Thursday, December 6, 2012

We are Texas bound

The Shock family is relocating to Austin, TX at the end of the month. We've been talking about making this move ever since we got married. At the time it was a dream, something we'd get serious about later. The timing wasn't right then either. As the years came and went, we got more serious about the idea. There were two things we wanted to get out of the way before we got into full blown "moving to another city" mode. We decided to have Jennifer finish her degree at Marymount. She graduated in December 2011 but was pregnant with Wyatt at the time, so we decided to have the baby in Virginia. Wyatt was born in May. After a  couple of months getting into a two kid rhythm, we got serious about moving to Austin.

Why Austin? Well, Atom has lived in the DC metro area for 13 years and Jennifer for 10. It's time for a change. We want to get away from the uptight hustle-bustle of the DC metro area. Jennifer is from San Antonio, TX and most of her family is there, so we wanted to be closer to them. Our family of four has outgrown the condo we live in. The DC area has a high cost of living, consistently in the top 10. The cost of living in Austin is much lower. It helps that Texas is one of seven states without an income tax. In a mostly conservative Texas, Austin is liberal and progressive politically, socially and in culture, arts and music. We love Austin's friendly, accepting culture and want to help "Keep Austin Weird". It's the place we want to raise our family, live our lives and grow old together. It also helps that the city is the self-proclaimed "live music capital of the world".

We short sold our house in Virginia in September. The short sale process takes about three months. The moving truck is coming the weekend before Christmas. We'll stay with relatives in San Antonio until we find  a single family house to rent. Atom is currently job hunting.

We've made lots of great friends and memories in DC. And they won't be forgotten. We welcome all friends and family to come visit often. The Shock Family Circus is taking the show on the road. We're excited to start a new chapter of our lives.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wild Flower

Click the link to hear the song "Wild Flower" that I recorded as a gift to Jennifer for our fifth anniversary:  Wild Flower. The song was originally recorded by the Cult. Written by Billy Duffy and Ian Ashbury. Thanks to my friend Scott Flory for producing, engineering and playing on the song and recording it at his SSounds studio.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

They Grow So Fast

Our boys will not stop growing. We are not too upset about it though. I know a lot of moms who are sad when they have to pack away clothes that are outgrown or when milestones have been reached. I on the other hand get really excited. To me it means that our boys are healthy and growing just like they should.

September is turning out to be a big month for milestones! Fletch started Pre-K on September 10th. We enrolled him at Good Shepherd Preschool and he is going three days a week (MWF) for three hours. 

On day one, he was apprehensive. Fletch did not really want to go into class without me. Since I was with him on his meet-the-teacher day, I think he thought I would be coming along with him to class. He did not want to go into class, so his teacher Mrs. Barron let him know that he would be making play-dough that day. After the mention of the magical stuff that mama never lets him play with, he was sold. Away he went into the classroom for his first day of school. Mrs. Barron let us all know that the second day is usually the hardest since the kids figure out that they are in for the long haul. 

She was right! The second day Fletch did not want me to go and he did not want to go to class. He told me he wanted to go to the potty instead. Now considering how much he fights us when we ask him to go sometimes, it says a lot that he would rather go potty than to class. I gave him lots of hugs and reassurance and Mrs. Barron told him he would be learning about faces that day. I started singing a Yo Gabba Gabba song about faces and he decided that he would like to stay and learn about them. Whew!

By day three, Fletch let me know in the car on the way to school that I need to take him to school and then I should go home. I asked him if it was okay to pick him up later. He agreed and said that I could pick him up and take him home so he can play with his toys. Since then he has been very excited to go to school each day. I made the mistake of showing him the snack I got for our assigned day, because once I showed him he couldn't wait to break into the bag and eat it. Luckily I was able to keep the class snack from being eaten beforehand. 

He is in Mrs. Barron's Frog class. Each kiddo is assigned an animal. They have that animal sticker on the back of their chair, coat hook and lily pad so they know where to go. Fletch has been assigned as the monkey of the class! I could not think of a more appropriate animal for him. We love asking him about his day at school and about his new friends. 

Wyatt had a couple of milestones of his own this month. Not only did he turn four months old this month, he decided to start rolling over from his back to his tummy. 

Now I cannot get this kid to stay on his back! He is one rolly-polly baby. 

His hands are constantly in his drooly little mouth too. At his four month appointment the doc looked in his mouth. He's not teething yet, but might be pre-teething. I remember Fletch was pretty drooly at this age as well.

