Dear IKEA…

You complete me.
Or at least my home.

Chris, Noah, and I set off on an adventure Friday to find and bring back the coolest sink and cabinet this house has ever seen. As you can gather, we did not pass go or collect $200 (more like deposited) and headed straight for the IKEA. (I may have a small crush on IKEA.) The first time I ever frolicked about the aisles I was toting a four month old on a non-wavering eating regiment and had to see what I could see in about 45 minutes. If anyone has ever stepped foot in IKEA or stood in it’s giant shadow outside, you know this is an injustice. This could not be the case again… not when we meant business.

Enter: Grand Parental Units of the Ford persuasion. It just so happens that Grammy Nan and G-DaddyB were coming up from ATL to stay the weekend with us – so we met them there, traded Noah for their truck, and headed on to The Happiest Place on Earth.

We made sure to make a list and set a budget for all things we wanted to purchase – whether for us personally or for the bathroom makeover. Yes, IKEA’s schtick is that everything is super affordable and will change your life, but “everything” could get quite pricey, especially when you are footloose and fancy free to move about the store. We are risk takers, but we need to retire sometime. What’s the saying – Champagne taste on a beer budget?

Unfortunately I can’t show the bathroom amazingness because the project hasn’t started, but I can show a couple of other purchases: our zigzag shelf and hook rack.

Note to self (and others): Measure before you go.
This shelf is supposed to be horizontal –
good thing we like the end result.

We installed this at 10:30pm – it’s just that good.

There will be more photos to follow – just wanted to throw a splash of color out there.

Twelve: Round Two

Alright. It’s kind of fun having a “toddler”, I’ll admit – even if he doesn’t toddle (that’s a real word – no red squiggly line) real well and is starting to practice for the Troublesome/Terrific/Terrible/Transformative Atti-Twos. I love him to pieces – sometimes so much my heart aches. I love to watch him play and discover, figure things out, test his limits (he is quite fond of this one), and wonder what is going on in that little brain of his. His imagination already runs wild, I can see it in his eyes. Most days are filled with laughs and games and looks of mutual adoration, often started off with a good morning smooch from the little guy – but I will confess we are entering the phase where the discipline part is kicking into gear, and I am not sure yet how good we are going to be at this part. More to come on that at a later date…

I love being a mama, especially to this little guy:


Noah’s Birthday Invite that never got printed or sent…whatever.

…and even if he does call me “Beb”, here are a few (or twelve) reasons why, in no particular order:

1. He loves Florida State football – not so much the arena in which it is played, just the team itself. He loves them so much that he had an anal volcano ALL over his seat, shorts, hands, and Grammy Nan just as we were pulling into our parking spot for the game. Perfect. I recently heard that the “adventure only begins when everything else has gone to s#*t” – wise, wise sensei.


Exhausted much? It’s hard work being a Nole.
Sidenote: He’s worn this jersey every game day except Oklahoma.
We aren’t superstitious.

2. Clap on – (clap-clap). Clap off – (clap-clap). Noah has the clap down to a patty cake. I even fed him pancakes the other morning and when I was telling him what it was he started clapping. And the part where you “throw it in the pan” he starts to duck for cover from tickling fingers.

3. Wagging. Taking a walk with a wagon – wagging. This kid loves all things wagon – riding, snacking, pushing, throwing – if he can do it in/to a wagon, count him in.

Wagging is whoa-some for the wandering wagger.

Look closely – it was chicken pox season.

He is riding in his Quarantine Wagon.

4. White boy can dance – well, as rhythmically as his genes allow. The best is that once he starts flailing his arms to the beat he expects everyone else to do the same. And we do. The other day Chris said, “Why does he think that just moving his arms is dancing?” – to which I responded by showing him, in close proximity to his face, the flailing about that we’ve been inherently teaching for the past 12 months when anything resembling a tune is played. And to that all he could say was, “Oh…”.

Go Pack – only when in the presence of Uncle D…
5. Noah plays peek-a-boo now – where he is the “peeker”. He will play with most anyone anytime he has something to hide behind – sometimes even himself in the mirror (obviously my favorite to watch). Fair warning: if the object is mobile, watch your face. You’ve been warned.

Peek--a-boo!

