Sunday, February 28, 2010

I guess its time

Since it will be March 1st tomorrow, my husband finally demanded suggested that I take my Holiday Cards down. FINE. But I didn't throw them away. They now live happily in my green bowl next to my picture frames so I can still look at all my friends and their kids' smiling faces :) Holiday cards make me happy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Our first visit in 2010!

Oh, Chimney Rock, how we love thee....

We love Chimney Rock State Park so much that we typically go every couple of months, year round. I was shocked to realize that we haven't been since November of 2009! Why? Cause its been FREEZING here or raining (or snowing) almost every weekend since early December. And I don't do Chimney Rock in anything lower than 50 degrees. Its okay to call me a wimp. I don't mind :)

Jayce asks to go to Chimney Rock every time I drive him to school. You can actually see the mountains 45 minutes away clearly from the road in front of Jayce's school. As soon as he sees those mountains he says, "Hey mom... I have a great idea! Let's go to Chimney Rock today! School is canceled, mom." Nice try, Jayce!

We finally got our chance last weekend. It was a GORGEOUS day outside! Sunny and warm, in the 60's even! We packed up and headed out. We stopped at Subway before reaching the park to get sandwiches to eat on the kids trail.
The kids' meals came in cute little recyclable bags with animal facts. Jayce got a polar bear bag. Jaina got a spotted cheetah one. Jayce kept referring to her bag as the "Cheetos" bag.
 
Keeping with tradition, we hiked the Woodland Adventure Trail after lunch. Jayce did the entire trail without complaint or being asked to be carried. 
 
After lunch, we drove up to the main parking lot of the park. There was left over snow and ice everywhere! Because of this, the 20 minute trail (which is really a ton of stairs) up to the chimney was closed. But there wasn't a sign, so we started climbing up. We got *almost* to the top to only have to turn back around and climb back down. Then we had to take the elevator up to the Chimney.
 
The Hickory Nut Falls trail was also closed due to ice. Brian, the impulsive kid he sometimes is, had to touch the closed sign. And he broke it off by accident. Whoops!
 
Jayce liked "squishing" all the ice. He actually asked me to take this picture of him!
 
  
This is Jaina's version of "rock climbing" :)


 
Look at those blue skies!

And this view!
 
 
Sometimes I like that view above, too :)



Some gorgeous light up on the mountain...


We didn't have to wait long for the elevator. We were surprised that the park wasn't crowded at all! Probably because so many trails were closed. That didn't bother us :)


  
  
The elevator conveniently lets you off in the upstairs gift shop.  This may be my children's favorite part of our trip. My husband's kind of a pushover when it comes to his daughter's "puppy dog eyes" and begging skills. And, of course, you buy Jaina something so you have to buy little brother something, too. Jaina normally makes sure he picks something she likes, too, because chances are, Jayce won't care about his pick once we get home. 



Jaina, up at the Chimney.


Brian and Jayce decided to stay downstairs. Ever since a little boy fell to his death at the park last year, we keep our children that much more close to us. 


Some daddy love :)
 
Feeling a little guilty at how many pictures I took of Jaina this day, I resolve to take more of Jayce. Except that he was kind of in his own little world the entire time we were at the park. Eh, you got to take what you can get sometimes!

Want to see what the kids ended up getting at the gift shop?


Jaina was having a hard time naming her squirrel, so I suggested the name "Zipper" after the Squirrel Nut Zippers from the 90's. She liked it!

 
Jaina "helped" Jayce pick a racoon to bring home. We named him Ringo for Jayce.

  
Then it was time for some ice cream. Oh yeah baby!! This is mommy's favorite part of the day!



 

  

  

And that was our lovely weekend! 


