Friday, May 19, 2017

Eighth Anniversary

We celebrated our EIGHTH anniversary this week. It's been a fun eight years, that's for sure. The nice thing now is that Thomas and I have survived the last 3 years...and yes, survival is absolutely the right word for it...we have made it to a point that we can focus on US again. While our marriage didn't necessarily go totally on the "back burner", the kids were front and center of our lives. We finally feel like we have some breathing room to maintain focus on the boys, but also devote some time and energy to our marriage; that's time and energy we really didn't have before. So it's almost like we're dating again. I love it!

After my super sweet and awesome Mother's Day, we turned right around and got to celebrate again! Thomas and I both took the day off work and took the boys to school and had the wholeeeeeee dayyyyyy to ourselvesssssssss. Yes. Just yes.

Here's how the day went...after dropping off all the boys, we went downtown for our first meal of the day - breakfast or kind of brunch since it was probably inching toward 10 by the time we got there. We went to Biscuit Head. We'd never been there before and have been wanting to try it out!









The bloody marys were phenomenal, but I was only so-so on my biscuit with sausage gravy. The bacon was delish though. Next time I would probably go for the biscuit with jam from their jam bar vs. the gravy. Sorry, but when your family cooks the best gravy IN THE WORLD, a restaurant gravy just can't compete. I should have known this going in, but I slipped up and let the menu descriptions carry me away. I've learned my lesson (again). But I want to reiterate how much I loved my bloody. Seriously, SO GOOD. I will be back to Biscuit Head!

After breakfast/brunch we went downtown to Falls Park and walked around. It was so relaxing to just walk and talk...and people watch (my fave).









After we'd sufficiently walked around the park, we went up to Main Street and just walked and window shopped and sat down to do some more people watching. Ahhhh....

It was definitely starting to heat up though, and I got really thirsty, so we had to stop in at a bar for a cool down. Ink N Ivy was the perfect spot! I had about 5 glasses of water and 1 beer. Poor bartender!



After a little shopping, we popped into the Clemson Experience. I can't go by and not drop in if they're open. We got a few more pictures taken with some very awesome props!





By then, we'd been walking for a while and were still really hot so we walked back to the car and brainstormed about lunch options. We still weren't quite hungry after our big breakfast, but it was time and we love eating out since we don't go out really a whole lot, and we drove over to Willy Taco. It's another new-ish place that we hadn't tried yet and we've been wanting to!



We had some more bevs, some mediocre chips and salsa and some fantastic tacos there!

This coconut margarita hit the spot! It was yummy!





This was such a leisurely day, but after having a few drinks scattered throughout the day, and all the walking and the heat (did I mention it was in the 90's?!?!?!), I was feeling pooped! We went home and took a little nap, right in the middle of the day. I heart naps.

We picked up the boys early from school and got them home, bathed and fed and then had a babysitter come over so we could continue our fun anniversary day date. We were going to go to a restaurant that I have been really, really wanting to go to, but they don't take reservations so I was just planning to show up and hope they didn't have a long wait on a Tuesday night. Thankfully, before we left, I went to their website to make sure they were open, and found out that they're closed on Mon/Tues. BUMMER. But at least we didn't drive all the way out there to figure that out. Our evening plans were totally in the air, so we looked at the movie options. There wasn't anything that we've been dying to see, but I'd heard great things about the new Beauty and the Beast so we decided that we would go see that. Due to the playing times, we had a very small window of time for dinner, so we just went up to Arizona Steakhouse to get a few apps at the bar. We were in and out and our food was really, really good! We made it to the movies in plenty of time and definitely liked Beauty and the Beast.



We exchanged gifts earlier on in the day and both of us went with themes for the 8th anniversary! Thomas went with linen and got us some really nice new sheets. I went with the traditional plant and got us a clematis to plant at our mailbox - super exciting, huh?!?! I also got Thomas some new flip flops that he wanted. Ok, ok I didn't win coolest and most awesome gifts this time. I'm OK with that.

It was such a great day and we loved being able to spend a lot of time together without interruptions. Cheers to eight years and eighty more to go!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

Do I sound like a broken record to start off every post talking about how wonderful our weekend was?!?!? Well, it's Monday...blah...and I keep thinking back to how much fun we had this weekend and how enjoyable my Mother's Day was. I wish everyday was a weekend! Actually, no, then I wouldn't appreciate them. But maybe that the work week was only 3 or 4 days and then weekends would be longer. Yeah, that sounds good!

