Thursday, April 30, 2009

Phillip's First Birthday Party!

Can you believe that Phillip has turned one already?!  Time has just flown by so quickly.

Katie planned Phillip's very first birthday party.  She carefully chose the theme (baby Sesame Street characters, especially Elmo).  She also planned the menu ("big chicken" aka whole roaster chicken, salad, and honey carrots).  Katie also made Phillip's cake (French vanilla -four layers- with vanilla filling and chocolate frosting).  She then sent Daddy out to get particular balloons that she had previously chosen.  To top it off, Katie helped Phillip blow out his candles and helped to open his presents.

That Was Then... This Is Now...

That Was Then...

April 29, 2008
3 pounds, 11 ounces
17.5 inches long

This Is Now...

April 29, 2009
19 pounds, 2 ounces
29 inches long
18 1/3 inches head circumference

Monday, April 20, 2009

Toddler Talk

Context: "Elmo Grows Up" was playing in Harbor Yard, but we could not get tickets. The show is about the Sesame Street characters dreaming of possible jobs when they reach adulthood.

Daddy: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Katie: A grandma.
A knowing smile crosses Mommy's face as she locks eyes with Daddy.
Mommy: What a wonderful dream, Katie! Why would you like to be a grandma?
Katie, without missing a beat: Because grandmas are full of love.

I love the fact that my children feel so close to my grandmother. My grandmother is more a maternal figure than a grandparent to me. She is one of the most dear people in my heart.

She has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Her lymph nodes in the groin area are full of tumors and will require chemotherapy. Luckily, the lymph nodes in other places, like her armpits, appear to be normal at this time. I so hope that doctors can stop the cancer from growing and spreading. I have read that if caught early enough, this type of cancer has about an 80% survival rate. Fingers crossed....

When I first heard of Grandma's symptoms, I had that uh-oh feeling. You know, the one that casts an ominous shadow over you, giving you sinking feelings in your gut. That night, I had a fitful sleep and was -Okay, call me strange- mourning. Like previously mentioned, Grandma is an immediate family member in my eyes. She is my last tie that binds, if you will.

We all know that people will pass over to the spiritual plane sooner or later. It is just that we hope -scratch that; pray- it is later...much, much later. Somehow, I keep thinking of Grandma as being the same age she was when I was toddler. I know that sounds ridiculous. I am cognizant enough to know that people age. But when you view the world with your heart, you see the poetry that hides from the scientific, analytical eye.

So, here we are. Katie and Phillip all smiles at the mere mention of Grandma's name; Katie insisting we call Grandma "just because"; everyone wanting to either visit Grandma or have her visit us; and Katie wanting to be a Grandma when she grows up because she is "full of so much love."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Reeds Go to Pennsylvania

Get out the slide projector, grab a handful of popcorn, and take a seat.... 

We decided to go away for a long weekend because we have not had a vacation in a couple of years.  It was Peter's birthday/Easter weekend, so what better time to get away from the stressors of everyday life.

We left Friday afternoon to allow Katie time to attend her gymnastics class (a favorite pasttime).  I also thought that since it was such a long car ride, it would be good for the kiddos to get the morning to play with friends, then grab lunch, and leave when they were both ready for their naps.  You know, make the trip go faster for them.

Good plan in theory.  While there was no traffic on the GW Bridge, New Jersey was a nightmare.  It was stop and go the whole way.  UGH!  

During our travels through Pennsylvania, though, we stopped at the King of Prussia Mall (  One word- AWESOME!  All my favorites were there: Nordstrom's, Bloomingdales, ... and all in larger than life buildings.  The place is h-u-g-e!

We arrived much later than planned, checked into The Amish View Inn, and discovered Jenny's Diner for dinner.  It was a "throw back" to the 50s, quaint, and much tinier than Orem's.

On Saturday, we woke up to rain.  While the egg hunt was still occurring, we did not join in the festivities simply because we had no desire to get soaked.  So, we opted to go to the outlets instead.  While there, we saw an adorable puppy who was lost.  She had a collar, but no tag.  The manager of Carter's took her and contacted the Humane Society.  That little black pup with a white star on her chest almost got a new home in Connecticut (wink).

After the outlets, it began to clear up and we headed to Kitchen Kettle Village.  It was neat to see the canning.  I totally love that kind of thing, as you well know.  Next, we drove on a scenic road recommended by AAA.  We passed through many adorable towns.  One such town was Lititz.  There we saw Linden Hall, the Moravian Church, Sturgis Pretzel, and more.  Very cute place.  

Did you know that on Easter Sunday the Trombone Choir of the Moravian Church go to the street corners and announce the Greatest Good News at -Are you ready?- 3:30AM?  Then there is a sunrise service at 6am, followed by a breakfast, Holy Communion, Easter egg hunt, and worship ceremony.  It takes up most of the whole day.  Amazing!

Peter and I kept commenting on how cool it was to be in such a devoutly Christian place during Easter weekend.  We could not get over how business all throughout Lancaster County (as in gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants) have signs that say things like, "Jesus saves" and "Bow your heads; He has risen."  It is something that you simply do not see up here.

We learned that there are Amish, Bretheren, and Mennonites in the County.  Not all Amish drive buggies, and not all buggy drivers are Amish.  The three groups are Anabaptists and believe that you are not born into a church, but rather you should choose your church when you are a young adult.  

