Tuesday, September 29, 2015

All aboard the potty train

So this is happening today...

And when I say this, I mean more of an under the clothes situation and less on top. Lucy was practicing last night, because she can't wait to "get on the potty train" (I'm hoping the reality of the experience isn't a let-down, because riding a potty train sounds much cooler than just peeing on the little potty).

Believe me, I've been putting this off. I was fully prepared to wait until Lucy was twelve (or somewhere around there) because I really really disliked potty training Milo (totally NOT his fault - Nate had just broken his knee and it was the day after we got back from that fateful vacation, so perhaps my timing wasn't grand). And also, she's still my little baby girl and I don't want her to grow up so fast.

But Lucy is ready. So ready that she tells me every time she wets her diaper and cries if I don't change her immediately. So I guess I'd better just get on board the potty train with her, eh?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Forest Festival

While I'm updating you, I'll fill you in on the Forest Festival. We missed most of it while we were at the beach, but we were able to go for the last afternoon of it. Oh yes, I said afternoon. It was 95 degrees and the sun was blazing hot (Lucy's pink cheeks will tell you everything you needed to know). But we still had (hot) fun. And we got Lucy on a pony this year without a freak-out. HOORAY!

Carousel with Daddy.

Can you even believe how adorable these two people are?

Not only did Lucy get on a pony, but she LIKED it. His name was Peanut Butter.

Cool, calm, collected... This boy's been riding ponies since before he turned 1.

Vacation - Part 1

Oh my word, vacation. I seriously want Nate's vacation to never end. We have had so much family time where we've just relaxed and enjoyed ourselves and our little people... And these little people are just basking in the glow of Nate's attention and loving every second of it.

In a nutshell, the beach was fantastic. We stayed at a fantastic beach house a block away, which meant we ended up with a private beach only available for the people with homes. Which meant it was mostly abandoned as it was the middle of the week in September. Well planned, Jacksons. Well planned. 

Milo was fearless, sprinting into the ocean, splashing in the waves, picking up crabs. With his Daddy by his side, he was ready to conquer anything. Lucy liked the ocean and loved the sand. She and I spent a lot of time building sand castles, digging, just plain touching sand. And Nate and I were just happy to soak up the sun and relax. It has been so long since Nate had any time off and any opportunity to relax without being completely exhausted. That was the best gift of all for me.

First time EVER on the beach. We were going to let these little people just dip their toes in and then run to the grocery store for supplies. Everyone ended up soaked from head to toe.

Milo's hair in this picture cracks me up! Sea water plus strong wind gives him quite the spiky early 90s do.

NEVER still. Milo was supercharged and delighted every second.
This picture makes my heart melt.
You also know that we are total nerds, right? I started Milo's school year out with a "Blast Into Learning" theme, which means we totally took a little time away from the beach and visited NASA. Oh my word. We were all geeking out the entire time. You'd have thought we gave Milo the greatest gift on earth - he was more pleased than I can even explain (he wants to know everything about space). And Lucy was really serious taking everything in. She had a blast (pun intended - haha), and now when she wants to start a really good conversation with Milo, she brings up NASA. Smart girl. She knows how to lure him in.

Milo's face pretty much sums it up. This is how he felt about the NASA experience.

Above Milo is a slightly disconcerting wax figure of an astronaut...

Still looking at the wax figure. I'm grinning like an idiot because I got to TOUCH A MOON ROCK. Seriously, people. I've now touched the moon.

How cool is this? And this was a small one!

 Anyway, if you see any of us in person, we will rattle off an astounding amount of trivia regarding space, space travel, etc., so get ready for that. After NASA, we spent one last night at the beach. The best part was that after we headed home, Nate was still on vacation for another full week (in fact, he still is).

I'm just happy to have a picture of me and Lucy...

...Milo and me...
...and me and Nate! This never happens!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Furniture Fetish commercial

We've been on vacation. It happens. Just wanted you to know...

I also wanted you to see this adorable commercial with my sweet little man. Our friend Philip asked if he might borrow Milo for a tv spot for his brother's store. I figured Milo would get a kick out of the whole thing, so we agreed and he had a blast (and Nate got him some new Legos to reward him, so it was a win win win situation...). The commercial is airing on local programming of HGTV and the Food Network, but if you are like I am and without television, here you go. Thanks, Philip - you are amazing!

(P.S. If you are in need of video for any and everything, you should ask me how to get ahold of Philip. All bias for my perfect little man aside, Phil is truly fantastic at what he does.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Milo's first day of kindergarten!

This morning Milo was waiting for me when I got out of the shower a little before 8:00. He was dressed and ready to go, and had informed me that he had already gone potty and straightened his room. What was he so excited about?

The first day of school. Why yes, we did start kindergarten today (sniffle). Because I am the boss of homeschool, I decided that we would start the day after Labor Day, as the good Lord intended it and exactly how I remember from when I was in school. I've been gearing myself up and I slept barely a wink last night because I was so nervous and excited. But enough about me. I wasn't starting kindergarten today. This guy was!

