Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas Day

This Christmas was filled with joy & blessings! It was the 1st year in 6 that Jason & I stayed at our own house Christmas Eve night. We usually spend the night at my mom's where she & my step-dad still "played" Santa. The real deal sneaking presents out under the tree in the middle of the night filling stockings while we slept and even addressing some of our presents "from Santa." If you ask me or my sisters we still "believe" in Santa. This was the 1st year that our presents were actually wrapped under my mom's tree before Christmas day. But it was ok to leave that tradition behind...after all we are all grown adults with our own children now.

But this year with Jake getting older and knowing more about Christmas we thought it was time we spent Christmas Eve night at our own house. It was so fun "being" Santa in our own home this year. Getting all the gifts out for Jake and putting together the BIG toy. And then of course Jason eating the Santa cookie. But the biggest joy was Jake coming down the stairs Christmas morning and saying "yook, pessents" as soon as he saw them. And then as he rushed to the tree he passed the Santa plate and stopped saying, "Santa eat my cookies." He was so excited about those. He immediately went over and began playing with his work bench and saying he was "fising" everything. It was so much fun watching him and the excitement on his face as he opened each gift. Taking time to thoroughly check out what each one was. Then pushing buttons if it had any and then it was on to the next.

It was even more fun for me as I opened the best present of all my Bright red Kitchenaid mixer from my amazingly wonderful hubby. But then Jake was so excited for me too and said "daddy & my bought that for you." He was so excited for me to open my gift that he & Jason had picked out for me. So after all it seemed that even with all the things he received this year we are still building a heart of giving in our sweet little boy. (side note: with my mixer I also got $60 Khols cash (did I mention I have an amazing husband) but while Jake & I were at Khols looking at what I was going to buy he saw the mixers and said "yook, daddy & my bought for you." )

All in all we had a wonderful Christmas!! Enjoy some pictures from our Christmas day.

The after math...huge mess, but so much fun!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Part 1

Christmas Eve we spent the afternoon with Jason's parents and enjoyed a yummy lunch. It was great being able to spend time with them and Jake really enjoyed playing with "mawmaw & papa Jack." After leaving there we headed to Christmas Eve service at church. It really made this Christmas super special being able to attend the church service. Because my nephew's were going to only be at my mom's that night we headed there after church. So the boys could all be together for a little while that night & open presents from Nana & PawPaw.

Happy Birthday Jesus

I invited my nephews over for some cookie decorating and to celebrate Jesus' birthday. Thanks to the great Happy Birthday Jesus kit that lifeway put out. We had some fun decorations, plates & napkins Caleb & Jake also took a little break to watch part of a Mickey Mouse Christmas movie. I think everyone had fun decorating(making a mess) their sugar cookies. And we all enjoyed singing Happy Birthday to Jesus and eating "jisis cake" as Jake called it. Funny: the next day we went to a wedding and Jake kept calling the wedding cake "jisis cake" too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Jake loves telling us that Santa says "ho, ho, ho." He also will tell you all about the "cany can" santa gave him or sitting on Santa's "yap." And for some reason every time Jake bumps a body part or makes up a "boo-boo" for me to kiss when I ask him what happened he says "Santa, hurt me." No idea why he thinks Santa hurts,but since Santa is his new favorite thing to talk about Santa also gets all the pretend blame.

Yes, we invite Santa to our Christmas. I know lots of people who don't "do" the Santa stuff. He isn't the center of our focus, but he does come to our house and bring presents. There is just something so magical about believing in Santa. And I think as long as we are teaching Jake the true meaning of Christmas that it is the day we celebrate the birth of our savior the greatest gift ever given!!! Then there is no harm in believing in a jolly man who brings good cheer and kindness to well as some presents too ;)

Last year we started the tradition of having Jake's picture taken with Santa along with his cousin who is 4 months older then him. Last years picture both boys were crying and totally freaked out by the jolly man. This year I thought would be even worse. Jake is all about talking about Santa and telling us what Santa says. But if the Santa talks or makes any kind of motion he is terrified. So I thought once the real Santa started talking to him he would be over it. But this Santa was so great and gave him a candy cane and then Jake just sat on his lap. He looks scared to death, but he is sitting on his lap. My nephew was crying, but nothing like last year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread House

Have I mentioned before how amazing Jake's Sunday Praiseland teachers are? If not...they are! They are a husband & wife who do such an amazing job teaching Jake's class. We are so blessed to have them in our life.

