June 2017 NoVa (+ NY)

As I look through our photos from June, the thing that stands out to me most is the precious friendship that Colt and Finn are building. Michael and I have absolutely loved having two boys, 25 months apart. We have enjoyed it because it is so much fun for us but we also thrill at watching the two of them laugh, talk, sing, squeal, tickle, wrestle, copycat, jump, learn, build, splash, run, chase, race, scoot, kick and PLAY together too. Of course there are still battles and tears, but those are far outweighed by the joy and the fun. When Finn wakes up in the morning, the first thing he does is ask for Colt. He LOVES to copy Colt and is always trying to be part of the action. Colt is so kind to Finn and patient with him. Colt helps him, always tries to explain things to him and teach him and generally loves playing with him. When Finn gets upset, Colt comes to comfort him. Their personalities are such a great balance for each other and I pray that their friendship will only grow over the years.

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Park Finn!

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Snuggled up in Colt’s bed!

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And pretending to sleep.

The first weekend of June, we took a quick trip to New York to see some of our friends from Brazil. One family was flying through New York on their way home from a trip to Europe and they stayed the weekend. Two couples live in New York already and we drove up for it. All 4 families (8 adults, 7 kids!) stayed together at one of the couple’s houses on Long Island and it was an absolute blast!

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Exactly the type of scene we like to have on our road-trips.

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Playtime with Luke & Campbell!

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Finn!

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Backyard fun for the boys! 

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Campbell joins the boys.

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These two instantly picked right back up where they left off in Brazil.

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Strolled to this beautiful spot!

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And bonus – Uncle Joe came by to visit for the afternoon too!

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Colt and his starfish find!

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Uncle Joe with his nephews.

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Back at the house, Colt and Campbell in the bounce-house!

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Relaxing together.

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Story time with Jeff! The only little one missing is Addy!

I am sad that I basically have no pictures of the adults from the weekend but I think we were too busy just enjoying the treat of being together again. Very excited for our full Brazil reunion planned for this fall!

Back in VA…

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Finn showing off his musical talents at the Nature Center playroom.

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Backyard besties. 

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Colt showing off his life-sized self-portrait from school. 

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Practicing hitting without the tee.

My parents came to town for some business which meant we got a visit from Gigi and Pasha!

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Finn and Gigi!

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Colt and Pasha immediately dive right into astronomy.

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Colt showing off for Gigi.

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When Gigi is around, Finn is stuck on her like GLUE.

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Gigi with her boys!

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Swing bros!

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Sprinkler Colt!

Dinner at my cousin’s house and Colt had a blast with his kids and their trampoline!

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Delaney and Colt on the trampoline.

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Kiddos!

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Enjoying dessert!

Climbing, throwing rocks, exploring, splashing… Long Branch Nature Center creek.

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Snack time in the creek.

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Love this picture of Colt and Gigi.

A few days after my parents left, we were lucky enough to get a quick visit from Michael’s sister, Lise and brother Joe! Lise was first to arrive and the boys were so happy to see her!

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Aunt Lise doing milk and cartoons with the boys!

Lise arrived the morning of Colt’s last day of school.

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Colt’s last day as a Caterpillar. 😦 

It was fun to have Lise there to see their end-of-year performance and go to Colt’s class party too.

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Colt with the two awesome Caterpillar teachers!

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Aunt Lise with the boys.

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Back home, Colt feeding Finn…

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And Uncle Joe is here! Morning coffee, milk and cartoons. 

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Awesome outerspace PJs from Aunt Lise. 

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Park day!

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Sidewalk chalk brought out Aunt Lise’s amazing cactus drawing skills!

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Joey & Finn.

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Group pic from the weekend!

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Backyard pool fun!

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Drippy Colt.

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Picnic with their girlfriend Lily. 

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Colt and Finn having fun in the teepee.

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Lights off. Flashlight on.

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Telling scary stories?

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Sweet brothers. 

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Banana bros!

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Colt and I made a paper chain for summer and strung it in his room. 

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Two little monkeys jumping in the crib.

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Michael and Kenny playing tennis across the street one evening

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Finn loves sparkling water.

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Chalk bros.

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“A roadrunner running across the desert with ‘cactuses’.”

Special date-night out — dinner at Kingbird at the Watergate and The Sound of Music at the Kennedy Center! LOVED The Sound of Music!!! So good!

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After dinner on our way to the show.

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Kennedy Center. 

 

May 2017 NoVa

For our fam, the month of May was largely consumed by working on our lawns but I’m saving all of that for another post. When we weren’t working outside, here is the everyday fun we got into. 🙂

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Dirt-ball Finn! 

