Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Riding Without Training Wheels

Pres on old bike
We have never had good circumstances for our children from a bike-riding perspective....a gravel driveway, no sidewalks, busier we have been forced to ride in the library parking lot.  Unfortunately it is not very flat, so Bennett has never enjoyed riding because she doesn't like to feel out of control.  Preston, on the other hand, has always enjoyed going as fast as he can down
the hills there.

However, things are changing for us...we now have great sidewalks and we are about to pave our driveway.  Since we have had mild weather, Preston has been asking to ride more often.  He has always loved his little spiderman bike (with 12 inch wheels), but Steve and I have thought about getting him a bigger bike too.  We decided to ultimately hold off on a new purchase until he can ride without training wheels. 

Preston's new bike!
After booking two beach trips in the coming months, where we all bike ride often for our transportation, he got motivated to learn to ride without training wheels.  So over the Christmas break, I decided to take on the challenge of teaching him.  We took them off, and went over to practice on a neighbor's driveway.  I was shocked when after 15 minutes of instruction, he just took off riding!  By that afternoon, he was riding in circles in the library lot.

Over the past several weeks, he has asked to go riding more often.  We ride all over our neighborhood (well, he rides and I run behind him).  You see, he hasn't been able to start by himself, so it made more sense for me to not be on a bike.  However, after spending the last two weekends bike riding at the park on all of the sidewalk trails, Steve thought he was ready for a bigger bike.  He took him to a local bike shop to see what they had Saturday, and Preston sampled a few of the bikes.  They had a great used bike that was the perfect size, but Pres eyed a brand new red bike that he really wanted (shocker, right?).

They ultimately left with nothing, and Pres was very upset with Steve.  So Steve did what any parent would do...blame it on the other parent! I tried to reason with Preston on our decision making, but he wasn't happy.  So, I suggested we go riding and he learn to start and stop himself, and then I would consider buying him a bike.  He taught himself at the park, and then asked to ride over to the store.  He is so stinking cute, so I couldn't resist.

Thankfully, he listened to his mommy's reasoning more than his Daddy's and agreed to get the used bike (thank goodness).  Since we left the bike shop, he has ridden his new bike daily....continually getting better!  Next job.....getting Bennett to follow suit!  30A paths here we come!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Winter Wonderland!

For those of us who live in the South, we know that we have entered our rainy season.  When the temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall up North...the temperatures drop here and the rain falls, and falls, and falls....  It has been a LONG week with a lot of rain, but we are prepared with our raincoats, rain boots and umbrellas.  However, when the weatherman says it is going to snow, we all wonder..."Will it really?"  
Making a snowman!

When we told the kids that there was a chance, they were so excited.  Pres still recalls the time it snowed two years ago when he was two years old and we had a snowball fight in our front yard with Maria and Sara.  So he was hopeful that there would be a rematch.  The morning started off like every other day that week, rainy and cold.  I dropped Bennett off at school, and Pres off at my in-laws (he had a playdate with his Mimi), while I tried to honker down and work.  I was shocked when I saw snow flurries midday.  However, what was more shocking were the huge snowflakes that started falling shortly thereafter.  Our weatherman predicted a little accumulation, but didn't think it would cause problems on the road since the temperatures hadn't been that cold.

I guess he failed to account for the poor driving skills of southerns, and the fact that the snow did actually stick to the roads.  When I elected to get in my car to get Preston at 2pm, and drive the 2 miles to my in-law's house, I couldn't believe that I actually slid some in my big car, and that it took me over 45 minutes to get there!!!  My neighbor, Christie, checked Bennett and her daughter, Caroline, out of school a little early so we could all meet up and enjoy the afternoon, so I was anxious to get back home.

Spencer sneaking a tomato from Bennett
Pres and I went a different way home, and made it back in about 10 minutes (thank goodness)!  He immediately changed clothes, got bundled up and we headed out to make snowmen.  He quickly learned how to make big snowballs by rolling them in the grass!  After using all of the snow in the Crigger's front yard making several snowmen, the kids moved to our neighbor's yard to make snow angels, then onto our small yard for a snowball fight.  After two hours of enjoyment, Bennett was sick of it, and Preston and Caroline were soaking wet and ready to get in warm, dry clothes!  Spencer was happy, as he ate all of the veggies off the snowmen (no carrot noses, or tomato smiles for our snowmen).

Shortly thereafter we heard from our school district that the schools would have two hour delay in the morning, so we started our snow party!  The parents hung out, while the kids played.  Since none of us had planned much for dinner, we all just pitched in and made breakfast for dinner: eggs, bacon and biscuits and gravy!  What a great way to spend the night!

So proud of their little snowman!
This morning we enjoyed getting ready slowly before heading off to school.  And by the time the girls were out of school, all of the snow was melted, and all we were left with were dirty cars and muddy lawns.  Thank goodness the snow doesn't last too long here!

Friday, January 11, 2013

We Are the Champions....

Can you here Queen's tune?

