Family visits

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).

Bonus North Carolina

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Trip on December 30th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We had one bonus day in North Carolina after the Batson family Christmas gathering. This was great, as it gave us time for yet another Christmas celebration - this time with the Long family. We met up with them in G’Mom and Grampa’s hotel room.

The cousins had fun sharing a couch.

Cousins on a couch

We opened presents.

Opening

Another gift exchange

We had lunch at Moe’s, hung out at Ann and Steve’s house for a bit, then headed out for a fun (and new to some) activity - an escape room! We made it out with over 19 minutes to spare.

Escape room

Then we met back up with cousins for some pizza and sweet treats.

Pizza

This was the end of our time in North Carolina, but not the end of our time with Batson. More on that next time.

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

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 »

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!

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

Ocean Isle Beach

Posted in Family visits, Trip on September 15th, 2019 by c-had – 1 Comment

Molly and I finished Baltimore Mission Camp Friday evening, then we all woke up early Saturday (coincidentally, Jen and my anniversary, July 27) to head to Ocean Isle Beach for a week. We met G’Mom, Grampa, Aunt ‘Chelle, Uncle J, Emmie, and JJ there and stayed in a condo just off the beach. We picked Ocean Isle, North Carolina because it was drivable for everyone (though G’Mom and Grampa ended up flying) and highly recommended by one of Jen’s friends. We were not disappointed - it’s a great beach. Maybe my favorite to have visited so far - not crowded, nice water, some stuff to do (though less than you’d find at a bigger more crowded destination).

We arrived around 5:00 Saturday, and Jen made tacos for dinner. Then we walked over to check out the beach. Uncle J got these Surfer Dudes toys for each of the kids, and they were a huge hit. They played with them throughout the week, but they were especially fun on that first evening since we were not swimming then. You throw them out into the water, and they surf back to you on the waves. Thanks Uncle J!

Surfer Dudes

The next morning, we hit the beach for real. There was a lot of boogie boarding.

Boogie boarders

And then some time at the pool. And, of course, when at the beach, you've got to play putt-putt.

Golfers

including some hole-in-ones

Hole in One

Hole in One

Monday we went back to the beach for a lot more boogie boarding.

Molly boogie boarding

Boogie boarding

Boogie boarding

and an obstacle course.

Obstacle course read more »

Savannah trip

Posted in Family visits, Trip on July 15th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

During the week of the 4th of July, we went to Savannah for the first time in years. This included us in our car, Grams and Aunt Caroline in another car (Uncle Charles was hiking in the Alaskan tundra at the time with his family), and Aunt EA, Uncle Scott, Charlie, and Max flying in from Texas. This was our first long road trip since Molly got her Nintendo Switch, and we created a very fancy system of holding up the Switch for the girls to see the screen involving the case she keeps it in, kitchen twine, and chip clips.

Car Nintendo

The cars decided to split the drive down into 2 days expecting traffic and delays (though it ended up being not too bad). We did most of the drive on the first day, and stayed in Florence, SC. We were very happy to find a Mellow Mushroom and a Bruster’s right across the street from our hotel.

Pit stop

The big reason for our trip to Savannah was to attend the revival of my extended family’s reunion gathering. My grandparents held this every year for decades. My aunt and uncle, who now live in the same house, revived the tradition this year. Of course, we had to get a picture on the dock right away. And, as you can possibly guess, Jen made all the clothes here except mine.

Happy Fourth read more »

Celebrations

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Molly on July 2nd, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s black belt test ended late, so we did not go out to celebrate that night. Fortunately, the next day was Grams’s birthday, so we went out to BJ’s Brewhouse to celebrate both Molly’s black belt and Grams’s birthday. After some delicious dinner, we of course ordered pizookies (which were also delicious). While waiting for these desserts, we gave Molly a present.

Earning her black belt was a really big deal, and we wanted to give Molly a big gift to commemorate it. We joined together with G’Mom, Grampa, and Grams to give Molly a trip to New York to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway. She and I will go up and see it in August. Molly was shocked.

Broadway gift

Molly was so excited. She’s talked about wanting to see this play so many times, but didn’t see this coming at all.

Excited

When our pizookies arrived, Grams got a special birthday one. We’ll celebrate her again in a couple days when we’re together with my siblings, but it was nice to get to celebrate on the day as well. Happy birthday, Grams!

Happy Birthday Grams