Thursday, July 30, 2009


That's what comes to mind when I think of swinging-freedom. It's been a while since I was last on a swing. Not that I wasn't around one practically every day during the school year, but at those times, I was telling little ones to sit correctly, push your friend from behind the swing, don't jump from the swing, etc. Now that we've had Gavin, there's been a few opportunities to be around swings this summer, but they are mostly the full enclosure swings and I'm not about to try to get myself into one of those.

That was until a few days ago, when D. had Gavin playing in another swing and I decided that it was my turn. At that moment there was nothing better than feeling my feet lift from the ground and the breeze blowing in my hair. It kind of takes you back a few years. But in this particular moment, I was in a place I'll reveal at a later time, but let's just say I could hear the waves crashing in the ocean. Yes, the ocean, not the Gulf.

When was the last time you were in a swing? It's rejuvenating. And, if you don't believe me, take a look at the smile on this kid's face.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Children's Museum

If you're in the Houston area, check out the Children's Museum. We went there with Gavin for the first time. Actually, I think I had been there before to do some volunteer work years ago, but this time we got to explore it all.

I have to say that I think Gavin will enjoy it more when he's a little older as there are tons more things for him to do. But they did do a great job with the Toddler area upstairs. That's where we spent most of our time. Gavin loved it, especially the small sized cars they could sit in. That probably comes from his love of riding the mule - the golf cart, not animal.

Here's a little tip, plan to wear shoes and socks that day because everyone has to take their shoes off in the Toddler area and either wear socks or hospital type shoes that surgeons wear.

It was also nice because they limit that area to just two years old and under. There's no worries of big kids hogging the toys or accidentally stepping on a baby.

The rest of the Museum is pretty neat too. It has lots of activities to feed the brain. They have a mock city where kids can earn pretend salaries and shop for groceries, take their "animals" to the vet, join an art studio, or order food.

Here's Gavin picking out some chicken for dinner.

D. and Gavin did a little art work for us. I don't think I was their muse though.

There's even an outside butterfly garden and water experiment area. Just don't plan on bringing a bathing suit for the kids. It's not that kind of water park.

Gavin helped us find our way around the two-story museum using the map. Although his way of using the map was to play Peek-a-boo with it.

From the smiles on their faces, we had a pretty good day.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Surf and Turf

Gavin and I went to the beach this week. Actually we went twice, but I only have pictures from one day. There are some really cute pictures on my phone from the second day, but I'll have to figure out how to transfer them to my computer.

It was his second time to the beach and I think he's getting the hang of it. I'll be honest, I'm not too crazy about having sand everywhere and I would much rather be in fresh or chlorinated water, but once I see and hear the waves crashing to shore, all is well.

It was especially pleasant yesterday when my little buddy took an hour nap in my arms while I got to people watch. I think I would have made the day without getting sunburned except that the sun was peeking in through our umbrella during that time and so I have a nice red strip down one side of my leg.

When I take Gavin down to the water, the part he seems to enjoy the most is sitting between my legs in the shallow water as the waves come by. He got really excited about one wave and was laughing until the next wave came by and splashed water in his face. He was a little more cautious from then on out.

Just look at those cheeks.

Despite being covered in sand, only once did I see him attempt to put a sand covered hand to his mouth.

This is just one of the many crabs that kept popping up out of holes in the sand and then going back down again. I think one threw something one time.

Gavin kept trying to put my sunglasses on and this is about as far as he got.

And not long after we left, he fell fast asleep.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday

***I know I only posted this a couple of weeks ago, but I'm reposting because Kelly's Korner is hosting a share your kid's birthday party link system to help generate ideas for everyone. If you're new to our blog- welcome!

For Gavin's 1st birthday, we went with a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme. Beware, this post is going to have quite a few pictures. First let's start with the cake. I got the idea from here a cake someone else had done similarly. As soon as I can figure out the links, I'll post it.

And this is what it turned out to look like:

Making red icing is really, really hard. I know you can buy it already made, but I wasn't having much luck finding it. There's a good reason why we decided to have his cake outside (red and green icing don't mix with tan carpet and furniture.)

I actually liked Gavin's personal cake just as much, but the little guy wasn't having any of it.

In fact, he couldn't get past having the icing on his fingers and this is about as far as he got with his cake.

After the paint fiasco at Mother's Day, I'm really beginning to think he may be more of a paint brush kind of guy.

I made Gavin's banner using the die cut machine at work. I strung it with ribbon and taped the pieces on the back to each other. I think it did best hanging against a wall because of the weight of it.

Here's a little bit closer shot.

The kids' party favor bags were filled with a Very Hungry Caterpillar coloring sheet I downloaded from Eric Carle's website. I rolled them up and tied with twine. The bags also contained fruit shaped snacks, bug stickers, a mini pinwheel and were topped off with labels found on etsy.

