Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fun Fun Weekend

This past weekend Shea and I went to Tappahannock, VA for Larry and Anne's wedding. Larry is Shea's best friend from childhood and Shea was one of his groomsmen. We had a fantastic time and are so happy for them both. It was great to see all our old college friends as well. Riley stayed home with Shea's parents and had a blast being spoiled.....thanks Mamaw and Papaw! It's nice to have a weekend to ourselves every now and then :).

Shea and Larry's dad, Don, showing off their suits.
Husband and Wife
Shea and I at the reception.
The reception was at Anne's uncles house along the Rappahannock River. It was beautiful and the weather was perfect. Here is a picture of the reception tent and boat dock along the river bank.

When the reception was over, Larry and Anne made their way down an illuminated path to the dock, where they boarded Anne's dad's boat and sailed off. There were even a few fireworks to complete the night. Here they are making their way to the boat.

After the reception we all headed back to the hotel parking lot, where we took over the Applebees to watch the last half of the Va Tech football game. Lets just say there were a lot of Hokies at this wedding so you can imagine the look on the bartenders faces when we all showed up. A Hokie victory was a great ending to a great day!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hey Kyle and Bethany!

Our friends Kyle and Bethany are over in Russia meeting their new daughter. Their son Mason, who I watch during the day along with his sister Payton, wanted to share his school project with his Mom and Dad. Since we couldn't get the web cam to work, I thought I would share Mason's work on here so they could see it.

"Hi Mom and Dad. Here it is."
"I hope you like it. See you soon, love you!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Friends are in Russia!

Kyle and Bethany, our friends who are adopting a little girl from Russia, got to meet their daughter today! They arrived yesterday morning, I think. With the 8 hour time change I really don't know the exact time line of things. I do know that they got to finally meet their precious little girl and have posted a few pictures on their adoption blog, along with some updates of what has been going on. You can check out how cute Addison is by clicking here! We are so excited for them and can't wait for them to be able to finally bring Addison home for good!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Could he be any lazier?!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


When Shea and I went to Riley's preschool orientation, his teacher told us that once a month she would be sending home a family homework assignment. She gave us our first one that night and it is due tomorrow. So tonight we sat down together and did our homework. We had to make a family flag, on the paper provided, with anything we had around the house...markers, craft stuff, stickers, whatever. Riley's class will be learning about different countries throughout the year, starting with traveling around the world and the United States. We had so much fun making our flag, and Riley was really excited about it too. He hasn't really been much into art type stuff, so I was glad to see him get really excited about this. I was hoping that being in preschool and being exposed to more art materials that he would start to like it more. I think it is working already.

Riley and Daddy showing off our family flag.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Balsis Family Adoption Journey

Some of you may know that our good friends, Kyle and Bethany, are planning to adopt a little girl from Russia. For the past several months they have been doing many fundraisers, trying to gain as much money as possible to help with the major costs of an international adoption. They have had online raffles, family lemonade stands, and even a huge yard sale that made the Washington Post. Even though they have done really well from their fundraisers, they still have a ways to go to help cover their costs. They just got word that they are to be in Russia a week from yesterday, the 22nd, to finally meet their daughter and start the paper work to bring her home. This means they need your help NOW. Some of Bethany's friends have started an online raffle that I would love for everyone reading this to take a look at and help out. Just click on the ad below!
You can follow their whole adoption journey here as well. Thanks so much for helping any way you can.

Day 3 of Preschool

Riley had a great day today, but I learned one thing.....stick to carpool drop off. Today I walked Riley in to his class because both Riley and Mason said they had to use the bathroom. I decided that since we arrive so early, we could walk in, use the bathroom to take up some time and then I could just drop Riley at his class. Well we were still too early to drop off in his class, even after the bathroom break, so I walked down to where they were collecting the kids for carpool. I thought Riley would be fine just sitting with the other kids, but one little boy was hysterically crying, which did not help the situation. Riley just burst into tears when I tried to leave him. So we walked back upstairs to wait for his class to open. Riley seemed to calm down and I thought he would walk right into class. I thought wrong. He was fine right up until it was time to walk through the door, then the tears started again. This time his teacher just took him and Mason and I ran out the door. I figured the sooner I left the sooner he would calm down. I picked him up from the carpool line and his teacher was the one to bring him out again. She said he was fine all day and calmed down quickly in the morning after getting his elephant out of his back pack. I definitely will be using the carpool until he is more used to going to school. I think when I drop him off in the carpool line he has less time to think about me leaving him and just goes with the flow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

