Sunday, June 27, 2010

Whirlwind Weekend!

We have just gotten home and collapsed from our crazy weekend! We had a blast hanging out with friends, but boy are we tired! Thursday night Jeremy and I joined a group from work as we toasted George who is moving to Bangkok next month. We ate at Bangkok Tokyo where I learned that the kids meal is way larger than the adult meals, there is something called Japanese Sprite, and Jeremy loves to eat hibachi pink sauce with a fork. He then likes to drop said fork into my open and waiting purse under his seat. Yummy. We love George and wish him all the best in Thailand!!

Friday we joined up with some friends from work to attend the TN Smokies game. The Smokies are the AA affliliate of the Cubs, but I don't hold that against them. They were annihilated by the Carolina Mudcats, but it was a really fun game anyway. We saw 3 homeruns, a Michael Jackson tribute, and fireworks after the game! The best part - we were out until midnight and Jeremy was an ANGEL. He did not get upset once, he was perfectly behaved (for a 2 year old), and he stayed awake and happy the entire time - including the looong trip home in horrid traffic. Here are our friends: Jeremy with Joel and Amanda:Our new UT staff members, Brian, Richie, and Caitlin:Mommy with Jeremy (I look crazy, but whatever):Caitlin on the jumbotron successfully answering the nights trivia question to win a CD!Jeremy wearing his beer bracelet. I am so proud that my boy is finally old enough to drink!Jeremy eating his first ever Dippin Dots. He liked them, but was very confused at first.Jeremy joining another family because I was keeping score and ignoring him. Seriously, I turned around, and he was literally hanging out with other people. He is over me already.Creepy Michael Jackson impersonator and zombies dancing to Thriller before the game started:On Saturday, we attended Aaron and Stacie's wedding. I have very few pictures because that whole thing about Jeremy being good at the ballgame did not apply to the wedding and reception. Since he fell asleep so late the night before, he missed his nap that afternoon and was a cranky mess the whole time. Here he is before I had to yank him out of the wedding for making loud train sounds as the bride walked down the aisle. It was beautiful, I just wish I could have seen it.Here we are at the reception. This is about 6pm. Jeremy literally died from exhaustion. He was eating his food and started falling asleep in his seat, so I picked him up so that he would not hit the floor. He slept in my arms until we left. Doesn't he look oddly huge in this picture?Finally, on Sunday, Jeremy and I made fruit kabobs for a playdate with William. We spent most of our time singing to Madonna songs into wooden spoons and twirling in the kitchen, but it was necessary. Sing-a-longs with your mom to inappropriate songs is what childhood is all about. I learned all the Rocky Horror and Dirty Dancing songs from my mom, so I must introduce Like a Virgin to Jeremy. It's my duty.

Jeremy had fun with William, as he always does. I was mortified by his lack of sharing, though. He flat out refused to let William touch the trains, which belonged to him (William). He was literally shaking with rage when William tried to play with him. I was embarrassed and had to remove the trains completely. Then, they became friends again wrestling on the mat together. Boys are really rowdy. William got a bump on the head, and Jeremy was on the receiving end of a pile driver. But, they never stopped laughing and having fun!It was a great weekend, but I must admit, I am ready for the normalcy of the week and the sanity of daycare. Who'da thought I would ever look forward to Monday??

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Day for Dad!

Father's Day was this past Sunday, and it was a great day in the Hopper House! Jeremy loves his daddy to pieces, so we had to celebrate that in a grand way! On Saturday, Jeremy rode on the Three River's Rambler, the steam train in Knoxville. The boys had a blast together, and Jeremy's train obsession was heightened immensely. Mr. Moo enjoyed the trip as well.Back at home, Jeremy and I prepared a great breakfast feast on Sunday morning. As you can see, we made pancakes, eggs, bacon, and juice. Jeremy framed some of his new artwork and we got daddy some pants, a homemade keychain with more artwork, and Bud made a card that looks like one of daddy's shirts!Jeremy loves secrets and surprises, so he was literally jumping up and down after we got the table ready to go run upstairs to get daddy.
We also made a daddy cake that afternoon and for dinner we made steak, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob. Lots of dishes for mommy, but great food for daddy.
Here is the first ever picture of daddy and Jeremy. Aren't they precious? (Though, to be honest, this is not Bud's best photo, he looks a little smooshed).Gee, what a completely natural and not-at-all contrived segue to another first photo of a father and his favorite kid - My Daddy and ME!I often get made fun of by my siblings for being a kiss-up, so I suggest they simply stop reading. I love my father and they can get over it. Both my parents were young when they had us, so they were always the fun, active, and cute parents on the block. Look at my young daddy with his little girls. I miss wearing bonnets.This picture cracks me up. My dad was way to cool for school. I think we were on vacation camping somewhere here. To be honest, I am not even sure that is me sitting next to Cheri, but close enough, right?This is one of my favorite photos all time. I am so glad I had such a happy childhood! It seemed totally normal at the time, but years of working with students has shown me how rare our carefree craziness was.One of the fun parts of attending a all-girls high school is the Father Daughter Dance. No joke, this was always the funnest dance of the year. No dating drama, insecurities, etc. Just pure fun, dancing, and laughs. The dads could dance waay better than any of our dates ever could. This was my senior year, which was the only year Dad and I got to go just the two of us (Cheri graduated the year before). One of the reasons I admire my parents so much is because they love each other unconditionally. They are a hilarious pair, and the sight of them kissing (ok, let's be honest, making out) in the kitchen was an everyday occurrence for us as kids - and now. Never, ever, did I doubt that my parents loved (love) each other. For their 25th wedding anniversary, they went on a cruise! All of us kids pooled our money and paid for the trip - the least we could do for a mom and dad who did everything for us!Now, as I may have alluded in a post or two on this blog, I love baseball. There is one man to blame for that: John Thomas Carr, Jr. He taught me everything I know about the sport and thanks to him, none of my friends or I will EVER throw like a girl: bringthatsonofabitchonback! For father's day while I was in grad school, I got Dad and I train tickets to Chicago and we saw the Cubs beat the Brewers in Wrigley Field. Yes, that is my Dad deep in Cub country posing next to Harry Caray proudly wearing his Cardinals jersey. Love it.And look, I used to wear shorts in public! Crazy!No, this is not simply an excuse to show my wedding dress (maybe). Having my dad walk me down the aisle at my wedding really was the magical experience I dreamed about as a kid. He even wore a skirt for the occasion, how nice.
Yup, another gratuitous shot of me in a wedding dress. Enjoy. The day my dad met Buddy, the day he was born, two best friends were made (no I am not referring to Mr. Moo). Jeremy loves his Pop and no one can elicit the grins and giggles Pop can. Just randomly saying his name makes Jeremy break into a smile and he loves flipping through photo albums looking for Pop. I guess it is his version of Where's Waldo. He only has a few words he says with confidence: mama, up, bye, and POP!
We love you Daddy and Pop!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Oh dear. Cousins are wonderful things. I see mine rarely, but I consider them to be a huge part of my life and who I am. I facebook stalk them all and love them like crazy. Joey's wedding was a great time to get them all together again - we are all so spread out it is rare to find us all in the same place at the same time.

