We had a busy baseball weekend! Tyler is the student manager of the UVA baseball team and they are in town for a 3-game series against State. It was so great to see him! We also went to Char-Grill before. Amazing burgers and shakes were had by all.

As a Dad I couldn’t have asked for a more wholesome, all-American family night.

Then today Aidan had Opening Day for Little League!

What a great way to kick of the 2012 Baseball Season!

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Hey All,

This is Daddybird. I’m trying to revitalize this blog in effort to make sure I’m keeping you updated on the many happenings of

our family. I’m not as good of a writer as Mamabird. Honestly, I can

barely spell and I don’t know grammar. But hey,

posts are better than no posts and blam!

Look at the picture of our butterfly princess! Now you aren’t even thinking about my bad grammar. Isn’t she the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? That’s from Haloween, but it’s on my computer and I look at every day.

Also, I got a new camera and I’ve been taking lots of pictures so I’m going to try to share more of them. That’s all I have for now, but I just wanted to put it out there that we may be back. So stay tuned…

 

Welp, tomorrow is the first day of school, so I guess that means it’s officially Not Summer right about now. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I do love me a good change of season, and there are things about summer that I am pretty much done with (namely: super hot, burnt grass, 12 hr kid days with no breaks, don’t want to cook). On the other hand, there are things about summer that I love, of course (beach, lazy days chillin’ with kids, Alex home more, garden veggies, light until 8pm, Alex takes kids to the pool a lot), and I will miss those things. Fall is my favorite season, however, so I mostly look upon the end of summer with a generally positive attitude. We went shopping for school supplies the other day and my heart leapt!!

I wanted to update this blog more this summer but I am usually pretty wiped after looong days with the kiddies. Hopefully I will write more once we get in our routine again. In the meantime, here are some brief highlights of Summer 2011, courtesy of my cell phone and Twitpic:

1st grade is in the bag...its officially summer!

Aidan on the last day of 1st grade

Harper's cukes are growing!

Harper’s cukes were great!  This summer we grew three kinds of tomatoes, cukes, 3 types of peppers, canteloupe, okra, and lots of herbs.

First real ponytail!   Today's hair: double poufs  post-nap for extra flava

Maeve’s hair grew long enough to do fun ponytail tricks.

My cute son selling origami at our yard sale

We had a yard sale with our neighbor friends.  It was so great to get rid of junk (my fave obsession) and we made $150.  Aidan sold his origami at a little table and made $2.50!  Nice!

First q crew eno river day of summer!  we are all psyched!

Eno River, so fab.  We love this place sooo much.  One trip Aidan must have stood in a chigger patch, though, because he was chigger bait for weeks, poor thing.

Mae driving the sailboats at @ncmls

LOTS of time at the museum.  Aidan attended two weeks of day camp there (Jr. Lego Robotics and Jr. Architects — both huge hits) and we spent approx. 32 hrs per week there.  Love it.  Never gets old.  Maeve is the newest addict — every single night at bedtime as she lays her head down she says, “Mama, we can go to the wy-seum?”  She knows it’s the MUseum but for some reason sticks to her way of saying it.  She wants to lock me down every night.  I’m sorry to tell you that I lie to her every time she asks.  I know it’s not right, but hey, it’s bedtime, and sometimes bedtime requires drastic measures.  “Yes, sure, we’ll go to the museum.”

Library cards!

Harper got his first library card!  I paid $92 in library fines!  (Wish I were kidding.)  I have a bad history with the library — don’t ask.  But I’m walking the straight and narrow now!

Happy and covered in ice cream at durham bulls game  Maeve hanging with uncle tyler at durham bulls game

Durham Bulls games!  I think we went to three this summer, including one that I organized for my extended family.  We had over 3o relatives in attendance — it was awesome.

Lazy saturday morning at home is just what we needed today  Just another beautiful summer morning!  Two 7 year olds facing off in a heated chess match  Craftapalooza

Lots of time spent hanging around the house playing.  Crafts, games, friends — good times.  Mostly in pjs.

Leftover watermelon now pops  thanks to our beloved tovolo molds

Popsicles.  Man, I love these Tovolo molds.  We get so much use out of them.  Fave blend is a watermelon smoothie — watermelon, strawbs, rasp sorbet, lime, and a pinch of salt.  YUM and great for using extra watermelon leftovers.

