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Happy 3rd Birthday, Cullen!

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Somehow, I’ve managed to finish Cullen’s letter the same week as his birthday. Woohoo! (more…)

Cullen’s 28-month letter

Monday, June 4th, 2012

So, now I have a new plan of doing every 4 months for Cullen’s 2nd year, since I couldn’t get my act together to do a 27-month letter. I don’t think he’ll mind too much. Here’s the latest letter to Cullen. I managed to finish the letter a day or two after the “birthday,” but it took me longer to get the photos together. (more…)

The Sunday Somethings, 27may12

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Something that makes me happy: Sleeping in my own bed. We had a wonderful visit with family and friends in Atlanta, but it is always good to be back home again.

Something I’m thinking: Not a lot. I’m exhausted after a quick trip to Atlanta with just about as much (or more) driving as visiting. Whew.

Something I’m hoping: I hope that the kids sleep well tonight. They should also be exhausted. They missed some sleep this weekend, especially when they took turns keeping each other awake.

Something happening around the house: Thankfully, we didn’t return to a kitchen full of ants, so that was good. We are still seeing ants here and there.

Something I’m reading: I finished Prophet’s Prey. I thought that some of the information was interesting, but I probably could have gotten when I wanted out of the book by reading a few news articles on the internet about what happened since the timeline in Escape. I decided to start reading The Night Circus since I finally got it from the library after being on the kindle waiting list for a long time. It appears that all of my longer waiting list books are popping up at the same time. This could be a problem! I’m going to have to keep the wifi off on my kindle for a while.

Something Gabe is reading: I think he actually managed to read some more of Feed while in Atlanta this weekend.

Something I’m watching: I was flipping around the channels and watched a couple of minutes of The Bachelorette. I’m not sure I’ve seen worse television.

Something I’m playing: Mystery Manor on the iPad. It’s addictive.

Something tasty: Our road trip junk food of choices this time was Reese’s Pieces.

Something about both kiddos: All things considered, they are pretty good little road trippers. That’s not to say that they don’t have their bad moments, but they do awesomely for this age. The driving portions of the trip were mostly smooth. Today started out a bit rocky, but then Cullen fell asleep within 30 minutes and Maddie just stared out the window for an hour or so. We were glad that we didn’t run into too much traffic on the way. The hotel experiences are a different story. The kids still don’t do all that well when we’re all in the same room. Cullen kept all of us awake (again).

Something Maddie is doing (51 months old): Maddie finally started on the moveable alphabet at school! She is so proud of herself, and we are proud of her, too. I’m excited because this is a real step towards reading, and we’ve had trouble getting her motivated to do that at home. Since starting the moveable alphabet, she wants to sound out and write words at home, too. I think that she’s starting to really put it together, though I know some of it is memorization (like she’s had simple words like “cat” memorized for a long time). She is doing better at spelling words than she is at reading them so far.

Something Cullen is doing (27 months old): Well, right now he keeps coming out of his room, refusing to go to bed. He had a couple of rough nights on our trip. On our first night where we drove halfway, Cullen caught a 45 minute nap in the car. We arrived after 10pm at the hotel, and the nap was enough for Cullen to get his second wind. It was well after midnight when he finally went to sleep. He was quite restless all night. We have learned that he’s still not a good cosleeper! He tossed and turned and was close to falling off the bed several times. Fortunately, the room was set up so that we could put a chair and ottoman right next to the bed so that he wouldn’t fall onto the floor (and I was on the other side). I was punched and kicked throughout the night, and he woke up half a dozen times between 12:30am and 6am. Both kids were up at 6am. Whew. Last night, we put the kids to bed a little later than usual, and it took until almost midnight for Cullen to go to sleep. I know he’s exhausted and just needs to SLEEP.

Something I’m looking forward to: Book club! We also have a play date at the museum on Saturday and a housewarming party to attend on Sunday.

Something random: We saw TWO different blimps on Friday night on the way to SC (where we spent the night halfway along our trek). The kids were excited about the blimp sitings. Cullen wondered whether we were going to see blimps on the way back. We saw a MetLife blimp around the Greensboro area and the Goodyear blimp in the Charlotte area. We all thought it was really neat to see two different blimps within an hour or two!

