Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fly Fishing, Turkey, King Tut and More

Time for the Super-Mega-Chritmas-Extravaganza post where we make up for two weeks of nothing with one novella of a post...

We hope everybody is having a great end of their year. We had a wonderful Christmas week with both families. We started off the weekend before Christmas by celebrating with the Suskays at the cabin. Friday night we found out that we would spend Saturday learning how to fly fish. Very cool gift from Santa Suskay.

We spent the first half of Saturday learning the history and details of fly fishing from the great folks at Unicoi Outfitters. They taught us how to tie knots, what types of rods to use and a ton more. After lunch, we suited up and headed out to the river where we spent the first hour or so learning and practicing different casts. Then we spread out a bit and spent the next several
hours fishing. Mandie did the best (she's the only one that actually caught anything, actually) but we all had a great time. We'll definitely be going fly fishing again.

The rest of the weekend was spent just relaxing and exchanging gifts. Patrick LOVED tearing through the paper and tissue paper. He got very spoiled by his grandparents and aunts and uncle.

Christmas Eve we went to mass at St. Ann's with both families and then went home to eat dinner. I also got to read The Night Before Christmas to Patrick that night for the first time. It's always been a tradition in my family that my Dad would read that book Christmas Eve night before we all went to bed and it was really neat being able to start that tradition with Patrick. We'll have to have his Uncle Jonathan teach him our other family tradition of making vomiting noises at the point of the book where it says "and threw up the sash."

In a horrible turn of events, we lost the charger for our camera and didn't realize it until the battery died on Christmas Eve. So, we don't have any pictures of Patrick opening gifts on Christmas morning or many from the rest of Christmas day. We took video of it though so we can have the memories. We had a really fun morning with him watching him get excited when the presents came out and tearing into them as soon as they were put down. We spent Christmas afternoon and evening over at Grandma and Grandpa Flowers' house with the whole crew. Patrick was spoiled even more by gifts from everyone and we were spoiled by one of the best Christmas dinners I've had. I swear the turkey was basted in angel dust and magic.

We all headed back up to the cabin for Friday and Saturday and Patrick got to go on a hike and see his first waterfall. Patrick has discovered his high voice (or, "Mariah Carey notes" as we like to call them) in the past week or two and fully exercised it on the hike. He squealed in delight every few seconds at every tree he saw, every breeze that blew and the waterfalls almost sent him over the edge.

Another gift from Santa Suskay was to see the King Tut exhibit at the Cobb Civic center. Papa and Meme kept Patrick for the afternoon while all the "kids" went to the exhibit.

It was quite the whirlwind week but a ton of fun to see everybody. It was awesome having Mandie and Tim in town from Idaho for the whole week and getting to see both families for Patrick's first Christmas. We had a really fun time watching him react to all the new things he saw and did.

Finally, here's a slideshow full of pictures from the week. If you're like me and not patient enough to wait for the slides to change on their own, you can always go directly to the whole album and view all the pictures at once by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


We hope everyone has a healthy and happy Christmas! We are enjoying time at the cabin in Blue Ridge, some family time at home and looking forward to spending time with both families on Christmas Day.

More to come after the holidays...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas is Coming!

We kicked off our Christmas season with the celebration of St. Nick's Day on December 6th. It's a (German) tradition in my family to set out the children's shoes or hang one of their socks (real ones, not the Christmas stocking kind) from the mantle. Overnight St. Nicholas fills the socks or shoes with small treats for the kids. Patrick received a few teethers and a Santa nightlight that bubbles along with a small stuffed penguin. It was pretty cute to see Patrick's tiny little shoes in front of the fireplace. I think he enjoyed the tissue paper more than the gifts!

Nora, Patrick's long distance girlfriend (and our Goddaughter), and her Mom, Megan, arrived from Arizona last week. The kids played together most of the day on Sunday and it seemed like they really enjoyed each other. Mark arrives on the 23rd and then our group will be complete. We miss you Mark!

Patrick has started to sit up more on his own for an extended period of time. We think he's trying to impress Nora Jo, as she can already crawl a bit. It's so much fun to watch her be so mobile. She can go from sitting to laying to crawling. We are having a blast with them in town!

Mandie and Tim arrive from Idaho Wednesday evening and Friday we'll leave for the cabin. I can't believe Christmas is almost here!

