Friday, September 28, 2012

Apple Picking

Two of my best friends decided it would be fun to go apple picking. 
I was kind of like, "meh, I guess that sounds fun"
But I am so glad I went. 
It was some nice quality time with Abby.
I kind of felt a little antisocial because we kept stealing away just the two of us
(well, Zak too, but he was in the stroller, so it felt like just the two of us).

They had various apples ready for picking. The main ones were Empire, Jonagold, and Red-Yellow Delicious. They also had some Idared which ended up being my favorite.

When we first got there they had two big crates with some Gala apples in them. We all picked one out and gobbled it up. They were so yummy!

Zak spent most of the time in his chair with some graham crackers.

For the most part he didn't mind.

Oh, I just love all the colors of fall!
Especially when combined with this cutie-pie.

I'm really trying to be in more pictures with my kids. 
I don't care that I don't look like my best self, but I am having fun with my kids, and I want to have more pictures of that. For them and for me. I know I'll be happy later on.

I wish they would've warned us that the terrain wasn't very stroller friendly. 
This is the best picture to show it, but off to the left of Abby this hill goes straight up... that is where they sent us to pick apples. 
*ugh... strollers!*

Abby was having so much fun running around. 
Fresh air is magical.

I loved this picture of these two.

Here are most of the kiddos that went-a-pickin'. 
(the three babies are not pictured)

Abby really got into picking. 
I only got 1/2 a peck (which is about 7"x9" bag) and we had no trouble filling it up.

Here she is picking some good ones out from under the branches.
I really love this picture.

Orchards are fun.
What would it be like to own one someday.

"How does this one look mom?" 

Zak was ever so patient.
"Are we done yet?" 

I just loved watching this little lady work.
She really did pick out some delicious ones.

It was so fun to pick apples together...

We seem to be a lot more giggly this way.

I eventually gave in to Zak's fussing and let him explore a little. 

He really didn't get to crawl around, moving on a steep hill is difficult.
Especially when your sister tackles you with hugs.

Abby: "Here Zak, have an apple!"

Zak: "Is this okay mom?"

"What do I do with it?"

"Let's give this a taste."

My sweetie silly pies.


He was pretty happy about the whole experience.

"I'm sure I can fit this whole thing in my mouth... just try a little harder"

After we had our fill of picking, or rather after our bags were heaping full, we headed over to say hi to the animals. 
Oh, these poor sweet animals. 
They had the usual farm animal selection. 

But the highlight was chasing the chickens.
We saw the "Do Not Chase the Animals" sign on the way out of the farm yard.

It was a delightful day. 
A bit of overcast, perfect for some fall {picture-taking} fun!

Thanks Katie and Ali for getting me out of the house.

And Thank you my sweet happy Abby for spending your day with me. 
I love you!

The Enchanted Locket

I wanted to tell a clever tale about a girl and her locket, but I'm not as clever or witty as either my mother or my sister. So I'm just going to share the story of love behind this locket. 

The weekend before school began we went shopping for a new outfit for Sarah. We didn't have much success, but the only thing that we did find that Sarah loved was a little golden locket (not this one). It was cheap and I got frustrated because we were shopping for clothes, not accessories. 

Well the shopping pretty much ended there after a huge meltdown in the store. 
We finally resolved the drama and called it a day and headed home. 

A few days later I was talking to my mom and vented about the story. 
Well, guess what ended up coming in the mail a few days later. 
Yup, this locket. It is better than the one we saw, one it is silver and two it has blue on it, which is Sarah's favorite color. 

Sarah was so excited. She quickly grabbed some paper and put pictures of her two favorite people. 
Emery and Zak.
(Sorry G'ma, she gives you credit, but only these two made the locket cut *wink*).

I know that this really meant a lot to Sarah, but it meant even more to me. It is tough being a mom, and this was a small act of love that I really appreciated. It meant even more when I learned how almost every store in Utah was called until finally one locket was tracked down to mail (she even called stores out here in Pittsburgh... love you mom!). 

Sarah is slowly admitting that she like girl stuff more and more.
But only if it is cool girl stuff... of course. 

No Pictures... just Liz

I feel like the past couple of weeks my mind has been constantly running... and no matter how hard I try (especially at night) I can't seem to shut it off... 

