Thursday, September 30, 2010

Congratulations Grandaddy

Today was a really big day for my family but it sort of went unnoticed. After 33 years of working for the government (first as an army officer and then in several civilian capacities), my wonderful dad retired! I can't believe it. My entire life I have seen him get up and go to work every day. He is an amazing man and has truly had a wonderful career. He has set an great example of what hard work can do.

This morning he went and turned in his badge and it was all over. To celebrate the kids and I went out to lunch with him. That was fun! He has great retirement plans to travel (starting tomorrow), work around the house and play with the kids! He actually has another contract job that is pending right now so he does plan to go back to work for a few more years (hey he is only 55 - that is young!). But for now we are enjoying saying he is retired. We are really looking forward to his retirement present to himself (it involves us and a wonderful trip next summer).

So - Happy Retirement Dad!! I love you!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Car Seat Fruit Basket Turn Over

Can I just start by saying I am so blessed!! We have had much more low key week this week and I am just taking time to enjoy my kids and my wonderful husband. I feel like sometimes I get so busy that I don't take time to stop and enjoy the wonderful people (big and small) that God has given me! So this week I am taking the time to just enjoy!

We have had an awesome week so far. The kids have enjoyed school and playing. I am still tackling that to do list and getting more knocked off. Work has been busy lately but there have been some really awesome patients that I have been enjoying (there I go again with enjoying). Ben had a birthday party tonight at Pump It Up that he can't stop talking about.

So now for the real reason for the post. We finally bit the bullet last week and switched around the kiddos car seats. Kate was getting a little big for the infant seat and needed to move up to a full sized car seat. Ben hit 40 pounds so he had to move out of the car seat. I was not sure about moving him into a booster seat but thought we would try it and see how it went. He loves his new seat. He likes that he can get himself in and out easily but he still sits great in it. Best of all for him it has cup holders!! Kate is enjoying her new much more comfy full sized seat as well. Timing worked out great that Ben moved out of his seat just as Kate needed it. It was like we planned it that way or something : )

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Lot of Growing in 3 Years

3 years ago this month we bought a seedling tree that was grafted from the Toomer's Corner oak tree in Auburn. We wanted to have a little piece of Auburn in our backyard. We weren't sure how the tree would do but we planted it anyway! This was planting day 3 years ago.

The tree was tiny! Our little guy was so tiny as well!
Three years later here is what it looks like...The tree is doing awesome. It is growing great. I think it is almost big enough for us to roll after big games. What do you think? Not only has it grown but the little guy has as well. The tree has finally passed him in size. What a difference 3 years makes.
Had to throw in one of him being silly! I can't believe I dressed him in orange and blue for both sets of pictures. That was not on purpose.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Family Dinner Night

Today was a super productive day around the Eckley house! I love those kinds of days. Every week I have a "to do" list. This week's list has 17 things on it. I got 8 marked off today!! YEA!! I would call that a success. One of the biggest things I got done was putting the kids fall clothes into their closets. This is always a HUGE undertaking. I have been stashing away clothes for this fall for months so I finally got them all out today and into the closets. I know it is still somewhat warm. I left out some warm weather clothes but the cool morning weather made me want to get this done. I think I went a little overboard as always on the clothes. But I promise I don't think I paid over $5 for anything in either of their closets.

My awesome friend Lisa who we saw this weekend is a professional counselor with the Alabama Baptist Children's Homes. She is in charge of all of their social media. She writes a blog column and does Twitter and Facebook for them. Cool job if you ask me. Anyways - they have been talking about family dinner night for the last couple of weeks. Asking for suggestions about what to talk about and how you "do" family dinners. I talk a lot about that with my job as well. Did you know that people who sit down to eat dinner as a family are less likely to gain weight because when you sit down to eat and talk you eat less!! That is a cool little fact for you. So in my job when I counsel families I encourage them to sit down and eat together. It is great for your health and family. Right now with little kids it is an easy thing to do but I hope as the kids grow we are able to continue the tradition of sitting down to dinner. A question for all you blog readers - How many nights a week do you think is reasonable to have family dinner night? I tell my patients 4-5. Is that too many? Too few?
We took some pictures of our family dinner tonight...

