Friday, January 21, 2011

Which school?

This week for our MOPS meeting, I put together a school panel of three moms whose kids are high school/college/career age. They are all friends of mine from church, and they each have a lot of insight to give on how to educate our kids, whether it be public, charter, private Christian, or homeschool.
Thank you so much to Dawn, Loretta, and Herma for giving of their time to speak to about 35-40 moms of babies/toddlers/preschoolers. I was encouraged by their experiences, advice, and stories. The three of them shared for 10-20 minutes about how they educated their own children, the pros/cons of their method(s), and then answered our questions. The whole morning glorified God. THANKS!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Somebody loves learning!

I know I've already written about our morning school lessons, but Izzy absolutely LOVES learning. It's very motivating for me!
This morning we worked on F and the sound /f/, read poetry with the /f/ sound, felt all kinds of feathers, put together a fish puzzle, counted items of FOUR and FIVE, sang songs, and more! Tomorrow, we'll have more "F" themed lessons and activities.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snowed and Iced In!

We were inside for about 3 days due to 4" of snow and a layer of ice that eventually covered that snow. On the third day, Justin was gone all evening for work, so we finally ventured out to Target to exchange something I had bought and to find a few necessary items (ie. milk). Thankfully, the sun's thermal load had melted most of the ice from the roads by then.
Justin worked from home some of Monday (but had to go to a plant that was having some issues) and most of Tuesday, but we sure didn't see him much. He was on the phone/computer, so our noise didn't exactly help him. He ascended up to our third floor to work, except for our much beloved lunches with him those days! Snow days are more fun outside when Daddy's not working and able to play with all of us, maybe next time. ;)
Izzy's grocery bags instead of boots:
She didn't mind playing all by herself... well, she had the dogs to keep her company out there. Yes, I took the picture from the doorway. ;)
Thankfully, Grammy had just surprised the girls with new slippers, so they have been put to use!
I've really enjoyed our days together... cleaning the house (with the girls' help!), continuing our morning school lessons, baking cookies, etc. I've even gotten to read Jane Eyre this week... gotta love some Bronte literature on these cold, indoor days. My Grandma Beatty would be proud. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011 is in full swing

We took down the Christmas decor on Monday, and then Tuesday evening the four of us packed up all the ornaments before Izzy and Justin disposed of our lovely Christmas tree. I leave a few snowmen up for January, as long as they don't look too Christmasy.

Riding their horses:

We're back on our regular life schedule now. I know the three of us definitely missed Justin the first few days this week, but all is well. Izzy told Justin this morning that he needs to go back to work today, so that we can pay for food at Chick-Fil-A. Hahaha. (And no, we don't go there often; she just loves the treat of being able to go to CFA.) Clara stopped her morning nap this week, and has joined Izzy and me in our morning school lessons. She enjoys the abacus that Grandma and Granddaddy gave to the girls for Christmas. Izzy pulled a chip out of the bag on Wednesday and exclaimed that it had three sides and was a triangle! I was a proud momma at that moment. LOL. I have now stopped running (mostly just cause it was too cold, not for any physical reasons), but I have switched to the stationary exercise bike in the mornings before the girls wake. I'm just enjoying everyday life with my girls, cause soon I won't be able to refer to all my kids as "the girls"...........

NYE 2010 just the four of us!

Justin's last day of vacation.............
In the morning, the four of us drove to Ft. Mill, SC for my midwife appointment. Izzy loves to hear the heartbeat on the doppler, and our little boy has a heartrate that is about the same as Clara's was (high 150s)... hope it really is a boy. ;) My midwife found the head of the baby and showed Justin how to kinda grab it, and that was AWESOME! I'm 15 weeks away from the due date (Apr 20)... :) :) :) SO THRILLED!!!
Justin told Izzy we were going to forgo Walmart and Target and "class Mom up" by going to THE MALL to shop for boots that Aunt Maggie had paid for (for one of my Christmas presents).
She LOVES the "alligator" (escalator).

My midwife said she'd been shopping at the mall the night before and that there were lots of deals to be found on boots. We struck out on my size in two stores, but Macy's did us well. We found wedge boots (on sale) that I love! Thanks, Maggie!!!

On NYE evening, we tried the new Hickory Tavern in Wesley Chapel and had a great time together. It was fun to discuss the whole past year, how we had grown and changed, and look back on how God really did take care of us and provide abundantly when we had gone nervously into a year that started with a recession (and a job in sales).
Justin surprised us when he ordered the SEVEN layer chocolate cake, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it:
Hello, 2011!

Roanoke... 3 times in 3 months?!

We took our time leaving on Wednesday, and pulled out a little before noon. Bye! We miss and love you all.
We broke up the drive home and stayed with Granddaddy and Grandma for one night in Roanoke. Izzy puked a huge mess on the way to VA, but it was just a fluke and she never was really sick, THANKFULLY.
The girls love their cats, especially Max:
They always cook great meals for us. Thanks a bunch for the hospitality. We love you! The girls and I have been spoiled to see Grandma and Granddaddy once per month in Oct, Nov, and Dec of 2010!

Always something to do in the country...

Izzy loves tagging along for all the outside tasks at Nanna and Grandpa's...
Here they've lit the burn pile:
And then she joined Aunt Maggie in collecting all the eggs:
She said she "got 1,2,3,4,7,8,9 eggs!" Yes, she collected 9 of 'em.
Look in the hole behind Izzy... all the chickens lay their eggs in the same box!

