Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas Spirit

JP has had the best time this year with the Christmas tree. A few days before Christmas he asked me to turn the lights on and he pulled his rocking chair over and just sat and rocked and looked at the lights and the ornaments. His favorite ornament is a choo-choo train!
He spent a lot of time sitting in his rocking chair in front of the tree. Also, note a rare sighting of JP with shirt AND pants on!

Throughout the Christmas season I have often been using Alexa to play Christmas music. JP LOVES music. He has not gotten to where as soon as he wakes up he wants "lights off" (the tree lights turned on) and "song" (Alexa). He LOVES to dance!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Dear Ruthie

Dear Ruthie,

Oh my sweet, spirited Ruthie, you are FOUR years old! It really seems like you have always been part of our family and it's so hard to grasp that we've ONLY known you for four years!
From the moment you were born you have loved life. One of my favorite memories is of bringing you home from the hospital and setting your carseat on the floor in the den and seeing your eyes light up as you met Franklin and watched your sisters play. From that moment on your greatest wish was to be one of the big kids. Sometimes it's hard to remember that you are so much younger than they are because you do such a good job keeping up with them and you've always acted older than your age. If the big kids can do something then NOTHING is going to stop you from doing it too (which is why you ended up on swim team at 3 years old).
I love your determination. You truly exemplify the Shakespeare quote, "Though she but little, she is fierce!". I remember you being just barely able to walk and finding you carrying the stepstool through the house so you could climb on it and get something off the counter. You rarely ask for help with anything. Instead you just figure out how to do it. This year, about half way through the summer, you decided you were NOT going to wear your float anymore. So you figured out how to take a breath while swimming. And that is just how you roll when it comes to most of life.
Ruthie this year you danced in your first recital (as the most adorable Aristocat EVER), started preschool, conquered your eczema (finally!), started soccer, went to lots of doctor's appointments to talk about your peanut allergy and what our plan was for the next year, learned so many new things, started swim team, had tubes in your ears and your tonsils and adenoids out, gained FIVE pounds in 6 months (super exciting to this mama...we finally hit the 30lb mark!), went to Disneyworld and the beach and had so many fun adventures!
You are my tough child. When you tell us something hurts we know it must be pretty bad. All of 2016, at just 2 years old,  you would tell us your ear hurt and we would take you to the doctor and it would be an ear infection...some of them were pretty bad including one where  you actually had a blister on your eardrum and you never complained more than just to say it hurt. We ended your 2 year old year with you having your first case of strep and a double ear infection and started off this year with you getting tubes. We were saying goodbye to those painful ear infections and starting the year off on the right foot! You rocked getting tubes and charmed the entire surgery center with your sweet, silly personality. We thought you were in the clear but by the end of May you were getting your tonsils and adenoids out. The first 24 hours were super rough and you were in lots of pain but once we got you home you did so much better and you bounced back like a champ! Since then you have been doing SO much better and it makes me so happy when I see you eat 3 big meals EVERY day...not just a few days out of the month. Sweet girl, I love seeing you happy and healthy! You have been through so much in the last 2 years but through it all you have kept your sweet, easy going personality. (Not to say there haven't been days where you have been a very typical 3 year old because trust me you've had those days but overall you have been a pretty easy going kid.)
I am so proud of how smart you are Ruthie Roo. You love to learn. This year you taught yourself how to write an R (not an easy letter!) and then wanted to learn the rest of your name. You picked up SO quickly on how to write the letters! You love to count as well. You started going to school this year which was a dream come true for you. I first took you to preschool when you were just a few weeks old and I'm pretty sure you've been ready to go to the 3 year old class ever since then! You of course love your teachers (you've known and loved Mrs. Terri for years and you because fast friends with Mrs. Lisa) and I've loved watching you make friends with the other kids at school! You always come home with a big smile on your face ready to tell me what you have done that day,
This year you have also done so well really taking ownership of your peanut allergy. You tell everyone that you have a peanut allergy and you are SO good about asking before you eat things. I am SO proud of you. You constantly blow me away with your maturity when it comes to your peanut allergy!
Ruthie you are such a good sister. You just adapt so perfectly to the role you need to play in each situation. When you play with Emmie you are generally happy to let her take the lead. You play with Ellie like I imagine most sisters play...lots of give and take, some bickering, but lots of giggles. And to JP you are another mother. This year, as JP has been old enough to really play with you, I have loved watching you really take on the role of big sister. I always tell people I have 2 sets of children. An oldest and youngest (Emmie and Ellie) and another oldest and youngest (you and JP). Someone forgot to tell you that you are a middle child. You are positive that you are an oldest child. You mother JP like nobody's business. You help him get dressed, take his shoes off for him when he gets home, WIPE HIS NOSE, and boss him around like any respectable older sister should do! JP loves you SO much Roo Roo. He wakes up asking about you and he gets so excited every school day when it's time to go pick you up!
Ruthie I could not imagine our lives without you. You bring so much JOY and happiness to every day. You have faced so many challenges in your life. From health issues that would have made a grown person pull the covers up and hide in the bed to figuring out how to keep up with your big sisters. Every single challenge has made you smarter and stronger and has not changed your lively personality a bit. I hope as you grow up you will always face your challenges head on with your sparkly eyes and big smile and your single minded determination to overcome any challenge. My tiny little nugget, "you is kind, you is smart, you is important". Never ever forget that. There are BIG things in your future sweet girl and I can't wait to see what adventures life takes you on!
I love you Ruth Mitchell!

Newborn Ruthie

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Part 1

Today we had celebrated Christmas with the Edwards crew. Gin-g, Fred, Emily and Blake came to our house after JP's nap today. We had a great time hanging out, eating, and opening presents!

JP spent the whole day attacking everyone with his sword. Visitors BEWARE!

