Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Our Marathon Weekend Part Deux

The typical marathon weekend leaves me almost no time for myself when we get home ;o)...So, uploading pictures (and e-mailing and phone calls and a host of other things) have had to be put on the back burner for a few days. I am going to try to zoom through a quick update before Mommy Duty calls. Okay, well, after the excitement of Tony's wedding and the big birthday party, walking downtown and getting everyone to bed late on Friday night, we were exhausted! We decided to lay low for the first part of the day and recuperate. My step brother showed us the work he'd been doing on his new house and then we watched Ella Scott while he and my step dad went to finish more stuff in the old house.
We don't get to see her very often and she and Landon have never gotten to spend much quality time together just playing, so it was really great for all of us! The house was perfect for little ones with open floor plan and big screened-in porches, a play room and a nice yard. There were verandas for them to run around on and an annoyed dog and cat for extra entertainment, should the two of them get bored. Needless to say, they never did. It cracked me up to see how well the kids got along together, even though one was almost three and the other was only one and a half. They climbed on the railing on the back porch together and then did some acrobatics on the Adirondack chairs. Ella Scott copied everything Landon did. Usually it's him copying the big kids he plays with, so this was making him feel like quite the boss--lol! They ran inside and then outside and then inside again, stopping only to have a snack when it was absolutely necessary. At five o'clock, Landon, Andy and I had to hit the road again. We drove out to Folly Beach to go to a barbecue in honor of Tony and Racquel. The night was, again, perfect.
The weather was nice and they had set up a huge buffet table of three different kinds of barbecue, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, baked beans, desserts...too many choices to even pile on one plate, but we all tried. We all relaxed in front of the ocean until the sun set. Some people played croquet and others started a game of beach football. Watching Tony and Racquel that night reminded me a lot of my "wedding days"--the times when almost everyone Andy and I loved were all in one place at one time, getting to know each other and having fun together. It was sweet to see them smile at each other like they were so in love and so unbelievably happy. Landon loved being able to run free, climb on rocks, and splash in the ocean. By the time we left, his pockets were so filled with shells that he was jingling with every step and just as proud as could be! It was the perfect Southern beach party and we had so much fun! We left there relaxed (and full) and ready for bed! On Sunday, the guys went to Scott and Heather's old house to finish up some painting, leaving mom and me to watch the little ones again. When they were finished working and everything was packed, we ate at a delicious sandwich restaurant called Dog and Duck. They not only have great food, they also have games for children, Lightening McQueen and Disney Princess stepping stools in the bathrooms, and even a water station for dogs outside! If you're ever in that direction, you should definitely check them out! After we ate, we headed back toward home. We stopped at Andy's Grandma's house again for a HUGE dinner (as if we NEEDED a huge dinner!! LOL!) and then drove the last hour and a half back to our house, ending our long and wonderful marathon weekend. Tah Daaaaah!

**I left the part out about having to make an emergency pit stop at my dad's house at 10:30 at night to pee 15 minutes from home. You're welcome**

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Our Marathon Weekend

We had a HUGE weekend!!! On Thursday afternoon, Andy left work early and we set out for my friend, Tony's, wedding in Charleston, SC (which still happens to be one of my favorite places in the world to go, no matter how many times I've been there or where else I've been...It never gets old!). It's only about three hours from here, but we decided to stop half way at Andy's Grandma's house to visit with her and spend the night. We got up early on Friday and finished the last hour and a half of the drive. We got to my step brother's new house just in time to dress for the wedding and shoot back out the door again. My mom came as my "and guest" ;oP leaving Andy and Landon to go with my step brother, niece, and step dad to a big birthday party. We all ran out of the house in different directions and of course my mom and I got lost. We finally found the location (a beautiful historical house called the Legare-Waring House at Charles Towne Landing) to realize that we had to park about a mile away and take a shuttle bus to the ceremony. We made it just in time for Racquel to walk down the aisle--Phew! By the way, if any of you live near South Carolina and are planning a wedding, you have got to check this place out!! It was absolutely perfect! The bride and groom exchanged vows under huge trees covered in Spanish moss. The band was set up under a big white tent, surrounded by bouquets of flowers and hundreds of candles. The food was set up in all of the downstairs rooms of the house. The weather was a amazing and it all took place just as the sun was setting over the pond. We had such a good time! After we left the wedding, Mom and I went into downtown Charleston to walk around. We even got a good parking space!(If you've ever been to Charleston, you know how impossible this can be!!) We went to the swings at the harbor and ate dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Then we just walked and talked until we had to get back to the "real world". The next morning, Andy and my step dad, David went with my step brother to paint the garage in their old house while mom and I watched Landon and my sweet little niece, Ella Scott at the new house. Even baby-sitting is fun in a house like their new one---WOW! That place is amazing!! I am going to write about the rest of the weekend in another post so you all don't get overwhelmed (or just plain bored!) To be continued....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Too Cute Not to Post

