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

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wide Open Spaces and Other Ramblings

First things first-- Brennan turned 9 months old on Friday. Nine months?!? I can't believe it. I still feel like he just entered the world as a wrinkly, bald, little guy with skinny chicken legs (which are quite the opposite now).
He's still not crawling, but little man can get to anything he wants with a series of rolls, kicks, scoots, and what not. I'm trying not to rush it. I know once he starts there will be no stopping him. But I'm also trying not to worry about it. A part of me feels like he should be crawling by now. And that is the part of me, that icky fear part, that I surrender to God with each day that he's not crawling. He'll develop at his own pace on his own time. Nothing else about any of his behaviors is concerning, so really, this shouldn't be a big deal. His nine month checkup is this week and I'm praying for words of reassurance from our awesome pediatrician.

Anyway... enough about worry and fear. On Friday, a fabulous friend, who used to watch Cate, invited us up for an overnight on the farm she grew up on about an hour and a half north of Cincinnati. While it's no longer a dairy farm (just soy beans now), it was still fun to get out into some wide open space and just breathe.
Cate took off immediately with her friends in search of the cat that roams the barn and the fields.
Later on in the evening, we had a big ol' bonfire.
The kids headed in to watch a movie around 10. Cate was the only one who was still awake at the end of the move. I don't know that she's ever been up until midnight before. Probably had something to do with the fact that she slept the whole way there (in other words, took a nice 90 minute nap at 5pm). Poor Brennan though. Our newly-turned 9 months old boy was up five times that night between midnight and 6:30 am. We weren't sure if it was being in an unfamiliar place, teething, an ear infection, or what. We had been looking forward to spending most of the day Saturday with our friends, but decided to quit while we were ahead and left at 7am since Cate decided to get up at 6:30 too.

I took Brennan to the pediatrician to rule out an ear infection. Thankfully, his ears looked perfect. Turns out little guy is growing some really big front top choppers. His gums are blistered and swollen. The doctor recommended Advil every 6-8 hours and pretty much just told us to let him cry it out if he woke up at night before he was due for another dose.

We got a bit of a break last night. My fabulous sister-in-law, her boyfriend, and his cute daughter (who is only 6 months younger than Cate) watched the kiddos so that Eric and I could attend my friend, Emily's, benefit that she put on for Hagar. Emily runs the online boutique, Stop Traffick Fashion, so I couldn't resist picking up a little neck candy for a good cause. I love this necklace! We came home to too tired kiddos. After quick baths, they were off to bed. Despite the chaos of being up with Brennan so much Friday night, we somehow managed to stay awake for the season premiere of Saturday Night Live. Brennan only woke up once last night. He cried for about a half hour before he was able to have another dose of Advil (after which he went back to sleep and slept until 8 this morning).

Today has been fairly lazy. I think we're all still a little on the sleepy side.

Happy Sunday to you all.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

To Market, To Market (and to Two Parks too)

We had not been to our favorite downtown market in awhile, so we decided it was time to go. Plus, I figured that making freezer jam had been easy enough, so why not get some tomatoes and make some spaghetti sauce to freeze (I'm tellin' ya, freezer "canning" really is easy). Cate strapped her Bitty Baby, Annie, onto her back since Mommy was wearing Brennan in our Boba, and we were off. She picked out a perfect fall goody.
Since we were already downtown, we headed to a great park. First, we walked along the river.
Then we played.
Then we took some pictures.
We came home for a nap and then headed out to another park, northeast of the city, for Eric's stepdad's family reunion. It was fun getting to meet some of his family members that I haven't met before. And of course, the kids loved seeing Grandma.
We ended the night with an impromptu bonfire. Our neighbors joined us for some marshmallow roasting-- yum!
I absolutely love fall! It really is one of my favorite seasons. I love a good, warm sweater or sweatshirt, my jeans, and some boots. I love falling leaves, football games, apple cider, and pumpkin pie. There's no snow on the ground and Christmas shopping is just beginning (ok, who am I kidding-- we started a couple of months ago). Don't get me wrong-- I have things I love about the other seasons too. Skiing in winter. Or snowy days spent first outside playing and then inside cuddled together and keeping warm. Flowers and rain puddles and spring break in the spring. The beach, lounging by the pool, and a nice long break in the summer. But there's just something about autumn that makes my heart skip a beat when the first leaves start changing and the temperature starts dipping into the 60's. Fall always reminds me why I'm only kidding in the winter about moving somewhere warmer. The changing of the seasons marks time for my family and helps us fall into different rhythms that spice up our lives with the uniqueness each season brings.

Welcome, fall!

