Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Day with the Big Boys

I just put Jack to bed and he ought to sleep well. Today he played like one of the big boys, which only makes sense because he spent most of his day with Tate and Brit Shaw (little ones belonging to our pals the Shaws). Merideth started her new job today with a five-day trip to Atlanta. So, we were happy to entertain the boys until Derek finished up work. I picked the boys up at their school, and we all headed to the park.

I have to admit my motive was to wear down the threesome. The combination of soaring temperatures and lack of shade led to a short stay at the park, but the boys all had fun anyway. For the last 15 minutes, I had all three boys in swings hopping from boy to boy pushing. Despite the heat, we enjoyed our outing. I think everyone was happy to get in the car and cool off.

Once we got home the boys showed me and Jack all the toys they brought along. Tate really enjoyed Jack's tractor, which was a gift from Charlie & Wyatt Spruill (who else right?). After I put Jack down for a nap, the boys and I watched a Larry Boy movie. After Jack woke up we all played some more; Jack was wiggling and rolling all over trying to play like the big boys. Tate and I read what seemed like a million books. Soon it was Jack's dinner time. So, I set the boys up with crayons and paper at the table, while I fed Jack. Tate wanted help drawing the characters from the movie we had seen. So, we drew Larry Boy, the Rumor Weed and then both boys got a tractor to color. Tate even decided to leave his tractor for Mr. Josh.

Once Josh got home we all went to McDonald's for dinner. On the way, I was asking the boys what they wanted to eat. The choices were hamburger, cheeseburger or chicken nuggets. Brit quickly answered chicken nuggets. Tate's answer was the funniest, "which one comes with a toy?" He was pleased to hear they all did! He settled on a hamburger. They both ate well...including yummy yogurt parfaits. When we headed home Derek was there waiting on the boys. He looked exhausted. I hope the boys took a quick bath and went straight to bed for him!

I was really delighted to have the opportunity to hang out with the boys today. When I have my hands full with other people's kids I don't even attempt to do other things like dishes, laundry, etc. So, it was a lot of fun to play motorcycles and monsters, color Larry-Boys and tractors...kind of like being a kid again! Thanks, Merideth. I hope your trip is going well. I can't wait to hear all about it!

High Rollas

Tuesday evening was our first (of hopefully many) BUNCO parties. I have loved BUNCO since I first began playing a couple of years ago in Greenwood. It's basically a silly game of luck/chance that mixes well with making new friends and having a girls night out! I mentioned wanting to get a group going and was excited to meet interest from two great gals, Andrea and Merideth. So, we invited friends from church, MOPS and every where else hoping to find more interest! Thankfully, last night we had 12 folks, which was perfect. We had just enough to fill the three tables I had set up and a small enough number to help everyone figure out how to play.

The group started out pretty quiet, but once the BUNCOs started getting rolled the party got louder. April had the most wins; Noelle and I tied for the most losses; Stacey was the BUNCO queen with five BUNCOs. Here's a photo of one of her many lucky rolls!

Here's Tori carefully adding up her score before the winners are announced. I only got to roll with her once, but I heard she was pretty competitive. Glad you had fun, Tori! I think everyone had a great time and is looking forward to our next party...I know I am!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Uncle John...pass the Spumoni

So, Sunday was my big brother's birthday. Happy Birthday, John! Even though Josh had to work, Jack and I had the opportunity to drive down to Provino's and have dinner with John and his wife Lisa. Her parents and my parents and grandfather also joined the party. Jack was very interested in John's Spumoni or maybe it was the candle.

He was also very entertained by dad's camera or at least the screen on the back of the camera. Here's dad trying to show him me on the screen. I still get a kick out of all the kids that ask to see their photo after you take their picture. The only time we were able to do that when we were kids is when someone took a polaroid and even then we had to wait an agonizing 90 seconds or so! Anyway, I'm sure glad to have a digital. I consider myself somewhat frugal and love that I don't have to waste rolls of film and developing costs to get that perfect shot! On the other hand, some people may get sick of seeing all these pictures of our little guy.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Just the Good Ole Boys

On Friday, Jack and I went to Pitts Park for one of the last MOPS Friday in the Park play dates of the summer. Usually he just sits around or hops from person to person, but we did some actual playing today. Joni, a friend of ours, helped him ride the carousel with some of the other kids, and then I put him in one of the swings. He really loved it. I was able to get a few cute pictures of him enjoying the ride.

