Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Few Days at the Farm

Military moves can be hard, but it is always so much fun to meet back up with friends from past duty stations.

Kate (from Kate Tells Stories) and her crew lived just down the street from us in Monterey, and Trenton and Cullen were the best of friends.  They moved to the DC area two years ago.  We went a whole year without seeing them, and then were able to catch up with them last summer when they came to visit us here in Pennsylvania.

We were long overdue to see each other again, so when Kate texted me a couple weeks ago asking if we were available to get together this week at her parents’ farm (which I had heard MANY stories about and seen so many beautiful pictures of), I jumped at the opportunity.

The kids were up early on Monday, and we were out the door and to the farm (located in the mountains of Virginia) by lunch.  Everyone ate lunch, and I don’t think the kids stopped going until bedtime!

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I love that they automatically pick up right where they left off!  That’s when you know you have good friends!

Charlotte somehow convinced Bennett to marry her.  I spied them holding hands many times throughout the day, and even caught them dancing.  I just wonder if Bennett told Charlotte about his plans to live in a monster truck….


The kids spent the first day on the farm swimming, swinging, playing Legos, riding the golf cart, playing house, feeding Marme’s animals, roasting marshmallows at the bonfire with Papa Fritz, and eating s’mores. 


It was an amazing first day.

….Until Charlotte decided to run into the high chair as she was coming in from the bonfire.


I took this picture to send to Jarrod, and right as I was putting my phone back in my pocket, Charlotte threw up everywhere.  Thankfully once she finished throwing up (on Marme’s new chair and the rug), Charlotte felt a lot better, but I felt horrible!!!

Tuesday we went to tour Skyline Caverns.  We were all excited about exploring the cave, but once we got down into it, Kate started getting claustrophobic.  She knew she wouldn’t be able to make it through the hour-long tour, so she took Wells, Bennett, and Evelyn out with her, while I continued on through the tour with Trenton, Charlotte, and Cullen.

All three older kids really enjoyed the tour.  I was wearing a dress though, and didn’t bring in a bag since I was going to be carrying Evelyn, so I don’t have ANY pictures from inside the cave.  But there were really pretty formations, streams, and a small waterfall.  There were also a couple times that our guide showed us what complete darkness looks like.  That wasn’t a favorite for the kids.

We spent the rest of the day at the farm swimming and playing.  And Trenton and Charlotte got to ride a little motorcycle for the first time!!!


Wednesday before we headed back to PA, we all stopped at a little creek/park to feed the ducks and burn off some energy.  It worked because all three of my kids napped on the way home, and Kate told me that her three slept on their drive home too!


We’re already starting to plan our next get-together with Kate and crew, and we’re hoping to include the hubbies too!  Trenton and Charlotte are also talking about trying to have Daddy convince the Navy to move us wherever their friends go next!

The Farm was such a nice little getaway (even if the kids NEVER stopped going!), and we had such a wonderful time.  Trenton and Charlotte talked nonstop for 30 minutes yesterday evening telling Jarrod all about their fun times!  Thank you to Kate for inviting us, Marme and Papa Fritz for cooking for us, building fires, riding motorcycles, and opening up your home to us, and the rest of Kate’s family for being so open and welcoming to us. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Whoa, We’re Halfway There

So I haven’t really posted a lot about this pregnancy.  Oh, the lucky fourth child!

As you can tell from the post title, we’re halfway there!  My official due date is December 2nd.  But, I had an ultrasound yesterday and an OB appointment today, and I’m measuring 9 days ahead.  My doctor said that they don’t change the due date unless the baby is measuring 10 or more days ahead, so for now, we’re sticking with an early December estimated time of arrival.


The little nugget looks great otherwise.  Yes, it is still an “it” to us.  We decided that we wanted to be surprised this go-round, so we didn’t find out the gender yesterday!

All of the doctors and midwives that I’ve seen say that I’m a perfect candidate for a VBAC as long a Baby cooperates.  Yesterday it was laying transverse all the way across my belly.  Very few babies actually stay transverse up until delivery, so I’m hoping for a head down baby soon!


Many of you may remember that I had Charlotte early because my amniotic fluid levels dropped too low.  Right now they are looking good, and I’m hoping that they stay good!

I started to feel the baby move around last month while we were in Texas.  At first it was just sporadic, but now, it’s like clock work every night when I get in bed.  I don’t feel as much during the day, but that’s just because I rarely sit still enough to pay attention.

Charlotte figured this picture out right away when I showed it to her.  Yesterday at the ultrasound, Jarrod thought that the stomach (on the right) was the face!  In his defense, even though I’ve had a lot of ultrasounds between all of my pregnancies, he hasn’t been able to make it to very many of them.

I am still feeling really good too!  At my appointment today, the nurse went on and on about how great my blood pressure was.  I’ve never had bad blood pressure readings, but I’ve also never had anyone gush over how great they are either.  I’m still keeping up with my 21 Day Fix workouts and nutrition, and I really think that’s why I’m doing so good with this pregnancy.  So far, I’ve gained 4 pounds and I haven’t had to move into any maternity clothes yet.  I’m hoping to make it through the rest of the warm weather months still in my normal everyday clothes.

