Saturday, June 27, 2009

Family Fun

Tonight we had some friends over for dinner and conversation. Tom and Heather have two young girls who typically go to bed at 7pm, so the festivities started early...5pm! Alexandria, the eldest, just turned 5 yrs old and had a birthday party this morning that Bennett attended. Since the party had a water/beach theme and the kids were outside for the two hour duration, they were all exhausted and took good naps today (thank goodness)! So when all of the girls were together, they were wound up! Their youngest, Miley, is a week older than Bennett and they have such fun playing together.

We met this great family in the park several months ago and have been taking turns having each other over for dinner ever since. It has been fun for Heather and me too because we have so much in common. Tom and Steve are both in construction (I say that loosely since there are so many areas within the industry), but they too never run out of things to talk about. So all in is always fun.

Since school ended, Heather and I have been trying to get together more often to hang out and let the girls all play together. We'll meet at the park or the pool, and it has been fun. Since the little ones can't call Alexandria by her full name, they call her "ya ya" and Miley affectionately calls Bennett "bit bit." It is so cute....

Anyway, tonight after dinner, the girls were still raring to go and we were enjoying our martinis, so we popped in a movie and let them all stay up late. They were all zoned into the TV for awhile and enjoyed "Shrek" regardless of that scary dragon. Of course I had to take a photo or two.

Jennifer is going to the chapel...

....well technically the beach, to get married!! Our good friend, Jennifer Cousins, is single no more. She found a great guy and he proposed. Instead of planning a big wedding, they have elected to run away and get married by themselves in Jamaica, and the big day is 7-8-09 (easy to remember). Though he proposed back in March, she just got the ring two weeks ago, so the news was official. With the date rapidly approaching, her bachelorette party was planned immediately.

Last night several girls gathered to toast one of her last nights of going out on the town as a single woman. But before we did, we all gave her some goodies for her big trip! After the lingerie shower, we hit a bar so we could dance. Jennifer has always been the one with the rhythm, teaching us how to move, so this was a fun night for her!

Congratulations Jennifer and Barry!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I have been curious who is reading my blog, so I have elected to post a daily visitor map. If you are ever interested, just scroll down and check it will be there all of the time!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bennett and her ballet...take 3!

This morning Bennett had her third ballet class (we missed one week). I dressed her up in this adorable tutu that Louis, Michelle and the kids gave her for her birthday. It is so stinking cute, and she looked absolutely adorable in it. I asked her to twirl for me so you could see the front and back.

Last week was like our first week all over again because of the trip to Peoria, and I sat in the class with her the entire time. I kept urging her to participate, but she just sat in my lap or next to me the entire time. However, this week she walked into the room without my assistance so I decided that I would leave at some point and see how she reacted. Of course she was all smiles initially, even participating a little. So when she ran to the closet to get a scarf, I made a break for it.

As soon as she turned around and realized I was gone the tears and shouts of "mama" began. However this week she let the instructor pick her up. Though she continued to sob for awhile, she wasn't screaming like she did in week one. There were a few times when the instructor would put her down, and she would just stand there and observe the other kids. I know deep down she wanted to play with them, but she is a little shy so she didn't.

As pathetic as this sounds...she is making progress. I am hoping to only stay in the class for 5 minutes or less next week!

Monday, June 22, 2009

9 Months Already!

A week late I know, but I couldn't pass up acknowledging our son's 9 month birthday! It is hard to believe my baby, my 22 lb baby, is already 9 months old! As you have read in past posts, he is growing and changing almost daily.

He is now a very efficient crawler, and snatcher of Bennett's toys (paybacks can be tough), but an even better screamer when something is taken from him. He is the happiest baby (though Bennett was too, he is surprisingly more so). It doesn't matter if you wake him from a dead sleep or he is sitting there screaming.....the moment you say "Hi Pres,"and pick him up, he smiles. And there is nothing cuter than his gummy smile! He has two teeth that are coming through now, with two more close behind. He has one on top and one on the bottom (though they are barely through the skin).

