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Thursday, December 31, 2009

He's Got My Back

The other day, my mom asked Will if he wanted to help her make some cupcakes for my birthday.

Will: "NO!"
Hulie: "No? Why not? I thought you would think that was fun."
Will: "My mama needs a REAL cake. My mama needs a big cake for her birthday!"

Nice to know he's looking out for me!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Decade in Review

With 2009 and the "aughts" coming to a close, I thought I'd review what the last decade has been like for the Mathers. We've been very fortunate that we've had a lot of "highs" with not too many "lows". Hopefully the "tens" (is that what we will call this decade?) will bring more of the same!

January 1, 2000: We ring in the New Year at the lake with Molly and Parrish. We had hunkered down there in preparation for Y2K.

May 2000: We graduate from UVA. Kate heads to Birmingham for the summer, while Zach stays in Charlottesville.

Summer 2000: After a trip to Europe with her family, Kate dislocates her shoulder while sneezing and then has surgery.

August 2000: Zach moves to the DC area to start a new job with WorldCom. Kate follows in September (still in a sling from the surgery), and starts work as a consultant with AMS.

July 2001: Zach proposes on the Lawn in Charlottesville. Surprisingly, Kate says YES! Wedding planning ensues.

February 2002: Kate and Zach buy their first "house"...a townhome in a development called Penderbrook in Fairfax, Virginia.

May 11, 2002: A wonderful wedding followed by a fabulous honeymoon to Little Dix Bay.

June 2002: Zach gets laid off from his job at WorldCom as WorldCom goes into a downward spiral. Luckily, the severance is good. Zach is very motivated and throws himself into his job search and painting the entire interior of the new townhouse.

September 2002: Zach and Kate get a dog and name her Dixie. Three days later, they realize their mistake and have to return the dog. Sad times. Good lesson.

September 2002: Zach gets a new job with Yellow Pages selling ad space. While it doesn't sound glamorous, it suits him, and he excels.

February 2003: Zach starts talking with Peter and his dad about coming to work at CRC. A job is offered and accepted.

May 2003: Zach and Kate move to Birmingham and buy a house in Homewood. Zach starts work at CRC, and Kate works from home for AMS (now CGI).

May 2003 - December 2005: Zach and Kate live the life of "married, no children"--traveling, parties, work, movies, dinners out. Or, at least I think that's what we did. I can't really remember at this point.

December 27, 2005: Kate discovers that she is pregnant, due September 4, 2006! Planning and prepping for baby ensues, including a home remodel (new bathroom, closet, expanded nursery, etc.) Somehow, Kate and Zach survive the remodel AND sleeping in a double bed while Kate is pregnant. Overall, an easy, joyful pregnancy.

March 2005: Zach's Grandpa Jim passes away. We head to Virginia Beach for the funeral.

August 30, 2006: After many long hours of labor and an eventual C-section, William Steel Mather comes into the world weighing an astonishing 10 pounds, 1 ounce.

September 2006 - December 2007: Life revolves around the new munchkin.

January 4, 2008: Zach and Kate decide to put their house on the market, "For Sale By Owner."

January 6, 2008: Kate discovers that she is pregnant again, due September 14, 2008! The children will be almost exactly two years apart.

April 25, 2008: We find out that the new baby is a GIRL! Kate, especially, is over the moon and goes out to buy everything pink she can find. The next night, Kate participates in her first (only?) adult tap dancing recital (yes, you read that correctly).

Summer 2008: Beach, lake, pampering Will before we rock his world.

July 2008: We take our house off the market since it has failed to sell and Kate needs to nest.

September 8, 2008: In a nice, planned C-section, Julia Mitchell Mather arrives on her great-grandfather's birthday, weighing 8 pounds, 10 ounces. She is the 5th generation Julia on my mother's side of the family, and the 5th generation Mitchell on my dad's side (my middle name was Mitchell until I got married).

September - December 2008: Easy baby. She tricked us (I kid--even at her worst, I know we have it good!)

January 2009: Julia decides she doesn't really like sleeping too much. Or gaining weight. See multiple anguished blog posts on the subject.

February 2009: Zach's beloved grandmother, GoGo, passes away. Zach, Kate, and Julia head to Virginia Beach for the funeral and visit with lots of family and friends. Will stays at home with Hulie and Bubs.

July 2009: Kate and Zach find a new house they love, and on a whim, put a contingent contract on it and put their house on the market (not really thinking it will sell). Two weeks later, it does.

August 2009: The Mathers move. Twice. We move out of our house before we can move into the new one, so we stay with my parents for two weeks. All in all...exhausting. I vow to never move again.

Fall 2009: A toddler. A preschooler. Lots of fun, lots of craziness, lots of whining.

Now, looking ahead to 2010: Hoping for more of this wonderful life we've built together. Counting our blessings. Loving our children and each other.

Christmas 2009

Spiced tea. Christmas china. Terrible weather. Chex mix. Twinkling lights. Christmas CDs. Hulie and Bubs. Coco and PopPop. Sick kids. More presents than you can imagine. Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Staying up late putting toys together. Stockings times three. Breakfast casserole. Phone calls to Mel. Children's church at noon. Chaos. Joy.

That about sums up Christmas 2009. The days leading up to the holiday were hectic as I tried to finish the shopping and the wrapping, tie up loose ends at work, get ahead on some cooking, and prepare the house for our guests (Coco and PopPop) who would be arriving on the 23rd. (So, this at least somewhat explains the lack of blogging.) Then, on the night of the 22nd, Julia spiked a fever to go along with the cold she'd had for three weeks. We went to the doctor on the 23rd (which has become a tradition--we were there last year on the same day!) and found out she had another ear infection. This time, we started with the strong stuff in terms of antibiotics, and she was feeling better pretty quickly. Will starting coughing on the 23rd, and by Christmas Eve, he too had a raging fever. We found out on the 26th that he had croup, and he's really still not 100%.

All of this to say, things were a little calmer, just due to the kids not feeling great. On Christmas Eve, we let Will stay up to have dinner with the grown-ups, but he was very cranky and not behaving well. At one point, Zach told him that if he couldn't behave, he would have to go to bed. Will immediately put down his fork and said, "Yes, Daddy. That's what I want to do. I want to go to bed." And off he went...with no talk of Santa, or getting up early, or leaving out cookies or reindeer food. So, he was quite pitiful that night, but it made things a bit easier and a bit calmer. And, everyone slept until almost 7:00 on Christmas morning! Luckily, thanks to Motrin and cough medicine, Will was feeling reasonably well on the big day and was very excited about the whole event. I loved hearing him exclaim as he came down the stairs, "Santa got me a guitar because he knew I wanted one!"

So, what were the big hits this year? From Santa, Will got the guitar, a "big bucket of dinosaurs," and some soccer goals for the yard. Julia got a pink tricycle, a cradle for her babies, and a little telephone. Will proclaimed the dinosaurs to be his favorite gift (although, if you ask him another time, I'm sure the answer would be different), and Julia seemed to love it all! Will also got a kids' laptop computer--not a real one, just one that plays games, an "exercise" bike that is hilarious--it hooks to the TV and he can play games while he pedals, several games like Hungry Hippos and Candyland, some books, some flashlights, binoculars, art supplies, and clothes. Julia got a new baby, several stuffed animals--including a giant stuffed dog, clothes, books, and balls. And, they got a puppet set to share!

Despite the illnesses, despite the craziness, it was a fun Christmas. We are so very blessed. I'll post some pictures as soon as I can find my camera under the mountains of new toys.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Throughout the Christmas season, we've obviously been discussing the Christmas story, and all of the major players in that story. I think most kids are awed by the whole idea and love to talk about Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the angels, and even the animals who were present at the manger. However, most kids probably don't share Will's favorite character: King Herod. Yes, that's right...somehow, Will identifies with the ONLY mean guy in the whole Christmas story...the guy who wants to kill baby Jesus. And, Will can tell you all about this: "King Herod is MEAN. He is so mean and he wants to KILL the baby Jesus! But the wise men tricked him and didn't tell him where baby Jesus was."

