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I (Jen) and my husband (Stephen) have a very charmed life. Our son (David) is such a blessing to us! We love spending time with our friends and family and each other!


Top 5 (FIVE) : Beach Edition

5 (FIVE) – Days we went at Nags Head beach! We had such a great time…it was David’s first beach trip and…………….HE LOVED IT. He loved the waves and cold water – He giggled hysterically when we played a 1-2-3-dunk game with him. He loved the sun (and his sunglasses) and seems to have his mommy’s tanablity (I put sunscreen on him often, but he got a nice little baby tan the first day. He did not so much love having sunscreen slathered on him though.) Loved (ate) the sand. He played happily in his little baby pool for most of the day (which meant I actually got to enjoy my book!)
Also the number of people I love that we got to hang out with! ( Bekah, Tim, Caitlin, Cary & Nicole – Transniderpalooza 2010) It was fun getting some quality time with our siblings+.
  • We had fun in the sun (tan/burn),
  • made some good food (Spaghetti, Tacos, *Tomatoes*),
  • ate some DELISHICIOUS food at The Black Pelican (our one night out to eat, lots of fun),
  • drank some goooood coffee (Dunkin Donuts),
  • watched a chick flick (Love Happens…..well it does)
  • rode some fast jet skis (perks of brother being a Kitty Hawk Kite manager),
  • watched some World Cup (me not so much, but I had one happy husby),
  • had a great home church discussion (living the true Gospel),
  • played some fun games (Taboo, but no Beach Olympics this year),
  • run up the dunes (oh that sand felt so good!),
  • went Kayaking on the sound (another freebie from a KHK brother),
  • went shopping at TimBuckII (cute shops).
4 (FOUR) – horses we saw on the Corva beach. We drove on the beach in Cary’s pick up (FOUR girls in the back, boys in the cab) It was so pretty there, with nice, soft sand. Then these horses just slowly walk down the beach our way. OF COURSE we’re taking pictures, and they even stopped and got in a line and posed for us, so cute, then went on their way. Beautiful.

3 (THREE) crabs. 1.) one pinched me in the ocean which made me a little nervous/jumpy which made me jump into my husband’s unexpected arms. Er, I tried to climb up him and didn’t so much work…resulting in a stubbed toe for him, bruised arm (my grabbing fingers) and a huge bruise on my ankle which connected with his toe during my vertical escape from the water/crab. 2.) so I ate his brother on Saturday night when we went out to the Black Pelican. I thought maybe it was just because I was so hungry, but Stephen assured me it was the best crab legs we’d ever eaten. Mmm, revenge is a dish best served dipped in butter. 3.) David has the cutest, sleeveless crabby shirt. And that is the end of my crab story.

  2 (TWO) – pairs of Tevas I got at KHK with brother’s employee discount (woohoo!) I have been wanting some of these forever. They are very comfy, I think we will get along nicely. I can’t wait to really break them in and make them form to my feet. These are my simple joys.

 We also got David a Life is Good baseball hat that has a dinosaur on it and says “Big Guy.” Ok, yes I got a little snifflie when he first wore it, because A.) He IS getting to be a big guy B.) He is sooooo daaaarn cuuuuute. C.) I am a sentimental cheesy mommy so what so what?!
1 (ONE) – reason, and maybe the only reason, I do get tired of the beach: Sand. It’s stinking everywhere. And then it gets into everything and it sticks to you and it’s hard to vacuum up. Even though I had a great time, I was ready to get home, to My home, sand free. We’ll get more sand later this summer when we come back here with my family.

7.4 million (SEVEN POINT FOUR MILLION) – dollars it costs to buy this beautiful Spanish style mansion for sale. I dunno, maybe I’m saying this because I’m poor, but I think EVEN if I had the money, I don’t think I could bring myself to buy a house like that……….beautiful yes, but too decadent. As we were driving past all these beautiful houses Stephen said his family always stayed in sketchy places, I reflected on how my family always stayed at nice places (not THAT nice of course) when we went to the beach every year. Which is funny, because that’s so not like my (usually sketchy) family. *laugh* We didn’t do a whole lot during the year (like eating out, clothes shopping, et cetera) which is why we could do a nice vacation once a year. I’m looking forward to our future trips to the beach with David and our other kids someday. I hope they will have really wonderful childhood, family memories of the beach like we do.