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This was Colt’s first full solar-system picture. He drew it and marked the letters totally by himself! When he showed it to me I was so surprised and impressed. He has since gotten totally obsessed with outer space and draws the solar system, galaxies, etc. all the time but this was the first one so even though it’s a little funny and on the back of another picture, I adore it.

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Blessings!

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Finn!

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Cracking himself up.

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Boys throwing rocks into a creek. They could seriously do it all. day. long.

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Colt gets REALLY relaxed during his haircuts and typically falls asleep….

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But they still manage to do a great job! What a cutie!

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I love a fresh haircut!

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There are no photos of Finn getting his first haircut because he was screaming the entire time and we were desperately trying to hold him still but I think the end result was an improvement. His hair just grows a little funny. 

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Staying a little late after school to play.

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Mother’s Day with my little treasures. 

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Every day feels like an adventure with these two.

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Quincy Park with friends!

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Backseat bros.

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Off to church!

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Heart. Eyes. 

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Risky Finn.

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Always up to something silly.

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Colt loves his school friends! Walking in with Tara! 

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Finn!

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You know you went to a Campus Outreach Beach Project when your 3yo brings you this picture and tells you about the cross of Jesus “bridging the gap.”  #BridgeDiagram

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These 2 are absolute BEST. FRIENDS.

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Rocky Run with Will! Will showed Colt how to climb to the top – no easy task!

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The climb was a little tricky for Finn-man so he opted for snuggles and banana bread instead.

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Park boys!

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Finn!

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Colt at the top looking out!

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Michael ran home and met us at the park!

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Then… all the boys making pancakes for dinner!

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Colt played “school” where he taught all of his “students” how to draw “the earth and the sun and outer space.” Also two of his favorite things in the background – the globe and the chart of “fast animals” and their speeds. Colt is a little bit of a nerd.

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Having a blast together!

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Some days, Colt opts to run to school. Granted, it’s only half a mile but he can jog the whole thing!

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Chalk!

 

April 2017 NoVa

During the month of April, when we weren’t in South Carolina, we were hanging out, enjoying the start of Spring in Arlington!

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Our guest bed is actually a Murphy bed in our basement and Colt thinks it’s best for jumping.

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Tie!

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April 17: Cheers to 7 years of marriage! HAPPY!! More fun every day.

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Dandelions on the walk to school!

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His favorite “flower.”

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Park Finn.

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Kid loves some corn on the cob. Getting after it like a boss!

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Swinging!

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Hanging out while Colt is in school.

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Sweaty after walking home from school.

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Doing his best Chris Farley.

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I happen to think he is deadly handsome.

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And adorable.

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This guy too.

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We love walking through our neighborhood.

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Adventures at the playground across the street.

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Colt just started Saturday morning soccer camp for the summer!

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One of Colt’s first solar system drawings! He ran out of room so added the last couple in the corner. 

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Picnic! 

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Matching in the backseat.

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Hanging with our neighbors!

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Park twins.

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Hanging out on the back porch. 

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Heart eyes.

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Colt takes sticker-time very seriously.

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Finn has a different approach.

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I love this guy!

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And this one!! 

Paige’s Amazing Visit!

When Michael and I moved to Brazil, Trent and Paige Hudson quickly became our newest, best friends. We actually first “met” Trent and Paige via a video Skype chat a week or so before moving there. Michael’s brother, Joe, had randomly met them as they were each on unique trips in Buenos Aires. They were staying at the same “estancia” – Villa Maria – and they connected over dinner there. They realized that they were all living in São Paulo but didn’t reconnect again until Joe and Trent literally bumped into each other on the streets of São Paulo some months later. The Hudsons had Joe over for dinner and, when we decided to move to Brazil, Joe instantly knew that they would be perfect friends for us. Joe put us in touch, they set up a Skype date and in our first conversation the Hudsons offered to pick us up from the airport, have us live with them and use all of their stuff… We did not take them up on any of this but did come to learn that this was a VERY typical Hudson move. Underplaying it, really.

Our first actual meeting was a day or two after we arrived in São Paulo. The Hudsons picked us up from our temporary apartment in their heavy-duty bullet-proof Highlander. They drove us all over the city pointing out important streets and POIs, intimidating me with Paige’s impressive sense of direction and Portuguese pronunciation and terrifying us with tales of being robbed at gunpoint. Then they took us to their favorite restaurant for an amazing afternoon of caipirinhas and conversations, feijoada and fun, and our friendship was unshakable from that point forward.

