The Name Game

Yesterday we pulled out our book of faces we know to give us some inspiration for the "Choo Choo Song" {a little tune where you name people you are going to visit}.  I was shocked by how much better Miller is with names than he was just a few weeks ago.  I thought I'd try to capture the names on video to share, which is easier said than done.  For example, here's how the last video session turned out when I tried to get Miller to say, "I don't know."

For this session I decided to try trapping him in his high chair with a few crackers.  Not an excellent lesson in the whole don't-talk-with-your-mouth-full principle, but oh well.


Simple Life

I am hesitant to even write this post.  For one, I'm scared I'll "jinx" the life we have right now.  More importantly though, I fear rubbing salt into the wounds of working mothers who desire to be home, those with older children who probably aren't even reading this because they don't have time, or readers who are facing extreme trials.  However, it is so very important to me to document this place and time in the life of my family.

Life around here is simple these days.  I know that this won't always be the case and so I am pausing to graciously thank the Lord my God for this season.  I certainly won't say that life is perfect, but it is just  so very sweet and peaceful right now.  I realize how fortunate I am to be able to be home while Miller is young.  I see a future of carpools, homework, rushed dinners, and ball practice looming.  Don't get me wrong, I certainly look forward to these moments {well, most of them anyway}, but the past few days I have been overwhelmed with a sense of contentment and joy that I've known few times in my life.  

Right now I can take Miller on most some of my errands.  Those that are better attempted solo can usually be done while he is at Mother's Day Out twice a week.  The only schedule we must follow is naptime and we have no dress code to follow.
Literary learning takes form in reading the same "booksh" ten times, each time eliciting the same excitement as the first. 
Geometry skills mature with each block clink...
and nature is our very own science lab. 
  Art comes in the form of sidewalk chalk...
and musical abilities develop as we sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" fifty times a day.  My own relationship with the Lord has time to be cultivated through prayer and scripture reading during naptime and I pray that seeds are being planted in Miller's heart as we sing, read, and pray.  Outdoor recess lasts for hours...
 and strawberries and prunes might as well be Skittles and M&Ms.
Discipline problems at their worst involve taking shoes off and the occasional throwing of food.  Cuddles and laughter flow freely and kisses can fix any "boo-boo".   Most chores can be completed before Daddy gets home leaving plenty of time for throwing rocks, picking up sticks, and just being boys.  Life. is. good.

Now, please note that I did not say that life is perfect.  Just simple.  I continue to struggle with my own selfishness and lack of patience.  Miller is still not a great napper and his emerging communication abilities often lead to frustrating moments when I do not know what he wants.  {Like the time I mistook his excitement over rocking {as in naptime} for the fact that he wanted to be outside throwing rocks.  One word: meltdown}  Dinner prep is a struggle as we enter the "witching hour" and wait for Dada to get home.  No, life is not flawless.  It never will be.

During this season though, I often have a "garden of Eden" moment though and think, "this is how God meant for life to be" {about that time I am usually pelted with a green bean and brought back to reality}.  Seriously though, I hope that I can remember this time and just slow down when things get really busy.  I pray that I always put relationships first and not let chores, extracurricular activities, or anything else hinder them.  Remind me of that later, k?


Visiting Malley

Hello friends!  I feel like I've been away from the blogosphere too long.  To explain:  Friday morning I woke up to find a text from Kate that said she and Malley were no longer coming home for the weekend.  Scott had to go out of town for work so Kate had planned to come to Boaz, but decided at 3:30 a.m. that she wanted to stay-put and get started on sleep training.  I had told her I'd come "help" {a.k.a. provide moral support while sweet Malley learned to self-soothe, a.k.a. cry-it-out} sometime so when I saw her text I decided we should head down to hang out with her and Malley.  I walked into Miller's room prepared to get started packing when I found...
a feverish baby.  {This pic wasn't actually taken that morning, but it pretty much sums up how he felt most of the weekend.}  Bummer.  I no longer thought it would be a good idea for us to go and stay with a newborn.   His fever dropped drastically throughout the day and after a bit of deliberation we decided to head down anyway.  We stayed at the Mastin's vacation house {which is just up the street from Kate and Scott} and deternined to keep Miller away from Malley and Kate.  Bryant was such a sweetie to take daddy duty most of the weekend while I hung out down at Kate's house.  Miller made a few appearances at Kate's though...
Miller loved looking at "bebe" Malley {from afar} and I caught him walking into her room more than once.  {Thankfully I caught him before he went in while she was sleeping.}  He liked her little rocking chair so we pulled it out of her room for him to play in.
He also thought it was so neat to watch her take a bath.  I bet he was thinking, "I can't wait to teach you how to splash."
 I can't blame him; she's pretty cute to watch.
 Look at this yummy goodness...
Miller's fever was gone this morning and has stayed down today thankfully.  I was going to take him to the doctor today if it wasn't gone.  Praise the Lord it seems to be!


