The House Built On L♡VE & Shenanigans

The In's and Out's of Family Life in Charlottesville, VA

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Journey Jumps For Joy

IMG_2082This is the game that Journey and I play every time we’re at the pool.  She’ll stand at the edge, count to 10, and jump in with me standing there waiting to catch her.  Then she’ll ask me to float her over to the ladder so that she can climb out of the pool and repeat this for at least the next half an hour, or until I holler “uncle!”

We’re talking 30 to 40 jumps here people!

Today it was more of the same, jumping, catching, and floating to the ladder…jumping, catching, and floating to the ladder.  I can assure you that my arms get pretty worn out after awhile, not to mention the added twist of having Delaney ride my back for much of the time.


But it’s all good though, and a lot of fun for everyone.  I stay motivated by the thought that the pool closes for the season on October 15th…and then I’ll be able to rest my arms until next year.



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☘☘☘My Lucky Day ☘☘☘

IMG_2056Wow, what a day! Ok, so let me make this clear up front; I’m not the type of guy who really enjoys being dragged out of the house to participate in a shopping spree that takes me to more than two stores on any given occasion.  To my chagrin, on this day, I was forced to loosen my usual stance where shopping is concerned and carouse six stores in one day.

We started out at Fresh Market for lunch, then on to Dollar Tree, Kroger, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and finally, upon the girls repeated requests, we landed at Toy’s R Us!


We pulled into the parking lot of the toy store, and I commented out loud that, this was the first time I’d ever been inside this particular Toys R Us!  To which Delaney cleverly responded, “Well Dada, this will be your lucky day!” We had a nice chuckle, as we paraded inside the toy store.  At this point, the girls where delighted and filled with anticipation.

The jolly mood soon turned sour when Marley couldn’t find a toy she liked that didn’t cost less than $50.00.  Delaney and Journey previously each had toys purchased for them elsewhere, and we were still considering buying them both something small here as well.  But Marley couldn’t understand that we were only willing to purchase items in the $20.00 range. Marley deemed this dollar amount to be unacceptable apparently, and  the pouting ensued.  Even when Rach and I both tried in vain to help her find something, nothing we picked out for her was sufficient.

What began as a chance for us to splurge a bit on the girls, and on a day we hadn’t even planned to buy any toys from the get-go, turned into an opportunity for us teach them a much needed lesson in gratitude.

Unable to reach an agreement on a suitable store item for Marley, and with the situation beginning to deteriorate quickly and on the verge of full blown temper tantrum, we were forced to flee the store empty handed and in a hurry!  I’m sure we made quite a scene, ushering three inconsolable children past the many curious onlookers in the check out line, and marching them single file through the door and into parking lot…leaving a trail of tears in our wake.

Once they were all loaded up in the car, we did our best to calmly explain to them why they were not able to get anything at this time, but our voices were practically inaudible over the unpleasant sound of three distressed little girls wailing at the top of their lungs.

Delaney and Journey were reminded that they already had new toys in the car with us, while we tried to help Marley see that see shouldn’t be so picky in the future when it comes to toy purchases, and adhere to the price limits we set.

Toys R Us advertises itself as a place where kids can be themselves – “where a kid can be a kid.”  But Rach and I are certainly not in the business of allowing our children to use negative behavior to express themselves when they don’t get what they want, nor are we interested in raising spoiled kids (if we can help it).

The girls seemed to understand what we were trying to convey to them I guess, and once we got home the whole episode was almost forgotten after they dove into the mountain of toys that their room is already stuffed with.

Although it didn’t feel like my lucky day at the time, like Delaney told me it would be, in hind sight, the chance to teach my children the virtue of being thankful, certainly made this day a successful one.





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It’s Check Up Time

IMG_2052Look who’s becoming a big girl!

Here we find our Journey at her routine wellness doctors appointment.  This was our first time visiting Charlottesville’s Piedmont Pediatrics, and I was not unimpressed.  The nurses we dealt with were kind, engaging, and knowledgeable, and really what more can one ask for in a wellness check-up.

After we got settled in our exam room, Rach and I were conversing with and getting to know the nurse practitioner while passing along our personal history, and some of Journey’s medical information.  Journey meanwhile had found the etch in sketch and a variety of other toys to play with that had been strategically placed in the room in an effort to make her feel more at ease.



Eventually, it was time for Journey to climb up onto the examination table.  I told her that it was time for her check up.  She replied sweetly, “Like on Doc McStuffins?” “Yes, just like Doc McStuffins” I said, which led to a sing-along of sorts, of her “Time For Your Check-up” song.

As it turns out, she’s in the 5th percentile for height and weight , so “big girl” obviously doesn’t refer to her physical size, but to her brilliant attitude while being screened and to the fact that our big girl is healthy and continues to grow strong.


She performed so well that afterward, when she asked if we could have lunch at Chick fil A, we happily obliged.

So everything worked out well.  She’s perfectly healthy, no shots, and Chick fil A…not a bad day, I’d say!


These words of wisdom were hanging in the waiting area of Piedmont Pediatrics.

These words of wisdom were hanging in the waiting area of Piedmont Pediatrics.

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Down By The Riverside


I’ve long been a fan of climbing into my car, cranking up the speakers, and engaging in a timeless activity that back in the day, my boys and I dubbed – “Turning Corners.” This is when you get in your car, pop in your favorite CD, and motor around the metro with no actual destination in mind. Just turning up one street and down the next, chillin’, with no mission other than to take in and enjoy the sights and sounds.

Understand that you’re never too old to appreciate this pastime! So recently while on one of these driving expeditions, casually making our way through a residential area near downtown, Rach, the girls, and I stumbled for the first time upon a cozy little park tucked away in what seemed to be a rather obscure spot.  As we were rounding a slight curve, I happened to glance back over my left shoulder, and caught a glimpse of what looked like a small service road leading to nowhere.  Since this road was slightly camouflaged by trees, I certainly would have missed it had we not been on this sight seeing excursion looking for strange and uncharted roads to meander down.  With the girls jamming to their new favorite tune, “Everything Is Awesome,” by Tegan and Sara; the motion of them chair dancing in unison causing the van to sway from side to side, “we” decided to venture down this route to see where it would lead.  Sure enough we located this charmingly diminutive reserve.

It may have been new to us, but judging from all the hustle and bustle, this park certainly was no secret to others. The place was humming with activity! Parents pushing children on swings, folks playing fetch with dogs, bikers, and joggers maneuvering down the many trails that zigzagged the landscape of this urban green space.

Eventually the girls had their fill of climbing, swinging, flipping, and dipping, so set out to venture down one of these trails ourselves to see what wonders we might behold. Our jaunt began with cement under foot, but the walkway abruptly transitioned to rocks, and then all of a sudden changed to a dirt path.  After a few more feet we came upon a set of wooden stairs that gradually led down a hill. Mind you, had I not been wearing a pair of shoes that I wasn’t worried about getting a bit dusty; we would not have traveled this far. We began to trek down these stairs, and once we made it to the bottom, we were surprised to find ourselves standing on the banks of the Rivanna River.

Of course upon seeing the rushing water, Delaney and Journey began disrobing as if it was time to take dip. That action got cancelled quickly, as we had to firmly explained to them that we were only here to marvel at the gushing current.

Delaney was not pleased that her freedom to wade into the stream had been seized, so she protested by getting her pout on! (see above photos)

As the sun began to disappear below the trees, we hiked back the way we came, loaded up into the van, and turned the corner that pointed us toward home. I settled contently into my seat, pleased that we had endeavored to discover pristine paths and winding waterways.