Fun stuff! I love our dinner conversations. With a 3 year old they are always interesting. Plus it gives Matt and I a chance to catch up as well.
And to close out here are a couple of pictures of the kiddos! I didn't take any all last week so I need to catch up this week. I love Kate's expression!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Living for the Weekend!

I love weekends!! There is nothing better than hanging out together as a family. I love it on Saturday mornings when Ben comes into our room and says "Daddy you're home!" After a long week that was really busy, we were in need of some down time.

Friday night wasn't down time. It was the annual LIFT dinner at our church. This is our big ladies event. We had 420 ladies attend the dinner and speaker event. Since I am on the women's ministry committee, it was a lot of work leading up to Friday to get it all together. The event went great. Each table is in charge of creating a table scape. We worked hard on ours and it turned out awesome... The theme was "Divine Design" and our table went off the theme of how God divinely designs us in our mother's womb. It was so cute! The whole night was a lot of fun. I enjoyed hanging with some great friends. Matt and the kiddos had a great time at home as well.

Saturday was a super relaxing day. We just hung out at home. Well Ben didn't. His busy social calendar seems to always be full. He actually went to a play with my parents at the local high school. They said he had an awesome time. It was a play of some of my favorite books as a child "Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" and "Miss Nelson is Missing." I am so glad he enjoys things like plays and movies!

Matt and I just hung out at home and cleaned our house which had gotten pretty messy. We also enjoyed some football!!! YEA!! Some awesome games were on yesterday so it was fun to just chill and watch the games.

Last night we were so honored to have a visit from some great friends! Kevin and Lisa Keane came up for a visit from Birmingham. Lisa is our awesome friend from college. This was actually the first time that we got to meet her husband. We had a wonderful time getting to know him and just hanging with them. We watched the Auburn game together and enjoyed some great football food. I am so glad they were able to come up for a visit. We can't wait to get together again soon. I just love Lisa and always enjoy any time we get to spend together.

Now it is back to the real world and the regular work week. But it will be great I am sure!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Cuties

It has been one of those weeks. I feel like I have not sat down since we got home from our vacation last Friday. It has just been one thing after another. We have left the house before 8 every morning and are lucky to get home early afternoon. Some days I wasn't home until late at night. Just lots going on - work has been busy, stuff to do at church and appointments. I am so thankful for my super easy and flexible kids that just roll with the punches. I write more about what has been going on later.

Just wanted to share a final few pictures from our trip. When we were at the Dillard House there was a cool fence area that I thought would be cute for some pictures. They did turn out good! I couldn't get one of them together but I will take what I got...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vacation Misadventures

For some reason I have never been able to go on vacation without some sort of crazy adventure. It just seems like par for the course when it comes to vacations. Sometime I will have to tell you about my family's adventure in Paris going through the redlight district being led by a wino. Crazy times!!!

Anyway - our mountain vacation was pretty tame but we did have a few "fun" adventures. One of them was just getting to our cabin. It was on the side of a mountain and the realtor had warned me the road was a little steep and hard to get up but we figured we would be ok. We got there late on Friday night and it was totally dark. We get about halfway up the mountain and get stuck!!!! We cannot go any further. Of course cell phones don't work in the middle of nowhere. We weren't even sure we were in the right place. So I have to get out of the van and help direct Matt backwards down the mountain. Note the large prickly bushes I had to stand in. By this point we are so frustrated all we can do is laugh. We had no idea what we are going to do. We decided to head back to town and try to call my parents. Thankfully we met my dad on the road down the mountain. We were able to load ourselves and some of our stuff in their SUV and make it up. We figured out the van was just too heavy with all our stuff to make it up. So once we lightened the load Matt could get up. It was just really funny and sort of crazy at the time. I felt like we were going to be stuck sleeping in the car and then getting killed by and axe murderer.

