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Best of 2012

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Now that we’re well into 2013, it’s time to reflect on 2012, right? It’s a challenge to even remember last week much less all of last year, but I’m going to give it a try…

Best Restaurant: Considering how little we go out to interesting restaurants these days, this is always a tough category for me. We make sure to go out each year to somewhere new and fancy on our anniversary, but most of the rest of our meals tend to be at boring kid friendly places. I’m going to pick Draft. Sadly, it closed at the end of the year for reasons unrelated to its popularity. We went with friends before a concert in February and again with Gabe’s parents just before they closed their doors. YUM!

Best Book: I actually read quite a few great books this year. The candidates for the “best” of the year were Ready Player One, The Kingkiller Chronicles, and the Wool series. It’s hard to compare the three because they were different, but since I’m forcing myself to pick one “best,” I’d have to pick The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. I highly recommend all of the finalists from this year, though! And I can’t wait to read the next one in The Kingkiller Chronicles as well as the Wool series (by Hugh Howey). I really did have a tough time choosing between the two.

Best Vacation: I might as well rename this category to “the major vacation that we took this year.” Of course, our best vacation this year was our big trip to Disney World! We had been looking forward to it for a long time, and it was great (though exhausting). We’ll do it again in a couple years! We did have a good number of wonderful shorter vacations this year, too.

Best Movie: This one is difficult for me because when I look at the list of movies that we saw in the theater, nothing stands out clearly above the rest. I guess I would pick The Avengers.

Best TV Show: My favorite show this year was Hart of Dixie.

Best Music: I don’t pay attention to the newest music these days, but we went to a fantastic concert in July with Kristin and Chad. We saw Roger Waters perform The Wall in its entirety. That was quite an experience! I wish we had had better seats, but it was still great to be there.

Best Board Game: Our favorite new game this year was Village. We need to add this one to our collection!

Best Lighter Game: I really enjoyed Riff Raff which I played at TBGT. I haven’t been able to find it for sale anywhere.

Best Party Game: We have had Cranium Hoopla for years, but I finally played it at TBGT. It was a perfect game to play with family and friends! We had fun with it on Thanksgiving with Gabe’s family, with my family at Christmas, and with friends at New Year’s. Fun game!

Best Video Game: I guess this one has to go to NintendoLand since it’s one of the only video games that we played this year. I look forward to playing more of the Wii U. With all that free time that I don’t have…

Best iPad Game: Gabe and I both spent quite a bit of time playing Mystery Manor on our iPads at the beginning of the year. It was fun while it was lasted!

Best Kids’ Game: We played a lot of kids’ games in 2012, and my favorite of those is Catan Junior. It plays somewhat similarly to the real game, and I love this intro to Eurogames for the kids. They are loving it. The kids ask to play “the pirate game” often.

Best Toy (for Maddie): My favorite toy of the year for Maddie is her Olivia’s House Friends Lego set. It’s awesome! It’s a dollhouse made of Legos. FUN!

Best Toy (for Cullen): Cullen was very into the wooden trains this year, and we all enjoyed them. We had fun making huge layouts, and they got some motorized trains for Christmas. Good times!

Best Maddie Moment: My favorite Maddie moment was riding in the front car of Goofy’s Barnstormer when she put her hands way up in the air. She was so happy. It was a wonderful experience! Loved it!

Best Cullen Moment: Cullen and I spend quite a bit of time together, and we have so many special moments together. He’s so sweet, especially every night when we go through his bedtime routine. We had a lot of great moments at Disney, too. I think that my favorite may have been when Cullen told Rapunzel that he would protect me from the dragon. He was so sweet with Minnie Mouse and the princesses!

Best Reunion: I didn’t think I’d be able to think of one this year for “best reunion,” but then I realized that Audrey and I reunited our travel relationship! We had a wonderful time at Disney in April. Hopefully, we’ll be able to take some more trips together in the future.

The Sunday Somethings, 09dec12

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Something that makes me happy: Making treats with the kids. Today, we made goodies for the teachers.

Something happening around the house: We had a giant fort constructed in the living room for most of today. It was our biggest one yet! The kids loved it.

Something I’m reading: I finished The Clan of the Cave Bear and loved it! I plan to read more of that series. I also started and finished the first book of the Wool (or Silo) series. It has been highly recommended by a couple of friends now. Interesting so far.

Something I’m watching: The season finale of The Amazing Race.

Something I’m playing: We had our annual poker tournament yesterday. Neither of us managed to win anything. Oh well! It was fun to see friends we hadn’t seen in a while. We have played a little of the Wii U.

Something tasty: Ginger snap cookies and chex mix. Mmmmm…

Something about both kiddos: We have been having fun with forts and tents made out of card tables and blankets and furniture. The kids also entertained themselves for quite a while this afternoon with cardboard boxes. We have gotten quite a few packages, as usual for this time of year! They had fun decorating their houses and rocket ships.

