Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mommy's Little Fishy

Last Thursday in swim class, they tied noodles around the kids' waists to try and get them to float enough to swim. Brady was fine as long as he was kicking, but as soon as he stopped, the noodle would make him flip onto his back. Over the weekend, we headed to the pool with Andy. Andy was apprehensive about going because the first time he came was great and the second time, Brady was in hysterics. I assured him that the past week and a half, Brady has been back to his normal self at the outdoor pool. We spent about an hour at the outdoor pool and Brady was loving it. He even went down the slide. Andy was amazed at how happy he was, since it completely opposite from the last time. We went into the indoor pool and I showed Andy how we tied noodles in class and let Brady swim like that for a while. He seemed to understand that in order to stay on his stomach, he had to keep kicking and would move forward on his own. Brady's swim teacher was the lifeguard and she waved and said hello.

When we got to class this morning, she said all the other lifeguards came up to her and asked her if she saw that little boy swimming and she was telling them that he's in her swim class and is very close to taking off on his own. She thought the knot in the noddle might have been the problem and suggested we try just putting the noodle under his arms and see what happens. We did and he took off. He went up and down the pool several times. He thrives on praise, so he was all smiles the whole time.

All the time, we're talking about the things Brady could be great at one day. Football, hockey, etc. I think we need to add swimming to the mix. His old teacher back in Michigan said he could be the next Michael Phelps. That makes me smile because I was a good swimmer when I was younger and one of my dreams was to swim in the Olympics. I was 18 the summer of the 2004 Athens games. Brady is much more slender than I ever was, so maybe there's hope for him. Being an Olympian would be a far greater accomplishment than playing college ball. He was born during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, so maybe it's his destiny to one day compete. Who knows? It's so great that he has his whole life ahead of him and none of us have any idea what's in store for him ;)

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Other Blog

I just started a second blog which follows my continuing weight loss journey. It will have updates, insight, and recipes. Hope you'll check it out. There is a link on the right under followers that will take you there or you can go to nikkiweightlossjourney.blogspot.com

Brady Taking Driver's Ed



Nana got Brady a Winnie the Pooh push car for Christmas and when we opened it up, he liked sitting in it for a few minutes, then would try to get out. There was a safety bar for young children, so on more than one occasion, he would tip it over while trying to get out. When we moved to SC, we kept it in his room and it was parked next to his crib. He liked to reach through the bars and play with the buttons so it would play music. We would constantly hear it on the monitor and know immediately that he was up. He started getting better at moving it himself, but would still get caught up on the safety bar when he wanted to get out. Sometimes, he would get his legs up so he could stand up on the seat, but not able to get down. We knew it was time to take the safety bar off so he could get on and off the seat by himself. This weekend, we finally got around to taking it off and moved it out into the living room so he could play with it whenever he wants. Since he moves from toy to toy all day long, he plays with it at least 5 or 6 times during the day. He likes when real cars beep their horns and when I ask him to get on his car and beep the horn, he does it and laughs. Before we know it, he will be turning 3 and getting his Power Wheels!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Red Velvet

There is a big joke about red velvet cake in our family. About 7 or 8 years ago, for my PopPop's birthday, my Mimi made him a red velvet cake. When we arrived for the celebration, all she could talk about was how while making the cake, everything was red. She said she was covered in it from mixing the cake and the sink was red, everything was RED. We have joked about it for years and are constantly begging her to make another. She only made him that cake because he went to the store and that's the mix he came home with.

Since this incident, we have been obsessed with red velvet cake. We have made several ourselves and seek out items that are said to be flavored with red velvet cake. Most recently, we have had a red velvet cake cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory and it was incredible! Sonic had a red velvet cake milkshake that we never got around to trying, but every time we went to Happy Hour, we wanted to get it. Today after lunch, we went to a little frozen yogurt shop for dessert. They had some crazy flavors and there was even a red velvet frozen yogurt. I had to have it. I mixed it with cheesecake yogurt and then put on some graham cracker crumbs. Brady loved it as well and probably ate a good 1/4 of my cup. It tasted just like I was eating a slice of red velvet cake. We are excited that this particular yogurt shop will be supplying yogurt and smoothies at the Bosch company picnic in September.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Feel the Need . . . The Need for Speed!


