Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation, AKA, Let Me Just Post a Bunch of Pictures from the Last Six Months.

Summer is over. It's hard for me to grasp that.  I love summer. I'm OK with fall, but I hate winter and whenever summer ends, I feel like something has died. I know (and love) so many people who say things like, "I don't like summer," or "I can't wait for it to be over." I really want to have an intervention on behalf of summer. "What, good sir? You say you don't like summer? So, you don't like happiness and corn and warmth? You prefer Autumn and Winter, those yearly confirmations of our mortality? You, good sir, must be crazy. I prescribe to you more summer to heal whatever ails you."

Winter is always tough for me. I always get seasonal depression when I don't live in California (remind me why we moved?) and this last winter was really brutal on the Midwest and East coast. (Don't you feel silly now, WaPo?) I keep hoping for better, but, dang it... I've been going through my pictures of the spring and summer. I take a lot of pictures,  because I really like to take pictures. Most of them don't get posted anywhere and most of them aren't amazing. I do take some pictures to update our families on our lives, but mostly I take them for times like now; times when I need reminders that life is full of seasons (metaphorical and meteorological).  

But for all of my whimsical talk, I do eventually like to to label and comment on my pictures, and that sometime requires me to dump a bunch of photos on the blog. This is that sometime. Hang on tight, you're about to see a lot of abnormally cute and small children.

We made some cloud dough. It was messy. 

Amy and Cindy came to visit for a week. We all had the stomach flu. That was not fun, but I loved seeing them. Amy braided my hair one day.

I think I looked like Yulia Tymoshenko. I loved it. 

We drove to the beach that day. The ocean is several hours away from us, but the Chesapeake Bay isn't far at all. /'

Amy and Adam.

Avery walking with her aunt and grandma here.

Our credit union had a carnival and Adam was insistent that he get his face painted like a panda. We waited in line for an hour.

Avery got a flower. She still talks about this frequently, so it must have been worth it.

Adam's face paint got progressively creepier as the day went on.

Adam went to work with Jeff one day. He even had his own badge. 

I took Avery to get bagels that day. That's my job- eating carbohydrates.

The blossoms outside of our house in Reston got insanely gorgeous this year. Luckily, our new house has the same type of tree.

I'm kind of a mean mom, and hid some Easter eggs in places they couldn't reach.

We played with bubbles a lot this spring.

This is a tunnel in Reston that we used to walk through almost everyday.They loved showing me this trick.

Avy sometimes likes to do my hair.

She also likes bananas.

Adam, reading a map.

We went to a tulip farm. Avery picked more than I would like, since they were a buck a flower.

I love this picture. Adam riding in the "petal snow."

Just another view of the petals. They were everywhere.

Grandma and Grandpa Carr came for a visit, and we celebrated Grandpa's birthday.

Just cute.

We took a road trip to Charlottesville. I really liked it there- it seemed like a cool little city and I'm always a sucker for a college town. Here we are at UVA.

We took a tour of Monticello and Avery was very loud, so she and I had to leave the tour early. This is the second historical mansion tour that my children have gotten thrown out of.  (The first one)

Luckily, after Jeff's parents finished the tour, I was able to come back up to the house and fall asleep on the lawn. I literally fell asleep. 

Adam randomly wanted to take a picture of the three of us one day. "We're such a beautiful family, Mom."

We drew Jeff a chalk message for his birthday. 

You better watch yourself, girl.

Adam and Jeff blew out the candles together.

Adam gave a prayer in primary. So cute. He is giving a talk next week, so I predict I'll be overcome by cuteness and pride.

Adam's birthday is 3 days after Jeff's. Jeff snuck out at night and changed our chalk message.

Adam really really wanted to go to Party City and Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday. 

Easy to please. Easy to plan.

Taking a picture of his sister.

Adam used some birthday money that he got to buy this toy. He was about 5 bucks short, so I had him earn the remainder by doing chores. He was so proud.

There was a blue jay nest outside my window this spring. Only one egg hatched and then this random cat killed the baby and put him on our porch. I know this sounds crazy, but we came home and the blue jay parents were wailing. They also kept hanging around our porch for several weeks after. I didn't really know animals could grieve and it's something I thought about a lot this summer.

We enjoyed playing out in the rain this spring.

