Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beach Bound

We're beach bound on Saturday, and we can hardly wait. Jack has been talking about it for weeks (thanks, mema!) "I go beach," he says at some point almost every day. All last week we would tell him that we are going next Saturday. A couple of days ago Josh said, "we are going to the beach next week." Jack practically yelled, "No, next week! Saturday!"

So needless to say, we are all excited about being away for a week. I always look forward to vacation, but for some reason I've really been looking forward to this one. I guess things have just been super busy for Josh and the thought of leaving town and obligations for one week seems blissful for the whole family. With his partner out of town this week, Josh is swamped. Maybe we'll all appreciate this getaway a little more than previous ones? Either way, I don't think we'll have any internet access so I'm thinking I'll be unplugged from everything for a week. I'll try to take some notes throughout the week and fill you in on the highlights!

I've been spending the last few days making lists and getting things together. I'm turning our dining room into a staging area for items that will be packed up into the car in a couple of days. Hopefully, the car ride will go smoothly with our two little ones. Either way, I'm thinking it will be worth it! This time next week, we'll have our toes in the sand and crashing waves as the soundtrack for our dreams.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Day at the Movies!

Saturday we all took in Toy Story 3, and not a one was disappointed. It was Jack's first real trip to the movies. I'm pretty sure we took him with us to see Juno in the theatre when he was a couple of months old. Sam was a champ sleeping through almost the entire show!

Jack was captivated by the really big tv, and didn't waste anytime asking for popcorn and candy! He was on the edge of his seat, and Buzz and Woody have definitely endeared themselves to his little heart. He eventually grew a little restless, but my stash of snacks and drinks seemed to keep him occupied. A definite success for his first trip to the movies!

By the way...the movie was great and is a must-see!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Celebrating Sweet Friends

Two of the highlights of last week were a pair of celebrations for two very dear friends. The first was a much-needed girls night out to celebrate Shannon's birthday! We really gave her a hard time and reminded her how old she is! Mostly, because no one would ever know by looking at her or being around her. I've really only known Shannon for a couple of years (my first born and her second were born just weeks apart), but I've had the wonderful pleasure to really get to know her the last several months. Her friendship is such a blessing. Full of life and wonderful laughter, she is so much fun to be around. Soooo glad we could celebrate your big day (albiet a couple of weeks late!)

The second was a sweet baby shower for my dear friend Erin. I met Erin through MOPS, but am so thankful that we've had the opportunity to grow closer the last year or so. Erin has two boys, Gus & Mack, that frequently make appearances here on the blog. Not only because they are as cute as pie, but because they are such sweet friends of Jack & Sam. Despite being a whole year older, Gus has been such a great little playmate for Jack and always bring cool toys to share at the playground. And, Mack well let's face it, Erin, he's going to make sure we all stay on our toes with his adventurous spirit and lack of fear! Well, what could make this group anymore fun? Try adding a sweet little girl into the mix!! We had such fun showering Erin with a few little sweet treats for her sweet gal on the way. We look forward to meeting this adorable addition, who is sure to be well taken care of by those great big brothers!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Men Who Stare At Goats

We took a fun field trip to Goats on the Roof over in Tiger this morning with our buddies, Gus, Mack & Erin. We tried to arrive early in hopes of beating some of the heat. We might have succeeded, if there is a big difference between 85 degrees and 90 degrees. Regardless, the kids had a blast. We're already planning a return trip that will include a taste test of the ice cream! You can see more pictures here.


Did I update you too soon? To continue with the baseball analogy, it looks like our slugger as hit a slump. Despite the progress I thought I'd seen, we're 0 for our last 2...including a 1 a.m. wakeup call for mom. Yep, resulting in a 1 a.m. bath for a kid who had just gotten out of a bathtub a few hours earlier. Oh, I know these are just part of the growing pains, but had to whine to someone...thanks for reading. Tomorrow, today will be better!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pretty Good Average

I've had this post about half composed in my head for the better part of a week thinking that I owed you all at least a short update on our potty training adventures. Things have been going pretty great. We're certainly not accident-free by any means, but it has become part of the routine and less of a big deal. Although I still remind him from time to time, I'm not incessantly asking if he is staying dry.

