"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, April 27, 2013

4 Months

Little Man:

This is one of those times I wish I had been with it enough and had the idea to start writing again as soon as you were born. I wish I could remember all the little milestones at each month thus far!

The 4th month has been by far the most fun and exciting. You are growing by leaps and bounds! And it's not just your weight (you're a chunky monkey at 16 pounds 4 ounces) and height. You can see the wheels turning behind those big blue eyes. You're really aware of the world now, and especially your daddy and me. Here's some highlights:

--You've started making all kinds of new noises. And you're aware that you are making the sounds too! You have figured out that changing the shape of your mouth changes the sound that comes out. There's even been a couple shrieks and you've definitely startled yourself a few times too.

--You love it when your daddy makes you "fly" and is a little rough with you. You especially love it when he shakes your legs around when your diaper is changed. You have the biggest toothless grin I've ever seen and it just makes us smile and laugh too.

--Your teeth have been bothering you big time, but none have made an appearance yet. You have finally started enjoying your teething toys and chewing on things like crazy. You have even given yourself a little bruise/sucker mark on the side of your hand, and left a mark on mom's shoulder! You're still not quite able to hold things to your mouth yourself but you're okay with us helping you out.

You looove chewing/sucking on the side of your hand!
I love Sophie giraffe! I love eating her face!!
I hate her I hate her I hate her!!!
--Your head control is awesome and you are finally big enough to sit in your jumper. You've even made it for a couple 15-20 minute stretches.

You can't reach the ground yet so you have some help from some big books!
That hanging monkey is by far your favorite part so far. 
--You are eating about 6 times per day now, and still once in the middle of the night. But in the last week of this month you've started doing 8 hour stretches pretty regularly. And even one 9-hour! Your bedtime has been pushed back earlier and earlier as we've noticed your crankiness increasing. 7pm might be your new bedtime before we know it. You're also closer to sleeping unswaddled. You still love it and are not quite ready, but as soon as you have better control of your hands and fingers I think you're going to finally start sleeping unswaddled.

I'm going to lose my little burrito soon!
We're definitely looking forward to the coming month. We've got the go-ahead from your doctor to start playing with real foods with you, you should start rolling over and we think you're just going to have so much fun being alive!!

That little face!! I die. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Archer's First Zoo Trip

We are officially real parents: we bought a zoo membership! The cards came this week and we couldn't wait to get there the first time. Today (Sunday April 14th) was a beautiful day so we decided (along with the rest of Cincinnati and I swear every pregnant woman in this city) to take Archer for his first zoo trip. Our friends Gretchen and Jeff and their new baby Charlotte came too! Archer loved his first trip so much this is how he spent most of it: 

Passed out in the stroller. 
So while he was snoozing I took pictures of the beautiful tulips. They're my favorite flower and poisonous to cats so we don't have them in the house very often. :( 

Here's the boys on stroller duty. Adorable! 

The zoo is pretty intense when it comes to walking. A ton of hills. It's really a workout. I think half the women there were trying to walk their babies out. And, funny story--we ran into Em and Kenzie and Ann and Steve! It was a nice surprise. Em is going to the hospital tonight to be induced tomorrow. She was two weeks late with Miss Kenzie and this next little lady is being stubborn too. I definitely did not expect to see her before the little baby was here. 

We also heard the lions ROAR. That was pretty incredible. And the polar bears were playing with each other. Playing or fighting. We weren't quite sure. The animals were definitely the most active I've probably ever seen. 

And then once little man woke up for an afternoon snack we got a couple pictures of the little monkey in his safari hat! 

Look at that sweet little face. 

Granny's Ladies Luncheon

Last weekend was pretty special: Granny turned 85! My mom and aunts thought it would be nice to do something different for her instead of the usual joint Easter/Birthday celebration. So, a Ladies Luncheon was decided! Sounds simple enough, but when you realize you're inviting 10-12 ladies over the age of 80, and you want them to keep it a surprise for 2 weeks, it's quite the task. 

First, I made invitations. It took some coordinating with Brian in regards to Archer and some fast crafting to get them all done but I'm happy I was able to contribute. And, of course I didn't think to take any pictures but they were along the same lines of these invitations I made to the Ladies Luncheon at our old apartment two years ago. They were blue instead of pink and had lots of cheery pastels to welcome spring.

So the amazing thing is that this was kept a secret from Granny. I think we can definitely attribute this to all the daughters who reminded their mothers daily NOT to call Iola (my Granny) and talk about the party. Especially considering how excited everyone was for the day! Granny did not find out until the evening before, when my mom and Aunt Kate showed up at her house and started rearranging the furniture. They decided to keep the guest list as the final surprise, and it was so fun to watch when the guests began to arrive. Everyone was carded at the door of course to make sure they were over 80. Granny was very surprised at some of the women who were able to make it! And I had such a good time watching them interact. Not everyone is able to get out of the house much these days, or go to church every week which is where they usually would have been able to catch up. And even though not everyone knew each person really well, they all found many connections and people in common (which no doubt happens in any small town).

