Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Hunter has really taken to playing with Mackenzie. Brother and sister bonding time.
Callie and Mackenzie are more interactive these days.
Practicing sitting up.

Here are just a few pics from our Sunday afternoon together. I'm going back to school tomorrow. Spring Break comes to an end, but the countdown for summer is on.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hunter's Art Gallery

Hunter hanging a few pieces of his art.

One of my favorite things to do is to look through catalogues to get decorating ideas. A few months ago we received our Pottery Barn Kids spring catalogue. Hunter loves to hang art all over the house with tape. I have been racking my brain trying to find a way to display his art, but in one location. After seeing this in the catalogue, I knew that was exactly what I wanted. It cost $36 to purchase from Pottery Barn. I bought some picture frame wire for $2.50, cardboard stars from Michael's for $1.50 each, clothes pins for $2.50, and a can of Navy spray paint for $3.50. For $10, Hunter's Art Gallery is open.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Enjoying Spring Break

This is a box with the letters "H" and "U" in it. You will have to turn your head to see both of these pictures. I'm not sure why they are turned sideways.
This is a picture of Hunter's car. He is getting really good at drawing little pictures. It is amazing how fast he drawings have gone from scribbles to pictures.
Pretending to be a pirate..."arrrrr"

Being silly with mom

We are loving the weather this week. It is so nice to sit outside and just watch Hunter and Mackenzie play. Hunter is really beginning to take an interest in Mackenzie. The other morning she was crying and he went over and started playing with her. She immediately stopped crying and began smiling. He, after 7 months, is starting to fall into the role of being a big brother.

Pirate Playdate

Little pirates having fun.
We are still enjoying Santa's gift on a daily basis.

I love entertaining. 5 years ago, I simply would have my friends over for dinner. No kids were around at that time. Now, the entertaining at night has come to a close and we have playdates. We have so much fun watching our kids play.

Hunter has a new favorite cartoon, Jake and the Neverland Pirates (Disney Channel). I went and bought a few pirate items for the kids: golden coins (the treasure), pirate swords, compasses, and pirate eye patches. We also have a wooden chest that was made by my great-uncle that the kids used as their treasure chest. The kids had a blast pretending Hunter's swing set was a pirate ship.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mackenzie's Sleeping Positions

Mackenzie loves to sleep with her knees tucked under and her little butt in the air.
Mackenzie has a sweet little nightly routine. She is very easy to put to bed. We rock and read a book together. I then turn out the lights and try to rock her a little longer. Usually she will arch her back and want to be put down. She is a cuddler, but when it comes to going to sleep she likes to do it on her own. I put her in her bed and set Violet (her little stuffed dog) up to play lullabies. Violet, from Leap, is one that we can program to say her name, pick her songs that she plays, along with so much more. Mackenzie loves her. I do leave Violet in bed while Mackenzie goes to sleep. She cuddles with her for a little while, but then rolls over and sleeps on her belly. I do not let Violet stay in her bed, but I think it is so cute how she has her own little routine of falling asleep.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hunter and Mama Time

Starting our tour of the Gardens.
We are at the top of the falls here.
Hunter took charge of the map and showed guided me around the park. He kept asking for me to find Nannie/Papa's house and Annmother/Pop's house on the map. He didn't understand why their house wasn't on that map :)
Watering the flowers.

Having fun with at the water park.

Since Mackenzie has been born, Hunter and I haven't had a whole lot of alone time. Having time off this week and ENCA being open I took advantage and sent Mackenzie. We started early, due to only having one car and needing to have Adam to work by 7:30am. We started our day at Cracker Barrel. Hunter loves going and looking at the toys. I had packed his wallet just in case he chose to buy something. Sure enough he bought a toy he is calling "The Claw".
After a few pancakes, we headed to the Naples Botanical Gardens. The weather was perfect for a walk through the gardens. Hunter's favorite part, prior to going to the Children's Garden, was the waterfall. Because of Naples location, they are able to grow about anything from South America and Latin America. I took pictures of my favorite trees hoping to add some of them to our yard. The Children's Garden had a water area, a butterfly garden, a tree house, and a nature walk. On the nature walk they provided us with sidewalk chalk to trace the outlines of the leaves we found in the cement. It was so special to have the time to sit down and do sidewalk chalk with Hunter. We even sat in a hammock under some palm trees for a while. Very relaxing morning.
We went and ran a few errands on that side of town, picked up lunch, and then headed to
Sun-N-Fun Lagoon (the local water park). I was a little hesitant to go. Last week Hunter was playing in some sprinklers at a park and he complained of being cold pretty quickly. He would play for a little while, then cuddle up with me on a lounge chair to warm up. This continued for 2 1/2 hours. Adam was even able to join us. Afterwards, Adam was driving Hunter home and they past the fairgrounds. Hunter, who I thought would fall asleep immediately in the car, was wide awake and said, "Daddy, I want to go to the fair right now!" They did come home and grab a quick bite to eat before heading off to the fair. I think I'm going to have one tired boy this evening. He had a day full of quality time with both Adam and I. It is something we all needed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Memory That Will Make You Smile

The following is an e-mail, with pictures, that my mother sent me yesterday. I am posting it because it is a memory I want to hold on to and publish in our "blog book".

