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We are thankful for so much, and continue to be blessed daily by good health, loving family, and caring friends.  We spent Thanksgiving this year in Utah, and had a very low-key and relaxing day with just our immediate family.  I cooked a turkey for the first time (and nobody got sick!) along with all the traditional yummy holiday food.  Jason continues to work hard as Area Defense Council, and I am loving hanging out with the kiddos and constantly  being challenged both mentally and physically as a mom.

Hope is thriving in her preschool and Max constantly makes us laugh with his funny expressions and robust personality.  November was busy, but of course December even busier!  Here are a few pics from the past 2 months.

Like father, like son

Hope had a Thanksgiving program at her school that parents were invited to.  All the K4 kids are in the back singing as loud as they can, while the K3 girls are in the front silently participating.  Hope’s hat wasn’t on tight enough, so she held it to her head the whole time they were up there.

I had some good friends over for dinner one night, and afterwards we ended up making some orange pomanders for fun.  They are so easy and make the house smell like the holidays (thanks Dee and Jordana!).

Max loves to see the snow outside.  It really hasn’t been too bad of a winter- yet.

The kids also like to watch Daddy shoveling snow off the driveway.

Here’s Hope in her Thanksgiving gear- her homemade pilgrim hat, an apron, and cozy turkey slippers!  Oh, and of course what every Pilgrim wore- a dress up tutu.

Max has discovered a love for books.  He constantly begs me to read to him, but here I caught him flipping through a fun read on his own.  I wonder what he thinks as he reads?  Right now he is into pictures of dogs and dinosaurs mainly, and of course food!

There he goes!  Max is so proud of himself when he pushes his “mower” up and down the hall.  He officially took his first steps on Dec. 11th, and he continues to build up his confidence since then.

I caught Hope “playing” with Max by giving him a hat to wear.  She kept putting a mixing bowl on his head whether he wanted it or not.  She can be so sweet to him, and then the next minute push him over and grab his toy.  Luckily he is one tough little guy and so he has learned to growl at her in defense.  It’s actually pretty funny to see.

This year Hope and Mommy decorated a gingerbread house together.  She is holding up a bag of gumdrops that came with the kit (by the way, those houses are not as easy as they look to put together!).

She was very excited to have so much access to lots of candy.

I believe in this picture she was in a state of sugar shock.  She had eaten pretty much all of the gumdrops and many many M&M’s- but we had a good time creating a colorful little house together!

I took the kids to a Festival of Trees and met up with a good friend of mine.  Here is a Cookie Monster display that they really liked.

However, as with all outings with young kids, it’s never as easy as you think. Before the morning was over Max was fussy because he wanted out of the stroller and Hope was a little overwhelmed and tired.  Overall a fun day, but we were all worn out after that one!

Max loves to crawl into the dishwasher any chance he gets.  (He has also discovered toilets and the wonders of the toilet paper roll, but I won’t go into detail about that!)  Here he is playing peek-a-boo, and for some reason he always puts one hand on top of his head.  He loves that game and the attention he gets with it!

And here is the gingerbread house about a day and a half after we made it.  Please notice the multicolored spots where candy used to be. It’s a wonder she didn’t chip a tooth trying to pry the M&M’s off the top!

It never stood a chance against a 3 year old with a sweet tooth!

We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas this year, and please let us know how you are as well!

October 2010

To those who still actually look at this blog and care to see the random pictures of our family- THANK YOU!  Sorry for not posting in such a long time.  I have no good excuse except that time just flies by, and before I know it another month has passed.  I will try to catch up now with several posts for the months of August, September, and October.  You may want to scroll down to see the other months.

Max helping me organize the pantry.  I really did have to reorganize it because he kept pulling the lids off the flour and sugar jars.

My monkey after bath time.

I caught him sleeping like this one night- his foot is literally propped up on the crib.  Oh, to be so relaxed!

Hope, Max, and I went with a group from our church to the Black Island Farms Pumpkin Patch.  We had so much fun looking at animals and just running around in an open field!

Hope on a unique tire swing

We took a wagon ride and she even got to pick out her own pumpkin from the patch

Max liked the pumpkin too

Max and I got to fly down to GA to surprise my dad for his 60th birthday!  My brothers and sister and I planned a fun surprise party that he had no clue about with about 70 people.  I have to say that Max really behaved himself on the plane both ways- sometimes you never know how that will go.  As long as he had a snack and paper to crinkle he was pretty happy!

