Thursday, December 31, 2015

Shorts and a Trampoline in December??

For Christmas, we gave the kids a Trampoline as a group gift.  So far they have loved that more than anything I believe we have ever given them.  They jump on it in the cold, snow, whatever.  I realize, Christmas is not the best time to receive a Trampoline, but the weather was so warm this December!  And into January it was quite warm.  We put it together on Christmas Day.  Dressed in shorts and then everyone proceeded to jump on it!  It was great!  Several years ago I did a post called "Best $30 I ever spent."  (Click on "Pool" or "Get all the balls out" to the right of this page and scroll to the bottom) Still totally agree with that as the trampoline was a good bit more than $30, but feel this is going to be enjoyed as much as that $30 pool was.  :)


Also, for Christmas the girls got gymnastic bars and a balance beam.  LOVING both of them!!!  I have not taken a picture of them on the beam, but will add one soon.  They are so enjoying being outside and playing.  Sadly, it is colder now and has been rainy.  Warm weather is coming though!!  Hopefully soon!!!  Love that when it is not raining and cold, they are spending so much time outside!!

This is a picture of Mike and the kids putting the trampoline together.  I like seeing them work together without fighting.  :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Ryan's winter concert

I know I am constantly posting band pictures!!  I feel like when Emily first started playing softball.  Softball pics ALL THE TIME.  And soon, will be throwing a bunch of Lydia's theater pictures up.  Unfortunately, her theater stuff is kind of a one time pic opportunity thing.  Each time she has a performance.  With Ryan, band is such a new experience for us and we are just so proud of Ryan's accomplishments and his desire to play and learn so much about percussion.  Both his Middle School band director and his High School Marching Band director can't say enough about him and his ability!  They also mention how quickly he picks up music.  We do give my Uncle Bill snaps for this since there is NO ONE else in our family who has any kind of musical ability!  He just seems to have gotten Uncle Bill's musical genes in this one.  It's great!!

Ryan's middle school director does a spring concert and a winter concert.  During the winter concert the 4 middle school students who were part of the High School Marching Band were recognized ad well as the students who were picked for All City County Band.  There will be a posting of city county band later as I am writing this post so far away from when Winter Concert happened, that the City County Honors band has already happened.  :)  Since Ryan already stands on the stage, he stood on a chair to be recognized.

The 6th grade band played first (many more students as they are "trying out" band and are not completely sold on whether they will participate in 7th grade) and then the 7th and 8th graders came out.  As always, it was a nice concert.  Some students more talented than others, but certainly some students on their way up in the music department.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Traditions are great!

Last year our family started a new Christmas tradition.  Due to a "Secret Santa" exchange that Emily participated in last year, we started doing our own Secret Santa exchange.  Being that it is easier to shop with little kids at the Dollar Tree versus Target or Wal Mart, felt it made more sense to just repeat the success of last year and shop at Dollar Tree again.  Last night we went to Dollar Tree where everyone received their $2.25 to purchase their two items.

The excitement and build up for this activity this year was so huge!  The kids were so excited about making this shopping trip and picking for the person whose name they drew.  Wrapping their presents to their picked person had to happen last night as well.  So glad they enjoy this tradition!!  We will definitely make this an ongoing thing.  I do think we will stick with the Dollar Tree and not branch out to more expensive items.  :)  You can read my post from last year by clicking on Secret Santa or Great Days! in the labels on the side of the blog page.  Very much a great day!

After shopping, we walked next door to the pet store and purchased a dog tag for our new puppy, Loki.  Loki has been with us for about a month now, but he was an early Christmas present.  Had borrowed a selfie stick a few days before and took our one picture with the borrowed stick.  My family was COMPLETELY embarrassed to have to take this picture at the front of the PetSmart store.  I didn't see where this was a big deal, but thought I would share the photo (though not a good one) since it caused such an uproar.

After getting the dog tag, we continued our tradition by eating dinner out last night.  We went to O'Niels and as luck would have it--it was kids night!  All kids, 12 and under, eat for 99 cents!  Woo Hoo!!  And we all received a balloon animal.  I asked for the snowman, Emily has a teddy bear, Ryan has a laser gun, Lydia asked for a dog and Mike asked for the hot dog, in a bun, with mustard.  So cute!  All of them!  We have been there before on kids nights, but it has been a long time.  Fun night!!

Paradin' through town

Being part of the East Rockingham High School Marching Band, Ryan got to march in the Harrisonburg Christmas Parade and the Elkton Christmas Parade this year!  It has been many years since he has been in the parade.  There were a few years that we were in the parade for the Daycare where I worked and where the kids attended.

