Our Family

Our Family

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas 2013

 We went to a tree farm.
 Where we got to pick out a tree and cut it down.

 The kids love their new stockings
 Daddy went to Florida & brought back gingerbread shingles for the kids from the Boardwalk.
 We enjoyed three snowstorms already.
 Mimi with her little princess in front of our decorated Christmas tree.
 Santa skate at our local ice skating rink.
 Little man got to check out the new ice skates he got for his birthday.
 My hubby getting ready to take family photos, and you can see my quilted Christmas tree in the background.
 My big gift came a little early, and they made me open it early b/c no one could keep the secret.
 This is my Mom who flew on an airplane in the snow to see us!  She was here for Little Girls birthday, and she was here for Little Man's birthday too!
 Christmas with the Hagood family...Mimi, Papa, and my older sis and fam.
 My big sister, her daughter and her husband.
 My Father :)  Love how he is sporting his GT garb and Wide World of Sports hat.
 Andrew got very spoiled by his friends at his birthday party.
 My little girl (see our quilted stockings in the background?)
 We like to be silly together!
 Silly people
Frosty the Snowman had a very tender soul.  He had a butt and a nose and 2 eyes made out of coal.

I know b/c my children have been singing that all month long.  And that's about how the season went.  Little girl was so excited about singing all the Christmas songs this year (sung into a real microphone she found in my husband's sound gear), but each phrase was just a little off causing much laughter around here.

Ahh...December.  For us, it started at the beginning of November as we headed home (Lilburn, GA) for my littlest sister's wedding.  All 4 of us were IN the wedding, and we all had a wonderful visit filled with family - no, I'm serious.  It was a WONDERFUL time together.  We also got to spend time with some very special friends.

Then, we got ready for Christmas when we got home.  I had all kinds of crafty projects going on.  My favorite was a quilted advent tree.  I sewed 25 buttons onto the tree, and the plan was to hang past Christmas card pictures of our dearly loved friends across the states on the tree.  Then we were going to pray for our precious friends each day leading up to Christmas.  The quilting took a little longer than anticipated so we decided to start the advent next year.  It is currently hanging in our living room looking beautiful if I do say so myself.  I also quilted 7 stockings for our family and my sister's new family.

I did not even finish all of my projects, but I had to clean up the mess so I could make room for my parents who surprised us with a long weekend visit.  They arrived just in time for Little Man's 9th birthday, and we all enjoyed their visit.  My older sis and her family joined us, and we ended up celebrating Christmas together 2 weekends early.  It also snowed that weekend pretty much causing us to be stuck indoors (except for my sister's fam who drove in the crazy storm - so glad they are safe).

The next week was filled with cleaning and party planning for my Little Man's birthday party.  For the first time, we did a BIG birthday party at a local planetarium.  It turned out to be a FREE event, and it was wonderful.  We invited most of our homeschool friends, and we all got to learn more about space following the exact curriculum we have been studying in Classical Conversations.  It was a lot of fun for the kids and adults alike.  Following the show, there were at least 40 people who came back to our house for chaos - I mean a pizza party.  Everyone thought I was nuts to invite all those people to our house, but it turned out loud but so much fun!  I was impressed by all the children who left my house very organized and pretty clean.  I also have some awesome friends who helped me keep the chaos organized.  Pizza and paper plates led to an easy clean up.

The party was 6 days before Christmas.  We spent the following days feverishly getting our last minute things finished in time for a family Christmas at our home.  We enjoyed several church services in hopes to teach our children about the TRUE meaning of Christmas.  We spend the day of Christmas in a low key fashion, and then we drove to Albany to spend time with my sister and her fam for the rest of the day.

December has been a roller coaster of emotions kind of month.  We've had joy and sorrows, good news and bad news, and some of it has been a lot to handle.  Through all of this, I am so very thankful and blessed to have a husband who loves me, supports me, encourages me and is a constant source of strength.  I am also thankful for the people who are a constant source of encouragement.  And finally, no matter what happens, I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and is in control of all things.

