Life Lately.

Life lately has been crazy hectic and beautiful, and I’m going to show you the beautiful parts!

(The hectic parts are not very picturesque.  Unless you like pictures of me typing articles on my computer, or of me organizing a school Read-a-Thon, which is mainly me typing on my computer.)

Here’s what we’ve been up to this week:

I’ve continued to try to be more present on Alice and I’s Fridays together.  I’ve mentioned before that I felt like I had started using Fridays to run errands and stuff, and that wasn’t really why I didn’t want Alice in school on Fridays.  So I’ve tried to do more things with her that give us more quality time.  Last Friday I took her back to High Shoals Falls in Dallas, Ga. and we had the. best. time!  We explored, we laughed, she collected “treasures” like wrappers, and old cans, and she gave me a heart attack a couple dozen times because she’s so fearless.  It was a truly great day.

We took them to the zoo on Saturday!  This was extra special because Kevin went too, and usually it’s just me taking them on school breaks.  They were thrilled to show Daddy everything, and we had the best weather and a great time. And we go to see the new baby panda twins!!  Alice and I loved them, and Kevin and Tom were like…”Yep. Those are baby pandas. We’ll meet you outside.” Whatever, boys! #lame

20170206_221025564_ios
The good news: I tried cooking three different new meals this week!  The bad news: They were not hits with the kids.  Ugh.  Hey, Kevin liked them! Ha!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Our LOVE day looked like this: cute, silly kids; a robot valentine box made out of recyclables; and heart-shaped brownies for my loves.

img_0927
Tom got this letter from his secret admirer on Valentine’s Day. “You are the best at looking ham sum” is really my favorite thing ever!!  Oh my gosh, I just died when I saw this!  So awesome.

img_0923
My sweet friend, Sabrina, drew this picture of Tom and Alice for me!!  Isn’t this the most special surprise?!  Y’all, I actually cried when she gave it to me, like a big ole blubber fool.  I couldn’t help it!  So amazingly special.

img_0966
And one day after school this week, we went on a hike with my friend, her mom, and her daughter.  My friend’s mom told a couple stories about skunks, and oh my goodness, Tom belly laughed the whole time!  It was the best thing!  If you wanna hear Tom belly laugh, just tell him a good “a skunk once sprayed me in the face” story! Obviously.

And that’s life lately!  Tom’s currently fighting a fever, and I really hope he gets well soon because we’ve got winter break plans this week!  Woo-hoo!  Hope y’all have a great weekend! LOVE.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Alice, Family, Friends, Georgia Outdoors, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom, Weekly 2017 | Leave a comment

Tom’s Transformers-Themed 7th Birthday Party!

20170204_190811822_ios

This year I gave Tom a choice — he could either have a big friends-invited party, or he could have a family party and an adventure.  He chose the latter!  (Yay!!)

The adventure he chose is a visit to Great Wolf Lodge over his winter break.  We can’t wait!

And we had the family party last weekend, and we really had the best time!

And gone are the days of me working hard on a theme for Tom’s parties, and going all out with crafts and foods.  Here are the days of asking the birthday boy what he really wants to see at his party — and he said, “Transformers cups and plates and a Transformers balloon.”  Such sweet and simple requests!  I actually think he’s rebelling against cute themed parties.  I mean, he wants the themed cups and plates I’ve avoided all along!  Ha!  But I was happy to oblige.  I wanted him to feel like this party was all *him* — and I think we accomplished that.  I LOVED this party.  Truly loved it.  It was all about Tom, and it was just a fun, good time.

One of the others things Tom requested early on was a cake that he could decorate with his Transformer toys.  He had a whole plan for it, and described it to me in great detail. So I baked and iced a cake for him.  Once Matilda, Gus, and Hazel arrived, I got out some sprinkles and candles, Tom got some of his toys, and I let the 5 of them decorate it however they wanted.  And y’all?  They did the best job!  It was the cutest, most hilarious thing, and I really can’t see myself decorating a cake myself ever again.

20170204_162121546_ios
LOVE. THIS. CAKE.

The decor was pretty simple — and my favorite was this 7 we cut out from a cardboard box.  Tom told me which pictures he wanted printed, and then he glued them on there and colored in the blank spots.  Y’all, this boy hates crafts, but he LOVED this!  He was so, so proud of it.  It was perfect!

20170206_115726159_ios

Plates and cups as requested!

20170206_115815023_ios

He also did get a Transformer balloon. (Not seen here!)  It was one of those huge, gliding balloons.  He loved it…at first.  And then it popped a little and caused tears.  Then it popped even more and caused even more tears.  I think the balloon ended up being some type of torture!  By the end of the day, it was so deflated he asked me to “hide it away so he wouldn’t have to look at it because it made him so sad.”  Umm….great gift!

