Monday, March 31, 2014

Thrive Concert



Recently, we took the children to see the Thrive Tour concert, which features the christian band Casting Crowns along with Laura Story and For King and Country.  I was unsure what to expect as I've never been to a christian concert, but I'm happy to report that it was amazing!  It was the children's first concert on such a large scale and it was a perfect one to take them to. The bands were so, so good!

We were lucky enough to be invited to meet the band members before the concert.  They were all so gracious, kind humble and friendly.

(Casting Crowns)

It was a powerful concert full of great music and inspiring messages.  My family now counts themselves as fans of the band For King and Country.  These brother's performance was full of high energy and I particularly appreciated their message to girls/women that they are priceless and to never settle for more than honor and respect from men. It was great for Grace to hear such an important message from men of a younger/hipper/cooler generation.

(For King and Country)

I'll never understand how, but 3/4's of the way through the concert, I looked over and Harris had fallen asleep.  It was way past his normal bedtime but it was so loud I cannot fathom how he fell asleep- not 10 minutes before he was standing on his feet clapping to the music!


Friday, March 28, 2014

A Bourbon Barrel Lazy Susan


One of my gifts to Bryce this past Christmas was a lazy susan bourbon barrel lid (try saying that three times!).  Bryce saw a similar wine barrel one at a friends house and commented that he liked it, so I thought it would be fun to have one from his favorite distillery from our Bourbon Trail excursion.  After doing a search online, I found some that were very expensive (and lovely) but they didn't have the particular distillery I was looking for nor did I want to spend that much for one!  I was thrilled when I found an affordable one that also allowed me to request a lid from Buffalo Trace!  However, as soon as it arrived I realized that this was a case where you get what you pay for.  The lazy susan mechanism was a total mess, and an obvious case of someone throwing something together in their basement. In addition, the boards had been glued together with the exact wrong sort of glue that should have been used (they used an expanding glue that then oozed all over the other boards!).  In other words, this was a gift that kept on giving since Bryce had to basically remake it!  


The lazy susan has sort of floated around since we haven't been sure where we wanted to keep it, but lately it's found a home in the middle of our kitchen island.  It's nice to have everything clustered together and easy for arms to reach when sitting at the island.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Our Family Portrait- Cross-stitched


Remember the cross-stitch family portraits I made over a year ago?  I finally got around to making one for our family.  It's a great project to work on while I wait for Grace to be finished with her ballet class. I love how it turned out!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Harris

(this is life with Harris- he's usually upside down!)

I grew up in a household of all females (my Dad died when I was 3 months old) and I didn't have a strong, influential male presence in my life to speak of.  So when Harris was born I wondered if I'd have any idea of what to do with a boy.  However, it turned out to be a non-issue.  In fact, we used to joke that if I could unzip my skin he would crawl right in!  He was always a cuddler, loved to be held, and would tell me 20,000 times a day that he loved me.  And I loved it.  Harris has always been my baby and I think I've treated him as such instead of noticing that he's getting big and his world and interests are changing.  And while he will always be my baby there are a few things that I'm trying to adjust in my parenting of him...

He's still a loving child (most of the time!) but at 9 I've definitely noticed that he usually prefers his Dad to me.  Bryce is the first one that he asks to go outside and throw a ball, to read to him, to ask a question of, etc.  Also, the hand holding doesn't usually happen in public any more.  It's made me a bit sad but I've decided to try to do something about it instead of feeling left out.  First of all, I think it's great that he connects so much with his Dad and I know that it's important and necessary, but I also think I've contributed to it.  I got in the habit of saying, "Go ask your Dad" or "Maybe later I'll play" and I think I said it so many times that he just stopped asking.  So my goal this spring is to get out there, stretch myself a little more and learn to throw a ball!  I've realized that as a Mom to a son the only way I'm really going to keep a strong connection is to show interests in those things that interest him even when they don't hold much interest to me or are out of my comfort zone.  For me this is going to mean working harder to be involved in what the children are interested in doing (hiking, sports, music, etc.)  instead of letting it always be a "Dad thing."

Harris is not always a big sharer of information, after school we will often get the "fine" answer to the "how was school today" question.  I'm trying to do better about asking more specific questions and then being 100% attentive when he answers instead of trying to multi- task (which I'm really not very good at doing!).

Also, Bryce and I have inadvertently gotten in the habit of doing gender specific things with the children!  I take Grace to ballet and he takes to baseball.  Bryce learns what computer games the children are playing while I... don't.  Some of this is just the way things work best for us, but I think we could do better and mix it up a bit more.

Tell me, how do you keep a strong relationship with your children?




Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring




Happy Spring to you all!  I love the change in seasons, and in fact, I'm really looking forward to spring this year.  We've had a cold, snowy winter which is how I like it, but I'm ready for some lighter clothing,  beautiful flowers, green grass and time spent on the porch!



Several weeks ago Jenn alerted me to a new app called Waterlogue.  It take your photos and transforms them into watercolors!  I've had a great time making my past flower arrangements of peonies and hydrangeas into works of art!  What better way to usher in Spring than to dream of flowers...



Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Thank You



I owe a huge thank you to Bryce.  For two full weekends he took over all household and parenting duties!  He's always been a hands-on Dad so taking care of the children isn't a big deal, but let's be honest, doing it all by yourself on the weekends isn't that fun whether you're the Mom or the Dad.



