Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Concert

Sims' class had a holiday concert this past Friday, and it was so entertaining.  I wasn't sure if he would sing this year, since he didn't sing at last year's party.  He just watched everyone else sing then, even though he knew all the words.  So I had no idea what to expect this time around.  Not only did he sing, but he danced!  It was great!

He was so excited to see us there, and he immediately started to ham it up a bit.

Jason got a video of them singing Feliz Navidad on his phone.  It's not good video or sound quality, but you get the idea.

He had a wonderful time, and we loved watching him.  One of the great things about Mom and Smith living nearby is that Mom got to join us.  I know it made her day as much as it did ours!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Visit with Santa at Holiday Express

We were happy to get tickets with some of our friends to go to the Holiday Express event at Pullen Park.  We had planned to do this as a group last year, but we bought the last tickets before our friends got theirs.  So last year we went solo.  Luckily they do this event every year, and of course, it's always more fun with friends!

This is the only time that Sims got to see Santa this year, so this was kind of a big deal.  He had been telling us that he was going to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas, but I wasn't sure he would actually talk to him once we were there.  I'm glad that I was wrong!  He told Santa that he wanted a scooter, a helmet and a trumpet.  Santa then gave him a small lecture about always wearing his helmet, when he rides his scooter.

He listened very politely and even gave Santa a hug.

I have to say that I have always been impressed with how well Sims does on Santa's lap!  I was 18 years old, before Mom could get a picture of me on Santa's lap.  (Yes, I got my picture made with Santa when I was 18 years old.  But in my defense, my poor mother didn't have a single picture of me with Santa!  I just couldn't do that to her anymore.)  I'm just so proud of how brave Sims is!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New York, New York

This past weekend, Jason and I met our friends Jeff and Alex in the Big Apple for Jeff's big birthday, some hanging out, sightseeing, and getting in the Christmas spirit.  It was fantastic (except for my sinus infection, which caused my ears to not pop from the plane ride the whole first day)!  We jump at any chance to see Jeff and Alex, since we so rarely get to see them.  But when Alex emailed me about meeting them in New York during the Christmas season, we were thrilled!

This was Jason's first trip to New York, and I hadn't been in 20 years.  We walked miles and miles and enjoyed about every minute of it.  We hit most of the must-see places, but we still have plenty more things we still want to do that will get us to go back again.

Some highlights from our trip: seeing the window displays at Lord & Taylor and Macy's, seeing the tree at Rockefeller Center, visiting the World Trade Center Memorial, looking at art at the Museum of Modern Art, shopping at FAO Schwarz, meeting Alex's Aunt Elizabeth and cousin Teddy, eating French food at Nice Matin and Spanish food at Sol y Sombra, and the pastrami frankfurter at Artie's.  The biggest highlight was, of course, spending some quality time with Jeff and Alex sans kids.

Zero visibility up top kept us in the lobby of the Empire State Building

Jason, Alex and Jeff: Finally sitting down for a late lunch after our visit to MoMA

New York Public Library

The birthday boy
Jeff and Alex are so much fun to be around, and traveling with them was nice and easy.  I can't wait until the next trip!  I hope this was a happy birthday for Jeff and a wonderful pre-birthday event for Alex.  I hope you have just as fabulous of a birthday, Alex, as Jeff did!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Train

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Ours was wonderful.  We spent time with both Jason's and my families, and we are still a bit tired!

Our Thanksgiving break definitely had a train theme.  We took the train to and from Charlotte to spend Thanksgiving with Jason's family.  This was a reward to Sims for now being potty-trained (Yay!), but really we all enjoyed it. 

On Saturday, we went to Isla's 2nd birthday party, where we all rode the train at the Museum of Life and Science.  So to end the weekend, we went and bought a Lionel train set at the greatest local train store.  The boys were so excited about it (okay, so was I).

We put up one of our Christmas trees early, just so we could put the train set around it.  We haven't gotten everything, like the tree skirt and ornaments, set up yet, but we have already been enjoying the train.  I think Sims could lie down and watch it for hours.

This morning, after he was ready to go to school, he laid down with his stuffed animals and a blanket and watched the train go 'round and 'round.

I wouldn't be surprised if he asks to sleep next to it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Cake

Jason and I went early yesterday to vote, and we decided that Sims was at the perfect age to start going with us.  We talked about what we were about to do, how important it is and how lucky we are to live in a country where we can vote.  I'm not sure what he got out of the conversation, but he enjoyed "helping" me vote.  He also loved the sticker he got afterward.  "It's my favorite sticker," he said.

