Merry Christmas to all!

We leave tomorrow to go to my parents house for Christmas! I am so excited. I hope that I can sleep tonight. We have to wait until the morning to leave because Kim is working tonight. He gets off at 6:00 in the morning and we will leave as soon after that as we can!

Did I mention that I am so excited? My brothers and their SOs are already at mom and dad's house. This will be the first Christmas morning that I will be at my parent's home in the mountains. The house that I grew-up in. The house that I live in for 22 years. How is this my first Christmas at that house? Well, because all of my extended family lived in New Jersey we spent every Christmas there. I loved my NJ Christmases but am glad for the chance to celebrate at mom and dads home. I love anytime that my whole family is together. So special.

I am also getting really excited about seeing Natalie on Christmas morning!! I think she will be thrilled and over-come with excitement. She didn't really get it last year but she is totally into the season this year. She is excited about celebrating Jesus' birthday. She is excited about Santa coming. She is excited about seeing her Mimi and Papa and uncles. I am excited for her. I am a child again through her. So fun!!

Merry Christmas! Rejoice! Rejoice!!


Go Heels!

The victory two nights ago was not that great. Our defense was, well, bad. The crowd was, well, bad. But it was a victory and we are still undefeated. Which makes the loss last night wonderful! Man, I hate Dook. And I really don't like coach k. I like to watch them loose! So, I honor of that let's bring this back out.

I have no doubt that when we play Dook this year that the result could be less than pleasing to me. They are good, really good. Man, it pains me to say that. But we are also good, with the potential to be great. I just hope that I don't put myself into labor watching it!!

If you are looking for feel-good Carolina story, you have to click here. Just grab the tissues before you go. Consider yourself warned.


Christmas Music

So, the most recent Christmas music album that I have found and love is by "Third Day". It has a good mix of traditional stuff and newer stuff. I really like Mac Powell's voice so he could sing most anything and I would listen. This is certainly not a new album, it was released in 2006 but I am not the most hip music person ever. If you a looking for a good listen I recommend "Christmas Offerings".


OK, so I'm just going to put this out there.

When you live in a small house with limited hiding places it is very difficult not to go peak at your gifts!! And when, with just the click of the mouse you can find out where the gifts came from, well. It is taking every bit of self-restraint that I have not to cheat!! Really, I guess that I would only be cheating myself but still. The information is right there, waiting to be had!!

With only a week left to wait, I guess that I will make it....


I agree

I saw this license plate on the way to MOPS today...

I couldn't agree more! The holiday season is making me a bit home-sick.


Snow Day

We had a snow day today. We got a couple of inches, enough to make it an inside afternoon, my girl is not a big fan of the cold.

Anyway, we made sugar cookies (actually sugar bricks but anything with icing and sprinkles is great!). This was our first baking adventure together. Much fun!!

Now, if the cookies only tasted as good as they look. We will have to work on that...

23 Weeks

I can't believe that I am 23 weeks pregnant already! That is craziness! I am going to be chasing this child around before I know it. I love this part of pregnancy. I am definitely looking pregnant, the baby is moving all the time and I still feel good. These are the weeks to enjoy.

So, here is a picture of one of the only times in my life when I will be showing off how big my belly is and trying to make it look bigger!!


Little Red???

Yesterday I innocently bought Natalie the book "Little Red Riding Hood." I hadn't read the book in a long time but remembered it from my childhood. I certainly did not remember that the wolf ATE grandma and poor Little Red. I also did not remember that the woodsman KILLED the wolf and took grandma and Little Red out of his stomach. Oh my goodness!! Wow!! Of course Natalie loved the book and wanted to read it again and again.

So, if you haven't read Little Red to your children yet, DON'T!!


Some updates

It has been a while...
We had a great Thanksgiving! We spent the long weekend in Windsor with Kim's family. On Thursday we all went outside to play in the front yard, so wholesome I thought I was on "Leave It To Beaver." We ate so much yummy Mama Askew cooking I found myself feeling sick. Kim got to play on the family farm with his brother and dad. Natalie and I got good time with Kim's mom, Caitlyn, Carson and Aunt Lesley. A classic family Thanksgiving!!

When we got home on Sunday, after Natalie brushed her teeth she sweetly asked me "Mommie, where is Gigi (her name for my Grammie)?" She asked me out of the blue. I was floored. I instantly teared up. I looked at her and replied, with my chin quivering "Gigi is with Jesus." I was prepared for a longer discussion but her next question was "Where are Chief and Fran (my other grandparents)?" "Chief and Fran are in Florida." Simple answers and that was the end of it. She did ask me to make "that funny face again" (my trying hard not to cry and talk at the same time face) and gave me a big kiss. Sweet girl.

We are all doing well, after a long day. I was on the way to take Natalie to the doctor and got in a little fender-bender. I rear-ended someone. I was stopped at a stoplight, Natalie asked me a question, I got distracted and took my foot off the brake. Not so smart. I freaked out. I was such a girl!! I actually forgot that I was pregnant for the first three minutes after the bump and then freaked out. Natalie was fine, I felt fine but what about my poor baby inside, yikes. I went to the hospital. They monitored the baby, everything looked fine so I went home. Natalie was a champ and thankfully Sarah was able to watch her while Kim took me to the hospital. Not a fun day! But praise God we are all ok.

I those are all the major updates/reports that need to be made. I need to blog more often so that I don't get so behind and feel so overwhelmed!


It's Official!

We're going to be North Carolinians!! We are moving back to Winston.


My Grammie

My Grammie (mom's mom) passed away yesterday. She was 92 years old and lived a long, full life.

At her best my Gram was a sweet, sweet little muffin of a lady. She was never more than 5 feet tall. I think I got my height from her. About five years ago dementia started to rob her of her mind and personality but I know that my sweet Gram was always inside.

Some things that I remember about my Gram:
  • There was always dessert at her house, usually ice cream or Jell-O (in single serving dishes). As I child, I loved this.
  • There were always olives at her house and if she knew that my brothers and I were coming she bought an extra jar. Yum! We love olives!!
  • There was always "good New Jersey cheese" at her house.
  • She loved naps.
  • She was very into her "stories." (soap operas)
  • She went to the grocery store every day!! That was her outing.
  • She loved, loved, loved animals. I often joked with my mom that she loved animals more than people and on some level, who can blame her.
  • She was a dancer.
  • She and my Pop-Pop were married for well over 50 years. They were a great example of love, unconditional love. I have a picture of them from about 5 years ago, at Christmas and she is sitting in his lap. I hope that at 87 years old I am sitting in Kim's lap.

