Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Home again, and glad!

This Christmas season has been crazy busy for us but very fun and full of new memories! Graham, my mom and I had a wonderful trip to Searcy to visit my grandparents. I even got to visit with my Uncle Mick, Aunt Jill, and their boys who I don't get to see very often. The car trip was rough (as it usually is for us!) but it was definitely worth all the family time. Everyone just fell in love with Graham, and he warmed up to everyone and did all his tricks. We got home the Thursday before Christmas.

Later that week Graham developed a case of hand, foot, and mouth disease. Aside from a bad rash and being fussy it really wasn't too bad. He's almost all better now. Saturday we had our usual Christmas Eve bash at my other grandparents' house in Azle. Have I ever mentioned how much I love playing games with my dad's side of the family??? We also had a fun gift exchange.

We spent Christmas morning at home just the three of us. Graham got a new play table and chairs from Santa, which he LOVES and ate his Christmas breakfast at. We headed out to Kaufman later that day to hang out with my parents and brothers. It was such a blessing to us to get to spend a few days with them. Graham got a lot of cool toys from family - thanks everyone!

And now we're back home. As much as we've had a great time, it really is nice to be back home! The next few days will consist of grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and getting Graham back on his usual schedule. There's no place like home! What a blessing.

I was bad and didn't take many pictures over the holiday, but I will post the ones I did take soon. Goodnight!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Yesterday we celebrated Chad's 30th birthday - yes - 30! His mom and my family came over and spent all day Saturday with us. We played games and ended the day with a delicious dinner at Ruth's Chris. Tomorrow Graham and I will be headed to Searcy, Arkansas with my mom to visit my Grandparents for a few days. We're leaving Chad and Razz behind...but don't worry, we'll be back just in time for Chad's Christmas break from work. I am LOVING all this family time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I hate to brag....but....well this is my blog and I can brag on my son if I want to!

Graham has been a little behind in the verbalization department. He has been receiving speech therapy through ECI. His therapist comes to our house twice a month. Instead of teaching Graham words, she has been focusing on teaching him sounds using fun toys. It was slow going at first. Graham did not understand that he is supposed to imitate and repeat the sounds. The last time she came he repeated only 4 sounds (better than 0)! Since then I have been working with him diligently and he is finally starting to get the idea of repeating me. Today when she came he repeated 14 sounds! Awesome improvement in 2 weeks! And at the end of the session he looked at a picture of Santa and repeated me when I said, "ho ho ho." Progress! I was very pleased. He can also say 5 or 6 simple words.

Here's Graham with his current FAVORITE toy: a car from the grocery store.

Happy boy in the morning. With his car.

Learning to touch the Christmas tree and ornaments gently.

Playing outside with Razz - one of his favorite things to do (when the weather permits!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Uncle Jon

Graham has three uncles: my brothers Jon and Britt and Chad's brother-in-law Matt. He doesn't get to see any of his uncles all that often. Matt and Heidi live in Chicago, Britt lives in Searcy, Arkansas, and although Jon lives fairly close (Frisco), he is a high school teacher and coach and we all know how busy coaches are! The Tuesday before we left to go to Atlanta for Thanksgiving, Jon came over and spent the afternoon/evening with us. We had a great time! He came with us to run some errands, go to the park, had dinner with us, and we even got to play one of my favorite games - Munchkin. Graham really warmed up to Jon during this visit. Jon tossed him up in the air, wrestled with him, swung him by his arms, and by the end of the night Graham felt so comfortable that he sat happily in his Uncle Jon's lap. I'm terrible about taking pics of G with his relatives, but I did snap a good one that night. Thanks for coming, Uncle Jon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanksgiving Photos


I stole the idea for this post from my good friend, Jessica (sorry to be copying your posts lately, friend, but you have such good ideas!). You can feel free to copy it from me, I won't mind. :)


Coffee with peppermint mocha creamer...mmmm
Decaffeinated iced tea

How to quilt
How to speak another language...maybe Italian
How to grow things...I really stink at that!

