Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Potty Training Take 1

We started trying out this whole potty training thing today. Abraham was very excited about his Diego underwear and ran around all morning with it on. I used a timer and every time it went off (about every 45 minutes) it was potty time. So... 3 pairs of underwear later and nothing in the potty, I gave up and did a diaper when we went to the playground. I realize that he is still young so it's not going to be easy, I get that. But really...

I must admit, I am a bit sad. My baby is wearing big boy underwear. His little toosh looks so cute in the underwear but the realization that my baby is growing up brings a tear to my eye. What is next? Kindergarten? First crush? First broken bone? Middle School? Prom? Drivers License? College? Marriage? I know, I know... I am getting WAY ahead of myself but it goes so quickly. I don't want to miss any of it. I want to make the most of every moment I have with him. You never know when you might not have that time with your kids.

So, turn the TV off. Get off the computer. Play with your kids. Read books together. Run around like you are a kid yourself. Cuddle and kiss them until they can't take it anymore.
Make the most of the time you have. Live life to the fullest. Enjoy the moments. Capture the memories in your mind.

(I am saying this to myself as much as I am saying it to anyone who actually reads this blog... and I'm wondering how I got from potty training to this...?? Sorry..)

Two of Michael's sisters are hiking the Appalachian Trail so they weren't home while we were there. We got to visit with Emily for a bit at the beginning of the week but it's Elliott that we don't often get to see much. This visit was different because we got time with Elliot. Swimming, puzzles, and wrestling with Uncle Elliott were some of Abraham's highlights.

This guitar that he has was the bane of our existence for 4 days... whoever gave it to him should be slapped, ahem Beth!? He carried it around with him everywhere and seranaded us all with his songs. I hid the recorder from him as well as the drums he "found" too...

'Ole! Mucho gusto!

Playing with Grandpa John

Kay took us to the Yellow River Game Ranch where we came face to face with all sorts of animals that we were able to pet. We got up close and personal with deer, pigs, burros, goats, bears, mountain lions, foxes, all sorts of birds... etc. This was a place that Kay used to bring her kids 20 years ago and it is still in operation. We had a cool time together. Elliott was able to take the afternoon off and hang out with us. Thanks El!

Grandma Kay gets into feeding the goats.

Elliott and Abraham and the billy goats.

Daddy and Abraham with the "ugly pig"... no seriously it WAS ugly!! The thing was so fat that it could hardly move towards us. And feeding it... you have got to be kidding me! Took me 5 minutes to figure out where his mouth was! Abraham wasn't too interested in him...

The deer just came up to us and weren't afraid at all. It was pretty cool. They were so sweet!

This pig was much better looking than the other one!

Abraham must have gotten tired of giving all the peanuts to the animals because as you can tell he is starting to eat them himself! We DO feed him, really we do!

Yea, so NOT interested in pictures with Momma... the animals are SO much more interesting!

Fun with the fishes... and Grandma Kay!

We took a day and went to the Georgia Aquarium with Grandma Kay. It is something that we have always wanted to do. Now that Abraham is a bit older we thought he'd really enjoy it... and he did! It is the world's largest aquarium and let me tell y'all it was AWESOME! A ton better than the Baltimore Aquarium. What I liked the most was the BIG and I mean BIG windows where you didn't have to fight the crowds to see the animals. There were lots of people but because of the size of the rooms and windows it was manageable.
They had this cool tunnel which went under one of the tanks so the fish and sharks and animals were swimming above you.

We actually took a picture of the three of us (the only one for the whole trip!) and it came out pretty good IMO!

These were 2 of my favorite animals of all - the beluga whale was incredibly graceful and the peach jellyfish was beautiful against the blue background. LOVED IT!

Grandma Kay with her "boys"

Abraham loved the big windows too!

This picture was a STRUGGLE friends!

This tank was MASSIVE and had a cool whale shark in it with all the little fish.

Thank the Lord they had a play area in the aquarium too or we would have lost him for sure! This opening was a tube configuration for kiddos to climb in.

