Holiday Cheer challenge

Friday, November 26, 2010

There is the most beautiful lyric'ed song by Martin Sexton where he says, "I sing because I must."  (thank you, Stephanie for introducing me to him)!  And ever since listening to that song, I have a phrase now for how I feel in my heart....I give because I must.  I love giving...its in my heart and I know that other people love it too, it makes you feel good, its inspiring, it helps others, it reminds you what to be thankful for...its an automatic revival for your soul.  So, in the spirit of the biggest giving holiday of the year; I am offering up a challenge for anyone holly jolly enough to take it:  It's the Holiday Cheer challenge!

The challenge is to commit to setting aside $25 from your usual holiday spending and between Thanksgiving & Christmas spend that $25 in a charitable way.

You are encouraged to "brag back” in the comments about the cheer you were able to give someone. Participate as a family, or try to out-do each other! Be as creative or traditional as you like!
So forgo a few coffees & drive-through food while you're out shopping this season and let’s collectively decide to do a little something for someone else this holiday season.

Giving IS receiving.
Need examples?
-Buy baking supplies & bake cookies for the local fire department -use the money to buy a Toys For Tots gift -spend the money on some greeting cards & deliver them to an assisted living community -buy your house recycling bins & be kind to the Earth -donate the money to an organization working on finding a cure for a disease that has effected someone you know-buy supplies to create a shoebox for a soldier overseas - donate the money to a charity that inspires you -Buy mosquito nets for kids in Africa at -donate to your place of worship -let your kids decide how to spend it (they can get ideas from: ) -help buy a family a heifer! (or a goat, or baby chicks) at

October Kindness: Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We finished our October kindness with ease.  I was introduced to the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF fundraiser while working with Circle K in college and I've loved it ever since.  It will really start to be fun when Grey can actually GO trick-or-treating; but for now we just collect change during the month of October in our UNICEF boxes.  So the change that somehow collects in the bottom of my purse - in it goes!  The change that Brandon leaves all over our counters when he gets home from work - in it goes! 

My sisters, mom, and mom-in-law each took a UNICEF trick-or-treat box too!  They did a great job collecting money from their workplace and friends.  All together we collected over $10 in change...which doesn't seem like much until you consider that most of them were pennies and nickels.  Hooray for an easy Kindness, but kindness nonetheless.

To learn more about the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF fundraiser, see here.

...and then life got easier

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We finally got a fence!  We wrestled with the idea of spending the money for a fence for a long time, but when it came down to it we knew it would be worth it for Bullet and should see some return when we resale the house someday.  So we went ahead and ate the cost, but are definitely reaping the benefits now.

Our entire backyard is fenced in which means instead of trying to get walked by Bullet, we can now play fetch and run around freely with him in the backyard.  He loves chasing us and running sprints back and forth across the width of the yard.  It has also dramatically cut down on the amount of barking he does during the day.  Since we got a privacy fence (you can't see through the bottom) Bullet has no reason to bark like a maniac at the wind blowing the tall grass in the field next door.  I'm pretty sure our neighbors don't hate us as much.

We all had a little getting used to when it was finally finished though.  I keep going outside and prematurely bending over to pick up Bullet's leash everytime I let him out.  My body is just accustomed to going out there and bending down, hah!  And Bullet was like an elephant on that tiny rope at first...even though he wasn't connected to a leash, he was afraid to go anywhere outside of his past reach would let him.  He likes it a lot better when one of us is out there playing with him, but he's starting to get used to being a backyard nomad.

Can you find Bullet roaming? 
(hint:  its not the firepit in the middle of the window)

a baby liberated!

Monday, November 22, 2010

There has never been a happier child to realize they can move!

Yea, he's already completely ignoring me and defying me.  Goodbye babyland.  Hello bad boy.

A visit from Baltimore

My newly engaged best friend, Karpy and her fiance Matt drove all the way up from Baltimore to visit with us when I got back from Florida.  It was unbelievably nice to spend time with her and talk at all hours of the day just like old times.  They arrived after a full evening of driving on Friday night a little after midnight (so I guess, technically Saturday morning..) We decided to have one drink which turned into a few more drinks and a few more hours...when we finally came up to go to bed, it was after 4am!  hahha, that's what good friends will do to ya.

