Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Day at the Park.

We have thankfully gotten a reprieve from onslaught of hot weather. With the (much appreciated) cool down in temps, we Butlers have been spending a lot of time outdoors. I couldn't be happier.

In between doing outside projects, we managed to sneak away to our favorite park,  Close Memorial. We decided to forgo the stroller and let Brady walk, while we secretly worried we would be constantly chasing him from water's edge. But, our little guy did great. He even moved to the correct side of the sidewalk when we came across the occasional passerby. What a little gentleman. Sometimes he just amazes me.

I just grabbed a couple shots from the day, a feat for me considering I have been very lackadaisical about taking pictures lately.

I believe it was President Roosevelt who said "Speak softly and carry a big stick." Not sure this is what he had in mind. Not that Brady has really mastered speaking softly either.

We made it all the way to the bridge, which is Brady's favorite spot of the whole park. He knows he gets to throw rocks in the water. It was a little more nerve wracking this time since he wasn't buckled in a stroller. Extra care was taken to ensure he didn't throw himself over the ledge along with the rock. We survived, unscathed.

Brady finished the rest of the walk with style...courtesy of his daddy.

When I see pictures like this, it reminds me of when Mike and I would walk here while I was pregnant. We would talk about the days, months, and years to come, always with a smile on our faces. Our conversation always went to "one of these days, he will be running around this park." Sure enough. It's such a happy/sad feeling. Sad because my little tiny baby is gone. Happy because that little tiny baby has grown into a full-blown toddler boy who is, by description, all boy.

We wouldn't want it any other way.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

I've decided to start doing a "Ten on Tuesday" post. Here it goes...
  1. I "borrowed" this idea from another blog. I like it because it allows me to be completely random (which I am) and put things in a list format (which I love).
  2. I feel guilty for leaving the blog abandoned, once again. I really do have great intentions about being one of those people who update their blogs regularly. I'm workin' on it. Truly.
  3. Speaking of abandoning, I am currently neglecting my to-do list of chores for the day in order to complete this update while the little guy is napping. As soon as I click "Publish Post" I am right back to tackling the to-do list. I'd much rather be blogging.
  4. Braden's nanny is coming to visit in exactly 17 days. We're all excited and I'm pretty sure she's already started packing.
  5. Tomorrow is my brother's 21st birthday. It is so hard to believe. I remember when I was turning 21 and he was turning 12. It seems like a lifetime ago!
  6. In my blogging absence I celebrated my 30th birthday. Turning 30 doesn't bother me...I'm the happiest I've ever been and I am so blessed. I find it does however carry a certain weightiness to it. My age makes me sound like a grown-up...although I don't (always) feel like one. Ha!
  7. We went camping for the first time as a family. It was an honest-to-goodness blast! We were thankful to camp with family who has much more experience in the great outdoors than we do and for a campsite with electricity (we actually had coffee pots for morning goodness!). It's a memory I'll treasure for a lifetime. We're already looking forward to next year...not that I'm encouraging time to go by any faster.
  8. I am ready for fall. It is my all time favorite season. I love everything about it: the smells, flavors, colors, decorations, weather...you name it. This morning I made double orange scones (from scratch!). I got the recipe out of a fall recipe book. It did not disappoint.
  9. Brady has been on a dog kick lately. Namely: Ubie, Zeke, Lexi, Zeus, and Little Puppy. Lexi is my brother's dog and the other four went camping with us. Braden will randomly come up and say he loves one (or all) of them at any given moment. Yesterday we told Brady that Uncle Lance would be stopping by and he specifically asked for Lexi to come. We actually had to call to make sure Lance would bring her. It really is sweet. And, before you ask...NO! We will not be getting a dog any time soon!
  10. Lastly, I wanted to leave you with a picture, of course. I can't remember when it was taken, but it wasn't too long ago. He was having a lot of fun. I tried to get a picture of him actually licking the ice cream, but the picture didn't turn out. Gotta love the ice cream goatee!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday's Favorite...and Catching Up

Happy Friday, friends!

A lot has happened since my last blog post. I had my wisdom teeth removed, my mom celebrated a (pretty big milestone) birthday, we decided to send Brady to preschool, and we decided not to send Brady to preschool. Ok, it doesn't really sound like much when I write it out, but it certainly has felt like a lot.

