Monday, December 21, 2015

Feeling Thankful

Life can get so busy and crazy this time of year.  I know that I have felt our lives just pick up the pace since Halloween!  From our trip to birthdays, Thanksgiving, and now I find myself getting ready to celebrate Christmas once again.  How do the years go by so quickly?  Working, parenting, and just life seems to be whizzing by, and I want things to slow down some days!  

I captured all of these images on my iPhone on Thanksgiving Day.  They aren't the greatest pictures, but they are my life right now...  Busy, no time for editing, just click and upload!  The picture above is one of my favorites from the holiday.  Mom and Dad piled up with all of their grandkids just laughing and giggling.  It is so nice that they are close and get to see everyone so often!  They have been a huge, huge help to me this fall while I have been taking Gracie to therapy at UVA and I don't know what I would have down without their help!  Thank you Gigi and Pop Pop!!

My girls...Chris snapped this picture right before bedtime, and we took a million pictures just to get this one that isn't too blurry!  Grace was a moving target and was over picture taking at this point in the night.  These girls are my heart and I love them both dearly!

The whole crew settled in for Thanksgiving Dinner!

We opted out of any Black Friday shopping and took the kids hiking at Sugar Hollow.  We made it farther than we have ever been, and got to see some new sights.  Each time we go we drag the kids a little bit further into the woods with hopes that we will build up their endurance.  They are becoming pretty good hikers despite lots and lots of complaining on the way back.  Ellie repeated a million times that "her legs were going to fall off"  "that her feet we killing her" on and on.  This is all the while that I am carrying Grace on my back who weighs over 40 pounds!  Oh the joys of forced, family, fun!  One day it will stick and they will enjoy it, right?!!
Oh the poses you get with these two are hilarious!  Vogue looks from Ellie with her hands on her hips, to I have no clue what Gracie is up to!

Then this boy just walked and explored and really took it all in!  He was up ahead of the crew for most of the walk telling us where to go next!  Love his adventurous spirit and willingness to be a leader!  A quick picture of Lucy Belle above, she was in and out of the water all morning!

Good luck getting ready for Christmas, I am going to try to take a deep breath and enjoy my two weeks at home with my crew!  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

That Silly Mr. Elf

You know your Elf is truly special when your children write him letters and draw him pictures.  Our Elf is just known as "Mr. Elf" around these parts, but he is very, very, well loved!

Mr. Elf sent us a super special "North Pole Breakfast" this week that did not disappoint.  

The breakfast was filled with all of the things that elves love best, "Sugar, sugar, and more sugar."

We dined on sugar covered donuts, candy canes, rice krispy Christmas cereal, Frozen marshmallow cereal, and got little Santa erasers!

We also got in the Christmas spirit by making Gingerbread Men Ornaments for our tree.  

Grace and Ellie loved this craft!  It was gingerbread scented salt dough, and then we cooked it in the oven.

Of course then we had to draw a picture of our gingerbread cookie ornaments too!

I can't wait to see what Mr. Elf has up his sleeve next!  He is on the loose....

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

You Know Life Happens

I had a thought the other day about just taking down my blog for good.  Just let it go, and admit that I don't have the same time I used to write about our little family.  But, as always I am drawn back to this place and space.  This is our story, and in the past few years our story has been a little hit or miss to say the least, and this blog definitely reflects the changes in our lives in the past three years.  

Mostly our lives have been affected by my working and running a small preschool. I have gone through many stages of a part-time working mom.
  • Stage One: Rosy Glasses! I can do this.  I can keep everything going that I used to do and run a home business; no problem.
  • Stage Two: Letting Go!  This shit is hard.  How do people work and take care of a family?
  • Stage Three:  Realization that your life has changed! Man, I really did everything around the house.  As in everything in our domestic life.  I can't keep it all going.
  • Stage Four: Acceptance!  I will do what I can at home.  I will do my best at work.  I will find the balance.  Many things won't get done.  It's Ok. 
  • Stage Five: Summertime!  No work.  Go back to Stage One.
This is now my third year working.  Many things have gotten easier.  At the same time my children's lives have gotten busier.  Grace has had a series of highs and lows.  But, overall I feel like I am getting the hang of school, planning, family life, and knowing when to ask for help.  

Chris and I recently got away for a long weekend to Punta Cana.  A big thank you to Grandma and Aunt Kim for watching our brood while we were gone.  It was a much needed break for sure.  I had quite a meltdown at the end of the October.  Grace was falling apart at the seems every evening due to adjusting back to school, Ellie brought home lice from her Kindergarten class right at the same time I got sick with a fever~flu thing.  Let's just basically say, it wasn't pretty.

After a pretty major meltdown on my part, Chris and I talked about dialing it back in with commitments.  The kids were busy, I was stressed, and I felt like all of my time to myself was spent working when I had a free moment.  Chris came up with a great plan to take the children to dinner and the grocery store every Wednesday night.  This will allow me to plan, prep, and get ready for school each week for a good chunk of time.  Sometimes, it just boils down to admitting that you can't do it all.  No one can.

