Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Ellie's reading award

Over Christmas break the kids had a reading log to fill out for a program sponsored by USC. If you turned it back in you got a ticket to a men's basketball game and a women's basketball game. So we filled it out and turned it in and got our ticket vouchers. Then last week I got a call from the school librarian and she told me that out of all the second graders throughout the state that turned in reading logs Ellie had read the most pages! We were so proud of her! She was recognized last night at the women's game. Emmie was singing at the PTO meeting and Paul was out of town so thankfully my friend Mary Beth was able to get Emmie to the PTO meeting and Gin-g (who was in town for Ruthie's OIT appointment today) took the other kids and watched Emmie and I took Ellie to the game. We are so thankful for our village!

Ellie and the other award winners were recognized during the game and then they got to have their picture taken with Cocky. She was very excited but nervous about being out on the court but she loved every minute of it! Her school had the most reading logs turned in so they also got an award so the principal and some of the other teachers were there as well and the kindergarten winner was also from our school.

And then Ellie sweet talked me into buying her a treat :).

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Mountain Trip

Over MLK weekend we went to North Carolina with Paul's family.  We stayed at a house in Burnsville and went skiing/tubing in Mars Hill at Wolf Ridge. I found the house on VRBO and it was great! There were SO many toys there for the kids to play with so they were well entertained. We also had GORGEOUS mountain views.
Absolutely gorgeous view from the house Saturday morning!

The moon coming up Sunday night.

The kids found American Girl paper dolls and had the best time playing with them!

We arrived Friday late afternoon and after unpacking Fred and Gin-g watched the kids for us so that Paul and I could do night skiing. We had quite the adventure getting there as our maps app took us up a mountain and down a mountain and then told us to turn on a road that didn't exist...and we had no signal. But we eventually found the ski area and we were really glad we learned the correct route while we didn't have a car full of children! The night skiing was great. There were probably only around 50-75 people there so there were never lines for the lift and the slopes weren't crowded. We had great weather...upper 30s, no wind, no rain/snow. They only had beginner slopes open because of all the warm weather and rain they had had during the season but one of the beginners was more of an intermediate and we're not advanced skiers by any means! We had so much fun!

(Paul was always easy to spot with his florescent jacket!)

Saturday morning we got up and Paul, Gin-g, the kids and I headed to the tubing place. (Fred stayed back at the house to wait for Emily and Blake) The tubing place was SO great for small children. We had a 10:00 time and around 11 both of the day we went it started getting pretty crowded but before 11 it was practically empty! The man who runs it, Tim, was super friendly and wonderful with the kids. The workers were great about helping the kids with getting their tubes up the stairs and helping them get started.
I loved the only rule at the tubing place! (The angle is bad but it says "you are not allowed to do anything that begins with the words Hey Y'all Watch This)

Watch Ellie when she's getting started...cracks me up!

Unlike the place we had gone in the past, this place lets  you link up tubes. We had lots of fun all going down together. (Ruthie is in my lap so you don't really get to see her but she's there!)

Roo got really brave after awhile and wanted to tube by herself instead of in one of our laps. She was SO proud of herself! JP also eventually wanted to tube alone as well so we would just link up with his tube so he could ride by himself.

We tubed for an hour and then headed back to the house. Emily and Blake arrived in the afternoon and we all just hung around the house for the afternoon. Blake and Paul and I had talked about going night skiing but it was raining pretty good by late afternoon so we scratched that idea! Paul and I were pretty engrossed in a 1000 piece puzzle by then so we were well entertained.

Sunday morning we ALL headed out to tube. It was SOOOO cold. As in 25 degrees cold. And it was snowing so the kids LOVED that! We had decided to tube for 2 hours, from 10-12 and by 1130 it was about too crowded for it to be fun so we headed out a little early but we had started a little before 10 so we felt like we got a good amount of time in. Plus we were all cold! (On a side note about Tim, the man at the tubing place...Emmie had gotten really cold and so I took her into the little hut to warm up. Emmie was upset and Tim asked if everything was ok...mind you he had a good crowd of people in there waiting to get tickets. I told him she was just cold and he stopped what he was doing and pulled her up a seat next to the space heater and took her boots and gloves off and hung them up to dry while she warmed up...he was so nice!)

Hands down the best "linked up" tubing run we had was this one...I'm so glad I got it on camera! I was on one end and Fred was on the other and there were a lot in between (see pic). Once we start going you're going to see someone coming behind me around the back and then go past me. That is FRED! He was slingshotted around and made it to the bottom before us! We were like...wait how did he end up over there!!

These two "best buddies" wanted to ride down together...they loved it!

We headed back to the house and had soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and then made all the kids (except Ellie...she can hang longer than the other ones) take a nap. They all really needed it after tubing all morning! We hung around the house the rest of the day and tried to keep warm.

Monday morning when we got up it was SIX DEGREES outside...brrrrr! We (and by we I mean Paul) packed up the car and headed to pick up Franklin from Gran and Grandaddy in Greenville (where he was spoiled rotten all weekend) and then we headed back home.

We had a really fun trip and I hope we will be able to do it again next year...and the big kids want to go skiing next year so that should be an adventure!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Football Pictures

My very favorite picture of the shoot!

