S: Brenna Pagley 2010
FC: Brenna Pagley 2010
1: Brenna Lindley Pagley
2: Bringing in the New Year The beginning of 2010 was a cold and snowy one. You loved drinking hot chocolate, warm laundry that you could hug, and best friends to laugh with on a cold day! | Soon after the new year, you had some friends over to play. You, Lyla, and Mack made rice crispy houses. You all started with the traditional candy of gumdrops and sprinkles. As you decorated, I sat at the pantry pulling out what other candy I could find. I pulled out skittles, candy canes and lollipops. I have never seen little girls get so excited over something so little. You had a fun time and at the end of it you had a little bit of house with a whole lot of candy and icing!
3: Practice Makes Perfect Tuesdays 5:30 - 7:30pm Saturdays 12-3:00pm Freestate Gymnastics | Even though it wasn't part of the practice set up by Mr. Bob, you loved to jump sideways and touch the walls with your feet .
4: At this meet, you got a 2nd place in tumbling, 6th place in the Double Mini and you didn't place at all for the trampoline! They score the trampoline the hardest. This was your first meet competing on a level 5! I love looking at the pictures to see your concentration. You did great and I am so proud of you! | Double Mini | Trampoline
5: Waving to the judges to signal you are done with your pass.
6: You and your friend Mack getting ready to jump off our landing onto the soft parachute of snow. Brenna, you saw your brothers doing it and weren't about to be left out! Mack seems to be as much of a daredevil as you and wanted in on the whole act. | Snowy
9: You are so much fun to watch at the meets. I think you must go through so many emotions. I can look at you and tell when you're nervous, when you're really concentrating, and when you are happy or disappointed in your routine. You are so strong and are learning to use that strength to control your body. I am so proud of you every time I watch you compete.
10: Pom Competition | You wanted to go see your cousin, Jacqueline at one of her Pom competitions. And what could be more fun than bringing friends to watch? You liked the dance routines and enjoyed cheering for Jax's team. Of course, we went for ice cream afterwards. | February 2010
11: My Baptism February 14, 2010
13: To begin the baptism, we had Brenna's step-grandfather, Al, say the opening prayer. It was a really beautiful prayer; I loved it. Al's prayer was a little different than our LDS prayers typically are. He called Brenna the "grandest of granddaughters," quoted scripture during the prayer, and asked Brenna to enter in by accepting the ordinance of baptism. Thanks so much Al for bringing in the Spirit to our meeting right from the beginning. Following Al, Brenna and I presented our thoughts of the day. It was important to me for people to know that Brenna's dress was made from my wedding dress. I thought it added something special to the day and made me feel really connected to Brenna's choice to be baptized. | I shared that I didn't wear my actual wedding dress in the temple because my mother couldn't be with me in the temple but would be with me during the ring ceremony and reception. So, I compromised and wore a temple dress. That compromise turned out to be such a beautiful blessing because on this day, Brenna's baptism, she would now wear my dress. I thanked my mother for that beautiful gift. And to help explain this, I found a poem written by one of our General Authorities for Brenna to read which explained the significance of the dress. She did a great job reading the poem! Next Tobin talked on baptism and what it means to us to be baptized. He always such a great job when he is public speaking. As I sat there, looking up at him, I just felt so happy. At that moment, everything I wanted was right in that room. and felt right. Then Andy baptized Brenna. After the baptism, Noah gave a wonderful talk (I wrote it for him) on the gift of the Holy Ghost. When Noah was coming down from the podium after his talk and Brenna was going up to the podium to be given the gift of the Holy Ghost by priesthood holders Brenna spontaneously reached out and hugged Noah. It was a tender moment and full of love. Afterwards, people came back to our house!
14: My mom had made for me this dress of white, not red or pink or blue. She said it was a special dress, like very other few. There has been just one before, a dress now put away, that I wore some time ago, upon my blessing day. As a little girl clothed in my first white dress My dad held me in his arms, so pure and clean was I just then, with time to grow and learn. Now I've reached the age to judge the wrong road from the right And I am here to be baptized in this beautiful dress of white. The path ahead is clear to me. I'll grasp the rod and hold on tight. And if I try my very best, Then richly blessed I'll be, Wearing inside God's holy house White dress number three, So today I make this pledge: I'll strive to choose the right, through this sacred baptismal ordinance In my second dress of white. | "Three White Dresses"
15: Daddy was so excited that he was able to baptize you.!
18: The school valentine's party is always a lot of fun--there's food, candy, games, and small prizes! | Happy Valentine's Day | COMING HOME FROM SCHOOL TO PLAY
20: Basketball 2010
21: Because of your brothers, you are so comfortable on the basketball court. You are definitely confident and dribble the ball, not perfectly, but with determination and enthusiasm. The aim at the basket is still a work in progress. What I also love is that during a game I will look over and see you giggling with your friends.
22: Trampoline and Tumbling Meet | March 2010
24: New York March 2010 | As we left, you sat in the back with your two American Girl dolls, Nikki and Rae (your just like me doll). Before we left that morning you tried to find a car seat for your dolls! You were just so darn cute and you knew it too. Wrapped around your finger, whatever you wanted mom was willing to offer you. We arrived at the Marriott, dropped our car off at valet parking, dropped our bags off and headed out into New York! I wanted to go somewhere fun for you as your first introduction to New York, so we headed to Ellen's Stardust Diner. Ellen's is a place where hopefuls (those with stars in their eyes) work as servers and sing songs to entertain the visitors. It was the perfect place. And we were off...walking the blocks we needed to go to get there.
