Sunday, November 29, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving! This is our most recent family pic. I am so thankful for all of my blessings, but especially for my loving husband and our 2 sweet children. I feel like the luckiest person and couldn't be happier.

My sister Hannah came for the festivities and we had a great time cooking an easy, but tasty Thanksgiving feast. We made cornish hens and stuffed each one with stove top stuffing. We basted them with olive oil, rosemary, sage, and thyme and threw in some garlic for added flavor. We cooked them in my stoneware covered baker, so they turned out really moist and yummy. It was also fun to have our own individual birds. Andrew made garlic mashed potatoes, and we had sweet potatoes with pineapple and brown sugar (just enough sweetness), green beans, store-bought rolls, cranberry sauce, and my favorite- pumpkin pie. We had a Marie Calendar's razzleberry pie, but were too stuffed to eat it that day. We saved it for the next day. Needless to say, I feel like we took a step backwards in our diet.

We traced the kids hands to make turkeys and watched the Macy's day parade while Andrew was playing football with some of the guys from church. This is a horizontal pic, so I'm not sure why it is shown here vertically, but you get the gist.

Hannah made a turkey out of her foot.

We then turned Nate into an Indian as part of the Tribe of the 3 feathers. Here he is doing his tribal chant.
Hannah and I had fun this week. She was very sweet about helping out with the kids and Nate loved playing with her. Some highlights were when we took Nate to an open gym where he got to jump on the trampolines, jump in the foam cube pit, and run around on the padded turf with balls where the gymnasts do their floor routines. We then got to leave the kids and go out to a movie. I can't remember the last time I did that. We saw "The Blind Side" with Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. It was one of the best, and most uplifting sports movies I've seen in a long time. It had the typical plot of an underdog boy who turns into a professional athlete, but it had a lot of genuine and touching moments and was based on a true story. True stories are always better than what Hollywood writers can come up with. I would definitely recommend it to anyone and would see it again.

Hannah also gave me and Andrew a break, so we went on a date to get a Christmas tree. I wanted to get our tree early this year so we could enjoy it until we leave in a few weeks. Nate is showing it off after it got decorated.

We love you Han! Thanks for the great visit:)


Here is a quick Halloween post. So it was 4:30 on Halloween and we had to be at the church at 5:00 to set up for the Halloween party. We didn't really have costumes. The kids were going as a pirate (see the post about Nate's b-day to get his full pirate attire) and a flower. I told Andrew I thought it would be fun if we had a family theme. This is what we came up with:

Andrew used Nate's wig and hat since Nate wouldn't keep it on. I went as his pirate "maiden," although he informed me that it's actually called a wench.

We found a bandana for Nate, which he kept on most of the night.

And little Kaitlyn went as our pet monkey. We had this costume from when Nate was a baby and decided it went better with the theme then a flower.

The ward party was small, but fun. I had to include this pic of the Stromsdorfers and their family theme of "The Wizard of Oz." They looked adorable! The primary put on a cake walk- Nate was so excited about the cupcakes of course. They also had a fishing pond put on by the "Fishopric", well actually their wives. There was also pin the bone on the skeleton, the jackolantern ball toss from Nate's b-day, a nerf gun game, and pinatas. Nate was more excited to put the turtle head in his bag then the candy, though- kind of funny. We then did trick or treating in the classrooms around the church and the next day when we went to church, Nate said "trick treat?" He wanted to do it again, apparently.

This is our jackolantern for the year. Mom gave this "Mr. Potato Head" kit to Nate and it was the easiest jackolantern I've ever done. Andrew did make a pirate jacko, but we didn't get a pic of it.

This is Kate's reject costume that I made, but she did get to wear it at a play group earlier in the week, so it wasn't a total waste.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nate's b-day- He's already 2!

Nate turned 2 on October 24th! I can't believe my baby's already 2- how time flies! We decided, since he is such a social guy to throw him a birthday party and invite a few friends.We did the party on his birthday, which was a Saturday and did it early, so we could have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy time with grandma and "baca" (Nate's word for grandpa). We had to dress Nate up in his $5 consignment deal pirate costume, since the theme of the party was pirates. He kept this "Jack Sparrow" wig on for about 10 seconds, long enough for a picture, and then refused to put it back on. He was pretty cute in it, though. He was hesitant at first to get in to the party, but once he saw the other kids having fun, he joined in.

We played put the treasure chest on the "x" marks the spot and throw the balls in the jackolantern.

