Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween!

From your favorite dinosaur.

Make that your favorite dinosaur, fairy princess, witch, and guy in a hooded sweatshirt!

Off we went . . .

To gather our loot.


Now, that was a hoot!

Mmmm . . .

Don't mind if I do!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Carving Time

As the Christmas-esque snow melted away this morning, we felt a small twinge of Halloween spirit returning.

It was pumpkin carving time!

I am proud to say that this is the first in the last three years that Justin and I have remembered to actually carve our pumpkin before 6pm on Halloween night.  Go us!

Jackson's key phrase:  "Oooo . . . wow!" soon followed.

Please note that this is the "ugly side" of our pumpkin!

Jackson loved "helping," but after he dropped the spoon into the pumpkin for the 73rd time, Justin got a little frustrated.  Something tells me it was becoming a sort of game to one of them.

Maggie Mae successfully restrained herself from eating the pumpkin innards.

And after a lot of hard work . . .

We ended up with a simple masterpiece!

Whose dental profile just might have been modeled after a little snaggle-tooth we know.

Happy pumpkin carving, everyone!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween?

Happy Halloween?

I don't think Mother Nature got the message.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Here We Grow Again

It seems Jackson has finally found a sub-letter for his former apartment.

That's right; we've got big news again!  We're expecting baby #2 ... and guess what?  My due date is May 11th, 2012.  That's only 6 days after Jackson's 2nd birthday.  Right now, that puts me at 12 weeks pregnant and about to enter the wonderful second trimester.  However, to use Justin's words this morning as I hugged the toilet bowl, "someone needs to tell your body the first trimester is over!"  Agreed.

Overall, things have been going really well with this pregnancy.  Today we had our nuchal translucency screening, and everything looked good.  We are so thankful to God for "normal" results.  When you have a child with a medical condition, the cliche statement "we just want a healthy baby" takes on new meaning.  I haven't been nearly as tired with this pregnancy as I was when I was carrying Jax.  Perhaps that's because I'm not working this time around . . . or because I'm so used to functioning on limited sleep.  However, I have noticed that I am way more sensitive to smells (as in, I literally haven't changed a poopy diaper in 8 weeks because I start dry heaving), and I have had far more morning sickness this time.  With Jackson, my "morning sickness" was limited to moderate nausea that usually subsided by the late afternoon.  However, with this baby, I feel lousy from the time I open my eyes until I close them again at night.  Oh yeah, and if you like gory details . . . I can usually exceed my "total vomit" count with Jackson in a single day with baby #2.  Yeah, unpleasant.  For awhile, I've been thinking "this has to be a girl," but today at our sonogram . . . the sonographer took a peek between Baby Heath's legs . . . and she said she was 96.3% sure we are having another boy!  However, I'm not completely convinced because it is so early.  Justin was thrilled, and he keeps insisting that "she does ultrasounds every day, and she said she was sure."  I'm going to let him enjoy his excitement for at least another 8 weeks when we'll know for sure.

I found out I was pregnant back on September 6th . . . you know, the day Jackson was sick two days before his first Mehta casting procedure in Philadelphia when we had to rush him to Haymarket to see his Pediatrician.  As I've stated before, we like to do things "with a bang" around here.  I took my pregnancy test that day in one of those "I really need a stiff drink, but I'm a little late for my period" moments, and, low-and-behold, there were two pink lines staring up at me.  It's funny . . . with Jackson, I took one of those fancy-shmancy digital $20.00 tests and sat there with a stopwatch waiting for the 3 minutes to pass.  This time, I look a $0.97 "test strip" and forgot about it sitting on the back of the toilet for 10-15 minutes before I went back to read the sucker.  Priorities, I guess.

Anyways, we are thrilled to finally we announcing the "little [boy] bean's" existence to the outside world.  We honestly couldn't be happier to be growing our family a little larger.

Only 6 more months to go!

