Friday, January 30, 2015

Week in Review!

I have not blogged in detail about a week in a LONG time. Lately, I have been missing those busy days (years) of having two kids at home with me. It all changes so quickly. My days look a lot different but they are still filled to the brim.  One thing is still the same and that is that I LOVE being with my kids and it is the greatest privilege of my life to spend my days with them and for them. Something that I do not want to take for granted. It's been a great week in Nashville!

Monday: It was a dreary day - not the best weather for motivating me get stuff done. We all slept late like 7:50 late. Evie's bus comes at 8 so Plan B is for me to take her to school. We dashed around the house making lunches and getting dressed. Our house is super close to the school - left at 8:25 and was home by 8:35 after dropping off my favorite kindergartner. I may or may not have thrown a pullover on over my pajamas for the car line! Henry and I came home to finish getting ready. Then, I dropped off my favorite three year old at preschool. I ran to the YMCA and then had a few errands. Nothing too exciting, came home to clean up a bit and then picked up Henry from school. Evie came home at 4 and immediately started hysterically crying as soon as her feet hit the grass. I was prepared for the worst but her tears were the result of leaving her favorite pink coat on the bus. Not sure why she did not just turn around to get it. Oh well, I locked the house and made a bee line around the neighborhood to catch the bus. HA! Caught up with Mr. Gus and rescued Evie's coat for her and returned home before Henry even knew that I left. Evie felt awful about her coat and I felt awful about my reaction! UGH! Oh well, it was nothing a little hot chocolate and a few rounds of Spot It could not fix.

Tuesday: We woke up on time so our day got off to a much better although earlier start! Henry stays home with me on Tuesday which is so fun for us both. We made a Trader Joe's run and then ran a few errands in Green Hills before heading to a committee meeting. Henry played with Declan while we worked on our Family Fun Night! I am co-chairing an event for Evie's elementary school in February with a friend and it is a lot more work than we anticipated. We are having a ball doing it together just lots of calls, meetings, and behind the scenes stuff.  After that, Henry and I went to Comcast to return our old cable boxes - that went surprisingly well with zero wait time. We made blueberry muffins for a snack and waited for Evie. She came home in a much happier mood and wearing her pink coat. We left for swim team practice. Evie LOVES to swim and LOVES being with other swimmers. Evie is the youngest one on the team but is keeping up just fine. She has made friends with a second grader and I have made friends with the mom who teaches at Evie's school. Everyone knows everyone and there is a connection to everyone in our little town. Brooke and I walk and talk on the track to pass the time and grab a little exercise too. We came home for a quick dinner, bath time and bed! Carl is out of town this week so no cooking dinner. That saves a ton of time but we sure miss Carl.

Wednesday: Henry woke up at 6 - ugh. Way too early! I am used to a 7:00 wake up call. Henry and I were watching all kinds of new shows this morning that I did not even know existed. I woke Evie up at 7:30. She really is a Sleeping Beauty! Luckily, she wakes up in a pleasant mood most of the time since I have to wake her almost every day. Evie requires at least twelve hours of sleep! I dropped Henry off at school and then went to Evie's school for my weekly volunteer spot in her classroom. It's my favorite part of the week! I just love being in a school and love even more being in Evie's classroom. It is really fun getting to know Evie's classmates and learn new ways to help Evie be successful.  I did some PTO work while I was there and then had lunch with my sweet girl who still holds my hand and wants kisses. I love my Evie so much! I came home to grab a snack and change into some workout clothes. Then, I met my friend, Kristin, at the YMCA for a workout. Exercise is so much better with a friend. I am pretty sure I am never going to run a marathon but if I decide to train it would be with Kristin. We can talk for hours and time passes quickly so maybe running would too. I came home again - thank goodness we live close to all of these places. I picked up Henry and since it was sunny and 50 degrees - we played outside a bit with all his preschool friends. Henry is beginning to really enjoy his friends and talks about them a lot. Evie wanted to be a car rider today so of course I picked her up. School dimisses at 3:35 so I leave my house at 3:40 or a few minutes before and I have Evie by 3:50. It's a LONG line but it goes quickly. Evie's school does a terrific job on keeping the line moving which helps a lot. She usually prefers the bus but everyone enjoys a change of pace. Both Henry and Evie needed a haircut so that was our first stop and then we went into Publix for just a few things. YIKES! Shopping with two kids at rush hour is not the best experience for anyone! We came home for an early dinner, then a Veggie Tale and some clean up time. Henry went to bed early since he woke up early and Evie worked on her homework with me. Carl got back into town this afternoon but had a dinner meeting. It's good to have him back!