So, at least he knows that Herod is a mean character and isn't aspiring to be like him, but STILL. Is it okay that my child likes the mean guy? In fact, it seems that he is fascinated by the villains in a lot of the stories he hears. In the movie about Rudolph, Will's into the snow monster. In Madagascar II, he wants to talk about the hunters who try to shoot the lion. Based on my extensive psychological knowledge (hey--my mom's a psychologist and my sister's a psychiatry resident, so surely some of it has rubbed off on me), I think Will may just be trying to deal with "mean stuff" and evil characters in a safe way. It's easy to be brave when the bad guys are just on TV or in a story.

Or, maybe I'm just rationalizing. But, I hope that he can see that it's not fun to be the bad guy and that these are not characters that you should emulate. He does like to point out (as he learned from one of his Bible stories), that King Herod died and didn't get to kill Jesus. So, at least that's something. But, I think I'll still keep an eye on this behavior.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

Will's version of Joy to the World:
"And Heather and Nature See. And Heather and Nature See."
"No, Will, it's 'heaven and nature sing'. Like all of the angels in heaven are singing about Jesus."
"No, Mama, it's Heather. Like Luke A.'s mom: Heather and nature see."

There are some things that just aren't worth arguing about.

"Deer is an animal and it also means love."

"Mama, do super heroes have to wear jammies?"

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


So, clearly I am not cut out for daily blogging. And, unfortunately, I don't have much for today, either. Between work, family, Christmas activities and obligations, volunteer commitments...there's no time right now. Hopefully things will calm down in the next few days in terms of work, and maybe by the weekend I'll have most holiday things settled so we can actually enjoy our time as a family. We'll see! As for blogging, I hope and plan to do a better job starting tomorrow! Talk to you then.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


My family has been skeptical about the 15-20 words that I proclaimed Julia has. So now I feel compelled to list them here:
Mama (she CAN say this, but doesn't often)
Baby (she really says 'dee-dee')
Various animal noises (Moo, Baa, Ooh-ooh--for dog)
A version of 'thank you'--it really comes out as 'Da-DAA', but the inflection is spot on

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms: Parrot Edition

We often get onto Will for not listening, but in some cases, he's listening to us more than we think. Here are some things that he's said this week...where do you think he learned them?

"Mama, I gave Julia some of my snack, but she kept throwing it on the floor. I told her, 'I'll give you one more chance and then I'm not picking it up again.' So, that's why her food is on the floor."

In traffic: "GO PEOPLE!"

When my cell phone rings: "Maybe it is one of your work friends."

"Hulie, how many times do I have to tell you that?"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just a Regular Morning

What? You mean you don't eat your breakfast wearing Santa pajamas and a big, blue Easter bunny hat? Why not? Why wouldn't you start your week like this?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday Funday

So, I already wrote about our busy Saturday, and Sunday was just as busy...particularly for Will. My mom picked him up around 9:30 to go to a program at church--the 5th graders put on a nativity play and then they all sang songs. When I asked Will how it was he said, "I didn't like it." At least he's honest! Apparently he was annoyed that he couldn't be IN the play or up on the stage singing 'Jesus Loves Me' with the other children. Of course, if we had wanted him to sing, he would have been shy. Oh well! He told us lots of stories about the program, so at least he got something out of it (and we got a few things done around the house while he was gone--including rearranging the guest bedroom, which we had been meaning to do for weeks!)

When they returned from church, Mom offered to take us to lunch at La Paz, which is something I never turn down. So, off we went...always pressing our luck with how much the children can handle before naps. Everyone was cranky and tired by the time we left, but at least I got my cheese dip! I really know what's important in life. So, when we got home, we were able to convince both children to take a nap AT THE SAME TIME. Unfortunately, it didn't last long, because we had promised Will that we would go to the Mountain Brook parade, so we had to wake him up to leave for that. Julia must have had a sense that she was missing out on some fun, because she woke up too, despite only napping for an hour. So, off we went to the parade...very naive that we would just be able to drive up five minutes before it started and find a parking place.

In case you're wondering, that's not how it works. I was astounded at the number of cars and people at the parade. But, since we had PROMISED Will that we would go, he and I jumped out of the car and went to watch the parade (Zach and Miss Priss headed home). And actually, Will really loved it. We were right at the beginning of the route, so everyone was throwing candy, treats, and beads, and he collected a lot of things. We saw some "real live" horses, Santa on the firetruck, and "a really big plastic cow that said 'Moo'". The parade was a big hit. Next year we'll have to plan ahead a little more and really take it all in. But for this year, Will was happy to see a few floats, eat a couple of Sweetarts, and then take a walk down the street with Mama so that Daddy could pick us up.

You would think that a church program, lunch out, and a parade would be enough for one day. But no! My dad called and asked if he could take Will to the Bass Pro Shop. Well, he couldn't miss the Bass Pro Shop, especially with Bubs, so off they went. Will is still talking about the adventures they had...shooting a bow and arrow, firing a gun, climbing through tents. Dad said he was so well-behaved, and it seems they had a great time. While they were gone, Zach and I took (a still fussy) Julia to the grocery store and ran a few errands. I forgot how much easier things are with just one child!

Finally, finally...we all made it home, had some dinner, and collapsed. While it's fun to have these power-packed weekends, I need to remember that we all need downtime, as well. Sometimes, with all of these activities, I end the weekend feeling like I've barely seen the kids at all. Like with everything else, it's just hard to find the right balance. We're still working on it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Spirit

We've had a very busy weekend, full of Christmas spirit. On Saturday morning, we woke up to December! Unheard of! Needless to say, Will and I had to enjoy it before it melted, so we went outside (in our PJs, coats, and mittens) and had a quick snowball fight and took pictures. Then, Will came inside and ate "snow cream"--snow with maple syrup on top. Maybe it was the sugar, or maybe it was the excitement, but after that, he was CRAZY the rest of the day.

After snow cream, Will declared he had already eaten breakfast, but in my book, sugar and ice don't count as breakfast. So, we headed out to Chic-Fil-A for some oh-so-healthy food and some indoor play time. Then, we were off to find our Christmas tree...yes, in the freezing cold weather. I need to remember that the realities of activities with children rarely match my expectations or imagination. I had visions of us wandering through rows of trees, picking out the perfect one, taking a few pictures where everyone is smiling and looking at the camera. Instead, Julia was screaming, running away from us, and falling on the wet, dirty ground every few seconds. Will, still hyped up on sugar, was darting all over the place and (as usual) asking a million questions. Needless to say, it was not the scene I envisioned, but we got a great tree and went on our merry way. Well, some of us were merry...for a variety of reasons, Julia fussed ALL DAY. This is not an exaggeration. If she wasn't asleep, she was fussing, whining, crying, or screaming. Poor thing--she has a cold and cough, had just gotten her shots on Friday, and is teething. So, I can understand why she was upset, but it still drove me out of my mind.

After the tree was up and in the house, Will was still out of control, and we had to get out of the house. So, he and I left for an "adventure"...we stopped at Hulie and Bubs' house to play for a little while, then Hulie joined us on a trip to Wal-Mart to pick out the stuff for our angel tree child. We really wanted to involve Will this year, so we got a little boy about his age who likes cars and trucks. I want him to understand that we give to other people, and that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. He was pretty good and helped pick out some toys (and to his credit, only asked for one thing for himself), but I still don't think he fully understands the concept. Hopefully these are ideals that he will see us live out as a family, so he will grow up valuing helping others and being grateful for what we have.

Wal-Mart wore us out--even Will! So, after we got home, we relaxed a bit while we decorated the tree and watched Alabama beat Florida. Zach and I had a wedding to attend Saturday night, so sweet Hulie came over to watch the children. I think we were both VERY thankful to be out of the house after the day we had had (a few drinks didn't hurt either).

Whew! I'm exhausted just writing about all we did, and Sunday was just as busy. I'll have to leave that for another post.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tall, Thin, and Smart

At least, that's what I took away from Julia's check-up today. At 32 inches, she is in the 95th percentile for height, and 24.5 pounds puts her in the 50th percentile for weight. As for the smart...her head circumference is also about the 95th percentile, which clearly indicates that she is going to be brilliant. So, all in all, she is doing wonderfully. We saw a new, woman doctor who just joined the practice, and she was very nice and very thorough. She asked how many words Julia was saying that I could recognize, and I told her about 15-20. She replied that at Julia's age, they are really only looking for 4-6. See? Told you she was smart! She's starting to learn some body parts (she's really good on 'eyes', but that means that yours almost get gouged out if you ask about them), and she's working on her animal Will, 'gorilla' is particularly adorable. She knows what a hairbrush is for and how to use a spoon. And, if you give her anything resembling a dropper, she will try to put it in your ear--since she had ear drops for so long. I can't believe all of the things she's learning.