Max and his cousin Mia- you both are growing too fast!

Max with Uncle Matt

We love you Doc and were so happy to come down for a quick visit!

My little loudmouth🙂

Hope dressed up as Snow White for Halloween this year.  Snow White is her favorite princess for some reason, even though she has never seen the movie or really knows the story.  I’m guessing maybe the colors are appealing?  Oh well, who knows.  It was a cold and rainy night for Halloween, but that didn’t stop 200+ kids coming to our door!  Jason took Hope around our neighborhood to a few friend’s houses, but she had the most fun answering our door and handing out candy.  By the end of the night all I could hear was a hoarse little voice calling out “Here come some more trick-or-treaters!”

Max was going to be a monkey, but he had a fever that night and I wasn’t about to let him go out in the cold.  While Jason took Hope around the neighborhood, I stayed at our house and answered the door with him on my back in the backpack.  I dressed up as a tired/happy mom this year.🙂

Hope with all of her Snow White dolls.  That’s a Barbie Snow White, a Cabbage Patch Snow White, and a miniature Snow White- so fun!

Happy Fall Y’all!

September was a busy month for us with family visits and Max’s first birthday!

Family picture outside the Farmer’s Market

We had so much fun with Doc when he came to visit early in the month!

We hit the Hill Aerospace Museum, the Railroad and Browning Firearm Museum, and the Ogden Farmer’s Market with Doc and had a blast.

I think Hope’s favorite part was when he taught her “Motorboat, motorboat” and spun her around.  She couldn’t get enough!  Thanks for coming out to play Doc!

What I see 90% of my day

When I wasn’t looking, Hope “helped” by pouring Winston some dog food.  Winston was very grateful and proceeded to eat as much as quickly as he could.

Max is a champ at signing the word “more.”  We call him “Mr. Bottomless Pit” because the child is always hungry.

Jamming on the piano

Max’s birthday cakes!  The smaller one was just for him and the larger one was for everyone else.  It was a yummy banana cake with chocolate icing that I made.

I can’t believe my little monkey is one year old!

Ma Mere and Grandaddy came to help celebrate too!

You mean I actually get to have this all to myself?

Insert Cookie Monster munching sounds…

I love making messes!

Hope and Ma Mere eating birthday cake

Max’s new Little People barn- Hope was sure to show him how to play with it.

I like the tissue paper too!

The day after Max’s birthday we set out for a road trip up to Jackson Hole, WY.  It was so beautiful and such a fun trip for everyone.  Here we are in front of the Grand Teton mountain range.

Max was a little squirmy

We also drove over to Yellowstone National Park to see Old Faithful.  Hope kept saying she “wanted to go see the BIG GEYSER!”  She knew what one was from one of her Dora the Explorer DVD’s.

Thar she blows!  Old Faithful at it’s finest.  Very cool to see.

We even got in a good hike and took the jogging stroller as far as it would go.

Under the antler archway at Jackson Hole Square.

The Grand Tetons really are beautiful

Tickling hands on the car ride up.  They are such cute siblings.

Having a fun playtime with Grandaddy.  Thanks for coming to visit us Grandaddy and Ma Mere!

August 2010

August was more summer fun with lots of playing outside at the park and lots of swinging (Hope’s favorite).  Hope and I finished up some swimming lessons that she really enjoyed and Max continues to be curious and gets into EVERYTHING!

Max being silly. Even though he really doesn’t need the exersaucer anymore, it helps to confine him to one place while I make dinner.

Hope won these glasses at a little children’s fair on base, and she wore them everywhere.  I took this picture when she was winding down for bed, and she actually fell asleep with them on.

Max and Daddy at the Ogden Farmer’s Market one Saturday.

Playing in her backyard pool.  She loves to stomp around and splash everywhere.

Max is into showing me all the food he eats. It’s like he wants to say, “Look Mom!  I can eat Cheerios, see?  These are awesome!”

Winston is a trooper putting up with these crazy kids.  Actually, Max said his first word other than “mama” or “dada” this month- “Dot!” for dog.  When I get him up from bed he gets so excited and repeats it over and over because he knows we will go get Winston up too.  He loves him some cute doggies!

