Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ
2 Peter 3:18

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When the Cat's Away . . .


. . . the mouse sneaks in and steals his bean bag chair and favorite stuffed animal!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

11 months

Q: How big is Miller?

A: Sooooooo Big!





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Snow (umm . . . . ice) Day '08

Below are a few pictures of Wilson playing in the winter weather we had last week. I hear it "really snowed" all around us, but we only had ice that resembled small hail here. Wilson was dying to go out and play, so I bundled him up and sent him on his way. He came back in and said, "it hurts to play in the ice". Welcome to MS winter, bud! Maybe we'll get some snow in the spring! We spent the rest of the day in the kitchen. We made some Cinnamon dough ornaments, dog treats, fudge, painted a Christmas present for someone very special, cut out snowflakes, decorated our ornaments after they had dried with glitter and beads, and packed up the doggie treats for Jack, Tate, and Sally Belle (Uncle John's girlfriend's puppy). It was a fun day.

Please note the red truck in the pics below. As soon as I got Wilson's jacket on he started frantically looking for "the red truck that Stella gave for my birthday when I was 3". Apparently this is the Official Truck of Snow Days (click and take a look at the 4th picture in the first series)! How did he remember that!?











The Great Leaf Round Up of '08




Eat Your Heart Out Aunt Ash!

(Wilson took this one- he wanted a picture of Miller and Tyler)

A few weeks ago our Aunt Ashley's sister and dad were in town with her two cute nephews. It was so fun to finally meet our "cousins-in-law". Tyler and Wilson had a great time playing trains and Miller enjoyed wrapping Papa Mike around her little finger (when our new cousin Austin makes his appearance in Feb., he will be Mike's FOURTH grandson- no girls!).
It was great to see y'all, and Ash, we wish you could have been here- see you next week, though!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tubesday

Miller had tubes put in her ears bright and early this morning. She was a fairly happy camper before hand and made all sorts of friends in the waiting room. Other than tossing her cookies after the surgery, everything went pretty much as expected. We're home now, my clothes are in the washing machine and she is happily talking to some crackers and pushing her tractor around the house. Pictures are below and the video is of her when her meds started kicking in. She'd take her paci out like she had a grand statement for us and then sort of growl "bye-bye" and wave. As time wore on her voice got quieter and her little hand got a bit heavy. She also attempted to bounce up and down in my lap- she gave up after only one small hop, a true sign she was just about ready to go.
What a cute little patient

Dad's explaining the finer points of surgical center fashion
Her little gown had pink whales, dinosaurs, and elephants and said, "sooooooo big!"- one of her new favorite games


Millie saying "bye bye" to mom

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Now I Know How Hester Felt

***Update 2*** 9:45pm Facebook sends me an email announcing they have uncovered some activity on my account that might indicate I could be spreading a virus. Thank you Facebook and your crackerjack team of experts for informing me of that a mear 12HOURS after it began and I deactivated my account with a note TO YOU saying a virus was being spread without my knowledge through my account. You are truly on top of things and keeping your users safe! With admins like you, who needs antiviral software.

***Update*** A friend has let me know that her computer crashed due to the same virus and that Microsoft was actually quite helpful (and free) in getting her computer back up and running. The number she called was 866-727-2338. Thanks, Emily!


If anyone is looking for a last minute stocking stuffer for yours truly, I hear Scarlet Letters are one size fits all and very reasonably priced.

Oh, this is so embarrassing. I got a virus. And not even a cool, I've been rubbing elbows with big important people kind of a virus. It was more of standing on the corner in the shady part of town kind of a virus.

You see, a friend's facebook page got hacked. He in turn began sending messages he didn't realize he was sending to all of his friends. I got it, thought, well, it could be a real video of his- maybe of his baby girl. I attempted to open the link. I should have stopped there, but when it said, "you need to update your version of the player" did I question it? Nope, I went right along with it. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! I KNOW BETTER! I'm the wife of a computer engineer, I know what goes around (heck, he probably makes up half the stuff- just kidding), I know not to click on links that haven't been stamped with the proper authority's approval. I can't believe I fell for something that travels around dirty little internet cafes- if I get hacked I want it to be from the NSA, the CIA, the FBI and the rest of the alphabet gang! Fortunately, I have good virus protection software that caught it quickly before any damage was done. It's now "in the vault". I don't know where the vault is (perhaps next to Al Gore's "lock box"?). If you see the vault, let the keeper know not to unlock the door- there's some nasty stuff inside.

