Thursday, December 25

Merry Christmas


Just a quick post (Angela finally gave me official rights to publish to her blog) to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and to post some pictures.

Sunday, December 21

Christmas Happenings






I felt a little badly about my last post, so thought I ought to cheer things up a bit with a few pictures. Despite how I made things sound, we have had some fun this season. My favorite thing we do every year is cut down a Christmas tree. We've done this since Kate was one year old and it's fun. Every time we've gone it has been really cold, so we have to bundle up and we get hot cocoa and cider when we're finished. The other things I love about cutting down our own tree are that we can get a tree that's native to this area and we're helping the local economy - not to mention that it's cheap! (Where else can you get a 7-foot tree for $25?)

Kate couldn't stand it until we decorated the tree. It's her favorite thing to do. Half of our ornaments end up on the bottom two feet of the tree and we have to re-hang them after she goes to bed. This year she even got to help with the lights and she felt like such a big girl. The tree was flat on top for some reason, so I had to make a bow to put on top, but overall it's a very nice tree and I love the imperfect look of the Virginia Pine.

Kate and I have also enjoyed making a few batches of cookies and some treats for her friends at school. We made some white chocolate and peppermint covered marshmallows to enjoy with hot cocoa for school treats and some snickerdoodles. Both had to be rolled in something and Kate loved that job.

We attended the Christmas program for Kate's Mothers Day Out last week. The three-year-old class sang the Thankfulness Song and Away in a Manger. Kate did a great job singing with all the motions and didn't even pick her nose once! (I know some were disappointed after her stellar performance at church a few weeks ago...). They're so fun to watch on stage! However, today was the childrens' Christmas program at church and Kate chose not to participate because she doesn't like to wear costumes and her class dressed up like angels. Oh well!

Now we are awaiting the arrival of Nana and Grandfather to spend Christmas with us. After Christmas, we'll head to Illinois to be with the Coley clan and then home again to spend New Years Eve in Knoxville for the first time in years. We really are looking forward to the holidays, even if we aren't in the best of moods around here. We remember the reason for Christmas and are truly blessed to have been given a savior.

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 17

Bah humbug!

Things have been crazy around here for the past week or so. First of all, Owen is going through some weird phase or something. He won't nap, which is probably underlying everything else, but he's also just moody. Last week, he had a few bruises on his forehead from throwing himself onto the floor and plowing into furniture. He's also rejecting me and only going to James sometimes (what's up with THAT?!?). He has always had a temper, but last week he took both hearing aids out and threw them at me in one swift motion. That's when I took him to the doctor, because something's just not right! His tubes are clogged, but nothing that I would think would cause him to act like he is. Maybe he has molars coming in and they're making him crazy... On top of this, Kate is regressing and is vying for my attention ALL the time. She's even doing things for negative attention, such as hurting Owen. Nothing that would cause injury to him, but enough to make him cry. For no reason. Plus, it will not stop raining!! I hate dragging the kids out in the rain, so we're all feeling cooped up. Everyone in the house seems to be fighting off a cold and can't get enough sleep, no matter what. I just can't seem to get into the cheery Christmas spirit this year and secretly wish it would all just be over soon. Ok, enough complaining. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day!

Monday, December 8

Pics from our trip

I know I promised these a week ago. I'm SO behind!!! Enjoy this slideshow and I hope to post again soon.

Sunday, November 30

Thankfullness

Owen turned one year old today. It's been a crazy year with new worlds opened up to us and lots to learn. It's still hard to believe that it's been a whole year since Owen was born through such a crazy delivery (I was sent home and then he was born an hour after we went back in!) and he was taken to the NICU at Childrens hospital for breathing difficulties. It was tough, but we got through it and are still getting through. Owen is such a joy and has stolen many hearts. Our family has been blessed many times over since he came into our lives and I can't wait to see the ways in which we will continue to be blessed. With Owen's birthday so close to Thanksgiving, I have been very conscious recently of how thankful I am for all of the specialists and other people who look after Owen. We have some wonderful people taking care of us and I am very grateful for that. I started to make a list, but it was REALLY long, so I won't go into the details here. Anyway, we had a great time getting to celebrate with family. We don't get to do that nearly enough and getting to share this big day with them was very special. We all took lots of pictures, but I don't have time to go through them all now so I'll post a few soon. Sorry!

Happy birthday, sweet boy!

