Monday, October 22, 2012

Top 10 From the Last Month

We have had a busy month and a half since our last post.  To catch you up here are our top 10 (or so) in chronological order:
1.     Sept 11: Blue Angels Practice on the Naval Base in Pensacola.  Bobby and I didn’t know what to expect, but we both couldn’t stop smiling.  It was AMAZING!  The pilots performed so many cool tricks and maneuvers.  At the beginning of the show they made a ribbon in the air out for remembrance of 9/11. Amelie and Liam were also entertained with the nearness of the planes and the loudness of the engines. In speaking with some of the locals afterwards, we were surprised by some very critical reviews.  Since we were novices, we didn’t know all of the technical distances the planes had to be or their exact routine. I guess you could say that we were easily amused.  However, others were disappointed by the lack of discipline of the pilots in performing an accurate routine.  I couldn’t help but make an analogy out of this. Thinking this served as just another reminder that perspective in life is important…both for focusing on what is important in life and for making sure you are focusing on the right things. It is easy to become so pin holed in your focus that you miss the greater picture and the awe of all that is surrounding you. 

2.     Sept 14 – 19: Nanny Visit. It was a treat for everyone in the family to have Nanny around. She spoiled Amelie and Liam with lots of attention. She also spoiled us by treating us to a couple of eating out experiences.  We had a take out shrimp feast on the porch one night and Bahama Bob’s another night.  We were able to explore Fairhope, which is a coastal city about 30 minutes from us.  It was nice to have family around to be able to show off our day to day.

3.     Sept 23 – 26: Aunt Sarah Visit.  A huge highlight from Sarah’s visit was that she and Amelie had a lemur experience at our zoo.  They sat in a cage with around 5 lemurs who were playing and jumping around and on them for around 30 minutes. The zookeepers allowed Liam to be apart of the fun for a couple of minutes near the end.  Both kids enjoyed being able to touch and let the lemurs climb all around them.  Another highlight of Sarah’s visit was meeting up with some of her friends who now live in Gulf Shores. It was fun hanging out with another family in the area and learning the ins and outs of the area.

4.     Sept 27-29: Daddy-daughter adventure to St. George’s.  Bobby’s brother, Daniel rented a house on St. George’s island and invited us to come.  Bobby was looking forward to having some quality time with his brothers (Daniel and Stephen), Sarah, his dad, and Karen. However, on the way to St. George’s island our cars transmission decided to go out.  Amelie was a great sport and Bobby was able to push through and not let irritating car problems dampen the entire trip.  Amelie enjoyed the required frequent breaks to let the transmission cool down. She ate lots of icecream (chick-fil-a and dairy queen), shopped at Bass Pro Shop and got a Mickey Mouse fishing pole, and other fun eating out stops. She also had her first experience with bubble gum (it was a positive one).  While Bobby and Amelie were away, Liam and I enjoyed a lot of quiet. We spent time on the beach and on long walks.  We were very happy when they arrived home safely!  

5.     Fishing:  Amelie is quite the fisherwoman (she must learn her skills from her dad!).  She catches a lot of pinfish off the peir in the lagoon.  We now have a fishing pole for Bobby, Amelie, and myself.  Bobby’s new official hobby is fishing.  Like all hobbies, Bobby is learning everything he can about fishing in the Gulf.  His research and quest for knowledge has paid off as he recently caught 38 Whiting.  We are enjoying his hard work with delicious meals of fish tacos. 

6.     Crabs:  Bobby has worked at mastering the art of crabbing as well.  He caught so many crabs and was excited about his first crab dinner.  However, it took a little longer to prepare the meal that he ended up polishing off the crabs on his own.  

7.     Park:  There is a really nice, shaded wooden park near us.  Liam teeters around the park while Amelie likes to pretend to be a princess in the castle towers.  With the beautiful weather, we have spent many hours enjoying the park.  

8.     Trash: This is silly, but taking the trash down to the dumpster is always fun. Both kids get on their bikes as we dispose of our trash. We usually make a couple trips down each day as dirty diapers are better kept out of the house. We stop and look at the peir…birds, water, etc. I wonder how we will take the trash out in Paris…

9.     Zoo time:  Like I mentioned before, the weather has been great!  We will often stop by for an hour or so to watch the animals. We have a season pass so it’s an easy thing to do.  We love the tigers.  There are 3 cages of tigers and they are beautiful. You can stand 5 feet away from them with just a chain-linked fence keeping you apart.  We push Liam on his bike which sounds like the wagons that the zookeepers bring the food on.  One day Amelie, Liam, and I were standing watching one of the tigers pace back and forth in front of us when all of a sudden it stood up on it’s back legs and roared at us! Scared me to death, so we kept walking.  Liam now likes to roar.  We also like the 1000 lb alligator, Chucky.  We like to make sure he is in his cage as he escaped in one of the hurricanes years ago.  We feed the animals zoo treats as well.  They have baby tigers to interact with for extra money so we enjoy watching other people play with the baby tigers. Overall, each visit is fun.