Sweet Friends

Miller LOVES going to play with his friends Hunter and Hays {almost as much as mommy loves getting to visit with Kendall}.  Usually by about Thursday or Friday, Kendall and I make plans to get together to SOS {save our sanity}.  Whenever I tell Miller we're going to play with Hunter and Hays, he says, "baby" and starts squealing with excitement.  So sweet.  It's kind of funny that he says that though since they're only five months younger than he is.  I took a few of these last week and a few of them are from a while back.
Hunter had to join in on the action...
I took this picture when I asked Miller to give Hunter a hug.  The actual hug picture was blurry, but this was taken just beforehand.
 Of course, a kiss always follows a hug...
We pray every night {well, almost every night - gotta keep it honest ;) } for Hunter and Hays and for their friendship with Miller.  I pray that they will all come to know Christ and encourage one another in their faiths.  We are lucky to have such wonderful friends so close by!


Safety First

That's our motto around here as you can tell.

*Disclaimer:  Miller was removed from this area as soon as the fire was lit.  Please don't call DHR on us.  Or Gran.



Just in case there was any doubt...

He only tasted it once.  :)


Weekend Update

Unfortunately this won't be as funny as the SNL version.  You've been warned.  Here's what we've been up to this weekend!

I asked Bryant's parents if they could babysit on Friday night and they were sweet enough to offer to have Miller spend the night.  I can't tell you how grateful this makes me for many reasons.  The first is obvious in that it's always nice to have a night off and a Saturday to sleep in.  More than that though, I'm grateful that Miller will have such a close relationship with his Nana and Papa Frank {or "Boppa" as Miller calls him} from these overnight stays.  I have many fond childhood memories of overnights with my grandparents and I'm so thankful that Miller will have these too. 

On Saturday afternoon we enjoyed the beautiful weather by heading to the park.  Miller braved the big slide with Daddy...

and even went down the little one by himself {about 563 times}.  I didn't get to snap any pictures of this though since I was catching him at the bottom.  He was so brave and excited though and the static from the slide made his hair look like Einstein's.  Too bad I didn't get a pic :(

After the swing and slide began to get a little old, we headed to the water to throw some sticks and rocks in {which he loves to do}...
and broke for a little snack.

{You may or may not have noticed that I chopped about seven inches off of my hair.  That's a pretty big update, because I can't remember the last time my hair was this short.  Yikes!  So far I am really liking it, but it still catches me off guard when I look in the mirror.}
So far it's been a great weekend!  Bring it on Spring!!