The wisdom tooth removal took more out of me than I thought it would and, quite frankly, more than I care to admit. They had been bothering me for quite awhile and I kept putting it off, but finally gave in and had all four of them (surgically) cut out  removed. It's been two weeks and a day since they came out and I'm still sore and achy and dosing up on Ibuprofen (couldn't take the pain pills). But, thankfully I have a loving, patient, and helpful husband who has put up with me and a mother that came to help watch my very active two year old son.

I have some pictures from my mom's birthday that I will post another time. It was a good day, but what made it cute (in my mind) was Brady's "Happy Birthday, Grandma!" every two seconds. Said with love and enthusiasm each time. Her birthday was last week, but last night at dinner he leaned over to her and said it again. We rolled with it. Why not? It's nice to be celebrated, even on non-birthdays.

I will update you on the preschool thing at another time too (this is how I keep you coming back).

Most of you know by now that Brady is particular about certain things. He likes them lined up, stacked up, and put in a certain order. I love it. It's just one of those things that makes Brady "Brady".

Take, for instance, these horses.

Do you notice how they are eye-to-eye standing directly in front of each other? Well, that is no accident. They are placed, adjusted, and tweaked until they are just right. Then, they are replaced, readjusted, retweaked (is that a word?)...you get the idea.

I got spotted lurking. Ignore the crazy-eyed expression. He was all hyped up on posing horses.

It's not just horses that get the attention.

And it's not just toys.
Everyday is something new with this little guy. Lately, he's been saying he's embarrassed. He puts a shy smile on his face, leans his head to the side, puts his hands by his head, and says in a quiet voice "embarrassed". Here's the pose, in all it's cuteness.
I'm not sure why he was embarrassed. It couldn't possibly be because he is wearing winter jammies in August, could it? Nah, I didn't think so either.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday's Favorite

Happy Friday!

Is it just me, or has this day taken forever to get here this week? I think it's felt extra long because we've been cooped up in the house because of the excessive heat. Thankfully, it rained yesterday and we were able to actually play outside for a little while yesterday. Brady was thrilled to be able to do one of his favorite pasttimes: picking flowers (or, as he puts it, "picking towpers").

We had a fun family outing to Lambert's last night to celebrate Brady's B-Pa's birthday. If you've never been, it's certainly quite the experience. They are famous for their "throwed rolls" where they actually throw fresh, hot rolls at you...you must be on constant alert or you may get beaned in the head...just ask my mom. The wait is always insane and they don't take debit (but accept checks-bizarre!) and the food style is downhome cookin'. And they bring you more food than you could ever possibly consume. It looked like Brady had eaten a bowling ball by the time we left.

They bring around pass-a-rounds in addition to your meal, one of which was fried okra, a first for Brady who thought they were tator tots (I'm slightly ashamed to admit he knows what tator tots are). At the end of our meal our waitress brought Brady a balloon-and he was delighted. It was orange, or, in Brady-speak, "oran juh juh". Believe it or not, I snapped a lot of pictures, but they didn't turn out so well due to the lighting. This was the best one and it's still not great...but you gotta love the barbecue sauce on the little guy's face.

After the meal we all headed back to our house for some birthday cake and ice cream. Not that anyone had enough room for cake or ice cream. Brady helped me make a German Chocolate cake and homemade vanilla ice cream earlier in the day and was very proud to share it with everyone. He announced (several times) that he was a "big helper" to mommy. And he was! The little guy is a blast in the kitchen. He was beside himself when I brought out the mixer and right away said "Mommy, up!" at which point he sat on the counter and helped me mix until his heart was content....or, at the very least, until the cake batter was light and fluffy!

Brady thought it was his personal duty to make sure the candle was blown out. Twice. The first time was midway through the Happy Birthday song and the second was promptly after the song ended. Hopefully, for B-Pa's sake, your birthday wish still comes true if someone else blows out your candle! 

The little trooper stayed up an hour past his bed time, and had a great night. We all went to bed with full bellies and happy hearts...loving life and each other.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Movie Night

Before I get started, I just want to acknowledge the fact that I am aware it's been 20 days since my last blog post. A lot has happened that I want to catch you up on (Hello! Brady's two now!), and I will, but for now I just want to jump right in. I'll sprinkle the things you've missed here and there and, before you know it, it'll be like I've blogged everyday for the last 20 days (ha!). Seriously though, I vow to do better about more timely posts...thanks for hanging in there with me!

OK, now on to the "official" posting!

