This past weekend we went on a random, spur of the moment trip with my family to Toledo Bend, and was it fun. In order to get the true gist of the weekend, I must start from the beginning.
Well, in true Holles form, what should have been a quick 3 hour trip (for those from Lafayette) turned into about a 6 hour trip (due to taking me forever to get packed, thus taking us a long time to leave Alexandria, a stop off at Shoney's to have some pie, a trip to McDonald's for the boys mid-afternoon snack, then a trip to back to McDonald's to get the right order, and then playing a little game of who will actually make it there because Mom and I are the only ones with maps, and everybody else who is coming behind us just assumes we will have cell service out there, which we did not.) In fact, Ben was the only one who made it there with no complications at all. Good job Darlin!
After a standard trip in the car such as this, we all finally arrived in one piece, and when we got there I must admit were slightly taken aback. Let's just say we traded in our Asheville rental homes with jacuzzi tubs and pool tables for a little place on the lake appropriately named, "Da Camp," that came with a fish cleaning table and a motorboat, minus the motor. For those of you who know me, I'm not typically a "camping" kind of girl, but we had kick butt air conditioning, running water, a full kitchen, 3 bedrooms, & 2 bathrooms, so I wouldn't exactly say we had to really "rough" it.
The majority of the days were spent relaxing outside on the swing, rowing in the boat, and fishing off of the pier, and the nights consisted of a lot of eating (the food supply looked as though we were going to be there for a month) and poker, and of course watching Will and Elena play around on the floor. Ben also got to get in some good photography time. (Surprise, surprise.)
On Saturday we also drove to Cypress Bend, and the little ones swam in the lake there and Will went down the playground slide for the first time with Ben. Speaking of Will, he and Elena both were so good, and just fun to watch. They really seemed to enjoy sitting out on the swing taking everything in. The Hoover boys also always provide them both with great entertainment.
Will's first trip down a slide with his Daddy. All in all, the weekend was a success. The only thing we wanted to change was the amount of time we were there. We wish we could have been there one more day. It would be perfect for a 3 day weekend. Considering it's proximity to all of us, I see many more trips to "Da Camp" or other camps on the lake in our future.
Oh and by the way, many props to Mom and Dad for deciding to go, booking the house, and basically making the trip happen all within a 30 minute time period. Impressive.
Dockside with Little Bean.
Eli got up extra early to fish.
Morning with the boys.
Ezra fishing with his second favorite uncle.
Stat of the weekend: The boys caught 10+ fish each. Ben caught zero.
On Thursday, August 20, Ben and I celebrated my 27th birthday in Alexandria with the Byrds at our favorite Mexican Restaurant, Los Portales. Then we got to go home to Lafayette to celebrate with the families. As I was sitting down for my birthday dinner on Saturday evening, and looked around the table at all of my favorite people in the world, I thought about the previous year.
As most of you know 2008 into early 2009 was a challenging time for Ben and me. I know to some it may not seem as though it was that rough, but for us it was the first time we really had to make some tough, life changing decisions as a married couple regarding career choices, finances, location, living situation, selling the house, etc. Not to mention also dealing with emotions from sadness and apprehension about our move to joy and elation about our upcoming arrival and being closer to our families. And of course I always had the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel," in my head, but must admit that sometimes I never thought that would come or that everything would be okay.
And that's exactly what I thought about in the middle of my birthday dinner on Saturday night...That everything is okay. It was a heck of a ride, and I must admit we acquired some bumps and bruises along the way, but we're here and still standing. We have made it through the sad losses of Paw Paw and Grandma Jo, went to Austin, moved to Alexandria, left Lulu in Lafayette with her grandparents, sold our home (after nearly 11 months), and most importantly added a sweet, precious, snuggly, funny, cute, adorable, huggable, lovable, dear baby boy to our family. I couldn't be any happier and feel life just doesn't get any better than this. We now know that we can get through anything that comes our way, especially if we have each other and the support of our families.
After writing such a long blog, I guess I could just put it simply and safely say...
My Birthday Wish(es) all came true!
The birthday weekend started out on a perfect note during a photo shoot with Will.
Will is looking over at the yummy cookie cake, and wishing he had teeth to eat it.
Okay, so I know Halloween is still a couple of months away, but we could not pass this costume up. Plus he will probably be too big for it by October and we will have to get something else, but it was so worth it for this photo op. And yes for those of you who are thinking it looks like a pea pod, it is, but we figured it could pass for a bean.