Nineteen Months

Time for our monthly update!  I'm going to try not to ramble on and on, but sometimes I just can't help it.  Maybe bullets will force me to keep it short and sweet...
  • Miller's vocabulary continues to grow and I can no longer keep up with reporting all of his new words.  I will share two new ones though.  The first is what runs our life right now, "outside" which he pronounces as "voss" for some strange reason.  He wants to be outside constantly.  The second is his first sentence, "I don't know" which sounds like "I-no-no" and is absolutely the most precious thing in the world.  I have it on my list to get it on video soon.
  • My fantastic eater has turned into toddler who seems to survive on about 100 calories a day.  It's not that he's picky, just that he doesn't want to slow down to eat ANYTHING.  Almost every meal or snack time has become a nightmare of me wrestling him into his high chair while he yells, "voss" at the top of his lungs.  I then proceed to make him something to eat, attempt to persuade him to eat a few bites while he cries and does the sign for "finished" while whining "ish, ish" {his term for "finished"} and occasionally throwing in a "voss" for good measure.  After offering him several options to eat {which I swore I'd never do}, I surrender to the incessant "ish" and "voss" chanting and let him down.  I am not exaggerating when I say that there are days that his entire food consumption equals about a cup of food.  I know he will eat when he's hungry, but I can't help but worry as a mama that he isn't getting enough nutrients.
  • Due to the above scenario, we have swapped from whole milk to 2%.  His doctor mentioned at his 18 month check-up that I could do this anytime within the next few months.  He is still sucking down his milk fairly well, so I decided that I want to be sure he isn't filling up on just milk.  Maybe this will force him to take in some calories from actual food.
  • He is wearing a size 4 diaper, 18-24 month clothes, and a size 6 shoe.
  • "Voss" {outside} is his absolute favorite place to be.  He would stay out there all day if I'd let him.  We do spend a lot of time outside, but unfortunately things like the washing machine and kitchen are inside.  Therefore, we must come in or be risk being taken over by laundry and chores.  He does not like this.  Me neither, buddy.

His favorite place to be while he's outside is in daddy's truck pressing every button and honking the horn repeatedly.  Our neighbors love us.
 Uh oh!   A little "wawa" surprise!
Miller loves "bubbuuls" these days.  He doesn't really want to blow them though, he just wants to put the wand in the bottle over and over again.  Oh, and occasionally spill them all over himself :)

After playing in the rain with daddy.

  • To the grandmothers' delights, Miller loves to "wok" {"rock"} right now.  Before naps and bedtime he runs to the chair in his room repeating "wok, mama" over and over again.  So sweet.  He also does it after his naps occasionally, but doesn't want to rock for very long.  I still don't rock him to sleep, but it is nice to have this cuddle time with him.  He also loves to read books during this time {an activity he rarely slows down for during playtime}.
  • He is getting really good at organizing and cleaning {no, I am not forcing him into child labor}.  He loves to pick up trash and announce that he's taking it to the "trash".  Dirty laundry is also "trash", but he takes it to the basket in his closet {this skill already makes him better at cleaning than daddy ;) }.  He needs reminders less often about putting things back where he found them, but is pretty compliant to clean up even if he needs a reminder.  This reminder usually comes in the form of a poorly-written song I came up with - I will spare you.  Perhaps he is getting better at cleaning up because he doesn't want to hear me sing it...
Ok, so much for short and sweet!  I absolutely cannot end this post without wishing my sweet niece a happy one month birthday {tomorrow}!  Malley Girl, I cannot believe you've been in this world for one whole month and I've only held you twice.  Not cool.   Even after only meeting you twice, Miller remembers you though.  Every time I say your name he says, "bebe".   We are so thankful for you, Malley Girl, and love you so very much!


Renovations {Sort Of}

We've been re-doing our downstairs since August.  I'm not sure you can call it an actual renovation since we didn't really knock down walls or anything.  We Bryant did however tear out some risers and lots of nasty carpet.  We painted, we Bryant and John laid down new flooring, and we had someone hardwood the stairs.  It made the biggest difference!  The downstairs felt kind of like a dungeon before since it was so dark, there are no windows, and the carpet was nasty, but it feels MUCH better now!  About two weeks ago I finally got my custom built desk in {my Christmas gift from the Mastin's}.  It looks so nice!  Here are some before and after pics.  I really needed a wide-angled lens for this photography project, but hopefully you'll see the improvements and get the idea...

In between, while I waited on my desk.  One word: junky...
You really can't tell from these pictures, but this room looks soooo much bigger now.  It is a great, big bonus room with a gas fireplace that could be used in so many ways.  We chose a craft/office/workout room, but we're hoping that potential buyers will be able to see it as a blank slate to use however fits them best {Yes, our house is on the market.  It's been a challenge to keep it "show ready" with a toddler.}  
The flooring and paint spread into the bedroom downstairs also, but I don't have any good pictures of that.  I need to find a local friend with a wide-angled lens {hint, hint}.

Thanks to Bryant and John for all of their hard work!!