On Saturday, while B was finishing up archery season, we headed to Presque Isle to take some engagment pictures!  I am honored to say that they asked me to take their photos for them.  They came out beautifully and Matt was such a good sport about being romantic in front of me (and all the other bystanders).

We were so happy that they made the longest road trip ever just to come hang out for the weekend.  We played grown-up games, and talked, and laughed, and gossiped, and wedding planned (my fav!) the weekend away.  Thank you & we love you!

We got a pet Iguana!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just kidding, but we do have a little baby who crawls exactly like one!

yay for Booboo!  Ugh oh for the mumma!
Let the babyproofing begin...

the mumma goes to work!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

After Taryn & Dobber tied the knot, I caught a flight to Orlando, FL for a whole week with work.  I was nervous about leaving my booboo bear (and B and Bully too!) for the whole week, but it was actually a much needed break for my soul & mind.  

Since I have been on major momma duty for the past 7 months, it was refreshing to speak Adult English all day and I didn't have to maintain anyone's attention by singing "This Old Man" three times in a row.  A whole week without spit up on my clothes!  Not only was it nice company to be around intelligent adults all week, but one of my favorite adult friends was there.  Stephanie & I met at Institute for Teach for America and have been friends ever since.  Luckily for us, we both now work for Scantron and get to see each other periodically at work-related events.  She feeds my soul.  She understands all my new-agey comments and has a love for horoscopes, meaningful song lyrics, and wouldn't bat an eyelash at the statement I made two seconds ago; "she feeds my soul..." she totally gets me:)

To keep me from going through momma-withdrawl, my family & Brandon's parents' graciously made time to skype with me each evening so that Grey and I could "talk."  God Bless technology! 

Skyping:  Booboo in PA and Mumma in FL
Booboo was super lucky and spoiled to sleep at Abba,Poppa Chum, & Aunt kitty's house two nights and with Pappy Butch&Gma the other nights.  After a long week of brain & soul re-charging; I was happy to get back home and give all three of my guys hugs&kisses.  And my girls (lulu & jinxy cat) too!

Booboo's first Halloween!

For his first halloween, Grey happily helped his mumma answer the door for trick-or-treaters, played with his pappy Butch, and jumped like a real frog in his jumperoo...all while playing frog prince to Princess Mumma (yes, I definitely still dress up for halloween)!

Unfortunately for my figure, we got a total of about 9 trick-or-treaters, so I obviously needed to finish off the left over candy by myself the whole following week. Knock, knock...who's there?...not Tabitha's will power.

We also carved some pumpkins a few days prior to Halloween.  We thought Grey would love it, until we remembered that its actually pretty boring if you aren't doing the carving.  Since Booboo is in the stage of putting everything into his mouth, he hardly got a chance to do much but stare at us having all the fun.  oops!

So unimpressed by our work - BORING!
the final products!

Mr&Mrs. Matt&Taryn!

Our very dear friends got hitched the first weekend of November and we could not have enjoyed ourselves more!  The bride, Taryn went to high school with us (and was great friends with my sis, Kayla!) so we have memories that go all the way back to the day when people considered Tare a red-head:)  Then Taryn & Brandon went to the same college where they both met the groom!  Taryn fell in love & Brandon fell in friendship & bball teammate with Matt (aka Dobber) and the rest, as they say, is history.

B was in the wedding and we got to dance and laugh the night away with both high school and college friends!  I think the sign of a good wedding is when you go home and realize you hardly took any pictures!  We were having such a great time that we literally took like 8 pictures the whole day.  Everything was perfect and the DJ was incredible...he had the dance floor packed the whole night.  So happy for you guys - we loved it!

Boo boo met so many friends and had a blast at his first wedding reception too.  He even made it on the dance floor a few times with Mummie before crashing out. 

It was a lot of fun to see all of the W&J guys go baby-gaga over Greyson.  All those tough basketball & baseball guys just couldn't get enough of him.  He's got a lot of role models (some great and some a little questionable), but that kid does not need to worry about finding people who love him - that's for sure!