So... we're going to go back to the good ole days and try and blog it all off of my mind.
Just random... just Liz.

I went to a fun craft night tonight. It has been a while. I worked on my "Birthday Quilt", which at the rate it is coming together, it seems like I'll be lucky to have it finished before my next birthday, and not for the chilly weather like I'm hoping.

It was so nice to sit and chat with friends, new and old. I just love that. Mr. Zak of course had to join us, little stink fussed right before I headed out the door. And since Ryan was about to go to bed (so he could get up at 3:30am) I didn't have the heart to risk him waking up and interrupting Ry's sleep. The Zakster did wake up, I'm sure do to the laughing and new voices... or maybe it was just the smell of the amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that did it. Regardless he was up for most of the time... so, yeah, the quilt didn't make much of any progress tonight either.

The weather is changing to fall. It is cool and crisp outside and I love it. Abby was playing outside at a Birthday party yesterday and when she ran into talk to me I could smell fall on her. It was so fun to scoop her up and breathe it in. I think I live for fall out here. All of the other seasons can take permanent vacations elsewhere... but I'm keeping fall. 

Speaking of Abby. Oh how that girl reminds me of myself. Mostly in her stubbornness and strong-willed independence.
She is my sunshine.
I wish I savored her giggles a little more during the day. I love how she will run up to tell me something (that of course is the funniest thing in the world), babble it off to me in a slightly intelligible manner and cackle at how funny she thought it was. Her big, deep blue eyes get so bright, I just love it. I seem to be snapping so many mental photos of her lately. 

Sarah on the other hand I seem to be missing more... I thought I was handling her being gone all day just fine, but today she came home early with a tummy ache, and then she snuggled up next to me on the couch while I was nursing Zak and just dreamily looked up into my eyes. Her sweet chocolate brown eyes, with tiny fairy kisses all across the bridge of her nose. She gave me a sweet loving smile, her lips are pursed together. I think right then and there she could have asked me for anything and I would have said yes. Oh, I wish I made more time in my day for moments like that. My heart gets so big and full that it comes out my eyes sometimes.

My emotions have been all over the place. I really struggled this Summer. You can tell by how fair my children's skin stayed and how overgrown our yard got. I completely did not take advantage of the summer sun this year (which I know I'll regret once the winter gloom hits). When we did venture out, it was usually to a nearby park that is rather shady. But at least we got out. I'm doing much better now... and oddly, I'm going crazy at the same time. Just a good, more manageable crazy now.

Most of the reasons are related to my new calling at church. I won't lie. I LOVED my old calling. Teaching the primary children music is the best. I could play, have fun, and it was perfect for my procrastinating ways. I loved it and I felt the kids loved me. We had fun together. 
Now I just feel like I have this gigantic plate of responsibility. I have amazing counselors... I really do. But I am an all or nothing person, and I want get everything up and running now. I struggle with taking baby steps. 

Speaking of that. Zak is becoming far more mobile than I'd like him to be at this age. He is nearing 9 months (on the 9th of October) and he is a little crawling machine. Although, that is not what he prefers anymore. He really loves to climb to standing position and walk along the furniture. He is really testing his limits with balancing while standing. Usually he gets so excited, grins at me with his little two tooth smile and starts flapping his arms until he loses it and plops down on to his bottom. Good thing the little chunk has lots of padding. 

Last night Zak had a rough time going to sleep, and so I decided to relax and just enjoy snuggling him.  He prefers to lay up on my shoulder. He loves it when I snuggle my face into his. We start with a little eskimo kiss and then take turns making little loving sighs. He sure knows how to melt his mamas heart. I love how snuggly he is. He has started to really love smelling things. He will bury his little face into my hair, my shoulder my chest and just take a big breath. Lean back and stare into my eyes with his sparkly grey eyes and then do it again. He usually has a pacifier {plug} in his mouth, otherwise I know he'd give one of his pink lil' smiles. I know years down the road I'm going to miss all of these snuggles that he so freely gives me now. He just started giving me kisses. Sure they are opened mouth, and are more of a game right now, but I've never had a kissy baby. I think it is the cutest. 