I then sent the boys on a treasure hunt around the house- there were clues, like "where does Nate sleep?" with a picture of a bed and they would have to go there to find the next clue and a gold coin. At the end of the treasure hunt they found swords at the bottom of the bathtub covered in orange balloons. We didn't get a picture of this, for some reason. We then had a sword fight until it got too rowdy. Andrew offered to make everyone a balloon hat, as you can see my dad was the one who liked them the most.

It was then time for the fishing pond and they got their goody bags and some goldfish from the pond. (this pic is actually from after the other boys left and Nate and Spencer wanted to fish again.)
We put on "Bob the Builder" and fed the boys a lunch of hot dogs, cheetos, and apples as they had a picnic in front of the movie. We then brought out the cupcakes- Nate was so excited! - and everyone sang Happy Birthday. The boys helped Nate open his gifts and he was good about letting them help and play with his toys.

The boys helped Nate open his gifts and he was good about letting them help and play with his toys.It was a pretty successful birthday party- no tantrums, potty accidents, fighting, or crying. It was kind of amazing! All of the sources I looked at said to invite the parents to parties for this age, but I think they might behaved better without their parents and they had a really good time. Most of the boys were 3, except for his friend Spencer who is just a few months older than him. He came late, so after everyone left, Nate and Spencer did all of the games again 2 year old style.
Nate got many cool presents from his grandparents. This one is a musical table that has several nursery rhymes and lots of different instrument sounds. It also teaches counting and the alphabet. Nate loves it! He also got a fisher price "play my way" table that has a kitchen bin and a tool bin. He plays with it everyday and is getting really good at hammering nails and using the screwdriver. He now cooks for me from his "chicken" (kitchen) and I order pizza, eggs, and spaghetti. He brings it to me on a plate with a fork. It's kind of a nice role reversal change!

Andrew and I got these cool blocks for Nate. They are cardboard blocks from Melissa and Doug, and they are sturdy enough for kids to stand on. We have a lot of fun building towers, chairs, runways, stairs, and anything else we can think of. His favorite part is destroying what we build, though. They are really fun because you can be so creative with them.

Happy Birthday Nate! We love you:)

Nate is old enough to travel by himself!

So my sister Hannah is visiting for Thanksgiving. Nate woke up from his nap and wanted to play with Hannah's suitcase in the living room. He started pulling it around and then conversation went as follows:

Mom: Nate, are you going on an airplane?

Nate: (matter-of-factly) Yes!

Mom: Who are you going to see?

Nate: (thinking for a second) Riley (his cousin)

Mom: Ok, see you later.

Nate walks to the door with the suitcase, turns around to blow us a kiss and says "bye!"

It was pretty cute:)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fall Festivities: Butler's Orchard

For Columbus Day, our neighbors told us about this place in Germantown called Butler's Orchard.

It was a fun fall event for our little family, but it was the first cold day of the year- the temperature was probably in the low 60's. I'm sure my family from Maine doesn't think that's cold at all, but we were having like 80 degree weather. Anyways, the orchard had fruit that you could pick yourself, but it also had a whole fall themed area with fun things to do like...

admire the pumpkin people, ( they even had some pumpkin people that resembled the Charlie Brown characters from the movie "The Great Pumpkin")

push and ride the tractor bikes,

throw balls in the jackolantern face, (Nate kind of cheated by actually climbing up on the platform and putting the balls in the holes, rather than throwing them in from off the platform)

jump in haystacks,

pet the animals at the petting farm, ( Nate loved the sheep!)

ride down their huge metal slides and tube slide on burlap cloths,

make your way through a corn maze,

and my favorite part- take a hayride and pick out your own pumpkin. The kids were done at this point, hence the frowny faces.

We also played hide and seek in the covered haystack maze (this was Nate's favorite), raced rubber ducks, jumped in the jumping castle (another of Nate's favorites) and enjoyed a lunch of bbq beef and hot dogs. We had a great time and it was a fun way to kick off the fall season. After visiting Germantown, Andrew is determined to move there. It was a very nice community (from what we saw), but his commute would be a lot longer, so someday we'll have to find somewhere else just as nice.

A dance performance

The same week as SYTYCD, we had a dance performance at the Visitor's center with our BYU-alumni group. We had been practicing for several months and were excited to finally perform. I was stressing out sewing costumes and remembering my dances. My mommy brain has kicked in high gear with 2 little ones, so it seemed harder than normal to remember all of my dances. I danced the "Pele," a traditional Hawaiian dance, a modern hula with couples (the only dance Andrew danced this year), a tahitian, and a samoan dance. Polynesian dancing is really fun and you need a lot of energy to do it. I felt really good about my performance, though, and felt like I danced my best the night of the show. It definitely gives you a rush when you can relax and enjoy the energy of performing. I know that if I didn't practice so hard I would have just been nervous and it wouldn't have been as fun. Nathan also made an appearance. He represented the Hawaiian islands in the fashion show that the kids did at the beginning of the performance of all the islands.

