Friday, December 27, 2013

Oh, Christmas Tree

We took advantage of the unseasonably balmy weather in early December to sneak out to Timbuk Tree Farm on a Wednesday afternoon and hunt the perfect tree.  
Will lobbied heavily for a White Pine this year and, after our experience with the beautiful but prickly Blue Spruce last year, we were all wooed by the soft, fluffy needles of the White Pine.

The guys thought they had found the perfect tree right off, but were disappointed to learn they had selected a wild 40 foot tree on the property (a la Griswold Family Christmas) and not a rationally sized farm tree.  
Together we found a lovely fluffy tree and transported it home strapped to the top of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster (a la Griswold Family Christmas).

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Santa Train

After the parade we were off to ride the Santa Train.  This must be the fourth or fifth year we've made the trip.

We're getting a lot of face time with Santa this year.   So far no one has asked why Santa looks slightly different every time we see him.  I'm hoping it doesn't matter- Santa is Santa, right? As long as he's packing candy canes.

This was my attempt at artsy chistmas-decoration-on-the-train photo

Are We in Bedford Falls?

Nothing like a small town Christmas parade to get you in the spirit.  We bundled up and ventured out early to get a good spot along the parade route.  My grandma had possibly the best spot- she can watch the parade out her kitchen window.  Since my cousin was performing with her dance troupe, we wanted to make sure she could hear us cheering her on.  

One veterans' group, one high school marching band, several church-sponsored nativity scenes, possibly every emergency vehicle in the county, and- oh- a jolly Santa waving from his sleigh later, we were ready to start our Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mmmmmm Men Fry Turkey

My brother, Ed, is a police officer in Maryland and he had to work on Thanksgiving Day.  
So, while other people were tazing each other in the aisles of WalMart on Black Friday, we were having our Thanksgiving.  Ed had his heart set on frying a turkey so the men of the family pretty much handled the main course of our Thanksgiving feast.  
They seemed to enjoy bonding over beers and boiling oil in the backyard.
I'm going to call fried turkey a success.  It smelled like potato chips and tasted (to quote Soren) 
Too Licious!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yes, Virginia

There has been some idle chatter around our house recently about Santa not being real (gasp).

Santa's elves must have reported to him because he paid us a surprise visit!

He did the typical Santa things like asking the boys if they had been naughty or nice, finding out what toys were on their Christmas lists and reminding them to be good for mom and dad.  

He also read them 'Twas The Night Before Christmas', told some jokes and asked them to remember that Christmas is also the birth of Our Lord.

I think we managed to prolong the belief a little while longer in the Magic and Wonder.
Thank You, Santa!
(It was priceless to hear Soren shouting, "It's Santa! Santa Claus is here!") 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Random Pumpkin Love

Some random pictures from our Halloween season

Pedals, Pipes and Scary Music

Will has always been fascinated by pipe organs.  In October, he got the opportunity to attend a program at a local church where he learned all about pipe organs and even got to play one!  
What a thrill!

Now he is sure we need one.  
In our house.  
He has already scoped out the front hall as a place for the big pipes.  
Keep dreamin', kiddo.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Return to Pigeon Roost

We kicked off the Season of All Things Pumpkin with a trip to Pigeon Roost Farm.  That place is great.

After playing and exploring and adventuring

We picked out almost exactly 100 pounds of wonderful pumpkins.

I think it's really fall, ya'll!

Golf Outing

At the end of September we did something new: played in a charity golf tournament.  Our friends Juli-Anne and Jim made up the other half of our foursome and we spent a lovely day on the links.  

Juli-Anne's bakery sponsored a hole

Somewhere around the 9th hole, we agreed to do this more often.  Maybe someday.  When we live in the land of less busy people.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How Can It Be?

First Day of Preschool 2009

First Day of Preschool 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pelotonia 13

When Rick told me he wanted to ride Pelotonia this year, I thought, "Great! And I could probably train up a bit and even ride with you next year."  
The first lesson cancer teaches is never wait; never put things off; never assume you have next year.  In more positive terms: every moment of every day is a gift.

I've been mulling over the words to express the experience, the sights, the sounds, the emotions of riding Pelotonia with Rick and our friend Vannessa.  Thank goodness pictures speak a thousand words.

An early start

Team Smiley in the USA (Vannessa rode in honor of military members past and present who are fighting the fight) before the start

Getting ready to cross the starting line (Yikes- the only moment I was truly nervous)

First rest area.  Yay! We made it!

Second rest area.  Could we really be half way?

Loved all the folks who cheered us along the way

And put up signs of support

I sort of wished one of us was named Will when we rode by this one.  How cool is this?

Third rest area.  Maybe we really can do this!

Other Survivors who came over to give hugs and high-fives and words of encouragement 

The beer truck lady waiting for us like an angel at the finish line

Team Smiley in the USA at the finish

My favorite picture of the day.  Rick, in his Survivor jersey, whistled Christmas Carols most of the way.  

Love this man!

Many many many many many many thanks to the organizers, the volunteers, the police officers making this possible, generating excitement, and keeping us safe!  
To our friends and family who supported and encouraged us!  
To Vannessa who shared her third Pelotonia with us (looking forward to next year)!
To Rick, my strong and courageous husband, my hero!  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

Will's half birthday was followed quickly by Soren's actual birthday.  For this celebration we opted for a more traditional cookout party at the very lovely Homestead Park.  It was supposed to be a rainy day so I had packed up tons of art and activity supplies in case we were trapped under the pavilion, but it turned out to be a lovely day so kids could be turned loose to run around the playground.  Yay!

At a silent auction back in January, I won the services of a children's party entertainer called Mackee.  I was a little put off by our communications before the party, but I have to say that he showed up and was absolutely brilliant.  He performed a very funny magic/comedy act with his bunny assistant, Puffer

and capped it off with balloon animals for each child.

We reserved the pavilion for the whole day, so even after the guests went home we stayed and enjoyed the beautiful day, explored the park and amused ourselves with some of the rainy day craft supplies.

Happy 4th Birthday, Darling SorenBird!


Christmas in July

Christmas in July has become a destination event.  
I'm a big fan of parties where you can show up, turn kids loose to have fun, and let someone else serve refreshments and clean up.  

This year it was Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park that initially sounded to me like a recipe for arm casts and trips to the emergency dental clinic, but in reality turned out to be a pretty fun place where kids jumped 
and jumped 
and jumped.

And refueled with pizza and red & green cupcakes and.. 

(oh well, maybe that is a recipe for a trip to the emergency dental clinic after all, but you're only 7 1/2 once)