Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cool Car!

My dad has been working on a little project for Ryan, and was very excited to finish it up and have Ryan use it while we were visiting for Thanksgiving. I think he (my dad) had a lot of fun finding the body of the car and redoing parts...a new seat, an old-fashioned barrel that nails came in for the "engine", brakes made by a good friend of dad's. He got a kick of finding just the right parts, and the car turned out great! He is kind of a car nut, and knows a lot about all the mechanical going-ons of cars (poor thing had two girls, not that into cars!). So here is Ryan in his very own soap-box racer:

First, Daddy had to pull and guide a bit:

But then Ryan got the hang of steering and braking, and we let him loose on the downhills:

I told him that when Ryan gets older, he can go spend a week with Gramps and help him build one! And then when he gets to be driving age, he can go spend a week and take a real car apart with Gramps!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Biggest Play Place EVER!

We went to a shopping center close to my parent's house today and it was home to the biggest indoor playground I have ever seen.

After eating lunch at the food court, Ryan went in. I was proud of him for trying it out all by himself. Didn't go down too many slides, but did make it all the way to the top twice!

Anybody reading from the Charlotte area, it's called Fiesta Plaza Carolina and is right next to Carrowinds just across the border in SC.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Scott!

I love that Scott's birthday falls right around Thanksgiving. It usually means there are extra family and friends around to help us celebrate.
He requested an apple pie instead of birthday cake:
Opened a bunch of presents (these are out of order...notice the cool new Redskins jersey he's wearing in the picture above? Katy got him that):
And played with the one Ryan and I got him (a Wii, the first video game machine ever in our household...should be fun!):

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up

We spent Thanksgiving with my mom & dad, sister and aunt in Charlotte.

It was a very relaxing day filled with our favorite Thanksgiving foods. (My friend Jennifer talks about the importance of your favorite Thanksgiving foods here.)
Ryan helped mom get the turkey ready:

Then watched as Scott carved it:

Some of us took naps on the hammock after the meal:

We also talked to my cousin Christopher, his wife Sonya and their son Kyle, via Skype. This was really cool:

And we played lots of games. Ryan learned how to play Uno and Sorry. We all played Scrabble and Mexican Train:

Thankful Thursdays

I have lots of fun pictures to post from today, many that have nothing to do with turkey, including the wooden car my dad made Ryan, the skype video we did with my cousin in Connecticut, and Scott's birthday gift, given a day early.

But those will all come later. Today, I want to do something that my friend Paula did awhile ago, that I kept meaning to do. Today seems like a good Thursday to start.

Five things I am thankful for right now:

1. The financial stability and support of my wonderful husband to work part time and spend the rest of the time with Ryan. I love working part time...I feel such balance in my life when I do.

2. The friends that I made at Bolton with whom I am still friends. Usually, when you leave a job, you lose touch with those "proximity friends." Scrapbooking and blogs have kept us close, and I am thankful for their friendship.

3. As I said at Thanksgiving today, the seemingly little things that aren't so little to many people these days: food, a home, a car. As we all tighten our belts, I am thankful to still have my sense of security.

4. As I sit here in North Carolina, I am thankful to be able to travel like we do. I enjoy exploring and visiting friends and family. I am glad Scott and Ryan are both game for it too!

5. For the little baby still growing inside me. Appreciating (although still not thoroughly enjoying) being pregnant so much more this time around.

What are you thankful for? Writing it down can make you feel so good!

More Thankful

OK, so the purpose of this blog most of the time is to update family and friends as to what Ryan is doing. I do a fair amount of bragging on my son, but I try not to gush.

Warning: today I will be gushing a bit.

At Thanksgiving dinner today, Ryan said the blessing (anyone who has eaten with us in the last year has heard this. He learned it at school), and we followed it up by going around and saying what we were all thankful for. I have been working on this with Ryan at church when we kneel down to pray after communion. We both kneel and whisper to each other what we are thankful for. He has his usuals, daddy, mommy, my friends, sometimes a toy or something. But today what he said was perfect.

He went first and said he was thankful for "God, Jesus, and my family."

It doesn't get any better than this.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What happens when we stay home for awhile...

We traveled a great deal this fall. And the past few weekends we have actually been home! It's amazing what we have been able to accomplish in that time.

Scott finally dragged me out to buy tile for a kitchen backsplash, a project we have been discussing for years. I always thought it was going to be this crazy undertaking where we would fight and it would be so hard. Turned out to be fairly straightforward. Now, we didn't do anything too artsy or anything. I let him take the lead, and we got it done over the course of the week.