I look forward to taking him back to the park with Josh, so he can see how he loves the swing. Although you can probably get a pretty good idea just by looking at the pictures I got. After the park, Merideth and her boys entertained Jack while I had a lunch meeting with the PR committee of the local Habitat for Humanity.

On Saturday, Josh wanted to take Jack to see one of his favorite childhood memories, the General Lee. Josh has a picture from his childhood with the famous orange Charger and thought it would be neat for Jack to have one, too. A local car dealership had one on display and we took Jack to see it. I'm sure it will make for a funny story one day.

Our day concluded with dinner with the Shaws. They are in the middle of a lot of changes, one of which is their address, so we thought they could use a break from packing and also gave them a few more boxes. Jack as usual loved being entertained by Tate and Brit. We are looking forward to having them over to play on Wednesday!

By the way, Jack is officially 8 months old as of today. Crazy, huh? He is as fun as ever. He is talking, babbling a lot these days. Mostly da da and na na, which he doesn't associate specifically with anyone or anything yet. He's also a very busy body, wiggling everywhere. He's on the verge of busting loose and crawling everywhere (guess we better get our act together and finish babyproofing!) There are more pictures of our weekend adventures in our usual place.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Josh is Home

Okay, it took me three days to get this up, but we've been busy since his return. Josh is officially back from Honduras. His plane got in Sunday evening. After going through customs and all the usual long lines, we finally spotted him in the Arrivals Lobby at the Atlanta airport around 7:45. It turned out to be good that it took him so long, because Jack and I were stuck in traffic. Anyone who has been in Atlanta in the last month knows they are repaving the connector through downtown on the weekends. We've dealt with the madness two weekends in a row now. Here's one of the shots of Jack playing with daddy after his return!

Jack and I were both excited to see Josh, and Jack didn't have any trouble recognizing his daddy despite his 8-day old scruff, which he has since trimmed up and is trying out. He has had a beard before and he loves them, so we'll see what happens. I think he looks great with a beard, but have a hard time classifying him as a beard person.

Jack and I stopped and had lunch with my brother and sister-in-law before heading to the airport to pick up Josh. It was fun to catch up with them. We even made a trip to Target, which I always enjoy. Jack got pretty ill in the car about the time we hit traffic, and wailed pretty much the remaining 30-45 minutes of the trip. I think he was tired of being in the car and ready to see his daddy, because he was fine while we waited the 45 minutes or so for Josh. He even made friends with the people all around us in the lobby. He seems to make friends easily...I think it's the hair.

I heard a lot about Josh's trip on the way home, and will hopefully talk him into sharing some of his adventures here. I think they had a great trip and saw more than1500 patients during their 5 days of clinic in the villages surrounding La Esperanza, Honduras. He's already talking about doing the trip again next year.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Update on Josh

I got another email from Josh on Friday. He said he had just had his first hot shower in while. They were scheduled to spend today in town and possibly make a trip to some Mayan ruins. We look forward to picking him up Sunday evening. He was one of the team's drivers, which he says was an experience. I hope to get him to share some of his experiences here on the blog.

Last Day in South Carolina

Friday was our last day in Greenwood and we managed to squeeze a lot in. We began at the Todds where Jack and Noah got reacquainted. It had been a couple of months since they had seen each other last, and a lot changes in that time. They are both sitting up very well these days, and Noah is a mobile guy. Jack was pretty entertained watching him crawl around. Tripp & Gretchen stopped by too. It was so neat to see all the boys together. They were all born within about 6 weeks of one another.

