Placemat Learning

We bought some placemats from Amazon for the kids called painless learning and they’ve worked out so great! It has given them something to do while waiting for their food and everyone is learnings! Sienna still needs more teaching and direction, but she’ll get there! Parker has learned several more site words since this video was taken and he has really enjoyed sounding them out. Once he gets all the site words well, I add a few new ones for him to practice. I try to have him understand the phonics involved instead of him just memorizing the word itself. Mason has really enjoyed learning the states, and he too knows more (mostly western) states now. It’s worked out great in our family and I certainly recommend them! They have quite a few on amazon; Counting, anatomy, science, astronomy, ect. So fun!


Pumpkin Carving

We picked up a few pumpkins while Parker and Mason were on their class field trip to Kinsey Farms this season, and with Mama’s help of course (okay, I did 99.9% of it… but they did help scoop seeds) we carved a pumpkin! Sienna was too bored to stay for the entire thing, but enjoyed hanging around for the pictures at the end.  We had a good time doing it, but it was hard to keep the kids interested. I saved the other big one for another time. I’m glad we did because this one turned pretty quickly. We will need to carve another the other one in time for Halloween trick or treaters!

Pumpkin Painting with Friends

We’ve done this the last three years, and it’s always been proven to be fun, and this year was no different. It’s hard to get this group of gals together all at the same time, so it was a lot of fun just getting a chance to catch up and let the kiddos play. It was the first time that I let Sienna in Wacky World by herself, with the help of two watchful eyes of big brothers, and of course, I checked on her quite a bit too. It was just fun to be able to have some adult conversations without being torn from one side of the playground to the other depending on where Sienna decides to go. Even though I get choked up when I think about not having any more babies and how much mine are growing so fast, it’s also nice to see them become independent. It shows me more of their little personalities, and allows me to enjoy life through a different view. I love that. Here are our sweet little ones having fun on a gorgeous day with our kiddos, and some photos of some gorgeous Mamas who I’ve come to know and love over the years!


Fall Family Vaca in Chattanooga!

We are taking advantage of the kids being in preschool as long as we can and taking vacations during spring and fall instead of when the masses have a summer break. We love Chattanooga. Not only does it have a lot to offer in the way of activities for families, but it’s close. It’s only about 2.5 hours from our house, which makes it a big win in our book!

We had a bumpy start to our trip. Mason had a rash at school that was on his back, arms, and slightly on his legs. We thought it would be best to have him checked out by the doctor before leaving to go out of town in case it was something serious. He said it itched terribly and had a really difficult time resisting scratching it and was pretty uncomfortable. The doctor said she thought it was an allergic reaction to a virus, and asked us to keep him on around the clock benedryl. She said it was fine to resume our planned activities, and to use an over the counter topical steroid if it got too uncomfortable. That evening, it had gotten worse, and he was really bummed that he missed out on going to the pool with Sienna and Parker, but he was a trooper about it. He stayed back with Daddy and played legos together and all was good. However, his rash continued to get worse. We looked online and we read that allergic reactions can get worse, and Dan and I feared a terrible reaction, and had a difficult time sleeping that night. Not to mention that Sienna had a difficult time adjusting to being in a hotel. She DID NOT want to go to bed in her pack and play! After singing, begging, laying her down and patting her back, covering and re-covering… we just had to leave and let her cry for a little bit. We felt horrible, but she didn’t want to be held… she just wanted to run free and not go to sleep. Finally, after about an hour, and fearing that we were going to get kicked out of the hotel, she calmed down and started babbling, then put herself to sleep. Parker was in the room with her and I know he was glad to hear her be quiet! He didn’t complain once, which was great! That night we kept Mason in our room so we could keep a closer eye on him and his rash. We were all so tired anyway and it was just easier to have peace of mind.

The next morning we checked the weather, and there was a chance of rain, but the chance of rain was more over then next few days of our trip, so we decided to take a chance and head over to Rock City. We love Rock City’s Rocktober Fest, and really just all they have to offer. Such a fun attraction!

