Friday, December 24, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Christmas Eve is upon us, and the Wride fam is pretty excited! Last night, John took a cat nap in the evening, so he stayed up late with Adam and me while we were wrapping the final gifts. John has caught the joy of Christmas and was happily jumping away in in his exersaucer while we played Santa's helpers. Adam and I both agreed it was a memory we didn't want to forget...hence my renewed effort at blogging this morning.

Emma had trouble falling asleep too, but she was relegated to the upstairs level so as not to spoil any Christmas surprises. Occasionally, we heard lovie footsteps above and when I went up to check on her, she told me she had left a present on our bedroom door in the form of a foam Christmas tree sticker. This morning, she was the first up and had more gifts to hand out. I received a bunny stuffed animal from the extensive collection on her bed and another Christmas sticker. She has been looking around for more things to give.

Now, Spencer is busily wrapping in all the biggest boxes he can find. (Gotta be sneaky about presentation, you know). These are three awesome, Christmas kids.

More importantly, in the kids' prayers for the last month, there have been frequent mentions of how thankful we are that Baby Jesus was born. In this most glorious of holidays, we turn our thoughts to Him. I, for one, am so grateful that He has made it possible for me to live again and to be sealed eternally to a wonderful husband and these 3 Christmas-loving kids.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The other Wrides

Summer Reunion 2010 continues. Just off a Barnard family reunion, we returned to VA in time to host a mini Wride family reunion. Adam's uncle Jeff and three of his four kids plus one spouse came out to VA, and we got to play host. We LOVE it when people come visit because it gives us an excuse to get out and do some really fun things in DC and the surrounding area.

We met up at the Library of Congress. WHAT an impressive building. I am embarrassed to admit, after living here most of my life, that it was quite possibly my first time INSIDE the building. Gorgeous. I could spend a lot of time reading there. Here are Spencer and Emma at the fountain outside the library.


Here are Matt and Karen outside the Supreme Court Building.


Emma and Spence took their turn posing on the steps as well.


We found the perfect way to get around DC: load both older kids in a double stroller that is slightly difficult to steer and have Matt push. (Dan - I'm talking with you on the phone about J. Moyle when this picture is taken. Thought it would be fun to make note of that.)


Emma loved the dollhouse at the American History Museum. That is one of my favorite exhibits of all time. The Star-Spangled Banner isn't too bad, either.


Here we are at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum with most of the crew: Mike, Matt, Spencer, Adam, John, Michelle, Marie, Emma, and Jeff. Missing from the picture are Karen and Holly.


There you are, Holly!

Jessica's Wedding

August found us in the Los Angeles area for the wedding of Jessica (Adam's cousin) and Mitch. We absolutely love Jessica and her family. Isn't she a gorgeous bride?



We also loved spending some time with all of these fabulous people (and much of their posterity). The Barnard clan sure is a good one! We spent time relaxing by the pool, decorating for the reception, watching kids, talking, laughing, and eating at In 'N Out.


Finally, a picture of Spencer that just begs to be posted. What a stud.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I Love To See The Temple

Video is now working! I stopped blogging last night because there was NO way I could post about our trip to California without this little gem. We flew out for a wedding (more on that later). Before the sealing, we were walking around the Los Angeles temple and all the little cousins spontaneously started to sing "I Love to See the Temple." It was a precious sight.

video

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Adam got OLD(er)

Remember how Adam is the great ruiner of all surprises? Well, this time I got him! Some old friends of ours were in town for a wedding. When we saw them at church on Sunday, I made arrangements to have them over the following day for Adam's surprise birthday party. BJ had to be sneaky when Adam tried to make his own plans to see them, but BJ was convincing when he claimed they had other obligations. Adam was surprised (and thrilled) when the Baldwin fam joined us for dinner and the birthday celebration. We love you, Adam! Even if you are hard to surprise.


Meeting Miriam

See this sweet baby? My sister-in-law Katy and her baby Miriam now share a birthday. She's old enough now that she is smiling and showing off lots of personality, but I couldn't pass on an opportunity to show one of her early pictures. Look at all that gorgeous hair! And those cheeks...oh, those cheeks.

