Sunday, December 29, 2013

family pictures 2013

Last month we took a little trip with my parents to the great southern city of Charleston, South Carolina. While we were there I was planning on taking just a couple family pictures on the beach. My dad’s an avid outdoor photographer, so I am lucky that I  could pretty much tell him what we wanted and he clicked away. I really just wanted our picture taken for our Christmas card, but I ended up taking a couple of Landon also. Since I know my way around a camera, I have such a hard time paying someone to take our picture. Normally I set the tripod up, but thankfully my dad was around to help us out with these!

I figured that since we were in the beautiful city of Charleston we should take advantage of Battery Park and the surrounding area for some shots instead of the beach. I love how they turned out, especially considering that my child was wanting nothing to do with picture taking, story of my life. What you don’t see is Landon pitching a fit because he wanted to run and chase squirrels. Instead you see these blank stares- because the only way we could keep him from squirming and crying was to tell him to watch the horses as they went by on their carriage tours. The things we do for a yearly family photo, right?

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Who else can’t believe that 2013 is almost over? This year has been so full and so blessed, and I am thankful for these pictures that document our family this year.

Stay tuned for our year in review post!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
 
Hope your holiday is filled with lots of love, laughter, and time with your families.
 
 
 
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O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born!

Monday, December 23, 2013

the family tree

It’s not unusual for our nights in our home to end in our living room, watching television for a few minutes before we go to bed. I love those nights even more this year when the lights from our Christmas tree fill the room. It just makes everything comforting. I catch myself each night just staring at our tree and the ornaments we have collected since we got married.

I married into a family that loves Christmas ornaments. My sister in law introduced me to the excitement of Hallmark ornaments and there has been no turning back. But beyond Hallmark ornaments, I have collected ornaments from just about everywhere. Our tree represents our family- our trips we’ve taken, our family, our personalities, our milestones and memories. And maybe that’s why I love it so much. Our tree doesn’t have generic red and green balls and gold ribbon, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It has ornaments that each tell a story.

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If you were to see our tree this year you’d be able to tell a lot about our family, starting with the top. At the top of our tree, just beneath the star are five hospice bells, representing each of our grandparents that have passed away. I still have to get a bell for my grandfather who passed this Thanksgiving, but I have an angel in his place. Those five bells are there reminding us of our loved ones, and family that are not here to celebrate with us, but are always here in spirit and thought.

You would see crocheted snowflakes, handmade by my grandmother. These are no doubt my favorite part of our tree each year. I could decorate the tree with just these snowflakes and absolutely love it. The fact that she made them make them one hundred times more special.

You would see ornaments from NYC, the Biltmore Estate, Charleston, representing trips we’ve taken, memories made.

You would see a scrub top ornament, and a tiny workbench which both represent our careers and passions, healthcare and homebuilding.

You would see Our First Christmas and Baby’s First Christmas taking note of our major family milestones.

There are choo choo trains, old tractors, and vintage trucks for John and Landon- some from John’s childhood, and some are newer ones for Landon.

You would see lighthouses, because of our love for the coast of North Carolina.

You would see our favorite classic Christmas movies, A Christmas Story, Charlie Brown, Christmas Vacation, and the Grinch.

There are ornaments that represent our favorite childhood things, like John’s old John Deer tractor, and my Little Tikes Cozy Coupe car and a Barbie.

You would of course see ECU represented with football helmets, a pirate Santa, and ornaments from John’s college department Christmas party, one of our first “real” dates. Those ornaments represent where we met, fell in love, and started first our life together over ten years ago.

And you’d see tiny churches, angels, and doves that remind us of the true reason for Christmas, the birth of our Savior.

I sit here looking at our tree, and I am reminded of just how blessed we are.  They’re not just ornaments, they’re tiny reminders of each memory and milestone we’ve made together, and everything in between. This Christmas I am so grateful for my life and family, for my job and our home, for memories we’ve made and those yet to come. I’m grateful for each one of those little ornaments that represent something so significant and bigger than just a tree decoration. And I am beyond thankful for the birth of Jesus Christ, that Mary’s little boy came to save the world in the strangest of ways. For love, and faith, and joy.

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone.

Landon’s 2nd Birthday

Previously I posted how we wouldn’t be celebrating Landon’s birthday with a huge party this year. Just because there was no formal party, doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of celebrating! We had a jam packed day with our little boy and had such a fun time spoiling him on his big day.