Something Maddie is doing (4.5 years old): Maddie has been in a very whiny phase (and extremely attached to Daddy). She can be quite sweet and fun, but sometimes she whines and makes herself (and everyone else) miserable! This week, she was supposed to go out with Audrey and me to Disney on Ice. We were excited about adding Maddie to the annual Christmas date this year! Unfortunately, she was a real grump about it the night before. She whined that she didn’t want to go to the ice show, that she didn’t like princesses, that she didn’t want a girls night, that she wanted to be with Daddy instead. After some discussion, we decided that Cullen would enjoy it more. Maddie changed her mind after talking with some classmates during the day of the event (a couple of her friends were also going that night), but it was too late. Perhaps she’s learned an important lesson? She brought home another reader from school this week. The ones that she has brought home have been too easy for her, but it has been building her confidence!

Something Cullen is doing (2.5 years old): Cullen drew our family for the first time last Sunday. I was so excited!!! I love this stage of people drawing where we have a big head with arms and legs extending from our heads. He has been drawing arms and legs (and sometimes feet). He also draws the nose similarly to limbs. He scribbles hair on the top of the head. And sometimes he draws a line up the center of the head and says that’s the person’s “belly.” He’s starting doing “lessons” in a preschool workbook. He drew lines, curves, and circles. He’s doing pretty well with his pre-writing skills. Every night, when we play “good/bad” at the dinner table, Cullen wants to go first. He often says, “reading was my good thing today” (like his sister said one of our first days we did this game). He often says, “eating with my family was good today.” He’s not been coming up with many new things each day! When Maddie complained about not wanting to go to the ice show, Cullen kept asking to go. So, I took the kid who actually wanted to go. He had a great time. I’m pretty sure Maddie would have enjoyed it, too. He was a sweet little date for Audrey and me! Cullen’s classroom had their holiday party, which is one of my favorite daycare events. His teachers make homemade gingerbread houses for the kids to decorate. They all had fun!

Something I am struggling with: I didn’t feel like writing this tonight, but I’m doing it!

Something I’m looking forward to: We have a school visit on Tuesday for our base school. This will be the first time we’ve set foot into this school. It’s not our first choice at the moment since we are hoping for our year round option. Maddie’s class has their holiday concert, and I’m really looking forward to it since it’s the only time she will be able to attend one. We missed last year’s due to our cruise. We have our rescheduled book club this week. We’re having dinner and games on Friday, and a holiday gathering on Saturday. Busy week…as usual for this time of year.

Something captured: How sweet is this little boy??

The Sunday Somethings, 15jul12

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Something that makes me happy: Getting out of the house and doing fun family things! We went to the fancy park, the kids’ museum, and our tasty frozen custard place.

Something I’m thinking: We’re thinking about all the fun and tasty things we can do next weekend with Grandma’s visit.

Something I’m hoping: I hope that this work week zips by quickly in a good way.

Something happening around the house: The usual. Chaos! The kids have now taken over a corner of our bedroom for some reason and renamed it “school.” Maddie has been conducting lessons in there for “graduates” (a Montessori term at her school for the kids in their last year in preschool).

Something I’m reading: I finished Unbroken, and I look forward to discussing it in September at book club. I started reading Moonwalking with Einstein for August’s book club. I might have to stop halfway through it and start Divergent, since that is the selection for July’s book club meeting!

Something Gabe is reading: He’s thinking about getting back to reading…

Something I’m watching: Lots of Gilmore Girls episodes, baseball (for Gabe), and Storage Wars. Oh, and this week was the Roger Waters concert which was awesome! The tour is The Wall, and it was phenomenal. Definitely one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. It was more than a concert, it was a show and an experience. I loved it. I almost cried. I didn’t. But I’m just saying. I could have. Maybe. It was great to experience it with Kristin and Chad, too.

Something I’m playing: Mystery Manor. Gabe may or may not be quitting Valor, but he’s still playing Mystery Manor.

Something I’m creating: I’ve been slowly making progress on photos each night. I really need to get back to sorting through the photos from the cruise…you know, the one from last December…ugh!

Something tasty: I love summer meals! We’ve been making heavy use of Gabe’s Father’s Day grill and our produce box fresh veggies. Tonight was grilled chicken, fresh steamed green beans, and grilled corn. Yum! The kids also had fresh blueberries and fresh peaches.

