Thursday, February 4, 2016

Evie's Sleepover!

 Evie really wanted to have a sleepover to celebrate her birthday so we had a sleepover! It was fun but way more work than I had anticipated. 

I decided to test it out by having one friend spend the night before attempting six girls! That was good thinking because I learned a lot. 

Evie was so excited about her sleepover and had fabulous ideas about everything from food to games and of course the favors. 

Evie invited: Bonnie, Abby, Sarah, Molly, Callie and Leah. All girls that we know well and their families know us well. We have spent time in all of their homes with their families and they have all spent time with our family in our home. 

The girls arrived at 5 - next time I might do 6 if it is a big group! They all played and giggled for a bit. We did a scavenger hunt for items around the house.

Then, I had them work on decorating place mats for their dinner. We had pizza, fruit and veggies with dip for dinner.

Carl led them in a volleyball game after dinner - a streamer between two walls. They loved this but it lasted about two minutes. We played a few getting to know you games - this was one night that I was really using my teaching experience. 

After the games, it was time for cake and presents! Evie's friends know her well and she received such nice gifts that she is still playing with several weeks later.

I found some blank books at Target and they had a ball decorating those and turning them into friendship books. They all love to be BFF's - that phrase was repeated all night long.

Carl popped some popcorn and we put on a movie. They were up and down a million times wanting more snacks, drinks etc. Bonnie left right before bed because her Dad was out of town and they live near our church. Waking up little brother JT to come get Bonnie in the night would not be fun! We missed Bonnie but Evie may do the same thing at Bonnie's party!

Everyone was asleep by about 11 which I considered successful after our last sleepover when the girls were up at 1AM. 

They woke up a few at a time and everyone was up by 7:45. It was Evie's real birthday!!!

Carl made waffles for everyone and we had fruit and sausage. 

Evie opened her big gift from us after breakfast. It was Lea - American Girl of the Year.  Evie might not always love having a January birthday but at least she is one of the first girls to get the American Girl of the Year. 

I helped the girls get their stuff together and then Henry gave everyone a ride on his gator. He planned this in advance - what a sweet boy! I think the girls loved it too. 

All the girls were so well-behaved and nice to each other. We could not have asked for a better group of girls. I am so thankful that Evie has such good friends and that I LOVE their Mama's!

Tips for a Sleepover:

Be sure to have some crafts and games planned if you have more than two or three girls.

Alternate between active and quiet activities.

Assign each girl a spot for her belongings - they bring tons of stuff with them and it all looks alike. 

Get the High Float in your balloons. Our balloons lasted two weeks!

A fancy cake is not necessary - these girls barely ate any cake. Evie wanted cookie cake and I am glad that I went simple with a Publix cake.

Prep as much as possible in advance and consider hiring a babysitter to come help for a few hours if you have lots of girls. I'll hire a sitter for sure next time especially having a younger child at home too. Carl took care of Henry which was helpful but then I had lots of girls who needed me. Evie went to a sleepover with six adults - one for every girl there. I think even some help from 6-9 would be super helpful. Another mom would work too as long as her daughter was not there. Maybe a friend who only has boys! I am hearing that boy sleepovers are completely different from girl sleepovers. I'll find out in a few years! 

Evie had so much fun and would love another sleepover next year! Sleepovers are the least expensive party that Evie has ever had -less than $100 with food, favors, decorations. That is a definite plus! We told Evie if she had a small party then we could go to Chattanooga for the weekend. I thought it was the best of both worlds - she was able to celebrate with her friends and we were able to have a wonderful weekend of quality time together as a family. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

January Jaunts: Snowy Days, Birthdays, and Chattanooga

January 1: Another lazy day at home - this seems to be the trend for us on holidays or after busy weekends. We had a big breakfast and then a traditional New Years meal of pork, collard greens, Hoppin' John and cornbread. Carl makes the best collard greens - delicious! My mom helped me to take off the ornaments from the tree- it is so much easier with an extra person. I would love to keep my tree up a little longer but we have to prepare for birthday mode. Evie is a big fan of her new car for all of her girls!

January 2: My parents left and we just hung out at home all day. I went to a going away party for my friend, Crystal. We live in such a transient place - I have never known so many people to come and go like they do here. Evie is going to miss Sarah and I will miss Sarah's sweet Mama! It was a nice night with appetizers and wine - my favorite. Some of the ladies went out for dinner but I skipped that part. I came home to a cute note from my favorite girl. She does this every time I go out now and I just love these notes. Sometimes they are funny and sometimes they are sweet. Lots of times they are short and to the point but she still expects a note back. 

January 3: We slept through church - holiday hangover is real! I made some veggie soup and we spent the afternoon watching football. It was just what we needed! I went to a thank you party for helping with the Christmas tea at church. Wanda is the ultimate Southern Belle and knows how to throw a party. She's 75 but runs circles around me with what she gets accomplished. It was simply lovely with ham biscuits, shrimp and grits, cheese straws, champagne punch and lots of delectable desserts! It's a good thing Carl and I are still getting our steps in with our new Vivo fit. Carl shaved off his holiday beard while I was gone and Evie was sad. She loved the beard!

