Thursday, December 31, 2009

Toodles, 2009!

Last blog post of the year. Nothing earthshattering to report, or profound to say. I still have yet to recap Christmas, but that will have to wait till next week. I'm in Tennessee right now and celebrated a belated Christmas last night, and will celebrate a huge crazy New Year's tonight and tomorrow. My aunt and uncle and their 3 kids are coming in today, and tomorrow all of George's family is coming over for New Year's Day dinner, so altogether we're going to have 19 people in the house. Mama B is a wreck trying to figure out where we're going to put everyone! I'm just happy to be here spending time with everyone, and can look back at 2009 with fondness. Bring on 2010, baby! (Can you believe it's been 10 years since the Y2k scare??)

Friday, December 25, 2009

O Holy Night

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

This is a video of me singing O Holy Night at our Christmas Eve service last night. (Due to camera error, the very first part is cut off.)

Funny story, a little Behind-the-Music, if you will, is that I panicked before I was supposed to sing and forgot the start of the second verse. I grabbed my phone and texted Laura and Ari in the middle of church to ask them because I needed a quick response. Laura, I knew, has an iphone and could look it up quickly, and Ari I thought would know the lyrics offhand. As I stood there full of anxiety as we sang O Little Town on Bethlehem as a congregation, suddenly the words came to me on my own, and I went up when it was my turn and did just fine.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cookies for (Santa) Bradley

I almost forgot to put of cookies and milk (and carrots for the reindeer, and cheese for Santa Mouse) in our rush from getting home late from church and getting Bradley bathed and in bed. Luckily we remembered, and posed Little Man up on the kitchen counter with a glass of milk and a plate full of cookies.
Bradley didn't really get that this stuff was for the Jolly Guy and his helpers, and so he helped himself!
Ooh, what are these?

Yum, mom, this second batch of mint chocolate chip cookies is amazing!

In the time it took for all of our photo ops, Bradley enjoyed most of the cookies and left very little for Santa. The reindeer and Santa Mouse are covered though, because he didn't touch their treats.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Monday night my beloved Kentucky Wildcats accomplished something that no other college basketball program ever has, cementing our claim of being 'home of the greatest tradition' of any NCAA program. The Cats claimed their 2000th win in front of 24+thousand fans, and thousands more watching the game live on ESPNU.
I fell into neither of these 2 groups. I took it for granted that I would be able to watch the game online (since we don't have ESPNU), and so I didn't make alternate plans. Instead I had to listen to the audio commentary of the Big Blue sports network online, and missed all the hubub and celebration after-party. Nevertheless, it was a huge night for Kentucky basketball and I am so proud right now to be a wildcat.

This win put Kentucky at 12-0 for the season. I read a great quote the other day leading up to the historic 2000thwin that sums it up best: “Anytime Kentucky can beat North Carolina, if they can beat them to the bathroom, it’s a big deal. Our fans feel like if we do it first, we’ve earned the respect.”
Brian accuses me of shutting everything else out when a game is on, and asks if I'm going to be like this for long. We're ranked number 3 in the country right now, so what do you think??

Meet Chandler

Please allow me to introduce you to our newest family member, Chandler Bing Vilendrer!
Chandler (formerly Horace) is a 33 pound, 5 month old male retriever/labrador mix. I call him a mutt. He has light green eyes, and so far has been a welcome addition to our family.
Brian brought him home yesterday afternoon, and thankfully the weather here was mild enough that we could all play in the backyard together before bringing Chandler inside. Check out all that luscious green grass in our backyard, too!
He's already playing fetch. Bradley likes giving him treats, which he gets every time he goes potty outside. So far we've had one slip up in the house, with more to come I'm sure. Thank goodness for hardwood and tile floors!
So why the name Chandler? Or rather, why not keep the name Horace? Well, while Horace is certainly a unique name, H sounds are hard for little kids to make. Also, there's no way to shorten Horace without it becoming Hor, or sounding like Horse. So we chose a character name from the tv show FRIENDS that is very near and dear to us, and there you have it!
Yep, he's already made himself at home!

And this morning, I realized just how quickly Bradley and Chandler could become partners in crime. I walked out of the room to go to the bathroom, and upon entering back into the living room, I found Bradley in the cabinet where we keep all the candles, with candles spread out all over the floor around him, and Chandler up on the couch with a tasty candle he was demolishing with his teeth. Oh well. I needed a reason to learn how to use all my vacuum cleaner attachments anyways.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Never did I ever...