First full day at preschool: The Pick Up

Riley had a great day. His teacher was actually the one to bring him out to the car so I was able to talk with her a minute...she said he had a great day. Riley was excited to tell me all about the day...that they had circle time, he made a fish, got to go on the playground, and had cupcakes for snack. Sounds like a fun day to me! The cupcakes were for a boy's birthday in his class and they got a goodie bag as well. The theme was construction equipment...couldn't have been any more perfect for his first day at school. One of the only things I was worried about was that Riley would get sad during the day because he missed me or Shea. When we were talking about going to preschool in the beginning, this was the only thing that Riley kept bringing up. At our parent orientation, his teacher talked about letting the kids bring something from home to make them feel more comfortable in the first few weeks of school...favorite toy, a picture of Mom and Dad, a blanket, whatever. So last night I asked Riley if he wanted to take his stuffed elephant (it's one that he has had in his bed since birth and just recently has become attached to it, sort of) to school with him so if he started to miss Mommy or Daddy he could get it out and not be sad. He thought that was a great idea. This morning I asked him if he wanted to carry it in or keep it in his pack for when he needed it. He chose to keep it in his pack. (If you read the last post you will see he obviously didn't need it this morning.) I asked his teacher if he took the elephant out through out the day and she said yes a few times, but put it right back. I think after a few weeks he should be fine and not need the comfort of his elephant. We shall see.

First full day at preschool: The Drop Off

Riley did great!! He was so excited to go this morning, even after I had to wake him up early to get ready. We have to leave a bit early because I have to drop off Payton (the little girl I watch) first at her preschool, then we go to Riley's school. Here he is all ready to go...
Here are Riley, Payton and Mason off to school. (Mason actually stays with me on T/H, his school is M/W/F.) Mason was a big help today getting Riley excited about the carpool drop off. I thought I would try it today, since Mason did it yesterday and Riley got to see how it worked. I really thought that Riley would want me to walk him in, but he seemed fine with just jumping out on his own. The whole time we were in the carpool line he just kept asking when he could go in. Then when they finally came to get him out, the teacher helped him out of the car and walked him in. No tears.....not even a hesitation. I was so proud of him.

Have a great day at school Riley!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Parent Orientation

Tonight was Riley's preschool orientation for the parents. We were able to meet Riley's teachers and see his classroom for more than just the few minutes we did this morning. We love both his teachers, who seem to really love teaching children and have been doing it for many years. They basically went over all that they would be doing through out the year and it sounds like they will be having a lot of fun. They will be going on all kinds of neat field trips, which is one reason I was really glad he got put in the 4's class instead of the 3's. (The 3's don't go on many filed trips.) A few weeks ago, Riley was evaluated by the school director to basically get to know him a little better since he is new to the school. (I was very impressed by this...another reason I really love this preschool.) Anyway, from what the director observed and from what I told her about Riley, she decided that he would do better in a more structured 4's class, than a 3's class. After seeing all that his 4's class is going to cover and the cool things that they will be doing, I'm so glad that he is in the class he is in. I think he will do just fine. At the end of our meeting, we were able to walk around and we saw Riley's first art project already on the wall. When I asked Riley if he did art this morning, he said no, so I was pleased to see what he had done. Of course it had stickers of school buses all over it. (One of their themes this month is traveling around the world, so they made paper suitcases.....very cute.) Anyway, when I gave Riley a bath tonight, I was talking to him about his art that I saw. He couldn't remember what it was that he made, but he did remember that he put school bus stickers on it. We are looking forward to a very exciting school year!

