Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday With Emmy

It was my turn for time with Emmy this morning!  Oh how I missed time with a toddler!

We had a tea party with Chewey.

We played with lots and lots of toys and Little People.


We colored.

We build towers with blocks.

We giggled and laughed.

We watched Bubble Guppies and Strawberry Shortcake.

We had snacks.

We had so much fun.

Thanks for sharing her Grace!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy 14th Anniversary

14 years of marriage for us. I can't say "wedded bliss," it annoys me. While we have a very solid and generally happy marriage that only gets stronger with time--"wedded bliss" gives the illusion and adds to the myth that marriage and relationships are easy and nothing but sunshine and roses.  It takes hard work, compromise, communication, and lots and lots of forgiveness and prayer.

This journey surely has not be easy, but it has been fulfilling and wonderful more times than not.  Thanks for sticking with me sweetheart.

I took a candid shot of the two of us this evening after finding a closer and new Cook Out!! We got milkshakes for an anniversary dessert with the kids. We figured we owed them that since they have survived the last 5 & 10 years of us being married too ;)  And, we went for an anniversary lunch at Olive Garden and didn't take them or bring them home anything! ;)

And, sweet bonus, the biggest rainbow I had ever seen on the way to Cook Out.  It was a double rainbow and from the flat land you could see both ends (with your eyes, there is not a wide enough zoom on my camera)!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Science Musuem With Bryce

I really should have entitled it "Bus ride with Bryce," because while the Science Museum was fun, that was the highlight of his day. 

It was an early release day at school today, so Grace invited us to go to the Science Museum to fill the afternoon, and as an added bonus, we would have Bryce ride the bus home with Thomas.

These were two very excited boys when they got off!!

We dropped backpacks and washed hands and took turns using the restroom and we loaded up and headed to the museum.

Now, Bryce has a year long pass, so he has been several times before, but my kids have never been. And, I think the last time I went I was in grade school and we went for a field trip all the way from Lynchburg!

Thomas loves doing anything with his best friend, but I think Gracie may have enjoyed herself the most. She is going to be more like her daddy in this respect. Because, I liked watching my kids have fun, but I wasn't remotely interested in the scientific data that I should have been absorbing ;)

We played for several hours before we had to head home, and our 4 were starting to get super tired, hungry and cranky.  But, it was a fun afternoon.

Thank you Bryce for inviting us and for riding the bus home with Thomas!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Color Words

I just had to show you that he can not only read his color words, and spell his color words--but he can write them too.

Can you tell I am a proud mama?! :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Fall!

Happy 1st Day of Fall!

Smarty Britches

Mommy's little Kindergartener is getting smarter by the day!

Each week new sight words come home, and by the time I go over them with him, he has already mastered them from the school day!

And, he came home today and told me: "Mommy, I can spell purple." And don't you know he can!!

Plus, he filled up his "bucket" yesterday and brought home his treasure box prize today. He has named him Velvet.  Why? Because Gracie read him the tag on the bus ride home :)

I am so pleased with not only how much he is learning, but the excitement he is showing with the learning and school in general. I love that I have kids who love school! (They get it from their mama!)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Who Me?

So many people have been so good to me in this time of empty nest.  I can't thank friends and family enough for calling and texting and emailing and inventing ways to keep me busy and my mind off a lonely and all to quiet house.

And, I have stayed pretty busy...

* I helped stuff bags for the church block party

*I went thrift store shopping with the pastor's wife

*I did coffee (well, hot chocolate, I don't like coffee) with Grace and Emmy

*I grocery shopped all by myself!

And, I know those don't sound like "big" "busy" things, but these do..

I went to volunteer at the church for Shady Grove's portion of the MCEF Clothing Closet, and I got put in charge!  (Not what I planned!)  So, now I go in at least twice a week to organize and sort clothes for kids sized 4T-12 (girls & boys) and whenever I am called in for a need that arises (about once a week so far) for a local family.

