Monday, December 27, 2010

So Very, Very Thankful

I know that I say it every year, but its still true every year. And I want the boys to look back through this book about their childhood as they grow up and then even as adults, and know that its true. But we have so much to be thankful for. Much much more than we deserve. And to spend my favorite holiday at my Nana and Papa's house this year made it even more special because of the hard, hard road they've traveled this past year.

You might be wondering where are the pictures of all the fun family celebrations are. Well, the truth is we really didn't have much time to take many pictures this year. Honestly, I think we were all just so happy to have Nana and Papa healthy and with us that we were all determined to do every bit of the Thanksgiving Day work to make sure they rested the way they needed to be. Mama, Aunt Debbie, Britt, Becca and Lindsey and I took care of all the food. And Daddy, Uncle Wilson, Michael, and David rotated duties of picking up pecans, doing anything down at the shop Papa wanted them to, picking oranges off the trees, and running around on the farm with Thayer, Ben and Drew. Our last day there, Britt and Michael even made about 5 extra meals for them to keep in the freezer and pull out after we had left so she wouldn't have work to do.

We all pitched in to make sure that Nana and Papa both stayed off their feet as much as possible. Nana got so tickled because on the way down there we taught the boys to say "Nana, please go sit down" any time they saw her on her feet. Once we realized that she wasn't listening to us, we got more creative and began telling Drew to bring her books and ask her to read to him. I think that might be among my favorite memories; peeping in to watch her read book after book to my completely enthralled child that she used to read to me.

Yes, we did celebrate the Thanksgiving season plenty. And no, it didn't go just like it always has for many years. But it certainly was special. And some things just don't change: we always have a great time together, we always eat really good food, we always laugh till our sides hurt, and we are always there to help each other out. Yes, maybe this year more than any other, I feel so thankful to have been placed in this family. A happy Thanksgiving indeed.

BOO! Scared Ya, Didn't We?

Happy Halloween! Party time for all the little ghouls and boys was lots of fun. We kicked it off with our class party at school. Here are my little Titans starting off the day by making Halloween masks....And here is the whole class showing off what they made...One of the highlights of the OC Halloween party each year is watching all the other classes go on parade through the school, showing off all their costumes. This year, the boys loved getting to be some of the biggest kids in the school and watch all the "little kids". And here are some of each of the boys' artwork Miss Anna had hanging from the ceiling.
And after all that parading everybody needed a little snack. My favorite little monsters did a great job of helping me get all the food ready (Frankenstein pretzel rods, spider krispy treats, and monster eyeballs and claws aka: grapes and apple wedges), and they were super proud to share it with their friends.
What an adorable class, huh?!

Our other favorite Halloween tradition is Trunk or Treat at our church. Its always so much fun to see all the decorated trunks --people really get into it-- and walk the boys around to all the cars to get candy.

Here's our only decent family picture in the trunk of our car.

The Titans pose for a team picture...

And what Trunk or Treat would be complete without a Lifegroup kids picture?? I know, its not the greatest picture in the world, with babies falling down out of laps and Drew hanging from the ceiling and NO ONE looking at the camera...but I'm pretty sure if we had a perfect picture of all the kids then we would be breaking tradition. ;)
That about wraps up our Halloween festivities. But in other Blankinship Family news, we did begin an exciting new chapter in our lives. Our house that we've lived in since I was pregnant with the twins is now on the market and we're beginning the process of completely gutting/ renovating a house! We've had lots of weekends that we've had to totally rearrange our schedules at the drop of a had so we could have a showing, but we're really hopeful that God will provide for us in His perfect timing. More to come on the progress of the house in the next few posts. Until then, thanks for checking in on us!

Big Boys Turn 5 (let the parties begin!)!!!!

Where does the time go?!?! I mean, people tell you that time really flies when you have kids. But WOW! I'm still not sure how it is that I am the parent to TWO five year olds! But yes, the time certainly has flown by, and I wouldn't trade one single minute of being the mommy to these boys.

And they were pretty excited about turning five. Maybe more excited than they've ever been about a birthday so far. And of course, we wanted to celebrate them in a special way. So once we FINALLY convinced them that we couldn't have a boys-only-spend-the-night-camp-out-in-our-own-backyard birthday party, they decided they wanted to go to the pumpkin farm. I knew the perfect place.

We headed to Walden Farm in Nolensville for some Fall Fun. We had everyone meet us at the back of the farm where they have this huge kids activity area with bins of dried corn to play in (think, like a sand box, but full of corn kernels to dig around in), see-saws, a 40 foot slide, a huge old tree, complete with a tire swing, and best of all a hay-bale mountain that was enormous! The kids all loved climbing to the top.
This is my best effort at getting a group picture. No one else was really that interested in helping me with this, though. On our way back down towards the log cabin where we had all the rest of the party set up, we stopped at the pumpkin patch to pick out a little pumpkin. We took them all back to the cabin and everyone got to decorate their own however they wanted. We took a break from all the artistry for some lunch and cupcakes.......and then showed everyone our hard work.And that pretty much wrapped up the party. So, most of our buddies left. But seeing that we were blessed with such great weather, we took the few that stayed around on a hayride. Here's a picture with Mommy and the Birthday Boy......and Daddy with the Birthday Boy!!!And it just wouldn't be right to have a birthday party for Ben and Drew WITHOUT getting a picture with their buddy Brax.After the hayride the boys decided to explore even more. So we headed back into the farm to see all the things we didn't have time to do earlier.And wrapped up with a little choo-choo ride.It was a pretty fun day. And the best part is that they both had a great time celebrating with their friends, knowing how much they are loved.

