Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In case you missed it...

Declan turned one. We had a big family party and it was so much fun! A friend of mine came to take pictures and she got some beautiful shots of our handsome little guy. Check it out here!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

he has a new nickname...

Best Cousins...

Declan and Grandaddy fixin' to work in the garden.

Declan and Bo tellin' secrets!

This isn't Jacob Foster. This is actually Declan. 
(Cool pic, eh? It's an app for my phone. LUUUURVE it!)

Gone is the baby. He's 100% little boy these days. 

 He still hates naps...

As for his new nickname... It's "Peeps"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month...

I just did a brief google search about September being childhood cancer awareness month and, for obvious reasons, this website caught my eye.  A child with the same name born just 2 days before my own son very near to where we currently live. Heartbreaking, but proof that this horrible disease can affect any family and leave countless broken, devastated lives. When you say your prayers tonight, say an extra prayer for all the researchers, physicians, nurses, families and most especially the brave little patients fighting this horrible disease... and give your babies an extra goodnight kiss.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

rounding the bend...

It's almost that time of year again.

The end of Summer.

The 1 year anniversary of when I became a mother.

Most importantly, the 2nd year anniversary of when I became Ben's wife.

I watched this today and it made me think of that day and how the beauty and gravity of the pledge we

made to each other unfolds and reveals it's self with every passing day...

"I promise to be true to you ..."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

That SURE is a handsome man!

I just wanted to post this super cute picture of my sweetheart-honeypie-smoochy-smoochy-husband! He makes my heart sooooooo happy!


In 21 days Declan will be a year old. He's the sweetest, snuggliest boy! Today we asked him who is best friend was. Did he say "Dadda"? Did he say "BaaMaa"(That's his attempt at "Mama")? No, He furiously made the sign for "Milk". Ha!

He spends at least 25% of his waking day laughing at Stella and playing with her. He spends another 25% cruising around the living room holding onto Georgia. I am so incredibly blessed to watch those three sweet little souls play all day long! Declan is all- boy in his love of canines (seriously, he smiles, waves and laughs at every dog he meets and every picture of a dog he sees!) and I can't help but think that  it's in part to how sweet and gentle his own pups are with him. I'm one lucky Mama!

Today, we also discovered that Declan will give hugs and kisses if you ask him for  a "Hug and a kiss!". 
Here is a video I shot with the phone and edited on the computer of Declan bouncing, playing with Stella and his new snuggly, huggy trick! 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Not another video!!!

Double click on the video to bring you to the youtube site and watch the full screen...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

little tiny heartaches...

My son just took 5 deliberate steps. With every little pound of his feet I could feel my heart simultaneously swelling with pride and breaking... and the quiet little voice in my head started singing "You're no longer the mother of an infant... he's officially a toddler".  Time to buy someone some shoes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lots of footage = long video...

This is for you, Daddy... and for anyone else who might be suffering from Declan withdrawal and might also have 10 minutes and 22 seconds to watch a youtube video 

ps. My husband and my son look so cute and adorable... I, on the other hand, look quite haggard but very much in love. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010


*I know it's been forever since I've updated but we've been a little busy moving.  I'm truly sorry. *

I want to discuss two candidates for sainthood. These two people have helped us out tremendously throughout this move. 
My mother-in-law, Saint Cindy, helped move us up here and entertained Declan through the packing up and the moving in. She also sent me "Cheer up" gerber daisies yesterday because she knew I was having some "transition issues". Oh yes, and also, she went back to our house in Knoxville and cleaned our floors. Seriously, the woman is a Saint. She can be the patron saint of Wild Baby Boy Wrestling (she's the best I've ever seen. She has had enough practice, I'd say) and the Weather Report (She ALWAYS knows the forecast. It's amazing!)

