We gave Teague a day of skiing for his birthday and today was the first day we could make it happen. He and I had a perfect day. It was sunny skies and mid 40 degrees. The lift lines were fairly long, but we didn’t mind. We had a lot of fun.
Today’s big planned adventure was a trip to the Statue of Liberty. Kaitlyn swears she missed it on our last trip. To make this one even better, I got us tickets to tour the pedestal. (I didn’t get tickets to the crown because I didn’t think Kaitlyn would actually agree to go that far.) We got an early start on the day and arrived everywhere early but that was no problem. We were simply ushered through early. We rode the ferry (which Kaitlyn definitely had second thoughts about), walked around the island, walked up the up and around the pedestal, through the museum, and rode the ferry back to Battery Park.
Kaitlyn rode the sea glass carousel and played in the park. Then we headed back to Times Square, lunch, and a few more shopping stops before we boarded the train for home.
Kaitlyn couldn’t wait to bring home a flyer last week for a night of coding at the high school. She begged for me to sign her up. I was able to sign up both Kaitlyn and Teague. (It was only open to 2-6 grade.) We ended up with a lot of activities tonight, but I managed to make it to the high school with the correct two kids. Wade went to his meeting. Alex stayed home with Ben.
Teague was happy to sit by himself and had no problems following along (realistically jumping ahead) and enjoying the evening. Kaitlyn saw several friends and even arranged to sit by one of her good friends. Then she had a blast following directions and creating the shapes as directed.
Alex turned 14 today! I expected the big boys to sleep till late, but by the time I got back with donuts, Alex was dozing downstairs while the little kids watched cartoons. We went ahead and had our traditional donut birthday breakfast.
Then we split up for the day. My friends and I went to Salem for the day. The big boys played video games, walked to Subway for lunch, and got into general trouble. When we returned it was time for presents.
It took a while, but we finally got everyone rounded up and out the door for the Mexican dinner Alex requested. Then the girls played a little more Headbandz and the boys had a little more electronics time.
We were supposed to be spending the day with Granny Pop. They landed yesterday, but sent us a message that they weren’t feeling well and were going to go by the hotel. It turns out they really weren’t feeling well and they have been cooped up at their hotel yesterday and today. We are hoping they will be well enough tomorrow that we can see them.
Today is a gorgeous day so we gathered the troops for a visit to the Storybook Trail. (I would have voted for a longer hike if I had gotten my ducks in a row earlier.) We were having so much fun that Ben didn’t even realize we forgot the snacks till 3/4 of the way through!
We don’t have family in town this year for Christmas and we are embracing the slower pace. The day was still full of activities – basket presents:
Christmas Eve service:
and preparing for Santa:
The middle school choral concert was tonight. The dress code was the same as previous years – all black but touches of Christmas cheer were allowed. I tried to convince Alex to wear a Christmas tie and got a hard no. Wade was alone with him for 30 seconds and Alex came out dressed to the nines. (Yay for Wade.)
The entire family spent the morning at the elementary school working at the Waddles Winter Wonderland Pancake Breakfast, a community event sponsored by the PTG. Wade was a chef, I was at the entry collecting money, Alex helped out as needed, Teague was in charge of seating people, and the younger two ran wild. We had planned for 300 people and and had over 500 people attend, which is amazing. It also meant we had to make an emergency run for more pancake mix.
A local photographer, Deirdre Rakus, donated her time to take photographs of people attending the breakfast.
Ben started this little game and the photography was so fun we got the entire family involved.
Pumpkin Carving Party time! If you are keeping track, tonight was our 16th party. I didn’t actually count the number of people attending, but we definitely had a lot of new faces and people who have been coming since we started the party here in the beginning. We were having so much fun that we were a little slow getting to the carving of the pumpkins, which means we were also late getting to the group picture. This is the first year in many years we have taken the picture in full dark.
And always the group photo:
Kaitlyn’s friend is going out of town for a month so we arranged one last playdate. I was thinking they could play while I got quite a bit done. Nothing went according to my plan. They wanted to “create” in the kitchen. Then they wanted to use makeup, which was fine. Except then I realized they wanted to do a makeover on me! I agreed to it all and it was a great playdate, but I got zero done all day.
Today we did it all – hiking, boating, and beaching.
After such a great beach day yesterday, we decided to try a new beach today. We had a major fail. The weather report said it was going to be a great day, but… It was cold, cloudy, and windy. We tried, we stayed, and then we eventually packed it in.
After showering and evaluating our options, we decided bowling and dinner out might be our best course of action. Everyone had a great night!