Along with teaching on Sundays they also set up other things outside of church for the parents to get together or craft days. This past week Kaye-Kaye put together a gingerbread house party. Several of us mom's got together and "helped" our kids make a gingerbread house. A lot of the kids were more interested in eating the candy then making the house. Surprisingly Jake didn't catch on to the eating until we started using skittles. We all had a great time and talking and decorating. And the kids enjoyed their sugar high too!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beautiful Star

Every year since Jake was tiny...(not even 2 months old for the 1st one...yes, I shed a few tears when I was putting the collage together...he was so tiny!!) Jason has held him up to the tree to "help" put our star on top. Just thought you might want to take a trip down memory lane. And have a glimpse of our sweet boy growing up over the years. Ugh...still can't get over that 1st Christmas picture...he was so tiny!!!

O' Christmas Tree

We decorated our most perfect tree the other day. It was fun doing it all together as a family. Of course I am always the photographer so it doesn't seem like I was helping, but really I did. Jake loved taking each ornament out of the box and handing it to Jason. He didn't care so much about putting them on the tree. I was worried that since we let him help decorate the tree he would constantly be taking ornaments off the tree. But he hasn't touched any of the ornaments since we decorated. I am sure now that I mentioned this I will spend all day tomorrow telling him to leave the tree alone.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Real vs Fake

We picked out our tree on Sunday after only going to 2 places. We always start at either Home Depot or Lowes because they have the cheapest tree. Most years we are able to find a decent one and walk away spending $40 or so.

However, my favorite place to get trees is Pike Nursery. Obviously you can see that I am no rugged outdoor girl I get my Christmas tree from a store. But I have never experienced cutting down our own tree...I could like that too. But for now Pike is my favorite place. Have you ever been? They hang all of their trees from the ceiling just a tiny bit above the ground. When you are walking through you can't really tell if they are touching or not. But the are really just floating there. Rows & Rows of floating trees. If you give them a slight touch they spin around. Because the trees are floating from the ceiling and not just thrown in a pile you can tell the fullness and shape immediately. There isn't that whole wait a couple of days for the tree to "fall." Needless to say I love Pike and every year secretly wish we could just go there. But most years the price stops us and we find a good tree somewhere else.

This year after heading to Lowe's as our first stop and dear sweet hubby picking up at least 20 or more trees. Both of us agreed we didn't like any of them. So it would be off to Home Depot to try them. But instead my wonderful hubby took me to the greatest tree place on earth PIKE!!! We walked in and it was like tree wonderfulness. Of course we were able to find the most perfect tree in only a few minutes. The tree was $10 more then at Lowe's, but it was so worth the prettyness and fun of walking through and spinning the floating trees.

But this is where the fake comes in and I can't even believe I am talking about this or the thought has even crossed my mind. I have always said that we would have a REAL tree forever. The smell & the fun of picking out a tree could never be replaced by a fake tree. And I am sorry, but those candles that say Christmas tree scent they have nothing on the smell of a real tree.

Do you have a real tree or fake tree? Have you ever had the opposite of what you have now? What do you love about your type of tree? Please tell me in the comments I would love to know.

After leaving Lowes with no tree. I (yes, me) actually asked my hubby what he thought of getting a fake tree at the end of this season. You know when they all go on sale for really cheap. We could get a t $200 tree for fairly inexpensive at the end of the year. And just think if we used it for 10 years that would only cost us $20 a year. Plus we could just pull it out of the attic each year and know that it would be whatever height and fullness we wanted. Plus they have trees with lights on them. We wouldn't have to put the lights on and take them off each year. And really fake is better for the environment. Think of all the trees we could save. But really they would still be cut down waiting at the store for someone else to buy...right? A fake tree really sounded like a kind of good idea. For next year of course. I was already on the mission for my real tree.