 My father-in-law, Saint Tom, came over and helped us pack and haul. He also repaired our trim on the porch posts and cleaned out our gutters... Then he mowed the yard and pulled weeds in the zinnia patch... then he hauled two loads to the dump and moved more furniture. Then, at the end of the day, he came into the house and wanted a beer. The one time we had no beer in the fridge to give him. I felt so bad! Tom surely is the long suffering Patron Saint of patience with ridiculous, old-house loving daughter-in-laws and Experts in home repair and yard work in time of crisis.

DId I ever tell you that I prayed hard for my husband? I not only prayed for a sweet, wonderful, perfect-for-me husband (which I got, btw!) but I also prayed for good in-laws. Let me just tell you, God delivered BIG time in a BIG way( I got TWO sets out of the deal!). 

Oh yeah, here's more Declan!

I just realized the way the video embeds in the blog that it cuts off the viewing window. If you double click or right click it should bring you to the Youtube page directly so you can watch the full screen.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Here's more cute.

Please bear with me as I try to figure out all of the ins and outs of video posting. Thanks!

Try not to lay down and die...

I know this is way more cuteness than most people can handle... You've been warned.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Got 10 minutes?

Are you a fan of bad editing? Do you love horrible/mismatched music dubbed over home videos? Do you also love babies kissing? Well, this link is for you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Not yer average cooking blog...

I started a cooking blog...
Because no one told me not to.
Let the hilarity ensue!
(Oh food! How I love you!)

Also, here are more pics of Declan because, really, that's the only reason you're here in the first place

Climbing in Daddy's chair! (Seats are for bottoms!)

How cute is this expression?

(can you see those top 3 chompers?)

Monday, June 14, 2010

"I am a parenting genius" ...

Is only true prior to becoming an actual parent. True fact. Another true fact is that even AFTER becoming a parent, one might still tell themselves that they are, in fact, a parenting genius but it will certainly be proven otherwise just as soon as that smug little gem is uttered or thought of. 

Before I became a mother, I was a pediatric nurse. I had an unending supply of patience and an uncanny knack for soothing even the most colicky baby to a sound slumber. I had tips and tricks for every parenting pitfall and from my perspective, they seemed to work. And then Declan was born... 

Suddenly, I could no longer settle my own wild, milk-drunk fuss monkey to sleep. As soon as I discovered the tight swaddle/hair dryer cd  was working (It took several nights to notice) I thought, "I am a parenting genius"... and he immediately had a growth spurt that doubled his strength and allowed him to burst forth out of the swaddle. Sad day. 

You think I would have learned. Oh, but that smarmy streak of mine is long and wide and it gets me every time. EVERY STINKIN' TIME!!! Such as my solution to the diaper-unfastening trick he's been mastering. 

Remember this?

As luck would have it, he does enjoy using the big boy potty. I've learned that it's best to put him on the potty about 10 minutes after eating. It saves me a diaper. Also, he seems to handle his business as soon as I walk out of the bathroom. Maybe he likes the privacy. Also, if he doesn't have to go, he manages to climb off the potty and flip it upside down. Also. Also. Also. Oh Katy, when will you ever learn ? 

This morning Declan nursed then he ate then I put him on the big boy potty. I left to make the bed (Seriously, our house is tiny. I'm actually only about 10 feet away from my son as I do this. ) and give him his privacy. No sooner do I turn my back than  that mental pat on the back worms it's way into my crazy mom brain. "Look at me! Multi-tasking! My son needs his privacy. He would NEVER turn a full potty over. He only does that when he is bored and doesn't need to go! My son is a little baby genius and I AM A PARENTING GENIUS!" Immediately after that thought has been thunk, I hear a clanging clink sound. I take two steps and I'm in the bathroom... with my son happily clanging his upside-down potty while it's former contents decorate the floor. 

And I suddenly hear a different voice in my head. It belongs to my mother-in-law and she's telling me the story of... (Cindy, you know what the story is about.) Nevermind. The story is not important. Only the moral. Let's just leave with the thought that Declan is his father's son.   

Sunday, June 13, 2010

SO I have this wild and crazy idea...

