counting down


This weekend we got the heck out of dodge beginning on Friday.  Jim and I escaped to the rainy, soggy beach while the boys escaped to their grandparents' - but not before we took care of some birthday business.  Because he's one of the lucky ones to have been born in the dead of Winter and because we're running out of boy-appropriate birthday options for this time of year, we've decided to let Jake choose six places he'd like to go, and he'll open six gifts total from us (he's already gotten two - we're spacing them out a little just to make the fun last and last)...all to celebrate the big six.

We all took the day off from work and school on Friday; and after we fulfilled our appointment with a photographer I still use in Montgomery (even though he's two hours away) and a quick trip to PetSmart (one of his "six") to get something for his hamster (I'll do my best to get pictures soon and formally "introduce" him.  That sucker is fast.), we all went to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch (also one of his "six).

This time around, Jake and I found the best game for racking up a ton of tickets.  We were winning anywhere from one to forty with just one token.  By the time he had run out of tokens to spend, he had enough tickets to get a ball for Parker (a nice, big one), two bracelets and a ring for his cousin, Emily, and enough candy for all of them to share.  By the way, I love his giving heart - whether it's Build-A-Bucks at church, dollar bills at Target, or tickets at Chuck E. Cheese, he always thinks of others and uses his earnings to gift something to someone else.  I have to put my hand over my chest just thinking about it. 

Since we were about ten days out, he's been asking me to count down the days until his actual birthday with him.  Only two more to go.  I simply can't grasp it...six.

on Instagram since September 2012


If I was keeping it real, I would say I couldn't wait to upgrade my phone just so I could use Instagram. I wanted so bad to take pictures with an iPhone and then turn them into little tiny square ones with old Polaroid style borders and special effects. Now I do - but not as often as I thought as I would...probably because I just don't think to pick up my phone to take a picture. But I'm getting there. Here are a few that I've made so far.
Parker eating cookies on the table during his two year check up and playing on Grandma's iPad, our Valentine's Pinterest-inspired teacher gift (Thanks for sharing the idea, L!), Jake getting his grill polished at the dentist, Happy Valentine's Day to me! (He's taken. Don't even try.), and a impromptu breakfast with Jim at Panera Bread (one of our favorite breakfast spots)

To see all the rest, my user name is calanders1105. Let me know what yours is so I can follow you.  

(almost) six


hasn't lost any teeth

loves beyblades, Star Wars, MarioKart, and the game of basketball

still crawls into bed with mom and dad on occasion

has a heart of a hundred pots of gold

believes in Jesus and Santa Claus

prefers for someone to be watching while he plays his DS

has (so far) earned his orange belt in karate 

doesn't let a day go by without saying, "I love you, Mom" and "I love you, Dad"

gift from God

the one who makes my heart walk around outside of my chest

The Count


I made this little video last night of Jake counting by fives to one hundred.  He's been working so hard to learn how to count all the way to one hundred by ones, fives, and tens.  The fives and tens - he's got those down pat, and he's thiiiiis close on his ones.  Besides capturing this little piece of his Kindergarten year, I really just wanted to hear his voice - to always be able to hear what he sounds like right now because I know these things don't stay.  Take it away, Buddy, and rock those 5's!...

the greatest of these is love


I really wanted to post this last week, but time just got away from me between doctor's visits, Valentines (sixty of them for Parker's preschool-mates plus teachers and eighteen for Jake's classmates plus his teacher - I'll be searching for an easier way next year unquestionably), and a Friday night date with Jim thanks to the Parent's Night Out our church hosts ever so often. 

This is from a book my mom bought for me after she got back home from her recent stay with us.  She called me at work the day after she bought it (reading it before she mailed it to me obviously...I'll let it slide), and read this paragraph...

"He's a Male

     There's nothing like stating the obvious, but your husband IS a male.  Just by watching your husband's actions, your son will figure out Oh, THAT is what a man does.  That's how he acts. 
     If your son sees a close, loving relationship between you and your husband, he's more likely to have the same type of relationship with his future wife.  After all, he'll have seen the best of all role models!
     Your knight will polish up his armor for you if you give him the least bit of encouragement.  No, he's not perfect, but neither are you.  Life's not perfect either.  But why not love and enjoy the man you chose to marry?  Why not help him be the best dad he can possibly be?" 

~What a Difference a Mom Makes, Dr. Kevin Leman

I've always known that love is something that has to be taught and therefore learned, but it still rocks my world when I read it in black and white and I'm reminded just how important my relationship with Jim is.  To our littles, we are the picture of what love looks like.  They are learning how to love someone else by what we say, what we do, and how we act - not just to them...but to each other.

Thanks, Mom, for the book.  And all the advice that comes in it.

this post brought to you from our breakfast table


I left off last Sunday hoping we had seen the last of the sickness Parker had had, and we made it alllll the way to Monday afternoon at 2:30 when his preschool director called and said he was running a 102 degree fever. Jim and I had carpooled that day, so we tag teamed a trip to our pediatrician. He tested negative for the flu, and there were no signs of strep throat or ear infections, so ultimately his fever was associated with the stomach virus he had over the weekend or one on its own. It spiked one more time after we got home, and he was soooo restless during the night. But after a day at home on Tuesday and after making up for the sleep he lost during the night Monday, he bounced right back. How the little guys do that I'll never know.

