Wednesday, September 28, 2011

30 Before Thirty

I'm sure most people have heard of the concept of a "bucket list".  Well, here is another popular thing to do and it's to make a list of 30 things that you'd like to accomplish/do before you turn thirty.  Since I'm a little late in the game on this one and have less than one year to finish my list I've tried to be realistic.  Keep in mind that I have a limited budget with which to work with, limited time, and three little ones that need my constant care.  That said, I'm pretty sure I can get these things done, in fact, I can already cross off one thing!  To be fair, I did start making this list before I did # 3, so that counts in my book.  

30 Before 30
  1. Purchase a beginner piano book and learn a simple song
  2. Take a train ride (on a non-kiddy train)
  3. Walk through a corn maze
  4. Write 5 handwritten letters to friends
  5. Fly a kite with my boys
  6. Plant daffodil bulbs in front yard
  7. Take a meal to a new mom
  8. Pay it forward
  9. Visit Connor
  10. Try out a new recipe
  11. Go Christmas Caroling
  12. Post my 500th blog post
  13. Donate to a charity
  14. Have a party (not for my children)
  15. Take a good friend to lunch
  16. Do something nice for a neighbor
  17. See a movie at the theater with Derek
  18. Decide where Chandler will go to Kindergarten
  19. Visit a new city
  20. Read one book for fun
  21. Update our mailbox
  22. Figure out how to upload videos to the blog
  23. Have a progressive dinner party
  24. Bring a meal to somebody who is sick/has sick kids
  25. Try a “fancy” cupcake
  26. Volunteer at the preschool
  27. Bake & Decorate cookies with my 3 messy boys
  28. Have a live Christmas tree for the first time in 10+ years
  29. Visit the Biltmore House, or at least plan the trip*
  30. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride, or plan it!*
*Disclaimer.....I put that I'd like to plan # 29 & 30 since it's doubtful that I'll do these before I turn 30.  Since I'll still be nursing Maverick at that point, I won't be leaving him for a weekend away anytime soon.  Maybe these can occur in the Fall of 2012, at least the year that I turn 30.  Also, I'd like to mention that I had to do some sweet talking to convince my sweetie to do # 30 with me since he has declared boldly on more than one occasion that he will not ride in a hot air balloon.  I think it's a control issue for him since he likes to be in control and not just headed wherever the wind takes him.  This can be seen as a metaphor for his life too (I think).  

Wish me luck!  Occasionally I'll repost this list with updates on what I do.  To get me started, I'd like to "Pay it Forward" to the first three people to comment on this post.  Sorry, this is for non-related people only.  I was inspired by Four Bright Eyes with her post about paying it forward.  She sent me a handmade tea towel that was so nice.  I will make a handmade gift that will be delivered or mailed before I turn 30 to the lucky recipients.  Hopefully they will be inspired to "Pay it Forward" as well.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spotlight on: Chandler

I just wanted to post today about my firstborn, Chandler.  He is approaching 4 1/2 and is just an amazing little boy.  He can certainly push my (and Brighton's and Daddy's) buttons when he wants to, but is overall a great kid.  He is so thoughtful and caring and all of his teachers be it at preschool, Awana, or MOPS, just rave about what a good helper he is and how he is so well behaved.  Hopefully that means I'm doing something right!

Above is a picture of his latest "craft" at MOPS.  This year in the 4s & 5s class they really do an advanced craft every week.  That is certainly a testament to the devotion that these teachers have to the Lord.  They do this with no pay, only receiving the blessings that these kids bring to their lives.  You may not can tell, but the picture on the pillow is of Chandler, and it was taken exactly two weeks ago at our last MOPS meeting.  The funny/amazing thing to me is that Chandler has on the exact shirt in both the picture and today.  I had to do a double-take.  He is really proud of his new pillow, and so am I.

Chandler is really starting to grow up in terms of his learning too.  He likes to write out his letters and is getting really good at sounding out the letters in words.  We practice a little during his quiet time each day and I've recently bought him some more workbooks since he has flown through all the ones I bought in August.  He is doing some beginning Math with counting and adding and is always wanting more to do.  I've been reading out loud the Magic Tree House book series to him and he really enjoys hearing about "Jack & Annie" and pretends to be on whatever adventure they are on too.

