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...

East Cobber Days

I've never really heard anyone say they live in West Cobb and honestly, West Cobb is really nice too, but boy oh boy, people will quickly tell you they live in "East Cobb". Which is where we landed in Georgia. No doubt about it, it's a great part of town. The schools are top notch and not just in Georgia (cause I know that doesn't really mean much) but in the nation. So hence our decision to plant our roots here. Last month there was something called "East Cobber Days" and we live right in the middle of it. We just had to walk down the road to see the parade and then the festival was within walking distance too. Very convenient and very fun! The Steinemann's joined us and the kids had a great time getting candy, hearing the marching bands and then playing a bit at the festival.

Blake was so excited to see "Coach Jones" (his gym teacher) and the Mt. Bethel Elem Unicycle Club....future member perhaps?
Luke and Hannah climbing up the inflatable firetruck slide

Blue Ridge Mountains

I feel like my posts are getting so sporadic, but yet life is becoming very routine...and busy.

Last month we took a beautiful Sunday drive to Blue Ridge, GA and took the boys on a train ride through the mountains. They of course thought it was about the best thing in the world. We sat in an open air car, so the views were fantastic and the temperature was perfect. We got to meet the Conductor and Blake of course added a Conductor hat to his costume collection. :) We ate at a cute little restaurant in the town by the train station before our ride and then stopped at a candy shop mama could get some fudge. :)

Wouldn't be Blake without some form of a costume on and candy in hand.

The horn was "too loud"

But not so loud as to keep him from falling asleep...ears safely covered. Love this kid.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Journey of a Thousand Miles...

begins with one BIG step onto the yellow school bus. The day I have quietly feared (well one of many) since the minute Blake Grady was born, came and went last Monday, Aug 15th. He is officially a "kindergartner"...though he will quickly tell you he prefers to "just call him Blake" Mount Bethel Elementary in Marietta. He was so excited to meet his teacher a couple of weeks ago and let me just say - Amen. We scored the most perfect, cookie cutter, text book, "everything you could want from a kindergarten teacher". Mrs. Barkley has been teaching for about 25 years and is so warm and caring. Blake really likes her and she had me convinced she was the best teacher ever when she told us she still uses the same "letter people" that Mrs. Leon used when I was in kindergarten!! And did I mention that Cobb County offers FREE full day kindergarten WITHOUT a lottery. Of course full day still means he is done at 2:30, but he takes a little bus to the preschool where Luke is and then we pick them up at the same time. It has been an adjustment having a school bus time dictate every minute of your morning! I now have a new appreciation for what it must have taken my Mom to get all 3 of us girls up and at 'em every morning! Here are some photos of his first day. Yes, there were tears me, but I have to say if I were to cry today it would be of happiness and relief that he is so happy and so far loves getting up every morning. He will tell you his favorite part is riding the bus and he couldn't wait to tell me about his first trip to the school library yesterday! He got to pick out his own book and "check it." I have taken for granted that I have picked out 99% of the books/stories we read for the last 5 years so he is ecstatic to have some independence!

That's him in the front seat right behind the bus #