Monday, December 23, 2013

BounceU Birthday Bash

Last Sunday, we celebrated Sydney's 4th birthday a little early. We figured since her birthday is between Christmas and New Year's, we might have a hard time finding a day that worked for her friends, so we bumped it up. We had it at BounceU, a pretty awesome place in Charlotte that was worth every single penny. They took care of everything; we only had to show up with cupcakes and favors. Needless to say, we had a very excited little girl on our hands!!  (You can see this place does just a FEW birthdays every weekend. Ha!)

I love the picture of them lined up because Sydney was supposed to be at the front and she let Collin sneak ahead of her. Cuties.

We had 19 kids total, including most of her pre-school class and a couple of neighbors. They bounced like crazy for an hour, and then we had the party room for 40 minutes where we did cupcakes and drinks followed by presents. I was so impressed with Sydney as she made eye contact and thanked each child for his/her gift --- and she wasn't even prepped to do that! 

 This picture makes me think of a teenager pose. I can just imagine these two precious blondes in about 10 years --- or sooner!!
Collin hung in there with all the "big kids."

They were ALL OVER her while she opened the gifts. I love that all the kids were just as excited about her presents as she was.
She's still making her way through all the gifts (perhaps the only downside of having so many kids), and of course Christmas is only two days away. She is a bit spoiled in December! I put a few of the bday gifts away so we can pull them out later. Check out the spread --- and I must say, she got GREAT gifts.
At the park yesterday (enjoying the 70+ degree weather!), she said that Santa probably didn't need to bring her much since she already got so many gifts. I almost cried. So sweet. Of course that won't be the case, but I am going to encourage her to choose a few of her older/less used toys to give away. Maybe next year Collin will understand this whole idea, too. :)

This Friday, Sydney and I are having a mom/daughter day to continue the birthday celebration. We're going to see Frozen, and I'm waiting to be told what else she wants to do. And as soon as we close our December, we'll be gearing up for Collin's 2nd birthday in mid-January --- busy time of year in our house!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween through the years

Halloween isn't a holiday I cared about too much before having kids. Now, I'm crazy about the costumes and watching them have so much fun. It's probably my favorite day on Facebook, too, because all the kids look so adorable.

This year was our best yet! The kids are SO into it, and Collin had the cutest "Dank Yoooo" as he ran from house to house. At least he used his manners. :)

I thought it would be fun to take a journey through our first four Halloweens as parents. I must say - we do a dang good job choosing costumes! I can't even stand the cuteness. The wheels are already turning for next year, but it's different now that Sydney says what she wants to be (and means it!), and I know Collin may have his own opinions on this topic by next fall.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall is in the air

Yesterday was a little rainy and chilly, which meant it was the perfect pumpkin farm day to ensure limited crowds. Boy, were we right :)  It was a lot of fun, and we didn't have to race to score a wagon; in fact, each kid got one to keep the peace!

After we chose our two big pumpkins and played around the hay bales, we went over to see the farm animals that were outside and the ones that were in the barn. We were so glad they moved the pony rides --- actually huge horse rides! --- inside the barn. We didn't think Collin would be steady on the big horse, and he didn't seem all that interested anyway, so we opted to pay the hefty $10 ride fee for just the big kid :)  I think she may want to ride as she grows up, and our piggy banks are not going to be happy about that. Ha!

Check out how much our two cuties have grown since last year! Our visit to this same pumpkin farm last year was the week after we moved. It turned out to be a great choice; I think this will be our annual destination for pumpkins and ponies.

Following our damp fall adventure, we went to Target and added two small pumpkins to our porch display. Sydney insisted we get one to represent each of us, and the farm didn't have any kid-sized ones. We are just about ready for Halloween!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Peanut Festival Fun

In late September, we traveled to our hometown for the 51st Virginia Peanut Festival. I had not been home for this event in many years, and I must say, we had a ball. Not only did my mom have all her kids and grandkids together - a rare thing these days - but we caught up with old friends and really enjoyed seeing the kids have fun.