We are the champions, my friends
And we'll keep on fighting, till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions

Yes, it is what you read....the University of Alabama's football team won another National Championship title!  We didn't attend the game, but rather invited over a few of our friends who are UA supporters.  We ate dinner, well those that weren't too nervous to eat, and anxiously awaited the kick-off.

The tide started off strong, and played an incredible game, finishing the first half with a big lead (28-0).
When the second half started, we all had a feeling that we were going to win, but you never know what the coaches will say that could influence a team.  However, Saban was talking to his team too, and he is determined to see "his process" through to the end!

Thankfully, Alabama finished with a great ending of 42-14 (we had to let them get something on the scoreboard)!  Roll Tide!!  In addition, they added to their collection of national titles, now at 15!  It is a rarity to have a team win 3 out of the last 4 national titles, but Alabama has done it.

Of course all of us fans know that what we are experiencing is a dynasty, and something that won't last forever.  With that said, we are going to enjoy and savor every moment of it!  Predictors are saying that the tide could be even stronger next year!  It is hard to imagine, but bring it!!  Here's hoping we make it to Pasadena in 2014!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Monster Truck Show!

Once again, Steve and I have set goals for 2013.  One of our goals is to take one of the kids on a date each month.  Steve commenced by taking Preston to the monster truck show with a couple other dads and their boys this past weekend, and they had a ball!

They drove there together, found their seats, put their ear plugs in and watched the entertainment!  Pres got a kick out of the "Scooby Doo" truck, but he fell in love with "Grave Digger."  He came home so excited and told me all about all of the big trucks and how loud it was.

Evidently, the show had a lot of excitement with monster trucks, four wheelers and motorcyclists.  Steve mentioned that there were even two women drivers!  However, our little boy couldn't quite make it through the entire show.  With only 15 minutes left in the show, he just tuckered out.... regardless of the noise (those would be my genes pumping hard through those veins).  When the boy is tired, he can fall asleep wherever!

What a fun start to the year for my boys! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013

Reflecting back onto 2012, I have both positive and negative memories.  Of course, we have many more positive than negative, so that is a good thing.  Our lives have been very blessed, and we know it, but I do pray all of the loose ends in our lives are figured out in 2013.  To summarize a few of our many blessings....

We have our health, as do our children, our parents and all of our siblings and their families.  Huge praise for that!!

We also have two of the cutest kids on this earth!!  They are smart, funny and have quirks about them that make us laugh and get angry every day....but they are ours and we love them!

Steve and I have each other, and we feel lucky to have a fun and good marriage!  Also thankful we have wonderful parents with strong, long-lasting marriages that we hope to mirror.

We have wonderful friends (with great kids)!  We have old friends, we have new friends, and they are all awesome and hold special places in our hearts.  They have been there with us through the good, bad and ugly...and that is something that we are blessed to have.

Lastly, thankful that Steve has a great job that he enjoys, and it provides us many of the "extras" in life.  Not to mention, he had a very successful year, closing a huge deal that he worked on for almost the entire year!  So proud of his hard work that went into that, but happy that is behind us!

So, as you can see....we are lucky.  And unlike what the number "13" normally's hoping that 2013 rocks and brings even more blessings and fond memories into our lives!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Eve

Every year, we debate about what we are going to do for NYE.  Do we go out, stay in, entertain friends at our house?  Well after two years of entertaining at our house, we decided to try going out again.  We were feeling pretty noncommittal at the beginning of December when everyone started planning things, but we agreed to go have a nice dinner at Ocean with some friends (the Tanners, Kings and Passarellas).  So glad we agreed to join them, as our dinner was FABULOUS!  I literally cleaned my plate for each course of the meal.  We started with bread, melted butter and an avocado, tomato, feta, red onion dip, then fresh crab cakes, then a delicious salad that had fried feta cubes in it, then onto the main course where I ate a perfectly cooked fillet with a blue cheese sauce and pears on top, as well as some rosemary/thyme mashed potatoes.  Then for my dessert....white chocolate bread pudding!  I swear it was so stinking good!!  In addition, we all just had fun at dinner...sharing stories about our holidays, travel plans, football, etc.  When we finally looked at the time, we were shocked that 2.5 hours had gone by, and we had missed the whole first half of the concert!
Lauren and me
Daley and Courtney
Our handsome husbands

The girls at the concert: me, Lauren, Daley & Courtney

After dinner, everyone had planned to go see Black Jacket Symphony, which is a cover band.  They cover a wide variety of artists, but when they have a concert, they focus on just one at a time.  For NYE, they were doing a Police show.  Steve and I have never been huge Police fans, but we heard fabulous things about this band, and everyone we were out with was going, so we bought tickets too.  We should have followed our instincts and passed, as we didn't recognize the majority of the songs, and the show wasn't really that good.  With that said, we were with good company, so we made the most of it.
Miz, Jeremy and Brian

After the concert, we invited everyone back to our house for a nightcap.  Even our neighbors came over.  We all hung out for another hour or two, and then everyone started peeling off to go to bed.  Steve and I finally crawled into bed a little after 3:00.