25: It felt so good to sit down! During lunch the servers sang songs from Broadway plays. Our server had a really good voice and we enjoyed listening to him. Mom and I thought he was cute!! What was funny, was that he took a break in the song to ask me if I needed ketchup for your chicken fingers. How he could think about the song and the needs of his customers in one breath, I will never know. But after the serenading and the warm food we were ready to head back out into the rainy day and American Girl! We arrived and saw the doll hair station and we saw the picture studio. We looked first and then went back to where we wanted to be. Your eyes were as big as at Christmas time! You were so enchanted that you wanted one of everything. We spent about 2 hours walking around and getting your doll's hair done. The hair stylist who did you doll's hair made it so fun for you, talking to you about your dolls and about how to keep their hair looking shiny. Nikki and Rae's hair looked so beautiful after she was done. We had a dinner reservation for 7:30 and we were done shopping by 5:30. We had been there for almost 3 hours and we had emptied out our wallets.
26: Lunch at Sardis | We decided to go back to the hotel and rest for a little bit. Once we got there and looked at the address of Dylan's Candy Bar, we knew that if we really wanted to go, we were going to have to go right then! You were adamant about wanting to go and so we did! In the rain, with our umbrellas, about 12 blocks away. Again, your eyes were alight when you entered the store; all of the candy in a row, waiting to be eaten. Three levels of just candy: red, orange, blue, yellow, green, purple--it was visual eye candy as well. We made the trek back in the rain and chill, just in time to make our dinner reservation! We had a great time eating dinner together at the American Girl cafe. On the table were these table topper conversation starter cards.
27: Mom Mom had a fun time asking you questions. The one that stood out to Mom Mom was your answer about where you like to go for quiet. "In a tree," you said. Mom mom thought that was really something. I knew of the magnolia tree you must have been thinking of and wasn't surprised by your answer. After dinner, we walked back to the hotel. We were tired by this time and ready to get in bed and cuddle. You wanted to sleep with me and you were asleep pretty quickly. We woke up on Saturday to heavy rain. We were still excited for Mary Poppins! As we checked out of the hotel and stored our luggage with the concierge, he fell in love with you and gave you an American Girl doll bed; you were so happy! To have gotten a new doll along with new outfits and then....a new bed! Then, we headed out to breakfast. I wanted to go to the Magnolia Bakery, but when we got there and found no seats, I knew it wasn't going to work. So, we headed out again in the rain. We found a wonderful New York deli I knew Daddy would have loved it. While we were eating breakfast, we realized that your Ugg boots, while cute, were not keeping your feet dry. You hadn't complained at all yesterday about the walking, but I knew we needed to get new shoes for today. We went to Saks Fifth Avenue and couldn't believe that they didn't sell children's shoes! One of the cashiers told us about a place called Puddle Ducks that she thought would work. When we walked up to the store, it said on the front of the store "the Millionaires Discount Store." It turned out to be a really eclectic store with hit or miss items. I was able to find leather Tretorns, only one size too big! You talked Mom into buying you a hat! You did look cute in it though. What made Saturday so hard was the wind and the rain. Together, they made it pretty dismal! But you were having to much fun with your umbrella I'm not sure it bothered you. Although, I don't know how much you really saw of New York from the inside of your umbrella! One funny moment happened when we tried to get some respite from the wind and rain!! We stopped for a moment to get out of the rain and then the wall we were next to started to move. We realized it was a driveway. The wind kept turning our umbrellas inside out, so mom-mom set her umbrella down to fix yours. Then the driveway opened and we saw a delivery truck needed to get out, however, something magnetic turned on in the driveway, and Mom Mom's umbrella, resting on the door, began popping its metal spokes. Pop, pop, pop! It was amazing to watch and happened in the space of a second. I looked at Mom Mom, she looked at me, and then we laughed!! As we walked all over the city, we saw so many broken umbrellas on the street. That darn wind was strong and turning umbrellas inside out! Mom was such a trooper and walked with her hood up and let you and I use the umbrellas!! After that we went to meet Luke, my cousin, at Sardi's for lunch before we went to see Mary Poppins!! We really didn't think that Luke would show up since it was raining sooooo hard, especially if he had Kamea with him. Sardi's was a fun restaurant on Broadway. And we were so excited when Luke walked in. We had a really fun lunch, catching up with him. After Sardi's it was finally time to head over to the theater! You found it so funny that it was our first Broadway play, you at the age of 8 and mine at the age of....oh never mind. We had great seats, 3rd row on the right side. Mary Poppins was wonderful and delightful and supercalifragilisticexpialadocious!!! You seemed like you enjoyed being there. After Mary Poppins we tried to get a taxi. But, everyone else had that same idea!! All of the theaters letting out at the same time + pouring down rain= taxicab. So, no one was having any luck getting a taxi. And, really, I wasn't any good at whistling for a taxi! Finally, as luck would have it, you imitated what we were doing, and a taxi stopped even though he was off the clock!! Lucky, you were with us!! We made it back to the hotel in record time and booked it out of New York to make it to Uncle Todd's championship basketball game!