Chandler is also a great big brother to both Brighton and Maverick.  He (generally) is very helpful to them whenever they need something and loves to show them anything new.  I'm so proud to be his mama!

Monday, September 26, 2011

6 month stats

Maverick's 6 Month Stats

Weight: 17 lbs 1 oz (40 %)
Length:  26.75" (55 %)
Head: 44 cm (50 %)

Also, Maverick is now "sleeping through the night" and goes down about 7:30 p.m. and gets up between 6-7 a.m.  I prefer when he gets up about 7 a.m.  He is still swaddled for naptime, although we keep his arms out.  My little cutie pie has currently tried sweet potatoes, bananas, pears, and apples.  I think we'll let him try some juice or water in a cup soon and see how he likes that. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Survival Tips...

When you find yourself being a single parent, the key for survival is:




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The City of Steel...

So, I can't remember the last time that I have actually written a post to this blog. At one point, I was the only one that posted to this blog! So, Mommy has some posts about life at home without Daddy for the week. I thought I'd pitch in and show you where Daddy is and what he is up to....for those who care..... I am in Pittsburgh all week for business. I'm an explorer, so when I'm not busy with the conference or meeting with clients and colleagues, I'm on the go...I really should have brought my sneakers, because my feet and calves are pretty sore from the amount of walking I've been doing. Pittsburgh seems pretty neat in that regard though, for a fairly large city, seems like you can walk to most places if you're willing. Here's where I'm staying....

Kinda neat to have a city with both the professional football stadium, the professional baseball stadium, and the professional hockey stadium, all within walking distance:

To the southside of the city is a small mountain that has cable car like things that are on a track, and you ride up them to the top. The view of the city below is pretty neat:

So, on my way back to the hotel this evening, I overheard on the street some people talking about the Penguins having a gave this evening....while pointing out the traffic around downtown. So, out of curiosity, I jokingly asked the concierge at my hotel, if she had any ideas of possible ways to get cheap tickets. I really wasn't expecting anything...but the concierge is really friendly and fun to talk I gave it a shot. I think my wife has taught me this (she is really good at getting deals and finding out information by asking a question to someone who I thought would never be able to help or have any information on the subject matter) and it is really starting to rub off. It pays to a result I scored this seat to the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings preseason game tonight:

So, the concierge worked closely with a broker, and literally, no more than 15 minutes went by and the ticket was hand delivered to my hotel room. How much did the ticket cost you may ask? Well...again, I was interested in cheap tickets, so I wasn't going to spend much. So, the face value of the ticket was $180...I went to the game, having to spend more for nachos and a pepsi than I did for that $180 face value ticket. Good deal for $25. Here are some more pictures of the city I took...

Overall a good trip. I am definitely not used to the traveling lifestyle...neat for a change. But honestly, and I really am being honest (not just saying what my wife wants to hear), I do miss my wife and boys terribly. Can honestly say it is hard not kissing them goodnight.

I will be home soon....

Maverick's Playdate

Today Maverick had his first playdate that was truly his own.  No big brothers interfering, just Maverick and his buddy, Cameron.  Cameron is only 5 days older than Maverick so they will grow up being best buds.  Cameron has one older sister who was in Kindergarten while C&B were in preschool this morning, so it worked out great.  I forgot my camera, but Cameron's mommy let me use her 
I-phone to grab a quick pic of the boys at play!  Cameron is a mover and shaker who is already cruising!  
We had a great time and can't wait to do it again!

In other news, Maverick "slept through the night" last night in terms of not eating.  He stirred and fussed for about 10-15 minutes about 1 a.m. but then dozed until 6:15 a.m. when he woke up and nursed and THANKFULLY got about 1 more hour of sleep before beginning his day.  

Here's a picture of something I'm not sharing.  Our neighbor brought over 6 of these decadent berries for us because he won't eat them all and his wife doesn't like them?!?  Anyways, they have been an awesome treat for me and there's no way I'm wasting them on C & B.  They can have a lollipop or something else.  These have been heavenly!  YUM!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm Pooped!

Today has been a looonng day!  I decided that three children wasn't enough of a challenge and agreed to take on two more for half of the day.  I had my pastor's two youngest daughters that are in sixth and first grade.  It was nice to have the company, but also a challenge keeping everybody happy and entertained for the morning.  We took a walk to a nearby playground and had a picnic lunch.  

