Monday, December 29, 2008

The scissor incident

We have a junk drawer in the kitchen. I'm not embarrassed by it. Most people seem to have one somewhere in their house. By most standards, it is very organized. I even have a divided tray with sections labeled for certain items. I typically know exactly where to find buttons, safety pins, batteries, post-its, matches, tape, pencils, scissors, and any number of other random necessities.
Avery also knows where to find things. Trouble is, she's not quite tall enough to see what she's grabbing for. She found my scissors. We've caught her several times cutting paper into little strips and have sternly told her that scissors are only for mommies and daddies to use and that she may only touch them if we have told her it's okay.
(Side note: Don't panic. She did not cut her hair. We're very lucky. Stop freaking out.)
Lately, Avery has been waking earlier than we care to, so we send her downstairs to play with her dollhouse or watch a cartoon while we get a few extra winks in. Yesterday, Chad got up and headed downstairs to check on her and found her in the kitchen with the scissors. She had raided the refrigerator and found string cheese snacks. But she couldn't get them to tear apart on the perforations, so she employed the use of scissors to cut them apart. The best part? When Chad asked her what she was doing, she said, "I'm cutting the cheese." Priceless.
Reminds me of one of the funniest commercials I've seen. I don't support beer sales, but the folks in the advertising department at Budweiser are comedic geniuses. Enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Run-in with Santa

Friday night, our little family ventured out to Wal-mart to make an exchange and gather some Christmas items. While circling the parking lot looking for a space, Avery spotted the Salvation Army bell-ringer dressed in a familiar red. "Santa!!!!" she screams. We told her that it might just be someone wearing a Santa hat and she calmed down. We parked and unloaded. As we approached the door, she saw that the bell-ringer had a beard. He let out a deep "Ho, ho, ho!" and she KNEW it was the man himself. He offered a bell for Avery to ring and I don't think she even noticed that he was missing a couple of teeth. Lovely.

We headed inside and did our shopping. After several minutes, Avery stated quite loudly that she needed to go potty. I asked if she could hold it, but she screamed that "my pee pee's coming out!" (That's her new way of telling us that she really needs to go.) Chad offered to take her so I could finish shopping. In a bit, they returned and Chad was grinning from ear to ear. He said, "Avery, tell mommy who we saw in the bathroom." She said, "Santa." Great. Chad again said, "What was he doing?" Avery smiled, "Going potty!" Evidently, when they entered the restroom, Santa had been standing at the urinal. Guess she needs to learn that Santa goes potty too!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Family Christmas Breakfast

I'm just now getting around to posting pictures of the Otter Creek Family Christmas Breakfast. We had a great time. This year's festivities were so well organized. I was much more comfortable this year, too, because I wasn't large and pregnant. Hooray!

Avery and her friend Fenley were showing off their Christmas dresses for us.

Stuart loves Miss Betty!

Avery wrote a letter to Santa Claus. She wants a dollhouse, a bus, a train, a bicycle, and a guitar.

Avery mailed her letter in the North Pole Mailbox.

After two visits to see mall Santas, she was finally comfortable with Mr. Claus and jumped right into his lap for a photo.

Stuart was also quite comfortable in Santa's lap.

Stuart liked the balloons -- and there were PLENTY.
We managed to get a pretty good photo of our life group (sans Kim and Kevin). Amy actually Photoshopped their faces onto Santa and Mrs. Claus and added them to her picture.
Our little family photo may make the Christmas card this year!

Our last stop was the craft room where we made Christmas trail mix and a Christmas tree ornament.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Still giving thanks

Our little family spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Huntsville this year. We trade out Thanksgiving and New Year's each year in either Huntsville or Hickory and then we spend Christmas at home in Nashville.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at Chad's aunt Elaine's house. She always has a beautiful, festive table.

Stuart got to enjoy his first Thanksgiving meal, too. Elaine had a special bib ready for this special meal.
He enjoyed bouncing in Mom's lap (Chad's grandmother). She always gets a kick out of the kiddos.

Avery and her cousin Caroline had a ball fooling around together.
Papa John was helping Stuart stand up. Doesn't he look so big?

Avery made herself comfortable in Elaine's massage chair. It took no time at all for her to figure out which button did what. She'd disappear for a while and we'd find her in the den by herself, getting good back rub.

Weather was amazing on Thanksgiving day, so we spent quite a bit of time outside on the back porch before the sun went down over Monte Sano Mountain.
We managed to get a family Thanksgiving photo on Elaine's sofa. Stuart stopped screaming for a brief moment so Jim could snap a shot.
Our holiday was very musical. Avery enjoyed helping Jim play the guitar. He also played a little trombone for us.
Stuart was a whiz on the maracas!
Bebe (Chad's mom) also pulled out the guitar so the kids could make music.

Our whole family was full of spirit for the big Iron Bowl game. Roll Tide Roll!

Chad's sister Julie, her husband Shawn, and their daughter Caroline came over to Chad's parents' house for the game.
Avery and Stuart have been extra sweet to each other lately, so it's pretty easy to catch them loving on one another.

Elaine and Jim joined us for the game, too, so Avery wallowed all over Jim as usual.

Stuart loves hats these days and got pretty attached to this one that goes with Bebe's rocking horse.