4th of july bike parade!

4th of July bike parade in Watts Hillandale.  So much fun, so incredibly hot.  They ran out of lemonade and cupcakes, too.  Huge bummer, so we went to Mad Hatter’s and made amends.

Hanging with my boys @scratchbake while the girly is at morning out. And now we're bowling!  love boys + mama day These two geeks are about to see HP7.2 and are psyched abt it! Awesome time at duke gardens! The spirit is on the move!!  at hillsong united!!  power in this place

Out on the town.  Scratch bakery, bowling, Alex and I at Harry Potter 7.2, Duke Gardens, Alex and I at Hillsong United concert.  Fun!

We're at wolf trap theater in the woods abt to see 'positive hip hop for kids'!! Poppy bought maeve this bouncy pink dog and they're inseparable

Out of town trips.  Amazing week at Wrightsville with my family, lots of time in VA with the fam as well.  First pic here is at Wolf Trap venue in Vienna, VA.  Second is Mae and this ridiculous pink dog that my dad bought her at the beach, which, of course, she adores.

But the biggest news to come out of the summer is………..

We’re moving.

Around the corner.  No, really, I can almost see it from my house.

We got this wild idea about the middle of July, we got our house on the market in about seven days, and we sold it about eight days later.  It was so crazy fast, you guys.  It has been a huge stress and has taken up most of the second half of the summer.  I am PRAYING that it is worth it, that we will be happy in our new house, and that the move itself goes well.  We were supposed to be moving in two days, but it’s now been pushed back a couple of weeks and I am having a hard time with the change.  I have been majorly STRESSED these past few weeks and I have been trying to get a grip but failing miserably.  I’m so ready to get it over with!  More on the move later…

In less stressful news, tomorrow is the first day of second grade and we are super excited.  We met Aidan’s teacher on Tuesday and she was awesome.  I think I love her.  The kids in the class seemed awesome and I just KNOW it is going to be an amazing year for him.  We were thanking God in the hallway right after we walked out of the Open House!  We feel so good about it.

Alex’s students start back tomorrow and he is majorly stressed as well.  It has been such a busy couple of weeks for him, working round the clock and trying to fit all of the moving/financing logistics in the midst of everything.  We are both kind of shell-shocked right now.  When Alex works a lot, I’m with the kids a lot, so we could both use a nap.  Takers?  🙂

Also, Alex turned 35 over the weekend and I failed miserably at his birthday.  Our friends Jon, Em, and Bruce, freshly returned from a summer away in Colorado, saved the day and brought cake and smiles while I paced around in circles wondering what boxes to pack next.  I swear that I will throw him a proper party befitting of a 35 year old.  Probably in March.

It was a great summer and I am so thankful for all of the time that we spent together and privileges that we enjoyed.  Stressful move and all — even that will turn out to be a blessing in the long run.

And now I will go dive beneath my covers and sleep the contented sleep of a tired woman who has earned her rest.  Tomorrow, my beloved Routine arrives and one day, in the not too distant future, Structure shall reign again in this household!

Second grade pictures coming soon!

love to all.

A few weeks ago, my Dad bought us that documentary/long commercial about Justin Bieber called “Never Say Never.” I had heard from a friend that it was actually pretty heartwarming, and she was right — I was pleasantly surprised! The kids watched it a couple of times on our recent road trip back and forth to my parents’ house, and they’ve been humming the songs around the house since then. It’s been cute. We call Harper “Harper Bieber” and he screams and pretends to hate it, but you can tell that he really doesn’t.

And then, today, we were in the grocery store checkout line when Maeve (who is still only 1 yr old, mind you) cocked her head to one side, pointed up at the ceiling, and said, with wide eyes, “That’s Justin Bieber!” We realized that yes, it was a Justin Bieber song playing, and not even one of the most popular ones. The checkout lady looked at Maeve in surprise and said, “How old are you?,” and Maeve slowly held up her one little pointer finger in front of her face. The woman said, “Wow! You’re a smart girl.” And we were all like: DUH.

So…I’m going to start slow here…hi!