We had a really nice day, enjoying the time together as a family.

Visiting with Grandma Kay and Grandpa John

We started our time back at Michael's mom's house with a nightly visit to the campground meeting at Salem Campground. The campground has been around for a while and many churches participate in it. I would relate it to an outdoors Revival service here. Anywho, it was a nice time to see people from Kay's church and some old friends of Michael's as well.

Then Kay and Michael's sisters gave us a day out and watched Abraham for us. We had lunch at The Varsity which is THE thing to do if you are in Atlanta. I would equate it to eating crabs in Maryland. It has been around since 1928 and serves cheeseburgers, hotdogs, corndogs, fries etc... I am a cheap date folks and not a high maintenance girl. That isn't to say that I don't like to dress up and have good food but this worked for me! It is also one of the first places that Michael took me to when we were dating and I flew down to visit him. So it has a special place in my heart... I had left the camera in the car or we would have had a picture just like we did 7 years ago! You lucked out honey!!

We also discovered that we have a little fish for a son! A good friend of mine gave us the swimmies which were perfect for him. Our little independant son wanted NO help jumping in off the side of the pool and did quite well amazingly. Swam like he had taken classes - but of course hadn't! He is a natural in water.

He got very brave and decided to jump off of the diving board as well. Going under didn't scare him and kept wanting to do it more. Wore out Michael's arms catching him!

Fun at the Waterpark with Gramie and Grandpa

Here are the REAL pictures of the waterpark to add to the other post.
Fun at the Waterpark - Abraham LOVED it and wouldn't get out! They had a small part for the littlest kids and it was PERFECT for him!

Fun with Gramie

Riding Daddy in the Bee

I'm SOO Tired!!

Gramie and Abraham in the airplane

Mommy and Abraham

There was a small petting zoo as well - Abraham was taken by the baby goats.

I LOVE this one of me and my boy!

Abraham and Grandpa on the Carosel.

Visit with Gramie and Grandpa

Phew! Well, we are home from visiting the family in Georgia. Actually we got back on Friday... it's just taken me this long to get the pictures off of my camera, organized and ready to post! It's quite the task folks - and I had no where NEAR the 600+ pictures that my sister had of their vacation!! (Sorry sis!) So here they are friends - memories of our trip down home.

We spent the first few days with Michael's dad and his step-mom. We enjoyed swimming in a fresh water spring in FL, riding rides and playing at the water park, and going to church with them. With only one minor incident, (I left keys in the hotel and had to drive 1 1/2 hours back to the hotel to get them - Thanks Willie!) we managed to have a really good time with Tony and Willie.

Abraham and Grandpa shucking corn to feed to the animals.

Swimming at the spring - my hubby does NOT like heights so why he chose to jump off this platform is beyond me!

At Gramie's church, playing piano with her.

Abraham decided to get up and entertain everyone while they ate lunch. He sang "Jesus loves Abraham" and "Trust and Obey". Those are 2 of his favorite songs that he learned from Mimi. Thank you Mimi! Great songs!

New Union Baptist Church, Warwick, GA

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Vacation Fun with Gramie and Grandpa Ragan

Well, y'all... for all those that actually read this blog and AREN'T family, we are on vacation as I speak. (and I don't speak a thing like they do here!) Down in South Georgia with Michael's dad and step-mom. We are having a good old time with them, giving Abraham lots of Gramie and Grandpa time.

We visited a theme park yesterday that is out in the middle of no-where, for true! Wild Adventures is an animal park, amusement park and water park all rolled into one. They had lots of great little kiddo rides that Abraham loved but the best part was the water park... and let me tell you, when it is 101 degrees (at least it felt that way!) water is the only way to go! Abraham wouldn't get out of the water... pitched a fit when it was time to go, but would have kept playing until he absolutely dropped over from exhaustion!

