Wednesday, July 31, 2013

See Jack {late May-early June 20123}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years.

See Jack call for Sophie. He initially called her Fo Fo, then Fo, then Fophie. 
He now says something fairly close to sounding like Sophie.
{late May}

See Jack observe two tractors across the street from our house bale hay.
{late May}

See Jack delay his bedtime with playtime.
{late May}

See Jack's excitement at a rainstorm that was blowing into our covered porch. 
His joy is contagious. This is one of my favorite videos.
{early June}

See Jack practice his language skills, "Uh-oh, where? Tractor?"
{early June}

See Jack have a little fun with the garden hose while Daddy washes his car.
{early June}

I also wanted to wish my dad a Happy 65th Birthday today!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Things That Make Me Nostalgic

This past weekend Jack and I joined my brother, my sister and my sisters two kids on a road trip to visit our hometown. There is something about going home that makes me nostalgic. We reminisced about the past, visited old haunts and remembered the good times. 

Here are a few things that reminded me of days gone by:
1. Driving across the Mighty Mississippi and being greeted by the "Welcome to Arkansas" sign. I know that when we see the pyramid, and cross that great river, we are in the final stretch of getting home.

2. Breakfast at Bobby's (now Maddie's Cafe). Unfortunately Bobby's (it will always be Bobby's to me) had a 40-minute wait. With kids in tow we decided to head over to Main Street Cafe instead. I started going to Bobby's in college. It has been my benchmark of what a country breakfast should be. I have had so many intimate conversations in the booths there. It will always hold a special place in my heart. Main Street Cafe is a good back up plan, though we were disappointed that they didn't offer real cream for our coffee. I'm sorry, but powdered cream does not cut it. #firstworldproblems

3. Blackberry Cobbler. My brother requested that we make cobbler during our visit. My mom makes a really great cobber that has a biscuit crust, but Mark specifically wanted the pie crust style cobbler like our Grandma used to make when we were kids. She would always make a little extra crust that we could eat plain or with ice cream once the actual cobbler was finished.

4. Playing in the Lily Pool at Harding University. When I was a child (over 25 years ago), my mom would take me and my siblings to play in the old fountain in front of the Administration Building at Harding. On this trip, we took our kids there to splash in the rebuilt fountain. 

The Lily Pool is also where we would meet (during college) for ring ceremonies – a special time to share your engagement story with your social club. Per tradition, after the ceremony, the engaged couple would be thrown into one of the fountains on campus.

I have so many fond memories associated with this fountain and the university. I made some really great friends during my time here; and more importantly, this is where I met Daniel (on a caving trip no less). The school isn't perfect but overall my experience here was a great one.

5. Swimming at Heber Springs. My family has been going to Heber since I was about 12. I have so many memories of swimming by the dam.

Once we were old enough, we persuaded our parents to let us jump off the (10-15 feet high) cliffs at the Swimming Cliff area. This is a rite of passage for anyone living in this part of Arkansas.

When I was in high school, I got brave enough to jump off the really high cliffs (Tree Top Cliff is approx 20-30 feet high). I can't imagine letting Jack do this, but trying scary things is part of the fun of growing up.

In high school I learned how to water ski at Heber and I have many fond memories of tubing and riding jet skis on this lake.

6. My Dad building sand castles. At Heber, my Dad showed the kids how to make sand castles by dripping wet sand out of his hands. The kids thought this was pretty cool. I remember him doing this when we were little. I have photos from Papua New Guinea of him showing me this technique when I was about Izzy's age.

7. Learning about jobs Grandma had during her life. My Grandma is currently confined to a bed. She is living with my parents, so we all spent time visiting with her and hearing about her life. 

One of her first jobs was raising chickens. She had 200 and collected and sold their eggs every day. During WW2, she had a job inspecting airplanes that were being assembled (think Rosie the Riveter). As she got older she spent many years teaching about sewing, cooking and homemaking through the Extension Club.

She and her husband, Herman, also maintained a huge garden for many years after they retired. From when I was a kid, I remember learning how to shuck corn on her back patio and making ice cream that we all had to take turns cranking with a hand crank for hours. One time she even showed us how to make butter in a very old butter churn that she had.

I am sure there were other bits of memories that were stirred as we visited. These are just a few that stick out to me. 

It is amazing how I forget things, but just a sight, smell or sound can bring those memories flooding back. I am thankful that with a new generation of children in our family, we can share our old memories and also make new ones.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

See Jack {trip to Searcy, July 2013}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years.

See Jack and his cousin Izzy have fun on the trampoline.

See Jack pound away on the piano.
It was pretty crazy (and loud!) when his cousin's joined in on the fun.

See Jack practice running into the water at the lake.

See Jack and Levi having fun throwing sand and splashing in the water at the lake.
They both think it is hilarious to throw things.

See Jack watch while cousin Levi practices "swimming."

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thursday Things (Random, July 2013)

1. I'm thankful we never went the route of fully baby proofing our house. For the time being, we are essentially staying in a different place every week and Jack has been fairly good with knowing what he isn't supposed to touch and/or listening when we tell him "No." I have been saying "no" a lot these last couple of weeks, but he hasn't hurt himself or caused damage to any of our temporary homes.

2. I'm pretty sure that if we could snap our fingers and go ahead and move, we would settle on Signal Mountain without any hesitation. Too bad we have a house to sell and some other details to sort out before we can make that kind of decision. Easy access to hiking trails and the small-town, Mayberry-type feel while being a mere 15 minutes from downtown Chattanooga is really appealing to us. Not to mention the fact that we already have friends there!

