Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Months worth of Fun Sons

Ok, so who am I to let a serious case of writers block deprive my loyal reader(s) of photos and updates on the 2 fun sons. So here goes...in chronological order:

Due to several extraneous circumstances, and mostly just because that is how our fall seemed to go, we carved a Thanksgiving pumpkin this year. It was just as much fun as it's overdone Halloween cousin and the leaf pattern provided a lovely decoration for dinner at Chris' parents.

Here we are in a rare shot that includes the entire family, and in this case, pumpkin guts.

Around the time of Chase's first Christmas, Chris' parents began a great tradition of celebrating the feast day of St. Nicholas with a stocking exchange. Chase's aunt Steph got him a booklet of 350 temporary tatoos, which he applied the first, oh, ten percent of that evening. I have to come up with an appropriate way to thank Aunt Stephie for that.

Noelly was especially excited about his 'pop' which is Noel for Lollipop.

Noel got his very own tree this year which he loves to take the ornaments off and put them back on. He actually does this very carefully and for the most part leaves the trees alone.

At last it was time to post for our Christmas card photo. Chris snapped this picture of Chase while I was running after Noel in the backyard. I had to include it in the blog because when I popped up on the computer for the first time I gasped and got tears in my eyes. Look at how grown up this kid is!!!

And lastly the shot that most of you have gracing your Christmas card holders as I type...

And just in case I hit another blogging dry spell, may God bless you and yours this Christmas and in the year to come.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bear With Me

So I know that I am way behind on posting cute photos of the boys and updates on them in general, but get a load of this. I arrived home from a business trip last night just in time to tag in for Chris to head out on one himself. I was positively exhausted from having driven all day and had just about dozed off on the couch when I heard a strange noise. I was afraid because I was "home alone", but gathered my courage to investigate. I had a sneaking suspicion what I might find ...
The noise continued and I bravely flipped on the carport light. No more than five yards in front of me was a big ol' bear. Big, huge, ginormous, if you will. He( yes, I have decided it is a boy) did not even seem to notice his pursuit of the garbage bag had now been illuminated. After my initial shock, I ran back to Chase's room, and woke him up so he could see the bear too. By the time we got back all Chase got to see was the white trashbag disappearing into the woods.
I called Chris to give him the breaking news and while we were talking the trees started shaking and I could tell the bear was looking back toward the house(or me as I was convinced of at the time) because I could see his tongue licking every so often.
I got Chase up yet again, but he was never able to see the actual bear. Eventually he said, in a very underwhelmed tone, that he was going back to bed. The same could not be said for me. I was totally keyed up, and spent the next several hours alternately trying not to think bear thoughts and generating survival/escape plans in the event the bear were to somehow get in the house. I never claimed to be a rational thinker, but if you need a bear plan, I am your girl.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Orange you glad it's fall?

We sure are, because it brings so many of our favorite things! One of those being Clemson Football. The weather forecast called for sunny and 60, perfect football weather, so we decided to let Noel attend his first game. The weather reality was cold and rainy and we aren't so sure it cracked fifty up where we were sittting. We still had an absolute blast, though we stopped two times between home and the stadium to secure proper attire. Noel got all snuggly warm wrapped in a fleece blanket and a poncho (that was slightly thinner than a grocery bag) and slept throught the better part of the second quarter.

Here is our crew. Die-hard Tiger fans and (hopefully) Bulldog converts!

I am a little biased but, no matter the weather, I tend to think it is always a beautiful day in Clemson!

Other things do happen in the fall besides College Football, and we manage to fit those in as well. Noel had his very first field trip to the Pumpkin Farm. You will see Noel is sporting the latest in Halloween fashion courtesy of his amazing daycare teachers. I am so blessed to have him at such a great facility.

We enjoed a hayride (and throwing hay).

Looking at all the BIG pumpkins.

