Cookie decorating

Posted in Celebrations, Food on December 22nd, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

It was Christmas Cookie Day!

Leah said, "Now I know why people don’t want to eat them. It’s like eating a work of art." She was pretty proud of her cookies.

Cookie decorating

Cookie decorating

Cookie decorating

Cookie decorating

Cookie decorating

Full set of Christmas cookies

Leah’s 11th birthday party

Posted in Celebrations, Leah on September 12th, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Leah turns 11 this week. That should have meant her big Harry Potter party, but we all agreed that was a bad idea with the pandemic. So we delayed it till next year. After all, with a September birthday, she wouldn't actually start at Hogwarts till next year anyway. But things have calmed down enough that we decided a small, outdoor gathering was OK. Leah had 3 friends over for some fun on the back porch. They played a couple games (Telestrations and Uno Attack), decorated cupcakes, ate cupcakes and ice cream, opened presents, and did some rather slow grass sledding. Leah said it was great!

Leah's 11th birthday party

Leah's 11th birthday party

Leah's 11th birthday party

Cupcake decorating

Cupcake decorating

Cupcake decorating

Cupcake decorating

Cupcake decorating




Cat ears

Cat card


Grass sledding

Grass sledding

Birthday cookies for Leah

Happy birthday Grams and Caroline

Posted in Celebrations, Food on June 28th, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We had our first socially-distant family gathering to celebrate Beth and Caroline's birthdays today. Jen made her first Smith Island Cake. It only took living in Maryland for 17 years for her to bake the official state dessert. It got thumbs up all around!

Happy birthday Grams and Caroline

Smith Island Cake

Happy birthday Grams and Caroline

Happy 40th birthday Jen

Posted in Celebrations on May 24th, 2020 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Jen turned 40!

Jen's neighborhood friends snuck in our yard under cover of night to put a birthday sign up for her 40th birthday.

Yard sign from friends

The girls made Jen a birthday banner.

Birthday banner

Jen made herself a fruit tart for her 40th birthday.

Fruit tart

I surprised Jen this morning with a video of many of our friends and family singing to her. She watched it over and over.

Virtual birthday chorus

and you can too:

Opening presents

Opening presents

Air fryer


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.


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.


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.


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 »