Papa John took Chad and Avery for a ride in the T-model. Avery begs for a ride every time we come for a visit.
Caroline and Avery camped out at this little table and had tea parties all weekend.

The kids and I are in North Carolina this week, so I'll have many more photos when we get back to Nashville. Till then...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Troup Update

I've been scolded by my mother about not posting frequently enough. I'm trying to keep up with the service blog as often as I eat out, but our family blog has fallen by the wayside.

I'm cursing under my breath today because I finally blew out a knee in my favorite old jeans. I've had them since college. They're a little tighter than I should wear them, but they're worn and comfy. I'm mourning. I'll keep them around for wearing in the house, but they need to be replaced.

We're cooped up at home for a bit because Avery has pink eye and a double ear infection. Fun! She completely perked up yesterday morning, so we took the whole family to the Predators game last night. The kids were great and our seats were awesome! We were 11 rows off the ice behind the goal. Too bad we blew it in the shootout.

We're spending the day packing for our holiday with the Troups. We'll head straight to Huntsville in the morning after the Thanksgiving worship service at Otter Creek. While I'm really looking forward to some good food, I'm dreading blowing my diet. Nursing is winding down, so I'm getting serious about finally shedding the baby weight.

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. You don't have to worry about buying gifts that people don't really want or transporting too much stuff in the car. You just get to celebrate being a family and counting all your blessings. Oh, okay. Yes, I love the food!

I wish all God's blessings on you and yours this Thanksgiving holiday! I leave you with photos of our activities over the last couple of weeks.
Here's Chad accompanying Avery on the carousel at the mall. We took her to visit Santa, but she wouldn't get her picture made with the poor ol' guy!
Stuart loved watching the animals go around and around.
Stuart loves feeding himself. Most of the food ends up in his lap or on his face, but it sure is fun!
Za and Krishon made an oh-so-brief visit from California, so we stopped in to eat at the Loveless and shop at Hams & Jams market.
I was afraid Krissy would try to sneak Stuart into her luggage.
Avery is quite fond of her new elephant jammies. Makes bedtime MUCH easier.
Papa stopped in for a couple of hours on the way through town to play "Ride a Big Horsey."
Stuart was showing off his clapping skills for Papa.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Other Blog

I started another blog. I have no idea how I'm going to keep up with two, but I'm gonna try! The other blog is It's dedicated to my reviews of restaurant service. What???

I know it sounds completely off the wall, but I've always had a strong passion for good restaurant service. We've all had bad restaurant experiences. It's hard to forget them. My plan here is to critique restaurant service with the ultimate goal of having restaurants improve their service. I've been writing training material for years now--assembling notes from my various experiences along the way. This new blog is going to be my sounding board and my storage unit for all the notes to come.

I'd appreciate if you'd bookmark the site and share it with others. I plan to make it interesting and I promise to share the funny stuff along the way. Thanks for your support!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Halloween is nothing but legalized panhandling. Our neighborhood has no street lights, so it isn't exactly ideal for trick or treating. We headed out tonight at 6, trying to catch the last little bit of daylight. However, most of our neighbors closed their blinds and turned off the porch lights. A few left bowls of candy on their doorsteps--a welcomed opportunity for Avery to hoard extra sugar.

Nevertheless, we ended up with too much candy. And, of course, since the local kids have figured out that our neighborhood is sub-par for trick-or-treating, we didn't get many visitors. Therefore, we have tons of candy left over. I have exercised restraint and avoided it so far. I'm still holding onto a few pregnancy pounds and Halloween candy would be the death of me.

We let Avery stay up a little late to watch Little Monsters, but she seemed to get a little freaked out by Howie Mandel in costume, so we switched over to a little Dora On Demand before bed.

By the way, Stuart was a chicken. He had already outgrown his size 9 months lobster costume, so we let him borrow Avery's costume from 2 years ago. And Avery was a pink dog -- again. She has been begging to wear the costume again ever since she took it off last year.

I leave you with a few sweet pictures from our fun family night.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Up to no good

My little fashionista has a newfound interest in hair curlers. We found these soft ones at Target. They roll like a sponge roller, but they twist closed so they are easy to sleep on. (We haven't convinced her yet that she should sleep in them. Stubborn.)

Another favorite pasttime is dressing herself. This kiddo can be caught in all types of getups. Never a dull moment in our house!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday Night Football

We spent Monday night cheering on the Titans...from LP Field! Normally we'd be planted on the sofa, but Bob and Shannon Barrett invited us to share their tickets. We dressed in our Code Blue apparel but prompty covered it up with layers of sweaters, coats, hats, and gloves. It really wasn't as cold as I expected, but I think the cold spurred on my cold. Yep, I've gotten Avery and Stuart's colds. We've been practicing the art of sharing with Avery, but she hasn't quite figured out that you don't share everything -- namely, germs.

Ideally, I'll rest today and get plenty of fluids and then be back to my old self in no time. We're going to try not to pass this cold in circles.

A special shout out to Becca and Nathan Daniel for inviting Avery to sleep over with Fenley and to Jay and Melanie Brown (and Tori and Abby) for giving Stuart his first sleepover! We couldn't have a life without you all. We owe you a big one for our NFL date night! Thanks!