Things I learned in December 2014:

Since December is full of big events at our house- two birthdays and Christmas- this blog post is chock-full of photos.  Enjoy!

1. Pam and I managed to make some really cute Elmo and Cookie Monster cupcakes for Sam’s birthday.  I got the ideas off of Pinterest and was pleased they were not a Pinterest fail.

Elmo cupcakes!

Elmo cupcakes!

Cookie monster loves cookies....Nom, Nom, Nom!

Cookie monster loves cookies….Nom, Nom, Nom!

2. Sammy’s 2nd birthday party was fun and much less stressful than his 1st birthday.  I tried to keep it more low-key and spent way less money.  The best moment of the party was definitely when he opened his big stuffed minion and proceeded to freak the freak out.

Party decorations

Party decorations

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

Sammy loves minis!

Sammy loves minis!

3. For Mike’s birthday, we continued our tradition of going to see one of the new “Hobbit” movies.  “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” was good.  However, it did make me cry and I was not a fan of basically everyone dying.  So…I would say I liked the other two better.  Still, it was a good time and a worthy addition to the trilogy.

4. My folks, Heidi, Sammy, and I journeyed to the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens a few days before Christmas.  We had a great time checking out the beautifully decorated Christmas trees- each representing a different country.  Sammy was excited to meet two reindeer, but was ecstatic to discover that the gardens had their very own Thomas the train.  He would have willingly stayed at the train exhibit all day.  No joke.

Sammy, Baba, and Nana in front of the poinsettia tree

Sammy, Baba, and Nana in front of the poinsettia tree

Sammy checking out the England tree

Sammy checking out the England tree

Reindeer!

Reindeer!

Thomas!

Thomas!

5. We really shouldn’t have gotten Sammy any Christmas presents this year.  Upon opening his stocking and finding a small Thomas the train and a car driven by Elmo, he was happy and didn’t want to open any more presents.  He did request that we help him put on his new Mickey Mouse socks over his footsie pajamas- these were also from his stocking.

Sammy sporting his Mickey Mouse socks, holding Thomas and the Elmo car.  Along with his minion hat, this is quite the look.

Sammy sporting his Mickey Mouse socks, holding Thomas and the Elmo car. Along with his minion hat, this is quite the look.

6. Santa brought Sammy a potty for Christmas.  He was very excited to sit on it, sometimes for very long periods of time, but so far that is all the progress we’ve made.

Sammy sitting on the potty on Christmas night

Sammy sitting on the potty on Christmas night

7. I was very excited to hang out with my friends Brad and Angela and their four kiddos for a few days the end of December.  Their daughter, Maggie, is my goddaughter, and I hadn’t seen her since she was 6 months old.  She is now 2 and a half.  I also got to meet their newest addition, baby Zach.  After spending some quality time with four kids, I think I’m going to stick with just one for a while.  Honestly, I don’t know how either of them remain sane.  (Love you guys!)

Things I learned in November 2014:

Since these are whole month updates, I am just going to hit the highlights.  Here goes:

1. I got the pleasure of attending Concord Community Church‘s Operation Christmas Child Packing Party for the first time.  This is an annual event organized by my very dedicated Mom (with a lot of help from my Dad).  If you are unfamiliar with Operation Christmas Child (OCC), it is an organization that packs Christmas shoe boxes for children in poverty throughout the world.  The boxes contain hygiene items, school supplies, small toys, and candy.  My family has been packing boxes since I was a little kid.  My folks are now year-round volunteers with OCC and have taken their packing to a whole new level.  At the Packing Party, nearly 600 boxes were packed for boys and girls in the 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14 range.  The whole church participated in packing the boxes- young, old, and in-between.  It was really awesome to see!

Packing Party!

Packing Party!

Packing boxes

Packing boxes

My cute Mom :)

My cute Mom🙂

2. We had our Annual Thanksgiving Program at Mother’s Day Out.  This year was special because it was the first time Sammy was old enough to participate.  He did a great job!  He walked in with his class, sat on the stage steps, and clapped his little hands to the song.  Most of the other toddlers had meltdowns.

