Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We Finally Caved…

We made our first trip to Build-A-Bear yesterday. 7

Carrie and I, knew our days of strolling past the store in the mall without entering were limited. The girls are four years old now and notice everything, so there would be no more distracting them as we passed the store window filled to the brim with furry friends. This was especially true since we bought Allie a B-a-B gift card for her birthday back in October. :)As soon as we stepped in the store that day, AB was mesmerized and has asked several times since then to go back. But, like most of my friends, we’ve put it off as long as we could. (I laughed last week when my friend, Emily, posted on facebook that after years of “avoiding Build-a-Bear like the plague” they finally went.)

Neither Allie or Annabelle really understood the concept of building their own bear until they got to experience it firsthand together yesterday.

We fueled up at the Chick-fil-A first, because where else??? 6

Proof that the babies were there, too! :)

The girls were the cutest things walking through the mall holding hands and giggling with excitement! 2

When we made it to Build-a-Bear, they surveyed the store and the wall lined with stuffed animals waiting to be chosen. Meanwhile, Carrie & I surveyed the price tags and quickly steered the girls down to the least expensive end of the wall…we knew how this whole thing worked – and that there would be accessories to be bought, too. 5

The girls both chose a tan bear and the sales lady led them over to start the process.

They took turns stuffing their bears and then each chose a heart for them.14 The sales lady had them rub it on everything from their head (so the bear would be smart) to their knee (so the bear would always need them). 3After a final wish, they put the hearts in their bears.

After the bears had been sewn up, they got baths. 12The blow dryer was a hit.

Up next, we shopped for an outfit and accessories for our bears.

AB was picking out every shiny, sequined and sparkly outfit she could find when I decided I better reign her in or we were going to be toting a new bear home that looked like she should be working the street corner in bear country. The girls were loving the shoes and all the accessories and you really can buy an entire wardrobe for your animals. 4I’m talking tank tops, dresses, shorts, skirts, dress up princess dresses, pajamas, bathing suits, and every kind of shoe you can think of.

Just when I thought we’d seen it all – we made it to the accessories- and I was so relieved to find out we can get our bear reading glasses, an Easter basket, panties, a passport, a smart phone and should our bear become injured – a wheel chair, cast, crutches and a complete medical kit. 10

It was equally parts insane and adorable, if that’s possible.

I was so proud of our girls who didn’t pitch a fit to have everything and were okay with the limits Carrie and I gave them. Sometimes places like this can bring out the absolute worst in kids – I speak from experience because some of the worst fits my own kids have had were in the aisles of Toys-R-Us. :)

After our bears were dressed, we set out to have their birth certificates printed up. 9Of course we had to do this – after all, how will this bear get on the ship for our upcoming cruise?

AB wanted to name her bear, “Annabelle” – I told her she might want to name it something different than her own name… so then she decided on, “Haley.”13

We had two happy girls on our hands who were already planning which shoes and outfit they were going to get for their new bears next time they came shopping. 8

I have either “saver” or “sucker” written on my forehead, because I caved at the saleslady’s special and came home with a $10.00 gift card that I purchased for $5.00 that we can use on our next trip.

I’m sure there will be a next trip, because apparently, teddy bears can’t wear the same outfit everyday and they are inevitably going to get sick one day and need a doctor kit.

And so it begins…


Monday, February 25, 2013


The weekends always go by way too fast!

On Friday night, the girls and I met my mom for dinner and a little shopping at Hobby Lobby.

DW and his brothers left that afternoon when they got off work to go to Georgia to see their Mom. She’s been having a few health issues since Christmas and we haven’t seen her since then, so they went up to visit and check on her. They’re really good sons and excellent men. My MIL told DW that she started feeling better almost as soon as she got the call that they were coming up for a visit! Sometimes all a mom needs is to see her kids. Hopefully she’ll be feeling back to her normal self soon.

My Dad was out of town for work, so Momma just stayed the night with us, too. AB was excited to be having a “sweep over” “wif just the girls!”

