First Day of School!

Last Friday was the First Day of Preschool for the boys! Mama was glad they were excited about their new Preschool, teachers and meeting new classmates! Sienna will be home with me another year and I’m excited about our one on one time together as the boys enjoy learning at school.  This will be Parker’s last year and Preschool.  With his September birthday, he’s in the Young 5’s class. He misses the cut-off for Kindergarten, but he’s going five days a week! I miss my morning time with him, but I know how much he loves school, and I enjoy the fun times we get to have in the afternoon!  Mason has always been pretty apprehensive about new situations or environments, so I was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t cry on the first day! He was so brave!  He’s growing up so fast.  He’s in the 3 year old preschool class and going three days a week.  It’s nice that he has a balance of three days at school, but still two days home with Mama.  He’s so easy going and enjoys his time at home too, so this was the perfect schedule for him.

Excited about the new school and a new year of learning and fun with these sweet kiddos!





Choo-Choo! Parker Turns Two!

We were so excited to celebrate Parker’s second birthday on Saturday.  We decided that this year we would have it at Gymboree Play and Music.  Parker took classes there back in January and loved it, so I thought we’d try it again for his birthday.  I loved that they had an instructor to lead the play time, and the fact that she also helped with the party coordination, set-up and clean up.  That takes a load off! Especially when you’re type A like me, and worry about every detail of the birthday party. Of course, I still got nervous that I would forget something, or that a few details would be missed, but I think having her there, took my anxiety level down a few notches.

The party was “Little Engine That Could” themed, since Parker LOVES trains, and is pretty fond of the book.  I’ve tried to get him into Thomas the train on TV, but he doesn’t seem to be a fan… and to be quite honest, neither am I.  Something about talking trains with corny British accents that don’t really do it for me.  He loves Thomas books and toys though, but not so much the show.

Parker and his friends had so much fun with all of the activities.  Some of the activities were even train themed too!  It was hard to capture some good pictures of Parker because he was busy running around on the play floor, climbing and playing and having a good time.  I did manage to get him as he was poking out of one of the donuts (above) with a cute shot of him in his birthday shirt.  Of course, with it being Mason’s half birthday and all, I couldn’t leave him out… We got a shirt for Mason too, with a little caboose on it.  Could my boys be any cuter?

All of Parker’s little friends were great, and brought so much joy and laughter to the party.  I’m so glad that they were all able to come and celebrate with us, and make it a special time for Parker.

Parker of course loved parachute and bubble time.  It was a lot of fun seeing how much the kids were enjoying it too.  After play time, the kids rode the “train” back to the snack room for some refreshments and birthday cake.  We served Parker’s favorites, which included white cheddar cheese puffs, raisins, bunny grahams, and mandarin oranges.

We weren’t too sure how Parker would do with the candles for his birthday when the time came to blow them out.  So, we lit a candle that morning and had him practice.  He got so excited he kept saying “more, more!” and so I lit the candle a few times, and he got a few giggles blowing it out.  Well, it may have been better not to have him “practice” because he kept trying to blow out the candle as they were singing the birthday song during the party.  I later realized that he also had a mouth full of snacks, but still managed to blow them out.  Attaboy! I don’t know why I ever doubted him.

Parker enjoyed the yummy cupcake, and spending time with his friends.  It was nice to have the friends that Parker likes to see during playgroup and church come together and celebrate with him.  Nannie also joined in on the fun, enjoying spending time with both Parker and Mason, and celebrating with us.  I think it was overall a great party.  I only wish the time in the “refreshment room” was a little bit longer.  It just seemed to be rushed a little bit, but maybe it just flew by more quickly that I anticipated.

From the party, we headed home for a yummy pizza dinner with Nannie, and opened birthday presents.  Parker was showered with lots of fun gifts from his friends.  We’ve been having so much fun digging into them today and playing with them.  Mommy and Daddy got him these two gifts:


He loves them both, as well as the many other gifts that he got.  Thanks friends!

On Sunday, as an added “Birthday” gift, I took Parker for his very first movie.  We went to see The Lion King.  He loved it.  He’s SO animated that he had a hard time understanding that he couldn’t hoot and holler during every exciting scene, so we had a few little mishaps, but overall, he loved it.  It is crazy how I remember watching this movie as a young teen with my little brother, and now I’m watching it with my own little boy.  I think he really enjoyed sharing a bag of popcorn with his Mama and having some special one on one time with me.  Afterwards, we both had a little walk around the Avenues and threw a coin in the fountain. It was a nice little end to the weekend. 

