Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Ho Ho from Santa

This "Christmas Morning: was the most exciting one yet! Ryan was very much into the magic of Santa this year and was quite involved in deciding how Santa was going to get into our house since we don't have a chimney:). Lydia and Emily were excited, but not quite as into the magic since they are younger.
As most of you know, Mike is a Deputy Sheriff with the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department. As a result, he has to work holidays on occasion. Every other year he hits the year in which he works the big holidays. This was the year for the big holidays. He had to work both Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year so we debated on how to handle the Santa thing. One of his co-workers "split" the day with him and came in at 10:00 after Mike had worked since 5:30am. Luckily Mike was able to spend the day with us, but that did not help our Santa situation. We decided to tell the kids that Santa came on Thursday night instead of Wednesday night. After spending a great Christmas Day with family and praying no one would accidently ask "What did Santa bring you this morning?" we had our Santa morning on Friday morning. I took a little movie that morning and have attached it--it's about four minutes long. We are not certain what the deal was with Lydia, but she ended up enjoying her presents later--after the video was over:).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Our time leading up to Christmas Day is always chocked full of fun family events! If you have not already picked up on this, my family--immediate and extended--is quite important to me! We visited with Nanny and Pap; Jeremy, Destiny, Nathan and Savannah; Aunt Mary Ann; Connie and Earl; Paul, Allison and Adella; My parents; Grandma; Uncle Bill, Vida; Sandra, Tammy, Shane and Brittany. It is always such a special time when we get to see all of them!

On Christmas Eve we went to Nanny and Pap's house. Nanny and Pap are Mike's grandparents. When Mike was younger, he lived with Nanny and Pap for a short time. They are very special to him and over the years have become very special to me as well. Ryan, Lydia and Emily LOVE going to Nanny and Pap's!! All rules are omitted from their lives just by walking in the house:). Nanny and Pap had two children, Connie (Mike's birth mother) and Mary Ann. Mike's brother, Jeremy and his family, came to Nanny and Pap's on Christmas Eve with us. In addition, Connie and her husband Earl and Mary Ann were there for a yummy lunch of Nanny's famous Veggie Soup and some wonderful ham and turkey rolls! Unfortunately, Mike was not able to make it to Nanny and Pap's Christmas Eve while we were there. He had to work during the day that day, but visited with Nanny and Pap Friday (today) afternoon.

On Christmas Eve night we met up with Mike at my parents house. We celebrated Christmas with my parents and my brother and his family. Our big gift to my parents was a picture of all four grandchildren. We had a picture of Ryan, Lydia, Emily and Adella taken professionally. Mom and Dad were very surprised and happy! Ryan, Lydia and Emily walked out of the house with more stuff than they know what to do with:). They are in seventh heaven!

Christmas Day was spent at my parents house with my Mom's family. It was a terrific day of family together time! Ryan, Lydia and Emily were so excited about opening presents and attempting to figure out what they could open next:). It was such a great holiday! Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mike's Family Christmas

I have not blogged too much about Mike's family. All of his siblings live within 1/2 hour of each other, but unfortunately they don't seem to get together as a family too often. The two people that Mike refers to as his parents are actually his father (Jerry) and step mother (Lois). They married when Mike was only two years old so Lois is the only mother Mike has ever known. Like Jerry, Lois had been married prior to their marriage. She had two children from her first marriage--Debbie and Steven. Jerry brought three children to the marriage--Chris, Jeremy and Mike. They all lived in the same house for several years until the older kids began moving out. Mike's closest sibling in age is six years older than Mike so he is really the baby of the family! All five kids have their own children and families and we try to get together at least once a year for Christmas.

Last night was our Christmas get together. We had a fabulous dinner with some funny conversation. We played a gift exchange game as well as an ugliest Christmas ornament Olympics--congratulations Cory!! Before everyone left we talked them into taking a family picture. Unfortunately, Steven and his family were not able to come and are not in the picture. Hopefully we will get him next year! It was a fun time with fun people! We need to get together in the summertime too!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Parade Time!!

