Chris and Caitlin waiting to see Santa!

Chris and Caitlin waiting to see Santa! (November 17, 2012)

My daughter Caitlin just turned two years old last Saturday. She's still a few years away from starting school. But we are about to embark upon the lovely adventure of potty training.  I keep telling myself...we survived the process with Christopher...hopefully, it'll be a bit easier this time around!
Be sure to tune in to News 7 Mornin' tomorrow for this week's Early Years segment. We are profiling the fitness program, Stroller Strides, which is targeted toward moms, who want to work out WITH their kids.
Wednesday, January 5
Happy New Year!! Okay, okay....I'm a few days late with that.  But seriously, Happy 2011 to you!  I am finally back in the swing of things, I think, after having last week off for vacation.  We had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's with family and friends.  It was great having the time off with my children.  We basically just played all week and had fun. It was a really nice break!  My son Christopher was ready to go back to school, though.  He asked me several times what the next day was, and if he was going to school then.  I'm thankful that he enjoys school enough to miss it, even while he's goofing off!
There are lots of interesting topics in the news this week. No doubt you've seen the controversial U.S. Navy videos that prompted the "relieving" of Captain Owen Honors. But the most compelling national story that I saw from today is one you will see on  News 7 at Noon about the homeless man from Columbus, Ohio who has the "golden voice."  Ted Williams says he battled drug and alcohol problems for years, which derailed his radio announcing career. When video of him speaking turned up on the Internet this week, it caused such a sensation that he's receiving job offers...and hopefully, a second chance.  It just goes to show that you never know what someone else has gone through just by looking at them, or what potential they might still have. 
Friday, December 24
Oh wow...Christmas is almost here!  I have been finished with my shopping for a week or so...and yet, I'm finding there are still a few last-minute stocking stuffers that I still need to pick up today.  Try as I might to get EVERYTHING done before this week...there's always a last-minute errand.  We've had a wonderful holiday season so far.  My husband and I took the kids to see Santa at CHIP's Breakfast with Santa at Hotel Roanoke a couple of weeks ago...and the kids got a bit more face time with Santa last Friday, when St. Nick stopped by the station.  Chris did wonder if it was the "same" Santa.  I tried to side-step the question, but the older kids get, the harder it is to explain why Santa looks "different," depending on where you see him.  I'm just happy that my son still believes in Santa.  It seems like kids are younger and younger when they discover the "truth" about the big guy in the red suit.  Of course, my daughter Caitlin is still too young to really understand the concept of Santa.  I was just happy that she didn't cry on his lap either time...and actually seemed to like the Santa we had here at WDBJ.  There's just no more magical moment at Christmastime than to see your children happily ripping open their presents with that glimmer of excitement in their eyes...and still believing that Santa brought some of them.
  I hope you and yours have the Merriest of holidays...and a very Happy New Year. 
  I will be on vacation next week.  So, I will see you in 2011!
Monday, December 13
Hello there... Hope you've been tuning in for all of our coverage on the Brittany Smith/Jeffrey Easley story. Our own Justin McLeod and photographer Lynn Eller made the trip out to San Francisco to bring you the latest.  It is certainly good news that 12-year-old Brittany is safe, but there are still plenty of unanswered questions surrounding her abduction.  I'm sure all of that will come out soon.
If you were watching News 7 Mornin' today, you might have seen some of Bob's segments  on how to keep your live Christmas tree safe this holiday season. The best rule of thumb...common sense....don't forget to water it daily and switch off those lights when you leave the house or go to bed.
And speaking of the holidays, we had a busy weekend.  My husband and I took the kids to CHIP's annual Breakfast with Santa event at Hotel Roanoke on Saturday.  It was a great turnout, and all of the proceeds go toward helping the Child Health Investment Partnership of the Roanoke Valley, which assists medically-underserved kids in our area...a very worthy cause.  The event of course, included photos with Santa.  My son Chris was very much at not quite two year old daughter Caitlin was a little more shy. But I'm happy to report that she didn't cry on Santa's lap. So, we managed to get some good pictures for holiday cards. Oh, that's to get those in the mail!

Tuesday, December 7
It's good to be back after a nice, relaxing three-day weekend.  Relaxing as it was, I did manage to get a lot of holiday stuff done..i.e. getting and decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents, etc.  I am probably 75 percent finished wtih my shopping..just a few odds and ends left to get, thank goodness!  It seems to be coming quickly this year, and the lovely weekend snowfall just added to the holiday frenzy!  It was my favorite kind of snow...looks pretty, but doesn't cause a massive amount of problems.  I also enjoyed getting to see some of you on Sunday afternoon at "Sesame Street Live"  It was fun doing the introduction, and helping count down to the big show.  My kids loved it...but I think I enjoyed it just as much.

I was saddened to hear about the missing 12-year-old girl from Roanoke County.  An Amber alert is still in effect for Brittany Mae Smith.  Hopefully, she will be found safe and sound.  Of course, she will still have to cope with the tragedy of losing her mother, Tina, whose body was found yesterday morning in their home.  It's always tough reporting on stories like these, but especially upsetting here around the holidays.  My prayers are with their family.