Pooping was the final hurdle, which I think we've cleared, but I'm still not sure we've crossed the finish line. After that first incident, I would say he was about 3 for 10 on achieving potty pooping success. Which if you ask any baseball fan, they'd probably agree .333 ain't a bad average. But, if you ask a mom, that's still 7 too many pairs of unclean underpants. The last week or so it has gotten a lot better. He's still holding it in and always waits until the last possible moment to reluctantly sit down on the potty, but the average is probably closer to 6 or 7 for his last 10.

He hasn't pooped in any potty outside our home and pretty much sits only on the big potty now for all business, which is good but means he needs help climbing aboard. Anyway, I hope he won't have a big issue in a couple of weeks when we go to the beach for a week. I know all our housemates are hoping the same!

I Go Cayafornia!

So, we got new neighbors a few months ago right before Sam was born. We're delighted to have a friendly family with two kids next door. The youngest of the two kids is about 9 years old. He's very sweet to Jack, and Jack loves to play with "E-man-yule." A few weeks ago we were playing outside and Emmanuel told me he was excited about school ending and that he was getting ready to leave for the summer. I learned he'd be gone all summer to visit family in California.

A couple of weeks ago, Jack started asking, "Where E-man-yule?" When I told him he was in California, Jack decided he'd like to go to, "I go Caya-fornia! I go Caya-fornia with E-man-yule."

Some words from Pop (Part 3)

You might recall I posted a couple of my dad's columns a few months back after Sam was born. I have had another in mind but was waiting for the right time to post. As we celebrated my mom's dad's birthday this past weekend, I recalled fondly lots of memories I had from growing up just a stone's throw from both sets of my grandparents. In the last 2 1/2 years, we've said our earthly goodbyes to both of my dad's parents. Both of their birthday's were also in June. My grandmother, affectionately known as Mama Nell, would have been 83 this year. Instead she has celebrated the last 3 birthdays with a host of angels. We mourned her passing a mere three weeks before Jack arrived. I'm guessing she got to see him and hold him even before I did. Here's one of dad's columns that ran about a month before his mom's death.

A Longer Look

I wish you could have seen us.

There we were, looking as grim as 10-year-old boys can look, armed as we are with brand-new six-shooter cap guns, protecting Athens from an injun uprising. My holster is strapped to my thigh. For quick draw, you know.

Laugh if you must, but we must have been pretty effective. I haven't heard of a single injun uprising in these parts since.

Posse work is hard labor, which is one reason we appreciated the cake and ice cream so much. Besides, what's a birthday party without it?

That party was a gift from Mother.

I wish you could have heard her. Mother is driving my brother Bill and I back from Winder to Athens. It's a mere 22 miles, but at times it seemed like it took forever to get back home from visiting grandparents.

"Are we there yet?"

Mother would sing to us.

It was always the same song, an old folk song, "Barbara Allen." It seemed to reach its plaintive climax somewhere between Statham and Bogart.

As I remember it, the last line is this: "And the rose wrapped round the briar."

I always hoped that song would end differently one day.

That song was a gift from Mother.

It's a good thing you didn't see the bicycle wreck. It was not a pretty sight. The plan seemed brilliant. I would ride my bike to within inches of my brother and dodge him at the last minute. I turned right. Only he dodged right. End result, I went airborne over the handlebars, skidding to a skin-ripping stop, palms first.

The painful circumstances called for immediate attention. There was only one person for the job. You know who.

Mother always used Bactine instead of Merthiolate or mercurochrome. The Bactine didn't sting.

The TLC was a gift from Mother.

Maybe you saw my children, scampering across one arena or another while playing volleyball, basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis and softball. Their playing days are behind them, except for Emily, still playing soccer and tennis at nearby Emmanuel College.

You can never convince me that their endeavors in sports did not help them develop into three adults any parent would be proud of.

Mother agreed, which was why she helped pay Emily's tuition to a private high school. That was another gift from Mother.

I wish you could see me. I look good. I'm standing in front of a crowd at church, and I look sharp, if I don't say so myself.

It's the suit. It's gray with a subtle pinstripe. It's cut just right. It folds and pleats in all the right places.

The suit was a gift from Mother.