Sunday, November 2

A Few More Pictures

I forgot to post a couple pictures from our pumpkin patch trip (see post below).
Kate finally got to try a real climbing wall. She has always wanted to do one of these when we have seen them at various places, but has always been too small or it has been too expensive. It was only $3 to do this one and there was no line (and mom was off changing Owen) so we gave it a try. She got up about 12-15 feet before she got scared. Not bad for a 3-year old.



















Kate also enjoyed sitting on a tractor and pretending to drive it. I thought Nana would be proud. Finally, what good corn maze would be complete without a box full of corn to roll around in. I have to admit I have never been to one of these places, but I was not expecting to see this.

Trip to the Pumpkin Patch


Last Sunday we took a trip to the local pumpkin patch. There is a really popular one north of town with both a huge corn maze and a haunted corn maze (that supposedly simulates being buried alive). We did not partake of the mazes, but did do a "hay ride" to the pumpkin patch to pick out a couple pumpkins. It was great to just be together as a family and to enjoy the great TN fall weather. October has to be my favorite month in TN and the leaves this year are exceptional. We also ran into some friends at the pumpkin patch, another great part of living in Knoxville. Below are some pictures of our pumpkin experience.

Thursday, October 23

Random pictures of Kate

There has been so much going on with Owen that I haven't posted much of anything about Kate lately. Here are some random photos of her and the things she's doing lately. She has a pretty keen sense of fashion, as I'm sure you'll notice.

Ready for MDO with her (giant) princess backpack she picked out for 'school'


Playing "hopscosh" in the garage

Playing with Owen - such a wonderful big sister!

So grown up! She had gotten herself all ready for 'school' and was ready early!


Riding her trike in the garage with safety gear "in case she falls"
which she actually does - on purpose. I think she likes the sound
the helmet makes when it hits the floor (lightly).

This is the family portrait Kate drew on our trip to Oklahoma

Just one of her fabulous outfits

Kate's favorite thing to do is swing - which she can do all by herself!

Fashionista!
Kate is a big fan of the socks-and-sandals look, and knee highs

Dancing at Greekfest

Very excited to be riding the bus to Greekfest - she loves riding the bus!

Tuesday, October 21

Owen's glasses

Owen got his glasses today. Trying to get him to wear them is pretty frustrating. It can't help that he's teething and not sleeping well, so he's pretty cranky anyway. He has gotten better each time we've tried, so maybe it won't take too long to get him used to wearing them. We need to find a strap to hold them on his head and that might help. Right now, he just pulls them off pretty easily. The optician was very pleased with how the lenses turned out. His prescription can yield lenses that are very thick in the middle, but his look pretty good. They are so tiny!

Thursday, October 16

Daddy's Girl


The Sunday before last I got to take Kate birthday shopping with me. I had received some money from my parents, which Angela matched, and I wanted to buy a new bag for work. I have always had my eye on a messenger bag and really liked the reviews on the ones made by "Timbuk2". The zipper broke on my current bag so I thought this would be a good time to change. Anyway, I knew the local outdoor store carried these so Kate and I headed out while Angela and Owen took a Sunday afternoon nap. I had no idea what fun I was in for with Kate in the outdoor store. She is definitely daddy's girl and wanted to try on all the back packs, coats, fleece jackets, and shoes she could find. She also enjoyed climbing in the tents that were on display and talking about how we needed a boat (I agree, I really do want a kayak, but my birthday money didn't quite cover that). Below is a picture of Kate with an internal frame pack that actually fits her. This may be in her future in a year or two and I can finally get back on the trail. I can hope...

Friday, October 10

What a week!

I am so glad this week is over. With James out of town most of the week and several appointments both scheduled and emergency (everything is fine, but Owen gave me a little scare on Wednesday), I'm worn out! Lucky for me, though, my loving husband had today off and has been helping out to give me a little break. This could also just be that Kate REALLY missed her Daddy and won't have anything to do with me today. That's Ok, as we really needed a break from each other. She had MDO today, but she requested that he take her and pick her up from school and that I stay home with Owen! Now, they're at the park together. James went with me to have Owen's hearing aids adjusted and we were supposed to begin speech therapy after that, but with UT having fall break this week, they cancelled therapy (but didn't let me know). Oh well. Our plate was full enough anyway. This gave us time to come home and just enjoy a leisurely lunch and play with Owen.

