One Fat, Spoiled Cat

I realized that our "first child", Jingle, had not made the blog yet. While she doesn't get the attention that she did before Natalie arrived, she still has a good life!


Dad, you made the blog! (Mom, too)

My Dad keeps asking me when he is going to make the blog, so here you are Dad. We had a great afternoon exploring Mt. Vernon with my mom and dad. Natalie would say "we are at George's house." The sad part of it is that she will not remember any of our adventures here. Too bad we are living in such an exciting place when she is so young.

Right now my mom is reading bedtime stories to Natalie. What a blessing for everyone. Natalie loves the time with her Mimi. Mimi loves the time with Natalie. I love the time to myself!


Family, extended (II)

We spent the morning with our "extended family" on Mr. Reames's boat, "Tar Heel". We had a great time cruising up and down the Potomac River. It was the first time Madeline had been on her Granddaddy's boat and the first boat trip that Natalie could remember. Both of the girls did better on the boat than we thought they would. It is hard for a two-year-old to put up with a life vest and having to be seated for too terribly long. It was so relaxing to be out on the water.

Natalie showed her true Gregory roots and cuddled up for a nap (with Mrs. Reames) about an hour into the trip. There is something about boats and Gregorys that puts us right to sleep!
We had a wonderful time and once again felt so welcomed and loved by Chris's family!


Washed Off

As Natalie was taking a bath tonight I started thinking about all the mess that we were washing off of her...
  1. Lots of sweat - we were outside in the heat most of the day
  2. Sunscreen
  3. Bug spray
  4. Sand - from the sand box and playing with sand art
  5. Paint - from facepainting and painting a tote bag for our new friend Margaret

We had a super-fun, super-busy day and I am super-tired!

P.S. We really missed Daddy!

Strawberry Festival

Another fun adventure with Sarah and her family! This morning Sarah, Madeline, Grandma, Natalie and I headed out to the Strawberry Festival. The Festival was held at a state park in the foothills of Virginia. The area was beautiful. We had a great time listening to bag-pipe music, playing with sand art, getting faces painted, watching a puppet show, visiting the petting zoo and eating strawberry sundaes.

I am still learning about my daughter and being a mommie. The thing that I am learning lately is that she ain't happy in the heat (especially when the sand art necklace she just made broke and she is cutting molars {I will be so glad when she has all her teeth in. She is the world's worst teether, but I digress})!! I am also learning that her mom needs to be a lot more patient with her, especially in the heat. Pray for us, it could be a long summer!!


What I should have been doing...

  1. Taking a shower.
  2. Writing a paper
  3. Cleaning my nasty house.

Another addiction...

Thanks to my "blogger buddies" I now have another addiction to use my precious time on.

Green Thumb Day at Cox Farm

Digging in the dirt
Rides in the hay
Feeding the cows
Planting flowers
Going down slides
Playing on the train
Resting in the shade


Natalie Quote

"I want to wear a crown!"

She made this proclamation tonight while we were getting her ready for bed. I didn't even know she knew the word "crown". Where do they come up with this stuff?

Interesting People

I have met some very interesting people in my short year here in Northern Virgina. (I always refer to this place as Northern Virginia because it is very different from the rest of Virginia, it should really be it's own state, but I digress) Anyway, one of the most recent people that I met has invited me to get involved in the International BreastMilk Project with her. She wants to start a chapter here in Virginia and wants me to be her assistant. I know this sounds way out there to a lot of you but what the IBMP is is a way for women in the US to donate their breastmilk to AIDS orphans in Africa. Cool, huh! This same person has also invited me to a fund raiser for Obama. The fund raiser sounds really fun, a concert for families. I don't know if I will go or not, Kim would die, but it is fun to be in contact with people who are interested in impacting and changing our world. I don't know what the point of this post is, but there it is...

Perfect Spring Morning

What could be better than spending a beautiful spring morning at the park with friends? Natalie, Madeline, Sarah and I had a wonderful time exploring a new park this morning. It was one of the best parks that I have been to in a while. It had great playground equipment for the girls to explore, lots of swings, and lots of trees and shade. What could be better?