Laying it out (Saturday):

Cutting tiles (thanks to Chris Hanlon for the use of his saw!):

Applying adhesive (Sunday):

Tiles up:

Finished product:

I was so inspired by how good it looks, that I painted the few remaining wall spaces in the kitchen on Saturday, and then we spent Sunday morning doing a massive clean. I mean, things that you let go all the time, things you overlook like the cabinets, the spot on the windowsill or baseboard, the pantry and garage doors that just need a little 409, fixing a frame, rehanging a picture, plus vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms and doing laundry.

It was an amazingly productive week, where we actually got everything on my house to do list done! SO SATISFYING!

And, on top of that, we got together with friends every evening this weekend. Good to reconnect!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Trophy Day

Saturday, we met Ryan's soccer team for lunch. They were all awrded their trophies here. It was a good season, and I think Ryan is improving. He's even let me sign him up again, "but no more sports 'til the spring, mama."
Getting his trophy from Coach Angela:
The trophy:
The Panthers:

Monday, November 17, 2008

If you liked "Five Little Pumpkins."

Here for an encore performance, our son, Ryan, performing "Five Fat Turkeys!"

Late season blooms

Because of the late summer rain, my daisies bloomed late into the fall. I noticed a few outside today and thought they'd enjoy being inside the warm house much more than outside with the impending frost.

What a treat!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Changes in me

For those of you whom I haven't seen in awhile, here's an update as to how I look. Baby is definitely making an appearance. I have not been as good about taking pictures along the way this time, and I took these on my own, so they are a bit blurry. Hoping to get some good ones when I go to Mom & Dad's next week.

This is 5 1/2 months!

And I got my hair cut. Some bangs which I do not think I have had for 10 years! Not having the easiest thing to style, so I am mostly wearing them back and going to let them grow out. Oh, well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sleeping Beauty!

Ryan attended Allie and Abby's birthday party today, and there was a special visitor! Sleeping Beauty came to play! Now, it's probably more fun for the little girls, but Ryan is into make believe, so he was a little in awe of a fairy tale character coming to the party.

Plus, she brought crafts for the kids to do, and Ryan is really into that!

Mostly, he enjoyed batting the many balloons around.

Happy Birthday, Allie and Abby!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Arlan's Birthday and New Camera

My dear friend Cory sent me her old camera to play with and I am sad to say I have had it since summer and not done much with it. So, I enrolled in a short continuing ed. class, and am finally playing with it.

Here's my first effort. I think it will improve when I take some pictures in natural light without a flash, but these were my favorites from Arlan's birthday last night. Especially the look on Arlan's face (which the camera had nothing to do with!)

Monday, November 03, 2008

One More

Mom took this cute picture just before Ryan and I got in the car to begin the long journey back to Memphis.

We made great time and he was SUPER in the car with just me!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

65th Anniversary

The primary reason Ryan and I stayed in Maryland for the week following homecoming was to be with family to celebrate this awesome event. My grandparents have been married for 65 years! What an amazing example they set for all of us!

On Saturday afternoon, we all went to Mass together where they renewed their wedding vows and got to walk down the aisle again.

Then they took us all out to dinner. I felt so blessed to have so many family members there! We had a fantastic time!

Marsha & Joe

If you know me, then you know I try to stuff as much good stuff into the time I have as possible. This was true with this trip to Maryland. In addition to Homecoming, the zoo, visit with Grammy & Grandad, and visit with my family, I managed to squeeze in a Creative Memories meeting and breakfast with my good friend Marsha!

Ryan and I met Marsha and her little boy Joe for breakfast and playtime at Panera Bread. We caught up a little (Marsha is pregnant and due like two weeks before me!) and the boys had fun running around a bit.

Also, please keep her husband Ken in your prayers. He is an Army doctor stationed in Iraq. He should be coming home in March. You can follow their story here.

Fun with Family

My family were so helpful with Ryan while we were away this week. Folks were willing to go outside and play soccer, dance around and sing songs, play Candy Land, Old Maid, Go Fish, Match, and do endless amounts of coloring and writing.

Here's a few shots of Ryan playing soccer with Cousin Sarah:

And dancing with cousins Laura & Jennifer:

All that remains

I did not have a chance to get up to my hometown of Frederick while in Maryland, but my mom did. She took some pictures of what remains of my high school. Here's what it looked like before (although I guess I should go back and get a better outside picture). The pyramid you see in the picture is the roof from the main entrance of the school. It covered the area you see in the first picture from the June post. Kind of sad.