The purpose of our family blog is to share our life journey with family and friends. Our family consists of Ben and Barbara (married Dec 2002), Caroline (born Sept 2006), Andrew (born Feb 2009) and Dixie (our dog). We hope that you will enjoy following us and all of our adventures and mishaps!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fall Photo Fun!

We took a family picnic to the park on Sunday and enjoyed breathing in the fall air and observing the beautiful fall foliage. Caroline was not feeling her typical bouncy self so we did not get too many photo opportunities of her by herself, but we were able to capture a few good ones of Andrew. We saw a local photographer out at the park taking family portraits and he was kind enough to walk up and ask to take ours (including Gigi) with our camera. I thought the picture he took turned out great and I know Gigi (Ben's mom) loves it! If you haven't already, get out and enjoy this beautiful fall weather. God has blessed us with so much to enjoy in nature that we should not take it for granted.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our Little "Treats!"

Caroline really got into dressing up this year. She dressed up not once, not twice but THREE times in TWO different costumes -- neither of which were the costume we had planned! :) Her first dress up opportunity was at preschool. Her school hosted a Costume Parade. Caroline was planning to go as Ariel (her Mermaid costume from her birthday party -- remember that story!), but she changed her mind the day before and decided to go as Snow White (thanks Aunt Anne for the costume!). I must say she did make a beautiful Snow White. The night before the Costume Parade, she and I enjoyed some GIRL time which started with a bubble bath fit for a Princess, followed with a spa pedicure and manicure and ended with a dress rehearsal. What fun!
Our church hosted a Trunk or Treat event the Wednesday before Halloween where Caroline announced she was going to go as Ariel an hour before time to leave for the event (She had planned to go as Snow White earlier in the day). I turned into Super Mom and swung into action to mend the Ariel costume which had gotten ripped during her birthday festivities. I got it all fixed just in time to hear Caroline say she had changed her mind "again" -- She wanted to go asSnow White after all. As I started to pull the Snow White gown over her head, she spotted a pair of Butterfly wings in her dress-up box, and that was it -- she no longer wanted to be Snow White...but instead, she wanted to be none other than, you guessed it, a BUTTERFLY! I decided that it wasn't worth my breath to argue with her. Instead, I decided to make dressing up "fun!," so I started pulling things from her closet and drawers to help us pull off a Butterfly costume-- I hope this isn't a glimpse into our future (an indecisive three year old dressing up is one thing but I hope this doesn't become a pattern).
Andrew wore his Pirate costume from Caroline's birthday party. Of course, it was quite cool once we got to church so he pretty much stayed in his stroller bundled up with a blanket. Luckily, we did manage to get a few pictures before the festivities began.

On Halloween night, Caroline was back in the mood to be Snow White again. We took Andrew over to the Appling's and then Ben and I took Caroline door to door trick or treating. We hit up a few houses in the Appling's neighborhood and then headed over to visit some friends. Their neighborhood proved to be "the" neighborhood for trick or treating (nearly every house was decorated w/ lights and there were kids everywhere, along with golf carts, wagons and trailor pulls w/ kids). We definitely plan to go back next year! All in all Caroline had a GREAT "1st" Trick or Treating experience.

Caroline knocking on the first door.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Do YOU think we look alike?

People are constantly telling us that they think Andrew looks just like Caroline when she was a baby, so the other day I dug up these milestone pictures-- too funny how we had many of the exact same poses. Tell us what you think? Do you see the family resemblance?

Bathtime in the inflatable duck- 7 months

First Foods - 6 months

Portraits - Andrew 4months; Caroline 3months

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Caroline the School Girl!

Caroline started a two year old preschool class at our church on Sept 10th. Yes, she did turn 3 in September for those who are confused. Georgia's cut-off date for starting school is September 1st, so Caroline would have had to be 3 by September 1st (which she was not - her bday is the 3rd).

Caroline's class has a website if you'd like to follow her year. Her teacher is Mrs. Jan and her assistant teacher is Mrs. Jenell -- both are awesome and Caroline dearly loves them. Caroline's class is currently going through the alphabet, learning to share, and walk in a line. The teachers are very creative and Caroline often comes home with handmade crafts and fun projects! Caroline's class mascot is a lamb named Marshmellow (see 1st project of Marshmellow below).
Here are some pictures of Caroline's first day. She was excited about carrying her backpack (which she has actually carried for a while, but carrying it to school was very exciting for her). Of course, the first day we discovered that she has a school bag which she will take instead of her backpack. Each age group has a different color school bag. Hers is red and has her name and teacher's name on it. This helps during dropoff. The school is very organized (which I, of course, love). Pickups and dropoffs have been a breeze! Of course, Mom got the first homework assignments: make homemade play dough and bring a birthday treat to celebrate Caroline's bday w/ the class (we made double doozie chocolate chip cookies w/sprinkles-Yum!)

