Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Walk Down Memory Lane

My parents grew up near Tyler and my brothers were also born there. It was before me that they moved to San Antonio. All our extended family has been in a small town called Arp. This meant many, many car trips to visit when we were young. Being from a big city this was always exciting because it meant going to the country. My dad grew up on a farm and there are acres and acres of land to roam. We would spend our days outside running and exploring. So much fun. When you drive you see land for miles and cows. Gods work untouched by tall massive buildings or stores on every corner. The same stores on every corner. It's nice and refreshing  every once in awhile. You have to drive miles to go to a gas station or grab a bite to eat. It's a different way of life. Now growing up in a city all my life, I don't think I could live there, but certainly nice to visit and take a break. 

While we were there this last weekend I took pictures of areas to keep. My visits up there become longer apart. But it's something I don't want to forget. So heres a glimpse of that life and the memories it holds. 

These roads hold many memories such as the time it was iced and my dad made us wait at the top while he drove down just in case he went off the road. It was very cold!
The church my parents were married in. 
My granny's mail box I went many times with her to. I love that after all these years my grandpas name still stands on it. 
My granny's house that my dad grew up in. It sits on acres of land, across from the woods. Carpenter hill I like to call it. 
The hill from my aunts up to my granny's. this seemed much longer when I was small. Ran that hill thousands of times. 

Jman was able to see real cows and thought it was great. Here he is exploring my granny's land. 
He's probably thinking I thought I had a big yard. 

Here's the small town of Arp where my grandparents live. They live in a town of about 900 people where there is a gas station and a donut shop. 
This weekend served a few purposes. Introduce Reed to my family, 

My wonderful Granny! She is a beautiful soul and has a huge family. She is a great, great grandma and I think that is so fascinating! 
My beautiful Mamma who is so funny and playful with my little ones. 
My sweet sweet Pappaw who is one of the kindest, patient men I have ever known. 

This is my other sweet Pappaw who passed away 25 years ago. I only knew him a short time and wish I knew him longer.  He was quite the tickler, loved to play WaHoo, wore red socks every Saturday (which is why Jman does too). He lived quite the life and I hear he was an amazing man. Thanks to my dad for finding these pictures this weekend. 
His last birthday, my last memory of him. 
In the Army with his horse in the Calvary. 

 This weekend my grandparents packed up their house and left their small town o move to San Antonio with my parents. A big, scary, new adventure for all. I am so excited about this because I never got to spend much time with them or really get to know them. They now get to see their great grand babies grow up, all 7 of them. Such a precious gift of time we have been given. 

This weekend also was a sad time as we said goodbye to my Uncle Larry. My dad held a memorial for his older brother. Uncle Larry holds good times in my heart. We always had so much fun when him and my dad were together. They have such great great stories! 
This is my dad on the left and my uncle Larry on the right. 

I was able to see so many cousins this weekend: Lisa, Erin, Avery, Camdyn, Blake, David, Leah, Trevor, Jessica, Julie, Seth. I'm sure there are more that I didn't even know were cousins. Also some of those are second and third cousins!

Such a great weekend all around and something to cherish. Family is so important and it holds so much history. As I get older I realize this and hope to learn more before its too late. 

Love my family Carpenter and Swinney!

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Keeping a Toddler Busy on Long Trips

This weekend we traveled to Tyler with our two little superheroes. This is normally a 5 and half hour trip. We managed to turn it into a 9 and half hour trip. I made this trip several times a year as a child. I have no idea how we always made it in 6 hours with 3 kids. We had our very active 2 year old and our sweet 6 week old. Here's how we survived without technology!

1. Toys- Jman always has a toy basket in the car. Well I refreshed the toys and added some new books, especially the sound kind. As we left I told him to pick a toy to take with us. He chose a baseball hat. Of course we had Bear with us too and he swiped my pillow!

2. More Toys- I took his trinket box which is a lunch box full of stuff! It is stuffed with his cars, action figures and little dinosaurs. This box keeps him busy for hours at home sometimes. It was dumped several times of course. 

3. And more toys!  Pack a surprise bag and leave up front. This bag was for "we need new entertainment now". It was filled with crayons, coloring book, wonder markers, mold able foam stuff (yep that's the technical term ha!), his "phone" aka calculator, discovery bottle, pool noodle lacing (his favorite busy bag activity), I Spy bag and stickers. When he seemed to need something different I handed him a new activity. He didn't know they existed and never knew it would end. 
Stickers seemed the most popular of activities!