We were surprised that the trail was fairly kid friendly.  We remembered being there last November, and there were some areas that were just too hard for us with how little the kids were, but now that they’re older it’s a little easier.  Sienna was in the backpack carrier for part of the time, but there were several caves and paths that were just fine for her to roam around on. The area that made me the most nervous was where they had the little bridges with sides that only came up to my knees at best! Way too low for little ones!  One thing we thought was really fun was that the boys got little maps at the beginning, and they were told to get little stickers from certain stations on the map… one being a fun troll. Then they were to go on the Enchanted Trail and find the fairy and get a special surprise if they showed her the map with all the stickers. All three kids got a fun pinwheel! They just loved it.

We also saw a new area this time, Mother Goose’s Cave (not sure the official name), and it was a black-light themed storybook village with a fun little miniature area that the kids loved! We left out of a different area and completely missed that fun section last time we visited!

That evening we enjoyed a fun walk downtown over the bridge near Coolidge Park and out to dinner at Blue Plate, one of our favs in the area. A fun end to our first full day in Chattanooga!

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The next day we decided to try Ruby Falls. We had concerns about Mason’s rash that had gotten worse overnight, and it delayed our start to the day (everything was fine with him though, just more benedryl and concerned convo with his doc!) and we got to Ruby Falls a little later than we had planned. It was PACKED! People were hanging out of the entrance to the main building and the kids weren’t listening. Sienna didn’t want to be held and kept running off when we put her down, the boys didn’t want to be still, and were complaining that they didn’t want to wait any longer… we quickly realized that it was a very bad idea to try to do Ruby Falls at this time of day. It would’ve taken at least an hour to get through that line, then it was another hour and fifteen to get to see Ruby Falls. It was just cutting it too close to lunch and nap time which is a big no-no when you have little kiddos! So… we made the decision to leave and go visit downtown instead.  We went back to Coolidge Park and found a nice deli and then had fun walking through the park and riding the carousel.  Dan pointed out a fun little alleyway that was marked up with chalk and graffiti, and it ended up being a fun backdrop to photograph the kids! I didn’t bring my DSLR, but my new iPhone 6 did the job just fine and these are some of my very favorites!

We called the office at Ruby falls after the kids had their nap, and they told us that there wasn’t a line and that it would probably be a 5-10 minute wait before heading down to the falls. We were so excited and felt better prepared this time. The kids each had a water bottle for hydration, and even though Sienna completely refused to go in the back carrier, she was more compliant about either holding our hand or being held, so that was good. Dan quickly purchased the tickets and I stood in line by the elevator to hold our spot. We were so excited that we were so early that we didn’t make sure the kids emptied out before heading down to the falls. The elevator takes you hundreds of feet under ground, and there are no restrooms. About twenty minutes in, Mason started asking to go to the bathroom. I felt like the worst mother of the year. We didn’t have him go when he got up from his nap because I remembered thinking-he’ll just empty out right before the tour. Yikes. We had a tour guide that was great, and the kids loved the little walk. There weren’t steep cliffs or too many areas that we had to hold their hands like at Rock City, so it was fairly easy for little ones. I wouldn’t suggest for the early walkers who don’t like to be held on in carriers though. Overall, very pretty and worth the walk, but I don’t think I would have the same sentiment if we went through with it earlier in the day when it was busier. I can see how people can feel claustrophobic with too many people down there, but for us, it wasn’t too bad. So, on goes the saga of Mason having to go potty. We’re literally waiting to go see the falls. There’s a group in there, and we were next. Our group of around fifty people were quiet when our tour guide turns to Mason and says “How’s it going little buddy?” and Mason yells “I have to pee REALLLLLLLY Bad. I Caaaaaaan’t Wait!!” Embarrassed, Dan and I looked at each other with wide eyeballs as if to say…what the heck are we going to do? No restroom… we’re down in a cave. I looked at the kids water bottle in my hand and I just took Mason and walked swiftly to the back of the crowd of people and found a little private area in the cave, and had him go in a bottle. Classy, I know. The best part? He announces it to everyone upon his return. I just love that kid!

On Monday, we ventured to the Creative Discovery Museum. That place never gets old! We just love that place and always explore something new each time we go. This time, we spent a lot of time in the music area. The boys climbed up the large playground area that about gave me a heart attack, so I safely excused myself and brought Sienna to the toddler area. There is so much fun to be had in that area, and when the boys were done with their death defying playground tunnels, they came and joined in the fun. We had such a great time there!

