Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snow Day (again...)

Oh my goodness.  What in the world is going on in the Southeast this year?!  I can hardly remember a year [anywhere I've lived] where school has been cancelled so many days for snow.  But this time, the snow finally came after two CLOUDY days (school was cancelled on these days for the threat of wintry weather).  

We had just put George to bed when we looked outside to see a blanket of snow that had not been there an hour before.  It was beautiful!  We went outside to find our neighbors, The Maddox's, in our yard.  Everyone was going to be home the next day, so we decided that we'd all meet up in the morning.

To say that George was excited about the snow, would be the understatement of the year.  I think maybe it's because of the movie, Frozen, but he asks me every morning now if it is snowing outside.  It sort of breaks my heart to tell him that today, it's seventy degrees outside.

**we are, definitely, getting him some gloves soon.

 As soon as we went outside, Grady came over with half of our breakfast!  We had a big pancake breakfast with the Maddox's after the boys got some energy out in the snow first.

 Oh these boys.  I love everyone's friendships in this picture.

 Max and Harper.  Best friends.  Arch-nemises, too.

 John Grady's ski goggles were enough to make me burn up an entire SD card with all of the pictures I took of him.

 This is ALL these boys wanted to do. (Well...George really wanted to build a snowman.)  One of the dads would drag them up the hill...

 ...and push them down in this nifty sled!

 It.  Was.  Awesome.

 Then it was George's turn.
**we're also getting George a hat.  
I do feel terrible that he had to wear my girly hat from Target.

 Double Sledding!

We finally built a snowman in the Maddox's yard- 
and I'd say this guy was worth the wait.
I mean- he's taller than Clay!

The snow really is so much fun now that George enjoys playing in it.  But, if truth be told, I am ready for spring.  I need sunshine in my life in a major way.  I need picnics, playground time, and the ability to sit on our porch during George's nap without a chill in the air.  I need Easter, and knee socks for George, and our azalea bush in our backyard to bloom.  Spring is just my favorite time of year, and after this doozy of a winter, I feel like it's going to be even sweeter.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Maddox Farm

We love our neighbors, The Maddox's, oh-so-much.  We've been instant friends with them since pretty much our second night living in our house.  We became parents around the same time.  We've gone on trips together.  We swap kids on a pretty regular basis.  We hang out as much as we possibly can with everyone's busy schedules (i.e. Grady's call schedule as a resident, and Clay's travel schedule). But now it was time to meet the parents.  

Grady's parents have a farm in Dothan, Alabama, and the four of us, our kids, and our dogs went down to the farm last Friday for the weekend.  It was just the best weekend I can remember!

We got in just in time for dinner Friday night, and it was pretty dark at this point.  We woke up and were really able to take everything in.

Five horses staring me down.

This little guy was born the night before we arrived.  I wasn't going to get any closer- that Mama Cow did not look like she was in the mood to let me pet her baby.

really serious face.

So- here's a re-cap of George's Saturday morning:
Wake Up
Ride in the pick up truck (not buckled in!) to go 'feed the cows'
Eat a delicious breakfast
Jump on the trampoline while the Dad's saddle up horses

What more could a two-year-old want?!

Oh yeah.  Time with his best friend!

Nothing makes me swoon like seeing Clay fly fish, or when he's riding a horse.
It's just so manly.

Here's Mr. Maddox with the two boys!

Grady, Clay and Brego...the horse.

Harper is actually still recovering from this weekend.  She has had a pretty steady limp since her weekend on the farm, but I'm sure you can tell she had a great time, too.

My loves on a horse.

They were PUMPED to get to ride a horse together.  Seriously- I honestly can't tell you who has talked about the horse rides more between Clay and George.  

Clay put it really well- it was the first thing that they've been able to do together that they both really enjoyed.  Clay loves going to the McWane Center, the pool, the zoo, etc. because he loves how happy it makes George.  But if we didn't have George, those wouldn't be activities that Clay would naturally choose.  Riding a horse is something Clay really enjoys- and it was a whole new level to see George enjoy it, too.

Grady, John Grady, Chico (again...the horse), Clay, George, and Brego

Mr. Maddox leading the crew on Sly the horse.

All of the dogs following closely behind.

The boys sacked out after lunch for a whopping 3 hour nap. just brought more fun.

A romantic wagon ride for two!

Yes please!

Sorry for the smooching picture...I just sort of love it.

Then we hitched up the big wagon and everyone piled in!

George and John Grady even got to 'steer' the wagon.
This picture just stops my heart every time 
with George's arms around his dad and best friend.

One last view of the cow pasture from the wagon ride.

I feel like this picture really captures what George's face looked like the entire time we were there.  It was so much fun to watch him just get to be a boy on a farm.

Sunday morning we had a big brunch and then the Maddox's led a little church service for everyone.  We sang hymns, and shared scriptures, etc., and it was just such a special time together.  I will treasure this weekend, and the memories made on that farm, forever.  Our dear friends are moving to Colorado this summer for Grady's fellowship- and I just can't imagine not having them right across the street this fall.  I am so, so thankful for their loyal, and steadfast, friendship.  It has been a blessing to us in the truest sense of the word.  Getting to see where Grady grew up was just such a treat- and to see how interconnected our families are just made it the best weekend we've had as a family in a long time.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014

It took me almost all day to figure out why people were calling Tuesday, January 28 the 'Snowpocalypse'.  Our day started out...pretty awesome.  My friend, Mivvi, and I took the kids out to Airwalk down 280.  And I mean DOWN 280.  If you're not from Birmingham, 280 is a traffic nightmare on the mildest, most beautiful day of the year.  If there's a cloud in the sky, you better drop what you're doing and get in your car and find the nearest backroad to get off 280.  If there's should just pitch a tent where you are.  Because you're not getting ANYWHERE. we are at Airwalk Tuesday morning.  
This place was George's dream-come-true.  One huge trampoline!
After we finished jumping, we all decided to head to Chick-Fil-A for a fun lunch all together.  George was PUMPED!  He loves Mivvi's kids.  He loves Chick-Fil-A.  He was elated!

This picture was taken FIVE hours into our drive.  We had made it about 1.5 miles at this point.  George was still asking about Chick-Fil-A.  He wanted to know where Carly and Laney were (Mivvi's twin girls).  He just wanted to know WHY we were stuck in the car.  
I was wondering why he wouldn't take off that jacket.
(in case you are wondering- he NEVER took off the jacket or hood throughout the 8 hour debacle)

Anyways...I didn't have a single thing in the car with me.  No diapers.  No movies.  No toys.  I did find 2 Thomas the Train books, but I didn't have the 'computer' that reads the books for George.  I had 2 bags of snacks (think...personal bag of goldfish) to last George, essentially, all day.
Mom of the year.

After 6 grueling hours...I see this sight.
He fought through the crowds, wrecked cars, snow, ice, and everything else that would have kept him from being with us, and walked miles down 280 just to sit in the car with us and keep us company.

Not only did he keep me company, but he brought a backpack!  The backpack was filled with DVDs, toys, and CHICK-FIL-A!  It sort of reminded me of the cornucopia in The Hunger Games- it had something (or several things) we desperately needed.

 Once Clay got to us, it was another 2ish hours until this was happening.  In short, it was an 8-hour-drive home.  George was awesome.  He was cool as a cucumber in the back.  I was having emotional break-downs at pretty regular intervals.
All-in-all...Tuesday was a pretty brutal day.

But then we woke up...and it was Wednesday!
Since Clay was home with us all day, I made a big breakfast and then we bundled up to go outside.

As part of my strategy to stay positive on Tuesday, I promised George that we would build a snowman as soon as we got home.  I had no idea we would be getting home well after dark, and that no one would be in any emotional state to have any sort of fun in the snow.  
Here...George is gathering sticks for Olaf's arms and 'hair'. (If you haven't seen Frozen..go see it!)

Then, in typical Clay fashion, he made the day even more fun!  He jimmy-rigged a sled for George which of course George thought was hilarious.

Then we took it on the ice for the real fun!

Then our neighbors got home and got out the REAL sled!

John Grady was the best pusher :)

Here's our Olaf!

Olaf the Snowman

Overall, this is for sure the most memorable 'snow day' I think I've ever had.  People were calling it the Snowpocalypse because it really looked like the rapture had happened- and we were just all left behind!   I heard story after story of how the surprise of this snow/ice storm affected so many families, and even separated some families for days, I just couldn't stop thinking of the kids that were stuck at daycare/Mother's Day Out and had to spend the night away from their parents.  I know that kids and adults will remember this event in such different ways- and I am thankful for that.  George will just remember watching two back-to-back movies in the car and eating Chick-Fil-A.  I will remember the hours of panic wondering when we would ever make it home.   I will never forget the hundreds of abandoned cars that clogged the icy streets and made it almost impossible for us to get home.  Clay will always remember the cars floating in the Cahaba River and walking 7 miles just to get to George and me.  

Thankfully- the rest of our snow days were a whole lot more fun!