Sunday, May 20, 2012

40th Anniversary

Isla and Everett celebrated BOTH grandparents 40th Anniversary this great is that!!

My brothers and sisters organized a surprise breakfast for my parents along with a gift of "40 Years of Memories" letters. Basically we contacted family and friends and asked them to write a note about their favorite memory from the past 40 years of my mom and dad.  We started 3 months in advance collecting letters and ending up with over 50 letters.  We were in awe of all the people that we heard from...old friends, new friends, friends from Ireland, family members ranging from grandchildren, children, siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins. It was amazing and the letters made us all laugh and cry...they were incredible. The surprise breakfast was a hit and had over 60 people come by The Parker's to pay tribute to their 40 years of marriage.
"40 Years of Memories" Letter
Happy 40th!
Breakfast with Friends
Reading the Letters
Brandon and I are just so proud of the fact that we both come from such great families with parents that have made their marriages work and built a legacy of faith, love, and support for their children and grandchildren to model. So blessed!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Idlewild Baptist Church

Our latest big decision as a family was to been to become members of our new church, Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church.  This place has been such a huge factor in our happiness here in Tampa.  Pastor Ken sums up the church perfectly when regarding the 12,000 plus members...he says, "We are not a big church, we are a small town".

Idlewild: We went our first Sunday we moved to Tampa and we were a little overwhelmed with the size of the church.  However, by our third visit we joined a Sunday School Class that has completely taken us in with open arms which really helped us feel a more personal connection with Idlewild. We were only in the class for 6 weeks before Everett was born and they were already filling us up on diapers and wipes and then the week after he was born they came one by one every other night for 15 days bringing us dinners!! It was a unique way to meet a group of 20 in such a short amount of time, and such a blessing. They were so helpful with us finding a pediatrician, having play dates, and friends to confide in.

L.A.M.B. Sunday School Class: Our Sunday school class is made up of other parents in their 30's-40's with young children so we all can relate to one another. I have already found a couple women that have quickly become good friends that get me out for movies, coffee and dinner as well as play dates and prayer nights.  We've also experienced some intense couples game nights,  haha!! In class we have discussions on parenting, marriage, personal growth that have really struck a cord with Brandon and I because everyone in class is so real! No one is pretending to be someone they aren't, we are all so comfortable and feel safe to really lay it all out there with each other.  We truly looking forward to Church every Sunday morning.

Children's Praise: Isla enjoys her Sunday School room. After spending all week with mommy, it was a hard transition at first for her to leave me and go to class, but we have gotten to the point where I don't even get kisses goodbye anymore as she just walks right out of my arms to play with her friends.  A lot of the kids are the same kids her and I did Tiny Tots with in the Fall and Spring. Everett is, of course, the biggest baby in the nursery.  The elder ladies love him, although they all complain that they just can hold him long enough (as he is too heavy).  He's a hit and always the happiest baby in the room.

Baby Dedication: To become a  member of the Church you have to go through a Membership 101 class which was a neat way of making it official.  We got to meet with Pastor Ken, learn more about the history of the Church and the direction in which the Church is going. We are so excited to make this commitment as a family. God has truly blessed us with our new Church Family! We are having both Isla and Everett dedicated to the Church in August!!

Isla's 2nd Birthday Party

May 5, 2012 - Lido Beach

Isla's has shown a great love for the beach, pool and SWIMMING this spring, so we found it only fitting to have her first birthday party in Florida be at the beach.

We had a blast. The party started at 4pm and we weren't loading up the car to leave until after 7:30pm!! Almost 4 hours at the beach and Isla was still going strong and sad when we had to leave.  It worked our nicely that we had the late afternoon to play, early evening to eat and all stayed to watch the sunset.

Isla was probably in the water for a total of 3 hours (no lie!).  She took her turns with everyone going down to the water and showing off her new skills of kicking in the water, putting her head under the water and floating on her back!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Isla turns 2!

Wow, we have a 2 year old daughter...still doesn't sound right!! She is amazing. We love her so much and I have had so much fun being with her everyday!! She starts school in August at Carrollwood Day School (it's like a pre-kindergarten program at Brandon's school) and I can't imagine not being with her everyday, all day anymore! Uh, I get sad just think about it.

At the age of 2 this is Miss Isla Marie:

Big Sister. She is a good big sister.  She loves on him, takes care of him and loves making him smile. Every morning she wakes up the first thing she says is, "Bubby? Where's Bubby?!"   She chooses when to share with her little brother, and for the most part she doesn't...but on the occasion that she does, she is all in. Sharing her toys, paci, blankie, and even baby dolls!! Sometimes it goes too far with her trying to share juice, goldfish, and grapes! She is so loving towards him with sugars, hugs, and makes him laugh (alot like the way her big cousin Kaden was with her at this age)!  The other day I was trying to get ready to take them to the park and I was packing the diaper bag with my back to them both. They were sitting on the floor playing when I heard Isla say, "Bubby, bubby, are you okaaaay?" In the .05 seconds it took me to turn around I was thinking, oh dear Lord what did she do, or  what did he put in his mouth. I was sure I checked the area they were playing and made it injury proof. Oh, no what is it and why don't I hear him making a noise!? When I turned my head, he was fine - laying on  his back on the floor smiling at Isla.  She must have seen him tip over and was asking him if he was ok... I don't know how to describe the scene to do it justice and explain just how adorable it was to hear, "Bubby, Bubby are you okaaaay?" Melted my heart!