I wanted to share a story with you that will make you smile. Your Daddy is so sweet. I was out painting my swing today and Dad came out and sat on the patio. I looked around and saw that he was gone. I assumed that he had gone back in the house, but when I got up to look he was not in the house. I got a little concerned because I did not see him in the backyard. I walked around front and didn't see him there either. When I got back to the backyard again, he was coming up the hill from MawMaw's apartment with a handful of Dandelion flowers and violets. He was so excited and as he brought them to me, he kept saying, "Look what I picked for you." I went in to get a bowl to float them in and he went out to the work shed and got some clippers. The next thing I knew he was cutting trimmings off of the flowering trees and branches off of the pine trees. He took these cuttings and placed them in the railroad ties around my garden and in the chairs on the patio. He was so cute and so sincere in his excitement. I just loved it. We had a great day. Sweet memories.

Love you all bunches,

Monday, March 21, 2011

1st Swimming Experience

Mackenzie exploring the water around her.
Samantha and Mackenzie having fun together. Samantha loves playing with her.

Today we were invited to go swimming with the Burke family. It was a last minute decision, but I had everything in the car except for Mackenzie's bathing suit. The weather has been perfect down here, but a little breezy. Luckily the pool heater was working. The water was perfect. Mackenzie didn't have much of a reaction. I did take her in all of the way eventually, but didn't get any pictures of those moments. She loves taking a bath so I knew that this would be a hit. She was more curious than smiley. I can't believe my baby is 7 months old. Where is it going???

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Adventures of Chocolate Chip Continue

Above Chocolate Chip 2
Below Chocolate Chip 1
Read on to find out the story...

About 3 weeks ago Chocolate Chip completely vanished. We NEVER take Chocolate Chip on field trips (out of the house) due to the last excursion he had last year. To hear that saga check out the blog in May 2009.
Hunter really only asked about him a few times and I didn't think it was bothering him. He vanished on a weekend. During the week, I continually looked but couldn't find him. That following weekend I looked and cleaned under every piece of furniture in the house (including beds). I even checked the chair cushions in the family room. Chocolate Chip was no where to be found. I had given up hope. Luckily, Aunt Wendy had sent us a friend to have on hand if this was to ever happen. So, after much dismay, I pulled out the reserve.
I hated doing it because I knew he was somewhere in the house or somehow made it in the trash can. I kept thinking of Toy Story 3 and Lotso's story of how his owner had lost him. If you remember the movie, he found his way back home only to find that his owner had replaced him with a new version of himself. My heart was aching for Chocolate Chip, but I knew what I had to do.
Sunday night, a week and 1 day after he went missing, I went into Hunter's room to put him into bed. I told him that I found Chocolate Chip in the washing machine (I wasn't thinking clearly and should have said dryer, but luckily he didn't put that he was dry and not wet together.) Hunter as amazed at how shiny and soft his fur looked. The original Chocolate Chip had a very worn plastic nose. Hunter noticed that his nose was "all fixed". He hugged him and kept saying, "I'm so glad to have my favorite dog back." The next morning, as I was getting ready, Hunter came in the bathroom as soon as he woke up. He had Chocolate Chip in hand. He looked up at me and said, "Mom, he must have gone to God's washing machine because God's washing machine does a good job." LOVE IT!!!
Well, last week I went to sit on the couch in our living room. Adam and I were talking as Hunter was playing with a new train track that I had just finished building. For some reason, I decided to reach behind me. Who did I find under the cushions? None other than the original Chocolate Chip (CC). I immediately looked at Adam. He knew by the look on my face what I had found. He mouthed, "Did you find him?" I shook my head yes and pushed CC further down in the cushions. Later that night, after Hunter had gone to bed, I retrieved CC. I placed him the washing machine, then the dryer, and gave him a little peck on the cracked plastic nose before placing him at the top of our closet for safe keeping. Yes, you will find me going in the closet late at night to reassure CC that Hunter, one day, will play with him again. Until that day comes, CC will stay and observe our family from high up in the closet.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Collier County Fair 2011

Our little angel enjoying the sounds of the fair.
Attempting a new ride.

Of course he was all grins when driving a car.

Having fun with dad!

Adam teaching him to hold his hands up in the air as he rides.

Getting a little dizzy.

