5.21.2017

Field Day!

Can you believe the school year is almost over?! There are only five days to go! That's right, it's the final countdown, the homestretch... we are so deep into survival mode at this point, I actually tried to make Violet drink coffee one morning just to get us to school on time!

While I contemplate survival strategies, enjoy pictures from last week's field day!

It was a beautiful day - overcast enough to keep it cool without the complication of rain.


The force is strong with this one.

Violet was very proud of the fact that the girls won tug-of-war. "Best day of my life!" she reported.

This guy even showed up to help out!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

SunTrust Park
Regardless of your feelings towards the new Braves stadium (Why did they have to move it? Man, traffic is the worst! Who's going to drive all the way over there? The Braves are terrible!) you know we were going to jump at the chance to check things out for ourselves, especially when the tickets came free, fell on our anniversary weekend, and lined up with a babysitting offer. So off we went to the new SunTrust Park!


The park is lovely, truly. It's smaller than the old Turner Field, and it's odd not to see the downtown skyline. But for as nice as the actual stadium is, the surrounding complex is perhaps the real star of the show. There are tons of restaurants built adjacent to the stadium, places you can access without needing a ticket, which means if you don't mind paying extravagantly for parking, you have some pretty cool places to hang out and watch the game. We actually entered the stadium via the Terrapin Taphouse (fun fact - the beer is much cheaper in here than in the actual stadium, as long as you don't mind going through another metal detector - and you can go back and forth as many times as you please). 

We took these fine people along for the ride!

Happy 12 years to this handsome husband of mine!

Sassy!

Violet had her last Girl Scout Daisy troop meeting, in which all the girls bridged to Brownies! That's right, I'll have a Brownie next year. The girls worked hard selling cookies this year (you bought a lot, so thank you!) and they had set a motivating goal for themselves at the beginning of cookie season... Camping - no. Horseback riding - nah. Anything remotely adventurous? Not for these girls! They wanted to sell enough cookie boxes to get themselves a spa party at our local girls' salon and spa, Sweet & Sassy. And boy did they blow it out of the water!

Before heading over to Sweet & Sassy, we made a stop at our Sheriff's Department to drop off the boxes that our cookie customers had earmarked for donation. The officers were very happy to see the girls and all the cookies. We got a quick tour of a police car and everyone got to make a choice out of the prize box - Violet picked the pack of gum over the other memorabilia. Ha!

Dropping off cookies to some of Forsyth County's finest.

Then we were off to the land of shrieking girls and so. much. glitter. This is the place where I take my girls to get their haircut (mainly because the many tvs encourage them to sit still long enough to cut a straight line) but every time we're hear I get the same feeling of overstimulation. There is so much pink and feathers and glitter (and glitter is just NOT my love language). But the girls love it there!

Movie star!

And they're not even teenagers yet!

Best Daisy troop ever!

Runway show!

The party was all prepared when we arrived - seven movie star chairs decked out with feather boas and sunglasses. The girls quickly changed into their sequined costumes and were immediately whisked off to get hair up-doed, nails painted and eye shadow applied. Ooh la la! This was followed by a runway fashion show and a three-song choreographed dance party. The sweet little teenagers that run these parties - they were so sweet and energetic and took care of our girls with all the spirit and pep that only young, optimistic teenage girls have. And our girls had the best time!

We headed into the party room to eat our brownies (obviously) and give out cookie awards, badges and pins, then it was time for the limo ride in the bright pink limo. It was the perfect way to end this year's Girl Scout season. Maybe one of these days we'll try camping, but this "glamping" experience was perfect for our little stars.

Troop 16236!

5.14.2017

Mother's Day


Ah, Mother’s Day! 

A day just for moms everywhere. Where dads try their best to take over parental responsibilities. Where mothers get to let go for at least a little bit. Where, later that day, dads sheepishly admit to their wives that, well, being a mom is hard.

We had the day planned … planned, I tell you. To start, our lovely church decided that the dads would pinch hit for the moms in kid’s ministry (normally a mom job). After church, Kristine had an afternoon with both of our mother’s all set up at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Lunch, flowers, walking, being outside, the three of them enjoying just being with each other, probably all wondering aloud how strange it is to be around such other great moms. Seriously folks, the three of them put together are like a Superhero-sized team of Mom greatness. If there were a Mom Olympics, the judges would throw out the rulebook and give each of them gold medals. Maybe two each.

Then, well, a little thing called parenting happened.

Saturday started off normal but turned in to, well, not what we planned for. I’ll spare the details, but suffice to say all that great stuff about finally relaxing during a church service, about being with nature and flowers and lunch and conversation and laughing with each other, about just being for a few hours without the kids. Yeah, none of that happened. But at least we have a really, really clean house.

But the shame of it all is that Kristine missed The. Most. Amazing. Thing.

Remember that church I told you about? They let me know Saturday that they were going to give Kristine a gift during the service. I thought “Hey, that’s really nice. The mom’s will all get a little gift during service. How sweet!” Well, nope, that didn’t happen either. Before the sermon our Pastor gave a short intro speech to the congregation about wanting to honor a specific mom for her service to the church. For her dedication to the kid’s ministry. For showing up each week happy. For working hard to make sure that other people’s kids are safe, are learning, are growing. For having the longest commute of anyone in the congregation (36 miles! One way!!). And then again for turning right around and returning to Atlanta on Sunday nights to go to small group (on a side note, she wouldn’t miss small group for the world. As she’s said time and time again – that’s her church).

Yep, that’s Kristine. I couldn’t have described her better myself. I know, I already knew all these things about her. But there is something extra special, something truly moving in watching her be honored in front of and next to all the other great moms at our church for her dedication. For her commitment. For her service. And well, for her all around awesomeness. All the things I’m privileged to see everyday. If our kids turn out to be half the woman she is, well, that's winning in the parenting department.

