Saturday, December 12, 2015

Holiday Card Photos

Without anything lined up to have our photos done professionally for our holiday cards, we decided to head down to Anne Springs Close Greenway after Thanksgiving with a camera on a tripod with a remote to take our own family photo.  I also tried out my 70-200mm lens on another camera for a few portraits of the kids.  This is Olive’s first Christmas with us, so she had to join us, too—and fortunately, she’s gotten a lot more agreeable to participating in group photos (see some Instagram photos from April to get an idea of how long Olive would stay still for photos when she first arrived with us…the short answer is that she’s usually a blur). 

I also really wanted to re-create one of my favorite photos of the kids taken by Brooke Brown way back in 2010 at the cabin on the greenway.  This photo is in a two-sided frame in our family room so I thought it would be fun to have an updated version, from 5 years later, on the other side of the frame.  They’ve grown so much!

{2010}                                                                                               {2015}

Friday, December 4, 2015

Instagrammin’ in November

What a fun November—Jonathan’s birthday party, seeing lots of family, and plenty of good football! 

this lady gets me. #hedgehumor | love that jack keeps his family in his school notebook. | attempt at a group selfie—gator game in columbia.  #gogators | cheering on our gators! | my first away game. | thankful to be in the gator section—even our photobombers are gator fans. | fun, and memorable, night out in columbia celebrating a gator victory. | thanks for your hospitality, gamecocks…#someonebrokeoffmygatorplate #niiice | happy 40th to jonathan! #donutcake | jon’s parents came up to help us celebrate. | 6 taps just for us—private room at birdsong brewery for jonathan’s birthday party. | perfect venue to celebrate jonathan’s 40th. | the big 4-0 #publixcakes | #squad | trying to convert our atlanta cousins to panther nation. | in the hive. #gohornets | the story of jack and my fantasy football season: “if a good eddie lacy is a benched eddie lacy then a benched eddie lacy should be in your lineup. in which case he’s not good anymore, so he should be on your bench. but that makes him good again…” #philosophersrunningback | olive girl. | headed back to anne springs close greenway and the dairy barn to take our family photos this year. | and our tree is up! it’s a new record this year—by the end of the thanksgiving day weekend.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Instagrammin’ in October

Through lots of rainy weather and plenty of beautiful fall weather, we made the best of October.

with october comes october 100 which means lots of walks with olive this month. | rainy day means only 2 miles on october 1st to kick off october 100. | jack’s definition of being proactive: “if your room is dirty clean it before your mom yells at you.” | jr. eyc retreat for ella on a very rainy weekend. | the rain made the mud pit, a retreat tradition, even more fun. | great first eyc retreat for ella! | beautiful weather = 2 hours of tennis and 8 miles closer to goal of 100 for the month. | girls’ tennis weekend in hilton head! | life is good. | enjoying some lunch outside with my doubles partner tracy after a morning of tennis. | you cannot beat the weather in october on HHI. | beautiful sunset over harbour town. | can’t resist this cutie when he invites me to lunch. | happy halloween!  #maytheforcebewithyou | game night with nonni and papa.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Ella and Jack coordinated their Halloween costumes this year, both sharing in the excitement of the impending release of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.  They, of course, hadn’t seen the new movie yet so they went old school for their costumes—Ella was Leia and Jack was Darth Vader.  Jonathan walked the kids around the neighborhood for trick-or-treating so he had to get in on the fun, too, with an albeit weak Obi-Wan Kenobi “costume”.  In our version, Darth and Old Ben settle their differences over some Kit-Kats.  No disturbances in the force on this particular night.

This was Olive’s first Halloween with us, so she had to get a new costume.  I don’t think her batwings survived the night, though—once she got a hold of one, it was all over.  She looked cute while it lasted!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Instagrammin’ in September

A trip to the mountains, soccer, and lots of breweries—September was a great start to fall!

love this goofy grin looking up at me on our walks. | whitewater rafting | and swimming in the french broad river. | ziplinging! | i loved it! | we rappeled, too. | great view from the top. | two ziplining cuites | it was HIGH. | great trip, jonathan! | cheers to that! #wickedweed | and olive liked asheville brewing company, too. | breakfast pit stop at vortex donuts in asheville to fuel us before our hike. | it’s a beautiful day for a hike! | black balsam knob | art loeb trail | snack break | taking in the view | adding to the rock sculptures. | a view from off of the blue ridge parkway. | two hit the brixx 5k winners! | soccer buds | enjoying lunch at school with my boy while i still can—no more lunches with ella now that she’s in middle school. | another weekend, another brewery—birdsong with friends. | late night bucket brigade to put out a fire in the woods behind our house, inadvertently set by some kids. | the damage in the woods as seen the next morning. | happy 14th anniversary to us!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Asheville – Labor Day Weekend

Jonathan planned an amazing trip for us for Labor Day weekend of 2015.  He rented a little cabin right outside Asheville, complete with a fenced-in yard which made having Olive with us relatively easy.  Jonathan booked a morning of whitewater rafting and a morning of ziplining, planned all of the meals, and even gave us a tour of downtown Asheville, or, more specifically, the breweries.  My only contribution was researching a nice hike off of the Blue Ridge Parkway for Monday on our way out of town.  Whitewater rafting on the French Broad River was a lot of fun, a first for the kids, although the river was quite low after a dry summer.  Jonathan and I rafted the New and Gauley Rivers up in West Virginia in our early years of dating, so it is something we both quite enjoyed “pre-kids”—perhaps one day we’ll introduce the kids to some bigger rapids.  Ella and Jack didn’t know any different, though, and loved every minute of it. 