Our last day it rained so much that it literally shut down our exit to the interstate. It had been raining off and on all weekend, but it had poured the night before. Our last night at the hotel we enjoyed their indoor pool. Mason’s rash had finally cleared up and he was excited that he could finally go swimming! We had a great time!
We were trying to think of something fun to do in Chattanooga our last day where we could stay dry. We were very familiar with their aquarium… so much so, that we decided to skip it this time. We were just at our Atlanta aquarium in July and we were at the Chattanooga aquarium just last November. The manager at the hotel we stayed at (the Hampton Inn Lookout Mountain) had suggested the cave at Raccoon mountain. Our first hint should’ve been that he has older kids. It was a little boring for little ones. Not to mention, it was pretty wet and treturous and none of the kids could really be left unattended without their hands being held or being picked up. They were bored to tears…literally. I think they loved ruby falls because there was an end in site…the falls. Raccoon Cave was very pretty, but it left a lot to be desired for little kids. Maybe again in ten years on a boys scout trip…

All in all, lots of fun memories made in Tennessee our family fall vaca!

Bike Rides and Tball Hits!

We decided to sign Parker up for Tball this year.  We’re not exactly a sports family.  What I mean by that is that nobody watches sports or talks about sports, and neither Dan or I went to a college that played a specific sport. Neither one of us or grew up playing sports. Well, Dan played soccer, gymnastics and karate as a kid so I guess those count.  Dan went to Drexel U. a technology college and I went to an art school for college, so neither one of us jumped on the college football wagon or have an aligance to a particular team or sport. So sadly, Parker is at a disadvantage for any kind of sport in our house since he’s never even seen baseball on TV!

I knew Parker would love it though because he has such a positive attitude and an incredible drive and energy. He’s always so positive and loves to play and compete at anything.  Of course, since he’s never played he’s not that great at it.  He doesn’t let it get him down though.  He’s hit a few balls off the T, and last two games hit a piched ball!  He still needs to work on his throw and his outfield behavior (he was throwing his hat in the air and trying to catch it with his head last game), but overall we are proud of him. Who knew being a Mom of a little boy was so much fun?  We’re certainly having fun with this kid and I can’t wait to see how much he grows in this sport.  He’s already asked if he can play in the spring too!  The other day he got up from his nap and asked if he could watch baseball online, and see them drink Gatorade. Ha! He’s so funny!

On Parker’s birthday, I told him that he’s five now, and that I thought we should try riding his bike without training wheels. We’ve tried once before on his big bike, and he was just WAY too unstable. So this time, we decided to take off the training wheels on Mason’s bike since it is smaller and lower to the ground. I worked with him on Sunday a little bit while Dan had a friend over and they were watching a movie and the two youngest were napping. I was EXHUASTED. Parker kept leaning and putting all his weight on me, and I was hunched over trying to keep him upright. He kept wanting to try, even though he kept falling. We probably got a balance of one bike length without him falling, but that was the extent of it. I was a little annoyed because he wasn’t really taking the whole bike riding thing seriously. He would laugh and laugh, and smile and then laugh. In hindsight I guess it’s better than him crying and giving up, but I just kept asking him to BE SERIOUS which is totally NOT Parker’s personality.

I was talking to my neighbor Jenn about advice since she taught her son to ride his bike and the next day was a gorgeous afternoon, and the kids were all playing outside. Jenn and I took turns helping Parker start, and asked him to ride to the other person and JUST LIKE THAT. That was what he needed. A cheering person in front of AND behind him! He started going the longest distance that night, and two days later was riding down the street on his big bike! Such a proud Mama! Dan was impressed too, of course. My boy is growing up!

My first born is FIVE!

This weekend was a great weekend. We celebrated our oldest boy turning five years old! It’s hard to believe that he’s such a big kid now.

I stole these questions from Parker’s Four year old blog post last year. The answers are all different!
1. Who’s your favorite action figure? Darth Vader and Luke Sywalker

2. What is your favorite color? Red

3. What do you want to be when you grow up? Construction Worker or Firefighter

4. Where are you going to work? At work (with his hands gestured upwards as if to say “duh”)

5. What’s your favorite TV show? Lego Star Wars

6. What’s your favorite book? The books from the library about baseball

7. What’s your favorite toy? Millinium Falcon

8. Who’s your best friend? Walker and Sawyer, Gavin and Mason and Baily (a girl at school who Parker says is SO BEAUTIFUL) and Logan, and Campen

9. What’s your favorite song? Darth Vader March

10. What’s your favorite food? Sandwiches and cinnamon raisen bagels

The weekend started off great with Parker celebrating his birthday at school on Friday and getting to bring home “Lambie” the class mascot. Parker loved that and really had a great time bringing Lambie everywhere he went all weekend.