For the adults, I bought these cute party crackers on sale. I first saw something like these on the Mr. Bean show. They're pretty popular in Britain. When twisted, they make a firecracker pop sound and there's a prize hidden inside.

I don't really have a wide shot of the backyard, but we set it up two large tents or else all of our guests were going to be large puddles of sweat in the 90 degree heat.

I had a station for all of the kids to plant a seed to take home. They decorated their pot with washable markers and bug stickers and before they left I tied them up in cellophane bags and red ribbon so that parents wouldn't have a bunch of soil dumped in their cars.

While the kids were planting, I scattered plastic bugs around the yard. One was a prize bug with a blue mark on the bottom. The child who won, got a large pinwheel lollipop. I think the kids really enjoyed the bug hunt. After some time of playing outside with the other toys and ball pit, we headed inside for refreshments.

For the food, I had prepared with the help of Nonna and Me Me the foods from the Very Hungry Caterpillar book. We had things such as a large fruit salad, watermelon, cheese and summer sausage, lollipops, cherry pie and chocolate cake brownies.

D. scanned in pictures from the book to put on the front of the table, and my mom helped me create an outside scene on top of the table using butcher paper and die cuts.

Gavin even took a couple more steps that day.

He then opened presents while everyone else cooled off inside watching A Bug's Life.

We are so blessed by having all of our family and friends celebrate this wonderful first year of Gavin's life.

Thirteen Months

And thirteeen still proves to be a blessed number for us. Gavin is now thirteen months old. Not even a year anymore because parents talk in months at this age. I still want to say he's one because thst means he's not inching toward that two year old mark yet.

At thirteeen months, Gavin:
>Takes a few steps
>Plants his feet when stepping toward someone and chooses he would rather fall forward instead of moving those little toes
>Likes to share his food by feeding us
>Waves his hand and makes mmmm sounds when he wants more food or milk
>Says Ma Ma, Da Da, and hi. It also sounded like he's said car, eye, and book.
>Gives the wettest, open-mouthed kisses
>Still sleeps with his mouth open and smiles in his sleep
>Does a great job with his sippee cup and manages to put it back on the table upright when he's not in a hurry
>Loves water and thinks it's fun to drink out of a water bottle
>Drank milk out of a big kid's cup today
>Wants Mommy when something isn't right, but laughs most with Daddy
>Is not wanting to eat his vegetables right now, but we'll keep trying
>Loves bread, cheese, chicken, strawberries, blueberries, waffles, puffs, dried fruit and Cheerios
>Can crawl out of his stroller
>Loves Mr. Rabbit. We tried for a more unique name, but Mr. Rabbit stuck over Wigglesworth.
>Will smile at anyone with a smile
>Claps his hands and moves his arms to music
>Tries to put objects or food back in their container
>Thinks it's so funny to fall backwards when sitting up
>Loves driving smalls cars found in parks
>Laughs when he burps or sneezes
>Is becoming sweeter every day

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Screaming for ice cream

Little boy doesn't like cake, but he sure does like his ice cream, and mommy's and daddy's. And his eyes are begging for more!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The luckiest

Today is mine and D.'s seven year wedding anniversary. Yep, that's right on the lucky 13th. Seven years on 7-13. For us, we've been pretty lucky. No scratch that. We've been blessed. I couldn't imagine myself with anyone else. We don't complete each other since I don't really believe in that, but we do complement each other.

D., thank you for being a wonderful husband, friend, and this past year father to our son. You never cease to amaze me and I couldn't be more proud to be your wife. I'm looking forward to 70 more years with you filled with fun; laughter; I'm sure some heartache; and many more times of saying "What am I going to do with you?" after your crazy antics. You have a heart of gold, words of comfort, and the best smile ever. I love you. Yep, even more than I did on this day. It just keeps getting better.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Digging to China

Things haven't changed. When Gavin used to sleep in our room up until he was about 3 months old, we would hear all sorts of noises from him. He would kick his feet back and forth in his cradle making these scratching sounds. We thought he might be trying to dig a hole to the other end of the Earth. When we moved him to his baby bed, he would continue to move around constantly. It was like he was a puppy dog, trying to find just the right spot to rest. I do feel sorry for babies since they are not supposed to have anything in their bed. We eventually gave him his Mr. Rabbit pillow which he still loves. Before that, he made due with resting his head on the bumper pads.

