Saturday, December 31, 2005

Gary Ewell a.k.a. Gear Head or Pretty Boy

Unless your sentence starts with the word “Mustang” Gary will disregard your words as background noise. Yes, he has discovered cars, and not just any cars, cars from the 60’s or 70’s.
Since we moved to Virginia, Gary is attending public school again after 2 years of home schooling. We live in one of the best School Districts in the State and Lee-Davis High School has an actual Art Program. “Gary is a very gifted Artist”, his art teacher Ms. Hanky told us at his conference.
Gary continues to face challenges with keeping his school papers organized, and also being able to see the floor of his room, as many teens do. Gary should be experiencing a growth spurt shortly, as he is eating and sleeping constantly.
Gary gets teased by his jealous mother. “Oh, you’re so pretty”. Usually his little brother Zach will start singing around the house, “Gary’s so pretty.” He has shiny, thick, naturally curly dark hair, with wide blue eyes, framed by long dark eyelashes, and a beautiful wide smile that is almost straight according to Dr. Jolley, the orthodontist.
Gary likes staying up late, making model cars, Pizza, Ramen Noodles, Whole Milk, Kix cereal, Pepsi, & talking about Harry Potter with his parents.

Anna Elizabeth Riley a.k.a Princess Buttercup or Banana Bear

As most may know, Anna remembers each of her birthdays and the age she was by their theme’s. Its no surprise that her 5th Strawberry Shortcake birthday was a raving success. Lots of guests noticed her love of a theme and complimented her by supplying her with tons of Strawberry Shortcake Merchandise.
Anna is an unusual child in the fact that when she gets clothes as a gift, she is very happy. Where most kids would be disappointed and throw the clothes to the side, she has a tendency to model her new attire for everyone.
Our daughter was quite disappointed to find that we would be moving. She was excited about the house and her new room and the size of the yard. Leaving her friend, Rachel, behind was the hardest for her. Luckily, Rachel and Anna get to talk on the phone and play together when we visit Trish’s parents.
Anna & Zach made fast friends with our next door neighbors. Our yards are connected so they don’t have to cross a street to knock for Olivia. Alexia is Olivia’s little sister who is 2.
The three of them can frequently be found climbing a dogwood in the front yard, or playing on Olivia’s swing set or playing in the play house or tree swing out back.
Anna loves her Hello Kitty Room, and will eat almost anything but green beans. She loves to scribble in her journal and is learning her letter sounds quite well.

Thomas Zachary Riley a.k.a Zach Attack or Zachy Tacky Too

Zachary has had one heck of a year complete with some staples in his head. When he was jumping on our futon, daddy told him to stop or he would get hurt. So he flopped to lay down and hit his head on the arm of the futon. (Pictured)
He also had to purge through his toys for our move. He very generously let other people have some of his toys to play with, with the exception of a loved duck that got a second chance. He snatched it away at the swap meet and insisted it was his. It took him a little while to learn to say was coming out Ah-ginia, but he could say Pennsylvania very clearly.
Zach’s parents established that he’s a little off… since he can be found climbing and jumping off of things with no fear. Of all the children, he’s got the best sense of humor. He can see the humor in many things that other people might miss. He is very bright, sneaky and very charming.
His mother is teaching him to give her compliments, like “You’re pretty mommy.” He has figured out the timing as well, when he’s in trouble he’s sure to give out the kisses and compliments.
Zach love waffles, broccoli, butterfly shrimp, and all candy, a toy called snaky and anything Spiderman.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas 2005

For the holidays the Riley’s headed North to Pennsylvania just like Perry Como sings about. It was nice to be around our family again. This year was even more different from last year…This year we traveled around to people’s houses instead of hosting our own. It felt weird, not bad weird, just different weird. I had been hosting the Christmas open house since 1998, that’s six years of wonderful family memories in our home.
We stayed with my parents who made many comfortable accommodations for our group of five. Trish and the kids arrived in town Jan. 20th at about 11:30 pm.
On the 21st we settled in and visited with Grand-mom McBreen and Aunt Elizabeth. On the 22nd we went to the Birthday Party of Katie Edmonson (Dec 25th) hosted by Jenn Rullmann and her girls, and partook of a wonderful Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream cake. After the party, we hot footed it over to visit with Grammy and Papa Riley.
On the 23rd we visited Grand-pop Buss then headed to a birthday party for Grammy (Dec 23rd). Luckily Thomas was able to join us and surprise his mother for her birthday. Tom’s wrestling tournament in Washington D.C. ended a little early getting him back on the road to PA sooner than anticipated.
Christmas Eve was spent with Grammy and Papa Riley, like usual. With all the brothers, sister, & cousins in attendance gobbling up the Shrimp Cocktail and chocolate candies, while tearing apart tenderly wrapped packages.
On Christmas Morning we shared the holiday with Mom-mom & Pop-pop McBreen, Aunt Elizabeth & Mike, his brother Brian and our little clan with all the anticipation sitting at the top of the steps can hold. (pictured left) As always, accompanied by the musical styling of Perry Como. (A McBreen family tradition)
Christmas after noon was spent at James & Beth’s house, followed by dinner at the McBreen’s with the addition of Uncle John.
Sadly, sickness struck after the holidays but we were well and able to travel home on the evening of December 30th.