Friday, February 27, 2009

Amazing Grace

Tomorrow is Grace's 7th birthday and just typing that makes me tear up.  Where has the time gone?  I distinctly remember the day she was born and how our lives changed in such a new and wonderful manner.  I remember her delicious babyness and how good it felt to hold her for hours on end.  I remember staring at her in complete awe that we created this perfect little person.  I remember thanking God that she was ours.  Frankly, I think that Grace is amazing.  It is such a joy to be her Mom and get to watch her grow and stretch herself.  

Here are the top ten things that I think make Grace amazing... 

1.  She loves nature and the outdoors
2.  She believes in magic
3.  She loves her brother and calls him her best friend
4.  Her favorite food is butternut squash risotto (she will try any food - she just doesn't care for zucchini or red peppers)
5.  She says prayers every night for her family, grandparents, cousins  and a boy she has never met but heard has cancer
6.  She's really creative
7.  She made a "to do" list the other morning
8.  She gets really enthusiastic and excited about things
9.  She doesn't yet care what others think of her, she still very much does her own thing
10.  She loves to read and sleep

I could go on and on...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Colors

I've been loving brightly colored things the past few days, maybe it's because I'm starting to get anxious for spring! Here are a few things that I love...

I just stuck these "frames" on the stairwell going up to the attic playroom. They are just stickers that you can peel on and off!

Harris has been interested in learning the alphabet so I got these beautiful felt magnetic letters. I like playing with them even more than he does.

Years ago Bryce got me this Jelly Belly dispenser. I adore Jelly Belly's, my absolute favorite being the pear (seriously they taste even better than pears!). I just filled it up and we chose all fruit flavors...I think that they should count as a serving of fruit!

I found these at Target the other day. I love birthday candles, especially long ones! I think that these would be great for St. Patrick's day, an artistic party, a rainbow cake and about a zillion other fun parties!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Frames Wallpaper

I finally finished wallpapering the attic bathroom and I LOVE it!  As I have mentioned before, the attic is one of my favorite places to be, but the bathroom has always lacked personality.  I decided to follow Linda's advice and let the children "go wild with their painting."  I'm going to try very hard not to try to control their artistic expression (but it will be hard!).  I also loved Holly's suggestion to do the frames a little at a time and to date them, so that is what we will do.  
The bathroom is very small and has a lot of angles so it is hard to get a good picture.  Here is a "before" shot.

P.S.  I cannot tell you how much I love that Grace always gives herself flaming red hair and Harris yellow, fluffy curls.  When she decided to draw their portraits I was so happy!  

Monday, February 23, 2009

State Books

Bryce and I have an "empty nest" list. The items on the list are things that we want to do with the children before they leave the house and we are empty nesters! One of the things on the list is to visit every state! Now I can't imagine what is going to get us to Idaho but time will tell.

Have you seen this series of books? I found them years ago when we were on a trip to Florida. They are really great because they are written in simple prose form so it's easy for younger children to understand but they also have a lot of in-depth information in the sidebars. Before we go on a trip I always buy the book for the state we are visiting and then write in the inside of the book about our trip. So far we have 12 books...only 38 more to go!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fairy Invitation

Grace's 7th birthday is coming up and we are celebrating with a woodland fairy party (of course!).  We hand delivered the invitations because I couldn't figure out how to mail them!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Travel box

Our trip to Virginia meant that we spent 7 hours in the car...both ways! Bryce and I are not the parents who happily sing camp songs and chatter excitedly with the children the whole way so on our last car trip to Vermont I created a box full of car activities that kept the children busy and entertained for a lot of the trip. I did the same for this trip and it really worked well. Harris got antsy the last hour of the trip coming home, but overall they did really great!

In the box I included drawing pads for both of the children, magnetic scenes, markers and crayons (the triangle kind because they don't roll!), Brainquest, Rubberneckers (this is a favorite), a map of our journey, books, books on tape (thanks Marci!) and lots of magnetic words, letters and pictures.

The most useful piece of equipment for the car trip is the two cookie sheets that the children use to draw on, hold their cards, use their magnets on and to use as a tray if we eat in the car! It is a must have for car trips! What do you use to keep everyone busy in the car?

P.S. They were not in the box but we also had a stash of movies and Curious George episodes, we pulled them out when needed!

Trip to The Homestead

Whew. We are back from our trip to The Homestead. We brought back with us some really fun memories, some new skills and a ton of laundry! We squeezed a lot in our short visit but never felt like we were doing too much. I thought I would share some highlights and then Bryce will post a lot more pictures on a web album for those who are interested.

The Homestead was beautiful and really was our kind of place! It dates back to 1766 and everything was done so beautifully and with such attention to detail. We parked our car when we arrived and didn't get back in it until we left. Everything we did was either in the building (which is huge) or on the mountain behind the hotel. When we arrived Sunday night, we went up to the mountain lodge and sat by the fire and listened to some live music. We were hoping to watch the fireworks but the children were really tired and we didn't want to start off the trip with two tired, cranky children. However, shortly after we tucked the children into bed the fireworks started and we could see them perfectly out our window. We watched them in the comfort of our room, in our pajamas!

On Monday, after a huge breakfast, we went tubing. The children (and Bryce) loved it! They wanted to do it again and again!

Bryce and Harris

Grace starting down the hill

At the bottom

We found the octagonal pool which is where the hot springs come up. All around the pool they have benches for you to sit and dip your feet in. We decided that it was like having a budget conscious spa treatment!

Probably one of Grace's favorite things we did was go swimming in the indoor pool. Not only was the setting stunning but the water was the warm, mineral water from the springs so it was a pleasant temperature.

