Friday, September 27, 2013

The Star Chart Is Back!

We started the star chart method with Katie back in January.  Well it definitely worked but we had a hard time (and by we, I mean me and Brad) remembering to follow up each evening to do a recap and see if she got her stickers.  And life happened.  And then it was summer.  Things are always more relaxed in the summer, right? :) Well, Katie has had some problems with listening/doing with we tell her the first time.  Everything is a negotiation.  And it was taking like 5 times to get her to do something.  No bueno.  It was enough to drive me crazy!  So, we started the star chart again this week!  
We started on Monday which would be why Sunday was scribbled though.  And I am happy to report that this week has been very smooth!  Of course there have been a few moments where I had to remind Katie about the star chart and the fact that she wouldn't get a star if she didn't listen/do what I was asking her to do/clean up, etc!
Another side effect of the the star chart is that it holds Mommy & Daddy accountable as well.  Just this morning, Katie asked why we don't make our bed :) She does such a good job all on her own.  And I agree.  We need to model good "behavior" and taking care of our responsibilities.  
Also, Katie has reminded us to say a blessing before meals.  I get so busy preparing the meals and making sure everybody is taken care of, that I tend to forget.  So thank you, star chart, for helping us all remember to pray :)  And I was getting tired of going behind Katie to clean up, so the star chart has reminded her that if she gets it out, she needs to put it up!  I'm hoping that, as a family, we do better at remembering to do these star charts - it is good for all of us!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Recap

Whew! What a weekend!  The Mister is definitely learning how to extend a birthday celebration! :)  He got home from work not too long after I did my post that we were prepping for a little birthday party for him - it was so fun!  Katie was so excited to sing and eat a cupcake (or two) and let him open all his presents and cards!
 Katie and the Birthday Boy!
 Jack was pretty excited about a cupcake too!
 Decisions, decisions! And yes - they were pretty good if I do say so myself!  Funfetti cake with strawberry icing and sprinkles!
 Can't you just see the excitement??!
 Even Sadie got in on the yumminess!
 And then I got to take a shower and go to a quick dinner with the other Ashley :) It was so fun to visit - we had not gone out together in a really long time!
Saturday morning we were lazy - and then I got up for a hair appointment!  Here is the before and after - less blonde and ready for fall!  I am going back to be my girl's "model" for a class all of the stylists are taking - straight, fine hair, no bangs....and willing to get 3 inches cut off!  Yes - I'm going short in just a matter of weeks!
Then it was time to head home and watch some football!  This was Brad during pretty much the entire UT game...
And we had friends over to watch football too! This was the girl's table :)  I got pizza for everybody to enjoy - clearly they all liked it!
 And Stella and Katie!  You can definitely see the pizza here :)
 And the little boys!  Jack had his eye on something and was ready to jump out of the chair!  He is loving the chairs these days - he is always so proud of himself when he sits!
And Sunday, we got up and went to church - and Brad's mom went with us!  We had some family over for brunch and to celebrate Brad's birthday as well - including this delicious cake! 
 And I had Bible study last night - I really am enjoying Beth Moore's Daniel study!  It is pretty intense, but I think that is a good thing!
Definitely a busy weekend, but it was so great to spend time with a bunch of family and friends.  It would have been even better if UT and Auburn could've pulled out a win, but oh well!  At least the Titans won :) 