We are so excited to be bringing another blessing into this world, and are praying that the second half of this pregnancy goes as smoothly as the first!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Watch Evelyn Grow: 18 Months

Evelyn turned 18 months old last Friday.  I’m not sure how she can already be so old.  Wasn’t she just a little baby yesterday?


I have loved watching Evelyn’s personality grow.  She’s becoming her own little person.

She still cannot sit still for more than a few minutes at a time.  Unless of course it’s for food or a book.  She loves being read to.  And as you can tell, she doesn’t miss many meals!

Evelyn started sleeping through the night late this spring.  But then we went to Texas, and it threw her off kilter.  Now she’s getting in multiple teeth at a time, and we’re doing good to get one or two full nights sleep a week.


We’re still a little behind with talking – she has about eight words that she uses regularly – but we are going to give her until her two-year check up to see if she needs speech therapy.  She’s started talking a lot more over the summer, and I’m hoping that now that more words will keep coming. 

Evelyn is a huge animal lover.  She is constantly giving Bailey hugs, and she wants to pet any dog she sees when we’re out and about.  She loves cows, horses, cats, ducks, pretty much any animal she sees. 

I am not ready for potty training, but Evelyn really enjoys sitting on the toilet.  She’s never actually done anything while on the toilet, but she loves hopping off to check!  And if we’re in the living room when she wets her diaper, she’ll go to the diaper drawer, pull out a diaper, and lay down waiting for me to change it.  I’m not going to push anything, but I will sit her on the potty a couple times a day.  And if she happens to “get it” before this new baby comes, great!  But if not, we’ve done the two kids in diapers thing before. 

Evelyn has had the darkest hair of all of my kids.  But it’s really starting to lighten up now and is somewhere between the color of Trenton’s and Charlotte’s.  It’s finally starting to come in a bit more too!  And it curls in the back!  I’m really anxious to see what her hair winds up looking like once it gets longer.


Evelyn’s eyes are still pretty blue too.  I think Trenton’s and Charlotte’s had changed color by 18 months.  Evelyn’s look more green on some days, but some days, they are still really blue.  I’m wondering if she’s going to end up with hazel eyes like Daddy.

We had Evelyn’s 18 month appointment today.  She is my heaviest kid at 18 months, topping the scales at 27 pounds, 2 ounces (82nd percentile).  Carrying her around is quite the workout!  As far as height, she is right between where Trenton and Charlotte were at the same age at 31 3/4 inches (54th percentile).  She is also my first kid who doesn’t cry when she gets shots.  Girlfriend is one tough cookie!


Evelyn certainly gives us a run for our money sometimes, but we wouldn’t trade her for the world.  She has brought so much joy and happiness to this family.  I sometimes go peek in the playroom when the kids don’t know I’m looking just to watch them all play and laugh together.  I am one blessed Mommy.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Field Trip Friday–Pennsylvania State Capitol & Dutch Wonderland

Okay, I’m way behind on here and just now getting around to posting about LAST Friday’s field trip.

Jarrod had the day off, and we decided to go check out the Pennsylvania’s state capitol.  I wasn’t sure that the capitol would be open, so I made sure to call on Thursday to check.  The lady I spoke with said that they would be open and gave me the tour times.


Well, when we got to the capitol, the visitor center was closed.  Tours were still being conducted, but it was an hour and a half until the next one.  Time that could have been used to check out the visitor center exhibits, but with it closed, we really didn’t have much to do.  We walked around the capitol grounds, checking out all of the building and monuments, but that certainly didn’t take an hour and a half.  So we decided to table the tour for another day and head to Lancaster for the second part of our field trip.

Dutch Wonderland is a theme park geared toward younger children.  Charlotte was tall enough to ride nearly every ride in the park.  We had a fun time at Dutch Wonderland, but we all agreed that we like HersheyPark better.  But we didn’t go to the water area of Dutch Wonderland.  We may go back another day to check that part out.  The kids all rode a few rides (even Evelyn!), but we didn’t stay but a couple hours.  Evelyn started having a reaction to her sunscreen, and I was getting a headache from the heat.  Plus, it was pretty crowded too (even though ride lines weren’t as long as HersheyPark, Dutch Wonderland is on less acreage making it feel more crowded). 

Trenton was mad that he had to sit in the back with Mommy.  Once he ride got going, he thought it was fun though.

Daddy, Trenton, and Charlotte are in the back car.  I love that Trenton, who has never been the biggest roller coaster fan, has his hands up in the air!

We didn’t do this week’s field trip today because Trenton was at Cub Scout day camp all week.  But we are taking a family road trip/field trip tomorrow!  Follow along on IG (@creativelyblooming) to see where we wind up!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

International Mud Day 2015

Yesterday (June 29th) was International Mud Day.


We celebrated this “holiday” a few years ago, but have missed it last couple years because of vacation and our cross-country move.