Has it really been two years?  Time is certainly flying by.  I’m so proud of the little boy that Parker has become.  Just over the last three or four months, he’s really taken well to Mason, taking direction from Mommy and Daddy, and understanding consequences.  He also has really started to show his caring and nurturing side.  He loves to pat Mason’s back when his fussy, come give me hugs and kisses and say “Wuv you too!”.  It really warms my heart.

Although there’s a lot of hype about the “terrible twos”, I’m not in the least bit worried.  I know that we’ll have some challenges, but I am confident that our little goofy Parker is going to bring us lots of happy and exciting times this next year, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the good times, and seat belting myself in for the bumpy times.  It’ll be an exciting time for sure.  If there’s one thing I can guarantee, it’s that Parker never makes for a dull moment!  Happy Birthday, Parker!  Mommy and Daddy Love you!

My BIG guy and my Extroverted toddler

I’m sure you’ve heard….  My Mason is such the chunk chunk!  I took him to his four month appointment, and he was just over 19lbs and 26″ long!  This big guy is growing so fast, and I just can’t get enough of his squeezable lovable self.

The past week or so he’s been doing some new pretty note worthy stuff, and being the documenting Mama that I am, I just have to mention a few.  We introduced the jumperoo to Mason, and he LOVES it.  He can already jump in it quite a bit, and he is all smiles and coos.  About two weeks ago he laughed for the first time.  I tried to get it on camera, but in true fashion, once I grabbed my iphone to use the camera, and he wasn’t too interested.  He loves when I imitate his cooing.  He thinks it’s so funny and that seems to be his trigger to send him into giggle land.  He’s sleeping 12hrs straight, without feedings! Wohoo!  I’m totally impressed with this because I was completely prepared to get up once, maybe even twice a night to feed this big guy until he was six months old or older.  But ever since he learned to roll on his belly at 2 months, he started sleeping that way, and he has been a more sound sleeper ever since.  Only within the last few weeks has it turned from 8hrs to 12hrs.  And since his weight is certainly NOT an issue, he can continue to snooze!  He’s also has two teeth trying to come through.  Since Parker’s first tooth appeared at seven months, this one caught me off guard. Being that he is still exclusively breastfed, this milestone is not one that I am thrilled about him reaching so soon.  But, I’ll take it as they come.  One has already broke the surface, and the other is bulging white at the gums just waiting to break through.  I can’t believe he hasn’t been waking every few hours in pain.  Hopefully it continues!

He’s also wearing “Parker sized” diapers.  He’s outgrown the smaller infant cloth diapers, so him and Parker share the same size and covers. We got some thirsties covers with the snaps instead of the velcro, and we love them!  They stay on better and come in a few “boyish” patterns.  I would be in SO much trouble if I ever had a girl.

I’m starting to see more of his personality shine through too.  Mason is still very laid back and easy going. He’s not super serious, and not overly smiley like Parker was, but I’ve noticed that he does like to smile at familiar faces.  He thinks Parker hung the moon, and he loves seeing Mama and Daddy do silly faces at him.  I just love that chunky boy!

I’m learning so much more about Parker, my almost 22 month old, every day.  Yes, he tests boundaries, and yes, he has screaming fits and drives me insane. But isn’t that what having kids is about?  Maybe not all, but one thing that I can always count on, is that this little extroverted toddler defiantly loves to let his personality shine.  Recently when we were browsing Fry’s Electronics, Parker went up to two strangers and plowed into them and hugged their legs and looked up with a big grin to say “Hi!” and continued to wave until the stranger acknowledged him.  He LOVES people.  He’s such a people person and feeds off the energy of others.  Even though he gets upset when we leave places, or may throw a fit when I ask him to do something that he doesn’t want to do (a battle of wills). I have to remind myself to just let him be who he is and embrace it and try not to get caught up on what he “should be”.

As much as I want to think that all the other Moms out there have it figured out, they probably (like me) don’t know what the hell they’re doing either.  I’m so guilty of playing the comparison game, and being afraid of being judged by other Moms.  I need to just get over myself. He’ll never be the type of toddler that will be shy or cautious or sit still and listen to story time without the wiggles, or understand what “quiet time” is.  He’s energetic, determined, enthusiastic, and loves to laugh and dance. That’s just who he is.

I love that kid, and I need to cut him and myself some slack sometimes and just relax and enjoy.  I keep telling myself that all this will be over before I know it, and he’ll be a grown teen in no time.  He brings us SO much happiness, and joy and when we’re going through all the trials and stress of a toddler (learning his boundaries and learning how to navigate this world), I need to remember that joy and learn to extend grace.

