Sunday, August 30, 2009

Backyard Bonfire

We celebrated the end of the first week of school with a backyard bonfire and a basement camp out. I hoped to take the kids to Skyline Drive to camp, but it was too wet, so we did the next best thing, we camped at home. We set up our backyard firepit and cooked hobo packs on it (foil packets of beef, onion, carrot, and potato). The kids enjoyed assembling their packets and putting them on the fire. They enjoyed eating them too, although Mark and I think they were a bit overcooked. Our fire was just too hot. While the kids were eating, Peyton remarked that she was enjoying her pork. We got into a discussion about how pork comes from pigs and that we were eating beef, which comes from cows. So then they both started talking about eating cow and at one point Liam asked me to please cut his cow! It was so funny. I was glad that talking about where their meat came from didn't freak them out either.

We also ate s'mores, lots and lots of them and Peyton and Mark even substituted homemade pound cake for their graham crackers. Mark said it was an awesome way to eat a s'more! We stayed up late on Friday night just spending time as a family and then we all slept in the basement, the kids in their sleeping bags and Mark and I on the futon. I was hoping the kids would sleep in on Saturday morning, but they were both up before 7:30. We spent a lot of time on Saturday just hanging out as a family. We went to the downtown farmer's market and then to the library where Peyton got her own card. She was very excited to be able to check books out on her own card. I'm glad that simple things still give our kids so much joy.

I am praying for good mornings this week. Peyton loves school, but she HATES getting up in the morning and has cried a lot about wanting to stay home. Hopefully as we get into a routine it will get easier. When I woke her up on Friday she said, "It's Labor Day. I don't have to go to school!" She is just not a morning person and she loves to sleep. Even getting her into bed by 7:45pm hasn't helped. She has been sitting in bed reading until almost 9. Hopefully sleeping in on the weekends will help make up for the 5 days of the week she has to get up early!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Celebrating 3

Flying solo down the big slide

Liam loves the "I Spy" books and so he really loved the game
Lincoln Logs were a HUGE hit and now Mark has to build for him constantly

Sweet Liam turned 3 on the first day of school, August 24th, so we celebrated on the Friday before his birthday. He asked to go to Pump it Up, so we went to their open playtime with him. He had never been before but had heard Peyton talk about how great it was. He absolutely loved it. He bounced, he climbed, he slid, he ran, he didn't stop moving for over an hour! The adults were tired by the end of playtime, but he was still full of energy. We told Liam that he could choose our lunch spot for the afternoon and he requested Cracker Barrel. I asked him what he wanted to eat there and he said, "a biscuit and a pancake" and that's exactly what he had. We ended up going out to dinner at the Little Grill Collective that night and two of the servers brought him a cookie and sang happy birthday to him. I think he felt really special.

It's hard to believe that he is already 3 years old. I remember when he was born thinking that I would stay home with the kids for at least a year and it's been 3! Time feels like it is flying. Liam will start preschool in about 3 weeks. We have that open house in 2 weeks. He is already familiar with Kid's Harbor, but it will give him the chance to meet his teacher and to visit his classroom. So many milestones for us lately......

Monday, August 24, 2009

First day of school

My big 5 year old girl ready for kindergarten!
Waiting anxiously for the bus!

She got on board and didn't even look back!
Today was Peyton's first day of kindergarten. She woke up this morning with no problem at all...amazing considering this child usually sleeps in until 8:30! I woke her up at 6:55 and she got up and dressed and came down to breakfast. We had a big breakfast this morning, hash brown quiche and blueberry muffins. The bus was scheduled to come at 8:04, so we walked down to the bus stop around 7:55am. Maya, our neighbor, was also there with her entourage. We had cameras clicking and going crazy as we waited for the bus. It came on time and the girls jumped on without looking back. Before Peyton climbed on, I called her back for a quick hug and kiss and then off she went! She is so excited about kindergarten and about her teacher. I think any nervousness she might have had disappeared as soon as she saw the bus. She has been ready to go for weeks and I think was just so excited that the day was finally here. I'm looking forward to meeting her bus this afternoon and finding out how the day went.

I had been so anxious and nervous about this day since early May, but I've been praying and God really eased my own anxiety. I got a little choked up this morning, but I felt peace about letting her go. I really like her teacher and know that this will be such a growing experience for her, so I'm trusting God to protect her and watch over her while she's out of my sight. Now, if I can just figure out what to do with Liam until he starts preschool!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dark Hollow Falls Hike

We took the kids up to Skyline Drive this past week to do some geocaching. One of Mark's co-workers gave him a GPS so we decided to give it a try. We found some coordinates near Dark Hollow Falls and went to find the box. The box was located off of the fire road, which is just not a hike for small ones. I think the total loop for that hike is 5 miles. We ended up hiking as close to the bottom as we could go (and still be able to hike up without carrying kids) and got to see the falls. Peyton and Liam really liked scrambling on the rocks and looking for deer. Some of the other hikers told us they had seen a bear near the trail, but we didn't see it. There were so many people hiking that it probably got scared and went deeper into the woods. So I've still never see a bear in Shenandoah National Park. I have seen loads of deer, but that's pretty much it.