Something captured: I tried to get a photo of the kiddos with Great Grandma. It was difficult to get them to cooperate!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

Happy 2nd birthday, little man!

Monday, February 6th, 2012

I’ve been working on Cullen’s letter since his birthday, but I had quite a bit to cover this time. I think it’s probably my longest letter ever, but it has a lot of major milestones and events! (more…)

The Sunday Somethings, 15jan12

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Something I’m hoping: Well, when I first started writing this, I said that I hoped that Gabe and Cullen were better soon and didn’t spread their germs to me. Unfortunately, they did spread their germs to me, but after 24 hours of the stomach bug I felt a lot better. We are crossing our fingers that Maddie stays healthy.

Something happening around the house: We were supposed to have been out of town of this weekend, but we had to cancel our trip to Atlanta since the boys were sick on the way down. Our house might have been tidy, but instead it’s the usual disaster zone.

Something I’m reading: I finished the 4th Percy Jackson book, and I started and finished The Kitchen House for book club. I enjoyed it and look forward to discussing it at book club! I started the 5th (and final) Percy Jackson book.

Something Gabe is reading: He finished The Lightning Thief in the Percy Jackson series and started on the 2nd book. Unfortunately, the Percy Jackson series is no longer “always available” on the kindle at the library. Darn! It was so convenient. Oh well, we have the 2nd book in paperback, and we put Gabe on the waiting list for the 3rd.

Something I’m watching: We sorta watched Red, but it didn’t keep my attention too much. I took Maddie to see Puss in Boots at our dinner theater on Sunday afternoon. She really loved it! Mostly, we wanted to get out of the germ infested house with Gabe and Cullen and their bugs.

Something I’m playing: Go Away Monster and Kids of Carcassonne. I played a few minutes of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Something I’m creating: I have been creating more blog posts than anyone wants to read. I don’t have any lined up, so I’m going to have to work on those this week, I suppose. If I get the motivation… I am finally getting around to our Christmas thank you notes.

Something about both kiddos: The kids are very cute together this week. Sometimes, they can play together so well. Of course, they have their share of fights (and things can escalate so fast with siblings!).

Something Maddie is doing (46 months old): We went to her first movie at our dinner theater, as I mentioned. She also had her first in a series of ballet classes. Work is offering another set of convenient classes after work on Thursdays, so we’re giving those another try. She participated very well in her first session. She listened to the instructor and followed all of the instructions. This is quite a change from her first class last time. It helps that some of her friends are in the class!

Something Cullen is doing (23 months old): I took a cute video last week of Cullen singing almost all of the words to “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.” He’s quite the cutie! He’s had a stomach bug for most of the past week and a bit of a cold, too. Poor little guy. He’s also still working on those eye teeth. He has been in the booster instead of his high chair at the dinner table, and he’s done with high chairs at restaurants. He kicked the table last week and toppled his chair backward. It’s one of those things that happened in slow motion for me, but I couldn’t stop it from happening. Yikes! The top of his chair (and his head) landed on the carpet, which I think helped. Fortunately, he was fine, but it was scary for a moment! He has had some bad nights in the past week between teething and being sick and has done some waking in the middle of the night to fuss a bit and then goes back to sleep. He’s still using the paci at night.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I might book not just one but two Disney trips…one for me and a girlfriend (without kids!) and another with the family in October. Woohoo! I can’t believe that I’m planning to go to Disney without the kiddos, but I’m looking forward to doing some of the adult and less little-kid-friendly things.

Something I learned: Gabe and I are getting more educated about fructose malabsorption (something he was diagnosed with a while back but we haven’t been diligent about).

Something I’m looking forward to: We have dinner and games with friends, a balance bike date, and another ballet class, assuming that we are all healthy enough by then. Cullen’s birthday is Sunday. I can’t believe that he’s going to be 2! We are going to find some special ways to celebrate on Sunday, and the kids are having a small joint party this year in a few weeks.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 20nov11

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Something that makes me happy: I enjoyed visiting with family this weekend, especially my great aunts and great uncle.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about what a wonderful person that my grandpa was, and I’m missing him already.

