Thursday, November 29, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Christmas Tree Farm

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, has already come and gone. I still find it hard to believe that we insist on cramming all that eating into just one day. Wouldn't it make more sense to have four full days of feasting since everyone has that time off? But I lost that battle and we had to limit the eating to just one day.

The days after Thanksgiving were spent prepping for the big one ... Christmas. The kids have really gotten into decorating this year and by the time the weekend was over, we had two big trees, two little trees, a train, and a myriad of Christmas decorations adorning both the inside and outside of our house. And all of it began on Friay at the Christmas tree farm.

We have never cut down our own Christmas tree, but it's something we knew we wanted to start as a family tradition once the kids were old enough. Well, this year was the year and we all piled in the car on Friday for the quick hour trip up to Motsinger Farms. This time of the year just re-emphasizes to me what a great part of the country we live in. Getting to watch the beautiful colors and weather of fall and then being able to head up to the mountains to pick our own tree are just a few of the things that living in North Carolina affords us.

Thanksgiving was jam packed, so the boys saved their Thanksgiving day naps for on the way to the farm.

 The kids were ready to go as soon as we arrived. They wanted a BIG tree, something we were able to do this year with higher ceilings in the new house.

So we headed out on our hunt. We knew what type of tree we wanted ...

Looking ...

... and looking ...

They thought they had found it, but it was a bit small.

Found it!

Then we had to cut it (with some help, the felt saws the kids brought didn't make much of a dent), haul it, net it, and tie it to the top of the car.

We had so much fun! Everyone got to enjoy some apple cider and candy canes at the end as well. What a fun way to get our tree and something that we intend to make a tradition from year to year.

One the way back, we stopped at an overlook to take in the view.

What a great place to live ...

And what a great bunch that I'm blessed to live with!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Picture of the Week - November 23

This photo of the week is brought to you by Luke. He took this on Thanksgiving and titled it "Peyton and Adah." I guess we need to work on his creativity when it comes to naming things.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Best

This weekend my husband and I ran a half marathon. We said before the race that we just wanted to finish, we didn't want to get hurt, blah blah blah. C'mon, let's be serious. We wanted a PR. We wanted to run it faster than we had run any other half marathon before. We can pretend all we want that we're "just happy to finish," but he and I know deep down that we wanted to run well and beat our previous times.

We are competitive people. It's just how we are made up. And truthfully, it's something I hope that my kids inherited from us ... the desire to be the best at whatever it is you are doing. But, as we were running on Saturday (you have a lot of time to think over 13 miles), I started to really wonder about how much we should emphasize competitiveness.

Here's the deal: I want my kids to WANT to be the best at everything they try to do. Is that asking too much or pushing them further than I should? It doesn't matter that they ARE the best, just that they are trying their best to succeed. Does that make sense? I know that they will not always be the best at everything they do and, truthfully, their still developing egos don't need the kind of constant encouragement one gets from winning everything. Everyone needs to lose sometimes. But I do want to instill in them the desire to try to be the best at everything they do. Competition is real and it is out there. There are no trophies for participation when it comes to getting into college or finding a job.

I know that this is such a slippery slope when dealing with kids. The trick is trying to instill enough confidence in them that they believe in themselves and give maximum effort all the time. But, at the same time, I don't want to over-emphasize "winning" so much that they are hesitant to try things that they don't believe they will be good at doing. It's a hard line to walk between self-confidence and that fear of failure.

I would love to know what other parents think about this and what types of lessons you think are important for instilling in your children. Do you emphasize being the best? Or is winning not important at all to you as long as you are trying your best? What do you do if you have a child who won't try anything he knows he won't excel at? What do you do about competition between siblings? We all know it is there throughout their lives, so do you downplay it or let it run its course?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Picture of the Week - November 18

Busy weekend with a trip to Charlotte, a half marathon, and a trip to our favorite museum, Discovery Place!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


The boys are REALLY into the superheros lately.

I get it. They're boys. They like to wrestle and fight and roll around on the floor. I get it. I don't really understand it, but I know that there is a part of their brains that makes them want to do all these crazy things so I just chalk it up to that Y chromosome.

Recently though, the running and chopping and shooting has gotten a little out of control. We don't allow them to have play guns, but I can't really stop them from making anything and everything into a gun. Blocks, sticks, if it fits in their hands, it becomes a gun.

We've talked about how guns do bad things, but they don't really grasp the severity of that yet. They just like to run around "shooting" things, mainly their sisters.

Well, you can imagine what the sisters think about that.

The conflict got bad enough last week that I declared a "No More Guns" policy in the house at this time. This meant no making pretend guns out of blocks, paper, or fingers. However, the boys are finding it a little hard to stop their games.

The other morning as I was getting breakfast ready, the boys crashed through the kitchen with their superhero capes on and blocks in their hands that were definitely in the shape of some sort of shooting apparatus. And by the screaming I could hear from the girls and the "puu-puu!" sound from the boys (that is the sound a block gun makes if you were wondering), I could tell that my no guns policy was being ripped to shreds. Here's how it went down ...

Me: "Luke! Sam! What are you guys doing?"

Luke (from the other room): "Nothing Mom!"

Me: "Um, I think you're doing something that you aren't supposed to be doing."

Sam: "What?"

Me: "Are you shooting? Did you make guns out of your blocks? Come in here so I can see you."

Luke and Sam come in to the kitchen, block guns in hand.

Me: "What are those in your hands?"

Sam: "Mom, they aren't guns."

Luke: "Yeah Mom, they aren't!"

Me: "Really? Then what are they?

Luke: "They're super GLUE guns, Mom!."

