Monday, November 24, 2014

Oliver is 11 months!!!

Dear Oliver,

I cannot believe this is your 11 month letter!  You are really changing!  You are non-stop and seem to want to play with things that aren't toys.

You love your cousins and pretty much any kid you see.  You smile and laugh at them all the time.

You've started to play with toys the "right" way (whatever that means) and still love toy balls.  Sometimes in the car, you cuddle with your lovie, Zoe, and now you sleep with a small blanket that Honey Lue gave you. 

You always beg for food even if you've already eaten.  And you eat a lot.  Like a horse!

You have another bottom tooth and two more up top starting to poke through.  Despite that, you're pretty much sleeping through the night!  Good job, buddy.  

When you're focused on something or nursing, you squeeze your index finger and thumb together.  You don't let me clip your fingernails or toenails much and aren't a fan of getting snot sucked out of your nose, but we manage.  

You have started making really funny faces and your personality is big.  Everywhere we go, people comment on how happy you are.  And you are.  So that makes it pretty easy to know if something's up…teething, sick, etc.  Because your mood changes big time.

You've started laying on blankets if they're on the floor and laying on pillows.  It's the cutest!!  You don't cuddle with us hardly at all.  Even at nap and bedtime, you reach for your bed.  Kind of makes me sad.  But, it makes the cuddles that do happen, that much more special.

You LOVE books.  Opening them, blabbing while looking at them, fussing when I put them up.  I hope you love to read always!  The music you're digging right now is David Crowder and Twin Forks.  You totally have a particular taste.

You've started copying us and can put a play phone up to your ear.  You can say Mama and Da and you say "Mmmbabum" and similar words all the time.  I wonder what you're telling us?  You've even reached out your hands to me and said Mama.  We think you'll say ball pretty soon, too!

You can wave and love to do that at Publix.  When I put a dirty diaper in the trash, we play a game.  I say, "1-2-3 shewie," drop it in, close the lid, then wave my hand.  You've caught on and now wave at the shewies in the diaper genie!  So smart!

During nursing sessions, you've tried to pick off my freckles and poke my belly button.  Haha!  Sometimes, you squish my tummy in your hands and I've never been more proud of the little extra I have there.  That was where we began our journey!

You think it's really hilarious to lock one of your legs when I'm changing you.  It makes it difficult, but we have fun with it and you cackle away!  One of your favorite things to play with during changes is an empty Altoid box.  Whatever works, right?

You point to things you want…food, toys, sippy cup (which you've pretty much mastered now).  And even point to Daddy's guitar when you want to hear some music.  I'll strum it and you'll smile instantly.  

(I call this picture when did my baby become a toddler?)

Getting you into your car seat is challenging sometimes because you'll arch your back and try to stand up.  Yowza.  We eventually get you in and you immediately reach for your car paci.  You also sleep with 5 extra pacis in your crib.  Sometimes when I put you down, we'll watch you on the monitor and you go through each one and change them out until you find just the right one.  So funny!

You're finally in size 4 diapers, you've climbed up some stairs (with me behind you), and you drink your bath water.  In other words, you're growing, you're learning, and gross.  

Oliver, I just can't.  This whole being a mama thing is big stuff and I thank God for trusting me with you.  That balance of wanting to see you grow and wanting to keep you little is a difficult one to keep.  You, my dear, are our greatest joy, we love you, and you are more than a blessing!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November *we stayed close to home* Shows

A few months back, we decided to try and stay close to home in November.  In order for that to happen, I email every church (pretty much) in a 100 mile or so radius and hope for responses.

{ Side note: even with radio play and some decent press, finding shows is still hard.  That is a constant we have found:  everyone in the business hates booking.  But we have to do it and if we hunker down, we can find shows.  And it IS finally getting a little easier. } 

First, we drove up the road to Hopkinsville, KY to be with New Work Fellowship.  We got there Saturday evening and got all checked in and settled.  The front desk lady was adorable.  Totally diggin' on Oliver and he gave her oodles of smiles. 

When we got to the room, the keys didn't work, so Trent went to remedy the situation.  Mister Man and I stayed behind and played in the halls.

The keys got fixed or reprogrammed or reswiped or whatever happens and we got into the room. And there were TWO baskets!  One for O and one for us.  I've got three words for you:  Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies.  Amen.

Oliver played with his new puzzle and experienced Goldfish for the first time.  (He's a fan.  Even more proof he's my baybay.)

Sound check was planned for that night (LOVE when we are able to do that), so we ate supper before we went up to the church.  Oliver also experienced the wonder that is Chick-fil-A.  I made the mistake of giving him nuggets before the fruit.  Once he ate that goodness, there was no hope for the healthy stuff. Lesson learned.

