Monday, March 28, 2016

Bunnies + Choo Choos: 2016 Edition

Last Friday we made our annual trip to a local toy store that has bunnies!  They change the theme of the bunny area this year, and this year it was in honor of all of the construction all over Nashville!  There were bunny highrises and cranes and funny signs - it was perfect!  And Cee Cee got to go with us again this year - we missed her last year so we made sure she could go with us this year!
Here are the kiddos before we headed out.  We had been at the beach up until that day, so I think they were not enjoying the cooler temps we had that day.
And when my mom got in the car with us, she had some goodies for the kids from my Meme -- they were a hit!  The kids loved the little foam fans...and of course the M&Ms inside!
All of the kids had a blast playing with train tables and marble runs and watching the model trains they have on display.  I think Ryan would have stayed all day to watch the trains!  We will be going back for sure.  Except the departure was less than pleasant.  I'd say it is still worth it though!
Katie actually took a moment away from the marble run and took a selfie!  I tried a selfie with Ryan but he was too obsessed with the trains :)
And both kids holding bunnies before we left!  The bunnies were so patient - and so cute!
So glad the kids still love going to see the bunnies!  And we managed to make it out of there without the kids coming home with new toys (though I may have snuck to the counter and bought a few new books for them - I am a sucker for new books!)...success!
Want to see past visits? Click on these!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Day 2016

 Happy Easter! What a great day it has been!  I feel like I never know the right things to say or the right way to explain the meaning and significance of Easter to my kiddos, so it is just easiest to not talk about it.  But I am so glad that we get past that and do it anyways!  And Katie went to "big church" with us today, so she saw the video of a baptism and saw a video about the thoughts going through a young lady's head as they decide to become a Christian and be baptized.  We also have talked about Easter and Good Friday as best we can and answer questions as best we can.  And Jack says "Jesus popped out! Jesus is the marshmallow!" - thanks to making resurrection rolls at school a couple of weeks ago,  I think that is amazing for a 3 year old!
This morning we got going early and went to the 8:30 service at church!  We got the boys settled in and went to the sanctuary and I looked across and saw my aunt and uncle across the way, so we went over and sat with them...which also means we got to see two of my cousins and one of their husbands (can I just say I sat here and typed out several ways of saying that and I still don't think I did it right - ha!  I have two girl cousins and one of them is married.  That is who we got to see.)!
 When we got home, it was picture time!  We used our neighbor's front porch (and had their assistance for the family photo) for some cute Easter pics!  Love my crazy crew!
And a picture of the three ring circus - Ryan is at that difficult age and stage for pictures!  I can't believe I got this!  Though I have to say that Brad was behind me doing something silly on his phone to get his attention and make him sit still...
 Sweet Katie!
 Love that little grin!
 And sweet boy - he really loves sitting in their rocking chairs!
 I probably should've done some cropping, but oh well!  Me with my favorites!
 Again - needed a little cropping, but it is still a cute picture of the kiddos with Daddyo!
 And we matched in our Matilda Jane!  Love that I found those cute shirts for the boys to coordinate with us :)
 Then we headed inside for Easter baskets!  They were super excited to dig in!
And Ryan was excited too (once he figure out what he was supposed to be doing)!
 This was Ryan's very favorite part -- his new Pete the Cat Wheels on the Bus book! 
 Jack really loves the movie Inside Out, and the Easter Bunny found Inside Out jellybeans for the big kid baskets!!
 And Katie loved her Shopkins tshirt that was in her basket!
 We couldn't have a holiday without Sadie being in the middle of it!  That was a ball that was in Ryan's basket (his second favorite thing in there) that I guess he was sharing with her!
 Once Ryan had looked at his book for a while, he carried it over and sat in Brad's lap for him to read it to him!  He clearly loved it when Brad was singing/reading it!
 Love this picture!  He sure is entertained by his Daddy!
 Katie loved doing the Mad Libs that was in her basket - I think Brad was excited that she asked for his help!  I love those things - and she is enjoying making up funny stories!
And then Cee Cee and Will and some family friends came over for lunch!  It was so great to have an informal lunch - and I didn't cook!  I grabbed delicious food at Simply Living Life and then fruit and tea and some things at Publix.  And done. Yum!  And more time to visit!
Before it started drizzling, the kids played in the bounce house for a bit! They absolutely love it - and I love that it gets their energy out!
 Sweet girl!  Love this picture of her - all the colors!  And you might notice -- she lost another tooth Friday night!  That makes number 6!  And it left a giant hole in her smile - makes her look even more grown up!
 I think this one is hilarious -- I love that Ryan was bracing himself for whatever Jack was about to do!  Ryan is slightly unsure about the bounce house, but he does enjoy the sliding!
 And sliding makes him smile and squeal!
I loved my new shoes - well, not exactly new.  I bought them last year but I never wore them!  So glad I remembered I had them - tan feet with happy blue toenails!  And some of the chalk artwork on our driveway.  And of course the colors in my dress - love that! 
And while we were doing pictures, I got a cute picture of Katie and Stella :) 
This afternoon we relaxed and just hung out and then did an easy dinner.  It was great!  It would've been nice to see some sunshine, but it didn't storm, so I will take it!  Hope you had a happy day and remember what Easter is all about.  He lives! 


