Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Spirit

HA!  Just like last year, we finally made it to Wednesday storytime at the library, and it happened to be a special Halloween theme!  Graham wasn't wearing his full costumes, but he was wearing his fireman boots!  We decorated bags and trick-or-treated around the little library!
Then, there was some special mail from Mimi and Bampa!
Gummy tarantulas!!!
Jackson makes some of the best faces...and usually requests pictures of them...

Monkey see, monkey do!

Graham's first Halloween Parade!!!  Isn't this an adorable bunch?!
Headed towards my trick-or-treat station!  We gave out tattoos :)

On to the next station!
Having a great time, of course!

More of the parade!
I just love Graham's preschool teacher!  This is her first year, so I thought she might enjoy some Halloween-themed frames (to be filled with class pictures from each day) of her first group of kiddos!
Graham also got to have another parade on yesterday (one on Thursday and one on Friday ensures all of the children get to participate in at least one even though they go on differing days), and he loved it just as much!
I went into Jackson's classroom yesterday afternoon for their Fall Feast, and I brought donut holes decorated to look like acorns and pumpkin spice playdough!  I know I have great memories from all of my holiday classroom parties, and I'm so glad the boys have teachers who are helping them make good memories of their own!

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Geocaching Weekend

I am sure it sounds like we are obsessed with geocaching as a lot of our outings revolve around it.  But it is such fun for us on so many different levels.  It is perfect for us all as a family, since we all like being outside and many family friendly caches include playground, bridges to cross in the woods or other fun things like that.  There is almost always at least a small caching adventure to tack on to Date Night (who doesn't like when you can get that started a little earlier???).  And, the woods or a kayakable body of water is just what Josh needs as a little escape from the busyness of life, so it is a wonderful solo activity for him too.  As we've become more experienced and gotten to know more cachers in the area, we've gotten linked up with a couple of organizations that hold activities!  This weekend, we happened to have TWO!
Our favorite event is a picnic at a pavilion attached to a local fire house, and this one was Saturday!  The entire area is fenced in.  There is a basketball court, big swings, a pretty great playground, and a completely covered picnic area complete with beautiful built-in grills.  The fire chief's wife is a big cacher, so he provides the space and does the grilling.  This is also where we got our private tour of the fire house last year!!!  There are also fun statues around like the ones in the picture above.
Sliding down the fire pole at the firehouse playground!
Graham was brave and slid down the pole all by himself!  You can guess how many times he did this...  We always have fun at this event, but it is pretty much always interrupted by a soccer game, so we only get to stay long enough for a quick early lunch and a bit of playing.  
Yesterday, we went to the NOVAGO Fall event (Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization).  This was SUCH fun!  We all recognized/knew more people since we've been to a couple more events and several of the people from the Summer picnic and camping event were here.
We met at a picnic pavilion with a playground right next to it.  The playground was pretty spectacular and kept the boys entertained for a long time!
There was also a costume contest, so several people were in costume!  Graham LOVED Emmett!
For the kid that is usually terrified of the Chickfila cow, this was great!
I brought the boys' costumes to change into when they were ready.  Vampire R2-D2 promptly tried out the monkey bars in his cape!
It looked pretty cool!

Cupcake time!
There were other kids, so there was some time for kid games.  They were picking out ducks and winning prizes based on the numbers on the bottom.
During our picnic, a group of people came over to this bench that was originally roped off, and apparently had a dedication scheduled!  They hung out there for a bit and did their thing, and then they took the caution tape down and left!  It was the perfect place to watch the Ammo Can Toss!  There was a big ammo can with extra weight added, and people took turns launching it to see who could throw it farthest.  There was also a game of who could unpack a cache container, sign the log, and repack the container faster!  Lots of fun geocaching-based games...  I wish I was hosting Jackson's party AFTER this event!  

The boys had a GREAT time, we all enjoyed the beautiful day together, there was tons of yummy food to eat, and it was great to get to know some other cachers and their families!  Needless to say, there were baths and showers full of sweat and dirt and early bedtimes all around!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Trick or Treating at Stonebridge

One of our favorite activities is the early Trick or Treating Stonebridge and Wegmans do about a week before Halloween!
Vampire R2-D2 from the back...
...and the front!
Photo op with a pea pod in front of Wegmans
Happy Early Halloween!
We ran into Lillian!  So fun to see friends wherever we go :)
One of the stations set up in Wegmans and run by Milton from "Office Space!"
Taking a turn on the fire truck!
Jr. Firefighter on a firetruck!!! 
I love these boys and their loves for trucks :)
Firefighter Graham and Vampire R2-D2 in front of the big firetruck!

The boys had an awesome time still, but I was a little frustrated at the longer lines we experienced.  Not as many stores participated (or ran out of candy early), so the lines got longer at the places that were stocked and ready to go.  We skipped some of the long lines, which the boys were sad about at first, but they got over it ;)  Can't wait for "real" Trick or Treating...

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Bear for Baby Madelyn!

As of September, 16th, Josh and I have a niece and the boys have a first cousin!!!
Madelyn Riley was born early in the morning and was 7 lbs 3 oz and 20 inches long!
When each of the boys were born, Aunt Michelle and Uncle Larry made them Build a Bears and dressed them and named them in a Minnesota-themed fashion.  Jackson's bear is named T.C. (Twin Cities) and sports a Timberwolves basketball jersey.  Graham's is named Paul (Minneapolis/St. Paul) and sports a Wild hockey jersey.  SUCH a special gift when we live in separate states!  So, Jackson decided Madelyn needed a special bear!  And, who doesn't love a reason for Build a Bear?!
This was the first time Graham helped!  Jackson was all about choosing the bear designed for babies since it has its features sewn on and no choking hazards.  Then, it was time for the stuffing...
Testing to see if her stuffing level is just right
Each of the boys got a special little heart to send good wishes to Baby Madelyn and tuck inside the bear.
There is a whole routine for this, of course.  Rubbing the heart on their heads, so the bear will be extra smart.
I can't remember why they rub the hearts on their cheeks...
Rubbing the hearts on their tummies, so the bear will always have enough to eat.
Making a wish and giving the hearts a kiss before tucking them inside
Time to give the bear a bath!
Then, it was time to dress her and take care of her birth certificate.  Jackson agreed we should look for a UVa shirt for her.  We found a UVa t-shirt, paired it with a jean skirt that had some silver sequin trim, Olaf slippers, and little hair bows to complete the look.  Jackson wanted to add shoes to the ensemble, but I showed him how lots of the shoe choices were either made out of a hard material or had glitter or sequins--not baby friendly things!  Graham approved the Olaf slippers, and Jackson thought they looked much softer.  I loved watching the boys put together a bear for this sweet baby girl they hadn't met yet, but were so excited about!  I also just was so amused watching the two of them make such a girly bear ;)
Here are the three cousins and their special bears!