Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years @ Noon!

For the past two years, we have hosted a Pot-Luck New Years Eve @ Noon playdate.  It has been so much fun!  For multiple reasons, lack of planning (I wavered on whether or not to have it), and many families having sicknesses going around, it ended up being a "private" party for us and one family.  That worked out great :)

Here's our pretty table all decked out with Chick-Fil-A nuggets, cheese/meats/crackers, fruit salad, and a veggie tray.  We all toasted the new year at noon with sparkling cider!  It was a fun time for all the kids and a nice time for the adults as well.  

I'm sure this is a tradition that we will keep going for a while (until the kids are old enough to stay up till Midnight)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Christmas morning finally arrived and Santa did indeed come!

The boys patiently waited for Maverick to go potty before running down the hall to discover all of their loot.  Santa had set up a small train track with a few trains for Maverick on the floor and all the boys were exited about that.  Maverick was still playing with his new trains (and hadn't touched any of his other presents or stocking) when Chandler and Brighton had finished looking through all of their stuff.  Brighton was very happy with his new art supplies:

Jamison was content to join us later and sat on Daddy's lap looking through his stocking.

Later on in the morning, Grandma, Nanny, Granddaddy Bob & Mimi came over to join us.  We exchanged gifts and had a nice time.  

Grandma made this cute puppet theater for the boys!

Granddaddy Bob was on the floor playing with Maverick's new Recycling/Trash truck.

A surprise gift for the boys were Kindles.  Santa must have known how handy they would come in for the traveling that we have planned for 2014.  Brighton showed his to Grandma, while Chandler showed his to Nanny.  Luckily with the Free.time app we can limit their use.  

Everybody went home before lunch time and I reheated some Chick-Fil-A that I had purchased just for the occasion.  The boys took naps or rested while I sorted and put away a good amount of their loot.  We headed over to my parent's house for an early dinner.  I made the dessert,
Kiwi-Lime Cloud

I thought it would look great in the trifle dish, such pretty Christmas colors.  It was a new recipe and it was delicious.  It will definitely be made again!

After dinner, we played in the great room where Granddaddy Bob taught the boys slapping games that he used to play in the scouts.  

It quickly evolved into wrestling, like most things do.

We had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas, and hope you did too.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Traditions

So here's a dump post about many of our Christmas traditions. 

We are still working on those by the way, and open to suggestions...

All of the boys are not quite to the age where they appreciate driving around aimlessly looking for lights.  Jamison is not a big fan of car riding, but we managed to drive over to a local neighborhood that has a few good houses for the older three.  This wasn't planned very well, as Maverick (like usual) didn't have on shoes, so when we made the impromptu decision to get out of the car to walk he had to be carried.  Oh well....

For the past several years, we have lighted the Advent wreath every night at dinner time (or PJ time if we weren't at home) and the big 3 take turns lighting it.  There are scripture verses to read each night, but I found a book that does a better job for where my boys are attention-span and understanding-wise, so we read from that.  That book is the Advent Storybook and is new for us this year.  

Growing up, I was allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve.  Our boys only get 3 presents from us: PJs, a toy, and something small.  This year, it was only PJs and a toy.  We decided to let them open up everything from mom and dad on Christmas Eve morning.  It lessened the craziness on Christmas Day.  Maverick got a shopping cart and pretend food.

Chandler got an FM radio.

Brighton got a craft set.  We also let them open up the gifts that my pen pal and her husband mailed to the boys.  They were super generous, like always, and our boys were spoiled with all the new toys they mailed.  Thank you all so much!

On Christmas Eve, we went to the family service at our church.  The kids dress up as angels, shepherds, or wise men (we had one wise man, two shepherds, and also a cow).  Maverick was the only cow and very cute, I might add.  I thought he went fine with the manger scene.  

After church we headed home, made Jamison take a quick nap, and then went to a friend's house for a party.  We made it home by 7:45 p.m., put Jamie to bed and let the boys put out cookies for Santa.  Amazingly, Maverick didn't have a meltdown over not getting to eat Santa's cookies.  Then it was off to bed for the kiddos and time to start waiting for Santa to arrive....

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas with the Godparents

Tonight we spent over at my Mom and Dad's (Mimi & Granddaddy Bob's) house.  My aunt Elizabeth, and the Godparents to all our boys, Erin & Joel, had come down for the day to celebrate Christmas with us.  For something different this year, the adults decided to play a white elephant game (items you might find in your kitchen themed).  

My great aunt Edith was able to join us for the festivities as well.  It's nice to be able to include her in our family gatherings, and I know she enjoys watching my crazy boys run around!

The boys couldn't wait to finish an early dinner so they could start unwrapping their presents.  

Jamison was content to play with the wrappings of gifts, as most babies are.  