I was so thrilled that D. Marie Photography was doing football mini sessions this fall. I have been SO excited to share the pictures but couldn't because they were a Christmas surprise for Paul and the grandparents. JP had the BEST time getting these pictures done and Dawn did an amazing job capturing our sweet, football loving boy!

Paul's dad coaches at Berkeley High School so of course we had to do some pictures in JP's Berkeley shirt!

Friday, January 11, 2019


The kids got out of school the Friday before Christmas and when they got home we did our Christmas baking and also decorated gingerbread houses. The kids look forward to decorating their houses every year!

JP helping me crush candy canes for the peppermint brownies.

Sunday before Christmas we did Christmas with the Edwards side of the family. We had lots of fun exchanging presents, hanging out, and eating dinner together. The kids got lots of new clothes and JP was so excited and wanted to wear all of them! The kids also got a "day out with GiGi and PaPa". This was the first year that JP gets to go too so they did a little charades game so he could guess everything they would do.
(Also, I majorly failed at picture taking...thankfully Emily got some good ones!)

JP wearing ALL the clothes he got from Aunt Emily and Uncle Blake (on top of the clothes he already had on lol!)

Aunt Emily and Ellie ready for the New Year!

Christmas Eve we went to church for the afternoon service and my parents, Ben and Ruth and baby Katherine met us there. Katherine was about 2 1/2mo old at the time and that was the first chance we'd had to meet her. We were all SO excited!
I claimed Katherine as soon as they got to church! Aunt Stacy has been waiting 2 1/2 month to squeeze that sweet girl!

After church they all came to our house. Once we got to the house the kids immediately wanted to hold and snuggle Katherine. They are so in love with their cousin! (Well, we all are!)
Franklin had to meet the new member of the family as well! 

JP was amazed at Katherine's tiny feet.

Uncle Ben gives great rides!

We had dinner and then watched The Star Movie, ate some yummy goodies, and drank hot chocolate. This is one of our favorite Christmas traditions. This year, the cousins also had matching pajamas. Everyone was thrilled to have pajamas that matched Katherine's!

Snuggle time on the couch during the movie.
Emmie and Ellie wanted to read books to Katherine at bedtime.

Christmas morning the kids were up bright and early at 7am and ready to check out their presents! Emmie asked for a crawling Baby Alive, Ellie wanted a Calico Critter house, Ruthie asked for small hatchimals (but Santa thought she would love a big hatchimal instead!), and JP asked for a broom. All the kids were very excited about their gifts from Santa and JP went right to work sweeping the floor!

So excited about his broom!
Franklin is always great entertainment! He gets SOOOO excited about his presents!

JP was all about the M&Ms.

Ellie got some new Hogwarts accessories.

After everyone had played with their presents and checked out their stockings we had a delicious breakfast...monkey bread, cinnamon rolls (bc most of my crazy crew doesn't like monkey bread), bacon, eggs, and grits. We ate well!
After breakfast we opened presents. Everyone was thrilled with their gifts...highlights were the money for summer camp from Uncle Ben and Aunt Ruth...the top bill was a $2 bill and there wasn't a better present Emmie could have gotten. (All the girls got this and were pretty impressed but Emmie opened hers first so she had the shock factor!) I thought she was going to cry she was so amazed! JP got a rake from Gran and Granddaddy...he had a ball raking all the leaves in our yard! He also got lots of train tracks from everyone and he and Uncle Ben have big plans to build a huge track at the beach this summer. Ellie was so excited to get a Harry Potter Lego Quidditch set. A Lego catalog appeared in our mailbox about a month before Christmas and she obsessed over all the Harry Potter sets! Ruthie was SO excited and totally surprised by the iPad she got from Gran and Grandaddy!
Books are always a favorite for Ellie!

Emmie's reaction to her $2 bill!

Roo loved her new jacket...it's super soft inside!


I call this gift "notamug". The kids shop at the Holiday Shoppe at school and I have a LOT of mugs...I campaigned hard this year to get "notamug"!
Ellie did a great job building her Quidditch set! I pulled out the pieces she needed for each step and she followed the directions and put them in the right place. This was her first Lego set and she did a great job!
I had to get a video of the Ellie bounce. She does this when she's bored or when she's focusing on something. She's done it since she we first put her in the highchair as a baby and it always makes me smile...it's very uniquely Ellie.

Every  year we give all the aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and Paul for his office) a calendar with pictures of the kids. We also give them an ornament or other handmade item (we've done mugs and canvases in the past as well). This year one of my favorite presents the grandparents and Paul got, in addition to the calendar and ornament, was some football pics of JP. A local photographer was doing them in the fall and I was so excited to get some done of JP! He LOVED the session and the pictures turned out even better than I'd hoped! Thanks so much to D. Marie Photography for these fabulous pictures...check out tomorrow's blog post to see them!
The top ornament was the final product. The bottom was the "rough draft". After making the first batch I discovered some technical issues so we started over. 
My mom fixed us a delicious steak dinner Christmas night and some of the kids helped her with the preparations.

The Rainey crew stayed until the day after Christmas and we loved having them with us for a few days. We loved getting some extra time with everyone. We especially loved getting lots of time to love on sweet Katherine!

We very much enjoyed all of our Christmas celebrations and we feel so blessed that we were able to spend time with ALL of our family!