Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lights at the Gaylord Opryland

Outside lights...

Savannah trying to sneak into the fountain...that kid will swim in anything.

Daddy and S enjoying the water show from a safer distance.

It's always the box...

Mail from Santa...
Grand Total: $276.90 spent on postage for packages sent to our home.
Santa(s) were very generous this year.

And all they wanted was the peanuts.
We spent several hours opening presents and enjoying our Christmas stories on Christmas morning. The girls especially enjoyed our new tradition - there's no such thing as a mess on Christmas morning. We enjoyed every doll, book, yo-yo and card. Thank you for thinking of us and making this a very special season for the girls. We love our amazing family and friends!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The most beautiful Megan Whitney Merrill ever!

My fabulous (never to be outdone) sister just delivered Megan Whitney Merrill, on the 20th and left the hospital 23 hours later, looking perfect for a red carpet runway. Then of course she managed to blog about it... Setting a new standard for perfect mothers all over the world. My hat off to you, that is what I call an overachiever.
(For those of you who have not met Jen, yes, she does look that beautiful all the time and so does anything she touches.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Oh Man, that's just great!

Lauren's new line. Used in a variety of situations, varied only by voice inflection. This kid can memorize anything. She frequently quotes movies (she might have a one up on Burke in the Disney department) and has an uncanny ability to pick up songs.
I think this is a sign = time for music lessons!

Can you see the love?

I guess you can find love in the oddest places.
This would be in the midst of half a box of Life cereal on the floor. Apparently the pantry lock is no longer "child proof". When she came to get me she said "Mommy we need to vacuum", and she really did manage to keep it all on the rug....hhmmm.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

When will you NOT be looking mom?

Savannah asked "When will you not look mom?"
She wants to eat this house so doesn't matter that we've already eaten 2 others.

We made this Gingerbread house at Sophia's house. They have a party every year to share their German traditions and introduce ST. Nicholaus who leaves treats in your shoes. Sally makes the most amazing gingerbread, I've never tasted anything like it. I'm going to give the recipe a go next week...

My big helpers assisting in the completion of our holiday shopping.

Taking the zoo to the Zoo.

Since we've been a few times now I wasn't rushed to race through the park. Our orienteering captain Brady led the way. Lauren's favorite animal is the meerkat. I still don't know how that fits in with the other favorites; Hannah Montana, purple, princess jewelry or barbies...?
We especially enjoyed the fish tanks, spiders, snakes and BATS!!! Everyone wanted to bring home a new pet.

Knife wielding children

Pie-in-the-Sky Pizza has an amazing set up here, and killer bar-b-q pizza. I'd give it a 5-star Yum! They have a "Dough Bar" where the kids get to play with pizza dough and are encouraged to cut, tear and even toss handfuls of deliciously seasoned ready to bake pizza dough...
La was so proud of her culinary skills. She even pointed out that she was holding and cutting correctly. Smarty-pants.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My sticker guru

Meditation was especially quiet this morning...I think it even startled me. I came out into the living room to witness Savannah apply the last of several sheets of stickers to our tv. In an effort to spare my second born's life, I only took a picture of her proud face. "See Mommy? Pretty for Daddy!"

I spent 3 hours and bottle of Goo-gone getting every last sticker off Nick's flat screen. I think I counted 76 stickers in all. Nick still doesn't know...yet.

"Leaf" it to us Mommy!

Nick was up at first daylight attempting to free our grass from its canopy of leaves. By the time the girls woke up (6:30 am) the piles were ripe for parachuting. We have a picture of Nick and his dad doing the same chores when Nick was 2 yrs. old. What a moment to relive.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Happy Lala Day!!

Fantastic fun at Chuck E. Cheese's...need I say more? Lauren has asked to have her party there for the last 4 months, so we choked down the pizza, forked out a pound of quarters and took a few tylenol to kill the buzz. I'd forgotten what a sensory overload that place is; perfect for the 4 year old mind. She's still talking about it today. (This is not of course the Wizard of Oz, turn our house into the Emrald City, home made meal and Todo cookies I'd envisioned...but then again it's not MY birthday.)
We took cupcakes to church today and her class had a picnic outside an sang the birthday song. Tomorrow we'll have pancakes with sprinkles and candles and an FHE all about the blessing of Lauren in our family. It's a week long celebration! This house is always having a party it seems...thank goodness for hard wood floors!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Princess Halloween!

