Friday, April 26, 2013

Day at the Beach

 Oh, how I love living an hour and a half from the beach. It makes it the best day trip possible and we plan to do it as much as we can this summer. We can wake up, feed everyone breakfast, and load the car. Then we just drive down while Lainey has her morning nap in the car. We get there before lunch and we can spend the whole day at the beach. I can walk around the little town of Seaside during Lainey's afternoon nap while she sleeps in the stroller. We can eat dinner while watching the sunset and then we load up and head home at bed time and everyone sleeps in the car. Perfect! Here are some pictures from our random day in Seaside, Florida.

My handsome little guy.
I love this picture of Rob with his three young 'uns. My favorite peeps.
Future snowbird, perhaps? Someone is loving the beach.
We're here!

 I adore this picture.
 Lainey was not fond of the ocean. The water was a bit cold and this was her reaction when the waves washed across her feet.
 Come on it. The water's fine.
 I adore this shot. May be a framer for her room.

 What'cha looking at?
 See ya later, guys. Time for my nap.
The following are just a bunch of shots I grabbed while strolling around Seaside while Lainey was napping.
The kids were done playing on the beach by this point so they found us and we hung out in Ruskin Square. Grabbing a treat to share from Modica Market was a no brainer.
 We found the tree where we took one of my favorite pictures ever of Bennett when she was 20 months old.
 Flashback. Sigh..... The tree looks the same, but my daughter definitely does not.
 Clearly Bennett is a lot more fearful now. She and Will were kind of nervous to be climbing that tree.
 Even though my kids were fighting and Will was walking away mad at his big sister, I still love this shot. It makes me laugh. It captures life these days for sure.
 Sweet moment. Will running to the beach.

 Happy Lainey!
 Me and my girls.
 Lainey is just thrilled that her feet aren't in that cold water.
 Great day at the beach. Let's do it again next weekend. I wish.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ten things my kids will never have or do

1. Listen to everyone's messages on the family answering machine. Remember when the whole family would gather around the ol' answering machine after an evening out? You would hear your Mom's friend asking her to call her about something, Grandma prattling on for several minutes about her doctor's report, and your parents would know which friend was calling to you to hang out that weekend. Yeah, that will never happen again thanks to individual cell phones. Kind of sad.

2. Browse Tower Records for hours looking for a CD. They will never know the awesomeness of standing at those stations with headphones on previewing the music on the CD. Shameful. My husband has informed me that he never did this, but rather he would just buy the CD. Well, good for him. I, for one, loved spending a whole Saturday sitting on a stool and listening to the entire soundtrack of a Broadway CD. But that is probably an indictment on my cool factor as a youth, so let's just move on.

3.  Listen to the radio with their fingers waiting to push down on the record button so they can add their favorite song to their mixed tape. Anyone remember that? I would listen to the top 40 just waiting and waiting so I could get that one special song on my mixed tape. I would run to the bathroom during station breaks and I would be so annoyed when the DJ's would talk over the intro therefore ensuring I would hear their grating voices every time I popped that awesome tape into the deck of my car.

4. Watch commercials. Thanks DVR's. Now the only time I have to watch these things is when watching a show on Hulu. And by the time my kids are old enough to read this blog, that will probably be a thing of the past as well.

5. Develop film. Remember waiting for 2 days to get those awesome 24 pictures (or 36 if you were cool) back from your vacation? Remember having to load up on film before your trip? And remember when everyone would get together for ONE picture? Not take a pic, have everyone look at it, wait for one of the girls to inevitably point out that she looks awful, and then try again until everyone is satisfied? Yeah, those were the days.

6. Payphones. I'm glad I don't have to deal with that one anymore. Always keeping change on you, standing in those gross germ filled booths praying that they person you need is home. No further explanation needed.

7. Yellow pages. Those huge books that were found on your doorstep are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Too bad. They were fabulous for stacking and using as doorstops.

8. Encyclopedias. My kids will never know a world where any small bit of information they need is not right at their fingertips. They will never know what it was like to need information on a subject and then only have two paragraphs available to you. Two paragraphs! Laughable, I tell ya.

9. Try to look cool while holding a CD player in your lap (or worse, in your pocket) and huge earphones on your head. I will say ipods trump Discmans any day.

10. Keeping an atlas in your car. Sorry, Rand McNally, but it looks like Mr. Garmin has officially put you out of business. My first job out of college was one where I spent a whole year traveling all over the country. I won't admit to how many hours I spent looking at maps and trying to figure out which routes and roads and interstates would be the best bet for our trip. Now, you just type in ( or say aloud) the address of your destination, lean back, and let the good times roll.