Wyatt also got to watch his first Redskins game with Daddy and Fletch. He is well on his way to becoming a football fanatic. 

Wyatt is now sixteen and a half pounds! He's in the 87th percentile for weight. He is wearing six-month pj's too. We are so thankful to have two happy, healthy growing boys!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Never before seen home movies and family photos

Fletch has gotten really good at riding his bike. In this video he rides through a cone course that he set up himself and does some fancy maneuvering. I've uploaded some never before seen videos on the family YouTube channel taken on my phone over the past couple years. Over the next few weeks I'll be uploading lots of never before seen pics taken on my phone to the family Flickr page. I've already started so take a look. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Going the Distance...for Ice Cream!

I get tons of daily deal emails every day, sometimes it just gets ridiculous. We used to go a little crazy and buy them all the time, but now we choose to be more frugal.  However, when I saw some really cheap tickets to Turkey Hill Experience, I figured we wouldn't be breaking the bank.

Turkey Hill is a Pennsylvania creamery. Down here in Virginia, we get their ice cream and their various iced teas. I have to say that both are pretty yummy. I am a sucker for ice cream and sweet tea. So when I saw the opportunity to go there and check it out, I said "Heck yeah!"

Turkey Hill is about a 2 hour drive from our place. We decided on last Sunday, and what do you was raining! Apparently we need to take a road trip to the midwest, because everywhere we drive to, it rains. We could eliminate the drought in just a few road trips! Even with the rain, it was not too terrible of a drive. Once we got into Pennsylvania, I started seeing sunflowers everywhere, even at the rest stop.

When we pulled up to the place, I was surprised that it was not part of the actual Turkey Hill factory. The Turkey Hill Experience is in a big building, which is shared with other businesses. This did not deter our desire for ice cream. 

Once inside, there was a lot of reading to do. There is a lot of history about the area and the creamery. There is no official tour, it is done at your own pace and in whatever order you want. In our case, it was done at the pace and choosing of our 3-year old. We tried some of their different beverages first. I was surprised that their tasting consisted of one employee pouring little cups from jugs in a mini-fridge behind her. I guess I was expecting something like they have at World of Coke. I tried the cherry-pomegranate black tea. YUM.

Then on to the most important part, ICE CREAM. They did not have every flavor available (BUMMER) but what they had was yummy. I tried the Philly Graham Slam on my first go round, then on the way out I had the chocolate chip cookie dough. I really enjoyed them both, but they don't put enough cookie dough in their version. I don't think anyone can beat Ben & Jerry's cookie dough ice cream. (*Mental note...see if Ben & Jerry's has a tour)

The rest of the tour was a lot less uneventful. They had these touch screen area where you can design your own ice cream flavor and name it. Mine is called French Monkey. It has chocolate, hazelnut and bananas. It reminds me of the banana Nutella crepes we had when we were in Paris.

What would have been incredible is if they could make this for you so you could actually try it. Maybe that's asking a lot, but it would be pretty sweet.

There were lots of other ice cream making related activities throughout the tour, including milking a fake cow. Fletch was probably confused that water was coming out of the cow and not milk. 

It did not take us long to do the tour, which is why this place is really only good to do if you are already in the area. We had planned to hit up the train museum that was nearby, but we did not leave the house early enough. Since it was Sunday, all the Amish markets were closed too. It was raining the whole day, so that probably wouldn't have been all that fun anyway. It would also be a great place to stop if you were on a road trip through the area.  So we basically spent 4 hours in the car for an ice cream run, but hey, we got out of the house on a rainy day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Laying Down the Law

I have been meaning to make Fletch a chore chart or "visual schedule" as they are now called for some time. I think his crazy 3-year old self needs some structure and visual cues of what he needs to get done each day. There are so many ideas out there on the interwebs, and I just could not make a decision on how I wanted to proceed.

We were at the big box toy store to replace Fletch's bubble gun, when I decided to check and see if they had chore charts. After finding an employee that actually knew where things were in the store, she directed me to the right place where I came across the Melissa & Doug Chore Chart. I am a sucker for a cute design, plus I knew this would save me a ton of time. I am a serious DIY-er, but now that I have a 3-month old in the house, time is a precious commodity.

So far so good...