Brady got this race car track toy from his Pap and LaLa for Christmas. Although he was within the age limit for the toy at that time, he didn't understand not to put his hand on the spinning track. He would stop it with his hand and we were afraid he would burn out the motor since it was still trying to spin while he had it stopped. It had two race cars, so we left them out for him to play with until he was old enough to play with the track. Today I brought out the track and he was loving it! He couldn't figure out how the cars made the track move, so when the track stopped spinning, he would try to manually spin it. It didn't take long for him to figure out that the cars had to go down the ramp to start the track since there was a button they roll over. He now just presses that button.



These little race cars are made by the same c
ompany as his large remote control race car he got from the Easter Bunny. Above is a picture of both the large and small race cars. He is now totally immune to the remote control race car (he was terrified at first). Every time we go into his room, he either rolls the center ball or shakes the rattle that makes it move. He doesn't even run away when he starts it anymore and has even let it run over his toes from time to time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Toddler Time & Noise Makers



A mom from our swimming class mentioned that they have a toddler story time at the Anderson library on Wednesday mornings, so this week, we thought we'd check it out. I wasn't sure how it was going to go because when I read to Brady, he loses interest quickly because he doesn't like to sit still. They sang a few songs, which he liked because there were hand motions (Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, etc). When it came to the books being read, he was more interested in what the other kids were doing and playing with door handles. I suppose, he'll become more interested in time. At the end, they have a coloring page for them to do at small tables. When we go out to restaurants, sometimes the crayons end up in his mouth, most likely the floor, and when color ends up on the page, it's just dots from him banging the crayons on the table. You can see in the picture where I held his hand and helped him color, and also the many dots from where he "colored." He was more interested in the large bin of crayons and wanted them all. We will definitely go back.



When we got home, the mail was just arriving and the mailman handed me a package. I was thinking what did I order now? There's always something coming that I ordered so I was trying to think what it was. Huggies has rewards c
odes on diapers and wipes and when you rack up enough points you can spend them for toys or gift cards, etc. I had finally accrued enough and the package was what I got. It was a set of 4 noise makes that I knew Brady would love. They're also small and lightweight, so easy to take along when we travel. He was whining when we walked in the house, but when I opened the package and he saw it was toys, he stopped and said, "Oh." I got them out and he played with them for a while. He was getting hungry and tired, so we will bring them out again after nap.

Over the weekend, I decided that it was time to start w
orking with Brady on using a fork when he eats. Yesterday was our first session. He was having ravioli and I would guide his hand with the fork in his grasp to spear the ravioli. He would then proceed to place it in his mouth with the fork. After a while, he started to try to spear them himself, and when he couldn't, I'd help him. By the end, he was able to spear three of them himself! It was really exciting and I was sure to praise him. He loves when I get excited and then tries to keep me excited. While we were at swimming class earlier that day, he said "kick" for the first time and is now saying "hi" to everyone we meet in stores. He's a very friendly kid.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!



First, I want to wish a Happy Father's Day to all of those dads out there, including my own dad and PopPop who have been the men in my life for the past 25 years. Today started by Andy getting up with Brady and playing with him while I got to sleep in. The past few weeks, Brady and I have had a lot going on, so most days we are up around 8AM. Weekends are nice because when Andy gets up with Brady, it's later than when he gets up in the week, and I get to sleep later than I get up during the week. It's a nice little system.



