Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Germany. 3

Last days:
1. Old is so much more beautiful than new.
2. America is way too new. And I pray that my family never wants to come visit, because what the HECK would I show them? Krispy Kreme? Costco? That's all I got.
3. It's just so stinkin' pretty. And I love my Germany family. And I can't wait to go back with my Winston family. And parasailing off those giant mountains is still ridiculous.

Germany. 2.

Day 2/3ish in Germany:
1. I've never enjoyed botanical gardens so much in my life.
2. Oktoberfest starts in September. Who knew?!
3. Giant pretzels are a perfectly acceptable breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.
4. LOTS of people go to Oktoberfest.
Check it: (oh, and remember to click on the slideshow if you want to see the pictures bigger and read the captions.)

Germany. Take 1.

I had so many wonderful and clever things to say about my trip to Germany with my mom. But that was a long time ago, and now I have a cold. So this is what I've got (click on the slideshow to see them bigger and read the captions):
1. Germany is pretty fantastic and if there was a mini-germany here in Winston, I would so move there.
2. There are flowers everywhere. Love this.
3. There are well behaved dogs in the finest of restaurants. Also love.
4. Chocolate.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Miller Park

These are the days when I'm especially glad to have children. Sorry Blake, I really would LOVE to play soccer on a wide open field in the blazing heat, but I've got these kids. I guess I'll just hang out on the shady playground and take some pictures. Maybe next time?

School Days

This year we had not one, but TWO big girls going to school. Kate started first grade and Anneliese started preschool. Kate LOVES first grade, and consistently tells me that it's way better than kindergarten. And despite her insistence that she would not start school this year, Anneliese is loving preschool. (As is her mom who can get more accomplished in 3 hours alone than in an entire week with her lovely ladies.)

Collin's Birthday

It's hard to believe this chunk came into the world 2 months early and could fit in the palm of his dad's hand. What a difference a year makes, huh?! And what a fun party! Water guns anyone?

Newest Addition

August saw the arrival of the newest addition to the Melrose/Swift Drive Team. London Grayson Rawls was born on August 11th, and (despite the screaming picture!) is a super sweet and handsome, tiny wrinkled baby boy! We're going to have to find bigger couches pretty soon.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

3 Things You're Guaranteed to See at Myrtle Beach. Part 1

#3 - Too Much Skin. Seen below on "Alex". (Which brings us to #4 - just shy of making the list this year: Children With Little to No Parental Supervision. On The Beach.)

Yes, "Alex" spent a good deal of time with us making sand castles. And I spent a good deal of time watching hundreds of vacationers walk by wondering, "why doesn't that woman kindly tell her son to pull up his swimsuit."

Ah, Myrtle Beach. Here's a peek at some more of the fun. And more of the skin.

3 Things You're Guaranteed to See at Myrtle Beach. Part 2

#2. Wildlife

In the past we've hit Alligator Adventure and the Aquarium - both completely on the up and up, super fantastic fun. This year we decided to go a different route. And boy did we. The Waccatee Zoo. Seemed "quaint" on the brochure.

It all started out nice enough. Some wild peacocks, some ostrich's grazing in a grassy field. But the further along you got, the more you got a sense that this place was just some crazy guys illegal animal collection gone wild. Shady. In every sense of the word.

Which takes us to the boardwalk. Decidedly NOT shady. But there was ice cream. And once we got Anneliese's in a cup we were all better.

3 Things You're Guaranteed to See at Myrtle Beach. Part 3

#1. Some poor schmuck in a fit of frustration trying to get a family picture. In this case, me.