There are other chore magnets included that aren't shown, but those are geared towards older children. I like that they included stuff for the little guys and the big guys, that way we can adapt as Fletch gets older. They also included 2 blank white magnets. I used one to include potty goals. 

If Fletch gets all 7 magnets for the day, he gets a quarter to put in his piggy bank and we'll do something special. For instance, last Friday's special treat was a glow in the dark bath. 

I had bought some glow-stick bracelets from the Target dollar section, not knowing what exactly I was going to do with them. On a whim, I remembered a Pinterest post. You just add a few to the bath tub and turn off the lights. Fletch thought they were totally awesome and played with them all night (and even took them to bed). They might have kept him up longer than I had liked, but oh well. We also purchased some glow in the dark bubbles, so that may be his treat for tonight.

In addition to needing some guided responsibilities...we really needed to reign in the TV time. I have been bad about letting him watch more than he should since Wyatt came into the picture (especially on those mornings when everyone was up way earlier than they should be). We would say "OK Fletch, this is your last show" and he would agree, but then of course later he would ask for another show, "Mommy...I want another show. This is my last show." 

In order to limit our TV time, I have instituted TV Tokens! 

(I know TVs haven't looked like that in a long time, but I'm a sucker for nostalgia)

I knew those canned juice top lids would come in handy eventually! I did a little doodle and laminated them, then stuck them on to the lids. Fletch gets 4 tokens per day. I explained that once he uses up his tokens, there will be no more shows for the day. He doesn't quite understand how to spread them out throughout the day, but he hasn't thrown any fits about running out of tokens...yet. It's very easy to just say "No more tokens, no more TV." Eventually he'll catch on, and will save some for later in the day. In any case, it makes things clear cut and eliminates me from being the bad guy. 

So that's what's new with Fletch. He starts pre-school in 3 weeks! I can't believe it. I know he is going to have a blast and I know I am going to enjoy my 3 hours of time with just one kid. 

As for Wyatt....this boy just hit his 3-month growth spurt and he JUST KEEPS GETTING BIGGER! I know that is what babies are supposed to do, but jeesh. 

The boy is stretching out his 3-month clothes and we are about to put him in size 3 diapers! Wyatt even slept from 9 to 6am a couple of nights this week. That was AWESOME. Hopefully that continues :) 

We are headed on an adventure this weekend, so stay tuned for some more family antics!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Old Man Sidney Had a Farm...E-I-E-I-O

We spent my birthday weekend down on the farm! Atom's first cousin once removed, Sidney, invited us to his farm in Grantsville, MD. He and his wife Carolyn own a farm which is tucked away in the hillsides of Maryland, but very close to Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It is very close to Cumberland which is right at the point where Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia meet.

We drove up Friday night after Atom got home. It never fails, whenever we jump in the car for a road trip, it rains! Luckily we arrived safe and sound (and in good time). We had no idea the beauty we would wake up to the next day since we traveled at night.

We were blessed with a gorgeous day. The air was crisp and cool and the sun was out all day. I was a little sad to find out we couldn't ride the horses, but we did get to see them up close and give them some head scratches.

The mare's name was Ginger and the stallion was Casanova. They are both rescue horses. If I were a horse, this would be the place I'd love to retire to. Heck, I'm not a horse and it's still a place I'd like to retire to.

Fletch and Sid took the tractor out for a spin. Fletch was a natural tractor driver. I think it comes from his hours of practice at home with his toy tractors. ;)

After a little down time, we went out into the garden to help Carolyn pick veggies from her amazing garden. Fletch had a good time digging for potatoes.

Carolyn was nice enough to send us home with lots of fresh veggies! We brought home tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, squash and zucchini. YUM!

Fletch could not ignore the giant mud puddle sitting by the side of the house. 

Neither could Solace! I didn't get a picture of the dog wading through it because I was too concerned with trying to keep him from drinking the muddy water. Solace was in dog heaven. He wandered around the farm, but always managed to come back safely. 

Wyatt was in charge of being the cute baby. He did a great job.

We had a yummy dinner that night and ate some of the veggies we picked earlier that day. You know we had a good time, when it only took Fletch 5 minutes to pass out at bedtime. It was a short weekend visit, but it was so nice to get away to such a beautiful place. 

Since we drove up in the dark, we didn't know what we were missing. I had to snap a few pics on the way home!

