Monday, April 30, 2012

Mommy's Little Helper

Being able to stay home with Kellan everyday is the best thing that's ever happened to me.  I was an elementary school teacher for 8 years.  I taught first grade at Hodge Road Elementary in Knightdale, NC for 6 years and fourth grade for two years at Greensville Elementary School in Emporia, VA.  Teaching was my life for a long time and I spent many, many hours at school and at home researching, reading, and writing lesson plans attempting to be the best teacher that I could be.  Although I do miss the classroom at times, there is nothing like all the time I am fortunate enough to have with Kellan.  You would think being at home would mean that I have a spotlessly clean house!  Unfortunately for us that is not the case! Its not quite as easy to finish day to day chores as it used to be.  Here are a few pictures of Mommy's Little Helper...
Here he is helping wash the dishes.  He loves to babble words of encouragement.
So good at washing clothes!
And such a great folder!
Taking clothes out of the dryer...
He's not even afraid of the vaccuum!
Making the bed is his favorite...
But all of this cleaning makes my little helper sooooo sleepy!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kellan's High Five!

Daddy teaching Kellan how to count to five with a high five at the end.  I do believe this is the mark of a genius! ;)  Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Family Photos with Alexis Jones Photography!

With Kellan turning 6 months I had been thinking that it was time for us to have some family photos made.  We had a newborn photo session a few days after he was born and there are a few shots of all 3 of us but none since then.  It was time for an update!  I didn't really want or need a whole lot of pictures because as fast as Kellan is growing and changing we're going to need to get family pictures taken frequently!  When I look back at some of his newborn pictures he doesn't even look like the same baby!

Our friend Lexi Jones has a photography business, Alexis Jones Photography, and she is the photographer who took Kellan's newborn photos.  A couple of weeks ago she was offering Spring Mini-Sessions.  It was the perfect deal for us and exactly what I was looking for...a 30 minute session with 15 edited photos on a CD.

On Sunday, April 15 we met Lexi out at her in-laws' farm in Purdy, VA.  She brought all of the "props" that we needed and already had a few locations picked out and set up ready to go as soon as we got there.  Everything went smoothly and the 30 minutes was the perfect amount of time before Kellan started to zone out.  Right at the end he was DONE with having his picture taken!  He didn't cry...he just refused to look up for the camera...the grass, the arm of the rocking chair, daddy's hands...they were just all too fascinating for him to have time to look up and smile for the camera!  Lexi did the most with our time and she got so many fabulous shots!  Here are the 15 we chose!

Ok now those were good but get ready for some super cuteness!!  Lexi does a fabulous job working with kids and has the most patience with trying whatever strategy it takes (rolling around on the ground, waving around a big stick, jumping up and down...just to name a few she had to use on Kellan) to get them to smile!  She understands children, she has two herself!

I know I'm biased...but is this not THE cutest thing you have EVER seen?!
Yep...definitely looks JUST like Daddy!
So adorable! Its hard to believe that this was the same little guy just 6 months ago!

These were taken back in October 2011 by Alexis Jones Photography as well.

We sure love our big 6 month old boy but I can't believe how fast he's grown! Here are the rest of our pictures from our family photo shoot!

This is one of my favorites and I'm thinking about getting it made into a canvas.  I got a really good Living Social Deal!
This is another option for the canvas.  I love Kellan's expression and how he's sitting in front of us.
Love this little face!
If anyone is looking for a great photographer in the Southside Virginia, Richmond or Virginia Beach areas take a look at her website!  She is super talented and beyond efficient!  I had my edited CD within a few DAYS and probably would have had it sooner if it wouldn't have taken us so long to decide which pictures we wanted!

Thank you Lexi for doing such a great job capturing our family!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Favorite Restaurant Friday: P.F. Changs!

Tuesday Kellan had a doctor's appointment in Colonial Heights for his 6 month check up.  The doctor's office is about 30 minutes away and Richmond, Virginia is another 30 minutes north.  Whenever we have to drive to Colonial Heights we usually make the most of the day and go to Target, Lowes/Home Depot, out to eat there or drive the rest of the way to Richmond and go shopping, go to Whole Foods, Babies R' Us, or dinner there.  Although we have been known to drive to Richmond at 7 pm just to go to Whole Foods and I've been known to drive to Colonial Heights with Kellan just because I wanted Panera Bread for our trips are not always so efficient. 

