Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Fantastic Fiesta from Mexico!




The boys are having so much fun with their packages from Mexico that Granny and Gramps sent them this week. They each received these amazing authentic Mexican sombreros and ponchos that are absolutely beautiful. The hand-stitched sequins and ornamental decorations are stunning.

Luke and Noah most liked the hand-painted maracas, the spinning drums and tambourines. Oh, the boys have been dancing wildly around the house playing their new instruments. Luke immediately declared that we should invite all the neighbors down for a concert. He was so serious and didn't understand why in the world our friends wouldn't want to come! His imagination is so vivid and he genuinely gets his feelings hurt when my reaction doesn't match his excitement.

Today, we are going to get out our world map and find Mexico. Then, we plan to do some Internet searching for more fun facts about Mexico. This has been a great way to teach the boys about a different culture.

Many thanks to Granny and Gramps for such heart-felt gifts. As Luke said, "They always know just what we want!"

video

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jackpot from Jamaica!




More goodies arrived from Granny and Gramps and their awesome cruise to Jamaica!

The boys both received adorable tie-died T-shirts and the coolest hand-made wooden flutes. They immediately started blowing on them...I immediately ruled them outside toys or toys to be played with in their rooms with the doors closed! Neither Luke nor Noah seemed to mind my ruling...they went on their merry way toot-toot-tooting!

I received the most beautiful beaded cross necklace! Traditional Jamaican red, yellow and green beads are mixed with a beautiful dark silvery-black color with a cross at the end. It's casual enough for every day, yet stylish enough to be dressed up a bit too. Perfect!

Granny and Gramps are always so sweet to remember us whenever they see something unique or fun. We are blessed to have such thoughtful family in our lives!

Padron Baby #3 - 20 weeks


Today I am 20 weeks pregnant with our third baby! It's hard to believe I'm 1/2 way through what will probably be my last pregnancy. Just knowing that makes every moment, every movement special.

Although I was extremely sick for five weeks, this pg has been much easier than my last. I have more energy now than before I was pregnant and the joy of knowing I have a sweet baby inside makes it even more blissful!

Everyone seems to think we're having a girl this time. I would love the experience of having a girl, but I also adore my boys so much that another boy would bless me beyond words! Either way, we will find out this coming Friday, July 30th at our ultrasound appointment. I can hardly wait!

We have names picked out, which it's amazing in itself that Leo and I agree on a boy name and girl name this early! Christian "Cruz" will be the boy. Cruz was Leo's grandmother's last name. Ella Maree will be the girl name. Ella is Leo's grandmother and Maree was my grandmother's middle name. Both names are meaningful and we can't seem to think of anything else that we both like more.

The bible says that children are a gift from the Lord and I'm just so thankful that Father God continues to pour out his blessings on us. It's certainly more than we deserve and His confidence in us is beyond flattering.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!

Luke and Noah love to sit on the bar and watch me cook. Probably not the safest thing in the world, but these boys are always in to something...and in the grand scheme of all the do, sitting on the bar is actualy pretty mild. LOL!

Anyway, yesterday they were both sitting up there pretending to ride on a train. Even though I was right in the middle of chopping and prepping all our food, I just had to grab the camera and record a few minutes of their silliness.

Over and over Luke and Noah chanted, "Chugga Chugga Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!" Luke was leading the way and Noah was following his lead.

I love how Noah watches his big brother and imiatates him. It's so precious watching them play together. They are really at an age where they are good friends and playmates right now!!


video

Rastafarians



Luke and Noah received the funniest rastafarian hats from Granny and Gramps today. They picked them up when their cruise stopped in Jamaica.

Both of the boys thought they were very cool! Luke wanted his tied in a pony tail in the back. Noah liked his just the way it was.

These hats fit perfectly with all the other costumes Granny and Gramps have been sending. Luke and Noah have such great imaginations and these costumes really help foster that creativity...and silliness!

I love seeing my boys have fun and pretend. It's such a precious thing to watch their little minds imagine and play!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Buccaneers at Bounce-U











Luke and Noah celebrated their 5th and 2nd birthdays at Bounce-U this year. This place is amazing. Two huge rooms are filled with inflatable obstacle courses, super-slides, basketball hoops, climbing tunnels, a boxing ring, table hockey and more!

