Family visits

Clemson road trip

Posted in Family outings, Family visits on May 2nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

My paternal grandmother, Grammy, lives in two different places. When it’s warm, she lives in Highlands, NC. We’ve visited her there a couple of times. When it’s cooler, she lives in Clemson, SC. We’ve wanted to visit her there, but it can be really hard to find a good time to make that trip when the kids aren’t on summer vacation. This year we made it happen, making the trip during the girls’ spring break.

We drove down on Saturday, leaving first thing in the morning and arriving at bed time. We woke up the next morning and went to church on Palm Sunday with Grammy and her friend Caroline. After church, we had a lovely lunch at the dining room in her community.

After lunch, we headed back to Grammy’s place, where she was ready to entertain the girls. Grammy was a first grade teacher, and was ready with crafts for the girls on our visit. She blew out 18 eggs so they could decorate them for Easter. The drawing was done on the porch.

Egg decorating

The egg dying station was in the kitchen. Grammy and Leah got it set up to dye.

Dying eggs


Molly worked hard on her BB-8 egg.


That blue looks good.

Nice color

Dying eggs

The three of them spent an hour and a half intently working on their eggs.

Drawing intently

Here are the eggs they made. Several of these have a Star Wars theme (BB-8, R2-D2, C-3PO, Rey, and Kylo’s light saber), while the rest had more traditional Easter themes.

Egg results

After all the egg fun, we played some games (we brought Otrio and Telestrations with us). Then we went to Zaxby’s for dinner (we had to go to Zaxby’s while down south).

Monday morning, arts supplies came out. Grammy and the girls had lots of fun before even getting dressed.


We played some more games (we love games). We hit McAlister’s for lunch, then went to see Beauty and the Beast at the movie theater. For dinner, we headed down to College Avenue right next to Clemson’s campus to eat some delicious pasta at Brioso Fresh Pasta. We spent the night, then woke up early to head out to the next stop in our spring break adventure (more on that later).

The five of us

Thanks for having us, Grammy!

Games galore

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Molly on April 29th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

A couple days after her real birthday, the celebrations continued. Molly opened presents from G’Mom and Grampa, including a couple of games. The first was Otrio, a strategy game that is kind of a multidimensional tic-tac-toe. It’s lots of fun, and we play it a lot.


The other game G’Mom and Grampa gave Molly was Telestrations. It’s a cross between Pictionary and telephone, where you pass a word around the circle by alternating between writing it and drawing it. The results can be quite hilarious, as you’ll see from these few pictures of us playing it.


It’s important to stick out your tongue when you draw.


As I said, this game can lead to hilarity.

Cracking up

Jen’s lost it.

She's lost it

Here are a couple of examples of why Jen can’t keep it together. In the first example, I got the word “microscope” and passed that to Leah to draw.

Example #1

Leah confused microscope and stethoscope, and drew this.

Example #1

Which was interpreted to be “legs”.

Example #1 result

A second example - Jen got the word “frog”.

Example #2

Leah drew this, a frog on a lily pad.

Example #2

I thought the frog on a lily pad looked like a cat on a surfboard. So, I wrote “surf cat” (the obvious answer, I know ;).

Example #2 result

It’s a really fun game. I highly recommend it.

Bingo with prizes galore

Posted in Family visits, School on April 27th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We again attended Bingo night hosted by the girls’ school, and G’Mom and Grampa joined us as they were in town. They were actually in town the weekend before as well, then left to visit friends for the week before returning to spend the weekend with us again. They couldn’t miss Bingo, after all.

Grampa won one of the rounds, and received some VR goggles as a prize.

Bingo prize

Shortly after Grampa won Bingo, Jen got picked for one of the door prizes - a Target gift card.

Door prize

It was a lot of fun. Afterward, Leah and Molly were excited to try out the VR goggles. It was late, of course, but they played with them a bunch the next morning.

VR goggles

VR goggles

Happy Birthday Grampa

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on March 14th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Since his birthday is on New Year’s Eve, Grampa was in town for his birthday. Jen made Grampa a chocolate lava cake to celebrate his birthday.

Birthday lava

Happy birthday, Grampa!

More Christmas

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on March 13th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Christmas kept going with G’Mom and Grampa in town. That meant more presents.

More Christmas

Jen got G’Mom and Grampa mugs from Greenbridge Pottery, which were sold to aid the recovery of a coffee shop that had been flooded in old Ellicott City.


Leah looks happy to get this Roominate.


American Girl store

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Leah, Molly on March 12th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Three days after Christmas, G’Mom and Grampa arrived to continue the fun. Jen came up with a fun activity to do when they were in town. We made the trip down to Tyson’s Corner to go to the American Girl store. The girls were quite excited. They both had a bunch of gift cards they had been saving up for some time, and it was time to spend them.

American Girl store

Here they are with a couple of their chosen items.


This place seems to inspire joy in these girls.


Here they are with bags full of fun in front of the store’s Christmas tree.

Their loot

Christmas with family

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Leah, Molly on March 10th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After opening presents at our house, we headed to Grams’s house to keep celebrating. First we ate breakfast, then it was time to open some more presents. As youngest, Charlie of course went first.

More presents

And he got a bit of snuggling time with Grams.


These are American Girl pajamas, and the girls got matching sets for their dolls.

American Girl pajamas

A present so big it needed a bag.

Big present

Jen made Charlie a dump truck pillow.

Dump truck pillow

Charlie immediately needed to test out the pillow.

Test run

Jen says Yay for a tray.

Yay for a tray

Jen made Grams tea towels. They have a Southern theme, including a fleur-de-lis.

Southern theme

Charlie is studying this elephant ball popper intently.

Ball popper

Leah was very excited about these Princess Ponies books, especially since they each include a charm for a bracelet.

Princess Ponies books

Grammy had quite the haul of Christmas presents as well.

Grammy's presents

Grammy gift

Molly got the entire set of The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. She’s already read the entire Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and The Heroes of Olympus series by him, so she was excited to read this new series. She was so excited that she started reading in the middle of opening presents, no longer interested in what she might get.

Can't wait to read

Jen created an LSU-themed fleur-de-lis for this insulated tumbler for Aunt EA.


Sometimes, the box is the most fun toy - even for the oldest of the children.

In a box

Charlie came to visit Molly in her box.

Charlie visit

It was so much fun to celebrate with everyone.

Christmas Eve evening

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Leah, Molly on March 8th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Per tradition, we opened a single present on Christmas Eve. Breaking with tradition, we only had the kids open a present this year. Charlie got to open presents first on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve presents

Leah and Molly are smiling.


Molly too

Treats for Santa and his reindeer.

Santa treats

As she does every year, Jen made the girls new pajamas for Christmas Eve. And as always, they loved them.

New matching pajamas

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.

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.