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

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Keeping Busy

Ahhh...Monday...the time when we attempt to catch you up on what went on in our lives over the weekend.

Someone was reading our minds on Friday. We haven't eaten out in awhile--mostly because Cate no longer snoozes in her carseat while Mommy and Daddy eat and partly because it's just plain cheaper (and we're actually having a lot of fun in our own kitchen). But on Friday, as we tried to decide what to eat for dinner, we noticed a Domino's flyer near our mailbox. Not the healthiest option, but they had a weekend special- $7 for a large pizza. We ordered ours with green peppers and headed out to Ault Park for a family picnic. We used to live near the park when we were first married and used to walk there 3 or 4 times a week. At least now it's only a 5 minute drive away. Which was apparently long enough to put Miss Cate to sleep.
She woke up in time to taste her first bite of pizza.
She wasn't a big fan...maybe if it would have had sweet potatoes (her favorite on it)...
Anyway, we took some fun pictures:
Cate went for a quick ride on the swings and down the slide (we left the camera in the car), before we headed over to neighboring Oakley, for the final Oakley After Hours of the summer. We stopped in at our favorite toy store, where Cate showed us what she wanted for Christmas.
Isn't that the cutest little Radio Flyer walker wagon? No she is not walking, or cruising...heck, we haven't really mastered crawling yet (we go backwards, in circles, and we sort of army crawl forward). But she does keep her balance enough when you help her stand holding onto things.

After our Dave Ramsey class Saturday morning, we headed up to Hudson to visit Melody's parents. Melody's dad's birthday is Friday, so we wanted to make sure we could celebrate on our quick trip up. Cate enjoyed relaxing with Grandpa.
She even got her first bite of cake and ice cream after he blew out his candles. She wasn't real big on the chocolate frosting (although she's our kid, so we're sure a love of chocolate will develop later...hopefully dark chocolate, which is Mommy's favorite). We forgot to take a picture of this first taste...but we didn't miss Grandpa with the cake before we devoured it. We headed home late Sunday afternoon. Cate stayed awake pretty much the whole time, giggling and babbling to her toys. At least she wasn't crying.

We collapsed into bed exhausted last night feeling blessed to have wonderful parents/in-laws and a beautiful, happy, healthy baby.

~Melody, Eric, and Cate :-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sneak Peek

We're keeping our fingers crossed that it still fits her in a month...which unless she grows 2 inches, we should be okay. The costume came from some of our friends, so we are lucky not to have to buy one this year (it's not like she's really old enough to understand...so spending a ton of money on a costume really isn't practical). Isn't our little butterfly beautiful? Now all we need to get is the onesie to go under it (since it's usually chilly on Halloween) and some tights.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Random Weekend Thoughts

Our weekend got a kick start on Thursday night as Cate and I headed down to Sawyer Point for the Light the Night Walk. This walk is The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's family-friendly walk-event and all hands from the society had to be on deck. So since Eric was working, Cate and I thought we'd check out some of the pre-walk party.
We left just before the walk started since it was pretty much Cate's bath and bedtime.

On Friday and Saturday, Cate and I had a mini-mommy/daughter weekend. Eric had some Team in Training runners doing their training run at the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, so Eric was at the marathon expo on Friday night, stayed over night, and then at the finish line on Saturday. Cate and I hung around the house for the most part and she was on her best behavior (as usual)

One thing we did do on Saturday though, was attend the second session of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU) at Crossroads. Eric and I started attending this group last weekend, and not wanting to miss a lesson, I went solo this past weekend. The whole goal of FPU is to help people learn to get out of debt, manage their money, and build wealth. While the amount of credit card debt, car debt, etc. we have pales in comparison with many Americans, Eric and I are taking the course so we don't make the same financial mistakes we made in the past (namely in college and our first few months of marriage).

FPU teaches you how to get an emergency fund going, pay off debt (Ramsey advocates working hard to not only pay off credit cards and cars, but to pay student loans and mortgages off early as well), pay cash for everything (including your cars), and to invest and retire smart. It all seems simple enough, but in our consumer world, we are driven by the desire to have "stuff" no matter what the cost. We're going on our third year of not using credit cards and it's wondefully freeing. Yes, it's hard to say "no" to some things, trips, dinners, etc. when we don't have the money in our budget that month. But it's wonderful not to have the temptation to spend more than we have and to know what we buy is paid for right then and there at the cash register. It will definitely be a while before we are totally debt-free (including our mortgage)-- we're talking a couple of decades here. In the meantime though, we're learning a lot about how to handle our money (and the surplus that will come in each month as we pay off debts), invest it wisely, and how to teach Cate about money.

