Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Christmas Eve

We always celebrate Christmas Eve at my mom and dad's house with my mom's side of the family. We always have way too much food and fun!
 All of the kids ~ both younger and older ~ were excited to open presents, but Andrew and Grayson were by far the most excited! This was the first year that they "got it", and they were so cute! Joe helped Andrew open all of his presents so I could take lots of pictures! This was a Lightning McQueen t-shirt from his great Aunt Claudia, and it is simply not enough to say that he loved it! He gave her a great big hug, but my picture turned out really blurry ~ so disappointing.
 Taylor and Lauren
Jonathan really enjoyed his new game ~ he and Joe played that night when we got home! I wish I had better pictures of Brendan. You can catch a glimpse of him beside Jonathan ~ he loved the Ninjago Legos that we picked out for him! 
Grayson loves Batman and Spiderman as much as Andrew loves Cars characters!
We got Taylor a basketball subway art print, and he loved it!!
 My dad wore this hat all afternoon! He was cracking me up!!
I wish I had a video of him opening this present! He started jumping up and down, bubbling with excitement! It was so precious and so contagious ~ I love this age!! Aunt Tammy and Uncle Rich picked out a most perfect gift!
 Mama with her favorite daughter-in-law!
We now have an entire city of Hexbugs! Some even glow in the the dark!
 Jennifer ~ your little boy is growing up on us!
He looks like he is putting the bow on his head, but he is taking it off. He left it on about .8 seconds! Ha!
This was Grayson's favorite present! A web shooter from Aunt Claudia! He makes a great Spiderman!
 Jonathan and Lauren sporting their new Carhartt hats! Aunt Jenny surprised all of us with hats, scarves, shirts, and more! We got to pass around a box and pick out anything we wanted ~ it was lots of fun! Thank you so much!!
 Looking so cute with her braces and her new hat ~ where did my little girl go?!
 Grammy love is the best!
Lots of teasing about the braces from Uncle Anthony! All in love! Ha!
The perfect ending to a wonderful afternoon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Christmas Fun

December 20, 2011
Our family tradition has always been to gather at my Mamaw and Papaw's house to celebrate Christmas with my Dad's side of the family. This year we had the honor of having everyone over to our house, and I absolutely loved it! I made another chicken pie (a family favorite) and Rich made the most delicious roast we had ever eaten (we love that he is a chef!). Everyone else brought delicious side dishes and desserts (my personal favorite was my Aunt Annetta's peanut butter fudge!).
Papaw and Rich
 Andrew was playing Hexbugs with Grammy.
 Grayson and Tammy
 This was the first night that the kids opened Christmas presents, and Andrew was so excited!
 Silly Grayson!
 Cousins - Emma and Lauren
We loved that Allen, Trisha, and Emma stayed a couple of nights with us! The kids had so much fun! Actually, so did the adults!
If you look closely, you can see Lauren's braces (she had them put on that day - not exactly the best Christmas present!).
 Brendan, Jonathan, Emma and Lauren
Papaw and Lauren
The evening was absolutely perfect! I love nothing more than to have my house filled with family-especially during the Christmas season! 
I only wish I had taken alot more pictures! Especially of the adults! Next time!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Girls on the Run

