Friday, May 30, 2008

You're in the Right Place!

For lack of a better or classier way to put this, I've had my blog pimped!!! Can I tell you how excited I am?? I have been getting up and checking my e-mail first thing in the morning to see if I've gotten an e-mail from the AMAZING blog designer, Hilary (one l) and most days I have. She designed this header for us from basic information from me and I love it!!
I can, without a doubt, tell you that she is fantastic at what she does, proficient and creative, gives full details as to how to do this, along with FREE! Yes, that's right- FREE! She is working on building a portfolio and is creating blog designs for nothing! Isn't that impressive?!? But, you'll feel good to know that she has a place on her site where you can make a donation (and I plan to) to her college fund (she's a college student!) for all her hard work. Anyway, I cannot say enough good things about my experience with her and her info is here on the right.
Also, a HUGE thank you to my good friend and photographer Melissa Tash. The cute photos are courtesy of her. The one of Harris on the left is from his 4 month studio session.
We are doing 1 mo, 4 mo, 8 mo and then 1 year shots. That's a little different than what we did with Owen, but had to get shots of Harris for our Christmas cards/ birth announcements (I'll combine anything!) and that's how the timing worked out.
Melissa has always been fantastic. She has taken all of our pictures and I've even recruited her to do the pictures at Owen's school. The picture on the top right of Owen is a from his photo session at SCHOOL! Can you believe that?
She has taken shots of our families outside on Sunday morning, done photo shoots with screaming babies (often), around naptime and with my little boys pee-peeing on her blankets/ studio floor/ towels- whatever is there. Somehow she ALWAYS manages to make us look good! I've walked away many times thinking, "I hope there's one good shot out of that" and there will be more than a dozen. She is really talented and I'm so thankful to know her as a friend, too!

Enough of my rambling, but I am so excited!!! I hope you like it, too!
Look at my little signature right here:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Memorial Day Weekend Project

I love a long weekend! Who doesn't? Especially one where we don't have anything planned. No birthday parties, no mandatory meetings, nothin'! So, what better to do than start a huge project?!
Scouting the area for the swingset location
Jason and I (Read: I) decided that we needed to get a swing set up this weekend.

When we bought this house, we knew that the back yard needed a LOT of work. What we didn't realize is how soon we would need a back yard play area. Ollie was still 1 when we moved in and even a year later- at 2 1/2- he really needs a backyard and playground.

Since Jason is a self proclaimed super dad, he decided that he was going to build this himself. Friday night I did a lot of research online about swing sets/ playgrounds and found a few things we liked at Toys R Us. But, when we got there on Saturday morning, despite a promised truck arrival, there wasn't anything there that we were looking for.

So, then it was off to Home Depot where we found a do it yourself type kit where you buy the pieces in a kit and then purchase the lumber that you need separately. We found one that would fit in our small allotted space and met our requirements: swings and slide. It also had a tire swing option (we got that instead of the net) and a hanging bar/ rings combo- bonus!

So, Saturday we bought everything with the help of Connie and Irv and their truck. Saturday night Jason and I stained/ protected all the lumber. Sunday Jason put it together (I know- working on the Sabbath- tsk, tsk- we skipped church, too- going straight to hell!) and then Monday he got it set up- as in turned over- again with the help of Connie and Irv and our neighbors.
Cutting the lumber, above and then in super dad mode- with vice on head
It has rained most of the week, but we've gotten to play out there 3 times and it has been wonderful! These boys love anything outside and I'm so thankful to finally be able to enjoy a little bit of it with them! (Note: We've put in some mulch, but still need to get more mulch and landscape logs this weekend. This won't be nearly as daunting as last weekend!)Hoorah for Freedom! Thanks so much to all our military servicemen and women for protecting us and allowing us the freedom to do such things. I'm happy to honor you with 3 day weekends!

And a special thanks to Super Dad! You are amazing! We love you!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Somebody call Dolly Parton...

