Saturday, January 28, 2017

Winter at the beach


My mom and her husband rented a house at the beach just after Christmas. We've never been to the coast in Winter and it was AMAZING!! We spent the days cozied up walking the beach, playing in the tall grass, watching the storms roll in, and sipping hot drinks while enjoying the view. We loved it and can't wait to go back again. 


The sun was a welcome sight. Storms would roll in and it would pour rain and then it would clear up again. 


It was cold but with hats and warm coats we were nice a toasty. 


Braver souls (kids) could get away with just a hoodie. 


These two had more fun than anyone else. Cousins! They each got new American Girl Dolls for Christmas and they played, and played dolls. They would occasionally go outside to play on the beach but then right back inside to the dolls. 


We loved watching this stump. As the tide came in and out the stump remained. Every kid...big kids too...climbed it. 


Grandpa loves the beach too. 


There were trails all throughout the beach grass. The kids had a blast running and playing. 


Dogs love the beach too. 


We enjoyed yummy food and fun drinks. And lots of great family time. 


Time with Nana and Bumpa was the best!!


This family loves the beach. 



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Christmas 2016

Christmas and the long break from school were lovely. The little kids and I attended an art camp the first two days of the break. Really fun way to start of the holiday.



The rest of the break was shopping and prep for the holiday, movie watching, cooking baking and just hanging out together. 



Christmas Eve we walked over the Cam's parents' house. So nice to live within walking distance! We gathered for a meal and gifts and fun.



Christmas day we spent at home....just the 7 of us. It was quiet and strange but still nice. The kids loved their gifts....and so did I. I'm so lucky! We had a "Cam and kid" favorite dinner of ham and cheesy potatoes and caesar salad. Then a rousing game of Yahtzee!!


The day after we were in for a treat! Off to the ocean....pics to follow. So fun!

46th Birthday Celebration

Oh how the time is flying by....I'm so behind on my blogging life.

Working, plus this busy sports family is keeping me from my chronicles here.

December is a packed, busy, celebratory, fun, stressful and crazy month.

I think the next thing to post about is my birthday. Oh! I LOVE my birthday. It will be fun to relive it here today.

Early in my birthday week I got to spend an afternoon with my mom. It was SO FUN! My mom had just retired and so we had a double celebration. We went to a long leisurely and delicious lunch and then browed the shops nearby. Loved this day!!



On my actual birthday we attended church. I truly love to stand in church holding hands and hugging my loves while singing and worshipping.

After church we stopped at my fave cupcake shop. Yummy!


Happy Birthday to MEEEEE! A pink champagne cupcake!


I have been wanting to visit a nature preserve near our house. I seized the opportunity of a captive audience and we headed out for a rainy adventure. Hey, on your birthday you get to choose!


The scenery was beautiful and the falling rain on the water was music to our ears. 


I love all the moss that grows in our area. 



After our walk we came home, warmed up, dressed up and headed out to dinner. 
We love our dinner tradition! 


Lots of time to chat and eat yummy food...and make funny faces.


I think this pic is after the boys were done eating and very full! 


Birthday number 46 was great! I'm already looking forward to my next fun day. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

O Christmas Tree 2016


We like to get our Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving. But, Cam was working Friday and Sat. 
We did make it out on Sunday. We went straight from church to hunt for the perfect....I mean a tree that is acceptable. 

We walked around in our church clothes dodging mud puddles...and mud bogs...and lakes of rainwater. 

The children on Santa's (meaning me) good list brought a hoodie/coat and boots to wear at the tree farm. Those on Santa's naughty list got their church shoes all mucky. 



On to the just right tree. Over the years I care less and less about the perfect tree. I let the kids look and pick...and I only give a few yah/nahs. I mean c'mon...a tree with all brown needles isn't going to work for me. It's a fire hazard after all.


Oh my cute people. I love them! 


Oh look...it's a teenager and he's smiling AND got his photo with his Mama. 


Mr. Hottie Dad carried our chosen tree. And he was really happy because the amount of time it takes us (me) to approve a tree has decreased over the years from about an hour to 10 min. That's something to celebrate. 

Every Christmas is busy. Besides the holiday festivities we have REGULAR LIFE too. It's just the worst to me that on top of all the REGULAR LIFE I now have a mountain of holiday things to add. Eeeeks! 

I've tried a bunch of different strategies to calm my nerves and get things done (i.e. enjoy the holidays). We start early to pace ourselves. We've eliminated things that we used to do. We don't add anything extra. 



This year's strategy is minimize, minimize, minimize. I was craving a house that isn't too cluttered. We decided to go minimalist on the Christmas decor. 

After getting our tree we had a basketball game to attend and then bed. The next day was back to school and Cam to work so our tree sat undecorated for a bit. 

I was dreading getting out ALL THE ORNAMENTS. I have A LOT! And then I came up with a plan. I went to the basement and pulled out the box of ornaments. I called each kid one or two at a time and had them pick from the top of the bin. They each picked about 20 or so ornaments and then carried them on a tray to the tree and put them on. 

