Monday, September 21, 2009

Oliver's Big BIG Boy Bed!

A few months ago, Matt and I were thrilled to find a bunk bed at a garage sale. We both liked the idea of Oliver having bunk beds. It gives us more space to house visitors when they come in town and is fun for him. The disassembled bed has been sitting in our garage for months collecting dust. Finally, a few weeks ago, we decided to get the process started. When we bought it, it was a wood color that wasn't our favorite. So we decided to paint it navy blue - which would be a great fit in his room.

We also decided to switch the theme in his room to baseball which Oliver is really excited about. We got super cute new bedding, a few baseball accessories, and finally assembled the fully painted bed on Saturday. The final verdict - we all LOVE it! It really does make his room look much more like a big boy room than a toddler's room. Kind of sad, but also exciting! He has slept on the TOP bunk for two days now! I did make him practice climbing up and down the ladder a few times, both with the light on and by the light of the night light :) But he's had no problems and has slept great up there. It's a fun new addition to our little boy's world!

Here are some pictures of the new and improved room:




His room did have this in the window corner - a little reading area suited for a little boy. Now we put in a table area better suited for a big boy.


(these areas look pretty much the same... with a few new baseball accessories)

And of course, as I reflect upon him growing up, I have to do a montage of "Oliver's Beds through the years"...

His first bed was the pack and play in our room in Phoenix until he was 4 months old and moved to the crib in his own room

Here he is in his crib in Phoenix at 11 months old.

In his nursery, I had painted some transportation vehicles to hang on the wall above the molding

Oliver's first room!

Here he is in his first real bed after we got it all put together. He is 21 months in this picture!

And here he is last night before bed on the top bunk of his new bunk beds!

Lovin' it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Are you kidding me!

I love this tray. It sits on the counter in my kitchen holding various things I'd like to leave out of the pantry (cookies, cakes, etc.). And it keeps them all together in an organized manner. It's cute. It's green. And I like it!

There is one thing about it that is a little off-putting. If you flip it over, you will notice a little sticker. I didn't pay much attention to it at first just thinking it is a standard wash instructions or "Made in Taiwan" sticker. However, upon closer inspection, I see something a little more unusual on this sticker that I've never seen before. Check it out!

In case you can't see it clearly, let me translate for you. It says "NOT FOR FOOD USE MAY POISON FOOD. FOR DECORATIVE PURPOSE ONLY. MADE IN INDIA."

Okay... WHAT! "May poison food." Poison. Poison. Have you ever seen the word poison on a label like this. It just cracks me up for some reason. I guess it is not intended to be used in the kitchen, huh! Well I do use it, but do not set food directly on it. It is always in a Ziploc or plastic container. But I still think it is odd and wanted to share my oddity with you all! Enjoy!

More Gabby "Dos"

Here are a few more of my favorite Gabby hair-dos!

The side ponytail... taking me back to my elementary school days. Her hair wasn't quite long enough to really pull this off. It came out pretty quickly, but stayed up long enough for me to snap a picture!

And one of my top favorites - the braided pig tails! Love it! And she will even sit still for me to do it :) Both of my kids love to help me with the dust buster. I love that kind of help!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

# 18 - Visit Family in Denver in 2009 - CHECK

One of the goals on my 101 goals in 1001 days list was to visit our family in Denver. Matt's sister and brother and their families live there and although we've seen them quite a bit recently, it has always been somewhere else. We hadn't been up to Denver since I was pregnant with Gabriella. Until now. We remedied that situation over Labor Day when we flew up there (probably our last flight where Gabriella will be free since she is quickly approaching 2 years old!)

We had a great visit. The kids loved playing with their cousins, they all played really well together. Matt got to play one of his favorite board games one night which was great for him. We got to have a big water balloon fight and also to see Uncle Dan's radio station/work and Dan and Stephanie's house. We also got to visit their church - and both of our kids walked right into Sunday School to be dropped off... with no crying. Truly amazing! And of course there was lots of catching up with family we would love to see more often than we get to.

Here are some pictures from the trip:

Pig tail Gabby enjoying a snack

Oli getting fit

Gabriella really enjoyed playing on their stairs... and thankfully didn't fall once

Daniel organized a game of "spies" at his place - the kids loved it! I was not one of the spies so I was not privy to all they did. But I do know it involved lots of sneaking, crawling, code names, and completing different missions around their house.

The spies at work on one of their missions

Here is Gabriella - code named "Princess Baby" for the operation

And here is Oliver clad in some hand gear for completing one of the missions I'm sure. Once again, that was classified information that moms were not privy to. I do know that he was code named "Goofs-a-lot" (he named himself... I'm thinking with a little help from a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode we have recorded on our TiVo).

Uncle Dan in full spy gear

Stephanie had made a carrot cake to celebrate Matt's birthday a little early. His favorite!

"Happy Birthday to you"

Daddy getting ready to blow out his candles while Oliver works on digging for his own treat

Yay Daddy - you did it!

Atticus donning Uncle Dan's spy gear

Watch out - a messy faced toddler with a gun!

Oliver dressing up in one of cousin Calvin's many super hero masks!

First Day of Preschool

Oliver's first day of preschool was last Thursday. Yes, the same day as Matt's birthday and surprise party. So you can probably understand why I am just now getting around to blogging about it. It's been a busy few weeks around here!

Oliver attends the Graham Cracker Express preschool at our church. He LOVES it! I was so proud of the way he walked right in on the first day. It didn't hurt that it was "Rain forest Week" - he loves jungle animals :) His teachers are Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Abner. Mrs. Miller is our senior pastor's wife and Mrs. Abner is our college pastor's wife. So we already knew them somewhat before the school year started. He is only attending one day a week so today was his second time there. They do circle time, centers, play outside, have a snack, go to Bible Class, go to Spanish Class and have circle time again to wrap it up. It is a full and fun day for him! He knows quite a few kids in his class from church and from GCE last year. He brought home the quintessential pine cone brushed with peanut butter and birdseed bird feeder today. We're planning to hang it up outside this afternoon :) Preschool is so fun!

Mommy and Gabby have done "Gabby School" both weeks so far while Oliver is in school using a toddler curriculum I love. The first week we did eyes and this week we did feet and toes. Gabby was excited that this week included getting her toenails painted. "Just like Mommy!!!" she says!

We love our teachers and are very excited about the year! Here are a few pictures from the first day.

My silly boy doesn't always love to pose for pictures!

There we go! What a big boy he is getting to be!

Walking into school with sister

Dropping his backpack into the "Oliver" basket. He wasn't so sure about leaving it there. He really wanted to keep it with him.

Oliver is in the "Oreos" class this year!

With his teacher Mrs. Miller... he is of course too busy playing with the snake to pose for mommy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy 30th Birthday Matt!

My wonderful husband turned 30 on Thursday... a fact that he was not looking forward to. So in order to help make his birthday a fun memory and hopefully help erase some of the negative emotions he was feeling toward turning 30, I set out to plan a surprise party with our closest family and friends.

I wanted it to be as much of a surprise as possible, so I secretly invited friends and family, had them RSVP to my cell phone, cooked the food for the party while he was at work, stored the party food and supplies in the back of my van (hoping he didn't get in there for anything), hurriedly loaded the fridge items into the van while he was driving home from work so they could stay in the fridge as long as possible, etc. etc.

I wanted him to dress nice for the party... but wasn't sure how suspicious he would be if I offered to pick his clothes out that morning. So instead, the kids and I went shopping and bought him a new outfit to give to him as his first gift of the day :) Worked like a charm - and he loved what we picked out.

Besides the food, the other major undertaking was getting him to the party without him knowing where/why he was showing up at our church building - where the party was held. So to facilitate the transfer from our house to our church, I enlisted the help of our friends Steve and Ann Marie in a little guys vs. girls competition. I created a digital scavenger hunt and relied upon the competitive side of Matt to keep him distracted from thinking about anything other than getting the tasks done. The kids stayed at our house with a babysitter for the evening because there was no way I could throw a party with two toddlers in tow. Below are the instructions for the hunt:


Digital Scavenger Hunt

Use the digital camera to take pictures of the following to document your completed tasks. The tasks must be completed in THIS order. First one to complete their tasks and return to the Dillard House wins a 30 minute massage from their spouse while watching the movie of their choice!!