Sammy chillin' on stage

Sammy chillin’ on stage

3. One of the kids in the three-year-old class spent the program running around the stage, sticking his butt in the air, and generally behaving terribly.  If it was my kid, I would have yanked him off the stage and headed to the car for some punishment.  His mom just sat in the audience and laughed, which probably lets you know why he is the worst-behaved kid in the whole school.

4. We journeyed to Indianapolis to spend Thanksgiving with Mike’s family.  Sammy got to show off his mad walking skills, and we got to see Kristen’s cute preggo belly.  There was delicious food and even some snow!

5. While in Indianapolis, I met up with Miriam and Stuart for a fantabulous lunch at Tom + Chee.  (Tomato soup + grilled cheese)  I had never heard of this restaurant, but it was actually part of an investment deal on “Shark Tank.”  Miriam and I both tried the BLT + Chee, which was uh-mazing.  We were very dubious about their famous Donut Grilled Cheese, but decided to try out the S’more Donut.  Super rich but so good!!

Mmmmmm.......

Mmmmmm…….

Deep Thoughts by Heather

I am not someone who likes to get in arguments with people on Facebook.  I just figure, life’s too short.  So, in the midst of the furor surrounding the Ferguson shooting and the death of Eric Garner, I have kept quiet.  I don’t want to argue about racism or black vs. white or even about what happened in Ferguson.  I do want to take a stand against the vilification of police officers.  As the wife of a police officer, I feel I have that right.  So, here’s what I know:

My husband rides to work on a motorcycle in 20 degree weather.  He gives out speeding tickets, reckless driving tickets, and parking tickets- not because he thinks it’s fun, but because it’s part of his job.  He is generally cussed out at least once a night.  He works wrecks, writes reports, and helps direct traffic.  He risked his life to shut down the interstate so some idiot protesters wouldn’t get squashed like bugs by tractor trailers.  He does a job that is generally thankless and oftentimes dangerous.

Since Mike joined the police force in 2006, a police officer was shot while sitting in her car writing up a report and was paralyzed from the waist down.  Another officer was shot five times during a routine traffic stop and almost died.  Last May, an  officer was killed while working a wreck on 1-65.  Just last month, an officer was shot in the hip and will probably never walk normally again.  These are just the incidents that I remember, I am sure there have been many more.  This is a quote from an article in the Washington Post by a 17-year veteran of the LAPD.  I think it sums up what I’m trying to say:

“An average person cannot comprehend the risks and has no true understanding of a cop’s job. Hollywood and television stereotypes of the police are cartoons in which fearless super cops singlehandedly defeat dozens of thugs, shooting guns out of their hands. Real life is different. An average cop is always concerned with his or her safety and tries to control every encounter. That is how we are trained. While most citizens are courteous and law abiding, the subset of people we generally interact with everyday are not the genteel types. You don’t know what is in my mind when I stop you. Did I just get a radio call of a shooting moments ago? Am I looking for a murderer or an armed fugitive? For you, this might be a “simple” traffic stop, for me each traffic stop is a potentially dangerous encounter. Show some empathy for an officer’s safety concerns. Don’t make our job more difficult than it already is.”

The continued disrespect and animosity towards police officers is not going to help our community.  In fact, it will probably lead to more occurrences of teenage boys thinking it’s a good idea to point guns at police officers.  At the end of the day, I just want my husband to come home safe.  I think that’s what we all want for our loved ones.

Happy New Year! (Only 11 days late…)

So, I have again fallen off the blogging bandwagon.  I believe my last blog post was on November 8th.  Obviously, a lot has happened since then.  I am planning several summary blog posts- What I learned in November, What I learned in December, etc.  I also wanted to announce a new category of posts- Deep Thoughts by Heather.  Sometimes these will actually be deep thoughts, sometimes they will be funny (a la Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts on SNL), and sometimes they will just be me venting about something that bugs me.  I have discovered that I have some things to say that are difficult to address in the “Things I learned today” format.  Anyways, I hope you enjoy them, my three loyal readers!🙂

deepthoughts

Things I learned the last week or so- 10/31-11/8/14

1. Our Sammy is the cutest minion ever!!!!!

Sammy the Minion

Sammy the Minion

2. Halloween was cold and windy here in Nashville, so we only visited a few houses.  Sammy did not understand the point of trick-or-treating.  He thought we were going on a “ride” and got very upset whenever we stopped at houses for candy.

3. My Titans didn’t lose this week!  We had a bye.  My fantasy team continues to dominate and is now 8-1.  I also did well in the Pick ‘Ems and have moved up from 7th to 4th place.

4. I met up with some high school pals who were in town on Monday night.  I got to meet my friend Christy’s fiance, who seemed like a really nice, goofy guy.  I also got to meet my friend Tori’s two kiddos.  They are adorable!!  It was good to catch up and meet the faces to go with the Facebook pictures.

girlsandkids

5. Lots of facts about Henry Hudson- I am helping the 4th grader I tutor with a Social Studies project.  For example, Henry Hudson’s crew mutinied and left him, his son, and a few crew members adrift in a small boat in winter.  They are thought to have died from exposure, but no one knows for sure.

6. I am super behind on my TV watching, but I did watch the “Project Runway” season finale this week.  Sean won.  I honestly don’t have anything against him, I was just really rooting for Kini.

7. My high school friend Collen and his wife have been getting some press lately.  His wife covered his entire car with drawings/designs made with a Sharpie.  I know that sounds really weird, but it looks incredible!  There are several articles about it, but I liked the pictures in this one.  Here is the finished product:

Yeah, that's pretty freaking awesome.

Yeah, that’s pretty freaking awesome.

8. My parents lent me my sister Heidi’s tablet to try to put some apps on it for her.  I downloaded Farmville to try it out and see if I thought she would like it.  Dude, they should call that game Crackville.  It is seriously addictive.  I can almost understand why people are always asking me to play it so they can get a new cow.

Things I learned in the last week or so- 10/20-10/30/13

1. Jennifer Garner is officially my new favorite celebrity based on this quote while accepting an award at the Elle’s Women in Hollywood Celebration, “Can we just stop pretending that skinny jeans are a good look on anyone?  Can we just band together and go for a nice boot cut, please?  Ladies?  And crop tops while we’re at it.”

2. Yelling “Smile!” at kids when they aren’t smiling for their school pictures is not an effective way to get them to smile.  I may not be a fancy “photographer,” but I’m smart enough to figure that out.  Also, it really shouldn’t take over an hour to take pictures of nine 4-year-olds.

3. My Titans lost again on Sunday to Houston and are now 2-6.  Awesome.  They started rookie Zach Mettenberger, who was lookin’ super groovy at his press interviews.  Too bad it didn’t help us win…

That's our quarterback on the left.  You might recognize the other guy from such movies as "Zoolander" and "Dodgeball."

That’s our quarterback on the left. You might recognize the other guy from such movies as “Zoolander” and “Dodgeball.”

4. My fantasy team dominated (Sorry, Angela!), and I came in first place this week in the Pick ‘Em League.  I am still in sixth place overall, but I moved up from seventh place!

5. We took a great field trip to the Walden Farms Pumpkin Patch on Monday.  I did not drive, as I didn’t want to end up in a ditch again.  My kiddos had a good time picking pumpkins, climbing a hay tower, petting animals, and going on a hay ride.  I had a fun time too, but I was pooped by the end of the day!

6. When I picked up Sammy from my Mom’s house after tutoring on Tuesday, he felt really warm.  Little guy had a temperature of 102.3.  He has still been happy and playing like his normal self, but he had to miss his Halloween party.😦

7. My kids looked so cute for the Halloween Party on Wednesday!  We had a pirate princess, Daisy Duck, General Grievous from Star Wars, Batman, Robin, a ladybug, a dead pirate, an astronaut, and Anna from “Frozen.”  They had fun trick-or-treating, playing a variety of Halloween games, and decorating cookies.

These are just random kids in Halloween costumes.  I would get in trouble for posting pictures of my actual kids.

These are just random kids in Halloween costumes. I would get in trouble for posting pictures of my actual kids.

