Thursday, July 26, 2012

Big Announcement and Birthday Fun

Let's start out with the big announcement. It turns out I'm knowledgeable, nice, and a hard worker. So I've got a job. Now, stop laughing. Seriously, I'm nice. And I start work on Monday. I could wax poetic about how awesome it's going to be. Or I could talk about how hard it's going to be to send Cullen back to school. Or I could just move on.

My birthday was last week. For some reason, this birthday seemed so much bigger than the other ones before. It wasn't a milestone birthday, but it still seemed big. Luckily, I got to celebrate with some of my favorite friends. There were a few dinners, a couple of lunches, and lots of laughs.

The day of my birthday, I started out by taking my birthday money to Target and buying myself an iPad. I'm a week into the purchase, and I think it was worth every penny. James hasn't used it much, but Cullen and I are both loving it. I especially love that I got a Target gift card with the purchase of the iPad, so I used that to buy my cover. No reason to be loose with my money when I'm already spending too much...

Following my wild ways at Target, Cullen and I met Amy and Hadley for lunch and dessert. Lunch at Pronto was yummy as always, and I really enjoyed seeing Hadley and Cullen play. They are ridiculously cute together, and I love it.

After Pronto, we went to Ooh La La for cupcakes and ice cream. I indulged in some really yummy ice cream, and Cullen had a mini cupcake. I love the timeline pictures. I asked him what he thought of the cupcake. He thought about it for a second.
 Then he made this face and asked for a "mommy cupcake."
 The he wished me a happy birthday.
 In lieu of cake, I had some yummy ice cream.
 And Cullen thought it would be fun to feed me for a change. So sweet!
 After lunch, Cullen and Hadley ran circles around a fountain chasing each other and talking about imaginary turtles. This picture reminds me so much of their first play date back when they weren't even independently sitting up yet. And before we know it, they're going to be three. Ugh.
 After lunch, I met up with James and a couple of his co-workers to drive to Austin. They had happy hour with a client while I got to hang out with Tera and her precious family. Breanna (who thinks she's a grown up now) showed me how to use my iPad. Apparently, I'm getting old and somewhat useless. I read the owner's manual. Breanna taught me more while Tera cleaned the kitchen than I could have taught myself in a week.

After dinner, we went for a swim. Cullen was so excited. He got into this huge tube and kicked his way around the pool. About the time Tera asked if Cullen was safe in the deep end, he flipped the tube over and sank. I'm a God awful swimmer, so I almost drowned myself in an effort to make it across the pool. By the time I got across the pool, he had kicked himself to the surface of the water.
Cullen almost drowning was totally scary, but I was so super proud of him. His time in the pool this summer has helped his swim skills. I bet he's water safe before next summer. The better part of the evening was getting to visit with Tera and see her girls. They are so ridiculously grown up now, and it breaks my heart to bits knowing how much I'm missing.

The next morning, I got out of the shower to find Cullen eating bacon and breaking in my iPad with some little bitty greasy finger prints. I love that Cullen's favorite food group is bacon.
 Cullen's new favorite game is hiding in ridiculously obvious places and popping up to surprise us. Scout takes it as a great opportunity to sit on the pillows that she doesn't normally get close to.
He doesn't even shout "Surprise!" He just pops up and waits for us to feign fear and shock.
With this being my last week at home for the foreseeable future, we decided to take a stab at potty training. Cullen loved the part of sitting on the potty. I let him play with my iPad on the potty, so why wouldn't he love it, right? He never once peed in the potty, and there were some pretty epic messes along the way, so we are shelving potty training for now. I'll probably try again in a couple of months.
 The day after potty training was spent with both of us being exhausted. Let's be honest. Peeing on the floor was just as much work for Cullen as it was for me to clean up. Cullen actually climbed out of the bed for nap time and slept on the floor. I don't get it, but he thought it was beyond hilarious.
 I'm trying to clear out my to do list before going back to work. Cullen was close to needing a haircut, so I decided to take him in. After some disparaging remarks from James and some tears from me, we're getting used to Cullen's new 'do. It'll grow back in just a few weeks. Until then, his hair is currently shorter than it has literally ever been. He was born with more hair than this. Oh well.
Today I'm working on laundry, cleaning, gardening and baking. James' parents arrive tomorrow afternoon, and I'm trying to make sure that we can spend as much time with them as possible. Let's just hope I take more pictures this time around!

xoxo ashley

Monday, July 16, 2012

Water, Water, Water

Has anyone been outside lately in Houston? It's been raining. And raining. And raining. We haven't had to water the yard in ages, and there's no way we could keep up with the grass. What a difference from last year! There are some frustrating days, but I'm trying to be really thankful for the break in the heat. I'm sure the mosquitoes will be awesome...

