Harvin is 2 and Anne Elise is 4!

9.05.2015

Happy Birthday to my sweet girls! I can't believe we are celebrating 4 and 2. This morning we set out to do our annual birthday pictures. I just wanted to share my favorites on the blog.

After we finished up, I let the girls go into the Livingston Sweet Shoppe down from our house and browse the candy selection. We all left with some big bowls of nice, cold ice cream. Don't worry, I took the white dresses off before we indulged.













































Some Jumbled Thoughts

9.03.2015

So. . . I always dust off the ole blog and vow to myself that I am going to get better about posting. Why? I don't know. I'm not sure I have a crowd. Maybe I just like putting thoughts to paper. . . or www. . . and hoping they may be there for me to one day go back and look on (and probably laugh at). There's also a lot of great family memories on here I can share and reminisce on.

But excuse my pregnancy brain. I had a lot of random thoughts recently that I thought I'd pen. For starters (and you may want to skip over this because it's just a personal rant I want to get out), I had a little religious pondering I wanted to share.

SKIP THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH IF YOU SO PLEASE. . . IT'S JUST A RANDOM RANT:
I heard a sermon years ago (like college age) about worry. It stuck with me for some reason. I didn't sit well with me at the time, but I didn't completely understand why. I just knew I didn't agree. Now having children, it really doesn't sit well with me. Mind you I've sat through my share of "sermons" or as I might call them "opinions" in my life. Many forgotten. But not this one. I'm still not sure why. So, preacher went on a rant about worry. His thoughts: You're not supposed to worry. It's not biblical. You're supposed to put everything in God's hands and let him take care of it all. Worrying is a sin. If you worry, that means your not trusting God. .. . . So at the time, young and confused, I wasn't sure why I didn't like this sermon. Don't worry? How do you even do that? It's just this natural thing that comes up in your stomach, your brain, your body. . . everything. I would say I'm a pretty laid back, chill person, but worry is a natural emotion I have daily. So I'm sinning when I worry. So I started to think about it (remind you I'm still at college age). Ok, so I'm not going to worry about this exam. It's in God's hands. Ummmm. . . wrong answer. That won't work. God's not coming down to take that chemistry exam for me. So how do I not worry. I plan, I study, I manage my time, but I'm still worried. I can't quiet that emotion.

STILL RANTING (KEEP SKIPPING):
Fast forward some years: I still worry. I worry daily. I have 2 children, and I'm pregnant. There is no way to subdue those worries. I would consider myself a bad, irresponsible parent if I din't worry about them daily. I'm not saying make you go bald, sweaty palms, stomach in a knot type worry. Just normal, everyday, did I say the right thing, am I making good choices, am I guiding them type worry. It haunts me to think of the sermons that people probably sit through, listening to, soaking in that are filled with opinions that might not be so healthy to pass along. I mean "worry is a sin." I'm still having trouble finding that quote in the Bible. I can however find many on divorce and here filling your pews are divorced people. But you would never touch on that topic due to stepping on too many toes.  I challenge myself to question what I hear, to look it up, to think about it. I think I fell prey at a time to trusting someone because they stood on an alter. I don't think that's legit. I've heard some things from an alter that make me want to literally exit the building (maybe even childishly slamming a door) at times. People have some weird agendas. On a different note, I've heard some amazing things that have been life changing. But I think the best growth factor for me is looking past what was said. I have one former preacher who I think dreaded his Monday morning emails from me. Granted we came to a point where I would agree at times, I just needed more clarity, and there were times I just outright disagreed. But taking a step past just listening has been a game changer. If you stuck around to read all this (agree or disagree with my thoughts on worrying), I hope you can find yourself not just soaking up opinions from an alter as absolute factual truth.