Not too many days ago we received grim news. Cancer had practically closed her esophagus. The radiation proved unbearable. Life on a feeding tube was not an option. So she is fighting on her own terms.

Each day with her now is a gift from God.

We had a talk a while back, when a different health setback turned our attentions to our mortality.

"I'll look back and say I had a blessed life," she said.

Those words were a gift from Mother.

I wish you could have seen me.

It was a September Sunday in 1950. I've made my arrival. I'm a little early, so I don't even tip the scales at 6 pounds.

I'm in the arms of a 23-year-old Nell Giles who confessed recently that she was frightened by the prospect of motherhood.

With God's help, she mastered her calling. I just hope that the way I have lived my own life has been my gift back to Mother.

Blake Giles

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Has it been four already?

Sam hit the four month milestone last week. We celebrated by heading to bible school at church where Sam snoozed, played and sipped with his classmates. His four-month well visit is Friday so I'll be sure to update you and let you know where he stands as far as growth. He has certainly chunked up a good bit! Anyway, when Jack was about four months or so we had some photos taken with lots of close ups of his hands, toes, ears, etc. I narrowed it down to nine shots and then we made a collage of his "precious pieces." It is has been matted and framed of course (by some fantastic framers) and hangs in my dining room. Along with the canvas from Jack's one-year shots, it's one of my favorite pieces.

So, since the time had arrived we were looking forward to visiting our favorite photographer and have her capture Sam for the second time. We popped in to see Sue Ann just before the birthday party at my grandparents' house. Despite the fact that she is swamped trying to edit and prepare photos from shooting her first-ever wedding as a primary photographer, Sue Ann managed to show us a sneak peek of what we got. Take a look. Thanks, Sue Ann. Take your time, but we look forward to seeing all the bits and pieces (well, except some pieces...lol!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Catching up!

So, the wireless has been down for a couple of days so I finally just sat down and composed a few posts in word and planned to upload them at some point. Hopefully, it’s not too much later after the fact.

Anyway, another reason I’ve been away from blog land is Vacation Bible School. The boys and I journeyed to Saddle Ridge Ranch each day this week and felt the exhaustion to prove it each afternoon. It was a joy to work with the kindergarteners and preschoolers each day, but it was also draining. I finally got a nap on Friday. Take a look at this album online to see more photos from our week on the ranch!

On the Way...

Several updates are on the way. I've got a few posts sitting in the que. I need to add a lot of photos though, because we've been extra busy the last couple of weeks. I'll fill you in on most of the excitement and probably end up post dating a lot of the new updates. Anyway, here's a sneak peek:


Along with Father’s Day, we celebrated my grandfather’s ninetieth birthday this weekend. I guess that means I have good genes, right? Every year we get together with my parents, cousins, aunts, etc. and celebrate Grandaddy’s birthday, which falls right around Father’s Day too. This year was no different, with the exception being it seemed to be more of a milestone year. Surely every year from here on out will be a milestone though, right?

My mom had the idea to compile a notebook for her dad of letters from his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. It was neat to read the sweet notes to him. In case you were wondering, the general theme was making sure he knew what an impact he had made on his family.

Today is his actual birthday, so in the words of my dear son: “Happ Burfday, Grandaddy!” We love you!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Celebrating Dads

I find that communicating true thanks can be difficult. On Father’s Day, I have a few folks to be incredibly thankful for. The first would be my husband. Those that know him would describe him as smart, funny, outgoing and kind. He’s truly excels at whatever he puts his mind to. He must really have his mind on this fathering business, because it is a true joy to see him blossoming as a daddy to Jack and Sam. Thank you for all that you do on a daily basis (there is much too much to name) for our family. We treasure you and honor you on not just this day, but every other one as well!

I’m also thankful for my own father. He was an incredible example of faith and purposeful living growing up and still is. He’s a truth seeker, and the kind of guy folks go to for perspective. I guess he’s most widely known as a writer or journalist, but his best material is the story he writes each and every day with his actions.

I’m thankful as well for my father-in-law. Neither Josh nor I would be the parents we are without the solid upbringing and outpouring of love and support we received growing up. Thank for living as an example to your family!

