Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Christmas morning 2015

All I really need to say about Christmas morning is two words:  complete happiness and blessed.  Well, maybe that was three.
Hunter really wanted a violin for Christmas and was thrilled when Santa brought him one!

Lucas got a lot of LEGOS!!  We love legos in this house.  He was very happy with his train set and rocketship!
He was able to play it right off the bat.  Now we need to get him some lessons.  I am so proud of all the things he wants to learn to do!

They also love handing out presents!  It is just as fun and more rewarding to give.

Mind craft pig from Aunt Jenny.
One of my favorite presents was a ring from Lucas that he picked out and wrapped for me from the penguin patch at school.

Looking sharp in their new Patagonia vests.  Now if it was just cold enough to wear them.  We have had record breaking temperatures this year.  Two days before Christmas it was 77 degrees!  I was running in a t-shirt and shorts.  Christmas day was close to 70.  I love the warmer weather but around Christmas time it feels a little odd.
Santa was really generous to the boys again this year.
Some down time for Chloe and Gizmo after a crazy, fun filled Christmas morning!  Chloe's big gift from Santa was and I pad!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cyclocross and a quick weekend trip to Atlanta

Heading for Atlanta to spend time with cousins was a nice distraction from losing Ibis.  It is always fun to visit the big city.  In the York-Simmons neighborhood they were hosting a cyclocross race on Saturday morning.  The whole Simmons family and the smaller half of the York-Simmons clan signed up to race!
Lucas pushing up the run up!  We don't have any pictures of Hunter or Eli because those guys took off and won the race!  Lucas and Linden needed a little help picking up their bikes over the barriers and pushing up the run up.  They did a fantastic job and they always want to do more!
Remounting for the downhill!  Go buddy, Go!
Visiting the Millers and their St. Bernard puppies.
Look how sweet.  They were only 8 weeks old and look how big they were!
We walked to the zoo on Sunday and stopped to get an apple on the way back from Grant Park's Farmers Market.
My first crepe....delicious!
Who doesn't love a pile of St. Bernard puppies?

Second grade community project and field trip

I forgot to mention before we got out of school for Christmas the second grade made Christmas cards, sang carols and passed out warm fuzzy socks to residents of the Lebanon nursing home.  Hunter was a little nervous chatting with the residents but I hope he realized how much his presence and conversation meant to them.  Sullins Academy, a little school with a big heart.  I love that they nurture character development as well.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Heartbroken Goodbyes

This is a really hard picture to blog about.  I think Lucas was the one to take this picture.  He wanted a picture of Ibis to keep in his heart.  This was the last morning we had Ibis with our family.  Poor guy had a rough couple of weeks but seemed to be maintaining his baseline health until this last night.  It happened so fast.  Hunter and I returned from the Bristol parade and I noticed that he was having trouble standing up on his back legs.  It was a sign of what was to come.  I spent the rest of the night with him in my arms.  Carrying like a baby in and out of the house and helping him stand in the night for him to use the bathroom.  He was and amazing dog and as bad as it was in the end I would never leave him, never let him feel alone.  I hope he knew how much we loved him and enjoyed him.  It was a long night but I found peace in knowing there was nothing else we could do and I knew Ibis had an amazing life but he could endure no more.  I laid Ibis in the dog bed as I cooked breakfast for the boys and Kona came to lie down with him.  I would like to think he was keeping him company and saying his own doggy goodbyes.  In the short time they knew each other, Kona looked up to Ibis and enjoyed his company.  This is the last morning and the last picture we would have of our sweet Ibis.  Until we meet again my love...I know you are running free.  Please send Abby our love and forever in my heart you will be.

Some holiday fun

Opening presents at Aunt Jackie's house.  Always a good time with mom's side of the family.  Apart from camping with Nana and Larry a few times a year we don't get to see my other aunts and uncles that much.  It's great to see everyone and it reinforces the idea that we need to get tougher at least once in the summer as well.  Maybe this will be the year!

So sweet of everyone to think of the boys.  They loved all of their gifts.
A big thank you to the Canter family for hosting a cookie making evening.  While in Pilot Mountain for Christmas we made a special trip to see David's long time buddy, Matt.  We had a nice dinner with his wife Amy and their daughter Tessa.  After dinner we joined Matt at his parents house where his mom had sugar and molasses cookies ready for us to roll, cut and bake.  A sweet evening with good friends.  Thank you Canter's for your hospitality!
Lucas did a great job all by himself and the cookies came out perfect and delicious.

