Saturday, December 26, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes

From the Mouths of Babes from Elijah Manor on Vimeo.

I've Got Something to Share with You...

The above video contains a special announcement from Abby and Enoch!

Christmas 2009

This Christmas my parents come up from Search, Arkansas to spending the holidays with us. We had a good time catching up with them enjoying the Christmas season. On Christmas Eve we had a birthday Party for Jesus where we had a special foods and then we went to the Christmas Eve service at Fellowship Bible Church. On Christmas morning we watched the kids open their stockings and Abby handed out the presents for everyone to open. The rest of the day we enjoyed watching and playing with the children.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Playing with the Parnells

We're so glad my cousin, Heath, and his wife Caitlin stopped by for a few days on their way home to Arkansas. It's always great visiting and catching up with them. They brought their sweet dog, Chloe, too. We took her to the dog park for a little bit one day. Enoch really enjoyed watching the dogs run around. Heath and Caitlin are so good playing with the children. We were all sad to see them go and look forward to their next visit.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Helping With Dinner

Abby's been enjoying helping with dinner lately. She especially enjoys helping me snap green beans. The smell of fresh green beans brings back memories of snapping beans with my Granny in the summertime. She doesn't really care to eat cooked green beans, but she's been more willing to try them lately since she's helped prepare them. She's also been known to sneak a few bites of the raw ones. She's also helped prepare a chicken to roast a few times. I know, you look at the picture and wonder how we could let a little person touch raw meat like that. I figure let her do it so she won't be grossed out by it when she's a grown up like I am. We're VERY careful that she doesn't put her hands in her mouth and I wash her hands very well afterwards. I even get the nail brush out. So, not to worry, no salmonella sickness around here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Abby's 4th Birthday

This is Abby's 4th birthday. Last year Abby had an Ariel themed pool party and she had such a good time that she wanted another one this year!

Friends and family came to celebrate with Abby. Andrea enjoyed making the Ariel birthday cake. I think she did a great job.

The kids played several games in the pool and we all enjoyed the cake!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Abby's New Closet

Abby's been asking for a new closet every since Enoch got his. Pops and Nana did a beautiful job making a new shelving system for Abby's closet. She's able to be much more independent now that she can reach her hanging clothes. She can neatly put away her own clean clothes and pick out her clothes for the next day the night before. It's so nice to see her taking on more responsibility. Thanks, Pops and Nana, you did a great job! Are you starting on the master bedroom closet next?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Strolling Around Radner Lake

Radnor Lake is such a beautiful place! Even on a hot day, it's nice and cool on the road that is mostly covered by trees. We had grand ideas of enjoying a family day here. Unfortunately, children don't always act the way we want them to. Abby was having a pretty rough time. There are trails that go up into the woods. We parked her bike and went up on the trails, it was amazing, her attitude completely changed when we were in the woods and she decided to pretend she was Goldilocks. We were looking for the three bears house. She was perfectly fine the whole time we were in the woods, as soon as we got back down to the road, though, she went back into meltdown mode. Maybe next time will be better. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Alesso Visit

Elijah's sister, Cyndi, and her three children came to visit from California for a few days. We had such a great time together! Abby was especially excited to have her cousins spend the night. The kids played so well together. It was nice to have enough children to play some fun games like Duck, Duck, Goose and Freeze Dance. One night the whole family played a really fun game. We used Snoogle (my pregnancy pillow). We each took turns pretending that the pillow was a different object. Everyone else had to guess what object the snoogle was. Even the grown ups had fun acting. It was so sweet to see the kids teaming up and helping each other, too. We hope the Alesso family will be able to come back again soon (and bring Casey next time)!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Enoch's 1st Birthday

Enoch's 1st Year Video from Elijah Manor on Vimeo.

We had a great time celebrating Enoch's 1st Birthday.

Andrea's parents, Aunt, and paternal Grandparents came to our house along with our good friends the Guinness family and Talley family.

We presented Enoch's 1st Year video that I've been working on the past couple of weeks. I think all in all I put in over 40 hours preparing and putting together his video. It was hard work, but it was well worth it!

Andrea made an amazingly delicious healthy carrot cake for everyone and a special little one just for Enoch. We also had hot dogs, black bean salad, and lots of fruit.

As I mention at the end of the video... Enoch, you are truly a blessing from the Lord!

