Sunday, October 19, 2014

What will you be doing at 89?

My dad turned 89 in August. And was still employed.

After enlisting in the Navy right out of high school (and subsequently going off to WW2), he has worked hard his whole life. He grew up running a farm, protected our country in Japan, traveled coast to coast delivering mail by train, was a successful hotel manager, was a founding partner in Damon's restaurants, was a general contractor for a restaurant or hotel you've probably been in, and finally settled down to be our church facilities manager for the last ten years. Phew.

On October 15th, he officially retired from all of it.

He was such an integral part of the church behind the scenes. Alarm go off at 2 AM? Guess who had to go turn it off?  Toilet overflow while he's out of town? Guess who had to arrange for a plumber from afar?  You get it. The man has worked hard.

From this, I have learned my work ethic, both at my workplace and at home. You work hard, you follow through, and you forgive.  The more I examine my personality and habits, the more I see his influence in positive and "other" (stubborn?) ways.

Anyway, we celebrated this milestone with a church potluck, lots of family in town, and stopping time for a moment here and there to think, "I wish it could always be like this".

Here he is, not a fan of having his picture taken, but the man of the hour.

 Our family table, looking like it did the night before at Cracker Barrel. Chaos.

 Dad and his 3 younger brothers. He was the oldest of 6!

 My brother in law saying something outrageous, I'm sure.

 Me, sister Vicki, dad, and brother Bobby. Obviously, dad has been raising kids for a long time.

And he still is!  

Though he is officially retired now, he still likes to keep busy. In fact, within 2 days, we were at Lowe's getting supplies for a project I will share with you soon.  Here's to some relaxation time for the man I have spent my life looking up to!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Keepin' it real: I'm never prepared

You know those friends you have, who always have a Kleenex in their purse, or a mint when you've regretfully eaten something with onions?

That's not me. And this morning's zoo trip reminded me of this.

At least not since having kids. When I was preparing my diaper bag before Larkyn was born, I made sure that there were travel sized shout wipes, bandaids, single use desitins, a changing pad, a pacifier pod, you know...just the basics. But as soon as she was born, I quickly transformed into the most unprepared person I know.

I know, I should cut myself some slack. But I drive myself crazy with this almost every day. I will never EVER forget a date on the calendar and (pretty much) know where everything is in my house, but I swear I will probably leave the house without pants one day.

When you add a second child, it all truly goes out the window. The first week back to school at the sitter's, I forgot the diapers one day, the pacifier another day, and a change of clothes pretty much every day. I often leave my purse on her counter as I cheerfully walk out the door to work.

I am juggling a lot with a job, two kids, and a household...I suppose some part of my brain had to give?

See the hat Rhys is wearing? Not ours. We haven't BOUGHT a winter hat yet because I wasn't prepared for winter on October 13th.

The wagon Larkyn is in? Not ours. Because I forgot the infant carrier at home, so Rhys got the stroller. Last time, she had to walk because I DID remember the infant carrier but forgot to remove the carseat from the stroller until we were in the zoo and the car was 4 miles away to put it back.

The only reason I am actually IN my house after the zoo trip is because Matt just happened to leave an extra set of keys in a place where I could access them by chance...otherwise we had totally locked ourselves out. We meaning me.

Let's pause to feed the giraffes, which was awesome.

Am I alone here? How do I remember it's "bring an apple to school day" for Larkyn and then have to use wet restroom paper towels as wipes because those didn't make it in the bag? My dream invention is a vending machine with baby stuff in it. And that also dispenses vanilla lattes and vodka and cranberries. Just kidding?

So, if we have a date planned in the future, I apologize ahead of time. One of my kids may be riding double with your kid...or we may have to swing by to buy a $27 container of formula to make one bottle because the formula is on the counter.

Hey...if they're happy, that's all that matters at the end of the day, right?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Kid trip: Franklin Park Conservatory

It is a big weekend for my family. More to come on that later, but my immediate family on my dad's side is in town from Charlotte and Dallas for a few days. Of course we raved about the PERFECT weather we had all through September, listing all the fun things we could do outside when they came into town. Aaaaaand it was sleeting today. Where do you take a group of adults mixed with a wild child and a baby?  My mom found the perfect spot...