December 10, 2011
UNCA campus
Lauren wanted to participate in "Girls on the Run" last year. They offered it at her elementary school in the fall, but I suggested she wait until the spring so it would be warmer when she ran the actual race. I also wanted to be able to do it with her, and I knew training would be easier for me to accomplish in the spring. However, they did not offer it in the spring, and we were so disappointed! We thought they might offer it at her middle school this fall, but they didn't. Our neighbor, Emily, started the program at school this fall, and I asked if Lauren could be one of her running partners (Emily's mom was her official running partner). She was so excited when they said yes!
 Mrs. Sonia, Emily, and Lauren ~ trying to stay warm before the race. The race started at noon ~ the wind made it cold, but the sky was gorgeous ~ not a cloud in sight.
The race leaders ~ Santa with one of his elves ~ they were not too convincing. I mean, look at Santa's beard! Too funny! 
And. . . they're off ~ Lauren is all smiles in her pink shirt!
Here they come! Andrew and I were waiting with Emily's grandmother; we were so excited to see them cross the finish line!
They did awesome! They ran the entire race ~ no walking!! I love their pink medals!!
 I was so proud of Lauren ~ she was in good shape from soccer ~ I ran with her some, and when we couldn't run outside, she ran on our (very old) treadmill! She really pushed herself to accomplish this goal!
I was also proud of Emily and Sonia ~ Sonia had never run before and she worked really hard to be able to do this with Emily! Way to go runner girls!!
After the race, I treated the girls to pizza at a favorite local pizzeria ~ Frank's Roman Pizza! They were starving (so were Andrew and I!) ~ it was delicious!

Let's Celebrate Some More

In addition to a friends party we always celebrate birthdays with family. We just party for days!!

It was extra special this year because Anthony and Jenny were home for the weekend. I made chicken pie for dinner (Lauren's special request) with banana pudding for dessert (another one of her favorites). I neglected to get candles, thus the reason she only has four in her dessert. Oops! But she loved the banana pudding, and even though I love it as well, it was the first one I have ever made. Since then, I have already made it once more ~ who knew it was so easy!
She and Grandpa are always teasing each other about not sharing the
 banana pudding ~ he loves it as much as she does (the pudding and the teasing!)
We love it when Anthony and Jenny get to come home!
 This is the cutest hat ever!
 All smiles ~ American girl goodies!
 The boys were having their own fun! Andrew is watching from a distance, but it didn't take him long at all to join in on the fun.
Grammy and Grandpa with their favorite granddaughter!
Dear Lauren,
     It is such a joy to spend every day with you! You are such a fabulous young lady! You are so responsible and independent ~ you excel in school and soccer because you are dedicated and you give it everything you have. You are kind, caring, thoughtful, giving, and loving. You are honest and love what is right ~ your friends know that you are a true friend. You are also very funny ~ you have such a great sense of humor ~ you enjoy every day and always stay positive!
    You love the Lord and your family with all of your heart! You are happiest when the five of us are together ~ no matter where we are! You are so sweet and devoted to your brothers ~ you set such a wonderful example for them! You are very encouraging to them both, and they look up to you so much! I pray that you will always love one another the way you do now! You are all so precious together!
    You love soccer, and you are looking forward to trying out for volleyball in the fall. You love to sew, and you amaze us with your talent! You enjoy taking piano lessons, and you play beautifully ~ your teacher, Mrs. Hipp, absolutely loves you! You also love crafts of any kind, your American Girl dolls, reading (especially AG books and mysteries), and playing with your neighborhood friends (especially Wizard school!). You also love to have sleepovers! You are afraid of any kind of storm ~ so much so that we are not allowed to talk about them at all.
     Your Daddy and I feel blessed beyond measure that God has entrusted you to our care! We pray that you will grow in your faith and that you will always maintain your relationship with Him. We pray that you will always be confident in your faith and in who He created you to be! You are very special to Him and to us! We are so proud of you ~ we love you more than you could ever know!
Mommy and Daddy

Birthday Fun

November 3, 2011
Birthdays only happen once a year so we like to celebrate all day long! Jonathan was excited about putting candles in her toast ~ he couldn't wait to light them.
Kylie, Jordyn, Lauren, Emily, Nathan,
Jonathan, and Andrew
All of the neighbors came down to surprise Lauren after school, and we enjoyed
chocolate covered doughnuts! She loved it!
We waited until Daddy got home to open presents.
Love her excitement ~ Adidas soccer shoes ~ she had been asking for them for quite a while!
Another fave ~ the movie, Monte Carlo
One of Lauren's favorite desserts is cheesecake, and we have found that our local Apollo Flame restaurant has the best!
Happy 12th Birthday, sweet girl!