Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cheekwood Treehouses

We spent the morning exploring the amazing tree house exhibit at Cheekwood with The C's and Uncle Ben. Evie was impressed and so were the rest of us. Tremendous thought and work went into designing each of the seven tree houses. This exhibit appeals to all ages which makes for a succesful family outing. All of the treehouses were so cool that it's hard to pick a favorite. Evie's favorite was the Rainbow fish tree house made out of cd's.

It was shiny from the thousands of CD's tied onto the frame and such a excellent way to use up those CD's that are gathering dust in attics across America. I really liked the Walden treehouse designed after the cabin that Henry David Thoreau lived in for several years. Remember this:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."  Henry David Thoreau

The Walden tree house came complete with a perfect wooden swing that would have been a blissful way to spend the day. Evie likes to keep things moving though so there was no time for swinging in solitude! So we kept on moving, our kids held hands, ran like wild horses, giggled with glee, slid down slides and asked for snacks three million times. That's my idea of a perfect outing with kids.

Cheekwood was packed and that was first thing this morning as soon as the gates opened. Prices have gone up with all the new exhibits so it made more sense to join so that we can go back again soon. I have a feeling that we will get a lot of use out of our membership. It was pretty hot this morning but we spent about an hour exploring the tree houses. Perhaps next time, we can spend more time at each individual tree house.

Courtney and I treated ourselves to lunch at The Pineapple Room. Delicious! Tablecloths and a fancy menu made it slightly intimidating but our kids did great. Warm muffins helped pass the time until our lunch arrived. Courtney and I both enjoyed fried green tomato salad with goat cheese and bacon. Ben had a hamburger and the kids ate chicken tenders, fries and fruit. Henry made a royal mess so my tipping has escalated to make up for the bevy of crumbs within a two feet radius of his highchair.

We breezed through the gift shop before calling it a day. It was a fun morning with friends! Evie made my day when she looked up at me with her big blue eyes and her smiling face saying, "Mama, thank you for bringing me here. I had so much fun." My sweet girl makes everything an adventure!

Check these tree houses out soon if you are in the area. Just get there early!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week in Review!

It was quite the adjustment this week recovering from our trip to the beach and getting everyone back on Central Time. Evie and Henry were both waking up mighty early at the beginning of the week. It took a few days but we are back on track. Henry

MONDAY: We traveled back to Nashville.

TUESDAY: Carl went back to work and I stayed home with the kids trying to get back into our routine. I was a bit overwhlemed by everything that needed to be done so we just made cookies instead. We went for a walk when Carl got home. Courtney and I went to wine night at a friends house at 9:00. We were laughing about how we had not left that late in years. It's always nice to get out for some adult conversation.

WEDNESDAY: Morning came early since I did not get to bed until after midnight. Then, Henry woke up around 2, that was night two of sleep training round three so I just had to listen to it. Poor little guy!  We stayed home all day and did some cleaning and organzing. Carl had a work dinner and we ate chicken tacos from the crock-pot. I was in bed before 9 and that always feels great.

THURSDAY: We went to Hatcher Dairy Farm that morning and I got some things done during nap. We played outside with our boys and then came inside for baths and bedtime. I went to run a few errands after Henry was asleep. Summer is fun but I sure miss having time to get things done while Evie enjoys time at school.

FRIDAY: Henry napped for a LONG time and I was able to finish up all the laundry and put away all the beach stuff. We headed out to join the YMCA. I plan to take the kids to the pool a lot and it will be a nice way to break up our days this summer too. We did a grocery pick-up on the way home and then it was naptime. Evie slept for nearly 4 hours! She has just been exhausted from the beach. I woke her up at 4:30 and then we all went to the pool. Henry thought it was a little cold but he got used to it. Evie had so much fun! Carl and I love that it tires the kids out so much. Evie stayed up later than normal and we ate dinner outside then tried to catch some lightning bugs. We enjoyed some ice-cream before bed and then hit the hay as soon as Evie was asleep.