Franklin Park Conservatory is downtown, and home to a giant greenhouse with all the different biomes of earth (remember that word?) From May through October, it is also home to butterflies! We are catching them right at the end of their life cycles, but there were still plenty to be seen and beautiful scenery to entertain all of us.


The conservatory is also host to several art installations by Dale Chihuly, which my family really enjoyed. That's my dad's baby brother Earl. My sister is in the teal behind him.

Aside from the butterflies, the South Conservatory has these gigantic koi fish. That orange one on the bottom was bigger than our cat and one of our dogs!  Larkyn loved these guys.

And I love this guy. I like to pretend he already knows sign language and is telling me something profound here. No, he's just taking in the sights. The Conservatory is stroller friendly!

The Palm House is used for special events. We were part of a wedding in the Palm House about a year ago, and nothing compares to it. Maybe we can use it for Larkyn's wedding in about 25 years if she marries a doctor. She just dipped her entire arms in the water.

The upstairs has a few terraces with a million photo op spots. We actually saw a couple reenact their engagement for a photo session, which was entertaining. My mom was in the middle of telling Larkyn to stay inside. Typical.

Being so close to Halloween, their seasonal exhibit is "scary plants". I had no idea there were so many plants that ate insects. They did a puppet show of "Little Shop of Horrors", but we didn't stay to watch. Larkyn found this instead. The highlight of her month, maybe. It is a giant Venus Fly Trap that you can catch a pretend buzzing fly in...


This was in the rainforest biome (North Conservatory). There are waterfalls everywhere, which was great news for Larkyn, who asks me no less than once per day if we are going to Niagara Falls today.

He had turns being held by all his aunties and Nana today. Can we please talk about this shirt? I bought it the day after I found out I was having a boy.

At the end of the Rainforest room, there is an amazing fairy garden (this is only a section of it) with a tiny train and Disney figurines. She is frustrated because she wants to be IN the garden and it is most definitely not accessible to toddler climbing.

If you live in the area, this is a good change of pace for your young children. Especially if you have older family members to entertain or need an idea for a rainy day. Children under 3 are free, kids are $6 and adults are $12.

Rhys is 6 months old!

I can't believe we are at the halfway-to-a-year mark! I am getting so behind on this project. I have no idea how I did a weekly post and picture for Larkyn.

At 6 months Rhys is...

Loving to eat! He scarfs down oatmeal cereal and Gerber Organic pouches, and I have yet to find one that he doesn't like. At the apple orchard, he chewed on an apple for a while.

Sleeping inconsistently. He naps well at home but then won't sleep a blink at the sitter's. He will sleep 13 hours one night, then up 3 times the next?

Such a smiley boy:)

Saying "mamamamama"...which I'm 100% sure is my name. Just kidding-it is just his first sound.

On the move. Not exactly crawling, but he pulls himself where needs to go. Usually toward his sister's prized toys.

We are almost to 7 months by the time I have posted this. He is 17 pounds, 27 inches, average in all measurements. We just love him!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

God lives in apple orchards

It is probably clear through my archives that my posts perk up around the fall and taper off after Christmas. I keep seeing the Fitzgerald quote "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall". Truth. I feel like these sunny days of September were written for us to get together with family and friends and do stuff.

It killed me last weekend to miss 2 days of fall fun. But strep, ear, and sinus infections will do that to you. Here is our kickoff to fall, spent at Lynd's fruit farm. It was "Pumpkinpalooza", but we did not partake in that craziness--just the peaceful orchards and the market of temptations...

Baby's first Lynd's (Golden Delicious Puree). It is safe to say we may have gone overboard at the market (not pictured: Amish pumpkin roll and 3 kinds or hand-pies) but I couldn't resist letting Larkyn fill up the basket with little pumpkins. So glad my mom and dad joined us and that Rhys is just old enough to enjoy our harvest. Happy Fall!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's about time...

