Sunday, October 31, 2010


For Halloween, we had an M&M, a super girl (or Spiderman's wife), a bride, Chuck Bartowski AKA Agent Charles Carmichael, and General Beckman (both from the TV show Chuck).
We had fun at our church trunk or treat on Friday night. We also went trick or treating on our street on Sunday night. Chuck and I also went to an adult Halloween party the weekend before. We all had fun and got way too much candy. I love our Mr. Potato Head style jack-o-lanterns. They are so cute and so easy.
My favorite part of Halloween is the after Halloween sales to get more dress-ups. Lucy's choices were Spider man and Buzz light year. Leland chose two fairy dresses. We also picked up a few wigs and tutu skirts. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friends Forever

It has been about 2 years since we have seen the Cumberworth Family. Between our two families, there have been 3 babies born, 2 law degrees obtained, and 3 moves since we saw each other last. We were so excited when Adam had an Air Force JAG training at UVa so we could get together.

I picked up Shana and the kids and brought them to Richmond for a few days. Her kids are so stinkin' cute.We had fun just hanging out at the house, going downtown, and walking around Maymont.

Eli loves to give kisses. Charly and Eli were so cute all week just hugging and kissing on each other. For the bottom right picture, I balanced a cookie on top of the camera to get them to look at the camera. It was pretty funny and kind of worked. One of the last times we saw them our girls wore the same t-shirts, but it was Leland and Lucy. (Those t-shirts were actually my 9 and 11 year old nieces' shirts. Those hand-me-downs have definitely gotten their use.)
We only got to see Adam one night. We all went to Charlottesville, walked around the gorgeous UVa campus and the historic downtown mall. No late night game playing like the old days, but still lots of fun just hanging out chasing after all the kids. Having 5 kids in tow instead of just the one (Leland) like we had years ago was quite different. It was so fun to see Adam and Shana as parents. Thanks for coming to VA. We can't wait to come visit you in FL.
As we walked around the lawn at UVa, Chuck and I kept telling the girls that this is where they were going to go to college. The fall colors were amazing.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10 Apples up on Top

We went apple picking at Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville. It was gorgeous weather - sunny and warm., not exactly fall feeling, apple picking weather - but great nonetheless. I kept reminding Chuck that this was for the experience, not necessarily to get a ton of apples, but the girls just loved it so much we ended up with 40lbs of apples!
We were very excited that Aunt Zebra was able to join us.
I love the bottom right picture below with the girls in their "ta-da" poses and Chuck - our pack mule - with our 40lbs of apples.
Zebra took the big girls on a hay ride. I tried to get some pictures of the girls on the pumpkins, but everyone was just worn out. Isn't the view just amazing in the picture of Lucy. We were literally on the top of a mountain. Breathtaking views.
After the apple picking, we met up with our friends' the Crofts and headed to Downtown Charlottesville for dinner (Eppie's and Marco and Luca's) and dessert (Splendora's and Sweet Frog). The downtown open air mall is fabulous because you can stroll around and all get food from different places, then all sit together outside. We love it. Charly wanted to be just like dad and lick the gelato sampler plate clean. Then Charly also got frozen yogurt from Zebra. She's quite the mooch.
Wondering what I did with 40lbs of apples? Applesauce, canned apples, dipped them in caramel and nutella, pork chops with baked apples, apple caramel sauce on crepes, apple turnovers, and waffles with apples on top.

Almost 3 weeks later I still have some in my fruit bowl and they are still delicious. That's what happens when you buy fresh and buy local!

Notes from Leland

Leland has started typing notes on the computer, printing them out, adding a picture, then mailing them to cousins and friends. She is very serious about it. She asks me how to spell only a few of the words, but is getting pretty good at spelling.

Notice the 2 ways to spell going in the note below. For the first use, she asked me how to spell the word. Later, when I saw her note, I asked why she spelled going g-o-w-e-n. Her reply, "'Cause when you say it, that's how it really sounds". I guess my southern accent is back.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We love our cousins!

We feel so lucky to get to see cousins so often even though none live in the same state as we do. The McBrides are on year round school, so they came to play with us for a few days while "tracked out".
(clockwise above from top left) Holding hands walking home from Leland's bus stop (reminds me of this visit in 2008). Connor was so cute hanging out with Charly so much. Watching movies. Lowe's Build and Grow. Playing instead of eating. 