The Amish do not use electricity simply because -and, this is amazing- they refuse to support a corporation that makes people work on Sundays.  So instead, they all use a combination of solar panels, windmills, propane, and diesel engines to do everything that we use electricity for on a daily basis.   Oh, gosh.  There are so many facts we learned, but there is only so much time to write this post...

Anyway, back to Saturday.  We ended the day with the Peter Cottontail Express, a train ride in Strasburg.  It was an old Victorian era steam locomotive that chugged through farm country up to Paradise and back.  The seat backs moved so that you could always face front no matter which direction the train was traveling.  Very cool.

On Sunday, we took a day trip up to Hershey Park.  The street lamps shaped like kisses (alternating between ones that are "wrapped" and "unwrapped"), the main road colored like chocolate, the smell of chocolate... We first did the tour of the fake factory as you cannot tour the original plant anymore.  Then we went to Zoo America.  It was a fantastic zoo; I highly recommend it!  All the exhibits focused on what is found in North America.  Then we saw the garden.

In Bird-In-Hand, the town where we were staying, we saw many things like one of the oldest hardware stores in the country, a farmer's market, toured Amish farms in horse and buggy, and so much more!  Overall, it was a great trip.  Peter and I would have liked to have stayed one more day, but it was time to head back to reality.

If you ask Katie, her favorite part was seeing all the animals, especially the baby lambs that had just been born on the farm.  And, Phillip giggles at mention of all the cows.  You could say that a great time was had by all!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Even More Images

While that is not the best photo of Katie, she is always a doll in my eyes.  The other two pictures speak for themselves.  (wink)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

And the story continues...

Okay, back to the portrait studio day... Here are some more pictures. The one of Phillip is for pure enjoyment. The only thing missing is his just-too-adorable ear-to-ear grin that he refused to show us until the very second we stopped taking photographs. Go figure!

The one with Peter holding Phillip is classic. You have Katie just about to attempt to wink at me off to the side. Apparently that is her latest thing. Whenever someone tries to take her picture, she tries to wink and ends up distorting her beautiful face into and Igor-like configuration. Experienced moms tell me all toddlers do this sort of thing. Uh, okay, but I want to capture her radiant smile that melts my heart. But that is not what sets this picture apart from all the others. Take a close look. A really close look. Do you see it? Double-click the image to enlarge, if necessary. Phillip grabbed Harry's hair and would not let go. Really! See his little hand with a tight fistful of hair? This photo was snapped right before Phillip yanked Harry's head back. Peter was in hysterics at that point as he knew full well what was about to occur. Can you see his devilish grin starting in this picture? Katie looked at Phillip in disbelief. If only the photographer snapped that exact moment, what a photograph for the family album!

Now, Phillip was not done grabbing people. In the last photo, the one with Phillip and Katie in Grandpa's lap, Phillip kept tugging on anything Katie (hair, dress, arm, you get the idea) that Katie had enough and was contemplating responding as only a toddler can, but she retrained herself. (Thank you, God! I did not need a battle between siblings on top of the other issues of this photo session.) However, Phillip's grabbing at Katie was not without consequences. She refused to look at the camera, let alone smile, out of fear that Phillip would strike again.

Then the photographer had the brilliant idea of having Phillip sit in Katie's lap. Oh yeah, that went well! I refused to purchase a copy of that image. Katie was not about to let Phillip maul her. Like I said before, gotta love picture day!

I wish I could say the adventure stopped there, but alas, it continued. While I was waiting to preview the images - Did I mention I was waiting? Waiting. What is it with JC Penney Portrait Studio that they make you wait for at least 30 minutes before you can preview images? Pet peeve, but I digress - So there I was waiting with more and more people around me by the second when Katie loudly (as in basically yelling) that she has found something for me.

Now let me set the scene. There were about fifteen or so families, maybe more, packed wall-to-wall in the front of the studio. I was up near the registers, so Katie had to weave through the crowd. Next to the studio are other departments. Katie was supposed to be taking a walk with Daddy, Phillip, Grandpa, and Thea. Here comes Katie. "Mommy, I found this for you," she proudly announces in order to be heard over the din of many voices. People part like the red sea to let her come through and bring me a WonderBra with shiny rhinestones in between the cups. I know the bling attracted her attention, completely unaware of the garment's use.

After I calmly herd Katie back to the rest of the snickering family, and suggest that she put the pretty item back where she found it, I wade back through the growing sea of people in a futile attempt to get someone's attention to ask how much longer. "Hi." I turn to my left. It was a family that we know through day care. Their daughter is in Phillip's class. Yup. There were witnesses.

Ahhh, like I said, you gotta love picture day!

Hey Good Looking - Part II

So, I finally did it. I convinced everyone to get a formal portrait taken of the three generations of Reed men. I thought my biggest battle would be Harry, but that was easy. I just reminded him that Aunt Elsie wants to see them together. Then I thought Peter would argue about it, but he was surprisingly okay with the idea. Nope, no problems. Well, it turns out that Phillip was the difficult one. I couldn't believe it! My little man who smiles at everyone and everything would not have any part of the photographing experience at all. No siree, he was not going to participate. I fed him, burped him, napped him, changed him, brought his favorite toy,.... Nope not so much as a grin. So folks, this is the best shot. Gotta love kids on picture day!