Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hooray for two years of our Manimal!!! We love him so.

We kicked off his birthday the day before at Mimi & Grumpa's house. We'd had a full week of running around from Alabama to Tennessee to Massachusetts to South Carolina, and were so happy to be back together on the Manimal's birthday eve to celebrate with cupcakes and Kyle's family. The Manimal loves: cake, candles, and party hats, so he was thrilled.



We drove home that night and spent his birthday week at home opening presents from various friends and family as they arrived.



The child now also really loves presents.

Saturday I had booked a picnic pavilion for a party at the creek, but it rained all day on Friday, so we canceled it. The water would have been way too high to enjoy. We were hoping for something more like this:



As I texted cancellation messages to all of our friends on Friday afternoon, one responded and suggested meeting at Donut Den instead. I didn't really want to go to Donut Den on Saturday morning (super busy time!) so Kyle went and got 2 dozen donuts and several friends stopped by throughout the day to wish the birthday boy a happy day. It was actually the perfect celebration for us.



On Sunday--a full week after his actual birthday--we had lunch with the Rosses and the Wagners and the birthday boy FINALLY got an actual birthday cake.



Hooray for our precious little man. You are a party that goes on and on!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

While the girls are away, the boys will do their best to... nap sufficiently, and in the absence of that, drive far away so the Manimal gives up and sleeps and we arrive at a waterfall.

So yea, the girls left us, as you've already learned, a couple weeks back. They left in the morning on a Friday, and Manimal and I went to the zoo right away:

We went sans stroller and there was lots of shoulder riding. It was mega-hot and this is the only photo that could be taken before I looked like a waterfall.
Unfortunately, after all that fun, Manimal fell asleep on the ride home. Well, that's all fine and good, but when we arrived at home, he perked up, "Mommy!?" and wanted to say hi. But Mommy was on a plane. So instead, we fed the manimal more (this is a common technique in our household). And then we tried napping in a bed. Mommy was mentioned once or twice more. Sleeping did not happen. After trying unsuccessfully for a couple of hours, I finally tossed him in the car and I decided to drive. I didn't have a plan going into it, just, let's go somewhere, maybe you'll sleep. But after thinking for a few, I decided we should drive to a waterfall. Alli'd sent me a list of waterfalls you could drive to from Nashville on a couple of occasions, so I sorted through a list, and chose what I thought was closest- at Rock Island State Park. My information said 1 hr 20 mins. Two hours later, I arrived, and at this point it was after 5 p.m. We hit the first gas station we could find, where I woke up Manimal (he went to sleep about 5 mins into the drive) and loaded up on healthful dinner options. You know, chex mix, toastchees, beef jerky, that sort of thing. And finally we headed to the falls. As I pulled up at 5:50 I saw the sign indicating the park closed at 6. Ugh. I got out though, and saw this view:
kind of a ways to walk to the falls, didn't look like we were going to make that by 6. Talked to a park ranger though, who informed me there was a better view from the other side of the river, and that that part was open until dark. So we headed over there, and here is that view:
Manimal liked it too:
"daddy, the waterfall!"
We went for a little walk down a trail, but 1) there were signs everywhere indicating how this was downstream from a dam, water releases happened on schedule and sometimes could happen off schedule, please have your exit route in mind, 2) we seemed to be the only people there, which just felt a little eerie on top of the signage, and 3) the sky turned dark and the thunder began. As I recall, my weather apps didn't indicate impending rain, but I made a decision to head back to the car, and I sprinted the last 30 steps or so as the bottom began to fall out. 
I didn't even buckle Manimal in his seat so I wouldn't have to stand there getting soaked. So here he is sitting up in his seat, holding a Nowie, watching the rain:
It poured on us for at least an hour of the drive back home.
Anyway, after that initial napping hiccup, Manimal treated me pretty well for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday we spent a good portion of our time cleaning because our house really needed it. I'd had many ideas of what I might do, but those were all before I drove a total of 4 hrs Friday to and from the waterfall. So after a good bit of cleaning while Manimal mostly entertained himself, when it was time we get out of the house and do *something*, we headed to Home Depot and Walmart. Fun, right? Sadly, no pictures. But we bought some things so we could complete a few little projects at the house, so it'd be happy for the ladies when they returned. Then nap. I mowed the yard while he slept, but didn't finish it 100%, manimal just woke up very unhappy. But I did take him outside to show him how I was almost done mowing, explained to him what the lawnmower is when he kept asking about it, and told him he needed to go watch me finish the yard from inside. As we walked back, "bye bye, haircut grass", waving at the mower.
It was also during this day that Manimal decided to adopt the phrasing "not yet". "Manimal, did you poop?" "Umm, not yet". "Manimal, do you want to take a nap?" "umm, not yet".

Saturday night we went to cheesecake factory for dinner. I figured if the girls were having a fancy weekend in NYC, we could eat cheesecake. Or mac and cheese anyway:
He had taken a bath earlier in the day. A good portion of that mac and cheese ended up in his hair. But Manimal did pretty great, we got a table outside where we could watch people walking by, they could all comment as they passed on how adorable he is, he could get down and run a bit every now and then. 
He slept well for me again that night, even sleeping until 7:45 Sunday. We went to church on our own, came home, got some lunch, napped, and then the girls came back home and we picked them up from the airport. And all were happy ever after.

Next time I should probably take more pictures.
Here, here is a picture of brother and sister so happy to be together again the next day as we waited to ride the horsey at Kroger:



Monday, July 25, 2016