Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Tour: Part 1

We were so blessed to spend 10 whole days in Greenville with the Andersons, Workmans, and Lieblers making some pretty special Christmas memories!

Mark looks up to his big cousin, Douglas

Mark showing off for his Nanny - Matthew being Matthew!

Aunt Jenny

Cousins, cousins, cousins!
Douglas, Matthew, Caroline, Keaton, Laura, and Mark - soon there will be 7!

Matthew and Keaton are 8 months apart and great friends

Mark was a big hit!

"Fa la la la la la la la la!"

Pancakes and Frosty the Snowman with cousins

They waited for us to get there so we could help trim the tree

Keaton and Nanny

Some quality snuggle time with Grammie

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meeting Halfway

The Hobbs are some of our dearest friends from Covenant. Some of my favorite memories of our life in Chattanooga right after we were married are hanging out at the Hobbs's house on Lookout Mountain. They have lived in Sheffield, England for 6 years, so we rarely get an opportunity to see them, especially now that we live in Hawaii. Thankfully, the stars happened to align this year for us to be in South Carolina at the same time. We got to spend the morning with Andrew and Valerie and their new baby Max who was born in July. Mark and Max were fast friends.

Such a treat to reconnect!

Oh, what fun!

One of my absolute favorite things about the holidays is baking. My happiness level can easliy be measured by how many times I get to use the Kitchen Aid mixer in a day. Jenny, Caroline, Laura, and I had a marathon baking day on Friday. We had a blast cooking up a truckload of goodies for the fam. Here's just a sampling...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Matthew the Big Brother

Cousin Matthew Liebler (3 years old) is going to be a big brother in April. We are so excited to have another Anderson cousin to love! Matthew has the funniest, sweetest personality and he loves playing with and talking to Mark when he's in his bouncy seat.

Today I said, "Matthew, you're going to have a baby of your own soon!"

Matthew puckers out his bottom lip, gives me his best pouty face and says, "Cept it's a GURL!!! I always wanted a BOY!!!"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ho Ho Ho!

Keaton has made it very clear for several weeks that he wanted nothing to do with meeting Santa at the mall or anywhere else - which is why I was astounded that he agreed to have his picture taken with him at the mall on Wednesday. As long as he didn't have to sit ON Santa's lap...

Baby brother didn't mind at all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Long Night

3:30 - loaded up the van and left the house
3:35 - realized we left bear and blanket and had to turn around
4:00 - got in line at the ticket counter
4:30 - finally got our bags checked and boarding passes in hand
4:31 - got in line at security
5:15 - cleared security and began our frantic speed walk to the gate
5:25 - boarded our flight (dirty looks from already-boarded passengers - it was clear they had been waiting for us)
5:45 - flight takes off

I sunk into my seat, and prepared myself for for the worst. I expected Mark to cry and Keaton to whine and complain the whole trip. I feel bad about that now because Keaton was a perfect angel, and Mark hardly let out a peep from the time we got to the airport until we landed in Atlanta 13 hours later. Favorable tailwinds made both our flights shorter than expected. Thank you Lord!

Mark snug in the Moby and Keaton watching "Wonder Pets" on the iPod

Keaton sporting his Cat in the Hat pjs while we walked to our connecting gate in Chicago

Scott drawing pictures for Keaton on the Magna Doodle

Are we there yet?

Grammie meets Mark for the first time in Atlanta

2 flights down - 4 to go. It's all so worth it! We are having such a fun time with family!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Twelve Weeks Old

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this little guy?

If he were any sweeter, I may have to munch his little cheeks off!

I can't believe he is 12 weeks old already!

He's making a marathon tour of the mainland starting next week. He can't wait to meet all of his family and friends in SC and OK, and his mama can't wait to show him off!

Let's hope that the lucky people sitting next to us on all six flights think he's as sweet and cute as we do!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


On Saturday, we got up early, grabbed some Mickey-D's for breakfast and hiked the Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail as a family. As usual, Mark was snug in the Moby and slept right through all the fun.

Check out these amazing views from the top!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a wonderful, laid back Thanksgiving at the Heath's house last week. Karen and Tim tackled the turkey, potatoes, and pie, and we brought the stuffing, green beans, rolls, and cranberry sauce. We had enough to feed an army, but we made a pretty large dent in that feast - I have to say! This was the first time in 29 years that I had not spent this holiday with family, but we are so thankful that God had blessed us with such amazing brothers and sisters in Christ here in Hawaii. We are so blessed!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Take a bow

Who else has little actors for kids?

MOPS was this morning. One of the few outlets I have to relax and socialize without my kids, or at least Keaton (Mark was strapped to me in the Moby all morning, as usual). Still...it's something I get for ME every other week, and I really look forward to going. I try to warn Keaton at least 24 hours ahead of time that MOPS is coming up. He's been going through a little separation anxiety ever since Mark was born. I think MOPS is especially hard for him because his first visit there was the day I went into labor with Mark, and he went with Karen and Lucas. I think he secretly thinks that every time he is left at MOPS, I'm going straight to the hospital and he won't see me the rest of the day.

"Hey Keat, guess where we get to go tomorrow? MOPS! We love MOPS, remember? They have Veggie tales there, they have Lightning McQueen, and Lucas will be there (the clincher)!"

He's usually okay with it as long as it's something we are doing TOMORROW. But, when TOMORROW becomes TODAY, that's when the real struggle begins.

"Mama, what are we doing today?" (he asks this every morning)

"MOPS! Remember?"

"No, mom. I just wanna stay home and play with my caws!"