6. We have had enough parties to get us through until he’s three. Yep, three celebrations of Noah’s first year of life: Fairhope, Clyde, and Ten Mile. Each one full of love, laughs, friends, family, food, and fun. The Fairhope party is where we gave him his very own chocolate cake – I have been told since the day he was born that his first cake MUST be chocolate so it shows up in the pictures. And show up it did:

‘Scuse me, sir. It is not your birthday.
Please step away from the cake.
I think he liked it.
Finger-lickin’ good.Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere.
Clean up, clean up, get the chocolate out of your hair.
(Pay no mind to the green gob-lin doing the spraying.)
“diss?”Party numero dos at the Giusti casa. He’s not very excited about it.Noah and GiuGiu – she knows how to get down.Mason’s face says it all – ha! Love it.

We are thankful for everyone who helped us welcome Noah Matthew into the world a year ago and for everyone who has grown to love him since. We are beyond blessed with the family-by-blood and the family-by-love that surround us.

7. Noah took his second trip to Boone, NC to hang out with Aunt KD & Uncle Dan – and he let us come along, too. Sleeping in the closet went better than before, the little doggies were slightly more tolerant of the other four-legged creature in their midst, wedding things were accomplished, autumn weather was enjoyed, Florida State football was watched, and Green Bay shirts were worn.

Football & snacks with daddy –
sounds like a good Saturday afternoon combo to me.
I love the mountains…I love the rolling hills…I love the Noah and all his simple thrills…

8. Noah has always been a great sleeper – I mean, phenomenal. During his twelfth month he decided that not only is he going to be a great sleeper, but he think he likes being a night owl as well. Down between eight and nine (usually), wakes between eight and nine. Yes, please. Sign me up. AND he still takes a beast of a nap or two during the day – two plus hours per nap. So for those of you (Aunt Meg) who said that “all babies wake between 6:30am and 7am because they are babies and that is what they do and I should just go on and forget about not being a morning person” – you are welcome to sleep in at my house any day. Knock on a big ole piece of wood…

Sleepy McGeeface

9. For the first time in his life Noah got to have all four grandparents all to himself for a whole weekend! We went down to Pensacola/Tallahassee/Fairhope over Labor Day weekend to go to a football game, John Mayer concert, and to celebrate Noah’s first year with all of our FL/AL family. While ‘beb’ and daddy were with Aunt Kelly and Uncle Paul, Noah was hamming it up with his four grand parental units. Scary thought, I know. The amount of sugary love in that room must have been stifling.

A whole lot of this was happening…
while chaos ensued.We look pretty wild, eh?Prom Pose
Watch out – that’s how babies happen.

(On prom night? What exactly does that mean?
This post must be running way too long.
Almost over, I promise.)
10. Sippy cups are old news, we have moved on to the straw in this house. Blessing and a curse: 1) He wants to get his grubby little hands on everything with a straw – my drink, your drink, the people at the next table’s drink. 2) He has “forgotten” how to tip his sippy cup and drink on his own. Convenient. 3) Meltdown will occur when straw-drinker does not immediately surrender said-drink to the boy. Public spectacle = Slightly embarrassing.

11. I mentioned this before, though I feel it is worth listing here as well. We are ween-ers here in the Fab Ford Fam. No more boob for the little one. He decided it was for babies and very easily and naturally moo-ved on. Amen? Amen.

Any suggestions of how to get him to drink this instead-
without putting chocolate in it?


12. And last, but certainly not least, as this one is probably the biggest milestone of all – for all parties involved: Noah spent his first night away from us and his bed. BIG step – more for us than him. It was very strange not having him with us and felt like we were being irresponsible at times – like we had left him somewhere on accident. Mama Bo and Papa Bo took him with them over to the Giusti house for a few days so that Chris and I could get the house together for Noah’s party and spend a little bit of time just the two of us. We went to the climbing gym, to a movie, dinner, and just relaxed. It was wonderful to have the together time, but it felt even better to have Noah home.

That’s a whole lot of little boy lovin’ right there.


Wow. Big month for our not-so-little guy. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year (plus) since he changed our lives and hearts forever. Our love for him is worldly and imperfect, yet mighty and unconditional. I would easily give my life for his, my tears for his pain, my joy for his sadness. If knowing that I could protect him from hard lessons and uphill battles would provide for him the best possible outcome, I would – but I know better than to think I know what’s best. We love him more than there are stars in the sky, but only his Maker knows that count…

The next update is just around the corner… but here are a few blogs to be looking for: 180 South, 3 Cords, Etsy (gulp)…

Ten

For sake of not having an emotional breakdown over the fact that my little baby has hit the double digits in months, I am going to skip the cutesy antics and conversation I typically have with the next month and get right to the list.

