I Am Not Prepared

I am not prepared.  I really don't know where the time has gone.  My parents used to tell me that the older you get the faster the time goes.  I laughed them off.  Do you remember when the days went on forever?  When it seemed like next week was a year away?

In just 12 days, my son will be starting middle school.  JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL!  He's my baybee...  my first born!  How can he possibly be nearly 12 years old?

I am not prepared.  Yesterday he spent the day at the school.  Meeting his classmates and teachers, getting to know the lay of the land, learning to open a combination lock, and generally making me feel old.  The open house was last night and he was so excited to show me all his classrooms, his very own locker, and introducing me to his homeroom teacher.  Oh, and his "girlfriend" too...

I am not prepared.  Maybe it's because I just had a new baby, maybe it's because Rowan bore a striking resemblance to her older brother when she was born, maybe it's because I just want them to stay baybees forever.

I am not prepared for this.

It's the Neverending Birthday...

So yesterday was all about our trip to the aquarium.  We did other stuff before and after that too.  My Pop has been here since Rowan was born.  We didn't want him to leave, but he actually had to go back to work.  The nerve of those people!  Thinking that 2 weeks was long enough for him to spend time with his grandchildren!  What were they thinking??  He had to leave on Saturday afternoon so for her birthday we took her out to eat at the restaurant of her choice.

If you have a Cheddar's anywhere near you, I highly recommend them!  They're food is always good, reasonably priced, and the staff is very friendly.

While waiting for the boys to get in the car, Kaia and I had a little fun...

The best snapshots are the ones that are not perfect.  

Yesterday (Monday) was the BIG DAY!  For a couple of weeks, she said that all she wanted on her birthday was to spend the day with her Daddy.  He surprised her by taking the day off of work!  She was really excited!  They went to Starbuck's because she LOVES their Vanilla Bean, the mall because duh (!!!) she's a girl, and to the arcade where she promptly kicked her Daddy's behind in air hockey!

While they were gone I baked her a cake.  She picked out a Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate Decadent cake mix.  It was super yummy and super chocolate-y!  All together she said it was the best birthday!

By the way, the storyboards that I used yesterday and today were FREE and you can get them too!  Just visit The CoffeeShop Blog here.

3 States, 618,000 Gallons, and 1 Otter

Today is Kaia Papaya's 10th birthday!  I can't believe she is already in the double digits!  Last year for her birthday we took a trip to the Louisville Zoo.  This year we decided on a road trip to Chattanooga to visit the Tennessee Aquarium on Sunday.
Technically we managed three states in one day, but we were only in Georgia for a few miles.  I-24 briefly detours into GA before going back into Tennessee.

I love my sling, however, it's not big enough.  I should have known better than to buy one before the baby was here.  Notice her little feet hanging out?  She slept nearly all day.
There are several tanks that have spots where you can climb "inside".  There were also a couple of touch tanks.  Both of the kids got to touch sturgeons and rays.  According to Kaia, a ray feels like a catfish.

Across the street was an awesome brick couch, made by Catherine Neuhardt, in front of Ben & Jerry's.  We couldn't leave without paying a visit.  Notice Kaia with her stuffed river otter.  She hasn't put it down yet.

There are two buildings at the aquarium, River Journey and Ocean Journey.  The river building had many more tanks than the ocean building, BUT... the ocean building has a 618,000 gallon salt water tank with 6 sharks (Sandbar sharks and Sand Tiger sharks) and something like 6,000 other fishies!!  Seeing those sharks up close was amazing!  The jellyfish were in separate tanks and so beautiful!  Scary... but beautiful.

I also have a couple of funny images to share too!  A bumper sticker seen while leaving Vanderbilt in Nashville and a sign at a gas station that caught me off guard for a moment.
I need the bumper sticker for my own car.  My father was an over-the-road truck driver for many years when I was younger so I know that "Reefer Fuel" is meant for those refrigerated trailers, but had I not known that I would have wondered if Cheech & Chong were now selling fuel in Tennessee!

It was the best Sunday!  Even the 8 hours of driving weren't too bad.  We're already making plans to return to check out more that Chattanooga has to offer!

I'm Still Kickin'

It's hard to believe that Rowan is two weeks old!  I feel like I've been gone from the blog world for a lot longer.  I  haven't been reading or commenting as much as I should on other blogs and I haven't really been writing on my own.  Mainly this is due to the fact that I'm no longer an incubator, but now I'm a one stop food shop.  Every two hours... or sooner.  I do have good news to report!  At her two week check-up, Rowan weighed 7lbs. 6ozs.!  When she was born she weighed 6lbs. 14.3ozs, but lost 8ozs. while in the hospital so she only weighed 6lbs. 6ozs. when she came home.  She's gained a whole pound in two weeks!  I'm so proud of her.  She's also grown almost 2 inches in length.  We still haven't received any news about her PKU test re-do.  Fingers crossed that we receive those soon.