Friday night was the Christmas Parade in downtown Harrisonburg. Our preschool put a float in the parade. I use the term float loosely. We had a week and a half to plan this "float" and get ourselves registered--one of these weeks was actually the week of Thanksgiving . . . so . . . there was not a tremendous amount of time to plan. Shayna loaned us her pick-up truck and Jennifer scrambled to find a large wagon to pull with the pick up. Turns out the pick up and wagon were great! We made two banners and wrapped boxes for the children to wear to be presents on the wagon (my children, however, did not like wearing these boxes:). Prior to arriving at the parade, we received incorrect information from the persons running the parade so that messed us up a great deal and we had quite a bad start. Once we got going it was quite fun! I originally put the boxes on Lydia and Emily and Lydia began to cry as we started moving. There was a parent behind her that helped her take the box off. Lydia then decided to join her family and stayed with them under their blankets. Ryan and Emily shared a blanket and rang their jingle bells. Rabia, Treasa and I walked beside the float and handed out flyers and Jennifer pulled a little red wagon behind the float with one of the kids from our center. Once we were finished we had to go back and collect our vehicles. The kids were told to hold on tight while we rode back to the parade start (at a much faster speed) while having no sides on the wagon:). The kids were all so bundled up in their super warm winter clothes on this 19 degree evening that I don't think any of them could have fallen off of the wagon if they wanted to. After the very cold parade, Rabia asked us to come to her church where they were passing out cookies and hot chocolate. All in all it was a pretty fun night.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Life is too short and you never know how many more times we will be able to get together like this. We need to get together every time we can." This is what my Uncle Bill said just before saying grace prior to our Thanksgiving feast this afternoon. My Uncle Bill is one of the greatest guys I know. His sense of family is so strong and it tends to rub off on all of us. My immediate and extended family have always been one of the most important things to me. Now that my children share in this family, it is even more important to me that we get together every time we can.
Today was such a great time! My Uncle Bill (my mom's younger brother) and Aunt Vida hosted Thanksgiving at their house this year. My Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins were all in attendance. We spent the afternoon visiting with one another, laughing and joking. It was great! We even made plans for a get together this summer so holidays are not our only time to see each other. Unfortunately we missed Mike, Michelle, Shane and Paul--a police officer, undertaker and an ER tech that were not able to take the day off and Paul who spent this holiday with Allison's family. We missed you all. Hope everyone had a super Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Opening Night

Last night was the GREATEST!!! Our preschool put on a play. Rabia, Treasa and I directed the play Stone Soup with our preschool kids. The toddlers, two year olds, three year olds and four year olds took part in our play. Three of the four year old class members were our "travelers" and the remainder of the students were townspeople. Each class made their props as art projects and brought them out as a class and put them in the Stone Soup pot. Lydia and Emily's class (the three year olds) made carrots and potatoes that they brought out to the soup pot. At the end of the play, all of the kids stood and sang a Loaves and Fish song that tied into the play "lesson." Following our night of drama, we hosted a pot-luck dinner where the school provided the main dish of our own stone soup and all of the families brought a side dish. It was terrific!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Erin!

I am starting to understand that things "start" in Kindergarten that I was not quite expecting yet. Birthday parties are one of these things. Ryan just turned 5, but children in his class are already turning 6. We were invited to our first classmate birthday party today. Erin is a little girl in Ryan's class who actually turned 6 a couple of weeks ago, but had her birthday party today at Pump it Up (Harrisonburg's answer to not having a Chuck E. Cheese). They are known for their inflatable playground. They have slides, a large jumping trampoline thing, an inflatable obstacle course, and a flag catching ramp. After letting the children loose to play for an hour, the staff of Pump it Up bring you into the party room where they serve pizza, cake and ice cream or one or two of these items. The birthday child is then seated in a large inflatable throne and is adorned with a crown while they open their gifts. It is a very exciting time for the birthday child as well as the children that are attending the party. Ryan has already decided that he is having his 6th birthday party at Pump it Up:). We shall see.