Riley's 1st Day of Preschool

Well...it was more of an orientation day, but still very exciting! He only went for an hour and a half today and on Thursday he will start his regular schedule of 9:30-12:30. We have been talking about going to school now for several weeks and last night he seemed really excited. He was a little nervous though that he would miss me and Daddy and Bentley and his fishy. So this morning at first he wasn't too excited because I started to tell him about me not staying with him and he started with missing everyone again. I decided to drop the subject so he wouldn't get too worked up about it and by 9:30 he was saying "Can we go to school now Mom?" So we started getting ready and took some pictures. To make the day extra special, last week we went to the mall to pick out a new shirt. This is what he picked out...of course :)

"Yes Riley, I see the truck on your shirt."
So excited for my first day!
At this point he was really excited to go so he ran back in for his backpack and more pictures. (Bentley wanted to get in there too)

"Get a picture of just my backpack too Mom."
One last picture of Riley and I before we got in the car...
Daddy met us at school for the first day...
Walking in like a big boy!
We found his class and right away Riley found his hook.
"Here it is, see R-I-L-E-Y that's my name!"

We met his teachers and explored the room a bit before it was time for the parents to leave. Riley really didn't want me to leave at first, but his teacher tried to distract him as I made my way out. Shea was able to look in as they closed the door and said he wasn't crying...just kind of standing there, so that was a good thing. I was hoping he wouldn't cry. Since it was just orientation, the parents actually stayed and they had a little breakfast area set up for us in the basement. Shea had to get back to work so before I made it down to the basement, I stayed out in the hall around the corner from Riley's class and talked with another mother for awhile. I checked around the corner when I heard a class in the hall too see Riley following along in line to the bathroom. So proud of him following directions :). Luckily they were going in the opposite direction and he did not see me, because about 3 minutes later I heard a child crying. Yep...Riley! I actually was a little shocked because I thought if he was going to cry it would have been when I left. At this point I could only hear them and I didn't know which way they were going to go, so I quickly took the stairs to the basement so he wouldn't see me and make matters worse. Later I asked him why he was crying and he said he wanted to eat breakfast with me, so I guess he thought they were taking them to their parents, not the bathroom. I'm assuming it didn't take him long to stop crying because he was happy as can be when I picked him up. He told me he loved it so hopefully he will be excited for his real first full day on Thursday. Shea and I have our parent orientation tonight, so I will learn more about everything then. I'm super excited for him and just love this preschool. I know he is going to love it too after he gets a little more used to it. He even got his first classmate birthday invitation in his take home folder and it's only the first day! How cool!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Visit to DC...Part 2

When Riley and I visited Grammy for lunch in DC, we had some time to kill while Grammy got some work done and then again after lunch before our train ride home. In the morning we decided to walk the few blocks down to the "big White House" as Riley liked to call it.

Riley walking the streets of DC.
Along the way we talked all about what we might see or hear in the big city. Of course Riley loved all the trucks, cars, and taxis that he saw as well as all the people and big buildings. Riley loves taking his own pictures, so I let him take a few since he wouldn't stop asking for the camera. This is what a 3 year old thinks is cool in the big city.....
Mommy walking down the street...
...a big building...
...and a Verizon van. His obsession with vehicles is getting out of control :)!!
We finally made it to the "big White House" and Riley thought it was really cool, not because it's the White House though, with its pretty fountain and flowers out front......
....but because the "big White House" has it's own police cars with a picture of the "same house" on it. This I think made his day :)!
On our way back to meet Grammy for lunch, we stopped to rest and take a look at a tourist map of the area. There was a big red circle on the map and I explained to Riley what it meant....that the red dot showed us where on the map we were standing and that the buildings on the map were the buildings all around us. He took this in for a few seconds, looked on the ground all around us and said, "I don't see a big red dot Mommy!" (I just love this boy. I swear I forget sometimes that he is only 3.) After telling him that "yes, you are right, there is no red dot on the ground" I noticed that we were only a few blocks away from the National Aquarium. Perfect, we could go there after lunch and before our train ride home.
This aquarium is not very big, perfect for toddlers with a short attention span. We were able to walk through several times in the hour that we were there. Here are our favorite exhibits...

I think Riley really enjoyed the time we spent just walking around the city. We definitely made the most of our trip to see Grammy.