A Bunch of Berries

A Bunch of Berries

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Jensen!

Our sweet Jensen turned 2 October 4th 2012!!!!!

I remember the day he came into this world like it just happened. Seriously, where does the time go to? I was very uncomfortable, 3 days past my due date, and very anxious to finally meet him. He was worth the wait!
Jensen has been a joy to have in our house. He is very active and truly keeps all of us on our toes, especially me. I tell people all the time that I do not remember being this exhausted when Liesel and Caedmon were this age. I know it is mainly because I am older now and I have two other kids to take care of. I do believe though that Jensen is much more active than Caedmon was at this age. Caedmon was very content sitting and looking at books for long periods of time. Jensen is either running through the house, throwing or kicking a ball or racing cars and trucks down the hallway. If you are not careful, you might get hit with a ball. Haha!

To celebrate Jensen's birthday this year, we kept it simple. We invited our close friends the Glenn family over to have dinner, cake and ice cream. I made him a cake from scratch which was yummy if I must say so myself :)
We sang Happy Birthday to him and he did not seem overly impressed. LOL!

I think Jensen liked the cake. He had to inspect it first apparantely.....hehe!

The night of his actual birthday we went with my parents to TGI Fridays, his favorite restaurant. Just Kidding! How do you figure out what a two year old's favorite restaurant is??!!?? They gave him birthday ice cream. I think he is saying: "Mommy, did you know that this ice cream is good?"
Oh Yes, it seems to be very good to you Jensen :)
I thought I would show some pictures that would tell a story of who Jensen has become in the past two years.

He loves yogurt......a lot!!!
He is very handsome.....and he knows it :)
He has fun playing in Mommy and Daddy's closet. He takes shoes out and wears them. He also moves things around so I find them randomly in a different place.
He thinks his older brother is super funny.....we think so too!
He is funny himself and makes us laugh, especially Liesel. He shows off by acting goofy and Liesel laughs a lot at him which only encourages it. :)

He runs away from us and laughs the whole time!
When it is time to watch TV, he gets in position.....LOL! He likes having a blanket too. I will ignore the fact that it is an NC State blanket. No Craig, this does not mean he is an automatic State Fan!!!!!
He loves spending time with his brother on the couch.....What is it about the couch?!? It must be a man-thing.
He likes to be silly! He did actually put those on himself. No help from big sister in the background.
He even cleans the crumbs off the table. As a Mommy, I love that one. :) I did not teach him to do that by the way.

He loves balls so much that sometimes he even wants to go to sleep with them. So funny!
This last shot was on his actual birthday. He is starting to look like a little boy and no longer a baby. As you can see, he has some trucks!!!!
Jensen is truly a blessing! We love you so much Jensen! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

First Day of School

The date of this blog should be an indication of how much of an adjustment it has been in our house to get back into a school routine. Liesel and Caedmon started school August 14th and I am finally getting around to blogging about it. Ugghh!!!I decided this year that they were old enough now to help more around the house. I needed to get this family more organized. I spent the first month of school tweaking our routine and working on a chore schedule for the children. Our kitchen wall now has a huge calendar and a chore chart for Liesel and Caedmon. They were excited in the beginning to try something new, but now that has faded and chores have become......well.....a CHORE! LOL! If you listen closely, you might hear them complaining about helping more. That is my fault for not starting this sooner, but at least Jensen will know what to expect when he is old enough. :) Nothing is perfect around our house, needless to say, but our house runs so much more smoothly. That makes for a happy Momma! At least now if I forget something they need to do at school, I can't use the excuse I forgot because it is on the wall of our kitchen. HA! Not that I have forgotten anything lately (wink!!!!)

