Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Festivities 2008

This was a very fun Christmas to watch through the eyes of my children. Bear with me as I recall the highlights I want to write and remember.

Nativity Scene

I have always wanted a small nativity scene for my Christmas collection, but never got around to getting one when Matt are I were DINKs. While out shopping this fall, Meredith and I found the Little People Christmas Story set. I was pretty excited because the kids didn't have to be super careful and could hopefully learn a little more about the Birth of Jesus. It's been such a sweet blessing to hear Meredith say "That's Mary" and "That's the angel" and "That's Baby Jesus" during the Advent season. But, my favorite memory of this set is when she started playing library story time with all her nativity friends inside her bounce house. You see, Meredith LOVES story time, and replays it for us many times a week. So, I guess its only natural for her to share it with her favorite dolls.

Sick boy

Not that I really want to remember, but these have been a rough few days for Russ. He's just been fussy and clingy -- very un-Russ like. However, it has been nice to cuddle with my fast-growing boy.

New Foods to Try (or Not)

As with most foods, Russ enjoyed the the delicious Christmas cuisine. Matt said "He has some Davis in him" as we watched him quickly devour some Ham and Cheese Casserole. He also tried his hand at some of the candy, and was not disappointed with Divinity.

Meredith happily enjoyed her Mac and Cheese, and was probably counting down the hours until Chick-fil-A opened again.

Toys R Us (formerly known as the Lipsey office/playroom)

Generous grandparents, family, and friends have reached the toy quota for our home. Matt, Meredith and I have been playing a Hybrid form of the game Lucky Ducks at least three times a day since Christmas. Russ loves his "boy toy" trucks and cars. Both kids are very blessed to have such generous people in their lives. But wait -- lest I forget that the Big boy also liked his new Wii game as well.

Music to Remember

As with most years, PHBC's music ministry has filled my time for much of the past month. Playing in morning services the first two Sundays reminded me of the songs that have been sung by several generations of believers and guides our hearts to the Savior. The marathon Adult Christmas performances allowed me to play my Christmas present, a piccolo. My precious Pre-K choir members did a FANTASTIC job with their very first performance. They sang their hearts out, and the proud parents were excited that their darlings enjoyed singing in front of the church family. It was also neat to play in a flute quartet for the Christmas Eve service this year. Can you ever really have too many flute players ;)

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A little perspective

This past week has been a bit of a crazy one at our house. The low notes were as follows: an illness gave a major set-back in potty success, a son began climbing onto everything in the house (chairs, tables, and potty), a friend lost a beloved pet, and a house that looks like a disaster area. However, we have been blessed with so much good news as well: friends who have announced they are pregnant, births of new babies, parties with co-workers and friends, and time with family have brought so much joy to our life.

So, I had been on the verge of tears for most of the day. Potty regression - my biggest fear - seems to be staring me in the face. Reading the handwritten Date Ball recipe of my departed grandmother made me wish that she could be here for Christmas. Hair pulling and toy taking were about to send this mom to her own personal time out spot.

It wasn't until this evening that I realized how blessed I truly am today. Meredith and I were waiting at the Sushi place for dinner for Matt and me. I see that Nancy Grace is on TV, and they are discussing the Caylee Anthony case. The show is replaying a scene of the young 2 year old sitting at a table reading a book with her grandparents. I guess that I had become numb to the story, until these words are released from my own 2 year old's mouth, "She is reading a book." My answer was of course "That's exactly right, dear. Good job."

But, as the news reports that the recent discovery of a bones were that of the young girl, I think to myself "She was reading a book." And as the feelings turn into sweet tears down my cheek, I am reminded of how blessed I really am. Though the days may be rough and messy, and the nights sleepless and way too short - how privileged am I to live this life. While I may not feel like Carpe Diem each day, I am at least dwelling in the life that was set for me by a powerful Heavenly Father who sent a Savior who's birth we celebrate in only 5 short days.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14 (KJV)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Russell's 1st Birthday

We celebrated Russell's 1st birthday Saturday with our family, and enjoyed BBQ and cake at this laid-back party. Russ enjoyed some good lovin' from his grandparents and great-grandparents.