But, Eleven, I’m watching you.

1. Noah’s parents aren’t the only ones with the watersports bug, he got his start this month on the boat as well. Dennis and Stephanie took the Ford Family out on our own tour of WBL and I think Noah enjoyed it as much as the rest of us… Once more and he might be as good of a skier as his paternal grandpa.

Noah lulled in the arms of Mrs. Stephanie.

Can’t tell who is enjoying it more.

As soon as we docked he woke right up.

2. Our home has been like a daggum revolving door this summer with folks coming to and fro, in and out, just stopping in or passing through. We’ve had parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends – lifelong and new, and a partridge in a pear tree. And I love it. It gives me an excuse for my house being dirty.

Abigail was able to come and spend almost two whole weeks being “Mama Helper” while her brother and sister were at camp in North Cackalacky. We played, swam, skied, ate ice cream, crafted, watched movies, and loved on Noah. You would never guess the amount of help an almost-six-year-old could be, but I could definitely handle a little helper more often.

Pretty girl at the marina for dinner.
She made her hair flower.
Also among those visitors were the Chanceys, Chris’ mom’s side of the family, who had never been here before. Their visit was too short, but we managed to pack a lot in. Oh, and I am pretty sure Noah was likely the draw that brought them across the mountains. I mean, who can resist him?
Aunt Meg, Chris, Jamie, Shelley, and Uncle Roy on the two-cent camp tour. Jamie helping Noah enjoy his newly crafted JD tractor,
an early birthday present from the Chancey family.
Can you believe he’s to the point where he can be receiving “early birthday” presents?
3. Grits has learned that it’s to her benefit to have a baby in the house, now that he knows how to feed her. You see, instead of leaving it on his tray or in hiw bowl, Noah thinks it’s a good idea to pitch his food on the floor when he’s done. The instant gratification to watch the pup gobble it up makes it even better. Once our computer is released from the Geek Squad, I will share a video of this lovely pasttime. Until then, this will have to do.

These two are quickly becoming partners-in-crime.

4. Camp was, is, and always will be part of the interwoven fabric of my being, Chris’ too. (We became one when we married, so do we just have one fabric now, or are we looking a little more like stonewash denim?) So naturally, being born into our family, brought home to a camp house, Noah’s fabric is already tie-dyed with splashes of camp…which is why it’s incredibly special for us that he has gotten to meet a whole slew of Crestridge folks, and his first Crestridge baby friend.

Ashley/Templeton came to see us the first weekend of July,
thus winning the prize for meeting our little guy first.

We jet-setted to Boone for a few days, meeting Krystal and her family for the first time.

Capping off the month with a Bridal Shower, Noah was pleased to meet Kristi & Carver…

Picture to come.

As well as Debbye and Nancy who joined us for the shower in Black Mountain.

5. Noah and I spent what seems like half of July in the mountains, either in Balsam or Boone. He’s explored mountains, streams, wildflowers, abandoned houses, blackberry bushes, wild ponies, rock climbers, mountain peaks, and more…all from the comfort of my back. He likes to hike, looking around to take it all in. Of course, I would probably love it even more if I got to ride on someone’s back. Any takers?

Hiking around with my mom and dad on their first visit to YASNY.Hiking up to see the original homestead on the mountain.

6. Teeth numbers five, six, and seven are poking there way on through. I am fairly certain these little boogers have been the most painful for him, even still, he takes it like a champ. These little white specks are constant reminders that he will never stop growing, never stop changing – no matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise. I find myself wishing he could just keep the four little charming chompers he has now… we do live in East Tennessee, that’s a lot by some standards.

Beware of biting baby…I recommend visually counting the teeth.

7. All along our sweet guy has been extremely laid-back and very low-maintenance, rarely putting up a fuss for much of anything. And now he’s discovered all the new things his voice can do – and boy, does he use them. He has learned/taught himself/concocted this high-pitched-nails-down-a-chalkboard-make-your-hair-stand-up-glass-shattering scream that physically makes my body hurt when he does it. This cry is reserved for when he is not getting his way, say at naptime when he thinks naps are for babies (I’ve got news for you, kid) or at mealtime when brocolli just ain’t cutting it. It makes me want to leave the room – and if he is adequately supervised (some days Grits counts) I may just walk away.

