Thursday, May 28, 2009

Acadiana Zoo Day

Let me first start out by saying I went against all I believe in by going to the Acadiana Zoo with the kids. Those of you that don't know me might be asking why. Well I'll tell you. The Acadiana is a privatly owned zoo that is not AZA affilated which means they don't have to follow certain rules and guidelines about animal diets, enrichment, husbandry, and housing. A lot of times zoos like this are the roadside zoos you see poor animals that are bored, depressed, and lonely and usually overweight or underweight because of diet (or lack there of) and housing situation (either alone or with no room to run or any sort of entertainment. I don't believe in supporting these type of zoos that are just out to make a buck instead of using the animal as a form of eduction and conservation. If you would like to know more about AZA affilated zoos and the importance of that feel free to ask but I'll get off my soap box here!! Let me say that the Acadiana Zoo is outstanding even though they are not AZA affliated so there are some good privatly owend zoos out there. I took a close look at the aboved mentioned criteria and was very please with what I saw and therefore was happy to take the kiddos to see the animals while Brad was at work.

I am a huge animal lover. For those of you that don't know, I got my Masters in biology where I focused on animal behvior more specifically I looked at enrichment of captive primates. It brings great joy to me to see that Owen has the same love of animals!!! He was so excited to spend the day at the zoo pointing out everything he saw and wanting to take a closer look! He especially loved to point out the monkeys and yell, "Monkey Momma, Monkey!!!"! That's my boy!

The day was pretty hot, about 90 degrees, but the zoo did a great job building itself around the trees. There was lots of great coverage that made it a pleasent day!!! It was also nice to see the animals had lots of places to seek out shelter! Beside the petting zoo is a little train that Owen was super excited to ride. Below is also the only picture I got of Addyson. Poor kid is already getting second kid treatment!! : ) She had a great day too! I laid the stroller seat completely flat so she could lay in there and look up at things and enjoy all the animal sounds. It was much to hot to keep her in the sling outside of this short trip on the train.

We spent about 2.5 hours at the zoo and had a wonderful time! Another wife came along and it was great to have her help!! It has been a long but fun morning!!!

We wanted to wait to get back to the hotel to eat lunch and it was VERY hard to keep Owen awake for this!!! As soon as we got back to the room the 3 of us crashed!!! I woke up in time to take this picture. Awwww!!! I love a sleeping baby!!

Right after I took this picture Owen rolled over! Do these 2 pictures resemble eachother?!?!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Road trippin' with 2 kids

Everyone knows that Brad and I LOVE to travel, that was one thing that attracted me to him. As a couple we took several road trips and a couple international trips. When we had Owen we didn't want a baby to stop our fun instead, we wanted to introduce him to our travel bug. While many people called us crazy I am a firm believer that kids will become accustomed to, willing take part in, and be happy doing whatever it is you take them to do starting at a young age. If you never travel with your kid then the first trip you take will be hard as they don't know what to expect and how to act. If you take your kid with you all over the world, introduce him to foreign foods and people of different races then that child will see all those things as normal. Owen grew up traveling, at 5 days old he had his first road trip when we moved from Lafayette, LA back to Fayetteville, AR. Well we didn't want Addy to feel left out so, while we are starting a bit late, at 5 weeks old she is on her first road trip.

Two weeks ago we decided to make a trip to Austin, TX. This trip served a couple of purposes. Our niece, Lucy, will be turning 2 and is having her birthday party this weekend and we wanted to come celebrate with her. Also, Brad's parents live close to Austin and we wanted them and Brad's brother Chris to meet little Addy. While we were planning this trip Brad got a work call saying he needed to be in Lafayette on the 26th. So we decided to make a road trip out of the deal. Back in the day Brad and I would have made the 10 hour trip in one day but we realize it is a bit unfair to ask a 5 week old to sit facing a seat and an active 23 month old to sit still that long. So we are breaking the trip down and making it a bit of a family vacation. To get prepared from this long journey we have stocked up on snacks and toys, added many new songs to our iPod, and for Owen's sake (and ours) we put a tv/dvd player on the back of my seat. Day one we drove to Shreveport, LA. This leg of the trip should have taken us about 5.5 hours actually took us 7.5 but I really can't complain. We ended up stopping 3 times. Before, when Owen was a baby, if he started crying I would just jumped over the seat and go back and nurse him to buy us some time. I tried to do that this time with Addy but found out it is a bit hard to squeeze in between 2 car seats!!! I was able to get her quieted down but wasn't able to really let her eat. So, I was quit happy to stop 3 times!!! We enjoyed our evening in Shreveport, we went to the boardwalk for dinner, ice cream and a bit of shopping!

