Monday, January 25, 2016

Cheers To The Weekend: Errr...On Monday Edition

I had plans of finishing writing and publishing this post on Friday, but alas, last week turned into a busy one, filled with school volunteering, 100-day celebrations, birthday party planning for a very special friend, snow playing, and on and on and on.. <3 So, today I am saying CHEERS to the weekend....after the weekend-ha! Here's a small bit of what we were up to last week and what we were CHEERS-ing: 

Bundled up babies. 'Nuff said. ;)

100th Day of School. This school year is flyyyyying by, and I am counting down 'til summer, when I'll have all three of my littles home with me. Last Thursday was the 100th day of school, and each kindergartener was asked to make a shirt with 100 items on it. It should come as no surprise that my little big guy wanted 100 footballs on his shirt. He had such a fun day! And now, less than 80 days 'til summer!

Playdates. All three of my babes had individual playdates last week, which they loved. And then, on Tuesday, I took my littlest two to SkyZone for a special (double) momma date. 

Surprise school lunches. After our trip to SkyZone, Raleigh, Harrison, and I had so much fun surprising Banks for lunch!

Snow!!! We got a couple of inches of snow and ice on Friday/Saturday, which meant (1) no school on Friday, (2) lots of snow fun as a family on Saturday, and (3) a 2-hour delay today! 

Grown-Up Game Night. My hub and I had the BEST time on Friday night at an adults only dinner party and game night with some of our favorite neighborhood peeps. The food was amazing (thank you Matthews family!), the company was awesome, the drinks were flowing, and the laughs continued until late into the night. So, so fun!

Pajama Party Wine Tasting. The following night, one of my girlfriends and I hosted a pajama wine-tasting birthday party for one of our nearest and dearest. It was an absolute blast! When my hub and I used to live in Atlanta, we would do this each month with some close famliy/friends; so, when the forecast turned dangerous as the weekend approached, my girlfriend and I changed our original Uptown Charlotte restaurant party plans to an in-home jammie/wine party. And it did not disappoint! It was SO fun!!! Happy 35th to our girl, V! 

 My first attempt at making a banner with my new Silhouette.
 Rachel and me, the co-hostesses :)

The birthday girl and me :)

The start of a new sport: basketball! Last week, Banks started his lastest atheletic endeavor: basketball! I have vivid memories of cheering on my big brother in his bball games as a child, and it was awesome to see Banks take to the court (and score his first official basket!) late last week. :)

And with that, we say CHEERS to a new week! One filled with lots of promise and excitement and new arrivals and celebrations and amazing blessings for family and friends we love so dearly. <3 
Have a great week, y'all!
Oh, and also? GO PANTHERS!!!! KEEP POUNDING! We'll be cheering loud and proud for our Panthers, especially our favorite Panthers player, Graham, as he and his teammates head to the SUPER BOWL! Woohoo! What an awesome year for our two favorite football teams! Now, we just hope that the outcome for the Panthers is better than it was for our Tigers. Go Panthers!!! Bring it on home!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Remember Not To Forget...

1 year, 8 months.
"One, Two, Fwee, Fo-uh, Fie, Sics, Seben, Eight, Nine, TEN! Hewe I come!" His precious voice rings out as he runs joyfully around the house, looking for his big sister during a boisterous game of hide-and-seek. 

To say my little buster's language has grown leaps and bounds over the last few months is an understatement. He is putting little phrases/sentences, together, adding lots of inflection to everything he says, and making sure to keep all of our attention by putting his face directly in ours when we focus on something else for even a moment. He answers complex questions ("What'd you dream about last night?" "Banks!" or "Milk!" he answers, or whatever else his sweet heart comes up with) and follows directions amazingly well.

He loves to sing. L.O.V.E.S. to sing. Twinkle, twinkle. You are my sunshine. This little light of mine. ABCD..., Wheels on the bus, Bringing home a baby bumblebee. At any given moment, if you are within earshot, you will hear the sweetest little boy singing his heart out, smiling from ear to ear when he realizes he has an audience. 

This boy somersaults. Jumps. Runs. Hops. Bounces. Dances. Tiptoes. Climbs. And all, gleefully. All, with complete confidence and poise. 

He adores his big brother. And feels so sad when his big sister is away at school. He loves his momma but is obsessed with his daddy. The once shy and separation-anxiety-filled little boy is now an outgoing, confident, friendly fella, one who loves animals and bubbles ALMOST as much as he loves school buses. Those are his most favorite. 

