Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Today was a super special day... It happened to be Easter AND Shane's birthday. Unfortunately for him, he had to work. Oh well, that's the life of a cop. Anyway, we celebrated Shane's birthday with our families last night (dinner at our house) and will be celebrating it again with a few friends tomorrow (dinner at our house).

Anyway, this was my first Easter morning alone with the kiddies. I thought about postponing it all together. I even went so far as to try to explain to Rea that sometimes the Easter Bunny has to come a different day for kids of police officers... She never really seemed to accept this. So, Easter Sunday was going ahead whether I was ready or not.

A "yo-ho" themed Easter

Ri slept in - a small and much needed miracle. Rea woke up at 7:15 - very out of character for her but not all together surprising. I slowed Rea down a bit by giving her something random to do... then I ran downstairs with Ri and grabbed the video camera. Usually I prefer still shots, but I thought it would be great for Shane to be able to watch Easter later.

As you may know, our family is mildly obsessed with "yo-hos" (AKA pirates or skeletons). And we watch Disney's "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" all the time.  So it seemed only fitting that the Easter Bunny theme our baskets. Actually, the theme was perfect... We can't hide eggs at our house, so the Easter Bunny drew a treasure map to where the eggs were hiding. I am pretty proud of both Rea for figuring it out and the Bunny for being talented enough to make the map clear for a toddler.

After we got dressed and nibbled on some of the gold doubloons, we were off to follow the map and find those Easter eggs! I wish you could have seen Rea in the backseat, "reading" her map, telling me where to go.

The egg hunt was a success. Rea found all the eggs. Ri was more interested in chasing squirrels than trying to find candy he was never going to be able to eat (smart boy).

Next on the Easter Sunday agenda was lunch. Outback. Yum. Not exactly a good choice if you are on Weight Watchers, but definitely delicious. So we were off to the airport. Oh yeah, we went to the Outback in Gainesville (with a quick pause in Orlando to pick up Steph).

All Rea wanted to do was go to Jack's house and see the dogs, Bella and Banks. I think she said, "I wanna go to Jack's house!" about 45 times at the restaurant. We had no intention of going there... it was just lunch and maybe Walmart.

Jack was explaining to Rea that we couldn't go to her house because she just shaved the puppies hair and they looked yucky. They are now bald. Rea said, "Bald?? You mean like my Daddy? ... And like Grandpa?"    

Hahahahaha! Sometimes I think she should be a stand-up comedian.

Well, it was a wonderful day. Both kids spent some time in the front of the plane. Rea "flew" from Orlando to Gainesville. She held on the entire trip. When we are home, she plays with her Barbie airplane and "talks to the tower."

Ri is becoming more and more a Grandpa's boy. He was so excited to sit up front with Grandpa!

Even though we missed Shane, today was a good day. And we had so much fun hangin' with my peeps. =) Happy Easter everyone! And happy birthday to my super awesome husband!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Bunny

We FINALLY got a good picture of smiling kids with a holiday icon. Either one or both usually freak out or tear up on the lap of the Easter Bunny or Santa.

Oh, fond memories.
Rea's 1st Christmas - I don't know why Santa is acting as though he didn't realize his picture was going to be taken.
Baby cries, Santa smiles. Thanks St Nick.
Rea's 2nd Christmas

Bottom lip is quivering... Not gonna make it. 

* I actually forgot to take Rea to the Easter Bunny until Ri was born... I know, terrible Mommy.
I think this is my favorite one... is that bad?

She is trying so hard to smile. (Cute outfits Grammie)
This one's not too bad... Again great outfits.
 You would think with all of our Disney trips and character experience that my kids would be totally fine sitting with a strange character and smiling for a minute... Plus it's not like they don't know what a camera is. No joke, since Rea was born, I have taken 27, 453 pictures. So I am pretty certain that they recognize a camera and know the proper response. (Quick sidenote: last week at B's birthday party, that picture of Rea smiling??-- Well, I wasn't looking for a posed shot. I was going to take a picture of the water view and she happened to be in front of me. She was jabbering about something, then looked up, saw the camera, stopped moving, posed and said, "Cheeeeeese.")

