Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mattresses, Books, and Bagpipes!

This weekend was pretty exciting for a certain 2 year-old we all know and love. First of all, when I picked him up from school on Friday I found THIS in his cubby...Seriously, Scholastic Book Order Forms were my favorite things EVER in school! I let him pick out a few and ordered online (oh technology, how far we have come). I can't wait for the excitement when the books magically arrive at school for him. I hope this is as cool for him as I think it is. I mean, who doesn't dream about new books at night??

Saturday, Brian took Bud to the Scots-Irish Festival in Dandridge while I headed to Neyland to work the game. They had fun watching the bagpipe parade, but the meat pies left much to be desired, so a stop at Sonic on the way home was required. Photos of the bagpipes and the yummy Sonic meal with Daddy:
Sunday, we had William, Ben, Elizabeth, Kristin, and Joel over for a play date! Jeremy was so excited all day that William was coming to play. I had to prepare him for the hard fact that he would be required to SHARE his trains, and I am happy to say he did pretty well. He let William play with his least favorite one (the girl) and he carried around the other 6 in his arms the whole night like a hoarder. But, it was better than I thought it would be. It is so fun that the boys will go upstairs and play by themselves for like 20 minutes at a time. Love it! Playing in Bud's ADD inducing room:Here they are playing catch while watching the game. It was hard to actually get a photo of the ball in the air, but I thought it was adorable that they played catch just the two of them, no adult involved. Mainly, they just hit each other in the face with the ball and laughed.The highlight of the evening was when Elizabeth and I decided to pull out Jeremy's old crib mattress to let the boys slide down the stairs. I have been wanting to do this for a while, but I was not sure if he was old enough. Turns out, perfect age. Elizabeth and Kristin also both gave it a go, though Kristin struggled a bit. Being the good friend that I am, I simply watched and laughed rather than helping her as she fell down the stairs. Sorry, Kristin!

Check out the video of the mattress sliding adventure!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bacon Day!

The other day I stayed late at work so that I could attend a program in one of my residence halls. "Bacon Day" is a tradition in Clement Hall where the Hall Director, Kristin (one of Jeremy's favorite babysitters), opens up her apartment and cooks TONS of bacon. For this specific day, she cooked over 24 pounds of bacon, using both the oven and a skillet. The aroma emanated out her door, windows, and vents filling the Clement lobby, courtyard, and building with the yummy smell of fresh bacon. Naturally, college kids arrived in droves for the free meat and to peruse her apartment in slack-mouthed awe (they just have no idea that whole apartments exist inside the halls). The staff keeps a Bacon Day Log, and over 100 students stopped by. Crazy!

Now, if I am going to attend a program after 5pm, I am more likely than not accompanied by one Mr. Jeremy Campbell Hopper. I believe I have documented his obsession with bacon before. He did himself proud. Before we were in Kristin's kitchen for more than 5 minutes he had already downed 5 pieces of bacon. Note that we came straight from dinner on the Strip, where he had just finished an entire meal. Then, the RAs continued to slip him more bacon after I cut him off. I would turn around, and he would head straight back to the bacon table for more. The Clement Hall residents were impressed, and Jeremy has been initiated as an official college student participating in high-risk binge-eating behaviors. He also chugged a can of Sprite. I am contemplating placing him on double secret probation until he can straighten up and act like a normal 2 year old.

Photos of the greasy joy:
Jeremy posing in Kristin's living room (yes, Mr. Moo likes college too!).Jeremy handing Kristin a new pack of raw bacon to fry up for the masses.Jeremy eating bacon.Jeremy eating more bacon.Kristin, Aaron, and Maggie cooking.Jeremy giving Maggie a high five (I missed the actual five).Jeremy and Moo hanging out with a bunch of college kids (he fits right in I think).Jeremy hugging Kristin's bumble bee pillow, and Mr. Moo. So, if ever you wonder to yourself if young Jeremy is receiving his share of life experiences and social interactions, put your fear aside. He is doing just fine.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

We Love Nana and Grandaddy!

This weekend we got a nice little visit from our favorite Nashville grandparents - Nana and Grandaddy! They were celebrating their Ruby Wedding Anniversary (yes, that is 40 years - impressive) with a trip to a B&B in Chattanooga, and stopped by to hang with us on their way back home. They had a very nice time in the choo choo town and Nana showed off her beautiful new ruby ring, a gift from her beau! Here is a fun picture of them from 40 years ago on their honeymoon:We are so blessed to have such great family members, because not only are they wonderful people who Jeremy loves to play with, but they totally bailed us out this weekend. Brian had to work all day Saturday, and I had to work the football game. It was UT vs Florida, so babysitters were nonexistent. I was entering panic mode when Nana and Grandaddy swooped in with the rescue and volunteered to keep our little monster all day Saturday for us. I am so glad Jeremy got to have some 1-1 time with them, a rarity. It will be even more rare soon as the number of cousins in the Hopper family will be doubling in January!

Since I was not actually present most of their visit, my photos are pathetic, but I did get one of Jeremy playing stair ball (his favorite game) with them, and Grandaddy took a few with his far more advanced camera. He is in his "cheese" posing phase right now, which is fun, but he scrunches up his face all funny. He is odder and odder each day - I love it!Most importantly, we are sending all of our love to Nana, as she is undergoing back surgery on Monday morning. We love you Nana, get well soon!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

TN Valley Fair

On Sunday morning, Elizabeth called to say she and Ben were taking William to the Fair and to ask if Jeremy would like to come along. Brian and I jumped at the chance to take Jeremy to his first fair - with the added bonus of having a friend along for the excitement. So, off we went, me in the only pink shirt I could find so that I could get $2 off admission, and Jeremy rocking his new tennis shoes that are massively too big (I am big on making sure there is room to grow).

