Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day 2014

Well, Atlanta did it again!  We had a CRAZY day in the South due to about an inch of snow.  We loved it though because we got to play outside and Daddy didn't have to go into work.

The morning started really early and having a touch of cabin fever meant I did whatever the kids asked...and we now have a blow up mattress in the living room!
 They sure did have fun and get some energy out as it warmed up some outside!

 The sun finally started to give off a little heat...even though it was still in the low 20s.  Brr!  Zach thought ahead and brought a sled home that they found at the course.  A total kid at heart.
 Henry's 1st Snow...boy was it bright!

 Do you want to build a snowman!?!?!

 Time to SLED!

 Our poor southern babies can only take the cold for so long...especially since we have one pair of mittens and I cover their hands with socks.  Mommy Fail!
 We enjoyed some movies, warm blankets and the fire!  We also baked some yummy sugar cookies to share with our snowed in neighbors!
Hope you all are safe and warm and enjoyed your snow days, too!

For the Love of Organization!

I don't want this to come off sounding ungrateful...but Christmas was TOO much this year.  I even have told myself that I went too far.  I am so grateful for the love that has been shown to our kids and to Zach and I...but it has completely overwhelmed me about our 1,000 sq ft house!

We have turned our 3rd bedroom into more of a play room since Henry is still in our room (and I really have no desire to move him).  One night a week or so ago, enough was enough!  I had hit my breaking point and seriously was about to break down.  After a glass of wine....I was ready to get started.

I decided at 7:45pm to run to Walmart and grab 4 big tubs...1 for each week of the month.  1 tub per week of toys!  Once I got home...the organization began!

Here is the Before! Oh Lawd!
 After...breathe with me! Ahhhhh!  I did decide to leave the train table out indefinitely and the tent Evan got for Christmas can come out when they ask.  In each box, I placed boy and girl toys and split up stuffed animals and really tried to put something each of them LOVED in each box.  With each rotation, I am going to be looking at what they play with the most and what might not get played with.  If it doesn't get played with...hello Goodwill or Kid 2 Kid!  I just don't have the space for extra!
 I also placed all things "school" related in separate boxes that are stored in our craft (nice name for junk) closet in the hall.  These are things we use often like Tag Books, playdough, crayons, coloring books, construction paper, etc.
So far, the rotation system is going great!  Zoe has asked for specific toys and I explain to her when she will play with those.  I have also found that the kids have outgrown certain toys like the pretend food...all it does is make a mess!  Bye Bye!

I am really hoping this will help keep our home cleaner, as well.  At the end of the night, the last thing I want to do is clean for another 1 hour!  It is so much easier cleaning up the contents of one box rather than 4!

Let's just hope the positivity continues!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January Randomness

Y'all!  It is just ridiculous how fast days go...and then I realize the month is gone!  January has come and soon will be gone and it is just insane!  So what has happened this month!

Lots of fun inside because it has been a cold month in Georgia.  These boys just melt my heart...but it isn't always all smiles.  Evan has been learning his boundaries and sadly that means lots of time out.  Henry will survive and be stronger for all the "love"...I hope!
 My big boy started The Music Class this month and LOVES it so far!  He has already memorized most of the CD and Bum Bum Bums all day long!  I feel so blessed to get to be able to do these fun things with my kids.
 Henry has joined us at the dinner table in his bumbo!
On some of the warmer days, we have been playing soccer and both Evan and Zoe are LOVING it!  Even Daddy is getting some much needed exercise!
 We have been taking random but clearly needed naps.  Zach found Zoe one afternoon in the tent, totally conked out!
 Lots of forts and tents and tunnels since we have been inside a lot.  These stools are very loved by my kiddos and their imaginations!

I am so happy to be back to doing some "homeschooling" with Zoe (I use the term lightly right now).  I have set up centers for her to do during Evan's naps 2 or 3 days a week.  Zoe thrives on structure and just loves to have things planned out.  We do centers from 12-3 and it has been working out so well!  Zoe is SO ready for school!  We had Zoe's assessment at St. John Bosco this month and should hear back soon on whether or not she is accepted!

 Like father, like son!  Evan loves the tool set he got for Christmas!

We have had a wonderful beginning to 2014!  My babies just make me so stinkin' happy.  I wouldn't rather be any where else but with the three of them each and every day!  Happy Full Heart!

How is Henry?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

It's a New Year

Happy New Year!  2014...Crazy!

We had a busy, busy 2013 and my hopes for 2014 is to slow down a little in the BIG events of our lives.  We renovated our home and had a baby in 2013...pretty sure nothing can top that craziness.  I look forward to so many things this coming year though!

