Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kids are so funny

Ok, I know I owe you some pictures, but that's going to take a while. In the meantime, I'm going to give you a sample conversation with John, so you can see what every day is like for me. I have enjoyed every age with John, but as he grows, I swear each new stage is my favorite. But I promise you, the stories and conversations and imagination HAVE to make this my favorite. Here's how the convo went down...

A: Did you play outside today at school? (Note: it has rained every school day for the past 2 weeks, it seems.)

J: mm-hmm

A: Who did you play with?

J: Trace

A: What did y'all do? (Expecting to hear "swing... slide... play chase")

J: Hunt for food.

A: (thinking this is strange) What food did you hunt for?

J: Aspen and Alyssa

A: (nearly chokes on Kool-aid) Do what?

J: (in a "duh, mom!" sort of tone) We were T-Rexes!

Later, Rob replayed this same conversation, but took it further.

R: So, which food did you eat? Aspen or Alyssa?

J: Alyssa

R: What did you do when you caught her?

J: (grins sheepishly) Hug her.

So the girl-crazy twitterpating has begun. The thing is, Alyssa is the same girl-obsession from last year. At least he doesn't have commitment issues!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Going... going...


We are finally free of a house that has been weighing us down for 20 months now. Praise the Lord! Truly, it was a miracle that we got to closing.

And after giving credit to God, I have to also mention Jeff. See Rob's brother does this type of stuff for a living--never on your run-of-the-mill house, but on big stuff. And it just so happens that his firm has an office in Nashville. Not only has Jeff done a little business in Nashville, but he had actually done business with the title company that insured us. To top it all off, work was a bit slow for Jeff on Wednesday; and being the sort of person who can't just do nothing, he started chatting it up with the people who mattered and handed all the paperwork over to our agent and closing gal.

I find it hard to believe that all these events were just coincidence. So that brings us full circle back to God.

I'm going to stop there, to keep from rambling.

Just one more little tidbit.

Have you ever seen a pregnant woman dance like there's no tomorrow?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is this punishment?

So, we finally got another contract on the house (the third, but who's counting?), and we made it to T-2 days until closing. We thought everything was in the bag--we moved out all the junk last Saturday. And today, we hear that it might not be happening. Why? Not because of the buyer's financing, or because the buyer's house didn't close or appraise. Not because of our inspection, or because our house didn't appraise. Why? Because, almost 4 years ago, we closed this house WITH A LIEN ON IT (from the previous owner). Were we aware of the lien? NO. Did we accept title with a lien? NO. In fact, the HUD came back clear--everything paid.

So, we have no more information than that--just speculation. I'm speculating that either someone made a mistake in the paperwork (and everything is ok), or someone made a mistake in the paperwork (and everything is not ok--which would seriously irritate me), or the previous title company didn't pay off the lien after receiving payment from the previous owner (which also would irritate me).

I suppose I am just venting, and it's helping momentarily, but I know that I am going to be anxious until we hear something. What to do now? Pray. That's all I know to do. Will you pray with me?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's a...

...BOY! Here's our sweet baby boy, who doesn't have a name just yet. He seemed to be sleeping or moving around very little, even though I'd given him a rush of caffeine before the ultrasound! I wonder if he'll be as wild as John?

Here's proof that he's a boy. (Oh no, she di'in't!--Oh yes, I did). This is just the start of all the embarrassment he'll suffer at the hands of his parents. Anyways, I didn't want anyone asking if we were sure. You just judge for yourself; I don't know how anyone could mistake that :) And if you're not good at "reading" ultrasounds, the tech was nice enough to include an arrow for you.