Friday, September 20, 2013

The Birthday Guy

Yesterday was Brad's birthday!  Of course he had to go to work and the kids went to school.  And Mr. Social already had lunch plans for his birthday with some folks he used to work with, so I just did my thing during the day (I ran 3.25 miles! And I took the kids' panels to get framed so we can hang them! And I took a shower!).  But last night, Grandma came to hang out with the kids so I could meet Brad at a social/happy hour with the people he works with (that just so happened to be scheduled on his birthday)!  That was super fun.  And then we headed out to a delicious restaurant....
They have the best food.  And delicious drinks.  I was absolutely stuffed when we left - I devoured a ginormous chicken biscuit with sausage gravy and sweet potato fries.  I still don't feel right from eating all of that! was totally worth it :)  Of course I had to get a picture of the two of us before we left :)  Sidenote: I was SO excited to have a reason to wear one of my Stitchfix tops - I love it!
And now?  Well, we happen to be prepping for a little family celebration when Brad gets home from work!
I let Katie pick out balloons (she said we had to have balloons for the party), we wrapped some presents and made/signed the cards, and we even made funfetti cupcakes with strawberry icing!  Katie is beside herself with excitement :)  She loves a good party!

And this weekend has more celebrating on the agenda - we have some friends coming over to watch football tomorrow and then a family shindig on Sunday.  I think he is catching on to my "birthday month" idea as opposed to just one steps, right?? For now, it'll be a "birthday weekend" instead!  Happy Friday!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Girl's Weekend '13

This past weekend we headed to Chattanooga on a girl's trip!  I didn't tell Katie about it until two days before we left - I knew I would hear, "When are we leaving??" too many times to count if I had told her any earlier :)  

We did a girl's trip to Memphis with Amanda and Julia a couple years ago and had a blast.  Here are a few pictures from that adventure - we stayed at The Peabody and went to see Yo Gabba Gabba! It's amazing to see how much the girls have changed since that trip!

The girls loved the ducks!
 Yes we took the girls to Beale Street to eat before going to the show!
Alright, back to this year's trip!  It was a blast!  We left Saturday morning and came back Sunday afternoon.  We were able to make it to the Aquarium and IMAX theater, as well as go swimming (the hotel had an indoor pool)!  Julia was impressed with the fact that we went to two restaurants on Saturday while Katie thought the bus was ultra-cool!

These are a few of the pictures from our first day that were on my phone!  I love that we ordered room service right before bedtime for dessert - Katie was okay with that too!
Here are the girls before we headed into the aquarium!  they were so excited!
I took this in the butterfly room - it was so neat!  
We were all impressed with the size of that turtle - unbelievable!!
My sweet girl :) The only way I got her to cooperate with pictures was to say we had to take them to show Daddy what we did on our trip!
And the girls together!
I took this of a neat jellyfish - I think they are so amazing to watch!
And there was a lady between the buildings with some birds...she let the girls put them on their arms!  Katie thought it was so neat!
And I think Julia loved it too!
After we toured the second building, we stopped in the gift shop and let the girls pick out one thing.  Katie picked out a turtle purse :)  And she also got Jack a little turtle toy too - so sweet!
We also got matching butterfly rings!  I hope we are able to keep up with them and wear them for years to come :) 
And here is a picture of Amanda and Julia!
And one of me and my sweet pea - love it!
After we stopped for a snack, we headed back to the hotel and went swimming!  The best part was relaxing in the room and getting chocolate cake from room service :)

Sunday we woke up and got ready before grabbing breakfast and heading out!  
We headed to the IMAX theater to see a butterfly movie!
Katie loved the glasses!  I love that she kept grabbing the air trying to catch the butterflies during the movie!
Then it was time for our final bus ride to the hotel to get our stuff and jump in the car to grab lunch before heading home!
Katie on the bus - she thought it was so fun!
And Katie was being silly with the valet guys and counting to see how long it would take them to get the car for us.  Love that smile :)
And the valet guy took this of us - LOVE it! So sweet!
And this was the side of a building near where we had lunch - I thought the wood was so neat!  So of course a quick photo shoot had to happen!
Julia laughing at her momma!
I'm sure Katie was laughing at me!
And then we hit the road to come home.  It was a short trip but so much fun!  I can't wait to go on another adventure - and there's no other little lady I'd rather take with me!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

But It's Dry Heat: Our Trip to Phoenix

 I figured, since it has been about a month since we were out in Arizona, it'd probably be a good idea to actually get a post done about our trip!  Most of my pictures were on my phone, so I made a collage for each day that we were there - and then threw in a few from my camera as well :)  So once again, beware - picture overload!

