Archive | September, 2014

Fun Friday in Fall at the Farm

26 Sep

This week has been so perfect weather-wise that I knew I wanted to visit the Atlanta History Center soon. Going during the summer was great, but the farm got hot and has a few mosquitoes that also reside there.

We started off our morning with a delicious breakfast.

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That’s actually a fork in his orange juice.

Then we met my good friend Katina and her daughter A at the farm.

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We walked around talking about their vegetable gardens (where Walt left footprints in their perfect, raised beds), farm co-ops in the suburbs, and homeschooling. There was a homeschooling group there also that we chatted with a bit, and it only furthered my interest in doing that after Walt finishes preschool.

Then we learned a bit about blacksmithing. I cannot say enough how much I love the demonstrations and the 1864 character actors with their super Southern accents.

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Walter watched when he wasn’t playing in the dirt.

Tomorrow is their Fall Folklife Festival, and I can’t wait to fight the crowds to enjoy all the other things they’ll have to offer, like storytelling and food preserving for the winter and curing meats. The best part is, they’re actually doing this stuff, not just telling you about it. I bet the actresses in the kitchen with the open fire are enjoying the fall weather as much as I am. And I’m not even wearing vintage antebellum dresses.

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Maybe the best picture of our boy yet.

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Georgia Tech mini-reunion

25 Sep

Last weekend was one of those really fun weekends that starts Thursday night. We left our house at 9pm (9 o’clock!) to go out to meet up with some of my college friends. I couldn’t believe we were leaving the house when I usually am ready to get into my pajamas and watch some TV (and thanks to my mother, the trooper, who watched Walt for us). But my good Georgia Tech friend Bo, who lives in Switzerland, was in town for just a heartbeat, so we had to join him, his wife, and our other friends. Another one of whom I hadn’t seen since before our wedding even though he and his wife moved back to Atlanta over six months ago. Time flies when you’re a busy bee.

We met up at Holeman and Finch, not one of my favorite places. I’d rather go to Turner Field to grab one of their delicious burgers. But the actual restaurant is fairly pretentious and has minimal seating. However our waitress looked just like Laura Prepon, so that was awesome. Dave and I enjoyed catching up, then headed home around midnight. The others don’t have kids yet, so they stayed out til 2am. Certainly reminded me of good ol’ college times!

Friday morning Walt and I met up with Bo, who hadn’t met my sweet toddler yet. We were going to walk around Piedmont Park until we realized that it would be fully occupied by Music Midtown, so we opted for a coffee at Starbucks.

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Then we met Jordan at Taqueria del Sol for lunch. Yum. I don’t usually get to go there anymore because of the long lines, but it is always such a treat. We ordered a feast and chatted about what we were like ten years ago. I’m glad Walter wasn’t paying too much attention to us.

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Jordan is getting married in November, and we’ll all be able to get together again to celebrate!

Saturday night we were able to babysit Walt’s cousin Ward for a few hours. He just turned one and is old enough to really play with Walter now. It’s more fun than a movie to watch them together. I had visions of them growing up as best friends.

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Mayhem.

Many “crafternoons”

21 Sep

This week I have been very creative… or at least productive. Having an upcoming baby shower (and a person with a new baby to whom you want to give a present) will do that to you. I also completed a much overdue project in the nursery: curtains for the window to replace partially broken shades.

I love our cute, Walter-sized duffel bag very much and thought it would be a great present to buy and fill with little gifts for friends. That, however, got expensive, so I decided to make my own using this tutorial — thank you crafters who share free patterns/tutorials! It is smaller than I expected (because apparently I don’t equate measurements with real life), but it’s super easy and is adorable.

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The girlie version.

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For a boy!

Already quilted fabric is very expensive. So is pre-made webbing. I’ll have to do some bulk shopping in the future if I want to make these on a regular basis, cause with the zipper (which was a first for me and surprisingly easy to do) it was almost as expensive as buying a factory made one from China/Amazon.

I’m almost done with the curtains. One is a little too lopsided for my Type A personality, and I need to sew on the ribbon to make it easy to undo them and tie them up. The whole point of replacing the broken shutters was it drove me crazy to open them to look out at the pretty, tree-filled view. I made them blackout curtains, which we’ve never used before with Walter, because, well, why not?

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Cutsie koala fabric.

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Ta-da! Looks so cozy in his play corner now!

There are several more projects ready to go (cut out and everything!), but for now I’m happy to have gotten some things done that have been on the back burner. Go, mama, go!

Walt’s 2nd Birthday

17 Sep

It’s already been a month since Walter turned two, and I can’t believe it. At the rate time is passing I’m going to be 80 before I know it (if I’m lucky). We didn’t do too much to celebrate, but we did have a great time.

In the morning, Nini met us at Catch Air to play. Walt really enjoyed it a lot more than he did the first couple times we went.

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The big slide has so many almost vertical stairs it makes me nervous. Walt, however, loved it!

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He wanted to go down all by himself!

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The ball pit was his next favorite after I dragged him away from the slide.

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Pure joy.

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Just one big giant padded playhouse of fun.

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Then we met Daddy for lunch and went home to nap. We had his birthday dinner with Grandpa and Nini at Jalisco Mexican Restaurant, a family favorite. Walt, like his mama, loves the cheese dip of course. Nini also brought a Publix cupcake, which Walt devoured, and Jalisco’s provided the hat, which Walter hated.

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He’s two. He knows what he likes!

It was calm, there was no themed party, but my boy was happy.