Image via Google
I would like to be able to report all kinds of awesome happenings around here, but the truth is much more boring. The most exciting thing I've done in two weeks is take my oldest daughter out to eat at Cheddar's for her upcoming 10th birthday (on Monday).  We're planning a mini-road trip to Chattanooga to take her to the Tennessee Aquarium.  Last year we visited the Louisville Zoo and we all had a blast.

I'm not looking forward to getting up around 4am to make the 4 hour drive down there, but seeing how excited she was when we told her our plans was all the motivation that I needed.  I hope it's all the motivation that everyone else needs too!

Crazy Days of Summer | Week 8 | Motion

I took these photos back in June.  Completely by accident actually.  I was trying to capture some lightning bugs for "Light" week, but wasn't having any luck.  I moved on to a fairly bright light across the road from my house.  I had set up the camera to try to capture a bat that was circling all the gathering bugs for "Critter" week.  I didn't have any luck with that either.  Then it hit me...  I could capture a vehicle passing me on the road.

The first few tries didn't turn out so well.  I had to make SEVERAL adjustments.  We live in a rural area so I wasn't getting a lot of traffic either.  I yelled to the husband to grab the keys and had him drive up and down the road in front of me.  I'm sure that the few people who were driving by at 8:30pm must have thought I was crazy standing out there.  I had him drive by with lights on bright, lights on dim, fog lights on, fog lights off, and I even got a shot of him driving away.

Stop by the Photo Challenge to see other Motion photos!

UPDATED TO ADD:  Settings for photo #1 are - f/5.6, ISO 800, 48 mm.  Settings for photo #2 are - f/5.6, ISO 800, 55mm.  I have a Nikon D40 and used the Shutter Priority mode, no flash on either photo.  I fiddled with the length of exposure until I liked the photo.  It wasn't completely dark, but AUTO focus wasn't going to work.  I let the lens AUTO focus on the silhouette of the treetops then switched the lens to manual focus.  To make sure the lens would stay open for the needed length I pushed the shutter just before he rounded the corner.  I also made use of my mother-in-law's tripod!  Thanks for all your great comments!!

Crazy Days of Summer Week 7: Critters

Ok, here's the deal.  I'm not a fan of my photos this week.  I did them hurriedly and honestly without much thought.  I'm adding them to the pile just because I don't want to miss a week!

This poor little guy or gal was stuck to the grill on the front of my car!  I felt so bad seeing it flopping around that I gently removed him from the car and placed him on a nearby tree.  I'm not sure what happened after I snapped a few photos.  I'd like to believe that he recovered and flew away, but the ants that were hovering near him probably had other ideas.

I hate MOSS-KWEE-TOES (mosquitoes)!  Stupid, itchy, little buggers.  They serve no purpose on this Earth other than to annoy me.  My husband NEVER gets bitten by them... ever.  I hate him for that.  The mosquitoes this year have become super stealthy.  I never feel them bite me I just have huge welts that itch like crazy.  Did I mention how much I hate a mosquito?

Make sure to stop by and check out the other critters from this week's photo challenge!!

In other news, it's a million and five degrees here this week.  Pretty much the entire nation is feeling the same heat wave.  First thing this morning... the fan on our A/C unit went out.  Oh joy of joys.  I called the A/C repair company and they "put me on the work order list", but couldn't give me a set time of arrival.  Why is it when it rains, it pours around here?

One Week

It's so hard to believe it's been a week since Rowan was born.  The time has flown by!  At her newborn check up, she had gained 5 ounces and is almost back to her birth weight, plus she'd grown half an inch!  She's already growing too fast.

Events over the past week have lead me to change my way of thinking.  The same day that Rowan was born, a family friend was severely injured in an automobile wreck.  He's been in a coma since then.  There have been a few ups and downs, but he's in great hands at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  We were just celebrating a semi-family reunion with him and his family the end of June.  It's amazing how quickly life can change.  I hope to get back to my blogging routine soon.

Here's a shot of a one week old Rowan!


I haven't had time to do much blog reading or writing.  I apologize.  The past 4 days have been a real blur for us.  I wish I had better photos for you, but I haven't really had time to break out the Precious just yet.  So these first few photos will have to do...  for now anyway!

First photo!!

Rowan Elyse born July 7th, 2011 at 11:17am.  She weighed 6 lbs. 14.3 ozs. and was 19.5 inches long.

I was really excited about being induced on Thursday.  I had no idea it was going to go so super fast though!  I have been having contractions off and on for a couple of weeks, but when I arrived at the hospital on Thursday morning I was only 3cm dilated and 70% effaced.  It was better than starting from nothing, but I thought I would have been just a bit further along since my regular appointment on Tuesday.  

