Friday, February 20, 2015

Valentine's Day

I can't believe that Valentine's Day was last weekend.  It seems like it was ages ago already!  I guess that's what happens when you have a week filled with sleet, snow and record cold temperatures.  Sims has only been to school for half a day this week.

This year, Sims decided that he wanted to get pre-made Valentine's cards for his classmates.  It kind of made me a bit sad, but I got over it quickly, since I still had Merritt's to do.  Merritt is in the one year old class, so I had to think of something that wouldn't be a choking hazard.  After a quick search of some stores, I decided that she would give her classmates crayons.  I found some fat ones that are easy for little ones to hold, and then I found a printable valentine to go with it.  Super easy!

We had one Valentine's family activity that I was pretty excited about it.  I have always struggled to find a fun way to celebrate Valentine's as a family without it just being about sweets.  (Of course, we started off Valentine's morning with a run to Duck Donuts for "special breakfast" as Sims calls it.)

At Christmas time, I bought a gingerbread house kit, but we never got around to building it.  Sims had built and decorated one at his school, so it didn't seem as crucial for us to do it at home.  Christmas came and went, and we still had the kit.  Then we had the brilliant idea of making it into a Valentine's gingerbread house!  We bought some Valentine's candy to supplement the candy that came with the kit.  Sims decorated it with only a little help from my mom.  They had lots of fun doing it, and it is the perfect seasonal centerpiece for our dining room table.

Now I will have a hard time deciding whether we want to do a gingerbread house at Christmas or Valentine's.  Perhaps both?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Homestead 2015

After our first trip to The Homestead 2 years ago, we have talked about going back.  We loved it there.  We finally got to go back for MLK weekend.  We stayed for 3 nights this time because it's a long drive up there for only 2 nights!

There were quite a few moments when we weren't sure we were even going to make it.  The night before we left, Merritt woke up in the middle of the night coughing so much that she threw up a couple of times.  We didn't know what was going to happen in the morning, but she seemed fine.  Her coughing was not as bad.  So off we went.  Then about 20 minutes into Virginia, she threw up again.  We were in the middle of nowhere, and we really weren't prepared for the huge mess.  We found a Dollar General and bought everything from towels to bibs to an extra set of clothes for her.  There was one point that Jason thought that we should go back home, but we didn't.  And we were glad that we didn't because she was totally fine after that.  It's really quite funny now that we know that everything was okay.

So we made it to The Homestead!  We had a suite this time, and it was perfect.  We had plenty of room for the kids' stuff without it taking over the whole room.

That night we played family bingo and had dinner at Jeffersons, which they were building/renovating the last time we were there.  It was delicious!

The next morning was a big day for Sims.  He tried skiing for the first time, while Jason skiied for the first time in 20 years.  Sims went to a half day bunny school, and he loved it.  He and Jason got to ski together for a little while before they were ready to call it a day.

Sims really loved skiing, so I guess we will have to do this every year! 

While the boys were getting ready to ski, Merritt and I hung out in the snow around the slopes a bit.  Merritt didn't really know what to think of the snow.  She definitely wasn't a fan of it when it was stuck to her hands.  While the boys skied, Merritt took a nap, and I enjoyed some quiet time in the room.

That night we had dinner at Sam Snead's Tavern, which was almost disastrous with an overly tired child who had skied all afternoon.  That was to be expected though.

The next morning we went swimming in the indoor pool.  Sims and I went ice skating and enjoyed afternoon tea together, while Merritt napped.  Ice skating was lots of fun because Sims and I were the only ones who were out on the rink.  The ice skating legs or trainers or whatever they are called (the contraption that you can hold on to while you skate that helps you to stay balanced) helped us out a lot.  This was Sims' and my second time out on the ice, and that contraption made us feel like pros.

Sims and I, also, played checkers in one of the little lounge areas.  This was his first time playing checkers, and the 2 of us now love to play together!

Once Merritt woke up, we all enjoyed a round of mini golf.  Of course, mini golf with a 15 month old is a bit difficult.  In the end, we just let her pick up the balls and roll them around herself.  This video shows the chaos that ensued.

We had dinner our last night at Jeffersons again.  After dinner, we hung out at Downtime, which is a game room.  Sims and I played air hockey, and he got to play some video games.  He loved that place!

We got up the next morning and headed home.  We were rewarded with a beautiful snowfall as we left.  And it was warm enough that we didn't have to worry about the roads.  The perfect ending to a very fun trip!

Getting Merritt in the car for the drive home
We are already looking forward to going back to The Homestead.  We just love it there!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Our Christmas

We had a wonderful, busy Christmas season.

Sims was in our church's Christmas pageant again (for the 4th time).  He was a shepherd for the 2nd year in a row, and this was the first time that I was actually able to sit down and watch the entire pageant.  Every other year I have been helping behind the scenes, so that I was only able to see the parts that Sims (and Merritt last year) was in.  It is such a sweet pageant!  Unfortunately, we didn't get any good pictures of Sims in his shepherd costume this year.  This is the best one I have.  He is on the left in the green headdress.

We went to visit Santa at the art museum.  Their holiday family event is always fun, but Santa is the main reason that we go.  Merritt wasn't so excited about Santa though.

You've gotta love Santa's expression as Merritt started to cry.  After we "saved" Merritt, Sims got the chance to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas, which was a guitar and some surprises.  When Santa asked what his sister wanted, Sims just shrugged.

On Christmas Eve, we had our usual cookie decorating family get together before going to church.

Sims and Isla really loved decorating the cookies this year, but I couldn't help but giggle at their technique, which consisted of dumping as many sprinkles as possible in one big pile.

We decided to start a kids table this year for Sims and Isla.  I think that we've outgrown our dining room!  They made their own gingerbread house place mats, which turned out really cute.  We did this last year, and I was amazed at how much more thought Sims put into decorating his gingerbread house this time.  He really thought about how he wanted a front door and door to his bedroom.

Table top gingerbread house was the one Sims made in his Kindergarten class.
 Here are some other photos from the day.

Maxwell's first Christmas

Christmas morning was exciting and crazy - just the way it should be with small children.  The kiddos woke up fairly late, then we spent the rest of the morning playing with all of their loot.  I didn't take many photos because we were just hanging out and having fun together.

I think that all of their gifts were pretty big hits.  Actually, they both seem to enjoy playing with the toys that the other one received as well.

We went over to Mom and Smith's during the afternoon, and the kids had a big time hanging out.  (Have I ever mentioned how much Sims and Isla LOVE each other?!)

Sims and Isla playing in their new sleeping bags

The day after Christmas we took off to Charlotte to spend some time with Jason's family.  We had lots of fun, and it was very relaxing.  I, of course, have no pictures from it.  It was hard to go back to work and the real world after a little over 2 weeks off.  It was a fantastic Christmas!