Friday, October 29, 2010

Bed Head

He has such pretty hair. It's wild when he gets up from naps.

 I love the flush of his cheeks and lips from a good nap. Look at the drool. That's cute too.

 The hair is wild and he is a cutie.

 We changed his diaper and we had to have some fun. His pants had to go on his head.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

~Gina~

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baths for Baby & Dog the Multi-Tasking Mother's Way

As a working mother you learn to multi-task on a whole new level. When it comes to bath time I have found a new way to work in a bath for the dog too. (Disclaimer: I am not responsible in any way for how this works with your kid and dog if you decide to try, lucky for me, both of mine cooperate)

Here is the routine.

Step 1: Close all bedroom doors.

Step 2: Plug the big bath tub.

Step 3: Fill baby bath tub and let water run out into the big bath tub. Don't fill tub too full, you want to keep the water in baby bath tub and big bath tub separate.

Step 4: Undress baby and grab dog (by the way this only works with smaller dogs). You may need to shut everyone up in the bathroom. Tucker usually runs when I call his name while water is running. Never leave baby alone in water filled tub.

Step 5: Place baby in baby bath tub and dog in big bath tub.

Step 6: Wash baby first, then wash dog.

Step 7: While baby plays in baby bath tub, dry the dog and let him out of bathroom.

Step 8: Now, remove the baby and dry him off.

Step 9: Dress baby and make sure dog is not running around on bed. This is why you do Step 1.

Step 10: Now empty water from tubs, rinse well, and wipe out with some sort of tub cleaner.

Notice the color of the water Tucker is in. This is why you keep them in separate tubs.

Tyler finds this all amusing because Tucker usually takes a running fit after a bath. If bedroom doors are not shut we inevitably find ourselves sleeping in a wet bed. I can only remove so much water from Tucker with towel and the rest is up to him. He has learned the bed is very absorbent and when he is tired he can snuggle in next to the pillows. I prefer him to do the run dry method but he usually gets tired of this.

Tucker is getting impatient with me. He wants a towel.

Tyler thinks having Tucker close and in such a fit is entertaining. I see this as time well spent. Baby gets his bath and is entertained. Tucker gets a bath, exercises, and bonding time with baby. Mom gets to enjoy her two little ones and everyone is clean.

Note: Dad does usually help with this process at a certain point. I have completed process by myself but it is best to have help just in case.
~Gina~

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Butt-ups Exercises

I would like to think that learning to crawl is so easy, but it's not. My little guy is so close to crawling. We work with him every day but he really has little interest in it. He is already taking his first steps though. I think he will skip crawling and move right into walking.

He tries so hard to crawl but I think his mechanics are a little wrong.

In my experience you must use your knees to crawl. 

He takes breaks after these grueling workouts. I don't blame him, I need breaks too when I work out. 

Then  he gets excited again and decides that he is capable and it looks promising that he will take off.

But of course another break is needed.

Another burst of energy and maybe a little too much enthusiasim and his butt is in the air again.

Defeat.

He gives up, and in a round about way tells me, "This bites mom, let's practice walking."

I usually let him fuss it out and tell him tummy time is important and cheer him on. Mommy's tummy time is no different. I fuss too while doing crunches and then I go eat a brownie.

I sit him up give him a kiss and we play with the toy that has been just out of reach. We gotta do what we don't really enjoy, so we can get what we may not really need.

He will figure it out. We all do eventually.

~Gina~

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Reason I Poured Coffee on Myself

I was looking at this angelic face through my lens and trying to get it to focus for just one more picture.

That's when Tony informed me I was pouring coffee on myself.


I love this child so very much. He makes me crazy and causes me to embarrass myself.

~Gina~

Corn Maze in Tennessee, and Riding in a Barrel

So we did a corn maze. It was lots of fun and we got in a lot of walking. Tyler once again proved to be a patient baby as he rode on daddy's back and watched everyone walk. The maze was fun and we enjoyed some beautiful weather.

I enjoyed yummy coffee up until I poured it on myself. Not just a little coffee, I mean a continuous stream of coffee on my scarf and jeans.

I could not get the camera to focus and I did not realize I was pouring it all over myself. I tried to take pictures after the fact and that is when I realized the reason the camera would not focus was because the battery was too low.

We all laughed and I was completely embarrassed. While I was concentrating on my misfortune, Tony suggested we just pour it out and I agreed. I did not mean to do so, but I was so embarrassed and busy laughing at myself it was too late.
 

