Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Back to School!

The baby headed off to Kindergarten this fall! He was SO ready (academically) to be in Kindergarten, but so not excited about actually going. The PTO puts these cute superhero capes on all the new Kindergartener's mailboxes a few days before school and I thought this would be the thing that got Harrison excited, but man, this picture below is the result of a major bribe. He did not even want to get out of the car to get the cape, and threw a big fit! 
 

We had a back to school dinner at Joel's parent's house and his Aunt Gail made the cutest cookies!

Hudson started 3rd grade this year! He was so excited to FINALLY have buddies in his class this year.
He got Ms. Pennington for 3rd grade and to be honest, this was the one teacher I was hoping to avoid. Doesn't that always happen?!!? Well, I'm truly eating my words because this is one of the BEST teachers we have had to date and Hudson just loves her. It has been such a great year so far!


Harrison got Mrs. Chavers for kindergarten and had several buddies in his class too. For that, I was thankful because there are 11 kindergarten classes I think, so to have buddies was HUGE. He was a lot more excited after Meet the Teacher day. I think he just had some nerves!


Harrison was invited to a little kindergarten get together right after he met his teacher. It was good for him to meet up with some friends that would all be starting together the next day.

 
And then it was finally his turn! All smiles!
 
 I'm so thankful that he has one year at this school with his big brother. Hudson took Harrison to his class for at least the first week until he got the hang of it. He was so sweet!

With Hudson, I remember going through the carpool line on his first day and basically throwing him out the door when we pulled up. It was pretty terrible. All I remember is him looking back at me helpless because he didn't know where to go, and I was forced to drive on! Bad memories! So, with Harrison, I walked him to the door on the first day and said our goodbyes. That was much better!

Harrison had a great first day and has loved Kindergarten ever since! I knew he would. Now if we can just get him to start showing some self control in class, we'd be doing really good! :)

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Rest of July and a New House!

I don't have many pictures from the rest of July because on a whim, Joel and I decided to put our house on the market, and it sold that day! And we closed 3 weeks later! There's not a whole lot I remember about July. It was a whirlwind.
 
Finding a new house proved to be difficult. And, it was made even more difficult due to the fact that we couldn't just move into an apartment for the time being because there really aren't any decent ones in our school district. There were a few stressful weeks trying to figure out what to do and in the end, the easiest thing to do was to move in with Joel's parents because they were zoned for our school. There was really nothing on the market that we were interested in at the time. We decided that we weren't going to settle for just anything and we would take our time to find the right house this time, in the neighborhood we wanted.
 
Some of our friends alerted us to a few houses in the neighborhood that potentially may be looking to sell, and so we put some letters in mailboxes to see if we could get any hits. We actually had a couple of calls and one of them worked out! We ended up putting that letter in the mailbox at the perfect time. The previous owners had built the house and actually passed away (they were in their 80s) 6 months apart from each other, and the son was putting the house on the market with an agent the next week. We convinced him to sell us the house without an agent and he took the agent fee out of the price, and we think we got a great deal! It definitely needed a lot of TLC - it had not been renovated since it was built in the 1980s I don't think! But, the bones were good and we could see ourselves there! We have never met sweeter people that we bought this house from, and it's a home that has been well loved for a long time. There are even bible verses written in between the walls when the house was built! We really think it was meant to be ours. So anyway, here is our project house (before anything had been done!):

 
We are currently mid-renovation. I was hoping we would be in the house by Christmas, but it's not looking so hot. I still have a sliver of hope though. We moved some walls around, new kitchen, new bathroom, new flooring and paint everywhere, added a dormer window to the front of the house and are going to paint the outside of the house too. It's been a lot of work, but I know it will be so worth it in the end! 
 
Below are some pictures from the rest of July. Clearly, we did not do a whole lot but pack up the house, and nobody wants to see that mess! :)
 
 These pictures are from the 4th of July. We shot fireworks with some friends that night!

We also watched Thunder on the Mountain late that night! Oh and unbeknownst to us, right next to that golf cart below was a copperhead! Eeekkkk!!!!
 
The people buying our house literally brought a thousand people over to the house to give them estimates throughout the inspection period and prior to close (it got SO ridiculous!!), but it did give us some time to make early morning runs to get donuts while we had people in the house! There's a bright side to everything!

