Thursday, August 27, 2015

thursday morning catch-ups.

/1/ Today is the last day of summer program for the kids. And for Anna, it is her very last day at this school. Why do kids have to grow up? Why? WHYYYYY??? Someone pass me a tissue. She's thisclose in starting real legit school...but before she does....

/2/ we are off to sunny California tomorrow for a family vacay! Los Angeles, to be exact. Cerritos, to be even more exact. Basically, we will be 15 minutes from Disneyland. If you know anything about us, you already know that a trip to see Mickey and Minnie will be a must. Other than that, we don't have much planned or scheduled. Just going to hopefully eat lots of good authentic Taiwanese food and hit up a beach or two. I am pretty excited because sometimes the best vacation days are the unplanned ones, and if that is any indication, we are going to have an awesome time! 

/3/ But nothing is packed, and I mean NOTHING, so tonight will be busy.

/4/ The other day in the car, this funny thing happened:

Will: *ACHOO!*
Us: *crickets*
Will: Bless you to myself.

3 year olds are soooooo funny :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Our Very Own Pinnable Travel Map

This project was entirely Luke's idea. It's not perfect, but kids don't care about perfection and neither do we. He simply bought a cheap $5 map online and $2 foam boards at the Dollar Tree, and half an hour of cutting (xacto knife) and gluing (regular school glue stick did the trick) later, we got this big piece of wall decor to hang up in the kids room.

Wall decor aside though, this is a great learning tool for the kids. Now that they are older, it's time for them to be more aware of this big world of ours. The blue pin is where we live and the next place we pinned was....drum-roll....Orlando! So many memories we've had down there.
The map was shipped folded so lots of creases but it is colorful and accurate, which is the most important.
We are still trying to come up with a pinning system. I know we will pin the places that Luke and I have traveled together, as well as, of course, the places we have traveled as a family with the kids. In different colors to differentiate. But what about the places we've gone separately? I don't want to end up with a messy map so we will probably skip those.

The best thing about this project was that from the time the map showed up in the mail to completion, it was less than a week. No procrastination in getting it done! We feel so proud. I can't wait to keep adding to it and tracking our travel memories for years to come.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Day in the Life (Summer 2015) (Solo Parenting)

While solo parenting this week, I decided to document our everyday life. As I write this, summer is coming to an end for the kiddos. Next Thursday is their last day of summer school and then Anna starts ELEMENTARY SCHOOL shortly after. I am having some serious mixed emotions about it :) :( :'( :D But for now, I am putting all that aside and savoring the last few weeks of carefree summer. Also, very excited about our trip coming up!
6:17AM - The kids love it when Luke is on travel because that means MAMA BED! See that pillow at the foot of the bed? It's mine.
8:21AM - En route to school!
8:35AM - Oopsie! Drop-off this morning took longer than usual because Anna's teacher was chatting me up about reading and math. Then when I passed the bulletin board, I stopped to take some pictures because I had the camera with me. Such a fun summer they are having!

(The next 8 hours is filled with boring work stuff that no one cares about. But I've said it before and I will shout out again, I love my 3-minute commute! So even if my job is mind-numbing? It's okay because having a job that's non-stressful is great for this working mom.)
4:49PM - Home and crazy shenanigans begin.
4:52PM - This is to depict just how dirty Anna is after a day of school. Dirty clothes, dirty everything, ESPECIALLY HER TOES.
5:57PM -Dinner. Done. Dishes. Done.
6:23PM - This is what cool looks like :)
6:28PM - More shenanigans.
6:36PM - Usually practicing piano (with me) isn't her fave, but momentum was strong this night.
6:52PM - Ugh, not a fan of posting picture of myself in lounge wear, but I feel the need to put one more picture of me in this solo parenting post. Also: pretend the messy closet isn't there.
7:07PM - Both kids in the tub to get squeaky clean.

Full disclosure: I took these pictures over the course of two days, but it summarizes our typical weekday pretty well.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 17, 2015

august weekending

Last Friday, Luke and I picked up the kids early from school and headed straight for Water Mine. It was hot and sunny and I couldn't wait to check out the new splash pad and play structures that opened just a few weeks ago. And although I read attendance was up 80% due to the new expansion, I figured it couldn't be so bad on a Friday afternoon at 3pm....right?

I am sure you know where I am going with this. When we arrived, we saw the parking lot packed. Then we looked onward to the waterpark and saw it all. Ha, it was like the waterpark version of peak cherry blossoms at Tidal Basin in DC. Full full FULL of people! Luke wanted to leave right then, but the kids were sooo excited that we still parked. Unfortunately, once we finally got to the entrance, we found that the park was at full capacity, and more people standing in line to get in. More campers were coming by the bus. So we just left.

The kids were disappointed, as was I, but cheered up when I told them we could play with the water balloon when we get home. I had just bought several packs of those magic fast fill balloons and couldn't wait to try it out. Well, that activities turned out to be a bust because all the balloons had leaks. So instead of tossing the balloons, we could only sadly spray with them. The fun-filled Friday afternoon I had hoped for turned out to be a major letdown :(
Finally, we just let them play with some video games before dinner.

The next day, after an early morning Walmart run and piano lesson for Anna, we finally got our fill of waterpark. I learned about Signal Bay Waterpark a couple of months ago when Anna received a birthday invitation. We RSVP'ed to go, but it got rained out and the rescheduled date was during our Williamsburg vacation. I am so glad we decided to check it out on our own because this was a PERFECT waterpark for my little kids.