Summer Lovin’

Its shaping up to be a pretty good Summer so far.  So, what have we been up to?  It’s just the beginning of July and we’re already enjoying some summer fun.

I’ve noticed in the past few months just how much Parker just LOVES being outdoors.  Any outside time he can get, he’s a happy camper.  We got him a little pool and a slide in the back yard (yes, our small little 12×15 green space) and a little $10. sprinkler.  He has just lights up with giggles and laughter playing, just as content as can be.  He’s such an earthy outdoorsie person like his Mama!  We also have fun blowing bubbles.  He tries so hard to blow his own bubbles, but most of the time he looks like he’s making out with the wand.

We’ve really been enjoying our playdates lately.  We’ve been doing more either at other people’s homes or here at our house.  Venturing out in public has been more difficult since Mason nurses around 11am every day, and he usually naps from 9:30-11.  I hosted the first here in our home for Hip Mamas Happy Babies playgroup.  I was a little hesitant for some time because we don’t have a traditional “play area” because it’s in our master bedroom.  But I finally came to terms with it and said “what the hell…” and it was a lot of fun.  It was all boys that came, and they had a great time playing with Parker’s toys and eating snacks.  Mason even had fun with his little buddy Aidan too.

We also went to see Marcie and her two little cuties Maddie and Simeon.  I think Parker has a little crush on Maddie.  He kept giving her hugs at our house, and so we said that we must do a playdate.  Just look at what cuteness ensued!

Maddie’s little brother Simeon proved to be little buddy sized for Mason.  They were so cute together!  Should I dare to say that they even look related?  I love these cute plump baby boys!

Another regular pal Campen has been having frequent playdates with Parker.  I came up with this fabulous idea on the road trip back from Destin that maybe Gracile would like to swap watching Parker and Campen every Thursday.  We both have a new baby and since Campen and Parker play so well together, with thought it would be a win-win.  It gives us some free time to spend with baby number 2 when its our off week, and when its our week to watch both, they enjoy the time together. When they’re at Gracile’s house they play outside a lot with the water table and the sand box, and over here we love to do dance parties and coloring with the occasional elmo time.

Parker and Mason have also been having a lot of playdates with Nanny and Aunt Mandy.  They always get so much love from them and Parker LOVES his Nanny! He always lights up when he sees her and immediately wants to show her all his toys.  It’s the sweetest.  Of course, Nanny can’t get enough of him and little Mae Mae.

Dan has been traveling a lot lately, which is the usual.  We’ve been doing a lot of skype video conferences and Parker has really enjoyed seeing Daddy and talking to him that way.  The traveling does have its occasional perks.  Dan saved up enough points and exchanged them for a very nice Trek bike, but then also got an InStep Trailer to add to it ($600 value).  So, this will be fun riding the boys in when it gets a little cooler out.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer! Can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds!


Blog worthy thoughts

So, it’s been a while since I’ve done a good brain dump.  Ya know… the kind of blog post that really says whats on my mind.  One of  THOSE… Nothing in particular…just rando-town thoughts. 1-2-3- GO

I think Glee is quite possibly my fav show. This is huge people. I don’t give that title out too freely. It is just that stinkin’ fantastic. I love it!  That Sue Sylvester… favorite quote? How about “Now take your juicy, vine-ripened chest fruit and get the hell out of my office.” Compliments of tonight’s repeat.  Gotta love it!  What is your favorite Glee performance?  These have to be a few of my favorites…

I’ve been reading more about different parenting styles lately.  You know…I always thought it was so cut and dry…Either you’re an attachment parent, or you’re more “Babywise” disciplinarian. Either you’re a parent who spanks, or doesn’t spank…Either you’re a toughie or a softie.  However, after doing some praying lately, God has really led me to develop a discipline style that works best for Parker.  I truly believe that leading him with love, and focusing on teaching and redirecting in a loving way really renders the best results.  Does that mean that I’ll never loose my cool and yell or get frustrated? Probably not.  But I have seen such an improvement in Parker’s temperament since I’ve been responding with a gentle tone. James 1:19-20 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires”  Sometimes I think that us Christians feel the need to take corrective action to discipline our kids out of anger when they do something that we don’t want them to do.  But what does this teach our kids about how they should respond to someone not doing something that they want them to dot? If anger is all they see, then anger is what they’ll produce.  Show love instead, and see how they respond.  I also found this to be a great article… and I can totally relate to the challenges she speaks of!

