Sisterly Love for All Ages

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Yesterday, we celebrated the Fourth of July by having a Miller Family Reunion in Culpeper.  It was great to see extended family from upstate New York.  Addisan and Campbell loved seeing all their cousins….and meeting some of them for the first time.

The girls loved playing with their cousin’s action figures.  I loved that it was a break from Barbies!!!  All the kids played so well together!





Later, I asked Addisan to sit next to her sister for a picture…this was as close as she got.  So much for sisterly love!




Below is a better picture of some sisterly love.  Here is a picture of my dad and his three sisters. 



                   Being with extended family makes me smile!

Mamma Mia with my Mama

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Yesterday I took my mom up to Wolf Trap in Vienna to see Mamma Mia!  It is a wonderful outdoor theater that is on 100 acres in the middle of a residential neighborhood. They have shows, concerts, ballets, and educational performances.  It is one of my favorite places in Northern Virginia.  I have memories from seeing performances there as a child to my college days seeing Pat McGee.


Here is the view from outside the entrance of the venue.  There are so many hidden treasures like this in Northern Virginia.  Northern Virginia was not always that hustle and bustle place like it is now.


Mamma Mia! is one of my favorite performances to see.  The music alone is a reason to go!  This was my second time seeing this performance and it was just as good as I remembered it.  The best part was being able to spend time with my mom.  Even as an adult, it is always nice to have your mama and not have to share her with anyone. 


   Being with my mom and not having to share her makes me smile!

My First Drive-In

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Last night we took the girls to their (and mine) first drive-in movie.  This was a wonderful theater off Route 64 in Goochland.  We got there right before the gates opened.

drive in entrance


I was amazed how inexpensive it was to get in compared to a traditional movie theater.  For our family of 4, it only cost $17…..AND they were playing two movies that night (we only stayed for one though).

They had an awesome playground for the children to play on before the show began.  We met up with some friends and all the children ended up FILTHY from playing in the mulch.  They all loved it though.

drive in playground[7]


Another plus about this theater was that there was nothing in the snack bar over $3.50!  We were able to eat very cheaply for a family of four.  They even had corndogs… one of my favorites!

drive in snack bar


The girls loved being outside to watch the movies.  This was better than a traditional movie theater because Campbell was able to get up and move around….that was until she fell asleep on Tommy’s lap within the first 15 minutes of the movie beginning. 


drive in tail gate[9]


drive in trunk


This was the life!  It was the perfect temperature once the sun went down.  I was also pleasantly surprised that the bugs were not bad at all!




                          Going back in time makes me smile!

Finding Friends—Both Big and Little– in Unexpected Places

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When Tommy was unemployed and I was staying at home with the girls, I put an ad in our neighborhood newsletter for tutoring kids struggling with reading.  I thought this could be something that would have flexible hours and could help us out financially too.

All of that was true.  It did have flexible hours and it did bring in some money.  What I did not expect to find were so many wonderful families outside of our village in our subdivision.  So many moms and dads I can relate to about parenthood! 

I timed the other night at the swim meet and it was so wonderful to see kids that I work with (and the ones that have retired successfully from me) out and about.  I loved cheering for them.  Secretly, I felt like a little celebrity with all of them coming up to me and chatting.  It made me feel very special.  I do not think they view me as a traditional “tutor,” but rather a friend who just happens to know a lot about teaching reading.  I love that! 

Last night, we ordered pizza with a family that I tutor for down the street.  They have a little girl the same age as Campbell.  Not only did I gain a friend, so did Campbell. 


   Watching Campbell and her friend make a mess while having fun makes me smile.


One Phat…I mean, FAT Farmer’s Market

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Our morning first started off with Campbell insisting that she had to wear a hat everywhere she went today.  I have to say, she looks pretty cute in all hats and keeps them on.  Addisan, on the other hand, despises wearing hats (unless you could call a tiara a hat).


So Campbell and I dropped Addisan off at camp this morning and we then hit the gym for a little bit.  On our way home, we came across a Farmer’s Market.  It was a small one, but still quite eclectic with its vendors . One of my New Year’s resolutions a few years back was to support small businesses.  I try my best to buy local and shop on Etsy A LOT.  So needless to say, we ended up pulling over and looking around.

When I think of Farmer’s Markets, I think of all home grown items and colorful bouquets of flowers.  I saw this here.  We ended up just getting a few home grown veggies since we will be going out of town this weekend.


Campbell picked out her veggies to eat.  She picked out green beans and mini-cucumbers.  I have never seen a child love vegetables as much as her.  Sometimes I wonder how she is my own child.

While we were walking around, it all of a sudden started smelling like a carnival…..I SMELLED FUNNEL CAKE!  Or so I thought at least.

It was not funnel cake… it was even better!  It was these FAT-O donuts that were to die for!  They were made there fresh.  We got to see them fry them and then dump them in glaze!


The surprise of fresh donuts at the Farmer’s Market made me smile.

What Makes Me Smile!

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It has been ages since I blogged and I have had all this “mother guilt” bottled up inside about not recording these  memories of the girls from the last year and a half.  Blogging was something that I always enjoyed, but somehow sleep took priority.  When I returned to the working force, my blogging habit died. Tommy was still working up in Northern Virginia, I had a six month old that still woke up for a “snack” bottle of 8 ounces at four o’clock in the morning….and giving me just enough time not to be able to fall back to sleep before my 5:30 alarm, my tutoring kids started multiplying, foster dogs were coming in and out….so now, no more excuses for me!

                                                                I wish I could freeze time.

I first got inspired to start our family blog by my dear friend Clare.  Clare is not only a super woman and friend, but a super mom.  She does it all….blogging, crafts, aerobics instructor, photographer…you name it, she can do it.  Then my friend Ryan just started blogging and I thoroughly enjoy reading her perspective on children and the world around her.  I love Ryan so much because she is very liberal like myself in a very conservative town.  We can relate!

To try to get me back in the routine of blogging, I am going to try to do 30 days of things that make me smile.  I think in the world around us, we are always in a rush. Even though I have learned to take a slightly slower pace in life since moving to Richmond….I can feel that “Northern Virginianess” that still creeps up in me when I see people writing checks in line instead of using an ATM card or when people role down the window at a stop light to talk to someone they know instead of going RIGHT when the light turns green.  I know in my heart that these things are not a big deal at all, but for some reason they REALLY, REALLY urk me!  And it bothers me that things this minute bother me….do you know what I mean??

So tomorrow I will start my 30 days of little things that make me smile.