Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up: Celebrate!

We had a wonderful weekend! It was so nice to have Carl home with us in our house. We did see him for about 24 hours last weekend but two weeks away from home is just too much. I think we are all relieved that is over now. On to the fun stuff!

Carl arrived home early Friday afternoon and we all squeezed his neck! Life quickly got back to normal. I ran out to the grocery store to pick up our order, got home and it was the wrong person's order. UGH! It was annoying but not a big deal since I did not have to lug the kids back with me. Dropped Mrs. Neuman's bag and retrieved my bag. Carl prepared dinner while I was out. We had a little celebration for our house in the dining room complete with candles and cake. All of it Evie's idea - she is real big on tradition! Carl and I caught up on all our shows after the kids were asleep. I missed being in the Homeland loop while he was gone but held out for him to get back. 

Saturday, I slept in until 7:30. That's sleeping in these days, folks! I ran out for a bit to run a few errands. Everyone rested or napped and then we headed out for family pictures that went amazingly well! Shockingly well, no tears, whining, yelling - so very pleasant. There are lots of good parts to kids getting older but I do miss the baby days. Not going back though! Evie really wanted to have a family photo with Raffi because she is part of our family. Our sweet photographer obliged - she may have agreed to anything after our super cooperative photo-shoot. We stopped by the library and headed home for an afternoon by the fire. 

Carl and I had a Date Night. We celebrated Ashley turning 40 years young! It seems surreal that my friends are turning 40 since I remember my parent's friends turning 40 like it was yesterday. How did we get so old? Ashley looks amazing and I sure hope to hold on to some vanity as long as I can. Luckily, I have 6 years left in my thirties. It was a fun party and the birthday girl was pleasantly surprised. We enjoyed champagne, catered Italian buffet and delicious cake. What a delightful night! We came home and watched some more Homeland.

Our children surprised us by sleeping late and then we scooted out the door for church. Of course, we stopped for doughnuts on the way home. That's a perfect Sunday morning: Jesus, coffee and doughnuts.

Carl whipped up some sausage soup while I watched Cinderella II with the kiddos. Evie and I hit the mall for a girls trip complete with See's Candy and new lipgloss or "lickgloss" as Evie calls it. 

Evie broke out into hives late yesterday afternoon. It's happened to me once and it's scary but luckily a little Benadryl and her welts faded quickly. 

We just spent the afternoon trying to stay warm during this cold snap. Brr, it's cold here in Nashville. 

That sums up our weekend of fun! Hope you had a terrific weekend and that your Thanksgiving week is off to a grateful start.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday, y'all! We have been waiting for this day for a LONG TIME! Carl has been out of town for two weeks and we miss him. Can't wait to see him this afternoon. We've made a cake and painted pictures. Solo-parenting is tough and I am ready for some help. Gotta make this short because we have some cleaning to do before we head off to a Friendsgiving party.

1) Christmas PJ's: I am thrilled that our Christmas pj's arrived this week and are so adorable. Can't wait to see my two angels wearing them in  a few weeks. Christmas in coming fast with a later Turkey Day than usual. I've got lots to do! Our Christmas card photo shoot is tomorrow - might just be the kids this year. 

2) Playing School: Evie loves to play school. I love to see her in her element and that she is using her brain. It's nice to see all those years of too much TV have not completely rotted her brain. I picked her up from school one day and she exclaimed, "Mama, I can read now!" You know what, she did read a little book. It's just memorization at this point but it was still so sweet.

3) Goody Bags: Is it just me or has the goody- bag come too far? We made goody- bags in Evie's class. Each kiddo brought in a treat and the bags were assembled. Too much or all part of the fun? I was annoyed within 10 minutes of receiving the goody-bag because it tore which bothered a certain perfectionist that I live with and Henry's class did not get goody-bags so this was a source of frustration at our house. Happily, I can report, that the goody-bag from yesterday has already hit the dust!

4) Helping the Homeless: Our 20/30 group at church met to assemble bags for the homeless on Tuesday night. Evie and Henry went to the nursery after dinner with all the other kids. Guess who was disappointed that she did not get to meet the homeless people? That's right, Evie thought there were going to be real homeless people to meet and that she could give them a bag herself. My sweet girl has a heart of gold!

5) Haircut for Henry: Our little buddy grows hair like you would not believe. He had a pretty bad haircut a few weeks back - way too short on the top and it has taken way too much time to style. I finally took him into a barber this week - Rooster's in Brentwood if you are local. He loved it and so did I. It smelled like a real barber shop, was super cute and they know how to cut hair. It's the little things!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Feast

Henry and Evie were thrilled to participate in the Thanksgiving feast at preschool. Henry was so proud to take his package of rolls and Evie's class contributed pumpkin pie. I volunteered in the kitchen making plates with the tiniest portions possible. We cut the cranberry sauce into little pie-shaped wedges and it was so darn cute. Each class, created headpieces that were just a little different and it was fun to see them all file in for lunch. I was surprised that not one kid cried or complained during the feast. Now, there were some tears when the kids figured out that Mama was leaving. Both my kids were sad that I was leaving. They recovered quickly though!