Once we went to the beloved Pike and picked out our wonderful tree...the thought of fake quickly faded. We both agreed this was our best tree in a couple of years. (probably since we went to Pike 4 years ago)

Could I really do a fake tree? Oh the smell each morning as I am walking down my stairs and it hits me so fresh and Christmasy. I love it and just don't know if I can give it up. I might look at some when they go on sale, but don't hold your breath....I am sure real is still in our future. And I guess the hunt for just the right tree is part of the fun too.

But really let me know what you think of your tree.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Iowa wrap up!

I had some pictures that didn't make it into a named post so I thought I would just post all those here.

To sum it up...we had a great time in Iowa spending time with my Dad, brother & Michele. Jake is still asking about each of them on a regular basis. Now that he knows they are real people and not just pictures we look at with names...I really hope it won't be 5 years before he sees them again.

This is the face when you realize that Love is a
cinnamon crunch bagel and hazlenut cream cheese

Bowling...more Iowa

So bowling is a pretty big deal in Iowa. I can say that I don't know anyone here in Georgia who is on a bowling league, but it seemed pretty big there. My dad is on a league, my brother is on a league and then my brother and dad are on a league together. Both are pretty good dad has now bowled two 300 games (in case you don't know that is a perfect bowling score)...WOW!!!

But while we were in Iowa we went to watch the parent/child league and of course eat some yummy bowling alley french fries. Although, Michele(my step-mom) hates just about everything about a bowling alley she so graciously came and hung out with us too. As well as ran around with the boys who were bored pretty quickly of watching.

But then we went back another day to all play together. Even Jake & Caleb bowled. They didn't have shoes small enough for their feet, but they did get their own balls and a fun ramp to push the ball down so it would make it all the way down the lane. Do you remember that I said my dad has bowled a 300? Well apparently Heather & I didn't get any of that bowling gene Heather bowled like a 40 something and I bowled a 60 something. Umm...that would equal to TERRIBLE!!! But we all had so much fun throwing the ball down the lane. That the score didn't really matter. Even the boys loved it. Bowling in at their high scores of Jake- 37 Caleb-54(but I am thinking he might have had a little help with that). The boys might have had just as much fun hanging out in the game area with Michele. Thankfully they have no idea you put money in the machine and it does stuff. They just had fun pushing buttons and looking in the machines that they didn't care they weren't doing anything.

Every time someone threw the ball Jake would clap. He would only push his ball down the ramp with his pointer fingers. As soon as the ball was off he was clapping. He was so excited for himself.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


So I did a quick recap when we got home, but I haven't shared any pictures.

Friday we flew to Iowa(actually IL and then drove to Iowa) to surprise my dad for his birthday! It was so great to get there and see everyone. This was both Jake & my nephew's 1st trip on a plane. I was more nervous about getting through the Atlanta airport then the actual flight. Really, have you been to Hartsfield it is way TOO big and can be a little confusing. Not to mention that the TSA people are not very friendly or into answering any of your questions. But we made it through the airport no problem and then had to wait at our gate for a while since we were so early. Both boys did great on the airplane. We brought lots of snacks, books, & one of the biggest hits play-doh. Neither of the boys slept for the majority of our 2 hour flight. Caleb fell asleep about 45 minutes before we landed and of course Jake fell asleep as the plane started to land. By the time we got to our gate he had probably only been asleep for 10 minutes. But we did have an hour and a half ride to my dad's from the airport.

Of course my Dad was super surprised when we came walking in his house. He had no idea we were coming. I can't believe my step-mom was able to keep us a secret for 2 months. Heather & I talked about the trip almost every day from the day we had the tickets.

Saturday was the big day for Birthday celebration. We were able to spend a little bit of time with our Grandma, Aunts, Uncles, & cousins at the party. It was nice to see everyone. Some of them we hadn't seen in 11 years and a few were able to come to GA for my wedding 5 years ago. But still too long. Then of course there were some of my dad's friends there too. With lots of yummy snacks and hanging out.

