Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Zoo

On Friday we went to the zoo with my mom, sister-in-law, my niece, nephews and their friends. I don't know what John David was excited about more - the zoo or being with his cousins, but I love how this picture captures his excitement.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Back Again

I'd like to say that I'm back by popular demand, but truthfully, the only person who has even asked about the blog lately is John. The break I took was due to several reasons, some too private to share in blogland, but mainly because I found I was spending way too much time on the computer. Here's what you missed, in chronological order, not order of importance:

I discovered a delicious cup of decaf coffee - at Walmart for only $2.94! (That's the price for the package, not just the cup!)

I discovered wild muscadines growing in our backyard...

And the butterflies that the muscadines attract

John David had a birthday!

We took a family vacation to Gulf Shores, AL

John had a birthday!

I'll try to post some in the next few days to give some of these events their proper mention.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First Day of "School" 2007

August 14, 2007, 23 months old
August 16, 2006 11 months old

John David started back to "school" today. Our baby is growing up! He went for the first day of his second year of Mother's Morning Out (or "school" as he calls it) and loved it! He's in the 1-year old class again because of his birthday which falls 2 days past the cutoff, but his buds from church are in the class so it will be fun for him. It's the same classroom he had last year and it's also the same room he goes to for nursery at our church. He walked in like he owned the place and then waved good-bye when it was time for me to leave. He seemed happy when I picked him up, so it was a good first day all around. It's amazing what a difference a year makes...last year when he started he was 2 weeks shy of being a year old and couldn't walk or talk. Today he ran down the hallway when I picked him up and tonight he was actually able to tell me about his day. It's so funny to sometimes what he remembers from situations. As I was putting him to sleep I asked him about his day at school and this is how the conversation went:
Me: What did you do at school today?
JD: Cooper cried.
Me: Cooper cried? Why?
JD: Cooper wanted sit in chair. Mrs. Caudle said nope (with much inflection), time go night-night (in likely the same sing-song voice as she had said it).
Me: Oh, it was naptime and he wanted to sit in a chair but Mrs. Caudle said no.
JD: Yep.
Me: Did you color at school today?
JD: No. They don't have crayons there. (Which actually is something he is remembering from Sunday. He wanted to do something in the nursery besides just play with the toys so I said maybe he could color. When we got to the nursery he asked to color and the nursery worker told him that they aren't allowed to have crayons in the nursery since children sometime eat them instead of just color with them. Wonder what he's gonna say when his teacher pulls out the crayons for their first craft time at MMO?!)
Anyway, I just can't believe what a difference there is from last year to this year! I won't even type the cliche that would fit perfectly know what I'm thinking!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Beach Trip in July

We went to the beach with my family, minus Lara and Lexi, July 14 - 20. It was so nice to be away and to be with family. John David loved being with his older cousins and as always, learned some new tricks. Austin is 7 years old and is at the stage where he thinks bodily functions with noises are just hilarious. He's not an annoying kid, thank goodness! But he did enjoy trying to make noises by sticking his hand in his armpit and cranking his arm down. That's the newest trick that John David picked up. He now says "Watch me. I do like Austin." and proceeds to try to get his little hand into his shirt and onto his armpit. It was fun watching Aiden try to play with John David. Aiden makes up the rules to any game that he is playing, even those games with rules that have been established well before he was even a twinkle in his mother's eye. John David was really agreeable to whatever rules Aiden explained. Keeping in mind that John David is not yet 2 years old and Aiden was 4 in March, you can imagine how funny it was to watch them try to play Battleship or Checkers or Golf all according to Aiden's rules. You have to be on your toes to keep up when you play with Aiden since the rules often change if he is not winning!
John David watching a "moo-sie" with Austin and Aiden

Austin tried to master the art of the skimmer board and I honestly don't see how the boy could move a single muscle the day after he first discovered it. He fell down and got back up 500 times if he did it once. He was so determined! He is a great big brother and a great big cousin and such a sweet kid all around.

We missed Lexi and Lara but Lexi had dance camp that week and couldn't miss it if she wants to dance on the dance team this school year. She's 11 now which I just can't believe! This picture is from our time at the beach when she did go in February.
John David loved the water and was fearless when it came to going into the ocean. Thank goodness John loves the ocean too because I'm just down right afraid of it! Always have been! I don't like the seaweed or any of the fish that may be swimming around and I didn't trust myself holding John David with the strength of the waves. I did get in the water with them, but basically left them to bond by spending time jumping the waves.

