Friday, January 23, 2009

Journey Winter Retreat 2009

Each year we have the pleasure of getting to go with Frazer Journey Singles on their winter retreat to Gatlinburg, TN. Bart works closely with the group at church. The past couple of years we have gone in February but this year they moved it back to January in hopes of seeing a bit more snow. It was perfect! It was very cold and we did get to see snow but without all the hassle and danger of getting snowed in. :) We had such a wonderful time! Here's a group shot of the entire gang.

We left Wednesday night for Chattanooga in an attempt to drive while the kids were most likely to sleep. They did great! We stayed at the wonderful Sheraton Read House (a personal favorite!) for the night. Of course after the long ride Owen and Katelyn were a little hyper when we got there. Owen got so tickled at Katelyn over the smallest things. His little laugh is just so contagious. This may be one of my favorite videos to date - it just makes me smile every time I watch it!

We got up at walked across the street to The City Grill for breakfast and then back to the hotel for some indoor swimming. We were not scheduled to meet up with the rest of the group until later Thursday night so we spent most of the day in leisure just wandering around Chattanooga. Friday morning after breakfast we set out for Ruby Falls and Rock City. It was the coldest day yet with temperatures getting down to 14 degrees and windy! Brrrr!

I had never been to either of these places and it was really neat! I would definitely like to go back to Rock City again one day.

The craziest thing happened while we were at Rock City. I broke my tooth!! All I did was bite down on the end of my glove to pull it off and BING! went my tooth! ROAR! It was a veneer and didn't hurt but I'm sure that will cost me a pretty penny to fix! Bart laughed and made fun of me the rest of the trip. True love!

On Saturday we were determined to find some snow. The weather forecast wasn't looking very promising so we drove up to Newfound Gap which is on the Tennesee/North Carolina border. Sure enough it wasn't hard to find! It was so pretty up there!

Owen got to experience his first snow and absolutely loved it!

Katelyn enjoyed snow ball fights with the "big kids"!

We spent the rest of the afternoon just walking around downtown Gatlinburg. The frozen fountain was pretty impressive!

On Sunday we ventured out to a little secret thankfully not well known among the tourists - the community bowling alley - for some good cheap fun! I didn't have a particularly good day of bowling but Katelyn is coming along pretty well! I was very proud of her. Just like her Pop, she loves to bowl! :)

After bowling it was back to downtown for some black light mini golf in 3D. I must admit it was pretty neat!

Right next door was this very cool mirror maze!

On Monday we woke to beautiful snow falling outside. There is something so peaceful and quiet about watching it snow. It was starting to accumulate pretty quickly so I was glad it was about time to head home. Katelyn enjoyed trying to catching snowflakes with her tongue.

Of course, we had to stop for one last group picture as we were heading home.

It snowed on us until at least Fort Payne but thankfully with no travel problems. The Mercers had such a wonderful time! Thanks everyone!!

If you are crazy enough to want even more after this monster post, the rest of the pictures are HERE. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


On Wednesday nights we are at Frazer for family night supper, Katelyn has choir, Owen plays in the nursery, and I enjoy some much needed adult time either in Bible Study or just some quiet time in the Atrium. We thorough enjoy it each week. The Carliles (Wendy, Kinley, & Hilton) join us as well as Chuck, Anna, and Thomas. At the end of the evening the kids always look forward to a few minutes at the AquaZone slide. It is an indoor slide that the kids totally love! My little nephew Thomas has come out of his shell and will now be renamed "Wild Man Thomas"!! :) Check him out going down the slide!

Hilton couldn't resist all the fun and braved his first ride down the slide. He LOVED it and went back for more! We were so proud of him! Here are all the kids exerting that last bit of energy before bedtime.

The rest of the images are HERE.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Giggle Boy

Katelyn had a dentist appointment last week and while Owen and I were waiting for her to finish I noticed that he was in a particularly good mood that afternoon. He would just laugh when I tickled him. He is such a happy baby!

Playdate with Kinley & Hilton

I've been having some pretty significant neck pain lately and finally decided to go to the chiropractor. I thought I might have slept on it wrong but after a week it was still giving me problems. When you go to the doctor and he checks you out and says "Oohhh!" that is not good! Come to find out he is treating me for torticollis (much like Owen)! It is requiring several visits for ultrasound, cold and traction therapy. Most days it seems to be getting better but then again some days are better than others. Hopefully it will be corrected very soon. Anyhow, during one of my doctor visits the kids spent the afternoon playing with Kinley and Hilton. They had such a wonderful time! Thank you Wendy for taking these pictures!