I am truly lucky to have such a great partner who gets it, and is willing to take three children to the grocery store.  Pretty awesome. This will keep us from having to spend weekend time shopping too!

I have a lot to share, from big upcoming performances, to therapy and stress with Grace.  We definitely have it covered over here. 

For now I will leave you with some super sweet pics of the kiddies!

Ellie and her buddies getting ready to walk into dress rehearsal for The Nutcracker.  She auditioned with 90 children and got chosen as a party guest and an angel.  She will be performing in two shows at our local community college.  Super proud of her!

A little Halloween fun from last month!

This little thing loves some face paint...and minions!

And I can't get over this picture!  Bradley is so big, but at the same time will wear a star wars mickey hat and pose with Daddy.  I love this age with him!

I hope to see this place again soon, and share more of our little family adventures.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Happy Place

Bradley definitely hit is grove this spring and summer with baseball. When your son throws pop flies to himself for hours in the back yard you know they have found a sport they love. After he finished his regular season Bradley was asked play for the all star team for our local league. I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as commitment and time involved, but it was pretty major. We spent every.single.weekend in June and the beginning of July at the ball field. They played in tournament after tournament against many teams from our region. They learned so much about working together as a team, playing the heat, believing in themselves, and overcoming defeat.

There were two different tournaments that Peachtree ended up in the losers bracelet and faught back to win the entire thing! It was true commitment from all of the boys and one great coach! Coach Sam was truly wonderful and such a positive influence on Bradley.

These boys really got close over the past two months playing together for hours and hours each day. I know that Bradley has made some life long friends in the process of becoming part of this team.

I couldn’t believe how much Bradley enjoyed playing catcher. I never grew up playing sports, and the idea of a ball flying at me at full speed is frightening. He got banged up by bad pitches, hit with foul balls, and would pop back up and get behind the batter again and again. He has really changed into a “big boy” as much as I don’t want to admit it!

These boys won Districts for our area in a double header that lasted late into the night due to rain delays. Bradley and his team were still playing ball under the lights at 11 pm! He was moved all around the field that night due to players being on vacation. In the end they won, and got the amazing opportunity to play at the All Star State Tournament for Virginia. Pretty cool!

I am so glad I got to capture this father/son moment on camera after the District game. Bradley and Chris were hugging and high fiving. So glad they have this to share with each other! It really was a family affair, my parents came to almost every single tournament too! It was sweet to get to share all of this with them!

They didn’t make it very far at states, but they had a great time! I hope he can look back on this as one of his favorite summers yet! Way to go my big boy!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Spring Getaways

I was lucky enough to get away from reality for two different weekends this spring! It is so nice to reboot, recharge and forget about all of your responsibilities for awhile! Chris took me to this absolutely stunning getaway at Primeland Resort in south west Virginia. There were mountain views for miles, and we got to stay in the most amazing cottage!

A big thank you to my parents for watching the gang for a night and then we got a babysitter for the second night. Everyone made it out alive, and she still wants to babysit so I call that a win!!

Primland had so much to do! From gorgeous views for relaxing, great food, spa, gym, hiking, and anything outdoors you could imagine. The main Lodge was breathtaking and we ate at the restaurants both nights on site. They were magnificent!

Chris booked a couples spa treatment for us on Saturday and then we took a long hike around the property. Sunday morning we went horseback riding for a few hours. It was so fun!

Chris and I’s horses were buddies so we got to ride next to each other for the whole trip.

I also got to go away for the weekend with some of the oldie friends that just make your heart happy. Steph and I hadn’t seen each other for so long (she has been busy with twin babies!!). I cherish these few times when we get to get together! We stayed at our friend’s family home outside of Warrenton and went wine tasting for the day. It was followed by lots of wine drinking at home and yummy homemade food!

It was an awesome weekend, and Chris gets big props for manning the house with the help of his mom. It wasn’t an easy job with baseball games, coaching, and dealing with Gracie all at the same time!

Thank you for all of the awesome trips, babe!! xoxo

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ellie’s Princess Celebration

I can’t believe that the spring passed me by and didn’t get to share Ellie and her amazing feat of turning 5. As she would say, “A whole hand!!” She was so excited about this huge accomplishment and after many discussions she decided she wanted to have a party at the house. As much as I love to throw a party, in the middle of school planning, having a party at the house was just another thing to do. But, we did it! We had a princess extravaganza, complete with dress up...

I managed to make her a princess cupcake cake for her birthday. It was a Paula Deen recipe for a strawberry cake and strawberry icing, and it was delicious!

We played pin the kiss on the frog! I did my best to draw the frog from the Disney movie, and he turned out pretty good! They had so much trying to put the kisses on the frog.

Ellie loves hibachi so much, and was so excited to watch it get made in person! We met the whole family for a yummy dinner.

Ellie asked to got to the pottery place for her birthday. We headed over right after school, and everyone got to paint something.

All in all she got to celebrate her birthday for a few days in a row and I think turning 5 was a success! I am going to miss her so much when she moves on to Kindergarten next year. I love you, mama