Monday, January 27, 2014

Halloween 2013

Without a doubt, Tillman was Elmo for Halloween.  His costume was actual his cousin, Colin's!  He loves this hand-me-down, and still pulls it out on occasion to be Elmo!

Caroline was a cute clown with her TuTu and cute onsie of a bow tie, suspenders, and buttons. 

After the Gran Fondo, we stopped in Lexington, SC at my parents house to enjoy the Harvest Fest that my home church puts on each year. They also do a truck or treat, which was fun.

At the harvest fest the kids enjoyed playing with their cousins. Here's Lance dress as a monster!

Caroline switched up her costume on Halloween, she was actually herself for Halloween...Sweet Caroline!  The Boston Red Socks won the World Series, so we thought it was most appropriate that she be Sweet Caroline!

Gran Fondo Hincapie 2013

 Nick has developed a passion for cycling over the past couple of year. Caroline and I went with Nick to his first bike race last year, the Gran Fondo Hincapie.  Nick set goals, hired a trainer, and developed a self-improvement plan to improve his racing experience.

 This year the whole family went. We cheered daddy on from the car this year, since it was 29 degrees at the start of the race. It is amazing the parking you can get when you have kids in the car. Last year, I got right by the finish line, and this year, we were near the finish/starting line.  All you have to do is tell the cop you have kids in the back, and you are a complete shoo in for primo parking!

3-years-old and up also had a bike race, so while Nick was on his 70 mile journey, the kids and I hung out at the festival.  Tillman entered his first bike race. It was all up hill, but Tillman completed it without stopping. He even got a "shout out" from the announcer as he crossed the finished line. He was the only one with a balance bike, and I'm pretty sure he was the youngest. 

 Tillman got a medal for participating, and he was very proud!
Once the kids race was done we enjoyed the jump castles and food.  All while keeping an eye on the Garmin tracker to make sure we were at the finish line to cheer daddy on!  

Tillman enjoyed 3 cotton candies, got some "chip locks" (aka chap stick) and a bike bell from one of the vendors. He is still enjoying the chap stick! 

 After the festival we headed to the road to cheer daddy on!
Here daddy is on the final hill to the finish line. 

Nick crossed the finish line 1 hour earlier than last year. Shaving an hour off of his time was a huge accomplishment, and the kids and I were very excited and proud of him.

Nick finished 41st out of 287 riders.

We had a few celebrity (cycling kind) sightings.  George Hincapie, himself, at the finish line signing a bike.

Here's a photo op with Taylor Phinney, pro racer for BMC.  Clearly Caroline is more interested in her bottle than mingling with the celebrities! 

Ohio in October

Nick is a part of the client advisory council for Aileron which is located in Dayton, Ohio, so we have the opportunity to tag along with daddy to see Mimi and all the family that lives in Ohio. It's a LONG ride for the kids.  We've tried to do it during the night, but that just wears out Nick to do that, so we've journeyed during the day this time. 

Tillman and Caroline got to go to a huge farm and did all things "Punkin" (as Tillman says). They had hay rides, mazes and we all got to pick out a pumpkin to take home. We even journeyed on of the pumpkins all the way back to South Carolina to enjoy.  
Mid-west Farms

Out in the patch

Mimi and Caroline

Tillman ushering daddy to the perfect pumkin

Our finds

Caroline dressed up to visit family

Playing at the mall

Tillman acting as the Ice Cream man

Caroline enjoying her bottle in her new boots

Tillman doing his assignments from school while on our long car-ride

Monday, January 6, 2014

Apple Picking, Mountain Climbing, and Brevard Loving

On the day we received a fully ratified contract on our Hollywood Home, we headed to Brevard, NC for a family weekend.  Nick and I honeymooned there, and it was our first time back to the cabin.  The kids enjoyed it as much as we did.

Apple picking at Sky Top Orchard. 

 Lunch at the Wrinkled Egg

Family Sight Seeing at Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest 

Rock climbing at Devils Court House (Balsam Grove, N Carolina)

 Daddy cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway
Mommy and Kids in the sweeper van following daddy on his ride!

Caroline's first hair cut....mommy mistake

Blondie After Her Cut

As I seek to remember what has happened over the past quarter, I sadly have to look at Facebook and reference the quick post I put on there.  I'm reminded of a mommy mistake...allowing the hair cut lady to "even things up."  She all but gave baby C a boy cut.

Quote from Facebook:Caroline is sporting it today along with her new hair cut! Feel like a bad mommy cutting off the curls, but I hope they will grow back fast! She was pulling out her hair bc it was in her face...crazy girl won't wear a hair bow!
Right before the big cut
In my defense, it was out of control
And cutting and cutting
I did get a bag of her curls from the cut

Yes, curls came back...but not the dark hair...yet!  

Sept 21- Sept 27, 2013 (The House That Built Me)

6 acres in Hollywood, SC
This was a defining week for our family. Saturday, Sept 21st, we had to hurry to get out of the house for yet another house showing.  Little did we know that it would be THE ONE! The feedback from the showing came immediately and it wasn't positive. "no laundry room, backyard not configured as buyer desired." Ugh, I thought. So much to our surprise, they wanted to come back for a second showing.  Little did the buyers know that this was our only second showing since our home was on the marketing.  So, we packed up again and cleaned, made the house pretty and prayed this would be the one.

Caroline's Room
Though a long week of negotiations, questions, and heart-ache/excitement (let's just call it emotions), we had a deal. We were set to close on Nick's Birthday! And we indeed closed on Nick's birthday (the advantage yet again of writing this much delayed).

Tillman's Room
 We called Hollywood home for 5 years (tears for mommy). This house has likely been one of the biggest lessons for me, a "grow up" moment, a marriage challenger, and a blessing in disguise. While I view it as a mistake of moving out to the country, a mistake is always a blessing. Had I not had to live with this mistake, I wouldn't be half the person I am today, and your parents' marriage wouldn't be as strong as it is today either. There's a country song that is titled "the house that built me."  I really believe that this is that place. It will hold a special spot in my heart.
The den AKA play room
In November of 2008 when we moved to this house, I didn't know how we were going to pay the bills.  It was a way bigger mortgage than we'd ever tackled, and we had renovations ahead of us to make it our "dream home." Nick was the "general contractor" for the project and had very few "sub" help. The renovation lasted a full year (we lived upstairs in now Caroline's room and our bathroom was our kitchen, restroom, and only source of water). We had our first family "get together" for Thanksgiving 2009, and two short months later, I was pregnant with Tillman. 

Dinning room (time out is to the right of the china cabinet)
 This house built our marriage through many counseling session. All of the issues were underlying, but the stress of the house caused us to face them. I don't feel our relationship faced anything unique, but the house gave us the extra push to seek help. We learned many tools to carry us through the walks of life together and as parents.  We sought counseling before the birth of Tillman and then again before Caroline was born. We've luckily been on cruise control for a while now, and we've met one of our biggest goal in counseling-selling the house!
Living room
(where both kids slept in their Moses baskets & swing)
 This house built our family of 4!  We brought Tillman and Caroline "home" to this house.  Hollywood is all they know as home. I do believe that home is where family is, so I hope they will find comfort in calling the next place home. (Tillman already knows his new address)
Kitchen-over looking the back yard where the kids play)
 As we spend our last week at our Hollywood Home, I feel blessed to have been faced with the challenges and growth this house brought to me, my marriage, and my family.

Master bedroom-grand central station
After all it is the house that made me a better wife and a mother...It's the House that built me...