Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Santa came over night and left lots of surprises under the tree and in our stockings. Emmy had a wonderful time ripping off wrapping paper, exploring new toys and making breakfast for us in her new play kitchen. She was beyond thrilled when she saw it! Here's hoping your holiday is bright!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Walking in a Snotty Wonderland

Poor Em. She's got a miserable cold. She started losing her voice yesterday, and is very squeaky today. The snot drippith, and the eyes are gunky. I'm hoping this clears out before the big day, or at least before we visit family and friends. She still seems to be eating and playing okay, which is so typical for her. I think it would take a case of pneumonia before she's stop eating! Last night she ate about 5 big broccoli pieces...she nibbles on them like they are a cookie she wants to savor. We ran errands today, and when we got home, the neighbor's chickens were all over our driveway and front yard. Em had a ball running around chasing them. We may have to get some for our back yard one of these days! The chickens are beautiful Rhode Island Reds, and they are so pretty in the sunshine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cookie Baking

Emmy and I tried out a new cookie recipe, and she helped me put M&M's on top of the cookies. Or, in reality, she stuffed M&M's in her little mouth as fast as she could. She occasionally pulled one out and tried to put in on a cookie.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My girl is crafty too! She came home yesterday wearing reindeer antlers made out of tracings of her hands. She was so proud and wore them almost all day at daycare (carefully taking them off for naptime) and for a while at home. So cute...had to share the pic.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Deck the Halls

It's beginning to look more like Christmas at the Stouder house. We put up the tree this week, and got the ornaments on it today. Emmy helped us with the ornaments, and even put a few on the tree herself! She was terribly excited by all the cute little figurines and twinkly lights. She says Christmas "treats" instead of tree. So cute. We worked outside this afternoon, and visited with the neighbor girls and their flock of chickens. We hung lights on the front porch and raked leaves/pine needles to the street for collection. Tonight, I'm sitting down with my recipe books to decide what kind of baked goods I want to make this year. Of course, there will be Gram's famous butter cookies, which hopefully Emmy will help decorate. That was always such a fun tradition for my brother and I. We each have some of the Gram's holiday cookie cutters, and will bring those out this year for sure. I also need to get stitching on Emmy's Christmas stocking. I didn't make her one last year because we weren't at our house for Christmas, and she was too young for a stocking. She will definitely be into it this year, so I need to get sewing. My brother and I still have (and use) the stockings that my Mom made for us when we were born. I hope Emmy's will also be in use 32 years from now! We went to JC Penney's today to get our family portrait done. We ordered our Christmas cards, which turned out really cute. Emmy was a bit of a dicken's during the photo shoot, but we managed to capture some nice pictures of her. We all wore red tops and blue jeans, staying true to our family's casual preferences! Right before our photo shoot, there was another family with a daughter named Emerson...and they kept saying "Emmy!" to get her to smile. Our Emmy was a little perplexed by the strangers shouting her name in the other room!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Post Turkey Recovery

We had a good Thanksgiving, celebrating with all the Stouders in DC. We had our Christmas exchange as well, since we won't be seeing that side of the family at Christmas. Of course, we ate too much, but Stacy did a great job cooking the bird! (She did it the day before, which is a trick I will use in the future! So nice having room in your oven to cook the sides on T-day!) We brought home some toys that Abby had outgrown, but were perfect for Emmy right now. Her new favorite is the Sit-n-Spin. She insists that we all spin, but Keith just doesn't fit. She had a good laugh when I got on it and started spinning around!

Emmy will be starting a new daycare in February, and I really think she's ready for more stimulation and being around kids her age. They don't let them come to this school until they are 2, and so she is helping out Jeffrey with all the babies right now. She's the oldest, and loves playing the the babies.

She's starting to put together 2-4 word sentences now, and it's amazing to hear her speak! She's communicating with us so much more, although we still only understand about 60% of what comes out of her mouth. She is very particular about her clothes now, and if her shirt has a hood, it has to be up. She gets a little bent out of shape if Mommy doesn't wear a hood too (although most of my clothes don't have a hood...hard to explain to a toddler!).