Wade had arranged for the kids to participate in an obstacle course on the beach this morning. The youngest three loved it. Alex had to be challenged (an option at the end of the races) to go through the race, but he was a good sport and did. Mom and Dad were challenged and ran it too.
Today was our first full day in Cape Cod and Kaitlyn’s birthday. We started the day with donuts and presents. Then we went on an awesome hike and took a long drive. Every house has the most gorgeous hydrangeas, which I love. 90 percent of them are blue (although I love every color). Kaitlyn and Ben fell asleep on the drive so Wade made it a little longer than we had planned. We stopped at a local general store and everybody had fun doing a little shopping.
We got home and let Kaitlyn open most of her presents. (Then of course she spent most of the afternoon playing with her presents.) Before dinner, she and I ran out so that she could pick her cake. She chose the most delicious chocolate bomb cake. I hope I can find something similar for my birthday next year. It was amazing!
When Wade and I were planning our vacation this year, we decided to try Cape Cod. We almost feel a little silly that we live so close and have never been. The good news is that everyone and their brother has recommendations on what to do, where to eat, and what not to miss. We were a little late making plans, so we knew our house was going to be a little small, but no worries.
Wade had taken off the entire week, so we have been in vacation mode for a while. We couldn’t get into our house till 4 pm and it was only a couple hour drive. This felt like a wonderful luxury after our normal vacation drives. We didn’t even start packing till this morning. The kids were anxious to go and we finally got on the road.
We arrived in plenty of time and enjoyed driving around. We easily found our house, unpacked, grabbed a yummy dinner, and then checked out a local beach for an evening walk, and then some fabulous fireworks on the beach.
We started the day with some reading.
Then we headed to the lake. (Alex stayed home. Firstly because he didn’t apply sunscreen very well on his first trip. Secondly because he couldn’t find a friend to come with him.) Kaitlyn did bring a friend and had a great time.
We ended the night with a baseball game – a first for all of the kids. We had a blast at the Woo Sox and Ben was completely mesmerized by the fireworks (which might have been his first?!?)
Ben and I had a free day today so we decided to spend the morning hiking the Storybook trail. I had heard they finally updated the book after several years so I was hoping Ben would be excited to read the pages as we hiked along. It turned out that the story wasn’t quite as engaging as the previous Eric Carle book, but we still enjoyed the hike. (We also saw a snake on the trail. We both jumped a little and then quickly took a picture before it slithered off because we knew Kaitlyn would be mad if we didn’t.)
This evening was the Spring Choir Concert. Alex was not excited to attend but Wade and I couldn’t wait. We have thoroughly enjoyed these events now that we can attend kid-free. The kids did a great job performing and we even got a picture with Alex and two of his good friends. (I did offer to pay $3 per kid in the picture…)
Today started early with FunFair setup. My awesome family started the day with me for setup at 8 am and was there through cleanup at 4 pm. (The actual event was 10-3.) Alex was the true rockstar because he was also there last night from 3-6 to help with setup. Wade and Alex were on volunteer duty all day. Kaitlyn ran wild with her friends and Teague was in charge of Ben. I heard later that Teague ate his weight in cotton candy – definitely an impressive feat.
As if that wouldn’t have been enough for one day, we also had plans to go to Monster Truck Jam! Wade and I bought tickets not realizing it was the same night as FunFair. We rushed out a little early from cleanup, cleanup the best we could, and met some friends for dinner before racing to the stadium. We had a great time, but I made a major miscalculation and didn’t bring warm enough clothes for everyone. Kaitlyn and I ended up with Monster Jam branded clothing out of it. The big kids were ho-hum with the night but the little kids loved it!
Alex was kind enough to recreate one of the pictures I remembered from his first Monster Jam experiences in 2012. Here’s a comparison. (Note he’s wearing the same headphones – a happy accident.)
Ben and I decided it had been much too long since we went hiking. He wanted the hike with big rocks so we headed to Purgatory. Ben love it and flew through the trail. He had grabbed a map at the beginning and was fascinated with it. I convinced him to to try a second trail and we also walked Charley’s Loop. Ben was worn out at the end but had just enough energy for the playground before we headed home for nap.
Kaitlyn and I had a few minutes before the bus and took a picture.
I am on the PTG board this year as treasurer. That also means a lot of work for many of our school and community events. One of those was the adult only Spring Fling, which was tonight. It was a night of food, music, raffles, and silent auctions.
Today was a full day! Ben had preschool but we still managed to play outside on the new swing set and make Mac & Cheese for lunch. Then it was a short nap before picking Kaitlyn up from school and rushing to swim lessons. Then those two were back on the swing set. The rope ladder came unattached and Kaitlyn was nice enough to hold it tight while Ben climbed up and down. Thankfully Daddy will be home tonight to come up with a new knot to keep it secure.
