Monday, August 29, 2016

Meme and Kyle Visit

My dad is working at a conference in Baltimore this week and while he's working my mom and brother have been staying here. They flew in on Thursday afternoon and we've been keeping them busy ever since.

Dakota was lucky to have Kyle and Meme all to herself on Friday when Harper and Landon were at school.

Later that evening we all met up at Kodo for dinner. We had a great time and the food was terrific!

We spent Saturday running errands and playing at the house. We spent a good chunk of our afternoon at the pool, but I'll have to post the pool pics later, there are sooo many! 

The kids really loved playing doll house with Meme. She was acting crazy and they were just giggling and giggling!

Kyle left Sunday afternoon to meet up with my dad in Baltimore but mom will be here until Thursday, I think. It was cool having Kyle here because he doesn't come up often, and it was actually the first time he'd ever been to see us in this house!

Evening Bike Rides

As the evenings are beginning to cool down a bit earlier we've been making an effort to get outside and walk while the little kids practice riding their bikes. Dakota really enjoys riding her bike but Harper has always been very reluctant. Surprisingly, the first night I suggested they ride their bikes Harper was totally on board, and he ended up really enjoying himself!

We've been several times since that first night and while they're both getting better and better, it's going to be awhile before they're confident enough to try without training wheels. Harper barely goes fast enough to keep the bike going and Dakota is always looking back at us when she needs to be looking ahead!

First Day of Tenth Grade

I forgot how busy the first few weeks of school can be! I mean, I know they're busy but it's been a bit much this year. I feel like we are go, go, go, all the time. I feel terrible that I didn't do a little first day post for Landon, but I just got busy and lazy and kept promising myself I'd do it tomorrow...

Luckily Tony was up on time the morning Landon went to school because I was running a little behind. Dakota had woken me up a couple times the previous night so I was overly tired and didn't get out of bed until almost 6:20 am. He leaves at 6:30 to catch his bus so I didn't have time to shower and rush down to say good bye. The picture's a little grainy but hey, it was like 6:20 in the morning!

After school he has cross country practice until 5, but once he got home I made sure to get another picture. And, when Dakota and Harper saw him getting a little attention they wanted in on the action!

I sure hope this year turns out to be a great one for him. I wish I could say he loves school but he just doesn't, so I'm hoping he'll at least be able to get through with decent grades and a good attitude. Fingers crossed!

Monday, August 22, 2016

First Day of First Grade!

Little guy had his first day of school today. (Dakota starts next week, Landon goes tomorrow.) He's been a little down about it and saying he wasn't ready to go back, but it seems like ever since we met his teacher last week, his spirits have been a little higher. 

This morning his alarm woke him at seven and he came downstairs a little bleary eyed, but it wasn't long before he was eating his favorite breakfast (french toast with a side of strawberries) while watching his favorite show, Miles From Tomorrowland

His bus comes a little after 8 am and school is over at 3:05 pm. It's a long day but he ALWAYS gets off the bus in such a great mood! Today was no exception. He was happy to see some old friends and hopefully he'll make some new ones this year too. 

When it came time to pick him up from the bus in the afternoon, Dakota was super excited! We missed having him home with us all day and it'll take time for her to get used to that again. 

As soon as we got in the door he was ripping open his backpack to show me all his papers. 

He's proud that he has his own agenda this year. He says it's important that I look at it every day! :) I just hope he continues to be happy to go to school every day and enjoys his first grade year. Here's to a happy, successful school year! 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Last Day of Summer Vacation

Tomorrow is the first day of school in our county and I'm totally bummed about it. It's only Harper's first day though because our schools are weird. All 1st -5th and 6th and 9th grades begin tomorrow. Kindergarten does conferences first and then they do small groups in each class (staggered entries) so that the kids get a little more personalized attention on their very first day. They'll start full time next week on Tuesday. Dakota's preschool is the same as Kindergarten and her staggered entry luckily falls on Monday of next week so she'll just start school next week as opposed to having a staggered entry this week and then waiting several days before she goes back. Hope that makes sense!

Anyways, we spent the day here at home today. No running around, no crazy stuff. Kids had friends over, I put summer decor away and redecorated for fall, Tony and Landon did some yard work. We all had plenty of relaxation time and we even squeezed in a little pool time between rain storms.

We hadn't been at the pool for long before it began raining. We all hung through the first little rain but the second rain was much harder and crazier, so we all jumped out of the pool and ran for cover. But, since there wasn't any thunder or lightening, we let the kids run around in the rain a bit...and they loved it!