The maze was hard in some areas. Even the Boy Scouts couldn't find their way out, and I think we were the only group willing to try the second phase of the maze. We never passed one single person in this part of the maze.

Once we escaped we let the kid's play on the play ground area. There was not too much for babies but the little corn crib was fun for Tyler. That is until 5 or more children joined us and started the Dust Bowl of 2010. That's when we decided to get out while we could.


Nodding and getting excited about the ride coming.
Then we decided to turn it up a notch and get a little crazy. Tyler agreed with mom to do something fun.

Click on the picture to watch video of ride.

We decided to hop in a barrel...

That was painted like a cow...

Being pulled by a 4-wheeler...

Driven by a teenager...

And sitting side-saddle no less!

Crazy. That is why I am in the second cart. There are about 6 little carts and I didn't want the whip effect to take place.

You know what I am talking about? If you ever roller skated and grabbed hands in a long line of 5 or more people and then skated as fast as you could. That last person in line was in a world of hurt when you would come into a curve. We called it popping the whip and it was a lot of fun when I was braver.

At one point I thought this reckless teenager was going to do this to us in one of the curves. He went a little too fast in some parts for my liking, mostly because I ate a lot of dirt, and he turned the curves a little too fast too.

Who regulates this stuff?

When we returned and came to a stop, I realized I could not get out by myself. The kid in front of me offered to help but I was too busy yelling for Tony. You will notice at the end of the video that I am yelling for help.

I have decided I will not ride again until maybe someone of greater maturity and responsibility will drive and I lose a little more weight.

We had a lot of fun though and I posted video on YouTube so enjoy.


~Gina~

Monday, October 25, 2010

Celebrating our Heritage with a Bang!

It worked out the other weekend to go to a house warming shower and the Annual Barnardsville Heritage Day Festival. I am very proud to be from good old B-ville.


I am also very proud to live in the South and celebrate our ancestors and learn more about the area. It all took place at the Big Ivy Historical Park.


You could take a tour of the Carson Cabin and spring house, a one room school house, and the Little Snowball Fire Tower. I wanted to go up into the tower but there was a bees nest.




I had not visited the Carson Cabin since I was a small girl. Most of the time it is locked up so you cannot walk through but on this day it is opened and partially furnished.


I had never seen the inside of the spring house. This was very interesting how the water flows in, around and then back out.


Tyler enjoyed the crowd and looking around. I loved this picture of him on the front porch. He is such a good sport about pictures.


 
As we were leaving they were getting ready to fire the cannon. They did this every hour and it literally rattles your teeth. It evokes such emotion too. I could not imagine being on those battle fields and having cannons firing like this. Such bravery by our soldiers. I am so thankful for America and our freedom.


What are you thankful for about your heritage or family roots?

~Gina~

Friday, October 22, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Joy and Pain: We Are Never the Same

About this time two years ago I had a miscarriage. It was one of the hardest things I had ever went through. I told myself that there was no way it could happen to me, so I left myself even more vulnerable. Even if you could anticipate a miscarriage it would never prepare you for what you will go through.


 When we found out we were expecting we did no less than 4 tests and rushed to tell our parents. Next we shared the news with the rest of our family and friends. Our excitement could not be contained. I was reading everything I could and buying books right and left. I was even shopping for maternity clothes.


We were beyond thrilled and just could not believe we got pregnant so quick. Even though I was dreading getting larger and gaining weight, I was ready to document the whole pregnancy. I watched my tummy every week just waiting for it to protrude the tiniest bit.

By 11 weeks I was a little disappointed to see that I had not changed one bit. I seemed to have returned to normal little to no weakness and no food aversions. When we went to our 12 week appointment we were very excited to hear that little heartbeat. I knew that we would not get to see the baby on ultrasound but I had read enough to know we would be listening for a heartbeat.


Once we were in the room I was just giddy with excitement. The midwife listened for the heartbeat but it seemed to allude her. So she suggested we move to the ultrasound room so she could use it to pick up the heartbeat. She explained that sometimes it was just hard to find, but I was starting to develop a knot in my stomach.

In the other room we watched the screen. I could not stay focused on it. I knew something was wrong. As I looked at my midwife's face I knew.

The confirmation came from a soft squeeze on my foot from the nurse. It was a touch of sympathy. I knew my baby had not survived.

When the measurements were taken it was still at around 9 weeks along. We had no clue. I had showed no signs of anything going wrong. The baby had probably died not long after our first ultrasound.

I was in shock.

I was not prepared.

I was devastated.