Awe, he is getting so big. I occasionally have these moments when I realize how big my kids have gotten. Like Sarah and her skipping phase. Maybe it is because she keeps finding jeans in her drawer from last year, and the slight floodliness of them make her seem taller, but she is getting so grown up. She just started skipping everywhere she goes. It reminds me a lot of her cousin, Eleanor. I love watching her skip from room to room. Sometimes I find something for her to go retrieve, just so I can watch her skip away and her hair bouncing right along with her. She is such a happy, obedient child. I need to praise her more for that. 

There are so many things to do around the house. The never ending laundry... one day, I promise our clothes will get put away unwrinkled. My pile of dishes. There always seems to be clean ones in the dishwasher, with a pile of dirty in the sink.  By the time I get it unloaded and reloaded, I usually have an extra loads worth left over. *sigh* I have mounds of papers to go through. They are sitting right next to me, but I ignore them anyway. I did mop the floor yesterday... not that you can tell today. And yet, whenever I do have that magical time during the day that the girls are at school and Zak is napping, I use it to take care of my never ending email responses. It seems like that has shot through the roof with these recent changes. 

I'm so grateful for my friends and family. My sweet sister in law gave me a call this afternoon. For no reason at all. It came a the perfect time of day, during those hours right before dinner time (when I usually head for the open bag of chocolate chips, because I'm bored and hungry) and it was so nice to have adult conversation, and with someone I love. Sure we were constantly being interrupted by lil' requests, poopy diapers and screaming, both playful and sincere. But it was such a ray of sunshine on this gloomy, rainy day we had. 

I miss Ryan. This schedule is hard. We both have so much on our minds and plates that when we do have thirty minutes to spend together at night, it usually isn't very quality. I miss our quality time. I feel like sitting and watching a show together... with out one of us crashing, would be the most quality time we've had together in the past 5 weeks. He loves Surgery though. It is fun to listen to him talk about it. A couple nights before he started we watched YouTube videos on tying one-handed and two-handed sutures (yes, I know you're jealous). But it was really fun. We haven't done something silly and fun like that in a while. I'm open for suggestions on cheap tricks or hobbies to learn together. Maybe we can master balloon animals next. 

We are planning to have a carnival after our primary program practice in November. I'm so excited. We're going to have a photo booth there, and I really want to make lots of fun props for the kids to use.
Mustaches are a must. 

I'm nervous. I always seem to hit the ground running with things, and then get burned out way to easily. I need to settle into my marathon pace and make things quality. I have at least two years in this calling. Then we'll most likely move. That will be interesting. A move. 

We were so lucky when we moved here. Both Ryan and I had been here before, we knew what to expect. We didn't have to hunt for a home. It all worked out perfect. I have faith that the same will happen when we move next, but the unknown is killing me. We still have a year and a half before Ryan opens his letter of residency... it'll be like a mission call. And we'll go where they want us to go. I just hope it is somewhere sunny. Although, that usually means the Fall is not nearly as lovely. 

I've become quite good at rambling. I call it parent vomit. I go so long with out adult conversation, that when I do have it (even in email form) I can't get myself to stop. I hear myself interrupting and I want to smack myself. I say the most ridiculous things... I really need to get over some of these social anxieties that I've been having lately. I also really need to get back on the ball and start eating healthy and exercising too... but that thought doesn't help me unwind and relax, so we'll move on. 

In fact, I better just move on in general.
Or rather, in the general direction of my bedroom. 
It is late, and I doubt anyone has read this far anyhow. 
Good Night... er, or morning.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Sarah was playing up in the toy room with friends this afternoon, and she was suctioning a cup to her mouth... anyone remember doing that as a child...

Well... Sarah has awesome suction. 

Second week of school and my daughter has a what looks like a giant purple popsicle goatee floating around her mouth. 

It could be worse... 
but for now we all just sort of giggle when we look at her.

Actually... when Ryan and I first realized what it was we couldn't help but laugh, but Sarah having such tender feelings like she does would cry, so we are choking back the laughter and turning our heads so she didn't know what was going on. It is just too funny though. 

Ahh... documented... my daughters first hicky... hahaha!

