Thursday, January 29, 2015

savannah: circus and baby shower

Last Friday we took Hannah and Joseph to their first circus. Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey's "Built to Amaze" tour did not disappoint. Both kids were wide-eyed, and definitely amazed. Joseph's fascination began before the show even started. He (looking through the wrong end of the binoculars) watched the people up in the rafters working with the pulleys and ropes.

Hannah really liked "Electra", the swinging girl. I didn't get a picture of her way up there, but this captures the thrill:

Meme and Gran Gran enjoyed the show as well, and we had great seats.

The most breath-catching act to me has always been the motorcycles inside the cage. At one point there was a woman inside while they were driving around at full speed. Insane.

Intermission allowed Meme to buy exciting toys for the kids. Joseph chose the twirly, light-up wand when the vendor came by our seats, but decided he'd rather have the light-up noise-making gun instead.  The rule was one thing so he was very happy when the nice man let him exchange.

A favorite for all of us was the trapeze act. Or acrobatics, or aerobatics…or whatever you call this:

This guy with two girls (one hanging from her neck) drove a motorcycle on the tightrope right over our heads. It was really impressive when he went up into a headstand.

Now, here's a question: when did the circus go from three rings to one? In all my time explaining the circus and preparing the kids for all that's going to go on, I talked about the three rings with clowns, acrobats and animals. I was surprised (and the kids probably a little confused) when we walked in to see just one ring. Don't get me wrong - there was a lot still going on and a lot to see, just not the chaos and over-stimulation that I remember growing up.

And the animals. In my memory, there were elephants, tigers and lions, seals, dogs, horses and more. I get that with PETA and the like, animal cruelty is a hot topic and has shed light on the training and living conditions of circus animals. So that might be why we only saw a couple of elephants, horses and dogs. Maybe it was due to the theme of the tour. And, truly, that is fine. There is quite a bit of excitement and energy in the place with just the humans involved.

Although we did get a huge kick out of these dogs. They were so cute and absolutely hilarious in their antics.

During the show's finale, confetti rained down over us. These two chickens could not have been more excited. Once it was all over us and the ground, they ran around playing in it and throwing it in the air. We may have been the last people to leave the arena. (Ok, we were asked to leave…)

A great time was had by all, and the children's first circus a huge success. Thank you Meme and Gran Gran for taking us!

The next day, my aunts and cousins hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Crystal, and baby Stella with a "Baby, It's Cold Outside" theme. The shower was held at Wesley Gardens in Savannah - a special place to us and the sight of many family events including weddings, baptisms, parties, showers, and our own wedding-day breakfast. It is a beautiful place filled with happy memories. Baby Stella got some really nice things and Momma Crystal looked beautiful.

We can't wait to meet Stella!

After that we headed back home. It was a short, but very fun trip…

…and a peaceful ride home!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

a birthday and a holiday weekend

Last Thursday we celebrated Joe. Not that it was a huge celebration; he had meetings all day long and didn't come home until after 8. But we did make room for a family lunch, taking Hannah out of school early.

Meme arrived in town bearing Gran Gran's delicious carrot cake - Joe's favorite. We had the kids in their pajamas and ready to taste some of Daddy's cake before heading off to bed.

Hannah's sign says "Daddy happy BiRThday Hannah JosEpH"

Meme spent a couple nights and we did things like install Joseph's teepee lights (that was tedious)…

Ride bikes up and down the street (he's fearless and loves to go fast, and slam on the brakes)…

Joe and I went out to a nice dinner with some friends on Friday night. While we were gone, Hannah became a master at Dominos and there was some exploring in the woods behind our house.

Saturday night Joe and I had our Sunday School class party out at a member's farm. Hannah and Joseph came along (mostly staying in the car to watch Tangled) and really enjoyed helping Daddy blow out the candles on his surprise cake!

There were a LOT of candles!

Happy birthday Daddy! We love you to the moon and back!!

We thoroughly enjoyed having a long weekend to play. Yesterday the weather finally warmed up enough to spend time outside. After joining Joe for his cool-down in the morning, the munchkins spent most of the day "digging for treasure" in the backyard and riding bikes.

Joseph was "working too hard" to look up at me, but Monkey obliged.

While Joseph was napping and Hannah was over at a friend's house, Joe and I tackled (begrudgingly, I must admit) a Christmas present-project. My mom gave Joseph this parking garage model kit. We've been procrastinating putting it together…and for good reason: it was not easy to assemble (two people with bad backs, on the floor, glueing parts together and all).

But, alas, it is done! And what matters now is…

He absolutely loves it.

