Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hunter is Six Months!?!?

Oh my word, time is flying! Today was Hunter's six-month doctor's appointment. I have just been shaking my head all day. It seems like he's been a part of our family for forever, but he's my little baby! And all of a sudden he's getting so big!!

At Brianna's six-month appointment she was 13 lbs, 8 oz and 24 1/2 inches. Hunter is 15 lbs 13 oz and 25 1/2" long. He got seven vaccines, including the flu shot, bless his heart! Needless to say he's been napping pretty well since our appointment.

At every "milestone" appointment you get a sheet that says, "Your baby can..." and then lists all these things that supposedly your baby can do at this age. One thing is sit up alone. I told Dr. S. that Hunter is nowhere near sitting up by himself. Whenever I try to sit him up alone he just rolls over and starts crawling away. He said, "He's crawling??" I explained he is scooting (very intently) although yesterday and today has started putting his knees up like he's about to crawl. Dr. S said that he is way ahead of the curve for that which is pretty cool. Hunter is pretty obsessed with Brianna and she is pretty obsessed with entertaining him, so it really works out nicely! I think that's why he is so happy being on the floor and crawling around. If he starts to fuss, Bri just brings him a new toy and he's happy all over again. I mean, what service!

He crawls to books and starts to chew on them. Brianna rushes over, saying, "Nononono Hunter! Nononono!" She is loving being in charge of him.

I feel like there's more I should write but it's bedtime.Link

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Picture Update

More family pictures!!

This was after Evan's baptism. Poor Riley was the butt of jokes for wearing this outfit. She was awfully cute, but most of us are not Duke fans. :)

Brianna after a rare opportunity to eat chocolate:

Bri likes to grab the camera, put it up to her eye, say "click" and then she looks at the black screen and says, "Awwww!" This time she actually took my picture though!

If I were Grandpa, I would think of a funny caption for this cute expression!!

Hunter loves the Aquadoodle!

See Claire's fancy earrings??

One day I heard Hunter over here. I thought, "Did I put him down over here?"

Nope. He started here, and went over there in less than a couple of minutes. He is faster than a speeding bullet!!

Brianna is determined to entertain Hunter:

Friday, March 25, 2011

#77 - Get rid of 365 material items

This has been my most fun and motivating goal so far on my 101 in 1001 list. Well, I don't know, maybe the 5K trumps this!! I actually wanted to get rid of 365 things in the first year of my 101 list... I was able to get rid of 375 things in just over four months!!

My goal now is to keep ridding our house of "clutter" and "stuff" and hopefully sell as much as possible. I've been keeping track (although I know I have missed some stuff that I forgot to write down as I gave it away or sold it) but now I can't wait to look at my list at the end of the 1001 days and see how many things I was able to cut down on!!

#73 - Pay off my car

Well, thank you very much, tax refund!! Thanks to you we were able to pay off my car this month!! I can remember getting that car like it was just yesterday. I think we made a 5 year payment plan and paid it off in a little under 5 years. It has been a great, reliable car just like every other Toyota I've ever owned or known about. I have no plans to sell it, although Stephen is like a car salesman's dream because he is already talking about upgrading. But this is my car, my baby, and I'm not letting her go! What a good feeling... now we officially own more vehicles than we are paying for. All we are paying on now is the truck!

And the best part - extra money in the bank every month!

Not Quite Jesus' Return

Tonight I was washing dishes and rocking out to Fergie. Suddenly I heard a really low, loud rumbling, and I couldn't tell what direction it was coming from. I'm used to hearing bombing and airplanes/helicopters from our friendly local military but I knew this wasn't it. My next thought was, "Oh my gosh, Jesus is returning and I'm doing the dishes!" I knew then why hoarders hoard - there are better things we could be doing with our time than cleaning our house!

By the way, it was just the washing machine.

*Disclaimer: Don't worry, I'm not going to use the possibility of Jesus returning at any minute to not clean my house. This disclaimer is primarily for Stephen's sake.

Don't Blow Your Cover

Wednesday we were eating lunch at Dad and Mom's. They have multiple bird feeders right outside the dining room window and Brianna (and Dad) are constantly looking for birds. We weren't paying attention and Brianna pointed outside and yelled, "Twooooo!" We looked, and sure enough, there were two birds sitting on one of the bird feeders. Mom and Dad were appropriately impressed and we had such praise for our little prodigy. I was very proud of her, although I knew it was just a matter of time...

About three minutes later, we weren't paying attention and Brianna pointed outside and yelled, "Twoooo!" We looked and there were three or four birds eating quietly on the bird feeder.

I could hear myself in my head hissing, "Bri! You should have quit while you were ahead! Now they know you aren't very very advanced for your age!" And just like that her cover was blown.