It rained at home almost the whole week so when we got home, there was an eggplant in my little "garden" that was ripe and ready to be picked! I cooked it for supper and it was as delicious as it was pretty.
(The cucumber is also from the "garden" and the salt shaker is their for size comparison sake!)

Monday, July 30, 2007

We Went Camping

I thought about calling this post "I Survived Tent Camping" or "Three Bears in One Night" but decided to just state the obvious. We went camping...and we had a great time! I was in favor of the idea of the trip from the get-go and really did want to try camping since it always sounds like so much fun when other people do it. But my reservations were a)I'm not a camper b) John David is not a sleeper and c) I'm terribly afraid of bears and other wildlife. Much to my surprise, I am more of a camper than I realized! It really was nice to be out in nature and to be away from the normal distractions of suburban life. John David did great sleeping in the tent. John did an unbelievable amount of work to get us packed and then set-up and then packed up again. He had not been camping in a really long time either so we were both eager to give it a try. There were a total of 5 familes that went and among those families was John's brother and his wife and three kids. They are what I consider hard-core campers - Travis and Susan went on a camping trip out West for their honeymoon and this was their 4 month-old daughter's second or third camping trip. Serious campers! Travis is a chef by training and we always have fabulous meals any time he is involved. In fact, I think the smell of the roasted chicken was what attracted the bear. Or was it the rice pilaf...or the roasted vegetables...or...Yes, you read that correctly. Bear. And Roasted Chicken. And Rice Pilaf. All at our campsite! Just as we were finishing our yummy dinner, my friend Karla went to her car for something. She came running back frantically shouting about her bear sighting. He/she ran away for the moment but came back later, once the excitement had died down and most of us had gone to bed. Travis scared the bear off on the second visit but said that it looked like the bear had been back during the night to scavenge for any morsels of food we may have overlooked. So I guess it wasn't technically three bears, just one bear three times.

We had a really good time in spite of the bear's visits and in spite of the fact that there was no shower or other running water. And John David got to take his first ride on a jet ski with Uncle Travis. Even tonight as I put him to bed he was talking about riding the jet ski with Uncle Travis and how fast they went. And he wants to go camping again...tomorrow. Here are some more pictures from our adventure:

Examining some of the "wildlife" at our campsite

Said wildlife, up close and personal

Susan and baby Kara Lynn

Ready to go again!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Off to the Beach!

We are heading to the beach tomorrow for a week of vacation with my family. This picture was taken during our last trip to the beach in February. More soon...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Twenty-two Months Old

On Tuesday, July 3rd, John David turned 22 months old. I've said it before and it sounds so cliche, but I can't believe time is passing so quickly. He is such a joy and just makes our life so happy. He is very verbal and will try every word that he hears. Last week it was "bulldozer" which came out like bull-docious. Lots of his word end in lo-cious which is how he says lotion. His word for "tickles" is ti-cicles, like the ending for popcicles. He is speaking in full sentences and comes out with some doozies. He loves to watch the show "Caillou" on PBS and we are allowing it for now - I think Caillou can be rather whiny - but until he starts picking up on that, I'll indulge him. One of the sentences he said recently was "I ride yellow school bus like Caillou." Which means, of course, that he wants to ride a school bus. He knows all of his colors so he can be quite descriptive when he is stating what he wants or what he likes. He has become really attached to John and askes all the time "Where da-ee go?", even when John is just in the other room. Other sentences that we love to hear are: "I be right back" and "I go get some-en" or "I need go get some-en" when he leaves one of us in the room to go get a toy from another room. He is still just as caring and sweet as he has always been and blesses my heart with the way he expresses himself. Like last night - we had this exchange:
John David: What's that?
Me: Mommy's elbow
John David: El-bow?
Me: Yes, that's mommy's elbow and you have one too, right here.
John David: Mommy's elbow nice. Nice elbow.

He still loves to read books and we realized recently that he has even memorized some of them that we read "Goodnight Moon". John was reading it and started hesitating before saying some of the words. Without skipping a beat, John David filled in the blanks. We were amazed! So now I'm going to start teaching him scripture since I know he can memorize his books. He also can count to 10 with some help and he almost has his ABC's down. These aren't things I've been forcing him to learn, he has picked most of it up on his own. I do read him books and count when we are going up stairs, but it's not like I've sat down with him and said "Okay, now we are going to learn our ABC's." I didn't even realize he knew most of his ABC's until he started singing along with his Leap Frog ABC toy on the fridge. It's true what they say, kids are such sponges!!