On to other thoughts. . . So I'm pregnant. . . The big number 3! Boy am I tired. With 2 munchkins running full throttle and 1st trimester hanging in their tough, I think I could sleep my life away. Last week in the first trimester. I'm hoping for some renewed energy starting next week.
To answer a few questions about Baby Wood #3:

  • THE MOST POPULAR: Are you trying for a boy? Answer: NO! We are trying for a baby. If we have a boy, that will be GREAT! If we have a girl, that will be GREAT! We knew when we got married, that we wanted a big family. What is that number? I don't know. It may be 3, it may be 6. We're taking it one little blessing at a time. 
  • What are you going to drive? Great question! Heather's Answer: a Tahoe or Yukon with a bench. Arthur says this is a selfish choice. I LOVE my tahoe. It's great. I'd keep it if I could fit all 3 on one row, but unfortunately I have captains' chairs, and none of them will be able to buckle and unbuckle themselves. I looked at a tahoe with a bench and loved the space. I mean it's a great vehicle. It's been good to me . . . What am I saying? It's still good to me. We haven't had any troubles with it, it has 153k miles, it still drives amazingly well, it's safe, and we all feel comfortable in it. If you've ever driven i55 Jackson at 8 am in the morning, you know how good it feels (or not) to feel big. People are CRAZY out there, and if they think they have a shot at running you over, they will. I don't get easily intimated when I'm hovering over that aggressive prius like a Madison carpool mom (people say we're the worst). Arthur's answer: a Honda Odyssey. . . oh geez! I'm just not ready for this. A mini-van. . . at 27? Nooooo! So we brought one home a couple weeks ago. I wasn't too impressed with the bells and whistles it had to offer and the entertainment system was really complicated. But, driving it with kids loaded in is awesome. So many conveniences for them. 2 different movies playing, cupholders EVERYWHERE, a built in vacuum, a cooling box, basically everything a kid could need in a car. AWESOME, but it's so ugly and it drives like a car. It really doesn't have the same power behind it as my SUV. It was sluggish trying to get onto i55. And did you read the part about i55 in the morning. . . Sluggish isn't something you want to be. 
  • Next question: 3? That's a lot! . .. I don't really think 3 is all that many. Yes, we're getting rid of our man on man defense and running zones. But, I have friends with more. They do fantastic jobs! 3 is fun I think.  A houseful of chaotic fun! :) 

So anyways, that it for pregnancy fun.
Anne Elise has started school at St. Andrews this fall. I cannot tell you how tickled we are about this. She loves it so far. We love it. I'm so proud of her. I love seeing her off every morning in her darling uniforms, and I'm always amazed at what they did that day. Although the first week all I heard about was the sandbox on the playground. . . Great. . . . All this money for a sandbox, huh? Just teasing. I had no doubt this school was going to be amazing for her. I mean the girl is taking Mandarin classes. How awesome is that?

Harvin. .  off to preschool. I think she likes it. I ask her if she had a good day when she gets in the car and she replies "day" and nods her head. Do you think that means it was good? I signed her up for 5 days (biting my nails) because it wasn't much more than the 3 days. I knew we didn't have to attend everyday, but it was there when if I needed it. I let her go all 5 days the first week. This week I let her skip a day. She ended up sleeping from 8pm to 9:30am (when I finally just went in and woke her up). School must have been tiring that poor baby out. She's in a big girl bed now, which she loves. I was worried about it with her, but she made a transition like a pro.

And just to insert a brag: If you didn't know already, my first two (knock on wood for the 3rd please) children ARE PRO SLEEPERS! Pro sleepers. They sleep amazing. 12+ hours if left alone. We have to pry them out of bed. They will sneak back in & turn on their noisemakers and lights out if you're not watching. We laugh. . .  Arthur woke AE up one afternoon from a nap because we had to go somewhere. We turned our attention to Harvin then notice AE come out of her room, give us a dirty look, shut her door, turn on her noisemaker, lights out, and crawl back in bed. We couldn't help but laugh. These kids love sleep. I guess they get it from us, but I can't misguide you and take all credit. I must give credit to the amazing Baby Wise books. You may not agree with it, but I do. . . At our house, we like sleep. And we are glad our kids carried on that passion.