I have this strange feeling of sadness, especially for my mom and her brother and sisters (I can't imagine being here without a mom), but I also know that Gram is much better. For the past four months of her life she did not get out of bed. I know that is not how she wanted to live. She is much better. It is hard to be sad when someone has been blessed with 92 years, four children, 11 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren (almost 6) and a long, happy marriage.

She died in her room, in her house with her cat, my aunt and two of my cousins with her. I know that my mom, her bother and other sister wish that they could have been with her. It was time. She is in a better place.

Love you, Grammie.


Natalie Quote

Mommie, are you getting bigger?

One of the best days of the year!

Regular season starts today!!
I am so hyped!!
The last time Carolina won the national championship, I had a baby. With any luck, I will have a baby for this year's championship. I'm just saying...
Go Tarheels!!


It's a....

She looked great on the ultrasound today. She is growing well and we saw all the vital organs. We are so excited. Another little girl, a little sweet pea.


Sweet sounds

Natalie laughing gleefully as she plays with her Mimi and Papa.


Where have I been?

I have been meaning to sit down and blog since we got home on Friday, but it hasn't happened...I have thought several times, that random thought should be on the blog but I haven't gotten around to it.

We had a great trip. Johnson City was wonderful. Better than we imagined that it would be. We thought that we would go there and find reasons not to live there. Well, that didn't happen. We loved it. It was so peaceful and beautiful there. All of the people that we met were so warm and welcoming. The men that Kim would be working with seemed like great men. We left feeling confused and overwhelmed and like we could see ourselves living there.

Our next stop was Winston, home in so many ways. The only place we lived as a married couple. Where many of our dearest friends are. Where much of my heart still is. We were welcomed back with open arms. Had a great time trick-or-treating with friends. We had some great conversations about what our future would hold with people who genuinely care about us. Kim was reunited with his old co-workers and had a great time with them.

We hope to make a decision in the next week or so as to what we will do. It is a very exciting time. We are blessed to be given these opportunities. Kim has worked really hard to be able to have choices and we are thankful.

So, here are my random thoughts:
  • To travel with a child, you have to be flexible, or everyone will be miserable.
  • Do you remember when daylight savings time meant an extra hour of sleep, not worry about adjusting sleep schedules?
  • My girl is growing up way to fast!
  • A friend in Winston called me "a vision on loveliness" and meant it, she sees a me I don't see all the time. I miss her.
  • Our family is blessed to have dear, dear friends.
  • In reality, Natalie went trick-or-treating for me. I have eaten way more of her candy than she has.
  • I am glad that I have finally caught up on my work and have the time to blog.


Away we go

Tomorrow morning we leave on an almost week long journey of job interviews. Our first stop will be in Johnson City, TN and after a few days there we will go to Winston-Salem. We are so excited to get some time together as a family and start thinking about the next phase in our life. A bonus of the trip, we get to celebrate Halloween with our dear friends. Natalie is so excited.

We will let you know how the trip goes. Until Friday.....


Baby/Belly Up-date

It guess this is a good thing, but time seems to be flying. I can't believe that I am already 17 weeks pregnant. I had a doctor's appointment today, which, at this stage is pretty uneventful. Pee in a cup, get your blood pressure checked (mine is a little high again but I am telling you that I have major anxiety at the doctor's office. if they would take my blood pressure after I got the hear the baby's heartbeat, it would be much better), step on the scale, measure your belly and then the moment you have been waiting for. You get to hear 30 seconds of reassure that everything is OK. You get to hear the heartbeat of your baby. Amazing!! Since I am feeling no sure baby movements yet I am living to hear the heartbeat of reassurance. I am ready for this kiddo to be kicking me and let me know he/she is in there!

We have an ultrasound scheduled for the 12th of November. If the kiddo is cooperating, we will find out if it is a boy or a girl that day!! Crazy, in 2 1/2 weeks we will know the gender of our baby. Then we will know if the name will be @#$%@ or $%^&#$. Yes, I think we already have names picked out. A little premature, I know.


Pumpkin Carvin'

After a lovely morning of hanging out at home and enjoying being a whole family, we headed to get some pumpkins to carve.
Why is Natalie wearing a 4th of July shirt? Because it is still 80 degrees!!

This was the only time Natalie touched the inside of the pumpkin. It totally grossed her out!!

Checkin' out Daddy's work in the pumpkin. He's got some skills!

One of the finished products. Kim was very proud of himself!

Natalie did not enjoy the carving process but thought that the jack-o-lanterns were fun.


Reality Check

As we were wandering through Chapel Hill yesterday I was realizing that I am looking old, unhip and certainly wouldn't pass as a traditional student anymore. Not that I was really ever "hip." Anyway, this reality was hit home when I remember that I was walking around with an Elmo potty seat in my backpack. Wow! Times have changed.

On a positive note, Natalie used the potty seat successfully, so my efforts were not in vain.

Great Day

Our trip to Chapel Hill yesterday was better than I dreamed it could be, except for the fact that we lost...

Highlights of the day:
  • Being in Chapel Hill
  • Watching Natalie get a Tarheel painted on her face
  • Being in Chapel Hill
  • Watching Natalie get a high-five from BUTCH DAVIS!!
  • Being in Chapel Hill
  • Experiencing and pageantry of college football and improved football atmosphere in Chapel Hill
  • Watching Natalie join in the "TAR-HEEL" chant
  • Being with my hubby for a whole day
  • Being in Chapel Hill

I could bore you with the details of the day but I will leave it with that. It was great!! As we were leaving the game Natalie said, "I don't want to go home! I want to watch the Tarheels more!!"


In My Mind...

Yes, I'm goin' to Carolina.

Actually, for real, I am. Tomorrow, Kim, Natalie and I are headed to Chapel Hill for the game. I am so excited!! A fall afternoon in Chapel Hill and all the pageantry of college football, my girl experiencing Chapel Hill. I am so excited!!

