Friday, December 25, 2015

EPB Windows, 2015

I'm a sucker for retro traditions. My love for parades is a great example, so it comes to no surprise that I adore the window displays at our local power board. 

This was our third year of pizza-bus ride-window display tradition. 

We noticed the small shift from Standing In Awe And Wander to Hurry, Let's Go To The Next  One. Each gears are full of energy, but one is starting to lack that toddler naivety that is so precious. 

 Note: Fern's first half braid. 

Thankfully, wander was restored when we ran into Mr. and Mrs. Claus lookalikes. They played their roles well and were the perfect ending to our little Christmas night out. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Santa Ridge

Here are a few pictures narrowed down from over 50 other pictures I took, and I hope they don't break the internet with their cuteness. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Kid Christmas Party, 2015

We are officially on holiday break and I'm excited about a few weeks without the morning shuffle. To celebrate, I threw a kid Christmas party for Burl and Fern's buddies this morning. We did the same simple and rowdy party two years ago, and we were ready to bring it back!

The kids enjoy decorating for parties with me, and I love when I come across their additions. Note: the mummy man by the candles and the school award ribbon on the mantel. 

When my brother heard that it was a mom/kid party, he was eager to be Santa for us. He made reference to a Magic Mike/Santa crossover, but thankfully he kept everything G rated. Bless it.

The kids each took turns telling Santa what they wanted, and my personal favorite was how detailed they were with their requests. 

Ridge stole the show with his cuteness once again. Boy, he was sweet and easy-crying only when Mama left him with Santa. 

They say toddlers and and drunk people are similar, and I would say that's accurate. Successful kid parties end the same that a good frat party ends...

...with someone rolling around on the floor. 

...wrestling with their shirts off.

...a huge mess, a broken lamp, and a broken nativity scene. 

I can't wait to see what they break next year! Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

MainX24 Parade, 2015

Parades are used to celebrate a wide range of occasions-military, holidays, lifestyle choices, etc. For me and my big extrovert heart, this year's MainX24 was my annual, personal celebration of community. I love it for the same reason I love Halloween: it takes a bunch of different people from our city and puts them together on the street. We're happy; we're festive; and we're a little bit silly. I can't imagine that anyone felt sad or lonely on the streets there, because smiles and together-ness erase those feelings. It's a beautiful time with beautiful people.

This was our fourth year enjoying the parade and our best weather yet-so much better than last year when it rained and the frozen year before that. Perfect weather isn't required for a good parade, but it is very much appreciated. 

This year we had two options: watch the parade or join the parade. When the options are enjoy the show or be the show, my default answer is always BE THE SHOW. We could have 1. built a farm-animal-christmas themed truck with my dad, complete with goats or 2. rode on Burl's school's float. However, after some very tedious decision making on Burl's and my part, we decided that staying as a family on the side (and gathering candy) was the way to go this year. 

Plus, Fern and Ridge wore reindeer antlers for half the time, and that was enough attention for me to enjoy. 

This year we stayed in a pretty big sized group of friends, which always makes things better! For me, it was nice to have a friend sit on the sidelines and giggle while I nursed Ridge. (Oh the places I've nursed...)

As any parent knows, it takes a village. In the picture below, one of my villagers is pulling Burl back from getting run over by a truck because I am on the other side of the street taking a picture. Go team!

I've yet to figure out the magic of taking pictures of floats and marching bands. There were some great ones this year. My favorites were the wide variety of drum lines, marching bands, dancers, and teams, because I love anyone whose theme is movement. For the first time, I noticed my old high school's participation with three well-themed floats. 

"A Charger's A Charger No Matter How Small" 

The crowd favorite is always the mutt-strut. All I see is how much attention that little tiny animal circus gets every year and think about how much more attention my dad's crazy goats would get! The be the parade/watch the parade is a very real struggle in my hyper-crazy heart. 

While I'm divided on my level of parade participation, I'm firm and full of love and devotion to our community's weirdo parade. Hopefully all those who participated felt the love of the crowd. By the end of the line, we had all descended in the streets so much that they could barely make it down Main street. That's what happens to a crowd hyped up on enthusiasm. It was a beautiful time with beautiful people.

Friday, December 11, 2015


Finally caught on camera: Ridge's reaction when I start dancing in the kitchen. Every.Single.Time.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Ridge's First Christmas Tree

For every year this Christmas tree,
Brings to us such joy and glee.
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
Such pleasure do you bring me!

-Oh Christmas Tree

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Waterfall Photo Shoot

Today was epic for so many reasons. For starters, I hiked my family to the base of the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi in hopes of a family Christmas picture. {Pause for eye roll and laughter.} Surprisingly, we didn't get one. Shocker, I know!

Frankly, it's challenging to get everyone smiling at the same time that my shirt hangs the right way. Once I mourned the lost opportunity and the perfect lighting, I remembered the wonderful time that we had! It was an amazing family hike.

The good parts were our children's attitudes and the beautiful scenery. 

The children have really become great little hikers. Often Fern will point to woods along the interstate and say, "we could park here and go hiking in those woods." It's great to know that hiking is a simple part of our family's story, and this time was perfect! As they hiked down then up the canyon, Burl, Fern and Ridge had great attitudes. No complaining. Hilarious conversation. They've become very independent and confident on our small hikes and it's sweet. Burl and Fern continued to point to parts that they thought looked cool-from a patch of ferns to a mossy rock to a waterfall. Then there's Ridge, who is very portable and beyond easy-going. 

The second great part was the hike itself. John said that I've never reacted to a hike like this one. The base of the falls took my breath away, and I can only remember a couple of hikes in the Red that were as good as this one. There were so many different elements all crammed into a small area. Wet, thick green areas next to dry rocky spots covered by a huge stone overhang. The mist from the waterfall. The sweet little brook. I loved it all! It is definitely my favorite hike in our area!

I would have loved this day even more if I got a Christmas card picture, but I can't get a grand slam every time that I step up to the plate. (does that sports analogy even make sense? idk) It was still fun to explore a new part of our favorite park. 

Once we returned home, the kids got their little people and cars. They pretended to take their family on a hike at Fall Creek Falls. It was all good fun in their pretend world, and the parents showed no frustration over pictures. Hopefully, fun over frustration is what they saw from us today. It was a great time!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Table 2015

The kids and I completed our Thanksgiving table this afternoon and we had a blast. The crafts started with a paper cup turkey, then avalanched from there. Once they each took a turn with the glue gun, their craft switch was turned to can'tstopwon'tstop.

A special turkey with "100 googly eyes" was made for crazy Uncle Joseph. They're so excited and proud of their trickery. 

After completing 8 tiny turkeys, Burl and Fern were begging for more crafts. Naturally, I was quick to respond, "ok guys, go outside and collect eight different kinds of leaves. I've got an idea for name tags."

Between our yard and Miss Ruth's yard, we found a fun variety. I assembled the name tags, Burl wrote the names (ohmygosh the day has arrived of kindergarten scribble and it's the best part of the table!!!), and Fern cut paper turkey feathers for Burl and me. 

That's our thanksgiving table this year-a budding tradition that I do "for the kids."

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

BattleFIELD Fun

When the natives get restless (and that's not limited to the children), John takes us to a field to burn off energy. 

A direct quote from John: "I think you like it here more than the kids because you can yell and hear your voice reverberate across the field." He wasn't not right. It's fun to be outside, acting like crazy people. 

We explored a tower, fields, canons, hay bails, and a log cabin that the kids have renamed "that old jail."

It's fun when John takes his crazies out to burn some energy.