Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Don’t Know What You Mean By…

Recently, Dakota figured out how to activate Siri on my phone and she taught Harper. There is nothing that makes them happier than to walk around the house talking to Siri. Harper asks her all kinds of questions and Dakota just screams incoherently into the mic. Siri understands about as much as I do when it comes to Dakota.

Here are a few screen shots.

This one is from Dakota:

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Usually, when Dakota screeches into the phone, all Siri says is “I don’t know what you mean” or “I don’t know what you said there”, so the fact that she heard words was pretty remarkable.

These next two are from Harper:

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The one’s above were so funny because Harper kept saying “What is a pinion?” Siri!! What is a pinion! Can you show me what a pinion is!?” Then, he turned to me and said “Mama, Siri won’t show me what a pinion is”. He seemed so…disappointed.

This last one was a combo of something I was saying while Harper was trying to ask her something…

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I don’t really remember what was happening, but I’m pretty sure he was standing on something or jumping off of something and I wanted him to sit. Story of my life right there.

Zoe’s 10

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  1. Zoe’s been home a lot these past couple of weeks. At the beginning of the school year she wasn’t coming home much, but she’s been around a bit more than usual as of late. It’s fine with me, I like when she pops in for a visit, even if it’s short.
  2. She’s doing awesome in school, but oddly enough the class giving her the most trouble is Poetry! Isn’t that weird? I’d think that poetry would be pretty subjective and not too difficult, but I guess I’m wrong!
  3. She’s working at a country club but isn’t getting very many hours. Some weekends she’ll only work one day, others two. She tends to work a lot of weddings and last weekend she babysat kids for a tailgate party. She doesn’t love it or hate it…money’s money.
  4. She and Brandon are still dating. They see each other quite often as he visits her at the campus a lot. He’s also here when she is so they’ve been able to keep a manageable relationship despite their distance.
  5. She’s decided to be a vegetarian. I guess it’s been a bit over a month since she quit eating meat, and she’s still going strong. It’s something she’s always wanted to do and now seems like the time to give it a whirl.
  6. She’s also cut WAY back on her caffeine habit. This past summer she was drinking coffee all. the. time. Now she has a cup every once in awhile…wish I had some of her willpower!
  7. She loves to come home and see her siblings. The first thing she does when she gets here is give everyone great big hugs. They love to see her too (except Kota who acts like she’s never seen her before in her entire life) and enjoy spending time with her. It usually doesn’t take Kota long to warm up to Zoe though, mostly because Zoe just grabs her and gives her love…who wouldn’t warm up to that?
  8. Zoe’s very active in Relay for Life at Towson. She goes to all the meetings and is doing her best to raise awareness for the group.
  9. She got up very early (5am) to go somewhere in Baltimore to help out with a breast cancer walk. If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is! :)
  10. She’s still my baby. She calls when she needs help, texts when she’s feeling sick, comes home when she’s needing love and tells me she loves me at the end of every conversation. She’s a lovie.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Autumn Nature Jars

After today’s Halloween Party, we were pooped. Dakota took a long nap while Harper relaxed and I put away all the leftover party stuff.

After I drove Landon to Huntington, the two littles, Tony and I went on a nature hunt. We were looking for all kinds of nature to make autumn nature jars.

Harper and I talked a little bit about what “nature” was and he happily looked for different things outside. It didn’t last too long and before I knew it I was pushing Dakota in the swing and Harper was jumping on the trampoline…

Somehow we got back to the reason we went out in the first place though, and it wasn’t too long before we had enough to make interesting jars.

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We gathered rocks, leaves, berries, sticks, pinecones and flowers. Once we got everything inside we put our treasures into the jars. Dakota had one and Harper had the other. We added a little oil to the jars and then filled them up to the top with water. Once the jar was full we added a few drops of red and yellow food coloring…and voila, autumn nature jars.

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I think they’ll enjoy looking at these tomorrow when the sun’s shining through the jars and they can see the different things shifting around inside.

Mom’s Club Halloween Party

Today was Harper and Dakota’s Halloween party with the Mom’s Club bunch. Since I’m taking over the party planning position, we had a lot to do to get ready.

We got to the party place around 9:30am to set up and we didn’t leave until about 12:15pm. We had games (pumpkin bowling and witch hat ring toss) crafts (coloring pages and a few kits I picked up at Michaels) food (by the ton!) and we even played a few games (Duck Duck Goose, Red Light Green Light and Ring Around the Rosy).