All I Want For Christmas is You
Carole of the Bells
Life is a Highway

Little Women
Muppet Christmas Carol
The Fugitive (This is randomly one of my favorite movies)

Sesame Street
Perfect Strangers
Salute Your Shorts

Speech Therapist

(but I'm thankful someone else does!):
ANY kind of sales
Anything business

Cozy sweater
athletic socks

Road noise
Graham's noise maker on the monitor (napping)
It's pretty quiet in here...

Go to the grocery store
Wash, dry, and fold laundry
Pack sacks for goodwill into my car

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

OK so I am finally sitting down to post about our trip to Atlanta, GA over Thanksgiving. We had such a wonderful trip! Graham did really well on the plane. He was definitely a handful, but we had lots of fun toys and snacks for him and we were able to keep him relatively entertained the whole flight.

The day we arrived, Wednesday, we had Thanksgiving dinner at Chad's mom's house. Some of our closest Atlanta friends and family were also there including Chad's sister Heidi and husband Matt (all the way from Chicago!) and our close friends Josh and Lori Beth (from DC) and their new baby, Liam. I'm afraid I was kind of a baby hog but he was so precious! The food was delicious and we had the most wonderful time.

On Thursday we hung out all day at Chad's dad's house. We got to hang out with Chad's wonderful Granny and some of his aunts and uncles. We talked and laughed and ate and had a great time.

On Friday we spent most of the day resting and recovering. Then when Graham got up from his nap we decided to take him to the Georgia Aquarium. We discovered when we got there that we would have to wait, so we walked across the street to Centennial Park. What a cool park! We played with Graham, watched the fountains, got a snack, and just had a blast. Then we went to the aquarium....boy was it crowded! Despite the crowds, Graham really enjoyed watching all the fish. He learned the sign for fish that day. If you haven't seen it, you really need to try to visit the Georgia Aquarium. It is the largest in the world and its really something to see!

On Saturday we had a delicious breakfast with Chad's dad and his family and then we had some family photos taken. They turned out so good! Pictures to come soon. On Sunday we flew back home. Graham did really well again but by the time we got home we were all three exhausted! Traveling with a toddler is tiring no matter how you slice it. But it was definitely worth it. Thank you to everyone in Atlanta for a very memorable visit!

Since writing the above I have tried twice to upload some of the pictures from our trip. We have a new computer and I can't seen to figure it out right now. Pictures to come soon....I hope.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Today I was inspired by my friend Jessica's post about the book she just finished to post about some of the reading I have been doing lately. A few months ago my mom bought me The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.

I love mysteries and was hooked right away. I've read a lot of mysteries but I've never read anything quite like this. The author weaves such an intricate web of stories, skipping around from one time period to another, and shifting storytellers with each chapter. I loved every minute! And when I finished, the author had successfully tied up every loose end she had created, leaving me feeling very satisfied. I liked it so much that I checked out her 2 previous books at the library (The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden). They were all 3 quite lengthy but I had no trouble finishing them in a matter of weeks. I love stories that simply transport you to another time and place. I can't wait to see what Kate Morton comes up with next!

After that I decided to see what all the hype is about and read The Hunger Games.

I will not say that this was my favorite book I've ever read. However, it has an addictive quality that I've never really experienced before. I literally could not put it down. I finished it in 24 hours. It's very easy to read and extremely compelling. But reader beware: there is a lot of violence. I am in the process of reading the sequel right now: Catching Fire. There is a third book too which I will probably read called The Mockingjay.

Do you have any good recommendations??

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Life Lately

Here's what new with the Allens: Graham and I are taking every opportunity to enjoy this weather; the kind of weather where you can go outside and enjoy nature any time of day. Including: regular trips to various playgrounds, the zoo, daily walks, and daily playtime in the backyard. We are also enjoying random get-togethers with friends and family and our play group. Graham is really enjoying speech, to him it is just more playtime.

I have been spending some of my free time (when G is asleep) filling orders for my etsy shop (click here to check that out, if you haven't already!) and coming up with several fun new designs. Chad has some wonderful news: beginning in January he will begin teaching part-time as an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University. We are so thankful that this opportunity has come our way!

