Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blog Update

I've been blogging now for 7 years!  Which is wild because I'm a math person.  My degrees are in accounting and although I love to read, every single paper I've ever had to write for school was painful and stressful for me.  When Emily was 4 months old I started a blog and decided I would just give it a try!  I wanted to remember those early months and thought a blog might be a good way to do that and it has been!  I'm so thankful that I started all those years ago!

For me, the main purpose of  my blog has been to record pictures and stories of our life and have them in a place where our girls can read them and enjoy remembering certain events that they might not remember otherwise.  Every January we have a hardback blog book printed of the entries from the previous year and the kids LOVE pulling out the books and having me read them stories or just looking at pictures.  One of the girls pulls out a book to read/look at most every day.

I've also heard from several friends and family that have said they have enjoyed reading my blog over the years and this makes me so happy.  I love reading blogs from other families and often find them encouraging and full of good ideas that I might or might not implement in our family.  I'm humbled that people would take time out of their day to sit and read my ramblings about how cute my girls are or details about our latest trip or a story about their 1st day back to school.  

I've been thinking about making my blog "private" for a while now for a few different reasons, but my number one reason is for the safety of my kids.  So, I wanted to send you, my loyal readers, a personal invitation to continue reading the blog. If you've enjoyed reading the blog over the last 7 years and have a desire to continue to watch our kids grow through the stories I tell about them on here then please just let me know.  I'll be glad to send you an invitation.  You should only have to sign in once from your computer so it shouldn't take a lot of extra time on your part.  I know that sometimes I have enjoyed reading blogs of "friends of friends", so if that's you, and I don't even know you but you're a friend of one of my friends then please know I'd love for you to continue reading too!  Please just send me an email (stephanieRwatts [at] gmail [dot] com) or a text or a facebook message or a comment on here with your email address and I'll get you added to the list of "readers."  

Thank you so much for all of the encouragement and support and love you have shown our family through our blog over the last 7 years. Looking forward to blogging more in the years to come!

Much love,

Sunday, July 30, 2017

These Days

July has been a fun month with a vacation to the beach and the mountains!  We've enjoyed our time here in Greenville too!

The girls said they wanted to go "work out" one afternoon and did some exercises in the front yard and ran some laps around the house. Ha!  I'm sure they had people smiling as they drove by.

Bert's garden did great this year!! We had SO many cucumbers and tomatoes.  He found the Zucchini in the garden after we got back from vacation.  He said he must  have missed it before we left for our trip and by the time we got back it was huge!   

We've had some sprinkler afternoons and pool evenings!  

We've also had some fun outside after dinner several nights. When I look at this picture it's funny to me how much pink stuff we have.  We also took a trip to the track and let the kids ride their bikes.  We'll be able to do these kinds of things more and more as it cools down, although I'm not ready for cooler weather yet! 

Hannah, Claire and Emily had dentist appointments in July.  Their appointments were at the same time so I went in with Hannah, Bert went back with Claire and Emily was on her own (her preference). I think Hannah had been to the dentist 3 times before this visit and every time she put on quite a show.  She was scared to death....truly.  I'm not sure what changed but she did amazing!  Our dentist and dental hygienist could not quit bragging on what a great job she did.  She was SO BRAVE!!  I'm not sure when I've been more proud of her and she was so proud of herself.  Go Hannah!  

Claire had a great first visit! She was a smidge nervous but Bert said she didn't even cry!  Go Claire!  

July has also been full of playdates!  We've had playdates with the Rothell family, the Dodge family, and Flemings!  

The Rothell girls and Watts girls always love to dress up!  

Sophie gave the girls these cute drink umbrellas that go in their cups and it reminded them of the umbrellas they got for Christmas this past year.  They thought up putting on matching dresses and asked me to come out and take their picture while they posed. Ha!

I caught Abby snacking on some Chex one afternoon.  She's a quick little thing!  

Abby is learning how to feed herself these days and it can be a bit messy! 

Bert's been wanting to go to a game in the new Braves stadium since it opened this year, so I decided to try to make it happen.  I asked my parents if we could drop the kids off with them and they said sure! It was a Friday night game and we waited until Thursday to buy the tickets because there had been a good chance of rain earlier in the week.  We were so thankful we were able to go and had a great time!!  It was a super fun date day!!  

Stanley and Alisha met us at the game and we had a great time hanging out with them!  Our seats were amazing, the Braves won the game (it was a really fun game to watch), and then the stadium put on an amazing firework show for Friday Night Fireworks!  We didn't get back to Toccoa until after 1:00am and were tired the next morning when our kids woke us up before 7:00, but it was worth it!!  

I can't believe it's already August!  We have a few more weeks until school starts back and Team Watts plans to enjoy them!!

Vogel - Swimming, Campfires and More Hiking

On Tuesday afternoon we headed to the lake to enjoy some swimming!  Alison brought their awesome float and all the kids loved it! 

