Feb 28, 2010

Our cute little bug turns bossy

Just wanted to share a cute story from our trip... I've mentioned before how Gavin likes to play this little game in the car where he says, "Mama? Daddy? Mama? Daddy?" over and over again, while we answer, "Yes, Gavin." Well, last Sunday, while we were in Bentonville, we were driving around and went through a Schlotzky's drive-thru. (Yay for Schlotzky's!) Just as Jarrod started to eat his sandwich, Gavin started to play the game.

Gavin: "Mama?"
Me: "Yes, baby."
Gavin: "Daddy?"
Well - Jarrod had just taken a large bite from his sandwich and his mouth was full. He didn't answer Gavin, and apparently that wasn't ok with him.
Gavin: "Hello??? You! Daddy!" he said, while pointing right at him. We both started laughing so hard. I think it was the tone of his voice and how he was pointing that we both thought was so funny. It was like he was telling Jarrod, "Ummm, don't ignore me. You are the Daddy....answer me!"

And so the bossiness begins....

Feb 27, 2010

More snow in New York

Remember when we had our first big snow here in New York and I wrote that at least I only had to deal with Shirley begging to go out and play in it? Gavin didn't seem to care.....he didn't know what the snow was all about. Well, that changed. We got a lot of snow Thursday night and Friday; like 16 inches. Jarrod was off, which was really nice, but every time he went out to let Shirley out or to shovel, Gavin cried to go out. He hasn't been feeling the greatest, so going out to play in the snow probably wasn't the best idea, but twice we gave in.

The first time, Gavin was still in his PJs, throwing a fit while Jarrod went out to shovel and lay salt. So, I bundled him up and he walked with Jarrod to throw salt. Such a big helper.
But, he didn't want to come in....he stood here at the door until I picked him up and brought him in.

Then later in the day, Jarrod took Shirley out and again, Gavin wanted to join him. So, we bundled up again and went out for 10 minutes. There's a huge pile of snow from the parking lot that the plows made. When we first got Shirley back in '04 (man, that seems like a long time ago!) we had a big storm in Dayton and we had the same scenario - big pile of snow in our parking lot...Jarrod and Shirley climbed to the top and I took their picture. Jarrod decided to recreate that scene! Here they are climbing the pile.
Gavin wanted to join them....so I climbed up to hand him off and then of course, ran in to get my camera! :)

Thought this was cute of Shirley jumping through the snow to come in.

Hopefully the snow doesn't stay around for long....I'd love a clear parking lot to work in the garage and finish off the packing next week.

Feb 26, 2010

Gavin in Arkansas

Just wanted to share some of the pics I took of Gavin while we were in Arkansas. Not too many, but some cute ones!

He's a really good traveler. On the way down, our first flight was delayed, and he still did pretty good. He watched some Thomas on the DVD player (Thanks Aunt Sandy and Uncle Dave!) and then fell asleep on me. When we flew from Chicago to Beonville, it wasn't a full flight so he got his own seat. He watched the DVD player and read books the whole time!

We spent so much time in the car over the 4 days we were there, so Gavin pretty much napped and snack in the car seat. He was getting quite tired on being in the car on Monday afternoon, so Jarrod decided to offer him a muffin. He just kept saying, "Mess!" over and over again.

Gavin loved the hotel bed! He laid there watching the TV and eating his breakfast every morning. Nothing better than breakfast in bed, right?

Feb 25, 2010

Where are we moving to?

Well, we got back from Arkansas late last night (since we volunteered to forfeit our seats in exchange for free plane tickets....brave with a toddler, huh?) It was a very long four days spent driving around in a tiny, compact rental car trying to learn more about our new region.

It was quite a culture shock. I don't know when I've ever seen so many cows. But, it is definitely not just farm land. There are a ton of shopping areas and restaurants, probably more than we have here in NY. There's a really nice outdoor area that reminded me of Ohio. It was like The Greene or Rookwood, and I can see myself walking around with Gavin when the weather's nice. I love that we'll have access to the Walton Life Family Center, which is the rec area. I'll be able to work out again while Gavin goes to the adorable child care area, and they have a ton of classes I can sign up for with Gavin, like swim lessons and a Moms and Tots class that sounds like a tumbling class.

