Birthday, Karate, and Whatnot.

Truth…Addison woke up with a 103 fever this morning. We dropped Ella Kate off at school and Addison didn’t say a word until we got home when she screamed from the backseat…”Look Mom, a RAINBOW!” Scared the mess out of me. I forgot she was back there.

The past few weeks have been packed with fun! It snowed, had a belt test, and a birthday!

I picked the girls up from school January 6 and it started snowing while I was in car pool. It took us 50 minutes to get 5 miles to our house. It snowed for a few hours, mainly sticking to the grass and mulch, not much on the roads. We packed the kids up and went and ate Mexican because we knew we wouldn’t be leaving the house for a few days. We got home and got in bed and Michael got the phone call to come on in to work. We woke up to about 8″ of snow. It was also bitterly cold and the wind cut like a knife. The girls went out after lunch. Addison made it about 30 minutes. I decided to go back inside, Addison decided to go with me. Meanwhile, Ella Kate stayed out for three hours. The wind was terrible! Michael worked from 8-12 came home for 2 hours and we didn’t see him till 6:00 Saturday night. Sunday the wind wasn’t as bad and the girls and I went sledding for a couple of hours. After that we were ready for it to be gone. School was out for 2 days. Since then the weather has been mild, high Friday was 70 and sunny. We were in shorts and playing outside. I’ve noticed new growth on the perennials and have even seen some Forsythia blooming around town. Not good.

The following week, Addison tested for her yellow belt. She did really well and only needed a few prompts. It is a lot to remember! We celebrated with dinner at chick-fil-a.

Last week we celebrated Michael’s 36th birthday. Thursday we went to Sierra Nevada. Saturday smoked a shoulder and made a bunch of sides. His twin, Sarah, came in town with her three kids and we all ate and played together. Yesterday he had planned on smoking some ribs, but ended up running longer than expected. Overall he had a good birthday. I got him some new tie-dyed gaiters. He tore up his others on a stick while running.

We took the girls hiking Saturday morning. Nothing to hard, 4 miles around Bent Creek. Addison wanted to test out her backpack she got from Santa. She was super pumped about carrying things in her pack!

My work has been slow since its “winter.” So I have been going through some things in the house that needed some attention. I’ve been going to the gym 5-6 times a week and for some reason we have been running more than usual and I have developed some sort of knot on the side of my shin. I took the weekend off and today since Addison is out of school with a fever.

Not much on the agenda for the week!

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One of my new years resolutions is to use my big camera more. The down side is I have to hunt down the chord to upload. When I use my phone for pictures I can go straight to the app and upload from my phone. Plus my phone was having some sort of battery issue due to the cold I took it outside to take pictures and it died immediately.

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Stuck in traffic on the way home. Geese on the French Broad.

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Michael plowing our driveway to get the van out.

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Testing…

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Yellow Belt!

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The roads were pretty clear Sunday afternoon so Michael drove us to Biltmore Park for lunch and walking around REI. EK found a true backpack so she can go backpacking with us!

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Also during the snow I did a lot of cooking. I got an Instant Pot during some Black Friday Amazon sale in September I think? I used it once and coconut oil went all over the kitchen and it scared/burned me. Everything got busy and I didn’t have much time to mess with it. I have been using it multiple times a week and I love it!

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Happy Birthday Michael!!

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We have been looking at some hikes and making back packing loops for the spring and summer!

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Ella Kate had a pulmonary  function test last Tuesday. The Doctor called me on Saturday with the results. Lung Function is good and albuterol does actually help her breath better. No medicines have been changed. She also hasn’t had a serious attack since we have moved here. She hasn’t been on steroids since March 2015. I give her bumps of albuterol when she gets sick to help prevent anything more serious.

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Jump Roping with cousins! I won! I got the most continuous jumps! Michael got the award for crazy jump roping skills!

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The girls Friday afternoon, that’s Carolyn and Addison’s new doll laying out since it was so “hot” outside!

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End of 2016

Sorry Girls, ya’ll keep me super busy!

My parents came up for Thanksgiving as we thought Holly and Drew were heading to SC to visit Drew’s parents. We went to Christmas at the Biltmore, the arboretums Winter Lights, had Thanksgiving and then my parents went back to Memphis. We busted out Christmas and only had two weeks left in AVL before we left for Memphis for Christmas. Instead of posting pictures, you can check them out on my Flickr account. The girls were also out of school for 5 weeks, from Thanksgiving till January 2nd. This is our first full week back.