That I can feed my family a healthy, well-rounded, mainly vegetarian diet without my husband or myself missing meat too much... and without my having to choke down any beans. I hate beans. Yes, even black beans. Even in chili. Beans are gross. Well, all beans except green beans and garbanzo beans. This little Mama loves her hummus. Can this be done?

I stumbled upon this hair-brained notion after reading this great little book called Food Rules. It's awesome and so simple that it really got my wheels turning. Now that I'm a stay-at-home Mama/Wife (Domestic Engineer), I've got more time to focus on slow food versus "fast food". What if I cleaned up our diet and moved our family away from over-processed, high fructose corn syrup-filled "edible food-like substances" and moved us towards a more whole foods approach? I'm certain it can be done but it isn't going to be easy. 

My husband is super picky ("No white condiments. No zucchini. No sweet potato. I don't like it when you cook with wine. Let's get a pizza and on my half I want bacon and sausage and diet mountain dew ... " ok, so this isn't a direct quote exactly and I might be fabricating the part about diet mtn dew on a pizza but still, he drinks that stuff ALL the time.) and I'm not much better ("Ew gross, beans! Ketchup only on my burger! Does this chicken salad have pickle relish in it because if so I won't eat it! I will only drink mayfield's skim milk or else I'll just die of brittle bones!") and we both eat healthy about 50% of the time which isn't enough. It just isn't. 

My goal is to prepare hearty, healthy and delicious veggie-based meals that are so awesome that no one misses the meat. I'm not saying remove meat all together, I'm just saying at least 5 nights a week make meals with no meat. Maybe a little fish here and there. Move our healthy eating to 95% of the time. It's going to take baby steps and lots of help. I'm thinking that I might even start a blog all about it with recipes and ideas. Maybe not. It might be the lamest blog ever. I'll have to think about it.

Now, I ask very little of my readers but today I am asking you for help. Please comment or email me with ideas, blog links, recipes as you run across them, your opinion on whether this little idea of mine needs a blog all it's own or not. Thanks so much! 

Monday, June 7, 2010

maternity leave reprise...

Thursday was my last day of work at Children's Hospital. Many, MANY tears were shed. Also, I hate goodbyes. HATE THEM. Our little family is having to say far too many goodbyes over the next month and it's killing me....But I digress.  As I was saying, Thursday was my last day of work. I've had a paying job since I was 15 and I have worked at Children's for the last 6 years of my life so this will take some getting used to. Also, I LOVE being a nurse and am fortunate to not only have amazing coworkers but I happen to have taken care of the best patients to EVER be sick. Seriously, my patients are the BEST.  Where am I ever going to find that again? I'm not. That's where!

Friday was a jam-packed day of doctor's appts for our handsome, tri-toothed sugar-monkey. He's 9 months old, you know. Since I have such a hard time saying goodbye and since we were in the area anyway, Declan and I went to the GI for Kids office in the Children's Medical Office Building (that's where I've been specifically working for the last 2 plus years). Declan was super charming. He got his picture made with several of my sweet work friends but this is the only one I have access to at the moment...

This is Declan with Mama's dear friend, Angela. 

After visiting with our friends at the GI office, we went over to the hospital and visited with my dear friends at the Oncology Clinic. I worked with these girls on the inpatient side and we all moved to other areas about the same time. I remembered quickly why I was a pediatric oncology nurse for as long as I was... I really miss those girls and those sweet little bald-headed kiddos! Here are two pics from Oncology Clinic...

My dear friend, Brittany. I'm going to miss her soooo much!

This is Declan and Gail. Declan is sporting some sweet headgear.

So, I guess today counts as my first OFFICIAL day of Stay-at-home motherhood. I did four loads of laundry, changed the sheets, went to the gym and did the grocery shopping. It was quite a busy day. It may be more work not to work!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend!!!

On Friday we bought Declan a play floor...

As you can see, He LOVED it!!!

Then Daddy and Mama got dressed up  and took Declan to Nana's and went to a party!!!