Planet Crayons

I love Vacation Bible School……….I don’t know it is about it that gets me so happy/excited. I remember when I was a kid I’d go to several each summer. This year our theme is “Genesis 1 – Space Probe.” I’m in charge of crafts for two of the nights. From my experience there are some kids who are done with the craft in a few minutes so I like to have coloring pages to keep them busy until they switch stations…… So, I printed off a few cool (free!) coloring pages of the solar system and rocket ships and THEN I had the BRILLIANT (if I do say so myself) idea to make “planet” crayons.

I bought two boxes of 64 crayons (total 128) for only $1 each. Pealed the paper off, broke into pieces and separated by colors. (For “Jupiter” I left the crayons longer to get more of a lined effect.) I found the silicone muffin pan I had worked really well since they were very easy to pop out. I had the oven set at 250 and put them in there for about 15-20 minutes, but kept an eye on them. I think it took a little longer, but I took them out as soon as they were fully melted because I didn’t want the colors to run together too much.

Once they were melted I took them out and put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes, then popped them out of thee molds.

TaDa! How cool is that?
This is a great project to do with old, broken crayons…and I know there are some cool silicone muffin molds in various shapes. (you could probably use candy molds as well) If you just wanted to make giant crayons (easier for smaller children to grasp) I bet you could use those ice cube trays that make long cubes for water bottles. Ooo the possibilities are endless.

I *heart* arts and crafts


MORE (ofwhatiwant)

I’m trying to teach David a few new signs now that he seems to have “more” down… “all done,” “eat/food” and “juice.” So far he hasn’t attempted to make those signs, he just grins at me when I do. AND I’m pretty sure his definition of more is “more of what I want.” Because I’ll be feeding him some of his baby food that he’s not too fond of (and by the look and smell of it I don’t blame him) and he looks at whatever we’re eating and signs “more.” (current favorite of a baby: cheerios with hummus) I AM giving him lots of table food now, but I do love the convenience of baby food. A.) it’s all in a jar so easy to take places. And B.) I know he’s getting the right servings of veggies, fruits, etc. This kid loves him some grown up food though. Especially meat, we’re raising a carnivore apparently.

In other baby news, David has his top two teeth coming in……..they are rather large and sharp. And he is a biter. I myself am a biter so I find it hard to fault him, except that it huuuuurts. So until I can teach him the way of gentle biting then we will have to nip that in the bud. (as I type this he just bit into my knee. ahhhh)

ALSO, he is standing quite well without holding onto anything. However, he’s still pretty timid and will stand for a minute and then lower himself safely to the ground. (hurray for cautious kids!)

We painted most of our house two years ago…. This Saturday we JUST finished painting our little hall and the bottom half of the kitchen (Paint: "cream in my coffee.") It just took a few hours and it looks great. Doesn’t it feel so good to check off your mental to do list something t hat’s been hanging on for two years??? Now the only unpainted/nekkid room in our house is the front bedroom which will someday be nursery #2.
Summer is in full swing here……..we’ll be going to the pool and beach and hanging out with friends AND on the 26th we will be having a big birthday party for a little boy…………where has the time gone to?!
I love my life.

That is all.


Mommy Favorite #23

First of all – HAPPY JUNE! HAPPY SUMMER! A year ago today I was extremely pregnant and uncomfortable.
Many of these Mommy Favorites are pure and simple luxuries. And while this one is very luxurious, it’s probably one that I would keep over all the others…..

