Thursday, April 30, 2015

Brody's Perfect Day (His Birthday)

For Brody's special day yesterday, we really wanted to make it all about him and the things he loves lately.  It really came together well, and he was very happy and thankful.  There was a slight hiccup in my plans that day, but we managed to survive it.  The plan was to drop Evan off at school and go pick up some things I needed from the store for the day.  We headed to Wal-mart to get a bundt pan because Brody wanted to help me make him a pound cake with strawberry icing.  Although he didn't say pound cake, that was pretty much what he described so we decided to make one so my kids could both get a taste of those yummy homemade ones my Granny used to make.  I don't have my Granny's recipe (she never used written recipes and kept them all in her head) so I googled it and decided on a million dollar pound cake.  Yes, it really did have a pound of butter!  Haha!  It turned out good although I am not sure it was as good as Granny's.  Since Brody loves to help cook, he really enjoyed helping make his own cake.  While the cake was baking, I went to change Mattox's diaper in my bedroom and saw something black scurry across the floor beside my bed.  Yikes!  I was pretty freaked out, but I couldn't see anything so I thought I imagined it.  Then, when I went to lay Mattox down to change him in his bassinet, I saw something on the top of his wipes container.  It was a small blob of poop...and not baby poop either!  From the looks of it and my googling, it seemed like it could be either a snake or a lizard.  I wasn't taking any chances on snake so I put the kids upstairs in their playroom until the cake finished baking, and then we headed out to eat lunch at Chick-fil-a until Daddy could come home and find the invader.  Luckily, we arrived at Chick-fil-a just as Brody's new neighborhood friend and his mom were arriving.  We had just played with them at the park the day before and weren't expecting to see them again so soon so it was a nice surprise.  Unfortunately, the play place was closed, but those boys still enjoyed sitting and talking together while they ate.  I definitely see a nice budding friendship, and it helps that I also like his mom who is a very smart lady who graduated from N.C. State and is a female engineer.  She totally rocks!  So after Daddy got home and deduced it was a lizard, we headed back home to finish the birthday celebrating.  He had not caught the lizard yet, but I soon discovered him when he came out of hiding into the living room.  We trapped him under a bowl and released him back into the wild.  After the cake was made, we all headed to dinner at Mellow Mushroom.  Brody requested this dinner choice the day before when he saw one by his Daddy's office and told him he wanted to eat at the mushroom.  We haven't been since we lived in Charlotte, but our kids love their pizza.  We also stopped and picked up some special balloons for the birthday boy.  He wanted a Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme "party" so we did get him a balloon, some party plates, and his very own Jake hat and sword.  At home, we finished the celebration by blowing out his candle on his cake, eating some of his yummy creation, and letting him open his presents.  He received his very own chef outfit and utensils and a new water table for outside because his dog decided to eat up most of his old one.  Sigh.  This one has a lid so hopefully we can keep the toys under the lid out of Cocoa's reach.  I am ready for the last part of her puppyhood, the chewing, to be over.  Other than that, she is a great dog who never barks and is very loving and friendly.  She does like to lick the baby, but we figure she is just marking him as hers.  Haha!  Although Brody's birthday is over, we may celebrate for a few more days and keep all his decorations up.  It is the least we can do since he isn't having a party.  We may go to Discovery Place Kids this weekend when we visit his Grandma too.

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I actually made this banner for his first birthday, but it was great for this year. 

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The "party" decorations.  He was so excited to see the streamers and balloons. 

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And his presents.  We prefer to buy a couple of really useful presents instead of lots of smaller toys that won't get played with as much.  He needed a new water table because he uses his a lot during the summer and Cocoa has chewed up all of the little toys and parts to his.  This one can be both a sand and water table, but I don't know if we will put sand it since he has a sandbox already.  I liked it because it has a lid so hopefully we can keep the toys away from Cocoa when she is outside. 

