Sunday, September 29, 2013

Apples From Home

What a perfect day for going home, for seeing friends and family, and for picking the best apples on earth!

I could blog and blog and blog about every detail, but you would never be able to feel for this place what I feel, so I will just shut up and share photos from this beautiful day with my family.

We went to Marker-Miller Orchards in Winchester, VA after lunch in Strasburg, then we returned home to Strasburg to visit with more like family friends the Mozingo's and then the Hoffman's.

We topped off the day with dinner at Panda Express.

Then we took over an hour longer to get home thanks to really, really, really backed up traffic.  But, it was all worth it!

Wedding Anniversary #13

Photo by Gracie
Best present ever: returning home for the day, by Garren

Saturday, September 28, 2013

First Story, First Night, Super Big Boy Sweet Bed Dreams

Finally...A Big Boy Bed

So, I think it has bothered me more than it has him, but I feel a lot of guilt that he is only now getting out of the toddler age 4 years and 7 months.

I have a lot of reasons to justify the bad parenting. Want to hear them?

*He is small, always has been below average in height

*His room is small, perfect for a small bed

*He gets in our bed 2-5 times a night anyway

*Beds are expensive!

*Mattresses are REALLY expensive

*He's still the "baby"---okay that one is a stretch.

But, it doesn't matter now. He has joined the ranks of "super big boy."

We were so blessed to have been given the bed that Gracie has now from friends, and I am so thankful that I found a twin sized bed at a yard sale a few weekends back for $10, that really, really made things easier. All that was left was the cost of a mattress and box spring, and while I nearly fainted when I saw the average price tag--Thomas has what he needs. 

Oh, and bonus, guess what is on his sheets?

Tow Trucks!!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Ten Commandments

"I learned the Ten Command-nets at Bryce's church!" 

Really, Thomas--what are they? 

"One, two, three, four, five, six, seben, eight, nine, and ten!!"

I still laugh every time I read this! :)

Show And Tell, Letter C

is for


Yup, you probably already got that one before you saw the rest of this post. :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kitty's Kids At The Library

You never know who you will run into at the library. Several times we have found friends old and new on "accident" at library events and story time. In fact it was this time last year that Rebecca (Eli & Matthew's mom) looked at me and said "isn't Thomas in the Kitty's Kids preschool class with my boys?"  I had shared story time with Eli and Matt for several months

and after all that they ended up together in the same preschool class!

Well, same story different year.  Paige has been coming to Story Time with her grandmother for years like Thomas and I. And, they have been weekly acquaintances since Mother Goose story time when the kids were 18 months! Now, guess what?  They are in the same preschool class this year!

Thomas spotted her today and said "hey, Paige is here." I had no idea it was the same little girl.

I guess even in a metropolis like Mechanicsville, it can be a small world too!

And, for an added bonus, preschool friend Bryce and little sister Emmy met up with us for story time and lunch, so it was a Kitty's Kids reunion special!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

After School Fun

Bryce got to ride home with us from preschool today and hang out with Thomas and play for a while.

From the time they were buckled into their cars, until the time Bryce's mom arrived, their afternoon went something like this only on a constant loop....

Of course, when they paused from the giggles they kept giving each other, they found other fun boy things to do.

Like this....

And this...

And of course this....

After school is MUCH more fun with friends! Thanks for playing Bryce!!

Surprise Peek At School

Look what I got!  Pictures from school!!

Mrs. Kim emailed them to me of Thomas being "David" at chapel time today!

I am so thankful for any information I get about school, so pictures just send me through the roof! 

Love them!!

***Okay, technically I got them Thursday morning, but I am really weird about my posts lining up with the dates things actually happened, so I am pre-dating this post.  Hey, we all have our issues--but I have issues AND preschool pictures!!  They were acting out the story of David & Jonathan from the Bible. Bryce told me he got a chance to be Jonathan (that's not him in the picture though)***

Monday, September 23, 2013

Preschoool Buddies

These two best buds are have been friends since last year, and they are still stuck together this year.  So, it was super cute to snap their pictures this morning as they went into school holding hands, and came out the same way.

Grace and I parked one behind the other this morning for drop off and again this afternoon for pick up, so to save time Mrs. Tammy walked them both to our cars hand in hand.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

High School Friend Visits And Babies!

 Ok, Ella is not a baby any more, she is more toddler-ish, but Thomas isn't either at age 4.5, but I still think of him as such.

The last time I saw Ella was a few weeks after she was born. Shame on me for waiting so long to see her! After all, she and her mama, with whom I have been friends since 9th grade, only live in Chesapeake!

Despite the long time, we took no time at all to catchup. Funny how the longer you are friends the more likely you are to just see each other and feel like it has been maybe a week.

Sara is visiting family in Richmond, and we decided to meet up at Maymont. It is one of my favorite places--thanks to Sara! She took me and the kids there when we first moved here, I think she was trying to help me see the good side to the move, and make me get out and see other things besides the local Walmart.  I think Thomas was just a little older than Ella is now when he went for the first time, and today, Ella got to go for the first time with Thomas.

Well, I thought it was cute.

It was just Thomas and I today.  Gracie got Thomas' cold over the weekend (he is over it now and decided to pass it on), and I thought that all of that hiking would make her cough worse. Of course she was none to happy since she wanted to see Ella so badly--but we also didn't want her to get sick too.

The kids saw lots of animals, and Thomas was sure to tell Ella everything she needed to know about everything. He is an expert you know.  I am pretty sure she was taking notes, but just in case he repeated himself a few times and showed her his new shoes. Because you need to know more than just about nature and animals, fashion is important too!

