Monday, December 29, 2008

Never just a Normal Day.....

Okay, so I wake up this morning to find James looking like this-

Actually, his eye looks much better in the picture (taken during breakfast) than it did when he woke up. His left eye was swollen and red. Not the eyeball, just the skin around it. Weird, I know. There was nothing new introduced to his bedding or food-wise, and I had no idea what could have caused this reaction. So I carted him off to the doctor's office once again! (Can we say death by co-pay?)

His pediatrician said that it was nothing bacterial or viral (good news) but that he is just allergic to something. No clue what it is though!

So, moms out there in bloggy-land, here is my question. Should I take him to get his blood drawn for allergy testing? When I took him to the doctor's office last week (see last post) another pediatrician suggested that I take him to have his bloodwork done. I was voicing my concerns about his constant runny nose and sneezing all the time. My hubby, Will, does suffer from allergies, but am I over-reacting? Is this just the cold virus that is affecting EVERY child out there or could allergies be playing a part? I'm just DREADING taking him to get his blood drawn. I know it will be a huge ordeal and I'm not looking forward to it (neither would he if he knew what was coming!)

So, has anyone else out there taken their child for this allergy test? Is it a simple finger prick or actual vials of blood drawn? Should I just quit my part time job and keep him at home instead of going to preschool? (this is Will's option, since he is the one getting sick from James' germs.) That being said, it sounds like this whole thing is caused from the cold virus and an allergy test won't help either way.

I need input people, please!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Easy Sticky Buns

No, I'm not describing some contagious condition.
A friend asked for the recipe for this yummy breakfast food and I aim to please:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
18 frozen white dinner rolls
3/4 large pkg. Butterscotch Pudding (not instant)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Spray bundt pan with non-stick spray.
Sprinkle pecans in bottom of pan.
Layer frozen rolls in pan.
Sprinkle pudding over rolls.
Sprinkle brown sugar over rolls.
Mix butter with cinnamon and pour over rolls.
Cover with linen cloth or dish towel.
Leave out overnight to rise.
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.
Invert over platter.
By now, you've probably noticed the updated, blog-makeover I've designed. It wasn't exactly the look I was going for, but I gave up working on my photoshop program and this is what I came up with. Hope you like the new look!
On Christmas morning, I took several photos of James using no-flash photography. I love the natural look of the lighting, BUT every picture came out blurry. Unless the subject is COMPLETELY still, then everything is out of focus. Can some camera-savvy person tell me what I'm doing wrong?
Question: What's worse than having a sick kid?
Answer: Having a sick kid and a sick husband! James had a slight fever on Christmas Eve, so I took him the doctor (the LAST appointment of the day, whew!) He had fluid in his ears (working on a double ear infection) and the doctor heard wheezing in his chest. Actually, his "wheezing" had sounded much worse on earlier occasions and his normal pediatrician said that it wasn't wheezing,he was just fine. Hmmm. Anyway. She sent us home with an antibiotic and a nebulizer kit. Yay fun. It's been a few days later and James' nose is dried up, much less coughing, ears are fine and he hasn't slowed down one bit. Will, on the other hand, is still suffering from the bubonic plaque or Typhoid James, as he likes to call it.
I didn't get my long run in on Saturday because James kept me up at all hours of the night (what else, playing with his new toys!) and Will needed to sleep in and wasn't up for handling an active little person when he is feeling so bad. I did get 6 miles in, though, so at least that's something.
Sorry for the long, rambling post. It's just one of those days...
Hope you all have a great week and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas (the late edition)

James reminded me that he wished everyone a Happy Hanukkah but forgot to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years Everyone!

Here are some quick pics of a very happy little boy opening up presents from Santa... Notice the tongue? This boy was one serious present-opener!

James loves his new fire engine. Maybe a little too much. You see, for TWO nights after Christmas, he woke up around midnight and cried and cried and cried until I got him out of his crib. He didn't want milk, didn't want to be held. Nope, he ran straight to his fire engine and Hess truck and started playing with his toys. This middle-of-the-night toy playing habit was hard to break and he wasn't a happy camper when he realized that there would be no more late night play-fests, but at least I'm getting more sleep now! I tell you, this boy LOVES his trucks! I even tried putting one in the crib with him, but that wasn't good enough.

The Thomas the Train set was a hit!

I had to post a picture of my Christmas Morning Sticky Buns! They were so yummy and gooey! Definitely a keeper recipe for next year!