And because it’s Father’s Day, I feel the inclination to give thanks for my heavenly father and my faith, in general. It’s not something I blog about a lot, but I am a child of His, and how wonderful that is! So, today and every day, I should give thanks!

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Look...

Not sure I like it, but the blog has a new look. I noticed blogger had changed some of their editing and design features, so I played around with them. Now, I can't really figure out how to get it back to the old look...so tonight I figured out a few things and altered our header to make it at least match the new color scheme.

This week is VBS at church, so the boys and I are busy with that. I'm assisting with preschool & kindergarten music, which is pretty odd since I'm no singer. Even more odd is that kids could totally care less about how great you sing! Anyway, the songs are pretty fun and we're enjoying ourselves.

Jack is doing great staying dry. Staying clean has been a little more difficult, but we have had two additional successful potty trips since our initial one a week ago.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Splish Splash

Tuesday we ventured down to the Splash Zone in Gainesville. Thankfully, my sweet sister agreed to join us. I'm not sure I would have attempted it alone with the two boys. We went a handful of times last year, and Jack was pretty timid. I wasn't sure he'd be any braver this year, but he let his aunt Emmy lead him all over the place. He waded in the water without too much fear and wasn't phased much by the chilly water...his purple lips told a different story.

Twice Emily got him to the top of the spray tower only for him to back down on previous requests to go down the slide. Later (when it warmed up a bit and the sun came out) we traded spots. Emily watched Sam in the shade while I helped Jack "swim" around the lazy river. He loved kicking his legs and swimming like a fish. He would have done it much longer, but it grew too crowded for this mom and we made a break for Chick-fil-A.

Speaking of Chick-fil-A, I sampled the new spicy chicken sandwich. It was good, but of course CFA doesn't really make anything that isn't. Anyway, I don't think I prefer it over the original, but may add it into my rotation every now and again.

We had a great time with Aunt Emmy. Jack was thrilled that she came bearing gifts from "Umple Jonafin." A very awesome Thomas towel, Sesame Street movies and a stuffed dog just like his Aunt Emmy's. He's been walking around the house with his "doggie." If you ask, he'll tell you, "his name Cash," (just like another dog we know.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sweet Sam

So, you may be wondering what has sweet Sam been up to with us devoting so much time to the potty training bootcamp? Well, he's been as sweet as ever. Being a baby, he could care less if we leave the house at all or better yet if his mom chooses to actually get him dressed. Here he is tolerating some big brother time last week.

Most afternoons I can get Sam to drift off not long after Jack goes down for his nap and get some things done or get some rest myself, depending on what kind of day it has been! Go figure the day that I'm using my down time to compose a blog post about how sweet he has been he's squirming around and refusing to drift off...ha, ha!

Anyway, Sam is figuring out he has to make himself known sometimes to get noticed around here, which is fine by him. He coos and carries on in the car, while playing with daddy and smiles a lot. He seems to be losing some of that dark hair, but he still has a good bit by most baby standards (exceptions being two of his baby playmates, Ellie & Amelia) I weighed him a couple of weeks ago and he was 14 pounds. He'll have his four-month visit in a couple of weeks. Josh & I keep joking about him soon outweighing his big brother.

Get Ready to Ride!

So, here's a recap of what happened at our house yesterday: after church and a short nap, I unpacked a new printer and got it installed. Our final big task of the day was to work on the missing piece of our potty training puzzle. Jack has been doing great, staying dry all day (even during naps and waking up dry most mornings). The poop has been our final hurdle. To quote Josh, "he's holding on to it like it's gold!" Our somewhat regular kid has gone to once every couple of days and those haven't taken place on the potty. Josh & I both thought we'd be able to catch him right before and then get him up there and praise the poop out of him, literally. It hadn't happened yet. So on Sunday he got a little encouragement (if you want the details I'll share, but in a different venue...somethings are even too much for this blog!), and managed to have his first successful poop on the potty.

I'm sure you remember the prize awaiting. Josh had actually planned to put it together earlier, but we both got sidetracked. So, I got Jack's tools and let him help. Josh got all the pieces out of the box and set to work. Jack kept saying, "where is it?" and looking in the empty box! Finally once Josh got the front wheel on his little mind (Jack's, that is) could see it taking shape. He grabbed the seat and got to work!