When I got up, Brady presented Andy with his
Father's Day card and gift. Andy never buys clothes for himself, so any occasion where presents for Andy are involved, I make sure to get him clothes. He got two pairs of shorts and three shirts that match both pairs. He usually just wears basketball shorts and T-shirts in the summer, so it's nice to get him nicer clothes to wear out and about that are casual. Brady took a nap and when he woke up, he and Andy headed to Andy's candy store, Best Buy. They were gone for at least an hour and a half and Andy had a chance to try out the monkey leash we bought yesterday. Andy said Brady was just like a dog leading his owner around and while he was checking out, Brady would run until the leash caught up to him and he fell on his butt. It will be nice to have when we are out and about because he likes to run around instead of being confined to his stroller. In Disney, he was often unhappy because he just wanted to walk and we couldn't contain him, so we wouldn't let him. It is nice to have him at the age where I don't have to carry him around all the time.



I took the time to call my dad and PopPop since today would be a day that we would spend with family if we didn't live so far away. I look forward to seeing my parents in 3 weeks when we spend a week in Virginia Be
ach together. I will be back in Pittsburgh in about 6 weeks so I can visit my grandparents and Andy's parents. The last time we were home was Easter. My Mimi likened us to a military family because of our constant moving and I get asked that a lot when I tell people where we've been and where we're going. It will be nice to settle somewhere after Germany, even if it's for a couple of years or more. Andy was looking at pictures of him and Brady from last Father's Day and can't believe how small he was back then.



During the early part of the weekend, Brady had a little stomach bug. He's feeling much better now, but like any sick kid, isn't eating his usual amount of food. He's eating more now that he's better. The Wii Fit has an application that allows you to weigh pets and babies. The last time he was on it was about 6 weeks ago and when we put him on it yesterday, we expected a weight increase
because he's been eating so well, but were shocked when it said he went down 0.7lb. We thought it was a fluke and tried it again to only get the same result. We head back to the doctor in two months and will see what they say. Today he was wearing some pants that were loose but never fell down and he walked right out of them. He's still in the middle of the weight range for 9-12 months clothes, but all the ones I have in that size are for winter and it hasn't been cold enough here to wear them since January. I'm starting to think he'll still be wearing 12-18 months by the time we head to Germany and I bought an entire wardrobe of 2T clothes to take with us and I fear they'll be way too big.


I have been scrapbooking like crazy the past week since I ordered prints for the first time since before Easter. I was working on both o
ur Disney album and Brady's 2nd year (age 1). I have done so much that I have used an entire box of photo splits in the past week (1,000 squares)! A lot of people think I'm crazy and won't do the same for future children, but I'm a picture person. Brady's 1st year took up three albums, totaling up to 100 pages (with at least 2 pictures on each page). Digital has changed things in the fact that you have no qualms taking a ton of pictures and just printing the good ones. My mom put my whole first year in one album with maybe 25 pages because film and printing the photos all cost money. I am determined to get all of Brady's 2nd year in one album (expanded of course), because Disney will have it's own album and he's not changing as much this year as last year. By this point last year, I had filled two whole albums with his first 4 months. Because Brady was our honeymoon baby, I didn't get much of a chance to work on our honeymoon and wedding scrapbooks because baby pictures are more exciting. Now that I'm caught up on Brady, I intend to finish the second of two honeymoon albums and both wedding albums before we head to Germany. Hopefully Brady will someday enjoy them as much as I do, but knowing that he's a boy he might not appreciate it. At least I know when he graduates high school I can bring them all out at his party and others can enjoy them.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hunger Strike on Hiatus

Even though, he's cutting his 6th tooth, Brady has been back to normal when it comes to his eating. About three weeks ago, he started asking for more food and it's to the point now where he will eat a whole Gerber meal in one sitting. There are days when he eats all his meals, then has "fourth meal" when Andy and I eat. He'll eat an entire portion of our dinner after he's eaten his. Before, the only meal we could count on was breakfast and now he eats applesauce in the morning in addition to his normal cereal. We are very excited that his eating appears to be back on track. He's still very active, so I'm sure he still burns as many calories as he eats. He's still wearing a couple of 9-12 month two-piece pajamas and when we go to the pool, his 12-18 month swim trunks fall off of him. Good thing in SC there are only two seasons: winter and summer. Summer lasts for 9 or 10 months and winter lasts for 2 months. With my luck, our next kid will be a butterball and all of the clothes will be too small.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Uncle Buks Comes to Visit



