Sunday, December 12, 2010

Just Five Dollars!

If you grew up around here, you have to remember that commercial: "Just fiiiive Dollas". Right? For some electronics item or something. Or pawn? Not sure. Well, anyway, on Friday I spent five dollars on a very fun family activity!

We went to Watkins Park to do the drive through Festival of Lights, and I feel like it was worth the money and quite well done. In fact, we actually turned around and drove through a second time because Evi really liked it. Since it's been so cold, this was the perfect option to staying warm while enjoy christmas lights (some people actually went through on a hayride, yet I was completely content to be enclosed in my warm car). I would really like to go to the Temple as well as Brookside Gardens to look at the lights there, so hopefully I'll brave the cold and get us out there!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trip to Virginia in pictures

I wrote a little while back about a weekend trip I took the first weekend of November to visit Evin (near VA Beach). We had a fantastic time as always. This time, we had a special treat because we got to visit my amazing friend Julie. Sometimes there are friends that have touched you so much in your life, they will always be special and always a friend, no matter how much you talk. I haven't seen Julie in at least 7 years. We have e-mailed here and there, but seeing her again was wonderful and made my heart happy :). It is so nice to see old friends, even if it's just a few hours here and there. Plus, I was so glad to meet her 4 great kids. What a double treat, to visit Julie WITH Evin.
Julie, Evin and me: I love these girls.

All of our kids!

Evi and Eliza hit it off well!

Evin, Shelby and Jamie


The three musketeers on the swings.


We saw a couple of goats at the animal park...

Princesses!


Jamie mastered sitting up all on her own on our visit! Posted by Picasa

some sayings around here

Some of the things Evi has said lately:

While praying and being thankful for everything, Evi (who was looking around and must have seen our poster of Elvis) said, "Thank you for Elvis who lives in the CD."

She wanted to call my sister, and when she had to leave a message, she said, "Hello Jenny. It's me, the message lady."

I asked her today what Christmas songs she knows the words to. She started singing this one, "I like Jesus, I like Santa, but I don't like you." Hmm, don't know that one.

Oh, and our favorite. She tells us 'secrets' all the time that always start out with, "cheese and crackers and a fish swimming in the sea...." and then she'll add some other fun little thing such as "and a monkey sitting in a tree" or "and a bear riding a bike" or really anything. She always tells us a secret before bed and will whisper it in our ear.

She really likes to play "mad girl". This is simply making a mad face and being all grumpy, then I'll tickle mad girl away and bring out happy girl. One time I was pushing her on a swing and she told me she wanted to swing as mad girl. Yes, I took a picture, even though she was happy girl 2 seconds later. Here are two of our recent mad girl looks.


Fun stuff with this little one.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Third

This cute girl:

Is 7 months old today! She still has just two teeth; has been crawling for about 2 weeks; sits up great on her own; laughs and giggles; does a fun thing by putting the back of her hand against her mouth and then moving her hand/wrist all around (hard to describe but pretty fun to watch at least); prefers to be around people rather than in a room alone; chews on everything; is quite a happy girl in general; and most importantly she HAS A NEW ROOM. I always said I'd put her in the room with Evi as soon as she slept through the night, but her sleeping through the night was sporadic until after we got home from Minnesota. 2 or 3 days after we got home, I put her in her new room and took back mine! Even better than that, I rarely have to wake up at crazy hours. The transition went/is going fairly smoothly, and I think we're all happy with the new arrangements. Finally.

this is the best picture we have where you can see her teeth--even though you barely can. Evi captured this one!

And this cute girl:

Got 3 stitches in her lip last night :(. She fell and hit her mouth on a speaker and split her lip right open. Thanks to some wonderful close-to-family support and some kind people at Holy Cross, the night went smoothly. Evi was amazing and calm through the whole process, and got to celebrate with a popsicle! She's back to normal now...just with strings coming out of her lip for a few days.

Minnesota in Pictures

I had a wonderful trip to Minnesota in November. The purpose of the trip (besides a one child only getaway) was to watch two of my nephews in their school musical, Aida. It was quick and a bit of a whirlwind, but super fun. It was exciting to watch Joel and Nathan perform, and I got to see them twice (with a babysitter both times!). I think I am still just a kid at heart because from the front row, I kept trying to make eye contact with both of them to make them laugh. hehe, it worked once with Joel, then he didn't look at me anymore! Thank you Kris and family for a wonderful weekend!!







*I was quite proud of myself for ONLY packing one carry-on bag for the two of us for the weekend. This meant laundry AND borrowing coats and buying baby food and diapers in Minnesota, but it was quite nice to just have one little bag!
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I did it!!