Hello there, Dugout Johnston

11 Sep

It is really fantastic when a new thing meshes so simply into your life, as if it was always there. That’s when you know you’ve found someone or something great. Recently, for us, it was a little dog named Duggy.

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When I first met David, literally, on the very first night after that very first round of darts, he told me how he was going to get a dog that week. He asked me to help him pick out a dog. A good idea at 4am on a Thursday night. An overwhelming idea in clear daylight. I declined when he called, but we played another round of darts on Monday and the rest is history. He did get a dog that weekend, but had to return said dog because whenever he left the house the dog howled, and that didn’t work with Dave’s recording artist roommate.

David spent the next six years talking about the previous doggy loves of his life, especially Itchy in Iraq and Stuffy when he was growing up. So when recently a friend of an old friend was looking for someone to take a foster dog, I thought, Why not try the dog out for a week? We wouldn’t be committed, but if we fell in love we could keep her. Turns out the dog hated cats and bit people out of frustration, which isn’t great with a toddler running around. I was ready to avoid any more dogs, but I had gotten my husband re-excited about dog ownership. So we went looking for a dog even though we thought we were crazy for adding on more responsibility and expense than we already had.

At the Humane Society, we walk up to Duggy’s cage (who was shelter-named Beau and one of few non-pitbull mixes there) and David says “Ohhh no” as if he’s found the awesomest dog ever. We played with him in the meet-and-greet room, then went home to sleep on it. I absolutely knew we would be going back the next day to get him when I looked up his photo online and said, “What do you think he’s mixed with?” and David replied, “Beagle and cuddliness.”

So after church we went to get him and despite my sense of impending doom, Duggy (we had already decided we wanted to name him Dug the dog) slept on the floorboards on the ride home. Hm, I thought, he is already exceeding expectations!

 And thus was born the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Duggy doesn’t shed much at all (praise the Lord), was already housebroken (thank you God!), listens well, learns quickly, likes to sleep, doesn’t wake us up in the morning, and is sweet and cuddly. He is great with other people and other dogs, except on the leash. He has what is called “leash aggression” only towards dogs, which we need to work on because it is embarrassing and frustrating, especially since he didn’t seem to have it when we first got him.

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Walt loves his furry friends.

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Who’s taking whom on a walk here?

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Cuddle bug!

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Nap time!

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I’m glad Walt gets to grow up with such a gentle teacher.

What we must love

5 Sep

“We must love the things we’ve been given,”  my grandmother said to me on her 91st birthday.

It really struck me when my grandma told me that last week. We were talking about my son and our new dog and how awesome they both are.

I immediately got to thinking, while I may have some control over the genes I have and pick in my mate, plus the way I raise my child, isn’t it really just luck that Walt’s so incredible? Hasn’t he been given to me by the grace of God?

Sure, we picked Duggy out at the shelter, but wasn’t he there waiting for us on the day we decided to go looking for a dog?

And then I started thinking about David, an incredible man, husband, and father. He picked me as much as I picked him, and wasn’t that a gift given to us by the universe? Why would I think I really had anything to do with it — except to be grateful and show my appreciation so these gifts stick around and continue to be good?

There is both greatness and folly in the American dream. We are told that we can get whatever we want as long as we work hard enough (or don’t get caught stealing). Wanting is a sign of good health, but when is it enough? When do we have enough to be satisfied, to deem that our life is a good, happy one? We can so easily get stuck going round and round the consumerism/technology/ambition carousel, where do we find the peace?

I liked the simplicity of what my grandmother said. I liked that she said “what we’re given,” not “what we have.” Because honestly, is anything ours in this world, including our own lives, when at any minute it all could change?

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Lots of sweet boys in this house.

Things I swore I’d do before I became a parent

4 Sep

It’s fun to look back and see if I actually accomplished my goals.

1. Never use a pacifier

— Kinda! We never relied on pacifiers. But we started using them in the car when Walt was an infant because he screamed bloody murder every second I was driving. Nothing helped… except a pacifier. We didn’t need it after he moved out of his infant car seat at six months.

2. Breastfeed exclusively

— Yes! This one was very difficult. There were times I hated breastfeeding, especially at the beginning and intermittently til Walt was 10 months old. Then it clicked. Maybe because I stopped pumping (a great device if you are out of the house but it stressed me out so much) or because at 10 months they’re starting to eat, so you don’t have to rely 100% on boob. Either way, we’re still nursing now at 2 years+

3. Not have the whole house be one giant playroom

— Nope! There is at least one toy (more like mountains of toys) in every room of the house. Except maybe the bathrooms. Oh, sweet sanctuaries.

4. Immediately put the baby on a sleep/feed schedule so he’ll sleep through the night

–Nope! Ha, ha, am I right?

5. Use cloth diapers

— Kinda! Oh boy did I try. Try and try and try. About six months ago we gave up cause Walt always seemed to have a diaper rash (and I mean always). Now we don’t get frequent rashes, and when he randomly gets them we can use the type of cream that gets rid of them (we had all sorts of natural, cloth friendly creams that did nothing). Oh well. Maybe it’ll work on future babies. I still believe in cloth diapering, and we still use cloth wipes.

6. Natural childbirth

— Yes! 100% drug free, quick birth. I was lucky.

7. Homeschool

— Don’t know yet! I’ve always said I’d put Walt in preschool for early socialization, which we started this month going two days a week and he loves it. I plan on starting around 4 or 5. A lot of people I know homeschool their children, so it doesn’t seem quite as contrary as it once did.