We started that Saturday with a 5K "race" --- a term I use loosely since our family pushing the double jogger came in dead last. I, technically, was dead last. It was pretty sad, but then again, no one else was pushing a total of 65 lbs in a stroller :)

We then changed clothes and went to the parade. It's so nice that we can walk from my mom's house to all the activities --- the parade, the rides, the crafts - it's all right there. Collin danced and danced at the parade. I think he may join the band when he's older. The drum line was calling his name!

I love this photo of Sydney and Collin with their cousin, Aidan. Stealing goldfish is an important stage of every relationship :)

We then went over to the petting zoo/craft area and then the rides. Because she was a tad too short, Randall had to pay off a carny so Syd could do the big slide by herself, but it was totally worth it. She loved it! I

It was really awesome to have the whole gang together, and I look forward to getting everyone together again sometime during the holidays, and definitely for my mom's 60th birthday in January. And what would the Peanut Festival be without a little Peanut LOVE?!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

20 months

Collin hit the 20-month mark last week!! He has changed so much lately, and he's such a loveable, funny boy.

All of the pictures in this post are from our Labor Day weekend trip to Myrtle Beach. It was a last-minute decision and we found a little room right on the beach, which was our only requirement. We had a blast at the beach, pool and walking around Broadway at the Beach. We kept the kids out late, and we all had a great time. We get to go back to Myrtle in just two weeks to spend a couple of days with Uncle Mike and Aunt Muzette!

This week, we are going for a consultation about getting tubes in Collin's ears, so if we move forward with that, I hope it will mean less infections (if any!). He's currently recovering from his 6th infection since November. It's miserable, and we're ready to be done with that.

At 20 months, Collin:
  • is wearing 24-month bottoms and 2T and 3T shirts
  • has a wonderful appetite and will try most foods
  • is talking more and more --- common words are bye-bye, juice, shoes, Mama, Daddy, Sydney, no, uh-oh, mine, not nice (when Sydney gets in trouble)
  • started riding Sydney's little tricycle just this morning, and he's got the idea pretty well figured out
  • loves to be outside at a playground, in our yard, going for walks, anything
  • is a dream at school - the teachers definitely favor him
  • still bites, unfortunately, thought it hasn't been as much lately
  • has had his first few experiences with time out; it's heartbreaking
  • has been 100% bottle-free for the last few weeks! That nighttime one was hard for mama to take :)
  • loves to have his shoes on; even if we just have him in a diaper and t-shirt around the house, he wants his sneakers on
  • favors all toys that make noise, especially music of any kind because his favorite thing in the world is dancing

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ready to dance!

I took dance for 15 years ... from 3-18 years old. I love, love, loved it! Ballet, tap, jazz and even some clogging and hip hop. It was one of my favorite activities. I never wanted to quit, and there were several years where I took classes at two different studios.

I always knew if I had a daughter, I'd encourage her to consider dance as one of her activities. If Sydney's excitement during open house at her new studio is any indication, she's going to have so much fun with it. And the new shoes were a hit when they arrived this week!

Her ballet/tap combo class starts next Wednesday, and I always took classes on Wednesdays. It's a sign of good things to come! ;-)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Miami favorites

We had the most wonderful vacation in Miami Beach this summer! We went with my mom and step-dad, and it was the perfect set-up. We were in the same building with condos right near each other, so it was very convenient, but it also allowed for some separation when needed (nap time, etc.). It was great. And the kids loved going back and forth between the two places. We walked out of our building and there was the pool. A few feet beyond the pool was the ocean. You can't beat that with a stick, people!

The weather was perfect, and it was actually cooler in Miami than in N.C. and V.A. We were so lucky. There was a delightful breeze every day. It rained the day we started the drive home. Speaking of the drive, it was about an 11-hour trip, and we stopped in Jacksonville, FL overnight each way to break it up. The kids were rock stars. I guess we've always been an on-the-go family, so they do great with travel. Having the DVD player didn't hurt, either. :-)

While in Miami, we spent most of the time at the beach and pool, but we also spent one day at the Seaquarium (where it was really, really hot) and we drove the few miles further into South Beach for a couple of nice dinners out as well. It was just the right balance. Randall and I even fit in a date night which was my favorite thing - a walking culinary tour in South Beach. We stopped at 6 or 7 different restaurants. Mmmmmm So delicious; I could do that every weekend!

Here are a few favorites from the trip.