Friday, January 11, 2019

Cheers to the Weekend, Why, Hello January 2019! Edition

Here we are, 11 days into January 2019 already! At this rate, this year is going to FLY by even faster than last year! It's been an action-packed start to the year, and I'm happy to say cheers to a CLEMSON NATTY WIN!!!!!! to kickstart the post. That, and more we are saying CHEERS to this weekend: 

Clemson Natty. Okay, y'all know this Clemson diehard has to start this post with our incredible win over Bama. My hub and I were so excited and so grateful to see it all go down in person. We took an early morning flight on Monday morning and made it to our AirBNB in Santa Clara, California, right around noon. After grabbing some quick In-N-Out burgers, meeting up with a couple we love who we were sharing the house with, and freshening up, it was off to the ESPN tailgate to meet up with several of our college BFFs. With Keith Urban's live concert playing alongside us, we took in the scene, caught up with our friends, and got ready to enter the stadium. 

We went in about an hour before kick-off to grab some dinner and watch the pre-game prep on the field. Then, it was time for the game. I had told my hub for weeks that I just knew we were going to win this game. This team is special, our coaches are special, and I just had this unshakeable feeling. I did not feel one nerve, not the least bit of anxiety, at any point before or during the game. This was going to be our night. And I wanted to be there to see it in person. Honestly? I just didn't know it would be as awesome as a win as it was for our Tigers. I thought we'd win by a field goal, a touchdown maybe. But our Tigers had a different plan in mind. 

I cannot begin to describe how it felt in that stadium. It was a night I won't forget. One of the reasons I love our team is because our coach and QB never hesitate to give all the glory to God. They know that this is a game. It, nor their successes nor failures, define them. Their identity is in Christ and they use the God-given platform and talents they've been given to further the Kingdom of God. I just love our Tigers. <3

We stayed until long after the game was over, watched the trophy presentation and all the post-game speeches, collected some of the celebratory confetti, and savored the moment for what it was. We kept saying it felt like a dream (and then, like a nightmare, we walked a mile to get an Uber - ha! :/ ). 

After catching some zzz's, we took it easy the next morning before heading out to a winery (The Ridge), then lunch, then another winery (Testarossa), and then stopped at a local grocery store to get supplies for dinner. We headed back to our rental, where we relaxed and our friend cooked a delicious dinner. Then, my hub and I packed our things and headed to the San Fran airport to catch our 12:30 am flight. :0 We were asleep on that plane before it even took off - ha! ;) It was a whirlwind trip, and I would do it all over again  in a heartbeat to witness that win, spend time with my hub, and make memories with friends we love so much. Go Tigers! 

New Year's Eve/Day. Before the Natty, though, there was fun to be had to kick off the new year! On New Year's Eve, I did my annual countdown to 12:00 noon with my kiddos (aka Happy Noon-Year ;) ). Later, our little fam o' six headed to a fun neighborhood party with some dear friends. We let the kids stay up past bedtime but not all the way to midnight - in fact, this grandma made sure to set my alarm for 11:58 pm so that I would be sure to wake up for my NYE kiss from my hub. #oldtimers

We enjoyed our traditional New Year's Day meal of ham, collards, black-eye peas, and cornbread, all scrumptious thanks to my hub! We spent most of the rest of the day painting our playroom. It had not been painted for over a decade and still had the cheap paint from when it was built. After years of hardcore playing, let's just say it was in desperate need for an update. Enter: Sherwin William's Sea Salt. I love it because, depending on the time of day and the light that comes in, it changes from a greyish-blueish-greenish tint. It felt so nice to begin 2019 with a fresh start! 

Raleigh's actual birthday. I'm sure everyone has now seen my post gushing about Sensational Sleepovers and Raleigh's 7th Birthday Sleepover. But what about her actual birthday? Well, she began the day with the best surprise of her life: for literally TWO YEARS, she has been begging for a cat "when [I] turn 7." And here's the thing: our Raleigh is the most loving, nurturing caretaker of our bunch. What's more, Cooper, our miniature yorkie, who is now 14.5 years old, has been rapidly declining over the last 12+ months - he is now blind and deaf, has dementia, and sleeps the majority of the day. And yet, Rals loves and cares for him like no other. We knew she was more than deserving of having her birthday wish come true. So, about a month ago, I started searching for a rescue kitty, and about a week before her birthday we found him: the most precious, 5-week old kitten. This little fella was not supposed to make it, his foster mom told me. But he is a fighter. And our family has a thing for wee warriors. So, first thing in the morning on Raleigh's birthday, she opened a box to find pictures of her brand new kitten. With any luck, we'll be meeting him next week and then bringing him home the week after that. <3

Rals also enjoyed the traditional daddy-only birthday breakfast, a shopping and manicure date with momma, and plenty of playtime with new toys the rest of the day before her enjoying her birthday dinner request: what else but mac 'n cheese for our girl?! It was a great day for our 7-year-old Raleigh Jane. :) 

Birthday party central. Speaking of birthdays, we were in birthday party central last week/end with Banks having two parties for two good buddies and Harrison having two parties for two sweet friends. Between those and Raleigh's birthday, it felt like a non-stop party 'round here!  

