Tuesday, January 20, 2009


And for those of you who might like to see proof of the pantry pilfering, here you go!

Latest Work Of Art

On days where Avery wakes up before Braden, she normally pads into my room and gets into bed with me. Today was different though. She wanted me to come to her room.
Of course I groaned a little, wanting to steal a few more minutes of warm snuggly time under my own covers, but found my way to Avery's room so she wouldn't keep yelling, then wake Braden up.

"Momma, look at this," she happily gestured toward her wall that holds her wooden letters than spell her name.

This should have been my first clue.
This was my second.

"I traced my letters so I will know how to spell my name better. And I made a maze that traces around my hands!"

She was so pleased with herself.

I know this is something that should have warranted a spanking, but I just didn't have it in me this morning. Her art was creative, and when she saw my expression she immediately felt bad.

"Avery, does that look like paper?"


"Where is the only place we are supposed to color/draw/write?"


"This is a no-no."

"I'm sorry Momma. I thought you might not like it."

"If it were on paper, I would like it very much."

"I know what! Let's get the white eraser then get it wet and wipe the walls."

I was under her covers by then. She felt so bad, she didn't even try to ask to get up and play. I got lots of extra snuggles, and every often she would add, "momma, we need to get the wet eraser...."

Once she knew it wasn't supposed to be there, she wanted it gone immediately.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Brookside Retreat

As I alluded to in one of my previous posts, Kenny surprised me at Christmas with a fabulous weekend away for just the two of us. He was so thoughtful to plan our trip to a very special place; where we spent our honeymoon. We found that "our cabin" (named Brookside, because it sat behind a babbling brook), was just as we left it 8 years ago! As the memories rushed back to us, we were amazed at how it seemed like such a short time ago, as well as such a long time ago, depending on how you looked at things.

We arrived Friday evening to our secret hideaway, settled in for a bit, then headed to Pigeon Forge for some evening activities. After eating dinner at a cute 50's Diner, we enjoyed a Magic Show! We both did not know what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised at what a good show it really was. The show contained a tiger, and other animals from Africa as well!
There were definitely some interesting characters in the audience with us, but that should be saved for another post all to itself. Our magician had received an award that was equal to the Grammy Award in the world of magic. He was in the company of other famous magicians to win the same award.
This is what happens when you take a picture and don't know it's zoomed in!

It was pretty late after the show due to the loss of an hour from the time change, so we headed back to Townsend, where our sweet little cabin was nestled.

On Saturday we slept in. For some folks, this may seem like a minor detail, but to those of us who have to get up when the kids get up, this was HUGE! We actually did not get ready and out of the cabin until lunchtime, so we stopped at a cute little cafe on the way to Gatlinburg.
We reenacted several poses that were taken the 'first time around.'

Unfortunately it rained off and on during the day, and was a bit chilly, but we still enjoyed our time walking the streets of Gatlinburg, reminiscing about the things we did the first time we were there. We had a caricature drawn of us, and both decided that we will stop having pictures made of us, and will just have drawings the older we get. She made us look good...as good as a caricature can look! My waist was super skinny; Kenny's neck was buff; what more could you ask for!?
We also perused through many shops along the way. This is what happens when you start getting a little bored.
We enjoyed an afternoon snack at Bubba Gump's. Someone snuck in the background of Kenny's picture!
I have never categorized myself as an adrenaline junkie, but after what happened next, I might start to lean in that direction. Kenny was very kind to encourage me to do something I wanted, even though he did not want to participate himself. He sat alongside me during the learning experience, then took lots and lots of pictures. What is this experience, you may ask?
Indoor Skydiving! Yep! I did it, and it was a blast! I've always wanted to skydive for real, and this is as close as I will get for a while. The experience was amazing! I loved how I was challenged to take a leap of faith and jump into a 130 mile per hour wind, while trying to manipulate the right form to stay flying. There were two other guys in the tunnel with me, and they both chose me to go first. It was fun learning the hand motions from the instructor, telling us what position our hands, arms, feet, legs, etc. should be. We witnessed a few other instructors before I "flew" who held onto their students the entire time. I was lucky to get an instructor who encouraged us to be independent. At some points, he let go of me completely, and I found myself soaring toward the top of the tunnel. Once, I even looked around because I thought was too high, and there was my instructor, halfway up the tunnel, flying alongside of me! The word I keep returning to is AMAZING! I wish I had more words to describe what a fantastic experience it was, but I should continue on with the rest of our trip.

After that, we found a movie theater and checked out show times. We planned to see Valkyrie, but had some time to kill before the showing. Kenny noticed a huge store called, As Seen on TV, and thought it would be funny to see everything inside. We laughed and laughed and took pictures. It probably won't be as funny to anyone else reading, but we made lots of memories and inside jokes.

The movie was very good, based on true events. When it was over, our snack from Bubba Gump had worn off, so we found a wings place called The Blue Moose where we enjoyed dinner, and Kenny got to watch a playoff game.