Here's my work in progress.  It was in pretty good shape when I inherited the job, but I am putting in some fine tuning in the organization department, and I got a 12 bag donation that will take me days to organize and sort!

And, I started a business.  Nope didn't mean to.  I know that sounds lame, but I didn't!  I promised to put myself out there and try to sell some creations at a yard/craft sale at a local church last Saturday. I sold 5 or 6 hair bows and 2 toddler ties. The other 60 something bows and 15 ties, and 4 dresses all came back home with me! It was kind of embarrassing, but I decided to be proud of myself that I had tried, and made no plans to try again.

How do I have a business then?  It went something like this:


(friend) "If you still have the Cinderella dress, I want to buy it."

(me) "None of my dresses sold. It is yours."

(friend) "How did they not sell--you priced them way too low!!" (She had already complained about this before I went Saturday, and so did Grace!)

(friend) "I showed (daughter) she wants the Rapunzel one. I will buy both"


Friend posts pictures of daughter in dresses and tags me.

(different friend) "I want the Mickey one"

(another friend) "Can you make Mickey in a size 7?"


(friend of friend 1 who posted picture) "daughter wants a Rapunzel like (other girl)"

(me) "Ok, I am making an Elsa one for my daughter before Frozen on Ice, I will get it to you ASAP.

(friend of friend 1 who posted picture) "We would love Elsa, can you make that?"

(me) "Ok"


Met with lady and sold dresses to person I didn't know.


Garren makes me an ETSY store.

(friend) "I want and Elsa for daughter for Halloween, and my neighbor wants the Mickey one."



Congrats Barbara! You've made your first sale—you're in business!

That brings us to today.  Whew. So, now I have a mini business making dresses.  Who knew! I think that might keep me pretty busy (although, it may have been just a fluke and I won't get any more orders).  But, I think I will still make plenty of time for hot chocolate mornings and thrift store shopping and time with those who share their little ones.

Thanks again for caring enough to keep checking in on me.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Frozen On Ice

For the 5th fall in a row, I have popped for the tickets to Disney on Ice and Gracie and I have had a girly night out.

As you know, I am unbelievably cheap! So, actually buying the tickets every year is a painful process--but just like the last 4 performances, tonight was well worth the money.

These people always know how to put on a spectacular show.

As it happened Clara's mom got tickets for her kids tonight as well, so Gracie got to have the experience with her best friend (making it all the better I have no doubt).

While Gracie always tries to dress up for these events, this is the first year she had a dress to match a princess. I had an idea.

And, I think I did pretty good with an Elsa inspired dress.  Gracie loved it, and really, that is all that matters.

Of course, we had to really go above and beyond, so she wanted the tiara that Grandma & Grandpa had given her a few years back, and I pulled her hair into a bun. Then, she remembered the long white gloves she got from Grandma's cedar chest this summer.  Unfortunately her new dress shoes were brown, but other than that she looked completely "Frozen."

I always attempt to take pictures, and remember quickly that videos are a better idea as we are too far, and there are far too many spot lights to get good photos.  And, ordinarily I would only post one video, but I thought Jolee would love to see all the songs, so I am going to post them all.

If you have an opportunity to take your child to a Feld Entertainment production of Disney on Ice, I assure you (as a cheap person) the admission is well worth the experience.

Do You Want To Build A Snowman

For The First Time In Forever

Open Up The Gates

With You

Reindeer Are Better Than People

Let It Go


Ice Fortress Duet


Let It Go--Finale

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back To School Night

It was a first for me with two kids, two teachers, two different classrooms, and 2 full hours at the school.

Our elementary school plans out back to school night with K-2 having theirs from 5:30-6, then there is a PTA meeting and dinner from 6-7, and then 3rd-5th grade has their turn from 7-7:30. So, it was a long evening.  But, we got to everyone and saw all there was to see with what's new for both kids.

Thomas went first.

After listening to Mrs. Naff go over policies and schedules and what's happening on a daily basis and things to come, Thomas was excite to show me all sorts of things in his classroom.

His soap was the first used for the class :)

His spot on the rug.

