Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome to 2012!

Here we are...another year, a new state, a new job, a new house, a new school, new friendships.

More than ever we have reflected on what is really important in life this last year and especially this last week. We are extremely thankful for the health of our entire family.

We spent most of the day on the road, but were able to get home and celebrate quietly with a drink and New Year's Rockin' Eve! We were thinking maybe next year we would actually go see the "peach drop" in downtown Atlanta...until we heard there were stabbings there last year. Maybe watching it on TV is good enough. :)

More than anything, we just want to say Happy New Year and Welcome 2012! We are anxious to discover what this year has in store for us ( I promise no more moves!!!). We are also anxious to welcome all the little babies that will be making their grand entrances this year. So many of our friends are about to embark on new parenthood adventures this year! Other friends are about to set off on adventures that will move their families across the country too. We have learned a lot this year, but more than anything we have learned that sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and go with it. We are definitely hoping to have a year where we can just sit back and enjoy. Before the weekend is over, Kurt and I are going to start our list of restaurants, weekend getaways, local points of interest and other fun stuff we want to do this year. First on the list....Monster Jam with the boys (and a lot of ear plugs)!!

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2012!!

Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas from Atlanta! (better late than never)

What a year this has been and no doubt this holiday season flew by faster than we knew what hit us! We had a very nice Christmas and were so blessed to have been in good health so that everyone could fully enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. December was such a busy month, but we managed to pack in a ton of fun firsts and great memories.

In early December we had a great visit with Kurt's sister Lisa, Drew and Trey. They came up from Louisiana to see LSU clench the SEC Footbal Championship...sorry Dawg fans! Kurt, Drew and Trey got some great tickets to the game and had a blast. Drew also spoiled us with a huge pot of jambalaya - yum!!

Aunt Lisa also got to take in Blake's 1st basketball game during her visit. While the big boys went to the football game, Lisa and I took the boys to the Northpoint Mall in Alpharetta where we got to ride on a choo choo that goes through the mall. The boys loved that! We had such a fun day out with Aunt Lisa.

Erin and Hannah joined us as we went to a Christmas open house that featured real reindeer, carriage rides and a petting zoo at a church just down the road from our house. I had never pet a llama before...soooo soft and cute!

"oh what fun it is to ride...."

In mid-December, Kurt headed to London for work for a few days. Though I'm sure he missed us (hee hee) he had a great time and was able to attend the holiday party for their operations over was at a super cool manor/turned hotel outside of London. He brought the boys soccer balls and new sweat suits back...which the loved of course!

And of course, at some point in mid December I got the baking & candy making bug and decided to make numerous batches of my famous fudge and tried out my new cake pop pan. Still have some finessing to do on this new treat idea, but I thought these turned out kind of cute.

The boys had fun opening their gifts from Mammaw and Pappaw. They were in their new jammies before I could get the camera out! And they love playing with their new art kits.

The Friday before Christmas, our new friends the Van Wagenen's invited us over for a small gathering to celebrate the holidays. We are so happy to have met them and their adorable boys. We appreciate them welcoming us into their circle of friends and family.

On Christmas Eve, we got to enjoy spending some time with the Steinemann's. I know I've said it before, but they are fantastic friends and we literally would not be sitting in Atlanta today had it not been for them. So happy to have them to experience all of these southern firsts with!

And finally the big event! We let the boys open one present each on Christmas Eve during the day and then on Christmas morning Blake was up around 7:30 and was giddy to see that Santa did indeed come. There was a bit of scare on Christmas Eve when the videos from Santa revealed that Luke had been placed on the naughty list due to his temper. :) Luckily he pulled through in the last hour and Santa ensured both of them had a nice little something under the tree.

Luke is my "cotton candy buddy" so it was only right as the small electrics buyer for Home Depot that I indulge him (i.e. us) in a cotton candy maker. And of course, so that Daddy and Blake did not feel left out...they got an ice cream maker.

Christmas morning fun...the boys with Luke's new Thomas Pirate Ship tracks.

Here was our tree after Santa must have come. ;)

The boys on Christmas Eve.

Opening a present on Christmas Eve. Blake got the Ninja Castle he had been wanting for months. I think our house has officially turned into the Imaginext aisle at Target.

Kurt had the opportunity to go to Blake's holiday party at Kindergarten. Blake had so much fun! Mrs. Barkley recreated the New Year's "peach drop" for them.