All of Owen's appointments went well. Since last Thursday, he had appointments with the neurologist, ophthamologist (x2), ENT (otolaryngologist - bet you didn't know that one!), and audiologist - and the speech pathologist who canceled. I am thankful that we live here in town and don't have far to drive to visit all these specialists. The only news (since we already talked about the glasses and the pending ERG test) is that he has an ear infection. Strange that he would get this AFTER the tubes were placed, but hopefully it should clear up by next week, or we'll have to go back to the ENT. He is also not able to wear his hearing aid in the infected ear, as there is fluid draining, so we want that to clear up!

Next week should be back to normal, but with company. Both of our parents are coming next week (mine early in the week and James's toward the end) and we're excited to get in some good visiting with Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, and Grandfather! This means I'll have some help on the day I have to take Owen for his ERG. Things should hopefully slow down soon! But not before tomorrow. I am coaching Upward basketball with a friend and we have a game tomorrow and then we are helping host a dinner for The Restoration House tomorrow evening with our small group. Then we're resting for the remainder of the weekend (besides doing a little housecleaning before the guests arrive... but nothing major)!

Tuesday, October 7

Glasses on the way

I took Owen today to get his glasses ordered. He didn't mind when the first pair was put on his face, but it was pretty much over after that. Luckily, there were only three pairs to choose from (and one of those was a definite NO). And those were evidently special ordered for him after I called to make the appointment. This whole experience has felt like a wild goose chase. I feel like they said, "Your baby needs glasses. Good luck with that!" I would have loved to get Owen's glasses as the great "Teens and Tots" optical shop located conveniently within the Pediatric Ophthalmologist's office which had lots of frames to choose from, but for some reason it's 'cash and carry' and we'd have to pay much more out of pocket if we bought them outside of the provider network. So, we had to find a place on our provider list. Not only that, but they had to accept an outside prescription (luckily the doctor is widely known in Knoxville). Oh and by the way, HE'S ONLY TEN MONTHS OLD!! Not many places fit glasses for such little ones - and even if they say they do, most really don't. So, I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for a more kid-friendly optical shop on our provider list.

Anyway, we ordered a cute little pair of Disney brand wire frames in a dark copper "mocha" color. They look pretty much like this:

Monday, October 6

One of the boys

Kate's Mother's Day Out class this year consists of 11 boys and her. Yep, she's the only girl. I was warned about this last year and was offered the opportunity to switch days if I wanted her to be with more girls. If you know Kate, you know that she would have no problem in this setting and can keep up with the boys any day. It was pretty amusing to see her teachers get used to this over the first few weeks of class. They would love to report to me how she just gets right in the mix and plays with the boys. It also seems that Kate picks one of the boys to be her friend for the day and she leads him around by the hand. Everyone is interested to see who Kate's boy will be that day and the boys seem to feel special when they are picked. Anyway, I wondered if I would notice any change in her behavior attributed to all the male company she keeps. Well, I finally got my answer the other day. She had to go potty and James went to help her. I was down the hall in Owen's room when I heard James ask Kate, "What are you doing?". She said, "I'm going potty." And he said something like, "I don't think it will work that way" to which she replied, "But this is how the boys go potty". She was standing in front of the toilet with her pants around her ankles. I think she was trying to figure out how she was going to get it in there, because she just stood there for a few seconds until James finally convinced her she needed to sit down. That could have been a disaster.

Sunday, October 5

Just more fun

Owen had a few more doctors appointments this past week - one with a pediatric neurologist (PN) and then a followup with a pediatric ophthalmologist (PO). He has developed Nystagmus, which is to say that his eyes shake a little. A CT scan and MRI had both shown that everything looked normal with his brain, a very good thing, but his pediatrician wanted a PN to take a look just to be sure. The PN said he didn't see any evidence that the Nystagmus was caused by anything in his brain and he deferred to the PO to determine the cause. The PO said it could either be a muscle control issue or it could be due to the fact that he is very farsighted and his eyes shake because they're trying very hard to focus. Either way, Owen needs glasses. The PO had said back in March that glasses could be necessary if he hadn't outgrown the farsightedness by now, but I had all but forgotten that with all of the other things we've been trying to figure out in the meantime. All I could do was laugh about this news. Glasses? Really? He still won't leave his hearing aids alone, but at least I can cover them up with that silly hat! I can't imagine how hard it will be to keep glasses on his face! And how will that work, exactly, with the hearing aids? It seems like a lot of stuff will be sitting on his little ears. At least wearing glasses won't affect any sort of development (except possibly motor skills, but those can catch up). I worry that he doesn't wear his hearing aids enough and his speech will not develop properly. But, we start weekly speech therapy next week to help with that. We also have THE BEST early interventionist who comes to our house weekly to work with him (me) and keep tabs on his development - which seems to be right on track. Her area of expertise is hearing loss, but she's already making plans to bring someone knowledgeable about vision impairment with her to answer any questions we have. TEIS rocks! I'm so thankful for this State program and the fact that they try really hard not to let little ones slip through the cracks. Even through its flaws and restructuring (did I mention it's a State funded program?) everyone has done a great job taking care of us and I would feel really lost without their help.

