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!!




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!



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!


Things I learned in the last week or so- 9/11-9/20/14

1. Sammy is obsessed with Elmo.  Mike got him an Elmo DVD, and he will literally sit on the couch and watch all 50 minutes of it without moving.  In good news, I have used the DVD to bribe him into wearing his glasses.  No glasses, no Elmo!

2. Sammy is getting his two-year molars.  He has been chewing on his finger, not eating well, and waking up crying in the night.  NOT fun.

3. Mom and I went to our annual live theater performance for Mother’s Day on Friday night.  (It is my present to her for Mother’s Day, but we don’t always find a show we want to go to until many months later.)  We attended “Singin’ in the Rain” at the Springhouse Theater in Smyrna.  It was such a good show!  I didn’t realize I knew so many songs in it.  Everyone did a great job, but the guy playing Don Lockwood was AWESOME!  He is apparently a professional tap dancer.  Mom and I think it is the best show we’ve seen at Springhouse, for sure.


4. Mike and I rented “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” from the Redbox on Saturday night.  It was good- exciting, entertaining, and worth $1.20.

5. Mike, Sammy, and I returned to our favorite trail around Couchville Lake on Sunday.  This week, there were no Lost Loonies, as referenced in this post, but we did see a mother deer and her baby very close-up.  People were actually feeding the mother deer tortilla chips by hand.  I took a few pictures of the super cute fawn.

Oh Deer!

Oh Deer!

6. My Titans lost to Dallas on Sunday, 10-26.  We looked about as pathetic as we made the Chiefs look last week.  Super sad face.

7.  I was rather unhappy to see one of the kids in my class sporting a Dallas jersey Sunday night.  His mom, who is my class helper, told me they had just been to the game.  The kid says, “My uncle plays for the Cowboys.”  I asked him who his uncle was, expecting him to say some name I’d never heard of.  He said, “Jason Witten.”  I about fell out of my chair!  “Jason Witten, seven-time Pro Bowl tight end is your uncle?!!”  That is crazy sauce.

8. In happier football news, my fantasy team won this week and is now 2-0, and I am still in first place in the Pro Pick ‘Em League.  Go me!

9. Mike did some research and discovered that the tiny dancing Groot I requested for my birthday is not available until January 2015.  Bummer!

10. Sammy’s new favorite word is funny.  He says it about everything.  “Dada, fun-nee.  Mama, fun-nee.  Dog, fun-nee.”  He’s so funny. 🙂

Silly Sammy!

Silly Sammy!

Things I learned in the last week or so- 9/2-9/10/14

1. You can buy a tiny dancing Groot!  I would like one for my birthday please. 🙂

So cute!

So cute!

2. My friend Katie came over on Thursday to eat tacos and watch “The Lego Movie.”  We both loved “The Lego Movie.”  It’s hilarious!  I have also added it to my birthday list.  (Have I mentioned it’s my birthday soon?!) Warning: If you choose to rent and watch “The Lego Movie,” the song “Everything is Awesome” will get stuck in your head for the unforeseeable future.

3. Sammy loves Cracker Barrel mac ‘n’ cheese.  He scarfed down an adult-sized portion and made the sign for more.

4. Mom and I spent some time shopping in Nolensville on Saturday morning.  We checked out the Tots 2 Teens Consignment sale and snagged some cute clothes and shoes for Sammy.  Then, we wandered around a store we have wanted to check out for some time- Polka Dots and Happy Thoughts.  It is full of fun gifts, baby stuff, and jewelry.  I will definitely be back!

5. It was a beautiful day on Sunday, so Mike, Sammy, and I headed to one of our favorite trails to take a walk.  We arrived to discover our normally quiet Couchville Lake trail teeming with people.  We also saw lots of signs declaring “Lost Loon This Way” and “Be True to Your Loony Self.”  It turns out, we had wandered into the Annual Lost Loon Triathlon- a biking, canoeing, and running/walking event open to adults and children of all ages.  We still went on our walk and got to do some fun people watching.

We saw this rather masculine Snow White and his crew of dwarfs.

We saw this rather masculine Snow White and his crew of dwarfs.

6. My Tennessee Titans beat the Kansas City Chiefs 26-10 on Sunday and are starting the season 1-0!  I love starting the season with a win.

7. My fantasy team won and I am in first place in our Pro Pick ‘Em League.  I’m super pumped about this first week of football!

