Monday, June 27, 2016

52 Pictures

One photo every week of Liza and Jason.
A showcase of their siblingship.

Week 17
Just two kids being ridiculously adorable!


Week 18
We got special mail. It was lions and a note for the kids telling them "Welcome to PCA". Our applications to the private school were accepted!


Week 19
A day off of school meant a day at work with Mom at Camp Lutherlyn.


Week 20
Crazy socks day at school. (Apparently Jason wears this minion shirt all the time.)


Week 21
Planting our garden.


Week 22
First swim at the lake this year!


Week 23
Bike ride on the Armstrong Trail. 15.33 miles! A record for Liza and Jason.


Week 24
Last day of school!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fun in the Water

We were invited to join friends at their camp this weekend and spend some time playing in the nearby creek. I was so glad they invited us because we were "bus stop friends" but we aren't going to be at the same bus stop next year. I had been thinking of ways to take the friendship beyond the bus stop, but they beat me to it!

Liza and Jason were super excited to get invited to join them because joining them at their camp meant canoes and kayaks... and those things are on the summer bucket list! Actually, Liza and Jason have been talking about wanting to go in boats for a loooong time.

We had a great time taking turns in the boats, floating in the tubes, and just swimming and hanging out.

By the end of the day we were pretty exhausted. Liza put herself to bed before 8:00 and slept for the next 12 hours. Good times on the water with good friends!

We love summer!!












I finally got brave enough to let them try kayaking alone. They loved it!



Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pick Your Own Berries at Snyder's Farm

I had seen a few people post on Facebook about going to a local farm to pick their own strawberries. It had been a few years since we picked our own strawberries, so we went and checked it out early yesterday morning.

Snyder's Farm is in Chicora, PA, and the strawberries are good!!

We picked a box, brought them home, and cleaned them up. Mike and Jason made us some strawberry muffins that are delicious!

We are looking forward to going back throughout the summer as the raspberries and blackberries ripen.

Do you  have a favorite recipe that uses strawberries?








Wednesday, June 15, 2016

52 Lists... Things That Motivate and Things That Make Me Laugh

Things That Motivate Me
a smile
when someone expresses appreciation
making a difference
debt (the thought of it motivates me to never go there again... except for my mortgage)
living for the future instead of today

Things That Make Me Laugh
 stupid jokes
my dad
Jason's belly laugh
Liza's dance moves
tv show How I Met Your Mother
my coworkers
Jason's faces. He makes the best ones!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

School's Out for Summer!

Another school year comes to an end.
Another chapter closed for us.

Last year when school ended I couldn't say goodbye.
It was too hard.
Too much.
Too emotional.

I grabbed my kids when school let out and escaped for the week so I wouldn't have to look at the empty building that would never be filled with the voices of children again.

I just couldn't think about it.
Too much loss.
Too much grief.

Everything about the end of last year felt wrong.

This year is different though.
This year we chose our own ending.
This year, while emotional, feels right.

Yesterday when school let out, me, Liza and Jason went and found our favorite teachers so we could all say goodbye. We might not ever see them again, but they were such a big part of our lives for the past few years and we will always remember them. Our teachers from the old school that moved to the new one with us... we needed them. We needed familiar faces in the halls. Our teachers this year that we had never seen until open house... we needed them too. We needed their kindness and understanding.

And we needed to say goodbye before we moved on.

Last year when I walked our school halls for the last time it all felt wrong.
Yesterday when I realized I was walking the school halls for the last time... it felt right.

We look forward to the next school we will be at. We look forward to the new people will meet and the new memories we will make. But we will never forget the teachers and the friends that got us this far.

Today is the last day of school. The kids get out at noon.
Liza and Jason are excited for their new school adventure... but it's also hard for them to say goodbye to the friends they have made. It's bittersweet... but they are strong.

I look forward to fun summer days full adventure with my favorite little people! We don't have many plans, but we'll find plenty of fun!

School's out and summer is here!!! FINALLY!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Biking Armstrong Trail

A few weeks ago we drove to Kittanning and rode 15.33 miles on the Armstrong Trail.

Finding where to park and get on the trail was a little tricky, but we did what we usually do... we stopped at a gas station and asked for some help. We found parking and hit the trail going toward East Brady.