SATURDAY: Carl trimmed some trees and bushes which makes me extremely nervous to see him dangling off the ladder. He loves yard work! After naptime, we went back to the pool and then put the kids to bed. Carl grilled some pork for dinner and we enjoyed a nice quiet evening at home.

SUNDAY: Both kids woke up at 6:30 on the dot. We decided to try early church but right as the sermon was beginning the nursery workers paged me. Henry was not happy! Poor little guy was not happy at all. I tried to take him into church with me but that did not work either. He needed a nap so we just came home. Henry fell asleep in the car so we stopped at McDonald's for some breakfast and ate it in the drivway since Henry was sleeping in the car. We played outside with The C's. Think Henry loves Christian or what? It's so sweet to see Henry enthralled with Christian. We came in dripping with sweat. It's already in the 90's and so steamy. Carl worked in the yard and I made some oatmeal chocolate chip bars off Pinterest that were pretty good. We went to swim with some friends at their neighborhood pool. Our kids came home exhausted and ready for bed. Carl went to pick up Ben from the airport. I told Evie that Uncle Ben was coming and she said that's Ben - not Uncle Ben. I reminded her that he is her Uncle Ben and she said, " I know that."

Hatcher Family Dairy

We made our annual visit to Hatcher Family Dairy last Thursday with our MOMS club. It was a HOT day! Evie had a ball running around with all the kids and Henry enjoyed the view from the stroller. He skipped his nap and was just fine probably because we were outside. I love seeing how Evie gets more out of the tour each year. She was really impressed with the farmer milking the cow by hand. Evie announced that she does not have milk in her udders. At least, she learned the word udders at the farm. We met a calf that was only three days old. So sweet! Dairy cows eat 100 pounds of food in a day. That seems like so much! Best fact that I learned is that cows get to go on sabbatical for the last two months of pregnancy to prepare for the tough early days of motherhood! Too bad, human mothers are unable to take a sabbatical.

Evie and I sampled some delicious chocolate milk and Henry sampled some whole milk. He is doing great with cows milk from a sippy. I give him some every few days and there's not much better than fresh milk from a dairy farm.

Best part about a morning at the farm is nap time! Both Henry and Evie slept for over two hours at the same time, that does not happen often so I took full advantage of it to get some things accomplished around the house.

Check out  the link to last year's Hatcher trip. Evie sure has grown!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beach Time!

We had a wonderful vacation! It went so fast even after we decided to add two extra days to our stay. Tennessee is a LONG way from the beach so it seemed like a good idea to make it worth our while.

Friday: We headed to Atlanta around noon after spending way too much time packing the car. Our van was stuffed with clothes, beach stuff and baby necessities. We arrived in Atlanta around 6 so it took us about 5 hours with the time difference. That had us slightly worried about how the rest of the trip would play out since that first leg took so long. Our beautiful niece, Mary, made her First Communion and it was our honor to celebrate her special day. Evie had a ball seeing both her cousins and playing with all the kids. Dinner was delicious and we all enjoyed mini-cupcakes for dessert.

Saturday: Evie was so excited to be on the way to the beach. It took us forever to get to Charleston since we had to make so many stops. We stopped to feed Henry, eat Maurice's barbecue for lunch, pick up some boiled peanuts, eat some ice-cream with our cousins, and grocery shopped. It was so fun to meet Elissa and her kids for ice-cream. Tucker and Taylor are so cute! Carl lugged all of our stuff inside and we headed out to the beach. Evie was delighted and had a blast on the beach.

Sunday: Carl took Evie out for a bit while I enjoyed some peace and quiet. It was a nice day after the rain cleared but rainy days at the beach are nice too. We headed out to the beach and then everyone napped again. Evie was cranky so we opted to stay in for dinner. Carl prepared filet's and that was the perfect dinner for Mother's Day. Perfect because he did it all!

Monday: We headed out to the beach bright and early after Henry's short nap. Carl's parents joined us out on the beach when they arrived. Evie was so surprised to see them show up on the beach. Carl's friend, Ben, came out to have dinner with us since he is local. It was so good to see him! I went to bed early since Henry did not sleep well at all while we were at the beach.

