I took the girls to Old Town Alexandria to see a Christmas boat parade on the Potomac, but their favorite part was the city walk at night with all the Christmas lights and going out for hot chocolate. This picture was taken shortly before Laura spilled both our drinks all over the table, bench, wall and floor of the restaurant. (Serenity now!) Justin and the girls built a snowgal named "Sally". Like all good visitors she stayed for only about three days.
I had many pictures of Mark and more of Laura, but none with the two of them together. The look on Mark's face makes me laugh, "Why Mom? Why?"
This year Justin's brother Jeff came to town for the holiday. It was great to catch up with him and let the kids play and get to know him better. We'll miss him out here on the East Coast when he moves on next year.
I see deer in our back yard everyday, but they're not usually this close. It's a tad startling to wake up, stretch and look out your window to see a animal that size having breakfast right next to you.
I finally renewed my drivers license last week. It's been on my to do list for WAY to long. I braved the DMV with two little kids and maintained a positive and cheerful attitude the whole time. The kids did great, the wait wasn't unbearable, and the lady at the counter almost looked me in the eye. (I try to make eye contact with people, but they don't always engage.) I had all the right paperwork, and all I needed to do was take the photo. Everyone knows the picture is never a great one, but at least there's a smile. Not anymore...her instructions were not to smile and keep my lips together. The first shot I eeked out a tiny smile, but she firmly reminded me not to smile. So I put my lips together and tried to focus on not smiling, it's harder than you might think. She said thank you and I'd get my license in the mail in a week or so. I went on my way feeling confident.
Well, the mail came today with my license. I eagerly opened the envelope and KA-BLAMO, I look terrible! Forgive my vanity, but this is the worst picture of me that I've ever seen. If a stranger were to look at it and judge what my career might be they might say, a bouncer at a bar downtown or a dock worker. All I can do is put in my wallet and try not to get a ticket on sheer fear that I'll have to pull that puppy out and hand in to the officer and wait for him to shudder. No matter what kind of cheek bones you have or how full your lips are, a smile goes a long way.
I think I spent less than seven dollars on their costumes this year. You know your kids look cute when strangers who are giving out trick or treating candy run for their cameras when these kids ring the bell.
We took all the little ones to the Nationals vs. Dodgers game last night. The only reason I can think as to why we ventured out with all three kids...one of them a newborn, was because the tickets were free. We're suckers for free things. When they're tossing t-shirt into the crowd with potato guns, I'm up there screaming and waving my hands with the rest of the free-loving folks. One gal who looked to be about 60ish dove onto the cement steps to nab her balled up t-shirt. She got it...along with a lifetime of knee pain. But she got it.
There are a lot of things to love about new babies, but my favorite is the sleepy smile. Why do they smile so much while they dream? What are they dreaming about? Who knew that a full tummy, dry bottom and soft blanket could be so nice?
Alice started school this week. The big news is that she learned to tie her shoes all by herself...thanks to Grandpa Keith. She thought that all first graders needed to be able to do that without asking the teacher for help. When she came home off the bus she wanted to tell Mark all the details of her day.
Before I post about the new school year, I thought I should finish up the summer. Justin took the girls to the fair while I was recovering from child birth. They had a lot of fun and somehow missed the huge rain storm that hit the rest of the county. I'm glad the girls had fun and that Justin was willing to take them out...I could have done without the box of baby chickens they came home with though.
When the grandmothers come to town Alice loves to host a tea party, and this time we got all dolled up. It was also my sister-in-law's first tea party. We had a lot of family in town for Mark's blessing last Sunday. My parents from Texas, Brad and Brittney from Norfolk and Justin's parents from Alaska.
Our good friends the Nevilles were able to share the day with us as well. She had her little baby, Hunter, five days after Mark was born.
One more with our family groups. I'm so thankful for our parents who recognize the importance of a new baby and the blessing. It was not easy for anyone to come, but we really appreciate the sacrifice, love and support. It's been a special time.