Well, last night D. was working late and Gavin woke up crying. This hardly ever happens that he wakes up in the middle of the night, but call it loneliness or being tired, I put Gavin in bed with me. Let me say it again- things haven't changed. That little boy was all over the place. I had a leg in my stomach, an arm by my eye and at one point I was worried he was going to roll off a king sized bed. He would wake up, adjust his pillow, shift to one side, roll to the other. There were probably even some Olympic committee approved gymnastic moves thrown in for good measure. I really do feel sorry for his wife one day, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised he moves so much. I don't think I'll ever forget those wonderful miracle-of-life kicks in the ribs during my pregnancy!

I don't have pictures of this rumpus event from last night, but I do have one of him holding Mr. Rabbit pre-bedtime and a few from our trip to the park yesterday.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Whys Have It

I'm not one to question things too much, but would rather go with the flow. I have my own opinions of course. I just like to figure them out myself. Well, today I was caught asking "why" a whole lot. Case in point- why did I have to break another glass bottle for the second time this week when I probably haven't broken anything glass in two plus years? And why did it happen now when my son is crawling all over the place and wants to follow me from room to room? Oh, and here's another one. Why did previously mentioned son have to cry basically nonstop from 5 to 8 p.m. this evening? Or why did I need to stay on hold for an hour and a half waiting to speak with someone from customer service to have them finally pick up during the first thirty minutes of my son's wailing session? And lastly, why did I have to lose my earring in Target and not find it even after I retraced all of my steps?

I caught myself saying this is the worst day. But is it really? Did anyone I know die? Was anyone hurt? Isn't my family all healthy and protected from illness or disease? So, am I just in saying it was the worst day? Probably not. In the moment was I not frustrated? Well that's a resounding YES! But, I know I have hope. I have hope for a new tomorrow. I have hope that my son will stop throwing his food on the ground and eat something other than cheese or chicken. And I have hope that I will not break anymore glass because we are only using plastic from here on out.

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Boys, Oh My!

My sister-in-law and I decided to take the boys to the zoo yesterday. We arrived bright and early to beat the crowds and the sun, both of which we were pretty successful. I think if either of us has a girl one day, it's going to be a whole new ballgame (or tea party), but for today, it was fun watching boys be boys.

We had several interesting conversations with the boys or should I say boy since Ayden is the only one of the three speaking something more than baby sounds or calls of the wild. The first conversation went something like this.

Me: Ayden what do you think we'll see today?
Ayden: Animals
Me: What kind of animals?
A: Birds and bears
Me: Do you think we'll see any dogs?
A: No. Dogs don't live at the zoo.
Me: Where do they live?
A: At houses
Me: But people live at houses
A: So do dogs, but they are not people, except for Toni (my mother-in-law's dog).
Me: Oh, really..... Why is Toni a person?
A: Because she eats people food.

To a four-year-old that makes sense. We saw lots of animals, but didn't get very many pictures of them, mainly because we were taking pictures of the boys. However, to our amusement, we did see a couple of dogs. Meet Max. He's the elephant's guard dog and companion.

We decided to put the two older boys together in a double stroller. We all thought it was a great idea, well that is except for Ayden. It fit the boys and all of our stuff, but Ayden didn't appreciate Gavin's loving attempt to pat older cousin on the head, repeatedly. We have to give him credit, he was patient. He just very matter-of-factly said that Gavin needed his own stroller.

Needless to say, Ayden didn't get his way, but they seemed to come to terms with being stroller buddies. If this picture could have a caption, it would be, "My, what big eyes you have!"

Not to be left out, here's a picture of trooper sister-in-law and the cuddly Logan. He slept and ate in his little pouch, content as could be.

The trip wasn't complete without visiting the Children's portion of the zoo. The two older boys played on the playground. Gavin basically crawled over this little slide thing most of the time.

We had a great time with plans to go again soon. Tip: Buy a zoo membership. It more than pays for itself in just three trips.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Water Polo on the 4th

We had a grand ol' time celebrating Independence Day with the family. Although Gavin is already a year old it was his first time to go swimming. You can see the hesitation in his face when Grand daddy was first holding him in the pool.

But he soon got the hang of it. Maybe it was me singing him the Rubber Ducky song like when I give him a bath.

Eventually, he was splashing me and everyone one else in a four foot radius with water.

If you followed the blog recently, you would have already read about the braided horse-capade. Well, Me Me found another horse and this one, although at least twice as big, has twice as much heart. And no braids! Gavin actually took to this horse and didn't want to get off. It was so funny to see him puff out his chest and curl his lip in with excitement.

After a feast that would put Martha Stewart to shame, we headed over to my parents' house to meet Martha's twin Nonna. She fed us well, and we gave Mr. Man a bath. He has sweetly started trying to feed me when he's eating. I guess he thought since he had a cup in the bath tub, it was the perfect opportunity to feed me imaginary food.

We had planned on heading home before it was dark, but it was nice to see all of the fireworks going off at night as we drove down the freeway. Thanks to everyone for such a memorable day.