Sunday, January 25, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

Tyler and I decided to stay home and have a family night for New Year's Eve and we were so glad we did. We had a blast together just hanging out, doing puzzles and playing games.

What a sweet New Year's Eve kiss! (at 8pm)

making monsters with Max's new art jar that Santa brought

playing animal bingo

These boys could play in their home made fort forever

A few days after New Years we took Max to the historic Franklin Theatre to see Big Hero 6. Going to a movie is one of Max's favorite things to do. He had already seen the movie 3 times, and he loved it the fourth time just as much as the first.

Merry Christmas 2014

Santa found our house again this year!

Max slept until almost 8am, and we were all excited for him to wake up so we could open gifts. We had to make noise downstairs so he would hurry up and get up.

He absolutely loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates right now, so Santa brought him a big Jake boat. He loved it!

Daddy had a great idea to get Max his first set of golf clubs for Christmas. In the Spring, it will be so much fun for the two of them to go golfing together.

Dede and Pop got Max 3 really cool robots and he loves them!

Slippers and shades

little monster!

Grandpa Tom went home after we opened gifts and ate breakfast together. Then we went to Mimi and Pal's house for the rest of the day. 

Max and TK had a blast opening up presents!

Mimi got Max a really cool flying helicopter

Max's gift to TK was a fairy doll and fairy dress from the movie, Pirate Fairy

hanging out in the massage chair with Uncle E

They both love Mimi's piano so much!

We all spent the night at Mimi and Pal's house because the boys went on their annual duck hunting trip the next morning. Max and TK wanted to sleep in the same room together. TK got a little scared when it was time to turn the lights out, so Max said, "Here TK, you can sleep with my stuffed animal monkey. He will help make you brave." It was so sweet and it worked!

The next day, the boys left early for 4 days of duck hunting in AR. Chelsea and TK hung out with us at Mimi's house and played with all their new toys.

And we went to see the horse

We relaxed and enjoyed spending time together over the next several days. It was so nice to be able to hang out and just visit for such a long period of time. That's the only time of year we are ever able to do that.  And the boys had a blast duck hunting together.

Getting Ready for Christmas

Christmas becomes more and more fun each year as Max gets older. We do so many fun things this time of year that we wouldn't be doing otherwise, like...

...Breakfast with Santa at ONCC. Our friends and their kids come every year to this event and it's a lot of fun for everyone. We all ate a great breakfast together and the kids took photos with Santa. Max is terrified of Santa this year, hence no photo with him. That makes me so sad not to have even a screaming picture with Santa, but Max would go nowhere near him and I didn't want to traumatize him. After breakfast, the kids made Christmas crafts and balloon animals. It's such a fun family event and we look forward to doing it again next year. 

Max, Lilly, Walker, and Tripp with their balloon swords

Making a gingerbread house is one of Max's very favorite Christmas traditions. He loved helping me make the house, but more than that, he loves picking the candy off the house and eating it when I'm not looking.

Grandpa Tom came in town a few days before Christmas to visit. We had a really nice visit and spent time relaxing and looking at Christmas lights.

Another one of Max's favorite Christmas traditions is looking at Christmas lights. We went 3 times this year. He likes to take popcorn and hot cocoa with him. We took Grandpa Tom with us to look at some lights.

Christmas Eve, before church

Christmas Eve Service at Church
Max stayed in big church with us. He loved the music and the candle lighting ceremony

We had a really nice Christmas Eve dinner together.

One of Grandpa Tom's gifts from us was a book of photos of Max from all of last year. It's amazing how much the little guy has changed in the last year. 

Grandpa Tom let Max open his gifts on Christmas Eve. He got some really cool toys including a wooden race car and train that you build and then paint. He also got a puzzle with pirates on it.

His big gift was an awesome John Deere dump truck and it was one of Max's favorite Christmas gifts. He plays with it every single day and is so proud to show it off. 