All right girls. Can you just give me 1 good minute and then we'll be all done. I just want 1 picture, so if you can both just look at the camera then we're done, ok? Here we go - Anneliese, can you smile? Just one - then we're done. Kate - that's beautiful! Just look at the CAMERA and smile. Anneliese. Smile. OK - look, how many fingers am I holding up - just look here. No - Anneliese, you don't have to count the numbers on YOUR fingers, just look at MY fingers. Just forget the counting - just look at me and smile!!!!!! Kate, you're doing great - Anneliese, no put Oliver down. I'll take a picture of Oliver later. Fine, leave Oliver in but LOOK at ME! Seriously girls, we'll be done if you just LOOK and SMILE. That's it! Just 2 things - LOOK and SMILE. Yes, Kate I see the airplane.

Just forget it. Let's go to the beach.

Aaaaaaaand, a final look at the beach week 2010 fun.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Marbles Museum and Easy Bake Ovens

You know what's great? Reciprocal museum memberships that let you get into other Children's Museums for free.

You know what else is great? Having one of those Children's Museums (Marbles in Raleigh) conveniently located between here and Goldsboro. (Notice Anneliese's well placed admission sticker?) Blake and I make a well-timed pit stop at Marbles, become the heroes for the day and it doesn't even cost us a penny. Score.

You know what's just as great? Yard sales. Easy bake ovens with ALL the extras for $4. And a morning of baking with my girls.

What's not so great? The crap that you make with those easy bake ovens. Seriously. Thank goodness my girls aren't picky when it comes to sweets. I think it's all about the hat anyway. Kate does rock a hat.

Dan Nicholas Park

Another day trip? Awesome Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury. (While all this day trippin' may make it sound like I SO have my act together and planned a fantastic summer full of day trips and spectacular days of fun - in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that this was just the second day trip in a list of . . . . 2. Way to go mom.) AND we snagged the Crawfords for this one, too. LOVE those Crawfords. Just LOVE. So, park, playground, carousel, water fun, zoo, stick your head through the hole blah, blah, you get the idea. Great day.

Homeland Creamery

One of our day trips this summer was to Homeland Creamery - a family owned/operated dairy farm in Julian. Boy do I have a whole new appreciation of milk. And dairy farmers. A (loud) hay ride, a tour, and a chance to feed a baby cow later we finally got to the grand prize. Homemade ice cream. Yum!

And how did it smell? (the farm, not the ice cream) I'll let Anneliese give you a hint. (see below)

Yep - that's about right. And here are some more pictures from the stinkin' hot day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why I'll never be a childrens' photographer

I've long since let go of the idea that I'll ever get a good picture of my 2 girls together. I'm trying to embrace the fact that Anneliese just wants to dance, jump and/or put something in front of her face and that Kate will NEVER look at the camera, and will most likely strike some sort of "pose" that just seems to be missing a pole. (Where did she learn that from anyway?!)
So here you go - the best of the worst. Say cheese!

Shotwell Beach Trip 2010

Last week we were lucky enough to be treated to a few days at the beach by Blake's parents. We had a GREAT time. (Thanks Frank and Joyce!) Blake's sister and her family were able to come, too, so Kate got to "babysit" Kensleigh (also known as the easiest baby in the world!). Kate was in heaven!
If only we could hire her out this young. . .

Last Days of Kindergarten

Kate had a fabulous year at Kindergarten. Two great teachers and a load of really sweet kids. Here are some pictures from her field trip to Lazy 5 Ranch and awards day. Oh - and Kate's award was for her love of animals. Yep, that's about right. Apparently every time Mrs. Moss would read a story and ask, "what would make this story better?" Kate's response (every. time.) - "if there was a dog in it!"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Half Birthdays

Highlights from the annual Half Birthday celebration with my parents:
Fancy Table with PapaJohn's cheesesticks
Musical Chairs
2! Frog Habitats (1 exchanged for Butterfly Habitat - Tadpoles and Caterpillars now on order)
ZhuZhu pets (Anneliese's last words before falling asleep that night, "i love my zhuzhu pet...zzzz.")
and . . . coffee a la Anneliese!

