Monday, December 11, 2017

A Quieter Holly Jolly

We had another fun weekend! Friday, both kids had friends over for the evening. It was a lovely low-key night that included watching snow fall and making smores in the fireplace. It just doesn't get much better!

Saturday, Issa had dance and the boys headed to the dojo, so I actually got to have a lunch date with Mom! We used to do that quite a bit, but the schedules have just not been playing nicely lately!

Saturday afternoon, I made homemade chicken noodle soup and bread. After way too much research, I have found a gluten-free noodle that actually holds up in soup! I also finally made a gluten-free bread that Brad truly loves. We have found others he likes, but this one is legitimately really good, and I have never been happier to have found a recipe. The afternoon and evening was filled with Christmas crafting and more fire and Christmas carols and more snow. Perfection.

Sunday, we were invited to Chestnut Ridge for a thank you dinner since I've been on the Board this year. The hayride was the highlight:
Camp really was gorgeous in the snow! We made more smores and pinecone Christmas trees and generally had a fabulous evening. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Over Slime

Y'all. This slime craze. It has to go. Yesterday was early dismissal, and Issa was very excited to have Ellie over for an afternoon of slime making:
 This is half of what they made:
 The brown slime is actually gingerbread slime, which actually does smell like a gingerbread cookie.

This is the aftermath:
That is a lot of glitter. It's all cleaned up now, and I feel slightly better because they are giving a lot of it away as gifts. But I'm super over slime. I don't get it. It's gross. It smells funny. Issa says it's relaxing, but I get totally weirded out by it. And this obsession. Issa forgot her glasses today but she remembered the slime. I. just. can't.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Full Weekend, Full Hearts

We had a very full weekend! Friday, Issa danced in the Mebane Christmas Parade! It is quite the parade, and we were incredibly lucky to score great seats! Not only was it in the parking lot of a place selling hot cocoa but it also had a row of tires along the edge. Evan was more than happy to perch there while Brad and I used the camp chairs. We did discover my flash is very bright:
 But I had two great dates to the parade:
 Evan was very tired of waiting by the time the parade actually started:
 Thankfully, shortly after that another family joined us. They had a third grade boy, and the two boys had a blast. They also had a toddler who fell in love with Evan! If he moved, she did. It was hysterical!

Saturday, the boys headed to the dojo and Issa and I made the gifts for her littles:
 And when Evan returned we baked cookies:
 Yes...Evan chose R2D2 and ninjas. I can't.

Issa went the more traditional route:
Buddy had brought us boxes to use to take cookies to the neighbors, so we made over 100 sugar cookies!

Saturday night, we went to see School of Rock at DPAC, and it was incredible! The kids got to go, too, thanks to Ryan, who wasn't using his tickets. Evan sat with me, and I loved hearing laugh out loud.

Sunday, we joined Nana for church and then had a lovely lunch before shopping. Nana and Issa went to do her Christmas shopping, and Evan tagged along with Brad and I to choose a new mattress! We can't wait for it to arrive next week! By the time we finished that, it was time to switch! Evan went shopping and Issa came home with us to finish homework.

Buddy had suggested we go see lights last night, but after such a full weekend we decided that elf was not the boss of us! We enjoyed a quiet evening of snuggles, which was the perfect ending for such a full weekend.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Proud Moment

We are really trying hard to teach the kids to follow Ghandi's mantra: "Be the change you want to see in the world." We try to model doing something--no matter how big or small--instead of lamenting or waiting to see what happens.

Last night, Brad and I were so proud of Issa. She had been reading some news stories about Net Neutrality, and she was understandably concerned. So..she did something. She did some researching to learn more about it. She found her representatives. And then the real magic: she emailed her social studies teacher. She asked for five minutes of class time to explain the situation to her peers and ask them to write letters, too. Because she has a fabulous teacher, she had a response last night agreeing to the discussion and offering to send in any letters Issa collects.

It was one of those moments where you think you might just be doing something right, and I couldn't be more proud of our girl.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

He's Back!

Buddy the Elf is back for the season! While the magic is different for Issa this year, both kiddos are still loving waking up every morning to see what Buddy has been up to over night.

Keeping with tradition, our elf is never ornery. If you ask Evan, he will tell you that's because Buddy can't straight from Santa and not a store. Buddy also keeps us focused on what is important this season and helps us slow down to make memories.

Sunday, he dug out our old gingerbread house and left us candy to decorate it:
 Since it's been a couple of years since we did one, a lot changed! They used knives to cut candies:
 And we made legit royal icing with the egg whites to accomplish what is a huge step up in our gingerbread game:
Tonight, Buddy declared it story night, and we will curl up with Christmas stories and snuggle for a bit. I love those moments in the midst of crazy.

Monday, November 27, 2017

So Very Grateful

For the first time ever, we stayed in North Carolina for Thanksgiving. We had five uninterrupted days of family time, and it was truly lovely.

Wednesday, we cooked and raked:


 Thursday, we celebrated Thanksgiving in the most traditional way. We had a lovely lunch, and I must say I nailed the turkey:
 And Issa set a lovely table:
 And Evan was in charge of the holiday fire:
 (Yes, his hair is blue. That was Wednesdays project. He is blissfully happy!)

Daddy did his usual great job carving:
 And we spent some time with bows and arrows:
 Issa thought it fitting since her great grandfathers hunted for their Thanksgivings:
 We also started a gratitude jar. We started Thanksgiving with an empty vase, and we will spend the year recording what we are grateful for on little pieces of paper, filling the jar. Next Thanksgiving, we will open and read them all.

The rest of the week was a lovely blend of rest and holly jollying. Issa soaked up some sun:
And Buddy soaked up love:
 And...most importantly...Brad installed the new dishwasher:
 It's so shiny and so quiet and gets dishes so clean. I'm in love. It went straight into the gratitude jar.



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

To South Carolina and Back Again

Last week, I took 21 lovely ladies to Charleston, South Carolina:
 We had a fabulous three days touring schools and taking in the history and culture Charleston has to offer. This is the third group I have taken there, but this was the first time we actually went to Fort Sumter:
 It was truly amazing to stand at the very place where the Civil War began. This is the flag that was flying at that moment:
 Our last stop was the aquarium, and it was a wonderful morning of watching fish and spending time with my two colleagues who traveled with us:
 I love the sophomore trip because I am able to get know my students very differently. For many of them, it's the first time they have traveled without family; for some, it's their first time out of North Carolina. I'm always exhausted when I get home, but I can't imagine not going.

When I got home, Don and Nancy were here for a visit! The kids loved taking them to the studio and the dojo, and I loved watching them just be with the kids in their own space. They played games and cards and made slime. It was lovely.

I took yesterday to recover a bit. Our dishwasher is dead (although a new one comes Friday!), so there were many dishes and general tidying after company. There was also laundry, where I discovered this:
Yep...Evan managed to somehow put his pants in the laundry with his cuff tucked into the sock. Impressive, no?

Today is the last day of school and work before our five day Thanksgiving stay-cation. We start cooking tonight, and we have big plans to soak in all kinds of holiday goodness. I can't wait!