Silly grandparents, all I really wanted was this box.

Smash cake in honor of his favorite word

These past 12 months have flown by so fast. Our sleepless nights have been replaced by busy days and an empty pantry. Russ, we look forward to watching you grow even more. Happy Birthday, Russbuster!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Playgroup at the Capitol

Every year as a young child, my parents took Liz and me to the state capitol at Christmas to see the pretty decorations. Our playgroup decided to check out the 2008 version with the tiny tots and enjoy the festive sights and sounds. A fun time was had by all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Camera, Christmas, Can't stop jumping, and Catch-All Post

Happy Early Christmas Present to the Lipsey's! It's your nice up-to-date digital camera to take pictures that you can treasure of Christmas 2008 with your two toddlers.

I have been busy trying to learn this new piece of technology. It's such a small thing compared to the 2002 version that had served us well for the past few years. I guess six years isn't bad. Some people don't even keep their cars for that long (well, not us, but I'm sure there are some people out there that do).

Last week, I finally got our Christmas decorations put up during Russ's morning nap time. Here are some of the results:

If anyone out there needs a "Meredith" stocking in the Red and Green style as shown, let me know. I couldn't find another stocking like these I made two years ago when Meredith was 9 months old, and Russ was not exactly on our radar screen so I didn't buy an extra one just in case. I didn't want Russ's stocking to stick out like a sore thumb, so decided to make two new stockings for the kids. I also have a Razorback and Sooner stocking that I would also like to part with for any takers who would like to have in their Christmas collection.

Yep, I decided to leave the large Christmas tree in the attic in lieu of our old Apartment tree so that I can avoid saying "No, no Russ - don't touch the ornaments" 20 times a day. A choice I am willing to live with this year!
Meredith had a fabulous time at Brook's birthday party. This girl loves to bounce! After Ms. Kim showed her how to climb the ladder to this slide, she was busy sliding and climbing for the better part of an hour.

Watch out, Kaden! Here comes Meredith.

Thankfully, our house improvements are complete and we are back to taking afternoon naps at our house in peace. Meredith is doing well in her big girl undies with limited accidents, and I am usually cleaning up Russ after him "helping" by sticking his hands in the potty while I am helping Meredith clean up He's a fast one!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Mother's Joy

I remember a little over a year ago wondering across from the diaper aisle to this fabulous section called potty supplies. My face must have glowed as I saw the little potties in boxes that said 18 month+. Perfect for my almost 20 month old, and with this new little pumpkin in my belly about the pop - one less thing to worry about, right? My mom had said not only was I trained at the ripe old age of 2, but that I practically trained my little sister and she was standing at the potty at 18 months just waiting for someone to pick her up and place her on her porcelain throne. Meredith obviously came from a long line of potty princesses, and was sure to quickly catch onto the idea.

So, beautiful baby Russell comes and mommy just doesn't have the time or energy to put into cleaning up messes that darling daughter may have in her undies (and floor). Spring and Summer roll around, and the magic pull-up pants seem to Meredith as just pretty diapers. Fall comes, and I am convinced that I will not be able to send my brilliant child to Pre-3K next year because we will still be struggling with "pee pee goes in the potty, not in our pants."

So, finally the foot was set down a few weeks ago. Rule #1 - No pat-pat, unless we use the potty. What is pat-pat, you are asking yourselves? Well, that is the beloved gang of Annie, June, Quincy, and Leo (and Rocket, too) who currently take up 1/2 of our DVR space for the kids show Little Einsteins.

After a couple of weeks of "I had an accident" and "I need a napkin for the floor" being professed on a daily basis, I was about the give up and wait for this to be yet another new years resolution. But, imagine my surprise yesterday as I hear the sweet sound of liquid flowing into the potty as my child gives the proudest smile I have seen. And, so far so good as we have been able to watch "pat-pat" a few more times as well.