The Keeper of the Cheerios

Jackson has put new meaning to that sweet song lyric: "the keeper of the Cheerios."  Tonight when mom and I were giving him his nightly tag-team sponge bath, I noticed this little lump near the bottom rim of his Mehta cast.

At first, it sort of  looked like an "outie" belly button, only lower and off-center.
Well . . . upon further inspection . . .

It was, in fact, a Cheerio.

The last time Jackson had Cheerios was when we were in Roanoke . . . last Friday.

So, our little stowaway has been there for nearly a week, just hanging out.

Something tells me it's going to be very interesting when this cast is removed for a few days in November.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jackson, the Genius

Jackson, the genius.

A.K.A. --  Will perform for praise.

(Hint: if you scroll to the bottom of my blog, you can "pause" the music in order to hear these videos)

Monday, October 24, 2011

History, Mystery, and Thing of the Past

Sometimes I think I missed my calling as an antiques dealer or some sort of historian.  You see, I have a strange and deep love for antiques and the history that they hold.  You could call it a 'special appreciation' for times past.  I have been known to wear vintage jewelry and pins (often to Justin's chagrin on dates), to actually use authentic depression glass in my kitchen and around my house, and recently to fall head-over-heels in love with both the beauty and the mystery of antique steamer trunks.

For quite awhile I have been intrigued by vintage trunks--it fascinates me to think of who may have owned them, where they may have traveled, and what contents these trunks may have once held (which can be a little creepy, too, if you think about it too much).  Oh, how I wish they could talk!  However, it was only recently that I began to actually consider purchasing one for myself.  It was then that I discovered just how old these steamer trunks actually are.  Most of them date back to the late 1800's, and therefore, their price tags were a bit higher than I had originally anticipated (okay, a lot). After doing a lot of antique mall searching, I had basically decided that I really couldn't afford one of these beauties ... especially since most of them were falling apart and still causing a bit of sticker shock for me.

That's when fate stepped in.

Now, I have to set the scene here.  Last week my mom and I had gone to the Strasburg Emporium to browse, and I had looked at about every single steamer trunk in the place.  I left a bit disappointed and empty handed.  The next morning, I was telling Justin about my unproductive search on our car ride home from lunch.  We were driving down a road about 2 miles from our house, when I see a sign that says "Antique Trunks For Sale" on the side the road.  Now, keep in mind that our town has a population of less than 1,500 people.  I freak out and demand that Justin "TURN THE CAR AROUND RIGHT NOW!"  He does, and that's when I meet Charlie.

I'm not 100% sure of Charlie's age, but if I had to guess, I'd put him around 93 or so.  He is outside raking leaves when I step out of my car.  Because he is hard at hearing, I have to yell a bit to get his attention.  I tell him I am interested in his trunks, and the afternoon becomes magical.  This little man is tiny and frail, but sharp as a tack.  He spends the next 30 minutes taking me throughout his garage and basement showing me upwards of 15 vintage steamer trunks that he has fully restored by hand.  He tells me the history of Jenny Lind, the turn-of-the-century Swedish opera singer and trunk designer.  He details out his handiwork, telling me about the materials he uses and the labor he puts forth.  He gets his trunks from estate sales then completely refurbishes them by hand.  He tells me about woodworking with his grandfather when he was 12 years old ... about being a builder ... about working on bombs during the war ... and about his retirement hobby of antique restoration.  

I fall in love.  Both with his trunks and with Charlie himself.

I return home, and within an hour I have gathered up a "stash" of cash from our yard sale last July, and I am on my way back to Charlie's house down the road.  He is happy to see me return, but thinks I have just come back to visit with him (how I would love to hear more of his stories) and is surprised that I am interested in purchasing a trunk.  I tell him which one I like, and he immediately lowers his asking price by $50 without me even asking for a deal.  I am amazed.  It is as if it is meant to be.  We agree on a few finishing touches to be added to the trunk and decided that I will return to get in on Monday.