Well, today we did Easter Bunny 2011. Grammie made their outfits. But honestly, now that Ri is getting older, we make her check with us on what she makes for him. The running joke in our family is that Ri cannot look, shall we say, slightly crooked? (Not sure how PC I should be on here)

Anyway, Rea's dress is gorgeous. No surprise there. Everything Grammie makes for her is amazing. She made a pair of shorts for Ri. At least that's what they are supposed to be. Ri has his Daddy's short legs. So he wore an adorable pair of man-pris.

Both kids looked fantastic. And Rea was over the moon excited to go see the Easter Bunny today. And I am over the moon excited to show you the outcome.
Happy Easter from the StuCrew!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ex-Or-Siiiize the Demons

Terrible twos? Please... what a joke. The twos ain't got nothin' on the threes! (Please excuse my poor grammar for the sake of funny story telling)

The twos have been notoriously bad-mouthed for as long as I can remember. They even had a negative effect on me - my mom just revealed that I was a tantrum thrower (a piece of information that might have been useful when we were deciding to have children). My youngest sister, Steph, had a case of them too. I recall crying, screaming, minor (ha) meltdowns and family meetings.

You know how some people were "born to do something"?  Example: I always did my homework on the chalkboard I had in my room and taught my stuffed animals... big shock that I actually became a teacher.

Well, Steph would call Family Meetings ... frequently.

This itty-bitty little girl would sit in the big blue duck chair that my parents have. She would sit Indian-style and lament all of her terrible toddler woes. Most of this was directed at me and Jack. Family Meetings were a time when we were allowed to complain about things that were bothering us without the fear of getting in trouble for 'speaking out against The Man'. I know you might be thinking, "That sounds fantastic!" Well, it wasn't exactly like that. I mean, my two year old sister started these meetings, ran them and pretty much used them to sister-bash. In short: the meetings sucked, and Jack and I did not take them seriously.

This is the youngest digitized picture of Steph that I could find. (She's in the middle)
Rea kind of skated through the twos with no big episodes that I can easily recall. But this past week, I have been raising a WILD, REBELLIOUS three year old. I have no idea what happened. It was like someone flipped the CRAZY switch to ON.

The tantrums were insane! Words cannot describe what she was like... And there appeared to be no pattern to what was setting her off. One thing was constant: she went ballistic when Shane or I told her to do something she, at that moment, had no desire to do. Once it was, "Rea, you need to get dressed. We can't go out in public naked." AAAAHHHHH! Once it was, "Rea, please pick up your toys." AAAAHHHH! Once, "You can't push your brother down." AAAAHHHHH! The worst was when she grabbed Ri's arm and bit down hard enough to leave an impression of ALL of her teeth (a forensic dream) but not hard enough to draw blood. Ri just looked up at her with a look that said, "One day I am going to punch you. Hard. And Mom and Dad are going to let me."

The day after the Big Bite, we had a birthday party to go to. Ri's girlfriend B turned one. The party was spectacular... until the Rea's Satanic side reared its ugly head. Shane told Rea that it was time to eat lunch and stop playing on the dock... that's when all Hell broke loose.

And we left.

My mom assured me later that I am not the first, nor will I be the last, Mother to have to make a quick get-away because of an uncontrollable temper tantrum. Although this is true, it gives me little solace.

And just so everyone can live my life, I videoed part of the ride home.

Fun. I know.

Anyway, I would like to thank my friend Carrie and her wonderful family for a great birthday party! We love little B and were very excited to see her on her big day!

Oh, and Jack... do you get the title?

Friday, April 15, 2011


I am sick.

Boo =(

I have decided that it is totally unfair for Mommies to get sick. We are still expected to do "woman's stuff" around the house... Plus the kids don't get it; they still want to be entertained. It doesn't make any sense to a 1 & 3 yr old that Mommy has ZERO desire to go to the playground when it is 90 outside.

