Step 2:

1/31/10

Because Jake is SO fascinated with trains at this point in his life, for his birthday this year (which is coming up at the end of February), I decided we should do a party for him at the Birmingham Railroad Museum. The Museum is the same place that hosts the Pumpkin Express, which we took Jake to back in October. He was absolutely head over heels with all the trains, especially since he was able to actually ride on the train. And what do you know?...they do birthday parties! Perfect!

So Step 1: Decide what to do for his birthday and when and where to have it is complete.

Now bring on the fun!

Planning a birthday party for Jake is seriously one of the highlights of my whole year...like almost as exciting as Christmas. I really, really get into it. So I first sought out ideas for a "different" kind of party invitation. I wanted to do something different and fun, and when I saw a particular idea, I knew that's exactly what I wanted to do. I saw a photo invitation card of a little boy wearing a Train Engineer hat, and I thought, "This is it!" So I jumped on Ebay immediately and ordered one (for less than $3 bucks, by the way). I've actually had it for a couple of weeks now and have been waiting for decent weather to take Jake out and get some really cute pictures of him wearing his mini engineer's cap.

Today was as perfect as it has been since I can remember, so we got out this afternoon and made our way down to the railroad tracks with James the engine in tow. We were lucky enough to find an engine sitting idle which was just awesome!

So here are a few of my favorites...


There's a smile...


Being silly...


and even more silly...


Cheeeeeese!


We definitely had so much fun, even if we did have a "purpose" for being out there. Regardless of how the photographs turned out, it was just so nice being out together, enjoying warmer temperatures and the bright sunshine. But as it turns out, Jake was definitely on his best behavior and gave me a very hard choice to make about which photo I'll include with his invitation.

I think now, though, after long contemplation and a little bit of editing, I'm sold on which one I'll be using.

And on that note, Step 2: Design the invitation is also...complete.

I'm not sure about you

1/28/10

...but I would LOVE it if the bottom of my feet

looked something like this...


right...

about...

now!

Reasons

1/27/10

A couple of years ago, I decided to make a scrapbook for my dad for Father's Day. I titled it "Just a Few Reasons Why I Love You, Dad". The pictures inside were of him, me and him, me, my sister and him, and of us as a complete family. Every reason I gave for loving him had a coordinating picture. For example: One of the reasons I told my dad I love him is because he works hard at everything he does, and the coordinating picture was one that was taken of him sitting at his desk at work talking on the phone. Another reason I gave my dad for loving him like I do is because his love for animals runs as deep as mine. For this one, I included a picture of him with one of our many beloved pets. The list went on for about 30 pages with pictures from "way back when" up to recently with a picture of him with his two grandchildren, Emily and Jake (of course one of the reasons why I love him so much is because he's a really great Grandpa).

Fast forward to a few days ago when Jake woke up, and the first thing on his lips was part of the tune "Jesus Loves Me". I laid in bed and listened for a few minutes over the monitor as he very loudly sang over and over, "Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so." And as I listened, I thought to myself just how much He really does love me and how many reasons I have to love Him in return.

And so I've made a list to share here on my blog (since it has sort of become my "scrapbook" because I'm not doing so much of the paper kind these days) of just a few reasons why I really do love my Lord...

1. Luke 12:7 For even the very hairs of your head are all numbered... - He knows me better than anyone else.

2. Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. - He has never left me hanging...

3. And even in times when I thought He might have, He reminded me to... - Be still, and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10. ...He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

4. Isaiah 38:5 Thus saith the Lord...I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears... - He knows each time I cry, on the inside and out.

5. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - He is never undecided about what to do next or where to go from here. He has a plan and purpose for everything that happens to me.

6. Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God. - He can do what no one else can. Nothing blows His mind, and the words "I can't" don't exist in His vocabulary.

7. Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. - Jacob Hudson Bryant, February 27, 2007, 4:48a.m., 6lbs. 1oz., 18.25" long

8. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. - I know that as long as I give Him control of any and every situation or circumstance, there will never be a bad outcome.

