Speaking of the holidays, we ended the summer with our annual Labor Day family reunion in Texas. We had a great time spending time with the people we love, and our extended family continues to grow each year. It was fun to meet the babies who were born since the last time we saw everyone.
My Uncle Brian and Aunt Margaret host the reunion at their beautiful ranch house every year.
Emma loved the horse-shaped tire swing in the yard.
She and cousin Laura had a great time driving in the Jeep together, too.
The kids and adults fished and rode the boats around the pond.
Emma and Laura are taking a pretend kayak ride. They were big buddies all weekend.
New babies! Left to right, cousin Emily holding Samuel, cousin Leslie holding Shepherd, and sister-in-law Sheila holding Meera
This was the first time we got to meet my brother, Steve, and sister-in-law, Sheila's daughter, Meera. She is such a sweet, happy baby!
I kind of like her. :)
After a couple of fun days, we took off our cowboy gear and said goodbye to Texas.
Back in Virginia, we've had play dates with our friends, Jenna and Elisha
Two little monkeys
Emma has mixed emotions about Elisha. Some days, she sees him as a threat to her toys and personal space, and other days, she loves playing with him. Elisha is laid back and loves everyone, and he is so confused by their on-again, off-again relationship. I just tell him to get used to it, because it will only get more confusing in the future.
She loves dressing like a princess, and sometimes she acts like one, too.
But sometimes the princess throws a fit on the kitchen floor.
Emma has been sick an awful lot the past couple of months. Preschool has taken a toll on her and she's caught several colds, which have sometimes turned into ear infections. She had a chronic ear infection last month that didn't go away after two rounds of oral antibiotics, so she had to get some pretty painful antibiotic shots.
Showing her "owie" from her shot.
Last week, we ended up at urgent care late at night when Emma had a severely painful UTI. Between the catheter and her shot, she fell asleep exhausted on the examining room floor.
Our poor baby
The UTI set her back some, but she had been going to the potty about 50% of the time. A little while ago, I let her try on some underwear since she had been doing really well that day. A few minutes later, she called out, "Look! I made an "F"!" Sure enough, she had wet her underwear (standing right in front of the potty, mind you) and somehow peed the letter "F" on the carpet. Ha!
I went away on my own for the first time since before Emma was born. October 19th was the one-year anniversary of my brother, Paul's, death, so I flew to Texas to spend the weekend with my parents and brother, Steve. It was a very strange feeling to get on an airplane without Emma and Dan for the first time. Although it was by far the most relaxing travel experience I've had in over two years.
After they dropped me off at the airport, Dan and Emma stayed there playing for about two hours. Between the escalators, stores, and curved benches, Norfolk International Airport became Emma's favorite playground. She would walk from one end of the bench to the other, lift her arm, and say "ta da!"
My parents, Steve, and I had the best time in Texas that weekend. We brought flowers to Paul's grave (the tombstone hadn't been placed yet), watched old home movies and photo slideshows, and just reminisced about Paul together. We also played games, ate great meals, went to church, enjoyed walks and runs, and just appreciated being together.
While I was away, Dan took Emma on the Jamestown-Scotland ferry on their way up to Williamsburg.
They spent the weekend at Grandma and Grandpa Jester's house and Emma had a blast playing with her cousin, Naomi!
The following weekend, I joined some of my coworkers for the Light The Night Walk to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Dan's school has a very good girls' volleyball team. They were undefeated in the metro conference and won the regional tournament for the 4th year in a row! We've enjoyed watching their games this season.
Before we knew it, it was Halloween! We drove to Williamsburg to go trick-or-treating with Dan's family. Left to right in front: nephew Aaron dressed as "Bullet Man" (he made up his own superhero!), Emma dressed as Cinderella, and nephew Josiah dressed as a dinosaur with a pistol.
Dan's sister, Robin, and her daughter, Miriam, dressed as Celia and Mike Wazowski from Monster's Inc.
Robin's husband, Rob, and their older daughter, Naomi, dressed as Sully and Boo. Boo was not happy about her costume.
But she had a good time riding around the neighborhood in her cousins' car.
Dan earned all of Emma's candy since he carried her around the neighborhood.
She kept saying "I'm a beautiful princess!" Yes you are, sweet girl.