To add to the excitement tonight Kim and I are watching "Late Night with Roy." Yep, we paid the 9.95 to be able to watch it. Hey, it's cheaper than the movies and I might stay awake.

Go Heels!!


Cox Farm

Fun times at Cox Farm with friends.

Lots of fun slides

Yummy apples

Kettle Corn

Farm animals


Hay rides


Watch out!

They just opened a new Panera in our neighborhood that I can walk to. Bet they weren't counting on the preggo that loves carbs!!!


Today Natalie and I had a picnic lunch with our friends. Natalie loves to have picnic lunches and eat outside. I guess we needed to take advantage of, what will hopefully be, one of the last really warm days of the season. Picnics, such a simple thing that make my girl so happy!


Lighter Note

Last night at dinner Natalie proclaimed: "I Trust in the Lord!"

Whining about the weather

What the heck? It is October and close to 90 degrees.

I am tired of shorts! I want to wear jeans and long sleeved t-shirts and socks!

I want to go outside and enjoy the chill in the air. I don't want to sweat.

We are supposed to be enjoying apple picking and looking for pumpkins, who sweats when participating in such activities?

It is football season! Who wants to sweat while watching football?

For the love!! I want to cuddle up in a sweatshirt and drink warm apple cider.


There is was

I woke-up this morning, rolled over and there it was. My uterus protruding from my belly like a softball. I said "Hey, Kim, come look!" We both rubbed on the belly. Talked to the baby. I savored the moment. Then, I got up, went to the bathroom and my uterus returned to where it should be. Distinct visual evidence of the baby, gone for now.

I remember this happening with Natalie too. Although with Natalie I was more than 14 weeks. I was also growing a 10-12 cm cyst on my ovary with Natalie. I think I was often rubbing on a cyst, not my baby with Natalie but they tell me I have no huge cysts this time.

I love these moments. Evidence that our baby is growing! Kim catches me rubbing on my belly a lot and says "Leigh, stop, what are you doing? You love being pregnant, don't you?" Yes, I do! I love it! If I didn't have to be responsible for the kiddos after they left my body I would stay pregnant.


Happy Birthday

So, how many people can say that they are still in regular contact with someone they have know since they were six-months old? I am so glad that I can!

Happy Birthday, Jeni!

As mentioned Jeni and I know each other since she was born and I was the ripe old age of six-months. We went to elementary, middle and high school together. We parted ways for college. There was no way I was going to Wake or she was going to Carolina. Then, we both managed to live in Winston.

My relationship with Jeni is more like that with a sister. We have been each other's best friend and at times not so nice. Having said that we have been not so nice, we have always moved past that because we have know the value of the others friendship. I can go without seeing her for a long time, then see her again and it is like no time has passed. Friends like that are a treasure! I have no doubt in my mind that if I ever need Jeni she will be there for me and I hope she thinks the same of me.

So, Jeni, Happy 29th Birthday! I love you! I treasure our friendship dearly!


A differnt pregnancy experience

So far, this has been a different pregnancy.

It is a strange feeling to be pregnant and wanting so much to celebrate with the people that I love and not have them near me. Don't get me wrong, there are a couple of close friends here who have been every excited for Kim and I but nothing like when we were in Winston. For starters, I got to tell my mom and dad in-person that I was pregnant with Natalie, not over the phone. True, I could have waited but really I couldn't. I didn't get to share a secret giggle with my dear friend when she pulled my secret out of me. I didn't get the sweet embrace of other friends as I shared the news with them, it has been different. I long to be home to share this exciting time in my life with people I love and who love me (thank goodness for the Reames).

I am no longer working as a labor and delivery nurse and getting all the perks that go along with that. I didn't get to hand pick my doctors after seeing them in action. I don't get extra TLC at the office. I don't have an ultrasound machine available whenever I feel like looking at the baby. I don't have a Doppler to listen to the baby's heart whenever I need some reassurance. I won't know the nurse who is going to take care of me, talk about TLC. I have never been into the hospital where I will deliver. I will feel like an alien screaming that I am one of them, I know the secret talk, the lingo.

Speaking of working as a labor and delivery nurse, I miss my co-workers, especially now. They cared for me so well when I was pregnant. They were so excited for me and so protective of me. Great women, I miss them.

I realize this is starting to sound selfish like I just want a bunch of people of around to shower me with affection but really I just want to share this really exciting journey with my friends. There is nothing like being surround by people who love you. I am missing home (perhaps this is the work of the hormones...).


Family of Four

Sometime around April 1st, Kim, Natalie and I will welcome a new member to our family. Here's a glimpse at the little one from earlier today!!! I'm about thirteen weeks and feeling great!! More thoughts on pregnancy and having another child to follow. I'm excited to get to share my secret. Now, I'm taking my tired self to bed.


Looking sweeter than she really is.

The real girl!

Great Weekend

Another weekend full of adventure for our family!

Kim and I had a great time at the baseball game on Saturday night. Hours spent with good friends are always fun. The game went into extra innings (we lost) and we didn't get home until after midnight, crazy kids! The report from Kim's parents is that Natalie did great. If they are keeping secrets it is fine with me!

We headed north on Sunday and took Kim's mom and dad to the Amish Country in Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful day to be out traveling. We had a yummy lunch, rode in a horse and buggy, drove around the area, went and saw "Thomas the Train" (very exciting for Natalie), and made it home before dark. It was a long day but a fun day!

Here are some pictures from our adventure.


So excited!

Tomorrow night Kim, Chris, Sarah and I are going out! We are going to a Washington Nationals game. I got the tickets for Kim for his birthday. I am so excited about time out with fun adults without my dear daughter. Kim's mom and dad are coming into town and are staying with Natalie so I am sure that she will have as much fun as we will. I don't know if I am more excited about the time with friends, the metro ride, the baseball, the hotdogs, the nachos, a cool autum night outside. it all sounds so wonderful to me.


Old song with a Natalie twist

So, here is Natalie's version of "Old MacDonald"

"Mic Old Donald had a farm..."


As Promised

Some recent pictures of my girl...
Giving her great-grandfather a happy birthday kiss.

Riding on her Papa's shoulders.

Playing in the river.

Lovely Afternoon

This afternoon, while Natalie napped, I prepared a meal for a new mom. This was the biggest blessing to me when I had Natalie so I am glad to return the favor whenever possible.