After dinner, we headed back to the cabin, where Kenny tried to start a fire with what little wood he found that was dry. We enjoyed the warmth until it ran out, then headed to bed after a dip in the jacuzzi.

Sunday morning we slept in a little bit, but needed to get on the road before lunch so we actually set an alarm. On the way home, we enjoyed music, stories, scenery, and 'the world's largest indoor flea market.' Nice. We were able to take our time getting home, and arrived before small group started.

Words cannot express how nice the weekend was. Being alone with each other, having a nice break from worrying about other people's needs but your own, sleeping in, not having to be on a schedule was nice (and much needed).

And there's no greater welcome than being bombarded with giant hugs from your favorite little people.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Taste of Things to Come

To no avail, I tried to capture a picture of Braden digging through the pantry, which would be quite appropriate for this post. Just try to get a mental picture. It's really quite cute, until you have to clean up what he's pulled out.

If you don't close it just right, the door doesn't latch properly and the pantry is free game for food grabbing, chubby, one year old mits.

Most everyone knows Braden is a big boy. He's huge actually, and until I played Wii Sports, I thought my arms were totally in shape from toting him around, but that's a whole other story entirely.

Since he is a big boy, he likes to eat.

Or maybe it's the other way around.

Either way, he can down the grub.

Just this morning he ate one waffle, one bowl of yogurt, some Honeycombs, and one of Avery's (who eats like a bird) untouched french toast sticks. Plus a cup of milk.

I tried to get him out of his chair between each new food. Crying/fussing would ensue, so I left him there. It was only until after the french toast stick that he was appeased.

This happens most every meal. Morning. Noon. And night.

Between meals, if he looks up and someone happens to be holding a plate, he literally says, "mmm", walks over, grins, and proceeds to stand there with a gaping mouth until a fork or spoon is placed inside. It's hilarious.

His protests for food only become annoying when I'm in trying to make supper or clean the kitchen. He thinks any presence in the kitchen means food and that he is entitled to it, making it nearly impossible to accomplish anything in the kitchen within a normal amount of time.

Each time I walk around the corner and see his little arms digging for snacks, my mind fast forwards to when he is 16 and trying to keep his tummy full. Mama Mia! Our grocery bill is going to be out of this world!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Long Time No Post

I haven't been able to motivate myself to update this blog because I know I'm so far behind!

We enjoyed our trip to Texas to spend Christmas with my family. It was a long road trip with the kids, but we survived. I don't really want to be cooped up in a car for that long with a 14 month old any time soon again, but loved the time we had together as a family sans screaming.

Santa was good to Avery and Braden, and Uncle Jase outdid himself with Avery's present. He surprised her with her very own Barbie Jeep. Who knew a 3 year old did not need a license to drive! Braden likes to ride beside her as much as she enjoys to drive it. Unfortunately, it is still parked in Texas, but my parents are bringing when they come to visit over spring break. Avery was such a good kid, not being greedy or acting selfish, and she hasn't even asked about it! We're keeping it that way for now. I know she'll be excited when she sees it again.

Braden of course enjoyed the boxes and wrapping as much as the presents enclosed. He's at a super fun age right now. I'm enjoying every minute of his life. He's learning new words, and it's fun watching him communicate with pats, points, and expressions.

I'm afraid I didn't do Kenny justice with his presents because we were keeping our spending low this year, but he outdid himself with a surprise trip for me to re-visit our cabin where we stayed on our honeymoon! (Complete with pre-set babysitting! I don't even have to worry about setting that up!) I've been dropping hints, and outright asking for some time away for just us, not thinking it would happen due to budget constraints, but what a fun surprise!!! Kudos to Kenny!

While in Texas, the kids enjoyed time with Grammy and Pop, playing games, trying out new toys, putting together puzzles, and making a gingerbread house. Avery began requesting that from Grammy before we even set out on our journey. She was a little sad to see it was more of a process than she thought, and would have been content to just eat the candy. It turned into a project for the entire family, and will always be a fond memory tucked into my heart.

We've been home this week, and have thoroughly enjoyed our time with Daddy home. Avery keeps asking why he's not at work, but loves the fact that he's not! We're spoiled and will be lonely when Monday rolls around.

We were also surprised with a visit from my long time friend, Shelley (and her husband and kids), whom I met at Harding. Our lives have been intertwined since our first hello. We've shared so many things in common, from family similarities, lifestyles, likes, dislikes, college classes, workplaces, to having both of our kids within weeks of each other. It was such a joy to get to visit with them on their way back from Florida this week. My dream of having our kids play together came true and was fantastic even if it was only for a short time. Avery and Easton met each other one time before when they were both not even a year old. Thursday evening they were reunited as 3 1/2 year olds, and were able to introduce their brothers to each other. Braden was instantly smitten with Shelley and turned into a snuggle bug with her. He thought Lawson was funny the way he danced to everything! The entire night was a blast! What fun! If only we lived closer....
Kenny and I realize that we are truly blessed, and pray with all of our hearts that 2009 will bring us as much joy.