Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye, 2013

Well, tonight is the last night of 2013. Here I am, at home, the only place I want to be tonight;)
This is NOT my favorite holiday! The kids are sound asleep and as soon as I finish this, I'm on my way to bed too!
This year we have seen the Lord at work and we are so blessed!
This year Matt and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.
I am thankful for him and love him so much!  
Matt started his new job being on staff at our church. We went through a bit of a transition this summer as we pursued a wonderful job opportunity for him that would have taken us to Tampa, Florida serving at IBC.  Now, THAT was a HUGE trusting God moment in our life! We were so thankful though, when the Lord opened up a position for him right at our home church doing what he LOVES!
He started his 4th season as the head coach for the school's varsity girls basketball team and coached Jake in his first season of t-ball!
I was kept busy with my sweet three at home! I definitely love being at home and enjoy every moment I get with them! I started my 7th year teaching and am thankful for the opportunity that I have to teach part time now. I did some Bible studies with my SS class where we studied the book of Ephesians and started the study "Lies Women Believe" (we'll finish it up after the holiday break).
We spent a lot of time together as a family!
We went to the beach,
took the kids bowling for the first time, played putt putt, did lots of swimming, went strawberry, apple, & pumpkin picking, had friends over, went to the park, went geocaching, had lots of movie nights and sleepovers, took two trips to Florida, celebrated with our family, and smiled a lot!
This year Jake turned five years old! He played t-ball for the first time and has now started playing basketball! He is taking kindergarten classes at GA and is doing great! He learned to ride a two wheeler and is a pro at it!
He has learned several Bible verses this year and loves going to his SS class and big church with us each week. He LOVES listening to the Christian radio station and knows the words to probably every song! Ha! His favorite artists are Mandisa and Toby Mac;)
He is ALL boy, but has a very sweet heart:)

Sissy just turned three and is the sweetest thing ever! I would say that she is pretty girlie, but can hold her own when it comes to being the sister sandwich in our family;)
She loves all things pink and princess!
She goes to school with me while I teach and LOVES her friends there. She moved to a big girl bed way back at the beginning of the year, had her first sleepover at Mimi's, went to her first movie, and became an excellent swimmer!
Everyone loves Sissy;)
She is the BEST big sister EVER!

My sweet Parker turned ONE! Everyone still comments on his red hair and smile;)
He is such a good boy and we are in LOVE with him! I just LOVE when he giggles and gives out his big hugs and yummy kisses!
This year Parker celebrated his first Easter, he learned to walk, and of course say lots of words!
He enjoyed his second beach trip to Surfside and pretty much tagged along wherever the big kids and I went!
He goes to school with me every morning too. He doesn't seem to mind. He also loves his friends (and playing playdough)! Ha!

What a blessed 2013 our family has had and we look forward to what the Lord has in store for us this coming year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

It's Christmas Time!

 The time we get to spend with our family each Christmas is my absolute favorite!
We are blessed to have so much family here that we get to share the holidays with!
Growing up we always spent Christmas Eve at my grandparent's house. We would have appetizers and open gifts with all of my cousins. Well, the tradition has continued! We get to go to my parents house now and all the cousins get to be together opening presents!
We enjoy lots of yummy appetizers and treats and then we head up to the living room where the real chaos and excitement begins!!
The kids beg to open up presents and we do our best to keep it under control;)
This year every single person was there, which is just so special!
We were all so blessed with all of the gifts that we received.
My sisters and I made my parents a photo book from this past year. It turned out beautifully!
We were so excited to give it to them!
After a wonderful night, it was time to head home and get things ready for Santa's arrival!
Jake actually fell asleep in the car, so the little ones and I set out some cookies and milk for Santa and said goodbye to our elf, Troy:)
We got the little ones tucked into bed as quick as we could so we could be rested for another exciting day!
The kids were exhausted from a busy Christmas Eve that we didn't really get up and rolling until 8:00. Santa left stockings outside their door.
Sissy made sure we knew that Santa was NOT allowed in her room, just in the living room:)
When they came down the stairs they were thrilled with what they saw!
Jake was thrilled to receive a tablet. Santa thought he would enjoy playing games and listening to his music on it! He also got some more Ninja Turtle figurines and even some Ninja Turtle slippers!
Sissy was asking for the Klip Klop Stable! She REALLY wanted this! She must have been a good girl because she got the stable plus lots of other pieces to go with it! She also got some play food for her kitchen and some cute Minnie Mouse slippers.
 Parker was on the good list too! Santa brought him a play farm and several pieces that go with it!
He also received a truck book, which he LOVES. He has crawled up on my lap several times and will just sit and look at it with me!
(LOVE this pic of my Parker! He is a sweet boy!)
 After we opened presents and enjoyed some time as a family, Matt's parents came over for breakfast. We had monkey bread, scrambled eggs, and bacon.
We exchanged gifts with them and watched the Disney parade on t.v.

