We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Exploring (at the museum, the Beehive, and at home)

We started off today by breaking in our pass at the Children's Museum. Cate was mesmerized by the mirror again.
But she also had some fun planting and replanting wooden vegetables in the ground.
After coming home for lunch and a nap, Cate and I headed out to the Beehive Co-Op. It's a new store that we've passed by several times when we've been walking in the past few weeks, but I haven't gone in. I have to say that I am very excited to have such a unique place in my neighborhood. It's kind of like an Etsy shop live instead of online. Different local crafters pay a fee to have their stuff sold at the co-op. They have everything from unique candies to home decorations to baby gifts to apparel to jewelery and more. I saw this, and as a cyclist, I couldn't resist. Plus, I love the chocolate brown color.
I aslo ordered a shirt for Cate (they didn't have any in stock) for her first birthday from Olive and Ollie, a woman who is based out of nearby Mason. It's a pink shirt with an applique ONE on it and it is totally perfect for Cate's first birthday. They had a blue one in the store, but no pink. :-( Hopefully it will be in soon.

We then headed home in the late afternoon sunshine where Cate and I had fun playing with all of her toys.
She's really getting the hang of pushing her little red wagon and the little car (in the video below). She only does it on her knees. Even though she's pulled up a few times, our very cautious little munchkin seems to prefer the safety and security of all fours or her knees.

We hope you all enjoyed the sunshine today too!

~Melody :-)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not Me Monday

Even though the woman that started "Not Me Monday" is taking a week off, I decided there were too many things I needed to confess/admit/blog about this week and so I'm going to play along anyway.

For starters, I am NOT just now feeling 100% better after feeling icky on and off for two weeks (sore throat, cough, stomach issues, more sore throat and cough).

I did NOT eat so much on Christmas Day that I almost made myself sick (seriously, it was looking pretty grim there for an hour or so until some medicine kicked in, but man those pop overs and those fudge melt aways and that chip dip and of course that potato casserole were all so good).

I did NOT wake Cate up after putting her to bed on Friday because I was looking for my purse so that we could go see a movie while my parents babysat the monitor. And my purse was NOT downstairs at my parents' house the whole time. And I certainly did NOT leave a crying and woken-up Cate with my mom so we could make it to the first movie we've seen at the theater in months. Nope, NOT me. I also did NOT sob during the last 15 minutes or so of Marley and Me...I mean physically sobbing, not just getting misty-eyed. And that movie did NOT make me miss our dog, Zoey, who was having fun at Eric's parents' house while we were away.

We did NOT take our tree down within an hour of arriving home yesterday to make room for Cate's new toys. The play corner is cute though and I guess it was about time that our living room started to look a little more like we had a kid.

And last night I most certainly did NOT get in our rental car (since ours is still being fixed) with the intention of picking up dinner and filling it up (we have to return it today because our insurance only covers 20 days of renting and we want to save some in case our car isn't ready by the time I go back to work next Monday), only to have it run out of gas a mile from home, within sight of the gas station. To my credit though, the gas light did not come on and the tank was not showing E when I got in the car and it really is NOT our car, so I didn't know what to expect. A stranger was kind enough to stop and help stop traffic so we could get the car out of the road. Eric was my knight in shining armor and within 5 minutes of calling him was there with gas. After fixing the problem I did NOT continue on my journey to the gas station only to get there and realize that my purse was in our other car (I had gotten in to play with Cate while he filled up the rental) and I did NOT have to call Eric again to bring me my purse so I could fill the car up and continue going to get dinner. Thankfully this all happened within a mile of our house so the whole ordeal was less than 20 minutes of our time.

I am NOT starting to wean Cate this week by dropping the lunchtime feeding/pumping. Because I'm NOT sick of having only 10 minutes to eat lunch every day at work. It's NOT like we have about 6 weeks worth of expressed milk in our freezer or anything. Cate will still enjoy momma's milk until her first birthday, which by the way, I am NOT starting to plan. I am NOT in denial that she is turning one soon and looking so grown up in her jeans too.
And I most certainly did NOT rock Cate for an extra long time this morning around nap time because she is getting big and moving all over the place and the moments when she is still and asleep in my arms are wonderful.