10. Bikes: We recently have acquired 2 bikes for Bobby and I to ride and we have a trailer for the kiddos.  We have enjoyed our rides!  Again, this is perfect weather and the roads are flat so it’s pretty enjoyable.  It gets difficult only when there is a strong head wind!

11. Shrimp Festival: The Shrimp Festival was a fun experience of live music, lots of fried food, interesting art, and good people watching.  There was also a great kids area with free popcorn and slushies and art projects.  We had fun going a couple days in a row.
      Amelie wanted me to mention that her favorite things have been the following:  going to her new school, attending story time at the library, painting (shells, pictures, etc), jumping in the jump house at Octoberfest, building sandcastles in the beach, digging big holes in the sand to play in, playing play dough, and making sticker pictures.  She is so grown up!
Fortunately, Amelie did not turn THIS hose on anyone!  She has had up-close interactions with firemen at the library during story time and at her school after they learned about community service personnel.

Liam's 1st Birthday

How has it already been a year since Liam entered our lives?  Isn’t that the reflection of most parents for their children’s 1st birthday?   Since having kids it’s hard for me not to ask the questions like: where has the year gone, how are they SO big now, and will you please slow down on growing so fast? This birthday has been no different in my book. Every time I turn around Liam seems to be learning a new skill.  I loved this stage with Amelie and am loving this stage of life with Liam as well. It’s hard to keep up with his newest cute thing and I find myself watching and giggling at him all day. To give you a clearer picture of Liam here are a couple of fun things to know:
·      He started taking a couple of steps a week before his birthday. After a week or so he was walking everywhere with little assistance.  He toddles on the sand, which is adorable.  His cuteness is made evident by the crowd of people he attracts that enjoy watching him and marveling in his ability to walk in the soft sand. His walking skills have advanced so much so that he will walk straight into the ocean with little regard to any waves.  At the Shrimp Festival he liked to walk in the opposite direction of us and go exploring.  He also loves the game of us chasing him. As he continues to be more and more mobile, he is going to keep us running! 
·      He loves to cuddle.  He can hardly contain himself when it comes to soft things: soft blankets, soft stuffed animals, soft real animals…you get the picture anything soft.   He strokes his face as he is going to sleep with the bunny ears on his beloved stuffed animal, the bear in a bunny costume. 
·      He follows his sister everywhere and wants to be involved with whatever she is doing. It is fun to see them playing together and entertaining themselves even if it is only for short periods of time. Their newest thing is to take turns screaming.  Amelie will scream a high pitch scream and then Liam will follow suit…it is fun how they match each other’s pitch…well, fun for us (sometimes) but not for our neighbors. (Luckily we have not had neighbors in many months…we do try to be considerate.) 
·      He enjoys rough housing with Bobby and Amelie.  In the evenings the three of them spend time wrestling with each other on the bed.  This is something we have to keep an eye on because a couple of times we have seen him charge Amelie out of nowhere and knock her down.  We are using this as leverage right now with Amelie to encourage her to make wise choices as to how she interacts with him because we warn her that one day he will be bigger than she is.
·      He loves to eat.  He often eats more food than Amelie. Fortunately, we do not frequent dining establishments very often because he screams at you until you put something in his mouth.  I’m hoping this is a phase.  We taught him the sign language for more so how he screams while signing that he wants more.
·      He loves dogs.  He will point and scream “Dogh, Dogh!” at the sight of every dog. He also likes all the birds around the beach (seagulls, pelicans, cranes, etc.)
·      He waves feverishly at all planes and helicopters.  This has also turned into waving vigorously at boats and cars too.  It’s a whole arm motion across his entire body.
·      He is watching and mimicking social cues now. If we are laughing, he has to join in as well.  If Amelie is crying/whining, he will do a sad but fake cry too.
·      He is very content and pretty patient.  There have been times where he will sit in his bike and watch Bobby and Amelie fish (or clean fish) without getting upset.  He loves his bike!
·      For weeks Liam would carry his Mickey birthday balloon around the house.  He also loved the Mickey card  the Lums gave him. He would open it and “read it”.  I would sing Happy Birthday to him when he would get it and he would crack up.
·      He loves books.  Right now his favorites are Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See?  He loves to turn the pages himself. 

So, to celebrate him on his birthday we threw a beach party. Amelie helped me bake and decorate cupcakes and cake into a beach scene.  Although our party was small and the food not elaborate, we had a lot of fun together. The weather was absolutely perfect…warm, good breeze, and calm clear ocean water.  We spent time swimming together in the ocean because it was so calm and clear.  Being able to see dolphins, manta rays, electric stingrays, crabs, and little fish was also a huge highlight.  We missed not having our friends and family around to celebrate with us, but we enjoyed the phone calls and face time with grandparents to have others apart of the big day.
We are incredibly thankful for our little guy and look forward to the memories the next year will hold!  I am sure this time next year I will be asking the same questions of how quickly time has flown by.  I am determined to cherish and treasure each moment along the way.