Never did I ever think I would be ecstatic that the Titans are 7-7.

Never did I ever think that I would like Sandra Bullock in a movie, but I saw the Blindside on Friday and thought she was great! Now Tim McGraw on the other hand needs to stick to singing, or at least not opening his mouth when he's on camera.

Never did I ever think that I would be a brunette again.

Never did I ever think that reaching down to pick up a piece of rotten banana would turn out to be mushy poop, and that this would be all in a day's work of being a mom.

Never did I ever think that the curse of oversleeping would follow me into adulthood, and I'd wake up 2 minutes after I was supposed to be at church for a sound check this morning.

Never did I ever imagine seeing Santa Claus ride through my neighborhood on a firetruck.
Never did I ever beam with pride so much as when I saw my little boy sitting on Santa's lap.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Only a few more days to go, and I'm looking forward to the relatively quiet week ahead... that is, until Horace gets to come home! Then, bring on the chaos!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Horace, the ugly puppy

Holy Moly Batman, is Christmas really less than a week away? Yes. Yes it is. And do you know how I know that? Because I was stupid and I went to Walmart today, on the Saturday before Christmas, and have never seen such a jam packed store in my life. It was atrocious. We had to go though because we had to buy supplies for the newest member of our family, Horace, the ugly rescued puppy that we adopted on Friday! We get him in 2-7 days so we had to be ready for him to come at any time.

Getting a dog is a big decision that one should not rush lightly into, so of course there is a story behind us getting Horace (or whatever his name might ultimately end up being).

Brian and I have been talking about getting a dog for forever... or at least the last two years since we've been married. We wanted to wait til Bradley was old enough (aka not a newborn helpless baby), and decided that a good time frame would be Christmas of this year. We discussed breeds, and agreed on a male yellow (his choice) or black (my choice) lab puppy.

I pictured in my head getting a puppy on Christmas morning. Specifically, a tiny back lab puppy with a red bow on his collar. Yes, I had specific expectations in mind, and perhaps the fairytale part with the bow on Christmas was a tad unreasonable, but I think I'm just a girl who knows what she wants. Brian made me see that getting the dog right at Christmas would be next to impossible to pull off. Someone would have to have the exact puppy we wanted and be willing to hold him until Christmas Eve, and where would the puppy sleep the night before we presented him as a Christmas gift the next morning? Okay, so maybe all that pomp and circumstance wasn't important after all, and so I resigned myself to waiting until after the holidays to look for our newest member of the family, after all our travels were done.

However... On a whim Friday, Brian calls me from work and asks me about getting a dog now, sends me a website to look at, and tells me he's found one on there he likes- a dog named Horace. I checked the site, a humane society in Ft. Walton, and see none of the specifications about a dog that I want, and so as we discuss our options looking at available dogs at other places in the area, I realize matter-of-factly that no place has small male lab puppies, and so I'm prepared to wait to get exactly what I want. If I can't have him on Christmas with a big red bow, then why settle for just anything? In the end, I ended up putting my foot down and telling Brian that I would wait as long as it took until someplace had the type of dog we were looking for, and that was that.

Only it wasn't. I caved and let Brian go back to the shelter on his own that afternoon and play with two of the puppies we had looked at earlier that day. One was a precious little black lab 8 week old female named Mistletoe. The other... was Horace, a light-eyed, yellow lab 6 month old mutt. I swear to you, out of all the sweet dogs we looked at that day, Horace was the least cute of them all, but for some reason, he struck a chord in Brian's heart, and Brian got a good feeling about him. And then I got a good feeling about him too, so we'll see if our good feeling gamble pays off. Horace will join us in 2-7 days after he gets his man-parts removed so there won't be any other ugly puppies running around.

I know you're just as excited as I am to meet the newest member of our family as I'm sure he will grace the pages of this blog with many horrible and funny tails. Pun intended.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Full of glee

Finally, it seems it's cool to be a choir geek!

I am totally obsessed with the new show Glee. I have the first soundtrack already and have serenaded Bradley far too many times. We had a little singing and dancing party the other day in the living room when I got the cd finally (thank you, St. Nick!). I will be catching up on the couple of episodes I missed tonight online, since Glee comes on when I'm in choir on Wednesday nights. Yes, it's outlandish. Yes, there are gaping holes in the weak plot lines. But it's supposed to be over the top! It's the music that makes the show shine, and as a result, I am a happier person upon finishing an episode. I'd be willing to be no CSI follower can say the same thing with all the gory crime scenes they endure week after week. Glee is positive and uplifting, and has great messages to share. And did I mention the singing is phenomenal?