Christmas Dinner on the 28th ;)

My mom cooked up a feast for us Tuesday evening for our Christmas supper.
She had plenty of Turkey Hill eggnog for me, since we can't get that kind in NC. :)
Riding horsey, our childhood fav:

Old and New Friends

We had a very short time in PA, but we had from about 4-6pm Tuesday evening to see two sets of friends, one old and one new. Graham, who I've been friends with since senior year in high school, lives in St. Louis, but was visiting his family in Hershey with his girlfriend, Shirin. They were leaving Hershey early the next morning and had about an hour free on Tuesday eve, so we hurried over to his mom's house after the girls' naps. I always love seeing Graham and Lynne, and meeting Shirin for the first time was a delight.
We pulled ourselves away from the cat (and friends) and headed over to the Coulters' home. Lindsay and I didn't know each other very well in high school, but thankfully, people can grow up and forget about cliques and embrace being in the same stage of life. We connected over Facebook after Lindsay had become a mom, and started emailing back and forth. I love it! Anyhow, she offered us a tub of beautiful boy clothes since her son was born in April (I'm due Apr 20), so we stopped to get that and to meet the Coulter family. Izzy and Clara loved Chase's selection of toys, and we all had a good time getting to know each other for a little while before hurrying home to my mom's (belated) Christmas dinner.
Chase was 9 months in this pic and weighed the same as Clara at 16 months! :)
Thanks so much for the clothes; we are blessed!

A clothesline... of goodies!

On Monday evening after we arrived in Hershey, my mom said that a couple of the family members from her family were coming over for brunch the next day. I didn't realize that they were trying to have a mini-shower for me. Tuesday morning, Justin was trying all kinds of things to get me out of the house: Asking if I wanted to go out for breakfast--but weren't we having brunch??? Asking me to go to the store to buy something Tess needed--but couldn't Tess do that herself? Finally, at one point he grabbed my coat and basically told me we were going out to see what new updates my dad had done to his workshop/barn. It was cold, but I appeased him. After a few minutes, I'm suggesting we go back into the house cause there's only so much to look at in the cold. ;) Again and again, Justin would find another "treasure" or old saw that he just HAD to look at. Out the window, I saw an SUV pull up that I didn't recognize and people that I didn't quite recognize as family unless it was an unexpected stop from one of my mom's old friends??? So, I hurried Justin and we walked into the house to see this:
It took me a second to realize what was going on, but my Aunt Wendy, Great-Aunt Betty, and Mom's friend Debbie joined my sisters and mom for a little brunch and plenty of baby boy gifts for me!
(My Aunt Wendy will be having my newest first cousin, Hannah, this weekend by induction if she doesn't come soon!)
Justin was outnumbered, but his phone/email kept him good company. ;)
Mom made a delicious egg casserole and some breakfast danishes:
We received so many cute little blue and brown outfits! I'm getting very excited!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We made it!

After passing this truck that blew over on the mountain pass and created some traffic for us, we made good time to PA and arrived in time for PRESENTS!

Somehow, I don't have Grandpa or Justin (taking the pic) in this picture, but we had a family gift exchange as soon as we arrived. Tess loved her Keurig from Maggie and us; I'd been so excited to give it to her!
Aunt Maggie got a free sample of dark eye shadow, so who better to give it to... maybe your niece who associates make-up and Aunt Maggie together?
Gotta love family time!
Thanks for your generous gifts--we love them all... games, crafts, my new purse, dresses, shoes, baby doll diapers, books, a Barbie, and so much more!

A White Day After Christmas!

Look what we woke up to in Charlotte (and Hershey, PA didn't even get any!):

Preparing for our second season of redneck sledding:
Clara was so lightweight that she immediately dumped out of the basket when Justin started pulling her. Snow in the face when you have no snow accessories ended Clara's happiness, but Izzy didn't want to come inside until we made her.
The snow delayed us for a day to Hershey, but we did get there the next evening!


Before we drove home the night of Christmas, the snow started to fall!

The snow started sticking on Justin's car when we got home!

Christmas Day Dinner

Mixing up some eggnog:
They switched kids:
Giving gifts that I've thought hard about is sooo much fun for me, and I was HAPPILY surprised to get a beautiful cookie jar and curtains/rods for my master bedroom and stairwell window.
We had another relaxing night together just being the fam together. Izzy and I both got trims from Grammy, too. :)

Presents and Casserole!

Christmas morning is sooo much fun with kids!
The girls are loving their new dry erase/chalk/poster paper easel:
Clara was more fun at this age than Izzy was cause she follows Izzy's cues. ;)
Sleepy and happy waking up face:
Mmm, sausage/egg/cheese/hashbrown casserole for Christmas morning!!!
We had a busy couple days leading up to Christmas, and then Christmas morning was so relaxing and fulfilling with the four of us at home just loving being together.

New traditions... for us.

I've heard of other family traditions, and chose one to add to our family's Christmas celebration: pajamas. On Christmas Eve, the girls (and Justin, too!) got to open one present, new pj's!
Getting ready to head home for bed before Christmas morning!
Christmas morning awaiting the sign from Daddy to come down!