Next, we stopped by Nancy's, my former boss, to visit. She retired just before we moved, so I don't get the opportunity to catch her when I visit the college. She seemed to be enjoying retirement and has become quite an active walker and was telling me all about a recent stay in a cabin without tv & a/c. Although not typically her idea of fun, she said she's ready to go back. It was so nice to see her and to hear how well she's doing. I think she enjoyed seeing Jack too.

Our last stop before returning to Kristie's was to see the McGees. Ashley & Sarah finished residency last year at the same time as Josh and I. They served in Kenya as missionaries for several months before returning to Greenwood. Ashley is now working in Ware Shoals and they had their second child a couple of months ago. Their 2-year-old, Maggie, is so grown up now. She and Jack were smitten with one another. I also got to cuddle with Harper, Maggie's new little brother. It was so lovely to see them. I'm glad Sarah didn't mind us popping in. I called her about an hour before I came over. Since they moved back to the states rather recently, I didn't have her number. They seem to be doing really well.

Jack was pretty worn out after all the stopping and going, but he didn't get many naps. We headed back to Kristie's to say goodbye, but decided to stick around while Kristie's great neices and nephews had their pictures made. They all looked so cute. Since it was getting close to Jack's dinner time, we stayed for him to eat. Before we left, I put him in his jammies and he slept the whole way home. I was exhausted, much like I am now after a day of cleaning and straightening up, but I really wanted to get you all caught up on our whirlwind trip. Here's Halle entertaining "baby Jack."

Day Two in the Emerald City

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Greenwood, it really is nicknamed the Emerald City. On Thursday, we began with a yummy breakfast Kristie made. She'll laugh when reading this to see me going on about toast and bacon, but that's more than the bowl of cereal or instant breakfast I do. After breakfast, we went to PTC, the college where I worked during our three years in Greenwood. It was great to see old co-workers and see how things have changed and continue to change. They were a fun bunch to work with. Here's Jack playing with some make-shift toys in Tommy's office.

Then, we joined Elise, Gretchen & Tripp at Mig's for lunch. It was so much fun to see everyone again. Elise and Ryan (her husband) are now beginning their third year in Greenwood, which is wild to think. I can remember recruiting them like it was last month. After lunch, Jack and I went by the Montgomery Center, where Josh worked, and visited some of his old co-workers. His nurses were very excited to meet Jack. Everyone seemed to be doing very well.

Our last stop of the afternoon was to see Carey and Max. I don't think I had seen Max since he was maybe a few months old and he's more than 15 months old now. He's quite the cutie. Jack enjoyed watching him run around picking up different toys, trying on shoes and showing off his hats, although his K-State ball cap is the cutest. Carey is expecting a little sister for Max in just a couple of months. I was so glad to have the opportunity to see them, especially since I called her at the last minute. Thanks, Carey!

Beginning our Greenwood Visit

Wednesday morning I packed the truck up, and Jack and I headed to Greenwood to catch up with some old friends. My friend, Kristie (a.k.a. Cissy), was kind enough to host us for a couple of days while we bounced around town catching up with old co-workers and friends. Jack was pleased to begin the first day of our trip at Cissy's. I've heard her house referred to on a couple of occasions as Neverland. It's a dream for kids (and most adults), complete with playground, motorized toys, a huge pool and every toy and snack imaginable.

We began our afternoon with lunch with Kristie and Bill and then headed straight for the pool, which couldn't have pleased Jack more. Another friend Tracey brought her little ones over as well. Jack enjoyed splashing Bennett in the pool and watching him swim around. We also got to meet Bennett's new little sister, Anna Kate. She is a doll. It was great to catch up with Tracey and as always the pool was wonderful.

After wearing ourselves out at the pool, we headed inside. Jack had to have a snack, one of Cissy's house rules. Kristie made a great Grilled Chicken Alfredo and Jack found a new favorite toy. He was such a good boy on Wednesday sleeping almost all the way to Greenwood, a two-hour drive. He had a short nap that afternoon, but swimming was a lot of work and after a bath was glad to get in bed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just Got Word...

