Saturday, December 31, 2011

23 Weeks-Finally a Picture

At 23 weeks with Baby 2
For those of you (or just that one special someone) who hasn't seen Baby 2 yet :)

My Top 11 in 2011


I have to admit I had lofty aspirations about what 2011 would mean for me in terms of photography.  Running after a busy toddler, unexpected work travel for my husband, a cross-country (literally from sea to shining sea) move and a new baby on the way kind of derailed my plans.  Regardless I do have some photos from this year that just capture the wonderfulness that it was in spite of all the craziness!!  Here they are in no particular order...

This is the Little Guy and his cousin.  I love their expressions in this picture.  It is almost impossible to get both of them to look at the camera at the same time, let alone smiling!  So this is a great compromise.

This was soon after the Little Guy learned to sit up.  I love the simplicity of it and I love how you can see his hair.  That was his trademark during the first six to ten months of his life.

We did an early birthday party since we were traveling during the real date.  Afterwards we set up a "smash cake" session in our kitchen.  This is my favorite shot.

Just can't leave out the picture with the seersucker pants!

This was one of the first times I found him standing up in his crib.  We had to lower the mattress after this!  First steps to being a big boy.  I just wish I had all of his fingers in the shot!
This was at a little friend's birthday party.  It was his first cupcake and clearly he had no trouble eating it! Quite the catch wouldn't you say?

I love this one too!!  I love the hat and his open mouth.  This was his happy face for a while and it just reminds me of that time.

Little Guy and Daddy are best friends.  I loved having a screen door at our house because once he started crawling he could wait for Daddy to come home from work.  This is one of my favorite pictures ever.
Aw!!  My first shot with both of my boys!! (Although we didn't know it was a boy at the time!)  I used this shot to tell some friends and family our news!

Our first real Halloween.  We were a great tiger although our "roar" was slightly unconvincing.  A little too sweet!

Daddy and the Little Guy at the aquarium.  It probably isn't the awesomest shot ever but it's an important one for us so I had to include it.

I can't wait to look back over the next year and see what fun shots I have to remember 2012!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Horsing Around

Great-grandparents have all sorts of fun things at their houses!


Look I'm riding the horse!

This is so fun!!

Using Utensils

Little Guy has become increasingly more independent.  I appreciate that he asserts his independence in a really sweet, gentle way.  He enjoys climbling and descending the stairs by himself.  If he seems unsure I will ask him, "Do you need help?" and he will respond with "Help" if he wants it.  One of the ways he is showing his independence is using utensils at dinner.  This is usually hit or miss.  Until now bibs were pretty optional at our house.  He was an extremely neat eater and I never had to worry unless we were having something really messy.  Now we are back to bibs!  Here are a few awesome shots from our lasagna lunch today.  He has also started squinting for the camera because he doesn't like the flash!

He'll be a pro in no time!!

Miscenllany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1. Missing

There's another M for your Monday!  Seems like I've been missing from the blogging world forever.  I really Miss blogging and don't plan to be Missing forever!!

2. Skype

God bless the creator of Skype.  He/she/they are truly my hero this Christmas.  We've been spending lots of time apart this year because of work related travel as well as time away from family because of a cross-country move.  I love Skype.  I. LOVE. Skype (those of you who know me know that I don't lover the over-used "period after everything trend" so you KNOW that I love skype if I am doing that!!)

3. Hmm-hmm

We've been working on saying "thank-you" in our house for a couple of months.  The Little Guy seems to have caught on and sometimes will even spontaneously say "thank you" without being prompted by myself or others.  Sometimes though he just makes the intonation.  It's hard to write about how it sounds but basically he doesn't say anything he just makes a noise that sounds like "hmm-hmm" but you can totally tell it is "thank you".  He is a funny little guy!!

4. Wonder-words

The pastor at the church I attended this morning talked about a lot of words we use to describe the Christmas season.  I've always loved the word "awesome".  Not in an over-used 80s kind of way but in the real sense of the word.  If something is AWEsome it means it inspires awe in you.  How great is that?  This about WONDERful and AWEsome in that sense as you approach Christmas.  I hope it will really be a time that is "full of wonder" for me and those around me.  I pray that our sweet song will someday be AWEstruck at the Grace of the Gospel!

