Thursday, July 30, 2009


Happy Birthday Baby Boy!

I cannot believe you are already one. Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday your daddy and I were waiting to meet you. You have grown and changed so much over the past year and you are truly a joy. Although we waited so many years to have you, we can hardly remember the time before you were in our life.

I try really hard to be a good mother to you and to let you know how much I love you. You make me want to be a better person. I like to think I am doing something right because you are such a good baby. You're not perfect, in fact you have recently taken to squealing your disapproval at certain things, like being ignored or being put in your exersaucer. I am FAR from perfect too. One of my biggest feelings of inadequacy comes not from how I mother you, but how I am documenting your life. I am not as great at writing things down in your baby book as I could be. But I hope you know that I have documented many of your firsts and milestones with a camera and via emails sent to your dad while he was deployed and to your grandparents and aunts and uncles who all live far away.

Your dad and I cherish every moment we get to spend with you, you make us laugh, you make me cry (when you are sad or sick or if I feel like I messed something up). You are more fun every day.

We've had an interesting year. Your daddy left when you were 6 weeks old and went to do his job overseas. It was hard on all 3 of us to be separated for 4 months. But you were a trooper, and put up with me learning how to be a mom and a single mom at the same time. You became an excellent traveler and very adaptable as we left Ohio for Texas. Once Daddy came home, it was like he never left and the three of us settled back in to a routine. We went to Texas again to have you baptized and we even visited Florida, but all you really got to experience on that trip was lots and lots of rain. In a few weeks, our life is going to change again. We are moving very far away to a place called Guam. I worry about how the move will affect you, it's a long trip and the time change is going to throw your schedule out of whack (and we've worked so hard to get you on a good schedule). Another trial we went through, which was much harder on us than on you, was the shape of your head! Who knew that the fact that you had a slightly smaller right eye and a large head would lead us to see several doctors and specialists. Luckily, you have been tracking well developmentally and you were released by the specialists after a follow up. They think you just have a big head and a slightly smaller right eye.

You've been sick a few times, it seems like every 4 months you get a little cold, but they only slow you down for a day or two. I hate it when you don't feel well, but love how cuddly you are. All in all, you aren't a cuddle bunny- you'd much rather be on the ground exploring. I am as fascinated by your world as you are, you help me see things I would normally miss. I think a large reason for this is your new appetite- you want to eat anything from junebugs to starfish, rocks to wood chips, so I have to be more observant than ever. You like to eat real food too, which is great! So far the only thing you don't enjoy eating is zucchini, but that's ok, I won't make you eat it too often.

You enjoy cruising around the house. You're not confident enough in your abilities to try anything with one hand, you could do it, but you always want Daddy or me to hold both hands at all times. I want you to know, even when you take your first step and long after, Daddy and I will always offer you a hand whenever you need it.

I love you,
Mama (the word you still haven't said)

The pictures below were all taken on (on near the 29th of each month of the past year)....

Your Birthday- 7/29/2008

One Month Old, with Bea Bea

Two Months Old, after receiving first round of immunizations- you were such a good sport! I cried more than you did.

Three Months Old- visiting your Aunt Dana, Uncle Brian and cousins- Eli, Cailyn and brand new baby Ashtyn.

Two Days Shy of Four Months- Thanksgiving Day, spent in New Orleans wore you out!

Just Shy of Five Months- playing with Grandad and all your cousins at Christmas made you sleepy.

Six Months! Half way to 1 and Daddy was FINALLY home to celebrate.

Almost 7 Months- Mommy has to apologize for going on a vacation from taking pictures in February.

March 29, 2009- 8 Months Old

A few days shy of nine months, posing for Daddy's new camera

10 Months, first trip to the Cincinnati Zoo (third zoo for you)

1 Day Shy of 11 Months, at Clifton Mill

Happy Birthday
July 29, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It Takes A Village

It definitely takes a village to throw a good party! We celebrated Price's first birthday a few days early. My mom, step dad, dad, step-momish, brother, step-sister, aunt and cousin all came to Dayton to join in the festivities. Thanks to them and several friends, we pulled off a great shindig!