Isla taking Everett for a walk
Feeding Everett his bottle
Loves to talk. She has been babbling for almost a year now, but at about 18 months 'real' words were coming out faster than I could keep up with and within the last 3 months she has been stringing her words together. It use to be, "ha-ple pees" (apple please) and now it is, "mama, i want ha-ple pees".  She also uses the word, "ok" a lot. Example: "Isla we are going to take a bath and then get ready for bed," she replies, "okaay". It's so cute and sincere.
It makes it so much fun!! However, she started saying the word, "no" way to much and with way too much athuority. So we tried to work on, "no thank you" and that wasn't catching on so now we say, "no please". She does great with just sounds a little backwards!

Learning. She is learning colors, numbers and shapes.  She can count to 3 and sometimes 5. She attempts the ABC's but it's kind of a jumbled mess, but she gets the tune!! She is learning how to cook and loves to stand on a chair in the kitchen wearing her apron helping out. She is a good listener. I don't give her enough credit and get frusterated when she "chooses" not to listen...but for the most part it is pretty amazing how much she comprehends and responds to with "oooo-kay".

Finger Painting and Learning Colors

Cooking Eggs...with no pants on :)

Dance Machine. She hops with both feet (this took a little while to master). It started with her favorite song in Tiny Tots, "Jump in turn around, Splash in the puddle". Her jump was a litte more like a skip but Brandon kept dancing with her and showing her the two feet hop and we went nuts when she got it!! haha. She loves dancing to the music on American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.  Anytime we are in a store, out at the pool or in the car and she hears music she stops what she is doing to start tapping to the beat and the next thing you know she is jamming!!

Potty trained.  We wanted this completed by her 2nd birthday (mostly just to get one of our babies out of diapers).  She got it down by 22-23 months.  We started around 22 months and within the week she got it, it just took a couple more weeks to go without an accident each day. She loves her big-girl underwear :)

Swimming. She started swimming lessons 2 weeks ago. The first two lessons were brutal as she screamed and cried the entire time. She still went through the lesson, just while screaming and crying. The third visit was amazing...she got a little upset when she went into the pool and I stayed in the parent watch area, but by the time she got in the water she was good to go! She loves it now and is learning so much--I can see a huge difference in her already by just putting her head in the water, kicking, breathing etc. So fun!

Bite Bites. Loves to eat watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, corn, green beans, cheetos, grilled cheese, spaghetti, toast, oatmeal, cereal, pizza, oranges, bananas and waffers.  She drinks water and milk and occasionally juice.  She is at the stage now where eating just interupts her play time, so she eats like a bird.  She is a healthy eater for the most part, and chooses fruit over almost anything!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lowry Park Zoo

For Isla's 2nd birthday (next week!) Mamaw and Papaw got her and the family a year pass to the Lowry Park Zoo! It is a great gift as the zoo is only 9 miles from us and is such an easy morning or afternoon activity for us to do with the kids.  Isla has really been into animals recently. Her favorite books are ones with animals where you learn where they live, what they do and what kind of sound they make. 
Family Day at the Zoo!
Isla's Birthday Week :)

 To say that she loved the Zoo would be a complete understatement. She went nuts over all the animals and open space to run, walk, skip, and play in water! Every time we got to a new exhibit she would see the animal and her jaw would drop and she would say, "oooooohhh....uuuuuukk, uuuuukk!" (ooo, look, look!) She was so excited that the drama to her facial expressions and hand gestures were priceless!!
"oooooo, mun-kay, munkay!"
Checking it all out
Her favorites: the mun-kays, ahh-turds, manny-tees, burdies, hors-eees, and jaffs!! 
(monkeys, otters, manatees, birdies, horsies, and giraffs)
Isla and the otter waving to each other!!

Everett was amazing...he slept most of the morning, and just sat in the stroller checking everything out. He was a champ and I can't wait until he is a little older to enjoy it more!

Jaffs! (giraffs) 
ooooooooo, uuuukk uuuuk!!
Looking at the all-E-baiters (alligators)
This is how we roll...Double Stroller Hot Rod!!
Heading to the Safari...
Asleep before we pulled out of the parking lot...and yes, STILL wearing her sunglasses!!

Cousin Harper

Uncle Tyler, Aunt Carrie and Cousin Harper were in town last weekend. We haven't seen them since Thanksgiving and it was so great to seem them all! Harper is 9 months old while Everett is 6 months and Isla is almost 2 years old. They are all growing up so fast...we just wish we could see them more!! It was so fun to have all the Erb Grandkids together for the weekend including Reece, Brandon, Tahana, and Jocey!
E and Isla with Aunt Carrie, Uncle Tyler and Harper
Fun with Uncle Tyler

E with Uncle Tyler and Uncle Rhett
Everett (6 months) and Harper (9 months)
Loves from Aunt Carrie
Kiss'n Cousins...Harper and Isla

Monday, April 23, 2012

6 months old ALREADY!!

Our 21 pounds of absolute cuteness!!
By six months old Everett is rolling over, sitting up, and eating baby foods.  His personality is coming out more and more everyday.  He is always smiling or giggling.

He loves his big sister. He doesn't take his eyes off of her when she is in the room. He gives her the biggest smiles and giggles. When he gets fussy (which is usually when he is hungry) she is just about the only thing that can hold him off until I can get him fed. She talks and smiles at him and he is memorized. The only other thing that can capture is attention as much as Isla, is his favorite show, Blue's Clues. He loves it :)

We have ventured into the world of food for Everett. He seems to like it, however he likes to use the rubber end of the spoon for teething more than for eating. He still doesn't take a bottle very well, and even with the solid foods he still prefers to eat from Mommy. I absolutely love nursing and bonding with him, however, it is much more difficult this time around as I am having to keep up with a 2 year old.  I hope to keep the solid foods and nurse until at least his first birthday (which at the rate he is growing it will look like I'm nursing a 5 year old)!

Sitting up
Happy Baby!
Yummy Peas!!