Saturday morning we also had a mishap with my dad's sweet(umm...maybe not really so sweet) dog Penny. While the boys were watching tv Penny jumped up next to them. The dog bit Jake on his cheek. Yes, you read that right. A bite. See picture. Yes, the dog is easily excited and doesn't do too well with small children in her house. She hated it every time my dad, brother or step-mom would pick up one of the boys and of course the boys are boys and like running around and being noisy. This too would lead to more barking, and growling. But the not so sweet dog even snapped at Jake when he was nicely petting her and I was sitting right there with him. This didn't really change Jake, he still like petting her and wanted to try and play with her. I will admit that after the biting incident I was ready to kick the dog out or get out myself. (sorry dad & Michele if you are reading this). But thankfully the dog incident didn't ruin our trip. We had a great time at my Dad's party on Saturday!!! And enjoyed our stay and spending time with our family!
Can you see his right cheek?
The infamous dog, Penny!
My dad, me & my sister
As soon as the cake arrived the boys kept checking it out and asking to eat it
Finally enjoying their cake

Ok, I still have more to post about our great trip to Iowa, but this post is long enough as it is. Stay tuned for more Iowa pictures.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebrating with our families over the last 2 days! If I were to list all the things I am thankful for it would take up too much room and lots of time!! But I will say I am so thankful for our wonderful family & friends and all the many blessings we have!!! Life is so good and we couldn't be happy!!!

Of course Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without some black Friday shopping. This year Jason went along and actually admitted he had a good time. We started at 12am at Toys R Us where we were able to finish up Jake's Christmas and then hit a few stores after that. I don't really do black Friday for the deals more for the fun to me. There have been several years I went and didn't buy anything.

We hope you all have had a great Thanksgiving too. I will be back to regular blog updates later next week. For now I am still full and enjoying time with my family!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Iowa Surprise

We left for Iowa on Friday. My dad's birthday was Saturday and it was a total surprise to him that we were coming. All arranged by my step-mom who planned and bought plane tickets 2 months ago so we could celebrate with my dad. We hadn't seen them in 5 years! Yes, you really read that right. I hadn't seen my dad, step-mom or 13 year old brother in 5 years!!! And that means they had never met Jake. So we set off on Jake's 1st plane ride. Me, Jake, my sister Heather, & her little boy who is only 4 months older then Jake made it through Hartsfield Airport and onto a plane for a 2 hour flight where we actually landed in Illinois and then drove to my dad's house for the big surprise. He was totally shocked when we walked awesome to see the awe on his face when he said "hey."

We made it home Tuesday doing the whole plane, airport thing in reverse and finally getting to see my sweet hubby who Jake & I both missed very much. It was nice to sleep in my own bed last night with my hubby and not a 2 year old boy moving all over the bed. He seemed very happy to be back in his own bed too....sleepy much more sound then he had.

But even with all the sleep disruption and missing my hubby then trip was so worth it. And I think everyone had a great time seeing each again and getting to know each other for the 1st time.

All of this to say we are home and back to stuff that is more real life. Like cleaning and laundry. And oh yeah Thanksgiving is TOMORROW!! Thankfully (haha) we will be going to my mom's for the big meal, but I still have some sides and pies to make and grocery shopping to do before then. So a post full of pictures and detailed fun facts about our plane ride(Jake's 1st) and fun surprise trip which I couldn't mention anything about on the blog before now (you know dad does read this sometimes) will just have to come in later. Who knows I might get some super powers tonight to do it...since Jason is working super late and I am hoping to have my pies and stuff done in just a few short hours. So check back you just might get surprised too, but if not know that all of that fun Iowa trip stuff will be coming....but if might be after Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2 Year Check Up

Today Jake had his 2 year doctor visit. This post is going to be a long vent, but I will give you the basics right now so if you don't want to you don't have to read the whole vent!!!

He is 30 pounds which is the 75th percentile and 34 1/4" tall which is the 50th percentile. Everything looks good from that side! No shots today. After asking for a couple of weeks to see the doctor I don't think he will ask about it again. Because my nephew was a doctor for Halloween every time we talked about the doctor Jake would say "I want to see the Doctor." He didn't realize who the doctor was and wasn't happy when she started touching him.