His cubbie.

His paper person and his Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree.

His picture on the classroom bulletin board.

Here's his elephant craft.

 He is line leader this week and super proud!

And, I found those drop-in-the-buckets he has been talking about.


I didn't plan on eating at the school tonight, in fact there was a pot roast waiting for us when we got home.  So, the kids and I filled the hour until Gracie's turn.

Gracie's class last year was used to make a library tour guidance system with videos.  We couldn't wait to see Gracie and her partner's video tour.  Thomas I think loved it the most.  It was really neat. There are pictures of the kids from Mrs. Mullenaux's class in pairs around the library, and if you hold and ipad on the picture it will load a video for you to watch about that subject (i.e. checking out books, returning books, reading Olympics, etc).

After watching Gracie's videos we headed to the playground for the remaining 40 minutes.


Then it was Gracie's turn.

Best friend Clara was there with her family, so she and Gracie sat at a bigger table and drew while I listened to Mrs. Madison.  Meanwhile, Thomas sat and listened Jacob (Clara's little brother) read him several stories in a comfy chair.

It was a lot the same as it is every year, going over policy and rules and what to expect. But, I wasn't prepared for one of the last slides in the presentation that talked about signing up for middle school classes and visiting the schools and the 5th grade graduation.  Ick!  I can't describe the instant stomach ache I got on that one.

Gracie proudly showed off her interview project outside the classroom on our way out. She interviewed Mary Gray, and Mary Gray interviewed her.

Yet again, we are blessed with two great teachers for our kids, in a wonderful school!

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Week

New learning opportunities, new friends, and new adventures like....

First school band-aids....

First set of sight words...

Tomorrow night is Back To School night, so I can't wait to hear all the teacher has to share with us about our little dumplings, and what has been going on so far and see all of their art work!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Apples Fresh From Home

Daddy had a brilliant idea for today--lets go apple picking!

While most of the people around here go to Carter's Mountain in Charlottesville, we would much rather drive 2.5 hours and go home to get apples.  They have the best crop, and the best people.

Like always, mommy tried to cram in everything she could for the few hours we had allotted, and like always we left for Mechanicsville way later than we had planned.

But, it was a good day. It was a great day. It was a wonderful day!

The sky was gorgeous, the weather perfect, the air crisp, the sun warm.  I know it sounds like I paint a picture to good to be true, but it really was a "perfect" day outside. Although, I am sure that my thoughts on the day might be tainted with the way I get all warm and fuzzy when we visit the Shenandoah Valley.

We got 2 huge bags of apples. We went a little earlier this year, so there weren't as many varieties of apples to choose from, so mostly the bags are full of the kids and daddy's favorite: golden delicious.  Mommy likes more sour apples, but mostly my job is to make it into pies and cakes anyway.

This year we popped for overpriced lunch and snagged up the last of the BBQ and one of the last batches of apple cider doughnuts. We are so happy that the Marker-Miller Orchard is doing so well, but I have to admit, I like it when we were able to enjoy the place a lot less overcrowded.  But, again, good for them! Agra-tourism rocks!

After apples we saw our very dear friends and neighbors for more than 6 years the Mozingo's.  We have been away from Strasburg for 4 years now, and have started year #5, but we will always be more like family with this family.  We loved getting time to visit with them, and I got a photo.

Aunt Ruth & Uncle George had a packed Sunday, but we were thrilled that we were able to meet up with them as well. Daddy loves the ice cream place and we got lucky that they hadn't closed for the season, so we asked the Hoffman's to meet us there.
I love how my kids don't even notice how much time is gone. They run to some of their most favorite people like they haven't spent a day apart.  I can't tell you how much it warms my heart that distance has not made my children forgetful.  We adults (especially me) hang on to every moment and memory and warm feeling despite how long it has been, but kids are more of the "out of sight, out of mind" mindset.

It was a wonderful day. I don't think I can say that enough.  Our trips home "recharge" me, they fill me heart up usually at the time I need it most.