Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Autumn hike at Great Falls...

We had a great hike a few weeks back at Great Falls and it was our first chance using our new hiking back-pack for Harper. He loved it and it allowed us to take a more adventurous route since we weren't pushing the stroller. The views were spectacular with the leaves in full on Hokie orange & maroon. The dogs loved jumping over the rocks and tree stumps and Adam felt like he was hiking an obstacle course and loved every minute. Harper was so comfortable that he eventually fell asleep - guess the views weren't as impressive to him!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bath time fun...

Harper just loves getting his baths and so it's hard not to want to snap a ton of photos of his smiley cute and sudsy face! 

Of course there's nothing better than a clean baby in PJ's - well maybe a clean baby and his big brother - all smiles! 

Happy Halloween!

We had a great time celebrating Halloween this year. We kicked the festivities off with a dinner party with neighbors on the Saturday before Halloween. We did a pot luck which was kind of a first for us but we loved how easy it made our prep work and I know our neighbors appreciated being able to contribute. I got a little crazy at the party store and scooped up some frightful decoration. We had a fire going on the deck and all the kids enjoyed dining al fresco and then it was off to the basement for a "scary" movie and games while the adults got their turn in front of the fire. A fun night and hopefully new tradition. 

Halloween was a Monday so we did our best to enjoy the evening knowing the kiddos would need to be up early the next day for school. Adam requested to be a ventriloquist dummy and Harper was an elephant (and a sick one at that - poor kiddo - we had a make-up photo session a week later when he was feeling - and looking! - better).  

We met up with several of the kiddos in the neighborhood for trick-or-treating and while the kids ran from house to house the moms enjoyed our "roadies" and good conversation. Meanwhile the dads stayed back handing out candy while sitting around a miniature bonfire enjoying some brews. 

After trick-or-treating the kids sorted and traded candy - probably the best part of the evening! Halloween is such a fun holiday and we'll look forward to seeing what fun and frights next year's brings. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Adam had been begging for weeks to go to the pumpkin patch with the "scary bus," so we finally got around to it just in time to get a few more pumpkins before Halloween. 

It's always funny to me how much Adam wants to go to this particular patch as the highlight - the "scary bus" - has been something he's avoided the last three visits - ha! This year, with some encouragement and accompaniment from Andy, Adam finally braved it and went through - the looks on his face as he went through were classic (and apparently undocumented). Frankly the creepy clown bus driver caused me to tap out - no thank you! 

Harper was a bit tired when we went so we didn't quite get the fun smiley photos we had hoped for - but he did get to go down the slide a few times and let's just say he wasn't all that amused - I'll chalk that up to the tired factor as well. 

I was happy to snap our traditional photo of Adam and the wagon - next year Harper will have to help pull it - we'll be sure he naps first! :) 

PS - I did snap some pics of Harper with a mini-pumpkin when he was in a better mode - what a cutie pie! 

Monday, October 31, 2016


For the last four years I have been serving as a volunteer on the SMRP Conference Committee. It's been a very fun experience throughout the years as we've put on conferences in Indianapolis, Orlando, Cincinnati and now Jacksonville. This year I was the chair of the conference committee which meant for the last year I've been running all the committee calls and leading our volunteers and staff along the way as we planned and organized everything from start to finish. 

Being Chair has its perks - including being picked up at the airport and getting one of the nicer suites in the hotel. My room was crazy big with a great view and three different beds and showers to choose from - haha - kind of ridiculous. Though the extra living space did allow for hosting a pizza party one night in my room and a cocktail reception another night as a thank you to the staff and volunteers for a job well done. Ever the hostess, even while on the road! :) 

Being Chair also means you are the Emcee for the opening and closing general sessions. I was anxiously awaiting that part of the job - both excited for the opportunity but slightly nervous about being up in front of 1000+ of my peers and colleagues from around the globe. Happily it all went really well and once I was up there all my nerves went away and I found myself to be very comfortable in front of the crowd - suppose that won't come as a surprise to some of you. :) 

Another perk was getting to have breakfast with our Keynote speaker - Jim Morris - his life story was portrayed in the move "The Rookie" starring Dennis Quaid. He and his wife were so kind and fun to chat with. He gave a great keynote and I had grown men coming up to me afterwards saying how much they enjoyed it and that they'd even had to wipe some tears - wow!

Our closing Keynote, Bob DiStefano, was my selection and he's a guy who I've known since I started in this industry 10 years ago. He's been a great mentor and just a cool guy to be around. I'm sad to say he is retiring but I know we'll keep in touch and I've got my fingers crossed that when he finally buys a villa in Tuscany that he'll invite us to come visit - as he's promised. 

It really was a great conference - I missed last year's because of Harper - so it was awesome to see friends and colleagues again - all of whom inquired about how he was doing. It's just a great industry and while it's a big one - it really does tend to feel like a family reunion every October and I was proud to serve as the "Matriarch" this year. ;)