Luckily, John and I were both able to take the day of for Landon’s birthday, which was a huge blessing. We planned to spend the whole day hanging out with him and planned several little things to make the day even more special. We started out by sleeping in. Landon is no morning child, so it was nice for him to wake up on his own time and be happy about it. He slept until about 9am, and then we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast while watching Chuggington.

After breakfast, we got ready and, headed to a neighboring town where the North Carolina Transportation Museum is located. Before you think I’m crazy for taking my child to a Museum for his birthday, hear me out. The NC Transportation Museum is located at an old railroad station. They have tons of reconstructed trains and you can tour the roundhouse and even walk through the various cars they have restored. It’s actually a really neat place to go, especially if you’re a little boy obsessed with trains. Sadly, Wednesday is the only day they don’t offer train rides, but Landon loved seeing all the “choo choos” and exploring all the railways. And I won’t lie, John and I really enjoyed it also.

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After seeing all the trains, we went to Chick Fil A for lunch, which is always a treat.  Then came home for a quick nap. While Landon was napping, we wrapped his presents so they would be ready to go when he woke up.

Once he woke up we took him to the local bakery to pick out a special treat and a few cupcakes for dessert after dinner. Dinner was at our favorite pizza place in town. Landon loves pizza (pizzas! as he says). With our bellies full and our two year old all sugared up on birthday cupcakes, we headed home for presents. We kept it small with just a few toys, but Landon loved them all and spent the rest of the night playing. Some of his gifts included a tonka grader, wooden train, a few books, a new plate and cup with a tractor on each, and a pizza kit to go with his play kitchen. He was making pizza all night!

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While the day doesn’t sound too exciting, we spent the day with him. To me that is the best thing in the world. We spent time playing, and exploring, and spending time together and to me, it was the perfect way to celebrate our two year old.

Happy 2nd Birthday Landon!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Landon / Two Years Old

Did I really just type that? I can’t believe I am already typing your two year post. I know I say that with each post, but this two year mark is pretty big. Two years to me represents you truly becoming a little boy. I feel like we just brought you home and I can still remember your teeny, wrinkled newborn toes and yet today we’re celebrating your 2nd birthday. Its crazy how time flies.

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At two years old you are wearing size 12-18 month pants and size 18-24 month shirts, and size 4 diapers. You are a shrimp, and we are fully aware of that. But what you lack in size you sure do make up for in personality. You are wide opened, silly, loving, and independent.

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You love tractors (traa-chers), trains (choo choos!), trucks, and airplanes (panes). You are total boy all the way- if it has wheels or an engine, you are in love. But you also love cooking and can frequently be found playing with your play kitchen, or even helping us in the kitchen with supper. You love sitting on the counter and helping us bake or stir things. You love coloring, play doh, and books. And you LOVE being outdoors, even when its freezing. There are frequent tears in the morning when I drop you off and you just don’t understand why you can’t go outside right then. With the colder weather we have watched a little more television lately, and your favorite is definitely Chuggington.

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Favorite foods? Mac n cheese, blueberries, grapes, sweet potatoes, cheese toast, spaghetti, lasagna, pizza (pizzas!), yogurt, peanut butter, chicken noodle soup, cereal, applesauce, peanuts, popcorn, bananas, oranges, plums, and tomatoes with ranch dressing. For the most part you are still a good eater, but definitely have your days where you won’t eat anything I offer. I try not to make separate meals for you and let you eat what we eat- and for the most part it works. And if not, there’s always a banana and peanut butter sandwich.

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You are stubborn and independent as all get out and make it known that you are perfectly capable of doing things on your own. And more often than not, you really surprise me with what you can do. But those moments also lead to meltdowns and tantrums. Two year old and tantrum are pretty synonymous, or so I’ve heard.

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At the same time, you are the most loving, sweet child ever and there are no shortage of kisses and hugs around the neck. You absolutely turn me to a pile of mush when you plant a big ol kiss on me or squeeze my neck when I put you to bed. Which is another thing- you go to bed without issue 99% of the time. You sleep well, although you have always been a good sleeper. Lately you have taken some strange items to bed with you- like your tractors, trains, and an orange. Whatever helps ya sleep, bud. Although you’re a good sleeper, you are not a morning person and are pretty grouchy when its time to get up and get ready to go.