Twenty-five of Luke and Noah's friends came to play, along with Uncle Jeremy, Aunt Sarah and cousin Graham...who was completely in awe of all the activity and more interested in the fans that pump air in to the inflatables than anything else! Too cute!

I would have to say the super-slides were one of the boys favorite things...and when I say "boys", I mean all the boys...including daddy! It was so funny to watch all the fathers "help" their kids go down the slides by riding with them.

One of Luke's favorite games is table hockey and since it was his birthday, he got to play all he wanted! I'm actually glad we ran out of quarters because I'm not sure he would have played on much else had we not!

After 45 minutes in each room, it was our turn in the party room. It was decorated with pirate balloons, pirate hats and the cutest pirate cupcakes with skulls and cross bones and pirate eye patches. Each buccaneer received a treasure bag with lots of pirate loot inside including bandannas, eye patches, gold coins, tattoos, stickers and more!

Everyone had a great time and it was such a wonderful memory having all our sweet friends together to celebrate. The boys received so many special hand-made gifts and I loved the eco-friendly reusable gift bags. We have the best people in our lives and are so blessed to have shared this special day with them!!

A Big Boy Bike for Luke!






The day has finally arrived! Luke has his first real big boy bike! Memaw and Papaw gave it to him for his birthday and he is SO excited!!

I have to tell the story of how they gave it to him though. Papaw is so ornery and just couldn't resist teasing Luke a bit by first giving him what he thought was his real gift...a bag with a bunch of tissue paper and a single tennis ball inside. Luke's face when he opened it went from excitement to confusion to disappointment. I will admit it was funny to watch.

After some "ribbing" and laughing, another bag was presented. This one had a helmet in it. And, although it was met with a slightly better reaction, there was still a let down to the moment.

Finally, at long last, Papaw went to the back room of the house and brought out Luke's real present...his big boy bike! Now THAT was a moment and reaction. Luke was extremely happy the jokes were over and that he was given his real present!

We had to put training wheels on it, but I don't think he'll be using them for long. He's ready to take off with the big boys and just needs to master the skill of balance. I believe with a couple of good pushes and spotting he'll be riding the roads in no time.

Another milestone in Luke's life and the evolution of our family! Watching my boys grow up is the single greatest thing I've experienced in life! What a blessing!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Noah's Potty Chair



Noah LOVES sitting on his potty chair! Which, is a very good thing considering just a few months ago he was terrified of it! Ironically, now Noah doesn't want to get off of it...or wear a diaper. Unfortunately, he has yet to actually pee-pee in it.

So, day after day he sits and sits and sits and sits. If I try to put his diaper back on he gets really upset and cries, "Pee pee!, Pee pee!" He even takes his own diaper off and brings it to me when it's just the slightest bit wet...and always comes to me with a clean diaper saying, "Stinky!" when he is ...well, stinky!

I wasn't going to potty train until he started preschool two days this Fall...something magical happens when they are in class and all their other little friends are using the bathroom. I might have to reconsider that a bit though...disposable diapers are expensive to pee in one time!!!

Luke and His Drums



Wow. We must be crazy, but Luke got drums for his birthday! About six months ago we made a deal with him that he could earn a set with his good behavior. At the time we were dealing quite a few tantrums and mood swings, so I never really imagined this day would come. Sure enough though, he's been behaving really well and reminding me with every, "Yes Ma'am" that he was earning his drum set.

Fast forward to his birthday...one of the things we did when I took the day off to celebrate with him was take a trip to pick out his drum set. He could hardly stand the excitement of it all. It took Leo two days to put it together fully, but alas it sits proudly in our garage!

Every day Luke goes out to play it...and play it loudly! One of the things I'm looking in to is drum lessons for him. After all, if he's going to play, it might as well sound decent.

The best part is that I still have leverage for his good behavior. Drums are a privilege ...one that can be taken away if a tantrum or disrespectful behavior pops up. Honestly though, Luke is growing up so much. One of the things I love most is the fact we can talk and have real conversations about things. Luke is really turning in to such a young man. I don't know where the last five years have gone!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Luke's Fantastic 5th Birthday!