That is the basics of the visit now on to my vent!!!

We will NEVER go to Cobb Pediatrics again!!! I promise NEVER!! I am on the hunt for a new ped right now. If you live in my area and you know of a great one please pass the name on to me.

I should have known this place was no good for us when at 4 months the nurse got his weight & height wrong on the chart so then at 6 months they were freaking out about his weight. But it took then several weight checks over several weeks before they realized it must have been a mistake on the chart. You think? I kept trying to tell them because the chart also showed that he had shrunk in length over those 2 months as well. Last time I checked babies aren't really shrinking.

I called this morning to double check that Jake's appointment was at 11:30 as I didn't get the usual courtesy call the day before. The girl who answers says "yes, we have Jacob down for 11:30 today." Great Jake and I head to the office if you know me you know that I am not late. In fact being late is one of my biggest pet peeves. So in true Melissa form I show up to the office at 11:10. Knowing that I would have a couple of papers to fill out and giving Jake some time to get used to the office. I go to sign in and the lady at the window ask who I was signing in (this women has never really had the friendliest attitude). She says she doesn't have a chart for him and then ask the lady at the window next to her(the sick sign in window) if she has it. Yes, she does Jake is scheduled for a sick visit today. I look at the lady and say "really? I scheduled his appointment over a month ago and obviously would not have known if he was going to be sick today." She says it is ok the doctor should have enough room to fit in a well check up instead.

I should break here to mention that I had the appointment scheduled for his 2 year check up, but I also had a couple of questions and wanted the doctor to look at his circumcision as it had been looking a little different. Other wise I might have just changed the appointment.

So we go to the waiting room. Jake is acting perfectly fine playing and getting up and down from the chairs 500 times and asking me "whats that, mommy?" 1000 more times. At 12:10 we still haven't been called back so I go ask the not so friendly lady at the window if she knows about how much longer the wait will be since our appointment was at 11:30. She says we are next and shouldn't be much longer they are just really backed up. Apparently only this particular doctor was backed up as others who had come in the office after me were being seen before me. This practice has several doctors in it. I just took the appointment with the one who had the earliest available when I called a month ago. So Jake & I continue to wait. FINALLY at 12:35 I hear Jacob called.

I go to where the nurse is supposed to be and she is not there. She has another little boy on the scale who is between the age of 8-10. "I say did you call Jacob?" The other mother looks at me and says "yes, this is Jacob." Clearly Jacob is a very popular name (nurse you might want to consider this). The nurse looks at the boy then at me and says are you Jacob (last name). I say yes, and then she looks at the chart and says "yes, he does like a lot more like the 2 year old who I have a chart for." Lucky for her she was taking us back or I might have seriously lost it!!

She stands Jake on the scale and then takes his temperature and says "oh he has a fever of 101." This office does have a sick and well waiting room, but still with lots of sick kids coming in this time of year no wonder after an hour of waiting my child now has a fever. Plus it was pretty warm in the waiting room.

We go back to the exam room and the doctor comes right in and says I may need to step out, but we will go ahead and get started. "Excuse me, I have been waiting over an hour and you might have to step out" this of course is only what I thought. I was really trying to have a good attitude about the whole thing. Especially since my giving for the day was me bringing in a bunch of magazines that I had at the house. This peds office never has anything for the parents to look at while they wait. She goes on with her exam thankfully never having to leave the room. But now at this point because he does have the low fever they are automatically assuming he is sick. And if you know my child you know he doesn't like other people. So of course as soon as the doctor started touching him he was crying which made his nose run. So she says you can tell he isn't felling well. "What? He was acting perfectly fine for the entire hour we waited." She checks ears...clear, then she checks his throat and says his tonsils look a little white so she wants to do a strep test. The strep test comes back negative as well. But she tells me " I am sure he isn't feeling well so you can just give him motrin every 6 hours. "Ok, Thank you." I am not a give my child medicine at every turn so I just take this info with a grain of salt knowing that his fever will probably be gone later that afternoon.