Many thanks to Sid and Carolyn for showing us an amazing time at the farm! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Baby Books

Baby books....yeah, we've got them. Ask me if Fletch's is finished? Of course not, he's still my baby :) And what about Wyatt's? Ha ha ha ha! It's on my to-do list. I have the scrapbook to get it started, but have not put any pages in yet. YET!

I had been debating in my mind, what to put in these books and at what age to stop. I have decided to cap it off at 2 years old, otherwise it would end up being a pretty thick baby book if I kept going to 18. So since solving that part of my mental dilema, I had to start focusing on filling it up. I feel like I should at least finish Fletch's before I start Wyatt's. So I got cracking.

Since Fletch had two 1st Birthday celebrations, each one needed it's own page.

I also did a page for his first bike. I'm going to have to make a page for his big boy bike that he got for his birthday this year. Technically, he's 3 now and I was going to stop at 2, but there's no stopping me!

I also did a page for his first haircut!

Now that Costco is doing books in a 12x12 format, I just might make copies for the kids when they are older, that way I can still keep my hands on the originals. I am also planning on doing a yearly book for the whole family, keeping track of all the adventures and happenings of the year. Now I just have to decide if I want to back track to 2009 or just start with 2012!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

3 Oh 3, it's the magic number!

There is a 3-year old living in our house! How did this happen? I know 3 comes after 2, but how did it get here so fast?

It took having another tiny little baby to make us realize just how big Fletch really is and appreciate how far he's come. This past year Fletch has amazed us as he learned the alphabet, to count and the best one of all....use the potty! We now hear "Please" and "Thank You" and admire the way Fletch treats others. Fletch is an amazing big brother to Wyatt. He loves to give him hugs and kisses and asks to hold him all the time. He has made me feel less guilty about bringing another baby into the mix.  

Having a 3 year old is not all puppy dogs and rainbows of course. We also have some serious break-downs and fits of toddler rage. Luckily those don't usually last very long and don't require a straight jacket or exorcism. I've caught myself repeating some of the same phrases I used to hear my mother say, especially "I feel like a broken record!" It's a good thing Fletch is so darn cute. It helps us forget what a turd he can be :) But he's our turd and a polished one at that ;) 


You changed our life for the better when you came into the world. You keep us laughing with your funny conversations and observations. You constantly show us that your mind is a sponge, sometimes even by repeating something we probably shouldn't have said around you. You scare the you-know-what out of us as you all of a sudden start climbing up the jungle gyms like you've always known how. As you grow up, you are teaching us that we have to let go. No matter what we will always be here to kiss your boo-boo and make sure you feel loved. We have lots of adventures ahead and we can't wait to  see how you tackle them. We love you so so much!

Mama & Daddy

And what you've been waiting for...the annual birthday celebratory video:

Fletch Turns 3 from Jennifer Shock on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our Family is Complete

In case you haven't heard...we have a new baby! That's right, Wyatt Rhys Shock came into the world on May 14th, 2012, weighing in at a whopping 9 pounds 5 ounces. He was 21 1/4 inches long. We were not expecting such a big baby! It probably explains why I felt so much more this pregnancy, while he was in and coming out.

I started having contractions around 4:30pm on the 14th. I was just sitting on the couch reading when they hit. I had a few false alarms, but these were way more intense and continued to get even more so. Luckily Atom was home and done working for the day. We started calling in the cavalry to make sure Fletch and Solace were taken care of, dropped them off with the Tompkins (thanks again guys!) and then headed to the hospital. It was about 6:30 when I got checked in. I was at 3.5 cm with regular contractions, so I didn't get sent home this time! It took some time to get my epidural because everyone decided to have a baby at the same time. However, I still had a lot of sensation even with an epidural. I almost felt like it wasn't working, but apparently I was just progressing very quickly. At 10 pm I was at 5 cm, and when the nurse checked again at 11 I was at 10 cm! So it was time to push that baby out, and out he came at 11:32 pm. The first thing everyone said was, "That's a big baby!" Not only was he big, he also decided to come out with his arm and elbow pointed up and across his body. Lucky for me, I did not end up with any bodily injury from the delivery. However, I am glad to say I won't have to do that again!

Wyatt had a full head of hair just like his big brother (and he still does). That's not where the similarity ends! Wyatt looks exactly like Fletch did when he was born! Check out the resemblance:


Isn't that crazy? I get to watch Fletch grow up all over again! Lucky for us, Wyatt ended up with dimples too :) At 4 weeks, I'm starting to see a little difference in their appearance, but I won't be fully convinced I'm not suffering from deja vu for a few more months, when Wyatt will start looking more like himself. 