Yesterday morning I thought back to the same day five years ago. My world changed. My titled changed. I became a mother. It's funny how before I had children I thought I would be the one doing the teaching. This experience has taught me more, made me live to a higher standard and brought me closer to God than any other event in my life. Next to my salvation, it has been the greatest single gift God has ever blessed me with.

So, with this in mind, we started Luke's special day! His 5th birthday! This is a milestone birthday...number five...starting kindergarten. It's a big birthday and so I took the day off of work to celebrate with him.

We started with a breakfast trip to the donut shop (his choice.) When he told the donut lady it was his birthday, she gave him a special bag of star-shaped donuts with sprinkles for free!

Next, we were off to Toys R Us to pick out Luke's REAL drum set that he's been earning for the past 6 months with his good behavior.

We had lunch at Papa Julio's where the waitress brought Luke a special plate of cinnamon/sugar sopapillas with honey to dip in and a candle to blow out!!

Finally, we were off to the movies to see Toy Story 3. What a fun time we had sipping on Icees and laughing out loud. It was such a good movie and I even teared up a bit during the part when Andy gave away his toys to Bonnie because he was going away to college.

After the movies, we stopped by Albertson's so Luke could pick out the birthday cake he wanted to bake. We also made a stop at Papa Murphy's to pick up some take-and-bake pizzas for dinner.

On our way home we stopped at Ms. Christy's to pick up Noah. She not only had birthday decorations up for Luke, but also had baked some cup cakes just for him!!!

We ended our day with Don and Sherry; eating dinner and singing Happy Birthday to Luke over cake and ice cream.

What a great day! I don't think Luke could have asked for more. I hope he remembers even just a bit of this when he's older. All of his family and friends doing small thoughtful things to make his day special.

Next weekend we'll celebrate both the boys' birthdays with a big party at Bounce U!
What a blessing to have two such beautiful boys to call my own! I don't think I could ask for more!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Baby Beanies





I've always crocheted afgans and baby blankets, but since I've been pregnant, I've flirted with the idea of branching out and trying baby beanie hats.

Although my great-grandma Gragg taught me to crochet when I was 12 years old, I've never actually followed a pattern or thought I could read one. With the invention of the Internet thought, I can not only read about how to make different crochet stitches, I can actually watch videos of someone demonstrating them. Grandma Gragg would be proud!!

So, here are my first two attempts at making those trendy little baby beanies that all the kiddos are wearing. They are the same pattern, but made with a much different weight fabric.

Today, I'm trying an new pattern. Can't wait to see how it turns out!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Crazy-Cool Costumes!






Yesterday Luke and I heard a knock at our door, which we assumed was Ms. Christy bringing Noah home. To Luke's great delight it was not Noah...rather the UPS man with two boxes full of goodies for him from Granny and Gramps!

Excitedly we opened the boxes to find 8 new dress-up costumes for the boys! Luke got Batman, a pirate, a king and a reversible Spiderman that can be the traditional good spiderman in red or the bad-guy Spiderman in black. He was THRILLED.

Noah's box contained a Dynamic Duo Robin costume, a pirate, a king and a Superman. Each boy also received blow up pirate swords and these super-cool pirate eye patches that they can see through when wearing them.

Luke and I literally spent an hour trying on costumes and taking pictures. He would go in the bathroom to look at himself, strike a pose for the camera, then hurry out to try on the next costume.

When Noah got home, he had to get in on the action too. Not to be out done by his brother, he quickly put on his pirate hat and grabbed his blow up sword. Both boys climbed in to a clear storage box, which of course was not a storage box at all, but rather a pirate ship worth of the roughest seas.

It was quite the struggle trying to get Noah to go down for his nap, taking over an hour to get him calmed down enough! And, what do you suppose he wanted first thing when he woke up...his costumes!

It was an afternoon filled with great fun! Thank you Granny and Gramps for the thoughtful gifts!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bouncy Balls



Yesterday the boys and I made a trip to Target to pick out some bouncy balls and play dough. Since we've re-organized the garage, the boys now have a nice play area for days when it's rainy or muddy in the back yard.

At the store we picked out two of the inexpensive/cheapy bouncy balls that cost $2.99. Noah picked red. Luke picked green. We also picked out a red, white, blue and yellow 4-pack of play dough and a toy bowling set.

