Thursday, November 25, 2010

Charlie's First Birthday

Dear Charlie,

On this day of Thanksgiving, I'm spending my time reflecting on the fact that you are one years old today. How is it possible that an entire year has already passed? I can literally still feel you rolling around in my tummy. I can still hear that precious newborn cry ringing in my ears. I remember the first moment I laid my eyes on you like it was yesterday. Our lives changed forever the second you were born.

You are the most amazing baby boy. You definitely made the transition into being a mommy of two children easy. Everywhere we go, people are commenting on how easy going you are. You are my favorite person to go grocery shopping with! Your smile is contagious and your laugh can be heard a mile away.

Watching you grow and learn over the last year has been nothing short of amazing. You started out as this little lump that I carried everywhere. Now you crawl around like a rocket, anxious to discover all the new things around you. You love to clap along with the Spongebob Squarepants theme song that your brother watches in the mornings. You blow raspberries constantly and send yourself into a giggle fit. You adore your big brother and light up the moment he enters the room. Recently your favorite activity is racing him around the house, crawling behind him as fast as you can. It's so fun to see your relationship developing with him more every day. I'm confident you will be very close with your brother, who loves you so much.

Thank you for bringing so much joy and happiness into my life. You filled a piece that was missing in our family and I cannot imagine life without you. I can't wait to see what adventures this next year brings, but if it's anything like this last year, it will be incredible.

I love you so much, precious boy of mine.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Farm Fun

As you can tell by the fact that I haven't written in exactly one week, things have been pretty busy around here. The boys and myself made a last minute decision to take a trip over the mountains to visit my brother and his family over the weekend. Jackson absolutely adores his cousins, so he was psyched. The timing worked out perfectly since Eric came down with a nasty cold while we were gone, so at least he was able to get some peace and quiet to recover while we were gone. Unfortunately, I woke up this morning feeling awful. Thanks for sharing those germs with me, honey.

We had a fantastic trip. The boys did so well on the five hour drive - I was so proud of them. Jackson really got into his Leapster and Charlie slept most of the way. I also discovered that Jackson has a new found favorite band - Vampire Weekend. We must have listened to that album fifteen times throughout the drive. I'm not complaining!

On Sunday, we visited a wonderful pumpkin farm with the family. The kids got to do all sorts of fun activities: hay maze in a big barn, a huge play area, getting pulled behind a giant tractor in little buckets, and picking out pumpkins. Charlie was happy to ride in the stroller the majority of the time and Jackson was running around like crazy, unsure of what he wanted to do most. It was chaotic, but we had a blast. I had fun snapping a few pictures as the afternoon progressed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Eric

After yesterday's stressful day and negative blog entry, I decided today would be a great time to reflect on some things I'm thankful for.

Today I am so thankful for my husband, Eric.

It's hard for me to believe it's been over eight years since we met. We both worked in the mall, him at a jewelry store and me at a gift shop. I would walk by his store every day and he commented to his coworker how he thought I was "cute." This coworker came into my store and asked for my number to give to the blond guy he worked with. I'm not going to deny that I was completely floored. I honestly wasn't used to having guys ask for my number out of the blue. It took Eric three days to finally come into my store and ask me out on a date. I had started to give up on him by this point, so I was taken by surprise when I saw him.

We had a very casual first date - coffee at a restaurant and a walk through the park together. When he dropped me off at my apartment, he came up and played the guitar for me. Yeah, he was pulling out the big guns! How he knew that guys who played the guitar was so attractive to me, I'll never know.

Fast forward eight years and here we are. Married for almost six years with two beautiful boys that we created together. It's been a roller coaster to say the least. We've had many ups and many downs, but have stuck through it and I believe we're at a whole new level in our relationship. I can't imagine sharing this life with anyone but him. I can't imagine raising my children with anyone but him. He is the best husband and father anyone could ask for. To this day, I still can't believe he's mine.

I love you Eric - forever and always.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Because I said so...

Please tell me there are other moms out there reading this who have difficulty with the whole discipline issue. I am typing this while in the midst of a "time out" with Jackson. I swear, it's as if he woke up this morning with the devil on his shoulder. I spent thirty minutes walking him back to his time out corner over and over again. I had absolutely no emotion on my face, didn't say a word to him, yet it didn't work. He just kept getting up and laughing this mischievous laugh that drives me crazy. He is now in his room and I refuse to let him come out until his behavior changes.

