For the Love of Peaches!

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I took the girls to Charlottesville today to go peach picking with my sister-in-law and niece.  This town is one of my favorite places in Virginia, not just because of family being there, but also because my “granola” and preppy side are both satisfied in this town.  You have the mountain views with the university at its center.


Well, when we arrived at Carter’s Mountain this morning, I was optimistic.  There were very few cars there for 10:30 in the morning and thermometer in my car read 85 degrees.



Then we stepped out of the car and the humidity hit us,  it felt like 100 degrees.  Within the first five minutes, we could all feel the sweat dripping down our faces.  I have also realized in the past week during this heat wave that Campbell has the same amount of patience as I do in the heat….which is none!  She cried and wanted to be carried.  That just made me more irritable because now I was twice as hot and with a crying 35 pound sack of potatoes on my hip.



Samantha was a great help relieving me and helping out with Campbell.



Addisan loved picking peaches and could have done it all day.



And if you have been to Carter’s Mountain, you know you cannot leave without having homemade donuts and peach ice cream.






The highlight for Addisan’s trip to Carter’s each year is this….



Then Samantha was a good sport….



Since we ate “healthy” having peach based food earlier in the day, we hit The Corner downtown and went to Little Johns.  My friend Ronya introduced it to me when we were in college and now every time I am in town, Little Johns is a must!  A cold fountain Coke, Five Easy Pieces, and a homemade brownie makes this girl smile…and drool!




Then we headed to see the rest of the Millers….

Campbell loved her Uncle Chuck and cousin Boo.


Being in Charlottesville with my family makes me smile.

Maybe She Is My Daughter After All

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So we began private swim lessons last fall with Addisan at ACAC. She has a fabulous instructor that we just adore.  Addisan was very apprehensive around the water for the longest time.  She does not have to become an Olympic swimmer, but she just needs to know how to be safe in the water.

So we went to the pool on Friday.  When we got there, we were the only ones there.  It was the perfect pool day….sunny, but not too hot.

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The reason we were the only ones there was because it opened at 10:30 and not at 10:00 when we arrived.  This was the face Campbell gave me when she found out we had to wait.

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The girls’ comfort levels have grown so much in the water.  Unlike her older sister, Campbell has NO FEAR!  This is a bitter sweet problem.

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Addisan jumping off the side of the pool.

Watching Addisan jump over and over again off the side of the pool makes me smile.  This was the girl just a year ago who  would not even get her hair wet because she was afraid of messing it up!


Smokey Bo

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Smokey came to us as a foster dog about a year ago.  He was the perfect foster dog.  He had manners and grace.  We had him for six months due to heart worms.  Tommy and I went back and forth whether or not to keep him as a permanent part of our family.  He was just that cool of a dog!  We loved his jubilance, his energy…you just can’t say one bad thing about this dog! 

So we decided that in order to continue fostering future dogs, we would have to find THE perfect family when his heart worms were gone.  As a foster, I usually have an image in my head for what I deem the perfect match.  It is not about who comes first to adopt a dog, it is WHO is the best FIT for the dog.

I pictured an outdoorsy family with kids….and that is exactly what Smokey got.  He now has a terrific family and goes by the name Bo.  He gets to go camping all the time, travels with them whenever possible, and has three kids who just adore him.

When Bo left, I cried.  When I say I cried, I really sobbed.  In my heart I knew it was the best for him, but it is always sad to see someone (even a dog) move on to new travels.

So, last week we got to babysit him for the week.  He entered the house as though he never left and resumed playing with Tivo and Daizee.    I loved being able to see him.  I felt like an Aunt….I got to spoil him and return him.

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There are times I believe I am best fitted to live on a lot of land and rescue dogs.  Some people drink wine nightly to relieve their stress, I surround myself with my dogs.  This makes me smile.


Grandparents are the Best!

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My parents came down today to watch the kids while I tutored.   In between tutorees today, I stopped back home to grab some lunch and this is what I found…a mini-me with my mom in the kitchen.  I have such fond memories of making chocolate chip cookies with my mom growing up and it warmed my heart to see her doing it with Addisan. 

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As many of you know, my dad is a wood worker.  He would always make such great things for my classroom…..big book holders, mailboxes, puzzles, and the list goes on and on.  He made the girls bird feeders to decorate during their visit.  The girls LOVED them!

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Watching my girls with my parents makes me smile!


3 Best Friends = 6 Cute Kids

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Yesterday I took the girls to visit my two childhood best friends.  I have known Colleen since the age of two and Sara since I was in third grade.  It feels like it was just yesterday that we were in our Woodley Warrior swim suits waiting for our swim events and talking about our many crushes.  I am not sure where time has gone, but it sure has gone by quickly!  We now have kids and call ourselves grown-ups…how scary is that?!

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With all of our crazy schedules, we decided to do one annual birthday party for all the kids in the summer.  We all drew names and each child bought a gift for that person.  It was easy and the kids loved it! 

 

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No birthday party could be complete without cupcakes!  I had a Groupon to try Frostings.  THE BEST CUPCAKE PLACE I HAVE TRIED IN RICHMOND!  They were moist and had quite a selection.

 

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Sara is the crafty one in the group (no offense to us ColleenSmile).  She had great crafts planned for us!  We made Shrinky Dink necklaces and sun catchers.

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We also got to enjoy a lot of free play!  You gotta love a princess climbing a fort.

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Being with friends that you can always count on makes me smile.



Goodbye!

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Campbell potty trained quicker than I expected.  Here is only HALF the left overs that we had in our cabinet! 

