of waiting around on our part since we got two kids and they were in two different age groups. Will's group started at 10:25 and Anna's at 11:15. Luckily, walking around, taking pictures, and doing ALL the crafts that were available filled our time so it didn't seem too bad.
At home Will wants nothing to do with art projects, but here he did (or tried) them all.

As for the egg hunt, I followed Will around, but he didn't need any help looking for those colorful eggs. I was only there for moral support since all the parents were following their little ones. Anna didn't need me at all. She DASHED OFF after the countdown was done. I ran after her to get some obligatory pictures. In the end, Will got 10 eggs and Anna got 14.
One thing to note -- the ticket was $6 per kid so I expected better candy, but it was pretty much just Tootsie Rolls. No Cadbury eggs here. But along with a piece of candy in each egg, there was also a small toy such as bouncy balls, tattoos, stickers, etc. The kids liked the trinkets more.
We all had an enjoyable time at the event and I just loved watching my kids being happy :) It's the best. Any egg hunts happened for you this weekend? Got any good candies?

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Anna's Easter Party at School

Today Anna's preschool class had an Easter Party!
The goody bag that I made and Anna helped to pass out.

I, along with another mom, signed up to participate at the beginning of the school year, back when I was still working part-time. I am back on full-time status now, but I didn't want to back out on the committment so I just took the morning off from work. It's pretty great how flexible my job is and how close (2 minutes!) it is to home. It makes participating in school events possible, without having to take too much time off :)

Anyway, the other mom and I arrived just as the kids came in from the playground. We jumped right in and did a bunny nose craft with them. I was busy helping the kids with the whiskers, so no pictures got taken here. Then they washed up and had a special snack - jellybean cupcakes.

While they read books, us volunteers went outside to hide the eggs throughout the yard. Each kid had brought 3 hard-boiled eggs from home, which -- flashback -- we dyed and decorated last night when the grandparents were here:
I made my own dye (warm water, food coloring, vinegar) this year and the colors turned out much more vibrant. Then the kids decorated with stickers.

--end flashback--

Then came the biggest event of all -- the Easter egg hunt. My little hopping bunny had no problems finding the 3 eggs that she was allowed to put in her basket. She was so excited about everything. We ended up having time to spare so we hid the eggs again and the kids had two rounds of Easter egg hunt.
Group picture time!
Say "Chocolate egg!"

If the weather holds up, we will be going to two more egg hunts before Easter is over. Will is participating too! Can't wait!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones

Considering how much the kids (Will especially) love dinosaurs, I couldn't wait to take them to see dinosaur bones at the Maryland Science Center. I mean, we have only read this book for like a thousand times so of course they were going to love seeing real life bones in person, right?

Wrong! The towering full size dinosaurs scared the heck out of them and the loud roaring sound from the speakers didn't help either. It took a long time before Anna was even comfortable walking through the exhibits without freaking out. She was even too afraid to touch her favorite triceratops. So yeah...dinosaurs? We are sticking with books about them and the plush toy versions for now.
Luckily, things got better.

We had only been at the museum for less than 10 minutes when two employees separately suggested us to head straight to the Kids Room instead. So we did....and the kids finally relaxed and smiled. They both loved the water play area, but also had fun with lots of other random things, like the pinscreen and deep water fishing. It was a great place to hang out for little kids.
I think the kids could have stayed at the Kids Room a lot longer, but we had to leave catch a show at the planetarium. There were several shows to choose from, but we picked a children friendly one featuring Big Bird and Elmo. It was a spectacle of light and color and music and we all enjoyed it very much. It was the kids' first planetarium experience! Fun!
Our tickets also came with a showing of an IMAX movie. Honestly, our time could have been used more wisely had we gone back to the Kids Room or walked around other exhibits. I don't blame Will for falling asleep half way through it :)
We actually bought our tickets through a LivingSocial deal and still have two tickets left to use before the end of July. Next time, we will stay overnight at the Inner Harbor and make a weekend trip out of it.

That was our Saturday.

On Sunday morning, we went to Clemenjontri (aka "the rainbow park"). It was a gorgeous day and the park was full of people. The merry-go-round had just opened for the season so that was the first thing we did. We have been going to this park ever since Anna was a little over 1 and it's so neat to see that some of the play structures she used to struggle with are easy for her to do now. Same with Will -- I can see him navigating around easier compared to last summer. Both kids love this park! We will be back often.
That was our weekend! Pretty full and good.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

lately /

Well, after a super nutty last week, things have slowed down quite a bit. This week I have been home, waiting for some paperwork to come through before I can report to my next project. It's gonna happen any day, so in the meantime, I am doing my best to take advantage of these lazy days. If Luke's mom were still coming over to watch the kids, I would tell her not to come this week. But since we already paid for daycare, the kids still go...while I have the whole house to myself (!!). Peace and quiet...I've missed you!

Since I wasn't in a rush to get to work, the kids didn't have to rush either. Here they were on Tuesday morning, enjoying breakfast. Instead of nagging at them to hurry up, which I normally do, I picked up the phone and took this picture.
This was me taking a stroll around the neighborhood, admiring the daffodils that are (finally) popping out, before picking the kids up from daycare.
I even cleaned the stove burner! It was completely disgusting, but I am not embarrassed to show a before picture because they are now sparkly clean. After all the scrubbing, my arms were so tired that I laid in bed for about an hour. I didn't sleep, just laid there. haha, it was niiiiice :)
The weather has been great this week that after I pick up the kids, we just stay outside for a little bit longer. Last night after dinner, we went back out to play with bubbles and the kids took turn riding in the buggy. Spring is in the air! It puts me in a happy mood.
Despite of some spurts of time wasting on the Internet, I am staying pretty productive overall -- I already finished the kids' Easter baskets and put together the goody bags for Anna's Easter party at school happening next week. I purged and threw away a bunch of stuff and gave a box of toys for baby Andrew to my dad. Tomorrow I plan to take Will out of daycare in the morning so I can take him to music class (didn't think we were going to make it, but the timing is perfect). Then this weekend, we are taking the kids to see dinosaur (bones). Hope your week is going great, like mine!

[+/-] Extra Sugar!