This time it was a true honor!  Carrying his heavy base drum, he marched almost two miles in the Harrisonburg Christmas Parade and marched about 3/4 of a mile in the Elkton one.  He was right on point with his marching and playing!!  Of course we are a bit bias, but pretty sure he was the best one out there.  :)

These two are from the Harrisonburg Parade.  My friend Rabia took them and sent them to me.  I was on the wrong side of the street and really did not see him well enough to get a picture.  He is the short 12 year old in between the tall 16 and 17 year olds.  :)

These shots are from the Elkton Parade.  Also not ones that I took. :)  A fellow band parent took the top one and my parents were able to come to the 65 degree Elkton Christmas Parade and my dad took the bottom two.  Ryan is kind of in the middle of the first and last picture, but towards the back of the middle picture.  So proud of what he is accomplishing and so excited at how much he loves it!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Lydia and Emily made it into the Spelling Bee this year!!!  So exciting to have them both do so well as to beat out so many 5th graders to make it into the elite group!  While neither of them made it to the end, we are so proud of the accomplishment they made in making it as far as they did!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Last CRUSH Tourney--for a while anyway

 Emily's last tournament of the season was October 10, 2015.  We played at William Monroe High School, which to date--is the nicest field they have ever played!  We were all quite impressed, but it was not very warm that day.  In addition, their rules were a bit different and there was no time limit on the games and we ended up being there for over 14 hours!!  It was a mess, but the girls came away with the whole thing.  They won the whole tournament which was really great for them to end the season!!  This is the team with their trophies. 

 Waiting with teammates in between games.

The last prayer of the season.  I have to hand it to Jon.  He always has the girls pray before a game or tournament.  It is quite beautiful to see the girls praying each time.  Saying their prayer in unison with their arms crossed and holding hands with their neighbor.  

Emily is thinking about mixing things up next year and trying some new things.  While she won't give up on softball completely--she likes it too much--once Little League is over this year, she is going to try swim team and continue on in gymnastics and get a little more involved in it. While she is not writing Crush off all together and may end up going back at some point, she is hanging up her blue and orange for a bit.  I am happy and sad all at the same time.  I am hoping this will prevent any burn out--which has not set in at this point, but wondering if it will at some point if she doesn't take a break.  If she tries a few new things, by the time she reaches 8th grade and can try out for JV teams, she may want to take a "swing" at softball again.  Who knows.  Either way, we will support whatever she decides she wants to do.

Emily, you are one of the best kids I know!  You set your mind to something and you do it every time!  To the best of your ability and always do well regardless what you do.  I know your future is bright and you will go far and do lots of things!!  Daddy and I still think you will be an attorney one day.  :)  Whatever you do we will always be proud of you!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

The 5th graders go to Balitmore!

 Each year, the 5th grade classes go to Baltimore and visit the Science Museum and the National Aquarium.  When Ryan was in the 5th grade, Mike was a chaperone so I felt it made sense for me to go with the girls.  There were so many parents who volunteered to go that each parent took their student as well as one other student in their group.  Having two students, I took two additional kids with me.  So, I paired up with my fellow parent friend Misty and her group of her son and one additional student.  It was great!  We had so much fun!

This is my group of girls with me.  Lydia and Emily in addition to Emely and Jesela. 
 We ate lunch at Uno.  It is a pizza place at the Inner Harbor.  The kids wanted to sit on the balcony so they could see everything.  They enjoyed seeing their fellow classmates walk by (we were able to do what we wanted at certain times during the day) and yelling at them from the balcony.
 Of course the scary picture inside the sharks mouth.  On the other side it says where we are (National Aquarium), but we were up against a window with the bright sun so I made them go on the other side so we could see them.
Totally a yearbook photo!  The kids (Misty's group of Colton and Tristin as well) are posing under a sculpture outside of the science museum and the triangle topped building you see across the harbor--is the National Aquarium.  We walked around the Harbor to get to the Aquarium--eating along the way.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Punk'n Pitch'n

I have always been one to love pumpkins and Halloween!!  While it means summer has come to an end and the dreaded cold weather is on the way, it is still such a fun time!!  Each year I get the kids pumpkins, but I typically will get one for each kid and that is it.  Pumpkins are really expensive considering that they just sit on your porch or are made into jack-o-lanterns.