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I was going to light candles on his pancakes for breakfast, but I couldn't find a lighter. Obviously, we are not smokers and do not keep up with them very well.  

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Pretending to blow out his candles. 

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I actually got him to eat all of his chocolate chip pancakes.  Breakfast is not always his favorite meal of the day. 

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Mixing the cake.  If I am going to bake cakes like this more often, I am going to need a stand mixer.  I have never bought one because I didn't think I would use it enough.  I am now thinking I want one.  I think I would like to bake more after this successful cake and my homemade cupcakes I made for Evan's birthday last year.  

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A yummy and rich homemade pound cake with homemade strawberry glaze dripping down the sides.  

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Brody with the mushroom man at Mellow Mushroom. This one wasn't as fun and didn't have as much of the bright 60's style colors and decor.  We went to the one in the town of Cary, and that town seems to be kind of "stuffy" about businesses decorations.  Almost all of the outside signs are all white.  Haha!  

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Evan wanted to pose sitting on these wood carved mushrooms. 

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So Brody had to too. 

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I just love this kid! 

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Stealing his sugar. 

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Daddy and his big boys waiting for pizza. 

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Brody with his balloons "reading" his cards.  It goes something like "And Mommy and Daddy love me very much" repeated several times.  

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My little Jake

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I think this hairstyle suits him.  What do you think? 

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And a Jake balloon.  I just can't pay $10 for the full size Jake shaped one.  Haha! 

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His very special homemade cake that he requested and helped make with his cool 4 candle.  Also, he picked out this Duck Tales movie at Wal-mart from Evan.  Apparently, Evan had tried to get him to buy it previously when they were picking out a movie each when we first moved here and didn't have cable yet or many of their toys unpacked.  This was actually one of my favorite after school cartoons as a kid so I enjoyed watching it with them for nostalgia. 

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So proud of his cake. 

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My baby is getting so big.  *Sniff* 

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Telling us something using his hands. 

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Love those smiles. 

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Making his wish.  He really couldn't think of one so I guess he is pretty content with his life.  

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My beautiful boy. 

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Opening his present.  He wanted to open it all day and was so excited. 

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This kid could not have been more happy with his present. 

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Oh my!  This handsome chef stole my heart! 

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Chef Brody is just too cute. 

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And mischievous too. 

Dear Brody,

Wow, I can't believe how much you have grown!  You have really matured this year and are doing so well playing sports, learning to write and recognize your letters, playing video games almost as well as your brother, and conversing with us on so many interesting topics.  I love our conversations, and you are becoming very knowledgeable on so many topics.  I also love that you like to surprise us sometimes with big hugs or a kiss.  I can be busy taking care of baby brother, fixing you something to eat, doing laundry, or some other task, and you will suddenly come up and throw your arms around me or just plant a kiss on my face or arm, whichever you can reach.  You are so sweet and loving!  You are also so very appreciative of everything we do for you so it makes it such a joy to do nice things, big or small, for you.  That is why I wanted to decorate a little for your birthday because I knew you would love the surprise when you woke up in the morning.  I also love how happy you are when you are playing ball now and the big smile on your face when you are running towards daddy or see mommy watching you play.  You can definitely give us a challenge sometimes with your temper or frustration when something doesn't go your way, but you more than make up for the difficult times with how loving and fun you are.  You also like to give us some scares because you like to try to wander off on your own when we go places.  I hope that you will start to recognize these dangers now that you are four.  This past year has been a big one for you finally getting your little brother.  You do love him and have started asking to hold him and like to help feed him a bottle.  You do not like when he gets fussy in the car though and try to tell him to be quiet.  I am sorry he doesn't listen to you.  We love everything about you and are just so thankful that we get to be your parents.  You are just so beautiful and special to us.  We hope you had a wonderful birthday this year!