Friday, July 10, 2009

What Would You Do For A Combo Meal?

Chic-fil-a had their annual dress like a cow day. This year we did it and got three free combo meals!

My sister, Alissa, let me borrow two cow costumes for the kids. Abby and I had fun making cow masks and putting together a costume for me. Fun times.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Daddy, we're proud of you!

Congratulations goes to Elijah! 

Elijah got nominated and accepted to be a member of the ASPInsiders.

"The ASPInsiders is a select group of international professionals who have a demonstrated expertise in ASP.NET technologies and who provide valuable, early feedback on related developing technologies and publications to their peers, the Microsoft ASP.NET team, and others."

Also, recently a huge website posted an entry about the Top 20 developers to Follow on Twitter and his name was in it!

He's listed as #18 alongside developers that are highly respected.  As for the other 19, some have podcasts, some work at Microsoft, some write the technologies that Elijah uses, and others have blogs.

What an honor!  Our family is so proud of Elijah and all his hard work. 

We're also thrilled for him as he received a wonderful job offer not too long ago. He is using cutting edge technologies that he has been speaking about for the past few months. God is so good to provide more than we could as or imagine.

He was also mentioned in a video that was posted recently on Bytes by MSDN. Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft Principle Program Manager, mentioned Elijah as one of the answers when asked who he goes to for sources of technical information.

Many developers read Scott's blog, listen to his podcasts, and he recently co-authored a book about ASP.NET MVC (which is one of the main technologies that Elijah's been focusing on the past year or so).

The question about Elijah starts at the 3:34 minute mark and his name is mentioned shortly after that if you want to skip directly to that part. You can watch the video here.

We are so proud that Elijah has been recognized by such a leader in his field.  All his hard work over the years is really paying off this year.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Father's Day Times Two

This was my first Father's day with both Abby and Enoch!

They presented me with these two special books...

I love being a daddy and I love my two precious children! Thank you Andrea, Abby, and Enoch.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

4th of July

We had another great 4th of July! This year Enoch was able to participate in the 4th of July parade in our neighborhood. All the kids decorate their wagon, bike, tricycle, etc... and we all make our way up and down the main road.

At the end of the parade we are all awaited with watermelon! Then we headed to the neighborhood pool party with hamburgers, hot dogs, cookies, and swimming fun!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Abby has been taking swim lessons from our next door neighbor, Michael.

We're so thankful to have a pool in our neighborhood. Our other neighbor across the street, Mary, has been learning to swim with Abby and Michael, too.

Abby has done well and enjoys the lessons, but going under water is not her favorite part. Maybe next year will be easier.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Big Girl Bike

Abby and I went around to what seemed like a million garage sales surrounding our neighborhood in search of a big girl bike.

We found the above pink Barbie bike with training wheels, helmet, pads, etc... for $20!

As you can tell, she is very excited about her new bike :)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Enoch @ 11 Months

Enoch just turned 11 months.

He is now crawling on his hands and knees (instead of the inch-worm crawl), he has started to wave goodbye, he is clapping his hands, and he can also "give you a five" if you hand out your hand to him.

As long as he is holding something, he can take steps (like if he is holding my hands or the couch).

We love Enoch and he continues to brighten our day.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Ford Focus ZX3

After several weeks of not having a second car, I finally bought a commuter car!

In the meantime, I've been carpooling or just taking our family van.

I was looking for a small commuter car that has a history of being reliable and one that has good gas mileage.

I had my eye on the craigslist website for about a month and finally ran across a smoking deal.

I ended up getting a Ford Focus ZX3 as you can see in the above picture.

A big thanks goes out to Kevin Talley for giving the car his stamp of approval.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

In Memory of Granny Skelton

My maternal grandmother, Lura Mae Skelton, passed away at age 93.

The funeral was a sad, but wonderful time to remember her life and all she did to help others.

She was such a hard worker. I remember helping her pick vegetables from her garden in the summer time, and swinging on the front porch swing. She'd make scrambled eggs, and chocolate gravy and biscuits. Yum!

I'm so thankful to have had such a wonderful example of a Christian woman in my life. Can't wait to see her again in heaven!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Having Fun With Aunts

Andrea's sisters were in town and they had some very special time with Abby and Enoch.

Abby enjoyed Alissa painting her toenails and having tea parties.