Friday, February 26, 2010

5 Question Friday- Feb. 26th edition

My Little Life




A blogging friend of mine, Mama M, from My Little Life created a fun Friday meme for bloggers to join in. Its a "getting to know you" type thing. Go check it out! :)

1. Do you sing karaoke? If so, what is your go to song?

I can't remember the last time I sang Karaoke... possibly at Buffalo's back when I was in college. I used to love to sing 4 Non Blonde's rendition of "What's Up?". I still like that song!

2. What is your favorite coffee drink?

N/A. No coffee for me. Ever. Yuck.

3. If you could choose your own name, what would it be?


I used to want to be called "Jessica" because I thought it was more common than Jessie. Why did I want to be common? I really don't think any other name fits me. Although some people have said that I look like a "Tracy". Okay.



4. Were you ever bullied?

Not really. I had a couple friends that were pretty mean and vindictive, but I wouldn't go as far as to say "bullying". 

5. How often do you eat fast food?

2-3 times a week. Taco Bell, McDonald's, Chick-fil-a, KFC. I love fast food!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dry Dog

Thanks for all the sweet compliments on the picture of Alli from yesterday's Wordless Wednesday/Black and White installment. You guys were right... she HATES bath time. But since she's an indoor/outdoor dog and sleeps on my couch, she gets baths a couple times a month.

As much as she hates baths, she absolutely LOVES to dry off though. She does this by rubbing her body all over the bottom of the couch (which I then have to clean, thanks Alli!).

 
Then she runs like a mad dog through every room of the house like she's on speed.
 
 
Once she rids her body of all the negative energy she just built up from her bath, she runs to find Jaina, knowing that she'll talk her into giving her a treat.
 
This time, Jaina gave Alli a big bone to chew on.
 
Which she then had to try to bury. 'Cause that's what dogs do. 
 
If she continues to claw my hardwoods and my baseboards, we're gonna have a problem. Jaina intervenes between me and Alli and has the great idea to get her a blanket to hide her bone under.
Crisis averted :) Dog and homeowner are happy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cheerleading



Jaina's in the middle :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Heart Faces: Hands On



Oh, this photo challenge was so hard for me to pick a photo for! I love photographing hands. I think they are so beautiful, expressive, and unique to their owner.

In the end, I choose this one, of Jaina's hands in the sand at the shore of a local lake. Whenever I glance at this photo, I imagine that Jaina's hands make a heart. Looking closely, you see that her hands aren't really in that shape, but it always makes me do a double take.


Go check out more "Hands On" fun at I Heart Faces and join in, too, if you'd like!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

While on the topic of haircuts...

I may not be able to control what hair style my husband chooses, nor control how often he gets his hair cut, but I can have some influence on my Mini-Brian, aka my son Jayce.

In years past, we've just given Jayce the easiest quickest buzz haircut with clippers at home that is possible. Why? Cause with his sensory issues, he HATED getting his hair cut. But his longish hair was driving MY sensory issues batty (I have a hard time seeing hair cover his ears, I don't know why!) so I had to do something. Plus, Jayce doesn't like having his hair brushed at all, even with a soft baby brush. He tells me it hurts. Hence, the buzz haircuts.

I used to have to hold him in my lap while my husband wielded the clippers. Or vice versa. It really depended on the parent's patience level at the time and who didn't mind getting hair clippings all over them.

That's mainly in the summer. The past two winters, I've let his hair grow out and I'm starting to like it that way more and more. Jayce finally got used to the at-home haircuts we gave him and they were no longer the problems of years past.

I finally took Jayce to get his first hair cut at a salon right before Thanksgiving last Fall. He did SO well! And then he's asked several times since then to go back to Great Clips to get his hair cut again.

We had an unusual cancellation in our schedule on Thursday so we headed over after picking Jaina up from school.

Before:
 
And after:
 
 
Just like with his daddy, no matter how he wears his hair, I love him just the same :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Look what I found under my coffee table the other day...