Nope, NOT me. :-)

~Melody :-)

Feel free to play along on your own blog.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Toy Corner

Upon returning from our trip this afternoon, Eric and I were left wondering "what are we going to do with all of this stuff?" It took quite a few trips to unload not only our luggage and the normal baby gear (pack and play, diaper bag, etc.) plus all of the gifts Cate received. Not to mention all of the stuff Cate got earlier last week when we celebrated Christmas with Eric's family. So we immediately took down the Christmas tree while Cate napped and created a new play space for Cate in our living room. I think it looks quite cute.
Since Cate's birth we've been able to minimize all of the baby stuff in our house. In fact, up until Christmas all of her toys and books fit into 4 little canvas bins that we kept on the bottoms of our bookshelves. But alas, Cate is getting bigger and so are her toys. It was definitely time to make room for her in the living room as well. We'll let Cate take you on a quick video tour (sorry it's a little shaky).

You'll have to come over and play sometime! I'm sure we'll be spending a lot of time exploring all of the new toys and books during the next week while I'm still at home with Cate (although we'll also be spending some time at the Children's Museum since we got money to buy a pass from my parents and my aunt...thanks guys).

~Melody :-)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas (with pictures this time) :-)

Cate at Nana's (Melody's mom's) front door:
"I know Santa is coming Mommy and Daddy...I know it!  He's out there somewhere."

Before church on Christmas Eve.

Christmas morning: 
Check out Daddy's sweet hair while we open stockings.  I got a cool Touch and Feel book and an ornament to commemorate my first Christmas.

"Yes!  A red walker Radio Flyer wagon!"

"Thanks Santa!  Not only can I walk behind it (when I'm ready), but I can ride in it too!"

Merry Christmas to all! 
~Melody :-)

Merry Christmas!

I'll have to post pictures later (since we're not at home and I have to figure out how to do it on my sister's computer), but we had a very Merry Christmas!  It was so much fun having a little one for the holidays.  Cate loved her puzzles, books, flashcards, walker wagon, bath toys, and more.  And she will be one stylin' baby in the New Year with all of her new clothes.  She was a perfect angel in the nursery at church on Christmas Eve, sat fairly still while we read The Night Before Christmas, slept soundly through the night even though she shared a room with mom and dad, and was so happy Christmas morning (where I think she enjoyed the boxes and paper more than the presents).  We're now back on our regular eating/napping/playing schedule today and now we're finally starting to enjoy the new toys.  

Anyway, Merry Belated Christmas and I'll post some pictures of Christmas cheer (Cate) later (today if I figure out how, otherwise you'll have to wait until Sunday when we get home).  

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

First Christmas Part One

Last night we celebrated Christmas at Eric's parents' house. After dinner, Cate got down to business opening some presents. Now we need to take down our Christmas tree to free up a play-area in the living room and we really need to get going on that basement playspace we've been talking about creating.
Cate took a break from the toys long enough to pose with Aunt Kristin.
But really she just wanted everything out to play with.

Tomorrow we head off to my parents' house to celebrate some more. We picked up our rental car today. The Enterprise people gave us a good deal on a larger car since we had just put a roof rack on our Caliber the weekend before we got hit in anticipation of our Christmas travels. The insurance adjuster is heading out to the body shop today to do the estimate and I'm hoping the car will be done sometime next week so that I don't have to rent a car once school starts back up.

Merry almost Christmas! My baby is almost up from another one of her marathon naps and I can't wait to play with her new toys with her. :-)

~Melody :-)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not Me Monday

I had so much fun confessing what I "didn't" do last week that I thought I'd play along again- it's late though, so it's a shorter list.

This week I did NOT go to work when I really wasn't feeling 100% myself and end up losing my voice and I did NOT still try to teach while whispering to my classes.

I also did NOT smart off at the wife/girlfriend/sister/whoever she was of the guy driving the SUV that hit us as we were pulling into our driveway on Friday (I really didn't say anything bad, I simply pointed out to her that regardless of whether or not we used a turn signal to turn into our driveway, there was no way the accident was our fault when they were coming from behind and hit us that far up on the passenger side).