We'll keep you posted on the name. I had to wait until this morning to blog because all afternoon and evening were spent poring over the names in a baby name site. I went through every one, and I made a list for Rob to go back over. There's 35 names, and hopefully Rob will like 2 of them, so we can have a first name and middle name. I'm not promising anything, because he's extremely picky!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update on John's school and my new job

Apparently all went well in the adjustment area. John did have a potty accident, but they think he just got caught up in the kitchen area. That's my cook! Sometimes when the timer goes off, you gotta get everything out of the oven before you can take a potty break :) His teachers weren't too worried about it. He seemed happy to see me--and I was SO happy to see him. To top off the good part of this day, John actually fell asleep without my laying down with him. Tricia (the baby I'm keeping) was fussing, and so I had to tend to her and not lay down with John. When I came back to check on him, he was out. Yay! I'm feeling as pumped as an exhausted preggo can feel ;)

So, now onto the update about my job... My long-time friend Katy had a precious baby girl on May 6. When she went back to work, she asked me to keep her. Meet Patricia Eloise Holley:

This job (if you can call it that), is going to be quite humorous as I grow, because there is no way Tricia could be mine--she's 14 weeks old, and I'm over 17 weeks pregnant. John has really gotten attached to Tricia--he's called her his girlfriend and said "I love you, Tricia!" on many occasions. (Sorry about that Rusty--no need to point a shotgun at my little boy.) Check out the love going on here:

Yeah, it looks a little one-sided in this picture. But I promise, she lights up when John talks to her and plays with her. Here's just a pic of what she does in the gym (which is how I'm blogging to you as we speak).

First Day of School

Summer break is already over, and I thought I was more than ready for John to go back to school--he's been really hyper and wild lately--but, this morning I find myself only now recovering from a complete breakdown. I was fine on the way to school. Fine when I dropped him off at carpool (although this is what the breakdown results from). I was fine when I had to go in to get a carpool sign that I did not receive at orientation. And I was fine when I walked back out to the car. It probably didn't help that Dr. Steve said, "No tears here--that's good!" as I walked out to the parking lot.

And then I fell to pieces. I didn't get to say goodbye--they had instructions when I dropped him off at carpool, and I had some questions about those instructions. I didn't even get to see him walk off, to make sure he was ok. All I remember was John's confused face when they opened the door. Oh how I wish I had gone inside to drop him off! But I thought I was making it easier on both of us. Apparently not (at least on my end).

So, now I am home, and sad. I look at his Bebe (his lovey) and worry that he doesn't have it and might need it. I'm worried because he told me he had a tummy ache this morning, and I attributed it to all the black beans and blueberries he's been eating lately. I gave him gas drops and went on without thinking. Now, I think, oh my goodness, he was nervous! And I didn't kiss him and make him better!

Alright, someone put me out of my misery. Tell me it's just pregnancy hormones, knock me out, and wake me up when you have a feast ready for me to eat :) Oh, and some chocolate, please.

To make me feel better, here is John with his teachers, Mrs. Kerri and Mrs. Linda. This was at orientation Monday night (where I took a pic so that I could do carpool this morning, and make a clean break--which didn't turn out so clean after all).

See how happy he looks? He didn't want to leave. When Rob and I came back to get him after our meeting, he instructed me to leave. "I at school, you s'posed to go home. Come back later." Surely he adjusted quickly this morning and went to his room happy.

Here he is on our front stoop this morning.

He seems a head taller this year, and a lot more grown up. Check out last year's photo:

I'm going to make it--I promise. I just can't believe how time flies!

Friday, July 31, 2009

John is 3!!!

We had John's party last Saturday at the Clubhouse and pool here at the condo. Yes, this is his second pool party in a row, but pool parties are perfect for the heat of July, and I'm being financially wise since the location is free! Besides, last year, the party was in Nashville, so the location was a bit different--that counts for variety, right?

After last year's Monkey party, we moved on to Firetrucks this year. John is obsessed with Firetrucks, emergencies, and sirens, so it just fit :) Plus, since he has firetrucks and firehats and even a family of Schleich Dalmation dogs, it was easy to decorate.

Here is John telling me how old he is. The real way to show "3" is too hard for him, so he uses the "Ok" sign.

Here are some of the party-goers, hanging out pool-side. No, John is not in the pic, because he is probably swimming all around the pool in his swimmies.

Here's the awesome b'day cake. Thanks to my precious sis-in-law, Julie, who stayed up half the night to make this cake (after caring for her 7-month-old twins, no less)!!!