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Your speech has really come a long way. For a while there I was writing down words to keep track of how many you said, and I stopped a month or so ago. I just couldn’t keep up. You are constantly saying new words and expressions, and you keep us laughing with the things that you’ll say from time to time. You also have learned almost all of the alphabet with the exception of the hard letters like Q and W (which you call an M). And you really have taken more of an interest in reading, which makes me excited.

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Next month you start preschool two mornings a week, and while it makes me so sad that you’re growing up so quickly, it makes my  heart swell with pride watching you go. I know that you will do great and learn tons and make friends quickly. You love playing with other children already, so I know the interaction will be good for you.

We love you sweet boy, and we are so proud of you each day. You make us enjoy life and soak up the little things in a way that we didn’t before. Happy 2nd Birthday Landon, we are so thankful God chose us to be your parents!

We Love you!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

the year of the non-party birthday

So Landon turns two on Wednesday. I still can’t wrap my brain around that one. I mean, how in the world has time gone that quickly? I can still remember those sweet, wrinkly little newborn toes like it was yesterday. And now? I continually find myself saying “geez you’re getting heavy” every time I pick him up.

Last year we threw the big first birthday party. We invited our family and friends, ate lunch and celebrated Landon.  It was great, but when we got home that night I realized I didn’t have a single picture of the three of us from his birthday. Not one. Talk about mommy fail.

Here’s the thing, I think that birthday parties are great. I think every little kid needs to know they are special and loved and have a day to celebrate just them. But I also think that living in a world of Pinterest crazed mommies has made birthday parties go a little out of control. Everyone is so focused on having that perfectly planned, color coordinated, pinterest-y party to the point that I think we lose sight of what, or who, is really important here. 

Are we planning so much that we’re losing sight of the fact that our kids are kids? They couldn’t care less about centerpieces or decorations. They will not know the difference if they drink out of a mason jar or a solo cup from the dollar store. Landon could care less if his party is themed or not and if everything looks like those that we see on the internet. At the end of the day, Landon cares about playing with his new toys, eating a cupcake, and having fun. And at the end of the day, I want to be there right next to him enjoying it all also, not stressing over my chalkboard signs and bunting banners. Last year I kicked myself for getting so wrapped up in the planning and organizing and entertaining of our guests, that I really felt like it was a blur, and that I missed truly celebrating with Landon.

With two working parents, its not often that he gets an entire day of our undivided attention. And so this year, that is what we are doing. I’ve declared his two year old birthday the year of the non-party birthday. Will we celebrate? Of course we will! But I am not pinning a single pin on Pinterest, or ordering any special decorations, or worrying about a theme. I think that this year, a day well spent together way more important than a party he won’t remember.

Currently we don’t have any set plans, but I do know we will squeeze in a trip to the bakery to share some sugary goodness, and if the weather is nice we may go to the park. And on the weekend we will see the grandparents so they can spoil the birthday boy also.

So here’s to Landon turning two!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Dear Landon

Let me start this letter by saying that I love you more than anything in this world. You are a GREAT little boy, and have filled my heart in a way that I really didn’t know was possible.

Now that we have that out of the way…

You are about to drive me crazy. I am sure I will have gray hair by my birthday in a few weeks, I will have stress induced wrinkles and bags under my eyes before we ring in the New Year. And yes, it will all be because of you, my sweet little pint sized toddler.

Raising a toddler is kind of like voluntarily choosing to bang your head up against a wall. Maybe that’s a little dramatic. But it surely isn’t a walk in a park. It takes more patience than I know I have, and each day is a constant battle of trying to train my brain and my heart to deal with your two year old brain and heart. You are SO independent, which leads to an endless amount of meltdowns and tantrums when you don’t get to do what you want or don’t get your way.

Something I have figured out that will cause an instant meltdown? Helping you peel your banana. Yep. You read that correctly. You are big enough to do it yourself, apparently.

Other tantrum-inducing parts of our day? Dropping you off at the sitters house and then again picking you up from the sitter’s house. Helping you put your milk in the refrigerator  (even though you can’t reach the shelf). Cutting up your food for you. Not giving you an entire slice of pizza and not letting you stir boiling noodles when we cook spaghetti. Crazy, I know. Putting you in your car seat is a cardinal sin, and don’t even think about changing your clothes or diaper. All of these seemingly innocent things will no doubt result in a tantrum.