Over the next 4 years, Paige and I made countless memories together including trips throughout Brazil, local adventures in São Paulo, the joys and struggles of living life abroad, becoming moms (within a month of each other!) and then doing it a second time, and so many other details that only happen when you live daily life alongside someone.

And then we all moved. And daily life was no longer side by side. One of the hardest parts of our move was not being in such close proximity to our friends (OK so this post is about Paige but really we had such an amazing core group of friends there).

In March, I celebrated my 30th birthday. Michael and I took an awesome trip to celebrate. It was perfect and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. But I wasn’t with friends.

Paige and her family now live in South Africa. She’s due with her 3rd baby in June. She decided to fly across the world FOR A WEEKEND (so that she wouldn’t burden her family by being away for too long) to celebrate me for my birthday. She brought with her suitcases bursting with THIRTY gifts from South Africa. Treasures that are now placed throughout my house for me to see every day (vases, art, dishes, textiles, books), or pieces that I wear regularly (purses, jewelry) and remember that special weekend and my incredible friend.

We didn’t do anything extravagant but we spent all weekend hanging out and it was so great. Colt was almost just as happy as me, counting down the days to Paige’s arrival, squealing for joy when he saw her and never leaving her side the whole time. And Finn, her godson, was equally enamored.

Words can’t do it justice but thank you Paige!!

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Paige arrived Friday morning and was waiting for the boys when they woke up! They loved their South African cheetah and lion!

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Our first stop was for welcome donuts!!

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Mix!

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Afternoon walk through our neighborhood.

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Afternoon opening 30 PRESENTS! Paper was flying. There was squealing. Here I’m already wearing 2 necklaces and a new purse!

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A few more treasures.

That night we did dinner out in Arlington at one of our favorite spots, Kapnos Taverna.

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Saturday morning milk and cartoons.

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Brunch with a few of Paige’s other DC area friends.

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More snuggles with the boys.

Afternoon/Evening in Georgetown!

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Walking around Kalorama. Ivanka Trump’s house behind us. Obamas’ house was totally blocked off.

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Cupcakes and Pedicures! The perfect combo.

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Micheal met us out for dinner at The Sovereign.

Sunday we were thrilled to bring Paige to our church, Restoration.

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Sunday afternoon walking around Old Town, Alexandria. (Funny note on this photo: We have never had a double stroller. We randomly grabbed this one from the side of the road – don’t judge – used it this one time then put it right back on the road a few days later and someone else took it. We are just not double stroller people…)

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Park on the water in Old Town.

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Such a scenic place to play!

We met up with our good friends, the Millars, for pizza!

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Colt and his buddy Jack at dinner.

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Monday morning snuggles and Snap Chat.

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One more trip to Sugar Shack for donuts.

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Paige helping Colt.

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A ramen spot for lunch.

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Colt trying his hand at chopsticks.

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The master!

When Paige left I felt so filled up, refreshed and energized by her visit and yet also felt a huge hole in my heart and life. What an incredible gesture of friendship and what a wonderful time we had together. I love you, Paige!

March 2017 NoVa

March held a couple of special occasions which will get their own posts (my birthday trip to New Orleans and Paige’s visit from South Africa!) but before those, here is a look at our everyday fun!

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Colt showing off his muscles during dinner.

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Finn showing off his new (not so great) haircut (buzzcut) given by his mom. Yikes.

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“We’re on a boat! There’s a big storm!”

I’ve come to realize that life is hard and there are a lot of things to be truly sad about. But Jesus came into this world and has given us who follow Him hope, joy and full life through all circumstances. In this spirit, I’ve decided to start CELEBRATING the little things more, and holidays are a perfect way to do that.

To be honest, I totally forgot that it was St. Patrick’s Day until Michael pinched me on his way out the door that morning but once I realized, I decided to have fun with it. I hadn’t bought anything for the kids (nor do I think it necessary or even necessarily beneficial) but I greeted them with a big, happy, excited “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!” when they woke up and had green milk ready and waiting.

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Kicking off St. Patrick’s Day!

Later that afternoon, one of Colt’s best friends from school came over with his mom and little brother to play, color shamrocks and make green rice crispy treats! It was super fun but NOTE: when multiple little hands are helping with EVERY STEP of the food coloring – marshmallow melting – rice crispy stirring process, the rice crispy treats end up being hard as a rock at the end. But no matter. 🙂  It was fun.

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We brought the play table into the kitchen for a little party!

That afternoon Colt and Finn had a very green lunch.

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Green bean starter.

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And green pasta!

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Finn is a big St. Paddy’s Day fan.

And when Dad got home that night, it was only appropriate that we kicked off the evening with green beer!

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Cheers!