I have committed a Southern Crime!
I don't know what has come over me, but I have thrown out (to the recycle bin) my old copies of Southern Living!!! In an effort to clean for our babysitter who will be here tomorrow, I found a huge stack of SLs and decided it was time to let go of them.
If you have somehow stumbled upon this blog and you aren't from the South, well- welcome, but, you might not know the implications of such acts. Southern Living and I go back a long way.
My grandmother had Southern Livings from the 70s in her house. Everywhere. And from the 80s, 90s, etc. Every bath, seating area, side table had some copy of this magazine and, I don't know why, but you are NEVER supposed to throw them away. People have them catalogued in their house for decades (dewey decimal style).
I've been through many stages of adulthood- living on my own, marriage, first job- but nothing has quite felt as grown up as the day I got my very own subscription to Southern Living in the mail- with MY name on it. Whew! Still gives me a little rush.
Anyway, now they have all the recipies online and I've used that before to hunt for old mysterious recipies. And I've never gone back and looked up any decorating ideas from several years ago, so I think it's time to let them go.
Farewell, my Southern Livings. I will not forget you and will find your useful information in cyberspace. I hope you see a new day as another form of paper- maybe another magazine full of ideas, recipies, decorating, gardening and all things Suuu-thun. Bless your heart.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What about Henry?

Dorothy (Connie's best friend and long time family friend) made this adorable outfit for Henry. She also gave us a bib and 2 burb cloths. I'm so excited to have cute new monogrammed things for our poor second child!

I'm sure you're thinking, "What about Henry? Where is that poor child?". Well, he's here and he's doing well. Ollie just happens to dominate the camera and the "cool stuff" right now at his age. Sweet little Henry is just along for the ride a lot of days. I don't know how I feel about that, but that's just how it is. He gets lots of love and separate attention, but he is so enthralled by his brother and they really like being together- meaning Ollie runs around and sings, plays, rides, jumps, etc and Henry gets to watch. Ollie loves to make him laugh and Henry obliges him most of the time. I know Henry will be in the action before long, though, so I'm enjoying the potted plant stage.
Here is an example of what happens when I get out the camera...

This is the Saturday morning (crazy hair, pajama) look, just FYI. =) Although it was around 10:00...

Last Day of School

Why is it that the "last day of school" emotes 2 completely different feelings as a parent and as a child??

I can tell you that I'm very sad that Thursday was Owen's last regular day in his 2 year old preschool class. He'll go to a summer session (that will be just like his school year) starting on June 2, but Thursday was the "official" last day of the year, so they had a little program for the parents.

If you haven't heard me talk before about Owen's school, I LOVE IT! They are super attentive, eager to help work with you as a parent and the child and they truly love our kids. God has really blessed us with this environment and I'm so thankful every day.

So, at the program, they did a version of what they normally do at circle time each day. They sang Twinkle, Twinle Little Star, the ABC song and one other song that has the same tune (I can't remember it, so if you can then you get a cookie) with Ms. Cathy playing the tune on the xylophone (she said it was the only tune she knew- ha). Then they passed out sticks and did several songs with them. The first was The Bear Went Over the Mountain and the sticks made the mountain:

Then they did some rowing song and I'm not sure what it was, but it was cute and fun:

The little girl with green bows in her hair is Anna Grace. Owen loves Anna Grace. Any girl that he doesn't know and he needs to refer to her somehow is called Anna Grace- as in- all girls should be her. When we were leaving, Anna Grace's mom told me that she said, "That's Owen. He loves me." Yes, my dear, you are right. A girl can tell these things early on, apparently.
Here is Owen with his certificate- going for his Wilson look from that Tim Allen TV show- also can't think of the name- another cookie up for grabs here. Am I brain dead today?