Hope on her first day of preschool.  She started a Pre K3 class for just two mornings a week.

She was SO excited to get to wear her new Princess backpack!

Even though the first 2 days were a little rough saying goodbye, she is now a big fan of preschool and loves her teacher and new friends.  Every time I drop her off, she immediately tells me to “Go to big school Mommy.”  (She equates it with big church!)

Hope in school means more Max and Mommy time at home- and he is all about getting some one-on-one attention!

“Helping” Max learn to use the sippy cup.

Max is in awe of everything Winston does, especially when he slurps up water and bangs his collar on his dish.

At the park

So proud to be pulling to stand and cruising everywhere!

Already a phone talker

What can I get into?

You are so hilarious Mommy!

No really, that face you just made was AWESOME!

Where did July go?

Seriously, where did July go?  This month seems to have flown by, but it was packed with summer fun.  We had a fun 4th at our house with good friends and grilling out.  There is just something about the 4th of July that is so relaxing and low key.  We took the kids to a parade in the city where we live and Hope absolutely loved it!  I don’t know if I mentioned that when asked what she wanted for her birthday, she would always say, “a parade!”  So finally she got one.  We have been busy with a parent and tot swimming lesson class on Saturdays that I take Hope to and she loves the water, but is still not a big fan of going under.  That has been some special time for just the two of us though.

Max continues to grow so fast, and he is now crawling EVERYWHERE!  I cannot turn my back for a second or he is heading straight for the dog food or an extension cord of some kind.  He is so curious and still such a happy baby.  He now has 7 teeth and continues to chew on anything and everything.  Hope loves to play with him, but has to constantly be reminded to “SHARE WITH YOUR BROTHER!”  That is a work in progress…:)

Jason has moved over to a new office on base and is now doing primarily defense work.  He is enjoying it so far and this position will also have him travel more often.  We are able to have some picnic lunches at his office though, and that is always fun.

Here is the month in review:

Happy 4th of July everybody!

This is Max at 9 months.  He was stretching out to try to get everything, but then would usually just flop onto his belly.

I wish I got some sort of credit for hours spent pushing a swing!  They both enjoy it so much.

I had just gotten a new tart pan, so this was a fruit tart I made for the 4th.  It’s a Southern Living recipe and so, so good!

And can I just say that there may have been a few times when I set off the smoke alarm by my cooking, but I have never actually had to pull out the fire extinguisher!!

I find the look on Jason’s face very amusing right now

This was at the 4th of July parade

Hope was in absolute awe at everything–the horses, bands, cheerleaders, floats, fire trucks…  Here she is waving to some politician driving by probably.

Oh, yes, and we also went to the Hogle Zoo!  We saw lots of fun animals and the highlight for Hope was of course riding the carousel.

Just happy to be held

Hope often “helps me cook” at the counter.  She still loves to dress up and so here is my little princess all dolled up for dinner one night.

I would say that Hope and Max are best buds now.  They literally hang out together.  Hope loves to play with him and even read to him, as well as grab her toys away from him all the time.  He absolutely adores her and makes no fuss unless she physically hurts him.  They do this alot–they both crawl under the table and stare at the air vent, or maybe it’s just cool to be under the table; I don’t really know.

Here is my little gardener.  She wanted to “plant” so here she is digging in the mulch all decked out in her tutu, tiara, and heels.

I promise that I never dress her up, it is all her doing!

So happy to be brother and sister

And look at my new toy!  I finally got a double jogging stroller and let me tell you, it has been a lifesaver for my stress level!  The kids are still in their pj’s, but we’ve got to hit the trail early before it gets too hot!

Hope likes to run with me for awhile after we feed the ducks.

You know those really cool artsy candid pictures of kids joyfully playing outside on a beautiful day?  Well, today my kids were not in one of kinds of moods, so this was the shot I got instead.

It has become a daily event that Hope and Max have a tea party.  He is happy to sit in a chair and be allowed to play with some of her toys, and she is happy to show him how to pour tea and even stir in milk with a little spoon.   Everyone wins!

I can’t believe my baby is 10 months old now!

