Thursday, May 27, 2010


I discovered a love for pilates about a year ago. I especially love this series because it is in ten minute increments, and I can do one or more depending on how much time I have. The prenatal version has been fun, challenging, and surely going to have me in better shape post-partum than last time. The fact that the lady leading the workout is 36 weeks along keeps me motivated. This plus walking have certainly not improved any pregnancy symptoms for me, but I can at least say I feel stronger and better about myself.

Thursday Activity Take 2

So, last week we did the hopscotch, which is still a favorite. The boys play all the time. Owen really just jumps around, but Micah is really good. It has been great for their gross motor skills. Today we made "sand"-fine motor activity. This was super fun, cheap, easy, and both the boys loved it. We bought salt-$.52 and added a little to a baggie. I let the boys choose which color they wanted to make and let them squeeze the appropriate food color. Then we zipped the bag and let them squish away! They were amazed at the colors they created. After we had made several colors, we filled small jars (I could only find salt shakers on such short notice-both for $1) with layers of colors by using a funnel. Afterwards, the boys just played in the sand and mixed it, scooped it, dumped it, etc. We did this out on the deck (which conveniently gets shade until about 11) so I didn't have to worry about walking around on salt for the next two weeks! Great fun; we will definitely do it again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summertime Fun

Another post with no pictures. Sorry, I will post some new pictures of the new bunk beds soon. We are all so excited about them and are awaiting a mattress purchase for Owen to move in. We are planning fun things to do with the room, and I am frantically searching for some bedding that won't break the bank. Alas, everything WILL be okay if they don't have matching bedding for a few months and if the room is not perfect. It has in fact been a mishmash since we moved in almost three years ago. I knew one day the boys would share a room, so I never really did much in the way of decorating.

And now the reason for the post. Warning: This will get long and boring-but I need to rest my feet, and I really like to get stuff like this down on "paper" for memory's sake and for the sake of the planner in me.

Micah is out of preschool for the summer. I have mixed emotions about that. I love that I get to spend more time with my sweet first-born. I love that he loves being home. I love that Owen has a built in playmate all day every day. The first week Micah was home, Owen ran around calling "come on, friend, let's play!" With Micah being home all day every day, however, I feel more pressured to have fun things for the boys to do. For one, they will surely end up creating their own fun if not, which doesn't always match my ideas. For two, they will free-play wonderfully together for sometimes up to an hour, but given an entire day, they begin to frustrate each other. And three, Micah has never been one for entertaining himself. He gets bored easily, needs to be constantly challenged, and will get fussy and mischievous if we don't keep him occupied. This is the overwhelming part for me. I tend to work well alone, always have a million things I would like to do, never get bored, etc. Owen is similar so that when we are home alone together, we happily go about our mornings doing "stuff." In an attempt to keep the peace around here, I am trying out a little summer schedule. This is our first real week of attempting it, and so far so good.

Mondays: We will clean the house-together! I have learned that I just can't keep up with all the housework now that I am pregnant, have only about an hour of uninterrupted time each day, and have constant mess makers with one more on the way. I am very picky about the house. I like it clean-very clean. I have leaned to let some things go for a little while, but too long and I start to get ansy, fussy, and stressed. I am a firm believer that children should help with housework. We are a team, and we will always try to teach our children to help us and each other. Really, the boys think it is fun. We spent one hour on Monday cleaning the upstairs. We dusted. I gave each boy a rag and then let them take turns spraying the spray. The boys wiped first and then I went behind them. The point is not that they do a great job right now but that they learn to help joyfully. Micah actually really got into the task. He is very task oriented. Give him a goal and a specific way to do something, and man that boy can really work! Owen got more bored with this activity. He is more like Matt in that he couldn't really "see" what it was we were doing. Owen's favorite was vacuuming. He followed me with his push-along jeep as I vacuumed the carpets and stairs. Micah learned really fast how to push the Swiffer, and he tackled the hard surfaces. Then, we did the boy's bathtub. I only like to use non-toxic spray in their tub because they actually sit in there, and I don't want to breath harsh chemicals while I'm pregnant. All that to say, I felt this was a safe activity. Matt was actually home this week for an extended lunch break, so he did this with them while I ran to the grocery. He said they did a good job. What boys wouldn't love water and rags to splash around? Of course there is much more to the house than those few things, but it gave us a really good start. I think every week, I will introduce them to a new chore. We got some dollar bills at the bank so when the chores are finished, we give each boy a reward of one dollar. They put them proudly in their drawer and are saving them for fun things. Owen wants a new garbage truck and Micah wants to go to the golf course.