This is the first year that I had ever heard of the old tradition of Election Cake.  Many years ago, Election Day usually involved parties with family and friends who came into town to vote.  So, of course, there was always cake.  We decided it was time to bring that tradition back!  (Any excuse for cake is a good one, right?)  I planned on having a spice cake, which is the more traditional Election Cake, but Sims really wanted "red cake".  Red velvet cake is never a bad choice, I think!

Now I am so happy that Election Day is over and past us.  I couldn't take another campaign ad!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pumpkin Picking

I know that it's after Halloween and all, but I have to post about our annual pumpkin patch visit.  This year we were joined by one of Sims' friends Aidan and his family, and we had a wonderful time walking through the corn maze, going on the hay ride, playing in the corn crib, feeding the goats, picking cotton, climbing the hay mountain and sliding down the corrugated tube, and, of course, picking pumpkins!  I didn't take as many pictures this year because we were all having so much fun hanging out together, but I did get some good ones of Sims.

We came home with 3 beautiful pumpkins and a worn out child.  The pumkpin patch is the always the best way to kick off the fall season.  I just love this tradition!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ghost of the Forest

For Halloween this year, Sims actually requested what he wanted to be - a ghost!  He loves The Berenstain Bears and the Ghost of the Forest book, so I think that inspired him. 

He started off the celebration with a party at school.  It's always so much fun to see the kids dressed up.  Then we went to Mom and Smith's house for a short visit, and we were happy that we got to see Isla dressed in her ladybug costume. 

Sims' mask was an unexpected addition, as it was a party favor from school.  He loved it, and I think it kind of worked.

We headed home to get ready for trick or treating.

This year, he really enjoyed trick or treating, and we went to about 15 houses.  He would ring the doorbell and immediately say, "trick or treat".  When the person came to the door, he would whisper, "trick or treat" so softly that you could barely hear him.  We just had to take a picture of him waiting at the door of one of the houses.

When we got home, it was pretty much Sims' bedtime, but he got to have one treat of his choice.  He went for the Tootsie Pop, and he ate every single bit of it!

I think Sims had a fabulous Halloween!  I hope y'all did as well.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Moving Day

Today is the big moving day for Mom and Smith!  As I write this, the movers are at their house in Shelby packing everything up to be delivered to their new house in Raleigh tomorrow.  We are so excited to have them nearby.  I know they are excited to get settled into their house and have life get back to normal.  Well, at least as normal as life can be now that Mom is retired!

A couple of weeks ago, when they closed on their house up here, I explained to Sims that Gan and Papa Smith would be moving soon to live near us.  He exclaimed, "We are going to live with Gan and Papa?!" I explained it to him a little more, and he asked, "Gan and Papa are going to live next door?"  So, apparently, I didn't explain it all that well.

Welcome home, Mom and Smith!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Family Beach Trip

This time last month, my family was lounging in the sand at Holden Beach on our annual beach trip, and it was perfect.  We were happy to have Smith join us this year.  That way he didn't miss out on any of the fun with Sims and Isla.

While we were there, we celebrated Smith's and Jason's birthdays.

With kids around, we did a lot of playing in the sand.  Mom and Smith's good friends, Jim and Betty, visited us for a few days, and we all enjoyed Jim's sand creations.  It even inspired Sims to dig holes in the sand.

In Jim's space shuttle

Of course, all that playing will wear you out!

The kids spent hours in the tidepools out in front of the house, running and splashing and using all their water toys.  The beach trips have definitely changed since Sims and Isla were born, but we still have just as much fun. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Labor Day on the New River

We spent Labor Day weekend in the mountains to celebrate my father-in-law Dick's 70th birthday.  The trip was just one of the surprises we all had planned for him.  We told him a week beforehand about the trip so he could pack and get his fishing gear together.  He had no idea that Tina was coming in from London for the occasion.  The day before the trip, Tina just showed up for dinner.  That definitely surprised him!  The last surprise was that his brother, sister-in-law, nephew and his wife were joining us in the mountains.

We stayed in a house on one of the forks of the New River, and we had so much fun in the water.  I may not classify myself as a mountain person, but I am definitely a water person.  I just wished I had brought my bathing suit because I would have loved to go tubing.

We had a mix of weather each day with sun and rain, but Dick didn't let the rain stop him from fishing.

We took a morning trip into the nearest town, West Jefferson.  It has a cheese factory and store, so I would say it's a great little town!  It has a very picturesque downtown with murals and a view of the mountains.  We, also, saw the Ben Long frescoes at the Episcopal church there. 