Another thing we love about what Ramsey teaches is the catch phrase(s) behind the course. He explains that if you "live like no one else, you'll be able to live like no one else." In other words, tighten things up for a short time to pay off debts and pay cash, but once debts are paid and your money is freed up, you truly will be living like no one else as you pay cash for the things you both need and want. However, Ramsey also says if you "live like no one else, you'll be able to give like no one else." People who are financially free and aren't stressing out about their finances, their retirement, etc., are better able to give to those in need (be it a church, a charity, a family member, a friend, a stranger, etc.).

But enough rambling...I'm sure that as the next 11 weeks of the course progress, you'll here us mentioning him often. We're more than happy to share with you whatever we learn.

I'll leave you with this picture for the evening. Can you believe Halloween is only a month away? This is Cate's cute pumpkin hat. I'm not even really sure where it came from. We have a few wonderful friends who have daughters older than Cate and whose families are complete that pass down a few of their best hand-me-downs to Cate (seriously, most of the stuff looks brand new). In fact, this hat was in one such bag from a friend...with the tag still on it!

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Evening in the Park

One of the things I love about where we live is that we can walk to anything. Within a half mile or less of our house we have: a community center with park and pool, a grocery store, Lowe's, Home Depot, the library, a cool coffee shop, a cool CD store, several restaurants, Wal-Mart (though it's a little ghetto so we don't go too often), a brand new elementary school with brand new playground, Walgreens, Big Lots, Office Depot, and the bank. We walk a lot of places.

Tonight we opted for the community center park. Cate went down the slide for the first time. Once with mommy and once with daddy. Here she is at the top of the dragon slide.
And at the bottom.
Of course she loves the swings. They're not as sturdy as the one we have at home from Nana, so we don't push her too high. She's still happy to be in it though.
Our park is handicap friendly and the swing next to Cate is meant to accommodate special needs children. Or Zoey.
Zoey had to get shaved after getting into something in the back yard that got stuck in her fur. Since we shaved her the night we spent at Eric's parents' house (when we had no power but they did), we like to say that she got "ike-d".

Anyway, Cate is still not crawling, but moving a little more efficiently backwards and in circles. So we let her push herself backwards through the tunnel.
She's sound asleep now. It's amazing what fresh air, a bath, and a lengthy nursing session will do for her. :-) I have a feeling that the older she gets, the more the park will become a regular routine for us.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Aunt Catherine and Great Uncle Ed

Yesterday was Cate's namesake's 19th birthday! The picture above is of the two Catherine's at Aunt Catherine's high school graduation back in June. Happy birthday Aunt Catherine! Come visit us soon!

Today is also my uncle (Cate's great uncle) Ed's birthday. Happy birthday to Uncle Ed. Here's a picture of the two of them together before Cate was even a week old.

~Melody, Eric, and Cate :-)

Tunes, Pancakes, and Ike...oh my!

What started out as a semi-normal, uneventful weekend, definitely didn't end that way. But let's start at the beginning.

On Friday evening, Eric and I decided that the off-and-on rain was a little too unpredictable for our taste and instead of heading for the football game, we decided to check out Shake It! Records in Northside. We're big fans of independent bookstores like Joseph Beth and the Blue Manatee; independent coffeehouses like Pleasant Perk, Rohs Street, and Coffee Emporium; independent restaurants like Indigo, Arthurs, and Zips. So it's no wonder we're also big fans of independent music stores, like Everybody's Records, which is right up the street from us. Shake It! is another such place. And we're in love with it. The pros of Shake It!: Better selection of used and new music, other random stuff for sale (they have the hamburger phone like Juno has), and more of that High Fidelity feel. The con: they don't have the CD listening station where you can scan any CD barcode and listen to all of the tracks (not only do places like Barnes and Noble have these, but Everybody's Records does too). Shake It! picks about 30 different CDs to showcase at random listening stations throughout the store and that's it. But it's still a cool place, and all of you music lovers out there should check it out. Honey, another cool independent restaurant, is right down the street and very yummy should you need foodage while in Northside.

Anyway....we almost didn't get to go to Shake It! because Miss Cate was falling asleep after dinner- as evidenced by the video below. She woke up once she realized we were filming her though.

Cate got in on the tunes at Shake It! and zoned out a little.
On Saturday morning we made pancakes and with a little leftover batter, I made Cate one of her own.
She wasn't sure about it at first.
But ended up liking it and ate about a fourth of it before it became a gooey mess.
She has top teeth coming in and we know table foods are just around the corner. In fact, we try to let her taste as much of our food as possible.

