Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"More house! More house! More house!"

In case you were wondering, friends, this is the new phrase for Halloween. "Trick or treat" is officially out.

We were given an opportunity to celebrate Halloween twice this year, making one little boy quite happy. Every year, some businesses in Fayetteville host a trunk or treat at the local stadium. (To those unaware of what trunk or treating is, it is, quite simply, handing out candy from the car rather than the house. That is the way many churches and organizations do it down here to help with safety and whatnot.) Anyway, this is the first year we decided to take Aidan- we had no idea how he would take to it, considering he has never done it before. Trunk or treating was first, and we SLOWLY trekked our way through the stadium from car to car.

Here is Connor, learning trick or treating much earlier than his brother did (maybe one of the [few] benefits of being the younger sibling??):

And of course, our little family (with Dad behind the camera) showing off our bag of treats (consisting of a very limited supply of candy and a huge amount of business cards...oh, and a few toothbrushes and boxes of toothpaste):

But Halloween HAD to be celebrated true trick or treating style going house to house. And so, tonight, we once again convinced Aidan to throw on Thomas, leave Arf behind, and pick up his bucket to charm some candy. Boy, can he charm when he wants!

Due to multiple reasons we only went about two blocks, but after the third or fourth house, Aidan caught on to what he had to do. Holding Daddy's hand, he marched up to the door, knocked or rang the doorbell, smiled and held out his bucket. After it was filled, he quickly turned and yelled "bye!" with a backwards wave, and headed back to me. On his way he yelled "Mom! I got candy!" He never made it to me, though, because he quickly turned and started his chant ("More house!") while moving to the next house.

We got home by the time it was dark, and Aidan's bucket was plenty full. The kid rarely eats candy as it is, so a full bucket should last him quite a long time. But will it last his parent's wish for sweets? That is the question of the hour! Here is our champ checking out his booty:

Needless to say, Aidan's first Halloween was a success.

The only thing we're worried about? That Aidan remembers that houses hand out candy and expect people to give it to him every time he knocks on their door...

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Ranger I Am Not

...We all discovered the truth of that statement this past weekend...

In honor of the cool weather, the changing leaves, a long holiday weekend, and time well spent with good friends, we went to a nearby family farm. This farm hosted corn mazes, a hard to believe HUGE sandbox, barrel rides, slides, a petting zoo, a pillow bounce,much more, and of course, Daddy's favorite, a DQ concession stand :) We had woken up that morning freezing (don't knock till you live in near 100% humidity most of the year then go to fifty degree weather!) so we dressed in sweats and packed gloves, hats, blankets, and anything else we could possibly need in case it got colder. Instead, it got hotter. So imagine this family out in the boonies, wearing sweatshirts, long pants, sweat dripping down their faces because it was so stinkin hot. Have that picture in your mind? Yeah, that was us.

We had a blast, regardless. Aidan of course saw the train first and tried to squeeze through the fence to get to it. We finally convinced him we had to pay first and would see it later. Once we paid, he saw the GIANT bounce pillow. Then slides. Then the sandbox. Then food. Then a swing. I promise, our kid doesn't have ADD. He just gets uber excited about everything he sees. And I do mean everything.

The kids covered themselves in sand, tried to dig to China (or at least, the dads did), slid down the slides, threw hay at each other during the hay ride (or maybe that was the parents who did that...) and generally exhausted each other out. But we haven't even done the corn maze yet! Let me tell you, doing that last was a mistake. As was my comment to which all agreed, "Go big or go home." We had the option of doing the toddler maze (which was a bit daunting in and of itself) or the adult maze which was shaped like a train and consisting of three different sections with five different entrances. So we approached with confidence, and are lucky we came out at all.

Somehow I ended up in the lead. No, Dad, I didn't plan it that way. Yes, Dad, I had a map. Yes, Dad, I got lost. Miserably. I got us to our first point (there were twelve to find) and continued to lead us. In circles. I got so confused I handed the map over to Eric and forced him to lead on. So he led us in wider circles, until with the help of some others, he discovered where we were on the map and took us to every point we needed to find. Thats my ranger!

During our trek we had five exhausted children and two seats in a stroller that could hardly make it through due to the soft ground. Props to Jon for manhandling that thing into submission! I carried Connor, Ashley carried Kelly, and Aidan, Molly and Riley were forced to switch off and on with walking and riding. You knew when Aidan was in the stroller because it took Jon a bit more effort to keep up... :) I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when we hit the exit. And no, we didn't finish. It just wasn't worth it to all of us. Well, most of us.

All in all, it was an awesome day to celebrate family, friends and fall. We all came home exhausted and more than ready for bed. Recovered from our trip, I am planning our next escapade. Stay tuned :)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Do The Math

Good morning friends!

