Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning

We spent Christmas morning at my Dad's house in North Carolina. It was fun to have one more kid around for the excitement.

Leland - the year of princess and barbies

Lucy - KA POW! this girl loves Spider Man

Charly - the impatient eater
Check out the chunks of skin missing from the orange she just couldn't wait for me to peel. I finally captured real smile not the usual crazy picture face.
Dad and Layni

It was fun to talk to Grammy and Papa on Skype.

My southern boy's t-shirt and opening his NASCAR gift

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cutting down the tree

Cutting down our own Christmas tree is a tradition that both Chuck and I want to do with our family. This year, we found a great tree farm not too far from home called LaRon Tree Farm. Unfortunately, the owner said he is retiring and will not be open the next few years to let let the rest of his trees grow.

The picture on the top left was just moments before the tree fell, and notice the proximity of Charly there... I had to grab Charly and yank her quickly out of the way before the tree crashed on top of her. 
It was an awesome place to get our tree. They even had these great tree sleds invented by the owner to transport our tree and children.While our tree was being wrapped and tied to the van, we roasted marshmallows, made s'mores, and drank hot chocolate. 
The girls loved decorating the Christmas tree and made me sing my favorite Christmas song, The Happiest Christmas Tree by Nat King Cole, while we decorated.
Chuck also put some Christmas lights up on our house after Lucy's sweet, yet persistent, request. It started raining when he was about half-way done, but he kept going and finally finished in the dark and soaking wet. We had a remote to turn the lights on and off and I was able to convince the girls that the Christmas lights turned on only by them yelling "Merry Christmas!" as loud as they could.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Richmond Christmas Festivities (Part 2 of 2)

The Miracle Of Christmas is a free, live Nativity presented by the Richmond Metro Zoo. It is a wonderful way to feel the true meaning of Christmas by watching a reenactment of the events leading up to the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We love to take our girls every year. This year, my mother joined us again along with her friend who presents Back to Bethlehem in Bath, NC.
After the show, picture op with some of the cast and animals.
We took a long way home in order to drive past a few of the homes on the Tacky lights Tour. Here are a few of our favorites.

Richmond Christmas Festivities (Part 1 of 2)

At the beginning of December we went to a few Christmas festivities that are Richmond traditions to help get us into the Christmas spirit.

First up was the Grand Illumination in downtown Richmond, where they turn on the lights to the Christmas tree, other trees, deer, and all the buildings downtown at one time. We went last year and had a lot of fun. This year we didn't get great pictures, so you can check out last year's pictures.

The girls were able to meet some of the stars of the Nutcracker.
We saw Santa a few times throughout the night and he was of course willing to listen to all the wishes from 2 little girls.
We also went to the Main Street Station open house. I love that building so much. None of our pictures turned out there, either. We were really frustrated with our camera that night. It was recently repaired from when I dropped it in the sand over the summer and it's never been the same. Luckily, I got a fabulous new camera for Christmas, so my frustrations are over.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I recently looked at my blog and realized that I only posted 2 times in November. I have a lot to catch up on. I started working for a company called Dominion Harvest back in the fall and I love it. It has kept me very busy but, we are in the off season right now, so hopefully I can catch up. I like to date my blog posts according to when they happened, so they may be a little out of order.

A note from Leland with instructions on how to get to her hideout.
Chuck has sleep apnea and he finally got a c-pap machine. He no longer snores like a freight train, which means I don't have to elbow him in the side or kick him in the middle of the night to roll over, so we all sleep so much better. The first night he slept with the machine I seriously thought he was dead in the middle of the night. He usually is such a loud and fitful sleeper and he was so still and silent while he slept. It was a little creepy.
Lucy is in such a fun stage. She is adamant about dressing herself most days, which leads to great ensembles. She still loves everything about Spiderman and hyperventilates at the sight of anything remotely resembling Spiderman.

We recently switched the big girls from toddler beds to twin beds. Poor Lucy was complaining about her "small" bed and we would hear her banging against the frame at night. The picture on the bottom right is how we found her the first night in the twin bed. That bigger bed and she still was hanging off the edge. I think she will soon be taller than Leland.
Charly has a ridiculous smile when the camera comes out. She really is a cute girl, but I may not have many pictures to prove it.
Charly has recently discovered climbing. These two pictures were taken literally minutes from each other. I think she will be my first child to break a bone or get stitches.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Traditions Start Now

Lots of people around Christmastime like to know what others' traditions are, as they develop their own traditions. Last year, being in a new city for Christmas, we decided to dive into the long lasting Richmond Christmas traditions. Tonight, we kick off our month long 2nd annual Gates Family Christmas celebration.

James Center Illumination – Tonight 6pm (Last year’s blog post)
Christmas Parade – Saturday 10am
Lowes Build and Grow train set – each Saturday in December
Miracle of Christmas – Richmond Zoo (Last years’ blog post)

Check your local paper and find out what's traditions your community has for Christmas.