Most of these meltdowns occur in the morning when you wake up, trust me son, I know what it means to not be a “morning person.” But we’re just going to have to get over that. It just isn’t acceptable in this world to run around in pajamas all day. I know, I’m just as disappointed as you are.

I say all of this to say, that I promise we will get through this. There will be, and have been already, days where we are both in tears. These growing pains? They affect all of us. They’re not just hard you, but are hard for me and your daddy too.

Here’s the thing:

I am impatient, just like you. I am independent and stubborn, just like you.  I am not a morning person, just like you.

I get it, Landon, I get it more than you know.

And I love you, I love you more than you know.

Love,

Mommy

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Tree 2013

We usually try to make it up to the mountains the weekend after Thanksgiving to get our Christmas tree. We’re lucky that North Carolina has an abundance of Christmas tree farms, and it is absolutely beautiful driving up the mountains seeing them all. For five years now we have gone to the same little tree farm in the mountains of North Carolina. Owned by a sweet elderly couple, we love going each year to Sam and Edna Miller’s to find our perfect tree. I get excited every year about our little day trip, and each year seems to get even more special as Landon is making childhood memories and forming what he will know as our Christmas traditions.

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This year we arrived to the same location we have the past two years and hoped to find a tree between 7-8ft tall. We don’t mess around when it comes to our trees. First off, I can’t imagine ever having an artificial tree as our main tree, for Landon’s room it is fine, but for our living room- it has to be real. I need to smell that smell and an artificial tree and candle just don’t cut it! Landon still doesn’t fully understand the whole thing, but it is so important for him to be a part of it all. He loved watching them chop it down, and haul it up to the machine that wraps it for us to put in the truck.

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I’ve been pretty surprised at how he has handled the tree in our house. At first, he wanted to pull off the ornaments that were “toys” like trucks, tractors, trains, etc. But eventually he got the hang of putting them on the tree and has pretty much left them there. He loves the Hallmark ornaments that make noise or play music, and his other favorite is the train. His contribution to the tree was the styrofoam ball that we use to make our Christmas ball with the trimmings. He is quite the helper. :) IMG_4069

Going to get our Christmas tree is just the beginning of the Christmas season for us, it really signals the start of it all, and every year I find myself more and more excited about this time of year. What is it about having kids, that brings out the kid in us all over again?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

thankful

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Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend, I can’t believe it is already over and here I am, watching my husband put the lights on our Christmas tree. Every year I seem to fall in love with this time of year even more. This year was an especially difficult and special time for my family as we said goodbye to my grandfather on Wednesday. But even in the midst of sadness, there was so much to be thankful for. I figured I’d take a little time here on the blog to think about the many blessings we’ve been given this year.

I am thankful for Dandy, and my grandmother Nana. Dandy would have been 91 on December 12th, and they would have celebrated 70 years of marriage on February 26th. If that’s not amazing I don’t know what is. Nana is quite possibly the strongest lady I know.

I am thankful for incredibly good food, and that we are lucky to have a stocked refrigerator in a world where far too many are bare. We take for granted our little luxuries like a warm meal, but in reality we are so lucky to have that every day.

I am thankful for the grace that only comes from our Heavenly Father. Lord knows I couldn’t make it through each day without such grace.

I am thankful for my sweet family, my husband and son. They have filled my heart in a way I didn’t know was possible. Being their wife and mommy is the absolute best job I could ever have.

I am thankful for a job I truly, truly love. For coworkers who are family and love each other. For patients who teach me about strength, and how a positive attitude literally can change your life.

I am thankful for the smells of the holidays, cookies, pumpkin spice-ness, and Christmas trees. Those simple smells are so comforting.

I am thankful for photography, and the gift that I have to capture every single second of Landon’s childhood. Those memories are so incredibly precious to me.

I am thankful for the health of my family, that we are so lucky to not have the burden of sickness and medical bills. That my child is thriving and happy and healthy is the greatest gift I could ask for.

I am thankful for my marriage. That even though we bicker and have our faults, we are in this together and I am reminded of that each day. I am so lucky to have John as my best friend and husband.

I am thankful for coffee…I know its a simple thing to put on the list, but it sure does make life better.

I am thankful that Landon has four grandparents who think he hung the moon. That little boy has no idea how lucky he is to have that.

I am thankful for my sister- that even though our lives are busy and crazy and we don’t get to see or talk to each other as often as we would like, she’s there- always.

