Ta-Da: Swing Set Revealed!


We made it! The final product made sacrificing every single bit of our free time completely worth it! Noah climbs the rock wall with ease and thinks he is big stuff!

One of his favorite things to do is to peak out this window and yell, "I see you, Mommy! I see you!"

He loves his slide, especially going down on his belly!

Our cute little family.

Snapping photos inside the snack shop!

Cheesing it up for the camera! He loves this swing!

Mama and Papa were there for the big unveiling and weathered the cold to snap a couple pictures.

We are 100% happy with the final product. I would definitely recommend this swing set to anyone! I didn't take a full picture yet of the entire structure, but we have monkey bars, a regular swing, a toddler swing, and a glider. You've already seen the tower. What I love about it the most is the little playhouse area underneat. Even Kya loves to join Noah and me inside that area while we play. It's just another example of why pricing out products, waiting for a good sale, and being patient for the perfect product is totally worth it! This swing set is bound to give Noah and his buddies hours and hours of fun!


Swing Set Continued...


Finally, the tower floor was complete!

Chalk wall installed - CHECK!

Ryan was unsure about the weight limit - he was fine, of course!

Noah checking out the tower and loving it!

Final product on second day - three hours of labor

The playhouse construction begins!

Noah's little door

Final product after third day - 1 1/2 hours of labor


Noah decided to help right away! This pic is wedding slideshow material.

He was especially good at putting the screws in the pilot holes

The cafe is complete!

The tower is completely finished!

Once again, Noah plays on his swing set in the dark. End of fourth day - 2 1/2 hours of labor


Ryan had a work event, so no work was done!


The swing section was built. The finish line was in sight!


A Swing Set for Noah

As early as last spring, I began pricing out swing sets for Noah. Each time we took him to the park, Noah had more and more fun, which made the temptation to buy him his own swing set even stronger. The days of summer flew by, and once fall was upon us, we still hadn't bought Noah a swing set. They are very expensive, and the ones I saw did not seem to have many things to do. I really didn't want to spend over $500, so the search for the perfect swing set continued. I even checked Craigslist on a weekly basis, and I thought we hit the jackpot when someone was giving away their wooden swing set for FREE. I like free! So Ryan borrowed our friends' truck, picked up our good friend, Devin, and away they went to tear down the swing set. An hour later, they realized that the swing set was a lost cause. The wood was rotting, and there was no sense in tearing apart something that wouldn't work out in the long run.

It was a huge bummer.

As spring approached this year, I began seeing ads for swing sets yet again. And once again, I wasn't seeing anything that that felt like the one. I know, I know - the one is supposed to be reserved for the finding the love of your life, but after you do meet the man/woman of your dreams, the one  can be used for the right crib, swing set, bike, car, etc. - right? Anyway, after scanning the ads week after week, I made an announcement.

I quit.

We were not going to buy Noah a swing set. I wasn't happy with the products I was seeing, and I didn't want to spend $500 on something when we live down the road from a great park. Then, as things often go, I saw it - the one. It was the perfect swing set - something I hadn't seen before, and SURPRISE! It was in our price range $499 instead of its regular price of $699. That is my kind of sale! Thankfully, we had gone to church the night before, so as soon as Toys R Us opened, we rushed out to buy Noah's first swing set. Again to our surprise, they had the entire swing set displayed outside in front of the store. Noah's eyes lit up as soon as he saw it, and to be honest, I think ours did, too. After finding a toddler swing and paying for our goodies, we drove around to the back of the store to load up our new backyard adventure.

Or maybe not...the boxes were HUGE and weren't even close to fitting in the Jeep with Noah and me in the car. After dropping us off at home, Ryan drove back to Toys R Us to pick up the swing set. As soon as Noah went down for his nap, we started unloading the boxes. Let's just say, I'm glad that we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, or else I'm not sure we would've bought the swing set.

Ryan determined that it would be best if I was the foreman, and he was the muscle of the operation. I began organizing all of the hardware, labeling every screw, lock nut, washer, tee nut, and bolt, on our kitchen table.

Ryan, on the other hand, began his work separatingand labeling the two boxes of lumber, which were in no particular order, in the garage. I finished my job first (and granted, it was the easier of the two tasks), so I decided to help Ryan with labeling the wood.

Two hours later, we were finished - not with the swing set - but with just separating and labeling the wood and hardware. I was shocked, but we agreed that it was going to make the rest of the process a whole lot easier. Next, it was time to build.

Even Noah woke up and joined in the fun!

By the end of Day 1, this is what our final product looked like (please note the dark skies in the background). Boy did we have a LONGGG way to go!