Andrew's Baby Dedication

We had the joy of presenting Andrew before our church at North Metro First Baptist on August 30th. The service was so sweet with Pastor Cox challenging Ben and I to raise Andrew in a Christian home. We then were presented with a letter for Andrew to read on the day he accepts Christ. Andrew did very well in front of so many people. Caroline got to sit in big church and watch while sitting with the grandparents. We weren't sure how she would do, but she did great. She was in awe of everything and enjoyed watching Andrew up on the stage with us. It was a sweet day for us all!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our Little Princess is THREE!

The night before the party, Ben and I stayed up late while I worked on the Princess cake and Ben and I decorated the house. We set up several stations around the house. First we planned to have the guests arrive and walk on a red carpet to enter the house. Next stop was the dressing room (our dining room was staged with princess tiaras, bangle bracelets, earings, rings and of course Pirate accessories - hats, knifes, hooks, coins, etc). In the dressing room the kids were also able to make their own fruit loop necklaces.

After choosing all of their accessories, the children were guided into the playroom where Princess and Pirate tatoos were applied. While the pizza was being picked up, I served the kids a snack mix of teddy grahams, m&m's, pretzels and goldfish in colored icecream cones (yep snack, pizza and cake were on the menu...sugar them up and send them home).

We then led them into the kitchen where the kids were able to color at the table and make foam, fans using geometrical stickers. Then it was pizza time! Most of the kids were too excited to eat much, but they looked so cute all dressed up sitting at the kid-sized tables in the playroom.

After a brief playtime, it was time for cake. The Princess doll cake was a big hit and the kids had fun blowing blow horns at Caroline while she blew out her "3" candles. We then moved the party to the living room for Caroline to open the presents. Of course, she did what any 3 year old would do and faced her chair toward the presents (as her friends all gathered around). The gift opening was a total free for all! Next time, I will know to have the kids all seated before starting the gift opening time. Caroline received lots of nice gifts -- a baby doll, click and dress puppy dog, princess gown, playdough set, stickers, princess game, computer game, and of course some Little Mermaid stuff!

Once the presents were all opened, we took the kids outside to dig for jewels and play in the backyard. The kids about wore Ben out having him give them chariot rides (in the wagon of course)!

All in all it was a successful party and Caroline had the BEST time -- even if she was "The Mermaid" at her Princess Party.

Preparations for a Princess Party

Caroline turned "3!" on September 3rd. We hosted a Princess Party the Saturday before her birthday. Caroline chose to invite 5 girls and 2 boys. I ran into the dilemma of whether or not boys should be invited to a girl, Princess Party. Thankfully, we came up with the idea to have the boys come as Pirates so that they could pretend they were "crashing" the Princess Party. The mothers of the boys (one a mother of 5 and the other a mother of 4) were awesome and managed to get their boys excited about coming to Caroline's party. The fact of the matter is that the first two names Caroline had on the invite list were the two boys (yep, Ben thought that meant trouble as well).

Three weeks leading up to the party, I was pulled aside by one of the boys' moms and told that while she was teaching Caroline's class at church, Caroline let her in on a little secret. The mom (Rebekah) had been telling Caroline that Joshua (her son) was excited about her upcoming birthday party. Rebekah asked Caroline if all of the girls were going to "dress" as princesses, and Caroline with excitement in her eyes said, "YES!, but not me...(pause) I'm going to be the "mermaid." When Rebekah told me this, I laughed (you know kids do say the darndest things - Caroline included). I told Rebekah that we already had a Princess costume and that I was certain that Caroline was just saying that because she had been watching and reading about Ariel, the Little Mermaid, lately. I was sure that Caroline would grow more excited about her princess costume over the next few weeks and that this whole "mermaid" thing was a fleeting thought.

BOY! Was I wrong!! For the next three weeks, all Caroline talked about was Mermaids; however, she still never mentioned that she was going to "be" a Mermaid at her birthday party. Finally, the Sunday before her party, I started trying to get her to try on and get excited about her princess costume. And that's when it happened...the tears, the break down, and finally the outburst that she was NOT going to be a princess but that she was going to be "THE Mermaid!"