Sometimes I feel like a complete failure as a mother. Don't get me wrong, the majority of the time he's a fantastic little boy. Mornings are usually my favorite time with him - snuggling on the sofa watching a cartoon together, him nuzzling up to me and telling me he "loves me so much". But mornings like this throw me for a loop. I feel like he's striving for attention of some sort, therefore negative attention must be the easiest for him to achieve. What does that say about me as a mom? Does he truly find it easier to get me yelling and pulling my hair out rather than giving him positive praise? Thus why I begin to beat myself up.

I know this is all just part of the journey in parenthood, but it's hard not to get discouraged sometimes. We all want only the best for our children. When you see them struggling with something and you feel that you're doing everything possible to help them yet the struggle continues - it's exhausting. There are times I feel we're coming over the other end of this mountain we've been climbing over the last two years. Jackson is such an amazing little guy and now that he's understanding things more and more, it's gotten easier. But every once and awhile, I feel like we're at the very foot of the mountain again. I suppose it comes with the territory of raising a four year old, right? Right??

Vent over now.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mowing Maniac

Jackson's newest favorite activity is helping his daddy mow the lawn. He has a little toy lawnmower that he used to push around behind Eric. That toy just won't do it anymore - now that Daddy has allowed him to help push the big lawnmower. How much longer do you think before I can send him out on his own and cut the grass every week for me?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome Autumn

I feel so fortunate that the region I live in is blessed with being able to experience all four seasons. By far, my two favorite seasons are fall and spring. I view both of them as transitional seasons. In the spring, it feels like life is literally being awakened after a long, colorless winter. Seeing the tiny green buds appearing on the trees, tulips blooming in neighbor's yards, the sound of birds chirping again in the early mornings - it's like you're waking up from a five month long slumber.

As much as I adore the spring, fall is definitely my favorite of all. Don't get me wrong - it's incredibly difficult for me to bid farewell to summer fun. I always grieve a little for the summer evenings where the sun stays up until 10:00 PM, the barbecues, swimming, playing at the park, marshmallow roasts - you get the idea. But there is something so comforting about autumn. Pulling out the sweaters, jeans, and boots and preparing for Halloween is the best. It's funny, I noticed last year that there is an actual sound in the air once it starts getting colder. Weird, but true! Even the sound of a dog barking is different. I love the smell of candles burning in my in-laws home when I walk through the door. I love the bright oranges and yellows of the leaves changing colors. I love seeing those leaves fall to the ground and the way they crackle under your feet when walking over them. I love the very first dreary, rainy day in fall. Cuddling up with my babies with a cup of hot cider while watching a movie together.

Eric and I took Charlie to one of our favorite parks yesterday to get some pictures. Unfortunately, the leaves haven't really started changing yet. But my boy sure loved playing with all the pine needles on the ground. He was so fascinated by everything around him. It was such a beautiful day - near 82 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I'd say summer is putting in one last fight before calling it quits.

Welcome Fall, we're ready for you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Broadway Boy

Jackson had his first mini concert of the year this afternoon. They sang three songs and it was so much fun to see how proud all of the kids were. I was able to record the first song until my Flip camera conveniently died - guess I should have taken the "low battery" signal seriously when I noticed it flashing at me two days ago. My little guy is quite the performer. He even gave a formal bow at the end of the show - too funny!

And now for your entertainment!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

My favorite smiles in the entire world.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Crazy for car washes

I'm not even sure when it happened, but sometime over the last year, Jackson has developed a crazy obsession with car washes. Not trucks, dirt, or bugs - but car washes. Eric thinks it started when he took the car through one last summer and it absolutely terrified Jackson. Now one of his favorite activities is watching car wash videos on You Tube. I can't imagine what it must sound like to other parents on the playground when I shout, "Buddy, you will lose your car wash videos if you don't come here this instant!"

Last Christmas, his Uncle Nick and Aunt Amy gave him one of his most prized possessions to this day - a Matchbox Car Wash toy. If you could have only seen his reaction when he opened that baby up. Absolutely hysterical. It was one of those moments where I kicked myself over and over for not video taping the memory.

I spent over an hour playing "car wash" with my boy yesterday afternoon. It was a very long, repetitive game that I found myself yawning through at one point - but when I looked down at the grin on his face and witnessed his imagination in motion, I was able to stop and reflect on how much I wanted to remember this crazy obsession of his. I can't wait for the day when he's a teenager, moaning and groaning when I ask him to wash the car, and I can remind him that he used to beg me for some car washing time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My battle of the bulge

After my pregnancy with Jackson, I was a physical wreck. I gained fifty-three pounds while pregnant with him. I guess you could say I took the term "eating for two" a tad too literal. Granted, the second he had evacuated my stomach, I dropped thirty pounds over night (I love how that happens, don't you?!). However, I was stuck at a very scary weight for me. I joined Weight Watchers and had great success with dropping twenty pounds. Even with that twenty pound loss, I still had around forty pounds to lose until I hit my goal weight. To this day, I still can't believe I allowed my body to become so unhealthy. Not only was I severely overweight, but I was completely inactive and had zero energy. Unfortunately, it's a vicious cycle - you're so tired from all the extra weight that you have no energy to exercise, therefore you can't lose the weight. And it continues and continues.