He's definitely all boy when it comes to play time. He loves his truck that his Grandma gave him for his birthday last year and zooms through the house on it yelling "beep, beep!!" until he intentionally "crashes" into the island in the kitchen or the leg of the table. Then he loves to yell "Mommy, I this!!" His newest trick on his big wheel that Granny and Papa bought for him is to pop a wheelie, or a "wholly" as John David says. He can't do it by himself yet but loves for John to help him "drive" and pop "whollies".

He's still a bit of a peanut compared to other kids his age, but it doesn't seem to bother him. And since he has been on the same growth curve his whole life, I'm fine with it too. He's been between the 5th and 10th percentile for height and weight at every check-up. He weighs about 23 pounds now (according to my bathroom scales) and is probably about 31 inches tall (at least that's what he measured at the end of May). We love our little peanut!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Last year after Christmas John was in Hobby Lobby and picked up this adorable "Frosty" for John David for just $20, which was 80% off of the original price. I just love a good bargain! John has a great knack for picking out things that John David absolutely loves. John David had so much fun with it that we have kept it out all year. He gets such a thrill out of tackling "Prosty" as he calls it, and giving him hugs, that I'm glad we didn't banish it to the basement with all the other Christmas decorations. Today I'm very thankful for such a sweet, thoughtful husband who loves our little boy so much. (I feel the need to explain why John was in Hobby Lobby...he goes to lunch with the guys from work nearly everyday. Since they all ride together, John often finds himself "along for the ride" at different stores and errands. I think the mission that particular day at Hobby Lobby was to purchase Christmas trees that the Regional Vice President's wife had requested. They were a good deal too at 80% off...and we now also own one of those!)

Today I'm thankful that my garden is producing fruit! This is the first cucumber that we picked and there are currently 3 more that should be ready to be picked in about a week. It was a little small (short and fat) but it was deliciously crisp and tasty. I also have 7 green bell peppers that will be ready soon if I can find a way to keep the bugs from eating them. And there is a little bud of an eggplant that is just too cute!

We had a fun 4th of July. John David rode his big wheel in a little parade in our neighborhood that morning and then we went to my mom and dad's house for barbeque and some fun in the hot tub. After that we went to church and heard a very inspiring speaker, Dr. Gene Winfrey. He is 85 years old and has led such an interesting life. It is always a blessing to hear one of his messages. After church we went to SONIC for a corn dog and a grape creamsicle with our good friends, Jason, Karla and Jacob. Today I am thankful for our freedom, our family, our church, freedom to worship the one true God, and for our friends. We have so much to be thankful for!

On a very serious note, I am thankful that my friend Meredith survived a horrific automobile accident recently. I thank God that He spared the life of Meredith and her two young sons, Cole and Nolan. Meredith and Nolan are the ones on the left in the picture above.

Friday, June 29, 2007

My 15 Seconds

Okay, maybe it's a bit drastic to call this my 15 seconds, but...a few weeks ago while playing on the internet during John David's nap, I stumbled across an amateur photo contest...and entered it. Last Friday I received a letter saying that my contest entry has been advanced to semi-finalist! The final competition is this summer and I now have "an excellent chance of winning one of over 114 cash or gift prizes". But wait, there's more...they wish to publish my photograph in a coffee-table quality hardbound book! Of course they offered me the chance to buy one of these books at a reduced pre-production rate and that's where I think the hoax might be. But they promise that there is no obligation whatsoever and all I have to do is to send in the "Artist Proof" stating that the photo was my orginal piece of work. I'm mailing that today and we'll see what happens!

The picture was taken back in November of last year at a baby shower I gave for my friend, Lisa. Gerbera daisies are one of my favorite flowers and I loved the contrast of the creamy gerbera with the vivid purple snapdragon. So I snapped the photo and was happy with the way the picture turned out. I used it for wallpaper on my computer screen for a while and then I used it for a "Grateful Friday" post I did recently. On a whim I decided to enter it in the contest.

The whole thing may be a ploy to try to get my money, but who wouldn't love to hear that "We feel you have a special talent and look forwad to the publication of your photograph."? I'll let you know if it actually shows up in the book as they promised.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Gramma Karen!

Karen's birthday was actually last Friday and I've been trying since then to get this post up. As you can tell, I haven't had much time to blog lately. Between play dates, weddings, VBS and tennis matches, we haven't had much down time. No complaints here, just an explanation for the lack of updates! We enjoyed seeing Karen on Friday and John David was happy to get to blow out birthday candles. Of course he was pretty excited too about getting to share a piece of birthday cake with Gramma!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gas Prices

The following is not my original idea or writing but I think it offers a good perspective on things. The picture of John David has nothing to do with gas prices but I thought it was cute! I think he was pursing his lips to say phone, which he pronounces "pone".

