Family visits

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 – Be the first to 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

Continued birthday

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Molly on April 3rd, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s birthday celebration kept going and going. After her slumber party, the girls woke up and headed home. Molly and Grace headed to karate and Leah headed to a birthday party (and brought a Squishmallow as a present, more on that later). Then Leah went to the Solo and Ensemble Festival. Then we had the Sellers side of the family over to keep celebrating Molly’s birthday. We also celebrated Uncle Charles’s birthday, so they were both blowing out candles. And yes, that is the same cake from the night before. It looks perfect, as if still whole…

Birthdays

Here’s a look at the other side of the cake (the side we ate from at Molly’s slumber party).

Cake back side

There were also presents to be opened.

Opening presents

Opening presents

Gather round for the multiple musical cards.

Musical card

In our house, we love Squishmallows. So, when Jen’s friend texted her from Costco saying they had them in stock (and selling out fast), we got the girls another one each (plus got an extra one to give to one of Leah’s friends for her birthday earlier in the day). Aunt Caroline brought her own Squishmallow to our celebration. Squishmallows are taking over the world.

Squishmallow party

Bingo

Posted in Family visits, Leah, Molly, School on March 30th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

G’Mom and Grampa came in town for a visit, and their visit once again coincided with our elementary school’s Bingo night. We of course made it to Bingo, and Jen of course got Bingo again. Sadly, a kid did as well and the kid won the call-off (which also seems to always happen to Jen).

Bingo again

As a consolation prize for losing the call off, Jen got a Target gift card. Molly was still excited.

Consolation excitement

Winner

Madison just needs one more! (She sadly did not get it).

Just one more

A fun night as always.

Visitors from afar

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

Our Christmas story continued much like the Biblical one. Visitors from afar arrived with gifts, though not gold, frankincense, or myrrh. G’Mom and Grampa flew up two days after Christmas to spend 8 days with us and continue the Christmas celebrations.

Molly has been on several overnight trips this Fall, and both girls spend the night out frequently, so these new duffles were very much appreciated!

New duffles

Back in November, Jen was invited to a party to make creative wood signs. She came home with the how-to and decided to make wood signs for several family members. It was definitely a joint effort. I decided that simply screwing together some boards from Home Depot would not do. So, I bought some rough hardwood (this is Ash, others were Red Oak), milled them, glued up a panel, cut, stained and sealed them. Jen created the design and painted. If you have a keen eye, you may have caught a different version of this in the Christmas Day opening presents pictures.

Home wood sign

We don’t see too many movies in the theater, but we’ve been excitedly anticipating the release of Mary Poppins Returns. So, we bought our tickets early and all headed to the theater to see it.

Mary Poppins Returns

We love going to the movies with reclining cushy seats. It was G’Mom and Grampa’s first time in a theater like this.

Fancy theater

Grampa’s birthday fell during their visit, so we made sure to celebrate. We had saved a turtle cheesecake from Molly’s pie sale with her middle school just for the occasion.

Happy birthday Grampa

And there were lots of little fun activities around the house, like this elephant wood puzzle.

Elephant wood puzzle

Early Christmas

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits on February 23rd, 2019 by c-had – 2 Comments

Grams’s cancer treatment included chemo for a couple of months, followed by giant surgery on December 21. This meant she was in the hospital for Christmas. So, we made alternate Christmas plans. Instead of flying up for Christmas, Grammy came early and we had some early Christmas festivities.

Part of this included some delicious treats. The girls headed over to Grams’s house to bake cookies (per tradition). Aunt EA and Charlie were supposed to be there too, but they’ve had a tough time with illness which kept them away.

Baking cookies

Cookie decorating

Cookie decorating

Cookie eating

Yes, the traditional Christmas cookies were a bit less traditional this year, including dinosaurs and narwhals.

Eating a dinosaur

There was also, of course, food (not pictured) and presents.

Early Christmas

Presents

Leah was excited about this Harry Potter wand that works with an iPad, which she can program to do different spells.

Magic wand

Magic wand

Molly’s been so jealous of Leah’s Squishmallow, she was excited to get one of her own.

Squishmallow

Squishmallow

Merry belated early Christmas!

Trip to Auburn

Posted in Family visits, Trip on February 12th, 2019 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We were determined to get to Auburn this year, and homecoming ended up being the weekend we could make work. We flew in to Atlanta late Friday, spent the night in a hotel, rented a car, and drove to Auburn Saturday. We met up with Jen’s family and had a great time around town.

Trip to Auburn

The Wesley Foundation hosted a homecoming brunch, so we got to hang out and see old friends. The kids especially enjoyed the ping pong tables. Then we got lunch, did a little shopping, and wandered around reminiscing.

Auburn trip

Of course, part of homecoming weekend is the football game. Sadly, just before half time they suspended play due to lightning in the area. We left the stands and hung out nearby during the ensuing downpour for a while, but eventually decided to leave when it lightened up a bit. We ended up seeing the conclusion on TV as the kids got ready for bed.

Football game

We stayed the night (thanks Julia, Earl, and Daniel), then got up early to drive back to the Atlanta airport to fly home. Hurray for getting to Auburn!

Alabama without Dad

Posted in Family visits, Trip on August 31st, 2018 by c-had – 1 Comment

Over July 4th week, Jen and the girls spent a few days at Lay Lake in Alabama, while I was on mission trip to VA. So, for the first time in forever, Jen had to sit with the girls on the plane.

Flying with Mom

It didn’t take long for the family to be out on the Dottie B.

Sunset cruise

Sunset smiles

Jen made all the kids festive July 4th tees.

Festive cousins

Sporting the red, white, and blue

She also made a patriotic fruit trifle for the July 4th dessert.

Patriotic trifle

A trip to Lay Lake is not complete without tubing!

Ready for tubing

G’mom and Grampa surprised everyone by being the first out on the tube.

Grandparents can tube too

Molly's going solo.

Molly's going solo

Jen and Leah too.

Hang on tight

One last picture opportunity before leaving.

Family photo

Back at Aunt ‘Chile’s house, the kids had fun on the double Slip ’n Slide.

Slip 'n Slide kids

Molly's run

Leah's turn