Mamaw's Sugar Cookie Recipe made it's appearance early this year. Both the girls did all the sprinkles and Grayson actually rolled out a few good cookies herself. All that playdough playing throughout the year paid off. Finley loved to roll the counter with the rolling pin. And then I let them each eat a cookie the size of their faces. Good (and very messy) times.
Even though it was a bit of a whirlwind to see all of our family over four days, we sure are thankful that everyone lives in the same state for that to be possible!
We kicked it off with a Wednesday night dinner and a Thursday morning breakfast with Maymay and Peeps and the North crew (cousins) who were in town (pictures soon once I download them).
Then we headed out of town to Uncle Lee's (Shushu's brother) for a super yummy lunch. Grayson was excited in this picture because everyone gave her and Finley their prizes when we played a post-lunch game of bingo. It pays to be the youngest in the crowd. I remember those days. She had also just eaten two slices of pumpkin cheesecake and was working on a cookie. Sugar is an essential piece of the holidays around here. Friday we had the same idea as half of the town of Raleigh and headed out to enjoy the weather at Pullen Park. I visited this park so many times as a kid that it was really fun to bring the girls. The park recently had a makeover and it was well worth being there with the crowds. We wore Mamaw out! Friday night we headed back home and Pop-Pop came for a weekend visit. Here he was making up a song about Grayson'swoobies before bedtime. She loved it. We are thankful for our family!
Today's highs were in the 70's. Unbelievable for November. With the warm weather I feel it is fitting to blog about our family beach trip in late July. I think the last time I had been to Myrtle Beach was in high school. But we had free hotel points to use and this hotel was the closest Hilton oceanfront with a pool and suites. Turns out it had about 4 pools plus a full blown water park along with the beachfront access and a daily free buffet breakfast. Sign. Me. Up. Now don't get me wrong, Myrtle Beach is a crowded beach for sure. But this hotel was great.
We basically spent a few days in the middle of our moving houses madness to spend time together just the four of us. Thankfully all those swim lessons where Grayson cried and screamed about going under water finally paid off. We gave her some goggles and under she went. Jumping in full force from the side of the pool even. Which of course Finley had to try as well and loved it equally. Grayson was also not afraid of the ocean this year. She would jump the waves and go under water, a huge improvement from last year. Finley did not like the ocean so much but loved the sand and shells.
Click on the collage below to enlarge the cuteness:
We headed over to the Chesney's for a small group dinner and Trick-or-Treating adventure. The first miracle happened when all six of our families were in one place at one time with all of our children to even have the chance to take a picture. The second miracle was that all the kids either sat or stood in one place without crying or screaming or pushing or running away, for so long that we were able to snag about 10 pictures and then tell them they could move because we were done. Miracle I tell you. And yes, that right there is 11 children ages 4 and under. All dressed up in super cute costumes by their super fun parents and dear friends of ours. Then there was this bunny hopping on the trampoline (below). Looking all innocent and cute. You can't see it here, but in this picture she has on different tights and a different undershirt. Because only 30 minutes earlier, after we ate dinner, while all 11 kids were running around playing and us adults were trying to have some conversation, Justin walks in with Finley held out in front of him, soaking wet from her shoulders to her feet. He loudly announces while he is cracking up, "I found her IN the potty!!". As in IN the toilet water people. Half-sitting, half-standing there, crying or he would have taken her picture. I had thankfully taken off the bunny suit for the chili dinner but she apparently decided that it was time to go swimming and climbed right in to test the waters. Seriously. Let's just say I was thankful we were with close friends as she was dripping through the house. I about passed out from laughter as I got her changed. Thankfully Annabelle is the same size so we had clothes to borrow. I think she learned her lesson though as she has not tried (yet) to pull that trick at home. Below is a cute picture of Grayson (black cat) and Anna (Olivia). The older kids led the charge trick-o-treating around the neighborhood. Let's just say we got a lot of candy. That I have slowly been eating and the kids have been begging for in the last few weeks. Finley was hilarious. At home, when we go on walks, after about a block she asks to be held. That night, she just put that bag over her arm, walked right up to all of the doors and held out her hand for candy, walked right down and did it again at the next house. Like she had been trick-or-treating for years. She walked around an entire square block of houses and never asked to be carried. It was a fun night with friends!
The girls were excited about this, even though it was mostly a "daddy" job. This year's choices were a cat (above) and then a replica of one of Grayson's drawings (below). They both turned out great because Justin is so good at carving pumpkins but my favorite is the one Grayson drew!