So, we have a glasses prescription to fill. As soon as we have the glasses, I'll try to post some photos so you can see how cute Owen looks with them on. I had a glimpse the other day when I was talking to the optician about how to fit an infant in glasses and he was TOO CUTE! Have I also mentioned how thankful I am for his very good disposition? That should be of some help in getting him used to the glasses. The doctor also said that they see so much better with the glasses that it tends to keep them from pulling them off. I'm a little skeptical about that one, but we'll see (no pun intended)! Oh, and Owen also has to have an ERG (electroretinagram) done to see how his retinas are working. This is similar to the hearing test they performed on him in that it measures brain activity to sensory stimulus, in this case light, in patients who can't tell us what they see or hear. He'll also have to be sedated for the test. The PO said this test would somehow rule out any connection between the hearing loss and vision loss/Nystagmus.

Welcome to Holland! Or are we in Spain by now??

Wednesday, September 24

Bye Bye, Baby Weight!!

As of this morning, I am officially rid of all the weight I gained when I was pregnant with Owen. All 60 pounds! How did I do it, you might be asking? I'll tell you. Diet and exercise. I'll share a few of my secrets with you.

First, my exercise regimen. This consists of several games of tag in the backyard, followed by a few repetitions of "swing me" and/or "superman" using a 30-pound weight (Kate). Throw in a few games of "Ring-Around-the-Rosy" and "Hokey Pokey". Add to that cumulatively about an hour a day of pushing the same 30-pounds on the swing and "helping" on the slide (swinging her up in the air at the bottom). Generally, being playmate to an energetic three-year-old. On top of this, lugging 23-pounds (Owen - and he's constantly moving) around all day long and/or chasing that 23-pounds around the house and removing it from unwanted areas. It's no Michael Phelps workout, but I'd say I burn a few calories.

Oh yeah, and my diet? Well, I don't really have to watch too much, because I don't have too much time to eat. Between fixing food for Kate/the family and a separate meal for Owen, feeding Owen, plus making and feeding bottles in between, and the exercise regimen described above, there's not a lot of snack time (and sometimes no mealtime!). And if I'm not on the ball in the mornings, I might not eat breakfast.

I may be exaggerating a bit, but you get the point. Anyway, only 6 pounds to go before I'm back to my weight before kids altogether. I think I'll be there by the end of the year. Wish me luck (and energy)!

Tuesday, September 16

Simplify

Stuff. We have it. We want it. It's going on. We fill our lives with it. I don't know what exactly inspired me - I think it was a combination of events, conversations, and things that I noticed and/or read lately - but I'm trying to reduce the 'stuff' in my life. There's too much that gets in the way of the things that matter. And I'm not only talking about material things. Sometimes we let responsibilities, commitments, etc. take up our time also. Some of these are unavoidable, but some can be avoided. Some things matter and some really don't.

I'm going to try to simplify things that are cluttering my space and my brain. I'm starting with this blog. I thought I'd try a simple layout to remind me (because I'm sure I'll start letting 'stuff' creep back in). The next thing I'm going to do is try to simplify our groceries. Our pantry, cupboards, freezer, and fridge seem to get overstocked with things we don't need. Why should we have 5 kinds of cereal, 4 kinds of ice cream, 4 kinds of rice, 4 kinds of crackers, etc. (We don't have all these right now, I'm just saying). I'm going to try to do a better job of meal planning to have stocks of the things we need with limited snack options. I'll have to see how it works out, but I'm thinking it will reduce the grocery spending enough to allow me to buy more organics and whole foods.

