Monday, June 30, 2008


uh-oh! A big gator!, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

We drove overnight to South Carolina on our vacation. We arrived at Huntington Beach around 5:30am, when it was still dark. When you drive into the park, you cross over a tidal marsh on the way to the campground. The marsh is FULL of alligators. Since we drove into the park before daylight, John and JT didn't know about our park neighbors right away. Hee hee.

In the evenings, after playing on the beach all day, we walked along the causeway to the overlooks to watch the alligators. I'm not sure JT was very impressed with them. He's more of a cuddly bunnies and kitties kind of baby. This picture was taken at Brookgreen Gardens' wildlife park. This gator was huge! JT definitely noticed him.

JT loves all kinds of animals. It's so cool to see him find out what's out there. We caught sand fleas on the beach and put in his bucket so he could re-catch them. He managed to get one in his grimy little paw and then tried to eat it of course! My uncle fishes the beach. He caught a small sand shark. JT got to feel its skin. And then he grabbed onto it and wanted to taste it. We sent it back out to sea to save it from babyzilla! One morning after his breakfast, I caught a grasshopper from the picnic table. He thought it was very interesting, and as expected, managed to knock off its legs trying to eat it.

We may need start introducing him to some animals that aren't bite-sized...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

mahna mahna

Oh you'll be singing this in your sleep... My mom introduced JT to a little Muppets ditty. We continued to sing it throughout vacation. He loves it. You will, too...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

mosaic of me

Alrighty... saw this on Amber's blog and had to try my own.

here's how it works...

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Where do you live?

Here is mine:

1. Frida Kahlo by Stacy Alexander, 2. Flickr Loves Sushi. Mmm., 3. Western Tanager, 4. Green apple, 5. Mark Wahlberg, The Shooter London Premiere, 6. Chocolate Cream Chip Frappuccino, 7. Warm Fuscia wall - Greece, 8. Chocolate Ice Cream, 9. East High Cheerleaders, 10. Snowmen family in TX, 11. crafty mini folder, 12. postcard from ohio

Anyway... mosaics are cool and flickr rules, as always. Now I'm back to editing more photos... there were seriously a lot of vacation pics. :-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

creativity building

creative summer inspiration, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

Vacation recharged me creatively. Now I need some time to get crafty. I still have 280 vacation photos to get through. I am going to be enjoying those very slowly, I guess.

I also need to plan JT's birthday party. I don't suspect I'll be doing anything too creative for it. There will barely be time to handle the basics.

Well, 4 more days of this work business to get through... I should be off to bed.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

vacation comes to an end

14/52, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

We are so sad to be heading back to work tomorrow. Our vacation was awesome. We spent the week "camping" at Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, SC. We rented a car and drove down. We stayed with my aunt and uncle in their motor home.

My Aunt Joan and Uncle Wayne are such great hosts. We had the best home-cooked meals and desserts. Coffee brewed every morning before JT got us up. He slept in their room where Joan played soothing music in dim light... it was like a spa in the back of the RV!

I started processing the pictures yesterday. I am still not through all of tthem. There are over 300 yet to examine. Oi.

JT signed "more" to me today. My heart leaped! We've been signing for about 6 months now. We aren't as diligent with it as we could be. I know he understands some of the signs, such as milk, more, and done. But today was the first time he busted one out on me in the appropriate context. I was feeding him dinner: chicken stew, fruit medley, and milk. He had finished the chicken and I was feeding him the fruit. He didn't want any fruit right then, he wanted milk. He looked right at the milk and signed "more". Granted, he could have asked for "milk", but we'll take what we can get, ok? It was a very pleasant meal. He didn't yell at me at all.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

back from the beach

beach baby, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

Back from the beach and soooo ready to scrap. Stories comin' at ya all week...

Friday, June 13, 2008

anniversary get-away

Reds/Cardinals June 12, originally uploaded by brungrrl.

The hubz and I had a good time in Cincinnati for our anniversary get-away. It would have been better without the rash that turned me into a "speckled trout" and the head cold, but we had some fun anyway.

We saw James Taylor on Wednesday night. We sat by an older couple who has three kids, Bob and Mary. Their tickets were her mother's day gift. Awww. Halfway through the concert, Bob asks us, "So, you guys really love JT?" I am thinking, "How does he know our kid's name?!" lol... he meant "James Taylor".

As it turns out, I have been to a James Taylor concert before... with my aunt & uncle and parents when I was about JT's age. We all sat on the lawn at a show at Blossom in Cleveland.

We visited Ikea in West Chester during the day on Thursday. I got some lights for our bedroom and we found a couple cute things for JT for his birthday. Wow is that store big.

Thursday evening we went to the Reds/Cardinals game. John is a St. Louis Cardinals fan. After winning 10-0 the night before, they lost when we were there. And John's favorite player, Pujols was out with an injury. It was fun to go to a game though... we can't wait to take JT someday. There were lots of little boys and girls there in total awe of the event.

We spent a lot of time talking about nothing in particular. It's been about a year since we checked in with one another on topics like politics and favorite music. And after three days of sharing, we still like each other. :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

congrats Moyers!

A HUGE CONGRATS to our friends, the Moyers! Adrienne gave birth to 8 pound 7 ounce, 20" long, baby Grace Renee Moyer at 8am this morning.

Hope they're not offended... but I have to post the picture because I think they're all so cute!

Their older daughter, Reagan, is JT's girlfriend with whom he shared a sitter for about 6 months. :-)

vacation is off to a great start

We dropped JT off with my parents last night around 7. It was awful. I mean, he was THRILLED to see them and went off with them like he was going to have the best time. He was shrieking with glee at my mom and is hitting my dad on the back like "old buddy, old pal." I cried my eyes out. I don't know why, it just really hurts to leave him right now.