While the Doctor is doing her exam she is checking his boy area and says " I am having a hard time finding his 2nd testicle, have they ever had this problem before?" Me, "Umm, no, at least not that anyone has ever mentioned."(this is not what one of my questions was aobut...the circumcision area is what looked a little different to me not his other part) She then says, "this is kind of serious if one hasn't dropped it can cause testicular cancer. Are you sure there have always been two?" Me, "as far as I know yes, they have always been able to find two." She then says she will try again after she finishes the rest of his exam. She eventually finds it, but only after giving me a small heart attack thinking he might have something more serious wrong with him. I thought you didn't mention serious possibilities until you were sure.

Did I mention that the entire time the doctor is with us she is turning her head to cough? And then she asks me if she went over the growth chart. I say "no." She says to me "oh, I am not feeling well and my heads a little cloudy, I must have forgotten." Umm...HELLO!!! And you wonder why my child might have a just said you are sick and you are breathing all over my child while you are looking in his nose, eyes, ears, & throat. Of course he had the fever before he saw the Dr., but still if you are sick aren't you supposed to stay home.

There is a sliver lining in all of this craziness. My hubby & I still hadn't come to a complete decision about the flu shot. I know kind of crazy to still not know when I am at the doctors office. But I was trying to decide what to say or what choice to make. Because of the fever there was no choice to make. He didn't get any shots which I am perfectly happy with. The only thing I can think is he wasn't supposed to get the shots and that is why this fever all of a sudden popped up out of nowhere.

As I write this Jake is down for his nap & I am pretty sure he will be perfectly fine when he wakes up.

But top it to say I will NEVER go back to Cobb Pediatrics again. So the search continues for a new doctor. He doesn't go back until he is 3 so hopefully by then I will have found a doctor I like much better.

Now that I have that off my chest....I can go about my day happy and playing with my sweet little boy!! If you made it through this entire post please comment. Do you have any tips when looking for a pediatrician? Does your child see a pediatrician or a family practitioner? Any great data base you know of to search for peds in your area?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We have had such a fun time with our giving over the last 6 days! It is amazing how I feel each day knowing that I am going to be giving from the heart. I really feel like it has made me a little cheerier already!

To top it off this Sunday at church we started a series called Fearless. All about being fearless with your finances and trusting God. And of course the 1st week was on being generous!!! It really has inspired me to look further into ways I can give. And has led to some great conversations with my hubby.

So here is our past 6 days in recap. Ideally I will be recaping our week of giving on Sundays or Mondays, but the past couple of days have been really busy and time has gotten away from me. The 1st day I sent a Christmas card to a sick little boy. Then Friday my journey group was taking up fresh fruit donations for a group home I was so excited to go get my bags of apples and tangerines to give to the men that live in the group home.

Saturday was probably the most fun so far. We put together a box for a boy age 2-4 for Operation Christmas Child. We picked up a list of things to fill the box and Jake helped put them in the box. This was our 1st big lesson in giving as Jake was really fond of the spider man car and football we were putting in the shoe box. He had a little melt down and crying that they were "mine," but after a few minutes he was ready to put them in the box. We took the shoe box to Lifeway Christian bookstore (which is really close to being my favorite store). We dropped off our box & I was able to do some shopping, as well as, get a Christmas gift for Jake. Then Sunday I used the Old Navy give and get coupon. 5% of what I spent was donated to charity. Monday we took some of our slightly used winter coats to Sears Lands End department for the Big Warm Up and they will be donated to the homeless. And then today was a super easy click and give. Just by clicking on a link a donation was made to help stop child abuse.

I am so excited to see the things that God places in front of us as ways to give! 24 more days in our 30 days of giving, but we just might keep on going!!! Here are some pictures of us getting our Operation Christmas Child Shoe box together!

Also please note that you can click on any of the links to find out more about the places we have been giving. Most of what we did this week was totally free to us and can be to you too.

On our way to drop of our shoe box
Putting the final item in the box