Sims loved a long weekend with his cousin Zack.  They are seriously so sweet to each other.

Photo by Tina

I don't have any photos of the big birthday dinner, but it was delicious and included a red velvet cake made by the Ashe County High School cheerleaders (Go Huskies!).  You've gotta love local farmer's markets!  Vivian is so creative, and she made the perfect banner for the occasion.

This was the first time that I had spent any significant time with Dick's family, not including weddings and funerals.  They are a lot of fun, and we loved spending time with them and getting to know them better.  We hope to make this a tradition!

Dick with his brother Bill.  Photo by Tina.
Happy birthday, Dick!  I hope your actual birthday is as fun as your big birthday bash!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Catching Up

I apologize for my unexpected blogging hiatus, which is a nice of way of saying being lazy.  The summer has zoomed by, but it is not over yet.  We still have one more week at the beach, before I can say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.

So here are some of the things that you have missed:

I went on a girls' night/slumber party in honor of my dear friend Stacy.  A group of girls with whom I graduated high school all went to Goldsboro to show our friend Stacy some love.  It was great to catch up with everyone, and of course, spend time with Stacy!  We are hoping to make this a semi-annual/annual event.

For Labor Day weekend we went up to the mountains to celebrate my father-in-law's 70th birthday.  I will do a separate post on this trip, once I finally download all the photos.

We have been getting to know the parents of Sims' friends from school more and more over the summer, with play dates and dinners together.  This has made me so happy.  It seems that everyone, and most importantly myself, is really making a big effort to try to do more things together with and without the kiddos.  It is a really fun group, and I think Sims has made some very good choices in friends!

We are in the throes of potty training.  I must admit that I had no idea how strong-willed Sims was, but we have made some major break-throughs after trying everything imaginable.  Not only is he not yelling, "No," every time we mention the potty, he is even using it a few times a day!

Sims completed 2 months of swim lessons and has graduated to the preschool level.  This means that he won't need a parent in the pool with him, which excites me to no end!  We are hoping that we can fit in a month of swim lessons this fall, so he doesn't forget everything.

We had the living room, dining room and foyer/hallway painted a very neutral color, and we are starting to make some other decorating changes.  But let's be honest, it takes me so long to finally decide on anything decor-wise that it will likely look the same for the next 5 years.

And that's what's been happening around here!  I'll try not to be a stranger.  I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer as much as we have.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Interview with Sims - Age 3

Last night I interviewed Sims with the same questions that I used last time.  I love some of his answers.

Maggie: What is your name?
Sims: S-I-M-S (spelling it out).

Maggie: How old are you?
Sims: Three (also holds up 3 fingers).

Maggie: What color is your hair?
Sims: White.

Maggie: What color are your eyes?
Sims: Brown, purple and white.

Maggie: What is your favorite food?
Sims: Chicken nuggets!

Maggie: What is your favorite song?
Sims: Apples and Bananas.

Maggie: What is your favorite treat?
Sims: Cookies.

Maggie: What is your favorite animal?
Sims: 2 giraffes.

Maggie: What is your favorite book?
Sims: Ya-Ya-Ya-Yo song book.

Maggie: What is your favorite store?
Sims: Grocery store.

Maggie: What do you like to do with Daddy?
Sims: Tackle and sqush.

Maggie: What do you like to do with Mama?
Sims: Play outside.

Maggie: Who are your friends?
Sims: Kav and Nick and Porter and Luke and Nick. (The 2 Nicks are the same person.)

Maggie: What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Sims: Dig.

Maggie: What is your favorite thing to play inside?
Sims: I like to play with Isaac... and Graham.

Maggie: What is your favorite bedtime story?
Sims: No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed book.
Maggie: Do we have that book?
Sims: We need to go to the bookstore to find it.

Maggie: What is your favorite thing to do when you wake up?
Sims: Eat a muffin top.

Maggie: What is your favorite shirt?
Sims: Hockey shirt. (the shirt he was wearing)

Maggie: What are your favorite shoes?
Sims: Pirate shoes.

Maggie: What is your favorite snack?
Sims: Breakfast bar.

Maggie: What is your favorite way to help around the house?
Sims: Trash.

Maggie: What is your favorite place to go?
Sims: Grocery store to buy more cheese and pepperoni.

Maggie: What is your favorite toy?
Sims: A net.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


In the past, Sims has rarely paid attention to music we play in the car or at home.  Lately, things have changed.  He has one song that he likes, and he requests that it be played on repeat, while he shakes one of his fists to the beat.  Every time that we get in the car, he asks for the "Ya-Ya-Ya-Yo" song.  That's not actually it's title.  It's what Sims thinks they are singing in the chorus.  It's real title is "Prickly Thorn But Sweetly Worn" by The White Stripes.  I will admit I'm not a huge fan of The White Stripes, but this song isn't too bad.  It's kind of been growing on me, since every time we all ride together, this song is playing now.

