Sunday, August 31, 2008

Virginia Safari Park

About a year ago Peyton picked up a brochure for the Virginia Safari Park and asked if we could go. We told her we would think about it and just didn't get around to it. Well here it is the end of August and I wanted to have one last hurrah to celebrate summer's I wanted to do something really fun as a family before Mark's busy semester got started. We drove to Natural Bridge on Saturday and spent the day feeding and observing all kinds of animals. The park has a 3 mile trail that you can drive your own car through, but I wasn't sure how the kids would react to that.

We opted for a one hour wagon ride through the park and got 3 buckets of feed with our tickets. It was an incredible experience. We fed camels, llamas, Watusi cattle, potbellied pigs, elk, and various other four legged animals. It was really cool to be able to reach out and pet the animals. They are all fairly friendly, although some were more aggressive than others. The camels worried Peyton and Liam a little bit. They stuck their heads right in the wagon and just grabbed whatever buckets they could find. A few people lost their feed buckets to those darn camels! Peyton and Liam didn't feed many animals on the tractor ride. They saved their feed and fed it to the little goats that were in the safari village. It was a really hot and humid day and there were hundreds of people there. I guess everyone had the same idea we did. We even saw a little girl from Peyton's preschool class. I would love to go back in the fall or in the spring when it's a bit cooler. We tried to feed the giraffes, but they must have had enough because they stayed in a far corner of their big pen and didn't come near the feeding platform. The kids had a blast and couldn't pick a favorite animal. Peyton kept saying she liked them all. I'll post a few more pictures later.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My hungry little caterpillar....I mean, Liam

In the glow of the sunrise, a little boy came down to breakfast. He started to look for some food. He ate one bowl of Chex, but he was still hungry. He ate a second bowl of Chex, but he was still hungry. He ate a bowl of princess crackers, but he was still hungry. He ate a bowl of goldfish, but he was still hungry. He ate a second bowl of goldfish...and his mother said he was done!

Liam is my big morning eater. It's not even 10am and this is what he has eaten this morning. He had already eaten his 2 bowls of cereal and was fine...until Peyton sat down to eat her breakfast and he decided he couldn't let her eat alone! He can't stand it if someone else is eating and he is not. Can't wait to see how much he eats as a teenager!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Liam

We celebrated Liam's 2nd birthday on Saturday with family and a few friends. We kept it pretty simple with pizza and cake and make-your-own ice cream sundaes. He seemed to understand that all the hoop-lah was for him and was really excited about opening some "kresents." The hardest part about presents for kids his age is that they want to play with them as soon as they are opened. There was a roomful of family waiting to see him open his gifts, and he wanted to play with the first one he opened. There were 6 little girls who were more than ready to assist him, but he managed to open them with a little help from his mama. It seems a little surreal that 2 years have passed since I gave birth to him. It has gone by so fast. I never imagined I would feel this way when I was dealing with his horrendous colic! He really is a gift to our family and I'm so glad that he is our son. At church today he kept telling everyone that he was 5! We're not sure where 5 came from, but Liam is convinced that he is 5 years old, not 2!

I decided to run out to Michael's today, then to Target, and then Martin's for groceries. As soon as I got to Michael's I realized that this is the first weekend that JMU students are back in town as classes start tomorrow. What a NIGHTMARE the parking lot was. If you've been to this particular shopping area, you'll know what I'm talking about. Whoever designed it should seriously be shot. Traffic was so bad that after I finished my shopping I drove behind the Home Depot and Wal-mart to avoid traffic and decided to skip Target. There were about 20 cars lined up in front of Wal-mart as I left. They were just trying to get into the parking lot...what a mess! You know you are a townie when the student traffic makes you cranky! I know I was a student once, and I really am not bitter toward them, but it really makes a huge difference in how long it takes to get around town.

Mark starts grad classes again tomorrow. He is currently scheduled for a Monday and Tuesday night class. I have my fingers crossed that it will all work out for him with his work schedule and with trying to spend time with us. Harrisonburg City schools start tomorrow so we'll be seeing the yellow buses on the road again. I can't believe summer is ending, but I'm excited about all the fun stuff we'll be doing this fall!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Peach Tart

This tart was so good. Homemade pie crust, locally grown peaches, just a bit of seasoning....yummmmmmmmmmmy! I need to eat a piece with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or something. It's hard to believe that I hated peaches growing up. Canned peaches have nothing on fresh ones, but they'll do in a pinch. Liam ate his first fresh peach this week. He adores canned peaches and will eat them until he explodes but when Mark offered him a slice of fresh peach, he balked. Mark encouraged him to try it and he was crazy about it. This recipe is definitely a keeper and I look forward to making it again, maybe with some of the peaches we have left!

