Monday, March 30, 2009

A Trip to Kristel's House

A couple of weekends ago we went to visit Buddy's sister, Kristel, and her family. They live about three and half hours away from us, but it is worth the drive. She and her husband Ed have three kids: Trey, Rebecca, and David (who is 3 months older than Quinn.) Buddy has 3 sisters and they all have kids close in age. In fact there are 6 nieces and nephews between the ages of 12 and 7! So I was glad that Kristel decided to have another one, because Quinn needs a cousin his age.

Because they live in such a rural part of the state, and hunting is a big deal, Ed has plenty of property for he and Buddy to go shooting on. So while the "big boys" went shooting, Kristel and I took the little boys and Rebecca to the local nature center. I wish I had pictures of this place but my camera died. The nature center is a free science center for the town they live near. The nature building has exhibits of live animals common to this part of NC, as well as exhibits of dead animals (stuffed to look alive) posed in a "natural habitat". There were snakes, fish, birds, lizards, turtles, etc. Quinn was very impressed with a large white parrot-type bird that sang Happy Birthday!

Once we realized my camera was dead, Kristel took some pictures for me.

This picture was taken in the "cave". The basement of the nature center was made to look like a cave. Inside the cave is exhibits of underground creatures that are native to this part of NC. There were tanks of fish, including the biggest Tilapia I've ever seen that wasn't the Saturday Night Special at Red Lobster! There was also a snapping turtle that had to have weighed 30-40 pounds. No kidding!

After we left the nature center, we headed towards the health building. In between the buildings was this sign. It's hard to read, but it basically is serving as a water mark for Hurricanes Fran and Floyd. The bottom one is the high water mark for Hurricane Fran, and the top one is the high water mark from Hurricane Floyd, which was 37 feet, 5.6 inches. That's a lot of water!

The health center building had lots of really cool exhibits, but they were mostly for older kids. It had a life-size table with the Operation game on it. (Do you remember that game?) There was also an area where you could climb through a heart and go down into the ventricles.
The one exhibit there that Quinn and David could play in was a huge mouth, and you could crawl down the esophagus and end up in a stomach. Here is Quinn standing inside the mouth. For reference, the mouth was taller than me.
Here is Quinn crawling down the esophagus.

Here is Quinn and his cousin David standing inside the mouth. These boys are going to be such good pals as they grow up! They had so much fun crawling back and forth inside this mouth. I can't wait until they are big enough to crawl through the heart.
As you read here, Quinn's new friend is an elephant. How exciting it was to see an elephant statue outside the health center! If only we had not left Harry in the car. (And by the way, it was FREEZING this particular day, and kind of rainy.)

The only thing we did not get to do was to ride the train. Kristel said it was new from the last time they had been. The train didn't operate in rainy weather, so hopefully the next time we go, it will be nice and sunny! There was also a playground and picnic area. And the best part was, this whole place was absolutely FREE!!! You know I can't pass up a bargain!
Kristel, Ed, Trey, Rebecca, and David: Thanks so much for such a fun weekend! We can't wait until we can come back to visit!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Biggest Loser---Week One

We had our weigh-in for the Biggest Loser at school on Tuesday.

As luck would have it, I actually lost 2.2 pounds!! I say luck, because I didn’t do a thing to help myself in the “lose weight” department. I cut back on my snacking and that was about it. I didn’t work out at all.

Two pounds lost is still two pounds lost. I’m two pounds lighter than last week. This would be 1% of my weight, if you want me to be specific. We are doing this by percentage of weight lost (like the show) since no one weighs the exact same amount. I was not the “biggest loser” of the week. That would be our school secretary who lost 5 pounds this week.

I am definitely motivated now. If I lost 2 pounds by doing nothing, imagine what I could lose if I DID SOMETHING??

I’ve already walked over a mile this week. Long story short, but I walked one of my students home from school on Tuesday. It was a little over a mile to walk to her house and back to the school. I guess if I’m going to walk anymore this week, I’ll either need to bundle up and take an umbrella, or else turn into a duck. I think I’ll just pull out some workout videos instead.

I appreciate everyone’s encouragement while I try this. I may not have as much to lose, but it’s still something that is important to me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

OK, So I'm not going to win MOTHER OF THE YEAR.....

....but no one told me about this. There was no warning or "word of advice" from anyone. This was something I had to figure out on my own.

Let me take you back in time to about 2 weeks ago.

Quinn's teacher at daycare had mentioned that he seemed to be stumbling more often and wanted to let me know. This made me wonder if he was getting a new ear infection. Since we were planning to go to my sister-in-law's house, I rushed Quinn to the doctor for a quick ear check. Luckily, the ears were clear, and we had a fun weekend at Kristel's house (post and pics to come later).

