Friday, October 30, 2015

Early Fall Happenings

This feels like a weird fall to me. I LOVE fall! It is my favorite season by far and I love packing it full of activities. I planned this whole pregnancy around getting all the house projects, baby projects and nesting done before October so that we could enjoy the month and a half until my due date. I researched every Halloween activity and put it on my calendar. Now that we are in this month, I have been so overwhelmed with all the things to do, but I do not want to miss out on anything.

The day after Miller's birthday party, we decided to go to a pumpkin patch. We normally go to one that is a 30 minute drive north and has a corn maze but I was not up for that. I can not imagine chasing both of the kids through the maze, being 8 months pregnant. I went the easy route and went to a pumpkin patch that was 15 minutes away with no corn maze.

She was quite pleased with herself for sitting on the pumpkin.

The following weekend, we went to the Halloween festival in our town. They had a touch a truck there which was great because we kept missing all the other ones around us and my boy loves trucks. 

My three little skeletons. According to the kids, a skeleton says,"dance, dance, dance".

The next day we went to Boo at the Zoo. It was really an excuse for the kids to wear their costumes and get to do a little trick or treating.

We ran from Boo at the Zoo to Miller's soccer game. Last game, Scarlett was clamoring to get out. This week she sat happily in her stroller, babbling away.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Kids Bedroom Updates

One of the biggest things this year for us was getting the house all settled before the baby comes. It was like unpacking and nesting times a hundred. The house is in no way all done, but we now have most rooms painted and pictures on the walls and closets organized. It really feels like home!

Both of the kids rooms kind of make me sad because their nurseries were designed for other houses. Whenever we moved, I tried to make it work but it was never the same. I feel like we are finally at a place where their rooms feel perfect for them in this house.

Miller's room evolved into a big boy room in this house. I kind of think of it as Lost Boys Camp from Peter Pan because of the trees on the curtains, the bunk bed (which is not bunked yet) and the banner over his bed from his party last year.

He got really into the solar system this year and I kept trying to think of a way to incorporate it into his room in a non cheesy way. This wall had embroidery hoops with different fabrics from his nursery. It occurred to me that I only had to buy new fabric and I could make the solar system. I was so excited to find a way to make things from his nursery work into a big boy room. It is just a perfect coincidence that this was on a navy wall and really looks like it glows. I surprised him with it and he loved it.

Scarlett's room was mostly done last year, except I wanted to make her curtains. When I was making some for the new baby's nursery, I decided to make the same ones for Scarlett's. I tried to keep things cohesive between their rooms in case they have to share one day.

Aren't those cute curtains?!?! They are little navy pom poms. So simple but so pretty. I ordered 75 yards to do both girls rooms and just sewed them on some ikea curtains.

I bought the M, S and & a few years ago and had always planned on putting them in the hallway between their rooms. Every day, Scarlett has to point to each one of them and say their names. It just marks that wing of our house as theirs. I also have a map of Neverland in the hall and some quotes from Peter Pan in their bathroom. Without thinking, I inadvertently created a whole Neverland theme with their rooms. I kind of love it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Miller's Pizza Planet 4th Birthday Party

When I started planning the kids birthday parties, I gave Miller a bunch of options. Garbage truck, construction vehicles, firetrucks. What did he pick? Pizza Planet. Not Toy Story but Pizza Planet from Toy Story. I started to dismiss it but then I thought that it would be a fun challenge. It combined his love of Toy Story with space things and my need of an easy party to pull off.

Most of the crafts and prep work I did almost a month ahead of time so the week of, I was just busy cleaning  the house and setting up decorations. For most people that would take a day but for a gal lugging around a 35 week pregnant bump, it took all week and was exhausting. Thankfully for the day of, my mom and stepmom were here to help while Ben and my dad did some easy house projects.

The skirt, leggings and pigtails combo is my new favorite.

The kid got some seriously great presents and plays with all of them equally. A duplo train, a submarine, some Star Wars ships, an RC car. Scarlett plays with them all too.....when Miller lets her.

The kids started tearing down the alien balloons from the stairs and had a balloon party. All the parents were in the living room watching our football game so I think I was the only adult to catch this.

I remembered to get a family shot before the night was over.

We had a few tantrums and the house was so crowded that I had nowhere to sit but it was a great party. It was topped off by a miraculous comeback and our Vols beating Georgia.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Summer Vacations- Asheville and Memphis

We were back from Michigan for a week when we turned around and had to go back to Knoxville for Ben's work project. We came  home for another week and a half when we went back up to drop off the kids so we could go to a wedding in Asheville. It was a whole weekend away from the kids which was so weird for me. They are so much a constant in my everyday life that I admit, it was nice, but I felt a little lost. It was great to get a chance to get away before the new baby comes.