I really enjoyed my time with Avery while Adam was at preschool this last year. It's so fun to have one-on-one time with the kids.

In May, I started doing some chalk art. Adam and I just made this one day while Avery was napping (yes, he helped!) and I got a little addicted to it. I decided to enter a festival, so by the end of May I was practicing everyday. It was such a fun time and I'm glad I found a new interest.

I like to get the kids' pictures taken every year around their birthday, but I only ever print off one (we just go to Picture People and they don't charge a sitting fee), so it's only 18 bucks. This wasn't my choice for a winner, but Adam begged me to get it. 

My second chalk drawing. 

We went to DC and met up with an old acquaintance at the Natural History Museum. I kept really hyping up the Hope Diamond and Adam just was not impressed. Sorry, bud.

My third chalk drawing. With the first two, I used regular sidewalk chalk. As I was doing this one, I was having a hard time detailing and my neighbor ran inside an brought me some chalk pastels to use. I love chalk pastels. 

We took a family drive and one child fell asleep and the other fake-fell asleep.

This is right in the middle of my chalking everyday phase. I guess I should clarify that I mostly like to draw children's book covers. I just do that because the kids enjoy it. I'm not opposed to trying different things, but I really do like doing books.

Cat the Cat is Avery's favorite book character.

Adam finished his first year of preschool. He loved it and loved his teacher. 

My kids really like Mo Willems.

This is one of my favorite drawings that I've done. 

This one was hard. It's really hard to do super-recognizable characters. I'm not an artist and I don't really have a strong method to drawing. I just stare at the cover for a really long time and decide if I can replicate it. 

This is my favorite drawing. Still is.

I really liked the dog on this one, but wish I hadn't tried to do the letters.

This is what I did for the chalk festival. I painted a tempera base (chalk adheres better to it, so you are allowed to to that in a competition), then I outlined the basic fish and scales and noted which ones would sparkle. Then I used a glitter base on the sparkly scales. It didn't really show up unless in the direct sun, but it was fun.

The kids came by and helped.

The finished fish. It's not a great detail shot (the scales turned out really cool), but I'm proud of the overall result. It wasn't the best one there (or even close), but people seemed to really like it. When I'd walk around the festival, I'd hear people talk about it and say nice things and hundreds of people took pictures of it, which I guess they probably wouldn't do if they hated it.

The kids at their well-check ups. Avery is .5% for weight and Adam is 1%. Adam did grow an inch in 2 months, so that's encouraging.

This is just at Reston Town Center. I only took it because I just was filled with overwhelming gratitude for the type of dad Jeff is. 

Crossing the street with our buddy, Logan. Also, please note the soda in the stroller. Precious commodity. 

I make Adam eat scrambled eggs a fair bit, and he's not a huge fan, but he will eat them enthusiastically if he's helped at all with the process. Even if that means stirring them around after they're cooked.

Kermit the Frog drawing. Last drawing before the move. 

Just a picture I like. I call it "guess which child napped?"

We finally went to Clemonjontri, it's an all-abilities park in McLean and probably one of the coolest ones I've ever been to. 

Avery loves selling me things at counters. She usually sells cupcakes or paper towels. The price is either "5 bucks" or "10,000 pounds a year." (We have this book.)

Started packing up our house in June. :-(

Made this for Father's Day. 

Also, put on a puppet show.

Closed on our house. Man, closings take forever. 

On his last day in our ward in Reston, Adam's teacher gave him a book that they've been working on forever. I love it. I want to marry it.

My mom came out and helped us move. This was our first dinner in our new place and I just felt struck with love.

My mom is the kind of grandma who gets in the trenches of playtime.

Worst tantrum ever. I remember taking this picture and looking at it and thinking that it didn't adequately convey how unhappy Adam looked. He definitely looks unhappy here, but in real life, he looked like he wished he was dead.

I took a candid picture of Adam playing at a splash pad. He was so outrageously happy. Avery, didn't like it as much and forced us to leave because she kept taking of all of her clothes. All of them.

We didn't think we'd have the ability to visit home this year, but we were able to (because of completely undeserved generosity) go twice. This was on our way to Idaho. (I feel like most people who read the blog know this, but in case any one was unaware- Jeff's whole extended family spend all major holidays near Sun Valley, Idaho. They actually like everyone enough to do that.) Jeff and Adam are both really fast walkers.