Sam: "Yeah, super glue guns. We're trying to glue the girls."

I can't decide if they're geniuses or just a little slow on the uptake.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Halfy Birthday

Luke is three and a half! He celebrated this morning with a song and we'll have half cupcakes tonight. Enjoy the serenade from the little "monkey."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Picture of the Week - November 11

This is officially the earliest I or any of my kids have seen Santa for a visit. This was actually LAST weekend, so we were barely even into November. We didn't go out seeking a Santa, but I owed the kids big time when we forced them to go to a Christmas expo for some shopping. What did they want as a reward? To wait patiently in line to see Santa. So here's to the first Santa visit of the year!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Girls' Room

I know I promised pictures of the other rooms in our house at some point, so I figured the girls' room was the closest to complete. They still need a mirror over their dresser, but that search has been going on for months. Who knows, it could take years. So here are some pictures minus the mirror.

The girls' room is the middle room on what we call the kids' wing of the house. They are right in between the boys' room and the playroom. Here is the view when you look in through their door.

I have gone through several bedspreads/duvets for the girls before I found ones I really liked. I should have gotten the white quilts all along. I was just worried about them getting dirty but then I figured that's what bleach was for. I like that it's pretty and classic and it allows us to switch up the shams and accent pillows when we want something different. I also didn't want an overwhelmingly pink room, so white quilts helped solve that problem.

Here's the view from the opposite side of the room.

The only addition from the old house is the dollhouse. It was my grandma's dollhouse and I have a lot of memories playing with it at her house when I was growing up. I love that the girls get to play with it now. I love old, vintage dollhouses, so I was thrilled when my grandma gave it to them.

Here are the beds head on.

I'm going to tackle that white bedside table with some mod podge and scrap paper soon. It needs some new life.

Here's a better view of the dollhouse and dresser (that still needs a mirror above it).

And here is the wall that runs parallel to the hallway outside the girls' room.

It was a huge, white wall so we figured the best thing to do with it (since we can't paint it) was one of those removable decals. The girls LOVE it and I like that it's removable so if they decide they want something different, it will come down easily.

So there it is! It feels pretty put together now and the girls love their girly looking room. Now, if anyone has any good looking mirrors, I'd better get an email or comment, STAT!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Name Game

I have something that's bothered me a bit for the last couple of years.

It's not really a big deal. I almost feel silly for bringing it up when there are much more important things to care about. But it's a pet peeve and you know how those work. They gnaw at you and poke you in the side so you are just slightly annoyed by them every time they happen. My biggest driving pet peeve is people who try and pass others on the right. Cant. Stand. It. I am that person that purposely speeds up so that you can't pass me on the right. Just stay in your lane and I will kindly get over to let you pass!!!

Now that I'm sufficiently worked up, here's my pet peeve: I cannot stand it when children call adults by their first names. I think it's inappropriate and it makes me feel weird to be addressed by my first name in a teeny tiny 3 year old voice. And placing a "Mrs." or a "Mr." in front of a first name doesn't make it any better. Calling me "Mrs. Joanne" is really not that much better than addressing me by solely my first name. If I could, I'd have my kids call all adults by their proper salutation and LAST name. I did this growing up and it wasn't too hard. Why is it so hard to continue that with this generation of kids?

It's hard to address this pet peeve because many times adults will introduce themselves to my children with their first name. I cringe every time it happens. But if the adult wants to be called that, who am I to say otherwise? I feel inappropriate saying, "I'm sorry, we only address adults by last names. Can she call you Mrs. Smith instead?" So I usually just grin and bear it. Whenever we meet an adult to whom I am introducing my kids, I always make sure to introduce them with their last name. I just feel it's common courtesy to address adults this way.

What do you think? Am I being old-fashioned to require this of my kids? Should I be more bold and tell other adults that introduce themselves with their first name that our family only uses last names to address adults? And what do I do if someone introduces me to their child as "Mrs. Joanne?" Is it rude to correct them and say I prefer to go by my last name? I'd love to hear what other think about this.

Happy Voting!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Picture of the Week - November 4

Here's everyone ready to go "exercise" on our afternoon walk. Can you tell what I normally wear in my hair when I exercise?

Friday, November 2, 2012


Words have been failing me lately. I'm blaming it on the candy coma I'm in or the mountain of things that have been on our plate this week. It doesn't look like it's slowing down from now until Christmas either. I refuse to give into self-induced holiday-itis yet, so here is my best attempt at our past week or two in photos.

We've really been trying to soak up the fall weather before it gets too cold to be outside for hours on end. We've had fun taking walks and jumping in other people's freshly raked leaves.

All messy projects and activities have been moved outdoors so as to take advantage of the weather ... as well as feed my lack of motivation for cleaning up said messes.

Matt and I have been putting in some training for another half marathon we're running in a couple of weeks. It's hard to complain about fall training when you've got cool weather and this view.

We welcomed a new friend to town last week and we've already had several play dates. She's very liberal when it comes to cookie butter, $3 Chuck, and surprises for the kids.

We've also had a few wild Friday nights. I'm hoping we haven't fallen out of favor with the neighbors with all the smoke and shrieking.

Someone is also starting to show some of signs of reading on his/her own, something pretty exciting to dorky parents like us (and no, it's not the little man ... he just likes to play along).

And our past week has been punctuated, almost literally, by a little mishap at school that ended up being nothing that the pediatrician's magic purple glue (and a toy token) wasn't able to fix.

We hope everyone else had a great October and is getting revved up for Thanksgiving (which is coming in less than 3 weeks ... ahhhhhhhhh!).