Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Chicken and Carrots

Stephen is becoming so independent; he likes to feed himself, now.  Watch as he eats chicken nuggets and carrots, "all by himself".

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Photo Card

Cubes Cherry Basic Borders
Send special Valentine's Day cards from Shutterfly this year.
View the entire collection of cards.

I ordered Thank You cards for Stephen's birthday party!  Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate, to those who couldn't join us but were here in spirit, and to everyone who has given us love and support in the past year!  (Apparantly, I ordered Valentine cards, but they go with our Dr. Seuss theme, so let's just overlook that!)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

Did you miss us?  I took some time off of updating the blog for personal reasons.  After much inner debate and some soul-searching, I’ve decided to keep updating our friends and family, near and far, that want to know about our family.  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we went through this decision-making process.

So much has happened since our last update in April!  It’s hard to even figure out where to start, so the beginning seems like as good a place as any!

Our good friend, Katie, is on the Charlotte Roller Girls derby team.  She works hard, and practices every week.  We went to watch Katie in a bout in Charlotte in early May.  Stephen did great, even though it was loud, and Abi had a blast!  She got to participate in the half-time show with some of the Roller Girls, and is now hoping to start her own training so she can one day skate!  She bought a shirt to support the Roller Girls, and it’s hard to get her to change it.  Now, we just have to get her steady on some skates…
Abi joined in on the derby half-time show!

Go, Abi, Go!

Abi and I during a break at the Derby Bout

Our friend, Katie:  AKA Mustang Stella

This year was my first official Mother’s Day celebration!  I’m so lucky; I’m blessed with an amazing son, a wonderful step-daughter, and the best husband a girl could ask for.  For Mother’s Day, Shawn signed Stephen and I up for a swim class.  Each Saturday, we met at the YMCA and took a 30-minute class.  Stephen was a fish!  He loved getting in the pool, kicking his legs, splashing with his arms, and practicing climbing out of and jumping into the pool.  He wasn’t thrilled with going under, but he got used to it.

The day after Mother’s Day, Stephen started a new daycare.  He has done an amazing job of adjusting to a new babysitter, a new schedule, and new friends.  Ms. Vanessa, his new babysitter, is great, and Stephen comes home from daycare exhausted at the end of each day.  Ms. Vanessa used to apologize when Stephen would get dirty, but we’re so happy he’s having fun and playing with the “big kids”, we don’t mind the extra laundry!
Ready for our new daycare!
Abi turned 12 years old this year.  I cannot believe how much she has grown up since I first met her and Shawn.
Abi's Seventh Birthday
Abi's Twelth Birthday

See how much she's grown?

Those of you that know me know I’m a planner, so I had Abi start thinking about her theme early this year.  During a Skype session with her cousins, Lauren and Sarah, she decided to have a yellow and green party, which then morphed into a Lemon & Limes party.  We sent out Lemon party invitations, and planned a menu of yellow and green foods, including jell-o squares, and cake pops.  We had fun with family and friends during the day, and Abi had even more fun with a group of friends that evening.  She had some girls sleep over, and we took them Midnight Bowling.  They enjoyed junk food, late-night-glow-in-the-dark-bowling, a sing-off competition, and cupcake decorating.  The rest of us…well, we survived!
Abi's Dessert Table
Abi's friends wore funky socks to midnight bowling

Decorating Cupcakes

The day after Abi’s overnight, we headed to the NC Zoo.  We spent the day looking at all of the animals.  Abi enjoyed seeing the giraffes and zebra.  Stephen loved watching the chimps.  At one point, we sat in front of the “window” at the chimp enclosure, and one of them came right up to us, puffed out his chest, and starting playing with Stephen.  It was classic!
Abi with Gigi and Herbie at the zoo
Stephen, Grampy, and Nonna at the zoo

Stephen played with the chimps
Later that week, Abi played the clarinet in her Spring Concert.  We were able to listen to four different bands, including the East Iredell Middle School Honor’s Band.  At the end of the week, Abi was excited to announce that her band teacher had chosen her for next year’s Honor’s Band.  We’re so proud of her, and excited about more concerts next school year.
Clarinet in the band

So proud of Abi's performance!