I think overall our family does a pretty good job living simply, but I know there are areas where we could use some improvement. I don't remember how I navigated to it, but a site I'm enjoying lately is simple mom. She has a lot of good ideas that are practical. I know this is a common theme these days. Is anyone else on this bandwagon with some good ideas? I'll keep you posted as to my success in simplifying.

Friday, September 12

All Is Well

We have been busy since Owen's surgery with packing for our trip to Oklahoma, a quick trip to UT hearing and speach (see below), traveling to Memphis to visit with James' aunt, then to Arkansas to visit with Angela's dad's cousin, then finally to Oklahoma City to await Angela's sister's return from deployment in the United Arab Emirates. On top of that, James also traveled to DC this week on business and we have been visiting with the Coley extended family in town to welcome Carrie home.

So we apologize for not updating the blog regarding Owen's surgery. Bottom line though is he did great with the tubes. The surgery went really quick and everything went well. The longest part was the time afterward during which he had to be kept under anestesia while they ran another hearing test. We were disappointed to find out that his hearing has gotten worse instead of better. He now has moderate hearing loss to moderate-severe loss. It is still correctable with his hearing aids and luckily he had an appointment already on Friday so they were able to adjust them before we left on our trip. He is doing great with them and seems to be hearing really well now that they are adjusted correctly. It took Owen a couple days after the surgery (I am sure the alteration of his schedule due to our traveling did not help), but he is back to his happy self.

Our trip has gone well, although during the trip from the Little Rock area to Oklahoma city we came near to a complete family melt down. It had been too many days in the car on too little sleep and everyone's nerves were wearing a little thin. Angela diffused the situation well with an emergency ice cream stop. Otherwise the only other excitement was when Kate threw up on James during lunch on Sunday in downtown Little Rock. We think she had just had too much sweet over the last couple days and lost it all over James (four times while he could only sit in shock). This led to an emergency clothes change for James and Kate in the downtown Marriott (note: hotel lobby bathrooms are great places for quick pit stops and clothes changes) . We will head back toward Knoxville starting tomorrow. Hopefully the trip will be the best kind, uneventful... We will try to post some pictures when we get back.

Wednesday, September 3

Owen's surgery tomorrow...

Owen is getting tubes put in his ears tomorrow. It's a very minor procedure, but his audiologist requested another hearing test be done while he's under for the procedure. So, instead of being under anesthesia for 15 minutes for a 5 minute procedure, he will have an IV and a breathing tube and be out for 2 hours while they perform the hearing test after putting in the tubes. Still not a huge deal, but it's a bigger deal, at least to me. Plus, he can't have anything to eat after midnight tonight and no bottle within 6 hours. That should be fun. I've never seen a more dramatic child when he's hungry!

Anyway, if you think about it, please pray for our little guy tomorrow afternoon and for us as we wait for him to undergo the surgery and try to keep Kate entertained at Childrens' all afternoon. Come to think of it, that just might be the worst part! :)

I don't know if I've posted any pictures of Owen and his hat, but here are a few for your enjoyment. I know it makes him look a little "special", but it really does work to keep him from pulling his hearing aids out! My little 'Special Owen' aka 'hatboy'...


Monday, September 1

A Proud Moment of Parenting

It has been my goal since becoming a father to either get work or positive economic benefit from my children. I have come to realize that with the expense of raising kids today this is a great challenge and something I had expected to have to wait many years to realized. Yet today, I was able to realize one of my prouder moments as a parent.
Chick-fil-A was running a Labor Day promotion today where you could get a free three-piece chicken strip meal if you showed up between 10:30 and closing wearing clothing with a college football team logo. So, the Hemrick family made a trip to Chick-fil-A decked in our college logo t-shirts and got our twelve free chicken strips. Yes, I used my 9 month old son and three year old daughter to get free chicken strips. Seeing how Kate only ate one chicken strip and of course Owen is too young to each chicken strips, I basically got five free chicken strips which will be my lunch tomorrow. Score one for dad...

Note the LSU tiger t-shirt that Kate is wearing. We tried to get her to wear her UT t-shirt since they are playing UCLA tonight, but she insisted on wearing her "lion shirt". Thanks Nana...I am sure I had the only toddler in Knoxville today wearing LSU purple. We tried to balance her out with Owen and Angela in Orange (just to be fair I had on a UMR shirt and not a UT shirt). Owen looked like he was ready to start at center for the Vols tonight. That's my boy...