9. Psalm 121: 7-8 The LORD will keep you from all harm; He will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. - He is watching over me 24/7.

10. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - God sent his Son to die for me because He wants me to live for eternity...

11. ...with Him. - John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Snowballs

1/26/10

That's what Jake calls these...

Case Closed

1/25/10

This is the case of: First Love

These are the Facts:

1. Jake has been bitten by the "love bug". He has been struck by cupid's arrow and has fallen head over heels. He has his very first love.

2. Her name is Allison - blonde hair, brown-eyed, Allison. According to his teachers, "He picked the sweetest one."

3. I, his Mommy, was not prepared for this.

4. He proclaimed his love for Allison to me one night after his bath. While he sat on the counter as I dried his hair and clipped his finger and toenails, I asked the question, "Who did you play with at school today?" His response was, "Allison!" Since I've never met Allison and have never heard him mention her before, I then asked him who Allison is. His answer?..."My Girlfriend."

5. I almost cut the end of his toe off with the fingernail clippers.

6. They are inseparable while at school.

7. They can be found holding hands on every adventure they take away from the classroom where it requires them to "hold hands with a friend."

8. And Jake insists that he lay beside her at nap time.

9. Speaking of nap time, one day last week, Jake was the first to fall asleep. So as his reward, he got four skittles when he woke up. What did he do with these four skittles?...He shared two of them with Allison.

10. On any given morning that I offer him something for breakfast that can be eaten on the way or at school (such as a "Tot Tart"), he chooses to wait until he gets to school...so he can share it with her.

11. He's also a big show off in front of her, and his face lights up like a Christmas tree when he sees her in the mornings.

12. And to elaborate more on morning drop-off - Just this past Friday when I took him in, she arrived just a few minutes after he did; and when he saw her, he said, "Allison!!! Out of my way, Brayden" and pushed his pal Brayden out of the way to get to her.

13. Yes, I wasn't prepared for this, but it's the most innocent, adorable, sweet forms of love I've ever seen, and I hope it lasts for a long time.

This is the Evidence:


Case Closed

He Built this City

1/22/10

Not on rock and roll...


but on the ledge of his bathtub...


and he did it...


ALL by himself!

Conversations

1/21/10

There was once a time when conversations that took place while driving in my car, were conversations I had with The Son.

But since My son came along, developed the vocabulary of a sixth grader, and now is almost never quiet, the conversations that take place while driving in my car are usually...no make that mostly...ummm, always with him.

But tonight he was surprisingly, unusually quiet when I picked him up from preschool, and I found myself in a zone, listening intently to the words of "What Faith Can Do" by Kutless as it played on the radio. It took me several minutes to realize just how quiet it actually was as we drove home; but when I did, a smile came across my face because it dawned on me that I was actually meditating with the Lord.

As the song continued to play, I looked at Jake in my rear view mirror, and I watched him as he sat so quietly looking out the window at the passing cars and stores and red lights.

And then he and I had a conversation that went like this:

Me: I love you, Jake.

Jake: I love you too, Mommy. You my best fwiend.

Me: You're my best friend too, Jake, and you always will be.

The car once again returned to quiet, and in silent prayer I had a conversation with God that went like this:

I love you too, Lord. Thank you for your Son, and thank you for my son. Amen.

Part of Me

1/19/10

Today I did something I have been putting off ever since we moved to Tuscaloosa over three (actually almost four) years ago - I filled out a form to have my medical records transferred from my OB/Gyn physician in Montgomery to one here in Tuscaloosa.

I knew I was procrastinating on doing this, but I don't think I realized until today exactly why I have been procrastinating.

I've been procrastinating because it was hard...it was emotional...it closed a chapter in my life...it meant that I was moving on...and it made me completely sad. I know this may sound crazy, and I debated on whether or not to even share this, but I promise I'm not a basketcase...I'm just...attached. I'm the type of person who draws myself to the people I come in contact with on a routine/daily basis, and they become a part of my life...and of me. So now you can imagine what goodbyes are like for me...they're honestly painful. But on the other hand, I'm great at long-distance friendships, and for me, it doesn't matter how long it's been since I've seen or talked to someone...my feelings are the same no matter the distance or time in between.

