Saturday, December 22, 2012

My kids...Bless Their Hearts

After living in Georgia for SEVEN years I've learned quite a lot about life in the South.
...Yes Ma'am, Yes Sir...Collard Greens and Black Eyed Peas...Tea is always Sweet...the people are sweeter..etc. etc.

However, THE MOST important thing I've learned is that if someone says "Bless Your Heart" you better run the other way.

So kids, get to running because this post is about you...Bless Your Hearts!

My sweet little cherubs have been acting quite "ugly" lately.
("ugly" is a Southern term meaning "horribly mean")

They fight with each other every chance they get.
Don't get me wrong they do have their sweet moments but when they get tired of sweet it gets sour pretty fast.
They taunt, they tattle, they call each other names, they even hit and tackle when they are angry.

They also refuse to take sweet pictures for the camera anymore.
The first thing out of Tyler's mouth when confronted with the camera is, 
"Do not put this on the blog."

(but why, sweet boy?)

 All in all, I know they act like typical 6 and 8 year-old siblings.  
...Bless Their Hearts...

And I love them with all I have.

With that said, enjoy the latest pictures.

Tyler (jazz hands courtesy of Lauren)

 reading before he noticed me with the camera

after noticing the camera

talk to the hand

Lauren wants in on the action as well.
(partial rabbit ear courtesy of Tyler)

cutie pie!

I may get frustrated with L and T and complain from time to time but I really treasure them and treasure the memories we all make together.

The school Christmas parties were especially meaningful this year.

Lauren and her gingerbread house.

Tyler decorating a sugar cookie.

T making some "Reindeer Food"

Tyler being Tyler in front of the camera.
(will that tooth ever grow in?)

And Finally,
In light of recent events (the school shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut)  I found myself tearing up and emotional at Tyler's first grade Christmas party.  Just look at the laughter and fun being had by Tyler's classmates.  This is what first grade should be like.
How could someone choose to hurt those babies?

May God Bless the families of the victims and everyone else left with a hole in their heart.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Spirit

We've got Spirit
Yes, We Do!
(well, we're working on it)
How 'Bout You?!

Our House
(minus some lights)

Our House
(with a few more lights)

This year Matt agreed to buy a REAL tree to put in the basement.
(Our artificial tree is on the main floor as usual.)
I'm hosting a couple of Christmas parties which will be held in the basement and we REALLY needed a REAL tree.
Thanks Honey!

 decorating the REAL tree with ornaments

making a paper chain

it's getting longer


I was so impressed with the tree and the children's decorative ability right up until Lauren approached me with an old ornament.

"1988" was written in Sharpie on the back.
Lauren said, "Momma, was this you with your hair pulled back or was it one of your brothers?"
 Seriously, Little Girl?!!!

Not all of us can look as innocent and beautiful as sweet little Lauren.

I'm loving Christmas Time and I hope you are too.


I've been working with Lauren's school to get her some extra help with the Speech Language Pathologist because she has some trouble pronouncing her "R"s.  
Last year I met with the vice-principal and the speech pathologist and they gave me some tips to help Lauren out but didn't formally admit her into the program.
This year 'the powers that be' and 'her teacher and I' are going back and forth with whether she needs some extra help.

I say yes she does.

"Exhibit ONE and ONLY!"

For extra credit on her weekly spelling test she was asked to spell "arithmetic."
She heard the teacher say it but when she sounded it out in her head she came up with a "w" instead of an "r."

To me that IS an obvious indication that she needs some help with her "R"s.
But I suppose the school thinks she's doing just fine since she still got 102% on her spelling test.
(My answer to that though is that after a whole week of practice she obviously memorized the 20 words on her spelling test but actually had to sound out the extra credit words. B1 & B2) 

Teacher friends and fellow parents...what do you recommend?
Should I keep pushing for some extra help?
(I will anyway but I still want to hear what you have to say.)

On a lighter note:
Christmas Pictures were taken a few weeks ago.  I didn't buy any but thought I'd share the proofs with you.
Lauren:  such a sweety!