There are definitely constant reminders that we're in the south. We passed restaurants called "Slim Chickens" and "Pig and Whistle." There was an advertisement for the 3rd Annual "Are You Smarter than a Hog" trivia contest on the radio. People refer to carts and shopping bags as buggies and sacks.

Even though there was a lot of traffic, neighborhoods everywhere, and shopping centers galore, it already felt like it was a slower pace of life. It's definitely different....but hopefully something we all adjust to and begin to enjoy. I remember that first drive up here to visit New York and how I kept thinking it was so different, and I grew to love it here. So, I'm hoping the same thing happens with Arkansas.

Our house-hunting didn't go quite like I planned. By the time we got there, all of our top choices were already rented. We also quickly learned that we needed a fenced yard. Most of the houses are built quite close together, so if we didn't have a fence, Shirley would definitely be spending a lot of time in our neighbors yards. After talking with the realtor we worked with, we decided to bump our rent limit up a bit to find what would truly make us happy. So, this is the house we decided on, for just $75 more than we pay here in New York for our 2 bedroom apartment! It's a 4 bedroom/2 bath home in Bentonville. If traffic isn't bad, it's only a short 8 minute drive or so for Jarrod to get to work. We love the kitchen and the fact that it came with a refrigerator. Most didn't, and we didn't really want to have to buy one. Jarrod loves that it's so close to 'civilization,' as he calls it, but also within distance from a farm. He walked Gavin down the street to say hi to the 'moos' (cows) when we were there visiting.

Here is the 4th bedroom, which has really cute french doors. We're probably going to use this as a playroom until we need the space for a guest room. For now, the 3rd bedroom will be the guest room.
Our master bedroom....love the tray ceiling. Don't like the blinds.
Can't wait to rest in the jacuzzi tub!!!
Living room with a nice fireplace. :)
Funny how the living room has an accent wall, and the colors are pretty much identical to the wall colors in our home in Ohio.
The kitchen. Yay for more cabinets and counterspace!!!! I only wish it was more open to the living room.
This will probably be Gavin's room. We're negotiating with the owners now about repainting it since it's so dark, but if they don't give in, we'll make it work. I'm picturing that little nook between the closets with a bean bag chair and a basket of books for reading. :)
This is the major downside for me....the yard is tiny. But, it is bigger than we have now at the apartment, it's fenced, and the front yard is big enough to play in as well. The other contender (which we decided against because it was only 3 bedrooms and was on a busy street) had a much nicer yard.
This house doesn't have a separate dining room. It's an eat-in kitchen, so I hope our table fits ok in it. The bedrooms are on the small side, but we have 4 of them! :) I'm so excited to create a playroom for Gavin with a train table. And to know that I will be able to open the back door and let Shirley go out sounds like heaven to me!
Look for more pictures tomorrow from our trip! Now, we just have to wait patiently for moving day.

Feb 22, 2010

Train obsessed!

Gavin is obsessed with his trains! It's a very rare day now when I have toys other than trains to clean up. He wakes up saying 'choo choo track' and goes to bed with at least one train, usually one for each hand. I can't wait until we can get him a train table. Maybe Beepa will help Daddy build him one.....hint hint. Sounds like a great vacation idea to me!

Feb 21, 2010

Just for the grandparents

We'll be in Arkansas until Wednesday evening, but I know a lot of you, especially Mimi, Beepa, and Grandma Pate check regularly to see pictures and updates about their favorite grandson (ok...only grandson, but he's still their favorite!) So, I scheduled quick posts of pictures for while we're gone to make them smile. :)

Feb 20, 2010

It's very surreal....

When you read this post, Gavin, Jarrod, and I will be on a plane heading to Arkansas to look for somewhere to live. It's still so surreal.... When I say 'Arkansas' or see it on a map, I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that we're moving there. Seriously???

