Saturday, September 29, 2007

Date Morning

Instead of a date night, I had a date "morning" with my wonderful and beautiful son. We hit the road early and headed to Mobile (about an hour and 45 min) to see Sesame Street Live. A huge thank you to Neda for letting me know the show was happening, we were able to get some really good seats! Somehow we timed in perfectly and we got to our seats as the show was starting. It was so awesome. Nolan was in UTTER AMAZEMENT and AWE! I told him we were going to "Elmo's house" when we got to the parking lot, because I couldn't think of a better way to describe it. After awhile he was really getting into it and dancing and singing and answering the characters. He would wave at them and say, "Hi Elmo!" and he was very concerned when Big Bird and Cookie Monster were not on stage. And I got a full 90 minutes of my sweet boy sitting (still) in my lap! The show was about Grover and his super powers, so now Nolan has been talking about Grover all day. After the show, we stopped at Panera Bread Co. I was looking for a McDonalds with a play land, but saw Panera and figured, Nolan got Sesame Street, I get Panera, right? Isn't that fair? He actually loved the PB & J they made for him. It was perfect and then Nolan napped on the way home. I have to say, a definite advantage to Brian being gone now is that it's darker at 7:30 than it was at 8 during the summer. So on a day like today when he got a nap, but I didn't get a break, it's awesome to put him down early! This is a self portrait of the 2 of us when the show first started. I think Nolan's expression perfectly portrays the wonder he is feeling. The stage. We got lucky, there were no "heads" blocking our view, it was perfect (it seemed so much closer when we were there than the picture looks): A picture of us during intermission: Nolan is a fan of the cotton candy!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Welcome Home, Rob (and Tara & Alex)!

Our friend Rob has been deployed for about 4 1/2 months. He left shortly after the birth of their beautiful baby boy, Alex. Tara and Alex spent much of their time back with family and so it was just recently that I had the privelege of meeting sweet Alex. He's absolutely gorgeous, and is a BIG flirt! I love his smile! Tara and I had fun catching up at Burger King earlier this week...Nolan played in the indoor playground while we chatted. I am very happy that another beautiful family is reunited! Here's a photo of Tara, Alex and even Rob (okay, Tara's talking to him on the phone...he had just landed in the states!).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sooo Pretty

This is a photo I snapped of the water on Monday at lunch. The water was gorgeous, the sky was so blue and the clouds were so puffy and picturesque. I love this time of year in Florida!

Thanks Andrew!

Andrew brought Nolan a souvenir truck from his deployment trip to Honduras. Nolan loves it so much the first night he screamed and cried when he couldn't take it in his crib. Now every night we say "night night truck." He also kisses the truck a lot and just adores it. Thanks Andrew. We're so happy you are home and safe and that your beautiful family is complete once again!

Sally's Fantastic Visit

I was so happy when I got the email about a month ago that Sally was coming for a visit. Most of you probably know, Sally and her husband, Rowdy, went to college with Brian. Rowdy is a fellow Sig Nu and both he and Sally were the first Rolla friends of Brian I met. Then we followed them to Cheyenne, where we were stationed together for 3 years. Now those crazy cats are in the big city of Boston and we don't see them as much as we'd like, obviously, but the visits we do get in are always awesome. Sally stayed 3 nights with Nolan and I and 3 nights with Jamie and Donovan (Jake is also currently deployed). We called Sally the baby whisperer, she was such a natural with the little ones. Nolan LOVED LOVED LOVED her! We ate on the water a few times, but mostly just chilled out, ate yummy food, drank some coffee, drank some wine and chatted till our jaws hurt! It was very low key, and though I can't speak for Sally, I had a blast. Thanks so much for making the trip and for helping us mom's out...you are the best!
Donovan (is he not the cutest?)
Sally & Jamie at dinner:Sally & I at dinner during the sub-tropical storm. The weather was actually pretty weird, but not as bad as we've seen it here: Sally, Nolan & Donovan: Jamie & Donovan:Sally & Cheyna during our "farewell" lunch to Sally. It was Mom's Day out, so Donovan had all of us ladies to himself!

