Monday, August 30, 2010


Last week Matt mysteriously asked me to tell him my dream camera and a more realistic camera.  I've since been drooling over these...

Like this one

Or maybe this one

And then especially this one!  (yeah right!)

The D5000 is my realistic choice.  Oh, to have a of these days!

Ride, Fair Maid!

On Saturday was the 144th Annual Jousting Tournament at a local church.  That's a long tradition of jousting!!  This was our first time going as a family, although Matt had gone once when he was 10 or so. 

The basic idea of jousting is that a rider gets his/her horse in a trot (a sloooow trot or a fast trot, depending on how good the rider is!) and tries to get a spear through a tiny little loop.  There are three gates on the run, and they get three runs.  A perfect score would be 9 loops.  That's jousting in a nutshell!!

We only watched the youngest and most inexperienced riders, so we learned that next time we'll go later in the day for a more entertaining show.  Caleb, however, loved every minute of it!

It was definitely a fun experience!  Caleb was slightly disappointed that there weren't real knights, but the real horses satisfied him.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mow, Mow, Mow the Lawn...

Lawn-mowing must be a major topic of conversation in your life when your husband uses it in his sermon and you blog 3 times about it. 

But nevertheless, here I am again.

Just how tall was the grass, Julie? 

I'm so glad you asked.

We had pieces that were upwards to 24 inches.  That's two feet tall, people!!!

Rednecks, we are.

Rednecks with ground bees.


Yesterday, we did have a bit of progress in the grass-cutting.  Before he began, Matt had to assess the situation and determine his plan of attack. Afterall, this was a major undertaking.

He got quite a bit of the backyard cut before FIVE ground bees landed on his chest.  He didn't get stung, but it was enough to make him quit!

Then he headed to the front yard and cut that again. 

At least we don't look like rednecks from the road...just to our next door neighbors.

So this is what it looks like now....a little better!  And he did buy some better stuff at Sneade's that will hopefully kill these nasty things once and for all!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jungle Update

Yep, still live in a jungle.  The grass is longer than ever and the part that was cut wasn't cut very short to begin with (because it was really long too and you have to go over it a bunch of times). 

He went out last night to check on the bees and they are still there.  At this point, I kind of lost it. 

Soooooo, Matt is going to Sneade's this morning to get some kill-everything spray so that the darned things can be gone once and for all.

And he's going to cut a bit more of the grass because the bees aren't all over the backyard.  This was my suggestion. 

Maybe by the time the leaves fall, the grass will be cut.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Are you STILL pregnant?

Being very pregnant while teaching is...interesting.  Something about my bulging middle seems to give students the right to say whatever they want.  In this first week of school, here are a few of my favorite comments so far:

Boy on the playground:  Are you STILL pregnant?
Me:  (looking down) What do you think?
Boy:  Well, I thought you might just be fat.

The ever inquisitive honors student:  "Do you pee your pants every time you sneeze?"

Pretty much my entire class:  "There she goes again to the bathroom!"

Just think:  I have 2 1/2 more months of comments to blog about!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We Can Eat Upside Down Pizza in Heaven

Caleb talked to Jesus tonight.  Of course, Jesus doesn't really answer out loud, but "he" did tonight.

Matt, in the high-pitched old lady voice that I'm sure is identical to Jesus', had a wonderful conversation with Caleb tonight about Heaven.

Namely, about what Caleb can eat in Heaven.

There will be plenty of cake, to be sure.

Mac-n-cheese pizza (like Cici's makes) is definitely going to be there too.

Oh, and we can eat our pizza upside down.  Because nothing will fall off in Heaven.

So there you go.  No need to wonder about that anymore.  You can sleep soundly tonight.

A First!

We were given a band at the Baysox game so that Caleb could ride the rides in the kids' area, and we took full advantage of it!  We'd use it as leverage to keep him well-behaved so that we could go every couple of innings.  He enjoyed the moon bounce, playing basketball, pitching, and hitting games that were way too hard for him, and riding the carousel.  In fact, he rode that three times!