We had a picnic lunch and headed home for a long nap. What could be better?

I know what could be better, having Kim and Chris there with us!


Another Happy Birthday!

happy 30th birthday, again, to Papa Askew!
here's to many more!



Even adults have to be reminded.

Weekend in Windsor

Long ride in the car
Yummy pancakes
Rides on the Tractor with Grand-Daddy
Playing with cousins
Nieces, Aunts and Uncles
BBQ chicken
Brothers playing catch
Sleepover at Grandma's
Chocolate cake
Looking at soybeans
Car full of girls
Picking flowers
One Tired Girl!!

Can't wait till next time!


Cuddle Time

Since Natalie's crib is now a "Big Girl Bed" I climbed in it with her when she woke up from nap today. We talked and cuddled, so much fun.

p.s. I still need to be packing!

What I should have been doing...

Let's start a 'segment' of what I should be doing instead of blogging...
  1. packing to leave for Windsor
  2. taking out the trash
  3. working on papers


So, our last MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) meeting of the year was today which meant time for sharing about what MOPS has meant to you. In the interest of full disclosure, I was thinking "Give me a break!" MOPS means time away from Natalie on Friday mornings to spend time with other women. Period. But as people started sharing and crying of course I joined them in the crying. I also started thinking about what they were saying. I realized that MOPS has meant more to me than that but I also started thinking about the journey that our family has been on over the past year and the way that God has been so faithful. I also started thinking about the deep need that each one of us has to be in community with others and realizing how thankful that I need to be for the way that God has given that to me in every part of my journey.

One woman's story especially resonated with me. She has been in the Northern Virgina area for six years now and is looking at a move this summer. She talked about how she came to this area kicking and screaming and crying. She did not want to be here but now she can't imagine leaving. I, too, came to this area crying! I cried for months before we left. I cried everyday the week before we left. I cried for most of the drive up here. I was so sad. I left the people that I love. I left my dearest friends. I left being close to my family. I left a church family that had known me for six years. I left all the streets that I knew and stores that I loved (I now know that Target and the Teeter are everywhere and I even found a two-story Kohl's), I left the first house we owned as a family, I left co-workers that were like family to me. What could Northern Virginia possible have to offer...

Northern Virginia has a lot. Northern Virginia has good people, good shopping, good churches, good libraries, good parks, good stuff! Guess what, God is in Northern Virginia too and He has good things planned for me here too! I am achieving career goals that would have been much harder in other areas. I am getting opportunities to work with amazing people on international projects. God is growing our marriage. The bad news in all of this is that I am pretty certain that I am going to be sad when moving day comes again!

I very wise person in my life has said to me that if you are sad when you leave somewhere it means that you have lived well there. Sure, I could have kept myself closed off and pined away for North Carolina for two years but what good would of come from that? God wants to grow me and for me to be living life to the fullest wherever he places me. For me, living life to the fullest means being involved in people's lives, having friends, and caring for people.

I can say that every transition in life has been hard but I guess I should be thankful for that. I always doubt that God will provide friends and community again but he always has and will. When I left high school I was certain that I would never find such good friends again. The same with college. The same with leaving Winston. The same in a year from now.

To those of you who have made leaving hard, thank you! I love you! You are what make life worth living! The good news is that I have another year to invest here before I rip my heart out by leaving.



No Melinda Dolittle in the final? Come on people!

I guess I should have voted.


Me: "Natalie who do you want to pray for?"
Natalie: "Eddiebody"

God bless you all!

Daddy, what's that?

Natalie loves to look at the fish tank with her Daddy. She names all the fish as they go swimming by. What a relaxing way to wind down at the end of the day!


Fun Day

Best Buddies at the park.

My Preschool Picasso.


The Horn

Joel Hite, this is for you!


Happy Birthday, Mom!

Tomorrow is my mom's 57th birthday.

My mom is amazing!
She is fun.
She really has gray hair, but she thinks she has red hair.
She is loving.
She sends me her fat pants.
She is the glue that holds our family together.
She is "Dory" from Finding Nemo.
She is a cancer survivor.
She steals food from your plate (are you going to eat that?).
She is my cheerleader.
She tells me that I am beautiful even if I am wearing pjs.
She is a wonderful Mimi.
She makes me believe in myself.
She is my dear friend.
Happy Birthday, Mommie!
I love you!

Family, extended

Everyday I think that I am not going to write a blog because I keep thinking I will run out of things to say. I was determined not to write a cheesy Mother's Day blog but here it comes, sort of.

Kim had to work this afternoon, of course. I had known this for a long time and was prepared to spend the afternoon and evening just hanging out with Natalie. But yesterday my plans changed when Chris's parents invited us to their house to celebrate with them. What a blessing to Natalie and I! We got to spend a fun evening with Sarah, Chris and Madeline and lots of their family. Chris's immediate family was the common tie that held all 14 of us together. Natalie and I were the only people in attendance who were not legally related to each other but the mix of people was great: moms, dads, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, grandmothers, mother-in-laws, father-in-laws.

This is not the first time that Sarah and Chris's family has opened their arms to us. We spent Easter with Sarah's parents. We will also be spending a week at the beach with both families this summer. Being further away from home than our family has been before it has been such a blessing to be welcomed by the Reames-Angerman family. I think that one of the best ways that you can see love in a family is to see that love extended to others. I hope that I will remember how much this welcome has meant to me and extend it to others. I want to establish a home filled with God's love and laughter. Thanks to these families for a wonderful example!


Peacock Terror

In the middle of crazy suburban Northern Virginia there is a park for the counrty girl in me, the girl who used to show sheep at local county fairs. The name of the park is Frying Pan Farm Park.

I love to visit Frying Pan Farm! It is a working farm that is open to the public to visit with the animals. They have horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys and this peacock. Natalie and the peacock had an interaction today that didn't go over so well with the Natster. She was being so brave walking through the park and looking at the animals (she had been a bit nervous at the park because of the "loud sheep"). We went to have a look at the peacock and it shreeked at her (or whatever noise a peacock makes) and scared her to death. She was terrorized by the peacock. Now, I guess we will have to do some peacock therapy in her future.



I can honestly say that bedtime is one of the few things that is just as a dreamed it would be before I had children. Many of my illusions have fallen by the wayside but thankfully bedtime has not. I love it! A very sweet 15 minutes or so that I get to spend with my child every day. It goes a little something like this...three stories, saying prayers and a couple of songs. Then she climbs out of my lap and happily walks to bed. Every time my dad is here, he is amazed, "you mean you just put her in bed awake and she stays there until she falls asleep." Yup, amazing as it is, that is how it works. One of the few things that I feel like Kim and I have really gotten right as parents. I can't tell you how we got there. We didn't follow any specific book, just listened to the advice of our friends and tried to figure out what worked for Natalie.

Before I get too cheesy and poetic, I also really like bedtime because it means ME-time!

And a small disclaimer, yes, she still has a passie...what can I say, we are not that good.


No, Mommie, I need to do it!

As Natalie is becoming more independent I am hearing that statement more and more. She is desiring more freedom. She wants to feel like she can do it herself. Somethings she can and I am glad for her to (feed herself, go up the stairs). There are some things that she wants to do herself but it is so much easier if I do them for her (putting the toothpaste on her toothbrush, going down the stairs). And then there are the things that she really can't do by herself yet but she really wants to (putting her pants and shirts on correctly). These are just a few examples of the battles of independence she is fighting every day.

I am trying to learn how to encourage her independence even though lots of me wants her to stay a baby and depend on me! She is still my little girl. I am struggling to let go! I think the thing that I am trying to master at this point is how to help her without her realizing that she is being helped. I am learning to be the behind the scenes helper and encourager. This is something that my mom does to this day.

No, mommie, I need to do it. Something tells me that I will be hearing that for a long time!



The best word I know to describe American Idol this week, really this whole season. But, yes, I am still watching every week!

Welcome to Moe's!