Which brings me back to today. As I sat in the waiting room, looking around at all of the mommies-to-be and others who were fortunate enough to be having their annual pap smear or suffering with a urinary tract infection (which is what I was there for), I couldn't help but have major flash backs and then be totally aware of the fact that I was in a unfamiliar place about to be called by name by a totally different nurse, etc., etc.

But it really didn't hit me until I had to fill out The Form. "I, Cynthia A Landers, hereby authorize my records to be transferred TO...FROM...". I almost couldn't write. It just hit me all at once. And I cried. I cried when I got into my car and drove away, and I've cried as I've typed these paragraphs. I know in the back of my mind, I will see her again (probably the next time I visit my family and I'm in Montgomery on a week day), and I'll send an updated picture of Jake like I do about once every season, but today I said Goodbye...maybe not forever because who knows what lies ahead for us, but at least for a while, I had to let go of something and people and a doctor/patient relationship that has been a part of my life for almost eleven years now.

After all, Dr. M has seen me through young married years, multiple miscarriages, a long road of trying to get pregnant, and then finally the most precious 9 months of my life before Jake. She has cried with me and rejoiced over me. She was there - caring for me, caring for Jim, caring for the baby we were praying for, caring for Jake who became a dream come true and a promise fulfilled. She...is a part of me. And I'll always thankful beyond words for encouragement, her wisdom, her smiles when she knew I couldn't.

And so with that being said, I'm off to write her a letter to express my appreciation the best I know how. I'll promise to keep sending pictures of Jake and come by for a visit. And I'll also look forward to new relationships and the new attachments that I know I'll make because that too, is part of me.

Downtown Date Day

1/18/10

So what's a mommy and daddy to do when it's a federal holiday and preschool is in session? Hmmmmm.....

A million things definitely went through our minds, especially going back and forth on whether or not to spend the day as a company of three instead of two. But ultimately we decided to make it a day for just the two of us (say awwwwww) and spend some time strolling through downtown Northport. I'm an absolute sucker for all of the shops, even when I have nothing to buy. It's because they are super unique and full of one-of-a-kind items that you don't just happen upon anywhere and everywhere else...the kind that literally I can go in and look for so long I don't even realize just how long I've been in them. And the whole area has such a quaint and wholesome feel to it...almost like it's in another place and time...I'm completely in love with it, and when a day like today comes along and I can do the near about impossible...look until my heart is content...I always want to go.

So we started off with breakfast here (Yes, he went with my suggestion for eating breakfast "out")...










And then we browsed through any and all of the stores that were open. Some were not due to the fact that today is a holiday and the time of day we were there (it was pretty early in the morning). I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed that some of the shops were closed, especially the Pottiger.

The Pottiger is an amazing place to find stuff like unique pots, fresh lavender, and a huge antique bird cage with finches gallore. I LOVE to go in here even if it's just for the smell factor.

But we did find some that were open, like this really great hardware store that's been around for over a hundred years...









and this toy shop right next door that just opened up last year.




















And you may have noticed the barber shop pole in the above photo...or maybe you didn't. But, there is also a real deal barber shop down here where Jim actually goes for hair cuts.

The streets are lined with newspapers to be bought and child-sized rocking chairs to be sat in.































And though I couldn't go in and get photos of the inside of The Pottiger, I was able to take this one of one of two topiaries that sits outside the front door.




















So after we had spent a few fabulous hours here, we spent the rest of our day doing early birthday shopping for Jake and looking at houses. We did end up eating a nice late lunch out after all and then picked up our chatty, lovey dovey, bright little boy.

This is definitely the kind of day I could get used to!

Hug

1/17/10

Everyone can use one...a Hug, that is...

every once in a while...


or at least Jake thinks so.

Fitting for a Sunday

video

Pull My Hair Out

1/16/10

Today, this is exactly what I wanted to do...

pull my hair out...

on several occasions.

