Wednesday, February 22, 2012

american girl :: atlanta

Mary Reese got her first American Girl doll for her birthday from Nanny Nan and John B.  Debbie gave her a trip to the store in Atlanta.  Popsy and Gigi gave her a gift certificate to use at the store.  Needless to say, she had an American Girl Birthday!

Since her birthday is in November and so much goes on in the November/December months, we decided to wait until February to cash in on the Atlanta trip.  Since we were out of school on Monday, we decided Saturday would be the perfect day to go.

I made us reservations at the Marriott in Alpharetta.  They do up the American Girl theme right!  We left early Saturday morning and arrived around lunch...


Our room was almost ready when we arrived.  After we got checked in, Mary Reese and Kate had their own special check in...


See that doll behind Mary Reese?  She got to register to win it.  They are drawing in March and we have our fingers and toes crossed!

She had to wait for her and Kate's names to be called before going up to the desk...


She was presented a VIG [Very Important Girl] card to use in the gift shop for a snack or in the restaurant for a dessert.  She was handed a special welcome message from the manager of the hotel...


She was invited to a special showing of the Felicity movie...


The hotel even has special tickets to their movie showings.

Finally she got a star sucker...


Actually we all got one!

Finally it was time to check out our Everything PINK American Girl room...


Everything was definitely PINK....


The bed linens were pink, the towels in the bathroom were pink, the alarm clock was pink, the trash cans were pink, the paper and pencils were pink and the bean bag chair in the room was pink!  Mary Reese was in HEAVEN!

Her and Kate relaxing...


The doll bed came with the room.  She got to take it home as a momento of her trip.  There was a doll robe and matching girl robe for them to use during their stay.  [You can purchase the robes to take home but I didn't opt for that $99.00 price tag.  They were short on robes for the dolls, so when we checked in the lady said she would be getting a gown, bunny slippers and book to take home instead of the robe to use during our stay.  Mary Reese was thrilled.]

After we got settled, we headed to the American Girl store at North Point Mall...


Even Molly [Aunt Stacey's AG doll] came along for the ride...



She shopped around spending her gift certificate from her birthday.  She bought her and Kate a new purse, a matching American Girl Atlanta t-shirt, and Kate some new shoes.


We didn't have an appointment at the salon for Kate a new do.  There were no open appointments for that day, but they were still piercing ears...


So Kate got her ears pierced and 4 new pairs of earrings.

We had a dinner reservation at the Bistro...


I found out when we got to the store that there was a huge cheerleading competition in town.  The store was a madhouse.  [After seeing all the merchandise flying out of the store while we were made me wish I owned American Girl stock.]  The cheerleaders had snatched up all the salon hair appointments and bistro reservations.  We were lucky to get in at the Bistro.

All the girls are given a high chair for their doll to use during the meal...


If you don't have your own doll, no worries.  They have extra ones you can borrow while you are there.  The food was delicious!  They have a set price and you get a starter and an entree.  Mary Reese had cheese fondue and chicken fingers with mac & cheese and a fruit skewer.  Debbie had the cheese fondue and I had the pretzel bites for our starters.  We both had the chicken spinach salad with the warm bacon dressing.  Yum!

There were birthday celebrations right and left.  I felt we were about the only table in there not celebrating a birthday.  The cakes looked delicious...white 2 layer with pink pokkadots...super cute.

We skipped out on dessert.  Mary Reese had a movie to get to [and she also had her Hershey with Almonds bar she bought with her VIG card].

Mary Reese and I went down for the movie.  They had sleeping bags set up on the floor for all the girls and their dolls.  They were popping popcorn and had cokes for all the girls and their parents.  After the movie, we stopped by the front desk to let them know we were ready for our milk and cookies...


Cookies for Mary Reese and Kate!


[The nightgown and slippers Kate has on were the ones the hotel offered us since they were out of robes.]

They ate their cookies and drank their milk...


...before hitting the hay!

We got up the next morning and enjoyed a huge breakfast buffet in the hotel's restaurant before heading home [the breakfast was apart of the room].  Even the hotel restaurant had special tables for the American Girl visitors!

While we were girling it up in Atlanta, the boys were trying out for baseball and partying at the first ever Mardi Gras celebration in our town...


They sampled red beans and rice at the cook-off.  Later that night they caught beads and moonpies at the adult parade...


I kept seeing friends posing on facebook.  It was Owen catching beads...


...apparently he was real into it!