I hope you all had a great Christmas with friends and family!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Hanukkah (and other updates)

James would like to wish his preschool friends a very Happy Hanukkah!

I've been taking James to preschool this week for a couple of hours in the morning so I can get some last minute shopping done and errands ran. This morning, his class was already in the social hall where they had rented a large bouncy inflatable for the kids. Picture a bunch of 1 1/2 year olds bouncing and laughing! It looked like so much fun, I wanted to stay and bounce with James! Well, I stayed all right, but only to console my terrified child. He HATED being inside the bounce house (even with me inside, holding him) and cried the whole time.
Note to self: cancel the bouncy house for his 2nd birthday. Who knows, maybe by July he will grow out of his fear of bouncy houses.

After he had calmed down and was happily playing OUTSIDE of the bouncy house, I made a quick exit to finish my holiday shopping. This included a much-needed trip to the commissary (that's the grocery store on base, for you non-military peoples!) On my way into the gate, I noticed that some cars were getting these Hess boxes. When I pulled up, I asked what they were for and the guard told me that they were handing them out to all the children who came on base. I sadly looked back at James' empty carseat and explained that my son was in preschool, but that he LOVED trucks! So, the guard gave me not one, but TWO Hess trucks. I guess he thought that I loved trucks, too? They are SO nice and I can't wait for James to open his truck! (should we say it's from Uncle Sam or Santa?) As for the extra truck, we have a very nice neighbor who gives James all of her son's hand-me-down ride on toys and outdoor play equipment, so he will be getting an extra gift from us this year. Too cool!

For those of you interested, I did run my 14 miler on Saturday. Well, my IT band started talking to me about mile 10 and it started screaming at me at mile 13, so I only got in 13.5 miles. Apparently, IT issues take a long time to heal, so I didn't want to risk any injury. I ran 4 miles yesterday and I need to get in a few more runs this week. On Saturday, I plan to run 15 miles. It will be a long, slow 15, but I need to keep increasing my mileage.

I hope your holiday plans are coming together nicely and for those of you traveling this year-
Good Luck!

Friday, December 19, 2008

What a Difference

a year makes!

Here he is last year. How cute is that smile?
Seriously, this must be the best Santa photo of all time!

Same Santa. Are we sure this is the same kid?
Today, after running errands after work, I picked James up from preschool and took him to the mall for the annual photo with Santa. He was very intrigued by all the decorations and sights around Santa's shop. But, as soon as realized that he would have to leave mommy's right hip, the panic and terror set in. Once the bottom lip started quivering and breath was held, there was no turning back. The crocodile tears were flowing.
Oh well, I guess every child needs a teary, terrified Santa photo in their photo album.

It's been such a long week and I'm exhausted. I've been staying up really late to finish my holiday treat baking/dessert bags. But, I handed them all out today and the sweets (some of them) are safely removed from my house!
In continuing with my marathon training, I've upped my running this week. My total mileage for this week is 29 miles.
I'm running 14 tomorrow. Following my Friday Night Pasta tradition, I made Pasta Pomodoro to load up on my carbs for my long run. Will and I both had TWO servings it was so yummy (even though he's not running any!)
I've incorporated a few new tricks into my "mommy arsenal" for dealing with James after I pick him up from preschool.
Trick #1- Have classical music (preferably Bach) playing in the car to entice him. Then, seal the deal by giving him an apple slice to suck/munch on during the ride home.
Also, I've moved up his bedtime to 6:30. He's SO worn out from a long day of playing by then and still sleeps until 6:30 the next day. He's a little busy boy who NEEDS his sleep and functions much better when he has enough of it. Yes, I LOVE bedtime!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Save the Drama fo' yo' Mama!

Well, that seems to be James' motto these days! And yes, I am SOOOO over it!
Not to complain (but here goes!) Every day, I pick James up from preschool and I get great reports, he had a great day, smiling, happy, playful, the whole bit. But, once we leave his school, a whole other child emerges who is NOT happy, playful, smiling, etc.
It's a battle to get him into his carseat (the term, bucking bronco, comes to mind.)
When we get home, he's fussy, cranky and nothing makes him happy. After much reflection, I think he is just exhausted from his busy work day at preschool (even after a long nap).

Once we get rolling to bathtime and then bedtime story/bottle, he is much calmer and ready for his beauty sleep!