The rest of our week was wet, extremely busy, and best of all loaded with sugar, hugs, and kisses.  And thankfully this week has started out accident and virus-free.

I hope you all got lots of extra hugs and kisses last week too!

They say things comes in "threes".


Poor Parks!  Last week was just not his week!

By this time last Sunday, he had fallen off of a chair in our kitchen and bruised the left side of his face.  On Tuesday night while he and Jake were playing in the bathtub, he fell and hit the edge of it.  He broke off the bottom edge of his left front tooth and left it bleeding, loose, and purple from the bottom of his gumline to the top.  I called our family dentist on Wednesday morning, and he referred us to a pediatric dentist because of his age.  They got us in within the hour, and he gave us a great report - keep anything that will cause pressure on it out of his mouth for several days, the looseness should tighten in about ten to fourteen days, and just watch for any swelling out of the ordinary.  He's also asked to see him back in two weeks for a recheck and hopefully will be able to tell more then about long-term damage.  And if all of that wasn't enough, he rounded off his weekend with a stomach virus.  Bless.his.heart.

He's been schooled now on being accident and illness free (It's the way to be!  Right, Buddy?), so I'm praying he keeps it that way at least for a little while anyway.

I'll try not to cry anymore. For more reasons than one.


My mom left us yesterday morning not long after Parker, Jake, and I had made it to work and school.  Waaaaa!  I picked them up and then a pizza for dinner, and when I pulled into our driveway I couldn't help but be a little sad.  We got inside and I saw that she had left their Valentine's Day gifts on the kitchen counter and a note for me (or for them depending on interpretation).  "Cindi, Thanks for letting me keep Parker.  What a blessing he is to me.  Him and Jake both.  I love them dearly!  I will miss you and the boys.  I am sad as I leave.  I love you so very much!!" ~Mom 

We ate our dinner, and we left pronto to kill the last few hours of waiting for Jim to make it home from his Florida swing (work terminology) at the book store.  We looooove the bookstore.  The books, the train table, the quiet, the "real" (aka stuffed animal) versions of the characters from our favorite stories, the littles-sized chairs and benches, the stage where they do story time.  It all makes for the perfect way to not spend a night alone, to squash our sadness because our Grandma went home, to make bedtimes sooo much later than normal but who cares because the next day is Friday, and to unintentionally skip a homework assignment (parent fail right there).      

P.S.  My phone has officially been restored to its factory settings with zero backup.  So I lost all of my contacts, all of my previously downloaded apps, etc., and my entire camera roll including videos.  The only thing I was able to recover was my photo stream which was everything minus videos that I had taken over the past thirty days.  At least that's Parker's first emergency visit to the dentist.  But to repeat what I stated to the Apple customer care rep..."I'm not crazy.  I'm just a mom who took her two year old to the dentist for the first time today because he fell and broke his tooth, and that's something I can't get back.  The video of him blowing out two birthday candles on his cake - I can't get that back.  And the ones of my five year old and I sliding down the jungle slide on our vacation - I can't get that back."  I also thanked him for listening and told him he had earned every cent of his paycheck for the month of February.  Sigh.  Since yesterday, I've adjusted my settings, so I won't ever be without a backup ever again.  Moving on... 

wordless wednesday


I have lots of words but honestly I'm too bummed to say any of them as I sit here and watch my iPhone go into recovery mode.  Only the time it takes to completely restore it will tell if everything on it is lost.  Cry now or cry later - I'm not sure which to do so I'm going through the albums in My Pictures looking at everything that makes me smile and realizing that not all will be lost if it wipes out my entire camera roll.  

Until tomorrow...  

This is from the walk we took on Sunday afternoon (wind and all) right after Grandma came to spend the week with us.



This past weekend, the youth in our church participated in Disciple Now which is a weekend-long retreat for 7th through 12th graders.  Instead of going to a cabin in the mountains or a condo on the beach, they spend the weekend in small groups in the homes of church members and then get together as one big group four different times throughout the weekend.  When they all worshipped together, they were sung to by Bethany Barr Phillips.  She also sang yesterday morning which means I got to hear her.  Oh she was sooo good!  Besides having an incredible voice, she's just beautiful and has the most amazing testimony.  She's not only married to Andy Phillips, a University of Alabama grad and baseball player who went pro and is now back to be the assistant coach of the team, she's also a cancer survivor and even more miraculously a mommy to a three year old little girl, Isaiah Jewel.  I liked everything about her so much this morning I decided to see if I could find any videos of her performing on youtube.  I found lots of her singing, and then I found this one where she shares her testimony...which is even more powerful than her voice.

More from our weekend later.  I hope you all had a great one!