Soaking in Spring

Spring has officially sprung here in DC. Not only is the weather a perfect mid-60 degrees most days, with little humidity, the sun shines from early morning til after bedtime but the trees are all reaching their peak bloom and the result could not be more breathtaking. Where a few weeks ago only bare trees and branches existed, there are now signs of new life and beauty.

We’ve taken every advantage of the weather and sunshine, exploring the zoo, visiting one of the most kid friendly hiking spots near us (that still offers a view) & playing at every playground we can find.

Thursday we ventured out to the zoo, completely forgetting about the Spring break crowds. We started off at the kids farm where we said hi to the pigs, cows and alpacas then headed up the American Trail, passing the spectacled bears and finding ourselves mere inches from the sea lions.

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We eventually continued on to see the panda bears & elephants before heading back down the hill for a ride on the carousel.

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After 3.5 hours, the boys collapsed in the backseat, a sure sign of a successful morning.

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Bry worked Thursday night and came home at 2am Friday to catch up on sleep. The weather forecast that had long been calling for rain, cleared, so at 7am I packed up the kids and our backpack then giddily woke up bry convincing him we should go for a family hike. I enticed him with promises of coffee and breakfast and 5 minutes later, we were on our way.

The drive to the mountain was foreboding, with dark clouds looming overhead in the distance. By the time we made it to the parking lot at the base of the trail there was a full on downpour. Whomp whomp. We ended up feeding the older boys and I nursed kyle while we waited for a break in the clouds. It only took 10 minutes and suddenly the rain stopped and the sun started to peek through. Off we went!

Sugarloaf Mountain is a great place for younger kids to hike. The trail to the top, while steep and full of endless stairs, is short. At the top there’s a large, flat area for the kids to safely run around, collect rocks and take breaks for snacks while taking in the view.

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After an hour or so, we headed back down the mountain and headed home. After naps we headed out for a walk to the park before dinner and bedtime.

Saturday morning was sunny but cold. We overestimated Spring’s full arrival and were surprised to find it was only 36 degrees. Still, we pressed on and packed up the strollers to head to another park. I took off with kyle for a run while bry walked the kids to the park. We ended up covering 5 beautiful miles before meeting up with the other boys to stretch and play.

After an hour, we were all red nosed and cold so we embarked on the 1.5mi walk home. We quickly assembled a hod podge lunch. As we ate brys parents called to say they were already here! They’re visiting for the week and we were all excited when they arrived a few hours earlier than expected. We got to play for a bit and say hi before the boys went down for their naps, allowing the adults to catch up in peace.

Once the boys awoke we drove by a house we were looking at before finding ourselves at the park. Yes, you read that correctly. We’re house hunting! While we’re just starting to dip our toes into the water of our home search, we’re really excited for our next chapter and hope to find a place within the year.

Eventually we headed home so I could start dinner. We feasted on chicken carnitas, kale and broccoli slaw and corn and avocado salad while enjoying the far too rare company of family.

Sunday was Easter! We drove to our favorite bagel place for bagel sandwiches (a weekly tradition) before heading to the nearby trail via a detour around the tidal basin in DC. We completely underestimated how many people would be out at 7am on Easter to see the cherry Blossoms and ended up getting caught in gridlock traffic. Brys parents still got to see the gorgeous trees in full bloom so the trip wasn’t wasted, but we quickly switched gears and headed to the trail.

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By the time we parked, all 3 boys were fast asleep.We set up at a nearby picnic table to eat our giant sandwiches and once the boys awoke, we kicked the ball around in the field and walked down to the water to find rocks. It was another brisk morning so we didn’t stay too long.

We headed home to hide Easter eggs that the boys had dyed with MiMi the night before.

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They loved the thrill of finding each new hidden egg, though Andrew attempted to crack his so he could eat it! The easter bunny came with goodies of books, new clothes and a rattle toy for Kyle. But the highlight of their easter baskets was the endless paper grass that were still finding around the living room.

After naps we drove over to MiMi and Pappy’s hotel (Jackson calls it “the big house”) to swim in their indoor pool. We had a blast splashing, learning to swim and jumping non-stop. Thank goodness for puddle jumpers. And for an amazing MiMi who generously cuddled the baby so mommy could swim with her biggest boys too.

