Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tennessee Aquarium

This weekend was a long weekend due to Martin Luther King Jr day on Monday and I was pretty excited, because who doesn't love long weekends?! Friday afternoon, my mom emailed me an email she had received about Saturday being Teacher Recognition Day at the Tennessee Aquarium and asked if I wanted to go, in a totally joking way. I said Haha I wish and went on about my day at work. When it was almost time for me to get off work, curiosity got the best of me and I looked up how long it would take to get to Chattanooga. It was only 2 hours and 45 minutes! All of a sudden, an idea that seemed somewhat preposterous a few hours earlier started to take root in my mind as something that was actually doable and could be really fun! I convinced Mom and Brooke it was a good idea, and Saturday morning we hit the road. We got there about 12 their time and went into the ocean building first.
 One of the first exhibits we came to was the penguins. Oh my goodness, they were so cute and Brayden and Bentley loved it! The would swim right by the glass and you could see them so well.

Since we used my phone as our GPS, it was about this time that my phone died. Unfortunately I didn't get any more pictures, but I know Brooke got some. After the ocean building, we left the aquarium (another thing I loved about this aquarium - you could leave and come back!) and went to downtown Chattanooga to eat lunch. We ate at Lupi's Pizza Pies and it was delicious. Then we went back to the aquarium and went to the river journey building and had lots of fun in there too. Our favorite exhibit there was the otters. They are so cute!

While we were finishing up at the aquarium, Bentley succumbed to sleep. So Brooke sat in the car with her while she slept and Mom, Brayden, and I walked across the really long walking bridge they have in Chattanooga. It was awesome! Once we got to the other side, we found a carousel inside a building so we all 3 got to ride it. Now, the one at the Galleria, the parent gets to ride for free with the child so I normally just stand by Brayden and act like a parent. On this one, we each had to pay $1 to get on. So, feeling like I paid my fair share to ride it, ride it I did! :) I hopped on one of those horses and acted like a kid again. My mom even joined in on the fun. Brayden thought it was great!

After that, Bentley was awake so Brooke came and picked us up and we headed for home. I seriously was sad that we had to leave. I LOVED Chattanooga and want to go back there soon. Brayden loves "fautterwalls" so I know he will love Ruby Falls. I loved the downtown area and that walking bridge. It was such a fun day trip and I'm so glad we did it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Don't Take It For Granted

I'm sure a lot of you have heard about Ann Reese Grote, the 2 year old who passed away on Christmas Eve. For those of you who haven't, Ann Reese was at her grandmother's on Christmas Eve and passed away in a tragic swingset accident. I first heard about it because Ann Reese's mom had classes in education at Auburn with one of my best friends. Then I started following the Facebook page & got to see precious pictures of beautiful Ann Reese & read some amazing posts from her family members.

Her story has had a profound impact on me. It has totally changed the way I think about parenting & has helped me achieve my New Year's resolution of being patient with Brayden a lot faster and easier. I know the reason it hit me so hard is because she was so close to Brayden's age (she would have been 3 this month; Brayden will be 3 in May). It made me realize that I have no idea how long or short my time on this earth with Brayden is. He could be burying me when I'm 100 years old or  . . . well, I don't want to think about any other alternative. It made me realize to cherish EVERY moment with him. Since I've heard about Ann Reese, I cherish the moment when he is pitching a fit because he's tired and doesn't want to wear the pajamas I've picked out. I cherish the moment when he splashes as hard as he can in the bathtub and gets water ALL over the bathroom. I cherish the moment when he wakes up at 5AM and wants milk and to get in my bed. I now cherish every moment because I know Ann Reese's parents would give anything to have her back, pitching fits, splashing water, and all. My child has good and bad moments and days just like I do. He gets a little hard to handle when he's tired and hungry just like I am. Everytime he starts to do something that tries my patience, I think to myself "Would I rather him be here misbehaving or not be here at all?" and that immediately calms me down and makes me think about what could be. I have learned not to take any time with him for granted. Life is short; enjoy every minute of it!