5. Can't help but end with a picture of the Little Guy!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas 2011

Life in the military has caused us to change certain Christmas traditions.  We aren't fortunate enough to live close to either of our families so each year things are a little different.  We celebrated with my family today and the Little Guy was extremely excited to get new "trucks".  That is one of his favorite things right now and I love hearing him say "truck, truck" over and over! 

Mama and the Little Guy

Ma, Pa and the grandkids--clearly the days of cheesy grins are past

Boycotting the high chair

Opening presents is fun!

A truck!!!!

21 Week Update

Pregnancy Update

Um I still don't have a current picture.  I swear I'm going to get one!! 

21 Weeks 2 Days

Weight Gain: 10ish pounds  Not sure since I am at 2 different Doctor's offices and their scales could be different.  So it could be a little more or a little less
Sleeping: Much less now!  I have lots more energy and now that we are visiting family I've had lots of help with the Little Guy.  I am still able to sleep the whole night without getting up but I know the days of running to the bathroom are coming!  It is starting to be uncomfortable to sleep on my back.
Craving....nothing really.  I still can't bring myself to eat a lot of meat.  I mostly want fruit and bread.  Although tonight I really wanted some Japanese food!!  But nothing even comes close to the whole orange juice thing from last time.

Other Symptoms....nothing really!  The carpal tunnel seems to have abated for a while and the heartburn is minimal.  I am thankful!! busy busy busy!!  This little BOY is just as busy as his big brother was in utero.  He kicks and moves around a lot.  I love it!  When I went for my 20-week ultrasound he was so active and it was really fun to watch.  The tech said he has chubby cheeks and really long toes!
Other random things....finally needing to wear my maternity pants.  I can still get by with my regular shirts and a few pants that are 1 size bigger than normal.  Today I had someone mention I was pregnant for the first time that I hadn't told.

We haven't even discussed names yet.  We referred to Stafford as "Harrison" the whole time as a joke.  Not because we think the name is funny but we knew we weren't going to use it and we needed a name to call him.  One of my friends really liked the name Harrison so she called him that and it stuck.  This time I think the baby will be Houston because let's be honest....with our last name Houston just might be a problem!

15 Month Update

Dear Stafford,

In the time between your 1st birthday and the 15 month mark our lives became increasingly busy!  Mama decided that updating every 3 months is the way to go from now on!  I was happy to get your sweet picture this month because you are such a busy boy!

Hopefully I won't confuse your milestones again because I am again over 6 weeks late in updating this!  I promise I'm going to do better.

You are not really our Little Guy anymore!  At your 15 month appointment you weighed 25 pounds!  In 6 months you went up from the 12ish percentile to the 62nd!  You have a cute little belly and chunky thighs.  You are finally starting to be right on par for your clothes and I think you'll even grow out of your 12-18 month size a little early!  You are wearing size 4 diapers and size 4 shoes. 

You took your first steps during the month of August and you have become an expert walking, runner and climber!  You love to go "up" and we hear that and "dada" the most around our house.  You are a talker but you don't just chatter to yourself.  You tend to say something if you want to be heard.  Definitely more like Daddy than Mama!  You know a lot of words!!  My favorite thing you do though is the noise that the cow makes.  You say "boo" with gusto!  You also use the word please correctly all the time.  We are working on teaching you that you don't just get what you want when you say please.  It is hard though because that "peeease" is so sweet!

You love to climb.  We have a new loveseat that isn't very tall and you are able to get up there by yourself.  You love to climb up there and sit.  Sometimes in the morning I will give you some cheerios and milk and you will sit there and eat while I finish my breakfast.  You are also an expert at the stairs going up and down. 

You like to get into the lazy susan in the kitchen and one day Mama found you surrounded by an opened bag of chocolate chips, eating them one by one!  You also know how to say "uh oh" and I often hear you throwing stuffed animals or pacifiers out of your crib after your nap, punctuated by "uh oh".  You are obsessed with brushing your teeth and would do it all day if I let you.