Stay tuned for the rest of our journey building Noah's swing set...


Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Well, Noah made it 21 months and 15 days without having an interest for the television. It's not like I wanted him to watch a lot of TV anyway, but there have been days that I thougth to myself, "If he would only sit and watch TV for 15 minutes so that I could [fill in the blank]." If you remember, I wrote several weeks ago about Noah's new friend, Mouf. Well, after a long obsession with Mouf, Noah was finally able to say "Mouse!" It was a huge accomplishment turning that f sound into an s sound.

I'm not sure how it happened, but one day we decided to turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse just to see if he would like it. As soon as the show began, Noah was mesmorized! He didn't take his eyes off the screen for a good 5 minutes but soon became bored with the story line. At the end of this cartoon, Mickey leads his friends in the Hot Dog Song! They sing this cute song and dance around saying goodbye to everyone. Well, Noah was sold from that moment on! All he has wanted is Mouse, Mouse, and more Mouse! We have had to limit his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse viewing to 1-2 episodes per day because he was having huge meltdowns when the show ended.

Noah's participation in the Hot Dog Song has transformed as time has gone by. At first Noah just wanted us to hold him while the song played, and he would scream "Goodbye!" to all of his friends at the end of the show. Now, he seems to love the beginning scene just as much as the last scene. He says the magic words and yells out the names for each of his friends. My particular favorite one that he calls out is "Goo-ey." We took this video of Noah very early on in his love for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so enjoy!



Little Moments

I am very behind with blogging - very, very behind! I decided to pick up a few extra cases at work, and that has taken up all of my free time the past couple of weeks. After working 31.5 hours on the first case, which was also the most involved, I have been quickly reminded why I love my part time status at work. In the past three weeks, I feel like our lives have been scattered all over the place. We are eating a lot of quick, easy meals. A pile of bills was left sitting on the counter for over a week...maybe two. I hadn't been to the grocery in two weeks, and we didn't have any milk in the house for two days. Emotionally, I have felt like a train wreck. Physically, I feel like my pattern of eating pizza and hibernating all winter has caught up with me, and I am desperately in need of a run in the cool air and sunny skies. Intellectually, I am shot. I get tip-of-the-tongue-syndrome every other conversation. With the end of the year rush that happens to school psychologists that seems to get earlier each year, I feel a bit flustered and eratic rather than calm, steady, and organized. Yes, this has indeed been a wonderful time to be reminded of why I work part time.

How do people work full time? How can you catch up on things on the weekends when all you want to do is play outside with your kids and go on a date with your spouse?

Thank goodness my in-laws stayed over night with us on Friday because it lit a fire under me to give my house a deep clean...at 7 o' clock that night...while they were away at a wedding. Surprisingly, the house feels very clean and organized despite my feeling overwhelmed and on edge.

With that said, I was also reminded this evening that while my posts about the bigger events in our lives is always important, it's all the little moments in between that really make my life. An example would be after dinner tonight when Noah and I were playing hide-n-seek with Ryan. We were hiding while Ryan counted to ten. Noah picked our spot - right in the open by the front door - and as I went to sit down, he came around and sat down right in front of me, snuggled in tight, reached for me, and held my hand. It was precious. He has such a sweet, gentle soul, and I love those quiet moments when he just looks into my eyes, and I can feel his little fingers wrapped around mine.

On the way home, he was strapped into his car seat entertaining himself when I heard him yell, "Mommy, 'ook! Mommy, 'ook!" I turned around to find him balancing his pacifier between his chin and his chest, and he was belly laughing about it. It was hilarous! I love those little moments when we both find ourselves entertained by each other's silly antics.

Right now is one of those little moments when Noah is just drifting to sleep, and I am laid back, relaxing and enjoying some time for myself/with Ryan. Parents have several favorite times each day: seeing your child first thing in the morning, playing a fun game together, watching your child laugh, putting your child down for a nap, playing after dinner, saying goodnight, and last but not least, having free time when your child is in bed. It's the little moments - the little moments that you're especially thankful for after an overwhelming couple of weeks.


Chuck E. Cheese

A couple weeks ago, the elementary school where I work was doing a fundraiser at Chuck E. Cheese. Ryan and I decided to take Noah because I love their pizza we thought he would have a great time. When I was growing up, it was called Showbiz Pizza, and I loved that place! I probably only went a couple times, but whenever I did, it was like heaven on earth. I mean, what kid doesn't like pizza, robotic animals, games, tokens, and prizes?!

Sorry, this is supposed to be about Noah - not me.

