Archive for January, 2015

Ice skating

Posted in Family outings, Family visits on January 12th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For our final day of visitors, we decided to go ice skating at our local rink. This was Emmie’s first time ice skating (and Leah’s first successful time).

Ready to skate

Here’s Leah skating with a walker for the first time. She did great, both holding hands and using the walker.

Leah skating

Molly and Emmie flew around the ice as fast as their walkers would let them.

Molly and Emmie

Leah was hilarious. She’d skate around with us, then say she wanted a break. But as soon as she stepped off the ice, she’d say she changed her mind and wanted to keep skating. So, back onto the ice she’d go.

Hand holding

Every time we go ice skating, we leave the rink wondering why we don’t do it more often. It’s so much fun, close by, and included in our gym/tennis/etc. membership so we only have to pay skate rental fees.

More presents

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on January 11th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Nine days after we started opening presents, we were still opening. This time with Emmie, JJ, Aunt ‘Chelle, and Uncle J. This plane is for the bath tub and sprays water.

More presents

Emmie got an American Girl doll for Christmas, and the girls were happy to give Emmie some clothes and accessories for her.

American Girl

I think they’re telling us they want pancakes for breakfast by acting out a short stack.

Short stack

The girls got some Perler beads, and they were quickly a favorite project of theirs (and Emmie as well).

Perler beads

Jen didn’t just make jammies for our girls. She made them for Emmie and JJ as well. She couldn’t find a shirt for JJ, though, so she had to make one to match the girls’.

Jammies times four

But that’s still not the end of the family fun. Tune in next time for activities without pajamas.

Touring with the whole crew

Posted in Church, Family outings, Family visits on January 10th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The day after the big family party, the out-of-towners wanted to see some of the sights. So, many of them headed out to D.C. to see them. We, however, headed to church. In addition to the family fun, I was also leading music that day.

Leading church

After church and some lunch, we joined up with the rest of the crew at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Rick is friends with the brother of the Associate Director of Rowing there, and he arranged a special tour for us. So, we headed to Hubbard Hall to see some boats.

Navy Crew

I had assumed we’d just see some boats and water, and learn a little. But the tour was much cooler than just that. We even got to do some rowing ourselves in their tank - a practice facility for indoor rowing.

Interactive tour

Molly rowing

Leah rowing

JJ rowing

After the Naval Academy, we all headed to Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs for dinner. Thanks to Mike and Mary for finding a place that could seat 27 of us.

Seafood dinner

That was the end of our time with most of the extended family, but we still had a bit more fun in store with a few of them. More on that to come.

The Batson Family Christmas

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on January 9th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

On the 27th, we hosted the Batson Family Christmas celebration in our house. There were 28 of us in all, and a good time was had by all (well, Leah wasn’t a fan of such a large group). Here’s everyone in attendance. We used our hill to stack people up.

The Batson family

Breaking with tradition (pot-luck with turkey or ham), we had Red Hot & Blue barbeque. Since everyone was coming in from far away, catering seemed a better idea than pot-luck. And Jen came up with the idea of delicious barbeque instead of traditional fare. It was delicious.

These ladies escaped the crowds in the other room for some peaceful conversation with their barbeque.

Party time

And of course, the family gift exchange.

Gift exchange

Thanks to everyone for making the trip up to see us.

Impromptu pizza party

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on January 8th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Jen’s extended family gathers every Christmas for the Batson Family Christmas celebration. This moves from place to place, usually in Alabama or Georgia. But this year to our surprise, the family said they were up for making the trek to Maryland. Thanks to our new house, we are now able to host large gatherings.

The party was planned for the 27th, but with folks arriving the 26th, we invited everyone over for Ledo’s pizza (yum). Initially, this was just going to be 10 of us, but in the process of ordering the pizza, that number went to 15, then 19, then 24, then back to 19. Fortunately, we’d already started setting up for the real party so we had seats to accommodate everyone.

Pre-party party

Roxanne, Jen, and Susan


New toys

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Leah, Molly on January 7th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Opening presents is fun, but playing with those new toys is even more fun. So, once we got home, it was time to play. Molly opened up and built her GoldieBlox dunk tank. Then it was time to start tossing the ball. Nacho the dog is ready to get wet.

Dunk tank throw

And, Nacho’s making a splash.


Leah received 6 Lego sets this Christmas, which sounded awesome to her. She’s a huge Lego fan, and would happily spend much of every day building.

Lego building

There wasn’t too much time to play though, as extended family from Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina were due to arrive in Maryland on the 26th.

Christmas morning continues

Posted in Celebrations, Leah, Molly on January 6th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After opening presents at home, we headed to Grams’s house for breakfast and more presents. Leah’s got a big one here. What could be in it?

Good box size

This girl loves her Legos. And over 600 pieces doesn’t scare her.


Leah’s not the only one. Molly loves her Legos, too.

Molly too

Good things often come in small packages.

Happy Jen

Wow! A jar of Jam!


After these two movies, we should be able to train our own dragons.