However!  On Tuesday after Kellan's doctor's appointment we headed to Richmond so that Michael could drop off his EMS recertification paperwork and so that we could use a giftcard that we had to P.F. Changs!  Now let me just say that I do not like Chinese food.  I refuse to eat at a Chinese restaurant and definitely NOT a Chinese buffet...they just look disgusting to me.  But P.F. Changs is another story!  Now they claim to be a "China Bistro"....I don't care what they call themselves...their food is delicious and it doesn't look, taste, or smell like any Chinese food I've ever had.  That's just my opinion. 

Kellan and Daddy waiting on our food.
When we were there on New Year's Eve they were offering a Four Course Meal for Two and it was DELICIOUS.  Well being the piggies that we are we decided to get it again.  For the first course you have the choice between the Egg Drop or Hot and Sour Soup...well we upgraded to the Won Ton Soup because that's what we got last time and it was so good.  Oh. My. Goodness.  This soup is AMAZING!  I could eat a big bowl of just this for my meal.  But its a 4 course meal so you don't have to!!  So the Won Ton soup...I don't know how its normally prepared at other restaurants but at P.F. Changs its pork wontons (little dumplings with steamed pork inside), mushrooms, fresh spinach, water chestnuts, chicken and shrimp in a chicken broth. SO GOOD!
So I took the picture after we'd eaten half of the bowl of soup and most of the chicken lettuce wraps...but you get the idea.
For the Second Course you choose one appetizer from a list of several choices.  We always get the Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  I don't believe I've ever been to P.F. Changs and NOT gotten them...they are a must.

The Third Course is your entree and you each choose one from a list of several options.  I always get Changs Spicy Chicken and  Michael usually gets Beef and Broccoli.  They are really big portions and we always end up with plenty to take home for lunch the next day (yes even we have leftovers)!
Once again...should have taken the picture BEFORE we devoured most of it!

I was starting to get full and Kellan was getting fussy so I entertained him while Daddy finished his entree.  I have Kellan all day so when we go out to eat Daddy usually takes charge of the entertaining.  Kellan had a diaper change right before this and it appears all of his snaps didn't quite make it closed ;)
While we were waiting on dessert it appears that Daddy is giving Kellan a lesson on his phone.

Now on to the Fourth Course...dessert!! You have the choice of 2 mini desserts or you can upgrade to a bigger dessert to share. Of course we upgraded to the Great Wall of Chocolate...and Michael asked for a side of whipped cream :)

Toes on the table and grabbing for the tea...our little wild man :)
P.F. Changs is the just the first of what I'm sure will be MANY restaurant blog posts :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our weekend trip to the Outer Banks!

Adding Kellan to our family has changed our lives in more ways than one!  There are so many times during the day and night that Michael and I look at him and just say outloud "Oh! I love this little boy!"

I haven't had a full night's sleep since the day he was born and I don't think I have been able to complete even the smallest task without having to stop and change a diaper, feed him, rescue him from being hung up in his activity mat, hand him a toy that's out of reach, put him down for a nap, get ready for bathtime or just simply to get down on the floor with him and play because he's just SO CUTE!  Definitely the time it takes to leave the house has doubled (maybe even tripled)!  Michael already tells me I'm the slowest person he's ever met when it comes to getting ready (and most other things too) so you can only imagine the amount of time it takes us to pack up and leave the house! 

Aside from all of that we stay BUSY!  Since I'm staying home with Kellan full time (which I am more thankful for than anything I have ever been in my life) Michael has been working longer hours during the week and working most weekends.  When you add that to his volunteer time at the Jarratt Volunteer Fire Department, community events, holidays, and trips to visit my family out of town...well there just isn't much time left for just the three of us!

So when Michael came home early on Friday and said "Where do you want to go this weekend?" I packed Kellan and I up as fast I could (which wasn't very fast, but hey I tried...packing everything a baby needs for a weekend is time consuming and thought provoking)!  At first we had thought about going to Baltimore, Maryland but I thought maybe we should go somewhere a little more relaxing since this was our first mini-vacation with Kellan.  We decided to head to Nags Head, North Carolina so we could spend some time on the beach, visit some of the lighthouses, and most importantly eat lots of seafood (if you keep up with this blog for long you'll notice that Michael and I LOVE to eat)!

Kellan usually is a good traveler and doesn't mind his car seat once you get him in it and settled.  We had made it all the way to Currituck when he started to get a little fussy so we stopped at a fast food restaurant so I could feed him.

Have you ever seen a happier baby (after eating of course)?!

Daddy decided to let him drive for a little ways.  When I sent Mimi this picture she said to make sure to tell him to keep his eyes on the road!
Every good driver knows you have to give the horn a little toot so people know to get out of the way!
As soon as we arrived to Nags Head we checked into our hotel and headed to the beach to take some pictures of Kellan!  It was his 6 month birthday so I wanted to get some pictures to document his monthly growth.

