Friday, March 30, 2012


One of the many fun things we got to do while in Memphis was visit the zoo. Please note that the Memphis Zoo is one of the top zoos in the country. It really is quite amazing. We were doubly lucky that both my mom and dad were able to accompany us on the trip. It really was a perfect day - great weather, visible animals, no tantrums. Yay!

Here we are out front. My dad is odd.Jeremy is a monkey. I have always know it to be true, but here is proof.Jeremy and Pop watched this antelope poop in the water. This was the single most impressive thing to my son about the entire trip. I raise 'em classy.Cute kids. Oh, and giraffes.I did not get a photo of it, but this was the water in the grizzly bear area. One of the bears jumped in to swim and was literally face to face with Jeremy. He was so excited! (but was still more impressed with the poop)Swimming with the seals.Enjoying ice cream with Pop and Nona. I think this was Viley's first ice cream experience, and she loved it, naturally.So, I mentioned last post that my weird kid holds her bottle with her feet. She just really loves her legs - a lot. Is this normal?I love a good Nona. I seriously would never take my kids to the zoo without a Nona in tow. She is amazing.The one thing Jeremy repeatedly asked to see were the snakes. After reading Harry Potter, I let him watch the movie while we were in Memphis and I think he was hoping to discover his own secret Harry-esque ability to speak to snakes. Alas, he is not a Parselmouth. Oh well. We decided this is the one we would set on Dudley if we could. Ok, so the special exhibit at the zoo right now is the dinosaurs. Apparently, some people asked for refunds because they were not real. What?! Anyway, Jeremy was the opposite. When we walked in and he saw that they were not behind fences, he hid behind me and said he wanted to go home. SO cute. Pop took him right up to them (they moved, made noises, spit water, etc) and showed him they were plastic and all was ok. He especially loved the T-Rex ("look, he killed that other one!") and digging for dinosaur bones at the end.We had a lovely time! Thanks to my parents for shelling out a million bucks for one afternoon of fun!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trip to Pop's House

This past week was Spring Break for the kids, so I took off work, packed them up, kissed the hubby goodbye, and headed to Memphis. Clearly, I am unable to spend an entire week alone at home with my kids without murdering them, so I had to surround myself with family. I am special.

Anyway, Jeremy loves Pop's House, so we had a blast. I was worried Vi would be shy or screamy around them, but she went straight into my mother's arms and smiled her head off. I will have a few posts documenting our stay, so this is only the tip of the iceberg as I shamelessly use this blog as my family scrapbook.

Cheri took us downtown to ride the trolley - with a real pantograph - and to eat at the Trolley Stop Market. It was super fun, and I have never had such spicy and yummy pimento cheese. We went to visit my friend Wendy who just had a baby boy, RJ! He is the cutest little nugget, but I think Jeremy and Violet may have frightened the newly-minted mom. They were wrestling quite a bit (yes, I allow my huge 4 year old to wrestle with my 10 month old - I think it is good for them). But, Vi did begin to crawl a tiny bit while we were there, so I think Wendy might be a good luck charm. I can't believe how old Viley looks next to baby RJ!Both Cheri and Joey work at a local bookstore, so we go and play there quite a bit to bother them and use their discount. They have a mixture of Chuggington and Thomas trains, which worked out well for us, as Jeremy was happy to let Viley play with the sub-par Chuggington ones. Cheri, Dani, and I all went to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games, which was super fun. We loved the books and since I never go to movies anymore, it was a nice change of pace from my boring life of work and child rearing. We were going to dress up, but ran out of time so the mockingjay pin I stole from Dani was our only fangirl token for the event. (My boobs look randomly huge in this photo for some reason).Vi was weird, as usual. She is making the funniest faces right now, and she has begun to hold her bottle with her feet. And I do not mean that her feet assist, they make the play. No hands, just feet. She is a monkey.Joey and Megan (Viley's godparents) came to play, and while Jeremy is in love with the dogs (here he is hugging Noodle), Viley is quickly falling in love with her back-up mom, Aunt Megan. Finally, my mom found a new store called Trains and Tiaras that opened up by their house. We took the kids, and lordy, lordy, it is a real train store. Jeremy was in heaven and had a great conversation with the old man who owns it about the trains. He was spouting off all the names of the engines, their gauge, model, years, etc. So much more to come from our trip, so check back again tomorrow!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day!!

So, it is no secret that St. Patty's Day (or St. Jeannie's Day as it is known around here) is my favoritest of favorite holidays. We will gloss over the fact that I turn 27* today. I just love the green, the pinches, the pots of gold, and leprechauns perched by rainbows. Not every holiday has a mascot, and not many mascots are quite so colorful and rich. And look, Brian made me a birthday cake!Today we are actually on the road traveling to Memphis to spend Spring Break week with my parents, so this blog has been timed to arrive today - because today is awesome and deserves a special entry.

