Monday, May 12, 2014

Cousin Love

During tax season, my sister was slammed with returns so we offered to keep the kids one Sunday and of course I had my camera on the ready. 
How cute are these two? You'd never know that despite their similarity in size, they are actually like 16 months apart. I hope they are big buddies just like the others. 
Speaking of the others - here they are watching a movie before they went out and played on sand and water table (which is a massive hit in our house - my kids will play with it for HOURS). 

Appropriately enough Ellie turned 1 in April (right at the end of tax season) and since it was so close to Easter Aunt Melissa did a little egg hunt at her party. The kids loved it! 

This sweet girl is always a little camera shy so I never really know what I'm going to get. Luckily, I feel like I was able to get a few cute ones at her party. 

It took her a long time to "dig in" to her smash cake but once she did, it was "on". Happy birthday sweet girl! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fun, Friends, & Running - oh my!

At the end of March I got some precious time with this sweet friend...she was in Charleston for a conference and I went down to snag her and she flew back home from Charlotte. While she was here, we did one of the things we do best - EAT! I've been dying to try out this super cool restaurant called Kings Kitchen, ever since I moved here. The concept is awesome - 100% of their proceeds goes back into the mission of caring for homeless in Charlotte. 100%!!!! Their mission (taken from their website): 
“The King’s Kitchen” will operate as a public restaurant, serving local, healthy, Southern cuisine and the profits and proceeds from “The King’s Kitchen” will go toward feeding the poor. In addition, The King’s Kitchen will also operate “The King’s Kitchen Restoration Program” as a five-part training program to employ, train and minister the gospel of Jesus Christ to homeless, the poor, troubled youth, rehab graduates and other members of our community who are in need of employment. The King’s Kitchen will operate in the spirit of excellence by training and equipping the whole person (spirit, soul and body) thereby sending out developed leaders into our community. This will be done by working together with other local ministries, businesses, non-profits and people of faith.
How cool is that? If you're ever here - you've got to check it out. 
The fried chicken was to die for (thanks big sis for the recommendation). We laughed a lot and just generally enjoyed one another. My only wish was that she was here longer and lived closer. Love you Chelsea! 
 The very next weekend I went back to Charleston, but this time I was along for the ride rather than driving. Jennifer wanted me to do the Cooper River Bridge Run with her last year but I declined because my sweet niece Ellie was due to arrive at any moment and I did not want to miss it. Well, this year there were no excuses so I signed up! It's a race I did frequently growing up and living in Charleston but over the years it's just gotten crazy popular. It's now one of THE LARGEST 10K's in America. 40,000 runners y'all. Ridiculous! People love them some Charleston...I mean LOVE IT! 
On the way down we virtually snuggled on the up front bench seat of Matt's truck because one of his AC vents was broken and this pregnant girl was DYING! We took a photo because the entire situation was so comical and though he was "working" in the back seat, he was able to break for a photo bomb. Too funny. 
 One of Jennifer's other friends Miranda came down to run too and she and her hubby made an all out romantic weekend of things (as they should - they've got 6 kids which includes a set of quads - yes you heard that right). I kind of ended up being the 3rd wheel but I was a good sport. Both of their husbands ran but my husband prefers running only when in danger or being chased by something that will put him in danger. Above we were on our way out to a pre-race dinner without any children: woo-hoo! Below was taken the next morning crazy early as we ventured to Mount Pleasant to catch the shuttle to the start line. 
Pre-Race Photo Op - all the runners. 
 We all ended up getting kind of separated and going our own pace but when I finished there was a photo area and I wanted to get this peanut's picture taken for his/her 1st 10K. This is blurry because the website won't let you copy and although it's cute I won't be buying it so this will have to do. 
After some water and some food. The whole gang. We had a really good time but that race is just too crowded. I spent the entire 50whatever minutes it took me weaving in and out of people and passing people who were in the entirely wrong corral to start with - grrr. Races that are that miserable make me grouchy so although it was fun going with friends and even seeing some other child hood friends, I've told Jen that next year she's on her own ;).
 While I was in Charleston running, my sweet older boo-boo's were running as well. My sisters (Angel and Melissa) took on the challenge of carrying all these youngin's to the Cookies for Cancer Fun Run and 5 K in Charlotte that same Saturday that I did the bridge run. This charity is near and dear to my sisters heart as she is personally familiar with a family who had a child who battled cancer and eventually lost his fight shortly before this event. Here the kids are doing a balloon release for all those who have lost their battle. 
 According to Melissa, the race was a bit dicey. Avery and Declan apparently spent equal amounts of time whining as running. It does sound like they enjoyed themselves thankfully and I'm super appreciative she took on the "challenge". 
 Sweet cousins. 
I think Kennedy enjoyed her run with her cousin as well though it sounds like it wasn't her "best" let's just say. We did a trial run ahead of time (she takes her activities seriously...I don't know where she gets it;). Here she is the week prior after a 1.5 mile run! She acted like she could've kept going! 
 Next year I'm glad we'll be here and we can all do it together. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Little Artist's