Yet Quinn continued to stumble. At school last Monday, he tripped and hit his forehead on the little table. At school on Tuesday, he tripped and hit his forehead again (in the EXACT SAME SPOT) on something else. Wednesday was a good day. At school on Thursday, he tripped and hit his head on the edge of the changing table (ON THE EXACT SAME SPOT!!) Only this time he not only sported a big, ugly, blue bruise, but he also had a big knot sticking off his head. They had called me at work to warn me, but that still didn't stop the tears from flowing when I saw my baby boy with this big puffy knot on his sweet little face. I kid you not, this knot was the diameter of a quarter and stuck off his head probably a quarter of an inch, and bluish-purple in the center.

At this point, I decided I had to figure out what was causing Quinn to trip. I decided to go to Stride Rite to get his feet measured. I was bound and determined not to buy shoes there because I think they are ridiculously overpriced (no offense to anyone who buys their kids' shoes there). The plan was to go there to get a good measurement, and then find some bargain shoes at a cheaper store. The girl that measured his foot told Quinn what a big boy he was because his foot was a size 5!


A Size 5????? (He's been wearing size 4s since Christmas)....

Oops. Apparently my boy has been tripping around wearing too small shoes for at least 2 weeks now.

Quinn had to deal with 2 weeks of torture because his Momma was too dense to realize he might need new shoes.

How was I supposed to know? When the pants turn into high-waters, I buy him new pants. When the long sleeve shirts end up as 3/4 sleeves, I get him new shirts. What's the magic symbol to tell me when the shoes get too small??

Could it have perhaps been the fact that for the past 2 weeks he has cried when I tried to put his shoes on? Or wiggling his toes when I pull the shoes off at the end of the day?

So we went to Target on Saturday and bought Quinn some new size 5 shoes, complete with Velcro straps that he has already figured out how to undo.

Now I want all you seasoned moms to answer me this....(and by seasoned, I mean any mother who's child is older than Quinn, who is officially 1 year 2 months and 15 days.)

What was the one parenting thing that no one told you about, yet you discovered the hard way?

If I can admit my big can you.....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Quinn's New Friend

Quinn has a new friend. This friend will only be able to talk to him in his imagination. This friend can easily go (almost) anywhere that Quinn wants to go. And this friend is as cute as can be.

Meet Harry the Elephant.

We were at a store the other day and they had this cute display of all different “beanie-baby” soft toys. I thought they were all cute, but we let Quinn pick. I held up several of them, and this is the one he took out of my hands, held up to his chest and hugged! It was so sweet, and we decided this little guy must come home with us.

So far, Quinn is not “completely” attached to him. Meaning, if we go somewhere and forget to bring Harry with us, Quinn doesn’t go into panic mode. But if we hand him over, Quinn will take him everywhere.

To play at the musical table….
….or for a walk around the living room….

….or for a ride on the tractor….

And Harry is always Quinn’s cuddle bug at bedtime.
I think Harry is here to stay!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Will I Be The Biggest Loser??

When I wrote my February Update of my goals for this year, I mentioned that I had not had much luck in the weight loss department. I also mentioned that I had joined a "Biggest Loser" group at school. We had our first meeting today and had our "official" weigh-in.

I would guess we had at least 15 ladies sign up this morning. We each contributed $10. The person who has the overall biggest percentage of weight loss after 8 weeks will win all the money!!

I am NOT going to tell you what my weight was today so don't even ask! The only "rule" of the game is that we must all agree to wear the same exact thing to our weigh-ins. I chose to bring in work-out clothes to weigh with, and then change back in to my work clothes later. I am at a slight disadvantage, since a lot of the people doing this challenge go to the gym, and while I would love to go, it's just not in the budget right now. (Remember...I'm in FPU...) If anyone would like to take me as their guest, just let me know.

I will keep you updated on my weekly weight-loss percentage.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Update on Grandma

My grandmother's surgery was a success! She got her pacemaker on Thursday morning. Mom said by the afternoon she already had more color in her face than the day before. She has been eating more, which is great, since the low blood flow caused her to have less energy and less of an appetite. The doctor says the pacemaker should not cause her heart to drop below 60 beats per minute.

Thank you for all your prayers!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I love consignment sales!!

Before I became a mom, I had never been to a consignment sale. In fact, I wasn’t really sure what one was. We never went to one when I was growing up (as far as I know). I don’t really do the yard sale thing either. I was pleasantly surprised last year at both the spring and fall consignment sales at my church, when I was able to buy 75% of what Quinn would need for fifty bucks or less!

I found out this past Friday that my church was not having the spring sale. I guess most of the ladies in MOPS knew about this, but since I’m not in that group, it came as quite a shock to me. I was counting on stocking up for Quinn’s spring and summer needs. Luckily, my friend Kim (who happens to be my pastor’s wife), mentioned that another local MOPS group was holding a sale at a different church, that was also nearby.

