Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Williamsburg (Memorial Day Weekend 2014)

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We just got back from a little mini vacation to Williamsburg. I have said it before but I will say it again, I love that Williamsburg is an easy destination for us. It’s only a couple of hours away and, the way we do it, super affordable. The entire long weekend (3 nights) was around $350 for 5 people (my mom joined us). Our 2 bed/2 bath condo at Greensprings Vacation Resort was $150 and the rest was spent on food and gas. Not bad at all.

But I will be real and say that it wasn’t all happy times on the vacation. My normally happy child displayed some troubling 2-year-old behavior. All weekend long we heard “I want Mamaaaa!” and “Noooooooooo” and “I want uuuupppp” and “Whyyyyyyyyy”.

Man, it was rough for all of us.

But when he wasn't cranky, we did get a few smiles out of him.
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On a brighter side, Anna was so good. Except for a few complaints about being hot, she enjoyed everything we did, from playing in the river to walking around Colonial Williamsburg to swimming in the pool. She did awesome. Her favorite part of the trip? Swimming and eating pizza. Haha.
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I can’t believe I only took a little over 100 pictures. A lot of them were repeats too. I guess one of the best things about vacationing at the same place annually (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) is that there isn't a need to document every second. It was nice to put the camera away and just focus on the present.
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How was your long weekend? Hope you had a good one!

This is just for me since the I set the photos to private, but here are the rest.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

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

We went to the library over the weekend and checked out 23 books. And now that we have read all of them, here are the favorites:
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|1| This rhyming story really captures the imagination of childhood and such a fun read to boot. Definitely give it a try :) It's my personal favorite out of the batch.

|2| This book is adorable. Little Apple Goat lives on a farm and she loves apples, pears, and cherries! Little did she know that when she plippety plip those pits and seeds over the hedge, she would actually end up saving the day! The story is very simple and the illustrations are vivid. Now that Anna is old enough to fully understand the stories that we read, I always ask her to guess the book endings. She nailed this one.

|3| A book on dinosaurs is sure to win Will over. This is a quick read with only a few words on each page.

|4| Super cute story about a clever spider who longs to be the family's pet. Very fun to read and the kids giggled at the last page. Read it, I don't want to spoil the ending.

|5| I first learned about this classic book at a story time. It is a short story that teaches patience and perseverance. On a separate note, we have been teaching Anna about lying and telling the truth. She commented, "The little boy's family lied to the boy. They said the carrot wouldn't come up and it did." I set her straight, but this just goes to show that there are things to be learned from every book. I enjoyed talking to her about it.
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|6| This is a cute story of a boy and a bear who lose their teddy bears and get them mixed up. A good read with great rhythm to it.

|7| Not the greatest lesson is being taught in this book, but the rhymes are cute (although sometimes a bit awkward) and Anna completely gets the story. Her reaction: "This is a bad duck. I am going to eat him."

|8| I love the repetition of words, but not only that, the whimsy illustrations provide a lot to talk about. I think a great question to ask the kids at the end is what do THEY think the Rabbit has in the suitcase for THEM.

|9| A sweet picture book that tells the story of a friendship between a frog and a dog. I like that it is different because it doesn't have a happily-ever-after ending. Also to note is that the watercolor illustration is beautiful!

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

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Monday, May 19, 2014

I Wanna Be A Cowgirl In A Rodeo Show

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The weather was perfect for the annual May Day at Anna’s school and, despite some pre-stage jitters, my little cowgirl did great and wore a smile on her face the entire time. I wish my battery didn’t die in the middle of her performance, but alas it did so I only have the first half of the show share. Insert sad face here.  

Her class is pretty big so it might be hard to find her, but at the beginning of the video, Anna is standing next to one of the teachers, directly facing the camera.

I am also bummed that I didn’t get a group picture, like we did last year. I really wanted to continue that tradition, to compare how big the kids have gotten. However, my dad couldn’t make it because he was sick at home and Will’s fever spiked during the show so it was a rush to get home to get some medicine in him. Oh well, next year.