Then we drove straight to urgent care because I had started to develop a rash and it was getting into my mouth which is kind of frightening. We spent an hour and a half there. I got a shot of steroids in my butt... everyone's favorite kind of shot, right? They figured it was an allergic reaction, although I was in contact with absolutely nothing new or different the past couple days. By midnight it appeared the shot had worked, as my skin was almost totally clear.

Well this morning, I woke up to itchy palms and feet. And then it started to come on strong everywhere else. By the time we were sitting in the doctor's office, my entire face was covered by red blob. The anti-histamine tablet seemed to work right away. Here's what I'm looking like now:

I still look like a leper (doctor's word, not mine!) So much for a romantic get-away with my hubz. Not only am I completely unattractive, but he doesn't want to sit next to me or look at me (because he might turn to stone if he looks at something so ugly). Even with blood tests results that will come in tomorrow, not sure if this is viral, allergy, or stress-related. Could I really be so stressed that I have done this to myself?! Ugh...

Let me know if anyone turns to stone from looking at that picture. I may have to take it down later so I don't have to keep looking at it in my blog archive. Ew.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

love this age

When John and I were dating I went through a phase of growing my hair out long. We only saw each other every other weekend or so. Every time he'd say, "I like your hair that length right there. You should keep it like that." Well, he said that every weekend, and every weekend it was different.

Now I find myself saying that about JT. "I like 6 months old. It's my favorite baby age." Now I am loving 11 months old. (Yes, officially 11 months old on Monday - can't believe it!) He is so awesome now. Sure, I could do without the biting and the "stranger danger," as John calls it. But he's so fun and lovable.

My dad stopped by to visit today. It's amazing to see JT recognize my parents and get crazy excited about them. When Dad left, JT run-crawled over to the door and smiled and waved to Grandpa through the side window. Then he watched Grandpa pull the truck out of the driveway and drive away. Awww... doesn't that just melt your heart?!

Another big thing today... he pronounced mom-mom. I've only been asking him to say it for about 4 months now. He randomly babbled it twice at nap time today. I'll give him a week, and he better be calling for me by name. :-)

I bought some Photoshop actions for Photoshop Elements (PSE) today. I'm so excited about these. It's the "Colorful Actions for PSE" set by Mindy Bush. Here is a sample photo comparing my original image, the color saturation, and vanilla black and white actions.

We had a good day. JT took a great morning nap (almost 3 hours!) and a respectable afternoon nap. (Yes, length of JT's naps is a way to measure a good day.) He and I hit the neighborhood yard sales this morning and made a good haul. I got a nap this afternoon, which was nice because I'm now battling the cold JT had earlier in the week. John got us gyros for dinner from The Big Fat Greek Kuzina. And finally, we met up with the McKeans for playtime at Homestead Park and ice cream.

And now I think I'm off to bed. I usually stay up late crafting on the weekends, but with this cold, I just don't have it in me. N-night.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

it's hot

It was hot today! JT discovered the air conditioning, up close and personal.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

love life

My Grandpa died last week on Friday. This was my dad's dad. He is the Jack who built the "house that Jack built". Literally, he built the house where my dad grew up and where my Grandma still lives. His middle name was Thomas, my dad's middle name is Thomas, and JT's middle name is Thomas. His dad, my great-grandfather died in his 50s, on the day my dad took his first steps at 10 and a half months old. The date was May 29. My grandpa died on May 30 when my son was 10 and a half months old and very close to walking. And there is so much more to tell about him...

We have been so busy lately. We just got back from a trip to West Virginia over Memorial weekend. Work is hectic for me and John. We are trying to spend as much time as we can with JT in our spare time. We didn't have time for a funeral.

But isn't it funny how such a thing makes you take pause? It makes you reflect on life? In as much as we reflected on Grandpa's life over the past few days, I have been thinking about what my life sums up to. What will the details of my obituary be? What will people say at my funeral?

One of Grandma and Grandpa's neighbors, an older lady, said yesterday, "Jack loved life." It was as evident from a distance as it was up close. He made every moment of every day count. Those words struck a cord with me. The words themselves are so simple and beautiful, yet the act of loving life to the fullest every day can be such a challenge.

I saw someone else love life today. JT has been sick since Saturday. He feels really crappy. And he's been at a funeral doing adult things for two days away from his toys. Tonight he and I went for a walk in the post-rain evening. I stopped the stroller along the path and pointed out a bunny. He sat up straight, spied the bunny, then smilled and laughed a little "huh"... just taking in the moment. He didn't cry after the bunny or scream at it, he just absorbed the moment for what it was.

Today I am taking a mental note to love life.

Grandpa's obituary

Jack Thomas Whyte, 81, lifelong resident of Barberton passed away on May 30, 2008.

He was a veteran of the U.S. Army during World War II, 81st Infantry Wildcat Division and retired from PPG with 40 years service. Jack enjoyed wood working, golf and his great friends at Portage Lakes Fitness. Most of all, he loved being with his family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Harry and Emily Whyte of Barberton. He leaves to miss him his wife of 58 years, Mildred (Collins); sons, Paul (Peggy), David (Karen); daughters, Sandra (Brady) McDougall and Diane (Michael) Holland; grandchildren, Stacy (John) Brunner, Bill (Theresa) Whyte, Katie and Kyle Whyte; great-grandson, John Thomas Brunner; sister, Loretta Caldwell.

Friends may call from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, June 2 at Cox Funeral Home, 222 Norton Ave., Barberton, and the memorial service Tuesday, June 3 at noon. A private burial service will take place at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. Those wishing to offer an expression of sympathy may consider the Eagle Ranch, P.O. Box 7200, Chestnut Mountain, Ga. 30502,