One of our favorite things to do is go to the zoo.  I ask you to wave "hi" to the animals and that is how I know if you have seen them or not.  You love it when I let you our of your stroller and we often go late in the afternoon when no one else is there.  You seem to like the monkeys and the tiger and you do not like the puffins!

You watch one DVD called Curious Buddies.  It is a Nickelodeon DVD and you want to watch it all day long.  If I leave out the remote you will pick it up and point it toward the tv and say "please".  You will sit still for 30-40 minutes watching this cute little show!  I especially love when the song "I love you" comes on because you almost always come to sit with me when it is on.

Some of your favorite toys right now are books (Puppies Count, The Wheels on the Bus and the Baby Einstein Letter Books) balls, and anything you can find with a cow on it.  You still like to "body slam" pillows and wrestle with your duck bath tub.  You are also really into putting anything you can around the back of your neck.  Sometimes I find things that you have accidentally dropped into the back of your onesie!

You take 2 naps most days.  Usually from 10-12 and then from 2:30-4:30.  This has been wonderful for Mama because a couple of weeks after your first birthday we found out you were going to be a big brother!  Mama has been tired and you are a big help to her because you are such a good sleeper.

Daddy has been gone a lot with work and you have been an expert Skyper.  You also have a picture of Daddy from a few years ago that you often carry around the house and say "Dada" to.  I think Daddy likes that!

We love you Stafford.  Mama could write a book about all the cute things you do and say.  You are such a sweet and gentle little boy.  You give wonderful hugs and kisses and you are a good listener.  I love reading to you and cuddling with you while you watch your show.  I love how much your love your Dada.  I can't wait to continue to watch you grow!

Mama & Daddy

Friday, December 16, 2011

Reality Prevails

It's been embarrassingly long since I've posted with any regularity on my blog.  I love blogging.  I love how it has connected me with old and new friends.  I love that friends and family across the globe can keep up with our lives and what is going on with us.  For some reason after our move in July I stopped having the motivation and creativity that I felt like I needed to blog.  I had to give myself permission to take a break because I really do enjoy it but for a while it was just too much.  Add to that some major life changes and it's left this blog tilting way too far into the reality category.

When I thought of the name Storybook Reality I thought about sharing how our lives unfold.  To some it is just reality but to me it has always seemed like a storybook.  When I think of my own story I've always thought of it as a love story that has a "to be continued" at the end.  Hopefully our love story never ends!  But it does change.  There are moves, job changes, illnesses, pregnancies, sleepless nights and lots of other things that steal away our time and try to change our storybook into reality.  I think I've given in to the reality as of late and I'm praying that 2012 will be a renewed sense of storybook for me.

Don't get me wrong....we're still enjoying our love story.  We've just faced some interesting family circumstances this year that have been major stressors.  Add a cross country move to spending multiple months on different continents, a busy toddler and a baby on the way and you might be able to imagine why I've let the reality rule.  Thankfully reality isn't a bad place at all!

We're thankful this year to be spending the holiday's with family.  And we are definitely looking forward to this new year!  It's going to be full of our version of Storybook Reality!

Can't wait to get a great picture of me and my THREE guys sometime in May 2012!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


We're counting down to a LOT of special dates in our family right now....and all I can say is one of them is 1/3 of the way over!


Holiday Traditions

Do you have fun holiday traditions that you enjoy?  Every year it seems harder and harder to hold on to some of the traditions we enjoyed.  Being happily married equals two wonderful families that want to spend as much time as possible together and that presents road blocks to celebrating the holidays exactly like we did growing up.

I had a pastor preach a sermon once on the importance of establishing traditions in your own home.  Eventually my child(ren) will be grown up to start remembering how we did things and I want to have some special memories for them.

So I'm wondering....what are some of your holiday traditions?  What are things that you did in your own home growing up that you plan to continue?  What are some new ideas that you are just dying to try?

I'm especially interested in ideas about teaching the true meaning of Christmas to my children.  We aren't an "anti-santa" home but we definitely want the focus of the season to be on Christ and His coming to earth.  Next year (because I think the Little Guy is still a little bit little) we'll definitely be adding in a fun advent activity to lead up to Christmas.  I just don't know what it will be!!