We didn’t do anything elaborate but we made it fun and talked about the day’s special details all day, and that night Colt was proclaiming that it had been the “best day ever!”

That night I snuck this picture via our monitor of Michael tucking Colt in bed (although admittedly it looks more like Colt is tucking Michael in here). If work allows, Michael tries to get home for dinner and if not dinner then he strives to make it home in time to do the boy’s bath-time and bedtime routine. They so look forward to his arrival each night and I know they cherish their time with their dad. We’re so blessed to have him.

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Who is tucking-in who?

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Are you kidding me? He’s so cute!

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Occasionally we go for donuts in the morning. 🙂  Colt never objects.

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Meeting up with our buddies Will & Luke again!

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Will and Colt being boys. 

In March, work took Michael to Charleston for a couple of nights.

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Charleston is so beautiful!

While he was in town, he paid homage to our wedding memories by re-running the “Run with the Groom” event that he did the Friday morning of our wedding weekend. He originally mapped it out with 11 points of interest so we dug back through our old emails and found the route.

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Stops 1-5

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6-11

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And of course, topped it off with an Old Fashioned from the Thoroughbred Bar at the Charleston Place Hotel.

Meanwhile, back at the home front…

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Finn was being equally sophisticated. 

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We LOVE going on walks down our street.

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Basement twins.

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In flight!

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More walks through our neighborhood!

We also did something BIG this year. We canceled our lawn service, bought a lawn mower, and mowed our lawn for the first time ever! We happened to do it on a Friday night after the kids were down in bed and some of our neighbor friends came over, we opened up some drinks and had a little lawn-mowing party. We were pretty proud of ourselves…

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Manual lawn mower. Gas powered was too intimidating this early in our lawn game.

Colt’s preschool also throws their Spring Fair in March so we had fun playing with Colt’s schoolmates and getting in on a little face-paint action.

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Harper boys coordinating in spring-check.

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Michael and Finn.

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Pretty impressive face-paint! “ROAR!”

Both of my first-cousins currently live in Alexandria so we were lucky enough to pin them both down one afternoon and have them and their families over for a bit.

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Colt adores his cousin Delaney.

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Not an amazing picture but shows the rest of the group. 🙂 

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More basement flying.

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Finn!

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Park brothers!

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My little grocery store buddy.

I love that Finn is getting old enough now to be able to do real activities and adventures. I recently took him to our local Nature Center to see snakes, turtles, fish and frogs and I thought he might spontaneously combust with excitement. He absolutely loved it.

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“Sssssssssssss.”

February 2017 NoVa

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Someone got into the Rummikub game during his quiet time and made a little display for me!

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Superhero capes!

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Michael taking Colt to school – Colt’s favorite!!

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Finn needing some extra snuggles. I’ve never been a big baby-wearer but every now and then, we love it.

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The best way to start a Saturday!

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Family time at Sugar Shack Donuts!

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Precious Finn.

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“School” with Mom.

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He could use a little work in the handwriting department…

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Jammies!

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And more jammies!

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Park time! Finn loves the slides.

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Feeding and riding the dino.

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Brothers!

February 10-12 was the Women’s Retreat at our church so Michael had the boys solo for the weekend. He was a total overachiever and did things like make them Mickey Mouse pancakes, take them out to the park, go to a friends’ house for a playdate, take them to church and EVEN to Chuck-E-Cheese (which, in retrospect, Michael says was mildly traumatic to do with both kids and only one parent).

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Two happy faces.

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Make that three.

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Park picnics.

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Chuck-E-Cheese!

I was thankful to have some sweet time away but am always eager to get back home to these faces!

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Heart eyes.

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Times two.

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Finn’s favorite food might be raisins.

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His little expressions just kill me!

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Love them!

Upon my return, we got ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Colt and I made PINK rice crispy treats with sprinkles to send to school for all of his classmates.

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Happy Valentine’s Day from this little heartbreaker.

A true romantic, Michael made sure that Valentine’s Day was special for me too. He got up early that morning and when I came downstairs he had breakfast waiting, flowers all about, cards from him and the boys AND he had reserved me a mani/pedi for that evening before then meeting him out for a dinner date. So thankful for how kind, thoughtful and fun Michael is – he’s always putting in the extra effort to make me feel loved and to make things that much more fun and celebratory.

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Cheers! Amazing dinner at Kapnos Taverna.

We were excited to have a dear Phoenix friend, Eric, stay with us while he was in town.

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“Chambo” bonding with Finn and Colt.

Mid-February we spent almost a week in Arizona doing a little early celebrating of Sharon’s 70th, but I’ll post separately on that trip next.  Upon our return we enjoyed some unseasonably warm weather!