By 7am, I was all hooked up to an IV getting hydrating fluids and Pitocin.  By about 8:30am, my contractions were coming every 3 minutes and lasting about a minute each.  The on-call doc from my doc's practice was impressed with my progress so she broke my water.  The rest was such a whirlwind!  My awesome L&D nurse, Tatiana, asked about my pain level and I told her I was fine, it was only around a 4-ish.  Then, literally, five minutes later... I was asking where she was because the pain level drastically changed from a mere 4-ish to more of a 7-ish.  That was about 10am.  By 11am, I told them that if the doc didn't get there soon some one better be an All-American catcher!  I was ever so happy to see his face when he walked in a couple of minutes later.  I'm kind of glad that it went so quickly because it was much harder than I remembered.  We are very fortunate to be happy and healthy.

Please overlook my super sexiness...  

Crazy Days of Summer Week 6: Patriotism

pa·tri·ot·ism:  love for or devotion to one's country

This is the Merriam-Webster definition for patriotism.  I imagine it's quite accurate, though I think things like "LOL" and "ROFL" are also now listed in the dictionary and that puzzles me.  I had ideas of photographing objects like flags, colors (red, white, and blue), and fireworks.  All things that generally represent what appears to us as patriotism.

For us, every year we represent our patriotism by attending our county fair. It is love for and devotion to our country... sort of! The Catfish Festival is an annual event that culminates on July 4th with tons of fun stuff = catfish plates that include fries and hush puppies, rides, fireworks, etc.  As I wandered around the midway, smelling the good smells (and resisting that ever present urge to eat like 5 funnel cakes!), watching the kids playing, running, laughing...  I remembered why we celebrate that patriotism.  Why we love our country.  

Freedom !!!!

Make sure to stop by Alicia and Kristi's blogs to see how others are representing their patriotism this week!

P.S.  If all has gone well then I should be chillin' at the hospital right now holding my brand new baby girl!   Hopefully I can pop in with a few photos soon!

Wonderful Wednesday: BREAKING NEWS!!

Do you remember this image or post?

My little peace sign throwin' girl?!  Guess what?  She'll be here by FRIDAY (hopefully sooner!)!  At least, that's the plan anyway!

At my regular check up appointment yesterday, the Doc nonchalantly suggested we go ahead and induce labor!  TOMORROW!!  I've made a bit of progress (dilated to 3cm now) and almost completely thinned out.  I've still been having those sporadic contractions.  Thursday makes the 39 week mark and since this is not my first child, things should go smoothly.  What's even better is that my husband is already on vacation AND Thursday is the day I guessed!!

I can't wait to completely swamp you with photos of my precious little one!  See y'all in a few days!

P.S. I have already scheduled a post for the awesome Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge for Friday.  Dear Alicia, if you think of it, link me up if/when you think of it!  I'm not sure when I'll be able to do so!  As soon as I get some free time, I will be sure to check out all the ways we celebrate Patriotism!

A Look Back...

As I sit here looking out my dining room window at the cloudy, overcast, threatening rain skies, I can't help but think back to last year's Independence Day celebrations.

Every year for the past few years, except one, we've attended the annual Green River Catfish Festival.  It's a combination of the county fair and celebrating our great nation.  It really is a great Summer activity!  There is a three day long fishing tournament that includes tagged catfish, one worth $50,000 if you are lucky enough to catch him!  A road race, lawn mower demolition derby, festival pageants, a dog show, local artists sell their wares, square dancing, and even a petting zoo.  The local Masonic Lodge cooks up catfish plates from 4pm-9pm every day of the festival.  It all comes to a close on the 4th of July with closing ceremonies and a HUGE fireworks display at twilight.  We always go on this day.  Pack up blankets, chairs, a cooler with water, head to the festival and set up right beside our car.  We take the kids to ride those whirly county fair rides then grab ourselves a couple of catfish plates and wait for the big show.

I hope that today's rain will come and go before the festivities begin tonight!  Here's a look at what we did last year with our 4th of July weekend...

Crazy Days of Summer Week 5: Light

It's that time again!  Friday!  Woooo!  And it's a long weekend for most folks here in the good ol' US of A 'cause it's the 4th of July weekend!  It's also time for this week's Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge!

Theme for the week is "Light".  Make sure to stop by Alicia's and/or Kristi's to see all the fan-tab-ulous photos!

Nikon D40 | 40mm | f/11 | ISO 200 | Shutter 1/400

Nikon D40 | 34mm | f/8 | ISO 200 | Shutter 1/320

Nikon D40 | 40mm | f/8 |  ISO 400 | Shutter 1/80

Nikon D40 | 55mm | f/8 | ISO 200 | Shutter 1/400

Nikon D40 | 55mm | f/8 | ISO 200 | Shutter 1/400

I really like the last photo so I thought I'd show the SOOC version along with the edited one.  Of course I added my name, but that's it!  I'm really enjoying these challenges every week.  They give me a chance to really get out and work on learning how to properly use my camera!

Don't forget to stop by this week's photo challenge to link up your photos or just check out the entries!