Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween, Fun but Missed Home Today!

Ok, so I miss being home around my sisters on days like this. I admit it. Growing up in a neighborhood where Halloween is a BIG deal and now living in the country is hard for me. I have so many fond memories of "trick or treat"ing in the old neighborhood and handing out candy when the ghouls and goblins knocked on the front door of our house; it being dark out and pumpkins lit all over with candles. I always looked forward to someday having kids all come to my house and handing out candy, but since living in the apartment in Birmingham when we first moved here 11 years ago, we haven't had trick or treaters (and one of those 2 years in the apartments Cory refused to let me hand out candy, "just turn off the lights, we don't need to have all those people seeing in our place." I love him but sometimes he can be a scrooge!) I know it's not the same for Cory, since he grew up in a similar setting as we live now. So, I guess we've got to make our own memories here.
I'm working on it. I've got friends that live in neighborhoods, and someday when the boys are older, we'll probably head over to one of their houses for a party and door to door fun. For now, since the boys are so young, we're just doing the dress up thing and participating in the school party. And we had a great day at it.
Jack was a trooper from the start, loudly proclaiming this morning, PARTY! (He has a GREAT memory, so watch what you say or promise when you see him!) He happily dressed up as a cowboy and Daddy taught him to take his hat off and say "Howdy Tex!" And Daddy also saved the day by finding a horse costume at Wal-mart last night on his way home from north Alabama. It was only a 3-6 mos size but scissors can do wonders and it worked perfectly. They were TOO CUTE!
In the afternoon I headed back to school for the afternoon party in Jack's room. He wore his hat and holster all day, which shocked me...I was certain the novelty would wear off just as the party would start. We got a few cute pics, as evidenced below. And most fun for me, was stopping at Publix for a few things on the way home and getting lots of smiles and "they are soooo cute!", "what clever costumes!" from strangers...I like showing them off occassionally after all!
So all in all, it was a great day. And Jack even got to top it off with his first sucker. Well, I say it was his first, the first I've ever given him and I generally feel that most of the time I'm the one giving him most of his "firsts"...interesting that when I did he loudly proclaimed "SUCKER!"....hmmm, how's that work?

All dressed up and ready to go!

Not so keen on getting our pic taken by Aunt Kay at school.

Short lived meltdown. Somebody wanted his snack...NOW!

(Jack, Ms. Amy, Sam, Ellis, Braedon, Madison, Ali, Erin, Ms. Missy)

How cute is this horsey?!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just a Warning!

I know, I know you all have kids and have gone through it...but, I'm sending out an early warning since we are headed to both Tennessee for Thanksgiving and Wisconsin for Christmas...we have entered the Terrible Two's.

We love Jack, we just don't love the being that occaissionally overcomes our sweet, tenderhearted child. And lately, that being has been making an appearance on a more regular basis.

We have stepped up the discipline, and although we feel we have been consistent in our parenting "techniques" and he has been getting the "benefit" of regular time-outs in his chair in his room (and in the hallway at daycare among other places), we still have some learning going on - both on his part and ours as we muddle through the method. He reacts quite well when told he must calm himself down before he can come out. And although he always ends his fits with, "All done crying, I sorry", which is quite endearing, we are both slowly learning this "baby" is a lot smarter than what we have been giving him credit for.

However, do not be dissuaded. He is definitely a toddler, and a stubborn one at that. He can still drive us both to the edge of our nerves and we are not perfect parents. So please be prepared for some awkward moments as we all get together over these next few months. We are figuring out day by day what works to quell the fits, but each day brings a new challenge.

Today for instance, his teacher shared that he would not sit in his chair when directed to do so for lunch. Nothing new for him, he just didn't want to. So, after a few attempts to get him to respond, he was put in time out, sitting in a chair facing a wall. And, true to form, he began to kick the wall. His teacher told him to stop, he did not, she told him a second time, he did not. She moved him further from the wall so he could not kick it. He pointed his toes as far as he could toward the wall and looked straight at her and smiled. Reminded me to share with his teacher that at 15 mos, when his teachers told him to "stay on the carpet" (a common instruction for the kids to remain in a certain play area in the room), he would walk right up, his toes just touching the end of the carpet/start of the linoleum, look up at them and smile as if saying "C'mon, say it again and I'm gone!" Let me just say, he does not get this from his mother.

And for the final blow for me today, with Daddy on a trip since Monday and after a few long nights with Duke up with a cold and ear infection, he decided that he could not walk out of daycare but rather must throw himself on the ground and scream to be carried. Needless to say, since I cannot possibly carry both children at one time, and there is only one me and I cannot very well leave one child in the car to go back and get another or some parent would probably call Child Protective Services on me, I had to figure out how to coax him from a flailing, kicking, screaming fit out of the building and into the car.

After 30 minutes of ignoring, walking away, and other such attempts, I was finally rescued by one of the staff who offered to take Duke with her to the front desk while I calmly (but wanting to pop him like you wouldn't believe!) picked up Jack, buckled him in his seat in the car, gave a quick recap on why he would not be watching any DVD on the way home as he screamed now for Elmo, and went back, got Duke and drove the lovely rest of the 45 minutes home. Suprisingly, he whined for Elmo for only another 5 minutes before he got the point, it wasn't going to work. And then, an angel the rest of the night. Hmmmm...consistency works, it's just not working fast enough for me and Daddy!

So, consider yourself forewarned.

You can stop laughing now.