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My Target buddy!

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Back yard bros. **Side note: THIS is why we are re-doing our backyard…

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Little dirt face.

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Penrose Park fun.

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Telling stories over lunch.

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Finn & grapes.

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Meeting Dad at the park after work.

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Precious brothers.

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Stick!

At the end of February I flew to SC for a quick weekend visit to spend some time with my grandparents as my grandmother was in the midst of a long recovery/rehabilitation from a broken leg. Michael was a champ-Dad and watched the kids solo for the second time that month!

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Morning on the porch.

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Sunday morning, ready for church!

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But stopping first for donuts!

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Little front yard picnic.

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And park time.

Meanwhile I was getting special, quality time with these fine people!

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Papa and Nannie at the Lowman Home Rehab Center.

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My pretty mama with her parents.

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Wheeling around the property with my grandparents!

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The girls.

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Flying home to my boys.

My dad randomly had some business in the area so he had stayed with Michael and the kids the night before I came back home. When I arrived back in Virginia on Monday morning this is the cute little sight that I was greeted with.

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Pasha with his grandsons. Starting the morning with milk, coffee and cartoons.

January 2017 NoVa

Even before we returned home from our Christmas and New Years visit in Arizona, Ollie beat us back to the East Coast as he actually had other, unrelated plans in the DC area. So, he stayed an extra day with us and was able to go to lunch with Colt at his school! Love this picture that one of the teachers snapped.

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Papa and Colt at FLP lunch time!

We were super excited to get some snow on Colt’s 3.5 yr birthday, Jan 7.

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Tennis court snow writing.

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Colt! 3.5 yrs old.

Later in the day the snow picked up so we went out for round 2!

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The best ride in town.

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Following my boys!

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Sledding down the hill.

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Teaching snow angels.

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Love it!

After the snow, we snuggled up by the fire with blankets and hot chocolate. I adore living in a place with 4 seasons.

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A wildly impressive snowman the following day with the remaining snow.

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Green eggs and turkey roll ups…close enough.

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And gingerbread cookie creations!

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My little dino.

Sharon & Ollie had a wedding in Virginia so we got another quick little visit from them as they passed through town!

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Oliver Joseph with Fincher Oliver.

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Colt thinks it’s totally normal to walk around like this…

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Block tower creations.

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Swing bros.

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Slide bros.

During Sharon and Lise’s December visit / babysitting-venture, Lise started teaching Colt this “50, Nifty United States” song. He really picked up on it and, on top of memorizing the song, it sparked an interest in national geography (and international as well). SANTA brought Colt this cool, 51 piece puzzle of the US where most all of the states have their own pieces (sorry New England, some of you have to get lumped together!) and Colt can now do the puzzle solo in minutes (literally, 3 minutes), although admittedly it’s now only 49 pieces as we have permanently lost Oregon and Washington…oops!

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Colt and his 50 nifty United States puzzle!

On January 18 (11 days late), we celebrated Colt’s half-birthday at school. His teachers said that they were both summer-birthdays and so they sympathized with kids who didn’t get to celebrate their birthdays at school, so for all of the summer birthdays in the class, they celebrate the half-birthdays.

For the celebration, we were asked us bring treats and prepare a short presentation about how Colt has grown in the past year. We had fun pulling pictures together for a little slideshow about Colt and even brought in a few props. Michael and I sang Happy Birthday in Portuguese but Colt finished it all off by getting up in front of the class and singing the 50 Nifty United States song! The song is adorable but Michael and I were mostly just impressed by his boldness – normally Colt gets very shy in situations like that and isn’t typically comfortable with all-eyes on him. But it was a great testament to how much he has grown in the past year, to the ways that school has helped build his social confidence, and also showed us how comfortable he really is at school with his teachers and classmates. It was a sweet moment.

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Lighting the “fake cake” that they use for each birthday.

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Blowing out the candles.

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Blue rice crispy treats + sprinkles. Colt’s choice…

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Colt singing his song! 

That weekend we were so excited to see some of our dear friends from our time in Brazil, Brett & Brad. Brad’s twin brother and his wife were also in town so the whole crew stopped by for a few hours of hanging out and playing with the kids.

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Hanging with the C0ppens crew!

More January:

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Sweet Fincher Face.

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Thankful for this park across the street!

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Strolling and scooting through the park on the way to school.

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Colt can hardly go by a stick without stopping to pick it up. 

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Stick scooting.

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Harper bros.

Another snowfall!

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Finn stole Colt’s hat. 

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Colt and Snowman.

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Off to sled!

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Not a ton of snow but enough for a fun morning of playing outside!