Something about both kiddos: The kids had a lot of fun this weekend. They love Pullen Park, especially the train, carousel and kiddie boat ride. They played in their kiddie pool, and Daddy joined them this time (he didn’t do a running leap into the pool, learning from my blunder). We had an ice cream outing to the yummy frozen custard place where the kids had chocolate with sprinkles while Gabe and I each had the peach ice cream with strawberries and waffle cone pieces. YUM! Today, we went to the children’s museum where the kids had fun dressing up, exploring climbing structures, learning about various sports, and creating artwork. Cullen took a great nap while Maddie and I cuddled and watched a movie (and I napped a little). We ended a stellar weekend with red, white and blue jello parfaits (I had originally intended to make them around July 4th). Bedtimes have been horrible for both kids. They have been coming out of their beds numerous times with lots of screaming. I hope to see improvement in that area soon! They have been waking up super early these days, around 6:30am or even earlier. Ugh!

Something Maddie is doing (52 months old): She’s taking swimming lessons at my work, and I’m not allowed to be on the pool deck at all! She’s doing great, but it makes me a bit nervous. I can watch from the windows, at least. She seems to be doing really well with it, and the format works better for her than the usual once a week lessons. She has lessons 4 times a week for 2 weeks. Maddie has been pushing limits lately and showing a bit of extra defiance. It makes me wonder if there’s something causing her anxiety as she’s also been a little more clingy than usual. Her imagination has been fun lately. She engages in lots of imaginative play with “school” and “picnics” and various stories that she makes up about what we’re doing. She’s been very creative with her artwork, and she loves doing collage type work with cutting and pasting. It’s difficult to get her to pose for photos. Often when I ask her to look and smile, she says, “I’m too busy.” She cracked me up on the way home from school this week. We were listening to the radio, and Aerosmith was playing. She said, “I don’t like this song.” When I asked her what about the song she didn’t like, she said, “I don’t like ‘living on the edge.’ Our house could fall off.” I love little kid logic!

Something Cullen is doing (29 months old): I feel like we’re still struggling with quite a few potty accidents, though maybe it’s been improving a teensy bit. His language development continues to be impressive. I’ve noticed he can form fairly complicated sentences, and he’s great at singing songs and quoting stories from his books. He can recite quite a bit of Skippy Jon Jones! He is a sweet boy who freely gives snuggles and kisses to his Mommy. After he settles on his bed, we almost always do a big snuggle where he has to get out of his bed and jump into my arms for a big hug. It’s awesome.

Something I am struggling with: Maddie’s swimming lessons…after her near drowning experience last year, it’s hard to not be right next to the pool, ready to jump in if there’s trouble.

Something I’m looking forward to: Maddie has the rest of her swimming lessons, and then Gabe’s mom is visiting for the weekend.

Something captured: We had nosebleed seats, but it was neat to see the whole wall effect. I didn’t get very clear photos, though! It was such a neat show (and hilarious people watching!). Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 12feb12

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Something happening around the house: We had quite a turnout for games night, wow! Things were a little crazy and overwhelming, but it was a lot of fun.

Something I’m reading: I finished Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, and I look forward to discussing it at book club! I also started reading another library kindle book, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

Something Gabe is reading: He finished The Fall of Hyperion which means that I think he’ll start Ready Player One soon!

Something I’m watching: Alcatraz. It’s even more confusing than LOST.

Something I’m playing: Die Bergen von Burgund, Times Up: Title Recall, Big Boggle, Call My Bluff, Taboo, Sour Apples to Apples, and No Rules Pictionary. It was a party game day for me! We’ve also been playing a lot of Zingo with the kiddos.

Something I’m creating: Not much. I finally finished Cullen’s letter. I guess I should get started on Maddie’s since her birthday is only a week and a day away.

Something about both kiddos: They have been loving Zingo, a bingo-style game with pictures and words. Maddie does really well with the concept. Cullen seems to enjoy putting the rejected chips back into the magic box. Maddie played at least a dozen times with Gabe on Monday when she was home sick from school. Cullen loses interest after a game or so, and he doesn’t quite play correctly. He does seem to want to play, but he isn’t quite getting it.

Something Maddie is doing (47 months old): Maddie has been playing a lot of Zingo, as I mentioned. She’s also very good at doing the 100-piece puzzle she received for her birthday. She calls Cullen, “Brudder,” quite a bit. “Hey, brudder, come with me!” I told her that I liked that she called him, “brudder.” She said, “Why, Mommy?” I said that I thought it was sweet. She said, “Sometimes I call him ‘brud.’” Too funny! As far as I know, she has never called him that before, but she started using it that evening and the following morning. She created valentines for her classmates. They all say “XOXO” and “FROM MADDIE” with stickers. She chose what to write from a few choices and chose “FROM MADDIE” over “LOVE, MADDIE.”

Something Cullen is doing (24 months old): As I was getting him milk for breakfast, I said, “Cullen, go sit down at the table.” He replied, “No, I not sit down at the table. I just standing here watching you pouring the milk.” At the breakfast table, he had put his robot matryoshka on the table. He said, “The robots are watching me eating breakfast.” “I want to sit next to you with Maddie’s Annabelle.” When I told him that he’s going to be starting a new class tomorrow, he said, “I see Clare. I show Clare my hurt piggie.” (He said this while lifting his toe to show his band-aid from a booboo on one of his toes). He’s only two and already showing chicks his scars. I can’t believe he’s moving to the older toddler room tomorrow. I hope that the transition goes well.