For the past few months, shopping with Jake has almost become more of a hassle than it's worth. He is so uncontent while I'm trying to buy food that we need for the week or pick out a movie to rent or even more importantly, peruse through a sale rack at Belk. He's constantly asking me if he can get down and play or touch something or if he can have every single thing he lays his eyes on. "Can me have dis?", he says...1,000 times!

Don't get me wrong...he's not this way every single time we go out...just a low 95% of the time. Yes...some how, some way, some days he pulls it off and manages to surprise me...like last Sunday afternoon when we went grocery shopping. But then days like today come along, and I find myself wanting to...

pull my hair out.

You've heard me say that today we were planning on meeting my mom, sister, and niece at the Galleria in Birmingham to do some shopping. I knew going in, I would be lucky if I managed to actually do some "real" shopping for more than 15 minutes, but I didn't let it get me down. I went into today with no expectations other than enjoying seeing my family with the need to return a few items and look primarily at two stores for specific things.

For the first 30 minutes (nearly a lifetime, isn't it?), I have to give him credit. He did really well other than running away with his cousin Emily and ignoring me when I told him to tell his Grandma thank you for the monkey she bought him at the Build-A-Bear Workshop (which he did do a little later in the day...thank his grandma).

After this first episode of defiance and me grabbing his arm and threatening that I would take away his brand new monkey, we made our way to the food court for lunch. I decided I would carry him at this point, especially after the running he just did and me fearing he would really get away from me. As an understatement, he was not the least bit happy about this, and yet again, I found myself wanting to...

pull my hair out.

We had a great lunch talking about Jake's upcoming 3rd birthday, the buckling down my mom is having to do on eating sugar, and the reminder of what a joy it is to be a woman on a monthly basis while passing out french fries and chicken nuggets and making sure drinks didn't get spilled.

Once we called it quits on lunch, we set out to get accomplished what we had really come to do. And with no surprise to me at all, the dissatisfaction creeped back in as quickly as it left at the lunch table; and as I listened to the whines, squeals, and moans of my unhappy 2-year old, I couldn't help but look around me at all the other toddlers sitting so quietly in Gymboree as their mommies shopped until their hearts were content. But not Jake. His seatbelt held him tight while his legs kicked, his back arched, and his arms reached out for me. If he would only stay with me and not run away; or if he would hold my hand like I've asked him to, freedom would be his. But because he chooses not to do these things, his stroller is still necessary. I contemplated more threats and a firm pinch but instead decided to remain quiet, ignore his behavior, and simply wanted to...

pull my hair out.

This happened again...and then once more...but fortunately for me and my scalp, I was able to refrain from grabbing a handful and taking a big yank. I thought first about how badly it would hurt and then how I would look.

We left the mall and made our way safely home and have since then decided to put our feelings aside. The moment came when he asked to go potty. I followed him to the bathroom, and he climbed on his stool. I pulled his pants down for him, and then he placed his hand under my chin and whispered, "I okay now. Mommy. You my best fwiend."

So at the end of the day, I'm thankful to say my hair and our love for each other is still in tact.

We couldn't possibly love each other more...

and my hair can still be made into a ponytail.

Itching

1/15/10

Right now I have an "itching" to do several things...

one of them being to change the whole look in Jake's room. He currently has a vintage airplane theme with old model airplanes occupying his dresser and nightstand, a poster on his wall of different planes that flew during WWI that I got at an Air Force Museum, and bedding that matches it all to a T. This is definitely nothing new for me...just ask Jim. I'm notorious for getting bored with how things are decorated around my house, and I seem to be even worse with Jake's room because there are just way too many cute choices.

I'm also itching to get my nails done (done as in get acrylic tips put on). I don't like to do this very often because I don't enjoy the maintenance or the damage it does to my nails, but lately my natural nails have been peeling and chipping and just look downright ugly. So I figured now is as good a time as any, and I'm seriously thinking about putting that on my "To Do" list for this long (woo hoo!) weekend.

And I'm certain I'm not alone on this one...