28: I am so proud of you | Ever since Tobin was at RCES, they have done "hands up" for Character Counts. The five pillars are citizenship, trustworthiness, respect, fairness, and responsibility. Every month the teachers choose a boy and girl who represent that months pillar. This month your teacher chose you! You are always so excited for the little ceremony where you get paint on your hand and then put it on the pillar with your name below. We always try to come when we can.
29: Easter was fun, and full of candy! The Easter Bunny created clues for you to follow to find your basket. Tobin's basket was in the "27 Dresses" closet, Noah's basket was in a storage closet in the basement and your Easter basket was in Andy's office, where your "favorite spot" to hang out was. Easter 2010
30: E-mail Communications | Andy went on a cruise in March. I know, I know.....he tells me it was a work cruise. He was able to go scuba diving on a James Bond wreck where he saw a manta ray with a wingspan as far as his arms could open! Back at home, we were all pining for Andy. Brenna was the most vocal about it. I knew that she wrote the first email to Andy, but I didn't really know about the second one. I think these are just about the cutest pieces of communication that have ever been created.!
31: The Ponytails | Coach Jane has been your coach since kindergarten and she has been so calm and patient She has taught you and the team the fundamentals of soccer. We had our end of season party at the Froehlichs. It was so much fun and more relaxed than if it were at a restaurant. Of course, you girls ran around so much more than if we had been at a restaurant. It was so nice to see you playing together off the court.
32: RCES Talent Show For Brenna, this was a night of fun with friends. Brenna was with her best friends doing what she liked to do! They had a choreographer design their dance steps which they practiced every week faithfully! And they did it perfectly the night of the talent show!
33: Taylor Swift: Fearless June 1, 2010 Concert highlights: 1. During her acoustic set, Taylor opened up between sections 109-110 at the top of the stairs in the audience. Afterwards she walked down the stairs and hugged fans on both sides of the aisle. I think she would have hugged everyone if she could have! She then played 2 or 3 songs in the back of the arena and afterwards walked through the concert goers to the main stage. 2. Because my friends were sitting where they could see the back of the stage they texted me updates and let me know about set changes that were coming up. So, we knew about the castle before it came on stage. 3. Right before the finale section of her program, a man came up to us and gave us a pick with Taylor's picture on it. He said to me, "Thanks so much for coming out tonight and bringing your daughter. You really need to stay for this next part, it is amazing. My daughter has done a lot of work for tonight." Wait.....really? no? "Is Taylor Swift your daughter?" He replied, "yes, Taylor's my daughter." I said, "please tell her we think she's great and I am so happy I brought my daughter. Taylor did a great job tonight." I felt so lucky that out of that full auditorium, her dad walked up to me in the middle of a crowd and said something nice to me.
34: 5 Cents and a Note from Home | In church on Father's Day we were talking with some of our friends. The gifts that children give must have come up in the conversation (Andy was wearing lapel pins with Noah and Brenna's face in them). They mentioned that their son had given them a dog and now they had 10 little puppies in a wood shed! Andy looked at me and said, "Could we go look?" Of course! But..., "No Dogs are coming home with us! Is that understood?" Andy sheepishly said, "OK." | I should have known. One look and Andy, Tobin, Noah and you were in love! I was totally outnumbered. I knew the kids would fall in love with these little lab/Catahoula leopard mix puppies, but I was unprepared for Andy's reaction. Of course, they were only 3 weeks old and wobbly on their feet. What wasn't to love? He immediately was giving me looks over the children's heads, eyes pleading, smiling from ear to ear to which the kids quickly caught on | All we needed to do was pay 5 cents and get a note from home. We all put in a penny and I wrote the note! So, welcome to the family, little Calle. And Happy Father's Day, Daddy.
35: Swim Team May-July 2010 | This year was your first year swimming with the 9-10 year olds. I can't believe that because I remember Tobin swimming this age group and that was just yesterday! You have friends swimming with you, Mackenzie, Faith and Josie so that it is easy to get you to practice. Not to mention the great exercise it is in every way. Between gymnastics and swim team, you are in the best shape. I hope you always love to exercise and move around. You did really great this season. Because you are so strong and you are a natural in the water, you did very well. In fact, you made it to Divisionals. II love that swim team is also a family sport with your brothers also swimming. You love the Friday night pep rallies movie outings and picnics.
37: Nationals Virginia Beach June 2010
38: That's my girl-so proud of you.
39: You did great! You scored 9th in your flight and 23rd overall. You were competing against 41 other girls in your age group. So, things had to go absolutely perfect for you to place. You were the first one in yourr flight to compete and you were scheduled for 8:40 am in the morning. This is earlier then you need to be at school and really early when you were up until 10:00ish the night before having fun on the beach with your teammates. You got to do two passes (routines) on the double mini. You got 3 practice runs and then they were set to go, right at 8:40 am! Your first pass didn't go so well. I could tell as you were rotating over that you weren't going to make it. I don't think you tucked in time and fell on your landing, but popped right up with a smile and your arm raised to signal the judges. I was so proud of you for that. Your second pass was amazing! You did it absolutely perfectly with only one tenth of a deduction. But even with a perfect second pass, the first one was low enough to place you in 9th position. Tenths of points separated you from those next to you in rank. I was so proud of you regardless. As they said on opening night, during the march in, "you are all champions. The 1800 athletes participating are the best of the best." Your coach later told me that everyone in your flight had been to Nationals previously. She told me that that indeed makes a difference. I think you did great. You had done your passes perfectly during practice, so I knew you could do it. It was exciting and unnerving to be at a large meet. like Nationals I couldn't have been prouder of you. I do also think that if you look at the picture where your arm is raised (signaling the judges) that you are still tired. I think I didn't serve you the best I should have by not having you in bed earlier. But really, Brenna, just having qualified and participating makes you a champion. You are the 23rd best Double -mini tumbler in the nation. What an accomplishment for one so young.! | Practice Runs
40: You got this Brenna! Just breathe....