We finally got some of the beach photos from the photographer...what a nightmare dealing with him, but the end result was good. He did take some excellent pics!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Frowny Face

We're seeing a lot of this face lately...often a precursor to a toddler tantrum. At least she gives us a little warning.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Don't hate me, Emmy...

Our last week has been filled with all things "potty". Emmy is obsessed with using the potty, and has been doing it several times a day, both at home and at daycare. We bought some pull-ups this weekend, but I haven't cracked into them yet. Em gets a sticker when she uses the potty successfully, however the real reward in her eyes is dumping it out and flushing the toilet. She will probably look back at this post in a few years and hate me for posting a photo of her sitting on the pot.

Another recent development is giving Mommy & Dada a kiss. It's so sweet and very cute. She makes a little sound effect..."mmmm-mah!" She's a little heart melter.

I'm off tomorrow, and I think we'll hit the local children's museum for toddler story time. She loves that place, and I think I may just get an annual membership. It will be worth it, as we will have to start paying admission fees when she turns 2.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall Day

I'm still fighting a cold, but felt well enough this afternoon to take Emmy out in the back yard for a Fall day photoshoot. She loved walking on the leaves in the woods and hearing the "crunch, crunch". Our little stray kitty kept us company as we roamed the yard and Emmy inspected leaves & pinecones.

Em discovered 2 little bags that have been hanging in her closet, and over the weekend figured out the fine art of accessorizing...see for yourself!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


This is what I hear on the baby monitor in the morning now. April...April...Mommy...Mommy...Dada...Dada. We're not 100% sure Em really knows who April is, because when we asked her today, she pointed to Keith and then herself. She is just a bundle of giggles lately, with a few tantrums thrown in for good measure. She throws her hands over her mouth when she giggles, and it just cracks me up. She is exploding with new words all the time. This week, we were at our peak of Fall color, and as we were driving down a particularly colorful road, she pointed out the window and said "yaw-wo!" (yellow). It took me a moment to figure out what she was saying, but I was impressed once it clicked! She's very into Mr. Potato Head, and loves to read books. Coloring and helping empty the dishwasher are very big right now too. She gets a big smile on her face when she helps us around the house, and we like that she's willing to do it (for now!).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Vote!

Here's your friendly reminder to do your civic duty and vote! You don't get to complain about our country's state of affairs if you don't participate in choosing your leaders! Go!

On another note...Emmy pee-peed in the potty today, and jumped up afterwards to tell me she did it. Since she is up and down all the time on the potty, I didn't think she did anything. She was so proud to show me what was inside the bowl, and that she got to flush it down the toilet. What a big girl!! It may be a way off, but I can see the end of diapers someday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cake Finale

My final Wilton cake class was last night, and I thought I'd share the finished's quite tasty!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stinkin' Doorknobs!

We had a little adventure on Sunday. I was cooking dinner, and Keith was playing with Em in the living room. **Side note: She is suddenly very interested in closing doors.** She hopped up, ran down the hall and into the bathroom. She slammed the door closed, and by the time Keith got there, had turned the lock on the door knob. Of course, she had no idea what she'd done, or how to undo it. She was happily chatting away in the bathroom while Keith was trying to jimmy the door and asking her to unlock it. When it became obvious we weren't going to be able to unlock the door, I suggested we take the door knob off. Seemed simple enough. Unfortunately, the innards of the knob cracked during the process, and Keith was left to rip it apart piece by piece with a pair of pliers. By now, Emmy didn't think this was so fun anymore and was standing right on the other side of the door screaming. We kept peeking into the hole and trying to keep her calm. In total, she was probably locked in a total of 10 minutes, but it felt like an eternity to her and to us! Now, every door in the house with a twist lock has a large piece of tape over the entire knob to prevent any reenactments of Sunday's adventures.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkins & Pudding

We carved our pumpkin today with Emmy. She wasn't quite sure what to think of pumpkin guts, but did manage to stick her hand inside the pumpkin a couple times. Keith was looking forward to toasting the seeds, but Emmy decided to decorate the deck with them instead (much to Keith's dismay!). After dinner, Emmy got a treat...chocolate pudding and raspberries! Yum!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Hunting

We visited Lunsford Farms on Sunday in search a good hayride and the perfect pumpkin. It was a chilly day, but sunny and it really felt like Fall. We took a bumpy hayride past the fields, tobacco barns with leaves drying, a "spooky forest" and a short stop at the barn. Emmy got to see some farm animals up close, and laughed when the Mama cow let out a very loud MOOOO! We picked out pumpkins, and Emmy found one that suited her (she didn't say "heavy!" when she picked it up!).

