Tuesday, December 31, 2013

An Aussie Christmas

Merry Christmas, mate!


For the past five years, our Cagle family has been celebrating "Christmas around the World."  Each Christmas we choose a different country to learn about, and we collaborate to plan our celebration around that country's culture and customs.  It's been a fun opportunity to learn and be creative, and come together to do something a little unique during the holidays.  So far we've celebrated la Noche Buena (Mexico), Buon Natale (Italy), le jour de Noël (France), and Merry Christmas, Mon (Jamaica).

This year our Christmas country was Australia, and we had fun celebrating an Aussie Christmas with our whole "Cagluso" family. :)

In December it is summertime and hot in Australia, so many families celebrate Christmas with a picnic, a barbecue, or a trip to the beach.  We combined some traditional Australian foods with a holiday picnic idea for our menu.

We had pumpkin soup, cold cut croissant sandwiches, shrimp, Aussie meat pies, and a variety of salads.

Our beverages included tea (reminiscent of outback "billy tea"), a variety of Australian wines (since Australia is 4th in wine exports), and billabong ginger beer (use to make a dark 'n stormy, the country's unofficial national drink).

For dessert we enjoyed macadamia nut cookies (macadamia nuts indigenous to Australia), anzac biscuits, trifle (for Australia's English heritage), pavlova, and cherry ripe and hedgehog slices.

The kids had several activities throughout the day to learn more about the country of Australia.  They got plush koala bears and crocodiles and hunted for wombats, snakes, and a kangaroo.  They worked together on an ocean puzzle and talked about the Great Barrier Reef.  I had lots of big plans that truthfully got lost in the busyness of December, but Ben was awesome in supervising the fun.

It is thought that Santa trades out his red suit for swim trunks when he stops in Australia.  Our surfin' Santas stopped by for a visit and handed out some leis and other goodies. :)

We exchanged gifts and spent the rest of the day laughing, playing, and revisiting the picnic goods. :)

We spent the next few days soaking up our time together with our out of town family.
We went to the zoo...

ate at Truett's Luau...

The boys got tough for paintball...

And we also toured downtown Senoia and Starr's Mill, went shopping, had a massive sleepover, and a movie day, and a final fiesta!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fall Fun

Q: What do a pumpkin diva and a pirate have in common?

A: They went trick-or-treating together!  And to a family party and a fall festival!
(And they both wreak havoc on my mums.)

Our costume fun started this season at CanupFest, a super fun fall party hosted by friends.

Reed went as a swashbuckling (homemade!) pirate:

Molly was a fashion-forward toddler by day, and Nemo by night! ;)

We had so much fun playing games, and even ended our evening with a hayride.

Molly says, "Peace out! It was real!"

Last Saturday, our church hosted a fall festival for a local elementary school.  It was chilly, but a blast!

We all got festive hair spray!

And we enjoyed the musicians, crafts, games, hayride, balloon artist...

We especially loved the petting zoo!

Grammy and Papa came to visit on Halloween.  They spent the night and Grammy did dawn patrol with Molly (Thanks, Mom!)  They had fun eating "first breakfast" and reading books. :)

We ate lunch on the square (research mission for this year's Christmas country!), and played a little by the fountain and train.

That night, we did some trick or treating, some playing, and some s'more making with our buddies the Waldrons and some youth friends.

I'd say our cute crew had a fun time!  Here they are ready to roll!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Molly 18 Months

Dear Molly,

Remember that time your brother turned 18 months old and I thought my heart would burst?  (Of course you don't- you weren't here yet...)

Well, daddy and I can hardly believe YOU are now 18 months old!  When I tried to re-create Reed's sidewalk chalk picture for you the other day, you would not sit down long enough for me to click the camera!

You carried the chalk away, brought it back, and even tried to eat some of it, among other antics.

Yep, you're a cute little firecracker who is busy and curious and doesn't spend much time in one spot.  Someone asked me this week, "How did you guys end up with TWO spirited children?"  I have no idea, but we sure are lucky! ;)

You, Molly Bette Morgan, have a huge personality and a huge heart encased in a sweet little frame!  You have only been walking for two months, but you are great on your feet, into everything and running or climbing to get there!  You are adventurous.  You love to ride Reed's scooter and you do NOT want any help!  You peel our hands away if we try to hold on, and then you flash a big, proud smile as you roll along all by yourself.

You love jewelry... I heard "Mommy! Molly is in your pretties again!" several times a day before I finally turned my armoire around to face the wall.  You also love your bunny, your Reed ("eee!"), and your snacks.  You cry big tears if "PAPA" isn't logged in to Skype.  You ask to take baths and brush your teeth several times a day.  (This stands in strong opposition to your brother who says he will never go outdoors again if it means he has to bathe).  You love your daddy and get super excited when you hear his garage door open in the evenings.

You're also something of a drama queen.  You crumble to the floor and bury your face when you don't get your way, or when we have to take something away from you.  And that sad lip.  You almost always cry when you wake up from your naps and in the mornings... (I guess I can understand that-- Hello! You probably miss your awesome family!)  You are an earrrrrly riser.  I'm so thankful that daddy spends so many mornings with you!  We've been prepping hard for the time change this weekend; the five-o-clock hour is one thing, but four-o-clock anything is not gonna happen! ;)  That morning nap is history!  (In case you're taking notes, let's aim for a 7:30 wake up call).

You're a great eater.  You love cheese, avocado, banana (only if you can hold the whole thing), milk, cookies, cereal, and smoothies.  You love to make messes.  Molly Bette Morgan, if I had a nickel for every piece sticky clump of food you have thrown to the floor... Oh my my!

You're blossoming more and more each day, and our hearts are filled with such joy and love for you.  You give amazing hugs (with great sound effects) and sweet kisses!  You like animals, and smile and giggle when you see squirrels or doggies.  You love to point out birds and airplanes in the sky.  You love books!  You do that cute little back up thing to settle into our laps so we will read to you.  You especially like Pooh and Whose Nose and Toes.

You say about 30 or 40 words, and are learning new ones each day.  We love to ask you questions, because you always think about your answer while saying "ummmmm..."  Your no answer is especially cute.  Last Sunday I arrived at your classroom door to pick you up, and you yelled "bag" (got your bag), pointed at the gate and yelled "out!" and then said "bye" to your class as you reached for my arms.  So cute!  I can't wait to hear you string some more words together because it's a delight to hear your voice!  It's very cute. :)

Let's see.  You wear size 3 shoes.  You can wear some 18 month sizes, but you can also fit in a lot of your clothes from last fall that were a little big... It's like double the dress up wear! :)  You weigh 19.4 pounds and you are 30 1/4 inches long.  You are back on the charts for length (go Molly!) and climbing that way in weight.  You're still so petite and snuggly-- such a doll!  You blew Dr. Mary a kiss as we left your doctor appointment yesterday and she smiled and said, "she's perfect."  We think so too!

You've been a trooper through blood draws and tests these last several months.  Technically, you were diagnosed with "Failure to Thrive."  Guess what?  Everybody who knows you laughs at that very idea.  Me too.  At first I was worried and felt sad, but you know what Molly... real thriving, real life, happens inside your soul.  People come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but God looks inside of us, at our hearts.  We want you to be healthy and strong and we will do everything we can to protect you and keep you that way, but what we hope for you more than anything else in the whole wide world is that you will be fully God's.  It's through His grace, when He wraps His life around our life, that we truly live and thrive.  He loves you so very much.

We love you too, Molly B.  And we always will!  XOXO!