He was such a cute little keiki! The Murphy clan came to support us and I saw a few friends from Hawaii that I haven't seen in awhile. It is fun to be able to catch up. It also makes me miss Hawaii, but we are lucky to be able to go for Christmas.

A dance concert

Andrew bought me tickets to see the "So you think you can dance" dance concert for my birthday in Baltimore at the First Mariner Arena. We didn't realize the date was so close to our U2 concert, so we got to have 2 really cool dates within a few weeks. My mom came to babysit, and this time I wasn't as nervous to leave the kids. They were fine last time, so it would be ok this time too. Besides, my mom loves them so much so it was good for her to get in some grandkid time.

We brought our binoculars because our seats were pretty high, but we were in the middle section, so we had a good view. It is amazing to see how much energy these dancers have. They also have incredible strength and extensions. I couldn't believe how high they could jump. I watched part of "Chorus Line" from the first level because I was using the bathroom and didn't get back to my seat in time, and I was amazed by their talent close-up. They had commentary in between their dances, and that was pretty corny, but it is definitely more fun to see them dance in real life than on TV. Andrew and I both felt that they were like teenagers on a field trip without a chaperone because none of the judges were there. It felt kind of like they were just goofing around, but they were still professional. I still really liked Janine, but Evan was a lot more relaxed on tour and did his solo ten times better. I really liked the Baliwood routine this time around and the classical ballet, which is funny, because I'm usually not that into ballet. I also liked the We had a great time and it got me pumped up for my polynesian dance performance on Saturday. Here is a video of part of one of our favorite routines- the bank robbers jazz routine by Brandon & Jeanette. It was with our camera and the lights were really bright, so the quality isn't the greatest.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A music concert

I'm a total nerd and wrote this post a while back, but never posted it b/c I was waiting to off load this one picture we got at the concert outside of FedEx Field.

Here is my review of the concert:

Andrew and I left our sweet babies with some trusted friends and had a date- at a U2 concert! Andrew bought the tickets a few months before Kaitlyn was even born and it was much harder than I thought it would be to leave her for that long. After the first band, Muse, played and we were waiting for U2- Andrew said, "what do you think they are doing right now?" I said, "oh Nate is probably asleep and Kaitlyn is probably fussing for a bottle." He looked at me and said, "no, I meant the band." I guess that goes to show that you never stop thinking like a mom. I was able to relax and enjoy myself though, even though I had a back injury so it was kind of hard to sit. Anyways, the following is a review (with some edits) I wrote to a friend who also went right after the concert:

I liked the concert a lot more than was expected. We got there about 7:30- Muse was already playing. Since Andrew was really excited about them, he was kind of bummed that we were late but we only missed 1 or 2 songs, I think because we couldn't hear any music when we got out of our car. We got to park pretty closely. We started up the long trek to our seats and heard everyone start screaming and the music playing. We sat in row 18, so we were pretty high up. It gave us a good overview of the stage and all of the effects, though. At first, I said to Andrew, that Muse just sounded like noise and I couldn't understand a darn thing they were singing. Then they sang a few songs I recognized from Andrew insisting on me listening to them in the car. And I have to say it is way better when you know the songs because even if you can't necessarily understand the words, you can still sing along. I really liked watching the drummer- he was really into it. During intermission, we tried to spot our friends who had standing tickets near the stage, but to no avail.

As far as U2 goes, I recognized a lot more songs then I thought I would. I wasn't too impressed at first, but once they started into the special effects with the screen moving and changing shapes and colors, I really got into it. Those guys sure put on an energetic show and it was fun to watch the band members in action. When they first turned out all of the lights and everyone started screaming, my grandma side came out, and I thought "oh boy, this is going to be a long night." Once I went along with the ride though, I had fun. We had an older couple sitting in front of us, so they never stood up. It was great because we could stand up when we wanted to and rock out and when we sat back down, we could still see everything. We were also making fun of this couple right in front of us that kept rocking out and singing to each other. It was pretty comical. I was bummed that we didn't bring in our camera because I read the sign that said "no cameras" and actually believed it. We were envying everyone around us getting great panoramic shots of the stage with their cameras.

