Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween in Tellico

Ryan and I made our maiden voyage in his Jeep to Tellico! We have waited for this weekend for over a year and were beyond excited to finally take her to the mountains. My dad took Caleb a little early so that Ryan and I could take our time and make sure it was a safe trip. We had so much fun riding together and anticipated the beautiful ride. What we got was a lot of rain!

On Friday evening, we all gathered to celebrate Halloween. My mom and Aunt Debbie had everything decorated and we all had the best time. Brian, Tara and Zoey were pirates. Mom was Minnie Mouse. Dad was a gangster. Debbie was a cute monkey and our friend, Eric, was some sort of scary mountain monster which my son hated. Caleb and I dressed a puppy and kitty and Ryan was a little old lady who owned us. Seriously, never a dull moment for us....
Look at my sweet little puppy!
He hated the hood part of his costume!

They were so funny together!

I think Zoey was the cutest little pirate ever!

Uncle Brian showed Caleb how to play with a toy machine gun....

And Granddaddy played horse...

On Saturday, Caleb woke Daddy up early to go Jeep riding....

We loaded all three Jeeps and hit the trails!

Dad and Debbie loaded the babies in the JK, Brian and Tara took the Cherokee and Ryan and I followed in the YJ. 

We got to see some of the most beautiful Fall colors. This part of the mountain is only seen by a small group of people each year. It's stunning!

Everything was absolutely beautiful!

Until we reached rocks. The Jeep did great going down them. Coming back up was a totally different story...

Caleb and Zoey loved riding in the Jeep! 
(We didn't know it here, but Caleb was beginning to feel pretty rotten. This is about the time we noticed the rash all over his body. The poor baby looks a little puny here....)

Ryan was on a adrenaline rush from the ride!

These are the rocks we crossed on the trails.

At one point, we transfered babies around so that each Jeep could come up the rocks safely. 
Each Jeep had to be winched out of one spot. I'll admit that it was fairly scary for me....

Debbie took my camera and took pictures of us coming up the hill. 

A dirty Jeep to show our accomplishments!

This is a portion of the trail we came up!

Caleb started to feel pretty bad on the way back and went to sleep. 
He was feeling so bad he held my hand the entire way back. 

We had a blast on our first trip to Tellico in the Jeep!
We can't wait to go again....

We had to return home fairly quickly as Caleb began to feel a lot worse. We got home around 6:30 pm and I made a call to his doctor's office. We gave him a warm bath and just knew he wasn't feeling well at all. The on call nurse asked us several questions and recommended we take Caleb immediately to the local children's hospital. I was absolutely scared to death! Caleb was taken back and diagnosed with hand, foot, and mouth disease. He has blisters on his little fingers and feet, as well as in his mouth. He is contagious, so we will miss Trunk or Treat at church tonight. Our family was so looking forward to going, but Caleb really feels rotten. Please pray that he makes a speedy recovery and that we haven't passed this on to anyone else!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Show Us Your Life: Parents of an Only Child

Kelly's Korner topic today is connecting parents of only children. I'm definitely in that category. Unless God performs a miracle and blesses us with another child, Caleb will be our one and only! Ryan and I enjoyed planning for our child and enjoying the excitement that came with getting ready for a baby. It's something absolutely special we share.

My pregnancy was pretty rough. I had a very difficult time during my third trimester. Caleb grew very quickly and sat right on a nerve. There were times that I honestly thought I would pass out at any given time. I was admitted to the hospital the day before my baby shower because Caleb decided to act up! When I was a little over thirty-seven weeks along, my doctor decided to go ahead and induce labor. After twenty-one hours of labor, I had a c-section to bring Caleb into the world. Prior to my pregnancy, labor, and c-section I had never really been through physical pain. The worst I had growing up was a sprained ankle. I absolutely don't do pain. Recovering from the c-section was a slow process. Combine that with hormones and I honestly wonder why women put themselves through that more than once in a lifetime.

