Blogging and Praying that I never forget these days . . . .

Cul-de-sac Gatlinburg

November 5, 6, 7, 2010
Last weekend we had the privilege of spending the weekend with some close friends.  On a whim, our cul-de-sac decided to take a family trip to the mountains.  Camille was lucky enough to find us a cabin with 6 bedrooms.  It was the perfect size for our crew of 10 kids and 8 adults.  We went up on Friday and spend the afternoon shopping, playing at the cabin, and shopping.  Mary Kate hung with the girls all bundled in her winter puppy coat in the stroller.  It was the first real cold weekend of the season.  When we got back we enjoyed some relaxing in the hot tub and some games around the table.  Just FYI, when the description says an eight person hot tub, you really need to be "close" to those eight people, and you do not need to have a fetish about feet if your going to put eight people in the tub,right Roger?  Saturday we got up and enjoyed a home cooked breakfast that included the tossing of chocolate pancakes.  We then headed out for more shopping.  It was too cold to ride go carts on Saturday, so Max decided to go to the Dinosaur Museum instead.  It was full of huge dino replicas and lots of information.  Max was a little intimated by their size, but we finally got him to post for a quick picture.  Saturday night we got the older kids to babysit and the adults (+mKate) were able to enjoy an evening out.  We walked the strip in Gatlinburg until we were numb and even got to do some taste-testing.  Then we headed to dinner and back to the cabin for more games and soaking.  Sunday we took time for family pics with the pretty fall trees and then went for more pancakes.  Yum!  I love pancakes and BACON!  Michael likes BACON too.  Finally before we left it was warm enough for some go-carting.  Quinton won the race and it was then time to head home.  Thanks for a great weekend cul-de-sackers, we hope for it to become an annual event. 


October 31, 2010
Halloween was a blast this year.  It literally lasted ALL WEEKEND.  We started off Friday with Max's school party.  Wow! is all I have to say.  Twelve four and five year olds, candy, food, costumes, trick or treating, and crafts.  I was ready for a nap before lunch after helping Ms. Gina for the morning.  We then met Gindy and Love Bug Kerrigan for lunch and trick or treating on the square.  The girls rode in the wagon and Max conquered all the shops for candy. 

Saturday, we started the morning with our last soccer game for the fall.  Yippee, oh, whoops, did I say that out loud.  No, just kidding.  Max played a great game and then they got their trophies for the season.  We headed home and got naps before the annual party at our house. Jay and I spent all afternoon preparing for the soups Halloween party in the cul-de-sac.  We enjoyed the night with about 65 of our family and friends and lots of kids.  The kids enjoyed a night of hide and go seek while the adults got to visit and chat by the fire pits.  We had enough food to feed a small army and I think everyone had full bellies.
Sunday, Halloween was officially here.  We our M&Ms dressed early and visited all the grand and great grandparents.  Max collected more candy that he didn't need and Mary Kate got a bag full of baby food.  Yea!  We got home just as the sun was setting and took off around the neighborhood.  I have never seen so many kids.  On the main drag of the neighborhood, you had to wait in line at the sidewalk to get to the front doors of the houses.  Unb-elieve-able!  and scary!  with so many costumed kids it was difficult to keep track of your own kids.  After loosing Max for a few seconds, we turned and went toward a less populated area of the neighborhood.  It was a great, but tiring weekend.  I love making so many FFMs in one weekend, but it really wears you out.  Jay and I were desperately ready for Monday to return back to work for rest! HAHA

