Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday in Atlanta

Today Pops and Purson took us to Lenox Mall to ride the infamous Macy's Pink Pig of Atlanta. This is a holiday tradition for all "homegrown" Atlantans...some of the people my mom works with told her about it and shared their many memories of riding the pig when Rich's deparment store was still in business. It seems that the original pink pig (the original pig began sometime in the 50's from what we can gather) would travel on a steel line around the ceiling of the toy department in Rich's and the children would be able to look down and pick out what they wanted while they rode. It later was moved outside, and when Rich's was bought-out by Macy's in the 1990's it was moved to the top level of the parking garage at Lenox Mall. The pink pig we saw today was not the original but the original is on display in the same tent as the "new" pink pig train. It was quite a different experience, but lots of fun! Here are a few video clips and photos of our day. As you will be able to tell from the pictures, the train is housed in a large tent with LOTS of pink...pink lights, pink carpet, pink rails and fences. IT GLOWS PINK!

This is a picture of the original Pink Pig that sits next to the current train tracks. This pig (the original) actually ran by hanging on a steel track - like the Big Bad Wolf roller coaster at Busch Gardens in Virginia.

Daddy, Trent, and Ella wait for their ride on the Pink Pig.

This was Trent and Ella's first ride on the Pink Pig. Of course, Pops made sure they got a TWO RIDE ticket!

HERE IS A SHORT VIDEO CLIP OF THEIR FIRST RIDE:

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Because Pops and Purson like to spoil their grandkids, here is a photo and video clip of their second ride. Trent was very excited that he got to sit in the very front of the pig!

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After taking both train rides we went out of the tent and Chevy was sponsoring free face painting. Trent got a dragon and Ella wanted a flower, but when she got to the chair she wouldn't let the lady touch her face so she has a pretty flower painted on her arm.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Thursday in Atlanta

Thursday was the first full day we spent at Pops and Pursons and we decided that we would go to the mall to see if there were any great deals. Of course, we ate lunch at Chick-fil-A (this is the home of the original Chick-fil-A) and then we walked around. The kids were perfect so we let them ride the indoor merry-g0-round.



For dinner we cooked hamburgers on the grill (John ate chicken) and then decided to go up to Lake Lanier Islands to see their Christmas lights display. It was amazing...6 miles of Christmas lights to drive through.


One of the neatest things we were able to see at Lake Lanier was the live nativity they had on the route. A local church manned the nativity (along with a hospitality tent with free hot chocolate) and you had to get out of the car in order to see it. It was not like our church's nativity a few weeks ago...this was a "move around and act it out" nativity. Visitors came and sat down on the benches and watched the 10-15 minute "show." Here is a picture and a few video clips follow:



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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back in Atlanta!

We are back in Atlanta visiting Pops, Purson, and Abby. Abby moved back to Atlanta last week to take a new job in the area so we are excited that we get to spend a few extra days with her also. I will be updating the blog as new pictures are taken. We aren't planning a lot for this trip...just a time to relax, enjoy time off, and spend some time with Pops and Purson. We will be returning home on the 31st.

Christmas 2007

Here's a quick rundown of what all we did during Christmas...


Christmas began for us on the 23rd as we celebrated with half of John's family at his grandmother's (a.k.a. Mema) house. As you can tell from this picture both Trent and Ella were getting a bit tired, and Christmas was just beginning!


Grammy and PawPaw got the kids lots of toys but Sydnie and Ella enjoyed their Barbie heads the most...


That was, until Grammy and PawPaw gave them the pink guitars. Unfortunately, we couldn't figure out a way to leave them with Grammy and PawPaw to take home.

Trent and Dylan really enjoyed the Superman hats and shirts from Uncle Larry, Grace, Daniel, and Mark.


