Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The great Thanksgiving feast

Today was the day of many bountiful Thanksgiving feasts in preschools across the land. Well, at least at Emma and Avery's preschool.

Since I helped in Avery's classroom for Halloween, it was time to switch gears and spend some time in Emma's classroom for Thanksgiving. The kids made "blessings mix" - a snack mix where each ingredient represents a blessing of our nation.

They also decorated potatoes to create their own turkeys and feasted on Chick-Fil-A nuggets, popcorn, baby carrots, apples, grapes, dressing, cookies, and pie - just like the first pilgrims and Indians enjoyed (ha!).

And they made special accessories to wear during their feast including Indian headbands, colored pasta necklaces and vests decorated with various Indian symbols.

Isn't celebrating Thanksgiving as a small child the best!?!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Santa Christmas Pictures

Friday afternoon we took the kids to Cynthia Pace's photography studio downtown to have the kids picture made with Santa. I have been wanting to do this for years but with the kids fear of Santa when they were younger, it just wasn't worth the effort. This year seemed perfect since all four kids were comfortable around Santa (Eden hasn't developed the fear of course quite yet.)

Cynthia Pace does these gorgeous photos like the one above and I can't wait to see my proofs next week.

Since the kids were already decked out in the Christmas attire and I have no plans to dress them back up in it again until Christmas mass, I decided it would be a good time to stop off at the State House and take some photos of my own in the surrounding grounds.

As anyone with multiple children knows, it can be a real struggle sometimes to get everyone participating - NICELY - in the picture. And with our group, it can require a lot of shots and therefore some cranky children.

Here you can see how much fun the kids were having while I was trying to get just the right shot...

Avery looks like she is slowly being tortured and Emma is hunting for squirrel...

Ryan has learned it is just better to smile and try to get through it as quickly as possible.

I did, however, get these adorable pictures of the two girls together. And I must say this was not even a forced staged moment!

Luckily nobody fell off of the bench as usually happens in these sort of moments...

I took a couple of Eden once I got home. She hasn't learned about the many tortuous photography sessions she will have to endure quite yet, so she is still willing to smile!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Go mighty Tigers!

And the Clemson Tigers are off to the ACC championship game on December 5th in Tampa! The kids got in on the action by posing with Ryan's Clemson football helmet and football after the game.

Avery actually started first by putting on the gear and walking into the kitchen saying, "Look at me, Mommy!"

And then Snow White had to have her moment...

And finally Ryan. Let's hope the Tigers can take home the ACC champion title this year. Go Tigers!

Friday, November 20, 2009

50 FREE Christmas photo cards!

It's time to start thinking about Christmas cards for this holiday season and what better to jump start that task than receiving FREE photo cards.

Michael went out of town this weekend so this is what I have been doing all night since I put the kids down...and fed the baby...and ran the dishwasher, and did a load of laundry.

Freebies4Mom is offering this great deal through SeeHere and through November 30th you can receive 50 free 4 x 8 photo cards of your choice and the best part is - free shipping and handling (that's where they usually get you!)

SeeHere is a little different from Snapfish, Winkflash and some of the other photo companies because not only do you choose your background of choice, you can select however many pictures you want to include on your card (works great when you have four kids!) and you get to basically design the entire card yourself. You can select seasonal clipart to include on it, move your text where you want, rotate photos, crop photos and choose frames for your photos.

It took me a little while to get the hang of it, but once I did it was a lot of fun designing. So go check out Freebies4Mom's site and grab the promo code here. Make sure you type it in and don't cut and paste - it doesn't work. For an additional 50 free 4x8 photo cards (same deal) type in "newbaby" in the promo code box for a total of 100 free cards! Make sure you do the two in separate transactions of course.

Anyway, thought I'd share this deal before it ends November 30th.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elfin' around a little early...

I know you all have seen these before but we had fun playing around with this last night! It actually scared Avery for some reason. I guess their faces on the long legs or something!