While I know that I have a ways to go before we are free of the messes that may be made, let's just say that this early Christmas present may be my favorite this year.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope that you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving day, and were able to spend time with family and friends and reflect on the blessings that you have received this year. When I think about all that I have to be thankful, it reminds me of the numerous stars in the sky. Just when I think I have counted them all, another one pops up into my line of sight. Thank YOU for being such a blessing in my life!

A friend of mine posted this on his Facebook page, and I thought it was appropriate for today.

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day

October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Idea Help for Thanksgiving for Kids

I'm in need of some idea help for Thanksgiving for young kids. First, I've got a scheduled playgroup this Friday and we are having a Thanksgiving feast. Any cute ideas that you have seen for this age group?

Also, I've got my Pre-K choir group next week. Crafts, games, food, etc. I'm hoping that my teacher friends will have some cute ideas they have done in the past.

Any suggestions are very welcome!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blog Shower for Harper

Dear Kelly,
Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your new daughter, Harper. I remember first "meeting" you through a mutual friend's blog; and then realized that in small world Arkansas we had several friends in common. I remember praying for you after your Easter Eggs post and how dissapointed I was when your dream wasn't fullfilled at that time. I am so glad that God has blessed you with a child, and that His power was shown so vividly for the world to see.
So, get ready for a ride that will completely change your life. Remember to take time for yourself and treasure those first few months, weeks, days, and minutes that will only come once in Harper's life. Ask for help when you need it, and turn to God in prayer when no one else is around.
I'll be praying for you and Scott as you guys transition into a family of three.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Falling Into Place

We have had a busy, but fun month in the Lipsey household. Russ is walking, climbing, and generally getting into trouble. We finally installed a much needed gate in our kitchen (no more escaping to the stairs and potty for Mr. Adventure), and has become a mobile young man. Meredith is doing well -- just getting adjusted to a life with a walking brother and loving being outside during these crisp, fall days.

The rest of the family is good, but nothing much to talk about. Here are some pictures of our fun, laughs, and good times.

Special thanks for Melissa and Laura for their photos. Our camera has bit the dust; and thanks to these gals for having some memories that we can treasure when we are old and gray (and not changing diapers).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thrifty Thursday

Here is my attempt to throw out the tricks of the trade for thrifty spending in the Lipsey household. I'm not sure how many "Thrifty Thursdays" there will be, but was pretty excited about my latest trip to the mall :)

Tip #1: Shop Off-Season

So, if you haven't heard, Old Navy is currently having their 50% off lowest ticket price on summer clothes. I'm not generally a huge fan of Old Navy, but for playclothes and at a good price - sign me up! I picked up a dress, 2 shirts, and a skirt for Meredith and 3 shirts and a pair of shorts for Russ for a grand total of $15.84. However, the BEST part was that I had a mechandise check from last Christmas for $26, so I got all this stuff for nothing out of pocket and $10 off of my next purchase (whenever that might be).

Tis the season to be thrifty!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Red Spider Lillies

While on my blogging break, the fall equinox came and that means its time for these very usual and quick flowering plants to pop up. The red spider lily, also known as the naked lady, made its appearance in our front flower bed. Almost like magic, the stem pops out of the ground without any leaves and blooms for about a week at the end of September. It will leave behind a bit of ground cover, but its so easily forgotten that these plants are even under the ground for the rest of the year.

I love the visual reminder that something unusual and beautiful will pop up at the right time.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Busy Bees Are We

These first few weeks of fall have been super busy for this clan. Here is a little catch up on our life and times.

First, we had a great time with the Smith's in September. I hope that we were a calming influence during that crazy time with them. If nothing else. at least the kids took our mind off of things in Houston! Kristina put up some cute pictures of the kids and the wedding, so head over there for some more tidbits from that journey.

We have been REALLY busy with church stuff these past few weeks, so I think that is the main reason for the blog-vacation. The sweet 1st graders received their Bibles from the church a few weeks ago, and that is always such a special time for the kids, parents and teachers. I can still look over my shoulder and see my rugged and older KJV Bible that was given so many years ago. I pray that these young students will be able to have that legacy of faith in their life! I've also been a flute sub for the past three weeks in church, and got a chance to play last night on a song with the Ouachita Singers from Ouachita Baptist University. What a sweet group of singers, and it was amazing to hear "Our God is God' with that many voices.