Cullen and I have been spending more time with play dates and outings as my impending return to work gets closer and closer. Cullen and I went in to visit his old school while the director was there. We're all hoping that work will allow me to put him back in as a student at Little Blooms. He loved spending time with Miss Marie and Froggy.
He's a handsome kid, right?
I noticed a little over a week ago that all of Cullen's clothes were getting too small. It's amazing what a difference a week makes in the size of a toddler. The first night I bumped him up to 3T pajamas, he was thrilled to find that he owned pajamas with Lightning McQueen on them.
While we were out shopping for 3T clothes, we stopped at Sbarro for pizza. Cullen ate one of James' pieces of pizza. It was his first Sbarro experience, and he didn't hesitate to impress us with how much he ate.
While the Little family has been in town, Lauren and Cullen really have become attached to one another. They seemed pretty loving on the last trip, but this trip has solidified their attachment. We took the kids to Rainforest Cafe for a fun lunch, only to find that Cullen HATES Rainforest Cafe. Lauren spent a large portion of her lunch on the floor next to Cullen's stroller to keep him happy.
After loads of planning, we finally headed out to Great Wolf Lodge last week. Our group of ten required two cars, and we were lucky enough to get Lauren in our car with us. She and Cullen watched movies, played with toys, and laughed the whole drive there.
 Some might expect loads of pictures from our trip. Nope. Not a one. Oops. At least we got car pictures. Like when Lauren and Cullen dueled with wands on the drive home.
 On our way home, we made a pit stop at the Blue Bell Creameries. I love this picture of Cullen not being a part of the cousins group. He played with them all so well until it was picture time.
The creamery was a really neat experience, and we all had fun with it. What isn't fun about red velvet cake ice cream? As soon as we got into the car, Cullen was out. Naps all around. 
 Early tomorrow morning, the Little family is heading back to Kentucky. Cullen will miss out on his family time, and so will we. We can't wait to see them again!

xoxo ashley

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cullen Time

Look who found a new favorite food group... He loves bacon. I loved him before, but I'd be lying if I said his love for bacon didn't totally warm my heart. Yum yum bacon. How cute is he?
Almost as much as he loves bacon, he loves his best friend. Scout tolerates his affection as much as she tolerates his mean streaks. They're ridiculously cute together.
And who is this cute little kid who is totally not a baby anymore? What happened here?
 Cullen got this awesome hooded towel from his friend, Madison. The hood is a little Baylor helmet. So ridiculously cute. He wants to wear it around the house as a cape.
 I've been letting Cullen's hair get pretty long. I'm somewhat neglectful about haircuts for Cullen.
 This time, I let Cullen's hair get even longer than usual. I forgot how much he looks like a big boy when his hair is short.  
This past weekend, we headed out to Galveston for a friend's wedding reception. We got to see a lot of old friends, and we made time for a pit stop in a local gift shop. Cullen listened to the ocean in a shell while I bought a little gift for an upcoming birthday.
The next day, we headed to Kingwood for a birthday party that lasted all day and evening. It is always fun to spend time with friends, and we all had so much fun. In between all of our activities, we've also been squeezing in lots of time with the Dement/Little family. Cullen is loving his cousin time.

Today has already been pretty busy. I started with boot camp and then a visit to the newest open Rudy's BBQ. They were passing out gift cards and comping everyone's breakfast, so I definitely made time for that. Now I'm catching up on blogging before heading over to Peg and Andy's to celebrate the holiday. A busy day in the busy life of a lucky girl!

xoxo ashley

The Big Apple

I'm a lucky girl. My mom called a few weeks ago and asked if I might want to go to New York with her. My grandmother, aunt and cousin were going, and we met up with them for a couple of days.

I've been to New York so many times, but it never gets old. I love dinners out and lots of walking and family time and history and architecture.

We got to have dinner with my aunt and uncle. They are fabulous and amazing, and I'm so lucky to have them in my life.
There was lots of sightseeing. Tour buses. Walking. I finally got to see the World Trade Center memorial in person. It is beautiful in pictures. It is breathtaking in person. Never gets old.
Of course, it was fabulous to have our girls' dinner with more family. We didn't get to spend nearly enough time together, but it was still fabulous to see my aunt, cousin and grandmother. Three generations of fun ladies! 
 I've been back a little more than a week, and I'm already planning my next trip back. I love to sleep in the city that never does.

xoxo ashley

Scout Support

Since I've been at home, I've been spending more time with my Scout orders. I've also taken to pre-measuring ingredients and letting Cullen help pour things into the mixer. Which means that he also learned how to turn on the mixer.
This picture doesn't show the full devastation of the flour bomb. After the initial moment of, "Awwwwww..." I couldn't help but laugh. He's been a little hesitant in the kitchen since then.
I was so excited to be a part of precious Liam's baptism.
And then I got to make this adorable cake for my favorite set of twins!
And who doesn't love a little retro Barbie cake for a grown up? 
And for later today, we have s'mores on a stick. With homemade marshmallows. Yum.

I love this opportunity to have fun with what I love. Blessings!

xoxo ashley

Nap Free In Katy?

Can I just put out there how much I love nap time? I LOVE nap time. What an awesome time of day. When Cullen naps, I either take a nap or indulge in some quiet time, but Cullen is trying to give up naps. The funny thing is how he's completely fine with no naps one day and falling to sleep at the table the next day.
While I was in New York, Cullen spent time over at Camp Dement. Nap skipped.
 Play time with Steph's kids... Nap skipped.
A long day with too much time at Academy and a birthday party. Nap skipped.
 Too many errands with Mommy and not enough time at home. Nap skipped.

I need to put more effort in helping the cause of nap time. If I don't, I may never have time to read again!

xoxo ashley

Tough Decisions

This week has been tough on me. The whole looking-for-a-job thing is getting old. I love being at home with Cullen. I miss being in an office. I do activities with Cullen every day. I worry he's missing out by not being in school. Why God why?

Being a parent isn't easy, and choosing a caregiver when you aren't around is even more difficult. I want someone who would do just as good a job as I would, but is that really even possible? Decisions, decisions.

I want to go on a date without worrying how he will be treated and what could happen. Becoming a parent was a deliberate decision. Parenting is a repetitive series of deliberate decisions. Tough, deliberate decisions.

Can I get a vacation?

xoxo ashley