Brady is not a television watcher. He never has been. He knows a lot of TV characters like Mickey, Pooh, Thomas the Train, etc., but he knows them from books...which, I'll admit, I love. Mike and I have read to him since before he was born. Mike used to prop his head near my belly when I was pregnant and would read to Brady all the time. It is one of my favorite memories of being pregnant (and I have a lot of favorite memories from that time!). So, needless to say, we're thrilled he loves books.

All that to say, his latest craze has been the characters from the Disney movie "Cars". He knows them all: Lightning McQueen, Mater, Doc Hudson...the list goes on. And, in true B-Man fashion, he knows them from his books.

Well, the weather here has been unbearably hot and we haven't been able to be outside as much as we like to be. Folks, I'll cut to the chase...the Butler Family has a bad case of cabin fever and we're going a little stir crazy. So, Mike and I thought it would be fun to have our very first family movie night and what better movie to get than "Cars"?

We knew Brady would be excited, but to tell you the truth, I think Mike and I were more excited about seeing him be excited. Ah, the joy of parenting! I love the fact that we get to revel in the joy of Brady's laughter and excitement. I am smiling just thinking of it.

We ran through a drive-thru on our way home to get our favorite chicken nuggets (there goes your thoughts of me being the perfect parent!) and, after a quick stop at the video store, we were home! I covered Brady's chair (his birthday gift from us) with a blanket, propped it up in the middle of the floor with his thermos cup (courtesty of B-Ma) by his side and his chicken nuggets in his lap.

And we pushed play.
It's times like these I wish I had better photography skills. The pictures just don't do it justice. He was pointing, nuggets in hand, at all the characters and saying their names. The kiddo was excited!

In all his excitement he was squirmy and I wasn't able to capture the pictures I had hoped for, but I was happy I snapped these.
Despite all that excitement, he only watched about 30 minutes of the movie...I told ya, he's not a television watcher...but it was totally worth it!

One of my favorite moments was right after the movie came on and Brady said an excited "Thank Yooouuu!" to us. I see many more family movie nights in our future. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll actually be able to watch the whole movie.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mr. Independent

We are days away from Brady turning two, but he has already started demonstrating his independence. I've mentioned before how he shuns restaurant high chairs and will insist on walking through stores, but that's just a small sampling of this new stage.

He has now given up on sitting at his highchair at home. He insists on sitting in a chair like mommy and daddy (incidentally, he has taken over what used to be my spot). And he does great! He doesn't even want his booster seat (although, let's face it, he could use a boost!), and he just chats away with us while we eat our meals at our table. On a total unrelated note: What in the world were we thinking getting a glass table? It shows everything!

His independence has also stretched beyond seating arrangements. He now says what he wants to wear. Lately, it's been blue shorts and a yellow shirt, thanks to Winnie the Pooh's Christopher Robin. We started off this morning with a green shirt on and I had to go in the other room for his shorts. I grabbed some dark blue ones. Immediately Brady said "Christopher Robin-blue shorts" and then promptly realized the green shirt was, indeed, not yellow. Then he made the request to change, "Green shirt off! Christopher Robin-yellow shirt". So, we changed. Now, I know what some of you are thinking...I gave in. And I guess I sort of did, but I'm ok with that. I love that he's independent and able to express what he wants. Of course there are limits and he's not going to be able to wear Christopher Robin's outfit every single day, but I'm happy to oblige him when I can.

Speaking of obliging, riding in grocery carts is now a thing of the past as well. He will help you push, or hold your hand through the store, but will have nothing to do with riding in one. It's a little more work on us, but so worth it. He loves going to the stores, is able to talk, touch, and ask questions...and he does great at staying with us. It just really drives home the point that our little guy is growing up.

I managed to snap some pictures I snapped from this morning's breakfast (notice the outfit, ignore the smudges on the table). I love his little crossed legs.
When I asked him what to drink he said: "Cold milk, Ernie cup, please." Yes, no exaggeration or rephrasing, that is what he said. What can I say? The boy knows what he wants!
Shortly after breakfast I gave the highchair a final cleaning and Mike and I put it away. Now, I never got sad over his first (or second) haircut, the fact that he's turning two isn't bothering me, nor is his new-found independence. What did make me sad? Packing up that highchair to put it away. It just seemed so...final. It just drove home the point that my little boy is not a baby anymore. Of course I already knew that, but there was just something a little sad about putting it away, even though Brady had his own rag and helped me wipe the chair down, excitedly saying "Help Mommy".
When Mike carried the chair out of the kitchen, Brady-on his own-said "Bye bye, highchair!". And, with that, we said good-bye to one era and hello to the next.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

One Week.