Then Michael talked me into riding this (above). Now let me just say for the record that water and I generally don't mix. I don't typically enjoy water stuff... probably because my worst fear is drowning. I freak out. Add on top of that the fact that my hubby doesn't like HEIGHTS. Yup, that is what I said... for those of you noticing how high up these water slides are. We are QUITE the pair. Can you guess which slide we chose?? If you said the yellow one, you are right! I watched as Michael went first - all I could hear was him yelling all the way down! My turn. I sat down, grabbed my nose (because that is how I swim, embarassing yes, but oh well!) and started down the slide. Oh my gosh! That thing threw me every way but right... I was beginning to hyperventilate because when you hold your nose you only have ONE place to breathe out of and that was getting filled with water... I had to have been going 20 miles an hour down that stupid thing! Finally I am shot into the bottom of the slide and I look up only to see my hubby shaking looking at me to see if I am okay. Um NO! What the heck!! We both looked at each other and nearly in unison said "I'm done! No more!" What old fogies we are!!

So Abraham crashed in the hotel room before 8 and slept solidly through me in and out of the room as well as VH1 on the TV.

It was a fun day for us and we are grateful to Gramie and Grandpa for treating us. When I get home I'll post pictures of the fun.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Getting Real

So I stumbled onto this blog recently and one post caught my eye. The title of the post was "Get Real". Not being sure of what that entailed, I read on and saw these other women who had joined the conversation about being REAL. As I read these women being honest, open and REAL with each other it struck me how often women especially compare themselves to other women, women who we think have it all together. How often do you ladies look at another mom and think "Wow, she's really in shape and stylish!" or "Gosh, she works and still manages to be a soccer mom and to dress the part!" or "She is so together - she doesn' waste money - she plans good healthy dinners for her family - She is a true Proverbs 31 woman." I know that I do this... I can imagine others do too. The problem for me is that comparing myself only makes me feel worse, rather than better about myself, which is exactly what the Father of lies wants me to think and feel about myself - that I'm worthless, can't do anything right, a waste of space. When this is NOT what my Heavenly Father thinks about me. He says that I am the apple of His eye - that I was created intricately and uniquely in HIS image - that He loves me enough to give His Son for my life.

I have always been a person that never says what is on my mind but rather I say what I think that people want to hear - my parents call that being a "people pleaser". And unfortunately I have been this way all my life. Not really a good way to be, if you ask me. In this way being REAL for me is a foreign idea. To be REAL means I have to first be honest with myself about my feelings and thoughts --- and then be honest with others. I equate being REAL with being AUTHENTIC or GENUINE. And this is extremely difficult for me. Yet as I read these other women being REAL I felt my confidence building. Maybe this is something that I need to do to begin my growing and healing process.

So here goes nothing... my being REAL with you all....

1. I feel guilty being a working mom and not being able to spend more time with Abraham. I feel that I am missing out on so much of his growing up. He spends more time at day care each day than he does with Michael or I. I spend more time with my students then they do with their parents each day. Something in there is wrong.

2. As much guilt as I feel about not being home with Abraham, I love my job and can't imagine giving it up. I love making an impact on my students. I don't know if I could be home 100% of the time... yes I know this and #1 contradict each other. What can I do??

3. I apologize ALL the time.. for nothing. "Sorry." seems to be my life motto. I say it when I don't mean it, I say it when I didn't do anything wrong, I say it when someone hurts ME... and I HATE that I do this. And when Abraham started doing it, it REALLY bothered me. Thankfully that stage is over.

4. I screen phone calls. We don't have caller ID so when we get a phone call we wait to see if it is someone that we want to talk to and then answer or not. So if you call me and get the machine leave a message... if we are home and want to talk to you, I'll answer!

5. I drive a dirty car even though I promised Michael when we bought it that I would keep it clean. When in my day should I clean it? Between dropping Abraham off at day care and getting myself to work on time... or after I pick him up after being at school an hour more than I have to, or after I make dinner and 2 lunches for the next day... or before Abraham goes to bed?? Yea ok you get the picture.