Well, that was today, folks!  I visited my beloved Charlie this morning and picked up my beautiful trunk.  I have been spending my evening researching steamer trunks, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this trunk to see what I could find.  Naturally, I'm not an antiques expert, so nothing is certain, but I think I have developed a decent idea of the trunks history.  Again, I'm sure this research only merely scratches the surface, but here you are:

This trunk is considered a "hump back" style based upon its dome shaped top and the placement of the wooden slats on the lid (the top handle is not original).

The hardware is marked "PAT JUL 9 72."  That would translate to: Patented, July 9th, 1872.  Wow!  We are talking less than a decade after the end of the Civil War (i.e. Scarlet O'Hara could have owned this trunk...makes me very excited!).  Upon further research, I discovered that his patent was issued to C. A. Taylor who was a trunk manufacturer himself.  He could be the trunk maker in this case, but not necessarily as his hardware was used by several trunk makers during this time period.

Here's my favorite part:

There is still an intact lithograph on this inside of the trunk lid.  I did some research on "The Plankinton" in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I uncovered that this was a high-end hotel during the late 1800's.  On December 17, 1883 there was a historic fire disaster in the hotel that destroyed parts of the structure.  The hotel was later demolished in 1915 in order to build "The Plankinton Arcade."  Those dates somewhat confirm the legitimacy of the dates on the trunk's hardware.  Fascinating!

Although not pictured, there are four intact rolling wheels on the bottom of the trunk as well as the marking "28in."  I'm assuming that merely refers to one of the trunk's measurements.  I have emailed an antique trunk expert to see if he has any tips on further identifying the trunk's manufacturer, but I think I've done fairly well myself!

Now, depending on who you are, I have either stimulated your love for history, mystery, and things of the past -- or, I have completely bored you to death (you could have stopped reading).  I hope it is the former.  But since I'm currently thinking in terms of the late 1800's, I'll use to words of my dear friend Rhett Butler: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

Happy hunting!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Zing. Zang. Zoom.

This weekend marked another priceless "Roanoke Weekend" complete with visiting family, antique shopping, catching up with my friend Lauren, a date with Justin, and . . . taking Jackson to his very first CIRCUS!

Zing.  Zang.  Zoom.

The Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus was in town, so we decided to make the trip down to attend -- not that we ever really need an excuse to travel to Roanoke.

Jackson was very excited when we pulled into the Roanoke Civic Center parking lot, and he saw all the people coming and going.

And before the show even began, he got his very first tattoo!

And saw a beautiful 41-year-old elephant who weighed 7,500 pounds!

We waited for the show to start . . .

With our snacks and souvenirs.

And soon . . . it was time!

For "The Greatest Show on Earth."




It was like nothing Jackson had ever seen before, and he was mesmerized.

And we didn't have a bad time either!

You're never too old to enjoy the CIRCUS!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


"The Good Ole' Song of Wahoowah, we'll sing it o'er and o'er,
It cheers our hearts and warms our blood, to hear them shout and roar.
We come from old Virginia, where all is bring and gay,
Let's all join hands and give a yell for dear old UVA."

Wahoowah!  Wahoowah! Uni-V-Virgin-I-A!  Hooraray!  Hooraray!  Ray!  Ray!  UVA!

There's really nothing quite like singing those words loud and clear--except doing just that with your little boy for the very first time!

That's right--Jackson attended his first UVA football game yesterday, and it was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. in every way. The weather was gorgeous . . . it was homecoming (my first since graduating in 2008) . . . and, although predicted to get creamed, the Cavaliers beat Georgia Tech!  It was an incredibly exciting game--the final score was 24-21--and the whole day was fantastic.  Jackson behaved wonderfully, and I really think he actually enjoyed himself.  A music junkie, his favorite part was, naturally, the Cavalier marching band.  We truly had a blast!

"Go Wahoos!  Beat Georgia Tech!"

A HUGE win for Virginia!

And an even bigger rite of passage for this mama and her boy!