Party Prep

Party prep is underway. We're expecting around 20 people to celebrate Liam's 2nd birthday on Saturday. I bought all the food items today and I'm so excited to celebrate with him. The boy is seriously into trucks and cars so we're doing a construction-ish theme. We're not doing games or any planned activities besides eating and making our own ice cream sundaes or cones. Should be fun. I just did a bunch of cleaning and I'm going to eat lunch before I pick up Peyton for her dentist appointment. Her dentist is awesome and she's always so well behaved that it's not a big deal. It's so cool outside now after two days of high 80's. I feel like fall is just around the corner and I'm ready for some cooler weather. I always enjoy 60's and 70's the best! I'll post a picture of the peach tart I made last night. My mom made a surprise visit yesterday and brought us peaches and corn (both of which Mark and I had just bought from the Farmer's Market)! I made the second crust I've ever made and my first ever peach tart....YUM! I might go have a piece now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Amazement Square, Lynchburg

Amazement Square, downtown Lynchburg
Liam LOVES Thomas the Train

Checking out the kaleidoscope with dad
Crawling through an "artery" in the body exhibit

Here are a few pictures of our day at Amazement Square. The kids absolutely loved it and it was worth the 2 hour drive, although I don't think it's a trip we'll be making again any time in the near future. We have now visited all of the reciprocal children's museums in the state of Virginia. We're hoping to visit Port Discovery in Baltimore before the end of the year.

It's just after 3pm and Liam is sound asleep for his nap and Peyton is actually reading in her bed and resting very quietly...a total miracle! Her friend came over to play this morning and I swear, if I heard one more tattle, I was going to scream! They were constantly calling my name or running up the basement stairs to tattle on each other. I finally told them that if they came to me complaining one more time, the friend had to go home. They settled down a bit after that and played nicely. Everything is a competition with those two...who has the most beautiful dress-up clothes, who can run faster, who has more toys, etc. etc. Mark and I keep stressing to Peyton that life is not a constant competition and that being kind and loving is WAY more important than being pretty or having the most stuff. Hopefully it will sink in!

Pee pee in the potty!

Liam peed in the potty! His diaper was dry when I went to get him dressed in his jammies on Friday night so I asked him if he wanted to sit on the little potty. He ran into the bathroom and sat down and got this really intense look on his face. Mark was in the bathroom helping Peyton brush her teeth and I told him to look because Liam was going to pee and he did! We cheered and danced around and kept telling him he was such a big boy and he was so proud of himself! We let him flush the pee down the big potty and he was so excited. Since Friday all offers to sit on the little potty have been rejected, but we are not going to push the issue. Forcing Peyton to pee never worked, so we'll just let him take it at his own pace. Never did I think that seeing someone pee on the potty would be cause for celebration, but it's a major deal when you have little kids!

I keep thinking how amazing it is that they are growing up so fast. We will celebrate Liam's 2nd birthday in less than a week! I can't believe he'll be 2 already. Sometimes I think it was just yesterday that we were dealing with colic and praying for him to just stop crying. Now he is so sweet and cuddly and fun. It won't be long before diapers are a thing of the past and we'll be dealing with other fun things!

We took the kids to Lynchburg on Friday to Amazement Square, an awesome 4-floor children's museum. We had a ton of fun, but it was really crowded. I was a little worried about the crowds, but it didn't seem to bother Peyton and Liam. I'll post some pictures later so you can see how much fun they had! Off to Kohl's to find Peyton some pants that don't make her underwear "saggy."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sweet little boy

I swear Liam is one of the sweetest boys ever. I didn't think he would turn out to be so sweet, and yes, he has his moments of well, not-s0-sweetness, but he can be so darn precious. Last night I asked him if he wanted a song before he went to bed and he requested Baby Owlet, probably his favorite lullaby. He loves this song and asks for it almost every night. Last night as I was singing it to him I purposely dropped the last word of each phrase to see what he would do and he sang the words. It was just so sweet. I'm so glad his Granna taught me this sweet song. It really is a precious lullaby that I've sung to both of my kids and to my niece, Callie. I hope that one day they will sing it to their own babies (not for a very very very long time).

Okay, just so this post isn't all about the boy - last night we ate chicken breasts for dinner and either Mark or me jokingly commented about chicken boobs (I can't remember who said it) and Peyton looked up suddenly and said, "Chicken boobs? I didn't know chickens had boobs!" It was hilarious! Never a dull moment, that's for sure!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cute Kids and a wild critter in our shed!

Why oh why is it so darn hard to get a decent picture of my kids? I keep hoping that as they grow it will get easier. We went to hear Marlon Foster and Friends at Fridays on the Square last night and as we were leaving, I got them to sit still on the steps of the courthouse for a picture. I love their faces. I processed it using a method I found on a blog I like to read. I think it looks sort of antique-y and cool.

Today was probably the laziest Saturday ever. We were expecting a visit from a college friend and his family, but their son was ill, so they decided to stay home. Liam woke up at 6:30am and Mark convinced him to go back to bed. When we woke up at 9am we could not believe that both kids were still asleep! What a gift to be able to sleep in today. Mark easy baked with the kiddos while I made bacon and pancakes and by the time I cleaned up the breakfast dishes, it was 10:30! We hung out in the house most of the day, cleaning, playing, snacking, etc.