The kids have been busy with playgroups and library story time. If you read The Sports Gal on ESPN (Bill Simmons' wife), you can equate Russ with 'Destructo.' Toys, books, pots and pans, laundry, etc are no match for our creeper (still taking a few steps, but not walking all the time). However, he is a good independent player - and that helps mommy and daddy out. He has cut 4 new teeth over the past 3 weeks. So, a little fussy - but still our sweet boy.

Meredith has had a pretty good few weeks as well. The vocabulary explosion continues to amaze us. I think my favorites lately are "Super Bubbles," "wash the dishes," and "brown banana" (brown bananas are actually chocolate covered dried bananas - yum, yum).
Hope you are all doing well!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What day is it? I don't know.....

I just wanted to write on the blog and say that we are still here, but we have been busy with our Houston friends Kristina and Brinley. Our Hurricane Ike refugees planned to come into town for just a few short days, but have found themselves stuck in the natural state until tomorrow. We have had a GREAT time, but know that they are ready to get back and see their loved ones and all the damage that has taken place in Houston - as well as get back to their own beds.

I'll recap the trip later, but for now (while all three kids are down for a nap) I'm just going to take it easy and just veg out with one of my dear college friends.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Woo Pig Sooie

It had been a while since my last in person football game, so a special day was had by Matt and me at the Razorback game in Little Rock this weekend. As you can tell, we got the cheap seats in the upper corner but had a nice view of the field (and most, if not all the points the Hogs scored, were down on our end, so it ended up being A-OK).

When we walked into the game, the AR Department of Homeland Security was handing out Emergency Preparedness guides. Bad omen, you think --- well, at least this game was pulled out in the 4th quarter - and the rocks did not rumble to cause a massive earthquake that the pamphlet expressed was going to happen. Good thing too, because I am apparently woefully unprepared for an emergency of that magnitude. However, when Arkansas was playing very poorly, I did brush up on my "to do" list in an emergency, and tried the block out the fans around me yelling only what I am sure, in some other language, was positive reinforcement. I'll have to work on always having a 1/2 tank of gas.

This year is the 60th anniversary of War Memorial Stadium, and many tributes by the band, players, and stadium staff helped make it memorable. I loved how the band made a 60 and played Happy Birthday.

Typically, War Memorial is a very loud place; but I think that the life was just sucked right out of the fans until the rally in the 4th quarter. It was hard to watch, but even harder not to think about what the season may look like in October and November. You want to be an optimist, but those pesky realist thoughts are staring right at you on the field.

It was nice to revisit the game that I spent many Saturdays attending while in college. The traditions, the crowd, and the loyalty rushed me back to a time before kids, jobs, and marriage that I rarely drift away to in my daily life of potty breaks and toy playing. It does feel like a lifetime ago, but then again it was 10 years since I first arrived on campus. Man, I am no longer a spring chicken :)

Quick Question to Kristina and Shannon - Do either of you guys have the picture that we took with the Old Fan with the Scooter our freshman year? The guy that we never saw again, and we assumed that something must have happened to that devoted fan? I think my picture is gone for good :(

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pray for Leighton - Updated

One of my sorority sisters just gave birth to a little boy ten weeks early with a heart condition. You can visit their blog here. Say a little prayer for Leighton and his family today and tomorrow, as he is having his first surgery tomorrow to help repair his heart.

I am planning on putting a NICU survival kit together for her like the one here. Let me know if you would like to help out.

UPDATE: I talked to Laine today, and they have had a great past few days since the successful surgery on Thursday. I dropped off the care package at the hospital, but missed them. Hopefully, I'll see them all soon.

Bye Bye Summer - Hello Fall

It's September already! We are left with the feeling of a fleeting summer, but gladly welcome in the football, pumpkin, and apple season that is quickly coming upon us. I think I'll use this post to update you readers on Lipsey News.