I am thankful for the simple joys that life offers me each an every day, all the laughter, and tears, and kisses, and tickles that our little home has inside. I am so thankful.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dandy.

I took this picture last Thanksgiving.

 

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Every year, since before I can remember we have spent Thanksgiving (and Christmas) at my grandparents house. We all gather in that house, all sixteen of us. In a house far too small for us. In a house where we set up a table in the living room because there’s no where else to sit. In a house where at 27, I still sit am still a member of the kids table, because really, do you ever graduate to the adult table? We have grown from just the four of us grandkids to now there are three great-grand kids.

This time last year we knew Dandy was in poor health. Really, he’s been in poor health for some time now. He was diagnosed with macula degeneration, prostate cancer, and eventually heart failure. He survived quadruple bypass surgery, a pacemaker, and countless eye surgeries. But this past spring it finally worsened. He began hallucinating, staying up all night, and was constantly confused. That’s when they found his brain tumor. He quickly declined to the point where Nana had to place him in a nursing home because she couldn’t care for him by herself.

Nana and Dandy have been married just a few months shy of seventy years, SEVENTY. They’ve survived WWII, the Depression, the Vietnam war, and countless other moments in history. They mourned the loss of twins, and later raised two healthy daughters, my mom and my Aunt Pam. They built their home, which was a huge accomplishment in their time,  that home that we still gather in. They worked hard, Dandy was a barber, and Nana worked for Avon. They traveled the world together. They have been the center of that side of my family for as long as I can remember. Teaching us about gardening, and letting us cause chaos in their home. We built pine cone forts in their front yard, and roller skated in their basement. We would swing on that swing that still sits in their front yard.

This week I got a call from my mom telling me that Dandy had really declined. I drove up on Saturday and met my mom and Nana at the nursing home. I spent a couple hours talking, but I’m not sure Dandy never even knew we were there. Dandy passed away peacefully this morning at about 4:15. Last Thanksgiving I took this picture, and this Thanksgiving we will be celebrating his life. I think that even in the sadness of the situation, there is so much to be thankful for in these two.

Saturday I sat watching my grandmother faithfully by his side. She went to sit by his bedside every single day since he was moved into the nursing home. She arrived there before breakfast and left after she feeds him dinner. Even if he slept all day, she sat there with him. I’m amazed by that. Lord knows their marriage has had its hard times, and that at times he wasn’t the easiest man to deal with. They saw their share of trials and also shared plenty of joys. But here they are, together. It is the best picture of a marriage that I can think of. Those vows they recited the day they got married almost seventy years ago, they have kept.

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

They have seen the better and the worse, the richer and the poorer, the sickness and the health, and here they are. I am so thankful for that example in my life, and I never realized it until now.

 

 

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the Earth

Worship the Lord with gladness

come before Him with joyful songs

know that the Lord is God

It is He who made us and we are His

we are His people, the sheep of his pasture

Enter His gates with thanksgiving

and His courts with praise

give thanks to Him and praise His name

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100.

life in the lowcountry.

This past weekend we had the chance to tag along with my parents to Charleston, SC. If you have never visited this city, its a must see. It is the epitome of southern charm with quaint streets, beautiful old buildings, and waterfront views. Not to mention it has some of the most amazing food in this world. We left Saturday morning and made the trek to Isle of Palms, SC. Saturday night we ate dinner at the amazing Sullivan’s, on Sullivan’s Island, where I had the most amazing shrimp ‘n grits. Eating shrimp ‘n grits when you’re in Charleston is kind of like seeing the Empire State building when you visit New York City. When in Rome…right?

Sunday we spent wandering the gorgeous streets of Charleston, browsing the market vendors, and playing in waterfront park. I could wander the streets of this city for days on end and never get tired of how beautiful it is. This city has more character than any place I know, and I never get tired of visiting there. That afternoon we took Landon out on the beach to run around like a wild man. He is so happy with a tractor and some sand, and some waves to chase. He loves the outdoors, and loves the beach, just like his mama and daddy.

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Monday morning we woke up and went to waterfront park to take a few pictures in hopes of having one for a Christmas card. Let me just say, photoshoots with a toddler are beyond stressful. Behind that smiling family picture is a little boy having a meltdown and two parents about to blow a gasket trying to get said toddler to look at the camera for ONE picture. But hey, we got our Christmas card, right? Afterwards we enjoyed a big ol’ family nap, and a little relaxation from the balcony of our house. It was pure heaven, warm enough to sit outside, but cool enough to bundle up in a cozy sweater and blanket. A little salt air does wonders for a tired spirit.