This was a daddy day!  I had a hair appointment and David took the opportunity to do gingerbread houses solo!  Fun times with a super dad!
A plate full of "Granny's" cookies.  We did it!  We learned how to make Granny's cookies!  They were fun to make and the kids are learning how to bake in the process.  I love cooking and baking days with the kids.

Community Christmas at the Barter.  David had to work but the boys and I went to the Christmas show at the Barter. We sat right up front and the seating was perfect!  The Christmas program consists of lots of local and very talented artists.  We had storytellers, dancers, singers and musicians. It was a wonderful production and I had a wonderful evening with the best dates in town.
At the end of the program Santa made and appearance and all the kids were asked to come up on stage.  Santa gave all the kids some candy and some really cool light up glasses.  Lucas ran up on stage but Hunter opted to watch what was about to happen from his seat.
Picture with Santa at the Sullins Christmas party.  Lucas and Hunter enjoyed the treats and the crafts but only Lucas wanted to sit on Santa's lap.

This year the boys and I went to Kiln Time, the pottery place in downtown Bristol after the last day of school for the year.  Hunter picked out this giant Christmas tree and we all painted it together.  Lucas painted a few things that he picked out and after awhile decided he would help paint on the tree a bit.  It turned out beautiful and I had a great time with the boys doing this activity.  I hope to do many more like this in the future!
Christmas party coming to a close!  My sweet 8 year old who refuses to eat sweets!  I can't complain.
On the contrary, my sweet eating elf on the shelf!  Lucas in his favorite PJ's to celebrate the last day of school for the year.  Hunter has NEVER worm PJ's to school, even when it is supposed to be a PJ day.  Lucas would wear them every single day if we would let him.  Everyone was smiles this day, time to take a break from school and celebrate Christmas and the New Year!!

Thanksgiving in Abingdon and a holiday kick off!

We had a really great Thanksgiving week and weekend.  Mom came up early for Grandparents day and was able to spend a few days alone with the boys.  Papa and Chloe and Aunt Jenny came up Tuesday night when Jenny got off work.  We had a great feast on Thursday and were thankful to have the whole family together.  David was off for Thanksgiving as well so it was extra special to have this time together.
The day after Thanksgiving we went to see the Miracle on 34th Street at the Barter theater.  It was wonderful! The Barter never fails to put on a great show.  This is one of my favorite Christmas movies and it was nice to see the Barter production of it.  Don't the kids look sweet in their semi holiday outfits.  It was unseasonably warm this year for the holidays.  I think it was close to 65 degrees this day.

The kids and David biked into town for the show.  The rest of us drove in the car.  David was able to get some great photos of the kids around town before the show began.
Props to Chloe for riding her mountain bike to town in a dress!  I told her I did it with Uncle David all the time!  Lucas in the background makes me giggle.
Daddy and David took a little time to check out the jeeps in Lebanon.  No doubt they found one they liked.

Sweet pictures of the kiddos before heading out to Farmer Larry's Christmas dinner!

Daddy made the picture!  He has more fun biking to town than the kids do!
Brothers.  Love.
The gang out for small business Saturday.  We all biked into town, including Aunt Jenny.  Then we spent the better part of the afternoon shopping around downtown Abingdon.  It was a really fun outing and we were lucky with the warm weather and the rain holding off.

Here we are at Farmer Larry's Old Time Christmas dinner and festivities.  While we decorated the Christmas tree with Mrs. Lynn, Farmer Larry took another group out on a twilight hayride to see the animals.  Mrs.  Lynn told stories of decorating trees in Christmas's past and let the kids make wishes and don the tree with old fashioned ornaments.  The kids enjoyed the stories more than decorating the tree.
Gaga enjoyed decorating the tree.

Really nice dinner to put us all in the Christmas spirit!
Dinner was delicious and fun for the kids.  We had soup served in small canning jars.  The dinner was chicken legs/thighs, corn on the cob, rolls and baked potatoes.  They did give us a fork for the potato but the rest of the dinner you were to eat with your hands.  The kids all helped to clean up the tables and took dirty dishes from everyone back into the kitchen.  This may have been their favorite part of the dinner.  Farmer Larry and Lynn always so a great job of interacting and including the kids.
The last festivity for the night was a puppet show of the Night Before Christmas Farmer Larry and Lynn style.  This was a really sweet evening and another great way to start up the holiday season.  The food was good and the company was better.
Peppermint ornaments the boys and I made together.  Tied up with a pretty bow and these ornaments were a beautiful addition to our tree!