September 27, 2011

3 Months Old!

Isaac is 3 months old and taking in as much of the world as he can!  It's been a busy month for this little guy and he's proved to be quite the little traveler.  Through all of his travels he added several more states to his list of new experiences. With our trips in September he traveled through Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee.  Two states were repeats and since we live in Georgia that's a grand total of 8 states.  For only being 3 months old he's a trooper and only had a few meltdowns on the trip to Ohio.  The biggest was traveling through the mountains with the changes in pressure.  Even my ears were popping!

Isaac is truly a happy little boy.  From the time he wakes up in the morning he is all smiles and coo's and babbles with complete joy.  He's more interactive and watches everything with the most studious expression.  This month Isaac started using his hands more and started to reach out for things.  Even in the mamaRoo, he started reaching to touch the shapes and patterns he sees.

Isaac plays a lot more now and wears himself out!  He still gets very fussy when he's tired but is starting to fall asleep where ever he's playing now when he gets tired.  He just doesn't want to miss out on anything.  Overall he's a pretty good sleeper.  Even at night now he'll sleep anywhere from 7 - 10 hours.  I still get up to check on him through the night when I hear him getting fussy but usually once the pacifier is back in, he's back to dream land.

One afternoon Isaac was getting frustrated and didn't want to play on his play mat, he didn't want to lay down and really didn't want to be held either.  So, I pulled up a few videos on line and played a couple of Baby Einstein videos.  As soon as the video started playing he was glued!  He loved watching the colors on the screen and the moving characters.  If he's anything like his papa, he's going to love technology.

Full of smiles, curiosity and love Isaac is a blessing.  It doesn't matter what kind of day you're having, one look at him and everything melts away.  Even when his demeanor changes and the corners of his mouth start to curl into the most prominent frown followed by the most distressful cry, he's full of love and you can't help but love him back and do anything possible to soothe what ails him.

September 12, 2011

Cotton Candy

The first night of the Sternwheel Festival while walking through all of the various street vendors and the wonderful aroma of hot fried food Frazer made a comment about candy floss.  Often in our conversations Frazer will use a term or phrase I'm not familiar with and vice versa.  So, I was curious and looked at him kind of funny and had to ask him what candy floss is. It's cotton candy in the US, candy floss in the UK.  Oh, okay.  We both struggled to remember the last time either of us had had some so we splurged and bought a bag.  We shared a few pieces and then saved the rest until we got  back to our hotel room for the night.

Once we were back in the room I was taking care of Isaac and getting him ready for bed.  While I was giving him his last bottle for the night I glanced down and saw Frazer sitting on the end of the bed with the cotton candy.  I watched for a few moments and observed a genuine transformation of joy.  With a simple bag of cotton candy he began to pull the fluffy, sugary candy and with each bite the grown up responsible adult went away and the inner child emerged.  It was like a flash back in time and I was now watching a little boy sitting on the end of the bed eating a bag of candy floss with complete contentment and pure bliss.  At that moment, all cares in the world were gone.  It was awesome to witness and so awesome for him to experience.

We all need to feed our inner child.  It's good for the soul.  

Sternwheel Festival

The best part of our visit to Marietta was the Sternwheel Festival.  This is an annual festival that takes place the first weekend after Labor Day.  This was the 36th annual festival and an event that brings back so many memories for me, especially since it's around my birthday.  There were many years I was able to charm my way into a free ice cream cone to celebrate the occasion.

The streets are blocked off and lined with vendors selling delicious treats.  Many of the vendors use this as an opportunity to raise funds for their organizations.  You can find anything from fresh kettle corn, hot dogs, deep fried oreos, pizza, sausage sandwiches and of course fresh lemonade shakes.  I remember having to work many shifts over the years making shakes to raise funds for the booster club in school.  They're really good too!  There are a few booths set up selling local crafts and inflatable slides and jumpers for kids.  Most of the action occurs on the river bank.  A barge sets up right on the bank and serves as a stage for entertainment during the weekend.  The opening act this year was the Bee Gees although we weren't able to attend.  The river is lined with sternwheel boats and the banks are packed with people.  The best part is the fireworks which is a must see.

Frazer and I sat on the river bank with Nikki and her husband John.  I had Isaac all snug in the Moby wrap.  We sat on the bank talking and telling stories.  It was nice to know many of the people walking by and being able to say hello.  At one point I turned around and there were two high school classmates sitting behind me.  It wasn't until then that I realized the founder of the festival was Ryan Robinson's grandfather and this years festival was commemorative in his honor.  Frazer is also great with his camera and took lots of pictures of the fireworks for the Robinson family.

