Celebrations

Batsons in Baltimore

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on January 4th, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After spending a few days with the Batsons in North Carolina, we returned to Maryland for even more Batson time. We drove back Monday, then G’Mom and Grampa flew from North Carolina to Baltimore on Tuesday. First we exchanged more gifts.

Sweatpants

Jen made G’Mom a shell ornament with shells the kids collected at the beach.

Shell ornament

But it wasn’t just a day for Christmas celebrating, as it was New Year’s Eve, which is also Grampa’s birthday. Jen made a chocolate cream pie.

Birthday pie

And there were birthday presents, too.

Birthday puzzle

G’Mom and Grampa stayed with us for a few days. Jen and I took advantage of having them in town to go see Come From Away at the Kennedy Center in D.C. It was great!

Come From Away

G’Mom and Grampa even went with us to drop the girls at camp for their 3-day Winter Camper Reunion (which the girls had a lot of fun at).

Batson Family Christmas

Posted in Celebrations, Family outings, Family visits, Trip on December 29th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

On Saturday, almost everyone came to Ann and Steve’s house for the big Batson family gathering. Of course there was food, and before eating we all said the Batson family blessing (and a few even did the second stanza).

Batson family gathering

Jen, Leah, and Molly

Mike and Mary were not able to attend, as they were stuck in Arizona with newborn baby Jacob. So, we all gathered around and FaceTimed them. It was great to see them, though I wouldn’t generally recommend videoconferencing with almost 30 people on one end.

Newest addition

And here are the new parents and new baby.

FaceTime

I took a picture of all in attendance to document the occasion.

Batson family picture

Silly one

There was of course a gift exchange. JJ seems excited.

Present opening

Maggie’s now the tennis coach at her school, so we made her this bottle.

Coach

It was great to gather together with everyone!

North Carolina trip

Posted in Celebrations, Family outings, Family visits, Trip on December 28th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After our quiet Christmas, we hit the road. The big Batson family Christmas celebration was in Mooresville, North Carolina this year (which we love because it’s so close we can get there in 8-9 hours driving). We drove down Friday the 27th, checked into our hotel, then headed out for fun activities with everyone as they arrived. Jen joined a bunch of the ladies for dinner. The girls and I headed to The Pit.

The Pit has serious kart racing, an arcade, putt-putt, escape rooms, laser tag, axe throwing, and more. The kids played arcade games while we waited for others to arrive. Then we headed down to axe throwing. Best of all, their minimum age for axe throwing was 12, so Molly got to participate. She loved it.

Axe throwing

It’s very tough to get the correct rotations to get your axe to stick, but Molly eventually did it!

Got it to stick

And again!

Another stick

The axe throwing was a lot of fun for all. Afterward, the kids wanted to try the kart racing so a few of us headed that way. This was very serious kart racing (more serious than we needed). But a lot of us did it. They had a kids race first (with Molly, Leah, Emmie, JJ, and a bunch of very experienced teenagers). Then they had an adult race with several of us and a bunch of other people who clearly do this a regularly.

Kart racing

Molly driving

Leah and Emmie

Christmas Day

Posted in Celebrations on December 27th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Christmas day was very calm this year. We got up at 7:30 and opened presents around the tree. We do not generally get our kids big expensive presents (though some of their other relatives might), but this year we changed it up. Leah’s wanted an iPad for some time, and the prices at Black Friday were very good. So, she now has her own iPad.

An iPad

Molly’s big gift was this refurbished MacBook Pro. She’s been using a very old laptop of mine, but it’s half-dead and struggling. In middle school she does a lot of her homework on her computer, so this was a tool more than a toy (though she plays on it a lot as well). She was very excited to get it.

New computer

Grams joined us at our house a bit later, and we ate and just hung out at home. It was quite lovely.