23. Video Baby Monitor
We originally registered for just a regular baby monitor, nothing fancy… it seemed like a good one, but after only a little while using it, it broke. I looked over the manual and couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so we returned it (I usually keep original packaging for stuff like that until I’m sure it works/I like it, plus also it’s easier to store stuff in the box it came in.) Of course we had to shell over the extra money for the video monitor, but momma folks, let me tell you it was worth it. I love our monitor for so many reasons:

A.) When he was really little (and I was still kind of freaked out about SIDS) I could see if he had rolled over onto his tummy or had his blanket over his face. Just knowing I could peek in on him put my mommy heart to rest.

B.) If he’s crying I can see if he’s laying down (in which case if I don’t go in there he’ll fall back asleep in a minute) or if he’s sitting/standing up, in which case I just pop in there before he gets too worked up and he’ll go right back to sleep after a moment of comfort.

C.) Most important of all: general spying on his cuteness. *sigh* I go in there before I go to sleep and make sure he’s tucked in, and then I get in bed and take one last look at my sweet sleeper. I’m wondering how long I can keep it in his room…. until he’s eleven years old maybe? We’ll just tell him it’s a smoke detector. Hehe.


Mommy Favorites #19 - #22

First of all, I have to say again how much I truly enjoy breastfeeding -- David has pretty much weened himself and it makes me kind of sad. However, I must admit it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be at first. Number one, uh, cracked and painful nipples. Eeesh. I don’t even want to dwell on that one for long… Then, the whole latching thing took us a good solid six to eight weeks to get into a good system. Because that was such an ordeal it took me a while before I felt comfortable nursing in public (even with a nursing cover), so I felt like I was cut off from the rest of the world… I felt like I had to plan a detailed strategy around nursing if I ever wanted to leave the house.
Another problem I had was that David liked to snooze after a few minutes, so I spent most of the HOUR it took trying to keep him awake long enough to get a full meal and get that oh-so-important hind milk. AND THEN it felt like I was ALWAYS nursing. With it taking so long per feeding, there wasn’t much time in between and I felt rather chained to my sweet little sucker.

I know most women are all gungho about breastfeeding (as am I), because of this I felt a lot of guilt about giving my baby formula – ever. As with many other mommy-things I’ve found that the best thing for me is to let it go. I don’t need to feel guilty, I am breast feeding my baby 99% of the time, and I felt like I needed to have a bottle of formula so that I could take a shopping trip and not feel panicked about when/where I was going to nurse. Just letting go like that and releasing myself from the pressure and the guilt made nursing even more enjoyable for me. So, for the few times my child does get a bottle, here are my Mommy Favorites:

19. Nuk Bottles
Well, we originally registered for and got the Avent bottles… ug. I so should have read the reviews on because I soon found out that they leaked after a while (which is what 9 out of 10 of the reviews said) and it didn’t matter how tightly or loosely (we experimented with both) I screwed them on. I was really disappointed because the Avent bottles were more expensive. Tried the Nuk ones (MUCH better price too!) and they worked great. AND I noticed David stopped spitting up altogether once we switched bottles. (he didn’t throw up much when he was little and I was almost exclusively breastfeeding, but when he was around six months old we gave him juice/water out of the bottle and he started spitting up. I know these bottles might not help with every kid, but they did for mine!)
We do still use and like the Avent pacifiers. I like that they’re clear. And I know it's weird, but I think it's soooo cute to watch Davy suck-suck-suck his pacie, I'm sure it's just because I'm obsessed with him in general....
One down side: with the Avent bottles the cap over the nipple kept the milk from getting everywhere. With Nuk you have those little disks, which are find until you’re trying to get a bottle ready for baby to drink in the car or in church and you have to unscrew it, take that out and hope you don’t spill anything.

20. Formula Container
If you’re gonna do the formula thing, this is great because it has three little compartments (I think you can put up to three scoops in each). It’s much better than carrying the whole formula container around. So easy to make a bottle in the car because it’s already measured, you just open the little lid over one compartment and dump it in – no mess!