In case you were wondering, yes, we have a new addition in our family. But first, lets recap on who is who:

First and foremost, we two became one:

(By the way, every time I use that phrase I wonder what mathematicians think of that phrase. One plus one equals one?!)

Then we became three:

Aidan Eric Ruff joined our little family on September 16, 2010.

And now, we are four:

Connor Martin Ruff joined us May 25, 2012. A happy family of four we have become!

Come back in a few days, when I am not as tired to give the story of Connor's entrance into this world. It's a doozy :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bath Night

I really do not enjoy bath nights.

In my mind, it is a necessary evil.

Aidan is such a joy during bath time- he loves it, and has so much fun. He loves to splash, play with his toys, dunk his head and help get all the soap off of himself.

There's a small problem, though- I. AM. PREGNANT. Once getting down, I don't get up very easily. Bend over? It's just impossible. Lean over the tub? Um, hello, small mound of joy in the way. So how do I do it?

I just do it. And I give Aidan an incentive which guarantees we have bath night: he gets messy food, and is free to play with it. Isn't that just awful of me?

I have to admit, watching Aidan play with his food is so entertaining. At the same time, though, I never fail to cringe as I see my son run his sauce covered hand through his hair, rubs food down his chest or legs, slap his hand on the plate. I never fear to dread the moment he gets out of his chair and runs to touch everything. For the most part, I can clean him up pretty well and rush him straight to my arch nemesis, the tub.

Without the added incentive of a messy little boy, I truly don't know how often we would have bath time in our house. Before I got so big, I loved bath time with Aidan, and look forward to enjoying it with him again. Whenever Eric gives Aidan a bath, I listen with some envy as he leans over and plays with our laughing, giggling boy.

Moral of the story: need to bathe your kid but can't get yourself to do it? Let him have fun with his dinner and trust me, you'll care about how dirty he suddenly is. Plus, you'll get some fun out of watching him play with dinner. Trust me, it's fail proof.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What in the World are You Thinking??

At least, that was the question so many people asked me before our trip. And even after hearing about our trip. And yes, I'll be honest, I asked myself that same question a few times as I began to prepare and pack. 

Here's the lowdown: two pregnant women (both due mid May), three children three years or younger, and Myrtle Beach. Sounds like fun right? Our husbands have been in the field for the past few weeks, so Ashley and I decided to try to find a cheap place for a few days to get away with the kids. We all deserve it- the kids are just great staying home while their dads are gone so much and mom are just plain tired and miserable, and well, we deserve it before having more kids to deal with :) Well, needless to say, we were thinking. And hoping. And praying that it would all work out.

I am now back home telling you it did work out! We all had a blast- the weather was fantastic, the condo perfect for the five of us, and the resort (right on the beach and hosting 5 pools) exactly what we all needed. The kids love each other, and were a huge blessing to us as they distracted each other and inevitably wore each other out each day. Ashley and I were able to crash each evening, relaxing and watching tv, talking and eating the yummy vacation food we all love and hate at the same time.

 Here are a few pictures. Im sorry to say that my packing left much to be desired: everything I did Aidan just came back and undid it. The camera as well as a few unmentionables (cough, cough, ALL of them) were thrown about and in my personal battle to not lock my little "helper" in the closet while I finished packing, I forgot to follow through on repacking what he had undone. The child truly drives me nuts. Im just crazy about him, I tell ya- when he learns at the condo he can open the bathroom door in the condo that doesn't lock and visit whoever is in there doing whatever they are doing, when he throws a bathing suit over the balcony railing from our 14th floor room, when he continuously hits the HELP button in the elevator that is way too low for my liking, when he snuggles and looks up at me with a huge smile on his face, when he giggles uncontrollably, when he nods sleepily in his crib when I ask him if he loves his mama. Sigh. Yep, just absolutely crazy about him.