And trying to bust up into the chicken coop while "cockadoodledooing". Noel also stayed very busy making sure none of his fellow classmates borrowed his mom while we were there. Everything to Noel is "MINE" especially his mommy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

The Wild Things are at a local Wildlife Preserve in these photos. It is a really neat place that allows you to see the animals up close.

They had tortises in a fence. Noel was terrified of them which is why he is on his Dad's shoulders in this photo.

Noel was fond of the "birdie" but we were so afraid the emu was going to peck his fingers.

The volunteer was kind enough to let the boys pet a lemur.

"What are we looking for PeePaw?"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm Back!

Top Seven Indications your Monday morning is off to a bad start...

1- After you get out of the shower you walk through the darkened kitchen to start the coffee, through a puddle of what turns out to be dog pee tracking it through said kitchen.
2- Mopping the kitchen floor takes up the time you now weren't able to spare by hitting snooze.
3- Your child will not wake up and everytime you leave the room thinking he is up and getting dressed, you return to find him sound asleep.
4- Upon walking to the laundry room to "iron"(i.e. throw dampened shirt into dryer) your son's shirt, a mouse (the most frightening thing in the world) crosses your path.
5- You speed to school like a raving maniac only to find you are already tardy. The office is a ten mile trek from the parking lot and you have to unpack your toddler and head through the chilly mist to check your oldest in.
6- While checking in, a fellow mom mentions returning to school to take photos of "crazy sock day", and you realize your child will be the only one without crazy socks.
7- You finally arrive at your desk frazzled but glad to have made it to work. When you sit down and pull up your electronic calendar, you realize you should have been at the dentist 15 minutes ago.
Perhaps these are not across the board indicators, but if you find any of the above happening I highly reccomend going back to bed. I certainly wish I had.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Just a couple of guys hanging around.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What we've been doing

The past month has kind of been a blur at our house, but here is a sampling of what we have been up to.

Celebrating Chase's 8th birthday with a mystery birthday where he and all his friends solved clues to find where the "birthday bandits" had hidden the birthday loot.

Chase got his mini-bike which he had saved for and we made up the difference for his birthday.

Noelly really likes wearing his brother's helmet, and truth be told, covets his brother mini-bike.

And Chase pulled the second of his front teeth making him"toofless".
These things and many, many more have kept us running around in what feels like circles and craving normal. Whatever that is

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday morning cuddles.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hand, Foot, and Mouth (arms, legs, and throat)

This week is the busiest of the year in my professional life. Orientation/new student check-in, is huge at any university, but at a small private college it can make or break you. On the second Monday of Noel's daycare career I got the dreaded sick phone call. He was running a fever and generally miserable. I picked him up and kept him in my office until Chris could come get him to take him home. The long night we spent convinced us to head on in to the doctor where he tested positive for Strep throat. Glad to have a diagnosis and some medicine we endured our second sleepless night confident the drugs would kick in and we would sleep soon.
How wrong we were. Wednesday evening, the rash that had been mild on his legs was spreading all over his body and in his mouth. To be honest, we thought it was mild but with Noel's dark complexion it is very hard to tell. Thursday found us at the Pediatrician's office once again where he was diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth syndrome. A viral infection that manifests itself in the form of blisters on, you guessed it, the hands, mouth, and feet. They can spread to the calves and fore arms but that is actually where Noel's started.
I am happy to report we got our first full night of sleep last night and I didn't find any new blisters this morning. I am so thankful my sons have an amazing father who takes such good care of them when I just can't miss work. Noel should be fully recovered by Monday and we will in all liklihood have to begin the daycare readjustment process all over again.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Letter to my Youngest