Unfortunately, Julia does have a cold and a bit of congestion, and the doctor said that her right ear, while not infected yet, was primed to become infected. So, it will be a big test to see if she can make it through this cold without an ear infection. If not...heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to the ENT we go.

Juju also had to get three shots today: MMR, HiB, and her second dose of the swine flu vaccine. I, of course, know it's the right thing to do, but it's always so hard. Each time, I feel like I am betraying my child by letting someone hurt her! Luckily, she made it through with flying colors and was fine by the time she got a sucker.

A successful visit for Miss Julia today. I hope we will also have a successful night of sleep...but, I'm not optimistic, considering all that she has going on. Thus, on that note, I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

As always, Will has been full of comments and questions this week:

"Mama, what do superheroes' bottoms look like?"

"I want to get a Christmas tree that goes all the way up to heaven."

When I complimented him on knowing to fold his hands and bow his head when saying the blessing or a prayer, he told me, "Yep. That's how God knows you're praying."

When I was playing a Christmas CD and a slow song came on: "Nope, not this one. That's a night-night song."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I was telling Zach the other day that lately I've found myself being very proud of things I should be doing anyway.

"I got her birthday present to her ON TIME. Go me!"

"I was able to take care of both kids by myself, with no melt downs from anyone (including me)." (Um, yes, you're their MOTHER. This is not an accomplishment. This is standard care.)

"I actually crossed things off my work to-do list." (Yep. That's what they pay you for.)

"I folded the laundry right when I got it out of the dryer. Then, I (gasp!) put it away!" (Again...this is what normal people do.)

My point is, on certain days, I have to take pride in the little things (some would say nonexistant things), because that's all I have to hold onto. Often, I'm just working to make it through each day and hoping that things don't fall through the cracks. So, if it makes me feel better to pat myself on the back for the fact that at least one child ate at least one bite of vegetables at dinner, then I'll do it. Sometimes, it really is all about the little things.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Girlie-Girl or Tomboy?

I'm not sure yet if Julia will be a girlie-girl or a tomboy. On one hand, she's very into the girlie, and can be a drama queen at times (like when she falls to the floor when something doesn't go her way).

Dressing Up:

Taking care of baby (not sure if you can tell, but she's giving the baby milk from her sippy cup):

But, on the other hand, she's not afraid to get rough and tumble with the boys. She is "miss independent" and takes care of herself. She's constantly falling down and bumping some body part, but she usually jumps right back up, without even a cry.

Wrestling with her brother:

With this combination of girlie and tough, I think she'll likely end up like Mary Poppins: "Practically perfect in every way." She already is in my eyes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


This weekend I saw how easy it was to get out of the habit of daily posting, and I missed two days. Oh well--onward and upward!

Part of the reason I missed posting was that we were briefly out of town for Thanksgiving. We went down to LA (lower Alabama) to see my grandparents et al from my mom's side of the family. We left Thursday morning and came back on Friday, so it was a quick trip, but well worth it. I treasure the time I get to spend with my grandparents, especially. Aside from Julia screaming for two hours straight on the ride down there, the kids were great. Two of my cousins have children about the same age, so we had six kids that were five and under (one five, two threes, one two, and two ones--it was crazy!)...and Julia was the only girl! Will had a blast playing with his cousins and seemed to take to them right away. We had been talking up the trip, so I guess he felt comfortable. On Friday, when I told Will that we were heading to the park with his cousins, Will replied excitedly, "I know them now!"

Julia definitely held her own and was possibly the busiest of the bunch. She didn't stop moving the whole day--I think my grandparents were worn out just from watching her. She's a little human tornado and is at a difficult age--someone has to basically follow her around at all times since she's mobile, but doesn't fully understand what's okay and what's not (or she understands, but chooses to ignore it).

Overall, we had a great time, but I was glad to be home on Friday and have the weekend here. I'll post some pictures when I get them uploaded. I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


A top ten list of the things I'm thankful for:
10) Diet Dr. Pepper--I can't imagine my life without it.
9) Good white wine. Or red, in a pinch. Or really, anything with alcohol.
8) Super monkey and giraffe and bunny and all of the other creatures who keep my children company at night and help them sleep (sort of).
7) The portable DVD player. Maybe this should be #1, given the drive today.
6) A sleepy "Good night, see you in the morning bright. I love you." from my favorite boy.
5) Wittiness in general, but especially from a three-year-old.
4) Kisses from my husband, particularly when they are waking me up after he's dealt with the children and let me sleep in.
3) The times--once in a while--when my children play nicely with each other.
2) Baby laughs.
1) The hugs, smiles, and joy that I get from my family everyday.

In all seriousness, I am constantly overwhelmed with gratitude for the many, many blessings that I have in my life. I couldn't have imagined such a wonderful family: a fabulous husband and two beautiful, smart, healthy, happy children. I thank God every day--not just on this day of Thanksgiving--for all that He has given me and my family. On a basic level, I am thankful that we have plenty of food, clothes, and heat--things we take for granted. I can't imagine being a mother and not being able to provide for your children's basic needs. I'm thankful for our health and that our biggest worries health-wise are throw-up bugs and ear infections. I am thankful, especially this year, that Zach and I have good jobs that we enjoy and benefits to help provide for things we need. I'm thankful for our new house and our new neighborhood and for the new friendships that we are developing. I'm thankful for old friends who knew me way back when and STILL love me! I'm thankful for family--both near and far--and for the love and support that they constantly provide.

I'm thankful. And, I'm happy. I hope everyone has a wonderful day of giving thanks, many things to be thankful for, and lots of delicious food to enjoy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms: Thanksgiving Edition

Since it is almost Thanksgiving, I thought I would share Will's thoughts on what he is thankful for. I asked him this the other day while we were driving, and this is what I got:

"Trees! I am thankful for trees. (This was just because that's what he saw when he looked out the window.) And GOD!"

"That's good! Anything else?"

"Yes, I am thankful for you. And for my teachers. (Oh yes, I am VERY thankful for your teachers.) And for cousin Laura."

As you can see, we have a wide variety of things to be thankful for in our house. At Will's school, they were writing things that they were thankful for on paper feathers and then sticking the feathers on the "turkey". So, I asked Will what he wanted me to write for his feather. "Vegetables. I am thankful for vegetables." I resisted the urge to shout, "No you're not!" and just wrote it anyway. I think the problem is that Will keeps intermingling the ideas of "being thankful at Thanksgiving" and "what you eat at Thanksgiving"--two things they've been learning about recently at school.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oh By Golly

Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas.

It's the best time of the year.

Oh by golly, have a Holly Jolly Christmas this year!

Yes, we already went to see Santa. And yes, the kids had as much fun as it seems from these pictures. We went to 'Sweets with Santa' at the Jr. League Market this past Saturday morning. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get the Santa visit out of the way without having to go to the mall. I'm all about the laziness. Will actually really enjoyed it (though you couldn't tell from his enthusiastic expression during the pictures)--they had crafts, snacks, and a guy playing guitar where you could dance. That's about all he needs for a good time. Julia absolutely HATED it (obviously...I mean, I might as well put things on this blog like, 'The sky is blue.') She's in a phase where she really doesn't want to be held by anyone she doesn't know, much less some old guy with a white beard. Once she figured out what was happening, she really freaked out. But don't worry--I didn't torture her too long. She was on his lap for less than a minute--just long enough for me to get the photos! She was really tired, as well, and took a three-hour nap as soon as we got home. So, she probably would have been unhappy even in the best of circumstances, but Santa really did her in.

Needless to say, we are done with Santa for the year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Can you hear me now?

Her ears are CLEAR! I'm so excited...we took Julia back to the doctor today for an ear recheck, and after about 8 weeks of a constant ear infection and constant antibiotics, she is finally WELL! I was getting nervous that nothing was working and was already anticipating a visit to the ENT. But, the last round of medicines--Augmenten and a bit of Prednisone--worked! I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled that she is no longer in pain and no longer has to be on medicine.