This past Saturday, all three kids had somewhere to be.  Emily had a softball tournament, Ryan had band practice to gear up for his band competition this coming weekend, and Lydia had a birthday party to attend at the water park.  Mike decided, since he had not been able to come to a tournament of Emily's in a while, that he would take her and stay with her.  This was, like always, a 12 hour thing.  In between band practice and birthday party, Ryan, Lydia and I went to get pumpkins.  My brother had been to the Middle River Farms where they let him fill up a wagon (all you could put on it) for $25. 
They have now increased the price to $30, but we crammed our wagon full.  You can see a picture of Ryan and Lydia pulling it.  We hated that Emily and Mike could not come with us, but the next few weekends are booked and we wanted to try this out before they were too picked over.

Once we got the pumpkins home, and Emily got home, the kids all put the pumpkins together and divided them up.  They then decided on where to put them and made their own arrangement of them.  This past Sunday I took a picture of the girls (Ryan and Mike were on their way to see the Redskins) dressed for church--with the pumpkins.  Ryan and Lydia picked some big ones so we could only get a certain amount.  We did get a few small ones, but the kids put them in their rooms.  Love pumpkin season!

Skins Win! Skins Win!

Mike and Ryan got to go see the Redskins this past Sunday!  It was so great!!  Thanks to our great friends, Tiara and Billy, they were able to go at a good price too.  Ryan had never been to a professional football game and was CRAZY excited about being able to see them.  They parked near our niece's apartment, walked to the metro, and then to the stadium.  Not too far for either walk.  Free parking and getting to visit with Savannah (our niece) made the day awesome!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Valley Band Showcase

 Last week, there were four area high schools that participated in an area high school band showcase.  It was at one of the high schools.  East Rock's band was there as well as the local tv news.  They did a story on it.  Check it out at this link.  Hopefully this link will keep this clip forever.  :)  Ryan is shown in the story two times!!

East Rock is the smallest band in the county.  I believe due to there being three different band directors in five years--there has just been a lack of consistency.   The band director that is there now is really great so far and is working with the band director at the middle school.  They are doing everything they can to grow the program.  There are typically three people in the pit, but one of them were sick.  It was just Ryan and Blake.  They all did a fantastic job!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

A day celebrating birth

Even all these years later, it is still hard to understand why all three of our children have their birthdays so close together.  Makes it very difficult to get parties in, afford to do 3 birthday dinners and get gifts for all three of them at the same time!  We wanted to do Ryan's party the weekend of Labor Day, but one of the only two friends he cared to invite, was going to be out of town.  So we had Lydia and Emily's party on Saturday, September 11 and Ryan's on Sunday, September 12.  Party all weekend long!  :)  The girls tried once again to have their pool party.  This is the third time they have tried to have a sunny pool party and the third time it has been cool and overcast.  Frustrating.  They still had a great time!  Swam and swam and had a small gymnastics showcase at the end.  Pizza and Ice Cream cake and all was happy.  Plus, my cousin, Michelle, came up and brought her girls.  It was nice!
Ryan's party was the next day.  We took him and two of his good friends (Kemper and Kendall) to Jump C'ville.  It is a great place that has trampolines all over the place.  Plus there is a foam pit that you can jump into from trampolines.  Other trampolines allow you to dunk a basketball or do flips in the air.  Of course Lydia and Emily went with us.  Everyone had such a great time.  We went to Cici's for lunch after.  Great day and everyone was tired when we got home.

Though it was not hot and very overcast, the girls all had such a nice time!  Played games and swam the whole time we were there.  The pool is such a great place for a party!!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Marching becomes him

 Coming down beside the football field to enter the stadium.  He is the first base drum.
 Marching around the track and playing.
 Standing and playing while preparing for the star spangled banner
 This should actually be above the one above it.  :)

Halftime show.  Have not started playing yet, but ready to go.  This was his second home game.  It was on September 11.  However, the first time I managed to take a camera.  He was so great!!  He marches in with a base drum and plays the base drum while in the stands.  It is crazy how they all play together and just know when to stop and when to start.  He is then in the pit for the halftime show and then drumming out as they leave the stadium.  I think that was the least amount of a football game I have ever watched as I was watching the band in the stands.  The youngest member of the high school marching band.  :)  Not even in high school!!

May we help you?

The Elementary School where all three kids have gone, does a back to school picnic every year.  This year, we had a monsoon during the picnic so it had to be moved indoors.  The 5th graders sell food to raise money for their trip to Baltimore.  This is the best picture I could get--of both girls--selling their donuts, pizza, chips and soda.  Emily is in charge of plates for pizza (but clearly is shirking her duties in this picture.) and Lydia was counting out the boxes of donuts that were pre-ordered and people were picking up.  Behind the table was COMPLETE chaos and I applaud the 5th grade team of teachers for having the patience to let the kids "help out" with the selling.  :)