Monday, June 29, 2015

Flowers and Freckles

We have all been cooped up in the house for the last week, with both Amita and Lizzie catching the Flu. Tag has been a great help keeping them happy. Amita had fully recovered today and with Dad home on holidays (he's a High School teacher) to look after Lizzie, we could go out and get some errands done. Tag enjoyed getting out into the sunshine too.

Amita took him hopscotching outside the pharmacy.

 They stopped to smell some lavender flowers together.

Amita has a knack for finding these little purple wildflowers that grow amongst the grass. She picked this one for Tag.

 I needed to go to Big W (which is a department store) to finish getting Lizzie's birthday presents for next week. The closest one is an hour away so we went on a little road trip. Tag and Amita watched Teen Beach Movie in the car on the way there and Despicable Me on the way back.

Tag made some new little yellow friends. Can you see him?

Amita said that Tag was getting tired - it had been a big day so far - and so he got to ride in the trolley. Amita was not tired at all as you can see! 

 To reward Amita and Tag for being so good at the shops they got to choose a treat and they picked out freckles. It is probably our family's favourite lolly. Do you have them in America? They are chocolate buttons topped with sprinkles. Very yummy!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rainy Day Fun

Last week we planned on going to a lake with some friends, but as we were on our way I noticed a huge bank of black clouds in the direction of the lake. I called my mom to ask her to go online and check the weather forecast and discovered an 85% chance of strong thunderstorms for the area. Yikes! So we had to change our plans.

We took a quick detour over to a craft store and it was just starting to sprinkle as we went inside. 

It's a BIG craft store called Hobby Lobby! 

They have much more than crafts- a lot of home decor items too. Can you find Koko in this Independence Day display?

Koko thought this pencil chair was pretty neat. I guess you erase the floor whenever you pull it out to sit in it?

Here he is with more items to celebrate Independence Day, which is coming up next week (4th of July). 

Some 4th-of-July fashion with the girls.

Speaking of fashion, why not try a sparkly hat? Looks good on Koko!

After we got done at the craft store we went home and decided to change out of our swimsuits and take our picnic lunch we'd packed for the lake and have an indoor picnic & movie afternoon instead. We watched Dolphin Tale 2 (Koko got a good seat on top of the cooler).

Then Koko helped Audrey paint her little purse she got at the craft store. Each child got something made of wood to bring home and paint- Tyson got a dinosaur and Charlotte and Teeny each got birds.

So that's how we made the most of our rained-out lake day! Hopefully we will get to go back to the lake and try again. It's been a very rainy, stormy week!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Blackberries, turtles, and wish flowers- oh my!

When we got back from Grandma's house, we discovered that blackberry season was in FULL FORCE in our backyard! A few years ago we discovered some wild blackberry canes growing, and in the years since, they have multiplied, and we have reaped a plentiful harvest ever since! It's something we look forward to every year. 

Since we all love blackberries, we mostly just eat them. But sometimes for a special treat, we'll freeze them and then roll them in sugar. YUM! Works especially well for the smaller and more tart berries.

We decided to take Koko outside with us to help pick- we needed all the help we could get!

Here he is with our haul for the day. 

And guess what else we found along with the blackberries?

It's a turtle! An eastern box turtle, to be exact. We brought him out into the grass so we could take a closer look, but he wanted to head back to his shady spot in the bushes. We fed him a blackberry and he took it "to-go." 

Koko watches him curiously as he makes his way back to the bushes. He was pretty fast for a turtle.

Group picture! Yes, Teeny is still in her nightgown. And yes, Tyson is shirtless and distraught, but it's because of this:

Ouch! Bee sting! Man, backyards can be dangerous places.

Audrey lets Koko try a blackberry. He enjoyed it (almost as much as the turtle did).

As you can see, we have a pretty large backyard- almost a full acre (0.4 ha) and since my hubby hasn't mowed in awhile, it's full of dandelions- or, as my girls like to call them, "wish flowers." 