I had never really been around babies before Caleb, so everything was new. I was terrified of dropping him, not holding him correctly, even changing his diapers. I worried about all the little what-if's that could possibly go wrong. It was all so very foreign to me. I don't miss the constant crying without knowing exactly what is wrong. I don't miss the up all night stages. I know that many mothers cherish those times and greatly miss their little ones being so young. To be completely honest, I don't at all. The thing I miss most is probably the rocking to sleep. I enjoyed rocking Caleb to sleep in the evenings so much. Sometimes I do look at the little boy climbing into his bed and wonder how it went by so fast....

I enjoy this stage of his life so much more right now. This is probably my very favorite so far. I love how he learns so much every day....attempts new words constantly....looks to me for constant approval. I love how he can communicate his wants and needs to me more. I love that we can leave the house without a gigantic stroller, twenty-seven diapers, four changes of clothes, and more toys than our cars can possibly handle. Life is so much simpler now. Sure we are having a temper tantrums, but I also remember it will pass.

People jokingly ask when baby number two will come along....I'm absolutely content having Caleb. I like that I can do more for him and with him since it's just him. I don't know how others pay for raising more than one child in this world. By the time you factor in child care alone, you can go broke in a month! I don't know how mothers can make it through a shopping trip with more than one child....I admire the ones that pull it all off, but I enjoy worrying about my one.

With one child, Ryan and I can provide more opportunities to him. We can spend more one on one time with him throughout his childhood. We have considered the argument about him maybe being lonely as an only child, but I just don't think it's an option with Caleb. He has friends at school, he is very active at church, and he always has his cousin, Zoey, to play with. Ryan and I have a very busy family life. We are on the go almost constantly and Caleb loves it too.

I know it's probably bad to say it this way, but I thoroughly enjoy spoiling Caleb. I love that we can financially give him a better life because it is just him. I like knowing that one day I can help him with college and his first car. I can work with him one on one when he has school projects. We will be able to play more sports if he wants because I won't be sharing that time with other siblings. My child has my heart and I like that I don't have to share it.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chug, Chug, Choo, Choo....Time for Something New!

Caleb has transformed into a train fanatic and guess what came in today???
He's getting his train bedding from Granny and Granddaddy for his birthday and it was delivered this morning!
Isn't it beautiful? 

Everything is so soft and Caleb will love snuggling in it at night. 
I definitely wanted to stay away from the Thomas the Train theme. Don't get me wrong, we love Thomas (so much that we all have the theme song memorized now), but I wanted something a little more traditional in his room. I envision more Pottery Barn Kids type influences....

This is a close up of the fleece blanket included. 

A couple of detailed shots of the quilt....

I just love the detail on his quilt... It's beautiful!

How awesome is that???
The bedding is made by Hillcrest Fine Linens and the set is called Chain of Trains. 
There is also a comforter out there, if you aren't a huge fan of quilts. 
Caleb is going to be so excited to wake up in his newly decorated room and I cannot wait to share the before and after pictures with all of you. We are implementing new toy storage and organization into his room makeover and I have relied on the great ideas on Pinterest
Caleb has done very well sleeping in his new big boy twin bed this past week. Last night was the first time he fell out. Ryan put him back in bed and Caleb went right back to sleep! I really think Caleb is sleeping so much better in his new bed. We have not had any more nightmares. 

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Weekend Rewind

Caleb spent the entire week with his Granny last week. He came back rather spoiled and very happy!
Tara and Granny took the kids to the indoor playground....which they loved!
Tara and I took the kids back on Saturday and they had so much fun. It was so busy. Tara and I started to realize that some of the kids were really too big for the area. It seems like there are so many moms that just leave their kids there so they can go shopping. The kids that have no supervision are usually wild and do not behave well. It's so frustrating to see parents just not care about what their children are doing. I saw several young children that could have been kidnapped very easily and parents were nowhere around.... So sad! 

My little daredevil tried his best to jump off things....he wears us out!
 We went to Picadilly for lunch and Caleb pigged out. We think he's going through another growth spurt...again. 
Caleb's new Fall/Winter wardrobe from Granny is all size 3T! He's one tall boy!
It's unbelievable that he's turning two in just a couple of weeks....