8. Ricky won “So You Think You Can Dance.”  He and Valerie have been my favorites since the first week, and they were the Final Two.  Maybe my favoritism curse is broken?  I really loved everyone in the Final Four, but Ricky is amazingly talented.  Congrats Ricky!


Things I learned lately- 8/26-9/1/14

1. Rodman won “Last Comic Standing.”  I was rooting for Nikki Carr, but I thought that all of the finalists were really funny, so I am okay with it.

2. I just started watching this season of “Project Runway,” because my DVR refuses to record it.  (Stupid DVR, why don’t you do what I say?!)  I am really confused by the judges’ taste this season.  I don’t think I’ve agreed with a single winner they have chosen.  I mean, Sandhya has won twice, and while I like her as a person; her designs are hideous.  Amanda has also won twice, and I hated both of her winning looks as well.  I usually agree with who the judges send home, but their winning picks are wackadoo!!

This was Sandhya's winning look in the first challenge.  It's just...I can't....I don't understand!

This was Sandhya’s winning look in the first challenge. It’s just…I can’t….I don’t understand!

3. I participated in my first live Fantasy Football draft on Thursday night.  I got the first pick, which was great, but then I got a little stressed.  I ended up picking too many running backs and not enough wide receivers.  I also picked two quarterbacks who have byes the same week.  Doh.  I think I might have done better if I just let the computer pick.

4. Sammy took seven steps by himself during Physical Therapy on Friday.  We have been practicing his “walkies,” and he is getting so much steadier and sure of himself! He has also learned a few new words and phrases: fly (butterfly), pay! (play!), sit (he says this while patting the floor next to him), and I did it! (He usually says that last one after accomplishing something, like throwing a ball and hitting you in the head.)   He has also learned my sister Heidi’s name, which he pronounces “Hi-DEE,” and is now calling my dad “Baba.”

Gratuitous pic of Sammy being adorable

Gratuitous pic of Sammy being adorable

5. Mike and I rented “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” from the Redbox on Saturday night.  I really like Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man.  He is just the right combination of sarcastic and snarky, but also kind and compassionate.  This is an entertaining movie that I really enjoyed until, *MAJOR SPOILER ALERT* Gwen Stacy/Emma Stone dies.  I hate when the superhero’s girlfriend dies!  It is a big reason why I dislike “The Dark Knight.”  Well, that, and Heath Ledger’s “Joker” is terrifying.  Anyways, I do not recommend this movie because of the death of Gwen Stacy.  Superhero movies are supposed to be fun, not sad and horribly tragic.  Also, Emma Stone is awesome and doesn’t deserve to die, even fictionally.

6. My folks kept Sammo Sunday night so Mike and I could have a Date Night- woo woo!  We ate dinner at Panera Bread and went to see “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  This is the first time we have gone to the movies since “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” last December.  I LOVED “Guardians of the Galaxy!!”  It was hilarious, exciting, heart-warming, and had an amazing soundtrack (Awesome Mix, Vol. 1).  My favorite character was Groot, a walking tree/plant thing voiced by Vin Diesel, who made me laugh, cry, and busts out some sweet dance moves in the last scene.  I highly recommend “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  In fact, stop what you are doing, and go see it now!!  You will thank me, I promise.

Tiny dancing Groot

Tiny dancing Groot

7.  There were all kinds of little kids in the movie theater for “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  Yes, it does have a talking raccoon and tree, but it is NOT a kids movie.  The little girl a few seats down from me couldn’t have been older than 3.  Poor thing is going to have nightmares for sure.  Plus, the movie started at 7:30 and didn’t get out till after 9:30.  Do we not believe in bedtime anymore?  I swear, there is a serious lack of common sense in this world.

Things I learned in the last two weeks or so- 7/31-8/14/14

1. Sammy is doing so many new things, I am going to have to use bullet points to tell about all of them.  🙂  Here goes:

  • He has begun trying to do forward rolls.  Most of the time he just falls over, but he has accomplished a couple of almost somersaults.
  • He has learned more new words- eye, nose, juice, bus, mess, Melmo (Elmo), and please. (He rubs both of his hands on his belly while he says please, which is close to the sign language for please, but much cuter.)  His current favorite word is eye, which he says while poking you in the eye.
  • He has started calling my Dad “Bubba,” instead of Papa.  This cracks all of us up, as my Dad is about as far from a Bubba as you can get.
  • He can climb onto the couch and his little rocking chair by himself.
  • In Physical Therapy on Friday, he stood on his own for 9 seconds and took 1 step by himself.  Yay Sammy!!!!