Overall, we had a great time. However, we spent $53 in 2 hours, so I think we may re-evaluate if this event was "worth it". We got some lovely photos, though. Enjoy:

Jeremy and William hanging out in the long line to get into the fair.Checking to make sure Bud was tall enough to ride the rides. Seriously, when did he become an adult?!?Eating his first "fair food". He ate William's chicken tenders and fries, then his own hot dog, and drank the juice box I snuck in for him.Riding various rides. He loved the train ones (huge shock), but he loved them so much that when it was time to get off, he would just sit there and scream. It was embarrassing.These next two need some extra explaining. This is a roller coaster for kids. Those of you who know me know that I throw up if I even get too close to a roller coaster, let alone get on one. I was therefore very nervous about this ride. Jeremy, however, ran up there, pushed past two other kids, and climbed right into the seat. In the first photo, you can just barely glimpse Mr. Moo peaking out from behind the little girl he was sitting next to (they are in the last car). In the second photo you will see that my little man was terrified. The little girls put their arms around him to comfort him. It was super cute. He was a man and did not cry in front of the girls, and I was very proud.We also checked out the Petting Zoo. Again, I hate animals but Jeremy loves them so I pretend. He really enjoyed them. The goats scared him when they stuck their heads through the bars to eat his arm. Our area mascot at work is the Fainting Goat, so while these goats were not of that breed, they were goats, so I had to get my photo taken with them. It will soon be gracing the RA blog I write. I am commonly referred to as "Head Goat", "Mama Goat", or "Queen Goat" by my crazy staff.Mr. Moo's Mommy. We're 99.9% certain. The resemblance is uncanny.Milking a cow. Seriously, how creepy is this? A cardboard cow and udders sticking out for the kids to squeeze and milky water comes pouring out. Surprisingly, Jeremy jumped right in and grabbed that udder. Should I be proud? More disgusted I think. Jeremy had a blast at his first Fair. He played with his best friends (William and Moo), ate yummy food, met smelly animals, and ran around like a crazy person. Little surprise that we were only halfway home when this happened. I love my Sleepy Boy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Adventures: Football, Toys, and Fun

First a quick and sincere THANK YOU! To all of my lovely Hall Directors, I love you and you are the most amazing people. I took Thursday and Friday off of work last week to simply sit at home and do nothing. Yes, I said it - I am not a magazine mom who lives every moment for her kid and makes homemade organic foods or uses cloth diapers. I think those people are insane. I sent my husband to work and my son to school, and for the first time in about 3 years, I had the house all to myself!! When I told my HDs about this at our staff meeting, I was so excited I almost cried. They then surprised me on Wednesday afternoon with a gift certificate to a spa for a full-body massage. Hence the undying adoration. Aren't they sweet?

While I would love to regale you with stories of the amazing things I did with my days off, the reality is that I blissfully did nothing of note. So, we fast forward to Labor Day weekend proper, when I decided to rejoin my family and my responsibilities as wife and mother. My first order of business: abandon them again to go work the UT football game. Yay! I dropped Jeremy off with Kristin (again, my HDs are amazing), where he played in his pajamas with no shoes in a college residence hall full of drunk teenagers (again, I am a horrible mother who does not dress her child when she takes him out of the house). William stopped by to say hi and Kristin let him watch the South Park movie since it was the only cartoon she had after they finished Kung Fu Panda. Is it bad that this did not bother me? Here he is with William in Kristin's apartment in Clement Hall on game day. Notice the stark contrast in the attire of these young men:On Monday, our whole family got to be home together for a full day (also rare since hubby works weekends quite often)! We did a lot of playing with trains and reading of books, and Jeremy is now a huge fan of playing football with his father. Mainly, he catches the ball and immediately falls to the ground rolling around and yelling "whoa!" Just like on TV. See video of said insanity:

He also grabbed his powder when I was not looking at started dumping it out all over the floor. His room smells baby fresh now!Time now for my random parenting tip of the day: If you find yourself at a restaurant without any emergency toys to distract your child from screaming, never fear. Simply take the children's menu and crayons provided by the staff, draw some toys, and let the imagination run wild. This train provided tons of fun and a nice, quiet meal.Jeremy is a big fan of cooking and helping me out in the kitchen, and Monday he literally pulled the apron off me and put it over his own head. It was a bit large, but we made it work (Tim Gunn would be proud). Just look at that style:But, our biggest fun came when we took the little man to his first movie theater! We saw Toy Story 3 in 3D and it was great! Granted, we have not seen Toy Story 1 or 2, but it's just a kid and his toys, right? Jeremy loved it and had a blast. I was impressed with how engaged he was with the action on the screen. He cheered, made sad faces, warned the toys when they were in danger, and hugged Mr. Moo every single time the characters hugged on screen. The only downside was that he wore his 3D glasses for about 10 minutes total, so he saw most of the movie as a big blur. This did not seem to hamper his enjoyment.

Now, I am a mom and this is my job, so do not pass judgment. First off, I cried like a baby in this movie. No joke, it was like a waterfall on my face. Jeremy is never allowed to grow up, go to college, and donate his favorite toys to a daycare. Mr. Moo, Thomas, Percy, School Bus - I got your back. Second, I may possibly have taken a thousand pictures of Jeremy at the movies. Give or take a few. I will be seeking professional help soon.

Here he is outside the West Towne Mall theater.Here he is giving the ticket taker his ticket.Here he is in his seat with Daddy. Yes, I snuck in a cup of milk for him. Sue me.And finally, here he is leaving the theater after the movie was over.Please note that Mr. Moo had as much fun as Jeremy. He is still my little boy for a few more years...thank goodness.