During the last song before the encore, we left because my back was killing me. I hurt it a few days ago and I have to lay on a heating pad every few hours, so this was stretching it. I also didn't want to wait in traffic being that uncomfortable. Andrew again was not thrilled, but we left a little before 11, went to the babysitters to pick up our kids, and were home by 11:30. It was great!

So we missed the encore, but I think it was worth getting home and not having to wait in horrible traffic. All in all, we had a fun date and the experience was enjoyable- Andrew absolutely loved the concert! It was my first rock concert and, in spite of myself, the next day I couldn't help but sing the tunes. By the end of the day, Nate was singing right along with me. Go U2!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Speidel Reunion 2009

So we were supposed to go to Utah for a family reunion on my mom's side at the beginning of August. I was really excited to see my cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and grandma, and I was especially excited to see my sister Hannah who got off her mission in July and have my siblings meet Kaitlyn. However, because the reunion was so close to my due date, I didn't know if I would be up for the flight or not so we didn't buy tickets in advanced. We planned to fly stand-by instead, and the whole week leading up to the family reunion, the flights were full. I was really bummed about not seeing my family, and decided to find a cheap ticket to Maine. We found some on Southwest for $39 one way for the end of August! What a steal! I was so excited to go and what a great trip we had :)

Day 1: We got to Boston early Thursday morning, and were really surprised about how energetic Nathan was after getting up at 3 in the morning and not sleeping much on the flight. He decided he wanted to pull his own suitcase through the airport in Boston to meet Grandma and Grandpa.
Nathan saw my dad and said "Baca!" because that's how he says "Grandpa," then he ran right towards him and past him. Such a silly kid. We had an hour and half ride back to my brother's house, which is in Sanford Maine. My parents are renting a house a few minutes away, so it's convenient to see everyone all at once. I was so excited to see Hannah and as soon as I saw her, I immediately stopped nursing Kaitlyn, handed her over to my mom, and started screaming and crying and hugging Hannah all at once. I think everyone thought we were insane. It was really great to see her though. 18 months is a long time not to see my sweet sister. She was just as funny as ever and was really surprised about how much Nathan had grown because he was only a few months old when she left. She also loved holding Kaitlyn. It was fun to have 2 babies in the house. My nephew, Dash, was born a few months before Kaitlyn so we had a lot of baby time. Later that day, we went blueberry picking at a blueberry farm 5 minutes from my brother's house. Nathan had a lot of fun getting lost among the blueberry bushes and he and cousin Riley enjoyed the nearby pond and old fashioned tractor more than the blueberries. That night, my sister-in-law Ali, made an amazing dinner with steak tips, sweet potatoes, and chocolate souffle! My mom always says what a great cook Ali is, and I thought, yeah, but does she cook like this all the time? Soon after, Ali brought out my chocolate souffle with a candle in it. It was my belated birthday party! She's so thoughtful :)

Day 2: This day we got to go the beach. I love the beaches in Maine! We went to Sanford Beach first, but there was no beach! The waves came all the way up and over the sand. We sat on the benches overlooking the water and ate ice cream instead. The ice cream melted faster then we could eat it though, and Nathan had a heck of a time eating his, but he was determined to finish it. We drove to Drake's Island, which is my favorite beach in Maine, and enjoyed the perfect weather. We had a picnic and played in the water, although it was freezing cold. Nathan loved Riley's dump truck once he got used to the sand, and they played for hours with the sand toys. I laid out in the sun and could have been there the whole day, but we had tired babies.

Day 3: The next day, we were on the phone with my parents (we were staying with at my brother's house) deciding what to do for the day. We concluded the beach, and told them to get ready and come over to get us. They came over a lot sooner, and we were presented with yet another surprise, my sister Doree had flown in the night before from Utah and no one but my dad knew! He is a lot better at keeping secrets these days. We were so excited because we were now all together for the first time since our trip to Hawaii before Hannah left. We had made our own Speidel Reunion! The week before I completely got on Doree's case for not coming because she said she was going out of town with some friends. I told her to not put friends before family, and she pulled through! I felt bad for doubting her:)

Everyone, with the exception of Jake, jumped in 2 cars and headed towards the beach. As we were driving, it started to rain. For some reason, it seems to rain on us a lot when we're together. We decided to go to Orchard Beach anyways and walk around. Orchard Beach is a typical touristy beach with a boardwalk and shops and everything. The weather cleared up, but not enough to go swimming. We just enjoyed walking on the beach and running from the waves crashing up on the shore, especially the ones under the pier. Nathan loved the huge waves and the wind. He was laughing and dancing around and talking about the water and the birds. He saw a carousel on his way to the beach, so we had to go and ride the "horshey." We found a table to picnic on and then stopped and watched a community dance group called the "jazzettes." At first, we wondered if they were for real, but we kind of got into watching them and critiquing them. It was funnier to us, I'm sure, because we grew up dancing at my mom's dance studio.