"Gas Prices"

Do you think a gallon of gas is expensive?

Just put things a bit in perspective.

Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 .$9. 52 per gallon
Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 $10.00 per gallon
Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 ..... $10.17 per gallon
Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 ....... $10.32 per gallon
Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 ....... . $25.42 per gallon
Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 . $33.60 per gallon
Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 .......$84.48 per gallon
Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 ... $123.20 per gallon
Vick's Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 .... $178.13 per gallon
And this is the REAL KICKER...

Cigarettes 4.59 a pack.....137.70 per a month (a pack a day)

Evian water 9 oz $1.49....... .$21.19 per gallon?! $21.19 for WATER!

So, the next time you're at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on water, Scope, or Whiteout, or heaven forbid Pepto Bismal or Nyquil!

Again, another picture of John David that doesn't have to do with gas's a picture of my little artist.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Grateful Friday

Today I'm grateful for:

- baby birds outside our back door

- the fact that we are showing the condo to a potential buyer tomorrow morning

- a short work week for John and the extra time we had to spend together because of it

- finding the website "Mothering From the Heart"

- being able to spend so much time with John David everyday

- having family nearby and being able to see them often

- the prospect of fresh vegetables in my own backyard - my new plants aren't dead yet - yippee!

- watermelon

- gerbera daises

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What We've Been Up To

For the past two days I have been mesmerized by three little birds that hatched in a nest just outside of our screened porch door. The mama bird built her nest in the wisteria vines growing on an arched trellis outside our back door. I have a direct view of the nest from our grilling porch and today John got the ladder out for me to stand on to get a perfect view of the new birds. The mama bird built the nest really well and I can barely see over the edge of the nest, even on the ladder. But the baby birds have been poking their little heads up and holding their beaks open for food so I've gotten great glimpses of the new life just outside our door. And I tried to capture it on film, but as you will see in the second picutre, I had my camera on the wrong setting and the leaves are in focus but the baby bird is fuzzy. But if you look closely enough you'll see the orange ("urnge" as John David says with much determination) beak, grey fuzzy head and a big eye. In the first picture you can probably pick out the orange beak.

In addition to becoming a bird watcher, I'm trying my hand at a little gardening. This past weekend John and I planted 2 tomato plants, 2 pepper plants, an eggplant plant and a cucumber plant. My goal is to one day have a huge garden from which I cook supper every night but first I have to see if I have what it takes to make these few plants grow and thrive and produce fruit...or in this case, vegetables.

I can't believe that even in the middle of a drought our grass needs to be cut every week. John does such a great job keeping up our yard. Like so many little boys I've known, John David loves to "cut" the grass with his daddy.

First Day of "School", August 16, 2006

Last Day of "School", May 22, 2007

Last Tuesday was John David's last day of Mother's Morning Out. They had a little party with an indoor bounce thingy that was just perfect for their age/size. One of his teachers made a scrap book of his experiences at school and it is precious. It's amazing to see how much he has grown over this school year. I didn't get a good picture of him at the party but I'll post a picture anyway.

We spent Mother's Day day at John's Mom's house and his brother and his family was there. My Mom and Dad were at the beach so we didn't get to see them on Mother's Day. John David loves holding his new baby cousin, Kara Lynn, and squeezes her even tighter when she is screaming. I think it's his way of trying to comfort her. And you'll be happy to know that I didn't let him squeeze her too tightly nor did we allow her to stay in her terrified state for too long...just long enough to snap some photos. You will see that Kara Lynn is much more at ease in the arms of her big brothers, Michael and Malachi. This last picture is of John and his Mom. I thought it came out great!

