Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Ainsley decided last fall that she wanted to take horseback riding lessons. The Ayres genes are strong with her! She started taking lessons at Level Green in Powhatan, and I decided to join her and start taking lessons again too!  I rode when I was young, and then took lessons when we first moved to Richmond, but having kids got in the way. :-) We normally have separate lessons, but this week we had to ride at the same time. Parker came along and was thrilled to be able to watch us. He is already talking about starting lessons when he turns six! 

He used his iPad to try to document the entire hour, but I won't post all 13 videos here (many of the videos are of his shoes, or a bug he found interesting, or the fence post right in front of him).  But here are a few shorter ones where you can actually see Ainsley (she's in the bluish-green shirt, riding her chestnut pony, Lovey!)

She can't decide whether she wants to be an Olympic swimming or equestrian, but luckily I think we have a little time to work that out. :-)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Kids and Friends

We had such an enjoyable weekend in Leesburg visiting some of our college friends. We have all known each other a long time, and spent many weekends together before we moved to Richmond and everyone started having kids. Between trips to Kiawah, annual lake vacations, and random holiday get togethers, we have managed to stay in touch over the years and watch all our kids grow up. And this weekend we managed to get a photo with all NINE of them! 

My climbing boy

Whitney and Ainsley (born 10 days apart)

Tim (9) and Parker (5)

Whitney and Lauren (3) helping Mama Caroline cook!

Whitney, Ainsley, and Abby (5)

What dinner with 9 kids looks like

I have no idea what these girls were whispering about, but you know they are going to be trouble when they're older!

It's hard to be a boy sometimes

Abby is crying
Tim: "Girls are so dramatic"
Chris: "Yes, son, they are."

 Ryan, the baby! (>1)

Colin, the birthday boy! (5)

Lauren (3), Ainsley (7), Ryan (>1), Whitney (7), Colin (5), Abby (5), Parker (5), Jake (5), Tim (9)

Abby, Parker, Jake, and Colin were all born within an 10 week time frame. It's so fun to see them all together!

Lauren thought she should have a better expression for this one...

 O'Neill kids plus my daughter

Three O'Neills...

...and the troublemaker!

I don't think Jake let Tim get more than an arm's length away the whole weekend. He was so happy to have time with his big buddy! (You can tell Parker is a little jealous)

The only surefire way to get all the kids to sit down for a picture? Turn on a robot movie.

Some group reading time

Awww... look at these two cuties with their matching cows.

Wait.... what just happened??

Being a mom to four kids is tough.... but she makes it look so easy!

A few card games before bed.

Yep, didn't manage to get a single picture of the adults. We had a great time too! But who has time for pictures when there are nine kids to keep track of?!  Many thanks to Tim and Caroline for hosting us at their beautiful home, and to Chris and Maggie for a delicious breakfast. Can't wait to see them all again!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

So far behind

Dear Reader,

I apologize for my lack of posts recently. I've been particularly busy.... I guess I've just forgotten about you. I have 'update blog' on my to-do list but it always seems to get pushed to the bottom. It's not that I don't want to share our fun adventures with you.  It's just a lot to keep up with.. I promise to be better about it this spring. And to show that I'm turning over a new leaf, here are some pictures and videos of the kids skiing.  Who doesn't love a skiing 4-year-old?!

And one of my DH skiing too!

Ainsley on Western Territory (black) with Daddy!

This year we got season passes for Snowshoe Mountain. Parker is old enough for ski school now, so we took three trips to West Virginia this season. He LOVES it! He's not quite as adventurous as his big sister, but he's picked it up pretty quickly and is already skiing all the greens and some blues. Ainsley graduated to the next level and got poles (ooooooh!). She skied her first black diamond in February, and knocked out a few more over spring break, skiing the Western Territory with Daddy. Her goal is to get down the mountain as quickly as possible - with the occasional side trip down some moguls or through a side trail in the trees. Mommy is not so adventurous, so I'm happy to stay on the greens and blues and make my way leisurely down the mountain in one piece. One can't underestimate the benefits of having all your limbs in place. But luckily no major crashes or broken bones for our family...yet.

We are currently here for spring break, and although the weather has been a little too warm, we're still having a great time.

My final day of skiing over spring break and I made it down 4 different blacks (including Western Territory). Didn't go fast, and didn't look pretty, but I made it down without falling! Ski season is over but we're all excited for next year!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Escape to Florida

It's cold in Virginia, so we ditched the kids for the long holiday weekend and headed to Fort Lauderdale with some friends! Chris and Maggie have talked about getting us down there for years and we finally got the chance to go. The guys did some deep sea fishing, we beached and pooled, we watched the cruise ships go in and out, and we rented a boat one day to wander around and soak up the sun.

How often do you get to see a submarine going in?

Mermaid show before dinner.

Special thanks to Maggie's mom for letting us take over her place for the weekend, and to my parents for watching the kids while we escaped to the beach!