Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lucy Belle has Arrived!



I.cant.even.stand.it!  We ventured over the mountain this weekend to check out some golden retriever pups that were almost ready to come home!  We had to put down our sweet Hershey girl last year, and at first we never thought we would get another dog.  Actually I said that we weren’t getting another dog again.  And I also made a few statements about never getting another pure breed dog.  Hershey had so many health issues that we didn’t want to go down that road again. 


And just look at us now.  Can you say I am eating my words?  The kids have been asking for another dog for a long time.  Then we started to think that a dog would be a great for all the kids, but especially Grace with her anxiety.  The more research we did it looked like Golden retrievers were going to be the best breed for our family, kids in general, and plus I have always loved the way goldens looked. 

We got to go to the breeder and meet Lucy Belle’s brothers and sisters and of course pick which dog would be ours to take home in a week.  They were all so so adorable!  We were having a hard time just picking which doggie we liked the best, but I had my heart set on a lighter colored golden.  Ellie loved every single one, and kept saying that they were all her favorite.  Grace just wanted to tackle them all obviously.  Bradley picked up the darkest one and carried it around the whole time. 




This little fluffy fur ball started following me around and I was completely smitten with her.  She was going to be the newest member of our family!!  She had to stay with her family a bit longer so we drove home arguing about what we were going to name her.  Lucy Belle was our final choice since the girls wanted Lucy and the boys wanted Bella we compromised. 







We surprised the kids and brought her home on Sunday!  They were all ready for bed and we brought her to the back of the house.  They were so excited!


Ellie has really taken to her!  She has become a little mama hen checking on her constantly.  They have been helping to take her out, feed her, play with her, it is just so sweet to see them come together for this little furry friend.  Bradley has even set his alarm 20 minutes earlier in the mornings so he could play with her and take her out in the morning.  Ellie told me that Lucy Belle was better than going to Disney World, and in her mind that is the best thing on the planet! 


We just love you Lucy Belle, now will you please let us get some sleep!  Love your newest family!! 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sugar Hallow


We had a beautiful spring-like day in February, that made you want to spend the entire day outside after being cooped up for months and months.  We dug out our spring play clothes and hit our favorite hiking spot, Sugar Hallow.  After crossing the river on rocks (that was interesting with three kids), we came across the most amazing icicles I have ever seen!  They were hanging from the rocks, some were melting, and big pieces  were shearing off while we were there.  Ellie called it her own Arendelle, thank you Frozen for being a part of every outing with our family.


Nothing makes me happier than seeing my crew covered in dirt, playing with sticks, and just being outside.  We needed this day after all of the snow, ice, and missed school.  It reminded us that spring was coming and it would be glorious when it finally arrived!


This is now her new trademark smile every time I take a picture.  I think she is trying to tell me to stop with the pictures already.


Love her gusto for life!



This was a picture from another warm winter day that we had in February!  This little girl is going through an accessory stage: glasses, hats, gloves, helmets, vests, she loves it all!

I am working hard to enjoy the weekends with my crew, and not get too tied down with work projects or setting up for school.  I am going to miss these days of everyone home, no commitments, and just an afternoon of sunshine to enjoy together.

Friday, April 10, 2015

My Ski Bunnies


With spring here at last and my computer finally up and running, I wanted to share some of our fun in the snow we had this year!  Thanks to my awesome sister and brother in law for saving my computer from the black screen of death once again.  I think I really will need to invest in a new computer sometime soon…possibly a mac? 

Anyway, I finally got all of my winter pictures uploaded and had to share these awesome two at ski school this winter!  Bradley and Ellie jumped right into ski school in Wintergreen and haven’t looked back.  My parents went up to watch them at school one day and got a bunch of pictures.  It was so fun to see them mastering something new!



Bradley getting off of the ski lift!




Grace came up with me to drop them off one morning!  It was cold up there on the top of the mountain!


Ellie coming down the mountain!


Getting picked up by Gigi!

dad and brad at ski school

We also had an awesome time tubing down the big hills at Wintergreen too!



Our littlest one got some fun in the snow this winter too with the many, many snow days we had this winter!





She loved getting pulled around by her big brother!

I am so happy to see signs of spring everywhere around us now, it was a long winter!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Littlest One


I’m not really sure where to start with you my littlest one.  You have handled the past few months so well and Daddy and I couldn’t be more proud of you!  A new school, a new classroom of friends, new teachers, and you have shown us that you really can handle these changes with ease (most days).  I have missed you so much the past few months, but I know we are doing what is best for you right now.  You need this, you need to find your sense of self away from me and the house.  You need to grow, learn, talk, play, love new adults that aren’t in your immediate family.  You need these experiences.  Time is on our side, and I have all of the confidence that you will figure out this crazy thing called life and blow us away. 