Mimi and Granddaddy Bob got this onesie from the beach.  It's 18-month size and already fits!
 It's 8 p.m. and everybody (but me) is in bed.  I'll be headed there soon too.  Unfortunately I still need to clean up dinner and make lunches for preschool tomorrow.  Granddaddy Bob dropped off a pizza for dinner, so that was a nice treat!  Thanks!  Preschool will be a welcome break tomorrow.  Maverick and I also have plans for a playdate with a little boy only 5 days older than him.  Cameron is already crawling, so maybe Maverick can learn a new trick?

Isn't the back adorable??
I wanted to show a picture of M's backside, because 1. It's so cute and 2. It has kept me super busy today.  Since Maverick is now eating a little bit these days it has put his digestive track into high gear.  This little guy has gone from pooping once every two weeks to FIVE, yes FIVE times TODAY!  Needless to say, this required a bath tonight as his little bottom is sore.  I hope he slows down with this soon.  Well, goodnight....dishes are still waiting :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

He left us.....on a jet plane

Waking up from a nap all smiles

Just a random plane....
Yes, that's right.....Daddy left for PA today.  Here's a small update (mainly for him) as to how we are doing without him.

He already knows that Maverick decided to not nap in the afternoon after dropping Daddy off to the airport.  That kinda threw everything off, but after a third nap, I thought we were back on track.  For the most part, we were.  We took several walks around the neighborhood and bedtime actually went smooth.  It was the time after bedtime (8 p.m.) till 9:30 that was not so smooth.

The big boys that share a room were up and down and being loud and not falling to sleep like they normally do.  After warnings, and one disciplinary measure each, they still did not understand that mommy meant business.  The resulting spanking at 9:30 p.m. produced silence and sleep for us all.  Trust me, tomorrow will go better....

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fall Fun at the Farm!

This year we decided to forego our usual trip to Hillridge Farms and try out a smaller, closer farm for some Fall Fun!  There was a living social deal to Phillips Farm (in Cary) so that sweetened the pot even more.  We went there today for some Family time before daddy left for PA.

It was just the right amount of stuff to do for our little crew.  There was the corn maze that we did first.  Luckily there was a scaled down version that took about 15 minutes (instead of the hour + for the large one!)  As I have no sense of direction in there, it was a good thing Daddy came too since the mini version could have taken us a hour!

Brighton's silly face on the tube swing!

There was also a hay ride and a cow pull.  There were slides and swings, and a maze made with hay bales that the boys did no less than 5 times in a row!  One of my favorite things was the corn "sand"box.  I'm not a fan of sand boxes because boys + sand = bath.  The corn just shakes right off, but has the same effect.  Maverick was quite content sitting in the corn, and tried to sneak a few pieces in his mouth when you weren't looking.

Brighton could have swam in the corn all afternoon!  He came home with about 1 cup of corn in his britches.  That boy is so silly.

Here's another picture of my little sweetie sitting on the giant hay stacks.  He tried eating the hay too.  He also did a face plant in the hay and wasn't too happy about that!
Another fun thing was the pedal go-karts.  Both mommy and daddy had a turn with Brighton in our laps since he wasn't quite big/strong enough to pedal one alone.

All in all, we had a fun afternoon there.  They even had a small snack shack and we were able to get some BBQ sandwiches for dinner....yum!

Half the year gone by.....

Wow!  How is it possible that 6 months have come and gone since Maverick joined our family?  Our little guy is changing all the time and hardly seems like a little baby anymore, he's starting to look more like a boy than a baby.  It will be a week or so before I post some stats on Maverick since I'm avoiding the pediatrician this week while Derek is out of town.  I'll have enough on my plate with three little boys without adding any shots to the mix!

 Here's Maverick at six months!  Maverick is starting to sit up more and more for longer stretches.  He LOVES watching his brothers play and especially when they play with him.  Maverick has started eating about 1 oz of baby food at dinner time.  I'm sure that will increase steadily this month.  His sleep habits are still not where we'd want them to be, but it's manageable.  He goes to sleep about 7:30-8 p.m. and wakes up about 3 a.m. to nurse and then gets up for the day about 7-7:30 a.m.  He takes a morning nap from about 9-10:30 a.m. and then an afternoon nap from 1-3 p.m. sometimes a little longer if we are lucky.  He's almost phased out the third nap completely, but sometimes still takes a 30-45 minute nap late afternoon.  As for swaddling, he's no longer swaddled at night, but is swaddled with his arms out for naptime.
Here's an action shot of Maverick in his swing.  I know this swing won't be around for too much longer, but he really likes it for now.  He also likes the outdoor swingset.  Maverick still enjoys lying under the playgym and watching cars race by him during "tummy time".  It will probably be a few more months before he starts crawling, but you never know.  He loves toys that light up and make noise.  The louder the better :)

