Tuesday, September 29, 2009


DISCLAIMER: I totally messed up the alignment of my pictures when I uploaded them. So they layout is off but hopefully it's only for this post.

As we were preparing for our Florida vacation we soon realized reserving hotel rooms would be expensive and inconvenient. Using the same house rental agency that we used last year we were all able to stay in one six-bedroom house that had a screened in pool.

This pool had steps leading down into the shallow end and it went to 6 feet deep. There was also a hot tub adjacent to the pool but since we weren't going to pay for the heat it turned into a kiddie pool. The development also had a community people with a zero-entry pool that we used one day.
I don't mind swimming but I don't really see the point of it so I usually just hang out at the edge of the pool or play with the kids. Things were different this week. I went swimming almost every day and there were a few days I was in the pool multiple times in one day. It was so hot and humid that the pool was the only relief!

Brian is much better about the heat and the pool than me. He gets in the pool and plays with the kids for hours.

Jamison has not been a fan of the water at all this summer. After a week at this house, though, his attitude changed and he's convinced he knows how to swim.

Jamison fell into the pool twice. He often reminds of this by saying - I went under! - and no matter where we are or what we're doing we know exactly what he is talking about.

The kids loved watching Uncle Mark and Brian dive into the pool. Jamison loved it so much that he thought he could do it as well. I caught this moment on camera as he was about to dive in and Brian was rushing over to catch him before he sunk for a third time.

Ruthie, on the other hand, does know how to swim. She wore her floaty life jacket in the pool but I'm not sure it was necessary for her. She swam around for over an hour one afternoon - just in circles, with no goal in mind. Jamison thought she was amazing when he would throw in a ball and she would swim after it and bring it back to him. I think Kristen and Mark need to find a toddler water polo team in Nashville.

Maddie is a more finicky swimmer. Yes, she can dog paddle but it will only be on her terms and there better be an adult immediately next to her. She enjoyed the hot tub-turned-kiddie-pool. (Ignore her eye. She had a weird thing going on in which her eye swelled up only in the mornings)


Last week the whole family (sans my dad who was working so that we all could afford to go on vacation) went on vacation in Orlando. As if we were all participants on The Amazing Race the Nashville branch of the family raced the New York branch of the family to MCO last Sunday.

Unfortunately for us, we arrived way past bedtime which prompted the kids to act like gremlins that were fed after midnight.

But by the time we entered Magic Kingdom we were forced to be happy since it is the happiest place on earth. While we were on the monorail the announcer welcomed us to the happiest place on earth and Lily looked at me wide eyed and open mouth - "Is Disney World really the happiest place on earth?!" "I'll let you know at 5pm tonight."

Lily was now tall enough to ride some of the bigger rides. She and Brian went on those adventures while Jamison and I enjoyed throwing leaves in water from a bridge and watching for Lily and Brian to splash down Splash Mountain.

After scaring the begeebers out of Jamie on The Pirates of the Caribbean we switched kids. Brian and Jamie went on the Dumbo ride and Lily, Grrrmam and I went shopping for a new princess dress and to visit the princesses.

(For some random reason my pictures won't center unless I also center my text. I have no idea why blogger is doing this.) After that royal experience we met up with the boys to go for a car ride. She wanted to steer but couldn't reach the pedals. Do you know how difficult it is to accelerate from the passenger seat while the driver veers left and right manically?

Oh look. Brian decided to just drive by himself. Where are you Jamison?

There he is! (barely). The cars don't come with booster seats.

3,738th attempt to get them to all look at the camera at the same time.

Lily, Ruthie, Maddie, and Jamie.

We had dinner at Cinderella's Table in the castle. The combination of nap deprivation and extreme sun exposure led to a very silly-crazy two year old boy. If Cinderella had actually been at our table Jamie would have been thrown in the dungeon. Or sent to sew clothes for Jac, Gus, and Mary. One or the other.

At one point in the dinner the Fairy Godmother asked if anyone had a birthday. Lily raised her hand because, of course, she has a birthday. I have to side with her on that one. The Fairy Godmother did not phrase her question appropriately. The waitress came over with a little cake for Lily and at that point she felt bad for raising her hand. I reassured her that it wasn't a problem because we deserved a free cake for the price of the dinner.

I totally staged this shot. I will admit that there are times I completely feed into her princess obsession.

This picture typifies my kids. Lily regally posing and Jamison trying to dive into the fountain.

There we go. Although I am suspicious as to why he has his hands behind his back. Do not let your guard down with this one.

This was just day one. But lucky for you, since we have been to Disney before I didn't take that many more pictures.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I caved earlier this summer when Brian convinced me that we needed a riding lawnmower. The best thing about the lawnmower is that Jamison thinks that it's a tractor. In fact, that's what we call the lawnmower and I guess essentially it is. It's a suburban tractor.

He is obsessed with the tractor. And by "he" I mean Jamison. This means that whenever Brian mows the lawn I get about an hour break from the two year old. So maybe the investment was worth it...

Friday, September 18, 2009


A few times this summer we went golfing as a family. Well, that's not exactly true. Brian went golfing. I sat on the golf cart and read while the kids played in the sand traps and ran wild. One of Jamie's favorite activities was to sit in the "back seat" of the golf cart.

This could be illegal. But if it keeps the kid entertained for an extended period of time I'm willing to risk it.

Not only do they play in the sand traps but they are also good at cleaning the golf balls and putting broken tees in the broken tee box thingy. I don't know what half the things on the golf course are called.

And this was a new move from Jamison. I thought he was just trying to stand on his head.

But no. He was pushing his head through the sand. He was filthy and dripping with sand. He made such a lovely impression on the other golfers. Lily was kind enough to rake the path that he created.