It was a beautiful day outside. Several of my friends from my days at Reynolds came and lots of Don's flight came too. Of course, our great friends the Mays and the Walkers were there as well.

As usual, I made too much food but it sure was good. It was a lovely way to celebrate our baby boy's birthday. I still can't believe that Price will be 1 in just a few days, the year has flown by!

The birthday boy with his daddy, uncle and Papa Roger.

Price with his buddy Gabe

The Fam!

Cake is GOOD!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Did It!!

Well, I listened to absolutely no one (except myself) and made a sandcastle cake for Price's first birthday! I am so happy I did, it turned out great and we had a great time at the party (more to follow on that in an upcoming post).

Everyone I asked said I shouldn't make the cake myself because it would add more stress to an already chaotic situation. However, I knew in my heart of hearts I would never feel 100% OK with buying a cake (no matter how cute) for P-Man's 1st birthday. After reading this post in one of my new favorite blogs (thanks KJ for the recommendation), it cemented it for me that I would make Price's cake.

Once I decided to bake the cake myself, I did something rather uncharacteristic and planned ahead. Typically when I cook something, I get inspiration while walking through the store and throw everything together at the last minute. This time, I wanted to prove to the naysayers all of my family and friends who had my best interest at heart that I could do this and do it well. So, off I went in search of a great cake recipe. I went to the library and checked out The Perfect Cake. I also read and reread both The Joy of Cooking and The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook, two of my most trustworthy baking companions. I even consulted with Martha. Through all my searching high and low, I couldn't find a recipe that sounded tasty or easy enough. I also got realistic with myself and thought back to my many previous from scratch cake disasters, and decided to use a box mix, but doctor it up a bit. (One day I will learn to bake a perfectly delicious cake from scratch).

I knew I wanted to do a banana flavored cake with a caramel icing so I could get the "sand" to stick to the cake. Once again, the Internet came to my rescue and I found the perfect cake mix recipe for a banana cake. (I did not use the caramel frosting recipe listed here, I used this one instead. I made this recipe twice (I don't believe in doubling during baking because it never turns out right when I do) in order to make one 9" x 13" bottom layer and two 4" x 6" top layers. I had enough leftover batter for 4 cupcakes. Even though the party wasn't until Sunday, I baked the cake on Friday!

The main ingredients. However, the recipe calls for banana liqueur which I couldn't find at my local Meijer, so I substituted with banana rum instead.

Mashed bananas aren't as lovely as when they are in their peels.

The the dry doctoring ingredients added to the box mix- cinnamon and brown sugar, looks like two eyes and a pair of lips.

Not quite delicious looking yet.

At least it is the color of sand!

Cake #3, the third layer.

The bottom layer cooling off before being wrapped and frozen.

I baked three cakes and 4 cupcakes. I allowed the cakes to cool and then wrapped them in many layers of saran wrap and froze them until Sunday morning.

I forgot to take pictures of the icing process, so here is the final product....

The Sandcastle Cake, several people thought it was real sand.

Very happy baby realizing there is fun to be had on the table.

The sandcastle look was achieved by first frosting the cake with caramel icing that was still warm and very sticky. We rolled ice cream cones in the icing first as well. Then everything was covered with "sand," which was really graham crackers and brown sugar that I ground in the food processor. I used 2 boxes of graham crackers and about 1 cup of brown sugar. There was a lot of "sand" left over. The round layers on top were cupcakes from an all natural box mix that I didn't doctor. Those were removed and given to Price at cake cutting time for his smash cake.

He didn't smash it as much as he just gnawed on it, enjoying his first taste of sugar.

Overall, it was a wonderful success. The cake looked great and tasted great too. Don and my mom both said they were glad I made the cake myself instead of buying one and they both were also proud of how organized and stress-free I was during the whole baking/decorating process. Next up, a wedding cake- from scratch.....HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

We are throwing Price's 1st birthday / our going away party this weekend. Due to all that has been going on in our life recently (garage sale, visits from the in-laws, trip to PA, all of us being sick, moving to Guam), I have been compartmentalizing. I am dealing with each thing completely and moving on to the next item on my list once the previous item has been completed. Thus, I am kind of far behind in preparing for the party.