A very wise friend told me that Grace is writing her own story.  It may not have been the story that Chris and I had written in our minds and our hearts when she was born.  But it is hers and she will own it.  (wink, wink you know who you are…)  This really spoke to me.  I was so hung up on accepting that things weren’t going exactly as planned, that her little life was harder for her in so many ways.  Yes, sometimes words don’t come easy for you, emotions flow just under the surface ready to explode at any moment, siblings are on edge when the tantrums start and they know when to get out of your way, and sleep has been our demon on many occasions.  Odd things bother you, strangers, mow mows (lawn mowers), birthday parties, loud noises, thunder storms, playing with neighbors, moving from one thing to another, and much more.  BUT, I felt that things were better, you were improving, you were talking so much more.  All of this growth was just on your own time and in on a different clock than my other two.  After two full months of testing by a caring team of teachers and professionals, they told us that you needed a special preschool for children just like you.  Children growing at their own pace, in their own way and a perfect place for you to feel safe and be pushed at the same time.  


All of this doesn’t change how I feel about you, my littlest one with the beautiful blue eyes.  The school, the preschool, the testing, the labels, the teachers.  You are still YOU.  My Grace Ivy.  My sign from above that all is forgiven.  Life might be messy and not the story we planned. BUT it is our story, my Gracie girl.  Someday you will feel comfortable and confident enough to show the world just how truly special you are.  Your amazing comedic timing, your silly laugh, your giggling face as you run around the house in your birthday suit.  You are you, and you are mine.  That is all I need to know for now and forevermore.


And there are two other people on this planet that love you just as big as your mommy and daddy.  I think you know who they are…


Gracie singing “Reindeer Pokie” with Bradley and Ellie

Friday, January 16, 2015

What a Year It Has Been

I found out this morning that my wonderful Grandmother, Shirley Wingo Saunders passed away.  She hasn’t been with us for the past few years, and with each month, with each visit we have become more and more aware that we were losing her.  Alzheimer's is a cruel disease that hurts the diseased as much as the family surrounding that person as they watch them slowly disappear. 

In my mind’s eye I have visions of summers on her land in Warrenton, digging potatoes from the garden, riding in tractors, playing with her old teaching supplies, learning how to play Skip Bo and other old card games, eating delicious home made food and getting surrounded by her love and warmth. 

I will choose to remember those years and moments.  The past five to six years have ben really difficult, but the person I morn today is the one I lost a long time ago.   


I was lucky enough to have Grandma at Bradley’s baptism, and these are some of the last photos of the “real” Grandmas that I have.  I will treasure these pictures and know that she is looking down and smiling at me.


I love you Grandma, and I miss you so much!


I already had this video finished this week, and wanted to share it with you.  It is our families pictures from this past year.  It only seems fitting on a day like today that I will cherish all of these millions of little moments.  They go by so quickly.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Christmas Memories


We kicked off Christmas with some Gingerbread fun at the Boar’s Head Inn.  We got all decked out in our Christmas finest and enjoyed the beautiful decorations.  They always have the Boars Head decorated to the nines. 


My mom met us at the gingerbread event this year again and we had so much fun.  The kids ate roughly as much candy as we put on the house.  They always have great candy at this event and the kids love it!


We had to pose with our finished house!




We also got a chance to visit with Santa and tell him what we wanted for Christmas.  Bradley asked for a pottery wheel, and Ellie asked for a dollhouse.


The night before we left for Disney World we celebrated Bradley’s birthday with our family.  The kids didn’t know they were leaving for Disney in the morning, and our family came to celebrate and pick up Grace for the weekend.


Grace was a huge fan of Bradley’s birthday cupcakes….



Bradley got some great gifts for his birthday, but his most prized possession was his new Star Wars quilt that my Mom made for him.  The fabric is so detailed and it even glows in the dark!



Ellie and I stopped by Bradley’s class to bring cookies to his friends and sing him happy birthday.  It was a beautiful day when we visited so we even got to eat lunch outside. 


We managed to squeeze in a few holiday crafts after school.  The girls helped me make our grinch gak for school, and they made some cute Santa paper crafts too.



Chris and I snuck out one night to go to his holiday party for work.  The event was held at the new design center that he was a part of planning and building.  It was great to celebrate there after all of the work he has put into the new building!


Ellie and I snuck away one afternoon to see the Nutcracker with the local Charlottesville Ballet.  It was pretty good for a local performance.  Ellie’s dance teacher was in the ballet, and Ellie loved looking for her during the different scenes.


One afternoon the three kids and I went bowling!  It was one of the first times I have taken all three kids to an event like this by myself.  Grace loved bowling and we will definitely be back again!


I have more pictures from Christmas morning, but I haven’t gone through all of them yet!  It was a fabulous holiday month, and the trip to Disney was icing on the cake!