Click here
to watch the Hawkin's family get down with their Christmas hip hop (and yes, there was only room for 5 elves so I sacrificed myself and let Michael do the honors!)

"Mirror, Mirror...on the wall"

"Who is the fairest one of all?"

Snow White, of course! Emma's all-time favorite Disney movie and Disney princess is the fair Snow White and it is interesting to see how it has evolved over the years.

Back when she was a little more than 2 maybe she received a box of Disney princess dress-up clothes. The only princess dress she wore around the house was no other than ... Snow White.

The picture above is one of many we have of Emma playing around the house in her Snow White outfit a few years ago.

Which brings us to now...

And what is really interesting is the fact that she had never seen the movie until fairly recently - probably earlier this fall. We have the old out-of-date VHS version of the movie that can only be watched upstairs in our bedroom since it doesn't play very well on our VCR/DVD combo downstairs.

Emma immediately decided she wanted to be Snow White for Halloween and I can say we have fully gotten our monies worth out of that $20.00 costume.

She wears it all of the time. In fact she wears it...EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!

That is how much she loves Snow White.

And she knows she looks good in it!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Another year...

Another 365 days have flown by somehow and I am another year older. I am trying not to think about it too much honestly because I don't want to get caught up in the whole age game. I am very thankful that I am alive another year and that I am able to watch my children grow day by day because I know there are other people that don't have that luxury.

Anyway, birthdays certainly aren't like they were when I was a kid. I would count down the days until my next birthday and spend weeks in anxious excited wonder about what birthday presents might be coming my way. Now I like to keep it on the down low.

You can see the lovely birthday cake I made for myself today in the photo above. Michael did offer to buy one but the thought of another store bought cake did not excite me much considering we still have the remnants of Avery's birthday cake hanging around.

Michael, Eden and I went out to dinner at Outback since I had my coupon for a free Bloomin' Onion. It has been a while since we had eaten there and for some reason, it just seemed a lot more expensive than I remember. And although we had to take turns holding Eden the entire time since she was not about to hang out in her car seat by herself, we had a good meal.

Then we came home, relieved the babysitter and the kids let me open a couple of presents. So the picture above was taken with part of the crew in their pajamas and part not quite there yet. Oh well! Besides the fact that I look like a beached whale in the picture, I thought Michael captured a couple of good shots of the kids. Check these out...

Emma loves to take pictures with Eden. Actually all of the kids do and we had to let each of them take a turn holding her. Only she didn't last long and started to cry during most of the shots.

I didn't realize this picture had so much red eye until just now! Ignore that if you can. Eden is quite alert these days. She looks stunned in this picture but then again, she is probably pretty worn out at this point.

And onto another year we go...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old Macdonald had a farm...

"E, I, E, I, O." Emma's preschool class took a field trip to Fox's Tree Farm located here in Lexington. The farm had a little bit of everything - animals, hayride, playground - and the kids even planted their own plants to bring home. Emma is driving the red truck in the picture above...

Here she is waiting in line with some of her other classmates to begin the field trip. Eden and I hadn't made it on a field trip yet this year so I decided this might be a good one to tag along with.

Emma was soooo excited about sitting on the horse!

She loved feeding and petting all of the farm animals. She wasn't scared at all of these goats.

The kids got to see a camel, ducks, hens, a mule, goats, and of course the horse. "A horse is a horse, of course, of course..."

Here is Emma and all of her classmates lined up to get back on the bus to leave the farm. It was a beautiful day and the kids had an exciting time visiting Fox's Farm.

Love that baby!

My camera went on the fritz for a couple of days so I haven't been taking as many pictures. Magically, I turned it back on to try and figure out what was wrong and...voilĂ ...it was functioning again. However, I haven't tried to take pictures since then (kind of scared to see what would come out.)

Anyway, here are a few pictures of Eden that I took before the camera breakdown. She is wearing the adorable outfit Grandma and Grandpa O'Brien got for her.