20170204_195606187_ios
Best Buddies.

20170204_144318613_ios
Alice’s pose cracks me up!

20170204_194558145_ios
Party cousins!

It was a super great time, and I’m so happy with all of Tom’s ideas — that boy knows how to throw a great party!

Happy Birthday Party, Tom!

Posted in Family, Motherhood, Parties, Tom, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happy 7th Birthday, Tom!

dsc_0689

Dear Thomas,

You are a dream come true.  You honestly are.  You are a dream I never even dared to dream out loud, because it just seemed too big.  I still look at you sometimes in complete amazement.  I could never have imagined how awesome being your mom would be.

You are someone who is just…kind.  So, so, so kind. If someone is ever mean to you or someone else, your first response is total confusion.  You cannot even imagine why someone would ever be not nice.  You are the epitome of kindness, and it is inspiring to witness.

You are the most wonderful son, always telling me that I’m “the best mom ever!” even though I’m definitely not.  You are the most amazing big brother.  You will even play DOLLS with Alice on special occasions. I mean, that’s true love.

You love to help your dad put together Lego creations, and you’ve recently started helping him build model airplanes.  Your dad loves sharing these things with you, and I’m so happy you love it too.

You are a great cousin, always willing to share your toys. Giving away toys to Gus is your new favorite thing.  I think you just love making him happy.

You wake up at 6 a.m. on the dot every morning, and on weekends you stomp on your floor to make sure I know you’re awake.

You’ve told me you’re done with dinosaur toys for now, but you still always check out dinosaur books from the library.  When I read your favorite dinosaur books to your classmates on Friday, you stood beside me and added extra dinosaur facts to every page, much to your classmates admiration.

You won a science award last week for your class, and I think you kinda loved the attention, but you still couldn’t wait to give me your certificate to take home so you wouldn’t have to keep it with you.

You like to watch a channel on YouTube that makes you laugh out loud.  You still have the best belly laugh in the world, and that’s pretty much the only reason I let you watch YouTube.  Hearing that laugh makes me laugh.  So. Great.

You love Transformers toys right now.  You told me you wanted a Transformers party for your family party and I asked you what you especially wanted.  You wanted “Transformer cups and plates and a Transformer balloon.”  How sweet are you?!  Such easy requests. Done and done.

You are a smiling, happy, joy of a boy who is the definition of goodness.  I still cannot believe that you are our boy.  And that you are SEVEN!  Thank you for making these past 7 years the best of our lives.  We LOVELOVELOVE you, and we cannot wait to see what you accomplish next.

LOVE you,

Mom

Posted in Tom, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Tom’s Best 6-Year-Old Quotes!

tombox

It’s that time of year again — the time when my oldest child becomes OLDER!

Every year I think, “Oh, I’ve just loved this age so much!  I’m gonna miss it.”

And every year, I love the new year even more!

I have loved 6-year-old Tom so, so, so very much.

And I have loved the words that came out of 6-year-old Tom so, so, so very much.

Without further ado, here were my favorites from this year of Tom…

1. Feb. 12, 2016
Me (about Jurassic World): “Is Blue still alive?!”
Tom: “Well…no. The dinosaurs in this movie are just animatronics.”

2. Feb. 27, 2016
Me: “We need to clean this living room up before Joseph gets here.”
Tom: “Yeah, so then me and Joseph can mess it up.”

3. Feb. 28, 2016
Me: “You OK?”
Tom: “Yeah, I was just in the backyard looking at all the animals back there and it was beautiful.”

4. March 20, 2016
Kevin: “I like pretty much all kinds of documentaries.”
Tom: “What about poop documentaries?”

5. March 28, 2016
Tom: “Can I have popcorn for snack? With carrot casserole for my side item?”

6. March 30, 2016
Tom: “Mom, this is part of your birthday present! It’s a fake butterfly, but it’s sort of broken.”

7. April 28, 2016
Tom (just waking up this morning, in a sleepy haze): “I like…corn. And corn snakes.”

8. June 19, 2016
Me: “Did you make a new friend at camp?”
Tom: “Yes!”
Me: “Great! What’s his name?”
Tom: “Something weird. Like Lucifer or something.”

9. June 22, 2016
Tom: “Mom! It’s the mayonnaise song!!”

10. June 26, 2016
“You know what, Mom? Every day that I’m a kid and a teenager, I’m going to draw dinosaur pictures. That is my life!” –Tom

11. July 2, 2016
Tom: “I’ve changed my mind. When I grow up I don’t want to be a scientist, I want to be a CRAB CAPTAIN!”