We returned to our original exam room while the midwife checked to see if a more advanced ultrasound machine was available. I knew it was true though. I appreciated the fact she was trying to confirm her findings so far, but I knew the baby was not alive. It all made sense why I seemed to have no pregnancy symptoms.

We waited what seemed like an eternity in silence. When Tony tried talking to me I told him I really just did not want to talk or I would lose it. I really did not want to walk out of the building crying so we waited holding each others hands.

We went down the hall to the next ultrasound room with a special technician and the confirmation came. I was drained and in agony as we made plans to wait the horrible process out naturally, then to proceed with a D&C (dilation and curettage) if nothing happened in 2 weeks.

I was barely able to pay my copay and get out of the office. Once in the car we called our parents and delivered the news. Hopes were crushed, not just our own. This made it even harder for me. I felt like such a failure.

Tony and I took the week off from work. We wanted to just spend the time together and mourn our loss. I just could not face my office and the out pouring of sympathy. I just needed Tony because I did not want to be alone with my thoughts and sadness.

I felt as though I was being mocked by the sweet gestures, hugs, and cards. Everyone was so nice and loving yet I was bitter and could barely cry.

After my D&C, doctors told us we could start trying again after 6 to 9 weeks of healing, but I wanted longer. I was terrified of going through this process again and I did not allow my hopes to get too high.
We found out we were pregnant with Tyler a few months later and I will admit I was very scared. We told only our parents, and waited until we heard the heartbeat to tell others. I did not get overly excited which was such a shame because I wished I had more pictures of me getting fat.

As we watched my belly grow with little Tyler inside we were thrilled and amazed at the little life inside of me. He grew so strong and those first movements were amazing to me. I felt his little hiccups and the doctor said it was a good sign that he was strong and healthy.

Thank you God for those little bits of encouragement.



My pregnancy was perfect and delivery, well that is another story, but regardless we are all happy and healthy now.

From sorrow comes joy, but God will not put more on us than we can bare.

~Gina~

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dixie Stampede Decorations Are Amazing!

I have never been to see the Dixie Stampede show. I wanted to go while we were on our trip but we did not get to go.


Instead we went and took pictures in front of the building where they had an amazing display set up.


Tyler thought he was a part of a parade because he waved at every car that passed.


Look at the horses and cows. That is corn stalks. I just can't imagine how long it took Dolly to make these.


What! (shock and horror) You mean Dolly does not do her own decorating?

Well I know Martha Stewart does! 

She's the woman!


Well, next year believe me I will have a covered wagon made of hay bales in my yard. I have been inspired!

Why not this year you ask?

Because I am laughing too hard at the thought of me attempting this.

Now let me sign off so I can wipe the tears from my eyes.

~Gina~

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hiking to Laurel Falls

We hiked the Laurel Falls Trail to Laurel Falls. This was just outside Gatlinburg, TN in the Great Smokey Mountains. It is a 2.6 mile hike with a 300 foot ascent in 1 mile. My sore muscles thanked me for the workout and it worked the soreness right out. It was paved back in the 60's and brochures say it is handicap and stroller accessible.

I have a correction for that brochure.

No way!

Of course he is smiling and loving life.

The path for the most part is great for walking but you still need to watch your footing. The last stretch to the falls has a pretty considerable drop off to your left. I was super nervous about tripping or Tony tripping. There are signs posted to hold onto your child's hand and watch out. I don't think when Tyler gets older this will be the trail to walk, but it was great for us at this time.

He liked patting Dad on the head. Giving encouragement!

We had our pack to put Tyler in and that worked great. We passed one group that had tried to make it out to the falls with a wheelchair but just could not make it past a certain point. The lady was walking at this point and they were trying to push the partially folded up wheelchair. They did not make it to the falls unfortunately because they had to turn around. 

This is a little further along the trail. Dad and Baby are still happy.

Only a small portion of the trail would I push my stroller with Tyler, and I would not trust myself going along the cliff portion pushing anything. The trail has had lots of water erosion and weathering. Not to mention a bad fire burned part of the mountain at one point. The fire is evident on some of the trees at the steeper portion.

Here Tony is feeling the trail a little more. Tyler is still good.

This did not deter other people from trying with their strollers. We passed 2 double strollers, 3 regular strollers (not the kind with big wheels either), and one kid being pushed on a small tricycle. After we passed these people on the way down we would shake our heads and say a prayer for them. They had not made it to the drop off area yet.

Tony had to take off the sweatshirt and Tyler was engrossed with the people.