Last night I received a phone call from a friend whose husband is traveling in Josh's group to let me know she had heard that they arrived safely despite a delay in Atlanta due to weather. I just checked my email after putting Jack to bed and had an email from Josh! He and another guy in his group stopped in an internet cafe. It was great to hear from him. He says they are having a good time, but he misses us. We miss you too! See you Sunday!

You're So Vain

On Monday, I had the truck serviced and my teeth cleaned. Lots of fun stuff. Jack and I had lunch with Grandma Jan and one of her coworkers at my favorite spot...Chick-fil-A. Then, Jack and I spent the rest of the day hopping from place to place until we were scheduled to meet up with Stacie and Terri at Five Points Deli (the one that is not in Five Points...but still has my favorite Heath Bar Crunch cookies). We went there because it is right next to David's Bridal, where Terri would be trying on, fun, fun! Stacie fed Jack while I scarfed down a Pimento Cheese sandwich and then we headed next door.

Jack pretty much entertained himself by talking and smiling at himself in the enormous wall of mirrors, which was great at first. Then as if someone had flipped on the Carly Simon hit, "You're So Vain"...Jack began to kiss himself in the wall of mirrors. It was sort of cute, but also insanely gross. We took a few pictures, then he was pulled away from himself kicking and screaming. Don't get me wrong he's cute, but there is such a thing as being a little too self-evolved :)

Terri tried on lots of pretty gowns and even a few not so pretty gowns. I'd show them here, but wouldn't want to reveal her dress before it's time. By the end of the evening she had it narrowed down to two, both of which looked great on her. One is more simple and classic, the other a little fancier and sparklier. Jack made his choice clear...

Stacie's a Guitar Hero

On Sunday, Jack and I enjoyed spending time with family and friends. After church and the lunchtime monsoon (which I think delayed Josh's take-off we would later learn), we caught a cat nap. Just before the evening church service we stopped by Stacie's to try out her new toy, Guitar Hero. Too bad Josh wasn't with us! Jack also got to meet Gavin and Grayson, Stacie's nephews. Here he is with Grayson.

Gavin and Grayson were really good at Guitar Hero (at least they thought they were!) They kept saying they were beating their dad. Stacie had a little guitar that wasn't even plugged in, but they didn't seem to notice they figured they were battling and winning every time! Gavin made the funniest faces and movements when he was battling.

Gavin and Grayson also enjoyed showing Jack the toys they have at their Aunt Stacie's house. Like this big shark tent. There were also lots of trucks and a tractor pop-up tent. I was so surprised that we got such a good shot of the three of them at the same time. Even though Jack can't really do much, most kids enjoy playing with him and he couldn't be happier!

After church, it was back to Stacie's for more Guitar Hero. Here's Jack helping Terri rock out. I was not very good at the game. I had played once before on our nephew's, but I got booed off three times in a row this time. I was a little better after church, with less of an was just us girls and Jack. We look forward to coming back and playing again...although by that time Stacie will be a pro and playing behind her back I'm sure!

Five Years of Bliss with Soda Pop Fizz

On Saturday, Josh and I celebrated five years of marriage. Five years doesn't really seem like that long; I guess because we've been together for almost 10. Since Josh was scheduled to depart for Honduras sort of early Sunday morning, we arranged to stay near the airport Saturday night. My mom agreed to watch Jack. So, we dropped him off around lunchtime on Saturday. After checking in, we headed downtown to the new World of Coca-Cola, which is right next to the Georgia Aquarium. We had to wait for a bit to get in, but had a great time once inside.

We had discussed going to the aquarium, but really only had a couple of hours to spend before having dinner. So, we decided to save it for a day when we had more time on our hands. The WOCC is basically a glorified museum to the creation of one of the most widely recognized soft drinks. The tour begins with a cute little film and then self-guided tours of a history of coke area and a small scale bottling plant, which really makes coke for visitors to take home. Upstairs there is an area to watch Coke commercials from around the world, see pop-art and a funny display about the debacle that was New Coke. The best part, by far, was the 4-D movie. The seats in the theater move, shake, vibrate and you even get spritzed with a bit of water in certain parts.