While everyone was having some quiet time in the living room, I started working on a scrapbook page. Dakota came in to see what I was doing and I ended up printing her a couple pictures that she could use to make her own page. She just loved sitting with me and using my stuff! Usually I'm telling her not to get into my things so she was super excited when I let her use everything!

This is her first completed page:

And this is the second:

I'm pretty sure my first pages looked nearly identical! :)

Yankee Candle, Williamsburg, Virginia

We didn't have any plans for our last day of vacation, but we managed to fill our day with no trouble at all.

When we had lunch with our friends they told us about a big Yankee Candle store in the area. I LOVE Yankee Candle so when Tony found the store and remarked how HUGE it was, I wanted to go see for myself.

This isn't like other Yankee stores, it's a "flagship" store which means GINORMOUS and AWESOME apparently. There were hundred's of candles as well as all the latest and greatest accessories. There was a popcorn shop, fudge shop, toy store (a toy train runs throughout), Christmas store (where it snowed every 4 minutes), home goods and general stores. It was like a Yankee/country style mall. 

There are several interactive activities onsite as well. The kids each made their very own scented candles. Basically, you grab a jar that already has a wick inside of it, place it under a tube of scented wax "granules" and push a button. There are several scents to choose from and you can do as many or as few as you'd like. Dakota and Harper used all of the scents available while Landon was a bit more judicious. (Somehow they all came out smelling really good!) Once your jar is filled to the very top, you hand it over to one of the employees who put it under a warmer to melt the wax a bit. 15 minutes later, you have your very own candle!

There is also an opportunity to create your own wax ornament by dipping a white wax shape/number/letter into different colors of wax. I let the two little kids get the first letter of their name to dip. Harper did his on his own but Dakota didn't want to do hers by herself so the man helping up did hers per her directions. 

Since Landon didn't dip an ornament, he got to make a wax hand. (There is a height restriction for this activity because you have to be able to reach your hand into the wax without being held up by another person. You had to be taller than 42 inches. Harper was tall enough but Dakota wasn't.)

We spent two hours in that place and it was a great way to spend the morning. I was surprised that the kids were happy for as long as they were and that Tony didn't pass out when I spent as much as I did! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Water Country USA

The main reason we chose Williamsburg, Va as our last minute vacation destination was because of Water Country USA. Tony, Zoe, Landon and I went years ago and loved it so we thought it'd be fun to take the little kids as well. It was certainly hot enough to spend a day at a water park so off we went.

We got there about a half hour after it opened and it was already quite hot out. It was a great time to get there too because there weren't any long lines of people waiting to get in. We headed straight for the wave pool to grab some seats and then we went in search of some slides Harper and Dakota could ride. 

While the kids played, Tony and Landon went to ride some of the bigger slides. Landon is a huge water park enthusiast and he'll ride nearly anything, so he was happy to be there. I've never been a huge water park fan so I'm glad Tony rides all that stuff with him! When they got back, Landon took Harper down a small slide in the kid area. Harper was acting really silly about it, but he ended up enjoying it. 

One ride that I knew would be a big hit was Hubba Hubba Highway. Harper loved riding the rapids when we were at Atlantis in Nassau earlier this summer and I thought he'd love this too...I was right! The highway is basically a faster moving lazy river. You can go in with or without a life vest, but if you wear the vest the water can easily whisk you around; it's really fun! Dakota was hesitant, but she ended up loving it and we probably went around that thing 15 times. It was great!

I also remembered riding Big Daddy Falls way back when it was just us and the two older kids and I remembered it being really fun so I suggested Landon and Tony take Harper on that one. Harper was a little worried about it but he went along and he LOVED it! The line was pretty long and the wait was about half an hour or more so they didn't do it again, but I think Harper would have gone again if he could have. I knew Dakota would be scared out of her mind so I hung back with her although she was big enough to ride. Maybe next time. 

We had a great day at the water park and only left when they started closing stuff down because of an approaching thunderstorm. We'd spent about seven hours there and were pretty tired anyhow, so it worked out just fine. 

After getting to the hotel and showering we went to Cracker Barrel for dinner and then back to the room for the night. We all slept really well that evening! What is it about heat + water that is so exhausting anyways? 

Water Balloons

When my kids told me they didn't know what to do with themselves yesterday I suggested they go outside and play with the water balloons....