Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Over fall break, we went to Nashville for a few days. One day, we just explored Franklin. It is such a quaint town with lots of really fun shops and restaurants. We ate at Puckett's Grocery, and it was delicious!
We also went to The Factory at Franklin. It's a really neat place because it used to be a real factory. One the outside it still looks pretty much the same ~ like an old factory. On the inside, it has been totally renovated with shops, restaurants, and space that can be rented out for events.
We really enjoyed visiting with Andy, Miriam, and sweet, little Bear.
We also toured where Andy works on Music Row and ate at Bella Napoli for lunch.
We took some time to look all over Nashville including the Capitol Building.
Opryland Hotel is so beautiful. The kids had never been there before, and they loved it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Family Weekend In Pigeon Forge

Our family went to Pigeon Forge recently to celebrate my mom's birthday and my mom and dad's 60th anniversary. We enjoyed some beautiful mountains on the way into Pigeon Forge.
We had lots of fun hanging out in the two condos we were sharing.
There may have even been a dance-off!
There was some song writing and singing going on.

Rides, rides, and more rides!

We celebrated Silas's first birthday!
We all went out to dinner at The Apple Barn restaurant.

Parker and Claire were able to fit in a little go-kart racing too before the weekend ended.
Families that love each other are a blessing for sure. We are very thankful for the weekend to spend together.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Claire's 9th Birthday

Claire had a wonderful 9th birthday! She woke up to presents and a fun birthday breakfast.
She ate on our family birthday plate.
I can't believe how grown up she is!

Here she is with our birthday plate through the years.
She has worn the same birthday bow for every single birthday. I hope she still wears it when she's 100!
Two friends came over to celebrate and spend the night.

We also celebrated with family at Fazoli's ~ her choice. The girl loves her breadsticks!

Claire is so special, and we are so thankful for her. I am so blessed to be her mama.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Claire's 9th Birthday Interview

Every year, I always ask the kids to answer the same interview questions on their birthday. I love looking back at their answers from years past. I hope one day they will enjoy reading about themselves when they were younger. If not, it can just be one more thing that they remember their crazy mama making them do every year. I'm sure it's a long list.

Claire's 9th Birthday Interview 

1. What is your favorite color? pink
2. Who is your best friend? Sydney Mains
3. What is your favorite thing to do? play outside and watching Full House
4. What is your favorite food? macaroni and cheese and poppyseed chicken
5. What do you like to do with your family?go out to eat
6. What is your favorite toy?makeup and iPod
7. What do you want to be when you grow up? a pop star
8. What makes you happy? when I get presents, when I get to play with Sydney, going on vacation, eating chocolate
9. What makes you sad? when I get in trouble, when nobody can come out to play, homework
10. What is your favorite show to watch? Full House, ICarly, Teen Titans Go, Clarence
11. What is your favorite book? Meet Addy
12. What do you love to learn about? animals and research
13. Where do you like to go? shopping, Disney World, Myrtle Beach, lots of places
14. What do you think about before you fall asleep? secrets and singing
15. If you could meet someone famous who would it be? Ariana Grande
16. What is something you are really good at? drawing, acting, singing
17. What is something new you'd like to try? ice skating and dancing
18. What is your favorite song to sing? "Bang Bang"
19. What is your favorite movie? Harry Potter (all of them)
20. What game do you like to play? hide and seek in the dark

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Keep On Survivin'

It seems as if I should have added one more thing to my list of 39 things I don't want to do while I'm 39.

Find a frog in my house in the middle of the night.

Technically, I wasn't the one who found the frog. The story goes a little something like this...

Parker came into our room in the middle of the night and told Brian that there was a frog in the bathroom. I was sound asleep, so I had no idea all of this went down until the next day. When Brian went to investigate, fully intending to find a frog shaped piece of fuzz in the corner, what he found was a frog. A real frog. When I heard this story, I pictured this only even uglier and bigger (the size of the bathtub for example).

Brian assured me that it was a tiny frog that looked suspiciously like Claire's African dwarf frog that resides in a tank in her room. Claire's frog, Ella Katie Murray, is known to be a survivor. First of all, she's lived almost three years. Parker's frog only lived about a year. Secondly, she's survived for months and months in the dirtiest, nastiest, can't even see through the water it's so foggy tank. Maybe we aren't the best frog owners, but that's beside the point. Yep, that girl's a survivor.

My theory is that Ella Katie was so deprived of clean water that she managed to find a way to escape from her tank in a search for the nearest water (the bathroom). I seriously can't find any way that she could have escaped, and it's a mighty long way from that tank in Claire's room to the far corner of the bathroom. Somehow she did it. So Brian, in his middle of the night sleepy stupor, gave her what she was looking for. Water. (Insert flushing sound here.)

We are hopeful that she's swimming in the sewer somewhere singing (in the words of Destiny's Child), "I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it, I'm a survivor, Keep on survivin'".

Swim on, Ella Katie, swim on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What I Learned In October

1. Elderly frogs are surprisingly strong and determined. (More on this tomorrow...)

2. Claire officially has what my family refers to as the "Friday Foot". Listen people, my side of the family has big feet. Since my maiden name was Friday (yes, like the day of the week), we've always called it the "Friday Foot". I bought her some new boots. They are a size 8 1/2. IN WOMEN'S. May I remind you that she just turned nine years old?

3. Parker's foot is pretty big too. Time will tell whether it will officially be a "Friday Foot".

4. I really like to sleep in my own bed. (I already knew this, but since we traveled a lot in October, I got a big reminder.)

5. However, I really love to travel. I seriously can't get enough of exploring and seeing different places. New places, places I've been before, places I've never even heard of, etc, etc, etc. I love it all. (I already knew that too. Ha!)

6. We need a much longer fall season. The beautiful colors and the cool (but not yet cold) weather just doesn't last long enough.

7. I really love Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks. Since I'm not much of a coffee person, I never gave them a chance. Until this year. And even though I'm late to the party, I'm hooked. Now for the bad news...

8. Starbucks told me yesterday that they are out of Pumpkin Spice FOR THE YEAR! I looked at the girl like she must be seriously mistaken. She told me again. FOR THE YEAR. I just don't understand. PSL has to be one of their best sellers. Why would they quit selling them at the end of October? Please. Somebody. Do. Something. For. The. Love.

Let's just stop there. I'm not sure I have the will to go on. (See #8)

What did you learn in October (silly or serious)?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween 2014

What a fun Halloween! On Thursday, we carved our jack-o-lantern. The kids drew on the face and took turns cutting it out.

On Friday, we made homemade pizza before heading out for a rainy, cold Halloween.
Claire was a beautiful butterfly and Parker wore his woopie cushion costume for the fourth year in a row. I'm not sure if it's just tradition for him now or if he really likes it that much. I don't mind though because it's a whole lot better than the costumes in stores for boys his age. They are all so evil and gross! Not to mention, reusing a costume is free. Mama likes free!
We have a great neighborhood for trick-or-treating. There are kids everywhere, and lots of fun neighbors who enjoy handing out candy.
They both came home with buckets overflowing! We definitely won't run out of candy for a long time!

We hope you had a fun Halloween!