Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

I had high expectations for Thanksgiving Day. I love my mom's side of the family and we haven't seen them in a long time. The kids were really looking forward to seeing Papa, my grandfather, and I knew that would be fun. The food is always delicious - I've never eaten anything that compares to the food from my mama's side of the family. Really, I just knew the whole day would be great.

And you know what?

The day exceeded all of my expectations.

My cousin Michael and his wife Susan hosted Thanksgiving at their home in Jacksonville. It was beautiful and it had a big backyard that the kids loved. Michael and Susan have 5 kids (the new baby is not in the picture) and my cousin Steven and his wife Angela have one child. My kids had a blast playing with all of them and it really made me wish we lived much closer so that they could play together more often!

They climbed trees, pushed each other around on a bike, and played soccer in the backyard. Turns out that Drew can really kick a soccer ball!

Abby and Amelia became fast friends. They were inseparable the entire day. Amelia was so sweet to my Abby and I just loved watching them play together. Here they are with Papa and Miss Juanita.

Abby has excitedly talked about seeing Papa for the past few weeks. At dinner she would say, "I can't wait to see MY Papa!" and Drew would correct her, "Abby, he's everyone's Papa."

She talked to him on the phone the other day at my mom's house. When we got home she told me she had talked to Papa about coming for Thanksgiving. She said, "He really can't hear mama, but, don't worry, he can see just fine!"

Clearly, they really enjoyed each other!

And Drew got to have some special time with HIS Papa too!

And, to round out all the Papa pictures, here is one of me with him. I can't believe the man is 87 years old. He seemed really healthy and happy. It was great to see him and to watch the kids with him. It really made me miss my Grandma though. She would have LOVED her great grandbabies!

Abby and Grams always have fun together. Perhaps now would be a good time to mention to the Internet that my mom has lost 45 pounds!! We are incredibly proud of her!

Daddy and the kids had fun playing together outside. It was such a beautiful day!

Me and Abby Grace...

Here are my siblings with Savannah. She is my cousin's daughter so I'm not sure if that makes us second cousins or first cousins once removed or if we are even really related at all. But, I do know that this year the spotlight was on Savannah.

Somehow she went from being a cute 12 year old who chased my brother around to a gorgeous 17 year old who is about to graduate from high school! None of us could believe the transformation, and every time I walked by her I would just shake my head and wonder where all the time has gone. Because, if she's all grown up then that just makes me old.

Very old.


And here is my Mama with her babies. She looks pretty proud, don't you think?

The real kicker of the day was Grandma Pauline trying to convince me (and anyone else that would listen) of my untapped singing talent. She said, and I quote, "I've never heard anything like your voice. You have an instrument there, young lady. A fine instrument."

I insisted each and every time she cornered me (which was probably half a dozen times) that I really could not carry a tune to save my life. She was quite earnest in her plea with me to believe in myself and my dreams, and, of course, my fine instrument.

The likes of which she has never heard.

Ever before.


And I was scared to death that the sweet woman was going to force me to sing so she could prove her point. And that, dear friends, would have ruined a perfectly fine Thanksgiving day. So, I did what any other normal person would do and I hid out by the cheesecake. And because I was already there I decided I should probably just go ahead and have a piece.

Or two.

Anyway, it's important to say that on this Thanksgiving I really am thankful for my family, my friends, my health, and all of the blessings in my life.

Mostly, however, I'm thankful that Grandma Pauline did not make me sing. Oh, how I'm thankful for that.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My Little Turkeys

The kids have been very excited about Thanksgiving. These pictures show off just a small sample of the many crafts they made at school. Abby's class had a Thanksgiving program last week and it was adorable! They sang lots of songs and played instruments - Abby was terrific. I was also able to attend Drew's Thanksgiving party. They made crafts, sang a Thanksgiving song, and had a wonderful feast! I love being able to be there with them on special days like that - they both had so much fun!

We are now headed to Jacksonville for Thanksgiving Day! Drew and Abby are so excited to see their Papa (my grandfather) and there will be six other children there for them to play with - it's going to be a great day!

Here's my Abby Grace with her turkey song - it's a little long, but totally worth the two minute time commitment!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Way Back Whensday #5

These pictures are from our family's first visit to Magic Kingdom. This was March 2007, so Drew was 3 1/2 and Abby was almost 2.

Look closely at Drew's hand and you'll see he's holding something. It's a little Mickey Mouse and he carried it around ALL day! He was so excited to be there and to know he was going to meet Mickey.

Here he is - finally showing Mickey his own little Mickey Mouse! Drew was not scared of the big Mickey at all.

Abby, on the other hand, had a healthy fear of all the characters until we had been to the park several times. Look at the way she's hanging onto Matt! My poor little girl...

But, she'll never turn down ice cream...

Even if it is in the shape of the super scary Mickey Mouse!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tyler Matthew

Baby Tyler is finally here! We were so excited to drive over for a visit to meet the newest member of the family! And, of course, to check on the new big brother and his parents!

Baby Tyler is sweet, adorable, quiet....well, he's really just perfect. And, big brother Ryan is adapting to his new role just fine - he loves his baby brother so much!

He's not the only one though! Drew and Abby couldn't wait to get their hands on their new cousin. Abby's maternal side came right out. She immediately wanted to hold him. She helped give him his bottles, she followed along to observe diaper changes, and she held him just as much as we would let her!