Christmas Day picture

Christmas Eve

Posted in Celebrations, Church on December 26th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Christmas Eve Family Service

Our family was again very involved with the Christmas Eve Family Services. This was the 3rd in a trilogy of superhero-based Christmas Eve services. Molly played Supergirl in the skit (a change from being Wonder Woman the past couple year), and Leah was again one of the two worship leaders for the service. I also led the band.

The girls kept the tradition of opening 1 gift from Grammy on Christmas Eve, though we had to squeeze it in during the break between the 2:30/4:00 family services and the 7:00 traditional service.

Christmas Eve presents

After being a part of the 2:30 and 4:00 family services, Molly also sang and played in the orchestra at the 7:00 Christmas Eve service.

Leah was not supposed to have a job at the 7:00 Traditional Service. However, the girl who was supposed to do it bailed at the last minute due to illness. So, after the 4:00 service, Leah got the job. It was actually her first time being an acolyte (since we are not generally a traditional service family).

Last minute job

The girls donned their Christmas pajamas and were ready for bed after a very busy Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve pajamas

And here’s our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. In the past, we’ve always had a live Christmas tree in our house. For years we’ve gone to cut our own tree. But for some time Jen has been advocating getting an artificial tree. With the dwindling stock at cut-your-own tree lots and the rising prices as tree crops struggle with changing climate, I finally gave in this year. We ordered this lovely artificial Alberta Spruce 8 foot tree, and it’s been quite nice not to have to worry about watering it or cleaning up needles. The girls especially like all the different programs the lights can do (e.g. flashing and switching between white and colored).

Artificial Christmas tree

Sellers family Christmas

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on December 16th, 2019 by c-had – 1 Comment

We held our Sellers family Christmas celebration a week and a half early. Aunt EA and her family flew in from Texas, Grammy flew in from South Carolina, and we all joined together at Grams’s house.

The celebration began Friday night with the traditional cookie baking with the aunts event.

Cookie decorating

Cookie decorating

It may have been early, but we still did things like Christmas day. That even included the kids’ attire. Jen made matching Christmas pajamas for Molly, Leah, Charlie, and Max.

Cousin jammies

Charlie and Max

There were so many cookies to decorate, that the cookie decorating continued into the next day.

Cookie decorating continued

Cookie decorating

It was great to have everyone healthy and together in one place.

Sellers family Christmas read more »

Halloween 2019

Posted in Celebrations, Leah, Molly on October 31st, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For Halloween this year, Molly decided to be Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles series. So, she’s a sci-fi take on Cinderella, where Cinderella is a cyborg mechanic with a robotic hand and foot. Leah is a ghoul, and even got red bands on her braces this week to look bloody.

Cinder and a ghoul

Cinder and a ghoul

Cinder

Halloween with friends

Halloween with friends

Sadie and Eric’s wedding weekend

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Trip on October 21st, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

This weekend, we went to Alabama for the wedding of Jen’s cousin Sadie. We flew into Atlanta Friday, rented a car, and drove to Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Alabama. We got in at 6:10, changed clothes, and were only a few minutes late to the “cowboy chic” rehearsal dinner.

Rehearsal dinner

We don’t really have anything close to “cowboy chic”, but the girls found some things at a second hand store that were close enough. And that’s as close to cowboy as I get.

Cowboy chic

On Saturday, we opted to just hang out at the farmhouse we were staying in. There were lots of activities going on, but they weren’t really our style (golf, skeet shooting). Plus, the Auburn football game was at 11:00, and we didn’t want to miss it. It was nice having a quiet morning and afternoon, and we had several visitors come hang out with us.

JJ was away with his dad, but the girls had a great time playing outside with Emmie. They threw a football, played hide-and-seek, and played this game where one closed their eyes while the others told them where to walk.

Blind trust

The person directing didn’t always have the best interests of the blind walker in mind, but they all had fun.

Fun

Blind trust

Before heading to the wedding, we had a bit of a photoshoot in our formalwear before the wedding. Here are some of those pictures.