So, what am I forgetting? Pagers? Thought about that but those were only cool for a brief window of time unless you are a drug dealer or a doctor of which I am neither. Any others?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Six Months: Sitting up, Solids, Sisters, and Smiles

Oh, my baby girl. Stop growing up so fast. It's funny because with Bennett I felt like I was racing from milestone to milestone. I couldn't wait for her to sit up. I couldn't wait to write a blog post every time she achieved something new. And with Lainey, I get a little wistful every time she does something new. I am so proud of her, but registering my 5 year old for Kindergarten has made me realize just how fast it goes. So if Lainey wants to stay swaddled in my arms a little bit longer, well, I must admit that I am perfectly fine with that.

She had her 6 month check up last week. She weighs 16.3 lbs and is 27 1/2 inches  in length. That puts her in the 50% for weight and 90% for height. Her head circumference is 42 which is also in the 50% range.

Look at that beautiful smile. Little did she know that she was about to get her shots. I absolutely hate waiting for the nurse to walk in with those ridiculously long needles. You would think I would be used it after three kids. Nope. I'm not.
And her post shot picture. That lone tear trickling down her face absolutely kills me.

Lainey loves her brother and sister so much. She follows them with her eyes wherever they go and both of them are so good at playing with her, handing her a paci, or just cuddling with her. I snapped this shot one night as my girls were getting ready to go to bed. This may be one of my favorite pictures of all time. Bennett's hair is a mess, the pajamas are frumpled, and that's what makes it so beautiful. It is so natural and so full of love. I love watching their relationship already begin to grow and deepen.
 I am still exclusively nursing her but we got the go ahead to start solids at her check up so we began with rice cereal. 

She was so excited at first.
And then confused.
And then slightly annoyed.
But she got the hang of it.
And now she loves her cereal.

She also starting sitting up for about a whole minute a a time. She started a few days ago sitting up for about 15-20 seconds and each day she can sit up for longer and longer stretches.
Happy 6 months to our beautiful Lainey bug. There aren't enough words to tell you how much joy you have added to our family these last 6 months. We love you so very much.

Friday, April 5, 2013


 1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring Breaking like nobody's bizness

Do you know what the most popular Spring Break destination is for Americans?

Cancun? Miami Beach? Ft. Lauderdale?

Nope. It is Panama City Beach, Florida. Yup, Panama City Beach. I know this to be true because I heard it on the Today Show. Therefore it must be legit. And guess what? I live 90 miles from Panama City Beach. People travel from all over the country to live it up at Club La Vela and I am so lucky to be within a short drive to the most popular Spring Break destination in the country.

So, you can imagine what we did for Spring Break, right? Yup. We stayed in Dothan and took pictures with giant sized peanuts.

I know, I know. Stop the madness. I shall not be contained.

But I had my nieces with me and my own three small children, so hanging out with the college kids in PC probably wouldn't have been in my best interest this year. I'll just bide my time and let loose at Club La Vela when they are older. I know that will thrill them to no end.

So, anyway, back to the matter at hand. Mainly updating my blog so my kids can remember every second of their lives when they are older. Isn't that what blogs are for?

I need to start off with a triptych of my three babies on their first Easter. This was actually Bennett's 2nd Easter but since she was only 3 weeks old on her first Easter, I thought I would go with this picture. Aren't they adorable. How did I get so lucky?

 We started off the week by going to Montgomery and attending the Easter Extravanaganza at my old church, Frazer.

Quick pic before we headed out. We tried to recreate the picture that is the header of this blog now that Lainey is older. It kind of worked. Kind of.
I love going to my home church. We can't walk 10 feet without bumping into a dear friend. Thank goodness my parents were there to watch Lainey and take Bennett and Will on inflatables because Rob and I spent the whole time catching up with friends. And I loved every second of it.

Bennett and Will ran into old friends too! Here they are with Anna and Ella.
 The awesome Easter egg trail for pre-schoolers.
 Fam pic!
 Okay, I have to post this picture because Will had his face painted like a tiger. No big deal, right? WRONG! They didn't use face paint for some reason I'll never understand. They used markers. MARKERS! On his face! And these weren't washable markers either. I have no idea why the teenagers running this booth used markers, but all I know is that it took three days to completely wash off. And I am so thankful this was the week before Easter. Mama would not have been happy if he had woken up Easter morning with faded whiskers on his cheek.
We came home to Dothan and the following evening my sister and brother-in-law drove down for a visit and brought my nieces with them. That night we went to the drive in movies to see "The Croods." Dothan may not have a lot of cool things, but the few things it does have are very fun. I love going to drive in movies and I love that there is one just ten minutes from our house.
The next day we went to Adventureland and drove cars on the Race Track. I don't have any pictures of that since we were all driving but all I have to say about that is that my husband and brother in law totally cut me off. Next time we go back, they are so going down.

