Parker Turns Seven

img_5057I feel like Parker has grown tremendously in the last year. He’s started a new sport-soccer, developed a love of running, he completed his first chapter book, and he became an active tiger cub in Boys Scouts.  He’s also a great big brother and helper at home, with generally a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook on life. Parker also loves the outdoors and spends a lot of his outside time in the woods behind our home making “forts” and pretend campsites with his brother, Mason.

He makes Dan and I so proud. When I think about all the things that I had hoped for in a kid when he was just a little baby, he’s been everything we’d hoped he’d be and more!

With all that to say, it’s really crazy to see how fast the time has flownimg_5042by. When I look back at his milestone photos, it’s so fun to see how much he’s change over the years. He’s growing into such a fine handsome boy. In a blink, he’s now seven.

I asked these questions to Parker when he turned four, and thought it would be fun to see how the answers have changed now that he’s seven.

1. Who’s your favorite super hero? Spiderman

2. What is your favorite color? Red

3. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a Dad, and work on a computer like Daddy at Splunk

4. Where do you want to live when you get older? Pennsylvania

5. What’s your favorite TV show? Spiderman

6. What’s your favorite book? Magic Treehouse

7. What’s your favorite toy? Action Figures (Spiderman, Army men, etc.)

8. Who’s your best friend? Mason, Logan C., Logan H.,  and Coal

9. What’s your favorite song? Star Wars Theme song and One Call Away by Charlie Puth

10. What’s your favorite food? PB&J, carrots, and apples

img_4839The morning of his party day, we had a low-key morning. He enjoyed opening his gifts (all spiderman themed) in our room and we chatted on the front porch together while I drank my morning coffee. I love our little moments we get to have together.

I tell myself every year that I’m not going to go crazy with party planning, but each year I end up doing something fun anyway. I just love parties, really. I can’t help myself. Parker went to a party at Stars and Strikes last year for a friend, and loved it. He asked for a Spiderman party, so I obliged and added capes and face masks to the party guests to bring home as a party favor. It ended up being a lot of fun to have them on during laser tag, bowling and bumper cars. All the kids had a blast!

Parker told me as we were walking over to the bumper cars that this was the best party ever, and thanked me. I just love how thoughtful he is.

img_4849We finished the night with a slumber party in Parker’s room. Mason slept in Parker’s bed with him, and Sienna got to sleep in her sleeping bag on the floor. They loved it.

The morning of his actual birthday, I made him pancakes before school, and we sang to him at breakfast. I surprised him by coming to visit him at school for lunch and he enjoyed cupcakes with his classmates. I’m pretty sure he felt special for his birthday!

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Summer Road Trip

We did our very first summer road trip across several states as a family this summer. We started planning this because we wanted to visit my family in NC, but also Dan’s family in PA and this was a way that we could do both, and break up the trip so that it was do-able with the kids.Summer Road Trip Long car rides are hard on everyone, but with little kids, it can involve big emotions, and feelings of exhaustion. It’s hard to have much sympathy though considering when Dan and I were kids, all we had was a window to stare out of, a sibling to annoy, and if we were lucky, some books to look at. Kids these days have toys, iPads, in-vehicle entertainment with screens that play DVDs. They have so much more to keep themselves occupied. They were a few times that they all fell asleep together, and those times were gifts from God.

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We started our trip picking the boys up from their week long Stonecreek Kidzu Adventure camp at church, and went straight to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They live on a farm by Lake Hartwell and raise black angus cattle. They are truly amazing Godly people and I absolutely love every bit of time we get to spend with them. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, and Grandpa took them around the farm on his big tractor, and we got to watch Grandpa feed the cattle. The kids loved it! I wish we could spend more time there, but we were heading up to Wilmington the next day and we needed to get a head start on the trip, so we stayed overnight in Anderson, SC after our visit at the farm.

Number 1 on the Map:

 

On our second stop, we visited Dad, Rennie, and brother Christopher in Wilmington, NC. We met downtown at Slice of Life, my favorite pizza place, and then we headed over to the Serpentarium to see the crazy amount of poisonous snakes and reptiles. It was pretty  neat, but I didn’t get a lot of pictures from the Serpentarium, but the kids had a great time. We got there just in time for the feeding. It was fun, but let’s just say the staff wasn’t exactly kid-friendly. At one point, they were feeding an enormous boa constrictor large rabbits, and calling them the Easter bunny. Not Cool. Nevertheless, the kids still loved it. Parker in particular really enjoyed it.


