Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Cookout

Tonight we had a cookout with some of our friends - the Runkles and Fitzsimmons. The kids played in the sprinklers and did the slip and slide. They had a blast just running around outside. Its always so nice to just hang out with friends at a place where the kids can run around - so much more relaxing than attempting a restaurant!

griffin on the slip and slide

avery on the slip and slide

my little "cheeser"

the BIG kids (avery, griffin, katelyn, bryce, and kaylee)
not pictured: jackson (18 months), Graham (2 months), and Shane (1 month)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Graham @ 2 months

Graham turned 2 months old on Monday. That is really hard for me to believe. He now weighs 12 pounds, 13 ounces. We have continued to be transitioning fairly easily and are doing well. The hardest thing for me during this transition has been the inability to run errands. Its just not worth it to drag all the kids out for errand running. I depend on Brent to stop at the grocery store on the way home from work if I am desperate for something... and I have to do my running around on the weekends when I can leave someone at home with Brent!

Our little man is full of smiles and offers them freely. He even laughed at me a few days ago. Its so rewarding once babies start to interact like that - it makes them seem more human or something. And it just makes my heart smile to see!

Graham is very laid back and easy going and has yet to have a real screaming fit. (knock on wood.) He is on a pretty good schedule, eating every 3 hours (@ 7, 10, 1, 4, 7, 9) and having his "awake time" and then a nap in between each feed. Our nights still vary but he normally wakes around 3 to eat. I am hoping our nights will continue to stretch out. He does most of his napping in his crib now, except his afternoon nap - that has been mommy/graham time since day 1! I lay on the couch and just let him sleep on me. He doesn't get too much undivided attention so I have really tried to use that as his special time.

Avery and Griffin have continued to be great big siblings. They love to get right up in his face and talk to him. Sometimes they even fight over who he is looking at! They love to hold, hug, kiss, and sing to Graham. He is quite entertained by the 2 of them!

All in all, I am amazed at how the time is flying by. I am excited to continue watching Graham grow and see his personality start to emerge.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

BBQ Beef and Bean Sandwiches

I haven't done too much real cooking since Graham was born so I haven't had any new recipes to post. I've been sticking to my "normal" stuff and using up the freezer meals that I had stowed away! But tonight I made something new and easy so I thought I'd pass this one along.

BBQ Beef and Bean Sandwiches
1 (3 lb) chuck roast
1 yellow onion, sliced in rings
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (16 oz) can BBQ baked beans
2 TBSP water
1/4 cup prepared BBQ sauce
sliced cheese and jalapeno slices (optional)

Place meat, onion, and garlic in crock pot. Pour the beans on top. Put the 2 TBSP water into bean can and swish around. Pour that in too. Add the BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on low 8-12 hours. Shred meat 2-3 hours before serving and return to pot. Serve on rolls with cheese and jalapenos.

I used about 1/2 cup BBQ sauce and will leave out the water next time. This was really easy and good!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Griffin Patrick

This is a late post for Griffin at 2 1/2 years old. For some strange reason, I'm a little behind!!!

Griffin is now officially 2 years and 7 months old. He weighs a little over 30 pounds but I'm not sure of his height. And he has monstrous fat feet - size 9 wide.

He remains 100% boy and has a reputation for it. No one is surprised by his shenanigans anymore!! They just smile and say, "That's Griffy!" He continues to run, jump, and climb constantly. He loves to be outside - kicking the soccer ball, digging in the sand, watering the flowers, and hitting the baseball (left handed, I might add). Sidewalk chalk and bubbles are also frequent activities. He loves bugs and I am positive that he will eventually get bit or stung by something because he picks up any bug he can catch. Griffin loves to help with projects - whether using the tools to help daddy fix something or helping mommy unload the dishwasher. He loves being given little assignments and is a big helper.

Avery and Griffin have continued their love-hate relationship. They can play for a solid hour without fighting...and then be at each others throats for the next hour. He has already mastered the art of picking on his sister - he loves to take something she is playing with and run away with it (laughing the whole way!). He wrecks her games and destroys whatever she is working on. On the flip side, he is a great sport and plays mommy-baby and princesses on a daily basis. Avery and Griffin love to pack their stuff to "go on trips" or on picnics or anywhere else they can come up with.

Griffin is still a horrible "real-food" eater. He loves kid foods and snacks and fruit...but won't touch his food at dinner each night. A recent accomplishment in the food department is that he finally likes peanut butter!! Griffin definitely inherited my sweet tooth. The boy loves anything and everything sweet and devours it in seconds.