And that sums up our holiday weekend. Thank you, America, for honoring Dr. King…and for giving us a day-off to spend as a family.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

with every christmas card…i see

Nope, not dreaming of a white Christmas. But we are still enjoying holiday cheer through our border of Christmas cards here on Evergreen Drive.

As I've done the past couple of years, I display every photo card we receive on the chair rail ledge that lines our living and dining rooms. After all the decorations are put away and the house is clean, these reminders of family and friends grace the walls of our home for a few more weeks.

I'm thankful for these cards, and I'm grateful for the people in these photographs.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

tea party, twelfth night…and first tooth!!

Our week got off to a really exciting start!

Joseph got to show Miss Delia all his new cleaning tools and help her vacuum…

On the days Miss Delia comes to the house (once every 3 weeks - it's a budgeted luxury!), I am one happy momma. Everything is nice and clean and it smells so good! My kids love it, and her, too. And with the house in order, I can focus on tending to other things.

But if I'm that happy, then Joseph must be on cloud nine. He loooooves following Miss Delia around, asking her dozens of questions which she patiently answers. He was not interested in coming to the kitchen table for lunch because he was busy vacuuming.

Later on, Hannah and I decided to have a tea party so we could use her new tablecloth, napkins and spoons. We set the table for the two of us, Capoocus (my very old bear) and Capoocus II (her bear). Joseph woke up just as we were about to begin, so Hannah tossed a pillow on the floor for him.

He was fine with that and we carried on - sipping "tea" (apple juice for them, hot tea for me) and nibbling on cookies, popcorn and princess gummies (what else?).

On Monday, we celebrated Twelfth Night. The children filled a boot with straw for the camels on their way to Bethlehem.

I love this very old tradition centered around Epiphany and the Magi's search of the Christ child. In gratitude for feeding their camels, the Wise Men leave gifts.

Hannah was delighted to find a fancy GT headband and Doc McStuffins night shirt. I can't wait to watch Annie with her (the original! I want to see the remake, but had to start with the original!). Joseph was thrilled to get more "silly soap"for the bathtub. His favorite show is Team Umizoomi and we don't get that channel (Nick Jr) anymore, so he was excited to have a new DVD. He also got a new warm hat to wear on these cold winter days.

And then it was off to school. Joe had to be in Savannah for his doctors appointment. {Another round of steroid injections in his back. He was scheduled for a spinal manipulation over Christmas, but this new doctor was confident it wouldn't really help the situation, and he needed to have more shots instead. And so, he drove to Savannah Tuesday morning for that fun experience.}

With Hannah settled down to eat breakfast with her class at school and Daddy gone, I surprised Joseph with a mommy/son date to McDonald's.

While having our biscuits, I receive this picture message from a teacher friend at Hannah's school:

I nearly freaked out to tell you the truth! Her first tooth!!! And I didn't know it was even loose! After biting into a French toast stick, she yelled for her teacher saying her tooth was hurting. Mrs. Garner grabbed a napkin, barely touched the tooth and it came right out.

She had mentioned a tooth was hurting over the weekend and then said something about it being loose the day before, but we were busy doing something or out running errands. She never mentioned it again and I forgot about it. Can't believe it! She is officially a big girl. {Of course, while I would've been more excited if it had happened at home in my presence, it was quite the scene at school and a really big deal. I imagine that was way more exciting for her…}

Boy was I ready for school pick-up when I could see her sweet face!

And this little treasure chest safely in her backpack:

I deemed it a definite cause for celebration, so we headed straight for the Dairy Lane and an "ice cream cone with lots of sprinkles".

After ballet that afternoon, she asked me if she could write a letter to the Tooth Fairy. She was fine with any surprise left under the pillow but really wanted to keep this, her first tooth. So we got home and I helped her spell the words:

She laid the note right on the floor near her bed to make sure it was seen.

We put the tiny little tooth inside a special silver box given to her when she was born.

And she was off to dreamland.

In the middle of the night, as she often does, she came staggering into our bedroom for the potty. {Yes, there is a toilet in the bathroom connecting her and Joseph's room, but she's always done this…} Once back in her bed, she fumbled around under the pillow, half-awake, checking to see if the Tooth Fairy had come. In fact she had, but Hannah had forgotten about the letter being on the floor and figured the money she felt was her letter. It was very cute, and hard not to laugh.

She was thrilled to find "two pieces of money" under her pillow the next morning. And her tooth still safely inside the little box. We put both the money and tooth on her dresser and got ready for school, talking all about losing teeth and the Tooth Fairy.

She hasn't quite figured out how to show her missing tooth and smile. It's all so new!

But we're practicing! I love my big girl.