We are looking forward to a mini-getaway next week when we will travel to Atlanta, GA Wednesday-Sunday for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I have a feeling that spending several restful days with loved ones will be just what the doctor ordered. However.....I can't say that I am looking forward to the 2 hour plane ride with a squirmy, 30 lb, 19 month old on my lap....not to complain or anything! :)

I took this sweet boy to get his hair cut today (he did so good! Hardly any crying!) and he looked so handsome afterwards so I snapped some pictures. By the way, getting pictures of him these days is really quite difficult!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Feeling a little sad...

because it's dawned on me that somewhere between Graham's 1st birthday and now he stopped being a baby and became such a big boy! He has become so much more strong willed and independent (maybe it's the red hair??). We definitely have a toddler on our hands! He is now fully capable of playing by himself and entertaining himself (even outside with the door open, his favorite) for 20-30 minutes at a time. He knows what he wants now and doesn't like to settle for what mommy wants him to have most of the time! There have been tantrums. Oh yes, there have been tantrums. And I am starting to see that this embarrassing behavior is going to be a part of lives for a while (he's not even 2 yet!). We are doing our best to teach him to be obedient and self-controlled, and hoping that some of it is sinking in. Part of the problem is Graham's inability to communicate with us much verbally. He understands most everything we say, but still has very few words. He is, however, picking up new signs everyday and communicates with us through sign language. He is receiving speech therapy through ECI at our house (LOVE Graham's therapist!). A perk of this new toddler stage is getting to see the joy on his face as he learns and discovers. He is so curious. For instance, this week Graham learned the sign for bird. Since then, he has been spotting birds everywhere! In books, on TV, on walks, and in our backyard. So we are taking the good exciting things with the hard challenging things as Chad and I embark on a new season in our lives: disciplining a toddler. Lord, give us wisdom!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

We dressed Graham up as a farmer for his Halloween costume this year. He was comfortable in it and it turned out really cute! The only bad part was that he didn't want to wear the hat. Good thing I only spent $3 on it! We didn't really take Graham trick or treating this year. We took him for a walk around the block (with him walking, no stroller) which he loves. We knocked on a few of our neighbors' doors, but I think we were a little too early because Graham goes to bed so early... and because Graham's daddy was too excited to wait. =) Afterwards we sat outside (we had gorgeous weather!) and handed out candy, we always have lots of trick or treaters in our neighborhood. I had Halloween music playing which Graham loved, he likes dancing. I let him have his first bite of candy, a reese's peanut butter cup which he really enjoyed. I think that Halloween will probably be a little bit more exciting for him next year.

Graham helping me carve our pumpkin:

The finished project:

Hope you had a happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Party!

This year I decided to host a costume Halloween Party for Graham and all his little friends. We had such a great time! I loved seeing all of the costumes. We ate snacks, did a craft, and just played and visited. It must be noted, however, that Graham did not enjoy having so many people over and he did not enjoy having to share his toys. So I spent a quite a bit of my time holding and comforting him. Oh! And he did not appreciate me wanting to hold all the other babies! I wish I had taken more pictures, but here are a few I did snap.

My friend Cassie and her two little ones Hadley and Hendrix (pirate):

My friend Jessica and her son Max (piece of sushi...I know - adorable right?!):

My friend Tenille with her baby girl Audrey (owl):

My friend Jessica and her girls Camille (fairy princess) and Megan (lion):

My friend Angela and her kids Riley (princess) and Linden (dinosaur):

My friend Erin and her daughter Macy (bumblebee). Baby Reid was sleeping in his car seat.

Graham (farmer) and Jaxon (popeye). I can't believe I actually got a picture of both of them looking at the camera!

Linden, Riley, Cami, and Meg swinging:

The cutest farmer you've ever seen:

Thanks for coming everyone! We had a wonderful time!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekend Visit

This past weekend Chad's mom came for a visit. On Saturday morning the weather was so nice (really perfect!) we went to a nearby park for some fun. Graham is just getting big enough to really enjoy playing on the playground. His favorite thing is the steps. He climbed up and down the steps over and over. He loved just walking and exploring.

After we played at the park, we met my parents in Arlington for lunch. We had a blast. Here's a shot of Graham with his Grandmother and Mimi. He loves them so much!

Thank you, Paula, for such a nice visit!