We had a good time in Memphis, visited with family and friends. Michael flew in on the 22nd and on Christmas Day night got pretty sick. He finally went to the Dr. Tuesday and he had strep. So we didn’t do much visiting after Christmas. We celebrated Ella Kate’s 9th Birthday that Tuesday. She wanted to go to the trampoline park and jump. Then we headed to Booya’s for burgers and my parent’s house for cupcakes and ice cream.

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The following Wednesday we headed back to AVL, as Michael had to be at work the next day. So for the 5 weeks we were off we did a ton of crafting, movie watching, baking, and toy cleaning out to make way for the new Christmas loot!

We tore down Christmas and got ready for NYE! Ella Kate’s 9th birthday! We took them to see Sing, grabbed birthday cupcakes, went to Claying around to paint an owl, and then headed to AVL Pizza for birthday dinner! She had a blast! They rented a movie and had a sleep over in EK’s room in Addison’s little tent! Both girls had a big, fun day!!

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New Years Day we finished up homework and projects for school. Michael made his usual New Years feast of ham, greens, and black eyed peas.

Now we are full swing once again!

Blurtober

Blurtober because October is now gone…and it went by crazy fast.

Races, festivals, festivals, school, katate, violin, church, and this….

The evolution of our backyard. We started in July.

If you follow Appalachian Springs on facebook, then you probably know the story behind some of these images. So it was a big shock to us that we would have a ginormous hill of mulch for our backyard. When we selected the lot, it was a slight slope, we had no idea this was the end result. Our lot is small, we wanted a small yard. So once we discovered that our backyard would be this, we wanted no turf at all. So we designed a deck. It was small and then it grew.We also wanted to be able to have a fire pit, so we also needed a stone area…cause firepit on a deck = no beuno!

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So we started digging.

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And then we bought boulders, and tore up the front and side yard in the process.

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And we played with them. I was virtually no help with this process…but I did most of the visual placement.

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And then we built the hidden retaining wall.

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And framed.

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And also realized we moved the grill to the wrong side of the deck. That grill is heavy as all get out.

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And we added deck boards.

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Then we bought tons of flagstone, and had more puzzle time. People with a lot of money would normally just buy two big slabs of rock, move it to the back, crack it, and mortar it. Big slabs of rock are very expensive. Big slabs of rock are also exceptionally heavy. So we went the cheap route.

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Puzzling.

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I sanded throughout the weeks, Addison also helped as well.

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And then we stained it. It took 5 hours. I am still covered in stain.

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And it is DONE!!

Well almost, we are going to clean the rocks and boulders. We might also put another top coat on the deck to protect it. I want to watch the water bead up and roll off. If you were to pay a landscape company to do this, it would be around 18-20K. This was a very laborious project.

Maybe in a year or two we will be able to build a table or buy one…but for now…BYOC!

So in pictures for the rest of October:

Pressure washing the deck on a Friday night!

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We have a 45 minute gap in between karate class on Tuesdays and Thursday, we’ve been hittin up the park..which will probably end this week since the time changes.

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Our neighbor works at New Belgium and took us on a tour!

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Halloween 2016! Two black cats!

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Crazy hair day at school!

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The girls at the tour, the mermaid is Ellie, she lives two houses down from us!

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Church fall festival!

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A unicorn head we fell in love with at Marshalls, but it had to stay there!

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After school snack, Moonpie is jealous!

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Church picnic at Camp Tekoa!

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Moonpie pimped out in her bed!

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Ella Kate’s turn in the unicorn!

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Zonked out Addison!

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Ella Kate trying on her leotard for her cat costume…Addison was going to be Izzy but as soon as she saw this, she wanted to be a cat too!

UntitledWe also had the tooth fairy visit last night as well. This is the second tooth EK has lost on Halloween. Her first one was in Kindergarten!

So moving on to Thanksgiving! The girls only have 14 days of school left for the YEAR!! That is wild to think about, but if you recall, they are attending a year round school. We are planning on heading to Memphis 12/14 or 12/15 for Christmas. Michael will be arriving on 12/23. So the girls and I will be there for almost 2 weeks!