Speaking of that special day, we're in full party planning mode!!!!
I cannot wait to share the details with all of you....

Caleb has now spent three nights in his new twin big boy bed. We were having a difficult time with him in the toddler bed. Poor Caleb likes his space when he's sleeping, but the rails got in his way. He had also started having some pretty intense nightmares. When we switched his room around and put him in the bigger bed, the nightmares haven't been as frequent. I don't know if it has anything to do with it, but he hasn't had one since. When he slept in the toddler bed, he would wake up crying once or twice a night. Now he is sleeping all the way through. Coincidence? I have no idea.... Grateful? Absolutely!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Show Us Your Life: Couponing Tips and Sites

I really enjoy using coupons. People who know me generally laugh when they see me stocking up on things and I love to share how to do it with those around me! I have this obsession with making sure I have enough food in the house at all times. When Caleb was born, we had a rough winter. We got iced in a couple of times and I obsessed over making sure we had enough food. My hormones and emotions ran wild with the what-ifs. If I had been sane, I would have realized my hubby could simply walk to a nearby store if need be. One of my biggest fears in life is not being able to feed my two guys. Seriously, I picture starving children in Africa every time the thought crosses my mind...I should probably get some help for that or something. Ryan has promised that our next home must have a decent sized pantry so I will be able to stop stressing. Ha! I honestly have dreams of my future pantry...

Back to couponing....

I've been known to get 30 something boxes of pasta for free!

So where do I find these deals? Do I search all the time? Nope....

I simply go to Southern Savers. They do everything for you! All the research....all the coupon match ups....all the links. So easy!

I also get All You magazine because they contain plenty of coupons in them as well.

I mostly shop at Bi-Lo these days because they have an awesome Fuel Perks program. For every $50 I spend in groceries, they give me five cents back towards gas. Once I save up some Fuel Perks, I visit a participating gas station to save!

This week, I spent $2.96 per gallon of gas!!!! Seriously, awesome! I saved up $.35 for my Fuel Perks and I can get up to 20 gallons with that deal. It's the cheapest fill up my SUV has ever had!

I also go subscribe to Publix's extra coupon deals on their website. From time to time they mail me plenty of coupons. Love it! Our local Publix honors coupons from Target, Bi-Lo and Food Lion as well. Great savings!

I'm so looking forward to linking up with everyone at Kelly's Korner today. I want to find a way to organize my coupons without looking silly in the process. What I normally do is make my list, mark how many coupons I have of each item (so I know how many to get), and put them in an envelope. I'm sure I am missing random deals, but the thought of carrying a massive notebook seems overwhelming. What works for you guys?

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Mom I Want To Be...

Daddy never went to church on Sunday
He said that's one thing I'll never do
But mama never gave up she said one day 
He'll be sitting here beside of me and you 
I can still hear mama softly talking 
With her tears falling on her folded hands 
So that Easter Sunday Daddy walked in 
That's when I began to understand 

When mama prayed, good things happen 
When mama prayed, lives were changed 
Not much more than five foot tall 
But mountains big and small crumbled all away 
When mama prayed 

Seventeen and wild I hit the bottle 
Doing anything I dang well please 
Burning down life's highway at full throttle 
While mama burned a candle on her knees 
Then one night I came home half sober 
I saw mama kneeling in the den 
As I listened she and Jesus talked it over 
And I knew my restless days were 'bout to end 

When mama prayed, good things happen 
When mama prayed, lives were changed 
Not much more than five foot tall 
But mountains big and small crumbled all away 
When mama prayed 

It isn't like every one of them got answered 
But the times they weren't it seems to me were rare 
You almost felt sorry for the devil 
'Cause heaven knows he didn't have a prayer 

When mama prayed 
Not much more than five foot tall 
But mountains big and small crumbled all away 
When mama prayed 
They crumbled all away 
When mama prayed

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Think All Christians Are Hypocrites? You're Not Alone...

Ah, Facebook....the thing that can start huge conversations over a few sentences!