Garrett Weekend Fun!

We had our friends, the Garretts, in town for a weekend visit. Highlights included some time at the local childrens' museum, feeding the ducks at Duke Gardens, playing pegs-n-jokers, visiting a local farm to pick out pumpkins, and just having some fabulous fun with our friends! Jen & I went to see The Secret Life of Bees on Saturday night while the guys held down the fort with the kids and played Wii after putting them to bed. It's definitely a chick-flick, and stays pretty true to the book. Worth a look!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

First Cake!

I finished my first cake tonight. Unfortunately, my orange frosting came out a little more peach than I intended, but I think it's a good first attempt at cake decorating!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Home Repairs Stink!

This has been the year for major (read: expensive!) home repairs. When we returned from our anniversary dinner Saturday night, we didn't have any water. When you turned on the faucet, not a sound, not a drop. Keith went under the crawl space to investigate, and saw there was zero pressure on the water meter. We had the water guy come out Sunday, and had to drop some major cash to have the well pump replaced. He looked on the old one, and it was the original one from when the house was built in 1988! Let's hope our new pump serves us as well! We've had some pretty disgusting looking water around here due to stirring everything up in the well to get the new pump in. It's starting to clear up today, and we're in the process of cleaning up the iron stains everywhere. Red clay dirt = red, iron-rich water! Our poor water softener if working overtime! We are hoping our repairs are done for this year!

Big Girl in the House!

Emmy pee-peed in the potty for the first time this weekend...I just knew you all would want to know. She was a little perplexed by the whole thing.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Celebrating Five Years

Today is our fifth wedding anniversary. We celebrated by getting a sitter last night, and going to dinner at the Melting Pot. They have fabulous fondue, and we overindulged in all things yummy. It's a great place to go for a special occasion, but not a place for kids or a quick meal. We had some time to consider how much we have accomplished in 5 years...moved to NC, bought a house, both have good jobs, had a daughter, special trips taken, great memories's been a good 5 years.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New Obsessions

Well, it's taking a little longer to get out of the house these days, as our daughter has become fixated on several items, and can't possibly leave the premises without wearing or carrying every single one of them. She simply MUST wear her pink fleece jacket, and it simply HAS to be zipped all the way up. It doesn't matter that it's 75 degrees out, and she's sweating. She will wear this jacket all day long at daycare...zipped to her chin. She is very into hats right now, and seems to have chosen a favorite blue one that looks like an old man hat. She's GOT to have Miss Kitty (stuffed cat), and "Blue" (stuffed elephant), and Pinky (pink crocheted cape). It's quite a chore to buckle her into the carseat when she's clutching all three so tightly!

At night, she WON'T lay down unless Goodnight Gorilla and Goodnight Moon are in the bed with her. (We love that she loves her books.) She's totally infatuated with the little patchwork quilt that Mom/Grammy brought her from Indiana. She's GOTTA be covered up with that blanket to go night night.

She's becoming a little OCD about cleanliness, and starts crying if her hands get dirty at mealtime. I try to reassure her that we'll clean up at the end, when everyone is "all done". So, she dumps her plate on the floor and yells "ALL DONE....CLEAN!!".

She's suddenly VERY interested in the potty seat. She pulls her pants down and wants to sit on the potty. So far, she's done nothing IN the potty, but has stood up and peed on the floor. If she is sitting on her potty, she insists that you also sit on the toilet. She'll point at the toilet and say, "Mommy! Potty!". Unfortunately, trying to re-diaper her after these little escapades is quite the challenge. She will come up to me now and point to her diaper and say "soggy" when she's wet. I always call her Ms. Soggybottoms when her diaper is really wet. It's so funny what she picks up.