Something I am struggling with: I think I might have broken my pinky toe today. If it’s not broken, it’s bruised and swollen. Ouch!

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I’m seeing Les Miserables this week!

Something I learned: I learned that I really didn’t know that much about footbinding and Chinese culture in the 1800s. I feel like I learned a lot through reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

Something I’m looking forward to: Cullen’s moving up to his new class! I am also seeing They Might Be Giants and Les Miserables. Woohoo! Maddie has her last ballet class and is attending a birthday party on Saturday. We’re going to be celebrating her birthday with a special day on Sunday, similar to what we did for Cullen on his birthday. Maddie is excited!

Something captured: I’ve been having problems getting decent photos of Maddie in her ballet class! She’s so cute in her ballerina outfit.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 04dec11

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Something that makes me happy: The annual Christmas date with Audrey makes me very happy! This year, we went to brunch at the Umstead hotel and then to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I had seen them perform years ago. What an amazing show! I hope to do a write up about it soon.

Something I’m thinking: The blog has been neglected lately. We’ve been extremely busy with getting ready for the holidays and our cruise.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping that my family stays well between now and the end of the cruise. I’m paranoid about someone getting sick and missing the cruise.

Something happening around the house: Our annual poker tournament was on Saturday. Good times! The bonus room is still set up like a poker room with the chips as we left them late on Saturday.

Something I’m reading: I barely read this week, but I’m reading the 3rd book of the Percy Jackson series (on the kindle from the library!).

Something Gabe is reading: He’s almost finished with The Hero of Ages.

Something I’m watching: I went to see The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 with girlfriends. Yes, the movies aren’t great, but they are fun. We did see the trailer for The Hunger Games. I cannot wait for that one!!! It better be good!

Something I’m playing: We introduced Die Burgen von Burgund to Melissa and Jason.

Something tasty: The brunch at Heron’s was YUMMY!

Something about both kiddos: The kids are very excited about Christmas lights on our way home from work each day. I am looking forward to showing them the crazy decorated house near us, closer to Christmas. I think they are going to love the decorations on the ship as well! Cullen is already saying, “I like Christmas lights on cruise ship.” He started saying that at random once I told him that we would find lights and decorations on the ship.

Something Maddie is doing (45 months old): Most people don’t see the side of Maddie where she talks NONSTOP, but wow. That girl talks continuously when she’s at home or in the car or anywhere when it’s just our family. I swear, she doesn’t stop unless she’s in the presence of others. We don’t get a lot of silence in this household. I can’t remember the last time that she took a nap at home. Every once in a while, she will fall asleep in the car on a long trip. She does pretty well with “quiet time,” which is more of a break for us than it is for her! The down time benefits everyone!

Something Cullen is doing (22 months old): We taught him our “other” names this week, and he answers that Mommy is “Kerry” and that Daddy is “Gabe.” I tried to teach him his last name, but instead of saying his real last name, he insists that his last name is “Brudder.” Ha! I tell him, no, that’s not right and tell him his real last name, and he says, “No! Brudder! Stop saying that!” We’ve been having lots of conversations lately. It should be interesting to spend a week with him on vacation and then another week for the holiday. I always notice big developmental changes when he spends extended time with us.

Something I am struggling with: I did something to my shoulder, and it hurts like crazy. I hope it is better soon.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: Somehow, I managed to get tickets to Les Miserables AND Wicked this week for dates next year. Woohoo! I’ve wanted to see both of those shows for a while. We’re also working on the arrangements for next year’s Disney trip!!! And…we’re getting ready to go on the cruise on the megaship.

Something I’m looking forward to: ALLURE OF THE SEAS!!!

Something captured: Lasers! Fire! Headbanging violinists!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 24jul11

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Something that makes me happy: Melissa and I saw the NKOTBSB concert this weekend, and it was awesome! I’m so glad we went. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a crazy crowd. It seemed like more people were there for BSB than NKOTB (maybe 60/40). Matthew Morrison from Glee was also there which was neat. Somehow, the girl next to us had not even heard of Glee. The concert was very, very loud. It was so loud that I felt the sound was distorted, and I had a hard time figuring out what people were saying at times. I’m not just being a fuddy duddy when I say this, but I really feared for hearing loss. I wasn’t the only one. It was ridiculous. It was a long show, too! They had some other boy band open before Matthew Morrison, then he performed. Then NKOTB and BSB performed together at times and alternated almost every other song. I liked that format. That way if you only care about one of the bands, you don’t have to suffer through the other one for too long at one time. We were certainly there to see NKOTB, but we did enjoy a lot of the BSB performances, too. We had a great night!