What have I learned from this? Nothing that wasn't preached to me as entered the peer pressure stage of life. "Be careful who you choose as friends", "Being the girl with lots of 'friends' is really not who you want to be", "You don't have to (you SHOULDN'T) accept every invitation offered", yadda, yadda, yadda. The person that I got it from is actually a friend- not just a facebook, okay I won't be rude and ignore your request, kind of a friend. But it does make me think about how many people are let into your life by this "networking tool". Not that any of your actual friends would want to harm you- but acquaintances of theirs might. I actually got one more email in regard to the uncouth message that is now coming from my account and saw the list of people it was sent to out of my "friends". I am so embarrassed- because a lot of them were the "oh haven't seen you in years, yeah, lets reconnect over some facebook" kind of friends, most of whom I won't talk to until the next high school reunion and their last contact with me will be "check out my video on the internet". I have no way of personally contacting these people to warn them. Maybe I should have been a little more judicious about who I accepted as a friend- for my sake and for their's. Who of us REALLY has 647 friends? The one thing I did right in this whole thing was to be leery of the "let's link all our relatives together" widget. I'm sorry if any of you have been surly that I didn't accept your request to link the far twigs of our family trees together, but aren't you glad now that the nuts on mine can't get to the nuts on yours?!

So, I'm scanning the hard drive before backing up the rest of the year's pictures just in case there was some viral seepage out of the vault. I'll then clean out the disk drive and coat the keyboard in Purell- it kills 99.9% of all viruses, you know!


Note to all my Facebook friends:
I'm discontinuing my Facebook usage. I have to say I'm not all that disappointed. I haven't been checking it that regularly and when I do it turns into a huge time suck. If you're also a Blog friend- yea!! We can keep in touch here. If you happen to know anyone that was an FB "friend" of mine that doesn't check the blog- PLEASE warn them for me- you'll be a REAL friend if you do (not the kind that gets put in "quotes")

To everyone else:
If you need to network with me here's how-

Update on the family or our squirrels? Click here
Need a painting? Click here
Wanna call me? Don't have my phone number? Search for me here (incidentally- our last name is Ethridge- only 2 "E's" and the address that comes up with our listing is our old address- if you're a stalker, please leave the new owners alone- it's not us!)
I'm also an avid email checker- so if you have that, use it, if you want my address, use one of the above means to get in touch!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

. . . Or Is She 10 Months?

A few weeks ago (okay almost a month ago) Miller turned 10 months old. During that same week she had a double ear infection and the stomach virus. You can imagine that it's not something you want to capture on video. Apparently the next week I was very eager to shoot the 10 month video, becuase I did it twice! Even as I was shooting the second one, I was thinking, "I've heard these words come out of my mouth before." But, I'm the mom of a preschooler, I repeat things ALOT. It was not until I was emptying my camera card that I realized I had, in fact, shot the video twice. Amazingly, I remebered the same milestones in both videos. The only difference is that she's engaged in a different favorite pass time in each. So choose this post, or the one below, and hear about her 10th month!

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So is she 10 months . . .

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Friday, November 28, 2008

What Would You Say?

Have you ever looked at pictures of yourself as a child or teenager or on your wedding day and thought, "I wish I could go back and tell that me something"? (start playing "If I Could Write a Letter to Me" in your head now!) Maybe there's been a tragedy in your life that you'd want to prepare yourself for or maybe you'd just like to tell your 16 year old self that things will get better!

Well, we (as most of you know) are in the (eternal?) process of fixing up our house. We just passed the year anniversary of living here a few weeks ago on Phil's birthday (happy 30th, by the way). It's been several months since I've posted a new set of before and after pictures, and quite honestly, I've been a little down about that. Sometimes I just want to scream "WE'VE BEEN HERE A YEAR FOR HEAVEN SAKES!!! WHY DOESN'T IT LOOK ANY DIFFERENT!?" When the truth is, we're painfully close to being done with phase 1 of a major area of the house and pictures are soon to be posted. We have gotten a lot done and I just have a bad case of "never is enough." I've begun to start giving some serious thought to what I want to do with the kitchen. Do I want to just get it to an attractive room to live with for a few more years? Should we live with it the way it is for a little longer until we can do a complete overhaul? What defines each of those options? Join me in the hamster wheel of frustration, will you?