(Sort of dressed up... I didn't exactly brush my hair or anything)

On Saturday, Declan went to the pool for the first time!!!

He LOVED it!!! He's quite the little swimmer but...

I didn't get any pictures of him in the actual pool... Just in-between dips while smothering him in sunscreen!

Saturday Night we went to dinner with the Fawvers where we were thoroughly entertained by a most rousing game of Peek-a-Boo with this little cutie...

(Could you just EAT her?!?! I had to steal this pic from her mama's facebook as I forgot the camera!)

On Sunday, we spent some time with our dear friends, The Jahnkes!
I forgot to pull out the camera but it was super fun to spend time with them and their stinking adorable little fireplug, Little David. 

After that, Declan and Daddy played in the yard for a minute...

And it was so fun!!!

Then we went to Sunday dinner with the fam where my baby grand-cousin, Avery, ACTUALLY let me braid her hair...

Have you ever seen a more beautiful girl in all your life???

What a wonderful weekend!

I hope yours was blessed and happy!
The Englands!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My husband, the liar!

***This blog is in no way meant to be construed as mean. I love my husband more than anything in this entire world. I consider him the answer to earnestly prayed prayers. I worship the ground he walks on. I think he's the most wonderful human being on the planet. This blog is merely here to show the reader a funny facet of the gem that is the man I married...and maybe give him a little grief while I'm at it. ***

My husband is a very private person. Let me illustrate...
- He didn't introduce me to his parents for 8 months. 
-He doesn't want to hire a housekeeper every other week because he doesn't want people going through his things.
- As a child, he locked his comic books up in a little orange chest ( he still has the little orange chest to this day!) to keep them away from his brothers. 
-He keeps a passcode lock on his phone (I know the code... he's not hiding anything from me). He "says" it's to protect patient information but really it's so that in case his phone gets lost or stolen, no one will read his text messages. (NERD!)
-"I don't know what it is about your generation that makes you want to put all that private information on the internet!"-direct quote from Ben when I told him that I'm writing this particular blog.

Maybe he's private. Maybe he's borderline paranoid. Don't ask me, I'm just the lucky girl that married him! 

(See? See how lucky I am!?!)

Where he is most private, though, is when his patients ask him small-talk questions about his life. He's soooooooo private that he makes up ridiculous, bold-faced lies when confronted with said questions. He readily admits this, too. It's actually hysterical. According to Dr. L.L. Pants-on-fire, I am not a nurse but actually a certified underwater welder and a mason(Brick or Stone or Shriner in training, I don't know, he didn't specify). Also, Lady Gaga was my college roommate. Nevermind the fact that I'm about 5-10 years OLDER than her. It's not important. What's important is that Ben finds it imperative that he shield his patients from the plain ol' dorky/boring truth. Regardless, I love him. 

(Look at how handsome and sweet he is! )

Monday, May 24, 2010

Every new day seems to bring...

a brand new trick for my little magician to perform.

This weekend he began saying "Dadda!" as well as complete, grammatically perfect sentences such as ,"Ah-goo Ah, Dadda! Dadda Dadda ah Dadda." and the succinct ,"Gah! Lalalala, aaah Dadda!"(all the while, gesturing emphatically with his open palms). Seriously, my child is a little baby genius! 

In addition to his oratorical prowess, he also has the ability to teach valuable lessons. Such as on Saturday when we went to a friend's baby shower and he proceeded to warn those baby-hungry party-goers of the dual nature of adorable infants. He attempted to single-handedly clear the table by jerking fiercely on the tablecloth. This is the SECOND baby shower that he's attempted this little trick so if this scenario sounds vaguely familiar, it's because I didn't learn my lesson the first time. The lesson being that while Declan LOVES bathtime and real showers, he HATES baby showers... or at least pink plastic tablecloths. 