January 4: Carl had to go back to work today! We all missed him this morning. Evie worked with Henry on his sight words a bit and then they played school. We met some friends from her class at Above All for some jumping time. It was a blast for the kids and good for them to get their energy out. Of course, the Mama's loved catching up. Evie has the best class this year with an amazing teacher and the sweetest parents. We came home for a little rest and then Leah came over for a sleepover. Leah and Evie have been friends since they were one so it is always a treat to have playdates with Leah. The girls played American Girl, had a dance party, made cookies and watched a movie before calling it a night. 

January 5: Well, the girls did not get to sleep until 1:00 in the morning. YIKES! I had to wake them up about 8:45 to take another friend to the airport at 9:30. They were happy and quiet since they were still half asleep. Evie held it together all day which really surprised me!  We ran a few errands that day but mostly stayed home to rest up. We did celebrate Henry's Half Birthday with a trip to Sweet CeCe's. In full disclosure, he did ask to go to Disney World when I asked him how he wanted to celebrate. Luckily, ice-cream was his second choice. 

January 6: We went to Bellevue to swim at their YMCA. It has a zero entry pool which is nice for Henry. The lifeguard had a fan going which made Henry extremely cold so our swim was pretty short. Both kids spent more time in the shower than the pool but we did get a good half hour of swimming practice in the pool. Swimming makes you hungry so we stopped to get some lunch and then headed to the library for a bit. It was a cool library and then we went to Red Caboose Park before heading home for some craft time. 

January 7: Evie went back to school - finally! It was a long break but I enjoyed the time with the children. Henry and I went on a long bike ride and when we came home our garage door would not open. That's how we enter and exit our house. Carl came to the rescue since he was in town. YIKES! I would have had to borrow a battery from a neighbor and change it to get inside the house. We celebrated Henry's Half Birthday again with Carl. 

January 8: Henry went back to school and I went to the dermatologist for a rash. Got a shot and then ran a few errands. Carl and I had a date night and I felt fine. By the time, we got home I felt awful and was up all night. Those cortisone shots make me crazy. Cold chills, racing thoughts, bad dreams and no sleep - not a good combination!

January 9: I felt much better this morning. We took it easy and enjoyed some time at home. Henry and Evie sat up a movie theatre in the den and we watched a movie. Carl took Henry to a birthday party at Above All and I took Evie to Starbucks. Everyone had a ball!

January 10: We went to the Nashville Boat Show. It's fun to look at the boats but Nashville is not the best boating town. It's a hike to get to the lake. Henry and Evie thought it was fabulous to tour all the boats. Henry even found his dream boat and announced to EVERYONE that this would be his boat when he is a Daddy. We hope so Henry and maybe you can bring along your parents on that $800,000 boat that you selected. We drove to Germantown to find a restaurant that Carl is taking some important customers to in a few weeks. Restaurant is called Fifth and Taylor - it is very popular right now and we both cannot wait to try it. We decided to pop into The Cupcake Collection while we were in the area and boy were we glad we popped in there. YUMMY! Evie and I both had Wedding Cake cupcakes and Henry and Carl had Birthday cupcakes. 

January 11: It was a super cold day - 14 degrees when we woke up. I made dinner for a friend from church who had her first baby girl! It was so cold all day that hot chocolate hit the spot.

January 12: Henry and I joined Kelly and Eddie at Jumpstreet to get some energy out of our wild boys. They had a blast and Henry even ran into a friend from his preschool class - Avery Grace! Henry was so sweet and did not tell Evie where we went because he did not want to hurt her feelings. I was impressed he came up with that all on his own. We picked Evie up and ran a few birthday errands. 

January 13: Henry and I went to the library after school - nothing better than a stack of books to enjoy on a cold winter afternoon. Praying that my children always love reading as much as they do now. Henry helped me prepare for Evie's party!

January 14: I went out to lunch with Libby and Holly to celebrate Libby's birthday! A fun lunch out is always a nice treat especially when Carl is out of town. Henry and I worked on prepping for Evie's birthday party and then picked up Evie from school. We made a quick Costco run and then came home to warm up! 

January 15: I took treats to Evie's class for her birthday and stayed to volunteer. Then, I made a mad dash around town picking up balloons, pizza, cake and a new dress for Evie! Carl got back from Greenville early enough to pick up Henry from school. Henry was so excited for Daddy to pick him up. Evie had her sleepover with seven girls - that deserves it's own post. 

January 16: Evie turned 7! Crazy how quickly time flies. My sweet girl was so excited with all of her presents. We took it easy and then went to dinner at American Girl.

January 17: Henry had a fever so we stayed home! Everyone just recovered from our wild weekend. 