I couldn’t resist!  She will kill me later, but here is my princess using her frog potty.  She has conquered potty training and I could not be more proud of her!

We will catch ya later!

Just FYI, if you haven’t seen the pictures from our trip down south please see the last post.  I recently put it up and just don’t want anyone to miss it!

The past week has been crazy, as it happens every year in June.  In one week we got to party hardy with Hope’s 3rd birthday, our 8 year anniversary, Jason’s birthday, and Father’s Day.  What that comes out to is a lot of cards, balloons, and FUN!

This year for Hope’s birthday I decided I wanted to use a Garden Party theme, as well as try to make a lot of the items for her party.  My crafty side is desperately wanting to come out and it’s amazing some of the ideas you can get online.  The weather here has been gradually getting warmer and so I was thinking how much fun it would be for the kids to play outside and have a picnic with chalk and bubbles– but of course when you plan an outdoor party that is just asking for rain.  And rain it did, as well as blow like a hurricane!  In fact, it was so windy that a giant tree outside our house just fell over and missed Jason’s car by about 6 inches.  So we took the party indoors and had just as much fun.

Now my daughter is not one of those kids who thrives on being the center of attention.  She likes playing with other kids, but when it comes down to everyone watching her, well, she kind of freaks out.  We had a few frustrating moments during her party such as when it was time to sing “Happy Birthday” and blow out her candles.  So this year we didn’t sing and I ended up blowing out the candles.  Other than that, she really did have fun and didn’t even mind all the kids playing with her toys.  Hey, at least she didn’t kick her shoe into her cake like last year!  Overall, I can’t believe she is 3 years old and such a big girl now!

I had fun making some yummy treats for the kids.  Here are some cookies on a stick and chocolate flower cupcakes.

A close-up of the flower cupcakes

Here’s Hope super excited during her party.

We had a total of 8 kids at the party including Hope, and fortunately they were happy to play in our garage.

A game that we played was a Caterpillar Hunt.  I had found some butterfly nets in the dollar section at Target, and then glued some fuzzy pom-poms to popsicle sticks to make the caterpillars.  I then threw the caterpillars all over the garage and the kids had to “catch” them with their nets.  They really liked it and we ended up playing the game several times.

The kids each got a turn to hit a butterfly pinata, and here I am giving Hope a hand.  After several tries, Jason just ended up ripping it open and the kids dove for the candy.

And here’s the birthday cake!  It’s strawberry cake with buttercream icing, and I had fun getting to bake with so much sugar in one day!

Max doesn’t know what is going on…

Mamere was kind enough to come visit and help do some last minute decorating for the party.

I also attempted to applique the number 3 onto a shirt for the big day (don’t look too close!)

And here’s the tree that fell in our front yard during the party–we didn’t even hear it with all the kids running around!

One tired birthday girl–I can’t believe she is 3 years old!

While we had a free babysitter (thanks Helen!) in town, we were able to go out for our 8 year anniversary down to Salt Lake City and enjoy a very nice dinner and a movie.  It seems like yesterday as well as a lifetime ago that we got married, and it’s been even more fun than I could imagine!

This year Jason turned the big 3-0, and I really wanted to remind him that he is very, very old (because he constantly reminds me that I am older than him, only by 1 year).  So I was able to find an accomplice (who shall remain nameless) who was kind enough to decorate his office for me.  When Jason rolled into work that morning he was greeted by signs posted on all incoming doors of “You’re 30!” all the way to his office where there were black streamers, balloons, and huge number 30’s hanging from his ceiling.  The main point of this was that hopefully he would get a lot of flack at work.  So now he is officially O-L-D!

The kids visiting daddy at work

A little love note I left on his desk!

Father’s Day came on an absolutely beautiful summer day and we were able to relax and enjoy time as a family together.  I have to say that the kids absolutely adore their daddy and he is pretty smitten with them too.  I framed the following photos together for Jason to put in his office:

Gimme a D!

Gimme an A!

Gimme a D!  What’s that spell?  DAD!!!!!!

And to close, this is how Hope prefers to wear her birthday hat.  I did not help her to put this on…

Take care and God Bless!