So, I was flipping through all of my before pictures of the house to see what I had of the kitchen to show a kitchen designer when I meet with her. This is one of the pictures:



(I've really tried to avoid posting before pictures without an after- sorry to have ruined the affect for when I do finally get some posted of this area!)

The day before we closed on the house our realtor, Wilson, and I went to the house to do a walk through and then wait an ever loving eternity for a cleaning lady to show up. While we waited, I decided to go around and take before pictures of the house completely empty. I had big plans after all and these pictures were going to be part of the greatest polishing of a diamond in the rough the world had ever seen.

Wilson was not really supposed to be in any of the pictures, nor did he want to be. But somehow he wound up in this one. I'm glad he did because when I opened it up it made me stop for a second and reflect. I wanted to run to "that him", scoop him up, give him a big hug, and talk to him. Actually seeing pictures of the kitchen caught me by surprise first. We pulled the wallpaper down less than 24 hours after this was taken so the kitchen has had a different look the entire time we've lived in the house (note "different" does not always equal "good" - in this case, different is just different!). But as soon as I saw the "old" kitchen, it immediately made me realize the one I have now (as horrid as I think it is most of the time) is "my" kitchen. Looking at the old pictures brought back the feelings of "we're leaving home and buying someone else's house"- feelings that do not immediately come to me now when I walk in the door. I have said several times that the past year has literally been some sort of time warp for me and I am baffled quite often when things I think happened a few days or weeks ago actually happened over a year ago. This is another one of those times, except that this time it is pleasantly surprising. Somehow during this warped time, I ACTUALLY HAVE adopted this place as home. I really didn't think that I had. I still flip on the wrong light switch every time I go in the playroom bathroom. I am still completely grossed out by the remaining fibers of carpet in the bedrooms. I still say four letter words every time I go in the laundry room and that terrible fluorescent light fixture doesn't warm up and come on until I'm done in the room and flipping (the wrong) switch off. We are still paying a mortgage on a squirrel motel. But somehow, it's home.

So, if I could go back, what would I tell that little face looking at me in the picture above?

"Buddy, it's going to be okay. We are about to embark on a crazy, busy, mixed up year. You are going to make it through unscathed, and love most of it. We WILL get the smell out. Santa will bring you the Lightning Spiral. Your sister will get here and be very healthy. Your room will be bright blue "like your train" in a matter of days. You'll still be wearing that shirt next Christmas. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. You're going to love having an upstairs room- it will never bother you that we're downstairs (except for the first few weeks when Miller comes home and you want her upstairs with you in her room). Thank you for not being right under my feet for once when that grease came flying out of the pan- I'm still so thankful that it only got on my hand and not your head! Sometimes, even a year later, you'll miss our old house- and that's okay. It was your first home, and as long as we're here we can drive by whenever you want. You're going to love sitting on the back steps waiting for dad's car to turn down the street on his way home from work. You're going to have a buddy right down the street to play with at a moments notice- he's also going to love Cars as much as you! Chasing Jack up and down the stairs is soooo much fun. I don't know how, but you're always going to like it here- and you're going to protest most of the changes we're going to begin to make. You're going to be okay."

Or maybe I'd just say most those things to the person behind the camera.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tagged




I've been tagged by my sweet friend Mysti to do the following:



1. Choose the 4th picture folder on my computer



2. Choose the 4th picture



3. Explain the picture



4. Tag 4 people to do the same.






My picture is the one above of Wilson. It is from a folder that I have just a few random shots of him as a baby in- the rest of his baby pics have been moved to external storage. Every now and then Miller will make a face or do something that I remember Baby Wilson doing and I'll plug in the extra hard drive and grab the picture to compare the two. This is from when he was about 10 months old. At that age when I needed a break, I'd strip him down, put him in the high chair, and spoon out some frozen cool whip. He'd play for . . . minutes on end.




Now I tag....

1. Kendy

2. Ash. E.

3. Jess. White

4. Laura Tomlinson- how often are you REALLY checking in on my blog!? :)

Ummm . . . .


. . . who rolled us?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Play Place Use No. 101

Since Miller has FINALLY figured out how to crawl, we've been able to move on to the next phase of play place fun- crawl through tunnel. Seriously, this thing is GREAT. If you're looking for a gift for new parents, this will be a hit. 10 months and we're still using it daily!





The under publicised Duchess of Hazard, Millie MAE- she prefers to exit via the side window.



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What did they do . . .