There weren't many people on the carousel and the waiting area was very close by, so I asked if he would like to ride it by himself. 

First time:  no thank you.  So I stayed with him.  I didn't hold him at all; I just stood next to him holding onto a different horse.  He loved riding it!  I took this picture right before that ride.

Second time:  um, no I don't think so.  So I stayed again.

Third time:  Yes!  Go over there, Mommy!  So I did!  And I got a little teary-eyed.  My little boy is old enough to ride the carousel without me!  What's more, he doesn't want me there!  

Yes, I know I was the one who offered for him to ride it by himself--three times!  I'm just a sap, I guess!  He was so proud of himself, grinning from ear to ear!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Umbrella

At the Baysox game on Sunday, the giveaway was a fairly nice umbrella with the Baysox logo on it.  Matt and I each got one, and Caleb got a cute growth chart.  We put them in the cup holders at our seats so that they would be out of the way and I'd avoid tripping on them.

After a few innings, Caleb and I went to check out the games in the kids' section.  We came back to find that one of our umbrellas was missing.  Matt was there the entire time.  He had no idea where they went.  Quite observant, isn't he?

Then, I noticed that the people directly in front of us (who came late to the game) had an umbrella.  Coming late is a good way to miss getting the giveaway, because they only have a certain number.  Hmmmmm.

So then I started getting really mad.  Those people stole our umbrella!  I hate thievery!  Matt thought I was making a big deal out of nothing.   After all, they were free.  And perhaps I was.  But they stole our umbrella!! 

An usher came by and the thief asked him if the umbrellas were today's giveaway.  He said yes, and the woman asked if she could have that one.  He kind of looked at her weird and asked where she found it.  She said she found it in the cupholder behind her (in OUR cupholder right were WE were sitting!!)  The usher glanced at me and asked the woman if the umbrella was ours.  She looked over her shoulder as if it was the first time she noticed us and appeared shocked (or at least did a good job acting like it...professional thief, I'd say!)  I nodded that it was ours.  She meekly asked if we wanted it back and I decided that since she at least knew she'd stolen it, I wouldn't make a big deal out of it.  I shook my head and said that it was okay.  She didn't argue too much.

They must have really wanted that umbrella...

Here's a picture of the thief-turned-not-observant-person.  She's the one in yellow.  Her family is sitting in front of her.  She moved back a row for some reason.

Yeah, Matt was really mad at me for taking this picture.  I had to be able to identify the thief somehow! 
For the record, I took this before I knew that she *supposedly* didn't know it was ours.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Louie, Louie

Caleb got to go to a Baysox game for his good behavior reward (20 days of all of his magnets!) on Sunday.  We admired Louie from afar and Caleb decided he wanted to go meet him.  I was leery of this because we've been through this numerous times with the same outcome:  Caleb screams in terror.  The kid surprised me this time though!

He was actually thrilled to see him!  Our friend Darlene was happy to introduce Caleb to Louie.

Caleb even shook Louie's hand and told him that he wasn't afraid of him anymore!

I have some other pictures of the game and a few more adventures to share, but I'm way too tired tonight.  The first day of school is exhausting!  I will leave you with a cliffhanger though:  how did we go from getting 2 free umbrella giveaways to one?!?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pain in the Grass

No, that's not the jungle you see.  That would be our back yard. 

This all started with a bee.  Matt was innocently cutting the grass when he ran over a nest of ground bees and got stung.  That was the end of the grass cutting that day.  That was before he left for Momentum. 

He came back and only cut part of the grass, so as to avoid the bees.  Then he left for West Virginia (and Canada).

We got back from Canada, Matt sprayed the bees, and then it rained.  And rained.  And rained.  Plus we had appointments and other things we were doing before I went back to work.

So he finally cut the front and a bit of the back on Saturday.  Then he found them...