This Christmas will be a very special Christmas for me
...(get ready to sing on Thursday Sue and Penny!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

I took this video about a month ago on a day when Angie was at work and Patrick and I got to hang out together the whole day (hence the Nintendo shirt and the socks that look like shoes). He spent the entire morning rolling over every time he hit the ground.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

Sorry I'm a little late on this post; it's been a busy week.

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend. It was really fun for Patrick to celebrate it for the first time (at least, it was fun for us to watch Patrick). And thanks to Aunt Wendy, Patrick was ready for the day with a stuffed turkey and a 'My First Thanksgiving' bib (which comes in very handy when you're a drooly baby like Patrick is).

We spent Thanksgiving night over at the Hopkins' and had a GREAT dinner and a lot of fun hanging out. Patrick must have just inhaled the tryptophan because he cut right to the chase and napped for most of dinner.

The next day we headed to the Suskay cabin after Patrick's morning nap. Angie's family was already there including her Grandma and Grandpa Stuck who came from Arizona. We had a great time spending the weekend with them playing games, sharing stories and eating A LOT of food. Throughout the weekend we also had other visitors from out of town. Rob, Michelle, their two kids and Aunt Caroline (and we can't forget their new puppy Mame) along with Vincent, Christine and their two kids spent Friday evening with us. It was a very full and fun house - and also made for a great horseshoes tournament and bonfire.

The next evening we had Thanksgiving dinner (Part III) with Chuck and Suzy whose cabin is next door to the Suskay cabin. You'll never meet two nicer people.

Sunday morning we got up and had a huge breakfast at The Lodge. After that, we packed up and came back home for a nice relaxing night.

Here are a few more pictures from the weekend but if you want to see the rest just click here to view them on Picasa.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Baby

Hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We have some pictures to post but for now just wanted to put up a video we took on my phone today.

I had to exchange some things at the store and it wasn't worth taking Patrick and all his gear in to do it so he and mommy stayed in the car. When I got back Ang had moved to the back of the car to play and he was a VERY happy baby. I was able to grab a quick video of him giggling away on my cell phone (hence the terrible quality).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day surrounded by family, friends and food. It's especially meaningful to us this year as our 4 year wedding anniversary falls on the same day.

I thank God each and every day that He led us to one another. I read over our wedding program and my heart raced as I remembered that cold November day four years ago.

To realize each gift given us extends first from the hand of God
To know each breath breathed to this moment comprises the timeline of our lives
That these eyes have faithfully opened and closed ten million times before,
ever searching for The One that would return this glance.
Now you are all I see.
As the day dawns and I accept the greatest gift of all- utter once and forever
I do. I do. I do
- Charles Joseph Nevismal III

Every day I love you more. Happy anniversary!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Abbie's Birthday

Hello again! Hope everybody had a great weekend.

We celebrated Abbie's birthday on Saturday by going to The High Museum of Art and seeing the Terracotta Army exhibit. We go to The High at least once a year for a Suskay birthday and I have to say, this has been my favorite exhibit so far. Here's the Cliff's Notes version of what we saw:

The exhibition includes complete terracotta warrior figures and represents one of the most important groups of works relating to the First Emperor ever to be loaned to the U.S.

The famed terracotta army was initially discovered in 1974. In recent years, ongoing excavations have revealed that the army stood guard over a vast underground palace of far greater complexity than was previously assumed. The exhibitions will present both iconic and recently discovered examples including warriors from the terracotta army, court officials, acrobats, musicians, terracotta chariot horses, and bronze water birds discovered beside the complex's underground river.

It was a very impressive exhibit. Angie and I are usually more interested in the artist than the art when we attend these exhibits (usually due to our complete lack of knowledge of art) and this "artist" definitely didn't disappoint. The guy built himself an army to protect him in the afterlife. How crazy is that? It's use-700,000 workers-to-build-8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses-crazy. That's how crazy.

We, of course, took Patrick along for the ride as well. The museum didn't allow strollers so we just tag-teamed carrying him around. He loved looking at all the statues and especially loved the horse replicas. We sat in front of those for a good five minutes while Patrick babbled and squealed away at them looking for any response. He actually did really great for the whole trip. We are VERY blessed to have a laid back baby that just goes with the flow most of the time.

After that, we went back to the Suskays' house, watched football and an old Bond movie and then went out to dinner at The Tuscany Grill (GREAT place for dinner, by the way).