Something happening around the house: We were in Atlanta for the funeral, so it’s a mess (especially since the cleaners were supposed to come while we were gone, but we cancelled).

Something I’m reading: This week, I received notification that both The Peach Keeper and A Feast for Crows kindle versions were available for me to borrow from the library. I’m reading The Peach Keeper since I don’t have a print copy (and the waiting list is REALLY long). I haven’t had much chance to read the past couple of days.

Something Gabe is reading: The Hero of Ages.

Something tasty: We had a very tasty brunswick stew this weekend. I need to get that recipe.

Something about both kiddos: The kids were pretty good during our trip to Atlanta (with the exception of an hour or so in the car and bedtime the first night). Gabe said they were perfect angels during the visitation and funeral, as evidenced by FOUR new “buddies” from the Disney store. Gabe couldn’t resist getting Goofy, Daisy, Donald, and Pluto to complete our cast of characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Something Maddie is doing (45 months old): We told Maddie that we could no longer see and visit with Great Grandpa because he died. She asked some questions but seemed to understand that we weren’t going to be able to see him anymore. She did think that we would get “another Great Grandpa,” and we explained it didn’t work that way. She told several people that we didn’t have a Great Grandpa anymore. The night before we went to Atlanta, she said to me, “Great people live in Atlanta, right?” So sweet. She missed her last ballet class, unfortunately. She talks about ballet constantly. She worked on her book a little bit more. I can’t wait to post about that one. It’s entertaining. Santa is glad that he already has Maddie’s LeapFrog LeapPad Tablet (unbeknownst to her), as it seems to be very difficult to get at the moment! Maddie slept on a sleeper sofa for the first time. It worked out pretty well!

Something Cullen is doing (21 months old): Cullen’s crib days are nearing an end. He was trying to climb out of the pack and play several times. Since we have the cruise so soon, we’re not sure we want to make this transition quite yet! We were depending on having him in the pack and play at least through the end of the year. We had already decided to turn him forward facing before we found out about my grandpa. He seems pretty excited to be facing forward and has been chatty on our drives about what he can see now.

Something I am struggling with: Aside from the obvious, writing this blog post.

Something I learned: I learned that many people loved my grandpa, and it was wonderful to meet some of the people that have been so important to him and my grandma.

Something I’m looking forward to: Breaking Dawn and visiting with my family for Thanksgiving.

Something random: I received the following hilarious spam comment this week: I like seeing web sites that postulate the abetment of supplying a nature tip useful useful resource in that unshackle. profuse thanks since this glorious rudiment of knowledge about info.

Something captured: It was difficult to choose one this week, but I thought that this was a cute one of Cullen and me.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta, part 2

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Continuing with the trip report, we got checked into our hotel, grabbed some groceries, and headed to my grandparents house. We had dinner at their house and did some visiting. We returned the next day and were joined by my parents, aunt, uncle, and cousins.

The kids were excited to be in a new place and to play with the special toys.

We had to watch Cullen closely to keep him from getting into trouble. He found every rocking chair in the house and tried to throw them off their rockers. That was a little stressful!

We celebrated my mom’s birthday. Maddie decorated the fancy bakery cake with Cars sprinkles.

My grandparents were so excited to see their great grandchildren.

The kids were excited to play with the special toys that my grandma always gets out for them.

John Thomas played his trumpet for the kids, and they LOVED it. They kept saying, “again! again!” They danced around and made requests (like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, naturally).

Somebody had a few too many buddies in their crib. The kids slept in the same room in Atlanta with mixed results. They kept each other up late. They were mostly happy, giggling and tossing stuffed animals. It was both cute and maddening at the same time. We considered it a good trial run for the cruise, if we decide to put them in the same room.

We met friends and my cousin and his new wife for brunch on Sunday on our way back. We had some nice visits during our weekend in Atlanta! Maddie wanted to wear her new boots on the way home – so cute!

Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta, part 1

Monday, October 17th, 2011

We went to Atlanta to visit family over Labor Day weekend. It was a quick visit, and we didn’t take too many photos. We left at about 4pm or so and ran into the worst traffic that we have encountered on the way to Atlanta. We didn’t arrive at our hotel until about 12:30am. I can’t believe it took us over 8 hours to travel what should have been less than 4 and a half hours. The kids weren’t awful, but Maddie didn’t fall asleep until it was quite late. Cullen had a nice little snooze.

So, when we arrived at the hotel, of course the kids were wide awake, and we were ready to sleep.

Hi, Mommy! Hotels are fun! Do I look like I want to sleep?

Time for the DS and books! What else are we going to do at 1am??

Time to play my special game!

We had lunch with my aunt, uncle, and cousin the next day. We got a little bit of a late start and stopped by the Stride Rite outlet to stock up on shoes for both kids. We were once again reminded that shopping for a child with two different sized feet is a challenge. The latest challenge is that her left foot is still toddler sized while her right foot is in the preschool sizes. Not too many styles cross over.

We spent some time with family and tried to get Cullen to nap. He just flopped around in the pack-n-play for a while until we decided to get the kids in the car and head to the hotel and my grandparents house, hoping he would sleep in the car. He didn’t! This was the first day that he went the whole day without a wink of a nap.

We took some photos in the front yard. The kids aren’t exactly cooperative with family photos these days. This is the best we can usually get.

Maddie had so much fun with my aunt Laura, and I think that she was confused and thought her name was Nana, too. She called her Nana and Nana Laura most of the time. I don’t think that Laura minded at all. They really bonded. Maddie made her ride in her “car” and take trips to the park where they had a dance party. We were amused watching her drag Laura all over the place with her adventures.

I was glad that we could coordinate a visit this time!

And the kids are always happy with new adventures and extra attention!

Part 2 coming soon!

The Sunday Somethings, 04sep11

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Something I’m thinking: I was thinking about doing this yesterday from my mom’s iPad, but it was a pain…so I decided to wait until we got back home from Atlanta.

Something happening around the house: I think we found a new maid service. We really need them to come soon!

Something about our travels: We went to Atlanta this weekend to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. We managed to do quite a bit of visiting this weekend! We stayed in a hotel on Friday night that was over halfway, but it took us about 8 hours to get there (instead of the usual 4). It was just about the worst traffic that either of us had seen. We encountered accident after accident after accident. Whew. The trip back was much better, thank goodness.

Something I’m reading: I finally finished A Storm of Swords! I decided to read Four Corners of the Sky on the kindle (and maybe a few other books) before starting on A Feast for Crows.

Something Gabe is reading: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. He’s already about halfway through the book. Gabe is on a roll!

Something tasty: My dad’s famous meatloaf. Nobody does it better.

Something Maddie is doing (42 months old): We stopped at one of the Stride Rite outlets on the way to Atlanta, and we bought every Maddie-pair that we could find in the store. Her left foot is still solidly in toddler styles while her right foot is now a preschool size. They do not make very many crossover shoes, unfortunately. We found a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of dress shoes, and a pair of boots. She’s excited about all of them. We noticed some bigger differences between the shoes in at least the tennis shoes. The soles are much different, so the bigger shoe just looks a lot bigger this time than it has in the past. I’m sure that most people won’t notice. If they notice that the bottoms are different, I’m sure they will just assume that the designer did that on purpose to be “cool.” Now if we can only convince shoe-makers to start making each shoe drastically different from the other in the pair, we’ll have a much easier time with this. Oh, and I learned that Maddie is quite motivated by tiny dinosaur figures. I promised her a dinosaur if she would be quiet for 5 minutes. I don’t think that the child has ever not talked for 5 minutes. She said, “ok!” and that was the last thing she said until I told her the 5 minutes was up and handed her the dinosaur. We were amazed that worked. I need to go back to the craft store and buy every tube of animals that they have. Later, Gabe asked Maddie if she could be quiet for 15 minutes next time. She looked at him very seriously and said, “no, I can’t. I can’t be quiet for 15 minutes. How about 5 again?”