Here are my precious kids getting into the St. Patty's Day spirit:By the way, apparently my love of all things green is not universal. I went to 8 different baby clothing stores before I found one with St. Patrick's Day clothes. 8! Target, Babies R Us, Gymboree, Dillards, Children's Place, Baby Gap, Old Navy, and some crazy boutique in the mall all hate my birthday. Let's hear it for Kohl's for coming to my rescue with an entire special St. Patrick's Day section of goodness - all on sale!! And I had Kohl's cash, so this stuff was virtually free! Seriously, how adorable is this bib?We also made cards and treats for the kids' teachers at school (an idea I stole from my friend Nicole) because I am aware my kids are crazy and am not too proud to bribe teachers to love them. Plus, our teachers are awesome and deserve treats everyday.Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day - however you choose to celebrate! Brian likes a green beer and some corned beef, while I prefer the more fashion-focused joys of the season. Have fun, be green, and spread luck and happiness everywhere you go today!!*fine. i am 31. going on 12.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Viley Boo!

I'll make this short and sweet:

Viley Boo passed her evaluation with flying colors. She does not qualify for state services, and she is awesome.Vi right before her evaluation.

Our wonderful TEIS case worker Julie, who I was so happy to see again after her amazing help with Jeremy, was impressed with Vi and encouraged me not to worry about her. She has "gaps" in her development, but is not behind in much when you look at the big picture. Our only area of concern is motor development, but her fine motor is perfect. Her gross motor is a bit behind when it comes to crawling and rolling, but she sits, pulls to standing (kind of), and uses her arms and legs well for other purposes. She is strong, energetic, and thecutestlittlebabyyoueverdidsee.

Brian and I are going to let her be for a few more months, see how things go, and then reassess later if she is still not mobile around her birthday. I have a feeling she will be hard to keep up with by then and we won't even remember our plan to re-evaluate her.Love that girl.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


It has been a long few weeks. I have been out of town for work, in charge of a big event for our division, had to set up a troubling evaluation for Violet, and got knocked over by the flu last week. Most of the time right now, I feel like I am drowning.

But, I keep playing back one moment over and over. I attended a 7:30am Ash Wednesday service on campus (no other time would even almost fit my schedule) and I very much enjoyed the homily. I arrived rushed, in a bad mood, my head already in my 9am meeting and my emotions high after I had to leave the kids with Brian because the school did not even open until 7:30 - Brian's one morning off that week and he had to get up and take the kids to school. I was weighted down with my usual doses of mommy guilt, overwhelming work to-do list, hair that had not been brushed in a week, and clothes stained with baby food. But, I was there. That had to be worth something.

The priest began the typical Ash Wednesday homily: jokes about giving up chocolate, Jesus' sacrifice, etc. I admit I was going through the motions, but then, I wasn't. For no reason in particular, I actually paid attention. Let's think when the last time I attended mass without a kid distracting me the entire time. Anyway, the priest spoke about how during Lent, we should be working hard to better ourselves. Sure, you can give up chocolate and post it to facebook to receive attention to replace the candy, but does that better you? He asked a series of questions, and one of them resonated with me. Do you take the time to take care of yourself? He pressed on. Do you like yourself? Are you proud of the person you are day to day?

Needless to say, I inwardly answered no to each one. The floodgates opened. And in typical Jeannie fashion, I placed the blame for everything squarely on my own shoulders without hesitation.
  • I am a professional. I supervise professionals. Yet I go to work in dirty clothes, don't brush my hair, and have not worn makeup in over a year. Thank you laziness.
  • I am out of shape. I have not worked out once since Violet was born...9 months ago. Hello again laziness.
  • I do not clean my house as I should. You should not eat off my floor. Or probably sit on my floor. Or step on it. And I have small children. Tip of the hat to my wife and mother skills.
  • I am so busy at work that I have not given my 100% to anything in ages. I am producing sub-par work at an amazing rate. I am so proud. I have my excellent time management skills and inability to say no to thank for that.
  • My daughter (oh wait, AND my son) BOTH have developmental delays. I was talking to a mom the other day and mentioned TEIS. She said, "What is that?" I simply do not know a time in my motherhood when I was not intimately acquainted with state services that provide the help my kids require- because I am not able to provide it to them myself. One kid, sure, that is an aberration. He had a rare disorder. Fine. Both kids? How is that not my fault? At least a little bit?
So there I was, sitting in the weird campus church wallowing in self pity. And then it hit me. THIS was my fault. This right here. Whining and feeling bad don't help anyone. Blaming myself for things outside my control only makes them worse. So, I set some action plans, and I decided to give myself some credit. So, here are a few things that ARE my fault.
  • I spend an extra 30 minutes in the mornings making up stupid songs and dancing with my kids. I would rather do that than flat iron my hair. (Plus, I don't own a flat iron and don't really know what one does.) I think my kids appreciate it.
  • I may not go to a gym regularly, but I dance, play airplane, jump on couches, carry Violet everywhere, lug trains up and down stairs, and am generally physically exhausted at the end of each day. Suck it, pilates, I do kidlates and it is way tougher.
  • My house is not spotless, but it is a home. My furniture is not covered in plastic. It is covered in dirt. Because people are comfortable in my home and know they will not get scolded for putting their feet up. I am proud of that and would rather have that than a sterile floor.
  • I am behind in everything at work because I have taken on more than ever. Every year since I took this job four years ago, it has grown. I supervise double the number of halls and sit on way more committees. I am proud of what I do, and I am delighted that people have the confidence in me to ask me to take on big new projects.
  • My kids are awesome. Jeremy is a talker, a kind person, and a well-behaved 4 year old. Violet is the happiest baby you will ever meet. They love each other. They have limitless imaginations, and they are crazy. They are not perfect, but who wants Stepford Kids? I am not a speech therapist or a physical therapist, but I will not hesitate to call any and all of the therapists in the state to make sure my kids have more than enough help to conquer any roadblocks in their way.

