Monday, September 28, 2009


Made our last payment to our Element and canceled the automatic monthly payments tonight. That's right, we have a car that is paid off. Hallelujah! What a good feeling.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Musical Solo Debut

Last weekend, we went to NC to visit my mom. She was asked to have her "Nana's Family and Friends" sing at a Constitution Day celebration in her town. The whole group sang "This Land is Your Land." This was the same song they sang back in April.
Not only did Leland sing, but Lucy did a great job too. She knows the motions pretty well. She was very excited to be up there with the big girls.Here is the song.

The few days prior to heading down to NC, I asked Leland if she would like to sing a song by herself in front of lots of people. To my surprise she said, "Yes!" She knows "Proud to be an American" really well, so we decided on that song. We kept prepping her that she was going to sing all by herself in front of lots of people. She seemed to be really excited about it.

I was so nervous for her when it was time for her to sing. We had been out in the sun for a few hours and she was hot and tired. She started to say she didn't want to do it, but I think when it was suddenly "her turn" she was ready to go.

She walked up to the mic and was ready to sing. There were about 75 or more people in the crowd. Now for her musical debut:

The video was pretty far away, but luckily we have some great close up pictures.

Look at the smile. She did such a great job.
Now she wants to sing for everyone. Later that night, at my mom's neighborhood block party, she asked my mom if she could sing. There were about 30 people there.

The next day we went to church at my mom's branch and they happened to have their Primary program. They had only 12 kids, ages 4 to 12 years, as a part of their program. My mom asked if Leland would be willing to sing with them, since she knows all the songs. Of course she was excited about the opportunity to sing.

Leland walked up to the front while giving us a big wave. When the music started, Leland sang at the top of her lungs, so much so that everyone started to laugh and turned to look at her parents (us!). She was the youngest, but loudest of all of them and she was on key most of the time. It was so cute, but I was a little embarrassed. She loves her Primary music. I wish that we had that whole program on video. It was great!

Our cute girls were so worn out after all that singing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Museum Day this Saturday, September 26th. Find a museum to visit for free here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Welcome to Richmond Exploration

Last weekend, we spent our entire Saturday exploring Richmond. Chuck wanted to give me and the girls an introduction to some of the fun things he had seen in his trips downtown.

We visited the Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works.

Walked out over the gorgeous James River.

While we were on the bridge, a train came on the tracks that went right over our heads. The girls were ecstatic.

We drove through Hollywood Cemetery, which has 18,000 Civil War soldiers, two US Presidents, the only Confederate States President, and 25 Confederate generals buried there.

We also had a picnic on Brown's Island, drove by Main Street Station, Chimborazo Civil War Hospital, the Flood Wall, and Shockoe Bottom. We also got some BBQ sandwiches from Buz & Ned's, who was challenged by Bobby Flay in a BBQ Throwdown and WON! (The employees all wear shirts that say "Flay Slayer.") We love watching Bobby on the Food Network.

Some of these sites we visited were National Parks and we found out about National Public Lands Day on September 26th. Find a participating site near you to volunteer in your area.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lucy misses her sister

This week Leland started preschool. She loves going to school so much. Her school is on the way to Chuck's work, so he has been dropping her off in the morning. This morning he had an early meeting, so I had to take her with both the little girls.

Lucy was NOT happy about leaving Leland there at school. She threw a little fit on the floor in the hallway and I had to drag her out of the building. Charlotte is in the car seat carrier, which is heavy just carrying that, but then throw in carrying (dragging) a 35 lb 2 year-old while kicking around too, it was quite the workout.

I finally got the girls to the car, after Lucy sat down twice in the middle of the busy parking lot. Sporting her newest saying over and over, "It's not fair!" while crossing her arms and pouting her lips, huffing and puffing.

After she calmed down, I asked Lucy what she wanted to do during her special time with mommy. I gave her a few choices - library, mall, playground, or yoga (I threw that in there, cause that's what I wanted to do).

She chose to go home to do yoga. Great choice. At least she gives me a little reward for our tough morning.

Leland's only been gone 1 out of the 3 hours for today and Lucy has asked twice when Leland will be home. I love that she misses her sister. I need to remind them of this when they are driving each other crazy later today.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

County Fair

A few weekends ago, we went to the County Fair. Obviously, we no longer live in that rural of an area, so there were not many farm animals, which are the girls favorite. The girls did love the barrel train rides and a hay ride. Since these were free, we let them ride as much as they wanted. We sure wish we could take them out west so they could ride with great-grandpa on the barrel train that he built.

We spent most of our time in the children's area that had a clown show, small tractors to ride, and the few farm animals that they had. We also enjoyed the pig races, which were pretty funny to watch. Chuck fit right in with his camo hat and John Deere t-shirt. He is still on the look out for a belt buckle.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recent Happenings

I'm capturing more of Charly's smiles. I feel like I don't take nearly enough pictures of Charlotte. I think that happens often with every child after the first. I also realize, after playing with my sister's fancy camera while visiting her, that I just can't do great close up shots with my camera.