We then drove to a nearby beach called Ferry Beach, and thought we'd check it out. It was a lot less touristy than Orchard Beach, so it was serene and peaceful. We enjoyed sitting and watching the kids play and make friends. Eventually, we got brave enough to go in the water, but boy, was it cold! That was the first time Ali had ever gone in the ocean in Maine- I guess we're a good influence on her:) My 4 year old niece, Riley, was braver than all of us and jumped in almost as soon as Andrew did. Nathan, on the other hand, preferred pushing his dump truck around. That night, my brother Jake came home from his trip, so we were all officially together. Ali made us yummy lettuce wraps that are better than PF Chang's and it was great having a meal with everyone. The rest of us were her sous-chefs and we set the table and cleaned up. We left the cooking to her. That night we just had to take a picture of all of the kids in their striped PJ's! (wll get Kaitlyn some striped ones for next time)

Day 4: The Miller clan met my parents and sisters at church. We sat down and my mom said that we might be asked to sing on the spot. I asked why and she said there was going to be a surprise. I then saw my dad give his keys and wallet to my sister and walk up to the stand! Could it be? My dad was giving a talk! Out of all of the years that I can remember, my dad spoke in church once and that was with my mom. He is a pilot and travels a lot, but mostly he doesn't like speaking in front of others. I'm very much like him that way. I would rather just talk with people on an individual basis. My mom said that he told her that we better be ready to sing if he needed to use up more time, but he didn't because he gave such a wonderful talk and had a lot to say. He talked all about growing up, being raised in a Catholic church, and finding the church through my mom. He grew up in Algeria, during the French war where the apartments around him were being blown up and his friend was killed. He remembers hiding under the table being so scared. His family then moved to France and attended a Catholic church. He was told that God did not love him if he ditched Sunday School and that he would never get to heaven. He knew that God was a loving God and did not feel that way about him. He also talked about how it was hard for a little boy to understand what the Atonement was and all he knew was that Jesus was nailed to a cross. His family then moved to California, where his dad's sister lived. He had to learn English and adjust to life in America, but enjoyed the freedoms he felt. He always wanted to fly and became a flight instructor. My mom took lessons and he was her instructor. She was his instructor in the gospel and my mom's dad baptized him. He said he got 2 licenses out of the experience- a pilot's license and a marriage license. He talked about how when he read the Book of Mormon, he could relate to Lehi and his family leaving their home and traveling to a new land to start a new life. He felt the Spirit and knew that God loved him and was better able to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. My mom, my sisters, and I were all teary-eyed because we were so moved by my dad and the Spirit we felt as he spoke. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had. It is so powerful for a child to hear her father share his testimony and how the Gospel changed his life. Wow!

When we got home, we were all in nice clothes, so we decided it was time for a family picture. We enjoyed goofing off and trying to get the kids to smile. They got tired of it pretty fast, but we're glad to have record of us all being together.

Day 5- My mom had to go to work- she works as the dispatcher at the local airport- yes, it's all in the family. Everyone at the airport jokes that it's the Speidel's family airport. Hannah works there now too and Doree worked there last summer. My dad and brother are always in and out flying their planes and fixing them up. Riley even brought her preschool there so Jake could talk to them about planes for a field trip. Riley loves the airport just as much as her father and grandpa and goes with them to fix planes and fly. Anyways, the rest of us went to a nearby river that had a beach and a playground- Nate and Riley's dream! Doree got in a little dip before she had to leave for Utah. Jake and Andrew left to fly the Cub that was put on floats. They landed it on the river right in front of the beach! As they were circling above us, several fellow beachers were betting on whether or not they could land because the river was pretty narrow for a float plane. I also heard one of them say, "they're coming to pick up the lady in the red shirt" as they pointed to me. I felt like a movie star- it was so funny. Well, they did land, everyone cheered, and several men jumped in the water to help Jake tie the float plane to a tree. I then jumped in the plane and Jake and I took off. The Cub is only a 2 seater, so that's why we had to take turns. I waved to everyone on shore and it was quite the experience. We then found another lake and landed in it. It was crazy and exhilirating to watch the water splash underneath us, but it is a softer landing than on the runway. Jake found a little island and we landed there, tied the float plane down, and went swimming. Someone came on a jet ski to see if we were ok or needed help. Jake says he gets that all the time and mostly people are just curious about the plane. We took off, landed on another lake, and jumped in again. Jake let me fly a little, but I'm never very good at keeping the airplane straight. He took over and did some zero gravity tricks. We landed it at another lake, roped it off, and covered up. It was one of the coolest things I've done in a long time, and it was fun to spend time with Jake because we don't get to visit too often.