In 2013, I started, very casually, homeschooling Zoe in preschool activities.  I enjoyed having activities planned ahead of time for us to do every day.  Keeping Zoe "entertained" had so many positives!  My house stayed cleaner, she was more behaved and we had less screen time.  I find when I don't plan ahead, TV becomes the focus so I can get some things around the house done.  Big Goal for this year is to plan our weeks so we can stay on task and not be so sedentary.  For me to accomplish this, it takes some action now.  I have a planner that I am going to take with me to see the current month and future months at one time, schedule appointments, have bill reminders, etc., but I am also going to keep a weekly planner on my desk to really plan out our days.  To accomplish this organization, I looked to my fav, Erin Condren, and ordered the Oh What A Week pad!  LOVE IT!  Every Sunday, I will sit down and take time to look at our week as a whole for activities for the family and dinners.
I am pretty sure our weeks will look pretty simpler with minor changes if we have doctor appointments or random playdates, etc. but it helps me so much SEEING it!

I am beyond excited that in addition to Zoe's weekly ballet class, I am going to be able to start Evan in a music class on Tuesdays!  My sweet Evan LOVES music and I am so excited to be able to do this with him.  We are going to be attending The Music Class at The North Georgia Dance & Music Factory.  I hope he loves it as much as I think he will!

One other thing that I am planning in addition to the kid's activities and dinners is my exercising.  I have been Jazzercising since last June and I seriously love it!  I think for anything to be successful, there has to be some sort of community.  I love the women I have met in addition to the awesome work out.  I look forward to seeing my Jazzercise friends every morning and that keeps me going.  I am not one of those women that the baby weight just falls off.  I delivered a 8 1/2lb baby and left the hospital 5lbs lighter...explain that to me!  And whoever said breastfeeding helps take the weight off faster must have been lucky because that is not the case with me.  Since coming home from the hospital, I have lost about 8lbs, no thanks to the holiday eating, and I cannot wait to have the rest gone...but that takes a lot of work for me and I have to schedule it in and stick to it!

 Another goal for this year is to save up for a membership to join the Gwinnett County aquatic centers.  I love our county because we have amazing parks and really great facilities!  There are multiple aquatic centers in our area that have indoor and outdoor water parks and lap pools.  When you join one, you join them all!  There is an annual memberships that is ridiculously affordable and would be such a nice thing to have during the summer and for rainy day activities.  I grew up swimming year around on a team, so my kids being able to swim is a must but in order for them to learn...we have to go to the pool!  Can't wait to get them swimming and have a lot of fun at the same time.

We also have some fun things planned for this year in the travel department.  Zach is taking a golf trip with his friends from college and I am going to Fairhope for my annual girl's getaway!  Zach and I are so excited to have these weekends away to rejuvenate, relax and have some fun!  I am planning a trip with the kiddos to Alabama for a week in March to celebrate birthdays and see family and friends.  I hope in the Fall, we will be able to plan a long weekend away to the beach or mountain as a family.  A full week away in a hotel or condo just doesn't sound vacationy to me with 3 kids, one being in his first year.  Zach and I have come to the conclusion that long family vacations will happen one day...but not anytime soon.  Until that day comes, long weekends work for us!

A big event that is occurring this year is that Zoe will be starting school!  After much prayer, we have decided to send Zoe to St. John Bosco Academy!  I am so very excited for her and our family!  It is a wonderful school with a beautiful community.  It is a hybrid school, which means 3 days home and 2 at school.  Personally, I feel it is the best of both worlds and truly an answer to my prayers.  Zoe will start in August in Pre-K. 

I am excited for this year and all that it will bring for our family!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 in Review

After a pretty relaxed 2012...we had to spice things up in 2013!  BOY did we!  2013 was full of many changes for our family!

Towards the end of 2012, Zach and I had some big decisions to make that would really shape our 2013 and take some stress out of our family.  Zach and I decided that 2013 was the year to get out of debt from our past so we could really move forward in our future!  A big decision we had to make to make being debt free a reality was to take Zoe out of school.  As much as we loved her preschool, it was not a necessity and was an added expense.  So january was full of lots of fun homeschooling activities for me and Zoe.  We did lots of crafts, visited the library for really fun events and learned lots about our letters.  We visited Kaitlin at Covecrest to celebrate her birthday.  Towards the end of the month, we visited Grandma and Grandaddy and got snowed in!  While in Tuscaloosa, we also got to go to the Children's Hands on Museum.

February began with Zoe and Zach's first Father/Daughter Dance at our church.  We continued on in our homeschooling with more fun crafts and activities around our letters.  We had lots of love in celebrating Valentine's Day and then learned all about Lent!  Evan was such a good sport and tagged along for the ride!  As the weather started to warm up, off and on, we played outside a ton.  For Lent this year, Zach and I gave up eating processed foods.  It was very challenging but quite eye opening.  We tried lots of new recipes and we were in the kitchen quite a bit!  We had lots of fun celebrating Zach's birthday.

