Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Brag Book

Sometimes you just have to brag on your kiddos...warning, gushing post.  I am constantly taking pictures of my crew, but the other day I stumbled upon old videos of little Bradley and his tiny little voice.  Why oh why don't I take more videos of them!  They grow up so quickly and seeing the changes are very evident through videos.  Also, my crew just loves to watch old videos of themselves as babies.  They think it is hilarious!

This little thing that just learned to talk and speak in full sentences not too long ago is singing.  I mean full on singing.  Here are some of her favorite songs, and of course the ever popular ABCs.  Blown away by her and her constant growth.

Then these big kiddos have been working their hardest to learn the piano.  They had their first formal recital this weekend in front of a large group of parents and friends.  So proud of their hard work!

Ellie strumming away on the big piano...

Bradley has truly worked so hard!  His teacher challenged him to practice for 100 days in a row and he just finished this week!  If he was sick or when were out of town he would practice twice a day to make up his missed practices.  Such determination!  

Lastly, everyone took a bunch of skiing lessons a week ago up at Wintergreen.  Grace has been dying to learn to ski like her big brother and sister.  My Dad and I tried to take her skiing and teach her ourselves a few weeks ago and it proved to be just way too challenging.

I told her that if she wanted to ski with us she would have to take lessons at the ski school by herself.  This is where her determination is going to outshine her fear of being left alone.  She said she would do it, and I almost fell on the floor.  

This is the girl that cries for over an hour when I tell her a babysitter is coming...and she knows them....and her siblings will be with her...and she is in her safe, warm house.  She was going to let me leave her alone; for the day; on a mountain; with people she didn't know; in the cold.  Whelp!  I jumped on it!

Here she is!!!! In full ski gear!  Rocking out classes without her Mom and family!  Proud of this girl a million times over!  

I was so excited that she learned to ski, but I was even more proud of her for going to the classes!  She is breaking down barriers at every turn.  Go Gracie!!!

Bradley has done so well with his skiing too!  I wish I had some pictures of Ellie, but the whole day I was skiing on the mountain I never ran into her class.  I did get this great video of Bradley shredding down the mountain.  He has learned to ride some new lifts, and even is doing some intermediate slopes!

Thanks for putting up with my brag book, love this crew and all of their hard work!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Disney Adventures

I don't even know where to begin...The Disney Cruise was magical, fun, and unforgettable.  Traveling with this crew is always an adventure, but Grace officially rocked out her first flight, security checks, and cruise ship fire drill (that was stressful.).  But once we got through that it was perfect!

The Disney Dream ship was abosultely stunning.  I was surprised by the size of our room, and how much space we had for five people on a boat!  They outfitted our room with lots of fun Disney details, including Peter Pan constellations in the bunk beds, and any Disney show or movie on the TV.  The pictures below are the girls watching out the window as the shipped pulled into Castaway Cay the second day.  The window in our room was huge, and it even had a window seat to watch the ocean pass us by.

This is a picture of the kids bunk beds in our room.  There was also a murphy bed by the window too!  They all wanted turns in the different beds, so each night they would switch their bed to test it out.

We got off the boat on Castaway Cay to swim in the ocean, but you can see the storm clouds behind the boat.  It wasn't long before the rain started pouring down.  After hiding out for 30 minutes in a souvenir shop on the island, we decided to head back to the boat and hang out there.  

Bradley telling the girls about the different areas on the boat.

There was an awesome kid area that we visited two to three times a day!  We could hardly get Bradley out of there.  He was allowed to come in and out of the kid zone whenever he wanted.  The room was equipped with two phones that called each other.  Then he could move around the ship and call us if he needed us.  The girls and I played in the Toy Story part of the kid area one morning, and it was fantastic.

Grace and Chris went to play here one morning and Donald Duck appeared in the area.  Then Grace got to play duck, duck, goose with Donald Duck!  The cruise boat really allowed the kids to see the characters all of the time, and it felt very personal.

Ellie and Grace and I were walking to the children's area and we ran right into Goofy walking down the hall!  They got hugs and kisses from Goofy, too sweet!

Just a few pictures of the ship...

The top of the boat, pools, and of course an awesome Mickey Mouse slide.

Bradley finally got the courage to ride the Aquaduct.  It was a water slide that went around the entire ship and even took you out over the ocean.