So give me all your best ideas!!!  I'll try to post some that I find as well!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pregnancy Update

This is not a picture of me now.  It is actually a picture from week 19 when I was pregnant with the Little Guy.  I'm hoping to get a picture in the next week or so and then I can put them up together so I can compare pregnancy 1 and pregnancy 2.

Here are a few of my stats from pregnancy 2.  I wasn't great at remembering these things for my first pregnancy so I wanted to be better this time around.  Clearly I'm not doing a great job since I don't even have a current belly shot!!

17 Weeks 2 Days

Weight Gain: 1-2 pounds (I couldn't remember where I started when I went in the first time!)

Sleeping: as often as I can!  This pregnancy has wiped me out.  Thankfully my little one is a good sleeper.  He takes two good naps each day and sleeps a solid 12 hours at night.  I nap at least once with him and sometimes twice.  I swear running around after him all day wears me out and it has probably kept me in better shape this time around!

Craving....fruit and donuts!  I'm indulging one of these!  I gained WAY too much weight last time around so I'm trying to be really careful this time.  I don't NEED the fruit like I needed OJ with my first pregnancy (some of you readers will remember my obsession with the orange stuff) but I want it all the time.  I especially like fruity carbonated drinks.  I've found a 2-calorie drink out here that I love!  I also sometimes mix OJ with carbonated water to get my fix.  I do not want anything to do with meat.  It all sounds gross to me, especially burgers which are usually my favorite!!

Other Symptoms....carpal tunnel!  I don't have it as bad as some of my other expecting friends but I wake up often with no feeling in either hand.  I know I can't sleep on my back much longer and then I'm afraid of what will happen once I have to sleep on my sides!!  I've also had heartburn a lot more this pregnancy.  I had it last time but not until I was about 33ish weeks.

Baby....I'm just starting to be able to feel those sweet little baby swishy feelings.  I love it!  I can't wait until the Little Guy can feel them too!

Other random things....we find out the gender of this sweet baby on December 13th!  I can't wait!!  My sweet husband is not the name enthusiast like myself so he insists that we can't discuss names until we only have 1 to narrow down!  It's going to be hard either way!

So far I haven't had to wear any maternity clothes.  I do think running after the Little Guy has helped keep the weight off.  I was SO nervous when I was pregnant the first time to do anything remotely physical because I was afraid of a miscarriage or something happening.  I don't have any choice but to run after this little man and he is a busy guy!  We've been filling up our day with zoo visits and walks to the grocery store!

Here is the 19 week shot from last time.  I'll try to get a comparison shot up soon!

There's a Reason for Those....

I'm certainly not a super experienced Mom.  But I'll tell you what, there is one baby item that I absolutely can not  live without.  It's not really a normal item and it might not be a universally applicable "can't live without" item.  But after today it is totally elevated to my number one time saver for new and old Mamas.

The Ultimate Crib Sheet

It sounds fancy.  It sounds expensive.  It's not.  But it IS totally necessary!

This crib sheet simply lays on top of your crib sheet and has snaps that go around the slats of your crib.  If baby spits up during the night or has a major blowout instead of taking all of the sheets and bumpers off your crib all you have to do is unsnap the crib sheet, wash it, and viola.....clean bed.

In preparation for an upcoming trip I told myself that I had to wash our crib sheet.  I must admit that beds are one of my least favorite chores.  I don't know why but I HATE putting the sheets back on the bed.  In fact Peter is the one who makes the bed if it is going to be made.  Otherwise I might not change the sheets for an undisclosed period of time.  In college my Mom used to task my roommates to remind me that it was appropriate to change my sheets.  I'm sure I learned something in school but changing my sheets can't be included.

So yesterday, like the good Mama I am, I took off the UCS and washed it.  The Little Guy and I had to run some errands and we didn't get home until late last night.  Little Guy isn't a "spit up" or "blowout" kind of guy so I wasn't really worried about him sleeping on the regular sheet for one night.

Clearly a mistake.

I knew something was amiss when I walked in this morning and his pants were on the floor.  If I leave him in the crib too long in the mornings after waking he starts throwing things out of the crib.  Usually he throws his  pacifier and then his stuffed animals.  Today it was his pants.