We had to blow out the candles sooner than I was planning, because John kept putting his finger in the cake! Look how excited he was to blow out the candles :)

John was a pro at opening presents this year. My job has been reduced to grabbing the card, to see who it's from before he finishes and moves on to the next one! Oh, and picking up the pile of paper and bows, before everything gets too chaotic. You can also see John's friend, Ella, in the pic. She was very excited about the presents, because she turns 4 in a few weeks. I'm sure John will return the favor and monitor her opening presents! I overheard John explain to her at one point, "Today is my birt-day. Yours is next week." Even though Ella's isn't a week after John's, I thought it was funny that he felt he needed not just one day, but a whole week to celebrate.

Saturday night, after we had all had a much-needed nap, we took John to the drive-in with DeDe and Pop to see G-force. Of course, to get a decent spot, you have to arrive early. So, John likes to while away the hour by getting as dirty as possible. I have to admit, the gravel is a great place to play with cars, esp. those of the hauling and bull-dozing types.

When the movie started, John decided to join Pop and Daddy in the back of the truck with juice and popcorn, sitting in his Little Tot chair (a hand-me-down from Mommy's cousins Scott and Matthew).

Here are some of the toys John got for his birthday. He has thoroughly enjoyed every single one!

And finally, even though John's birthday was Sunday, we waited to take him out to eat at his favorite restaurant on Tuesday, when "the bird" would be there. John loves Red Robin milkshakes, the balloons, the arcades up front, but mostly the Robin himself.

He really enjoyed all the attention when the staff came to sing--even though he didn't want the ice cream after the Shake he had with dinner.

I'd say John had a great birthday! He took a "break" for about one day, and then wanted to know when his next birthday would be :) Boy, does he have a long time to wait!

Monday, July 13, 2009

For me to remember

Sidenote: still working on Tampa pics

This post is mostly because I want to remember how expressive John is and the funny things he says. My brother stopped by this morning before work, because he had left his sunglasses here last night.

John: Where your car, Uncle Mitch?

Mitch: It's broken.

J: (Very dramatic) Oh no! Whatcha gonna do?

M: I gotta get it fixed.

J: Oh no (less dramatic). Gotta get it fixed.

Conversation then continued about Mitch taking John's cereal, and where Mitch was going (to work).

The conversations these days are killing me. I mean, John's been speaking full sentences for a while. But, when did the fully-interactive conversation start? It seems that suddenly, I don't have to explain what someone says to John and I don't have to translate him to everyone else. I'm no longer needed when conversing--it's a little sad, but mostly funny.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Elephant found

Elephant was on the kitchen table when we got home from vacation. (Yes, I had blogged about the missing E near midnight the night before we left for Tampa.) No, it's not the same one, but to John it is. Thanks Mema for purchasing one while we were gone! Daddy Elephant has gone everywhere with us since we've been home--I don't think John will let him out of his sight now.

On another note, I'll post pics from Tampa soon. John had a blast visiting and playing with cousin Emma. But the person he asked for most was his Son-Son. Thanks Chris and Sonya for letting us visit! It was a really nice vacation for almost-free. And you know I love free!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Missing Elephant

Missing Elephant. Approx. 3 in. x 6 in. Missing since 3 p.m. 6/30/09. Last seen tangled in the strings of Goofy's parachute. Note the tusks and happy smile. The lost one is scratched and missing a good bit of paint. Let's just say he has been well-loved. Call if found. (You may also call if a Target near you has one in stock. I can always throw it around to scrape off the appropriate amount of paint.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

What we've been up to

My mom has been taking vacation days here and there, so she doesn't lose them at the end of the year, so we've been doing a lot lately:

We went to Noccalula Falls. At the petting zoo, this is the only picture I have where John actually held something for the goats to eat. He was scared they would take his fingers too, and I can understand because they were especially eager!

A girl working at the PZ held a bunny for John to pet. He loved it! Kept saying over and over, "So soft!"

Fat Man's Squeeze. Clearly, John is nowhere near fat. I just thought it looked funny that he had so much space on either side of him :)

This pic is on the way to the Falls, before we walked down a gazillion steps. John handled the steps and rocks much better than I did. Of course, I was dizzy by this point, so that shouldn't be a surprise. But I really do think he has a lot better balance and a ton more energy than I do.