You might have noticed that other than Mommy and Daddy there weren't any of our family members in the pictures. The reason why is because this year, we decided to have all of our family come into town for the actual weekend of the boys birthday, and celebrate with a friends' party the weekend before. Due to the weather last year, it ended up that we were forced to do the same thing. And once we started talking about it, we realized that it really was nice to be able to focus on our families while they're here, rather than rush around with party stuff. So this year we scheduled it that way on purpose. I have to say, I think we really all enjoyed it. And its always so great when you're blessed with families that get along and enjoy spending time together to do so. So here are a few shots of our birthday party at home with both sides of the fam....

hamming it up (a.k.a. "any excuse to wrestle my brother will do") for the camera before opening presents.Opening their very first set of real golf clubs from Mommy and Daddy. They were so surprised and so excited. They took them out to the front yard for a few practice swings and loved hitting with something a little more substantial than the plastic ones we've always used (for fear of things getting broken).Luckily that Saturday happened to be a soccer game. So we brought along an entire cheering section. Michael coached the team again this season, bringing our number of seasons of coaching and playing up to 3! I have to say--he is so patient with all the kids, is great at it, and really seems to enjoy doing it.

and lastly, we celebrated their birthday by bringing treats to their class at school. They chose for me to bring donuts from Krispy Kreme (no complaints here!) and asked if I would come have lunch with them. I was so happy to say YES! The three of us got to sit at a very special table in the middle of the room and eat together. And then they stood up with Miss Anna while the class sang the Happy Birthday song and Miss Anna led a prayer of blessing for them. Of course, I cried during it. But I'm pretty sure I covered it up in time to pass out the treats and get happy to celebrate our boys in such a special place. We LOVE Otter Creek! And we LOVE Miss Anna!!! We are so thankful that they are there!So that about wraps up our three-week long birthday celebration. And thank goodness for it too...I'm not sure how much more celebrating I could do. ;) The truth is they are such sweet spirited little boys, and I am just so proud of who they are. Getting to watch them grow these last five years has been the biggest honor and blessing of my life, and I can't wait to see what all God has in store for them. Each special in his own way, we are blessed beyond measure with these twins.

Thanks for checking in on us! this rate, I might even be caught up on all thats going on in our lives by the next time you stop by.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Finally Fall!!

What a fun fall we had! We kicked off the cooler-weather season with our very first campout to celebrate our buddy Brax's 5th birthday!! Darci put on an amazing all-boy (read: no girls allowed) spend the night campout in their backyard. All the Daddies came to play with their boys, and I think they had as much fun as the kiddos did.

There was a bonfire to roast marshmallows on, they rode around the yard on the Bad Boy Buggy, and all slept in tents. Our boys had so much fun celebrating Brax's birthday! Here are a few of my favorite pictures...
Uncle Bobber (even though he isn't our uncle, the boys still call him that) somehow managed to be the designated driver of all the kids that were hyped up on CapriSuns!And they played in the "tree house".
Getting their treat bags, which had everything they would need at a campout: a flashlight with their name on it, a bug catcher, a magnifying glass (that was immediately lost), some glow sticks, and lots of other fun treats.The birthday boy with his gummy worm cupcakes...The three amigos showing off their glow sticks right before bed. Everybody taking one last spin on the Bad Boy Buggy before the Daddies zipped them in the tents. ...And here's what happens when you play so hard: (don't you love how he fell asleep with the glow sticks on top of him?!)

Here's what the backyard looked like the morning after...What better way to wake up than to already be with all your favorite friends and start running around outside in your jammies at 5:30 a.m.?
They reallly did have a blast, and months later are STILL talking about how they want to have a no-girls-allowed spend-the-night campout in their backyard. Hate to tell em, but its probably not possible to top that one. Better just leave that to Miss Darci.
A few weeks later the boys' class took a field trip to Gentry's Farm in Franklin to learn all about pumpkins, corn, farm animals and fall. We started off with a picnic, then walked across a little bridge to the farm.

Miss Anna's Pre-K class 2010:First we learned all about corn and listened so politely. And then they got to play in troughs of dried corn kernels
Next stop was the old barn where she taught them all about wheat and flour, and inside were lots of little activity stations for them to play with and learn about.Then we visited an old tobacco barn that is now currently housing a hay-bale maze......that ends with a slide down.Measuring one of my little pumpkins:And then for the hayride. This is Mr. Gentry explaining to all the kids about how the pumpkin starts out as a little yellow flower, and tying it all into God's goodness and faithfulness. Such a sweet object lesson. And then we got to each pick out our own pumpkin.It was one of my favorite field trips!
Anyone who knows us knows that we spend an insane amount of time outside. If the sun is shining we're outside, and sometimes even when it isn't. We are very blessed to have lived in a cul de sac with lots of children, and since we are outside so often we are almost always playing with these friends. Here's most of the cul de sac kids on one random afternoon: Lauren, Allison, Anna Beth, Dalton & Mackenzie. We've gained other friends on our street, and we've said goodbye to one, but we sure have enjoyed having people to play with in the afternoons. That just about wraps up our September. Here's a fun picture of my two little buddies that captures their little spirits just perfectly....Happy Fall, Y'all!