Ninny, Grey, & Uncle Jonny

Booboo & his Uncle Sandy

Booboo's Sign Language 101

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This one goes out to the grandparents and aunts, specifically.  But all other viewers, feel free to watch the video of me and my ultra knotty hair (oh yea, and I dyed it darker, yay!) talking in a super-enunciated voice about Greyson's current sign language words...its actually pretty embarassing.  But the only thing more embarassing than this video would have been re-doing alas, we are left with this display of weirdness.

As I will be away in Florida on a work week, Greyson will be staying with his grandparents for the whole week.  Needless to say, I sent the most insanely long email about his schedule and what to expect for eating, sleeping, playing, and diapers that has ever been crafted.  (yea, sorry about that).  But it is my first time away from my little man for longer than 2 days and what's a momma supposed to do. 

So in the spirit of being bossy through technology - here are Grey's current sign language words.  Please use them while I'm away so he can keep practicing:)
love you & thank you!

Just when you think it can't get any weirder...the delay of audio makes my facial expressions and hand gestures more hilarious.  hahha, if this wasn't already posted to youtube, I would be tempted to 'post it to youtube.'  such a nerd.

Vacation Review: holidays at the beach

We were lucky to have two holidays to celebrate while on vacation:  our 2nd wedding anniversary & Brandon's birthday.   On the day of our anniversary, we took a party boat ride and snorkeling trip.  The snorkeling was fun, as always (I LOVE swimming out in the open, wide, deep, blue sea!)  And the boat ride was entertaining with all the ron y cocas:)

When we took a little break at the natural sand bar, naturally (heh), Brandon and I decided to take a leap off of the boat roof, reminiscent of our honeymoon jump from the cliffs in Jamaica!

After our harrowing trip back to land, we all laughed hysterically and drank some more on the beach in honor of our anniversary.  We had a little too much fun and almost missed our dinner registration...but luckily we both pulled it togther and had a semi-romantic, mostly funny anniversary dinner.  Greyson ate with his happy-to-babysit grandparents:)

 Brandon's parents were sweet enough to get us a couple's massage on the beach later in the week...

And my parents bought our beautiful, professional beach pictures. 
Then it was Brandon's birthday and he got to go deep-sea fishing with his dad.  He was the only one to catch anything that day; a barracuda!

We also had a dinner birthday celebration for him!  His momma had a cake ordered and candles & leis ready!  Greyson loved the parade and singing that came along with the party!  Happy Birthday, daddy!

Vacation Review: How parenthood effects vacationing

We had a great time on vacation - of course - who doesn't love vacationing at the beach?  But our first vacation as parents was a learning experience and a little bit of a reality check.  Before we left, I was really looking forward to laying on the beach and watching Grey play in the water/sand.  I had all of these visions about what vacation would be like and how many great photo opportunities we would have.  hah! 

Well, I did enjoy laying on the beach and watching Grey play in the water/sand. We also had tons of great photo opportunities too...

...but the thing that was missing from my visions about vacation were the fact that I was still Mom and Brandon was still Dad.  Somehow it came as a slight surprise that all the normal stuff still had to be taken care of while you are on vacation.  Only now in an unfamiliar place, with a lot of foot travel each day (ie. diaper bag packing each day), throw in some sand stuck in baby brings on its own calvary of stresses. 

Beyond trying to maintain Grey's normal nap/wake schedule, we also quickly realized we lacked a few of our favorite parent tricks:  Grey's noise machine for helping with sleeping, a dishwasher for helping with cleaning our limited source of bubbas, back up baby food when Greyson decides that this week he doesn't like pasta (or prunes, or chicken&rice).  About half way through the week, we discovered afternoon naps back at the room were more comfortable for Booboo and equally refreshing for mumma. 

Luckily, we had extra hands on deck to help with Grey. All four of booboo's grandparents were on the trip with us too. So when Grey wanted to go swimming and mum&dad wanted to sleep - in stepped the pappies.

And when mum&dad wanted to go have dinner alone for their anniversary - up jumped the grandmas.