More bees!  That did it for the grass cutting. 

So this is what our yard looks like.  Nice, huh?  At least it's the back.  He has sprayed since then, but it's also rained since then.  Lovely!  Darn bees....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mighty to Save

This is Caleb's favorite song!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Niagara Falls: Up Close and Personal!

I got my pictures back from the little waterproof disposable camera I took on the Maid of the Mist.  They're nothing spectacular, but you do get to see the falls up close and personal!


Too bad it's blurry, because it was a good picture of the rainbow!

This is the only time I asked someone to take our picture because I figured no one would steal a disposable and we were on a boat so they couldn't run!

He looks like Batman!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Abigail's Journey: Part 2

If you're new to Abigail's Journey, click here.  You'll be pretty much lost if you don't!

Today was our next sonogram and it was fairly uneventful.  Caleb was able to see Abigail for the first time, which excited him to no end!  The jaw is looking about the same and the fluid levels are still good.  So, nothing is worse, which is good.  We learned something:  we will be scheduling all of our appointments on Thursdays so that we can see our favorite perinatologist!  We weren't overly enthralled with the person we say today.  Other than that, there wasn't any new information.

I will be switching my care to a local OB that delivers at UMD-B, but I will not need to have a perinatologist deliver me.  Unless there becomes a problem with my health, the important thing is to have the neonatologist there for Abigail.  I will be calling tomorrow to inquire about making an appointment and how to switch my care. 

The "highlight" of the appointments was the NICU tour, which wasn't nearly as intense as I feared it would be.  Everything was actually very calm and low-key; it was not at all the high-stress situation I imagined.  The babies are put into one of four rooms depending on the kind of care they will need, which means the nurses specialize in taking care of a certain kind of baby.  We learned what lots of the different instruments and breathing pieces were and were informed about the ins and outs of the NICU. 

We were shown around by the head neonatologist in the NICU, and we really, really liked her.  She was very easy to talk to and didn't minimize any of our fears.  I also really appreciated how she took the time to explain everything going on with the babies, which allowed us to relax a bit and begin to understand the assistance being given to the little ones.

By far the saddest part of the day was the fact that out of 20+ babies, only ONE mother was 10:30 a.m.!!  I was shocked and disappointed.  I know that life needs to go on and people need to work, but really?  We were both floored by this.  I will hold those poor little babies!!!

We did get some great information about the NICU: 
1.  Caleb will be able to visit Abby in the NICU (provided he's healthy, has had his flu shot, and Abby is doing well.)
2.  Anyone we want to come visit her can come visit her with one of us as their escort (provided they are healthy, have had their flu shot, and Abby is doing well!)
3.  The NICU is open 24 hours a day, so I can stay with her as long as I want.  The only exceptions are during shift changes and doctors' rounds (for confidentiality's sake).
4.  We are invited to be an active participant in the doctors' discussions about Abigail if we want to be. (I told her that they'd be tired of me by the time we left.  She replied that that would never happen.  The ones who they get tired of are the ones who never come and don't care.)  :(

After our appointments, we went to Annapolis to introduce Caleb and Heather (our wonderful babysitter who was soooo incredibly patient with Caleb and us during this long day!!) to Chick and Ruth's...yum!!!  After a great lunch topped off by milkshakes all around, we walked off some of the calories by the docks and on the Naval Academy grounds.  It was a nice end to summer, but that doesn't mean I won't miss my boy tomorrow!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Tomorrow is our second sonogram for Abigail, and we're hoping for good news.  Specifically, we want to see her fluid levels stay the same and proportional to her size, and we want her to move her head up, down, and side to side.  These are the key factors to her continued development!

Tomorrow will also be our tour of the NICU and the high-risk delivery unit.  I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for this, because I know I'll see and hear things that I don't want to think about.  I think what will be the saddest part to me is the babies that don't have anyone there to love on them, which I hear is kind of the norm in a big city hospital.  I might just have to sign up to hold a few... :)  We are thankful to have gotten to schedule the tour and even more thankful that our guide will be the chief of neonatology for the hospital!  We have our list of questions ready!!  (Yes, even Matt had some!)