Henry surprised me and really chowed down at the feast. I have never seen him eat that much before. He was a BIG fan of the turkey and the pumpkin pie.  I love seeing my kids interact with their friends. Henry is best buds with Nicholas and Evie best friend changes by the day. What a fun day! I sure am thankful for my little turkeys, their wonderful teachers and the relationships they are building. Preschool is the time to learn to be a good friend and that is surely something to be thankful for.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A little bit more than 4.5!

Dearest Evie,

   I am loving you so much at age 4. It makes me a little sad that you are inching your way closer to 5. Time goes so quickly but every day with you is filled with adventure and fun. You adore life and soak up every ounce of each and every day. Your favorite song is "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and I cannot imagine a more perfect soundtrack for your life. You do LOVE to have fun and you find fun everywhere that you go!

You are such a happy little girl bouncing through life with a smile on your face. You are affectionate, kind and brilliant. You pass out hugs and kisses all day and ask me to cuddle you frequently. Your teacher told me that she thinks your heart is going to burst out of your body because you feel things so passionately. Often, the first to suggest making a card for a sick friend or jumping for joy at a class surprise. We see this at home too. You are the cheerleader of our family encouraging us all along the way. 

Being a big sister is your best role yet. You love Henry more than I ever imagined and you take such good care of him. It makes me smile to see you love him so well. Bringing him special treasures, helping him get a snack, showering him with hugs and kisses among other things.

You tell me all the time that you are an expert and a genius. I agree, you are quite knowledgeable. You asked for me to "learn you some letters" and were disappointed to hear that you already know all the letters. You want to learn to read so badly but the teacher in me does not want to push it. There is plenty of time for that. I enjoy hearing you create your own words for all the books on your shelf and watching you entertain Henry with stacks of books. 

You are still very much into the princess scene. Belle is still your favorite! You love to draw and entertain yourself for hours with a notebook and a set of markers. You love to help me in the kitchen cracking eggs, cutting veggies and mixing up concoctions.  Ballet day is your favorite day of the week. I love to see my little ballerina fluttering on the screen at dance class. It's fun to see your interests develop as you get older. It makes me dream about the big girl that are becoming right before my eyes. My heart aches to see you growing so quickly yet I am filled with excitement to see what the future holds for you. I know the Lord has BIG plans for you Evie Claire!

You are such a social butterfly making friends everywhere you go. You keep us entertained with stories about your friends at school. Jake and Austin are your favorites and you find them handsome and funny. School is your happy place and we are amazed at everything you are learning. Your brain is filled with facts and ideas that did not even seem possible a year ago.

You are easy to take out and about - much easier these days than Henry but sometimes you have a rough patch too. That's okay, we are all still learning! 

I found a huge bag of jewelry for you at a consignment sale and that bag has filled your with so much joy! That was a $1 well spent. Each morning, you choose a necklace that coordinates with your outfit and it takes us a good bit of time to get ready for you to make your appearance at preschool. A girl has to put her best foot forward even at age 4.

You have several "causes" that are near and dear to your heart - smoking, homelessness and littering. I find that amazing that you already have passion for your causes. You despise smoking and I have to rush you away from the smokers to keep you from blurting out something inappropriate. You take after me and feel strongly about your beliefs.

You enjoy going to church from the dressing up to Children's Chapel and your favorite part is taking the offering up in Big Church. You have learned several verses and we are working on more. My favorite verse you recite is "Trust in the Lord with all of your Heart." You say it with such conviction!

I love that you are so kind-hearted and if there is only one thing that I teach you - kindness is the most important thing. It matters more than almost anything else. I love that your heart is so tender towards others and that you are learning to seek out the lonely person on the playground or pass out a dollar to the homeless man. You call everyone friends and instead of using the word "people" you call them ones.

You still say some funny words. McDonald's is antdonalds. You sometimes take the first sound off letters and it is just so cute that I can hardly stand to correct your language. 

Your memory is very long. I find it amazing the experiences and moments that you can recall so easily. 

Evie, I love you so much. More than words can express. You are the little girl that I always dreamed of and I thank God for you every day. What a blessing you are in my life! I am so grateful that I get to experience having a daughter and you are the perfect daughter for me.

Love Always,


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wilderness at the Smokies


We headed to the indoor water park in Sevierville for a weekend of fun! Evie has been counting down until the full-moon because that was her clue that we were leaving for our adventure. It took us about 4 hours to get there. We immediately threw on our bathing suits and hit the water park. Henry was a fan as long as the HUGE buckets of water did not hit him and Evie took off for the tallest slides that she could find. Once she made her way to the top, it seemed too high for our sweet girl - that is part of learning new things.  

