Happy first birthday Charlie

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on December 24th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Charlie is now one! We gathered together to celebrate, and I got a picture of how big he’s gotten.

Happy first birthday Charlie

You may want to take a picture with him, but he cannot be contained. Escape!


He’s on the move.

On the move

Charlie needed a bit of help with the presents.


He seems happy with the shark towel we gave him.

Shark towel

Aunt EA made a big cake for us, and of course a smash cake for Charlie.


The most fun of the party was Charlie eating his birthday cake. Here’s the play-by-play so you can experience the fun.

Like many kids, Charlie started out a bit unsure of the cake.


Hmmm, Mom, maybe this is OK.


He likes it, he really likes it.

He likes it

Charlie, you’ve got a little something on your face.

Getting a bit messy

Charlie, I don’t think you’re supposed to put it in your ear.

In your ear

Now you’re just a mess, Charlie. Thanks to Aunt EA for going with green icing for the full effect.

A mess

Charlie, there’s something green coming out of your nose. Need a tissue?

Need a tissue?

I think we can be sure Charlie liked the cake.

Cake lover

Charlie’s lost it. He’s moved from eating the cake to eating his shirt.


Happy birthday Charlie! Glad you enjoyed your cake.

HowGirlsCode robotics

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, School on December 23rd, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly loved HowGirlsCode last year, and signed up to participate in their WeDo Lego robotics after-school activity this year. On the last day, they showed off their robots to us.


Molly called her robot The Dog Beak. She did a great job designing and building it and programming it to chow down. Over the weeks, it went through several different designs and forms, and I think it ended up awesome.

The Dog Beak

On the last day, parents and siblings were invited to tour their workshop. Molly demoed The Dog Beak for us.

Here are all the robots built by Molly and her fellow coders.

All the robots

Batson family gathering

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on December 22nd, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Saturday was the big day. It may have only been 2 days since Thanksgiving, but it was time for the big family Christmas celebration. But since we were all staying together (mostly), we have some time to hang out together before the official festivities began. I even managed to get in a couple of the pictures myself.


Me and Leah

The game of the gathering was Spoons. Our girls had never played, but they quickly grew to love it.


Spoons from above

Grab one quick

These girls didn’t actually make it to the finals, but they were asked to stand in for those who did.

The finals

There was also a lot of foosball played.


Nutter Butters and Oreos are great, but they’re even better when decorated.

Cookie decorating

There was also some hula hooping. Note that Molly’s cream soda bottle is empty. She just likes to show that she could drink something while hula hooping.

Hula hooping

There were several important activities during the official gathering. Chief among these was eating (sorry, no pictures of people shoveling food into their mouths). There was also the gift exchange (more on that later). There was watching the Iron Bowl (sadly, not a fun year for this). And possibly most importantly, there was a corn hole competition. We’re not really corn hole playing people in our family, but we picked up the intricacies of the game throughout the day. In particular, Leah got really good at it.

Corn hole tournament

We took a short break from corn hole to exchange gifts.

Gift exchange

Molly was a huge fan of the mermaid blanket her cousin got her.

Mermaid blanket

And we had to take a group picture.


Then it was back to the corn hole competition. It lasted well past dusk. Despite being the only all-kid team, Leah and Emmie defeated their dads to make it to the finals.

Into the night

Leah and Emmie defeated Maddie and John to win the whole tournament.


We had a great time gathering with everyone.

Friday fun

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Trip on December 21st, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Friday was a fun day in between Thanksgiving and the Christmas celebration. There was plenty of time for some family fun.

It may have been November, but we still got out on the lake for a boat ride. The kids immediately found a seat in the back.

Boat ride


JJ managed to fall asleep in his seat on the boat. That can’t be comfortable.

Nap time

Since we would not be together at Christmas, we exchanged gifts with Uncle J, Aunt ‘Chelle, Emmie, and JJ. Leah might have been excited about this clay charm-making kit.



Tennis skirt

Of course, there were Shopkins.


Aunt ‘Chelle had a fun nighttime activity. Put glow bracelets in water bottles, and use them for bowling pins. Molly got almost all of them on this roll.

Night bowling

Nice toss, Leah.

Night bowling

She also set up a ring toss. Leah’s aiming perfectly with this toss flying through the air.

Ring toss

By Friday evening the place was getting pretty full. Almost everyone had arrived, and that meant for a very crowded dinner table. The three brothers took up positions together at the end of the table (though they did not supply us with pizza).

Three brothers

All this is still preliminaries, though. The main event was still to come on Saturday.

Thanksgiving day

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Trip on December 20th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For Thanksgiving day, we were joined by lots more family. It was a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal, since a more traditional meal was already planned for Saturday.


