Tuesday, June 26, 2012



Something has happened around here, and I'm a little afraid to blog about it. I know as soon as I write it down, it will change. I know that there are two little sets of eyes that secretly know how to read this blog and usually change what they are doing if I write about it. But, alas, here it goes in the name of documenting their little lives.

Things seem to be getting easier around here. I believe we are graduating from parents of very small children to parents of little kids. There were three mornings in a row that my children didn't make a sound until 7:30AM, two of those mornings were 7:45AM. "Big Deal!", you may say. To us, it is a VERY BIG DEAL. Max spent months getting up around 5:30. Now, he seems to be content to hang out in his crib for a little while when he wakes up. He isn't waking up screaming and crying, but rather calling for us. This is such a huge step for him. It was always so defeating to be woken up with a screaming child in the morning. It immediately made me grumpy.

Charlotte is spending much longer stretches of time entertaining herself. She is finally discovering that it is OK to be by yourself. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy doing things with her - but there is only so much dollhouse a mother can play.

They entertain each other! Not for any length of time, but for a few minutes at a time. Long enough to throw laundry in, or start dinner.

Speaking of dinner, Max is no longer completely losing his mind at 5:30. Up until a month or so ago, it was like clockwork. 5:30 would tick by on the clock and he would start screaming. This made dinner time not so fun. It limited our afternoons. Now, he can be pushed to 6 or even a little later for dinner without a total fit.

Max is communicating all of his needs. I can tell about 98% of the time what it is he wants or needs. He is speaking lots of words - most only Judd or I know, but it is a great step in that direction. He is putting multiple words together - "I want milk", "I do", "I love you", "I want that". This has helped him become a much happier little boy.

I took them to the zoo last week and thoroughly enjoyed my time with them. There were no tantrums and only a little whining. They were so good. They stayed with me and walked through the zoo. We looked at animals and talked about them. They played and laughed. I wasn't exhausted at the end. I was just so happy to be there with them.

I know that this may seem like a weird realization to come to. Shouldn't I always enjoy them at the zoo? Shouldn't I always be happy to be there with them? The answer is "No". I didn't always enjoy taking both of them to the zoo. It was hard last summer. Max was a baby that didn't want to sit in a stroller. He was still nursing. He screamed when he was tired. I wanted to just stay at home, but we did things for Charlotte's sake.

I asked Judd the other day if he was nervous or scared about entering the next phase. Not the phase where you have tiny babies, but the phase where you have little kids. He didn't say that he was nervous or scared, just excited about what the next 10 years or so will bring.

I'm loving who these two little people are becoming. They are so sweet and fun to be around. Countless times this summer Charlotte, Max, and I have just laughed and laughed at things. We find the same things funny - that is so important to me - that we continue to laugh together. I'm so happy to be their mom.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kauai Day 3

On Friday morning we woke up early and made our way to the Na Pali Coast Catamaran tour. We arrived too early and ended up finding a place to get some coffee. After a while it was time to get in the van that would take us to the canoe that would take us to the boat in Hanalei Bay. After everyone was aboard the boat, our very energetic captain and first mate fired up the engines and we headed out.

The weather was amazing - the captain said that there are only a handful of days like that per year. We really lucked out. Judd had read about the high rates of sea sickness on this particular tour. We both took Bonine before the trip - but I'm not sure we really needed it anyway.

The ride down the coast was beautiful. Valleys, waterfalls, beaches, mountains, dolphins - the list goes on. The water was a deep shade of turquoise in places. Our boat was small enough that he went into a lot of the caves.

After an hour or so, they tied up the boat in a little cove so we could all jump out and snorkel. Judd and I strapped on the gear and jumped into the Pacific. It was COLD! I shivered the entire time we snorkeled, but I had a lot of fun swimming through the reef. We saw all different kinds of fish and a couple of turtles. Back on the boat they served sandwiches and chips. Once everyone was finished, they started the engines back up and drove us much more quickly back up the coast. This ride was into the wind and MUCH more turbulent. I was soaked by the time we made it back to Hanalei Bay.