It still is hard for me at times to come to the realization that Caedmon is a big Kindergartner!! I still get a little emotional when he puts his backpack on in the mornings and heads out the door. Then when I see him waiting in carpool line, I take a deep breath. Where did my little buddy go? He is such a big kid now ;) On the first day of school for Liesel, Craig and I went with Caedmon in for an hour "meet the teacher" session. He seemed a little confused by this. He wondered why he wasn't going with Liesel. "Just wait till tomorrow Caedmon." Right before we left, I had to get the picture.
 We are very blessed that Caedmon has the same teacher Liesel had when she was in Kindergarten. Mrs. Scott and Mrs. Sippy are Godly woman that love children.  I taught first grade for three years before Liesel was born, so I have been around my fair share of teachers. I am not exaggerating when I say "Mrs. Scott has to be the best teacher I have ever had the privilege to be around."  I volunteered in the classroom when Liesel was in her class so I saw first hand why Liesel loved going to school. When I found out Caedmon would be in her class, I did the "happy dance" (as Mrs. Scott puts it.)
For that first day, the kids had coloring and activities to do at their desk while Mrs. Scott spoke to the parents. Caedmon likes coloring and usually doesn't complain. I knew he was nervous when I told him to sit down and get started and he said no. I helped him into his seat and he literally resisted me. He looked at me and I saw the tears filling up in his eyes. It was hard on me to watch but I knew I had to be strong so he would become comfortable. After Mrs. Scott talked and it was time to go, Caedmon told me school was boring. LOL!!! I promised him, tomorrow would be more fun :)
Doesn't this picture truly show what was going on in Caedmon's mind? "I do not want to be here. You are not leaving me are you?"
At least I was excited for Caedmon to start Kindergarten!
Liesel, on the other hand, was excited about being a Big-Time Third Grader! "Sassy" would be the best word to describe her attitude that morning. Love it!!!!!

Day Two for Liesel and Caedmon's First Official Day of School:
Craig took them to school that morning. He walked both children to their class. Craig said Caedmon didn't seem too scared. After two days, Caedmon informed Craig that he was ready to walk in by himself. He was very proud of himself. Liesel kept walking with him even though her room was now in a different building. Moments where my children look out for each other melt my heart. At home, they can fight and argue with the best of them. However, when they need each other, they know how to show love to their sibling. One morning during breakfast, of the second week of school, Caedmon announced to Liesel that he
didn't need her to walk him to class anymore. Liesel actually seemed a little hurt since she is such a mother hen. I reminded her that Caedmon needed to feel like a big kid on his own at times.
After over a month of school, Caedmon and Liesel both love school. If you were to look on our screened-in porch, you would see a make-shift classroom where Caedmon and Liesel play school. Caedmon plays the teacher (Mr. Joshua)  and he has a name for every student in his class (even including my parents and Jensen) Ha!!!

I did survive sending Caedmon off to school.  Be warned though that when my last baby leaves to go to school, I might have a meltdown! LOL!!! Jensen, please don't grow up as fast as Liesel and Caedmon have.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

10th Anniversary

Craig and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary on July 20th. It is hard to imagine that it has been ten years already. We have had some tough times over the years adjusting to our different personalities but our relationship is comforting. I chose the word comforting because Craig truly is my best friend. I love spending time with him. We laugh a lot and enjoy talking about our future. Things will never be perfect between us because we still argue and disagree. However, I feel COMFORTED spending my future with him because I know it will be fun and exciting. I love how he completes me and gives me peace when I am stressed. The sound of his voice makes me feel better before he even says much.
Well enough of the gushy stuff....LOL!!! Craig if you are reading this, I love you and thank you for 10 wonderful years.
Craig and I always said we would celebrate our tenth year on a cruise. We have never taken one before and that was our dream. Unfortunately, our little guy Jensen has been attached to say the least to Craig and I and familiarity. Since we have not been able to successfully leave him even in the church nursery without a meltdown, we knew that a cruise was out of the question. He will stay with my parents for a night but not for a long trip. My parents were so thoughtful to treat us to a few days at the beach as an anniversary present. The other two kids were visiting Craig's dad and step-mom so we took them up on the offer. Thank you Mom and Dad for being thoughtful and letting us enjoy the beach with you for a few days. We really appreciate it!!!!
I must say it was much easier traveling and getting ready to play on the beach with just one kid. Either way, we managed to pack a wagon full.
Jensen really enjoyed the ride. Craig did you? HeHe!!!
One special moment for me was when Jensen and I were sitting together on the beach. He was having fun chasing the waves and throwing sand. Yes, he loved throwing sand :) I sat down for a few minutes to relax. It wasn't too long before Jensen sat down with me. He is my special buddy and he sat with me for probably 30 minutes. I later found out that Craig took pictures. I love Craig for knowing that pictures and memories are important to me and he captured a special one for me without even being asked. What a great guy :) I think I will keep both Craig and Jensen around!