And here is a cute picture of the O-man with his teacher Ms. Cathy. We love her so, so much and she will be leaving his classroom for the summer. Sob, sniffle, sob. Thankfully, the other teachers in there are equally wonderful, but we have a special place in our hearts for Ms. Cathy. I know this is overkill, but here are a few more shots I couldn't leave out. The shirt they're wearing has all their handprints on it and their names are on the back- a sweet gift from his teachers!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Blackmail Picture of the Day

Since we are really starting to get hot and heavy into potty training, I thought the idea of some big boy DIEGO underwear would make Owen want to graduate from diapers. After loads of build up about the big boy underwear with Diego, I knew he would want to wear them... I just didn't think he'd want to wear them this way.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Zoo Animals

Today, on an adventure at Marshall's (isn't it always an adventure?), Harris and I picked up a pack of safari animals for Owen. I thought this would be a nice touch to the safari playroom I'm setting up right now (more to come on that when it's fininshed). I knew that Owen has always loved animals, but I had NO IDEA how attached he would become to these animals. He's had them for all of 2 1/2 hours and I have a feeling that they will be part of our family for a while. Included in this package of rubbery kind-of animals is a giraffe, elephant, cheetah, warthog (nice, huh?), hippo and a lion. (I'm listing these so I can remember what is missing at a later date.)

Owen wasn't too sure what the warthog was in the beginning, but he figured it out. When Jason told him he had to share one animal with Harris, though, he immediately tossed the warthog his way. "Here doe, Ha-wis"... as in... you can have the crummy one.
Then, I needed to go make dinner downstairs and asked him if he wanted to watch Diego downstairs. He Lurrrves Diego (who else talks to animals, right?) and he hesitated and said he wanted to stay upstairs. I told him Harris and I were going downstairs, then. Well, about 2 minutes later, he came down holding ALL the animals as best he could and asked if he could watch Diego with his animals. See how he has lined them all up to also watch "tee-bee"?
It was time for dinner after Diego and Owen was getting tired of transporting them from room to room by hand, so he came up with a better idea:
Needless to say, the animals ate dinner with us. They also marched around the rug beside Owen's chair at the dinner table (when they were supposed to be eating dinner), played ring around the rosies, came back upstairs to the new playroom after dinner and it was a little sad telling them goodnight. I'm sure we'll see them first thing in the morning.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Argh! Hats off, matey!

Hats and pirates are really big at our house right now. So, of course, I got a pirate hat and several others at a party store last week. I had forgotten the severity of a rubber strap smack on your face until Ollie tried to take this hat off the wrong way- just a warning for those of you with 2 year olds- you have to teach them to take off the hat properly so they don't end up with a warp line across their cheeks. Here is Henry in his pirate garb at breakfast.
I got Ollie to eat this piece of toast by telling him it was "pirate toast", so now he asks specifically for pirate toast in the mornings. Don't you love those "Great ideas" at the time that come back to get you? Not that this one is bad, but I've had a few bad ones in my illustious career as a mom. That's Ollie wearing a fireman's hat backwards. Jason told him it was a "Fire Chief's hat" this weekend, so he's now asking for the "Fire Cheek hat". Have a great night!

R & R

Ahhh. I am back from some much needed R & R this weekend. Eight women from our Sunday School class went to Christy's lake house on the Elk River for a women's retreat and I didn't realize how much I needed it until I got there! Friday was a little overcast and cold, but we enjoyed cozying up inside and then Saturday was absolutely gorgous- sunny and warm- and we got to go out on the boat and enjoy some of God's awesome creation.

View from the top deck at Christy's house
Sherill, one of our associate pastors, was kind enough to join us and lead us through a great program of activities and discussion- all about refreshment and renewal. It was all laid back and rejuvenating and I'm so thankful to my husband for making me go (not that I didn't want to, but you know how you never feel like you- as the mom- can leave?).

Here are truths that I rediscovered this weekend:
* We don't have to handle all of our burdens ourselves (seems pretty basic, huh?)
* Trust that God will provide all we need. He is the shepherd going ahead of us. (Sheep are dirty, dumb and hard headed... any wonder we are God's sheep in the Bible a lot?)
* Put things up in your home to remind you of the things God has done for you/ is doing for you to remind you of His faithfulness.
* We are children of God and He wants the best for us (like we want the best for our children).
* We can't listen to God if we are always the ones doing all the talking.
(And a lot more, but these are the ones off the top of my head right now.:-)

I knew all these things, but I got to experience them in a new way this weekend. That's why I love retreats and time away like this- they bring you closer to God by getting away from our business of everyday life and get back to the basics. For a long time, I've said "Child of God, Child of God" in my mind when people cut me off in traffic or someone has pink hair at Target- to try not to judge or get angry. But I sometimes forget that I, too, am a child of God! And I do have crosses and scripture in our house, but the thought of buying something to recall a certain event where God has shown His glory and to put that up in your house to help you remember is a great idea.
My favorite time of the weekend was our final session- which we had out of the boat on the Elk River at the mouth of the Tennessee. It was amazingly beautiful and holy. We had communion on the boat (never done that before and would highly recommend it!) and just had a wonderful time.