We went to the Sierra Nevada Brewery there, which seems so much fun to the pregnant girl that doesn't like beer but it actually was really fun. Ben and our friend Steve had a great  time trying different beers and the food was great. Plus, it was all really pretty.

The wedding was at a farm in the middle of a wildflower field. It was absolutely gorgeous and so much fun to just spend all afternoon in this beautiful location. It was like, we were in another world, far away from kids and whining. 

We had two more trips to Knoxville for Ben's project and then our last big trip was at the end of September for Ben's high school reunion in Memphis. We tried to do every family activity that we could.

A trip to the zoo. Miller was so excited to see an eel. He just sat here and stared at the thing. They freak me out but my kid thinks they are cool.

This is how I get myself in pictures since I am the one holding the camera most of the time.

There is a playground at the zoo that we wore the kids out on. She is normally really hesitant to go down the slides but she got brave this day and tackled that fear. We could not get her to stop.

Playing the piano at grandmommy and grandaddy's house.

The Botanical Gardens. They have a great kids section that they loved. They look like Jack and Jill here.

Feeding the fish.

The Pink Palace Museum. This dinosaur is animatronic and is activated when you get close. I did not know this last year and it scared the crap out of me. This year Miller was so excited to see dinosaurs so we thought we would surprise him. Yeah see how he is clinging to Ben. He would not let go of him the whole time we were at the museum. He was afraid that everything would come to life. It did not help that I let him watch "Night at the Museum" the day before.

We had free passes to the Imax theatre so we went to see a dinosaur movie. I thought for sure after the incident upstairs that they would not sit through it, especially Scarlett but they both did great. They sat and watched the whole 45 minute movie. Miller kept his 3D glasses on the whole time.

We went to our favorite park at Shelby Farms. This girl loves to swing.

Mud Island has this awesome model of the Mississippi River that we went to when Miller was little. It was so hot outside so this was a great activity for them. Scarlett kept falling on the topography and getting mad but refused to get out.

Ben's brother in law's parents have a farm with retired horses. Last year, Miller would only pet them and Scarlett sat on its back. This year, Miller was so excited to ride it and Scarlett was nervous.

We were there for 9 days and got to spend lots of time with Ben's parents. It makes me sad that we only get to go back once a year.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Summer Vacations- The Beach and Northern Michigan

We had some major trips to take this year, one on top of the other. At the beginning of June we went to Myrtle Beach with my dad's side of the family.

From left to right, my stepbrother Joe holding my nephew Deacon, my sister-in-law Leslie, nephew Silas, Ben, me, Miller, Scarlett, my dad, my stepmom, my sister Lindsey holding my niece Penelope, and her boyfriend Billy.

We came home from the beach for two days and then drove north to Michigan. It was a 14 hour drive that I was terrified of for months but for no reason. My kids did great! We drove 3 hours to Knoxville, which they are already pros at, to stop at my parents house and have dinner. We changed into PJs and diapers and I took the first shift of driving. I thought that I would only be able to do 2 or 3 hours but I did 8! I was so proud of myself but I was exhausted. Ben got to sleep while the kids did but when it was my turn, they were awake and I had to keep catering to them.

Michigan was kind of a funny coincidence. My mom's side of the family is from Michigan and we used to go vacation in Traverse City. My cousin happened to be marrying a girl from Traverse City so that is where the wedding was. It was a family reunion on our old stomping grounds. I had talked about wanting to take Ben and the kids for years and this was the perfect opportunity.

We got to do the sand dunes which was a totally different experience having to chase my kids and being pregnant. I was slow but I got further than I had before.

Miller completely left us but thank goodness there were other family members that could keep up with him.

My little ones got to be the ring bearer and flower girls. Miller looked so handsome!!!

This was my favorite picture of them. I was so afraid that they would not perform but they were perfect. They walked all the way up the aisle holding hands and then came and sat quietly with me during the ceremony. They always surprise me when I least expect it.

At the reception, they seriously never left the dance floor. It was 5 straight hours of dancing. They even just swayed around when slow songs came on, or tried to follow any line dance. They were the hit of the night and I got so much joy from watching them.

This was the best family picture that I could get from this trip, taken at my grandparents old campground.

Miller was not supposed to get wet while he was playing in the lake with my cousins but he was having fun and that is what matters.

After a few days in Traverse City, we traveled 3 hours north to Mackinaw City. None of us had ever been there and we wanted to visit the island. We took a day trip over to Mackinac Island and had a great time. We rode an "outside bus" (a horse drawn carriage) according to Miller, and got to ride the ferry and see lighthouses. We all just wished that we had been able to stay on the island.

We drove back during the day which made me nervous, but again, the kids did great. We stopped in Knoxville for the night and then Ben, Scarlett and I drove back to GA while Miller stayed with my mom for a few days. Scarlett and I were like a couple of lost puppies without Miller around but it was nice to give her a few days to be an only child. It just made us appreciate all the chaos and fun he brings with him.