The 3 of us!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So Proud

I just had to stop my running around for a second to share this awesome story while it's beauty is still fresh on my mind. Every night at bedtime Nolan and I read, turn out the lamp and then we pray. Since Mousey (his stuffed best bud) gets to sit on our laps during this ritual, we fold Mousey's paws, then Nolan folds his and we pray. First for Daddy and his safety and then we just thank God for whatever is on our minds, mostly people (sometimes we thank God for MOusey, too). Momma is the leader of the prayers, but Nolan always repeats. Today (5 minutes ago), I read him a story before nap. Then he took Mousey's hands and Nolan said, "For Daddy." I immediately teared up at the moment, but kept my composure and said, "Yeah, let's pray for Daddy." Then Nolan went on, "And Abby. And Cheyna. And Andrew. And Haley. And Tootsie. AMEN! (CLAP! CLAP!) " No prompting on my part. Don't worry if you are not on his afternoon prayer list fellow bloggers, we get you at night. I think as he learns this whole thing and his memory expands, his prayer list will, as well. My heart just swells at his love and what a proud moment. But not so much for me as the one we're praying to.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lunchbox

After seeing Abby's adorable lunchbox she takes to Mom's Day Out (otherwise known as "school"), I had to copy and get Nolan a lunchbox as well. It really is much more practical and easier for his teachers to have all of his lunch in one box. Duh. Don't ask me why I didn't think of this one on my own. Anyway, it was no surprise to me that Nolan picked the "car" lunchbox. I snapped this photo of him last week with it and couldn't believe how grown up a simple box (actually more of a bag) makes him look!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Love These!

I have some updates to complete, I know I am behind again, but we have a visitor!!! Whoo hoo! Sally is in town! I had to share this picture from last week, when it was raining with the sun out. I told Nolan, maybe there will be a rainbow and sure enough, we saw about 3 of them! So the scenery isn't the best, but I was driving and this is where the stoplight was so it was probably the best bet! I'll post again soon!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cookies for Daddy

I thought it would be fun to decorate some sugar cookies to send with Brian's care package. I found a Halloween kit that included some pumpkin shapes and eyes for jack 0 laterns. I also made some heart shaped cookies, since half our hearts are of course on the other side of the world. Nolan was not nearly as interested in the process as I thought he would be. Here is how it went. Nolan Decorating, Take 1: Nolan Decorating, Take 2:

Friday, September 14, 2007

Family Night

Every Tuesday the nearby mall (nearby as in about 30 minutes away) has family night. Kids eat free at Chick-Fil-A and can ride the carasaoul for free. Mulitple times. Cheyna and I and the kids decided it would be a good time for all of us at the right price. Nolan has always been a bit skittish about the carasoul in the past and once even screamed so bad we had to remove him. Tuesday he watched it the entire time we ate (and would hardly eat he was so enthralled). He kept saying "horsie, horsie." Then I asked him if he wanted to ride and he said yes! He was not happy right away, but near the end was warming up to the fun. There weren't a lot of kids right then so we stayed on (Nolan was on a pig not a horse, just to clarify). This time he had a blast and was saying "Weeee!" We got off only to have Abby & Nolan ask for one more time. So we obliged, but after the third time we were a bit too dizzy to go another round. It was lots of fun! Cheyna & Abby: Momma & Nolan: Here's a short video of Nolan:

Mom's Day Out

Knowing that Brian was going on this 4 month deployment (preceeded by a 3 week TDY) gave me the idea to look into our church's mother day out program. I really liked how they work it, 4 hours one day a week (actually, I guess you could do up to 3 days a week, but I just chose one since I'm a stay at home mom). They had an opening on Mondays, so in July Nolan started the program and has really enjoyed it. He often has a few tears when I drop him off, but his language skills really started improving and even little things I notice are awesome...like one day, he just said "help momma" and started picking up his toys. For me, it's been wonderful. I often go grocery shopping or to Wal-Mart to get necessities and while Brian was in town we would sometimes meet for lunch. Sometimes I do more "fun" things like shop for curtains (finally found some cute ones for my kitchen), go to the book store, just walk around the mall. This past Monday, Nolan's best buddy, Abby, joined him in class. Which meant Cheyna and I had some time to just ourselves. We love our kids more than anything in the world, but it was so much fun to chat without the interuption of "No!" or "Share!" or "Don't put that in your mouth!" We went all out and had pedicures done and then had a yummy lunch. Abby did great on her first day and we were both able to sneak up and take a peek and see the kids in action. Abby's lunch box she had was so darn cute that later in the week I bought Nolan one and will take pictures next week. He picked it out himself!
Here's a picture of our piggies! And just so you know, that is a leaf in the grass. And yes, people walking by thought we were insane to put our feet together and snap a photo.

Happy 2nd Birthday Avery!

Happy Birthday sweet girl!!! I can't fathom that it's already been two whole years!!! You are growing into such an adorable little lady and I hope we get to see you very soon, I want to give you a HUGE hug! We love you sooooo much!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Football Season is here!

Well, for those of my family and friends who don't also check Cheyna's blog, I had to let you in on the latest McMenamy vs. Vrabec prank. You all remember when Cheyna sent Nolan a Bronco's t-shirt? Which is, by the way, very sweet, but she knows Nolan is a Ram's fan. Well, revenge can be brutal. While Abby was over for a couple hours yesterday we had some fun...and to make it even better Chey left her camera in her bag (at our house), so this is a video she found on her camera!!! hee hee!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gymnastics Class

After going to "open" gym class for a few weeks and seeing how much fun Nolan had I decided to sign him up for a parent & tot class this fall. Everyone says the key to surviving deployments is staying busy, so I thought this would be a weekly date Nolan and I could do that would be fun for us. It is fun, but wow, its sooo tiring. After going to open gym for weeks, trying to convince Nolan he couldn't run wild and had to listen to an instructor was a little tough. The first couple weeks were the most difficult, but I can definitely tell a difference in his listening skills (at class at least) and his participation. And he's really starting to trust Miss Jean, his instructor, which helps a lot. Last week Brian joined us so I was able to snap some pictures. And Abby is in Nolan's class, too, so it makes for more fun!
Daddy telling Nolan to "jump!"

Abby about to go down the tumble track (long trampoline):Getting Nolan to stay in one place & jump on the trampoline:

Two tired parents & a cutie pie after it was all said and done:

Everyone said after a while you would start seeing your little one try these gymanstics at home. They are SO right! This is how I found Nolan one morning this week, doing summersaults & giggling!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tootsie Kisses

Here's a silly little clip of Nolan playing peek a boo with Tootsie.

6 Years

God Bless America. We will never forget. Ever.

Swimming

Okay, still playing catch up, but here are some pictures of us swimming a few weeks back. Both Nolan and Abby were doing SO good with just swimmies on...actually maybe too good, it almost makes me nervous when they think they can swim. Don't get me wrong, I love that Nolan's not afraid, but water can be scary. Abby may be half fish...she swam all the way across the pool by herself. I have a video of Abby & Cheyna that I took for Andrew to see, so hopefully he checks here too...and I know a special Grammy Susan checks, too! :)
Daddy & Nolan:
Look at him go!

Get Together

The Sunday before Brian left (Labor Day weekend), we had some of Brian's co-workers and a small group of friends get together for some munchies and drinks. It was great to get together one last time and relax. Thanks to all of our friends for coming and chatting and just having some fun!
Abby & Nolaln watching some Elmo before bed:
Brian and I:
The 3 crazy boys, they always get so goofy together:
Kypp & Neda:
Roxanne & Neda:
Cheyna & Sam:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Our Date