42: Nationals June 27-30, 2010 Virginia Beach
44: The day before your competition we were out on the beach by 11am. You, Noah, and Dad spent the entire time in the water: jumping over waves, diving under waves, and playing in the water. I came down to the edge of the water and played catch with a small nerf football with you all. At 1:00 our hunger drove us upstairs to get ready for the day and find a place for lunch. We had lunch at a place on 5th street; afterwards, we rented a 4 person bike to get around the boardwalk and to take us to lunch. After lunch we leisurely rode the bikes around the boardwalk. After turning the bike in, we walked on "beach street USA". We found a tattoo place and the rest is history. Brenna walked away with moon and the stars, Noah --the Atlantic Falcon logo, Andy got a ninja shadow and I walked away with a PandA. | Returning from "beach street USA" to the hotel we decided to hit the beach. Again, it was laughing and playing in the waves. You and Noah were laughing so much. That night we had aLevel 5-7 beach party on 17th street. We met up with the rest of the trampoline team. Most of them had competed throughout the day, which made me really excited for your turn tomorrow. Then we ate a late dinner and hurried back to get you in bed. As I snuggled you tonight, you wanted me to sing a song I used to sing when you were small--my version of "You are my sunshine." I told you to wake up happy and to remember that Daddy, your two brothers and I love you very, very much and that we are so proud of you.
45: We had a great time celebrating the 4th at a party with many of our friends at the Martinis'. We loved the camaraderie, the energy, the food and the sparkly things going off at dark! You can see how sweaty Brenna and Noah are from the trampoline, jumping, flipping and playing popcorn. At dark, we made a mad dash to be with the Keenans (Uncle Chris and Aunt Leslie). It was a little eerie how no one was on the road. As we were driving to the Walkers, we could see the fireworks going off in the sky. We were a little crazy to change venues right at the climax of the evening, but Tobin really wanted to be at our next party. We had a great time catching up with family after the fireworks. It was a great 4th for us.
46: July, 2010
48: As we flew to Cancun(which I couldn't believe was just a little over 3 hours), I contemplated our vacation. I wanted you all to see something of the Mexican culture, to see life from a different place than they were used to, to see some of the benefits of being a US citizen. Stepping into Mexico, Brenna and I were excited to get stamps in our passports! Daddy had several from his trips to Canada, Spain, and England. Even though we needed passports for our cruise, where we traveled to 4 different countries, we didn't get one stamp! So, Mexico became the first stamp for Tobin, Noah, Brenna and me. Going to Caribbean countries and not really straying to far into the native areas was what we had done in the past. I am still not sure how I feel about that. I do think we are missing out on the culture of each country. However, weren't the beaches a huge part of their culture? Weren't we visiting the best part of their culture? So, the concession we made this trip was to go to the grocery store where native Cancunians live. We went outside the "Hotel Zone" and went to the Spanish mercado. What an experience! We got on the public transportation bus and began the experience of moving from the pricey hotels to the "real" Cancun of modest dwellings. Our bus driver helped us know the stop to get off for the store. It was so interesting! The eggs and milk were not refrigerated! Andy explained to us that was because it was a luxury to have a refrigerator and if eggs and milk were not chilled from the beginning then they didn't need to be cold in the store. The other shock was to see "American" things like Oreos and potato chips with Spanish words on them.
49: The first day, we arrived at he hotel and we went right away to a "mall" across the street from our hotel called "La Isla." It had many restaurants we were used to--Planet Hollywood, Chili's. We ate lunch at Johnny Rockets that first meal. It was so strange to see the menu in pesos. The exchange rate was 12 pesos for 1 dollar, so it wasn't unusual to see $98 next to an entree which made your heart race until you remembered it was in pesos. After lunch we went back to the hotel and got dressed for the pool. You all wanted to play for quite a while at the pool so we ate late. We were so tired, we only ate appetizers at Chili's.
50: We filled the rest of our days with different excursions. We went to a "water park" known as Xcaret. It was an hour's ride away from our hotel. We left early in the morning and didn't return until about 11:00 pm. The most fun part of the day was when the boys went snuba diving! We pretty much entered the park and they took off for deeper waters. That left Brenna and me to explore the park. We discovered that it was a water park and zoo rolled up into one. Brenna wanted so badly to see the spider monkeys and then the strange deer, and then we saw flamingos and other animals. Finally, it was soooo hot, I pleaded with Brenna to find a water ride. We found one called the Underground River! I had seen in in the brochure and it was one of the main reasons why I wanted to go there....until I saw it in person. I navigated through getting our life vests, a locker, and a bag to put our things in at the beginning of the river that would be waiting for us at the end of the river, but I couldn't navigate the underground river!