Watching our two little people talk and waddle together was too precious.  Sara and I never waddled since we were in high school when we met, but still--I thought it poignant.

Thank you Sara and Ella for spending this beautiful fall afternoon with us. It was so good to see you, and we want to do it again soon!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Salt Dough, And Time In Fourth Grade

A few of us parents answered the request for colored salt dough made at home to help our fourth graders with their latest project--a topographic map of Virginia.

Well, I not only helped make the dough, I also got to go in and help (for the first time this year) the students in Mrs. Mullenaux's class.

While the project was fun, and I enjoyed my time with Gracie and her friends, let me tell you what I liked even more about the morning.

No headache.

People, I kid you not, this teacher had 20+ kids in groups of 4-5 with 4 helpers and a MASSIVELY tricky and messy project and not ONCE did she raise her voice.

I thought I had entered another dimension.

These girls helped each other, they did their projects without complaints. They had fun, they laughed, they were respectful, the classroom wasn't loud, no one got called out, they didn't do that 1,2,3 thing nor did the teacher ever turn her volume up.

I have helped every year at Gracie's school, where ever it was, and NEVER in my 6 years of helping or room mothering, have I ever experienced anything like it.

It was wonderful to see, and be apart of.

It made me feel so good as a mom of one of those remarkable young ladies, all of whom clearly behaved not because of (just) upbringing, but because they respected their teacher enough to do so.

It made me feel good that Gracie was apart of this team, and a student with a teacher that clearly shines at her job.

Letter B Show And Tell

...any guesses?!!

A BULLDOZER of course!

And this bulldozer is extra special since it also doubles as a flashlight.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Annual Tradition

Since we moved here three years ago, Gracie and I have gotten a chance to have a special girls night out and see ice skating princesses.

It doesn't get much girlier than that--and I used these performances as a chance to not only spend time with my daughter, but to remember what my husband is always telling me "Richmond will give us more opportunities for the kids and for our family." A promise that I far too often ignore and brush away with the homesickness (which is much better now, you'd think it should be after 37 months! Not that I am counting...)

This year, there were fewer princesses, and while I always enjoy this girls night, it was kind of not the same. Usually the show that comes to town focuses completely on Disney Princess stories, but this year, we got a all Disney cast about the holidays.  We got a few prince & princess moments, but it was less glittery--but still very well done.

Those people always know how to put on a good show! And you know I am cheap--so if I am willing to shell out that ridiculous ticket price year after year, you know it is worth it!

My pictures rarely come out well with the lack of light, but I have a few to share. The most important part of these nights though is watching my Gracie watch the show.  It is far more heart-warming than any thing happening on the ice.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quick Healer!

The pink monstrosity is gone, and in it's place is a simple, removable, black splint! Can you believe it?!!

We were told that it would be most likely that Gracie would be refitted with a smaller cast for another 3 weeks when we went 3 weeks ago.  So, you can imagine my confused look when the doctor told me that the x-rays showed her wrist had healed.  I think I asked everything but "are you sure?"

 I figure he went to school for an obscene amount of years, so he knows how to read an x-ray, but I am her mama, and while I am thrilled that we can get back to showers--I just feel uneasy about this light weight "splint."

She has to wear it to school and for any physical activity like gym or the playground, so I told her she had to wear in anytime she played outside here a the house as well.  All other times she can let that5 skin breathe and get cleaned!

So, we are cast free, and each child has now suffered and recovered from a broken limb. I am officially done with casts and broken bones.

Done I tell you!!!

Cold Morning Cutie

IT is our official FIRST JACKET MORNING of the season.

And, while I am surprised, this super cute aviator jacket still fits from last year!

Thrift store score!

His face this morning for mommy's camera was far more precious than his sisters.  Little smarty britches!

No, I don't love him more, scroll down to see her picture.

Cold Morning Ingeniuity

Mommy:  "Gracie that is my favorite jacket, so make sure it comes home with you today."

Gracie: "Okay."

Mommy: "Let me get a picture of you since you had to wear my jacket so you could cover that cast."

Gracie: (makes this face) "I look like mommy."

Mommy: "I do NOT look like that!"

Gracie: "Probably not, but that's how it feels in chore world!"

Mommy: (sigh) remembers fondly when she was 4 and cute and said nothing but wonderful things about me and all the world around her.  Decide not to squish her pretentious little face before she boards the bus.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back To School Night

Gracie seemed excited to share her teacher, and her desk and her artwork with mommy tonight at Back To School Night for 4th grade. Of course she was really more excited to go because the book fair is happening and parents can buy books tonight.

But, I digress...

Gracie's teacher yet again proved how great this year is already shaping up to be, and how much it looks like the next two years are going to be so good for Gracie (4th and 5th grade loop at this school so you stay with the same teacher). 

I was impressed by her "presentation," and really intrigued by the reasons that my daughter will benefit from an all girls class. She went over some studies and research on the subject and even listed an article. I will have to read it, but honestly, I am already seeing great things in these few short weeks.

Clearly this will be a good year, and I am thrilled that Gracie has once again been blessed with a wonderful, kind and caring teacher!

And....she got a book.

Story Time With Friends

We love story time, and with the exception of this past summer, we try to go every week.  We look forward to library day and crafts and stories. But, we love it more when we have a buddy to share it all with!

Bryce and Thomas....and Emmy too, had a great time sharing our library together.  The Whitlocks usually go to the Atlee branch of the library since it is closer for them, and we go to this one: the Mechanicsville branch. It is closer to us, but more importantly, the Goodwill is across the street and if "we" are in a good mood, we can go in and let mommy browse ;)

Thanks for sharing today with us Bryce & Emmy!