Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quick Trips and Quiet Time

If it isn't yet obvious, we don't slow down. This past weekend, we went to Austin for a friend's wedding. We had a lot of fun seeing people and catching up, and we were so happy to be a part of Brandon & Amy's celebration. To add to the excitement, we got to see James's sister and her husband, one of James's cousins, and my brother. It all passed by far too quickly, but we soaked up as much as we could. We had lunch at Iron Cactus on Saturday and Moonshine brunch on Sunday. Per the usual, I feel a little homesick.

When we got home, James and I decided to do a dry run of the hamburgers he's going to make for our neighborhood hamburger cook off this weekend. James is the griller, but he's humoring me by letting me come up with the premise for his burger. I don't want to unveil any secrets just yet, but Cullen got to help me make part of it. He is always so interested in what I am doing in the kitchen, so I pulled a chair up to the counter and let him "help." Mostly, he just stabbed at the bowl with a spatula and banged on the counter with a wooden spoon. He had fun. The headache I got doesn't count.
Mommy's Little Helper

A ride home in our car is never calm, rarely quiet, and always entertaining. I caught this picture of Cullen a couple of nights ago. James had taken off his boots for the drive home, and Cullen insisted on holding them on his lap. He laughed and played peekaboo with them the whole way home.
Big boots to fill?

xoxo ashley

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Family Vacation

I am so excited to finally share details about our little family vacation we took over the weekend! We got out of town and went to Port Aransas with friends, and we had SO much fun! One of James' best friends from Austin celebrated his 30th birthday last week, and his wife planned a surprise vacation for their family with us. We got the call about the trip while we were in the ER for Cullen's stitches, so I told Stephanie to just send me the plans. We would have to go!

The toughest part about this trip was keeping a secret from Jason. James and I are both terrible at keeping secrets, but we managed to hold it in for a couple of months.

We headed out of town Friday afternoon and stopped at Prasek's on the way for snacks and a chance to stretch our legs. Because I'm a big kid, I decided to get an ICEE. Why not, right? Over the last eighteen months, I've made a concerted effort to keep Cullen away from most junk food. He'll get an occasional cookie, but nothing wild. Then I gave him a sip of my ICEE. Then he drank most of my ICEE. I don't know why he stayed up so late Friday night...
Who could deny that little face?

We got up the next morning and headed for the beach. We live so close to the beach, but we've never actually taken Cullen out there. I felt certain that our first trip would be full of tears and ingested sand and salt water. It was a little bit on the cool side, but Cullen seemed to enjoy the pull of the water and running around with shovels. I would consider it a success. I can't wait to get him on the beach again!
Why dig with the shovels when you can run with them?

Stephanie and I took the little boys back to the condo for an afternoon nap, and the big boys spent the afternoon on the golf course. The highlight of my afternoon was spending some quiet time with Cullen. I put him down for a nap in the bed (instead of the pack and play), so I went in to check on him after a couple of hours (when he would normally be waking up from his nap). I laid down on the bed to read my book, and he woke up almost immediately, walked across the bed, curled up at my side and slept for another hour. Cullen has never been big on cuddling, so it was a really sweet, rare moment to enjoy. Those little things really are some of the best parts of being a parent.

We went out to dinner that night and went out for ice cream afterwards. James kept a hand on Cullen's ice cream cup, but we let him feed himself. I love that look on his face that shows how he didn't expect the spoon to interact that way with the ice cream. Every day is a learning experience right now.
How do you do this? Eeeeee.

After ice cream was pirate picture time while we searched high and low for a Christmas tree ornament and a t-shirt for Cullen. We ended up leaving with a pirate picture and a ball for Cullen. It was nothing like what we were actually looking for, but Cullen was happy.

The next morning we got up and headed home to catch up on the mundane tasks of life (like laundry). We started out our trip with a quick ride on the ferry. James took Cullen out of his car seat for a quick tour of the water (Cullen knows now that water is also "agua").
Look at all the agua!