Rob got some pics of us doing bumper boats since he wouldn't ride them. I was the only adult to get on with the kids since the others were afraid of getting wet. Wimps, I tell ya.
And then it was time for a very competitive game of mini golf. We will keep score. Even with 6 kids. And you will get called out for cheating. That's how we roll.
My sis and bro-in-law had to go home that night and they took my oldest niece back with them and left the two younger girls with me for the week. Hooray! Not "hooray" that they left but "hooray" that I got my girls for the week.

We spent the next few days hanging out, roaming around town, watching movies, playing games,and enjoying being together. I love these girls so much and am so happy we are back in Alabama so I can have weeks like this again. I kept them all the time when they were younger and getting to do that again means the world to me.

We drove all over Dothan and took pictures with the giant peanuts that are in front of local businesses. I know that sounds insane, but we actually had a lot of fun shouting, "I see one! Pull over!!" and jumping out of the car, snapping a shot, and hopping back in. Lots of fun.
Have I mentioned that I love our back yard? I really enjoy hanging out back there and one night during Spring Break the temp got down in the 40's so we bundled up outside and roasted s'mores.
  And afterwards I hung out on the hammock with my girls.
Since Lainey needed to nap we had to stay inside every afternoon so she could sleep. So we made the most of it and came up with a bunch of projects.

We decorated Easter Eggs, of course.
We made Resurrection Rolls! These rolls tell the story of Easter. You place a marshmallow (Rolled in butter and sugar) inside a crescent roll and after you bake them, the marshmallow dissolves and the center of the roll is empty which represents Jesus' empty tomb.
However, mine were a total fail. I have major OCD tendencies in the kitchen and I let my kids help to an extent before I have to take over and make it perfect. I truly let them do this by themselves so the crescent rolls weren't sealed tight. There were gaps in them and I didn't realize this would prevent them from working.

See. Resurrection roll fail! Oh, well. The kids got the point of what we were trying to do and they still tasted great. But it seems like Jesus got stuck in the tomb. Not the best Easter illustration I must say.
Moving on. We also baked and decorated Easter cupcakes for the cake walk at my church's Easter carnival.
Cute Easter basket and bunny cupcakes
My first daughter, Esther was on Spring Break and was passing through Dothan on her way back to the University of Alabama. I started teaching theatre when I was 24 and Esther was in my very first drama class. I call her my first daughter because we became attached at the hip since that first class. We went to Disney World together when she was 11, she sang at my wedding reception, she was in my kids TV show for 4 years, I have directed her in many plays, I took her out for birthday ice cream every year, and so much more. She will always be my girl and I adore her! Having her stop by on her way home was awesome. I can't believe she is in college now. And a theatre major! I couldn't be any prouder.
Anyhoo, we also spent time at our local playground where sweet Lainey got to swing in the baby swing for the very first time. She loved it!

You guys still with me? Bored to tears yet? So sorry. This is what happens when I blog once a month. I have to get it all out at once.

On their last night with us, we took the kids bowling. This shot of Will is fantastic. He got so nervous every time his ball was rolling down the lane.
I love love love the next series of shots. Bennett was so happy that she got a spare and Rob captured her reactions beautifully. I really want to frame these in a series. I love the unabashed joy of children when they do something that they are proud of.
The crew.
I drove the girls back to Birmingham at the end of the week. Sutton had to get in her morning snuggles with Lainey before we headed out.
And in Birmingham my sister took us to an awesome place called Airwalk which is basically a room of nothing but trampolines. I kind of wanted to get out there and jump myself. It looked like so much fun.

There's my Will jumping to his heart's content.
 What a cool place!
I spent the night with my sister and then drove my three kids back to Dothan so I could get back in time to help out with our church's Easter carnival. It was a wonderful event and we had a great time hanging out with our church family.
And just to keep it real, this is the shot I get when I tell the kids to make silly faces. I think Lainey already understands what I mean by this.
What a wonderful week! It may have not have been Cancun or Miami Beach, but I cannot imagine a more wonderful Spring Break. I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else with any other people.

And then on the last night it was time to leave out baskets for three little Easter bunnies..... more Easter pics to come.
Hope you all had a great Spring Break! I'll see you next year in Cozumel.