Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dana 1 - Nana 0

So J. Hogan and I were in the grocery store the other day. Pretty typical shopping adventure with Peanut - he was touched by way too many sweet older ladies, laughed at a few older gentlemen, and was entertained by a few youngsters. But then we approached the checkout lane and everything changed.

It was here we met "Nana". I only know she is "Nana" because of the red and green sweatshirt adorned with one rather unfortunate looking angel and the LARGE billboard atop said angel's head that read "Nana's Little Angel". Side note - the date of this engagement was December 28th which is probably why I can tell you in detail what the shirt looked like. I will not tell you the real name of this "little angel" to protect his innocent self. We will just call him Oscar.

I quickly glanced over my options for checkout and chose the lane which looked like the least threatening. As I settled into my spot behind Nana, she quickly turned and said hello to J. Hogan. I will now give you a script of the conversation -

Nana: Well, aren't you the sweetest thing?

Me: J. Hogan, can you say hello?

J. Hogan: (smiles at Nana)

Nana: How old is he?

Me: He is 10 months.

Nana: Oh my grandson Oscar is the same age. Is your son waiving bye-bye? My Oscar is.

Me: Yes, he is waiving bye-bye.

Nana: Is your son crawling? My Oscar is crawling.

Me: Yes, he is crawling.

Nana: Is your son saying, "Da-Da"? My Oscar is.

Me: Yes, he says Da-Da. (At this point my patience for this game of "your son can't be smarter than my Oscar" is wearing thin.)

Nana: Is your son pat-a-caking? My Oscar is.

Me: Yes, he is pat-a-caking.

Nana: Well, your son is a cutie.

J. Hogan: Thank you. (It was the clearest, most perfect "Thank You" he has ever said.)

Nana: (solemn look on face as you could hear the crickets chirping) Did he say "thank you?"

Me: Of course he did. He is 10 months old.

Nana: (returns to her car speechless.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hello - Yes, It's Me Again

So it's been awhile since my last post. Okay a VERY long while. No big excuse, just life. From Thanksgiving until Christmas is always a ball of chaotic activity, but throw in a child and you have complete exhaustion; add teething to that child and you have "nearing the institution crazy"; couple that with the whole family having a cold and you might just have the apocalypse.

Okay so I exaggerate. It wasn't THAT bad. We all were stricken with the common cold. So this year's theme for Christmas was "Merry Christmas - please pass the tissue." I really can't complain. We are a very healthy family. This is the first time J. Hogan has EVER been sick and he is 10 months old. This cold wasn't really that bad for him. He never got too bad and bounced back quickly. I am very proud of him. This is also the first time Chris or I have been sick since J. Hogan was born. But we were a team this time. You know the old saying, "the family that prays together, sneezes together."

Christmas was nothing short of remarkable this year. I keep telling people I always thought our Christmas celebrations were always so much fun and wonderful, boy was I wrong. They apparently were boring and mediocre. This year was more than I ever imagined. J. Hogan took in all that the season had to offer - caroling, gift giving, Santa, the lights, the tastes, the sounds. He even learned how to say "thank you" just in time for the big day. And yes, it is the cutest thing ever when he says it.

Chris and I continually reflected at how much difference a year makes. This time last year, I was seven months pregnant; did not know if I was going to have a son or a daughter; still working at Lee; and let's face it - terrified of the responsibility I was facing. Now, we have an incredible 10 month old son and that scary responsibility, well, my heart embraced it the moment I touched my son's face. It is now an unshakable desire to make him his best self. It is now a since of duty and honor to protect him - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is now a love that shatters all definitions of the word. It is reality. Don't get me wrong. Sometimes the fear is still there and it is then that I have to remind myself that fear is a worthless emotion. We are not in control here, He is - God is. I am so very thankful for that.

Last week I was visiting my parents and my aunt stopped by for a visit. Her husband just passed away one short year ago. She said something that has stuck in my mind and my heart. She said, "give what you need." That is going to be my theme for 2009. I can only imagine what this next year will hold for me. I am sure it will be an adventure.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Warning - Cuteness Below

I don't have anything meaningful or grand to say today. I just downloaded this picture from a couple of weeks ago and I could not stop laughing at it. J. Hogan had just gotten out of the bath tub and we were taking his 8 month old birthday pictures and he kept putting his giraffe head from Halloween on - so I went with it. Notice his lack of ability to sit still. I just thought you all might get a laugh too!