We are slowly adjusting to life with a baby again. I forgot about all those sleepless nights! Mother Nature probably does something to your brain to help you forget. Breastfeeding is going much better this time around, and Wyatt is all-bewbs-all-the-time. I am betting on an 11 pound baby this Friday at his 1 month appointment. It is hard to get used to the notion that life revolves around a baby again. We have gotten cabin fever more than once.

Fletch has been an amazing big brother so far. 

He is very sweet to Wyatt, constantly giving him kisses and saying "Hi baybeeeee." He does not like it when Wyatt cries and usually demands I do something immediately. Sometimes he won't let Daddy help Wyatt and demands Mommy does it. I hope they end up being the best of friends. If not, at least we have these days to fondly look back on.

A 365 project is already underway for Wyatt. I couldn't possibly not do one for him, considering how great Fletch's turned out to be. I will probably have a hard time handing over their book to them when the time comes. I also have some major digi-scrapping to do for both Fletch and Wyatt's baby books. I did get around to making Wyatt's birth announcement that I will frame and hang in his room, like I did for Fletch.

There it is...our family is complete :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Time to Head Out Baby!

I've joked about giving this baby an eviction notice when the time was right, but then I actually found one online! I couldn't have phrased it better than this:


I, the Landlord (Mommy), am issuing a notice for EVICTION. Tenant (Baby) will have to comply and promptly vacate the premises, or wait until authorization for removal by physician. After which, he will be removed from the property by induction.

The Tenant (Baby) is being evicted due to breach of contract and destruction of property. Expansions only to the FRONT of the house, within reasonable limits, were discussed. Not only have these limits been exceeded, but additions to the back and sides of the house were also made without approval from the Landlord (Mommy).

Remodeling and gutting of the home was never approved, nor was changing the initial layout and base structure. Due to the damage by the Tenant (Baby), the foundation has been compromised, and the structural integrity of the house is questionable. The Landlord (Mommy) has also received numerous complaints about frequent nightly disturbances.

If the Tenant (Baby) doesn’t comply with the notice it will result in an immediate and forceful removal at the discretion of a physician and the Landlord (Mommy).

Seriously...the nightly disturbances are what's killing me! I'm trying to build my sleep reserves and it is just not happening. If it isn't a congested head, it's some weird night panic waking me up. At least when the kid is out, I'll be waking up for a less annoying reason like a poopy diaper or a late night snack. As of this Friday, he has 4 more weeks. So baby...consider yourself served!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hoppy Easter!

I know Easter has come and gone, but hopefully everyone had a joyous Easter Sunday! We celebrated the whole weekend. On Saturday we headed to Nottoway Park for an Easter Egg hunt for Fletch. They sectioned off a big square of lawn and covered the ground with straw, then spread eggs and candy all over.

It was broken down by age group, so the 1-3 year olds had a fighting chance :)  Before the hunt began, we got to take a picture with the Easter Bunny.

We had some free time before and after the hunt to take advantage of the playground and swings too.

When the time came to hunt for eggs, Fletch was not a smash and grabber. He took his time and picked up the eggs and put them in the basket. He was oblivious to the candy that was in plain sight.

Each egg had a tootsie roll inside, so Fletch is a new fan of tootsie rolls. He did manage to pick up a few pieces of chocolate for Daddy.

After the hunt we did some more playing at the playground and running around the park picking dandelion flowers.

I found a good spot to place the camera so we could take a family pic. Look at the size of that belly! 34 weeks down and 6 to go!

Sunday we went to mass at church and took a much better family picture.

I made Fletch some orange seersucker pants for Easter. They came out so lovely! We were a very pastel and festively dressed family :) (Although my belly did look like a giant striped Easter egg.) After church we headed to brunch and we were even lucky enough to get Fletch to nap that afternoon, which meant I got to nap too! Hallelujah!

You can see all the Easter pics here:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Dud's for Baby

I have been doing some sewing/crafting for baby to be. I already did some posts on my personal blog, but I thought I'd share pictures of my creations on the family blog. I found a pack of white onesies laying around and decided to spiff them up a bit. Using ideas I have come across on the web, I made each one unique. I did one with freezer paper stenciling and the others I took to the sewing machine.

I can't show you the freezer paper stenciled onesie because it has baby's first initial on it, and we're not giving any clues out this time :)