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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, August 29, 2012

Like Father, Like Son


As we were playing outside a few evenings ago(baseball, of course) Lucy started getting a little further away from the yard than Ben liked so he called her to come back. Ethan decided to run up the driveway to meet her. If you know Lucy, she has the build and running capacity of a greyhound and came barreling back to us full throttle. Unfortunately, she met Ethan head on and sent him on a backward flip down the concrete driveway. She did this completely by accident, but oh yes, there was damage and lots of tears. In addition to bloody knees, he now sports an awesome concrete mark up and down his entire nose and just a little bit above the right side of his mouth. While he wasn't so brave when the event happened, he has thoroughly enjoyed the attention it has gotten him wherever we go. He delights in telling everyone, "My dog, Lucy, she plowed me over and I went boom," exploding hand motions included. I love his version of the story! Ben took this picture a couple of nights after his fall and he was perfectly pleased to show off his war wound as he walked around with a bucket on his head. Don't all 3-year-olds use buckets for hats???



 About 34 years ago, a similar event occurred. I'm sure that it had nothing to do with their dog but it just goes to show: like father, like son.

Boys will be boys and I am 100% certain that there will be many more events just like this one in our future. Love my rough and tough boys!

Rookie Tee-Ball

We have entered the tee-ball era and Daddy is thrilled! Ben has been pitching in the yard to Ethan for months and they now have begun working on field work. Ethan has been to several games with Ben and they even sit together in the living room to watch the Braves play(when Daddy is not at the game). We were hoping that his interest would transcend to the baseball field when it was his turn to play, but I think we may have set our expectations too high. I took this picture at Ethan's first practice.


A perfect example of Ethan's interest in being in the field...turned around talking to his teammate Charlie(who by the way is in the perfect catching position). Don't get me wrong, with a team of 3 and 4-year-olds he's certainly not the only one out there who finds it difficult to stay attentive. It is quite a sight to watch these little ones participate in their first attempt at a team sport. We have one more practice before the first game so hopefully he will decide that he wants to follow the coach's directions, who just happens to be Daddy :-) Luckily for us, Daddy is the assistant coach so here's to hoping that he cares more about listening to Coach Chris than his obvious stubbornness in listening to Daddy.  

There's never a dull moment when it has to do with our first-born. He can be the sweetest and most endearing child but he truly gets a kick out of testing Mommy and Daddy's strength with his strong-willed personality.

Updates to come as the season is about to begin!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Road Trip to TEXAS!!!

Settle in for a long read because this post is a novel. 

After being gone for 10 long months, Ethan, Caden, and I ended our summer with a road trip to Texas to catch up with some friends. Since Ben had to work, I began planning weeks in advance to figure out exactly how I was going to drive halfway across the country by myself with an almost potty-trained 3-year-old and a 15-month-old. Much to my disappointment what I spent so much time planning really didn't impress the boys at all. But, we made it and that's what counts! 

We set out on a Thursday afternoon around naptime(hoping for sleep...Epic fail #1) to travel to Mississippi to spend the night. I was armed with a cooler, tons of already filled snack bowls, and a surprise treat bag all within my reach and had filled my huge Thirty-One open tote to the rim with books and toys and propped it up with the pack-n-play and a folded quilt in between the boys' seats so that they could reach the items in their bag by themselves. While they were much more interested in Mommy's special treat bag that I filled with little trinkets and toys that I had picked up on the dollar aisles a few days earlier, they did play with some of the books and toys in their bag. I also brought along several of the Disney classics that Ethan had never seen so that we could pop in a movie along the way as well. And, of course, I had to bring the Disney movie Cars(that I honestly believe that I now have memorized as that was the ONLY movie that he really wanted to watch the whole way there and back). 

I had planned so well and had plastic bags filled full of several different car friendly snacks so that I could refill their snack bowls as needed and placed plenty of items in my surprise bag to get us all the way to Texas and back home as well as carefully considering the size of the toys and books that I placed in their bag to make sure that they could maneuver them within their car seats, etc. etc, etc...they couldn't have cared less about any of it and all they wanted to see was the next thing that I would pull out of my surprise bag. Which they proceeded to play with for 45 seconds, through it in the floorboard, then ask what was next. Well, the Mommy/Teacher in me said, "Oh no, that's not how it works, you are to appreciate the special things that I bought and if you throw it on the ground, then you'll simply have to select something from your own bag." Which worked for all of about 5 minutes until screaming ensued from both boys and Mommy could not stand to drive while listening to long drawn out temper tantrums. Therefore, I had exhausted my surprise treat bag by the time we had dinner with my Mom and her friend in Tuscaloosa(Epic fail #2). However, they totally didn't mind that I picked up all of the special treats and returned them to my bag and passed them back out again on the next stretch of road. Which was a pattern that we repeated about 15 times on the way to Texas and on the return trip back. And still, the boys weren't tired of the dollar trinkets. They spent much more time playing with those toys than the tried and true toys that I packed for their bag.