Even on the not-so-bright days, I must say, looking at her smiling back is enough to warm your heart! I just love her to pieces but I guess every mother probably thinks that of her baby.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy 3rd birthday, Avery!

Today is Avery's 3rd birthday and it was a busy one! We spent time at Ryan's school carnival - Murrayfest, hanging out at home, eating dinner out at the Flight Deck restaurant and playing in the arcade and finally, opening presents and enjoying some cake and ice cream.

Of course by the end of the evening, all of the kids were completely worn out and not exactly in party mode. Emma got very upset when Avery received a new baby doll for her birthday and she didn't get one as well. Ryan had a meltdown when the book he had created for Avery was not the highlight of her evening as she played with some of her new gifts.

I hope she had an enjoyable day overall though. Happy birthday, Avery! We love you so very much!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Our neighborhood Halloween party

As I have mentioned before, Halloween is one of Ryan's favorite holidays. He was already talking up a Halloween party and planning his costume in the middle of the summer. So...Friday evening we hosted a Halloween party for a few neighborhood families.

I put most of the food in the kitchen and then let the kids eat out on the porch - it was a very mild evening - and some ate in the formal dining room.

I made pumpkin shaped tortilla chips served with black bean and corn salsa, chocolate "spiders", hot dogs for the kids, a chili bar for the adults, cheese balls, string cheese...

salad, shrimp pate with crackers...

baby carrots and dip, Kool-Aid punch, and dirt cake crawling with worms (gummy of course) for dessert.

A close up of the shrimp pate I made in my brain mold. Nobody ever wants to try eating it - I wonder why???

The adults hung out on the screened porch where we kept cold adult beverages iced down in our galvanized tub. The kids enjoyed running around in the backyard.

We got them all fed and then it was time for...

...the ghost pinata in the dark!!! Here is a picture of Ryan trying to break the ghost open.

Emma taking a swing at it...

Each child got a treat bag to place their collected pinata candy in once it broke open. As you can see, Avery then relaxed at the table opening and lining up her candy. I ended up throwing away large quantities of candy that she had "organized."

I think everyone had a good time at the party. But as I always say after hosting a party, I am done for a little while. I get so obsessed with party planning details that everything else goes out the window. So now it is on to cleaning the house, organizing the house and trying to get this house to impress a buyer!

Preschool parade

Last Thursday, Emma and Avery's preschool at Saxe Gotha held their annual Halloween parade and then the classes followed up with individual parties.

Michael met Eden and I at the school to watch both of the girls parade around in their costumes. As you can see, Avery is just ridiculously shy!!!

Emma looked cute as Snow White...

Since I now have two children in two different classrooms at the same time, I am having to divide my party time up between Emma and Avery's classes. I volunteered to help with Avery's class for Halloween, but I will then be helping Emma's class with their upcoming Thanksgiving activities.

Above is a picture of Avery's two-year-old preschool classmates and teachers.

Because of all of the concern over the H1N1 virus, all party food provided for the preschool parties must be purchased from a store - no longer can you bring homemade items. So the kids snacked on juice, Krispy Kreme pumpkin doughnuts and pumpkin shaped pretzels.

Avery licked all of the frosting off the top of her doughnut but didn't actually eat any of the actual doughnut. And much like at home, she was one of the last remaining children at the table finishing her food. She eats soooo slooooow!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween wedding reception

One of Michael's co-workers, Raiessa, was married on Halloween afternoon. We took Avery and Eden with us to the reception while a babysitter watched Ryan and Emma. The reception was held at a local downtown pub, Hunter- Gatherer, and everyone was encouraged to wear costumes.

Michael wore his Elvis mask and we dressed the girls up in their Halloween costumes a little early. But check out Eden checking out this strange man holding her!

And this picture taken a second later is just as funny!

We had a good time at reception and the girls were well behaved. Avery was one of the most excited guests when she saw the candy display!