Saturday, October 31

Happy HooHooHooHoolloween!

When we started talking about costumes, Joe decided he wanted to be Tigger this Halloween and Thomas would be Pooh Bear. A stroke of luck at a consignment sale got us the Pooh bear costume for Thomas (in perfect condition believe it or not!) and ebay snagged Joe's. The real question then was, what would Mommy and Daddy dress up to be. Joe then made costume assignments and dictated, "Mommy - Eeyore, Daddy - Piglet!" and that was it. There was no convincing him otherwise so after a VERY hectic month which I may or may not back track to document, on Halloween morning, the whole family set out to get the materials to make the rest of the costumes. We had the gray sweatsuit for the Eeyore and pink pants for Piglet but we needed everything else. A quick trip to the party store got us a pair of donkey ears but no piggie accessories were to be found. Onwards to the fabric store where we purchased pink fleece and pink thread. Finally, we headed to Target where we found a pink shirt in the women's department that would suffice, some pink markers and a black headband. Armed with our supplies we headed home where the boys took their naps and we furiously put together the costumes. A tail for Eeyore, pig nose, pig ears, pig tail and striped pink shirt and we were good to go! We got dressed up for the neighborhood party, loaded up the stroller and headed off! As we neared the party, we noticed that interestingly, we were the only adults dressed up. Hmmmmmm, maybe this was a CHILDREN's dress up party. No matter, we charged on ahead ready to meet the neighbors. One of our friendly neighbors introduced us to people and we got lots of compliments on how great it was that we dressed up, but I have a feeling they were thinking "Wow, these new Yankee neighbors sure are strange!" Good thing we are only here for a year! My favorite comment was from one of the few other adults who dressed up (he was a Wheaties box). Ken told him "great outfit" and the guy said, "Yours is too. You are much braver than I am." Well, I guess not many men are secure enough to wear pink but that is one of the great things about my husband. He will dress up as piglet because our 2 year old son asked him to and do it all with a smile and shake of a piggie tail! Happy Halloween!

Pooh bear bumblebee and Tigger show off their pumpkins

Pooh and friends in front of our house

We're ready to go to the party!

Shake it, Piglet!

Joe had to try on Daddy's costume and ran around the house with this for quite a while!

Thursday, September 17

Sigma Alpha Eta Mu Sorority

Ok, so I am sure all of you are wondering what in the world is she talking about? What is Sigma Alpha Eta Mu and why am I talking about sororities when I am a long way from college? Well, it seems that I have stumbled upon a perhaps little known fact that being a Stay at Home Mom (or SAHM) is an elite club that you have to petition to join. Just the fact that you do it does not get you in automatically. You must be invited to join this club by other mothers if you are deemed worthy.
Almost every day, I take Joe and Thomas to a park nearby and of course there are hordes of other little kids and their moms there as well. Occasionally, a kid will play near Joe and another mother and I have reason to speak. It is always a brief exchange, no matter what is said on my part to try to initiate conversation, and then she goes back to her playgroup buddies. Talk about circling the wagons. Sometimes I feel like I am back in college, or worse high school. I find myself wondering if maybe I shouldn't be coming to the park in running shorts and a sweaty tank top as I watch these moms in their designer clothes, seemingly oblivious to the blazing heat. And of course, huge designer sunglasses. I actually own a pair of fantastic Ralph Lauren sunglasses (birthday gift courtesy of Ken) but I usually leave them in the car. Didn't I learn anything during sorority rush at Maryland? No sweaty clothes to the park even if you walked 1.5 miles to get there! Maybe I should bring a change of clothes? I must also mention that the offspring of these sorority girls are also dressed in the most inappropriate clothing for the park. Ralph Lauren polos, seersucker outfits and white frilly dresses do not seem like play clothes to me, but then again, who can say?
Far be it for me to be overly critical, I will say that on the rare occasion that the sorority girls do speak to me they were very polite and nice. This happened once after I ran into a woman I met via Helen, my MIL, and she introduced me to some of the other women. Of course after the hello, it was back to the same old routine. On a positive note, I went to the Parent's Council coffee meeting today and met two really nice women. I actually had a pleasant adult conversation with someone other than Ken or my family! They even invited me to join their online forum and playgroup! I just may receive a bid card for this sorority yet! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 10