I also arranged our luggage so that there was an open space in the back with plenty of room for me to be able to lift Ethan up and for him to sit on his potty when we needed to stop without him feeling claustrophobic. That was probably the most successful part of the trip because we made use of a lot of country road exit ramps, gas station parking lots, and numerous other "This might be an OK place for a potty break" stops in between. Ethan totally rocked it, told me when he had to go, and was able to hold it until I could get stopped and get him on his potty! My mom followed us from Tuscaloosa, spent the night with us in Mississippi, and followed us the next day to Texas because she had hired movers to close up her house there and move into her new one in Birmingham. Love, Love, Love that the timing on this worked out! It was such a blessing to have an extra set of hands when I needed to go to the bathroom without having to put Caden in the stroller and walk Ethan into a store. All in all, we stopped numerous times and the boys found patches of grass to expend some energy on before returning to their car seats.

And then we were finally there!

We started our visit with lots of well-made plans to keep us busy. The boys and I arrived at "Aunt" Leigh Ann's house late Friday afternoon and they had a blast playing with Alex, getting to ooh and aah over baby Katherine, and chase after their dog Samson. It was so awesome seeing Ethan and Alex step right back into their relationship with each other after 10 months of being away. It might as well have been 10 years as far as a 3-year-old is concerned but after 2 minutes they both acted like they had never been separated which was an answered prayer. They played way, way, way past bedtime then finally fell asleep around 10 pm(gasp). Everyone had their own room which definitely helped with bedtime and naptime throughout the week.

Saturday morning we woke up, had breakfast, and played for a while. Then it was time for the circus! Ethan had already been to Ringling Brothers when they came through Atlanta several months ago, but he loved it so I thought it would be great to go again with his friends Alex and Keller and their Mommies. Leigh Ann's mother-in-law and father-in-law had graciously offered to watch Caden and Katherine so that we could give the big kids our undivided attention. We went, but it was not the greatest idea. He was exhausted from the long trip and late night before and spent the entire time sitting in my lap asking to go back to Alex's so that we could play :-(. And while I did catch him enjoying a few of the acts, Alex and Keller loved every minute of it! It was so cute because Alex ended up sitting with Lindy while Keller sat with Leigh Ann.

Lindy and Alex

Leigh Ann and Keller(sorry for the blurry picture)

After the circus, we stayed "home" until church the next morning. It was wonderful seeing so many friends all in one place! After a quick lunch with the Pieratt's after church, we headed back for afternoon naps and then Ethan, Alex, and Caden played the rest of the day. Monday morning we met the Pieratt family at Harry Myer's, which was Ethan's all-time favorite place while we lived in Rockwall. Caden was too small when we moved so this was his first opportunity to get to play!

 Caden

 Cannon

Ethan found a bucket to give him some height so that he could better maneuver the sprayer

 After about 15 minutes of playing, Ethan came up to me and said he was ready to go and Caden began to fuss. I wasn't prepared for this because Ethan had been talking about visiting the spray park before we even got in the car to come to Texas, so I was reminded once again that the boys were not getting enough down time. We headed out shortly after and followed our old routine of lunch at Chick-Fil-A before going back to Leigh Ann's for naps. Lunch was a fiasco, which I should have known would happen since the spray park hadn't gone so well. Both boys were OUT OF CONTROL, which was totally my fault but since I was afraid that this would be the last time to see Lindy, Keller, and Cannon, I wanted to try to make the most of it. My deepest apologies to them and also to Lindy's mom who was eating with us :-( .

After that event, I rethought the rest of the week and canceled all plans with the basic explanation that the boys had had all they could handle and anyone was welcome to come see us, but we weren't going to go anywhere. This was absolutely perfect for them and I was finally able to relax and enjoy being back. We had a big playdate Monday night at Leigh Ann's house with the families of my old bible study group. Then we walked across the street on Tuesday for a quick playdate with the Geraci's, after that the Pieratt's came over for a little while that afternoon, and we didn't do one thing on Wednesday except make an absolute mess in the sandbox and playroom! We also got to spend lots of quality time with Ms. Kristin both Tuesday and Wednesday nights and even got to meet baby Harper! 


 Finally...Playtime!

Leigh Ann and I kept talking about how we should be taking pictures, but we were enjoying our time together and the boys were having an absolute blast, so the camera wasn't even a thought in my mind most of the time. She and I had lots of 2:30 a.m. mornings catching up on life and the boys played inside and out from morning to night. Ethan and Caden were completely fascinated with little Katherine which was precious to see and Alex is a great big brother! Our time went way too fast and all of a sudden it was time to leave...sniff, sniff. 