  • Take a picture of one team member next to one of the signs at John Paul II High School (which used to be Alcatel where Matt worked one summer)

  • Take a picture of one team member holding a new/store copy of EITHER the book A Prayer for Owen Meany OR The Time Travelers Wife (A tribute to Matt’s love of books)

  • Eat an entire (smallest-size) cup of frozen yogurt from Gooey’s. Make sure to take a picture of the yogurt eater to document the eating of said frozen yogurt (Matt really likes their yogurt)

  • Frisbee golf – Throw frisbee from the parking lot at the Campbell Green splash pad to the top of the tallest slide on the playground. Take some pictures for documentation. (A celebration of Matt’s love for playing games)

  • Buy a pack of baseball cards from Nick’s Sports Cards on the SW corner of Campbell and Coit. Take a picture of one team member outside of the baseball card store. (To support Matt’s love of all things baseball)

  • Both team members must do a cartwheel in the Fellowship Hall of our church – Trinity Bible Church. Make sure to take a picture of both cartwheels! (Matt is very committed to our church)

  • Take a picture near the Home Depot sign of one team member giving a “thumbs down” sign. (To support Matt’s dislike for fixing broken things around the house)

  • Race back to the Dillard House… while obeying all traffic laws of course!


The four of us stood in our living room and went over the ground rules of the hunt before racing to our cars. Steve and Matt together and Ann Marie and I together. I had designed it so that Ann Marie and I could show up at the first task about the same time as the guys to make them think we were really participating in the hunt. We showed up, both snapped our pictures and then headed out again.

I also designed it so that the second task could have led us to different locations so that they wouldn't be surprised not to see us again immediately... because after the first task Ann Marie and I raced straight to the church to meet some friends to get the food, tables, decorations, lights, etc. all set up before Matt got there. We had about 45 minutes to get all of that done - which we succeeded in doing! That was one of my main stresses about the evening, so I was so thankful for all of the help I had getting set up!

Here are some pictures of Matt and Steve as they finished the rest of the scavenger hunt... all the while wondering why they didn't see us at any of the other locations. They thought we were really behind and were confused because they thought we would probably be winning since the girls were the more competitive team. Hmmm... :)

Taking a picture with The Time Traveler's Wife

The empty frozen yogurt cup at Gooey's

One of our tasks was rained out - the Frisbee golf. But here is proof that they were there!

Matt holding his baseball cards

While the guys were still out hunting, I had everyone else who was attending the party assemble at the church about 15 minutes before he was to get there to intercept him mid-hunt when he arrived at our church. Steve secretly called his wife and hung up to alert us that they were there. And the moment we'd all been waiting for:



Happy Birthday Sweetie!

The group assembled to hide and yell surprise!

Matt and his Grandfather - Bodie

The happy couple

Dishing up some food

Our friends Ryan and Heather drove down from Oklahoma for the party! Thanks guys!

"Happy Birthday to you" - with mini cheesecakes

Matt's mom chatting with Matt's high school friend Adam Turner

The party room!

HUGE thank yous go to a few people: Darci, DeeDee, The Jones Family, Steve and Ann Marie and Matt's mom for the AMAZING amount of help they gave me setting up during the 45 minute time crunch. And thanks for being our official photographer Ann Marie - most of the photos above are courtesy of her!

Thank you so much to Adam Turner and Ryan, Heather and Erin Harkins for each driving 3+ hours to be there!

Also a huge shout out to those of you who brought enchiladas - the dinner would not have been a success without you. And Brit and Heath - thank you so much for rescuing the cheesecake and saving me from getting totally off schedule and late to set up! And thank you SO much Annie - for all of the cooking you helped me do at my house that afternoon, all of the decorations you brought and the awesome beans you made! I couldn't have done it without you all!!!

Matt loved his party and now has great, positive memories of turning 30 - success!!! We love all of you dearly and feel so blessed with the community that God has provided us here in Plano!