Wednesday, June 26, 2013

James' Birthday Weekend

James' birthday fell on a Monday this year, so I made it an excuse to make the weekend fun, too. We keep talking about making a trip out to Snow's in Lexington, but there just never seems to be the time. I decided a few months ago that his birthday would be just the reason to make it happen.
We invited a few different people to go with us. As it turns out, leaving at 6am for a BBQ place two hours away is a lot to ask. It ended up being just our little family, but we really enjoyed the time to visit. 
We got there right before it opened, and we were surprised to find a rather minimal line. By 8:15, we had BBQ in hand. By 8:30, it was pretty much gone. It was a heavy breakfast that my pregnancy didn't agree with, but it was well worth it.
Most importantly, James had a good time meeting Tootsie and seeing the operation in motion. 
And Spiderman had a good time running around the place and catching spiders.  
After Snow's we headed home to gear up for the rest of our day. A little time spent helping a friend move and two birthday parties. By the end of the day, I realized that it might be time to start slowing down a little bit. By this point in my pregnancy with Cullen, I wasn't working anymore. Doesn't that sound nice as the summer heats up?

We spent Sunday afternoon with Peggy and Andy. We had plenty of time to rehash our recent trip to Utah and catch up on all we have ahead of us. I brought James' first birthday dessert (of three) with us to complete our family dinner. Cullen helped James blow out the candles on the carrot cake.  
For the big day, James got to go to work with cake balls, and then help Cullen through his first swim lesson of the summer. Cullen did better than expected on day one. Day two didn't go so well. Tonight will be lesson number three. This should be fun... 
After swim lessons, Cullen helped blow out the candles on the key lime pie.  
And James even convinced him to try a bite. Cullen is not a fan of the tartness. 
This weekend will be another birthday party and lots of down time for this girl. Maybe I'll even finish up the hat and booties I started for this little guy I'm growing. We will have him in our arms in less than two months. I can't believe how quickly this has all gone!

xoxo ashley

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Utah Trip

This past weekend, we took a four day trip to Utah to attend a Shuler cousin wedding. We were thrilled to have a reason to visit, and I'm glad that Jenni and Paul's wedding fell on the last weekend I was allowed to travel. If they had gotten married one weekend later, we wouldn't have gotten to go!

This was a big trip for us, because I'm into my third trimester and we haven't flown with Cullen in over three years. I can't say I love flying with kids or flying while pregnant, but it wasn't too bad. I think the primary thing I have to get past is that some people are just going to be unpleasant when they see you getting on the plane with a child. Other people are remarkably kind.
On our flight to Utah, the guy sitting in front of James got mad that we brought Cullen's carseat on the plane. It took a whole lot for me to not respond to his muttering. On the flight home, we wound up checking our bags for free, getting extra help through security, and getting a whole lot of one on one service from our stewardess. It was such a testament to travelling being made better by the people around you. 
We got into Utah just before lunch on Thursday and made it to a late lunch with Paul and Michael. It was so nice to see them both and finally meet Paul, and it was a great opportunity for Cullen to catch a nap. I'm guessing it was the altitude, but it was one of his first naps in over a year. 
After lunch, we headed up to Olympic Park. I can't even imagine what it's like during the winter, but they had an amazing setup for the spring/summer. We did a good bit of hiking, the boys got to ride a chair lift and the alpine slide, and we got to watch some participants in the ski jump. The summer practice for the ski jump was actually a carpeted ski run and a swimming pool that had jets to lift the skier to the top of the water. It was really neat to watch, and I'm glad we got the opportunity to see it.
Friday was a whole lot of work, but it was so completely worth it. We took Cullen fishing in the morning. He got to catch and/or help catch seven fish. It was a catch and release pond, but it was so much fun.  