The Geraci's came over to say goodbye and we got on the road after breakfast Thursday morning. Oddly enough, I guess the last couple of days of doing nothing had paid off because the drive back to Mississippi that day was pretty uneventful. Overall, the boys did well and we arrived in plenty of time for an early dinner, playtime in the play area to let go of some energy, and then check into the hotel. Now, this had been my biggest stressor of the trip. Getting the bags unloaded from the car, checked in to the hotel, get the car parked, and get 2 boys up to a hotel room by myself scared me. No clue why I stressed, it was a breeze! I pulled under the covered area, put a movie on for the boys, got a luggage cart from right by the door, got our overnight bag and the few other bags that we needed loaded on the cart, then left it under the covered area while I pulled off to park the car. I unbuckled the boys and we walked(in the rain) to the luggage cart. I purposefully left an open space on the cart for the boys to sit and wheeled them in to the hotel with our stuff, checked in, and wheeled them into the elevator and up to the room. They thought it was the best roller coaster ride ever! 

So we settled in for the night and did it all over again the next day. Again, the boys did much better than on the trip out to Texas and we made it home in the early afternoon. Ethan and I talked about every vehicle that drove by and I can promise you that we did not miss one bulldozer from here to Texas or from Texas back home! The boy is still fascinated by construction equipment. All in all, it was a great trip and they had plenty of time to play when we got home while I unpacked.

We will never forget the time we were able to spend with Leigh Ann and Alex and thankful that her husband, Paul, graciously allowed us to take over their home while he was in India on a mission trip. And he just happened to be with Jason, who is Lindy's husband and Keller and Cannon's dad.

Thanks Scheibe's! We love you to the moon and back! Can't wait to see you again!

Kids Korner

After a morning at the doctor's office for well-check visits, we decided to head over to the mall for lunch and to play in Kid's Korner so that we could forget the pain of those mean shots. Usually I'm too much of a germiphobe to allow the boys to play there, but a trip to the doctor means an automatic bath anyway so we just made bathtime worth our while that day! I have to say that the boys loved it and Mommy is just going to have to get over the "germiness" of it. I'm beginning feel a little more like a normal mom because I am finally allowing them to play at Chick-Fil-A and McDonald's on the rare occasions that we go to either of those places. My pictures aren't the greatest but the kids enjoyed it.



Ethan finally found an airplane that he can fly all by himself!

 Caden thought the fun house was hilarious

"No, Mommy, I'm not ready to leave and you can't catch me in here!"

Monday, August 27, 2012

A fallen...limb?!?!?!


So, our neighbors call us one night and tell us that we might want to walk outside and check out the new addition to our yard. When we walk outside, this is what we see...almost half of the shade tree in our front yard had fallen! Crazy because there had been no storm, no wind, no lightning, NOTHING. While we were completely baffled at the occurrence, the kids had a great time playing in their new "fort" the next day. Thankfully, Ben and our neighbor were able to cut it up and haul it to the road that afternoon.

Ethan's 1st Krispy Kreme Experience

A few weeks ago, we headed a few miles down the road to Krispy Kreme so that Ethan could watch them make the doughnuts. After watching the action take place, he was allowed to choose 1 doughnut as a special treat.

I believe that he has found heaven. This kid loves sugar and opportunities for treats such as this do not happen very often for him simply because Mommy and Daddy are too mean to allow it :-)

End of Summer Playdates



 The girls playing in one of the little fountains

 The group minus 2 of the little ones playing in one of the fountains

 Caden checking things out

 Sadie testing out one of the big kid's flip flops.


After playing in the water, everyone headed over to the open field and played with some of the non-water toys that we had brought.


The next day, we took our group to the PlayPlace at Mcdonald's for lunch and playtime. This was Caden's first climbing adventure and he absolutely LOVED it!
 

 It was Sadie's first climbing adventure, too! 

What a great time we had with our neighborhood friends before they headed back to school!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer Playtime

 When it hasn't been too hot to be outside, we've been doing lots of outside playtime in the evenings! Caden's new favorite toy is the Cozy Coupe and he's all about hanging his arm over the side and saying "Beep, Beep."



 When it has been too hot, we've headed up to our favorite water park to splash around. And of course, the boys always take a break for snacks.
Love these "Cheese" faces!

14 Months and Walking...Finally :-)



video
He was so giddy and excited that he was up and walking all by himself! 


 And now, just a little over a month later, he's a champion walker! 
Lots more posts to come, so much to catch up on!