The kids all got along great and had so much fun together.
Ready. Set. GO!!
Trying to take a group shot after the Build and Grow. Hilarious poses. Word of the day was, "Awesome!" Poor Zetta was not happy about all the picture taking.
Mitzi, of course, got Charly's hair in pigtails. She also provided Leland with a humongous bow for her to wear to school one day. Wish I had a picture of it. When I'm with Mitzi she always makes sure my girls have pretty hair-dos.
Talking to Grammy and Papa in Africa on Skype. They each sang a song for them. I'll get some video up soon.

Awesome weekend! Thanks for coming to visit us.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cape Hatteras

After packing up after camping, we headed down Highway 12 to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Our family loves lighthouses and Chuck had never been to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is the tallest in the United States and tallest brick lighthouse in the world!

Since we were only one hour away, we thought it was the perfect opportunity. As we pulled into the parking lot of the old site of the lighthouse on the beach, it was pouring down rain. So we headed to the current site and thought we would at least walk through visitor's center. Luckily, the rain had completely stopped by the time we got out of our car to walk in to the visitor's center.
We were also excited that our tall 3 year old barely made the height requirement to walk to the top of the lighthouse. Chuck took Leland and Lucy to the top, while I waited with Charly. (You can not carry children while climbing to the top and there is a height requirement for climbers, so Charly could not go.)
Chuck said he was so nervous climbing to the top and on the balcony with the girls, but they did great. They enjoyed talking with some of the rangers and learned lots of info about the lighthouse. They loved being able to take pictures of me waiting at the bottom. I'm in both pictures on the left on the walkway by the house. It was really windy at the top too, but a gorgeous view.
We love lighthouses!
Then, I got my turn to climb to the top while they waited at the the bottom. I climbed those stairs so fast, I was sore for the next 2 days. It made me realize how I really should exercise more.
Ashley at the top of the lighthouse (girls waving to mom)
Since we were married in 2004, we have climbed the following lighthouses:
We have also visited, but not been able to climb:

Whenever we go to a National Park, we always love doing the Junior Ranger programs (thanks to the Dittbrenners who got us hooked). Leland and Lucy were so proud of their Junior Ranger badges that they both pinned them to their school bags when we got home.
After spending a long time at the lighthouse, we headed even farther south to Hatteras Village. We drove through flooded streets and saw how much damage water really can do. Since the ferry was not running to Ocracoke Island because of water levels in the sound, we could not go any farther south and had no choice but to finally head home. We made one last stop for dinner at a yummy restaurant, Sandbar & Grille, with a gorgeous view of the Pamlico sound. (An amazing comeback after their old location was destroyed by hurricane Isabel)
We could not have gone to the Outer Banks with out driving through a Brew Thru a few times. For those of you non-Southerners, a Brew Thru is like a 7 Eleven you drive into like a car wash. You do not even have to get out of the car and you can get your drinks and snacks for the road. There are only a handful of them on the Outer Banks and are well known for their t-shirts.
The Outer Banks is Chuck's happy place. He loves it there and I do too. It's where I fell in love with him over 7 years ago. We can't wait to go back.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Laugh out Loud

I love this Old Spice commercials...

but, this Sesame Street version is just as funny..

My favorite shows that make me laugh out loud (my husband says it takes a lot to make me laugh out loud).

Not a funny book, but a great book that I'm reading right now (only halfway done, don't ruin anything for me!).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Camping in the Outer Banks

A few weekends ago we went camping in the Outer Banks. I've talked about my love-hate relationship with camping before. I love it while we are camping, but the aftermath is what is hard. I had camping gear and dirty laundry piled up in most rooms of my house for over a week after we came home.

My sister, Suzanne, who is not at all a camper, organized the trip and we were excited to go with her family. This was their first time camping as a family and as we were saying good bye at the end of the weekend, I asked if she would do it again. She replied, "Give me a year to think about it."

Nana came for both nights and Larry for one and it was great to have them there too.

On the first night, we slept without the rain fly so we could look at the sky and it was unbelievable! The stars were amazing and it was fun to wake up and see the sunrise from our beds. Since we got there in the dark, the morning was exciting for the girls to discover that just over the sand dune was the ocean.
Gorgeous sunrise

We camped at Oregon Inlet on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, just about a mile south of Bodie Lighthouse. The campsites were next to sand dunes and tents were set up in the sand which was nice. We are used to camping on gravel sites. One pain, literally, were sand spur plants that were everywhere. Everyone had to be very careful about walking through the brush areas.
Our campsite. Lucy chasing off the birds (Top right) .