Max and Tristan

Max and Kirkland

Jay's 30th Birthday

October 22, 2010
We had a great weekend the past few days as we celebrated Jay's big birthday.  We were both off work Thursday and Friday and enjoyed the extra days with the kids. Jay spent numerous hours on the couch with his green peas, but by Saturday he was moving around. Friday night we had lasagna at the Kelley's house with family and friends.  Mary Kate loved her first meal of lasagna.  It is definitely one of our favorite dishes that Grandma cooks.  I pretty sure Mary Kate said that she wanted it for her birthday also.  She dug the noodles out and ate as many as we would gave her.  She even got to clean up the left overs on Mr. Jonathan's plate.  Max was really excited about his gift for Jay.  Max had all the "Train Your Dragon" Dragons until the movie came out with the short film on the DVD.  *Smart ones, those kid toy makers, they are!*  You see the short film introduced another dragon, and like Jay, Max has to have the whole set.  So, he decided to buy Jay the last dragon for his birthday.  Now Max has the whole set.  Smart Kid!  Don't be fooled, Jay was just as excited about having the whole set as Max.  Happy 30yrs Babe!  We love you!  Like I said earlier, can you believe it was 15 yrs (or 1/2 your life) ago that you had the party at the armory? Whoa!  Long time ago and we are still dancing and laughing.  I love you, my thirty year old. I hope you had a great birthday even if it was spent with PEAS.  Thanks for taking one for them team.

Mary Kate 9mo

Mary Kate turned 9mo on her Daddy's 30th Birthday.  She weighed in at the doctor's office at 18 lbs 8 oz and 27 inches tall.  She ranks 50% across the board for her age.  As the picture shows, she has really found her tongue in the past week and always has it sticking out.  She is still a very happy baby as long as you don't try to feed her.  She now waves her arms in the arm if she sees you with a spoon.  This makes it almost impossible to get a loaded spoon to her mouth.  She loves being independent and feeding herself with her fingers.  She is also continuing to babble all the time.  She is very loud and can cause some serious looks from others as she "talks" in public.  She knows that "DaDa" is Jay and she babbles it alot.  The word changes a little though and has more excitement in it when she sees him.  I have gotten her to say "Mama" on one occasion and I got it on tape, but it hasn't come out again.  I think I am going to have two very vocal children in my house!  That's okay . . .as Max says all the time "We love you Mary Kate!"

Pumpkin Patch

October 10, 2010
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Bubbles & Babbles

October 9, 2010
My M&Ms love taking baths and playing in the water.  Last week we had a very adventurous bathtime.  It started with Mary Kate doing her first long stent of babbling.  We are pretty sure she threw in some "Dada" in the middle of her story.  I uploaded the videos below for you to make your own determination.  Also, while we were giving her so much attention, Molly got jealous.  Next thing we knew Molly was in the tub too.  There is nothing like videoing, taking pictures, washing both kids, and then washing the dog all at once.  Wow, what an evening!  Enjoy!

Packed Weekend

October 2 and 3, 2010
Don't you just love weekends that make your head spin?  Weekends that make going back to work on Monday feel like a break?  Our weekend felt exactly like that!  It was jam pack with lots of friends, family, food, and fun.  The Four Fs!  We started on Saturday with SquareFest or the Festi-bul as Max called it.  We ran into Jack at the right time so that the boys got to paint some pumpkins.  I think they really enjoyed it.  Our pumpkins our now helping decorate the house.  Abby, how did Jack's shirt wash?  Jack had a little difficulty as he reached across his wet paint pumpkin to get more paint.  I think his shirt ended up with as much paint as the pumpkin did. Following the "festi-bul" we joined the fun at Trace and Ashton's Birthday party.  It is so hard to believe that our nephews are already 7 and 9 yrs old.  Where does the time go?  The kids scaled the tremedous slide all afternon.  They even got in a little bit of pool time before they froze.

Jack & Max

Jay and Ashton

Trace is NINE!
Sunday was celebrated with Mary Kate's Baby Dedication at church.  She looked so pretty!  We were joined with many of our family and several friends.  It was a very special day for us and we are reminded that she is one of God's children entrusted in us to raise.  We were given the opportunity the pledge as parents to teach her about God and provide a Christ centered home for her to thrive in as she grows.  Special Moments!  After the service everyone was invited to our house for a scrumptous dinner.  Thank you all for giving our little lady your afternoon.  It meant more that you can understand to us and will to her as she grows.  I am confident that everyone in attendance will have a special and unique role in her life.  You will each be helping us shape her into a Christian Woman. 