In June, we celebrated Father’s Day.  Shawn is an amazing dad, and we wanted to spoil him a little!  Our family friends have a condo in Hilton Head, SC, and we ended up spending a weekend at the beach!  This was actually our first family vacation since Stephen has been born, and our first trip to the beach together ever!  Abi and Shawn woke up early to go look for Loggerhead Turtles, as they lay their eggs during the night, and the baby turtles attempt to crawl toward the ocean in the early morning.  They didn’t see any baby turtles, but enjoyed their time on the beach.  Abi was also able to kick back and be a kid while building sand castles and writing in the sand.  Stephen was a little sand crab!  He loved crawling in the sand, wading in the ocean, and chasing the crabs. 
Abi and Stephen are so lucky to have such a great dad!
Our first walk on the beach

Playing in the sand

Our sand crab

Happy Father's Day!
While we were there, we took Shawn to a nice dinner at SkullCreek Boathouse.  Shawn had a Surf and Turf dinner, Abi ate BBQ Jumbo Shrimp, and I had a Blue Cheese Burger.  Stephen couldn’t get enough of the fried pickles and sweet potato fries.  After dinner, we walked down the dock and watched the fishermen catch giant fish.  We hoped to see sharks, since they were throwing back some of the “fish guts”, but we only saw lots of birds.
Jumbo BBQ Shrimp
Surf -n- Turf

The following week, Mom, Dad, and Uncle Paul came down for a week-long visit.  They had originally planned to come and babysit Stephen, since his daycare was going to be closed. Since we switched daycares, though, they didn’t have to babysit, but they did anyway!  Stephen was spoiled with early birthday presents, including a swing from Nonna and Grampy; Uncle Paul and Grampy built the stand, too, so we didn’t have to wait for our tree to grow. 
Stephen loves his swing!

Walking with Nonna

Playing with his buddy, Uncle Paul

Grampy's putting him to sleep!

We were able to work and play during that week, in anticipation for visits from Uncle Adam, Auntie Shane, Madeline, Brooke, and Allie.  They all traveled down from Connecticut to celebrate Stephen’s first birthday!  We had a Dr. Seuss-themed party, and everyone had fun.  We had friends and family from near and far help us celebrate.  The food was Dr. Seuss-themed, with “Green Eggs and Ham-Burgers”, “Poodles with Noodles”, “Truffula Fruit”, “Silly Sammy Slick’s Soda”, “Schlopp with a Cherry on Top”, and “Thing 1 & Thing 2 Cupcakes”.  Our house had Seussical decorations throughout, and our favors for the adults were Terrariums, inspired by The Lorax.  The kids received a fish bowl of fish crackers, inspired by One Fish, Two Fish. 
Seussical decorations on the mantle
One Fish, Two Fish favors for the kids

Lorax favors for the adults

Silly Sammy Slick's Soda

Thing 1 & Thing 2 Cupcakes

We made a small smash cake for Stephen, though he wasn’t really interested.  We did get him to finally eat some frosting, which made for great photo opportunities!
Smash Cake!!

Little bit of frosting on your face!

We had a photo booth set up in the back yard, and I just love looking through the funny pictures!

I can’t believe Stephen turned one on July 1st.  This year has flown by, and he’s turning into such a big boy.  Stephen can now walk with assistance, climb on anything, and point to show us what he wants.  I don’t think it will be long until he’s walking on his own, and I’m not quite sure I’m ready for that!

Abi has finished school, and is looking forward to a summer of fun and relaxing.  She will head up to Connecticut later this month for another session at Camp Sloper. 

We don’t have any official vacation plans this summer, other than heading to CT for a week in August.  While we’re there, Shawn will head to NYC for a New York Yankees game with the boys, and he and I will head back later in the week to celebrate our birthdays.  We’re also going to take Stephen to the Aquarium as part of his birthday present.  He loves to watch the fish at the zoo, so I think this will be a great experience for him!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring has Sprung!

Lots of new and exciting things have been happening in our house.  It just seems the days are going by faster and faster.

Stephen is nine months old! 

 He has so many new tricks now, though he hates doing them in front of the camera or on Skype.  Stephen has perfected the army crawl, and can get from the play room (formally my office) to the front door in about five seconds.  He is also able to pull himself into a sitting position while he’s laying down (which has made bedtime and naptime entertaining!) and pull himself from sitting to standing if he’s leaning on something, like the stairs or his bouncy seat. 
See why we locked ALL of the cabinets?
Needless to say, Shawn and I have spent quite a bit of time baby-proofing the house this month.  Our kitchen cabinets now have locks on them, the crib mattress has been lowered, and we’ve finally found a gate safe for the stairs.  Hopefully, that will be installed soon.  We still have a few things to do to make our house even safer, but we’re on track!

And why we have a baby gate?

The weather has been so beautiful here.  Early this month, we surprised Abi and Stephen with a family picnic in the park.  We just packed up our stuff, grabbed dinner on the way, and ate and played together.  Treats like that are always fun, and the kids had fun playing after we ate.  Stephen loves the swings!  Abi is such a great big sister; she took Stephen down the slide over and over again.  She really knows how to make him laugh.