Even though Brian was the only one who got some exercise whenever we went out, it was fun to be outside together. We had a very short summer this year so we appreciated each day that the sun was shining.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Training Wheels

So last week Lily decided to take the training wheels off of her bike. She was done with them. I didn't even know she knew how to take them off. Part of me is impressed and the other part of my wonders what else she can disassemble without my permission.

The problem was that she didn't know how to ride a two-wheeler. I practiced with her for about 30 minutes and while she was determined, she was no where near peddling on her own. She was excited and I was in pain...my back was spasming from holding onto the seat of the bike.

I told Lily that daddies are better at teaching bike riding than mommies. How awful is that!??! But it worked. She tortured Brian until he was able to take her out.

She still doesn't know how to ride a two-wheeler. But she gets an A for effort. I'll give her an A+ if she can put those training wheels back on.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Each year, since 1893 there has been a fair in Altamont, NY. You would think, that since I live 15 minutes from Altamont that once, at least once, I would have gone. But no, neither my sister nor I had ever been to the Altamont Fair. Why? Well, because when we were kids not only did you have to pay to enter but you also had to pay for the rides. This was too much for my mother. Too much in terms of money but also too much of an insult. Pay twice?!?!

And this is how you know that my mother has moved on. My kids at ages 2 and 4, were brought to the fair by my mother. Granted, the rides weren't open yet, but that's not the point, people. She would have paid for the rides!

My children did not deserve to go to the fair. They were apathetic and lazy. I was able to count the number of times they got their tushes out of the stroller...and it wasn't a high number.

Listen kids!! I was never able to go to this stupid fair and you will love it! You will pet the animals! You will be in awe of the horses! If I had gone to this fair before moving to Arkansas do you know how much easier it would have been to understand farm life in the south?! This is for your betterment! (no idea if that's a word but I'm using it)

How cute is this? Cozy milk cows! Isn't this cute kids?!? Lily rolls her eyes, Jamison asks for a snack.

A BABY COW!!! LOOK!! Kids: Whatever mom.

And then Lily was struck speechless...like she usually is around anyone who is friendly to her. We ran into the Altamont Fair Queen in the sheep shed. The woman who ran the court or pageant, whatever it is you call it, was trying to convince us to enter Lily in next year's pageant. I so gently wanted to explain to this woman that as much as Lily enjoys putting on "shows" and dressing up the minute you ask her to perform in front of people her body drops like a spaghetti noodle. If there was an Altamont Fair Drama Queen pagenat, then yes, then we might be interested. But you want her to smile at strangers? Walk across a stage at someone else's direction? That's insanity.
Don't bother getting out of the stroller, guys. I'm sure you pet horses everyday when I'm not around.

This is a pregnant cow. I honestly can't tell the difference between a pregnant one and a regular fat one. The fair does a LIVE BIRTH everyday. The fair lasts seven days. That's seven births with seven very pregnant and probably very hormonal cows. I would not want to be the vet in charge of this activity.
There are bleachers for easy viewing of the birth. This makes me uncomfortable. I wasn't too pleased about my own children's births until after they were cleaned up a bit. Why would I want to watch a cow give birth?!
I tried to get Lily interested in the pig by telling her this one was named Wilbur. All she wanted to know is where Charlotte was and that she did not want to see Templeton. Just play along Lily! It's not beneath you! Jamison was interested only after I mentioned that pigs give us sausage.

Oh! But wait! The kids are out of the stroller! They have smiles on their faces! What has brought upon this change of attitude? John Deere. No joke. The John Deere tent was the biggest hit for my offspring. If it hadn't been so close to naptime we would have made a day of it in this area.

Needless to say, this will be their only trip to the Altamont Fair until they beg, plead, and bribe us to go back again.

Friday, September 11, 2009


The last week of August was looking lonely. Brian had a job in Waco and my mother was heading to Daytona. I was going to be home alone with the kids all week. I looked into flights to Nashville so I could visit my sister but I couldn't find anything less than $400 a ticket. (ouch) So we didn't mention to Kristen that I would be home alone because if you know my sister - she will manipulate ANY, I repeat, ANY situation so that she will get her way.

Two nights before everyone was to leave Kristen randomly called me while I was waiting to go see a movie. In the midst of that conversation she connected the dots and realized I would be home alone. I told her to forget about it, it was too expensive, etc...

By the time I exited the theater I had received a text that she had found two free Southwest tickets and had credit for the third ticket. MANIPULATOR. We were off to Nashville!

Since I had such short time to pack I forgot my camera but I did take a few shots with Kristen's camera.

One day we met my college friend, Ashley (Burton) Sanders, and he son Noah at the Nashville zoo. I hadn't seen Ashley in a year so it was nice to catch up. But, thanks to her blog (see my side bar - Two Sweet Feet) and mine we basically already knew everything about each other. It was as if we could continue a conversation that we had previously left off.

Here is the insane playground at the zoo.

I don't know what you would call this thing. The looky-thingy at the meercat den? The observation tube? The meercats were running around all over the place and you feel as if you're a part of the pack. Ever watch Meercat Manor? I was waiting for Sean Astin to do a voice over and announce that we had attempted to join the pack and that Flower found us to be outsiders.

I gotta give credit where credit is due. Noah Iin red) is the best for pictures. He looked up. He smiled. He remained still. The rest of them are useless in front of a camera.

One day the kids got out of the kiddie pool but due to my poor math skills we were one towel short. Lily and Jamie shared one and I took advantage of their giggly-ness.

We really didn't do much else while there. Spent some time at the indoor play area - Monkey's Treehouse (which Lily remembered from her one and only trip in Feb '08) and hunting for hairbows. Nothing compares to hairbows from the south!