 It was incredibly different for me to take on the role of parent while fishing. I finally understood the frustration in my dad's voice after he told me "tip up" for the fourteenth time. Someday, Cullen will understand the frustration in my voice when he goes fishing with his kids. Ultimately, fishing with a three year old is all about patience and laughter. He had so much fun, and I am so very proud. 
After fishing was lunch and riding four wheelers. James took Cullen out for a fun ride around the ranch, and I enjoyed the shade. During the afternoon activities, James' cousin, Michael, took a tumble and broke his jaw in two places. By an act of God, he was completely fine (other than the broken jaw), and he was back home in time for the wedding festivities the next morning. After that one, I've decided that Michael may be the definition of a Shuler.
Friday night was the rehearsal dinner and lots of cousin time. I've never had a very big family, and I've never lived close enough to be very close to my cousins. I initially found James' family a bit intimidating. So many cousins, and they're all friends! What makes it even more special is how much I've been included as a cousin. I love these girls. 
I particularly love Erica, because she told me I was "the most beautiful pregnant girl she had ever seen." As if I didn't already think the world of her.
Saturday was more outdoor time, more time at Olympic Park, one more ride down the Alpine Slide (this time with Charly), and the beautiful wedding. Jenni was a stunning bride, and it was a perfect day to be outside in Utah. We were pleasantly surprised by how long Cullen lasted through the reception, and we got to experience an amazing drive home through the ranch while animal watching for elk, moose, and deer. 
Overall, our trip to Utah was amazing. We got to spend lots of time with nature, lots of time with family, and some of that time sleeping really really well. Fresh air will do that to you. We look forward to our next opportunity to go out there. Maybe next time I won't be pregnant...
We've struggled to get back into our routine this week. Cullen asked to go to bed at 6:45 on Sunday. We have plenty planned for this weekend, but our goal is to be home before bedtime each night. We've got to get our little man back on some sort of schedule.

xoxo ashley

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Martial Arts Graduation 2013

When Cullen moved up to the official preschool class this year, he was given the opportunity to start taking martial arts. It isn't an activity I would have picked for him on my own, but it seemed like a good fit at the time. Some days Cullen came home excited with stories to tell, but he usually told me that he just didn't feel like going anymore. I decided we would finish out the year and try soccer in the fall.

For all the times he wasn't too excited about being there, he was thrilled to have me and James there last week for his graduation. The teacher showed up late, so we got a few cute pictures outside before they opened the studio.
And who wouldn't play hide and seek with friends?
Once we got inside, it was all business. I love Cullen's stance and facial expressions. Fierce. 
They went through a few different drills, but my favorite was when they gave the boys their "weapons." They were surprisingly good with them, but that didn't stop Cullen from whacking another kid after he got hit. They're three. What did we really expect? 
Cullen graduated from his white belt to a white senior belt.  
The boys got together for a class picture with Kung Fu Panda at the end. Cullen and one other boy weren't too excited about their furry friend. And then the teacher put him right in front of the panda for the group picture.
It's pretty rare that we get a picture of the three of us together. It isn't perfect, but who needs perfect pictures anyway?
xoxo ashley

Memorial Day Weekend

I was so excited for the long weekend this year. We only made plans for Sunday, so we were hoping for naps and sleeping in on Saturday and Monday. Admittedly, I got plenty of rest, but I also worked on getting things done around the house. Cleaning baby clothes, knitting a blanket, making pies, and generally being a rock star.

On Sunday, we headed out to Galveston to play with the Harrison extended family. Cullen and Myles got in plenty of swimming and play time while the adults got to visit. I took one picture the whole weekend. It wasn't even a very good one. But I also got lots of time to visit with Ellen, and a lot a quiet time outside. 
On Monday, we spent the afternoon grilling and swimming with my parents. It was such a calming weekend. I love those weekends with my little family. 

Of course, by Wednesday, Cullen and I both had sinus infections and strep throat, so our short week was made even shorter by our sick days. We're both doing better and picking up our routines.  Just in time for our big trip to Utah next week!

xoxo ashley

Baby Prep

As we enter the third trimester (where has the time gone?), we're starting to do some real prep work for the arrival of our next son. Of course, in traditional Ashley fashion, I saved everything from Cullen and a whole lot that was my nephew's. I got rid of things with stains, but that's about it. Because of that, we need very little this time around, which allows us to think about the random extras we (mostly just me) might want. 

Can I tell you one thing we don't need? Socks. Shoes. Slippers. This picture does no justice for the collection we have going. We have sandals, fur boots, tiny sneakers, and so many socks your head would spin. So, if you want to get us something, please get us something that isn't for feet.
We also have a ridiculous amount of clothing. I've washed and hung up everything from Preemie to 6 months, so we're over prepared. But that's how I like it. We could honestly pick up some diapers and bring a baby home right now. 

On Sunday night, I mentioned to James that the prints I bought a couple months ago have been framed and sitting on the floor in the nursery for over a month. Maybe we could hang them next weekend? He surprised me by asking if we could hang them right then. Don't mind the glare or the pieces of playmat sticking out in the corner. I'm so excited to have something on the walls this time around.  
Before we know it, our newest addition will be here with us. After a whole lot of waiting, this pregnancy thing sure does move quickly!

xoxo ashley