First Day of School

Joe started preschool today at Covenant Presbyterian Church. He was excited when we were at home saying "Joe school?" but not quite so happy once we arrived. Only half of the class was there and they had a shortened day so the kids could get used to school before adding an additional hour. Joe is a school pro with all the daycare he has gone to but after two solid months of being with Mommy all day, he was not a happy camper. He was all smiles though when Thomas and I picked him up! It seems crazy that he is already in preschool!!

Joe and his lunch box outside our house before we head off to school

Standing in front of the entrance

There he goes!

Monday, September 7

Labor Day with Nonni and Pap Pap

After a few days of down time, another set of doting grandparents descended upon us to the elation of Joe and Thomas. Nonni and Pap Pap drove down Wednesday night so on Thursday morning, the boys had a big surprise waiting for them! While Ken was at work, they spent time with the boys and later on, Helen, the boys and I met a friend of hers from Cumberland for lunch. She was visiting her daughter who lives in Charlotte as well, and they brought their neighbor who has a son a little younger than Joe. The rest of the weekend went by in a flash and was spent going to our favorite park, exploring a new one with the GPs and Aunt Ann, and just hanging around the house having fun. Well, I should say SWINGING around since Ken and Pap Pap hung up a swing for the boys in the enormous tree we have out front. I also convinced Nonni to help me make her famous Eggplant Parmesan so that I could learn her tricks and make it for the boys sometime. It tasted really yummy!!! Too soon, Nonni and Pap had to go but we will see them again in October!

Playing in the sandbox with Pap Pap

Thomas and Nonni take a break in the shade

Tom loves to get his hands on Joe whenever he can!

Monday, August 31

Visit with Mamama and Pop

My mom and stepdad came to visit over the weekend and now have gone back to Maryland. It was so great to see them but the time seemed to just fly by! They arrived Friday afternoon and Joe went running down the driveway to hug them. I think my mom almost started crying right then and there! It seems crazy that it has been a month since we left Maryland but sure enough, it had been! Joe got to have a second birthday party since Mamama and Pop brought his gifts to open! CHOO CHOO! Thomas the Train was a hit!

We spent Saturday afternoon at Ray's Splash Planet enjoying some pool fun and then later on went to Aunt Ann's for a nice summer dinner party. The food was delicious and the conversation entertaining. These days we have to head home early though with two kids in tow so by 930 we called it a night. The next day, my mom and I headed off for some "girls time" and went shopping at the Concord Mills Shopping Mall where we bought some needed jammies for Joe and some clothes for me! Too soon it was Monday and Mamama and Pop spent the morning with the boys and then left after lunch. After his nap, Joe kept asking for "Mama" and "Pop" which just about broke my heart. We will miss them and are counting the days till their next visit.
Joe opening his presents while Thomas watches attentively

Our little Thomas is growing up too fast!

Daddy and the boys set up Thomas the Train

I love you Mamama and Pop!

Mamama and Thomas before we head out to the pool

Tuesday, August 18

Rhinoceros Tap

If you have not heard of this CD, it is a hilarious (and I really mean hilarious) CD by Sandra Boynton. Joe and Thomas received it as a gift from Aunt Ann I think for Christmas. A couple of months ago, Joe really started getting into it. Now, I take song requests in the car from Joe as he likes to hear his favorite ones over and over. Luckily for us, they are really catchy and fun to sing so Ken and I belt out the tunes as loud as Joe does. The current faves are "Rhinoceros Tap," "Bad Babies," and "The Crabby Song" which is a sailer's song in which at one point you sing "SWAB! Swab, swab, swab, swab...." You get the picture. Funny stuff. I find it quite amusing that I am taking song requests from a 2 year old and in fact, there are songs he makes me skip over "No, Mommy! No Peas! " (the second song on the CD "O Lonely Peas") Ah, the many joys of being a parent. No more CSPAN news radio while I drive!