Other half of the table

After leaving the cold of Maryland, we really enjoyed temperatures in the 60s in Alabama. The girls had a bunch of fun on Uncle J’s truck.

Outdoor play

Who needs fancy toys when you’ve got a bunch of rocks.


JJ loved playing in the rocks as well.

More rocks

JJ’s still in the rocks, but Leah’s stealing the picture showing off her dance moves.

Leah photobomb

Emmie was rocking out to the music. An empty cream soda bottle makes a great microphone.


Sisters, best friends, by a lake.


It was too dry to make an outdoor fire, but that didn’t stop us from making s’mores.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Southern Thanksgiving

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Trip on December 19th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Every year, Jen’s extended family (meaning all the way out to second cousins of hers) gathers for a Christmas celebration. Occasionally, this celebration has happened around Thanksgiving. This year, they decided to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend at the family lake house. So, we flew down the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for some family time.

The crowd at the lake house grew over time. Our first night, it was just G’Mom, Grampa, Aunt ‘Chelle, Uncle J, Emmie, JJ, and us. It was great to be together the next day, as it was G’Mom’s birthday. So, her brother came to visit for lunch.

Family lunch

Emmie showed off her skills and gave us a violin concert.

Violin concert

Molly didn’t have her viola to play, so she borrowed Emmie’s violin. I was amazed that she played it very well. The strings of a viola are shifted lower than a violin, so she just played songs on strings in different positions from what she was used to without any trouble. I know I couldn’t pull that off on a guitar.

Different instrument, no problem

Then it was time for some birthday presents.

Happy birthday G'Mom



Jen made G’Mom a delicious pumpkin gooey cake in lieu of a birthday cake to celebrate.

Birthday cake-ish

Happy birthday, G’Mom! So glad we got to celebrate with you.

Dreary photoshoot

Posted in Family visits on December 18th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

EA and Scott asked me if I could take some family pictures for them. It’s a busy time of year, but we found a good time that worked for all of us. Sadly, when I arrived at their house. it was cold and windy. We still managed to get some good outdoor pictures despite the dreary conditions, though we didn’t stay outside for long.

Dreary photoshoot

OK, maybe it wasn’t quite that bleak.

Happy family

Excuse me, I’m coming through.

Excuse me

I think Charlie is happy to back in the warmth of the indoors.

Happy kid

I took a bunch more, but those are some of my favorites.

Crazy Hair Day

Posted in Crafts, Leah, Molly, School on November 21st, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

This year, the girls’ school had a Crazy Hair Day. They decided to go all out, thanks to a little help from their mom and Pinterest.

Crazy Hair Day

After becoming an expert in sock buns for Molly’s Leia costume, Jen quickly whipped up Molly’s donut hair. With the addition of real sprinkles, a few of Molly’s classmates were confused as to whether the donut was real!

Donut hair

Balanced plate

Leah’s classmates kept asking her if those were real M&Ms in her hair. She had to explain that yes, it was real, but it was Skittles. Didn’t they read the box?

Rainbow hair

Real Skittles

Molly made up this song about her hair for Crazy Hair Day at school.

Leah knew the right catch phrase for her Crazy Hair Day hair.

Halloween arrives

Posted in Celebrations on November 20th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Then finally, Halloween arrived. Before heading out, we took some more pictures. And this time, Molly figured out how to make a straight face.

Star Wars on Halloween

And we can be fierce.

Fierce family

And, of course, a silly one.

Silly one

Then it was time to head out for some trick-or-treating. Our girls were excited to trick-or-treat with their friends.

Halloween friends

As always, we took a picture with some of the neighborhood kids before embarking on trick-or-treating.

Neighborhood costumes

This year, Jen walked around with the girls while I stayed home to hand out candy (in character with my best English accent). I kept count of how many visitors we had, and I believe it’s a new record. We had 134 trick-or-treaters come to our door.

The girls and Jen had a great time as well, and came home with more than enough candy to donate most of it and keep plenty for themselves.

Halloween with family

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on November 19th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We got together with my side of the family the day before Halloween for a little preliminary fun. Here we all are.

Halloween family

Charlie, Aunt EA, and Uncle Scott were gnomes. I wonder if they could get me a good deal on a flight or hotel.


Little gnome

Charlie put on his Darth Vader outfit to add some dark side to our Star Wars party.

Joined by the dark side

Leah also showed off some fierce moves for the camera with her staff. And Molly may have photobombed her at one point.

Staff attack

Leia photobomb


Charlie tried on one more outfit in addition to the costumes - this new fun dino romper. Aunt EA asked Jen to make a few winter rompers for Charlie. Jen, of course, was happy to oblige!

Modeling his romper

Jen doesn’t sew for little boys often, so she had fun trying a new dino appliqué.

Fun dino