In exactly one week Brady turns two. It's hard to believe. It simultaneously feels like it's been forever since he was a baby and like he was just a baby yesterday. He's at such a fun stage and seems like everyday he does or says something new. He is such a talker! He's always had a good vocabulary, but now he's forming sentences. Sentences! My favorite so far: Mommy, hold my hand. Melts my heart every single time he says it. Another favorite part of this stage? He gives hugs (his favorite are bear hugs) and kisses freely and frequently. He's reached a new independent stage where he wants no part of a high chair when we are at a restaurant and wants to walk in whatever store we happen to visit. His current favorite stores are Lowe's and Target...and he knows when we are in the vicinity. He'll say "Go Lowe's" or "Go Target" and immediately follow it with "Walk". He knows when we go to church on Sundays he goes to "class" to learn about Jesus (who, he will tell you, lives in his heart), he knows we buy Gatorade at Wal-Mart and will request a trip there if we run out, and he knows Nanny and MayMay and PaPa drive blue cars...and thinks he sees their cars everywhere.

Here are some pictures (snapped by Uncle Lance--currently called Uncle Ant) of the little guy swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's (currently called Beema and Beepa) pool. The boy loves the water...he may be part fish.
Everyday is a blessing and a new adventure and I look forward to what the next day holds while doing my best to treasure, remember, and live in the moment.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Independence Day.

It's hard to believe it's been over a month (eek!) since I've blogged. I have so much to catch you up on, but for now I wanted to get back into the blogging swing by posting some pictures from our 4th of July.

We spent the day at I Love America and couldn't have had more fun! The forecast was calling for rain, but thankfully it held off and we had a beautiful day. We arrived around 2:00 in the afternoon and didn't leave until after 10:00...three hours past Brady's bed time. We, along with 100,000 people, spent the day in the hot sun enjoying all the things the event had to offer. There was an air show (with a B-52 flyover!), bands, food, a black hawk you could climb in (or, if you're Brady, push buttons and flip switches in), Hummers to explore, ambulances to crawl through, and so much more. It really was a great family day. And the fireworks? Amazing!

One of our first stops of the day was the Hummer. Brady spotted it immediately and excitedly (and repeatedly) exclaimed: Hummer!

At first he was content to "drive".

Then, he noticed there was a horn to honk (thankfully, it didn't make a sound).

Then, he tried to kick it into drive (double thanks that didn't work!).
After the Hummer, it was time for the Black Hawk. Of course, to Brady it was just a "big, black, helicopter!". In typical Brady fashion, his first stop was to check out the wheel.

Then, it was straight to the cockpit.

Oh yeah, he was into it.

After we made the rounds, we went back to our seats and enjoyed some watermelon. Can you believe they actually gave it away...for free?! They served over 12,000 pounds of watermelon. Brady loved it. He put away three pieces, and probably would've had more but they ran out.

It was a long, but fun, day. I am amazed (and blessed!) at how well Brady did! What a trooper! He didn't get fussy once, was pleasant and happy all day, and managed to stay awake for the fireworks....which he loved! He was so tired by the end of the day, I think he was asleep before Mike and I got our seat belts buckled.

We managed to get a family portrait at the end of the night. We're not looking our best, but hey, it was a long day. Yes, we were wearing matching shirts. It's cheesy but I love it! I sense a new tradition coming on!

And, just for fun, here we were last year (ignore the crazy wide-eyed expression Brady and I are sporting).

We are so thankful to our church for putting on such an amazing event. It's such a blessing to be a part of a church that gives back to the community and knows how to have fun. It's a huge undertaking, over 3,500 man-hours are needed to prepare the day's festivities, and it's primarily done by volunteers. I can't even attempt to guess at how much it costs to put on, and yet, they offer it for free just to be a blessing to the community. This was our first year going, but it definitely won't be our last!

Note: Since the blog has been abandoned, I gave it a new, updated look. What do you think? A special thanks to Lance for snapping the picture that's displayed in the new banner!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday's Favorite

For this week's Friday's Favorite, I'm posting a picture of our trio taken last year at a Cardinals baseball game. The B-Man doesn't have the happiest expression, but it'll do.

Wishing you and yours a happy (and safe) Memorial Day weekend. I know here at the Butler household we are certainly looking forward to a three-day weekend!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend in Review

What a great weekend! We kicked it off with the Sucker Day Parade Friday evening with our friend Keebee (Keri). I still smile when I think about how much fun Braden had.

