Saturday, August 28, 2010

Avocado = Brenna's First Food

For (almost) 6 months, I've given my baby girl all her nourishment. Actually, make that 15 months since I nourished her in my womb, too. And I plan to provide most of her nourishment for the next 6 months. But today, something other than my milk (and the little formula we had to use at the very beginning) went into Brenna's belly. And that something was an avocado.
We've been talking lately about when we would start Brenna on solid foods. I really want to make most of her baby foods, but never got around to making some and freezing it this summer. Anyhow, Jonathan said yesterday that he was ready to go ahead and start a little bit and I agreed. I told him to buy an avocado while he was at the store today. After I nursed her tonight about 6, we decided to give it a try. I was really nervous about it because it was such a big step. But, I started mushing anyway.
She was super interested in the spoon and immediately pulled it toward her mouth. She pulls EVERYTHING toward her mouth though, so we weren't surprised. She didn't react to the food much at first, but made a few funny faces later on. I don't think much actually went down her throat - most of it was on her hands, eyebrows, face, clothes, etc. But, it was a fun learning experience and a start to another fun adventure with our baby.....I mean our big girl. I know, I know, she's still a baby. But it's just hard to believe she's already eating some real food. I swear I just had her yesterday, didn't I? Happy and sad, all in one!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

All Good Things Must Come to an End

I was more than blessed to have so much time off with Brenna after she was born. She was born on March 4 and I went back to work on May 3 - but only for 6 weeks. I got to be home with her again from June 15 until August 22. That's today. That means tomorrow is time for me to go back to work officially for a whole school year. That's 9.5 months. That's a long time. To say I dread it and am totally panicky would be the understatement of the year. Every day for the past 2 weeks or so I've gotten increasingly more nervous about it. Will we lose our bond? Will she reach for Kate instead of me? Will she think I've abandoned her? Will she wonder why Liam's mommy stays with him but I leave her? Will she nap well? Will she crawl or walk or talk or the first time Will she get on a good schedule again? What about the 3 or 4 hours of school work I used to bring home every night? So many questions - and yes I realize some might be more ridiculous than others. I'm going to miss her something fierce. I love my job and I hear I have a great class this year, but none of that matters when I look in that baby's face. I'm her mama and I was made to do that job. I've done the math. It's nowhere near possible for me to stay home this year - but I will have one of my student loans paid off this year, so I have hope for a year or two down the road.

Our neighbor who is going to keep her will be great. Her little boy who is nine months, Liam, is absolutely adorable and happy and will be a great playmate for Brenna (when they figure out not to pull each other's hair/scrath each other's face). And we don't even have to drive her anywhere in the mornings. But, she's not me. She gets to spend 9 hours a day with my baby than I only get maybe 4 with. But, as Jonathan reminded me, neither of us resent our parents for sending us to babysitters, and chances are slim that Brenna will resent us (for that - of course she'll resent us for stuff later - isn't that what the teenager years are all about?) I'm gonna miss her. She's my best friend, my buddy, and my little shadow. But, we will make it through this and I hear it gets easier by the day.

I get what my friends told me about leaving their babies now. It just doesn't feel right. But, I'm thankful for a job I love and great friends who make me smile at work. I guess it'll make seeing Brenna every afternoon even more special. I anticipate some speeding tickets on my way home to get her! It's been a great 5 1/2 months!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

1000 Places to See Before You Die

Have you heard of this book? It's awesome! I want to visit all 1,000 places before I die. Will it happen? Not even close, but a lofty goal nonetheless. I thought I'd document the places Jonathan and/or I have been. We decided that we could count places in this one that'd we'd been to separately, since we may not make it back to them together.

