Sunday, August 21, 2016


Does anyone remember the commercial referenced in this post title?  I thought it was so funny.  Anyway, it's true--we had a baby!  It's a boy!  His name's Daniel and here he is:

10 days old. 

He was born March 8 around 5 a.m.,  9 lbs. 4 oz.

He is so very loved.  

One of the best parts of adding children to our family is seeing the love between siblings.

 I was a little worried about James adjusting to a new baby considering his *ahem* "strong" personality, but have been blown away by his response to Danny.  He loves him fiercely, and is so gentle and sweet with him.

 While Owen has been struggling a little to figure out how to play nicely with James (again with the strong personality), he is so good with Daniel, and is an actual help much of the time.  Whenever Daniel is crying and I can't attend to his needs immediately, I can always count on Owen to be willing to talk and play with him, and that almost always calms Danny down.  It's beautiful.

Owen was holding Daniel a few weeks ago, and insisted I needed to take a video.  I'm glad he does that, because I'm not sure we would have many pictures or videos otherwise.

Our house feels like a crazy house most of the time nowadays, but I'm grateful for my sweet boys.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

I'm sensing a theme here... or Owen's 5th birthday interview

I tried to start a tradition last year of having a birthday interview, and miraculously remembered on the night of Owen's birthday this year. Here's his last year interview if you'd like to compare answers. :)

Owen's 5th birthday interview
1.  What is your favorite color?  Blue
2.  What is your favorite food?  Mac'n'cheese
3.  What is your favorite game?  Chutes and ladders
4.  What is your favorite book?  Uh, I think it's The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, A Great Jedi Knight. As found here.
5.  What is your favorite toy?  All of the light sabers we have.  Or if we had a Darth Maul light saber, it would be my favorite.
6.  What is your favorite treat?  I can't answer that question.  (Me: What about strawberry icecream?) Oh, a strawberry milkshake.
7.  What is your favorite song?  Uh, I have to sing it for you or I can't explain it...*starts singing The Imperial March*
8.  What is your favorite thing to learn about?  Getting money for Darth Maul's light saber.
9.  What is your favorite animal?  I think it's an orangutan
10.  What is your favorite TV show?  Star Wars shows, especially ones with Anakin Skywalker.
11.  What is your favorite thing to wear?  My Darth Vader t-shirt (Thanks Annie!)
12.  What is your favorite Holiday?  My birthday is my favorite holiday.  Why? Because I get presents.  Oh, and Christmas...the ones where you get presents.  Oh, and Easter.
13.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  A drummer boy in the war or a fighter in the war.
14.  If someone was being mean to your brother, what would you do?  Go and attack them.  Or maybe pull them away from James and close where he was, and block the door so someone being mean to him couldn't get in.
15.  Who is your best friend?  There are 2 people.  Jackson (Rife) is one and Andrew Giles is the other.
16.  What is something you want to learn to do this year?  Light saber fight.
17.  What is something that you are really good at?  I think I'm really good at Star Wars.
18.  If you had a million dollars, what would you buy?  A Darth Maul saber.
19.  If you were an animal, what would you be?  I think I would be Jabba's pet if I were an animal.
20.  What do you want someone to invent? A real light saber..
21.  If you could have a magic power, what would it be? To fly with wings.
22.  How many kids do you want to have when you grow up?  65
23.  What kind of house would you like to live in?  A light saber house, painted light sabers all over it and brown.
24.  Who is the prettiest girl in the whole world?  You.
25.  Where do you want to go on your mission?  To Hoth.  (Me: Owen that is not a real place!!  What real place?)  The African Savannah
26.  What's your favorite scripture story?  Samuel the Lamanite.

Also for his birthday I asked him what kind of cake he would like.  First he said a strawberry cake like last year.  (I made the Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake Cake.  It's delicious.)  A few days later he stipulated that he would also like it to be Star Wars (surprise!) with Luke and Darth Vader light saber battling, and red and black.  Ummmm.......what?

I was pretty stumped.  I didn't consider the fact that he might want a themed cake...I usually just like to eat yummy regular cake on a birthday.  Also, black frosting and red frosting are gross.  That's what I told Owen eventually, "Sorry, I can't do that because black frosting and red frosting taste really yucky."  (Whew, bullet dodged!)  Then Owen counters with, "Okay Mom, I'll give you your options.  You can make a Star Wars cake or a tortuga cake. Okay?"  (The tortuga is a giant flying turtle ship from the show Wild Kratts (teaches all about animals and their, "creature powers").  Here's a picture

I decided that was doable.  So I made my first attempts at a themed cake.  I was pretty proud of the results.  I made a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting instead of the strawberry cake.  Owen didn't seem to mind.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

We're back!