Piggybacking off Glee's popularity, this week only, there is a reality sing-off show for a capella groups called The Sing-Off that I will be tuning into. Tonight was the first episode where 8 groups performed but only 6 move on to tomorrow night's show. Check it out on NBC at 8pm Central.

A festival for the rest of yall

This weekend was a busy one! I spent a chunk of my Saturday afternoon in the salon chair (more on that to come later) and then dashed home and back out again to go to our Sunday School Christmas party that night. I absolutely love the people at our church, and even though Brian wasn't able to go with me (he's in Wisconsin right now, visiting family), it was great to get to spend more time getting to know the couples in our Sunday School class. And oh my gosh, the food there was great that night. Since I was running late, I was lame and brought a veggie tray from Publix instead of making this awesome Buffalo Chicken dip that I had planned on. Good thing I didn't make it though, because another woman made the exact same dip I was planning on making! Wouldn't that have ticked me off if I was late, and slaved over a dish, only to have it duplicated? So I was happily late with my veggie tray, and I'm still noshing on the leftovers a day or two later. I have tried giving Bradley little tastes of the vegetables, and even dipped them in ranch to try and make them more appealing, but alas, no luck! Interestingly enough, at his checkup last week, his doctor assured me that as long as Bradley was getting 4-5 servings a day of fruit or veggies, that he was fine. So I guess we're good for now, and I'll keep pushing broccoli, green beans, and zucchini on him every chance I get (my faves).

Anyways, Sunday in church the choir sang 3 Christmas anthems we've been working on, and I got a chance to show off a little. There's a high B flat at the end of one of the songs that I got bored with the alto note one night in rehearsal and decided to sing instead since no one else was singing it. From then on I got the go-ahead from my music minister to let loose, and it turned a few heads in church this Sunday. It's very hard to hit a high B flat without blasting it, and I'm good, but I'm not that good, so for me it's loud and proud or not at all. Hardly anyone here even knows I can really sing because I am never given the opportunity to do so. Hopefully 2010 will be a different story there.

The Titans won again on Sunday (Whoop Whoop!) and the Cats won big on Saturday against IU (sorry, mom)! I had Bradley dressed in his cute basketball uniform that Ellen sent him just for the occasion.

Sunday evening was our church's Christmas festival. The idea being that as Christians, we should celebrate Christmas better than anyone, so we did! With pony rides, popcorn, cotton candy, balloons, face painting, bouncy castles, hotdogs, fried oreos and snickers, and tons of food brought by the church members. There was a tiny Shetland pony named Babycakes that Bradley got to ride. You can check out the video on the video bar to the right for the live action footage.

Bradley is not too sure about wearing this helmet!

He also wasn't too sure about the pony ride itself, but he made it around twice on Babycakes at any rate, and posed for photo-ops to document this first wild animal encounter!
Inside the gym, Grandma Anna convinced me that Bradley wanted to go down the big blow up slide, so she took him... again and again... I'm still not sure who had more fun- Bradley or Ann!? This picture is the first time they went down. With each successive trip down the slide, Bradley's grin was wider and wider, but my camera battery was dying, so the apprehensive shot is the only one you're getting!
Bradley and Grandma Anna, posing for a picture in between trips down the slide!

We hung out at the church for several hours that night, meeting new people, and getting better acquainted with others. Bradley ate, and ate, and ate. He mooched food off of friends and strangers alike. This is becoming a trend for him. People are beginning to wonder if I ever feed my child, I'm sure. I finally got to try a fried oreo, after the unfortunate experience at the Wilson County Fair several years ago. They were good, but not what I expected. The oreo was mushy inside. I was expecting some crunch of the cookie under the pure-fried goodness. Maybe they're not always this way and I just had a bad apple? Perhaps someone else who is more knowledgeable about fair food could educate me in the ways of fried oreos. But it was worth the wait, and I can definitely tell you no one in their right mind would want or need the 6 fried cookies those crazy fair vendors were trying to pawn off on me. Highway robbery I tell you!