Oh - and that picture of me with the girls? Taken 20 seconds before Kate fell off her scooter and vowed to NEVER ride it again. She hasn't, by the way - but we're hopeful. The frog habitat, on the other hand, has already lived a full life in the 3 weeks it's been in the Shotwell household. We do love a bug.

Let me handle it

My mom had each of the girls over on separate nights last week for sleepovers. Anneliese was Thursday and Kate was Friday. Anneliese went to see a movie, but Kate decided that she wanted to skip the movie, so mom gave her $10 to spend at Cracker Barrel (the restaurant of choice for Kate). When Kate said she was going to spend her money on something for Anneliese since Anneliese didn't get to go to Cracker Barrel, my mom tried to explain that Anneliese had the special treat of going to the movie, so Kate could get something for herself. Kate's response? "Omi, just give me the $10 and let me handle it."
What do you say to that?

p.s. she handled it well. identical dolls with puppies for each of them. sweet kate.

another p.s. i would HIGHLY discourage all you moms with little girls from purchasing feather boas. unless you have loads of spare time to pick up trails of feathers from the floor, and slobbery feathers from puppy mouths. and if you have that much time - let me give you my number. i've got lists.


It's bug time! The girls' favorite time of year. So far, we've had "pet" caterpillars, LOTS of moths, lightning bugs, rolly pollies, 2 frogs and 2 snails. On order are tadpoles and more butterflies. And when we aren't searching for, catching or playing with bugs it's usually Hopscotch. I have NO idea what kids who don't do animals do all day. Seriously. Thats all. we. do. Playroom full of toys and we're chasing moths. Ahhhh summertime.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

That's my girl!

Not to be outdone by her cake-lovin' cousin - Anneliese took on the responsibility of cleaning the cake server. I love that girl.

Birthday Fun

In April we headed to Roxboro to celebrate my favorite neice's first birthday. I've never seen a kid dig into the cake quite like this sweet girl! It was pretty stinkin' cute. Happy Birthday Kensleigh!

Zoo Trip

Over Spring Break we took our annual Zoo Trip. When we planned the trip, it was supposed to be 76ish degrees. That woulda been nice, huh? Yeah - it was close to 90. Once a year is plenty. Our biggest highlight? The snake that slithered out onto the guard rail right in front of us as we watched the lions just laying around. Oh - and finding an outfit that Anneliese will immediately put on without pitching an enormous fit. This dress is now affectionately called "zoo dress" - and if you know Anneliese, you'll be seeing a lot of it this summer.


Egg Hunts, bubbles, scooter rides and the many moods of Anneliese - all in one day!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nature Walks

One of our favorite family things to do is go on nature walks (or adventures, as Kate likes to call them). To be honest - it's really one of Kate and Blake's favorite things to to together. Anneliese and I are perfectly happy to stay in and bake cookies, but we always end up having way more fun than we expect to. Kate and I decided to bring our new camera's on this trip. Here's what happened.

Time is just flying by!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Friday, May 7, 2010

Papa's Helper

Anneliese loves to help. Brushing Frenchy (mom and dad's dog) and sweeping up sawdust piles are typically the highlights of any trip to their house, but she's also quite a Febreezer! She may go through the entire bottle in one session, but mmmmm - doesn't it smell nice?!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


So, yeah - it snowed a lot here this year. Here's what we did. Sledding, hot chocolate, s'mores in the fireplace, movies, games, puzzles, baking. Sounds a LOT more fun now than it actually was. (Potty training Hopscotch in the snow probably had something to do with that.) Whew - those were some stir crazy weeks!

Best Friends

Kate was talking yesterday about all her best friends and all the people she loved (Daddy, Fletch, Hopscotch, Lydia). When she didn't list her sister I said, "What about Anneliese? You love her I know!"

Her response? - "I'm getting used to her."

Nice, Kate.