So I went Saturday morning, and look at what all I got!

It’s hard to tell in the picture, but I got 6 pairs of shorts, 4 shirts, a sweater vest, jeans, khaki pants (baby GAP), navy pants, and 2 complete outfits (shirt, shorts combo) for $32.00!
About a week ago, my neighbor across the street brought me a huge bag of clothes. Her friend’s son outgrew some things and she gave them to my neighbor. The clothes were too small for her son, so she brought them to me.

The bag had 2 pairs of swim trunks, 8 t-shirts, 2 golf-shirts, 2 button-up-collared shirts, khaki pants (Ralph Lauren), and green corduroys. All these were FREE!! The only problem is the sizes are all 2T and 3T, so it will be a while before Quinn gets to wear these.

I love being able to buy what my son needs at a fraction of the cost. He doesn’t know the difference, and I have the satisfaction of knowing I didn’t pay more than about 2 or 3 dollars for the whole outfit, especially since he will either stain it or outgrow it in a few months anyway!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Here Comes The Sun....Here Comes The Sun

I find it so hard to believe that this time last week we were enjoying the beauty of wintry snow, and this weekend, we’ve enjoyed the beauty of spring! If you ask someone their favorite season, they can usually tell you in seconds which of the four is their favorite.

I cannot. I don’t have one. I like them all, for various reasons.

Summer was always fun as a kid because it meant beach trips, swimming at my aunt’s pool (the cement pond) and vacations from school. As an adult, I find summer to be relaxing and a break from work, one of the many perks of being a teacher. Fall is my “New Years”. It’s the start of school…meeting the new students. I love that first day when you have to put on a light jacket. I love to see the trees change color and the crunchy sound of the leaves. I like winter for the hope of snow, the crisp, brisk feel to the air, and celebrating the birthdays of my son and my Saviour.

If I had to pick a favorite, though, Spring would be it! I know we are still about two weeks away from Spring, but if you ask me, it is here. These past few days of 70 degree weather, after the snow of last week, has just been heaven.

We took Quinn on his first outing (of many in the future) to the park. Well, technically, it’s not so much of a park, as it is a playground at a nearby church, but we still had a lot of fun. My parents and grandmother had come up for the day, so we all went to play.

Here is Quinn and Buddy at the top of the “kiddie” slide.

So we tried to let him slide down the slide on his own, but he kind of toppled forward. I don’t think he realizes you have to hold yourself up…remember he’s only 14 months old! Needless to say we did not get a picture of the first trip down the slide. This is attempt #2. See that Buddy is still holding onto his arm…

Quinn decided he wanted to be Evil Kneviel and try to walk up the slide while I was trying to take pictures. Thank goodness Grandma came to the rescue!

Then Quinn found the tunnel under the slide. He liked crawling through, but did not care for landing in the mulch. He would hold up his mulch-covered hands and whimper.

Look at that grin…this boy loves to play!

At this point the “little kid” inside Buddy came out, and he decided he wanted to slide down the “big” slide, and he took Quinn with him.

We played for quite a while and had so much fun! Mom, Dad, Grandma, and the three of us all went to lunch. It was such a great day to spend outside with my family. I hope for many more fun days like this.

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter….
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces…
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right….

**Lyrics by The Beatles**

Friday, March 6, 2009

Grandma's Test Results

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a prayer request for my Grandmother. Today she got all the test results back.

First of all, the arteries in her neck have some calcium deposits. That's what was causing the "whooshing" sound in her neck. This can be treated with medication. PRAISE!!

Second, they determined that she has something called Aortic Valve Stenosis. In a medical nutshell, this is when the aortic valve becomes more narrow than normal, causing blood to not be able to flow like it should. The doctor thinks he can also manage these symptoms with medication. PRAISE!!

Finally, they determined after an overnight heart monitor test, that she is averaging a heart rate of 48 beats per minute. The average heart rate is 72 beats per minute. So, as you can see, hers is significantly lower. To manage this problem, she will be having a pacemaker installed next Thursday, March 12th. PRAYER REQUEST!!

We are hoping that through the pacemaker and medication, she will get her energy back. She has been increasingly tired lately, and with a low heart rate, and narrow valves, well, you can see why she has been tired.

Please continue to pray for Grandma as she goes through this procedure next week, and will have to stay overnight for observation.

Here is a picture (taken a year ago) of my wonderful Grandmother, so you can see who you are praying for. She is holding Quinn, age 10 days, her first great-grand child. Can you believe she will be 89 in July??

My entire family thanks you for your prayers.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Still Working On Those New Year's Goals...

Earlier this year I posted my Goals for 2009. At the beginning of February, I posted about what I had done in January. I think I am going to do this every month as an accountability factor for myself.