Grammy got some fancy kitchen towels, handmade by Jen.


These minion mittens had to get the award for cutest gift.

Minion mittens

And here’s Grammy and me after all the fun was over.

Grammy and me

Christmas excitement

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Leah, Molly on January 5th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

When putting the girls to bed on Christmas Eve, I gave them two rules:

  1. They were not allowed to go downstairs until I tell them to. No sneaking down in the middle of the night.
  2. They were not allowed to wake anyone (parents, grandparents, their sister) before 7:00AM. If they woke up earlier, I suggested getting their phone or iPad and playing on it until 7:00AM.

Neither Jen or I slept well that night. It seemed like there was a lot of people up throughout the night. At 4:30AM, I heard the door to my office open, which I assumed was a girl (likely Leah) getting a phone or iPad to play on. Crazy early, but kids get excited about Christmas.

At 6:30AM, I went in the girls’ room. Leah was asleep, and Molly was playing on the iPad, so I assumed Molly was the culprit. I asked her when she had gotten up. Her response - one something. Yes, as in 1AM. I didn’t believe her. I asked if she had gone to get the iPad at 4:30AM. She said she had, because she had gotten her phone at 1:30AM and it’s battery was dead at 4:30AM, so she switched to the iPad.

So, Molly got a stern talking to about how that was way to early to wake up. I had trouble coming down too hard on her, both because it was Christmas and because she had technically followed the rules. When I suggested playing games if they woke up early, I was thinking about waking up at 6:00AM, not 1:00AM, but I didn’t say that.

Despite her lack of sleep, Molly was wired and ready to go. Leah, on the other hand, had to be woken at 7:00AM. But she soon was caught up in the excitement as well.

The girls went through their stockings quickly. Then they of course helped others with theirs. The girls are really excited about the socks Santa brought G’Mom.

Socks from Santa

After stockings, it was time for presents amongst ourselves. We got the girls these fun animal chairs to go with the table in their room.

Animal chairs

Molly gave Leah a stuffed elephant that was so soft she had to touch it to her face.

Soft elephant

Nice calendar, G’Mom.

Nice calendar

Hmmmm… What could this be? We had to explain Operation to Leah, but I think she’ll like it. She did get scared the first time she tried it and touched the wall with the tweezers, but it didn’t scare her off from trying again.


Molly’s very excited about this new GoldieBlox set. What could be more fun than building your own dunk tank?


Leah gave Jen some of the most exciting gifts possible - a tailor's ham and a seam roll. What 5 year old doesn’t want to buy their mom ironing accessories?

Exciting gifts

That was just the beginning of the fun on Christmas Day. We were soon off to Grams house to keep things rolling.

Christmas Eve

Posted in Celebrations, Church, Family visits, Leah, Molly on January 4th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

As usual, our church had lots of of offerings around Christmas. This included a service on Christmas Eve Eve for those who wouldn’t be around Christmas Eve, five services on Christmas Eve, and a Christmas Day service. Two of the services on Christmas Eve were family services, led by and geared towards kids. Both Molly’s choir and Leah’s choir were involved, so the girls and I went to both of them.

Of course, fancy Christmas attire is not required for church but that doesn’t stop our girls. And fancy clothes deserve fancy earrings as well. Molly’s wanted hoop earring for some time, and Aunt EA and Uncle Scott were happy to oblige with a pair. They didn’t expect them to be so big, though. Of course, size matters not. Molly loves them.

Big hoops

Here’s Molly’s choir singing their special song. They also led the congregational singing.

Christmas Eve singing

I accompanied Molly’s choir with some fingerpicking.

Christmas Eve picking

Leah’s choir doesn’t use folders with music, which leaves their hands available for hand motions.

Leah singing

Leah singing

After church, we headed to Grams’s house for soup and sandwiches. Per tradition, we opened one gift on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve presents

Grammy gave both girls very nice backpacks.


After we got home, Jen presented the girls with their Christmas jammies. This year, she actually purchased the shirt, then made pants to go with it.

Christmas jammies

Here they are in their brand new jammies.

Pajama pose

Cookies and milk for Santa, carrots for the reindeer.

Midnight snacks

We always read Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. This year, the girls got G’Mom and Grampa to read to them.

Twas the night

Then is was off to bed for the girls to get a good night’s sleep before the big day. Well, at least one of them got a good night’s sleep. The other... well, more on that in the next post.

Our first visitors

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on January 3rd, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Our first Christmas visitors (though not even close to our last) arrived late on the 22nd - G’Mom and Grampa. They got in too late to see the girls, but Molly and Leah were very excited to see them when they woke up on the 23rd.

Molly still had school, so G’Mom and Grampa joined Molly and me on our morning walk. Afterwards, Leah wasted no time getting Grampa to help a bit with her new Legos (though Leah didn’t really need the help).

Lego project

The rest of the 23rd was spent on prep for the coming days. This included Jen and her parents recovering all our dining room chairs, which she’d been planning to do for some time. Despite that little bit of crazy, it was a calm day - very much needed before the whirlwind of the following week.