Anna and Abby made puppets and a house for them to play in. Abby continues to play with and enjoy the puppet house even after Anna left for home.

On numerous occasions, Abby has asked if she could get on an airplane to go visit Alissa or Anna.

We are so glad that she loves her Aunts.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bye Bye Saturn

Elijah's car needed yet another repair. The repair was going to cost almost as much as the car is worth. We've repaired it several times and this little car has lasted a long time, but we decided it's time to let it go. So for now, we're trying to make it on one car. Thankfully, Elijah has found someone he can ride to work with if he needs to, but most days he just takes the van with him. It's actually been a good excuse to make myself stay home and not be so busy. It's nice that his job is flexible enough that if he needs to, he can work from home. We're keeping our eyes open for another little commuter car, but it's nice to not be in a big rush.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Times Two

This is Andrea's first Mother's day with two children!

Abby and Enoch made a special card with their hand prints and they both wrote inside the card. Abby wrote her name and Enoch expressed his love in scribbles :)

Abby and I printed out a huge picture of her and Enoch and we also made a key chain version so Andrea can always be reminded of her loving children.

To top it off, Abby got her mother a huge set of flowers to display on our kitchen table.

Andrea, you are such a great mother to our children. I enjoy watching you interact and play with them. You have so many great ideas of creative and educational activities to do with the children. May God continue to bless you as you mother our children.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Enoch @ 10 Months

Enoch is such a joy to our family. He's started pulling up a little bit and eating table foods. He doesn't seem to be as interested in his bottle anymore. He loves to watch Abby run and play and to laugh when she laughs. He follows us around, crawling from room to room. When I think of Enoch, I think of his smile and his laugh. What a happy little guy!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Traditional Tea Party

We attended the Freed Hardeman University's annual Tea Party. Abby and I have attended with my Mom each year since I was expecting Abby. There were dress up clothes for the girls to try on and two different craft projects. There were also some ladies teaching the adults how to stitch butterflies on note cards. I took a bag of the supplies home and have really enjoyed stitching the cards while Abby works on her own craft creations. Of course there was also the high tea with wonderful food. Abby used wonderful table manners. As she gets older, I'll ask Nana to teach her more about table manners. She used to teach etiquette classes. I look forward to carrying on this special girls tradition each year.

Handyman Manor

Enoch is already trying to be like his Daddy. It's finally time to lower Enoch's crib a little. Elijah had his tools out working on it. He left the room for a minute and came back to find Enoch holding the wrench tapping on the bed right where Elijah had just been using it. Precious! I look forward to watching Enoch grow into a man. He certainly has an excellent Daddy to learn from.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Home Preschool

We've done a few fun activities this month. We made sailboats from ice cube trays and attached foil for the sales. Then we floated them in the sand and water table in the backyard (thank you Guinness family for the loan of the table!) Enoch had fun playing with the foil while Abby sailed the boats. Another day she enjoyed using a medicine dropper to move colored water from one bowl to another. This was a great activity to do while I was making dinner.

We have a nice little sidewalk close to our house that is covered with trees. We brought our little people there. Abby made a wonderful little house and garden for them out of the twigs, berries, leaves, etc. that she found nearby. Enoch was so good to just sit in the wagon and play while she made her creation. I love to see her playing pretend and using nature to build things instead of being reliant on toys. I remember making houses for my Glamor Gals (anyone remember those?) when I was little. I used moss for the carpet in the houses I built for them outside. We're looking forward to spending more time outside now that the weather is nice.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I Can Read!

Abby was in the bathroom the other night getting ready for bed when I heard her say "mmmmmmmmmmmmm ooooooooooo mmmmmmmmmmmmmm" She kepts saying that over and over. I went in there to see what she was doing. There was a magazine open that had the word "Mom" written in large letters. I asked her what she was doing. She said she was trying to read that word. I said, "oh, okay," and I walked out of the room. She kept working on it until she figured it out on her own. She ran all over the house saying, "I can read, I can read, I can read!" Since then, she has really been interested in learning to read. We have started using a book called, "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons." She's on lesson 24 and is doing very well. She likes to "read" her Bible and "read" to her friend, Mary. What a wonderful gift to be able to give a child, the gift of reading!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Camp Pops and Nana II