 
  

Look out, world! She'll be crawling any day now!
Thanks for having such a cute baby, Becca!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Easy Peasy week

A big THANK YOU to everyone that took the time to vote on my husband's hairstyle :) He was a little sad to see that his favorite look is definitely in the minority, but is very happy to remind me that the majority of voters did not side with me and my clean shaven look :) As soon as he cuts his hair on March 21st, I'll be sure to post an updated picture of him for ya'll :)

For once, I have nothing to complain about. This has been a pretty easy going week!

Jayce is chugging right along with therapy. As soon as we have his team meeting next week to discuss program changes, I'll be talking more about ABA therapy for anyone who is interested.

Jaina is involved with the International Choir at her school and gets to take two field trips soon for performances.

Brian and I finally got to go out for our belated Valentine's Day dinner last night. We tried a new restaurant on the Eastside of town. Eh, it was okay. I got a big ribeye so that always makes me happy!

This afternoon might find us connecting with another family who's son has autism. Its amazing... when you first suspect that one of your children has autism, it can be a very isolating feeling. Then when you start talking about it, people come out of the woodwork! I've been very fortunate to make some very good friends over the past 2.5 years since Jayce started therapy. They are an awesome support system :)

I haven't been using my camera much this week. Instead, I got a book at the library called "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson that was recommended to me by Kamee to help me understand the different options your camera gives you in manual mode. It was very interesting and easily explained in the book. Of course, now it makes me want to shoot all of my snow pictures over again so I can adjust my light meter appropriately for snow! Wait a minute, did I just wish for snow again? Nah....

Anyway, I'm off to go catch up on my blog reading to see what all my internet friends have been doing lately :)

And because I think my posts without pictures are boring, here's one of Jaina taken last week:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Clean and Snow and a Poll

Clean.

Snow.

I believe those two words best described our past weekend. And to be honest, I wasn't excited about either activity.

In some homes Saturday may mean "Fun!" and "Weekend!" and "Family time!" but for us, it means, "Cleaning Day!" Except, without the exclamation point, of course.

Nothing, I mean nothing keeps my husband from enforcing Cleaning Day at our house. Not even snow.

As a born and bred Southern girl (geography only, not culture!), I used to get giddy at the mere prospect of snow. I used to be able to count on two hands how many times I've even seen the real white stuff.

But since its snowed a total of four times this winter in our area, I am starting to realize that snow is not always fun. It can be a big royal pain, too. Like when it cancels Book Clubs and postpones cheerleading games and closes city trash dumps. When frozen roads keep our normally active family housebound.
 
 

The kids weren't even excited about this last snow very much at all. Jayce lasted about 5 minutes in the 27 degree morning before announcing, "My face stings and my hands stings and my toes stings. Go inside?"

Jaina made it out for about 30 minutes. Then even she was done.

So we geared up for Cleaning Day at the Walker household.
 
But first Jaina had to be a mean big sister and take Jayce's sponge away from him and tease him with it just out of his reach. She didn't know I was looking, let alone taking a picture for evidence.
 

By the time we were done cleaning the entire house, the snow had melted into puddles of slush. 
The weather channel was calling for more snow showers on Sunday night, but thankfully it was too warm for snow. Instead we got 37 degree rain and wind. Not exactly how I wanted to start my week off, but oh well :)

I'm SO ready for Spring! Come on Spring! I want to see green grass and new leaves and (hopefully) my tulips pop up! And warmer temps. I cannot WAIT for those warmer temperatures :)

And you know what else will happen in the Spring? On March 21st, 2010, my husband will finally get a haircut and shave his face.

WOOHOO!!!

Which prompted me to add a poll to my side bar. With his permission, of course :)

First, this is what he looked like on April 21st, 2009 mere seconds before shaving his head.
 

This is what he looks like today:

 

This is what he looked like before he started growing his hair and beard out:

 

And this is what my dear husband looked like several years ago before he even tried to have facial hair. This is my personal favorite look for him, but please don't let that influence your vote!

 

So, there ya have it, folks. Please look at my side bar for all your voting options. Thank you!