He still loves to eat, and won't turn his nose to any baby food (as if you couldn't tell by the fat rolls on his arms and legs). However, he still can't grasp the concept of moving food to the back of his mouth with his tongue, and gags on solids whenever we try. However, since he is a healthy 22lbs+ we are not worried. He is finally sleeping through the night on a semi-regular basis (though the frequent trips and cutting of teeth has thrown a few wrenches into this).

He is babbling more and more, and just stares in awe when his sister tells him what to do. Now that he is mobile, nothing is off limits in his eyes. He explores every nook and cranny of our house, and has the red knees to prove it. He loves to stand when we hold his arms, and practice walking.

Life with a little boy is already so different. Though Bennett loves me, she has been a daddy's girl since she was an infant. However, I have my little boy, who is definitely a mama's boy right now (which I love). And there is nothing sweeter than cuddling up with him, he is such a good snuggler.

I thank God daily for my blessings. What more could I ask for when I look into the faces of my beautiful, healthy children and see their smiles each and every day. I love them both so much!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just the Four of Us

This weekend, we packed up again and headed to Reynold's Plantation for a long weekend. It was the perfect getaway with just the four of us (well, five of us, including Spence). Since Steve has been working in Juliette, GA (about an hour south of Reynolds), he drove up Thursday and met us there. Though he had to return to work on Friday, the kids and I had a fun day entertaining ourselves in spite of the 100 degree weather!

We all got up early and headed to the park to run around and play. After we were nice and sweaty, we got our swimsuits on and went to the pool for a couple of hours. Bennett made a friend and since he was jumping off the side of the pool, she decided to do it as well. This was a great step since she has been a little cautious around the water this summer. Preston tuckered himself out within the first 30 minutes, so I laid him down in the shade and he took a little nap.

Bennett and I played and tried to practice her swimming, but she is very hard-headed and wouldn't listen to me (where does she get this attitude from anyway?).

After lunch, both kids went down for naps so I read a book. When my eyes started becoming heavy, I just crawled into bed and took a nap myself.
This was the best treat to myself ever, as I NEVER nap during the week. We all awoke right around 5pm (we were keeping ourselves on Birmingham time), shortly before Steve got home. That night we went out to dinner before returning home so Bennett could watch her new favorite movie, Shrek. After Steve and I relinquished control of the TV over and over again so she could watch her movie, we banished her to the floor and the portable DVD player. Of course Preston is drawn to Bennett like a magnet, so he never let her watch it in peace.

The next day we took the boat out, which was a terrible idea. With only one set of hands (mine), since Steve was driving, it was nearly impossible to keep both kids happy. Of course Preston couldn't have been more upset when we zipped him into his new life preserver in the 100 degree weather before we left the marina and there was any wind. However, once the motor started, he just fell asleep. Bennett on the other hand wanted only her Daddy to hold her, so we were constantly battling her to stay seated while the boat was moving. When she would get away from me and walk to Steve, Steve would have to reduce speed and she would ALWAYS fall. Then the tears would come. I knew she was hungry because she always gets extra fussy and cries often when she is, so we gave her a couple of crackers.

Once we finally got some food in her belly, we found a nice cove and took a dip. The water was so warm, so we got both kids in the water to cool off too. Bennett enjoyed the little adventure, but Preston got ticked. I know he felt cooler, but he really hated his life preserver. After driving around a little longer, we decided to call it a day. What really upset us was the fact that every slip was full, and there was NO ONE from the marina there to assist people coming and going. So everything was taking much longer. When a slip finally did open, we had to ask another boater to help guide us in (since I had Preston and Steve was driving). When I say it was a cluster, that is an understatement. I can't even tell you how many cusswords I mumbled under my breath about the staff there at that moment. Here we are with two small kids, we're inexperienced drivers, it was a crowded day and 100 degree weather .... Let's just say we vowed to never take the boat out again without at least one more adult.

The rest of the weekend was spent close to the house, grilling out, playing with the kids, more pool time. Though the kids and I returned today, Steve hung back for a few more work days in Georgia. He did however have an enjoyable afternoon lying on the sofa, drinking beer and watching the US Open. Though he claimed to miss us, I know he had to enjoy the stillness in the house. He deserved it is Father's Day, and he does a lot for the kids and me. We love you honey!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Preston's 1st Tooth!

