Thursday, August 28, 2008

Walking Breakthrough!

Natalie has had a walking breakthrough! Before today she'd only done 3-5 steps at most. Suddenly she's pretty brave!

I should also mention that she has some teeth coming through! About time! It was getting a little difficult to gum all of her food. There's one poking through on the top and another on the bottom just starting to show (not pictured).

Here's the closeup of the top tooth.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Branson Pics...Finally!

So, we had a wonderful time in Branson, MO last week for our family vacation. You know how you wonder if you just "glorify" things in your youth and if it would really be just as much fun as your remember? Well Branson delivered. I probably had MORE fun at Silver Dollar City than I've ever had. Probably due to the sheer number of memories I've made at that place.

Here's a picture diary of our trip.

On the way down we stopped at Mr. Yens for some Springfield Chinese and then on to Pineapple Whip. I didn't get a picture by the hula girl because I was in a hurry as it was raining. But I did get a picture of me holding the beloved pineapple whip/grape twist cone. I love those things!

We stayed at a huge community of timeshares, actual homes and nightly rentals called StoneBridge with my parents and my sister. It was a maze inside, but very nicely kept. Our lodge was right on a humongous pond.

My uncle and his family came up from Arkansas to hang out with us and see Natalie. It's been a while! My grandparents were also in town staying at a hotel in the "show district".
Uncle Mike and Natalie

We had breakfast here - it was GOOD.

The weather was weird the week we were there. It was COLD for August (68-72). Too cold the first few days to do anything in the water. Here's a run-down of what we saw...
I still love Grandfather's Mansion at Silver Dollar City

We had to bail Natalie out of a little trouble

We got a chance to meet up with Angie, Reese and Miriam at the Landing at a good restaurant called Cantina Laredo. My visit with Angie and Miriam was too short, but I was SO glad to be able to catch up over dinner.

Cantina Laredo was so good we took the rest of the group back for another meal. Guacamole prepared table-side, flank steak wrapped around roasted poblano peppers, frozen margaritas... can anyone say "YUM"?

Reese - such a doll!

Don't we look saintly with those flames over our heads??? The light show at the Landing was pretty cool!

Poppo and Me

We HAD to take a picture of this down at the Landing. This was NOT the only sign we saw like this. Come ON folks.

On our last full day in town the sun peaked out for the afternoon and we took advantage and rented a boat. I am DEFINITELY not as young as I used to be - I was SO sore the next day from tubing.

All in all it was a wonderful time. I even squeezed in a visit with my friends Matt & Beth (at a pizza place Natalie sent people packing from because she was SOOO super tired) and Rachel (all in KC). I wish I had more time to spend and hate the fact I have friends I only get to see for a few hours once a year... but I am so grateful that we still maintain those connections. I HEART Missouri.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Almost 1 Year

It's been a little while since I've put pictures of Natalie up and I know my parents are always chomping at the bit for new ones. I was going to post pictures from our trip to Branson, but I'm still awaiting pictures from my sister's camera. I haven't forgotten to post, though. So, stay tuned.

These pictures are from today. She figured out how to get herself behind the tv armoire where I can't quite reach her and there's all sorts of fun cords to play with. Quite the little rascal.

What a Bargain!

Kevin and I have been pinching penny's in August. Well, somewhat. We had a few things we planned to spend money on (family birthdays, our anniversary and vacation to Branson) but otherwise we're trying to reign in our "normal" spending. So, I've tried to find some creative ways to enjoy a day out of the house without spending a ton of $$. Today I was marveling at a deal I'd gotten on something in particular when it hit me...I'd had a WHOLE DAY of bargains. "What do you mean?", you ask out of politeness, really hoping I wont bore you with the details. Well...DON'T PUT IT PAST ME. =)

Lauren's Cheap-O Day of Fun (aka Wednesday)
1) Breakfast with a friend at Panera...Natalie in tow - $3.39

2) Pedicure...Natalie NOT in tow, thank goodness - $4 (thanks to a bit of birthday cash from my grandparents I hadn't yet spent...thanks Mommo & Poppo!)

3) J.Crew Bermuda Shorts on clearance at the THRIFT STORE - .50 (yeah, that's 50 cents!)

4) Style & Co. polo-style shirt (thrift store find too...looks like its never been worn) - $4.79 (I actually thought this was a bit expensive for the thrift store)

5) Semi-annual haircut - $15 (honestly, she gave me a discount and didnt dry it)

6) Re-usable plastic cup full of soda from Baja Fresh - 2.02 (not a deal but I can use this for my upcoming trip to Jamaica)

7) A trip to CVS to buy things and get Extra Care Bucks - spent $14 using a coupon and got $6 in Extra Care bucks for next time

8) Baby seat for my bike (Craigslist find) - $15

9) Meximelt for Natalie's Dinner (I'm cringing at this one. I just fed my daughter horse meat or something I'm sure, but I didnt want to cook.) - 1.39

10) Chipotle Salad for dinner for me & Drink - FREE!!! (my work had some sort of appreciation day with them today where all employees could get a free meal...woot!)

Total for the day o' fun (net out-of-pocket): $54.09 That's not too bad for a haircut, an outfit, a pedicure, three meals, a baby seat for my bike, a few things from CVS and a cup!

I did also go to Target and get some essentials that didn't really factor into the "day o' fun" so I didn't list them here. However, I did buy one thing there that I thought was a pretty good deal.

How could you pass this up for $2.98?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Why I blog...and other randomness

A friend of mine asked why I blog...and it got me thinking.

I dont blog nearly as much as I'd like. But I guess I blog because I have a lot of people I care about that I get to talk to rather infrequently. So its a good way for them to keep in touch. It does weird me out that people read my blog that I don't know, but not enough to lock it down. I guess I figure if somebody I don't know is actually interested in something I type - that validates my thoughts that maybe my friends dont just read my blog for the pictures of Natalie. Or else it means they're a psycho. I'll go with option A.

