Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Express

I can't believe that it's almost Christmas, and I haven't posted anything about all of our holiday activities!  We have been very busy and had a nice Christmas season so far.  Our first event for the season was the Holiday Express at Pullen Park.  Pullen Park is all shiny and brand new after being closed for a year and a half for renovations.  We were really excited to see what the new and improved park was like. 

The new park is beautiful! We rode the train and the carousel twice.  We did some crafts, listened to Christmas music and ate dinner and some goodies.

I loved that the carousel wasn't all horses.  There were all kinds of animals.  We got to ride these on our last ride.

Luckily, it didn't give Sims any ideas at home with our cats!  I was also glad that Sims didn't notice that one of the cats had a bird in his mouth.  I'm not sure if he's ready for that.  He definitely loves birds.

One of the highlights of the night was seeing Santa.  Sims was so great with him.  He didn't talk to Santa, but he, at least, nodded when asked if he had been a good boy this year.

This wasn't Sims' only visit to Santa this year, and I will share some pictures of that later.  I think Pullen Park's Holiday Express may be an annual event for us.  We all really enjoyed it, despite the cold temperatures.  That just made the hot cider taste even better!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fallen Leaves

As much as Jason and I dread cleaning up the leaves in the fall, Sims sure enjoys every moment of it.

I remember loving to play in a huge pile of leaves, when I was little, too.  Of course, I wasn't the one having to do all the work.  Watching Sims play does make the whole project seem a lot more bearable though.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving in Shelby

We were in Shelby for Thanksgiving Day, and we had a huge dinner with all of my mom's family.  We don't get to see them often, so it is always a treat to be with them and have Sims get to know them. 

The day after Thanksgiving we went to the city park and rode the beautiful carousel and train.

That morning, Smith and Sims went for a walk down the street.  They talked with some of the neighbors, and Sims came back saying, "I have new neighbors."  It was too cute!

Ready for their walk

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving in Charlotte

We had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving.  We celebrated on Wednesday in Charlotte with Jason's family, then we went to Shelby on Thursday to celebrate with my family.  It sounds really busy, but it was actually really laid-back.

While we were in Charlotte, we visited the Charlotte Nature Museum, which was lots of fun.  It is a small museum, but is was perfect for an afternoon visit before our big Thanksgiving dinner.  We started our visit with a puppet show about a bear who decides that he wants to celebrate Christmas, so his friends wake him up from hibernating in time to celebrate.  Santa even visits the animals in the forest, which was a big hit with the kids, as you might imagine.

This was Sims' first puppet show, and he seemed to enjoy it.  When Santa came out, all of the kids exploded with excitement.  Even though Sims can be quite stoic when he encounters new experiences, he definitely showed a little excitement at seeing Santa.  He's finally getting the whole Santa thing, I think.

Looking at the turtles

Pretty much the entire time at the museum, I'm sure that Sims looked up to see me with the camera to my face and Jason with the video camera.  I guess this will be his view of us at every event for many years to come.

Outside the museum, we found what we could only assume was a fairy house with pumpkins all around it.  Sims loved to pretend-eat the pumpkins.

Then we headed back home for Thanksgiving dinner.  We were sad that some of the family couldn't make it, since our nephew wasn't feeling well.  They definitely missed a delicious meal!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Who's Busy Like a Bee?

Me, me me!

It's been a busy couple of weeks, and I am pretty exhausted.  Last week Jason was on a business trip, so Sims and I had some quality time together.  Mom and Smith came up on Thursday to help take care of Sims, while I went to some training for 2 and half days at Duke Chapel.  Work was crazy last week with a big event for prospective students, and to top the whole week off, I led the lesson at Children's Chapel on Sunday for the first time.

Mom and Smith took Sims to the Veterans' Day Parade, which was Sims' first parade.  He loved it, even though it was super cold outside.  Then they took him to Marbles Kids Museum.  I'm jealous that I couldn't go with them because I know that they had so much fun!  I can't wait until Jason and I can take him back to Marbles.

The training at Duke Chapel was for Godly Play, which is what is used in Children's Chapel.  It's Montessori-based, and I'm really excited about it.  The training was pretty intense, but it made me feel much more comfortable on Sunday morning.  I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to do it.  With our Director of Children's Ministries leaving, I think I will be the only one at church with any training in it.  Luckily, there are others who have interest in it, but they were unable to go to the training.  I won't be the only one teaching!

I am so looking forward to things quieting down at work a little because our weekends and evenings will be so filled with activities for the next month and a half.  And it all starts with Isla's big birthday this weekend!  We are so excited to celebrate her first birthday with her.   And can you believe that next week is Thanksgiving!  Where did this year go?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

British Royal Guard

Since Sims loved the British Royal Guard (or "Marching Men" as he calls them) so much in London and still talks about them and gets excited to see pictures of them, it was a no-brainer what he should be for Halloween this year.  I think all the effort it took to make the costume was worth it.  He loved being a Marching Man!

Halloween evening was a wash out, literally.  It was cold and rainy, but he did get to trick or treat at 3 houses.  Luckily, Sims had worn his costume to 2 parties over the weekend.  His daycare had a party on Friday, and the church had one of Sunday evening.  The church party was great!  After doing some singing and dancing (well, Sims just watched everyone else do that.), there was a costume parade to the Capitol building and back.  Sims even marched most of the way there.

And a video:

All that marching wore this little Royal Guard out!