Walking the trail is really easy. If you have a baby on your back it gets a little more difficult. Tony felt good through pretty much the whole trip, but when we got to the car we were starved and he could wring the water out of his shirt.

I had to get another picture.

This was Tyler's first hike in the backpack and he loved it. I have to say he likes just about everything really and this was a lot of fun for him.

I thought he would go to sleep but he smiled and played all the way up the mountain and back down. He is such a trooper and this gives us hope that we can do more hiking in the future with him.


 ~Gina~

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Giggles in the Pool

Tyler is so precious.

He just loved the pool.

He thought it was even better when Tony was going under water and playing with him.

Follow this link to the video of my little one having a good time in the pool with dad.


I just cry it is so precious. Have a wonderful day!

~Gina~

Fall Weather in Dolly's World, a.k.a. Pigeon Forge, TN

We took a much needed vacation this past week. I was very close to burn out. I had painted and worked my tail off for 2 weeks. Believe me when I say my tail was sore for a full week during vacation from all that work.

Luckily though we did plenty of swimming and hiking while on vacation in Pigeon Forge, TN and just enjoyed being outside soaking up nature.


He just did not want to smile.

Then he realized he had an audience and smiled.
We did not go to DollyWood though. She had beautiful props and we enjoyed taking advantage for pictures with Tyler. It was a little nippy when we left the room and walked to the Old Mill for lunch but it was beautiful regardless.

Me, my pumpkin, and a big pumpkin.
 Tyler could not get over the huge pumpkin and he was trying to touch it in most of the pictures.

Trying to capture a picture for Mema.
 Since he was away from his Mema for a whole week, daily updates were sent out.

See look how pretty they had everything! I just could not soak it all up, although I tried. It was just beautiful.

The weather cooperated for the most part and as the week progressed it continued to improve. I will post a few more things that we did through the week.


I hope Autumn is treating everyone well. What are you doing in your area during this fall season? If it is near Western North Carolina let me know!

~Gina~

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wildlife Tour in Cades Cove

We woke up early and hit the road to go to Cades Cove while we visited Pigeon Forge. If you are not familiar with Cades Cove, this is a great place to do a little of everything. We love driving the 11 mile loop looking for deer, bear, turkeys, and any other wildlife. Along the way you can find old home places such as Elijah Oliver place and the Gregg-Cable House. There is also a primitive Baptist Church and a Methodist Church. There are trails everywhere too. It’s just a very interesting place to visit.


We did our first loop on Monday and at a great distance we got to see 4 bears in a tree. In the big tree in the field you can see 4 dark spots, these are the bears. We had our zoom lens but this is the best that we could do. Sometimes they are closer though and then it is best to stay in the car, but you always know when an animal is in sight by the cars pulled over and people with cameras and binoculars.

We probably would have never noticed them had there not been 2 men there to point them out. Most people did not stop because they did not know what we were looking at.


We also saw a few male deers chasing after the ladies. We just sat in the car and watched as they pranced around in the field. They are just beautiful creatures. They were a lot of fun to watch.

Then we returned even earlier on Wednesday morning. We stopped at the visitor center for a bathroom break and to stretch our legs and saw plenty of deer just hanging out in the yard area.

We were trying to get a good picture but the sun was in our eyes here.


But if you look in the background you will see deer. There were lots more in this area.


As you can see here I am pointing out a big deer in the yard while 2 others walk right behind me. My finger is on one and the other one is over my other shoulder. We had a lot to look at here.


Now this guy could really care less what was going on around him. He was eating away at this tender grass only glancing to make sure we did not get too close.


Tyler really could care less because there was a little girl there making faces and laughing for him. We watched this guy eat his way along the fence, but as it always goes people just feel the need to get too close and spooked him off.


We had a zoom lens so we stayed farther back, but others just have point and shoot cameras so they think they need to get within 15 feet of them. Rangers patrol the park and when they see a cluster of people getting too close they will intervene.

It does not matter the species, boys will be boys, and we got to see two guys show off for us. Once again a crowd got close to take pictures. The animals sensed the people get a little too close and moved on out into the field.


Now this little lady was right on the side of the road enjoying her breakfast. We stayed in our car and made as little noise as possible and she just munched away. We drove off and didn't bother her anymore.

I wished we could have done more but with a nine month old we stretched out our morning pretty well before a nap was needed and then lunch.
If you get a chance look it up and visit Cades Cove, TN. We enjoyed it so much and still have so much that we want to do in the future.
~Gina~