Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Faves: Thanksgiving Edition

Just some things I'm thankful for in particular this week:

Chad's trusty Honda Accord reached 100,000 miles.  This car has been around longer than our marriage!  May it run for another 100K!  (or at least until the van is paid off....)

Our yearly Thanksgiving tree. So much to be thankful for, including Dollar Tree that was selling these precut leaves - 32 leaves for $1. I used to cut them out by hand!  I love that the kids are all now writing by themselves (or trying to write) the things they are thankful for.  They sure are growing up.

I am thankful for this wreath made by Carter, who is my least crafty kid but succeeded in putting together this gem.  I am thankful for Kids Club at our neighbors' church, where he made this wreath, and where he & his sisters learn more about God and the stories of the Bible.
I am thankful for Legos, which provide my kids hour upon hour of enjoyment.  And I am thankful that my mother-in-law had the wisdom to save all of Chad's old legos that my kids now play with.  I am thankful that the kids throw them all in a bin together and I don't care that they are "messed up"....because normally that would bother me. :)
I am thankful for my traditional Thanksgiving pie recipes.  Pumpkin, Chocolate Pecan, and Caramel Apple we come!
I am thankful that this (and the next photo) are the only injuries I sustained in my "extreme baseball" accident yesterday! :)

I am thankful that I have the health and strength to run around and play....and that I am able to stay home with my kids and enjoy afternoons outside playing with them.

And last of all, I am thankful for Christmas music, which I have been secretly listening to for the past few days.  I discovered this Josh Groban CD at the library and I love that he sings all the old Christmas hymns!! 

What are you thankful for this week?

Today I am linking up with: 

friday favorite things | finding joy
 A great blog if you have the chance to swing over!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Soccer Saturdays

During the summer, Audrey & Carter both attended a soccer camp sponsored by our church.  So come fall, both decided to try soccer.

Audrey had never played soccer before and was on a coed team with a number of kids who had been playing for years (and were really, I mean it, REALLY good).  At first I thought this could be a disaster for her confidence-wise, but her coaches (both women!) were amazingly encouraging and really helped her learn and improve.  She never scored a goal in a game, but in one of her last practices, she scored, and everyone went crazy! :)  I don't know if she will play soccer on a team again, but I was very proud of her hard work and her sticking through the season.  At her last practice, they played until it was dark, then put on headlamps and glow sticks and kept playing!
 These pictures aren't very close.  Audrey is in the middle with blue socks.
 Catching her breath!

Carter also played on a coed team.  At his age group, the skills are considerably lower (haha) but he also learned a lot.  Although there were still a few times when he went to pick up the ball!  He really enjoyed playing goalie.  I think so he could watch the action and stick his head in the net....

 Stopping the ball!
 Posing for Mom. :)
 A little break in the action.
 Last game, receiving trophies from coach
Carter & his soccer trophy 

The season is now over and - no offense, kids - I am glad.  Juggling 2 kids' practices & games was tricky!  
But I am very proud of their hard work and all they learned.
It was a good experience for them all around.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Conversations

This year I went around with the kids trick or treating and Chad stayed home to hand out candy.

I spent most of my time walking with Chloe who is younger and slower than Audrey & Carter, who both ran ahead with their friends and left us in the dust.

Anyhow, about 20 minutes into our travels around the neighborhood, Chloe and I had this conversation, which I thought was so cute.

Chloe:  Mom, remember when I was a little girl and I was Belle for Halloween?
  (This was just last year when she was 2).

Me:  Sure I remember.  You were a "little girl" then?

Chloe:  Yeah.  I used to be a baby....but now I'm a BIG girl. 

Apparently 3 is the magical age that makes you a "big girl" and no longer a "little girl"....
 My big girl walking (and waving) in her preschool parade. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Before & After

This year we had a singer, Captain America, & Rapunzel.
We were joined by a pirate girl, a ballerina, & a giraffe (not in the picture).
(Their family is still without power so they all came over for dinner, trick-or-treating, and SHOWERS!)
After:  CANDY!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Survival

You would think this post would be about how we managed to stay alive and well despite the whipping winds and monsoon-like rain that submerged the east coast over the past few days.  But no. 