Speaking of. . . I'm headed to bed. I have my night stand full of prenatal vitamins, juice plus, cod liver oil, and all my potions just ready for me to down before bed. Yay! Thanks for visiting the old rusty blog. And if you made it this far through my late night, jumbled, pregnant thoughts. . . my apologies!

Costa Rica

6.03.2015

I feel like I dust this old blog off maybe twice a year for a post. My two little munchkins keep me pretty busy, and my youngest loves to bang away on my keyboard. So while they are engaged in a tea party right now, I'm going to try to pen our Costa Rica trip for you.

We've had a lot of people ask us about this trip and want to know where we stayed & what we did. This trip was fabulous, and I would actually take Anne Elise (3) back after visiting. It was fun and safe, and I think she would've enjoyed this area. The flight was also short enough for her to endure. It was also a very romantic place and would be more than amazing for a honeymoon. Our friends Martha and Eric are there now for just that reason.

So to the point (these kids are starting to get a little messy with the tea set over here). We flew into San Jose and rented a car. Make sure to also rent the navigation system. Don't be cheap about this and try to forgo this item. You WILL NEED IT! You will! Costa Rica doesn't have addresses. Seriously, these people address letters with "the yellow house on the corner next to the vacant brick building." And they give directions about the same way. So get the navigation. You can enter the name of your hotel or destination and it will give you great directions. I actually drove in this country. I think that's the first time I've driven abroad. It was really easy and safe, but be prepared to go slow. There are only 2 lane roads and no one is in a hurry. People also stroll on main highways with 6 kids in tow like they are on a walking trail.

So we drove to La Fortuna the first day. We stayed in the volcano / hot springs area known as Arenal. We stayed at Arenal Springs Resort. Another good resort in that town is Tabacon but it was booked and a bit more pricey. We went to the hanging bridges and walked the entire route, we also hiked down to the waterfall (wear a swimsuit). It was beautiful. Around the Tabacon resort, you can walk down a little hidden trail on the opposite end of the road and it will take you down to some natural hot springs a lot of the locals and hippies were visiting. It's interesting & worth the quick walk down.

PSA: Costa Rica has extremely hard mattresses. I had to get a massage at Arenal Springs Resort after a rough sleep. Just pile the pillows up or pack your own.

NEXT STOP: Jaco. Beautiful town. Here we stayed at Villa Caletas. It was gorgeous. Great view, beautiful infinity pool overlooking the ocean, great food, and even if you don't stay here, PLEASE stop by for sunset. They have a gorgeous amphitheater for viewing the sunset every night. GORGEOUS!

In Jaco, we went to Del Mar Surf Camp. I forgot the guy who owns it, but he was fabulous. He was very patient with us and has a great success rate at getting people up on their board. We had a great time with him. The water is beautiful and a perfect area for beginning surf. We also went on the Crocodile tour here. That was interesting but more of a personal preference type thing. It wasn't romantic but amusing. These guys are entertaining and fearless to say the least.

NEXT STOP: Manuel Antonia. Beautiful town! We stayed at Parador hotel. Request a room with a balcony that overlooks the ocean. We somehow lucked up and ended up with the only balcony on the entire grounds that had 2 sides for viewing both sides of the peninsula. I have no idea how we happened onto this treasure, but it was BEAUTIFUL. We also saw howler monkeys and a sloth from our room. WOW!

In Manuel Antonia, we went to the national park which was fabulous. Our guide, Manuel, was extremely informed and had a fabulous eye to spot all the animals. You wouldn't believe all the animals he spotted. Eye also had a great optic lens for us to see them with which you could put your iPhone up to and take National Geographic style photos. Seriously, these are off Arthur's iPhone. The beach inside the park is beautiful as well so pack a swimsuit if you want.

Arthur is very knowledgeable on Costa Rica, so feel free to shoot us any questions you may have. It was a great trip, and I hope all of you who have booked or planned on booking it lately enjoy it as much as we did. It's such a beautiful country, and there is so much to be enjoyed here.