Saturday, November 3, 2012

Growing Up

first time camping, 9/12

This guy is growing up way too fast.  Several months away from his 4th birthday, but on most days he is already very much a 4 year old. 

Pumpkin Hill, 10/12

Here's what he is up to these days...

He can count to 30 with very little help.

He's working on handwriting.  He can draw a few letters including D's but he quickly gets frustrated or disinterested.  He continues to use both hands for coloring, eating and throwing, but uses his left hand more often than right.

With the help of frequent viewings of Dinosaur Train and his brother's obsession with dinosaurs, he can recognize and name about 20 dinosaurs.... as in Brachiasauraus and Archaeopteryx.

He still naps on most days. Well, maybe half the time.  I'm optomistic.

He has yet to get himself out of bed. Let me clarify.  He stays in bed for nap and night time until we get him up. Yep. Parents across the world are so jealous of this one. I love it. Not because he sleeps in, but because I get to greet him every morning and carry him downstairs just like I've done since he was a baby.

resting on the couch with Scout

Occasionally, he still reminds us that he's three with a temper tantrum most often on days that he has missed his nap or during a trip to Wal-mart or Target when he doesn't get a toy.  Fun times.

He goes to preschool 2 days a week.  Sometimes he cries on the days that he doesn't have school because he wants to go to school! Clearly, I need to find a longer program next year.

He's such a character and cracks us up at the things that come out of his mouth. We've finally had to insist that he stop singing "I'm sexy and I know it."  Recently, he breaks out singing "Gangnam Style."  For real.

And thus, I am coming to the realization that our baby boy if very much not a baby (or a toddler!) anymore.  There are no pull ups in the house, and there hasn't been since the summer. He's been wearing underwear at night and hasn't had an accident since I can remember.

No pull ups or diapers means there is also no diaper bag in the house.  After realizing we hadn't used it in a couple of months, I threw it in the trash.  I might have kept it for sentimental reasons, but it was simply a freebie bag that I believe the hospital gave us when he was born.  It was crusty and cracking, and now it's gone.  Sniff. Sniff.

The only things left that are toddlerish around here are a few sippy cups (which we could get rid of, but they are convenient) and a couple of potty seats (which are also convenient).

I still sniff his head frequently trying to commit that baby boy smell to memory
Admittedly, I will grab him and attempt to rock him in my lap while "shhhhing" him like we used to do when he was an infant. He gets a kick out of it and exclaims "I'm not a baby!"

As fast as he is growing up, he will always be my sweet baby Drew.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lucky 13

Danny doesn't get much attention at all around here. Especially here on the blog.  
I'll be honest. I go through the motions of our daily routine and I often take him for granted. Not today.  

Tomorrow we will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary.  Thirteen years married.  Eighteen years together.  Let me do a little math for you.  That means we've been together for just over half our lives.


Seems kind of crazy to think about.  To me, it's even crazier to think about it any other way.

We just go together perfectly. His strengths are my weaknesses. He knows what I'm thinking before I even say it (okay, still working on that one). He loves me unconditionally. He has never broken my heart.  He has never let me down. He goes to work everyday to provide for his family.  He never once complains.  He's an incredible father to our boys.  He's a hands on dad who doesn't think a second thought of cleaning up the kitchen, giving the boys a bath, and putting them to bed even after a 10 hour day at the office.   He still tells me all the time how awesome I am or how pretty I look or what a good mom I am or how lucky he is to have me.  I know.  Go ahead and roll your eyes, but he does.  All. The. Time.

After 13 years of marriage, it hasn't all been perfect.  But, pretty darn close.

I write this because I know I don't tell him enough how much I love him.
I write this because I know I don't tell him enough how much I appreciate him.
I write this because I know I don't tell him enough how lucky I am to have him.

I love you.
I appreciate you.
I'm so lucky to have you.  

Eighteen years ago we were Juniors in high school.  I thought I loved him then.

Truth is, I did.  But now, after all of these years, I love him so much more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Boys of Summer

Grant is already back to school.  I thought I'd take some time to reflect on our summer.

With only 8 weeks, we crammed a lot in.

Week 1, swim school.  I think they floated for nearly 30 minutes this day.  

Week 2, beach trip #1.  Sunny Side Beach, FL.  Thank you mom and dad for a great trip and some great memories. 

Week 3, Baseball Camp for Grant.  Actually, the entire summer consisted of lots of baseball practice and Beast games. 

Week 4.  We said goodbye to the wedding chapel.

Week 5, beach trip #2.  Destin, FL.  Great house. Even better company.

Week 6, Vacation Bible School for Grant.  Drew will be so excited to go with him next year.  I didn't get a picture, but we did go to the zoo several times this summer.  Grant was too scared the first trip to go see the robotic, life size dinosaurs.  But, on the subsequent trips, he braved it without a worry just like his little brother. 

Week 7, Miscellaneous fun at home.  