8. Doorjambs are the devil!  In this post, I told about one of my girls busting her lip and nose on one.  Well, on Wednesday one of my boys tripped and busted his head open on the doorjamb.  It was truly horrific.  The cut was so deep, you could see the bone.  Both of his parents were in Dallas, so his Grandma had to rush over to get him and take him to the ER.  We got the bleeding stopped and tried to keep him calm and awake until she got there.  I was still shaking an hour after it happened.  In good news, the CT scan did not show any damage, and he was stitched up and sent home.  In bad news, I am still pretty traumatized.

Update: I talked to his Mom this evening and he ended up getting 20 stitches!  Yeesh.

9. We are a whole family of sickies.  Mike stayed home yesterday and today, and I woke up not feeling so good this morning.  We have used this free time to watch a lot of “Sons of Anarchy” season six. (Only while Sammy is sleeping, of course!)

soasix

Things I learned in the last week or so- 10/8-10/19/14

1. Those things on the top of giraffes’ heads are called ossicones.  I kept telling my kids they were horns, but that is incorrect.  Unlike horns, ossicones are made out of cartilage and remain covered in skin or fur.

Whoa dude, check out those ossicones!

Whoa dude, check out those ossicones!

2. Sammy held his teacher’s hand and walked across the playground to me last Wednesday.  Yay!  He also busted a move and shook his maraca in Music class.  Sometimes he just cracks me up!

3. Mike, Sammy, and I spent a rainy Saturday watching movies.  We rented “Muppets Most Wanted” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” from the  Redbox.  I would recommend them both.  “Muppets Most Wanted” was good muppet fun, even Sammy liked it.  “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was exciting, entertaining, and a worthy addition to the Marvel superhero franchise.

4. I started my new tutoring job this week.  I think it went pretty well, but the youngest of the two boys is definitely a challenge.  He has a really negative attitude towards schoolwork and cries any time he doesn’t get his way.  We definitely have some things to work on!

5. My mom and I took Sammy to Walden Farms on Saturday for his first trip to the pumpkin patch.  He really liked riding a bike and tossing fake apples in the Toddler Town.  He laughed about getting his hand licked by a calf and seemed interested in the baby pigs, bunnies, and ducklings.  He did not like the pumpkins.  He picked out one tiny pumpkin and would not allow any other pumpkins in his wagon.  We had a great time!

Apple Toss!

Apple Toss!

Sammy with his tiny pumpkin

Sammy with his tiny pumpkin

6. When leaving the pumpkin patch, it is not a good idea to drive your Chevy Impala into a ditch.  Poor Sylvia got stuck, and after pushing her without success, the very nice Walden Farms workers had to hook her up to a truck and pull her out.  To add insult to injury, the people on the hay ride drove past us frequently, so there were lots of observers of my stupidity.  It was not a fun way to end our trip.

7. Mike and I watched “Transformers: Age of Extinction” on Saturday night.  None of the Transformer movies are paragons of plot, but this one was really confusing.  It just had too much going on, and not much of it was explained.  I did think the Dinobots were super cool, especially the one that breathed fire!

Dinobot!

Dinobot!

8. Last week, my Titans barely squeaked out a win against Jacksonville.  Sammie Hill blocked a Jaguars field goal with 12 seconds left in the game, and we won 16-14.  This week, Washington made a field goal with 12 seconds left in the game and beat us 17-19.  We are now 2-5, and I am sad.

9. Last week, my undefeated fantasy team was defeated.  I also dropped out of 1st place in our Pro Pick ‘Em League.  My fantasy team is winning this week, but I made a big move that backfired and have dropped even more places in the Pick ‘Em League.  Doh!

10. Super brief TV recap:

  • The four designers going to Fashion Week on “Project Runway” are Kini, Sean, Amanda, and Char.  I am so glad Korina is gone, as she is a heinous person with a bitter, spiteful soul. I am rooting for Kini all the way!
  • I was watching “Nashville” the other night, and Amanda from “Project Runway” was on!  She played Juliette Barnes’ stylist.
  • I like the format of this season’s “Survivor: Blood vs. Water.”  I haven’t really picked any favorites, but I am glad John Rocker is gone.  He’s a ginormous douche bag.
  • On “The Amazing Race,” I love the soul surfer team of Bethany and Adam.  They just seem like a genuinely sweet couple who work hard and really love each other.
  • I have added a new show, “How to Get Away with Murder.”  It is seriously addicting!

murder