Our final stop was the tasting room. In here, you can sample many varieties of Coca-Cola owned soft drinks from around the world. Some are tasty...others not so much. My favorite section was just the good old-fashioned favorites area that included Coca-Cola Classic, my favorite, and Josh's fav Coke Zero. Before leaving (if your shoes aren't stuck to the incredibly sticky floor), each visitor gets their own coke in a glass bottle (of course) to take home. We had a great time. After our tour we walked across Centennial Olympic Park to the Embassy Suites and had dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It is one of our favorite places. It's definitely pricey, but well worth it for a special occasion and a great steak!

The next morning, I got Josh to the airport and then headed to Athens for church and spend a couple of days with my family and friends. Only 5 more days until we go pick up Josh!

Getting Ready to say Goodbye

Although last week seemed like a typical week, it wasn't. The evenings were filled with taking care of last minute details for Josh's medical mission trip to Honduras. He needed things from here and there, so we went around gathering all his supplies. Wednesday evening we enjoyed a mid-week dinner with some friends. I thought this picture of Jack & James was pretty funny. He looks like he's about to take off.

Jack also enjoyed his usual entertainment from Tate & Brit. The boys even took turns holding Jack and having their pictures made. The Shaws were getting ready for their trip to the beach. In fact, they are there now and hopefully having a great time. Maybe we'll be reading about it soon on their blog. In the meantime, here's a cute picture of the crew.

On Friday, Jack and I went and met Josh at work for his lunch break. We all went and voted early and then had a quick lunch. Once we were home, I began writing notes on the back of some photos I had printed out. I printed out 10 different recent photos (mostly of Jack, some with Josh & some with me). On the backs I wrote funny messages and notes to Josh and hid them in the pockets of the scrubs he'll be wearing each day in Honduras. I'm guessing as of today, he's seen 4 notes (I put one photo in each shirt pocket and one in each pants pocket). I guess there is a slim possibility that he's so eager to see my hilarious messages that he has skipped ahead in his suitcase and peeking at the next day's early. Anyway, I hope they make him happy and not sad. I'm already looking forward to picking him up on Sunday evening.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Shop till you Drop

On Saturday, Stacie came to spend the day with us. She's such a trooper; she agreed to accompany us on an all day excursion to Buford. I needed a few things from Target, and we had several other places we wanted to stop by. The fun began in Target when we spotted this really cute club chair for a kid. I couldn't resist putting Jack in it. It was so funny. Oh, and no we didn't buy it.

We saw some signs that Toys 'R Us was closing (they are opening a newer one, right next to a brand new Babies 'R Us...yeah!) and trying to get rid of as much as possible. So, we went in. They had a lot of markdowns, but they weren't giving anything away yet. We picked up a birthday gift for someone who shall remain nameless (in case they read this!) Of course, we couldn't leave without letting Stacie show off her Guitar Hero skills. She just got Guitar Hero at home and now we can't wait to stop by for a visit next Sunday!

The fun continued until dinner at Provino' of our favorite places in Buford. I think one reason we like it so much, is Josh and I went to the Provino's in Athens for our first date about 10 years ago! Shortly after that, it closed...not exactly an excellent omen, huh? Anyway, we're glad to see another location going least we think? After returning home, Stacie even agreed to stay for a movie. I hope we didn't wear her out too much. The greatest thing happened while we were loafing around the video store. Our bestest friend, Terri send a picture message to show and tell us that she had gotten engaged! We were so excited, we had to call her right then! I can't wait to see her and her rock on Sunday! Congrats, Terri & John!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fun on the Fourth

We had a wonderful holiday weekend. The fun began on Thursday afternoon when Jack's Grandma and Grandpa arrived for a visit. We played all afternoon and made trips to both marts (Wal & K) looking for printer cartridges. (Thanks, mom & dad...I dread these trips a lot less with shopping companions!) Once Josh was home from work, we loaded up and headed out for dinner at one of our favorites, Zanzo's Italino Ristorante (it's on the square in Clarkesville.) For those of you from around here, you know how great it is and should go more often. Those of you reading from afar should put it on your list for when you make your mountain and lake trips and pass through Clarkesville.

