i love ammonia

(August 20, 2011)

Confession: my kitchen isn't the cleanest. I do try to keep it clean and yet the basic maintenance is about as far as I get. As proof... we had friends over recently and two of the guys ended up trying to scrub down my stove because it apparently looked that bad. Embarrassing? Yes. Thanks.

Anyway, they motivated me. So I attacked the stove. But even with their elbow grease, and mine afterward, the stove burner grates were just as filthy-looking. So, I did a little research and found this trick:

1. Put the burners into a seal-able bag.
2. Add half a cup (or even less) of straight ammonia.
3. Seal the bag.
4. Leave it alone (somewhere where a potential leak would not be problematic) for 12-24 hours.
5. Wipe clean with a sponge.

Worth a try? Absolutely. I will ALWAYS try the tricks that take basically no effort at all. I love those.

Here we go...

Before (yes, they really were that bad):

And.... AFTER:

Are you amazed? Me too. Just had to share.

daddy's 31st

(August 19, 2011)

For their daddy's birthday, the kids couldn't wait ALL day to celebrate him. So, we decided to go for it first thing in the morning.

We clearly needed a ninja to be part of the celebration. Here he is, waiting patiently to give daddy his card. 

"I love you because you..." I wish I could tell you exactly what it says, but I can't find it right now. It was really sweet and really random.

With a little help from some tool-savvy friends, I got Curtis a long-coveted sawzall (reciprocating saw). What more can a man want, right?! Oh, power tools...

Yeah, Daddy's happy! And so is Annabelle. Cooper? Not so much.
(p.s. It is crazy how much Cooper looks like my youngest brother Kevin in this picture.)

Woo hoo! Happy Birthday, Curtis!

worth it

(August 6, 2011)

What's it like to cram 15+ people (five of whom are age 6 and under) into a small 3.5 bedroom beach house for a family "vacation"?! Craziness. Fun, loud, claustrophobic craziness.

Makes for some startling wake-up calls! Poor Curtis.

But some fun morning photo sessions!

Ah, cousins. And Soothies pacis. Doesn't get much better.

When it gets a little too crowded, thankfully we can always escape down to the beach!

With my whole side of the family together (all in one country!), we had to take advantage of that fact... so, it was large group family photo time! Yikes.

It started off well with a late afternoon stroll to the beach.

A few practice shots to get the camera settings right... 

You cannot tell me that they don't look alike. Wow.

My older sister Ashley and her sweet little boy, Myer.

My cute parents.

Then it was go time- for both the group photos and the apparent torture of most involved (especially anyone of the male gender). At least they look pretty happy in the pictures!

The whole gang- all 15 of us!

Lest you think it was all pretty smiles and appropriate poses...

And I wish you could've heard the groaning and complaining when I asked them to do this one...

Cheesy? Maybe. But I'm fine with that.

It was worth all the drama in the end to have pictures like these.
(my siblings, in order of birth: Ashley, me, Peter, Whitney, Heidi, Kevin)

See? I think they loved it.

And who could forget the kids?

At least they were joyful!

To top it all off, we even got a picture of the four of us! It's not stellar, but it's pretty good. A Chesney family photo only happens about 4 times per year so anything is better than nothing!

I'm so thankful for my big and beautiful family, even when they whine more than my 3 year old, but next year?

We're hiring a professional. Geez.

a good day

(August 2, 2012)

It was just a good day. Good kids, good weather, good fun. And great pictures. Enjoy...

*this may be my favorite picture of Annabelle e.v.e.r.*

I know I should probably give God since He did "knit [them] together" in my womb, but I just have to say... 
Curtis and I made some cute kids. ;)

p.s. one more thing... just wanted to prove that Annabelle is finally starting to grow a little hair! There are even a few curls!! Of course, you may have to blow the picture up to actually see them.

all four of them

(July 23, 2011)

You may remember Mary Ellen, Curtis' sweet cousin, and her two little girls from this post. Joyfully, Mary Ellen's husband Kevin arrived back home safely from Afghanistan in May and was able meet his baby girl Ellen Kate for the very first time! If you want to cry a little, take a few minutes to watch this:

Fast forward a few months... this reunited family is moving once again, back to Tennessee, and they made a pit stop in Greensboro! All four of them!! Though, not surprisingly, I only took pictures of the children. Oops! I promise, Kevin was here too.

With Ellen Kate a little older and more mobile, Annabelle was intrigued by her new little buddy.

Can you believe those beautiful curls? 
I thought about cutting a few off and gluing them to Annabelle's head, but decided against it in the end.

These two, of course, jumped right back in where they left off 4 months ago. Seriously... they are two peas in a pod. Just wish that pod could exist in the same town more often!!

honey's happy (and hot) day

(July 23, 2011)

Some of our great friends threw an awesome summer-y party for their newly 2 year old Honey. They even went the extra mile to order an extra helping of HEAT for the day. Holy cow. Good thing it started out at a water splash park- perfectly fun!

As part of the part of the finale, I was really excited and honored to help Natalie (Honey's mom) with the birthday treat: chocolate-dipped rice krispie treat popsicles! 

The heat tried to melt them into oblivion (note: best at an INDOOR party!), I think they ended up being a big hit!

The party-planning mom and dad in action... they did it up right and everyone had such a great time.

Happy birthday, Honey! Glad we get to watch you grow, spunky little one!