It's been a great month filled with wonderful memories and a great time of reflection on the good things in life.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Quilting Stockings

My friend gave me this for my birthday:

It is a tool used in free motion quilting, and it has to be one of my favorite gifts ever!

I have several crafty projects swirling around in my mind, and I wanted to start a project quickly so I  could use my new present so here's what I've been working on since Friday:

 Stockings for each member of our family.  Yes, they are huge and not intended to be fully filled.
 The kids each chose their own fabric for their stocking.  Can you guess who chose this?  And if you look carefully, you can see that this one has already been quilted.  I just have to sew the front and back together, add a hook, and write her name on it.
This one is also already quilted.  My husband and son are currently fighting over this one.  My son picked it out, but my husband is jealous and wants it.  I told him we picked the gingerbread stocking for him, but he wants peanuts.  I may be making a trip to the fabric store to get more Charlie Brown material.  Anyone like the gingerbread man stocking???

Saturday, November 16, 2013

NYC in November

 at the 911 Memorial
 couple of cuties
 The 911 Memorial - little man reading the brochure
 The new World Trade Center bldg - tallest bldg in the world beside the 911 Memorial
Little Lady copying Lady Liberty on the free Staten Island Ferry

 Staten Island Ferry floating beside the Statue of Liberty
 NYC Skyline from the Staten Island Ferry.  The tallest building with the spire is the new World Trade Center building.  It is MUCH taller than all the other buildings.
 NYC library
 Where the Wild Things Are exhibit
 Library Exhibit

 Radio City beside Rockefeller Center
 FAO Schwartz Big Piano
Little Missy posing by dolls that look like her.
 The M&M store
 The Tree at Rockefeller Center was from CT - being trimmed
 The kids were "pooped out"  haha...so they found some TP to sit on.
 The Statue of Liberty at FAO Schwarts made out of Legos
 Yes, those dolls are getting their hair done by adults at the American Girl Doll Salon...fascinating and disturbing.
 Captain Rex

Hubby had to work in NYC for a couple of days, and we got to tag along for the overnight adventure.  WE HAD SO MUCH FUN!

I'm going to write a synopsis of all our adventures, but in doing this, I'm hopeful that friends reading this will tell me about more fun (super cheap/free) things to do in the city for when we go back!

Day 1:  The city was busy, but there were not a lot of tourists around so moving around was easy!  The locals were all so very nice - big surprise for me since I've only gone during holidays in the past and everyone is rude.

We stayed right across the street from Bryant Park and the Library.  We arrived in the city, parked a mile away in Times Square, dropped our things in our hotel (we got an early check-in), and set out on an adventure wearing nearly empty backpacks & water bottles for each of us.

We stopped at a hot dog stand where the kids got food, and we found a cozy spot to eat at Bryant Park where we watched people juggle (people were there teaching adults or kids how to juggle).

We walked around the Christmas shops at Bryant park, and I got one of the best empanadas I've ever eaten and ate it watching people skate in Bryant Park.  It's free to ice skate there, but the skate rental fee is $15 (wow).

We walked into the library and spent time reading children's books about Thanksgiving together, we walked around the library (it is gigantic), and we checked out a children's exhibit where there was cool hands on stuff.

We had to check out Times Square where we shopped at H&M (I got a sweater for $6 and Andrew got a cool winter hat).  We shopped at the Disney store where all their stuffed animals were buy one get one for a $1.  Andrew chose a Cruise ship Mickey with an attached Duffy bear while Lizzy chose a stuffed Belle doll.  We went to the M&M store and bought $22 worth of M&M's.  We walked through some other random stores on our way back to meet Mat, and we bought the cutest penguin hat, scarf, mitten combo set for $15 from a street vendor.

We sat outside of Radio City at a pretty fountain and munched on M&M's while we waited for Mat to get off work and people watched.

