Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

We have much to be thankful for this year.

For example, a house filled with the smells of a coming feast, 
and hors d'oeuvres for munching while we wait,

Our beautiful table...

...filled with family, food, and laughter!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

A little something extra...

We have a little something extra to be thankful for this Thanksgiving... 

We are so excited!!

Little Bitty #3 is only about the size of my thumb print, but he or she is filling up our house with the giddiest sort of joy.

I am due the first week of July, and feeling pretty well for being in my first trimester.
We have much to be thankful for!

Big Brothers


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Welcome Home

Welcome home flowers from the hubs...

We had to endure one more week of Daddy working in Danville when we arrived home in Farmville on Sunday (the 10th) evening. But, Riley was thoughtful enough to do a little something to make the week without him a bit more bearable.
We walked into a happy little surprise waiting for us on the table... toy tanks for the boys, and some fresh, seasonal blooms to cheer up the house for me. (And some dark chocolate. He knows me well.)

All but the orange mums have since faded and been removed from the vase, but we now have our man of the house around again, and it's a very happy trade.

Love that guy!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Washington Wrap Up

In an effort to wrap up the Washington Trip Chronicles, here are some pictures that do a decent job at summarizing the rest of our wonderful visit to my beautiful Northwest:

Our visit with Aunt Danielley was super fun, despite being super short! Here we are, playing at the park with just a few of the Maple Valley kiddos I love...

Then we migrated over to Spokane...

Pappy is One Tough Mudder!
My dad just completed his first Tough Mudder, and when he saw these sweatsuits in the store that resembled his Tough Mudder shirt, he couldn't resist. He's already signed up for another TM. I'm not sure if he's crazy or just really, really cool... :)

It's a Gray-in-the-box!

We enjoyed lots of fun visitors...

"G.G." came bearing gifts!

Nana Cheri and Aunt Kathy came for a girls' afternoon tea! Anna and I had just used nap-time to rearrange the furniture into this super-cozy arrangement. I love it!

Sweet Anna was extra busy between work and school, but she spent as much time with us as she could! She was pretty much a rock star when she'd walk in the door; the boys would come running to her shouting, "Auntie Auntie! Auntie Auntie!" in excited squeals.

And there was of course plenty of goofing around with Pappy...

A Pappy Ride!

This is what happens when you try to do physical therapy stretches with grandsons around...

The whole Spokane Gang!

Other highlights were:

1. Sleeping in several mornings (the boys would sneak out and find Pappy without waking me!)
2. Being greeted every morning with a fresh cappuccino made just for me by Dad. (Spoiled. I know.)
3. The boys had a camp-out in a tent downstairs with Pappy!
4. Bedtime stories Pappy-style every night.
5. Other visits: Time with my Papa and Nancy, coffee with a dear roommate from NSA, and an early Thanksgiving dinner with my Aunt Denise and Cousin Nathan & Marie.
6. Fire pit & marshmallow roasting.
7. Breathing the brisk, Northwestern Autumn air... Ahhh.
8. Asher reading 101 Dalmations with Gramma... every day... at least twice. (She was a trooper!)
9. The boys running laps around my parents' house... around, and around, and around, and around...
10. Watching my parents grow younger by the minute. They sure love their grandkids!

We were so thankful to have the chance to spend some time with family way out in Washington!
It was a blast!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Some Spokane Snow...

During our visit we had the pleasure of enjoying some unexpected wintery weather... it turned beautiful in a hurry! 

So we dashed outside to enjoy it while it lasted. (Well, first the boys ran around the house shouting, "Mom! It's snowing! It's Christmas! It's snowing!")

It was perfect packing snow, so what started as a little, "hmm, I wonder how easily this will roll up into a ball" turned into a big, giant, snowman. 

We named him Frosty.
I don't think Asher understands that not all snowmen need to be named Frosty.

Then we warmed up with some tasty hot cocoa!

Sipping in view of their new friend outside...

Fun, fun!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hooray Halloween!

Halloween was a fun-filled day this year!

We started the day off with a trip to Greenbluff, a lovely collection of small farms in the Spokane vicinity that conveniently grouped their fields together in a way that makes popping from one farm to the next as easy as pie! We kept our eyes out for a pumpkin patch, and happily found one. (Most of them were sold out!)

It was beautiful weather for pumpkin picking!

We had a hard time deciding on costumes for Halloween this year, since my boys are in to everything. They switch interests at least four time a day, so we couldn't really land on one idea. Also, I had the trick of needing to be able to fit whatever it was going to be into a suitcase! But, I had noticed a recurring request for stories about brave knights before bed each evening, so when I asked if Asher wanted to dress up as a knight for Halloween, he thought that was a pretty good idea. And Gray, sweet Gray, wants to do whatever his big brother is doing.

So we dressed the boys up in their brave knight costumes...

And went to the Halloween festival my parents' church puts on every year.

It's aptly named.
The boys loved it. Both of them chose the fishing game as their favorite!

Then we popped over to Papa and Nancy's house to trick-or-treat!

Auntie Annie dressed up, too. She's so cool like that. ;)

Don't you love Dad's hair? Awesome. :)

What a sugar-induced-hyper-giddy-night!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Travel Day Adventures

It all started with bad math. I can’t count the number of times I’ve told my husband, “I don’t do math, Love.” After about 1, 2, 3, it starts to get fuzzy inside this mommy-brain of mine, and so it was odd that my husband trusted me to figure out when we should leave Lynchburg in time to check in for my flight out of Raleigh, NC. I think it takes two hours and 15 minutes, so we should leave at 10. Right? Right. Wrong.