On Friday after breakfast, we headed to the booming metropolis that is downtown Demorest to watch the July 4th parade. We had never been and weren't sure what to expect. I kept asking friends, but most of them skip out on this event (I guess everyone is usually out of town). I've been pretty adamant about checking out as much stuff in our community that is offered. I guess I feel like it's the only way for us to decide what traditions we'll continue as Jack gets older.

We arrived downtown in plenty of time to walk around and see the dozen arts and crafts booths (kind of slim pickings). We found a spot in the shade to watch the festivities...although it happened to be across from the stage, which meant very loud singing. Anyway, Jack fell asleep just before the parade began, but awoke in time to catch part of the show. Overall, it was a decent parade, but was mostly full of candidates for office and lots of candy for the kids.

After lunch, I filled Jack's pool with some water and took him out for a swim. He enjoyed it, but not as much as he likes the big pools. It took him a bit to warm up to the cool water. He even recovered nicely after a tipping over incident, but was pushed over the edge when Josh created a mohawk with his hair. It was pretty funny to everyone but him. We're still working with him on taking a good joke.

We grilled out for dinner before mom and dad headed back home. Then Josh and I packed up Jack and headed over toward Piedmont College for the fireworks display. We weren't really sure where would be a good place to watch from, but we found a place that we were tickled over. There was plenty of grassy areas and the fireworks were out over the pond. It was so picturesque. We've already decided to return there next year even earlier in the evening with a picnic, games, etc. Maybe we can talk others into joining us!

We weren't sure how Jack would enjoy the fireworks, but he didn't cry at all. He was pretty exhausted from a long day hanging out with his grandma and grandpa. He was a little fussy while we waited for them to start, which explains why his outfit is soaking wet...we appeased him with water from a water bottle. He would take in a bit and spit about half of it back out. Once the show began, he watched pretty intently. It was a perfect day (except for the fact that we made it to DQ at ice cream to cap it off)! Oh, well!

As usual...there are dozens more photos on our Picasa site.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day Trip to Athens (again)

It seems like I'm always writing about day trips to Athens on my blog, but we really don't go that often. When we do, however, we try to call as many family and friends and see as many folks as possible! Last Tuesday Josh had an appointment at the Travel Clinic at UGA Health Center in preparation for his upcoming trip to Honduras. So, while he was getting shots and prescriptions, Jack and I had planned to waste time at the bookstore. As if campus hasn't changed enough since I graduated and moved, but summer is when all things crazy occur. Due to a (long overdue) student center expansion, there was no easy parking for a woman with a baby. Thankfully, my pal Stacie called in time to rescue me with an alternative idea...we met in five points to catch up.

I suggested Five Points which Stacie was agreeable (what a great friend!) While waiting for her to arrive I ordered a few of my absolute favorite cookies in the world...Heath Bar Crunch cookies. They are fantastic. If you have any doubt about how much I like these...ask Josh! I always beg to swing by there and pick up not one, but a dozen!! On Tuesday, I held back and only ordered six. They were gone by lunch the next day. Stacie had fun with Jack and we ran into another old friend, Russell Ashe.

After picking up Josh we went by my parents house for a bit. Jack really enjoyed playing peek-a-boo with Emily. She kept trying to sneak up on him, but he would just lunge for her and grab her with both hands and basically slobber all over her face, but like any sweet aunt, she put up with it because it made him happy!

Later, we all went to dinner at one of our favorites, Loco's Deli, where Jack enjoyed some sweet tea courtesy of Grandpa. The day before we had learned that my grandfather was in the hospital having some tests run, so we had the opportunity to stop by and visit him after dinner. He's having a rough time and has some difficult decisions ahead (along with my dad and uncle). Although he was still quite a bit loopy from being put to sleep, it is always good to see family.