Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksmas 2012

It was another successful Thanksmas for the Courtright family in Michigan. This year marked the 10th year of celebrating at Uncle John and Aunt Patti's home in Saugatuck. Our entire group wore special t-shirts commemorating the occasion (although I never managed to get a picture). We had such a wonderful visit, catching up with family that we only get to see once a year. It's a large, rambunctious group and we wouldn't have it any other way! Here are some pics from our fun holiday.

Our annual family photo by the mantel. Collin didn't join us this year and we sure missed him.

This year we stayed at this gorgeous cottage on Lake Michigan. 

This was the view that greeted us each morning. Gorgeous!

An early morning beach stroll.

Back at John and Patti's home, here's another family pic.

Connor is always most excited to see his cousin Liam.

Kaitlynn enjoyed her time with Riley the dog.

Kaitlynn also loved playing with her cousin Leighton's baby dolls. She lined 'em all up for their dinnertime, ha!

Kaitlynn was so excited to see her Nana again!

Jeff and his brother Chris.

When it was time for gifts, the little elves handed them all out.

Kaitlynn opens her present.

Connor loved his, too.

Kevin was very thankful for his new sweatshirt since a cold front blew in that night and brought the first snowfall of the season!

I went Black Friday shopping in the snow, but I didn't last very long, ha!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Monday Fall Fun Day

The kids had a school holiday a few weeks ago, so we planned to have a Monday Fall Fun Day to celebrate. It reminded me of a few years ago when I still had both kids at home with me most days. I never thought I'd miss those days, but surprisingly, I sometimes do! So I thought it would be fun for the three of us to spend some quality time together on the day off from school.

We started off the day with a trip to the grocery store. Had to get the errands out of the way first! A new H-E-B store opened right by our house so it's our new favorite place to shop.

The kids LOVE H-E-B because of the Buddy Bucks machine!

Next stop: a nearby pumpkin patch! This church near our house always does a good job of decorating pumpkins and making them into cute characters and picture scenes. It was a gorgeous October morning so we really enjoyed walking through the pumpkin patch.

Welcome to the pumpkin patch!

Sweet siblings

Connor's favorite pumpkin scene: the football players.

Another sibling pic.

This scene was a close second -- Star Wars pumpkins!

This scene had Buzz, Woody, and Jessie from Toy Story. Cute pic from Jessie's horse.

My favorite pic of the day. My pumpkin patch cuties!

After the pumpkin patch, we went to Chili's for lunch. I get kids-eat-free coupons from Chili's all the time so it's one of our favorite stops. Our lunch quickly turned into an all-out love fest as the kids were doling out kiss after kiss. Gotta soak it in while I can!

They love each other...sometimes.

A kiss from Kaitlynn

And of course, Connor wouldn't be left out.

After lunch, we capped off our fun fall day with a trip to the movie theater to see Hotel Transylvania. Cute movie and the kids (and I) loved it! As we were leaving the theater, I caught this neat image of our shadows on the sidewalk. I think it's a cool memento of the awesome fall day that the three of us enjoyed together. What a great reminder of how lucky I am that my "job" lets me hang out with two of my favorite people and make such wonderful memories!

Sweet shadows!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Random Fall Update

Time for a random collection of updates via another photo dump. It's been a busy fall season already!

Jeff and I celebrated our 7-year anniversary today! 7 years later, we still "do" :-)

For Red Ribbon week, Connor got to wear a cap to school. I never see him in one and thought he looked so cute!

Benjamin and Connor reunited for an afternoon.

Such sweet boys and friends. Love!

Our new thing: FaceTime on iPhone. Kaitlynn was having a serious conversation with her Daddy at work.

Recently Kaitlynn was sick with a combination of illnesses. She was out for about a week. It was rough, poor girl!

Kevin's homecoming day attire at school! Cracks me up! 

At the doctor's office, both kids love the books!

Couldn't resist sharing this pic of her cute outfit and funny expression.

Kaitlynn and her sweet friend Lily. They love playing together now.

Lunch after a Saturday football game. Love her sweet smiles!

I played this yucky prank on Connor for Halloween. It caused quite the scene in the school cafeteria, ha!

Kaitlynn and Lily enjoying some playtime at Lily's 2nd birthday party.