Everything was calm and gentle, no dumping buckets or big sprays, and the deepest area was a mere foot. Anna and Will went down the slides countless times, they laughed, they splashed, they had a ball!
This was the main pool area. Such a fun paradise for little kids.
"This is my favorite waterpark!"
Two hours of water fun later, we went to Luke's parents' house for a visit. His parents are so awesome at growing their own fruits and vegetables. I wish we had land to do what they do. But it's equally awesome to get all the goodies without doing actual labor :)  The kids picked some tomatoes right off the vine in the picture above.

Then Sunday.

The kids and I built this Lego SpongeBob set together in the morning. I think we received this set as a gift when Will was still a baby so we've had this stashed in the closet for over 3 years now. Will said, "I like this Lego because it moves." I have to admit, it was surprisingly cool.
Then we went to Mosaic District. At first I thought the kids had outgrown the spray area at the Mosaic District, but they still enjoyed it through and through. Love the look of pure happiness on their faces.
We happened across the farmer's market (every Sunday @ Mosaic) and those big ripe peaches smelled delicious. The kids picked the four biggest peaches they could find and it was $11 for all (absurd!), but we later had two after lunch and they were so juicy and sweet and really really good!
Last picture from the weekend. The Perler beads kept the kids busy for a while in the lazy afternoon :)
How was your weekend? Hope you enjoy your week. I am solo parenting until Friday, so I will be busy to say the least, probably losing my mind a little.

*keep calm. deep breath*

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

summer at Meadowlark Gardens

Our annual pass to Meadowlark Gardens is expiring at the end of the month so we squeezed in one last trip over the weekend. Here is a photo tour!
^^We saw many butterflies fluttering about!^^
^^Kids leading the way. This picture reminds me of this one.^^
^^Goofing off at the gazebo.^^
^^Looking for fish.^^
^^A family shot at the Korean Bell Garden.^^
^^My munchkins.^^

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sum Sum Summertime

On Saturday, my parents and I took the kids to see The Great Zucchini (a popular comedy and magic entertainer here in DC) at Burke Lake Park. We sat outside in the amphitheater, under the shade of trees, and the kids delightfully laughed at corny jokes and silly props. Haha, it was a hilarious 45 minutes for them. Even though the show was geared toward the preschool & kindergarten crowd, there were parts of the show that made me go, "hey, how did he do that??" So it wasn't entirely boring for me either.

The event was part of the local annual Arts in the Parks series and I am glad that we caught a performance this summer because the kids are at a perfect age to enjoy it. Psst - for the locals - if you are interested, there are two weeks left in the series and TGZ is performing at other local venues. See here for the schedule.

After the kids got enough belly laughs, we did the usual quintessential Burke Lake activities.

The miniature train...
(Here is a trip down memory lane. The first time Anna rode on the train was when she was 16 weeks old. And Will's at 10 months.)

and, of course, the carousel.
While waiting for the carousel, the kids are I took some selfies. We took a bunch and this was the best one. #notthatgreat #picturewithmeinit
I thought it was very thoughtful of me to take some bread for the kids to feed the geese that's all over Burke Lake. They came face to face with the birds and enjoyed this last activity before heading home.
The one thing I wanted to do was take a picture of the kids in front of the train station (L picture below was from 7/2014) for a picture comparison. I thought about it the entire time, but after the train and carousel, the kids ran straight for the playground. And after the playground, we ate a picnic lunch and the plan totally escaped my mind. When I remembered, we had already driven away to another part of the park to feed geese. I thought about driving back, but ended up just taking their picture near the lake.

It still turned out fine, I guess :)
burke lake 2014_2015

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

On most days,

Luke drops the kids off at school and he's speedy about it. But whenever I get to do it, like this morning, I like to linger. I like to talk to the teachers, look at the school bulletin for news, and, if they are out on the playground, spy on them from the parking lot as I leave.

Today when I sneaked my last peek, they were swinging side by side, having a great time.

I smiled as I drove away.

This sibling pair is really loving their time together this summer...but we are less than 4 weeks away from the end.

I am feeling nostalgic already.     

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 3, 2015

waterpark day at Atlantis

I had been wanting to take the kids to a local waterpark for a while now and we finally made it happen over the weekend!
The Atlantis Waterpark was a lot of fun for the entire family. There was a large main pool that offered splashing and swimming, and it included a play island with slides on the side. Then there was a climb structure with dumping buckets, sprayers, showers, more slides. And finally, a wading pool for kids 6 and under!

Note: We didn't go on the two biggest slides (the yellow and red in the picture above) and there was also a sandpit area that we didn't use.

We started off at the wading pool. The kids went on the fun octopus slide over and over. At the bottom of the slide was a nice thick padding, so perfect for their little bums. Anna wanted to spend the whole morning there, but eventually we made our way to the main pool. Will fell in love with the more thrilling slides there and, after a couple of rounds, we didn't even have catch him anymore.

I already knew that their least favorite part would be the climb structure and I was right. Still, they tried for a bit and I was fine with whatever they wanted to do.
I didn't take many pictures because I was busy making memories instead, but I wish I could have captured the pure joy splashed on their faces.

We stayed for 2 hours and paid $16.50 for the adults. Kids got in free -- thank you, summer reading program! I read online that food and beverages were prohibited so I didn't bring any, but I saw several people with their own food out in the open and no one stopped them... The park wasn't crowded on a Saturday morning and the facilities were clean.

Overall, a very nice waterpark!
As I said before, we don't have access to a pool. I only wish Atlantis was closer to us (it was a 30-minute drive, but on the way to visit Luke's parents). If it was closer, I would buy the season pass.

As we were leaving, Will summed it up, "I had a great day!"

[+/-] Extra Sugar!