Friday, June 28, 2013

One more month

One more month until my baby is 1!

She is the sweetest, happiest, easiest baby!

She loves people.
She doesn't care who you are; as long you you want to hold her and give her lots of kisses and coo at her, she will love you!
Unless you are one of her siblings.  In that case, she wants you to leave her the heck alone!

She is very "helpful." 
And into everything.  I mean, everything!
No cabinet or drawer is safe anymore.

She has also discovered the never ending fun of climbing up the stairs. 
She can shimmy up the whole flight before anyone has even realized she left the room!

Getting down is another story.  
She has taken a tumble off the one step between the living room and kitchen a few times.  
Now she doesn't even try; she just sits at the step and waves her arms and shrieks until someone picks her up and takes her into the other room.

She is not walking yet, thank goodness, because I have a feeling she is going to be a runner.
She is not a huge fan of the stroller but luckily she is still small enough for me to wear her in the Moby without breaking my back.
But let's be real...she will probably still be small enough for the Moby when she is three, the little peanut!
She also seems to have inherited the Etheridge family trait of blinking just as a picture is being taken.  
Thanks for that, Grandmother! ;)

One more month.
One more month of infancy.
One more month of babyness...

and then it is on to toddlerhood!

Hold on to your hats, people!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

St Lucia

What's more fun than going to a beautiful tropical resort for a week?

Getting to go with a couple of our favorite people!

Brad and I, along with my sister and her husband, spent last week in beautiful St Lucia.
The hotel was probably the coolest one I have ever been to.  
All of the rooms had only three walls and an infinity pool and fabulous views of the mountains!
Another cool feature (depending on your fitness level) was no elevators.  And being that the hotel was on a mountainside, that translated to lots and lots of stairs!  
To be exact, 337 stairs from the beach to the room and another 97 stairs up to the restaurant.  
We earned every single delicious meal chef Eli prepared for us!

Our first day in St Lucia was packed full of adventure.  After a tour of the resort and putting together our itinerary for the week with the concierge, we kicked off our vacation with a butt kicking, I mean jungle biking.  
Now let me just tell you, the bike is my least favorite piece of cardio equipment in the gym. 
 I am not sure why I thought riding a real bike in the jungle would be more fun. 

It wasn't.  

I sure that at any moment I was going to go flying over the handle to my death.  But luckily the tour was very knowledgeable about the area we were riding through and pointed out lots of different plants and gave us some of the history of the area.
So at least it was interesting as well as terrifying!

After biking, we went on a hike up the "extreme" bike trail.  Although supposedly one person (an Olympic biker) has actually biked to the top of this particular trail, I don't believe that it is really possible for a human being.  It was so steep, just walking the trail was brutal!

After the most wonderful shower I have ever taken, we mingled we the other guests at the Manager's Cocktail Party and then had the most wonderful meal I have ever eaten!

(Sidenote: 95% of people we met immediately asked if Catie and I were sisters and about half of those thought we were twins.  Another 4% thought Brad and Pat were brothers and 1% thought we were two sisters married to two brothers! 
And I just totally made up those percents.)

On our second day, we took a tour of the volcano and visited the mud bathes.  The volcano was not at all what I expected.  In my head, volcanoes are really tall mountains with a hole in the top.  
This one was not tall at all; it was more of a crater.  
A crater with smoking, boiling pools of water in it!  
Close by there were some natural hot springs and supposedly the mud from these springs will make you look ten years younger!  I don't know about ten years younger, but it certainly made my skin feel fabulous!

We also visited the Botanical Garden and Diamond Falls mineral bathes. I can't even describe how beautiful the gardens were.  The variety of plants and flowers were just breath taking!
We spent the rest of our week at the resort sailing, snorkeling, and getting in lots of beach time!

It was so nice getting to spend that time away with my husband and I am so thankful for the grandparents that made our trip possible!
When we returned home, it was difficult to determine who had the most fun week:  Brad and I in St Lucia or the kids with Nana!

Monday, June 24, 2013


 My sweet firstborn turned 8 on Father's Day.

For the first time in her life, I missed her actual birthday.
(And Father's Day.  Double whammy!)
Libby tried her best to make me feel guilty about this, which I did a little bit.

