Dan is reading a story to Hallie's 1-year-old class at church. He and I have been volunteering in their class once a month. Those sweet little germ carriers keep passing colds around.
Hallie's babysitter, Jessica, attends our church, too. Hallie really seems to love her and her two sons, Tytus and Wesley.
Emma and Hallie are becoming the best of friends. It warms our hearts to watch them play and laugh together. Hallie of course is interested in everything Emma is doing, and Emma handles it well most of the time. She knows to put things in high places if she really doesn't want Hallie to mess with it.
Emma has been teaching Hallie how to cuddle
And other important life skills
We took another step in finishing the kitchen/den renovation this month. We invited our parents over for a "painting party" one Saturday, and they were gracious enough to say they'd help us for the day. In a single day, the den and laundry hallway were completely painted, and we love the new look! I took the girls out of the house for several hours to keep them out of everyone's hair.
By the time we brought lunch home for our painting crew, the den was complete! And the laundry hall was finished shortly after lunch. It was a blessing to have it done quickly, since this is the room that our family spends the most time in.
My coworker, Lori, and I ran the Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach during St. Patrick's Day weekend. The day before the race, we met at the race expo to pick up our bibs and check out the vendors.
The girls got a kick out of the Shamrock Bear
My little leprochauns!
Lori and I with the girls before the race. She and I have been running together at lunchtime for the past year. It's been great accountability for both of us, and she had always dreamed of running a half marathon but didn't have the courage to attempt it alone.
Lori and I after crossing the finish line! We ran together the entire time, which made the race a lot more fun! We finished with an 11 minute/mile pace, which is what we were hoping for. It was Lori's first half marathon, and she ran it like a pro! She started working at a different company a few weeks ago, and we've really been missing our runs and chats!
That same weekend, I also attended a bridal shower for our dear family friend, Christina.
Christina with her mom, Joyce, and sister, Kim.
Christina with the Jester ladies - Robin, Audrey, Dawn, and me
After Christina's shower, our family stayed in Williamsburg to have dinner and a birthday celebration for our nephews, Josiah and Aaron (standing to the left of Dawn)
In school news, Emma participated in a special annual event at StoneBridge. They celebrated the students' family who are active or former military members on Liberty Day.
She and my dad, "Papa," walked down the aisle together during the ceremony.
Hallie made sure to get her time in with Papa, too!
On another day at school, one of the parents brought chickens for the kids to interact with.
Some of the kids were afraid of them, but not our girl!
And just last week, they had the biggest preschool event of the year at StoneBridge - Beatrix Potter Day. They have read Beatrix Potter's books as part of their curriculum in K-4, and planned a big day of celebration where the kids got to dress up as their favorite characters.
Emma's class and teacher, Mrs. Baines. Emma was dressed as a white bunny named Lily.
The day was filled with activity stations for the kids to participate in, like fishing, sewing, washing clothes with a wash board and drying them on a line, painting, planting seeds, and making special snacks and crafts. It was SO much fun!
Hallie and I tagged along all day and Hallie did her best to be in the middle of the action.
She wasn't the only little sibling there, and she made a couple of baby friends before the day was over.
One of the sweetest parts of Beatrix Potter Day was the elaborate, fancy tea party they set up for the kids to enjoy. They had real china, hot tea, beautiful flowers and decorations, and lots of snacks for the kids to try.
They asked the boys walk the girls to their seats like gentlemen. It was so sweet.
Emma at her fancy tea party table. She did not like the tea, but loved the sugar cubes.
Outside of school, we've had some fun play dates with Emma's best friend from school, Elisha, and his mom, Jenna. They came to our house one day and it was pretty enough for the kids to play outside on the playground that the girls' cousins passed down to them.
They also loved the roller coaster that Dan's mom bought for Christmas last year.
On another day, we met Elisha and Jenna at the mall to play and eat lunch.
We ended up in Barnes and Noble after lunchtime to check out the books and toys there. They happened to be having an Easter event at the store that day, so we stayed a little longer to check it out.
Emma got her face painted for the first time.
And there was a special appearance by Peter Rabbit! Emma was so excited since she knew all about him from the Beatrix Potter books!
Hallie wasn't shy at all about going right up to meet him, either! She talked about the "Hi, bunny!" for a long time afterwards!
Since Easter is coming up soon, Emma has been asking questions about things we do around Easter. We talk about celebrating Easter because Jesus rose from the dead, and some of the fun things we do around the holiday like Easter egg hunts, dinner with family and friends, and decorating eggs.
She couldn't wait to dye eggs at home and wanted to do it that night before we even had dinner. I had 3 boiled eggs in the fridge, so that's how many eggs she got to dye. We mixed water, food coloring, and vinegar in cups and let the eggs sit in the dye while she ate. (which was motivation for her to finish her meal sooner - yay, sneaky mom trick!)
The colors turned out fantastic, and she had a blast decorating them with stickers after they dried. She was upset the next day to learn that I had peeled and packed one of her "friends" in her lunchbox. Heh!
Once a month, our church forgoes a Sunday night service so we can have small group meals instead. I hosted a couple of families from church at our house for dinner. They had young kids, too, so it was lots of fun for the girls and I.
The parents (and Emma)
The kids played outside, mostly, so I didn't get a great picture of all of them. There were 5 girls and 2 boys at our house under the age of 8. Needless to say, there was a lot of noise, laughter, and fun going on.
Dan has missed some of the action at home this month since he is in Europe on the Senior Class Trip!
He and two of the StoneBridge teachers are chaperoning the Senior Class through Germany, Italy, and France. It's an awesome experience each year!
Before he left, the girls and I snuck in as many breakfast and lunch dates as we could with him!
While he's away, we are sending him lots of photos and videos of our days. During Beatrix Potter Day, Emma wrote on the front cover of her sketch book, "I miss Dad" and "I love Mom".
Dan is really good about calling, FaceTiming, and texting us every day. So after seeing amazing sights in famous cities, he ends his day with a FaceTime chat with his girls. We miss him like crazy, and can't wait until he gets home!