When we arrived at Chuck E. Cheese, we ordered our delicious pepperoni pizza and salad bar, which is really tasty by the way, and then found a table. Soon after we sat down with our drinks and salad, lights started flashing and music started playing. It was time for Chuck E. Cheese! Noah was so excited to see a MOUSE singing and talking to everyone. The show lasted only a few minutes, and then the curtain was drawn, and Chuck E. Cheese stayed hidden behind it until the next show. For the next several minutes, Noah looked like this:

Finally, the moment he had been patiently waiting for - Chuck E. Cheese was back! Ryan ran Noah up to the front so that he could see Chuck E. Cheese close up. Sorry if the pictures are a little blurry. I took them with the camera in my phone.

As soon as Ryan brough Noah close to Chuck E. Cheese, he ended up being a little scared of him. Noah snuggled in tight and watched his new mouse friend out of the corner of his eye.

Before we knew it, Chuck was gone again. We took Noah back to our table, where he proceeded to say, "Mouse! Mouse!" over and over again. Ryan and I tried to explain that Chuck E. Cheese was taking a nap, but Noah wanted that poor mouse to come perform again immediately. For the next several minutes, this is what Noah looked like:

Thank goodness our pizza arrived because I was starving Noah could stare, patiently waiting for Chuck E. Cheese, while I shoved bite after bite of pizza, raisins, and tomatoes in his mouth. Eventually, Chuck E. came out, and Noah once again hid a little bit behind Ryan.

After finishing our dinner, it was time for some games. We have purposefully never let Noah on any of the rides at the mall, grocery store, etc., knowing that as soon as we do, it will be all that he wants to do. The kid has a great memory! With our 20 tokens, Noah rode ride after ride and played game after game.

Hanging out with Barney

Hanging out with his favorite - MOUSE!

icking a soccer ball, hoping to win some tickets

Noah's favorite - racing a car with Daddy!

Noah pounding the animals with a mallet

I went to the prize area to pick out something for Noah while Ryan took him to see Chuck E. Cheese one more time before we had to go home. Why is there only ever one person stationed at the prize section? Seriously, I think there has to be a more efficient, more practical way to get your prize than just waiting and hoping that the employee behind the counter will randomly pick you! After choosing a twirly straw for Noah to use at home, we were out the door. As soon as we put Noah in his car seat, the crying began - "Mouse! MOUSE!" PEEZ...MOUSE!!!" This continued for the entire ride home. As frustrated as I wanted to get with Noah for whining and crying after we spoiled him with a fun night, I reminded him to say nice things and to sit quietly. Of course that never works, so we just tried to tune it out so that we could give him a quick bath and put him to bed once we got home. The evening was a HUGE success, and I am already looking forward to taking Noah back again soon.


Grandparent Tour 2010

Over the past 5 days, it seems like our family has been here, there, and everywhere! I think this story is best told from the beginning.

My friend, Jill, is on maternity leave, and I decided to pick up a couple of her cases to make a little extra money. My mom watched Noah at our house last Wednesday, and he had a blast with his Nana! He slept until 9:15 that morning, and I just can't understand why he doesn't sleep like that when I'm home for the day. He loves saying, "Hi Nah-nie! Hi Nah-nie!" It's adorable! Watching your child love someone you love and also seeing that person love your child in return is truly priceless.

Early last week, Noah's sitter, Alissa (who is also my good friend and Ryan's second cousin) found out that her mother was going to have surgery on Thursday. Ryan was going to be in Evansville for work Thursday and Friday, and I also had to work those two days. So, Ryan's parents offered to take Noah back to their house Thursday and Friday. What?! An entire two days without Noah or Ryan? It has been over two years since I've had the house all to myself like that. Whatever would I do with my time? I called my friend, Alyssa, who I hadn't seen since November, and we decided that dinner and a movie was just what we needed. We met up at BJ's Brewhouse, and I think it's official - I love that restaurant! I have never eaten anything that I haven't liked. Alyssa likes cheese as much as I do, so we were in heaven with all the things we shared that night.

GOURMET MAC & CHEESE: A delicious and creamy blend of rotelle pasta with three cheeses, chipotle and a hint of garlic. Topped with seasoned breadcrumbs and bacon then oven-baked for a golden brown finish.

MOZZARELLA STICKS: Mozzarella cheese sticks coated with a special garlic-butter breading, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and served with marinara sauce.