And here we are under the falls. Sorry the picture is dark, but I couldn't lighten it and keep it looking natural.

We all went out to eat at Outback for my grandmother's 75th birthday. Woohoo! 3/4 of a century, Mema, and you still got it :)

Kacky has been house-sitting, and the house is near a great lake/pond that is full of ducks, turtles, and fish. John especially liked to feed the baby ducks--one Mommy had 20 babies. (I didn't know ducks laid so many eggs! Maybe they have a Duck-Nanny-program?)

This is a random pic of everything that lives in that tiny lake. Crazy that so much could survive in a small bit of water!

Finally, John has been learning to swim. We've had him in a life-jacket, until this past weekend. We put swimmies on him for the first time this year, and it was amazing how quickly John adjusted!

These are the kind of faces he makes when he jumps in the pool. It's hilarious! Hard not to laugh, no matter how bad you feel :)

Please ignore my very southern comments, but I thought John was so big that I couldn't NOT post this. This is just proof that I don't have an issue with pride, and I am fully ready for your ridicule.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This is our life

Where we stand right now:

1. I am 10 weeks pregnant and baby is still sticking with me! I just about beat an Ultrasound tech yesterday because she didn't measure baby or the heartbeats (which was unusual), but at least baby was kicking. I previously had a bleed in my uterus that appears to be gone now, so that's even better news. And the best (or worst) news is that I am sick as a dog. Anyone else ever been happy while hugging the toilet? I am, because it means baby is ok!

2. John is mostly potty-trained! We've been at it for months now, but accidents are finally down to a few a week. The whole time, I put him in underwear, but he just didn't care that he went all over himself and the floor. He just took off his pants (to get more comfortable), pointed out the mess to me, and continued to play. He didn't like it when I made him clean the mess, but he was always happy by the time I let him mop--so, that didn't help matters. And he has always screamed when we tried to put him on the toilet to "try." He still does that, but at least he usually points out when he has to go. Right when he started progressing at training, he began saying, "I do it by myself! You go 'way!!" So, maybe modesty was the issue all along! John has even put #2 in the potty! Maybe this is TMI, but we've given him poo-poo presents--a Lightning watch and the original Ice Age movie. But, I think what he likes most of all is when we say, "I'm so proud of you!" Whew! This is such a relief :) He can now start 3K in the fall without a problem.

3. We have a house in TN that needs to sell. We cannot move back because Rob's job is in Alabama and he would be gone Sunday night-Friday every week and living with his parents if we still lived in that house. So, keep praying for a miracle, people!

4. Rob is working like crazy--all day and night--in an attempt to get customers to buy in this terrible economy. Our consolation is that no one else is hitting their numbers. But we sure are longing for those better days where he didn't have to work as much and got paid more. Still, we thank the Lord for this job!!!

5. John is as crazy as always. He ate field peas for breakfast--and that was only because we didn't have black beans. He apparently has no clue that cereal or fruit and yogurt is a more typical breakfast choice. I apparently am used to having an atypical kid, so I didn't ask questions. He does crazy things like this everyday, and I never remember them. So, I will probably start posting random things that John says or does! Speaking of the devil, he is climbing on my back right now, leaning around to kiss my cheek, and he happens to be totally naked. So, I gotta go find his clothes!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

After another loss last fall, and trying ever since, we finally have good news! Baby is 8 weeks and has a high heart rate at 179!

I am supposed to go to the doc every 2 weeks until I am out of the "danger zone," and we will wait to tell John until I am 14 weeks, when we will feel more secure. Doc feels we are doing everything we possibly can to keep this one--including baby aspirins and progesterone supplements. Hopefully it will work! Please be praying with us for a healthy baby and good pregnancy. Thank you, God, for answering our prayers!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bad news... again

Once again, we've had a contract fall apart on our house. We were in the middle of negotiations, and the buyer walked. Rather than come back with a counter, or insist on her original request, she just walked. The inspection turned up nothing, except that our hot water heater and AC/furnace were near their life. She asked that we replace them, and we countered with a 1-year warranty. We didn't hear anything for days, until our agent received a fax for the disbursement of the earnest money. Apparently, nothing she said changed their minds to come back to the table.