Audrey helped Koko make his wish (he wouldn't tell us what he wished- that would mean it wouldn't come true)!

Koko is sure to see more of our backyard this summer- there's all sorts of fun to be had in the garden and on the play set. We look forward to sharing it with him!


We had been expecting Tag to come to our house for the last few days and when we heard a knock at the door we all went running to see if it was him. There was a yellow envelope from the U.S.A and knew it must be him.

The girls waisted no time in getting him out.
There was so much excitement when he finally came out of the envelope (Amita got a bit distracted popping the bubbles on the bubble wrap).
This is what Tag has learnt about the children in the house so far. Amita is 4 years old and she loves to dance. Tag is looking forward to having lots of fun with her.
Lizzie is almost 2 years old, she has crazy hair and she loves taking care of Tag by feeding him. He is excited to try lots of Australian food.
Our Winter School Holidays start next week (but only for 2 weeks). We are going to take
Tag to lots of cool places. We hope Koko is having a ball with your family!

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Visit to Virginia Horse Country

This week Dad went out of town to North Carolina for work, so we decided it would be the perfect time to go visit Grandma! And we thought since we'd taken Charmin to visit Grandma last summer, it was only fair to take Koko for a visit as well.

We are at A and Grandma is at B.

Grandma lives about 3 hours north of us in a town called Lovettsville. It is a beautiful area of Virginia, about an hour outside of our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. Grandpa actually works in Washington, D.C. and commutes by train. He works at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Headquarters there (and he may have given us some souvenirs for Koko to take home with him).

We didn't stay for too long, but we thought Koko might enjoy a riding lesson. He got to meet Chase, one of Grandma's horses.

Audrey gave him some cuddles before she mounted up.

Koko was a little nervous to ride so Teeny koala-sat while they watched Audrey's lesson from the safety of the ground.

Artsy shot. :-)

This is Audrey brushing Chase the next morning.

Another artsy shot as Audrey gives Bear some love. He's a very recently retired racehorse (my mom was his breeder but bought him back from his owner straight off the racetrack a few weeks ago right after he'd placed 4th in a race- he'd won the race before!)

One morning Grandma and Audrey picked blueberries and Teeny and I picked daisies. Here's Koko and Tyson posing with our little harvest.

What is THIS? Why, it's a giant Australian flag! My brother had actually gotten this as a gift from an Australian exchange student he dated in high school. He passed it on to my sister and she has it hanging in her apartment at my mom's. As you can probably tell, Koko was very pleased to see it.

Charlotte was with us on this trip too, but for some reason I didn't get any photos with her! Oh, well. It's a long summer. Plenty more opportunities. :-)

We hope that Tag arrives soon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Our New Aussie Visitor for the Summer!

We had just arrived home from Audrey's gymnastics class on Tuesday when we saw something peeking out of our mailbox...what could it be?

When we pulled it out and saw the return address we knew right away- it was our Australian teddy bear! Or, to be more specific, Koko the Koala! 

We were all very excited to welcome him into our home. Here he is with Tyson (11), Audrey (9), Charlotte (5), and Christine (aka Teeny, 2- almost 3).

Fortunately, his arrival overlapped with Tag's departure, so they were able to meet. 

They seemed to have really hit it off! Koko told Tag he was going to a wonderful home and wished him a safe journey. He let Tag try some of his eucalyptus leaves, but Tag wasn't a fan (he prefers chocolate). Koko assured him there is plenty of chocolate in Australia. 

This is the last week of school for the kids, and we can't wait to start taking Koko on all sorts of fun summer adventures with us!

You might have noticed that Tag got a new addition- we figure that since it is winter in Australia he might need a little extra clothing to keep him warm, so we found him a shirt. ;-) Hopefully between that and his fur coat he will be fine.

Bon voyage, Tag!

To find out more about Tag's adventures in England last summer, click here.