Our Story

My photo
Ben and I met in 1996, began dating in 1999 and married in 2001. Now 20 years and 2 children later, we have returned to where our life together began. Ben works for the Federal Reserve and I have the privilege of staying home with our two precious boys.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Little Turkeys

We are thankful for our little turkeys this Thanksgiving. Last week, Ethan had his Thanksgiving Feast at his new school. They worked so hard to get him ready for it and he stood up on stage with all of the other boys and girls and danced along to the songs just like they did! Mommy had tears in her eyes watching her big boy!

After the program, he was way too cool to look at the camera for Mommy...

but decided that brother would look better wearing his turkey hat.

We had such a wonderful time at his school and absolutely loved that Mimi was able to share the experience with us. It is times like these that make me realize exactly why we left Texas and returned to our family. We miss our far away family, but sharing these moments with aunts, uncles, and grandparents are priceless!

Here is a 1 minute video of our little turkey singing and dancing to the J-O-Y song. About 30 seconds into the video, the little guy beside him blocks his view and Ethan let him know that he didn't like it one bit! I am so thankful for his new school and Ms. Connie and Ms. Traci. He loves them so much that he even asks to go to school now!! ( I have tried to upload it for a week now without any luck, but I will keep trying!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's Pickin' Time

"Our" backyard is an oasis. Ethan and Lucy cannot get enough of it! There are tons of plants, flowers, and fountains for Ethan to play in and with and an abundant number of birds and squirrels that drive Lucy crazy. The other day Ethan went on a hunt to pick one of every color of flower in the front and back yard.

While brother was busy picking flowers, this little guy was happy as a clam following after him in Mommy's arms.


I love this picture, the look on his face is just priceless! He is such a big boy!

Halloween occurred at a very crazy time in our life this year. Two weeks after our cross country move, I'm out looking for a Halloween costume. I truly didn't plan on too much coming from it, though. There are episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that scare Ethan so I could only imagine what it would be like to go out Trick-or-Treating with him as he walks past all the ghouls and goblins. That being the case, we opted to spend Halloween helping Uncle Gary and Aunt Lynn pass out candy at their house(they just happen to live in the same neighborhood that we are trying to find a house in). Well, much to my surprise, he really got into it and kept asking to "go out dere" with the other trick-or-treaters when they came to the door. Aunt Lynn was all about it and jumped on the opportunity to take him trick-or-treating! I grabbed the camera and snapped a few pictures of his very first trick-or-treating experience. Never once did he even act bothered by the other costumes that he saw and we didn't even wake up that night. Silly Mommy didn't know what she was talking about!
Our little fireman

He wouldn't let anyone put candy in his bag, he would take it from their hand, look at it, then put in his bag himself. And the best part...when we returned to the house, he wanted to share his candy with the other trick-or-treaters. That's my kind of Halloween, no cavities!

House Hunting

It's a buyer's market...at least that's what people keep saying. Ben and I have never bought a house. We've built 2 of them and I now know why. We are picky. He wants this, I want that, and no house has it. All of our stuff is in storage, we have 2 small children, we are staying with family, and the holidays are around the corner. I WANT A PLACE TO CALL HOME!! YESTERDAY!!

We truly plan on this being our final move...we have said this before...but THIS IS IT! Selling a house after you have children is ridiculous! Having said that, we are trying to find the perfect house that we will not outgrow when our kids are teenagers but not so big that when they are grown and gone we won't know what to do with the empty space. Oh, and the Atlanta market has been hit hard and the only homes out there are short sales and foreclosures which more often than not means that it needs work. We finally found our forever house, went under contract, met with contractors about the work that needs to be done, and the home inspection comes back with MOLD. Wonderful! Now we get to start over. Just what we wanted to do. Sadly, though, my head has already moved into this house and even though the work was going to delay us moving into the house longer than I wanted, I was still excited about the prospect of raising our family in this home. So, either the bank(it's a bank-owned foreclosure) will remediate the mold or we will have to find another house.

Praying that God shows us the way soon.

The Big Move

Ethan riding the elephant at Maw-Maw's house after our long trip

In 2004, Ben and I relocated for the "last" time, built a house for future children, and built a life for ourselves in Rockwall, Texas. We were blessed with a family of friends met through church and work, most of which were at the same life stage that we were. Fast forward a few years and we have stood by and watched most of our friends add little ones to their own family, us included as well. How wonderful it has been to stand by each others' sides and share these special life moments!

Although we missed having our family close to us, the family that we built through these relationships has been priceless. Fast forward once more to June 2010- Ben and I had just found out that we were adding another blessing to our family and began reminiscing about our own childhoods and how wonderful it was to have grown up close to our family. I most especially remember how close I have been to my grandparents and the countless hours and weekends spent with them.

It was during the course of that conversation that I felt a nudging. I didn't like the nudging. I didn't want to feel the nudging. I didn't want to acknowledge the nudging. After ignoring it for as long as I could, I brought it up to Ben. He had been homesick for quite some time so when I told him that I thought that he might have the right idea to move back home, he was thrilled! Ben put in his transfer request at work and once it was approved, we put the house on the market right away, knowing that it would take forever to sell in such a poor economy. Four months later, we had an offer on the house and closed right after the holidays. Since Atlanta did not have a place for Ben to office out of yet and Caden was 4 months from his due date, we rented a house in Rockwall until the time came to move. Although our move to Atlanta was pushed back several times, we finally got the green light at the end of September 2011. This was such a bittersweet time. We were excited to know that our boys were going to grow up having a relationship with their family and not just seeing them on holidays, but I was so sad to leave the family of friends that we had built over the years in Texas.