It’s hard to pick back up after such a long blogging break. I’ll start by sharing some pictures of our recent “Girls’ Trip” to Nashville for my dear friend Rebecca’s wedding. While the boys were off at the annual Cub Scout camping weekend, My Mom, Maeve, and I flew to Nashville and enjoyed a leisurely weekend of celebrating and relaxing. We had such a great time!

Rebecca!

Becs and I go waaay back to undergrad days at UNC. We spent three amazing, memorable summers working together at Camp Thunderbird, traveled to England and Scotland together, and worked many hours together at the once-upon-a-time Coffee Mill Roastery on Franklin St. About 92.3% of my college memories involve Rebecca: Becs and I were pretty much the best co-counselor duo ever to rock Lake Wylie (C-24 4-EVA); Becs and I jumped off of a bridge together at midnight (multiple times); Becs insisted that we go out to celebrate my 21st birthday, even though I had an exam the next day and was “too busy” to do anything fun; Becs used to turn the air conditioning on full blast in the car so that I wouldn’t fall asleep on her during long drives over camp session breaks; Becs introduced me to the UK and taught me how to drink tea and eat finger biscuits and write with a fountain pen and eat something weird called Weetabix. Becs cannot freaking stand it if you chew gum around her, so just don’t, okay? Becs is responsible for about 92.3% of the children’s books that we have in our house, thanks to her career in community relations for professional sports teams (she gets lots of freebies to give away). Becs makes any and every situation fun, is probably the most generous person I’ve ever met, is an African-American (you’ll have to ask her for the whole story but it’s true), has an unquenchable thirst for adventure, wore glitter Toms shoes with her bridal gown, and is just a genuine, all-around, class-A type of individual. I am so lucky to be her friend.

They Did It!

Let Him Eat Cake

Rebecca has been one of our most faithful blog supporters over these years, so I felt that it was only right and proper to blog about their wedding. Rebecca was an absolutely gorgeous bride and her wedding was such a pleasure to attend. The event was held outside in the gardens of a historic house set right in the middle of the Nashville Zoo. How fun! I especially enjoyed getting to hang out at Chez King on Friday night and getting to see the duo together in their natural element — they have a *beautiful* home.

Maeve let out her inner party-girl at their wedding and spent most of the time running around in breathless circles “dancing.” It actually looked less like “dancing” and more like I had “let my baby get into the wine.” My mom was a rockstar over the weekend — she really was there with us, even though she won’t let me post pictures of her online. (But that doesn’t mean that you can’t email me and ask me to forward you many, many photos of Gigi!!! Bwahahaha!)

Running Girl

19 Months

Dancing Queen

Anyway, I am so happy that Rebecca and Eric have found each other. The adventurous pair is about to depart for an extended honeymoon on Mt. Kilimanjaro, after (natch, obviously, duh) first stopping to work in a Kenyan orphanage for a few days. Yeah, I’m not kidding. They also raised funds to provide teachers and supplies for the orphanage that they are going to visit through a program called Flying Kites. This is all so typical Rebecca. I love it.

Congrats, you two!

(Entire photoset found here.)

Aidan: Mom, I just had this great idea! Golf. course. in. the. backyard! See, step one is that we dig holes in the backyard. Step two, we…
Mom: Wait a minute, wait a minute, let me just cut you off right there. “Step one, dig holes in the backyard”…hmmmm…what do you think might be wrong with this plan?
Aidan: Okay, Mom, I’m just gonna talk to you about this plan later since you don’t seem to be in the best mood right now.

Breaking blog silence to post this hilarious Tina Fey quote I just read:

“Kids are definitely the boss of you. Anyone who will barge into the room while you are on the commode is the boss of you. And when you explain to them that you’re on the commode and that they should leave but they don’t? That’s a high-level boss.”

Soooo, we were out shopping, all harmless like, buying birthday presents for Aidan, when I looked up and saw Maeve pushing a little stuffed animal around in a little toy pink stroller. She was so happy cruising it around the toy store, and her little face just broke my heart into a thousand pieces.

Ten seconds later, I was signing the credit card receipt and mentally rehearsing how I was going to explain this budgetary outlier to my husband. (It was way overpriced and I did not shop around or use a coupon. I had to buy it right.that.second.)