Something happening around the house: Well, one of the things that I have worried would happen actually did happen this week. Our air conditioning units decided to bite the dust. That’s right. Both units bit the big one. The house is over 15 years old, so we were not hopeful that we’d be able to fix it. They charged us around $1k to “fix” the systems, and they could only get one of the systems up and running (and it was only limping along). Of course, that cost could be applied to the installation of new units. Since they couldn’t really fix it, we were stuck with getting that company to install them. They are coming tomorrow to install the downstairs system and Wednesday for the upstairs.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about how we are going to handle the enormous expense of two new units. I’ve been shuffling money around bank accounts, investigating our HELOC, and exploring financing options. I’m going to try not to worry about what house related expense will be next. Things on our radar are the roof, washer and dryer, and garage door. At least all of those things are much cheaper than a new HVAC system (even all of those combined). Days like these I wish I was renting!

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping that our energy bills will be reduced as promised. It won’t make up for the cost of the system for a while, but it is better than a kick in the pants.

Something I’m reading: I didn’t get to read much this week. Things were crazy. I’m reading A Clash of Kings.

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe is reading A Dance with Dragons. He’s about 20% through the book.

Something I’m watching: Maddie and I went with one of her best buddies to see Winnie the Pooh. Maddie had been asking to see it again. I thought it was a good way to beat the heat this weekend. She enjoyed it, and I did, too. We stayed through the credits this time to see the little bonus backson clip.

Something I’m playing: We played a little Super Mario Galaxy. I also played Dominion during lunch on Friday.

Something Maddie is doing (41 months old): She’s been writing her name for a little while now, and she’s getting better and better at it. She writes her name often when we do artwork around the house. We spent the night at her friend’s house on Saturday to get out of our oven of a house, and she slept in her friend’s room. She ended up sleeping in the same bed as her friend. This was an interesting experiment! The girls gabbed and giggled for a while, and it took them forever to go to sleep. When Maddie fell asleep, her buddy started crying. She was upset because Maddie was sleeping! Cute! They were adorable curled up on the bed together. They didn’t get nearly enough sleep, unfortunately. They kept each other awake until about 10:30pm, and then Maddie woke up several times through the night. I’m sure part of that was being in an unfamiliar place. She was cranky most of the day today. I hope that it’s just because she didn’t get enough sleep and not because she’s coming down with something. She likes to say, “oh, man!!” a lot these days, especially when we tell her to do something she doesn’t want to do.

Something Cullen is doing (18 months old): Cullen adds new words to his vocabulary daily. I know I keep mentioning it here, but his verbal skills really are amazing. I tried writing down all the words and phrases that he knows, and I have over 130 so far (EDIT: I’ve worked on the list some more and have over 200 words). I’m sure there are many that I’m forgetting! These are just the words that he spontaneously says (not words that he repeats). He is now officially 18 months old, but I haven’t had a chance to finish his letter. We had a few too many distractions this week. During lunch on Saturday, he started saying, “oh, goodness! oh, goodness!” out of the blue. He loves to do marker work (and says, “marker work! marker work!”). We have to watch him carefully as he likes to get up from the table and walk around with open markers. He’ll also open up a bunch of markers and not put the caps back on. He also wants to write on furniture and put the markers in his mouth. There’s a reason we never did markers at this age with Maddie!!! He likes playing with stickers, too. Sometimes he counts. He says “2, 3″ after someone says 1. He also randomly says, “8, 9!” He was doing that in the mountains in May, but I wasn’t convinced that he was really imitating counting until later. He requests songs every time that we get into the car. He still requests the “yat ya” song, but now he also requests the backson song from the Winnie the Pooh movie. He tried to lift my shirt to indicate he wanted to nurse once or twice this week.

Something I am struggling with: Sleep. I’ve had a lot of insomnia in the past few weeks. I think it is related to my increase in my morning caffeine.

Something I learned: I played around with photoshop elements actions this week. I’m excited to try some editing soon…whenever I actually get a free minute.

Something I’m looking forward to: A cool house. Dinner with friends, book club, and more time spent with friends. I’m also glad that we’re finished with dance, swimming, and photography lessons for now.

Something captured: Melissa and I are ready for the concert!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 17jul11

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Something that makes me happy: Creating family memories.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking we had a wonderful weekend. We had a dinner/play date with friends on Friday, swimming lessons and games night on Saturday, and movie day today. Good times!

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping that our kids are as well behaved at the next games night. Gabe and I managed to both play games on Saturday while the kids played with each other and other kids at games night. This is the first time that this has happened aside from when my parents were here and we had extra help watching the kiddos.

Something happening around the house: We had games night yesterday, and I think for once we ordered the correct amount of pizza and collected the correct amount of money. This almost never happens.

Something I’m reading: I started to read Inkspell (it’s been a while since I started that series), but then I decided to switch over to A Clash of Kings (again).

