Sunday, September 30, 2012


Virginia has the most beautiful autumns.  There is always so much to do during the fall season and one of our favorites is apple picking.  4R's goes every year and this year we snuck Gavin out of school to come along.  The trees were amazing this year, just overflowing with gobs and gobs of apples.  We picked our favorite at Stribling orchard- the golden delicious.  The kids could not stop eating them as we picked.  By the time we made it to the picnic point, nobody was hungry for our lunch, their bellies were so full of apples.  We love this tradition of apple picking and will continue it even though our 4R's journey is ending. We may just have to sneak along for the field trip next year!

Visit with family

Jeremy's brother Cary was here for a couple of weeks for training, so we were able to have him stay with us two weekends in a row.  The kids go crazy when Uncle Cary is here and never give him a minute alone.  Good thing he is such a good sport.  One of the weekends he was here we met up with Jeremy and Cary's Aunt and Uncle who are serving a mission in DC.  Georgia and Victor work at the National Archives photographing old family history documents.  I really enjoyed their visit since I have never had an opportunity to meet them.  I wish we had known they were here sooner, but we plan to get together with them again before they leave.  It sure was a treat to get to hear some old family stories and learn about their family.  We're thankful they are serving so close by.  And we hope to have Cary back again soon, especially since he helped so much with corralling our kids at church!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Haymarket Day Parade

For six years my kids have been a part of the Haymarket Day Parade, travelling in the 4R's tractor pulled wagon.  Every year they sing the same song "We are Friends" for the judges and they although they have a different theme each year, everything is much the same.  This year was different for me though because it is our last with 4 R's.  I know I always rave about this place, but that's only because it is truly phenomenal.  I feel like Mason is going to grandma's house three days a week and learning his ABC's.  This year it was just me and Mason, I picked him up early from a Father/son camp out he and his brothers went to with Jeremy and we attended Haymarket Day just the two of us.  Next year we will be sitting on the side lines cheering for our favorite preschool and reminiscing about all the years we participated.  At least we'll be able to catch some of the candy :)  We also watched a little westie named Snowdrop this weekend for some friends and she may have turned me into a little dog lover.  She was sweet as can be and great with the kids.  We would have kept her if we could.  For now, we are settling for watching dogs for other people and getting to know different breeds and personalities.  I'm sure another dog is in the cards for us at some point, but not yet.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Sunday brought with it beautiful, cooler weather which made it bearable to be outside for longer than 10 minutes.  We went hiking on some new trails that we found not far from home.  Yesterday after school the windows were open, just beckoning for us to come out.  We swung and jumped on the tramp and later Cameron and I took a long bike ride.  Nobody wanted to go in because the weather was so perfect and her in Virginia you have to take advantage of these kind of days.  I'm so glad we did.  In honor of the fall feeling, I made a new wreath for the door and bought some yellow mums for our front porch.  The vortex of holidays that September brings makes me giddy with excitement- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas- I love them all!
Also, Gavin had a big day yesterday.  After wiggling around for what seemed like months he finally lost one of his top teeth!  He just let me rip it right out of there without even wincing.  This is number three for him and also the tooth that was injured years ago when he banged it backwards falling onto our marble fireplace. We are crossing our fingers that the permanent tooth is not discolored like the baby one was.  He sure was excited for the tooth fairy to come last night!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New School Year

I know I always say this, but this summer flew by.  Usually I am ready for the kids to be gone and off to school by September, but this year I could've used another month with all my guys at home. Yesterday the two big boys started another year of school.  First and fourth grades, can you believe it?  Per our routine, the day before included setting out their new first day outfits, blessings from dad, and packing special lunches.  Tuesday morning brought a little bit of jitters, but a chocolate chip pancake breakfast helped that a bit.  I drove the boys to school and they headed in with smiles on their faces.  Mason and I returned home with frowns.  We already missed those little buggers!  Mason was pathetic sulking around the house looking for his playmates and I watched the clock too, waiting until it was time to go get them from the bus.  Mason waved frantically as the bus pulled up and the kids both came home with big smiles on their faces.  Great classes, great teachers all around.  They couldn't wait to go back today.  Mason started his final year at 4 R's this morning.  It's hard to believe that this is our last year with this little preschool.  He didn't miss a beat, picking up with his little friends from last year and having a blast.  What am I to do with all this free time on my hands?  Better start tackling that to do list...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Myrtle Beach

This year we decided to try somewhere different for our beach vacation.  We have never been to Myrtle Beach, SC as a family and had heard so many good things about it that we decided to find out for ourselves.  We stayed at the Myrtle Beach Resort, on the 15th floor with a gorgeous view of the beach right on our balcony.  This place was great, with 6 pools (including one with a lazy river and other fun water things for kids) and it was just steps away from the beach.  There were ponds with ducks, swans, turtles and fish you could feed, a playground and tennis courts and it was all secluded in its own gated area.  It was a bit farther away from central Myrtle beach and was surrounded by RV parks, but we actually liked that.  Our condo was a bit out of date, and smaller that we would have had in Corolla, but it suited our needs just fine.  

One of the things I wanted to do with the kids was to take them to this elaborate pirate dinner show.  Similar to Medieval Times, you eat pirate food with your fingers while watching the entertainment on the stage.  The stage in this case was a huge pool filled with singing, dancing, acrobatics and swimming.  It was an expensive treat, but certainly worth it with the caliber of the performance.  They even had performing sea lions!  I wish I could've captured the looks on Gavin and Mason's faces as they watched.

 One day Cameron and I took a helicopter ride over the beach.  This was a surprise treat just for him, rewarding him for his straight A report card at the end of 3rd grade.  Neither of us had ever been in a helicopter before and it was quite the thrilling experience!  We flew out over the ocean and although Cameron isn't one for exclaiming about things, his face told it all, he loved every minute.

Other than that, we spent our time enjoying the perfect weather at the beach and the pools.  Each morning we would get up and go straight out to the beach.  Mason would barely get his feet wet the first day, but by the end of the week, he was riding the boogie board and coming out into the water with us on our backs.  Gavin was as always, perfectly fearless in the water, he didn't have a problem going out by himself as far as he possibly could.  We constantly had to keep reeling him in and telling him to be more careful.  Cameron was cautious but he still got out there and enjoyed himself.  One day he and Jeremy were out for hours just floating in the water, enjoying the waves.  All the boys love the sand part of the beach too.  We dug pits and made "quarries" and found copious amounts of bean clams that we collected and sorted.

We all looked forward to Friday, the day when our friends, the Tolers would come and spend the night with us on their way to Charleston which was on the way to their new home in New Zealand.  It was definitely a bittersweet visit, we were so excited to be able to have them at the beach with us, but we knew that the goodbye when they left was a biggie and that loomed over us the whole time.  They came Friday night with fireworks to let off on the beach and we spent most of Saturday at the beach with them.  We had some excitement that day, as our section of the beach had to evacuate the water due to sharks.  Right where we had been standing we witnessed a swarm of fins grazing the water for over an hour.  Later we saw sting rays swimming along side us and dolphins farther out.  Crazy!  Later that evening Angie and I got to go out on our own to dinner while the rest of the families got pizza.  This family deserves a post of their own which will be coming, but it was a terrible feeling knowing I would not be in the company of me dearest friend for three years.  She is more than a sister to me and my kids feel the same about Ashley and Austin.  They left that evening taking a part of each of our hearts with them and it was difficult to pick ourselves up and find something to smile about after that.  We will be counting the days until their return.