And now, we are getting back into the swing of things. We have a few basketball and flag football games this weekend, and my hub and I are attending a charity event Saturday night. Otherwise we have big plans for lots of rest and recuperating from the wildness that was the start to January. I hope your year is off to a GREAT start. Happy 2019 to all and to all a good night! ;) 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Special "Sensational Sleepover" for Our 7-Year-Old!

The look on her face when she walked into our playroom and saw the scene before her is one I will never forget: 

She gasped as she took it all in. You see, she had decided months ago that she wanted her 7th birthday party to be a sleepover with a few of her best girlfriends. What she didn't know, though, was that I had reached out and contacted the most *AMAZING* new company, called Sensational Sleepovers, to set the scene for the most beautiful of slumber parties. So, when Raleigh walked into our playroom and saw this... 

 YES!!!!! These are mini tents for their dolls!!!! <3

...well, she was ecstatic!!! It literally took her breath away! <3

Before I share the party details, I have to give my highest possible recommendation to Sensational Sleepovers. The owner, Lorna, was FANTASTIC to work with. She came over several hours before the party and set everything up - including tents for the girls and their dolls, their bedding, their personalized chalkboards, their trays with an adorable art activity, balloons everywhere, twinkle was absolutely beautiful. It truly exceeded my every expectation!!! And Raleigh was just so excited about it all!!

Lorna also set up a pink carpet with a big photo back drop so the girls could feel like mini celebs and have their own photo shoot (which is another thing: Lorna returned about 30 minutes after the party began to take beautiful, professional photos of the girls (who were given matching jammies to keep and wear the second they walked in!)) having a blast. After the photo session was complete, Lorna left for the night only to return the next morning (after the party guests had gone home) to take down and clean up everything. 

Waiting for her guests and trying out the pink carpet :)

The movie stars have arrived! :)  

Y'all know I had to get Bella jammies to match the big girls, too!  

Lorna even grabbed a quick shot with my boys in the mix!

Sensational Sleepovers has been in business less than a year and yet were absolutely fantastic to work with. And have no fear, boy moms! There are boy-themed parties available, too (as well as more girl themes in addition to the one we chose for Raleigh's party). Y'all know I won't endorse products nor services just to endorse them. I only promote them if I truly believe in them, their utility, their mission, and the quality of the work. Friends, I seriously can't recommend Lorna and Sensational Sleepovers any more highly. If you want a beautiful party with virtually all the hard work taken out of your hands, look no further. Seriously, they make it so easy on us mommas and the kids LOVE it! Take a peek at their website, Facebook page, and Instagram page to learn more! And feel free to reach out to me if you want to know more about this awesome company: I am always happy to support a kind-hearted, hard-workin' woman pursuing her passion. :) 

NOW. Want to see a little more about what I've been gushing about? Here is a glimpse at Raleigh's 7th birthday party, which we celebrated last week with four of her sweet friends: 

The set-up.  Pretty sure the photos will do more justice than my wordy descriptions ever could. Here is one more look at the magic that Lorna and Sensational Sleepovers created. [Note: My hub and I had just painted our playroom a few days prior, and the timing worked out great! Our 10-year-old beige painted walls were in major need of an update. Enter new paint and a bare room (since we had cleared out the furniture to paint). It allowed for a wide open venue and a sweet sleeping space for the girls (and their dolls/stuffed animals)]. As soon as the girls arrived, it was time for a balloon war! 

And here are a few more cute shots with the backdrop that awaited the girls when they first walked into our home. After they changed into matching pajamas (which was one of the party favors they were gifted), they were all about snapping some "mini celeb photos" ;).

The food. Well, the food was easy! We ordered pizzas for dinner, had cupcakes for dessert, had popcorn during movie time, and had a spread of donuts, donut holes, and mini cinnamon buns for breakfast. Easy peasy!

The activities. We kept the girls busy from the moment they arrived at 4:00 pm Thursday until the moment they left at 9:00 am Friday! After their photo shoot and the balloon war :), I helped the girls make their own lip glosses (using cute little sets I bought from Walmart earlier in the week) and then painted their nails. 

After eating pizza, they each got to decorate their own cupcake before we sang "Happy Birthday" to Raleigh and let them devour them! 

Next up, it was time to open presents, get ready for bed, and start the movie (what else but Raleigh's favorite, The Greatest Showman), during which popcorn was served to each in individual buckets on their individual dining trays. :) And Raleigh was so sweet to invite her big brother to join them for the movie. <3

Letting big brother share her tent to watch the movie <3

Quick photo op with Momma :)  

And then, it was bedtime! The girls finally conked out around 10:00 pm and awoke shortly after 7:00 am...not too bad! While they ate their breakfast, we made friendship bracelets using the coolest friendship-bracelet-making kit Raleigh had received for a Christmas gift. Finally, the girls got dressed, packed their bags, and we waited for their parents' arrival. All left with smiles on their faces and took home their new jammies, lipglosses, friendship bracelets, and unicorn art. 

We seriously could not have had any more fun with these sweet, sweet girls. I am so thankful for the precious girlfriends Raleigh has in her life, for a company like Sensational Sleepovers to make her wildest slumber party dreams come true, and for a wonderful evening of celebrating our special 7-year-old. Happy Birthday, Raleigh Jane. Here's to many more!!!