After we got back up to the top of the trail, I hiked a mile to the Big Meadows' lodge and saw another deer and a bunch of butterflies. I'm glad that we are exposing our kids to the joys of hiking. Mark and I really like it and we are looking forward to being able to do longer and longer hikes with our kids. They can only do short ones now, but they're getting better. Peyton walked the entire Dark Hollow Falls trail that we did and Liam only had to be carried twice.

School starts tomorrow. Peyton is so excited. I realized last night that I have nothing to pack for her lunch, so I'm going to be running out to the store this afternoon. I'm feeling less anxious now that we have met her teacher, but I am not looking forward to having to get her up and going every morning from now on.......

Friday, August 14, 2009

My sweet girl..thoughts about kindergarten

In just 10 days my baby will get on the school bus and start kindergarten. I have been a nervous wreck about this ever since I went to kindergarten orientation in May. I know she is ready and I know she is crazy excited, but all I can think about are all the things that could possibly go wrong. Mark and I will board the bus with her next Thursday and go to the school to meet her teacher and some of her classmates. I think that will help me tremendously. And I'm sure it will give her some confidence about riding the bus. She has already said that she is going to be a little nervous about the first day, but she also asks me every day how many more days until school starts!

I guess I am just sad about the fact that she is growing up and that she is leaving her sweet Christian preschool for a public school environment with kids from many cultures, backgrounds, and speaking many different languages. It's just a whole different world from the one she has been exposed to, and it's very different from my experiences in public school. I am so blessed to have good friends who have already sent children to school. Their words are encouraging me and lifting me up in this anxious time. Now if I can just keep from falling apart on the first day!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sandbridge, VA

Peyton and Liam spent a lot of time in holes filled with water

Practicing her swimming skills with the float boat
Liam would ask Nonna to build him a sandcastle and then he would smash it flat. He was laughing because she was yelling, NO!
Watching the rain fall and waiting for lightning
Sunrise on our last morning at the beach (everyone else was asleep!)

We just got back into town today after a whirlwind of a week. In the past week and a half, I've put over 11oo miles on my car! I dropped the kids in Richmond, drove back to the 'burg to pick up Mark, drove to PA for a wedding, then down the Eastern Shore to Virginia Beach for a week's vacation. We stayed in a fabulous house and enjoyed gorgeous weather. It did rain a bit, but not enough to spoil our fun. I was so proud of Peyton and her swimming skills this week. She was swimming underwater, practicing all of the things she learned in swimming lessons, and just becoming more and more brave in the water. Liam loved wearing waterwings and was not afraid of the pool at all. Both kids are still very cautious about the ocean, but they were very excited to go out into the waves with Mark and they would run down to wash their hands off and get their feet wet. Last year Liam screamed every time we tried to get him down to the edge of the water.

We went to the VA Aquarium again and the kids loved seeing all of the crabs, sea turtle, and other sea life. I enjoyed some of the cool birds they had in their aviary. As great as vacation is, it is always nice to come home. We unpacked today while the kids played and I feel settled back into my life again. I'm having oral surgery tomorrow morning and I am so grateful that Mark is going to be home tomorrow to let me rest a bit. But it's pretty much back to the routine for the next 2 weeks until school starts for Peyton.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Celebrating 5

Peyton turned 5 on July 30th and we celebrated this year with just our family of 4. Mark and I decided to keep the birthdays simple this year so we came up with a list of outings that Peyton could choose. Some were for family only and some were for her and a friend. She chose Pump it Up (a bounce house place) and wanted to have a home-cooked meal and a store-bought ice cream cake. So that was our plan....until at the last moment she changed her mind. Shenandoah University's summer theatre program included Beauty and the Beast and after seeing clips on YouTube, she changed her mind and asked to go see that instead of Pump it Up. Fortunately there were tickets available.

We made tacos for dinner (her choice), I made a homemade ice cream cake, and we spent the day together as a family celebrating our 5 year old! After dinner we left for Winchester to see the show. I hoped to get tickets to the Saturday matinee, but we ended up going for the Friday evening performance. The kids loved it, but the late hour was a bit rough on them. At intermission they were both ready to leave and go to bed! We bought a bag of chips and some candy and they were revitalized. It really was a great way to spend the day and Peyton really loved her birthday. She also got to celebrate with Nonna, Uncle Craig, and Granny on her actual birthdate by choosing a restaurant. She chose O'Charley's, her favorite and we made a big deal out of it being her day.

We told her several years ago that she could chew gum when she turned 5 and Nonna bought her a load of gum. She has been chewing like mad ever since she turned 5. In fact, the day after her actual birthday, she woke up and said, "Do you think I could chew some gum now." It was 7am! What a girl.