We walked to Rockefeller Center where we saw them literally trimming (not decorating but cutting) the tree which happened to be from CT.  We watched the ice skaters.  We ate dinner at a Irish sports bar with a slew of other Georgia Tech fans.  We went to CVS where the kids found a nice cozy seat on some toilet paper, and they cried b/c they were tired.  It was only 8:30pm.  They are no longer in "theme park" shape - sad.  We walked back to our hotel, and even I fell asleep by 9:30pm while I was trying to root on the Yellow Jackets.  They lost - also sad.

Day 2: Mat got up and left for work after we ate a free breakfast together at out hotel.  I hate breakfast, but I love free stuff!  The kids and I packed up all of our stuff and headed out to hit up some toy stores!  We walked through Bryant Park, down to the NBC store, The American Girl Store (do you know kids take their dolls to the salon to get the doll's hair done in a salon there - that place is crazy), and to FAO Schwartz where we danced on the piano, of course.  That was a pretty good hike, and while I really wanted to have tea at the Plaza or Starbucks at the Trump Tower, we had to book it back to our hotel to check out and lock up our stuff.

We met up with Mat after that and took the subway (which I am now pretty confident that I could get somewhere without getting lost - thanks google) to see the Twin Towers Memorial.  That place is beautiful.  Someone had places white roses on the names of people they loved.  Little Girl had to potty so (per a police officers suggestion) we walked to the W hotel - super pawsh, and we went potty in a unisex potty with a zillion stalls - guess that's how they see the future cause it was pretty futuristic.

We ate lunch at what might be the hands down best Cuban food I have ever tasted AND it was cheap too.  All 4 of us cleaned our plate and loved every single bite.  I highly recommend Sophie's (http://www.sophiescuban.com/).  It was freaking amazing.  I got a cuban sandwich, dipped it in their mojo salad dressing and squirted some amazing spicy green sauce on it.  It tasted almost identical to Kool Korners (http://www.koolkornersandwiches.com/) which used to be in Atlanta and moved to Birmingham...man, I want it right now!

With our bellies full, we walked to Battery Park and took the free ferry to Staten Island and saw Lady Liberty herself up close and personal.  It happened to be at dusk so we say we got a great free sunset tour.  We booked it back to the hotel, got our stuff, and walked to get our car before 7pm.  There is a parking special from anytime before 10am to anytime before 7pm in NYC - $18 parking.  Good to know for the future - and that was in Times Square.

The kids were asleep before we got out of the city - mind you it was only 7pm.

We can't wait to go back!  Any suggestions for our next trip???!!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Can I have a Cookie?

Almost every morning, I wake up to my little girl coming to say good morning.  She always has something to talk about, and she usually likes to snuggle.

This morning she was on a mission:

E: Mommy, can I have a cookie?
Me: No, it's the morning, and I don't want you to have any sugar.
E: Daddy said no too.
Me: So what would you have done if Daddy said no and I said yes?
E: (very matter-of-factly without skipping a beat) I would have eaten half of the cookie.

I relayed this conversation to my dear husband, and we both laughed.  We have some heart issues to work on, but kids are just so dog-gone cute!

Keeping It Real

Yesterday was the kind of day nightmares come from.  The kids were off their rockers.  Let me set the scene for you...

We drove 2 days down to Georgia for a wedding.  We were in the car for 17.5 hours over those two days.  Then we arrived in Georgia just in time to trick-or-treat.  The neighborhood we trick-or-treated in was serious about Halloween, and the kids got more candy than ever before.  We slept over at a friend's house where the kids had kids to play with, and we all went to bed extremely late and awoke very early every day.  Wedding festivities happened, and the kids were quite lovingly spoiled rotten by dear family members and friends (especially by both of their grandmas).  I didn't mind b/c we never see all our family in one spot since we now live all over the eastern coast.  The kids pretty much ate full on 100% carbs loaded with sugar all weekend long (something they get rationed at home for behavior purposes).  We had so much fun this weekend, and then we hopped back in the car for another 2 day journey home.

