Monday, March 31, 2014

Traveling to Paradise in May!

So I've discussed before my dilemma of getting wanderlust at a point in my life that it's just not conducive for it. There was even one time I thought Greg and I were going to be able to pull off an overseas trip to London. Even more recently I thought I was going to be able to pull off visiting a friend that moved to Cambridge. There's just so much to get lined up to make it work, and it just never came together. I did however finally get a passport before I turned 35 (a strange goal I had in my head) though!

Then this year for Christmas we told Greg's parents that ALL we wanted for Christmas was one week of their time in the spring. So that they could come here and watch the boys while we went away on our very first real vacation together. We didn't even have a honeymoon. We decided to look at a beach/island vacation even though we'd love to go overseas and check out stuff over there. It's just been a rough few years and we both think this will recharge our batteries so much more!

So the stars were in alignment and guess what... it's all come together!!

In Mid-May we will celebrate our 9th Anniversary on the tropical island voted as some of the best beaches in the world... the Turks & Caicos!

 

We actually booked the vacation a couple of months ago, but with all the stuff going on with Luke, it just took a backseat in excitement and planning. Time to start counting down (downloaded an app on my phone already!), thinking of packing and all the planning. We purchased the "romance package" that comes with various credits to use towards boat tours, the spa, restaurants, etc. Looking forward to various things at the resort like kayaking, snorkeling, and sitting on my butt on the beach with a drink in my hand :)

Lots of planning for when we're gone too. I've only ever been away from the boys one time when we came to Virginia to house hunt for 3 days. Looks like I have a binder to make!

If anyone has any packing tips for an island vacation, I'd love to hear them. Also, any tips for preparing your home for grandparents to watch the kids for a week.

Other than that... here's some beachy eye candy of our destination...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Big Update on the Little Guy

If anyone is still reading after my months long hiatus... you probably know why. I talked about it in this post a few months ago.

Since then it's just been even more of a process. In January we started getting him evaluated with hopes of being accepted into the local school district's special education program. There were times I wondered to myself if they made the process to insane, just to see who actually sticks it out all the way through.

Then every single day that we had a meeting or an evaluation... it would end up being a snow day. So of course if the school district is closed... we had to reschedule those appointments to what would usually end being as luck would have it... another snow day.

Anyway, after all that... Luke WAS found eligible for the special education program! Yay!

Then began the process of finding out where he'd go and getting his Individual Education Plan (IEP) in place. More evaluations, appointments, phone calls, etc...

As of Tuesday he was officially a student at a local special education preschool. He can't technically start until we get in his health form (which this process about caused me to lose my mind at the doctors office today). Once his health form is in then they can get him processed for bus transportation. So he could start the end of next week or the following.

He'll go for three hours, five days a week. The bus will pick him up at our home, and drop him off at our home. He'll be in an eight child classroom with other various developmental delays. We went and saw his classroom the other day and he was very excited. He did start doing his normal fit throwing after about 10 minutes, so we left to keep the experience positive. But he is very angry every morning that he's not at school yet... so I guess that's good!

This seems like such a short post to explain my hiatus on the blog. It's just been the most overwhelmed I've ever been. I'm so thankful he's going to be getting the help he needs to be the great little guy he has the potential to be! In the meantime, I'm going to have all three boys each going to a different school until summer starts!

Thanks for reading! I hope to start being able to blog more now that my brain can dump all that stress of the last year or so. Sorry, I've not been myself at all. Please stick around, I see smoother seas ahead!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happy St. Paddy's Day 2014

Not only was yesterday St. Patrick's Day, it was also our 10th snow day around these parts!
Try 6-8"... over winter!
Or in our case 6-8" inches of SNOW! What a winter it's been here, so over it. I miss Texas!

We had a fun day nonetheless. Before bed we read the book we've been reading every night for two weeks... "The Night Before St. Patrick's Day" by Natasha Wing.
the night before st patricks day

When we woke up in the morning, we came down to find that the Leprechaun Trap worked, but he got away!



We had made leprechaun traps last week, as Jake needed one for school. So Evan made one as well to use here at home. Like always, we didn't buy anything, they're made from stuff we had around the house!


Evan & Jake's Traps


We had the requisite breakfast of Lucky Charms and that leprechaun enchanted our glasses again! The milk turned green when poured into the glass!