Formal photoshoot

Formal photoshoot

Formal photoshoot

Formal photoshoot

Formal photoshoot

The wedding was lovely. They had to move it under a tent due to some light rain, but it didn’t suffer for it. Congratulations, Sadie and Eric!

Wedding

Uncle J was part of the wedding music.

Music

Here’s our part of the family at the wedding.

Batson family

The reception was very fancy. It included a sit-down meal complete with synchronized serving where servers all lined up behind the guests and then placed plates down in front of them simultaneously. Great band and dancing. And probably the highlight for the kids - cake. Molly was especially excited about the groom’s cake. I think Sadie was as well.

Cake eating

Good cake

We were so glad to be able to see so much family and be a part of this celebration. Congratulations, Sadie and Eric!

Slumber party

Posted in Celebrations, Leah on October 7th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Leah has wanted a sleepover birthday party for several years, but we’d told her she had to wait until she was 10. This year was finally the year! The party began with a little painting.

10th birthday sleepover

The girls picked their designs ahead of the party so that Jen could have the canvases prepped and ready for the party night.

Personalized projects

Same design, different colors

Painting

Chatting while creating

While the paint projects dried, Leah opened her presents. She was very excited about a new fuzzy unicorn squishie.

Excited for presents

The girls returned to the table to remove the vinyl and reveal their painted designs.

Design reveal

They all did a great job creating one-of-a-kind designs!

Finished paintings

Leah decided she wanted her friends to decorate their own cupcakes at the party. So Jen made the cupcakes and frostings, then set them out with all the toppings.

Cupcake decorating

Leah had fun showing her friends how to use a piping bag to frost the cupcakes.

Future cake decorator?

There was some very original decorating on these cupcakes!

Completed cupcakes

After making them, it was time to sing to Leah and eat them.

Then Molly left to sleep over with some of her friends, leaving just the 4th graders. But there was still more to do. Next up - a fun take on the classic game of Spin the Bottle. The girls ended up with rainbow painted finger nails.

Spin the (nail polish) bottle

The girls then watched a movie (the new Dumbo) and then finally went to bed. They chatted for a while and fought going to sleep, but the last of them was asleep by midnight.

Donuts for breakfast has become a tradition on our house for sleepovers, but not just any donuts - Krispy Kreme donuts!

The best breakfast

Happy birthday, Leah!

Leah’s birthday weekend number 1

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Leah on October 6th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

As always in our family, birthday celebrations go on and on. This year was no different, as Leah’s birthday celebrations spanned two weekends. The first weekend (detailed here) included most of the family stuff, while the second weekend was her big friend party (next post).

As usual, we let Leah pick a restaurant for celebrating with family. She chose Uncle Julio’s, a Mexican restaurant at the mall. The reason Leah chose Uncle Julio’s was the chance to get a chocolate piñata for dessert. When we went there for Mother’s Day, the girls wanted to get this extravagant dessert, but we of course said no. “Maybe if we came for your birthday.” Leah remembered that months later, and finally got her wish.

Chocolate piñata

Wind-up

Hit it

Exploding

Chocolate piñata

Cracked open, there’s a lot of deliciousness spilling out, including lots of fruit and tiny churro bites.

We also opened presents. These rainbow unicorn Toms from Aunt Caroline were a big hit.

Toms

Rainbow unicorn Toms

G’Mom and Grampa flew up for the weekend. So, in addition to special events, there was time for hanging out. Leah and G’Mom had fun playing Speed. I think Leah’s especially happy here, since she has no cards left in her hands.

Speed

And there were more presents on her actual birthday.

Mini backpack

Leah asked Jen to fix chocolate lava cake for her birthday. She remembered when Jen made them almost 3 years ago for Grampa, and wanted to have them again (yes, she remembers desserts well). They were delicious again.

Chocolate lava cake

Chocolate lava cake

Thanks to G’Mom and Grampa for joining us.

With grands