January 18: MLK Day! It's always nice to have an extra day off around Evie's birthday and even better that it provides important discussion material! We went to Smyrna to meet our friends The Onello's. Evie and Abby were not finished catching up after the sleepover. We had a fabulous time at Jumper's Playhouse and then went to Panera for lunch. Our kids sure are good friends! Carl was here packing when we got home. He spent some time with all of us before heading off for a week of travel. Happy Birthday, Candice!!! I am so excited to see you in Raleigh next month!

January 19: Henry and I took Evie to school because it was so cold! We made a quick run to the grocery store and did some stuff around the house. We picked up Evie and the grabbed an early dinner. I went to the fundraiser for Evie's school. Lee Brice, a parent at our school, was the talent and he did an amazing job! Evie was in class with their son last year and he is such a good kid. Lee is a Clemson graduate so we chatted about South Carolina life for a bit. Elizabeth and I had such a fun night together! 

January 20: SNOW DAY! We stayed home and watched too many movies and ate too many sweets.

January 21: Evie went back to school and Henry and I went back to the grocery store to prepare for the next storm. Kroger was beyond packed. YIKES!!! We made it out of there with most of what was on our list so we will not starve during the next snow storm. I worked with Evie on thank you notes after school. Evie loved all of her gifts but this picture does not reflect her gratefulness. Carl flew back in right before the snow came.

January 22: We woke up to snow and more snow! It was gorgeous falling down and accumulating so quickly. Carl worked from home and the kids enjoyed playing and catching up on school work. I found this note in Evie's backpack! How sweet for Kaila to notice that Evie misses Sarah. 

January 23: Another snowy day! Lots of fun sledding and trying to build a snowman. We broke out of the house for a Target run because we needed a break from being home.

January 24: Surprise - another snowy day! Our neighbors, Callie and Cooper, came over to play so their parents could have a little break since the Mama is pregnant with their fifth child. 

January 25: School was out for snow . . . again! I took Evie to her 7 year old check up. Baby Emmaline went with Evie to her checkup - luckily she had a healthy report just like Evie. Our pediatrician is wonderful! Evie is tall and thin plus healthy as a horse. We are so thankful. Afterwards, we went to lunch at CFA. Our neighbors came over to play again - I loved having them but know without a shadow of doubt that two kids is plenty for me. 

January 26: Evie was back in school! Henry wanted to make a cake. He is so easy to please - chocolate cake coming right up little buddy! He wanted a Valentine cake!

January 27: Everyone was back in school for the first time in 11 days but who is counting! I stayed home all day after canceling my commitments for the day. Fever hit me and my cold knocked me out. I just took it easy all day - it was so nice to rest up!

January 28: Henry and I headed to church for our monthly lunch with the At Risk Senior Citizens of our community. We had a Superbowl Party for the seniors and it was a BIG hit! We had a fabulous band and Quentin heard that Carl is the Co-Chair for the church BBQ so he asked me if his band could play at the BBQ. Sounds good to me plus Quentin made me laugh because he said - "He would fall out if he could play for us again." Henry and I walked around Downtown Franklin and picked up some treats at Kilwin's. After we picked up Evie, we worked on school work until Carl got home and then everyone played outside since it was a beautiful January day. That's a unicorn in TN - rare and beautiful! Evie worked on her 100th day project - 100 pieces from Nana's Barbie collection and then went to the laundry room to do her iPad work for school. First grade is no joke! So much work to stay on track between reading minutes, math practice, projects and spelling. YIKES if this is first grade - I cannot imagine what is heading our way later. 

January 29: I volunteered at Evie's school and brought in lunch for my sweet girl and her teacher. It was the 100th Day of School! Carl and Evie attended the Father-Daughter dance at school. Henry and I had a PJ party at home. Evie and Carl came home beaming from the dance. Evie had won a candy bouquet and they had both had a ball! 

January 30: We headed to Chattanooga! Our first stop was lunch and then we rode the train. It was fun for everyone and Henry's favorite event of the weekend. We checked into our hotel and then walked around Downtown Chattanooga! What a fun city! We went to Lupi's for pizzas and Top it Off for ice-cream. Then, we enjoyed a carriage ride around the city. It was such a beautiful night for a carriage ride. We sat by the fire at the hotel and then  took a little dip in the pool. Everyone was ready for bed and everyone was asleep in a flash.

January 31: Henry wakes up at 7 on the dot every day- not sure how he does it since Chattanoga is in a different time zone but somehow he just knows to wake up right as the clock changes to 7 every morning! Evie and Henry love breakfast in a hotel. They ate a ton of food including lots of bacon. Who does not love bacon? We walked next door to the Children's Museum - it was a fabulous morning of fun! Carl and I were impressed with the quality of the exhibits! We headed to the Incline Railway for a tram ride up to Look Out Mountain. It was cool to see the city from such a high point. We walked down to Point Park before heading back down the mountain for ice-cream at Klumpies. That was some delicious homemade ice-cream. We made the quick trip back to Nashville and stopped at Las Palmas for a late lunch. Cheese dip is the perfect way to end a weekend.

January was busy but February is filled with plans already! I am looking forward to the month of love! There is certainly lots to love in Nashville!