This is the CD cover for anyone who is interested. There is a songbook that comes with it too.

Monday, August 17

Visit with the Beattys

Last week, we were fortunate enough to be able to see my college friends Scott and Amy and their kids while they were visiting Amy's folks in Charlotte! It was so much fun to see them and hang out for a while. We went to Amy's parents' house for a cookout last Sunday and then met up with Amy, Ryan, Jillian and Amy's dad at "Discovery Place" in downtown Charlotte the following Tuesday. It is being renovated so a lot of the exhibits and play areas are not up and running but we all still had a blast. Joe really loved the trains and Ryan was able to enjoy the "Shipwrecked" exhibit on pirates as it was geared towards bigger kids. Thomas loved playing with Jillian and was very excited to see her. Hopefully, we'll see our Terp friends again while we reside here in North Carolina!

Amy and baby Jillian (Ryan is hiding)

Me and my boys

I'm not so sure about you Thomas!

C'mere and let me pat your head!

Saturday, August 15

Trip to Doctor

Tom has been really fussy the last week and Thursday night he was up off and on all night so we decided that it was better to take him into the pediatrician. Of course, we did not have one yet, but luckily, Ken had scrubbed in with one of the Ortho docs the day prior whose wife was a pediatrician. SCORE! I called up the office and by some miracle she was able to squeeze us in. After a few wrong turns, we made it there in time. As usual, lots of forms to fill out and then sit and wait to be seen. Joe was very well behaved and Tom was too. Turns out, Thomas has a right otitis media infection. Hopefully, the antibiotics will take effect soon and he will feel better!

Saturday, August 8


Joe loves to ride his new Lightning McQueen tricycle (he is the main character from the Disney Pixar movie "Cars", a great movie if you haven't seen it) and now Tom wants to join in the fun too! The two of them were riding around in the kitchen and we just had to take some shots!
Joe takes his baby brother for a ride

Now its Tom's turn!

Look at me!

Friday, August 7

Thomas the Tank!

Our cute little Thomas is growing by leaps and bounds and already sits up by himself fairly well. There are still some topples and falls though! He can roll over but does not like lying on his stomach at all. His favorite thing is practicing standing while he holds our fingers. He loves to play in his exersaucer (aka 'the office'), take baths with Joe and pretty much any toy that Joe has, he desperately wants too!
Looking cool
Mommy and me

I love playing in my office!

Binky me Daddy!

Monday, August 3

Happy Birthday Joe!

Believe it or not (we can't!), Joe turned 2 years old today! We had his favorite food for dinner, RAVIOLI!, and he and I baked birthday cupcakes for the occasion for dessert. Aunt Ann came over to share in the festivities. He had already opened up one of his presents the day before from Nonni and Pap---dinosaurs and a John Deere tractor/trailer combo which he loved.


Look at that decorating technique! Watch out Emeril!

Gotta make sure the sprinkles are ok to eat!
Yummy sprinkles!

Finger lickin' good
My awesome new Lightning McQueen tricycle

Saturday, August 1

Fun at Ray's Splash Planet

Since we just moved, we decided to celebrate Joe's birthday by going to a fun indoor splash pool called Ray's Splash Planet. The boys had a blast playing in the shallow water, bubbles and even going down the slide (although there was a wipe out at the end and "No slide Mommy" was the verdict!) We plan on coming back and having more fun here in the future!
Love my boys!
A good view of part of the play area
This is AWESOME!!!

Monday, July 20

Destination: Charlotte!