Twins Party

Last night was our twins club (ARCMOM) holiday party. We decided to have our holiday party in November as a result of the fact that the hall where we have the party was booked up for December, but we still wanted to have the party before Christmas so we could offer a photographer again for family Christmas pictures. In addition, the photographer took a group picture of everyone that came to the party. 11 of our members and their families came to the party. As our gift to our MOMs (Mothers of Mulitples) we made little tote bags with the words "World's Greatest MOM Hands Down" painted on one side and with some help from some teenagers, the kids painted their handprints on the other side of the tote. Not only was this a great gift for the MOMs, but it was a neat activity for the kids as well.

Pictured below are Lydia (standing), Emily and Ryan with their good friends, Abby, Glenn and James (next to Ryan) (my good friend Kara's kids). James and Glenn are five days older than Ryan and Abby is 5 weeks younger than Lydia and Emily--I "caught" my twins from Kara:)

Friday, October 31, 2008


How great is Halloween!? A day that you can dress up and be anything you want to be! My children decided they wanted to be a football player and princesses. Ryan has actually wanted to be a football player since last Halloween. We borrowed a jersey, pants and a helmet from a neighbor. He has been so excited since we brought them home and has been wanting to wear the jersey everyday! He received quite a bit of fanfare tonight while seeing other football players and several people commenting on his great costume. Lydia and Emily have really gotten into the whole princess thing this year. As a result, my brother and his wife gave them princess dresses for their birthday. I had put them away to save for Halloween and they decided they wanted to be a princess several weeks ago. In addition to their dresses, they received crowns and fake jewelry for their birthday that they wore tonight. Over and over they would say "I am so pretty!" "We are so beautiful!" They received compliments at some houses on how pretty they looked--they beamed!

We stopped at a house where an older couple lived. They each came to the door and the wife knelt down to talk to the kids at their level. After taking her fistful of candy, Lydia asked the lady "What is your name?"

"Gail." said the lady

"What is your first name?" asked Lydia

"Gail." was her response again. "What is your name?" she asked Lydia.

"My name is Lydia." Lydia said as she turned to Emily and said "this is my friend, Emily." Turning to Ryan "and this is my friend, Ryan and my friend Mommy." pointing back to me. During this introduction, I said "Emily is your sister, Lydia." Gail realized the girls were twins and Ryan was their older brother and found Lydia's introduction quite funny. Lydia, our social butterfly!

The kids collected a TON of candy (which none of us need) and were pleased with their stash! It was a great night!

Three for tea

I am such a lucky person! Today was such a neat day! First of all, since I work 4, 10 hour days, today was my day off. I started my day by putting Ryan on the school bus. At 10:00 I reported to Ryan's classroom where I volunteered until 12:20 (I am able to volunteer every other Friday for approximately 2 hours each time--I would volunteer every Friday, but Mike works every other Friday and I can't take Lydia and Emily with me). I love volunteering there! The kids are great and I enjoy spending that time with Ryan. I also really enjoy helping Ms. Clark (Ryan's teacher)--she is really great and he really likes her!

After my volunteer work Lydia, Emily and I went to Ms. Hardesey's Tea Room to meet my friend Rabia and her daughter, Frances. Ms. Hardesey's Tea Room is an old house in downtown Harrisonburg that has been converted into a restaurant/tea room. We had an official tea party today. All three girls dressed in their best princess dresses and pretty shoes and sat at the table with their tea cups. They all laid their napkins on their laps and drank their Tutti Fruity flavored tea out of the kid sized tea cups and saucers. Rabia and I each had our own tea in adult sized tea cups and saucers. We ate lunch and finished up with apple spice and cinnamon scones. It was so much fun and such a neat Halloween tradition that hopefully Rabia is up for doing each Halloween with our girls.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pajama Day!

My class had their Halloween Party today since tomorrow (Halloween) is my day off. This afternoon, after circletime, lunch and naptime, we had our party. In addition to having our party of chips, cupcakes, fruit and veggies, all of the kids dressed up. Instead of wearing their trick-or-treat costumes that could potentially get torn or stained, we encourage the kids to wear their pajamas to "dress up." They LOVED it!!! Lydia and Emily's class dressed in their pj's as well and . . . yes . . . Ms. Stacey dressed up in her pj's today too. Any day that you can wear your pajamas to work is a good day!! We had a blast and everyone took a ton of candy home! The picture above is of "my" kids eating at their party and the picture below is everyone "laying down" in their pajamas. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kids are so funny!