Andy's Uncle Frank, aka Buks, came to visit us the past few days. He came Friday afternoon and stayed until this morning. It didn't take Brady very long to warm up to him when he arrived and within 5 minutes, he was sharing his animal crackers with him (Buks was addicted by the time he left). Saturday, we went out to lunch at J. Peter's (a local restaurant) and when we got home put Brady down for his nap, Buks stayed at the house and we were able to sneak off to see a movie. The last time we went to see a movie was January 2010 and it's been so long that I can't even remember what we saw. We are big movie people, so not going to the movies is a bummer. We went to see the Hangover 2. We were laughing hysterically because some of the jokes tied in with some of our personal jokes. A lot of people said it wasn't as good as the first, but we watched the first one when we got home and thought the jokes in the new one were better.



Sunday, Andy and Buks went to a BBQ place and brought home food. Brady loved the beef brisket and ate a whole piece himself! Andy and I had pulled pork and it was awesome! We saw on the radar that there were storms headed our way in the late afternoon and it was hot, so we woke Brady up and hea
ded to the pool. He was a little apprehensive because it's cooler than the indoor pool (even though he's loved it in past visits), and he obviously has very little meat on his bones to help insulate his heat. A light bulb went off in my head and I remembered that I had a Gymboree beach ball from last summer in my beach bag, so I blew it up and it was a huge hit! He went into deeper water with no complaint and even went under some of the sprinklers.


Monday was our first day without Andy since he was heading back to work for the week. In the morning, we went to Walmart and Buks came along, helping push the cart and keeping Brady entertained. After we were done checking out, the cashier wished Buks a Happy Father's Day. She thought he was my husband. He was very polite, just smiled and said thank you. He's so good with Brady and has obvious affection for him, so it's not hard to believe that someone would think he was his dad. After Brady had his nap, we headed into Greenville so Buks could see Brady in action at Gymboree. Our class is on Fridays, so he'd missed it, but open gym was Monday afternoon so we were able to use all the equipment. He was nervous when Brady would climb up ladders and stairs.

Buks had planned to stay until Wednesday, but his inbox was filling up with messages for jobs (he's a teacher at a Vo-Tech in Pittsburgh and does HVAC in the summer to keep busy). He left this morning when Brady and I went to swim class. He always has a hard time leaving since his nephews are his life. He wouldn't come to visit us if we didn't have Brady. It gets harder now that we only go home every 3 months instead of at least once a month, if not more. We hope he will be able to join us in Virginia Beach in a little over 3 weeks.

The biggest news of the day was the announcement of Pitt and Penn State football resuming their football rivalry in 2016 and 2017. Pitt will host the first meetup and Penn State will host the second. This proves a problem for our family. Up until now, we have put the rivalry aside in our household (at least since I met Andy), because the last time they played in football was in 2000. The main reason the two teams haven't played in so long is because Penn State was insisting that they get two years at home for only one at Pitt and that was a deal breaker for Pitt (many PSU fans are very upset now that they have granted a 1 and 1, when I feel it's ridiculous for them to get more). We will definitely be at the game in Pittsburgh in 2016 as season ticket holders. I asked Andy which jersey he would wear at the game and he said of course, Penn State. Brady will be 6 1/2 at that game and will have been to Pitt games all his life and never a Penn State game so he better show his loyalty, along with any other children we have by that point. He will only get a split jersey made for him if he requests it (if he wants to wear his Pitt jersey, I won't argue with him). I told Andy we will go see the victory lights and he will cry himself to sleep, since Joe Pa will be 90 by then and most likely not coaching, which means the talent will suffer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Our New Doggie