He loves to swing!
Hey, Dad!  Why did you stop pushing me?

A rare slide by herself!

Honestly, I'm not sure who was having more fun!

We’ve been very busy this month.  At the beginning of the month, we attended “Fun Day at the Farm”, which was a fundraising event for our friend’s daughter.  Aaliyah is a two-and-a-half-year-old that has been diagnosed with medulloblastoma.  Earlier this month, Lawzyday Farms in Alexander County hosted a fun day fundraiser.  We took Stephen, along with Aunt Katie, Aunt Emily, and Braxton.  We met Aaliyah, her sister Lanie, and their mother Shannon (and LOTS of other family members!) at the farm.  We had a picnic lunch, and then took a hayride to an Easter Egg Hunt and petting farm.  Stephen loved watching the big kids run through the field to collect eggs, but he really enjoyed getting up close and personal with the animals!  We were able to pet baby donkeys, cows, pigs, goats, and ducks.  Braxton and Stephen got a little too excited with the ducks, though.  I really hope that poor duckling will be okay!

The Easter Bunny made a stop at our house, too.  The Easter Bunny likes to hide the baskets in our house; Stephen’s basket was hidden in his high chair, and Abi’s was hidden upstairs in a suitcase!  Both of the kids enjoyed their full baskets; Stephen found a new puzzle and some cereal puffs.  Abi found a peony bulb and gel pens.  Abi has already planted the bulb, and we have a sprout!  Hopefully we’ll see some beautiful peonies soon.  And, of course, we followed the tradition of pictures with the bunny! 
Stephen took a few minutes to try to figure this out.

Happy Easter!

During the week of Spring Break, Abi had the opportunity to volunteer with one of her teachers at Bark For Life, a Relay for Life event for dogs and their owners.  Abi worked the event, selling dog treats and snacks, and was able to enjoy some fun and dancing while she was there.  Stephen and I went to visit, and ended up winning a gift basket from Candles for a Cause.  Abi really enjoyed volunteering, and plans to participate in more fundraising and volunteer opportunities for Relay for Life through her school.

Leading the group in the Cupid Shuffle at Bark for Life
Abi has had a pretty exciting month, filled with new things.  Her new glasses look great on her!  She was also fitted for contact lenses for volleyball, though we’re still waiting for those to come in.  For now, she’ll play in her glasses.  She also came home one day to a new bed!  Shawn and I purchased Abi’s bed when we moved into our first apartment; it wasn’t the best bed, but it was what we were able to purchase at the time to make sure she had a complete room in our new home.  That bed was on its last leg, so we bought her a new one.  After sleeping on it for the first time, she woke up and said, “I didn’t realize how much I didn’t like my old bed…until now!  Can I stay in this bed forever?” 
Doesn't she look great in her new glasses?  She's so grown up!

Abi isn’t the only one to have new things this month.  Shawn and I had a fence installed around the back and side yards.  We’ve wanted to do this for some time, and the time was right!  We now have a six foot privacy fence on our property, and I love it!  We are planning to stain it later this year, but for now we’re enjoying the perks of a private yard, including letting the dog out without a leash!  We’re still planning to work on the landscaping this year, but that will have to wait until Fall, since the weather is getting too warm to start anything.

It was exciting watching the daily progress!

I have to brag:  Shawn and I have been SO proud of Abigail lately.  A few weeks ago, she brought home this semester’s report card.  Abi had improved all of her grades (in all of her classes!) and made A’s in every subject!  Shawn celebrated with her by taking her to see The Hunger Games at the local theater.  Then, last week, we went to her school to watch her induction ceremony.  Abi has the high honor of being inducted into the National Junior Beta Club.  She was nominated into the club by her teachers for her “noteworthy academic performance and outstanding attitude”!   Her school hosted the ceremony and reception, and we proudly sat in the bleachers cheering her on.  Abi was ecstatic to be able to wear something other than her school uniform, which was a perk for the inductees on that day.  She looked absolutely beautiful, and was quite proud of herself, as she should be!
Proud Papa!

Abi accepting her award from the vice principal.

Look at that smile!  We're SO proud of her!
It’s been a busy month for all of us, but we wouldn’t change it for the world!  Next month will probably be just as busy:  Stephen and I are starting swim lessons (another item checked off my list!), Abi has a volleyball game every weekend, and we’ve got a birthday party to plan!  (I can’t believe she’ll be 12 this year!)  Thanks for checking in with us!