We then went home, had a small nap, and went to the airport to fly the MD-180. Jake wanted to take Nate for his first flight. Since the 180 is a 4 seater, Andrew, Nate, and I got to go. We left Kaitlyn with Grandpa. Nathan felt pretty cool with his head set on and kept saying "ehplane" until we took off. He then got nervous, closed his eyes, and grabbed onto the window. He opened them just a little, but I had to distract him by showing him pictures on the camera. We heard my mom on the radio, which was fun. Andrew also got to fly. We flew over the coast, and then had to head back to the airport because a black storm was coming in. Nathan liked the landing the best beacuse there was a little bump. He laughed and as soon as the airplane stopped he said "agan." Almost immediately after we landed, it started pouring rain. Good timing on Jake's part. It was a fun day of flying, but we were all exhausted.

When we got home, Doree was back because she had missed her flight, so we stayed up late into the night and played games. That night, we got my brother to play with us. He usually refuses to play games, but he said he was branching out. We had a ball laughing through Taboo. Jake got so excited anytime he guessed a word. It was fun sibling bonding time. We were glad Doree came back.

Day 6- Andrew and Doree had to leave early in the morning to get back to their respective jobs. Riley and Nate went to the neighbors house to play with their toys and playground equipment. Nathan is so happy at Riley's house because he loves playing with his cousin, her dog Chloe, her neighbor friends, and he loves all of the space and new toys. Oh, to have a house, that would be so nice! That afternoon, we had a picnic and went hiking at a place called Von Woods. I hadn't really done much exercising since having Kaitlyn, so it was a lot for me. We hiked several miles on a trail that was pretty up and down and about halfway, I told Jake he better go get the plane and come and get me because I wasn't walking another step. He told me to hand Kaitlyn off to my dad, and that really did help. She is light in her baby Bjorn, but after hiking for awhile, she gets heavy. Jake wore Nathan on his back in a hiking pack meant to carry kids. Riley got jealous because she usually sits in it, so Jake lifted her up and put her on his shoulders. Yes, he was holding both kids- one on his back and one on his shoulders, which was over 70 pounds. We let Nathan run at the end, and he loved "hiking." We then took the kids to the park. Maine is a very family friendly place to live and is full of parks and fun things for kids to do.

Day 7- Jake went back to work. Hannah, Dad, and I took the kids to the river again and did a lot of swimming. Hannah and I swam across it and were approached by someone that just had to meet us because we were such amazing swimmers. It wasn't really that far, so it was kind of funny that she was impressed. Nathan wanted to swim that day and he loved pushing me under the water. That evening, we all went to Riley's open house for her preschool. Nathan was an aspiring student and enjoyed all of the toys, and learning stations. That night, we went to mom and dad's house and let them enjoy all of their grandkids while we had a nice meal. Can't you tell how much they love these kids?

Day 8- Mom, Dad, Ali, the kids and I went to the Acton Fair. It was a small fair, smaller than the Montgomery County Fair we went to in Maryland. The kids liked it a lot because we saw a lot of animals and of course their grandparents spoiled them by buying them tickets for carnival rides and ice cream. The llamas had a costume parade, which was funny, and we enjoyed seeing the cows and sheep. That night, Hannah, Ali, and I met Mom at the church for an enrichment activity that she was in charge of. She set clues at each table for a murder mystery. Each person at the table was assigned a character each character had different clues to help solve the mystery. It was a clever idea.

Day 9- Sadly, we had to leave, but I got to bring Hannah with me to help take the kids home. It was definitely hard to come home, and to this day, Nathan will just start saying names like "Chloe, Riey, Baca, Mana (grandma), Ake (Jake), Amee (Ali), Doee, Hannah, " because he has such fond memories of Maine. It is really cute. So do I of course, and I am so happy we had such a good time together. I love my family and I am so thankful we get to be together always! Kaitlyn and Dash say it the best in this pic- the trip was full of love and closeness:)