Tuesdays: We will visit the library for story and music time. It lasts about 30 minutes and the boys really like singing along and listening to the violinist. One thing that is so important to me is reading. Matt and I have always loved reading, and we want to pass that on to our children. Our stand with tv is that it is okay-sometimes. We don't really allow the boys to have random TV on, but we do allow a DVD or video game. That way, we can carefully select what they are watching/doing. This being said, I much prefer reading-even though it means I have to be in on the action. I really love reading to the kids. Micah never had the patience for books when he was younger. It was never an option to not read, hence always having a reading time. He just never loved it. This is so ironic because the child learned to read when he was 2 1/2! I think he was paying more attention to learning to read than the actual story-there is that "always loves a challenge" part of him. Much to my delight, all this has changed in the last month. Owen loves to be read to, and Matt or I have always spent 30 minutes or so reading to him before nap time and bed time. Micah began to feel left out and started joining us. In no time, he has picked up a love for the actual stories. The boys now want to read all the time! Whoo hoo! This makes me so happy. We read while we eat breakfast, we watch some really great You Tube clips of our favorite books where they have animated the illustrations a little, we read before bed, and lately the boys even act out scenes from their favorite stories during their playtime. I am really hoping this continues as there is so much to read and learn and explore with their little imaginations. I have put together a list of books that I want to read to them before the summer is over. We select a couple from the list at the library and then I let them each choose a book. Owen wants to choose an old favorite, and Micah likes to choose an I Spy.

Wednesdays: Meet Dada at the park for lunch! This is a fun treat as we get to see Matt and get out of the house! As it gets hotter, or rains, we may choose Chick-Fil-A and let the boys play on the playground inside.

Thursdays: We will most likely stay home. I am trying to come up with a fun, new activity to do each week. It is always nice to have a day where there is no rush to get dressed, nowhere to run in a hurry. This week we learned hopscotch. This was a game mentioned in one of the boy's recent library selections/favorites: Big Little Elephant by Valerie Gorbachev. Micah was curious, so I taught him how to play. We grabbed some sidewalk chalk and headed out to the driveway. He loved it, and this led to other fun drawings with the chalk. All in all, it took up a good hour-my goal for the Thursday activity. Next week we are making "sand" with salt and food coloring. Then, we will layer the different colors in jars. I think Micah will really like this one too.

Fridays: I assume we will have to run errands at some point;) I will leave this day open for that. If there are none pressing, we might try the science museum or zoo. We have passes to both, so going for an hour or two is always an option. Of course this is a loose schedule. If the weather is going to be great one day and not the other, we will flip flop days.

Saturdays: Yes, this day needs a spot too as Matt works two of the four every month. I am not sure about this day yet, but I would like to do something fun. It is the weekend after all. We may explore some different parks or hike around Edwin Warner-it will depend again on the weather. I don't think of Saturdays as a work day, so we might get a fun treat for lunch like my new favorite-Penn Station! They conveniently have vegan bread and "real" french fries so Owen can eat there too!

Well, now that that is all laid out, and my ever-growing body has rested, time to tackle the second part of the day-post nap-duh, duh, duh. Anybody else have a hard time in the late afternoons?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Meals on the Menu

I thought I would post a few links to some of the things that look absolutely fabulous to me. I cannot vouch for how any of them taste, but I will let you know as we try them. I am hoping to have the focus to make lists, cut coupons, shop, and cook these next week! Maybe this post will keep me motivated. Enjoy browsing!

I think I will make this as a side to a grilled flank steak and then eat it for lunch the next couple of days. I love Asian flavors and sweet potatoes, so I am excited to try this. I think I will leave out the dates though; they just don't make much sense to me in this recipe.

Um, yum. Ever sense I saw this, I have had a craving-big time. I will save it for a night when we eat a light dinner-so probably not the same night we have the flank steak and sweet potatoes ;)

This has been a favorite of mine since 2003 when I waited tables at Houston's restaurant in Memphis. Houston's is not in Nashville anymore, so I searched and found this. I haven't tried it, but it sure sounds close if not exact. I will play around with the dressing to make sure before I toss it up. This will be a great way to use the extra flank steak, arugula, and cilantro from the flank steak and sweet potato salad meal, and all those fruits and veggies will be good for mama and baby!

I know I've mentioned a lot of beef, but my iron is running low this pregnancy. I have been so sick that my vitamin has either stayed in the drawer or been lost in the toilet (sorry, but it's true) until recently. I have been taking an iron supplement for a couple of weeks and craving red meat (not surprising) hence all the beef!