On Sunday, Ike found us...yup, all the way here in Cincinnati. We didn't have much rain, but there were 80 mile/hour winds! Yikes! We lost power around 2:45 on Sunday and didn't get it back until about 3:45 on Monday. Eric was the hero of the day and official milk-saver. As many of you know, once Cate dropped a couple of feedings this summer (which correlated with her increating solid food feedings), I continued to pump. As a result, I had 90 bags of milk in our freezer so that I could stop pumping at school after Christmas and only pump in the mornings and evenings. There was no way we were going to lose that milk. So 3 hours into our power-outage, Eric went and got dry ice for our freezer. When it looked like it was going to be awhile...he threw all of it in a cooler along with some of our other groceries and we headed to his parents' house (they never lost power). We came back to our house Monday afternoon and when the power came back on, we opened the fridge and freezer to assess the damage on the stuff we left behind. Everything actually still felt cold and frozen stuff was still rock solid. Eric trekked back up to his parents' house to get the milk and other stuff (we left it there because we weren't sure if we'd have power when we returned to the house). All 90 bags made it! Eric is a hero.

Needless to say, I didn't have school on Monday. We had a two hour delay today since about half of my students and coworkers are still without power (and could be until this weekend). It's the same tomorrow.

So I'm enjoying my extra sleep and hang out time with the family. Here are some pictures I pilfered from cincinnati.com of the common sites around here.

~Melody :-)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Almost There...

Cate really wants to move, but she can't quite figure it out. I'm sure it's only a matter of time. Not sure how I feel about the fact that she seems to be motivated by the cell phone (seriously...with any other toy she just sort of lays there...but with the cell phone she attempts to move). You can't tell from this video, but she does know how to go backwards and turn herself in circles. Add that to some rolling over and she can eventually get to whatever it is she seems to want.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday at the Zoo

We went to the zoo today- it was perfect. Not too hot, not too sunny, a nice breeze blowing. Cate rode the carousel for the first time (she rode the carousel at Coney Island a few weeks ago, but this one was more fun). We've never done the zoo carousel. She was also very alert and responded with squeals and babble to the turtles swimming at Manatee Springs. Our zoo pass has been worth every penny and we'll definitely be renewing it in the spring. It was a wonderful way to end the weekend. :-)

~Melody :-)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happy 7 Months

So, Cate turned 7 months yesterday, and we celebrated by taking her to her first football game. Even though Cate probably won't go to Mason (she'll probably go to Pleasant Ridge Montessori) we wanted to take her there since Melody can get in free with her teacher ID. Maybe later this fall we'll take her to a Clark Montessori or Walnut Hills game. Her great Aunt B went to Walnut Hills. For now we're just enjoying the weekend and can't believe how fast Cate is growing up.
- Papa E

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

This time last year we were on our way back from Andrea and Brendan's wedding (Happy 1 year guys), and we were just a few days away from knowing that Cate was going to be a Cate. A year later...here we are:
On Friday, my dad drove up from Atlanta and my mom down from Hudson. They met at our house before they headed out to dinner. Hopefully they'll sell their house soon! Here's Cate and Grandpa playing on the floor on Friday.
On Saturday my dad and Eric put in a new bathroom floor and new toilet. Our bathroom looks 10 times better. The people that lived here before us and put the old floor in had no idea what they were doing. While they did that, my mom, Cate and I headed out to Ikea and later we watched Cate amuse herself with her "new to her" toy. It's some computer thing we inherited from a friend. I'm not a big fan of it, but Cate seems to like it. It lights up and make noise...go figure. Here she is playing with it:
She still likes her Exer-Saucer though, don't worry.
Yesterday we cleaned out the little plastic pool that previously belonged to Zoey (although Zoey didn't really like it as she likes moving water- the sprinkler- much better than still water). Our community pool closed a couple of weeks ago, and while our pass is still good at a couple of indoor pools...the backyard is much easier than driving somewhere. Plus, Cate only needs a swim diaper to swim in her own pool...no bathing suit necessary. Cate didn't seem to mind:
Zoey tried to tell her the sprinkler will be much more fun next summer when she can walk:
Sunday night my grandma babysat Cate so that Eric and I could go downtown to the fireworks. If you've never been to Cincinnati's Labor Day fireworks show, you need to go. It's about a 40 minute show on the river that's choreographed to music and it is awesome! I messed around with our camera and took a few cool pictures in case you missed them: This morning we took a couple more pictures with Nana and Grandpa before the headed home (Nana back to Hudson, Grandpa back to Atlanta).
This afternoon we're off to a cookout at Eric's parents' house. Happy Labor Day everyone!
~Melody :-)

A Long Overdue Video...

....of my cousin Jennifer (the one on the right) performing in "Godspell." My Uncle Rob (her dad) accompanies her on guitar. Enjoy!
~Melody :-)