Like a true surgeon, Nick carved every detail of our Princess Castle pumpkin with zeal. The girls were mesmerized and insisted on keeping it to show Santa. I can't begin to understand where they get all their crazy ideas.

We trick-or-treated with neighbors Ava and MaryScarlett. I really believe these are the best opportunities to get to know your 'real' neighbors. I was quite surprised and can't publish all my findings, but mostly gratified to see lots of families who love each other. We were quite the rat pack of princesses and fairies. The girls got at least 10 lbs of candy off just 3 streets and were ready for the bath tub pretty early. All that anticipation really wears ya out!

Who doesn't like Cold Stone??

FHE is never so good as when it ends at Cold Stone. My kids love ice cream in a way that leaves nothing to the imagination. I am thankful though, because an ice cream really can fix anything. But what do you do when it's all gone?....
"Mine all gone!" There was no substituting the half melted, blue cotton candy with gummy bear ice cream for all the world.

This was also the same day that I heard Lauren praying in her room to find her baby doll. Those sweet moments make every noisy FHE, wiggly sacrament meeting and ornery moment worth it.

Nature Center with Sophia!

Lauren and Sophia had a Halloween play date at the Nature center where they learned about bugs, spiders, bats and snakes. Then they made bats that could fly and spiders out of Oreo cookies. Savannah got to have an oreo too, but was a little young for the class. Age 3 is magical in so many ways...Savannah's countdown begins!

Biscuits and Bluegrass at Loveless Cafe

Those of you unfamiliar with Tennessee traditions, Loveless Cafe has been serving their famous biscuits since 1951. Frequented by stars, tourists and locals, it's a favorite spot for our family too! Their annual "Biscuits and Bluegrass" is free for everyone and full of fun, local arts and crafts, moonwalk, horse rides, jewelry making for kids and those famous BISCUITS, what else!!

Another free treat, they always taste the best!

I cut my own bangs (obviously), after watching The Devil Wears Prada. 11:30 at night not the best time for making these decisions I've come to find. I've since grown them out but enjoyed that "I'm 20something trying to look like I'm 12" look for a while. No Rachel, not everyone looks better with bangs.

Look Danielle, come to Vandy!!

Vanderbilt has a (very well funded) club called the Vanderbilt House Staff Alliance aka: VHA that I'm always talking about. It's for spouses/sig.others of doctors who come to Vandy. Jan Jacobson is one of the generous benefactors and had made VHA a life line for Resident families.
We have weekly playgroups, and monthly big events. There are lots of family activities, couple date nights (babysitting provided) and volunteer opportunities. With all the great examples of Copley Women to support me, I jumped right in and feel like we have a new family here.
Above, we're at Gentry Pumpkin Farm sponsored by VHA (so free snacks, drinks, and $15 admission). They have acre after beautiful acre of ponds, farm animals, tire swings, hay maze barn, chickens, bridges, boats, hay rides, grain play areas, pumpkin patches...
The girls loved playing in the outhouse next to the miniature log cabin. I can't quite see the appeal, but it did have a little crescent moon cut-out on the door...
Lauren in the hay maze going through the "mouse hole"

Over view of the hay maze. There were two slides, and tons to crawl through and over. Wow!

Playing in the grain.

Tire swings rock!

Savannah fell asleep for the first half of the trip, but helped pick out a pumpkin...

...She had to vacate her cozy ride to make room.

This was the VHA's September "Fall Fest" event at Granny White Park (one of my favorites). You can not go 4 miles in this town with out running into a park or family spot. I love it here.

Princess Crown! The balloon man was amazing. One kid was wearing the Eiffel tower.

Party favors of course. All the kids got flashlights, stickers, play dough, candy, Halloween cups and pumpkin straws. After the yummy lunch of course.

Lauren got her face painted (hello kitty, what else?) and the balloon guy you see behind her is the multi talented comedian who also does stand up on the weekends. He's so great with the kids and is a favorite at all the events.