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That night we convinced my parents to babysit while John and I had a rare date night out. We put on nice outfits, and drove into the city to pick our restaurant. All the restaurants display their menus outside, so after browsing about five different ones, we finally settled on Magnolia’s. John and I are not fancy people, let me just start with that. We live in a one light town, literally, and rarely eat out unless its casual, kid friendly dining. We just aren’t those people who wine and dine and have fancy meals, so dinner at Magnolia’s was an unusually special meal.

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When we arrived there was a short wait so we grabbed drinks at the bar (another rare occasion). Mine was called Southern Peach Punch, and was amazing. I’m not even sure what was in it, but it was peachy and yummy. Once seated we picked our appetizer, salad, and main course. The last time I ate a multi-course meal was on a cruise for our first anniversary. We ate the most delicious fried green tomatoes, which don’t sound fancy at all but were to die for, and salads with goat cheese and green apples. And for our main course we had parmesan crusted flounder. This meal was one of the best I’ve had, from start to finish. Let me just say, you know you’re in a fancy place when they use one of those little table scraper things to clean up the mess you’ve made in between each course. And I can’t remember the last uninterrupted meal John and I had together that didn’t involve wiping hands and corralling a toddler who is eating his mac n cheese. It was heavenly. While we definitely aren’t “that couple” it was fun to pretend for a night. Even better than a date night out? Coming home to snuggle your baby.

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Tuesday we drove back into town to take Landon to see the big cruise ship that had come into port the night before. It was cold and windy though, so we really couldn’t enjoy being outside like we had hoped. That afternoon, we packed our bags and headed home. I’m so thankful for a baby who travels so well. Landon barely made a peep on the four hour ride there and back, and was pretty content to watch Cars on the DVD player and snack. We’ve been so lucky with that.

It was a great four days, a quick four days, and as much fun as it was to go and explore I am so thankful for the comforts of my own home. My own bed and pillow, my own kitchen, my own mess and chaos. Traveling is sweet, but coming home is sweeter. Am I right?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Random updates and whereabouts.

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you have all had a good week. Here in the great state of North Carolina we saw our first snow flurries of the season. When you live in the south, you get excited about flurries, heck, you get excited about the possibility of flurries. They, being those smart farmer’s almanac folks, say that this winter will be extremely cold and wet- which kind of makes me excited. Its been a couple years since we’ve had a good snow. The last legitimate snow I remember was five years ago to be exact. So, lets hope those farmers are right!

Last weekend I took Landon out to take some fall pictures. Here’s one of my favorites you may have seen on Instagram or Facebook. He LOVES being outside, and was so happy romping through the woods. And of course, I’m happy anytime I can snag a few good shots of my busy guy. I was loving the light coming through the trees. This kid? He’s amazing me each and everyday. I won’t share too much since I have a two year birthday post coming up, but lets just say he continually amazes me each day with how smart and silly he is.

 

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We’re off to Charleston, SC this weekend for a long weekend getaway. My parents won a free week- so we’re definitely taking advantage of some time at the beach. I don’t care what time of year it is, I love any excuse to get to the coast. I especially love Charleston- walking the streets, eating the good food, and soaking in the south. I can’t wait.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Happy Halloween! I can’t believe today is already November 1st, where in the world did October go?

I have to be honest, growing up I wasn’t all that into Halloween. I always felt completely awkward all dressed up, and have never been someone who enjoys spooky, scary, haunted things. So its no surprise that I didn’t enjoy Halloween. However, when you have a kid, holidays take on a whole new meaning and excitement, and Halloween is no different. Suddenly I get super excited about seeing Landon in his costume, taking him trick or treating, and handing out candy to the kids in our neighborhood. We live out in the country in one of the few neighborhoods that exists on these country roads, so our neighborhood is flooded with kids and families coming to trick or treat.

 

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Last year, Landon was only 10 months old when Halloween rolled around, so we dressed him up and took a few pictures, but that was the extent of his Halloween excitement. He was also fighting a little cold, so he was completely worn out and not feeling well and just wasn’t into being in his monkey costume. This year was not a whole lot different.  Wednesday night around midnight Landon woke up and immediately we knew he was sick. He had that awful, pitiful sound in his cry. And ran a fever most of the night and a little bit that morning. So much for his Halloween fun. Luckily sometime that afternoon, he perked up a little bit. Enough to where I felt like we could dress him up and go “trick or treat” for a few minutes.