She is all about showing the love to Amos. The poor cat is being perpetually tackled for hugs now. She runs up and yells in his face, "HUGS", and then falls on top of him to give a squeeze. It's pretty amazing that he sits and takes it. When he's had his fill, he flees, but for the most part, he stays put. Riley wants no part in this love-fest, and runs at the sight of Emmy.

Happy Birthday, Grammy/Mom!

We hope your day is filled with all of your favorite things!

Love from all of us!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Little Helper

Hoosier Visitors

We had a wonderful visit this week with my Mom and Gram from Indiana. They drove down last Friday, and stayed until Wednesday. Emmy had a ball playing and coloring with her Grammy and GeeGee. We bought a new kid-sized table and chair set, and Emmy insisted GeeGee sit with her to color. She would point to the empty seat beside her and say "GeeGee!". Good thing Gram is so short! On Monday, I took the day off, and we had lunch at Parker & Otis in Durham. They have such great lunch sandwiches, and all kinds of desserts, baking items, seasonal candies, etc. It's fun to walk around the shop after you fill you belly. (Don't shop when you're hungry!). Afterwards, we headed over to the Duke Gardens and fed the ducks. They swarmed around Em once they discovered we brought bread.

The weather here has turned to Fall, and the leaves are just starting to change color. We're in the early stages of Autumn, my favorite time of year. The nights are chilly, and daytime temps are averaging mid-70's....perfect! I have brought out my Fall decorations, and am thinking of where to go to find a pumpkin this year. Emmy can actually help empty the pumpkin guts this year when we carve a jack-o-lantern. She will be a tiger/cat this year for Halloween.

I'm giving a lecture at the PA school on Monday about anemia, and in December will give a talk about Chemotherapy. I enjoy being a part of PA education, and would love to expand that role in the future. Still dreaming of doing the PA Teaching Fellowship...we'll see what life has in store for us next year.

Keith took Em to her swimming lessons at the YMCA this morning, and is now outside power washing the house. Everything was filthy after the home repair, and we're almost back to normal again. We still need to repaint our bedroom walls and stain the deck. We are considering putting hardwood floors in throughout the upstairs, and updating the small upstairs bathroom. After the home repair, we aren't anxious to have the house torn up again anytime soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


A while back, when we had Brinks at our house to install a security system, one of the workmen told us our back doorframe was rotten. When he went under the house to pull some wires, he said it looked like the floor in our bedroom was rotten too. This summer, we'd been trying to find someone to come look at it, and finally got a recommendation from a neighbor about a good home repairman. He came to give us an estimate before we went to the beach, and he's been here all week working. Hoooo-boy, what a mess! A large section of the floor/subfloor had rotted by the door, which leads out of our bedroom and onto the back deck. Turns out, whoever built the deck did do the flashing correctly, so water has been seeping in around the door and floor. He had to tear out part of the wall to be sure the water hadn't crept up into the studs (thankfully, not), and had to rip up 1/3 of our deck to get to the problem areas. (did I mention it's been a mess around here?!). Anyway, he's done the bulk of the work, and is now mudding the walls. He'll be back to sand tomorrow and put another layer of mud on the walls. We haven't slept in our bedroom all week, and have a lot of cleanup to do in there. We'll need to stain the deck in the spring to get it all uniform again, and paint 2 walls in our bedroom as well as the new door. Hopefully, most of the carpet stains will shampoo out. It poured rain on Tueday, and there's mud, spackling, and junk all over the carpets!

My leg is still pretty sore and bruised. My foot swells if I do a lot of walking or standing, and it's so sore that wearing a shoe is difficult. I try to prop it up as much as possible, and am sleeping with it on a pillow at night. It usually looks pretty good in the morning! I haven't been able to work with my trainer for 2 weeks, and am feeling the effects. I seriously doubt I could put on a tennis shoe now anyway, but it's still a bummer!

Emmy has started using 2 word sentences, and counts to 2 as well. (All this started in the past week!) I came to pick her up today, and she greeted me at the door shouting "Baby crying!", and pointed to the room where the baby had just woken up. Last night she surprised me when I held two tigers from her Noah's ark puzzle and said "one...", and before I could continue, she yelled "TWO!". She talks nonstop, all the time, and has such exuberance when she's telling you something.