Monday night we had a formal dinner and dancing in the ballroom. We weren't sure how it would go with the children at such a "fancy" dinner, but I believe that it is an important experience for them to have so we gave it a shot. They did great! They really took it seriously and enjoyed getting dressed for dinner, I wish I had a picture of Harris where you could see his tie! They had a great time dancing with each other and us. Harris kept spinning everyone and trying to dip Grace and me! It was very sweet.

Tuesday morning Grace and Harris learned to ski! They had an hour lesson and in no time they were really doing great. Harris liked the speed and Grace was most interested in getting the mechanics correct.

Grace and I enjoyed tea in the afternoon after we went skiing.

Before dinner we went bowling in the Bowling Center. I loved the vintage charm of the center and the shoes were so cute on the children!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Homestead

How excited are we? We left this morning to head to The Homestead in Virginia. They had a great deal and we decided to take advantage. I first heard of The Homestead (10 or so years ago) when I read an article about it in Southern Living magazine. I've wanted to go ever since! We are going to put the children on skies, go sledding, ice skating, and watch fireworks for President's Day. I can't wait to get there!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

For Valentines Day we....

...followed a trail of kisses to our Valentines, opened Valentines from family and friends...received a knitted coffee cozy (pink of course) and gorgeous tulips... gave pouches full of hearts to carry with us and a red thermos to warm us on cold days...ate heart pancakes with whipped cream and strawberries...were delighted to receive  a teeny, tiny letter from Rose, the Valentine fairy...dressed up to go to a dinner party.   Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Abe Lincoln

 To celebrate Abe Lincoln's birthday (and President's day long weekend), the children and I read several books about him.  My favorite one is by Kay Winters.  The book is written in a way that is understandable to children and the illustrations are just lovely.  We talked for a long time about what life must have been like back then, it's hard even for me to grasp!  

After we finished reading we made a log cabin out of pretzels and crackers.  We used soy nut butter to "glue" everything on, it was a messy, but yummy, project!  This evening Bryce asked where the cabins were because he had not seen them.  My answer?  "They ate them." 

Thursday, February 12, 2009


The children took their Valentines to school today and were so excited to give and receive them!  Grace made butterflies with lollipops and since Harris was not allowed to take any candy to school we made dough and shaped it into hearts.  They turned out really cute and the children had a lot of fun making them.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Atlanta trip, Part 2

Sunday evening, Kathleen and Jack hosted a gathering of some friends. I was so glad to spend some time with members of my old book club (I really, really miss you guys!). Brian and Bryan were also able to come. It was great to see Brian and get to know Bryan a bit more. Of course, it was great to see Geoff and Dawn as well (we will get that business going someday Dawn!).

Carrie, Amanda, Amy, Cindy and Patty

Holle, Thor, Geoff, Dawn, Kathleen, Jack, Bryce, Brian, Carrie, Brian and Bryan

On Monday we were able to have lunch with my sister, Delita. We met her downtown at her office but unfortunately we didn't get to spend time with Brendan or Bill.

Delita and me

That evening, I met Baby Club for dinner and chatting. I love spending time with them; you never know what we will discuss! It was looking like it might be an early evening because we ended up standing in the parking lot after dinner. We finally decided to go to Starbucks...except it was closed! We ended up in...wait for it...McDonalds! Hey, whatever works, right?

Candace, Jen, Audra, Amy and Julie

Much of this trip was spent visiting and hanging out with old friends. Every single time we visit Georgia we are reminded what wonderful friends and family we have there. I'm already looking forward to the next time we are able to visit.

P.S. Thank you, Kathleen and Jack, for housing us and letting us borrow your car. We couldn't ask for better friends!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Atlanta trip, Part 1

We are back from our trip to the toasty warm south! We had such a wonderfully great time! When we got to Atlanta on Friday we immediately headed up to the mountains (not before being introduced by Kathleen to some wonderful pork tacos). Kathleen and Jack were generous enough to let us borrow one their cars for the weekend (thank you again!). We were able to go to the rehearsal dinner that evening and were excited to see Alvis and meet Nesha. The next morning we toured the campus of Young Harris College and had lunch (BBQ!) together before meeting friends to go to the wedding.

We were thrilled to have good BBQ-the sweet tea is out of the shot but it's there!

The wedding ceremony and reception were lovely and the bride and groom looked beautiful and happy. While we attended YHC we were fortunate to have made many dear and lifelong friends and we were thrilled to see some of those friends at the wedding. Holle and Thor (two of Bryce's best friends) were there and I was so glad to see Angela (we were best of friends and college roommates!) and her husband, Brian. We were also really glad to visit with Thad, who Christened our children and was Bryce's roommate, and his wife Laura.

Nesha and Alvis

YHC alumni

Holle, Kathleen and Angela

After the reception was over we headed to our dear friends, Brian and Carrie's, Aunt's cabin. Jack and Kathleen were also staying the night and to our delight Holle and Thor joined us. It was so wonderful to have quality time with everyone. The next morning we all went together and had a good old-fashioned country breakfast.

Bella, Tristan, Holle, Thor, Jack, Kathleen, Bryce, Carrie and Brian

Friday, February 6, 2009

YHC chapel

We are off to Atlanta for five days!  Our dear friend, Alvis, is getting married!  We are super excited not only because we get to see people we love but also a place we love.  Alvis is getting married in the chapel at Young Harris College.  The chapel is very special to us because it was always a part of our life on campus, it is where Bryce proposed and where both of our children were Christened. Hope you have a great weekend! 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Packing List

We are getting ready to go to Atlanta for 5 days! The children are staying with my Mom (thank you, thank you, thank you). Grace and Harris really like packing their own bags for trips to Grandma's but often something will get forgotten, like pajamas or underwear. I saw this adorable packing list in Cookie magazine and was thrilled when I realized you could download it. It fits right in to my love of lists, pretty things and encouraging independence. You can get it here.
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