Then they went outside to play in the snow. Which meant I had to dig out all the snowpants and such that I had just packed away until what I thought would be next year not next week! They love a treat of hot cocoa when they come inside, so I quickly sprinkled some green sugar on top and poof, you have St. Patrick's Day Hot Cocoa! They thought it was awesome.



Then we did some painting...



.... in Mustaches. Apparently leprechauns are artistic AND like a good mess!

My real life leprechauns!


My luck was okay too... went that night to Bunco with the neighbors and won $10 for most buncos and a little gift for being the last one to get one :) Go me!



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

We have a Basketball Player!

One thing we've been busy with over the winter was Jake participating in Basketball for the first time!

It was a little daunting for us all at first. I thought when I signed him up for the local Boys & Girls club, that would be where practice and games would me. NOPE. Practice ended up being on a Friday night 6:15-7:30pm.... 45 mins away from where we lived (due to Friday rush hour traffic in NOVA). Then every Saturday the games were during Luke's naptime. So we took turns going to games, but mostly Greg took him to practice. Evan ended up tagging along too, so it ended up being a fun time.

From everything I found this was the beginning option for "Developmental" Basketball. However, once he was on the team most of them were on last years team. I was confused... poor Jake was really confused. He was expected to know how to do everything the other kids already knew how to do. I held my breath and we just went with it. You know what? It worked out! He picked it up, and really learned a lot!! We're so proud of him!

The Team! Go Eagles! Jake in middle of back row

Lining up!

He worked sooo hard on his dribbling the last few months!

The refs were wonderful and you could tell they enjoyed teaching the game to the kids


Loving that smile!

Only twice could the whole family go to his games, but it was fun!

The Coach said to be sure to sign him up and asked to be on the same team again for next year! Sounds good to me!

And on that note... yay for March Madness coming up! It's my Midwestern roots, I can't help it... love me some B-Ball!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Star Wars Bedroom Collage

Hello! I know I've been MIA for quite awhile. Life just got to be too much. But I'm finally able to surface and have been doing little projects again!

Wanted to come share the Star Wars Bedroom Collage that I finally finished for my son's room!

He makes his own bed, so the pillows aren't fluffed and styled at the "blog-level" and that's okay!!


We started his room not long after we moved here.






Then I did this DIY Space Painting for some artwork/wall décor.



Then over a year passed ;)

I finally got the creative bug. I know I'm overwhelmed when I haven't done anything creative in six months, hence the blog taking a nose dive. I'll update about all that soon enough. Even the camera didn't have any pictures on it since Christmas. Usually I'm uploading on a weekly basis!

Months ago I ordered this poster for his room. So got it hung up over his dresser.



Then all I needed was the collage over his bed to finish. As always the goal is repurposing what I have. I pretty much did, I only bought the star for like $12 on Amazon.



First I made this artsy Millennium Falcon piece. Got the idea from this blog, she's an art teacher and explains the process way better than I can!


Gathering my supplies (an instant mocha is a supply!)


Tried first with school glue, no good!

Busted out the hot glue, much better!

Applied foil using q-tip to get relief. Then painted over with gray acrylic paint, rubbing off where the glue is under.

Dug out an un-used frame to put it in!


Then added some gray paint to his "J" (that you last saw on the toy mirror - it fell apart during our move) and added some do-dads to give it a "space junk" type look.




Last but not least we had this broken light saber from their Halloween costumes in 2012! They just whack each other with them anyway... so it became décor! :)



I'm really happy with how it turned out! Very happy to feel more like myself, creating things, and look... even blogging! :)


Monday, February 10, 2014

You should check this out! Outlander!

(yep, just going to act like I haven't been MIA in forever. I'm just really overwhelmed right now and pretty much haven't been doing anything that's blog worthy.)

I wanted to get on here really quick and share something fun. Looking for a new series to read? Like big books? Stories that really pull you in? Looking for a new summer TV series? I've got you've covered on both!


I've probably said it quite a few times on here that one of my most favorite books series is the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon! She will be releasing the 8th book in the series, Written in My Hearts Own Blood in June.

Then this summer the first book will be a TV series on STARZ. No date released yet but Outlander Fans suspect after the book release, so probably in July!



So here's your chance to get caught up and discover them in time for the summer! If anything, at least read the first book, Outlander! I wouldn't put it into any genre. It gets classified as Historical Romance because yes, a relationship is at the center of the story. It is so much more than that, I promise! There's war, hardships, fascinating medical/herbal use, family ties & drama, love of the land, and a bit of the mystic! This author really makes you FEEL so many emotions when you read her stories. You really become immersed into these books!