I was happy to have scheduled this appointment before school starts and I have to use leave, but bummed that I was "wasting" my last day with Caleb.  I sure didn't want to leave him home with someone on my last day I could have him with me!  We decided a compromise was in order and asked a reliable, wonderful teenager in our youth group if she would be willing to come with us and watch him while we had our appointments.  She happily agreed!  This way, we can still be with him and we have plans to have some fun in Annapolis afterward, complete with dinner and dessert at Chick-and-Ruth's!  Yay for making a fun day out of a day full of appointments!

If I have anything to update, I will write an Abigail's Journey blog post over the next few days...but remember, I'll be back in school come Wednesday, so time will be precious!

Please pray for us tomorrow in the following ways:
*  That Abigail's neck mobility continues to be good
*  That fluid levels stay consistent
*  That we will get lots of good information from the NICU tour and feel a peace about her going there
*  That we will be mentally prepared for the sadness of the NICU
*  That we have a great last day off as a family (+1!)  :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

No Arms, No Legs, No Worries!

I had the opportunity to hear this man speak a few years ago, and he is amazing!! 

He gives great hugs too!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Good Day

Today was a good day.  It wasn't an amazingly exciting day where we spent tons of money on family entertainment.  It was just a good day that lacked the one thing we've had a lot of recently:  tantrums!!  :)

Matt let me sleep in, which he's been letting me do a lot of whenever he's home.  Then we vacuumed the van out and washed the outside, which is always fun.  We ate a bit of lunch, then Caleb and Matt took a nap while I played on the computer for a while.

When naptime was over, we played some $2 bowling, ate dinner at the Greene Turtle (pretzels con queso...yum!!), ran by Peebles for a fruitless khaki shorts search, and picked up a few groceries.

We got home, Caleb went to bed, and now we're watching "Yes Man." 

Like I said, nothing overly exciting, but a good day with my family.  :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Photo Worthy

Here are just a few pictures of my newest niece from this afternoon's photo shoot...

I'd say she's pretty photogenic!

I Love...

Nope, this blog has nothing to do with Simba the Lion lounging in the background.  If you aren't interested in reading a post where I'm up on my soapbox, stop reading now.  However, please remember that this is my blog and I can write whatever I want!  (Well, within reason...I am a state employee and am therefore held to a higher standard, so commenting about confidential work matters are a no-no.)

ANYWAY, see the shirt Matt is wearing?  It has evoked quite a few comments whenever he wears it.  Unfortunately, most of them are mocking.  Almost everyone asks if I bought it for him (For the record, he wanted it, but we couldn't find it at the store in his size, so I ordered it.  Technically, I suppose I bought it for him...but he wanted it!)  When Matt answers no, that he just loves his wife, people ask if he wears it when he's in trouble.  He usually smiles and says that he just loves his wife.  One person even had the gall to ask if there was a punch line on the back or something!  She went as far as to grab her friend and say, Look at this guy's shirt!  It isn't even a joke!  They just can't quite believe that a guy would just wear a shirt proclaiming his love for his wife.

I have an "I Love My Husband" shirt that I bought myself, but the comments I get are very different.  I think that's because it's okay for a girl to show a bit of emotion and feeling, but most people say I have a cute shirt.  I do get the occasional, "Do you think I can get my wife to wear that??" every now and then, but Matt is definitely the one who gets more of the tongue-in-cheek comments.

We did get ONE positive comment from our waitress about Matt's shirt who remarked at how refreshing it is to see a husband proclaiming his love for his wife. That's the only truly positive comment we've heard about it outside of church/Christian friends.