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The mom’s all brought candy to pass out to the kids as they trick-or-treated around the room. Harper had to stop and examine each piece of candy he got; he was thrilled each and every time!

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I didn’t get to do a whole lot of picture taking since I was playing games with the kids, but I just have to say that the absolute joy on their little faces was wonderful. Harper & Dakota were having so much fun playing games with me and their friends…it’s a memory I hope to have for a long time.

Now that I’ve helped run my first party and will be on my own from here on out, I know it’s going to be a lot of work. I’ve already got a plan or two for the Christmas party that’s just around the corner…

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Early Trick-or-Treat

Yesterday afternoon one of our local shopping centers had a trick-or-treating event for the kids. I really wanted the kids to get to do it because I thought it would be nice for them to wear their costumes more than once!

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We had a good time walking around to each of the shops and we all loved seeing the little babies all dressed up. There was one little guy dressed up as a hotdog and my lord he was cute!

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Harper wanted to be Buzz Lightyear this time around, and he was the only Buzz we saw yesterday! I couldn’t tell you how many kids stopped and said “Hey Mom! It’s Buzz!” Harper had no idea they were talking about him, I think he forgot he was dressed up! Smile Dakota (Little Red Riding Hood) wasn’t too into the whole thing but she had a serious grip on her candy bucket. She wouldn’t walk up to anyone but she would happily thrust her bucket out for them to drop the candy in. I’m kind of hoping she’ll be a little braver when we go trick-or-treating this Thursday.

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It was nice that Zoe and Landon went with us even though neither of them trick-or-treated. Landon hasn’t ever really been into the whole trick or treat thing; he’d much rather hand out candy and scare people! Zoe of course is just too old, but they were both there and awesome as usual.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

10 Things About Dakota

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  1. Getting a picture of this child is tough! She will not stop moving and she will not smile on command. This was the best I got and as much as I love some flare, this is a bit much…she’s smiling and you can kind of see her beautiful face so it’ll just have to do.
  2. Her favorite thing to do these days is climb. There isn’t a surface in this house that she hasn’t attempted to reach the top of and falling off of something isn’t enough to slow her down.
  3. She absolutely loves to swing. When we go outside to play it’s the first thing she wants to do. She cries and pitches an absolute fit when it’s Harpers turn and is always eager to jump right back in once he’s out.
  4. We’ve been working a lot on pointing out body parts and she’s got quite a few of them memorized. She has eyes, nose, mouth, tongue, ears, fingers, toes, belly button and mouth. Sometimes she remembers belly and we just started with knees, elbows, shoulders and head. I’m sure she’ll have those in no time flat.
  5. She’s a total stinker. She loves to do things that we’ve told her not to do. For example, she’ll fill a cup with water and attempt to dump it over the side of the tub. Or, she’ll repeatedly push the on/off button on the computer that sits in the kitchen. She knows she isn’t supposed to do it, and I know she knows because she watches us for a reaction every time.
  6. She still acts shy every single time Zoe comes home or Brandon comes over. She even acts silly about seeing Mema and she sees her all the time! By acting silly I mean she cries for me to hold her and then when I do she puts her head on my shoulder and acts like they’re new people she’s never met before. It’s pretty funny.
  7. She loves her brothers. (She loves Zoe too, she just isn’t around as much!) She loves to watch what they’re doing and then try to do it herself. She loves when Landon chases her around the house and she enjoys playing anything with Harper. They’re her buddies.
  8. Her snack of choice is definitely cheese. More specifically, slices of American cheese. She could eat that several times a day and be happy. I actually have to ration it to her because she get constipated, and everyone knows a constipated baby isn’t a happy baby.
  9. She gives kisses and hugs. Kisses and hugs is general are a nice thing, but kisses and hugs from little tiny people are magic. They just make you feel so warm and fuzzy and gosh those little arms wrapped around your neck…oh the sweetness.
  10. She loves to be sung to. She likes the songs they sing at Rolly Pollies and she loves when I sing them to her at home. When she’s acting a fool in the car I start singing and she settles down. She especially likes the Itsy Bitsy Spider and even tries to do the hand movements on her own. My baby sure is growing up. Smile

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rolly Pollies

Harper has been asking me to come to Rolly Pollies with him and Mema so today Dakota and I went.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my being there turns him into a crazy wild child. I don’t know why exactly, but I think it’s because he wants my total undivided attention and I can’t do that when I’m watching Kota. But, I could be wrong…

He did do a pretty good job listening to his teacher and I was happy to see that he was doing some things that he’d been afraid of previously. He’s really come a long way and I’m proud of the progress he’s made.