The princesses in action...

The boys...

Bathing Beauties

Slowly but surely I'm learning how to multi-task with my two birds. Lately I've realized that it is so much easier to just put Katelyn and Owen in the tub together. They have so much fun and get squeaky clean as a result! As usual I couldn't resist the photo op the other day.

There is just something so precious about a little naked hiney at this age! Don't you just wanna pinch it!?!

Katelyn was having too much fun!

And so was Owen...

I think this was one of my favorites. I love the water splashing all around him!


I mentioned in Owen's 8 month post that he is starting to do the sign for "more". I was finally able to get him to do it for a video the other day. Let the signing begin! :) He is also saying "Da da" quite a bit now but I haven't been able to get a good clip of that yet.

Look who's...

...standing up! Yep, there hasn't been much action on the crawling front because our little man would much rather stand! Most days he would rather stand than sit! He's not quite to the point of pulling himself up yet but wants to stand whenever he can. He'll stand holding onto the rail in the pack and play, in the crib, and just about anywhere else you give him somewhere to hold on to. He's even learning to tighten his grip when we feels himself starting to fall.

This one is not the best quality image but it was just too funny not to share!

See, he'll stand just about anywhere you put him! He's not too sure what to do when his weight shifts and this thing starts to move though! However, most times he goes down without a tear.

To celebrate his new achievements I decided it was time for his official first pair of walkers. Later that afternoon we were at Uncle Chuck and Aunt Anna's house and he loved standing next to the couch. They give him so much more support. He was so proud of himself!

I kept having the feeling of "deja vu" and I took a quick trip back to the old blog ( When I came across February 2006 I realized why... click HERE and HERE.

Guess I've got to go right now and let down the crib mattress!!

Home Plate Commercial

In a recent post I wrote about Katelyn getting to be in a TV commercial for Home Plate, a baseball/softball indoor training facility in Millbrook, that is run by our cousins Adam and Lindsey Mikell. It is pretty awesome by the way!! Lindsey just sent me a copy of the commercial spot that is running on Bright House and Charter Networks. I believe it is on ESPN mostly. I thought I would post it here for those that like me and don't spend much time on ESPN. ;) You have to be quick to see Katelyn. She is sitting on the floor next to Hannah in the group shot. To this day she still walks around saying "There's no place like Home Plate!" all the time!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

More Eight Months

Here are just a few more favorites from Owen's 8 month mini session. He is quite the ham in front of the camera!

Last one!

Whew! This was a tough series to photograph! I wasn't really thinking ahead when I put Owen on the chest of drawers as a baby as to how hard it would be to get him in the same place sitting! I had to call in reinforcements from my nephew Cameron to help "spot" Owen in case he decided to take a leap! Although a little stressful I'm please with how they turned out. Look how little he used to be!

Eight Months

Oh my! What a change in our little man over the past month! He has come ALIVE! He has become one active little fella and no longer will he let me hold him as a baby. He has to sit up and see the world (if you can get him to sit still long enough!). He loves to stand now - holding on to the rail of the pack and play mostly - and actually prefers that to sitting and playing. I think he may be an early walker as well. However I thought that about Katelyn too and she didn't take her first step until 13 months. It seems he has gone through a bit of a growth spurt again by looking at his stats. That is no surprise in that he LOVES to eat! He still doesn't like to take time for a bottle but loves to feed himself. He is a "puff" eating machine! :) We have discovered that he is quite the fan of blackeyed peas and other peas too. Oh, and he signed MORE for the first time yesterday!! Yippee! He'll just smile when he does it. His personality is really developing as well. I'm seeing early signs of his tantrum abilities already. When he doesn't want to get his diaper changed or be put where he doesn't want to go he will let himself be known. I have to keep one hand on him at all times on the changing table because it he doesn't want to be there he will arch his back straight up pushing up with his feet and come down hard over and over! If I try to sit him down when he doesn't want to he'll get stiff as a board and you have to push him down at his middle to get him to bend! He is strong as an ox! Even with all that, he is the happiest baby on the block and I am cherishing every moment with this little guy!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Day

On the first day of 2009 we slept in until 7:00am! Woohoo! It was wonderful! We got dressed and went to Prattville for breakfast at Cracker Barrel with Poppy & Gigi. The rest of day was pretty uneventful just enjoying the day at home. I made a big pot of blackeyed peas for dinner. Owen had them for the first time and LOVED them! He kept asking for MORE! They were yummy!