 

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This year Landon was a doughnut boy. Several months ago, John brought home Krispy Kreme doughnuts on “National Doughnut Day” and brought Landon one of their cute paper hats to wear. Landon wore that hat nonstop for several months. I’m not even sure how I came up with the idea for Halloween, but I decided that we’d make him an apron with the Krispy Kreme logo, wear a white collared shirt and some khaki pants, and of course, his hat. Voila, a Krispy Kreme boy! I have to say it was the absolute cutest thing ever. My mother in law made a red bowtie to go along with his outfit which made the look complete.

 

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Happy Halloween Everyone! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Patch 2013

I try to make it a point to keep weekends low key and a time for true rest. I’m typically exhausted by the end of the week, and I want nothing more than to spend our weekends at home playing and being together. But lets be honest, with all the fall activities there are to be experienced, sometimes the weekends just seem to get busier and busier. Between football games, the state fair, pumpkin patches, apple picking, trips to the park, and various other activities, there doesn’t seem to be much “rest” before its Monday and we start all over again. But I’m loving every minute of it. These weekends are full of precious memories, and this one was no different. This weekend was full, full of fun. Saturday we went to the NC State Fair, which I’ll post about later. But first, I want to post about our trip to Patterson Farm.

 

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I couldn’t wait to take Landon to a pumpkin patch this year to see his excitement for the pumpkins. I also look forward to creating these little traditions with Landon and John and looking forward to them each year. I knew Landon would love the farm, he loves any place that allows him to roam free without having to “stay close.”  Little did I know, he would be completely uninterested in pumpkins. This farm had it all- hayrides, a petting zoo, face painting, corn boxes, corn mazes, tomato guns, multiple playgrounds, the pumpkin patch, an ice cream shop, and SO much more. I look forward to taking Landon back next year and even down the road, and I know he’ll love it more and more. As soon as we pulled up he zeroed in on the tractors that pulled the wagons and got so excited about riding on them. We wandered the farm and then hopped on a wagon and rode down to the pumpkin patch. Landon was much more interested in walking over to see the donkeys and cows nearby, so it was a struggle to get him to actually pick out a pumpkin.

 

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For whatever reason, he thought he needed to pick up the BIGGEST pumpkin he could find. What is it with boys? John has that same mentality when it comes to Christmas trees, the bigger the better. What started out as a trip to the pumpkin patch to get Landon a small pumpkin, ended in one ginormous pumpkin, and one Landon sized one.

 

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I’ve realized how much Landon is like me lately, in that he truly studies everything that is around him. He is rarely smiling in these pictures because he is taking it all in. And I think its safe to say I have always been that way also. I study things, and take it all in. And Landon does the same. He was especially interested in all the animals and watching them in their stalls.

 

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At first I found myself frustrated that he didn’t want to sit with the pumpkins and smile for a picture. You know, there is always that pressure us moms have to have the “perfect shot” of our babies doing something. I really try not to stress over it, and realize that this is exactly how I want to remember this years pumpkin patch trip. I want to remember how he was way more interested in the cows across the pasture from us than the pumpkins. I want to remember how he moo-ed at the cows, which was about the funniest thing in the world. I want to remember how he couldn’t wait to ride the wagon ride behind the tractor (“caa-ter"),  and when it came back to pick us up from the pumpkin patch he was itching to get back on. I want to remember how he loved the animals, and studied their every move. I want to remember how he pretty much stole my ice cream cone, and loved every minute of it. I want to remember how he ran, and played, and explored. Who cares if he was uninterested in the pumpkin patch- the whole experience was perfect. He is a wild and free almost two year old little boy, and everything about our trip to the farm thrilled him to death. Maybe next year he’ll smile for a picture?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mini Apple Turnovers

 

I have been cooking up a storm lately, I have to admit. John has had lots of long days at work that lead to him getting home around 7 or so, which means I have had to do most of the cooking so dinner is ready before midnight. :) I haven’t minded it really, I’ve tried tons of new recipes, used my crock pot during this cooler weather, and even found a few new favorites to add to our rotation of recipes. Every time I try a new recipe that I love, I always have these grand intentions of posting it on the blog to share, but you know…it just never happens. Taking pictures of my meals just isn’t high on the totem pole of priorities at night when there are lunches to be packed, laundry to fold, and a baby that needs to be bathed more than once a month (joking).