They played Simon Says and he did great. He never messed up and was paying close attention to when Simon said to do something. If Simon didn’t say it, he didn’t do it!

Simon Says Touch Your Elbows

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Another activity they did was make shapes with their bodies while a parent/grandma rolled a ball under them. Sounds silly when I write it like that, but it is what they did. For instance, make your body into a triangle shape and Mema will roll the ball under you.

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Next, make your body into a bridge or shaped like a crab would walk. The crab thing was hard for Harper to figure out! He got it after a few tries but we had to keep telling him to get his bottom up so the ball would roll beneath him! Smile

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There are always lots of obstacles set up for the kids to do and he did those with ease. He’s just recently decided to try the forward roll, or somersault, and he’s getting better and better. For some reason he’s always been very resistant to doing them, but as of late, he’s giving it a try.

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He does do very well on the balance beam though, and can do it all by himself.

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While I was busy snapping pictures of Harper, Mema was keeping Dakota occupied. As soon as the teachers pulled out the rollercoaster car, she was on it! She rode it at least 10 times.

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She even got brave and let Ms. Stacy help her to the top of the moon bounce to go down the slide! It’s a first for her, but Harper still refuses to enter the moon bounce. Maybe someday…

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10 Things About Harper

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We all know how fast the kids grow up and I thought it might be cool to do a little post on each one, just about where they are and what they’re up to, right now. Since Harper is the only one around at the moment, he’s first.

  1. Favorite Snack: His favorite snack these days is pepperoni slices with cheese and crackers. He doesn’t eat them like sandwiches either, just each piece individually, but if he has one, he needs all.
  2. He actually looks forward to playing with Dakota these days. They are quite the two peas in the pod sometimes. He loves to boss her around ask her to do things for him and is just tickled when she actually does it. I love it when I overhear him call her a “sweet baby gul”. Heart melting stuff right there, let me tell you.
  3. Just in the last week or so he refuses to wear pants in the house. I think it mostly stems from laziness and not wanting to redress after a trip to the potty, but he flat out does NOT want to wear pants unless it is absolutely mandatory. I think there are probably a lot of people that wish they could get away with that!
  4. He adores preschool. He looks forward to going and is always happy at drop off and pick up. He is learning a ton from his teacher but probably even more from being around all the kids. Preschool has definitely been a good thing. (The pic at top was from drop off this morning.)
  5. He’s always loved to read, but as of late, his books of choice have been classic fairy tales or Halloween inspired. I hate reading him those awful princess/prince fairy tale books, but he enjoys them and he finds them no matter where I might put them. The Halloween books were pulled out for the season and he’s really enjoyed hearing those so I make sure to encourage those books instead of the princesses that make me want to hurl.
  6. A few weeks ago Tony did a puppet show on Friday night before bedtime. Since then they’ve put on a puppet show every Friday night. I have yet to catch one of Harper’s on video, but let me tell you, they are hilarious! Hopefully this Friday we’ll remember to record one.
  7. Despite doing very well in the potty department, he still has accidents. It’s almost always when we’re in the car because he refuses to go before we leave. He won’t go potty at school either, so I have to make sure his tank is empty before we leave the house. I had to stop on the way home from school to let him potty once and you have no idea how annoying that was. I had to think of somewhere, get there, get both kids out, run into the store, let him pee, get both kids out of store without buying anything, back in car and buckled in and back on the road. Not fun. He’s still earing pull up’s at night and up until this week he’s been waking up dry. I’m wondering if he’s just decided to go ahead and pee at night because he knows he’s got a pull up on? I’m afraid we’re going to have to let the pull ups go soon to see how he does.
  8. Whenever he gets the chance he loves to go outside and jump on the trampoline. He’s learned all kinds of dangerous awesome tricks from Landon and he loves to show them off. Swinging would have to be a close second, tied with the sand box.
  9. What I hear him say most often these days” “watch me mom!” or “look at me”. He wants our eyes on him, 24/7. He’s got lots of cool stuff to show us like jumping off the couch or how he can spin in circles till he collapses. He’s awesome like that.
  10. I’d say that Harper is typically pretty happy. He’s happy to play with his toys with or without someone else. He loves to give the dog her treats and help take care of her. He has a huge imagination and engages other kids at school in the games he makes up. (His teacher informed me that he got a group of kids together to go to outer space!) He worries about Dakota when she cries and tries to do silly things to make her stop (most of the time he’s a smashing success!). He will spontaneously come up to me and proclaim his love and tell me I’m the best mama. Sometimes he just tells me that he doesn’t love me anymore and Kota doesn’t either. He’s just brutal like that. He is my most favorite little three year old boy though, no matter whether he likes me or not.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Enjoying Fall

There just isn’t anything quite like fall weather. Spring is nice, but it just can’t compare to a beautiful fall day. We have been taking advantage of these gorgeous afternoon’s playing outside as much as possible. We’ve got the trampoline, sand box, slide, swing and tetherball set in the back yard and that’s where we’ve been spending most of our time.