Ave and Ame.

Feeding Pepper her nightly treat. I'm glad I got a picture of this, however blurry it may be. It feels like such a Carr-family tradition.

I realized that the next few pictures are of Adam and Grandpa Carr. They're good buddies. This is them whistling on grass in Sun Valley.

This is them fishing.

They also made a boat.

Riding a zebra.

We enjoyed the addition of a Gimlet fire pit which might possibly be the only thing that Gimlet was ever missing.

Adam and I challenged Avery and Jeff in Ping Pong. 

Adam rode on Steve's legs a lot.

We went on a short nature hike with Amy and Cindy.

Jeff, Adam and I went out one day when Avery was sleeping and rode the ski lift up the mountain. I have always wanted to do that and it was so worth it. (Sure wish I could justify doing it every year, but its a little spendy.)

It really was one of those thing that can't adequately be captured.

On the way down. You ride a gondola up to a certain point and then ride a ski lift the remainder. We were nervous about taking Adam, but he did such a great job and stayed very still when he needed to.

Avery and Uncle Greg. 

We picked some wild daisies this year and I tried so hard to make a daisy chain, but I couldn't, so we just stuck them in her pigtails. 

Then we hunted for butterflies. I love Sun Valley in the summer. 

Adam and Ducky watching the fireworks.

There was an attempt to get a picture of the younger generation and Avery would not cooperate. There's a Jeff behind her.

This really calmed her down.

Ha! I looked over and the were both doing this.

"How you doing, Adam?" "Good, but I really don't want to talk to you."

In the kiddie pool. 

They have tiny carts at our new Safeway and Adam loves it. He also accidentally hits me with it every single time we shop.

We went to IKEA to get some things for the house and Adam got the the first couch he saw and plopped down like this.

The kids and I made a volcano.

The eruption. Sometimes people ask about the crafts and things I do with the kids, and where I get the ideas, and they're absolutely based on things that I (for whatever reason) didn't do as a kid. For example, I spent my early childhood in Alaska and I always dreamed about visiting a farm, so the kids and I visit farms a lot. I have never made a volcano and always wanted to try it, so we made one. I know it sounds selfish, but it's just generally where I get ideas for activities for us to do. 

Avery has a crush on Adam's friend, Logan. Possibly my favorite picture of the decade. Also, The Parent Trap!

Adam reading at the library...

Avy reading at the library.

There are a lot of really pretty trails and paths by our house. 

Picture with a giant cow. They begged me to take this picture, so I figure I should post it somewhere.

We went plum picking. It was really fun, but I actually don't like plums, so Jeff had a ton to eat by himself.

I tried to get them to only pick ten. That didn't work out well.

We found cokes for 3/4 of the family this summer and 1/4 of the family drank them all.

Oooh oooh! This is from Skyline drive in Shenandoah National Park. I had been dying to go for quite a while now and it was really nice of my family to oblige, since it made for a long day.

Look how many layers of mountains you can see. These are the Blue Ridge Mountains. Isn't that a great name for them?

I also really wanted to hike around and explore the park (as much as you can in one day with small kids) and the kids had fun walking around with their walking sticks.

We did hike the Little Stony Man trail and I wish the picture did it justice. Here's a link to another view of where we were standing. It is not a hard trail at all, but you'll need to hold your kids at the top.  It was so cool and Adam did the whole thing himself. 

Oh, I loved Shenandoah. I plan on taking the kids when it's fall. I'm not a big fall fan (too close to winter), so I'm trying to find things to look forward too.

Adam has a weird hidden talent for rock climbing.

Avery has these heart glasses (that she got from Party City for about 20 cents when we went for Adam's birthday- see above) and she straight up reminds me of Elton John when she wears them.

This is at the outlets in Leesburg. It was so hot that day.

We went to a sunflower farm, which was so so gorgeous and fun. We picked some and Adam made me pick the largest ones he could find. They were huge.

Ironically, I can't find the picture of my Sarah coke.

I got my moles removed. My mom has been wanting me to do that for years. I only had princess band-aids to cover my wounds.

They had one of those Cartoon Network cartoons that isn't actually for kids on in McDonalds and Adam found it disquieting.

Avery at our local pool.