Hello!  The post title says we're back, we'll see how long it lasts. A few weeks ago Casey asked why I've stopped taking pictures.  I had to pause a moment and think.  I'm not sure I realized I had stopped (mostly) before he mentioned it.  I didn't have a great answer when he asked, and I still don't, but I'm going to try to document our life a little better, if for no one but myself, because I do believe it is important to have some sort of a record of our family, and I'm better at this than a journal.  So, I'm going to jump right in:

May 2015
Casey graduated medical school.  It was fantastic, and I am so proud of him for his hard work.  Now people call him Dr. Pickett (which is still kind of weird to me).

June 2015

We moved to Pennsylvania at the end of June last year.  We decided to rent a house, but the current (at the time) tenants' lease didn't technically end until the end of August.  I say technically because they told the landlord they were looking for somewhere new to live, and would be out as soon as possible, but worst case scenario we were looking at being homeless for two and a half months during the start of Casey's residency.  Thankfully, Casey grew up in nearby Elizabethtown, and still has friends in the area, so we moved in with the Shaffers for an indefinite period of time.  We will forever be grateful to the Shaffers (Hi Lyn and Byron!) for their kindness.

July 2015
We were able to move into the house the first few days of July (even better than we hoped for!).  I experienced a number of difficulties starting this month.

  1. Previous tenants owned a cat that did not consistently use the litter box.  
  2. We discovered I was pregnant with baby #3, and morning sickness set in shortly thereafter. 
  3. The combination of 1 and 2.   
  4. I took on a number of house projects that required much more work than I anticipated (Casey tried to warn me) shortly before said-morning sickness set in.  I started having a really hard time, emotionally, and therefore 
  5. Felt guilty for not being thrilled and grateful and happy for all the good things that were happening (Hello!  House to live in, job with a real income, baby coming, etc.).  
All of this combined with being in a new place without close friends and family around made for a rather trying period of time.  I experienced some emotional struggles that I had not experienced during either of my other pregnancies.  This article helped me to recognize that I was not the only one to experience this, and that I wasn't crazy (I guess she didn't even write it until November, but I was still having a really hard time at that point.  I'll include it at the start of my hard time).  I did not take a single picture on my camera in the month of July.

August-September 2015
Worked on settling in.  I managed to capture some happy moments.
It was really hot.  James liked to lounge on the slide.

It's been really fun to see Owen grow in his capacity as the big brother.  He's good at making James laugh, and James is pretty much his copycat in everything (good and bad).  It provides many opportunities to discuss the example that Owen is setting. 

October 2015
At Owen's request we dressed up as Star Wars characters for Halloween.  I only agreed because we already had a Yoda costume for James.  I suppose this was the start of the "Star Wars fever" that currently has a firm grip in our home.  (I'm talking light sabers of all colors, pretend playing Star Wars EVERY day, Star Wars books from the library, coloring Star Wars pictures, building Star Wars lego creations, talking about Star Wars, and endless singing of various Star Wars songs).
I made my dress, Casey made his blaster, and I'm going to be pretty sad the day that any of our children don't want to do a family costume.

November-December 2015
Thanksgiving in Utah with Casey's family.  Christmas in Virginia with mine.
Owen asked me to take a picture of him in our magnolia tree.  You'd never know it was the middle of November in this picture.

Which pretty much brings us to the present.  
James really likes having his picture taken, and any time I have the camera out he requests a picture.  Hence this one and the next few, taken just days ago.

Owen wanted to join.  We were practicing real smiles.  This was the best I got.

Brothers.  I spy Darth Vader.

I feel like now I'm working on finishing as many projects as possible while waiting for this little boy to come.  I'll try to do some future posts of our home projects and before and afters, although I didn't get a lot of great before pictures.  Mostly they'll be for Allison (Hi Allison!), who expressed an interest in seeing them before we left Columbus, and also for Amber (Hi Amber!) who helped with some of the hardest parts and never saw the end results.  Also for anyone who is interested. :)

Lastly, our baby still doesn't have a name...not even a short list of names, so if you want to contribute a little boy name idea, I wouldn't mind a bit. ;)  Happy Sunday!    


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Just life.

Just thought I'd share some recent pictures. :)

It has been a lot of fun, lately, learning more about Owen and seeing his personality develop and shine.  He can be so silly sometimes, but other times is very serious, and focused.  I think this photo, that I took from our back door without letting him know, really captures that serious side.

Just playing.

Coming home from the park.  He was really sad about something, and I could see his face in the rear view mirror, and really wanted to capture it.

Owen's been really into building things lately.  Legos, blocks, couch cushions.  One frustration he faces is that James does not understand the work that goes into these structures, and likes to knock them over.  Owen built this one during James' nap, and then asked me to take a picture of him with it, "in case James wakes up and knocks it over".