This couple has demonstrated amazing faith in losing their daughter. I am in awe of them and I can only pray that I would respond the same way if/when I'm ever faced with a tragedy. I know God has a plan for my life and for Brayden's - I know that for an absolute fact; no ifs, ands, or buts about it. However, when faced with a tragedy like that, it would be hard to remember that at times. Please keep this family in your prayers this week as Ann Reese's birthday is Friday and I'm sure that will be a very hard day for them.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Hello 2013!

Happy New Year! It is officially 2013! We rang in the new year in a big way! Sleeping! :) We watched the ball drop at 11 & went to sleep. Tyler & I did get to have a date though. Mom watched Brayden while we went & spent almost 3 hours (not an exaggeration) at Outback. It was fun.

In 2013, Brayden will turn 3! Hopefully we'll get a home improvement project done on our house & only have 267 more to do. Haha! I'll get a new niece or nephew & Brayden will get a new cousin in July. Brayden will finish up his first year of preschool.

I have actually set some resolutions for myself that I am determined to fulfill. I haven't done resolutions in years because I never fulfilled them so I finally said what's the point?! This year I want to lose weight in a big way. I have promised myself I have to lose weight and be healthy before I will get pregnant again. I have to lose a lot so I need to go ahead and get started now. I'm not going to diet; I'm going to change my lifestyle. I also want to get healthy for Brayden. Now I would rather watch him play; I want to be able to participate and play with him.

I also want to be more diligent about having a quiet time. That's not as high on my priority list as it should be and I want to change that.

My biggest resolution this year is to be more patient with Brayden. This is a quote from Hands Free Mama's blog that totally applies to me: "Never will I forget how a whole day could be ruined when one little thing on my master plan went awry …". I get very stressed out when things don't do according to my plan and I can get pretty mean. I also lose patience pretty easily. I want to work so hard to change these things for myself and for my family.

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year!

Christmas Eve & Day

This was the first year on Christmas Eve that we didn't have a family function to attend & it was SO nice. We spent the day with my Mom running around getting last minute gifts. That night we went to the Christmas Eve service at church (my fav!) & went to Mom's & had soup & snack foods. Before bed, Brayden got to open 1 gift - new pajamas & a new ornament for the tree (a firetruck he picked out but had forgotten all about). We set out cookies & eggnog for Santa & went to sleep!

Brayden ended up in our bed during the night so when he woke up in the morning, it was obvious he had forgotten all about Santa. When I asked him if he wanted to go see if someone came during the night, he instantly remembered & got excited. I initially planned to video & take pictures but then I decided just to live in the moment & not worry about the camera. Not to mention Brayden is in a phase where he loathes having his picture made. He seriously acts crazy when I say lets take a picture. We did manage to get one of him & me in front of the tree. For some reason Blogger won't let me upload it, so I guess this will be a no picture post!

By the tree Santa left a tent, a rug to drive cars on, & a tee ball set. Brayden immediately wanted to go outside & play tee ball. Then he noticed Santa had left a note by the empty cookie plate! It said that Brayden had been good this year & there was one gift he couldn't fit in the house so he left it in the backyard. So he ran to the windows & it was a trampoline! After jumping on it for a minute we went in to open presents from mom & dad. He got a tool box with tools & an electric drill, new boots, & a turtle who puts stars on the ceiling. He loved all of his gifts & has really enjoyed playing with them since Christmas. To be honest, I've really enjoyed playing with the trampoline. 😃

After that we went over to my moms for lunch. He got a pretty awesome basketball goal & lots of other fun gifts over there. He also got some clothes, which is good because his are starting to get too small. So long 2T! We hung out at my moms all afternoon & then went to my grandmother's for dinner. He got to play with Colton & open up even more presents!

It was such a great 2 days. I absolutely love Christmas! My husband, on the other hand, is not a huge fan. I really hope Brayden learns to have a love for Christmas, not because he gets presents, but because of what it stands for. My goal as the years go by is to truly teach him what Christmas means & not get caught up in buying lots of gifts for him.

On a side note, my mom also bought him a Leappad 2 & that thing is pretty awesome! He really enjoys it & is pretty good at working it. I just have to make sure he doesn't spend too much time on it because I don't want him to get sucked in to the electronic/technology world!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!