Monday, November 24, 2014

The Minnesota Bettellis

Tim has a brother that lives in Minnesota.  

We don't get to see him and his sweet family nearly enough.

So when Tim told me that he was presenting at a conference in Minnesota at the end of September, and asked if I wanted to go, I couldn't say yes fast enough.

His brother made it happen, and we were so grateful.

We had the best time being with family in the most beautiful weather.

We started out the weekend with a Junkin Market and a little pie at a restaurant we needed to be at to win tickets to a concert for Katie (even though she didn't get the tickets that night).

We went apple picking . . . Is there any more "fall" activity?

I got to meet my grand-nephew (I think that is what he is).

That makes me sound super old.

He is super cute, so it's worth it.

Of course, we had to break out the karaoke machine.

The last day we were there we went to Stillwater, and it was spectacular.

Tim enjoyed his time in the candy store.

That night we had a bonfire in their backyard.

I am a smore lover, so this was an excellent way to end the trip.

It is unfortunate that I burned Tim's leg with my roasting stick.

But hopefully he has recovered from the trauma and still loves me:)

It was such a fun trip and such fun memories with the "Minnesota Bettellis."

We are so thankful that they are family.

They make me feel so blessed to have married into their family.

I hope it isn't too long before we get to do it again.

Pumpkin Festival 2014

Another Bettelli tradition in the fall is the Pumpkin Festival at Hunsader Farms.

This year we had to go a little earlier than usual because of our schedule.

We headed over on the morning of October 18th.

The weather was great.

We hit the pumpkin patch first for pictures.

I just have to say (and I know my bias), God allowed Tim and I to have some super cute kids.

Sometimes when I look at pictures like these I just can't believe they are mine.

When they are talking back and acting naughty, it is a little more real.

After the patch we headed to the train ride.

We always have to hit up the Kettle Korn stand.

Tim decided to get a giant size this year.

After our snack we went on the hay ride.

This is the best picture we could get.

It was a good time.

The kids always look forward to it, and we enjoy carrying on traditions in our family.

Thankful for this crazy crew God has given us.


5th Annual Csquared Vacation

I've written about it before, but (most) every year my good friends from college and I get together for a long weekend to catch up.

We all lived together at one time or another in our sorority house, and now we literally live all across the country.

It is so fun to have a time to catch up on each other's lives and spend some quality time together.

It is literally a highlight for me every year, and I am so thankful for these friendships.

This year we all met in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, which may be pretty boring to some.

But basically all we want to do is talk and catch up all day and all night, so Maggie Valley is the perfect destination.

We all arrived on a Friday afternoon and went straight to "the" Wal-mart for some groceries.

We tried to make pumpkin cookies that night without a mixer.

The blender was the closest thing we could find in the condo, so Stephanie took on the task of blending, and blending, and blending the batter in small batches.

She has also since had that baby that was cooking in there on our trip.

On Saturday we went into Waynesville, which is another very exciting town.

That night we had dinner at Fat Buddies.

It is a classy joint that serves the most delicious Macaroni and Cheese.

On Sunday we got up in barely enough time to make it to a brunch place that closed at noon.

It may or may not have had to do with the fact that we stayed up until 4am talking.

Which is totally acceptable with no kids to tend to in the morning.

On our way home from Joey's Pancake House we decided to embrace the culture and take a picture in front of the corn fields.

On Sunday night we headed into Ashville for our most exciting adventure - 

A wine and cheese appetizer before heading home to make pizzas.

That night things go crazy on the coffee table with some NKOTB and Taylor Swift.

I just can't help myself when I feel the music.

And, yes, it may look like we were playing some folk tunes, but I assure you it was some good old fashioned Jordan Knight.

Monday morning we got up and all had to say goodbye.

Nicole and I flew home and were already looking forward to the 6th Annual trip next year.

So thankful I have friends who value friendship.

We have so much fun and are truly friends who support and pray for each other no matter how many miles separate us.

I am so thankful the Lord brought us together and that He continues to give us opportunities to grow together.


School Year 2014-2015

After homeschooling George last year full-time I realized that we really loved it.