Something Gabe is reading: Gabe is reading A Dance with Dragons on the kindle. I don’t think he’s actually started it yet. It was released this week.

Something I’m watching: We watched a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones. We are way behind! We also saw Winnie the Pooh with Maddie and the final Harry Potter movie. Woohoo! We’ve been doing well with our movies lately.

Something I’m playing: I played a teensy amount of Super Mario Galaxy. I also was able to play 7 Wonders (twice), Fresco, Ricochet Robot, and Stone Age.

Something tasty: We threw a bunch of fresh veggies from our produce box into a crock pot soup today. It was yummy and felt like a healthy sort of thing.

Something Maddie is doing (40 months old): Gabe reorganized Maddie’s closet recently. She finally has her clothes in her own room, and she couldn’t be more excited. She’s been picking out her own clothes daily (sometimes she makes interesting choices), and she puts the dirty clothes in her very own hamper. She loves to play in her closet, too. She’s pretty content to play in her room by herself (for short periods of time, anyway). It’s getting to the point where instead of her room sometimes being a sort of time out (we send her there when she needs to calm down sometimes), she ASKS to go to her room. This week, I said, “Maddie, do you want to go to your room?” in reaction to her doing something she shouldn’t be, and she replied, “yes. Can I go to my room?” And so it begins. Today, we took her to see her very first movie in the theater. It was awesome. The Winnie the Pooh movie was a perfect first theater experience! All morning, she was asking us when we were going to the “movie center.” The movie was the perfect length at just over an hour. She got a bit restless towards the end, and she was a little upset that she missed the end of the movie due to an ill-timed potty break. Overall, it went wonderfully. I have to admit that I nearly got a little teary eyed from the experience.

Something Cullen is doing (17 months old): It’s been almost two weeks since Cullen has nursed, yet he still wants to nurse every couple of days. The last time he has tried to lift up my shirt was on Friday evening. He’s had some cranky moments this week. Little dude is not a good teether. I’m pretty sure that some of his other molars are going to come in soon (he has two on his right side at the moment, in addition to his 4 front teeth. His teeth are coming in in a strange order). I also feel like he will get those other top front teeth eventually. You can see the teeth coming down, but I don’t think they have broken through the gum yet. Hmm, a quick Dr. Google search indicates that we might need to have them checked out and have the gums cut. The teeth have looked like they might break through the gums at any second for weeks. We’ll be going to his 18-month appointment next week, so we’ll be sure to ask about it then. Cullen continues to repeat everything and puts together more and more two and three word concepts. Of course, he also repeated “dodo head” (thank you 5 year olds at the preschool for teaching the younger kids fun things). Cullen loves books! When Gabe reorganized Maddie’s closet, he also reorganized the kids’ books. We have a bunch of books downstairs, but now each kid has a bunch of books in their rooms. We have been reading a lot of books at bedtime.

Something I am struggling with: Sleep! I had one night where I think I had too much caffeine during the day and ended up with too many thoughts in my head at night. Then, I had two nights where I was trying to upgrade parts of the website and ran into some technical problems with the upgrade. I had to change many files, and it was tedious. Now the site should be more secure, so I suppose that’s a good thing!

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I started scanning my 2004 scrapbook. I’m planning to use the scrapbook pages in a photobook and fill in the gaps of the events that I had not yet scrapbooked. It’s a bit tedious as I have to scan each page 4 times and stitch it together in photoshop. Oh how I wish I had a speedy giant scanner.

Something I learned: I learned about some of the differences between php4 and php5 after upgrading the website to use php5. This was quite a bit of work, and I spent hours editing nearly every page on the website. Whew!

Something I’m looking forward to: My last photography class is this week as well as the last swimming lessons for the kiddos. I’m going to see New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys with Melissa on Saturday. That’s right. NKOTBSB. It should be an interesting evening…

Something random: So, we stayed until the very, very end of Harry Potter, just in case….but there was no bonus material. Unfortunately, we did not stay until the very end of the Winnie the Pooh credits and missed a bonus scene. Argh!

Something captured: Maddie’s perfect first movie experience.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 22aug10

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Something that makes me happy: Theoretically, being caught up with photos would make me happy.

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking about ways to reduce our electric bill. Wow, I know the last month was a hot one, but I still didn’t expect to see our bill that high. Yikes!

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping for cooler temperatures soon. I’m a big fan of the fall.

Something happening around the house: Our broken toilet in the master bathroom is finally fixed! Yay!

Something I’m reading: Nothing, really. I’m not going to finish this month’s book club book before Wednesday’s book club. I’m ok with this. This will be the first time that I’ve attended book club without having read the book.

Something I’m watching: More from Supernatural. We’re still on Season 1.

Something I’m playing: More Carcassonne. Not much Words with Friends.