Long ago are the days of basking in the sun getting a jealous-worthy tan.  We both hung out under the umbrella with Grey for most of the trip...realizing that sunburned while carrying a baby is the least appealing idea known to man.  Someone literally said to us when we got back, "where are your tans, didn't you just get back from the Caribbean?"

Long ago are the days that you throw beach towels over your neck and head down to the water to watch the sunrise.  We had someone else to 'throw over our necks.' And before we head down to the we have enough formula for his next bottle?  Make sure you really sunscreen him up.  Don't forget his hat.  Who has the room and safe key?  Can you make sure I threw in an extra swimmer-diaper in case he poops?  Aw, crap, we forget his snacks, can you run back and get them?

Long ago are the vacations that you spend the whole week in a little bit of a mojito buzz  (notice I said full week -  we didn't forgo the grown up beverages entirely!)

So, the moral of the story is, once you become a parent there are no more vacations from normal everyday life.  Vacation is just normal life with a different backdrop.  Its not that we're unhappy about it, but we would be lying if we didn't say that its an adjustment and somehow came as a little bit of a surprise.  There a million ways that our lives are different now as parents; vacationing is just another instance we can add to the list:) 

There is no escaping the challenges of parenthood, but it sure makes it a whole lot easier when you have helping and loving hands nearby.  Thank you to the best grandparents on the Earth<3

Vacation Review: My 6month old wishes he was a merman

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Greyson's favorite part about vacation?  SWIMMING!  He loved having access to all that water all day long.  He loved swimming in the ocean (with his crab floaty)....

or without it!  We held him up to his neck in the ocean and he liked splashing like a wild man.  You'd think the splashes of salt water into his face would bother him - but no!  it was more of a hazard for me; with one eye on the next rolling wave and one eye filled with salt from Grey's splash?!

He also LOVED swimming in the pool.  We made frequent trips to the pool to bask in the shade and swim at the same time.  There were so  many guests that kept coming up to us asking how old he was and if he's always loved the water that much.  He was swimming and smiling all over that pool! 

The first day we swam with him in the pool; I was pulling him all around the place and Grey kept reaching his arms out to my cheeks with the biggest smile on his face and pulling me in for kisses.  It was almost like he was telling me, "Thank you mummie, thank you for bringing me to a place where I can swim all day long!" 

Greyson even got to go "swimming" in our huge jacuzzi bathtub in our room.  Surprisingly, he wasn't crazy about the jets (they just confused him), but he loved taking his bath everynight and splashing all around. 

With all that swimming comes a lot of napping too!

Greyson Rudy 6 months old!

Greyson big boy Rudy is already 6 months old!  He is growing like a weed and we've discovered that he's 28 inches long at his last doctor's check-up!  That means he's grown out of his baby car seat!  ahhh!

Beside being a bean pole, Greyson has mastered sitting up by himself.  He likes playing with toys for about 10 minutes.  Play usually consists of chewing.

He also can get up on all fours, belly off the ground, and then rock back and forth.  Its obvious he wants to "go" but just can't seem to get the moving forward part down.  He does like to scoot backwards all over the floor.  He even scooted underneath the playpen the other day and got trapped!

Booboo likes to grab anything within reach (and sometimes out of reach too).  He wants everything and he wants it in his mouth.  Beware long-haired people who wear earrings.

Little G still loves eating, but has a fairly picky tastebud issue.  He fake gags anytime we feed him meat...or anything else he doesn't like that particular day.  I have resorted to pushing his head back (um, bad parenting skills alert) and pushing the spoon in his mouth.  He sits there and gags with a devil's smirk on his face.  The other day he put his hand across his forehead like a dramatic actor and flung his head over his high chair...and then proceeded to spit out his turkey&vegetables.  bad.

Not gonna spit out this marshmallow though, huh?

The other exciting new ability Grey has is to babble wildly.  He especially likes screaming like a pterodactyl and fake coughing.  When he babbles on with "ba ba, da, ba, la, na, etc" he eerily resembles rubber johnny.  I feel like putting on my English accent and telling him, "Don't breathe like that, it will make you feel very strange."

(this is a video of Rubber, not case you were terrified that my son is totally crazy)