Thursday: Henry and I cleaned out his closet this morning and did a few things around the house together. After lunch, we headed to our friend Jack's house for a playdate! Jack is super fun and his mom, Annie is a terrific friend for me. Our boys had a blast playing in the backyard while we visited and played with Baby Caroline. Henry adores babies and would make a perfect middle child. Sorry, Henry you are going to be our baby forever. We came home from Jack's house and Henry rode his bike in the driveway and played in the garage a bit. Then, we made brownies for Carl to take to work. Henry loves to bake and sample the treats. Evie came home from school and we had time for a quick snack and then headed to swim team. Carl met us there so he could see Evie swim and grab a quick workout. Evie was so proud carrying his bag in the Y for him. We came home for dinner - beef stew and then bedtime. Henry had a bad dream within ten minutes of falling asleep - a hippopotamus ate him up. He was okay after a hug and a little rocking. I am so thankful Henry loves to be rocked! Evie is staying up a bit later but plays quietly in her room so it is fine. I turn her lights off at eight and then wake her up between 7:30 and 7:45 every morning. I went to bed early too! Carl got to enjoy some quiet since his week has been extra busy.

Friday: Evie left for school and Henry helped me with some morning chores. Then, I took him to school then ran a few errands for weekend groceries, Valentines and a few other things. I worked on some tasks for my committee.  I met Kristin at the Y for a workout and then came back home to finish some things around the house. Henry was excited when I picked him up to tell me all about his bear hunt at school. He was adamant that it was a pretend bear hunt. Henry is not a fan of animals! We went to get slushies to celebrate another week of school and then picked up a pizza for dinner at Papa Murphy's! Evie will be here soon! We are looking forward to a terrific weekend. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Wrap- up!

We had a terrific weekend - low-key for sure.

Friday: Evie celebrated the 100th Day of Kindergarten on Friday. I cannot believe this school year is going so quickly. It is amazing to see Evie grow and change into a big girl. I am looking forward to the summer and having more time with my sweet girl. I sure miss our days together. We almost always have pizza on Friday nights but I needed a change this week so turkey Asian wraps were on the menu. Delicious! Evie ate them too because I called them Chinese Tacos. It's all in the marketing of our menu. She loves Chinese food! It snowed that night. Carl loves snow so we took a little walk around our house in the Winter Wonderland. 

Saturday: It was a beautiful snowy morning when we woke up and the kids had fun in the one inch of snow with Carl. I stayed inside drinking coffee. We spent the morning at home enjoying the snow and had a big breakfast. Evie loves to play waitress which is super cute to watch. After lunch, we headed to Nashville Children's Theatre to see Elephant and Piggie. It was Henry's first time at the Children's Theatre and he loved it. Elephant and Piggie are favorite books around here so it was fun to see them in a play. Grace enjoyed herself at the play too and her behavior is simply exceptional! Carl grilled some pork chops for dinner and we ate dinner in the den. Our kids love to eat in the den! I am not sure what makes it so fabulous for them but they sure love it!

Sunday: We made it to church for the first time since Christmas. Henry has had two ear infections and strep so that has limited our church attendance. It felt terrific to be back! I ran some errands that afternoon which is rare for me now that my kids are in school more. It's good for Carl to be with the kids by himself though even if I do not really have anything that I have to do. With Carl traveling for work, he needs his own time to bond with the kiddos. It was nice to get out for a bit and cross a few things off my to-do list. Evie went to bed late on Saturday and was overly tired which is not good even at age six. Girlfriend needs her sleep just like Mama! I came home and we all watched Maleficent together. It was good although fantasy is my least favorite genre. 

That wraps up our weekend! We have some busy weekends coming up so it felt good to have a nice weekend together without too many commitments!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Six Years Old: Evie's Tea Party!

Evie decided a tea party would be the perfect way to celebrate turning 6! One of her friends had a tea party a few months ago so we knew it would be a blast. 

We invited all the girls in her class plus some of her friends from preschool etc. Everyone came except two people so there were lots of sweet little girls in my house! All of the girls were invited to bring their dolls. Lots of American Girl dolls were in attendance! This was Evie's first party without boys and she had a hard time committing to a tea party theme because she wanted some special friends to attend. It was so interesting to watch Evie work this out on her own! 