I knew that this was the right thing for our family and I knew that it was the right time to go, but that didn't make it any easier to leave the people that I have come to love and call family.

Three short weeks later, our fantastic Texas family threw us an amazing Going Away party. Then movers came and we packed our bags and spent our last couple of days in town with Aunt Leigh Ann. The Thursday before we left, Mom flew to Texas to help with the boys. We spent our last night in town saying goodbye some of the people we love and bright and early the next morning we were on the road, Me, Mom, and the boys in my car, and Ben and Lucy in his. Ethan and Caden were troopers! It was a long day, but they were fantastic and we made it to Maw-Maw's house in Alabama.

After spending the night at Maw-Maw's, we drove the last few hours to Atlanta on Sunday afternoon and got settled in at Ben's sister's house. Ben's sister, Wanda, has been so gracious and a true blessing to us. We have turned her house upside down and she is nothing but smiles. They spend countless hours loving on our boys and entertaining them. We love you both and will never be able to repay you for this time! Hopefully your house will still be standing when we leave :-)

Finally, 16 months later we are here and getting settled into a routine.

Caden Cuteness

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Here is Ethan's "Cheese, but I can't look at the camera because I see the pumpkins and they are so much more interesting" smile.
Ethan posing for MommyCaden making friends with his pumpkin buddyFirst attempt at getting a picture of them together...Ethan smiling but not looking, Caden looking but not smiling...of courseSecond attempt, the moment has passed...neither one of them care about taking a picture
Final attempt...Caden's happy but not looking and Ethan has his signature "I'm about to touch Caden's head so I have to grit my teeth" lookSo we gave up and headed over to the maze
Whew, fun times at the Pumpkin Patch! I'm sure we will have many photo opportunities ahead of us that will turn out just like this one!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Day in the Life of Caden...And FIRST CEREAL!

First, we chew on our feet

Next we slobber and drool everywhere

Then we grab whatever is within reaching distance

After that, we take our VERY first bite of cereal and chew on the spoon


Then we get really mad when we are all done and Mommy takes the spoon away

Last we take a bath and chew on our bath toys

Is it obvious that we are teething???

Taking Pictures- Ethan Style

First a "cheesy" pose for Daddy, then it's his turn...

Sprinkler Fun

With the weather as hot as it has been, we've been making our own wet fun!

Since Little Brother is a little too young for this, he stays cool under the porch.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chad and Ashley's Wedding Reception

Ethan did lots of dancing!
Mommy and Daddy did a little, too.
I love this picture of my Mom! She looked beautiful!!
Not to mention she knows how to cut a rug, too! Mom and Chad groovin'.

I have no clue why we were there for 4 days and the only pictures I have are of Chad opening one wedding gift and several different ones from the reception. It was wonderful spending time with my family and Kristin was indispensible! She not only helped with the boys, but bent over backward to help with wedding stuff, too!! She is an amazingly thoughtful person and special blessing from the Lord above. We love her!!

Visit to the Farm

On our way up to Tuscaloosa for the wedding, we stopped and spent the night at the farm to visit Grandad, Granny, and Grandpa. Ethan had a blast riding the tractor, golf cart, and "double-double"(front end loader). This is definitely a trip that we need to make again soon so that he can get the full farm experience!
Riding the tractor with Grandpa
Riding the "double-double" with Grandpa
Caden on the golf cart with Ms. Kristin

Ethan also got plenty of rides with Grandad, too, but it was dark so we don't have pictures of those. Thank goodness for headlights on the tractor or we would have had one disappointed little toddler!

Photo Shoot

Before we left the beach, we had a photo shoot at Eden Gardens and then also at the beach. The photographer was AMAZING! She has children of her own, totally worked with Ethan and Caden, and was great at catching candid shots as well. Amber(the photographer) even made me and Ben look good. I guess we can call this our 10 year anniversary pictures. Below are a few of my favorites...

We would not have been able to make this trip without Kristin! I cannot say enough about what she means to our family; from being a Nanny to Ethan the first year of his life to helping with his 2nd birthday to giving Caden sweet hugs and kisses and being a wonderful friend to all of us. We love you, Kristin!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A much needed beach vacation...not so much

Now, on to the vacation. It was a good plan, in theory...we had to travel to Alabama for my brother's wedding so why not make a detour down to the beach for a much needed vacation. Gratefully, the fabulous Ms. Kristin had agreed to travel with us, so since we had an extra set of hands why not spend a few days relaxing at the beach. Well, relaxation was not part of this vacation. By the time the trip was half over, Ethan was waking 1-2 times during the night and rising bright and early by 6 a.m. and Caden was waking EVERY hour and sleeping fitfully in between. We were all EXHAUSTED! However, as you can see below, there was one good nap.

But overall Ethan behaved wonderfully and had a blast. His favorite, by far, was playing in the sand.

Next to that, he loved chasing after the seagulls.

He also had fun going into the water with Ms. Kristin.

Since the weather was beautiful and we hated the idea of getting the kids in and out of the car to go to dinner or visit the shops, we traveled by golf cart. It was hilarious putting both car seats on the cart and we got quite a few interesting looks from people(I promise it was legal). Ethan and Caden absolutely loved it, which made all the funny looks worthwhile and it was very relaxing feeling the breeze.

Ethan was not happy that I had asked for his attention when he was having so much fun seeing the sights around him.

This is dinner in the restaurant that my brother once worked at when he lived down there.

Even though the kids did not sleep well, we still enjoyed our time at the beach. I am grateful that Ethan enjoyed the ocean and sand and both boys did a fabulous job with all of the car time traveling there and back!