51: I was fine walking in the dark cave until I had to enter the cold water and only saw more darkness as the underground caves descended upon us! I needed air, deep breathes and I couldn't get them. It was only Bre and me, she wanted to go through and I wanted to go back. So, I used my limited Spanish to ask a mother with a girl Brenna's age to take her through and I would meet them on the other side! Did I make the right decision? How could I let Brenna go through if I couldn't? I knew I was being irrational and didn't want Brenna to suffer so I think I did the right thing in letting her go with another family of women. I ran to the other side of the park and the end of the river to wait for Brenna. I thought of how silly I was being and especially felt so, when I started up a conversation with a man, who said, "You do know this is a children's park with children's rides? This ride isn't meant to be scary!" He smiled at me so I knew he was trying to help. It made me feel silly, but still I remembered my labored breathing and felt happy at my decision. I couldn't have been happier though to hear Brenna yell, "Paige," so that I knew she was safely through. Later on the boys went through with Brenna. Tobin didn't like it as he thought it was too slow and too cold. After the ride, they were telling me about it and Andy called it a "lazy river." Tobin said, "I didn't like it, because I couldn't be lazy."
53: At Xcaret, our lunch was provided with our ticket into the park. We chose to eat at a Mexican buffet! The food was soooo good. I loved the drink though. It tasted to me like the juice that I used to drink from the fruit cocktail when I was little. I think it was guava flavored! They boys drank a red hibiscus tea. They loved it and I think we spent most of our time drinking rather than eating. There was exotic fruit and cooked meats at the buffet! It was so good and probably one of our best meals while in Cancun. We were all able to go snorkeling at the beach in Xcaret. The water didn't have the clarity we were used to from other snorkeling experiences. So, we had to go under the water to really see anything. But once we did, we saw many different fish. We saw the usual zebra fish, and big fish. I saw a beautiful school of electric blue fish. I realized the park had a way to feed the fish which brought them in. I felt like it was sort of cheating; they weren't where they naturally would be. But at the feeding tube, there were so many fish. It was fun to see them all. and I was happy we were all together. The evening at the park ended with a show about their Mayan history and how the Spanish came and then how their cultures blended together. But the stadium was so hot that we just couldn't sit in there. We went back to the main building and watched these baby quail hatching from eggs and did some window shopping.
54: Another of the excursions we went on was a snorkeling tour. We got to ride a boat out to the state park and then snorkel. Our guide was quite good and was able to find us some new things to see on our snorkeling tour. He was able to find a starfish for us to hold. As I held it, it tickled my hand as it moved. We saw this huge, (I mean huge) big red fish. The boys and Brenna saw a manta ray which I somehow missed and Noah was convinced he saw a barracuda! We had a great time snorkeling. Tobin and I were in one boat, with Andy in the other watching Noah and Brenna. On the way back I let Tobin drive the boat. He did a great job with the speed and handling the wake of the water! I think, for him, it was the most fun part of the excursion. I stayed behind with Brenna as she was too young to go. We got her hair done with a single braid and we went for Italian ices across the street at "La Isla." We had a great time in Cancun. I know that they will remember throwing the football on the beach, wrestling in the fountain, and sliding down the slide at the pool more than anything else-maybe more than Xcaret, the mercado, and snorkeling at the state park.
55: Bringing Calle Home August 1st. | During our trip to Cancun, we talked a lot about Calle. You all were excited to bring her home. We have visited her every week since Father's Day and she has grown so much. You were there when they fed Calle and her litter mates cottage cheese for the first time and you were anxious to jump right in and feed them too. You were there when Calle somehow got stuck underneath the step in the wood shed. It was great to bring her home.
56: And just like that Calle settles into our house and into your heart for sure! Whenever I go looking for you, I always find you with Calle. You love playing with her, walking her, giving her treats and anything Calle.
57: We got together with Jacqueline before she left for the University of Maryland. I can hardly believe she is a college freshmen! I remember when she was your age. We were able to have dinner at Coal Fire and dessert at Coldstone with the Keenan's. Good luck Jacqueline!
58: Brenna and Mackenzie have the same teacher for a second year in a row. Brenna is excited to have Ms. Lubkin; she's heard she's really fun. This was the first day of high school for Tobin, middle school for Noah, and 3rd Grade for Brenna.
59: With no school we went to the tire park! It was such a beautiful day to waste indoors! Cathy and I called each other this morning having made tentative plans to get out together! We tried to see about kayaking or canoing on the various lakes around here, but everything had shut down last weekend. So, we decided on the tire park. We ended up with a big group. The boys headed for the volley ball pit and later they played dodge ball and the girls joined them for some of it! The girls: Brenna, Kate, Caroline, and Mackenzie played on every piece of equipment at the park. They moved from zipline, to tire swing to monkey bars! It was a lot of fun watching them. They never sat still. However, you were a little out of sorts though and you weren't as playful as you usually are. You were "hungry"-Then you were "tired"- I do think you were tired. You had come home at 11:30 from a sleep-over because you weren't feeling well and then you were up so early with Calle. The girls laughed the most on the zip line! I love hearing you laugh with friends. Afterwards we all went to lunch at Subway! | Tire Park | Caroline, Mackenzie, Brenna, Kate
61: Brownie Encampment
62: You were excited to spend the night with all of your friends in the outdoors. I was happy because it was Calleva, the Markoffs camp and we knew where you would be. You had so much fun with your Brownie troop.