Sunday morning we went to church then had a nice relaxing afternoon and evening. Patrick has started going to bed a little earlier the last few days which has been great. It gives Ang and I a little time to ourselves to just unwind and talk without having to pause for spit-up cleanup or diaper duty. But, we usually just sit around and talk about Patrick anyway.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pictures from Lindsay's Confirmation Party

We had another great weekend filled with family and friends. The following pictures are from Toby's cousin Lindsay's confirmation party.

Friday, November 14, 2008

4 Months Old!

Patrick turned 4 months old last Saturday! We took him in for his checkup this afternoon and he did GREAT.

He now weighs 16lbs and is just over 25in long. So he's still around the 60th-70th percentile for height and weight...and 20th for head size - which most likely means that, like his Dad, he'll probably never look normal in hats or sun glasses. He also got his 4 follow-up shots, all in his legs. Maybe all babies do this but he didn't make a sound until the fourth shot went in. Even then he only screamed a couple times then started sucking on his pacifier and just complaining a little. Within a minute, he was back to normal. Angie and I were very impressed he handled it so well. 

We took Patrick to get a few pictures taken professionally last month and picked them up on the way home from the pediatrician. Here are our favorites:

Outfit provided by Grandma and Grandpa Flowers :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Patrick's Baptism

I can't help it; I am a sucker for tradition. I love family heirlooms and stories and basically anything that is older and has meaning. My engagement ring means the absolute world to me because some of the finest women wore it before me. Every time I look at it I think of the generations before me and the stories this ring could tell of life and family and kids. It makes me feel like I am part of something bigger than myself and that makes me feel special.

So when Pat and Ray offered to have Patrick borrow the Flowers' baptismal gown for his Christening I was overjoyed. I could tell from Toby's raised eyebrows and questioning look he was asking me silently, "We're going to put him in a dress?" Yep, we are, sweetie. You wore it, your siblings wore it, even your Dad and his siblings wore it. It's tradition! (I would start singing "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof but only Sue and my Dad would know what I was talking about). My Mom and Pat worked on the gown to make it wearable for the baptism. Many thanks to them as I would have been completely clueless as to where to start in trying to restore an old, delicate garment such as that!

The Baptism itself went great. Patrick didn't cry when the priest poured holy water over his head and he sat relatively quiet in the pew as mass went on. Grandma Pat and Grandpa Ray gave Patrick a tiny Miraculous Medal to wear, just like Toby's Gram used to do for all of her children and Grandchildren. Meme and Papa Joe let Patrick borrow the white blanket that Papa Joe used at his baptism.

Afterwards, my parents had everyone over to their house for a reception. There was an outpouring of love for Patrick on that day. So many people came to bless and support him. Thanks everyone for being there! It meant so much to us. A special thank you to Great Grandparents, Bob and Francis McGill, for traveling all the way from Florida!

Here's a slideshow of the day's events:

Friday, November 7, 2008

One Last Thing...

Don't worry, we're not suddenly under the delusion that people come to this site to read about politics/news (which is good because I’d really rather not write about them). In fact, I'm pretty sure 90% of the visitors to this site don't even know there are words on the page and come here strictly to look at pictures and videos. So, I've sprinkled a few pictures around this post to make it palatable for those folks :) But, I just want to say one more thing about the election and its relation to Patrick before returning you to your regularly scheduled programming.

This election has been talked about as being an "historical event" so much that it's almost lost all meaning, which is sad because it's both an accurate statement and a powerful one. Since having Patrick, everything Angie and I do is seen through his eyes and every event that happens is passed through the "how does this affect Patrick" filter. So, it's pretty natural that something like an election gets heavy consideration in our house as to how it will impact his life both now and down the road.

There are myriad ways this election can and will make a difference to the future that Patrick has to live and survive in, but one of the most unique ways (we think) is that he will never know a time where there wasn't a non-white president. In the same way it seems silly and archaic to us now that there was once a time when women couldn't vote or blacks weren't allowed to have a say in the future of their country, Patrick will grow up thinking how silly and archaic it is that there was a time when being black might mean you couldn't become the president. And that makes me happy. I look forward to the day when he's a teenager and we tell him the story of this election and how many people thought it was impossible for Obama to become president because he had a "funny name" and the color of his skin was different than all the presidents before him and Patrick laughs at us (as any teenager with a healthy disrespect for his out-of-touch parents would do) and says "Are you serious? You guys were dumb."