Landon and I went over to play with his friends, Julia and Madalyn this afternoon. I was surrounded by a whole new world--a world of hair bows and ruffles, sparkly shoes and pink tents. It was so different from all of the trucks and sports equipment, dinosaurs and dirt that surround me here so of course I was snapping away with my camera like a madwoman. The girls were too cute not to post. Here are a few I'm going to edit for their mom. Thanks, Rhyne ladies, for a great GIRLY afternoon!

Monday, April 21, 2008


As you all can see, Mr. Lightening McQueen took a little tumble while racing around our kitchen last night and ended up with a fat lip....(See how happy he looked after the experience? Poor little guy!)

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Today we went to an international arts festival we have in Greenville every year called Artisphere. We checked out artwork --We listened to lots of live music--We tried food from a few local restaurants (I wound up eating pizza as usual! How does that always happen?)--and....(drum roll please).....WE GOT LANDON OVER HIS FEAR OF COPS-Yaaay! My brother introduced Landon to his cop-friend and after running away from him several times, Landon finally decided to trust the cop. He then hopped right into the police car, pressing every button in sight and yelling, "See? I like cops!" Hmmm--That was easy. :oD Anyways, here are some pictures from our day:

Andy and Jen + 10???

Last night I went with my mom to see the "stars" from the TLC show "Jon and Kate+8" and now I love them even more!!! The event was awesome and gave so much unexpected clarity in my decision about whether or not to try to have a second baby. They were so inspirational that now somewhere deep down (verrrry deep down--lol) I almost wish that one day it will be ME looking at a polka-dotted ultrasound screen, very close to passing out or throwing up, but still accepting the crazy curve ball life has thrown me. They are so much like Andy and me that I can picture us in our own reality show, too--me freaking out and going nuts all the time instead of Kate, Andy quiet and calm in the background like Jon, sneakily rolling his eyes at me (and quickly denying he did when I accuse him). They banter for a crowd like Andy and me. They argue the same way we do. They even converse like Andy and me (Mostly Kate and I blah blah blah-ing while our men watch and wait and throw in a few jabs or comments when they can--ha ha ha!). The whole time they were talking last night, I wanted to run down to them and say, "Let's go out to dinner and hang out after the show! Be my friend!"...but I, instead, settled for being the first person in my group to ask them a question after the presentation was over. "How old were you guys when you first became the parents of eight?" (Lame, I know. It was all I could think of :oD...) They actually talked to me for quite awhile about how weird it was that they were only 27 and 29 with eight kids---Yaaaay! (I'm a big fan, if you can't tell). Anyways, the night was really perfect. Mom and I went to a delicious tapas restaurant downtown afterwards and had appetizers and a glass of wine. We had such a great time talking (and of course eating) and I really do feel ready now to follow my original plan to start trying to get pregnant next month (Okay, so my original plan was to get pregnant last year, and then it was to be pregnant by Christmas...and then it was to adopt and then it was to wait a few more years...but who's counting?). I am closer to understanding that I can't (and shouldn't try to) control every little detail of my life. So, what does the future hold for Little Miss Jen-Jen? I have no idea....and for the first time in a long time, that's okay. As the Gosselins would say, "Stay tuned!"

Sometimes you really do have to "Let go and let God".....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Next Wave Live Thursday

Tonight I have to give props to my brother and the people he works with at the Family Life Center International. I dragged my yoga-beaten body to their show tonight and used my mad camera skills to distract them on the air (sorry, everyone, for the standing on chairs and crawling on the floor with my camera--hee hee!). If any of you are interested in hearing their show, you can listen to it here online at 9 pm every Thursday. It's called Next Wave Live and it's a show geared toward Catholic young adults. Great show tonight, guys! You are all SO much fun to hang out with!


Yesterday afternoon, Landon and I were running into Target to pick up a new battery-powered toothbrush for him (a GREAT idea for toddlers and pre-schoolers, by the way), when we saw a big, round ball of someone's hair weave blowing right towards us. We tried to move out of it's path, but the wind switched directions aimed it right at us again. We were running and hopping and trying to avoid the furry ball, cracking up the whole time. Landon asked me, "Mommy, what is that?" (A look of disgust on his little face.) What was the furry ball, according to Mommy, you ask? Why, "Tumbleweave" of course!! A brilliant description, right? Ummm, not so much. After making the mistake of teaching him this new word, I had to listen to Landon shouting, "Tumbleweave!!!" over and over throughout Target before dissolving into hysterics so violent that he could neither walk nor breathe. He would just say the word and then crumple to the floor. We were getting some "looks" as you can imagine. I wish I had had a video camera with us so you could see how hilarious it was. Now that it's in print, it doesn't seem all that funny.....Dang it.

(PS--By the way, we found out that showing Landon Google videos of tumbleweed in the desert has the same effect--ha ha ha)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I went to get gas today for my fuel-guzzling SUV (really wanting a new car right about now!) and regular unleaded was $3.23--(Whaaaaaat?!) I am going to be needing a few more of those fat $.61 checks if this keeps up!

My Good News Hath Arrived!

We're RICH!! That's right, people...A check just arrived for us in the mail for $.61---And I don't want you all knocking on my door claiming to be distant relatives, looking for handouts, either! We're keeping every last penny for ourselves--Muuhahahahaha!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Micah's dad, Joe, came to pick him up a couple of hours ago and instead of my house feeling "back-to-normal" it just feels empty and way too quiet :o( On top of Micah leaving, Joe also announced to us that their family will be moving to Seattle on JUNE 2nd (!!!)--I am so sad tonight! :o( They're my only friends here who really "get" the way I raise Landon in a town where I seem to be the "odd man out" so often. It's rare for me to meet other parents (off-blog that is!) that I really feel a connection with, so it's going to be really hard to see them go (and SO SOON!) Can someone please give me some good news? Pretty please with a cherry on top?

Taking it Easy With Two Pre-Schoolers Today

Taking it easy with two pre-schoolers??? Now THAT'S an oxymoron if I've ever heard one! Ha ha ha! There's always something going on with two boys in the house--Hats off to all mothers who have more than one child! ;o)
Today is our last day with Micah---I can hardly believe a week has gone by already!!! Landon is going to be so bored after Joe and Laurie come to pick up his newfound partner-in-crime!
Micah is just getting over a cold he's had all week and Landon is just catching it so we're having a slow day filled with Happy Feet and chicken soup, maybe some peppermint tea and not too much more. (My yoga-tortured body is a little grateful to be taking it easy today, to tell the truth!! Ouch!) Send up a little prayer for a mild bout of the upper respiratory stuff and a quick recovery for these boys--You never know how these things will go once they set in...(I sound like I'm on the Oregon Trail complaining about the chirrens catching typhoid fever or something--hahaha!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mmmm...Choc-o-late Cake!!!

I am surprised we're not all grossly obese in my family. Seriously. My brothers are culinary GENIUSES and we are always coming up with new excuses to make something rich and delicious (and fattening and rarely healthy). Last night our excuse was "We're Bored" and we put together a four layer chocolate torte with bananas and fresh whipped cream in the middle and homemade caramel sauce everywhere it would fit--Yum!

It probably doesn't look that great in the pictures, but it was soooo good! I can't stop eating it and I'm making myself sick! Two hours til yoga class...and tonight I'm going to need it! Maybe all of the twisting and bending will help me digest this giant cake so I can breathe again.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We're Laughing WITH you, Landon

My mom brought over presents for Landon and Micah tonight. One of the surprises for the boys was a little miniature game of table horseshoes. Landon had never heard of the game of horseshoes before, but after a confused "I think I like this" look, he walked quietly away with the box. When I saw him next, this is how I found him....Wearing his horseshoes! Ha ha ha!