Mary Kate and her Nanny

September 2010

Gee Wizz, September is already gone and really October is half way there too.  As you know I am behind on the blog, but that is okay because we have had some great couple of weeks.  It had been beautiful weather here and I have been enjoying it instead of being on the computer.  It's raining today and Max is at school, so I am going to try to capture some of the highlights real quick from September. 
 As you can see from the picture Mary Kate has discovered the steps and conquered them.  She goes up with ease and Jay is teaching her the come down part.  She is so funny when she gets to the top because she just sits and laughs.  Its seems she is really proud of herself.  She has also learned to clap for everyone.  We spend most of our day saying "yay" and clapping.  Max loves it and is constantly encouraging her to do new things. . . .more of those in October's update.  She is still struggling with baby food.  She only eats it without a fuss about 25% of the time.  I am pondering about abandoning it all together and starting to dice up finger foods.  She continues to nurse well and I am leaving that all up to her since she isn't doing well with foods.

 Max is playing soccer and swimming this month.  I don't have pictures of swimming because they turned out dark and grainy.  He is a real fish in the water and is learning new strokes.  Soccer started well this year with no tears, but that quickly changed.  We had a rough week the end of September where Max screamed and sobbed on the field and Jay  . . . well we all know Jay.  The fact of Jay is that he is Max's coach this year.  It was funny watching Max throw his fit and then looking over at Coach Jay pitching his own little show.  Jay was trying to convince Max and making him play through his tears.  Little did Jay think about parents watching the game that didn't know Max was his child.  I overheard a parent on the sideline tell another parent, "Oh, No, No, that is his son."  Whoops!  I guess parents were discussing his coaching technique when a player didn't want to play.  (Jay was signaling to me across the field that he was going to choke Max.)  Of course Jay was just frustrated and would never harm Max.  Ha!  After that morning Jay decided he had to change his techniques.  He had also applied that at home and everyone is now a lot happier.  Jay is less frustrated and Max's sobbing has almost stopped.  I'm not saying tempers don't rise, but they are much more controlled for Jay and Max.  It has been a wonderful new leaf in our home.  Thank you God for allowing us to have introspection and change ourselves when we know it is not working.  Thank you for second chances at parenting.  I know I always need another chance and another idea or approach.
 Mary Kate happily turned 8mo at the end of September!  I truly believe she is the easiest baby ever.  Other than not eating baby food, she just goes with the flow.  She packs along with everyone where ever and what ever we are doing.  She hardly ever fusses.  Instead she just smiles and giggles at everyone.

 The annual  TUFF Fireman Competition was held this month.  Josh and Jon both competed on the Murfreesboro team and came in second place due to a penalty.  Their team did great and had the best time, but Josh knocked over a cone which caused a 2 second penalty and dropped them to second place.  He was bummed, but it was a great day.  We had all had a rough week that week and it was great to be together as a big family.  Max loves to see his uncles in all their fire gear doing their thing.

Max's Busy August

Max has had a very busy August.  He started off the month by beginning a Preschool class at a local church.  This has been stressful for Mommy, Daddy, Max, and anyone close to the family.  It has been a big adjustment and we are still "adjusting" (to say the least).  Max really enjoys his class and teacher.  He loves all the new stuff he is learning, singing, and drawing.  Each week if the student is good and their star stays on the wall they get in the treasure box.  Max is very proud every Friday when he brings home his treasure box treat.  Along with the changes he has found new friends and loves calling them all by first and last name.  It is so cute!  I posted some of his work and one of his adorable new songs.  With the knowledge he is getting he is also having to learn to live on someone else's schedule.  He is not use to being so structured.  I know it is good for him, but the scheduling has been his biggest enemy.  Learning to potty when told, learning to eat at certain times, going to school when Mommy is at home, and being expected to absorb all the new info.  Whew!  It has led to some whiny moments, but we will survive! (I think . .)  Also this month we have started back to soccer and swimming. I will post some of those pics at a later date.  Jay is his soccer coach this year and cousin Tristan is on his team.  He is thrilled with his upcoming soccer season.  At swimming, he moved to a different class with a new teacher.  His previous teacher moved over the summer, but he is loving his new teacher and seems to have made that transition without a bump.  Our little man is somewhat BUSY these days.  To say the least he is sleeping fabulous at night, goes to bed much easier, and most nights stays in his bed.  YAY! 