Rosemary was so sweet to help Claire and Hannah build a sand castle.  We didn't have any sand toys so they had to be creative!  

We enjoyed a camp fire every night!  The kids got to roast marshmallows before they went to bed. After we got the kids to bed, the adults came back out and talked around the campfire for hours.  It was wonderful!  

On our last morning there we tackled one more hike.  This one had some hills and was a little less than a mile.  Abby was excited to be back on her Daddy's back!  

The kids did awesome on the hike!  They all wanted hiking sticks like Grandmama so throughout our time there we found each kid a good hiking stick.  They were super proud of their stick and could tell each one apart.  

Cousins picture with their new shirts on!  

The whole group!  

We had a great time at Vogel and we're thankful for the time we were able to spend with family and enjoying the great outdoors!!  Glad our girls have such a great time when they're with their cousins, and we're looking forward to doing it again next year!

Vogel - Arts and Crafts

We had lots of fun doing arts and crafts throughout our time at Vogel!  Grandmama brought lots of coloring books and markers and the kids colored a lot while we were there.  Abby mostly just liked to carry around the markers, then she would take the lid off and get mad when she couldn't get it back on.  

Grandmama had the idea to have the kids make these shirts with each others' hand prints on each shirt.  The shirts turned out SO cute and the kids definitely loved making them!  They each had their own color paint and then we just passed the shirts around so that they could put their hand print on each shirt.  

Hannah did a hand print for Millie since she wasn't there and their hand was about the same size (Billie didn't want to do it).  :)  

After all the big kids were finished we brought Abby in to squeeze her hand print on each shirt.  She especially liked putting her hand in the paint.  

One evening while some of the adults were getting dinner ready Grandmama had a sewing lesson with all the grandkids.  It was too cute!!  They were all so quiet and still while she was explaining things.  She taught them how to thread a needle.  Sewing is not one of my skills so I would love it if she passed on to one or all of my girls her love of sewing!  It's a great skill to have!  

On Wednesday afternoon, as we were getting ready to head back to Greenville, Grandmama took the big kids out on the porch to paint rocks while the adults were packing and cooking lunch.  They had fun and swapped rocks with each other before our crew left that afternoon.  They were wanting to paint them so that they could leave them somewhere for someone else to find.  They did a great job painting them and had fun doing it!  

Our craft-loving girls loved all the fun crafts that Grandmama had planned for our trip!  I know it took some planning and organization....Thanks Grandmama!  

Vogel - Tubing in Helen

Most of the group went tubing in Helen, GA, but since they require riders to be at least three years old to go, I stayed back at the cabin with Abby and Claire.  Claire is 3 so she could have gone, but they had 5 kids and 5 adults so we thought it would be best if Claire stayed with me this year instead of tubing.  She'll be ready next year though!  

I had a relaxing morning with these two cute girls.  We walked down the lake and I got to swing while they played in front of me.   

Gosh, I love these babies!  

They stopped at an overlook on their way and the grandkids took a picture with Grandmama and Pawpaw. 

These girls were sunscreened up and ready to go on the 3 hour ride!!  Emily and Billie were actually a little nervous about the tubing, but they all 5 ended up doing GREAT! 

Hannah, Billie, Emily and Solomon all had their tubes tied to an adults tube, but Rosemary was on her own.  

It was a fun activity for them and I'm looking forward to getting to do it with them in 2 years when Abby can go too!!  

Vogel - Fun in the creek

Playing in the creek is probably one of everyone's favorite activities at Vogel.  It was definitely what the girls talked the most about in the weeks leading up to the trip!  

Abby Doodle was not about to be left out of the fun, although the uneven, rocky creek bed made it a little tricky for our 16-month-old.  

The water was so crazy cold, but you wouldn't know it by these cute faces!  

After playing in the creek for awhile the guys started grilling at the pavilion nearby while the kids kept playing.  All this food was so yummy!  

The kids did this loop of running through this bridge, down the bank on the other side of the creek, through the creek (Aunt Alison would give them a hand to help them get out of the creek), back up the bank on this side, and then repeat the whole thing.  Around and around!  Claire did it over and over for so long on her own. I'm sure she did the loop 20 times before anyone started doing it with her and once they did it annoyed her.  Hannah, Emily and Solomon were faster than her and it made her mad every time they passed her while they were running down the bridge.  Ha!  

I love her curls!  

I caught all 3 of them mid-run on one of their loops.  

Alison spotted a snake when we first got there and it stayed in the same spot for several hours.  We moved the kids to a different part of the creek and kept an eye on it.  After the kids were out of the creek for the night Bert couldn't help but go try to catch the thing.  He didn't catch it but he did touch it and it slithered away.  Ugh.  I DO NOT like snakes!  

We enjoyed a great dinner and then headed up to the cabin to get all the tired kids bathed and in the bed!  It was a fun first full day at the park!