Thursday, December 31, 2009

We didn't actually watch Ryan Seacrest & Dick Clark the WHOLE night...

Actually, most of the time was spent being entertained by David and Anthony on the Wii!! They got consumed by Super Mario, and so Beth & I enjoyed chatting on the couch and watching the comedy! :)

The Acorn Drop!

One of the things I was most excited about being in Raleigh for was the Acorn Drop on New Year's Eve. Beth had told me about it in years past, and I was so excited to get to see it for myself. So after naptime (and s'mores time! :) ), we loaded up the kids and headed downtown. They had the museums opened up for you to go in and out of, and had various craft stations all over the place. We had a ball!!
Callie hanging out with one of the fish in the science museum...
One of the craft stations was for the kids to make a little memory book....blank paper between two squares of cardboard (from old cereal boxes, etc). They could use it to write or draw pictures of things from 2009 or things they hope for in 2010. Very cute.

Caleb had a little nap during all the crafting....
We had the kids SO bundled up because the Acorn Drop was outside,and it was FREEZING! They were very patient inside the museum...since we didn't want to be taking coats on and off!

They had a handprint station (with the coolest handprint pads ever!!! They were made by Crayola and washed RIGHT off with baby wipes...I've GOT to find some).

Jacob and Jackson...looks like they are going in after that beaver, doesn't it?

Don't you love Callie's hands all over the glass? Right next to the "no hands" sign? Oops!

You can see Josiah is running out of patience now...he's ready to get on with the show!'s all our kids climbing over this statue that says "no climbing please".
They had a "people's parade" at 6 pm. What that means is that all the people are the parade! We got to march along with them - there was a marching band and lots of people holding really tall costumed creatures (for lack of a better description) that sort of freaked out the kids actually. But who doesn't love to march in a parade! :)
Beth's neighbors, Todd and Andrea, met us downtown with their kids - Aiden and Riley. Riley was gracious enough to let Callie ride in his wagon for a bit.

See Jacob's face? He's about done....No naps today, remember? We were eating s'mores instead. Now's when you pay the price!!
Josiah with his mask that he created at one of the stations...
Beth & Addison
Me and Caleb
Callie (cheese!) and Daddy

Jacob and Daddy

Josiah and Daddy

Addison - is she a doll or what?

Can you believe that we have been friends with Beth & Anthony for 6 years - and I think this is the first time we've ever had a picture of all 4 of us???
Okay, I'm not really a freak show. I was feeding Caleb, and Addison was eating a cookie in her stroller. I asked her if I could have a bite, and she held it out to me, so I was pretending to try to take a bite. I realize it looks like I'm growing at her or something!! I promise she loves me! :)
I don't even know that you can really see the acorn in this picture. What they do is they hoist a GIANT acorn (seriously) up on a crane, and they do an early countdown. When the clock strikes 7 pm, it's as if it were midnight. They countdown and everything, and when it hits midnight, they drop the acorn, everyone hoots and hollers, and the fireworks go off. Then the kids feel as if they have celebrated new year's, and you can go home and put them all the bed without feeling like they missed the whole thing. Isn't that fun? We LOVED it - got a kick out of the whole acorn thing (I think Anthony said that Raleigh is the city of nuts - that's why the acorn :) ), and enjoyed putting them to bed while we relaxed, played games, and watched Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark!
These boys are such sweet friends. We met them when Josiah was about 8 months old...and the rest is history! :)
Anthony & Beth

Happy Birthday to Me!

Beth made me a chocolate eclair cake for my birthday - and it was eaten up ridiculously fast! It was very yummy - and so nice to not have to make my own birthday cake! (Whine, whine....actually David has made my birthday cake for the last several years, so I shouldn't complain!)


Beth and Anthony - we love this couple!!!!
Crazy Anthony - he was a little worried about leaving his fire pit for a minute to take a picture! :)

While the girls and Caleb were taking a nap, guess what the rest of us got to enjoy! :)

Mr. Anthony's christmas present was this cool new fire pit (thing). We were more than happy to try it out for him!! We got to enjoy it on their new patio outside too - they had just a concrete pad when their house was built, so they upgraded in a big way with this gorgeous new stamped patio and .....what's the top part called? Trellis? I'm SO not good with outside stuff...but it was BEAUTIFUL! :)
The boys were surprisingly patient while they waited for the fire to catch was smoke for a while...but the waiting was worth it!

Me and my honey! :)

Beth & I (and look - we have matching jackets!) :)

Descending upon the Williams Family!

After choir/band rehearsals on Wednesday night, we got back in the car and headed for Raleigh! Beth and I had talked for weeks trying to figure a way to get a visit in sometime before the end of the year. With our different family schedules, school schedules, trips out of town, family visiting from out of town, we were having a tough time!! Weekends are hard for us to travel because of David's obligations at church (obviously), but that's the best time for them because Anthony's home from work (obviously!) We finally decided on travelling up there for the New Year's holiday weekend - and what a wonderful time we had! It was an added bonus for me because my birthday is New Year's Eve too! I think it may become an annual tradition (if that's okay with them anyways!) We sort of descend on them like some mad virus or something - there are children everywhere, lots of noise, lots of laughing, lots of FUN!! Because our kids have grown up together, they just pick up like they never left off. Kids scatter the minute we walk in the door and they are off finding whatever they are going to play with or create. I LOVE it!

Callie didn't waste any time finding Addison's new stroller that she got for Christmas!