Me, Christy, Sharon, Gina, Amanda, Sherill and Angie
Jenny Mc was also here, but she was taking the picture. The spot open there is for me to photoshop her in, but I've discovered I'm not as talented as that as I thought I was. :-(

Thank you, girls, for the amazing getaway! It was much needed and I can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Monday, May 12, 2008

The Barbage Truck

Waiting on the front porch for the grand arrival

Tomorrow is the big day. The day when the "barbage" truck arrives. Owen lives for Tuesdays and I hope (every week) that the barbage man gets here early in the morning before I take him to preschool. We must be one of the first streets on their route, thank goodness! One week he let me down, but I've forgiven him.

The first pass of the barbage truck on the other side of the street

There is a large amount of garbage truck build up every week and Owen really does remember it. He asked me this afternoon if he could see the barbage man (he asks about 5 out of 7 days) and I told him that he had to go to sleep and then when he woke up tomorrow morning he could see him. Nothing like using the garbage man for bribery, right?
This is a video from last Tuesday morning. Fortunately, we have trash (sticks, leaf bags and general litter) and garbage trucks roaming around on the same morning, so we all stay at the window or out on the front porch most of the morning- waving to the garbage parade.

Oh, yes, I should mention that Owen has NOT become a black jack or poker dealer. He got this cute visor as a party favor from Emma's birthday party. Gina even included little stickers that spelled out his name and animal stickers. We decorated it this weekend and he loves it. Great party favor idea! Thanks, Gina!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Snack Attack

Dang that Maria Montessori-

One of the big things that they teach at the Montessori school is how to do things yourself. Normally, this is wonderful. Owen cleans up after himself (with some prompting), puts up his dishes, dresses himself (still working on the finer points of that one) et cetera.

Today, as he was getting his own snack that he gets to choose, M&Ms were his first choice. (We have them here for potty training, but every now and again I'll let him have a few for snack.) Well, the bag wasn't quite closed completely.

And when I asked him how many he thought should go on his plate, this is what he decided:

Needless to say, I took away about 40 or so, but he was still pretty happy with his selection. He also chose animal crackers, banana (mine- that I was currently eating), marshmallows (the tiny ones) and goldfish. His other favorites/ usuals are chocolate graham crackers, carrots with ranch, any fruit, applesauce, cheese its, wheat thins, cheerios, pretzels and fruit snacks.

So, in my striving for transparency, I'll tell you that we did put all the M&Ms back in the bag!!!

Happy snacking!

The Best Kids Music Ever

I am going to go out on a limb and recommend the best kids music ever. There is a Christian kids band called Go Fish and I absolutely love all their albums. (Sorry this picture is so tiny and odd shaped. It, in no way, represents our love for them- only the size of the picture on their website.) Our friend Melanie gave us our first CD as a birthday gift for Owen and it was so cute that I've bought 2 others! Their latest one- Snazzy- is too much fun and we've played it in the car- non-stop. AND- the best praise I could give for it- I listen to it without kids in the car! They just do silly songs- not all about God, but about half and half and all with good lyrics. This new album has The Itsy Bitsy Spider on there with a beat. It's hilarious. They sing the original verse, but then they add some new ones. I think you can listen to bits of all the songs online.

My favorite lyrics are:
The spider has eight legs
to help him crawl about
He's creepy and he's crawly
and he freaks my momma out!
He bugs me
that's the issue
I'm gonna get you
with a tissue

There is also a great song on there for moms that starts:
If you have a stroller
and you're still a rock and roller
You're a MOM!

That whole song is great and will make you choke up- promised- even though it is super cute.
My other favorite is "Jammies" and there are several others that are amazing.