We went to Harper's Ferry. I've been there before a couple of times, but Jeff hadn't. We bought some Civil War-era candy that we can't muster up the courage to try.

We walked across the bridge into Maryland. Harper's Ferry is at the intersection for Virginia, MD, and West Virginia.

We got some free things because I played (and dominated, yo) Harper's Ferry Jeopardy. Thank you, John Brown and the fact that I like to read about every place I go before I get there.

Anyways, Harper's Ferry is beautiful. 

Adam keeps picking out books at the library that aren't fiction and instead require me to do something. This one was fun. 

We hopped on a plane to Utah! Jeff had to work, so I ended up flying with the kids by myself, which I have done before but just really don't like doing. I didn't pack enough entertainment because I made sure to book a plane that had an in-flight movie (Adam will sit still for hours on a plane if there's a movie) and they must have changed planes. We colored a lot and wrote notes to give to Jeff- this reads, "We love you. There are no TV's."

Sleep-dead Avery at the Salt Lake airport.

She was really out of it.

Adam and Avery were the ring bearer and flower girl at my brother's wedding. Adam needed several fittings to get his tuxedo right and he took it very seriously.

The world needs to manufacture more little boy tuxedos.

I don't even know.

My kids are the only grandchildren on both sides of the family and so they sometimes get spoiled tremendously. My brother James bought the kids their fondest wishes. Avery, a tea party set. Avery is just ridonkulously girly and loves imaginative play, so she's been crushing pretty hard on a tea party set for a while.

Adam, a telescope. Adam has been really interested in science and space the last few months.

We went swimming in Daybreak with Uncle Tim and (soon to be!) Aunt Katelin.

The kids LOVE Tim and Katelin.

Adam asks every few days, "Do Tim and Katelin have kids yet? I want them to have kids. When will they have kids?" Adam has a weird habit of asking really specific questions about awkward subjects. You should hear his knowledge of puberty. He loves talking about puberty. He thought Avery's voice was changing the other day.

We went to Rita's, which is actually an East Coast chain, but I've never been to it and I guess it's a big deal in Utah now. I just like this picture of my mom sitting at the tiny table with the kids.

We also visited the new aquarium. I thought it was really great. I have a bit of a thing for aquariums, so I've actually visited quite of few of the really large ones, but I thought this one was really well-done. I loved the penguins.

 As I mentioned, my kids are spoiled when with family. and were allowed to pick out a toy at the aquarium.

This is a car that I saw that had the bumper sticker, "What would Nixon do?" I feel like that's one of the weirdest bumper stickers that I have ever seen. Apparently they're sold by the Nixon Presidential Library. I can understand having a soft spot for Nixon or feeling like he had many successes in his presidency, but it's: A). Not a very topical bumper sticker, even if you do really look at current events and wonder what Nixon would do; B). It's just strange to make Messianic overtures about the most disgraced president of all time. (Especially in Provo, where this was taken) I know people use the "WWJD" format and insert other names to be cheeky, but it's just really weird to do it for Richard Nixon, even if you're a big fan. Maybe especially if you're a fan. If you ask people what Richard Nixon would do, they're going to think about things he did do., and 100% of people will immediately recall some negative things about his presidency. If you want to make people like Richard Nixon, you should out a really specific bumper sticker that says something like, "I like normalized Chinese relations."

I went down to Utah county to catch up with my friend Rachel and meet her incredibly adorable little guy.

At Tim and Katelin's rehearsal dinner, Adam ordered a honking huge piece of cake. 

My cousin Kyle stopped by to visit and we saw him as we were walking the dog and Kyle helped Adam because it turns out that Oliver is about ten times stronger than Adam.

On the day of the wedding, Avery and my mom and I  got our hair done.  She did so well. I was really worried about it, but she was just so excited to get gussied up. The girl who did her hair was really surprised to hear that Avery is two because she was just chattering away and sat really still. I get people all of the time who think Avery is older (she speaks well), but the thing is, she's also about the size of a one year old, so I'm impressed that they round up.

The kids were ADORABLE. I mean, I love them and all, but I think that even objectively, they were kill-me-now adorable. Adam did an amazing job walking down the aisle (and even sat down and ended up sitting alone during the ceremony, because Jeff had to leave because...), but Avery only made it half way before throwing her basket down and being disruptive (that's why).