Of course I'm kidding. It was only a few minutes after that she was doing something equally as cute and impressive as earlier that distracted us from the fact that she isn't a child prodigy with her numbers. Sarcasm is never as funny on paper as it is when the words come out of your mouth. Blame this post on the fact that I just finished an Anne Lamott book and wanted to carry her dark humor over to my blog.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Videos of Brianna

This was one night after we got home from church. I was starting dinner and Stephen was doing something else. Hunter made a little squeak and Brianna rushed to his aid. This is a pretty cute exchange between them. Notice she even goes so far as to test the bottle on her hand to make sure it's not too hot. :) The second video is a continuation... she wanted to show some toys to Hunter so I tried to catch it on camera.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


It's that time again - gotta upload these pictures so I have more room on my camera!!

Hunter says, "I'm blinded by the camera flash!!"

Bri loves to read to her baby dolls!!

We wore out Hunter!

Necklaces from Gail were a big hit! (She also got some from Joy so she wears necklaces constantly now!)

Opa can get Bri a lot higher than Mommy can!!

Just for Oma... he does have a red outfit!! (She says he wears too much Carolina blue :) )

It's sad when your almost 2-year old is the one taking care of the baby!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Busy Busy

Today was one of those days where we were just running, running, running! That was not my plan, but it happened anyway. We are starting to plan Brianna's birthday party. We are doing it a week earlier than her birthday so that our family from Georgia can be in town for it. I called today to reserve a park for her birthday, and was told that I needed to come in to fill out the paperwork. That changed all of my plans, because the park is in Pinehurst, and nothing I needed to do was in Pinehurst! My Pinehurst run is on Wednesdays since I'm already at Mom and Dad's. To make the 20 (or more) minute trip worth it, I had to run several other errands while I was out.

Before we left, though, I was working around the house! I'm in the middle of spring cleaning (expect a long blog in the future about that!) and on my agenda today were cleaning the refrigerator and organizing my Ebay stuff. That by itself is a task with two kids but on Mondays I also do laundry, change all the sheets in the house, and change all the towels. Typing it out makes it seem so easy...

So I changed my plans around. We stopped by the dump to take trash and check for coupons. Stopped by Family Dollar to return something. Took a load of recycling to the recycling center. Got to the Village Hall and I was told, "Well, this is done online, but I guess I can do it for you since you're here." Oooookay. Then we made a super fast run to Walgreens on the way home.

Whew! Home at least and we're I'm exhausted after three hours of running around town. Of course, neither child is tired at all!!! About 45 minutes after we got home I realized that if Bri was going to take any kind of nap before Kindermusik (which we had to leave for in an hour) she had to go down. NOW. Twenty-five minutes of crying later, I gave in and brought her back downstairs, where she happily ran off to play by herself. Go figure. When Stephen got home a few minutes later he needed to rest, so me and the kids went to the porch where Hunter sat lazily in his Bumbo and Brianna was pushed in the swing by me.

Not long after that, Brianna and I were off to Kindermusik, where, as she will tell you, we "foot" (stomped), "pap" (clapped), "pap" (patted), "choo choo" (chugged like a train), "wish wish" (swayed from side to side), "rorr" (rolled), and "over" (rolled over). Among many other things! On the way home I needed just a bit of one herb so we ran into Nature's Own to get it... they don't carry it. Fortunately they recommended we go to Fresh Market so if you need dry minced garlic, Fresh Market is the place to go!! Brianna fell asleep on the way home, and I gotta tell you, I didn't blame her!

Of course that didn't last. When we got home Stephen wanted to re-straw the front yard so Hunter and I chilled inside (i.e. folded laundry) while Brianna played outside until she wanted to "wing" (swing) so I pushed her in the swing again. Then it was time for dinner (pancakes!!) and time to Skype with Oma, Ju-Ju, and Lauren!

Saturday was Dad's birthday and today was Leila's birthday so Happy Birthday to two of the top six grandparents in Brianna and Hunter's lives!! (Boy, I hope I did the math right there....)

After Skype, we ate dinner, bathed Brianna and dumped her upstairs. Now I am listing more of my lonesome Ebay items (I've done twelve so far today which is a miracle), made my Secret Sister gift for this month, and made baby wipes since I ran out yesterday. Whew. What a day, what a day. And tomorrow is going to be just as busy! BUT. Tomorrow we get to see Jennifer, Claire and Evan! So all is well!!

I better get done with everything so I can go to bed like the rest of my family!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We Can, But We Won't

From: In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson

We who will get up and walk, or even run miles in the mornings, not to mention those of us who are not willing to wait for there to be enough light to see the bottom of the flag or for the frost to go away before we tee off; we who will haul ourselves through our neighborhoods in the dark to make sure that we have the box scores as quick as we can - for all kinds of reasons, including some good ones, I suppose, we will not, cannot, do not rise in the morning to greet the dawn with a song of praise on our lips, as did those who went before us.