Christmas night we went for a drive through Life University where they had awesome light displays for $5/car. This is just a sample...of course you had to be there to fully enjoy it. :)

And that was it! We celebrated New Year's a bit quiet, but did manage to stay up and see the ball drop!

Hope everyone had a merry and blessed Christmas!!

NBA Bound...

probably not, but if there were an award for most energy spent bouncing up and down at a basketball game whether you're on the court or not...this boy would win it. Of course he would want to play basketball - there is a "costume" involved you know! This is Blake's first season playing basketball and our little #1 is certainly thrilled to be a part of the Bayhawk team. Blake and Coach Daddy are having a blast going to practice and games together and while I think Daddy says "focus" more than any other directive, it is fun seeing them out there. Thanks to our little bouncy bear and quite a few other scrappy and competitive 5 year olds, the Bayhawks are 2-1 so far this season...even though we aren't supposed to count!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stone Mountain

We decided to spend Black Friday with scores of other families at Stone Mountain. Hard to describe what it is, but definitely enchanting at Christmas time. The focal point is the stone carving in the mountain...but there are so many other fun things to do than just marvel the mountain. We took a gondola ride to the top where we could look out and see the downtown skyline among other beautiful sites below. We saw a few Christmas musical shows, rode the scenic railway, saw a 20 minute clip of Polar Express in 4D (the 4th dimension being snow falling, water spraying your face and wind blowing your hair). The boys saw Santa and Mrs. Claus in a short little parade and we got unlimited hot chocolate! There were over 2 million lights on display and no picture can ever do it felt like a magical place after dark. I am certain Grandpa Dave and Grandma Susie had just as much as the boys did...and Kurt and I too!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Blake said it was "thankful day" today...I said "shouldn't we be thankful every day?" We should. We really should. But I guess we all could use that reminder sometimes. Hard to believe a year has passed and within this single, short year so many wonderful and so many heartwrenching moments have occurred.

This time last year we were enjoying a Thanksgiving feast with our wonderful neighbors, the Slyter's. (Sidenote -- This was also the moment I was introduced to the most awesome video game ever and decided we had to finally break down and purchase a Wii since there was no chance of Nintendo developing Just Dance 2 for a Nintendo 64 circa 2000). Shortly thereafter we embraced the loss of Kurt's brother Adam. We think of him always and desperately wish he were still on this Earth. And then there was Georgia. Georgia, sweet Georgia. Which I have reminded myself numerous times today that this time last year we had snow on the ground, blizzard like winds and ice cold beer on the deck! Today was sunny and in the mid-60's. I think we made a good of THE most difficult ones I have ever made, but nonetheless we are happy, healthy and enjoying our new life. I am extremely grateful for all the wonderful friendships we forged during that chapter in our life. I am so thankful that we have been able to start planting our roots here and life is beginning to feel normal. Blake started Kindergarten this year, Luke is potty trained and sleeps in a big boy bed and Molly is relishing in her fenced in back yard! We have been so fortunate to have had the friendship of the Steinemann's to help us acclimate to Georgia...and the Home Depot. Very thankful to have Uncle Dave and Uncle Randy in our lives and for keeping Kurt on the tennis court. We are very grateful for some of the new friendships we are building and the fun we have when together. And I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to see one of my oldest and dearest friends and pickup a conversation we started 20+ years ago and it's like we haven't missed a beat!

We have been blessed this year with many reminders of what is important in life. A few weekends ago we met the Hooten family at Fort Benning as Jill and Ross finished a 1/2 marathon in honor of fallen soldiers. We were so proud of their accomplishment. There were some soliders there that day 5 weeks into Basic. I was boldly reminded of how thankful I am that I can live my life freely and sleep at night knowing I am protected by some of the bravest men and women on this Earth.

And tonight I sit here, stuffed from eating 2 pieces of pie because I was out of will power, thankful to have the company of Grandpa Dave and Grandma Susie with us this week. We have so much to be thankful for this year...and no doubt, we will have many blessings and life lessons to be thankful for next year. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now rest up...retail is my life so I would be remiss to not say "get out there and shop!"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Family Pics 2011

You know me...can't let a year go by without some family photos (aka Christmas card material). The boys are getting harder and harder to photograph together, but I thought our new photog - Rachel Browne Photography - did a wonderful job capturing the boys and their dynamic personalities. Here are a few of my favs...