Sunday, August 31, 2014

Family Pictures!

Back in June (before Chandler got on his braces) we hired a local photographer to take some family pictures.  We haven't done this since I was pregnant with Maverick and that was 4 YEARS it was definitely time for an update in some of our frames.

You can pretty much guarantee that with this many people, it was going to be a impossible challenging undertaking, to say the least.  With Derek's grandmother wanting a generation shot as well, I figured why not try it too.

Overall, I was very pleased with how the photos came out.  We didn't get the "generation shot" that I had hoped for because Jamison was only in the mood for about 10 minutes of photo-taking that day.  

Here's where he was still happy, and giving kisses.  By the time we tried a family shot, he was done and required a binky, my necklace, and me to keep calm.  Oh well....such is life!

I absolutely love this shot of my two little ones....had this one blown up and put in our playroom.

Finally, as the shoot was winding down, we got some updated pictures of me and Derek.  Luckily there is not a sound track to this pictures as you would hear Jamison wailing in the background as I had just put him down to get a few more pictures.  I'm so glad we took the time and made the investment to have these pictures done.  Two months later and I've finally gotten some prints made and have hung them up all over the house.  That makes me smile.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Anniversary

The day finally arrived....our 10 year anniversary!

Derek made me wait one more day (till Friday) to celebrate in style.  He wanted it all to be a surprise, so all I knew is that we were going out to dinner.  Jamison decided to spice things up by running a fever that day, but we proceeded (cautiously) with our plans anyways.

All dressed up and ready to go!

We had a wonderful meal at Second Empire and even got adventurous and ordered off the cheese menu.  We had no idea how to select which cheeses, so we left that up to our waiter.  He didn't disappoint.  The meal was spectacular, like always, and I even saved room for dessert.  We got ready to go and Derek suggested going out the front door instead of the back (where we were parked).  Sure, why not??

Waiting outside was a horse-drawn carriage, just for us. fun!!  We have seen these around downtown, but never done it and I've always wanted to.  It was absolutely perfect.  The weather was gorgeous, just the perfect temperature!  We rode all around the city until the city lights were on.  We explored Oakwood and I can see now why one of my friends wants to move down charming!

During the carriage ride, Derek slips this on my finger!!  An anniversary band with 10 stones for ten years with four of the diamonds swapped out for our boys' birthstones (technically two are still diamonds - April).  I just love it!  I'm not sure if I will wear it as shown, or if I will just wear it with my engagement ring.  It certainly is very special to me and just stunning!  It was nearly dark by the time he put the ring on, so I couldn't see how beautiful it was until later.

Posing with the horse, Clover, after our ride.

After our carriage ride, we got in the car and headed for home....or so I thought.  Next thing I knew, we were pulling into the Renaissance at North Hills!  REALLY?  I was totally shocked.

Waiting in our room was champagne and chocolate.  We saved the champagne for the morning and made mimosas.  Spectacular!

Room Selfie.

In the morning, we had breakfast in bed.  I don't think I've ever done that in my life and it was a real treat.  I LOVE breakfast and I really took advantage of it.  Derek told me to order anything I wanted, and trust me....I did!  First, I had a plate with fingerling potatoes, eggs, and sausage.

Then, I started on my blueberry bread french toast....scrumptious!  I also had hot chocolate, and hot tea too!  YUMMY!  

I just didn't want the morning to end.  Derek and I got dressed and headed to the farmer's market at North Hills where I wanted to find a little treasure to commemorate the occasion.  I found St. Lucia (below) that is carved out of a block of wood and then painted.  She's a little treasure that I have now to remember my anniversary and all the thought and planning that my wonderful husband did for me.

Sorry if this post sounds like I'm bragging....I don't mean that to be the intent.  I'm just gushing about how special my husband made me feel for this weekend and want to share that.  
I'm one very lucky lady.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Prepping for Preschool

My little two start preschool/Mother's Morning Out in one week.

What will I do with all my "free time?"
I'll be working to pay for it all, HA!

Jamison will be attending a MMO 2 days a week and Maverick will attend our church's preschool 3 days a week.  I will be working most mornings they are in school, but can hopefully find a morning here and there to volunteer at the big boys' school or *gasp* have a morning to myself.  Don't worry...I'll probably still end up doing chores.

Maverick had fun showing Jamison the ropes of his new preschool as Maverick had attended there for the past 2 years and has now "aged out" of MMO.  Jamison was mesmerized by the disco light ball (above picture) and enjoyed playing outside.  I'm sure he'll have fun at MMO, just like Maverick did, but I know I'll miss him!

Maverick is excited, yet apprehensive about starting at a new preschool.  He will have the same teachers that Chandler had when he was in the 3's.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pool Days

As Summer slowly winds to a close we are soaking up the pool time as much as possible.

