Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Home for the Holidays -- Part 1

I'm taking an idea from a friend and doing our Christmas celebration in two different posts. We took a ton of photos and I haven't even begun sorting through most of them from Christmas day yet, so those will have to come a different day. (I got a new camera for Christmas, a Canon EOS Rebel XSi which I absolutely love, hence the hundreds of pictures that I have taken since I opened it.) Here are a few pics from our Christmas Eve celebration though...

Landon, waving his arms in utter excitement for the night's activities...
We started the evening with pizza from Papa Johns (yummy) and then we drove around looking at Christmas lights for a while before coming back home to open our first Christmas gift of the season, some new pajamas...
Our Monkey Children in their matching Christmas Eve attire...After pajamas and pictures, we read the Christmas story together from Luke 2 and watched a Christmas movie before sending the kids to bed. Then Jason and I went to work setting up the house for "Santa's Visit." (I have to admit that one of my favorite things about being a parent is getting to be Santa!!)
These were the only two pictures I took on Christmas morning with my old camera. Jason had me open the first gift of the morning (the new camera) because he knew I would want to use it to capture the days activities.
Two happy kiddos excited with their presents from Santa...
Landon loving his stocking stuffers...
Christmas Part 2 will hopefully arrive shortly. I know you are all gripped with anticipation for our next post, so to help you wait it out a bit, here's a video of our little princess doing her best Sleeping Beauty impression...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our December Thus Far

We have been enduring a fun week of the sickies around our house (thanks to food poisoning by way of store-bought ice cream), but I thought that I would try to update everyone on our latest adventures these last few weeks now that everyone seems to be on the mend (fingers crossed!!!)

We spent the Thanksgiving holiday in North Carolina with my sister Lara and her family. My other sister Tasha and her family were able to join us as well so we were able to have all the Cleveland cousins together for some Thanksgiving and early Christmas fun. Here is a picture of the whole clan together. (Hmmmm, do you think Landon enjoyed being strangled by his big sister here?)

On December 4th Landon turned six months old. I tried to get a few snapshots of him to mark the occassion, but my camera failed to do much justice for my handsome little man. Here are a few outtakes that you might enjoy from our little photo session.

We enjoyed putting up our Christmas decorations during the first weekend in December. Abby loved putting the ornaments on the trees and found a new use for our holiday stockings this year.

Last weekend, we headed down to the Washington D.C. Temple to walk around the grounds, visit the exhibits and see the lights with my sister Tasha and her family.

The lights were beautiful, but of course they paled in comparison to the majesty that is the D.C. temple. It is just so gorgeous and we're lucky to have such a beautiful House of God so close to where we live. Afterwards we enjoyed an eventful dinner at Macaroni Grill which consisted of two crying and tired babies, a cranky and tired toddler, one massive diaper blowout and fun for all the adults involved. Ahhhhhh the joys of parenthood!!

And that takes us to today. We have enjoyed this month of reflecting on the birth, life and ministry of our Savior and we are looking forward to spending our first Christmas at home without traveling anywhere for the holidays. Of course we will miss spending time with our extended families, but we WILL NOT miss dealing with holiday travel. After five years of dealing with lost baggage, cancelled flights and long delays, we decided it was time to start creating some Christmas memories at our own home. We love and miss all of our family and friends and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!!!
P.S. Here's a little early Christmas gift for each of you!! Just spread the holiday joy and laughter you see here...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Through the Eyes of a Child

Abby seems to get a hold of our camera a lot and she has literally taken hundreds of random, blurry pictures and videos. Most of these we delete (thank goodness for digital cameras), but there are a few that we have kept because we think they are rather funny. Here is a little snippet of our girl's cinematography skills...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our Weird Kids

Just thought I would share a glimpse of our lives by showing our two kids and their latest obsessions...
Abby is always trying to fix/comb/brush somebody's hair (Mom, Dad, Maya the dog, Landon.) When she can't find a volunteer to work on, she has to settle with doing her own hair. From these pictures, you can get a sense of what it feels like to have Abby "do" your hair. (And she wonders why nobody likes to volunteer!!!)
(For the record it took me about 20 minutes to untangle this comb from her hair...)