  Tyler:  with his Angry Birds hat.
The photographer pushed his hat straight up to see more of his face but in doing so got rid of the Angry Bird.
Awesome Photo!  =)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Weekly Menu 12/2/2012

Sunday:  Chipotle Beer Chili with Lime Crema  YUMM!  (We had some friends over watching football  and the Chili pretty much disappeared.)
Monday:  Bacon Ranch Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes  (This was loved by all as well.  I think I've decided I will cook anything Mary Ellen posts to her blog.)
Tuesday (today:)  Creamy Cajun Shrimp Linguine  Delish.  M, L, and myself quickly devoured this but T seemed to be holding out until breakfast.  He loves his breakfast.
Wednesday:  Left-overs or Pantry Meal
Thursday:  Harris Group Christmas Party, frozen pizza for the kiddos
Saturday:  Pineapple-Salsa Chicken  Soft Tacos

Last week was a Pantry Meal Week.  I looked at what I had in my pantry and then Google searched what I could make for dinner.
The best of the best:
Salsa Chicken Rice Casserole  (I replaced the salsa with a can of Rotel.  just do it!!)
Chicken Stroganoff (another Mary Ellen post)
Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower (found on Pinterest)

Buen Provecho!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nashville in November

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
We had a delicious meal and were very thankful to share it with some extended family.

My cousin Kelly joined us for the second year in a row.  It's nice to have family in a neighboring state (North Carolina.)  Yes, it does border Georgia...look on a map.

I didn't take any pictures of our Thanksgiving dinner this year so to see Cousin Kelly you could look at last year's Thanksgiving post -or- for your viewing pleasure I present cousin Kelly held by yours truly circa early 1990s.
(yes my bangs are permed and yes Kelly looks exactly the same)

We were also fortunate to share Thanksgiving with MeMa and PaPa.

MeMa's 40th birthday (or something like that, hence the question mark) fell on the day before Thanksgiving.
Tyler and Lauren wanted to make her a cake all on their own.
Well done kids, obviously MeMa was very impressed.
Happy Birthday!

The day after Thanksgiving we took off for a little road trip.
Nashville, Tennessee, here we come.

We took a short (if you call 4 hours short) detour to show MeMa and PaPa the Smoky Mountains and Cherokee country.

Before leaving Georgia we stopped and hiked around 

It was beautiful and the weather was perfect.

As we drove on toward the Smokies, the weather took a turn for the worse.  We ran smack into the cold front which meant rain and fog for the entire trip over the mountains.
I was too chicken but Matt braved the cold and biting rain to snap a picture at the North Carolina and Tennessee border.

After hitting every single light in thick traffic we finally made our way through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and then enjoyed a smooth stretch of highway taking us to Nashville.

Nashville was a blast!

We heard some live music
(and took the kids)

We toured the Ryman Auditorium.
--awesome, highly recommended--
--see a show if you can--

Minnie Pearl and Roy Acuff statue in the lobby
(I fell in love with Minnie Pearl during the tour.  I would love to find some old dvds, tapes? of her.)

We also toured the Country Music Hall of Fame.
I first visited the museum with my dad shortly before he died.  Our next trip to Nashville, after he passed away, I chose not to visit the museum because I wanted my only memory of the Hall of Fame to be that when I went with my Dad.  (He was absolutely enthralled.)

However, I decided to visit it again this time and try to see it through his eyes.  
I'm so glad I did.
I was a bit emotional (I hid it well) but I thoroughly enjoyed my father-in-law's (PaPa's) reaction.  It reminded me so much of my dad.

THANKS for the memories! 

After two days of Museums and two early evenings (we left by 8pm okay?!) of live music on Music Row, we rewarded our very well behaved children (the bartenders even said so) with a trip to the 
We've been here before but since then they had completely renovated and added-on.  We ended up spending about five hours here.

The space exhibit was AMAZING! and included an iPad like spinwheel map.

We were able to locate our house!
(center of the screen)

Learning about working in zero gravity and Newton's Laws of Motion.

Exploring the ups and downs of life in a wheel chair.

At the top of the THREE-STORY playground.

Monopolizing the BLOODSTREAM exhibit.
Matt helped them build an elaborate path that no other child dared to disturb their work.

The Amazing Aging Machine
(do not smoke!!)

Our last exhibit at the museum.
The kids played here for over an hour.

and Matt did this. =)

Whenever we drive home from Nashville it's become a tradition to take the FREE tour of the
This trip was no different.
Every time we learn something new.

Us and Jack.

How many times have your kids taken the Whiskey Tour? 

We've actually taken it three times but I hesitated to put the middle picture in.  It's not very flattering (of me) but I'll do it for the kids.  =)

I don't think these tours are taking a toll on the kids at all.  Look at what resonated with Tyler.
(Along the tour we went through many buildings, each with many EXIT signs.)
He came home and drew this quite accurate EXIT sign (with screws and all) and wanted to hang it on the nearest EXIT.

Love that kid, love my family, and loved my Nashville in November.