The fireworks were fantastic!  I held Isaac close since I wasn't sure how he would respond.  He was asleep when they started but he did wake up.  He looked at the sky and watched for a few minutes then he went back to sleep.  During the finale the booms were so big I could feel the vibrations under me and worried it might startle Isaac but he didn't flinch.  He slept through the whole thing!

Marietta Visit

I grew up in Marietta, Ohio and it's hard to believe that it had been close to 6 years since I had been back for a visit.  Compared to where we live now in Atlanta, Marietta is a small town.  It's in southeast Ohio on the Ohio river with a population around 14,000.  I was excited to come back and show Frazer around the area.  Once we arrived and got settled I drove down Pike Street and around the downtown area so Frazer could get a feel for the town.  Frazer commented on how small the town is.  However once we returned from Woodsfield, he had a new found appreciation of how large Marietta is in comparison. :)

Unlike Atlanta, there is no Starbucks, Target or plethora of eateries open past 10:00 pm.  The only chain restaurant in Marietta is Applebee's aside from the buffet option of Ryan's Steakhouse.  Now there are fast food options such as McDonald's, Subway, Wendy's and the best looking Taco Bell I'd ever seen.  The Taco Bell must have just been remodeled complete with bright lights, a lush grassy lawn and landscaping.  However, Marietta does have one place that it my all time favorite and that is Smitty's Pizza.  Of all the states I've lived in and places I've traveled to, Smitty's Pizza has by far the best hot ham and cheese sub ever.  I've talk about their subs countless times to Frazer and he had the opportunity to experience them for himself for the first time.  He agreed they were good.  The secret has to be in the bread.  Yum!

This was also a great trip to catch up and visit with some old friends. Don't get me wrong, modern technology is great but Facebook posts and text messages will never replace the value of catching up, sharing stories and laughs in person.  I've known Stacy now for over 15 years and it was nice to actually see each other in person and have the time to sit down and catch up.  We could have talked for days and wow do we have some good stories.  :)

Kyla and Stacy Morris
Nikki and I met in the 4th grade at Phillips Elementary school.  We got off to a rocky start and somehow managed to become best friends all through school.  We starting going our separate ways during our senior year of high school and until this weekend I hadn't seen her since the day we graduated.  It had been way too long since we had the opportunity to catch up.  It was also great to visit with her mom, Jackie who was like a second mother to me growing up.

Kyla and Nikki (Carpenter) Rake

Isaac Meet's Great Grandma Jane

Isaac and Great Grandma Jane Strickling
The day Isaac was born Grandma Jane was in the hospital and her blood work resembled results of a mild heart attack.  In July, she celebrated her 95th birthday!  So before it started to get too cold I wanted to make sure Isaac had the opportunity to meet my only living grandparent.  Grandma Jane lives in a small town, Woodsfield, Ohio with a population of around 2500.  It's about an hour from where I grew up in Marietta.

Great Grandma was very happy to see little Isaac.  She really enjoyed holding Isaac and talking to him.  Grandma asked what we were going to call him and Frazer and I both responded that we planned to call him Isaac.  She said "Ike" is a nick name for Isaac, we could call him Ike.  She again asked what we planned to call him.  I looked at Frazer and had to giggle as I responded again that we'll call him Isaac.

You can also never visit Grandma's without being fed.  She offered several times if we wanted something to eat and we really didn't want or need anything.  Before we knew it Grandma was in the kitchen and had dished out a serving of butterscotch pudding for each of us.  It's funny because I remember this growing up and I guess all grandma's want to feed their families when they visit.  I always remember coming to grandma's and getting raisin filled cookies or strawberry jam.   We only had one day to spend in Woodsfield and we only spent a few hours with grandma so Isaac could meet his great aunt and uncle's Roy and Sharon Brannon and Dwight and Jo Ann Brannon.  It was a great day and I was so happy we had the chance to bring Isaac to Ohio.

Off to Ohio We Go....

When Frazer asked what I wanted for my birthday this year I thought about it and realized it had been six years since I had been back to Ohio where I grew up.  So, this year I wanted to go to Ohio for my birthday.  On Wednesday, September 7th, we packed everything up to head out for our road trip to Ohio.  Before we left though Frazer handed me a wonderful gift bag and insisted I open it before we left.  I really resisted and wanted to take it with us so I could open it on the 8th.  Again, he insisted that I had to open it before we left.  Okay.  Inside the gift bag were two cards and a package.  I opened the first card and I was immediately touched.  It was my first birthday card from Isaac and it was super sweet.  I opened the card from Frazer next and got all weepy. I love my husband and his countless amazing qualities.  He picks the best Hallmark cards.  And....inside the package was my very own iPad :)  He's slowly trying to convert me to Apple products.  He set it all up for me before we left so I could play with it in the car!