And I definitely did NOT allow Baby Einstein and the ExerSaucer to keep Cate entertained and stationary so that I could get a shower this afternoon before we headed up to Eric's parents' house to celebrate Christmas.

That's it for this week. Feel free to play along. You can get all of the details here. I'll post pictures of Cate celebrating Christmas tomorrow sometime. She liked the wrapping paper and beating on the boxes. The toys she got are awesome and I think that tomorrow when she is alone without an audience (except us) she will really get a kick out of them.


A Merry Early Christmas Present to You Dear Readers

Cate has learned to do a lot of new things lately. Besides "so big" (which you'll see in the video below), and giving kisses (which I have yet to capture on video), she can now clap her hands and make her "mean face." It's funny how one day we'll be working on something new with her and before we know it she can do it. Enjoy the video of Cate "tricks" as we like to call them. It's our Merry Early Christmas Gift to all of you who like to stop by and read our blog. And remember, if you're reading this on Facebook, you'll have to actually come to our blog to view the video since the videos don't import with the notes.

~Melody :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mary was a mom too

Last night I couldn't sleep. I thought it was something I ate at a staff holiday party. I was up and down all night. At one point, to distract myself, I decided to read. My book was in the bedroom where Eric was sound asleep (which kind of blew my whole "something I ate" theory since we'd had the same thing). I didn't want to start a new novel in the middle of a sleepless night, so I picked up one of the Bibles on our shelf and turned to the Christmas story.

It's kind of a funny thing. Like Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath, and Adam and Eve, the Christmas story is one of those stories in the Bible I rarely turn to (unless our pastor is preaching from that story) because I've heard it so many times I feel like there is nothing new.

But as I read last night, I was really drawn to the parts about Mary. For so long in my mind, Mary has always been this young girl, in love and about to be married, when an angel visits her and tells her she will give birth to God's Son. She gives birth to Jesus and that is where the story has ended for me. Until last night. It hit me in those wee hours of the morning...Mary was a mom too.

She gave birth...in a barn...with a feeding trough as the only bed for her baby. No hospital with its doctors and nurses and epidurals. I wonder how many times she sat watching her baby sleep. I wonder if her heart leapt when He learned to sit-up, crawl, and walk. I wonder if she melted the first time He giggled. I wonder if she ached when He wasn't feeling well. All of these things I feel as a mom now, did Mary feel them too.

The Bible doesn't say much about Jesus' childhood, which is why I often unintentionally overlook the Christmas story. But how wonderful...that God sent a baby to save us all. And what joy Mary must have felt as His mother. Being a mom has been a wonderful experience for me thus far, and I think that for Mary it was probably the same way.

While I'm still not feeling great tonight (I'm supposed to be at another Christmas get together, but decided against it when after feeling better this afternoon I got a fever and chills this evening about an hour before we were supposed to leave), I'm thankful that in my sleeplessness last night, God gave me an opportunity to see something about the Christmas story I hadn't seen before. I hope tonight brings better rest though and a morning without a fever and chills.

~Melody :-)

The Joy of Santa Claus and the Woe of a Car Accident

Yesterday was supposed to be a fun day...and it was, but one part wasn't so fun. The fun part was taking Cate to see Santa. She's such a friendly baby, but I wasn't sure how she would react to the whole Santa thing. She waited patiently in line though...curioius, as usual.
And she LOVED Santa! She was ready to be his best friend.
Of course this made mommy and daddy very happy too (or should we be nervous that she's so friendly with strangers?...nah).

Unfortunately, as we were pulling into our driveway, we encountered the bad part of our day.
You can sort of tell from the picture that our front wheels were already in the driveway and that we were turning right. So how another car managed to hit us in the spot where they hit us is beyond my understanding (the car that hit us was coming from behind). The only thing we can think of is that the driver of the other car did not see us slowing down to turn into our driveway and swerved (the wrong way) into us. To make matters worse, he was uninsured. I'm trying to have a good attitude about all of this though. Thankfully, none of us were hurt. Thankfully, I was in the backseat with Cate as opposed to being in the front passenger seat where the glass all shattered and the door caved in. Thankfully we have insurance that will work with us through this (and they were much nicer this time than when my car got rear-ended in January). We still have to pay our deductible so that our car can be repaired. And even though our insurance will send a collections agency after the other driver to get their money, we will probably never get what we pay out in that deductible back, but there are certainly worse things in life.