You wouldn't know that with the lack of pool pictures that I have, but with 4 little ones to watch and manage a camera, I was lucky to take these few.

We have had many pool-playdates this summer, but I have little to no photographic evidence of such.

Luckily, thanks to Granddaddy Bob, these two are learning how to (and bettering) their swimming skills.  We have made quite a bit of progress in the past few weeks.  Maybe next year I will have only one non-swimmer :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Best Decade?

Next week marks Derek and my Tenth Anniversary.  Wow!  Ten years!  This decade has been probably the most life-changing for me.  Derek and I have experienced so many firsts together in these past ten years.  We have been through some of the lowest-lows, but also seen some of the best of the best.  When I look back on my life, I know that these past 10 years will be among the most memorable ones.  Let's take a walk down memory lane, won't you?

1st Anniversary....Heading out to Second Empire.
So the honeymoon phase ended very abruptly for us.  It was over as soon as we returned from Bermuda.  Derek's brother had been killed while we were gone and with him died all my dreams about future large family get-togethers and the possibility of becoming an aunt one day.  Being an only child, I was very excited about having a brother-in-law and felt like I was robbed of this all too soon.  It was a hard loss for all of us.  Sean's death was the first of 4  significant deaths that would come during this decade.  It's hard to believe that Sean has been gone for 10 years.  I know he would adore his nephews and they would love him too.

We celebrated our 1st anniversary in the traditional sense by eating the top layer of our wedding cake.  It was delicious!  Just as good as one year earlier.  We also put flowers in the Nashville church to celebrate.  They were similar to our wedding flowers (just missing the blue hydrangeas)

Looking back on these early years (pre-kids) it's hard to remember what our daily lives were like.  All I can say is that I must have wasted a lot of time because I still have the same mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, organizing, but now it's time six and I still manage to get it all done (mostly).

For our Second anniversary (2006) we took the family out to Second Empire to celebrate.
We had a lot to celebrate because we were expecting baby #1
We were continuing to grow and change, but one of the biggest blessings to our lives wouldn't arrive until next year.  April 3rd to be exact.

Our 3rd Anniversary was celebrated at Second Empire, since it had become tradition.
I was still exclusively nursing this little guy (Chandler), so I think we ended up having to cut the night short, so I could get home.  

By our 4th Anniversary, we were about ready to have baby #2.
Earlier that year (2008), Derek's Dad unexpectedly passed away.  We had just given him the news only days earlier that we were expecting.  God's timing on this was incredible and I'm so grateful we got to share that with him before he passed.  
4th Wedding Anniversary Present to each other
Our 5th Anniversary was celebrated in style.  We reserved the "chef's table" at Second Empire and had a 5 course meal specially cooked for us, each paired with a wine.  It was amazing.  Not romantic at all (you are dining in a bright, loud kitchen) but definitely a fun, memorable experience.  

By our 5th anniversary, our house looked like this:
Two little boys had arrived and had stolen the show and our hearts.

By our 6th Anniversary, we were expecting again.
That year also brought another death.  My uncle, Dennis Seagle, tragically passed away on 12/26.  It was the result of an accident, so nobody was prepared for this loss.  My boys had grown close to him on our yearly visits to their mountain home and I again felt like we were losing out on another person that would help shape their lives for the better.  

The next year (2011) was a very hard year for me.  I experienced the joy of my 3rd son, closely followed by the hardest death I have dealt with so far of my beloved grandmother.  Dealing with three young boys and the emotional roller coaster I was experiencing was a very rocky road.  We re-homed our parrot, Connor.  I had to take drastic steps to simplify my life because it was all I could do to keep my head above water.  I was struggling.
We went out to Second Empire again (probably early) since for our actual anniversary, Derek was traveling.  He had not done much of any traveling during our marriage, but now with me to care for three little ones, he started.  His travel has been increasing ever since...

2012 was another banner year for us.  With our ever-growing family we decided to expand our 
1300 sq foot home.  We went from this:

To this:
We added about 800-900 sq feet and I think we just exploded into it.  How all 5 of us were living in that little space, I will never know.  It was a good thing too, since baby # 4 was on the way!

In addition to going to Second Empire, Derek and I took a long weekend and went to the mountains of NC.  It was the first time EVER that we had been away from any of the kids, so it was well deserved and needed.  We stayed at a lovely B&B and had a wonderful time.  

We even managed to take in a hot-air balloon ride!

For our 9th Wedding Anniversary, we went to Second Empire.  It was just nice to have a night out away from the business of our normal family dinners.

Who knows what this next decade will bring?  