Regardless of what anyone feels about the candidates, this is a huge sign of progress for our country (just as electing a female VP would have been). It's progress we should all be proud of. There was a very moving section of Obama's acceptance speech that made me think about the possibilities that are before us and I'd like to post it here. He had just gone through all the major historical events that had taken place in Ann Nixon Cooper’s lifetime. Ann Nixon Cooper is a 106 year old Atlanta resident. And after recounting many of the impressive historical events Ms. Nixon has been witness to during her long life, he ended it with this challenge to all of us:

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

I don't think anyone could argue with that sentiment.

Ok. Enough of that. Here's one last picture for the day that Ang took with her phone. I wish we would have had the real camera close to us because it's one of the few where he's actually looking at the camera and smiling.

He's started rolling over back-to-front (he's been doing front-to-back for a couple months) almost nonstop this last week. I've been trying to get a video of it that doesn't end in him looking at the camera and spitting up but haven't had much luck yet. I'll be sure to post the video when I get it. Also, Patrick is getting baptized this Sunday so we'll have pictures from that up early next week. Aaaaand, we got some professional pictures taken that we'll be posting here too. Good stuff a'comin.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Not Enemies But Friends

Being predominantly blue in a red state is much like being a Catholic in a sea of Baptists, the latter of which I am well acquainted. I like the challenges of not being the majority and appreciate the hardships as it only makes me test my strength and spirit. My parents always encouraged me to seek knowledge and truth wherever that led me, which is why I spent almost a year visiting several churches:Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Messianic Judaism…and many more. I also read everything I could get my hands on to learn all that I could about my religion and others. I’ve lived in Wisconsin and Illinois and also Texas and North Carolina but never had I been viciously attacked for my religious beliefs until I moved to Georgia. I am thankful for this(although somewhat confused as to how someone could call themselves Christian while damning someone for praying in a different building than their own. Who knew a Catholic would not be welcome at a Baptist Bible Study?)for it pushed me to test and stretch my faith. Most of my friends are strong McCain supporters and it’s been interesting debating and talking about both candidates. I completely respect everyone’s opinion, especially if they’ve taken the time to research and know the issues and not just support a certain party because that’s what they’ve always done or that’s what their parents or significant other is doing. I feel it’s important for us all to have an opinion and be engaged. This is our country! No matter how cynical I am about politics, I still feel its imperative for me to pay attention and know what’s going on.

I have high expectations for this presidency and I am awaiting change with a hopeful heart. We have a long way to go but I believe Obama is the man to help lead us in the right direction. No matter with whom your support laid now is the time to come together and work for the future. I hope we can all come together under the spirit of this quote from Obama’s acceptance speech last night:

"As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."

Speaking of friends and the future of our country, here are some pictures of them now….Andrew, Jordan and Patrick having fun spending the whole day together last weekend.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Patrick's First Halloween!

Happy Halloween everybody! We hope you all had a great one.

Our Halloween festivities began a couple weeks ago when we went to pick out some pumpkins. We got around to carving those pumpkins this last weekend. I had planned to carve all three but after the first one was finished and we only had an hour before we had to be at a Halloween party, I gave up. Patrick had a lot of fun watching and talking to the pumpkin while I was carving. He wasn't sure what to make of the insides though. He seemed very suspicious of the cold, gooey mess. Luckily, he didn't try to eat it.

Even though Patrick has no idea what Halloween is and couldn't care less about candy and witches and Charlie Brown, we were still pretty excited since it's his first one. We (and by "we" I mean "Angie") started looking for a costume over a month ago for him to wear. We wanted to get something for him that he could lay around in since that's about all he does and wouldn't be too hot, since we weren't taking him door to door or anything. We ended up deciding on dressing him as a lobster. I have to say, he made a pretty cute lobster. And thankfully, he's either not old enough to care or is just laid back enough that he didn't mind wearing it for most of the night with the head piece and everything.

Here he is hanging out in his lobster pot:

I was looking for an easy costume and the first thing that popped into my head was "hey, if he's gonna be a lobster then I could be a chef!" That idea was good for about three minutes until I realized that that means I'd be cooking my child. But, I didn't feel like thinking of anything else so I stayed with the chef idea. Here are a few pictures of the two of us. Don't look at them too long or else you'll start thinking about how morbid it is (and no, it wasn't my idea to put the pot on the stove - you can talk to Patrick's Mom about that one):