Thursday, September 20, 2018

Rebellion against Pumpkin Spice.

As soon as September hits you can't throw a rock around these parts without hitting a store selling Pumpkin Spice something-or-other. I'm not a staunch fall hater, per se, but I am extremely reluctant to let go of our summer days. My interest in wearing boots and sweaters is remarkably low. Give me chaco tan lines, outside entertainment, long visits with friends, and summer birthday parties any day.

Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;

A couple of weekends ago had such a great day exploring at Radnor Lake State Park. Both of the kids were on critter patrol and Charlie must have picked up a hundred leaves. A whole crew of wild turkeys crossed the path just feet away from us and Henry snapped photos the whole time with his little hand-me-down point & shoot. It never fails though, that the last half mile of the hike ends up with someone being carried and everyone needs to pee and they're starving half to death don't you know.

Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;

Mr. Zuill and I went on another little outdoor adventure last month. Well, maybe not so little.

Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;

With the kids happily tucked away at Camp Gaga & Pappy for a few days, Will and I flew to Denver for a few days of exploring. I think this was our first parents-only trip since we went to Peru five years ago and we were really excited! The photos above were from our day of hiking at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. It was so beautiful. After a few hours there we spent some time in Manitou Springs- now that is a unique place! We played in open air video game arcades and literally got caught in the rain eating ice cream. We also spent a day at Denver Botanical gardens. I must have said to Will fifty times, "My Mom would LOVE this!". But the main attraction of Denver for Mr. Zuill was that on our last night there he was sitting just a few rows back from this scene-

Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;

Once we got back to Tennessee it was time to get back to business. Home school business. I can't tell you how intimidated by this I had myself worked up to be. Honestly I'm still not sure I'm doing it completely right, but so far its gone a lot smoother than I expected. Henry has really impressed me. He gets up, has some breakfast and dives right in. As you might guess, our tiny little helper can be the biggest challenge some days, but she's right there tagging along for the ride and is so glad to have her Henry home with us.

Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;

Charlie had some business to take care of when we all got home as well- ditching her diapers! She potty trained SO much easier than we expected and I think only had 3 or 4 accidents. The first couple of days she was on the potty alllll day, milking us for every m&m we had. She's no fool.

Angela Zuill Photography: September &emdash;

Thanks for checking in!

Friday, July 27, 2018

keeping it local.

So far, this summer hasn't found us traveling very far from home. The furthest we've been so far was when Henry and I took a quick trip north to see our favorite Ohioans and hit up King's Island with them. So much fun! Henry is a dream to take a road trip with.

Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;

But for the most part we've kept ourselves plenty busy inside a 50 mile radius.

Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;

The biggest adventure for me lately turned out to be an hour or so away! Skydiving is such a predictable thing to have on a bucket list, but there are so many reasons for it to be there! What an unbelievable experience. The photo of my face as I'm standing in the door of the plane, as I realize Ben is counting down to jump and he is on number 2, makes me laugh! I went to Tullahoma on my own that day, but obviously immediately made friends with the family that made up the rest of my group (Jane, Grimes, Nicole & Madison)- such great folks!

Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;

To my sweet husband's delight, the opportunity for him to skydive with me didn't quite pan out. It didn't hurt his feelings that he got to do this instead- a sweet sail plane ride in Eagleville for his birthday!

Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;

As always, the best summer days are the ones simply spent with some of our favorite people and doing our favorite summer things. We love these days. And of course, photos so we never forget-

Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: July &emdash;

Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

School's out for summer.

School is out and summer is finally here! Henry has been finished with first grade for about a month now. The end of the school year seemed especially final and bittersweet this year because we arrived there knowing that this fall we'll be doing school at home. Mrs. Martin set the teacher bar ridiculously high this year so I really feel the pressure to engage and push Henry like she did! Henry also finished up a fantastic baseball season. Watching his team play this year was so dramatically different than last year. Henry slowly but surely transformed into a great and consistent hitter and I bet could have outrun any player around the bases. He is so fast! All of the boys have learned so much and the last couple of games literally had all the parents on the edges of our seats!

Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;

With school and baseball done for a few months, it only took about five minutes for all of us to switch over to summertime mode. We've replaced school, homework and baseball practice with hours of zoo trips, swimming, gardening, and anything else outside. Mr. Zuill got us a membership to the zoo this year and it quickly became a favorite for Charlie. Each time we've taken her there's been one activity that was a clear winner that day. The first trip she was all about the 'ingos (flamingos) but the very next trip the carousel stole her heart. And as true love often goes, it's devastating when you're separated.

Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;

The beginning of my summer got off to a bit of a sketchy start one Friday night early in May. As it turns out, I significantly overestimated my rollerblading abilities and proved as much on my driveway. Yikes. A trip into the office the next morning led to a wrist X-ray which then led to me being the proud owner of an arm splint big enough to hit a home run with. Luckily it was a pretty minor fracture and I got off with a mere two weeks in a cast! I'm currently trying to work up the courage to get back on the skates but so far, no dice.

Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;

I got one other thing in May in addition to an arm cast. But it was green instead of purple and was a whole whole lot more fun.

Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;

If you ask me, however, one of the most fun things that has happened this year was the addition of some new friends to our property. Charlie was happy to supervise the preparation of their new home.

Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;

We've had our bees for a little over 4 weeks now and, I think, so far so good. Putting 10,000 bees into the hive was one of the most daunting things ever (not to mention that I was dumb enough to do it without a full suit!) but how cool! The bees are fascinating to watch and I catch myself going out there in the evening while Will is putting Charlie to bed. I love watching them flying around clumsily and wearing their little pollen pants. We borrowed Jack's bee suit for Henry to try out and I was so impressed with him at the hive. He was right in there with me and we spotted the queen for the first time and also saw a baby bee emerging from its cell! So amazing!

Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;

At the end of last month we took a little road trip with Gaga and Pappy to Chattanooga! We had planned a two day trip and boy was Henry Zuill so excited at the prospect of an indoor hotel pool. Unfortunately it rained the whole first day we were there (luckily inside at the Aquarium) and with 100% chance of rain the next day we decided to forego the trip to Rock City (boo) and do it another day. Even though the weather made us cut the trip a little short, I think we all had a great day at the aquarium. Charlie was fascinated with all the animals and is always up for a day with her Gaga & Pappy (who she called "Wayyyman!" alllll day long).

Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;

However, as we are all aware, "Wayman" isn't the only man in Charlie's life. She's insistent to get her time in with "Hudsy" too. She claims he's her best friend but you'd never believe if it you could hear the way she bosses him around.

Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;

We've really fit a lot of fun into the last few weeks. Busy but wonderful days. One thing we made sure to do was spend time with our Gobble/Gilliam/Zuill group. The Gobbles hit the road about 10 days ago for "The Great Gobble Getaway" so any time we got a chance to visit with them before they left, we did it!! Isabell just got her learner's permit so on the last day (for a while) that we hung out all the moms piled into the new Mini, gave Isabell the keys, and off we went! What a fun memory with some of my favorite ladies on earth. And oh my word, the hugging and crying that went on before we left! They will be back in April and thankfully social media is such a great tool for staying connected- but that's still a long time to not see these faces in person! We are so excited to watch their adventures!

Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;

So that's summer so far! Lots of sunshine, and lately, lots of donuts.

Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: June &emdash;

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Charlie, two.

My word, Charlie. Somehow you've managed to turn yourself into a two year old. I don't think I can fully describe how much you've changed in the last six months. You are a full fledged toddler now. Complete with the hilarious antics and stubborn demeanor. You are exhausting and wonderful. You are such a little person now, full of preferences and ideas. You talk all the time. I think it's a Zuill trait. The most surprising things come from your mouth these days-

"Ladies and gentlemen, time for ballet."
"Mom, are we there yet?"
"I need to bestigate (investigate)."
"Oh my golly and goshie!"
"You a googoo face!"
"I want to call Uncle Andy and Auntie Children on the iPad!"
"Glad you home, baby boy." (when Henry gets off the school bus)
"Thanks, Toots!"
"Sorry chaps!"

Sometimes you really like to remind us that you are a full-fledged toddler now-

"Don't tell me about it!" (when we're telling you something you don't want to hear)
"I am so mad. I am so frustrated!" (I couldn't hold back a laugh with this one!)
"Weave me awone!"

Thankfully the weather finally feels like Spring and we are outside more than in. You're so enthusiastic about every new thing and all the things you haven't seen since last Spring. You are obsessed with water- puddles, the hose, your watering can. You love to dig and collect containers of dandelions and clover for me. You've been to the zoo twice in the last month and I'm pretty sure you'd go every day. You are all about the flamingos ('ingos!) and the carousel. You love to watch for hummingbirds and listen for Ms Corinne's rooster. You still love the trampoline and the swings. You love riding with Henry on his four-wheeler. And bubbles, so many bubbles. You love to play with Hudson and you also love have toddler battles with him over toys. But we catch you holdings hands and walking around with him, sweet friends. You would follow your brother anywhere, you adore him. You have a definite preference about what you wear some days. Your unicorn nightgown (hand-me-down from Ivy Mae) is your favorite piece of clothing. You've finally burned yourself out on bananas. Your favorite fruit now is an apple and you'll eat the entire core if I don't keep an eye on you. Peanut butter toast and oatmeal are your go-to breakfasts. You almost always want a sandwich and grapes for lunch but then always ask for bites of my salad. We like to have a "picnic" on the driveway or in the yard at lunchtime and you love to eat dinner on the porch. You spent your first night at Gaga and Pappy's house just before your birthday and Gaga said you never even realized we weren't there. And speaking of Pappy, if he is in the vicinity you've got eyes for nobody else.

This year to celebrate your birthday we had a small party at our house with a few friends. "Taco TWOsday". What a great excuse for Mexican food and cupcakes. You got a new tea set, some books, and a flamingo your promptly named "Tennis". After we all ate I put a couple of candles into a cupcake and we all started singing happy birthday. We got about two lines in when you blew out the candles, waited for me to pull them out, and immediately took a big bite of icing.

Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;

I was hoping, that by delaying the party until the end of April, that we would have some beautiful Tennessee Spring weather and all the kids could romp and roar in the backyard. Instead we got 60 degrees and raining. And the kids romped and roared in the backyard anyway. The rain did force us to massacre the flamingo piƱata in the garage but it worked. Toddlers with tiny baseballs bats, now that's just crazy! How we love this group!

Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;

This morning you and I went outside to take a few photos to capture you at two. As it turns out, you are super bribable with M&Ms and sometimes I'm just silly enough to make you laugh. I just adore these photos of you. Charlie, you truly are the sunshine in our days. You are smart, funny and beautiful and you help us all see more joy in the world. Happy birthday our sweet girl!

Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;
Angela Zuill Photography: May &emdash;