. . .bug my house?! Recently I gushed about Amazon answering a silent wish of mine- to be able to add anything to a wish list from anywhere on the web. Well they must have had a camera in my kitchen a few weeks ago as I tried to extract my new cell phone and was reduced to banging it on the counter in cave womanly manor confounded by the "clam shell" style plastic packaging that has become so favored by manufacturers these days. Or maybe Big Brother had been dispatched to the playroom as mountains of twist ties piled up and Wilson nearly wet himself waiting on me to open up his birthday gifts (you know the opening up that's not nearly as fun as the ripping off of bright paper and ribbons- the opening up that requires yard shears, heavy duty gloves, 4 letter words, and a professional manicure to repair the damage). Today they announced this new initiative . . .




"Thanks" just doesn't seem to cover it. I'll be drying tears of joy if anyone needs me.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

What Nice Weather We've Been Having

Yea for cooler weather and the need for cute hats!
The exersaucer is always more fun outdoors




Wilson and his new remote control truck



We have really been enjoying the cooler weather and sunny days. Here are a few fun pictures to kick off a marathon of posts. Enoy!

Yes, We Did Take Wilson to Disney World!

It's hard to believe that we've already been back for over a week- and even harder to believe that I haven't posted any pictures! If you are a regular follower you're about to see that I've had a lot of catching up to do, so scroll down- there's about 10 new posts (at least it seems that way if there really aren't!)(Okay, I just counted, there's actually THIRTEEN!).




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I'll spare you each and every individual photo from the whole entire trip (it rivals the day he was born). And, as you can tell by the 1800 posts, I'm too behind to do scrapbook pages. I did however spend the better part of 2 days putting together a photo book online and I'll post a link below (click on the picture of the album, shutterfly will open and then click on the album picture again- don't use "view album" it doesn't work). When you get to the site click view the show. There is a magnifying glass on the upper right side if you want to see it page by page and be able to read the journaling & captions.


Disclaimer to family- you may want to skip this entirely because you will be required to look at the hard copy when it arrives and you will have to sit through Wilson's tour of the book- pace yourself!

I can't leave this post without saying THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to my mom and dad for keeping Miller while we went. It's definitely not an easy job, but we really appreciate you doing it. We couldn't have gone without your help. As I've said, "I have a no diaper, no stroller, no pregnant in Disney World rule . . . and only three of us qualified."

Happy Halloween!







Have I mentioned that she doesn't like things taken away from her. No, Millie you can't throw pumpkins we don't intend to buy.


(This one looks like they're posing for promotional photos for their next album. Okay, you smile like you're here having your picture taken. You, look off into the distance thoughtfully like you're actually thinking up meaningful lyrics as we're in the photo shoot, with just a hint of smirk because you know you're way too cool for all of this.)





Wilson with Mrs. Angie at his Halloween party




Wilson and the guys


Princess Baby
(yes, that is the gown she came home from the hospital in under the tutu)



Happy 4th Birthday, Wilson!

You in your birthday crown from school






My Sweet Wilson,

Wow, what a year! Honestly it's just a blur and I feel like I hardly remember any of it. I really feel like I should be pulling into the driveway of our old house, laying you down for your nap in your bed in your old room, scrambling to get the house ready for your 3 year old birthday halloween carnival party, and then waking you up just in time to meet your guests (and be the only one not wearing a costume!). Because after that it just gets really hazy.


We began the flinging of all our stuff into boxes, the unflinging into our new house, painting as much as could be painted before purchasing what seemed to be the last Christmas tree on the lot, and then shoving all the Christmas decorations back into the closet so that we wouldn't trip over them coming back into the house with your new baby sister. From there it seems like more of just a time warp.


I keep waiting for the moment that I'm going to take a walk with you on your new tricycle or read a story to you in your new tent and then I realize those things are no longer "new" and that it really has been A WHOLE YEAR since they were. You've moved on and grown more.


You still love your tent and tricycle, you're just able to love them with me on the side line now. We go weeks without the mention of Lion- he's been replaced with Rocko the dog (who's currently taking a back seat to Pluto). A few weeks before we moved you became fascinated with this stuffed dog that you've had since birth, named him Rocko, and he's stayed at your side ever since. When school started this year, you ran right into Mrs. Angie's room to meet her completely thrilled about your new room and teacher, no apprehension what so ever. You no longer insist on me walking you to your class anymore like you did last year- you happily hop out of the car each morning and run to your room from the carpool line. Many mornings I wake up to you rumbling around in the kitchen, feeding the dog, letting him out and then giving him a treat when he comes back in. I'll walk out later to find you hanging out in the playroom watching cartoons. You've become quite skilled at playing Mario Kart on our Wii and enjoying trying to beat dad (and sometimes do!). You've impressed us with your ability to memorize scripture and have begun to apply them, a little.