Melody :-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Carry Your Heart With Me

Cate had her first day of preschool today. After visiting a few area preschools last year, we know the one Cate is attending is the best fit for her. She picked out her Cars shirt with me last night. We loaded her "summer collection" bag into her backpack. Eric did a super job on her pigtails. And then...in she walked. I can't believe we are to this point in our lives. She came home and was so proud to talk about how she shared with other kids. And how she checked herself in (flipped her card around to show she was present). And how she got to play with new kids. It's a little hard to let go and accept that this is where we are now. That she's no longer baby or toddler, but preschooler. Kid.
But she's my kid. When my grandma asked her how many kids were in her class tonight, her response was "too many." So cute. There are only 17. And three teachers. Three very dedicated and very wonderful teachers.
And so today begins a new chapter in our lives. I hope she likes school and sees it as a safe and fun place to be. I hope she never loses her sense of curiosity and wonder. I hope she sticks her hand in the air to the point of it almost being annoying because she has questions or wants her comments to be heard. I hope she makes new friends. I hope she respects her teachers. I hope so many things for her and her education. Today is the beginning of those hopes.

~Melody :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ten years ago I was a naive, selfish college sophomore. After an 8am theater class, one of my best friends and I headed back to my dorm room. We busted out the mid-morning snacks, put on a DVD of Friends and settled in to watch until our next class. A few minutes later, the girl across the hall (we went to high school together too), knocked on the door and asked if we were watching the TV. She said that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I turned on the TV. I clung to my friend. The world seemed to stop.

The rest of the day I felt like I was going through the motions. The attacks were all that anyone talked about in class, at my physical therapy appointment, in the student center. I think we were all waiting for something else to happen. Miami cancelled classes that Friday. At only one other time in the university's history had they ever cancelled all classes (for a non-weather issue).

Thankfully nothing else happened.

This morning I nursed a sleepy Brennan as I watched the early morning news shows preparing for coverage of the remembrance ceremony in New York. I thanked God for those that keep this country safe. That keep my family safe. The thousands of military men and women, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics. And maybe a part of me is still that naive college sophomore. Because I also prayed that my children will only ever read about terrorism in their history books.
Praying for peace for all today.

~Melody :-)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hello, Monday!

Like a lot of people, I'm lucky enough to have had today off work. Hello, no-work Monday!

Hello, big sister in the crib with little brother.
Hello, cooler temperatures (it was 100 on Saturday; today we hit didn't quite hit 70) that warrant shorts, long sleeves, and a hat for a bald head.
Hello, $10 Ikea tent in the backyard for a nap. A nap that lasted all of 5 minutes, but whatever.
Hello, bowl of chopped strawberries ready for my first canning attempt.
Hello, freezer jam. You were oh so easy to make and will be oh so yummy to eat.
Hello, Monday!

~Melody :-)

PS...Totally copied the idea for a "Hello, Monday" post from this blog.

PPS...I'm lazy. All pictures courtesy of my iPhone today.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cheap Family Fun

We are t-minus 16 days and counting until I start getting a paycheck again. In the meantime, we're getting creative as we continue to stretch Eric's severance and our savings. We've had quite a bit of fun this weekend, on less than $20. First up, Friday night...
...indoor movie night. I had a free rental code for Redbox, so we rented Rio. A blanket on the floor, some popcorn, a few toys for Brennan, some cold beer for Mommy and Daddy, and we were set.
The movie was cute. I have the Angry Birds Rio game on my phone, which Cate loves playing. She loved pointing out the "angry birds" and "mean monkeys" in the movie. The music had us all dancing (and wiggling) to the beat.

Yesterday morning, our local children's bookstore hosted a Max and Ruby story time. Cate got to meet Max. To say she loved him would be an understatement.
Last night we headed up to our local Catholic parish's festival. Cate and Brennan both enjoyed the sandbox. Supposedly there were dinosaurs you could dig up in there, but we didn't find any. Brennan liked the sand, until it stuck to his sweaty hands and arms. Hopefully he'll like beach sand better next summer (this sand was gravelly).
Cate rode the Rocket Ride. She wasn't too sure about the ride at first, but loved it by the end.
Next we were off to the games. Spinning the wheel, playing Plinko, and rolling the skee-balls amounted to Cate earning enough tickets to come home with a small stuffed whale (named Spaghetti), a paperback book, a wooden train whistle, a pirate finger puppet, and a stuffed snake (named Meatball).
Someone is just itching to get to play games too. Next year, buddy.
Today has been mostly rainy. B and I napped together after church for a couple of hours while Cate and Daddy read several books and played quietly. I have another day off tomorrow-- yay, Labor Day! The heat is supposed to break and we'll only have highs in the low 70's tomorrow. I'm excited to hang with my trio again. I'm also going to try my hand at making some freezer jam.

In other news-- Cate's preschool teachers paid a visit to our house last week. They read her a book about going to school, talked to her about coming to school and what it would be like, and left some homemade play-doh for her to play with. This week she gets to visit the classroom by herself for 25 minutes while Eric and I conference with her teachers.

Eric's second week as a stay-at-home-dad was a great success. They had fun at the zoo one day and the children's museum another day. In between they went to the library, played games at home, and colored several pictures (okay, Brennan didn't color, they did that while he napped). It makes me happy to come home to three happy people every day.

~Melody :-)