MARGHERITA FRESCA FLATBREAD PIZZA: A classic Italian recipe with fresh mozzarella cheese and sweet tomato sauce. Garnished with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

It was a cheese lover's dream come true! My parents always used to tell me that I could live off cheese, butter, and bread, and they weren't kidding! Anyway, after dinner Alissa and I went and saw Dear John. I hate to say this, but I was totally disappointed. I like nearly every movie I see, and I just didn't like it. Maybe I set my expectations too high - I don't know. The last third of the movie, I kept thinking, "Are you serious? This is the direction they are taking?" I was so sad because I was totally ready for a good chick flick with lots of tears and broken hearts. Oh well! I still had a great time with Alyssa. After dropping her off, I went home to spend some time with Kya. I felt bad leaving her home all day by herself, but when I tried to play fetch with her, she was just too tired to play. I guess all that sleeping all day makes a pup pretty tired. I thought it would be a lot worse staying in the house by myself that night without Ryan and Noah, but I think I must have been too tired to care. I fell right to sleep and crashed until morning.

Ryan drove back from Evansville on Friday, and I met him at home after work. We packed up the car to get ready for Noah's third stop on the Grandparent Tour of 2010. It was my dad's birthday, so we were heading north to celebrate with him! We drove to Ryan's parents' house to pick up Noah, and on our way, my dad called to say they were under a winter weather advisory. They were only expecting 1-3 inches, but the roads were going to flash freeze and be pretty slick. After having dinner with Ryan's parents, we decided to make the trip anyway, knowing that if the roads got bad, we would just stop at a hotel. The wind was blowing pretty strongly, and at times the snow was coming down pretty hard, but slow and steady wins the race. We got to my dad and Danette's around 9:30 Friday night.

After unpacking the car and visiting for a bit, we attempted to put Noah to bed. Separation anxiety has kicked in full force, and I think the changes of spending Wednesday with his Nana, Thursday and Friday with his Mama and Papa, and now spending the weekend at Grandma and Grandpa's was just enough to send this tired, cranky little guy through the roof. He usually goes to bed without a peep and falls right to sleep, but Friday night was an exception. He screamed and screamed and screamed until finally he fell asleep in Ryan's arms. We crashed that night and slept soundly until morning.

Saturday morning I went to visit a girl I went to high school with named Brittany. I hadn't seen her in years, and it was great to meet her husband and two daughters. It was a quick visit but one I won't soon forget. After I got back to Dad and Danette's, my brother and his wife came over to celebrate my dad's birthday. We had a a host of appetizeres followed by a delicious beef tenderloin, baked potatoes, salad, and rolls. YUM! After visiting with my brother and his wife for a couple hours, they left for home, and Noah took a big nap. A few hours later, my cousin Joey and his wife Katey, along with their two daughters, Aubrey and Sidney (ages 5 and 3), came over for Part 2 of my dad's birthday festivities. We ordered some delicious pizza from Mancinos Italian Eatery. I had never had their pizza before, but it was delicious! It is always so fun to have girl time with Danette and Katey!

Aubrey & Noah

The best part of the night was watching Noah play with Sydney and Aubrey. The moment he laid eyes on Aubrey, I think he was in love. Seriously. I have never seen Noah act this way with anyone - ever! He immediately was holding her hand, sitting in her lap, gazing into her eyes. It was so sweet! The entire night he kept yelling in a New York accent, "Come 'ere! Come 'ere!" and Aubrey was gracious enough to indulge him. They walked around the house holding hands and playing from room to room. At the end of the evening, the kids would run from the back of the house, up the hall, and into the living room. Ryan and I would grab at them as they ran by, so the screaming would sound with each passing run. It was so cute! I can't wait to get the kids together again.


Sunday morning I woke up feeling kind of bad - just a head cold, but I just hadn't slept well. We ended up staying home Sunday at my parents and just hung out. After lunch we packed the car back up and said our goodbyes. Noah fell asleep within minutes of getting in the car and slept until we reached our driveway 2 1/2 hours later. It was glorious!
Noah feeding Aubrey blueberries

As if one movie with a girlfriend wasn't a huge treat, I got to go out again Sunday night with my friend, Jackie. She hadn't seen New Moon yet, and it's playing at the dollar theatre in town. So, at 9:35 p.m., I munched on popcorn and M&Ms while enjoying my obsession with the Twilight Saga - again. It was great, and I can't wait until the DVD comes out on March 20th. Even better is the fact that Eclipse will be released on June 30, 2010, which means I only have to wait 4 months until I can see the next movie in the series.

Noah in Danette's shoes

It's been a busy 5 days, and it was worth every second. Noah got to see 5 of his grandparents, and Ryan and I got to visit with our parents. Plus, I got to see two movies with some friends - what a treat! Hope your weekend was as fun as ours!
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