Then we had a second birthday celebration for me! That meant Mexican take-out, cake, and gifts. Teague was nice enough to take over my camera so I got more pictures of the evening than ever before.
Today was a crazy day. We got up early and made it home in time for my meeting and Kaitlyn’s soccer game. Below are all the fun pictures from the last week that didn’t fit into any other posts!
When I travel with the kids, I always have a long day first and then a second short day. Due to some commitments tomorrow, today had to be an even longer day than normal. I planned out our 13 hour drive and booked a hotel room. I had the car loaded last night and got everyone ready to go at a reasonable time this morning. Gram packed everyone lunch and snack bags. The kids were amazing. The only two times we stopped were once for gas and once for a combined gas and dinner stop (at Waffle House of course). We all commented that it was a great day for us and a day Wade would have hated.
Funny note – Teague isn’t sleeping under that coat. He goes to extreme measures to make his iPad charge last as long as possible. He has the brightness turned down as low as possible and is using the coat to allow himself to see it in the daylight hours. The kids all own portable chargers but Teague takes great pride in never needing his.
This morning we headed to Noble Park. Teague wanted to feed the ducks and I wanted to walk the nature trail. On the way out we took a detour by the music park and that might have been our favorite part.
Ben and I decided to spend this glorious day hiking. We tried out a new place – Callahan State Park – and had a wonderful morning exploring.
I had promised Teague another skiing trip for his birthday but it took me a while to come through. Today I finally followed through. I knew the mountain was only one two more weekends and we had a great day. There was less snow, and fewer runs open, but nobody on the mountain! Pros and cons. We had a great time!
Ben and I decided today was the perfect day for a hike. Ben is a very active 4 year old, but he is also pretty much in it for the snacks. He couldn’t wait to pack his backpack full of snacks. He picked the trail – the duck walk. We’ve walked this many times before, but today, we found a part of the trail we’ve always missed and walked much, much farther than before. Ben didn’t complain, didn’t have to stop to eat, and carried his pack then entire way. Obviously a 4 year old is a much improved hiker over a 3 year old!
Teague finally mastered the chair lift in his skiing classes. That seemed like a good reason to go skiing together. We made time and spent the afternoon on the slopes. I was a little worried since I hadn’t been for 17 years or so, but it was an awesome day for both Teague and I.
This has to be the strangest Easter ever. Some parts were exactly like normal and some parts were definitely not! We got up and the kids looked through their Easter baskets at a leisurely pace.
We watched church online – just like we have been doing for the last several weeks. I did make everyone dress up for a picture with the Easter clothes I had bought for this special day. (Who would have guessed when I purchased the boys’ shirts and Kaitlyn’s dress that we would be quarantining at home?)
We had our traditional Easter lunch and then had an Easter egg hunt in the yard.
The feeling of uncertainty makes the day to day more difficult. As of right now, there are no daily plans from the schools (that will be changing). Some parents have created their own curriculums, some are entertaining their kids with crafts all day, some are hands off completely, and some let their kids play electronics all day. At our house, we’ve tried to do a combination of everything, but nobody is very interested or cooperative – except Ben and sometimes Kaitlyn.
Here are the pretty wedding pictures.
Emily asked Wade to do a little photoshopping on some of the pictures. I’ll show you one of his before and afters. Pretty impressive, right?
Emily (Wade’s sister) is now married!
Today we spent in Atlanta! We started the day with everyone’s favorite – Waffle House. Then we explored the Georgia Aquarium. All of the kids, and the adults, loved it. I had been once before for a work trip, but it was new to everyone else.
Wade and I tracked down a Jake’s ice cream – one of our old favorites. I was so excited to see Cinnamon on their board of buy-by-the-pint. The employees were so apologetic when they couldn’t find it in their freezer. We were in there a while eating and talking. The ladies realized we were from out of town and one of them got determined to find the ice cream. She came back with a quart she found hidden in the back and then wouldn’t let us pay.
Next up on our day of adventures was walking GaTech’s campus and stopping at the Varsity for a late night treat. The kids were exhausted after our day, but we had a great one!
Today we stopped by our old stomping grounds of Greenville, SC.
Today we explored Greenville, SC. Wade and I lived here many years ago and always like to stop in when we are nearby. We have lost touch with most of our old friends (or they have moved away), but we have many fond memories of our time here. Unfortunately, it was. rainy day so one of our favorite places – Falls Park – wasn’t as much fun or as pretty as usual, but we still had a great day.
Today was spent mostly on the road, but we made a few quick stops beforehand.