Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chuck's Wreck-It-Ralph Easter Basket

Getting Charlie's basket together and photographed proved fairly difficult since he's home for Spring Break this week. I finally told him that he didn't have to clean his room anymore if he went in the basement and watched tv with his brother for at least 30 minutes. Sweet deal all around. I locked myself in the guest room and took some quick photos.
I wasn't going to buy any plastic eggs this year but I found this pack at Target of JUST BOY COLORS!! I was so thrilled that I could buy a pack without any pink or purple eggs that I just HAD to find a purpose for them. I don't mind a little candy in their baskets but I don't like to go over the top so we usually fill the eggs with fruit chews which they think is candy. But I came across a free printable here of egg coupons that I thought would be a lot more fun and a lot less sugary. I feel like the printable is actually web-sized and not suitable for print, hence the hard-to-read and much-too-light font but it's only a few days until Easter so we are going to go with it. She also provides a page of blank coupons for you to write in your own ideas for "special treats".
Charlie loved Wreck-It-Ralph and has been waiting and waiting for the DVD. I think he's asked for it every single time we've gone to Target in the last month and I've had to dodge the pleading since I bought it weeks ago. I found a couple of WIR figurines to tuck in too.
Since we are headed to Disney in a few weeks, I found a book about Walt Disney, plus a few interactive science books from the $1 spot at Target and another book he's been wanting as well.
I think the "big" surprise will be the Lego City set!!

I do sneak a little bit of candy in the basket - just the favorites - peanut butter eggs and mini m&m's. Most of the remaining treats are rice krispie treats, goldfish crackers and any fruit chews that make it into the eggs.
Happy Easter, all!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hank's Peter Pan Easter Basket

A few years ago, I caved to the mommy-urge to buy the Pottery Barn Kids easter baskets. However, in my procrastinating & forgetful fashion, by the time I got around to ordering them, the normal sized baskets were sold out. So, the boys got the upgrade to the GIANT baskets. Seriously, y'all, they're huge. And pretty much out of control. And now I'm stuck filling the world's most oversized baskets every year. Poor kids...

This year, I decided to theme them out. We are headed to Disneyworld next month so I thought I'd get the boys excited for the vacay with their baskets overflowing with Disney. We picked up the DVD of Peter Pan a few weeks ago and Henry is particularly fond of the movie. I decided to fill his basket with all the Peter Pan things he's been asking for -- and then some.
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A bunch of Disney loot was available on the dollar spot at Target for the last few weeks so I grabbed a few things for Henry's basket (and a few more to save for the Disney trip). I scored a coloring book, stickers and a play pack all for $1 each!
I found Tic Toc Croc (Henry's favorite) at Target in the Jake and the Neverland Pirates section of the toy aisles. I found Peter on Amazon but he's also at the Disney store. He's huge at 20 inches long. But cute.
I really wanted to buy Return to Neverland on DVD but it's been discontinued so the price is astronomical for a copy. Henry, oddly, doesn't like the Jake series but I thought he might come around if he saw the episode with Peter Pan. It's on sale at Target right now for $9.99 and has five additional Jake episodes as well.

I was on a mission to buy the Peter Pan book (the full Disney-illustrated version) for the basket. Remember those? I used to have a TON of them when I was a kid. They made them as a full retelling of every movie. They apparently don't make them anymore. You can buy the vintage ones on etsy and I found a couple at an antique store in Leesburg but they just couldn't compare to the Disney Storybook Collection. This book was $10 shipped (yay for Prime!) and it has the full Peter Pan story in it as well as a bunch of others. I'm actually thrilled I went with this book because we can read ALL the Disney tales before our trip and it will familiarize H with any characters he doesn't know already. 2013-03-23_0006
I'm not big on putting a ton of candy in their baskets. They usually get sick of it after a day and it just stares at me until I eat it. We usually just do a chocolate bunny, m&ms (Henry's favorite) and Reeses Eggs (my favorite). I put fruit by the foot and fruit chews in plastic eggs for hunting which they love because I don't ever allow them as snacks.
I'm kind of confused why I am so ahead of the game this year and have everything all ready and blogged a week before the holiday! But that will make this week a lot less stressful! I feel like such a grown up!

Happy (early) Easter!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Outside Again

Two weekends ago, the weather was WARM. Really warm. Which, after you move out of Texas and acclimate, is anything above 55 degrees. This is a strange thing for me - to feel warm when it's in the 50s. Growing up in North Carolina, I was famous for parking in the faculty spaces when the temperature dropped below 65 because walking from the student parking lot was just too much cold for me. And now, here I am, a mom of two little boys... and as long as it's not going to turn me into an icicle, we will go outside to play!

Yesterday there was another break in the chill so we celebrated "spring" in true boy fashion - a full afternoon outside complete with hockey sticks, bikes, scooters, chalk, light sabers, and even some time at the neighborhood park. And running. Lots of running.

