Christmas 2017

This year the kids were here for Christmas day. We switch back and forth with their father every year, so one of us usually gets the first week of winter break and the other gets the last.

I’m always surprised that each year Christmas looks a little different. The decorations change a little, the food isn’t always the same, but my aunt and uncle came to stay over the holiday, so that didn’t change. It was one of those years, though that everyone was a little on edge (mercury retrograde?) and there was quite a bit of bickering (teenager?). I think the highlights were Christmas morning with the kiddos, playing games with my family and Jason being home and present. He’s been taking 4-6 classes each semester for the last three years, but he graduated in December.

We took the kids to Georgia last Friday to meet up with their dad, so this next week we only have Lorelei and Henry at home. It always gives us a little time while they are away to reevaluate our routines and spend some time with the two quietest kids. We miss them, but it’s an interesting change in perspective and Noah and Nora get a break from their full-time siblings.

I’m pretty sure the winning gifts were the LEGOs. Although, I’m enjoying Nora’s karaoke machine while she’s away.

Gobble Gobble

This week is Thanksgiving and I’m ready for a break. I’m ready for yummy food and a couple of days of rest before the last few weeks of school. This semester has not been my favorite. I think it’s because it’s basically my semester. I have two classes left and they aren’t necessarily art classes. It’s hard to put in effort when you realize this won’t be your life next year and your classmates are just passing time. I have one final collaborative art show in a couple of weeks and then that will be it.

Some people probably wonder why I chose to do art in the first place. Besides the fact that I really enjoy art and wanted to learn more, it also fit with my narrow schedule. I came to WCU with an A.A. in Business Administration, but WCU has only four year programs for the most part. A lot of their business degrees are set up to be completed in four years including liberal arts classes. I found myself in a situation where I would take 2-3 classes for three years paying full-time tuition as a residential student. It wasn’t worth it to me. In the back of my mind my plan was to get the HR graduate degree, so I just needed a B.A. in order to do that. I like management, but the program was archaic, I felt that I had already learned what they would teach me getting my A.A., so I visited the Art program. I thought I might do Graphic Design, but it turns out that program’s classes are from 3-6p and I have to pick up the kiddos by 530p and WCU is 35 minutes away. There goes that plan, so I stuck with studio classes and will finish with my B.A. in Art and a minor in Business Administration. If I can pass Spanish. I have enjoyed my time in the art world, but find myself looking into the HR program again. It’s all online and can be done while I am working.

Art has taught me a lot. It has given me art skills obviously, but it also gave me confidence and a thicker skin. I had to listen to other people criticize my work and I was required to tell them what could have been done better with their work. I made friends with people I would otherwise never meet and got to know others with varying values and opinions. Art deals with political and controversial topics and for my brief time I got to see many different points of view and gave me the opportunity to develop my own. I am so glad I took this journey, albeit not a traditional route.

We are all a bit under the weather, but hopefully we’ll be ready for turkey come Thursday. Last year we went to Florida. I missed the big Thanksgivings we used to have and wanted to be around my family. We had a really great trip and I enjoyed getting to know everyone again and seeing my grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. It was fun to see the kids play with cousins and figure out are they cousins if they’re kids of cousins?? As nice as it was to get together with everyone, it made me thankful for our small family traditions and gave me hope that as my kids grow, so will our Thanksgiving get togethers. I’m looking forward to what we’ve started calling pie day and picking up our tree on Saturday.

This is Jason’s last semester of school. He’ll graduate in December, though he refuses to walk or to let me throw him a party. He has worked long and hard for this and I am super proud of him. It has been difficult, especially this last semester with our terrible internet and because all of his classes are full of group assignments, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel. What will he do with free evenings and none of that school pressure occupying his brain??

I hope everyone has a great break and gets to spend time with family or friends this holiday.

Early Valentine’s Day Getaway

Half of these are taken with my phone and half are taken with the real camera, so I apologize for half of these pics being grainy. Lol

Jason’s department decided to meet at a restaurant in Downtown Asheville Friday night for an evening that included their significant others since their annual Christmas party is for employees only. Jason’s sister graciously agreed to watch the kiddos so we could stay overnight as a little getaway. It was wonderful!


The Book Exchange After dinner at Pack’s Tavern we headed over to The Book Exchange in Battery Park. There we had truffles, coffee and adult conversation! Yay! It is a great place filled with used books and a cozy atmosphere.

Me and Jason

Hallway lights
We stayed at Aloft right in Downtown and it was awesome. The room, though a bit small, was ultra modern and clean and the bed was comfy. It was very colorful, with these neat fabric boxes over the hallway lights.

Our room number Our room number was 327 which is our anniversary. A happy coincidence!


When we got to the hotel and started unpacking, look what I found! I bought this game two Christmas’ ago and then promptly lost it. I had brought it down to Florida to play and blamed my aunt for taking it, though she swears she didn’t. Ha! It was funny to find it after all this time.