Last weekend we had a football game and with a 12pm kickoff we typically fix breakfast foods. However, we drive 3 hours to the games, so recipes that require warmth are a no go. My sister is usually good to fix the hot dishes, but she travels a lot with her job and we needed something easy. So Bojangles biscuits, sausage dip, and these mini apple turnovers were all on the menu. I’m sure these would be incredible warm with some vanilla ice cream, but they were just as tasty the next morning at room temperature, and incredibly easy to make.

Original Recipe is from Taste of Home, with a little modification.

1/4 c. white sugar

1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 pkg refrigerated crescent roll dough (regular size not jumbo)
3 tbsp. melted butter
2 medium  apples, each cut into 8 wedges  (I used Gala and Granny Smith.


In a small bowl, combine the two types of sugar and cinnamon. On a lightly floured surface, unroll crescent rolls and separate individually. Brush each with melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Wrap 1 apple wedge in each crescent roll, placing sugared side of pastry against apple. I used two small wedges, one of each type of apple.
Place on baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Bake as directed according to crescent roll package.

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These were so easy, and SO good. I’ll definitely be making them again next time I need a quick breakfast or dessert dish! (Or if I’m just craving something sweet, which might be tomorrow).

Sunday, October 20, 2013

the toddler bed.

Like every other milestone that Landon has hit, he does it on his own timeline. Sometimes, things take longer than I would hope, like the fact that I had to wait until he was 20 months old to here “Mama”. Others happen way sooner than I expect. For instance, Landon weaned himself from his pacifier two months sooner than I was planning. My goal was to part ways with the pacifier anywhere from 18 months to 2 years old. However, Landon decided that at 15 months he didn’t need it anymore. He went to bed one afternoon without it, and there was no turning back. He was a big boy.
Changing his bed to a toddler bed really has not even been on my radar. He has been sleeping well in his crib, hasn’t tried to climb out, and by no means has outgrown the bed, so I really hadn’t even thought about converting the crib yet. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I assumed it would happen after he turned two in December, but really didn’t have a time frame nailed down. Landon, of course, had other ideas.

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This weekend we woke up to him crying in his crib. This didn’t strike me as odd at first. We wake up to him fussing many mornings. He’s not a morning kid, and makes that known. There is no happy “Mama?!" coming from his room in the morning. Only his pitiful little cries letting us know that we need to get our tails out of bed and go get him. Last Saturday morning was different though. The typical half-hearted, sleepy pouts quickly turned to full blown cries. I jumped out of bed and rushed into his room to see what was wrong. Initially my thought was that his leg was stuck in between the crib railing, making him panic, or he had thrown his beloved bunny overboard and realized he couldn’t get it back. But no, there he was stuck straddling the railing, hanging on for dear life. Apparently he had decided that he could climb out, but got stuck half way over, which led to his terrified little cries. I’ll be honest, part of me wanted to die laughing at the sight of him hanging there like a monkey on tree branch. The other part was scared to death that he could have fallen and hurt himself. I guess that’s the life of a boy mom- part of the time we shake our heads and secretly giggle at the crazy things these boys do, and at the same time thank God they weren’t hurt.
 
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None the less, that was enough for us to decide that it was time to convert Landon’s crib to a toddler bed. Yet again, another milestone way sooner than my heart was ready for. It’s not that I was planning on keeping Landon in a crib until he turned eighteen, but it really hadn’t crossed my mind that this was coming down the pike anytime in the next 4-6 months. Surely we’d wait until he was two years old. Our little man marches to his own drum though, and as usual, things happen on his own, when he is ready. So John went to Babies R US, bought the little white mesh guard rail, and set to converting our baby crib to a big boy bed.

I walked Landon into his room, and excitedly said “Landon! LOOK at your big boy bed!” When part of me wanted to break down and cry. He was so, so, proud, and so was I. He was growing up. Just like how proud I was when he rolled over for the first time, or took his first steps, or said “Mama” and melted my heart into a big ‘ol pile of mush.

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Shortly after, we tucked him in, and he has been sleeping soundly ever since. He surprises me, every single day, at the things he is capable of. He makes this parenting gig ten times easier sometimes. Sometimes, I said.

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