63: These pictures of you and Mack remind me of Aunt Tiercy and me when we were girls your age. One time I was on my sister's shoulders having a good time when my mom answered the ring of a telephone with, "Hello Mom!" Tiercy realized that meant grandmother and she forgot that I was even on her shoulders! She let out a shout and said, "Grandmother!" She let go of my feet and ran forward to get as close to Grandmother's voice as she could. Needless to say, with the laws of gravity, I stayed behind and crashed to the ground. The funny thing is that it sent my sister and I into hysterical giggles and we couldn't stop! It is one of our favorite memories!
64: B | B | Brenna and Lindsey On our way to a JV football game at Northwest we picked Lindsey up. You two girls had a great time being completely silly. You loved giving her a piggy back even up the stadium stairs.
65: 3rd Grade Art | Thank goodness we are finally done with the immigrant/puppet project!! The learning took place in the interview and asking questions of Carlos. The making of the puppet was purely painful! Brenna burned her hand with a hot glue gun and then refused to use it, so I had to glue everything from then on. Does this puppet look like it's from El Salvador? Not really. It's pretty hard to distinguish Latin American countries. I looked online, but I couldn't tell a difference. Brenna loved the hat and musical instruments. Brenna painted this in art class. I love the colors she used. It is also interesting how one of the houses goes completely against the slope of the hill.
66: Light the Night Walk 2010 | Brenna's friend, Faith had cancer almost five years ago at the age of 3 1/2. She will be 5 years cancer free this February. After 5 years her chance of a relapse drops to 1%. Faith's mom, Christy, is an incredibly inspiring person and has been the #1 non-commercial fundraiser for the past few years. Her team name is "Leap of Faith" and I am so grateful to be a part of it. Go Faith! | Brenna ran with her friends through the walk. She walked with Mack and a newer friend Briana and her twin sister Arielle. I started walking with Katie, but in the mass of walkers ended up walking with Briana's mom. You loved seeing the balloons fill the air and friends all around. The weather was absolutely beautiful. It was a great night to "Light the Night". | Kasey, Ashleigh, Mack, Faith, Arielle, Briana, Josie, Brenna
67: Daddy turns 41! | We collected in the family room for Andy to open his presents. There were two wrapped presents and two cards. He opened the card from Bre and me first. On the front of his card we wrote Andy + Daddy = Anddy! He laughed and opened the card. It talked about our joy at showing him how old he was. Then he needed to open up the bigger present first. As he opened it up, he was thinking, "I'm going to have to pretend to be excited about whatever this is." And then he was truly excited as he realized it was an Ipad! What my baby wants, my baby gets....sometimes. The second present was a case for it. And then it was time for the card from Tobin and Noah, where Noah's present was hidden. It was an itunes gift card which Andy very much appreciated! The card talked about how the boys were going to give him two presents, or three or four...and showed a monkey sitting on a toilet! This made Andy laugh and was especially funny to him!
69: Ponytails 2010
70: Go Ponytails | I don't have a team picture of this year, but the team looks very different. Except for you and Faith, your soccer team moved to a different club. Even though it would offer you more of a challenge, most of the games were on Sundays, so we decided not to move you. You still played with friends from RCES, but they weren't your closest friends. You became a superstar on your team. I think you had a great time playing as you simply love soccer.
71: Quince Orchard Jr. Pom Week | Your big sis, Nicole was so much fun for you; you really connected to her. She was Dani's, Tobin's Homecoming date, sister. This may be only one a few times Brenna has poms in her hand. I relished every minute of it. Thanks Mommom for coming and watching! Brenna you did great! | This was Caroline's big sister, Jamie, who is also good friends with Tobin. Brenna loved getting to know her to on her own. Now when she sees Tobin with his friends, she has someone she can talk too! | Caroline, Kaitlin, Brenna
72: Butler's Orchard 2010
73: Josie, Faith, Lindsay, Lyla, Brenna, Mack, Kasey
74: Saturday morning, October 30th, was really crisp and beautiful, but a little chilly. We arrived at our game excited to play hard and play furiously and then go to the pumpkin patch. But then we waited...and waited...and waited...for a referee. Our coach stepped in to referee and we were off. After the game we ran home, changed, and met at Noodles for lunch! And then we headed to the pumpkin patch. The girls had smiles on their faces the whole time and hardly knew where to go first.
75: We: 1. played on the slides 2. ran through the corn maze Quote of the day: "We could get lost in here!" 3. romped in the hay 4. played with the toys 5. picked pumpkins | In the hay barn, there was hay everywhere. Although it was itchy, it's softness and utility far outweighed its pitfalls. The girls had so much fun jumping from bale to bale and falling into the piles on the ground. And because (I'm guessing) there was a huge group of them and they were rather loud, they attracted the attention of Arthur. Arthur must have been about 3 years old and an only child so far in his life. He was adorable and he thought our girls were adorable! At one point, Brenna was up on the bale of hay and Arthur was right next to her looking up at her, watching Brenna as she plans her jump. She jumped...and then he jumped. The next time he was ready. As he was climbing the bale of hay, he was saying, "hey, wait for me. I coming." And wait for him they did. He was over the moon excited. He was so sad when we finally had to leave there. It was the cutest thing!
76: Spending the day at Mackenzie's house was so fun for you on a sunny October day after soccer. Mrs. Ferguson had these Haunted Houses for you to make. She said you had such a great time. You, Kate, and Mack talked over every candy placement and icing design. What a fun activity.
78: Halloween Costumes #2: Cowgirl and Eagles tailgater!