I am slowly catching up. The invitations were sent out a few weeks ago, RSVPs are returning (we're currently expecting about 40 folks), the decorations are purchased (shout out to Big Lots!, for once again having exactly what I was looking for at exactly the right price). The menu is starting to fall into place (in my mind). But I need to make a decision about a cake...

I feel torn about what to do! Should I buy this cake....

Or make a cake similar to this one...

Don't let the size of the pictures fool you! I know the professional one is cuter and would be easier on my life, but I also really like the idea of making Price's cake. My besties would probably laugh and tell me to go with the professional cake. They, like me, would hate for the cake to end up on Cake Wrecks. But I really think I could do it. If I bake the cakes Wednesday, freeze them, ice /decorate on Saturday- then we'd be good to go. What do you think? So far, I'm undecided and I have 1 vote for professional (the vote of a logical husband who knows me all too well).

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, July 17, 2009

In Sickness and In Health...

We are very blessed that most of our marriage has been spent in health. However, on the rare occasion when a cold moves in, I have to remind myself that I took a vow to love my husband and stand by him through sickness. I am having to repeat this vow over and over right now so I don't lose patience with Don, who is sick with a cold...

My stubborn stoic husband refused to acknowledge he was sick upon our return from Pennsylvania. Participating in the "mind over matter" school of thought, he tried to convince himself that his headaches, sniffles, exhaustion and all around feeling like ass were a result of allergies. I know allergies, and that isn't what he was suffering from. He finally admitted to himself and me that he is actually sick after coming home from work the other day and sleeping for about 12 hours straight.

Of course, since he wasn't "sick" he didn't take any precautions to keep Price from getting sick too. So, what I thought was a teething issue of not sleeping, seems to actually be a pre-sickness sleep boycott.

So, now I have 2 sick babies, one just happens to be 34 years old. I hope they both start feeling better soon!

Thursday, July 16, 2009



I love you so much. I love spending time with you. But I really need you to take a nap!

I realize that as you get older, and with your birthday being 2 weeks away, you are growing more interested in exploring the world around you and less interested in observing the world from the confines of your crib. But, baby, you need to sleep!

On days like today, when you resist napping you turn from a wonderfully happy little guy to a rather sensitive, definitely cantankerous mini man. I turn into a crazed woman... You just want to test your boundaries, you want to crawl into the kitchen and play with Isabelle's food, you want to climb up the stairs. You have discovered at such a young age that the game of chase is fun. You love when I chase you across the living room to the kitchen or to the stairs and pull you back to the relative safety (in your opinion boringness) of the living room.

I have attempted to have you take a nap twice today. Each nap actually resulted in you standing in your crib crying and screaming for extremely long stretches of time. You seemed to have cried yourself to sleep both times, only to wake up less than thirty minutes later. As usual, I am amazed how quickly things change in your life. Just this weekend you napped great- twice a day in a strange place, with lots going on around you. But now we are home, it's just you and me and you're boycotting your naps.

I must end this post now as you are awake AGAIN! I love you awake or asleep, I just wish you were getting more sleep today.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Picture Perfect

We just returned home from a wonderful trip to Pennsylvania. We left Wednesday evening and headed to Pittsbugh spent the night there and then headed to Hershey to join up with Don's folks and visit with Nana. Friday, we headed to the Mountains for the Price family reunion. It was great getting to meet so many of Don's cousins and spend time in such a lovely part of the country.

It was a little Special Dark (that is Hershey for "bittersweet") since this was probably our last opportunity to visit Pennsylvania and to spend time Don's family before we move. In fact, I cried when Don's parents left because I don't know how long it will be until we see them in person again. Hopefully, they will visit us in Guam in the next year and I know we will become quite the Skypers once we get settled in Guam.

One of the great things about our trip was that it encouraged us to take lots of pictures! Several months ago, we bought Don a fancy new SLR camera. We got a Nikon D60. We LOVE this camera! It takes awesome pictures and is great for both novice and intermediate photographers. There are automatic settings that allow you to pretty much point and shoot (I mostly use these settings) or the manual settings that allow you to change shutter speed and aperture to take advantage of lighting and movement (Don uses these more than I do).