Trenton and Charlotte have been asking about Mud Day ever since school got out.  Yesterday I packed all three kids up and told them we were going on a hike.  It rained here all day Saturday, so I knew that the trail we were going to would have some good puddles (a friend gave me the tip about which local trail was best for puddles).  We got on the trail and came across a big puddle.  Trenton and Charlotte were trying to go around it, when I sprung some news on them.

“Jump right in!  It’s Mud Day, and I brought extra clothes for you to change into!”

I didn’t have to tell them twice!


I wasn’t sure how Evelyn would like the mud, but she loved splashing around with her big brother and big sister!


I spent yesterday afternoon doing laundry.  All of the mud came out of the dirty clothes!  We also took a break from chores to walk down to the grocery store to grab the ingredients for a muddy treat.  Because what would Mud Day be without some mud pudding?

What is your favorite wacky holiday?  I’m always looking for silly things to celebrate with my kiddos!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Field Trip Friday–Factory Tours

We had plans today of visiting one factory, but we actually wound up visiting two!


Chocolate was our theme of the week.  We read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and watched the movie, made Daddy a chocolate zucchini birthday cake (with zucchini from our garden!), and read books about how chocolate is made.


Wilbur Chocolate Co. in Lititz, Pennsylvania is best known for the Wilbur Bud – a chocolate candy that is very similar to a Hershey Kiss.  Wilbur Buds have been around since 1894.  Milton Hershey started producing Hershey Kisses in 1907.

Anyway, we stepped out of our car in the parking lot across the street from the factory and could immediately smell chocolate in the air.  It was heavenly!  And definitely a much sweeter aroma than last week’s field trip!

The factory itself was a bit of a letdown for the kids.  Because of FDA regulations, we couldn’t go into the actual factory portion of the building.  We were able to see a “museum” with old chocolate making equipment and molds.  There was also a movie about how chocolate was made, but the kids weren’t really interested in that.  We were able to watch a few ladies dipping caramels from behind a glass partition.  On our way back through the gift shop, we sampled Wilbur Buds and also bought some chocolate to bring home.  Of the items we brought home - buds, milk chocolate coins, dark chocolate covered peanut butter ritz cracker sandwiches, and milk chocolate dipped homemade marshmallows – the marshmallows were the unanimous favorite. 


As the kids and I were walking back across the street after leaving the chocolate factory, we spotted a town map.  I saw a pretzel factory on the map not far from where we were, and while we were eating lunch, I looked the place up on my phone.

Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery was the first commercial pretzel bakery in the United States.  Today they only make soft pretzels for tour goers in the original factory, and make all of the hard pretzels at another site.

The kids were excited that we would get to go on a “real” tour at this place.


We started by becoming certified pretzel twisters.  Again, because of FDA regulations, we weren’t twisting real pretzel dough.  It was just a flour/water dough.  The kids still thought it was fun though.


Except for Evelyn.  She was tired.  And hot (there is no heat or A/C in the building).  And cranky.


We learned how they used to bake pretzels in wood burning ovens.  Trenton’s favorite part was before the pretzels were baked, when they got dipped in “poison” (straw water and lye).  Our tour guide made sure that we all understood that this is NOT how pretzels are made nowadays. 


After learning about the history of pretzel making, we left through the gift shop where I bought a soft pretzel for all of us to share.  Everyone was a fan except Evelyn.

All three kids managed to fall asleep on the way home, so I’d say that it was a pretty successful field trip!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Tooth Fairy’s First Visit

Four months ago I posted a picture of a permanent tooth that had popped out behind one of Trenton’s baby teeth and commented that the tooth fairy would be visiting us soon.

Well the tooth fairy finally made her first appearance in our home last night.  But it wasn’t for Trenton.  That boy has some major shark teeth going on.

It was for Charlotte!


She’s had a loose tooth for a while (and a permanent tooth peeking out from behind the baby tooth), and has been wiggling it constantly trying to work it out.  And yesterday she asked if I could pull it.

Jarrod got me a piece of fishing line, tied me a slip knot, I slipped it over Charlotte’s tooth, tied the other end to the doorknob, and slammed the door.  Nothing.  The string had slipped off her tooth.  I tried again, and the string slipped again.  After trying a third time, I gave up on the door, and just decided to yank the string myself.  And I felt it pull the tooth!  The tooth was still hanging on by a tiny little piece, and I just pulled it out by hand.  Charlotte never even flinched!!!  I couldn’t believe it!  I don’t think Jarrod could either!  He refused to pull it himself (he could stand up to watch the doctors cut me open for my c-section, but the thought of pulling a tooth makes him sick!).  Charlotte didn’t even freak out when I put a paper towel in the spot where her tooth had been and she saw blood.  She is one tough cookie!


Charlotte was so excited!  She couldn’t wait to put her tooth in a bag and stick it under her pillow!


This morning she woke up to a little treat from the tooth fairy. 


Trenton is working hard on getting his super slow baby teeth to loosen up now!