Visit Down South

Whew!  I know I’m backtracking but I have to mention our trip.  We had a whirlwind 3 weeks down to Alabama and Georgia to visit family, and I’m finally getting around to writing about it.  We were there at the end of April through mid-May, and boy did we enjoy the warm weather!  I took both kids on a plane ride while Jason drove for 3 days with the dog.  I will say that flying with 2 young kids is no picnic, but they did as well as a 2 year old and 7 month old could do (Max slept off and on, and Hope got a little antsy towards the end, but I’m happy to say there were no dirty diapers while in flight).  We LOVED visiting with all of our family!  I’m sorry we couldn’t spend more time with everyone, but the kids loved the attention and Jason and I loved catching up with everyone.  Part of the reason we went down when we did was so that Jason could attend a course down in Montgomery, AL, so the kids and I traveled to see my family while he was down there.  Of course, we didn’t realize until later that he took our camera by accident.  Many of the pictures here were taken after Jason met back up with us at Lak Haus and after that.

Hope, Max, and I had a good visit with my dad at his house in Gainesville, GA.  Hope loved walking down to the lake and looking for boats.  My dad had the great idea of going to Babyland General one day, which was the birthplace of the Cabbage Patch Kids–you remember those dolls from the ’80s?  Well, they have an actual hospital in Northeast GA where you can go see them “born” and then pick out your own doll to take home.  Hope loved running around and then picked out her own Snow White doll and stroller.  We also enjoyed shopping at the outlet mall with my sister and just having down time at the house.

We then got to visit with my mom, Aunt Becca, and Mimi and Grandy.  We loved all the southern hospitality from my grandparents and the sweet time with Cookie (my mom) and her sister.  My grandmother, Mimi, always goes above and beyond to welcome family to her house.  I got such a kick out of Hope eating a lunch of dainty finger foods off a small plate of fine china with little silver utensils.  Only the best for her great-granddaughter!  We had fun going to the park and playing at the house with everyone too.

At the end of the week we went to Lak Haus to visit with my dad’s side of the family.  Jason’s college roommate and his wife were able to come stay as well, and it was so good to catch up with them too.  Overall, we loved visiting with family and friends in such a relaxing and beautiful place on the lake.  My grandmother, Nana, and my Aunt Karen were able to come over and we had such a nice visit with them.  Nana is always fun to be around and even at her age she doesn’t slow down and knows how to party!  Thanks for such a fun time together.

Here are some pictures:

Nana with her great-grandson Max.  He went straight into her arms and reached out to touch her face without a peep.  It’s like he knew she is one pretty cool lady.

Silly time with Aunt Jenny

My Nana and me with a fruit trifle I made- her specialty!

Doc and Max hangin’ out

Look at those handsome devils!

Hope was too busy running down by the lake to sit still for a picture.  I don’t blame her, it was beautiful.

Run, run, run!

Who can resist that face?

After visiting my side of the family, we headed over to Huntsville to see Jason’s family.  We stopped at the Tennessee Aquarium on the way over and Hope had a blast running through the exhibits.  She even tried to pet a fish (you were allowed to) at one of the tanks, but they were too squirmy in the water.  Jason and his dad got to golf and we also visited with some friends from college, Mazen and Kate, while we were there.  Hope loved strolling around the neighborhood and running around a big back yard.

She loved the aquariums you could climb into through a tube

So many fish!

Fun with Daddy!

The Botanical Gardens in Huntsville had a great treehouse exhibit for kids.  There were so many different treehouses to explore and beautiful gardens to walk through.  Mamere, the kids, and I had a fun time.

Hope enjoying one of her favorite things: swinging

Max in his sweet ride with Mamere

I wish I had this dreamy spot in my backyard!

Taking some time to stop and smell the flowers.

What a tired little, er, big guy!

We also got to see Jason’s aunt and uncle and catch up with them.  We miss you guys and it was so good to see you!

Aunt Theresa and cousin Mary–stop growing!🙂

Max can go head to head with Uncle Jim any day!

You don’t scare me, in fact, I think you’re a little goofy!

More silly time with Daddy

I think Max has officially outgrown the Bumbo seat.

So happy to see Aunt Sarah!

Fun times with Grandaddy and Mamere!

Although the pictures don’t do it justice, we had a great time seeing everyone and getting to catch up.  We miss you and you all continue to stay in our thoughts and prayers!  Hope to see you again soon!