Then, morning rolls around and he is on the rant again! Everything is a battle and it is wearing me out! On a typical morning, I'm lucky to make it out the door only 15 minutes behind schedule, then I realize I have snot marks all over my black pants (not from me, mind you) and dirty handprints from some unknown suspect who wandered into the backyard after breakfast on my dress shirt. Do I go back inside to change clothes? Heck no! I've finally coerced him into the carseat!

I know I've blogged/complained about this behavior of his before, but this time, I REALLY, REALLY hope this phase ends soon!

On one of our easier mornings, I snapped a few pics of James brushing his teeth. At least THAT routine is getting somewhat easier!

Notice how long his hair is getting? I don't even have time to get MY hair cut lately, much less his! Actually, I've been stalling because I think his grown-out hair looks really cute! It's doing this little curl-up thing in the back and I think it's adorable. Will keeps calling him a hippie!

Gotta really brush those pearly whites and check out yourself in the mirror! Apparently, my brushing skills beforehand weren't up to par.

All clean!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We're Back....

from the cold mountains of Tennessee.

It was a great trip. Not because we spent every minute going from one place to another (we didn't) and not because we found bargain after bargain when shopping (we didn't shop, much). No, it was a great trip because of the time spent between mom, daughter and grandson. It was beautiful seeing James bond with his grandma! He even picked up a couple of new words- "Gan-ma" for Grandma and "tuck" for Truck!

Highlights of the trip:

1. Running along the beautiful Friendship Trail and being COLD! I NEVER get to run in the cold weather and it was very exhilarating. Well, that was when the temps were mid- 40's . On the day that they were low 30's, I was FREEZING and decided that my future runs could wait until I got home. :)

2. Taking mom to Starbucks (her first time ever!) for their highly addictive, very yummy Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Yes, she's already been back for another one since I've been home. Those things are gooooood!

3. Waking up to snow lightly falling across the mountains.

4. Watching James make memories with his grandma and wishing for many more to come.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You Can't Go Back..

They say you can't go back. Yes, I know this is true, but a part of me still wishes it was true. Let me explain...
I'm up in Gatlinburg, Tennessee this week. James and I flew up on Wednesday for a visit with my mom. Since we won't be traveling during the holidays, this is our Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years all rolled into one. When I was growing up, my parents owned a house and a couple of chalets in this mountain tourist-trap. We would drive up to Gatlinburg a couple times a month and celebrate some major holidays up here. Needless to say, I have a lot of fond memories in this small, highly-populated and over-priced little town!
Anyway, one of the highlights of this trip was to be the millions upon millions of holiday lights that blaze up the town every winter. Just imagine if Clark Griswald himself were in charge of decorating the city's lights and that's what it looked like. There were gazillion upon gazillion glowing holiday scenes, lights on every streetlight, tree, building, structure, anything that was stationary was aglow! There were magical displays of presents, larger than life trains, trees, marching nutcrackers and bears (it's in the mountains!) It was just beautiful and made the holiday season seem super festive!
So, imagine my dismay when I drove around yesterday after nightfall (grocery store run after James fell asleep!) and didn't see the festive lights of my childhood.
Instead, the city of Gatlinburg has replaced the larger than life, glowing displays with these cheap-looking LED displays. Now, I'm all for a cheaper electric bill and going "green", but at what expense? This little town used to literally light up with festive-ness. Now, these new LED lights can't compete with the brightly lit "old school" lights on some buildings who are obviously hold-outs from earlier times.
No, they say you can't go back and it's true. I was soo looking forward to sharing the bright lights and big displays with my little boy and watching his face light up with glee, but I'm afraid the pastel glow of the new lights won't be enough.
We'll see. The Christmas parade is tomorrow night (can we say BURRR!) and I'm truly hoping that the parade hasn't gone "green" too. It just may be too much for me to handle. (j/k)
Is this why people get depressed during the holiday season? Are they comparing it to the memories of the past and the present just can't compete?

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Thankful for....

all of the people I love in my life!

I'm a firm believer in that it's the people in your life that make it beautiful and grand. I don't have much stuff or many things, but I do have wonderful people who love me, love my family and support us. Therefore, I am thankful.

ps- I'm also very thankful for some people in my life that weren't able to be here for the holiday. I love you Mom, Dad and Peggy.

Will, James and I spent another Thanksgiving over at Tom and Veronica's house. They provide two turkeys and stuffing, I provide all the fixin's and desserts.

Man, did we have some yummy food!