Alex,
Before you get mad at me for blowing our budget, please review the following photographs.
Signed,
Your Wife Who Is So, So Happy To Have A Daughter

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From Alex:

Today Aidan and I participated in a rite of passage for many fathers and sons – the Pinewood Derby. Work began on the car about a month ago when we rough cut the shape into what looks like a classic 1950’s Indy car. Aidan picked the design and then did all the sanding to get it paint-ready. Last weekend over the MLK we went through the paint design and application process. From the get-go flames on the front were a non-negotiable and he settled on green and red with black racing stripes. We drew it all out and then went to work. I learned that tape is a really helpful tool in making straight lines(thank you Ash) and that next year I should use spray paint rather than crayola poster paint. We touched up the paint over the last week. Ash actually found me in the office at about 10 PM one night with all the paints spread out trying to neaten the thing up. She nicely asked “Isn’t this supposed to be something that you do together?” I responded “Yes, of course, but I just need to see if I can make these flames look a little better…”

I learned a lot about how to improve the car’s speed on the internet – Pinewood Derby is serious business! – and we tinkered with it over the last couple of days before weigh-in Friday night. We put the axles (basically specially designed nails) into a power drill and then used a file to grind down burrs and wear away any rough spots. We then used fine sandpaper and pumice stone to buff and polish them. We did something similar with the wheels and added weights, coming in at 139 grams – 2 grams below the 141 limit. Finally, we threw some graphite powder on there to give it an extra kick.

Although the race was today you were allowed to weigh and check your car in on Friday night, which Aidan and I did. They had the track setup so Aidan got to run his car a few times just for fun. We had to leave the car there overnight to ensure no tinkering.

Pack 451 clearly takes it’s Pinewood Derby seriously as everything was exquisitely well organized. We have a big pack and there were a lot of people crammed into the fellowship hall at our host church. All the scouts looked great in their uniforms and it was truly incredible to see the different car designs. No two were alike. It’s amazing to me that every kid takes their own spin on it even after kids all over the country have been building Pinewood Derby cars for decades. The organizers had an LCD projector and screen so race results could be broadcast to the crowd instantly. It was boy heaven.

The Tiger Cubs (Aidan is a Tiger) went first. I’m a huge believer in the learning that comes from winning and losing. I think that the Cub Scout motto of “Do Your Best” is right on, but I love that the Pinewood Derby pulls no punches and when it’s all said and done there will be someone who has the fastest car and others who don’t. All that said, I’m very competitive. I don’t like to lose and neither does Aidan, so I really wanted the Q-Crew to have a good showing. I knew I would feel like I had let him down if his car was dud. So I was really nervous but trying to play it cool.

In the end, our car did great. Out of four heats he took 2nd in three and 1st in one! It was cool when he won because they show the winner’s name, track time, and top speed on the big screen. Overall he got 3rd fastest out of his den of twelve kids! His best friend in the den won first so that was also exciting. His Dad and I are friends and he said “it was the best day of his life” and I actually don’t think he was kidding. I walked away with lots of ideas for designs and strategies for next year’s race. Aidan earned a nice trophy that is a stand for him to set his car on with a certificate behind it. Both were on his bedside table tonight and I have to admit I took an extra long look at our green machine before I shut out his light, feeling proud to be his Dad and blessed to have such a wonderful son.

(Photos to be added soon!)

Our beloved Harp-dawg turned four years old today!

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It is such a special occasion that I decided to break my blogging strike in honor of our boy’s big day.  I think I had left that picture of Harper fast asleep on the table up long enough, don’t you?

Unfortunately, Harper was sick yesterday.  We decided to postpone his birthday party by a week in order to make sure that he wasn’t contagious.  That was a bummer.  The good news is that he woke up feeling great and seemed to feel really good all day.  So now he’ll have TWO birthdays!

The day started with the THUD of our bedroom door being shoved open and a little blur of a body darting through.  “Dad!,” Harper exclaimed to the parent who is usually awake enough to hold a conversation in the morning, “I AM FOUR NOW!”  He was super excited about his birthday and it was stinkin’ adorable.  That kid is adorableness incarnate.