After taking a bit of a summer blogging break that has now lasted into fall, I thought a great kick-off-welcome-back-to-blogging-world entry was going to be celebrating an announcement that we were expecting baby number three. Instead, as my own heart broke in two, I had to watch as the ultrasound tech could not find the baby’s heartbeat at my 10 week appointment. Since then, I’ve been debating about what to write on this here blog. I have missed writing. Although I often feel one step behind in keeping up with it all, I have missed capturing photographs and tidbits of what goes on in our often crazy life with two small children. To pick that back up without mentioning our heartache felt wrong. But to not blog about Grayson turning four, or our recent fall family beach trips, or about how Finley has grown into a toddler in the blink of an eye, to not blog about all of that felt wrong too. We want this blog to be a place where we document our family life. Where we can look back and say, remember how the Lord was good and faithful to us?
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18. Six weeks ago I made a choice when I had to wait for the midwife to explain the ultrasound, that no matter what she said when she walked in that door, I was going to stand firm on the truth that the Lord is good and that He loved me (and our family) no matter what. Since then I continue to battle for that choice, to focus on what I know to be true and right, and to not get caught up in what I can’t understand. It is a battle for sure. So here we are. I want to get back to blogging again. Even in the middle of all of this, the easy days and the not so easy days, I want to write about the little things so I can teach my heart to be thankful. Because it could use a little teaching on that right now. We are celebrating that one day when we get to see Jesus face to face, we will also meet this little one. We will continue to celebrate here in the everyday moments of our life together as a family until that sweet day arrives.
Boy, this moving business is no joke. I seriously cannot believe it's almost August. Oh my.
On the family front, Grayson has now enjoyed one week of dance camp and two weeks of Vacation Bible School. Shushu has been visiting weekly to lend a hand (thank you!) and she even brought Mamaw today for her first visit to the new house. We also got a quick visit from cousins last week for lunch and a bit of playtime. They are coming back next week for more fun.
On the house front, things are coming together slowly but surely. I was out to dinner with some friends the other night, answering their questions of what we were renovating. I made the comment about Justin installing the hardwood floors, to which someone said "I didn't know he knew how to install hardwood floors?" I responded, "Oh yes...he does now". Let me tell you, he also knows a lot of other things. Like how to rip down a cabinet and completely install a microhood...during naptime. And how to knock out a wall, re-frame it, move the plumbing and electrical, and hook up the washer and dryer so we can do laundry. He also knows how to patiently hold up the curtains with and without sheers for his indecisive wife and then proceed to install all of the curtain rods for her. Did I mention he has a day job? In finances? Yes. Seriously. Mr. Fix-It is racking up major points around here.
I have been busy wrangling the kids and trying to get some nesting done. I alternate between feeling like it's looking like home, where pillows and curtains make the den come to life, versus wanting to pull my hair out. Like when I wait two weeks for curtains to arrive and the curtain rod that I had picked out a month ago doesn't reach to the advertised length that I need without falling apart. I am constantly reminding myself that (insert whatever isn't going so smoothly) doesn't matter in the big scope of things. Seriously, it's JUST curtain rods. Reminding myself to be thankful for the millions of things that really do matter and that Jesus is there to fill in the gaps when I feel like it's falling apart. I have to say that here does not feel entirely like home yet, but I know that will change.
On a cheery note, I have been swooning over some decorating blogs that I resubscribed to now that I needed some inspiration for the new space. Let me just say, there are some creative people out there. I've bookmarked about 20 projects to tackle (and plenty more to just drool over), but this was one of my favorites that I wasn't sure I could pull off without spending a fortune on letters. Check out the ABC wall pictures. But then I got the chance to stop in at our good friend's sign business today and venture downstairs to pick out a letter (or two) they had to giveaway from old signs around town. It felt like Christmas morning to this crafter. I was about to jump out of my skin I was so excited. So, if you are local and you need a sign made, go to Bravo. If you want a letter to call your own, like them on Facebook. And yes, as many of you already know, I don't do Facebook (gasp), but Justin halfway does (he at least has a page even if he will never respond to your friend request--gasp again), so he was my "in". Thank you for the letters Matt! More pictures to come when they make it up on our walls. For now, enjoy the family pictures--
Tonight is the night we all sleep at the new house! The carpet was installed Saturday and Charlie and Charlie helped Justin move in all the boxes and furniture from the garage on Sunday (HUGE thank you!). We unpacked the basics on July 4th while Maymay and Peeps entertained the girls at the lake (another HUGE thank you!). Apparently we like to move on holidays as we moved out of the old house (picture below) on Memorial Day weekend. Crazy.
We are loading up our five weeks worth of things today at Toad Hall and the wild wooders are moving on. I'm sure Maymay and Peeps will be finding kid socks and toys and hidden sippy cups over here for the next year.
Things will be quiet on the blog front and busy at the house as we get internet connected, fix the wireless issue on my computer, install ceiling fans, tack up toilet paper roll holders (someone please tell me why these are so expensive), and continue to unpack the massive pile of boxes.