I have to say that I think this is a sad reflection of our society.  In a country where 50% of couples divorce, it's nearly impossible for people to acknowledge that a husband and wife could love each other for the long haul.  Does anyone else agree with me that this is a rather pitiful reality?!?

We're not perfect.  We fight.  (Ohhh, we fight!)  I put Matt down and criticize him.  He gets annoyed with my ways and lets me down sometimes.  But we're committed to each other, and that's something, right?

Okay, I'm climbing down off my soapbox now.  I'll tell you one thing...our shirts do give us opportunities to talk to people!!  :)

I'll Miss Him Too

Tuesday, I said goodbye to my wonderful, silly OB.  It's not like I'll never see him again (we've got a 1x a year date!), but was rather sad to know that he will not be the first one to hold Abigail.  He really is a wonderful man and has been great when we've taken Caleb to my OB appointments.  What's not to love about a man who makes chickens out of examination gloves?!  Caleb adores him.

We feel good about our decision, but it is really bittersweet.  We know we're trading familiarity for experience, which is much more important in this situation.

Trying to explain to Caleb why I can't see Dr. S. anymore was kind of hard because he didn't get it.  He kept asking when he was coming back.  I finally explained that Abby needed to be with doctors who had studied a lot about her jaw (that's pretty much all he knows--that she has a small jaw and will need a special hospital) and Dr. S. doesn't do that kind of thing.  He ended the conversation with a deep sigh and, "I'll miss him." 

I'll miss him too, Buddy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

good baby

This was a quite random conversation we had this morning during the storm.

Caleb:  Mommy, Abby is already a really good baby.

Me:  Oh yeah?  Why is that?

Caleb:  Well, she doesn't even poop in your belly!  Good job Abby!

Thankful Thursday

We've been trying to decide which hospital is the best place for us to deliver.  We're not concerned about my care because either will be wonderful, but we want to make sure that Abby is in the absolute best place possible.  After lots of calls, emails, and questions, we finally feel a peace about our decision.  We're staying where we are at UMD-B and are very comfortable with it.  The aunt of a friend of ours is a NICU nurse there and I spent 40 minutes on the phone with her today.  It was wonderfully reassuring!  Depending on Abigail's surgical and extended-care needs down the road, we may need to switch to another wonderful hospital better equipped for her care, but for now we are staying here. thankful Thursday for this week:

*  I'm thankful for peace!  I've been so worried!  We feel like we're in good hands now.
*  I'm thankful for connections that have helped me to feel more comfortable.
*  I'm thankful for my pediatrician!  I love that man!!!

Lastly, I'm thankful for this guy...

He's so silly!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Buzz Lightyear, to the Rescue!

Caleb got a new backpack for preschool.  Of course, he wanted Batman, but "settled" for Buzz Lightyear when they didn't have his favorite hero.  I'm pretty sure he was quite satisfied for the Toy Story hero, though.  Here's the story:

I cut the tags off when we got home, and he opened each of the pockets to examine its contents.  When he opened the big pocket and pulled out the tissue, he exclaimed, "MOMMY!  The gave me two sets of wings!!!"  Then he opened the smaller pocket, pulled out another piece of tissue, and screamed, "There's another set for you!!" 

He then proceeded to run around with the pack on his back and the "wings" trailing behind him, yelling, "To infinity and BEYOND!!"

Unfortunately, I could never catch him doing it on video!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