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We all went downstairs like it was Christmas morning and found Harper’s seat at the table decorated with balloons, gifts, and a cool light-up birthday hat from Meme. He opened his first present, a microphone and stand that our little rock star had been coveting for months, and he was totally delighted. “Mom! Let’s put the batteries in so I can sing into it!” Uh oh. It was amateur hour for the parents — we’ve been at this thing for almost SEVEN YEARS now and committed the totally novice parenting mistake of giving a kid a toy without having the right batteries on hand. His bottom lip started quivering and I got my coat and car keys like a bolt of lightning. Twenty minutes later and I was back with C batteries, Dunkin’ coffee for the parents, and a couple of chocolate frosted with sprinkles for the birthday boy and his sibs. The second gift was a real, honest to goodness working guitar from Meme, so the birthday boy and his brother performed their musical selections (hits like “I am Four!” and the classic “Today is My Birthday!”) all morning on the living room stage.

Special guests Gigi and Poppy arrived around lunch time, and the birthday boy chose to spend his afternoon playing games at Chuck E. Cheese. Hey, the birthday boy gets to choose — those are the birthday rules! G + P came bearing Playmobil fire station / fire truck goodies, so there were many fires to put out and innocent civilians to rescue all day long. Dinner, by the birthday boy’s decree, was a platter of hushpuppies from the Q Shack, I kid you not. He always gets so sad when we eat there because I ration out hushpuppies as rewards for bites of other foods (did you know Harper is a picky eater?), so he was very certain that he wanted his birthday meal to be AS MANY HUSHPUPPIES AS HE COULD EAT. He was a very happy camper.

More presents — a dog Pillow Pet that he’s been admiring and a real firefighter outfit + accessories — and this boy was on cloud nine. We ended the day with a birthday big cookie and candles and now the boy is snoozing happily on top of his fuzzy dog-slash-pillow with a four-year-old smile on his face.

Here’s Harper on this day, four years ago:

Hands On Nurses

Welcome, Harper!

And here he is today, showing off some of his trademark dance moves:

Harper, you have such a remarkable, gentle, loving spirit. You are so easygoing and loving that it is easy to take your gifts for granted sometimes. You are easy to be around, easy to love, quick to laugh, and easy to please. You dance and sing for hours (literally, HOURS) every day, making up crazy amazing beats and rhythms and lyrics that seem to just effortlessly pour out of you. You don’t need any entertainment anywhere you go because you can entertain yourself with your performances!

When you get in trouble, which isn’t often, you immediately sigh and looked pained and say, “I’m sorry, Mom!” like you really, really mean it. You are just so stinkin’ loveable, I can’t even express it in words. When you are sad about something, you cry and cry with such honesty and sincerity that could melt even the hardest heart. And when I ask you to pull it together, to “dry your tears,” you try really hard to take a deep breath, wipe your cheeks with your little palms, and say, “Okay, Mom, I’m better now.”

You love to pretend. You always have a little pretend game going on no matter where we are. Our car is really a school bus. Your hand is really the grocery list that you check off as we shop. I am really the principal or the music teacher or the mailman. You have a pretend dog named Spike right now. There is always something exciting going on in your mind! You are not analytical at all at this age — it is really quite the opposite of your big brother, something which never fails to amaze me. You are accepting, you enjoy things, you take them in but don’t question them.

Your Dad and I like to say that you are “sneaky smart.” You don’t really like to read books, and you never have. You’ll tolerate it, and you will enjoy books for a time, but you really would rather be doing something else. You never seem like you are paying attention, but you have always known your letters and counting and shapes without us ever really trying to teach you. You seem to pick up stuff from the atmosphere. You can already sound out three-letter words and write your name and all that good stuff, and today you found the words “Exit” and “Stop” on the remote control. You love to watch “The Electric Company” videos with Aidan on the computer and I think you catch on to things quickly, even when it seems as if you are daydreaming.

You are incredibly tenderhearted and gentle and patient with your little sister. You LOVE being a big brother, love to play with her, and almost never ever ever lose your patience with her. Maeve climbs into your bed every night and loves to lay down beside you before she goes to sleep in her crib. You adore Aidan and love to play with him, going along so well with his plans and commands. You share very well with other kids. You want to please. You are slow to anger. Those are precious gifts.

Harper, you are so, so loved by your family and friends. I am so thankful that I am your Mama! I would probably steal you if you were someone else’s kid, for real. We are so glad to have had you for FOUR YEARS!!!

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Happy birthday, dearling.

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