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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Excellent End to the Year and Beautiful Beginnings to 2017

  My heart is so thankful for these two turkeys and for being able to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extended family at Rodger and Melissa's house this year. We had games galore (basketball, tetherball, Gratitude Scavenger Hunt, Pin the Grateful Feather on the Turkey) and even some fake snow mixed in with all the wonderful food and fellowship. I didn't even have to get out into the Black Friday madness this year and was able to do my shopping straight from my phone. Speaking of which, Chris and I finally caught up with the times and got some decent technology. We did away with our Walmart wanna-be's and feel pretty fancy with our Samsung Galaxy S7s. It takes pretty good pics as well as you can see from all the photos below. 

 We hit Penland Christmas Tree Farm the day after Thanksgiving with Rodger and his family and Renee and her family. The pickings were slim this year though, but we managed to find a somewhat semi-straight tree although it's not quite as full as our usual Cypress trees are. Oh well, it was still a fun day with some extra warm weather.  

 Zippy made his annual appearance and kept us laughing with his shenanigans! We enjoyed trying to complete the kindness missions each day and the kids loved the pjs that arrived in the box as well. 

 This year we got to cheer on the Clemson Tigers all the way to the National Championship and they won!! Go TIGERS!

 Grandmama helped us make gingerbread houses to decorate this year and of course the best part is actually eating them!

 I love how this sweet girl sleeps will all her animals around her. We've moved on from just monkey, to monkey, Puppy, and about 10 other friends. And if she isn't covered by stuffed animals then her bed is bursting with books hidden beneath the covers. We sure do love this little night owl though! 

 We went back to the Rock Hill Christmas parade and this year, I didn't spill hot chocolate on a single child! So that's what I call a successful night!

 Traditions....Traditions!!! Love our annual tradition of hearing Santa read the Rudolph story in Glencarin Gardens and celebrating with cookies and cocoa afterwards. The kids love playing in the Workshop area and gazing at all the gingerbread houses and Lego displays entered in the contests each year.

 We made snowmen ornaments as gifts and decoration for our tree this year. The kids did a great job with both his marshmallow one and the one with Epsom salt that is meant to look like a melted snowman. 

New this year was going to the Bass Pro Shop to visit their Santa Wonderland with all kinds of playful exhibits and then since we were already in the area, we checked out the Nascar Speedway Christmas Light Show instead of doing our usual McAddenville trek. It was a neat experience. The kids especially loved the end where the lights were set to music!

 We also went to Narroway for a new adventure this year. We saw the play "Nativity Set" about a nativity scene that comes to life after being stored in a shed at a church each year. It was cute and Maggie was hilarious trying to act like she was a singer belting out the songs. Riley just loved the green milkshake that we got from the concession stand and couldn't get enough of that! 

 We've kept up our Friday QCP Playdates for the most part each week and this little gang sure is having a good time together!

 We celebrated Alice's birthday and the Adults-Only QCP Christmas on December 22nd. The White Elephant gifts are always a highlight and this year Alice ended up with a cozy, footie pajama onesie!

We checked out Westminster Presbyterian this year for our Christmas Eve Service before heading to Wan Fu for our traditional Chinese meal. Riley and Maggie loved the Shirley Temple drink we ordered for them and playing with the little paper umbrellas. Ah...the simple joys of childhood!

Santa came and brought some great gifts for the kids. Maggie has gotten quite a bit of use out of her Karaoke machine and Riley is pretty thrilled with the tablet and all the Pokemon cards he received this year. 

 We had a great time visiting with Edward and his family on December 27th and 28th. We had one day where everyone in the entire Taylor clan was there and while Kelly and Joel were a bit under the weather, we made the most of it with some great food (courtesy of Mom) and some hilarious games! Dad's highlight was when Edward taught us how to play "Oh....You're Mama...Zoomie...Zoomie...One...One" (a clapping and name game).

 We headed up to Indiana on December 29th and got to celebrate Tim's 40th birthday, Christmas (again) and New Year's Eve with the Fisher side of the fam. It was a lot of festive fun as well, but we were sorry that Grandpa had to be taken to the hospital that night to check out some erratic behavior that ended up being an infection in his blood. 

 The kids were super stoked to get a tiny bit of snowfall a few weeks ago. We had to make a miniature snowman and throw our snowballs pretty fast before they fell apart, but it was certainly a good time while it lasted!

 Maggie and I got to go to a Preschool Family Night last week with a bunch of her 4K friends from Fort Mill. It was a pajama-theme and there were tons of cute stories, songs, crafts, and activities. Riley and Chris were busy with Boy Scouts that night and prepping for their upcoming Derby Car Race. 

 Chris and I finally bit the bullet and bought some new furniture. Our beige cloth ones were so stained and picked that we were embarrassed to have company over. This loveseat and couch combo is pretty comfy and what's important to us is that we can stretch out on both of them and snuggle with our sweeties for "Pizza and Movie Night" or any other time of day too!
I got to enjoy lunch today with Riley at his school which is rare now that I'm back to teaching. It was great having his buddy, Miller, join us and watching Riley play with his Happy Meal toy. 

As we wrapped up 2016 with a big fat bow and have entered a new year, it always makes me pause and reflect on how blessed we are! As I was cleaning house this past weekend, my heart was so full because I have a home where I'm safe and secure and warm and it is filled with laughter and people I love!! Not everyone can say the same. And I don't want to take my beautiful blessings for granted. This year has been pretty tough for me at school, but as I recently read in a book, "Gratitude diffuses attitude." The more grateful we become, the happier I believe our lives are because we stop looking at what we don't have and start appreciating what we do have! 

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