Of course, now I have nothing to explain why she's still waking so early. Oh wait--maybe it's the teething. Yes, yes...she must be still teething. We'll go with that. I need a reason to believe that maybe, just maybe, one day the early wake up calls will end. You know the line of reasoning: "Once the (teething) (ear infection) (new moon) is over, then she won't wake up as early." Hey...a girl can dream.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love

My mom recently told me that one of her clients told her that she could count on one hands the number of times her mother hugged her. I found this so unbelievably sad, and it really stuck with me. Of course, that's probably at least partially why she is now one of my mom's clients.
Fortunately, this is not the case in our house. We are a very affectionate family--always hugging, kissing, saying 'I love you.' I wouldn't have it any other way. And luckily, the children are even affectionate towards each other, at least most of the time. Sometimes Julia will stop what she's doing and run over to Will to give him a hug. Each morning when we drop them off for school and each evening when we pick them up, they give each other a hug, and Will kisses Julia on the top of the head. Their teachers say that if they happen to see each other during the day, they do the same thing. It's the sweetest thing you've ever seen, and it's a surefire way to melt my heart. So, I thought I'd share a few pictures of the lovefest at our house. Note that sometimes the love can get a little aggressive:

Saturday, November 21, 2009


The other morning, I was driving Will to school, and he decided, like he does most mornings, to share his thoughts with me:

"Mama? Today you are driving me and Julia to school. But sometimes, Daddy drives me and Julia to school. And, sometimes Daddy picks me up from school. And sometimes you pick me up from school."


"That's called teamwork, Mama."

Friday, November 20, 2009


In September, we moved to our new house. I know moving is always hard, but it's been particularly difficult with two small, yet very mobile, children. I'm not sure that we'll ever be settled, which really is getting frustrating. But, I just try to remember that all we can do is just keep moving forward and that even getting a little something completed is an accomplishment. And, of course, we feel very fortunate and excited to be in this great house--we are really loving it. Fortunately, we don't plan on moving again for a very, very long time. Here are a few pics of the house:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Summer Firsts

Toward the end of the summer, in addition to turning three, Will had some "firsts" that I kept meaning to post about but of course never did. I'm taking the opportunity to do so now, since I'm committed to posting every day anyway. In July or so...I don't remember the exact date...Will went to his first concert. Unfortunately, it wasn't something super cool like U2, but it also wasn't Miley Cyrus (praise the Lord). No, Will went to see Roger Day at a little concert at the church where he goes to school. If you have kids and don't know about Roger Day, you need to learn about him now. He has some very creative songs (most of which do NOT make me want to pull my eyebrows out like a lot of kids' music does), and he's supremely entertaining, especially in a live performance. As usual, Will was a bit shy at the beginning of the show, but once he got into it, he really GOT INTO IT. Roger gets all of the kids involved--dancing around the room, singing along, playing with parachutes, etc--and Will loved every minute. When the show was over, Roger was signing autographs, and it was so cute to see Will 'star-struck'. Of course, we bought the CD and have been listening to it ever since. Will knows the chorus to many of the songs, but when it gets to the verses, he'll tell me, "I don't know this part. This is the hard part." Will keeps asking when we're going to see the "REAL Roger Day" again (and even better, he pronounces it 'Rah-jure'). Clearly this was a hit, and I hope we can see the REAL Roger Day again soon.

Will's next big "first" didn't seem like it would be nearly as fun, but Will actually loved it: his first trip to the dentist. We went to a children's dentist, and Will thought it was so great that he asked if we could go back the next day. Of course, they try to make it fun--they had cool toys in the waiting room, all first-time patients get to do a hand print, they have TVs on the ceiling that you can watch while you're getting your teeth cleaned, and at the end you get a new toothbrush (which Will loves), a toy, AND a sticker. What could be better?! In reality, the visit wasn't much--the dentist just looked at his teeth and cleaned them while Will was sitting up (he wasn't interested in lying down on the chair). But, they did floss his teeth--and told me we should do the same. Um..we haven't exactly added that to our repertoire just yet. Anyway, I was thrilled that Will had such a positive experience. Hopefully future visits will be as easy!

Towards the end of the summer, Will had another major "first"...his first MOVE! Tomorrow I'll share a couple of pictures of our "new" house, since some people have asked for them.

In so many ways, every day is full of new experiences when you're Will and Julia's ages. For me, it's lots of fun just to be along for the ride. I feel so privileged to guide them as they grow up and navigate years of "firsts". I can only hope I'll steer them the right way.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

Sunday was Zach's birthday (Happy Birthday to you, Boo!) and over the weekend, Will had 'helped' Hulie and Bubs buy an electric razor that they were going to give to Zach. Hulie had really emphasized that Will "should not tell Daddy" what they had gotten for his birthday. Well, he listened...sort of. When we sat down to breakfast that morning, Will looks right at Zach and explains, "We have a surprise for you later and it's NOT a razor. You know the one you had at our old house with a button that goes up?'s NOT like that." Good thing he really understands this 'keeping secrets' concept!

One morning, Will and I were lying in his bed playing "I, Spy." Will has just recently learned this game, and although he's still not 100% clear on the rules, he loves to play. When it was his turn, he declares, "I Spy something grey." So, I look around the room and guess various objects, a couple of which weren't even grey ("No Mama, that's brown.") because I really couldn't see many things that were grey in his room. Finally, I told Will, "I give up. What is it?"

"It's your hair, Mama."

Will has gotten really into reading his children's Bible, and that's all we've been reading each night before bed. The other night, he and Zach were reading from the New Testament, when Will looks up at Zach and says, exasperated: "Jesus is in every story!" Clearly he was hoping for some variety.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fourteen(ish) Months!

I missed the thirteen month mark. And, now she's been fourteen months for almost ten days. So, I think it's high time for an update on Julia! First of all, there are no more pink chair photos. I'm so glad I did it through a year old, but now she squirms and tries to dive out of the chair, so we've put an end to that. In fact, it's difficult to get ANY good pictures of her now--she is constantly on the move, so I mostly have pictures of the back of her head.

Julia has grown and changed SO much over the past two months. At about twelve and a half months, she started walking on her own, and hasn't stopped since. She is so independent, and doesn't care what anyone else is doing, except maybe Will. She's become a little speed demon, and she loves to attempt to follow Will around. Unfortunately (for us), she's fearless, so she's constantly trying to climb the stairs or just generally get into whatever she can. The pantry at our new house is her favorite play space--she loves to pick up granola bars out of the basket and put them in random places throughout the house. A fun game of hide and seek for mom and dad.
Julia's learned several new words in the past few months: 'nack' (for snack--really means ANY food item), milk, book, eyes, mouth, more (she can also do the sign), hi, bye-bye, night-night, Mama, Dada. She LOVES books and is always requesting that you read one, even at 4:30 AM when she thinks it's time to wake up for the day. Lately she's really been enjoying books that have some sort of activity--something where you lift the flap or something like Pat the Bunny. She also loves snacks and milk--I guess she's learned the words she really needs! She also knows the word "dog" and if you ask her what a dog says, she says "ooh-OOH, ooh-OOH" and it is too cute. She adores almost all animals, but seems to have a particular love (and absolutely no fear) of dogs. There are two huge (and very sweet) dogs across the street, and Julia constantly wants to go see them. She just walks right up and gives them a hug. In fact, if she sees a dog in a book, she gives the book a hug. She's a very affectionate little person!

One of my favorite things about this phase is the way that children pick up on all sorts of habits--things you don't even know that they're learning. If you give Julia a hairbrush, she tries to brush her hair. If she sees anything that resembles a phone, she picks it up and holds it by her ear, often with no hands--just the way I do it! If you ask her what's in her mouth--a favorite activity these days is picking up miniscule pieces of anything on the ground and putting them in her mouth--she will stick out her tongue and say AHHH.