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Saturday, party time! The friends arrived on Saturday morning. My brother and nephew Gavin got in the evening before. Gavin is almost eleven, but Parker just ADORES him! Gavin is such a good sport too with all the little kids! I made super easy Star Wars Jedi robes inspired from this post I saw on Pinterest:http://www.birthdayinabox.com/activity-guides/star-wars-party-craft-make-a-jedi-robe.html word to the wise though. Just measure your child for the Jedi/padawan robe before buying the fabric. I went by the 6×2 measurement and it was WAY too big, and had a TON of fabric left over. Super easy and no sew, which was great! I also made little pool noodle light sabers inspired by the taped up noodles on this blog:http://www.cleanandscentsible.com/2013/05/star-wars-party-ideas.html The kids LOVED them, and they had their own personalized noodles with their initials on the bottom to keep track of them.

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This year we had the parents drop off the kids. We did it this way for several reasons. First of all, they’re old enough. They’re all around five, almost five, or older. They really don’t need their parents at a party. Last year when we had Parker’s Super hero party, there were several parents mingling and not watching their kids. No fault of theirs… that’s just what happens at a party, but I just found it harder to keep tabs on the kids with more adults believe it or not. Another reason was that we would be watching a Lego Star Wars movie in the theater room, and it would just get too crowded with all the adults there. The party was a bit long with the movie, games, and lunch so I thought it would be more convenient for the parents not to have to tie up half their Saturday at a birthday party. It ended up working out great with just the kids there. Dan and my brother were both a big help with getting the food ready and setting up the games, as well as helping watch the kids, so that made it easier. Nine little boys and one 2 year old little girl made for a busy morning!

So, it was a big hit! As the kids arrived, we played outside for a little bit (practicing their Jedi light saber skills) and each kid got their jedi/padawan robe. Shortly there after, we went down to the basement with popcorn and drinks in tow and watched Lego Star Wars and a short clip of young Anakin Skywalker flying a little ship in a race. The kids LOVED it.IMG_9960

After that, we went upstairs to the playroom where I had decked the room out in balloons hanging from streamers. I told the kids that it was a “jedi training course” and they just loved it! They waited for the music to come on, which was the Star Wars opening song and the Darth Vader march. Not one kid was shy during this. The were all laughing and hitting balloons. It didn’t take long before they were all knocked down, and then they started hitting the balloons on the floor. Lots of fun with soft materials so no one can get hurt!

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Then we took the cardboard cut-out of Darth Vader outside where everyone got to practice their batting skills by hitting a balloon with their light saber to hit Darth Vader. Super fun! It was a little windy though, so I needed a helper to hold Darth Vader up so he didn’t fall down.

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Dan was busy cooking hotdogs on the grill while we were playing outside. The weather was perfect and the kids had a lot of fun, and ran off a lot of energy! They all came in shortly afterwards and enjoyed a nice hotdog lunch, and then of course there was cake and ice-cream, and singing to my five year old big boy! The cake was from a local bakery called The Crafty Cakery. They did a fantastic job and it was exactly what Parker wanted for the party. Parker loved it! It tasted really good as well, which made everyone happy.  This was a different place than where we got Dan’s cake because the Baker’s man is further away, and admittedly the cake wasn’t as great the last time we had it. We liked trying a new place, and will certainly go with them again!fivebirthday05

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fivebirthday04Afterwards, the kids played some more and the parents trickled in to pick up their kids. They each left with a Jedi Knight Certificate that I found and printed off from here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/264093965624328053/ the boys really enjoyed having a certificate for the “Jedi training” they did! So much fun!  Parker got a badge that said Jedi Master on it, and he just LOVED it!

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Every year I say I’m not going to overdo it for parties, but I seem to get carried away with making sure my kids have a great birthday experience. This year was no different, but I also felt like it was a big age. Five is huge! An official kid! Plus, the party decor and ideas for a Star Wars party is just too fun to pass up! I had a great time putting on this party for him, and Parker had a blast having his best buddies over to celebrate with him!