Dear Noel,
One week ago today you began daycare, and while you won't remember this week, there are a few things I want you to know. It broke my heart to drop you off with virtual strangers. And though you marched in like a big boy and fought to get out of my arms, I so did not want to leave. I looked out my office window every other minute hoping to get a glimpse of you on the playground. I laughed out loud when I say you dumping the playground material on your teacher's head with a sand shovel. My heart nearly burst when I went to pick you up and you came running as fast you could.
I also need you to know that when you cried the following few days, I went to the van and cried too. I called to make sure you were ok, and I was a distracted mess all day long even though when I saw you out the window you were happy as a clam.
I have had to do a lot of soul searching and guilt analysis this week. It is no secret that I never put your brother in daycare. I have really been beating myself up over that fact. So here's the deal, I can't give you the same experiences I gave Chase, and even if I did I couldn't guarantee the same outcomes. I can only promise you to give you the absolute best I have to offer you at any given time and try not to make value judgements on whether that is better or worse than what your brother had.
I think somwhere in my heart of hearts I am terribly afraid if I don't do things exactly the same you will think that choice was made because you were adopted. In fact, one of my greatest fears is that you will somehow feel inferior because you did not grow inside of me. I feel deeply guilty about this whole daycare thing, if you can't tell. I guess this letter is a little bit of therapy for me. I guess I want to put into words you can understand later how I am feeling right now, since at 20 months, you are only a marginal conversationalist.
I could not love you more, son. The one thing I can promise to be the same between you and Chase is the fact I love you both more than I ever thought possible and nothing can change that. Your dad and I will always try to make the very best choices for you, and whenever I see you cry, I will feel like crying too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Back to the Grind

Chase kicked off his 2nd grade year today. Had I been blogging faithfully, you would have known how completely underwhelmed he was for school to be starting back. He made several impassioned speeches on the topic of how very brief his summer had been and that is seemed to have begun only yesterday. I cannot say I didn't agree with him, but I am the parent so I tried to be positive and encouraging about the start of the school year.

Last week I took a day off to spend with and for Chase. One of our goals for the day was to acquire a new backpack and lunchbox. While driving I asked if he had thought about the kind he wanted. He proceeded to describe a messanger bag style though he did not know that was the term. When I told him those were called messanger bags he said, " Well, that is what I want because I think that would just be more appropriate for second grade." Appropriate as it may be, once Chase tried one on for size he couldn't get past the fact it looked like a purse. So after checking out every backpack in town he settled for a traditional GI Joe backpack. The next challenge was to find a lunchbox which, at some point during the course of the day, he decided needed to match his backpack?!?!?!? Mission finally accomplished at Publix, of all places.

As it turns out, I think he was pretty excited. He certainly rushed me out the door this morning.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What a Wednesday

Prepare to be amused and disgusted.

Last night we went out to dinner with friends and I changed Noel into his PJ's in the van, in the dark. He was stinky, so it was extra challenging. At one point the dirty diaper fell into the floorboard, but it didn't fall face down so everything was o.k., or so I thought. We got home, I put the bag with offending stinky diaper into the trashcan. Chris even asked if I had gotten it out to make sure.

This morning I thought my van smelled kind of stinky. I knew for a fact the diaper had been thrown out so I thought it might just be Chase's dirty sandals that were in the van, or Noel's clothes that I had lazily just let in there last night. I drove to work with the windows down to get some fresh air.

At lunch I got into the van and thought the stink was very stubborn and I was very confused. I decided to go investigate the scene of the change, and there was a big poopy just laying in the floor of my van. Needless to say, I was mortified, but then I just started laughing at my self. I mean who drives around with poop in their car? I seriously debated whether or not to blog about this, but then I thought you guys could probably use a good laugh, and if you ever want to go for a spin in the poop mobile just let me know.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Noel's Dad powered sports coupe....

This photo is not meant to endorse texting while driving in any way shape or form.