Ben and I talked later that night, and with compassion in his eyes, Ben told me that his baby girl was going to be a Mermaid if that is what she wanted to be -- he would make sure of it. He and I both agreed that the party (time, money and effort) would be in vain if on that day we had a teary eyed princess have no fun at her own party.

So with that decision made, the hunt was on...I (yes, even though daddy was making sure Caroline was happy, the hunt was left to me) started searching ebay, craigslist, target, party city, etc for the perfect Mermaid costume (the hard part, Caroline was aware that Mermaids have "tails" and most of the costumes out there are simply Princess Ariel costumes w/out a tail). ebay left me discouraged since the price was right but shipping costs would more than double the final prince. The Disney Store liked their costume a little too much and priced it at a whopping $50 (something I just couldn't swallow).

Then on Monday, I discovered the "perfect" costume while searching online at I started making phone calls to the area stores in the morning and was disappointed to discover that every store in the Athens/Atlanta area was showing an inventory of "0." One store (the one in Duluth) gave me a glimmer of hope when they said their computer showed "1" on hand, but that they would have to confirm it on the floor. The sales clerk (Bobby) said he would call me if he found it on the floor.

I got the call around 1pm that Bobby had located the costume. I whipped out my credit card prepared to pay over the phone, prior to pick-up. But Bobby stopped me in my haste and told me that it was Toys R Us' policy that they customers could not prepay for items or request that items be held. I told Bobby that I understood he couldn't hold it but that I would appreciate it if he would at least "hide" it and "guard" it! He laughed and said that he seriously doubted that anyone else would come in the store looking for a Mermaid costume before 5pm on a Monday. I assured him I would be there by 5pm and called Ben thrilled that I had found "the" costume!

After work, we headed straight to the store. In all my haste, I forgot that Babies R Us is not next to Toys R Us in Duluth like it is in we arrived at the wrong store. I couldn't recall where Toys R Us was so I ran in Babies R Us to ask. While there I went ahead and perused there costumes but did not find the one I was looking for. We then headed straight to Toys R Us (it was 5 minutes until 5pm when we arrived). We ran in, perused the costumes and when we didn't find the Mermaid one I had seen online, I was not surprised. I was actually relieved. I figured my boy, Bobby, had done his job and hidden the costume from the general public.

I proceeded to the front while Ben continued to search through the costumes on the floor. I asked the first salesman I came to where I could find Bobby. He pointed to the only guy checking customers out. I went up to his line and decided to be patient and just wait in his line to talk to him. As I was waiting, I started looking at the buggy in front of me and listening to the ladies (a middle aged lady and her mom) talk about an upcoming birthday party they were planning. As I observed there cart, I saw a cute Little Mermaid, ride on toy, Mermaid plates, napkins, and a few other toys....and then that is when I saw it...

The purple and aqua material shimmered in the light of the tail that was flung over the side of the buggy. My heart was racing and my mind turned to jello as I wondered what I should do. I quickly motioned for Ben to come quick. When he arrived, I quitely pointed to the fish tail and told him, "that is our costume!" I guess I was thinking Ben would do something about it...instead, he turned to me and asked, "so what are you going to do, offer her more money?"

Offer her more money? Is that what I should do? I couldn't think, no words would even come out if I had tried. Instead I stood there and watched as the lady put the Mermaid costume on the counter to ring out. As she raised up the costume, Bobby (my boy) smirked and asked her, "what's your name?" That is when I found my voice and finally said, "I'm Barbara. I'm the one you have been talking to all day. That's the costume I'm here to buy." The lady looked shocked as she turned to me...and then, I went for it...

Yep, misty eyed, panic in my voice, I pleaded with the lady and told her my story. That is when kindness was shown to me by a total stranger (a woman who could have very well cussed me out and told me the costume was in her buggy and she found it first). Instead, she turned to me and said, "It sounds like you need this costume a whole lot more than me. I just thought it was cute. I wondered why it was shoved in the very back of the store. My daughter is turning 2 and she want even know the difference if she has the costume or not. I just thought it would make cute pictures." Then she handed me the costume and the tears flowed...then as Ben would say, I pulled my final card and lept to hug her (this stranger I had never even known). God definitely orchestrated this one because I could never have predicted the outcome!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Gimme' That Spoon!