I don't know if I've exactly come across this yet! A few are close!

I'm planning a re-read of the series here soon to "prep" for the new book. Was thinking of some how incorporating it on the blog. No idea of how or what exactly yet... but it's definitely idea bouncing around in my head!
"OUTLANDER Addict" magnet. For more OUTLANDER-related products, visit http://www.zazzle.com/OutlandishObserv*/gifts

Sunday, January 12, 2014

U.S. Capitol Building Tour - H Fam Sightseeing Part 21

I know, I know, still MIA. I promise to try to work on an update post soon. But let's just say I'm really overwhelmed with life right now. Times to actually get on the computer and type something out is few & far between.

I did want to get on here and share about our most recent sightseeing - The U.S. Capitol Building!

Our favorite visitor, Greg's sister came to visit us after Christmas! We took her to Great Falls (she hadn't been there yet), she watched the boys so we had a date night, we TRIED to go see the ZOO Lights at the National Zoo (after an hour & a half in traffic, we were turned away because parking was maxed out), then her and I did some shopping & sushi one day, and on her last full day here we toured the U.S. Capitol!

We've seen the outside of it before when we visited the American Indian Museum, but not the inside yet!

Ah back in August when it was warm out!! Sigh.


There are various ways you can book a tour. You can probably get a better tour when booking through your state representative or senate, but you have to do it way in advance. So we kept it simple and you can book a FREE tour on their site. Works for me!

We decided since Union Station wasn't that far away (a few blocks walk) that we would park there. There's no parking except street parking and they encourage you to take the metro. Parking at Union Station was easy, then we walked through it (bathroom breaks, always important when traveling with kids!) and towards the Capitol Building. It was in the 30's that day so... cold... but do able. It was brisk!




Now there's a lot you should read once you book the tour, especially the prohibited list. It says on their many times that strollers are not allowed. Luke still has to be in a stroller, so I was a bit concerned about this. Since we'd have three adults, we figured we'd just play "pass the Luke". When you line up at the Visitors Center inside (they let about 20 people in at a time) they will tell you absolutely NO food or drink. If you even have a random piece of gum that slid to the bottom of your purse, you cannot throw it away inside. You'd have to come back outside, throw it away, and get back in line again. I checked and I had a random Hershey kiss!

You go through metal detectors just like at an airport, and then you can go in. They have Coat Check there which is awesome for winter time. Because you have no choice but to walk there, but inside the heat is cranking! So it was really nice to be able to check our coats, especially since there's no strollers allowed. Or so everything said, on our tour there was a double stroller, and a couple other strollers. What the heck? It says it's not allowed???? Oh well. Luke did pretty good for the most part, and the three adults all got really good arm workouts that day.

They recommend you get there 40 minutes before your tour, and I'm glad we did. By the time we waited in line (at 9am) outside, did security, coat check, got our tickets (line without reservations was long, ours was short!), another bathroom break (another family tip - big clean bathrooms and there's also a family bathroom option too!), and we had about 10 mins to check out the Exhibition Hall before getting in line for your tour.

Tour starts out with a 10 minute or so movie going over US history and mainly the history of the building of course. All kids were good with it and didn't get bored.

Then you exit the theater and line up in four rows (that becomes your group) and receive your headphones. Like the guide will tell you, the headphones are not great, they're just meant to help amplify their voice. They're static-y and cut out, but no biggie. The kids loved them!

Little touristy history nerds in the making, just like mom & dad :)


I have to admit I was a little disoriented as to where we were in the building at each time except in the dome. There were lots of twists, stairs, and turns we kept taking. The Dome of course was especially neat to see! Our guide was very good, funny (although many of his jokes were lost in translation, but we thought he was funny!) and really knew his stuff!





Like the guide said, treat the sculptures like your middle school dance partner... 12" apart!


At the end you can check out the Exhibition Hall again, but it was way too close to lunch time for my crew of boys. Our tour started at 9:40 and we were done about 11am. Made a quick stop at the gift shop for a Christmas Ornament (what we like to collect in our travels & sightseeing) and a coin for the boys. We walked back to Union Station that's filled with restaurants for lunch. Then it was easy to just walk to our car and head home.

The H Family at the Capitol!


Everyone enjoyed the morning and it was an interesting and neat thing to do. Glad we did it! Thanks for going with us and helping us out as always Aunt Megan! :)