 Joel's cousin is a firefighter in Vestavia and brought over the emergency vehicle one night when we were all having dinner. It was such a fun, impromptu visit, and the kids loved it. Thank you John!

 Boys in stripes are always cute! :)
Poor Harrison never gets any play dates, so we did venture out to the zoo one hot July day with his buddy David. We had such a fun afternoon and ended up in the splash pad because it was way too hot!
 More swimming to end our summer!


Back to school post coming next! And more house updates to come as well!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Camp Winnataska

A couple of days after we got back from the Grand Hotel, Hudson headed off for his second year at Camp Winnataska! He was SO excited! This year, his buddy Wyatt joined him and they had a bunch of other buddies in their cabin so it was super fun.
 
Camp Winnataska is still the hottest place on earth, but the kids didn't seem to notice nearly as badly as the adults. Whew...not sure how they do it, but there was some rain while they were there so I can only hope that cooled things off a bit!
 

Drop off went well! Hudson was ready for me to leave in about 5 minutes! It was much easier to leave the second time around, and thankfully, it was easier while he was gone too. Not that I didn't miss him, but I think I knew more about what to expect. However, Hudson definitely avoided the camera this year because he was only in a couple of camp pictures. Last year, he was in so many! Oh well, I knew he was having fun so it didn't matter as much!

 Harrison can't wait until it is his turn to go!




 All of these boys are Vestavia boys. I love for Hudson to make friends at camp that aren't from where we live, but it is nice to know that he has familiar faces to be around as well!



So, letters home from camp are one of THE BEST things about camp! Hudson only went for 3 nights this year (next year is full week), so our letters home actually didn't arrive until after I had picked him up, so he did warn me about this one before I actually saw it (which sort of makes it funnier because he felt bad!). I thought I read somewhere that letters only were to be given the first full day, and then care packages the second full day. I still think that's right, but clearly the other parents aren't like this rule abiding parent and sent their kids care packages the first day and Hudson only got a letter from me. This was what he wrote:

"Dear Mom, Why didn't you get me anything from the camp store. From Hudson."

Well...glad to know I was missed! :)

And then he got his big ole' care package the next day with lots of goodies and all was right in the world. But, he must have hated me for a whole day! Live and learn!

He did send another letter too (I was shocked I got two!) and it was really sweet and I should have taken a picture, but I didn't. He was definitely having a good time though.

He can't wait for next year. I'm glad to know that he loves camp. I think it's good for him to spend some time away from home having new adventures! The homecoming is always pretty sweet too!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Grand Hotel

Two days after Joel and I got back from North Carolina, we all hopped in the car again and drove south to the Grand Hotel in Fairhope for the weekend leading up to July 4th. We had gone the year before, but only for a night, and could not wait to get back down there again! This was such a fun little 3 day weekend trip! There is so much for the kids to do. They never got bored!
 

Smores are always a big hit! Some lady caught herself on fire and that took this night to a whole new level of fun! Ha! She was fine by the way! :)

We had to dodge a few rain showers here and there, but we made the best of it. The kids were really into playing "family UNO" this summer, so we played a few rounds of that while we waited out the storm.


And of course the staff at the Grand Hotel is always prepared for anything. They had crafts for the kids when it rained and other fun activities the entire weekend.


I have to document Harrison going down the slide, because it was the only time he was able to do it all weekend long. They are serious sticklers about the height requirement for the slide and Harrison was just a small smidge below it. He tried mightily with several different life guards throughout the weekend, and he finally found one that would let him go! Unfortunately, right after this, they did a life guard switch and the next one wasn't so nice. This is the only thing that is completely ridiculous at the Grand. It really is not a big slide.

 They still had a lot of fun at the pool!

 We also rented a sea doo one afternoon and ALL the boys had fun with it!


The shooting of the cannon was the highlight of Hudson's afternoon every single day.














We had some good meals during the weekend too. We stayed on the property some and left the property as well. Breakfast 2 of the days was at Warehouse Bakery & Donuts. Seriously, the best donuts I have ever had! I think Birmingham needs one of these for sure!






It was a great weekend trip! We can't wait to go back!