Saturday we hit some garage sales (one of our favorite weekend pastimes) and decided to give the actual Sucker Day festivity a go. Braden had fun, but I have to say I did not enjoy being bombarded by all the politicians. I understand wanting to get your message out, but good grief!

Sunday was a heat wave! It was finally warm enough to break out the sprinkler and let the B-Man give it a try. This was his first time with a sprinkler and he loved it....not that we had any doubts. What kid doesn't love running through the sprinkler on a hot day?

Hope all our Canadian friends and family had a happy May 24 weekend!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sucker Day.

This weekend is the 53rd annual Sucker Day here in Nixa. It's an entire celebration devoted to suckers....as in, sucker fish. There's a long history you can read about here if you're so inclined.

The festivities always kick off with a parade on Friday evening. We have been filling Brady's head with the promises of marching bands, fire trucks, and candy all week and, thankfully, the parade did not disappoint.

I don't ever remember having more fun at a parade. Brady discovered the harder he waved, the more charming he was, and the more candy he got tossed at him. I'm surprised he is able to lift his arms today...the kid was working it. The funny thing is he never gets candy, he just liked collecting it. He was giving high-fives, accepting stickers, shaking hands...the whole bit.

Just to give you some perspective of what a difference a year can make, here he is at last year's parade:

And here's my sweet little guy this year (I can't believe it):

If that's not enough sweetness for you, here's a video of him dancing to the marching band...I honestly think it was his favorite part of the whole parade.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday's Favorite

Mike and I had the rare opportunity to have a date night last night. Braden's Uncle A-Lay (Lance) watched over him as he slept, allowing us a night out on the town (downtown, to be exact). Our dear friend Keebee (Keri) gave us a gift certificate to Fedora's. It is by far the coolest place we've ever eaten. Everything about the evening was perfect. The food was delicious and the ambiance was just right. There was dim lighting, accented by the warm glow of candles, while a delightful arrangement of music played overhead.

It was truly a (much needed) grown-up evening that left us both with a feeling of euphoria. We were even able to change up our CD rotation from Raffi to romantic love songs.

Be warned: this next section is...mushy. I am so thankful to have Mike as a partner in life. Not only is he my best friend (sappy, but true) and a wonderful husband, but he's an amazing father...which makes me love him even more. When I watch him and Brady together, my heart swoons and I say a silent prayer of thanks.

Which, brings me to today's picture for the Friday Favorite. This was taken last year, but it's still one that makes me smile.

Two of my favorite people...goofy as can be. Wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Weekend in Review

Yes, I realize it's Wednesday and I'm just getting around to posting this. I contemplated skipping "Weekend in Review" because of the delay, but the weekend was too good not to recap and remember. Besides, better late than never, right?

We had family come down from St. Louis this weekend. Namely, Grandpa Mac (we're working on a better name) and Nami (who's real name is Tami, but Braden has renamed). We were afraid it was going to rain all weekend, but we managed to sneak in some fun times in between the stormy weather.

Our friend Keebee (Keri) told us about the St. Jude Dream House open house on Saturday and joined us for a viewing. We didn't buy the tickets to try to win the house, but we did fill out entries to win some free furniture. Here's hoping!!!

After dreaming our way through the dream house, we all went to the Japanese Stroll Gardens. If you live in the area and haven't gone, I really suggest you do. It is beautiful and relaxing, and perfect for pictures...providing you don't forget to charge your batteries....which I did (and that was after we made a special trip to go back by the house since I forgot it in the first place). Oy.

I did manage to get a couple before the batteries gave up the ghost.
This was the last shot I was able to take. I'm generally not good at capturing scenery, but I love this picture. I edited it a little (ok, a lot) more than I did my other pictures, but there's just something about this picture that makes me happy.
The visit went by too quicly, as it always does, but we enjoyed it, as we always do.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday's Favorite

I think you're going to like today's Friday's Favorite. I know I do.

The pictures were taken last July. I'm thankful I kept the unedited versions because back then I would have tried to diminish the traces of drool on his shirt. Now, I love the drool. It serves as a reminder of life back then...a time when drool was a part of life. A time where he had no teeth, had just started walking on his own, and was much more dependent on us than he is now.

He has changed a lot, but there are parts of him that have remained unchanged. I love that. And, I love my little guy.