Once back in our car, we decided to drive as far as the road goes to the North. We walked on some of the beaches and took in the sites. Back in Hanalei, we got a little snack before heading back to the resort.

By the time we made it to our room we were both exhausted. We weren't sure whether it was the jet lag, the motion sickness medicine, or the long boat ride, but we both need a nap. We fell asleep around 3. We woke up at 5 and neither one of us could pull ourselves out of bed. We just kind of looked at each other and went back to sleep. Around 6:30 we finally decided we had to get up and find some dinner. We got dressed and went about 2 miles up to the Princeville village and had a quick dinner. We made it back to the resort and went back to bed! It must have been that Bonine - neither of us could remember feeling that tired on a trip before.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Judd had been threatening all week to take Max to get his hair cut today. I had been gearing myself up for it, even taking some pictures of Max yesterday so I could remember his baby hair forever. Luckily, Judd chickened out this morning, so I get to keep my baby a baby for a little while longer.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kauai, Day 1 & 2

Early Wednesday (6/13) morning we kissed my mom good-bye and headed to the airport. We didn't see either kiddo that morning, which was probably for the best - no tearful good-byes.

Our first leg of the trip was from Atlanta to LA. Judd had picked out great seats for us, but they were the first row behind first class, so we were able to look longingly up there at their beautiful lay-flat seats. (We were on a 777). As the doors were closing, a gate agent quickly came to our seats and told us there were 2 seats up front, we could move to them! It was a great start to our vacation!

Judd purposefully scheduled a 4 hour layover in LA. He heard that you can take a Parking Spot shuttle to one of their parking garages that is next to an In & Out Burger AND that burger joint is on the flight path for LAX. What could be better, right? So, we found the shuttle and rode it over there.

We each had a burger (can't really say that I understand what all of the hype is about - I think 5 Guys is just as good) and watched the planes land for a while. We took the shuttle back to the airport and waited around for our flight to Lihue.

Our flight to Lihue was long. It felt REALLY long. Finally we landed around 5PM Hawaii time. We had been traveling for about 18 hours. We were both pretty tired at this point. We got our rental car and headed north. We stopped to eat at Hukilau Lanai for dinner. They had a beautiful Lanai (outdoor space) overlooking a nice lawn and in the distance the Pacific. The food was great. We hopped back in the car and started the journey to Princeville.

We pulled into the St. Regis Princeville around 7:45 or so. I can hardly even describe how gorgeous this place is. We were greeted and sent into to check in. They brought us bottled waters and leis. We were escorted to our ocean view room. It was dark, so we couldn't really see what the view was - but you just knew it would be great in the morning.

The next morning we woke up at 4AM. A combination of jet lag and excitement. Around 6 we peeked out of the window during sunrise. The view was breathtaking. We were looking right out onto Hanalei Bay. You could see the mountains, the ocean, the beach - amazing.

We put on our shoes and went downstairs to grab some $10 cups of coffee (the St. Regis is crazy expensive) and head out to explore.

We read about Hideaways Beach, it was a short hike from the St Regis. Sure enough, there was a little dirt path that went past some tennis courts and straight down a cliff. Somehow we managed to make our way down the STEEP path with coffee in hand to Hideaways Beach. It is an awesome little beach that has great views and pretty calm water for snorkeling. The hike back up the hill, though, you'll need to catch your breath at the top.

After we recovered, we got the car and headed out on an adventure to Secret Beach. First we made a stop at Kilauea Lighthouse. It wasn't open yet, but we saw it from above.

We found the parking at the top of the path down to Secret Beach, parked the car, and started the walk down. It was a 7-10 minute hike down. When we got there we stopped this little tide pool that was full of tiny baby frogs. The pool had all stages of baby frogs - tadpoles, tadpoles with legs, and teeny tiny frogs. I loved watching them, it was almost if you were watching them transform. Once Judd was able to pull me away, we started walking across the lava rocks in search of the Secret Lava Pools. We were walking along these lava rocks - basically a lava cliff - waves were breaking onto the rocks (far enough from us, it was safe). The pools were pretty deep in places - 6 feet or so. They were refreshed every so often with a little wave or two. It was so peaceful. There was one other couple there swimming with us. Turns out they were on a vacation - left their little one at home - and he went to college in the town I went to high school in Arkansas. He knew people I went to high school with. It's a small world.