After an hour and a half we were all exhausted. And hungry! We swung by Whole Foods for some dinner ingredients and the creamery for some very necessary ice cream before driving home to quickly cook. We had teriyaki salmon, roasted asparagus and quinoa before diving head first into the good stuff. Ice cream!!!

It was a wonderful weekend that like most, flew by far too quickly. Thankfully MiMi & Pappy are here all week which makes it feel like a vacation at home and allows the fun to continue all week long ūüôā

Weekend Wrap-up

Better late than never no? This weekend was jam packed with fun.

Saturday morning we quickly ate breakfast and packed up to head out to our local trail. I took off for a solo 5 mile run that was absolutely gorgeous and exactly what I needed to refresh.

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I ended my run at the creek that runs along the trail where I found my boys playing in the water, collecting rocks.

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drew Creek

I stretched while Jackson brought me endless mounds of “chocolate” (dirt) to refuel. Eventually we made our way over to my old daycare that was having a fair. It was somewhat surreal and incredible to watch Jackson enjoy his first pony ride in the same place I did 24 years ago when I was exactly his age.

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He loved riding the “horsey” though after some fun in the bouncey house and sandbox a meltdown occurred. We had a couple of tickets left so we decided to quickly do the Cake Walk which was basically like musical chairs except everyone ended on a number and the DJ would randomly call a number. Whoever was on that number won a half dozen cupcakes from the infamous Georgetown Cupcakes. Even though Jack was in a bad mood, when they called number “4” and we looked down to see we were standing on number four, his mood did a 180 as he realized we just won “pup-cakes!”

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We packed up our cupcakes and walked home just in time to get both boys down a dual nap. During naptime Bry power-washed the deck while I did some spring cleaning¬† inside and read a bit. I’ve been reading like crazy again lately and just finished two good books. It Was Me All Along which is a really good memoir by Andie Mitchell and The Girl On The Train which is a lot like Gone Girl. I would definitely recommend both!

After naps we found ourselves at Home Depot picking up deck stain and lawn chair pillows. Then we ended the night with a delicious dinner of tilapia with kumquat relish, devouring cupcake and playing in the garden.

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Sunday we drove out to Cunningham Falls to go for a hike. We had breakfast at a nearby buffet then hit the trails. We planned to do a 5 mile loop but were thwarted when part of the trail was closed. We ended up covered 3 miles which was the perfect length to get home in time for naps.

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Bry spent the afternoon staining the deck while I read. Once the boys were up we played, had bath time (which is a nightly occurrence now that it’s sunscreen season) and read before bedtime. We finished the weekend off with some homemade blackberry cobbler I whipped up earlier in the day topped with Trader Joe’s vanilla ice cream which is utterly delicious, while watching Criminal Minds on Netflix. And now it’s almost a new weekend!

Catching Up

Since Spring has arrived in full force, we’ve been spending every waking moment outside or otherwise on the move. Both kids have started to wake up at far-too-early o’clock which has left me with zero time to write and even less time to do anything in peace. But I really can’t blame them– we’ve been packing in as much fun as we can!

We’ve been visiting the zoo weekly to say hi to all the animals. Jackson always says he wants to go see the lions and yet once we arrive he seems to be infatuated with every animal except the lions. We’ve been metoring there lately which takes a solid hour in commute time alone but is well worth it for the squeals of excitement from my train loving toddler.

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My main form of exercise lately has been walking. So much walking. We’re a one car family which is actually really easy for us in good weather as we live in a really commutable area. We’re a mile from 2 different metro stops and walking distance to lots of fun places. A few weekends ago while Bry was working I walked the boys to the nearby nature center. It was a beautiful¬†3 mile walk and nearby the nature center is a hugeeeeee park with a train! Obviously the boys were ecstatic to ride the choo choo. ALL ABOARDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!

Lunch lately is almost always on the go. PB & Js are our go-to, enjoyed picnic style.

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We went down to the creek last Monday after Bry got off work and I brought along my 10lb kettlebell (on my wish list: adding a 25lber!). While the boys played in the water and Bry found rocks for the garden I knocked out a quick 15 minute full body workout. You could easily do this 2-3 times through for a longer workout!