Week 8, More fun at home and around Nashville.

hanging out at the club pool
zoo with Autumn, Peyton, and Nana
Week 9.  Back to School.  Big time second grader. 
I think he grew 4 inches over our quick but fun summer break.  

A short blurb about the main event for each week of the summer really doesn't do it justice.  

So many memories were made... the house constantly covered with dinosaurs, cars, and skylanders... trying to get a word in while Grant is telling me every single detail about his current race bracket.... "Jumping Bean" Drew, jumping off of anything and everything in his sight... me, trying to make cupcakes, get a workout in, and keep the house presentable all while refereeing two kids.  

I wouldn't change a thing though.  I love my boys of summer.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Chapel That Built Me

Toddler House Child Care & Learning Center, 1985 (me standing at the door)

I had mixed emotions when I learned that my mom and dad were selling their chapel building.  The first emotion-- happiness.  They can both truly retire.  Mom, you don't have to stress anymore about connecting to the internet, grocery shopping for those big receptions, and long Saturdays on your feet.  Dad, you will no longer have to bother with keeping the grass mowed or worry about the leaky roof and basement. You can plan trips without a second thought of when you have to be back.  No more worrying about who is going to cover the weddings for you or getting back to the office to take care of the book work and pay bills.

On the other hand, I was terribly saddened that this building, that has been in our family for 28 years, will no longer be "ours."  I started thinking about all the memories we have had there.

As a child care center, it's where my mom managed dozens of employees and took care of hundreds of children in the ten years she operated the business. I spent countless hours there as a child.... hanging out on the playground, sneaking into the kitchen for extra snacks, waiting on my dad to pick me up on his way home from work. I learned every nook and cranny of the building. The secret bell tower. The creepy basement. The hidden passageways.

And growing up, it served many different purposes for our family.

It's where our church worshiped while our new building was being competed.
It's where I worked my first job.... helping organize and prepare lunch for the day care kids at 12 years old.
It's where I lived briefly as a child.... there was no bathroom or kitchen upstairs, but we camped out in a makeshift apartment one summer as our house in Lebanon was being finished.
It's where my brother lived for a while in his bachelor days... at least there was a kitchen and bathroom then.
It's where Danny asked me to marry him.... home from college one weekend, after working a wedding.
It's where we lived after were married... first time on our own, it just made sense.

And when mom decided to retire from child care, she took a suggestion from a friend and decided she would enter the wedding industry.  A wedding chapel?  In Mt. Juliet, TN? I'm sure many people, including my mom, had serious doubts that it would work  And, here it is, nearly 15 years later.  Yep, it worked.

An estimated 1,500 couples were married there.

Juliet's Wedding Chapel, 2000
We've worked there countless hours as a family.  Me, Erick and Angie-- pitching in however we could.  Dad-- remodeling, working on the heat and AC, more remodeling,  Mom-- taking care of all of those kids, meeting with clients, and the majority of her Saturdays for the last 15 years.

Through the years, it's where we've celebrated birthdays, showers and special occasions.  It's basically my childhood home. It's where I grew up. It's the place where I've spent more time than any other.

I can still remember entering the building for the first time.  It was 1980 something.  Dusty red carpet and church pews as far as a 7 year old could see.

Needless to say, after all of the years and memories, I am very sad to see it go.

 But, what a wonderful ride it has been.

Juliet's Wedding Chapel, 2012
Addendum: The building, built in 1944, was originally Mt. Juliet First Baptist Church.  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Free Mies Old

Ask Drew how old he is now and he responds, "I'm free mies old."  That is not a typo.  It's the cutest thing.  He can say 'three' and he can say 'years', but when he puts them together, it comes out "free mies old."

This is a not a good representation of his speech though.  He can carry on a conversation like a five year old... "I already have a yapkin, Daddy."  He asks questions... "What did you say?" And creates his own thoughts....  "We need to tell Grant."  Strangers as well as friends remark on how well he can talk.  He knows all of his monster trucks by name.  And, we probably have about 20!  He knows most letter sounds and can count to 20 plus.  At Grant's baseball games, he calls out each players number as they come up to bat.

His birthday party was once again simple and sweet.  Well, except for the cake and cupcakes I guess.  I tried hard to convince him he wanted puppy dog cupcakes, but monster trucks win every time.

Drew's best friends (AKA Grant's best friends) came to the party as well as Autumn, Peyton, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great grandparents.  He got a new comforter for his new bed, some summer clothes, cars,    and, of course, monster trucks. 

and a wagon from mommy and daddy.

I'm already bummed that by this time next year he'll be able to correctly pronunciate... "I'm four year old!"

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Drewbie Bear

Milestones are coming way quicker than I can keep up with these days.

Drew turned three and he's sweeter than ever. His number one question is "Mommy? What cha' doing?" He'll ask me this many times a day. It's his little way of starting a conversation with me as usually we are in the car or at home when he asks.