Happy 1/2 Year Birthday Andrew! To celebrate Andrew's 6 month milestone, we gave him rice cereal (cake flavored of course). As you can see in the video, he was very interested in getting the spoon to his mouth. He wasn't so sure he liked the taste of rice cereal though. Because the rice cereal was so bland, we switched his morning feeding to oatmeal the second week. He is now enjoying oatmeal with mashed bananas each morning. We need to add a vegetable this week. We're thinking about starting him with some fresh, sweet potatoes (which is what we started Caroline with). Andrew weighed 18 lbs 11 oz at his 6 month check-up which was on Aug 21st. He is in the 70th+ percentiles for both weight and height. One would think he would enjoy eating, but he really has been less interested in solid foods than I would have imagined he would be.

He is developing into quite the lil' talker. He has a real deep grunt that he likes to use when he is serious and he smiles almost all of the time. He is still ticklish on his inner thigh and feet. He is completely sitting up on his own and enjoys playing in his excersaucer and playing with toys. Andrew is still fond of his hands and will suck one or all of his fingers at once. On occassion, he has even been known to suck other peoples hands, necks or arms (he just likes anything in his mouth- aside from a paci). He is a pure joy to be around and is doing well with his 8 pm bedtime. He now sleeps twelve hours a day. Bathtime is also becoming more fun (especially now that he can sit up). Of course his biggest fan is still Caroline. The two of them have so much fun together!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Red White & August?

Well, I am finally getting around to posting some of our 4th of July pictures...Yes, I do realize that it is already after August 4th, but at least I am getting them posted, right? Caroline absolutely adored her 4th of July dress (I thought it was pretty cute as well). Andrew continues to be a happy baby (taking after his big sister). Our only complaint is that he is a BIG drooler (I just can't keep enough bibs and burp cloths in the house) -- but if that is our only issue, I figure we are very blessed. We have enjoyed summer, but we are ready for the HOT temperatures to taper off and Fall to arrive. Caroline LOVES playing outside, but sometimes during these hot, summer days we are only able to go out in the early morning and evening hours. Caroline will be starting Pre-school in September. She will be attending our church's program Mon, Wed & Fri from 9-12. She is really looking forward to it. She is hopeful that they will teach her to read. She often tells me that she, "wished she could read the words." I think it is so cute how eager she is to learn. She truly is a sponge these days. I am busy planning her 3rd birthday party (Princess, of course). It is so hard to believe that she will soon be THREE. Andrew is coming up on six months - yes, he is still our chunky monkey (much like Caroline was), but we all love his rolls and bubbly personality. Caroline continues to be endeared toward Andrew. I will have to post some video of the two of them soon. Our latest news is that we are officially an Aunt & Uncle and Caroline and Andrew have a new cousin! Reagan Montgomery Mays was born on Sunday, August 9th weighing in at 7lbs 7oz. We are all eager to meet her!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hilton Head 2009 Part II

Here is the long overdue Part II posting of our family beach vacation. At the end of June, we loaded up the van (and I mean "loaded" up the van) and took Caroline & Andrew down to Hilton Head. We did stop over in Statesboro on the way down to see our niece's nursery. It was decked in pink and green and all ready for Reagan (she is due Aug 11th).

These are pictures of everyone who went on the trip: Ben & me, Caroline, Larry (my brother) & Ansley (34 wks prego- doesn't she look great!), Andrew & my parents:

We were somewhat concerned about keeping a four-month old baby out on the beach for too long, but thanks to a friend of mine, we had a great baby canopy which was ideal for the beach. We also had a huge tailgating tent that we put up to mark our spot on the beach (I was amazed by how popular these have become).

Caroline was immediately hesitant about the ocean. She liked playing in the sand and sitting with us on the beach, but taking her near the water was another story. We were just thankful that she was not down at the beach when a shark was spotted.

Pure panic as she nears the water.

If you look at the picture below you can somewhat make out the shark. It is just a little right-center.

Caroline had fun playing in the sand and enjoyed tearing down all of the sandcastles we all tried to help her build :)

To get the picture in the center, I told Caroline to say, "ice-cream" she immediately looked up (she had been ignoring me before) with a BIG smile!

Andrew, on the other hand, did not seem to mind the ocean at all. Dipping his toesies in it was quite fun since he was the only one we could seem to get to go down by the ocean.

Both kids really liked the pool. Caroline stuck to the steps the first two days, but as soon as she met her new friend, Ashley, it was off to the deep end for her! Ashley was from Smyrna. Ben and I enjoyed meeting her parents and hanging out with them by the pool. We called the girls the "pink hat" club. It was too cute to look in the pool and see two pink hats bobbing along.

Caroline also had fun blowing bubbles and eating ice-cream! Although the two kids were the center of most of the trip, it was nice hanging out with my family and relaxing on the beach.