I am thrilled that we are out of the diaper stage.  She has had no accidents at school this week and tells us when she has to go.  Secretly though, I am a little sad she is done with them because that is a huge sign she is not my baby girl anymore, but rather my young lady.  Tommy and I are done having kids, so I do feel a little a little bit of emptiness that I am never going to be a mommy to a baby anymore….does that make any sense?

Even with that little bit of sadness, not wiping any more poop makes me smile!


Music to Addisan’s Ears

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We discovered a FABULOUS camp last summer for Addisan called Young Explorers.  I do not know where to even to begin about how much I love it.  Addisan wakes up every morning looking forward to all the developmentally appropriate activities that they have there as well as her wonderful teachers.  They have art, movement, music, woodworking, and the list goes on and on.  The campers range from ages 3 1/2 to rising twelfth graders.  I think I might have to do a whole other post about it because I love it that much!

Anyways, this year they added an optional half hour piano class to the camp.  For THREE weeks of group lessons, it was only $65.  Maybe I am comparing it to NoVA prices, but I thought it was a steal. 

Today was Addisan’s final day and they welcomed families to come in and see what they do.  They do a lot with rhythm, songs, proper hand placement, and working with identifying piano keys.

Though Addisan cannot play any “real” songs, she has a stronger foundation of the piano and can appreciate music even more.  That is all I could ask for!

For all of those who know Addisan, she is very different from myself.  I like music, but she really LOVES music.  I LOVE sports, but she only likes sports.  I try to remind myself that this is her life and my job as a mother is to expose her to as much as I can….and then the decision is up to her. 

So here I am at piano lessons…totally out of my element, but in Addisan’s world.

 

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Watching Addisan shine at her “recital” makes me smile.


Sparkling Clean!

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Anyone who knows me…and especially the ones who have LIVED with me….know that I HATE cleaning. 

I view cleaning like I do school work…no matter how much time you spend on it, there is always more to do.  There are so many better ways that I would like to spend my time rather than cleaning….like sleeping, going to the gym, shopping, etc.  My other thought about cleaning is that if I was to die tomorrow, would my family and friends remember a super clean house or spending time with them?  I think you know the answer.

I do have to admit though, I do feel better mentally when the house is cleaned up from all the dog hair and toys.  I am great at keeping up with the vacuuming, it is everything else that I fall behind on. 

I have several girlfriends that always have immaculate houses and every time I leave their places, I swear to myself that I am going to do better.  I am going to hang up my clothes right away before they get wrinkled from remaining in the dryer to the next day (or the day after that). I am going to unload the dishes every night. I am going to make sure there is no dust on the baseboards or Goldfish in my couch.  My hopes are always short lived.  I really, REALLY want to be like them.  Unfortunately, I do not think I am wired that way.

So with working full time and tutoring in the evenings, I fell waaayyyy behind in cleaning.  You know it has to be bad if I think it is “bad.” 

Awhile back I met a wonderful woman playing Bunco with some girlfriends.  She is as nice as they come and she just happens to own her own cleaning business.  This woman is the best!  I can chat with her all day.  When life was getting crazy for us in the Taylor household, I explained our work situation and what we needed.  She has only cleaned our house twice, but I am not sure what I did before her.

I have only had a cleaning service twice in my life…and both times were when I was extremely ill during Campbell’s pregnancy  Tommy and I do as much as we can around the house ourselves….refinish furniture, hang our own garage door openers, put up wainscoting, etc.  So I feel very spoiled having someone help with our housework.

TaDAAAAA….How long do you think this will last with kids?

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                        Coming home to a clean house makes me smile!

My smile will be growing even bigger soon because I am going to trade my tutoring  services and work with her grandson for her cleaning services.   I  love a win-win situation.


After the First…They All Get Gypped

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With our first born, our world was centered around her. She had our undivided attention and did not have to share it with anyone.

Then the second child comes along.  Even though the first born had to share the spotlight some, truth be told, she still gets the majority of the attention.  She is the one who is old enough for swim team where we wait on the sidelines “patiently,” she is the one who has play dates to be driven to, she is the one who we used to have to wait so “nicely” in the hall for her to come out of her church preschool classroom, she is the one who we have to wait for in a crowded waiting area for her dance class to be done with…you get the picture.

I understand that this is just how we have to roll until Campbell gets a little older and can claim some of these activities for herself.

Though Campbell does not feel neglected, I have mother’s guilt that our world revolves around Addisan’s schedule.  Addisan is at camp in the morning which gives me some one-on-one time with Campbell.  I cherish these moments with just the two of us.  Don’t get me wrong, I miss Addisan while she is gone.  BUT… I love watching Campbell develop into her own self without the influence of an overly pink, dancing queen sister.

Yesterday, after dropping off Addisan, Campbell and I went to our favorite place to eat…Chick-fil-a.  I am embarrassed to admit this, but we go at least every other day since I have been on summer vacation.

 

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We then went to Lowes to look for some handles for a shelf in the bonus room.  I love how she loves the simple things in life….like getting on a tractor that does not move, make music, shake…but simply for the experience of something new.

 

 

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We then went to the mall to pick up a new pair of sunglasses.  We went to Barnes and Nobel to play with the train table and then went to sit in one of the cars in the food court.  I do not put money into these things because my fear is that once I did, they would never stop asking me.  So I am proud to say that in four and a half years of motherhood, I have never spent a cent in these money grabbers.  She just loves going in them and hitting all the buttons.

 

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Though we did nothing exciting yesterday, I love seeing her embrace everyday things in life with a smile and excitement.

         Spending one-on-one time with Campbell makes me smile.