We moved him to his big boy bed just a few weeks shy of his third birthday. We started of with it on the floor to get him (and me!) acclimated. Then put it on the frame the day of his birthday. He has done wonderful in it and has yet to get out of it on his own. He still waits for one of us to get him up in the morning. He's had some nap resistance mainly consisting of a weak effort of "I don't want to take a nap" and "I don't like this bed." But, once I get him in bed, he's still taking good naps.

Occasionally, our busy days don't allow for his typical nap time. Funny thing is, he will find a way to still work it in himself. We found him in the late afternoon on Easter asleep on the couch clutching his chocolate bunny.

We just took down the baby swing as well. Bittersweet day for mommy. Lots of excitement for Drew.

We have mastered potty training. Number one at least. He is most often dry when he wakes up at night as well as nap time. After bribing him with the world and more, he still requests a pull up for number two. This aggravates the you know what out of me. I've decided that it's best for both of us if I just go with the flow. Sooner or later he will decide he can do it. And as promised, we will buy him a Skylander.

His best friends are Grant's best friends. He gets ecstatic when one of them comes over to play. He follows them around, wrestles with them, and copies whatever they do. While Grant is at school, he even asks me if they can come over. I'm grateful that they, including Grant, tolerate him. He thinks he can do whatever they can do, and he pretty much can.

Grant got first at the annual Sawyer Easter egg hunt.  Guess who was second.  Drew.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Grant's 7th

What can I say about Grant's birthday party?... 

Danny continues to say that I go overboard for such events.  But, I say, as long as I have still have some control with the birthday party, then I'm going to control the birthday party.

The one thing that nearly through me for a loop though was Grant's request for an Angry Birds cake.  You see, Grant sees me making cupcakes every week.  They're just no big deal to him anymore.  He wanted something special. 

I think he got it.

I don't just make cakes for anyone.

Danny came up with a life size Angry Bird game. The boys had to throw each bird a different way... through the legs, eyes closed, left hand, etc. They did several rounds and he kept score on the PC which he hooked up to the TV with Angry Bird music playing in the background!

The boys had a blast.  And Grant blew out his birthday candles for the 7th time.

Love these guys.

Waiting his turn.

Mimi, Nanny, Granny, and Nana 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dear Grant

Dear Grant,

Today you are 7 years old. SEVEN! In the words of your dad, when you were born we were "overjoyed and panicked".  It's really hard to believe how time goes by so quickly.  Not too long ago you were a baby... trying your hardest not to breastfeed and crying when you were picked up.  You have changed so much and yet, are very much the same.

I don't have to do much for you anymore.  You are old enough now to give yourself a bath, read, fix a snack, find something to watch on TV, and wipe your own nose.  Lord knows I've tried my hardest to wipe your nose recently, but you are so strong I can't even force my hands upon you like I use to.

You're not much on snuggle time these days (kind of like when you were a baby), and you probably get that from me.  But, every time we are in a parking lot or crossing a street, you still grab my hand.  I smile to myself knowing that you are big enough to walk by yourself beside me, but I love the brief moment I get to hold your hand.

You love your baby brother.  You were four years old when he was born, but I am sure you don't remember life without him.  I love watching you play with him.You guys have so much fun together chasing each other around the house and playing tackle.   You share your toys.  You let him ride your back.  He misses you when you are at school or at basketball games with daddy.

Your favorite person in the world is Daddy, and I'm ok with that.  You boys just have so much more in common... video games, cars, sports, numbers.  Soon enough, you'll be needing help with your science homework.  Don't go to your dad for help with that one.  I will be there. 

You love to go to school.  You make perfect grades and your teachers are thrilled to have you in their class. You are quiet and shy, but you have lots of friends and you're not afraid to ask questions or speak up when something isn't right.   Your favorite thing to do is practice baseball with Daddy followed by creating football schedules and acting out the plays for both teams.  You could care less for dinner, but you would never dream of missing breakfast. 

I cannot imagine my life without you. Seven years just goes by so fast.  We love the baby you were, the boy you are, and the young man you one day will be. We love you so much. 

Happy Birthday Biddy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

All I Want for Christmas...

With Grant donning a snaggle tooth smile this year, we made a joke that all he wanted for Christmas this year was his two front teeth.  As it turns out, all he wanted was some stuffed animal Angry Birds. 

Apparently, that's all Drew wanted as well.  Tears were shed on Christmas morning after Drew gathered up Grant's Angry Birds and said "my Angry Birds".  I think he was just a little overwhelmed after being awoken from his sleep, asked to skip breakfast, and check out the presents Santa brought him. 

Grant also got a Wii although he didn't notice it at first.  He said "I got Wipeout (game) for Wii! Except, I don't have a Wii."  

Drew settled down after he got to eat some chocolate from his stocking and Grant let him play with his Angry Birds.

After opening our presents and playing with a few toys, we ate breakfast and then got ready to host the Ladd family Christmas at our house.  The rest of the day consisted of plenty of yummy food, hanging out with our family, white elephant gift exchange for the adults and gingerbread house decorating for the kids.
Opryland Hotel

Christmas Eve at Mimi and Pop's