I know we will continually face challenges, but with Derek by my side, I can get through them.  He is the most loving, supportive husband I could ever ask for.  We may not always agree on everything, but I can count on him for the big things.  Hopefully the next decade will have its fair share of ups in it too.  I'm so lucky and blessed to be living this life.  
Sweetie, won't you grow old with me?  
The best is yet to be...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Jamison 15-16 Month Update

Jamison is quickly leaving baby-hood behind and marching towards toddler-land.

15 Month Stats
Weight: 22 lbs, 6 oz (48%)
Length: 30.5" (25%)
Head: 49.15 cm (96%)

At 15 months, Jamison was still nursing twice a day.  At 16 months, we are only nursing in the morning.  He likes to hold his binky and his lovey (one in each hand) while he nurses.  Neither one of us seems to be rushing to end this, so I cannot say when he'll be weaned.  He is not a fan of whole milk, so that certainly isn't helping.  I'd like to start limiting the binky to only crib use, but it's so much easier to just give him one.  Maybe next month we'll work on that...On the eating front, he is still a great eater, although he can be very particular about what he wants on a certain day.  He will definitely throw anything he doesn't care for at the time on the floor or worse, right at you!

Jamison is a climber!  He will push anything that will help him reach something better so that he can climb.  I'm surprised he hasn't gotten hurt yet because every time I turn around, he is on the kitchen table.  We knew from 13 months on, that he could climb ladders, but this is new.

Jamison still does not have a lot of words, but will say them or repeat things when you ask.  I really need to start signing to him more because he picks that up right away.  We have been taking infant survival swimming lessons since late June.  I haven't posted on that yet (against the rules) but hope to soon.  Jamison takes a 2 hour nap and sleeps about 11.5-12 hours each night (7:30-7:30).

He loves to have books read to him and give lip-kisses.  Playing outside is still an all-time favorite.  He loves his cozy-coupe Police car and running toward the street (or anywhere else he shouldn't be).  Next month, he will start attending a Mother's Morning Out.  Hopefully he will adjust well to it.  Mondays will be Jamison and Mommy days.  We plan to take gymnastics and do many other fun things together!  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back to School!

It's back to School time!

I can't believe that Brighton is starting Kindergarten, but the day has finally arrived.

Brighton had a chance to meet his teachers, Ms. Kasey and Ms. Amy (lead) on the Friday before school started.  He brought in his supplies and found his cubby.

He also brought in a family picture to add to the class family tree.  

Of course, checking out the playground was a highlight.  Brighton is excited that playground time comes first thing in the morning for his class.  What a fun way to start the day.  

We are so excited for Brighton to be starting school.  In his classroom he will have 3's and 4's as well as 9 Kindergarten students.  I can't wait to see what this year holds for Brighton.  I'm sure it will be an adjustment for everybody (me especially).

Chandler got the short end of the stick when it came to dropping off his supplies on Friday.  
The 1st-3rd graders weren't allowed to drop off stuff until noon and my little ones needed to get down for a nap.  We basically walked into his classroom, shook hands with the new assistant teacher, dropped off our stuff and left.  Chandler knows 2 out of the 3 people he will be sitting with as they were all in his class last year.  There is one new 1st grader at his table that he will meet today.  As Chandler pointed out though, he doesn't spend much time at his desk in the Montessori classroom.

On the first day of school, Mom guided the boys' outfits.  I let them pick one special thing they wanted to wear and then helped "match" the rest.  Brighton picked his red athletic shorts (and his new cowboy boots of course!!)

Chandler picked these blue shorts.  Chandler is much better at coordinating clothes that Brighton, but I still have to bargain with him to wear something other than the same ratty t-shirt every other day.  I believe the deal was last year he had to wear "hang-up" clothes 2x per week.  

Chandler has the same teacher, and 2/3rds the same class (only the 1st graders will be new).  I'm sure he is going to have another great year!

Ready for school!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Florida Wedding

Derek's grandmother aka Nanny recently got engaged and has moved back to Florida.

We all miss her terribly, but we were able to fly down for her wedding on August 2nd.  What a great time we had!  We were able to go to the beach for one morning and that was so much fun.  The weather was unbearably hot and humid in Florida, but the beach was perfect.

The boys had fun digging in the sand and playing in the waves.  I wish we could have stayed their longer.  This will most likely be my only time at the beach this year so I wanted to soak up every minute.  

The main reason for our visit was for us to be part of the wedding.  All four boys were in the wedding.  Chandler and Brighton were the ring bearers and the other two boys were just cute.  

Diane (Derek's mom) worked so hard on all the decorations and the flowers.  It ended up looking very nice.  Derek and I did our part too by putting the etched stickers on the votive candle favors.  

Luckily there was a professional photographer on hand, so Derek could relax and just enjoy the day.
The only picture I have of the bride and groom is from the rehearsal the night before.

Wedding Day and don't my boys look handsome?

We had a great time and wish Jim & Alice all the happiness in the world.  
Can't wait to see you all again.