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We’ve been walking to a lot of different parks too. We found a new favorite one that is exactly 2 miles away. Jackson refers to it as the “fire truck park” and both boys love it. It’s a really beautiful walk that goes right by the elementary school I attended from K-2nd grade and the field I learned to play soccer on. It’s always a fun walk down memory lane and a REALLY hilly walk, both ways. Whew.

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I’ve run¬†three times¬†since the Cherry Blossom 10 miler,¬†two¬†5k double stroller runs that made me question how I ever trained for the Baltimore Half with that thing and a solo 5 miler this past weekend. Those kids are H-E-A-V-Y. I tried to¬†run a “comfortable” pace and didn’t look at my watch at all. Though comfortable isn’t really an adjective that I’d ever fix¬†with a stroller run. I¬†finished in 27:12 (8:46 pace).

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Last week I returned to Body Pump and remembered how much I love the burn. I hope to make it a weekly occurrence–if naps allow.

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Lately I’ve had some crazy food cravings which have been totally random and also amazing. I forgot how awesome it is to really crave something and then satisfy that craving. Almost daily I’ve had a serious hankering for chocolate croissants and have probably had at least 4 in the past week and a half. Other loves: cashews, cookies and cream (just the sound of the flavor sounds awesome), ice cream and an Oreo blast after we found a random Sonic out in VA the other week on our way home from a baseball game. Does anyone else share my pet peeve of ice cream mixes like this when they don’t add enough topping/churn it well enough so that the second/bottom half is just ice cream?

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Andrew is officially a walker. He’s been donning his itty bitty Keen sandals everywhere and is loving his new found freedom.

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He also has been obsessed with the slide.

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We’ve also returned to the trails and have been hiking as often as we can. We’re currently in the market for another hiking pack as Andrew has definitely outgrown the Ergo for longer trips and Jackson likes to have the ability to be carried when he gets tired. Obviously our current situation isn’t ideal for longer hikes ūüôā

20150415_160003 (1)¬†And I think that about catches us up! I’m definitely going to try to be better about stopping by if only to appease my need to photo dump (and my phone’s need from lack of storage). Hope y’all are enjoying the¬†sunshine as well!

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend was a fun one! It was a great mix of relaxation and adventure.

Saturday the boys and I stayed in all day. The boys were still quite snotty and recovering from their respective colds. We played in the living room with trains and trucks, watched Curious George and read books.

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After naptime Jackson woke up screaming! I sprinted to his room and he was crying and looked horrible. His ears were bright red and he just held onto me crying. I immediately called the pediatrician to see if we could make an appointment suspecting an ear infection. We were lucky enough to get in and 5 minutes later we were in their waiting room. Jackson was so sweet getting his vitals taken. Verdict: double ear infection. He’s now on antibiotics and back to normal.

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Sunday was a fun one! Bry worked all weekend which was disappointing and less than ideal as it’s hard to go 12 straight days with no break. But we packed up the car and headed to the aquarium with grandma. It was Jackson’s first time since he was 7 months old and Andrews first time ever. They both had a blast.

Jackson ran around screaming “Look! A shark!”

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Andrew stood up against the glass and waved and watched he fish go by.

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It was a really fun day. I love experiencing these things through my kids eyes. Even if they won’t sit still long enough for me to enjoy my favorite part: the dolphins!

Before we even pulled out of our parking spot both boys were passed out.

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We spent the evening cuddling

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And practicing our walking! Yup, Andrew walks (while pushing big brothers toy fire truck). It’s equally adorable and terrifying. We played around taking pictures too…cause these two, they’re growing up too fast.

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Hope y’all had a great weekend!

Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday started off at the gym with a mile run and half mile walk on the treadmill. After warming up I went downstairs to the weight room and played around for a half hour doing bar squats (40lbs + bar), bar lunges (20lbs + bar), seatbelts (shoulder burner where you first move the dumbbell across you as if you’re putting on a seatbelt then bring it back across your body and press up. Repeat), tricep overhead extensions, tricep presses and woodchops all using 15lb dumbbells, plus 20 push-ups wih my feet on a stability ball.