I certainly don't want to downplay the importance of this storm and how devastating it has been to some people.  Just looking at photos of one of our favorite vacation spots, Ocean City, made me so sad.  And I have been praying for everyone who has been affected by the storm.

Well, for us the storm ended up being not so bad after all.  I had gathered up our flashlights and candles and non-perishable food.  I had filled up water pitchers (although Chad told me that we didn't really need to since we are on borough water and they have generators and back-up systems....)  But fortunately we did not even lose power!  Wow, was I thankful for that.  We lost power last winter for about a day and it was rough. 

So our "survival" quickly turned from getting through the keeping 3 kids occupied and happy!  We ended up having a fun time!

First, we made Halloween cookies.

 We also played games, watched TV, ate popcorn (& ahem, cookies...), and tried to keep up with the storm coverage.

Chad spent lots of time watching the barometric pressure drop, taking photos of our barometer, and posting the results on facebook.  Frustrated meteorologist! :)
Today my pumpkins carved their pumpkins.
Well, they designed, I carved. :)
  I think we are all ready for Halloween now!
  I know Chloe is!!
Bring on the parties and trick or treating!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Conversations

Tonight we were driving home from my parents' house and we had this winner conversation as it drizzled outside:

Audrey:  Mom, is it "hurricane-ing" yet?

Me:  Well, Audrey, the edge of the storm is just reaching us so we are just getting a little rain now.  But tomorrow we should  have a lot more heavy rain and wind.

Chloe:  I'm scared of the huwicane.

Me:  You don't need to be scared.  We'll be home together and safe. 

Carter:  What?  There's a hurricane???  Where?

Everyone else in the car:  UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Audrey:  Carter!  Duh!!

Carter:  What? 

I am laughing out loud just thinking about this.  It is so us.  Audrey coining new words.  Chloe saying she's scared.  Carter clueless about what's going on.....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Leaf pile fun

We don't have too many big trees in our yard, but our neighbors do! 
So I feel a little guilty, but while they were busy raking and blowing their leaves to the curb -- well, I was busy taking pictures of all the kids having fun in the leaves. :)




Friday, October 26, 2012


We just got back from Disney last weekend.

What a wonderful time we had!  I have about eighty bajillion photos but I posted half a bajillion photos on fb so I think I will limit it to just a few here.  What I really want to blog about is  some of my reflections from our week in Florida....the things I want to remember 5 years from now.

*  The kids did SO WELL.  They are getting a bit "older" so it was much easier to travel with them this time around.  No diapers, no waking up all night with them wondering where they are, no having to dash out of restaurants with antsy toddlers, .no okay, few meltdowns, ...I feel like we can finally start enjoying traveling more.  Because the last 5 years have not been easy travel years! ;)
 *  My MIL and I took Chloe & Audrey to a princess breakfast in Epcot.  It was so nicely done and I loved watching Chloe with the princesses.  As expected, she was shy at first but warmed up to them pretty quickly.  I thought for sure that Chloe would want to wear her princess dress so I brought it but she refused to wear it!!  Oh well.  It was a really fun time, dress or no dress.
*  Our favorite rides:  I think the favorite for all of us was the Rock-n-Rollercoaster in Hollywood Studios!  Other favorites:  Everest, Kali River Rapids, Safari (all from Animal Kingdom); Winnie-the-Pooh, Astro Orbiter, Barnstormer (Magic Kingdom); Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror (Hollywood Studios); Soarin' & Mission: Space (Epcot).  We really like our rides.  Even Carter & Audrey rode every single rollercoaster and "big" ride that they could.  Carter in particular has no fear.  That must come from the Smith side of the family because when I was young I was scared to ride the big rides!
 *  Best shows:  Finding Nemo & The Lion King shows at Animal Kingdom were very creative and kept all the kids attention from start to finish; Philharmagic at Magic Kingdom was an unexpectedly fun and creative 3D show;  the girls & I enjoyed the stage show of Beauty & the Beast at HS; Captain EO at Epcot (just kidding....that show is still awful after all these years, but there were still people in the audience cheering when MJ came onscreen....I don't get it).  Of course, the Electric Parade and Wishes fireworks shows at MK were amazing too.
*  At Epcot there are some fountains that would water randomly from one fountain to another.  Carter is STILL talking about this being his favorite part of vacation.  :)
* We brought in our lunches but every afternoon we took a Mickey popsicle break.  :)

