Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Double trouble

Enjoying a cold frosty one.


Eva comforts Sam as he faces his fear of Santa.

Reading a few books about baby Jesus.
We bought the kids an early Christmas present - the Little People manger and drummer boy sets. They love to play with them, and they're great visual aids when we read.

Look who's walking!
She's been practicing for several weeks. And in the past few days, she seems to have mastered it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday photos

I'm about 2 holidays behind. At the rate I'm going, look for Christmas photos in February!

We are fortunate to have great neighbors all around us. This year we went trick-or-treating with the family next door. They have a little guy named Noah who's just a few months younger than Sam. Noah dressed up as a fireman, Sam was a train engineer.

What a team.

Noah, me, Princess Eva and Sam

Eva, Noah and Sam love riding in the wagon. This is Noah's wagon, but we're talking to Santa about delivering a wagon of our own.

A great shot of Sam smiling. As a baby, he loved to smile for the camera. Now we have to catch him in the moment. Many thanks to our neighbor Jamie (Noah's mom) for catching this one.

This sums up fall for me. A relaxing afternoon outdoors, playing in the leaves.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cookie monsters

A few weeks ago, Michele baked some cookies then went upstairs for just a minute. She came back down to Sam saying, "Mmmm Mama, cookies." A single cookie was missing from the cooling rack. Eva had chocolate smeared on her face.

Sam was more than happy to re-enact what transpired.

Not wanting to be alone in this crime, Sam shared his first cookie with Eva.

...who is so happy about it that she's giving her scrunchy smile.

Michele baked cookies again just the other day. Eva crawled into the kitchen and cried and cried until Michele finally picked her up. As soon as Eva was in Michele's arms, she reached down, snagged a cookie and chowed down.

I'll say one thing: she's a fast learner.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Celebrating Eva

Several photos from Eva's birthday and the days that followed.
We sure love this little girl.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A page is turned

Today we celebrated Eva's last day being zero!

Sure, tomorrow's the big day for her. And perhaps more so for Sam, who is keenly aware that her birthday is coming. (Tonight at bedtime he insisted tomorrow is his birthday too!)

But today I reflected on the past year since her birth. Here are a few of my favorite photos.

Getting ready to leave the hospital, wearing the same dress that Michele wore home from the hospital when she was born. (2 days old)

Getting to know Sam -- and vice versa. (5 days old)

Celebrating the New Year. (3 months)

Relaxing in the bumbo chair. (5 months)

All smiles on July 4th. (9 months)

Modeling her new barrett. (11 months)

Enjoying our backyard. (last weekend)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fun photos

Eva loves to play with Sam's Tonka truck, which of course has given Sam a renewed interest in it. It was Sam's big gift for his 1st birthday. Hard to believe that Eva turns 1 in a week!

Having fun with Mom just before bed.

I can't believe how big he's getting.

Here's a preview of his Halloween costume. We're not much on store costumes so Michele used her creativeness and came up with a train engineer. Sam + trains = Heaven. Don't let his serious face fool you - he loves this costume and wants to wear it all the time!

What a happy little girl.
...until bedtime, when she feels compelled to curse at us for thinking she should have to fall asleep all by her lonesome! Thankfully she konks out in about 5 minutes. Come morning, she's forgiven us and all is right with the world again. Until naptime...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Muchas gracias

Many thanks to my family for making my 35th birthday a memorable one. In the photo above, Sam is helping me blow out candles while (left to right) Eva, my nephews Payton and Landon, and Michele cheer us on along with the rest of my family.

Our own Strawberry Shortcake.
Many thanks to Michele's parents and extended family in Orlando for sending Eva several fun outfits!

Finally got out the bike trailer. First time all summer. Eva enjoyed her first ride while Sam watched out for her.

Sam peeking out the window.

Cousin Landon joins us for a photo on Labor Day weekend.

For more fun photos from Labor Day weekend,
check out my sisters' blogs:
Heart of Life
Bealor Family

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I'm always on the hunt for new tunes. But at the same time, I'm forever frustrated when I buy a CD (I still prefer the real thing to digital downloads) only to find that one or two songs are good but the rest are fillers.

Meet Eric Peters. We just met him a few months ago ourselves (both figuratively and literally). I've read about Eric occasionally over the past few years. He's part of the Square Peg Alliance, which is essentially a group of independent singer/songwriters who support each other's music. We've loved the music of other Square Pegs for years now, but for whatever reason, I was nervous to take a chance on Eric. Must be that fear of buying a turkey.

Earlier this summer, I found one of his older CD's on clearance and the cheapskate in me whispered, "Go for it." What a great decision that was. His songwriting is flat out excellent, some of the best I've ever heard. And, as is generally the case with gifted musicians, he somehow gets even better with each new release.

We've since bought 3 more of his CDs. And we caught 2 of his shows over the summer (see photos below - Eric's in the white shirt.) And we decided to become a "patron saint" and donate a few extra bucks to help him produce his latest CD Chrome. (As a thank-you from Eric, all the patron saints are listed in the liner notes. Pretty sweet, eh?)

To give you a sampling of his songwriting genius...

From the CD Scarce, the song "Radiate" feels like it was written with me in mind:

As I grow up, I want to smile at doubt
Look back here at where it all came out
I learned what it was all about
It was clear as day

His newest CD Chrome was just released last week. The song "Reality Came Crashing Down" talks about his dream to become a famous musician, only to have reality hit hard. One of the verses stands out to me - perhaps as advice I'll someday give Sam & Eva:

Son, don't waste your words tuned to a whim
Cast out your net and slowly drag it back in
Your catch may be small and your belly may burn
But live for the language that speaks few words
Live for the language of love

Tonight the chorus of that same song is speaking to me, as I'm swallowing the reality of a missed opportunity. The chorus says:

Our dreams don't mean that much
If we can't find ourselves
In the dust that shapes the ground
When reality comes crashing down

Highly recommended might be an understatement. You can read more about Eric on his website. Be sure to check out these posts where you can listen to full versions of 2 songs:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Not long after we moved here, Michele got connected with a playgroup at St. John's United Methodist Church in Edwardsville. Super nice people. (And that's an understatement.) Even though Sam & Eva are young, Michele thought it'd be fun to take them to Vacation Bible School this summer. So she took them to St. John's VBS last week.

In hindsight, it was more work than fun - especially since Michele took the kids by herself. But I loved hearing the stories of Sam's excitement at craft time. The last night was a fun night that ended with the local fire department spraying water from a ladder truck. Sam loves firetrucks so it was exciting to see one up close. It took lots of encouragement, but he finally got close enough to the water to get a little wet.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Management Material

Miss Photogenic
Eva turned 9 months a few weeks ago. She's weighing in at just over 15 lbs - a light-weight for sure. But her doc's not worried, as most kids get leaner when they become more mobile.

"Mama, Dee-Dee, Train!"
Sam ran into the kitchen and announced this to Michele a few weeks ago. Translated: Eva was standing by his train table. It was the first time she'd pulled up and stood on her own. Since then, she's become a pro. She's also army crawling and quickly figuring out how to crawl on her knees.
"Dee-Dee" is Sam's nickname for Eva. Not sure how he came up with it - he can say her name. But it works.

O Happy Day
Took this photo as I was heading out the door one morning. Everyone was awake and super happy. Almost had to call in sick!

Management Material - Exhibit A
While we do yardwork, Sam supervises.

Management Material - Exhibit B
Further proof that Sam and I are related.