12. July 2, 2016
Tom: “I wish dinosaurs had clothes on.”

13. July 18, 2016
“That popcorn sauce made my hands slippery.” –Tom

14. August 1, 2016
Tom: “I like Emily. She’s my girlfriend.”
Me: “Oh yeah? Does she know that?”
Tom: “No.”

15. Sept. 1, 2016
“I like to watch Battle Bots because I like to watch something EXTREME in the morning.” –Tom

16. Sept. 9, 2016
“When I grow up, if I have 2 boys, I’m gonna name them “John” and “Todd” okay?” –Tom

17. Oct.7, 2016
Tom: “Mom, you’re gonna think this is M-O-G!” *runs like a lunatic*

18. Dec. 29, 2016
“Bigfoots really inspire me because they live in the woods. People think they’re mean, but they just love nature! What’s wrong with that?!” -Tom

19. Jan. 6, 2017
“Oh my gosh, did you know people kill deer?! The cutest creatures in the world!” –Tom

20. Jan. 17, 2017
(Tom hands me a note w/ “Fi” written on it.)
Me: “What’s this?”
Tom:  “The word “‘Fi.'”
Me: “What’s fi?”
Tom: “Did you forget about the Fi bone in your leg?” #thigh

21. Jan. 21, 2017
“I’m just gonna go outside and dance for a little bit.” -Tom

22. Feb. 3, 2017
“For being the best mom in the whole wide world, I’m gonna give you my last chocolate coin! Also because I don’t like them that much.” –Tom

To see all my quotes from my crazy kids, here’s my Twitter.

To see Tom’s past quote posts, here they are: 2015 (4yo) / 2016 (5yo)

Posted in Motherhood, Tom | Leave a comment

The Love of Ice Cream.

When I was growing up, we spent every Sunday with my mom’s great, big family.

It was a great way to grow up. My mom is one of 11 children, so there was always someone to play with, and there was a feeling of belonging that I just cannot imagine being equaled otherwise.  I was really loved.  And there was proof of that love all the time, but those Sundays really helped shape me, and my pride for family.

Part of the Sunday tradition — besides having the “dinner” for lunch around a great big table with the biggest lazy susan you’d ever seen, and always golf on the TV in the background — was ice cream with my PawPaw.

My PawPaw loved ice cream.  He was “in charge” of the ice cream.  I always felt like my Grandma ran the workings of the household, but when it came to ice cream I always knew that my PawPaw was the provider.

We would go into the kitchen, and we’d go to the big freezer with the huge tub of ice cream and then he’d ask, “Bowl or cone?”  He had cones stashed in a tall cabinet, but I almost always went for bowl.  Because if you got bowl — small, and cream-colored little bowls, with little black specks that reminded me of vanilla ice cream — he would put the freezing chocolate on top.  And when I was introduced to freezing chocolate syrup, I couldn’t imagine a better invention.  I really remember my Grandma first telling me about the “new freezing syrup.”  Isn’t it funny what you remember?

Ice cream with my PawPaw.  Every Sunday after dinner.  In a great big house, with a lot of people, and a million things and conversations going on — I always got that special time of picking out, and eating the ice cream with him.  Eating the ice cream with him was when we talked, and I loved that just as much as frozen syrup.

The thing that reminded me of this is — my Thomas is the same.  Every night after dinner, my oldest requests vanilla ice cream.

It’s pretty much the only sweet he eats, and it’s really one of his favorite things in the world.

So I scoop up his vanilla ice cream, into those same small, cream-colored bowls with the specks, and give Tom his favorite treat while being reminded that his love of ice cream comes from a very loving man.

And that the simple act of sharing ice cream, can create a lifetime of memories.

And I’m so thankful I have them.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

LOVE and FDR.

20170120_215928746_ios

Last weekend we, along with my parents and sister and her kids, spent two awesome days in cabins at FDR State Park in Pine Mountain.

I love having a trip planned for January.  LOVE.  January is kinda a bum month it seems, because the holidays are over and it’s just…kinda gray.  I love having something exciting to look forward to, and I love it even more when I’m surrounded by the people who know and love me best.  It was much needed for me, and it was truly the most wonderful time.  The kids loved it so much, they were truly sad to leave.  During our Monday morning get-ready-for-school routine, they both cried talking about wanting to go back to the cabin — proof of an amazing weekend.  (I don’t want to see them cry, but crying about loving spending time outdoors with their family kinda warms my heart! Ha!)

This weekend was also part of my birthday present to Rachel.  I want all my future birthday presents to her to all be forcing her and her family to join in on our adventures!  It felt like a present for ME, which is how I like all presents to be.  Ha!  Kidding!

So what I’m trying to say is…let’s do this every January, okay fam?

Dowdell’s Knob is my favorite.  Me and FDR — both huge Dowdell’s Knob fans. The boys had so much fun up here, and Alice considered it her own personal runway.  From here, we all hiked a short trail to see the site of a 1953 plane crash, which was interesting and something we hadn’t done before.