I told them to tell me when the tree looked full. And then we stopped. I put the lid back on the tub and slid it back into storage. Nobody got sad or obsessed about not putting certain ornaments on the tree since they never saw them. Yeah!

And...I didn't spend the time telling the kids where to put the ornaments. They happily put them on. And then when they were at school the next day I rearranged a few. Meaning: I took ornaments off the ends of branches that contained so many they were bowed to the ground.

The tree looks simply beautiful. 


Rocket agrees. It's his new fave spot to lay. Sneaky dog isn't suppose to be on the chair. (pic was taken before ornaments went up)



Then in my bedroom I put up a little fake tree. Instead of the ornaments I usually put on I opted for a couple boxes of gold and glittery balls. The skirt was made by my MIL for her mother and I love it. It's really fun to have this tree in our room. 

The rest of our decor consists of an advent calendar...actually two. But man does it save me from answering, "how many days until Christmas?". We opted for lights and candles to sparkle up the mantel and living room and dining rooms. I put my Ethiopian nativity in my china hutch.

Cam was a SAINT and did the lights in our yard. Tuba loves them so much and I have an injured arm so couldn't do them this year. I came home from work one day and he had them all up. Yahoooo! 

So that's it for decor simplified. And enjoying the season!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

I adore Thanksgiving! It's one of my favorite holidays. I enjoy all the cooking and prep for hosting. And...it only lasts a day. Well, maybe two days if you include all the prep work the day before. The best kind of holiday. 

I usually have my turkey cut up into quarters and then I roast it in pans in the oven. It cooks much quicker and is easier to handle. This year I brined the bird over night. The kids about died and gagged when they saw me taking the bird parts out of the brine. I told them you must dance with your turkey before you cook it. They think I'm nuts. 


We have favorite things we like to make each year for Thanksgiving dinner and Parker House rolls is at the top of the list. The kids really don't care if we have turkey...just rolls and jello. 

Sis helped me with the rolls. She is a good helper and has a natural knack for cooking and baking. 


Besides the yummy food the holiday is a fun time to enjoy my loved ones.


My mom and Bill came for dinner along with one of my sisters and my niece and nephew. My in-laws came for dessert. 

We had the yummiest drinks! It was Limoncello and Prosecco. Delicious! 


It didn't snap too many photos since I was busy cooking but I love this one of George pouring cider for his cousin. So sweet. 


It's the holiday to reflect on what we are thankful for....and I am thankful for so much. This year I think the thing I'm most thankful for is for kids...my own and ll the kids I see while teaching. Kids are  so honest. I love how kids just tell it like it is. They say what comes to their mind and what is in their heart. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Milestone

Sis has asked me several times over the years about getting her ears pierced. I have always told her that she can get it done whenever she is ready. He next question has always been, "does it hurt". I'm all about telling the truth so I've told her it does hurt for a second...kind of like a shot. At that point she would always decide to wait a bit longer. 

During soccer season she announced she was ready to have it done. But....since the ears have to heal and you cannot wear earrings in games we had to wait a bit longer. She was a good sport and waited until the season was over. 

Finally the day came. Sis was nervous and quiet but steadfast. A rock. Seriously brave.


She didn't even flinch and of course no tears! 


She loves them and cannot wait for them to heal so she can change earrings.  Oh my....what a beauty. 



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Halloween 2016

Halloween fell on a Monday. Seriously?! That has to be the worst day for Halloween. I'd support an initiative to move Halloween to the last Saturday of October. 

But, regardless....we dressed up and had fun! Cam worked so I was a one woman show.

In past years I've required the kids to stay under a $10 costume budget. This year I felt generous so I upped it to $20. Sis immediately found this gorgeous dress on sale. She was so excited! 

She looked gorgeous! Elsa from Frozen!!




George had the two costume Halloween. He wore the Army suit to school. He loves this outfit and accessories it with Cam's Army days items....hat and compass. 


My mom made me a costume! How fun is that?! I love my Dorothy dress...and SHOES!
I attended all three of the elementary kids' parties. 



After school we regroup and head to our neighborhood party. King Tuba went to Grandma's house to have dinner and help her and Grandpa pass out candy. He had a blast!


I love this kid! He found this "biker" kit when shopping for costumes. It cracks me up! He ROCKED the look!


This is George's scary costume that he wore for Trick or Treating. 


Mr. P had basketball tryouts after school and didn't join us until after dinner. He quickly changed into his costume. How handsome is he? I love it that he still wanted to dress up. 


We went out trick or treating for about an hour and then headed home to get out of costumes and into bed by 8:00. Phew! It was a long and fun and SUGARY day.
How much candy would you guess we collected? 4 kids going door to door for just under an hour. 

Guessing.....

40 lbs.! Yikes!! The kids are VERY mad that we took it all away after letting them take a small piece in their lunch each day for the rest of the school week. 

Oh well, it's my job. I keep it tied up in a bag and put it up on a high shelf. I bring it out for movie nights or other treats. Or when I need a pick me up. Shhhh....don't tell!

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