The next day was Christmas Eve and Pops came over to our house to put in the new dishwasher he and Mom gave John and me for Christmas. It was quite exciting! While Dad was finishing the dishwasher installation Mom, Abby, Ella, Trent, and I went for a quick lunch at the kid's favorite restaurant (McDonald's) and then took off to the Christmas Tree Festival downtown. There were about 20 trees and they enjoyed the Elvis tree the most.
After our downtown trip we went home, took a quick nap, and then trucked on over to Aunt Rinkie's for Christmas Eve dinner and opening presents with another part of John's family. One of the things about having a cousin close to the same age is that you always get matching gifts at Christmas...however, Sidney and Ella's matching pj's are just so cute!
After dinner, we made one last stop at Aunt Mary and Uncle Clay's house to finish up celebrating Christmas with John's side of the family (he has a lot more aunts, uncles, and cousins than I do). Ella is not unhappy in this picture, just tired...it was about 10:00 or so.
Leaving out cookies and milk for Santa was the last job that had to be performed before we could go to bed. Ella was so excited this year that Santa was coming!! I've never seen her so happy about going to bed before.
Finally, Christmas Day arrived and Santa had made a stop at our house!! Santa left Trent a Nintendo DS (the top item on his list), Rubix Cube (can you believe these things are making a come-back??), a Braves Andruw Jones figure (that will now stay inside the box since he has been traded to L.A. - maybe it will eventually become a collector's item and worth a lot), and several packs of baseball cards. Santa left Ella a baby doll(at the top of her list), a Teresa Barbie doll(her collection is getting bigger), a Barbie talking camera (what was Santa thinking??), and some Barbie clothes.
Grammy, PawPaw, Pops, Purson, and Abby came over to eat breakfast and watch the kiddies open up the rest of their presents. Trent was excited to get the Baseball game for his new DS and a carrying case. Trent and Daddy spent the rest of the time engrossed in the DS while Ella opened her gifts. Ella received a new pair of Dora the Explorer bedroom slippers, a Barbie hair and makeup kit (that goes well with the Barbie head she opened on the 23rd), a Cinderella Barbie doll, and the Barbie Hot Tub Party Bus...Daddy really enjoyed putting together this glorified motor home and then applying the hundreds of stickers!
After Grammy and PawPaw left for Dylan and Sydnie's house, we opened gifts from Pops, Purson, and Abby. Pops and Purson gave Ella a beautiful pink coat with matching hat and Abby gave her a jewelry box. Pops and Purson gave Trent a Lego Remote Controlled Dinosaur that Pops and Trent will be able to put together during our visit to Atlanta after Christmas. Abby gave Trent a Batman Lego set...the last one he needed in the series which Daddy and Trent spent the rest of Christmas morning putting together.
Christmas Day is traditionally the day that is spent with Carrie's family. We all meet at Aunt Hazel's house for opening gifts and eating a late lunch. Trent was most excited by the Mario Cart DS game Aunt Hazel gave him and Ella liked the Barbie car from Pops and Purson.
The most exciting part of the day for Ella was that she "graduated" to sitting downstairs with the other kids. Ever since she was born she has been sitting upstairs with the adults at the kitchen table (mainly due to messy eating). However, this year we all felt she was big enough to take her plate into the family room so she was able to eat with Henry and Cole at the coffee table!
Our finally Christmas stop was back at Mema's for Grammy's annual Open House. What a great way to finish the holiday! Here Trent shows Dylan his newest favorite toy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Live Nativity

This weekend, our church put on a Live Nativity. On Friday night Trent and I participated - Trent was a wiseman and I filled in as a Joseph. We only stood out for 1/2 hour and we were very lucky that the weather didn't turn cold and rainy until Saturday morning. Last night's nativity had to be cancelled because of rain, but as of this morning we were still on for 6:30 tonight. Those people standing out tonight are not as lucky as Friday night's participants...it's just a little above freezing and we are getting 30-50 mph wind gusts.


This morning the youth performed their annual Christmas play. It was going really well until the power went out! The winds have been causing lots of outages in the area today. Our power has been going on and off all afternoon.



Sandy, Chris, and Timmy S. prepare for their time in the Nativity.


Our youth minister, John C., got a kick out of the wiseman apparrel.

Christmas Concert

Trent and Ella have been having fun singing Christmas songs in the car since the beginning of the month. Since Ella is catching onto some of them I decided it would be cute to video a few.



This is Ella singing her version of "Jingle Bells"


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This is Ella singing "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"


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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Children's Play at Church

Tonight was the children's play at church. Mom and Dad...I will send you a copy of the DVD as soon as we get them copied. Here are a few pictures:




And a few songs with John and Reba at the AfterGlow Christmas Party!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Outfits 2007




I dressed the kids in their Christmas outfits for church today...get as much wear out of them as possible. So I took a picture of them beside the tree so everyone could see how cute they are!


Friday, December 7, 2007

More Las Vegas Pictures

I finally got the pictures off John's laptop. Here are several of the pictures from our trip last week.

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Visiting the M&M store



This makes John feel like he won the Tour de France!!!



Saturday morning we ate breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe in the MGM Grand. It was a really neat place to eat. And as you can see I was all ready for the SEC Championship game later that afternoon. Unfortunately, the outcome of the game was not to our liking.