Our first day back was filled with chaos.  We were still living out of suitcases from our late night arrival.  We had our CC group meeting, and the kids enjoyed a day with school friends.  The kids definitely learned (a lot b/c CC is pretty amazing), but it was not in the structured, quiet environment of our home where we sit around the dining room table without friends distracting us.  To top it all off, I took Little Missy to the doc to see if she had an ear infection after having a little cold for days, and she tested positive for strep throat (she gets wild when she is sick and never feels sick - it's like someone pumped her up with adrenaline).  So sorry for all those we infected along the way!  I pray no one else gets strep :(

We sat down yesterday morning after all this FUN to do boring work, and the kids were having NONE of it.  They got out of their seats to randomly run around the house every few minutes, did a lot of daydreaming, handed me work to check that was very poorly done, complained a lot, harassed each other, spoke disrespectfully to me and each other, and I could go on and on.  Both of them were difficult, and I disciplined until I was blue in the face.  We were still doing school when Mat got home from work last night.

While I enjoy homeschooling my kids, and while, I post fun things we are learning and doing all the time, it's not all rainbows and pixi dust.  It is real life, and I thought I'd share the ugly side of homeschool too...just to keep it real.

I ate a lot of chocolate last night, and we are all awake with fresh perspective this morning.  Little Missy is already tumbling all over the furniture while Andrew graces us with his beautiful piano music.  I am thankful for this new day!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mat asks Lizzy on a Date

Mat got on one knee tonight and asked Lizzy on a date.  I wish you could have seen her face.  She was all nervous, totally excited, and anxiously wearing a gigantic smile while waiting to hear what he would ask her while sitting in front of her on one knee.  When he said, "Lizzy, will you go on a date with me" she giggled, and said, "only if I can wear my new church dress."  He said, "do I have to dress up?" and she giggled more "Daddy, you don't have to wear a dress." 

I will have that sweet little interaction etched into my mind forever.  Now, wherever will they go on a date since we don't have Chick-fil-a around?  I'm sure they'll figure out something fun, but CFA sure does make it easy.

My first Quilting Project

My friend, rhymeswithsmile.blogspot.com, is one crafty lady.  She spent her Wednesdays this summer teaching me how to quilt, and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning this craft.

My first project, as you may remember from a previous blog post, was to learn how to make squares.  My goal was to make giant reading pillows for my little homeschoolers.  I started making this for my little lady:

 And here is a picture of the kids helping me stuff the pillow.  It took 3 large bags of stuffing.
 Here is the front:
 and here is the back:
I did not quilt her pillow.  I just wanted to complete it to show myself that it didn't have to take too long to finish a project.  I think it turned out pretty fabulous, and my little lady was ecstatic.

After I finished the cupcake pillow, I started on one for my son.  He chose the fabric (ocean themed), and I helped him find coordinating fabric.  He also found a pattern that he liked on Pinterest, and I decided to go for it.  It was much more complicated than my first project, but I wanted a challenge.

As you can see from the pic, I even quilted his pillow.  I had lots of help from Rhymes with Smile on this.  I am so impressed at how the blue bubble fabric lined up as did the orange material.  It was purely on accident, and I'm sure I could never do that again if I tried!

My children have both enjoyed my new found craft, and they were both interested in learning how to sew too.  I decided to teach them both how to sew, and they made library bags:
My little lady even sewed pockets in hers.
I also practiced sewing a skirt from scratch with no pattern.  It's not beautiful, but it's certainly a start.  I learned a lot about sewing with stretchy  material, and I learned how to use my sewing machine (better and quicker than before).
And I know you're wondering what my children have been doing while I have been sewing.  Well, they have been watching lots of movies and playing with this lovely lady:

Rhymes with Smile even had them doing water aerobics & synchronized swimming.