Yesterday a friend of mine made a comment concerning Christians who talk the talk but just can't seem to walk the walk. She made a general statement of how some Christians are so hypocritical. Several of her friends commented on her post saying they agreed with her. One even went as far as saying that was the main reason they didn't attend church and that all Christians were the same in this regard.

It really bothered me. I can proudly say I am a Christian and their comments felt so personal. In just a few sentences they summed up my character just because I profess to be a follower of Christ. I don't even know these people, but they automatically think they understand me. Because I am a Christian, I must also be hypocritical.

I completely admit that I have my flaws, but who doesn't? When I was saved and became a Christian, all of my downfalls as a person didn't disappear. The Lord graciously forgave me for my sins and put the desire in my heart to become more like Him. And that's the thing: God is so ultimately perfect! I can try my whole life to be more like Him, but I will always fall short. I am human and so very far from perfect! I can always choose to be a much better person than I was and the Lord will guide me through it. That certainly doesn't mean that I won't mess it up from time to time.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
Romans 3:23

Before I completely gave my life to the Lord, I noticed that I found many excuses to avoid Him. I even used the "Christians are sooo hypocritical" thing too. I allowed a couple of people to influence my opinion of church goers completely. What I didn't stop to think about was that they may not be very far along in their walk with the Lord. Really, who was I to judge? What made me think I was any better by doing so? Maybe they had some flaws that were different than my own, but none of us are perfect! Want to know the best thing about not being perfect? I get to see God's grace and mercy in my life! He forgives me when I mess everything up. I have a peace and joy in my heart that nonbelievers don't comprehend. They may not like me for who I am in life, but the Lord calls me His very own! Praise the Lord for that!

"But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine"
Isaiah 43:1-2

When I visited our church, I was immediately greeted by caring people. At first I thought it was just because we were new. I thought it would fade. I'm so grateful I was one hundred percent wrong! When I actually got involved and developed relationships with people, I found out they were pretty awesome. Looking back now, I think my assumptions that many were hypocrites can be explained. First, everyone has bad days from time to time. Don't automatically write a person off if you encounter them on one of those days. Remember we're all human and can get bogged down from time to time! Second, even Christians can be shy! What can seem like snobby behavior can easily be explained at times. I totally admit I do this. I don't mean to come across snotty or have a "holier than thou" attitude. I am really a shy person when I speak face to face with someone. Sure I can write a blog all day long if I wanted, but I have time to process and edit my words! I am working on the shyness thing and hope no one I come in contact with could misunderstand it as snob behavior. Third, if you're really having a difficult time with a certain person (in general), just try communicating with them. I've learned recently that a simple lack of communication can cause hurt feelings and a lot of misunderstanding between two people. Most of the time, it's so very unnecessary!

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:16

Christian friends, please be mindful of the way you interact with those around you. People are watching and they hold us to a much higher standard in life. Let the peace and joy in your heart shine to all of those never know who it will touch!

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light."
Ephesians 5:8

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cutest Pumpkin in the Patch

I couldn't wait to get to a computer today so I could share our pumpkin patch pictures (Wow! That's a mouth full!) with all of you!

It's so difficult to believe that a year has passed since we took these pictures HERE. Caleb acted so much better this year! He was really excited and loved every bit of it.

Excuse me again for all of the pictures!

He kept saying, "Pump Pump" when holding the pumpkins!

We started off with a tractor ride. Caleb was beyond amazed!

The poor pumpkin patch!
Since we had a drought this year, pumpkins were hauled in. 
We loved cutting our own pumpkins last year, but this was still fun. 

Caleb was in awe of all the pumpkins!

He tried to lift several! 

The scenery was absolutely beautiful!

Caleb flipped out when he saw the "tain"!

Then he got to play in a giant corn pit....
Later on when I changed his diaper, I found pieces that had worked their way in!
He also had several pieces in his pocket!

We had a wonderful time in Stevenson, Alabama. 
From the petting farm to the pumpkin patch, Caleb absolutely loved Crow Creek Farm!

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