I can’t believe that another school year is almost coming to an end. After the summer she will return to this school for one more year and then it’s off to big-kid school in 2015. How did that happen?! I am once again telling myself to slow down and enjoy and not sweat the small stuff. It's all going by too fast.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Mama's Test Kitchen: Guacamole

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Avocado is a new favorite of mine. As of late, my idea of a simple yet delicious dinner is hot rice and sliced avocado wrapped in roasted seaweed (like these, found at Asian grocery stores). I can't get enough of the creamy texture of the avocado, along with the saltiness from the seaweed. Yum! In fact, I am having it for dinner tonight and I can't wait. Is it 5:15 yet?

So because of my newfound obsession with avocado, hubs decided to make some guacamole for Mother’s Day. We used it as a dip for tortilla chips, but one day I decided to pair it with shredded roasted chicken and toasted flour tortilla. Equally yum!

Do you like avocado? How do you eat it?
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A review on Guacamole:
Result: 4 out of 4
Will I make it again: Definitely, yes. Maybe for a crowd next time so I don’t feel like an oink-er for eating it all.
Chef’s Notes: Lots of chopping involved, but the hubs is super good at that. Also I feel all the ingredients were essential and none should be omitted. We followed the recipe exactly and it turned out super.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Oxon Hill Farm and National Harbor

Over Mother’s Day weekend, we explored some place new locally -- Oxon Hill Farm. I have read about Oxon Hill Farm on several DC blogs and they all said the same thing: it’s a great place for little kids. In honor of Mother’s Day, I had no problems getting the hubs to agree on this outing so off we went.
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Oxon Hill Farm is operated by the National Park Service and located within minutes of National Harbor, which we ended up stopping by for a dessert lunch.  

The great part about Oxon Hill is that all the animals are spread out, so the kids can run around a little (the other farm we go to, Frying Pan Park Farm, has all the animals close together). Plus, it is extremely scenic and serene, which made us feel like we were transported to some idyllic countryside. I would have loved to catch one of the daily programs or special events, but they are all currently canceled until further notice.

During our visit there, we saw cows, rabbits, chickens (the kids’ FAV), and horses.

They loved chasing that white hen (on the left) that flew out of the coop.
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In the visitor center, there is a children’s area full of toys to play with.
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We didn’t stay at the farm long…the heat and the stickiness were starting to get to the kids…so we skipped on over to National Harbor, which is a new-ish waterfront plaza full of hotels, shops, and restaurants. We hung out at the sandpit for a bit and Anna said, "How come we didn't bring our beach toys?" So we left pretty quickly and went shopping instead. They ended up getting a t-shirt each at the Peeps store (seen here in yesterday's post).
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Instead of a sit-down meal, we had four scoops of ice cream for lunch, shared by the four of us. The kids were in heaven. Anna couldn't wait for a spoon to dig in.  
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The kids happily ran up and down the pier, which was without any barriers. It was nerve-wracking every time they got close to the edge, but we made it out just fine. The clouds were starting to roll in by then, so left just before our 2-hour parking limit was up. As we drove home, it POURED.
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The kids didn't fall asleep in the car so they took a nice long nap when we got home. Then we had an easy dinner and watched Tangled for the first time. Mother Gothel scared Anna, but we actually watched the movie from start to finish. That never happens! Now instead of listening to Frozen in the car on repeat, we listen to Tangled. :) Such a great day before Mother's Day.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's Day 2014

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all those who celebrated :)

Mother’s Day may be a relaxing day if you have grown up children who take you out to brunch, but when you are a mother of two little kids, it’s business as usual.

Actually, I take it back. We did have a nice day and I got the one thing I wanted – a picture with both kids. We were ALL in the kitchen, waiting for my parents to come over for dinner, while frying up some crab cakes, and I took that opportunity to grab the kids and asked the hubs for a picture. Sure it wasn’t with a real camera, but this is us on Mother’s Day 2014.

Don’t I look tired, but happy and content? My life is so full with these two.
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Since we have two other moms (the grandmas!) in our lives, Sunday was all about spending time with them. But on Saturday, our little family went on a little outing on our own because hubs knows that nothing makes me happier than exploring nearby places. I will write about that in another post.

Anna came home from school with a little present for me in her backpack on Friday. She was so excited and proud and wanted to put a picture in it immediately. Heh, I found one from two years ago and even THAT was a challenge. 
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Will's 2.5 Years Old Update

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- Will is about to reach another milestone – turning two and HALF!