*  The kids had just as much fun on our "off" days -- swimming at the pool.

*  I am SO glad we took our sit-n-stand stroller.  If only it were bigger so I could have gotten in at the end of a long day....
 * We had a lot of fun looking for "Hidden Mickeys"!

*  Whoever came up with the idea for fast passes is a genius.  There is something psychologically gratifying about walking past all the other people waiting in line and getting right on!

* On Friday (our last park day), we were getting ready to go....walking down Main Street toward the entrance of Magic Kingdom.  I looked back at Cinderella's castle and yes - I got teary eyed.   It truly is a magical place, even for grown-ups.  Usually I am ready to go home after a vacation but this is one of the first vacations in a long time where I really didn't want to leave yet. :(

*  We all made some very special memories with Chad's parents.  I am so glad that we could go with them and enjoy such a fun vacation together.

It'll probably a number of years before we get to go Mickey & Minnie Mouse, we will miss you but I hope we can see you again some day in the not TOO distant future!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Reflections on a sleepover

This past weekend Audrey had her 9th birthday party with friends.
She wanted a sleepover. 
But I made a plan, and we went forward with it.

Step 1:  Send Chad & the kids to my parents' house for the night so as to cut down on chaos.
Step 2:  Enlist a few friends to help out (again, so as to cut down on chaos).
Step 3:  Plan plenty of fun activities to keep girls busy and expending their energy in a purposeful direction ( as to cut down on chaos)!

Audrey & I decided to make it a "spa" party.
My friends and I gave the girls facials, hand massages, manicures & pedicures. 
Goody bags included mini-manicure sets, eye masks, body lotion, nail polish & flip flops.
The girls really seemed to enjoy it all!
We started out with pizza on the deck.
Not very spa-like but hey.
 My friend Kathleen used to own a spa and she came and gave the girls mini-facials.  While they were getting facials, I gave them hand massages.
 We even put cucumber slices on their eyes!
 Ahh, relaxation.  This was the quietest they were all night.
Well, until they fell asleep!
 After facials we played a game that Katie made up.
We had them wear their eye masks and then we had them all smell different lotions and try to "guess the scent".

Next up was manicures & pedicures but we were so busy painting 140 nails that I really don't have any good pics.
Suffice it to say, they soaked their feet in foot spas, and Katie scrubbed all those dirty feet and painted all the toes.
Then I painted all the fingers.
Thank heavens Katie really enjoys doing pedicures, because in general....feet gross me out.
And let's just say - some of those feet were pretty dirty.  :)

After this was cake & presents.
 Which I probably should have done earlier in the evening because I got them all good & sugared up right in time for bedtime.
 In fact, this girl finished up all the leftover cake from everyone else....
Then Audrey opened presents.
Her friend made her this pet rock!
And she got a bunch of gift cards among other fun things...she is so excited to go pick out some new stuff!
So off we go to the mall tomorrow....

At bedtime, the girls took awhile to settle down but I went down to where they were "sleeping" around 11pm and did a final lights out.  
They went right to sleep!

The next morning I gave them breakfast and then was a pleasant morning. 
They hung around and played....and I sat with a cup of coffee and hung out in peace!  
It was fun....but I'm glad it's over now!