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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Enjoying Some Outside Time

Sarah loves spending time outside. With the hot summer weather already started, she has had plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.
 Just relaxing a bit.
 The play structure is way more fun with a pool roof. 
 A visit to the splash pad at the botanical garden.
 Doing a little digging.
 They have super fun play houses there. 
We were there at the perfect time for the rose garden. It was incredible!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Picking Delicious Strawberries

One of the fun things about our new home is the abundance of fresh produce. It seems like they grow everything here. One of the big crops in our area is strawberries. There is a farm just a few miles from our house, so we took Sarah strawberry picking.
She didn't want to be a strawberry.

Picking the strawberries was much more fun.

Sarah had always refused to try strawberries before, but once she tried the fresh picked kind was hooked. Strawberries are a favorite now.

We picked a gallon in about ten minutes and took them straight home to make freezer jam (at least out of the ones that weren't consumed immediately.) Fruit straight out the field just tastes so good!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Adventures for Emily: Virginia Aquarium & Chincoteague Island

For Mother's Day, Kelson planned me a weekend full of adventures. We started with the Virginia Aquarium. Sarah was a huge fan. She especially loved the otters, which were very playful. She called them fishies.

I loved the book Misty of Chincoteague when I was in elementary school, so I was excited when I learned that we live just a couple of hours from Chincoteague Island. Kelson planned a day trip up the eastern shore of Virginia, ending up at Chincoteague. The whole drive was beautiful. We started out by driving across the 23-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel, which crosses Chesapeake Bay. It is an insanely long bridge that dives under the water at two points into underwater tunnels to allow ships to cross. That was pretty cool. From there, we drove up the peninsula that forms the eastern shore of Virginia.
 We ate lunch on Assoteague Island. Sarah was very happy to get out, do some exploring, and say hi to a duck with her 10 ducklings.

  After lunch, we drove out to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Preserve. They had a really fun nature museum that Sarah loved. 

We decided to go on a short hike to a lighthouse near the museum. Unfortunately, as soon as we stepped outside we were swarmed by clouds of the biggest mosquitoes I have ever seen. We ran all the way up the trail, snapped a very hurried picture (I didn't have any time to wait for Kelson & Sarah to look at the camera) and then ran back to the car. We could have swatted those things with a tennis racket. We thought the bugs in Hawaii were bad. They don't have as many cockroaches here, but they have bazillions of other bugs. 

We drove around the preserve looking for wild ponies, but we sadly didn't see any. Instead, we went to the beach on the preserve, where they had another fun nature center. I held a live horseshoe crab. It was squirmy and rather strange.
Sarah enjoyed the books and puzzles.

We dipped our toes in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time since moving here. Sarah was happy to see a beach. She is a big water fan.

 We stopped for homemade ice cream on the way off the island and then stumbled upon the Wallop's Island NASA visitor's center. It had all kinds of cool space exhibits. What a fun day!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Celebrating Emily: birthday and Mother's Day 2015

Everyone knows there are 5 holiday seasons - summer/patriotic season, fall/Halloween, the official holiday season (Thanksgiving/Christmas), Easter, and Emily season.

Emily season occurs between February 14th and the second Sunday of May, and it includes Valentine's Day, Emily's birthday, and Mother's Day.

We celebrated Emily's birthday on April 30th. Emily made a cake, and I brought flowers, chocolate, etc. in order to properly celebrate the season. I also bought two chairs in one of Emily's favorite colors to go in our new living room.

Emily season is incomplete without Sarah, who is most often in closest proximity to her mother.
She is attempting to fill some pretty big shoes (in a good way).

Mommy and Sarah outside after church on Mother's Day. Emily loves being a mommy!

If they both click their heels together, they might end up in Kansas. They should stay here.

Emily is the mainspring of joy, success, fun, and love in our family. Sarah and I like to have her around as much as possible - even in the middle of the night often (Sarah!). We are grateful to be blessed because she is part of our family. I think we'll keep her.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sarah: 18 months

Sarah gave me the best Mother's Day present ever: she turned 18 months old and started going to nursery at church! I had forgotten that sitting through my church classes could be so peaceful :)
Here is what is up with Sarah at 18 months:
  • She is pretty much always in motion: exploring, destroying, tasting, smelling...sitting still is not an option. (As evidenced by this photo shoot. She was not cooperative with the whole looking at the camera thing.)
  • She still loves animals. Kitties, dogs, birds, and bunnies are favorites right now.
  • She is just starting to discover the joy of Disney movies, especially the princesses. She likes to dance in circles singing "Once Upon a Dream" or "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes." She is our princess.
  • She loves taking care of her baby dolls. She feeds them, brings them pacifiers, and holds and bounces them when they are crying. 
  • She is learning new words almost every day. Her favorites are her animal names and sounds (her sheep is hilarious), butterfly, milk, and Daddy. She refuses to say Mommy. If I point myself out in a family picture, she moves my finger to Kelson. She is mean.
  • She loves being outside, going for walks, and playing at the park. She is fearless on the slides and loves walking up them. Swings are scary, though. 
  • She is becoming more snuggly and loving all the time. We just love her to pieces!
A few more moments from our photo shoot:
She was very annoyed that the dandelions didn't work right. Too bad they were clovers.

Every time she comes down the stair or the slide, Sarah says "one, two, WEE!"

Woo hoo!

Off to the pond to look for ducks. Ducks are one of the great joys of life. Geese and turtles are also acceptable.