It isn’t until we load up the car that it dons on us that no, Tam, it takes at least 2 ½ hours to get there, and my math had only allowed an hour to check in, check bags, get through security, and board the plane. Whoops. We scurry to finish loading the car, buckle the kids, and jump in so quickly that neither of us remember to use the restroom. It’s all right, we’ll just drive quickly, and hope the traffic cooperates. 
Well, that plan goes just as it should (in the stories, at least). When we need the lights to be green, they turn red. When we need traffic to move quickly, we get stuck behind pokey-Joe’s Grandma (for 15 miles on winding back roads), and then when we need a clear highway, we find ourselves in the middle of some massive roadwork. That’s right. We sit, at a dead stop, for over 20 minutes. With bladders about to explode. Just a mile away from our ramp to the interstate. We loosen our seat belts. 

Tension rises as we wait. Every second sitting here is a second lost at the airport. Every second waiting is a second further away from a bathroom. And we're currently unsure which one we're more upset about.  We see the road workers changing their signs, ready to let us through at last, when before our eyes another curve ball comes rolling past us... rolling slowly past us. Of course. A funeral procession. We sit and stare with mouths wide open as a line of at least 30 cars driving with lights on at 20 miles per hour allows us more time sitting in a stopped car, giving us both a dose of the reality of the littleness of our problem, and also a touch of comic relief. Laughter bubbles out. Sometimes circumstances become so extraordinarily ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh. But not too hard, because you might pee. The pain is unbearable. We still have over half an hour to drive… we hope. 

We sort out a game plan in the car as Riley speeds down the interstate. The plans change at least three times as bladder pressure rises. Nothing matters more than the restroom. Nothing.

We arrive at the airport, miraculously, without getting a speeding ticket. (I just knew that was going to be part of the story! But it wasn’t. I know, such a let down...) Riley, whose bladder has never expanded so far in his life, has no choice but to run. I unload bags and boys, and he returns to the car in time for me to herd the boys inside and check in for our flight. Riley drives to the short-term parking while my shaking hand writes name and number frantically on tags for my checked luggage. I glance at the security line. Empty. Seriously? Another miracle. I squeeze carry-on luggage and two fussy boys into the bathroom stall and finally experience that most blessed relief, and then encourage my oldest to go potty. He refuses. Flat out, no-way, no-chance, looming-temper-tantrum refuses, because he’s timid of public bathrooms. Loud hand dryers, toilets that flush without telling them to, some stranger in the stall next to you, it's understandable. His younger brother, on the other hand, insists on lying down on the bathroom floor, clearly not plagued with the same fear his brother has. I laugh as I pull Gray off the floor (for a third time) and silently thank God for disinfecting wipes while I tell Asher that we’ll just have to go potty on the plane. We get out of the bathroom and look for Daddy. He’s nowhere to be found. Little one decides to pitch a fit because Mommy won’t let him lay on the floor near security, but I am unmoved, and still laughing. After a few minutes Daddy comes sprinting toward us with a wild smile on his face. He kisses us goodbye, and sends us through the (still empty!) security line with a quick, “I had to park a mile away! I’ll tell you all about it later!”

Not the dramatic parting we had pictured, but it worked.

I make it through security somehow, even without remembering to pull out my liquids, empty the water bottles, or take off my belt. Third miracle noted. I rush up the escalator with three carry-ons, two toddlers, and a stroller, find our gate easily, and hear them call for all passengers traveling with small children to board. The miracles have now reached the number where I start to lose track. They come in abundance, and I am thankful. I breathe deep, smile big, and onto the plane we dash, the boys giggling as they tell the captain that they’re going to fly “way so high up in the sky!” as if he didn't already know. “To the very back, children! All the way!” rings my forced-cheerful voice as I guide my buddies down the long aisle, feeling equal parts brave and insane. They obey with untamed excitement in their eyes, filling the cramped cabin space with their cheerful chatter. Their freshly cut hair and matching outfits complete the picture as we file into our row at the very back of the plane, where we will be the least disruptive to the other passengers. 

Oh yes, we look so put-together. Ha!

I think God was teaching us something. I’m not sure if it was, “Double check your math!” “Pee before you leave!” or “Laugh when it’s crazy!” Whichever one it was, I think we learned it. Our flights were all on time, the boys were strangely well behaved on the planes, and we reached Aunt Danielley in Seattle safely that evening. I could tell you about our layover adventures (which involved boys running in opposite directions in the Vegas airport, dashing from slot-machine to slot-machine pushing buttons, temper tantrums that resulted in the tossing of an entire bag of dry cereal all over the floor, and continued potty-terror), but I think this story is exciting enough on it’s own.


P.S. My favorite Asher quote from the day was when he looked out the window from the airplane as we were flying over some farm land. He saw the geometric fields in various colors and exclaimed, "Mom! Look! I can see the United States!!"

Monday, November 11, 2013

Traveling Buddies

Traveling with these two was certainly an adventure!

We had a wonderful visit with family and friends, and I am so thankful we were able to not only visit with our long distance family, but I was also able to see my beautiful Cascades once again... 
*deep sigh* 
So gorgeous. 
Confession: I didn't take this picture. The pictures I tried taking from inside our
moving car just didn't do it justice! :)
We also were blessed with safe travels and a happy reunion with Daddy after two weeks' absence. 

Thank you Facetime for keeping us in touch with Daddy while we were apart!

I hope to post about the whole trip at some point, but right now I am sitting between two unpacked suitcases, a pile of groceries yet to be unloaded, and have spent a great deal of energy trying to convince my little travel buddies that we are now on the East coast time zone... *smile*