Monday, October 9, 2017

Settling In

Well we have been Pennsylvania residents for 3 months now. Wow.  We are officially settled in....except we need to hang about 20 pictures! Matt has been so busy with work, and been out of town the last few weekends, that we haven't quite finished decorating. I mean, I guess I could do it myself but I prefer the team effort......me point and him hang it up. haha. 


Besides a few things to do around the house, we are getting used to our neighborhood and finding a ton of things to keep us busy. The girls are now in school, we regularly hit up the gym, the girls love the park across the street, and we are starting to make friends. 



After leaving all my amazing friends in Maryland/DC I was a little worried (and annoyed) to have to start all over again. It took me a while to settle in and find my crew in MD and I was hoping it wouldn't take as long in PA. I was really hoping to hit the jackpot again and snag a bunch of friends from the gym. (You can never have too many iron sisters!) Unfortunately, I don't really think that's going to be the case here. There aren't as many younger Moms at the gym I go to. This was a bit of a bummer. BUT, I recently discovered the local MOMS Club and really think these ladies are going to save my sanity. 



After a lot of back and forth emails I was finally able to make it to one of their meetings. I was only there for a few hours but everyone was so nice and I really felt like I clicked with them. I immediately joined and got to go to another event Wednesday: a music class at a local older community. OMG it was amazing. It reminded me a lot of the music class I used to take the girls to in MD (shout out to Miss Melanie!), and bonus, there were so many older folks that joined in too. They loved watching the little ones play and dance, and they even sang along with us. After losing Matt's Grandma recently, and mine a few years ago, it made me sad (I miss them so much!) but also happy. I felt like they were there with us. It is also the perfect one on one time with Norah while Charlotte is in school. Those are rare for Norah, and I know she appreciates it a lot.





And on Thursday night I got to go to my first (in a long time) Mom's night out! We went to a comedy show, with dinner and drinks before. Oh my gosh I haven't been out sans kids (and hubby) since my wine going away party a few months ago. It was a blast and great to get to know some of these ladies a little better. That wine headache the next day was totally worth it. Haha!!



Another great support group and (I hope) a source of some great friends, is the Philly Fun Bunch. For military peeps I have talked about this group before. I was a part of the group in San Diego and Pax, although the Pax one was not that active. It consists of all the local military spouses, and we get together often for coffee or playdates or a night out. 


I'm sure all this talk about settling in has some of you wondering what the house looks like etc?! It's a 3 story townhouse. It has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. All our bedrooms are on the top floor, along with bathrooms and laundry. The main level has the living room, eat in space and kitchen. The basement is our new playroom as well as guest space. There are a few quirks we wish we could change but are learning to live with....There is no entry to the yard except via the front door. So Harley has to be let out the front door to do his business. It made me nervous at first since there is a busy street right there but he is not a wanderer or a runner. He does his thing and comes right back. The other quirk, there is no bathroom in the basement. So our guests have to go up one level to use the bathroom and up two to take a shower. It's an inconvenience for sure but we are adjusting. When I say "we" I mean our guests....lol....not much of an issue for us on a regular basis. Sorry guests! It just means you get a little more exercise right?! 


Here are a few pictures of the house......note, we did not choose the paint colors. LOL!


entry

living room - got our fall decor up too!

kitchen

eating space - no room for our big table! Also - need to hang some pics in this room

Harley's favorite place - the stairs landing

master- and our new "office" lol. Much smaller than our old room but it's cozy!

Charlotte's room

Norah's!

playroom!

playroom/basement hang out

So that's it! We sure miss all our family and friends but we are starting to love our new home.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

the first day

We recently hit a milestone in our house....both girls had their first day of school! Charlotte had her first day of Pre-K.....or her last year of half days before full time real school. And our baby Norah had her very first day of pre-school ever! Hold on for a sec while I dry my eyes.....😭😩.




my heart. my world.



I just can't believe how big they are both getting! It feels like just yesterday Charlotte was dressed in her PJs, with her little backpack on, crying by the front door because she wanted to ride the bus to school. It felt like we had sooooo long before school started, but I blinked and here we are. Granted it isn't kindergarten yet, but it's close. 