My pregnancy with Charlie was very different. I was much more focused on how much weight I was gaining. In fact, I actually lost eight pounds within the first few months from being so sick. In the end, I only gained thirteen pounds while pregnant with him. Over the last ten months, I have somehow managed to almost reach my goal weight. It's not only what I see in the mirror, but it's how I feel that reminds me daily how much healthier I have become. Exercise has become my best friend, no longer an enemy. I look at food and treat it like fuel rather than pleasure. That's not to say that I don't indulge here and there. Everyone who knows me is aware of my ice cream addiction!

Last week, I came to the realization that I am officially fifty-seven pounds less than I was two years ago. I'm not usually one to pat myself on the back, but this is something I am incredibly proud of. I've worked hard for it and no food in the world can taste as good as this feels.

Food belongs on a plate, not a pedestal.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

School days are here again

It's that time of year again. The temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing colors, and you start seeing children getting off the school buses in the afternoon. Yup, school days are here again. I still can't believe my oldest boy is in school already. Okay, technically he's not a school aged child yet - but he is in Pre-Kindergarten! Not quite Kindergarten, but no longer a preschooler. Or is "pre-kindergarten" just a fancy cover up title for an older preschooler? Either way, he loves going to school and Mommy loves the two and half hour break each afternoon! Jackson now goes to his school four afternoons a week. Tuesday through Friday afternoons, he gets to be with his friends and I get a brief period of time to catch up on things around the house before my son the tornado comes back. We've just finished up only the second week since school started again and we've all loved every minute of it.

Let me tell you, this boy was beyond excited to pick out his backpack for the new school year. Ever since he saw a Spongebob Squarepants pack at our local Wal-Mart, he was determined to carry Mr. Pants on his back this year. I tried to entice him with a lovely Buzz Lightyear pack or even a Spiderman pack - oh no, he wasn't having it. He wanted the famous sponge to accompany him to school each day. I was so thrilled when the one he picked out happened to be the cheesiest backpack I have ever seen. No one will ever be able to miss seeing my boy trotting up the sidewalk with this thing gleaming in the sun. Ready for this?

May I introduce you to Jackson's best friend this year - Spongebob Squarepants.

His first day of school was fantastic. He woke up that morning and could speak of nothing else but his new classroom, which friends from last year would be in his class, which new kids would he meet. He was so excited that he could barely eat his breakfast, and if you know my son, you would know that is almost unheard of. And get this - he was the one to insist on taking a bath that morning so he would be clean for his first day. He is such a character sometimes!

After getting dressed and handsome, he was ready to take the standard "first day of school" pictures in front of our house. What blew me away was taking a peek at his first day picture from last year and comparing it to this year. He has grown so much, it's hard to believe.

On our drive to the school, you can only guess what music he wanted to listen to. You got it - the Spongebob Squarepants soundtrack. Awesome. I couldn't help but laugh a little when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw his head bobbing along to the beat of the music. When we arrived, he jumped out of the car and immediately saw his best buddy, Damian, getting out of his car at that same moment. I'm not kidding, it was like they were long lost brothers - they ran towards each other and embraced in a huge hug. I could almost hear the corny violins and see everything in slow motion.

We walked the boys into the classroom and Jackson immediately found his cubby. He put his backpack away and we found his place at the table. He insisted on sitting next to Damian and his other best friend, Isabella. It was so fun to see the three of them together again - I always called them the "Three Amigos". So cute.

Hard at work already.

It's going to be a great year.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I want to ride my biiiicycle!

I have a new love. Don't worry, Eric knows all about it. Bicycling. Dear Lord, why have I not been doing this my entire life? Over the last week, I have been putting more miles on these legs than ever before. We literally live three minutes away from the Centennial Trail, a thirty-seven mile paved trail that runs along the river. It is absolutely breathtaking and so phenomenal to see on a bike. I can't believe how fortunate I am to be able to jump on my bike and ride directly onto the trail within minutes. How have we lived in this house for over five years and I have never done this before now? Seriously, I keep asking myself that question out loud while riding - people must think I'm crazy when they hear me talking to myself as I pass them.