After the packers came and packed, the movers loaded all our stuff and we cleaned up the house, we set off for our journey to Charlotte! We caravaned down with the cars since my Dad had volunteered to drive as well. The boys and I packed into the Mini Cooper armed with a portable DVD player and Joe's favorite movies!). It took longer than expected as there was a TON of traffic on I-95 but we finally made it around 10 pm on July 18! We stayed at Aunt Ann's (Ken's aunt) house for the weekend. We found the house pretty filthy when we got here so Ann rustled up a cleaning crew and we made it spic and span in time for the movers on Monday. Moving day was hot but bearable under the shade and by evening all of our stuff was inside. Now the REAL fun began with the unpacking! The one downside to the day was I went to go get the camera out of the car and it went sailing onto the ground and I broke the lens, thus explaining why we only have one picture of that day!
The moving van in front of our new driveway!

Thursday, July 16

Last day at school!

Today was the last day for Joe and Thomas at "The Children in the Shoe", the daycare they had been going to while we lived in Olney. They really enjoyed their time at the center and will miss all their teachers and friends. As luck would have it, we forgot to take the car seat out of my mom's car and so I had to walk Joe to the center on one of the HOTTEST and muggiest days we have had all summer. UGH!! Ken picked me up from there though, thank goodness!

My mom poses with Joe, his teachers and Thomas

Wednesday, July 15

Pack it up!

The packers arrived Monday morning and the movers came to start labeling everything on Tuesday. They also decided to start loading some of our stuff. By the time all was said and done, our stuff filled almost the entire tractor trailer! Holy Cow!Joe's room is now filled to the brim with boxes!
It takes talent to back a tractor trailer into a cul-de-sac without doing any damage!

While Ken and I spent the day with the moving crew, Joe hung out with Mamama at the park and rode the carousel and the train. Thomas spent the day with his friends at daycare.
Joe LOVED going on the truck!

Thursday, July 9

Getting back on track

Ok, I know that all you fans out there must be QUITE disappointed with my lack of updates for the past,oohhhhh six months, but what can I tell you? I have been REALLY busy. I will slowly back track and put pix up from those months but in a nutshell, here is what happened:

January - started having stronger "Braxton-Hicks" contractions and was feeling lousy so I stopped working 2 weeks ahead of schedule then went to a routine prenatal appointment on January 28 and then ......SURPRISE! Thomas Gustavo Nelson was born Jan 29!

February - mostly a blur but consisted of lots of feedings, changing diapers, not sleeping and family staying with me to help out

March - YEAH! Ken came home from Iraq albeit a week late due to an unfair command decision but better late than never! Also had a whirlwind of trips to Disney, Charlotte and Cumberland

April - back to work (BOO!) and Thomas started day care, Joe starting to become a little parrot with all his new words

May - boys growing at break neck speed and us trying to get into some sort of new routine, Thomas baptized over Memorial Day weekend

June - a brutal month for me as I worked like a maniac while the boys and Ken tried to live with the crazy woman I became

and now......July! Just came back from a fun trip to Deep Creek Lake for 4th of July and now in the midst of packing operations! We managed to squeeze in a photo shoot for Thomas too! Here are his 5 month shots!

Don't worry! Lots of pix to come!!

Thursday, January 1

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it is already 2009! On the other hand, the last several months seemed to have crawled along so I am HAPPY it is the new year. That means it is less than 2 months until Ken comes home!!!!!!! YEAH!!!! Five months so far....whew! This past week was nice since I did not work but the next few promise to be quite busy. I am starting to slow down a bit at work, but not much since it is hard to try to cram in surgeries, office hours, etc. in the next few weeks before Baby Nelson #2 arrives! I have also reached the Ok, I am tired of being pregnant" stage so that is not helping matters. Joe is as busy and rambunctious as usual. He had lots of really nice presents for Christmas and is enjoying his extra time with "Mimi" as he now calls me. I think it is a cross between Mommy and Mami (Spanish version).

Joe opening presents with cousin Branden

We spent Christmas Day at my brother Gus' house with Mamama, Pop, Branden, and Aunt Mabel (Gus' mom).

32 weeks!