A parade, party, and Christmas preparations

This weekend we picked out a new Christmas tree, since ours was nine years old and the lights didn’t work in the middle…

After much deliberation we finally decided on the perfect one:

No, not that one…it was almost ten feet tall.

Then we headed to meet up with my sister, Mom, niece, and nephews to purchase items for shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child:

It was a little crazy with five kids, but we managed to get everything:

Then on Saturday I took A to march with the Cub Scouts in our local Veterans Day Parade:

Afterwards we ran by Starbucks:

And then headed to a birthday party:

On Sunday we took a lazy day, since J hasn’t quite gotten over his nighttime cough he’s been dealing with for a week:

And got ready for the up coming week! Happy Monday!

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Lately

J and I watched Wall-E for the first time and he loved it:

But before that he was my wedding date, while A and B were at Cub Haunted:

A turned nine:

And went to The Phantom Tollbooth play with his class (and Granna!):

We graduated to full Monopoly:

And the boys hiked Monte Sano for Cub Scouts:

And that’s a little of our life lately!

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Weekend adventures

We’re at the point in the year where all of us are two feet jumped in with work, school, volunteering, sports, etc. so my blog is on a bit of the back burner at the moment. However, in a few weeks I’ll have some fun fall posts to share, so stay tuned! Until then, I’m playing catch up with our weekend highlights.

J got the golden star at his soccer game for scoring five goals! This kid LOVES soccer.

We celebrated B’s birthday and I surprised him and the boys with a Nintendo Switch:

B’s parents came into town for the weekend and we hiked part of Monte Sano during their visit:

And checked out the stream below:

 

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This and that

This week J started soccer (year 3), he is so pumped about this season!

We tested out campfire recipes, some that worked out (apples) and some that didn’t (hot dogs):

Sliced apples with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar, wrapped tightly with foil and roasted for 4-6 minutes:

That we snacked on while star gazing, after a little bit of basketball playing and bike riding:

School is back in session, but we are still relishing in the last of summer.

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Stone cut trail on Monte Sano

As I previewed on Friday, B and I hiked a pretty significant trail this past Friday. Close to 3.5 miles, with climbing and caves, in fog and sporadic rain, and some awesome views the stone cut trail is no joke.

We climbed through spider webs…

Sloshed through mud…

Entered caves…


We found a little snail:

And some fallen trees that looked like they were still falling…

And enjoyed a foggy, but peaceful landscape at the end:

Well, I thought this was the end. Forty minutes later we were actually back to the truck. Ha!

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Splash!

The boys may be back in school, but we are still soaking up all the pool time we can get!

We’re jumping, floating, and just relaxing. Our pool is open until almost October, which is awesome because I can guarantee it’ll be hot until then or later.

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This and that

This is the pie that my sister made for Mother’s Day and I immediately requested for my birthday:


These are the planter pots that I saw on my instagram stories and texted B that they are added to our Disney shopping list:


This is my current pool view that is my goal-orientation for getting work done in the morning, so the boys and I can go in the afternoon:


And this is what I’m currently working on while I’m not “working” (which essentially means not teaching for two months, but working like mad to prep for the fall):


This is our other current afternoon view as we are on an activities lull, so we’re sipping smoothies and playing out back:


And this is J schooling A and I in Monopoly, Jr. the other night:

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Hiking gear musts

Whenever we go hiking we have some must haves to bring and wear. First up what I wear:

Light weight tank & leggings, hat, sunglasses, and quality shoes that I don’t mind getting dirty. You honestly don’t catch B and I outside without sunglasses on. It’s not because it’s sunny all the time (which it is a lot here), but it’s because it prevents allergens from getting in our eyes. Seriously. I don’t know if you’ve been to the south, but allergies here are no joke. I keep trying to convince the boys to wear sunnies by buying them new ones constantly. It hasn’t worked great, as you can see above. Hats are also a must to prevent ticks from getting in your hair (insert wide eyed scary face here).

The boys wear athletic gear (our favorites are under armour and champion) and lightweight shoes that are washable.

Our must haves to carry (besides lots of trail mix!) are:

All of these are on the Cub Scout list if hiking essentials. We’ve convinced A that we have a map and compass on our phone, so we don’t need to bring those as well, however we also carry a battery pack charger for our phones. And if you need extra help you could always read our go to guide:

Just kidding! However, this is one that’s great for our area:

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Keel mountain preserve

On a whim after church on Sunday we headed out to hike a new trail. This was the most challenging trail we’ve attempted with both boys. It was a mile out and a mile back, but a good part of it is steep inclines and we were climbing to hit the higher elevations. In the past the boys would have wanted to turn around part way, but they were determined to see the waterfall at the end, so we hiked almost nonstop until we reached the waterfall.

As you can see here the trail is pretty heavily wooded, and at points the trail is quite narrow. Howeve, the canopy makes this great for hiking when it is warm because it keeps most of the trail quite cool:

B led the trail with J and A and I followed behind. I pray that this boy always shares as much as he does now with me. He talked for the entire two hours that we walked. I have the low down on all the happenings in second grade now.

The pictures don’t really go the waterfall justice, but it was awesome! Definitely a sight to see.

And here is A’s collage collection of cool things we found on the trail:

And some more pictures of the outstanding waterfall:

It was well worth our Sunday afternoon!

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