I found out today that starting in October, I will be able to go down to 4 days a week (32 hrs, not four 10 hrs). I think I will end up having Tuesdays email, no voicemail, no pager. Just Emmy and Mom, hanging out, having fun. I am really excited about it, and look forward to having more time with Em.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Blog Highlight

I want to share a blog that I've followed for more than a year...Anna Wight is a talented photographer, stamper, designer and farm-girl. Her blog, Sassy and Sweet, is a treat for the eyes. She has photo galleries of her farm animals, always tells the sweetest stories of life on the farm with her hubby, and shares loads of her artistic creations. I love her photos of cats & dogs especially, and it's always a treat to see what they name their new animals (very clever people!). You'll be delighted to see what she's been up to in her craft room. Check out her blog, you won't be sorry you did!

Whatta Week!

The week after you get back from vacation is never a good one, and this past week topped the charts. The Wednesday we were at the beach, I got clobbered by a monster wave, and injured my leg. My shin was swollen larger than anything I've seen before...totally freaky! By Monday, my entire right leg was purple down to my toes, and my leg began to swell and hurt. I tried elevation, but the swelling wouldn't budge. Keith left Tuesday for a conference in DC, and didn't get home until Friday evening. I had an enormous amount of work email to sort through, which literally took me two days. I told myself if the swelling got worse, I would go see someone about it Wednesday, since I have clinic on Thursday and Friday. Well, during work Weds, my thigh starting aching, and I was really getting concerned about the possibility of a blood clot in my leg. Our family MD left the practice, and so we are currently without a primary MD. I had a ton of work to do Weds, so couldn't go anywhere during the daytime anyway. So, after work, I picked up Emmy and went to the urgent care to be seen. Of course, the MD who saw me said he was concerned I had a clot, and had to go to the ER. So, since Keith was out of town, I called our daycare provider and asked if she could watch Emmy. By this time, it was creeping close to her bedtime, and I didn't know how many hours I'd be waiting in the ER. Thankfully, she agreed to watch Em, and I was in the ER by 7 pm. Emmy ended up spending the night with the sitter, as I didn't leave the ER until 2 am! The place was packed, and nothing happens fast in the ER. Turns out I have no broken fibula, and no blood clot. Final diagnosis after 7 hrs in the ER was "a contusion!". My leg is, sadly, still bright purple, swollen and hurts like the dickens if anything touches it. Needless to say, I've been vegging today, and trying to do very little. We were so happy to have Keith/Daddy back home Friday night!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Back from the Beach

We've been at the Outer Banks all week, and tropical storm Hanna cut our stay a day short. We had a glorious time in the sun, sand and surf! Emmy is a total beach bum, and loves the water. We rented a beachfront house with 11 other adults, and had a lot of fun with them. Keith's sister & her family, as well as his brother, were there. Emmy got to play with her cousin all week, and was just delighted! I'll share some photos, and update with more details this weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Goose Eggs & Mommy Guilt

I discovered this morning that toddlers have very short memories. Emmy basically did the same swan dive off the side porch that she did a couple months ago. Silly me, I thought doing a face-plant when you try to walk off the steps would be burned onto her little blank slate of a brain. Nope! As I turned to lock the back door, she turned and walked off the porch. The only thing that hit the pavement was her forehead, and she had an instant PURPLE goose egg. She has quite an abrasion as well. We cleaned it up, calmed her down (and Mommy! Thank God Daddy had already left for work, or I would have probably been picking him up off the pavement too), and put 2 nice pink Hello Kitty bandaids on her head. I let her look in the mirror at them, and she thought she passed the "out the door test". She marched into daycare this morning and promptly announced "Boo-Boo!" and pointed to her head. She got lots of love and sympathy today. Here's how she's looking tonight....poor kid!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Need a Laugh?

Check out this blog: Cake Wrecks

It's pretty comical.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Gardens & My New 'Do

Took a quick trip to the Sarah Duke Gardens tonight, and Emmy got to feed the ducks. Got some good pics, and thought I'd show off my sporty new haircut as well. (and yes, I am aware that Emmy's hairdo makes her look like a mini-Samari swordsman)