*London, England (Jonathan)
*La Grand Place - Brussels, Belgium (Jonathan)
*Paris, France (Jonathan/Erin)
*Taj Mahal - Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India (Erin)
*Hollywood - Los Angeles, California (Erin)
*The Pacific Coast Highway, California (Erin)
*Walt Disney World Resort - Orlando, Florida (Jonathan/Erin)
*New York City, New York (Jonathan/Erin)
*Historic Downtown New York, New York (Jonathan/Erin)
*Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina/Tennessee (Together - woohoo!)
*The Heart of Charleston, South Carolina (Jonathan/Erin)
*Monticello, Virginia (Together!)
*Shenandoah Valley, Virginia (Together!)
*Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia (Together!)
*Natioanl Mall and Its Monuments - Washington, DC (Jonathan/Erin - but together in 2 weeks)
*Smithsonian and Beyond - Washington, DC (Jonathan/Erin - but together in 2 weeks)
*Greenbrier - White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia (Erin)
*Chichen Itza - Yucatan, Mexico (Together!)

I win with 16!! But Jonathan definitely wins the out of country category.

And there is also a USA/Canada version that we've been much more successful with. I usually only document the ones in this that we've done together....but what the heck, it's my blog so I'll just do separate on here as well! :)

*Inner Harbor - Baltimore, Maryland (Erin)
*Oriole Park at Camden Yards - Baltimore, Maryland (Erin)
*Central Park - New York, New York (Jonathan/Erin)
*Columbus Park - New York, New York (Erin)
*Historic Downtown - New York, New York (Jonathan/Erin)
*Empire State Building - New York, New York (Jonathan/Erin)
*Greenwich Village - New York, New York (Jonathan/Erin)
*Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - New York, New York (Erin)
*New York's Best Pizza - New York, New York (Erin - John's of Bleeker Street - YUM!)
*Statue of Liberty - New York, New York (Jonathan/Erin)
*Times Square - New York, New York (Jonathan/Erin)
*Once & Future World Trade Center - New York, New York (Jonathan/Erin)
*Hershey, Pennsylvania (Jonathan)
*Virginia Highlands Festival - Abingdon, Virginia (Erin - WHAT? Jonathan has never been??)
*Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia (Jonathan/Erin - Together in 2 weeks)
*Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - Chantilly, Virginia (Erin)
*Charlottesville, Virginia (Together!)
*Monticello - Charlottesville, Virginia (Together!)
*Crooked Road Music Heritage Trail, Virginia (Together - Fiddlers Convention, Galax, VA)
*Jamestown, Virginia (Erin)
*Mount Vernon, Virginia (Erin)
*Historic Richmond, Virginia (Jonathan/Erin)
*Shenendoah Valley, Virginia (Together!)
*Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia (Together!)
*Holocaust Museum - Washington, DC (Jonathan/Erin - Together in 2 weeks)
*National Air & Space Museum - Washington, DC (Jonathan/Erin - Together in 2 weeks)
*National Archives - Washington, DC (Jonathan/Erin - Together in 2 weeks)
*National Mall - Washington, DC (Jonathan/Erin - Together in 2 weeks)
*National Museum of American History - Washington, DC (see above)
*National Museum of Natural History - Washington, DC (see above)
*National Zoo - Washington, DC (Erin)
*Smithsonial & Beyond - Washington, DC (Jonathan/Erin - Together in 2 weeks)
*Supreme Court - Washington, DC (Erin)
*United States Capitol - Washington, DC (Erin)
*White House - Washington, DC (Jonathan/Erin - Together in 2 weeks)
*Snowshoe Mountain Resort, West Virginia (Jonathan)
*Greenbrier - White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia (Erin)
*Universal Studios & Sea World - Orlando, Florida (Jonathan/Erin)
*Walt Disney World - Orlando, Florida (Jonathan/Erin)
*St. Augustine, Florida (Erin)
*Appalachian Trail (Together!)
*Atlanta, Georgia's Downtown Draws (Together!)
*Grove Park Inn - Asheville, NC (Erin)
*Music in the Mountains - Blue Ridge Mountains, NC (Jonathan/Erin)
*Heart of Charleston, SC (Jonathan/Erin)
*Historic Homes & Gardens of Charleston, SC (Jonathan/Erin)
*Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory - Louisville, KY (Jonathan)
*Branson, Missouri (Erin)
*St. Louis Arch, Missouri (Erin)
*Great Smoky Mountains, NC/TN (Together!)
*National Storyteling Festival - Jonesborough, TN (Erin)
*Hermitage - Nashville, TN (Erin)
*Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, TN (Jonathan/Erin)
*Chicago-Style Pizza - Chicago, IL (Jonathan)
*Hollywood, CA (Erin)
*Sunset Boulevard - Los Angeles, CA (Erin)
*Santa Monica & Venice, California (Erin)
*Pacific Coast Highway, California (Erin)

