Tuesday, March 29, 2011

One Great Weekend

Moving away from the only home we'd ever known was a difficult decision.  One that I still sometimes struggle with.  The hardest part is of course the people that we've left behind.  There is nothing easy about leaving people that you love and see on a regular basis.  Especially ones that love your kids more than you ever thought possible and wrap a blanket of love around your family just by being in the same room.  The two people that I'm referring to are Ron's parents.  Joey, Katelyn, and Olivia's Nana and Pop-Pop.  No one could ask for better in-laws.  (It feels weird to me to even call them that, because they really feel more like a second set of parents to me.)   I never anticipated feeling so close and connected to my husband's family, but they are hard not to get attached to.

Since our move south a year and a half ago I've worried that my kids wouldn't maintain the special bond with their grandparents that I feel is really important.  This weekend was a true testament to the fact that losing the connection is simply not going to happen.  Although our visits go by too quickly, and it breaks my heart to say goodbye, my three little kids are as attached to these two special individuals as they are to the people they see every day.

I mean who else is going to lay on the floor and let you put stickers all over them, face and all?

I think Pop-Pop got so into it he even put stickers on himself a few times...

I will treasure this picture always.  If you look carefully, you can see that my little boy is laying his hand and his head on his Pop-Pop's hand.  His true best friend in life, he was so happy to have him around for a few days and this picture say it all.

We all enjoyed a trip to the children's museum, and all the kids got a kick out of trying on these goggles.

Pop-Pop too.

Afterwards we went out for hot dogs and ice cream, where Joey was spontaneously serenaded an oldies song.  (title slips my mind at the moment...)  Can't you just feel the love from this picture?  I can.

Then it was birthday party time!  Minnie-mouse style, of course.  (My sister made the Minnie Mouse cake!  Want a cake made to order?  Let me know, I'll get you her info!)

Daddy and Pop-Pop stayed up really late putting together Katelyn and Olivia's new sets of wheels.

Clearly worn out the next day, here they are getting ready for the party:

A few shots of the birthday girls:

And their super enthusiastic big brother:

Olivia cracked up at her singing Minnie-Mouse card from her Na. (great grandma in Connecticut)

The weekend was topped off by another special celebration.  My hubby and I have been married for 7 years.  Aren't we adorable?

So despite the fact that they brought the ridiculously cold New England weather with them, we had an amazing visit.  There was lots of hugs, laughs, snuggles, and special moments.  And although it is never going to be easy to say goodbye for 3 more months until our next visit, I can say with 100% certainty that my children will forever have a very special bond with these two people.  Even at their young ages, my kids know how much Nana and Pop-Pop love them.  They know that they will always have their love and support, and the memories we create when we're together will keep us connected for the time that we're apart.


Giveaway Winner

Once again, I held a giveaway on my blog and forgot all about selecting and posting a winner.  Surprise, surprise, right?  Well, without further ado, I'd like to congratulate post #5, Alyssa who just so happens to be one of my most faithful readers and giveaway enterers.  Lucky duck she is, she has won herself a $45 gift code to CSNStores.  Thanks to those who entered, and make sure you check back here for some pictures from our very fun-filled weekend!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Welcome Spring! (surprise giveaway at the end!)

I hope I'm not jinxing myself here, but I needed to share with all of you how happy I am that it looks like Spring is arriving here in North Carolina.  Some days are still on the chilly side, but we have had some beautiful weather, even a day or two where the thermometer reached 80!  My kids prefer to spend the majority of their awake time outside, and we are so happy to see winter on its way out.

Now that we've been spending more time outside I'm beginning to see that my children have started to outgrow some of their backyard equipment.  So I've begun to think about how I can make our backyard a little more age-appropriate.  I'd really love to find a great swing set that they can enjoy for many years to come. 

One like this would be Ah-Mazing: 
 Gorilla Playsets - 01-0007 - Big Skye I Swing Set

Or perhaps my little monkeys would enjoy this super-cool climbing wall:

Swing-n-Slide - PB 8241 - Brentwood Wood Complete Swing Set

No matter what we decide on, I know that CSNStores will have the perfect products to turn our backyard into a outdoor paradise for our kids.  They have an amazing selection of swing sets, play houses, trampolines, and more.  With over 200 stores, and free shipping on most items, you must visit CSNStores for whatever you might be in the market for!

Need an incentive to check them out?  Head on over to http://www.swingsetsandmore.com/ and come back here to tell me which item you'd most love to have for your backyard.  This will count as an entry for a $45 gift code to use at any of CSNStores 200+ stores.

And because I love to reward my most faithful readers, you can earn extra entries for showing me some blog love:
  • Become a follower of Thou Shall Not Whine (3 extra entries!) *Just click the little "follow" button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave me 3 additional comments stating, "follower #1, follower #2, etc."
  • Follow my blog on Facebook (2 extra entries) *click on the networked blog button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave 2 additional comments stating that you did!*
  • Grab my button and display it on your blog (2 extra entries!)
  • Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back to it. (2 extra entries!)
  • Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post. (leave an additional comment here to count as your entry!)
This giveaway starts now and will conclude on Wednesday, March 16th, at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be selected via Random.org and contacted via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Sophisticated Toddler

A month shy of officially hitting the "terrible twos," Olivia is as demanding and stubborn as the next toddler.  She has a quiet way of sneaking around the house doing whatever she pleases, and most of time this is fine with me, as she doesn't cause a lot of trouble.  But let me assure you, she can throw a killer tantrum complete with big crocodile tears the minute things don't go her way.  Adorable and sweet 98% of the time, obnoxious and unruly the other 2%.  I think that's how it is with most almost 2-year olds, right?

This tiny little girl has decided that she does not need to sit in her booster seat at the table anymore.  At each meal time she climbs up to any available 'adult chair' with confidence and ease.  Then she proceeds to give me numerous mini-heart attacks throughout the meal while she stands, climbs, wiggles, and occasionally falls off of the chair.  All-the-while never letting go of her food.

Today Olivia decided that she's too mature for the cheap plastic Ikea dishes I've been serving the kids' food on for the past 3+ years.  Today she found her way up to the table to finish off a big bowl of Cheerios that I was too distracted to finish eating.  I swear, our bowls are not as huge as it looks in these pictures... her head is just that little.

And there she sat until every last Cheerio was scooped into her tiny little mouth.  When she was done, she held up the heavy ceramic bowl and said, "mo."  I knew that allowing her to continue eating out of a grown-up bowl was not going to end well for her or the bowl, so I exchanged the empty white bowl for a cheap Ikea plastic one filled with a new serving of Cheerios and milk. Olivia took one look at the bowl, yelled something that I'm sure could be translated to "I don't want to eat from this stupid bowl, you idiot!", and swatted it off the table to the floor.  So now we have a new battle at meal time... first the chair and now the dishes.  Awesome. 

On an unrelated note, but evident from these pictures one can see that Olivia can most often be found half-dressed these days.  Just like her crazy "I need be naked boy" brother.  What is it with these red headed children and their aversion to clothing?  Seriously.  She takes her pants off faster than I put them on, and runs around the house with her tiny little diaper covered tush hanging out for all to see.  I feel like I should put a sign on the door that says, "clothing optional," to forewarn any visitors that they may be witnesses to indecent exposure when they come over.  But I'm pretty sure our HOA wouldn't be too thrilled about that.

P.S. I snapped these pics quickly this AM without realizing that most of them were blurry... grrr.  Maybe it's high time I find time for that camera class I've been wanting to take???


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