The next day, we geared up for the beach. Dad really wanted to take the boys fishing. So, we went back to our old neighborhood, caught some pin fish to bait a crab trap, and then headed to Surf City’s Soundside Park on Topsail Island where we had lunch and went fishing.

Number 3 on the Map:

Parker, Dan, Christopher and Dad stayed at Soundside Park and fished some more, and Rennie, Sienna, Mason and myself went to the beach to catch some waves. Dan and Parker met us there a little later. It was so nice to hang at the beach that I grew up going to. So fun!

Rennie and Dad were very hospitable during our stay, and Dad made us special dinner of Beef  Stroganoff our first night, and took us out to a delicious Italian dinner our second night. We were so well taken care of during our stay, and we’re looking forward to our next visit to see them in the years to come!

From Wilmington, we made our way to Ocean City, Maryland. Dan had vacationed here with his family when he was younger, and could vouch for how fun it was. It didn’t disappoint.  Dan had saved up his hilton points from all of his business travels, and we used points to stay at the Hilton Suites in Ocean City. It was perfect. They had a fabulous outdoor swim-up bar, kids slides and kiddie pool. It was so fun. The hotel is within walking distance of the beginning of the boardwalk, so we loved how close it was. We took advantage of the tram, but didn’t get a chance to use the bikes. Apparently, you have to get up at the crack of dawn to get down to get your bike! Lesson learned. Hopefully next year we can do a family bike ride on the boardwalk. The kids loved the carnival rides, prizes, the street performers, etc. Lots of fun for two days!

Number 4 on the Map:

 

Our next stop was to visit Dan’s family and longtime friend that live in Pennsylvania. We were staying in Doylestown to be exact, a cute quaint superb suburb of Philly. Ha! My auto-correct changed suburb to superb, so there you go! It was indeed superb!

Dan’s best friend Jim was his best man in our wedding, and they’ve been friends for almost thirty years. Jim is married to Jess, and together they have  two daughters aged 7 and 5. They welcomed us into their home to stay with them, and they were wonderful hostesses to our family. I know it’s not easy hosting a family of five, where some of us are sleep deprived and possibly not our best behaved, but they were welcoming none the less! We used their washer and dryer, and Jess folded all our clothes when we left to visit Dan’s family. Now that’s a fantastic hostess! Jim was also very welcoming to our kids, and was such a great sport when the kids wanted to play hairdresser and give him a cut an style! So fun.

We enjoyed a fun visit to Central Park (the kids call it Castle Park, because of the huge wooden “castle”playground), and we drove up to Hershey, Pennsylvania our last day of our visit to enjoy the many rides at the amusement park Hershey Park. The kids had a blast. The super duper looper and the water park was a big hit with our family!

Number 5 on the map:

Our second day in Pennsylvania, we ventured closer into the city to visit with some of Dan’s family. I had been friends with Dan’s Aunt Denise on facebook, and seen a lot of her, but I had never met her in person before. I met Dan’s Uncle Bill, Aunt Peanut, and Uncle Brian as well. They were all so sweet, and welcoming. The kids loved meeting them as well as spending time with them and their sweet dog Erica. They brought over the best philly cheesesteaks in the area, and we had a great time visiting with them!

After  our time in Pennsylvania, we started our decent south and stayed overnight in a small town in Maryland. In the morning, we headed to Asheville, NC for one night. We drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was such an incredible drive. I had never been on an interstate with so many winding turns, hills, and beautiful mountainous views in every direction. It was by far the prettiest drive of the trip. All three fell asleep and took a good nap on the way there, which was great and we got in Asheville just in time to get settled and head in town for dinner.

Our hotel was about 20mins outside of Asheville, so when we asked the front desk if he could give us some recommendations for a good family restaurant, he said he didn’t venture into the city often. Hmm.. So we were left to our own devices, and how hard could it be to find a good restaurant? Well, apparently pretty difficult, as we found out. We  parked near the college, and walked several blocks, and things were either too pricey/fancy, or not appropriate for kids (vaping/loud music, etc) and then all of a sudden, we turned a corner, and found Lexington Avenue BreweryIt was perfect. Despite the fact that it was a brewery, it had many families in there, and a fun atmosphere and best of all, great food.

The next day, we went to one of our favorite things to do as a family in Asheville; visit the Western North Carolina Nature Center. They have a great selection of animals that are native to the area, and the kids had such a great time! In addition to seeing the neat animals, and learning about them, they also had little stations that allowed you to build your own fort with sticks, put on your own puppet show, climb your own spider web, etc. This was a fun way to conclude our summer road trip.