I discovered something about myself that I had forgotten...When given the mental and physical space, I really enjoy cooking! I whipped-up two lasagnas, brownies and salads and loved every minute of it!

I am also loving the fact that Natalie is in hour two of her nap and still going. This is my payback for this weekend!


Happy 88th Birthday, Chief!

What a joy to celebrate my grandfather's birthday with lots of family!!


Natalie Quote

We were driving down the road yesterday and Natalie saw the truck spraying water to water the grass/flowers.

Natalie: Mommie, is that truck going pee-pee?

Can you tell what we have been talking about in our house?


Children are expensive when the seasons are changing!

My sweet girl

Natalie has always been a verbal child. However, about two weeks ago someone hit the "super-verbal" button! Wow! The girl can talk! She really likes to sing, it is so increbily sweet.

When we arrived at my parent's house last weekend she sang her "ABCDs" (as she calls them) like this a,b,c,d,e,f,g,q,i,l,(mummbled mess), t,u,v,w,x,y,z. She woke up Sunday morning and could sing them perfectly!! Did she get a special lesson during the night?

Every car ride, she gives a running commentary. Today's went something like this:
"1,2,3,4,5, Mommie, I am counting the trees. 1,2, Mommie, I am counting the school buses. The trees are way up on the hill. Can I ride the school bus one day Mommie? Let's go buy some new shoes. Then, we can have a quesadilla for dinner. Does that sound fun? Does that sound fun Mommie?"

She has started to really enjoy talking to grandparents on the phone. She makes their day!

She is so much fun and a great buddy to have around during the day! I am really enjoying this age. I want to find the pause button!

I promise a recent picture soon!


Not a good day to be a Tarheel

Well, it happened, the Tarheels lost to ECU. I realize this game did not make national headlines but I am sure it will be making family headlines for a long time to come. Both of my brothers are ECU alum. They could be hard to live with for the next, I don't know, year.

Not to mention, my Dad is a Happy Appy and we will be hearing about their defeat of Michigan for a long time.

I love fall and football season. I know that the Tarheels will be getting better...Until Butch Davis performs some miracles, I am ready for basketball season. When, BTW, both of my brothers will be on the UNC bandwagon.

Natalie is a pro at saying "Go Tarheels! "Eat" the Pirates!" Too bad it didn't work out.


Always a sap

I am crying watching Roy Williams being inducted into the basketball hall of fame. Get a grip!

My Sweet Husband

Last night I had a meeting so I left right after dinner. Kim was on duty to give Natalie a bath and put her to bed. Lately Natalie wants to hear "Sleep My Babies" every night. Kim doesn't (didn't) know the words to the song yet.

He quickly mentioned it as I was walking out the door and I said "Don't worry, the words are on the blog and Natalie knows them." I didn't give it another thought until I was cleaning our bedroom this morning and saw the words to the song, printed from the blog, laying on the floor.

Kim doesn't do anything half-way, we all know that. He loves our daughter! He would do anything to her and wants to make everything just right.

If it would have been me and I didn't know the words to the song Natalie wanted, I would have just told her to pick another song. Kim makes me want to be a better parent.

I know this probably sounds simple to a lot of people but it was the sweetest surprise for me this morning. A love note that he left for me and he didn't even know it.

Kim, you are an amazing Dad (Daddy-Bear)! I love you!


Why Chic-Fil-A Rocks

So, after quite a blogging lull and reading what my friends have been writing I feel really bad coming back with a post like this but here we go...
  1. Free table-toppers (the plastic, disposable tablecloths)
  2. Purell hand wipes taped to kids meal bags
  3. Fresh fruit (for Natalie)
  4. Waffle fries (for Me)
  5. A nice man to open the door
  6. A nice man to help me get two highchairs to the table (one for Natalie, one for Madeline)
  7. A nice man to carry Sarah's food to the table
  8. Milkshakes!!!
  9. Lemonade in styrofoam cups

Seriously, the people a Chic-Fil-A are marketing geniuses!

  • The one down side is that the "toys" are not exactly "toys". They are educational books usually. Happy Meals toys win!


An Evening With Sarah

I had a meeting last night, Kim was working, so my dear friend Sarah stayed with Natalie. Why, you might ask, is Sarah babysitting and not a nice high school girl? Well, the answer is for another blog entry all together.

Me: Natalie, Sarah is coming over to have dinner with you tonight and then she is going to give you a bath, read you stories, and put you to bed. Does that sound fun?
Natalie: Sarah is coming!!!
Me: Yeah, does that sound fun?
Natalie: Yeah, and she'll give me a bath and I'll have poopie and she can wipe my bottom.
Me: Maybe?!

So, everything went well. Natalie and Sarah had a great time. When I asked Sarah about how everything went she said, "Great! Natalie can talk. I had no idea how much Madeline (Sarah's daughter) inhibited her." It is true. When Natalie and Madeline are together, Natalie is fine with being the follower. She is fine with watching Madeline, seeing what she is doing, and playing along. Madeline has established herself as the alpha-toddler. I like this aspect of Natalie's personality. I like that she doesn't feel the need to be in charge all the time, she is not bossy (for a toddler). She cares about her friends and their feelings. I don't think that I am raising the future president, vice-president maybe.

The dynamic-duo

Halloween 2006


Confessions of a Blogging Slacker

I have been a blogging slacker lately. For those of you out there, and you know who you are, who think I am actually going to get my "My Space" page together, forget it. I have a couple of excuses to offer.
  1. My job has been a little crazy lately. I have taken on extra clients and 39 pregnant women can drive a person crazy. I still love me job it is just taking more of my time these days, twice as much as when I started actually. We are looking to hire more people but until that happens I get to spend lots of time chatting with pregnant women.
  2. I am the hospitality chair for our MOPS group which gets started in three-and-a-half weeks. That means that I have been spending lots of time planning brunch schedules, naming tables, planning decorations, favors, games, etc. Again, something that I am glad to do but it is taking time.
  3. I am tired. No explanation here.
  4. I am raising a toddler. Since we have gotten back from vacation, I have been doing a lot of single parenting, not my favorite. I don't like it when I am the only parent Natalie sees during her waking hours. Thankfully Kim's schedule will be getting more normal soon. These days make me whine, complain, then remember my dear friend who's husband is across the ocean and I feel guilty. I don't know how she or any other military family does what they are asked to do.