 We stayed in our jammies for most of the day and ended up taking a little nap before getting ready to go back to my parents. My mom made us a yummy dinner! We enjoyed lots of left over Christmas cookies and treats and played games together.
What a blessed Christmas 2013!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Happenings

Before I post about our Christmas Eve and Christmas day, I have to back up just a little. 
I'm a little bit behind on my blogging and I don't want to forget about some of the fun things that we did leading up to Christmas!
Every year we take our crew to the Ballantyne Hotel and let the kids walk down Gingerbread Lane.
 This year we thought the houses and creations were the best yet!
We all like to walk through and pick out our most favorites! This year it was hard to choose just one! 
The hotel is always decorated beautifully, so after we see the houses, we like to walk around and see the other Christmas displays and trees!
Afterwards, we all head on over to Wendy's for dinner.
We met my brother Steve there and he earned the "Best Uncle" award for treating all the kids to frostys!
 We also took the kids to the GWL again this year for their story time and snowfall! This is another one of my most favorite Christmas activities!
I love going to see Santa here...I only wish my kids loved seeing him too! Ha!
Parker wasn't so sure, but at least he didn't cry like Sissy... 

Matt walked with Sissy up to him, but she got so upset. Jake wanted nothing to do with him either! He stood behind me the entire time and WOULD NOT go near him! Oh well! Maybe next year!

We decided that some DD would make our evening so much better! We enjoyed our treats while we waited for the story time to begin!  
The kids sat and listened to the story, but were anxiously waiting for it to start snowing! 

 Christmas music was playing as the entire lobby experienced the only snowfall that we would get to see this Christmas;)
 And since all the kids were already snuggled in their jammies, we thought it would be the perfect night to drive around and look at Christmas lights!
 Such sweet Christmas fun with my family!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Last Friday morning the kids and I hosted a birthday party for Jesus! We invited several of our sweet friends for a morning of stories, crafts, snacks, games, and of course...birthday cake!
Even though we take advantage of LOTS of fun Christmas activities, I always want my kids to know the true meaning of Christmas. They don't understand all of it yet, but they are learning. I LOVE how they can tell me in their own little way what happened that night so long ago in Bethlehem.
Jake and Brooklyn are learning Luke 2:11 this year and it has been so sweet to hear the poems and songs they are learning at church and at school, all to help them understand the true reason for the season!

 And since we were celebrating a BABY, I thought it would be appropriate to ask all of our guests to bring an item for the pregnancy center in our little city!
We have been challenged at church to "Live Sent" so, I thought that we could do our part by helping the center out! Even the littlest hands can be a part of being "Live Sent"! 

 It was a super fun (and very busy) morning!
(We had almost 30 kids there! Ha!) 
 What a fun time we had with our friends, all while teaching our little ones about Jesus' Birthday!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Whole Lot of Christmas Going On!

These last few weeks have been so full for me!
I honestly don't think we could have squeezed in one more thing! In fact, we missed going to two Christmas parties because we just couldn't fit them in!
Here's just a little of what's kept us busy...
I joined the girls in my family for the annual Christmas tea at my mom's church. Each year she treats my sisters and I to the tea. We always have such a nice time!

Last Sunday night we headed to church for their Christmas program. The worship at our church is one of my most favorite things about it! This was one event that I did not want to miss!
We dropped Parker off in the nursery, but Jake and Sis came in with us!
It was so well done and everyone did a remarkable job!
I just LOVE our neighborhood! It is so family friendly! We are so blessed to be surrounded by such sweet friends!
This year was our neighborhood's first "Christmas Family Fun Day"!
I took my big kids down to meet the crew where we participated in a 1/2 mile family fun run.
Jake ran most of the way and I ran with Sissy ON MY BACK for almost the entire way. Wow! I was tired! Ha!
 After our run, the kids enjoyed cookies and milk, Christmas crafts, and neighborhood caroling!
Out of all the items on our Christmas bucket list, McAdenville is my most favorite!
It is SUCH a special place for Matt and I. It was the place he took me on our first date 14 years ago! What!?!?!
We have been every year since;) Things have changed a lot for us since 2000, but we wouldn't wish it any other way!
We always make our dinner stop at McD0nalds and then head on to enjoy all that Christmastown, USA offers! We bundled up as we walked the streets and enjoyed all of the beautifully lit houses!

The kids LOVED it!

We have just a few more fun Christmas things planned and then we will be set!
I'm so thankful that this is the last week of school before Christmas break! Whoo hoo!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Birthday Fit For A Princess!