3. Though if Daniel had the same job opportunities in Huntsville as he does in Chatt, I wouldn't mind snapping my fingers and move to the Blevins Gap/Jones Valley area in Huntsville.

4. I haven't finished a single book in almost two months! I guess that is what happens when you are in a state of transition.

5. Jack continues to say more words and is piecing together phrases. This week he started saying, "I know." I'm pretty sure he actually means "I don't know."

6. As if life hasn't been busy enough, Jack and I went home today for about 3 hours. In that time I unpacked the car, did laundry, repacked our stuff and left for Nashville. We are joining my brother, my sister and my sister's two kids on a trip to see our parents in Arkansas for the weekend. I have to say that Jack has been a real trooper with all of this weekly traveling. I hope that our 6+hour drive tomorrow goes well!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

See Jack {late May 2013}

This is an ongoing series of videos that I am sharing so that our extended family can keep up with how Jack is growing and changing in these early years.

See Jack practice with a fork. He is using utensils really well these days.
{late May}

See Jack play with his little chairs and table. He is starting to push the boundaries with standing on things he shouldn't – like his chair.
{late May}

See Jack get introduced to his new-to-him powerwheels. He wasn't so sure about it.
{late May}

See Jack learn how to ride on his powerwheels.
{late May}

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hike to Rainbow Lake I

We are staying at a cottage on Signal Mountain and enjoying the benefit of being close to our friends, the Reynolds (who we have known since our Charlotte days). Signal Mountain also has the added benefit of having easy access to Prentice Cooper State Forest. Our cottage is actually located a very short distance from the Rainbow Lake trail and parking lot.

Yesterday I had plans to run to the bottom of the mountain to grab groceries for the week. On a whim, I googled the Rainbow Lake trail to see if I could find a description of the trail (we don't have our backpack carrier with us, but I did have our BOB stroller). I came across this video on YouTube that gave me confidence that I could get down to the lake with the stroller.

So instead of grocery shopping, Jack and I ventured down the Rainbow Lake trail to see what we could see. At first the trail wanders next to the golf course before heading down to the lake. It follows a small bluff before zigzagging down to the water. 

There were three fairly steep spots. I rocked the stroller back so that I would have more control and we made it down without any problems.

Once we could see the dam with the water spilling over, I took Jack out of his stroller for a break and climbed down closer to the water. But not too close. After we checked things out, we headed back up.

Pushing the stroller back up the trail was tough. My calves were burning and I had to stop to catch my breath after each little climb. Thankfully it was a short trail. 

We did pass a couple of other moms hiking down with their older kids. I am sure they thought I was crazy to be out there with a stroller, but the BOB is great for this kind of trail. It was easy to push on the terrain – even over bigger rocks (and one log). 

We hiked around 2 miles (out and back). I had to turn around at the end because of a couple of trees blocking my way. It was a pretty walk. I think that Jack enjoyed the ride down. He fell asleep on the way back. So much for grocery shopping that morning!

Being so close to a forest definitely has some perks. There are so many trails to explore and they are all within minutes of most of the houses on the mountain!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jack is 20 Months

Is it really only 4 short months until our little baby turns two? Oh my.

We are definitely in the early stages of the "terrible twos." Jack currently has two ways of expressing frustration in the form of a tantrum: 1) He lays down (very carefully so he doesn't bump his head) and starts crying; and 2) He claps his hands or smacks his leg and makes an angry face. We are encouraging him to communicate with the words he has instead of just being upset.

His tantrums often have to do with sharing issues. Since he is our first child, he is essentially an only child and has no concept of sharing. We are working at helping him learn how to share, but it will be a process since he has limited interaction with other kids. From talking to other moms, it is nice to know that this is normal for his age.

Jack's vocabulary continues to grow and he is saying things more clearly. It is so sweet how he pronounces words. We are going to miss how he says "no" in his little baby voice.

Our little guy is learning how to beg. Last night at our life group, he went around and found the most gullible people to take him outside to see our friend's dogs. He also begged everyone for ice cream. Thank you to our friends who do such a great job doting on our little boy.

Jack has completely mastered stairs (going up and down). He has been tentatively taking steps down without holding on to the wall. We are encouraging this type of independence, but as the parent it can be a little nerve wracking and there is a lot of praying that he doesn't fall.

Our Jack Jack loves stomping in puddles and is smitten with his new rain boots from Grandpa Moore and Esther. We're pretty sure that part of the allure of these boots is that he can put them on and take them off by himself. We are also encouraging him to pick out his clothes now, but I still have to help him put them on.

Speaking of water, we have had the opportunity to play at several splash pads this month and Jack enjoys experiencing the spray of water. He is also enjoying having access to Sophie's water and food dishes. He likes to put dog food in her small bowl and scoop the water out of her big bowl. 

This month Jack experienced his first wedding where he was the ring bearer in his Grandpa Moore's wedding. My mama heart nearly burst as I watched my little baby walk down the aisle with such confidence.

He also got to watch his first fireworks show. Thankfully it was from the comfort of our bonus room, so the sounds didn't scare him too much. He was completely mesmerized by how the sky lit up with the different colors. 

Jack has been such a trooper with our current living situation. The past couple of weeks haven't been easy and we are so thankful that he just goes with the flow. We have spent a lot of time in the car and he has moments of frustration, but has handled the situation really well.

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...