The Easter Bunny worked furiously through the night preparing and testing the treasure routes, hiding eggs all along the way. I wonder if there was any confusion this year as there were in years past, hiding eggs but forgetting where the next downstream one was to go. Probably!!!
After a quick breakfast to take up any precious room that might otherwise be used to store extra chocolate, or for the hideout of a recently digested Peep – they never do quite die and I am certain that one day there will be an uprising we will all regret – the treasure hunts began. This year though it was to be a bit tougher for each of the explorers; Jacob was getting older, Isaac was up a good challenge, Violet could now read and Piper was becoming the princess of puzzles.
Today is the big day. According to the kids it might be a day that is Millions, if not Zillions, of years in the making. A day that has emerged from either somewhere near 10,000 BC or near the beginning of time, depending on which expert on such topics you ask. This particular day has waited more 20,454 days to emerge from wherever such days might come. A moment that has somehow squirmed its way through nearly two BILLION seconds of history, 1,767,225,600 specifically – but after 1.5 BILLION who really counts anyway, until it landed square in the lap of today.
Violet turned five this year while we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Indiana. Surrounded by grandparents, and great grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins and various other people whose relation isn’t quite known, Violet had a great turning of age. Lots of kids, lots of food, lots of gifts, and most importantly lots of cake…although I bet if you ask Violet it would be the gifts that won out, with the cake a close second.
Violet had a blast and I think we even found a genuine moment of both awe and surprise when she pulled out “Dreamlight“. She had been talking about this “thing” for a long while but there was no way daddy was shelling out $50 bucks for a glorified flashlight shoved into a stuffed animal – we did that as kids and while the stuffed animal might not have liked the extra orifice that was created, the effect was the same. Thankfully, Mommy Carol found a great deal on one and Violet’s precious “Green Kitty” was spared the agony that was certain to come otherwise (granted they make flashlights much smaller nowadays…)
On top of the normal birthday cheer it was great to be able to celebrate with the extended family. We don’t get to see them very often, let alone during birthdays or other non-holiday events, and it was refreshing to celebrate with everyone.
This was Piper’s birthday weekend. The little princess has turned seven…Taylor Swift Style.
Piper wanted to have an evening out with the family and was insistent that bowling was the perfect thing. Why not. I haven’t been bowling in years. Friday after school and work we packed into the car and headed to the Lanes for a few rounds and a pizza. It was certainly fun to watch. Carol and I threw a few balls for the kids but mainly just let them take turns figuring out each and every way you can either throw or roll an eight pound ball down a slipper lane to knock over some stubborn white pins. All of them did pretty well for not really having any history playing. Violet whom had never played held her own and came in second to Jacob on the second game. Isaac threw the only strike of the night while playing with a sixteen pound ball, threw it down the lane and took out the lot of the pins. Great idea Piper.
Piper’s party for Saturday has been planned for a while. A great mix of Family and Friends. She chose pancakes and bacon for her meal and Taylor Swift as a theme. Outside of the labor of mixing enormous amounts of batter and flipping dozens of pancakes, I don’t think it gets much easier to cook for a large group – mix pour flip repeat.
It might have been a few months back but that certainly doesn’t change my admiration for Carol getting one over on me for my birthday. I was prepared the night before that the kids wanted to go to breakfast at the Rexall Grill for my birthday. Sounded great to me. We typically spend the day with each other just hanging out and sometimes have over friends and family. I recall specifically mentioning to Carol that I was looking forward to just something simple with the family this year and did not really want to have a get together or party – just a cake some time with the kiddos. Next time, as a husband should know at this point, I will tell her just the opposite of what I am looking for….
Christmas this year introduced a new member to our family named Red. And NO to those of you thinking the unthinkable – the family head count remains at a solid seven, including the dog. This little persons name, after much enthusiastically and somewhat fanatical debate among existing family members was determined to be “Red”. Red the Christmas Elf. He would only be around for a few weeks out of the year, didn’t eat much and pretty much remained stationary throughout the day – at some point during the day, when our eyes were cast elsewhere, he would just vanish until the next morning. Red had some specific rules about being touched or bothered as well – certainly the kids were to strictly forbidden to touch him and to leave him alone lest he lose his observational and somewhat magical powers granted by the spirit that is Christmas. Red’s job was to cast a watchful eye upon his family, take score of the good versus bad and report back to some higher power a recommendation as to which list each household member might befit. Somehow during his strictly “observational” process he would always find a way to cause mischief and leave a mess.
Two nights before Christmas however, Red left something additional in each of the stockings of the Children of the Corn. A gold dipped envelope containing a silver inked letter from The Man himself. Now was the time of reckoning. The time of knowing. Was it the good list or the bad. What did Santa think? What did he know? When we opened our weary eyes the next morning would they sparkle and shine from majestic reflection of silver and gold or be dim from broken hope and disappointment.