"You love MOPS, remember? They have Veggie Tales, Lightning..." My whole schpeel -

"Mom, by belly HUTS! I'm sick to go to MOPS today!"

This goes on and on all morning, as I dry my hair, brush my teeth, dress him. It escalates as we pull into the church parking lot. Then the tears come.... he begs, he pleads, he cries, pulling at my hand as we cross the church lot. Then we reach the MOPPETS door. Oh boy, here comes the dry heaves.


Thankfully, there is this great MOPPETS worker named Kiera who knows Keaton and seems to like him. I help Keaton find Lucas, sit him down in front of Veggie Tales, but he can't really see through the snot and tears. He just keeps clinging, pleading, crying like he'll never see me again. I leave him in Kiera's arms, his arms reaching out for me, the dry heaves still in full force.

As much as it kills me, I walk away, because there are friends, fellowship, food, and holiday-flavored coffee creamers waiting for me in the sanctuary. Just for the heck of it, I turn around and peep my head in right after I have left. He doesn't notice. He's already down on the floor playing with Lucas. No tears, no heaving.

Bravo, little boy. What a show for Mom!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Throwing in the towel

This is a sad day for me. I finally decided to do it. I'm giving up on coupons in Hawaii. As dorky as it may sound, couponing was a big part of my life in Nashville. It was a hobby, almost a part time job, and it was SO FUN! I loved that I could not only feed our family but make our pantry bust at the seams AND donate food by the boxful for less than $50/week. It made me feel like even though I was not "working," I was somehow contributing to our family's bottom line.

Confession: I used to spring out of bed extra early on Wednesday mornings, get my hot cup of joe and curl up with my laptop, just so I could read the Publix ad!

I gave it a fair try, but it just doesn't work here like it does on the mainland. Grocery stores don't double coupons, and the paper only contains a handful of coupons anyway. There are no awesome resources like Southern Savers, and Faithful Provisions to help scope out the deals and do all the matchups for me at my grocery stores. I've come to find that its just counterproductive and stressful to try to make it happen here. I'll still buy a Sunday paper and clip the coupons I think I might be able to use, but I think the best I can do is shop at Costco and load up on "sale" items at Safeway when I can. And - just accept that fact that I will have to budget $600 or more a month for groceries. GULP.

Now I need a new hobby. Any suggestions? Don't say surfing. I'm afraid of sharks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thomas and Friends

Meet Toby, Percy, Thomas, and James.

These guys, along with their other engine friends (not pictured) live on the island of Sodor and sleep at Tidmouth sheds.

Thomas is a very useful engine, Percy delivers the mail, James is vain (but lots of fun), and Toby - well, let's say he's square!

They are a part of our family. They travel with us in the car, we talk about them at dinner, read about them before bed, wear them on our underpants, and visit them at the mall.

We just watched Toy Story 3 this past weekend (SUCH a good movie by the way) It made me think about the fact that Thomas and his buddies will not always be a part of our life like they are now. Keaton will move on to other interests, and forget about these friends who now consume his little play world.

Me? I'll always have a special place in my heart for Thomas and Friends because they are my life right now. I know one day I'll open a box in the attic and hold one of them and cry because they'll always remind me of this time in my life and Keaton at this precious fun age.

And don't you ever worry, Thomas. I'll never accidentally throw you by the curb in a garbage bag like Andy's mom...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby Mark

I feel bad, like I haven't been giving Baby Mark enough blog time! He was 2 months old yesterday, y'know. I can't believe it! He is the most precious little guy and such a joy. We love him more with every glimpse of his little personality that he lets us see! So far, he loves eating, watching and listening to big brother play, snuggling with mom in the Moby, listening to classical music while he swings, and playing on his play gym.

Some of his dislikes: napping in his crib, napping of any kind, being left alone in a room, long car rides, and bottles.

He is a champion eater, never spits up, and sleeps pretty well at night.

I'd love to say that it so much easier the second time around, that I'm so much more laid back, I'm never tired, crying doesn't bother me, and everything is easy breezy! Sorry, that's just not my experience. There's nothing like caring for a newborn to make you feel completely helpless and inadequate.

The thing that I LOVE about a second child is that this time, I know what I have to look forward to in the coming months. I know that it does get easier and more fun with each day! I'm so excited to see Mark grow and learn and change just like Keaton did his first year!

Loving every minute with these boys!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Drinking our Veggies

Despite his love of Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and Mr. Potato Head, Keaton is not a veggie eater. I've tried to be creative with my display, the way I cut the veggies, dips - not to mention plenty of bribery and threatening, but nothing really seems to work.

Partly inspired by my friend Carolyn's post, and also the Jamba Juice across the street that we got addicted to while my mom was in town, I decided I would give it a try at home. Granted, we've done smoothies at home in the past, but always as just a treat if I happen to have some frozen berries and extra yogurt on hand. Now it's our new morning tradition!

Here's just a few of our creations:

The fun part for Keaton seeing what new fun color of "poodie" he gets every morning. It's a game for me to see how many kinds of goodies I can sneak in there without him noticing. So far, he's eaten raw spinach, pumpkin, wheat germ, corn, peas, green beans, carrots - and he's totally clueless!! It's amazing what you can cover up with some juice, yogurt, bananas, and other delicious fruits - pineapple, papaya, raspberries, blueberries, peaches are some of our favorites.

Smoothies are genius! Now, I don't have to so paranoid that he's not eating a salad with us every night, because he's drinking his veggies, and loving every last drop!

By the way, you don't have to have a fancy blender to make smoothies. I bought this one at Target for $16 on sale, and it can liquefy raw carrots with the best of them.