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Family Ski Trip: Beech Mountain, NC

A few weeks ago, we headed east for a family ski trip!  Brad has been dying to go skiing for years (I am thinking it has been about 7 years since we went skiing) and we finally felt like it would work!  So we went to Beech Mountain, NC -- only about 5.5 hours away!  We wanted to see what the kids thought (yes! Katie and Jack both skied too!) before spending all the money to go to Colorado!  So we were off!  I think I was happy that we were finally loaded up and headed out!
And we finally made it!  Look at all that snow!
And even though we read everywhere that we needed chains or 4 wheel drive, look who ended up at an auto place to install chains!  Oh my.  But we got them!  And thank goodness - the main road was fine but getting up to our condo and back down to the main road would've been impossible without them!
And we finally made it into the condo!  What a view.  This was right after Brad drove down the "service road" that doesn't get plowed, had to do a 90 point turn to turn around, and get two guys to help push the van back up to the parking lot.  But it worked! 
These were the stairs from our condo area up to the parking lot where we parked!
After we registered the kids for ski school for the Monday (it was already booked up for the Sunday) and got settled into the condo, we headed out to the pizza place for dinner!  Service was slow but the food was great!
Boy was I tired.  Can you tell?? :)
And these guys were super hungry!  Can't believe I actually got them to smile!
On our way back to the condo (after a quick stop for wine), my car said was SIX.  Whoa.  And it was windy, so the wind chill had to have been below zero!
That next morning, we got up early and the kids got some breakfast before layering up and heading out!
The ski area had a nursery where we could take Ryan while we all skied - so I dropped him off there and then we all got our skis and boots and poles!  That ended up being a situation also - later that day, someone accidentally picked up mine and Katie's skis...I am sure they thought they were theirs, but it meant that we were without skis!  I had to do a single day rental the following day and Katie's were included with her ski school.  And neither of us skied the third day we were there.  Thankfully whoever it was returned the skis so we didn't have to pay to replace them!
A "family picture" - everyone but Ryan!  It was so cold that day, but we were ready!
Katie looked like a professional!  She did such a great job and was pretty fearless!  She just needs to really work on control and stopping!  And she didn't end up using the poles much, if at all!
Jack did a fantastic job too - he said his favorite part was the magic carpet that took him to the top of the bunny hill!
Of course Ryan didn't nap at the nursery, so within 60 seconds of being in the car, he was zonked!  Actually, during this picture may have been when mine and Katie's skis were taken! ha.
Sweet boy had too much fun!
And it started snowing during the afternoon while we were finishing skiing, so this was what it looked like driving up the roads to our condo!
And we stayed in and had an easy dinner.  I think we were watching Inside Out here.
Just look at all those scarves and jackets and shoes and stuff!  Wow! And we used every single piece of that while we were there.  I was glad they had that foyer area in the condo - great place to get snowy boots off and jackets hung up to dry off!
Katie and Jack were ready for day 2!  This was the day they were both headed to ski school!  There was so much new snow we weren't sure we would make it to the ski area, but we did.  And by the time we came back in the afternoon, they had plowed!
And since Ryan was in the nursery, and the big kids were in ski school, we could actually ski together!
We had fun watching the kids during part of their time outside.  And we got to eat lunch together just us!  After we were all finished, I went to get Ryan and he was asleep like this.  He was zonked.  And on a mat.  It was busy over the weekend, but this was on the Monday (President's Day) and it was so much slower.  There were only 2 kids in the nursery, so it was 2 kids to 3 teachers - not a bad ratio!
When we got back to the condo, there were deer out eating and roaming!  It was so neat!
Ryan loves nature...I tried to get a picture of him and Brad looking at me, but he got super angry because he wanted to see the deer.  So this will do.
Inside the condo, there was a chair that Ryan loved!  It was so easy for him to get in and out of, so he thought it was perfect!  He loved sitting in it to read a book!
The next day, we opted to skip on skiing so we could play with Ryan.  I felt bad for putting him in the nursery so much and I wanted him to have time in the snow! Here are the kiddos before we headed outside!
Ryan had a big time!!
And Katie was loving it!  So much snow!
Jack thought it was pretty fun too!  Brad and Katie both dug big holes and made little chairs for Ryan!
And we even got a picture together while we were out there!  After this, Brad headed to ski some more and turn everything in.  I hung out with the kids and relaxed during quiet/nap time!
And then before dinner (after naptime and after Brad got back from a little more skiing), we got out and played in the snow again in a small field near the general store!
Again, Ryan had a big time - he kept trying to step on top of the snow and there was ice mixed in, so he would crunch through and then trip on the snow!
Katie and Brad had some races -- this is such a funny picture!  Katie's boot slipped off and she kept running.  I think she just realized the lack of boot in this picture - look at her face!
The next morning we got up and packed our stuff!  The kids relaxed and watched a show while Brad loaded up the car!  They were excited to head home to see Sadie!
And Ryan got one more picture in his favorite chair!  Love that boy!
Wasn't it absolutely beautiful there?!  This was when we were walking away from the condo, up the stairs, to the car.  Loved all the branches covered in snow!
And that was the condo where we stayed.  It was great!  Katie and Jack shared the master (so that we could be next to where Ryan was) and it was up a spiral staircase.  They thought that was so cool!  And Ryan got his own room since he is such a light sleeper and then obviously Brad and I had a room.  We would definitely stay there again!
And this is what we came home with.  We were less than a mile from home and heard the infamous thumping...and we pulled into the driveway literally just in time!  So lucky it didn't explode or something on the interstate!
The neighbors came up to see us when we got back - Jack and Reagan enjoyed watching AAA change our tire!  Never dull for sure!
I hope we make this trip an annual event - I think the kids really like it and I enjoyed it more this time than I think I had to date!  I think it did help that I am in much better shape now, so I was hardly sore!  The lower, outer part of my calf muscles were super sore and I had bruises from where my ski boots hit, but other than that, I was good!  I definitely was glad to head out so I didn't have to layer all the kids up anymore - can't wait for them to get old enough to do it themselves! :)