OK, that's all the excuses I have to offer....

Here are some recent snippets from our life.

  • If you are a parent you probably know the "Clean-Up Song" (Clean-up, clean-up, everybody, everywhere. Clean-up, clean-up, everybody do your share). Here is Natalie's version, pirated from her dear friend Madeline, "Clean-up, clean-up, everybody do my share!" She sings it very sweetly as she happily helps clean-up, it makes me laugh.
  • While we were reading "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See" the other night, Natalie called the Sea Lion, a "Swimming Lion". I thought it was so cute. Unfortunately she asked me what it was, I told her a Sea Lion and she corrected herself.
  • Natalie's new favorite thing to sing, the "Pokey-Pokey", known to the rest of us as the "Hokey-Pokey".
  • Kim starts a "writing elective" next week. Three cheers for that!! I'm not sure what a "writing elective" includes but it sounds good to me!
  • My first quilt is almost done (see excuses above as to why it is not done yet). I just have to sew the outer border on.
  • We are going to Jefferson next Thursday for a long Labor Day weekend! I haven't been home since early March. My soul is longing for the mountains and my mom and dad.

I will post some more pictures again soon! Thanks for listening! To my other blogging friends, please don't get slack like me. I still read your blogs daily, I just don't always to my share.


Morning Alarm

Soon after I got Natalie out of her bed this morning all the fire alarms in the house started going off. It took me a minute to figure out what alarm system was going off. Looking back on the situation it didn't even occur to me that there might be a FIRE, I just wanted the noise to stop, it was too early for such things. So with a toddle CLINGING to me I ran through the house (Kim had already left for work at 5:15) and down two flights of stairs trying to find the source of the problem. The fire detector in the basement was flashing, ah ha! Now, all I needed to do was peel the toddler off of me, find something that could help me reach the 9' ceiling and get it to stop. Ok, mission accomplished, LOUD noise gone, small chirping noise here. So, I guess the battery is low and we slept through the beep all night and the fire alarm was giving us a final notice. Now, all I needed to do was replace the battery. Problem, I don't have a battery and I can't reach to replace the battery. Decision, this can wait until after church. More LOUD noise. Clearly the fire alarm wanted to be fixed now. So, at 6:50 in the morning I call me dear friend and ask her to send a battery and her husband to my rescue. After replacing the battery, much button pushing (why do these things have to be so complicated? I can see now why people just pull them out of the wall.),and some early cursing, the problem was solved! Natalie keeps saying "No more loud, mommie, no more loud?!" The highlight of the situation was that me toddler wanted to snuggle very close to me for 15 minutes. Thank goodness for friends!


Excuses, excuses

Kim: Hey, I'm going to be late.
Me: What's up?
Kim: I have to sew a kid's ear back on.
Me: Can't somebody else do that.
Kim: No. Then I have to check on the kid from this morning with the subdural (head bleed).

In honor of this post, let's hear the best reason you have given/received for why you/your SO is going to be late.


I'm Back

Kim, Natalie and I just got back from a week in Corolla, NC. We had a great time. We left last Saturday morning and spent the weekend in Windsor to celebrate Mama Askew's birthday and Kim's 30th birthday. On Monday we journeyed to the beach. We stayed at our friend's parents beach home "Crescent Moon". The house sleeps 22 but we only packed in 14. We were with Chris, Sarah, Madeline (Natalie's BFF), Chris's mom and dad (owners of the house), Sarah's mom and dad (who left too early), Chris's sister and brother-in-law and two friends from college. Aside from the occasional turf wars between the two-year-olds we had a great time. Beach vacations are definitely different with children!

I still haven't figured out how to take good pictures to capture the moment, I am hoping that Sarah got some good shots. I had dreams of taking Natalie out on the beach in a cute little dress to take some pics, it didn't happened. Trying to align the weather, with a two-year-old's naps/moods, with everything else we wanted to do was too much.

We did have some lovely kite flying weather. That held Natalie's attention for about two minutes and then she wanted to dig in the sand together. Until I had Natalie, I hated the sand. Now I tolerate it because it bring her so much joy and find myself enjoying it.

We had a great week together, growing our friendship, mostly at Chris's expense. That is what happens when you invite friends to invade your family vacation. I treasure my time with the Reames. I am still trying to convince them that NC is way better than NOVA!



Today I pretended that I had another life.

Natalie was in "school" for the morning. I was supposed to meet someone at Starbucks at 10:00 to talk about our work with the International Breast Milk Project. Traffic was lite so I arrived early. I ordered a caramel machiato and sat down to log onto the web. I sat in a coffee shop for well over two hours, talked about ways to make a difference in the lives of AIDS orphans in Africa, used my computer with ease, did a little bit of actual work and took in the sites around me. It was blissful!

Then, I pinched myself and headed to the child care center in get my girl. My sweaty, tired, sunscreened, sandy, dirty, delighted, wonderful girl.


2 1/2

Today is Natalie's half-birthday.

Me: Natalie, you are 2 and a half today.
Natalie: Yeah!
Kim: Do you know what that means?
Kim: Tomorrow you will be closer to 3 than 2.
Me: That means you should go pee-pee in the potty! (I am plugging that a lot these days.)
Natalie: Yeah!! Do I get cake?


Yesterday Natalie and I went to see Rocknoceros, a local kids band. Whatever this says for me, I found myself enjoying it and Natalie had a great time. For those of you who have children, I recommend their music. It is fun, clean and very punny! At times I felt I was in an alternate universe, who else spends their time doing things like this? Mommies like me.


7 Years

Today Kim and I celebrate our 7th anniversary. I can't believe we have been married for 7 years. We were so young!!

Being married to Kim has been wonderful. He is my dearest friend. He is my constant encouragement. He believes in me. He loves me unconditionally. He is the love of my life.

I do not deserve his love. He is intelligent. He is one of the hardest working and dedicated people that I know. He is fun.

We have had some bumps in our 7 years together but we are a better family for it. Our love is real. Our love is special.

Big Bird's Lullaby

My mom used to sing this song to us when we were little and now she sings it to Natalie. Natalie has been requesting it lately but I didn't know the words until today, so here we go...

