Saturday, November 26, 2011

He's Baaack.....

It's that time of the year again....Bob, our elf, is back! We read the book to the kids yesterday to remind them that you can't touch him, and that he is here to monitor their behavior. Then he came to visit them last night!

Bennett spotted him first (as usual). Throughout the day, they both talked to him. They spouted off their Christmas lists, taddled on each other's behaviors and just talked. It was cute.

Let's hope that his appearance over the next month helps my kids act better.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

The Thanksgiving holiday is a day for thanks, and Steve and I recognize how much we have to be thankful for this year. Though we weren't able to have all of my family together like last year, we still had a wonderful day with friends and some family.

Yesterday morning started with breakfast casserole and mimosas with Brian and Shannon and the kids. Then around noon our friends, The Tanners, came over with their four children. All of the kids had fun playing together, while we ate some appetizers and just enjoyed the beautiful day outside.

As mid afternoon approached, Lauren and I finished our dishes and then Steve's parents arrived for the big meal. We got all of the kids settled at the "kids' table" while we enjoyed a fabulous dinner together! All of our entrees turned out so well, and we were stuffed! We nibbled on fried turkey and chicken, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, creamed potatoes, baby blue salad, rolls and then white chocolate bread pudding for dessert!

Go Insane, Go Insane...

Ever since my kiddos were young, they have been singing and dancing (neither very well, but that is not the point). We listen to all kinds of music while we are in the car: country, gospel, hip-hop, kids' music and more. After I received a CD that the women on my Emmaus walk made singing all of the Christian songs from that wonderful weekend....that is all they requested. Bennett loved to sing "Do Lord" since she sings it at school too and knows many of the words. They also love "Jesus Loves Me" and the new verses our CD has.

However lately, we have been listening to a variety of hip-hop music that my spin instructor burned for me on a CD. Since Preston is in the car more with me, he has really gotten to know the songs, and requests them by name as soon as he is buckled into his carseat. He dances in his seat and gets very angry if he doesn't get his top pick of the day. If I am searching through the CD trying to find it, he can tell from the first few notes whether or not it is his desired song. Bennett has her favorites too!

Here is short clip of them singing a couple lines from one of their favorites: "Blow" by Kesha!

Monday, November 21, 2011

35 Days Until Christmas!!

As our children get more aware of the holidays, they become more fun to celebrate. Halloween was a blast (sorry for not blogging on that), and Thanksgiving should be fun. But Christmas brings so much happiness and fun times! Bennett has been circling items in catalogs for weeks, and has already been talking about "Bob the Elf."

When the kids return to school, they will begin learning about the meaning of Christmas. These are the lessons that need to be reiterated to my children because they think Christmas is all about the gifts under the tree. Speaking of tree, we have started celebrating early at our house....we have already set up three of our four trees!

This year, we bought each child a small tree of their own liking for their room. Pres got a traditional one, and Bennett chose a purple tree with pink lights (yes, you read that correctly). They each picked out which ornaments they wanted on their tree. Since we started a tradition of giving them an ornament each year, they used the ones they were given, along with any others that "spoke to them" in our box, We then chose others for the small tree we put on the porch.

Since it is a little early to be putting up trees, we will wait to put up our primary tree until after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Almost there!

Whoo Hoo!! We are finally finished (well, as finished as we're going to get for awhile). Unfortunately, the rain backed us up a little this week, but we've caught up here at the end. This week, we got the ceiling painted, the siding and trim painted, the logs installed, the lights and fans installed and the furniture delivered!! Yeah!

We still have a few pieces of furniture to purchase (mainly tables), as well as some accessories, but we can certainly begin enjoying it now! Then in December the floor will be oiled down, and in January, the wood posts and stairs will be stained.

Our builder told us 4 weeks, and he came in under budget and on schedule...Thank you Billy Beers!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Final Stretch

We are coming to a close on this project, and I am SUPER excited!! This week our fireplace was installed. This was the one thing we were unwilling to budge on, so it was nice to see this thing in the room. With the temperatures beginning to drop, this will be utilized often over the next few months when we enjoy time out there. Since we were able to go 6 feet back off of our old, existing deck, we went with the larger fireplace so we could add more warmth to the room.

Wednesday the floors were installed. With the heat, humidity and rain, we toyed with many options for this. We decided between treated pine (ruled out because it is too soft), tile (ruled out because it is too slippery when wet), composite material used on boat decks, etc. and Ipe, a Brazilian hardwood. We ultimately decided on the latter because it is so hearty and unique. What you see in the photo is not the finished product. In early December, after being rained on a few times, they will come back and put an oil on it to bring out the color. It is a multi-color wood, with about four different colors. The first year we need to apply the oil twice, and then once annually for the first couple of years. After several years, it will be maintenance free (my kind of floor)!

Thursday the plumber came to hook the gas line up to the fireplace and grill. Though we have a working fireplace, we decided to add gas logs so it would be less dirty and more easy to ignite. Had I known how expensive gas logs were, I may have changed my mind. However, we are viewing all of this as an investment, so I guess in the big scheme of things it isn't a big deal. We also had the cap for the fireplace installed (it needed to be measured and built for our fireplace).

Yesterday, the mason came to do the stacked stone around the fireplace. He worked tirelessly Friday, and we couldn't be happier with the end result! Unfortunately our builder installed the screens yesterday morning, so we trapped all of the dust inside the room and now have a nice clean-up project to tackle!

Next week we will tie up loose ends, staining the ceiling, painting the siding, re-attaching the gutters, and installing the ceiling fans. We have not ordered our backdoor yet, but have it all picked out! I think the person who will like that most will be Spencer because it will be a mahogany screen door with a doggie door. Since he loves to be outside, but not for too long, I think he will enjoy the freedom of going in and out as he wishes. Then our furniture will be delivered on Friday!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Porch is Progressing....

So we're another week into our project, and more was done....

the roof was finished, the siding was put on the inside and outside, the steps were rebuilt and the ceiling was installed.

We also heard that our furniture and cushions are in...YEAH!! We are going to hold off on the delivery since we have some big projects on the horizon for next week: fireplace will be installed, masonry of the chimney done (hopefully), and the floors are getting installed! After that, we only have a few loose ends to tie up, so we're on schedule to finish up by Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

B. A. M. A.!!!

Sadly, we had to refuse tickets to the National Championship game two years ago when Alabama played to WIN in California. However, we were given two tickets to this year's national championship game (which happens to be coming a little early, and is very close to home)...the AL-LSU game this Saturday!! Thanks to Steve's parents, we will get to watch the #1 and #2 college football teams in the nation square up against each other, and I can't wait!! Tickets are going for a ridiculous amount of money, and every hotel in Tuscaloosa is sold out! I know they could have sold their tickets for at least $800/each, but we will get to watch history in person.

Do you know what makes the whole experience even better?? We don't have to leave Birmingham late or rush home early to pay off a babysitter because the kids are having a sleepover with their cousins (thanks Brian & Shannon)!! What a perfect way to enjoy the weekend! To top it all off, the weather is supposed to be wonderful! So we are heading down midday to tailgate with friends, eat some cajun food and show the LSU tigers who really deserves the number one spot!

Check back on Sunday for photos and stories!!