I can't imagine how someone from out-of-state (as far as Cali) could just stop negotiations and start searching for another house. Once we knew how insistent she was, we were willing to replace the AC and water heater. But, that didn't even bring her back. I know it's a buyer's market, but are you just supposed to hand over your right arm without negotiating at all?

So, now we're 0-2, which looks really bad. And yet, neither were really our fault (the first buyer's house didn't appraise for what she needed, so she couldn't get financing to buy our house). I have no nice comments or deep thoughts, because my stomach is still on the floor, flipped over, and I haven't screwed my jaw back in yet.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day

I'm just going to list my Mother's Day gifts:
  • Spa Pedicure and lunch at The Chocolate Biscuit tearoom. (It was actually my Mom's Birthday and Mother's Day present, but I definitely benefited--don'tcha love giving those sorts of presents?) I failed to get a picture, but we ate with my sis-in-law, Mandy, and her Mama, JoAnn.
  • Three roses from my hubby for the three years I have been a mother. (I'm waiting to see what happens as we have more children--will there be one rose per year that I have mothered each child?)
  • A very special necklace and card from my son.

The card has John's handprint, in which he lists the 5 reasons he loves his Mommy (and these are his words, when Rob asked him why he loves me):

  1. Snuggles
  2. Hugs
  3. Takes care of me
  4. Takes me bye-bye
  5. Makes my snack

Ain't it nice to know you are appreciated and precisely why? I love my John!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We have a contract!

Here's a short, picture-less post, brought on by Erin's comment on the previous post. We currently have a contract on our house. Woo-hoo! That's a little eruption of joy, because we know how the last contract ended--with us still paying the mortgage. We're afraid of counting our chickens before they hatch :)

But, we praise God for an offer that was more sensible in price than the last two, that allows us time to get everything together (closing is 6 weeks from when we got the offer), and that gives us security (the contract is NOT contingent on the sale of her house AND we get 2 days after closing to move our stuff out). Please join us in asking Him to give us peace about this whole situation and guidance in looking for houses in Bham. Pray that everything will go smoothly so we can finally close this chapter of our lives (even though we really miss our friends and our church in TN).

Catching up again

So, there seems to be a pattern here. Whenever I don't get a chance to upload pictures and go through them, I continue to put it off because I know the job will be overwhelming the longer it's been. And I refuse to blog without finishing the pictures. And then a month passes, and I have failed to blog! (Except for the "bug" post because I could find a picture of that on the internet.) So, here's the low-down:

I took John to a local Tax Day TEA Party, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself--he blew bubbles, waved the flag, played in the sandbox, tossed around a beach ball, and played on the playground. Other than having fun, he has no clue why we were there :) Here are a few funny pics, including my favorite sign there:

One of John's favorite places is "The Moo Place" (a.k.a. Chick-Fil-A). On Family night, kids dressed as superheroes or Princesses got a free kids meal. Since John is "in love" with Karson, the girl next-door, we took her with us. In the first pic, they are posing with the Cow. While there, they got their faces painted and signed up for the raffle. And... (drum roll please)... John won a super-big cow! That's him sitting by the cow in the second shot. Why did John have to win it??! We are living in an 800 sq. ft. apartment! So, cow sleeps in John's bed when John isn't in it :)

Finally, we have begun potty-training. I say "we" because I think I am being trained more than John--it's really time-consuming! The only pics I have are when we first started. Since John refused to sit on the big potty, or to even try the little potty for more than 5 seconds (and never going), we took some suggestions and sat him in front of a movie (so he would actually sit). Notice, he has a drink in hand, to help speed up the process. It didn't work--notice the second pic where he has closed the potty and used it as a stool to get a close-up of the TV, which is more than big enough for our small living room! Yes, that is Goofy Sports in the background, for those of you who are wondering. Potty-going has gotten a little better now. John likes to race to the potty and see who can go faster. But, he still refuses to go a lot of times (screaming, hitting, and kicking to keep from going). We're working on it! I'll keep y'all posted...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Have you seen this before?