The pictures below are of Bradley waving to us from the Aquaduct.

Littlest one swimming in the Mickey pool.  Love her happy face!

There is so much more to share...pictures coming soon!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Nutcracker Ballet


What a wonderful December!  It was filled with family memories and our first big ballet performance!  Ellie auditioned for our local Nutcracker performance and she was chosen to be a party guest and an angel in the second act.  I was so proud of all of her hard work, practicing and rehearsing every Friday afternoon from Sept - December.  It was quite a commitment and she saw it through to the end!  

I hope she enjoyed the time on stage, and maybe she got the ballet fever?  I know I have it still at age...36!!  I was kind of a giddy little kid back stage with her watching all of the professional dancers warm up, practice, and twirl around.  There were two casts for the performances and Ellie was in two shows on a Sunday.  The excitement was too much!  Below is a picture of all of the party guests.  The older girls would guide the younger dancers and make sure they were in just their right spot on stage.  It was so sweet how much they bonded and looked up to the bigger dancers.

Heading to our spots for the first performance...

waiting behind the curtains...

There was lots of waiting back stage. LOTS.  So the moms that were volunteering with me tried to bring lots of games and activities that the girls could do quietly.

Below is a picture of all of the girls with their candles getting ready behind the curtains.  The older dancers were so sweet and kind to the younger girls.

They had to cover up their candles with their hands to hide the light until it was their turn on stage!

Not the greatest shot, but there is Ellie all the way on the left holding up her little candle!  And below is a picture of the whole group of angels on the night of the dress rehearsal.

After the dress rehearsal we got a chance to sit in the audience and watch some of Act II!  

The older girls reading The Nutcracker book to the younger dancers.

Hanging with Gigi and Pop Pop after the show!

And with her sweet cousin Sammy!  Their outfits matched and they looked like they could be siblings!

Even Aunt Kim and Uncle Adam made the trip to see her perform!

Goofing around back stage!

Daddy and his girl!

Oh Ellie, I love you so!  I love whoever captured this picture of me smiling at you!  I was proud of you, your hard work, conquering your fears of stage fright and "messing up."  You just had a ball with the whole show and made Mommy and Daddy so proud!  Love you thisssss big!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Feeling Thankful

Life can get so busy and crazy this time of year.  I know that I have felt our lives just pick up the pace since Halloween!  From our trip to birthdays, Thanksgiving, and now I find myself getting ready to celebrate Christmas once again.  How do the years go by so quickly?  Working, parenting, and just life seems to be whizzing by, and I want things to slow down some days!  

I captured all of these images on my iPhone on Thanksgiving Day.  They aren't the greatest pictures, but they are my life right now...  Busy, no time for editing, just click and upload!  The picture above is one of my favorites from the holiday.  Mom and Dad piled up with all of their grandkids just laughing and giggling.  It is so nice that they are close and get to see everyone so often!  They have been a huge, huge help to me this fall while I have been taking Gracie to therapy at UVA and I don't know what I would have down without their help!  Thank you Gigi and Pop Pop!!

My girls...Chris snapped this picture right before bedtime, and we took a million pictures just to get this one that isn't too blurry!  Grace was a moving target and was over picture taking at this point in the night.  These girls are my heart and I love them both dearly!

The whole crew settled in for Thanksgiving Dinner!

We opted out of any Black Friday shopping and took the kids hiking at Sugar Hollow.  We made it farther than we have ever been, and got to see some new sights.  Each time we go we drag the kids a little bit further into the woods with hopes that we will build up their endurance.  They are becoming pretty good hikers despite lots and lots of complaining on the way back.  Ellie repeated a million times that "her legs were going to fall off"  "that her feet we killing her" on and on.  This is all the while that I am carrying Grace on my back who weighs over 40 pounds!  Oh the joys of forced, family, fun!  One day it will stick and they will enjoy it, right?!!
Oh the poses you get with these two are hilarious!  Vogue looks from Ellie with her hands on her hips, to I have no clue what Gracie is up to!

Then this boy just walked and explored and really took it all in!  He was up ahead of the crew for most of the walk telling us where to go next!  Love his adventurous spirit and willingness to be a leader!  A quick picture of Lucy Belle above, she was in and out of the water all morning!

Good luck getting ready for Christmas, I am going to try to take a deep breath and enjoy my two weeks at home with my crew!