Saturday, August 30

Kate's Third Birthday

Kate turned three on August 24 and we had a great time celebrating. Her Nana and Grandfather came up to spend a long weekend, which was a big help and a lot of fun. We started off the day with a fundraiser pancake breakfast. During breakfast, I told Kate 'happy birthday' and she got upset, saying "But this isn't my party!" It's tough to explain the difference between the birthday party and the actual birthday. We had a great time at her pool party and the weather was terrific! It was a perfect set-up with a picnic pavilion adjacent to the giant kiddie pool. After the party, we stayed to spend a little family time at the pool and then went home so Kate could get a much needed nap. While she napped, James and his dad set up the swingset that we got her for her birthday along with Grandma and Grandpa. It was SO HOT and they worked really hard so it would be finished when she woke up. She was very surprised and had to swing on it right away! We had some pizza for dinner and then opened more presents. It was a great day! Kate enjoyed swinging on Sunday and Monday before tropical storm Fay made its way through mid-week. She was very disappointed when we couldn't go out and swing! Every time the rain let up for a minute, she was asking if we could go out and dry off the swings to play.


On a side note, Owen turned 9 months today. I can't believe it! Mainly, I can't believe how close he is to one year! Time is flying lately. I'll post some pictures of him soon.

Tuesday, August 19

Cutting Up and Being a Big Sister

Kate's big new thing is cutting with scissors. She will cut anything you give her (magazines, work sheets, pictures from the newspaper, things we get in the mail, etc.). Luckily I recently got a free subscription to Sports Illustrated (which comes weekly) and Golf Magazine, so there is ample cutting material. Plus, Angela found a great work book with cutting activities. Anyway, she has gotten pretty good at it. She cuts a pretty good straight line and has really progressed from when she started by cutting a little slit and then ripping the rest of the page. The first part of the video below is Kate cutting. Note the "Micheal Jordan" tongue action that cutting requires. She has made some beautiful collages that adorn our refrigerator.

The second part of the video is a typical example of Kate being a great big sister. She is really great with Owen. She watches him to make sure he does not take out his hearing aids, she plays with him and is quick to bring him toys (especially when he gets into her toys), and she loves to point out noises to Owen ("did you hear that airplane Owen...oh Owen, listen to that motor cycle...Owen, did you hear Mattie bark...). The video also displays her great imagination that never ceases to amaze me.

video

Tuesday, July 29

Rub your neighbor!

While watching the news the other day, the weather man came on and was talking about some extreme heat in Oklahoma and Arkansas - the heat index was around 90 at 9AM, which didn't bode well for the rest of the day. I remember thinking that my sister, who lives in Oklahoma, but is deployed, would be glad that she wasn't home - ha! Except I momentarily forgot that she is in the Persian Gulf, and the temperatures where she is are reaching about 120. For once, she probably wishes she was in OK (lol, Carrie)! Anyway, they were talking about that being the kind of heat where you want to be sure to check on your neighbors and elderly people you know because it can be dangerous. I was telling this story to James on the way to church and Kate, who always has open ears in the backseat, piped up "I want to hear 'Rub Your Neighbor!'" James and I couldn't keep ourselves from busting out laughing. It was so funny! The song she meant is a Veggie Tales song actually called "Love Your Neighbor", but she evidently hears rub instead of love and she sings very loudly RUB YOUR NEIGHBOR, WHEN SOMEONE (mumble... mumble...) STAND, IF YOU RUB YOUR NEIGHBOR, RUBBING IS RUBBING MY HANDS!"

I think it should go something like:
Love your neighbor.
When someone helps you then you'll understand
If you love your neighbor. Loving means lending a hand.

Sunday, July 20

Mission Complete

I made it through my three days of single parent hood. I realize that Angela handles two kids by herself all all the time, but she is a girl (just kidding, I do appreaciate more though what she goes through on a daily basis). Kate, Owen and I tried to stay busy so we did not miss mommy while she was off furniture shopping with her mom in Hickory and enjoying some time away at Biltmore on Sunday. We made a trip to the mall to play on the playground there (although we ended up just walking around and running around trees since there were a lot of kids on the playground and Kate was afraid) followed by a trip to McDonald's for a chocolate sunday. We went to the Farmer's Market on Market Square for muffins and to play in the fountain (again Kate got scared so we walked around all of downtown while Owen slept), and of coarse we went to the play ground to swing. Kate was a great big sister and helped out with Owen. Both kids did great and I really enjoyed my time alone with the kids. We are glad to have mom home though.