Julia is such a delight (despite the early wake-up calls), but the one troublesome thing we've been dealing with is her ears. She's had an ear infection for seven weeks straight at this point, and she's on her fourth course of antibiotics in a row. I'm getting concerned as to why this isn't getting resolved and worried that more action is going to be required. But, she always seems so happy, regardless! Each time we go to the doctor for a recheck, I always think it will be resolved, but it never is. We're going back next Monday, so I'm hopeful yet again. She also seems a bit bothered by her teeth (it's always difficult to know what the actual problem is), but now she has at least two of her molars in, and so the teeth seem to be somewhat better. Possibly due to the new teeth, but possibly due to the steroids to try to clear up the ears--Julia has been on an eating BINGE! I was a bit worried for a while because all she would eat was strawberries (literally), but now she seems to eat anything and everything in sight. Tonight she had goldfish, peaches, dried fruit, turkey, a bit of santa fe soup and rice, and then some blueberries to round out the meal! I think this is possibly also a growth spurt, so I'm sure I should be thankful for the eating now, as in a week or two it will dwindle.

I know I'm missing so many things about little Juje, but since I will be posting every day now, I can write them as they come to me. She's such a funny little thing with such a big personality, and we are enjoying watching every minute. I can't WAIT to hear what she has to say as she starts talking doubt she will have an opinion on everything.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I know I've been a bad blogger, but it just seems that life has gotten in the way. That's one thing I often struggle with--whether I should be spending time documenting life, rather than just living it. And lately, we've been doing a lot of living, but not much documenting. But, that's about to change. I'm making a pledge right now that I am going to attempt to blog every day between now and Christmas. I have no doubt that the content will be mediocre, at best, but at least I will have a record of what's been going on. Because, I really do love going back and reading my old entries, particularly now that Julia is the same age as Will was when I was first blogging. So, go ahead and take guesses on how many days I will miss, but I'm going to give it a shot! (And, if you ever read and wanted to comment, that would really give me some motivation!)

ANYWAY...onto my first post in my blogging blast...Halloween 2009! Will was a knight (complete with a black and blue and bloody eye) and Julia was a butterfly. They were too cute! We went over to Norman for trick-or-treating over there (the Petreys were in town and Will couldn't wait to hang out with Coleman), and then came back to our street for a little partying with our neighbors. Will really understood the concept of trick-or-treating this year, and he LOVED all of his candy. Julia kept up for a while, but then was content to sit in the stroller and eat a sucker (and go to bed early when we got home). Here are a few pictures...only two weeks late:

This was as long as she kept the hat on all night.

Vicious Knight

Social Butterfly

Ring Pops

Friday, October 30, 2009

What a Day

It all started Tuesday night. Zach and I went out and left the kids with a new babysitter, who was great, except that she forgot to put a pull-up on Will when he went to bed. So, around midnight, he woke up and was soaked head to toe. Zach went upstairs to sleep with Will in the guest bedroom, and we thought all was well.

But no. At 6AM on Wednesday, I heard Julia waking up (a little later than normal!), and I went to get her. When I walked in her room, I was overcome by a horrible smell that I couldn't fully identify, so I groggily handed Julia her cup of milk, which she proceeded to chug. At this point, I'm waking up a little more and realize that the smell is due to the throw up covering everything in Julia's crib, including her. And, the incident hadn't just occurred, which means that at some point during the night, she threw up everywhere, and then went back to sleep IN THE THROW UP! This horrifies me on many levels (and confuses me--I mean, the child wakes up and screams if bunny is out of place, but when there's 5 gallons of throw up emanating from her body, she doesn't let anyone know?!). So, we put Julia in the bath and start the process of washing everything in her room (and everything in Will's room, due to the bed-wetting incident). We then all went downstairs, and Julia eventually throws up again (see cup of milk, above). Clearly, she's had to stay home. But, we got Will off to school, Julia took a good nap and seemed to feel better, and we thought all was well.

But no. That afternoon, Will got home from school and was outside playing with Charlie, as usual. All of the sudden we heard screams and ran outside to see what was wrong. Turns out that Charlie had thrown a frisbee that accidentally hit Will square in his left eye. He was obviously in a lot of pain and wouldn't open his eye, but when he did, we saw that the white part of his eye was filled with blood. This FREAKED ME OUT (but I did try to remain calm for my child's sake), so we called the doctor, who sent us to the Eye Foundation Emergency Room (since it is of course after normal business hours). We got to the ER, got checked in, and Will calmed down a bit. Again, we thought all was well.

But no. While we're in the waiting room, Will started throwing up--apparently he contracted his sister's bug. So, he threw up about 8 times while we're waiting for the doctor--in the waiting room (all over himself and Zach), in the hall, in the bathroom, in the exam room. Let me tell you, the people there LOVED US! But finally, we saw the doctor and found out that Will's eye injury is not very serious. It looks worse than it is, but should completely heal in a few weeks. We got a prescription for some eye drops and instructions on what to do next, and we headed home.

Even I am tiring of this story at this point, so let me just finish it up for you: Will threw up again at midnight, so I went up to sleep with him in the guest room. He coughed all night, and each time he coughed, I worried that he was going to throw up again. So, I got about 37 minutes of sleep all night, but fortunately there was no more throw up. In the morning (Thursday, in case you're keeping track), I decided that Will needed to go to his regular pediatrician just to touch base about everything and make sure the cough was nothing serious (like the pneumonia he had this summer). Well, the cough is no big deal, but he does have a raging ear infection! I had asked him point blank if his ear hurt, and he looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "No, Mama. My EYE." So, he never mentioned anything--I guess he was too busy with all of his other ailments.

It is now Friday. We have been vomit free for over 36 hours. Both of the children are on antibiotics (Julia is on her third round--she's had an ear infection for five weeks that she just can't kick). Both children have had the throw up bug. Will looks like he got in a bar fight and sounds like he's been smoking for 25 years. But, things are looking up. Both children are back at school today, and we have a fun weekend planned. Of course, almost anything will be better than the past few days!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Fun

This past weekend we took Will to Old Baker Farm, which is a working farm about 30 minutes from Birmingham that has a pumpkin patch and hay rides. Sunday was a beautiful day, so we met some of Will's friends from school out at the farm, and they had a blast! It was very idyllic...the bright blue sky, happy children running around, bales of hay, fresh pumpkins. Will went to the petting zoo, climbed the hay bales, and even rode a horse! He also loved the tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch and had a great time picking out his own pumpkin (although he kept changing his mind). Here are a few pictures from the gorgeous day--it was such a fun time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

She's No Dummy

Tonight I put some strawberries and green beans on Julia's tray. Now, strawberries are her favorite (ok, really, her ONLY) food to eat, so she was thrilled to have those. But, before she would take one bite of the strawberries, she systematically picked up each piece of green bean and threw it right on the floor. When I tried to put one directly in her mouth, she stuck out her tongue, grabbed the offensive bean, and threw it on the floor, as well.

I'm going to put a positive spin on this and say that she just really knows what she likes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

"Mama, who is God?"
"Well, God makes the world."
"No...that's Santa Claus."

"Daddy, I need some whipped cream on my bottom!"
"You mean diaper cream?"

I recently took a trip to New York, and when I got back, Will had only one question: "Mama, did you see Alex, the lion?" (the lion from Madagascar who lives in the Central Park zoo in the movie). I had to tell him that sadly, I did not see Alex, the lion. Suddenly, my trip wasn't so cool anymore.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thoughts by Will

"Stinker bottom. Daddy is a stinker bottom because he toots. A LOT. He toots a lot. He's a tooter man. He toots all the time! And he's old."

Sunday, September 20, 2009


This morning we attempted to go to church for Sunday school, which we had not done in a looong time. So far, it seems that Julia' s morning nap has been right in the middle of when we need to be there, so we've used that as our excuse. Really, it's just hard getting ourselves and two kids dressed appropriately and out the door--so hard sometimes that I wonder if it's even worth it. And, then there's the issue that the kids are in daycare all week, and I often don't feel like putting them back in childcare on the weekends. I want my time with them and our time as a family.

BUT, I also want them to know God and to grow up in the church, so we are going to work on overcoming these excuses and at least make it to Sunday school most weeks. Our church has also started a "Parenting 101" Sunday school class, which I'm really interested in. It's only for parents with young children, and we're going to cover parenting and family topics from a Christian perspective, so I'm excited and hopeful that it will be motivating.

ANYWAY, all of this is to say that we were explaining to Will that we were going to church today and he would go to his Sunday school class. Here's the conversation he and I had on the way home from picking up breakfast. Clearly, I am quite inept when it comes to discussing theology with my three-year-old:

"So Will, when we get home, we're going to have to hurry so that Mama can get dressed for church, and you'll need to get dressed too."