We took it for a spin outside. He already has the hang of the pedals, the steering is a different story. When we told him to turn he would lean his whole body over instead of actually moving the handle bars! Anyway, I'm most certain our poopy woes aren't over, but I do hope that with the first successful one behind us we can begin to make some progress now.

Not My Best Ever

I dragged the boys to CVS this morning to get a few things, and by a few, I mean:
  • 4 cases (12-packs) of coca-cola

  • 3 jumbo pkgs of Pampers

  • 2 pkgs of foundation

  • 1 men's power razor

  • 1 pkg (9 rolls) of charmin

  • 3 bottles of Dawn

  • 4 Glade scented candles

I spent $37.17 out of pocket for all this, and still have $5 extra care bucks and a $5 rebate coming (minus the cost of the stamp, I guess).

Anyway, certainly not my best trip ever, but anytime you can snag good diapers for less than $5 a package, it's a good trip.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

D is for Dry...

Friday was day four of PT, and we had a totally dry day...hooray! Granted, Jack didn't poop all day, but he stayed dry during nap and woke up dry this morning too! Today was almost accident free, the only setback being a #2. I guess we're still working up to recognizing the poop cues and learning that doing that on the potty isn't scary. We even ventured out for dinner tonight and managed to pee pee in a public bathroom twice! Thanks again for the encouragement; we're getting closer!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

On the right track...

It's naptime here, so I thought I'd update you very quickly on PT progress, day 3 of bootcamp. Things are going pretty well, and I feel like there is certainly hope he'll be potty trained (at least #1) by the time August rolls around. We've been accident free all morning and made at least 5 or 6 successful trips to the potty. Two of those completely unsupervised...crazy, right? Most of Jack's toys are in the basement, and he loves to play down there. I had a few things to do down there too, so we headed downstairs mid-morning. He had just finished some juice, so I knew he'd need to pee at some point while we were down there. He's mostly been peeing on his little potty that is in our bathroom, but I prepared the downstairs bathroom with a makeshift stool and a seat insert to prevent him from falling in. So, after about 15 minutes, he told me he was ready to go potty. So, I helped him out a little bit, but he proudly did most of it himself. Since I felt sure he wouldn't need to potty again for at least a half hour, I headed upstairs to check on a napping Sam and start lunch. About 10-15 minutes later, I hear Jack yelling from downstairs, "I went pee pee." I was sure he meant in the floor. I ran over to the stairs to find him naked as a jaybird at the bottom of the stairs. I rushed down and he showed me his pee pee in the potty (I guess it was in there!) He had not only removed his shorts and underwear, but his shirt too! It was so cute! Anyway, he did this again about 15 minutes later.

So, here's a little breakdown:

Day 1 Summary: About 6 or 7 accidents (including naptime) and 4 successful potty trips.

Day 2 Summary: 4 accidents (including naptime) and at least 6 successful trips to the potty

Day 3 In Progress: 0 accidents (currently napping) and at least 6 successful trips to the potty (2 completely solo!)

Obviously, we'll have to work up to being able to use public bathrooms, because I do plan to leave the house again this month!! Depending on how the rest of the day goes and the weather looks, we might try the park tomorrow.

A little baby therapy

As promised, here is some non-potty talk for you...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Another day down

So, another day is done in the potty training adventure. It was better than the first, but there is definitely more progress to be made. Had about 3 accidents today and at least 4 successful trips to the potty. Here's the big boy in his cookie monster underpants using his camera to take a picture of all his reward stickers.


Yes, eventually I will blog about something other than our potty training bootcamp that is taking place this week. In fact, I still owe you details about our Memorial Day reunion with friends old and new. My mind, however, is still in complete potty mode. If you choose to ignore this and similar posts, I promise not to be offended. I can completely understand if you've grown weary of my potty humor...literally.

Anyway, as I mentioned day one finished on a high note. And day two picked up right where we left off. We didn't manage to wake up dry, but I had not expected that either. By noon or so, Jack had sat on the potty three times all based on my reminders and reading his cues. Twice those resulted in pee pee. He was quite proud of himself for staying dry...and of course, I was over the moon. I knew we still had accidents ahead, but I thought he was at least catching on.