 

It was overall a great trip. It was long, and trying at times, but it was the best way to mix a summer vacation with visiting family and friends. I think the kids enjoyed spending time with family, learning about new places, and making memories that they will cherish for many years to come.

Summertime Adventures {July}

Lots of adventures to cover in July and I didn’t want to miss documenting them! It was a short, but a fun summer to remember.

{Science fun at the Tellus Science Museum}

{July 4th Fireworks at home}

{Trip into the City to visit the Children’s Museum of Atlanta}

{Elephant+Piggie Storytime at the Library}

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{Pirate Treasure Hunt at Lower Pool Park}

{Secret Life of Pets Movie Showing}

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{Sushi Date Night}

{Greenway with Sienna and Coal}

{Parker starts Soccer Camp}

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{Dress-up fun with Coal}

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{Park Playdate at Webb Bridge Park}

{Mall Carousel Ride}

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{Sienna had her first Princess Ballet Camp}

{Tie Dye Shirt project for Camp Kudzu’s Tie dye Tuesday}

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We finished up the month with the boys going to a week long Stonecreek Camp Kidzu through our church. They loved it. They did rock climbing, inflatables with water, and Parker got to do his very first zipline.  We finished the week there with a visit from the Kona Ice truck.Then we ventured out on our first long multi-state family road trip. More details on that in the next post, so stay tuned!

Then we ventured out on our first long multi-state family road trip. More details on that in the next post, so stay tuned!

Summertime Adventures {June}

We’ve had such a busy summer. Every year I say it…It’s my favorite season of all. I love the bright sunshine warming my body, the worry-free days, and getting just a little more free time to slow down and enjoy time with the family and friends. Whether it’s out in nature, or a playful afternoon at home, Summer has got us by it’s playful grip, and we are enjoying the ride.
This includes lots of playdates, family days, girls nights, and unscheduled spontaneous adventures. They are my favorite sunny summer days of all.  I’m so thankful for my sweet (mostly) kiddos, and my amazing family and friends that I get to do life with! Here’s recap of our happenings in June.

{Last Day Of School Ice Cream Social and Pool Party}

{Summer Reading with Coal}{Summer Reading with Coal}

 

{Memorial Weekend hike and Lake fun}

 

{Kick-off to Summer Reading Library Event}

{First Summer Playdate Series at Settles Bridge Park}

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{Pool playdate with the Jewett kiddos}

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{Hawaiian Themed Neighborhood Girls Bunco Night}

{Hammock swings with my Sienna}

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{Ellie Goulding Concert with Sarah, Jen and Gracile}

{Splash Pad Summer Playdate Series}

{Mason vs. Sienna Dress-up and Light saber battles}

{Summertime Mani-Pedis}

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{Family Kayaking on Lake Lanier}

{Fun at Gary Pirkle Park}

{Yoga Storytime at the Library}

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{Tennis Court after dinner runs}

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{Glazed and Fired painting Playdate}

{Impromptu picnic in Mommy and Daddy’s room}

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{Summertime haircut for Sienna}

{Finding Dory Movie with Mason’s PreK Teacher+friends}

 

{Gold Mine Tour for Father’s Day weekend}

{Amicalola Falls- Parker climbed steps with me}

{Daddy and the kids cracking open Geodes}

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{Super Hero Fathers Day at Stonecreek Church}

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{Father’s Day fun at Hembree Park}

{Cumming Aquatic Center Playdate}

{Buford Dam-Lower Pool Park Playdate}

{Boat Ride on Lake Lanier with Nana, Poppy & Grace}

{Visiting Nana & Poppy’s Campsite, Lunch at Pelican Pete’s}

{Jumping with their cousin Grace at Get Air}

{Dinner with Nana, Poppy and Grace+Baking Nana’s Special Cake}

{Sienna pretends to be a mermaid in our neighborhood pool}

{Hammock swings in the back yard}

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{Parker and Mason discover their love for Piggie and Gerald Books}

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{First Lemonade Stand to raise money for VBS cause}

{First Redeemer VBS-Submerge!}


Disney On Ice Presents- Frozen

Sienna and I had a fun girls night with some neighbor friends. We went to see Disney on ice at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth.

What a fantastic show! Disney never disappoints and this show was no different. Our seats were decent being only a few from the first row, and pretty close to the center.  Sienna was in her element with all of the singing and ice skating. A few times she sang along and got out of her seat to dance. It really was a great performance. I was also impressed with all the ice skating tricks. There were also a few short characters in costumes that were on stage that I had to wonder how they were skating so low to the ground. The ice skaters were very talented!