TracyAnn sets everything from up on the table with beautiful linens on the table, chair covers and decorations for the table. It was an easy party just lots of girls. TracyAnn brought tables and we borrowed chairs from everyone we knew. Our plan had been to use the dining room but not with eighteen girls. It worked out nicely to move the kitchen table into the garage so we had plenty of room for the tables in the kitchen. It was girly and pretty! I wish I had taken more pictures of TracyAnn's handiwork because it was impressive. TracyAnn is a "boy mom" and gets her little girl fix with tea party galore every weekend. 

Evie had a ball and was so HAPPY! It was wonderful to see her beaming with joy and feeling celebrated by her friends.

TracyAnn helped the girls make a tutu for their dolls. 

The girls applied makeup and walked the red carpet. Evie really liked that. 

We finished off with a super-fancy tea party. Fruit, popcorn and M&M's along with a gorgeous birthday cake. Tomika made the most beautiful cake - she took my vision and turned it into reality. The cake was delicious too - chocolate with buttercream frosting. 

Evie received some wonderful gifts and gave all of her friends tea party charm bracelets in tea pot boxes. Carl and I put those together last week and thank goodness we did not wait until the last minute. Home parties are lots of work and I could not have done it without Carl. He mopped and vacuumed and cleaned windows. He helped me a ton and then took Henry out for a bit because Henry would have been the bull in the china shop. Henry showed up at the end for some cake and to see the girls. 

Evie and I had a delightful time at the party and it will be a treasured memory for sure. What a special afternoon with her sweet friends and some of mine eating sweets and drinking tea. Next year, you can find us at Chuckie Cheese -just kidding. It was wonderful but exhausting. Evie loved it and that makes all the hard work worth it. 

Happy 6th Birthday, Evie! Mommy and Daddy think you are tea-riffic! We love you more than all the tea in China. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Evie is 6!

Dear Evie,

   Another year passed way too quickly and you are six years old! The time sure keeps flying with you keeping us busy.

It's been a wonderful year filled with so many exciting things: preschool graduation, passing the swim test, starting kindergarten, riding the school bus, learning to read and even swimming on the swim team. WOW! You are such a BIG girl now!

I treasure our time together so much and see that you are growing quickly! Every week, it seems like you get a little taller, a bit more grownup and always smarter. 

You are a social butterfly! Everyone adores you and you adore everyone. You have a heart for others and are kind almost all of the time. Bodie's mom told me that one afternoon he and another friend of yours were discussing who was the nicest person in class. Guess who they picked? YOU! That made my heart soar because being nice is pretty important in life. P.S. Bodie is a really nice kid!

You adore your brother! I could not ask for you to be any sweeter to him. You read to him, cuddle him, get him out of the crib, lecture him, and play with him. He adores you too, Evie! Praying that love continues to grow as both of you grow. 

You are still a fan of the color pink and everything is still pink from your lunchbox to your hair bow. That thrills me because pink is still my favorite color too. 

You chose a tea party for your birthday party this year and boy are we having a tea party. Eighteen of your closest friends are coming over on Sunday for a Par-Tea! It's going to be fun but I should have thought about how everyone loves you before inviting twenty kiddos to our house.  Cannot believe only two people declined! It's going to be wild but a memory we will treasure forever. 

You love American Girl right now and are thrilled to play with Isabelle. She has become a member of our family. You even wrapped some "presents" for her tonight and put them with your stack of presents for the morning. Such a sweet girl! Isabelle is going to be thrilled!

You love hiking with Daddy, reading books, watching movies, playing outside and being with your friends. Cold weather is your favorite. Dresses are your choice of attire and sparkles go with everything. Chocolate is your favorite sweet. Kiwi and red bell peppers are your favorite healthy foods. You love music class at school and playing school at home.

Raffi is still around and you always cuddle up at night with all three for a cozy sleep. You are turning into a night owl- falling asleep about 8 and waking up about 7:45 just in time for the bus at 8:05. 

You ask lots of questions and seem to be an old soul although you are still very innocent. I'd keep you this way forever but you are learning about life. It's okay, Evie - Mommy and Daddy are here to help you navigate for as long as you need us. 

You have been planning your birthday for a LONG time! I feel like January birthdays can be hard for lots of reasons so we work hard to make it extra special for you. 

You asked me to bring doughnuts to school tomorrow for your school celebration. Krispy Kreme of course: Chocolate with sprinkles! Yummy! 

I loved you being five and am a little sad it is over but know that six is going to be even better. We have an exciting year ahead of us! You are going to be a flower girl in your Uncle Ben's wedding - that is a special honor and will be a highlight of your sixth year of life for sure. 

Mommy and Daddy are looking forward to seeing you blossom! You are just perfect and there is nothing we would change about you. We love you so much and there is nothing you can do that will make us love you any less or any more than we already do! 