My sister, Alissa and her boys joined us for "Camp Pops and Nana." We spent several days at my parents house, it was so great for the cousins to be able to play together. Alissa and her family live in Maryland, so we don't get to see them very often. This was Abby's first time to dye Easter eggs. We made a scavenger hunt for them and the end prize was their Easter baskets. I loved seeing Nana and all the kids piled on the bed for bedtime stories. Later during the week, we spent some time in Nashville at the zoo. We hardly looked at the animals, the boys declared the zoo playground as the best playground in the world. We're sad that my other sister, Anna and her family were not able to join us this year. We look forward to next year!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Neighborhood Easter

Our neighborhood hosts an Easter egg hunt party each year. They had a magician, an egg hunt, cotton candy and popcorn. My sister, Alissa and her family were here for a visit and were able to attend the party with us. Moni and Pawi walked down to join in the fun, too.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Enoch @ 9 Months

Enoch is finally sleeping through the night consistently! He's also started crawling. He does his own unique version of crawling. He looks like an inchworm and sometimes it looks like he's swimming or something. He uses total upper body strength to move. He's already begun to find the things that are off limits for babies, like the fireplace and our Roomba vacuum cleaner.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Apples of Gold

A few years ago while living in Arkansas, I tried to start a mentoring program for women called, "Apples of Gold" at the church we attended. Unfortunately, the older women never seemed to have enough time to participate. We were recently going through our bookshelves to sell some back to a used bookstore. I saw the book and thought, this study will never happen, so we sold it. A few weeks later, it was announced that our church was going to have an "Apples of Gold" class. I knew I had to sign up for it. We met for 3 hours during the evening for 8 weeks. Each night we were greeted at the door with hugs from the mentors. We enjoyed appetizers as we watched a cooking and homemaking demonstration. We were led in a Bible study and then enjoyed discussion over dinner that was prepared for us. These women invested so much time and energy into our lives. It was evident that each of the women were passionate about mentoring, not one of them was pressured or guilted into being there. Our class of mentees enjoyed each other and have been keeping in touch since the end of the class. I'm so thankful to have been a part of the "Apples of Gold" program and hope to be able to serve in another class.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Papa and Memaw's visit

Memaw and Papa, Elijah's parents, came for a visit. We went to visit the Cheekwood Botanical gardens. It was beautiful! I brought pictures of springtime flowers so we went on a scavenger hunt for the flowers. We also met Elijah's Uncle John and Aunt Sue at Cracker Barrel.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Daddy & Daughter Dance

Abby and I have started to have special Daddy and Daughter dates, but this is our first dance together :)

Fellowship Bible Church organized an event just for Fathers and their daughters. Abby got to dress up in one of her pretty dresses, I dressed up in a suit (which is a rarity), I bought her a rose, and then we headed to the dance.

I think Abby's favorite part of the whole night was the chocolate fountain that they had with strawberries, marshmallows, and pretzel sticks. She also was very fond of going to the ice cream store afterwords.

Two of Abby's close friends were there as well, Bethany Guinness and Grace Talley. Us fathers and girls danced the the hokey poky, joined in the conga line, motioned to the makarana, and participated in other such dances.

We both had a great time and made some very good memories that I think we will both remember for a long time. I hope to make this a yearly tradition.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Monkey's Tree House

There's a great place to play in town called, The Monkey's Tree house. It's perfect for a rainy or hot day. They have a section for little ones to crawl around in, an indoor tree house, a sandbox, dress up clothes, an art section, a pretend grocery store and more. We met the Guinness family there this time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ugly Bug Ball

The Ugle Bug Ball is an opportunity for the children at Mustard Seed Preschool to come dressed up as “ugly bugs.” Abby dressed as a bumble bee. They've been discussing creeping animals in creation at school. Several stations were set up to play as and talk about what insects and creeping animals can do. The children also participated in an “Ugly Bug Parade” down the hallways of the preschool.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Enoch @ 8 Months

Enoch cut his first two teeth this month. He's usually such a happy baby, but cutting teeth is rough stuff. He's also had several ear infections that never seem to clear up after the first antibiotic. He loves to swing on the back porch

Down by the River

The community we live in has a paved trail that runs by the river. There's one place we're able to get down the river. We love to throw rocks in the river. This was Enoch's first time to join us, he loved riding in the back pack!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