Here is my update for how I did in February.

1. My first goal was to work on reading the Bible through. This month I finished the rest of Genesis, and read all of Exodus. Now I am working on Leviticus. This book is such a struggle for me, as it is mostly talks about all the Laws and Offerings the Israelites have to offer and obey. I guess what is hard for me is reading about all these things the people had to do to be forgiven for their sins, and I know all I have to do is pray to the Lord. Thank goodness for the Greatest Offering of All!

2. My second goal was to be a better wife and mother. Quinn and I have special time together each night. Sometimes we play, sometimes we (try) to read books, but he is in a squirmy stage these days. We have “splash” time when he takes a bath.

I am continuing my “frugal” stage. I am cooking more often and sit down on the weekends to plan my menu for the week. Then I buy only what I need according to the menu. This is helpful so I don’t buy too many things we don’t need. I am still shopping at Aldi’s and buy the majority of what I need from there. I buy the rest at the store with the best sales.

We have joined Financial Peace University at our church. I’ve listened to Dave Ramsey for a while now and am so glad we decided to join this class. We used some of our tax refund to pay for the class so it didn’t have to come out of our regular budget. We also used the tax refund to pay off 2 more bills. That makes 9 bills paid off since January 1st! Over $5000 paid off! Yes!!!

3. I wanted to lose weight and get in shape. I’ll be painfully honest. I have not done anything in this area. There. I said it.

I do want to lose weight. I am going to do it. We've started a Biggest Loser club at school. We have our first meeting on Monday. I'll post more about this later.

4. I wanted to do more paper grading at school. I am still doing better in this area. I did not bring home as much paperwork this month. Unfortunately March is busy at my school, so I hope I don’t backslide in this area too much.

Thanks for following me on this journey. It helps to know I have to own up to myself at the end of the month.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hodge Family Update--January and February

I’ve been waiting to update you all on the Hodge Family, mostly because their computer malfunctioned during their first week at Orientation! But now they are up and running again, and were finally able to send out their newsletter. So here is what they’ve been up to.

At the end of January, they moved up to Rockville, Virginia, to the International Missions Board Training Center. They have been attending classes and trainings to prepare them for the missions field. They have heard testimonies from other missionaries. Their children are able to attend school during the day while Michael and Amanda go to their different sessions. The family took a trip to Washington DC, since they are so close to the Capital City.

Most recently they had to deal with “SHOTS DAY”. Apparently there are several rounds of shots they all have to get, and as everyone knows, kids are not big fans of shots. So to make Shot Day more enjoyable, the kids get their faces painted. It must work because neither Alexis nor Jarrett cried!

Here are some ways you can pray for the Hodges:
1. Continued good health while at Orientation
2. Continued growth in their walks with the Lord
3. Contingency Training: will train them to deal with hostile situations while on the missions field
4. The 100+ children who are on-site, as they begin to understand the calling of God on their families
5. The directors and staff of the Orientation Center

Thank you for following the Hodges’ Journey. I know they appreciate all the prayers!

As always, you may click here or on my side bar to keep up with the Hodges in between monthly updates.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Now this is what I call a SNOW DAY!!

I have mentioned before how much I like snow days.
Finally, we actually got a snow day WITH SNOW!!!
I thought this day would never come. In fact, I haven't seen this much snow since we moved away from South Carolina. Our first winter being married, it snowed about 8 inches and we walked to Walmart from our apartment, slipping and sliding on the ice. So much fun.

Anyway, for about 3 days they have forecasted "4-6 inches of snow". I thought, yeah right. They've told us this before. But last night it actually snowed. A lot. About 5 inches to be exact!

We bundled Quinn up first thing this morning. Here he is with his daddy. I think I should have put a hat on both of their bald heads! Quinn is wearing his footie pajamas, a fleece pair of sweatpants, another pair of sweatpants on top of that, a fleece hoodie, his big jacket, his hat, and boots.

I tried to show Quinn some snow, but he wasn't too interested at first. He was trying to figure out what all this white stuff was.

Here he is standing in our side yard. You can see Buddy's footprints over Quinn's shoulder. We really got a good bit.

I wanted Quinn to enjoy the snow, so I gently threw a little snowball at him. I wasn't sure what he would think of it, but....

....I think he likes snow!!

After that he plopped down in a snow bank and played with the snow. Unfortunately, I did not think to buy him mittens this year...since there hasn't been any snow, so his hands got cold. We came in pretty quickly after this.

But not before getting a neighbor to take this cute picture of us together. I had fun playing with my son today in the snow. I think I'm going to buy him a snow suit on sale soon, and save it for next year...just in case!
What a fun day spent making memories. But it will be even more fun next year when he's a little bit older.