I'll admit, we have been in a grumpy slump over here for about a month. I had a few posts (now deleted) that were simply written just to give me a little therapy. No one wants to read about that. But things have turned around. Here is what's making me smile these days...

I finally bought the baskets I have been lusting over (Threshold at Target). I stacked a mobile coupon, RedCard discount and Pharmacy rewards to bring them down a bit. Not sure what to put on the labels? And yes, the cords will go behind the wall. Eventually.

Lavender!  Sorry, but I've been kind of rolling my eyes at essential oils for the past year. After using it on all of our feet this week, I am a believer. We usually hear Larkyn talking and reading in her room for a while after I put her to bed, and now she is zonked out almost immediately. The chapstick is my new fave. Thanks, Jill!

Also to note, someone has some teeth around here. That may have contributed to his better sleeping this week. I'll take it. He's actually enjoying some Clove on his gums right now...

Starbucks "Discoveries" iced vanilla latte. Larkyn pointed to it at Target a few weeks ago and I have her to thank for my new habit. We don't live near a Starbucks with a drive through anymore, so this is my (cheaper) treat before school.


I have watched this video more than I'd care to admit.

Fall clothes!  There is so much more interest when you can add layers, colored pants, and big accessories like scarves and statement necklaces. These are a few of my fall inspirations...

Speaking of clothes...can you handle it?

shoes: sperry, bodysuit OshKosh, hoodie Circo, jeans Childrens Place
A full-of-fun calendar. 'Tis the season for festivals, farms, and Homecoming. That's Larkyn's preschool calendar on top of mine. Her "assignment" each day is to wear the color of the day. I want to go to preschool.

Nana slumber parties. We had a tough few weekends with our new preschooler. By Sunday evenings, everyone was drained. Nana to the rescue one Saturday a month, giving Larkyn a new setting and us a little bit of time to do household jobs, run errands, and watch TV that doesn't involve a Disney character.

I am happy that I had a few minutes to record our lives from the last month in the books!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

5 months of Rhys

I am a few weeks late, but Back to School is my excuse for everything. It is the catch-all reason why my world is upside down for about a month each year. Lots of adjustments, but we are getting used to them and celebrating another month with this handsome boy. As I think back a few weeks ago...

How big?  At our last ENT appointment, he was 16.5 pounds and 24.5 inches. He's kind of a shape shifter, where some days I see him as tall and lanky like daddy, and some days he seems like a little Buddah.

Sleep?  Oh my...if you had any personal contact with me in the last 6 weeks, you know that this was a struggle. Every day I questioned, "Is he cold?" "Does he want the swaddle or NOT!?" "Does he need the pacifier?" "Is he hungry?" "Is his reflux bothering him?" "WILL I EVER SLEEP AGAIN?"  At its worst, his sleep pattern at 21 weeks was waking up every hour. Every freaking hour I was up with him. Finally, I tried giving his mattress an incline, drawing his shades allllll the way down to block out any sort of light, and swaddling under his arms. Something in there may have worked.

New routines:  Rhys is going to Miss C's house 3 days a week and stays with Matt and Nana the other days. So far, so good. When he gets home from Miss C's, he is worn out.

Eating: Still 5 6oz. bottles per day plus cereal. Larkyn turned her nose up to rice cereal, but my friend Mara gave us some Earth's Best oat cereal with banana. He eats a bowl and wants more!

Skills: He's a master at rolling back to belly. In the morning when I go in his room, he is all the way at the bottom!

Faves: Exersaucer, trucks in his mouth, really warm bottles, The Infantino mei tei carrier, relaxing baths, smiling. He is so distracting when I talk to people, but I love it. They'll be talking to me and then look down at him and all focus is lost because he will give them a huge grin.

Everything is getting too short for him! I'm sad to put away his little 6 month nautical tees already, but they're looking like cut-offs. Since it is MUCH hotter here than it was all summer, I'm trying to snatch up 6-12 month summer clothes on clearance. I thought I'd be buying long sleeve in 6-12...good thing I didn't buy ahead with him!


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