Friday, June 25, 2010

Who needs toys?

For the second time recently, I've taken a picture of Ben and soon after thought of a similar picture of Cate. First, the similarites involved Diet Dr Pepper bottles, and, now, straws ...

That's 7-month-old Ben earlier this week. And here is Cate when she 6 months old ...

Any of you Murrayans knows the setting for these photos? In Ben's pictures, you'll have to use the background as a clue; in Cate's, you'll have to use the straw itself.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Babies change much in six months. The larger Taylor family welcomed three babies in 2009. Evelyn was born in April, Emaline followed in September and our Ben came in November. We took a picture of the babies on Christmas Day and decided to again today while Emaline (and her momma cousin Alyssa) were in town.

That was then ...

Ben and Evelyn are first cousins and Emaline is their second cousin. Another baby joined the family on June 9 when John and Christine welcomed their daughter, Mae Rose. If you're keeping track, that means Greg's grandparents added four great-grandchildren in 14 months! [There are seven great-grandchildren total, and all of them are 6 and younger!] It's going to be so much fun to watch them grow up together.

And this is now ...

And, don't worry, we'll continue with the group photo shoots through the years!

a budding photographer

This is Cate's first photo. She held the camera where she wanted it and pushed the button. All by herself. I'm proud to of my budding photographer daughter.

growing with, sitting with, falling on The Bear

I thought you'd like to see my favorite moments from Ben's monthly photo shoot with The Bear ...

First, he was sitting pretty with The Bear.

And then he got interested in moving.

But he can only scoot, so he didn't make it very far.

Of course, Cate wanted to be in a picture ... upside down on her bean bag, which is kept calling a sleeping bag.

vacation + giveaway

First, a little about vacation, and then I'll share with you a new giveaway, in which you could win a $50 gift card to spend however you wish at any of CSN Stores more than 200 online stores, which feature beach toys, board games, cookware, dining room sets, baby accessories and anything else you think might make your summer more complete. Seriously, if you win, you won't have trouble spending $50 at one of the online stores.

Cate was 13 months old when we went to Hilton Head two years ago. In case you don't want to do the math, she's 3 now. I am so looking forward to seeing her reaction to the beach this time, when she walks, talks and brainstorms her own ideas.

I'll find out soon enough what she thinks of the beach her momma loves because we leave for Hilton Head Island, S.C., on Saturday morning. We'll be there for a week, with my parents, brother, sister, brother-in-law, soon-to-be-official sister-in-law, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. We're all staying under one roof, and, thankfully, the house we're renting has a pool in the backyard and a short path to the beach.

In addition to lounging by the ocean and pool, we'll eat seafood, play some board games and the Wii, laugh, eat some more, and probably shop. And speaking of shopping, you probably want to know how to win the $50 gift card to CSN Stores. All you have to do is comment below with your favorite vacation memory.

And there are other ways to enter! You can get an additional entry for each of the following you choose to do: Follow me on Twitter. Tweet about this giveaway. Or blog about this giveaway. Just leave an additional comment with the appropriate link to Twitter or your blog.

You have until I return from vacation and celebrate the Fourth of July with the other side of my family to enter, meaning I will randomly draw a winner on July 5. Be sure to leave an e-mail address so the $50 gift card is directed to the appropriate inbox!

jump, swim, jump

Cate spent another afternoon jumping in a pool. Seriously, it's the only way any time can be spent outside. If you don't understand, you must not have experienced Kentucky humidity.

Cate and her friends Emma and Noah decided they were going to jump together. As you'll see, the synchronized jumping never really happened ...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Worth Repeating Wednesday

We like simple explanations of reality because we like control. We want to stuff the complexity of the world into our little minds because if we can hold it all in our minds, there is no mystery. But God did not give us control over the complexity of the cosmos. He gave us limited control over ourselves, and those whom it is appropriate we care for, children and so forth.

... I think God has given us limited information, much like a father does His children, giving them more information as they need it for their stage of life. I’d consider earth a kind of infancy, to be honest. ...

Job asks of God some very difficult theological questions. His friends attempt to answer Job’s questions, but they get it wrong. They are controlling and assume they can read God’s actions through a theological grid. But they are wrong. When God finally addresses Job’s concerns, God does not answer Job’s questions at all. Instead, God puts on a show of force and power, and humbles Job. God asks Job who stores the snow every winter, who stops the waves from taking over the land. And Job responds by saying that life is too wonderful for him. God simply wanted Job to know that He was trustworthy. God did not want Job to have all the answers. Job wanted control. God had control. God wanted Job to realize He was in control, and wanted Job to find security in that, regardless of his circumstances.