We drove Wednesday evening to Charlotte, NC and spent the night.  We woke up Thursday morning and it was my BIRTHDAY!  Even though the day was spent in the car it was a wonderful day with my husband and my son.  My first birthday as a mother and my first birthday with my own family.  And with today's technology and social media I was touched by all the wonderful birthday wishes from friends.  It truly is amazing how much can change in one year.  Life is good.

September 6, 2011

Mommy's Birthday Celebration

I really do LOVE birthdays and whenever there is a reason to celebrate my birthday more than just the one day, I'm all for it!.  It's not about presents either.  It's a day of celebration and reflecting on memories of past birthdays.  But when it comes down to it, it's really all about the dessert!   Before heading to my parents for Labor Day weekend I was asked what kind of cake I would like. This year I didn't want a cake.  All I could think about was the birthday dessert my younger brother Jason made for me a few years ago.  All I could remember was it was made with some type of almond flour and was covered in chocolate ganache.  Turns out it was an Almond Torte and it was awesome.  So, my request this year was a Chocolate Almond Torte.

Once it was finished the offer was made that I could cut it when I wanted to.  Well, that didn't take me long and there was no way I was going to wait until dinner.  When it's your birthday why not have dessert first or better yet, all day long!  So, if you notice from the picture above, the candles were added once I had already sampled a couple of slices. :)  Little man helped me blow out my candles too.  It was a great celebration and my first birthday as a mother.  I have a loving husband and a beautiful son and there is nothing more I could ask for especially knowing we were taking a road trip a few days later for my birthday to Ohio.

Little man hugs! 

A Weekend with Grandma & Grandpa Strickling

Isaac had a great visit at Grandma and Grandpa's for the first time.  Grandpa spent lots of time playing peek-a-boo with Isaac and Mr. Bunny (Isaac's favorite toy).  Grandpa also got to experience just how upset Isaac can become when bottle time is interrupted.  I was feeding Isaac and I think dad either wanted me to bring Isaac outside or he wanted to do something with Isaac but I told him it would have to wait until he was done eating.  Dad came over and Isaac was happy drinking his bottle and dad didn't believe me so he pulled Isaac's bottle out of his mouth and we both laughed at Isaac's reaction.  Isaac turned red and the most perfect frown formed.  He was not happy!  So, Grandpa quickly gave the bottle back to make his grandson happy.  :)

Isaac had a full weekend being loved on.  Grandma spent lots of time rocking and cuddling little man and helped him out with tummy time.  There was no shortage of being bounced on knees, singing lullabies or talking sweetly to make Isaac smile.

Isaac with Grandpa John

Isaac with Grandma Sue

Over the River and Through the Woods.....

Labor Day weekend we packed up and took Isaac to Grandma and Grandpa Strickling's for the first time in Alabama.  While we were driving, the lyrics of an old Christmas song went through my head (Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go).   From where we started in Atlanta we certainly did cross a couple of rivers and went through the woods to get to Grandpa's farm.  This trip also added another state for Isaac in his two months of life for a total of four.  

Grandpa's farm has a nice long driveway so on Saturday Grandma, Frazer and I took Isaac for a walk up the driveway along the fence to see the tall trees and the cows.  The cows started coming towards us primarily because they thought we had food.  Isaac looked at the cows but I think the cows were more interested in Isaac.  While Frazer was taking pictures of Isaac and the cows he wasn't paying attention to where he was stepping and stepped on a fire ant hill.  Both his feet had ants all over them.  He was quick to react and swatted them off but since he was wearing sandals the ants bit both of his feet.  If you've ever been bit by a fire ant you know those bites leave a mark and they sting for days! 

One morning I gave Isaac his bottle on the front porch and Isaac got to listen to many new sounds for the first time.  We listened to the neighbors rooster crow, barking dogs and Grandpa on the tractor.  Sunday afternoon we sat on the back porch which is screened in and listened to the rain.  Isaac was sitting on my lap and we were rocking when the wind changed direction and blew some of the rain onto the porch.  Isaac was surprised by the sudden dampness and his eyes got really big and he looked around trying to figure out what had just happened.  It's so cute to watch his reactions as he experiences things we take for granted for the first time.