I'm totally itching for warm weather and all things associated with it - like extra daylight at the end of the day, not hearing the sound of my teeth chatter as I step out of the shower, sitting on our screened porch when I get home from work, the smell of suntan lotion and freshly cut grass, putting new flowers in my pots and hanging baskets, wearing sandals...oh, how this list could go on and on...

but I won't let it...

I'll stop there...

for now.

Random

1/14/10

Tonight I am super tired, so I've decided to make this post one that doesn't exert too much energy or take a whole lot of brain power...since I really don't have much of either at this point.

I'm not exactly sure why I'm so tired. I think the last two nights of staying up late and not sleeping well for the few hours that I had to try and get some is truly catching up with me.

It's also been one of the longest weeks in my working history! Needless to say, I will be crying TGIF tomorrow for sure! The great news is it's a three-day weekend which is a HUGE plus!

Jake's school is actually open on Monday. They are having a make-up day for the one they lost last week when we all stayed home hoping to see an accumulation of snow (we never did, by the way, if you were wondering...major bummer in my book). So Jim has suggested he and I have a "Date Day" to go see a movie and have a really nice lunch out somewhere. Actually, I wouldn't mind going to breakfast somewhere. Lunches and dinners are semi easy to come by, but we never seem to go out somewhere for breakfast, so I may make that suggestion in the next day or two.

Our plans for the rest of the weekend have changed from the last time I posted about my mom, sister, and niece coming for the weekend. My niece now has cheer leading practice until 5 o'clock in the evening which would put them on the road later than they wanted to be, so they are foregoing the overnight stay they had planned. It's also supposed to rain (70% chance according to weather.com) which puts a damper on things too. So we've now decided to all meet at the Galleria in Birmingham for some shopping. Jake will go with me, of course. He is super excited to see Emily and ride the "caroufel". He has already asked what he can bring with him on the ride...his first suggestion was a teddy bear (I'm not sure exactly which one since he doesn't have one that he plays with on a regular basis) and then his blanket (now that definitely makes sense because he's extremely attached to one in particular).

Today he also brought home a super neat piece of artwork that he did at school. I LOVE anything that he paints or does with his hand prints and footprints. For this one, he used his thumbprints to make insects since they are studying the letter "I" this week. His teachers filled in the eyes and ears, and it turned out so cute. He has actually done a lot of super neat things here lately; in fact, I'm planning a post chocked full of pictures of some of my favorites, so be on the lookout for that soon.

I think I've also mentioned that he's a huge "help" around our house. Well recently, he actually knocked my socks off and did something that really, really surprised me. Just the other day I was unloading this dishwasher, and he said, "Mommy, can I help you?" I said "Sure!" and let him have the basket of forks and spoons to put away. He opened the drawer knowing where they were supposed to go and got busy. I also got busy putting away the bigger and breakable things, the cups, pots and pans, etc. When I turned to look, he was actually putting the silverware in the spot it goes in. He was putting the forks where the forks go and spoons where spoons go. But he didn't stop there. He even sorted them by smallest and largest! I was totally blown away! I mean...I knew they would get put in the drawer, but I never imagined they would be exactly where they were supposed to go. I was so proud of him, and he got a HUGE hug and "Thank you" from his mommy.

Jim is also back to normal which I couldn't be more thankful for. He has now joined the "surgery club" and had carpal tunnel release surgery this past Monday on his right hand. Today was his first full day back at work, and he did great. So he's on the mend and should hopefully be back to his normal routine in a few short months.

He also did something super incredible for me this week. He recently ordered a jewelry box with tons of drawers and hooks to hang necklaces on. It even has a mirror inside so that I can see how I look and hangs on the wall for easy access. He's been hearing me say for three forevers that I need a new home for my jewelry. I had a really small jewelry box that I think I've had since I was a young teenager, but it definitely didn't hold everything which means the rest of it was jumbled up in a gift bag that I had to sift through to find what I was looking for. So he totally surprised me and ordered this kind of gigantic jewelry box, and it came in on Tuesday. He has even hung it for me already, and I'm proud to say I have already organized everything and have said goodbye to gift bag (that definitely wasn't hard to do). I'm definitely looking forward to actually wearing more of my jewelry now that I can actually get to it so easy. Thank you, Sweetie! You totally rock!