"But Mama, you're already dressed! And I am dressed!"

"Yes, but when we go to church we wear nicer things. Like your fancy shoes (he calls his dress shoes his "fancy shoes")."

"Why Mama, why do we have to wear our fancy clothes?"

"Well, because church is where we celebrate God and we want to be respectful, so we wear our nice clothes."

"So, we don't wear our...(pauses, clearly trying to think of the opposite of "fancy")...not fancy clothes to church?"

"No, we wear our nice clothes to church."

"Mama, where is God? Is he at the church?"

"Um, well, God, in the sky."

"He's in the sky? Does he fly??"

"Well, no, I don't think that God flies. He's not really in the sky...God is everywhere...he's all around us."

"God can fly?!?"

Thankfully, at this point, something else distracted him, and he moved on to a new topic. But, I feel so inadequate to answer all of these questions. It's hard for me as an adult to understand the abstract concept of God, but it's particularly difficult to try to explain that concept within the concrete views of a preschooler. I'm going to have to think on it--I know these things will keep coming up, especially here at Question Central.

It's All Over

This weekend, Julia learned how to use her stroller push toy and walk around the house. Walking unassisted can't be far behind.

She's also learned how to blow kisses.

Clearly, we are screwed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

One Year Old!

Dear Julia,
This week you turned one year old! I can't believe it--I thought time flew by with your brother, but the first year of your life has gone at lightening speed, and I'm not optimistic that things are going to slow down any time soon. Lately, it seems that you are doing new things each day, and I can barely keep up! You haven't learned to walk yet, but you love to pull up on things, and you've even started standing by yourself (without holding on) for several seconds at a time. Part of me can't wait for you to walk, and part of me feels that we should just keep you the way you are! I'm not sure which is easier...

You're such a funny baby, and I definitely haven't totally figured you out yet (and I'm not sure I ever will). In some ways, you're very affectionate, like when you throw your arms around me for a big hug or cuddle before bed, or the way you light up when you see your precious baby doll. But, you also have a "I can take care of myself" side, which I'm guessing comes from being the second child and being around your brother. You stand your ground with him, and as you get bigger, I'm sure you will get even more feisty. The other day at school, another little girl apparently kept bothering you and taking your toys. Well, the teachers said you'd finally had enough, and so you crawled over to her, got up on your knees, and pulled her down to the ground by her skirt. That should take care of that!

You're a pretty good eater, although you're not as into solids as Will was at this age. That's probably more our fault than yours, though, because I just can't believe that you're actually ready for "big girl" food. But, you do have six teeth to use for chomping, so I should probably give you more credit! You mostly eat baby food, but you like some real food like watermelon, strawberries, puffs (debatable as to whether that's real food), crackers, and yogurt. You also LOVE ice cream and cake, as we discovered on your birthday. And, you're still really interested in the bottle, and not very interested in a sippy cup or switching to real milk. I think we've got our work cut out for us on that transition, although you have been voluntarily cutting back on the number of bottles you want to take each day, so maybe it will be easier than I think. Regardless, you're certainly not hurting in the food department. When we went to the doctor the other day, you were 22.5 pounds (75th percentile) and 30.5 inches (90th percentile). Clearly you are healthy and growing well, and we are SO thankful for that.

You are talking a good bit, and it seems to increase each day. You know several words like Mama, Dada, uh-oh (first word), bye-bye (you like to add a wave with this one so we really know what you're saying), ball, and some variation on 'baby'. You also use inflection to indicate 'thank-you,' and you love to play a game where you give us an object, we say thank you and give it back, and then YOU say thank you. HOURS of fun, I tell you. You love to play, and you're usually quite independent. You'll crawl around and get into whatever toys and trouble that you can find, and you often don't mind if anyone else is along for the ride. You like books, too, especially ones that are 'lift the flap.' However, I certainly feel that I need to be better about reading to you more.

You're so busy during the day that I would think you would be an excellent sleeper, but it's not your strong suit. You're actually not bad--just not as good as your brother was, which is what I came to expect as the norm. You are a consistently early riser, but you've gotten to the point where you are sleeping from 7 PM until 5:30 AM on most nights. You seem to be teething again (this time I think it's your molars), so that has been disrupting you lately. With each new milestone, I keep holding out hope that you will sleep longer at night...i.e., "Maybe crawling will really wear her out and she'll sleep past 5:30!" or "I bet once she starts walking she'll sleep longer!" So far, no luck on that front, but I keep hoping. However, you are typically a really good napper, and it's not unusual for you to take two, two-hour naps a day on the weekends. At daycare, you typically only get one nap because there's just TOO much going on and you don't want to miss anything. But, you will usually nap for several hours at a time, which is something Will NEVER did.

I feel a little bit bad always comparing you to your brother, but he's my frame of reference. I thought that the way he did things was the way ALL babies did things (even though I knew that this wasn't really true), but you have shown me that you have your own way, your own preferences, and your own opinions. I have LOVED getting to know you over this past year--even during the frustrating moments--and I can't wait to watch you grow. I love you so much, my little girl.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

Zach and Will both got their hair cut last weekend. Will got his cut pretty short, and I was going on and on about how cute it was and how it made him look like such a big boy. Finally, Zach asks, "How does my hair look?" Will was quick to reply: "Daddy, your hair doesn't look cute (pronounced 'coot'). It just looks short."

Somehow, Will has picked up a new phrase (my guess is from Zach): "Bow chica wow wow."

Will has been working on being very polite and asking appropriately when he wants something. He seems to think that the only thing you need to do to make a request polite is to add "may". So, we frequently hear, "Roll my window down please may." At least he's trying!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crazy Life

For the past month, our lives have been in the height of crazy. Now, don't get me wrong, many of the reasons life is crazy is due to very positive things. In fact, the biggest point of crazy is the fact that we are moving! In June, we found a house that we really loved--it had everything we were looking for in a house--so we decided to put our house on the market and see what would happen. I admit, I wasn't optimistic, but only a few weeks after we put our house on the market, we got a non-contingent, cash offer that was (reasonably) close to our asking price. So, we began all of the processes of moving: loans, inspections, closing dates, and lots and lots of paperwork. Since the end of July, we've been working on packing up the house, and on August 14th, we closed on both houses. But, because nothing is ever simple, we had to get out of our current house immediately and couldn't get into our new house until the beginning of September. So, we put everything in storage (move number one) and all moved in with my sweet parents for two and a half weeks. Move number two is on September 3rd, and we will finally get into our new house! Luckily, it doesn't need ANY work, so we can move right in.

Now, moving with two small kids is wild enough, but there's also been more fun in our life. In July, Will had the flu and was home from school for several days. Zach's parents came in town for a weekend. Zach had to travel for work a couple of times. And as a nice bookend, Will got sick AGAIN this past week. And of course, it's time for both kids' birthdays, which means it's also time for both of them to go to the doctor for their checkups. Will also had to go to the dentist.

So, there's just been a lot going on in the Mather household. Luckily, nothing bad (except for Will's illnesses), but even fun things can be stressful and overwhelming. I'm very ready for things to calm down a little bit, but I'm fully aware that the fun has just begun in terms of moving. Hopefully, we'll be settled can't get here fast enough.

Updated: The most recent time that Will was sick, I finally took him to the doctor on a "hunch". Turns out he had PNEUMONIA! I was shocked...they did a chest X-ray and everything. Oh, and he also had an ear infection, even though he had never mentioned that his ear hurt. We were definitely glad that we made the trip to the doctor, and Will seems to be on the mend. But really--I hope we can all stay well for a bit!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eleven Months!

I don't know why I even pretend like I'm going to post these updates on time anymore. Regardless, there has been a lot going on in Julia's life since I last posted. For one, I was right about her teeth...she did get several all at once...her four top middle ones! We had a brief reprieve from the teething pains, but now I think it's back in full force...see the constant "finger in mouth" look displayed in this month's picture.
On the sleeping front, we're still about where we were last month. I think she just may be an early bird, because it seems that 5:30 is as late as it gets, usually. She also still does some of her late night talking, and I can't figure out if that's due to teething pains or too much daytime napping (or some other mysterious force). I've just accepted that a full night's sleep is not in the cards for now.