~Melody :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not Me Monday

This was started by another blogger over here. I've read hers for several Mondays now and thought that since I had some time, I would do my own. "Not Me Monday" is your chance to admit/clarify all those things you really "didn't" do this week. ;-) Enjoy!

This week:

I did not keep kissing and loving on Cate until I actually ended up coming down with her cold.

And I did not end up losing my voice as a result of that cold (which made teaching today quite difficult).

And speaking of teaching I did not fumble around with the keys to my cabinet so that I could get my coat out when the fire alarm went off for a fire drill because I didn't want to be any colder than I already was (because my classroom is not a meat locker and I was not already chilled from having a cold).

And instead of coming home to rest and get better, I did not go do a marketing research study so that I could make a quick $40 in a half an hour.

And I did not spend my quick $40 already on stuff for me and Cate (sorry Eric).

I am not getting my hopes up for a snow day or even a delay tomorrow since we're under a winter weather advisory.

And finally, I am not writing this when I know I should be in bed getting some rest...like this munchkin:
Hope you enjoyed my "not me" confessions. Feel free to play along on your own blog or in the comments section.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Daddy and the girls. . . and Granny

So, Last night, the fam decided to go to the Festival of lights at the Cincinnati Zoo with our zoo passes. We are always learning about when not to visit the zoo, and a weekend in December definitely qualifies. We waited in traffic just to get into the parking lot for over 45 minutes. However, we decided to make the best of it. We invited Mel's granny along, and made a quick tour of some of the lights and festivities. The nativity scene was nice. Some goats and sheep huddled together for warmth, probably much like that historic night over 2000 years ago.

Cate was bundled all warm, but wanted to keep one hand out for safekeeping.

We all got to pose with frosty noses.

All in all, it was a great evening. We had some coffee and roasted almonds to top off the evening. Now the whole fam is feeling a little under the weather and is taking the chance to get rested and ready for the new week.

Many blessings to you all. Happy Holidays from Papa E and his girls!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Recently at our house...

Cate got mad about us putting a gate up around the Christmas tree- but our gifts would've been unwrapped already if we hadn't.
Hang in there two more weeks Cate!
In the meantime, we are counting down the days until Christmas with the advent calendar my grandmother made. I talk about the story of the advent calendar here. Since my mom has one too, I remember fighting with my brother and sister over who got to hang up Santa on Christmas Eve. It got to the point where we rotated who got to hang up Santa each year and my mom left a note about it in the box with the calendar every year. Zoey and Sierra don't fight Cate much to hang up the tiny ornaments every day.
And when we're not doing Christmas-y things, we are enjoying making a mess. This week it was fun with our large number puzzle. Cate crawled along it.
And pushed her turtle along it.
And proved to us that we really need to get going on that basement play space...especially with all of the soon to be coming toys.

~Melody :-)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Double Digits

Can you believe it? Cate is 10 months old today. I certainly don't believe it, but it's no lie. Our precious baby girl is growing up right before our eyes.

~Melody :-)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We're Thankful

This list doesn't even begin to capture all that we are thankful for...but after returning from Eric's parents' house tonight, we sat down and read out the things in our thankful jar. Here's just a glimpse at some of the many blessings God has bestowed on us.

I am thankful for flexibility in our jobs that allows us to care for Cate.
I am thankful for our pets who entertain me regularly.
I am thankful for the yummy lunches Eric packs (yes, he does pack my lunch everyday).
I am thankful for Eric and Cate and how much joy they bless me with.
I am thankful for Paris (we went on our honeymoon there and it was absolutely wonderful).

I am thankful for laughter, especially when we laugh so hard we cry.
I am thankful for the blessing of family.
I am thankful for patience and forgiveness.
I am thankful for being closer to financial peace.
I am thankful for being able to share my relationship with God with my family.
I am thankful for a wife who sacrifices a lot for me and Cate.
I am thankful for Cate's cries so she can let us know when she's in pain.

Cate: (okay, so I wrote this one after watching Cate and Eric reading together one night last week)
I am thankful that you read to me Daddy.