As mentioned earlier, a couple weeks ago Brian and I went on a date and spent the night in the Destin area. Actually it was on the property of Bluewater Bay, so we had free access to the shuttle, which took us back and forth between our hotel and the wharf, where all the shops and restaurants are. Cheyna was awesome and kept Nolan over night so we were really able to enjoy an adult dinner in a nicer restaurant. It was fabulous! We ate at Bijoux Bistro (very yummy food & wine) and then walked around the wharf going to different bars/restaurants. They all had a live band and no cover. The next morning, we headed back over to the wharf and had Starbuck's and just enjoyed the quiet and watching people. It was such a great night and one I'll hold close to my heart forever, but especially while Brian's away. Thanks again Chey, for making it possible! At the hotel before we left & getting ready:
At dinner:On the very large chair they have on the wharf:

Saturday, September 08, 2007

He's Arrived

I got a call early this morning from Brian, he is safe and already sounds pretty busy. He sends his love to all. Here's his info, just in case you want to send him a letter...regular postage, no extra! (the *** seperate lines, blogger won't let me): Captain Brian McMenamy*** CAOC/A3*** APO AE 09309 His email is: brian.mcmenamy@auab.centaf.af.mil

Dip the Candle

This is a clip of Abby dipping her candle.I was laughing when she said her age because all day when you would ask how old she was she would say SIX! She was having lots of fun with this candle and we were laughing so hard until we realized that she wasn't just sucking the icing off of the candle, she was actually eating THE CANDLE! She's so adorable!!!

Happy 2nd Birthday Abby!

Yesterday was Abby's 2nd birthday and we had a very fun day, to say the least! Cheyna, Nadia, myself and the kids met at Build a Bear in Destin and let the kids build stuffed animals. Truth be told they weren't very interested in the building part. They LOVED pushing the bear/baby strollers around and had a "stroller derby" as Cheyna coined the phrase. Luckily it was very slow in the store so they didn't really bother anyone. I chose a monkey for Nolan and some camouflage shorts and named him Manley (the Monkey). When we got home I let Nolan open the box and THEN, when there wasn't so much excitement he LOVED IT!!!! Anyway, then we ate lunch at Johnny Rocket's, this little 50's style diner. Then we went across the plaza to the playground area, where they also have fountains that kids run through. While I was debating if I had a change of clothes for Nolan he ran straight for and through the fountain and made my mind up for us. After a long and fun filled day, we thought for sure the kids would crash. Nolan slept in the car for about 1/2 hour or so, Abby not at all and neither of those stinkers took a nap! So the truly tired folks were their momma's! Abby & Cheyna came over for a very casual and last minute dinner and we sang to Abby and gave her these cute pink cupcakes that Abby herself picked out. Abby is truly a gem. She is one of those children that just make you want ten more. She's spunky and beautiful and hilarious and she likes my shoes and earrings and all the girlie stuff that Nolan could care less about. And the way Nolan adores her is almost more than my heart can bare. He mimicks her and loves her. We're so happy we were able to spend her 2nd birthday with her and we hope that there will be many more shared birthday's to come. We love you Abby!
Cheyna & Abby at Build a Bear:
Abby pushing the stroller: Nolan & I at lunch:

Nadia & Tristan:

Abby & Cheyna in front of the penny fountain (the kids made LOTS of wishes)!

Here's a video of Nolan & Tristan running through the big fountain!

video

And Miss Abby with her birthday "cake" and candle!! So cute!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Good People

I was able to chat with Brian one last time last night while the plane fueled up in Maine. The troops got off the plane for a short bit to find a group of about 40 veterans and civilans, greeting and supporting them. It's a group called Maine Greeters and Brian said it was really cool. He gave me a website and said his picture would be on it and sure enough this morning the pictures were posted. I looked through all of the pictures and I love how many people were on the phones to their families. Anyway, the website is http://mainetroopgreeters.smugmug.com/
I am posting the 3 pictures of Brian they had, but if you want to look through, it's such an awesome organization. Just go to the September 6 photos, flight 7:50 PM.
Seeing these photos is the first time it really hit me...and I am that much more proud of you Brian!!!!