--Donald Miller on his blog

Ben @ 7 months

Seriously, 7 months sounds older than 6 months. You know, like now he's closer to being 1 than being a newborn. Now, with that said, most of you know so far in my little more than three years of motherhood, I've decided I like toddlerhood better than babyhood. That's not to say, I don't love cuddling with my baby, listening to figure out how to make new sounds, watching him inch along with frustrations that he can't go farther faster, and seeing him constantly change.

At 7 months, Ben ...

* can sit up without immediately falling over. But, really, not for very long.
* wants to go. But, hey, he scoots and rolls. He seems eager to crawl.
* laughs often at his sister.
* tolerates Cate's "help." See photos above of her helping him attempt to crawl.
* doesn't like his baby food as much as he did before the constipation issue. And now he's sporadic about wanting to eat it. My philosophy with eating, though, is that if he is growing and sleeping, he's satisfied.
* has his two bottom teeth. Finally, after all that teething.

And, you know, better late than never: I didn't updated his 6-month stats after our doctor appointment a month ago. He weighed 16 pounds 10.8 ounces and was 27 inches longer. He's heavier and longer now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

swim, swim, swim

Cate has swim lessons every day [for 30 minutes] this week. And, well, because we already had our swimsuits and towels out, we went swimming two additional times Tuesday, another time Thursday, and once again today. That's in addition the swim lessons at the city pool each morning.

Tuesday included trips to the pool at Greg's aunt and uncle's house and later to friends' lake house. After swim lessons Thursday, we stayed at the public pool with some friends ... and many, many other people who weren't scared away by the threat of rain, which eventually came. This afternoon was spent hanging out with my sister-in-law Angela and her kids in their backyard pool.

I didn't look like I had overstayed my welcome in the sun ... until today.

And, you know, I didn't take any pictures until today. Yes, I had my camera, but, really, you know, it can be difficult to watch two kids in and around the water, keep my camera dry, manage to get some sun myself, AND take pictures.

But Cate is really good at jumping in and letting herself go under, thanks to five consecutive swim lessons. Want to see?

[No, she didn't jump on top of Ethne, like is may appear. Yes, that is our new van* in the background!]


*In addition to swimming this week, I drove a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country minivan that I knew I wanted to own once I sat in it. Although I had been driving it since Tuesday afternoon, it officially became ours this afternoon -- just hours after we sold my Alero [thanks to Craigslist!] to a dad who was buying it for his daughter.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Worth Repeating Wednesday

This song has been in my head since Joshua Radin performed on "The Bachelorette" this week, although he played a different song. Anyway, I'm glad I'm revisiting this song, which I first heard on a TV show, probably "Grey's Anatomy," which has used a few of his songs in past episodes.

Some kind of magic
Happens late at night
When the moon smiles down on me
And bathes me in it's light

I fell asleep beneath you
In the tall blades of grass
When I woke the world was new
I never had to ask

It's a brand new day
The sun is shinning
It's a brand new day
For the first time
In such a long long time
I know
I'll be OK

Most kind of stories
Save the best part for last
Most stories have a hero who finds
You make your past your passed
Ya you make your past your passed

It's a brand new day
The sun is shinning
It's a brand new day
For the first time
In such a long long time
I know
I'll be OK

This cycle never ends
You gotta fall in order to mend

And it's a brand new day
It's a brand new day
For the first time
Inn such a long long time
I know
I'll be OK

Sunday, June 13, 2010

a parenting first

As parents, there are lots of firsts, even with the second child. We had one of these firsts last night. And I'm thankful it concluded the way it did.

But before the conclusion comes the story, from the beginning ...

Ben woke up at midnight, screaming. Keep in mind he has slept through the night for months. His scream was like he was scared. So I thought he had a nightmare. I mean, seriously, even though I have no idea if babies dream, much less have nightmares. So I rocked him. But he wouldn't relax. He just kept screaming.

After only days of knowing my little boy, I could access the cries. And, now, for almost seven months, I've been hearing them. There's a hungry cry. And a mad scream. And a tired whine. But I didn't know this scream. So we striped him down, just to check him out. Nothing looked unusual. His diaper wasn't even full or dirty, although he's never been one to cry about needing to be changed.