On Saturday morning, we drove down to The Villages.4 I’ve always heard about the retirement community where there are actual parking spaces for the residents’ golf carts, but hadn’t ever been down there. It really is such a neat concept and a beautiful place. 7

6They have a town square complete with a beautiful church. 1All of the architecture has a Spanish feel and all matches. We were by far the youngest people there – as pointed out by an older couple who were dining on the patio of one of the restaurants we walked by – the man said, “Well hey, girls! Are yall enjoying this beautiful day??” when we smiled back and said we were, he made sure to tell my mom that she “still qualified as a girl, too.” – We went into Soma to look around and the sales lady got so excited because we had “little people” with us – and they “never see little people in The Villages!” Ha… We did stick out just a little. :)

Down from the town square, there are several shopping plazas with lots of great stores… I don’t think I’ve ever been in a TJ Maxx that was this clean and organized. They also have lots of restaurants and even though it’s not in the actual Villages, they still have golf cart parking so the nearby residents can drive their carts over. So fun! 2

We headed back home that afternoon with a very sleepy Mamie.5

DW made it home that afternoon around 5:30- he was gone right at 24 hours, but as AB told him, we still “missed hims a bunch!”

Sunday was church and then a lazy afternoon. That evening, my Mom came back over and kept the girls while DW and I went on a little date. We had dinner at Carrabba’s and then saw the new Nicholas Sparks movie, Safe Haven. 3I cried through the whole thing and when we left DW said he was sure wishing we had read what the movie was about before we’d seen it. It was a good movie, though, and the suspense/drama part of it, I think made it a little more bearable for the men who got dragged to see it by their wives. :) I did make DW promise me on the way home that if something ever happened to me, and he got remarried, he wouldn’t let our kids call his new wife “Mom” – Yes, I have issues. The really crazy part is, this wasn’t the first time I’ve made him promise that. Ha. He was quick to tell me if something happened to me, I didn’t have to worry about him getting remarried. I ‘m telling myself it’s because I am truly the absolute love of his life and he couldn’t ever love anyone as much as me – but I’m pretty sure he’s just scared he’d get another crazy one.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Five…

1. My brother’s family came down and spent the long weekend. 2 (2)We had supper at my parents’ on Friday night and then Saturday night we went out to DW’s family’s hunting camp to cook shrimp and oysters. My Dad got 5 lbs. of shrimp and a half a bushel of oysters, plus another pint to fry. (plus we had our sides)-  He was worried it wouldn’t be enough food. If we send him to the store to pick up two things, he always comes back with two bags full. I love that, because I love to eat and eat well. :)  My in-laws joined us at the camp, too. 11It was fun to sit around the fire outside. Everyone sitting at the really long table eating in the cook house felt like a scene out of Phil & Kay’s house at the end of every DD. Especially with my brother, Beau, talking about the time he killed a bear and how it nearly killed him dragging the thing out of the woods, but not as much as when he tried to cook and eat it.  

2. Beau’s crew came because it was my Mom’s birthday on Friday. My Mom’s the best and on Wednesday night when she cooked us some fried chicken she totally sealed the deal. :) My mom always took great care of our family. She still does. She’s the kind of mom who puts everyone ahead of herself. The kind that even though she works a full time job, will call and invite my little family over for supper, so that I don’t have to worry about cooking that night. She’s the kind of mom that speaks truth in our lives – even when it’s not what we want to hear. We may be full grown adults with children of our own, but she’ll always be the first to tell us if she feels something we’re doing is wrong. I think that’s certainly a quality that takes much love and great character- there’s never a doubt- she’s always on our side, but that doesn’t mean she won’t call us out on something when we need it. I’m sure we’ll always need it. At least one of us will. (I’m looking at you, Beau.) Ha. She’s the kind of mom who’s prayed over us and for us our entire lives. She’s the kind of mom who’s fun and adventurous. She loves nothing more than getting out of the house to do something! She’s the kind of mom who doesn’t really see the “sense” in putting up more than a simple tree for Christmas – but will come over year after year and help me put out my 15 bins. :) She’s kind to everyone, trustworthy and fiercely loyal. She’s pretty great- and the only thing she’s better at than being a mom, is being a Grammy. We all love her so much and are so thankful that she’s ours.

