Saturday, November 24, 2007

Starting Traditions...

I've always been a little sentimental and either Aaron is being a good husband and humoring me or he's grown a little sappy in his old age too. :) Through Tyler I've seen just how fast children grow up and I've decided that I want to establish some "family traditions" that our children will look back on and remember fondly.

When I was growing up we ALWAYS had colored lights on our Christmas tree and we always had a real tree. Once the lights were strung, mom and dad ALWAYS put the ornament they bought on their honeymoon on the tree first and they always kissed as they hung it. Over the years, my brother and I picked out "our ornament" and when we hung it, we hugged each other. It was the one moment of the year that we called a temporary "truce" from typical sibling arguments and acknowledged ever so briefly that down deep we liked each other. :) Our Christmas eve and Christmas routine evolved over the years to accommodate different situations with my grandparents, but there was always some kind of gift exchange on Christmas eve, a very, very early morning up to see what Santa brought and a Christmas day gift exchange with my dad's family. To this day, I STILL get excited on Christmas eve and wish everyone would eat dinner a little faster so we could get on with the fun stuff. Not because I'm greedy or really in a rush to open gifts but because it takes me back to my childhood and reminds me of a time when December was without a doubt, the most exciting month of the year. I want my children to have these kinds of memories too!

In October, we had our first annual family pumpkin hunt. We gathered the troops and went to the local pumpkin patch (see blog below) and all the kiddos picked out their pumpkins. It was such a hit that we've decided to go every year. Today, we had our first annual family tree cutting day. We loaded up the van this morning and traveled an hour and a half to a tree farm in the beautiful North Carolina mountains! It was a long ride and as we were traveling, I wondered if it was really worth the trip. As we got there and set out to find our tree, I knew it was definitely worth it. It was a cold, cold day and we all got bundled up and started down the path. At one point, Aaron pointed out into the field and said "Tyler, you see that tall tree that stands above all of the others...why don't you go see how tall it is." We were looking for a 7' to 8' tree and when we took the measuring pole out there we saw that it was just over 7' tall. Tyler and I looked it over and deemed it perfect in every way. Grace came to check it out and agreed so we called the tree farmer over to cut it down and tag it "ours!" As we waited for the tree to be brought back to us, we drank hot chocolate and ate cookies and just enjoyed each other's company.

I'm sure as the children get older there will be much more "discussion" about which tree is the perfect one, but very young and very agreeable makes for a very pleasant start to a tradition. :)

Next month, we will start another new Christmas tradition. Starting this year, it is our plan to travel to Texas every other year to celebrate with Aaron's family. We are really looking forward seeing everyone and are especially eager for our children to meet some of their cousins! Stay tuned for pictures and stories from our trip!

Monday, November 19, 2007

We got elfed!

OK...this was so funny, I had to post it....

You could only do 4 people at a time so I created another to give Aaron a chance too:


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Grace's Big Day

To celebrate Grace's 2nd birthday today, we had a small get-together with family. We had originally planned on doing a Barney theme because Barney is loved dearly by Grace, but the party supply store had no Barney decorations. :( So...we let Grace pick her theme. Oh, there were Disney Princesses, and Hello Kitty and even Elmo, but my sweet princess picked....CARS! LOL

We recently added the movie Cars to the minivan DVD player and it has quickly become a favorite. Perhaps it's his color or maybe his big eyes, but from the minute she saw him, Grace has called the main "character," (whose "real" name is Lightning McQueen), "Elmo Car." We get in the car and she asks for Elmo Car every time. In desperate need of a break from Barney, we oblige often. So, when she asked for an Elmo Car birthday party, we figured it was appropriate.

Continuing a tradition started last year, Aaron made the cake. He did an awesome job! Given the cost of cake pans, we've decided that Noah will probably have an Elmo Car party in March. :)

Grace had a great time and got some cool new toys. She loved visiting with Nana, Papa, Uncle Andy and Aunt Melly. We greatly missed Tyler, who was unable to attend because he was playing in a soccer tournament championship game (which they won!!)

The day gave me cause to reflect on the last two years and the sweet spirit Grace has brought to our family. Time is flying and I'm reminded that I need to stop and savor it as often as possible. When I look at this sweet little walking, talking girl, I can't believe that just 2 years ago she was being born a month early under emergency circumstances. She has grown to be a loving daughter and great big sister who loves to shower everyone (especially "NoNo") with hugs and kisses. She is as sharp as a tack and can carry on a completely understandable conversation. She ADORES music and loves to dance. She has a truly infectious giggle and curls that put Shirley Temple to shame.

Happy Birthday sweet Gracie girl! You are a precious little sunbeam. I love you!

"Elmo Car" Cake (Made by DADDY!!)

The "spread"

I think this pic is a classic!! Gotta love the diaper!

The party may not have been girly, but Nana and I made sure her outfit was!! :)
Noah and Daddy

Andy, Noah, and Daddy

Checkin' out the Cake!

Happy Birthday dear Graaaaaace....!


Pretty big bite there, Gracie girl!

Princess Papa :)
Mommy and Noah

The fun part!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Mommy's Photo Shoot

Right after Noah was born, Aaron bought a new camera. He didn't ask me about it beforehand and I can't say I was completely thrilled. I had a little "easy" camera that was working just fine for me and the new one has too many buttons for some who is "technically challenged." I resisted and have been using my old camera all along. But alas, something is wrong with the old camera...something with the card thingy and I don't have a clue what that means.

Yesterday morning, the kiddos (and Aaron) were in particularly good moods and my camera was broken! So, I put the new fangled camera on the only setting that made any sense to me...the one that said "auto." Actually that's the only setting that has words on it...the rest are pictures that just aren't intuitive to me. I reasoned that "auto" meant if I found the subject and pushed the button, the camera would do the rest. I was almost right. Apparently it also means that the camera will give everything a bluish tinge. Oh well, the subjects are still pretty cute!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Let's hear it for the boy!!

Today was report card day...

Tyler is in 6th grade this year and we have been impressed at how he has really buckled down and taken a strong interest in his schoolwork. In his math class, his teacher has a 100 club. She lists the names of people who make a 100 on a math test on her website and posts their picture with their test. Tyler is a TWO-TIME member of the 100 club -- one of only three students out of 120 in his program to achieve such a feat!

Today he brought home all As and excellent marks on conduct in all classes (behavior is at least as important as academic achievement to us, so we were glad to see that!) He gets to go to a special "lunch out" at the food court on Friday to celebrate being on the "A" honor roll! Way to go, Ty Ty. We are proud of you. Keep up the great work!