We headed to the airport and met my dad! I'm so glad I had an extra set of hands helping me - especially on the plane with Jack!  Four hours is a long time for a little guy to sit still!  They did great though - Katie watched movies and colored and Jack napped and ate lots of snacks :)
After we ate dinner, we went swimming!  There is a two hour time difference, so I was hoping that keeping the kids up late and keeping them active would help them sleep in on our first full day there.  And yes, it was hot there!  The first few days were like 109 or 110, and then they had a "cool spell" where it was only like 102 or 103! :)
Day Two
Well, that plan didn't exactly work.  Katie was up at about 5:30 in the morning and that woke Jack up.  So we had an early start to the day!  We went to an aquarium and then came home for lunch - the kids were worn out!  Katie actually napped for about two hours - that hasn't happened in forever!  While the kids napped, I lounged by the pool - it was heavenly! After they woke up, Nanny painted Katie's nails and then we all went to dinner - it was delicious!
Here's Jack exploring at the aquarium - he loved that he could get into that little area and get a better look at all the fish swimming around!
 And Katie got to ride a little train - she loved it!  It was slightly lame to me - it just went in a little circle!  But seeing her smile on there was worth the $4 train ride!
 And here we are before heading into the restaurant.  That place is so good - I love eating there when we are out there visiting!
Day Three
Once we got up and moving, we headed out to a shopping area to go to a store that I wanted to make sure to go to - but not before eating lunch at Chick Fil A :) I had a successful shopping adventure and Katie got to play out in the play area!  Jack was worn out and we had to act wild and silly to keep him awake in the car!  We met Sarah and her boys for dinner - whew!  Five kids is a lot!
Here we are before heading out to have lunch and shop!
 Katie and Sam at dinner!  Instead of crayons and papers, the restaurant had Wiki Stix - the kids loved making glasses!
 And one of me and Sarah :)
Day Four
The Thursday we were out there, we had an easy morning and just swam and hung out.  I stayed by the pool while the kids napped and then we met Sarah and the boys at an indoor play was amazing!  And there were maybe 7 other people there, so we essentially had the place to ourselves! 
 Day Five
On Friday, we got up and out the door earlier than we had been so we could go out and see Brenda and her kids and their house!  Katie loved trying the piano and Jack loved playing with their golden retriever puppy!  Then we went to lunch with them and all headed to Sarah's to swim.  So that means there were 4 adults and 11 kids at the pool.  Yikes!  It was so much fun though!  And when we got back to the house, I headed to the airport to pick Brad up!
 Day Six
Daddy had arrived!  Katie was so excited to see Brad when she woke up...and so was Jack :)  Robbin and I headed out to shop and eat lunch with Sarah - so fun! We went to Nordstrom Rack before we ate and then headed to an outlet mall afterwards...and we only made it to the Gap and Old Navy outlets!  We went to dinner with Robbin's mom that evening - she is so sweet!  
 Day Seven
Our last full day out there...and we spent it being lazy!  We went swimming and just hung out, which was nice.  Sarah and her boys came over for dinner and then we took a walk and let the kids play at the park.  Jack was enthralled with the airplanes in the sky!  
 Day Eight
Homeward bound!  And we had an early flight!  I think my alarm was set for like 4:40 or something like that.  Yuck!  But we made it to the airport in plenty of time and actually didn't have to wait to check our bags OR at the security line!  We let the kids walk around the terminal since they would have to sit still on the flight!  And they did great on the flights again - Katie watched movies and Jack napped/snacked/played with toys!  They were so worn out though...they both fell asleep on the way home from the airport!
It had been a long time since we had been out there (over 2 years!) - I'm so glad we were able to make a trip out there this summer!!