I've had a lot of people asking me lately if I'm really ok with this move. Honestly, I am. I'm in a completely different place with this move than I was when the New York move happened. When Jarrod first brought up the chance to move to Arkansas, I thought he was crazy....didn't want anything to do with it. But, in true Jennifer-fashion, I tend to react quickly before weighing the options and thinking things through. The more we talked about it, the more I looked into it, the more I realized it was the best option for our family, even if it meant we'd be in Arkansas.

I'm not saying that I'm not sad that we're getting farther from home. I wish we were closer to our families all the time. When I have Tastefully Simple parties and see hosts there with their moms or sisters, I miss mom and Megan so much. When Dad texts me to tell me how good he's doing with this workout and diet, I wish I was there to hug him. I miss seeing Tyler and Briana grow and wish I could be there to help with their homework occasionally like Megan does. (Though something tells me she's probably better at it....I only taught first grade....they're 6th and 7th graders now - probably over my head! Isn't that what Bri told me once? Megan was smarter because she was in college and I only taught first grade!) When I hear stories about Shaw, I wish I could be there walking down the hall....spending lunch with Sara and Tori, doing recess duty with Lindsay. I wish I could be there for the baby get togethers when I hear that Lindsay, Jill and Megan got together. But, our life has taken us on a different journey, and I'm bound and determined to make the most of it!

My family and I have done a fabulous job keeping in touch. This blog is a great way for them to see what we're doing here in NY, and I plan to keep it going in AR. We talk on the phone almost daily, and thanks to Skype, they get to see Gavin quite often. I think we've even done a great job getting to see one another. I think the one of the hardest parts is that some of my friends and I aren't in touch as often as I thought we'd be. I imagined lots of emails, texts, and phone calls, and that hasn't exactly happened. But, again, I think that's a part of growing up and moving away....things change. I know, even if we aren't in touch as often as I'd like, that we'll always be friends no matter what. The distance just makes things a little more difficult.

So, now that this has gotten very long, I'm going to stop. I just wanted to let everyone know how I was feeling. Yes, I miss you all terribly. I think about you all EVERYDAY. In a perfect world, we'd all be closer together again. But, I am ok with Arkansas. I'm actually looking forward to it! I'm so excited to move into a house with a yard that Gavin and I can play in this summer while Shirley runs around. I'm looking forward to being in a neighborhood where we can take walks and get to know other families. I'm anxious to see a different part of the country that we'd otherwise never visit. I know if we hadn't moved here, I never would have experienced the great things Rochester and Upstate NY have to offer and met the great friends I've made here. I'm so excited to see where this move takes our family; it will bring us even closer and make us even stronger.

Feb 19, 2010

A snow video

I was just going through some of the photos and videos on my computer, and I don't think I ever posted this. A lot of my family and friends got a lot of snow lately, but we haven't had too much. This was taken in January, but thought you'd still enjoy it.


Feb 18, 2010

It's things like this I want to remember ALWAYS

It amazes me how independent Gavin is becoming. He can follow directions and helps out by doing many things, like at night he takes his clothes and puts them in his hamper for me. We keep Gavin's shoes in a drawer in his dresser since he only had a few pairs. He loves to go grab shoes from his drawer when it's time to leave and I tell him we have to put his shoes on. He's also good at putting his shoes back in his drawer if I ask him.

Earlier this week, I gave him his shoes and asked him to put them in his drawer. Off he went to his room.... Later that day, I went in to put laundry away. I opened the bottom drawer to put his pajamas away and just smiled.
There in his drawer, were all his pajamas and the shoes I asked him to put away. I know it's weird that I took a picture of it, but when I saw the shoes in there, my heart just melted and I couldn't stop smiling. They were in the wrong drawer, but he tried to help out. So sweet.... I always want to remember things like this from when Gavin was little.

Feb 16, 2010

Gavin and Shirley = Best Pals

Earlier this week while I was cleaning, I heard Gavin talking to Shirley so peeked my head in to make sure he wasn't pulling her tail or anything along those lines (since that's his new favorite way to torture her). I loved what I saw! There he was, sitting right next to her on her bed, with a book in front of him. It looked like he was reading to Shirley! How sweet is he???