Mary Kate's 7mo

Okay, so I am behind at getting the seven month high chair pic up on the blog, but I was waiting on purpose.  Right?  Yea, I wanted to put what all she has been doing in the last 2 weeks on the entry.  Yea.  Right.  Anyways, here is our little sweetheart and since she had turned seven months she is on the go!  She is crawling and moving where she wants.  Last week she was in the living room and Jay went upstairs with Abby and Jack . . .they heard something in the kitchen . . .it was Mary Kate who had found the magnets on the fridge.  While I was home one day I left her playing in the living room to go get ready and she followed me to the back bathroom.  She is very proud of herself.  You can see it in those happy blue eyes.  This morning when Jay went to get her out of the crib and ready for church . . . she had pulled up and was standing waiting on him.  She is growing Too Fast!  She is also FINALLY beginning to "enjoy" foods.  She will open her mouth when she sees the spoon coming at her and will holler at you if you take too long for the next bite.  It is really funny (unless you are in a restaurant) because she squeals for each next bite.  We are all three having so much fun with our little girl. 

 7 Months Old

Exploring a sippy cup with apple juice
Our girls napping

First "pulling up" - Sunday, Sept. 5

Mary Kate's Heirloom

August 28, 2010

This weekend we took an adventure to find Mary Kate a special gift.  She got a special treat for being Grandma and Pawpaw's last grandchild.  The highchair that was purchased when Trace was born 9 years ago had seen better days by the time it got down the line the Max (#5).  Once he had out grown the chair it was time for it to be retired.  The seating was torn and aged and Grandma just felt like it wouldn't make it to the next child.  So once we found out that Mary Kate was on the way Grandma said that we needed to find her a new chair when the time came for it.  Well, the time was this weekend!  Mary Kate is now sitting up and beginning to eat with her hands and didn't have anywhere to sit at Grandma and Pawpaw's house.  They decided to solve the problem and off we went to find a chair.  Jay and I purchased our wooden chair at the Flea Mkt, so we thought we could find another one there.  No such luck!  We did locate the shop that made the chairs and ventured there after an afternoon at the Flea Mkt.  We were in luck here!  They had one just perfect for her, and it matched Grandma's table finish at home.  Jay and I were really excited to find it.  Now she has her very own chair and will probably never have to share it.  Sometimes being the last can pay off!  Grandma and Pawpaw even said that it will be her's to take home when the time comes.  She can have it in her house with her children and grandchild.  What a great start to a very special family heirloom!  We are very sentimental about things like that, so it means a lot to us to know she will always have that from Grandma and Pawpaw.  I even snapped a few photos of the three of them while we were still in the store.  Now she will even have pictures to show her family of the day the chair was bought.  Oh!  It just makes be smile to think of her placing her children and eventually grandchildren in that chair that was sought out and found JUST FOR HER.  What a special little lady she will always be to all of us!
Family Heirloom

Our Molly

August 15, 2010

After much discussion and hours of searching we have found our newest member of the family, Miss Molly.  Saturday we took a trip to visit her and fell in love.  We left with the intentions of purchasing her brother since we are familiar with boy dogs, but she choose us.  Once she got out of the cage she was all over Max.  He was on the floor giggling as she kissed, nibbled, and climbed all over him.  Of course that melted our hearts and here she is . . . in her new home on Wembley Court!  She is so tiny at just 8 wks old and probably won't be more than 15 lbs full grown.  Her breed is a West Highland Terrier or a Westie as they are called.  She is the same dog that is on the Cesar dog food commercial.   She is as bright white as Tahoe snow and as energetic as Max.  They will make the perfect pair.  Bebe gave Max Bruce's old bed and Molly has made it hers beside Max's bed.  When we can't find her, she is usually in her bed all cuddled up.  Mary Kate loves to sit and giggle at her, but she doesn't care for the kisses yet.  Please help us welcome her to the family, and say a prayer for us as we do the puppy thing. 
Little Miss Molly Kelley