Don’t let those big blue eyes fool you.

8. Alas, our child is no longer a vegetarian. Unless he chooses to go Veg some other time in his life, he can always say he was until he was ten months old. And the first meat of choice? An all-natural beef frank – yep, a hot dog. He devoured it piece by piece and probably would have gone back for more. His face is all shiny and his little fingers are slick with all-natural grease (ha) when he finishes. I wonder if my strange hankering for hot dogs when I was six months pregnant could have been Noah letting me in on his preferences while in the womb? I wouldn’t have touched a hot dog for nothing before then…


Noah says, “Thanks, Aunt KD, for my first (of many) scrumptious hot dogs.”

9. Noah has learned the wave. Not the sportsfan phenomenon of people standing and sitting in repetition as the “wave” moves across the stadium, though that would be impressive. He’s telling people “bah-buh” while awkardly waving his limp hand in the air. He doesn’t really have the timing down yet, so he will likely kick visitors out of our house or try to depart early from places, but it’s so darn cute you can hardly stand it. He uses “bah-buh” for greetings and salutations accompanied with a wave so far… though he does say “ayeee” which is definitely his hello.

Hola. Aloha. Bonjour. Hiya. Hello there. Hey y’all.

10. And last but absolutely not least, our little one has found his M’s and has been working on his “ma-mas” all month. Melts my heart, yes it does. Does he call me mama? Well, no – anything can be “ma-ma” at this point, but it’s started, and that’s all that matters.

Loving on his mama before we floated down the river.

So yes, time flies when you are having fun and even sometimes when you aren’t (see number seven). We are looking forward to lots of fun things in months eleven and twelve, but it’s okay if they take time getting here.



Sidenote/Apology:

There are LOTS of pictures and videos that go along with this update, but our computer has been captured by the Geek Squad, so they will have to wait. I thought I ought to finish the post itself before I got fired. From life.



Upcoming on the blog: More of my thoughts and opinions on life, love, saving the planet, changes, and things I find consuming my time these days. Stay tuned.

West Virginia Mountain Mama

So I didn’t actually go to West Virginia, but close.

We started the week off in Balsam at my in-laws home with my parents and sister’s brood, headed to Boone to spend time with the Ashmans, picnicked atop Grandfather Mountain, hiked in Grayson Highlands in Mouth of Wilson, VA, and ended with a quick stop in Asheville to do my civil and earth-loving duty of purchasing “locally”. (Some may argue that Asheville isn’t exactly “local” to Ten Mile, TN, but I argue that I will always call NC home. So there.)

Before we get to the pictures, funny story:
As a lot of you may know YASNY is the Ford Family mountain home where my in-laws plan to spend a lot of their time once they retire, where we all meet for family Christmases, where Chris and I introduced Noah to the mountains that he will love for the first time, so on and so forth. This was the first time that I went to the house without any of the other Fords…and well, I figured that by this point I knew how to “open” the house (i.e. turn on power, water pump, water heater, etc.)…I mean, I have been in the family now for almost five years.

So we get in the house and I immediately go around to all of the dials in each room turning on the “air conditioners”, like I have seen my in-laws and Chris do many times before in past visits. About ten minutes go by and I notice that I am sweating, which is rare for me. I figure it must just be because I am lugging around an eighteen pound weight as I move things to and fro.

Then my dad says, “Is it hot in here or is it just me?”… I think little of it, chalk it up to menopause or something like that, and move along tinkering with this and that.

My mom then points out that “hot air” is blowing from the vents.
Oh boy, I have broken the house. Great.

So I texted Chris and Grammy Nan saying: Where is the AC in the house?

No reply.

At this point I start going around checking the “AC” dials again to make sure that I did it right, at which time I notice the small little golden nugget of information inscribed on the dial: Electric Heater.

Defeated.
Or should I say de-heated?

I text back: I didn’t know that YASNY didn’t have an AC unit?

To which I recieve: It does. Open the windows.

To my defense, this is the first time going up in the summer since 2006. And by myself.
At least I looked like I knew what I was doing…

Onto the photos…

A little porch reading with my friend, Barbara.
The view ain’t too shabby either.
Little monkey climbs on everything.He thinks his Papa is hilarious.
Chris: “Can grandkids have favorites?”
Sweet angel baby sleeping with MamaBo on the porch swing.Grits likes the front porch, too.