Tastefully Simple Retiring Products

I posted yesterday here and on Facebook about the retiring Fall/Winter line of products and got several emails asking which items were leaving, so I'm going to list them here. March 7 is the last day to order the following items! Stock up now :) If you order 3 or more of the following items by February 28, you'll get a FREE Itty Bitty Oh, My! Chai packet to enjoy on these cold winter days!
  • Apple Crisp Cheeseball Mix
  • Awesome Amaretto Cocoa Mix
  • Bayou Bourbon Glaze
  • Berry Sunrise Raspberry Pancake and Waffle Mix
  • Berry Sunrise Raspberry Syrup
  • Bowtie Pasta and Chicken Cacciatore Mix
  • Carrot Pecan Bread and Frosting Mix
  • Cheese It Up! Crisps
  • Cheesy Chive Warm Dip Mix
  • Cranberry Tangerine Cheesecake Mix
  • Creamy Dreamy Chocolate Mousse Mix
  • Creamy Wild Rice Soup Mix
  • Everybody's Chili Mix
  • Gotta Lotta Garlic Salsa
  • Hearty Chicken and Dumpling Soup Mix
  • Italian Garlic Bread Seasoning
  • Mild Red Pepper Dip
  • Nutty Good Granola Snack Mix
  • Oh, So Berry Granola Snack Mix
  • Oh, So Olive! Dip Mix
  • Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Mix
  • Pasta and Portabello Beef Stroganoff Mix
  • Quick Corn Bread Mix
  • Roasted Garlic and Herb Dip Mix
  • Ruby Orange Slush Drink Mix
  • Seedless Black Raspberry Preserves
  • Sesame Teriyaki Stir Fry Sauce
  • Spicy Olive Twist Cream Cheese Dip
  • Sweet Bell Pepper Dip Mix
  • Warm Up! Mulling Spice

Let me know if you need anything! :) Remember, it ships directly to you via UPS for a flat rate of $6.99 for orders up to $50. Order as much as you want! After $50, the shipping goes down to 10% of your order. You can get $50 worth of yummy food shipped for just $5!!!

Feb 15, 2010

Another update....

We just found out the moving day won't be in the beginning of the month like we thought....looks like we're moving closer to the end of March. At least we're getting the info we need, but I guess we didn't need to do so much packing this weekend! :)

Just an update

Wow! I can't believe how much easier it is to pack when you're in an apartment and half of your stuff is still in boxes in the garage! :) Jarrod and I did a lot of packing yesterday (Happy Valentine's Day to us) and got so much done. I'm more worried about getting the garage organized than anything.

We fly to Arkansas on Saturday to start the house hunting process (and will hopefully know for sure what home we'll be moving into by the time we fly back on Wednesday.) I'm so excited to go house hunting! I love looking at homes, and to know that we'll be in a HOUSE again is soooo appealing to me. I can't wait for campouts in our backyard with Gavin, nights by the fireplace (because it seems like every home we put on our list has one!) and having friends and family come stay with us. YAY!

I have my last Tastefully Simple party Friday, and then I'm taking a short break until the Spring/Summer line comes out in March so that we can get settled. But, of course...if there are any Fall/Winter items you have to have before they retire, call or email me before the end of the month. There are some amazing products going away...Sweet Bell Pepper Dip, Awesome Amaretto Cocoa... Mmmm!

Alright - have to take advantage of naptime and head out to the garage for a little while! Oh, and if I haven't talked to you in a while, CALL ME! I miss you, friends! :)

Feb 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here are some pictures from our Valentine shoot I did earlier this month with Gavin. I didn't post any yet because I wanted to wait until our family got their pictures in the mail. I love doing "shoots" like this and I'm loving playing with my camera and learning more about it. But....this was a lot harder to do this year than it was last year when he couldn't walk! :) I didn't get many good ones the first time I tried, but after his nap and I moved the white sheet to the couch, he was a bit more interested. The first idea I had (with a big heart cut-out for him to look through) didn't go over well. He wouldn't hold it at all! But, here's is my Valentine!