Griffin has a slightly shy side - just a little slow to warm up to a new place but after a few minutes he is ready to roll. He loves people and shares hugs and kisses with all of his friends, teachers, and other adults in his life. He has a soft side and still likes to sit and cuddle with mommy at times. He has great manners and is quick to offer a please and thanks you. We are working on sir and mam - but he tends to get his genders backwards (he/she, his/hers, sir/mam, etc). He loves the church nursery and loved his PMO class this past year.

Griffin can sing his ABC's most of the way through with only minimally confusing some letters. He can count pretty well and even tries to go through the "teens" since he has heard Avery do it so many times. He also attempts to sing the days of the week - and its hysterical - he just shouts days of the week in no particular order. He is very good at colors and still loves puzzles. I am about to attempt potty-training so lets hope that goes well!

the best part of making cookies!

I included this picture partially because I wanted to show off his legs! The picture doesn't do them justice but they are black and blue and scraped from the ankles up...once shorts weather arrived, so did the beat up legs. What a boy!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Beach Trip 2010

After our visit in Mobile, we headed over to Grayton Beach to spend a few days with the McBrayers. My parents and all of my siblings except 1 and their families were able to make it. We had 2 house fulls of people. We enjoyed having time to lounge around and just hang out with everyone. We had 8 kids under the age of 4 so it was a little crazy and very loud!

I am going to do a slide show of pictures but here are a few of my favorites...

the older parnell children

helpling uncle dooney with the crabs
griffy and daddy
baby graham

my handsome dude!

my sweet girl

ready to swim

trying out his gobbles

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Princess Tea Party

Today we celebrated Avery's birthday with a Princess Tea Party. Everyone came wearing their favorite princess costume. Since we had all girls (other than Griffy), we did some arts and crafts. We decorated tiaras and made bead and charm necklaces. (thanks to oriental trading post!) We had 4 girls from school and 3 from our playgroup. All the girls seemed to enjoy themselves!

avery making her necklace

katelyn, avery, and kaylee

our babysitter and one of Avery's favorite people, Lauren came - dressed in costume and everything!

After crafts, we came inside for the tea party. We had PBJ shaped like flowers, fruit salad, and cheese sticks. Daddy and Dr Daniel served our "tea" (AKA fruit punch and apple juice) in glass pitchers!

mary grace, avery and katelyn enjoying lunch

griffin and kinleigh

Griffin was a sport! He made a tiara and a necklace and enjoyed tea with the girls!!

itching to open presents

daddy orchestrated present opening....lots of princess stuff! (books, jewelry, costumes, etc)

here are the manly men who attended our princess tea party!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Avery!

Happy 4th Birthday Sissy!

Can it really be true - has it really been 4 years since God gave us you? WOW! Its been a fun and exciting 4 years for sure!

It seems like just yesterday that I was waking Daddy up to tell him that it was time to go to the hospital! And then you made a quick entrance into this world....and our lives have never been the same!

You continue to be a little sunshine to all those around you. People frequently comment to me about how much you smile. You don't have a shy bone in your body, although occasionally you like to "play" shy for a brief period. You love to talk and will talk to anyone who will listen - especially strangers. You have an uncanny ability to listen when you are pretending not to. Daddy and I are amazed at the things you overhear us say and then mention to us later. We have to be careful! You are extremely social, loving school and any activity involving friends. You live from "nap to nap" - always asking what we have planned after "this nap" (referring both to night time and nap time).

Your interest these days is primarily princesses and anything related to princesses. When at home, you almost always are wearing some sort of princess costume. We even heard you arguing with friends over whose "prince" Griffin is. You have managed to be very "girly," considering I am not! You love shoes, clothes, jewelry, chap stick...and by the age of 3 1/2, our biggest disagreements were over what you wore!! I'm in trouble when 13 rolls around! You also love arts and crafts - painting, drawing, stickers, etc. You have a great imagination and when Griffin isn't interrupting, you make up elaborate games.

You can write your name proficiently now and are learning what sound each letter makes - and are able to name what letter some words start with just by sounding it out. You love to count and can count just about as high as you'd ever want to. You've made dad and I count to 100 multiple times - and we're working on counting down now.

Your eating has drastically improved over the last year! You eat most of what I cook and have been really interested in eating what I am eating lately...even trying things you previously wouldn't have touched. We go in 2 weeks for you check up so I'm anxious to see how much you weigh and how tall you are now.