Monday, November 10, 2008


I love books - all books. I love books with content I love and books with content I hate. I find beauty in the written word. I love the imagination that it evokes. I love the feel of books. I love the way the pages sound when I turn them. I love the way a library book who has been read by many fans smells. There is something intoxicating to me when I pick up a library copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and I flip through the well-worn pages and inhale that musty smell of the stacks.

Which brings me to my purpose for this post. I recently saw a product on Oprah which at first I was really excited about and close to adding it to my Christmas Wish List. It is an electronic book reader called the Amazon Kindle. It can hold up to 4,000 books and even will tell you the definition of word you may not know. Since Oprah is a fan, I am sure millions will be sold this holiday season. Many will buy them and decide they could never live without them. Well... not me. In researching this product, I realized that an important part of the wonder of books for me is in the physical book itself.

Which brings me to my final purpose. Don't stop reading books. I fear J. Hogan will grow up never having the joy of sitting in a library for hours scouring the stacks for the perfect read. I love technology, but come on Amazon, does this particular device not take out the joy of one of the simplicities of life. I just can't imagine curling up to my Kindle for a nice relaxing evening. I am boycotting this product and Oprah, just in case you read my blog (wink, wink), retract your statement of admiration for this product and urge all who watch your show to go to their local libraries and check one out!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Perfect Pumpkins - Perfect Day

Saturday was one of those perfect fall family days that you just have to document somewhere. During the morning we just worked around the house and J. Hogan surprisingly took an extra long nap. We then picked up our good friends the Malones and their daughter and headed north to Riceville, Tennessee, to the Gutherie Farms pumpkin patch.

It is a really great small town farm complete with a corn maze, pumpkin patch, hayride, petting "zoo", and many places to take some great pictures. Peanut loved every minute of it.

After the pumpkin patch, everyone was hungry so we began our trek back south stopping in Cleveland for dinner at Jenkins. When I was growing up in Athens, we had a Jenkins and I loved it. It's basically bar food done right! I had my favorite veggie burger of all time.

We then headed home and watched a little football and then off to bed at a decent hour. Like I said - perfect day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

So today was one of those days mornings that you just want to crumple it up into a tiny ball, throw it on the ground, stomp on it twice and then bury it under several layers of rock and soil. Okay so maybe I am being a little dramatic.

First of all, for those of you who do not know J. Hogan personally, he does not sleep. He is way to busy and far to wise to fall for any tricks to get him to take a nap so don't bother with the suggestions. This morning was just extraordinarily bad. He REALLY needed a nap in the worst sort of way. But instead of napping, he was just completely happy fussing at me about EVERYTHING. So I then grabbed my phone and looked at my calendar only to realize that I mistakenly thought J. Hogan's pictures with the best photographer ever were today and not tomorrow as it was booked in my head. I then began to scramble to iron clothes and pack all we needed for the photo shoot. In the midst of packing while holding a tired child, I got scratched in the eye by a stray fingernail and therefore was sentenced to wearing my glasses all day.

I finally got everything in the car, the dog locked in his kennel, my glasses on my face, the kid in the car and began to back out of the garage. Side note - we bought a brand new car two months ago that I drive. I put the car in reverse and began my journey into the world. Side note - depth perception in glasses is not that great. As the car began leaving the garage, I hear a SCRAPE. I get out of the car to see that I have just hit the basketball goal. Side note - we have not played basketball in oh two years. I see the damage, but it's not too bad. Just a few scrapes. I get back into the car and pull forward to remove the car from the basketball goal and then hear a CRASH. I hit the garage with my passenger mirror. GOOD MORNING!!!

I then head off to Cleveland for J. Hogan's pictures convinced that it was going to be a disaster. Well, I can happily say, I was wrong. It was wonderful. Carrie is so amazing and it was so nice just hanging out with the little man outside acting silly.

I can now laugh about the car. I mean, it's just a car and it can be fixed. But I just hope and pray tomorrow is better.

Friday, October 17, 2008

House Guest

So this week we have been hosting a very important house guest. Her name is Coconut and she is a gecko. She belongs to a brilliant, adorable, fascinating 10 year old who is currently vacationing with her family.

Coconut is pretty cool. She is nocturnal so she does not do much during the day, but she occasionally comes out of her cave or tree log to see what's going on in her world. At night we have to feed her crickets - live crickets. When I first learned of this fact, I wondered what I had agreed to, but it is really no big deal. And believe it or not, I have yet to cry over the loss of a cricket or release any into the freedom of our yard. I guess it is all part of life.