Preston's first tooth has finally arrived (about 3 months earlier than Bennett's first tooth) on his 9 month birthday (well a day short)! It is hard to see in these photos since it has just popped through, but you can definitely feel it and see it in person. It is on the bottom right of his mouth.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Peoria Visit....part 2

Sunday night I had the opportunity to visit with some girls that I went to grade school and high school with years ago. It was so much to catch up, and we enjoyed several hours of hearing about each other's families, jobs and any news about other classmates. Thank you Tiffany, Leslie, Erikka and Roni for coming to visit with me!!

Monday, I went downtown to have lunch with my father and see some of the old folks at Baird that I used to work with 6 years ago. It is funny how so much has changed, yet it seems like nothing really has when I get back in Peoria.

Tuesday morning my parents took both of the children to Wildlife Prairie Park. My early memories weren't that good, so I elected to stay at home and work. However, they had a wonderful time, and every animal was out, walking around and visible! Bennett came home chatting about all that she saw and was so excited to have ridden on their train. Since she is so into animals, my mother and I took them Wednesday morning to Glen Oak Zoo. It had been at least 20 years since I had been, and I must admit that I was very impressed with Peoria's little zoo. They have just spent millions adding a huge Africa exhibit which is really vast and sprawling. You walk into the designated area and you just see prairie with the various animals walking around (much cooler than Birmingham's area for these animals). The lions were "sleeping" that day, but we saw everything else and Bennett had a ball!

On our last day, we hit the Children's Museum in Bloomington on our way out of town. We thought this would be a fun way to spend a couple of hours and tire the children before the long drive. It ended up being a GREAT idea and worked well for everyone! Preston slept all the way there (about 45 minutes), but then woke up and crawled all around and explored in the toddler area. Bennett just kept going from one thing to the next on the various floors. She is at an age where she is really exploding with her vocabulary as well as her skills so she loved it.
We finally got on the road about 11:45, and we were determined to make good time. We made several short stops, and one longer one for dinner. But we did much better on the way back with much less construction and weather hold-ups. The kids cried a couple of times, but never at the same time, and not for very long. So all in was a pretty smooth trip. Thanks to my mother for driving back with me (I was going to do it by myself which would have been a disaster).
Now we are finally back and trying to settle into our normal routines. What a nice visit!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

First Half of Peoria Visit

Okay, we are only a few days into our visit, but it has been an action-packed visit already. Since I haven't been back to visit in 1.5 years, and the kids are parents had a list of things to do. Friday we got up and took the kids for a walk to the park where they could swing and run around some. Later that night we enjoyed a delicious dinner on the terrace at CCP. Though it is only early June, the humidity is is full gear back in Birmingham, so it was nice to just sit outside on a pretty, clear night and take in the view.

Saturday we hired a friend, Ashlee, to watch the kids so we could play golf. It is so weird because I have known Ashlee since she was born, and used to babysit her (and her siblings) when they were young children. Bennett had a small meltdown, but otherwise things went smoothly for her. Meanwhile, we were out enjoying the new grass at CCP and trying to keep track of our balls. It had been over two years since I last played, so as you might game was FAR from perfect, but I had so much fun. Shortly after we came home, the kids awoke from their naps and we went swimming. It was Preston's first time, and Bennett's first time this year. Both kids did great! Bennett wore water wings and was jumping from the side of the pool, and Preston enjoyed floating around in his raft and kicking his legs.

Last night, Steve and I had a "date night" and left the kids home with my folks. We had several cocktails and a tasty dinner at a new place in Peoria (well new to me). It was great to get dressed up and have an adult, uninterrupted, conversation with Steve.

Steve flew back to Birmingham today, but we kept proceeding with activities. There was an art show in town, and along with that they had a tent where the children could make hand puppets and paint tiles. Bennett scribbled on one, and then had her face painted. Poppy suggested she have a "cat" face, and then the artist painted it to match her outfit. It was very sweet, and she really enjoyed looking at herself in the mirror with the make-up on.