Aloft There was a huge mirror on the bathroom door that I loved!

View from our room

View from our room This is the view from our room. We were a little worried it would be noisy, but not so, we slept quite well.

Rooftop pool On our floor was the rooftop pool. It had a nice view.

Poolside I bet this is a great spot in the Summertime.

meWe stopped at Green Sage in the morning for breakfast. Jason humored me because it is an interesting place where tempeh and tofu are popular menu selections. We had real eggs and sausage, however and it was delicious!

Green Sage

We had a great time in Asheville and returned to Franklin refreshed and happy.

Christmas 2014


We did Christmas late this year. In recent Christmas’ we have opened presents without Noah and Nora on Christmas day and then let them open their gifts when they got home. That kinda sucks all around, so we waited this year. It was Patrick’s turn to have them for Christmas day, so they returned home the day after and we ended up celebrating on Saturday. We hadn’t done it that way yet and I have to say I enjoyed it the most. Probably because my mom, aunt and uncle were there as well.


Four squareAfter eating Christmas lunch we set up foursquare downstairs. My family loves to play those types of games on holidays and I love it! We are super competitive and Noah and Nora got “schooled” in the art of foursquare, for sure. :) They enjoyed it though.

Jump rope

Jump rope

My aunt and uncle have taken up jump rope for cardio. They got all of the kids jump ropes for Christmas and demonstrated their skills for them. It was neat to see their tricks and quite impressive.

Me and Jason

Edd and CarrieA few days later we took my aunt and uncle to Shortline. It was a cloudy day, but we got a few pictures.

Jason and Henry



Noah, Nora, Lorelei and Henry

Me and Carrie


The fam

It was a great visit. It always makes Christmas special to have family together.


(not great phone pics, but I was busy cooking and didn’t pull out the real camera this year)

Snow It snowed on Thanksgiving. Not enough to stick, but it was still pretty.


The kids were plenty old enough this year to help. That was fun. ;o)

Our feast

Grandma was here too, but I missed getting a pic of her.


me and Henry

Christmas tree

After lunch/dinner we pulled out the Christmas tree. That amazing $20 tree I found two years ago at an after, after Christmas sale works perfectly in the new house. :) I’m currently working on a tree skirt. Let’s hope Cookie doesn’t pee on it. :oP

Christmas 2013

New camera
Mama got a new camera for Christmas! My hubby is so good to me. I’ve mentioned that this Christmas season has been difficult to get into, so when my aunt Carrie and uncle Edd decided to come for a visit I perked right up. They decided to stay through Christmas day and we all had a great time during their time here. Edd took to Lorelei right away, which was fun to see and we all played games together. A favorite was Bananagrams, so if you are a words person, this is a fun one to get! I took my aunt to Waynesville and showed her Mast General (love that store) and Nick and Nate’s. Delicious!

Family pic

As per tradition we took a family pic while we were all together. I love it, but I love the prep pic more…

family pic outtake

You can see my mom in the chaos smiling at Henry.

Jason cutting the turkey

Right after presents and breakfast my aunt and I set to cooking the sides for Christmas lunch. We had been baking all day, the day before; pumpkin pies, apple pies, cookies galore. Yummo! That’s Jason above getting all the turkey ready to eat.

pretend nap with Grandma

After lunch we hung out playing games and enjoying our presents like this super soft blanket from aunt Carrie!

hungry hippos

Noah and Bee-Boo

Cars and scooter

We went to Jason’s dad’s that evening and hung out with his family eating lasagna. That too seems to be becoming a tradition. I enjoyed seeing everyone and (can I say it?) am glad it is over. :o) Hope your day was merry too.

Christmas Time is Here


I’m sitting here on the cusp of what’s to be a whirlwind of activity. The presents are mostly wrapped and we are waiting patiently for my family to arrive. They’ll stay for a few days and then we’ll open presents with more family, eat Christmas lunch and then Christmas dinner with Jason’s family and a few days after that we’ll take a quick trip down to Florida for a court date and to give the kids some time with their dad. We’ll arrive home in time to breathe for a few days and then the kids will be back in school.

These past few months have been so stressful. I’m excited that Christmas is finally here because that means this year is almost over. It’s been a while since I have been so sick of a year and really, what will a turn of the calendar do? I’m hoping for decisions made, progress forward, solidified plans.

Here’s to the last few days of Christmas cheer!

Thanksgiving 2013

Grandma rocks

Grandma doing the inflatable dancing man during our dance party.

We’re getting pretty good at this Thanksgiving thing. The first year was a bit of a hiccup because we had been meeting at my aunt’s for years and it was the first time in North Carolina. My aunt had always organized us and that year we had way too much food. Now we know exactly how much to make, my mom brings the bird over early and cooks it in our oven. Jason even had all the dishes washed by the time the table was cleared.