Speaking of challenges, the next major challenge for Parker will be potty training.  I want to do some reading about it to get myself ready, but I want to make sure first of all, to know the signs of when Parker will be ready.  That way I can be a support to him during this transition.  Apparently, the average age of potty training is between 18 and 31 months, with 98% being fully potty trained by 36 months.  So, I’m in no rush, but I want to jump on it when all the signs point to it.  I plan to get Elizabeth Pantly’s “No Cry Potty Training  Solution” and just start reading through it to get prepared.  One thing I need to figure out a good cloth diapering- training pant solution.  I want to get something that is absorbent for accidents, but can be easily pulled up and down.  Any cloth diapering- potty trained Mamas out there, please weigh in!

Parker has been growing and changing so much lately.  He’s my little man.  We’ve been attending a lot of play groups lately, which has allowed him to explore in social settings, meet up with familiar faces, and allow me to learn about things he likes.  It’s been good for me getting practice on how to get out the house with two kids, and coordinate feedings and naps.  Not to mention, just getting some time to chat with some girlfriends and feel a little “normal” myself!

Parker playing “dress up” with his friends in front of the green screen at Imaginations at Play

Parker feeding the ducks at Autry Mill Nature Preserve

Checking out the Indian Tee pee at Autry Mill Nature preserve with Mom and Tots playgroup

Parker at Fowler park peeking out of the tunnel

Parker and his buddy Cole at Cogburn Park having some slide fun!

Parker and Pace hanging out with “Mama Kate” at Cogburn park

Mason and his buddy Aidan at a Hip Mama’s playdate

Playing T-ball at Kangazoom

and… I’ll leave you with a funny parenting FAIL…

Delightful Destin

We had such a nice time on our first little vaca to Destin as a fam of four.  The trip down there wasn’t too bad… Parker and Mason took a nap at the same time and that gave us the reprieve we needed to continue.  We also found a cute little park right on the way where Parker could stretch his legs.  He loved getting out of the car and meeting some new playmates.

We had to pull over several times to nurse Mason… Have you seen this guy lately?  He’s a moose!  He’s been wearing clothes that Parker wore when he was sitting up, and trying to crawl…and he’s only TWO months old!  He’s still just exclusively breastfeeding, No bottles or formula…I just don’t get it.  What a hungry guy!

When we arrived at the condo, we were blown away at the views.  Absolutely stunning!

The weather was nice, in the 70’s, but the first few days it was very breezy.  Too much breeze on the beach can be bad, especially when it’s overcast.  We learned that pretty quick on our first venture out.  You know what else we learned…how much crap you gotta bring to the beach when you have kids!  I didn’t even occur to me that you can’t bring a stoller on the beach, and usually when we go anywhere we just dump everything in the undercarriage of the stroller.  Not on this sunny outing my friend.  We had floats, beach toys, adult chairs, bouncy chair, kid sized chair, umbrella, cooler and food…and of course a whole bunch of other “what if” junk like diapers, wipes, extra water, and sunscreen…ugh.  What a mother load!  Not to mention our two kids! We had to carry the baby…and Parker walks as slow as a turtle (especially on sand).  Mix that with a sore hip, and you’re ready for a margarita before you can say suntan.

It was all worth it for our boys though.  Exhausting…but totally worth it.

We visited the gulfarium in nearby Ft. Walton beach.  It was pretty cool.  Parker really enjoyed looking at all the different marine life.  They had a sea lion show, but Parker was more interested in trying to wiggle out of our laps for that. Maybe in a few more years he’ll be into it.

Since traveling with two small ones has its difficulties when it comes to doing activities, we decided to have a babysitter (who we found on Craigslist of all places- with excellent references) that we were using for our date night, join us for a boat ride to help with the boys.  She was awesome.  She held Mason so that I could take Parker in the water and Dan could do a snuba dive.

She was a great sitter, and we felt more than comfortable leaving her the following night for a date night.  We had a lot of fun together.  We had dinner at “The Back Porch”, which had some amazing views.

We also went to this unique place called Fudpuckers, where you can feed and hold real alligators!  We visited briefly on our date night, but then came back with Parker the next day.  He was interested for about five minutes…then he just wanted to run around, and see if he could figure out how to personally meet the alligator up close.

We had a lot of great outings, but some of my favorite moments were right in the condo.  Just being ourselves, letting loose, wrestling…tickling…and enjoying each other… making memories!

Our last day in Destin we hit the beach one last time in a nearby inlet, and then headed over to Harbor walk where they have a few nice stores, and good restaurants.  It was a great relaxing day to end the week.

It was a great trip, and we certainly plan to go back to Destin.  It was a beautiful place with lots of fun things to do.  The car ride was pretty rough at times, but I think the time spent in Destin, more than made up for it.  Can’t wait to see how the boys will do with future vacations like this one as they get older!