On that note, I'm off to bed to try and catch up on my sleep. Jake has been down since the credits of Wow Wow Wubbzy rolled across the TV screen, so now is as good a time any to say Goodnight.

So, Goodnight.

Second Two Last

1/12/10

And not as in second to last place, second to last in line, etc...

Nope. The meaning behind the title of this post is this...

It contains photos from the Second of our hiking excursions that we ventured on.

It also contains photos from not just one excursion, but Two.

And Last but definitely not least, it contains photos taken at the last place we visited on our last day on Oahu. (Sniff sniff).

Up first!...our hike to see Manoa Falls.

Manoa Falls is actually the largest accessible waterfall on the island of Oahu. And let me just say, the hike to get to it is a BEAR! We started out walking (no, let me re-phrase)...climbing hill after hill through a nearby neighborhood until we got to the base of this mountain...


And had we not been guided by a wonderful gentleman who has lived in Hawaii since 1973, we would have wondered when we were ever going to see this so that we knew we were on the right track...


He spent lots of time with our group, making lots of stops on the way to name plants, point out birds, and even show us what a coffee bean looks like...


Our hike through the rain forest was absolutely gorgeous! Everything was SOoooo green! There were huge ferns everywhere, tons of flowering plants, streams of water, and LOTS of stairs! Fortunately it had not rained in the last 24 hours, so everything was not quite as wet as we had anticipated. Honestly, if it had been, I have no idea how we would have made it through without slipping or falling. Those suckers were steep!


We finally arrived, and this is what we saw...


Once we got there, we spent about 30 minutes soaking it all in, taking pictures, ignoring and climbing over the rope that was up to keep us from getting too close, and being completely fooled into thinking that going back would be easier. We had an awesome time (aside from the arguments we had about setting our camera up on a tripod), and at this moment, I was truly appreciative for the two legs God gave me that could take me on the 2-mile, round-trip, "moderate" (yeah, right) hike to see such an a-mazing, incredible piece of His creation.

And now moving on to the last place we visited on our last day on Oahu...

This is the Kualoa Ranch.


I think this might just be my favorite of all of the places we went/things we saw. It's hard to say, but I'm going off of the fact that this would unquestionably be a "must visit again" place if we ever had the opportunity to go back. I also think it's because I could actually relate to what we saw here.

The Kualoa Ranch is a place where LOTS of popular movies and television series' have been filmed such as 50 First Dates, Pearl Harbor, LOST, Mighty Joe Jungle, The Karate Kid, Jurassic Park, Godzilla, and Gilligan's Island...just to name a few. Every time our tour guide would point out something to us, I was like, "No way! Get out! Really?! I remember that!, I can totally see this part of the movie in my head!" I was totally amazed by it all because I just love that sort of thing. Hopefully you'll recognize a few of these famous items too...






Just in case this one doesn't ring as familiar as some of the others, this is Mr. Miyagi's house from The Karate Kid (I had to have help on this one, so I thought I would give it away just in case).


And not only is it the place were famous movies have been filmed, but it truly is a working ranch. There were animals all over the place. You could even go horseback riding if you wanted to...and we definitely wanted to, but that tour would not have been the "movie site" tour, so we opted for the bus instead so we could see scenery such as these mountains...


coconut trees and a traditional Polynesion hut...


Turtle Island...


and Chinaman's Hat.


We definitely saved one of the best for last in this case.

And who knows...maybe one day we'll have the chance to go back and do it all over again ATV or horseback style!

A girl can dream right?

I think I know...

1/11/10

what we'll be doing...

as soon as the weather warms up!


Thank you Target, for your awesome clearance sale on camping equipment. And thank you, Jim, for being there to snag these major bargains. We've been talking about going on a few outdoor camping adventures, and finally we have no excuses.

Now we just need to find some great parks to visit and look forward to some warm summer nights under the stars.

I can almost hear the crickets chirping now!

