Thursday, August 28, 2014

Yay for Daddy's Birthday!

Yesterday was James' birthday! Yay and hooray! We started the day off right: Birthday Breakfast!!

Birthday breakfast is my favorite birthday tradition in our family. We used to do it when my brother and I were kids. Everybody in the family has to get up and come to birthday breakfast, and it has to happen before anyone leaves for work or school. Which means it is usually really early. Like, so early that the sun is usually late to the party. It's part of the charm. 

Food for birthday breakfast usually is normal breakfast food, just with candles stuck in it. We've done pancakes, donuts... I even made chicken biscuits for my brother's birthday breakfast once and stuck candles in them. 

But this year, I wanted to do something different. I was like, let's really go for it. Let's be crazy. Let's eat cake for breakfast! 

I really wanted to do the whole light the candles, sing the song, blow out the candles ritual for James with Calvin there because now he knows all about birthdays and I knew he'd enjoy it. But, I also knew we wouldn't be able to do cake and candles that evening because James is never home early enough to have dinner with Calvin and Henry, and besides, James and I had plans to go out to dinner after the boys went to bed. Solution: Cake for breakfast! 

So I got up before the sun and before everyone else, even our little morning rooster Calvin, and I decorated. (I can't help myself. I love birthdays. I love decorations. I love birthday decorations.) Nothing fancy, but I feel like a few balloons and a birthday banner are nice.


I know you are jealous of how beautiful this banner is. It took hours. No, just kidding, it took like 5 minutes.
Here's the card we made for James. Had a little trouble getting Henry's hands to make a heart...

 Then I went to wake up the boys. Calvin was actually grumpy about having been woken up. #tasteofhisownmedicine We decided to let Henry off the hook for this birthday breakfast since he was still asleep #neverwakeasleepingbaby and he couldn't eat cake anyway ;)


Song, candles, cake! Yes, that's right. We let our two-year-old eat chocolate cake at 6:30am. Go ahead and get my name engraved on that Mother of the Year Award. 



Here's his reaction after finding out that we wouldn't be serving seconds.


That evening, after James got home from work, he and I left the babies with Hartley (our cousin who lives upstairs) and headed out for date night! I love date night!! We went to Monk's Kettle, which is known for their amazing beer selection, and which is tiny and very popular and does not take reservations, so we had an hour long wait for a table at 7:45 on a Wednesday night. We had drinks at Delirium across the street in the meantime, and eventually we did get a table at the beer-snob heaven that is Monk's Kettle :)



I ordered the Allagash Saison, because I have grown to love saisons and the bartender recommended this one. James ordered that beer with the very, very long name which is a dunkelweissen - a type of wheat beer. He picked a dunkelweissen because that is the style of his latest batch of homebrew. Turned out I liked both beers and he liked mine better so we traded. Later, James had  Saison Darkly by Stillwater and I had a dry stout by Societe. (P.S. I had never heard of any of those beers or breweries before, but James had - or at least he acted like he had ;)

The beers were great and the food was delish! Cheers! Happy Birthday to James!!



Birthday breakfast is my favorite bday tradition at our house! What's yours??

Friday, August 22, 2014

Vacation by the Lake

Nice day for a sail!

After saying goodbye to Granny and Danpa we headed west, and after a quick stop to visit my alma mater, Berry College...

Beautiful Ford complex at Berry College :)
...we were off to Alabama and our lakeside destination in Guntersville.

The occasion for this vacation was to join James' parents in celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. 


My in-laws, John and Bea, decided that they wanted to celebrate this special anniversary with all their children and grandchildren. So we all gathered at a big house on the lake. James' brothers had their boats there for sailing, skiing and tubing. James is the youngest of six siblings. Between their six children, John and Bea have 16 grandkids! So when we get together we are quite a crowd!






Calvin and Henry were great little sailors! James and I never get to sail anymore, so it was a real treat to be out on the boat!



There was also a pool at the house, which was perfect for Calvin and Henry. We even brought the kiddie pool from Granny and Danpa's house.




Though John and Bea's actual anniversary date was later in August, we picked one night to do a special anniversary dinner for them. James' brother's wife cooked a special family recipe - Grandma's Spanish chicken and rice - and ordered a fancy cake for the occasion, and we set up banquet tables and decorations to make it feel really special. 




 


One of James' sisters made a family scrapbook as a gift for their parents and the grandkids gifted them with beautiful pictures they had drawn. I helped everybody make a fingerprint family tree as another small gift.



Amazing artwork by our niece, Isabel - capturing one of John and Bea's wedding photos!

Bea brought a very special dress of hers - the dress she wore when she first met John at a college dance! James' sister Debbie modeled the dress and the two of them, James and Debbie, posed to re-capture an old photo of their parents.


The next night we did another big party dinner, this time with an island theme!






The whole trip was wonderful. We had so much help with the babies that we really got to enjoy ourselves. It was such a blessing to see Calvin and Henry get to spend time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I think the best part was seeing how lovingly our nieces and nephews played with and cared for Calvin and Henry. Calvin had an absolute blast. He adores his cousins and he had so much fun with them. And Henry, sweet as ever, baby of the entire family, enjoyed all the attention and love he got too :)









16 grandkids!
 

Wonderful vacation with a wonderful family that we are blessed to be a part of. Hope we get to do it again!


Monday, August 18, 2014

To Granny Anne's House We Go


Airplane selfie!! #blurrybecausewiggly
My #1 travel tip for flying with babies/toddlers is... (drumroll)... bring Granny! Disclaimer: This only works if your kids' granny is as awesome as Granny Anne. The four of us flew from CA to GA so that the kids and I could spend a couple of weeks at Granny Anne and Grandpa Dan's house. James has a big boy job and couldn't take so much time off, so he joined us later. The flight with Granny was great. She was totally prepared with snacks, episodes of Mickey Mouse on her Kindle, and toddler headphones. Also, I remembered to count the diapers that time.

Staying at my parents' house with my two kids was... awesome. Are you surprised? I was a little surprised. I had been worried about being away from James for so long and feeling like a single parent. But Granny and Danpa are so great with Calvin and Henry - not just the fun part of cuddling and playing with them, but the work part too. Mixing formula, giving Henry his meds, changing diapers, taking Calvin to the potty, packing the diaper bag, putting them to bed... my parents helped with all of it. They were amazing. And the boys LOVED spending so much time with them. Here are some pics from our Georgia vacay... being touristy, visiting family, and just hanging at Granny Anne's house :)

Big fuzzy cat and books about animals. Calvin is in heaven. 


Splashin' in the fountain!
Splashin' in the kiddie pool!
Everywhere we went, Granny sat between the two carseats!
Zoo Atlanta
Cooling off with the mist fans at the zoo... #hotlanta
This sweet beluga whale really took an interest in Calvin! I think they became friends. 
Calvin made friends with the penguins too
Brunch at the Cracker Barrel with my grandparents
Even Henry ate some grits! Yum!
So nice to visit with my cousin Sandy and my grandmother, "Mama Sheila" 
Calvin runnin' around with his cousin Alex
Sittin' on the porch at Mama Sheila and Daddy John's house
It's Uncle Alex!
When James arrived, my parents babysat so we could go out and see some friends. Date night in Atlanta!

Oh we hated to say goodbye to Granny and Danpa!! The boys and I spent the whole month of July with them and it was wonderful. We had a great time in Georgia and I felt very thankful to have gotten to see my grandparents and my brother and some of our long lost friends while we were there. But we had other grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins to see... so off to Alabama we went! And that is another trip for another post!