Speaking of James, he is turning out to be quite a character.  He's hilarious and adorable and sweet and frustrating.  He loves to bring you the remote and "eh" at you and point to indicate that you should turn something on, even though he only watches for about .2 seconds (which is great).

He's so busy.

And I love his face.
 Also, I don't think I ever wrote on here that Casey matched in a pediatric residency at Penn State Hershey, so we'll be moving out there in about a month (if we find somewhere to live...). So that's bittersweet.  We're really going to miss Columbus, but are excited for this new chapter in life.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Hunt

Here are the pictures of Owen on his Easter basket hunt.  Yesterday, I posted the clues that he found at each location along the way.  Happy Easter!!

We pause for pictures of James engaging in his current favorite activity...and I love it.

 We now resume our scheduled programming (the basket hunt):


Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Traditions

Here are the clues for Owen's Easter basket hunt this year.  I can't believe that my mom would write these for all six of us.  Just one is hard enough for me.  I'll add some basket-hunting pictures tomorrow.

Good morning Owen! Guess who it is?
It’s your favorite friend in the basket biz!
That’s just a joke that’s not very funny.
It is just me, the Easter Bunny.
I brought you a basket of gifts this year,
I thought it would bring you lots of cheer.
Now I just have to think where I put it…
It couldn’t be on the potty, could it?

No, no, no I didn’t leave it here,
If somebody flushed, it might disappear
And what if you woke and needed to go,
With a basket in your way, you never know…
So you see it couldn’t go here,
Check in the place mommy sits to steer.

 Oh no, this place would never do,
What if someone drove off without a clue.
Then you’d never find the basket I left
And someone would be guilty of theft!
So it must be somewhere back inside
Maybe where Halloween treats hide.

This would have been a good spot I guess
But too many treats in one place is a mess.
Oh yes, I brought you lots of treats,
But they’re for the whole family to eat.
But first I suppose you need to find,
Where I have left that basket behind.
I know somewhere I haven’t tried!
The seat of the truck that James likes to ride!

Darn! I thought this would be the place,
But sadly, there just wasn’t space.
There is a basket though, I swear.
And I am a very honest hare.
I guess you’ll have to keep on looking,
Perhaps it’s where you do the cooking.

Congratulations Owen dear!
You’ve found your basket for the year!
Your Nana and Papa helped me a lot.
Call and say thanks for the things that you got.
Some of these things are just for your brother,
Please share with him, your father, and mother.
I am gone now, but have no fear,
Because I’ll be back again next year.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Owen is 4!

He'll tell anyone he meets, "Hi, my name is Owen, I'm four!" Then he'll hold up four fingers.  I'm not sure where he got his excellent social skills.  This is a bit late...story of my life.  

Owen's 4th Birthday Interview*
1.  What is your favorite color?  Blue
2.  What is your favorite food?  Pizza
3.  What is your favorite game?  Umm...chess
4.  What is your favorite book?  Um, uh, it's uh, the bug one.  Yeah, Feely Bugs.
5.  What is your favorite toy?  My mike pez dispenser.
6.  What is your favorite treat?  The pez.
7.  What is your favorite song?  The one that starts, "A long time ago in a beautiful place..."
8.  What is your favorite thing to learn about?  Letters.
9.  What is your favorite animal?  It's a, um, a black jaguar.
10.  What is your favorite TV show?  It's, um uh, Monster Ank.
11.  What is your favorite thing to wear?  This spiderman shirt (he had just received it that day...)
12.  What is your favorite Holiday?  Christmas.  Why?  Halloween  Why?  Valentine's Day Why?  Knock it off!
13.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  A daddy.
14.  If someone was being mean to your brother, what would you do?  I would kick them out of our house!
15.  Who is your best friend?  Shane and Makenzie
16.  What is something you want to learn to do this year?  Turn on lights.
17.  What is something that you are really good at?  Good at running so fast!
18.  If you had a million dollars, what would you buy?  A caramel square.
19.  If you were an animal, what would you be?  I would be a cheetah...oh never mind, I would be a caracal.
20.  What do you want someone to invent? An animal.
21.  If you could have a magic power, what would it be? Spiderman's power
22.  How many kids do you want to have when you grow up?  Um...7.
23.  What kind of house would you like to live in?  This house.
24.  Who is the prettiest girl in the whole world?  You are.
25.  Where do you want to go on your mission?  To Ohio.
26.  What's your favorite scripture story?  David and Goliath.
*Disclaimer:  These are direct quotes, and not necessarily reflective of the real answers.

We sure do love Owen.  He's growing up to be such a fun, witty, funny boy.

Questions taken from this blog.