On our second morning in Asheville we did a ziplining tour through the woods.  We rode in ATVs to the top of the mountain and then did a 10-zipline course where the ziplines got progressively longer and higher.  We were deep in the woods—each zipline literally felt like a tunnel through the treetops.  The views from the platforms were just amazing.  Not one of us hesitated jumping off the platform on the ziplines nor did we have any problems coming in to the next platform.  It was a blast, and quite exhilarating!  We got to rappel off of two high platforms, too.  I loved it all so much more than I had expected…I knew my adrenaline-junkie kids would have fun, but didn’t know it would be so fun for me, too.  And somehow I ended up being the first off of every platform to make the leap off—definitely not something this soccer mom does every day.

On Labor Day, we explored the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at mile marker 420.2 to hike the Art Loeb Trail at Black Balsam Knob.  Part of this hike is above 6,000 feet in elevation and is nearly treeless, so the views of Pisgah National Forest are pretty spectatular.  Of course, this was Olive’s favorite day of the weekend trip (although, she did like exploring the very dog-friendly streets of downtown Asheville and the dog-loving breweries).  She was awesome off the leash, exploring a bit but always circling around to stay closeby.  Thanks from all of us for planning such a fun weekend, Jonathan!

{the whitewater rafting pics were taken with a little waterproof camera, the ziplining and brewery pics were taken with an iphone, and the hiking pics were taken with my big camera.}

Friday, September 4, 2015

Instagrammin’ in August

August was a great last hurrah for summer, although we had some fun even after the kids headed back to school.
cousins! | st. augustine beach | love these smiles | big kid tossing | little kid tossing | heads up | happy birthday to jack! | light-up balloons | sparklers | and fireworks! | happy 10th, jack! | learing backgammon from the best. | tastes like chicken. #alligatortail #conchhouse | nana and poppop. | and somehow while we took the previous picture ella lost her flip flop off of the dock…thank goodness dad could lower her down to retrieve it. | olive’s a good little car rider. | and so the soccer season begins. | jumping isn’t the only way to get high at sky high. | borrowing her brother’s sneaks to do the ropes course. #bravegirl | baden! | a little blueberry love. #heartsinnature | 10 means he gets his gym wristband! | lots of tennis with my girl this summer. | watching the pros play at the winston salem open. | close to the action | last day of summer tradition | ella’s first day of middle school—off to 6th grade! | jack’s first day of 4th grade | checking out some new charlotte breweries.  #woodenrobot | finally checking out the carrigan farms quarry! | say geronimo! | i did it, too. | it’s higher than it looks!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

First Day of School

After a fun summer of swim team, camps, HHI, St. Augustine, and plenty of quality time with family and friends, Ella and Jack started school on August 24th.  Ella is off to 6th grade—a middle schooler!  Jack is a big 4th grader this year.  We’ll have two years of two different schools on two different schedules, but we’re exctied for what’s in store for each of them this year.  Ella and Jack are both excellent students—one might be a little more organized than the other…I’m not naming names—but we know it’s going to be another great year for both of them.  #goella #gojack

Monday, August 10, 2015

Williams Family Portraits

There were two new additions to the Williams family tree in 2015, so it was time to update the Williams group photo.  Considering our last group photo was taken back in 2011 when Emilee was just a babe, it was probably long overdue anyways.  Hopefully we don’t wait until Harper and Hudson are 4 before taking our next one!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Jack’s Birthday in St. Augustine

We celebrated Jack’s 10th birthday with family in St. Augustine Beach.  All of the Williams cousins were there—even the new littles, Harper and Hudson—along with Aunt Jacqui and Uncle Randy, Aunt Chrissy and Uncle Chris, and Nana and PopPop.  It was a fun weekend of beach, pool, tennis, and more Publix birthday cake.  We even got in a birthday dinner at The Conch House with Nana and PopPop.  I love this summer birthday tradition!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Jack’s 10th Birthday Party

Jack’s 10th birthday party was so totally Jack.  Seven of his best friends (plus sister Ella), an indoor field (perfect for an August birthday), and two straight hours of soccer, football, and dodgeball.  And then, of course, top it off with some FC Barcelona Publix cake.  And that’s what you would call the perfect celebration of his 10th birthday for our sports-loving boy. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Instagrammin’ in July

In the heart—and heat—of summer, July was the epitome of fun and easy living.  Life is good.

hilton head island—bike rides, beach time, games, plenty of fruity drinks, boat rides, pool time, and family…it was another amazing week. | we did miss olive. #reunitedanditfeelssogood | ballantyne kids triathlon…weather kept them from one last lap to finish, but they did technically do all 3 events. | fc barcelona soccer camp, on some of the hottest day sof the summer. | so cute in his fcb uniform. | ella spent her week at camp thunderbird on the lake. | knights game! he caught a ball!  granted, it’s a foam on… | love the view from the knights stadium in uptown. | jack and jackson! | pancake dog. | chelsea vs. paris saint-germain—a little rivalry among friends. | beautiful evening for some futbol at bank of america stadium. | enjoying some soccer with my boy. | go oscar! | nike tennis camp—love the intensity, ella! | jack’s sports birthday party—football, soccer, and dodgeball. | it was a good game of fetch when you can see the freckle on olive’s tongue. | a little dunking action at skyzone. #gojack | jack’s birthday week continues—antman! |  cousins in st. augustine! | burying poppop.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Until Next Year, HHI!

The cousins each made their own tie-dyed shirts this week and donned them on our last morning in Hilton Head.  We had another fantastic week and loved this time spent with family!  Thanks, Nonni and Papa, for making it happen—we can’t wait until next year!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

HHI: Annual Beach Portraits

On our last night on HHI we took to the beach, all showered and dressed in our finest this time to take our self-timer, tripod group photo.  I love being able to compare photos from previous years to see how much the kids have grown.  I love these faces.