Zoe came home for awhile on Saturday and we even got her to take a break from homework and come outside to play with us. It’s awesome when everyone’s home…we were only missing Brandon, but he came over later that evening.

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Here’s to many more cool, crisp autumn days! Smile Happy Monday!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Family Trip to the Farm

Today was one of the most jam packed and fun filled family days I can remember. We were up early and out the door by 9:20am. All 5 of us. After going on the trip to the farm with Harper’s class earlier this week, I knew I wanted to take the other kids to see it as well. So, since Landon was off school today, we headed out.

I was happy we got up and out early because it was already very busy when we arrived. There used to be a very small children's theme park in Ellicott City called Enchanted Forest. It closed a number of years ago, but the farm aquired many of the parks fairytale themed statues and buildings and has them on display for the kids to see. It’s really fun for the kids to get to see some of their favorite fairy tales come to life. Some of the attractions are interactive and some just for show, but they really are neat! Now that I’m home, I sure wish I’d have taken more pictures of them…next time I guess.

Cinderella in her Pumpkin Coach

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Mother Goose Slide

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We walked around the farm area checking out all the animals and we even fed the goats. Landon and Harper loved feeding them but Dakota wasn’t too sure about it. After I helped her feed them she yanked her hand back and had a look of disgust on her face. :)

When Harper and I went we didn’t get to pet the animals in the petting zoo, but this time we decided we’d give it a go. Dakota and Harper really liked petting the goats, but Landon preferred the chickens. He just couldn’t resist catching one…

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After we hung out with the animals for a bit we headed over to the tractor for our hayride. We ended up getting on a tractor that didn’t have any hay though…and we ended up being the only ones on it. We had a good time finding all the faces on the trees, but man that was one bumpy ride.

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I was so glad when we finally made it to the pumpkin patch.

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The last thing we did was go through the pine tree maze. It wasn’t quite as tricky as the corn mazes we’ve done, but it was nice and shady inside, and there were lots of fairy tale characters to check out along the walk. I love this picture of Landon inside the maze, he looks so big and grown up.

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We ended up being at the farm for nearly two hours and we had a great time. We were barely in the car 2 minutes before Dakota fell asleep. She was just done. We were close to the mall so we headed that way for lunch and a spin on the carousel. Harper hasn’t ever been a big fan of the carousel, but today he loved it! (Dakota liked it too even though you’d never guess it looking at this picture!)

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Preschool Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

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Today was Harper’s very first preschool fieldtrip. We went to a great pumpkin patch about 20 minutes away and now that we’ve been there I know we’ll be back. Soon. Like Friday if I get my way.

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His preschool doesn’t allow younger siblings to attend fieldtrips even though the parents are there. I’m not a fan of this policy and I absolutely HATED leaving Dakota at home while we headed out for fun. I’m so lucky she’s got a great Mema to keep her or I probably would have just not gone. I know Dakota would love the farm though which is why I’m determined to go back. Well, she’s one of the reasons anyways.

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There is so much to do at this farm. We went on a guided tour and saw sheep, turkeys, pigs, cows, horses, ducks, rabbits, chickens, and even a donkey. We went on a long hay ride where the kids were able to find funny faces on trees and scarecrows hidden along the way. At the end of the ride we were dropped off at a huge pumpkin patch where everyone was able to choose a pumpkin to bring home. Harper was really excited to see green pumpkins still on the vine because they’d talked about that in school. He was so happy to pick his own pumpkin to bring home! The tour/hayride lasted about an hour and then we were free to do what we wanted. Harper and I decided to head home to see Kota though, even though he really wanted to stay and play on all the cool equipment they had scattered all across the farm…another reason I want to take the kids back!

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As much as I hated leaving Kota home, I’m glad I got to spend the day with Harper. It’s always nice to get a little one on one time with the kids and this certainly fit the bill!

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

It IS the Little Things

You know the saying about how the little things make them happiest? Like a hot bath or a phone call from a friend? Well, I was thinking about it today for what ever reason and I would totally have to agree. Just this weekend I’ve realized that the things making me most happy were things that were rather small. Things that others would see as insignificant, but to me, they were just nice.

