Sunday, September 25, 2011

Celebrating 60

Warning:  This post is packed with photos.  Proceed at your own risk.

My parents both turn 60 this year.  My mom's birthday was in July and Dad's is this week.  Since it's kind of a big deal, my brother, sister and I wanted to do something for them.  After much deliberation, we decided to book a weekend away with all 17 of us (that's right, 2 parents/grandparents, 3 "kids" and 3 spouses, and 9 grand kiddos)!

We didn't have to look far for the perfect family get away.  My Uncle Steve (my Dad's brother) builds and sells/rents luxury cabins in the mountains of NC.  It was a memorable weekend for our kids (and I think Nana & Papa enjoyed it too)!

There was fishing . . . with actual fish caught, although I failed to capture that with a photo!

 Uncle Steve, Archie (the dog), Ella Grace & Papa
 Annabelle & Daddy
 Annabelle & Papa

We spent time at what our kids call "Uncle Steve's Farm" ~ they think it's magical ~ who wouldn't with things like:

Bowling balls in trees
A 3 story barn housing Steve's "museum"

Full of all sorts of treasures:

 Indian Arrowheads (many of which he's found during construction)
 Crystal Chandeliers in a barn?
 Lots and lots of antiques.
If there is an earthquake, he's in big trouble!

There are baby chickens:

 Christian, my 6 year old, handsome, nephew

And, of course, momma chickens with eggs to collect:

Ella Grace & Annabelle

Potatoes to dig:

 5 year old, Noah
Sweet Allie, 3

Raspberries to pick:

 Christian & Noah
Ella Grace; enjoying eating!

As if all of that isn't magical enough; there are tractors to be driven!

 Allie (I love that the expressions on their faces are exactly the same!)
Ella Grace

The kids love being together.  In the cabin we stayed in, there was a ladder in one of the upstairs closets that led to a loft/attic area.  Upon discovery, the kids claimed it as their "cousin club" and no adults were allowed! 

 These two are only a few months apart and loved being together!
These are our three kindergarten-ers!  One day we'll take this picture again with graduation caps on!

One of the highlights was meeting our newest nephew (and cousin), Levi:

So perfectly sweet . . . 

Of course, we had birthday cake!

And more silly moments than serious ones!

Mom and Dad,  Thanks for giving us a reason to celebrate; and I'm not referring to your birthdays.  I mean, thank you for letting us celebrate you and this family that you have loved, nourished and watched grow!  Your investment in each of us contributes to making us the men and women that we have grown into.  The love you have for our children is like none other ~ they adore you and it is a joy to watch you invest in them.  

Happy 60th Birthday!  

We love you!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another First

Notice anything different from this sweet smile . . .

. . . to this one?

Annabelle lost her first tooth! And I'm left wondering if there is anything I can do to keep this girl from growing up so quickly!?!

Figuring out that all I can do is hold on tightly while it happens!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of Preschool

Dropped my very excited "baby" off for her first day of preschool today! She loved it!

On the way to school; Katie from the back seat:

 Peanut (only she was calling her by the pet name she always calls her), KK has to go to school today. Okay?  You'll be okay.  I'll be back soon.

After I picked her up:

Katie: Mom, do you know what I dreamed last night?
Me: No.
Katie: I dreamed I was going to school and my tummy was feeling funny about it.
Me: Oh, did your tummy feel funny today?
Katie: No, I told it that it was going to love school!


Eric:  Katie, did you learn anything at school today?
Katie:  Yes, I learned, "clean up, clean up this room!"  My teacher said that!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Baby Love

Since her sisters have been at school, everywhere we go, Katie asks to bring her babies and a stroller. She saved her money to purchase this shopping cart (which is holding 3 babies!)! I'm not sure if she's compensating for not having the company of her sisters or if she's trying to be like mom. Either way, I've humored her so far and let her bring them along. Frankly, dropping from 5 to 1 and a half in a matter of days, makes it easier to say "yes."  

Next week this baby of mine starts preschool.  
Treasuring this sweet time with her!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies & The 5 Senses Sentences

I think I may have finally found the perfect recipe for chocolate chip cookies! The girls and I have been wanting to try this recipe because it meets a few criteria essential (in my opinion) to a good chocolate chip cookie: it uses butter (no shortening); it uses milk chocolate chips (yum!); it has a secret ingredient (vanilla pudding mix ~ shhhh!); and they are soft, not crunchy (will let you know if they stay that way)!

Today, we got the chance to try them out.  Little did I know that Annabelle had a homework assignment that was a little more time consuming than she's had yet this year.  However, it worked out well since she could use our cookie making time as her subject matter.

Her class has been studying the 5 senses this week -- or as she calls them her 5 sentences -- totally love this and haven't corrected her all week (is that horrible?  Don't worry, her big sister makes sure she knows)!  Today, she had to make a "web" with a subject and then write the way the subject smelled, looked, felt, sounded, and tasted.  Wa-lah!  Subject = chocolate chip cookies!

After the brainstorming "web" she was supposed to write five sentences about the chosen subject (can I even tell you how much the English teacher in me loves this??):

Because my picture quality is lacking and because some of you may not be used to reading phonetically, allow me:

I made chocolate chip cookies.  
The mixr (mixer) made a soud (sound).  
That soud (sound) was buzz.  
The cookies smelld (smelled) good.  
They fellt (felt) hot.  
They tastid (tasted) good. 

by Annabelle Williams (9-1-11)

Her sentences are packed in her backpack as well as some samples for her teachers!