My mom sent me a sewing machine a month or so ago. I had a "lesson" with my sister and learned some of the basics. I had been wanting to make a simple blanket for Jamie with ribbons that she can play with or chew on and I finally made it tonight! Thanks to Holly for sharing some of her scrap ribbons with me so I had plenty of variety! This blanket is not even close to being perfect, but seeing how it's for an infant, I don't think she'll mind my errors. I'm so proud of my simple little achievment!!! Woohoo for learning to sew! The true test will come tomorrow when we see if she likes it.



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Welcome To Minnesota

This is what I woke up to this morning. So much for not hitting the Twin Cities, Mr. Weatherman.



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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leaving again...

I don't really have time to write at the moment, but I thought I'd take a quick minute. I'm leaving again today for another trip. I feel really fortunate to have been able to travel a bit in the last month. Last weekend I went (with Evi and Jamie) to visit Evin and her family in Suffolk, Va. As it turns out, one of my wonderful friends from growing up (Julie McGraw) lives about 30 minutes from Evin and we were all able to visit and catch up some. Pictures to follow, but no time now! It was wonderful to be with such great people!
I'm now trying to pack my things to head out to Minnesota to visit my sister and watch two of her boys in a play this weekend. The best part about this trip is...........I'm only taking Jamie! I am looking forward to a little bit of a break. Heck, I'd probably go kid free all together except for the fact that I'm still nursing Jamie and I don't want to risk losing that just yet.
Some fun facts about Jamie now: she is six months; she has two teeth; she rolls around everywhere and is just about crawling (!); as of last weekend she can now sit herself up (!); she has super long legs and has therefore turned many of her pants into Capri's; she has one dimple on the right cheek; she eats her solids quite well but still wakes up occasionally at night; she absolutely did not like getting two shots at her 6 month check up :(; but all in all she is just super cute and wonderful!
Fun facts about Evi: she is loving school; she has started waking up earlier and earlier, and I so loved the 8:30/9am ish time she was waking up; she is...dare I say it....potty trained (has been for months, but I guess I'm afraid to admit it because it might jinx it or something!); she is just such a big girl and says some pretty funny things sometimes! She seems to be quite a problem solver and leader. She asked for something to eat that seemed gross to me, and I told her so. She said, "don't worry, you don't have to like it, I'm going to eat it. You don't have to." And she was right, so she ate it! I love to see her grow and change and the time is flying by.
I adore these girls and am so glad to get to be their mom!

Picture updates for a future post :).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

bugged

This morning I taught a water aerobics class and then chatted with some the guards afterward. When one of the guards found out I was mormon, she said she knew a joke about mormons and proceeded to tell it to me. Well, she didn't remember how it went exactly, but the point was that if you put a mormon in a room alone with a beer, they will drink it. If you put several mormons in a room with a beer, no one will touch it because they won't want anyone knowing they drink.
First of all, when you find out someone is a particular religion, why tell them a joke you know about their religion? But second of all, I was bothered by this joke because I think there is truth to it. I've known, or known of people who let people believe they are believing and practicing Latter-day Saints, only to go out and drink/smoke/do whatever they want when no one they know from church is looking. Then continue to live some charade. WHY? It bugs me that this happens because the people they ARE drinking with see 'the mormon' as doing all this stuff that is supposedly against the rules. Why bother telling people that you follow any religion if you're not going to live up to the standards of that religion? Why set that example to your friends so that there are even jokes made about the mormons who don't drink around other mormons?? At least if you're going to say one thing and do another, you could tell those people who see you as the "mormon" that you may be a member of the religion, but you don't believe it or follow it any longer...or something.
Well, for the record, there are plenty of mormons who follow the teachings and standards of the church.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Giant

I put a new picture on my header...yet it's gigantic. Not sure how to shrink it, and really don't want to spend an hour on it right now. Sorry for the giant picture of my cuties!

Helpful Evi

It's nice when big sister wants baby to have enough toys!
(taken just a few weeks ago)
(taken in June)

Monday, October 25, 2010

zoom in

Evi absolutely did not want to be in this picture. But, since it was the ONLY picture of the whole group all weekend, I sort of forced it on her. Poor thing. In the process of holding her up, I accidentally turned Jamie from the camera. But at least all of our bodies are there!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Trip to the mountains