Landon wants to put anything and everything in his mouth, including his mommy's chin. Everybody keeps telling me he must be teething, but Abby was the same way and she didn't pop her first tooth until she was 13 months old, so I do have my doubts that we'll be seeing any chompers soon. The other day, Jason came home and asked what had happened to my face. Turns out I had two big bruises under my chin that were perfect little circles, the exact same shape and size as some little boy's mouth. Yes, it's true, my baby gave me a hicky. Oh the joys of being a chew toy!!!

And just for fun, a video of our little sports fan in action. He really couldn't make his daddy any prouder!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Colonial Williamsburg

Here are a few more pictures from our Cleveland Family reunion. My mom took over 500 pictures over the course of 4 days, so these were just a few from her collection!!

Revolutionary War reenactments...(Abby was a little scared by the gunfire and cannons, Landon hardly noticed!!)

Travelin' in style!!
Family entertainment before TV and Internet...

Our adorable little revolutionaries...
We've decided to use this new version of "time-out" to control our little booger!
My mom made these fun reunion shirts for everyone. It was nice because we could easily spot each other wherever we went!

I included this picture just because I think it is too darn cute!!

We had a great time in Williamsburg and we hope to go back again soon. I would definitley recommend it as a great place for a family vacation!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We had a fun Halloween in Hagerstown this year. We were a bit lazy about getting pumpkins though. We went to a pumpkin patch and everything, but alas it got too cold for us to stay for the actual "pumpkin-picking" part (too many other fun things to do, according to Abby.) We did go to the grocery store on Halloween and found their last two pumpkins, one of which is pictured below. Obviously, their pickings were slim at this point!:) Abby did enjoy decorating it with a black marker while wearing her Raggedy Ann outfit (I let her wear this hand-me-down costume from her cousin Paige during the day and we saved her warmer costume for trick-or-treating.)

Abby was a cat this year. If you recognize the costume, props to you!! It's actually the same costume she wore last year. It still fit, we couldn't find anything cuter, so there you go!

Landon was our little turtle this year. I thought he would hate this little get-up, but he actually wore it the entire time we went trick-or-treating. What a cutie-pie!!

My two cuties together!!

We actually didn't get any pictures of the actual trick-or-treating event. Abby really wasn't all that into it (very surprising to her parents since we know how much she loves candy.) I think after she filled her bag a bit, she was just ready to go home and eat it. It was an absolute gorgeous fall evening though, so it was still fun to be out in our neighborhood and see all the kids dressed up.

  • In other news, is it just me, or is anybody else ready for this election to be over? I enjoy politics and all, but it just seems like it has been dragging on for years (oh, wait, it has been!!) so I'm glad that after today (hopefully) we can end this drama. I did vote this morning, with the two kids in tow. We were in and out in less than 10 minutes which was nice. I'm not a huge supporter of either candidate, but I'm sure we'll watch a lot of the election coverage tonight. I think I know who will win, but it will be interesting to see how close it really will be.

  • I have to agree with my brother-in-law though in that I really think that whoever ends up winning this election will only serve one term. I really believe the economy will tank in the next few years. The current mortgage crisis is just a drop in the bucket to what we may be facing soon (credit card defaults, baby boomers retiring and pulling money out of the stock market, etc.) The president will likely be blamed (like always, even though he really has little control over what actually happens) and he will lose his bid for a second term. Just my little prediction though.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Williamsburg Reunion

We had a great time this last weekend in Williamsburg, VA for the Cleveland Family Reunion. We all met there on Friday afternoon (my parents and sister Tami had flown in the night before and rode up with Lara & Ben's family, the rest of us were able to drive.) We spent Friday evening visting Colonial Williamsburg which we all really enjoyed (I'll have to get some pictures from my mom since we forgot our camera that night.)

