Saturday, July 31, 2010

Take It to the Bounce House

Broadway at the Beach has so much to do.  And because we know we have plenty of time to experience all that it offers we have made a point to visit an attraction here and there rather than hitting them all up in one weekend - like the tourists.

Today we thought we would take Evan to the Bounce House Pavilion to see if it would be to his liking.  He was a bit hesitant at first - not understanding the concept I think had a lot to do with it.  It took some time before he realized he could jump up and down and fall and have fun while doing it.  Of course the slides broke him in first - then it was bouncy heaven after that.

For dinner:  Joe's Crab Shack.  I almost got up and danced.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mood Altering Tunes

For me, driving and singing go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Not only do I have to have a song playing while I'm driving, but it has to be a song that I can belt out - whether or not I'm singing the right words is irrelevant.  It's all about the mood.

Every now and then I'll come across a song that can instantly put me in a good mood.  It could be raining outside and I've just dealt with one of Evan's blood boiling tantrums, but as soon as that one song comes on the sky miraculously turns Carolina blue, all anger has escaped me and it feels like I'm getting ready to spend the weekend with great friends.

My radio volume is cranked when this song from the Zac Brown Band is played:

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Moment to Last Forever

Just recently Evan has made a change to our morning routine, one that I wish could last forever.

After breakfast it has always been an immediate must that Evan begins organizing and playing with his cars.  He typically sits for over an hour driving each car up and down the couch cushions until they are all in a straight and single file line.

Recently however he has pushed playtime down on his list of morning priorities.   He now finishes breakfast and moseys into our bedroom where he insists that Dada gets up.  "Get up, get up," he says.  He climbs into bed and wraps his arms around Robert and gives numerous Eskimo kisses.  Not being able to resist, I also climb back in bed where Evan goes back and forth between us giving hugs and kisses and enveloping himself in the sheets and blankets.  Once he has spread his love around he makes himself comfortable and requests that the "B.B." be turned on.  We all quietly lay in bed watching Spongebob Square Pants.  If this moment lasted forever I wouldn't mind one bit.  These are the simple times that make you love your family more than anything.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Yearbook of Memories

I have over 90 albums in my photo gallery.  They are all organized and labeled making it extremely easy to find specific pictures and to view each album.  While this is all great, I still miss having an accessible album I can just whip out to show a family member or a friend.  So I made the decision last year that I would make a photobook for each passing year highlighting various events and family memories. 

My Publisher is the software I chose to use to design each book.  It is a free download and as user friendly as any program can be.  Because I was not very familiar with the program, my first book I would rate as "ok."  I missed out on using all the different picture configurations they have available so my pages are a bit boring and lacking diversity.  But the second book I think is much better.  I will certainly strive to mix it up each year and do different styles and layouts, but I'm just happy to have a hard copy on hand.  These are hardback books with dust jackets and glossy pages.  Take a look.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Add Published Photographer to the Resume

How do ya like that?  Ha.

Not too long ago Robert asked me to come by the Soar and Explore booth and take some pictures of the ropes course and the zipline.  He mentioned Wonder Works was in need of some high resolution images that they could use for marketing purposes.  I guess I never thought they would actually make it into their brochures or on their rack cards. Yes, I am aware they're not worthy of any awards, but hey, their mine.  Maybe having a nice camera has its advantages.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nursery Design on a Budget

My friend Sarah, the designaholic (although she's certainly not in denial about that fact), took the time to put together various design elements to produce a fabulous nursery for MJ.  As we all know, the more money you're able to spend the more fabulous your designs can be - generally speaking of course.  The good majority of us however live on a budget and have to be somewhat realistic in our design choices.  As much as I would LOVE to just snap my fingers and have all of Sarah's findings make themselves at home in MJ's nursery - well, it just ain't gonna happen - I can quickly hang that one up.  But I have decided to challenge myself by following Sarah's design as closely as possible only finding budget friendly alternatives.  Here are the main components that Sarah chose:

Mattie' Nursery
$100 -

scalloped mirror
The grand total of this nursery design is roughly $3500 - and this excludes the extra accessories.  I wouldn't be able to afford to give birth to MJ if I threw down that kind of money for her nursery.  Luckily, we already have the crib and the dresser which Sarah included in her mock up.  I've already acquired a few alternative pieces, but I will reveal the budget friendly nursery in its entirety when I have completed my search.
Let's also keep in mind that Evan's big boy room is currently underway too - so I can't put enough stress on the word budget.  Not to mention the guest bedroom.  The rest of the house is somewhat in order - needs some more accessories here and there, but the major components are there.
OK - it's on.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

He is BIG

As if we haven't heard that a million times. But our new pediatrician went ahead and confirmed it once again at Evan's two year well visit this morning. He is reportedly in the 98th percentile for weight at just under 36lbs, the 95th percentile in height at 37" and still holding strong in the 98th percentile for head circumference at 52 cm. As our doctor simply put it, "He is BIG!" But she also added that there is no reason for concern because he is completely proportional. Like we ever thought there was a reason to worry. I was instructed to make sure he stays on 2% milk and at age three I can then go down to 1%. It's amazing how weight can be such an issue even at this young of an age.

One not so thrilling issue that we discussed was his botched circumcision. I brought it up yet again because Evan has recently been saying, "my wee wee hurts" every time I change his diaper. I thought maybe due to the extra skin he was starting to get an infection of some sort so I wanted her to take a looksy and make sure that was not the case. She claimed there were no physical issues, but that we should really consider having him recircumcized.  She felt that there was a slim chance he would grow into the skin that was left therefore leaving him with a botched job.  It would also appear somewhat ambiguous - are you circumcized or are you not circumcized?  I would be heartbroken to know that my son was the butt of every locker room joke.  So we're heading down to Charleston in September to see a pediatric urologist to get a professional, specialized opinion.