2. Mike had to work traffic for last week’s Miley Cyrus concert and was appalled by the stupidity of the concertgoers’ parents.  He put one driver in a time-out.  “You just sit there for a while and think about what you did.”  He wrote another driver a ticket for chirping their tires and honking at a pedestrian.  The driver complained, “They were walking too slow.”  Mike replied, “He can lay in the middle of the road and make road angels, and you still have to wait for him!”  I can’t say I am surprised that those attending or allowing their children to attend a Miley Cyrus concert are not so bright.

3. Sammy and I met my friend Angela and her two kiddos at the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro last Thursday.  At first, Sammy was very overwhelmed and I wasn’t sure he was ever going to get out of his stroller.  However, he found a train to scoot around the floor with, and then became fascinated by a mysterious floating ball.  He loved the climbing room in Tot Town- I think he could have stayed in there all day!  We will definitely be back.

That floating ball is so cool...

That floating ball is so cool…

I love climbing and sliding!

I love climbing and sliding!

4. When making Greek Salad Skewers, be aware that the feta cheese cubes will crumble into tiny pieces as soon as you try to push them onto the skewer.  This will lead to stress and panic, causing you to yell, “The feta cheese keeps crumbling!”  Your husband will answer, “Isn’t that what feta cheese is supposed to do?”

5. I attended an awesome baby shower at our neighbor’s house Saturday night.  There was yummy food, cocktails, and lots of laughter.  I did not have to try any baby food or sniff candy bars melted into diapers.  Best. Baby Shower. Ever.

6. I have switched to volunteering for Little Kids’ Choir on Sunday nights, and this Sunday was our first week.  I thought it went really well!  We had 14 funny little first graders in our room, and they were mostly well-behaved.

7. I have gotten two new little girls in my room this week.  One of them is sweet, well-behaved, and loves coloring.  The other one does not want to do anything that I tell her, hates coloring, and is probably going to drive me crazy.

8. So, my eyebrow lady dyed my eyebrows when I went to get them waxed on Tuesday.  I think they are a little dark.  Every time I look in the mirror, I am reminded of that time I dressed as Viola Swamp for Storybook Character Day at school.

Pippi Longstocking and Viola Swamp

Pippi Longstocking and Viola Swamp

Things I learned lately-7/25-7/30/14

1. Sammy’s physical therapist was really excited about all the progress he has made!  He walked almost the whole way from the dining room to the living room behind his push toy for her on Friday.  He’s such a show-off. 🙂

2. Mike and I got to spend some much-needed time together at the wedding of our good friends’ son, Josh, on Saturday.  The wedding was an hour and a half away in BFE, Tennessee.  (Also known as McMinnville)  The wedding was lovely, the cake was delicious, and it was fun hanging out with our small group friends.  The bride actually rode up to the outdoor ceremony on her horse.  I have to give her some major props for bravery and uniqueness.  I have definitely never seen that before at a wedding!

The happy couple

The happy couple

3. McMinnville, TN is the self-declared “Nursery Capital of the World.”  Apparently, there are over 300 nurseries in McMinnville and the surrounding area.  I am not sure how they know this is the most in the world, but I guess I will believe them.

4. When I was driving on Sunday, a chicken ran across the road in front of my car.  I thought to myself, “I wonder why that chicken crossed the road?”  Then I laughed.  Hee…


5. Ding dong, the mouse is dead!  Ding dong, the smarty mouse is dead!  He was found by my assistant Ryan on the sticky trap, not moving.  He will not be missed.

6. When opossums play dead, it is actually an involuntary response to being threatened, like fainting.  I learned this fun animal fact from the PBS show, “Wild Kratts.”  Sammy is a fan, and it is actually a pretty entertaining show.

7. Sammy has learned some more new words.  Sadly, one of them is no.  He is very good at shaking his head no, but that is way cuter than hearing the word.  He is also saying bobos (bubbles) and oy.  I’m not really sure where he picked up “oy” from…

8. Today was Water Day at Mother’s Day Out. (Not Fun!)  It was also the last day for most of my kiddos starting Kindergarten.  I actually got kind of sad saying goodbye to the kids and the moms.  They are really a sweet group of kids and I will miss them! 😦