I realized this morning that I had not left the house since church on Sunday morning and was beginning to go a little stir-crazy. I got Jack dressed and he said he was ready to go. I asked him where he wanted to go he said the grocery store. So, we ventured off to Ingles, where he was happy to partake of a cookie. We stayed dry during our whole outing, which also included meeting daddy for lunch at Side Street deli. On the way home, I asked Jack if he was ready for a nap, which he declined. Instead he wanted to play football. I agreed that sounded fun, but reminded him we were working hard to stay dry and we might need to go to the potty first. He declined. I unloaded the car and then came back out to play with him. Within seconds of my return he paused. I of course urged him to hurry to the potty, but he remained frozen. We had our first accident of the day.

So, after some encouragement to hurry inside so we could change, he replied, "no hurry, I walk!" I got him cleaned up and had him sit on the potty, but he had already let it all go. We went back outside for a little longer and watched the thunderstorm brewing. Finally, we were ready to come in for a nap. Despite his extreme distaste for mandatory potty time, I have been making him sit on the potty before naptime and bedtime (last night resulted in a successful trip). At this point he had what I felt was a pretty major set-back. He began to whine and beg for a diaper and asked to get up on the changing table. His pride in being a big boy had disappeared (hopefully temporarily). I managed to convince him to sit down for a bit and we read a book. By the end, nothing had happened and he had calmed down. So, now he's napping and will more than likely wake up wet, but hopefully be ready to tackle his dry-ness with a new vengeance!

In other news, I got some video of little Sam talking away to his daddy last night. I'll try to get around to uploading it soon...lest I lose the few readers I have left because of this potty monopolization.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

P is for Progress

I know, I know my third post of the day...amazed, aren't you? We had several accidents today, but overall progress was made. By the end of the day, we were on our sixth pair of underwear, but had peed in the potty four times! Three of those were without accidents preceding them, so definite progress was made. I know we've still got a lot of work ahead of us, but glad to know we made some strides today.

Pass the towel?

Okay, so it's naptime here and it's pretty much the sanest I've felt all day. I'm catching up on some mindless activities like blogging and laundry. I felt I should put in another update to let you know that things have gotten mildly better since this morning when things started off with a real bang. (At one point, he admitted he'd rather be a baby and wear diapers than be a big boy and sit on the potty!) Jack is still pretty resistant to mandatory potty time, so I quickly ditched the timer method...there had been enough crying for one day. He's been wearing underwear all day and we've had 4 accidents. Despite my best efforts to watch his cues, signals and behaviors, we haven't managed to catch him preparing to go in time to get him to the potty. I have stopped him twice when I thought I was getting some signals and made him sit on the potty (which is still pretty agonizing), but we had no results. After each accident he has gone somewhat willingly to sit on the potty. One of those times after some urging and a somewhat prolonged sit down he peed to much celebration, fanfare and rewards. We even ventured outside to play with his new golf set.

I've spent most of the day talking about and congratulating him for staying dry while he plays and bounces around like normal...except for the fact that he's in big boy underwear. He is proud of wearing the underwear and was excited to show his daddy when he got home a little while ago. I got ready to get him down for his nap and had planned to put him in a diaper. He refused, so he's upstairs napping in his big boy underwear. I'm fully expecting for his nap to be interrupted by him waking to wet sheets, but I thought the fact that he didn't want to wear the diaper was a good thing. So, in the meantime, I think I just stepped in something wet...could you pass the towel?

Throwing in the towel?

It's only a couple hours into bootcamp and I'm already prepared to throw in the towel (or big boy underpants in this case). I've dealt with kicking, screaming, pleading, yelling and extreme frustration and Jack hasn't been happy either...just kidding. So, maybe I should just listen to those of you that said you tried at his age and your boys weren't ready. You urged me to wait until he decided he was ready. He wants to be a big boy SOOO badly, but I've been telling him that big boys don't wear diapers. This morning during one of our potty trips, I asked him if he was a baby. He insisted he was not but also asked to wear a diaper. I don't want those to be my signs...I want him to be ready. I was prepared to put up with accidents, but not with a little one who despises the potty. I don't want to give up...mostly because I hate to lose! Well, better go...it's almost time to try again!