I just looked through the pics again - good thing the sucker had a stick, huh? He never held the sucker by it! :)

Feb 13, 2010

Our Valentine Exchange

We usually don't make a big deal out of Valentine's Day. But, with Jarrod getting this new job, he'd been talking about a shirt from LL Bean, so I had my mom order if for him (so we could get free shipping with her card!) and Gavin and I made him a card. He kept talking about all this all other stuff he wanted to buy so I joked with him that I was returning his Valentine gift that I got him.

Last night he called when he left work and this is how our conversation went.
Him: "Do you have any extra Valentine gift bags laying around?"
Me: "Ummm....no."
Him: "Ok, I'll just use one of the boxes I'm bringing home to pack in and put your gifts in there."
Me: "Well, I didn't wrap your gift yet. I was going to give it to you tomorrow."
Him: "So, do you just want to trade gifts and say "Priiiiiise!" (Gavin's favorite word....a commonly heard phrase around here.)

I thought it was pretty funny. So, when Jarrod walked in, Gavin took him his package from LL Bean and said, "Priiiiise!" Jarrod took my gifts out of the cardboard boxes one at a time. He bought me an 80s Greatest Hits 3-Disc CD set for our looooong drive to Arkansas, a new cookbook, and a box of chocolate covered strawberries and cookies. Yummy! Gavin and I took care of the cookies last night. :)

Feb 12, 2010


One of Gavin's favorite things to do right now ~ playing Peek-A-Boo on the couch with either blankets or the pillows. So much fun! I love the pure joy on his face (and that these were taken prior to his haircut so the mohawk is rather adorable!)

Feb 11, 2010

In case you didn't believe me....

We got video proof of how much Gavin hates getting his hair cut today. Last time was such a disaster that we decided to try a new place today. Haircuts for Peanuts. It was an adorable little place with trains and circus animals painted all over the wall. He got his hair cut in his own little room with a tv and got to pick what movie he wanted to watch. Thomas, of course! We thought this would distract him and he'd do better. We were wrong.

Jarrod got the first minute and a half on video. We probably spent 20 minutes on the whole cut, and it actually got worse after the camera went off. I ended up sitting in the chair and holding him, while his hands gripped the cape she put on me and he screamed bloody murder. But, in the end, he looks adorable! Pictures to come soon!


Feb 10, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

Sorry for the change to my routine post - today I have A LOT to say! :)

Bloom where you are planted....
If you know me well, you know that the thought of moving to New York scared me to death. I wasn't sure how I was going to adjust and being so far from my family saddened me. Heidi gave me such a beautiful, meaningful gift when we moved here. When she and I met in college when we were 18, she'd already lived in 5 states. She knows just how I was feeling. So, soon after we got here, we met for coffee as she and Anthony were driving through New York and she gave me this picture she'd taken. "Bloom where you are planted," it says. It means so much to me and I look at it everyday.
I think I've done a pretty good job at "blooming" here in New York. In all honesty, I like it a lot more than I ever thought I would. There is sooo much to do with Gavin and as a family. Coming here and not knowing anyone with no family around made Jarrod, Gavin, and I a closer, stronger family. We know now we can conquer anything....
And so, now it's time for us to "bloom" again. Our time in Rochester has been shorter than we expected. We're moving on. Jarrod has accepted a job working at Walmart/Sam's Club's Home Office so in the next month, we'll be packing up and heading to Bentonville, Arkansas. This is a HUGE move for us. It's bittersweet. We'll be moving a little farther away from our hometown than we are now and we'll be leaving all the people and places we've grown to love here. But we know in our hearts, it's the best decision. The position will mean that Jarrod will not be working in a club, which means he'll avoid all the stress and chaos of retail. This will be a Monday-Friday job with normal hours and holidays off. Imagine that! No more getting home at 11pm and working on Saturdays. That is exciting! Plus, the cost of living is so much more affordable, so we're excited to find a nice home with a lot more space for our family and a yard for Shirley to rent (for less rent than we're paying here I might add!)
I will track the journey here on our blog so that you all can keep informed. We love our families so much and we're so lucky to have so much support with this move. It means the world to us!