She was so delighted with him that she's been asking for a new baby ever since! She tells me that she really wants to be a big sister so she can take care of her own baby.

Drew couldn't wait for his turn...

Drew is so gentle and good with babies. He was fascinated with the new little guy.

Matt and I finally got a turn to hold our nephew.

But, not for long though! We had to get a group shot of all the cousins!

And, the proud grandparents! It's so much fun to watch this family grow and I have a feeling that these two people are having the most fun of all!

All the excitement died down a bit as the older kids began to play with all of Ryan's toys and the adults sat down to lunch. But, I grabbed this little guy out of his bouncy seat and snuggled up with him on the couch. I smelled his sweet head and felt his breath on my chest. I loved the feeling of his little "frog" legs all scrunched up under his body. I could lean over and kiss him as much as I wanted. This yummy newborn stage passes by so quickly and I just wanted to soak it all in.

And, would you believe he was already smiling?! Just a reflex, of course, but it was so fun to see his gummy, little smile.

We love you baby Tyler and we can't wait to see you again very soon!

Welcome to the family!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Way Back Whensday #4

Here is my precious baby girl just one month after she turned 2.

Her sweet, baby voice just melts my heart...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Birthday Wishes!

Happy Birthday Aunt Anna! We hope this song will make up for the fact that we didn't get our birthday card in the mail on time (as usual)! I'm hoping you think that this is much better though...

After they sang, I asked them what their favorite thing about Aunt Anna was. Abby said "her pretty hair." Drew said, "playing with Kyle." I'm sure what they both meant was - how much we love her and she loves us!

So, happy birthday to my #1 blog reader and the best little sister a girl could ask for. We love you!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's A Little Bit Like The World Series...Only Not.

Today was such an exciting day! It was Drew's last game of the season and he was amazing!

It was actually the first game of the tournament, but our team lost 8-7 which is why it was our last game. However, Drew was phenomenal during the game so our family was on cloud nine!

The best part...well, I'll show you Drew talking to me about it...

That's right! HE CAUGHT A FLY BALL! Words cannot even begin to express the excitement on the field when it happened. The batter popped the ball up and it headed right for 3rd base which is where Drew plays. He held his glove up in the air and the ball dropped right in. The look on his face was priceless! Matt described it as "pure elation."

I was jumping up and down, waving my arms, screaming and clapping for my Drew! I had goose bumps all over my arms watching him celebrate on the field - it brought me so much joy! He ran over to his daddy and jumped into his arms as Matt lifted him up and swung him around. The players, coaches, and fans in the bleachers were all cheering for him. The coaches from the other team even made their way over to high-five him. His smile was enormous and it seemed to last forever.

That was definitely the highlight of the game, but he also had many other great moments. Like he said in the video, "I did a lot of good things so I got another game ball!"

In the last inning we had two outs and two players on base and we needed to score to stay in the game. It was Drew's turn at bat (no tee allowed at this point in the tournament) and I was so nervous for him. He got two strikes and then he hit the third pitch to get the bases loaded! Unfortunately, the little guy after Drew struck out, but that didn't take away from Drew's accomplishment under pressure!

Earlier in the game he scored a run. And, at one point he fielded the ball at third base and got a player from the other team out - something he has never done before!

So, to recap - one catch of a fly ball, one run scored, one hit (without the tee), and one out at third base!

He got the game ball for the second time this season. He is the only player to get a game ball twice!

We are so proud of Drew and so proud of the Tar Heels! We have terrific coaches and a great group of little boys.

As we were walking into the dugout, Drew turned to his coach and said, "Well coach, I'll see you next season in January!"

His coach said, "Drew, I'll see you at the team party in a few weeks."

To which Drew replied with a nod of his head, "Of course you will!"

I really love that little dude!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Way Back Whensday #3

Has it already been one week? Cleary, I need to get on the ball with my blogging duties...

Thankfully, this way back whensday stuff is easy and fun!

Here is my favorite photograph - EVER!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Way Back Whensday #2

I don't want to leave Abby out of all the alphabet fun! Here she is at 22 months singing her ABCs...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trick Or Treat!

We have been so excited about Halloween! The kids have loved all of it - getting the costumes, decorating the house, carving the pumpkin, class parties and parades, Halloween crafts, and buying all the candy - they were more than ready for the big night when it was finally time to trick or treat! Here is my very own Luke and Leia-

Drew and Abby usually go to bed very early, so they love any excuse to be outside when it's dark! They weren't shy about running up the doors and ringing the doorbells, but we did have to remind them to say "trick or treat!" And, everyone in the neighborhood loved their costumes - the kids really enjoyed all the attention!

By the end of the night they had baskets full of candy that were too heavy for them to carry! Sweet Drew doesn't even like candy, so after they left each house he would say, "Abby, I got you some skittles!" or "Abby, I got your favorite - lollipops!!" He is such a sweet brother.

The last house of the night was our own. Grams was there to hand out candy so Matt and I could both go trick or treating with the kids. It's really so much fun to watch them and neither one of us wanted to miss out - their enthusiasm is a joy to experience! This is the 3rd year my mom has come over to give out candy for us and the kids love having her there when they get home!

And, they loved handing out the candy to the trick or treaters that came by. They didn't want to go to bed because they were afraid they would miss all the fun!

A happy Halloween, it was.