His sweet tooth rivals that of his momma's. While not much of a meat-lover, he does enjoy "co-ern" and "bean beans." And he can drink any milk addict under the table. :) 

He sleeps with his "blank" and "bubby" for every nap and night-night, never putting up a fight when it's time for some shut eye. He enjoys a good snuggle and gives the best hugs, saying "Squeeeeeeze" while he oh so affectionately wraps his arms around our necks. 

He adores reading books and watching "Puck," the name he gave "Peppa Pig," which is now the term the whole family uses when watching the cartoon. Being outside is his happy place, whether it be cruising in the wagon during family bike rides, soaring through the air on his swing, jumping on his trampoline, or drawing to his heart's content with sidewalk chalk. 

"He is just happy to be here," my hub and I always say. And boy oh boy, are we glad he is. <3

4 years. 
She doesn't walk. She floats. She prances. She moves through the world with the greatest of elegance. Coordinated and flexible, long and lean, her graceful movements come naturally. 

She is sneaky and daring, this one, and is often found pushing limits, breaking rules, and trying to get away with all she can. She learns quickly and easily and, while flattered by praise, is easily discouraged when reprimanded. Although sensitive at times, she bounces back quickly, and can go from happy to sad to happy again, like the flip of a switch. 

She spells and writes her name beautifully, loves to color, and has come into her own in preschool this year. She enjoys dancing and crafting, singing and performing. But most of all, this girl loves fashion. Not loves. Adores it. Dresses are her love language. She is happiest when discussing clothes, which is why her consequence for making bad choices is losing the right to choose what she wears that day. 

She loves painted nails and lipstick, dress-up clothes and princesses. But she can hit and throw a ball with the best of them. And while she would often prefer to play quietly with her "honeys" (aka dolls), she won't hesitate to take on her big brother in a sword fight or get involved in a game of family football. She loves the outdoors and can often be found holding worms or snails or lizards or any other creepy crawler that comes her way. 

She is the girliest tomboy I know. She is my best pal. Her warm smile and genuine giggle will light up even the gloomiest of days. And the beauty of her golden curls is rivaled only by that of her loving heart. We are so thankful she is ours. <3

6 years. 
He is the definition of a first born: a rule-follower, a leader, a high-achiever. He sets goals and pushes himself to reach them, competing even when there is no competition-we have no idea where that competitive spirit came from. ;) 

He walked into kindergarten and never looked back. Never hesitated. Adjusted easily. And made new friends along the way. He behaves well, is kind to all, and does his homework each day...with only minor complaining. :) His memory is like no other and hearing him read with growing confidence, ease, and fluency each evening makes this momma's heart so very proud.

But. Sports are his happy place. More specifically, football is his passion. He eats, breathes, lives, and loves football, sitting silently to watch televised games, playing his heart out on his own flag football team, practicing every spare minute he can squeeze into his day, and wearing a jersey as much as physically possible. He is happiest when outdoors and in the company of friends--and when those things collide and end up on a football field, well, you'll never find a happier boy. 

He is creative and clever, often creating his own artistic projects at the desk in his room, his walls now decorated with drawings and masterpieces he has hung himself. Most artwork centers around football and Star Wars, and he loves surprising his mom and dad with special notes and letters for no reason other than because he wants to tell them that he loves us through his creations. 

Never have I seen a kinder, gentler, more loving big brother. He is patient and helpful and sweet and forgiving, even when younger siblings do their best to step on his toes. He loves affection and he loves attention and will go to great lengths to ensure he gets both many, many times throughout the day. 

He loves his friends almost as much as he loves his family and is so proud that he is now permitted to walk or ride his bike to his buddies' homes all by himself. Although once hesitant and scared when faced with new obstacles, he now faces them head-on, such as no longer hesitating to ride full-speed down a hill on his two-wheeler. He now welcomes the challenge. And smiles proudly when he accomplishes it.

He is one in a million, our oldest one. And we thank God for him each and every day. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The 2016 Natty

I have always been proud to be a Clemson Tiger. 

After graduating high school, I initially enrolled at Georgia Tech. However, it didn't feel right. It didn't feel like me. I changed my mind. I knew Georgia Tech wasn't the place for me. I knew I wanted to be a Clemson Tiger. That change was one of the best decisions of my life. I met my husband, met my best friends, and proudly cheered on our Tigers, both on the football field, as a Rally Cat, and in the stands, as a student. I was a proud student and am a proud alum.