Holy cow! That exhausted me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mrs. Jones and Mrs. White

Two of my best friends got married this summer! As you may (or may not) know, I teach with two of the best teachers ever! For the past 4 years we have had a 4 person team in third grade. Lisa taught with Susan and Sheri taught with me! Then last year, after Susan died, Sara took her place and we loved her, too. But, unfortunately, this year our numbers are low so we had to send Sara to fifth grade (sniff, sniff) and we're left with a 3 person team. And now it's a married-girls-only club!

Sheri met Justin last January (or was it February?) and he proposed this February. He's a great guy and his personality balances Sheri's really well. Did I mention he knew she was the one by June or July of last year and bought the ring, but waited to ask her so her dad wouldn't freak out because it was too soon. Oh wait, is that a secret? I remember sitting on my couch (big, huge, and SO ready for Brenna, but that's beside the point - I could still jump up and shout with joy with the best of them!) and seeing that Sheri sent me a picture message. I knew it was going to be of a ring, because that's the way I told her I was engaged 2 years ago. And, I was right! They got married July 24 at Pulaski Memorial Baptist with a reception at Muse Hall in Radford. Sheri had waited a long time for this day, and she was a beaming bride! She had been a bridesmaid like ten times or something, and that morning when I texted her to check on her, she replies "I'm great. I'm finally the bride!" It made me cry that the day she had waited and prayed for had finally come for her.

Lisa met Kevin when she first started at Macy because he's our band teacher! He got in touch with her last year after Susan passed away and they started dating. He proposed to her in April of this year. I got a text while we were at the Braves game in April of another ring. Gotta love technology! Kevin and Lisa are perfect for each other. They are artsy, but not weird, and they love the Lord first and foremost. They got married in Kenbridge, VA at her aun't home and it was PERFECT for them. Outside and really laid back - and perfect! Lisa was stunning in her $99 dress (yep, we sure know how to find those things!) and Kevin just looked so happy. Kevin's daughter, Emilie, was thrilled too, and they make a gorgeous family!

Ok, so what you really want is pictures, right? Here goes!
Sheri and her bridesmaids/flower girl with our charms at the bridal luncheon
the bride and her bridesmaids at the rehearsal
Sheri looking at Brenna's pictures on facebook the morning of the wedding
Sheri in the robe I got her that said - Mrs. Jones est. July 24, 2010
Sheri and her mama - check out that train!!
Brenna playing with Sheri's neice, Peighton, before the wedding
Brenna and "Aunt" Sheri
first dance as Mr. and Mrs.
Sheri's a definite daddy's girl!
dancin' with my family
Can you guess where the bouquet ended up? Yep, in the light!
Lisa in her robe from yours truly - Mrs. White est. August 7, 2010
Lisa and her new step-daughter, Emilie
the newlyweds
They both love Brenna.
A lot has changed in the past 2 years for this group of girls!
so sweet!!
Lisa dancing with her daddy and her neice, Adaline
I can not begin to tell you how red her face was!
Off to honeymoon in Asheville, NC.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2 Years Later

As we celebrated our 2 year anniversary and reflected on how our lives have changed since then, it was fun to notice that things just keep getting better! I know, how cliche! But, it was fun to see Brenna be with us on our anniversary (except our date, which was nice without her I must admit!) and know that God put us together to create her and be her parents was just really amazing. Life's cool that way.

Anyhow, I thought it'd be fun to reflect on where the people who stood by us in our wedding party are and how their lives have changed, too.