New Years Eve

On Wednesday night we met some friends at the Brawners' house for dinner and an early New Year's celebration. With only 7 familes there were 16 kids (and one still in the cooker! :))! The kids outnumbered the adults and it was wild! Of course the group picture was the usual challenge but I'm so glad we took a moment to take it! Thanks everyone!

After the kids were good and "sugared" up from the fabulous cupcakes that Meredith and Will made...

...we had a mock celebration (at the late hour of 7:30pm!) highlighted by a balloon drop for the kids! It was so cool and the kids absolutely LOVED it!

My little P&S camera has been known to give me fits on occasion but I was unusually pleased with the cool focus on these two shots of the kids that night.

We left the Brawners' house about 8:00pm and headed to Prattville for a quick visit with DaLee and some friends. DaLee had cooked a wonderful dinner of crab cakes and homemade cheesecake. She was so sweet to give us a plate for Thursday. The cheesecake was yummy yummy!! I am not ashamed to say we were home and all in bed by 10:00pm only to be woken by fireworks outside at 12:00!

HAPPY NEW YEAR from the Mercer Family!!

The rest of the pictures are HERE.

Beautiful Winter Day

After spending the entire day on Tuesday running errands I promised Katelyn I would take her to the playground the next day. Well it didn't matter if it was -2 degrees outside we had to go to the playground as promised. We loaded up the new wagon (a Christmas gift from Poppy & Gigi!) and headed out to Shoal Creek Baptist Church playground. It was an absolutely gorgeous day except the wind was blowing about 20 mph and it did feel like it was -2 degrees!! Oh my goodness it was cold! We stayed out there maybe 20 minutes and that was all I could stand! It was nice to get outside for a little while!

Christmas Day

Christmas Day for us started at around 6:30am. We heard the pitter patter of Katelyn's little feet trying to sneak downstairs as Bart caught her. She was so excited! We had to wake up Owen but luckily he woke in a good mood. Here's a quick clip of their first moments downstairs. Pardon the snaps throughout the video - that was me trying to take pictures in the dark with my P&S! Not a good thing! I quickly got out the big camera and flash shortly after.

Owen's first Christmas

Katelyn's fourth Christmas

Katelyn got her annual gift of "bling" from her daddy. This year it was her first pair of earrings - ladybug earrings. She was so excited that we even tried to change out her original earrings early (it's been about 4 weeks - supposed to wait at least 6). BAD IDEA!! It was a huge disaster and we almost didn't get the original ones back in when the switch turned out so badly. Katelyn is such a drama queen. She may just have her original flower earrings in when she gets married! This momma is not going to try that again for a long time!

Our sweet sweet babies!

I did a post on our upstairs tree and here's the tree that almost didn't get decorated because I waited so late and just lost the motivation. Thanks to Rosie and Katelyn who finally finished it up for me. I think it got decorated just 3 days before Christmas! :) I couldn't resist having a little fun with the camera!

After opening gifts at home we walked next door for Christmas with the Mercer family. Poppy and Gigi fixed a wonderful breakfast and then we opened gifts. Totally unplanned, all of the kids got handheld video games from Santa and it was so funny to watch them absolutely glued to them! Cameron got a PSP, Hannah got a Nintendo DS, and Katelyn got a Leapster 2. Katelyn wants to be just like Hannah and keeps calling the Leapster her "DS"! Too cute! Owen just couldn't handle all the excitement and had to take a quick siesta.

Nana and Pop came to see us later in the day to check out the kid's loot. We went to an afternoon movie to see "Marley & Me". It was a cute movie but don't forget your box of Kleenex!! There were a few scenes a little inappropriate for my 3 year old so I kept having to distract her with popcorn and such. Overall she did great at the theater.

We are so blessed! We have many wonderful memories of Christmas 2008!

The rest of the pictures are posted HERE.