Another special moment for me was going with Craig to the beach each night after Jensen went to bed. One night we rode bikes down there. It was not as easy as we thought to get the bikes out on the sand. Good thing there was not many people out there because I looked pretty silly trying to ride the bike. We took a blanket and laid down and looked at the stars. This is something I have wanted to do for many years and we never seem to slow down on vacations and take the time to do this. It was very special to enjoy that time with my husband. It was romantic. I love the sound of the ocean and it is much more peaceful at night when no one else is really around. Except when families came out looking for shells with flashlights. Seriously stop flashing that light on me. LOL! Remember that Craig? I know you didn't forget!!!
One day when all 5 of us (Craig, Me, Jensen, Mom and Dad) were out on the beach, it became very windy. I was holding on to one of our umbrellas and my Dad was holding the other one because of the wind. All of a sudden, mine started to fly away. I caught it but not after it slammed into my Mom slightly. It was a little stressful at the time, but now it is funny to look back at laugh at. Right Mom? Ha!
Before we headed out of town, we took Jensen and went to the local aquarium. I wanted to go because they had a new exhibit about penguins. I think are so cute and fascinating. The penguins were molting (shedding old feathers and growing new) at the time so they did not do very much. They are so cute either way.
Jensen enjoyed the penguins.
Jensen enjoys looking at our fish tank which only has one little fish. HeHe! So I was not surprised that he was excited at the really big tank with lots of fish and sharks.
Jensen at times was more interested in what the people around him were doing. I don't know why he sat down.
Mom and Dad: "Jensen, look a shark!" Jensen: "Did I miss something?" LOL!
Mom and Dad: "Jensen, another shark!" Jensen:" Hey you have overalls like me."

I don't know if Jensen ever actually saw a shark. HaHa!

I was really impressed with this cool penguin sand castle:
Craig and I did actually get to celebrate our anniversary a few more times once we were back to Fuquay. One of our favorite restaurants is Carrabas. Over Christmas, I purchased their first ever cookbook. I was so excited to try some of their recipes at home because I have loved cooking more and more. Yet, I never got around to any of the recipes. I guess I am a little busy. LOL! So I figured it would be nice to make a meal for Craig for our tenth anniversary. I really enjoy cooking and trying new things but I am not very organized in the kitchen. We waited till the kids were in bed and I began cooking. I originally wanted to make it all by myself as a present to Craig but he ended up having to help me. Otherwise, I think we would have been eating at 11pm. Ha! It was chaotic in the kitchen. I wanted to give up a few times. I understand now why Carrabas charges a decent amount for their food. They use high quality ingredients (some of which I could not even find in the store) and there are many steps to their dishes. We made Polla Rosa Maria which is our favorite chicken dish at the restaurant. We also made green beans, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and even their herb seasoning dip with olive oil. Here is the aftermath of this cooking session. Good thing we did not have company over.
That is just part of the kitchen. Here is the result of the mess though:
The dish was right on target with what Carrabas food tastes like. It was awesome and we loved every bite. At that point it did feel like it was worth all the work. We did not start eating till 9:30. The house was quiet and every bite was delectable if I must so say myself. After dinner, Craig went to rest on the couch and ended up falling asleep. I think I did my job of a full and happy belly for my husband that put him to sleep. Now off to the dishes. UGGH!!! He did end up helping me with the dishes :)
The next night on our actual anniversary, we went to another of our favorite restaurants The Melting Pot.

We enjoyed the whole week very much. Even though it was not our cruise, it was still a week full of memories!
I love you Craig Nolan Berry.