Uncle Tom kept James entertained. But, he did not like it when I interrupted their playing for yet, another picture!

Aunt Veronica, holding down the kitchen!

Uncle Tom made James a beautiful new stepping stool so he can reach the sink for hand washing ( a MUST when you have little boys who LOVE dirt, rocks, leaves, etc)

Judging from his smile, we think it's a hit.

By the end of the evening, I don't know who was more tired, James or Veronica. James fell asleep within five minutes of being in the car. Overall, a good Thanksgiving spent with good people eating good food and having good conversation.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Latest Photo Shoot with Susan Gentile

A few weeks ago, we had another photo session with my friend, Susan. Her photography business (see link to the left) is really taking off (with good reason) and she offered to take some more pictures for us. Who was I to resist? Actually, Will and James had as much fun as I did. It was a beautiful fall day (pretty windy, though) here in Tampa and we just enjoyed the afternoon in the park. James is very comfortable in front of the camera (like his momma!)
Hope you enjoy!
Click to play November Photo Session
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Yep, that pretty much sums up my Ragnar Relay Race Weekend. We ran, we drove, we tried to sleep and then we ran some more! All the way to Daytona Beach!
My team was called Runners United (I came up with the name). We were a mix of very fast runners and very slow runners (me).
My team members were awesome and we had such a great time. It truly was a great adventure and one that I hope to relive some day, although I want to be in much better shape and run much faster! Here is a picture of the two teams from Tampa (Brandon Runners) that participated in the race.

Here I am getting ready to run my first leg of the race (3.4 miles). It was HOT (86 degrees) and humid on Friday, so running was NOT fun or easy. I came in under my projected pace (too slow to post, embarrasing) but the heat definitely took it's toll on me later in the day.

My 2nd leg (6.5 miles) was at 12:30 at night, so there were no pictures taken of me waiting for the hand-off. My team mates were so supportive and we were very protective of each other during the night runs. The vans weren't allowed to follow the runners (we were running on a major highway, against traffic) but the van was never more than a mile away from me. We decked out our van in windshield paint and Christmas lights, so it was a comforting beacon in the middle of the dark, lonely night!

Here I am getting ready to run my last leg of the race (3.1 miles). It was about 7 am on Saturday morning and I had about 40 minutes of sleep in me. Yep, I was ready to run! Luckily, it was great running weather! I came in just under my projected pace and celebrated my "end" of the race with a cold, refreshing beer. Who cares if it was 7:40 in the morning?

Here is Jenny and I at dinner on Saturday night. I don't know how we were keeping our eyes open at this point, but I do know that we felt quite delirious after all that running, driving and no sleep. That's okay, as a mom of twin girls under the age of two, Jenny is used to no sleep!


Here I am the morning that we were leaving to drive back to Tampa. This weekend held a LOT of firsts for me, mainly it was my first cross-state relay race and the first time I left James overnight with Will. I truly enjoyed my "mommy-free" time and relished my quiet, calm hotel room. Yes, by Sunday morning, I was very anxious to get back to my boys, but I knew they were just fine and enjoying their own daddy-son bonding time.

So, that sums up my race experience. There are a lot more interesting pics and a lot more intersting stories to tell from the weekend, but these are the blog-worthy highlights!

Anyone interested in the Runners United Team for 2009?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Belated 16 Month Old Birthday!!!!

Okay, so I'm being the really bad mommy here and on Sunday, I just plain forgot that it was James' 16 month birthday! In my defense, the entire Hayman household was sick with the cold/flu/bubonic plague. Not to point fingers, but it all started when James got sick on Monday evening. He had a slight fever and was really congested. So, I stayed home with the fussy, clingy, sick, snotty baby for three days and nursed him back to good health. No more fever and his cold was getting better. Then, on Thursday, Will comes home early from work feeling feverish, sore throat, congested, the whole nine yards. Sure enough, by then, I was feeling a bit under the weather myself. All weekend, we took turns dosing with Nyquil and taking care of James. By Monday, I was feeling back to normal again, but even today, Will is still feeling pretty lousy. So, long story short, we were sick and I forgot.

Meet Joe Cool.

Tonight, he found a pair of my sunglasses and insisted on wearing them around the house after dinner. He was absolutely ecstatic with his new found dark/light vision. Yes, his life is full of wonderment and amazement!

And yes, his future's so bright, he's gotta wear shades....

Oh the Places You'll Climb....