Our other crazy adveture came on our hike on Thursday. Matt had researched this great place to go hiking. So we drive 6 miles off the beaten path. Then we get on a gravel road and travel another 4 miles. Yep 4 miles on a really bumpy gravel road. It was a slow go. We finally get to the trail and this is what we see...
Yep 1 hour of driving and it is closed! We were mad. But what can you do. We made the best of it and hiked the trail to see the construction. Then turn around and start driving back down the gravel road. We saw a sign for another trail so we head down another gravel road and this is where we end up... Yep the trail led to some sort of radio tower place. Really crazy. Oh well! It was funny. The best laid plans of mice and men. So that day was just full of a bumpy ride and a dirty car.

I think the misadvetures of vacations are what make them so special. 20 years we will remember these things and smile!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Some Exciting Finishes

So there were a couple of exciting finishes around our house this weekend. First off - the Auburn/Clemson game!! Woo Hoo! That one was a crazy one. We had a busy Saturday so we just hung out at home watching the game after the kiddos went to bed (DVR is wonderful for football and kids - you can pause live TV!!). Auburn came from behind and won in a very dramatic fashion that is so typical of Auburn. Needless to say we were on the edge of our seats. When the kicker missed the field goal in overtime, Matt jumped up and hit either his hand or head (we aren't sure) into the wall leaving a nice sized dent. Yes my sweet mild mannered husband dented our wall...

He was a little embarrassed by his actions! I think it is funny. Now we have to figure out how to fix the wall.
The other big finish was the playset!!! We so thought it was going to be a several week project but Matt and his dad cranked the thing out and finished it in ONE day!!!!! So exciting!! Yesterday afternoon after naps the kiddos got to play on it for the first time. So much fun.

This was more to show of Kate's cute smocked cheerleader dress...

It is so awesome!!! The first thing Ben asked me this morning when he woke up was if he could go play on "his playground." So fun!! Thank you so much Mema and Opa!!! We are going to spend hours on it.

Sunday night we got to do something a little crazy. We went to a dinner party hosted by the doctor Matt works with at the St. Jude clinic. She and her husband recently moved here from California and they were featured on the HGTV show "House Hunters." They had over a million dollar budget to buy a house in Huntsville. It was a fun show to watch and see which house they picked. They picked a house that is actually in our neighborhood (the much nicer and more expensive end of our neighborhood). So we got to go check out the house yesterday. It was even better than it looked on TV. It was HUGE!!! There were so many big rooms. The party was lots of fun and we enjoyed just gawking at the house. I forgot to take a picture of the house when we arrived so I stole this tiny picture off the internet.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mountain Vacation Part 2

Well, here I am again with more pictures and commentary on the trip.

One thing I love about vacation is how you don't have to dress up. You don't even have to wear make up because you won't see anyone you know! Love it!! We did dress up one night and go to a "nice" restaurant. I put that in quotes because it was in a gas station. It was a really nice place with great food but in a gas station! We took some pictures of everyone before we left.

This was the view off the porch! Paradise!

Wednesday we went gem mining. Franklin is the gem mining capital of the world. So there are all these places where you pay for a bucket of dirt then look through it for rocks. Ben enjoyed doing it. It was fun to see him get excited about the rocks. He can't wait to take them to school.
This is also what we did a lot of on the trip. Lots of naps!! It was great. We all enjoyed the down time away from our busy schedules. We read lots of books and just enjoyed hanging together. We barely turned the TV on all week and our phones didn't work up there.
Thursday we went hiking at Wayah Bald. Funny story about that to come. It was a great place to lookout and see 3 states. So beautiful!
For lunch we went and ate at the Dillard House in Dillard GA. It is a family style restaurant where they serve you all the good Southern home cookin' at the table! Yummy!!
This little girl loved it! I think she ate her weight in food.
The Dillard House is set on beautiful grounds and they have a petting zoo that the kids loved. Love this face!
Ben talking to a goat!

A cow we think.

The horses
Kate loved all the animals.
So that is it. I won't bore you with more. It was a great vacation! We had a blast. We did some fun things but also just enjoyed our time together away. Now it is back to real life!!