I am lamenting the fact that my summer is very close to being over and I feel like I was robbed of a few weeks when we were handed the news about Abigail.  I did have a great vacation though, and it was very nice to not think about the inevitable for a week.  I got a very cute baby announcement in the mail, which brought about a fresh batch of tears from both of us.  It's actually kind of nice to see Matt show some emotion because usually nothing bothers him.  I am currently struggling a bit with the fact that some people can smoke, drink, and drug their way through their pregnancy and have a perfectly healthy baby.  Heck, there's a whole show on TLC about women who didn't even know they were pregnant!  Amazingly, their babies are fine.  We, on the other hand, worked hard for this baby, wanted her, prayed for her...I take tons of different vitamins, am very careful about what I do and do not eat, don't drink or smoke, and haven't even made necklaces in order to avoid inhaling the fumes.  It's just hard to stomach that we did everything right and still she has a defect, while others can do nothing right and have a fine baby.  In other news, the crib bedding came today and it looks really cute!  The lampshade got cracked in several places during shipment because it wasn't wrapped properly, so I'm hoping I'll get a partial refund.  I think it will still be usable though.  I will take some pictures once the nursery is all set up, but the crib isn't up right now and probably won't be for a little while.  I do have 3 more months, after all!  Actually, I'm not feeling rushed at all with Abigail.  I think it's because I know what could come after she's born and it won't be easy.  I'm trying to just enjoy being pregnant with her while it's still "easy." 

Those Noisy Gibbons

These are the Gibbons, a type of monkey that are known for their noisy screeches.  One of the noises they make sounds just like a woman's scream, which thoroughly freaked Matt out!  Caleb thought they were hysterical!


As you know, I love doing crafts with Caleb.  We just have a good time doing them, and I usually don't mind the mess.  If it's really bad, we'll do it outside or in the garage.

Well, Matt was supposed to get home from his latest trip at 4:00 p.m.  Caleb was told that when he woke up from his nap, it would be time for Daddy to get what do you do when Matt calls and says they've hit major traffic and it's looking for like 6:00 p.m.???  You do a craft!

I cut some paper off of our butcher roll, grabbed the water colors, spread the paper down on the kitchen floor using 4 cups to hold it down, and told Caleb to go to town!  The boy painted...and painted...and painted!  He painted different "scenes" and had detailed explanations of each one.  He had the best time and thanked me over and over again for letting him paint.

We made it into a "Welcome Home Daddy!" banner that is still hanging up in our hallway!

The best part?  Clean up is a cinch...just use a wet rag to wipe up any water colors on the floor!  Thank you, Crayola!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Safari Niagara

On Friday, we went to a safari park about 15 minutes from the Falls...but miles from the crowds!!!  We were the only foreign license plate there, so it was definitely a local scene.  After being there, I can see why!!  If you go to Niagara and have kids (or even if you don't!), you should definitely set a day aside to go here.  The animals were in a really nice habitat that looked very natural. 

For $2 extra, you can ride the tram as often as you want.  On 110 acres, it was an excellent decision!

Our first stop was the splash pad.  It was a rather chilly morning and the water was downright COLD!  Caleb didn't seem to mind, but Matt sure did!

We watched a presentation about giraffes, and then we waited in line for a chance to feed Noah the Giraffe!

They had paddle boats there and I thought it would be tons of fun to take a ride around the lake.  WRONG!  Caleb wouldn't sit still, I was terrified that he would fall out, and Matt whined about having to paddle against the "current" (we were in a lake...).  Needless to say, we weren't out too long! 

The day was tons of fun and well worth the money.  We stayed for the entire day and succeeded in thoroughly tiring Caleb out!  It was a great ending to a fabulous trip!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Butterfly Conservatory

After a morning of tantrums, screaming, and gnashing of teeth, followed by convincing Matt to stop packing up to leave early, we finally made it to the butterfly conservatory.  While neither of us was in a particularly good mood by this point, it's hard to stay annoyed when thousands of butterflies are soaring free around you!  I wish I could have gotten a good picture of our view, but none of them really did it justice.  There were just butterflies everywhere!

Here are a few of my favorite butterfly pictures I took that day.

Interestingly enough, Caleb was golden while actually in the conservatory.  I guess that would be because he was doing something he wanted to do instead of having to listen to us...

Learning about how they eat.

Yep, they're wearing twin shirts.  :)

"Hi, lil fella!"

He was amazed by all of the butterflies!

By the end, the kid was just absolutely exhausted and fell asleep on the way home.  Tantrums will do that to ya...