Friday, September 30, 2011

Show Us Your Life: Favorite Places to Shop for Kids

Today on Kelly's Korner we get a chance to share our favorite places to shop for kids. I live near beautiful Chattanooga and there are plenty of places to shop. Recently I found Caleb's cute little Bee Backpack at Learning Express Toys. They're the only ones around that had it and it was on sale! They do have an online catalog...definitely worth checking out!

Chattanooga has a Carter's store now and I am so excited!!! Love, love, love their clothes! Many of Caleb's outfits come from there. We also love The Children's Place.

Last, but not least, my family adores Macy's for the kids. Many of Caleb's newborn clothes came from Macy's. My mom orders from them online and we travel just to get to their stores. We love the prices and selections.

My favorite online places are KidSteals (they have a different deal every day), Zulily (super cute stuff), and Etsy (you can really find some unique stuff).

When it comes to Caleb's toys, we are huge supporters of Toys R Us!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lovin' His Cousin

Ryan, Dad, and Brian worked together clearing out yet another fallen tree from my parents' backyard. That meant us girls could get together and watch the kids play. Caleb has gone through a "Zoe Zoe" stage. He begs every time we get in the car to go play with Zoey. It's too precious! Tara and I have waited a long time to see our little ones play together and we're in the beginning stages of it.

They were both so excited and happy to see each other!

They tried their best to take turns, but it didn't always work out....

They stopped for just a second to give each other a hug!

Caleb really put forth a lot of effort...

He just loves Zoey!

Then they had to stop and smell the flowers...

Then it was time to eat a big meal that Granny cooked for us!

Zoey was ready to dive into some mac and cheese!

They waited patiently for about a minute....

After dinner, it was time to play again!

They were so dramatic falling on this blanket!

Caleb took my camera and actually made a great picture!
I think he has a love for cameras in his blood....

Poor Granddaddy! Two jumping toddlers is a lot of work!

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Put Your Foot Down!

If you've read my blog for a bit, you may realize that I have run into a bit of a problem over the last couple of months.

Before I had a child, I thought I knew quite a bit about parenting. Surely my college degree in early childhood development meant I had some sort of expertise, right? I hate to admit that I was one of those people who would see children acting all kinds of crazy out in public and wonder what in the world was wrong with their parents. Oh, yes....I happily judged all of them and thought smugly to myself how different I could do things. Looking back now, I believe the Lord had a special plan for me! He knew my heart and He also knew exactly what was in store for me in the future...

When my sweet Caleb was born, people gushed over how much patience I had with him. When he fussed, I knew exactly how to calm him down. I never understood what the big deal was. I was never a patient person and then all of a sudden everyone is making comments about how easy being a mother was for me. I marveled at my mothering skills. My ego was doing fairly well, but God still had something to teach me....

All this time I just knew this was going to be a walk in the park. My awesome skills as a mother and having the smartest, most amazing son in the world was a guaranteed combination for blissful family time. I do like to imagine that God has a sense of humor at times.

My blissful ignorance only blinded me to the changes that were happening with my child. I would blame an ugly temper tantrum on Caleb being hungry or maybe he was just tired. Excuse after excuse I made for my sweet little angel.

I'm here to tell you that was a huge load of crap! My child was entering the dreaded "terrible two's" and I was just standing there watching. Everyone told me it was a phase and that three's are much worse. Over the past month I have sat down, stared into my husband's eyes, and admitted that I wouldn't make it through it! Ryan just laughed and gave me a hug while telling me that it was just part of life.

Have I ever told you guys that I am as stubborn as my little boy is wild??? I refused to let this be my life. After Caleb decided to act out in front of our sweet group of friends, I knew it was time to get serious. I was not going to lock myself in the house for the next two years. Two Sundays ago, I implemented an aggressive behavioral modification program. I knew that if Caleb's wild, socially inappropriate behavior would ever be controlled, it was by doing something drastic.

Caleb is pretty tough. He can bump into something, whimper for a moment, and then go back to whatever crazy thing he was doing in the first place. Seriously...tough and fearless. For the past month, we tried so many different discipline methods. Nothing made a difference! I was desperate. Caleb's the type of kid who is always on the go. From the time he wakes up until he goes to bed.....ninety miles an hour. Ryan and I decided that if anything was going to work, we'd have to tailor it to him. On Sunday, Caleb decided to throw himself around on the floor during an epic fit, scream at the top of his lungs when he didn't get his way, and then come over to hit us. Ryan gently picked him up, carried him to our designated "Time Out" chair, and sat him in it. You would have thought we threw him into a fire! He wiggled and screamed like someone was killing him! If he got out of the chair, we gently put him back. After about fifteen minutes (seriously...) he got quite. The water works just shut off and he sat with his little hands folded in his lap. We began timing for two minutes. After it was over, I asked Caleb to say he was sorry for disobeying us and he quickly said, "Sorry!" Then I asked him if he would try to act better and he said, "Yeah!" I told him he could get up and he came running over to give us hugs (all with a smile on his face).

