Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow Day - Hooray!

We've been in Birmingham since Thursday evening and have had lots of fun playing with Brent's side of the family. The kids have enjoyed the change of scenery and having cousins to play with. Cousin Cooper is 3 1/2 and has been a great playmate for Griffin. They have gotten along surprisingly well.

We were thrilled to have watch huge snowflakes fall all day on Christmas. It was beautiful. And really exciting for the little people! Today Brent and Clay took the older kids out to play. They made snow angels, snow balls, and enjoyed being outside.

my snow angel

uncle clay attempting to make a snow man

my handsome dude

daddy helping avery with some ammo!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We love you Lauren!

We have a wonderful family friend and babysitter named Lauren Harris. She has watched the kids for about 1 1 /2 years now. She loves to play games, take walks, and do projects with the kids. All of the kids absolutely love her and get so excited when she comes to babysit. Griffin has even referred to Lauren as his "best friend" on many occasions!

Lauren helped the kids make a Christmas present for Brent and I - they made this and had it wrapped for us when we returned home one day. What a sweet Christmas surprise!


Pre-Christmas in Durham

We are headed out of town for Christmas so we had a little mini Christmas Eve tonight - McBrayer style. We enjoyed cheese fondue and sparkling white grape juice for dinner. And then opened presents from family.

The kids were so excited all day and couldn't wait for Brent to get home from work. For the past few weeks, Avery has had her eye on a large, square, flat present under the tree. Its been killing her not knowing what it could she picked that as her first gift to open. Griffin had an identical looking one so here they are, unwrapping the present that has occupied Avery's mind!

(if you are curious too, they were huge sticker books with 800+ themed stickers in each one)
love the sweet expression on her little face

graham love the paper and chewed on lots of ribbons!

I have no doubt that this will be Griffin's all-time favorite gift this year. When we were in the mountains in October, he played with one of these nonstop that belonged to a cousin. And then we searched for one for his birthday, only to find out that it is only sold at the Toy Story on Ice show....which happened to be in Durham last weekend and I happened to have a friend going! ( thanks for being my little elf rian!)
These pillow pets are another item that Avery and Griffin have been drooling over since last summer. We pass a kiosk at the mall that is full of them every time we go to the mall playground. We have stopped to hold and pet them multiple times! Both kids were very surprised to unwrap these. Needless to say, they are being slept on right now!

this gift was "To: Mr. Fox News From: Ms. Today Show"

Brent and I enjoyed watching the kids excitement and surprise with each gift they opened. They were great sports with taking turns and enjoying things as we went. And I was really impressed with their manners and thank-you's!

On a side note, Brent got my entire blog from 2009 published into a book for me for Christmas. What a special keepsake and great gift. Thanks honey!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy 8 Months Graham!

Somehow, another month has passed us by! We've arrived at month 8 all too quickly! Graham continues to be our smiliest baby yet, quick to offer a smile to just about anyone. He has developed a little stranger anxiety though - he put his hands over his face the last time he saw both Gammy and Big Daddy! He warmed up pretty quickly but was a little gun-shy at first. Overall, Graham remains pretty laid back and low key. He loves to be entertained by Avery and Griffin. Avery is sooo good with him - she tickles him and talks silly and loves to make him laugh. Both of the older kids are great helpers with baby brother.

Graham finally began sleeping fairly well by 6 months or so - sleeping from 7 until 5 or 5:30 AM. Like Griffin, his sleep is easily disturbed by teething and sickness. Speaking of, Graham currently has his 2nd ear infection in less than 2 months - not fun. And he is cutting his 3rd and 4th teeth this week. Kinda funny that they aren't his top middle 2 teeth, but the ones on the outside of those instead! He takes 2 good naps a day - 1.5-2.5 hours long, depending on the day's activity.

Graham's favorite past time is the johnny jumper. He goes to town in it! He has gotten much better at sitting by himself but I still prop pillows around him to prevent some head trauma when he throws himself backwards! Graham is working on crawling. He has started getting up on all fours but he keeps his head down and uses it as additional support! He can get to anything he wants by rolling and scooting.

Graham is an eating machine. He gets so excited (and impatient) when he knows food is coming. His arms start flapping and he makes a high pitched shreak. So far, he likes just about all the baby foods we've tried. And we just started with table foods - puffs, yogurt melts, and some banana bread/muffins.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lights on the Neuse

We finally made it out to Lights on the Neuse ( last night - on our third attempt to go! Attempt #1 = RAIN. Attempt # 2 = strep throat. Attempt # 3 = successful, with only minimal drissal! (spell check says that is spelled wrong but offered no solutions...)