I was supposed to have a 'getaway' for myself in September, and I was going to go to Tennessee. I had friends to see in Memphis and Nashville, and Ron said he'd keep Evi for a weekend so I could enjoy my trip (with just the nursing Jamie). Sadly, that trip didn't happen and I was bummed. But, my amazing friend Tiffany (friend in Memphis) said, "we're going to the Smokey's in October, why don't you come with us?" They rented a cabin for their family and it was just about half way between their home in Memphis and me in Maryland. I couldn't pass up the opportunity, even if it would be a 9+ hour drive. Even better, I've been trying to coordinate schedules to go see my my friend Holly in North Carolina. Wouldn't you know that going through Holly's town on the way to Sevierville, TN only added about an hour to the overall trip, AND I got to split the 9+ hour drive into two days (alone with two kids, that ended up being a necessity). I love North Carolina AND Tennessee so was thrilled to be in both places.
We set out on Thursday, October 8 and made pretty decent time to North Carolina. It was so fun to see Holly and her family. We hadn't seen each other in about 5 years, but since we both have blogs we were already fairly caught up on each others lives! Yet we still managed to stay up until 2am chatting away. She made a yummy meal for us and her kids are adorable. Evi acted shy for about 5 minutes then warmed right up to Holly's fun kids. Yer youngest is 3 weeks older than Jamie so we had some fun putting them together. He's just a little bit bigger :).


Friday, our drive should have been about 5 hours. Between insane traffic and hour long stops to take care of the kids to do everything I can't do while driving, it took about 9 hours (grrr). Luckily, I hadn't taken the portable DVD player out yet, so it was really handy to have in the last hours of the drive. Jamie was great for the most part. As long as she was fed she travelled quite well! My family went on vacation in Dandridge, Tennessee in 2007 and I drove through some of the same places on this trip that we were in back with my family. It made me a little nostalgic for that time, and I thought of my dad a lot as I was driving. I pictured him there on the vacation and our whole family together. That was the last time we were all together. It was a nice moment near the end of a long drive.
We haven't seen Tiffany and Steve since we left Memphis in July 2008. It was so good to be with them again. In some aspects, it was like we hadn't been apart at all. They have always felt like family to me and getting back together was so refreshing. Their daughters are so nice to be around and getting so grown up! It was just really nice to be with them.
We got to see some beautiful spots in the mountains and go on some mini hikes. The trees were beautiful with the changing leaves and the weather was perfect. There was a stream at the base of the hike and all 4 of the girls enjoyed playing in that at the end (until Kenzie fell in, then she didn't like it anymore)! Driving through the Smokey's, we saw many deer and a BEAR. I loved watching Evi experience this trip. She was thrilled by so many things and I wanted to provide every opportunity I could for her. We went on long walks, she played outside in the acorns a lot, she got all wet in the river, she got in the "hot bath" [hot tub] at the house (a first for her), and I even let her hang out the window with the big girls when we were driving 5 miles an hour down the mountain. I didn't want it to be a trip of 'no's'. Even though she still heard "no" a lot, and we still had some battles, I really tried to let some the non important stuff go, and let her enjoy the trip. It's hard to explain, but I just felt very close to her and my heart felt very full.
Although Evi didn't remember their family from our days in Memphis, she quickly took to them and was calling them her family/cousins all weekend. Tiffany brought her girls to the hospital the day I had Evi, so it was special to reunite Evi with her very first friends! She loved being with her 'cousins' on this trip and they were all so great with her. 3 is a tough age, and each one of those girls was amazing with her (and Jamie), especially considering she wasn't always nice. Jamie fared well on this trip as well. She was an angel, plus I had some amazing helpers with her! Jordan and Jamie were born on the same day, exactly 10 years apart! We loved the picnic's, the lazy times, even the driving times because it was so refreshing to both be together again, and to be in the beautiful Smokey Mountains! The time flew by and the traffic wasn't enjoyable, but it was all so worth it.



I was going to drive straight home on Monday, since Evi had school on Tuesday. However, I finally started seeing the logic in Evi missing one day of pre-school for my sanity of not being on the road for 9-12 hours (with the variable of traffic and stops to feed the baby...who knows how long it would have taken). So I headed back through North Carolina to stay at Holly's one more night. Apparently, the drive on highway 40 between Tennessee and North Carolina doesn't like us. That's where we hit traffic on the way down, and on the way back, we got stuck again! This time, we had our car off for 2 hours, because a tractor trailer 'lost his brakes' and was flipped on its side blocking all lanes of traffic (about 1/4 of a mile ahead of us). This was RIGHT AFTER I had stopped to feed and change Jamie, take Evi to the bathroom and get gas. When all is said and done, the stops take about an hour. So less than 5 minutes back on the road and I stop. Good thing for that DVD player again!
But, we got through it, both kids were actually great, and we made it safe and sound. I'm still really glad that I decided to make the drive in two days though. It was a lot of driving time, but the trip was 100% worth it and I am so glad that they invited us in the first place and that we got to go. We love the Sandridges like family and loved our weekend away!