Andy, Brady, and Buks were hanging out in the guest room because Brady likes to jump on the inflatable mattress and play with Buks's things. There was lots of giggling, but also some crying because Brady was being crabby. I heard later that he tried to eat some change and was not pleased when they pried it from his mouth. Good to know he's in good hands when I'm not the one watching him. When they emerged from the room, Brady was holding Buks's belt. He came up to me with it and I was playing around wrapping it around his waist. It was huge and every time I let go and he walked away, it would fall to the floor and he would get upset. I pulled it onto his waist again and then held onto the extra end. It looked like a leash and I stood up to see if he'd follow me. He loved it. He liked being behind me and in front of me and couldn't wait to show his dad. Of course, my dad's famous words of "you're going to jail" were ringing in my mind, but he enjoyed it and would get mad if we stopped.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Southwestern

Many of you might not know, that two summers before I met Andy, he worked for a company called Southwestern. This company enlists college kids to sell educational books door to door. They take them away from an area they know and transplant them somewhere totally different. Andy spent his first summer in Houston, TX and the second summer in Milwaukee, WI. They work 80 hour work weeks (Mon-Sat 7AM-9PM) and work only on commission. I can only imagine how tough it is, because I'm sure a lot of people just say "not interested" and close the door. When I first met Andy, it was his first summer not working for them, but he was hosting 3 of them in his house. This meant they were living with him, but they were hardly ever there conscious because they work so much, then sleep any chance they get. They were great guys and I certainly missed when they left in the fall.

Today, I was getting Brady into the car to go to Gymboree, when a young man on a scooter pulled into my driveway. I had a feeling I knew who he was working for and it didn't take long for him to identify himself as a Southwestern employee. I felt bad that I had to leave, since he probably hears that a lot when people are trying to brush him off. I told him that Andy had worked for them for two summers and if he could come back later, we would be happy to take a look at his books. He wanted to meet Andy to get some tips since it was his first summer. He came back around 7:30PM this evening and he and Andy spent a little time swapping stories. Andy offered him some encouragement and tips. His name was Brent, and he was from Jamaica, but going to school for business in Boston. We bought the series of books for the youngest age group, which contained 6 books (2 of which were word dictionaries which were really cute and incorporated humor that even adults could enjoy). We were getting ready to pay him the deposit and Buks surprised us by paying for them as an early Christmas present for Brady since he knows we'll be packing to move and never knows what to get him anyway. When the salesman left, I asked Andy how they found people with kids. He told me they look for signs of kids, like a minivan, toys in the yard, and referrals by people who they end up selling to. Andy said that the basketball hoop in our yard is what signaled that we had a kid (even though it came with the house and the kids across the street use it). Since we're new to the area, we weren't much help in telling Brent who on the street had children, so hopefully he has a good summer.

Andy's buddy, Dan Dougherty, who also worked for Southwestern at the same time, told Andy that I shouldn't have told him that I was familiar with the company and had him try to sell me and Andy so he could critique his sales pitch. Dan is a very good salesman and when telemarketers call his house, he lets them do his speech, then tells them what he thinks of it. We've all had a good laugh at his stories of critiquing people over the phone.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Brady's Sailor Suit Portraits

Starting with my dad, and continuing with me and my brothers, it's been a tradition for the kids around age 1 to have their portraits taken in a sailor suit. Andy thinks it's kind of silly, but I think sailor suits are adorable and Brady was adorable in his. We couldn't find the one my brothers wore as babies, so I had to buy Brady his own, but it was very similar to the one my brothers wore. I have the one I wore as a baby if we ever have any girls.
My dad (1957)

Me (1987)

My brother, Alex (1989)


Me and Alex (1989)

My brother, Chris (1993)

We assumed that this photo shoot would be similar to the other 4 we have done with Brady since he was born. He plays to the camera and smiles non-stop. We were wrong. The photographer put out a little wooden stool for h
im to sit on, and the second Andy placed him on it, there was screaming. It took about 10 minutes before we even got one picture taken. We had to keep taking breaks to get him in the area where we could get the photographer to snap photos. He kept wanting to play with all the toys the photographer had. In a way, it was an advantage to have less good ones to choose from since I go overboard when it comes to portraits, but I wish it had been easier. I really would have like to have some good ones of him sitting and smiling.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ice Cream Social