I've been working on this post for a while now, since James has taken to climbing up onto EVERYTHING lately! One day when I picked him up from preschool, his teacher said that whenever they need to look for James, they look UP, not down on the floor. She also shared that he might be the next person to actually climb all the way up to Mt. Everest. Yay me.
Light switches are a new fav of his. He delights in being able to giveth light and then taketh away.

We have gone to great strides in keeping him off the dining room table. Will preferred to put all four chairs in our guest bedroom until he outgrew this phase. Um.... let's just say that that idea didn't last too long once I got home.
But, a quick trip to the time out spot gets James' attention every time and we are making progress with the table climbing!
There are some other really precarious climbing spots that James prefers (on the top/back part of the toilet, on our nightstands via our very high bed, up the bookshelf, up the ladder stored in our garage)
Obviously, whenever I found him in "said" locations, running for the camera was not the safe option at the time, so sorry, no pictures!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Run Forest, Run!

Normally, I like to keep the blog very "James-focused" but the Ragnar Relay is less than two weeks away and my excitement for this run-eat-sleep-run-eat-sleep adventure is bubbling over! You see, to finally motivate me to drop the last 10 or so pounds of baby weight, I signed up to run this Relay. It starts in Clearwater Beach and ends in Daytona Beach. For those of you not familiar with Florida landscape, that's a distance of about 200 miles stretching clear across the state of Florida. There are 12 of us on my team (6 women, 6 men) and we each will run three different legs within 26 hours to reach the finish line. We will travel in two vans and run throughout the day and throughout the night. I am one of the co-captains and one of the slowest on the team, but I bring lots of team spirit! I've been training for a couple of months now, running about 25 miles each week with my longest runs on Saturday morning. My training has included hills and multiple workouts within a 24-hour period. On Saturdays, I run with a group but otherwise, it's me and my ipod. My dear hubby has no desire to run anymore, since retiring from the AF, but he supports my crazy butt 100%.
I got the "running bug" about 4 years ago when I walked my first 5K (3.2 miles) with my good friend, Veronica. We started out just power walking and one race led to another. Soon, we were walking 1/2 marathons (13.1 miles) and by the next year, I was running the full marathon (26.2). Actually, when I say "running" I mean a run/walk. You see, I use the Galloway Method to prevent injury and it has actually increased my speed. You see, I used to think that run was a 4-letter word. Now, I'm addicted. Yes, I am addicted to my early morning long runs and feeling the surge of endorphins when I get that second wind.
My mom is worried sick about my running and feels that there is "no need" (typical southern woman) but my dad is very proud (albeit a little worried about this cross-state trek I'm about to embark on!) I just like the feeling of accomplishment after a strong run, learning how to push my body and when to hold back. And, I like the example I'm setting for James. He's already been in two 5k's and will be in a couple more before the end of the year. I just need to work on my speed while pushing a jogging stroller!
Anyway, sorry for this long post all-about-me, but I just wanted you guys out there in bloggy-land to know what I've been up to and what's coming up. After the Ragnar Relay, I'll take about a week off from running and then resume my training for the upcoming Gasparilla Marathon here in Tampa.
All of you runners out there (Stacy) please feel free to share your training experiences, recovery tips, etc with the rest of us!

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's a bird, It's a Plane...

Nope, It's SuperJames!
Who can slide down a slide faster than a speeding bullet?

Who can run down a ramp faster than a speeding train?

Always on the lookout for evil-doers and ready to protect the needy! He stares into the face of danger and says "Come On, Make my Day!"
Don't mess with SuperJames!

And, how does SuperJames fuel up for a day of crime-fighting?
With Graham crackers, of course!
Happy Halloween Everyone!

Have You Voted Yet?

