Saturday, November 4, 2017

Fall Festivities Continued

The weather in October was absolutely gorgeous, so we filled our month with lots of outdoor activities. Our only recent house progress has been on the outside. Dan bought an edger to clean up the edges of our yard and we've raked the leaves that have fallen from the tree in our front yard (thank God we don't have the giant tree in our back yard anymore!).  We decided to get rid of all the flowering plants and garden areas in our front and back yards, also.  The previous owners of our house loved to garden, but we honestly don't have time to keep it all weeded and maintained.  We invited family and friends to dig up any plants they wanted to plant at their homes, and several people took us up on the offer.  Then we pared it down further so we now have only a few nice bushes and trees lining the front and side of our house.  It'll be much easier to maintain, which is what we need.

After church one Sunday, Hallie came down with a "mystery fever" of 101+ degrees. It lasted for two days and I kept her away from other kids since I wasn't sure what was causing it.  After her fever broke, she developed a red, spotty rash all over her upper body, which I recognized as roseola from when Emma had it as a baby.  It's a highly contagious virus for babies, but usually kids older than 2 and adults don't catch it.   

The rash started with just a few suspicious red spots on her belly, and over the next two days, the rash completely covered her from the top of her head down to her knees. 

Poor baby. She was pretty sensitive to the touch and cranky for a few days.

I know they look practically identical, but this was Emma with her roseola rash 3 years ago when she was 16 months old. She had the same symptoms as Hallie, except she refused to eat while she wasn't feeling well. Hallie eats no matter what. Heh!

After 6 days, the rash was gone and she was feeling like her fancy self again. She loves to put on every necklace she can find.

Hallie is also having a blast walking with her walker toy. She is almost ready to take off on her own!

She still loves her baths and playing in water

She throws big fits when she doesn't get her way. She had climbed onto the fireplace and I refused to pick her up because she knows how to get down safely and I wanted her to do it by herself.

Hallie wants to do everything that Emma is doing.  Emma has been practicing her reading a lot recently, so Hallie brought her book to show her sister.

It's that wonderful time of year when the weather is perfect for baking! Emma loves to help me make (and eat!) banana bread, brownies, and cookies.

These girls go running to the door when Dan gets home at night.  After a busy day at work, this is what his evenings look like.  No wonder he's exhausted all the time! 

Hallie and I drop Emma off at school and pick her up on Tuesdays since I'm off from work. One morning, we didn't have Hallie's infant car seat, so Emma got to sit in a booster seat for the first time. 

And Hallie got to try out Emma's car seat.  She'll graduate from her infant seat soon, but we'll still keep her rear-facing. Except when I don't have her car seat and we are running late to school, of course! 

Emma has been thriving in school this year, and hasn't missed a day yet.  That's a big deal after she missed at least a quarter of the year last year because of sicknesses and surgeries!  She is learning to read and write, speak French, learn songs with sign language, and memorize Bible verses and poems.  It's amazing to watch her soak in new things.

These were her school pictures:

She's in the "bare all your teeth for the camera" stage, and so adorable!


Hallie and I joined Emma's class on a field trip to Hunt Club Farm during their fall festival season.

The three of us on the hay ride

The girls feeding the goats

One of the best features was the farm's gigantic bird cage full of parakeets.  They sold bird seed on sticks and the birds would fly right to you to eat the seeds.

Emma got to pick a pumpkin from the patch

Hallie wanted all the pumpkins!

The field trip consisted of two K-4 classes. The teacher standing on the right is her teacher this year, Mrs. Baines.  The teacher on the left, Miss Butler, was Emma's K-3 teacher last year (Miss Butler moved up a grade to teach K-4 this year, so some kids have had her for two years now)

 Since I drove separately, we got to stay after the field trip was over for the class.  Emma loved playing for a little longer and even got to ride a pony named "Cinderella".

We carved the pumpkin she picked later that weekend. She refused to touch the inside.

She wanted a kitty jack-o'-lantern, which turned out pretty cute!

It lasted about 5 days before we had to throw it out because it was rotting. But we enjoyed it while it lasted!

The girls and I joined Dan's parents and our nephews at Virginia Beach one afternoon. We went to see the sand sculptures that were on display there.


Afterward, we followed them to Williamsburg to join them for a swim at their timeshare and dinner at their house.


We had the best time celebrating our niece, Naomi's, 4th birthday this month!

It was a costume party, at least for the kids. :)

Robin came up with a fun sand art craft for everyone

And we all gathered to sing Happy Birthday to the birthday girl

While the birthday party was going on, Dan was hiking up a mountain with some co-workers and students from his school. He made it to the top of the mountain first and impressed the high schoolers. He left early enough to come to Naomi's birthday party a few hours late.

 All the cousins (except baby Micah) at the party

We had some gorgeous days in October, and since Dan's parents were staying at their timeshare in Virginia Beach, we joined them to play at the beach several days.