20170121_170020010_ios

We had rain and tornado warnings around 11 a.m. on Saturday, so we obviously stayed put in our cabins during that time.  It wasn’t very long before it looked like everything had died down, so Rachel, Hazel and I headed out to check out some of the overlooks.  Apparently my judgment about when weather is better is pretty poor.  We got out there and it was like…windy, cold, rainy and terrible!  It was so bad, we were laughing about how bad it was.  For instance,right before I took this picture, a tree behind me — FELL.  We heard a cracking sound, turned around, and watched a tree fall into the road.  Yep, I’m a bad judge of weather.  After this picture, we went back home until it really *did* die down.

I think the kids also feel really at home at this park.  They were always exploring!

20170121_235653574_ios

I’m not sure exactly what happened here.  Grandma, Alice, and Matilda decorated cupcakes for Rachel’s birthday. And then Rachel like….threw them around on her hike down to Grandma and PawPaw’s cabin?  Ha ha ha!  This makes me laugh. Anyway, here is Rachel blowing out the candles on the worst, grossest-looking set of cupcakes ever.  Happy Birthday!

We geocached so much on this trip!  We honestly had the best time doing it.  I felt like this was one of our more successful geocaching trips, and the kids really got into it this time.  A lot of bonding happens on these trips.  And a lot of excitement over treasures like — stickers, aliens, and cards.  (Alice got a playing card of someone shooting a bow and arrow?  She loves it. Ha!)

20170122_192853224_ios

This is how Kevin adds excitement to our trips.  A man who worked at the park came down with a backhoe to pull Kevin out of the mud.  And then after a weekend full of adventures, Matilda told me that the backhoe pulling Kevin out was the “best adventure ever!”  Ha ha!

20170121_232826519_ios

I’ve taken my kids to the Bigfoot Museum in North Georgia, and now Tom especially, is obsessed.  The museum has a display that shows you the types of things Bigfoots like in case you want to lure one to you — so the kids set out to do just that!  Tom put together his own set to bring, and they set it out on Saturday night.  They put out peanut butter on a stick, marbles, jingle bells, and mirror for a Bigfoot to play with.

The next morning…

20170122_140727671_ios

They found that one had been there!  The Bigfoot ate the peanut butter, and they could see where it had played with the things we left.  There was much excitement. (And just a little fear from Alice.)

20170120_221109949_ios

We had the most wonderful time, and made the best memories.  I pretty much came home and booked our next family adventure for March, and I can’t wait for it to get here!  Until next time…

Posted in Alice, Family, Georgia Outdoors, Georgia State Parks, Huck, Kevin, Motherhood, Road Trip, Tom, Travel, Weekly 2017 | 2 Comments

4-Year-Old Mountain Climber.

dsc_0603

Last Friday, I took Alice on a hike in Cartersville on the Pine Mountain Trail.

I’d never done the hike before, but the views looked awesome, and I thought the West Loop part seemed like something we could do.

So after dropping Tom off at school, and after eating her breakfast and getting ready, we set out.

Taking kids on a hike you’ve never been on can go either way.  And this hike went the totally right way.

We had the best time. Alice was a rock star.  And the hike was really, really fun.

At first Alice stopped every 5 feet or so to investigate something, or pick up a treasure to put in her backpack.  She loved every. single. thing.  Rocks, leaves, moss, sticks…everything had value to her.  She climbed rocks along the way, picked out flat rocks to sit on and eat a snack, and climbed trees as often as she could.  It honestly was the cutest, best thing!

I felt like with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I hadn’t taken the time to spend some true time with Alice on her Fridays off from school.  Lately, it had seemed, those Fridays were used for last-minute errands and such.  The whole reason I only put her in Pre-K 4-days a week was to soak up all the time before big kid school, and yet I didn’t feel like I had been taking advantage of that time lately.

This solved that. We talked, laughed, hiked, explored, and discovered new things together.  She is such a neat little person, and I just loved spending the whole day with her, without interruption.

And I could not get over how well she did.  She pretty much hiked the whole thing herself (about 2 miles).  She was in good spirits the whole time.  She never once asked if we could be done.  She just…loved it.

When we reached the top and could see the clouds and the town below, she was so proud of herself.  I told her she had climbed a mountain, and she said she couldn’t wait to tell Daddy and Tom. And then she climbed down from her rock, and began collecting more treasures — bottle caps, sticks, rocks, a pen.  She entertained herself up there for a long time.

It was a great day.  I hope I never forget the day I climbed a mountain with a 4-year-old treasure hunter.

20170113_150411991_ios

20170113_151445433_ios

20170113_154934751_ios

20170113_155634843_ios

20170113_163029045_ios

20170113_165859356_ios

dsc_0608

Posted in Alice, Georgia Outdoors, Motherhood, Weekly 2017 | Leave a comment