Today, we got together at a park near Clemson with our MOMS Club here in Anderson. We were having an ice cream social. Brady had a hard time waiting for us to get ice cream because he saw the older kids playing on the playground and he wanted to join them. He liked his ice cream when he got it, though (like always). When he said that he was done, he was not happy when I finished it off for him, because every time I put the spoon in the cup, he thought I was trying to give it to him. Finally, it was time for him to play. There was a little section more geared towards toddlers and he was doing really well holding onto a rail and stepping up the steps without going on his hands and knees. I was really impressed. He climbed all the stairs to the slide and slid down. They had a little fake wooden town and he liked walking in and out of the pretend shops. Next was the swings. He has always liked swings and for a while back in Michigan, he would only nap in his swing. He was laughing out loud and smiling the whole time. It was really great to see him with kids that aren't around the same age as him. When we first moved here, it was funny to see the kids were 18 months to 2 years following and imitating the older kids. Today, Brady was one of those younger kids. He had a great time following around another little boy who is about 7 months older than him. They gave each other high-fives and even were on the swings next to each other. We happened to leave at the same time and Brady wanted to go in his car with him. He's such a social butterfly.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

More Pictures from Disney

Meeting Pluto





The Castle



Woody and Jesse


Meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse









End of the Day

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pool Time & Another Bloody Mouth



Today was the first time we were able to make it to the outdoor pool at the YMCA. From Brady's reactions last week at the resort in Disney, we had a feeling it would be a hit. When we pulled up, he could see it and was pointing, trying to walk towards it. We had plans to work out first, so he would have to wait. When we picked him up at day care, he was excited. When he got out to the pool, he wanted in immediately. He was not deterred by the sprays of water and just walked right in. I was taking some pictures and Andy was in the water with him at first. He would lose his footing on the slopes and put his face in, but thanks to his conditioning at the Goldfish Swim School, he knew to keep his mouth closed instead of inhaling the water. He also likes to place his face in the water and blow bubbles (another thing he learned at Goldfish). I had put the camera away and met up with them in the pool. There is no way to stay dry with all the water coming from different directions. Andy walked with Brady to where the water was at his ankles and let go of his hand. He's not quite as vigilant as I am about watching him, and sure enough, Andy wasn't even watching as Brady ran back into the pool. Thank God I noticed because I got to him right as he lost his footing. He was not happy when it was time to leave.



Later, we were home eating dinner, and Brady was running around like crazy. He took a header into his small arm chair and hit it so hard that it made the wall behind it shake. At first we thought he was stunned and that's why he was crying, but then I saw the bloo
d. Of course, earlier in the week I told Brady that he was getting his pictures taken this week and therefore was forbidden to have any facial injuries. We thought the blood was coming from his lip, but because he was screaming, we could see his whole mouth and noticed it was coming from his upper gums. Poor kid really hit hard. It wasn't until later that I realized my shirt was covered in blood. All of this drama was forgotten when a summer storm came through and Andy realized he had left his car windows open and ran out to close them. Brady and I went out on the covered front porch to watch him and that's when we saw the marble-sized hail! I picked up a few pieces to let Brady play with because he loves ice.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Trip to Columbia



Friday night we headed to Columbia, the capital of SC, because Andy would be taking the first part of his CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) exam on Saturday. Brady and I decided to tag along to see a city we'd never been to before. We scoped out the test sight the night before and headed to our hotel. We brought the Pack N Play, but shouldn't have bothered since Brady wouldn't sleep in it. Until now, all the hotels we've stayed in have had a single king bed, but this one had two double beds. This meant there was a lot less room for the three of us. We tried splitting up, but Brady screamed unless we were all together. This meant a long night with his head in Andy's back and his legs kicking me. This morning, we got up early at 6AM, so Andy could be at his test site on the campus of the University of South Carolina by 8AM. He was very paranoid about being late and when I mentioned there weren't many cars around the building, he started to worry that the test site had been changed and he didn't know. Don't worry, he was there with plenty of time to spare and was in the right place. With Andy dropped off, it was time for me and Brady to explore.