I have a lot of things I can work on, and I am trying to do so. I actually brushed and CURLED my hair for work the other week. It rained and I gave Jeremy my umbrella, so no one even noticed. I just vacuumed the dining room and I cleaned the kitchen today. Because TEIS comes tomorrow. But, the point is, focusing on the positive rather than the negative can really make a difference. I will never be a tidy person, and I will never see the end of my to-do list, and my kids will have MANY more crises that I will freak out about. But, I AM proud of the person I am. I am happy with me. I will continue to strive to be better, but plain old me is nothing to scoff at.

And in that positive vein, Violet's evaluation is in the morning and I am excited to see our case worker (I have missed Julie since Jeremy was released) and I know she will gush over Viley's accomplishments while providing helpful insights into her still-developing abilities. Cross your fingers!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Saturday Lock-In!

It was not really a lock-in, but it felt like one. Just as fun, claustrophobic, and exhausting. This past Saturday, Brian had to work a 13 hour shift (normal), and he accidentally had Vi's car seat in his car (not normal). So, we were stuck at home all day and we turned it into quite the exciting day - meaning it was a literal marathon to keep those kids from driving me insane. I pulled out all of my imagination and a lot of TV, and we made it work!

First up, it was Dr. Seuss's birthday on Friday, so we celebrated all of Saturday morning. He is a pretty big part of our lives, so we had to tip our hats to the man who brought us the Cat, the Things, the Grinch, the Ham, and the Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz.Next, we focused on trying to make Violet move. She is getting very squirmy and I think she is finally realizing that sitting still is not that appealing. However, she does not really know what to do about that. So, she just flails her legs around at random. Jeremy thinks she is supremely odd. She does not like to roll or crawl, but she is a champion sitter, stander, and rider (as in, on my hip).Then there was the golf. Yes, golf. As in the PGA. The Honda Classic to be exact, which spanned both of my weekend days. Some people think I am crazy for watching as much baseball as I do (did), but I grew up with my dad watching golf all the time and have an appreciation for the quieter and more precise of sports. To my surprise, Jeremy LOVES golf. He will watch golf on TV for three hours straight."I'm Rory!" he said a million times. He ran upstairs to get his golf clubs and spent hours golfing in the living room. He even shoved the tees in the carpet. His new idol is Rory McIlroy, who I guess is the new big thing in the world of golf. Here he is posing with Rory on TV. I think Jeremy likes him because he tends to hit the ball in the trees, the sand, the water...and still win.When not watching golf, we watched NASCAR. (This was technically on Sunday, as was the end of the golf tournament). Jeremy loves Jimmie Johnson and the 48 Lowe's car, for the simple fact that he owns that particular toy car. I really thought this sport would be more his speed (pun intended), but after about 30 laps, he looked at me and said, "Let's watch Rory and golf instead." Then we enjoyed 2 more uninterrupted hours of golf. Still, he does love playing with his race cars.

We brought out the Lincoln Logs and made some houses and tracks. And, naturally, we had to put the cars on the tracks and have them run over by the train. What is playtime with a little boy without a crash or two...or a million?Even Violet got into the fun and loves playing with Jeremy's cars. She has not caught the golf bug, though. Maybe she will be the NASCAR kid in the family? Princesses? Bugs? Hockey? I am beyond the ability to predict this stuff anymore.We also introduced Vi to some more big kid foods. Here she is with cut-up bananas, puffs, and her first ever apple juice! She loved it! Now, we need to work on the whole sippy cup thing.Anyway, it was a fun weekend, though I must say it was a bit hard to come up with 13 straight hours worth of things to do with those kids. I almost threw them at Brian when he walked in the door. Who cares that he just worked a 13 hour shift, I had to stay at home with our kids! Luckily, they are pretty amazing little people. :)