Never, though, have I been prouder than I was walking out of the University of Arizona stadium on Monday night, after a nail-biter of a championship game. 

We lost.

But as time expired in the fourth quarter, with Alabama ultimately beating us 45-40, the Clemson fans remained in the stadium. We stood proudly, cheering on our Tigers, chanting the cadence count and then singing the alma mater as the team stood before us, singing right along with us. And then, as we walked to the parking lot, all I could see everywhere I looked were proud Clemson fans, with their heads held high, and chanting and cheering for our team as we exited the stadium. Throughout the airport the following morning, so many people approached us, as we still proudly wore our Clemson gear, saying what an amazing game it had been, how awesome our fans were, and how they had been pulling for us. I was one proud Tiger. 

It was a trip I'll never forget, from the moment we left for the airport until the moment we arrived back home. Here's how things went down for us as we ventured to Arizona for the 2016 College Football Championship: 

My hub, my brother, my sister "in law", and I headed to the airport mid-morning on Saturday, where we immediately stopped and grabbed a couple beverages before hopping on our plane to head to Phoenix but not before making a stop in Minneapolis, where we met a new friend. "Fireball Dale" insisted on buying us a shot of Fireball, as well as a round of drinks on the plane, and quite fancied my brother. ;)

We then hopped on our connection flight and landed in Phoenix, where we met up with my stepbrother and sister "in law." We quickly picked up our rental van and then grabbed a delicious dinner in Tempe, where we met up with more of our crew before heading to our rental house in Cave Creek, Arizona. 

Y'all. This house. Amazing. Thanks to our friend, Glenn, who found it, we spent the weekend in the lap of luxury, staying in this gorgeous, 6,000 square foot house, which had enough room for all 18 of us to sleep comfortably. Not only was it spacious and very "Arizona-y," it also had a movie theater, game room, pool, and hot tub, all of which were enjoyed throughout the weekend. 

On Saturday, some of us girls hiked a beautiful mountain for a couple of hours, where we saw cacti galore, including one called a "jumping cactus," which would actually have pieces break off and jump on you (!!!) if you got too close. Believe you me, I kept my distance. Regardless, it was an awesome hike and a great way to take in the beautiful scenery. 

 THIS is a jumping cactus. Still gives me the heebie jeebies. :)

Our group then met up for another delicious meal at a local restaurant. The rest of the afternoon, our large group broke off into subgroups, with some playing Top Golf, others visiting old town Scottsdale, and still others (including me!) resting, napping, and relaxing (heavenly, I tell ya!). That night, we all met back up at the house and had the best time! We grilled out delicious burgers, watched part of The Golden Globes in the movie theater room, and played lots of beer pong and pool :) before heading to bed at a decent hour to rest up for the big day. 

Ahhhh! Monday had finally arrived. We all got up, got ready, and piled in the party van to head to the National Championship game. It was SO surreal, driving into the city, with the mountains offering the most gorgeous backdrop, and seeing our own Clemson Tiger emblem on the stadium. We then met up with the rest of our friends at Gordon Biersch for lunch and drinks before walking over to the stadium to tailgate and take it all in. 

My sibs and I headed over to the ESPN tailgate zone, where there was a concert by Eric Church and Game Day was broadcasting. They had all kinds of drink and food stands, ziplining, cornhole, and all kinds of other things to do. I was so impressed with how beautiful and clean and convenient everything was! We stood right next to the ESPN VIP area and had prime viewing for lots of VIPs, including several head coaches and former star players. My hub was so excited that we bumped in Sammy Watkins and CJ Spiller, his two favorite Clemson football alums. 

We saw so many old friends from Clemson all over the place and had the best time taking in the scene around us before finally heading into the game. And what a game it was! Again, while it didn't end the way we were hoping it would, it was amazing to be there in person. Just awesome. 

As the game ended, we headed back to our rental home for a few hours of shut eye before rising EARLY to drive back into Phoenix to catch our flights home. I think it'll probably several more days until our bodies re-adjust to the time change and we catch back up on sleep-ha!

Meanwhile, back home while we were away, my little trio, along with their sweet cousin, had the best time with Bammy and Digby, who were just amazing while taking care of the 6-year-old, 4-year-old, 23-month-old, and 20-month-old kiddos. Whew! It'll probably take them several more days to catch up on sleep-ha!

The great news is that our Tigers are supposed to be even better next year; so, with any luck, we'll be repeating the entire experience in Tampa next year. Go Tigers!