Don got bitten by the photography bug and wanted the camera, now I've been bitten too. He likes to take pictures of scenery and architecture, I like to photgraph people and flowers. We both have lots to learn on getting good shots, but here are some of our best ones from our trip to Pennsylvania:

Price helping Bea Bea do dishes

View from the Price family home in the PA mountains

Don and Price on the porch

I am a fan of flowers

Best shot of the weekend! One of our beautiful nieces, captured being silly and lovely.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I have been sad all day today. I really don't know why. I don't know if I have the Tuesday blues, the I'm moving to Guam in a few weeks and am stressed blues, the my house is a mess and my precious baby is too busy crawling and climbing for me to unload the dishwasher blues, or the Michael Jackson memorial service was on and I made the mistake of watching it blues. Who knows what the cause, but it happened. All day, I felt on the verge of tears and a few times tears actually spilled out. I HATE days like this. I hate feeling sad.

Then this evening, I read a blog post and it really made me sad. Every time I think about it,my heart literally hurts. It was written by a mother whose young son died suddenly and unexpectedly. I am in the midst of planning Price's upcoming birthday party and all I can think about is the huge loss the family is going through. I wept for them and I don't know them. All I know is the love between a mother and a child and I cannot imagine the pain the mother is going through. How does one get over the loss of a child?

Of course, because I am the way I am (a little bit of a worrier) I am afraid that this will haunt me and I will be more than a little concerned when Price runs a fever and I am sure I will check on him throughout the night.

No one knows why children die and some would argue that our God cannot be a kind god for allowing children to die. I just pray to God that He helps the family through this time and that He helps me not get hung up on this. I pray every night that Price lives a long, happy, healthy life. I pray, I pray, I pray...

Friday, July 3, 2009

It's Not About the TiVo

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, Don said to me, "I guess you should call TiVo and find out what to do with it since it's not coming to Guam." I started crying...

I love to watch TV and I really love my TiVo. I like TiVo more than any other DVR in the world. Ever since having Price, I've substantially cut back on the amount of shows I watch and on the amount of time I spend watching tv. But TV is one of the ways I relax. (As I write this I sound ridiculous, even though I am writing about myself). TiVo allows me to record all of the shows I want to watch, even though I may not get around to watching them. It even suggests TV shows to watch, even though I NEVER get around to watching them. I have episodes of Ugly Betty that I want to watch saved as far back as April. TiVo is intuitive and fast and it has a huge memory. Our stupid HD DVR that is downstairs is cumbersome, slow and may have a big memory but only holds a few shows because the HD takes up a lot of room. TiVo was with me when Don was in San Antonio for 3 months right after we moved to Dayton, keeping my shows on hold for me so when I was lonely and couldn't sleep late at night, I had something to watch and fall asleep to. TiVo was with me when Don deployed and I was up late waiting for Price to wake up and eat. (God, typing that makes it sound like I have a truly unhealthy relationship with my TiVo, and that it has served as a surrogate Don. Not true!).

But it's honestly not about the TiVo. I cried for 2 reasons. The first was I HATE being told things that I have to do, when I am the one affected, it's my stuff and it comes out of the blue with no input from me (there will be input from me, and this discussion is not over).

The bigger reason is that TiVo symbolized all that is being sacrificed by our moving to Guam. I try to put up a brave front, but I am scared. Our lives are about to change in a major way and while I think about those changes, I am compartmentalizing them because it's too big to think about in one lump sum. We are about to move half way across the world for 3 years and only have 2 months to prepare for it. TiVo was the tangible symbol for all of my friends, family, comfort zones, touch stones that I am going to miss when we move to Guam.

So there it is, it's really not about TiVo. It's about everything that really does matter to me and just a reminder that this move is coming really soon and I'm not ready to let go of everything we have here.

Guam Update:
Experienced first Guam related meltdown last night- see post above.
Received orders today- so it's officially official
Scheduled appointment with TMO for Monday morning, move is being set in motion
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