Adam Thoroughgood House

One of our days in Williamsburg, we took a road trip to Virginia Beach area to visit the Adam Thoroughgood House. My grandmother, in her genealogical pursuits, discovered that we are descendants of Adam Thoroughgood. (How many great-great-greats is it, Janet?) When we arrived, we were disappointed to discover that they are in the middle of doing some restoration work on the property. Armed with a picnic, and ready to state our genealogical ties and, therefore, our right to be on the property, we braved the construction fencing and meandered around back to explore a bit.


Adam Thoroughgood, the ninth son of a rector in England, came to America in 1622 as an indentured servant to pay for his passage. Upon completing his time of service, he went back to England but returned to America with a wife and 105 men. (Thank you, Wikipedia). He became a leading resident and landowner in VA Beach, and was even a member of the House of Burgess.



The grounds are really quite lovely. They are not the carefully manicured gardens of an English estate, but they have been planned out in a pleasant manner; the wildness and overgrowth of the area was not unbecoming.

Williamsburg

Traditionally, we take a stroll down the historic downtown Williamsburg area, taking time to sample the wares and investigate the shops at Merchant Square.




One of these days I am going to buy the 3-day pass and immerse myself in history, but with a brand new baby in a bjorn and hubby on the other side of the country, this was not the time. We did manage to sneak a fun picture with one of the "cast members"...at least, Heather and I thought it was fun.


We made it all the way down Duke of Gloucester Street and ended our walk at the Capitol - no small feat considering the heat. (Cheesy rhyme intentional).


We stopped on the way back for some refreshment at Gambol's Tavern (the reason for the Gambol's restaurant tradition Spencer and Trina have created). Without those desserts and drinks, I'm sure we would have melted before we got back to our cars. Everyone was SO glad to have made it to the parking lot. They climbed onto this neat tree while Mom and I paid for the parking, and I snapped a picture before the fun of the moment faded.

Busch Gardens

Just after our fun visit with Linsy, we headed down to meet up with the Cummings family in Busch Gardens. My grandparents had a timeshare in Williamsburg that my parents inherited, and we have been lucky enough to join them for several summer trips. It always makes me very nostalgic when we go down to Powhatan Plantation and stay in the same unit Gma and Gpa Cummings always had. They were spectacular people, and they loved being in Williamsburg.

This was a big trip for our family. We were REALLY glad to have the support of my extended family since it was our first time braving an amusement park with 3 kids. We found an AWESOME deal at Busch Gardens that got our 3 and 5 year olds in for free. An added bonus was that the tickets Adam and I purchased were good for the rest of the summer! That meant lots of Busch Gardens days for us! Adam was only able to stay in Williamsburg for the weekend because he had a business trip on Monday, but the kids and I stayed the rest of the week with my siblings and Mom. Thank goodness for that! We had plenty of entertainment and lots of extra hands. Sweet Sarah helped me bathe my kids each night; Trina kept Spencer and Emma engaged as they "played stories" and served snacks out of their "Gambol's restaurant" (excellent pink pie...aka fruit snacks); Joel played soccer with Spence and helped me push the double stroller everywhere we went; Heather kept Emma happy and entertained in extreme temperatures, even if that meant giving piggybacks; Mom held John and watched all the kiddos so I could get a few roller coaster rides in too.

This year, we had lots to do besides just the Land of the Dragons (kiddie area), although we do love it there...




Spencer and Emma wanted to spend most of their time in the Sesame Street "Forest of Fun." There is an excellent splash play area, a welcome reprieve from the record heat and humidity. (Heat index on our first day there was a blistering 110 degrees).



Emma's favorite ride in the area was Prince Elmo's Spire. It flips your stomach again and again as the hydraulics push you up and drop you down. She loves that feeling! Spence thinks it is pretty spectacular too.


I'm SO sad that I don't have a better picture of this and that blogger still refuses to upload my videos. Spencer became KING OF THE COASTERS on this trip. Grover's Alpine Express was just his size. He rode it the first time at the end of our first day there, and then proceeded to ride it another 7 times during the week. Hands up ALL the way!


Another favorite moment that really deserves video...Emma, John, and I were waiting in one of the courtyards while the rest of the gang (including Spencer) did a "big" ride. A performance had just ended, and Emma, moving to the music that was being piped through the speaker systems, took to the stage to put on her own show. She danced and swayed to her heart's content and was pleased to receive applause from passersby. What a charming little LOVIE we have.



And the award for BEST BABY goes to none other than JOHN. He braved the heat, didn't complain when he was dragged around day after day, contentedly napped in the Baby Bjorn, smiled from the stroller, and didn't mind being doused with water periodically as his mother attempted to keep him cool.