4. Snack Bag - this was also stashed up front so he didn't know what we had. It also made easy access when the driver, aka my husband wanted to eat the boy's snacks. Continuous snacking seems to keep one happy on a trip ( same goes for driver)

5. Stay hydrated- water, milk, juice, Sonic drinks. Whatever your pleasure. This also causes naps apparently. 

6. Make frequent stops- Buccees is a must. And time it just right so that 20 minutes after you leave the little guy needs milk, requiring a stop at Chickfila playground. 

Rest area playgrounds are great - hot, freedom to run and explore. They also cause napping. 

Stop at Walmart and explore. Stock up on new snacks for the driver, buy something you forgot at home, buy a new hotwheels car for J. Have a dance  party in the aisle.(dance parties in car are also a must,especially while jamming to Pitch Perfect soundtrack) Drag suitcases around the store. 

Make a pit stop at friends house. Very thankful for the wonderful Lilies and letting us come visit. Jman could play with sweet Emalyn. We miss this wonderful family and so glad they are so happy in their new home. 

J is a bit too tall for this. 

7. Hide and Seek- yes if is possible in the car. Luckily we always find him. 

8.  Puppet Shows- Peggy Peguin made an appearance and entertained us for a few minutes. 

9. Excitement- prepare exciting adventures such as trapping a wasp in the car  and not realzing until you are in the middle of nowhere and having to pull over, try to kill wasp while toddler is expected to wait patiently by car door. Yeah, exciting. 

10. And when all else fails let the toddler drive!

I actually am super proud of Jman and how well he lhandled the long trip. He is one awesome kid! 

Ways to keep newborn happy- feed, sleep, poop, repeat!

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Sweetness of a baby

Reed is already a month old. It seems like yesterday he was trying to stick his foot out my side and keeping me awake all night. Oh ok that last part he still does. I forgot how sweet a newborn is. They are so tiny, their precious fingers and toes, the big, beautiful, blue eyes, the smell of his head, the way he curls up in a ball. He is just so sweet. I absolutley adore this sweet baby. He's already kept us on our toes with weight issues and possible heart murmur. But at one month old he is in the clear on both. I am so incredibly blessed with two amazing boys. I am loving each minute watching this precious baby sleep or how he already is looking around taking the world in. I love his interactions with his big brother and the sweet moments he kisses him on the head. Reed loves to be held and slump into a little ball. I call him my snuggle bear. I look forward to watching him grow and learn but I am soaking every minute of his sweet baby moments.

To my Reed "I'll eat you up, I love you so!"

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Monster Hunting

My child LOVES monsters. It seems really strange. He actually looks in his closet to find them. He pretends they're around the house and runs from them. But it's all in fun, no fear. I guess it started when we watched Monsters Inc. He kept asking to watch it when we watched a movie. I didn't think he really got the concept of the movie until we were playing in his room and he pointed to his closet and said "monsters!" So we took him to his first movie this week to see Monsters University. Very cute movie but I love all Disney Pixar movies. He was quite confused at what 'going to the movies meant'. He kept asking for monsters while we waited. Luckily he had some yummy popcorn to occupy him. 

Since he always pretends monsters are hiding we decided to monster hunt today. Did you know a paper towel roll and  toilet paper roll are actually monster goggles? So we used our goggles and went hunting. Looking in all the usual places. Checking all closets and then the bathroom where we actually found some!  (His bathroom is monster theme) I put on his monster towel and became HUG monster! I tried to let him wear it but that wasn't happening. I would hide and when he found me the HUG monster got him! Our hunt was cut short when the Reedster wanted to eat. I have a feeling we will be monster hunting quite often. So if you see Jman and he yells monsters and pretends to run, this is why. 

Love my little man. He's so much fun. I love how his imagination is really starting to take place. He's starting to pretend play more instead of just cars and balls. 
Monster Goggles
Checking Reedster's closet. 
All gone!!
His closet all clear!
The second he was the monster. 

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July Sensory Box

Bugs!! We love bugs around here. Originally the plan was to do an insect box with soil. But with managing a toddler and a new baby on my own for the first time I didn't want to have to sweep. So I used black beans for easier clean up. 

Jman seemed to really like the bugs. I heard "what's that?" A hundred times. But we're used to that around here. He wouldn't play by himself which seems to be the new norm around here. 

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