After breakfast, we took the guys over to Mandalay Bay to collect their race packets and all the great free stuff. This was an excellent photo opportunity! AND LOOK MA, I GOT THEIR FEET IN THE PICTURE!!!!!



Sunday Morning...5:30 am Pacific Time! By this time we had been up for an hour and a half. Everyone is bright and cheerful!


The beginning of the marathon...John and Jeff are around here somewhere!

videoThis was the very beginning of the marathon. Sharon and I made it from Mandalay Bay to the pedestrian bridge going from the Excalibur to the Tropicana just in time to see this. It was so cool...I wish that it wasn't so dark because this just doesn't do the experience justice. There were 18.000 people that ran underneath this bridge at 6:00 that morning! It took approximately 15 minutes for everyone to get across the start line!

videoThis is a video clip of the beginning of the marathon. The first group of people you see pass are the Elite men. These are the men that finish in the top 5 -10 spots. They get to start at the front of the pack and usually finish in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. The winner this year walked away with a $20,000 prize!

videoThis is a short clip of the rest of the pack beginning the marathon. Unfortunately, I ran out of memory space on the camera so that's why it's so short.

Christmas Parade 2007

Tonight we decided to go to the Christmas parade...it was perfect weather and the kids had a great time! It was about 40 degrees and no wind or precipitation. We couldn't have asked for anything better. Trent and Mommy got a little chilly and required an extra blanket to keep warm but WHAT'S NEW ABOUT THAT?

This was the first year that Ella was actually interested in the parade and mostly in getting to the end of it so she could see Santa. Here are a few pictures of our "Family Activity."

Monday, December 3, 2007

The 3rd Annual LAS VEGAS MARATHON

John and I had a wonderful weekend...well, I guess mine was better than his because I spent a majority of the time just relaxing and eating. He ran 26.2 miles on Sunday - not my picture of "fun" but whatever floats your boat. After we took Trent to school and Ella to Jackie's on Thursday, we left for the airport. We had a wonderful flight out west and arrived in Vegas about 6:00pm. We found a great deal at Hooter's Hotel and Casino right off the strip and I must say that it was a very nice hotel. Probably not as ritzy as the others like New York, MGM Grand, Excalibur, etc. but the point of being in Vegas is to stay out of your room, isn't it?

Since the other couple we were staying with were not arriving until later in the evening, John and I decided that we were hungry and wanted to see a little bit of the city. So we walked across the street to MGM Grand and found a McDonald's for a quick bite. We also were lucky enough to walk in just as feeding time was beginning in the lion habitat!

On Friday, we spent the whole day sightseeing...IN THE RAIN! But it was soooo neat. I had never been to Las Vegas so all I was really interested in doing was seeing all the different hotels that I could. And possibly play a slot machine or two. Well, I did both! And I won some money at the slots in Treasure Island! I had never gambled in my life before so I had no idea what the pictures on the machine meant. On my third quarter my machine started going crazy making noise and I was a little freaked...WHAT HAD I PUSHED AND WHAT TROUBLE AM I IN?!?!? That's the point when I learned what the pictures meant...and I just won a massive ...
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$35.00!!! Oh, yeah - $35.00!!! But, of course I spent a little of my fortune playing more slots so I only came home with $20.00, but it's $20.00 more than I had when I left! Since it was raining
buckets at dinner time we decided to stay in the hotel and eat at Hooter's. After dinner, we spent a little while on the casino floor (playing slots again :-) of course).

Saturday, John and I woke up and ate breakfast in the Rainforest Cafe at the MGM Grand. It was delicious...I would recommend to anyone, especially those with small kids or small kids at heart (like me). We met up with Jeff and Sharon after breakfast and took the tram over to Mandalay Bay to pick up the guys' race packets, numbers, and free stuff. We love that free stuff! We then spent the rest of the day walking through the few hotels/casinos we missed and ended up back at MGM in the sports bar to watch the end of the VA Tech football game and the beginning of the UT game. Saturday night we ended up eating in the buffet at Excalibur and playing a few more slots. A great time was had by all, but because we had to be at the start line for the marathon by 5:30 the next day we called it an early night at 8:30pm.

I have several pictures to post but I have to wait for them to be downloaded from the other computer. Here are a few from Sunday morning at the finish line:

John comes down the shoot to the finish line!!! (in the Mandalay Bay parking lot)


He always tells me it's fun to run and compete in marathons...I just can't see the fun on his face in this picture. He looks a little like he's in pain.


Maybe this is the part that he considers fun...the free postrace massages. His friend, (and our "tour guide" during our trip) Jeff joins him in the massage tent.