Every single time we saw that look of defiance wash over our child, we sat in the chair. Caleb is all about the drama. When we totally ignored his outrageous behavior, he just couldn't stand it. This past week he has quickly learned that in order to gain our attention, he has to behave. We do not give him any attention when he's pitching a fit. It literally breaks his heart. He likes to put on a dramatic show and have us fuss over him. That's not happening anymore. Those days are over. If he's sitting in the time out chair and screaming, Ryan and I don't raise our voices or change our tone and we only speak to each other. When Caleb is quiet and not whining is when we will acknowledge him. This teaches him what is acceptable behavior is and what we will tolerate from him. He can choose to act out, but he will not gain anything from it.

This may not work for everyone as every child is different, but this is working well for us. Are we experts? Heavens no! We're totally learning and sharing what's happening for us. We have learned that you must be consistent. Doing it only half the time teaches a child that they may not get their way this time, but doing it again may work the next time. Caleb's the type of child that thrives off of our attention and praise. If we take that away during his tantrums, we remove the point of him doing it.

Will this work two months from now??? I sure hope so. Do we have a back up plan? You better bet we do! If Caleb chooses to continue the fit after a time out, we will eliminate what he's wanting to do. Out at dinner and he decides to pitch a fit? No problem. We have a time out in the car. Chooses to continue? We pay for our meal and leave. Period. He will realize that pitching fits is not in his best interest. Caleb will pick up on the fact that behaving well means he gets to have lots of fun. It's going to take patience and a lot of tough love, but it will pay off to have a happier child! It may take a while for us to get where we need to be, but we are doing something. Sitting around waiting it out will not work. You must teach you child and sometimes it's just plain tough.

Any of you parents going through what we have, bless your hearts! I know how hard and embarrassing it can get! If you'd like to leave a comment on this post and are going through this, I will certainly be praying with you!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Only Tuesday....

My sweet friend, Crystal, was kind enough to create a brand new signature for my blog today! How talented is she?!?! She would rock at blog design.... For Fall I now have a special, extra cute signature for all of my blog posts!!! (Thank you soooo much, Crystal!!!)

Ryan, Caleb and I have had a rough couple of days lately. Caleb has graciously shared all of his germs with me and I have ended up with his sinus infection. I decided that I wasn't going to be stubborn and suffer through it, so I made a doctor's appointment for yesterday afternoon. It was late in the day so I decided to grab Caleb from school early and just take him with me. Yeah...that was a brilliant idea! I knew that he'd been fairly possessive of me around Ryan, but I had no idea it wasn't just towards him. When the nurse took my blood pressure, Caleb had to sit on my lap and supervise the whole process! He sat quietly (praise the Lord), but glared viciously at the poor nurse the entire time. Finally when she announced she was finished, he looked at her and firmly said, "My mommy!" I have to admit it was fairly adorable....

When we left the doctor's office with a bag full of antibiotics, we called Daddy to see if he made it home yet. Ryan has been working on his Jeep for the last month and we felt like it was finally ready to get back on the road. We were totally wrong. When Ryan left work, the Jeep sputtered and tried to die on him....while getting into rush hour traffic! The Jeep did okay until he came to a stop to turn....the wheels locked up and that was it. The poor thing just wouldn't move. Three police cars, my dad in his Jeep, and a rollback later, Ryan and the Jeep were safely back at work. I happened to call as I was leaving the doctor's office. I looked down the road and saw the Jeep and police lights before Ryan picked up. Every bad possible scenario ran through my head in that moment.

It was such a relief to hear his voice!

Praise the Lord he didn't wreck while the Jeep went nuts. Praise the Lord that I picked up Caleb and Ryan didn't have him. Yeah, it's pretty crappy that we have a vehicle to fix. It's probably going to be costly....but my boys are safe and nothing else matters.

I'll have to admit that Ryan and I did drown our sorrows last night. We ran to the store and bought our favorite comfort foods (cheese, popcorn, pizza, chocolate ice cream, and Dr. Pepper), snuggled up on the couch after Caleb went to bed, and watched TV the rest of the night!