Andy's Alumni Game

Today we went to Andy's annual college alumni soccer game. Every year his college organizes a game for the college kids to play against the alumni--It is usually hilarious to watch. The older Andy gets, the more he huffs and puffs on the field. Every year that goes by brings new injuries to his poor beaten body. Each time I see him dive for a save, I cross my fingers and say a prayer that we don't end up in the emergency room again. Anyways, even though I spent most of the game chasing after Landon and his friend Micah (a little boy that's staying with us this week), I still had a lot of fun. We got to see people Andy went to school with and their wives/husbands and kids....I I got to hold a little four month old munchkin for a few minutes. Mmmmmm! That didn't do anything to help my baby fever, believe me! (Oh, and, by the way...Andy's old man team actually won the game! Yay, Bubs! You da man! That being said, I need to go make him an ice pack....)

Friday, April 11, 2008

OPERATION: Make Sharon Want to Move Back to S.C.

Raise your hand if you'd like to see this cutie pie every day!!! Yeah, that's right, Sharon...Jack is my bait! I'm starting to pull out the heavy artillery after seeing your boys' birthday post! This is war!

PS) See, Sue, I didn't post a picture of you (as per our agreement)--Now join the ranks and help me in my mission! :oD

To My Fellow Office Addicts

Okay....The big night has come and gone. What did you think?

Just Wondering...

Okay, everyone--I'm bringing up the dreaded subject of vaccination (Jaws music here), but don't run away yet! I know we all have different opinions on the subject of vaccination. It's a topic that is almost never left alone in our household. We strive to always keep an open mind, basing all decisions on good old "gut feelings" and more importantly, deciding what's best for our child based on on-going personal research. For now, for us, that means not vaccinating, but we completely respect those who do vaccinate. After all, I'm the last to say I "know it all" and I never stop researching, reading, learning and asking in my long, exhausting, scary quest for the truth. I am ready to change my mind at a moment's notice if someone would just give me pro-vaccine information that I'm completely comfortable with. Sometimes it feels like a catch 22, if you know what I mean. Anyways, my step-mother sent me this article today (don't worry, it's not making any outrageous claims, one way or the other) and I wanted to post it and get an opinion from both vaccine supporters and those who think vaccines are too dangerous to risk with the current schedule and/or ingredient lists. What are the reasons behind your beliefs? What have all of you heard/felt in your own personal experiences? Most of all, do any of you know of an unvaccinated child with severe asthma or autism? How many children do you know (if any) who have autism and WERE vaccinated. After reading the article, I am curious. Ask around and report back to headquarters! ;o) Merci beaucoup.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Does Anyone Else Love Rob and Big as Much as I Do?

One Step Closer

Today, I have to sing praises to the Creighton Model Method of NFP! I am it's biggest fan right now. I have to admit, it didn't start out that way....not even close!

I was raised Roman Catholic and even though the Catholic Church recommends using natural means for family planning, I picked up on the fear and mistrust of NFP all around me, and carried that with me into my marriage. The fear got much, much worse after I went through a difficult pregnancy and delivery--No way did I plan on throwing myself to the wolves, using a system that would fail me again and again (as far as I had been taught), leaving me with child after child after child and pregnancy after terrible pregnancy just because my church told me I should. They just wanted me to have a huge litter of kids no matter what my body and mind should suffer, right? They, didn't understand or care what I was going through in my personal life, right? I couldn't have been more wrong and I have to tell you: I AM SHOCKED. Shocked and humbled and grateful that somehow, through the thick sludge of lies and rumors and misinformation, I stumbled upon the truth of the matter. NFP ACTUALLY WORKS (And that's coming from someone who's body has many "issues" in the fertility department!). One day, after listening to me rant about this matter for the umpteenth time, my husband (who, up until this point in time, had been pretty uninvolved in this aspect of our lives together) brought up an interesting point. "Do you actually KNOW how to use NFP?" he asked. "Well, no..not really. I have an idea, though," came my reply. "If you don't know anything about it and have never tried using it, then how do you know it doesn't work?" Hmmmm...good question. I tried explaining how everyone who dared to use NFP ultimately ends up with surprise pregnancies and a houseful of kids they can't afford. Isn't that the famous picture? (It never occurred to me that the people with lots of kids WANTED and even PLANNED to have that many!) Well, after hashing and rehashing the dangers of artificial birth control and the fact that we do most other things in our life the "natural way" (not to mention the "Catholic way" ;o), I agreed to LEARN about NFP. I announced to the practitioner right off the bat that we planned to begin using it at a time when we didn't mind being pregnant, so that when/if the system failed, we wouldn't be too devastated. I was so ignorant! And I really did have this idea in the back of my mind that this would be what finally got me to be pregnant, whether I was ready or not--a great big "Oops!" that would take the responsibility of decision-making off of my exhausted shoulders. I'd use NFP, get pregnant by accident (proving that the method didn't work and that the Church had it all wrong), and then I'd chalk it up as God's will and go on my merry way. What I didn't expect was for NFP to work like a charm. I didn't expect the method to be so scientific, so accurate, so effective. I didn't expect that it would bring my husband and I instantly closer (I had actually cracked up when the practitioner told me NFP was a bonding experience--I mean, what did bonding have to do with charting periods? I'm just not the type who buys into that sort of thing). I didn't expect for it to open up my eyes to so many things that were going on inside my body--things that had always been there without my knowledge--important things that every girl should know about and understand, Catholic or not....and things that were wrong that I might never have found without learning the Creighton Method. Most of all, I really, really (REALLY) didn't expect for it to help me get over my fear of being pregnant so that I am now one step closer to having another child. Which brings me to....

