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Tuesday, December 24, 2013


In an effort to keep Turner's birthday separate from Christmas, I am sliding this blog post in before tomorrow:)  
Turner's golden birthday was this year.  He was 5 years old on the 5th, and decided months ago that he wanted a Pirate party.  I didn't know what to make of that, and luckily he wasn't very picky.  So some time in October, we decided to combine his love of swimming with said pirate party and went with it!
Our gym has an indoor pool that we have been loving since Lifetime opened.  So why not have a pool party in December?  Here were some of his guests at the beginning of the party.  Cousin Chloe was the only girl!
Good thing she brought her dad to help lifeguard.  
Heath and Pop Pop were also recruited to be extra lifeguards, to ensure moms wouldn't have to get in the pool:)
This year we decided to invite the boys from his class and just a couple of other friends in an effort to keep the chaos down.  We had the party on a Thursday afternoon because it was his real birthday and weekends are crazy this time of year.  We were missing some family from other cities, but it was our first "friend" party and made Turner seem so much older!
The little water bugs played,
and played
and played!
Lifetime was so helpful and provided a party planner and assistant to help run the party.  Again a relief to watch from the side instead of my usual post in the water!  They went swimming with them and then had games and contests perfect for our crowd!
He was thrilled with how it turned out.  But I will say, he is like a puppy dog most of the time.  Doesn't take much to please him:)
And I think I have said before John Burke is more like a cat:)  Taking it all in, you have to earn his love!  Good thing he approved of the party as well.

After about an hour, our party director led us down the hall to the party room in the gym.  I am sure that was a sight for gym patrons:)
We had pizza and brownies.  Turner won't touch cake, cupcakes or even doughnuts for that matter.  Didn't get that from me...

And then, as if they were not tired enough, we brought out a pirate pinata.


 Insanity!  They were able to grab their candy, place it in their treasure boxes and run out the door with their moms.  Hope they all slept well that night!  Surely!
 This pirate princess enjoyed some loot as well!
 And we ended the party sliding across the floor.  Perfect for these pirate brothers!  Thank you, Lifetime for a fun and easy party (for me...maybe not the rest of the gym:))  I highly recommend them!
"I can't believe I am REALLY five!"  I promise you he has said this statement every single day for the last 19 days since he has turned 5.  For some reason, this birthday has been a major milestone for him.  I cannot even count how many times he has walked up to strangers or commented to waitresses "I used to be 4, and then turned 5!"  And his face lights up like this picture.
I can't get enough of my sweet five year-old.  He is getting older and seems like such a big boy (most of the time).  I am very proud of how kind and easy going he is, and of how much he is learning and enjoying school and his friends.  He is such a blessing and I can't believe it has already been five years!  
And, because it IS Christmas Eve...

Merry Christmas!  
"For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor; Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving Whirlwind

This year was our "Henderson" Thanksgiving year.  At the beach this summer, we decided it would be fun to travel somewhere.  Pap and Tappy were generous enough to take us to Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee in Georgia.  All I knew about it was that Carrie Underwood had gotten married there, so I was sold:)
It was fabulous!
Kate and Jay had stayed there before, so they were able to help us navigate
The view from our balcony - each night you are able to make s'mores at that fire pit
Look how peaceful!  
Soon after we checked in, we found this little train to ride around in and check out the property
Cannon, Kristin and Knox
Loving the train - sadly it was all full so I had to wait in the warm hotel for them to return:)
Before dinner, we went out back for the tree lighting.  Pap and Tappy gave all the kids Auburn hoodies while we waited!  My boys don't have a lot of hoodies, so they are OBSESSED!
As it got darker, Santa's elves came and brought all the kids light-up rings to play with

The lighting happened while we were seated in the restaurant directly behind the tree.  It was delicious and while we ate we were able to see fireworks and Santa drive up on a motorcycle.  By the time we made it outside to check him out, though, Santa had already been swept away inside!  The whole scene really reminded me of New York City or something out of a movie.  So beautiful and the kids were in heaven!!
After dinner, we heard Santa was taking pictures in one of the ballrooms.  So we ran to the room for a quick change and found him.  This was as close as Collins would get!
Santa was SO kind and let the boys talk his ear off!  Turner woke up at 4:00 that morning and whispered to me "Mommy, I LOVED seeing Santa Claus tonight."  They are still talking about it.  Thank you, Ritz.  You know how to do it right!
The next morning we got up and ready for a Thanksgiving brunch like no other
(Dear Turner, about that face...still working on genuine smiles)
Picture of my turkeys in front of a life-size real gingerbread house...with a moving train circling it.  Of course.
The "big kids" about to enter the ballroom
A shot of our table.  Seated with all 17 of us together!  The buffet was no joke and one of the most delicious meals I have ever had.  In the background they had an Iron Chef competition between 2 of the chefs on property, and John Burke was mesmerized by the chocolate Christmas tree they were carving.  So fancy!  We tried to be extra appreciative to the servers - surreal that we were eating so fancy and they were working on Thanksgiving, but they assured us they were being paid very well and it helped their Thanksgiving cheer!
After lunch, we headed out side to play for a little bit.  There was a playground right down from the Lodge, and the boys found a football to throw.

Aunt Kelly found a really fun swing 
The kids loved the hammock...and met a little girl in green who photo bombed us:)
We had a great couple of days with family time, 
smiles and kisses,
puzzles, movies (in their cinema room!), ice skating (thankfully my boys feel the same as I do about the hazards of ice skating and we just watched a little bit)
And snuggling with cousins!  What a treat and fun place to celebrate all we are thankful for!
On Friday, the girls woke up early and headed into Atlanta for Black Friday shopping.  These crazy kids stayed at Jay and Kate's house and played.
We even had a quick family birthday celebration for Turner, who turns 5 this week!
Then Saturday we were up at the crack of dawn (literally woke our kids up willingly!) to head to Auburn for the Iron Bowl
We took the kids on campus for a while and let them tailgate, and then our sweet babysitter Sarah and her friend swept the kids away for an adventure at the lake.  We couldn't waste valuable tickets on these crazies...or expose them to all the real crazies!
Heath and I were able to tailgate again without the kids (thankful for Sarah and Arden!!) and then head into the intense but exciting stadium.  Tried to get a shot right in the sun of the all orange shakers throughout the stadium
And in direct contrast to the Alabama fan behind me who yelled in my ear "Miracles don't happen 2 weeks in a row" one time when they scored...pretty sure one did!!  What a fun game to witness!!
WAR EAGLE!!!  (one second)
The field.  So crazy and exciting to watch, but oddly I was not tempted to join!  We did, however, float through campus on the way to the car and sing and dance and cheer with 100,000 other excited fans.  So so fun!!
Then on Sunday we decided we had to take the kids back to Toomer's (and eat Big Blue Bagel, of course)

We temporarily lost her hoodie.  That would have been nice for this picture.  But it is found now!
It really did look like it had snowed
And of course we had to teach them how to roll a tree
The perfect ending to a wonderful holiday!  Thanksgiving was especially hard 2 years ago with the loss of Heath's mom that day, so it was such a gift to make new and wonderful memories this year for the holiday!  Thank you, Lord for all of our blessings...far bigger than Auburn's win!