Our first stop was the Columbia Zoo. We haven't been to a zoo
since the Diabetes walk at the Detroit Zoo in early October. It was very rainy that day, so there weren't many animals out and we wanted to get through it as quickly as possible. Today was the exact opposite. It was 97 degrees and sunny. We got there right after it opened at 9AM, after a quick stop at Walmart to get some emergency sunscreen because that was the item we forgot to pack (there's always one thing that gets forgotten). Of course, once I had Brady in his stroller, I found out that his baby sunscreen with a high SPF that never leaves the outside pocket of his diaper bag, must have fallen out since Disney last weekend. This meant that I had to use the spray bottle I had gotten for myself and was only SPF 15. I was not at all happy having to spray sunscreen on my baby, but it was better than letting him burn.



We spent about 2 hours at the zoo bef
ore it got unbearably hot and even the animals were starting to seek shade. Brady loved getting out of his stroller to check out the bronzed statues of animals scattered throughout the zoo. He LOVED the birds, and we got up close and personal with the giraffes since they let people feed them. They even had an indoor exhibit with fish and snakes. I was disturbed by the part where they show all the types of snakes that live here in SC. It didn't help that not too long after that, someone pointed out that there was a snake coming down a tree near the path and that we shouldn't cross. Our next stop was to seek shelter and AC at a mall we passed on the interstate the night before. We had lunch at Charley's in the food court, where Brady and I shared a Chicken California sandwich. We walked around a little to enjoy the cool air. I thought Brady was getting tired, but after driving around for a while, he was still awake. This meant our final stop was going to come before nap instead of after.

Our final stop was
Chuck E Cheese. The last time we were at one was in December back in Michigan and he was terrified of the rides, but he's 6 months older and loves to run around so I figured that this would be the place to tire him out. He loved the rides and didn't care about the games one bit. So he moved from ride to ride for about an hour and a half until all our tokens were gone. I figured it was finally time for him to take a nap, so we drove back to the area where we went to Walmart, where there also was a Sonic so I could get a drink. By the time we reached Sonic, he was still awake, so I decided to order a hot fudge sundae to share. It was Happy Hour, so it was really busy and it took them 25 minutes to bring my order. Of course, Brady was out like a light by then. He napped until it was time to pick Andy up, and then we walked around the USC campus with Andy before heading home. We have currently put 8,000 miles on our car since we bought it 3 months ago! If that continues (which it probably will), we will put on over 30,000 miles this year! Our car will be happy when we let it sit for 6 months when we go to Germany.


I've started watching the show Extreme Couponing on TLC. Although I think some of these people are nuts for buying things that they
will never use (ex. 50 jars of mustard) just because they have a coupon that will make it free, there are some good tips to saving money. They all have huge stockpiles in their houses because they acquire 50-100 coupons for the same item and when the deal is the best, they use all of them. I will admit that there are some of them that use their couponing skills to send care packages to soldiers overseas and to help fill food banks, which is much better than keeping everything for themselves. I've started using some of their techniques like buying a Sunday paper for coupons and scoping out the stores for the best price to use the coupon, but only on things I would buy normally. Who doesn't like saving a little money? Pop is one of our biggest expenses and normally, even at Walmart, a 12-pack of cans runs about $4.30. We are normally Coca Cola snobs, but were spending $15 a week just on pop! Publix runs a special every week which is 3/$11, but the brands vary, so I was sometimes getting Pepsi. With the Sunday paper also comes the store circulars for the week and CVS has had some great deals at 4/$10 so I bought 4 packs of Coke last week and 4 packs of Pepsi this week. I was rearranging the pantry to fit in a new pack of diapers and wipes and realized that I had 7 packs of pop in there! I think it's safe to say we're set for a while, but glad that I got a good deal.