But she forgave me when I made her, per her request, a "man-sized" steak and lemon cake to celebrate!
Daddy upped the ante with some homemade ice cream and we invited cousins over to sing happy birthday.
Nana, Aunt Martha and Uncle Ed were also there, so it was quite a party!

I found out a week later that Libby was sick the next day (too much man-sized steak, I guess) and between the sick and no mommy, she dubbed it her "worst birthday ever."

Happy (sort of) Birthday!
I can't believe she is eight!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A tale of two haircuts

When John was a baby, he had these beautiful curls around his face.  
Unfortunately, those curls made strangers assume he was a girl.  Against my will, my husband and sister forced convinced me that two years was too long to go without a haircut.

And the torture ensued...
John didn't think he needed a haircut either.

The curls are gone forever but I still love his hair best when it is all thick and shaggy.  At most John gets a haircut 3-4 times a year.

But on our third day in New Hampshire, I found a tick hiding under John's hairline.

He got a haircut the next day!

He wasn't thrilled about it, but he was definitely more cooperative. 

And really, he's lucky his head didn't get shaved! 


Those ticks freak me out!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The new normal

After a week in New Hampshire, we are still settling in but as Emma Jane said this morning, "It is starting to feel like we are at home."

Jami feels at home!

Everything is unpacked and we are getting a routine down.  

We were greeted by the sun our first morning here at 4:30 am.  That was a big surprise to everyone and step one of developing our new routine was learning that the sun does not necessarily signal morning!!  The only one that has had no trouble with this is Libby.  She sleeps until 8:30 or 9 every morning and is still none the wiser of the early sunrise.

The nightly tick check is another new addition to our routine here in New England.  Every night I check the kids all over for ticks.  And every night there are a few to pick off.  Mostly they are really tiny and I don't mind picking them off.  
(Unfortunately the tiny ones are most likely to be carrying Lyme disease but if you catch them with 24 hours that is not an issue.)
Yesterday, Brad took the kids for a hike on a trail that was home to some much larger ticks.  
Hiking Totten trails

When I lifted up Libby's shirt to inspect her back, I was so surprised at the size of the tick on her that I screamed. 
 Which made her cry. 
 But luckily daddy came to our rescue and got it off.
And then he may have chastised me a bit for being a wuss and scaring our daughter.
Hey, I will take the tiny, disease carrying ones over those big, blood-sucking honkers any day!

The girls are still taking gymnastics over the summer and we are trying to fit in a little school work here and there.

Everyone is spending so much time outside.  The weather has just been perfect!  Most mornings, John is dressed and outside playing before breakfast.
I feel slightly guilty bragging about the great weather here when I know all my friends in Florida are being drenched by Andrea right now.
But only slightly.

There is so much to explore.  One never knows what might be found hiding in a corner of the yard.

Like this asparagus Emma Jane found while watering the garden.  
Now if we could just find 20 more!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Home Sweet Home, New England style

Last Friday our family started off on an adventure.  
Loaded down with a ridiculous number of suitcases, we boarded a plane and flew to New Hampshire, which we do several times a year.

But this time, instead of staying for just a week, we are staying for a summer!

Last fall, Brad and I began seriously discussing buying a vacation home.  This is a conversation that has been thrown around for years but never really hashed out.  A beach condo seemed like a waste since we are so close to beach already and a mountain home in north Georgia or South Carolina seemed to far for a few weekends here and there.

And then we started thinking about where we spend most of our vacations anyways and the logical choice seemed to be New Hampshire.  But in order to make it worthwhile, we would need to spend a good chunk of time here.  Brad had a meeting with his business partner and they worked out a summer work schedule that was good for both of them.  And great for the wives and kids involved because it means more time with daddy!

And then in December, Brad flew up to New Hampshire and with the help of my sister, he bought us a house!  

We will now be spending most of every summer in New England's tiniest town living in this charming, 1789 farmhouse with 27 acres behind it to explore.  

And the best part, it is only 17 minutes, door to door, to see my sister!  We haven't gotten to spend this much time together since, well it's been a long time.  And since we shared one bathroom sink in those days, we didn't appreciate the togetherness that much!

We are already having so much fun!  And I am sure I will quickly get used to being so chilly first thing in the morning in June!
For the next two months, I am officially a Yankee!