Saturday, September 28, 2013

Landon's Writing

I love reading Landon's papers that he brings home from school. Sometimes it takes a bit of deciphering skills to be able to tell what he is trying to write, but I think this is pretty amazing stuff for a young kindergartner.
I love the writing in this one...(can you tell what it says?) I especially love the picture that accompanies it. He explained to me that it is a picture of him right after he kicked a goal into the soccer net. The ball is in the net and Landon has fallen to the ground. And that big circle with five spikes out of it? I thought it might be the soccer ball but he explained to his unseeing Mom that it was his hand! Of course!!
(Soccer is fun because we kick it. I love kicking the ball into the goal past the goalie.)
Here's another one from his first week of school...
(I see my dogs. I see my class. I see my friends. I see my books.)
I think we may have another writer in the family!! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our Little Gymnast

Abby had an Open House at her gymnastics studio and was able to show off some her new skills.

All ready to go...

Look at that flexibility!!
She is working on learning her floor routine for competition season which begins in November. We can't wait to watch her perform!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another Soccer Season...

We are in full on soccer mode these days and Landon is loving it.

I mean, look at that huge smile on his face...

He moved up a level this year and is definitely one of the younger, smaller players out there but I think it will be good for him.

They are learning some great skills and it is fun to see him on action on game days every Saturday.

He isn't scoring as many goals as he did last year, but he is getting pretty good playing defense these days.
Go Landon!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Labor Day Holiday

We finished the playroom just in time for a fun visit from Grandma and Grandpa Call over Labor Day weekend. We showed them some of our favorite places in Hagerstown including Misty Meadows Farm & Creamery, the Outlet Mall, Greenbrier State Park, and The Rhubarb House (our new favorite place to eat.)

The big event occurred on Saturday, August 31st when we drove down to Charlottesville to watch BYU play their season opener against the University of Virginia. Doesn't Landon look thrilled to be there in our BYU Blue?!?!?

It had been a long time since I have been to a college football game and we all loved the excitement and energy in the stadium...

Kickoff Time!!!

We had our own little players in the stands with us...

Touchdown BYU!!

Then within an hour of the game starting, they called a delay due to lightening in the area. We were told to leave the stadium and head to shelter, but since we had parked miles away, we decided to wait it out under the bleachers. It was a LONG wait (just over 2 hours!!)

Here we are admiring the empty seats during the delay (just before a security guard told us to get back under the stands!!)
Finally we were allowed to reenter the stadium and we finished out the 1st half right before a torrential rainstorm hit. We stayed under the bleachers for another 30 minutes or so until the rain stopped and then were able to enjoy (or mourn) the rest of the game. BYU lost but we still enjoyed the experience and despite the headaches of delays, thunder, and rain we all had a great time and the kids were so good through it all!!

On Labor Day, we took a little hike along the Appalachian Trail and visited the Washington Monument. This was our view from the top...

We sure do live in a gorgeous place!!

The hikers (minus Jason)...

The winding staircase leading up to the top of the monument...

This was actually built before the Washington Monument in D.C. and was the first monument constructed to honor our first president.

We discovered that Nolan is quite the little hiker (or wanderer, whatever.) He sure lived up to his nickname of Little Huck Finn! We'll need to do some more hikes this Fall when the weather cools a bit.

Landon, Nolan, and I explored the AT a bit more while Abby enjoyed a little photo shoot with her Dad!

It was so fun to have the Calls come our way for a visit. It had been two years since their last trip out here, but we are looking forward to seeing them sooner since they will be coming out for Abby's baptism in February.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Playroom Makeover

We had gathered quite a bit more leftover wood from the houses being built around us and Jason was itching to get started on another project. We thought a reading loft in the playroom would be fun to build, especially since that room has such a high ceiling. After scouring the Internet for various ideas, we settled on a reading loft that would look like it was in a tree house along with a ladder alongside the tree and a playhouse underneath the loft (sounds a bit confusing written out like that!!) The vision in my head looked so good, but like any home project, we had to change and adapt as we went along and honestly I think the finished product turned out even better than I could have ever imagined. And it was a fun project for Jason and I (with a bit of help from the kids too) to work on together!

Here was the playroom before...
Basically all it was before was a room with a white ledge that ran the length of two walls along with lots and lots of toys. We decided that along with the loft, we would completely redecorate the entire playroom (the snowball effect of home remodeling!!) We sorted through all the toys first, donating lots of them and moving some others down into the basement play area. We decided to keep the original paint color for two reasons...#1, the ceiling is vaulted in that room and painting walls that high is a big no-no in my book of DIY projects and #2, the wall color worked perfectly into our idea of doing a "Dr. Seuss" themed playroom using the colors from "The Cat in the Hat" (blue, red, black, and white.)

Here is our only "work-in-progress" photo with things starting to come together. We built the loft and tree trunk from leftover builder wood, the "tree house" cedar wood was leftover from our outdoor playset and most of the paint came from previous household projects. The only thing we had to buy were the unfinished siding pieces for the base of the house which we then painted red, lots of screws, and some fun accessories (like those fun pillows you can see up on the loft already...)

We thought that the reading loft would be a great place to install those gutter shelves that I have loved the look of for a while. I ordered the Dr. Seuss quotes from Amazon and found a great deal on the Dr. Seuss cutouts around the window and above the loft at Michael's.

The top of the loft area (it's about 5 feet off the ground)...

The front of the loft/playhouse/tree house area. We made the ladder out of 2x4s and then painted it brown to match the tree trunk behind it. The foliage portion of the tree was painted green and then we super-glued fake leaves all around it to give it some fun texture. The cream-colored siding and edging is leftover from the home being built two doors down from us.

The view from below into the reading loft...

I got a copy of "The Cat in the Hat" from a local used bookstore for $1 and cut out some of the fun pictures from it. I then matted and framed them to create some fun artwork above the door...

I also loved this metal shower curtain from Ikea to hang up some of the kid's artwork in the room. (Have I ever mentioned how much I love that window up there that peeks in from the hallway upstairs? I will often chuck toys from the main level back down into the playroom using that window and it is FABULOUS!!)

A few finishing touches with a flower box in the window and an address plate...

We also built this art table with some scrap wood which was then painted white. We purchased  a set of black stools to go underneath and some cheap black trashcans to store some of the block sets we own. I am a big fan of organization!!

The view from the window above...
I am in love with this room now. It feels so festive and fun and fits well into it's Dr. Seuss theme of using creativity and imagination to have a little fun!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Potato Pickin'

On Saturday, August 24th, we headed down to the Maryland Ag Center to participate in some good old fashion potato pickin'! They do this every year and every year we have had some reason why we couldn't go...but not this year!!

 They used a horse-drawn plow to dig up the potatoes...

And then they divided into age groups to do the picking...

There was also a contest to see who could find the biggest and the smallest potato. This little guy caught on very quickly and enjoyed digging in the dirt to look for his potatoes.

Woohoo...look at this one!!

Each child could pick as many potatoes as their heart desired but were only allowed to keep six of them for free.

Here they are showing off the fruits of their potato picking (Abby and Landon both came soooo close to winning for smallest potato. You can barely even see the small potatoes they're holding in this photo.)

Afterwards, we went into the pavilion to watch them make some homemade potato chips. The best part was sampling the finished product. Oh so greasy, but oh so yummy too!!

We have been enjoying some yummy baked potatoes the last few weeks and it has been fun for the kids to eat the same potatoes they gleaned from the fields!