It was a little bit of a hike - about 45 minutes away - but the kids seemed to really enjoy it. We took a "hayride" (which was a tractor pulling a flatbed with long benches in it) all over the farm - which was decorated with lots of Christmas lights displays. There were scenes of animals, flowers, patriotic stuff, a nativity, and lots of other Christmas decor. Avery talked continuously, naming each item she saw and Griffin stared silently in awe, smiling the entire time. Graham stayed awake for the first half of the ride and really seemed to be paying attention and looking at all the colorful lights.
Santa was waiting for us once we finished the hayride. Kids were thrilled to offer a quick hug and pose for a picture!

They had a 3D barn that you walked through (with 3D glasses) - it was sort of like a maze where the walls were completely painted with holiday scenes. Avery really liked this part!
And our final stop was at the fire pit to make smores! I think the kids ate more raw marshmallows than smores and were absolutely wild all the way home!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Griffin's School Christmas Party

Lesilie, Griffin, Hannah, Emma, Camryn, Brendan, Charlotte

Today was the kids' last day of school before Christmas break so each of their classes had parties. Brent played hookie from work all morning so he got to participate in everything as well. Griffin's class invited all the parents to come at 9:15 for a brunch. Before eating, the kids sang 2 songs - Jingle Bells and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Griffin has never had the opportunity to "perform" so I wasn't sure what to expect...
But he sang his heart out! He was (by far) the loudest one - singing at the top of his lungs and really over enunciating each word. It was hysterical and priceless! He did a great job standing on his spot on the line and participating.
can't you just hear him now?

shakin' his stuff to Jingle Bells!
enjoying some goodies

Avery's Class Christmas Party

All of the classes at Epworth (except the Two's) participate in an annual Christmas Sing-a-long. Each class performs 1 song in front of everyone. Avery's class sang Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. They made hats with handprint antlers and painted their noses red!

Once again, Avery looked rev'd up and ready to roll...until it was her class' turn....then the tears came in abundance! So she sat in mommy's lap and watched her class sing! I really think its the strep throat that has her on edge - I've never known her to have stage fright!

Mary Grace and Avery
After the sing-a-long, we headed to Avery's classroom for lunch! The kids had made gingerbread cookies for everyone and were proud to show those off. They also gave the parents a bag full of different Christmas decorations and ornaments that they had made. They had been busy!

little buddies - Shane and Graham

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Avery's dance class had their holiday "show" today - they invite families in for the last 10 minutes or so of class and perform a dance to a Christmas song. No real costumes or anything - just some "props" provide by the studio. Their song was Walking in a Winter Wonderland.

Avery loves to perform and be center stage...however, she currently has strep throat and isn't feeling I'm thankful I took these pictures during the first half of her dance...because her Santa hat fell off mid-way through and she started crying and never recovered!
what a doll! makes me excited for her recital this year!

About mid-way thru the performance, I looked over at Graham and he was virtually doing sit-ups in his car seat so that he could see the dancing!

Man's Best Friend

Man's best friend - starts at a young age!

note the drool pouring off of Graham's chin!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A worthy read

Here is the link to an article that Avery's school teacher gave to her class. (I posted it on FB as well but know that not everyone uses sorry if this is redundant!) Anyway, the article is short but is a great reminder of part of our responsibility as parents....

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Breakfast with Santa

The UNC Housestaff sponsors a Breakfast with Santa every year as a fundraiser for Toys for Tots. This is the second year it was held at a restaurant called Spice Street in Chapel Hill. They have a buffet breakfast and an area with toys, crafts, and Santa. This is a big crowd and line-free way to visit with Santa! The older kids were excited and although Graham was a little startled by the loud HO HO HO's, he didn't cry!

loving the glitter glue and sparkling paper!

observing the fun

daddy helping the kids with their tattoos

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree

As mentioned in a previous blog, we packed our week full while Gammy was here! So before she left on Saturday, we headed out to get our Christmas tree. The kids were freezing but excited. But thankfully it wasn't raining! Brent and I were reminiscing about the fact that every year since we've been dating we have gone Christmas tree shopping in the rain! (yes, we have taken our kids out in the rain to find a tree, even as babies!)

After daddy got the lights on the tree, the kids went to town decorating. Avery was really into it but after about 5 minutes, Griffin moved on to other activities! (like pulling ornaments off the tree...and "accidentally" throwing balls into the tree...)

trying to reach the "high" spots

Griffin hanging some ornaments