I wish that I could blog mentally... that would be the best. Like when I'm standing in line at Target and some kid starts picking their boogers and flicking them into their mom's hair without her knowing. The big problem is that I take note of that and think "I should blog this" but then I get distracted and the day ends and all I can think of to blog about that night is "went to the store, ate dinner, went to bed". Sounds a bit like a gerbil. I started carrying around a digital recorder so I can remind myself of those blog-worthy moments later on. I'm not sure if it's helped so much, but it is rather amusing. I bought this thing about 4 years ago for a work presentation I needed to memorize. I never really did that, but in the process of carrying it around I used it to rant one particular time about a *ahem* disagreement my darling husband and I had. I never deleted it and to this day its still there. I think I went on for about 10 minutes detailing my side of the story and how he was SO WRONG. We listened to it recently because I thought it would be a good laugh but we just ended up bickering about it all over again...4 YEAR LATER. Nice.

...WARNING: BIG Tangent...Is it just me or does everyone HATE their voice on recordings? Why is it that your voice inside your head sounds so much less annoying when its coming out of your mouth rather than a tape recorder? And will Natalie ever know what a TAPE recorder is? She'll probably just think tape is what you use to wrap a present. Speaking of... I was thinking of not getting her anything for her birthday. Is that bad? Do I have to go out and buy her a toy for her 1st birthday? I know... it's awful, but what does she need? I could go out and pay full price for a toy that would be just as nice as all the other garage sale finds we have, but honestly, my child would enjoy a cardboard box at this stage of the game. Do you recycle? I started recycling last year on Kevin's birthday and I feel pretty good about it. My BIGGEST pet peeve about that is holding onto all of the recycling in our garage for two weeks at a clip. It takes up so much dang space! Speaking of pet peeves, I'm starting to get REALLY annoyed by sitters/nanny's that you ask to call you and instead correspond in email. My last sitter was so frustrating as she would ONLY communicate through texting. I, even though I'm a techy person, happen to HATE texting. I've warmed up to it ever so slightly since I've gotten a phone with a QWERTY keyboard, but it's still obnoxious because I could have had my questions answered in a whole lot less time on the phone than it takes me to text them back and forth.

Alright, I probably better sign off. I've been avoiding my devotionals for the past few weeks and its starting to really bother me. So I'm off to try to focus. I need to get into something really good - because just flipping open the Bible to any old verse is NOT inspiring in the least. I'm reading a book entitled "The Deeper Journey" and getting ready to start a study with a few girls I know. Hopefully something will kickstart my butt into gear because things are pretty D*R*Y. Anybody else struggle with this stuff??

Signing off. Night all.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us

((picture removed by Editor (Kevin)-- Reason: Kevin thought this was a terrible picture of him!!!! ))

Has it really been 6 years? My, how its flown by!

I can still remember the nerves I had on our wedding day and the fear I saw in your eyes as you worried I might hike up my skirt and sprint down the aisle with a case of cold feet. I think if Natalie ever tells me she wants to get married to someone she met 3 months prior I'll sit on her myself! But God knew what He was doing when He lead us to each other... how glad I am now that we listened to His voice.

You're my very best friend and my biggest cheerleader. You challenge me get to the root of what I'm sad about and don't let me mope without reason. You sing silly made-up songs to make me laugh and enjoy getting excited about good food with me. You're a bit of a redneck-renaissance-man and make me laugh with you're diverse interests like fine wine, classical music, gourmet food, fishing and hunting and beer. You love our daughter without reservation and are actively involved in the not-so-glamorous details like diapers, feedings and getting out of bed to soothe her when she's crying. I never have to worry about asking you to stay with her - you're a natural and always so attentive. Kev, you're more than I could have asked for in a husband and I hope we get to have a ton more anniversaries together each one growing more and more in love.

Always Your Girl,

Funny Story

I was at the grocery store today with Natalie getting a few things for a picnic I am headed to tonight. As we were wrapping up, a very nice, albeit quiet, black teenager was ringing up our items. (Why do I mention he was black? You'll see....)

Natalie was happy a clam and had been making friends all over the grocery store. She's busy babbling up a storm and then it happened. My blonde-haired baby looks at the cashier and starts saying "Da Da Da Da Da Da Da". He looked at me and raised his eyebrows. Ha! What could I do but just smile? I'm sure he'll be trying to figure that one out the rest of the day!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Heading to Branson

It would have have surprised me to know (when I lived in Springfield, MO) that I'd ever be excited about planning a trip to Branson, MO. But here I am... in the car heading that direction... very excited about said trip. Here I come Silver Dollar City, Dixie Stampede, Miriam, Angie, Table Rock Lake, and Pineapple Whip. Woot!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

This Week in Pictures

Last weekend we went to the beach. Yeah... it was fun.

Last week we also had a shortage on childcare. Natalie occupied herself in my craft room while I pounded away at the keyboard.

Not sure if you can tell that I put pigtails in her hair so here's a closeup. Her hair is just long enough. Just.

Drum roll please....Natalie started walking behind her push toy on Saturday. She also took three independent steps toward me that could *not* be replicated for Dad. You'll just have to trust me on this one. She's been trotting all around the house with the push toy the past few days. She requires someone to follow her and straighten out the toy once she runs into something. If only she also got the concept of steering... Guess she won't be taking the car for a spin for a while!

Be Careful Who You "Throw Under the Bus"

...because that same person in line behind you that you just openly outed to the secretary for "pushing the annoying little doorbell" that she scolded YOU for ringing MIGHT be headed to the exact same meeting you are AND be a person you'll be working with. Nice one.