It was kind of breezy!

Then the photoshoot began!

Every good baby eats sand immediately!
This is so fun!

Can't keep his eyes off the sand...

Sandy baby feet!

Family picture take 3! Not the best but at least he turned around!

After the beach we headed back to the hotel to decide where we wanted to go to eat dinner!  We decided on Captain George's Seafood Restaurant because it had buffet and we could get a little of everything we wanted.  Well Michael got a lot of what he wanted because he had a tummy ache for the rest of the night!  I'm thinking it was too many crab legs!!  Kellan fell asleep in the car on the way back to the hotel so we drove up to Duck and back down the beach road to see what had changed since the last time we had been.  There were quite a few people at the Outer Banks for it to be an off season weekend.  It was also motorcycle week so there were motorcyclists here and there too.

The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and then took Kellan back to the beach! I wasn't think it was going to be warm enough on the ocean for bathing suits so I didn't bring mine or Kellan's...I was wrong!

Kellan and Daddy playing in the hotel room.

He loves the ocean!

If he could walk, I think he would've taken off!

This sand is just fascinating!

He attempted to roll in the sand...

By now we are getting hungry again so we headed to Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar for lunch.  At lunch we decided to go back to the beach for another hour or two and enjoy the beautiful weather and let Kellan play.  We went to K-Mart so I could get a cheap bathing suit to wear for the day...there will be NO pictures of that atrocious thing...but at least I was able to get a little sun on my white body!

After the beach we headed out to drive south and go see Bodie Island lighthouse and the Cape Hatteras lighthouse.  We passed Bodie Island and kept going towards Hatteras first.  On our way we came through Rodanthe.  I wanted to see if I could find the house from the movie Nights in Rodanthe.  I didn't see it on our way in so we kept driving to Hatteras.

Next we fed Kellan again and got ready to make the drive back.  On our way I spotted the Nights in Rodanthe house right away.  Those blue shutters stand out!

By the time we made it back to the Bodie Island lighthouse it was dusk and we didn't plan on stopping...BUT!  Someone was having a meltdown in the backseat so we had to pull over anyway.  We were only able to get out and snap one picture before...the BODIE BUGS ATTACKED!  Michael had gotten out to pass Kellan over to me and he was getting bitten by so many mosquitoes at once he  had to jump back in the car!  I had to climb over the seats to sit in the back and feed Kellan!  There were hundreds of mosquitoes plastering themselves against the windows of the car. Michael was smooshing a few that had gotten into the car on the windwhield!  So now of course little Kellan has inherited the nickname "Bodie Bug."  Warning:  Do not visit Bodie Lighthouse at dusk those things are crazy!

We stopped at Miller's Waterfront Restaurant for dinner.  It was recommended to us by a co-worker of Michael's Aunt Kim and boy was it awesome.  I highly recommend it if you are in the area and love seafood although they have other choices too.  It was a little chilly outside and dark so we couldn't enjoy the fact that the restaurant is on the water but I know in the summer it is beautiful.  The food was delicious!

The next morning it was pouring rain!  Instead of heading back early we made the most of our trip.  First stop breakfast at The Dunes Restaurant.  They had a really good breakfast buffet and best of all its located right across the street from the Tanger Outlets!  After breakfast we loaded Kellan in the stroller and went shopping!  Here's daddy and Kellan being silly and wearing hats like Papa Grizzard bought in the Bahamas.
Daddy being silly in JCrew.
Daddy dressing Kellan up like Papa Grizzard in the Gymboree Outlet.
After a couple of hours of shopping we loaded back in the car and made a stop at Wings for a picture frame.  Every trip we go on we buy one of those tacky picture frames with the city name and all of the little objects around the side that describes the area.  This will be our first frame with 3 of us in the picture!  Last but not least we had to stop at Sweet Frogs for yogurt! 
We headed back towards home and decided to stop in Virginia Beach for a trip to the grocery store (those adventures could be a whole other post!).  We went to Fresh Market, Heritage Health Food Store, and (my favorite!) Harris Teeter.  After that exhausting journey we headed home and stopped in Suffolk to eat dinner at George's Steakhouse.  This was our second time eating there and both visits have been excellent.  I highly recommend this restaurant if you're in Suffolk, VA!

It was a great weekend with just the three of us relaxing, doing some sightseeing...and EATING! :D  I hope Kellan will enjoy traveling as much as his mom and dad!