We exchanged our Christmas presents while we there, and Mrs. Beth sneakily wrapped Callie's present (and ADORABLE outfit) in a baby wipes box. Callie was all excited thinking that she got a BABY for Christmas! :)

(This is how I feel most days - kids climbing ALL over me!)
Beth got me a cupcake/cake carrier...something I've been looking for for several years now...I sort of requested one after hearing she found one! Is she a good friend or what? :)
And then we opened birthday presents, and David got me - a new camera!! HUGE surprise! Completely shocked me (as you can see!) That's also why I've been behind with the blogging - trying to figure out the new camera has taken me a while...
Sir Harrison and Sir Josiah

Yes, that's my 2 1/2 year old daughter sitting (and fitting quite nicely) in a DOLL highchair!!
Harrison loved getting to hold Caleb!
Beth made us some WONDERFUL bread to go with our White Christmas Chili for lunch on Thursday. It seriously was like the bread at Panera - unbelievable. Her nanny taught her how to make it, and now I've got to buy a cast iron dutch oven to be able to make it too - it was awesome!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Our Trip to Memphis in Pictures

We left for Memphis the day after Christmas - Saturday morning - at 4 am. We like to leave early like that to get a few hours down before the kids wake up. We arrived in Memphis early that afternoon and we enjoyed getting to visit with David's family! (This is a lot of pictures, but I had to get them in there for my book! :) )

Callie didn't waste much time showing Grandmommy some of her books!
David's oldest sister, Daree, arrived later that night with her husband and kids. They live in Minnesota now (brrrr....) with 2 of their kids. They have 5 other kids who are grown and living on their own - 3 in Memphis, 1 in Lynchburg, and 1 in Alabama. They ALL came to Memphis so we could all be together for Christmas - what fun! :)

David talking to two of Daree's boys, Josh and Justin. They both live and work in Memphis now...I can't believe how grown up they are now. I still remember meeting them when they were 8 and 12 years old!!! Now they are grown, handsome men! :)
His family LOVES to play Scrabble...and they are GOOD at it! They continue to politely ask me, but I'm so terrible that I no longer play with them and slow down their game!
Daree's youngest daughter, Julie, just turned 18 and LOVED holding Caleb!! I could use her around here!
The oldest and the youngest of the Schrodt kids! (David was the ringbearer in Daree's wedding!) :)
Uncle Tom (in the armchair) and Aunt Helen (in the red sweater) joined us on Sunday afternoon for Christmas lunch. Uncle Tom is David's dad's only brother, and it is tradition to have everyone all together for the holiday meal. Callie slept through it since it was naptime (and my kids were SO tired from the trip the day before...then a late night...then not sleeping all that good with all 6 of us in one room....and a houseful/party going on downstairs when it's time for my kids to go to bed...etc...
Josiah and Jacob got a different nerf gun from Sharolyn's family for Christmas - they were beyond excited!! (and on a side note, can you see how closely they were sitting together on the couch? They were a bit nervous about the HOUSEFUL of people that were "new" faces to them...and clung to each other. They played most of the time with Noah, Sharolyn's son who is 9. The three of them were like peas in a pod!
Caleb enjoyed getting a new perspective in an exersaucer...we've got to find one to borrow from someone! He's at the perfect age for it!
It was FREEZING cold all weekend, but it didn't stop the boys from running around (without coats...grrr....) with their nerf guns. I was thankful for the break from video games!
Wade (Sharolyn's husband) grilled his famous pork tenderloins for Christmas lunch - they were incredible!!! He had some company out at the grill it looks like!
Grandmommy got the boys these boomerangs too - and they were a big hit!! Very fun!

Callie spent a good part of the first day and a half like this - on my hip, or at my leg, or never very far away from me. Remember - house FULL of new people. So not much of a vacation for Mom!
Emily (Sharolyn's 10 year old daughter) was trying to learn how to knit from Julie. I wish I knew how to do that!
Daree and Caleb - she owns and runs 2 daycare centers up in Minnesota, so she was not put off by my kids at all! :)
David's mom pulled out some of her pictures that she doesn't have room for anymore. Everyone was able to look through and choose some to take back home. It was fun looking through them!

David and his Mom
Debbie, Daree, David's mom, David, and Sharolyn
The last time we got a picture of his mom and all 4 of her kids was 9 years ago - at his dad's funeral. It's been a LONG time since we've ALL been together and we loved it!
Daree's sweet family
From the top, L-R
Joy, Justin, Jon (the dad), Jon Alden
Jesse, Daree, Julie, and Jennifer
I had picked up some gingerbread house kits at Walmart 2 days before Christmas - they were marked down to $2 each!!! I got 3 of them, knowing we would probably need a project while we there. I pulled them out on Monday morning when David and his sisters were talking through some family business stuff. It was the perfect distraction for the kids!
While the older kids worked on the gingerbread houses, Callie was playing with her dolls. Here they are all in timeout on the steps! :)
Josiah's finished work of art...
Pretending to take a bite out of the roof...none of my kids ever actually eat it. We just enjoy the making and decorating part...
Callie popped over to lick the frosting a few times
David (his back anyways), Sharolyn, Jon, and Daree
Emily's house
Grandmommy and Caleb
Look at that FACE!!!!
If you have a lap and are willing to read some books, Callie will be there in a heartbeat...and will STAY for a LONG time! :)
We had a great time - it was like a long weekend for us. We had to leave to come back home on Tuesday, but loved getting to see David's mom, his sisters (ALL of them), and their families. It was a precious time with lots of sweet memories. It had been 5 years since we had seen Daree and her family, so we were especially glad they were able to come and spend the time with us as well. Thank you, Sharolyn, for hosting all of us and making us feel so at home!