I am writing this blog for two reasons. The first, I need to make a confession. We eat at Moe's way too much. When I say that we eat there at least once a week I am not exaggerating. Here is my rationalization....they send out buy one get one free coupons in the mail all the time. I am a sucker for a good coupon! Second, for a quick, cheap meal it is relatively healthy. Third, Natalie really likes it. I could go on but those are three very good reasons! I think I might need to start Moe's Anonymous.

Second, my walk with Natalie to Moe's for dinner tonight made me start thinking about the things that I will miss about living in Northern Virginia. While my heart still longs to be in North Carolina, I am really enjoying our time here and am thankful for it. So, here is the list of things that I will miss...
  1. The Reames Family-I met Sarah, Chris and Madeline on July 4th of last year, just a couple of weeks after we moved here. I know that this sounds cheesy but I know that we are meant to be friends and that God brought them into our life. I don't think that I would be surviving living here without them. They are such wonderful people and have welcomed us with open arms. Sarah and I have so much in common that it is almost scary. We were both born in April of 1978. We both got married in the summer of 2000. We had our little girls two months apart. We are both nurses, Sarah worked in the NICU. We share many of the same hobbies and interests. Most importantly, she is a great listener. We talk almost every day. We have been on many fun adventures together with the girls, have spent many afternoons together going to the pool, going to the park, walking to get a smoothie or just hanging out at her house. In a very short time we have developed a lifelong friendship! Chris has also been great to us. There have been many evenings when he has been greeted from work by his wife, daughter, Natalie and I and he never seems to mind the chaos added to his life. He makes me life with his random knowledge! Natalie is the founding member of the Chris Reames Fan Club. I love these guys and am truly going to miss them. I am still hopeful that we can convince them to move back with us. (Sarah and Chris will have to join Moe's Anonymous with me!)
  2. Trader Joe's-a very fun grocery store that was once described to me as a mix of Food Lion and Whole Foods. They have already built one in the Raleigh area so maybe one will be coming to wherever we settle.
  3. Living in a neighborhood where we can walk to so many great places-the pool, the park, our dearest friend's house, Moe's, Starbucks, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Caribou Coffee, Z-Pizza, ice cream shops, a fun gift shop, two grocery stores...I don't know that we will ever live in a place like this again but it is really fun!
  4. The diversity!
  5. The shopping!
  6. The Reames Family

In order to be fair, here are the things that I won't miss...

  1. Traffic!
  2. Being 4.5 to 6 hours from our family and most of our friends.
  3. Living in the wealthiest county in the country
  4. Being 4.5 to 6 hours from our family and most of our friends.
  5. Not having a yard.
  6. Being 4.5 to 6 hours from our family and most of our friends.



This picture was taken by Dawn this weekend and is too cute not to share. Okay, I am biased, but she is pretty dang cute!

Fun Times!

What a great trip to North Carolina Natalie and I had! We had to leave Kim at home to earn some money to support our habits (Thanks for all your hardwork, Kim, I love you!) We headed out Saturday afternoon on what should have been a 6 hour trip. I decided that 6 hours was not long enough in the car with a 2 year old so I took the "scenic route." We finally arrived at Uncle John and Aunt Amy's house nearly 8 hours later. Natalie was such a trooper. I didn't get her out of her seat the whole time and she was so good! (In case you are wondering, no, I didn't change her diaper the whole time.) We had a yummy dinner prepared by Amy and went to bed!

We spent most of Sunday hanging out with John and Amy. Natalie loves her Aunt and Uncle! No offense John, but Aunt Amy was a big hit this time! Natalie thought she was the stuff when Aunt Amy painted her nails, "I got red fingernails!"
Next, it was time to journey on to Harrisburg to reunite with 2 of my roommates from UNC! What a blessing and a fun time! Even though nearly 7 years, moving and having babies has passed it was just like old times! We played with our children, stayed up entirely too late chatting and reunited our hearts. I was so thankful for this time with them!

Back home safe and sound today! It only took 6 hours this time. Back to eating mac-n-cheese and frozen veggies with the Natster but it is good to be home!


This is for you!

To my dear college roommates, this is for you! I feel so guilty seeing glimpses into your life without sharing mine so here we go...(yes, the picture is random but I was practicing on Jenny's computer. I promise it will get better. At least I hope it will.)