The kids are back in school, summer is at its height and the daily scheduled grind has taken hold. Thank goodness for the break brought by Labor Day. We had not ambitious plans and wanted nothing other than to spend some time with the kids and enjoy our time off. There was plenty to do however that we talked about through the summer but just couldn’t fit in so we planned to take full advantage of our few days of free time and get in some activities with the CoTC. Specifically we wanted to see the DragonCon Parade, Atlanta Aquarium and Stone Mountain Laser Show.
DragonCon was back in town and while I would have preferred to have purchased tickets and gone sightseeing at the actual show, it was cost prohibitive to take all the kids – even if the cost was right there was no way I was taking them to wait for tickets in the six hour line that literally wrapped around the block. The parade was a good second and something I had never seen as well. The kids loved it. We found a nice spot to watch above the road and behind some glass that we were able to squeeze in to – certainly better than being at ground level with four munchkins that couldn’t see over a shrubbery. The costumes were pretty awesome and all of us had our favorites. Jacob took the only pictures with his camera and the rest of us just soaked it in.
Next up was a walk to the Atlanta Aquarium. We had been planning to take the kids here all summer but just couldn’t find the time to do it. Labor Day probably wasn’t the wisest choice in timing though as it was packed wall to wall with people. Crazy. Oh well, tickets had been purchased already online so at the very least we were able to bypass the ridiculously long entry line and head straight in. Having been many times in the past we were hoping to see some of the new exhibits that had been added such as the dolphins but they were not open unless you purchased another ticket specifically to view them. We instead took our time strolling from room to room and soaking up the sites. Many times just sitting in front of a particular wall and watching everything swim around. We managed to time our trip to the main viewing room of the large tank in time for the feeding of the massive whale sharks. The biologist would drop buckets of krill onto the surface and the whales would basically inhale massive amounts of water and filter it through their gills each eating twenty pounds or so of these obviously delicious morsels per bite.
We did not end up going to Stone Mountain as it started raining early in the evening. With the laser light show changing this year to something new and supposedly now in a type of 3-D where it looks like they are inside of the mountain we were bummed and will hopefully get to check it out before the season ends.
All in all a great weekend with the family. Lots of time away from the house but also plenty of time at home to just take it easy and chill.
The South: The heat and humidity can become annoyingly unbearable in the summer, temperatures rising way over 100 degrees. To stay cool and enjoy our summer vacation we have decided to spend lots of much needed time in the cold refreshing waters. Mommies and Daddies get to relax and kiddos are able to release wild energies that are built up and have a blast in the process.
It was very entertaining to watch the boy’s play with Jacob’s new flippers. Isaac spent most of the day using them as paddles on his hands while riding his tube. Jacob tried them for a short period and decided today wasn’t the day to learn (water guns were way more exciting). Israel or should I say “Scuba Steve”, (lol) swam around the pool like a wild shark amusing us girls (Piper, Violet & I)
We couldn’t be there to tell you in person but we wanted to make sure that you got the message. Happy Anniversary Grandma and Grandpa. There aren’t any good songs for an anniversary like there are for birthdays so we took the easy route. All the munchkins send their love and wish you the best on your special day.
We took two videos. Piper was upset at the end of the first because she didn’t get to blow out the candles. After she calmed down we took another for fun. Enjoy!!!
Upon request the now 6 year old princess Piper wanted to celebrate her special day with a Breakfast Brunch for family and friend. Pancakes were a must, and as we have learned they are a large part of every up and coming princess’ diet. The pancakes as were liberal helpings of syrup, scrambled eggs, bacon, yogurt and fruit. A morning feast if you ask the cook. There was even an option to build your very own BLTs, complete with bread and mayo for those party goers so inclined.
After breakfast was consumed and we all had full bellies it was time to make things official. Once we stopped singing Piper made her wish and tried and tried to blow out the candles. Must have been some wish….
She didn’t want to waste any time getting to the gifts (and a few of her guests had to leave early) so we skipped the cake and headed for the treasure. Plus I think everyone’s bellies were still full from pancakes and BLTs. She had been telling everyone that all she wanted for her birthday was Pet Shop, My Little Pony and Zu-Zu Pet toys. Well they certainly listened and delivered and Piper was overly excited and thankful. After each gift she ran across the room and gave hugs and kisses and thank yous to everyone. Another thing that she had been asking for was “girlie” games for her Game Boy or one of the other game systems around the house. Most of what we have (and most of what is out there) is focused either on some generic market or boys – well she wanted girl stuff. ”Uncle” John delivered along with Carol and I at helping with this fix. In particular Carol found a copy of a My Little Pony game for the Game Boy, something she had been asking for over and over for the past few months.
Auntie Autumn picked up a hula-hoop as part of her gift. Piper wasn’t really sure what she was supposed to do with it so Autumn decided to demonstrate for her. Piper still didn’t give it a go but it was certainly worth the entertainment.
The best part though was when Piper received a Justin Bieber book. I didn’t even think she knew who he was, let alone cared. Wow! Can a dad be wrong or totally oblivious. Piper turned into a pile of mushy fawning pre-adolescence girl, going on thirteen….I’m not sure I am ready for all that.