Last night I sat with my three children while we watched the timeless classic, "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown." My brother, Paul and I used to watch this every Halloween without fail! I popped popcorn and all three of them were soaked in to the Halloween festivities that were going on in the program.
This evening, on the way home, Lydia and Emily (on our way to pick up Ryan) were talking to each other about what was going to happen over the next two days. They were talking about the Halloween party they are going to have at school tomorrow and the fun time they are hoping to have while they trick-or-treat on Friday night. I heard Emily saying "We are going to get candy, cookies . . . rocks."
Rocks? I thought. Why would she be saying rocks? Then it dawned on me, Charlie Brown always gets rocks when he goes trick-or-treating.
"Are you guys going to get rocks when you go trick-or-treating?"
"Yes!" they both chimed.
Too funny!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A first for the kids and me!

Yesterday was a definate first for me as well as Ryan, Lydia and Emily. We saw a helicopter land two feet away from us. I have seen helicopters land several times, but they have always been either on television or far away. Home Depot was having their safety day and the Aircare helicoptor came along with fire trucks, ambulance, etc. As it was landing, the air from the helicoptor was blowing dirt and grocery carts around. The kids got scared of the noise and wind. We put them back in the van until it landed and turned off. They were able to get inside and look around. Very exciting!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gus Bus Birthday

I hate to admit that I am just now blogging about something that happened last Saturday! Last Saturday we were invited by Rabia and her two children to accompany them to The Gus Bus Birthday Party. There is a reading program here in Harrisonburg called The Reading Road Show. The Reading Road Show provides book bags to the area preschools and daycare facilities that are filled with books. These books are swapped out each week so the children are exposed to many different books over the course of the year. In addition to the book bag swapping, the Gus Bus is part of the Reading Road Show and comes to the preschools one day a month, inviting the children to climb aboard. The Gus Bus is a Bookmobile type vehicle that is designed for children. Mr. Mike drives the Gus Bus and reads books to the children while theyare on the bus and sings songs with them. They LOVE it!!! It is such a wonderful program that is now in it's fifth year. This non-profit program celebrated it's fifth birthday last Saturday by inviting all of the vehicular friends of Gus's. Gathered at the convocation center were buses, tractors, cranes, race cars and dump trucks that the kids were able to climb over and through and pretend to drive. All five kids had a wonderful time!! The highlight of the day was having fun with the James Madison University gymnasticteam. They brought mats out to let the kids flip and walk on a balance beam. I believe the kids flipped for 45 minutes anyway:). They also had a scavenger hunt for the kids. While climbing on the different vehicles you were to look for small stuffed bunnies. Each bunny was numbered--you were to identify where you found each bunny. After compiling all of the bunny locations, you took your paper up to collect you prize. Ryan picked a moose mask and Lydia and Emily picked Reading Rainbow shirts. We finished off the day with a $1.00 hot dog for everyone and some free ice cream--we then went home for naps. It was great!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Great Fall Weekend

--This post did not work out the way I wanted it to:)--make sure to read all the way to the bottom . . . .
This weekend we had the priviledge of camping with our friends, Becky and Stuart Settle and their boys, Lucas and Mason. We camped at the Charlottesville KOA which is halfway in between our house and theirs (they live in Richmond). The weekend could not have been more beautiful! The nights were a little chilly, but during the day it was very warm and pretty. We hiked and biked and the kids played on the playground. We are hoping this is the first in a long line of camping with the Settles!After our fun weekend of roasting marshmellows and hotdogs, and great fellowship around the campfire; we went with Becky and Stuart to a fall festival at Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville. It was just that, an orchard on a mountain. Being in our camper, we were not going to be able to drive our camper up the very narrow dirt road that goes up to the orchard. We parked our camper at a visitors center right across the street from the entrance to the orchard and unloaded all the camping stuff from the back of Becky and Stuart's van. We piled the children in the back to drive across the street and up the mountain (about 1 1/2 miles--they were very safe). All of the kids had a ball picking apples from the trees and eating apples while walking around the orchard. We all had a great time!!