(And trust us, a popping will happen eventually, we just can't see how he would make the connection quite yet :P)

See you all soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Know, It's SCARY!

I am blessed to get lots of compliments about how cute my kids are. And when Jack was a baby, it was always that he looked so much like Cory, but as he got older, more and more I heard, he looks JUST LIKE YOU! Then when Duke arrived, oh yes, "Duke is all Cory but Jack is all you".

Well folks I hate to disappoint. But they are BOTH all Cory. I have found proof...

Here's Cory at 6 mos I believe...all Duke, right?

And here's Cory at his 2nd Birthday...I KNOW!...How can that be the same kid??

So, still think Jack is all me...?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Current Obsessions

Oh I bet there are those of you out there that have the same and won't admit to them!

  • Facebook - ok, so my sister in law Natalie mentions it while on their visit this summer and a few months later I now not only am on it just about every night, I've downloaded the application to my blackberry!

  • Rifling through all the outgrown (or never worn) clothes, toys and baby stuff and selling it via Craig's List and ebay - Hey, every penny counts!

  • Fox News, I just cannot watch network news during these last days running up to a presidential election. Sorry, but I have yet to see anything fair and balanced out of NBC. At least Hannity has Colmes. And did Dick Morris switch parties and I missed it?

  • Updating the photo albums. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but at least I bought matching ones to make it through both boys first 3 years (at least Duke's, poor 2nd kid, I need to take another 500 photos just to catch up to "Jack, Year 1")

  • Emptying my work e-mail. (Never going to happen, but I'm still obsessing about it at 10:20pm, what does that tell you?)

  • Thinking of what other things we have around that I can sell on Craig's List or ebay (see second point above :))

  • Avoiding our statements from Edwards Jones (or American Funds, Fidelity, put your 401(k) or IRA managing firm here)'s Monday, the weekend is only 4 days away!!

Oh, and the Pillsbury Flaky Twists...YUMMY when you don't have a real bakery within 1 hour of your home. Crullers would be heaven, but these will work in a pinch!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trying to Keep Up...

Little brother is working his hardest to keep up with big Jack!

And big Jack suprised Mommy tonite...he pointed to some letters on the back of one of his books and started saying his ABC's!!! So Mommy started singing the alphabet song and Jack chimed right in, all the way to G! And just last night he pointed to a picture of a birthday cake in one of his books and started to sing "Happy to you!"

Some days just take my breath away!

Friday, October 10, 2008


So, always one to give my consumer opinions, I joined up through an invite from General Mills for a program called Pssst... Essentially I am a home test marketer for new products they introduce. When they have something new, they mail me coupons to give to friends, e-mail an electronic coupon to share with friends don't live nearby and give me a coupon to try the product free. Then they follow up with a survey to see if I tried the product and if I did, what I think about it. Not a bad deal really, I get to try something free and my friends get a decent coupon (this product here is a $1.00 off). So what if I'm shamefully filling my blog with an occaisional advertisement :)

So, this first product are Pillsbury Flaky Twist with Chocolate Icing (perfect for a weekend when Daddy is NOT home)! I already found them at the store and got my free one, and if you'd like the coupon for $1.00 off, let me know, I've already e-mailed it to some of you, and passed out a few too!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Ok, hopefully this will satisfy some of you for a bit since I've been so neglectful in sharing pictures! Stay tuned for video posts coming soon!

We had just seen Elmo Makes Music with Grandma and got this cute pic!

I just love this one of Duke, he is such a sweetheart!

Let me just say, this was snapped SECONDS prior to both hands plunging into the birdbath...shocking, I know!

Thanks for the break Grandma! California was too short, but wonderful!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Big Read

Well, I'm stealing the idea for this post from my sister-in-law Natalie. There is a lot you can search on the details all over the net but what I found neat was the list. It is assumed that the average adult has read only 6 of the top 100 books. I fared pretty good - fully 1/4th of the list I've read. How about you?

The Rules:
1) Look at the list and put one * by those you have read.
2) Put a % by those you intend to read.
3) Put two ** by the books you LOVE.
4) Put # by the books you HATE. (I didn't do this, it's such a strong word!)

** 1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (Natalie, you hooked me! Without you I wouldn’t have picked it up!)
% 2 The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
% 3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
% 4 Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling (I’ve read one or two)
** 5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
*% 6 The Bible (Still working on it!)
% 7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë
* 8 1984 - George Orwell (Thanks to 9th Grade English)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
% 10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
** 11 Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
% 13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
% 16 The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien (well I have started it )
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
% 18 Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
% 21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
% 22 The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
% 24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams -
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh -
* 27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
% 28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
% 29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (My grandmother had “Through the Looking Glass” which was a bizarre sequel which I read)
** 30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
% 31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
** 33 Chronicles of Narnia- C.S. Lewis (FAVORITE as a kid!)
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
** 36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis – (FAVORITE as a kid!)
** 37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis de Bernières -
** 39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
** 40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
* 41 Animal Farm - George Orwell (Again, thanks to high school English)
* 42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins -
% 46 Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
% 49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
% 50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
% 51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
% 54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
** 61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
** 64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
% 65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
% 66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
* 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
% 70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (I need to read this since I loved Ahab’s Wife and should read it for reference for AW, probably would have gotten more from it)
* 71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Émile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - A.S. Byatt
** 81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
** 87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
** 88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (If you haven’t read this, DO!)
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery - in French
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
** 94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (Made me cry!!!!!)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
** 98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
** 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
** 100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo