look back at it: october

Holy cow. Its November. As my sweet friend, EJ wrote on FB, “May the last two months be the best plot twist of your entire year. You got this”.

We’ve been living in Alexandria for a little over four months now and JUST when we get settled in, something else crazy happens that throws off our new found routine. I have been horrible about keeping up with friends and family – so if you’re OTHER than my mom or dad reading this here’s a recap of our month!

Fam: The kids are doing well. We make sure to go on an adventure every weekend – whether its to the Farmers Market, in to DC, trying a new restaurant, or just finding an excuse to get on the train… these kids are rarely ever bored. We went Trick or Treating in our friend’s neighborhood. The husbands stayed back and handed out candy while the moms took the kids up and down the street. We stayed on one street but got a bag full of candy! The kids were The Three Ninjas – Rocky, Colt, and Tum Tum. One of the perks for having three boys.

three ninjas costume

rocky and colt -- tum tum was in the house

We make sure to do “family immersion dinners” (okay, its an excuse to eat Vietnamese food every week) and the two older boys practice the phrases they know, I practice reading and tones, and Jay practices talking to the server. The kids practice with chopsticks and eventually get frustrated and use a fork.

vietnamese food

some yummy yummy Vietnamese food!

We started the process to move everyone to Vietnam by getting our medical clearance. We got physicals, the kids got shots, and an OK by a military doctor. A few months before we leave the whole family needs to get some crazy shots like Typhoid and Japanese Encephalitis.

Justine: October was NUUUUUTS. I ran my first race ever. I trained for about 5-6 weeks working up to running for 5 miles at a steady pace without stopping and without dying. As you know, I. am. not. a. runner. But the group I work out with got me excited about running and let me tell you – everyone has a preference and RUNNING IS NOT MINE. Gimme a beer, a couch, a movie, and some chips any day. BUT since SLAM and all the moms that attend are kind of like my squad, I basically run to hang out with them. Scheduling around someone to watch the kids, nap time, mom time, times when husbands are home, feeding time, and all that is physically and mentally exhausting.

Between working out, taking care of kids, the house, the errands, the cooking, blogging, and learning Vietnamese – my time is spread incredibly thin. I probably published maybe four blog posts for the month of October? But I have some SUPER AWESOME content planned and the Sunny Six is coming back! I hope you are as excited as I am! Now lemme just add a few more hours to a day and I thiiiiink I can get it all done. Here you can read what my day looks like – let’s switch places for a day!

My friend is letting me borrow his book. I’m currently reading Vices and Virtues, a collection of short Horror Stories by Ashley Franz Holzmann. He has another book The Laws of Nature, another collection of some more short horror stories. These books remind me of middle school -- reading those short creepy books where the girl has a pimple and takes a bath and her pimple is actually full of spiders – but instead of a book of middle school frights they’re creepy and psychological thrillers that will keep you thinking.

We’re currently watching Stranger Things 2, Scandal, and The Walking Dead. I need to catch up with This Is Us and we need to start up The Man in the High Castle again.

Jay: Jay has been busy with language training. He takes the train every morning and studies. Is in class all day, then comes homes on the train and studies on the train. He comes home and helps with the kids and studies. Then he helps put the kids to bed and studies some more. If he were to get thrown into the country now, I think he’d be able to get around with the language okay. But since he will be taking graduate level classes and writing academic papers in Vietnamese, he still has lots to learn and practice. He wakes up SUPER FREAKING EARLY to get buff at the gym at the apartment. He still has his freaking car, but rarely ever drives her since the roads here are really bumpy, cracky, and pot-hole-y.

I impulsively signed Jay up to run in the Army 10-Miler (I was gonna do it, then chickened out). He had two days notice and finished the race with a smile and no training whatsoever.

before the Army 10-Miler

before the race!


the grossest day to run ever -- this was the finish line!

finisher, finisher... chicken dinn-isher.

A few Olmsted Scholars ran the Army 10-Miler

some Olmsted Scholars that ran the Army 10-Miler

He’s been super dad. The kids and I finally adjusted to having him home so much and for such a long period of time. He baked cupcakes with the boys last week and did an awful frosting job so I had to step in. You can’t be good at everything, Jay. ;-)

Caleb: Caleb adjusted to Kindergarten really quick. He made lots of friends, only gets in trouble because he can’t stop talking, and he LOVES school and loves riding the bus.

the gingerbread man gets loose on the fire truck

dressing up as his favorite book character for the Walk A Thon

He is starting to recognize words, spell, and read. I really can’t spell anything out anymore because he sounds out the word and asks me about it. I have to watch my mouth around him because he’s picking up words and using them in the proper context.

Caleb is really into Ninjas, Phineas and Ferb, books, dinosaurs, clothes, and shoes. We signed him up for Parkour class because he keeps jumping off our couch and jumping all over the apartment (the downstairs neighbors LOOOVE us…), in hopes that gets it all out of his system and he doesn’t jump all over the place at home.

He’s really into potty words, potty jokes, and anything with “butt”. I feel like it starts at this age and then it never gets old. He loves to draw. He can sit at the kitchen table for HOURS and draw. Caleb has been taking weekly trips to the school nurse because he keeps bumping his head on things because he’s so nosy. He’s walking/running in one direction, hears someone getting in trouble, then turns around to see what’s happening and crashes into a pole… or door... or tree… or person. He has no concept of voice volume and will scream anything and everything at you. It’s a work in progress LOL!

Isaac: Isaac is talking so much now. He’s in school two days a week. He’s learning and singing a lot. He loves reading, puzzles, and dancing. He’s super mean when he gets frustrated and doesn’t get what he wants. He loves whatever Caleb loves (and Caleb is getting really frustrated at it). He’s a super picky eater but will sometime surprise us with eating a whole thing of sushi, pho, or BBQ ribs LOL.

picture day outfits for toddlers

his picture day outfit for school

He likes exercising with me and gets mad if I don’t run fast enough pushing the stroller. He pretends to be a dinosaur and eats Caleb. Sometimes he’s actually taken a bite out of Caleb’s arm. He’s super gentle with Lucas. Gives me diapers when I need it, sits with him when I’m preparing dinner, and gives him a toy when he’s crying. At bedtime he loves to talk about his favorite part of his day.

Lucas: He will be 6 MONTHS OLD this month. He’s a super chill baby. He doesn’t mind getting dragged around town. He sleeps wherever he is. He’s cool either in the stroller, being carried, on the floor, on the bed, in the swing, or in his crib. He’s rolling from his front to his back. He laughs when you make ugly faces at him, when you clap his hands, or when his brothers do something silly. He smells like neck cheese and his hair is finally growing back! He’s holding his own bottle now and we’re starting him on solid food sometime this month. He’s super easy – he started sleeping through the night at 2 months and continues to sleep through the night. He takes three 1-2 hour naps a day and will suck his fingers but not take a pacifier.

baby sleep training

this baby will sleep anywhere and everywhere

The month of November will be more relaxed than October. We have family coming in two times this month. Autumn in the DC area is super pretty and THANKFULLY significantly cooler. Sorry I’ve resorted to keeping you all updated with a blog post and not actually calling or Facetiming!