And from those who played along by commenting on an earlier post:
Kristin (Eric's Sister):
I'm thankful that no matter where I go, in life, and on earth, I know there will always be people back home who love me and support me no matter what. Love you guys!

Leanne (Friend and fellow blogger, check out It's a Blair Life on our blogroll):
I am thankful for synthetic insulin (as noted on my blog post, which is similar to your post). Without it, my husband would not be here today ! :) And I am thankful for him, so indirectly I am more than thankful for insulin! :)

Cecily (Friend from Hudson...we've known each other since middle school- also a fellow blogger, check out 100musings on our blogroll):
I am thankful for each and every day, the good ones and the bad ones, for each helping hand, each moment of kindness. I am thankful for the world around us, for music, for food, for babies, for warm fireplaces and woolen socks. For dancing, for little old ladies on park benches, for strength in times of trouble, for a tiny star shining brightly in a completely black sky night. I am thankful for work, for toil, for studies, for health. For life, for love, and for friendship. I enjoy reading your blog. Keep writing.

Well said by all three! You can still play along if you'd like. To leave a comment, go to the end of this post and click on the comments (sometimes there is a number next to the word comment to show how many have been left). When the comment window opens, you should be able to type your comment. Then either input your GMAIL username and password, or click on Open ID. Under Open ID you can select another platform you may be using or just simply type your name. Type in the security verification word or letters, and then publish your comment. It's that easy and we'd love to hear what you're thankful for.

I'll leave you with a few pictures from Cate's first Thanksgiving. She wasn't crazy about the turkey, but loved the green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and corn pudding.

This first picture is from this morning. While Eric raked leaves, Cate and I headed up to our local convenience store to pick up a paper. I love looking at the turkey coloring contest winners in the paper every year and wanted to see if there's anything worth getting up early for tomorrow. I figured that wearing her would create more body heat.
And here are the rest from today:

Notice how Cate is down to her onesie by this last one with all of the cousins. She was getting frustrated trying to crawl in her skirt.

Happy Thanksgiving!
~Melody :-)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Children's Museum

Since Melody already had the day off of work, Eric decided to take today off too, and we all headed down to the Children's Museum. We'd been wanting to go for awhile, but wanted to make sure Cate was really old enough to enjoy it. Turns out she's at the perfect age to begin enjoying all that the museum has to offer and it doesn't look like she'll be outgrowing it anytime soon.

We started the day off in the Little Sprout area- made just for kids 4 and under. And within this area, there's an area just for crawlers. Cate had fun playing there.

We soon ventured out of the crawler area though. Where Cate discovered a new friend (sort of).
Then she got busy crawling around to check everything else out.
Mommy introduced her to sand at one of the big sand tables. She'll be ready for Hilton Head this summer for sure.
Cate never ceases to amaze us with how quickly she picks up on things. Right away she learned that the felt shapes stuck to the giant felt board.
And she loved maneuvering the boats and cars on this wooden table.
There were a lot of other cool things to explore in the Children's Museum, but we started to get hungry, so we headed up to the cafe where we all enjoyed lunch together.
After lunch, we headed to a special traveling exhibit of Clifford- the big red dog.
And we slid down Clifford's tail.
The whole display is setup to be like Birdwell Island, where Clifford and Emily Elizabeth (children's book characters) live. Cate found Clifford's big dog bones quite fun. Our dog is probably the size of one of Clifford's bones!
She learned about raking leaves with Daddy over by the tool shed.
And had fun crawling through a tunnel.
There was a special area for little ones with lots of stuff close to the ground for babies to play with. Cate loved playing hide and seek with Clifford (he popped in and out of his doghouse with the turn of a crank).
And she loved opening a little door to reveal a mirror too.
We read a Clifford story as Cate started to wind down.
But we made one more stop at the "Woods" section of the museum. It's a playground with all kinds of tunnels and slides and bridges and caves for kids to climb on. In a word- awesome!
Needless to say, on the way home, Cate did this...
I think the Children's Museum may be one of our new favorite places. There's plenty of space for Cate and activities and displays that will grow with her. We're looking into getting an annual pass (especially since it will be a little too cold for us to use our zoo pass this winter). We can definitely see ourselves spending lots more time here.

~Eric and Melody