I have been absent from the Blogosphere lately, and I promise to post some pictures soon to play catch-up and let you know what we've been doing. But for now, I will just give you this picture of a lovely bug that my son insists on keeping--in a Mason jar because his bug-box is in Daddy's truck, out of town.

I'm not really sure what it is, although some people seem to think it is a dung-beetle. I haven't exactly explained this to John because "poo" is a potty-mouth word at our house, unless you have to go... So, this nasty, black bug is living in a Mason jar (with no lid because I can't find one to poke holes in!) until I can convince John that he needs to go outside. ICK! Why couldn't we have kept the lady bug and roly poly we saw yesterday?!?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter weekend

Sorry for a late post on this one... blogger wouldn't let me post pictures yesterday, and I didn't get around to blogging before that. Better late than never.

Saturday night, we dyed the eggs. Yes, I stripped my child down so he wouldn't ruin his outift (does dye come out in the wash? I have no clue). There doesn't seem to be any way to dye eggs without a mess, especially when Mr. Independent decides he can do it himself. Smart folks that we are, we invited ourselves to DeDe's house to make a mess.

In case anyone else couldn't get the egg-catcher that comes in the package to work, just take John's advice and use your hands.

Then, late Saturday night, after we had procrastinated long enough, we began to prepare for the next day. And as usual with procrastination, there was a problem! I bought John's button-down shirt and linen pants at The Children's Place months ago, when they put out the Easter line. (I'd had the vest from a prior year sale--because that's how I do it). When Rob started ironing the shirt, he noticed several stains on it, some yellow and some blue. So, we gave up on that and prayed that John's previous white button-down still fit. It did--barely. Then, the pants were supposed to be adjustable-waist; however, the tabs don't work when sewn down! All of John's other pants look like he's preparing for a flood, so we had to rip out the inside seam. From now on, I will thoroughly inpect all clothes I buy, especially from The Place! Despite the drama, we still cleaned up pretty nice, if I do say so myself.

John slept in Sunday morning, and we actually had to wake him to come see what the Easter Bunny brought, so we could get to church on time. When we mentioned Bunny, he snapped his head up, jumped out of bed, and ran down the hallway still half-asleep. I have video, but it's really long (and a lot of my sluggish-southern talk), so I'll spare you. But, John noticed the chocolate bunny first, and then Wall-E, and then Dinosaur. Check out the goodies below:

After church, we went to Mema's house and quickly changed clothes and hunted for eggs while the less fortunate (i.e. Mema and Big Daddy) were stuck inside preparing lunch. This was John's first hunt this year with HIDDEN eggs. Of course, I use the term hidden lightly, but his hunt at school and the last one I blogged about were both on open fields. Not much to the "hunt" in an open field. At least he had to look up and down and all around the yard to find them this time.

After the hunt, Rob counted out the change (Mema stuffs her eggs with change) and got the candy out of the sun. Then, the boys took a ride in Uncle Steve's Miata. It was John's idea. As soon as Steve and Michelle drove up, John said, "Ooooo! Shiny, red car! I drive! I drive!" Of course, Steve didn't let John drive, but he was crazy enough to let Rob drive.

After lunch, we made a Bunny House, which is similar to a Gingerbread house, except with Jelly Beans and pastel colors. Notice how things normally work in our family: there is a worker (Rob), and a supervisor (Matthew), and an eater (John). I know, I know, you want to know where the extra supervisors and eaters are? Well, I was behind the camera, and I classify as both eater and supervisor--never worker.