Anyway, I had a fantastic Mother's Day. Thanks to Thomas and my boys for making such a special day for me!

The boys that made me a Mama!!!!
Stokes
Ryan
William

The morning started off with some snuggles in Mama and Dada's bed. Then I got to stay there while Thomas took the boys downstairs with him to fix breakfast. An extra 30, gloriously uninterrupted, minutes in a bed all to myself is heaven. Ahhh!

I guess I'm OK posting this totally unflattering picture here,
since Thomas already posted it to Instagram (insert eye roll)

Then I came downstairs to a ham, egg and cheese bagel prepared just for me and a whole basket of goodies, entitled "A few of my favorite things" {being sung like "The Sound of Music"}! I had only asked for 1 specific gift, but Thomas (and the boys) went above and beyond and spoiled me with several extras!

He even did handprint crafts for me!!!

Then we headed off to church to hear a wonderful message about Hope. Stokes and William received pink roses in Sunday School to give to me for Mother's Day. Then we picked up some lunch and went to my old church for a picnic in the garth where my Mom's ashes are buried. Unlike two years ago, this time I called ahead and made sure that we had access to the garth. It was a beautiful day and we had a lovely picnic.

The roses Stokes and William gave me
after Sunday School




I miss my Mom so much. In general, Mother's Day is a really happy, fun day for me. I'm very, very grateful for my boys who made me a Mama 3 and a half years ago. And although I smile, and laugh and enjoy the day, I also can't help but think of my Mom and sharp pains stab at my heart. It hurts so much to not have her around. This year, I still don't think the boys actually understood what we were doing at the garth, but they were aware that we were going to have a picnic with Grandma Robbie and we cut roses out of our garden, just for her. They say her name and speak about her, but I'm just not sure how they process that internally and if they wonder where she is and why they don't know her.


After our sweet picnic, we went back home for a downtime/grocery shopping, then kicked it back up a notch in the late afternoon. We had the bounce house inflated, toys out, and were just soaking in the sunshine and perfect spring temps. We spent all evening from about 3:00 on outside in the backyard.






Full arms = full heart

MaSha got back into town from Virginia, where she had spent most of the week, and got to our house just in time for dinner. The boys had really missed their MaSha and were so excited to see her!



We had a great dinner with ribs, cucumber & tomato salad, asian cole slaw, and corn on the cob, with apple pie for dessert. YUM! Even the boys loved everything on their plates. We got to give MaSha the cute gifts we had for her and then it was time to call it a day.

Wine bag with finger print grape bunches
This was part of her Mother's Day gift and I
was so excited as to how this cute bag turned out

What more could you ask for? I got great food, sunshine and some really awesome time with the people that I love most in the whole world. Sounds like a winner of a day to me!!!!

With such a fantastic day in my rear view mirror, my heart also goes out to so many women who may have had a tough, emotional day. I had several friends who have lost their mothers in the last year. The first Mother's Day without a Mom is so, so hard. I have friends who have lost babies, or haven't been able to have a baby. It doesn't make sense why things happen the way they do, but I pray for peace, comfort and love for all those whose Mother's Day wasn't joyful this year.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Muffins for Mom

I had two simultaneous Muffins for Moms events this morning, in honor of Mother's Day coming up on Sunday. One was at the boys' regular school and one at Ryan's special needs school. I was debating which one to attend, and felt bad like I was choosing some kid(s) over the other(s). Needless to say, I couldn't make a decision, so instead, I left the house earlier than normal this morning, did a quick stop at the regular preschool, then drove Ryan to his other school and did Muffins for Moms there, too. It was a little rushed, but I'm glad I made an effort to do both.

With my boys at home, before we left for school

My heart...

First Muffins for Mom stop....

William being grumpy


Stokes being grumpy

That's better!

Haha
Ryan

Stokes

William


One more group pic before I had to go

Muffins for Moms stop #2
Love my sweetie boy
We saw Beth and Luke, our NICU friends!
Luke shared a room in NICU 2 with William so our families
got to know each other back then. Luke and Ryan started
at this special school around the same time.

With the exception of the first part of stop #1 when both Stokes and William were being grumpy (and stressing me out), it was a sweet morning. I'm looking to Mother's Day this Sunday!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

TBT

In honor of #tbt today, here's a little pic of my guys last Saturday morning....just chillaxin'.