Mallory - maid of honor - She had just gotten engaged at our wedding and now she's married to Josh and (hopefully) going to get Brenna some cousins sometime soon!
Kelley - matron of honor - She had just had baby Sienna 3 weeks before our wedding, and now she's the mommy to FOUR! kiddos, including new twin boys Rhys and Owen, Sienna who's 2 now, and Kiran who will be 4 next month.
April - bridesmaid - She is now the mommy to London who is 9 months old (who makes LOTS of appearances on this blog as I'm sure you've noticed) and we've gotten to be even better, closer friends since the wedding.
Christy - bridesmaid - She was newly pregnant with Cara at our wedding (but kept it a secret from me until after the honeymoon) and now she's enjoying life with her almost 17 month old!
Ashley G. - bridesmaid - She graduated from law school and is living in Brooklyn. She also has a (serious?) boyfriend, believe it or not!
Lora - bridesmaid - She got engaged to Daniel and is still living in Haysi. I haven't seen her since our wedding. :(
Ashley N. - bridesmaid - She is working for the federal court system in Roanoke, Virginia and travels a lot. I haven't seen her since our wedding either I don't think. :(
Megan - jr. bridesmaid - She's going into 7th grade and is as cute as ever. We got to hang out with her at the beach 2 weeks ago.
Charisma - jr. bridesmaid - She's also going into 7th grade and is a super smart girl.
Kiran - flower girl - She's enjoying life as a big sister to 3 kiddos and will be 4 next month.

Brandan - best man - He's still living in Richmond and got a new job at Genworth Financial. He's loving being an uncle to Brenna!
Chuck - groomsman - He got married to Brandi and is finishing up their house in Woodlawn, VA.
Stephen - groomsman - He's teaching in Grayson County and coaching football there. He and Samantha are going to be awesome parents someday - hopefully soon!
Kevin - groomsman - He got married to Julianna and moved to Abingdon, VA. He graduated from NC State with a Master's in Statistics. Yep, smart.
Jeremy - He's loving life as the daddy to London, his mini-me. He's flipped a few more houses and started a website business.
Darin - He got married to Lyndsie and they live near Winston Salem, NC. No kiddos yet, but they love married life and their new house (with Lyndsie's horse!)
Luke - ring bearer - He became the big brother to Grayce and is one of the cutest, well-mannered kids I've ever met!

And there you have it. I just realized that more of them need to have kids so Brenna can have more playmates.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Halsey/Basham Vaca 2010

On July 25, Jonathan and I packed up our baby and our car and headed south. This was the second year in a row that we've decided to vacation with Jeremy and April in Murrell's Inlet, SC where Jeremy's parents own a townhouse. This year, of course, we had two extra house guests. So, instead of boring you with too many details, I'll tell you about our vacation in pictures!

Are we there yet? Brenna was a champion traveler and she slept most of the way to and from the beach. She also was super cooperative and nursed in many random parking lots!

London was so happy to see Brenna when we got there! They even shared toys!

July 26, 2010 - Brenna's first time putting her feet in the sand!

She didn't seem to mind it, except when the sand "disappeared" under her feet - she wasn't a fan!

Here is our family photo on our first day at the beach!

Brenna really mastered sitting up while we were at the beach, and she really liked beach toys!

Polka dotted buddies!

She was a great napper at the beach. This is still day 1.

Jeremy and April babysat Brenna while we went out for our 2nd anniversary. We went to the Melting Pot and enjoyed it so, so much. Two years and I definitely still do!


Brenna's first time in the pool was a success. She liked splashing!

Twinkle Toes!

The boys took the kids down the slide - Brenna's first time. I'm so dorky that I actually videotaped this.

2 sleeping babies = success!!

Swimming with Daddy is SO MUCH FUN!

We repaid the favor and babysat London one night. We were brave and took both kids out to eat at Phillip's Seafood. We didn't regret until the screaming-loaded drive home.

Don't waste your time with Phillip's Seafood in Mytle Beach. London and I weren't impressed.

Jonathan and Jeremy went fishing on Thursday while April, the babies, and I shopped. They caught crabs and cooked them for a snack.

Mom, I love vacations!

London, GET OFF ME! Brenna, I'm trying!

Rocking the zebra hat from Finley and the polka dotted bathing suit from Aunt Sheri. I'm a super-stylish beach bum.
Here's our group shot on our last full day.
We met up with the Mann family on Friday night and we took Megan and Jacob to a MB Pelicans game with us so Brian and Ashley could go on a date. It was loads of fun!
He absolutely adores Brenna.
Megan is a natural!
We had a great trip and made lots and lots of memories. We're already looking forward to our next vacation!