Tonight I am getting together with some girls that I went to grade school with...should be fun catching up. More on that and the rest of our activities later!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Peoria or Bust!

I had been preparing myself for the 10 hour drive to Peoria, which I knew would take longer with breaks for the kids for weeks. However, when we were only 1.5 hours into the drive and both kids started crying in unison, Steve and I looked at each other and wondered what the hell we got ourselves into with this decision. If it wasn't for our beloved dog, Spence, we probably would have flown. However we wanted the whole family to get away, so we elected to drive (not to mention we had to bring so much with us).

We put a lot of thought and planning into our drive....drop children off at Steve's parents for the morning so they could really tucker them out and we could pack up the car in peace, pick them up at the regular naptime so they would sleep for 3 hours in the car, then we would break for dinner before they would eventually fall asleep again and then wake up in Peoria. It sounds easy, right? Well, as you would expect....things didn't go as planned. Preston fell asleep right away (perfect!), but Bennett didn't want to nap, so she talked and talked for over an hour before FINALLY falling asleep an hour past her regular time. Shortly thereafter, Preston awoke from a dead sleep screaming. His shrieking woke up Bennett, who also started crying because she was still exhausted and had only slept for 30 minutes. This crying continued for what seemed like 2 hours, but was in all honesty 30-40 minutes.

I was driving (in the rain mind you), while Steve was trying to work on his computer in the front seat. When things didn't calm down, I called Spencer up from the back onto my lap, so Steve could take his place in between the kids and try to calm them down. We tried snacks, talking to them, coloring....anything, but all they both wanted was to be held. Since we were only 1.5 hours into the drive and we were determined to make it on the other side of Nashville before rush hour traffic, we kept going. Preston finally cried himself back to sleep, but Bennett never did go back down. However, we got her calm, and she seemed to be content.

After stopping briefly to gas up, Steve and I switched places, while Spence road shotgun. Preston continued to nap, while Bennett and I watched a movie. Things were finally going smoothly, and then we came to a complete halt because of an accident. Between the multiple rain storms in Alabama, the accident, and then road construction in southern seemed like we had been driving for days.

We elected to stop for dinner at McDonalds because they had a germ-infested playground. Of course with the luck we had, it was closed (although I must admit I was NOT disappointed with it, only Bennett was). We refueled with a greasy meal and headed back on the road. All the kids finally fell asleep and we were able to drive the last few hours in silence. We finally arrived at midnight....exhausted, but there safely.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bennett's 1st Ballet Class

Today was Bennett's first day of ballet. She was excited to wear her tutu, and since we had been talking about it for awhile, she was genuinely excited when we pulled into the parking lot. She asked me "Mama dance?" When I said "Yes," she said "Yeah" and started clapping.

We were off to a great start, but when we got inside, she didn't want to wear her ballet slippers (she is into being barefoot lately). Thankfully you are not forced to wear the slippers, so she was happy. Once class started the children filtered into the room. A few of the mothers, myself included, stayed in the room for several minutes to make sure the kids got acclimated. She was interested in the teacher and her box full of goodies, so I left. However, as soon as Bennett turned around to say something to me and realized I was gone, she started crying. And by crying, I mean bawling. She pathetically went to the double-sided window and just sat there and boo-hoo'ed for 30 minutes until snot was pouring from her nose and she was on the verge of hyperventilating. Several times the teacher tried to pick her up or hold her hand, but she reared backwards onto the floor and screamed "No!"

Now, I was watching this whole episode from the other side of the glass, but was being told by the other moms to not go in and "rescue her." I was fine with letting her cry, because she usually would stop. But today was different...she just continued.

For those that know me, you know how I hate to hear children crying. So I finally caved and went into the room. She immediately ran to me and said "mama bye-bye now." Of course I made her stick out the rest of the class, but she wouldn't let me leave, nor would she participate with the other kids.

Unfortunately we are going to miss next week's class, so when we return in two weeks, I am sure we will have a similar incident all over again. Hopefully by the end of the summer she will have enjoyed this class, and have learned a few moves.