Mainly rolling her ball off the edge and chasing it into the bushes.The Bullington Fam joined us after picking up the oldest two from

Ridgecrest and Crestridge.Noah with Aunt Krystal at Grandfather picnic & condo in Boone.

And did I mention that Noah and I did this all by our lonesome?
Well, without Chris I mean.

Yep.

Noah slept in a closet, I got blisters with the new shoes to match, and was barely able to close my eyes for more than an hour.
And I would do it all again.

Please don’t call Child Services, it was a big closet.

Gone to Carolina in My Mind

…Or for real.
Not a lot of time to give details, mostly photos. But I will provide you with a humorous conversation, slightly edited, that I was a small part of:

Mom: (asking my sister about Zane, my youngest nephew) How does he like to be held?

Heather: Up on top of your boobs.

Grace (Heather’s grandma): Put his tummy right in the middle of your big boobs.

Mom: Well, your boobs are bigger than mine, Grace.

Grace: You are working with a pretty big set yourself… just not as old and saggy.

and later…

Grace: (to me this time) Well…you’ve got a nice set, not as big as me and your moms, but it’s okay. And when you get my age you might just have to get some of that sticky tape to keep ’em up.

Bahahahahahaha…
Oh yes.

And now for the photos:

Hiking through the neighbor’s yard to the creek… the neighbor was there for the first time ever at the same time I’ve been there.

Hey there, blue eyes.

It’s all their fault for that blue-eyed boy.
Well, half their fault.

Old car that ran off an old logging road.
Chris and I stole the headlight casing to it a couple of years ago.

He owns the juice cup. Legit.

With four teeth you have to work with what you’ve got.

That’s all for now.

And the “boob talk”? Still happening…

Home Sweet Pensacola

I came “home” for the week to surprise my mama for her retirement celebration. Littleford and I packed up the car, with Chris’ help, and headed down on Wednesday, meeting my dad in Prattville, AL to follow him the rest of the way. Yes, I know my way to my childhood home, but he had sweet Abbie with him and she is one of Noah’s favorite six cousins, which also meant entertainment in the backseat for the last few hours of the drive.


Bowens, Fords, & Bullingtons at Mom’s Retirement Shindig

Fords & Bullingtons

Dinner at Fridays with Mom and Fifth Grade Teachers

Look at those teeth…two more on the top coming in.
Kisses from the mama…
Papa and littleford…they spent the evening together while margarita madness ensued.
Love this boy. More than my hippie crystal.
We have done lots since getting here and still have a long list to check off before heading north…We miss daddy though. Noah told me so.
But we would miss daddy either way…camp has started!
Look forward to much more blogging, the life of camp widow has begun for Summer2010.

Do the Jitterbug

My oldest nephew, Wilson (aka Wilbur Doug), and the Jitterbug Productions group from Fairhope, AL traveled to Kentucky to perform their rendition of Mulan, Jr. for a convention held in Lexington. Chris, Noah, and I headed up there for the day, as it’s only about 3.5 hours from here, to see Kelly and Wilson. When we got to the Children’s Theater I had specific instructions to ask for the usher with straight black hair wearing a black skirt and silver shirt. We were cutting it close on time (darn you, GoogleMaps) and we could tell the place was packed. The theater manager tried to tell me that we would have to sit in the lobby and watch it on the television. I told him, politely, not so much. Luckily he came to his senses when I told him that my sister was saving seats on the top row and he sent us in. Good choice, mister, goooood choice.

Noah loved all the colors and the music and was very mesmerized for the duration of the performance…almost two hours! Pretty good for a five month old. We are so glad we got to see the performance and it was well worth the trip. Wilson’s face lit up when he found us in the audience…made me so proud. We grabbed a bite to eat, had a mini photo session outside the theater, and then parted ways. It was a quick but wonderful treat!

Here are a few photos from the day:

Wilson is all the way to the right, smiling at us.
 Wilson, front right, he’s in the good army.
Stuck in the middle of the avalanche, now in the bad army.
Back in the good army, second row left.
Kelly, Wilson, Noah, and Me…love the color of the walls.
The boys…
Good lookin’ fellas

We had a great time, though it was a very quick trip that made for a longish day.
But we knew we had a special visitor meeting us when we got back home…