3 years old and already ready for school



So, the details. Both girls are going to a local church near our house. Charlotte every day for 3 hours and Norah two days a week for 3 hours. After all the time in gym daycare this doesn't phase them at all. In fact Charlotte is already asking to be extended certain days so she can lunch with her friends. And Norah hasn't once cried when I dropped her off. 


sleeping beauty 




So how do I like it so far? So far so good. I love that it is less than 5 minutes from the house. On days when it is just me for a few hours I usually hit up the gym (I like the classes those days) and then maybe a few errands or back home to tidy up before picking them up. It really isn't that much time alone, so I'm not accomplishing much, but I will say the errands are definitely quicker and easier with out two little people in tow. And on the days when it is just Norah and I while Charlotte is at school, we do a variety of things....usually the gym, sometimes errands, or even story time. I really cherish the one on one time I have with her. And honestly (don't tell C) Norah is much better behaved when Charlotte isn't around. She listens really well and isn't influenced to do all the crazy things her big sister is doing.....to include touching EVERYTHING, playing in the clothing racks, or running in the store. Norah has become my little helper at the grocery store and she is a huge hit! People love her, especially when she is sporting her ever popular ponytail.


don't let that mad face fool you, she is one sweet girl!

my favorite. the editing on this one turned out great!


Not only did I ask Charlotte a bunch of questions on her birthday this year, I also took a video of her and Norah after their first day. 


video


video



This is something I want to do every year. Maybe even one at the end of the school year too. I saw a video a father put together of clips of his daughter on her first days of school and it was amazing watching her grow and change. I would love to be able to do the same for my girls. It is so great to hear their thoughts, and even the sound of their voice. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Chocolate Birthday

To celebrate Charlotte's 5th Birthday we headed to Hershey aka Chocolate World for the weekend. This is seriously one of her favorite places (mine too!) and a place we will visit often since we are now only 2 hours away! Who doesn't love camping, eating chocolate and rides?! 


But before leaving we enjoyed cake and opened birthday presents.....she is officially 5!!!

a cake with "pink, purple, blue, green" per her request. Not my best work. This is why I buy cakes haha.


my baby!!!!



We drove up late Friday, set up our campsite and went out to dinner. We had an amazing spot, right next to the playground! The kids could play safely within sight of the camper, meaning we could relax a little more! AND they got a lot of exercise! It may be our favorite spot in the Hershey Campground. Which, btw, if you have never been you should go. It's one of the cleanest campgrounds with a ton of activities and a pool in the summer. 

our happy place

Everything was perfect until bedtime. It was a long, long night...thank you very much Norah. I mean who wakes up at 1am then literally refuses to go back to sleep. Me: "Norah it's time for bed. It's the middle of the night". Norah: "NO! I don't want to go to sleep". UGH! She must have been too excited. Eventually she did fall back asleep for a bit, but only after Matt laid his hand on her belly until she fell asleep. Honestly can't believe it worked! So after some coffee (and by some, I mean a lot) and breakfast, we were off to ride rides all day long! 

Charlotte had grown since last year and was now in the Reese's category, and Norah was a Miniature. Charlotte could ride a lot and Norah a majority - some even by herself. For some reason C was a little more fearful of some rides she loved last year. Oh well! It was still a blast!!! Watching your kids have a good time is the greatest joy. I don't even need to go on any rides. I am perfectly happy standing on the side just watching them have fun. It's funny because I always thought my Mom hated going to these type of places because she never went on the rides but really she didn't need to go on them to have a good time. 

video


last year and this year. Charlotte and Norah grew, and Mom lost an eye. haha! #selfiefail

pretty sure the mini scrambler was their favorite!!! They went on it at least 5 times or more. 

legit scrambler with my big girl! So scary!!!
this one was a big hit! 

selfie with my chauffeur 


driving for the first time! 

roller coaster time!! 


norah driving us in the vintage car. Great photo bomb Daddy!



relaxing on the train


just a few more times on this one...

showing me that her clothes were glowing! This was the scariest ride!! ahh!!

Happy 5th Birthday Charlotte!!
See you soon Hershey!
our family photo for the trip 💜

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Happy 5th Birthday Charlotte!

Charlotte, 

Happy 5th Birthday!! 

You are officially a whole hand old!!! That is a super big accomplishment, congratulations!! I know I say this every year but I can't believe how quickly time has gone by, that you have been making us laugh non-stop for 5 whole years. One minute you were crying and crying and we couldn't figure out how to make you stop (your first night) and now you can get dressed, comb your hair, and brush your teeth all by yourself. It's like you don't even need us anymore. You are growing up so fast. And with each passing day I am more and more amazed by you. I could never have imagined a daughter better than you. We love you so very much! 