So to let you all know, geckos are a really neat pet. I highly recommend them and will miss Coconut when she goes back home on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sneak Peek

I almost did not want to post these pictures, but then I realized it is not like a wedding dress. J. Hogan will not have bad luck if you see him in his Halloween costume prior to 10/31. I will post the full costumed effects later. I just wanted everyone to see how adorable my little giraffe was.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vacation - A Success

First I have to say that I promise to get to the "Not in the News Today" posts. Time, uh I mean vacation just got in the way.

So here I am just returning from a week in Destin, Florida, with Chris and J. Hogan - our first family vacation. It was wonderful. We played, we ate, we went swimming, we ate, we shopped, oh did I mention we ATE!! Workouts begin tomorrow. But all kidding aside, life was wonderful as a family of beach bums.

J. Hogan loves vacation. I know you are all dying to see pictures, and I will post more at the end, but for now let me show you a little bit of our life as travelers. This picture illustrates that when you are on vacation you are allowed to do things that you are not typically allowed to do at home - like eat your breakfast while sitting on the counter. Oh and did I mention my husband is a HOTTIE!!!

What you also will not realize about this picture is that you are witnessing a new love for J. Hogan. Before vacation, he did not like bananas, after vacation he LOVES bananas! It must have been the salty air.

Another thing you typically don't do at home is photograph your child when he/she is pitching a fit, however, on vacation you do - because the sun is setting fast and you need the right light. Here are a few attempts at taking beach photos when J. Hogan has not napped and is ready for dinner.

Oh and did I mention my husband is a HOTTIE!

Which brings me to my favorite part of the trip - the ocean. Chris and I are both lovers of all things water and much to our delight, so is our son. J. Hogan LOVED the ocean. He swam, he jumped in the waves, he splashed, he road in his float, he had an amazing time. I am so proud of our little fish.

So I will write more about our trip on later posts. But until then, here are a few more pictures.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Not in the News Today

So I was watching the news last night and received my daily dose of which presidential candidate accidentally said the wrong thing and whose feelings got hurt by it; how the housing industry is just about ready to hit rock bottom; the ever climbing gas prices; and what American corporation we as taxpayers are going to have to rescue next due to their bad business ethics. That's when it hit me. What about the good news today? Any of that hanging around the old newsroom? In such a distressed world, what about a news segment that highlights getting it right? So I waited... and waited... and waited. Okay so it never happened and therefore, I have decided to start a new segment on this blog entitled "Not in the News Today." Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Busy, Busy and Sad

Okay so I have not updated my blog in about three weeks. Things have been really busy. So I just wanted to give you a brief update on, well, life.

First of all, I have been battling with Samsung over my brand new range. To make a long story (and painful one) short... I called Samsung on JULY 22, to report that my BRAND NEW range was sparking and would not work. After MANY phone calls and MANY empty promises from the company's customer care team, I finally received a replacement range on SEPTEMBER 8 only to find out that the electrical outlet was FRIED when the original range shorted out. Therefore, September 9 was the actual day (after a visit from a kind electrician) I had a working range. The moral of this story, DON'T BUY SAMSUNG - EVER!! ... and PS Customer Care VP, day 7 and I am still waiting for you to call me back.

Wow that felt great.

I have also been trying the past couple of weeks to get ready for our first family vacation. That's right, Peanut is going to the beach. Which brings me to Motherhood Realization #114, it was much easier traveling prebaby - all together. I am continually amazed at how much stuff a small little 18 pound person requires. I know all of you experienced moms are saying, "Come on, you don't need all that stuff." Well, I just think you are lying and you have probably blocked that horrible trip out of your head when you forgot the portable swing. I have tried to eliminate as much from my "To Take" list and I now have it down to the bare minimal, but it is still a lot of stuff! So much stuff, we bought a bigger car to carry it all in. My how your life changes and frankly, I don't know how I survived without my little man.

So we were scheduled to leave on vacation Saturday, September, 13, for three days in Orlando and then on to Seaside for five more days at the beach. I am not posting this from Seaside so that brings me to my sad note.

On September 11, 2008, my uncle passed away. Uncle Donald was a wonderful spirited man. He was very tall (I am guessing 6'3" or 6'4") and therefore always made me fill small when I got one of his bear hugs. He was such an encourager. When I was in seventh grade I played basketball and many times I would look up in the stands to see him cheering me on. That year, I made the All-Tournament Team for the first time and he was there to see it. The next day at school, I got he most awesome bouquet of balloons sent to me with a simple note that said "Job well done. I am proud of you. Love, Uncle Donald". I still have that card. It meant the world to me.

