Monday, December 15, 2008

Go Tigers!

Michael and Ryan drove to Clemson this past Saturday for Clemson's basketball game against South Carolina State (I think...) Although Ryan was a little resistant about making the trip and attending the game, I explained that it was a junk food connoisseur's paradise with cheese nachos, popcorn, soda and hot dogs all at your finger tips. This seemed to inspire him a little bit and so off they went.

Ryan enjoyed the basketball game although from what I understand, he talked most of the way through it, annoying other spectators during the game. Very surprising indeed!

He came home with all sorts of goodies from his travels as well. Like this big foam hand. Every kid needs one of those.

But the big purchase was this Clemson football uniform complete with jersey, pants, helmet and even shoulder pads.

Ryan was anxious to try it out, so Sunday afternoon he put the gear on and tossed around the football. I'm sure he'll have fun with it for awhile and make his Dad proud. But when it comes to dreams of actually playing a game of football with other people... Ryan is always quick to make his Mom proud saying, "I'm not playing football! Those guys get hurt out there!"

That's my boy!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Just hear those sleigh bells jingling..."

Wingard's, a local nursery down the road from us held a special evening of Christmas activities for children of Avery's preschool - Pilgrim Lutheran - last Friday. Since I am all about free events, we made sure we were there exactly when the gates opened at 5:30 p.m.

The kids (and I) enjoyed a ride in Santa's sleigh train which circled through Christmas trees, plants, and water fountains as we made our way around the nursery grounds.

After the exhilarating train ride, we were able to chat with Mrs. Claus. Although it does not appear this way in the photo above, Avery went to Mrs. Claus and sat on her lap all on her own. She just wasn't excited about Michael taking her picture!

Ryan thoroughly enjoyed meeting Mrs. Claus and kept her on her toes the entire time. He just recently watched the old 1970 animated television version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

The story basically explains how Santa (Kris Kringle) was taken in by elves and raised to make toys and share them with the world. He comes to Sombertown where he has to battle the evil Burgermeister who has outlawed all toys. Eventually, Kris Kringle wins the town over as well as the local school teacher' s heart. The school teacher's name is Jessica and she and Santa eventually marry.

Well, poor Mrs. Claus had no idea that she would be quizzed about her origin and her eventual meeting of Santa! When she mentioned that her children were all grown, Ryan got such a confused look on his face and asked, "You and Santa have children? There was no mention of that!"

He even explained to her how he knew she used to be a school teacher a long time ago. The lady looked at him with an equally confused expression and decided to just agree with everything he said. He is the authority on Santa Claus!

Finally, she offered each of them a candy cane and we were able to usher the kids over to the cookies and hot cider table. Avery ate her candy cane in record time. I'm not even sure if it can be considered "eating." As a kid, I remember just slowly sucking on my candy canes and making them last as long as possible. Avery literally crunches and swallows everything as fast as possible hoping that we won't notice and will accidentally give her another one!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanksgiving with the O'Briens

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! We traveled to my parent's house on Callawassie Island for Thanksgiving this year. It is always a treat to get out of cooking all of the food and cleaning the house every now and then and letting it fall to someone else!

My parents always do a fabulous job hosting Thanksgiving and this year J.T., Kassi, and their two adorable daughters, Evie and Addison came as well for the festivities. The above photo is my handsome brother J.T. and his sweet baby girl, Addison.

You will notice that I make myself scarce in the kitchen area because it is very important for someone to take pictures and document the day's events...right? So another great photo of my handsome husband Michael and my adorable son Ryan.

And think about it...they are not in the kitchen either now! Are they?

But let's face it, the real excitement comes when it is time to play a round or two of "Ring Around the Rosie." Here my dad and brother are getting into action with Avery and Evie. "Ring Around the Rosie" is Avery's all-time favorite game. EVER. It's just so hysterical when everyone falls down.

Don't you miss those days when the greatest moments of your life revolved around games like these? I do. Every day. I curse the fact that I keep getting older.

Again, I digress...Back to the game. So you can actually watch it in action here. "Ring around the rosie. Pocket full of posies..."

"Ashes, ashes..."
"We all fall dooowwwnnn..."

Avery's expression is priceless in this photo. You can tell she just had the best time ever. EVER.

Ohhh, but there is much more fun to be had. Next comes along, "Pet My Duck." My dad loves getting his faux pet swan out for everyone to see.

Not really, but that would be really funny.

And this is an action shot. Avery trying to lick cousin Addison. You can see the concentration on her face...Addison's probably thinking, "Please, nooooo!"

Here she comes again. Addison remembers what happened the last time Avery got near her. Avery was very nice and gave her cousin a sweet hug. She was probably still high off of the last game of "Ring Around the Rosie!"

I don't know how I managed not to capture any photos of the culinary feast that was center of attention that day. But I didn't. I can say, however, it was all fantastic. Thank you Mom and Dad for having us all over!

Ryan and Emma's School Thanksgiving Feasts

Ryan and Emma's school classes both had Thanksgiving activities that were held a few days before Thanksgiving. Ryan's first grade class held a very traditional meal of turkey and ham sandwiches, corn, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and for dessert...pumpkin and apple pie. I volunteered to help with the set up and serving during their mealtime (the ugly side to being a stay-at-home mom - I always feel guilty if I don't volunteer for every activity that comes along!)

Emma was in preschool that day but I had to bring Avery along with me. Boy, was that a mistake! As I was trying to help dish out plates of food before the kids came into the classroom to eat, Avery was walking around pulling everyone's crayons out of boxes and was coloring all over the tablecloth paper. Once she saw the food that was being ladled out, she sat in another student's seat just waiting to be served her plate. I must say she was very patient waiting for her plate of food. However, once she saw that she didn't have one...let's just say her ugly side made an appearance.

Luckily, Ryan is a good big brother and he let her pull up a seat next to him and shared some food with her. So you can see in the above photo, Avery eating a Thanksgiving meal with the first graders. But isn't that the whole point of the holiday anyway? Pilgrims and Indians...two-year-olds and six-year-olds mixing together?

Emma's preschool had a special Thanksgiving celebration for the three-year-old classes and their parents. The kids sang several Thanksgiving themed songs for everyone - one of which was called "Five Fat Turkeys Are We." I have this song memorized as well now since Emma enjoyed singing that one all the way home from preschool each day.

After the music portion, everyone sat down to eat the "Blessing Soup" that supposedly, the three-year-olds helped prepare. Emma was one of the few children there that actually ate the soup. Very impressive but I've always known Emma's got a quirky side. I don't know where she gets that from.