Take Two

1/10/10

Today we did a "Take Two" and went outside to play (for as long as we could bear it) regardless of the temperature gauge showing 33 degrees. It seemed like the temperature was much more tolerable this time, though - either that or we were more prepared...me having a hat and scarf on and both of us wearing gloves.


We definitely lasted much longer than I thought, and neither of us was miserably cold.


In fact, we were all smiles as we played on Jake's swing set, kicked balls all over our back yard, and rough-housed with our two dogs.



And while Jake and I ignored the freezing temps and played for nearly an hour, Jim stayed indoors and cooked red beans and rice for dinner.


In this case, the second time was definitely the charm! Thank you, Jake, for a fun afternoon outside. Your smile warms my heart, even on the coldest days.

Saturday Morning

1/9/10

It's Saturday morning, and here's what's going on at our house:

The washing machine is getting it's usual workout. This used to be a weekly, 2 or 3 load occurance. Since we've added the youngest of our family to our household, it's more like 2 or 3 loads 2 or 3 times per week.

Jake is asking me to get more and more toys out as the morning progresses. His basketball goal sits to the left of me but has yet to be played with. Guess he just wanted to look at it...or maybe he wanted to give me something to do...get it out now and put it away later. Thank you, Jake. That's exactly what I needed...something to do. He also just brought me his Cars movie and announced that he wants to watch "Queen" (this is what he calls the movie...Queen as in Lightning McQueen) but that he needed to poo-poo first. So of course I stopped typing this blog post and put him on the potty, and now he sits doing his business (while I listen...nice) and singing about going poo-poo in the potty.

Jim cooked breakfast for himself (a bacon and egg sandwich), and now he's working on editing video from two nights ago that he took of Jake while we watched the BIG game.

As for me, I've been doing more needed organizing. I've gone through both of my sweater drawers already. I've also eaten a not-so nourishing breakfast (coconut cake and pepsi - I'm PMSing...what can I say?), washed dishes, hugged a crying 2 year old (more than once), talked to his teacher on the phone about why he was sent home with different underwear on than he left with that morning twice this week, sorted through laundry, talked to my sister on the phone about them coming next weekend to spend the night with us, checked the weather to see if there is any possible way we might make it to the park to play today (that was seriously wishful thinking right there), edited the last of our photos from our Hawaiian vacation, and just took another break from typing to wipe a dirty bottom (yep, he's all done).

Wonder what's going on at everyone else's house this morning...

Pineapple Anyone?

1/7/10


How do you think pineapples grow? In a tree? On the ground? If you're not sure, or you think you know, this post will definitely reveal the answer for you.

Our visit to the Dole Pineapple Plantation was sort of a haphazard one. We really didn't have this on our list of "Must See's", but when we realized it was on our way to another part of the island, the famous North Shore (where I took all the photographs of the surfers), we unquestionably decided to make it part of our "Did See's".

This place was not just a massive gift shop filled with pineapples, recipe books, gorgeous things to display in your kitchen, and t-shirts (and that's not all they had...there was much more!). Quite the contrary! This place had gardens gallore, a huge maze (the world's largest, I think), and a train that you could ride all over the plantation. It was awesome!

We rode the train first...the Pineapple Express they called it.


The ride we took was about 20 minutes long and traveled across acres and acres of land-full of growing fruit, tea trees, banana trees, coffee plants, just to name a few. The pineapple fields went on and on, as far as our eyes could reach. This is when we realized...


Pineapples grow in the form of a bush on the ground. We were fascinated because we had no idea! We both thought they grew in trees. So, for us, the train ride was extremely interesting, educational, and fun!

When we got back to the station, we jumped off and went straight for a tour of the gardens. They were absolutely amazing!


Naturally, we saw more pineapple, up close and personal...


and trees like this which I thought were so unusual. I've never seen anything like them in my life. I'm not sure what kind of trees these are, but they must be pretty common in Hawaii, because I saw them in pictures on brochures for other places to visit. Is this cool or what?


We saw papaya trees...


and some of the most gorgeous and exotic plants I've ever laid my eyes on!





And to think we didn't have this on our "To Do" list. Shame on us!