We have noticed that Sims prefers songs with a folk sound to them.  So I guess I can forget my dreams of having him love oldies and 80s music with me...

Friday, August 3, 2012


Jason and I love the Olympics, so we were excited that Sims is at an age to enjoy it.  We tried to get him ready for it by talking and reading about it.  We found one decent picture book at the library that went along with the theme (Babar's Celesteville Games, which is very similar to the Olympics, even though it ends up being a romance.  Not what I expected for a Babar book!)

Last Friday, we let Sims stay up late to watch some of the opening ceremonies.  He really liked it and even asked to watch the part with the beds again.  Of course, he loved all of the aerial shots of London.  He excitedly pointed out Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Marching Men every time they were shown.

On Saturday, we celebrated the London Olympics by having afternoon tea.

Actually, we didn't have it in the afternoon, we had it for dinner, but dinner tea just doesn't have the same ring to it.  We had 3 kinds of tea sandwiches, tons of fruit, cheese, bite-sized lemon curd pies, scones, Scottish shortbread, Digestive cookies and, of course, tea.  The best part had to be the clotted cream.  Even though Sims refused the clotted cream, Jason and I loved it.

So this week, the TV has been on far more than usual, and we are still really behind on watching some of the events.  (Don't tell me what happened last night in Women's Gymnastics!)  It's been fun to see what Sims does and does not like to watch.  Yea to diving, gymnastics (men and women), cycling and fencing.  Nay to rowing and swimming.  But his favorite are the images of his favorite London sights.  Last night we were watching gymnastics, and he said, "I want to watch the Olympics."  When I told him we were watching the Olympics, he replied, "I want to see Tower Bridge."  I have a feeling he's going to be disappointed when the next Olympics is not in London.

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's ok, Tim

An adorable thing happened this morning.  After we had finished breakfast, Sims took Tim (his teddy bear, just in case you don't remember) over to his kitchen to make him breakfast.  He got out his travel booster seat, so that Tim could sit higher at the kid-sized table.  Sims then made Tim coffee and waffles.

A little while later, we heard Sims say, "It's ok, Tim."  Jason asked what happened, as Sims was on his hands and knees wiping the floor with a cloth.  "Tim spilled water on the floor, and I'm helping him clean it up," he replied.  My heart just melted watching Sims cleaning up his teddy bear's pretend mess.  Does it get any cuter than that?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Independence Day on Ocracoke

Let me tell you, Ocracoke does the 4th of July up right!  There were so many activities going on throughout the day that I don't think anyone could go to them all.  We certainly couldn't, and we really only got to see a handful of them.

We started off the day by heading to the beach.  We wanted to spend a small amount of time on the beach, but we also wanted to see some of the sand sculpture contest.  We got to see all of the individuals and groups working on their sculptures.  At that time, we couldn't even tell what some of them were going to be, but it was nice to see them all working on their creations.  Then we headed on down the beach to set up camp for a while.  We went back to the sculptures later in the day to see how they turned out.

The sinking Titanic

Sims liked Lightning McQueen.

On Ocracoke's radio station we listened to the local fig cake bake-off, which sounded so delicious that I had to have some fig cake before we left the island.  It was fantastic, and now I need to bake my own.

After Sims' nap, we strolled down the street to the parade.  It was just the perfect small town parade.  Anyone could enter to be in the parade up to an hour before it began, so you didn't know what to expect.

One of our favorite parade cars was the Ocracoke Country Club one, since that doesn't actually exist.  And Ocracoke is sooooo not that kind of place.

Sims' favorite was Towmater.  It looked just like Mater from the movie Cars (or from the books based on the movie in Sims' case).  He talked about this one for days.

Of course, it wouldn't have been Ocracoke without some pirates.  You know, Ocracoke was the old hang out of Blackbeard after all.

A lot of the floats and cars were throwing the traditional candy out to the kids.  But have you ever heard of a float handing out hot dogs?  Oh, man, do I love Ocracoke!

We had an early dinner so we could head over to the Community Square for square dancing.  Even though we didn't participate because Sims just wanted to watch, we enjoyed watching and listening to the band.

Of course as the square dance ended, Sims decided he wanted to dance.

Then it was time for bed!  It was such a great 4th of July!  And here are a few more photos from the day.