We are blasting into learning with a little unit I designed (am designing...) using space, which Milo is super interested in these days. Space math. Space letters. The moon and outer space. It's a work in progress and it's going to be fun.

And I see I'm going to have to include Lucy, because she's not content to play while we're working. She, in fact, insisted that she "likes to play with pencils, too," and ended up with crayons and a princess coloring book. Thank goodness I had planned for us to make moon dust so that she could get messy as well (I followed the recipe in the link but dumped in some corn meal and flour to make the salt mixture increase).

All up in the moon dust, thanks to Lucy's "vigorous digging."

Poor Lucy is a little sick today. Can you tell in her tired eyes?

Lavender-scented blue-tinted moon dust

Monday, September 7, 2015

Williams Family pics

I got to take some really fun pictures of Bryan and Sarah and the kids yesterday. The weather was insanely hot, but look how adorable they are!

This was the shot before the actual shot... And it turned out so fun and full of personality.

Three gorgeous ladies.

Braylen's face. SUCH a ham.

Do you sometimes like the funny face pics better than the posed shots?


Personality for DAYS.

Chores, Lucy-style

Just in case you were wondering, Lucy helps with household chores already (as does Milo, but you already knew that...), and she does it with flare.

Topless? Check.
Party skirt? Check.
Singing at the top of her lungs? CHECK.
Lucy Jane, you keep my life interesting for sure. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bathsheba by Angela Hunt

I've read a couple of books in the last few days, and after the disappointing Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee (that's for another day - I can't even talk about it right now), I just finished Bathsheba by Angela Hunt. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher so I could review it on my blog, and although I tried to read it with a truly critical eye, I just plain enjoyed it.

I'll admit, I was intrigued by this one because I read Hunt's interpretation of Esther back in the spring. The title of this one is deceptive, though, because it's less about Bathsheba and more about King David, which I thought was an interesting way of shaping his character by using the other characters as a framework. The two points of view are Bathsheba's and Nathan the Prophet's, and I enjoyed the contrast of the two. I thought the backstory that painted Nathan in love with her was a bit of a far stretch and a tad too contrived, but aside from that, their voices were believable.

I was expecting a bit of scandal, since every church girl ever knows that Bathsheba was a hussy who seduced the poor God-fearing king while he was home from battle. I enjoyed my narrow point of view being challenged on this one, as the author ran with a lot of "what ifs" that I found intriguing. What if Bathsheba adored her husband Uriah and was taken by force? What if David spent the rest of his marriage to her trying to win her forgiveness? What if God chastises the people he really loves more harshly because he expects more of them?

All in all, I enjoyed this one. It was a quick read, and although I already knew the big picture, I thought the author succeeded with the details she painted in. It's worth a read!

Kate's Pumpkin Bread Recipe

If you know me at all, you know that I have a deep and profound love for anything pumpkin. It's now September, so I'm going to share with you a recipe that I've been tweaking for a while now, starting with the Better Homes & Gardens recipe and making it my own. So now you can make this at home and be the coolest person at every party. You're welcome.

Kate’s Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar (I like 2 cups white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar)
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 15-oz can pumpkin

1.     Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two loaf pans (9x5x3).

2.     In an extra-large bowl, beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.

3.     In another large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

4.     Alternately add flour mixture and 2/3 cup water to sugar mixture, beating until combined. Add pumpkin and beat until just combined.

5.     Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans and bake for 60 minutes.

6.     ENJOY!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Anyah is 1!

I am really blessed to have some people in my life whom I absolutely adore and want to shower with lovely things all the time. Since I'm not made of money, I have to get a little more creative... One of these people is my amazing friend Amanda, and her baby girl just turned 1 (ahhhhh!). I'm no professional photographer (not by a loooooong stretch - but if you need a fantastic pro, you should see my friend Delaney, who is ridiculously good), but I wanted to do a few pictures of Anyah for her since pictures of my little people are always one of my favorite gifts.

Anyway, as previously mentioned, I'm no pro, and I did, indeed, make Anyah cry most of the time. I'm either too funny looking or not funny looking enough, I guess. I felt a little heartbroken when I went home to edit, because I had been so excited to give these to Amanda since I love her and her children so very much. When I woke up today, though, I was determined that some lemonade was going to be made, and I think I was a little too dramatic about the whole thing to begin with because Anyah is so adorable it doesn't matter what she's doing. Even if she's doing this...

Haha! I will confess, this is my fault, although I'm not entirely certain what I did... But guess what? I got some pictures anyway and had a blast editing them because of the gorgeous bright colors. Again, let me stress, I AM  NOT A PRO. I'm sure there are a million things we could all nitpick about these, but for what it's worth, I'm so proud of them. And I adore this tiny little nugget and her mommy as well.

From crying to gorgeous in a matter of minutes.
Balloons. They're my go-to.

SUCH a pretty baby. I'm pretty sure she's grinning at her daddy here.

Love. Love love love.

This grin is perfect.