79: You had a great time trick or treating on Halloween. It wasn't so cold out that you needed a coat. You went with Caroline and the Shahs met up with us as well. You were out for about an hour and a half. You were my little Greek Goddess, Athena.
80: Mom turns 40! Along with Uncle Todd and Aunt Tiercy. | We went to GoApe (a playground in the trees in Rockville) the day of our birthday and had a family party that night. I couldn't imagine anyone I would rather share that day with.
81: Niagara Falls Fall 2010
82: You love to be Andy's secretary. You will often go into his office and say, "Daddy, how is your work today? And how is CL doing (one of daddy's workers)? Do you think today will be a good numbers day?" I thought you would continue this while you and Dad were in Buffalo, but you seemed to have forgotten all about it. While Andy was giving his presentation, you sat in the back of the room and either watched him or played on his ipad. I absolutely thought you would take this opportunity to critique him on his tone, eye contact and so on....as his boss of course. I think you knew a good gig when you saw one and knew that you'd better not say anything if you ever hoped to come back on a "business" trip with Daddy again. After the presentation, you had the day free to go to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. You were so happy you would get a country stamp that I did not have on my passport!! You loved Niagara Falls. You saw so many rainbows no matter where you looked. You had never seen that before. You loved Pop and Lolly's, the candy shop at the falls. And you ate lunch at the Niagara Falls restaurant. You ate dinner that night in Toronto at the Canada Tower (Space Needle) restaurant. You loved that the restaurant rotated in a circle and took delight in small things and in being small to your Daddy. You wrapped Daddy around your little finger. You had a great trip!
83: Niagara Falls | Andy took you on a work trip to Buffalo where he had to give a presentation! You were so excited and packed yourself for the trip. You took 6 outfits for 3 days! Andy's presentation was in the same hotel where you stayed and Andy originally was going to leave you in the room while he did his presentation. But the night before they left, you said, "But Daddy, I'll be scared." So he told you not to worry, he would find a way for you to be in the room during the presentation.
84: I love my father like the stars - he's a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart.
85: Mother and Daughter Baby Tea | My friend Katie and your bestie Mack were about to have a baby addition. So we had a tea in their honor. It was so much fun to share in this together. You girls played so well together while the moms talked and enjoyed ourselves upstairs. You girls loved the food: there were Georgetown Cupcakes, chocolate truffles and lots of other desserts to indulge in. It was great to celebrate baby Harley's upcoming birth.
86: You're sitting On Cloud 9. In French the word neuf means both nine and new. Your new best friend is a K9, Calle, and the cat you wish you could have has 9 lives. My pregnancy lasted for 9 months; You were born at 9 am on the dot, and now you are 9! I can hardly believe this is your last year in a single digit number-9. You woke up on Thanksgiving day to your ninth birthday. Balloons, candy and small toy greeted you as you peeked open you eyes. Your birthday had begun! You didn't want me to take a picture of it, so alas, no pictures. Your balloon was a rose, your candy was reeses peanut butter cups, gum, mentos, and chocolate dipped marshmallows! You also found a Christmas bracelet that lights up as well. You ran from your room to snuggle in bed with me. It was fun to have you to myself for a few minutes as I knew the day would be busy and full of fun | An ipod touch! | Waking up to my 9th Birthday!
88: We drove to the Colchagoffs for a day of Thanksgiving. I was a little surprised when you didn't want to play in the family turkey bowl, but you knew Julianna wouldn't want to. You brought your American Girl dolls, Lanie and your just like me doll-Jesse (you changed her name from Rai) and your new itouch! And I pretty much we didn't see you again until we sang "happy birthday." Your smile says it all though! You were happy through and through-to the nines! | Uncles Todd, Blair, Buff, a motley crew for sure!
89: It took me a long time to come around to an ice skating party but Brenna knew early on that is what she wanted and she stuck with it. It simply seemed like a Pandora's box of potential troubles, but Bre really wanted it, so I forged ahead with it. I just need to say right here that Brenna has NEVER been ice skating and I wasn't sure why she wanted that for her party. Last Thursday, before her party, she was at Brownies with many friends who were coming to the party. As I walked by helping with the activity, one of the Brenna's friends, Kasey said, "I can't wait until tomorrow." I also have to say that I didn't realize how excited Noah was to be for the skating as well. The minute he got home from school, he started saying, "Is it time?" I did not see that coming. We arrived at the skating rink and off Brenna, Caroline, and Mack went to the ice! One by one all of the other girls joined them. By the time I finally got out to the ice rink, the girls were having a blast! I actually couldn't believe that I saw Brenna in the middle of the rink, gliding along. It dawned on me that her excellent balance from her unicycle must have helped her here as well. She had the biggest smile on her face! I think all of the girls did. Only one mom had to go out onto the ice with her daughter and only one girl left the ice early because she was not comfortable, but she told me she was happy watching. And she truly was. | Skating on Air
91: At 6:00 when it was time for them to come off of the ice, they didn't want to. But as they all sat down and took their skates off, I heard their collective sighs and "wow, that feels good." They were excited to head off to the party room. I on the other hand, was panicked because my pizza scheduled for 5:45 delivery had not arrived.! | I spent the next 15 minutes calling and waiting and calling Pizza Hut. They told me the delivery guy was lost! How hard was it to find the ice skating rink? So, at 6:10 I walked back in thinking we were going to have to do the cupcakes first or at least sing happy birthday to her when my friends and the girls' parents were there saying, "Forget the pizza, the girls are fine with the cupcakes. We're going out to dinner after this anyway! Seriously, just do the cupcakes." I am so grateful for flexible friends and flexible girls!