To start our Spring Break we decided to go to the fair, which is literally right around the corner from our house. I thought Hunter's fears of rides was behind us, but he was VERY cautious about what he rode. We started out with a dragon that has a wheel that you spin to make it go around. He liked that and immediately said, "I want to go again." We then tried a caterpillar ride that had a few bumps, but just went around and around. Again, he said,"I want to do it again." We looked around at the other rides and he was not going to have any part of any of them. We eventually talked him into going on the Bumblebee ride which again, goes around in a circle, but the bees alternate going up in the air. It took a lot of convincing, but he did it. It was so cute because as soon as the ride would start he would look at me and say, "I'm not scared!!!" He would have the biggest smile on his face. At the end of the night we told him how he was such a big boy for trying out some of the rides. He responded, "Yeah, I'm really proud of myself."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Saint Patty's Day!

Mackenzie wearing green and loving it!
Mackenzie with her new favorite toy. (It was also one of Hunter's favorites given to us by our dear nanny, Agota.)
My kids at school made this and I couldn't resist but to bring one home for Hunter to wear.

Saint Patrick's Day is widely celebrated in the Naples area. Growing up in Nashville, I do not remember this day being anything other than just wearing green. Here there are parades, parties, and leprechaun's running around.
I played into this at school a little more this year than normal. The kids at Sabal Palm Elementary created Leprechaun traps to display at school. Thursday morning I came in and painted little feet green feet on the floor of my classroom and moved some things around. I even put the footprints going into the bathroom with the potty water died green. The kids got a kick out of it. There were a few that were scared to go to the bathroom. Being new to kindergarten, I did not expect this. One of my little ones even refused to go to the bathroom for 2 days at school. On Friday, he even had a huge accident in the classroom and had to go to the office to get a change of clothes. He didn't even want to go into that bathroom. I totally regret having my leprechaun going into the bathroom. Lesson learned!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Growing Up

Hunter has learned so much at school this year: days of the week, months of the year, letter names, letter sounds, initial sounds (he can give me something that starts with a particular letter. Ex. "a is for apple"), and most impressively he has learned to write his name. He wrote his name in the bathtub with the bath crayons. I couldn't help but take a picture of it. I have heard that he could do this, but this was my first time getting to see him do it himself. I'm so proud of him!!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Strawberry Festival

Riding the Choo-Choo Train
Before... Looks were deceiving for this ride. It looked fun, but....

Hunter looking around beginning to figure it out.

Samantha loved it and even had her arms up at one point. Hunter was not liking it at all, and Jackson wanted off. "No more dragon," he kept saying the rest of the night.

After...His face is smiling, but his heart is about to pound out of his chest.
Driving Samantha around town.

Hunter looks like he didn't like this one, but he did.

All smiles on the carousal.

I love being a mom and enjoying these moments with them.

Tooting their own horns :)

All week Hunter has been anticipating the Strawberry Festival. This festival happens once a year. The "true" Strawberry Festival happens in Plant City, Fl, and is tons of fun (from what I hear). The festival we attended was similar to a small fair. Hunter has been eyeing it for a week, due to the fact that he passes it everyday on the way to and from school. In the past, Hunter has passed on riding anything. He knew from the moment he stepped in the park what he wanted to ride...the big slide. We met the Burke clan at the gate and then headed in that direction. Matthew was not able to make it so Adam, Sarah, and I made a trip to the top of the slide and each had a kid in our laps. Of course, Hunter sat on mine. We sat on the burlap sat and I could feel Hunter's grip get a little tighter. As we went down I held him as tight as I could, but he gripped even harder. We thought he might want to do it again, but we were wrong. Adam then, jokingly, asked the kids if they wanted to go and ride the "Dragon Wagon". This was a mini-roller coaster. The kids had NO clue what they were getting into, but because the name sounded cool, they were in. They ran and got on the ride. Samantha decided to ride with Hunter instead of Jackson. This was good for Hunter's sake, but not for Jackson's. As the remainder of the kids were loading, Hunter began to look around and check the ride out. He looked a little worried, but still had NO clue. As the ride took off, within 50 feet he realized he was on a ride HE DID NOT LIKE!!! He had a look of terror. My heart sank, but I knew he was fine and needed to go through this. After about the 5th time around, the look of terror began to fade and a look of enjoyment appeared. By the end of the ride, he had loosened up and was smiling. I did ask him if he wanted to ride it again. His response was, "No. That one (as he pointed to the slide) and that one I was scared on." I gave him a big hug, and then he ran towards the cars completely forgetting the terror he had just been through. The rest of the evening the kids played it safe with their choices. We had a blast watching the kids and are looking forward to the fair soon. (Mackenzie was hanging out with Kevin and Jayme. We needed a little "Hunter time", and they need to be broken in to prepare them for their little bundle in May. Thanks Kevin and Jayme for that time.)