From birth to now. My spunky, full of life girl!

feels like this was yesterday, not 5 whole years ago!

You are a smart, energetic, funny, beautiful, and dynamic little girl. You are kind and affectionate. You are a leader. You are creative. You are sweet and a little bit sassy. 

You are a growing bean. You are now 44" tall and weigh 48lbs. You are 75% for height and 90% for weight. Always at the top of the charts!!

This last year has been a bit challenging. You are a good kid, but you have really pushed boundaries and made us work at this parenting thing. You have a bit of an attitude and can get frustrated easily if things aren't going your way. Nobody is perfect and we are all learning as we go. But each day is better and more often then not we are blessed with our sweet and fun little Charlotte. 



The other day I asked you a few questions. I plan to ask you these every year to see how your ideas and favorites change over time...... 

Stats:
Age:5
Live in: Pennsylvania
School: St Mark's Pre-K

1. Favorite color: pink and purple
2. Favorite toy: legos
3. Favorite food: bananas and cookies
4.Favorite dessert: cherries
5. Favorite dinner: tortillas and homemade mac n cheese
6. Favorite animal: hippo
7. Best toy friend: Bagraffe
8. Best friend: Emma (from your last school)
9. Favorite outfit: dresses
10.Favorite music: Lady Gaga and Tiesto
11. Favorite Book: Goodnight Mouse and Found
12. Favorite activity: swim and gymnastics
13. Favorite holiday: Christmas (duh!)
14. What makes you happy: playing with Norah 💕
15. What you want to be when you grow up: Zookeeper (specifically to feed the Hippos)

You may have said Emma was your best friend but you absolutely love all your friends and talk about each one daily. Your gym friends from Maryland. You future husband Bryce. Your cousins. The list goes on. I put together a few pictures of you having fun with your friends....


You are a wonderful big sister. Norah looks up to you and copies every single thing you do and say. She loves playing with you, always a willing participant in anything you can think of. Doggies, kitchen, reading, or just watching a movie together. You two get along very well...most of the time. I hope it stays that way forever. Having a sister is a special gift.
one of my favorites. my two beautiful girls!

the adventures of Charlotte and Norah
dancing girls

sister sister
how in the heck did we get so lucky??!


You absolutely LOVE music and dancing. We recently got an Alexa and you constantly ask her to play your favorite: Lady Gaga. You tried to request Tiesto once and she had no idea what you were saying. haha! And of course we know that every good song deserves a proper dance. As I was looking though our home videos I put together a little video montage of your evolution of dancing. From the moment you could walk until now you have always been a mover and a shaker. 

video

poolside dance party!


dancing with Jack and Norah





Some things you accomplished over the last year:
you started drawing a lot - our little artist! 

you took soccer in the spring and loved it!

you learned to ride your bike - with training wheels.
you completed your first year of preschool!! 

you learned how to write all your letters! Love this!!

you earned the "smart" award in preschool. So proud!

You also earned another super awesome award:
best kid in the world!

and we can't forget saving the day! SuperClutes!




Some fun things we did this year:

hay ride to look for pumpkins

thanksgiving family photo

trip to Disney!

We had to say goodbye to Grandma Dot this year. So glad we were able to see her around Christmas. She is going to be missed!



both girls excited to meet Santa!

Christmas fun


We took a family vacation to St. Maarten in the Caribbean. It was heaven! And so sad to see these pictures now. Hurricane Irma recently destroyed this island. 😢 Hopefully they can rebuild and we can go back someday.


Cherry Blossoms in DC

Easter fun with Jack. 

We had a big camping adventures this year when we traveled around the Northeast for two whole weeks!
Hammonasset Beach


Niagara falls!


Of course we can't forget we moved to Philadelphia this summer...
exploring our new city
It was so sad to say goodbye to our house and all ours friends but you handled it well. Change is hard but you have always been very adaptable. 
sesame place!



Other fun pictures of my silly and beautiful girl


video



giving Daddy a back rub! haha!

twin day with Mama

my silly girl!







I love your expression in this photo!



cousins!



We are so proud of the little lady you have become. You have surpassed all our expectations and continue to amaze us every day. Watching you explore the world and learn new things makes us so happy. Being your Mom and Dad is the most rewarding job in the world. We are so happy God gave us you. Our angel. Our first born. Our Charlotte.




We love you so much Charlotte!! Happy 5th Birthday!!!

Love, 
Mommy and Daddy