Don't y'all find that to be so true? I do! I ADORED art growing up and in high school I even won some awards. I remember thinking there were a lot of peers around me who were what I considered "better" than me at the time, but the reality is that art is all about "YOUR creativity and design". There really is no good and bad the way I see it...there's just YOUR creation and creation is cool. Most of what I did was textile or abstract so measuring accuracy wasn't really a possibility. I find that at my kids' ages...that is true as well - it's all just wonderful to me. I love the way they see things, I love watching their wheels turn as they decide what to create and I literally wish I could keep every single thing they make because each one is that precious to me (seriously) but I can't. I started taking pictures of Kennedy's art when she was little bitty and in daycare/preschool and I'm still doing it because I want to watch it progress, change and develop. Kennedy has major creative genes which I love and now she's in art which will foster some of that and I'm totally loving her projects. Don't you agree, they are fantastic? I know, I'm biased...I'm "the Mom". I'm okay with it. 

 Before we move on to my second artist, I have to tell y'all a funny story. So...I pick Kennedy up from school this week and she's got stuff all over her shirt. I'm like "whoa, what happened to your shirt". She's all nonchalant and like "oh, it's pastels from art". She then grabs my hand and in a serious tone says "not like pastels like pastel colors but the MEDIUM (long and drawn out in tone) pastel - it's kind of like chalk. Anyhow, I got some one me". And so we've entered the age where I now know nothing and she knows everything. Oh Lawd. I wanted to be like "sister - I know ALL ABOUT pastels" but I didn't I just smiled and said "oh, cool". Too funny. 

Avery is not as intense about her creations as Kennedy. I'm sure that shocks y'all to pieces, right. She'll probably blow my definition of abstract totally out of the water! Ha! What I do love is that no matter where she creates (the ymca, Sunday school, BSF, or home) she always comes running after and proudly thrusts it out to me and says with a wayward blink and smile "It's for you Momma, I made it for you". Love her sweet heart. 

Who knows if they'll always enjoy creating and art, but for now it's super fun to see what they come up with and of course I'm thankful to always be on the receiving end of their precious creations. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It's Official Y'all!

Team Taylor is no longer a party of 5! 

Some of this post will be a Facebook re-run for some of you, but hang in there - I've put some special new stuff at the end for ya ;). 

We really wanted to share our surprise news with our friends in a creative way (thanks for the extra motivation Janine!) but were having a hard time determining exactly what that would look like. Well, fast forward to a little impromptu photo session with my main squeeze Grey wherein my sweet photos turned into multiple expressions on his behalf and utter exasperation on my behalf. The photos were not at all what I was hoping for but the more I looked at them, the more tickled I got and the more my creative wheels started turning. Voila - an idea was born. We posted the pictures on Facebook on April Fool's Day with captions compliments of Tim and I combined. Without further ado: our Album titled "True Story"
 "Greyson, Mommy & Daddy have something to tell you. Are you listening?"
 "We got you a new book and it's a true story. Do you know what it is?"
 Him: "A big brother? Awesome!" Us: "We're glad you're so excited!"
 Him: "I AM excited - I mean, there is a LOT and I do mean a LOT of estrogen in this house - maybe we'll score another boy. How cool would that be?" Daddy: "I know! Right?!
 ♫ Because I'm happy, clap along if you feel like a room without a roof, because I'm HAPPY! ♫
 Him: "Hold up, is this an April Fool's joke?"
 Him: "I mean, if this is an April Fool's joke - I seriously don't think I'll ever speak to you two again. Seriously."
That is so messed up! I can't believe you would do that to me!"
 Us: "No baby, it's real. We promise. Why don't you read your new book and find out what being a big brother is all about?!"
 Him: "Wait. What? I'm going to have to share with him? Like, even my choo-choo's?"
Us: Honey, keep reading - being a big brother is about SO MUCH more than that...just think about your big sisters and how much you love them and how good they are to you."
 Him: "Right, right - If he is anything like my sisters it will be all good. Let's do this! So, when does he arrive?" 
Us: "Well, first of all we don't know if the baby is a he/she but your little sibling will arrive early October 2014."

Since I was 12 weeks on April 1st, I went ahead and got my bump pictures going (there was definitely one there!)
12 Weeks
12 Weeks
12 Weeks

One month later, on May 1st I was at my 16 week mark so I tried to take the exact same photos but you know - I've decided that never exactly works out. Close enough! I'm feeling really good - still running and working out a good bit trying to stay as fit as possible. In my other pregnancies, staying healthy was important but I don't know if it was as much as priority as this time around and I think it's because I know keeping up with 4 is going to be no easy task. I mean, if I can keep working hard now - it will be that much easier afterwards. Right? 
16 Weeks
16 Weeks
I felt the little peanut move for the first time last week. Fetal movement is still as amazing now as it was with Kennedy. Thankful for our little surprise miracle.