I rode seven miles this evening and it was the most fulfilling exercise I have gotten in months. Not only because my heart was pumping and my legs were burning, but because I was in the midst of nature and sunshine. What could be better than that while burning a ton of calories? The feel of the breeze on my face, the sound of the river rushing by, and the smell of pine trees in the air. It's especially beautiful right now with autumn on the horizon - all the colors are sensational.

I do think it's hysterical that I've discovered my love of cycling right at the end of summer. All I can think about is how I could have been doing this for the last five or so months. But I plan on packing in a lot of riding in the next month or two before the snow flies.

Maybe this time next year, I'll have those awesome biker legs. One can hope, right?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Back in the saddle again!

It's hard for me to believe that I haven't written since July. I mean, really? How is it possible that over two months have passed and it literally feels like two seconds? I'm not going to lie - the more time that went by without blogging, the less I wanted to do it because I started feeling overwhelmed by it. How silly is that? I realized that I spent so much time trying to think of a good topic to blog about, I never wanted to sit down and actually just write.

So here I am - I'm back and I'm ready to blog! It's been far too long and life around our household continues to change with each passing week. Starting tomorrow, I'm back and my blog is going to become something it has never been before. I plan on writing at least three times a week, but let's cross our fingers for even more.

In the meantime, I leave you with this precious picture of Charlie Boy. I snuck in to check on him about thirty minutes after putting him to bed, and this is what I found. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

God Bless the USA

Here is a post to share our day in pictures - we had a fantastic fourth. Eric's Aunt Diane, Cousin Chris, and Chris's girlfriend Stephanie visited for a week from California. We were so lucky to have them with us for the holiday!

Hangin' out in my new cool flag swimsuit

My future plumber boy

Cousin Chris showing me the ropes

Decked out in red, white, and blue

My momma and my boys

Grammy busy in the kitchen

Sweet Charlie Boy

Lighting my first ever smoke bomb


Showing Daddy how it's done

My first time with a sparkler!

Waiting for the fireworks to begin

Happy Fourth to everyone!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I heart my Zune

For Mother's Day this year, my gift from both Eric and my mom was a new Microsoft Zune. For everyone out there who has no clue what I'm talking about, it's Microsoft's version of an iPod. In my personal opinion, this little wonder has outdone the iPod in many ways. I guess I'm a little biased because I also have a Zune Pass, which allows me to download unlimited music for only $14.99 a month. We're talking millions upon millions of albums at my fingertips. If you're a music lover such as myself, you can understand why this would be my own personal music paradise. If iTunes would get the picture and do something similar, I'd be more likely to stick with it!

Anyways, I have become obsessed with trying to discover new artists. My top find over the last couple months is William Fitzsimmons. Seriously, if you have not listened to him yet you are sorely missing out. His music is so amazing. I find myself listening to his albums over and over and I can't get enough. I'm desperately wanting him to release something new!

The Zune Pass is phenomenal, however, the vast amount of music is a little overwhelming at times. I actually find myself stumped on what to download on more occasions than not. So I'm asking my readers to suggest some good music for me! I don't care what the genre is, I'm actually attempting to expand my taste in music. I like many different things!

So let's hear it - help me build my music library!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The sick bug keeps on fighting

I'm telling you, it's like the sickness bug wants to hang around a little bit longer before summer kicks in - and this one is a doozy. When I picked up Jackson from preschool on Monday, I watched him through the little window and couldn't even believe what I was seeing. All the kids were playing and dancing on the circle time rug. My son, who is usually a ball full of unstoppable energy, was sitting in the corner with glassy eyes and a blank stare on his face. His teacher came out of the classroom and informed me that he had fallen asleep during class. Umm, WHAT?!? If you know my child, you know that this is 100% completely unlike him. Of course this happened on a day that I had arranged a play date with his best little buddy, Damian. His mom had already left the car seat for me, so I piled the boys into my car and headed home, convinced Jackson was just tired. Ha ha.... nice try.

After I fixed them lunch, Jackson wanted to do nothing but lie on the couch and watch SpongeBob Square Pants. I finally decided enough is enough and called Damian's mom to let her know what was going on. We brought him home and by the time we dropped him off, Jackson was fast asleep in the car. Once we got home, I placed him in his bed and he was zonked out for almost three hours. When he woke up, his fever was at 102. I decided to give him some Motrin and lots of water, which thankfully he gulped down. Within an hour, his fever had gone down and he was ready to eat a good dinner. After he finished, I let him watch a few more cartoons and then he went right back to bed.