That evening we went on a little mother-son date to dinner and  a movie. We had a great time, and it was a great way to end the day of celebrating our big boy! IMG_9977

No More Babies

I’m sure many of you know the rate of speed our kids are growing, and that we do not in fact have any more babies in our house. Sienna is growing by leaps and bounds, will be two in November, Parker will turn five on Sunday, and Mason is 3, with his birthday in March. Whew!
When you’re in the baby stage, it seems so exhausting and never ending. It’s precious, but so draining and requires SO much of Mommy. I wouldn’t change any of it, It is our family, and I love it. I always dreamed of being a Mommy, and as I look around at my life, and my family, it is exactly what I wanted as a little girl. It’s not always fun, not always without frustration or yelling, not always technology free and full of hugs and kisses, but it’s our family and I’m so thankful for it.

I’ve been focusing on the baby years a lot these last few months because Dan and I made the hard decision to stop having babies, and have Dan get a vasectomy. We came to the decision after several factors. One being that we are happy with the size of our family. I know there are GREAT Mamas out there that can divide their love and attention between three plus kids, but I just know it isn’t for me. I don’t know if the decision is made more evident by the fact that our kids are so close together in age, but right now, it’s pretty challenging on a daily basis to make sure I’m dividing up my attention enough between the three kids. Sienna is very jealous of the brothers, and the boys usually have to call my name several times to get my attention because I’m busy with one of the other kids doing something else. I feel constantly torn, and admittedly my fuse can be short at times with them because of it. I know it’s just the season we’re in right now, but after much prayer and consideration, we know that this is what God has for us. It is what we can handle.
Secondly, we don’t use birth control. I know, I know… I get the raised eyebrows and side slanted head from my OBGYN every visit. It’s just not for us. I don’t like to put hormones into my body, and the copper IUD makes you bleed like you’re dying a slow death, which doesn’t sound fun. There’s also condoms, but seriously… who enjoys those? The “being careful method” (also known as the “pull and pray” method, haha!) just didn’t make for a relaxing experience for me. It always made me SO nervous I was going to accidentally get preggers again!
Also, I’ve been working hard lately on my fitness, getting my body back in shape after having Sienna (almost TWO years ago!), Lymes disease, lower back issues, and just lazy bones syndrome. I didn’t gain a ton of weight, I just never lost it after I had Sienna. I went straight from breastfeeding to being sick, and then never got around to losing it. So yeah, that was another deciding factor. I admittly, selfishly, want my body back after pushing out nine, ten, and eight pound babies within a three year period.
Another reason is Money. I mean, speaking strictly from a practical point of view, of course, we could get by with WAY less. Our kids could share rooms, wear each other’s clothes, wait to get a car until they’re in their 20’s…, the list goes on. But why? I agree that teaching them to get by with less, will allow them to be good shepherds over what they do have. I COMPLETELY agree with not getting them every single thing they want, doing chores and earning money only for EXTRA work around the house instead of just what is expected are all GOOD things, but what about college? What about the inevitable doctor bills or sports and extra circular activities they’ll join, or summer family vacations, etc. Shouldn’t we plan from a practical perspective when planning our family too? I think so. I think that three kids is all we can afford comfortably. For now AND down the road when college and all the other big expenses start creeping in.
Lastly, Dan and I aren’t exactly spring chickens. When I say “Dan and I”, I really mean… just Dan. Haha (sorry honey!). No, but seriously. Dan just turned 40 this year, and I turned 33, which is acceptable child bearing age, but for Dan, he just feels like he’s done (and I do too). I had to have an arm twisting session with him to convince him to have another after the boys. SO SO glad I won that battle (or should I say that GOD won that battle) and that we got our GIRL!

So, yeah. Dan had a vasectomy on Friday. He’s fine. He has some pain of course. The worst part was that they offered no sedation. He had a valium and some lidocaine via local injection. It’s hard when you have three kids and have something done like that. Sienna loves to give hugs and her head is right at crouch level. Ouch! Seriously, though. I’m so thankful that he agreed to do it, especially after all the Crohn’s surgeries he’s had, it’s hard to want to have an ELECTIVE procedure done that he knows will be so painful, but I’m forever grateful that he agreed!

