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.
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 kids are challenged by their school to read, read, and read even more. All in an effort to get them reading at or above the state mandated reading recommendations for their age group and class. The program is called “Read to Succeed” and requires the kids to read six hours of material over two months. We take the program a step farther and turn reading into a nightly bedtime requirement. Thirty minutes before lights out the CoTC head up to their rooms, grab their latest chapter book, board book, Lego magazine, game manual, or whatever might float their fancy for the evening and partake in some serious forced leisure time. More often than not they pass through several books during this time and certainly rack up more hours than required by the program. The reward for this challenge is a free ticket to Six Flags Over Georgia. That is quite a great deal for us as well since kids tickets run $45 and adult tickets are $54. Lump that into a quick buy one get one free coupon for Carol and I and we end up getting a day of fun for something we would enforce regardless of the program requirements.
Our family outing to partake in combating Georgia heat exhaustion while getting our thrills happened to be this weekend. Everyone was excited and pumped to go. We spent the evening prior with the boys watching various rides on YouTube so that they knew what they were getting into if they decided to ride some “real” roller coasters. Isaac thought there were all cool but wanted nothing to do with actually riding one. Jacob adamantly wanted to ride the Mind Bender. The girls had recently been to Kings Island in Ohio with Grandma and Grandpa and were psyched as well to see what Six Flags had to offer. Weather checked, bag of snacks and water packed, sunscreen applied, we headed out toward adventure.
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!!!
It only took most of the summer, all of the fall and the early part of winter but we finally made it out to meet the newest member of the family, Hunter Brian Scheckles. Best of all we got to do this over Thanksgiving and were able to see not only Hunter but also Dad and Mom…oh yeah and those other three people as well.
The trip over from Atlanta to the middle of nowhere was much quicker than expected once we were well out of Atlanta (the leaving Atlanta part took two of the ten hours to travel the required 600 miles). Carol loaded up my new shiny work laptop as well as our family one (not so shiny or new) and a pile of movies. She put the movies in and played the sound over the car speakers and until dark I think for the most part I kept my eyes mostly on the road – after dark I am not so sure but we did arrive unscathed. I did get to see the majority of one of our favorite movies, Phantom of the Opera as well as some of the Love Actually and Avatar. We had just started National Lampoons Christmas Vacation when we pulled up.
Hunter was adorable to see. He was still tiny and little but cute and full of coos and slobber. We got to see him play a bit, mainly by eating his hands or a few different toys, roll over, which we heard was something new, and generally be happy – all the things babies do that are cute…and the absolute best part – well other than getting to see the happiness that Hunter has brought to Brian and Kim – was being on the visiting end instead of the mommy or daddy end…sorry Sis but it was great to sit back and let you take care of feeding and diapers and all that other “fun” stuff that comes along with the cuteness..especially the morning parts where we got to sleep in…I should stop now while I am ahead.
Fall and Halloween are now a touch behind us but I still wanted to share a few moments we had together at Jaemore Farms in Alto, GA in early October. It was a perfect day for picking up pumpkins, taking a hay ride, playing some festival games and generally enjoying the perfect weather. The games were pretty cool. Our favorite two were the Apple Sling Shot where Isaac made a bullseye and won a free pumpkin (that got to be my pumpkin) and the duck race where you had to pump a well handle to make the water flow as fast as you could so that your duck would get to the big pond on the other side the fastest – the CoTC loved this and did not want to leave.
It is rare to get snow in Georgia, or well normally it is, but the past few years we have received at least a little, normally after the turn of the new year when winter is in full swing. This year however we were surprised that the weathermen were actually right for once when it started snowing on Christmas Day. It didn’t take long before the temperatures plummeted and massive snow flakes started to stick and accumulate. It was a wet snow to start with, wet enough that Dad and I were able to chase off Autumn, pummeling her with snowball after snowball when she had to leave Christmas night – I guess next time she will stick around
The day after however much of the wetness had dried up and all that was left was a nice power – little icy for skiing but nice nonetheless. The CoTC could take it no longer though and wrapped themselves in layer upon layer to head out into the arctic cold. Great times ensued !!!
It was great to have snow and even better to have it on Christmas Day.