I grew up in a large family with 18 first cousins. Holidays were a blur of running children, football (or soccer) games in the yard, sticky fingers, and tons of "kid tables" that somehow we still have to sit at even though we have our own kids. That sort of chaos is what childhood is all about to me, so imagine my happiness at our latest piece of great news...

Jeremy is about to have TWO MORE COUSINS!!! That's right. We stopped in Nashville on our way back from Memphis to visit with the Hopper clan and found out that both Katherine and Graham AND Rob and Jennie are expecting babies early next year!! Congratulations!

Here are some pictures of Jeremy and his current only cousin, Philip. They are adorable, but just imagine all that cuteness DOUBLED!! Now, if only the Carr side of the family would pitch in, we could get a bit closer to that magic number 18!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Love is in the Memphis Air

So, my little brother got married this past weekend. I have been in Memphis for the last 9 days enjoying homemade Italian food at the Memphis Italian Festival, helping with rehearsal dinner prep (it is so much easier being on the groom's side of the wedding business!), and spending lots of great time with family. First off, I owe a huge thanks to Joel for driving Jeremy and I all the way to Memphis - he was wonderful and we so appreciate his help and company! I took Joel to Graceland and for Memphis BBQ at Leonard's (my personal fav BBQ joint).Is it odd that the most entertaining part of the Graceland Tour is the gift shops?? Seriously, how many different Elvis Pez Dispensers does one person need?
Here I am signing the wall outside of the mansion (oh, I got bangs - not sure what I was thinking on that one, but too late now). I think this is my fourth time gracing the stone with my John Hancock, but I had to give Joel that experience since it is not really a part of the tour.Joel is a lover of all things ridiculous, and this was built after I moved away, so it dumbfounded me as well. This thing is 70 feet high on a very busy intersection. I have no words.
I was also delighted to take Jeremy to another Redbirds game! He is quickly becoming quite the baseball fan (to my eternal delight) and they were only playing one night that we could attend. Unfortunately, Jeremy was subjected to his first rain delay. But, he managed it like a man, and waited out the hour and 15 minute delay like a true baseball fan would. I think the highlight for him was going over to the bullpen with me and Pop to watch the pitchers warm up after the long delay. He was entranced watching them throw and catch that close up. I think he may be a pitcher..or a catcher... or a power-hitting centerfielder... whatever.

Finally, there was the wedding. Joey and Megan were absolutely gorgeous and glowing. By now, they are in Mexico enjoying a lovely honeymoon, and I wish them all the best. It was an outdoor wedding at Megan's parents' home. The heat index was around 105 degrees, but you couldn't tell looking at those two kids in love. I adore Megan and cannot imagine anyone more perfect for my brother. I remember him contacting Cheri and I many years ago asking our advice about this girl he worked with who he really forward and there's Joey on the phone telling me about proposing to Megan with a beautiful sapphire ring that matches the color of her eyes.. and now they are husband and wife with 2 dogs, a cat, and a gorgeous house in Midtown! Here are some lovely pictures of the wedding: first kiss, first dance, Cheri's cake (she is amazing), the "guest book" (Megan painted a tree and you used your thumbprints to create leaves and sign your name), Dani after catching the bouquet, and lots of dancing!
My personal favorite moment was dancing late under the stars with my two boys.

I was asked to read a passage from The Velveteen Rabbit at the wedding, and I thought I would share. It is very cute, and it immediately struck me as perfect for Megan. Enjoy!

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."