And last, when all the other Easter activities have been done, there's always bug-hunting. I was inside when John ran by, grabbed the magnifying glass, and ran outside. What? He wanted to find bugs. The idea struck him on the fly, as he noticed the magnifying glass. This is how things usually happen with John--he never sits around and thinks. He just does. Deep-thinking and conniving are done on-the-go. You can't really tell in this pic, but the bug is actually dead. That's because Kacky or Aunt Michelle pointed out that it was a stinging type of bug, and Aunt Jan and I both said, "Well, let's not play with it!" as Uncle Steve and John were investigating. And then Mema took action and squashed it. (Squash, -ed, v. stepped and twisted in the same motion.) But that didn't stop Steve and John from studying the remains of the "deadly" bug.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jam-packed Weekend

This past weekend was jam-packed fun for John--just the way he likes it. Rob likes to go-go-go too, but I'm a homebody, so it's taken me a while to recover!

Friday we went to visit the Easter Bunny, for the sole purpose of telling him that John NEEDS a chocolate bunny for Easter. We had written a letter to the Easter Bunny, asking for the Wall-E movie, after John saw clips of it on Oscar-night and insisted on having that movie. He wanted that movie. Needed it. Now. And Daddy-genius halted the tears with a letter-writing project. (Yay, Daddy--Mommy had no idea how to stop the sudden tear-fest!)

But, I could not convince John to ask for that. He must have figured the letter had done its job, and now was the time to express his need for a chocolate bunny. I promise, folks, that was not my idea. (Really, it wasn't... I know some of you don't believe me, but the sweet-tooth is hereditary.) John discovered chocolate bunnies on one of our many trips to Wal-mart. It was sort of a choir-singing-Hallelujah moment--think Confessions of a Shopaholic, Rebecca Bloomwood/Isla Fisher breaking into her iced-over credit cards. Yeah, John was totally in awe of the row of chocolate bunnies. Anyhoo, here he is with his lollipop from the Easter Bunny, finally soothed into liking our giant, floppy-eared friend (all prior pictures were of John sitting in Bunny's lap while holding Mema's hand, which is exactly why Mema came with us!):

Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early for a 45 minute drive to Calera, AL and the Heart of Dixie Railroad to see... well, just see for yourself:

John had tons of fun climbing on and around the old trains, investigating their hugeness.

Of course, there were more than just trains there. My previous putt-putt post was actually a piece of the Thomas Adventure. There were also inflatables (which John surprisingly ignored), a tent full of train tables (where we spent the bulk of our time), a Thomas Temp-Tattoo stand, a balloon animal stand, a story-time area (puh-leeze, did you think I could get him to sit down with everything else going on?), and a gift shop. Oh, and did I mention the petting zoo? John enjoyed feeding the goats.

When our time came to board Thomas, John was very enthusiastic. He immediately poked his head out the window, which I later found out was a no-no. At least I got a pic first! When our journey was almost over, John said, "I not want to get off; I want to ride again." But, he went willingly enough--at least he wasn't kicking and screaming like some kiddos whose parents were dragging them off!

Thank you DeDe and Pop for a fun time at Thomas the Train! We left there and grabbed a quick picnic lunch before heading home for a nap. The nap was very important, because we had an Easter Egg Hunt that night. The City of Trussville has a Flashlight Egg Hunt where the kids come out and bring their flashlight to hunt eggs after dark. We had a while to wait, and the face-painting and pictures with Bunny only lasted so long, so John whiled away the minutes by...

Climbing a 6-foot fence. He was already several feet up by the time we realized it, so Rob rushed over to make sure he didn't fall as he finished his climb. John has turned into a real monkey lately--everything is his jungle gym.

I didn't get a pic of the egg hunt, because I was too busy trying to make sure the other parents were not snatching eggs out from under my child. Oh, yes!!! Other parents of 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds were snatching up the eggs and putting them in their children's baskets. It's not like they were competing with 8-year-olds! So, John walked away with 5 eggs, while other kiddos had 20. At least I know my child did it on his own. John was a bit upset that he only had 5 eggs while other baskets were overflowing, so we treated him to a cone at The Moo Place (a.k.a. Chick-Fil-A).

I know that this is only my first run-in with overprotective parents... In a few years, it will be the Biochemist completing his son's science project or the Court-lawyer preparing her daughter's speech. But it's really frustrating! So, tell me, has anyone else had a run-in with helicopter parents (who hover over everything their children do and don't let the kids figure it out themselves)? Please vent, so I don't feel so alone in my exasperation.