The boys enjoyed egging on the adults to steal each other's gifts in which Elizabeth would take no part in.  Daddy on the other hand, stole a $20 bill from his mother.  I certainly don't blame him!  We all had a wonderful time and can't wait to spend more time with the family again soon.  Maybe Easter in 2014?

Finally, a Christmas Party!

The day finally arrived (one week ago today).  My husband finally had an office Christmas party!

Seems silly, but I've been looking forward to this since I was a little girl.

I saw my Mom & Dad get dressed up and go to my Dad's Christmas parties, back in the day when they (companies) still did that sort of thing, and I just knew that someday I would be married and get to have that same sort of fun too.  Well, it finally happened!  

It wasn't as glamorous as I envisioned, but fun all the same.  It was held at a co-worker's house and about 40 or so employees/spouses/children showed up.  

I knew that the party would be no fun at all if I had to constantly be tending to my "brood" so we opted to leave the big three home with Grandma and somehow the stars aligned and Jamison took a very late 3rd nap, which we woke him up from at 6 p.m. and scooted off to the party.  We managed to stay till about 8 p.m. which was past Jamie's bedtime and I didn't want to push my luck further with him.  He was such a GOOD boy at the party, and even went to other people 
so I could eat my food in peace.

It was nice to meet some of Derek's co-workers and also his boss, who happened to show up.  Derek works with some very nice people.  We had a great time and I hear that my banana pudding was gone before the night was up.  They also played a white elephant game in which Derek's boss filled in for us and we came home with some chocolates.  

Here's hoping they keep up the tradition.  Who doesn't love a party?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Brighton shows letter "J"

Brighton is in his last year of preschool!  I can't believe that this time next year he'll already be halfway done with his first year of Kindergarten.

I'm really going to miss having Brighton all day long.  He is such a snuggly, lovey, caring child.  He definitely has some silly mixed in there as well.  

On most Fridays, Brighton has show and tell that has to be about that week's assigned letter.  Today was "J".  Brighton ALWAYS has to come up with the item on his own and normally will not take any suggestions or hints at what he might bring.  When I saw that today was "J" I mentioned to Brighton that I saw something that started with a letter J and Brighton picked up on that I was referring to Jamison.  He was thrilled with the idea.  Brighton did a special show and tell that day for Jamison early since he needed his morning nap.  I think some of the kids, especially without younger siblings, were very interested in Brighton's show and tell.  

Here's Brighton with his lead teacher.  How cute!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chandler's Class Party

Today I got to spend the morning helping out in Chandler's class.
It was so much fun!

I haven't gotten to do as much volunteering this year like I did last year due to Jamison.  It's just hard for me to leave him, and the times I do have childcare for him, I usually working.  Oh well.  I was glad to have the morning "free" to come and help with Chandler's Christmas Party!

There were several parents that came and helped out with a "station" of crafts that the children rotated to.  I opted for the edible station, and I went with "Cone Trees" which is something I've never made before, but thought it would be more interesting that just decorating sugar cookies.  

Chandler's school is age 3 till 8th grade, so the older kids' choir came and sang Christmas songs to the kids as a fundraiser.  I'm not sure if this is the middle school only or what grades it is.  It was very cute.  They had coordinating hand motions and everything.  I remember these singing-grams from when I was in school.  Some of the girls in Chandler's class were very popular!  Chandler just got one from Mommy, Daddy, and his brothers.  

I was able to snap a quick picture of the kids decorating at my station.  Self admittedly, I'm OCD about certain things and this certainly tested me.  I had to have control of the icing by scooping out just enough to cover the cone on to each child's plate.  Then I allowed them to take 3 spoonfuls of toppings (out of six choices) for decorating.  There was only one child who licked the knife (which I then replaced) and one cone that fell on the floor and broke, and another who thought they could take 3 spoonfuls from each bowl.....

This was my first rotation and I was starting to hyperventilate, but luckily it got better from there, and really...that was the worst of it.  

Here's another classroom shot.  I love how open the classroom is and all the natural lighting.  Note: no lights were on in this picture and look how bright the room is.

I carefully stacked the cone trees on a shelf out of the way for the children to take home later.  I'm not really sure how well they transported.  The children weren't allowed to eat them at school, which was kinda a bummer, but I understood.  

First thing in the morning, while the children were arriving and settling in, the teacher started reading one of her beloved Christmas books.  It was so sweet to see all the children eagerly gathering around her and patiently listening to the story.  I could tell they were all excited for Christmas and the fun day ahead of them.  She read this beautifully illustrated book and in it the elves were called "brownies"---how fun!  It was just precious, so I made a note to find a copy of this book for my Christmas book collection, which I adore.  

It turns out this book was written about 1961 and this is an original copy.  I could get one for myself if I had an extra $250-$500 lying around as that was the going rate that I saw online...  Boo :(

It was republished sometime in the 90's but with the brownies now called "elves" and the illustrations were lacking the same quality.  What a bummer.