When my girlfriends visited from Atlanta, in order to give us quiet time together and the run of the house, he took the children on a weekend trip to Philadelphia.  They explored Center City and had a grand time.  And apparently ate a lot of french toast and cinnamon buns!



This past weekend when I went to visit Memphis, I don't think I could have picked a worse weekend if I tried!   The children had an unusually full weekend filled with ballet rehearsals, ballet performances, Scout dinners and gymnastics.  It's no easy task to get the children to these events when we can split up- much less when there is only one of us!


So thank you Bryce, the children and I are so blessed to have you as a father and a husband.  Purple Sunsets Forever.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Memphis




This past weekend, I flew down to Memphis, Tennessee with Cathy to visit Kristin!  We had such a lovely time and it was a perfect mixture of downtime with some site seeing too.  We stayed up too late, ate good food (BBQ and sweet tea for me!), chatted about many, many topics and even watched The Dallas Buyers Club while curled up on the sofa!


I've never been one to care much for Elvis, but, surprisingly, I enjoyed touring Graceland.  Fascinating to get a glimpse into the King of Rock and Roll's inner life (even if it was a rose colored glasses glimpse).




Beale Street was really hopping due to a St. Patrick's Day parade.


I cannot tell you how much I loved the ducks at The Peabody and look forward to taking the children.  Do you know the story?  Read about it here.  We watched the ducks march out of the fountain while sipping a cocktail!  The Duck Master clearly enjoys his job parading the ducks in and out!




(man, I love it when a theme is embraced!)





Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Leprechaun and a Rainbow


I hope you all had a fun and happy St. Patrick's Day.  Honestly, we didn't do much to celebrate. In fact, neither of the children made a leprechaun trap or even wore green!  However, both of the children were home from school today (one was under the weather and one had a scheduled teacher work day) so I made them a leprechaun and rainbow lunch.  The leprechaun is a spinach tortilla cut out to resemble a hat and filled with cheese.  His face is a whole wheat tortilla cut in a circle and filled with cheese.  Once both parts were cooked, I put them together, made a cheese beard and broiled it in the oven for just long enough to melt the cheese.  I used a food marker to make the eyes.  He turned out so cute!  And why do children like anything on a stick?  It made Harris so happy to have a rainbow fruit kebob!


*I originally saw the leprechaun here and her instructions are a lot more precise than mine!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A (Mustache) Sleepover



Last week Grace had her two best friends over for a celebratory sleepover.  The past couple of years she has decided to forgo a large party for her birthday as she prefers small gatherings of family or friends.   Grace took charge of planning the sleepover, even making a basic outline!


We had a loose theme of mustaches since she loves them so.  She made invitations to send to the girls even though it was only two!


Once I brought the girls home from school they had a snack of root-beer floats and cookies.  I found the candy mustaches at Target!




For dinner, we made individual "face" pizzas.  The girls had so much fun with this!  I laid out vegetables (and pepperoni too!) and the girls arranged them on the pizzas to make funny faces.  Our local pizza joint sold me individual sizes of pizza dough which made this so very easy!




Instead of a cake (we had already had a mustache cake!) the girls decorated their own cupcakes.



Grace really loved the idea of a doughnut cake so that's what we had for breakfast, along with differently flavored milks.



Grace sent the girls home with little favor bags filled with chocolate mustache lollipops, the girls favorite candies and individual mustaches that Grace got out of a grocery store vending machine!







Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Trip to California



I'm so excited because we are going to California in the late spring!  I've never visited and it's going to be a kid palooza vacation, but I just know it's going to be great!  On our list?  Disneyland, Legoland and San Diego.  Our Empty Nest list includes a trip to Disney (San Diego Zoo too) and I've always wanted to visit.  I grew up very close to Disney World but planning a trip there seems really overwhelming to me and yet Disneyland seems doable.

Lately, two blogging friends, Leah and Holly, have both made visits to some of these exact same spots and it's been super helpful to read their posts about their trips.  So I'm hoping if any of you have advice to share, that you will.  I'd love to hear about any can't miss spots, secret tips, avoid at all costs advise, best food to eat, etc.

Also, in planning our trip to Disney, I hear a lot about character dining.  Should we do that even though the children are 9 and 12?  I'm tending toward no, but am not sure what to do!






Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Weekend Visit with Friends


This past weekend Baby Club came to visit!  I was so, so happy to have them here and to have the chance to really catch up with them.  And catch up we did!  We all somehow survived with very little sleep (the time change didn't help!) but it was totally worth it.  I so admire these ladies for the way they live their lives and the way in which they parent their children.  I always come away from spending time with them with a little more knowledge about the sort of parent I want to be as my children get older.


Besides sitting around talking to all hours of the night, we spent a day doing some shopping.

Beautiful, vintage coats were tried on...


Good food was eaten...


And warm drinks consumed!


Another day we went into NYC to see a show...


Eat at the famous Stardust Diner...


Walk around Times Square for a bit...


And have a drink at the beautiful Campbell's Apartment in Grand Central Station...


I so appreciate these ladies taking the time from their busy schedules and family life to spend time here- let's do it again soon!
 
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