Matt and I both agree that Russ has really grown up this summer. Back in June our little boy was an immobile, but happy baby. Now we have a crawling and creeping baby who is getting better by the minute with standing on his own. All before the 9-month anniversary of his birth! So, I don't really think that we have the "2nd child will do things slower,' at least not in this regard. He is also eating everything in sight. Obviously, the young man has found the great southern love of corn on the cob; but he is not picky about his food. Just cut about anything up for his 3 teeth to chew, and he is good to go! A happy toy player, and a good sleeper. The ultimate low maintenance boy!


Our little love bug has had such a fun summer, and it has been wonderful to watch her learn more skills like doing floor puzzles, singing whole songs, and helping make cookies. Our sweet girl has moved up to a new hall at church - again showing us how she is growing up to become a wonderful young lady. She is obviously still very silly - and has enjoyed new games like being pulled on the red blanket through the kitchen and other hard floor, sitting on mom and dads shoulders to touch things, and the frog song. She still likes her favorite books, Little Einsteins, and counting the balloons by the car dealerships. She is starting the questions phase of toddler hood, so we constantly hear "What is it" or 'Who is that" everywhere that we go. She is generally a cooperative and caring big sister.

Mom and Dad

Aside from herding our flock of two, we have been busy with general housework, job work, and starting a new school year at church. Matt has recently joined another bridge group, and I think will enjoy playing with other people of his own gender :) Other than gearing up for Fantasy Football and College Football, we have been half-way paying attention to political coverage (we tend to be like most Americans and find our most digestible news coverage from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report -- sad, but true).

As for me, playgroup has been going very nicely and we are hoping to get out for a field trip soon with the kiddos. Library story time starts this week, and Bible study starts in two weeks; so I finally feel like my routine is getting back to normal. The new 1st graders are a wonderful group, and we have averaged about 9 in our first three weeks with them. I am currently taking a sabbatical from orchestra to teach the pre-k choir up at church. This is also a good sized group (12) who keep me on my toes for an hour on Wednesday nights

I think that this gets you updated on our life and times! I pray that your new school year has started off well.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Playgroup in NLR

Several of you know that I have felt the Lord leading me to start a playgroup in NLR, so this is my attempt to honor him, have a good time, and get a chance to interact with other moms and kids. We will be meeting on Fridays at 9 at the Christian Activities Center (CAC) of Park Hill Baptist during the open play time until around 11. It is VERY Informal, so feel free to come late or leave early. We will pull out some age appropriate toys that are in the gym, and just kind of take it one week at a time. Let me know if you are interested in coming, and I'll give you more details via e-mail.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Playdate at the Wonderplace

Meredith, Russ, and I met up with Laura and Zek at the Wonderplace today. We had a fun time, and the kids loved all the different areas. Meredith probably could have gone all day, but at least the offer of "Chicken and Fries" from Chick-fil-a got her motivated to walk out the door without a major scene. The pictures have quite a bit of glare, but some of them were just too cute not to post.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Watch Out for This Toy!

So, here is my lesson for the week. Once a toy begins to break, just pitch the whole thing:)
Here is the back story. One of the very few things that Meredith liked about MDO were the vacuum play toys. So, one day I was at a consignment shop, and saw this toy for $1.50 and thought "Excellent, what a steal!" All things went well for the next couple of months, until the attachment part fell off. So, no big deal -- Meredith still played with it and enjoyed pushing around the toy.
That is until this week. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but while I was playing with Russ/watching TV/just minding my own business, my daughter comes swinging at me with this toy vacuum attachment. First, every boy out there better watch out, because my daughter has an arm -- and she is not afraid to use it! After placing her in time out, I walked out of the room to collect my thoughts and let the stars stop coming (don't worry, I didn't have a concussion); and then quickly took the offending toy out to the trash. A nice little goose egg appeared after a couple of seconds (which I later learned is actually a good thing - bleeding outside of the skull, as opposed in inside), but has now become a pretty bruise.
Don't let that nice smile and funny eyes fool is not a toy that you want to mess with! Or maybe, just not a toy for the Lipsey kids :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Music Camp

It's the last week in July, and that means one thing -- PHBC Music Camp! Think VBS only the kids learn a musical in a week and perform it on Sunday night. The kids do all sorts of things -- like drums, handbells, xylophones, ukulele, snacks and recreation, and bible study. I'm teaching the older kids (5th and 6th grade) Bible Study, and we had a great first day. If you live in the area, and have a 1st through 6th grader, bring them on over to Park Hill. Musical fun will be had by all!