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Enjoy that lovely gem. How you look when you’re trying to take a¬†discreet selfie in the middle of crowded weight room. And while it appears I have not an ounce of muscle in this picture (and some horrible posture), I swear I do. It’s just hiding.

Once nice and sweaty I picked up the boys from childcare where Jackson eagerly showed me a giant toy plane he was playing with and Andrew happily chewed on a rattle (until he saw me and busted out in tears). We headed home for a shower, lunch and naptime. Daddy texted right as the boys woke up that we was off work. Perfect timing! With diaper changes all around and a quick grabbing of snacks we headed out to pick up Bry then went to the nature center to visit the snakes, turtles and even an owl!

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We grabbed some Mac and cheese from panera for the boys and ended up getting chipotle for ourselves. Our fridge was barren. And chipotle is always a good idea.

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Saturday morning our fridge was still looking particularly sad. We were down to one egg and 2 butts of the bread loaf. I started a new book and drank much needed coffee. Once the boys were all up we got dressed and headed out to breakfast at a local deli.

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We rarely go out to breakfast so it was a real treat. Both boys were really good and Jackson actually ordered his own food. When the waitress came around to ask what we’d like he looked up at her and said “Um, me wa-er? And cake, peaaase” Bry and I almost died laughing he was so cute.

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Andrew made a colossal mess eating a giant pancake and loved every bite. I had the breakfast quesadilla with eggs, spinach, Swiss cheese and veggie bacon with guacamole and salsa and a side of hashbrowns. It was delicious!

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After breakfast we headed home for a quick nap for Drew. Once he woke up we ran errands including much needed grocery shopping. Jackson requested popcorn from target and though it tasted a few days old it was still quite tasty!

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We eventually made it home in time for dual naps (Jackson fell asleep on the way home and despite trying to keep him away wih pokes, prods and baby brother screeching at him he was out).

The rest of the day was spent building endless train tracks, a fun bath time that involved Jackson peeing into the bath water and Andrew getting a shiner from slipping in an attempt to pull up onto the edge, reading bedtime stories and eventually watching The Notebook which despite seeing numerous times still leaves me in a heap of tears.

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Sunday morning Jackson woke up yelling “Doooooonuts!” Despite desperately wanting to fulfill his request not just because we almost fell over laughing when we heard him but donuts are always a good idea, we decided against it as to not get into the habit of pumping his innocent body full of all the sugar. So at lunch time we ended up meeting my mom at Jason’s Deli for endless salad bar deliciousness and ended it with a gigantic ice cream cone. Whomp whomp.

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Jackson spent the car ride home singing and basically losing his mind with unused energy.

Once home naps ensued and I ran out for a much needed haircut. My first since August! It basically looks exactly the same minus the mullet that was growing out from my bottom layer.

Then we watched the Super Bowl while shoveling copious amounts of chips and dips into our mouths while I broke the cardinal rule and fell asleep just before halftime. Another fun and lazy weekend in the books. Hope yours was wonderful as well!

Meeting Santa & Vegan Buttermilk Sugar Cookies

It’s Christmas week!! Santa is coming, Santa is coming! I’m excited for family time and Andrews first Christmas. It’s not about the presents under the tree, it’s about the smiling faces of my loved ones, Christmas movies, music and board games, cinnamon rolls and time with those I love.

Our weekend kicked off Friday night with a Blue Apron meal. We finally decided to give it a try and loved it. We signed up for another week and are excited for some more delicious meals that take me out of my comfort zone in terms of ingredients and preparation (I get into ruts sometimes).

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This particular dish called for ghee and chestnuts which I’ve never cooked with. It was delicious!

Saturday morning I took the car to get an oil change. To kill time I went for a very cold run. My first outside in a loooog time. I covered 4 hilly miles and felt great to be outside of the gym and off the treadmill.

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Once I returned home we picked up groceries for the week before naptime, which I spent watching Christmas movies. After the boys woke up, we downed a pizza from papa johns then headed out to a Christmas activity filled with crafts, cookie decorating and the big man himself! Andrew was fantastic and totally comfortable sitting on a complete strangers lap.