6. I NEED ERINN time. I need time to myself and I rarely get it. Michael gets it.. but I don't. Unless I ask... There is something about being alone that recharges me. It didn't used to but the older I get the more quiet, time I need.

7. It is the hardest for me to be REAL with those closest to me - hubby, parents, sister. I have gotten better in the past couple years but I still struggle with this. I have a hard time being straight with them, with my feelings.

8. I am not over the home-going of my sweet Moses. It has been 2 1/2 years and I have not allowed myself to truly grieve the loss. I did not allow myself to FEEL much during the time he was in the hospital, simply blindly lived the facts. I do not regret any of our decisions regarding his care but I have sadness and "wishful-ness" in regards to certain things. And even though I said back then that I wasn't angry at God, I was and, I think, still am. I am angry that I didn't get more time with my son. I am angry and sad that I didn't get more time to hold him. It makes me so very sad and angry that my sister, my best friend, didn't have a chance to meet and hold my child. I wish that other family members had gotten to hold him. I wish that we had more video of the boys. I wish... I wish... I wish... And I am angry. I can finally admit this. Just being REAL...

9. I think that Moses' death is part of why I haven't been to church reguarly in the past 2 + years. We are on again, off again with church. Part of me really wants to go and really wants Abraham to be in Sunday School and learning about Jesus. The other part of me can't be bothered to get to church. Just being REAL here...

10. I struggle all the time with the many hats that I wear... Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Teacher, Student, Cook, Banker, Maid.... etc... There aren't enough hours in the day for all of these jobs. I feel that I don't do many of them well... because I feel stretched so thin most days. This is a major source of frustration for me as well as a sourse of stress for me. There are many nights I fall into bed feeling like I dropped the ball in one or more of these responsibilities.

I think for now that is all the being REAL I can take. I don't have it all together, no matter what I might LOOK like on the outside or SOUND like. I talk a good game but inside sometimes I feel like it is all falling apart.

Interestingly enough, my pastor spoke today on REAL LIVING. He said that REAL LIVING is being set free from bondage and to life in Christ, which is freedom. (Galations 5:1) REAL LIVING is a living, breathing relationship with the Father. Ephesians 2:10 says that "I am HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for good works which God prepared beforehand that I should walk in them." Colossians 3:10 says that I have "put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created me." These verses, ones that I have heard over and over again, remind me that WHO I am is HIS. I am a new creation - the old has gone the new has come. Erinn Noelle Ragan is a child of the King and the apple of His eye. No matter what I do can ever make Him stop loving me. I might not always make Him proud of me, but He always loves me. He accepts me for who I am, because when He looks at me He sees His Son. All those things that I dislike about myself - the feelings of self pity - the thoughts that I am worthless... are not WHO I AM!

Now the hard part is living out what I know in my head is TRUTH.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pool Time with Cousins

Alex AKA:"Mr. Fish"

The "kids" playing - KK got in the middle of things too!

This little girl amazes me! She can do it all - and she will only be 5 in a few weeks! She has NO fear!

Abraham playing catch with KK

He is SUCH a little man!

Me and my boy

So when Abraham got tired of the pool he enjoyed carrying around sticks and water in his dump truck - Have dump truck, will travel should be our motto!

Me and my sweet Chloe!

Just chillin'!

Hanging out at the pool with our cousins is a great way to spend a Saturday!

He didn't want me - just KK today. Climbed up in her lap and they talked and sang together!

KK and her Bubba

We had a really good day together today! Kari, Alex and Chloe came over to our house for a change and we all went swimming in our pool. We had the pool to ourselves for a bit before more kids came for them to play with. Alex is like a little fishy and Chloe is amazing in the pool! Abraham had fun getting in the pool by HIMSELF... yes folks by himself! He would shake his little finger at me and say "No help Momma!" He was able to get in and not sink on his own... not sure if that is a good thing or not though! I think he might be following in his cousins footsteps! Now we are just chilling inside - Abraham is napping and I should be! Oh well, one day I'll get a nap... just not today!