Thomas was doing yard work and I was cleaning the front porch and the boys were content to play in the yard, and then take a little snack break, of course!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Inaugural Kentucky Derby Party

The Mays and the Youngs joined us to host our first annual Kentucky Derby Party this year! We collectively agreed that this will become an annual event, so hopefully we won't have any scheduling conflicts for the race moving forward. The party was held at our house, but it was truly "hosted" by all 3 couples. The 3 ladies got together for lunch one day and planned out our theme, menu, activities, etc. We were all in it together and everything was evenly divided up. Sharing hosting duties makes it a lot more fun!


The weather wasn't quite what I was hoping for. We had some outdoor kid games planned, but it was drizzly and rainy all afternoon. Of course, the morning could not have been more gorgeous! Figures!

Everyone got over to our house between 3:30 - 4. Our first order of business was getting our bar and food tables set up with all the yummy stuff that was brought.

Delicious spread including various sandwiches, deviled eggs,
caprese pasta salad, cheese straws, kale salad,
watermelon, sugared pecans and banana pudding!
Not pictured: yummy meatballs in a crockpot

The Bar: mint juleps, Moscow mules & pink drink

Then, we caught the sky between drizzles and ran out to take some quick family pictures.

Heather, Caroline & Walker
The Youngs
Clark, Ava Lane & Stephanie

The Mays
Our fam!
Hahahaha
The *plan* was that the kids could have a little horse race in the yard. Steph made these awesome horses out of pool noodles and I had cones to set out a little race track. But with the weather being so iffy, we never got around to doing the actual races. The kids did play with the cones for a little while, however!





The super cute noodle horses Steph
made. This pic was, unfortunately, taken
after my tornadoes had gotten to them
and messed up a few. :(

The Mamas
We got all the kids to sit together on the porch for a few dozen pics before we all came back inside. 

L to R: Caroline, Stokes, Ryan, William, Ava Lane


Ryan getting love from Dada
The drizzle started coming down so we came back in for our indoor activities!
Steph helping kiddos with coloring horses

William's masterpiece!
My best friend Diane happened to be in town on Saturday with 2 of her 3 kiddos so I insisted that they come to the party!

Grace, Dylan and Ryan
*Ryan LOVES babies!
Silly boy wearing Caroline's hat
Steph made this fantastic betting board for the race. We drew names and chose horses. She even brought a bottle of bubbly for the winner! She got so creative and I love how the board turned out.
Race betting board

Me with Baby Dylan

William and Ava Lane were being so affectionate all day! They kept hugging and tickling each other. It really was adorable!




Diane and Dylan

Cheers!

Diane and me, right before
she had to leave to take her kids to
hang out with their grandma

Almost time for the race to begin!

He loves a hat!

Stokes and Uncle Clark

GOOOOO!!!

AL cheering for her horse!

Our winner!!!!

Posing with her champs

Clark's new accessory

Handsome fellas!
Clark, Thomas, Walker
After the race was over and food had been eaten (and some bevs consumed), the rain stopped, so we brought out the baby pool for a quick run through of a well intentioned plan for the Ken-ducky Derby. We had rubber duck horsies for all the kids and were going to turn on a box fan and "race" them in the baby pool. Yep. 

Kids in the pool and the water was COLD!


The race was so fast and so awesome that it wore the
poor duck horsies out!
Wet babies
After the duck derby, all the kids got in pjs and played just a little while longer.

Stokes riding the horse!

Caroline with the cat piano
Party animal!
Ryan having fun
"Let's keep playing. Maybe our
Mamas and Dadas don't know it's past
bedtime!" ;)
Caroline with a horse
Everyone was having such a good time and the kids were playing together and enjoying themselves and we didn't want the evening to end. Alas, kiddos started getting tired, and it was past bedtime for all the littles, so our first annual derby party ended. We let our kids stay up while we cleaned up quickly after everyone left. The result???

Passed out on the kitchen island
This is what good playtime does!
It truly was such an enjoyable day. The boys slept great that night and even slept in until 8 AM on Sunday...gasp! I was a little disappointed with the rain, just due to the fact that we'd put some thought and effort into outdoor games and activities for the little ones and it didn't quite work out the way we wanted. But even with the rain, we had so much fun just being together. After seeing Heather and Steph's hats, I need to up my hat game for next year! Can't wait for our 2nd Annual party in 2018.