I never thought I would be a homeschooling mom, but God has a funny way of leading us into things we never thought we would be capable of doing.

I did, however, miss a lot of things about traditional school.

I loved the programs and the social aspects of it.

There is a school in our area that we put George on a waiting list for 3 years ago.

This school has basically combined the best of both worlds, and they use classroom teaching three days a week and then lesson plan for two full days of homeschooling.

I love the concept and was thrilled to get my boys in this year.

I also got a job teaching the 5th and 6th grade Language Arts classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

It was such a blessing to be able to have my sons there and be able to be there with them doing something I love.

And then our first day of homeschooling for the year:

I would be lying if I said everything is going perfect.

Ethan has been difficult on the homeschool days.

He is a very young 4 (he just turned four at the end of August), so I was little nervous as to how he would do.

His teacher evaluated them a few weeks ago, though, and he is doing excellent.

That is such an answer to prayer because so many people told me to hold him another year.

I know it may change, and we will reevaluate each year to make sure we are making the best decision for him.

But for now I am just so thankful for God's leading for our family to this wonderful school.

Here are a few pictures of my classroom:

I went with a black, red and white theme.

It was very fun to decorate a classroom again.

I realize I need to take more pictures of it, though.

My students have been more than wonderful.

They are so sweet and a joy to teach everyday.

I am not one to act like everything is perfect, because that isn't real life.

I do have to say, however, that our school is a very bright spot in our lives.

The schedule is a perfect fit for us, and the people in the school (families and staff members) have been such a joy to do life with.

We are so thankful for God's blessing in this circumstance.

Lexi Girl Turns Two Two

When we lived in Fort Myers we went to a "tutu" party for a friend who was turning 2.

Lexi was only 3 months old at the time, but I knew that this theme was in my future.

This October I had the opportunity to make all my dreams come true and throw my Lexi girl a two-two party.

It was a blast and so much fun to decorate.

Lexi seemed to really like her outfit.

I wasn't sure if she would be happy about wearing tulle all day, but she was completely into it.

I guess I should not have underestimated my girl.

It was a great day to celebrate.

We just had family and a few close friends, and it was perfect fr her.

Lexi is such a special part of our family.

I hope she always feels our love, no matter what.

Dearest Lexi Girl,
          You are such a special little girl.  Over the last year we have watched your spirit change and grow.  You are a bright spot to everyone you meet.  People always tell me what a happy baby you are.  I love to hear that because your smile is one of my favorite things about you.  I love that you share our joy with everyone around you.  You are still a little thing, but what you lack in size you certainly make up for in spunk.  You have the loudest voice and the fiercest looks.  If looks could kill, my dear, we would all be goners.  
          This year was certainly more stable than the last, and it made me feel good to have you in a more permanent home.  We tried to sell our house, but God knew better.  Daddy got another job at our church, and mommy got a part-time teaching job too.  I think that was enough change for our family.  We are really enjoying all the changes, but busy does not even begin to describe it.  We run all over the place all the time, and you just go with the flow.  I know that you have embraced the third child role. You have to cut naps short and wake up early to get your brothers where they need to go.  You are their biggest cheerleader, and it is so cute to see you yell and cheer for them.  You have formed such special bonds with your brothers, and they are your protectors.  You got to tag along on a field trip with Ethan, and his favorite part about it was showing you off to all his friends.  I hope you always have a special bond with your brothers.
          As you are moving further from babyhood and well into toodlerhood I am just enjoying you more and more.  You are an excellent communicator and are very sure of what you want.  You are not afraid to share your feelings or tell everyone what you think they should being doing.  Your daddy says you get it from your mother, and even though it is supposed to be a negative, I am glad you stand up for yourself.  You are sweet, spunky little girl whose personality never goes unnoticed.  We love you more than words could ever express.  You are our one and only girl, and God knew just what we needed when He created you.  I pray that you grow into a woman of God who loves and protects as He would.  I know He has big plans for you, and I feel so blessed to have this small part in them.  
                                                                                                            I love you, my sweet smile,