 Anyway, onto the pictures: Following a filling brunch at IHOP, we loaded ourselves into the van excited and more than ready to go. 3 children, two pregnant women with the pact to not go into labor under any circumstances during our trip, lots of toys, more than enough snacks, and of course, the required diet coke. Yep, we were ready!
Upon arrival, our little helpers helped us unpack and made sure the place was fit for us to stay in. And working- especially the air conditioner/heater. Im sorry to say that it did work. All too well.
The beach and pools were such a blessing. Mornings were spent at the beach, afternoons in the pool. Thank goodness for the heated pool water; we wouldn't have lasted as long as we did otherwise! The kids had a blast and came out of the pool for snacks or the necessary switch from one pool to another. Molly was quite the fish, swimming from one end to the other, while Aidan did the best he could to shovel the pool water into his bucket and dump it elsewhere. And little Riley? Well, she was quite content charming the sunbathers and staying as far away from the water as humanly possible. The poor girl didn't have a chance- Mommy and Riley spent more than enough time in the pool, floating along and watching everyone have fun.
We spent some time checking out the attractions in Myrtle Beach including Ripley's Aquarium where the kids did more climbing than looking at the main reason for being there: the fish. We also spent that time in Target searching out our needed items that had been left at home. Who knew Myrtle Beach attractions included Target? And Chick-fil-A, where we ate dinner and spent over an hour playing in the play place. What a glorious invention play places are. Now, if they could only make the steps up to the slide small enough that a toddler could climb up them! Thankfully, our kids were creative enough to go up the slide and climb or jump down the steps. Um, how do you teach kids something like going up steps and down the slide when its impossible? You don't.
All in all, we ladies thought things would go great. Some doubted or worried about our plans (including me, I admit)succeeding, but I am happy to say that they did indeed go great. We all came home happy, exhausted and refreshed from our trip, ready to welcome our hubbies home- whenever that may be this weekend. The only thing that may have made our week better was to have had our hubbies with. We made the best of it though, and will indeed look back at our memories with a smile.
Even amidst the fun we had, Aidan sent many waves to his papa, missing him and wishing he was with us.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Easter Weekend

This past weekend was a flurry of activity, especially since it was Eric's last weekend before he went away for a few weeks. There was much relaxing around the house, many errands to be run, and even some work to be completed on Eric's part, but more than anything we did our best to make memories to last for the next while.

First and foremost, we celebrated my mom's birthday. Happy birthday Mom! We weren't able to be with her as my parents live a few states north of us, but our hearts were with her and that is what mattered most. She is quite a looker at the ripe young age of 40. Not too shabby ;)

A number of memories made this weekend included Chubbs' first haircut. He had had the back chopped by Eric this past Thanksgiving (I had not had the strength to do the deed) but the front, sides and back were definitely in need of a trim. Prior to getting this done on Saturday, we spent Friday in Raleigh at Pullen Park and wandering the mall, finishing our day with a treat at the Cheesecake Factory. Mmmmmm :)

&We had some fun at the park riding the carousel, the train, climbing the play set to slide down the slide as fast as possible, and running around wearing us all out. We arrived home around 8:30 pm more than ready for bed.

Prior to getting our hair cut on Saturday, we had to work out with Papa. Lifting 300 pounds isnt as easy as it looks:

Aidan sat in Papa's lap during the haircut and truly impressed us all. He was very curious as to what was going on, but sat as still as possible while the nice lady cut off those long hairs. The woman who cut Aidan's hair also cuts mine, so she has heard many stories about my "wild child." Uhhhhhh, yeah, she is never going to believe any story I ever tell her again. I was nervous going into the salon, I will admit, but walking out I was more focused on wondering where my real child wild, precocious, crazy and wonderful son that never ceases to wear me out.

And of course, we must post Easter details. We stayed here in Fayetteville, attending our church and being blessed by a wonderful sermon reminding us how glorious and generous our God is once accepting us into his arms. The requirements for becoming a child of God is simple and yet demanding...the prize all too worth it in the end. After returning home and spending a few hours cleaning and cooking, we had a number of good friends joining us for dinner. One of the families has two little girls Aidan regularly plays with, so the kids had quite a good time as did the adults. It is such a blessing and constant reminder of God's grace as we surround ourselves with such good friends, with lots of fun, laughter and good times. Here are a few pictures of the fam; some of the little man prior to leaving for the service, then a few taken after church:

Side note: Yes, our son is wearing sandals with his suit (the suit in which Papa picked out himself). I had dress shoes for him, but they happened to disappear the morning he had to be dressed. Needless to say, we had a panic attack tearing the house trying to find them but were unsuccessful. Sandals were my next best option. If I find those stinkin shoes sometime soon, I will be rather upset. In fact, I dont want to see them for quite awhile. Anyway, back to the pictures:

Easter was a holiday weekend that I don't think will be forgotten too soon. It is sad that we must say goodbye to Eric for awhile, but we are awash with numerous memories and the refreshing reminder that our Lord is alive and ever present in our lives. Blessed are we!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Possession is 9/10ths of the Law...

Or so my son thinks. Actually, in his mind it doesn't matter who something belongs to- if he gets it first, too bad.

Welcome to the joys of my life.

Nothing is safe.

Sidenote for those maybe a little confused: Candy is not allowed in this house, at least not where Aidan is concerned. However, at our last meeting, I was given a bag of lollipops in a ziploc bag. I put it in Aidan's zippered diaper bag and forgot about it.

A day later, I see that my son has opened his bag, opened the ziploc bag, taken off the lollipop wrapper, and tasted the fruit of his efforts. And I'm supposed to say no to this face?