Something tasty: Twice this week, I made fresh pasta sauce with our tomatoes and other veggies in The Produce Box. That’s a yummy way to use the tomatoes (and makes me tempted to have a little vegetable garden).

Something Maddie is doing (30 months old): She is now officially 2.5 years old, and I swear I’ve written her letter. I haven’t had a chance yet to organize the photos, but I do hope to have those done soon. We had her 30-month conference with her teachers. She’ll be moving from the daycare to preschool in about 6 months – wow! They have no concerns about her development, and she seems to be doing very well in all categories.

Something Cullen is doing (31 weeks old): He’s now officially 7 months, and he’s crawling all over the place. He’s still mostly sticking to his army crawl and is getting faster at it. I love how he crawls across the room towards me when he’s upset now. It’s so adorable. He had carrots for the first time (before I burned the rest of the batch). He loved them! I’m going to have to get some more carrots for him. We have been doing a few simple combinations like peach/banana/oatmeal and prune/avocado (which gets mixed reviews from Cullen, but the first time he loved it).

Something I am struggling with: I’m struggling with making baby food this week! Things have been going quite well, but this week I burned a batch of carrots and discovered that the peaches were moldy before we had a chance to use them. What a waste of fresh, organic produce! Oh well, I guess I’m still learning.

Something I’m doing towards my goals: We went to the Jack Johnson concert on Saturday. This was one of the items on my list!

Something I’m looking forward to: I’m looking forward to meeting with Cullen’s specialist on Thursday so that we can finally get some answers. I’m looking forward to some other stuff, too… our last ribbon dancing class, a possible movie with my hubby, book club, the cleaners, and a visit from Gabe’s parents.

Something captured: Before the Jack Johnson concert last night.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 15aug10

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Something that makes me happy: Buying clothes for the kiddos. It’s so much more fun than buying clothes for myself!

Something I’m thinking: I’m thinking that another trip to the Smithfield outlets is not in my future…perhaps ever, unless maybe I’m passing right by it on the way back from somewhere.

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping we didn’t go overboard too badly when buying the kids’ fall wardrobe. Something tells me that we have a bit more than we will really need.

Something happening around the house: My parents came to visit this weekend. We were originally going to visit them at their house, but we had a long week and they agreed to visit us. We had a great time!

Something I’m reading: Um, let’s see. The Poky Little Puppy, Elmo Says, books about Winnie the Pooh, Richard Scarry books, snippets in Parents magazines, The Three Little Pigs, and other kids’ books. I didn’t do any reading for book club. I’m really starting to doubt that I’ll finish this month’s book.

Something I’m watching: We watched another disc of Supernatural and the finale of Hell’s Kitchen. Supernatural had a few scary episodes early in the season, but it isn’t scaring me nearly as much now. Some episodes still make me jump a bit, though! We’re still on Season 1.

Something I’m playing: Ooh, it was a great week for games! We installed the Carcassonne app on the iPhone. I’m loving it! It’s nice to play a “real” board game. I’m still playing Words with Friends. Cullen also slept long enough for us (with a few interruptions) to play Tichu with my parents! It gives us a little hope that we might be able to do “normal” things like that here and there.

Something tasty: We went out to eat with my parents and sister last night, and then we came back to the house. My mom, sister, and I went to the grocery store to get dessert. We found a dairy free brownie mix. The brownies were quite tasty!!!! It was a treat to get something chocolatey like that, since most easily accessible chocolate has milk.

Something Maddie is doing (29 months old): We went shoe shopping for her this weekend since she is outgrowing her current set of shoes. This was a very frustrating experience, and I think I’ll write up a separate post for it. She is definitely into her books these days. She wants us to read to her constantly and can sit through some lengthy stories. She talks nonstop and makes me laugh all the time. Yesterday morning, she saw Gabe putting powdered sugar on his pancakes and said, “Daddy, I want snow on my pancake!” Cute. Since we’ve been feeding Cullen, she’s very into feeding her baby doll. We got her a baby doll high chair, so she’s excited about that. And baby continues to poop all over everything (no, she is not a potty doll. My child has an active imagination). This morning, she spent a good hour with a wipe cleaning up baby’s “mess.”

Something Cullen is doing (30 weeks old): It’s been a crazy week with Cullen. He had the follow up to his bladder infection testing on Tuesday. We were hoping that they wouldn’t find anything, but they diagnosed him with kidney reflux on both sides. We won’t know much more until the appointment with the urologist later this month. We may need to get Maddie tested as it is very commonly found in siblings. I’m guessing that they will put him on a maintenance dose of antibiotics, he will have to be tested periodically, and he may require surgery if he does not outgrow the condition. In better news, we have declared that little dude is crawling! He is definitely on the move. He showed off for Nana and Papa this weekend, and I have some video to post soon. He easily can sit for lengthy periods of time. He also enjoyed some more new foods this week with the introduction of oatmeal (as a thickening agent), peaches, and butternut squash! Little Man is loving his foods! Oh, and we dismantled the co-sleeper. He hasn’t been sleeping in it for a few weeks, but it made a nice bed rail and place to put things like books. We put the Snug Tuck pillow back into place. Cullen has also slept in the pack-n-play in our room two nights in a row for a little bit at a time. There is hope.