Image from:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

NLRHS Class of 98 Reunion

My high school class celebrated its 10 year reunion this weekend. A meet and greet, and family picnic, and a social event were the highlights of this ingathering of Wildcats. I would say that most people are pretty much exactly the same. Now, I feel like we were missing several people at this reunion, especially after I was quizzed by one of my friends about "Where's _______" until he found a person that I didn't know at least some amount of information. So, be sure to come to the next reunion!

Here's Matt and I waiting in line at the flying fish for something to drink. The social was outside, and that summer heat in Arkansas was as you would expect. Thankfully, there are lots of places to cool off down in the River Market.

Susan and Me

Give me a C-A-T-S
(It's the Cheerleaders)

One of my favorite band buddies, Esther

Look, its all the Bloggers (well, minus Shana)!

Beth, Megan, Rebekah, Amy, Whitney, Susan, Shana, and me

Go check out Amy's blog for bunches of pictures!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vacation at the Beach

My mom has been hinting for a few years that she would love for the family to go down to the beach together. So, last Monday when she said that she and dad were leaving the next day to go to Gulf Shores I thought to myself "Well, should I just pack us up and go on down as well?" As any land-locked crazy stay-at-home mother of two would tell you - of course you should! So, after a slightly busy Monday afternoon and evening, my parents loaded us up for a trip to the beautiful Gulf Coast - leaving Matt to fend for himself with his new job, but a nice bachelor week none the less.

Traveling was about what I expected. Mostly good times, with a few "get me out of this car seat" meltdowns that would last for a little while, but generally subside with some Little Einsteins, food, or a little lullaby. If that didn't work, then I would let my mind drift to a happy place.... All in all, they both did really well.

The beach was beautiful, and similar to what I remembered from 3 years ago traveling with Matt's family. There are still areas that are being worked on from past hurricanes, but generally it was a paradise only 8 hours away from home. Since we are the slightly stir crazy type (and easily sun-burned), we did some sightseeing as well. We took a quick trip up to Pensacola, and took a trip over the big bridge across the bay and ate at yummy Landry's. We also went to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, and Meredith was very excited because she got to feed goats, deer, a llama, and ducks. Of course, she loved to throw the food at the animals feet, where as the animals would have just preferred to eat out of her hand, or even just take the plastic cup away from her. If you are ever down there, its a pretty small zoo; but a nice change of pace from the beach scene.

Probably the biggest hit for Meredith was the city park. Lots of swings, slides, rings, and monkey bars made our little toddler a happy camper. I was trilled to get the kids down for a good afternoon nap one day, and finish reading my Between Sundays book on the condo balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. It's the small things that make this mom smile.

We also were fortunate to meet up with one of my dad's college friends on our way back to Arkansas. Lee and his wife Rhoda hosted a wonderful dinner for us, and we enjoyed getting to know them - and Meredith enjoyed going through all their little trinkets.

So, all in all - it was a wonderful vacation. I'll have to snag my parents camera to see if there are any other interesting pictures.

Patrick and Krecia

The Lowerys and the Lipseys hosted a wedding shower for Patrick and Krecia a little over a week ago. An evening filled with food, presents, laughter, and Rock Band (without our little munchkins running around) brought back memories from high school, and started some new ones as well. Patrick and Krecia -- we are so thrilled for you guys as you begin this new season in your life. Marriage is a blessing, and will benefit you in ways that you can never imagine. We pray that you will grow closer to each other and to God through your union. We can't wait to see you at the wedding in just under two weeks!