Maybe this can be the light meal before the cobbler!

Now that my mouth is watering, I better move on to another task as dinner is still a few hours away-! Tonight we are having thai wraps with a peanut sauce that I made up.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Gender Mix-Up

Well, this is a funny story!

I had typed out an entire blog post on Tuesday evening introducing the world (or at least the 20 or so of you who read this) to our newest baby boy. I decided to wait until Wednesday to publish it because we were having our medical ultrasound, and I wanted to also be able to tell you about the health of the baby. Our baby is one healthy, laid back baby! During the ultrasound I could tell the baby was not super active and the heart rate is at least 10bpm lower than the boys ever were. I kept asking if everything was okay and the technician assured me that the baby looked great and that some just aren't super active. We finished up the medical part of the ultrasound and moved on to the fun part-feet, hands, face, etc. She knew we wanted to know the gender and told us she would wait until the end to let us know. I hadn't told her that we had a previous ultrasound at an imaging center, because I still wanted her to give us the special treatment and show us good pictures of the baby. Anyway, at the end she said "I'm curious, why do you keep referring to the baby as he?" I told her about the ultrasound a couple of weeks before, and her face broke out in a smile. I knew what was about to be said, and my heart started pumping. "It's a girl, isn't it?" She confirmed that it was indeed a girl and she wasn't sure about what was seen a few weeks ago. The baby had her legs open for the majority of the time. Not once was there a sign of boy parts, and we got several good looks at girl parts. Okay, in case all this is too long and boring and you have stopped reading: let me just summarize for you:


Whew, we are still processing this news, as we had started thinking about our baby as a boy. We are switching gears and getting really really excited to bring a baby girl into our family. I still have moments where I think maybe they were wrong again. The good news is: there was one view of the heart that our sleepy headed baby wouldn't move for. We will have a repeat scan in a few weeks, and she will confirm the gender for us. In the technician's words though, "I am 99% sure about this one-you can't miss it." So for now, we are loving our little

Margot Josephine!

Look at those long, thin thighs. They look just like Micah. We never got a good face shot because she insisted on staying buried in her placenta pillow!

This is her precious little foot. Her toes are all perfectly lined up just like Owen. I can't wait to meet her and see what she looks like in person.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

After the Flood

We are still in state of shock around here as we recover from the big flood. I use the term "we" loosely as we escaped the disaster with only a few tears and long days with no power. The rains began pouring on Saturday while we were in the midst of gathering with family to learn the gender of my brother's baby as well as our own (more on that later-we are having another boy, are thrilled, and will formally introduce him on the blog once we have his full name picked out!) By the time we arrived home from our busy, fun, soggy day-we were beat and ready for bed. We awoke the next morning to a power outage and more rain. We stayed close to home as many of the roads were already flooded. We prayed for families who were losing their homes right before our eyes, and we gathered around neighbors to keep up with the news. We had no cell phones in our house, were basically on an island as far as road closures, and really had no idea what was going on. We ventured out on foot every time there was a break in the rain. We do live along the Harpeth River (skipping rocks in it is one of our all-time favorite activities), but bear in mind that the river is really quite narrow, shallow, and is a good 7-8 minute walk from our house. They don't even sell flood insurance to homeowners in our neighborhood because we are considered a no-flood zone. Our wildest imaginations could not prepare us for what we would see that afternoon as we walked to the end of our street. The river had come all the way up and was flooding the homes that lie on the street perpendicular to ours. We watched and stood with our fellow neighbors as we saw many of people's possessions float downstream. People were rescued by neighbors from their second story windows where they had previously assumed they were safe. We stood, helpless, as people lost everything they owned. The waters never reached our home. The Lord protected us from a very dangerous situation, and we are so thankful. We continue to pray for those around us as we are amidst a disaster like I have never seen in person.

This is the path we walk along every night that takes us down to another path which runs along the river. Because of the trees and drop-off, you usually can't even view the river from this spot.
This is the street that runs perpendicular to us. This was taken around noon. It got much worse before it got better. I think this was the point where we went home and moved many of our belongings to the second floor.
The boys were dumbfounded. They thought nothing of all the water of course-they just thought that was fun. They did, however, sense the seriousness of the situation and were quite clingy/fussy the whole day.
The owner of the white BMW in the background had to move his car to higher ground as the waters rose literally before our eyes. An hour later we couldn't even make it this far down the street.
Heading out to see the river. I don't think they realized it would be at the bottom of our street!