We who will stay up late to watch the televised version of the news that we heard on our drive home at six, who will TiVo enough must-see television that we have to stay up late to keep up, who will not go to sleep without reading a novel, who will burn the candle at both ends and in the middle if we can figure out how to get it lit, will not end our days with praise and worship and confession and blessing.

We will not do these things in the name of love or discipline, devotion or worship. We will not even do it for selfish reasons, or even as a reliable way of self-actualization, to put it in its least-favorable context - which, in our Western American, twenty-first-century, self-help, and consumer-driven culture, is astonishing.

And if you believe the scholars and the media and the pundits who predict our increasing collective future irrelevance, then I am also a member of the generation that will preside over the death of the Church. There is a world out there that says that we - the Church united, divided, militant or otherwise - can do nothing to spread the gospel here on earth. Much less do anything to make each hour of the day or night any holier.

The witness of those who went before us is that we can. We just don't.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Like New

Almost a month ago, Jenn helped me purge my closet. Two girls that are friends of a friend had donated some really awesome clothes to me so I was able to get a whole new wardrobe! There were a few shirts, though, that just didn't work for me, primarily because the arm straps were too long. You see, I don't have enough up top to do these shirts justice (thanks a lot, Mom) so they just sagged really badly. But they were so cute!!! I kept them, telling Jenn I was SURE I could remedy them.

Fortunately, Leila agreed with me. Now I just have to find the time to convert these shirts into something I can wear. I finished one today.

I didn't take a "before" picture because I didn't want to show everyone my bidness. But after taking in the straps, I can comfortably wear it, just in time for weekends at the beach!!

I know I look awkward in these pictures but it's about the best you're going to get. So thankful for my sewing machine and my newfound ability! Although my ability is small right now I know with practice I can use the machine more and more!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nenah and Papa's

I finally remembered to take my camera to Nenah and Papa's and remembered to use it!! Here are the few pictures I took a few weeks ago when we went to their house.

Yeah, these pictures don't really do the trip justice. I mean, you'd think no one was there but Hunter. But I promise, we were all there!!

We had so much fun and look forward to seeing them again!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sibling Love

This is a video from mid-January when Hunter was rolling over but we were really having to coax him to do it. I was trying to catch it on video for all the grandparents. This is a really sweet video that is classic Bri - very motherly to him and at the end, he finally rolls over for us!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What We Don't Have

From: In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson

Our modern church has some distinct advantages over the early Church. We have better youth programs and better acoustics and finer buildings. We have better literature that is more available to our flocks, most of whom happen to be literate. We have some pretty fair preachers, or at least we have some who are more fun to listen to than the blessed Saint Augustine.

We have better choirs, I suspect, and we can put on a Sunday morning service with more art and more dignity and more beauty than ever before. We have mailing lists and newsletters and Web sites. We have educational buildings and discipleship classes and Bible study groups where students bring their own Bibles. We have Sunday school buses and youth lock-ins and Christian rock-and-roll bands.

What we do not have so much of sometimes, it seems to me, is the depth of spirit and of devotion and of piety that marked the life of the faithful in the hundreds and thousands of years before us, the centuries that produced the Church we built our buildings and programs around in the first place.

It is worth noting, I believe, that this tradition of prayer is one of the practices our modern Church does not do that the ancient Church did. We preach sermons, study the Scriptures, gather to worship on the Sabbath, teach our children the faith, and fellowship with one another - but we do not say our prayers.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

#56 - Run a 5K

Well, you know I started running about a week ago, so I think we all knew I was in pretty top-notch shape.
Yes, sarcasm!
So, on 2/27 I ran for the first time in years and I did okay. But I really didn't feel great after running, so I was kind of disappointed, and thinking, "What have I gotten myself into???"
I ran again on Monday, 2/28, this time with both kids in the double stroller. Huff, puff!! I made it through 2 miles but I ended up walking a lot. I did the first mile in 11:48 and the second in 11:44.
I ran again on Wednesday, 3/2, this time by myself, but I only had time for one mile before we had to leave for church. I ran it in 9:01, so I was a little disappointed I didn't do it faster than that.
On Thursday I knew this was my last chance to make it through 3 miles. I mean, I hadn't run three consecutive miles since six years ago when we lived in Charleston. I knew if I couldn't do it by Thursday, I probably wouldn't be able to do it on Saturday when it counted. But, I successfully made it through 2.9 miles in 26:52. I did have to walk some still at that point, but when I was done I felt great. I felt the adrenaline you are supposed to feel. I wasn't in pain like four days prior. And I was pumped!
So when today arrived, my goal was simple. I wanted to run the 5K in 33 minutes. I had never run this course before, had heard from Jenn that it had some hills, and basically just didn't know what to expect. My only other goal was that I wanted to run the entire race and not walk at all.
I did it! My race time was 30:38 which comes out to an average 9:53 mile, which doesn't sound that great to me but I'm still happy with it. Out of all the men and women running the race I placed 144th out of 398 people. Out of just women I placed 52nd out of 237. I finished 8th place in my age group (not sure out of how many - the website just went down as I was checking it but I think it was 30-something people).
I am just happy I finished it and I didn't walk at all. And afterwards I felt great! Jenn ran it as well and she did amazing! She finished second in her age group and I would have to cut eight minutes off my time to finish it with her!! That is CRAZY!! She was really Sham Rockin' 'n' Rollin'! She was a major encourager, even running the last .1 mile with me because she is awesome like that. It was so much fun.
Next 5K - April 9?? We'll see....
Thank you SO MUCH to my Mom for watching both babies while I ran! I was supposed to run with Hunter but he wasn't awake yet when I left and proceeded to sleep until just minutes before the race started, I found out later!! I would have been fine running with him but Mom was so kind to keep both of the kids so I could run.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Like New