It was so nice to have a weekend away as a family. We're already discussing Port Aransas as our family vacation for next year when we might not be able to make it to Garner. Until then, I'll be getting all wound up about our trip to Austin this weekend and our trip to Garner in less than 6 weeks. I can't wait to see my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew!

xoxo ashley

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day, Grills, and Peanut Butter

Last Friday, Cullen's school celebrated Mother's Day. I got a hand print card, a popsicle stick picture frame, and the best Derby hat ever. Cullen was just happy to get to spend extra time with us. I feel pretty blessed to have Cullen in a school that cares about him. So awesome.
Hat of the Year

Friday afternoon, James picked me up from work a little early. He wanted to take me to Nordstrom to pick up my Mother's Day gift. I've had my eye on some Ugg flip flops for a while, but I've been too cheap to just buy them. In comes Mother's Day. No big deal. We're going to walk into Nordstrom, pick out the shoes, pick Cullen up from school. WRONG. I have never ever ever had bad customer service at Nordstrom, but I found the bitch of the land. They didn't have the shoes I wanted, so I went home to order them online (after checking every single store in the Galleria for them). Nordstrom is charging for shipping (and I am cheap), so I called Nordstrom, ratted out angry lady and ordered the shoes over the phone. In the effort to not have to wait too long, I ordered the two sizes I would have tried on. I'll return the extra pair next week.

We spent Mother's Day with my parents in Lake Jackson. Cullen's nap came right after an awesome lunch, so I laid next to the pool with my feet in the water for a couple of hours. It was probably the laziest afternoon I've had in a while. On the way home, Cullen decided to remind me of the joys of being a mommy. He shoved a bite-sized Oreo so far down his throat that he started choking. While James was trying to pull over, I scooped the Oreo out of Cullen's throat, and he threw up in my hands. I wish I could say it was the first time he threw up in my hands. Alas, he is alive, and we are holding off on Oreos for a bit.

Because there is no rest for the weary, I found a large part of a screw in Cullen's water table weekend before last. It turned out to be a part of James' Cullen's grill. We decided to utilize Costco's lifetime guarantee on the grill and exchange it for a new one. After a little bit of additional research, James decided that the Big Green Egg would be a better fit for our little family than the Black Pearl. There was a pretty decent additional cost for the Egg, so James got his Father's Day gift early. As long as he's happy, I'm happy.

Yesterday was Cullen's 18 month checkup with the doctor. It's crazy to believe that he is actually 18 months old. He is still a tall, skinny thing, but he's staying on his growth path. The highlight of his appointment yesterday was his first taste of peanut butter. I've really wanted to add peanut butter to his diet as a new source of protein, but our doctor requested that we wait for an appointment to let him try it. A few months ago (I think), he showed a fish intolerance with lots of hives, so we wanted to be careful with other common allergens. The fabulous news is that Cullen is not allergic, and he loves peanut butter. I'm so happy that I can offer him peanut butter sandwiches when he won't eat meat for dinner. He's going to have a balanced diet if it kills me.

This week has been incredibly hectic as we prepare to go out of town this weekend. I can't wait to share more about our trip when we get back!

xoxo Ashley

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Birthday Parties -- Not Just for the Young

Some of our wonderful neighbors had a birthday party for their sweet son over the weekend. We always enjoy getting to hang out, and we thought Cullen might have fun at the party, too. I am SO looking forward to the day Cullen is old enough to have one of these parties. They hosted at an inflatables place with laser tag. I'm not sure who had the most fun, but I think the adults enjoyed it just as much as the kids did. One of our other neighbors is actually discussing having her husband's next birthday at the Inflatable Katy. I think we might not be entirely grown up just yet. :) I didn't get to play laser tag, but I had a great time watching James run around like a kid and Cullen dance all over the place.

Cullen is getting so vocal these days. When we get to school in the morning, he says hi to all of the other teachers. I'm totally biased, but it is beyond cute. The director of the day care calls Cullen her "boyfriend," and each morning she says to him, " Hi Boyfriend!" when we walk in. He says "hi" to her and blows a kiss. I'm a little jealous that he cares for her so much, but I'm so happy to see that he has a special spot in her heart.

His newest vocal trend is saying "mama" or "daddy" before something. It is new for James and I to have to respond to a different name. We're getting the hang of it, but Cullen always reminds us when we don't respond as quickly as he'd like. This past Saturday, he walked up to me and said, "Mama apple." When I brought out his apple snacks, he clapped for me. I think he's proud of us for finally figuring out what he's already been telling us for months.

xoxo ashley