Feb 9, 2010

Can you tell me how to get.....

How to get to Sesame Street? :)

When Jarrod was finally done traveling back and forth from Syracuse, we celebrated having our family back together with a trip to Strong Museum. I, regretfully, forgot my camera. :( But, I did have the Flip Camera in my purse so here are a couple short videos from our trip to visit Elmo at Sesame Street!



Feb 8, 2010

Picture this...

I couldn't get a picture, so use your imagination and picture this: Around 3:45 this morning, I got up to go to the bathroom. (Ok, don't picture that...) I went into Gavin's room to make sure he was covered up. Of course, I walk in and it's dark, so it takes a second for my eyes to adjust, but when they do, Gavin's is laying there, on his belly, with his pillow on top on him! A few weeks ago, we swapped out his small travel-size pillow for a regular size pillow. He looked so funny laying there, with only his head and his feet showing....the pillow was on him like a blanket would be. It was so cute! I wish I could have gotten a picture. Not sure how he ended up that way!

Feb 5, 2010

6 Weeks Later...

It occured to me when I got Gavin out of his crib today, that the Bert and Ernie dolls I searched everywhere for so he could have them for Christmas never get played with. There Bert was, hanging out between the crib slats.....poor Ernie has been in the toy box with The Count for weeks. Good thing I literally searched everywhere for them.

Then I realized it's been 6 weeks since Christmas, and started thinking about all his toys. There are some that he still really enjoys and we play with regularly.
  • The Table and Chairs - these were mine when I was little, and Gavin loves them! He eats his snack there (if it isn't a messy snack) and loves to climb on it.
  • The ABC Nesting Blocks are very popular. We build with them daily and he likes to identify the letters. Funny that these weren't even on his original list of gifts to receive. Jarrod and planned out what we were going to buy, but I saw these 50% off at Target and had the have them. The bright colors and educational value of them appealed to the teacher in me.
  • The shopping cart courtesy of Mimi and Beepa. LOVES IT!
  • Ball Pit from Aunt Rosi - this became a lot more fun after the extra balls mommy found. Mommy, on the other hand, doesn't think it's much fun putting 200 balls back in the ball pit on a regular basis.
  • Play food from Evan. We dump this out several times a day and play with his kitchen.

On the other hand - here are some Christmas gifts that unfortunately find themselves being ignored like Bert and Ernie...

  • Little People toys - these started out to be a big hit, but lately he hasn't been all that interested in them. I'll have to make more of an effort to pull these out.
  • Puzzles - still in the closet. These don't get played with very often either.
  • Keyboard - We thought this would be his favorite toy....he never touches it!
  • His drum - he still likes it, but it's definitely not as popular as it was in the beginning.

The quirky thing he does

Gavin is obsessed with lint. He loves taking his socks off and cleaning the lint from between his toes. But we always laugh when he gets started picking lint off Jarrod's socks. He could spend hours doing this. Using those tiny little fingers, he will pick the lint off of his socks and then bring it to me and say, "Thanks." :) He's so funny!

Feb 4, 2010

Celebrating Mommy's Birthday

Earlier this week, Gavin and I celebrated my birthday by having cake together before he went to bed. He was so funny trying to eat it with his fork. Of course, he mostly ate the frosting and not much of the cake, but the pictures are adorable. :)

Feb 2, 2010

12 Weeks to Better Photos

One of my resolutions was to learn my camera and take better pictures. I found this online "tutorial" so-to-speak that has a lesson each week for 12 weeks. This week, the first week, I explored the aperture. The "assignment" this week was to play around with the aperture settings and take three pictures of the same things using three different settings and look at the difference. At first, looking at them on the LCD screen, I didn't see much of a difference; now, I do. So, I did learn more about aperture than I thought. The higher the f/stop means more of the picture is in focus. I'm excited for the weeks to come!