Then I peeked in his crib.  Horror!  Ok actually it wasn't that bad.  But it was bad enough that I had to take off the crib sheet AND the mattress pad.  Are you kidding me?  After I washed and dried both of these it took me over 30 minutes to put this bed back together.  I had to literally take the mattress entirely out of the bed to get the mattress pad back on.  The only thing I could think of was I am SO glad this didn't happen in February or March when I am hugely pregnant.  Otherwise my child might be sleeping in the pack-n-play permanently!

I have totally learned my lesson.  I knew better than to let him sleep on that bed without the UCS.  I swear I will NEVER let him do it again!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Old vs New

We've been here in our "new" house for a little over 2 months now.  It is hard to believe that we've been gone from our "home" since the middle of July.  In some ways time has flown and in other ways it seems to crawl.

One of the most fun things about moving is getting to start over in a new house.  It's clean, new  to you and fun to personalize and make our own.  Unfortunately for my poor husband that meant lots of "can you move this there" and "I think we need another baby gate" for weeks on end.  Things still aren't perfect here at the new house but it is certainly getting there.

I've noticed some major differences living in a house that is over 100 years old.  So here are some of the positives and negatives about our new place.

1. I can't lock the front door from the inside.  I HATE having to put the key in once I'm outside, usually trying to balance Stafford, a diaper bag and who knows what else.
2. Outlets are few and far between and even when the are there they either don't work or only have 2 prongs. (not something to worry about in a new house)
3. You can wave to someone if you are standing above/below the vents.  Know what this means?  Noise travels!!
4. The wooden stairs are super squeaky!!
5. I can't use the microwave and the nearby outlet at the same time or it blows the circuit.
6. Wood floors are easy to clean but dust shows up FAST!!
7. Buying carpets for an entire house is expensive!!
8.Old house equals no overhead lights or ceiling fans.

Things I LOVE
1. Built-in bookshelf.  If you really know me, enough said!
2. Every room is unique.
3. Gorgeous ceilings.
4. A huge laundry room with a utility sink and a built-in china cabinet.
5. The sun-porch on the second floor.
6. The sun-room off the dining room.  It's hidden by the massive front porch and rhododendron but still lets in lots of sunny warmth when it's available!
7. The gorgeous views of the South and Mt. Rainier IF you know where to look for it.
8. Window everywhere!
9. The heat lamp in the upstairs bathroom!  Why don't ALL bathrooms have these?
10. Fun hidden closets with Stafford-sized windows.
11. Way less bathrooms to clean!
12. Easy wood floors to clean.
13. Backyard with a fence so Bear can play.
14. The hot tub
15. Huge front porch....can't wait to sit out here with a huge glass of iced tea next summer.
16. Working fireplace with huge gorgeous mantel.
17. A refrigerator with a freezer drawer (on the bottom if that makes sense) Love it!
18. Beautiful garden window in kitchen.

I could seriously go on and on about how much I love our new house!  It certainly has it's quirks....but it is starting to feel more and more like home.  In the next few days I swear I'm going to take some pictures so I can show you some of the fun built-ins and other stuff.  It is so unique!

What are some of your favorite or least favorite things about your house?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Today I'm Thankful For

This Little Guy.....

and a healthy appointment for this little girl or guy!

April is going to be a happy month in our house indeed!!

My Little Tiger

Trying out our tiger costume

That dimple gets me every time!

Posing with pumpkins

Mama, I just want to play!!

Happy Halloween!!

Such a poser!  When I stopped taking pictures he ran back over to these pumpkins, sat down and started saying "cheese" as loud as he could!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chitter Chatter

I keep telling myself I am going to write down all of the words this sweet boy is saying.  So here is a little summary of his language acquisition so far.

We started out trying to teach him baby signs.  I don't know if we weren't consistent enough or if he just wasn't interested but he didn't want to do them at all.  On our trip out here he starting saying Dada pretty consistently.  He also starting waving to us from the back seat of the car.  One day when we were eating breakfast I started working with him on the sign for please.  He decided that he would rather say please.  So we started practicing and he quickly learned how to say please and uses it in the correct concept.

After please he added Mama and up to his vocabulary.  He uses up when hwants to be picked up or when we are going up the stairs.  Recently he also says up when he wants me to put him down so I've been trying to teach him down as well.