March was quite exciting for our families this year!  Heather and Skylar welcomed Timber Dupree to the world and Chrysti and Joe welcome their first boy, William Joshua!  I was so happy that I was able to be a part of Josh's homebirth!  It was truly something I will never forget!  In March, we also found out that we were expecting our 4th beautiful baby!  We spent some more time in Alabama while Daddy attended his Men's retreat at Covecrest. And I officially became a full time stay at home mom!

Due to some very extreme pregnancy exhaustion, in April our homeschooling pretty much came to an end.  I could literally not keep my eyes open for the whole 1st trimester.  Zach and I had a fun night out to celebrate Sam and Katie and their wedding.  I went on the Women's Retreat at Covecrest!  We had lots of fun in Alabama for an Easter celebration and we told everyone we were pregnant in a surprise egg during our egg hunt.  We celebrated Easter at Covecrest this year and it was such a blessed celebration of our Lord's Resurrection!  We also said GOODBYE to debt in April!!!

May was Zoe's first ballet recital with Buford School of Ballet.  The production was of Alice in Wonderland at The Gwinnett Civic Center.  May brought gorgeous weather!  We enjoyed lots of days outside (when I had the energy) at Suwanee Fountains, Washington Farms Strawberry patch and in our own yard playing with the sprinkler.  Memorial Day Weekend we had a blast at the Mall of Georgia's free concert and movie under the stars.

June was full of fun!  Ally and I celebrated our birthdays.  We had our very first big roast over our fire pit in the back yard!  Zach and Zoe had their first camping trip with Brad, Nick, Ben and Flint up in North Georgia around Lake Burton.  I got to get away with my girlfriends to Fairhope for a weekend! We ended the month with a Gender Reveal Party where we found out our sweet baby would be a BOY!

July brought our first trip to Lake Oconee for the year!  Zoe had fun going to come summer camps offered by Gwinnett COunty Parks.  Evan had a first!  Evan broke both bones in his arm and had a full cast all of July and a half cast for half of August.  Zach continued working hard at the golf course and his landscaping business.  We had a pretty cool summer, so there was a lot less stress this summer!

August started by celebrating Evan's 2nd birthday with a backyard bbq!  The day after his party, Zach and I started a huge home renovation!  We decided that we needed to completely gut our main living space, redo our kitchen, dining and living spaces, as well as close in our carport to make a garage.  The month of August included framing the new garage, siding the exterior, painting, drywalling, moving our washer and dryer and installing a garage door!  Evan also got his cast off in the middle of the month.  At the end of the month, Zoe started back to ballet and we transitioned Evan into a toddler bed from his crib.

September brought more home projects and we started the demo on the interior.  We took a weekend off to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary at the lake.  We also celebrated Oliver's 3rd birthday in heaven.  Zoe, Evan and I loaded up and took a week in Alabama to visit family, while Zach completely gutted the kitchen, removing a wall and all the cabinets!  The last week of September, Zach took vacation and he laid the floors, installed the new cabinets and we had the granite measured for installation.

October began with new granite countertops and painting all of the interior!  I got to start shopping for some new things for our house like bar stools, lighting and a kitchen table.  Zach finished lots of odds and ends, including cabinet and recessed lighting, the backsplash and the fireplace.  In the middle of October, we celebrated our sweet Henry with a sprinkle at Dominick's.  The end of the month brought a close to our home renovation.  We had a blast enjoying fall at Washington Farms, decorating cookies and trick-or-treating around our neighborhood.

November came quick!  We started the month celebrating Zoe's 4th  birthday at Babyland Hospital in Cleveland, GA.  And on November 10th, we welcomed Henry James to the world!  The month was full of lots of adjusting to our new family of 5.  We had lots of visits from friends and family.  We celebrated Thanksgiving in Berry and at Covecrest.  We finished the month with Evan and Henry having RSV, absolutely no fun!

December started with lots of time at home to make sure our babies stayed well.  We started our Christmas festivities at Thompson's Tree Farm to pick out our tree.  We had lots of fun throughout the month decorating the house, making cookies, putting together a gingerbread house, watching Christmas movies and shopping.  We had so much fun celebrating Christmas this year at our home, in Berry with Grandma and Grandaddy and at Grammy and Papa's.  We closed out the year with our cousins, KK and ZZ on New Year's Eve and an early bed time!

Such a blessed year!  Wow does time go by so very fast and another year has come and gone just like that!  Can't wait to see what 2014 hold for our family!