3. Mamie had her first kiddie cone this week. It was a hit. Who doesn’t love an ice cream run in your pjs? 4

4. AB got to do a little shopping this week. She went Monday with Grammy and Thursday with Nie-Nie. She came home with: Barbie perfume, a tiny chia-pet, a seahorse t-shirt with a googly eye on it, a purple hula hoop and a king size bag of M&Ms. I have laughed and laughed over the treasures she picked out. 5

5.  Mames still isn’t walking, but she has taken a couple of steps…She’s actually trying a little more and this week has been pushing her baby stroller all over the house! She’s so serious about it and it’s the cutest thing ever!! 2

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, February 21, 2013


Today, DW, along with his two brothers and their Daddy, are headed to Daytona for the races. I’m not sure exactly how many years they’ve been going, but it’s a tradition that was around long before I came along… and I’ve been here for 11 years. :)

Today will be the first time that DW goes back to the track, though, after having driven on it in October. I totally forgot to post about our trip to Richard Petty’s Driving School, so today’s the perfect day to recap it!

The head mechanic at the company came in the office one day and told DW that he’d won a drawing with a prize of a day at the RP Driving Experience at Daytona International Speedway. He had other obligations the day of the event, but asked the givers of the prize if he could transfer it to someone else…He told them he knew exactly who he would give it to… DSC_3297

I think I was probably more excited for DW than he was (and he was pretty excited)! What man wouldn’t love taking the day off work to go drive a race car on the actual track?!?!? I loved that he got to do something so fun!

We decided to take AB with us – she’s at such an easy age and I really thought she’d love it and she did! DSC_3304

We left early enough to have lunch at Red Robin. DW got to drive a race car, but my treat was having fried jalapeno coins at lunch.

We made it to the track to check in and were instructed to drive under the track onto the infield. DSC_3307There, we met up with the rest of the group at the Driving School classroom. The guys (and a few women) got fitted for their helmets, their jumpsuits and were then given the basics… photo

When DW got his jumpsuit on, AB said, “will you still be my Daddy, Daddy, if yours driving a race car?” I guess she wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to trade us all in for a race car driving career.

DSC_3341We weren’t really sure if he’d be in the car by himself or if he’d have an instructor with him. (There are different “experiences” you can pay for – and we didn’t know for sure which he had been given… it turned out to be the really big one, and he got to drive the car by himself. They also told us that this class would be one of the last ones who got to experience the car by themselves- starting the next weekend, the student drivers had to have an instructor ride along in the car with them).

Jachmo Santana was the group leaderDSC_3420 and yall know that sounds like a racing name. He told the class it was pretty simple- “Keep up, Keep up, Keep up!!!”

After their driving lesson inside, we headed out to the track. DSC_3346It was crazy to see it from that side!

They took a big group shot of all the drivers first (which you could purchase at the souvenir trailer later, of course). DSC_3361The group itself was enough enjoyment for me… there were ALL KINDS of people that day – two of them were REALLY serious about racing and brought their own helmets. There were a couple of women in the group, too – one of which had the top speed of 84. Seriously? I do that on a regular basis. (at least I did before kids). :)

The drivers waited in the holding box for their names to be announced. DSC_3382


AB and I got a spot right in the front row of the “grand stands” to watch. DSC_3384

DSC_3381There were 8 cars on the track at one time. 4 instructor cars and 4 drivers.

There were several groups and we watched as they all took their turns. DSC_3427


DW was in the last group. When he finally got to drive his 8 laps, it felt like it flew by. I guess when you’re going over 100 mph, it makes it feel that way.

DW’s driving instructor was Rusty, which is another name that totally screams “race car driver!” – he looked the part, too… DSC_3388

Apparently all the guys who work there are actually really race car drivers in the smaller circuits and there were a couple that were in the truck series.