So, maybe it wasn’t the Mother’s Day she had in mind. Maybe the best-laid plans went to waste this weekend. But the most amazing thing happened anyway. And next week is our anniversary and we’ve already been offered baby-sitting services by, well, those other awesome mom’s Kristine was supposed to go the Botanical Gardens with.

Did I tell you how awesome the moms in my life are?

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Happy Mother’s Day!

4.23.2017

Egg Drop!

Forsyth County's Finest
A fun (if slightly scary) tradition our first grade has is the annual Egg Drop Contest. Kids design a contraption that they hope will keep their raw egg safe, then we teachers get to drop them from the top of the fire truck ladder. Violet got super into building her egg container... she even made Matt drop it out our second-story window to see if it would survive. But I'll admit, I was a little shocked to see how high up 60 feet really is! First the basket lifted, then extended out with a bit of a jerk and sway... I'm not scared of heights, but nevertheless... The firemen were all wonderful and reassuring. They do this every day! Well, not this exactly... But it did make up for the fact that they wouldn't come rescue Gus out of the tree that one time.

Heading up with Fireman Jeff.

My tiny class down below!

Quite a beautiful view...

Getting ready to make the first drop!
I would yell each student's name before I dropped their egg and all the kids were chanting "drop that egg! Drop that egg!" It was so fun. There were some obvious splats, some promising bounces, and a couple parachutes that gently drifted down. Out of 22 drops, eight of the eggs survived the fall! We had talked a lot beforehand about how to react if your egg broke, or what you could say to someone who's egg didn't make it, and the kids did such a great job being sweet and supportive towards each other. We banned the words "winner" and "loser" from the event and just focused on having fun and being positive. Fortunately there were no tears shed, not even from Violet, whose parachute idea never quite materialized. What a memory we made!

My sweet girl... we ended up with scrambled eggs but still had a great time.

San Francisco - Day 4

On our last day in San Francisco, we needed to find something to do that would allow us to get back to our house (and luggage) in time to make it to the airport for our red-eye. We decided to head back to Golden Gate Park, a spot we noticed our first day while on our double-decker sight-seeing bus.

Golden Gate Park is a long, narrow park in the city with lakes, fields, a science museum, segway tours, you name it. It also has a Japanese Tea Garden, which we stumbled into. It was a delightful little getaway. It reminded me a lot of when Matt and I happened into the United States Botanic Garden while killing time before our tour of the Capital... who knew there could be such tranquility in the middle of the hustle and bustle?




Man, our weather this trip was terrible... all that fog...!

This land is your land, this land is my land...

One last family picture...
After wandering around the Japanese Tea Garden, we swung by the Arboretum because it was "get in free Thursday" - how convenient! Then we caught a bus to the other end of the park, situated right on the Pacific Ocean. We grabbed lunch at an ocean-view table, then headed home to grab our suitcases, say our goodbyes and try to grab whatever sleep we could. What a great trip!

The Arboretum... check out that baby pineapple!

A little beach in my hand.

Couldn't leave without stopping by the Pacific Ocean!

4.11.2017

Golden Gate Bridge

Day 3 in San Francisco dawned with the decision to bike across Golden Gate Bridge. We'd stopped and gazed our first day as one of the stops on our tour bus, but Matt and I needed to get up close and personal. A coworker of mine had recommended it and after running a 5K the day before, I figured, why not? We got up early, headed to the waterfront to pick up our bikes and set out.

Confession: I wasn't sure I could still ride a bike. I mean, I knew I could ride a bike, but actually, legitimately pedal my way eight miles from Fisherman's Wharf to the Ferry Pier in Sausalito? But Matt was gung-ho and so we set off with only a brief glance at the map in bike rental shop and a few puffs of the inhaler for me.

The route is a combination of bike paths and road sides. Sometimes we were right there next to the cars. Sometimes we were rolling through a national park. The steepest climb was getting up to bridge level - the hardest part of getting over the bridge was actually just dodging the many pedestrians along the sidewalk. The views were always lovely and once more we had clear blue skies. It wasn't even too cold and windy on the bridge, something we had been warned about. Seriously, we got the best weather on this trip.

Helmets on, ready to roll!

I can still ride a bike!

The beautiful path along Crissy Field...notice the bridge in the distance?

Stopping for a photo opp near the Warming Hut

And the approach!


The view going the other way was just as worth it!

Passing through...

Sausalito

We made it!
So long story not too long, we made it across the Golden Gate Bridge! The eight miles took us about an hour and a half of riding. Once we got into Sausalito, we roamed around until Matt's parents joined us via ferry so we could all enjoy lunch. It's a cute little town to see. We had gourmet burgers at the Napa Valley Burger Co, grabbed ice cream cones and pedaled around the pier area until it was time to board our ferry for the return trip. I was surprised that I wasn't sweaty and exhausted - the breeze and downhills kept things relatively easy. I'd definitely recommend the experience!

Meet me by the elephants...

Cute town.

Ice cream!

Waiting to board the ferry.

Matt quickly became obsessed with his bike and tried to convince me to bike back home, but we had evening plans to meet up with friends in San Mateo and I was worried about making the train...

...so we and the entire rest of the city boarded our bikes onto the ferry for the ride back to San Francisco. How we all remembered which bike belonged to who, I'll never know!

Catching a glimpse of everyone's favorite maximum security island prison on the back!
After we returned our bikes, we hoped on the Muni to the train station, then boarded a commuter train with five minutes to spare for our trek to San Mateo to visit with our old neighborhood pals, the Smiths! It was a relaxing way to end our long day - dinner and friends.
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