Somehow I always seem to underestimate Henry's abilities. I didn't expect he'd be able to ride {and really control} his hand-me-down Diego "bike" that took Charlie a good year before he got the hang of it. And when we opened the big box from Papa & Blah at Christmas, all I could envision was how I'd be pushing him around on his new scooter all spring long. But, instead, he screams at me if I dare try to help him. He "CAN DO IT MYSELF!!!" It's fascinating how capable second children are because they have always had someone to observe.
I really don't like shooting the front of my house {black driveways, seriously!?} -- but we have no backyard -- so it's the only place we play. But, I've found that I do love the sunbursts that peep over the house when I shoot a nice wide angle from the edge of the driveway {where I'm planted anyway because the shade is still too cold!} and the leading lines of the sidewalks.
Charlie was a serious sidewalk chalker when he was Henry's age. He'd spend hours filling the driveway with bright colors! But H-man isn't as interested. Charlie is very artistic and creative while Henry is incredibly physical and active. He stayed still long enough to write a couple of letter Hs and watched me write MAX and draw a rainbow... then he found he could make a game of throwing the chalk pieces through the "tunnel" of his legs and chase after them. And... that was that. It's nice to finally have some pictures of the moment, even though it was fleeting.
When Charlie got home from school, we picked up Cooper to play with us. I'd like to take a minute here to point out the holes in Charlie's jeans. No, I didn't buy them that way. Being a boy did that. And it happens to every.single.pair.of.pants. ALL the jeans and even the overpriced Mini Boden lined cargo pants. We even have holes in pajama pants this year... We buy a slew of pants in August and by January, it's time for another round of shopping. Seriously? As frustrating as it is to see good clothes go to waste,  it's one of those things that I secretly love about being a mom of boys. I love how their energy and zeal for activity shows up in those worn-out spaces on their knees.
When the electric scooter ran out of battery power, they asked to go to the park and I shocked them by saying yes!
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Grandpa's Weekend

My father-in-law flew in last weekend for a visit with us and Mike's sister, Carol, who lives on the opposite side of DC metro. After he spent a few days in MD with Carol's family, we all met at the Gaylord Hotel at the National Harbor to eat some lunch and grab Grandpa to come back to VA with us.

The kids were FIRED UP! {But, really, when are kids not fired up?} They were running all over the atrium of the Gaylord until we decided to release them to the great outdoors!

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It was a gorgeous day with lots of sunshine and warm-ish temps. The Gaylord has a giant hill over looking the Potomac. At first, my hubby was all "don't go on the hill, kids. It's probably muddy" and then I was all "who cares if it's muddy? I'll wash their clothes while they're passed out from running up and down that hill 17 times. Go, kids! Go!"

I think it's really funny how BLONDE 3 out of 4 of these kids are. I mean, I pretty much understand that my niece and nephew are blondes. Their parents are blonde-ish. I just don't know where mine came from.

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Charlie's baby cousin, Carson, had some pretty cool shades. Charlie couldn't resist putting them on and telling us that he was CIA - you know, "Charlie Is Awesome". Omg. He's such a nut!

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I had my camera handy because I had just had a shoot in Arlington right before our lunch so I thought I'd snap a few family pics. Actually, I was just going to take the one or two of all the men but then we thought we'd get lots of family combination shots since we aren't always together.

I'm trying really hard not to let the empty fountain background and the full sun shadows drive me crazy, but let's face it, they are. #photographerproblems

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On Sunday morning, I had mentioned in passing that I had had a photoshoot in Clifton earlier in the week. I think I said "train tracks" and "caboose" and Charlie's little ears perked up. The next thing I knew, he was saying "can we go there?" on repeat. So... we went there!

Clifton, like so many places in Northern Virginia, has an adorable historic quality. I am kind of obsessed with it right now. They have a great cafe and an ice cream shop and cute antique stores and of course, train tracks and an old caboose where the train station used to be back in the 1800s. And best of all, Charlie was in heaven.

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I am OBSESSED with this super sunny shot I got of Charlie. He was in such a good mood that he stayed still until I could get my settings just right and position the flare where I wanted it. Such a good photog kiddo!! I cannot wait to print it super-sized and hang it in the playroom! Squee!

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Is shooting on train tracks dangerous? We couldn't decide. It seemed like we had lots of visual range to see a train coming long before it'd hit a kid... but, still. I was nervous. When I had shot in Clifton on a weekday, trains were coming one after another, but we didn't see any come by at all on the weekend. Eventually, I let go of my mama-worry and let Charlie walk the tracks for a bit. But not Henry. And he was NOT happy about that.

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Just past "downtown" Clifton, there is Paradise Springs Winery buried in the hilly, remote woods of the very posh neighborhoods of Clifton. It was so lovely out that we sat in the sun with a bottle of Meritage while the boys flew a kite and played on the hill. It kind of doesn't get better than that.


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