Back to School

Okay... I'm just going to have to let my anal ways rest, and jump back into blogging. Eventually I'll get caught up, but for now I'm going to start with September and go from there. (Seems reasonable, right?)

Okay... this is technically in August, but I want to blog all about the start of Kindergarten for Sarah.
We went to back to school night. We missed the "meet and greet" at the end of last school year, and so we were very excited to meet Sarah's Kindergarten teacher. 
Sarah picked out her outfit. She was so excited to show her new teacher her new hat and her sparkly blue belt (thus the tucked in shirt... stylish, I know!).
We made her teacher, Mrs. DiSilvio a "First Day Survival Kit" and gave it to her so she would be all ready for school to start too. Sarah is holding it in the above picture. 

I'll post it on my craft blog... but I wanted to show the cute little picture that Sarah drew in the card. 

Sorry it is a little blurry, and I'm mad I didn't write down exactly what she said the picture was, but it I know it is Sarah, her teacher, Me and Zak in the picture. I know those things at the bottom by Zak are something specific... but I can't remember. I'm sure Sarah would, but she is asleep. Meh...

The Kindergarteners started a week later than the rest of the school so they could do testing that first week. So lucky for us, we had Labor Day with Daddy, and Sarah got to go on a special date with him to celebrate back to school time. 

She was giddy and loved her Daddy Date and was so excited to tell me that they did a secret surprise that she couldn't tell me about... oh, and they got ice cream too. (The surprise was picking out a birthday present... kill two birds with one stone? Why not?) 

I had grand plans to make lunches super fun for Sarah. 
Here is my first and only attempt at doing so. 
Sarah LOVES Spiderman... so we had a Spiderman themed lunch. Spidey-face PB Sandwich, Spiderman Graham Crackers, and carrots... to um, help with that Spidey-Vision (???).
As for her lunches now... they are just thrown in a rush every morning, as I am not a morning person, and usually lunch is an after thought as we are on our way out the door. Plus, she doesn't eat hardly any of her lunch, so I'm still trying to figure out what she will eat quickly. 
So far, celery sticks with peanut butter has been our most successful lunch component. 

The morning of our first day I got up early to make a "Boo-hoo" Breakfast.
I'm sad to not have my Sarah around all day... but don't let her fool you... 

Miss Giggle-pants here is just tricking you.
She was SO excited to start school! 

Her are the obligatory photos...
with signs... 

I LOVE this picture. What a sweet, sweet, daughter I have. 

Then off to school we went in a rush.
We are not far enough for busing, but a mile is a bit for us to handle when school starts at 8am (and the girls wake up at 7am). So we drive every morning, which works great because then we just head over to Abby's preschool right after we drop Miss Sarah off. 

Her teacher made a sign that Sarah was really excited about!

Here she is dropping her lunch box and backpack off in her cubby.

Acting a little nervous at this point. We found her chair and she started coloring. 

And everything was A-Okay!
No tears, just happy!

A week later Miss Abby was ready to start her preschool class. 
We signed her up for a preschool class taught at Arsenal Family & Children's Center.
It is the same one Sarah went to last year, their "learn through play" teaching method made such an impact on us that we knew it was where we wanted Abby to go too (Thanks Mom & Dad).
Can you see how excited this lil' Miss is?

I could hardly get her to hold still to get a picture. 

Here Abby is finding her name on the door. 
She has her "first day survival kit" for her teacher (which she has two... and I only made one... DOH!)

At the beginning of school each child is asked to wash their hands...

They actually wash their hands a lot during the day... good for germ control... not so much for dry skin. 

Abby was so excited to have SO many things to do and play with. She didn't really play much with the other kids, but then again, she is on the younger side compared to everyone. 

She played playdough...

Stamped a picture...

Played with the animals...

And of course she had to find the puffiest, frilliest, princess dress in the class and darn it as quick as she could. I love the giant 80s sleeves. And the smocking...

She played kitchen, explored the science table with the magnifying glass... we really got into that, but I was having fun showing it to her, so I didn't snap a picture.

I am so thrilled that both girls adjusted so well to their classes. 
It is so fun knowing that they are learning and growing and having so much fun...
it is also nice to have a little time with Mr. Zak in the day...
and it is even nicer when he takes a nap and I can get some work done...
YAY for school days!