- For once I am actually early in writing this update, so in no particular order, here are some things I want to remember about him at this stage:

- He is a social creature and loves to be around other people. He shines in public, plays well with other kids, and likes to smile at strangers. I think these are some of his best traits. He’s a level-headed guy for the most part, although he has his own quirks, I honestly do not remember true tantrums from him.

- Will is thoughtful and caring. It warms my heart to see him trying to cheer Anna up whenever she’s down or wanting to share things with her. Sometimes I think HE is the more mature one.

- Will loves Anna something fierce. They love to play together and most of the time it's full of laughter and not so many tears. Putting on shows and dancing together are their favorite activities. It's the best to see my two children get along and LOVE each other a majority of the time.

- He says the sweetest things. Anna is heavy into being Elsa from Frozen right now and often ties a blanket around her neck and pretends that it is a cape. One morning just as he woke up and he saw Anna sitting on the bed with her cape on, he said sleepily, “You are beautiful, Anna.”

- He says he wants to get married. We ask him who he wants to marry and he says “I want to marry Anna.”

- His language has really exploded and he talks to us all day long. Everything is “why?”

Me: It's time for bed.
Him: Why?
Me: Because it's sleep time.
Him: Why?
Me: Because it's dark.
Him: Why?
Me: Because the sun is down and the moon is up.
Him: Why?
Me (getting annoyed so I threaten him): Head down. Now. I am going to count to three. One...two....
Him (puts his head down): Goodnight love you mama.

- Will is my mama’s boy. He likes to run and shout and play, but at night, he climbs into our bed and snuggles right up next to me, even though there is plenty of space on the other side.

- He knows everyone’s favorite color. But most importantly, I want to remember that his favorite color right now is YELLOW. He already told me he wants a yellow dinosaur birthday party.

- Since my last update on him at 2 years and 2 months old, he went through a very big change – starting daycare! It took him about a week to adjust to the change, but now he loves it. He plays with two little kids right around his age and has a great time. Even though it sucks that Luke’s mom doesn't come to watch the kids anymore, I believe it all worked out for the best. Will is getting the socialization he needs.

- He has been pretty good about using the potty whenever we put him on it. So last Friday, after a successful pee in the potty, I put him in his first underwear ever. Oh my gosh, SO CUTE :) But in under 10 minutes, he went through two pairs of underwear and made a mess on the couch. We will try again when the weather is warm enough for him to play bottomless outside (in our screen-in porch).

- Oh, but I want to remember the fact that whenever he needs to poop, instead of telling us that, he says, “I am going to hide now.” THAT right there is my cue to put him on the potty.

- I really hope he will be potty trained before September so he can start going to school! This fall, he will be 2 years and 10 months old, which is the exact age when Anna started school. My plan is for both kids to go to school in the morning (Mon-Fri, 9-12pm), and then find a half-day in-home daycare or part-time nanny for the afternoon. I wish their current daycare has a half-day option….then all my worries would be solved.

- Will recently attended a 4 year old girl’s birthday party at The Little Gym and he had the best time. He wasn't at all shy or intimated around bigger kids – I was so proud of him and loved every second of watching him play. I think having his sister there helped him loosen up, but in the end, he was bolder and more daring than Anna.

- This last bullet is about me: I am so lucky to be mama to this awesome kid.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Burke Lake Park: train, carousel, bugs

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We go to Burke Lake Park at least once a year. It's a popular place for the kids because they get to ride on the miniature train and the carousel. And thanks to my mom's county employee status, we get to do it all for free. A pretty sweet deal if you ask me. I wish we lived closer so we could make it a daily trip.
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We normally leave Pesto at home whenever we go out, but this time he came along with us. The kids loved walking him and I am sure Pesto loved being included.

Will has developed an irrational fear of bugs. He wails and screams to be picked up whenever he sees them. Sometimes in the bathtub, he will say there is a bug in his ear when in fact it is just a drop of water. On this trip, he commented, "There are so many bugs all around." Beyond the whole bug thing, he's so good at communicating and speaking in full sentences now. I will have to do a 2.5 year old update on him this month before I forget all about this stage. I still think of him as my little baby, but he's growing up fast.
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Burke Lake has a fairly long trail that wraps around the lake and while walking a little section of it, we came across this family of ducklings.
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Overall, it was a short, easy trip :)

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