Getting in…I don’t know how his tall self fit, but he did… DSC_3455



Coming back to pit row (I don’t know if it’s “pit road” or “pit row”? – But I doubt anyone reading this knows either. Ha.)



After the driving, everyone met back in the driving room for the “team meeting” – where they passed out certificates and all the stats. They announced the fastest speed that day (which is also the max they allow) was 148 mph, which was DW’s.

It was such a fun time! DSC_3429


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Be Mine…

My loves and I have been celebrating hearts day all month long! DSC_8276
AB loved waking up to a Valentine card every morning from her Daddy and me. 15Mames loved it, too, even though she didn’t really know what it was! :)
17We each picked out a box of Valentines (DW’s were Transformers and mine were Disney princesses) and starting February 1st, we wrote the girls a note each day telling them something we loved about them. We left them in their “big envewopes” as AB called them. 16 I made the knock-off Pottery Barn Kids chair-back envelopes back in January…both ideas were Pinterest inspired. :)
We made a Valentine tree one day for the playroom and then decided to add a few more “lovey” touches to it…AB is like her Momma and likes anything festive!! :)DSC_8752We’ve had several Valentine tea parties this month…1
AB looks for any excuse to host tea. :)
The week before Valentines, we started something that will hopefully be a monthly thing… brother/sister night with Van & Amber, Adam & Lauren, and Kelsey. DW and I have been wanting to designate a night every month that we try to get everyone together, and we finally made it happen. We had such a good time, and I couldn’t help myself- it was SO close to Valentine’s Day that we had to make it our theme. :) 13We played a fierce game of “Farkle” and although I’m usually as competitive as the rest of the crew, I was fine with Kels winning…it’s always fun to see a baby sister beat her big brother(s). (Must be the baby sister in me). 12My brothers-in-law didn’t even, though I’m sure they wanted to, kill me when I explained the last “activity” for the evening. I’d written everyone’s names on a card, then we all randomly chose one, and had to write something we love/or something encouraging to the person whose name was on the card we had drawn. 14I think I REALLY scared them all when I said we’d all hold hands and sing “Kum-bi-ya” afterward. Of course we weren’t going to do that, but it made the card writing not seem so bad for them after that.
They’re all such good sports, and while it seemed a little silly/awkward at first, I think in the end, it was sweet hearing something encouraging from someone else in the family. I know it was for me. I promised them next month no theme, no decorations and no love notes, so hopefully they’ll all come back! :)
Wednesday, we had our music time at the library and sang some valentine songs and read a Valentine story. That night, we had an Ash Wednesday service at church. DSC_8292How fitting that Ash Wednesday fall that close to Valentines Day! 316
Valentines Day morning we had a heart themed breakfast and had invited Stephanie and the boys over. 9After breakfast, we decorated heart shaped sugar cookies for a few of our peeps. It was definitely more like a little cookie and icing to go with the sprinkles, but the kids did them all by themselves. 8 7
For our Valentine dinner, we stayed home. The restaurants are all crazy busy and crowded that night and we’d rather not fight it, so we always cook a good meal at home. It’s a tradition we started with Cooper’s first Valentines Day, although this year was the first year we called it “fancy” – because when you’re a four year old girly-girl, “fancy” is really impressive! 4AB did call it our “China dinner” several times, too. She got so excited when I told her we were going to use our nice dishes to eat on and that it’s called “china.” I told her that her daddy and I got it when we got married. Anytime I say something about us getting married or about our wedding, she’ll come back with.. “that’s when I was in your’s tummy, right mommy?”  Um, not so much. :)
After our dinner, we  exchanged our Valentines. 5Uncle Adam & Aunt Nen came over to bring the girls their Valentines and get some kisses, too.
There were Valentine cards, treats and calls from the grandparents, too- One things for sure- we’re all loved from our head to our toes! 3
How fun to have a special day to celebrate the love we have for each other EVERY day!