So, this would definitely be worth a purchase, or if you invite us to your next birthday party, we will be sure to bring it as our gift. That's what I'm bringing from now on!

The Diet- Week 3

Alright. I'm going to tell you from the get go that this post is about to be buried under others because I don't have good diet news. Apparently 2 1/2 weeks is about my breaking point for cooking (and cleaning up!) all my own meals and depriving myself of any splurge items. (I know we splurged on our anniversary, but that doesn't count!) Well, this week, Jason and I have both been working long hours, etc, you hear my rationalization coming on. So, to get to the point, I gained a pound and a half. That's right! GAINED! And it's not the diet's fault. That would be my fault. We went out to dinner on Saturday night after Jason had worked all day and I had the kids all day trying to get things done- like errands- definitely work! So, that was a ding against the old diet. And, I was at a dinner last night that was catered by Ruth's Chris steakhouse and they had a Cinco de Mayo steak soft taco buffet. Come ON! I'd already paid $$$ for this meal, so I was going to eat it anyway, and let me tell you it was yum-my.
Here are the things that were on the scale's side this morning: I had only slept 5 hours, I still had not digested steak dinner and I didn't get up to run this morning. So, on to the next week. Jason and I were shooting for 4 weeks of strict Belly Flat dieting, but we are just doing our best from here on out! The best thing you can get out of any diet is to be more aware of what you are putting in your body and I think we are both doing a much better job of that. I will keep you updated on my goal- now a stinkin' 16.5 more pounds. Ugh.
And, FYI, I did not eat Chuck E. Cheese pizza- I almost did, though!

** Post Script- I allowed myself to weigh again on Wednesday morning because of the many factors against my weekly weigh in on Tuesday and I'd lost the malicious pound and a half! WooHoo! Only 15 more to go!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Chucky Chesus and Nature

These two things have absolutely nothing in common except that we experienced both of them today!
Every year, Ollie's pre-school takes an all school field trip to the Green Mountain Nature Trail. This is not far at all from our house and is a wonderful field trip! There is a beautiful lake and hiking trail around the lake on top of a mountain. It's really beautiful. Very natural, earthy, Montessori-ish and fun. Ollie went with Jason early this morning and they saw turtles, geese and a slew of other animals. The coolest thing in Ollie's book, though, was the firetruck!

They ask the firemen to bring a truck up there and the kids get to sit in the driver's seat, put on the helmets and explore the truck... including the siren! WOOHOO! There was a lot of firetruck buildup at our house this morning, so I'm glad that this was all that we'd hyped it up to be.

Then, we left scenic Green Mountain and had about a 30 minute drive (in town) to Chucky Chesus (rhymes with Jesus). We were off to E's 3rd Birthday Party. E's mom and dad- Jason and Gina- are dear friends of ours from Sunday School. This was the first time we experienced Chucky Chesus (or Chonky Cheese as my dad always called it) and it was a little wild. Tons of fun- just a bit overstimulating. And it was even more so juxtaposed with the serenity that we'd just left!
I think I might be paying for Henry's psychiatrist's and optometrist's bills for a few years. Ollie wasn't wild about Chuck E. Cheese, but he did get to see him in person and LOVED the "animal band". The CEC employee there helping with the party was enthralled with Henry. She kept coming up to him and saying, "Do you see that rat?" referring to Chuck E. I don't know why, but I'm still tickled about it! Is that funny or is it a have to be there thing? She had a kind of country accent, was SUPER sweet, though, but to hear her say it was hilarious. The highlight of our CEC experience was that I got to teach Ollie how to play skeeball- my all time favorite CEC game! He really thought it was fun, too! (You'll be happy to know that there was no pit of balls there. We always loved those as a child, but now as a mom, you hear all these horror stories about how infested they are. They were nowhere to be seen! Hoorah!) We did all the rides and games we could stand and then we all came home for a N-A-P!! Mommy included!
All the girls loved Chuck (he's a ladies' rat).
You can see Ollie clapped and danced from afar.

Again, more therapy for Henry. Really, though, it was a ton of fun!
Hooray! What a great Friday!

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