Jackson, however, was apprehensive and only agreed to stand next to Santa if he was within arms reach of the cookies and could have one afterwards.

The rest of the evening was filled with comfort food, some good wine and board games.

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Sunday we had family Sunday pancakes and then I baked 6 dozen cookies to devour and give away to friends, the daycare ladies at my gym and neighbors.

Two of Jackson’s friends have severe allergies, one to eggs and oats and the other to all dairy (he has FPIES) so I created a vegan buttermilk thumbprint cookie for them. My only regret is not investing in cookie cutters. Doing it by hand took forever.

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Heres the recipe in case you’re interested.

Vegan Buttermilk Sugar Cookies (with Raspberry Filling)
makes 3 dozen

2¬ĺ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¬Ĺ tsp baking soda
¬Ĺ tsp ground nutmeg
¬ľ tsp kosher salt
‚Östcup Earth Balance, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
‚Östcup olive oil
1 flax egg (1tbsp flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 drops lemon juice
‚Östcup buttermilk (Add 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar to a 1c measuring cup. Fill remaining cup with soymilk (or other non-dairy milk) to make 1 cup¬†of vegan buttermilk)
Powdered sugar
Raspberry Preserves

1. Preheat oven to 350‚ó¶
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth (about 30 seconds if using an electric mixer or 1 minute by hand). Add granulated sugar and combine until fluffy and well mixed. Beat in oil, flax egg, vanilla and lemon juice.
4. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, about ‚Öď at a time, mixing after each addition.
5. Knead dough and loosely cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
6. Divide dough in half. Roll half out on floured surface. Use a cookie cutter or cup to cut out shapes (hearts and circles work well). Bake for 5-7 minutes or until crisp on edges and lightly golden. Do not over bake.
7. Roll out remaining dough using the same cookie cutters. Inside the cut out shapes create smaller cutouts using a knife or if you’re smart, a smaller cookie cutter. Bake 5-7 minutes, making sure not to overbake.
8. Cool cookies on wire rack. Once completely cool, spread ~1 tbsp. raspberry preserves onto each full cut out shape. Cover with matching cutout shape with smaller cutout to create a “sandwich”. Once finished, sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy.

The rest of the day was filled with more Christmas movies, living room play and just relaxing before another week begun.

Family Hike & Pumpkin Carving

I put away the electronics on Saturday to really soak up the day. Bry ended up working a job in the morning so the boys and I met up with grandma for brunch. It was fun catching up with her and extra nice to not have to cook. After brunch we headed home to change, quick nap for Andrew and then headed across the street for a second birthday party for one of Jackson’s friends. Jackson crashed hard when we got home after pushing his naptime back 3 hours. He slept until almost 4 and woke up in a grumpy mood. We attempted a short family walk in the woods that led to many meltdowns and ended up throwing in the towel. We ended the night with Chinese food, a redbox and half a cheesecake.

Sunday morning I woke up with an itch to clean up the house. As is typical after a vacation, there were clothes, suitcases, bags, things everywhere. We had 6 loads of clean laundry to fold and another 5 to wash. I spent the morning flying around sweeping, stiffening, folding, washing and drying. Bry took over baby duty and when Andrew went down for his first nap he headed out to dunkin donuts with Jackson to get breakfast.

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A bacon egg and cheese on a whole wheat bagel

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and a pumpkin donut.

It was delicious. After we ate we headed out to the trails for a long family hike. The weather was perfect and the trees are absolutely gorgeous.

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I call him “The Blur”

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The trails are covered in red, oranges and yellows of fallen leaves. There’s crispness in the air.

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I love this time of year.

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We covered 5.3 miles in 2 hours and successfully killed off the big baby.

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The little one was wide awake at the end.

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We headed home for lunch and pumpkin carving.

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We spent the afternoon decorating and carving our pumpkins. Jackson loved scooping out the guts to make pumpkin “soup”.

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Andrew supervised.

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We finished around dinner time and ended up having a snack plate of cheese, ham, crackers, salsa and chips wih pumpkin beer. Jackson loves snack plates and ate almost all the cheese.

After bedtime we watched “Sextape” with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal. It was meh. Devouring copious amounts of Halloween candy helped make it better. And then he weekend was over.