Noel parks his new car for the evening.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Call me Dramatic

So, Chase has been at my mom's house since Sunday. Every night we call and check in on him, tell him we love him that sort of thing. I mean he is only 7 and I did give birth to him. So last night, my mom had left her phone at her house when they went out to dinner. She mentioned to Chase that she bet I had tried to call (which I had). His response was " I don't know why my mom has to call every night. I mean that is a little dramatic."
I cannot tell a lie. My feelings were hurt. He did talk to me when she called back, but only to say this; "I just want to say I love you, but it is a little dramatic." I reacted somewhat childishly and said "Fine, here is your Daddy" and gave the phone to Chris.
Is this the first step in that long march to the tween then teen years? Is this the same little boy, who once, when I was nursing him through a nasty virus, looked up at me and said, "Thank you for keeping such good care of me, Mommy."? Am I over-reacting and being a little dramatic? In my heart of hearts, I know the answer is yes to all of the above.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Rub-a-dub-dub. Two boys in the tub. (Doesn't happen often because Noelly likes to pee in the tub and ,well ,you can imagine Chase's reaction.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Reunited and it feels so Good.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Chris come from a very large family, and on Saturday, July 4th, we drove straight in from vacation to join the family reunion in full swing.

Chris' and Noel's combined expressions really display what I was thinking when we arrived better than I can covey in words on the blog.
Here we are for the big family photo. Keep in mind this is just the matriarch, Grandma Ruth, and her kids, grand kids, and great grand kids plus applicable spouses. You should see this event when the extended family is involved. Amazingly, all fourteen kids were here this year and most of the grandchildren. You can find Chase front row center fighting with his cousin Warren whom he has spent the week with and they had mutually had enough of each other.

Here we are assembling for the annual photo. This year I would estimate it only took 20 minutes from beginning to end. Believe me, that is record time for this crew.

Here is our tired, little, festive family. I thought it would be so cool to have our festive 4th of July shirts, but this is the only time all of us were together from the time we arrived until we left that evening.

Each of the original 14 were required to learn to play a musical instrument. That musical interest has trickled down to future generations including my son, who asks at least once a week for a drum set. One of the cousin's band put on a concert for our dinnertime entertainment and once they were finished Chase got to check out the drums first hand.
All in all, it was a loud assortment of children, grown-ups, and dogs with tons of food, water balloons and fireworks. I have to admit, though I find it hard to get geared up for this event every year, that I can't think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day. I feel like our country's four fathers might look down on our motley crew smiling and say, "Yeah, that's what we were talking about right there." We are blessed by the courage they had so long ago and our brave Service men and women still have today.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vacation Re-Cap

The jury is still out on whether or not a trip with 12 kids and six adults can be called a vacation. Considering we have been home since Saturday and I still feel exhausted, I am definitely not sure which way to vote. In case I have failed to mention it before, my husband hails from a large, Catholic family. So the other four adults in the equation were the youngest aunt and uncle of his 13 aunts and uncles. The additional ten children are their 2 boys and 2 girls and 6 girls, respectively. I will wait while you pull out your calculator.

Our adventure was set to begin early Saturday morning when we planned to leave early and meander our way to Hilton Head Island, SC. The true adventure began on Friday night, however, when Chase began screaming and crying because his ears hurt so badly. I called the Pediatrician first thing, but we could not get an appt. until 10:15. Once we were finally seen the doctor diagnosed swimmer's ear and recommended Chase stay out of the water for 4-5 days in addition to antibiotic ear drops. You should have seen the look on that doctor's face when I said, "You have got to be kidding me." I went on to explain how my husband and other son were waiting in our fully loaded van to head to the beach. The sweet doctor gave me a "just in case" oral antibiotic prescription and permission to carry on using wax ear plugs.

We arrived at our amazing rental home well after dark but since it had a pool the kiddos were easily amused. Bright and early the next morning we checked out the canal behind the house and then hit the beach.

Also on this monumentous first day we rented bikes for the entire crew. I think riding the bike behind his dad was Noel's favorite part. The little seat had a set of handle bars and he held on like he was on the real thing. Here he is trying on his helmet.

Actually as I view this photo I realize I lied about his favorite part. It was climbing up and down those stairs you see him sitting on.

You are probably wondering why there are no action shots of Noelly on the bike. Well, you see, long about day 3 of vacation our camera was lost. It was found again on the very last night as we were driving to dinner and so I snapped these.

The morning of July 4th found us headed back home to join that large, Catholic family's reunion already in progress. And that, is a post unto itself.