Or, at least if I have to be sick, can I have wizard powers? That way the laundry and dishes would actually take care of themselves. I promise to use my powers for Good - mostly just household chores.

Just sayin'. It'd be nice.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Best Weekend Ever!!

So "What a Week" ended with a fabulous weekend in Gainesville.

Shane was scheduled to work, but he actually officially has the flu. So he spent the weekend on the couch. The kiddies stayed with my parents while I travelled to G-ville.

I had been looking forward to this particular trip for a while. One of my sisters lives there, and I was picking up my other sister on the way. Ever the multi-tasker, I thought it would be fun to combine a work trip with a sisters' weekend. And, let me tell you, I was right!!

The University of Florida was having a big ToDo for the unveiling of the Heisman Statues. Shane and I made the frames that were given to a select few donors. The picture is of Spurrier, Tebow and Wuerffel with the Heisman Trophy -- More importantly, it is autographed by all three.

Coach signed the photos first and I brought them up (in the frames) to UF. The plan was for Wuerffel and Tebow to sign them before the game, then I would quickly finish the frames before the halftime ceremony. But, as we all know, things don't always go according to plan. And sometimes, it's better that they don't.

We spent about 2 hours before the game in the coach's wives' box with the frames. It was kind of chaotic. Everyone was running around, checking the clock, shaking hands. For a little while, I wasn't sure we were going to make our deadline. Kickoff was looming. And I was going to need at least an hour to finish off 8 frames.

I was opening up some of the frames when I felt a shift in the climate of the room. You know how you can tell that someone has entered by the way the air feels and sounds? That's what happened. Then I looked up and saw Danny Wuerffel.

I was SO excited to see him. This is the one person I wanted to meet... I was a HUGE fan of the '96 Gators. I can remember putting my Nokia cell phone in a crystal sugar bowl on top of my TV to watch the Gators win the Sugar Bowl. Ah-mazing!

Well, time was not on my side. He had to rush. So he signed all the pictures and left. =( Bummer for me.

Then Timmy came in. He is always a doll. I love him, and I got to introduce him to my baby sister. =)

 After Tebow left, we quickly stapled the frames back together.
It was imperative that we stay with the frames. The pictures were very important to the school, and they weren't completely finished. Since the frames were going to be used in the halftime presentation, we were led out to the field. Yes, THE FIELD!! We watched the first half of the game from the sidelines. It was awesome!
Ready to run out of the tunnel

So cool

Steve, my new bff

Me and Steph

Seats don't get cooler than this!

Frames are getting ready

Danny Wuerffel

Tim Tebow

Our frames are being led out onto the field

Pete and Fred Taylor

Me and Fred Taylor

Our frames on the jumbotron!
Words cannot completely express how happy I am. This was really one of my favorite moments. Very few people can understand how totally awesome it is to see your work on center stage. Shane and I work really hard to make our frames look fantastic, and it was wonderful to hear how much other people liked them. And Shane said they were on TV! Even cooler.

I am so grateful to Steve, Jim, Danny and everyone else at Palm Beach Autographs for having faith in us... and for letting us tag along for the awesome ride! Thanks so much guys! We love you!

What a Week!

Oy... I am exhausted.

So, last week Rea got sick. She had a fever for several days... two days in, she gave the fever to her brother (we have been practicing sharing). And finally, around day 5, both kids gave the yuckies to Shane. My mother-immunities has somehow allowed me to escape thus far untouched by all the gross around me.

At the end of the Week of Boogers, Phlegm & Fevers, my brother & sister in law came into town for a week-long visit with their kiddies. The Stu Fam Festivities kicked off with a parade. Literally. The town my husband works for throws a giant party every year to celebrate themselves.

 The 3 big kids wanted their faces painted...

Sunday, after church, the Stus descended on my in-laws' house for lunch. All of the cousins had a great time running around.

Next on the schedule was our favorite place on Earth. DISNEY! (shock, I know)
We hit up Epcot & Hollywood Studios.