Other than that - happy and healthy!  Next appointment isn't until age three.  Word.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Terrible Twos

For the record:  I was simply attempting to brush Evan's teeth.  He however had other plans.  Sucking the toothpaste off the toothbrush was more appealing.  Result:  Tantrum.  Just lovely.

Home Safe and Sound

After a miserable drive home yesterday due to horrendous traffic, we are happily back to the daily grind.  Pigeon Forge traffic put us about an hour behind schedule while I-40 construction in the mountains set us back an additional hour.  What would normally be a 6 1/2 hour drive turned into - well, you can do the math.  The torrential rain through the NC mountains certainly didn't help my already elevated anxieties either.  I was more than relieved to finally make it home last night - with my sanity still intact.

We spent the greater part of Saturday at the Knoxville Zoo with Grandma Bopp.  We picked the perfect day to go considering the overcast weather and the small crowd of people.  We were able to stroll freely through the park and avoid having to soak ourselves in the misters to prevent a heat stroke.  It was an extremely pleasant day.  Evan was pretty much ready for a nap as soon as we got there, but he managed to enjoy himself nonetheless.  The first attraction to grab his attention?  Ah, yes, camels - again!  And Robert seemed to enjoy them just as much...if not more.

The petting zoo proved to be a big hit too.  While the other children sprinted through the stall screaming at the top of their lungs, Evan was very gentle with the animals and actually preferred to just be near them and chat with them a bit.  It was interesting to watch how he interacted with each one.

And of course trucks, slides and rides are always winners in Evan's book.

After the zoo we headed back to Pigeon Forge with the intention of making it to Gatlinburg.  But as our luck seemed to have it all week, we got stuck in horrible traffic and a 45 minute drive turned into a two hour drive.  We decided rather than sit in more traffic we would meet up with Grandpa and Grandma Stinnett in Pigeon Forge and enjoy a nice dinner.  I'm not sure if any of us really had enough reserve energy to do much more anyway.

I decided Evan and I will accompany Robert back to the Smokies in a few weeks.  We want to escape the tourist trap this time and head up into the mountains and enjoy a bit of nature.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Chillin' in the Smokies

Greetings from Pigeon Forge!

If I didn't know any better I'd think I was still in Myrtle Beach - just at a higher elevation.  All the sites and attractions are identical to our coastal counterpart and the tourists are just as appealing - sense the sarcasm there?  I swear I could sit on an isolated bench somewhere and people watch for hours!  I am so intrigued by a person's sense of style, their social interactions and the food they choose to eat.  Sometimes you just want to ask, "What the hell were you thinking?!" I decided rather than wasting my time being judgmental I would actually play the part and get caught in the tourist trap.

Yesterday Evan and I hung out at the hotel and spent a good deal of time at the pool.  We were without a car since Robert had to drive to Knoxville for a meeting.  But we wandered over to visit a furry friend that Evan has had his eye on since we arrived.

They were charging incredibly high prices to ride on the camels, but I was suckered in of course.  Evan was literally shaking with excitement until the camel dude told me that I would not be able to ride since I was pregnant.  Pregnant people never get to have any fun!  So Evan threw a fit and I had to hoist him up and take him away.  I managed to find a brochure for muscle cars to calm him down and he gladly accepted it.  It's the simple things that seem to work.

The remainder of our day was spent visiting with Grandpa and Grandma Stinnett and Grandpa and Grandma Bopp in Knoxville.  We had dinner at The Bopps' house and put Evan to bed there.  He is spending today and tonight there so he can get in some much needed grandparent time.  It also gives Robert and I the opportunity to spend some QT together as well.  While Robert is working today I am hitting up the outlet mall.  All I gotta say is,"GET OUT OF MY WAY, PEOPLE!  I will be in full-on shopping mode.  Even if I come back empty handed I will be taking full advantage of browsing freely with no distractions.  It's amazing how good that feels when you never have the opportunity.  I'll be sure to save some energy for my date tonight.  I must say, I'm pretty excited.

Tomorrow's agenda:
The Knoxville Zoo

Sorry, Dolly - I will have to exclude a visit to your park this time, but maybe next trip we'll two-step right on over to your stompin' ground.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Child Labor Law?

We are seriously thinking about installing a motor and a blade on Evan's new lawn mower.  The fact that he's willing to put in hours of grass cutting time seems too good of an opportunity to save some money on lawn care.  The kid literally pushes his mower around the yard until it's time to go inside.  He's every employer's dream!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekend Recap

Now that things have settled down a bit around here I can take some time to reflect on our weekend festivities. Evan's 2nd birthday was on Sunday, but we decided to celebrate on Saturday so that our party participants would have time to travel.  Little did we know many of the participants had to cancel at the last minute anyway.  Yes, what a bummer.  Due to work engagements, car troubles and dwindling numbers our dear friends were unable to make it to the party.  But you can always count on the grandparents!  Mimi and Papa, Grandma and Grandpa Bopp and Granny were all in attendance - and Evan was as happy as he could be.

We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of burgers and cake and watched Evan tear through wrapping paper to get to his "cool cars."  Mimi and Papa were only able to stay the afternoon, but the rest of us continued the birthday festivities into Sunday as we ventured out to Broadway at the Beach and endured a great deal of sweaty fun.  We almost had Granny talked into harnessing up and riding the Zip Line, but she chickened out in the end.  Maybe next time.

Thank you to our families for being a part of such a special event.  It's important that Evan will be able to look back and see that you were all there to share in his big day.