Several years ago I bought these shirts from American Eagle. I bought two in different colors because I loved the style and fit. Unfortunately, about a year ago (or maybe even longer!) the ribbons which tie in the back of these shirts came off, basically from being washed so many times probably.

The Issue:

The ribbons were literally hanging on by a thread. For a year (or more!) they sat in my closet, and every time I looked at them I thought, "I'm sure I can fix that. I hate to give away two great shirts that I know I can fix." But I never took the time to do it.

Enter awesome new sewing machine from my in-laws. That was the motivation I needed to pull out these shirts and repair them!!

The Repair:

I have now worn each of these shirts for the first time in a year (or more!) and yes, the ribbons stayed intact while I wore them and after being laundered. Victory for Amanda!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

You Are My Liver

This is Mom's four-year liver anniversary!

When I was little, there used to be many nights I would spend the night with Granny and Granddaddy. We would pop popcorn and watch I Love Lucy until all hours of the night (probably at least 10pm!!) One of my favorite episodes of I Love Lucy is where they are all putting on a play that Lucy has written.

Ethel: Do you go alone?
Lucy: Si, I go alone.
Ethel: Eh, eh, eh, I think you go there to meet your liver.
Lucy: LOVER!

For some reason this was one of the funniest episodes ever to me. You should really try to find it on Hulu or something. But every time I think of livers, this is what comes to me.

We shall eat out to celebrate this grand occasion very soon! I love you Mom!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson

I chose to review this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers because I have always been intrigued by the scriptures that tell us to be in constant prayer. I love reading books about prayer mainly because I feel like I can always learn something that I need to improve in my prayer life.

Unfortunately, this book was confusing to me from the very beginning. I had never heard the phrases "fixed-hour prayer", or "keeping of the offices", or "observing of the divine hours". Benson seemed to pride himself on speaking in layman's terms, but I couldn't understand a lot of what he was talking about and I have to wonder, if I hadn't studied the Bible for as many years as I have, maybe I would feel really lost when reading this book.

I persevered in reading this book only to give it an accurate review, and I'm actually glad I did finish it. For every two or three chapters that I disagreed with doctrinally, I would find some pretty large paragraphs that really spoke to me (and I will actually blog about some of these in the future). Also, it turned out that Benson has a pretty good sense of humor which he shared in these pages and I really liked that as well. I like authors that don't take themselves too seriously and although this was a really serious, important topic to Benson I like that he still chose to involve humor in his writing.

Like I said, I don't necessarily agree with this book doctrinally. I don't believe that God wants us to pray at fixed hours - I believe he is accessible at all times of the day. I don't believe we should recite prayers to Him - I believe He wants to hear what we have to say from the heart. But do I believe we should pray more? Yes. Do I believe we should revere prayer more? Yes. Do I believe in having a prayer partner? Sure. And because Benson touched on all of these points as well, I was able to enjoy this book.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Dragon and the Turtle Go On Safari

I recently received a great new book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. It is called The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari and it was written by Donita Paul and Evangeline Denmark. This book came at such a great time. Our power went off last night during a bad thunderstorm, and Brianna was not liking the thunder. She and I sat down by candlelight and read this book, which is probably the longest book we've ever read together. I believe it's probably on first grade level although the cover doesn't say.

Dragon and Turtle go on a safari and they just want to stay outside, camping out, through the whole night. They hear all sorts of things, like monkeys, giraffes, elephants, and leopards! They are very courageous throughout the night, and encourage each other to be brave by staying together and making up stories together.

The pictures in this book are so well done and really add to the story. This is a book we will definitely keep, especially for when our children are older, because I'm sure they will love this book for a long time. If this book is part of a series I would love to have all the books. At the end of the book is some scripture which talks about being not being afraid because God is with you, and gives you ideas of how to talk about this book with your children after you read it together. I highly recommend this book to all parents!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.