Julia moved up to a new class at school this month, and she seems to be really enjoying it. In Infant II, she has more time and space to move around and crawl and play...all of her favorite things! Of course, this new found freedom means that she's also not napping as well, but luckily, she still doesn't get too cranky in the evenings, even without much nap.

This month Julia also started pulling up on everything! I love to watch her mind work as she attempts to figure out how she can hold her baby, pull up and get another toy, and then take everything across the room. I know she is dying to walk so she can accomplish this! I can just picture the lightbulb moment when she realizes she can travel AND carry things with her. Life will never be the same! It's been very funny watching Julia play, because obviously we have lots of boy toys around the house. Of course, Julia will play with blocks, legos, and cars, but she's really started gravitating toward her babydoll, which is so fascinating to me. We haven't really emphasized playing with babies, but it seems that girls and boys are just wired differently. She LOVES that baby and lights up when she sees it...she calls it "A-DAAYEEE". She's also started saying, "uh-oh," "Mama," and "Dada" although I'm not positive that she associates Mama and Dada with me and Zach.

There are lots of things I'm forgetting, and of course, this post doesn't begin to capture Julia's little self. But, hopefully it will at least give me a reminder of what was going on at eleven months. I can't believe my baby will be one in just a few weeks! It has gone too fast...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

I know I've been a delinquent blogger, but I have a good reason: our lives are CRAZY right now! I will have to post more later so I can remember this time, but here's a little gem from Will for now:

The other day, Will and I went to the grocery store. When we get to the check out line, he likes to get out of the cart and help me put the groceries on the conveyor belt for the cashier. Typically, I hand him things that he can put on the belt, so that he doesn't try to pick up anything breakable, smush the bread, etc. So, as I was trying to hand him things, I guess I got a little too eager. Exasperated, Will said, "I only have two hands, Mama."

I wonder how many times I've said that to him and just didn't notice that he was picking up on it!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ten Months!

We've been busy, and I'm late once again on this post. Julia has also been quite busy since the last post I did about her. For starters, let's talk about her picture. This month, it became very difficult to get a good picture of her because she kept attempting to dive out of the chair! That's right--our little girl is on the move. She learned to crawl over 4th of July weekend and hasn't stopped since. She just keeps getting faster. Now, if you turn your back for two seconds, she will disappear! In other motor skills, she has also learned to clap and she's working on her wave. Important skills for her future in beauty pageants.

Around the 4th of July, Julia also got her first tooth! She is now the proud owner of the two middle bottom teeth. The rest of the teeth seem to be tormenting her, and I keep thinking she's going to get a bunch at one time. I asked my dentist for a magical teething remedy, so he gave me something that includes peragoric, benadryl, and lidocaine. When I told our pediatrician about it, he said, "I didn't know people still used that!" At this point, as long as it isn't going to cause grave injury, I'm up for it! I think the teething is really affecting Julia's (already-not-so-good) sleeping, and this remedy, along with the teething tablets and Motrin, seems to have helped. Now, most nights she will sleep until around 5:30 without waking up, but we still have plenty of times where she thinks it's a great idea to have a party in the middle of the night. She doesn't scream or even cry; instead she just talks, loudly, with a bit of fussing thrown in for good measure, for a REALLY LONG TIME. Zach and I have taken to alternating nights for earplugs, so at least one of us can get a good night's sleep.

One thing I really love about this stage is watching Julia's personality develop. She's got a very chill, relaxed attitude about things, but at the same time, she is super energetic and extremely busy...a little maniac. I still find it hard to believe that BOTH children have gotten Zach's boundless energy. When do I get the child that sits quietly and reads by herself, like I surely did as a child?! Anyway, Julia is so funny to watch. She loves attention, but she's also very independent and content to entertain herself. If Will comes and takes a toy from her, she crawls over and gets a new one. I think Will hopes and expects her to be outraged, and it almost angers him when she's not. Conversely, if she picks up a toy that he was playing with, he will have a complete freak-out. It's hilarious to watch Julia's face when this happens; it's clear she's thinking, "What is HIS problem?"

She's an adorable little girl, and I particularly love that she's in a Mommy phase right now. I am preferred over everyone else, and I will admit that it's a little bit flattering. I love to see her full-body eruption of joy (and that's really the only way to describe it--she starts laughing and flapping her arms and legs) when she gets home from school and sees me. I'm trying to savor each moment of it because I know it won't last. In a few years, she'll being singing Will's current refrain of "You're mean. You're not my friend." And then later, there will be the teenage years, a thought that makes me shudder. But for now, she is my sweet, sweet girl, and I am loving every minute with her (well, except for the 3:30 AM parties--those, I could do without).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Like an Elephant

Today Will is going to his friend Ella's birthday party. When I told him this, he asked, "Are we going to play golf and see Mickey Mouse?" Which is what he did at Ella's last birthday party. A YEAR AGO.

Sometimes it freaks me out how good his memory is.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

"I am the best talker in the whole wide world!"

No arguments here, buddy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

It's hard to explain the concepts of "countries" or "patriotism" to an almost-three-year-old. Over the 4th of the July weekend, we were singing Happy Birthday to America. Will had lots of questions:
"Where America?" (Looking around, as if he's confused where this extra person is.)
"She nice?"
"She like having a birthday?"

Frequently heard around our house, as we're in the throes of potty training:

"Mama, you don't come in the bathroom with me. I need pri-vat-see."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

This week, we have a story from Will. I think it's loosely based on our recent trip to the lake, but I'm not exactly sure:

"Mama, trees don't go swimming. Trees don't go swimming because they are big and would use up all the water in the lake. And then, we wouldn't have any water for swimming in. And then, we would be sad that we didn't have any water and we would have to call the monsters and they would squirt some more water into the lake so we could swim."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

Oh boy, we've had some doozies this week. Let's get started with the most incriminating one first:

The other morning, I foolishly took both children to the grocery store by myself (yes, I know plenty of people do this all the time. I also know that if they didn't have to, they certainly wouldn't.) Anyway, while we're in the store, we see a tall, thin, black man walk in. Will sees the man and exclaims, "Look Mama! It's Tiger Woods!" Fortunately, he didn't use his typical scream-at-the-top-of-my-lungs voice, so I don't think anyone else heard him. It seems we need to expose ourselves to a bit more diverse population.

On Sunday morning (before we went to the grocery store), Will woke up very early, was still extremely cranky, but didn't want to go back to bed. Well, I was having none of it and made him lie in the bed for a little while (and I laid down with him). He was pitching a fit and complaining loudly the whole time...generally not pleased with the situation. While we're lying there, I try to explain to him that we need to be quiet and let Daddy sleep because it's Father's Day.
"Do you know what Father's Day is?"
"Well, it's a day where we need to be really nice to daddies and grandfathers, like Bubs."

Will thinks about this, looks at me and scowls, and says, "But not to Mommies, like you."

The other night we were out to dinner, and I ordered a beer. Will saw me drinking it and said, "Girls don't drink beer!"
"Well, sometimes grown-up girls drink beer."
"No, beer is not for girls, Mama."
"Oh really? What do girls drink?"
"Girls like to drink limeade. Limeade is good for girls."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Since it's almost the end of June, I thought it would be the perfect time to post about what we did in May. Because, boy, May was busy.

So, the first weekend in May, we took Will to the aquarium in Atlanta. But, I already told you about that. The rest of the weekend, we saw some friends, played in the car, and splashed in puddles. Pretty eventful.

The second weekend in May was Mother's Day, and Zach surprised me with a trip to Ross Bridge. Initially, he was just going to send me there for Saturday night to relax by myself, but then my mom offered to keep the kids, so he got to come too! I went out early and had a massage and a facial, then he met me once the kids were in bed. The next morning, my parents brought the kids out, we all had brunch together, and then Zach and I took Will to the super-cool pool. Sunday afternoon was rainy, rainy, so we just tried to keep the kids occupied. We capped the day off with a trip to Salsaritas for a Mother's Day dinner. Here is my favorite picture:

It was such a nice Mother's Day! After all of that celebrating, we still had more celebrating to do, because our seventh anniversary was on Monday. Nothing is open on Monday night, but we went to Hot and Hot on Tuesday for a nice dinner and some tomato salad. Even though it was our anniversary, Zach wouldn't share the tomato salad--I had to get my own. Some things never change, but of course, lots of things do. We had fun talking about how different our lives are now than when we got married at the ripe old age of 24! We wouldn't trade it for the world (at least most days).