Even though he hasn't eaten at midnight for a long time (well, as long as can be in less than seven months of living ...), we decided to feed him. I say "we" because by this time I've gotten Greg out of bed to join me with the screaming baby.

He chugged the bottle, like he hadn't eaten five hours earlier. It didn't make sense, but I assumed we were solving the problem. Then he burped and started screaming again. It was just a little burp, nothing that should send my boy into painful screams.

We tried laying him down, but he screamed. So he ended up laying on my chest in our bed. He started to relax, and then another little burp sent him back to screaming. And not relaxing.

An hour or so had passed and I wasn't feeling good about the situation. I didn't like not knowing if something was going on inside him that we didn't know about. So we decided a trip to the emergency room might be in order. Greg ended up taking him, while I stayed at home with sleeping Cate.

After drawing blood three times and an X-ray, the conclusion was he was constipated and/or had indigestion. They gave him a suppository and sent him home, finally, at almost 4 a.m. It was a long night for Greg and Ben, especially. Not that I really slept while they were gone.

Today, I cut back on the baby food, which he had been eating like a champ, and am trying to get a little more liquid in him. I'm attributing the change in his bowel movements [I really can't believe I just typed that on my blog ... ] to the new foods in his diet, so his screams were just his sensitive body adjusting.

Well, speaking of Ben, he's up from a three-hour nap. I told you the boy had a long night. So I'm going to love on him ... and feed him.

[OK, so technically, we've been the ER with Cate, but the circumstances were very different, thanks to a conversation beforehand with our ER doctor friend from church.]

pickin' blueberries

Ah, a local honor system at Lynn Grove U-Pick Blueberries. A friend organized a group outing to stock up on fresh blueberries this afternoon. It was hot and humid, but it was a fun time.

Did I mention it was hot? That's why when it started raining, we were relieved, although we probably could have picked a few more berries. [Clarification: Cate is wet with sweat in that picture, which was taken BEFORE the rain.]

There are a few more pictures in my Facebook album, which is quickly filling up with fun activities in our hot, hot June.

Friday, June 11, 2010

'spin me around'

[The following conversation started this morning after Cate must have been looking at this picture, which Ryan Brooks took on Aug. 3, 2002, and now hangs in our living room.]

Cate: I like Cassie's flowers.

Me: Me too.

Cate: I have them?

Me: Well, when you find a husband to marry, you can have flowers like that in your wedding.

Cate: Sure. And I like your dress.

[We have talked about my wedding dress before because she likes a wedding picture we have in our bedroom. And she knows the white dress is stored in a box in my closet.]

Me: You know you can have that dress when you get bigger.

Cate: I can. It's in the box in your room.

Me: Yes. Waiting for you.

[Makes me thankful I didn't sell it, although after a couple years of storing it, I wish I had.]

Cate: Remember Zac spin Cassie around?

[Interestingly enough, Cate was 3 months old at my sister's wedding, but she wasn't actually there ...]

Me: You remember the picture hanging in Cassie and Zac's apartment?

[This would be the picture, taken by Michael Dann. Their wedding was on Aug. 4, 2007 -- five years and one day after ours.]

Cate: Yeah. I 'member.

Me: When you get married, your husband will spin around like that.

Cate: I wear your white dress and my daddy Greg spin me around.

Me: That's a great idea.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

a good day in Murray, KY

Aunt Cassie and Grandmom came to visit us -- well, probably mostly Cate and Ben, but we're a packaged deal! -- this afternoon. It was too short of a visit, but luckily I'll see them two more times this month, and one of those times is really a whole week's worth of times ... on HILTON HEAD ISLAND.

We took them to Tom's Pizza (local pizza!), on a trolley ride with the free tokens Cate got at story time this morning, then to the best Dairy Queen ever. That's a pretty good day in Murray, Kentucky.

See, even Cate didn't want them to leave ...

Instead of a trip back to Louisville (or eventually New Zealand) with Aunt Cassie, Cate got a suitcase ride around the living room.

my fun-loving, creative girl

[Photo courtesy Courtney ...]

Cate's at a fun age to watch.

She can be creative and have a vivid imagination. She'll sing and dance without prompting, and sometimes without accompanying sound. She is braver than she's ever been. She interacts with Ben now that he's more expressive and interested. And she is a problem-solver who will pull over a chair to help herself to something out of her reach, although she seems to [usually] understand the boundaries we've set.