The trail goes through town for a little bit and we had to stop at intersections and be mindful of traffic. It wasn't really any trouble though, and the drivers were always kind and patient. The trail was paved as we went through town, but eventually it turned to crushed limestone and was nice and shaded.

There were several neat stops along the way and a small campground that had a bathroom we could use. We rode until we got to one of the dams that had a lock, checked that out (from a distance), and then turned around for the long ride back to the van... and our lunch.

We really enjoyed this trail. It wasn't a very long drive to get there, the trail was nice, there were things to see along the way (the kids and Mike like that) and we enjoyed riding along the river. We look forward to riding more miles on the Armstrong Trail and seeing different sections of it.






Liza got a new helmet. Her head must have grown since last summer. She was complaining that the old one was hurting her head and giving her a headache because it was too tight.











We always end with a slushie. :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Steps and Miles


I recently got myself a Garmin Forerunner 15.

I wanted something with GPS so I would know how far I go when biking... since it doesn't count steps when not stepping!

I love the GPS feature! And I didn't think I would be motivated by the step count, but man was I wrong!

That step count haunts me all day long.

When I bought it, it had a preprogrammed step goal for me. It was somewhere around 7500 steps. No big deal. That wasn't too hard to get. But then I noticed the goal going up little by little. Turns out the thing is a genius and knows when I hit my goal... and when I continuously hit my goal, it decides I can do more! So it makes the goal higher and then I get all competitive with myself and have to reach that new one. The goal is now over 10,000 and if I don't have work AND soccer practice on the same day, well I have to actually exercise to hit the goal.

I've done things like have Mike let me out of the car a few blocks from home so I could get more steps. I walk to the library instead of driving. I run in place while watching tv.

And the lame side of me actually sometimes walks to the grocery store down the street and buys something like chips or gummy worms to eat on the way back home. I know... I'm awesome like that!

Anyways... all that to say... I kind of hate the thing! Because if I keep reaching the goal it will keep making it higher! And then it will force me to run marathons just to keep hitting the goal and well... that's not going to happen! And that means I'll have to lose to the Garmin. Dang it! Too bad I'm already hooked on the thing.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Best Job Ever

I love my job!
I seriously think I have the best job ever.

Schools come on field trips and I get to take kids out in the woods to explore and learn. I get to show them things they never saw before. Things they didn't know existed. I get to be a part of their discovery and I get to witness their excitement.

This season I even got to take a kid on his first hike ever! He was ten. He lives in the city. Never took a hike before. What a privilege for me!

Really... I have the best job ever!

Today I took a group of second graders to the pond to see what we could find. There were turtles and frogs and fish. And two snakes. But the coolest thing of all was to watch an adult dragonfly emerging from the nymph stage.

We were toward the end of the lesson. The kids weren't finding much. I grabbed a bucket, scooped some water near some grass along the edge and there it was... dragonfly nymph. And shortly after I realized that the adult dragonfly was coming out.

Most kids only associate metamorphosis with caterpillars and butterflies. It was so fun to be able to show them something that I never saw until this year.

In case you are wondering what it looks like... here is a photo I grabbed from

Seriously cool stuff you guys!

In a world where people don't like to go out in nature, it's so fun to be a part of shaping how kids think about it.

Nature is cool!
My job is the coolest!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

52 Lists - Happiest Moments and Favorite Places

List 21
Happiest Moments of My Life So Far
the day Liza was born
the day Jason was born
the first time I heard Liza's heartbeat... amazing!
watching Jason have hiccups during the ultrasound
my wedding day
buying my first home
sniggles (that's snuggling and giggling) with my babies

Those are the obvious things. Then there are smaller moments...

The time I was working at a camp facilitating group building and I watched a quiet boy that often was picked on emerge and become a leader that was accepted by his peers. It was amazing to be a part of that!

Getting our first win of the season during my first year on the high school soccer team... last game of the season in overtime. 

The summer of the Bike Project.

Camping trips. Our vacations were simple, but they still stand out. 

Coaching my kids' soccer teams. So fun! 

List 22
Favorite Places I Have Been
Akron Rotary Camp in Ohio
San Francisco
The beaches in Florida
Niagara Falls
Costa Rica
Parker Dam State Park (I need to get back there!)
White Sands National Monument in New Mexico - beautiful!
my neighborhood
Moraine State Park
McConnell's Mill State Park
Allegheny River Trail

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