I was just cleaning bottles and turned around to see Will in his baby swing, and it just hit me how big he has gotten since the first time he was in there. Of course I love seeing him thrive, but the time is going by too fast, and it certainly is true that they don't stay small for long. It also just reminded me of how lucky and blessed I feel to be able to stay home with my little guy so I won't miss a moment. (Our checkbook doesn't feel as lucky,but oh well. Ha! Besides, Peanut Butter and Jelly makes both a good lunch and dinner, plus a good friend of ours reminded us that there are endless amounts of things you can make with hamburger and elbow macaroni. Thanks Mrs. Hopper!) All joking aside, thanks again Darlin for encouraging and supporting our decision to stay home with Will. It truly means the world to us! We love you.
Here are some pictures to show how much Will has grown...
4/27/09 (1 month)
8/20/09 (4 1/2 months) Notice the feet kicking out and the grip and mouth on toys.
4/13/09 (12 days old)
8/14/09 (4 1/2 months)
7/4/09 (3 months)
8/18/09 (4 months) It's amazing how much strength he has gained in his back, neck, and legs in just one month.
More comparisons to follow (my computer is not wanting to post pics right now for some reason.)
As a result of my education background, I have immersed Will in books practically since the day he was born. Reading to him is one of our favorite things to do. He sits in our laps, smiles the entire time we read to him, and even helps turn the pages every now and then. He also does a lot of cooing during this time. It is precious. Right now his favorite stories are "The Thingamajigs," and "The Five Little Monkeys." He's also starting to really enjoy the Dr. Seuss books.
Learning about "Jack and Jill" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."
As you all know, during the Fall Ben and I are glued to ESPN to watch our LSU Tigers and find out all of the goings on in the SEC world. In order to prepare Will for the football madness, we have been watching ESPN "Sportscenter" and "First Take." Following in the footsteps of his mommy and daddy, I caught Will watching ESPN intently today and had to take a picture of it.
He was really intrigued by the breaking news that Brett Favre was signing with the Vikings.
He was really watching Sesame Street at this point, but still just so cute. I love watching him in his Bumbo.
With it being August in Louisiana, there aren't a lot of outdoor options for play, so we decided to have a couple quick little photo shoots with Will. He can only handle making cute smiling faces for about 5 minutes or so, before he decides to suck his thumb and put his head into the bed, or cry for his Momma to hold him.
We're curious, which one of us is he looking more like these days?
I love the innocence in his eyes. That, or he's looking for trouble.
Sweet Cue Ball.
Krissy played pee-pie (peek-a-boo) off camera to get some big smiles and laughs out of Will. My wife is such a good assistant!
At Will's 4 month checkup on Monday, August 3rd, the doctor said we could start him on some rice cereal. The news was music to my ears as Will was barely stretching time between meals to 2.5 hours. So, Ben and I of course got the video camera out and prepared our little man for his first big boy meal on Tuesday morning. As expected, things didn't go as planned. We thought he would take to the spoon feeding thing so easily, but as I put it in his mouth, he gagged, spit the food out, and began to throw a little fit. He was not having any of it. I tried again, and this time he wouldn't even open his mouth a little bit, so I put it on his lips, he licked it and once again cried his little eyes out. So as not to stress him out too much, we decided to stop forcing it and wait until the next morning.
Well Wednesday morning rolls around and we do everything again...video camera is out, cereal is mixed, Will is put in Bumbo, but no success. He hated it just as much as the first day.
Today, which is Thursday, I decided to try again, and while it didn't work this morning, I fed him a bowl at noon and he finally ate some. Of course it didn't go without a little fight from him. In order to get him to eat it, I had to put a little dab on my finger and he sucked on it. He then decided he wanted to suck his thumb, so I put a little on his thumb and he sucked it right up. Finally, I started putting the spoon by his mouth while his thumb was in there, and he did a combination of eating his thumb and the cereal at the same time. He whined a few times here and there, but at least ate most of his cereal. It was just so precious and I was so proud of him. My little boy is growing up so fast.
Day one: Getting prepped for his first meal
"Seriously, do I have to eat this?"
"I guess it's okay, but I'm not going to smile momma."
"How would you like it if I took a picture of you when you look like this?"
"Maybe if I suck my thumb, she won't stuff anymore of that 'food' in my mouth."