Uncle Blake is sooo much fun!
Emmie very, very carefully unwrapping her present.

Ellie reading her new book in the middle of the chaos of opening presents.

Working on figuring out what their big gift from Gigi and Papa was...a day out with Papa and Gigi!

JP wanted his picture taken. In true JP form he is only wearing a diaper!

Poor Roo was so worn out that after dinner and before dessert she took her self off to bed and went to sleep and didn't wake up for a few hours!

We all had a great time tonight and the next crew arrives tomorrow afternoon!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Daddy's Boy

JP loves his daddy. If Paul is home and doing chores around the house JP wants to be right beside him.

Today we went and got more bags for the leaves and I sent the kids out to rake the leaves up and bag them once we got home. I looked out and was super impressed with JP's skills!

(For the record, I tried to put a shirt on JP but he took it off. He has an aversion to clothes. I figure when he gets cold he'll put one on. And it was in the 70s today.)

Apparently all that walking around "supervising" Paul with his hands in his pockets paid off!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Anniversary in Asheville and SNOW

Two weekends ago we went to Asheville for our 10 year anniversary. We headed up to Asheville on Thursday evening. When we got to Asheville we headed to Wicked Weed for dinner. We had boiled peanuts while we waited for our food. Mostly just because we could. I had the Wicked Burger with the tomato bisque as my side. My burger was cooked really well but the burger was lacking something...maybe some kind of condiment. My tomato bisque was AMAZING. It was hands down the best tomato bisque I've had in a very long time.

After dinner we checked into our hotel. We stayed at Country Inn and Suites. It was really nice, clean, and was only about 5 minutes from downtown!
Right before we left Columbia we heard we might get about an inch of snow so we threw things like gloves and boots into our bag. Well we woke up Friday morning to well over an inch of snow and it snowed ALL DAY! It was so fun and absolutely beautiful.
The snow when we woke up Friday morning!

Friday morning we had a late breakfast at Tupelo Honey. I had the southwestern omelet with a side of goat cheese greats. I also had a spiked apple cider (perfect for a snowy day!). My food and drink were all really good!
After breakfast we walked around downtown Asheville (in the snow!) and enjoyed checking out all the little stores around the downtown area. We also stopped at French Broad Chocolates for hot chocolate.

Anthropologie had apple cider out which was a lovely treat after being out in the cold!

Paul made a snowball for each of the kids...and Franklin. Every time we talked to Roo she asked us to bring snow back for her. Being the good dad he is (aka wrapped around Ruthie's little finger!) he was determined we would get her some snow. He actually managed to get her some of the year!

So pretty!

Later we headed back to the hotel for a nap.
We were originally supposed to eat dinner at 7:15 and then go to the candelight tour at Biltmore at 10:15. We were really worried about the roads once it got dark and the temperature started to drop. Fortunately we were able to change our reservation at Limones to 5. We had the lobster nachos as an appetizer. I had the Pork Braised Enchiladas for dinner and a coconut margarita. The lobster nachos were ok but I probably wouldn't get them again. The enchiladas were SO good. I ate every last bite. My margarita was excellent as well!
After dinner we went ahead to Biltmore in hopes that they would have had some cancellations and we could go ahead and do our tour. Once we got there we learned that because of the weather they were letting people go through the house as soon as they arrived so that worked out great! The candelight tour was so pretty and we loved seeing all the gorgeous Christmas decorations.
The entrance to Biltmore.


bowling alley


gingerbread Biltmore house!

The trees on the lawn. They were so pretty all lit up at night in the snow!

Antler Hill village was covered with lights and absolutely gorgeous at night! I wish we could have gotten better pictures but we were trying to get back to the hotel before the roads got too bad.

Saturday we slept in and then headed to lunch at the Bistro at Biltmore.
Driving through the estate...a winter wonderland!

The tree in front of the village hotel.

I had their special that day which was a sandwich with chicken, cheese, and other goodness on it and it came with the truffle parmesan chips. It was really good and VERY filling. I had mentioned when I made our reservation that it was our anniversary and they brought us this cute little plate to enjoy for dessert!

After we ate we walked around Antler Village and then went to the winery and did some wine tasting. We decided our favorite wines were the Christmas red, the limited release Gewurztraminer, the limited release Petite Sirah, and the Zinfandel blanc de noir.

After we finished at Biltmore we went back to the hotel for naps before dinner.
We went to dinner at The Blackbird. Paul and I both had the Pork Tenderloin Trio. It was fantastic! In my opinion it was probably the best meal I had the whole weekend.

After dinner we walked around downtown. It was super cold so after taking a few pictures we headed back to French Broad for hot chocolate. When we left French Broad we headed to Pack's Tavern (where our friend Neely got married a few years ago!) and we sat at the bar for a bit. The NC high school state championship was on TV so Paul was quite pleased with that! While we were sitting there we turned around and it was SNOWING outside. It wasn't just a few flakes was really coming down! We finished up and headed back to the car. Apparently they hadn't retreated the roads and the snow was really sticking, plus it was already below freezing. We made it back to the hotel and enjoyed watching the snow for the next 30 minutes or so until it stopped just as quickly as it started.

When we got downtown for dinner these streets and sidewalks were mostly clear. This was when we were leaving!

Sunday morning we grabbed breakfast at the hotel and headed back to Columbia! My mom had come on Thursday and managed the whole crew on her own Friday morning (which involved getting everyone up and out the door to school!) and then my dad came on Friday after work. On Saturday they got to go see Ruthie play soccer! Ruthie loved having an audience. We are so thankful that we have two sets of grandparents who live close by and are always willing to come and help us out! We really enjoyed our weekend away!

PS. I used open table to book all of our dining. It was SO easy and it was nice to have all of our reservations in one place. It was also very easy to change our reservation times.