Monday, August 6, 2012

4th of July

We had an interesting 4th of July. The funny thing is I did not remember to take pictures for most of the holiday. I guess I was having too much fun. So here is how it all went down.
On the 3rd of July, we decided to try something different and go see Garner fireworks instead of Fuquay Varina fireworks. The kids were dressed in cute patriotic shirts we made together. This is where I would insert a picture........but oh well! HA!
We met Scooter and Jeni at church and followed each other out to Benson park. We met some more friends from church there. We had a nice little group there. We were eating, kids were playing, but above us you could see how a storm seemed to be approaching. They kept announcing that they were keeping a watch on the weather and would let us know. At one point they told us that a storm was going to hit us so we all went to our cars. In case you have never experienced it, it is not great fun gathering kids and all your stuff and rushing back to your car. *Sense my sarcasm?* We waited and waited and waited, but the storm never came. We went back to our spots like other people and eventually they started the fireworks. About five minutes into the fireworks, Town of Garner workers were walking through the field telling everyone that a huge storm was heading for us in 3 minutes and to leave for your car right away for your safety. Now, I can exaggerate myself pretty darn good........but let me tell you......these people were acting like an F-5 tornado was coming. Again, we packed up all our stuff in the dark this time, ran to the car while the kids whined and complained about missing the fireworks. YAY!!! We got in our car, tried to watch the end of the fireworks from our car. It was over and guess what? It never rained a single drop. Yet, we got to spend the next 45 minuted waiting in a traffic jam. I know they were trying to keep us safe, but I hope next year our experience in Garner is less stressful and more relaxing.
On the actual fourth of July we had a cookout with friends at the Ragland's house. The highlight of the afternoon was when Craig and I beat Scooter and Jeni in corn hole. That was fun :) Jeni and I don't usually play because the men are playing themselves. I am sure they enjoyed the change this one time. Some of the time our husbands were getting frustrated at us. LOL!!!
Since we still had not seen fireworks the right way. We took the kids to Holly Springs fireworks on the 5th. It was nice to have a relaxed time as a family. This time I remembered the camera. Jensen and Caedmon were so cute as they waited for the fireworks to start.
I love Jensen looking at Caedmon as if to say: "You are a fun brother." Either that or "You are crazy!"
There is my handsome husband.
We had lot's of fun!!!!
Jensen thought it was cute to walk away and have us chase him. I didn't think it was so cute. LOL!
I think Liesel looks so beautiful in this picture :)
Yes, we finally got to see fireworks. It was a successful end to a crazy, busy holiday.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Liesel's dance recital

Liesel's year of dance ended the first weekend of June with the usual dance recital. This year it was a bit different because she was in two dance classes......ballet and jazz. Now that she is older, she no longer takes the ballet/tap combo class. They take individual classes now for each dance. We chose to drop tap because she said she would rather do something else. She has liked jazz a lot. Ballet can get boring to her. I tell her often, in order to be good at something, it can get monotonous sometimes. Holly Springs School of Dance is such a huge dance school, that recitals are in the auditorium in downtown Raleigh. The recitals start on Friday night and go till Sunday night. I think they do about 10 shows the whole weekend. In the past, we have always had her recital on Saturday morning at 10am. I wondered what parents did if their daughter was in multiple classes or they had more than one daughter taking classes. Well I found out very quickly this year. Liesel's jazz class recital was Saturday morning at 10 which seems to be our lucky show apparently. Her ballet recital was Sunday night at 6pm. Needless to say I was not excited about going to two different shows and asking family members to do the same, but it's worth it to watch Liesel dance. I didn't feel too bad after I heard a dad behind me in line who had three daughters dancing that weekend and that he would be at 9 of the recitals. Sheeshhh!!!!! That takes dedication :)
Here is Liesel striking her jazz pose before the recital.
Jensen enjoyed the recital, well actually snack food! LOL It kept him busy. He did great at the Saturday morning recital, but the Sunday night recital was another story that I don't want to think about again. Ugh!!!
Here are pictures of Liesel with the whole family. She was quite the superstar :) Autographs anyone???

Lastly, Liesel is ready to go at her ballet recital. I love how precious she looks (with a side of snazzy) ;)
She did great in both pieces. Very proud of her!!!