While the turkey was roasting, I cast (chromecast) some music to our tv and we had a bit of a dance party. Noah had been asking about doing the worm dance, so I found a video on youtube with instructions. We all tried it (except my mom who was handling the video camera). It’s a lot harder, especially as you get older! Jason was the only one who figured it out. It was hilarious to try though! We then try to moonwalk. That’s a little bit easier, but we still looked really silly.

After that, we got down to business and were soon eating a delicious feast. Jason’s dad joined us this year, which was a special treat. We were glad he could stop in on his way to work.

Thankful tree

We seem to have a tradition started. Noah gathered some sticks from the yard while I cut out leaves from cardstock. Nora punched holes in the leaves and Jason tied the ribbon. We then all wrote what we were thankful for this year and hung it on the branches. It’s not a new idea, but it was quick and easy to do and I enjoyed hearing what the kids were thankful for. Jason, btw, is thankful for babies and kisses. *that man* Nora is thankful for her family and god and jesus and santa (all on one leaf), Noah is thankful for his family, his room and of course his PSP. Lol Noah actually understands, so it was neat to see what he wrote, in cursive!

It was a great day. We enjoyed spending time together and eating delicious food. We stopped by Jason’s mom’s that night too, so we got to see a bit more of his family as well. On to Christmas!

So this is Christmas

Every year looks different. The kids alternate Christmas day with their dad and I, so some Christmas’ they spend the first week of break with their dad and the second week with us and we do “Christmas” a few days later with them. Last year wasn’t good because their dad bailed and Noah didn’t come home at all, so it was just Lorelei and Nora on Christmas day (I was still preggo with Henry). All this to say, this year we have all four kids on Christmas day and I’m in a bit of a conundrum.

Go big or be practical? The thing is, Noah and Nora get a lot of CRAP from their dad’s house, like a rubbermaid tote full of the entire Dollar Store and toys you buy your kids that have a lot of annoying features and small parts. The result of kids with essentially two Christmas days is ungrateful children and (like I said) a lot of crap. We don’t have a lot of money to spend, but that isn’t the issue, it’s how to spend it. This year, for whatever reason, I am leaning towards a more practical Christmas. e.g. socks, underwear, one or two small toys each, maybe a couple of movies or board games to share.

Part of the problem is that gifts are my love language. I want to buy them lots of cool stuff, because I love them. That’s how I show it. However, I always end up feeling empty on Christmas day because they are ungrateful brats. lol They both just had birthdays and those toys are sitting at the bottom of their toybox. My hubby made a point that if we buy them practical items they will wear them all the time, so I will see that they are getting used. I think we will continue that route. This year we just had family birthday parties (us and grandma) and I think it worked out really well. Noah got a big item from us and he plays it every day. I think I would like to make Christmas a more practical time of year instead of hitting the motherload. Christmas comes every year and I don’t want to set ourselves up to escalate gifts, especially with four kids to buy for annually.

First snow

This is our backyard this morning. What does it mean to have the first snow before Thanksgiving?

Noah’s Summer Visit

At first it was a bit overwhelming to have four kids, all of a sudden, especially with the youngest being just two weeks old. Noah and Nora have such conflicting personalities and they haven’t been around each other for a solid week in months. We can tell that Lorelei feels a little caught in the middle, but, of course, she loves hanging with her bro. She’s even taken to calling him “my noah” or “bubby”.

Our household routine is pretty established. we don’t have regular tv, just netflix and hulu, so we may watch a show or two maybe even a movie, but then the kids are expected to find something else to do. They have toys, crayons, paper, paint, chalkboard and chalk, a sandbox and their imaginations. Not to mention the outside toys. I’ve found that the days I give in and let us veg in front of the tv end up being a very depressing day with kids who have bad attitudes and meltdowns once the tv shuts off. No bueno.

sandbox play time

When I see stuff like the above picture, it makes my heart glad. :o)

Now that we are into the second week things have settled down. Noah and Nora don’t fight as much and Noah has learned our routines and gotten used to our rules. I’m also getting used to having a newborn and taking things slow again. This Sunday we’ll meet Patrick and Nora will go with Noah to his house for a couple of weeks. It isn’t a perfect system, but it gives Noah and Nora time with me and their dad.

Carrie and Fam

This past weekend, my aunt and her husband came to visit for the fourth of July. It was really great to see them even though it rained almost the entire time they were here! We played a lot of Uno and on Saturday they all went out on the boat. The kids had a great time, though it was a bit cold. Grandpa Charley brought the tube and they got to go tubing. Noah went three times by himself! I can’t believe he’ll be ten in October.

2 1/2 weeks

Henry smiles a lot. I know they aren’t the real smiles just yet, but peeks into what they will be like. Still fun to see them. He’s three weeks now and looking more and more like Jason every day.