Monday, October 31, 2011


We use Mr Potato Head type pieces to make pumpkin people. I found the pieces a few years ago, they are awesome. The girls can do it all themselves, no mess to clean up, and they are interchangeable.
 Trick or Treating was very short. It was raining so the girls only went to about 7 houses before they were ready to come home.
Leland - Cupcake Fairy Princess
Lucy - Spiderman pirate
Charly - Snow White

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Tiffany (Chuck's only sister left in CA) came to the East coast for a few weeks. She and Char (who recently moved to NC) came up to Richmond for a few days.
Our newest niece - Zelda. Crazy picture of her, but great of Tiffany.
Brooklyn and Charly had so much fun playing together.
I love this picture of Charly. She loves babies so much.
Char, Tiffany, and I went to Time Out for Women while they were here. I took a picnic and had lunch on the top of the parking deck with a fun view of the city. It was a lot of fun. Thanks to Chuck and Wayne who took care of the girls so that we could go. It was great.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


First day of school was a rainy, dreary, mess. Leland loves her new school and classmates. The bus stop is right next door with about 10-15 kids getting on the bus.
It's obvious that I let my children totally pick out their own clothes. Lucy has a mind of her own. Chuck once said that I should have my girls wear a button that says "I dressed myself." I told him that I think it's pretty obvious.

Messy hair - purple dress - red and black socks - brown shoes - oops! (Name that book)
I love this picture. We were opening up our weekly produce box from Dominion Harvest and I asked the girls what their favorite item was that we received. Charly picked the red peppers and Lucy picked the goat cheese. The way Charly was holding the peppers made me laugh.
"You're the cutest thing I ever did see. I really love your peppers. Want to shake your tree." (Name that song)
Charly (plus my other girls) love to use an umbrella. So much so, that they have broken or bent 3 umbrellas in the last month. Charly was so proud of herself getting the newspaper for daddy with her umbrella.
The love of Spider Man had been passed down. Lucy already grew out of the pjs that she got for Christmas just 9 months ago. Charly was so excited to get to wear the coveted pajamas.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Start a tradition of Christmas service in your family!

We really need a new family photo!
In 2009, the family of Ed and Kriss Gates started a new family Christmas tradition. As we prepare for our third year of this tradition, we invite all readers to consider starting a similar tradition in your family. This tradition has helped us focus on serving our communities and one another during the annual celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

For years, the six Gates children and their spouses exchanged gifts every Christmas. In 2009, with families spread across five state throughout the country, we realized we were spending nearly as much money on shipping costs as we were on gifts.

For our new tradition, we decided to perform acts of service in the name of the sibling whose name we were assigned at random. A friend drew names and notified each of us of the person we were to use to inspire our service. On Christmas Day, we revealed who we had and how we served on their behalf by posting our stories on The Gates Family Season of Service blog.

We invite you to come back to our blog on Christmas morning to read this year's service. If you would like to read about past years, here are two links to guide you:

A few friends have started this tradition in their family. If you do, we would love to hear about your experience. And if you allow, we will link to your blog and ask you to link back to ours.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rafting down the James (the second time)

Our second trip rafting down the James was an entire different experience than the first. The water level was twice as high, so the rapids were twice as intense. We did two of their usual trips together since the water was moving so quickly, so we covered a lot more of the river.

The best part of rafting more of the James was that we went under my favorite bridge in city. It was gorgeous.
The river was a nice chocolate milk color.

I love this angle of the city. It's so unique because you can only see it from being in the river.
We shared the raft with a great group of ladies. They were so much fun and we laughed all the way down the river.
Two of the ladies fell in the river on two separate occasions. The first was bumped out when we went over top a rock that you couldn't see from the surface and it popped her right out of her seat and into the water. The other was a bit scary. She fell in when we were going down the 2nd of three class IV-V rapids. Chuck tried to grab her and she was pulled under the raft by the current. Luckily, she popped back up after a few seconds (which felt like forever!) and Chuck was able to grab her and pull her back in.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rafting down the James

Thanks to Living Social (and Riverside Outfitters) we went go rafting down the James River. It was so much fun! 

One of the great things about Richmond, you can go river rafting through the middle of downtown.
We got a completely different view from the river of our favorite parts of the city. Did you know that Richmond is the only major city in America with Class IV rapids going through the city?

The best part of the trip was the very end, where we stopped and "surfed" the Pipeline Rapids (my favorite place in the city and home to the blue heron rookery). We had used up our camera by then, so no pictures. That's what happens when you are used to unlimited digital picture taking.

Even better is that Riverside Outfitters offered another deal through Living Social, so we are going again in 2 weeks. Next time we are taking more water cameras.

Duck Race

Every year there is a rubber duck race down a canal off the James River. It is a fundraiser for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization. Thousands of little rubber ducks race to the finish. It was cool to watch them drop out the container, but the water was low and the wind was blowing the opposite direction, so the "racing" was assisted by kayaks. We didn't have the winning duck, but still had fun.

Virginia Beach

We spent a day in Virginia Beach while Chuck attended a conference. Our trip was shortened due to my discovery of lice on the girls literally minutes before leaving on our trip. I stayed home to de-louse our heads and home, while Chuck left for the beach. We joined him later that night and the next day got one full day at the beach.

Appomattox Courthouse

On our way home from Smith Mountain Lake we stopped at Appomattox Courthouse National Park, which is where the surrender meeting occurred to end the Civil War. It was a really interesting place and gorgeous.
McLean House where Generals Lee and Grant signed the treaty to end the Civil War. 

Leland's a total Gates girl and loves to use a map.
Sweet Daddy
It was HOT and they were done with the picture taking.

Smith Mountain Lake

Back in July we spent a few days at a house on Smith Mountain Lake. This is the third year (2010, 2009) we have gone together and we always have lots of fun.
This year, my dad was able to come on the last day to hangout with us.
The ice cream boat is always a hit.
We love having our own beach area to swim in.
Playing game on the phones.
So glad I went on this round with Suzanne....
...and not this one. Andy took my place at the last minute.
This is Chuck "taking it easy" because of his back.