Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas festivities

I am glad I take pictures, because December has mainly felt like a blur, and I feel like all I have done this month is frantically over-order from Amazon and Target, wipe snot from Reese's nose, take Lily to dance practice, try to find an Elsa ornament, wrap gifts, and try in vain to cross things off of my list. But, apparently, we have done some really fun Christmas festivities! 

Lily's dance school was in the Bristol Christmas Parade. It was cold and drizzly, but she had a BLAST! She saw several of her friends and her teacher watching and waving! I think she thought the whole crowd was there just for her dance group. 

Emma and Lily! SO grateful for this family in our lives!

Reese has rocked out to some singing animals. 

We did a Gingerbread workshop at the YMCA. Lily believes in Santa with every fiber in her being. Love her heart. 

Lily when she was Reese's age. It is obviously her, but at first glance, my brain thought "Reesie!"

We made a huge sticky mess cookies. 

Hughes took Lily to Target, and they came back with these awesome snowflake lights!!

Our elf, Circle, usually just barely remembers to move to the next room, but I did find this cute coloring sheet online one day. It has a kid-sized one and an elf-sized one.

Lily made her (it's a she apparently) the blue tunic dress, and Noni bought the tutu.

We went to a boring Christmas program at Lily's school. One of her best friends is also named Lily!! So, they made leaves with their hands and were Lily flowers. (Also, yes, I think it is hysterical that the only other Lily we know is Asian). 

We got this star in Winston Salem, because all of the houses there have them outside. I would never want to go back to that year, but it does make me happy to have this souvenir. 

MeeMaw and Granddaddy sent a gift for each girl to open each day until Christmas. Lily gets so excited every day and can't wait to open hers and Reese's. One day, it was "pin the carrot on the snowman."

Bristol Parks has a Christmas card contest, and Lily wanted to enter. I read the rubric to her (my kids may grow up not knowing how to cook, but they will understand the importance of sticking to the rubric!), so she understood that it was being judged as much for the message and creativity as for the artwork. She could only use 2 colors and had to use this size paper. I am not at all impressed with her artwork or her lettering (she was rushing), but I love her message! She wanted to do something different than just "Merry Christmas," so she said "We hope your Christmas is Mary and Joseph." Haha. 

Hughes' work has an awesome Christmas party every year!

I got their Santa outfits at a consignment sale for $3 each!! I am 5 for 5 with scoring cute Santa outfits at consignment sales. #goldstarforme

Lily insisted that Reese get her face painted, and Reese was PERFECT during the entire sitting. Good thing Lily was there to watch out for her, though. 

Another of MeeMaw's surprises. 

I splurged and got Lily the Kiwi Crate Gingerbread House and brought it to Chattanooga. A cardboard gingerbread house with stickers and glue? Did they just take something that is cooking-baking and make it into CRAFTING?? Yes, please. 

MeeMaw, again. SOO cute!!!

I found the Elsa ornament!!! I love the Christmas spirit of the employee who talked with me on the phone. Target could sense my desperation. PLUS...the employee recognized my name and voice, because I am what you may call a "frequent visitor" to the Bristol Target. I cannot even make this up- she even knew the ornament was for Lily when I called. #smalltownperks

Like a beacon. 

One of my friends/favorite former students (Anna) gave us this calendar last year, and it is one of Lily's favorite Christmas traditions now. 

Lily's teacher loves for the parents to be involved, so somehow I ended up in her class for 3 hours making Christmas crafts, reindeer food, and snowmen donuts. Lily LOOOVEES when I come in to help. But, there is always a considerable amount of pouting and stomping and being a brat, too. I can't figure it out- I think it is partly because she can't handle how excited she is about me being there. BUT, also/mainly she is pissed because since I am there, she thinks she should get to be in charge of every single kids' every breath and movement. Unfortunately, this doesn't really work. But, overall, I know the memories of me in her classroom make us both so happy.

We are in the back, passing out supplies.

I love the contact paper/tissue paper stained glass projects. 

In Daisy Scouts the same day (it was Polar Express pajama day at school), we made Gingerbread houses! It was our best meeting so far, and the girls had a blast!!! 

Same night (it was a big day for us), we went to the Speedway in Lights! Lily got to stand up in the car while we looked, which may have been the highlight of her month. And, Daddy surprised us with Great American Cookie Co.!

Part of the lights display is INSIDE the NASCAR racetrack! 

Merry Early Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Celebrating Mom and Pop's birthdays!