Something I am struggling with: I’m struggling with patience as we have to wait a couple more weeks to find out more about Cullen’s kidney reflux (and find out if Maddie needs to be tested).

Something I’m doing towards my goals: I’m going to the Jack Johnson concert next Saturday!

Something I learned: Almonds are not nuts. They are a fruit.

Something I’m looking forward to: The concert with friends next Saturday.

Something random: I miss playing poker and board games sometimes, but I love the life we chose with our kids!

Something captured: We got some new camping style chairs for the kiddos.

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey

The Sunday Somethings, 01aug10

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Something that makes me happy: Going out to a concert with my hubby (and friends) made me happy! It is always a little strange getting out of the house without the kiddos. It makes me feel like we need to do it more often!

Something I’m thinking: Um, August already???

Something I’m hoping: I’m hoping that the tests that we have to do for Cullen come back without any serious problems. I’m trying not to worry too much.

Something happening around the house: Right at this moment, Gabe has the kids upstairs in the bonus room. I’m hearing kids’ songs and Maddie’s constant babble. Everyone sounds happy, and I think I’ll join them soon and finish this later!

Something I’m reading: I finished Little Earthquakes in time for book club this week. I’m trying to get started on Special Topics in Calamity Physics, which is our August pick for book club. I have tried starting this one in the past but haven’t gotten too far. Maybe I’ll have more success this time.

Something I’m watching: We watched King of Kong, a documentary about competitive (classic) video gaming. It was entertaining enough. I told Gabe that if he got laid off from his job, it is not acceptable for him to pursue world records in arcade games.

Something I’m playing: It would be nice if I could use this category for board games or card games, but I haven’t had much opportunity for those lately. I do get to play Words with Friends on a daily basis. I’m still playing a little Scramble 2.

Something tasty: We had fajitas tonight with friends, and they were tasty (though a bit spicy!).

Something Maddie is doing (29 months old): She is doing ok without the paci, but bedtime has been a more lengthy process. She babbles quite a bit before falling asleep. Her naps have been more challenging as well. She had a very rough night last night with lots of waking, so we are really hoping she’s not getting sick. Maddie has been asking us to read lots of books, and she has started reciting some fairly complicated books almost word for word. Repetition, repetition, repetition. She’s very into doing everything all by herself. If you do something for her, she makes a point of putting whatever it was back to the original state and then redoing it by herself. Parenting a toddler requires quite a bit of patience.

Something Cullen is doing (27 weeks old): Poor little guy has had a rough week. He started on Monday night with a fever and vomiting. He had a little congestion, so we thought he must have a sort of cold or virus when we took him to the doctor on Tuesday. Wednesday was his 6-month check up. Since he had gotten worse, they decided to take blood and urine samples and run some cultures. The blood test showed an elevated white blood count, pointing to a bacterial infection. Unfortunately, the urine looked abnormal and the cultures grew bacteria. So, he is being treated for a bladder infection. We will find out more this week with a follow up visit to the pediatrician. He is going to have to have some further testing at the hospital. I’m trying not to worry about the guy too much until we know more, but obviously that’s hard to do as a Mommy. The pediatrician focused on his illness, but we did talk about his 6 month well visit a little bit. His weight was 16 pounds, 10 ounces (30th percentile), length of 27 inches (68th percentile), and head circumference of 17.5 inches (98th percentile). Dude has a big noggin. The pediatrician commented on Cullen’s “advanced” babbling skills. He has been cooing at us and squealing more often. He has been rolling more to get places, and you can just tell he wants to crawl. He’s not quite getting on his hands and knees, but he’s getting closer. He is able to sit for brief periods by himself, not just in the tripod pose. We’ve been introducing him to foods, and this week he had banana, avocado, and sweet potato. He’s hitting a bunch of milestones all at once!

Something I am struggling with: Cullen’s health issues. Sleep. Keeping up with photos.

Something I learned: I am learning a little bit about kidney reflux, one of the things that they are testing Cullen for soon.

Something I’m looking forward to: Maddie’s ribbon dancing class and a possible visit with my parents.

Something random: I love how Cullen touches my face. I think it’s his special way of telling me that he loves me. It’s not an exclusive affection for me as I’ve seen him to do it to certain others as well. Of course, he does prefer me over all others right now. He’s all about Mommy!

Something captured: I will now always think of this as “The Shimmer Wall,” immortalized in song by Barenaked Ladies at last night’s show. It was a big deal for Gabe and I to get out of the house and see a concert together!

Others writing The Sunday Somethings: Audrey