This past month he's really started reaching out and grabbing things, my hair included.  He loves it when you talk to him and is starting to talk back more and more.  With the change in weather recently, he's just now starting to wear socks.  These have also become a new play toy as he tries to yank them off.

No teeth yet, but they are coming soon (hopefully).  His little hands get raw from him chewing on them all the time!  He really likes chewing on his Sophie (the squeaky giraffe) too.  Oh, and he's still pooping once about every 10-14 days, but since I started some food he went after only 5 days!  I think this phase is going to end.....oh well, it was good while it lasted :)

That's all for now....I'll post stats after his 6-month check up on 9/26.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Who ordered the cold weather??

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The things that matter....

I found the following questions very insightful in figuring out what really matters...
How would you answer them?
(Excerpted from God’s Grand Vision for the Home by Dr. Rob Rienow.)
When your son or daughter leaves your home someday, which one of the following would you want most for them?
a) To be successful academically
b) To be successful athletically
c) To be successful socially
d) To be a person of faith and character
Personally, I would like to have another option, “e) All of the above.” But if you could only have one, which one would you choose? You most likely said that faith and character are most important. At least it seems like the “right answer.”
Let me change the question a bit. Which of the following parenting issues gets the best of your time, effort, money, anxiety, and planning?
a) Academics
b) Athletics
c) Social life
d) Faith and character development
If you had to rank them in order of the amount of time, money, and effort that goes into each one, what would come out on top? What would come out on the bottom? I asked myself these questions in my role as a father, and the answers were challenging. The thing that I claimed was most important to me — the faith and character development of my children — was often at the bottom of my actual priority list.
Let’s imagine that all of my children turn out to be smart, athletic, popular, polite and hardworking. It would seem that they would be poised for all the success the world has to offer. But what if they didn’t love God, and know His plan for their lives? Most importantly of all, what if they don’t get safely home to heaven?
There is nothing wrong with being great at sports, getting good grades, or being well-liked. The danger is that if these things become our focus, we can completely miss the things that truly matter.

 As I've mentioned before, Chandler and Brighton are both participating in AWANA this year.

We are so fortunate that we have this program for the boys.  They have a great time and are learning about God's word while having fun.  They attend on Wednesday nights.  Brighton is in the "Puggles" group and will have a chance to earn a vest in "Cubbies" next year.  His uniform will be a yellow t-shirt, which he will love since it's his favorite color.

Chandler is in his second year of Cubbies this year and is working hard to earn the rest of his badges.  This year is harder for him because he has to memorize the verse and the scripture reference.  We are so proud that our boys are in this program and that they love learning about God.  Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mr. Masters Degree

All of my boys have been "Infant Scientists" for Duke University.  It is something to do, we enjoy it, and the boys and I like the rewards we get.  Today, Maverick went to Duke to participate in his second research study.  He came home with this neat T-shirt.  The keys in the picture were what he "picked" last time we were there.  I decided to go with the 18-month size T, so he could wear it next summer.  

Here is a picture of his "Masters Degree" since he is so well versed in infant studies now.  This study was about how babies perceive numbers and had a series of dots on two different computer screens for Maverick to look at.  He did great and didn't fuss the whole time.

Here's a close up of M's picture with Pooh.  He is so stinking cute!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How to Feed a baby

How to Feed a Baby.

Step 1:  Cook a suitable food for baby to try

Step 2:  Put food into blender/food processor and puree until smooth.
Add water as needed to get the right consistency based on your baby's age.

Step 3:  Portion any leftovers (and there will be plenty) into small freezable containers for future use.

Step 4:  Feed Baby his first food!