If we are at the park or even outside in our yard, she's likely to climb more and climb higher if Luke (who is a year older) or Noah (who is 20 months older) are around. I noticed in story time this morning, Cate participated more even though she (having just turned 3) is one of the younger ones in the group, which is for 3- to 5-year-old pre-schoolers).

I'm sure there is some educational/parenting/child development philosophy that would explain this. But, really, I'm just more excited to watch her and hear about her interacting with her friends and playmates, especially knowing she's going to pre-school in August. With a May birthday, she'll often be among the younger ones in her class at school, and apparently that's a good thing for my fun-loving, creative girl.

Worth Repeating Wednesday

I can't get enough of this song lately ...

Now I won't deny
The worst you could say about me
But I'm not defined
By mistakes that I've made
Because God says of me

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I'm dearly loved
I am new
Who I thought I was
And who I thought I had to be
I had to give them both up
Cause neither were willing
To ever believe

Too long I have lived
In the shadows of shame
Believing that there
Was no way I could change
But the one who is making everything new
Doesn't see me the way that I do
He doesn't see me the way that I do

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
Dead to the old man, I'm coming alive
I am new
Forgiven beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy
Reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy, this is our new name

This is who we are now...

"I Am New" by Jason Gray

[You can listen to it here.]

Sunday, June 6, 2010

a popular chew toy, apparently

Apparently, Diet Dr Pepper bottles make popular chew toys for my kids ...

That's Cate, when she was six months and six days in 2007.

And, yep, that's Ben, this weekend, making him six months and a day shy of two weeks.

catching up ... with a hibachi grill, a day at the water park and some fishing

How about a catch-up post? We've been busy. Want to see?

First, on Thursday night, I went to a hibachi grill restaurant (Yes, we have one of those in Murray!) for the first time. It was a delightful time with some good friends and new friends.

Yes, I will be going back to Shogun again. The food was delicious!


I spent six hours in the sun at Venture River water park on Friday. Yes, I took both kids. I went with two other moms and their combined four kids. We had a smooth day and even Ben enjoyed the water. He especially loved the ride in the lazy river (I mean, seriously, who doesn't?) with Cate and I sharing a double tube and him on my lap. He giggled and babbled the whole time. All three of us went down the family tube ride a few times. My arms got a work out when I hauled that tube up the hill while holding Ben, but it was worth it. We spent most of our time in the kiddie play area.


Saturday afternoon/evening was spent at a fellow attorney's house, fishing and eating fish. Greg was especially excited, and it paid off with him reeling in the big catch of the day.

Cate and her Dora rod caught many, many fish.

At first, Ben wasn't so sure of the grass.

That is my favorite picture from the day. Seriously. I love the reflection, the flag and my daughter.

She went swimming. In her clothes. And someone gave her bubble gum. Which is swallowed soon after.

That's the big catch of the day. It didn't make it into the fryer because all of this smaller friends were already cooking.

Yep, that's my daughter at the end of the night. I didn't have an extra shirt for her after her swim.


In other news, we've been test driving a mini van this weekend. I'm sold on the idea of having one (although that only took about 6 minutes of driving it and one loading/unloading of the two children), but I think we're going to look for something with less miles than what is currently temporarily sitting in our driveway.


And, believe it or not, there are more photos in my Facebook album. Yes, I have been camera happy, as usual.

Spinning ...

For obvious reasons, Cate calls skirts, especially ones that spin out when she twirls around, "spinners." This is the ultimate spinner, thanks to Aunt Jennifer!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

on the lake

I was dreaming of having a lake house again this weekend. Of course, playing in and around the lake always makes me think like that. One day, maybe. For now, we'll enjoy the fact Greg's uncle and aunt own a house on Kentucky Lake. In fact, they have a pontoon boat and two jet skis too.

Turns out my sister and brother-in-law are in the States for a two-month visit from their temporary home in New Zealand. We were so glad to have them with us this weekend.

So, yes, on the lake with family ... it was a fun holiday weekend indeed.

There were s'mores, of course! And the girls really liked roasting marshmallows, mostly because they liked catching them on fire.

Pontoon boat rides are fun. Even Ben found it relaxing ...

There also was much swimming in the lake ...

Did I mention I was glad Cassie and Zac are in town? Really, all being together at Kentucky Lake was a preview to our family vacation in Hilton Head at the end of June.

Ben showed off ... and rolled from his back to his belly for the first time. I guess he was saving his moves for an audience!

We like the jet skis. And tubing.

Cate liked driving the boat. Many of the Taylors joined us at the lake on Monday.