92: Christmas card pictures
95: Decorating for Christmas | We had a two and a half hour window to go get our tree. We wanted to go to a tree farm and make it an experience with the kids like we used to before we got so busy. We had your and Noah's friends with us, Carson and Caroline. So, we were determined to make it a good time. Hay rides, hot chocolate, caramel apples, and cutting down the tree. We were going to have fun! On the way to the tree farm, looking out the window Carson said, "hey, there's where we got our tree last year." Daddy and I looked at each other as if to say, Should we do it? We knew it would save us time and that would ease our stress. Maybe they would have hot cider there at least. So, we did a u-turn and headed to the Catholic church selling trees. As we pulled up, Tobin said, "Hey, Megan gets her tree here. I bet they do have good trees!" Oh good, the kid we need to win over has just been won over! Maybe this will be good I thought. | You all and Daddy jumped out of the car in a flash and headed right for the trees! By the time I arrived after getting my coat on, you had the tree picked out! I wanted us to look at one more tree, we couldn't be done! Daddy held up the second tree, Tobin held up the first tree...and done! The first one it is!
96: Like our lives these days, our decorating of the tree happened when it should have been bedtime which made for tired and cranky kids. Oops. We tried really hard to have the spirit of Christmas in our hearts and in our words as we decorated. I think for the most part we made it fun, but that was partly because Calle became the focus for you, Tobin, and Noah. You all thought one ornament should be put on the tree and one decoration was to be put on her. She was such a good sport and really handled it well. She even posed for some pictures! Despite the lack of ornaments, I think we have a beautiful tree!
97: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. | To: Santa Love: Brenna | I love that your list is two pages long!
98: On December 11th, You and I showed up at the Gaithersburg Square Panders at exactly 8:30am. Why is it that sometimes I am exactly on time and sometimes I am ridiculously late? I wanted to be on time as I had arranged this outing with your friends and moms. As we were walking in, several moms pulled into the parking lot and we were all able to walk in together. You girls sat at tables next to us and we moms sat together. My friend Katie had just had her baby, a boy, and so the girls were irresistibly drawn to Harley! They wanted to hold him, touch him, and love him. It is clearly easy to see that this little baby will not walk until he is five years old as he has so many "adopted" big sisters. It was fun to hear the girls chatting about Santa Claus. One friend, Josie, told the story of how she lost her tooth on Christmas Eve last year and how the tooth fairy met Santa Claus that night, You told the story of how one year Santa left a pair of green pj bottoms for Tobin and Santa left a note that green was Mrs. Claus' favorite color. Another girl told how she heard Santa's footsteps on the stairs last year and on and on. It is so cute to see the Christmas excitement with this group of friends who believe.
99: After breakfast, we were off to see Santa. This Santa was amazing. He had each of the girls sit on his lap individually and then they sat on his lap in a group. He asked them questions about what they wanted. Your friend Kate said to her mom, "Mom, I think Santa really is going to bring me a puppy because when I said that he asked me what kind I wanted!" (Oh poor mother, she has to explain that they can't have a pet because they are allergic to dog hair). I wanted to tell Santa what a great job he was doing, but when I did so, he pulled me close and said, "You moms are doing a great job. These girls were polite and well-mannered." Thanks Santa, you really are a man for making people smile.
100: Santa Claus 2010
101: Christmas Eve Raclette | During dinner, Uncle Chris shared a story with us about a time he took Daddy backpacking when he was about 8 years old and he ended up falling into a stream! He was stepping on stones to cross a creek with his backpack on. Uncle Chris neglected to mention that Andy might want to lean forward with the pack on and so he fell straight in! | Dinner was really fun and it was nice to be able to sit down together with Daddy's family for dinner. We had just had a Hannukah dinner with the Keenans, so Christmas Eve felt like the cherry on top! Jacqueline was finally home from college and you were happy to spend time with her. Dinner was really fun and a new adventure as most had never done a raclette dinner before. It is a German tradition. You have a grill in front of you where you cook your own meat and vegetables. Then you pour melted raclette cheese over the meat, vegetables, which are served over potatoes! It is so yummy.
102: Merry Christmas | Everyone got so much for Christmas this year. I must say this is one of those Christmases where we overdid it! I have really embraced the old adage "It is better to give than to receive" and it really is true, especially when it comes to giving to you all. You are amazing, all three of you, and there is just so much we could give you- it's so hard to decide. This year, I decided to try something new out. I came up with questions to ask you before you opened a gift. If you got the question right, you could open it. If you got it wrong you were supposed to wait until your next turn. At first I was going to make up the questions about Christmas trivia, but then thought it would be a fun way for you to learn stories about Daddy and me. I don't think it worked as well in reality as much as it did in my head. Maybe if we had only asked a question every other present or something it might have been better. I think you all liked the idea of it too, because when you gave each other the gift you had for them, you also asked a question to go along with it.
103: Mom-Mom's comment on my blog about Christmas dinner: "Paige, We loved every minute of our time at your house. It was especially fun to get there early and spend time with your kids. I hope we didn't spoil the broth!!! Next time tell me an hour after you want us there! Your decorations were awesome and festive. You and Andy are just terrific!"