So if any of my readers find a copy of this book in their grandparent's house and want to pass it along....I'd be much obliged :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Angus Barn, Baby!

Derek and I were able to have a night out for my company's Christmas Party!  
It was a private party held in the wine cellar of Angus Barn and it was awesome!

Derek and I posed in front of the Christmas tree before heading down into the wine cellar.

My company started having their Christmas parties at Angus Barn in 2007.  I was still working there that Christmas when Chandler was a baby, but had left by Christmas of 2008 when I had two children to take care of.  The first Christmas party was held upstairs, but ever year since it has been in the private wine cellar.  Clearly I have been missing out!

This large table seated 30 people and was waited on by at least 4 people (maybe more).

Selfie at the table that I insisted Derek take with me!

This is my second year being invited to the party in the wine cellar and this year it was a set menu with a wine paring with each course.  Think WAY TOO MUCH WINE!  Derek and I don't necessarily like the same wines.  I tend to like the ones he does, but he doesn't always like the ones I do.  We enjoyed soup, salad, tenderloin & salmon, and chocolate lava cake.  I'm not a huge chocolate fan, so I asked for Key Lime Pie instead and the waitstaff happily obliged.

It was a wonderful night out that had us getting home WAY past our normal bedtime of 9 p.m.  Jamison is doing better with taking a bottle, but there has been a lot going on this week, and the bottle did not go well and he was up most of the night.  I guess it was worth that price to pay for this fabulous night out!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Tea

Tonight my church had one of its' Christmas Teas to raise money for the UMW.

I have hosted a table many years in the past.  It is something I enjoy, but it can be a lot of work.

I have trouble saying "no" when asked to do something.

To make it easier on myself, I found a parter to co-host with.  This meant not getting to use my own china, which I really do enjoy, but also not having to wash my own china afterwards (which I'm not so much a fan of).  It worked out great!

If you can see the center of the table I used my mother's nutcrackers (just part of her collection) as a centerpiece and I thought it looked so cute.  I also did favors of different flavored teas and different colored nail polishes.  Think whimsy.

I invited several of my girlfriends that are also moms of 3 of more, and Meagan and Tammy were able to join me.  I'm so blessed to have these friends in my life.  I treated them to this tea as a way to extend our friendship and to thank them for lifting me up when I needed it along the way.  Both of these moms are such an inspiration to me.  I'm so glad they could join me and we could all have a nice night away enjoying each other's company and just relaxing for a little while.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Santa, and the Holiday Express!

Tis the season.

There is SO MUCH going on in the month of December!  In past years, we have been to 
Pullen Park's Holiday Express and the boys have loved it, so we bought tickets in July and hoped for a good night (weather-wise).  Boy did we hit the jackpot.  It was perfect.

This was our best year ever, in terms of being early for the event and avoiding the crowds.  We were there before it opened and were on the first shuttle bus in the front seats.  We headed straight for the carousel and then got in line for Santa.  

The line for Santa was already a little long when we got there since they had moved Santa's tent closer to the entrance and therefore he was more visible to people as they entered the park.  Luckily, the boys were able to run around and do a few games and crafts while Mommy stood in line.  

This was the first year that Maverick hasn't been afraid, so we were able to get a nice group shot of everybody without Mommy in the picture or lots of crying.  Chandler asked for a Rainbow Loom, Brighton asked for a blanket (his changes each time), Maverick want a lawnmower.  This Santa is so great because he really takes the time to talk to each child.  He is never in a rush, but that also means the line to visit with him is long.

Brighton loves to be a goofball!

We packed a picnic dinner and then headed over to ride the train.  The boys played on the playground while Mommy waited in line...are you seeing a theme here?  I'm just a line holder for them :)

It was such a warm evening that I didn't insist the boys wear there Christmas sweaters and went with Christmas T-shirts instead.  We all had a wonderful time.  The next morning we went to breakfast at our church where another Santa was there and we visited with him afterwards and all got candy canes!  The boys (and I) are sure getting excited for Christmas!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I normally cut all my boys' hair at home.  Occasionally, when the budget allows I like to have a professional shape it up and get me back to a "base-line" that I then try to keep up.  I called our normal JJ's to see if there was availability with my favorite stylist, Corrisa and was told she no longer worked there!  What?!?  Granted, I hadn't been to JJ's since before Jamison was born, but what could I do.  I was distraught since I don't like change and really wanted the boys' hair cut before the end of the year.  So I 'googled' her and found that she now cuts hair at an adult salon in Wake Forrest.  

Is is crazy that I drove there so she could cut my boys' hair? 

Yes, it is probably so.

I'm not sure that I'm willing to keep driving to Wake Forrest for haircuts, but it was considerably cheaper than JJ's and the boys behaved exceptionally well (minus Mavericks' meltdown over only one lollipop...he wanted two!)  Local Raleigh readers, who do you use for haircuts???  I'd love some other options.