Kim, David and the kids met Ann and myself at the church too, so we got to hang out with them and watch the kids play, or in the case of Kim and Ann, play with the kids. Good times were had by all.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

18 month stats

This past Tuesday Bradley went for his 18 month checkup. Crazy how time flies. Crazy how I still say "I have an 18 month old," rather than "I have a year-and-a-half year old." Crazy how I swore I would never count my child's age in months after he hit one year! Anyways, Bradley's 18 month stats are as follows:
  • Bradley is "perfect" according to Dr. Bryan, his pediatrician
  • Weighing in at 25 pounds and 6 ounces, he's in the 44% for his weight
  • 31 3/4 inches long puts Bradley at around the 30% percentile for his height. Yep, we knew he was short for his age!
  • Iron levels are back up to the normal range. 10.5-11 is normal for kids his age- this summer Bradley hovered around 10.2, and now it's up to a 10.9! Yay!
  • Bradley has 14 teeth, with his top 2 incissors having just come in, and not counting the bottom 2 about to break through.
  • He is obsessed with throwing objects into bigger objects, or emptying containers.
  • He's also way into climbing into things- like his bottom dresser drawer, the laundry basket, or his book containers.
  • Can now throw and catch a ball
This is Bradley and I on St. Nick's Day, the day before his official 18 month birthday.

I haven't blogged much about Bradley's speech development, but it's begun to take off finally. For a while it was just dada and mama, then hot. Now he says about 10 words clearly. It's exciting to be able to understand what he's saying, and such an amazing thing to be able to watch him connect what he sees with the word for it. Airplane, or plane, is the best example. Planes fly over our house all the time, and whenever Bradley hears one he looks up to the sky and points as he says plane- even if we're inside the house and he can't see the airplane. Since I'm behind on Bradley's scrapbook, here's a list of the words he is currently saying:
  • dada
  • mama
  • hot
  • hat
  • no
  • cat
  • car
  • hi
  • bye
  • plane
  • uh-uh
  • uh-huh
  • pretty

I'm not sure which words I am missing at the moment, but it's late and I'm itching to go watch an episode or two of Glee online that I've missed in the past few weeks, so that'll have to do for the moment!

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... and Fall!

Too much time has passed since my last post. I obviously haven't been chanting my mantra to myself. I accomplished a lot today, and plan on getting more done tonight after B goes to bed, so let's hope that next week is better for me!

Last Sunday our family celebrated St. Nick's Day. This is the day when St. Nick comes and fills your stocking with presents. Growing up I think we knew that St. Nick was mom and dad, and Santa filling our stockings on Christmas was something else completely. How we never put two and two together I'll never know! Since we were all in our church clothes, and Bradley and I were semi-Christmasy, I corralled us in front of the tree for a family picture.
I give you, the Griswald- I mean, Vilendrer- family Christmas tree! Ain't she a beaut?

And last Sunday instead of watching the Titans lose to the Colts (since it wasn't on TV here!) we put up our outdoor lights instead.

In other news of the weird, the fall season that I missed so much this year has finally come to Florida... in December! While most of the landscape here consists of palm and pine trees, there is a smattering of Oak, Birch, and Bradford Pears that are Just Now revealing their orange and red colors... you know, now that it's December and the Christmas season and all... very strange. Also, the other night me Jess and Kim went running through our neighborhood, and I was in short sleeves, and looking at people's Christmas lights as I ran. Sometimes I still can't get used to living in Florida! I just keep thinking how weird it is to myself!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Remembering my mantra

Take a deep breath. Yes, it's December, and yes we're officially in the crazy holiday rush, but that doesn't mean we have to be one big ball of stress until New Year's. Oh, are there other people reading this blog too? I thought I was just chanting this mantra to myself!

Truth be told, I am 100% guilty of getting caught up in the "holidays" and letting all the little projects like decorating and baking and wrapping presents, and errands, on top of my usual busy-ness, really get to me. Yesterday I was wound so tight that I skipped my run with Kim and Jess and took a relaxing trip to Walmart by myself. Yes that's right, I reveled in my solo trip to the store, got what I needed, and left Walmart feeling more relaxed than I was before I went in. Has that ever happened before in mankind?!

Anyways, I haven't blogged since Thanksgiving, hence another reason I am stressed out. Writing relaxes me, so even though there's nothing new to report here- except that "brrr, it's cold in here!" but I figured an update was overdue for my loyal readers.

The Christmas cards will get mailed. The house will get clean. But in the meantime I'm taking a big breath, and crossing one thing off my list at a time. Jesus is what's important. Not just during the Christmas season, but every day, and every day if I can keep my focus on him, then everything else will fall into place.