I didn’t let any of those moments pass without thanking the person who gave them to me, and it’s made that specific thing stand out in my mind all day today, so I figured I’d write them down too.

  • Tony decided he wanted Chipotle for lunch yesterday. We’d been running around all morning with the kids and they were ready to be out of the car, so while I made lunch for the kids at home he went out to grab lunch for the two of us. He knows what I always order so that wasn’t a big deal, but when he came home he also brought me a Dr. Pepper. No biggie, right? Well, he didn’t get himself one so I asked him why he got me one when we already had canned soda at the house. He told me it was because he knew my preference for a fountain drink over a can. He knows me so well!
  • Tony and I went to The Melting Pot for our birthday celebration. It wasn’t his first choice, but he chose it knowing that I’d like it. We both had a great meal and it was so nice having dinner in peace. No one cried about because they didn’t like their food. No one wiped their nasty little fingers all over me. No one had to pee right as we sat down to eat. It was divine.
  • I was picking up toys in the living room this evening. It was probably the 50th time today I’d done it, and instead of sitting and watching me, Landon helped me out. I didn’t ask, he just saw me doing it and stopped to help. Love that.
  • Zoe was home today. It’s so nice when she’s here and she actually wants to hang out with us! Harper wanted to read some books and I’d just read him a few so I told him to ask his sister if she’d read to him. He brought his books downstairs and when he asked her if she’d read them to him, her response was “Sure I will!”. Not even the slightest hesitation. I’m so happy my kids are able to bond with one another no matter their age differences.
  • Brandon was here since Zoe was home. He’s always so great with the kids when he’s here and he’s a tremendous help when things get busy. He’s always ready to jump in and help when needed and we appreciate him so much. Today he helped clean up toys and junk that was messed up before he even got here…without me ever asking. He also offered to go out and help to unload the car when we got back from the store even though he was right in the middle of playing a game. We never have to ask, he just offers his assistance. So sweet!
  • Harper and Dakota have been cutting me some slack these days. Harps is much nicer to Koko and they’ve had some great moments playing together. I love to watch the two of them do their thing and listening to Harper talk to Dakota is quite funny. My favorite is when he tells her she is a “good baby gul”. She’s getting better and better at doing what her big brother tells her and he’s getting better and better at treating her nicely. It’s awesome.
  • Tony did the grocery shopping today (as he usually does). Later tonight when I took the van to bring Landon’s friend home I noticed my gas tank was full again. Tony certainly didn’t have to get me gas, but he did. He loves me like that.

So, you see, most of these things would seem insignificant to most people, but to me, they are special and remarkable. Sometime it didn’t even really involve me, but I definitely appreciate seeing my family behave in loving ways.

I guess the moral of the story is, if you are looking for ways to be happy and thankful, you’ll find them.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five on Friday

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  • We were recently “booed” by a fellow Mom’s Club member, so I went out and got a few things to boo a few others.The mom who booed us gave me a bag of my favorite chocolates, but I decided I wanted to boo the kids instead of the mom. I picked up some things at the dollar tree and made some edible monsters that I’d seen on Pinterest. Landon and I had a good time dropping them off at the kids’ houses! He just loved ringing their bell and taking off!

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  • While Harper was at preschool last week, Dakota and I went on a bit of a nature walk and collected lots of pretty fall leaves. Once we got home we dumped them all out on the table and talked about the different shapes and colors of them, then we made a fall leaf wreath. I just cut a hole in a paper plate and let him glue the leaves around the edges. It was pretty for a day or two until the leaves got too dry and started shriveling…but it was a fun, easy project for my little guy!

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  • On Wednesday while Harper was at Rolly Pollies with Mema, Dakota and I headed to air plane park for a bit. It took her a long time to warm up to the other kids that were out there playing, but once she did she slide down all the slides and had a good time. She loved playing peek-a-boo in this tunnel slide!

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  • Tony’s birthday was this past Wednesday. We don’t do anything huge for our birthdays but there is usually a gift and some cards involved. We have a hot date tomorrow night and I’m really looking forward to some alone time.

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  • Landon had a project to do for Social Studies this week. He was to build a medieval castle with supplies around the house. He and I ended up working on it together and we both had a great time building! He was really excited to take it to school and show off his work…I sure hope he gets a good grade!

Let There Be WORKING Lights!

We've been having a lot of issues with lights this year. We have a section of lights out on our main tree, a section out on the "wh...