Sound checky-checky.

We led worship and shared special music on Sunday morning for New Work's three services.  It was Veteran's Day week and they are close to Fort Campbell.  Meaning:  lots of service men and women, both vets and active duty, in the congregation.  They were recognized and I just cannot hold back tears. 

After church, one of the pastors and his family took us to lunch.  And that's where someone came up to us and asked if Oliver was a boy or girl.  I mean, come on.  I know he's pretty and I know sometimes at this age babies can look like either sex.  But I had him in boy clothes!  Whatevs.  

We rested in the afternoon then went back up to the church for the concert.  It was a fun night!  They had a Thanksgiving dinner (YUM) and even made us go first.  I'm appreciative of that but it never gets less awkward for me.  

After we all ate, everyone filed into the sanctuary for an open-mic of sorts.  People were invited to share what they're thankful for.  I was surprised by how many kids got up to give thanks!  I pray Oliver has a thankful heart and the guts to get up and share it.  My personal favorite was when two little girls (sisters) got up and, in unison, said, "we're thankful that our daddy is home."  Their dad is a soldier.  I mean hello, tears!

Then, we played.  At one point, Trent had a string that would not stay tuned.  He actually had to stop in the middle of a song and tune it.  That left me playing percussion all by my lonesome.  So, I said, "percussion solo!"

They clapped.

Trent still wasn't done.

I said, "If I could rap, I would."

They laughed.

Trent still wasn't done.

This string was being extra stubborn.

So, that's when I sang the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.

Some people actually sang along.

It was quite the moment.

We all laughed and the string was tuned and the show went on.

They have video of it and I pray that it doesn't find its way onto the interwebs.

The staff was super friendly and we look forward to going back!

The next weekend, we went to Carthage UMC in Carthage, TN.  We woke up Sunday morning and drove there and drove back home after the service.  It was so strange!  In a good way.  

We had the whole service which is always fun.  I must admit, I wasn't sure how the morning would go.  The congregation was mostly…um…how do you say…mature?  There were also young families, but I was still curious how it would all go.  Plus, there was a gentleman saying it was too loud during sound check.  Oops!  I don't think he bought a CD =)

My concern was for no reason.  We were very well received and everyone that stopped by to shake our hands had nothing but nice things to say.  Yay!  

I got no pictures, but here's one from the night before, after the family picture debacle, eating some yummy Mexican food.


Oliver loved it.  Shocker.

#enchiladas #refriedbeans #rice

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Our Little Punkin//Halloween

This was Oliver's first fall.  I'm saying was because it seems Old Man Winter is about to show his face. Anyway, we went to a pumpkin patch and did the whole picture thing.  

He loved the little pumpkin and was a little freaked out by the grass.  Ha!

On our way back home from our last run of shows, we stopped in Collierville again and went to Menagerie Farm for their Halloween fun.  Blake did it all… hay ride, train ride, fed animals, picked out a pumpkin, ate s'mores.  We kind of tagged along and watched.  It is such a neat place!

First pony!

Carrie photo bomb!  

We got home on Halloween and had plans to go to Green Hills Mall for a Halloween themed music class.  But, it was freezing and Oliver seemed to not feel well, so we stayed in.  He did get to dress up for our grocery run.  Also, I might've dressed up as a hippie to go get lunch.  No picture…rookie mistake.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Arkansas + Texas + Louisiana = October.

We were on the road (shows, family) for most of October.  Here's your warning… LOTS OF PICTURES.

Our first shows were in Arkansas so we broke up the drive and stopped to see the Barlow clan in Collierville.  Oliver loves to play with the steering wheel.   Mr. Man had big fun with Blake and all the fun toys he has and even played his first game of tag, which caused lots of belly laughs. 

We left the next morning for the short drive to Van Buren.  BUT, we ended up being stuck on I-40 for 6 hours.  SIX hours of no movement.  There was an accident involving a HAZMAT truck about 7 miles ahead of us, so both sides of the highway were closed for cleanup.

All I have to say is thank God for snacks, a nursing baby, and empty cups.  Know what I'm saying'?

It was about as much fun as toilet cleaning or ripping off your toenails.  We made it, though.  But we had to cancel the show that night.  Major bummer.  First time in 15 years that Trent has ever had to cancel!

We got to the hotel (in time to watch Nashville…hallelujah) and got all settled.  Oliver had a terrible night, so we did too.  We made it through that, as well.

So Oliver could nap, we had a picnic of sorts in the car at a park.  If we look tired, it's because we were.

That night, we played at Larry's Pizza in Fort Smith.  It was super fun.  Plus, we got to eat pizza.  Lots of pizza.  Baked potato pizza, quesadilla pizza, regular pizza, dessert pizza.  One could assume I was in Heaven.  Also, Oliver likes pizza.  Duh.

Our friend, Kerrie, watched O for us and they did great.  At one point, Oliver was sitting in a high chair facing us and clapping.  Adorable.

We left the next day for Amarillo.  And Santa came early.  PawPaw and GiGi took us to "the baby store" and they hooked our boy up.

Toys, diapers, and the now titled, Oliver Cave.  He digs it.

Sunday, October 19th (I remember the day because it was Oliver's 10 month b-day) we shared music at  First Baptist Church.  Everyone was so, so kind and helpful.  And it was a fabulous morning.  (And the sanctuary is beautiful!)

The nursery took amazing care of our boy and we got to sneak down there and peek at him.  He stole puffs from a sweet little girl.  Eeeek!  But we were told she was stealing, too.  All's fair in nursery snacks, I guess.

(Look at his wittle hand on her chair!!!  I can't even deal.  So sweet and mischievous.  It looks like he's pleading his case.)

Also, they have a hand rail in the hall, so I did some ballet.  

Funny story, an older woman walked by our table, looked at our CDs and said, "I have 300 cds at home and I don't need another one."  We cracked up.  Our feelings?  Not hurt in the slightest.  Seriously one of my favorite stories.

We played that night as well and got to leave Oliver with the grandparents.  We fantasized about checking into a hotel and sleeping.  Waking up to eat.  And sleeping again.  One day...

Mama Pat and Papa Tuck were in town and it was great to spend time with them!  I think they're pretty smitten with the boy.

We left Amarillo and drove to Salado to see the Wenzel/Self clan.  We were able to get there on Caleb's 13th birthday.  **Let's pause for a sec**  Caleb is 13.  How did that happen?  In my mind, he's still lining up cars and trucks and calling me TaTee.  It's exciting and sad all at the same time.  (Dear Oliver, stay little, ok?  Ok.  Good talk.)

Oliver gets smothered in the best way and he LOVES those kids.  Makes this mama/aunt heart happy.

Some Baby Einstein before bed… (and laundry folding)

Grammie watched Oliver and we had a date.  A sit-down-and-talk-while-we-eat-then-walk-around-Target-without-rushing date. It was bliss.

We did an outdoor home show in Austin alongside Redeemed Ministries.  It was a great night and Oliver slept upstairs the whole time.  (Until we got in the room, of course, then he thought it was time to get up and nurse again.  Stinker.)

We left the next morning and stopped to get our #RoadGrammie to head to the Dallas area.  

We played the Sock It To Satan Festival in DeSoto.  Trent played there in 2010 and it was nice to see some familiar faces.

Oliver had the nursery all to himself.  And he made sure he put everything in his mouth.  Like a dog marking his territory.

(The foot.  Kills me.  So cute.)

After we played, we met up with our friends Billy and Rachel (and Max) for some BBQ.  It was fantastic.

I forgot the diaper bag so Oliver had to snack on pickles before the meal.  Lots and lots of pickles.  (He was a fan…which is no surprise due to the amount I ate while he was in my belly.)  He and Max sat by each other and I wish I got a picture of them looking at each other and touching each other.  Seriously the cutest.    

The next day, Sunday, we went to Community of Hope in Mansfield to lead worship and have a concert.   Amazing time.  The sweetest people.  And turns out, the pastor had seen Monk and Neagle years ago in Salado.  Small world.

(Oliver had a nap on Grammie and this picture is one of my favorites.)  

He loves to watch.

The hotel had a Texas waffle iron because of course they did.  So, Oliver and I shared it.  (He didn't get butter or syrup.)

We left and went back to Salado for a couple days and this is what Grammies do while mommies and daddies pack up:

We left for Shreveport, LA to play at New Life Tabernacle.

After the show, while I handled merch, I was chasing Oliver around and a Nana of 9 grand babies commented on how active he is.  I felt some validation.  Like, "Yes.  Yes he is.  He doesn't stop.  Thank you for noticing."   

(Dinner in the hotel desk chair.  Fancy.)

It was another great night and we finished our run of shows feeling loved and blessed.  And it could not have been more timely.  He always does that; God is good.

Then we went home after stopping in Collierville one more time.  We're staying close to home this month and it's wonderful.  Except that we miss sleeping on a bed.  

Oh, the sacrifices we make for our babes. =)