We have a Nickelodeon video called "Curious Buddies" that the Little Guy loves to watch.  One day I noticed that when the cows come on the video he was making a noise.  The next time we watched he did it again.  So I started asking him what noise the cow makes.  He very confidently replies....Boo!!  He will also sometimes tell you that the tiger says "roar" but it is not very ferocious!

He also says, apple, airplane, cracker, uh-oh, all done, yellow, bye bye, hi, more, teeth, milk and something that sounds like ball or bear.  We read his letter book everyday and after I say each word he often tries to imitate the word.  He also says "boo" everytime he sees a cow or anything that looks like a cow.  He has been able to recognize the cow on his pajamas and in other books.

I'll try to get the videos of "what does the cow say" up soon!

Underwater Adventure

It's been a crazy few months for us.  Settling in to a new house and new routine has been a little harder for me than I thought!  I've also been weighing the pros and cons of having a private blog and whether I really want to maintain two.  I want to be respectful of our family's privacy but at the same time have enjoyed the community and a couple of relationships that have developed through meeting other bloggers that I've never actually "met."  So while I keep contemplating the future of my little bit of reality here I'll share some pictures from our recent visit to the aquarium.

On our trip out here we went to the zoo and also saw lots of wild animals in the national parks.  We got a zoo membership as soon as we arrived (we're only 3 miles away!!) and took Little Guy one of the first weeks we were in our new house.  We found that the animals are often too far away for him to notice and it was more fun for us.  The aquarium however is a totally different ballgame.  The fish and turtles are so close that he really enjoyed interacting with them.  So it was even MORE fun for Mama and Daddy because we love to watch him having fun!!

He was super interested in looking at himself in the mirror.

Looking at the fish and turtles with Daddy.

Loving on Mama.

This is where you can find the Little Guy most of the time if Daddy is around.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mathematical Equation

Math has never been my strong subject.  However this "mandatory work away from home for six months" in addition to the "mandatory move across the country even if you don't want to" adjustments we're making have me even more mathematically confused.

I'm getting used to the 3 hour time difference.  The only time it's really annoying is late at night when I want to talk to someone.  Thankfully I have a dear friend in Alaska that I can call on as well as new friends here in Washington.

But what is really killing me is this whole 10 hours thing with Peter.  I  know, I know all I have to do is subtract 2 hours from the time it is here now and then that is what time it is for him.  Except 12 hours ahead.  Easy right?  Well I can't keep it straight.  I keep subtracting 2 hours from the wrong time and getting all mixed up.

So I've done my first "mandatory work separation" shopping!!

How awesome is this??  It was clearly made for me and just calling my name.  I can set the top clock to "Peter time" and the bottom clock to my time!  Fabulous!!  It should be coming in the mail on the 8th.  Now is that the 8th your time or my time?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Little Climber

Little Guy is really into climbing.  He likes to go "up" and then get back down.  And then repeat.  All day long.  He can now get off the couch or our bed unassisted.  He can also climb up on our new little loveseat in our sunroom.  He likes to climb up there and look out the windows.  Well, he likes to bang on the windows, I'm not sure how much looking he is doing!

Here is a picture of him on the loveseat the other day.  Look at that little belly!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


We haven't had anything to do over the past few weeks so I can't imagine why I haven't had time to update the blog! :)

Peter left yesterday morning.  We took him to the airport at 4am and he will hopefully arrive sometime tomorrow morning.  Stafford and I are doing well.  Just trying to keep busy.  We plan to go home to Kentucky for a week in October so we are excited about that!

Here are a couple of pictures from the last few weeks...

Stafford and Daddy.  Stafford's shirt says "Daddy's Got My Back"

Stafford is totally into this video called "Curious Buddies".  It has puppets and kids and he will sit still for SO LONG and watch it!  

Our sweet friends the Tuckers had us over for Stafford's real birthday when we arrived here in WA.  So thankful for them!

One of our last crawling pictures!  I can't believe this little guy is ALL OVER the place now!

At the lake with friends

Clearly sweating hard after a hard climb at Mt. Rainier.  Or teething.  You be the judge.


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