Meet Hopscotch. The rescue place said she was an English Bulldog/Australian Shepherd mix. She. is. not. She's a cattle dog. Look it up. They're super high-energy, kind of crazy, smart dogs with really annoying barks. That's Hopscotch! And we love her (ish). Fletch likes her about as much as it looks like he does. He ALMOST played with her the other day. Poor old guy.

p.s. remind me to tell you the obedience school story. good times.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Big Christmas Hit

3 days filled with opening hundreds of dollars worth of presents from all kinds of family and this; this, my friends, is what the girls fight over. (despite the fact that Anneliese looks like a slave laborer).

The $4 Little Tykes broom. Merry Christmas Everyone!

Shotwell Family Christmas

We headed down to Blake's parents' house around lunchtime on Christmas. With double the kids this year - we knew it would be a little crazy, but it was really fun. We did manage to get all the kids together for a picture. Proud cousin Kate was in charge of getting baby Collin to stop crying, and Anneliese got a turn feeding him. Kensleigh was in charge of being a perfect baby - and she did great as always. (seriously - she is one good baby!) And we even got a family picture in. Oh - and that ornament Anneliese is holding in the first picture? Yeah - she totally broke that about 30 seconds later. Nice Anneliese.

Christmas Day

The "big" gift this year was a train table. I know - 2 girls?, train table?, really? Yeah - I think that's what Kate was thinking when she saw it, too. (Did you see her face in that first picture?) But with the emphasis on the table part and not so much the train, it has quickly transformed into "dog carnival fair" - and they're loving it. Whew!

update: as it is now spring when I'm actually posting this, I'd like to add that it makes a fantastic caterpillar carnival fair, too. also - if you're coming over, watch out for caterpillars.

Friday, February 5, 2010

This is where I've been

I have all these (well, 2 at least) other posts almost ready to go, but I've been a little distracted lately. With what? - you may ask. Head on over to jakandjewel.blogspot.com to find out! See you soon(ish)!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas Eve

The last few years we've spent Christmas Eve with my mom and dad, which is always a lot of fun. After sorting the presents (nearly as fun as opening them) - and opening them, we ate a big breakfast for lunch. Then we headed out for a movie. And just FYI - Princess and the Frog is fantastic! Back to the house to play - new games, puzzles, lip gloss - and then a glorious dinner. A wonderful, tiring and relaxing day. Oh, and on the way home - Anneliese was asleep in 1/2 a Musketeer song.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas in Goldsboro

We start our Christmas the Saturday before Christmas when we travel down to Goldsboro to celebrate with my mom and dad's families. After braving the blizzard here in Winston, we finally made it down to the Strouds' where Rex the German Shepherd was the big hit. The girls went outside at least 15 different times to run up and down the fence with Rex chasing them the whole time. I'm not sure who was happiest to see us go - Rex or Blake, who got stuck going out in the cold with the girls nearly every time.

On Sunday we headed to Rick and Karen's for the Sutton Christmas. The girls had fun with (not so) Precious the cat, and I had fun eating some really good chicken pastry! and lots of other stuff. Kate got Corrine (the Three Musketeers Barbie) who has rarely left her side since. Oh! - and here's a treat for the whole family - Corrine came with a Three Musketeers music CD!! Now we can listen to Musketeers music ALL THE TIME. And since there are only 3 songs on the CD, we get to hear each one A LOT!!! I can now tell the girls how long it will take to get somewhere by how many Musketeers songs it will take. Did you know - it only takes 2 1/2 Musketeers songs to get to Target? Well, it does. Believe me, I know.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 6 Birthday Kate!

Kate had very specific plans for her birthday this year, so she decided to make a list to make sure she didn't forget anything (that's my girl! - If you click on the pictures, it should take you to the larger version so that you can read her list. I know you're dying to know!). We compromised on the sleepover party and had a nighttime party with the girls from her class (+ Lydia!) instead. Some craft bracelets, cheese pizza, presents, cake, books, surprise Christmas carolers and dress-up games later everyone went home and we called it a smashing success!