Doing a Jake floor puzzle with Daddy

This face never gets old

Daddy opened a few gifts on Chrismas Eve. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Family Trip to Chattanooga

I really wanted to take Max on a trip, just the three of us, before Jude is born. I thought it would be fun to take him somewhere he would love and just focus on him for the weekend. I talked to Tyler about it and we decided to plan a trip to Chattanooga to visit the Tennessee Aquarium and the Children's Creative Discovery Museum. When we planned the trip, we had no idea it would be that much fun! We were only gone for 24 hours, but we packed a lot of fun things into that short amount of time. 

Max is the perfect car traveler now that he loves watching movies on the IPAD. He likes to put on his headphones and watch movies or episodes of Blue's Clues, Jake, or Mickey for almost the whole way. It works out well for everyone.

The nice thing about Chattanooga is that it only takes about 2 hours to get there from our house. We got there late afternoon on Friday, December 5 and checked into our hotel. Max was excited about every single thing we did starting with the idea that the three of us were going to spend the night in a hotel together and have a sleepover. He wanted to pick which bed he would sleep in and then jump on it. Of course we let him. Then we decided to walk around the city a little bit. Chattanooga is a very walkable city, so we put Max in the stroller and took off exploring. We checked out an amazing indoor carousel that we thought Max would love, but he didn't and refused to ride.

We walked over the river and ended up getting some amazing ice cream before dinner. Max got chocolate ice cream with M&M's, sprinkles, and hot fudge. Needless to say, he was in heaven!

Then we walked to Mellow Mushroom to meet Tyler's brother, Greg, for dinner. Greg moved there from Memphis last year and we haven't seen him since he moved, so it was great to catch up.

Then we had a pajama party in our hotel room and Max loved it!

The next morning we ate some breakfast and then headed over to the Tennessee Aquarium. Max kept talking about how all he wanted to see were the sharks. We tried to explain that there was a lot more to see than just sharks, but he wasn't convinced. The Aquarium was amazing and I would definitely recommend it to everyone. It took about 2 hours to go through. One building is filled with freshwater fish and animals and the other was all saltwater animals. Max loved petting whatever this fish is called. All I remember is that they live for up to 80 years!

Enjoying looking at all the fish!

Check out the illuminated fish behind Max's head!

This kid was really excited about Christmas, too, and loves pointing out every Christmas tree he sees.

He loved the penguins

 His favorite exhibit was the giant saltwater tank filled with tons of different kinds of fish, sharks, and turtles. Two divers entered the tank just as we were getting there. They talked to us all about the fish in there and about how they take care of them. Max sat perfectly still and watched the whole time. He finally got to see his sharks.

Having a little fun in the shark cage.

Giant crabs! Yikes!

I thought the jelly fish were fascinating.

After a nice lunch at Big River Grill, we took Max to the Children's Discovery Museum which was directly across the street from our hotel. We weren't sure if Max would like it or not, but as it turns out, it was awesome! All three of us ended up having a blast and we were so glad we went. I would recommend it to anyone that has kids. We were worried that Max would't be old enough to enjoy it, but there were so many fun things to do, we couldn't get him to leave the place. Now I know why it's been voted one of the best children's museums in the country. It was a nice balance between being educational and encouraging creativity and imaginative play.

We only have a few pictures to show, but we could have stayed there all day. Every room encouraged a different kind of play or taught something new. Tyler and I were really impressed and we will definitely be going back.

Using air to blow the beach ball through the hoop

Max LOVED the dinosaur exhibit. The giant T-Rex was impressive

He thought the giant sand pit full of dinosaur bones was great! I thought it was a great idea too, so we went digging for dinosaur bones. I think he could have stayed in there all day.

Clearly, he enjoyed it.

He liked riding in this car too. He liked pretending it was running out of gas. He would fill it up and then keep on driving.

What a great trip this was and all three of us were so glad we took it. It was such a nice family trip to take before our house gets crazy for a while with a new baby. We wanted Max to feel special, and I think he did!