21. Bottle Drying Rack
I had registered for the dishwashing kit/thing for bottles and then I realized I don’t need that many bottles since I don’t use them that often. BUT I use them often enough to not want them tied up in dishwasher. It’s pretty easy just to wash them out by hand. I had them on a towel drying, but this rack works a lot better…

also saw this neat one in Target the other day:

22. Pacifier clips and wipes
I know all the books say not to give a baby a pacifier too soon because of “nipple confusion” (I dunno about that though, David seemed to understand pretty quickly where food came from and where it didn’t.) After the first night of sleeplessness we caved and gave him one. Soooo much better. He slept better and so did we. And babies love to suck, so why not?! Anyways, I love the pacifier clips and wipes for when we’re out of the house (when we’re home I don’t worry about it falling on the ground, I keep my floors super clean.) You can also use the wipes for baby toys/spoons/etc. There are tons of cute pacie clips out there, my friend Jessi has an Etsy shop, if I can find it I’ll post the link here. I especially love the clips for the car, when he spit it out it didn’t fall so I couldn’t get it, I’d just reach back and pop it back in.
So there you have my two cents.


Top 5 (FIVE)

5 (FIVE) – wonderful years I’ve been married to the Love-Of-My-Life. Stephen whisked me away to the beach for a long weekend. We dropped David off with Stephen’s parents on Friday afternoon and then went on our way. YES, this was the first time I’ve left him overnight. I got my cries out the night before and then I was good to go. YES, I talked about him a lot (sorry Stephen) and thought about him even more. MOSTLY I thought about how much fun it will be to take him to the beach next month. We had a great babyless time. Lazing on the beach, eating great food (crab legs are a great way to eat melted butter) read, slept, went to see a movie, et cetera.

4 (FOUR) – number of teeth my baby will have very SOON. They’ve already started cutting through his gums. Oooh, this will make his love bites hurt even more. *sigh* I can’t complain too much though, I totally understand where he’s coming from – I am a biter myself. Anyways… once those two suckers are fully in he’ll be even better at Corn-On-The-Cob.

3 (THREE) – books on my nightstand that I am reading. I am a multitasker par excellence.
Parenting: Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp – Pretty good. Parenting is heavy stuff. I need all the help I can get!
History: The Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett by Buddy Levy – Davy has always been a crush of mine. I’d like to read his autobiography next.
Fun: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks – I am a girly-girl and what girly-girl doesn’t love her some Nicholas Sparks?!

2 (TWO) – grandparents that watched our son while we vacationed it up. Nanna and Poppa had a great time spoiling David and he was a very happy spoilee. He seemed to really love his time with them, I’m so thankful to have such great in-laws that are so good to my baby! I’m glad he did so well. I DO think he missed me though – this morning he was very snuggly and cuddly (don’t mind that at all!) and after he nursed at 7:30 he then wanted hugs and kisses followed by a nice long nap with mommy. *sigh* a girl could get used to this.

1 (ONE) – more month until my sweet little boy is ONE year old! Ahhhh, where has the time gone??? Last night at church we were having a celebration for the ending of our small-group meetings until the fall… one of the guys from our group got up and said some really sweet things…about how neat it was seeing David grow up in our group – then he related it to how God must feel as he watches us grow and change and delight in Him. I feel the same way. Motherhood has given me even more insight into the depths and dimensions of our Father’s love.

238,571 (TWO-HUNDRED-THIRTY-EIGHT-THOUSAND-FIVE-HUNDRED-SEVENTY-ONE) – times I have kissed my baby since seeing him again. (yes, I had a little Davy-withdraw)


Baby Signs, I Think He's Got It!


David has learned to clap his hands, wave, give someone five and to sign “MORE”!!! His mommy is rather excited about this progress. He will even do these things when we only say the words (not clap/wave/etc ourselves.) For a little while I don’t know that he knew what “more” meant, he just saw it has part of his hand-trick-repertoire. Last night he was having a lot of fun with spaghetti for the first time and I saw a little light bulb go off… he started to fuss, stopped and signed “more!”

and THAT is why we are doing baby signs in the first place – try and nip the whining in the fussy little bud! ;) I know it won’t solve all problems or whining. But it’s a start, and also fun. AND, he is a super cute signer.