We are so thankful for you our special gift that came on a cold January night! 

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Henry is 3.5!

Dear Henry,

   You are 3.5! It seems like you were just born which is exactly how I felt when someone else turned 3.5 in our family. Time keeps on ticking and you are turning into a little boy.  You still think you are a baby most days and that works just fine for me. You still carry your Bun Buns with you around the house and do not like to be alone. 

You are the sweetest, cuddliest little guy. I love your soft voice and little hand that always needs holding. I get teary a lot about how fast you are growing up because you are my last baby. You say the sweetest things like - " I love you so much, Mama. You are my best Mama. You are my favorite friend."

It is such a privilege to spend my days with you! We read books, draw, build things, make cookies and eat your favorite snacks. You are a still a BIG snacker my friend. Watching you eat always makes me smile because you really enjoy your food. 

You are still pretty tiny for your age but that works out nicely since you love to be held. You weigh about 33 pounds and wear a size 3 along with a few size 2's. Your shoe size is 8.5 but shoes seem to fit you in many different sizes. You still wear a pair of shoes from two winters ago and love them dearly. They seem to fit so I just let you keep wearing them.

You do not like being cold at all and have asked several times this week, "Why is winter taking so long?" Spring will be here soon! You bury your hands in your pockets, love wearing a hat and never argue about wearing a coat. We have not been outside much but when we do you always ask to come in after about ten minutes. I am right there with you - cold weather is not my favorite season. You know that Daddy and Evie love cold weather and that Mama prefers warmer temperatures. It was 8 degrees this morning when Evie left for school - we were freezing and she was happy as a clam!

You love riding your tricycle, building forts, playing with cars/trucks and watching TV. Anderson and Eddie are your best friends. It is interesting to see how different three year old boys are that have big brothers versus big sisters. Anderson has a nine year old brother and Eddie has a six year old sister. You told Anderson you loved him the other day and gave him a hug - his response was okay!  Eddie hugs you right back and tells you he loves you too! You are really starting to love your friends and requesting to see them along with fun activities like Monkey Joe's or ice-cream. 

You talk about time a lot. Telling me something happened last year, yesterday or last week. You are already counting down to your real birthday and want a lemonade party at Chuckie Cheese. 

While we are talking about time, let's just say you learned to potty super fast and with very few accidents because we waited until you were ready! I was not worried at all and knew that I have never met a kindergartner in diapers. You even wear underwear at night in your crib! You love your crib and do not want your "big boy bed" yet so we will wait a few more months. I think you might like the bed once you get used to it but I will miss coming to get you out of your crib in the morning. You sleep for about 12 hours a night going down between 7 and 7:30 at night sometimes earlier if you have school.

You go to preschool three days per week and absolutely love it. You bounce right in the door and barely tell me goodbye. You are always excited to see me when I pick you up and run into my arms. That is something I will miss! Yesterday, it snowed a bit while you were in school and you told me that you thought I was going to get lost. 

Henry you are such an amazing little guy! I love you so much and know that the years will keep passing but it will get even better. You will always be my little boy even when you are all grown up. 

Love, Mama (AKA your favorite friend)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas 2014

We had a wonderful Christmas! It sure went by quickly. Carl took off most of the last two weeks of the year which made it even more special. Plus a lot easier to manage two kids since I am accustomed to our new school routine. It has been so nice having everyone home together. 

Our Christmas break started with a visit to the Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills mall. Evie and Henry loved hanging out in the Bass Pro Shop. They did a terrific job creating Santa's Workshop. We ate lunch and then got some cotton candy before taking a stroll around the beautifully decorated hotel.

Carl took Evie on a hike and Henry and I went to get his haircut. We then went to Shogun's for our 12th Annual Christmas dinner except it was lunch this year. That might have to be a new tradition - lunch is less expensive plus you have all day to re-hydrate from the salty food. Evie surprised us by eating everything and Henry stuck with his Ritz crackers. Maybe next year, Henry?

On Christmas Eve, we made our annual Fresh Market run - it is so fun to get out in the hustle and bustle for our shopping when we only need a few things. Carl loves the filets from Fresh Market and the coffee. I love the salad dressing and snacks. Our kids picked out a candy treat that made them pretty happy! Evie wore her elf suit and passed out candy to all the people working on Christmas Eve. We came home and spent the afternoon hanging out before church. Christmas Eve is one of my favorite services of the year in our church. Our Altar Guild does a beautiful job decorating the church and the music is gorgeous. It can be a challenge to keep the kids happy and content because it is a long service and they are excited about Santa. Henry and Evie did fine but were thrilled when it was over! We came home for a quick dinner and Santa preparations. Evie and Henry thought Santa needed a pile of cookies and carrots. 