All the girls just loved playing in the sand the entire weekend. For some reason, that never gets old.
Loving being at the beach

Saturday was a very windy day, which is typical for the area. We headed to Kitty Hawk Kites, picked up a new kite, and went to the Wright Brothers Memorial for a picnic and kite flying. There was a stunt kite competition going on, which was kind of cool to watch and there were a lot of kites flying around.
Flying kites at Wright Brothers Memorial, Kitty Hawk

Later that night the wind really picked up. We attempted a fire on the beach to cook s'mores, but it wasn't as pleasant as I had hoped. The wind just really made it hard to do anything. After Chuck created a wind shield for the fire, we each had a s'more, and then we called it quits.
Attempting to roast marshmallows by the fire on a very windy night.

It rained during the second night, so we had to put our rain fly on, which meant no falling asleep staring at the stars. Suzanne's poor family slept in the car because the wind and the rain made their tent leak. Luckily, we stayed dry inside our tent.
Charly loves to give kisses. Charly's goofy "say cheese" smile.

I can't remember a time that we've gone camping that it hasn't poured rain (twice), been really windy, or unexpectedly cold. That just happens when you are outdoors - you are in nature. No matter how often you look at the weather report, it can quickly change.

It was a fun weekend with family and enjoying the outdoors. We can't wait to go camping again with the Morris'... whenever Suzanne's ready to do it again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spiderman's wife

A conversation between the girls after Lucy finished saying our family prayer tonight...

Lucy:   "Mom, when you and Daddy die, I want to go live with Spiderman."
Leland:   "You can't. I think he already has a wife."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Just Pictures

Leland wearing Chuck's Hawaiian shirt for picture day. This is the same shirt that Chuck wore for his kindergarten picture day. Her favorite past time - dressing up for performances.
I love that top right picture of Lucy. She looks like a model. These pictures are from a local art festival we went to a while back.
Charly just cracks us up every day. She loves raspberries and loves making a big mess while she eats. She still can't walk that well but she loves to climb!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our Bear - 15 months

Charly's new nickname is "Bear" for no real reason that I know of (see Chuck's edit at bottom), but sometimes we also refer to her as "Clifford." Do you know the story of Clifford the Big Red Dog? He was the runt of the litter, then a little girl named Emily Elizabeth, loved him so much and prayed that he would grow. Then in a day he grew, and grew until he became the BIG red dog. That's a little how we feel about Charly.

She was just a little bitty thing that we were so worried about and now she is just growing and growing. She can also pound down some food. She puts a death grip on her high chair tray when I try to take her out when she wants more food. She wants anything and everything that anyone in sight is eating, which is why another nickname for her is "Mooch." She still only has 2 teeth, but she can gum anything you put in front of her. Her top two barely poked through this weekend.

We love our little Charly Bear - big or small. She is in such a cute stage, but she also has quite the personality. She holds a grudge if you do something she's not a fan of. She will look at you with this scowl and grunt at you. It's hard not to laugh. It's usually when I tell her, "No!," so I have to try hard to stand my ground and not laugh. I would love to catch it on camera.
This summer, Charly's favorite places were the splash pads at Stony Point Fashion Park. She would crawl right to the middle with no fear. Other kids and parents would point and laugh. Since she would crawl all over the place, I had to always make sure she was wearing pants even though it was the dead of summer.
Charly loves to help unload the dishwasher, even if they are dirty. We put all of our kids dishes on a bottom shelf, so the girls can reach their own stuff. Charly will actually put bowls and cups away.
One afternoon, she found a box of chocolate sandwich cookies. She was quite proud of herself. Look closely and you can see the chocolate smeared all over the oven.
She's taking steps with her walker, which is awesome. I think she's finally realized that maybe walking could be fun. She turns everything into a walker - doll strollers, the clothes hamper, step stools, boxes, pretty much anything she can lean on and moves. This video is from a few weeks ago, she is much more stable now.

15 month stats:
weight - 22 lbs : 25th percentile
height - 29 ½ in : 50th percentile

Her growth chart looked something like this:

Chuck's background on "Bear": I am not quite certain when I started calling her "Charly Bear." When she was little and had her tummy issues, she would cry in pain lots and loved to cuddle and fall asleep in my arms. She really liked it when I would pull her close so she could feel my breath on her cheek. There were a few times that I fell asleep with her by doing deep calming breaths on her cheek for so long. It was then that I began calling her my "Charly Bear" because she was just like a teddy bear that was so nice to cuddle and fall asleep with. Plus, she never grew bigger for 8 months, so that was like a stuffed teddy bear, too.

Once I started calling her that, I always thought of my uncle Mike Bodell who always calls Jared, his third child, "Bear," which led us all to call him "Jare Bear." Growing up, I always knew that Mike's kids were so important to him and to this day, I enjoy hearing him say "Bear" to his son. So, after using it more and more frequently, Charly has become "Bear."