Sleep my baby
Softly rest
Like a nestling
In a nest
Though you are too small to fly
You'll be a big bird, by and by
Though your song is still a peep
Soft your feathers
Small your beak
Tuck your head beneath your wing
Hear the guardian angels sing
Cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep
Sleep my baby
Go to sleep.


Fun way to start the day

Me: Bye, Natalie, I am going to Curves.
Natalie: Wait Mommy, I need a kiss!

She sweetly grabs both my cheeks and gives me a kiss.

Natalie: Another one!

Another sweet kiss for me.

I love my little girl!

Meet My New Nephew

My brother, David, got a puppy. A rat terrier named Don Vito. The name is a reference to something in pop-culture that I am not cool enough to get. Anyway, Dave has wanted a dog for a long time so I am happy for him. I hope he knows what he is in for. He says that last night he got two hours of sleep, on the bathroom floor, with the dog. I did better than that with an infant. Happy "fatherhood", Dave! I can't wait to meet him!



Sunscreen in the eyes, bad idea!

Better Days (a brief update on us)

So, life with Natalie has been wonderful the past two days. She is back to listening, being kind, and speaking kindly to others about 85% of the time which is about what you can expect from a girl her age, I guess. I wish I had a better grasp on what is developmentally normal and what is being a brat.

Wednesday finished up well. After nap, we went with Kim to another amazing park in the area and Natalie had a great time. It was fun for me to watch Kim and Natalie together at the park since he rarely gets to join us. Then we went on an explore to find dinner and found a great new wings place, yummy. I keep thinking to myself, this is what normal families do on weekends, but we never seem to have weekends to play like this with Kim's schedule so it was nice. We came home, got Natalie into bed. Kim spent the rest of the night preparing for conference the next day and I worked on my quilting project, it was a perfectly nerdy and fun night.

Thursday Natalie went to school and from all reports had a fun day. I am so thankful that Natalie loves going to school! After nap time we went for a long swim in the pool. Natalie is getting to much braver in the pool. It is amazing to look back on what she did in the water last summer and compare that to what she is willing and able to do now. She comes running to me and says "I want to go swim, Mommy!" That means she wants me to take her to the deep end of the pool and float around with her, let her go under the water, and let her "jump" to me from the side of the pool. I think she is going to be a "water-bug", as my mom used to call me.

Today when I asked Natalie if she wanted to go to the park she told me that she wanted to go see the cows and sheep at the barn (a true country girl at heart). We went to Frying Pan Park and saw lots of cows, not so many sheep. She has historically been very afraid of the animals once we are there but was so brave today. There was also not as much whining to be carried instead of walking (probably related to not being afraid). It was a hot and smelly but joyous day at the Farm. We had a picnic on the living room floor for lunch because I was too wimpy to eat outside. I don't do 90 degrees very well.


Do-over Morning

Do you ever have one of those days/mornings/events where you wish you could go back and start over and see if it turned out better? I had one of those this morning. It isn't that anything terrible happened, our morning at the park was just not the fun time with friends that I had imagined it would be.
Natalie and I joined several friends on an adventure to a new park in the area. I had visions of my child gleefully running around the park while I enjoyed the company of the other mothers. Well, that is not what happened. Instead, I spent a lot of the morning "talking" to Natalie to try to improve her seemingly rotten behavior. Some hard lessons were learned like if you spend time in timeout, then you have less time to play and you will be sad when we leave.

Looking back, it was not all her fault... I should have given her a snack before we got the park (keeping the blood sugar levels up is always good for the attitude). I should have let her play at her own pace instead of trying to keep up with the other kids and moms. I should have listened more to my little girl. These are the reasons I want a do-over.

Having said that, there were some lessons learned, I hope. Lessons like, she will listen to mommie. She will share with others. She will speak kindly to others.

Instead of a gleeful morning I was left doubting my ability to parent my daughter, wondering where I had gone wrong and created this beast. I was wondering if I place expectations on her behavior that are too high, if I should just be more passive with her. I was wondering if I had already been too passive with her. Mothering is tough!
After a therapeutic ride home with my dear friend, a peaceful lunch time, and a nap for Natalie things are looking better. I may not get to do-over this morning but we have lots more times to try to make it better.

We did manage to get some cute pictures!


Kim gave me my anniversary gift early. He got me a sewing machine. I have sewn together all the blocks for my first quilt now I just have to piece them together. So much sewing, so little blogging.


The concept of God

Last night Natalie was trying to procrastinate bedtime my telling me, "I want to pray for more." As a side note, we had already put an end to prayer time which she was not interested in at the time, we had sung songs and now it was time for bed. So, not wanting to discourage my daughter praying but also not wanting to get pushed around by a manipulative two year-old, I said "You can talk to God in your bed." She got into bed and this is roughly the conversation that followed...

Natalie: I want God in my bed.
Me: God is in your bed, God is everywhere.
Natalie: I want to hold Him.
Me: You can't hold God. God is a spirit. He does not have a body like man.
Natalie: I want to hold God.
Me: You can't hold God but you can talk to God.
Natalie: I want God in my bed.
Me: God is in your bed, He is everywhere.

This circle continued for a few more rounds. Maybe I would do better with questions like this before bedtime has passed.

FYI: I got inspired again.

Observations from the pool

Yesterday afternoon, after nap, Natalie and I headed to the pool. Three quick observations from that outing...

  1. I have arrived at a stage of motherhood that I dreamed about last summer, I kept my butt planted in a chair at the side of the pool for ten solid minutes. It was as heavenly as I thought it would be.
  2. Some people need to discipline their children more at the pool or not be surprised if I do it for them, especially the five year-old girl who repeated took Natalie's bucket out of her hand. I still don't know where this child's mother was the whole time this exchange happened so she might not be upset if I disciplined her child.
  3. I must have a sign on my head that says either "I'm friendly, come tell me your troubles" or "I'm lonely, tell me your life story" or their are more people out there who need friends. After a random conversation (mostly one-sided) I know that this complete stranger: just moved to the area from NJ because her husband's job (as a white-collar mail fraud investigator [who knew there was such a thing]), has rheumatoid arthritis which causes her great pain while she climbs all the steps in her town house that she bought for 500K, is trying to conceive a child this month so that she can get back on her medication for the RA. I could also tell you the details of the life of the woman who gave me her life story at the park two days ago. Don't get me wrong, I love talking to people and the thought that I am friendly but does anyone talk about the weather anymore?