We went to dinner at the on-site restaurant and it was okay but way too expensive. Can't say that I had not been warned to steer clear of the resort food. After dinner and ice-cream, we hit the arcade games for a bit. Evie loves winning tickets and earned enough for a harmonica, a best friend locket and a pink ring. Evie immediately wanted to give Henry the other half of the locket which I thought was so precious. Although, I am pretty sure she wanted to keep the necklace within sight too. Henry selected a snake with his tickets. 

It was our first night sleeping together in the same room and it was a success. We were all exhausted. Evie pointed out that we did not have any books. It was the first time I had forgotten books but Carl saved the day by reading some pamphlets. Carl and I loved listening to Evie and Henry chat together while they were falling asleep. I just love seeing their relationship grow. Henry went to sleep talking to Evie and woke up calling for her from his crib. 

We headed downstairs for doughnuts and a visit to the water park. Both kids had a blast this morning!

After showers, we headed for a scenic ride through the mountains. We had lunch, shopped a bit and drove on the parkway. It started pouring rain as we headed back to the hotel so it seemed like the perfect time to end our trip.

We enjoyed the resort but most of all enjoyed time together as a family.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Five on Friday!

Happy Friday, y'all! Hope you have had a terrific weekend. Can you believe that November is already half way over? Time sure goes quickly!

Playdates Galore: My strategy for surviving when Carl is gone to find lots of stuff for us to do so we stay busy! I may have gone slightly overboard because we have had seven play dates this week and two more planned for Friday. It's been fun to see everyone and catch up. We have had lunches at McDonald's, backyard fun, book club, Mom's Night In at my house, Mom's Night Out at Chuy's and dress-up fun. What a week! We sure are lucky to have such wonderful friends to spend our days with and these memories will be treasured always. Best part of a play date is that it forces me to clean my house! Our house has been super clean all week. YAY!

Sticker Charts: Y'all know I love a sticker chart! It's amazing to me how much better positive reinforcement works with Evie than yelling or time outs. Jessa, one of Evie's little friends, told us all the reasons why our sticker chart was different from hers because she has X's and O's but we just have stickers. HA! That made me laugh!

Preschool Bully: Evie is having some issues at school with her first "mean" girl. I think the little girl is precious and I love her Mama but it makes me sad that Evie is already experiencing this. We are trying to use this as a teaching tool of how we treat others kindly. Any tips on how to deal with this? 

Scenes from McDonald's: We had a playdate at McDonald's and were surprised to see this baby drinking lemonade out of her bottle. Cracked me up and then as I thought about it made me a little sad 

Night and Day: Henry has had his days and nights a little mixed up this week. He has been ready to go with the roosters two mornings in a row. We had a little chat about how when it is dark that means it is sleep time and when it is light that means we wake up. He was adorable this morning when I went in to get him pointing at the window, "It's light, Mama." I love that precious boy!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lately . . .

Time has a way of getting away from me! We have been super busy lately.

Getting tucked in for naps in the laundry basket by a certain big sister.

Learning that passing out candy is more fun than collecting it yourself!

Date Days with Mama at the Puffy Muffin. Gobble, Gobble!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween Weekend!

It felt weird to celebrate Halloween on Friday rather than Thursday. Our kids thought it was just fine collecting candy anytime. We trick or treated with Campbell and Christian for the 4th year in a row. Everyone is so grown up now and barely needs assistance. We met up with some other neighbors along the way and had fun collecting candy together. Evie's favorite part was passing out the candy to all the neighbors. I think she would have been just as happy just staying home all night. Henry enjoyed eating the candy. I let them eat as much as they wanted and they have not asked for a piece since except when they see me eating their candy. 

Saturday morning, we headed to Radnor Lake for a morning hike. It was a beautiful day! Both kids had a blast hiking but that term is used loosely. Henry was carried most of the time and Evie alternated between hiking and walking. She brought her baby along for the ride - Anella! Evie took excellent care of Anella and even taught her to walk on the hike. Evie did not stop talking for one second the entire hike. Carl remarked that hiking is supposed to be a time of reflection but there was not much reflecting happening. 

Carl and I had a date night and went to see Gravity and out for Thai food. It was so nice to get away for a bit. Our kids had a blast with Taylor which makes it so much easier to leave them. 

Sunday, everyone was up about 6:30, not horrible considering the time change. It was nice to have time to drink our coffee before church and adjust to the time change. After church, we tried out a new spot for brunch - Frothy Monkey. I was so excited to try it but it is overpriced and we had to wait way too long for our food. Evie and Henry devoured their chocolate muffins while we waited for brunch. 

The rest of Sunday was filled with Sunday stuff like yard work, laundry and preparing for the week.  Hope your week is off to a terrific start!