*I know there is a huge white spot at the top, and I don't know how to fix it. Whenever I do a post on my phone, it happens. Sorry. :/*

On December 6, my dad turned 76, and on December 7, my mom turned 60!
We wanted to do something special, since these are big birthdays. Plus, we thought it would be fun to have an excuse to hang out with the cousins! We tried to think of the perfect plan for our parents (but that would also accommodate small children, teenage children, Christmas craziness, and budgets). We decided to meet in Chattanooga for a night, and it was perfect!! 

We met for lunch, and within seconds Reese was glued to Sissa. 

I cannot even handle their cuteness. When I watch them, I feel like I am in a different country, because this is all so foreign to me. Max is watching the wheels (yes, just moving vehicle?...and watching the wheels), while Anderson is carefully crumbling up tiny goldfish crackers for the dump truck's cargo. This must be how Melissa feels when she watches Lily color and glue.

The birthday girl spent lots of time helping deal with the small people. 

Lily has chapped lips and if I try to apply chapstick, she shrieks like I am coming at her with a hot iron. But, if Aunt Manda wants to put some on her- even if it is CARMEX- she just patiently sits and tells her thank you.

We got cupcakes from a bakery in Chattanooga. This is a definite step up from the usual $13 for 30 we usually do from Sam's. But, you only turn 60 once, so we thought it was worth the splurge. ;0

It was impossible to think of an activity for the entire family- 18 months-76 years (with teenagers, toddlers, and a pregnant person thrown in), so we split up after lunch. The guys went to see a movie.

The rest of us hit up the Chattanooga Children's Museum! It was AWESOME*. Oh...and it was FREE that day! 

*Getting stuck at the top of the 3 story sky scraper trying to slide with Reese= not awesome. Baby Brother was very uncomfortable. 

Aunt Manda was thrilled to get to come along, I am sure. Haha. I told her, "If my kids were old enough to do something without me, I would be at the mall!" But, she is a better aunt than I am. 

The sand box was the biggest hit with these guys. 

After about an hour, Lily randomly got sick. How pitiful is she? Her ear started hurting, and the combination of that plus being really tired from the night before made her willing to leave all of the fun and even Aunt Manda in order to go to the hotel. It really stressed me out- not because I was worried about her, but because there was SO MUCH FREE FUN we missed by leaving early. 

That faded, gross red ball is leftover face paint from the night before. We partied hard this weekend. 

Pajamas and a special drink made everything a little better.

Anderson wanted to pose for a picture. Love him. 

Anderson is 100% boy, and Lily is 100% girl, so sometimes it's a funny combination. He jumped on the bed and started beating up Minnie Mouse with the pillows. Lily immediately started to cry, frantically rushed to protect Reese, and acted overly dramatic. It was entertaining. 

Noah and Mom. 

The main reason we went to Chattanooga is because my parents LOVE a murder mystery dinner. Hughes and Brandon stayed back with the 4 little kids, while the rest of us went to the 8pm showing. It ended up being a great memory. My nephews are such troopers. Here, Noah is smiling with Mom at the murder dinner, while also filling out Pops' football bowl game sheet. 

Before the show started. 

Pops dancing with one of the actresses. 

I caught them smiling. :)

I filled out the form that it was their birthdays, and they got called on the stage for a long time. The comedian was hilarious, and he interviewed Mom and Pops (and 2 other birthday people) for a long time. He talked with Mom about all of her grandkids and with Pops about balloon animals. Aren't my parents cute? They were the stars of the show for sure! All of my pictures of them on the stage are too dark to see, and the videos aren't much better. :/

Then, they had to stand up AGAIN to get more attention toward the end. The room was really full, but he asked 4 people who they thought the killer was...Mom and Pops were two of them!

AND, Pops even won "Best Actor" at the end. We don't really know who votes on it or what it means, but it was still fun. 

The next morning, we took advantage of the amazing free breakfast.

And the indoor pool. 

Sissa took Anderson and Lily on a treasure hunt. Lily found an orange, a pen, some paper, and some syrup and was genuinely really excited. It is unfortunate that she did not find a brush. 

I think it's safe to say that Sissa is more fun than I am. 

Uncle Zack put Reese in a stool / cage, and I wish we had discovered it sooner. #captive

It was wonderful having bonus time with my nephews! 

It was the perfect 24 hour celebration for two really special, deserving people. I know we will all remember for it a long time.  Happy Birthday Mom and Pops! We love you!

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