Fun Random Picture

In light of the previous, downer-post, here is a fun picture of Natalie and her dear friend, Daisy. They are playing with poker chips and a cooler. What else do classy girls wearing crowns play with at the beach?


Today has been a whiny day...

It started when Natalie went postal because I threw her banana away at breakfast after she told me three times that she was all done. Sure, I had another banana to give her but I didn't. I could just hear the grandparents in my ear telling me how mean I was being. She told me that she was done. I think she thought it would be a fun game. She has been into that a lot recently. Making a choice and then changing her mind. Two year-olds!!! She whined for 15 minutes about the silly banana.

Then, nap time.
Me: Natalie do you want to read on the bed or in the chair.
Natalie: On the bed
(So, I make a place for us on the bed)
Natalie: I want to read in the chair.
(So, I make a place for us on the chair)
Natalie: I want to read in the bed.
Me: No, you choose to read in the chair.
Natalie: I want to read in the bed (in the most whiny voice she has).
Me: No, you choose to read in the chair. You can stop whining or you can go to bed without stories...

No need too bore you with the rest of the details. I hope a nap gets some of the whines out.



So, Natalie just went to take a nap and I have time to blog but I am uninspired. A lot of things have happened in the past couple of days that made me think, this would be good for the blog but at this moment I can't think of a single one. Oh well, I am sure inspiration will come again.


Whirlwind Tour of New Jersey

My mom came into town last Thursday. We got up early Friday morning, loaded the car and headed to New Jersey to visit family. When the trip started we thought we would just visit with my grandparents and maybe a few aunts and uncles. By the end of the trip we had seen 35 people! Natalie was great. We had a wonderful time being together and got some really special time with our family.

Like I said the trip was originally intended to visit with my Chief (my dad's dad), his lovely wife Fran, and my Grammie (my mom's mom). Chief and Fran are doing wonderfully. It was so fun to watch Natalie interact with them. We had not been at their house for five minutes and Natalie had made a new best friend in Ms. Fran. She had Fran pushing her baby's stroller around and changing her baby's diapers. Natalie had so much fun watching Chief feed the birds, helping him take the trash out and leading him around the house. Like I said, a joy to watch. The other really fun part of staying with Chief and Fran was watching Natalie run around a house that I treasure from my childhood. We always spent Christmas time in New Jersey at my grandparents' home. Natalie was playing on the stairs that I remember coming down on Christmas morning. What a joy! She was running through a house that I ran through so many times. What a delight for my heart.

We also visited with my Grammie, who is not doing so well. She is 91 years old, nearly 92. She has lived a long, wonderful life but her time here on Earth appears to be running out. She is still able to be in her home with the 24 hour care of an angel named Zoya. She is an angel. She takes such wonderful care of my grandmother. She provides the care that I wish that I could provide. She lovingly feeds her and cares for her every need. Even though my Grammie is often mean to her (Grammie's mind and personality is not what is used to be) she is so incredibly patient and kind to her. My Grammie is still in the only home that my mom ever lived in. She is still in the bed that she shared with my Pop-Pop for over 60 years. She is still able to snuggle with her beloved cat Susie (who is the meanest cat ever!) who never leaves her side. My mom got to spend good time with Grammie. I got the few brief moments that Natalie would allow me with her. I got to kiss her and tell her that I love her. Natalie kissed her and told her that she loved her. So sweet! Grammie may fool us all and go on living for a while but even if she doesn't we all got to give her kisses and show our love. It was worth the trip for that!

Now, here are the more upbeat and fun highlights from the trip:
  • Pizza night at Chief's house with my Aunt Jeannie, Uncle Gary, Uncle John and Uncle David
  • Playing shuffle board until 1:30 in the morning with my Aunt Jeannie, Uncle Gary and Uncle David (Uncle David and I won)
  • Taking Natalie to Verona Park (another childhood memory of mine)
  • Real NJ bagels
  • Dinner with Aunt Joannie, Uncle John, Johnnie, Anna, Gary, and Jessica
  • Watching Natalie play in the pool with Anna (my 16-year-old cousin)
  • An afternoon with my maid-of-honor, Jen, who took the bus in from NYC to visit with me
  • Visiting with my Aunt Barb and cousins: Joey, Kristin, Jessica, Keith, and Kristine
  • Feeding the ducks at Verona Park
  • A pool party at my Aunt Pat and Uncle Ken's house with lots of cousins and friends that I hadn't seen in many years. Some of them I hadn't seen in four years, some probably 10. I got to meet their children and briefly catch-up. So fun! Here is the list: Aunt Pat, Uncle Ken, Robin, Anthony, Samantha, Kenny, Laura, Caroline, Little Kenny, Kevin, "Aunt Joyce", Tammy, Morgan, Shelby, Sidney.

We arrived home safe and sound at 7:30 last night. We had a great time. Again, not enough pictures were taken! So many fun memories. My mom, Natalie, and I are a mean road-trip team!


Mussers and Greenes

I can't believe that my blogging life has made it this far without a mention of our dear friends the Mussers and Greenes. These two families are so special to us. It is not often that you bring six people and their children together and have them click so well. These families have cared for us in so many ways. Tim and Lindsay, Heath and Andrea welcomed Natalie and I into their homes countless times when Kim was working his crazy hours. We lived in Heath and Andrea's basement for a month! We have shared so many late nights together talking, playing Cranium, cuddling babies, crying, laughing till we cried and sharing life. These people are family. Chosen family but family none the less. I miss them all like crazy and can't wait till we live close to them again! I love you guys!
The picture is from their visit last September (Lindsay, Daisy, Olivia, Me, Natalie, Ashlyn, Andrea and Elli in Andrea's tummy)


Meet Snuggles

Yesterday, after nap, Natalie and I made Snuggles. We gathered up all her passies (She has them all named and would know if one was still outside the bear!) and headed to Build-a-Bear. She picked out Snuggles, lovingly stuffed her passies into her, and chose some pjs for her. As you can see, it was instant love!

When we put her to bed last night she asked for her passies and I reminded her that the passies were in Snuggles (I am surprised she didn't ask me to open the bear up!) and that she could hold Snuggles but could not have the passies. That one gentle reminder went over well (Kim mumbled under his breath "If I have to go to Target in the middle of the night to get a pacifier...")