Today was the day that my Sissy had been anxiously waiting for! She was beyond excited to be celebrating her 3rd birthday, princess style, with a few of her sweet friends and our family.
We all got together this morning for a small brunch and presents!
We had breakfast casserole, pigs in a blanket, donuts, popcorn, goldfish, and some YUMMY princess pink sugar cookies;)
We asked all the little girls to dress up like princesses.
My sisters surprised her by dressing up like princesses too! Such fun!

We had such a sweet morning celebrating YOU turning THREE!
We LOVE you so much!
You are definitely MY favorite princess!
Happy 3rd Birthday!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday, Brooklyn!

Today is my sweet girl's 3rd birthday! How can that even be possible?
Our Sissy is just the best thing ever! She is so sweet and smart and is my little side kick;) She loves all things pink and princess, but can hold her own when she is tortured by her brothers. Someone called her a "Sister Sandwich" and I just thought that was the cutest thing. Hopefully being between two brothers will be a great thing one day! Ha!
Here are a few things about you on your special day!
You are a big girl! You wear mostly size 5 clothes and a size 9 shoe. I'm guess you are about 30lbs. and around 3 feet tall! You are doing great at wearing panties now and you LOVE to wear your boots;)
You are such a girl when it comes to lots of things, but can handle yourself well when it comes to your brothers. They do like to play a bit rough, but you just dish it right back to them. Ha!
You love to play with your princess castle and baby dolls. You LOVE to dress up in your princess costumes and princess shoes;). You have some of the sweetest little friends too! You love playing with our neighbor Chloe, your best friend Sophie, and your best cousins, Sophie and Addy-Kate:) Your best little buddy at school is Ty! You always ask if "Ty be there?"!
I love putting your hair in piggies or doggy ears with a fun bow! Sooo cute;)
And...you LOVE to get your nails painted by KK or Al! You have some of the best aunties!
Your favorite food right now would probably be pizza. That is what you wanted for your birthday dinner tonight (along with a pink and purple cake) and that's just what you got!
You and Daddy made a yummy birthday cake together this afternoon! How special is that?
You don't really like it when I have to leave you. Most school mornings you do fine, but there are some tears shed occasionally. You don't love it when I leave you for Sunday school either. You beg Daddy and I to be your teachers EVERY week! Once you get settled in though, you are fine:)
You are a smart girl! You are learning so many neat things at school each morning. You know some of your letters and are also learning some cute songs and poems!
I'm hoping we can send you to preschool next year! You tell me you don't want to go cause you will miss me, but I know you would have an absolute ball!
You love to watch Clifford and Curious George on t.v. and your favorite movie would probably be Cinderella! I am just DYING to take you to Disney! You love to read books with me and ask me EVERY night to tell you a princess story. If I tell you that it's late and I'm too tired, you pout and ask me to tell just a little one...and I usually do;)
You tell your daddy all the time that you want to marry him;) When you say that, you turn your Daddy's heart to mush!
Next weekend we are celebrating with our family and a few of your sweet friends by having a Princess Party for you! It will be simple and sweet, but oh so special!
We love you Brooklyn Bear!
Happy 3rd Birthday!
Daddy and Mommy

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Whole Lot of Christmas Fun...So Far!

Each year I write up our "Christmas Bucket List" with all the fun (and mostly free) things we like to do this time of year! I LOVE doing fun things with my kids. I probably try to fit in too much, but I just can't pass up a fun time!
This first week in December has been FULL and it isn't over yet!
Wednesday night Matt and I took the kids to Santa's Bag. This was the first year that we went and after waiting in line for two hours we finally made it! I was SO thankful that Matt was with me. I took the kids to play, while he held our place in line.
Santa was there too. Jake wanted NOTHING to do with him and Sissy and Parker were VERY cautious! Ha. Sissy would only stand by him, but did tell him that she wants the Klip Klop Stable!
Parker wants a choo choo;)
After a fun night out, our tree has some VERY special gifts under it!

Thursday night we took the kids to "Walk Though Bethlehem". This event is put on by a local church and it is VERY well done. I love that the kids get to really experience what Bethlehem was like so long ago and then they get to see sweet baby Jesus in the manger.
This morning I took the kids to the mall. We just enjoyed walking the loop and seeing the Christmas decorations. We made a quick stop at Bass Pr0. Santa wasn't there, so the kids piled in his chair for a quick pic;)

After we got home from the mall, we couldn't help but spend some time outside! The weather here has been so warm! It was around 77 degrees today, but will be like 35 on Sunday! Crazy!

I LOVE when Parker does chalk on his belly. He colors like this too! So funny!

And then tonight was our little town's tree lighting. My dad, mom, and grandma all came too! Matt is always coaching a game on this night, so they came to help me out with the kids!
We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed over in time for the big countdown!

We walked around the festival and had a ride on the horse drawn carriage.
Such a fun week so far, with so much more Christmas fun to look forward to!