Football and his baby girl. The 2 loves of his life, ha!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Preschool Fun and Kaitlynn Lately

It's only November and Kaitlynn is having the time of her life in her preschool class at Foundry Faith Academy! We hit the jackpot with Kaitlynn's teachers this year, Ms. Susan and Ms. Amy. Every week, Ms. Susan sends a summary email to parents describing their themes for the week, the things they are working on, and even pictures from their classroom activities. To us Moms that don't get much information from our 3-year-olds, this is such a blessing! We couldn't be happier with how the year is going for Kaitlynn.

The kids had their fall portraits taken recently. I nearly gasped when I saw Kaitlynn's photo. This just screams BIG GIRL to me!

Kaitlynn, age 3 preschool

I've mentioned before that preschool seems to really be kicking Kaitlynn's butt this year. She has almost completely given up her naps now, and it's making the rest of our lives miserable, haha! She gets so exhaused from her busy days that she tends to cry and fuss about every. tiny. thing. towards the end of the day. My neighbor recently asked me what was the matter with Kaitlynn lately because she's always crying, ha! If you tell her something she doesn't want to hear, or heaven forbid, if you look at her wrong, she will fly off the handle. Usually she has to retreat to a corner somewhere and have a moment. Jeff and I just look at each other and shrug our shoulders. Not sure if this is a girl thing or a Kaitlynn thing?? I'm sure my Mom would say it's a Kaitlynn thing because she is JUST like her mother.

Speaking of... sometimes the similarities between Kaitlynn and myself (from what I've been told) are a little scary. Scary because I'm not sure I'll be able to handle the years of drama ahead.

My mom loves to tell stories about my, um, colorful personality when I was younger. She always dreaded taking me anywhere because of my extreme impatience. Many times we'd be at a red stop light or in the drive-thru bank teller line and I would be yelling at my Mom to "Go!" She would explain that we were waiting in line or waiting on the green light, but I couldn't take it. "Hurry!" I would say, or "Mom, honk at that car! Let's go!!"

So imagine my mother's amusement when I told her last week about Kaitlynn's new thing: while waiting at the red stop light, she YELLS at me to "Go, Mom! What is taking so long?!" Lovely.

Oh, and have I mentioned that she usually calls me "Mom" now? Not sure when I stopped being a Mommy but I miss it!

Most people know that my parents' all-time favorite story to tell about me is the time they sent my siblings and me outside to rake the pine needles and pine cones from our yard in Longview. It was a big yard and a tough job, so each of us were assigned different sections of the yard to work on. When my parents came outside to check our progress, they found my 3 siblings working hard: raking, picking up cones, and bagging everything neatly. When they looked for me, they found me with a clipboard and pencil in my hands walking between each assigned section. "Lauri, what are you doing? You're supposed to be working," they said. "I AM working," I responded defiantly. "I'm the station checker." I had been checking to make sure my siblings were doing their work and documenting their progress while doing none myself. Apparently I felt that my supervision was a far more valuable and appropriate task for my station in life, ha!

Fast forward to the other day, when Kaitlynn's preschool teacher mentioned to me that they were having to work with Kaitlynn on completing her assigned tasks by herself. "What do you mean?" I asked her, confused. "Well," she replied, "she's getting all of her friends to do her work for her. She gets Anais to open her lunch, Avery to set everything on the table for her, Jenelle to clean up her mess, and another friend Allie to lay down her blanket when it's time for rest time." My jaw nearly hit the floor because that has "station checker" written all over it, LOL!!

And yes, my mother got a REAL KICK out of that story!

So back to preschool, Kaitlynn and her best friend Anais are having a ball in the same class together. They recently had their circus parade at school and their class dressed up as lions with masks and brown noses. So cute.

Kaitlynn and Anais at their Halloween day circus parade.

With all the fun that the kids are having at school, I know they're learning a lot, too. The other day I caught Kaitlynn singing the song for the months of the year. I was surprised she knew them all and asked her to sing it for me. Here's a little video of her singing the song a few times. Oh, and apparently the month April is pronounced "Acorn" -- just so you know! :-)

Finally, here are some of the awesome pictures that Kaitlynn's preschool teacher has shared from their weeks of fun at preschool so far. We are so blessed by this school and class, what fun!

A day with the local firemen, including a tour of their firetruck.

Enjoying time at recess.

Classroom centers.
A day with the local policemen.

Class picture at recess.

Love this one of the kids on the playground.

In the cafeteria for a special snack.