Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easter, 2016

Easter weekend was fairly low key for us this year. We kicked things off with a party at Jack's preschool. It was a rainy afternoon, so we had to do the Easter egg hunt inside. 

Thankfully the kids didn't seem to mind. We labeled eggs with numbers and had each child look for a specific number. Jack's number was 1, so he could only collect eggs with the number 1 on the outside. 

At our next egg hunt he wanted to know what number he would be looking for!

We sent the kids home with a bag of peeps that said "HE is risen, tell your peeps." I had fun throwing together a little design for that.

On Saturday, Daniel's mom and grandmother joined us for the day and we took Jack to his third local Easter Egg Hunt on our mountain (two years ago Jack experienced his first egg hunt, and last year I was on the verge of giving birth to Isaac).

This was Isaac's first Easter experience, but we opted to hang on to him instead of letting him hunt of eggs. Next year he will join in on the fun.

This year Jack moved up to the next age group for our Easter Egg Hunt. Which means next year Jack and Isaac will be in two different areas and we will have to split up. It's hard to believe Jack is already old enough to be in a new group.

He knew exactly what to do and bolted for the eggs as soon as the air horn went off. I spent the next 10 minutes chasing him, attempting to take photos.

After visiting with friends, we headed home and spent time playing at the park across the street from our house before our company headed home.

Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of our Savior with the congregation we worship with. The theme was "Out of Darkness" and it spoke to the hours and days leading up to the rising of Christ. I hadn't really considered that all of the events leading up to the crucifixion happened during the course of the night.

After church, we collected our boys and headed to Daniel's dad's house across town. We spent the afternoon with his family, enjoying good food and company. 

Jack was incredibly sad to have to go home and leave all of the kids and fun. Unfortunately it rained that afternoon so we did not have another egg hunt.

Jack solved that problem with filling eggs with candy he already had and hiding them around our house so that he could look for them.

On a random note, at this phase of my life Easter feels very tied to pregnancy. Two years ago I had just discovered I was expecting and we were still staying mum about our news. A month later I would miscarry. Last year I was extremely pregnant and counting down the days until Isaac arrived. So much as changed in the last two years!

Friday, March 25, 2016


At age 35, I have come to accept that I have some issues when it comes to my hair. Namely I hate to get it cut. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable to go and have a stranger chat me up while they cut my hair. I don't know why, but I have been like this most of my adult life.

This translates to me getting haircuts about once a year. And since we seem to move fairly often, I always feel awkward knowing that I will probably only visit that hairdresser once.

Also, they always try to sell me on products, even though I am very clear about the fact that I am a low-maintenance gal. I don't color my hair. I don't style it. The best I do is put it in a pony tail or top bun. On a bad day, I wear a hat.

So, I always dread hair days. Always.

However, post baby I have been in major need of a cut. Around 3 months post partum I lost a ton of hair. It was falling out in clumps in the shower. For three months it took me an extra 15 minutes to shower so that I could pull out all of the loose hair. For a girl that only takes 15 minute showers to begin with, this was having a serious impact on my life.

Around 6 months post partum, the hair finally stopped falling out and started growing again. All of a sudden I had this little fringe of baby bangs. And it was noticeable. My mom actually asked at Christmas if I had cut my hair.

The problem was that while I sort of had bangs, I didn't really. There were too many long hairs mixed in. So I finally committed to getting it cut.

A friend recommended someone in our town. I called last minute, hoping to get in and she had an opening. I arrived and this lady talked with me about my needs and then proceeded to cut my hair without a lot of idle chit chat. Score! 

And then when I was ready to leave, she said they only took cash (which I did not have), so she said I could just come back whenever. Luckily I had money in my car, but who does that, who just says, "no big deal, come back whenever." Did I mention it was super cheap and she did a bang up job? (pun intended as I officially have bangs).

This cut was a long time coming. We went shorter than planned because I had a lot of new growth in the back and she needed to cut it short enough to accommodate the new hair. I'm just glad to have a good hair cut that didn't stress me out and that I didn't have to make small talk with a stranger!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Caving With Kids

Last weekend we made a quick trip to Florida (without Daniel) to spend some time with my sister and her family as a part of their spring break. 

With Jack in preschool only 3 days a week, we have some flexibility to enjoy longer weekends.

My brother came over from Nashville to make the drive down to Tallahassee with us.

The morning of the day we were supposed to leave, my sister texted to say that it was expected to rain all weekend. So our tentative plans for a beach day were nixed.

We proceeded with the trip, knowing that the kiddos wouldn't really care what we did, as long as they could play together.

Once we were in Florida, we enjoyed visiting, a few new restaurants, and the kids played as much as possible outside.

For our Saturday activity, my sister suggested we visit the Florida Caverns State Park and take a little tour of a cave. I thought that was a fun suggestion, so we packed a picnic and drove an hour to the park.

Since it was spring break in Florida, there were a ton of people at the park (a lot of Boy Scouts!). We managed to snag an 11 o'clock tour, but that left us with an hour to kill. 

The kids enjoyed the visitor's center where park rangers taught them about different Florida animals and they even got to make a craft.

The cave itself was about 3/4 mile in length, and fairly well lit. There were a couple of passages that took us through narrow corridors and sections where you had to duck to get through. 

Izzy and the little boys had no problem walking through the entire thing. My 6ft tall brother had to do the most ducking!

I initially had Isaac strapped to my back, but moved him to my chest as we entered the cave. About 10 minutes in, he became fussy, so I had to carry him in my arms. Talk about a workout – one hour of holding a 27+lb baby!

