Friday, December 30, 2011


We have a lot to catch up on! We're back from two weeks of Christmas celebrations, which started with Molly's last day of preschool for 2011 and the Christmas party at her school. Santa doesn't appear too interested in Molly's Christmas list!

We spent the first week of Christmas break in Charlotte before heading to Chicago, and Chris and the kids went with me to interview the owners of the animals that participate in live nativity scenes around Charlotte. 
We celebrated an early Christmas morning at our house and opened gifts from my parents and from us.

Then we had Christmas morning with Chris' family. Missy and Tyler graciously hosted us for a whole week!

 Josh and Molly goofing off at a post-Christmas family party in Chicago
Rhys, Ethan, Molly, Josh and some of their cousins

 We spent one day at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

Yesterday Chris, Rob and I took Molly, Ethan and Josh on the commuter train into downtown Chicago. We planned to take the elevator to the top of the Sears (now Willis) Tower, but a huge line and $17/per person fee made us change our minds. We went for ice cream instead.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Parent Observations

Last week was parent observation week for Molly's dance and gymnastics classes, so I joined the parent paparazzi and cringed as Molly received presents and medals for... attending class. So much for the good old days when you actually had to win something to get a prize!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dave's Wedding

Our good friend Dave, who we first met in Wilmington and who now lives in Charlotte, got married in early December, and as you can see the kids had a great time playing on our phones while we enjoyed catching up with old friends. I first met Dave in the late 90s, and we have enjoyed reconnecting with him in Charlotte. Molly is especially fond of Dave!

 We first met Dave's wife, Roseann, at dinner a few months ago, and we love her!

We were so happy to see Karen and her husband Dean at the wedding -- longtime Wilmington friends who got married last year. It was an unexpected reunion with some great friends, some of whom had never met Molly and hadn't seen Josh since he was three months old.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lukewarm Santa

After such a wonderful Santa experience last year, I took the kids back to the children's library last week in hopes of a repeat visit. Unfortunately, the kindly Santa has been replaced with the unsmiling Santa. While not the best for pictures, at least he didn't telling us we were traumatizing him.

No hope of getting all four kids to look at the camera at the same time


We spent most of Thanksgiving week in Florida again this year, starting with a few days at the farm in the Florida panhandle. The weather was great, and the kids were somewhat cooperative for pictures before leaving for Thanksgiving brunch in Panama City Beach. We are happy to report that Molly did not fall into the decorative pond at the hotel this year.

Chris and I took Josh, Molly, Abbey and Elizabeth for a walk/run on the pier after brunch, and one man, who thought all of the kids were mine, offered to buy me a drink out of pity!

 Mom, Dad and Emily

Mom pushing the kids on the porch swing at the farm. Dad bought a fire pit this year, so we all spent two nights roasting marshmallows and hotdogs over it and looking at the stars. Too bad we didn't think of this years ago!

We went back to Gainesville on Friday, and that night we went to a Florida basketball game, which Josh thoroughly enjoyed. The Gators won by over 50 points, so Josh was thrilled. He was not so happy the next night when he attended the Florida-Florida State football game, where Chris said Josh was in tears because Florida lost. I don't think he was the only member of my family who wanted to cry that night! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

24 Hours of Misery

We naively thought it would be fun to participate in the Cub Scout pack's family camp out this weekend. The campground was only about 40 minutes from our house, and I felt like I could convince Molly to come home with me to sleep, and then we would rejoin the group the next morning. The forecast was for the mid-30s on Saturday night.

Unfortunately, every time I offered her a bribe to go home, even as it got dark and the temperature dropped, she would yell, "I want to sleep in the tent!" I didn't want to abandon Chris with two kids in a tent, so I stayed too. The kids passed out 10 minutes after they went to sleep, Chris was snoring and I spent the night lying awake, hoping my kids weren't freezing to death and wondering why I ever agreed to camp out in November.

While I think the camp out was 24 of the most miserable hours of my life, the kids loved it. Josh (here reading his Cub Scout handbook) fished, hiked and roasted hotdogs and marshmallows. The boys told ghost stories and "funny" stories, which mainly involved a lot of jokes about poop, and did skits. I sat in our camp chair with three coats on and tried not to look as horrible as I felt.

Molly and her friend had fun playing in the leaves and sliding down a hill. I didn't take more pictures because that meant I had to take my hands out of my pockets. Thankfully, the Cubmaster announced on Sunday morning that there would be no more November overnight camps. Finally, someone came to their senses!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cub Scout Hike

Josh has joined our local Cub Scout pack, and this Sunday was the first meeting of the pack's hiking club. You'd think we had hiked up and down a mountain based on the whining and throwing of themselves on the ground at the end, but we really just hiked about three miles on a flat trail. Josh doesn't know this yet, but we've signed him up to run the same trail in a kids race in two weeks! I'm sure that will bring about plenty of teeth gnashing.

Our neighbors' son is also in the pack, and his sister was Molly's hiking buddy. Molly actually finished the hike too -- we were proud of her!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween has turned into the longest day of the year! Molly's new preschool has a costume parade and Halloween party, so I spent the morning at the school helping out. The kids paraded into the church at the preschool and each one was introduced. They loved it!

Molly and her friend decided weeks ago they wanted to dress alike for Halloween

After preschool, we went to dance class, picked up Josh and then frantically got ready for the neighborhood Halloween party. Molly was thrilled that her best friend from last year's preschool came to the party.

Most clever costume!

Josh was really into the hayride this year

These costumes drew plenty of comments, including people who weren't sure if it was a costume. One person asked if I was angry, and the host of the party told me I couldn't use his bushes for a bathroom! Some people asked if we had heated dinner conversations, but I told them this was not a political statement. I'm not sure if they believed me...