All in all, two thumbs up for Busch Gardens.

Lovin' me a Linsy visit!

Linsy, one of my college roomies and best friends, came down with her two boys (Tate and Beau) in July for a quick getaway. Her awesome hubby Darin is doing a medical residency, so we missed having him along for the fun. We beat the 100-degree heat/100% humidity (blah!) by going to Wegmans, the pool, and the fountains...although it was really too hot for even that. Regardless, we had a fantastic time. Tate is a fearless and amazing swimmer, even at age 3, and Beau is all sweetness and smiles. Remember how I said before the was a summer of reunions? Well, this was only the beginning...



Monday, September 27, 2010

John's Blessing Day

John's Blessing Day was one of those perfectly wonderful Sundays. We were surrounded by family and friends. It was one of those days where the stresses of life seem to melt away to reveal what is most important. I had a meeting in the morning, and I returned to a home where our oldest two were quietly indulging in creativity on the lower level while Adam gazed at a sleeping baby John upstairs. It was such a sweet father-son moment. Adam spent the morning really preparing for the experience that was to come: that of blessing our sweet little boy. It set such a nice tone for the day. The blessing was a beautiful one. Many family members and friends joined us to celebrate the event.

Here is John getting dressed in his blessing outfit. It is the same one Spencer wore for his blessing. My Grandma Bezzant picked it out when she and I went to shop for my wedding dress. We came upon some beautiful blessing outfits that were on sale; she purchased one for a girl and one for a boy. When my first baby was a boy, she gave me the outfit we had purchased that day, and I look forward to having all my boys wear it.



John in blessing outfit, complete with bonnet and bib. (He wore the bonnet all of 10 seconds...neither he nor his dad particularly like that part of the ensemble).


Our group - again a BIG thank you to everyone who joined us! After church, we continued the celebration with anyone who could stay and had a relaxed turkey dinner back at our house. (That's right...after 7 years being married, I finally stepped up and made my first turkey!! And SOMEHOW I forgot to take a picture of it!)


A family photo taken by Brother Baldwin (thanks!) in the church lobby. Someday we'll manage to get all three kids looking at the camera at the same time. Cute Spencer story: Most Sundays, getting Spencer ready for church is a last-minute affair. He doesn't like to get his nice clothes on until the last possible moment. However, sensing that John's blessing day was a special Sunday, he came down wearing just about every piece of church clothing he could manage: white shirt, yellow tie, blue and red sweater vest, pinstripe jacket, and pants. It was the sweetest thing. If it hadn't been ridiculously hot outside, I think we would have let him keep the outfit intact. As it was, he was okay leaving the sweater vest behind. I love that kid!


It was a busy Sunday. John was an absolute angel baby during the blessing and the festivities that followed. By the end of it, he was one sleepy boy. Thanks for letting us share in your big day, John. It was positively perfect! We are so lucky to have you in our family.

Sarah's Salon

While the boys are away,
The girls will PLAY!

My dad and brother Joel did a lot of scouting this summer. While they were away on high adventure, my sister Sarah organized a salon day at my parent's house. The kiddos and I headed over for a fun day at Grammy's with my mom and sisters. Sarah had the family room totally set up. The foot bath was positioned, pedicure tools set, nail polish displayed, and all the recliners even had towels situated, ready for a relaxed patron to be pampered.


*Sarah gives some AWESOME foot rubs.

Spencer decided he could handle a foot bath, but none of that girly nail polish stuff.


John was happy just hanging out, being held...or being fed. That always makes this baby smile.


Emma, on the other hand, was fully engaged. This is one girl who LOVES to do nails.


She's my very own pretty, pretty princess.

Pizza Picnic at the Fountains

One of our favorite summer activities is to head over to the local town center where once a week there is a live band playing by the fountains that we frequent. The kids play in the water, kick the soccer ball around, and DANCE! To kick off the summer season, we met up with both sides of the family to have a pizza picnic. I am SO, so sad that blogger will not load videos tonight because I have some choice ones of the kids showing off their moves. Those will have to wait for another night, I suppose. Regardless, here are a few snapshots of the fun.

Emma loves to be dipped by her Daddy.


Grandpa was very obliging and took his turn dancing with our Emma.


Spence showing off our dinner. Yum!


Marie and baby John