FPU Game Night

Our community group has been going through Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace" course. We took a break one night to have a taco and game night. We played Apple's to Apple's and Catch Phrase. The kids played a Disney Bingo game. Fun times.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Pawi's 90th Birthday

We were honored to attend my grandfather's surprise birthday party. Pawi was celebrating his 90th birthday and he was definitely surprised. My Aunt, Carole, and my Dad did a great job planning the party. Many of his friends were able to come and those who weren't sent cards and letters. We are so blessed to have Moni and Pawi and have learned so much from the wisdom they have shared with us over the years.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dr. Seues Birthday

They celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday at Abby's preschool. The children dressed up as characters from Dr. Seuss books. Abby dressed up as Horton the Elephant, from the book, "Horton Hears a Who." It was fun to see all the creative costumes.

Brotherly Love

Enoch is getting big enough for Abby to start including him in her play. She invited him to come to her tea party along with her other animal friends. He sat right there with her and listened closely to what she was telling him. He also played the part of baby Moses while she was Miriam. We've re-enacted this story before, but always had to use a baby doll for Moses. It was fun to use a real baby this time! He didn't want to stay in the basket for too long, though. I've also overheard Abby making the two of them a "secret hideout." I love to see them playing together!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Feburary Home Preschool

I haven't been keeping up with doing our "home preschool" activities as much as I had planned, but every now and then we do some pretty fun things at home. I've found a great website with some great simple activities to do at home. Abby enjoyed cutting beads from a Mardi Gras necklace and gluing them onto her name. Enoch won't be able to be that close when he starts crawling! She also practiced her cutting skills using small strips of cardstock, which is less flimsy than printer paper and the narrow strips are easier to handle.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Expanded Snowmen Family

We only had one snow day this winter and there was hardly any snow. Enoch and I watched from the window as Abby and Elijah made a miniature snowman family like last year, only this year, there was one extra snow baby!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Mommy in the Works

I'm amazed at the maternal instinct that God gives to little girls. It's so precious to see Abby care for her baby doll and her brother Enoch. I've carried Enoch around in a sling and Elijah came up with the idea to make Abby her own sling for her baby doll which she calls Enoch. We used a towel and a chip clip to hold it together. There are also days that she really enjoys helping with housework. I've been encouraging her to learn how to do the laundry, wash dishes, etc. because someday God might give her a family and home of her own. She'll need to know how to take care of them. I pray that she is learning how to care tenderly for babies and children and that some day God will bless her with her own family to care for.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Enoch @ 7 Months

Enoch's doing well eating baby food. Abby really enjoys feeding him, which has been very helpful. I've also given him huge pieces of vegetables to chew on that he couldn't choke on. He gets the flavor of the vegetables and it feels good on his gums.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nashville Ballet

Abby and I had a girls day out together on Saturday. The Nashville Ballet had a free performance based on the children's book, Ferdinand the Bull. Abby LOVES anything having to do with dance. She had asked if she could wear her ballet costume.

After the show, the children were allowed to come on stage and perform some of the dance moves in the ballet. It was so cute to see her up there on stage. After the ballet, we went to lunch together and then shopping for a few things at the mall. It was so fun to spend a day with just the two of us together.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's a Circus Out There

We used the money that Pops and Nana gave the kids for Christmas to go to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

It was so fun to see the animals and acrobats. It was a long show, 2 1/2 hours, plus the pre-show before where we got to go in the ring and see the performers up close. Both Abby and Enoch did well. It was neat to see the wonder in their eyes.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pop's Birthday

We were so glad to have Pops here for his birthday. We are so thankful that he and Nana are a part of our lives.

While they were here for his birthday they also played several games with Abby... Candy Land and Hi Ho! Cherry-0. We enjoyed watching them have such a good time together.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Enoch @ 6 Months

Enoch is now 6 months old!

He is sitting up well on his own now and he's also started eating baby food. Andrea and Abby have had fun making most of his baby food together. So far he's had: sweet potatoes, asparagus, avacado, mango and banana.

Enoch can hold his own bottle for the most part. Abby has also been a big help in feeding him.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Picker's Visit

Our friends, Mary Beth and Casey, were passing through Nashville on their way home to Little Rock. We were so excited to get to spend a few hours with them and their little guy, Caleb.

Casey and Mary Beth have a heart for adoption and are planning to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia. If you are interested, you can learn more about their story on their blog.