At his burial yesterday, a poem was read. Part of it said, "Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned and remember only the smile." I'm going to do that. I am going to put away my tears from the past few days and focus on all the smiles and laughter he blessed my life with. The minister yesterday also said something that I found very comforting and had never really thought about. If we as Christians believe that Christ lives within us, and we also believe that to be absent from the body is to be with Christ, then Uncle Donald is not very far away from us. That makes me smile.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

1st Day of School

For those of you who do not have children, please allow me to indulge in a bit of "mother melancholy". Those of you who do have children, please join me in this moment through reflection.

Today was J. Hogan's first day of school. No, he is not going to daycare, mom's day out, or any other daily centers of activity. He started Kindermusik today. I know it's just one day a week for 45 minutes, but it IS his first classroom setting and to me that's worth writing about.

I have been "chatting it up" to him for the last three days just to prepare him, and reality was no disappointment. There was music, there was clapping, there was parading, there was waltzing, and there was even a ride in a buggy (well a laundry basket of sorts). You are right, I was the one doing most of the work, but he LOVED it. He is the youngest in the class and the rest are over a year old, but I am certain he is the brightest. (-;

I took this picture just before we left and you can see by the look on his face he was excited. On the way to class I began thinking about how many times I will drive him to school in his life - the first day of preschool, kindergarten, high school, and then moving him into the dorm at Duke where I promise not to linger like a helicopter parent. I want school to be grand for him. I want him to love his teachers, read everything he can get his hands on, do well in math, make lots of friends, be a good school citizen, and mostly never want to stop learning - ever.

So after class on the drive home, with J. Hogan sacked out in the back, I began praying for his future teachers - all of them - from Sunday school to college. I pray they are eager to teach and passionate about what they know. I pray they encourage my son to try the unknown and marvel in new discoveries. I pray they delight in his successes and direct him in his failures. I pray they teach him the lessons to be learned both in the classroom and on the playground.

Maybe someday I will look back on this blog when he leaves the house driving himself to school, and I will think about that sweet baby boy in his navy and white t-shirt, in my arms meeting his first teacher, Ms. Anne and doing nothing but giving her the biggest smile a six month old can give. Thank you Ms. Anne! It's been a good day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Half Birthday Peanut!

I cannot believe my baby boy is six months old today. I am typically not a very emotional woman, but the past week has been full of tear fighting moments for me. First of all, on Wednesday, I went to have Peanut's new big boy car seat installed. That's right folks, no more infant seat for him. He is just too long for it - imagine that. I thought this errand would be a "no big dealer". Boy was I wrong. After the kind store owner installed the seat in the scorching heat, I buckled Peanut in and sat in the back seat just staring at how big he looked. I fought the tears all the way to my mom's group.

The next emotional episode came the next evening when my parents came down for a visit. Hubby and I needed to test drive a car and let's face it, it's much easier without the little one. Mom and dad kept Peanut. After the test drive, Hubby and I went to dinner - just the two of us. We go out to eat fairly often, but usually it is a party of three or more. A baby started crying two tables over and then so did I. As a breastfeeding mom with a son that will not take a bottle, my outings without the little sidekick are few and I would not have it any other way.

Which brings me to today. My baby is half of a year old. Where did my little newborn go? He is so big and so smart and so funny. I just love the personality that is coming out in him. He is so sweet and eager with the smiles. He LOVES toys - especially his piano. I am entertained with numerous concerts throughout the day. He sits up, stands up, eats lots of fruits and veggies (and LOVES them), drinks from a regular cup, says "ma-ma" when he wants me to pay attention to him, and the latest - he can waive bye-bye. Life is good. My life is awesome. I kiss the two most wonderful men goodnight every night.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Olympics Are Coming

I am so excited about tomorrow - 08.08.08. No, I am not into that whole Chinese luck thing. I am excited about the Summer Olympics. I LOVE the Olympics - especially the opening ceremonies. I just can't wait. For those of you who don't know, I just looked it up and it starts at 7:30pm on NBC.

I am also excited because this is J. Hogan's first Olympics. Yes, I know he is only 5 months old, but you never know what kind of influence or inspiration he may find tomorrow night. He might just be the next Michael Phelps. He was doing some amazing kicks in the bath tub tonight and finds it totally funny when he splashes water in his eyes. I have no expectations though. I just want him to be happy, healthy and kind.