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The County Fair

On Saturday we took Caleb out to our local County Fair to put us in the mood for Fall! The first thing we saw was a baby duck exhibit. Caleb stood in awe of the tiny ducks swimming around! Finally a lady asked if we wanted to hold one. Of course we did!

Caleb petted the baby so gently. He kept saying, "Baby! Baby!"

He really wanted to hold the little duck, but I was having a hard time myself!
That poor little duck wiggled all over the place....reminded me of someone else I know...

It was so sweet to see his little face light up!

Caleb got a chance to show off his amazing art skills...

He was oh so serious about it!
Caleb has been such a joy for us lately. He's beginning to make sense when he talks and I can understand him most of the time. It's fun to hear him try new words and get excited!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Best of the Best

Ryan and I had a special date night last night. Island Cove Marina was one of the finalist in the Best of the Best award ceremony in Chattanooga. We were so honored that our city named us one of their favorites! The award banquet was last night and we were thoroughly spoiled! 
Our pictures are tiny on here, but they were on the Chattanooga Times Free Press' site. 
Our car was parked for us while we walked onto a red carpet for several pictures. 

We had a very nice dinner and met some great people during the night....

I took this one with my Blackberry on the way to dinner. 

We had such a nice time together....

This is probably the most dressed up I have ever seen my husband. He looked so nice and I definitely had the best looking date for the evening...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Little Giddy

This is totally off the wall today, but I am beyond flattered. I love thinking that someone actually enjoys something on my little blog here. Having that actually confirmed???


I was looking around my all time favorite site right now (Pinterest) and found where someone actually pinned something from my blog! Some complete random stranger out there liked something on my blog enough to actually Pin It!

Yummy Taco Casserole

I'm always looking for quick, easy, freezable dinner ideas for my family. I also like meals that can be shared  with others. Last night I decided to try a new recipe for dinner and made some extra for some sweet friends of ours. This taco casserole is really tasty and it makes a bunch! Ryan and I used the leftovers at lunch to make awesome burritos. I simply stuffed tortilla shells with the mixture and baked it in the oven until heated through. So good! 

I placed tortilla chips in the bottom of a foil pan....
You can crush them up if it makes you feel better!

I browned one pound of hamburger meat and then added water and taco seasoning.
Cook the taco meat using the instructions on the seasoning.

While that was going, I emptied one large can of refried beans, one cup of mild salsa, and one cup of Monterey Jack cheese in a sauce pan and warmed it up. I stirred everything together while it warmed and then spread it evenly over my chips. 

When that was finished, my taco meat was ready to be spooned over the beans. 

Finally I chopped some green onion and sprinkled it on top along with some sliced black olives and cheese.

When ready to eat, simply bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
This is what my friends get to see when they pop open the fridge tonight!

This is what our dinner looked like once it was baked last night. 
Caleb went nuts eating this stuff and really seemed to enjoy it. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Football with Friends

There are a few changes on my blog these days. With safety being a huge issue on the internet, I have worried about posting pictures of Caleb and all of his many new friends. Other bloggers have had huge issues with their pictures being used on other sites without permission. To prevent that from happening to this little blog, I have disabled the right click function. None of the pictures can be copied from here. If that throws you off a little, I apologize. I am sure all of my blog readers completely understand! If you blog and would like to know how I made the quick and easy change, please email me at and I will show you how!

Now onto the fun from this weekend! Ryan, Caleb and I were invited over to John and Rachel's house to watch the Tennessee-Florida football game with our fabulous small group from church. Though the Vols didn't come out victorious, we all enjoyed getting together over soups and snacks.

My little child decided on Saturday naps were totally unnecessary. Um, super.... You can imagine my excitement taking him anywhere in public. (Ryan and I are seriously debating over barricading ourselves in our house until he's about 5...seriously...)

My small group has the cutest little kids around! 
They all seem to get along great!

Caleb loved playing with the magnets on the fridge. 

Sophia and Caleb were born days apart from each other. 
They were sweet together, most of the time! 

Baby Johnny had all of the football excitement he could stand!
(He happens to be an Alabama fan, so that may have had something to do with it as well!)

This wild one was a hand full. I seriously do not know what I am going to do with him....
I am praying that we have hit the Terrible Twos early and that they pass quickly, but that's a complete post in itself! 

This little sweetie is beyond cute!

I missed a couple of the other kiddos....they quietly played together and you almost forgot they were there! 

We had all kinds of soups and snacks that I completely forgot to take pictures of! Everything was so yummy!
Have I mentioned my kid was kind of a mess???


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