Eager to get home and play with our toys, the boys and I checked out and headed home. Each boy insisted on holding their bouncy ball in the car. I couldn't help but laugh as I peek at Noah in the rear-view-mirror. He was smiling from ear to ear and was talking to his reflection in the ball!

Once home, I couldn't believe how much fun the boys had with those silly balls. Using the table to balance, they would sit on them and bounce up and down over and over. Then, they would roll off the back of them on to the ground, giggling hysterically the whole time.

It just proves the point that the simple pleasures in life don't always cost a fortune! Who would have thought a $2.99 bouncy ball from Target would be so much fun!!


video

Monday, July 5, 2010

Boys & Bubbles!

video

Few things entertain kids more than bubbles! I had so much fun watching Noah and Luke chase them all over the driveway yesterday evening while we were waiting for the fireworks to start. I honestly think they had as much fun with the bubbles as they did with the fire crackers.

You could actually see the exuberance in Noah's face as he watched the bubbles appear and then float away. He was so excited as he ran from one side of the drive way to another and jumped as high as he could to reach them.

Over and over Noah and Luke chased the bubbles until I thought they would surely pass out from the heat. Their little faces were so red, but they just kept going.

We cooled them off with Popsicles and Gatorade right before the fireworks started. Such a fun night!!

video

Independence Day 2010





Yesterday was the 4th of July and all the neighbors on Twin Lakes Drive came out in to the cul-de-sac to celebrate. We started around 7pm popping those little "snap its" on the ground. Noah really had fun with these.
video

We also had a few sparklers that Luke and Leo lit and waved around in the air.
video

The real fun started after the sun went down...black cats, roman candles, bottle rock ts, fountain cones, spinners, and a grand finale worthy of a professional display!!

video

I believe it was our grand finale' that drew the fire marshal to our street! He kindly reminded us that fireworks are not allowed in the city limits...and of the $1000 fine that accompanies their illegal use. Thankfully we had already used all the fireworks and were ready to go inside.

In the end it was a great Independence Day celebration spent with our dear neighbors and friends! We couldn't ask for much more!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Birthday Presents for Mama






My birthday was a few days ago and what a day it was!! The very first person to wish me happy birthday was Luke. He was so cute as he walked out of his room, still wearing his undies, rubbing his eyes saying, "Happy Birthday Mommy! It's your special day so I'm going to be extra nice to you today!" He then gave me a dollar from his wallet and seven pennies! That boy can be so sweet and thoughtful!! Melted my heart!

As the morning went on, all sorts of packages started arriving!!! I was spoiled with lots of fun cooking devices from Granny...an Express Cooker, Cafe Frappe machine, fruit infusion pitcher, and several different chopper/slicer gadgets. The boys also received a few fun surprises: the each got a big, cushy, animal pillow and some fun party plates.

Even though the cooking gift were for me, Granny said she thought Luke would have fun with them too...and boy was she right!! Luke and I have used the Xpress cooker each day. We started by making a recipe from the cookbook that was included with the cooker...biscuit, egg, cheese and ham breakfast sandwiches. For lunch, we made cheesy pigs in a blanket with biscuits, hot dogs and cheese. This morning I made myself the lightest, fluffiest, quickest omelet ever!! Luke requested cheesy pigs in a blanket again for lunch.

I also made a big pitcher of lemon, strawberry, grape infused water. It's a nice twist on the water that I love so much. I'm eager to try oranges, watermelon and other fruits too. Healthy and tasty!

Although I made a vanilla, cinnamon, caramel frappe, I forgot to take a picture of it. It was delicious! I honestly don't know if I'll ever have to go back to Starbucks again! What a great way to control the ingredients and sugar, but also to save money!!! I love it!!

For dinner, Leo took me to my favorite Mexican/Salvadorian restaurant, Gloria's. I had my favorite sour cream chicken enchiladas. We ended the evening with a trip to Bahama Buck's for a strawberry colada snow cone.

Even though I had to work, I loved everything about the day! Most of all I love my family and how much they fill my life with meaning and purpose and joy. I am truly a blessed woman, beyond what I deserve!

Happy Birthday to me!