The next weekend in May was so busy that we had to divide and conquer. The day after our lovely dinner, the boys deserted me! Zach and Will headed to Charlottesville on Wednesday and didn't come back until Sunday morning...4 nights without my men! Carol received a big award at UVA's valediction, so they went up for that. Zach did some work around Virginia on Thursday and Friday, and Will got to stay and play with his grandparents. It really worked out well for everyone. Meanwhile, back at home, Julia and I were celebrating my sister's graduation from Med school! We had lots of family in town for the big event--my grandparents even made the trek. And, there's really no better way to celebrate than to eat a lot, so that's what we did. We were all SO proud of Melanie and her accomplishments. I only wish that the two events had been on different weekends so that Zach and I could have been a part of both. Alas, you can't do it all.

After the boys returned, we were home for a few days. Then, since we hadn't been busy enough, Zach and I decided to go out of town for the fourth weekend. One of Zach's fraternity brothers got married in Linville, NC, so we drove up for the wedding. My parents graciously agreed to keep the children, which was particularly nice since it was terrible weather the whole time we were gone. This was the first time I had left Julia for more than a night, but we all did well. I have to admit that it was nice to have a break! I forgot how much I love sleeping.

Finally, May was almost over, and to cap off the month, we headed to the beach for a week! Of course, that's a whole other post for another time. Whew!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

On Saturday, Will and Julia were sitting on the floor playing, and Julia started fussing a bit. Will immediately attempted to comfort her:

"It's okay, baby Julia! Your Mama is here. Your Daddy is here. Your big brother Will is here. And we're not going bye-bye!! We're riiiiiight here. We will keep you safe."

My heart melted. Sweetest thing ever.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nine Months!

Last week Julia turned nine months old! In the past couple of weeks, I feel like we have had an explosion of activity and new skills. Julia is on the cusp of so many changes; as my mom says, she's a very ambitious baby! She is DYING to learn how to crawl, but just can't get it together quite yet. She pulled up once by herself, but hasn't done it again since (thank goodness...I'm not ready for an early walker). She is really ready to MOVE! For now, she'll settle with bouncing in her exersaucer or jump-a-roo. She is also babbling a ton; unfortunately, she seems to be focusing on saying "dada".

She's a good eater--you can tell that by her adorable chubbiness! I've completely weaned her, but she's doing well on formula, and she's really picking up her baby food habit (but still no teeth!). When we were at the beach, it seemed like we couldn't feed her must have been a growth spurt. When we last went to the doctor, she was 19 pounds, 5 ounces (60%) and 29.5 inches tall (97%)! People always comment on what a tall baby she is.

Poor baby has been sick a lot. Fortunately, nothing bad, but just always a little something that keeps her under the weather. She's a trouper, though! While we were at the beach, we're pretty sure she had Fifth Disease (just a virus that causes a rash on the cheeks, cold-like symptoms, etc.), and then this past weekend she was very sick...fever in the 102-103 range for four days and then a bout of throwing up. As best we can tell, that was just a virus, too, and she seems to be MUCH better. But, she clearly didn't feel well and was Miss Pitiful. All she wanted to do was be held and cuddled (of course, I didn't mind!). We were spoiled with Will because he was never sick enough to be home from school--he only missed a day or two in his first two years. But, Julia has been sick a lot, which, aside from being no fun for her, is also very disruptive for Zach and me. And of course, I can't have one of these posts without commenting on sleep--fortunately, it's gotten much better. The sickness(es) and the beach were somewhat disruptive, but all in all, things are good and she's usually sleeping about 10.5 - 11 hours at a time. In the mornings, as long as we make it to a number that starts with 5, I'm okay. My how my standards have changed...

As I always say, I can't believe another month has gone by (a running joke in our house because I'm constantly commenting on it). I can't believe that Julia is much closer to being a toddler than she is to a newborn. This morning, we put all of the "baby" stuff in the attic...up went the swing, the play mat, the boppy, the breast pump. We've lowered Julia's crib to the lowest setting. Her new "big girl" car seat arrives on Wednesday. All signs point to a baby who's growing up. Good thing she's ready, because I'm not sure that I am!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

Apparently I need to wear skirts or dresses more often. The other day I was wearing a jean skirt, and Will looked at me and exclaimed, "Mama! I like your dress! You look like a ballerina!!"

The other morning at Panera, Will was standing by me while I was sitting in the booth. He looked back at me and said, "Mama, put your arm around me. Keep me safe."

I don't know where he got that, but it was super sweet!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


About a month ago, we took Will to the aquarium in Atlanta. He was so excited...he got to go on a trip with Mom and Dad, and baby Julia stayed home (with Hulie). We drove over to Atlanta on a Thursday morning, and Zach had lunch with some clients while Will and I wandered around the mall. We probably could have turned around and come home at that point, and he would have thought it was a great trip. But then, we went to our hotel! What a treat! When you're at the hotel, you get to do stuff like this:

The hotel also had a big glass elevator that was fun to ride, an ice machine where you could get unlimited ice, and carts that you and Daddy could use to push your luggage. Can you imagine the joy?

That afternoon we walked over to Olympic Park, which was right across the street from our hotel. They have a cool playground that Will really enjoyed playing on. But again, the biggest treat just seemed to be having us to himself. After we really wore him out on the playground (and he had skipped his nap due to the traveling), we headed to dinner with some friends. Luckily, he was great, but was completely tuckered out by the time we got back to the hotel. The tiredness was a good thing, however, because it meant he went right to his big bed! It was the first time he slept in a big bed, and he did wonderfully. He slept all through the night, but he did wake us up quite early.

After breakfast at the hotel, we headed to the aquarium, which was also right across from our hotel. Even though it was a Friday morning, there were TONS of people there--lots of school groups. But, Will was very excited and impressed by everything! Just the surroundings were amazing to him (and don't even get me started on what he thought about lunch and the Sprite he got to have). Fortunately, he also loved seeing the actual exhibits, which was the whole point of the trip. He was fascinated (and a little bit scared) by the sharks and the sting rays, and he really liked the beluga whales. In fact, ever since then, every whale is a buh-looooga whale.

Look! A shark!

All in all, it was a great trip. Although, I think we could probably just take him to a hotel here in town, and he would be just as happy. This is how Will felt about everything:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday Will-isms

The other day I was packing for the kids to go to my parents' house, and I got out a big duffel bag for Julia's things. Will asked me what the bag was for, and I replied that it was for Julia. He looked at me in disbelief and said, "We're going to put her in there?"

I'm not sure if he was asking hopefully or not.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eight (and a half) Months!

I took her picture on the right date, but I never actually posted about it. I was just reading what I wrote for Julia's seven month post, and it's amazing how so many of the things I wrote about then seem to be the opposite now. So, let me start off by telling you what Julia is NOT doing at eight (and a half) months old:
  • She is NOT sleeping for 12 hours at a time like I'd like her to be. Granted, she's gotten much better and now usually wakes up between four and five. So, I guess I can't really complain when she's sleeping nine or ten hour stretches, but I'd like to drop that wake up.
  • She does NOT have any teeth. I'm surprised by this, because I've thought she was teething for months. Of course, when she starts really teething, I'm sure the sleeping will get worse than it is now. Not sure what to do about that...
  • She is NOT babbling as much as she was a month ago. She still makes lots of noise, but it's mostly screeching and humming and vowel sounds. She doesn't seem to make many consonant sounds, which worries me a bit. We'll see what Doctor Levin says about that (I think my frame of reference is a bit skewed due to Will.)
  • She is NOT completely weaned, although we are close. I have recently quit nursing her, which was really very easy, but we still have lots of frozen breast milk. She takes bottles of breast milk or formula very well.
  • She is NOT super excited about baby food. She eats pretty well, but it just doesn't seem that she eats even close to as much as Will did. Again, I think Will was likely an outlier.
  • She is NOT crawling, but she is dying to move. She just can't quite get it together. She still does her crazy arm and leg flapping, and I think we are screwed when she figures out coordinated motion.

Despite all of these "nots," she is still the perfect little baby. She loves interacting with us and especially with Will. I love to watch them together and can't wait to see how they are as they grow up.