There was a wedding cake room, a cathedral room and many other formations similar to what I have seen in other caves. 

We saw rim pools and cave curtains (also called drapes or cave bacon). Soda straws hung from the ceilings, and there were of course lots of stalactites, stalagmites and columns. 

Toward the end of the trip, our guide turned out the lights to let the kids experience true darkness. That is always one of my favorite things about caves. Though I don't think the kids had the same love of the dark as I do.

During our tour, Jack kept complaining about being tired and would sit on the floor while our guide talked. Later I discovered he had a fever. Poor guy.

The tour was informative and brought back a lot of memories from my college days – caving trips with my dad and my siblings. And also the trip where Daniel and I met. I did a lot of caving in college (wild caves) and it was sweet to share that with my boys.

We will have to take them to a wild cave when they are bigger, I'm sad that Daniel missed out on this trip, but I'm sure it won't be the last time we find ourselves in a cave.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Isaac is Eleven Months Old

I have been feeling kind of emotional lately. My baby will be one in less than a month and it just feels like time is slipping by too quickly. 
Daniel and I are big proponents of teaching independence (Jack has been getting dressed and coming downstairs by himself in the mornings since he was 3), but it is always a little sad when they stop needing you.
Maybe it's because Isaac is most likely our last baby, but these moments feel so fleeting right now. 
Like we will blink and that chubby baby our ours who shouts dada all the time, and grins with his whole face, will suddenly be a boy who doesn't need our hugs or kisses any more.
I love each stage, it's just hard knowing we are on the brink of saying goodbye to babyhood forever.

As for Isaac, he is doing great. He took his time learning to crawl, but now that he can do it, there is no stopping him. 
He has discovered that our house has more than one room and he loves to explore. I recently found him checking out our steps, curious about where they go.

Now that he is mobile, he is starting to get into Jack's things and it is driving Jack a little crazy. I think Jack's days of living life like an only child (who doesn't have to share and can do whatever he wants) are pretty much over. 
Thankfully Jack really loves Isaac right now, but the days and years to come may prove challenging (as they do for all kids who have to adapt to living with younger siblings).

Isaac's communication continues to mostly revolve around using the sound "dada" for everything, but he has quite a bit of inflection to go with it. We think he has been trying to say "Jack" but it comes out as a variation of "da!"
It constantly sounds like he is asking us questions, or shouting at us, or just telling us things. It is always fascinating to see language develop in a child, but the stage of them learning to communicate in ways besides crying is especially interesting.
Isaac got 3 new teeth this month (he now has a total of 7). With those new teeth came fevers and a lot of general fussiness. It also meant that his newly acquired skill of sleeping through the night got tossed out the window! 
It's always hard when your baby backtracks on sleep. Now that his teeth are in, and we are no longer traveling, he has settled back in to sleeping 10-12 hours at night. Praise the Lord!

Speaking of traveling, in the past month Isaac has taken two road trips (it was a busy month!) – one to Arkansas for my Grandma's funeral, and one to Florida to see cousins on their spring break. 

In Florida, both of our boys got to go on their first caving trip. Someday we will take them to wild caves and explain how their mommy and daddy met on a caving trip.

We have been staying busy with lots of outdoor activities: hiking, trips to the park, time spent on our deck. Isaac loves our back deck and seems to be as just as interested in exploring outside as he is inside.

I also introduced Isaac to swings recently and he adores swinging with his big brother at the park. He giggles like nothing else. 
He has also ridden on the merry-go-round and seems to love the spinning sensation, sitting happily on my lap while Jack pushes us.
Isaac has a funny little wave he does when he sees people. Instead of waving his hand, he holds it up (kind of like they say "How" in the movie Dancing with Wolves). It is such a funny little action, but he is definitely trying to communicate that he sees you.

While I am sad that babyhood is coming to a close for us, it is also exciting to know that as Isaac gets older we will be able to do more things with our boys and have more flexibility (and sleep!). 
I guess this is just the bitter sweet period that all parents go through. I still can't believe that next month he will be ONE!!!

End of month stats
Eating: Isaac loves to eat. I can't think of anything that he has refused to try. When I put him in his high chair the mornings, he starts banging his tray and shouting "ba ba ba ba" over and over again until I give him his banana.
Talking: Dada continues to be Isaac's main sound/word for everything. But he is starting to make other sounds like the "ba" sound and occasionally, when he is really upset, he will make a "muh" sound.
On the Move: Isaac is crawling all over the place. He has figured out that our house has more than one room and he is all about exploring. He is also cruising – holding onto furniture as he walks along.
Teeth: He currently has 7 teeth, with one more trying to pop in. This month he had a rough go with 3 teeth coming in over the course of a week. The week was marked by a fever and lots of general fussiness.

*As with Jack, I will be posting monthly updates of Isaac on a quilt (inherited from my Grandma), next to a yellow Tonka truck (a toy from Daniel's childhood). Isaac at One Month | Isaac at Two Months | Isaac at Three Months | Isaac at Four Months | Isaac at Five Months | Isaac at Six Months | Isaac at Seven Months | Isaac at Eight Months | Isaac at Nine Months | Isaac at Ten Months

A Look Back:
Jack at One Month | Jack at Two Months | Jack at Three Months | Jack at Four Months | Jack at Five Months | Jack at Six Months | Jack at Seven Months | Jack at Eight | Jack at Nine Months | Jack at Ten Month | Jack at Eleven Months 
(We used a quilt from Daniel's family for the Jack photos, along with the Tonka truck from Daniel's childhood). 

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...