I asked some of the girls in the neighborhood if they wanted to join us. I’m trying to get Sienna around other little girls in our neighborhood in hopes that she can make some little friends. She had a sweet little friend of hers move away recently, and she now doesn’t have many buddies to play with. It was also nice to enjoy time with the girls Moms. Us Mamas of girls need to stick together. We’ll need each other once those teen years hit!

We had the same sparkly aqua dress that Sienna got for Christmas along with the an Anna costume, but Sienna wanted the sparkly dress that looks similar to Elsa’s dress. She is obsessed with it!

She wanted to do her hair in an Elsa braid, and add glitter to it. So, that’s what she got! She looks super cute, I must say!

I feel blessed to be able to do these fun little outings with my sweet girl.  Sienna and I really connect well and I hope our relationship continues to flourish as the years go on!

 

Mason turns Five!

We had such a great time celebrating our sweet boy! We had his party at a fun indoor trampoline park called Get Air. He and some of his best buddies; Allie S., Allie C., Alex, Kai, Noah and of corse Mason and Sienna enjoyed jumping and celebrating! He told me it was the best birthday party ever, which makes me feel like we’ve done a great job. Not just with selecting the party location, but with raising a kid who is appreciative and thankful to be celebrated.  He asked for a specific Lego City set that was an arctic mining station. He really enjoyed building it with the help of his brother, and has loved playing with it! We also got him some digging supplies since he’s such an outdoorsman and loves any reason to dig and explore in the woods!

 

 

Holiday Photo Booth

We decided it would be fun to try doing a photo booth this year over the holidays. This was our first adventure with it, so we weren’t sure what to expect. My friend Ashley of Ashley Bruschi Photography was a big help with loaning me her flash, and educating me on what camera settings would be good with the flash… because I have NO clue when it comes to using an external flash. It’s whole new world for me!  I found the backdrop on Amazon (we decided to do black because it’s more forgiving with shadows), and we got a few of the fun glasses on Amazon as well, and then the rest of the props came from the local Party City.

We had two Christmas parties at our house this year. One was a ornament exchange with a few close friends and neighbors, and the other was our family Christmas Eve gathering. For the family gathering, unfortunately, we didn’t get as much participation because it was just to chaotic with all the kids, but it really is a fun way to capture an event. It’s challenging to photograph adults at a party. I think kids are a bit easier because they can turn on the charm and goofy-ness.  A photo booth is just the thing that turns grown adults in to goof balls themselves. Well, and alcohol helps too, I suppose. I can’t tell you how many good belly laughs we got from these silly props and poses. It was a big party hit.


Summertime… Livin’ it Up and Lovin’ it! {{PART 1}}

It has been my intent to update for some time now, but with all the new things going on in the Christiansen home, (Starting School, Selling our townhouse, consignment sale preparation, etc) I haven’t been able to carve time out of my schedule.

Well, Sienna is in school two days a week (a school post coming up soon!) and that has allowed me to catch a breath and have a little bit of free time! Wohoo! It only took six years! This has allowed me to finally do some blogging. So, prepare for a 2-3 post update over the next few days!

So, this summer, we enjoyed some great times with our friends! We kicked it off with an ice cream social, that you see in the post below. For those who know me well, it’s no secret that Summer is my absolute favorite season! I know most people love spring and autumn, but there is just something about the warmth of the sun, the smell of sunscreen and chlorine in the air, beach and sand, unscheduled free time, and of course, my birthday is in the summer! So, in order to live our summer to it’s fullest, without over booking ourselves and allowing us to enjoy being lazy and schedule-free, I booked weekly summer playdates with friends in order to have some fun time with local moms, and let the kids enjoy time with their friends. We really had a great time with it!

The kids also attended Birthday parties, cook-0uts, and I was even a mean Mommy and made them do school work. I know, I know…It’s summertime, but they wanted to have iPad time too, and I felt like a good compromise was to make them work on some worksheets instead of napping and earn their iPad time. Most of the time it worked well! They even got stickers that allowed them to earn special gifts for doing good work.  All practice for what was to come in their new school year!  Here’s an unfiltered iphoneography glimpse into our Summer activities:

{Sims Lake Park}

{Dan and the boys visit Hershey Park with the Daymans}

{Sienna and Mommy enjoy a Mother-Daughter Weekend}

{Summer Cookout at the Leiby’s}

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{Earning iPad time and stickers for special summer gifts}

{Fun with Farmer Sue at The Art Barn}