We are now all exhausted from our big Halloween weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

On Saturday morning, we headed to Ganyard Hill Farm to pick pumpkins and enjoy some farm activities.  This was our second year going to this farm, and we loved it even more this year.  Now Sims is old enough to participate in all the activities like the hay mountain with slide and the hay maze.  I love that there are lots of fun things for Sims (and us) to do, but it still feels like an authentic farm.

Remember last week, when we went to the State Fair, and Sims refused to milk the cow?  Well, he had no problem milking this one. 

We also got to pick some cotton,

and walk through the kids corn maze, which wasn't actually corn.  It was sorghum.

We then graduated to the big corn maze.

We picked some corn to feed to the goats, and Sims loved playing with the corn.

We took our corn to this cute little guy.

The goats were interested in us but not so interested in the corn.

I didn't get any pictures of us in the pumpkin patch choosing our pumpkins.  I think by that time we were all ready for some lunch and ready to head home to rest up for our evening activites (the birthday party for our friends' daughter, which was also loads of fun for all of us.) 

We had a great morning at the farm.  It's the perfect way to kick off the autumnal season. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

State Fair

Yesterday, when it was drizzly and dreary, we spent the afternoon and evening at the State Fair.  This was the only day and time that we could go all week, even though the weather was not ideal.  Or maybe it was ideal because there were no crowds at all!  We only had to wait in line once, when we were getting NC State ice cream, which was worth the wait!

I hadn't been to the fair in a couple of years, and it had been about 10 years for Jason.  We're not the biggest fair fans, but we knew that Sims would probably enjoy it.  He didn't get to ride any of the rides, since he wasn't tall enough, but that's not really why we went anyway.  We were all excited about seeing the animals!  I hadn't explained to Sims what kind of animals we would see because it didn't occur to me to do so.  On the way to the fair, he told us that he wanted to see the giraffe.  Oops.  I guess I should have told him that they were farm animals.  Luckily, he wasn't disappointed.  And as a bonus, he got to see a camel and a zebra at the petting zoo.

My favorite part (as always) is the chickens.  A lot of people think I'm crazy when I tell them that, but how can you not love this:

Isn't she beautiful?  I would swear that's hair and not feathers.  There are just so many kinds of chickens that I didn't know existed before my first trip to the State Fair.  I want a pet chicken!  We also saw a chicken that had Tina Turner hair.  I can't believe I didn't get a picture!

We, also, got to milk a cow.  This was a first for all of us.  Jason and I thought it was pretty neat.  Sims really didn't want anything to do with it.  He quickly touched the utters once and refused to do it again.  He much preferred petting the cow.

Sims got to ride a pony, which he loved.  He did not want to get off of the pony, when his turn was up.

We all had a wonderful time at the fair, which may be hard to believe if you knew how Jason feels about the fair.  Now if we can just have a fair day every year when it's raining (but not too much!), we may start to become bigger fans of the State Fair.  Because you know that Sims will have to go every year from now on.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kitchen and Playground

We had a busy weekend!  It was jam packed with work, dinners with friends, kitchen designer decisions, and shopping at the brand new Target right up the street from us.

We have been so slow to make a decision and start the kitchen remodel process.  We've had 3 companies/designers come out to the house, and we're finally ready to bite the bullet.  We've decided to go with Essence Design Studio.  Redoing a kitchen is such a large project, and I really didn't want Jason and me to do it alone.  The ladies of Essence Design Studio will even go shopping with us to pick out everything.  I am so excited!  And I am happy to finally get started on this and get rid of our 1980s kitchen with lime green walls.

Sunday evening we went to a new playground that is at an old shopping center that is being revitalized.  It's actually a playground for older kids, but Sims still enjoyed it.  Well, we all enjoyed it.  (These pictures are from my phone, so they aren't great.)

I loved the fake grass on the playground, which looked real!  Can we get this at our house?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mother-Son Night

On Monday night, Sims and I attended Chick-Fil-A's Mother-Son Date Knight.  The mother of one of Sims' classmates told me about it, and I'm so glad that she did.  It was a totally different Chick-Fil-A experience than normal.  We got reservations for 6:30, and when we got there, the greeter showed us to our seats, where the tables had tablecloths (albeit plastic ones) and flowers.  We sat with Sims' friend and mother and their neighbor and son.  The server came and took our order at the table just like a regular restaurant. 

I had been a little worried that Sims wouldn't eat any of the food.  Even though I was partially right about that (Sims only ate one of his chicken nuggets), we still had a lot of fun.  They handed the kids balloon swords, and Sims was so excited about the balloon!  As we left, the mothers were given a long stemmed red rose.

The boys, also, played in the indoor playground, which was a first for Sims.  He loved it!  He needed me to teach him how to climb up to the top (it was slightly difficult for the little ones), but once he got it, he was up and down and all around that thing.

As much fun as it was with Sims' friend and mother, it made me realize that Sims is at the age, where having a mother-son (or father-son) night out would be a lot of fun.  Just the two of us.  Actually having a conversation!  How can he be that old already?!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Life at the Beach

Here are a few more pictures we took at the beach last week.  We were all pretty excited to find a starfish in a tide pool as the tide was going out.  This is the first time we have ever seen one at Holden Beach.  Don't worry - we didn't keep it.  We threw it back into the ocean.

On our last day, the sky was gorgeous as we watched the rain approach.  Since it was our last day, we refused to get off the beach.

Luckily, it only drizzled on us and quickly went away.  Then we were treated with this.

Did I mention that it was hard to return home?