Norma and Elaine
Granny (on the left) and Elaine
Alta, Octa, Mary Linda and Lola Jane
Seek and Lora 

What was really wonderful is how much time my Mom and Aunt Kate put into decorating Granny's house and making sure everything looked beautiful and springy. Granny loved the table especially.

Beautiful flowers!

Continuing the pastel theme.

Even the candy coordinated!

After everyone had time to visit for a bit we started lunch. On the menu: a chicken and vegetable soup, sandwiches (chicken salad, ham salad and pimiento cheese) with chips, pickles and deviled eggs. As you can see in the photos below, it is 1) very hard to get everyone in one shot. And 2) We thought everyone looked so lovely. You could tell they were ready for spring and looked the part in their beautiful pastels.

Aunt Kate, Mom and I were encouraging the ladies to start on their soup while it was nice and hot (boiling hot, actually). Feeling chastised, we finally realized they were waiting on everyone to have their soup so they could PRAY. Whoops! Octa said the prayer and it was very lovely. I wanted to take a picture because the understanding that of course there would be a prayer before the meal is something I love about Mentor and the amazing people that live there or grew up there. I thought that might be a little frowned upon so I've got the mental picture instead. 


I had to get a picture of mom's awesome pastel deviled eggs. They potentially kept her out of a speeding ticket when she was pulled over rushing home after midnight to make them the night before the party.

I did most of the serving for lunch and LOVED it. I miss serving so much sometimes. You meet wonderful people, have wonderful conversations and I honestly just enjoy making people happy. I like to anticipate what people need before they need it so they never really have to ask for anything throughout their meal. It was nice to be back in the swing of things refilling drinks before being asked and clearing dishes as soon as they were empty. I even caught myself saying "absolutely" and "my pleasure"--Cheesecake Factory habits die hard!!

After lunch it was time for coffee, hot tea and Aunt Kate's beautiful pastel desserts with vanilla ice cream!

Mom got these beautiful cups and saucers at a thrift store! Nice find!!
Mom's crackle plates from Great Aunt Celeste on the right.
Lemon cake with a lemon cream filling.
Strawberry Ice-Box pie. I've never had anything like this--the texture is crazy!! Can't wait to try and make it. 
Key Lime pie.
Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Granny (in 3-part harmony of course) and Aunt Cherry joined in over the phone. She also opened up thoughtful cards and gifts from her friends.

Aunt Cherry on the phone!

One thing that was fun for me to listen to was all the stories. These ladies have been around for awhile and have so many memories together. At one point mom went around the table and asked them all their ages (I think when you get to a certain point that's not considered rude anymore). She asked who was the youngest and there was a chorus of "Oh probably me" from most everyone there. For the record, Elaine is the oldest at 91 this year and Cordie was the youngest at 83.

A couple funny stories I heard:

They all used to go sledding and ROLLERSKATING down Smith Road. If you have been on the hairpin turns of Smith Road you understand why this is awesome and terrifying. I guess there would be a scout at the bottom watching for cars and you'd go all the way down the hill and across the road.

Someone told a story about an unopened can of sardines being put in the oven while some Moms were visiting one day. The oven was turned on and they exploded! They spent a good deal of time trying to remember who that was (someone who was not present!).

Granny put some eggs on to boil once and then went across the street to talk to Hattie. She forgot all about the eggs and came home to egg shells on the ceiling!

I loved listening to them all interact. They've been friends for so long. Lola Jane gave Granny a card and inside wrote "thanks for 79 years of friendship." 79 years. Let that sink in. Can you imagine? How amazing. I have some friends that I know without a doubt I'll be saying that to one day if we're all lucky enough to be around that long. Think of the things you can experience and know about one another after a friendship of so many years.

Here is a picture that was given to Granny of her high school graduating class. She's on the far left. Lola Jane is in the middle with the darkest hair:

Here is Granny and Lola Jane at the party: 

I had the random idea to make sure to get a picture of Granny with each of the guests. They all turned out so well!


Mary Linda
I also have to mention how much I loved everyone's names. I love older or old-fashioned names (My little princess kitty is Vivienne and before we realized Finny was a boy he was Evelyn!). But what was really cute was all their nicknames for one another! Mary Linda was "Lindy", Lola Jane was "Loly" etc. It's easy to forget that our parents or grandparents were young once too with girlfriends and nicknames just like us.

Here's a photo of me, mom, Aunt Kate and Granny. What a fun day!

Amanda stopped by and helped do some dishes. 
Cousin Theresa stayed to help and thank goodness for that. She helped serve and did a ton of dishes and cleaning up!!
And Brian was nice enough to bring Archer down to visit Granny on her birthday as well. Too bad he was being a teething cranky pants!! He's pretty cute though so he's generally forgiven for his bad days. :)

He doesn't look too sure about his Great Aunt Kate!
And finally, I'll leave you with a pretty funny image from the day. This is what you get when there's 10 women over 80 at one gathering! 

And one of those is the HurryCane! After 12 weeks at home with Archer and no cable, I have seen more HurryCane commercials than I ever thought possible. I was actually thrilled to see one in person after sitting through 1000+ commercials for it.

Granny I love you and hope you had a wonderful birthday!!
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