Dr. Collins:

My NFP practitioner is an RN named Nancy McGrath (She is WONDERFUL!!). The entire time she has been teaching us, Nancy has been recommending me to go see an OB/Gyn (over an hour away from where I live!) who is also an NFP practitioner for the Creighton Method. Long story short(ish), I finally decided to make an appointment with Dr. Collins and went to see her yesterday. It was so amazing! Before examining me AT ALL, she could already see some problems, just by looking at the chart I have been keeping of my menstrual cycle for the past eight months. She told me she thought I probably had something called an ectropion on my cervix...then examined me and saw that I really did have one. She also sees a possible progesterone deficiency at a specific point in my cycle and is having me do blood tests for estrogen and progesterone on three specific days on my chart. She thinks that if we iron out a few little kinks, I might be able to have a better pregnancy this time around. Our theory is that there is a progesterone issue mixing with problems from my under active thyroid (both can cause pre-term labor among other problems). I will keep you updated on everything as I pave this winding road to pregnancy....and if this doesn't work out the "old-fashioned way" (and even possibly if it does!), we are already prepped for the adoption process . On the NFP front, I am being certified to teach it next year so my soapbox might get that much bigger--Ha ha ha! That's for another post entirely! :oD

Monday, April 7, 2008

My Personality

Thanks Sharon for posting this personality test on your blog so that I could steal it! ;o)

You Are An ENFJ

The Giver

You strive to maintain harmony in relationships, and usually succeed.

Articulate and enthusiastic, you are good at making personal connections.

Sometimes you idealize relationships too much - and end up being let down.

You find the most energy and comfort in social situations ... where you shine.

In love, you are very protective and supporting.

However, you do need to "feel special" - and it's quite easy for you to get jealous.

At work, you are a natural leader. You can help people discover their greatest potential.

You would make a good writer, human resources director, or psychologist.

How you see yourself: Trusting, idealistic, and expressive

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Bossy, inappropriate, and loud

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Court Results and Other Happy Things

Today was actually a GOOD day, traffic court and all! The judge was in a great mood, thanks to a moron who took the stand before me. The poor girl was only eighteen years old and tried to plead "not guilty" to going 55 mph in a 35 mph zone. She kept talking like she was on Law and Order or something. The arresting officer went into a ten minute explanation of how accurate his radar is and how he caught her and how many tests he performs on his radar every day while the girl tried to throw fancy court terms all over the place. The whole court room, including the judge, was laughing at her. I was the second person to take the stand and was in my car a mere fifteen minutes after walking into the municipal court!! The judge reduced my speeding ticket from $230.00 to $25.00 (!!!) and dropped the other ticket completely!! I guess Andy can rub it in my nose now because I am soooooo glad I went!!

After court, I took Landon to buy Alvin and the Chipmunks--Yay! You have no idea how much excitement this caused in our house. We have been waiting for months to get this d.v.d and now we have it. Oh happy day! :oD