After the lava pools, we said good-bye to our new friends and we hiked a little farther around the cliffs to a little waterfall. We hiked down and used it to shower the salt water off. I looked at Judd and said, "Do you realize what we are doing? We are showering off in a water fall looking out into the Pacific - and we have it all to ourselves!" We were right where the river meets the sea. It was one of those moments in life that I will never, ever forget.

We grabbed some lunch in Hanalei - fish tacos - and went back to the resort to relax.

After a nap, shower, and change, we went back to Hanalei to Tahiti Nui. This is where a bar scene is filmed in the movie, The Descendants. We had a pizza dinner while listening to a Hawaiian band play some tunes. A great way to end the first full day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We're Back

Last night in Kauai

Judd and I got back yesterday. The trip was amazing. We came back very tired, but very relaxed. We saw amazingly beautiful landscapes. Every where you looked on Kauai was something beautiful - it truly is a magical place. I'll share more over the next few days - this morning I have lots of catching up to do with 2 little kids.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


What have we been up to so far this summer?

- Charlotte, Max and I just finished up a week of vacation bible school at church. It was our first year to attend, and it was a success! About 300 kids attended VBS this year. They rotate through 6 different stations over the course of 3 hours. I helped to lead the Science portion of the day. We did all kinds of fun experiments with water since the theme was "Operation Overboard". It was all about diving deeper into your faith. Or, as Charlotte says, "Your Faif". She was in her element all week. Singing, dancing, learning, and being with her friends. She did say that "bible school has a lot of standing." So, I guess there was one downside. Max did awesome in the nursery. By Thursday & Friday there were no tears at all at drop off time. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we have turned a corner with his separation anxiety phase.

- In anticipation of our big trip on Wednesday, Judd and I started a diet about 6 weeks ago. You call it a "diet", but it is more than that. We are revamping the way that we eat. Eating more at home, eating almost all whole foods and very little processed food, watching portion sizes, and cutting out all sugary beverages. So far we have lost over 20 pounds combined. Judd has started to put his time in at the gym and we both are feeling great overall. We have learned how to build in splurges so we can maintain a good attitude about it. I have much more to say on this topic for later posts.

- We went for Charlotte's hearing test at Children's Healthcare. I'm not sure what happened at the doctor's office to have caused 2 failed tests, but turns out she's just fine.

- Judd and I leave for Hawaii on Wednesday morning! Even though the kids will be in the best hands we can imagine for them, I'm still very anxious about leaving them - especially my little buddy, Max. Charlotte will bask in the glow of her grandparent's attention and probably not think about us more than a few minutes a day. Hopefully Max will follow suit.

- Why Hawaii? Why such a big trip sans kids? Judd and I are about to celebrate 10 years of marriage. It is unreal to me that it has been 10 years since we got hitched - there are many days that I still consider myself to be 22 years old. Time flies when you're having fun.

- Speaking of having fun - I'm really happy. We are having a great summer so far. Time at the pool, time at home, time together. The kids have been so great lately. Charlotte goes to the "art table" and will work on "projects" for an hour or more. Max is content to drive trucks around the house. Sometimes I stop and think, "has it really become easier?". I feel like we are all hitting our stride, finding our place. It is a great feeling.

- I added a new link to the upper right corner so you can view my Instagram pics even if you don't have some sort of apparatus to view them on the go. I think I may not take my big camera to Hawaii - I'm not really a landscape photographer and I feel like I won't do it justice. I will, however, be snapping lots of pics with the phone and posting them over on Instagram. Now you can keep up with our Hawaiian adventure! Aloha!