Uh Oh Green Beans

August 15, 2010

Saturday we began our annual green bean picking!  We started bright and early to try to beat the heat.  It worked, but our beans were not ready.  Jay, Big Daddy, Max, and I picked the rows while Bull supervised from his chair at the edge of the garden.  We got about one 10 gallon bucket.  That is NOT ENOUGH!!  We usually get lots of 10 gallon buckets to can for the next year, but not this year.  Bull has decided we planted the wrong beans.  So he had Big Daddy till the rows and replant with more seeds.  Now we are in the waiting period again for them to grow and come in.  I guess we will be canning into the fall this year. That's okay with me as long as we get our green beans!  And just think, we won't have to pick in 100 degree weather!

Evening Fun

August 11, 2010

Tonight we had several FFMs (Fun Family Moments).  We took an adventure to the fountains at the Streets to let Max play.  We haven't been much this summer because it's just been too hot to sit out with mKate.  Max was very excited and played really hard.  Since mKate can sit up, we decided to let her try it out.  She went nuts-o and loved the water.  We sat her by one of the fountains and she kept leaning over to the water.  She would put her feet in the spray, her hands, her booty, and eventually her face.  When it got her face we expected a melt down, but she just cackled and leaned in for more.  Whoa, she is so easy going!  After the water play, Jay took us to eat and then to the new CeCe's.  Max had a really yummy time preparing his frozen yogurt cup.  His recipe was vanilla yogurt, gummy worms, lucky charms, fruity pebbles, peanut butter chips, captain crunch, oreos, and m&ms.  Jay stuck with the safety of oreos and vanilla yogurt. I scooped up cake batter yogurt with gummy worms and heath bar bits.  Poor mKate ate baby food squash, but she did it like a trooper and ate the whole cup!  Memories are so important in life, I am so glad we made some simple special ones tonight!
In Mary Kate's words, "Hoo Hoo, HOOOO!"

First Day of Preschool

August 9, 2010

With the end of Max's Nora Days came a new begining . . . . Preschool with Ms. Patrice!  Max started class Monday and has loved everyday!  He has learned what real school is and how to follow teacher instructions.  We are looking forward to watch him grow and excel this year.
New Beginnings!

SC Fair

August 8th, 2010

The yearly fair has been in town so Grandma and Pawpaw took the kid-os (big & little) on Saturday night.  We had lots of spin-y fun.  We all got unlimited ride armbands and rode until we couldn'e see straight.  Didn't notice when I was little, but most rides tend to go in a circle.  Whew!  I spent the rest of the night a little dizzy, but the giggles and smiles were totally worth it.  The kids love to ride the berry version of the teacups with me.  I crank that thing as hard and fast as I can and they all squeal.  I love it.  My head and stomach don't love it as much, but we had a blast.  The attendant even slowed the ride at one point (we inside didn't notice) because of all the yelling.  Jay said once he realized it was giggling he cranked it back up.  Mary Kate even got to ride her first carousel.  I talked the guy running it into letting me hold her.  I hope he didn't get in trouble, because she cackled and smiled the whole time.
The kids favorite ride with me, "spin it faster, faster, faster!"
Max's favorite ride, "the octopus"
mKate's First Ride
What can I say?

Mama Nora Days

August 7, 2010

Look how far we've come my baby!  Today we celebrated Max's time with Mama Nora.  Nora has kept Max since he was just 3 mo old.  He has loved everyday and made some special friends at her house.  But as life goes, Max is growing up and moving on to Pre K on Monday.  He will get the opportunity to learn in a school atmosphere and meet lots of new friends.  Mommy is very nervous about this transition, but feels it is a great building block for Max.  Mama Nora is special to us.  She kept Mommy as a baby and toddler, Uncle Jon, Uncle P, and now Max and Mary Kate.  We have been very blessed to have her in Max's life. She has given him many foundations that he will build upon in the next years. Mary Kate will continue her nurturing time with Nora and Max will move on to big boy school!
First Day: August 20, 2006

Last Day: August 7, 2010

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