Evie woke up before 6 on Christmas morning which NEVER happens! We waited for Henry to wake up and then rushed downstairs to see what Santa had brought. Henry was thrilled with his blue kitchen and bicycle. Evie was infatuated with her American Girl doll - Isabelle. It was a wonderful Christmas morning. Both kids really love Santa and were thrilled with their new toys. We opened presents, ate a yummy breakfast and enjoyed some time together. Carl was feeling a bit under the weather so he went to bed for a bit. I did a few things to prepare for the rest of the day. Carl's parents arrived that afternoon and Carl was feeling better. We had a little happy hour before opening more presents. Evie and Henry are really loving presents these days. It was a fabulous day! Henry went to bed while Evie and Isabelle stayed up to eat dinner with the rest of us.  Christmas always goes so quickly!

Friday morning was looking like our best outdoor day so we headed to Smith Park to check out the Tennessee House. It was pretty incredible and cool to imagine living there many years ago. Next, we went to Martin's BBQ for lunch. The weather was still holding up so we headed downtown to The Mall to walk around and enjoy the crisp air. Tennessee winters are cold but if it is just cold then we try to spend a little bit of a time outside. Friday night, I made some Chicken Tortilla soup and then we had some birthday cake to celebrate Carl. He always chooses ice-cream cake!

Saturday, was a pretty nice day too so we went to the arboretum for the the kids to ride their bikes and get some energy out before it rained. It started drizzling right as we were finishing up. Lunch at the Local Taco was next on our agenda. Henry loves his cheese dip! We spent the rest of the day watching football. 

Carl's parents left on Sunday morning and Carl took Henry to the doctor. He had been acting fussy for  a few days so I decided something must be wrong. His tubes are gone and he had an ear infection. Poor buddy! We spent the day just resting at home. 

Monday, Henry was better so went to the Adventure Science Center! It was crowded but really fun. We had a blast and spent the day getting some energy out. 

Tuesday, we did a few things around the house and then my parents arrived for Christmas Round 3! My kids sure are lucky to have so many people that love them and select such wonderful gifts! Henry and Evie racked up with lots of fun toys.  We had a wonderful time watching them play with their new toys. Carl prepared some filets for dinner and we enjoyed another delicious Christmas dinner. 

Wednesday, Carl had to work for a bit so we took the kids to the mall for a bit and then to McDonald's for lunch. Not my favorite restaurant but the kids love the HUGE play place and they needed to get some energy out.  We played some games that afternoon - Evie is really good at Scrabble. Thanks Aunt Libby for that fun game! Carl came home and we had appetizers for dinner. Evie thinks it is fun to have a "bowl dinner." I love appetizers for dinners and little bowls make everything more fun. Carl and I scooted out for a little New Years Eve date while my parents babysat for us. We went to see Wild and it was so good! I cannot wait to read the book!We stayed up to ring in the New Year with my parents. 

Thursday, we woke up and had a lazy morning and then a big meal that afternoon. Southern tradition prevailed and we had pork tenderloin, hoppin' John, greens and cornbread. Evie and Henry ate cornbread. Ha! My mom and I took the kids on a bike ride while my Dad napped and Carl watched some football. Henry is such an encourager! I hope he keeps that part of his personality as he gets older. It is so sweet to see him encourage Evie even though she is the Big Sister.  Evie prefers her scooter to a bike ride so that encouragement went a long way. We came back for a special New Years Day dessert - ice cream sundaes and then spent the rest of the day relaxing. 

Friday, my parents left that morning and Carl came home to work since it was quiet day in the office. I am not sure what else we did that day but I remember a pizza party and a movie. 

Saturday, Carl and I cleaned the house and took down the decorations. Carl is sweet to take care of that HUGE chore for me. I put everything up in early December and he takes it all down. Cabin fever was starting to take over - so we headed out for a few supplies.

Sunday - our last day with Carl is being spent relaxing and enjoying the time together. Evie and I watched Troop Beverly Hills together and now Henry is watching Stuart Little 2 with me. I am going out tonight with some friends to celebrate a special birthday. Fingers crossed, I get to go - we have to cancel our last two fun activities due to sick kiddos. 

That wraps up our Christmas vacation! Lots of time together and with our families. A big thank you to our families for coming to visit us so we do not have to travel at Christmas! Hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and that 2015 is off to a fabulous start. Make it a terrific year!