We spent all day Saturday at Busch Gardens. It was absolutely gorgeous and we all saw firsthand why it has been ranked the most beautiful theme park in America for the last 18 years. Jason and I were really impressed with how many rides they had for kids. A lot of the amusement parks we have been to were geared more for older children and adults, but Busch Gardens had a great mix of rides for all ages. Abby especially loved riding all the kiddie rides with her cousin, Paige. With their blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin, Abby and Paige look more like sisters than cousins!

Some pictures from some of the rides at Busch Gardens...

This was how Landon spent most of the day (he was an absolute angel during our trip!) We went to church on Sunday morning and then spent the afternoon and early evening wandering around Colonial Williamsburg again. It was a fascinating area, appearing very much as it did back in the 1700's. There were people dressed up in costumes from that time period and horse and buggy rides that you could use to tour the area. We also visited the campus of William & Mary (the second college built on American soil in the late 1600's.) I even used the bathroom in the oldest college building in America, the Sir Christopher Wren Building (my new claim to fame!!)
The next day we headed to Yorktown for a brief visit before heading home. We got some neat pictures of our family and of just Jason and I in front of the James River while we walked along the sand.

We had a fabulous time in Williamsburg. We would highly recommend it as a great place for a mini-vacation if you ever come out East. The best part of all though was spending time with family again. We love you Cleveland Family...thanks for the great memories!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mother of Two

I read this online the other day and it really resonated with me. Since I know that there are other readers of this blog who either...a. Recently added a second addition to their family...b. Are about to have another child...or c. Are pondering the idea of baby#2, I decided that I would share it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...


I walk along holding your two-year-old hand, basking in the glow of our magical relationship.
Suddenly I feel a kick from within, as if to remind me that our time alone is limited.
And I wonder, how could I love another child as I love you?

Then he is born, and I watch you.
I watch as the pain you feel at having to share me as you have never shared me before.
I hear you telling me in your own way, "Please love only me" and I hear myself telling you in mine "I can't".

Knowing in fact that I never can again.
You cry, I cry with you.
I almost see our baby as an intruder on the precious relationship we once shared.
A relationship we can never have again.

But then, barely noticing, I find myself attached to that new being, and feeling almost guilty.
I'm afraid to let you see me enjoying him -- as though I am betraying you.
But then I notice your resentment change, first to curiosity, then to protectiveness, finally to genuine affection.

More days pass, and we are settling into a new routine.
The memory of days with just the two of us is fading fast.
But something is replacing those wonderful times we shared, just us two.
There are new times -- only now we are three.

I watch the love between you grow, the way you look at each other, touch each other.
I watch how he adores you, as I have for so long.
I see how excited you are by each of his new accomplishments.

I begin to realize that I haven't taken something from you, I've given something to you.
I notice that I am no longer afraid to share my love openly with both of you.
I find that my love for each of you is as different as you are, but equally strong.

And my question is finally answered to my amazement.
Yes, I can love another child as much as I love you, only differently.
And although I realize that you may have to share my time, I know you'll never share my love.
There's enough of that for both of you -- you each have your own supply.
I love you both and I thank you both for blessing my life.

-Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkin Patch 2008

We had a great time visiting Summers Farm in Frederick on Saturday. We met Tasha, Jeff and Coldon there and enjoyed a chilly but sunny few hours on the farm. Abby really loved seeing all of the animals, sliding down the huge slides and getting lost in the corn maze. Her favorite part however, had to be the giant pit filled with corn kennels. It took us about 20 minutes just to get her out of there!! Landon and Coldon were quiet observers of the festivities this year, but I'm sure they will love running around along with Abby next October!

Getting up close and personal with the animals...

Enjoying the makeshift slides...

Almost 3 feet tall!!

Getting lost in the burlap maze!

Enjoying the "Oh, so fun" corn pit...

She loved husking the corn so much in the corn maze that we thought we just might hire her out!

A Family Photo (notice Abby can't be bothered from husking for a silly picture!!)