Family picture! We all adore Katelin and are just so happy to have her in the family. I couldn't envision a better sister-in-law. (Dude, that sound like a burn against Amy and Rachel. I just mean that I'm really happy Tim married her! Ah! Love you all!)

My family! I love them. My heart just got so happy when John came into the reception. I love my baby brother (and he's fond of me, since I helped him procure the 1984 edition of Robin Hood. Score!).

Tim and Mom. I don't even know if any one is still reading this blog, since it is a million years long, but I am so proud of my big brother and the person he is.

Adam and I at the reception. We partied hard. I got a blister on top of another blister. 

Ah, this is back in VA. Adam got sad and Avery laid down and said, "It's ok, brother."

The kids and I made some art for the playroom. Honestly, it's their room and I thought it'd be fun if they felt some ownership over how it was decorated and we had a blast doing it. 

Adam's turned out really great.

We went to Tysons Corner because they recently got a Shake Shack and since trying it in New York a year ago, I have become obsessed. We seriously drive into DC more times than you would expect just to go to Shake Shack. Anyway, Tyson's has a really cool new outddoor area by the metro.

The kids and I went swimming about 4 days in a row at the end of August, twice with our good friends. Several pools are included in our HOA fee's, but we didn't get around to trying the pool that is geared specifically towards kids till the very end of the summer. I had an irrational fear about taking them both to the pool by myself, but it wasn't really that bad. That's my overall experience with parenthood. Most things I dread doing aren't actually all that bad.   

Sometimes Adam and I play outside when Avery naps. Adam only naps once in a while, but Avery is in the amazing 3-hour nap stage. so we start to feel cooped up.

Speaking of coop (woo hoo- nice transition, Sary!), this is Adam holding a chick at the farmer's market. 

We found this British store in the middle of nowhere and I bought a lot of chocolate, promised I would share, and then ate it all by myself. Oh, I'm sorry to inform you that I'm kind of a bad person, but there it is. This is a chocolate orange in candy bar form.

I was cleaning and Jeff was watching the kids and I came upstairs to them having a tea party. I love Jeff. He is the best. He would definitely share chocolate.

On Labor Day, we went and picked apples.

And the orchard had this little guy, which appears to have a hamburger head and a fish body. 

We also drove near a town named Kabletown! With a K! 

Maria, who was in Jeff's program at Stanford, came and stayed with us for a couple of days. She is lovely and Avery told me  yesterday that Maria was her best friend (I was trying to get Avery to say that I was her best friend).

We went to a splash pad and Avery wouldn't leave my lap until I had gotten them out of their swimsuits and then she ran through in her dry clothes.

Adam has never been very big into drawing, but he's picked it up recently. This is a picture he drew of me and him. (He says that he made me look like a volcano and him look like a squid.)

A few days later, he drew this all by himself. I did have to tell him how to spell Dad and Me, but he wrote it all by himself. I love watching him grow up.
Adam started school. The kids picked out this craft book at the library that was shelved as fiction, and then demanded we make a craft from it, so we made some tissue paper flowers and decided to give them to his new preschool teacher. Adam totally didn't want to smile in this picture, if you can't tell. He normally loves to smile for me, but he was really excited to go.


big MAK said...

From scanning through the photos I came to a few conclusions.
1. You are beautiful!! Seriously and so photogenic.
2. You have beautiful children
3. You are a great mother
4. Looks like you guys have lots of fun adventures.
Thanks for sharing!

Ashley said...

You seriously have the cutest kids and I love everything you do with them! I mean, you don't see a lot of parents doing that. At least I haven't. So I think it's awesome you provide them with great education at such an early age. The bubbles picture of Adam and of him reading a map are the best. I also love your commentary.. Jeff would share chocolate. haha I love it. OH and Shenandoah is absolutely stunning!

Shantel said...

I have so many things to say (because I think that you have darling children and I love reading the way you write - so I read the entire post and loved every second of it.) First of all, I have no idea how you get your kids to be so photogenic. You have a real talent for capturing real life moments and making them look darling. Also, my favorite commentary was about the Nixon sticker. I laughed out loud. And you were completely correct about how darling the two of them were at the wedding, they were so cute!

Karissa said...

That picture of Adam and the bubbles is seriously the greatest thing I've ever seen.