So now we are just enjoying more time outside, longer days and time together. I'll try to update more frequently so that the updates aren't as long.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Grateful Friday

John David started acting uncharacteristically cranky on Tuesday afternoon and then started running a high fever on Wednesday. Because his temp was so high and he didn't have many symptoms as far as I could tell, I took him to the doctor. He has what she diagnosed as "acute tonsillitis". In other words, a really bad sore throat!Poor guy...he has been drooling all week to avoid swallowing. A sweet surprise from John came at just the right time. For the past three weeks or so, John David has been enamored with a British cartoon called "Peppa the Pig". At first I didn't like it because of the way they treated Daddy Pig in a few of the episodes, but now I can see the lessons they teach and I don't mind so much that John David is in love with the cartoon. John went online and ordered a "Peppa Pillow" and a "Peppa Puzzle". both of which arrived on Thursday, the day that John David felt the worst. The first picture is the way he looked for most of the week. The second picture is a half smile I was able to prod out of him in the midst of his misery.
I decided since it's Mother's Day Weekend I would post a "Grateful Friday" post. I tried to do them for a while since I think it's great to make yourself think about and "write down" things you are grateful for. So many of us take so much for granted. But I started finding that I felt too much pressure to come up with a new list every Friday that I could make public. I know, I know, I take most everything too seriously! At any rate...I'll give it a go today. (You may remember from previous posts that Grateful Friday isn't my original idea - Heather does it on her blog (Five Sweet Peas-link to the left) and it gave me the idea to try it on mine.)

Today I'm grateful for:

- a girls' day out tomorrow with 3 good friends - we are going to laze our way through the Scott Antique Market, go for massages and then have a nice dinner
- John being willing to hang out with John David while I go on my girls' day out
- a sweet card and money from my parents to get a massage on my girls day out
- Tennis and my tennis buds
- John David's fever breaking this morning
- Decaf Community Brand Coffee and being able to buy it at Publix
- The love of Jesus and a reminder to listen to His voice which is truth (that's a whole 'nother post!)
- being able to watch Oprah, or parts of her show, almost any day I want
- being able to stay home with John David
- going to a wedding last weekend that took place in the same church where John and I were married - it was a sweet ceremony and made me remember how blessed I am to have John as my husband
- new perspectives on old friendships and advice that my dad gave me this week
- our family
- Being married to John
- the great daddy that John is to John David

Cotton Candy

Last Sunday John David got his first taste of cotton candy and has talked about it all week! My brother held a "Family Day" for his sales agents and invited us to join him. The event was actually a reward for a contest he held and so he really wanted to make the people feel rewarded. I think he did a great job! It was a carnival theme with moon walks/inflatable slides, sand art and spin art stations, clowns painting faces - and not just your typical daisy on the cheek kind of face painting, these were works of art! There were hula hoop contests and even a clown walking around on stilts. No carnival would be complete without popcorn and cotton candy, hence John David's first indulgence. To top it all off, there was a cash machine for the top 9 producers, each having a chance at $5,000. It was one of those booth thingies that blows the money around and you have to grab it and stuff was fun to watch but not as much fun as it would've been to be in the booth! The whole day was a kid's dream, - all of it was free! David (my bro) is one of the top guys in his company and I was so proud of him that day. It's nice to think that he is creating a positive, rewarding work environment for so many people.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Meeting Anna and Baking Cookies

I met my good friend, Christa, in 1996 while working at Friendship Force International, a cultural exchange program for adults. Christa was a volunteer Club President for The Friendship Force of Norderstedt, Germany at the time and eventually became a Board Member. Over the years, we built a unique friendship that I cherish very much. She made the trip to Atlanta for our wedding in 2004 and I was so honored and proud that she was there. Part of the uniqueness of our friendship is the difference in our ages. I won't divulge her age or mine, but there are 40 years between us. I appreciate the wisdom and perspective she brings to our friendship...and she is quite fun to be around!

For our wedding she gave us the most beautfiul silver salt shaker and promised the matching pepper shaker when we had our first child. Yesterday I met her neice, who happened to be in Atlanta visiting her boyfriend who is a guest of CNN for 3 weeks. Anna served as "courier" for my gift and it was a pure delight to meet her. Over the years I have heard so much about Anna from Christa and I've even been to Anna's parents' house in Kiel, Germany. It was really nice to put a face with a name. We met at the mall for lunch and she took right to John David and he to her. They were big buds for our entire visit and he protested leaving the mall until he found out that Anna was going in our car with us. I gave her a lift to the Martin Luther King Memorial Center so that she could continue her touristic visit of Atlanta and John David fell asleep in the car before she could tell him good-bye. He woke up when we pulled into our drive way at home and immediately checked the front seat for Anna. When he realized she wasn't there or anywhere to be found, his little heart was broken. He cried big tears for her. It was so sweet but really sad too!

The outpour of emotion lasted for a little while until I got him interested in baking cookies with me. "Co-kers" as John David called them, a mixture of the words crackers and cookies. So here are some pictures from our first ever baking adventure.

I think he enjoyed eating the decorations the most. I went to take the other pan of cookies out of the oven and came back to catch him doing this: