Saturday, March 31, 2012

Guess Who's Potty Trained ??

Well I've waited a little while to make this post, (I didn't want to jinx us), but I can proudly announce that over the past couple of months our little man has become Potty Trained!!  Yeah!!
It's been an on-giong process that began last summer, but it wasn't until the first of the year that Mommy decided Hunter was big enough, smart enough, and capable enough to make this happen.  So with an overnight decision to not buy any more diapers, we started the next day with big boy underwear on.  Grandmommy was there for the potty training kick off -- even daring to take the first outing in underwear to Wal-Mart (accident free by the way!).  Of course the first few days saw their fair share of "accidents" but probably not as many as we were expecting.  And after just 2 weeks we were all feeling very confident that Hunter had the idea.  We were so surprised that this daunting stage of progression had actually went so smoothly... for the most part   :)
With the two exceptions of about 10 days of tummy sickness that sent us back into diapers and a 3 day potty training revolt that left us with several messes, our little man finally was "easy" at something.  haha  It could have been that he was just truly ready (2 1/2), or that his best friend Ava (along with about every child in his KDO class -- the poor teachers) decided to potty train at the same time, or maybe we were just blessed, i'm not sure.  But whatever the reason, we are so glad that it was as easy as it was considering all of the warnings we'd been hearing -- you know, the horrors of potty training, especially little boys!   ;)
I will admit that it had, and still occasionally has it's challenges, mostly dealing with those times when our sweet little boy informs us that he "wasn't fast enough" or when his aim is slightly off.  hehe  But generally speaking, potty training has been a great success!  
A couple highlights too precious to leave out:
---Hunter picked out these "Tars Underwears" all by himself and is obviously very proud of them  :)
---While staying with grandparents one weekend, Papa Bob got a little concerned with how long our little man tends to stay on the potty . . . of course asking that entire time for privacy. 
---After several days of potty training with his sweet friend, us parents had a couple things to clear up.  One, Hunter had to learn that he wears underwear, not "panties" and two, Ava had to learn their techniques had to be slightly different.
---While home alone with his daddy, Hunter ventured off to use the potty.  When daddy checked on him, Hunter asked him to leave the door closed but agreed to holler when finished.  After about 15 minutes daddy went back again only to find an empty roll of TP and a completely stopped up toilet.  When asked why he didn't call him, Hunter replied, "I did daddy - you not listen. Can I have a sticker?"  hahaha
A note to my little man:
In no way is this post meant to embarrass you; only to shower you in the ultimate praise you deserve.  We are so proud of this "big boy" accomplishment and honestly, you are too.  :)  In some ways it has been sad to see that precious diaper waddle disappear, but mommy is so thankful that God continually allows us to watch you grow and develop.  Time goes by so quickly, and hitting these major milestones help pause life for a moment, and realize just that.  You are my sweet sweet boy and I love you, I love you, I love you.

"The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy..” 
Psalm 126:3

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Weekend Slumber Party with My Girls of '02

Girls, girls girls . . .

I'd been looking forward to this occasion, an entire weekend spent with some of my favorite girls, for months . . . or years really.  Because to be honest, over the last 10 years ( I still can't believe that it's been 10 years ) although we've tried to stay in contact, visit each other, and plan get togethers - it's JUST HARD to make it happen - and typically we get a few hours of catching up and then it's hugs goodbye for another 6 months - or until the next wedding, baby shower, etc.
We started planning this weekend back in October and I was beyond ready for it to get started.  I hadn't hosted a 'sleep-over' in years and my husband even teased me about how excited I was about it ( possibly even more than the vacations we'd been planning )  
So first I dropped Hunter off in Russellville with grandparents for the weekend . . .
Where he seemed to have had an AWESOME time with Grandmommy & Pops, and (pretend) camping at the farm with his Pa.
 Not sure that was what Pa had in mind when he asked Hunter to nail in the stakes
 First time in his life he couldn't wait to go to bed - LOL
 I'd say my little man can snap a pretty good picture for 2 years old
 hard at work around camp
 when nature calls . . .
 2 weeks late and he's still talking about his camping trip at the farm . . .
Then after sending my hubby away on a ski trip with his buddies,
I spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for an amazing and FULL weekend with the girls!  We decided that everyone would bring snacks, drinks, & desserts and then we'd split up meal preparations -- so I went to the store intending to purchase some healthier treats but could't resist falling back into old high school habits and went for the chips, dips, brownies, and Kool-Aid.  As it turned out, just about everyone else did the same thing.  Oh well - healthy diets & girls' weekends don't really mix anyways.
Mallory provided a straight from the heart, delicious homemade cake to celebrate
Everyone arrived just as EXCITED & PUMPED as I was
After a late late night spent catching up on each others lives, 
and literally eating for what felt like 24 hours straight, ( not forgetting witnessing the fastest trip to Whole Foods in the history of man kind - although not quite fast enough ) 
we thought it'd be fun to burn some energy and take a trip up to Crystal Bridges to enjoy it's beauty on such a gorgeous sunny day.
We were thrilled that Courtney made it up that morning, even if just for the day -- giving us a total of 2 prego mommies.

 LC of course provided us with some old school, but awesome, 'burned' cds, so we could grove to the tunes of our glory days.
After a thorough pat down and a reading of our rights, we were finally allowed to make our way around the beautiful Crystal Bridges.   ;)
Much prettier than my ability allowed me to capture . . .  
Lauren was thrilled to pose 18 inches away from her mighty hero.
 It didn't take us long to realize that, with 8 girls on a mission to enjoy each other in conversation and laughter, we might need to move the party elsewhere.  So we headed outside and made a plan for the rest of the evening.  Is it just me or did one friend make it in every single picture ? ?  hmmmm
Of course all that we could come up with to do was . . .  head home for an afternoon snack & more girl talk ---- I love that we can happily just sit around and enjoy good company ---- we're such grown-ups !
 We ended a terrific day with a delicious dinner at Noodles.  Nothing better than good food & great friends all at the SAME TIME.
 I also love our comfort levels with each other -- you can't beat life long friends.
 We even scored a second group photo for the weekend - yeah
 Sunday brought yet another yummy meal and of course more love & laughter among friends.  And as much as we hated to say our good-byes, all good things must come to a ". . . to be continued."   :)
I was excited to share a little parting gift with my sweet friends, who had all made such an effort to make this weekend work ( a starter kit to their own homemade laundry detergent, from where else but Pinterest ).
I know I'm partial, but I think I have the prettiest, sweetest, smartest, & most amazing group of girl friends on this earth.  We counted it up this weekend, and we've been a collection of "friends" for at least 17 years now, many of us longer than that . . . how amazing. 

So to all my Russellville girls - Class of 2002 - it was a wonderful and blessed weekend to get to spend together with you.  I value and love all of you, each for your own special & unique qualities and friendships.  As we grow up and expand our lives with new families, new jobs, new places, and even new friends -- it's so wonderful to come back "home" to those who you truly know and who truly know you.  It's been an adventure !!  Thank you for sharing your lives with me and for your deepest friendships.  

"Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil;  cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves."
Romans 12:9-10

Sunday, March 4, 2012

LOVED February

February usually isn't one of my favorite months.  Typically it's cold and snowy, and I really start getting the itch for nice spring weather.  But this year it's been quite the opposite!  Besides suffering bouts of illness (possibly the worst stomach bug of my life!  Sending Andrew to the hospital and bringing momma up to rescue us both, only to get herself sick as well), it was a pretty great month!  Days of gorgeous weather and lots of fun to keep us busy!

Andrew enjoyed "the World's Tallest Ice Cream Cone" (at least in NWA)
Unlike last years 2 ft of snow, we've enjoyed several days with 65+ weather. 
 Hunter loved "sthnuggling da warm chair."
We've spent a couple beautiful days at a new park we recently discovered
Before we headed outside to play on one of our nice days, I told Hunter that we needed to "get ready" to go outside - meaning put on our shoes.  He came running back to me a few minutes later "Weady to doe."
We even wore SHORTS IN FEBRUARY and it couldn't have tickled me more.  Hunter & I spent a lovely day playing with friends in the backyard and soaking up some much needed vitamin D.
and my child was introduced to silly bands.  loves. them.
We've become regulars for 'Story Time' at our local library, where we often meet up with our friends Ava & Kellen.

Hunter loves his "best fwiend Ava."  They are so sweet together - this particular day, they held hands the entire hour !
I love the expression on Hunter's face - hahaha - 
like "watch it man, she's mine."   too funny.
 Hunter's favorite part of the library is picking out books. I bring our big library bag and let him just fill it up - he gets so excited over it !  He always reminds me that we have to "pay for dem" before we leave though.
Another favorite for the kiddos is Craft Time - I think it's so cute how there is a different theme every week for their stories, songs, and crafts.
Another gorgeous day took us from the library to the park, a great opportunity to let the kids swing and the mommas visit . . . as it turned out, Hunter enjoyed visiting while I had fun on the swings.
We can't ever visit the park without feeding the ducks!  Good thing miss Jill remembered the bread!
One piece of bread for the ducks . . . one piece of bread for Ava!  
There are moments as a parent that make you cry, there are moments that make you squirm in your seat, there are moments that make you laugh, and then there are moments that make you proud . . . So sweet to see my little man share his last piece with a friend.  :)
I don't have to point out that they had a great time
------- Picture Day at Kid's Day Out -------
I couldn't resist taking a mini photo shoot, just in case my stinker refused to flash that sweet smile
I know I'm partial . . . but I can't help but think my baby boy is turning out to be a handsome little boy!
With such nice weather, we've been grilling a few dinners outback, and during one of these evenings Hunter insisted I come outside too.  So he led me out and pointed to the sky and said "Look Mommy, it's pretty blue!"
It sure was . . .
Something else we've been enjoying the last couple months, is "looking at land."  Andrew & I are very different when it comes to most of the activities that each of us enjoys, but "dreaming" has always been a favorite pass time for us to do together.  During one of our trips we grabbed some doughnuts as a special treat for Hunter -- "oh my doodness" was he a happy little boy.
Until he crashed from his sugar high a couple hours later . . .
But a walk through the woods helped perk him up pretty quickly  :)
----- We celebrated Peyton -----
This was an extra special birthday for our sweet niece, as she not only turned 7 but was baptized, publicly signifying her relationship with Jesus Christ.  It was such a precious day.
It was also wonderful to enjoy it with lots of family present
The cousins had a blast as always . . .
Easton showed us his beautician skills (it's  just what happens with three sisters)
Of course my "only-child" enjoyed himself, by himself, in a room full of new toys
Everybody had a blast taking a swing . . .
(sometimes I look at him and he just looks so grown up -- ohh how fast it goes by)
. . . and everybody ended up with too much candy
Hunter sure loves his cousin Peyton.  And I love the fact that every once in a while I catch a glimpse of her in my little man.  It's gotta be those big chocolate brown eyes.
Hunter has been in need of some new "play shoes" for some time now, so when I saw these the other day for $10 I snatched them up.  I'm not a big fan of athletic shoes, so pretty much anything decent & at a good price will work for the wear & tear of outside play.  But what is so cute, is how proud my little man is of them!  He calls them his, "run fast shoes," and loves to show them off.  :)  Right after he got them we had attended a play date at a gym, where he very excitedly announced to all his friends & mommies, that he'd got new "run fast shoes at Wal-Mart" because his "udder ones too widdle" ---  hahaha --- Oh how I'd love to believe that he's never going to care if his shoes aren't name brand, and just be thankful to have them.  
Too sweet.
He seems to be reaching a new mile stone in life where he plays much better by himself.  It's been really nice to be able to work on things around the house while watching him completely enjoying his toys, using his imagination, and (I just noticed recently) having conversations/talking play with his animals etc.  I just love the cute little voices he uses . . .
He loves to call "Pa & Untle Tote" and have conversations about the farm
He often cooks me delicious meals and loves to wait on & serve me.  
But only after trips to "Wal-Mart" to get more food  :)
Grandmommy gave him these super cute new shoes --- So of course he had to show them to his friend Ava at school the next day
He got another hair cut . . . although much needed, it turned out a little "fun."  Luckily his hair grows really fast, so hopefully we can even it out a bit more --- if the little booger will sit for it  ;)  He did so good before those clippers started buzzing around his ears - HA
Showing off his big muscles
A glimpse that spring is starting early - I sure hope we don't have a late freeze   :(
So as it turned out, I LOVED February.  And I am so very thankful for all of the beautiful memories and moments God's grace allowed for me to enjoy.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you . . .
James 4:8