Love,
Your Mommy and Daddy

Monday, April 27, 2015

Our Two Baseball Players

Having two kids playing sports is definitely a different experience.  Brody and Evan both started their baseball seasons this month with their first games.  Even with several games being rained out, it has been a busy schedule with most of the games in the evenings during the week.  And since all of our games are played about 30 minutes away in the neighboring town of Garner, it makes for a late night.  We have had about two games a week for the past couple of weeks with Brody's games starting at 6:15 and Evan's starting at 7:30.  It is a little harder to get good shots at Evan's games because of the poor lighting in the evening with the bright lights over the ball field.  I am working on getting more pictures of his games, but he has been playing very well.  He hits the ball every time at bat now although his first couple hits went right to first base so he got out.  I reminded him that was what happened to him last season and that he just needed to angle himself more towards third base.  It worked for him, and last game he hit a double towards second base and then scored his first run of the season to help his team win the game.  He is actually back to playing coach pitch this season instead of machine pitch because his current league did not have a machine pitch, and we did not want him going up to kid pitch yet.  We watched our kid pitch team playing some on the next field, and they were hitting some big hits and looked really good.  I doubt we will stay in this league though and hope to get into the league that plays in our town next year.  Brody has also been playing really well considering he is the youngest member of his team since he is not quite four.  Evan's birthday also fell right before the cut off age to begin t-ball so he started his first season at three too although he did turn four before his first game.  Brody can hit the ball pretty well although he isn't the fastest runner yet so he often gets out although they do not count outs yet which is good for him.  He is very proud of himself when he makes it to the base though.  He played third base in one of his games and actually stopped a ground ball and threw it to the pitcher because he couldn't throw it all the way to first base which is pretty typical at this age.  Some of the players on his team are actually old enough for coach pitch at 5 and 6 years old so there is a big age difference in the players, and Brody is really keeping up with them.  We just love watching these boys play ball!

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Brody is a cute little ballplayer.  His team is the Little Scrappers because their sponsor is a carpet business.  They have little scrappy bulldogs on their hats.  It suits him.  At first I thought white pants for t-ball players was ridiculous but now I think it is pretty smart since I can throw them in the wash with bleach. 

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Waiting to run.  These shots of his first game were taken with my phone.  Because of all the gear and kids I had to get to the field, I forgot the camera.  Since the games are on weeknights, I usually transport the kids by myself after picking Evan up from school since he doesn't get out until about 4:00.  We meet daddy and eat dinner close to the ball field.

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Running to third. 

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He is very proud of getting on base. 

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And there is some playing in the dirt of course. 

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And talking with his teammates.  And yes, he is #1!

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No telling what tale he is telling here.  Something is "very big, very big, very big!"  Haha!

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Cute little ball players whose feet don't touch the ground. 

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Sitting with one of his girl teammates.  He has several girls on his team including two sisters. 

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He's ready to bat. 

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Baby Mattox loves cheering for his big brothers.  We have a tradition of having a newborn on the ball field since Brody came right at the start of Evan's first t-ball season.   It seemed like it would be such a long time before Brody would be the one playing ball.  

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Practicing stopping some ground balls before his next game. 

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Looking so big walking with Daddy to the dugout. 

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Taking his position in the outfield. 

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Big boy playing third base. 

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A little break to play in the dirt. 

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Taking his batting stance. 

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Yes, he does over swing a little sometimes.  Haha!  

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Running to first.  

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I love the smile on his face when he is running.  

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Very proud of himself. 

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Running home.  Yes, he wears Evan's helmet. 

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Daddy helps keep him focused on the field. 

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Big hit!

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Making it to first safely this time. 

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I don't know what the hands on his helmet and the look on his face was for. 

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A very sweet Daddy and son moment on the ball field.  Brody was very happy to get to third base where Daddy was waiting. 

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Sweet boys. 

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No, he doesn't slide into home, but he loves to jump onto it.  

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Waiting on first. 

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Big brother Evan is a very handsome ball player. 

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I love him!  He definitely has the heart for all sports. 

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Ready for the pitch. 

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Wish I could get a better shot of his swing and hits.  

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