(Quick story- We have been reading through Susan Hunt's Bible Verse ABC's repeatedly and you've memorized most of the 26 verses. I left you and Miller with Daddy for the day while I went out of town for a baby shower. While I was putting you to bed the night before I left I began an attempt to bribe you for super duper good behavior and for being helpful to Dad while I was gone. I told you that I was going to call him on my way home and if you'd been good, I'd stop and get you a surprise. "Please, please, please be sweet and help Daddy with Miller, and just be as sweet and good as you can". We read books and said prayers. As I was leaving I said, "Okay tomorrow if your tempted to say or do something ugly to Daddy, what are you going to remember?" I'm expecting "be nice and I'll get a surprise". To my surprise you reply "A soft answer turns away wrath, Proverbs 15:1." Fine, will go with your answer!)



You've recently gone through the triple threat (see later post) with very few tears and I'm beginning to fear we're getting close to the little boy doesn't need mamma point.


However, I do have to remind myself that as independent as you have become (inspite of yourself) you still do come running for mom a good bit. I think maybe as Miller is starting to move into "your territory" you're as scared of loosing it as I am of you not needing anymore! You often ask for me to feed you, you're still very fearful of the unknown and want to know all that you can about everything before trying it (holding our hands the whole way of course) but then you usually want to go back and do whatever it was on your own as many times as possible. You're very careful about what toys of your's Miller is allowed to play with (often siting small pieces that MAY come off IF she chews on them as choking hazards, knowing that's a hole in one for not having to share). I'm not sure why, but your latest concerns are about Heaven. Sweet boy, I'm afraid there's just no way for us to give you a dry run on that one. You're just going to have to learn, along with Mom and Dad, to trust that God has got a wonderful spot for all of us there!



We ended your 4th year here with a trip to Disney World (maybe that's where all the Heaven questions are coming from!?) And what a great time we all had. We drove and you didn't sleep a wink down or back! You were a trooper on the car ride and did well at the parks. It took a few days for you to really get into the swing of things, but when you did, oh what fun! Your favorite rides included Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and the Haunted Mansion- a big GO FIGURE on all of those. You were very leary of any ride that took place inside (like ALL the little kid rides) becuase you could not see what was going to happen. However, you begged to go on Splash and loved every minuted and inch of the 52' drop! You are daily planning our next trip with Miller (which will not occur until she too reaches at least the 4 year mark so it should be quite an organized excursion!) When we got home we had your birthday party on Halloween on the playground at your preschool with all your school friends as well as a couple of church pals. You got tons of great gear including dinosaurs, trucks, books, and, of course, Cars!


I love you to the moon and back, Baby,

Mamma.


Playing with some of your b'day dinosaurs while wearing your crown in our backyard

You, Nathan, and John Clark eating lunch at your party

Your cake- it looks just like the invites to your party

And with one little blow, we're on our way to FIVE!






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Video from your actual birthday at the Animal Kingdom in Disney World.

New For Miller 1

Standing in her bed






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Clapping

(both taken earlier this month)



New For Miller 2

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Crawling

(taken earlier this week)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Around Our Dinner Table


Wilson (I mean Spider Man) feeding Miller. She doesn't swat at the spoon when he feeds her- go figure!


Rupert the dinosaur playing Candyland while eating a cheeto. Wilson and I played an entire game with him. He was amazingly good- I almost lost to him (the dinosaur, that is).

The Dentist, the Doctor, and the Barber

Otherwise known as the triple threat for Wilson. In order to make it to his 4th birthday he had to meet each one's challenge. I must say- he passed with mostly flying colors. Each of these trips in the past has been met with screams yet to be heard on earth over mundane grooming tasks. But he made it through them all, only crying about getting his finger pricked (Miller had her check up that day, too. She just looked at the nurse when her finger was pricked- should have let her go first!) "I like doctor Ellison- he's pretty nice!" "I like that new dentist- she's pretty good" "I got my haircut, and I didn't even cry at all."


I was so overwhelmed by his behaivior at the dentist that I took pictures! This is our new pediatric dentist- who wouldn't love a woman with this kind of train table in her office!

Miller also had a great time- she even let the dentist poke around in her head, too!