Yesterday, I fulfilled my civic duty/honor by voting for our future president. I knew that voting with a 1 1/2 year old would be tricky, but I mustered up the courage after James' nap and started packing up a large bag of snacks, books and toys. Will called and was driving home from a meeting, so he decided to meet me at the voting location. I was thrilled to have extra hands around to help with James. Well, I didn't get out of the house in a timely fashion (imagine that) so Will was about 30 people ahead of me in line (neither one of us wanted to be 'that' person who cut in line). After a quick discussion, we decided that Will would remain in his spot, I would get in line and after he voted, he would come get James, so I could continue waiting in line and vote in peace. Well, my read-every-single-amendment husband took SO long voting, that I was practically handing over my driver's license when he finally came to relieve me and take his son. After standing in line for almost 50 minutes and entertaining a very active little guy, I needed a break. But at least I got to vote in peace. Luckily, there were two very nice ladies behind me who kept eating up all the charm that James was giving out! The thing that SAVED me while waiting in line was SNACK! While we were waiting, James devoured
two snack bowls of goldfish (well, one got dumped on the ground. Hey, the squirrels have to eat, too!)
one yogurt
one serving of blueberries
one serving of mandarin oranges
And lots and lots of singing, playing and otherwise entertaining a little boy who only wanted to run around and play in the beautiful fall weather!
But, all in all, it was a good voting experience. I'm just glad that by the time the next election rolls around, James will be old enough to wait in line patiently with mommy and daddy and entertain himself! Well, one can dream....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sunday Night Special

Okay, so I'm a few days late with this post, but I've been just plain exhausted by the evening time (when I have James-free computer time.) Anyway....

Usually on Sundays, I like to try a new recipe or just spend more time than usual on dinner. I belong to a local, organic co-0p called Purple Carrot. Twice a month, I pick up a HUGE basket full of veggies and fruits. This week's basket included a very large portion of Rainbow Chard. While I've read the great benefits of eating chard, I had no idea what to do with it. Luckily, there was a recipe note on the band that wrapped around the chard, so here goes.....
Rainbow Chard Chicken
4 cups green or rainbow chard
1 cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz. chicken breast, cubed
2 Tbsp. water
1 cup rice, cooked
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
cooking spray

Preheat broiler. Cut stems off chard leaves and dice. Cut leaves into 1/2 '' strips. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Cook chard stems, onion, garlic and chicken over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Add leaves and 2 Tbsp. water, cook another 3 minutes until chard is limp. Add soy sauce and rice and cook another 2 minutes. To serve, divide mixture between two oven-proof plates and sprinkle cheese evenly on top. Place under broiler for two minutes. Serves 2. Enjoy!
(chicken cooking with stems and garlic)

(chard leaves just added to skillet)

(the finished product)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Skiball Fun!

What was the BEST one dollar spent during our vacation?
The one that bought 8 skiballs for the kids at one of the many arcades in Gatlinburg, TN!
James prefered the more direct method of getting the ball into the hole!
Here's Dad, trying to teach James the correct form for throwing a skiball.
This game totally engrossed the kids for at least 15 minutes! Much of that time was spent by them climbing on top of the "lanes" and it's surprising that we didn't get kicked out of the arcade. I guess they are pretty lax with the rules there.

You can see the pure glee on James' face as the lights flashed.
Skiball rocks!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gatlinburg Here We Come!

We got back this week from our annual mountain trip. We choose to vacation at least once a year with our good friends, Jenny and Eric, and their twin girls, Sierra and Tori. So, once again, we all gathered in a roomy cabin in the mountains and enjoyed some wonderfully chilly, fall weather. And, we got to show the kids that leaves DO change color (stupid Florida palm trees!)

James seemed to hit it off with Sierra. She showed him the finer art of coloring. Sadly, he was more interested in eating her crayons than making art. Oh well.

We also got to squeeze in a nice visit from Grandma! When she came over to the cabin, James ran straight to her and gave her the biggest, longest hug ever! He just laid and cuddled with her for a long time, it was just precious!

Here are the three trouble makers on their favorite past time, the stairs. At only 22 months old, these girls are brilliant! They can count to 10, identify the numbers 1-10, identify all the letters of the alphabet and sound out some letters. Truly amazing! James, on the other hand, taught the girls how to make engine noises as you push the cars around. If you've ever seen that old Steve Martin movie, Parenthood, it was like that! We had the boy who runs around the house with the bucket on his head and the girls spent their time politely coloring or reading books.

I found this beautiful trail right at the bottom of the mountain. The grown-ups used it for a running trail in the morning, but the kids liked walking on it, too.

A beautiful sunrise view from my mom's front deck.

On our last night there, there was an Elvis impersonator at the restaurant. After we finished eating, the kids followed the music (through the bar) and found this gleaming man, garnished in rhinestones. James was truly star-struck and would not take his eyes off of him. We found out that James is a HUGE fan of Elvis music as he showed off his fancy footwork for the crowd (leave it to my son to steal the show!) All of the kids had a great time dancing off their dinner and all of the adults had a great time watching! Elvis was even nice enough to give each child their own souvenir teddy bear.
Thank you, thank you very much!