Something Cullen is doing (19 months old): I couldn’t take his crazy hair any longer, and I took him to get a haircut last week. His new big boy hair cut is cute!!! I still didn’t want them to cut off his curls. They cut it a little shorter than I had anticipated, but the curls are already coming back. Cullen did a lot of talking over the weekend, and he is especially fond of repeating just about anything anyone says. His new phrase from being in the car for so many hours this weekend was “Get me book/dinosaur/Minnie/cup.” He dropped a lot of things and said this phrase often. In addition to sometimes saying, “thank you” unprompted, he now also says “thank you, you’re welcome” all together, anticipating the response. He’s putting together more and more two and three word phrases (and sometimes more, like the other day he said, “I’m watching a movie.”). He is quite fond of saying, “Mommy, no!” He said, “rocking chair” a disproportionate number of times this weekend as he discovered 3 different rocking chairs at my grandparents house. This made us quite nervous as he wanted to rock vigorously in them each time. Oh, and he didn’t nap on Saturday. This was the first time that he ever went without a nap for a full day.

Something I’m struggling with: I had a root canal this week. It didn’t seem to have worked.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: Until I took photos of Cullen at his haircut this week and took photos this weekend, I was caught up with uploading photos to Shutterfly. I also worked a little bit on Maddie’s “letters from Mommy” book.

Something I’m looking forward to: Games night on Saturday. My birthday isn’t this week…but it is SOON!

Something captured: This is why we have Catherine do our family photos. I don’t know how she works her magic, but this is about as good as it gets otherwise.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

Maddie’s birthday in Atlanta

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

We went to Atlanta for Maddie’s birthday where we had a very special lunch at the American Girl store. We visited with my grandparents and my dad’s sister’s family. We were joined by my parents and Gabe’s mom. We had a wonderful weekend! I’ll post about the American Girl Bistro experiences in a separate post.

The kids had fun playing with a mixture of toys that belonged to my dad, his sister, and my cousins. I played with a few of these when I was a kid as well.

The weather was beautiful on Saturday, which was the day before Maddie’s birthday. We decided to give her her main present early. She was excited about her balance bike!

Nana and Grandma accompanied us for her inaugural ride.

She is going to need a little bit of practice to get the hang of this thing. She loved it, especially when Daddy gave her a push.

We couldn’t believe how nice the weather was in February. This was a pleasant surprise after a cold December and January.

My grandpa loved cuddling and watching Cullen. I think he got a kick out of Cullen’s persistence. Cullen repeatedly wanted to get into cabinets, climb on things, and go after anything that isn’t for babies. My grandparents house isn’t exactly baby-proofed!

Maddie played outside for a little while with Grandma and Daddy while Cullen napped and Mommy took a side trip to Urgent Care.

We went out to dinner to celebrate (Great) Grandma and (Great) Grandpa’s upcoming birthdays. Cullen thought that the ribs were tasty.

Maddie was excited about her “dirt cup” dessert which came with the kids’ meal. Papa helped her sort through the worms.

Maddie had a lot of fun playing in Grandma’s bed while Daddy put Cullen to bed each night. She and Grandma had a big, fun time. She started calling Grandma, “Regular Grandma” to differentiate from Great Grandma.

Sunday, February 20th was Maddie’s birthday, and we celebrated at the American Girl Bistro. More on that outing later, but here’s a sneak peek of our special girl on her special day.

Nana and Papa headed back home in the early afternoon. We stayed until Monday morning along with Gabe’s mom.

Maddie loved all of her new doll accessories. The child loves her dolls! She sang Happy Birthday to Annabelle and Henry with her new table and birthday party set (shortly after this photo, they changed into their new soccer outfits).

Cullen looks like he’s trying to find something on the TV in the hotel room. The kiddos loved playing around in the hotel bed. I’m not sure what it is about hotels, but Maddie has always been very excited to flop around in the hotel beds.

It’s hard to tell in this photo, but Cullen was so funny with the air blowing his hair. He thought it was hilarious as well.

Cullen slept in the pack-n-play (well, when he wasn’t joining us in the bed). Sweet little boy!

Maddie insisted on sleeping with her dolls (who have to take off their shoes, socks, and shin guards before bed). We love her little inflatable travel bed!