Our first night without the pacifier was great, not the drama that I imagined that it could be.

For all of you out there who are thinking this was a bit elaborate, I agree. Just tell the kid no more pacifiers and be done with it. I agree! But where is the fun in that? My dad ate my pacifier and I am still in therapy for it! Who knows, maybe Snuggles will journey with Natalie to the ends of the Earth.....


My baby

Today i cried as I explained to Natalie that "Little Girls" don't have passies. I told her about all the fun things that little girls get to do that babies don't. She got it. She understood. She didn't cry. She didn't ask for the passie when I laid her down for nap. I am still crying. She is not a baby anymore, she is a little girl. She is growing up and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

Don't get me wrong, there are some times when I am ready for her to grow up and not be so dependent on me. Some things about her getting bigger and older and more independent sound really fun but I will miss her being a baby. There is something so innocent and pure about a baby. It is so easy to fix her hurts with a nice long hug. Her world is going to get so much more complicated and painful, but also more joyful and exciting. I know that she can't be a baby forever but some days that sounds like a much better option.

34 years...

Today is my mom and dad's 34th wedding anniversary. Amazing! What an example of love and faithfulness they are to me! My mom and dad love each other deeply and it shows. Congratulations! I love you both!

P.S. Today Dawn and Andy celebrate 7 years of wedded bliss! Congrats to you,too!


Vacation Recap

After over a week of being on the road and away from home, we are back safe and sound. Here is a brief recap...

First we drove to Emerald Isle to chill on the beach and spend time with our dear friends. We shared lots of good food, drink, conversation, and time catching up. I don't think there are 11 other people in this world that I could share a three bedroom condo with! Our children had a great time playing together and so did we. The sad news is that I didn't take any pictures. I was so busy enjoying the time and chasing a toddler on the beach that I didn't get around to it... A bonus of the trip was that Kim's brother and his family were at the beach at the same time we were. It was great to see them too. We enjoyed a round of putt-putt and Kim got some time fishing with his brother. Good times!!

We drove home on Thursday and flew to Alabama on Friday. My aunt and uncle have a house on the Gulf coast in Alabama. After some delayed flights for bad weather, 17 of us were able to gather together: my mom, dad, brother, brother's girlfriend, 3 aunts, 2 uncles, uncle's girlfriend, 4 cousins, husband, daughter, myself and two dogs. It was quite a crowd. We had a blast playing games, swimming in the pool, riding jet skies, fishing off the dock, deep sea fishing on Dreamin' On (my aunt and uncle's boat) and just being the big family that we are. Can't wait for next year and maybe even more family members can join us.

So, after surviving long road trips and plane flights with a toddler it is back to real life. I seriously need vacation from vacation.


Please pray

I know this is a strange place to ask for prayer but if you stumble upon this entry, please pray for my friends the Lenhams (John, Jeanne, Maggie, Calvin, Claire and Hank). Their youngest daughter, who is six, has epilepsy and has had several bad nights of cluster seizures in a row. Pray that the cycle of seizures would break, that everyone will be able to get rest, and that Claire will be healed. Claire was diagnosed with epilepsy nearly four years ago. She has tried many medications and diet therapy but the cure for her still has not been found. Through all of this her parents have been an amazing example of faithfulness and love to me and many of those around them. They are amazing people! They are a blessing to me!


I am so excited! We are leaving for the beach in the morning. I can't wait. I feel like a little girl waiting for Christmas. Not only are we going to the beach but we are going with some of our dearest friends! I can't wait to see them and spend time together. Being with them is good for my heart.

So, no blogging for me for a few days but I am sure there will be many fun pictures to share and stories to tell when we get home.


Relaxing Morning

After several days of dealing with crazy schedules (Kim working nights), wild adventures, and going to work, it was really nice to have a relaxing morning at home with my girl. We went on a walk this morning then came back, had breakfast, and just stayed around the house. Natalie played and played while I cleaned up and did chores around the house. Then we had a yummy early lunch, Natalie took a nice long nap and I caught up on some work. Sometimes simple days are the best.

The finger painting took place over the weekend.


Board Certified!

Kim is now a Board Certified Emergency Physician. A goal 8 years in the making. I am so proud of him!

That's all I have to say really except that Natalie is asking to take a bath with Joel. Jenny, is he available?


Father's Day

Natalie adores her father, and rightfully so. He sacrifices so much to provide for our family. He works hard, he works a lot, he is dedicated to what he does but he is even more dedicated to us. He loves playing with her. He is VERY patient with her. He teaches her. She squeals with delight when he comes home. "My Daddy, my Daddy!" When he is not here she wants to know where he is. When he is not at home she often answers her own question with "My Daddy at work!" Kim works very odd hours and is often not home until the wee hours of the morning. Because of this, the boy likes to sleep-in. I am trying to become more gracious in recognizing his need for sleep but Natalie is not there yet. I often take her downstairs in the morning, in tears because she wants her daddy. When he comes downstairs she run to greet him screaming "You did wake-up!" Some mornings she is pitiful enough that she gets him out of bed with minimal sleep because he can't resist "Daddy, come play with me?" She begs to ride in his car, the old 2000 "Nasty Neon" (as I like to call it). The car is old, the a/c don't work, it makes strange noises but she loves it because it is daddy's car.

Kim adores Natalie, and rightfully so. She is a neat kid,if I do say so myself.

I was complaining about my second-place-position in Natalie's eyes to my mom the other night and she simply said "It's no fun is it!" (FYI, my mom and have have a wonderful relationship) I instantly knew what she was meaning. My Dad and I have an amazing relationship. I love my Dad so much. He is my hero. Even when he is grumpy. My Dad's opinion of me and my decisions means a lot to me. I want my Dad to be proud of me and he is. I am proud of him too. He has worked very hard for our family. He has worked hard to succeed in life and he has.

So, to the two most important Dads in my life, Happy Father's Day! I love you and am so proud of you! You do a wonderful job of loving and supporting your wife and children. What else could a woman want?


Burke Lake Park

We spent the morning playing at Burke Lake Park. One of the advantages of Kim's crazy schedule is the sometimes we are able to spend some fun family time together in the middle of the week. It was so nice to be outside and together as a family. I love seeing Natalie and her Dad playing together!