Today is day 2 and we drove from Shreveport to Lafayette. The trip is about 3 hours and it took us about 3.5. We probably could have done it quicker without stopping but we forgot to fill up our gas tank and needed to stop. To make matters worse I told Brad to pass an exit thinking there would be a better looking gas station farther up and I was wrong so we had to turn around and go to the scary one. The kids were great and slept most of the way. When Owen wasn't sleeping he was watching Lion King! Boy, am I glad we have the dvd player with us!!! We are here and settled. I'm looking forward to seeing old friends, driving by our old house, and just relaxing for a few days before we pack the kids up and head off to Austin. Friday we leave for Austin and it is the longest leg of our trip. Mapquest says it is 6 hours which probably means will take us 8-9. We will stay in Austin a couple of days and leave Monday to head for home. In order to break up that drive we will stop in Dallas for the night!!! We are staying at my favorite hotel chain, Embassy Suites, and I can't wait!!! Wish us luck for the rest of our trip. I'll let you know how traveling with 2 kids goes!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How to help a new Momma

Being a new Momma I have had a lot of family and friends offer help!! I want to first start out by saying a BIG Thank You to all that have helped me!! Helped has been offered in a number of ways all of which I am thankful for. Meals have been brought to me (very yummy meals), Owen has had play dates, postpartum items necessary for mommy healing have been left at our front door, I have had many phone calls of people checking in and offering help, and family and friends have come and stayed at our house to help me while Brad was out of town. Without all of this surviving this first month as a family of 4 would have been much harder especially with my stomach issues I have been having. Not having to worry about shopping and cooking has given me more time to spend with our little Addy which I am enjoying every second of. Time flies and I don't want to miss out on any of our precious bonding time. Juggling two kids and trying to spend as much time as possible with each is hard enough without all the extra house work.

This weekend Grandpa Ken and Grandma Robin came in town for a visit. Ken said he once heard someone say that bringing meals to a new mom is nice but what a new mom (and dad) really want is help with the "honey do" list. That is SO true. As I'm sitting on the couch holding Addy I go through the list over and over in my head of everything else I "should" be doing and it drives me crazy! One of the things that I have to do every day is the dishes. Well by the time I get around to doing them it is dark outside. Why should this matter you ask. Well it matters because the light in our kitchen has not been working for several months and I open the blinds and use natural light to get stuff done so when it is dark outside it is hard to tell the clean dishes from the dirty ones. This is the same problem Ken had when he went to load( or unload) our dish washer, he wasn't sure if they were clean or dirty. So, while Robin was folding our sheets and towels Ken ran to the store (2 times) to get stuff to fix our light. We now have light and boy what a difference it makes in the house!!! Thank you SO much Ken!!! And the sheets that sat unfolded for over a week finally got put away in our linen closet! Thank you Robin!! Now if I can just get Jennifer to come put cute bows on our towels I'll be all set!! : ) By helping with the honey do list I realized how much that also helps a new dad be able to sit and enjoy time with his baby which is also very important! So, if you are looking for ways to help out new parents and you don't want to bring a meal think of something you usually add to your own honey do list and offer that service to them! They will really appreciate it! Thank you again to all those that have helped!!! We really appreciate it and so do our kids!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Shake's (formerly known as Shakey's) is a family favorite!! Dare I say family tradition!!! Shakey's started as a family business in Joplin, Mo (where I grew up). After baseball games, gymnastics, or just because on a hot summer night my family and I would head to Shakey's for a tastey treat. Fast forward several years and the oldest son of the owner, Cory, decided to open a Shakey's in Fayetteville. I am now a senior in high school and apply for a job there! I ended up being a asst. manager and got my brother Ryan a job there. As Shakey's became popular several people asked about franchising and due to this they had to change the name from Shakey's to Shake's. Turns out there is a pizza chain called Shakey's and they were going to sue for using their name.... go figure!!!

So, there is a bit of our family Shakey's history. Besides being a childhood favorite the custard is yummy!!!!!!! And 98% fat free (or something like that)!!! What gets me is I DON'T eat it plain so the 98% fat free gets thrown out the window when I add the carmel, hot fudge and pecans (otherwise known a as Big Bopper)!!! If you haven't had one, one hot night this summer you should head that way and treat yourself!!!

My mom knows I'm a sucker for Shake's!!! Mom will often call to meet for dinner or something and due to a busy schedule I have to pass. If it has been a while or she just really wants to see her grandkids she knows she can offer to meet at Shake's and it almost a guarentee I will be able to meet up!!! So, while Lucy and Holly were in town she called and asked if she could take us to Shake's!!! As you can see from the pictures I couldn't pass up the sweet deal (excuse the pun). Another great thing about Shake's is they give out free baby cones!! Owen knows this and looks forward to sitting on the bench and eating his cone!!! Once I tried to go through the drive though and take our custard home. As we were pulling away he kept saying "sit" and I realized he wanted to get out and eat so I pulled in, parked, and ate outside!!! Is it bad that my 22 month old can recognize Shake's?!?!

Here are Owen and Lucy enjoying their baby cones.

If you have a puppy don't leave s/he behind because Shake's offers our furry family members a free puppy cup!!!! Skip and Sam are very familiar with this and get excited as we pull up to the window. Here is Sammy (my almost 15 year old Yorkie) enjoying his frozen treat!

Go treat yourself today!! Tell them I sent you!!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

VBAC rally

Today Owen and Addy attended their first protest!!! A group of mom's from Birth Network and ICAN got together to protest the ban on VBACs at Mercy hospital. While I can't say enough good things about our doctor and the nurses that attended our birth and their support of our decision, there are some hospital administrators that are trying to force women into c-sections. Shame on them for not allowing women to CHOOSE how they want to bring their baby into the world!!! Shame on them for trying to force or bully women into unnecessary surgery!!

I am very thankful I was surrounded by supportive family, friends, and medical staff that stood by my side while I birthed Addy the way I wanted!! The way God created me to have a baby! I am so thankful for my VBAC!!!

Check out the press coverage!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monkey See, Monkey Do

I've always called Owen my little monkey and now I know why!!! He is copying everything we do and I always say "Monkey see, Monkey do". It all started several months ago (before he had a whole lot of words) when I was putting on blush. He watched me intently and then pointed. I thought, "What the heck!" and gave him my brush and blush (closed) and he proceeded to put some on. He did it very delicately which I found super cute! This behavior progressed into helping me put clothes in the dryer and dishes in the dishwasher which is very helpful! His copying also gave me much insight into some of my behaviors!!! He would walk around the living room with a cell phone to his ear while talking loudly and waving his arm (do I really do that??? it must be Brad that does that!!!!).

Well due to bad cell phone reception we take a lot of phone calls outside (I also do that to eliminate some of the background noises that comes with a housefull!). So, this morning I take a call outside and as I shut the door I hear Owen saying "outside, outside" which means he really wants to follow me. After I hang up the phone I hear little man at the door, I open it to find that he has gotten his cell phone, is pushing buttons to make a call, and wants to take it outside!!! Oh, how I love my little monkey!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy One Month Addyson

Wow!!! Does time fly when you are having fun!!! I can't believe it has been a whole month since Addy was born! Where does the time go? Well I know where some of it has gone.... nursing, sleeping, making dirty diapers!!! It has also been filled with lots of company wanting to snuggle little Addy as well as help mommy and daddy!!! Thanks Mom, Dad, Mar, Ken, Robin, Georgia, Holly, Lucy, and all those friends that brought us dinner!!

Addy is such a good baby. She is very content and rarely cries as long as she is in the room with us. If I lay her on her tummy in the boppy she'll sleep for hours! Most nights she only wakes up once to nurse, about 3am, which amazes me because Owen nursed all night long (at least it felt that way to me). She is very strong and lifted her head day one. It amazes me that she'll lift her head and hold it out for a couple of minutes. She likes to be able to look around and see what is going on. She is a very noisy baby as well. She is always grunting and making noises like she is clearing her throat. While she sleeps most of the night I am always waking up to check on her because of all the grunting!! Hopefully I'll get use to that and can start sleeping most of the night with her! She gave her first smile and cooed day 10. She likes to look at us and try to talk, it is very cute. I bet she is going to be talkitive like Owen! She is also a paci baby (which is why I thought the above picture was very appropriate!)!!! If she has her paci and is able to snuggle you won't hear a peep out of her. She already looks up to her big brother who is a big fan of hers. The morning routine includes being held by Owen and getting kisses and hugs. He likes to get right in her face and she doesn't seem to mind. She stares at him and sometimes tries to coo at him.

It has only been a month but it seems like Addy has been here for much longer than that. She fits right in and is dearly loved!!! We can't wait to see what our little princess grows up to be!

Rooster Crow

Owen loves to imitate animals. He has been practicing his rooster crow during the Ambient commercial! Now he got to practice in real life at the Strawberry Fields!! He was beside himself!

Strawberry Fields Forever

Today we went to Dicky Farms, past Tonitown with the Fayetteville Mom's Club to pick strawberries!! We had a lot of fun!!! Owen took his job very seriously and put the picked strawberries in his container!! We tried to get him to eat a few but that wasn't part of his job so he shook his head no and put the strawberry where it belonged... the container!

We picked a whole flat full!!! Well I should really say Brad picked most of them!!! It was a lot to bend over and pick with a baby on my belly!!! Addy had fun being snuggled up and enjoying the noises of all the kids having fun!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A week with cousin Lucy

Cousin Lucy and Aunt Holly came to visit for 5 days while Brad was out of town. It was great to have the help and Owen loved having a playmate 24/7!! Too bad Lucy wasn't always as excited about the little puppy following her around! Luckily the weather was nice most of the time so we did a lot of outdoor activities!!! The water table was a huge hit!! They had fun emptying the table, little Lucy's head took some hits as Owen dumped his container.

Play dough was also a big hit. After breakfast they would start asking for it! The Schleich animals Brad and I have been collecting over the years for our "future" kids were a hit as well. You can see the animals in action here! It took a while for Owen to let Lucy play with his monkeys. When she would first take one Owen would say "Share!" I think he had to remind himself to share!! ; )Owen loves to play the harmonica and here he is helping Lucy play too!!

On Wednesday morning we took the kids to the Botanical Garden for Little Sprouts. They got to plant some seeds, play in the gardens, look at the baby chicks, and went up in the birds nest!!! The Botanical Garden is a great place to take the kids!! They have a great children's garden area with a little pond and they have another pond that have fish in it! We can't wait to go back!

All in all it has been a great week!! The kids really learned how to share, communicate, and play with eachother!!! I'd like to say they are 2 peas in a pod but I'm afraid Lucy needs a bit more space and would like a pod to herself!!! : ) But I can say they are good friends and I can't wait to watch them grow up together!! Just wish we lived a bit closer!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Today I spent the day with my Grandma and Mom over at my mom's house. I was thankful that my mom came over at 7am (when Owen wakes up) to help get the kids and myself ready for church since Brad is in India with work. After church we went back to mom's house for breakfast and we spent the rest of the day there. I felt bad that my poor mom had to "work" on Mother's Day but was very thankful for her help and what better way to spend such a special day than with your arms full of your grandkids!!! Here is a picture of me with my arms full of my wonderful kiddos.

Happy Mother's Day to all the special ladies out there!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Addy's first bath

Tonight we gave Addy her first bath. I had been dreading it because Owen screamed the first time we gave him a bath and every other time we bathed him for about a month. We had put Owen to bed so the crying wouldn't upset him but then I also worried that the crying might wake him up so we bathed her on the kitchen counter instead of the bathroom. Turns out we had nothing to worry about! Addy LOVED her bath.

She actually cried when I took her out! Looks like we have a little fishy on our hands!!! I look forward to the day I can put them both in the tub and let them play (and save me time!)

I have this same photo with Owen! I can't wait to dig it up and compare the two!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mommy's Little Helper

Owen has taken on the roll as Mommy's Helper and loves it. He often says, "helper", which I think is super cute!!! He loves to throw dirty diapers in the trash, fetch a blanket or paci for Addy, or bring mommy her drink. I can't believe how big he is, he is my little man and SO helpful!!! This morning I asked him to bring me a diaper for Addy. When I asked this I wasn't sure what exactly I would get as he knows where his diapers are but doesn't know that we use a different diaper for Addy. He brought me not only one but 2 diapers (of course they were his diapers)!! The thing that surprised me the most was he also brought me the wet wipes!!!! I was impressed!! He knew I would need those too to change a diaper and how silly of me not to think of that!!!! I'm so thankful for my little helper!!!