After the kid's rest time we went outside and they played with the water table. I went to the shed to get the poop scooper and Randy was going crazy barking and lunging just inside the shed. Mark thought it was something underneath beacuse rabbits often hide under it. When he looked closer he thought it might be a dead cat. He got Randy into the house and put on his boots and gloves to go deal with it. It was a possum, and it was not dead. It had been "playing possum" while Randy was barking at it. Mark tried to shoo it out of the shed using a rake and a wall made of cinderblocks and a crate, but it climbed over the wall and retreated to the back of the shed. He had to move a bunch of stuff out of the way to get close to it, but he finally got it to leave the shed with a few pokes of the rake! It squeezed under our fence and took off for the front yard and we lost sight of it after it went under the bushes. I'm hoping it didn't get into the garage! I wish that I had grabbed the camera because it was pretty big, but I thought it would run out of the shed the first time Mark poked at it and I wanted to see it. That was probably the most exciting thing that happened this entire day!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tomato Pie

I swear this is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten or made. When Peyton was born, 4 years ago, my best friend, Jane, came to visit for a few days. We had oodles and oodles of tomatoes in our garden and she made us our first tomato pie. Now it's one of our summer favorites. In fact, as soon as we start getting ripe tomatoes, I start craving it. This one has yellow and red tomatoes from our garden and our home-grown basil. I even went out on a limb and made my very first pie crust for it! It was so yummy. I usually use a frozen crust, but since we had just gotten home from vacation and didn't have much food in the house, I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm so glad I did because I realized that it's not that hard. I'd like to try again and make a pie.

This zucchini was in our garden when we got home from vacation. It is one of the biggest we've ever grown. Unfortunately they don't taste very good when they're this big. We did enjoy showing the kids and using Liam as a measuring stick!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A few more Beach pictures

This is the last of them, I promise. I took so many pictures and it was crazy hard to weed them down to just a few. I need to stop messing with pictures and work on some home movie stuff. I have a lot of clips on the computer taking up space and I need to finish editing my DVD and burn it so I can delete the clips. I have another full tape ready to be loaded and edited too. I'm trying out my new imovie program, part of ilife 08. I'm still not sure how I like this editing tool. I have to do a few crazy things to get my video into the program because my camera is not compatible with it....sigh. I swear as soon as I get a handle on a piece of software, it changes! I also need to take my camera backpack back to Glen's and see if they'll replace it. I went to put it on my shoulder and the strap snapped off! This is the second back I've had from them. The first one was all torn up on the piping. If they can't replace it with something better, I'm going to try to get a refund and buy something online instead. Then it's off to Target and lunch with Mark.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Beach Beauty

I had fun taking some fun scenic shots at the beach. I always enjoy playing with my camera and here are just a few pictures. By the way, have you ever tried to do anything on the computer with kids in the room? They will NOT go and play in their rooms because they have to be in the same room with me....UGH! I have to keep yelling at them to stop pushing on the screen in the window and to leave stuff alone. The office is definitely not the place for my kids! I just don't understand how the office, with all its off limits things, can be more fun than their rooms with all of their ridiculous amounts of toys!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A few more pictures

I love that the kids were so excited about the pool. It took several days of us coaxing them in, but eventually they were jumping off the side, and for so long that the adults got tired first! Peyton did go out into the ocean with Mark toward the end of the week, but Liam kept his feet on the sand, or in the bucket!

Virginia Aquarium

We loved the aquarium. We saw sea otters, harbor seals, turtles, sharks, and many more. Here are just a few pictures of the animals we saw. Lighting conditions were dark and I didn't want to use flash so I had to get creative with my ISO and my aperture. I think these turned out pretty good. The aquarium was our special trip for Peyton's actual birthday. We spent the morning at the aquarium and then she picked our lunch spot, an Italian restaurant in Virginia Beach called Giovanni's. Then we went to the Candy Kitchen and let her pick 1/4 pound of candy. She chose candy necklaces, gummy alphabet letters, and swedish fish! Both kids were exhausted from this trip, but they both had a great time.

Just a few beach pictures

I will add more later today of our trip to the aquarium and of my fearless babies leaping into the pool. I am off to take Peyton to the doctor for her 4 year check up. Where in the heck did four years go? I cannot believe she is already four! We have moved her into a high-backed booster car seat and she looks so grown up. I know they can't stay little forever, but I wish time would slow down just a bit.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Beach Pictures

Well I have several pictures I would like to share, but I can't upload them. There is some internal error on Blogger. So I'll try again tomorrow night. I'm going to go eat some blueberry cobbler and go to bed!

Back home

We made it back from the beach yesterday around 3:30pm and are just about settled in. I think I got everything unpacked and put away. The kids were a little bit fractious today. I think they are still tired and worn out from the beach. They had an absolute blast and loved every minute of our vacation. I think their favorite part was swimming in the pool. They were terrified of the water on the first day, but by the third day they were leaping off of the edge of the pool into our arms. They were never really excited about the ocean and mostly played in the sand. We would ask Liam if he wanted to wash the sand off in the ocean and he would yell no and run up the beach toward the houses. We did get Peyton out past the breakers on the last day and she wasn't scared. We have already reserved our beach house for next year and can't wait to go back to Sandbridge. I need to upload and sift through about 300 pictures before I post a few. I hope to do that tonight after the kiddos go to bed and tomorrow while they're at preschool. I'll try to post some in the next day or so.