Yes, that's right, Maverick tried his first food today.  He's just shy of 6 months old so we thought we'd let him start sampling some foods.  Although he's smiling in the above picture, I wouldn't call the sweet potatoes a hit.  He probably actually ate about 2 or 3 baby spoonfuls if that.  He lost interest quickly and was ready to get out and play.  We're not really giving him food now to "feed" him since the breastmilk more than takes care of that.  He's at the age where he's ready to try something new and we are letting him.  We'll keep him on the sweet potatoes and then let him try something else in a few days.  Maybe banana?

Cute as a Bug

I think that Maverick might go as a bug for Halloween.  He's already too big (in length) for this costume, so I may modify it somehow.  Anyways, he's definitely cute as a bug!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Raleigh Home Show

Today we decided to go to the Raleigh home show downtown.  We have grand plans to someday add an addition to our house and thought we could go and get some ideas, get some business cards, and generally have something to do on a Saturday afternoon.  After naptime, we loaded up the car (Grandma wanted to come too) and set off for downtown.  

I've never been to the new convention center, and I'll have to say I was quite impressed.  It is a very nice facility.  The boys had a great time going from booth to booth hunting for candy that the various venders had out to try and attract customers.  There was even a sample of a V-8 like juice that they quickly gobbled down.  Well, Chandler drank it.  When the vendor asked what Brighton thought he said (with a puzzled look on his face), "is this apple juice?!?"  The vendor said to me, "wow, it's so great, he thinks it's apple juice!"  Brighton then said maybe it was strawberry juice since it was red in color.  The vendor was quite pleased and took a picture of my boys "enjoying" the juice.  After we got out of earshot (hopefully) Brighton handed me his cup, and said this juice is stinky and yucky.  I guess those two comments wouldn't get you many customers.....

After the show we thought we'd try to find a place to eat downtown for dinner.  Something quick and easy since it was already after 5 p.m.  We then proceeded to do this:

We walked and walked and walked and walked all over downtown Raleigh looking for a place to eat that was not a bar, that was open, or that was accessible.  There were many outdoor concerts/events going on and many a place was barricaded with no easy way to get there.  Although we could see places to eat, we had to press on.  After walked what seemed like forever to me, and definitely the kids, we arrived on the opposite side of Moore square from Marbles museum.  Since we knew there was a Roly Poly sub shop near Marbles, we pressed forward.  Unfortunately they were CLOSED!!  We went in the Imax to use the potty and then had to backtrack, and FINALLY found a subway.  After daddy woofed down his sandwich we made him head back solo for the car.

We let the boys play in Moore square after dinner and they had a great time.  Next time I think we'd be better packing a picnic or just going home.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And then he was sitting....

Not to be outdone by his older brothers, Maverick decided to have a "first" today too.  He finally decided he could sit up for long enough for me to take a picture (therefore making it count!)

He's still a little wobbly, and can only give you 10-15 seconds when he's really trying, but that's a start.

Way to go Maverick!

First Day of Preschool for C&B

Today was the boys' first day of preschool.  Both were very excited, but especially Brighton since this was really his first day of Preschool and he was finally getting to go.  

Here's Brighton at the front door with his "too heavy" bag.  Sorry for the foggy pictures.  I think the lens was foggy from the humidity and we didn't have time to mess with any "settings"  Maybe Daddy can fix this later?

 Here's Chandler.  He was insistant that he wear his Spiderman t-shirt today.  He was also very happy and excited to go.  We were all up, dressed, breakfast, teeth and hair brushed and out the door before 8:30 a.m.  I decided to make a quick run to the library to return our books and we were still 20 minutes early for school.  Better early than late I always say.
Here's Chandler in his classroom.  I love the smile on his face, even though another little boy ran into the shot.  Once we dropped Chandler off, it was Brighton's turn!

Brighton begins his day on the playground (when it's not raining).  He was so happy and didn't shed a tear (not that I thought he would).  I love the look on his face here.  It's like he's saying, "I'm glad to finally be here.  I'm a big boy now!"

Well, I know the time will pass quickly while they are in school.  I got Maverick down for a nap and now I'm taking a shower!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Here's Big Bro, Chandler and his littlest Bro, Maverick

I had to fill out "All About Me" for Chandler's first day of preschool tomorrow.  I promised myself I'd write down whatever he said even if I didn't think that was "correct".  Here are my favorites:

My favorite kind of animal:  A moose
(never saw this one coming)

My favorite food:  carrots
(we had this for lunch)

My afterschool activities:  clean my room and get dinner ready
(apparently, this is what he likes to do after preschool...Ha!)