Our Story

My photo
Ben and I met in 1996, began dating in 1999 and married in 2001. Now 20 years and 2 children later, we have returned to where our life together began. Ben works for the Federal Reserve and I have the privilege of staying home with our two precious boys.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hosting Christmas

This year Ben and I hosted my family for our Christmas celebration. We had a wonderful weekend and it ended all too soon! Mimi was able to come early and spend the week before everyone arrived with us so that she could go to the boys' Christmas program and parties at school. Somehow during the course of the week, I also conned her into cleaning my oven...she had no idea what she was in for when she agreed to that one ;-) Maw-Maw and Doc brought their RV to Atlanta on Thursday and Chad, Ashley, & sweet Collier came in Friday night. Collier was definitely well tended to throughout the course of the weekend. Everyone absolutely adores her but Ben is completely smitten with this precious baby girl...the only girl. On Saturday we all gathered for lunch and cameras were handy. Before sitting down, we snapped a few impromptu pics.
Maw-Maw and Doc
Ashley getting settled with Collier who was happily sitting in a bouncer in the corner across from the dessert table
 Ethan and Caden had their own table that backed up to the dining room table
 After lunch, we moved to the living room for presents
  Before opening presents, the boys opened Christmas crackers with Doc and received some little trinkets
 Then it was time for presents
 Perfect addition to the Lego table
 Caden's newest favorite character...Blade Ranger!
 And we've had so much snow the past couple of years, Uncle Chad and Aunt Ashley helped get the boys prepared with new sleds!
 And Mimi helped them get ready with snow suits and snow suits. LOVE this picture of Caden attempting to trek across the floor in his boots!
 Oh My! Mighty Machines DVD's!
  One of Chad and Ashley's gifts from Mom was a personalized book in which Collier was the main character. Truly, a most memorable gift!
 The boys were excited to get started watching Mighty Machines...
 And test out their sleds indoors
 Mimi also got the boys new ornaments for the Christmas tree in a Star Wars theme this year and Maw-Maw got them some Christmas pajamas (to be seen soon in a separate post :-) And then there was lots of Collier time!
 I placed about 20 Christmas books up and down the lower stairs and I walked by once to see Ashley reading to Collier. Such a precious Mommy-Daughter moment! Of course, Ethan wanted to be in the thick of it, too. He completely adores his little cousin!
 This year we decided for forgo the big family picture and settled for individual pics.
The Allen's
 The Cannon's
 The Forrester's
 The cousins :-)
 Mimi with the grands
 And Mimi with our family favorite...Love that girl!
 That night, we decided to head to see the lights at Lake Lanier. It was a spectacle seeing all of us fit into Mimi's car. The car was LOADED and this picture doesn't even halfway do it justice ;-)
 Although I had hoped we would all go to church on Sunday morning, we decided that a relaxing morning at home would be better. That afternoon while Chad and Ashley were packing up, Mimi showed off her multi-tasking skills. I thought this was awesome!
 After everyone went their separate ways and I was sorting through all of the pictures from the weekend, I found about 20 of these on the camera...
 followed by 15 of these. What a turkey! I think he has a new favorite toy.

School Christmas Parties

The last week of school before Christmas break was super busy for us and we ended the week with both boys' parties. Since I am Caden's class Room Mom this year, poor guy didn't get a lot of pictures taken at his party :-( I had planned what I thought were super easy activities for 3 year olds, but they quickly lost their attention so the party ended up with the kiddos taking over. His teacher, Ms. Beth, has repeatedly told me this year that  the children in this class "beat to their own drum" so I guess I should have expected it. Either way, the kids stayed busy and everyone ended up with a new book from the book exchange. 
We started by sorting M&Ms and tracing a wreath template
Next the class had lunch
While some finished eating, I attempted to read The Night Before Christmas and then we played a bow game where the children were asked to race to find a bow of a certain color
 Then we ended by sitting in a circle and passing 2 bows around as music played. The students who held the bows when the music stopped were supposed to choose a present but once the first students picked theirs, the other children raced to get one, too :-) It all worked out and everyone got a new book from a friend. Whew! Party over!
The next day was Ethan's snowman themed party. Mimi, Daddy, and I were devastated because traffic was backed up and we were late but Ethan didn't even seem to notice, for which I am extremely grateful. By the time we arrived, lunch was over and the children were "making snowmen" by wrapping their teachers in toilet paper and giving them a nose and a scarf. Sooooo much fun!
Ethan was concerned and took Ms. Marsha's TP off of her and placed it on himself
 Then went over and brushed Ms. Jana off to make sure she was all clean ;-)
 After that, the children took turns being blind-folded and spun around to tape parts to a snowman. Ethan picked the nose so Ms. Aundrea helped him get a little higher...
 The finished product
 Then the class sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and "blew" out the candle on their cupcake
 Even Caden had a sweet treat :-)
 Next, the students made their own snowman using a medium and small mason jar and filling them with edible white items. Ethan chose marshmallows for his snowman's body and yogurt pretzels for his head. Aundrea, their room mom, had already put a face on each jar and glued on scarves and hats. Again, soooooo cute!
  Lastly, it was time for the ornament exchange. Ethan received a little puppy dog ornament from his friend.
 It was a terrific party! What a difference 2 years makes! 
All of the students actually listened at Ethan's party :-)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Seeing Santa

The day after the Christmas program, we took our annual trip to Bass Pro to see Santa. Mimi was able to come with us which made it even better since Daddy had to work! Ethan had been thinking for weeks about what he wanted to tell Santa that he wanted for Christmas and he had finally decided on a bow and arrow. Caden, however, got tongue-tied and was only able to repeat what Ethan had said. After the fact, he thought of three different things that he had really wanted to tell Santa. The Bass Pro picture turned out way better than the one I was able to take with my phone.
 The boys always love all of the activities set up after their picture...
Train table

 Monster trucks
 Race track

Before we left the picture area we rode the carousel but Mimi has those pics.
And then, no trip to Bass Pro is complete without testing out the ATVs...
Caden has his serious face on and is going Vroom, Vroom. 
He was hilarious!!
 Last, the boys wanted to see the fish. Ethan vividly remembers the huge tank at the Bass Pro in Rockwall and this one is okay but it doesn't compare to the awesomeness of the one in Texas. However, the man who cares for the tank saw how interested the boys were in the fish and he came over and spent 30 minutes answering all of their questions about each fish. God bless this man! He had all of the time in the world for the boys and seemed to genuinely enjoy talking to them about his fish :-)
Another great Santa visit in the books!

Shadowbrook Christmas Program

The Tuesday before Christmas break was the Christmas program at school. Both boys were on the left side of the stage so we were fortunate to be in a good spot to see them.

Caden spotted us as soon as he went up on stage and gave us a wave
 Then Ethan saw us and waved, too
 Ethan did a great job singing and doing the hand motions. This participation is huge for us! And Caden stayed with his class and did not put his thumb in his mouth...again, huge for us :-)
 At the end of the program, the kindergarten students retold the story of the birth of Jesus. 
Ethan was a shepherd. So proud of our big boy! Here's a great picture of his boo-boo on his chin that kept us at Children's for 5 and a half hours the previous Sunday :-(
 Although you can't see all of the students, there was a star, an angel, the three wise men, Mary, Joseph, two shepherds, and a donkey...pure sweetness seeing these little ones sharing the story of the birth of our Savior.
 And the finale was Feliz Navidad complete with maracas

 We are so beyond blessed to have these two amazing ladies in our lives this year! They love and adore Ethan and provide him with the safest, most nurturing school environment where he is learning and growing so much!
And one final pic of our two bundles of energy