We discovered a nest of Japanese hornets soon after we moved into our house. We only see them really badly when it is dark because they are attracted to light. Their nest is in a hole in the trunk of a tree in our backyard. In an attempt to get rid of them Chuck covered every inch of skin and attacked their home at 6 a.m. one morning. It really did no good at all. We can't even see the nest since the hole is so high on the tree. We are not sure what the solution is going to be besides not ever playing outside after dark.

Lucy's hair is getting longer, so I attempted pig tails again. She looked so adorable and was so cute and excited about getting 2 ponies in her hair.

Lucy has become my challenge lately. She is just so full of energy. Constantly. We have resorted to never going out in public without her monkey backpack (AKA - The Leash). We are lucky that she actually gets very excited about wearing the monkey. I'm sure people think I'm crazy with my 2-month baby in the front pack and 2-year old on a leash walking around Target. Yesterday, she ran circles around me while Leland was chasing her to hold her hand. The leash wrapped tightly around my legs at the knee. I thought I was going to topple right over.

Last night Lucy was up from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. coming into our room about every 15 minutes trying to climb into our bed to sleep. She would tap (slap) me on the head and say "Mommy, I sleep with you." I'm pretty firm on NEVER starting that trend. It was a rough night. My 2-month old slept from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. that same night. It's like they plot with each other to make sure the parents never get a good night's sleep. "Hey I'm going to sleep tonight, so tonight it's your turn to keep them up. Ahh, Ha, Ha!"

I've been letting Leland totally dress herself lately. I love the outfits she comes up with. I told her that Church is about the only time that I will have to choose what she wears.
Orange striped shirt
Green paisley skirt
Red socks
Pink shoes

Green striped shirt
Pink plaid skort
Yellow socks
Pink shoes

Lucy has showed a tiny bit of interest in the potty. This is her pretending to grunt while trying to go #2.

Cooing & Singing

Charlotte is getting smiley and will coo and "talk" to you. It's so cute. Chuck can always get her talking. If you listen to Lucy in the background you can hear her say "So cute, Charly." "So cute!" is her newest favorite saying.

Leland can learn the words to songs after just listening to them a few times. She has 2 favorite CDs right now. One is Primary songs and the other is Patriotic songs. Here is her singing "Proud to be an American" with Lucy getting a word or two in their too.

I love the conviction that she sings with. (PS - this is also to further our attempt to entice more Gates sisters to move East, namely ones that will start a Kids R Music).

Friday, September 4, 2009

End of August pictures

Lucy helping Dad under the sink.

chocolate spoons courtesy of Aunt Mitzi

Playing dressup with Emily. For some reason everytime they would come out, Leland would have on an entire new outfit and Emily would just add another hat. She had 6 hats stacked on her head by the end.

Cousin Sarah - I love those cheeks and those big brown eyes!

Celebrating Nana's birthday with brownies and ice cream.

The Ruby Reds!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


We are finally feeling more settled in our new home. We absolutely love our house. Last night, we ate dinner on our screened-in back porch, thanks to my mom and Larry who brought us their old patio furniture. We are slowly unpacking boxes. There are still things I haven't found, like my girls' pajamas.

After all the craziness with our house not being ready, we sent the older girls to play with their cousins in NC for two days. We were really able to get a lot of things done. Thanks Mitzi. When we went to pick them up we got to visit my sister at her new house and go to the temple. It was an easy 3 hour drive down there.

Chuck started his job today. We are very excited for him. We loved having him unemployed for those few months. The girls have missed him today though. Lucy keeps asking "Where's Daddy?" When I tell her he is at work, she goes by the computer in the office and says "He not here? Where's Daddy?"

I finally found a preschool for Leland. I am very excited for her. She loves going to school. I'm excited to do some fun things with Lucy during that time. Right before we moved, Leland got another UTI - not fun. Poor girl. She had a fever after finishing her round of antibiotics, so I had to quickly find a pediatrician here. I was very impressed with the one I found. No more UTI, but I still am waiting to hear from her urologist at UVA to find out if they want to see her again. (FYI since several have asked - her surgery wasn't supposed to prevent UTIs, it just prevents the infection from spreading up to her kidneys if she does get a UTI).

Leland has fallen in love with some ruby red shoes (think Dorthy from Wizard of Oz) that came in a box from my sister. They are 2 sizes too big, but she still wears them all day long. She even asked if she had to take them off when it was time to go to sleep.

Lucy's personality has come out in full force lately. She is hilarious. I love her laugh and her deep voice. She gets covered in mosquito bites the moment she walks outside. I was covered in mosquito bites for most of my childhood - we have the sweet blood I guess. She is obsessed with her binkie and blanket. If she gets hurt, she finds little comfort in mommy until she has a binkie in her mouth. We try to limit it to bedtime and have to hide them during the day. As for the blanket, it does not matter what blanket, just any blanket that seems like it could be "hers."

Charly is getting so big and is starting to smile more and more. Her eyes look like they might be staying blue. Besides that, I think she looks like me as a baby. She handles all the "love" she gets from her sisters pretty well.

As for me, I'm excited about living in this area. Going from very limited shopping choices to every store I can think of is pretty nice. I feel very spoiled. I did get a little lost trying to find Kroger the other day. I'm starting to learn my way around. I do wish we had a GPS system, but not having one, forces me to really learn my way around on my own.

It is great to have TV and internet again. Although, we were much more productive unpacking boxes without it.