Parker cracks me up with his questions too. In our house, we try to be perfectly honest as much as possible given their age and understanding. This is the conversation I had with Parker after I dropped Dan off at the office for the out patient procedure.

Parker: “Mommy, why are you dropping Daddy off?”

Me: “He’s having a procedure done”

Parker: “I heard Daddy said he was getting a needle in his pee pee”

Me: “Yes, he is. He’s getting it done so we don’t have any more babies”

Parker: “Ouch, that will hurt really bad. Why does he have to get a needle in his Peepee when you’re the one who has the babies?”

Me: “…..Well… When two people are married, you need a Mommy and a Daddy to have a baby”

Parker: “Oh, okay. Where is that park at? Is it really far away? Does it have a slide?”

Whew! Lengthy explanation averted!

So, yeah. No more babies. I bawled the other day. A friend posted a sappy video on FB about a few japanese Moms leaving their child’s one year appointment and their husband’s surprising them with an artwork style display of baby photos of the child’s first year along the walls of the hallway. I just cried like a baby. I cried because it made me realize how fast and quick those baby years really are. I cried because I knew I wouldn’t have another baby of my own to hold. I cried because I wondered if I had enjoyed it enough, savored it enough, documented it enough, loved enough without complaining of how hard it was, or if I was doing it right, or if they were reaching their milestones. I mourned the baby stage. It’s a sweet stage and one that goes by way way too quickly.

For now, I will savor the toddler and childhood stages and dream about whats to come, what we can finally talk about doing now that the kids are older. The fun adventures that await as they grow, makes us excited to look forward to the future. The future of them growing into their own person, and us helping them be the best they can be!

Dan Turns 40!

August is a big birthday month in our house because Dan and I both have August birthdays.  This year however, was especially important, because Dan turns the BIG 4-0! I knew I wanted to plan a party for him, but after asking questions, I decided I didn’t want to make it a surprise.  I just didn’t know enough about the people he works with and would want to invite, and I wanted to make sure that it was something that he really wanted, with the people invited that he wanted, so I made sure he was very involved in the planning.

Knowing that Dan is a big steak lover, and loves the restaurant Cabernet, we decided that it was the perfect upscale restaurant to celebrate such a milestone occasion.  They have a mezzanine level that serves as a balcony that overlooks the restaurant on the second floor.  It has one large “last supper” style table that seats 24 in the room, and we thought it was the perfect room for the party.

I went with a black and white vintage chalkboard type theme.  Dan really liked the invitation that I modified on mixbook.com  They had some really cute ones on Tinyprints.com, but we wanted to customize it a little more than they allowed on their standard invitations, so we went the mixbook route, and were very happy with it!

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Dan and I decided since it was a special occasion, to do the Uber Black, which means that you’ll either get a town car or black SUV.  We didn’t want to drive because we knew some drinks would be thrown back, and we didn’t want to worry about how to get home.  We ended up with the SUV and it was so nice. Driver was great, transaction was simple. Easy peasy! We arrive in style!IMG_9634.JPG

It was a lot of fun, the only downside was that the room only sat 24 people, which made it hard when it came to Dan deciding who to invite between family, his work friends, church friends, and friends from our neighborhood.  We wish that more could come, but with a larger group, we wouldn’t have been able to sit at the same table, so that would’ve been hard too.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed delicious food, sipped on great drinks, and had a wonderful time laughing and goofing off with friends! We had a made from scratch cake made from The Baker’s Man, which is who made my 30th birthday.  It was meant to look like the invitation, and I think he did a really good job! It didn’t taste as good as the one for my 30th (a little dry) but the icing was yummy, and we were having such a good time, that we didn’t really care much! Here are a few iPhone shots of the evening.

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IMG_9602.JPGI did a few surprise boards for Dan to commemorate his 40 years of life.  Ironically, Dan’s Mom had sent us old pictures a few years ago of Dan when he was a baby, and I dug through them all and found a few gems, and added a few recent ones too.  I’m happy with how it turned out!
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As if the fun we had at Cabernet wasn’t enough,  we decided to go across the street to get a little more cray-cray at Wild Wing Cafe.  We took a few shots with friends, and watched a band play, and the laughter and giggles continued.  We hung out on the front patio and after a shot and two long island ice teas, Dan thought he was a comedic genius, and had all of us rolling! So. Much Fun! He certainly had fun on his birthday.  You only turn 40 once!IMG_9629.JPG

 

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IMG_9632-0.JPGWell, Happy Birthday sweetie! I had a blast, and I’m glad to be celebrating this milestone birthday with you! After all you’ve been through the past few years, this party was well deserved! Looking forward to many more years of fun and celebrating!