 Grandpa and Hallie enjoying the sunshine

Grandpa, Grandma, and the girls. I love Emma's wink!

We dipped our toes in the water, but it was too cold to go in any further.

Our sand and surf-loving girl! She is showing off a seashell she found.

Hallie also loves the sand - it's very tasty! Ha!  I have to keep her off the ground once she starts eating it.

Our beach beauties

Robin and her girls were able to come to the beach one day to play, too.

Hallie and Miriam digging in the sand 

Emma and Naomi always enjoy playing together

I love their fun cousin friendship!

On Halloween evening, we drove to Williamsburg to trick-or-treat with Dan's brother Tim, his wife, Dawn, and their five boys. Dan's parents and some of Tim and Dawn's friends joined us, too.

Hallie was Snow White (thanks to Robin for the hand-me-down costume!)

And Emma dressed as Elena of Avalor

Tim and Dawn's five sons came up with very creative costumes this year!

I think we emptied the coffers of candy every time our group knocked on a door!  Since Emma ran as fast as her little legs could carry her to beat all the other kids to the candy, she only lasted an hour before she was too tired to trick-or-treat anymore.  That was fine with us - it was a school night and we needed to get the girls home. It was a fun end to the month! 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Kicking off the Fall Season

We had a great September, and the best part of all was that there were no hospital visits! We don't take those months for granted.

In house news, our furniture for the den finally arrived! We love our new couch, ottoman, and tables! We didn't mind waiting a few extra weeks for them to be delivered based on the discounted price we got from Coleman Furniture.

We're definitely enjoying having a comfortable place to sit in that room. Otherwise, we have slowed down drastically on the house updates, but that was bound to happen when school started.


Hallie is pulling up everywhere and scooting sideways along tables and couches now.  She shows no interest in walking independently yet, which is fine with us.  She'll get there in her own time.
She was playing with the train table at Barnes and Noble

And I turned my back for a minute and she was emptying out the shelves! It's still her favorite pastime.

I've been reading books to Hallie regularly in the mornings while she drinks her first bottle of milk, and she has finally begun to show an interest in "reading" on her own. I'm very excited about it, and hope that she'll love books and reading as much as Emma and I do.

Emma has continued to do amazingly well after her last emergency kidney surgery. We are so grateful to God!  We have seen a new level of happiness in her that we think is due to the fact that she feels good every day.  She has been loving all the rain we've gotten recently, and always begs to jump in the puddles!

Grandpa and Grandma came to visit, and Emma and Grandpa's outfits happened to match. Twinsies!

Emma began her first swimming lessons this month at our local YMCA. We go every Saturday morning for a half hour.  When I told her that I had signed her up, she burst into tears because she was "too scared to go" and "didn't want to do it"(!!!!!!)  Then we got to the lesson and she absolutely loved it and was heartbroken when class was over. Heh! It's been a fun thing to look forward to each weekend.

She got a cut and lump on the forehead this month.  She was running through our hallway, tripped, and landed head first into a door frame.  It was a big deal at the time and I thought it would look much worse than it did.  Thank God she missed her eye!

We had lots of fun times with family and friends this month, too!

Dan's sister, Robin, and her girls, Naomi and Miriam, drove to Virginia Beach to play with us at the park one day.  The girls always have the best time together.

I took Emma to her classmate, Remy's, birthday party one Saturday.  It was at a giant indoor playground, which was a blast!

Remy's favorite characters are the Minions, and a real one came to visit during the party!

After Remy's party, Emma and I picked up Hallie and ran over to Hallie's friend, Eli's birthday party!  Hallie's babysitter, Lauren, has two sons, and her oldest was turning 3.  They had the cutest superhero-themed party in their backyard, complete with an obstacle course for the kids. Emma got a cape to wear (she is taking her superhero role very seriously) and Hallie got a mask (she is trying to eat it off her own face since I'm holding her hands down for the photo). 

Eli dressed as Spiderman during his party. He was "super" cute. :)

We had another fun-filled Saturday with our families at the Norfolk Zoo.  It was free museum day, and we were able to print enough free tickets for everyone to go.

My parents, Dan's parents, and Dan's brother, Tim's, family joined us. We had quite the crew!

The kids climbed on a rhinoceros statue for a photo shoot.

Some crazy kids (aka, Josiah and Emma) they kept behind bars with a "warning" sign.

Riding the train around the zoo

It was a slow train. Lots of opportunities for photos.

After the zoo, we went to Doumar's, an old fashioned drive-thru restaurant, for dinner and ice cream

The girls and I visited a farm (Bergey's Breadbasket) with Emma's friend Elisha and his mom, Jenna. They had a corn maze, a hay ride, a petting zoo, a toddler play area, a corn gun, a pumpkin patch, and a restaurant with killer breads and sandwiches for lunch.
Emma and Hallie with Elisha

Exploring the corn maze

Emma befriended the sweetest barn cat

And we took pictures in the pumpkin patch. Happy Fall!