I woke up around 1:00 AM and went in to check on him. He was absolutely burning up. I'm talking super hot. I've felt him with a high fever before and this felt a million times worse. I took his temperature and imagine my surprise when 105.2 popped up on the little screen. I immediately told Eric and he put Jackson into the car to head into the emergency room. Long story short: they did a strep culture (negative!), but his throat was red and inflamed. He was discharged with a diagnosis of some viral throat thing that's going around right now. Thankfully after a full day's rest on Tuesday, he was able to attend his preschool graduation on Wednesday morning. I was so worried he would miss it! I will post some pictures from that wonderful day very soon.

Now Mr. Charlie has contracted some horrible cough. He literally sounds like a barking seal! It breaks my heart, but he still seems extremely happy and content, so I'm trying not to worry too much. I'm so hopeful that this will be the last bad sickness for all of us for the rest of the summer!

I'm over it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

So long WW points

Just have to grieve for a quick second. Now that Charlie is on solid foods, I officially lost SEVEN Weight Watcher points today. NOOOOO!!!! And to top it off, I'm only one pound away from losing another point. The food portions are just going to keep getting smaller and smaller - what ever am I going to do?

On another note, I promise to start updating this poor excuse of a blog soon. Honestly, I'm having some major writer's block and have no idea what to write about. Any ideas?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Baby food makin' machine!

Even before Charlie was born, I knew that I wanted to make his baby food. For some reason, I never even thought of the idea that I could do that when Jackson was a baby. We just went with the flow and bought jarred baby food without a second thought. This time around I knew I wanted to do it differently. I wanted to know exactly what I was putting into my child's mouth without all the added preservatives and other chemicals that can be found in store bought baby food. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing mommas that choose to use jarred baby food, believe me. I did that with Jackson and I don't have any regrets about it and he's a perfectly healthy little man. I just wanted to take a different route with Charlie.

Now that we've gotten him started on some solid foods, I have literally become a baby food factory! Eric and I spent last weekend getting all the produce I would need and spent time together in the kitchen, steaming and pureeing different fruits.

Starting with some peaches!

My little helper

The peaches steaming away

Time for the Magic Bullet!

It was actually some great quality time with my husband. It felt good knowing that we were preparing our son's food together. And let me tell you - it was incredibly rewarding when Charlie took his first bite of our hard work! He loved it (we started with bananas) and he had his first taste of apples this morning. He wasn't so sure about the apples, but we'll get there. The bottom line is this - making baby food is fun!

I think he likes it!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Farewell LOST

As millions of people know, the series finale for LOST was on Sunday night. We have been watching it from the very beginning and I truly believe it was one of the most genius shows of all time. Love it or hate it, you can't deny that it has had it's impact on pop culture forever. The writing was amazing, the acting superb, and you were easily connected to each character in different ways.

I won't say much about the finale since I still have some readers who have yet to watch it, so I don't want to give away anything. I do know that there are many who loved the finale and there were many who hated it. I was one who loved it. I thought it was very well done and incredibly emotional to watch. I thought the creators did a wonderful job tying up each character and I felt satisfied with how it ended.

Eric and I were treated to a once in a lifetime opportunity - we were able to watch the LOST finale in a movie theater. It was absolutely incredible. His sister's friend works at a community center not far from here and she put together a huge LOST party for friends and family. We were able to watch the finale on a gigantic HD projector screen in a 400 seat movie theater... talk about amazing! It was a blast and I can't imagine watching it any other way. Thanks Amy and Nick for the invite!

Our view of the big screen - Hi Sawyer!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rice Cereal Adventures!

We hit a pretty major milestone yesterday - Charlie's first time eating rice cereal. I can't believe he's already six months. Where in the world has the time gone? It was seriously a nano second ago that he was rolling around inside of my tummy. Now he's sitting in his Bumbo Seat (the best baby invention on the planet) eating cereal. Can we slow down time just a little please? I do have to say that I'm very proud of myself for going six months exclusively breast feeding my little monkey. Since I had to supplement with formula for Jackson, I was positive I would have to do the same for Charlie. But we did it - for six whole months, I was able to provide everything he needed. It was a rough start and I'm very thankful for my sweet husband who kept me going when I wanted to quit. Thank you, sweetheart, for your continuous support.

There's no ifs, ands, or buts - my boy is going to love eating. Is that any surprise considering Jackson eats like there's no tomorrow. It was pretty entertaining to watch his reaction as the cereal entered his mouth. You could literally see him saying, "THANK YOU God for this meal set before me!"

Alright Mom, let's do this!

What is this thing you're putting in my mouth??

This is interesting...

Hmm... I'm not too sure about this!

WHOA!! This is craziness!

Yep, I like it... any more on my hand??

And for your viewing pleasure, here's Mr. Charlie eating for the first time. Talk about crazy tongue!!