SUP Yoga Birthday

I’ve been meaning to write about my SUP yoga birthday for a while now, and I finally have some time while the kiddos are napping to update the blog! The first time I did Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) was in Charleston with my bestie a few years ago. Her boyfriend is an avid surfer, and they own their own SUP boards. So, we took them out to the inlet, but not being too excited about what was in the water (we passed a few jellyfish), I was too nervous to get up on my feet, in fear of falling. So yeah… I paddled while on my knees, and that was basically it. It still peaked my interest because it is a lot like kayaking but with the option of getting wet and working your core, plus it offered options for doing fun yoga positions.
So, fast forward to this summer, my favorite Yoga studio in town Breathe Yoga, decided to host a summer series of SUP yoga classes out on Lake Lanier. The dates they had listed for June, the first month didn’t jive with my schedule, so I looked into the company they were using, and that’s when I found Atlanta SUP Yoga.  I snooped around their site a bit, and got to their calendar of events and noticed that on my birthday, August 10th, they were hosting a Super Moon Sunset paddle that evening!  I called immediately to see how many spots were open and then sent out a few emails to friends who I thought would be interested in joining me on, and Wallah! A fun evening on the books!

Four of the six of us carpooled and met for dinner beforehand at a really cute fun place called Pelican Pete’s right on Lake Lanier.  It really made me feel like I was on vacation being there.  Straw tiki hut style roofs, live music, cool breeze by the water. It was perfect! They didn’t have a lot of food choices (mainly bar type food) but we were just looking for a small bite before we hit the water.

After dinner, we met up with the rest of the crew, and our instructor at Vanns Tavern Park at Lake Lanier to get our SUP on!  The instructor Christy was awesome, and we started with cracking glow sticks to make necklaces and bracelets for when it gets dark.  The session was from 6:30-9pm, so even though it wasn’t dark when we started, we knew it would be getting dark when we were returning and they require by law for you to have a light on when it’s dark out.  So, why not bedazzle with glow stick jewelry?

It. Was. Amazing. I fell in love! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to get up on my feet. Once you’re on your knees, you go to table top position, and gradually push back with your hands and your feet push back into a squat, and then stand up with your paddle! I had the best company too.  A few girlfriends from my neighborhood, a longtime friend of mine from church, and a few playgroup Mom friends came, and it was the best group of girls! Lots of laughs and fun and simply the best way to spend my birthday!  We decided since all of us practice yoga, that we would do some yoga moves on the paddle board as well.  It wasn’t nearly as difficult as you would think and Christy was a certified yoga teacher, and was able to show us simple but effective positions.  Once you get the balance down, adding yoga is just a fun way to make it more interesting and to give you a new perspective and awareness.  It was so incredibly serene.  We thought the yoga would be the highlight of the night but God had something else to surprise us.  Just as we were paddling back, we looked behind us to see the most amazing sunset intermixed with overcast clouds.  Pink and purple hues with rays of light bursting from behind the trees.  Truly incredible!   Right when we though we had seen the perfect sky, we see the super moon peek over the horizon during our paddle back.  Large orange super moon!  The instructor had her iPhone, and took pictures, but it didn’t do it justice!  I wanted to bring my phone since it had a waterproof case, but the instructor said she didn’t advise it because it could very easily get dropped into the water and gone forever. So, I took her advice and just left it behind. But man… that was one incredible moon!

Now… I want my own paddlboard. Seriously!  I joke with Dan all the time about it.  If they weren’t so expensive, I probably would already have one right now! We just had such a great time that night, and it made me realized how close we are to Lake Lanier (only 22mins away from where we live) and how much we could really make the lake a fun part of our summers as the kids get older. I remember some fun times on the boat on LL as a kid as well, and would love for my kids to have those same memories.  So, I told Dan that we must go out on the lake soon, and we made plans for Labor Day to do just that.  More details in a future post on our boat rental and ride.

Turning 33 went off without a hitch, and it was by far the most adventurous and serene birthday thus far!

 

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