Child #3

What happens when you are child #3....

you can tolerate anything!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Playgroup at the Fortners

We had playgroup yesterday at Kim and Jonathan's house and had so much fun. They had sprinklers set up in the back yard plus lots of fun outdoor toys to play with. The kids enjoyed time with friends and some new things to play with. We have been stir-crazy this week so it was nice to have a fun activity to enjoy.

griffin on the grill

a soaking wet sissy

mommy and graham enjoying the shade

The Fortners set up a "make your own trail mix" station and it was a hit! They had m&ms, marshmallows, raisins, dried cherries and pineapple, slivered almonds, cheerios, chex, pretzels, and more. The kids got their own bowl and could whip up their own snack. They loved it. And need I mention that my kids hit the m&ms and marshmallows hard!!

our little peanut!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Mobile Zoo

While we were in town, Gammy took us to the "Mobile Zoo." It was kind of funny - out in the middle of nowhere, hand-painted signs, no real path to follow, grassy field for a parking lot, etc....but they actually had some cool animals. (lions, tigers, panthers, monkeys, bear...) Despite the 95 degree temperatures, we all enjoyed the outing.

petting the bull

feeding the ostrich

giving peanuts to the bear

watching the peacocks

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fun in Mobile

We made the long trek down to Mobile last week. Because we live so far away, we only make the 12 hour trip about once a year. But we hope that a year from now, we will be much closer and can visit more frequently!

Gammy stocked up on kiddie stuff and foods and had pulled out all of her toys for our visit. The kids loved all the "new" stuff to play with and enjoyed the 24/7 attention from their Gammy. Avery even got to sleep with Gammy every night!

Gammy set up a baby pool in the backyard and the kids turned it into a major mud pit and were covered from head to toe by the end of it. Add a little sugar and dye from popsicles, and you have kiddie heaven!

We also celebrated Avery's birthday while in Mobile. The kids and Gammy made rice krispy treats and we used that as her birthday cake.
blowing out her candles

present time!

Avery is such a girly girl! She was so thrilled about new clothes and shoes and a Cinderella toothbrush! Not to mention the purple glitter nail polish and hello kitty chap stick that she talked Gammy into!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

6 weeks old already???

As of 2:30 this afternoon, Graham is officially 6 weeks old! I can hardly believe it. The last 6 weeks have flown by and have been a whirlwind! I can honestly say that I feel like we've made a pretty seamless transition. Not that life is 100% easy or anything - but not at all what I was anticipating. Granted, I feel like I need an extra set (or 2) of arms some days and I am definitely exhausted by the end of the day...but we haven't slowed down or missed a beat. We are very blessed to have friends and family who have given us tons of support - from fresh picked strawberries with chocolate to dip them in....to 3 weeks worth of dinners...to phone calls...to offers to hold or help out....its been wonderful.

Graham is doing great. Week 2-3 had its rough spots as we discovered that Graham is following in his brothers steps with reflux. We started him on Zantac at 3 weeks old and gave that a week to help...which it didn't. So after 4 nights of no sleep, our pediatrician switched him to prilosec...that seems to have done the trick. We are still sleeping upright in the bouncy chair but at least we are sleeping! I normally feed him at 9 and then put him to bed. We've even had 2 nights this week where I've only gotten up once to feed him.

Graham started smiling at about 4 1/2 weeks old which seemed early to me - but it has continued (and increased) so guess it was the real deal! He is making "talking" noises as well and is so cute! Graham has had full blown baby acne for 2 weeks now. I am a "picker" so this drives me crazy!! He hasn't been weighed since he was 2 weeks old and I am dying to know how big he is! I know he is growing because he has already outgrown a set of clothes!!!

The kids have continued to be great big siblings. Avery had a few weeks of meltdowns, starting about 2 weeks before Graham was born - but those seem to have stopped. And you would never know that Griffin had had any major life changes. They love to get all up in Graham's face and actually fight over who gets the closest. They continue to love helping with little tasks like getting diapers, finding pacifiers, picking socks, etc.
We made the long trip down to the gulf coast last week. We spent half of the week with Brent's family in Mobile, AL and spent the rest of the week at Grayton Beach with my family. The kids did great with all the driving - 12 hours each way. It was fun for Graham to meet most of his immediate relatives at such a young age. (He has met everyone except Brent's sister Cara and her fam in Birmingham and my brother Justin and his fam in Colorado. Not bad when you consider the size of our family!) This picture is of Graham and cousin Leland. (Garrett and Crystal's newest). She is about 2 weeks older than Graham.