Tuesday: Carl and his parents took Evie to the beach. Henry took a long nap that morning and I did too! Carl and his parents went to The Ocean Course to get shirts and enjoy a drink on the patio. I stayed back with the kids while they napped. Henry woke up and went on a bike ride with us while Evie slept. Carl and I went on a date while his parents babysat Evie. We had so much fun! It's always fun to go out to eat on vacation but not so much fun to take kids out to eat while on vacation.

Wednesday: Carl's parents left around 9:30. I took Evie to the pool before heading out to the beach with Henry. Evie slept forever that afternoon and I finally woke her after almost four hours. Something about the beach makes us all hungry and sleepy. We went out for a quick dinner at the market.

Thursday: Evie and I did a little shopping at Freshfield's Village. Note to self, everything costs more on vacation, take plenty of medicine for everyone. Evie and I checked out the Lilly store and sweet girl was throughly impressed with the huge selection of pink and green. She just could not decide what she wanted between shoes, dresses and tiny trinkets. We had to check out a shoe store because Evie LOVES shoes. Then, we perused the local toy store and had to make a speedy exit. I am pretty sure that we were not the first ones to have to leave quickly. YIKES! We took a family bike ride to Night Heron Park and Nature Center. Evie loved seeing the baby turtles and kept asking to see more "quariums." After naps, we went out to the beach then Carl picked up take out for dinner.

Friday: My parents arrived around lunchtime. They brought a highchair for Henry. I did not bring it and that was quite the experience trying to feed Henry without a highchair. Evie was thrilled to see her Ipop and Nana. They brought her some binoculars which she referred to as her "noculars" because she tends to dismiss the need for the first letter of so many words. Evie rested and Henry napped while my mom and I went to the beach. We came back to get the kids and take them out to the beach. It seemed like a great idea to go out to dinner but it was CRAZY. Evie was tired even though it was 5:15 and had lots of meltdowns. She HAS to have a nap! Dinner was delicious and the pictures make it appear like it was a fun night out on the town. Trust me, Carl and I lost a few years of our life with that experience but we did enjoy our night off Kitchen Duty.

Saturday: Carl and my mom took Evie to the beach while Henry napped. Then, we all spent some time on the beach. It was cloudy and a little chilly due to Alberto. Evie was not at all bothered by the change in weather. She even requested some pool time until she turned blue in the water. Carl and I had another date night while my parents kept Evie. Two dates in one week - WOW! That has not happened in a long time. Carl and I went to the Ryder Cup Bar and it was absolutely the most stunning view with an amazing sunset. It was the highlight of our week!

Sunday: Carl and I took Evie out on the beach while my parents stayed with Henry. It was a little chilly again until the sun came out but we were not about to miss a beach day. Henry came down with my parents after his nap and I took a few pictures of him in his Easter outfit. My parents left after lunch and both kids napped for a long time. Ben came out to see us again and I took Evie out to the beach for some pictures. Then, I treated my sweet girl to ice-cream at Beaches and Cream in The Sanncturary. She loved the fancy ice-cream shop and was a perfect shopping companion. Carl and Ben took Henry to pick up some dinner. Everyone went to bed early. Henry had a horrible night! I went in there at least 12 times before going to bed myself. He was just not a happy camper at all.

It was a fabulous week at the beach with lots of precious time together, a few nights with the grandparents, long bike rides, special moments with our kids and seeing Evie experience the wonder of the beach. That girl loves the beach. She would announce, "It's the beach, it's the beach." Every single time, as we arrived.

I mentioned last year that going to the beach with kids is not a vacation. Instead, it's called "taking your kids to the beach." It's not exactly relaxing but it sure is fun. Two kids at the beach is a lot of work between logistics, sleep schedules and safety. Henry is well past the age of being able to sleep anywhere so naptime had to happen in his crib but that's okay. Next year, it will be a whole new ball game. We are already looking forward to our next beach trip! There's nothing better than sand between your toes, waves crashing and seeing pure joy on the faces of your children.