Thursday, October 28, 2010


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!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Want to do something crazy??

If so, put two kids in the car (one of which likes to nurse about every 3 hours) and drive almost 1300 miles over a span of 6 days! BY YOURSELF!

And what do you do when you have the car turned OFF on the middle of a major highway for more than 2 hours? Movie time! Thank goodness for the portable DVD player.

More pictures to come to record the FUN times on our trip to the Smokey Mountains!!

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

I love to see the temple, and other outings

We went to walk around the outside of temple, and I had hoped to get a picture in front with my girls. Evi was insistant on going inside the temple...and therefore wouldn't pause to take a picture. I thought I'd record our attempts! When you look and her face in the pictures, just imagine her saying, "No pictures" or "We havea go inside!"

That day we also went to Wheaton Regional Park again, and brought Daddy along. This time, riding the carousel was a breeze (she rode twice actually, and the second time she was alone!), and we enjoyed the train together. We couldn't quite manage a family shot that we were all in with our eyes open...but this will have to do!

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I took Evi to Watkins Park to go to the Old Maryland Farm, and Dolly the goat head butt Evi in the tummy! I said, "Evi, go stand by the goat and I'll take your picture", just then, Dolly went for it! One of the employees told us she did it to be playful, but Evi wouldn't go near her again!

My Baby is in School

I decided to sign Evi up for the pre-school program through the recreation department where I used to work. She has been going for 3 weeks now and loves it. I haven't quite been able to take full advantage of 'free time' as I have to generally come home and feed Jamie right smack dab in the middle of the time, but it is such a good experience for Evi. After the first day, her teacher told me that she could tell this was Evi's first experience in this type of setting. But every day since then, she has told me that Evi is really adapting well and is doing well. The first day I picked her up from school, all the kids were in line waiting for their parents, and Evi was off to the side trying to climb on a table. The second day all the kids were in line and Evi was off to the side. Now, every time I go, Evi is in line waiting with all the rest of the kids for the parents to arrive. There are two teachers, and apparently she really only likes to obey one of them--the other gets the look (probably something like the the picture on the right in the yellow shirt). But that seems to be how it is at home some of the time too. She's growing, making great progress and I'm so proud of her. I tried to take a 'first day of school' picture. As soon as she saw the camera, she said, "please don't take a picture". I tried again on the second day of school and wasn't much more successful. Eh, but she smiled afterward at Wendy's!

To go to school in the first place, she had to be POTTY TRAINED (requirement of the school, not me). Yes, folks, that's right, my 3 1/2 year old is finally out of diapers. It's been since July, really. It took a lot of effort (and still does sometimes), but she finally relented and allowed herself to do it, and therefore I could even consider school for her! We've had some minor setbacks. Going to the beach on Labor day weekend threw things off for a little while. She also had diarrhea a couple of weeks ago and she absolutely hated sitting on the potty for days (I don't blame her, poor thing). But I think things are back to normal...although it's still a work in progress I think. I think the whole process started when I finally bought size 5 diapers. She was in 4's for so long and I refused to buy the bigger size since I just wanted her to be in underwear. Well, I gave in and went I have a bunch of extra size 5's! What I learned? Hmm. My child is incredibly independent. Pull-ups didn't work in teaching her anything. Lemon drops were a fantastic reward/motivation. Peer pressure isn't a bad thing when it comes to potty training. The best thing was when I heard her cousin (6 months older than her) ask if she wore diapers. The response, "I'm a big girl. Big girls wear underpants. Babies wear diapers"! YES!

Jamie is doing great. She is 5 months old today, and time flies. She rolls all over the place, smiles, laughs, can hold her pacifier/put it in her mouth on her own, is working hard on sitting up, and she is super fidgety! We finally discovered that although she prefers to sleep on her tummy, we still NEED to swaddle her TIGHT if we want to sleep all night long. If her arms are free she wakes herself up too too early. I finally got my 12 hours out of her! Although now she has picked up a yucky she's waking up a few times at night, but calms right down with the replacement of the pacifier. She gets my sympathy when she's sick! Aside from fidgets in her sleep, even things with clips don't entirely contain her. She almost leaned right out of the bouncy seat a few weeks ago as it looked like she was trying to dive off the side, WHILE buckled in! I love to see the smile that comes on her face when Evi comes into her sight. She has a pretty cute dimple when she smiles. Her 3-6 month pants all seem to fit her like capri pants...I guess she's still long for her age! Jamie has such a pleasant disposition and is really enjoyable to be around--even if you can't leave her alone anywhere!

That's my quick update. I have often thought of other subjects I would like to blog about, but this more often ends up as my family journal. I'd love to do both...but maybe I'd have to be a more regular blogger to write about things other than family events. With these two little ones, I certainly want to remember the moments we share.