It was a fun weekend.  Mary Reese kept saying the entire time were were there "This is the best day ever.  I am having so much fun!"  The experience was PRICELESS!  I was glad to have Monday to recover from all the festivities!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

:: heart day ::

Another Valentine's Day has come and gone.  It is not my favorite holiday but I have come to enjoy it more.  I love that my children get so excited exchanging silly cards with their classmates and friends.  I will have to admit that I was not on top of my game this Valentine's Day.  We didn't get our cards bought until two days before the big day.  They did not get addressed until the night before!

This is what my counter looked like at some point after dinner before bedtime...


For Owen's class I made iced heart sugar cookies.  Banks and I got back from the McWane Center about a hour before Owen had to be picked up, so I whipped out his cookies.

Jody picked Mary Reese up from school that day.  On their way home, they picked us up some steaks for our special Valentine's Day dinner.  I threw together some mashed potatoes and steamed green beans to go along with our steak.  Owen helped me with dessert...


I love that little smile on his face.


He took his sprinkle job very seriously.


I got dinner cleaned up.  Jody got all the children bathed.  I made a quick recipe of Caramels for the teachers and got Owen's cookies iced and sprinkled...


Banks had to take icing for his class to decorate some heart brownies so I just doubled up my icing recipe for Owen's cookies.

I thought I was home free!  All I had left to do was to wrap and bag the caramels.  Or so I thought.  Then Mary Reese announced about 7 o'clock that night that she had to decorate a Valentine's box.  GREAT!  How did I miss that note???  Obviously I did.  Mother of the Year here.  Thankfully she is my creative, artistic child.  We had a shoe box, some Christmas wrapping paper that I turned inside out, some Valentine ribbon and some markers.  Here is the finished product...


Not half bad for what we had to work with.  It was 100% all her.  I did make and hot glue the bow on the front but it was all her idea.  I was glad I didn't spend any extra time or money on it because as soon as she got home that day, she unwrapped it so she could get to all her loot.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day with the ones they love!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

mcwane center field trip

Monday Banks had a field trip.  [Field trips are always good because usually that night we have a little break from homework :)]  They had to be at the school extra early so they could be at the McWane Center when the doors opened.  I will have to say of all the field trips I have been on with my children, this was by far the best.

[Again I forgot my camera.  I not sure where my brain has been lately.  So all I have are iPhone photos.]

The kids had some time to explore all the exhibits.  The did fun things like play with bubbles...


They tried out a bed of nails...



I think that was their favorite by far.

They pretended they were weather men/women...


They made impressions of their faces...



We saw the iMax movie called Tornado Alley.  Wow!  It was a first for Banks.

Our group took a class about the earth and it's weather...


A huge ball was suspended from the ceiling.  Four projectors [one in each corner] projected images of the earth.  The teacher used a Wii remote to rotate it.  We even got to see satellite images of Hurricane Katrina.

After lunch, we saw a Lightening Show...


Banks even got to be apart of a demonstration on how electricity can travel through the air.

A great field trip.  If you are ever in the Birmingham area, it is definitely worth dropping in on!

Monday, February 13, 2012

celtics :: city champs

We had a successful first year playing basketball.  We ended up on a great team of boys.  They played hard only loosing one regular season game which landed them the top seed going into the city tournament.  They won their game Thursday night putting them in the championship game!  Saturday was the big game against the Lakers!  It was a nail biter.  They took the early lead, then we got the lead and it looked like an easy win.  The Lakers came back and went ahead.  We were down going into the last 3 minute period.  Our best shooter shot a 3 point with 1 second left on the clock to tie up the game.  Overtime we went!  We ended up pulling out the win...Celtics, City Champs for the 2012 season!

[Of course I made it out of the house without my all I have are iPhone pictures]

The team with the trophy...


Zeb, Banks, Memphis, Kobe, Hudson & Brayden [with Coach Phillip]

They had a little celebration with doughnuts, cupcakes, certificates and medals...


What a great day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

3rd Grade Violin Program

Every child in our city's public education system takes violin lessons in the 3rd Grade.  They get a total of 10 lessons and end their time with a concert for the parents.  Banks was not looking forward to this activity this year BUT did learn to love it.

Before they got real violins, they used box ones.  They had to prove they were responsible first.

Here is his class getting ready to perform...


They learned the parts of the violin...

They learned the parts of the bow...

The learned how to play the basic cords...

They even learned about some great classical musicians. 

Finally they got their real violins and learned some songs.  The Donkey Song...

Are You Sleeping?

Peanut Butter Sandwich Song...

After the class performed, they were given the opportunity to show their parents up close and personal...


Jody, Cheryl and I got a little private concert from these two...


I think they did a great job.  Every child in that class absolutely loved every moment.  I was amazed and very proud of Banks.  I am so thankful to the school system for this fabulous experience with Mr. Frank!  He was a fabulous teacher...very patient and wonderful with the children.