This weekend also brought a brand new baby item into our home. Since Declan has been removing his own diaper I felt like it was high time to buy the little prince a thrown of his own. Yes, Declan now has a fancy schmancy little red potty all his own.  And before you roll your eyes, he has actually used it... At least 8 times! No, we aren't exactly pushing hard-core potty training on an 8 1/2 month old infant but it won't hurt anything to start gradually introducing the potty into his day to day life. My mother says he's "training " me instead of vice versa and that is fine. But ya gotta admit, he seems to have a pretty good time on that ol' potty. 

In addition to all the talking and the gesturing and the guerilla-style attacks on pink table-cloths and the massively awesome pottying skills... This morning, after he finished nursing, he began... CLAPPING! It made me feel like Miss America! I guess breakfast was extra good because I've never been showered with applause afterwards. Pretty exciting! It's so cute to see him clap his little hands! He is so much fun! I can't wait to see what other tricks he has up his sleeves! He makes me proud to be his mama every single day!

Thanks for reading, dear friends! We love ya'll so much!
The Englands

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Baron T.T. Von TeeTeePants (This is what the original nickname, "Mr. Cheekers" has evolved into.... also known as Declan's alter ego, "TeeTee" for short, "TT" for shorter) has been up to his eyeballs in 'nanigans this past week but most especially today. Here is a brief overview.

- TT sprouted his first tooth at the beach and shortly thereafter began trying to prove that he's man enough to eat steak by climbing and rolling out of the inflatable bathtub-duck/baby-pool with the gusto of a sailor climbing out of a submarine...
-And giving high-fives.
-We went out to lunch one day at the beach and our son, the one who CLIMBS and ROLLS and STANDS but refuses to crawl, began dancing in his high chair with surprising rhythm to classic rock (the WHO's "Baba O'Reilly" more specifically) It was quite the show he put on.
-He still refuses to crawl... unless you've got the red Monkey rattle from Nana's house, then he'll think it over.

-Today the note from daycare read "Declan climbed ONTO the toy shelf and picked out his own toy".
-This afternoon when we got home, I noticed that Declan's diaper was unfastened. This is the third time this week I've noticed this but have, until now, contributed it to slipshod/in-a-hurry diapering skills. I refastened his diaper with great care only to find him pulling the tabs loose and then rolling out of said diaper.
-When Ben got home from work, the mattress on the crib was quickly lowered to the lowest setting.

Here are pictures taken of Declan TT.

After the bath
(note the "reverse superman" pose)

Flossing his tooth

Why the crib mattress was lowered

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I am madly in love with two men at the same time...

And they made my Mother's Day wonderful!

(Oh, don't act like you didn't see that one coming!)
I've been basking in their attention all day long and LOVING every second of it!
Back to work tomorrow. 
Happy Mother's day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

As you may or may not know...

The McEnglands are moving in July. We are leaving our beloved east Tennessee home and heading for Lynchburg, VA. Ben has found an amazing job there doing what he loves and working with some truly wonderful people. We will be selling our sweet little water-front home and moving into a fabulous downtown loft hewn from an old tobacco warehouse. It's sure to be a wonderful new adventure...

But I'm still heartbroken. In fact, the decision has been made since February yet it has taken me this long to blog about it. This is a huge, life changing deal and I am just now blogging about it? I'm not exactly sure how to process this big giant change.

This week I have done a LOT of thinking about what's ahead. I've decided to make a little list of things that are exciting about the move in order to boost my spirits. I thought I'd share it with you...

1. Virginia sells wine in the grocery store! Imagine the convenience!
2. Lynchburg is 3 hours from Washington, D.C.. Think of the amazing museums and opportunities to learn and explore that sweet Declan will have? Not to mention dinosaurs!
3. There is an amtrak station there meaning that we can take the train to Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA and even Buffalo, NY if we wanted. How fun is that?
4. Lynchburg is lush and green and looks like home.
5. Lynchburg is a college town full of adorable coffee shops, interesting restaurants and fabulous old houses.
6. Living downtown will give Stella ample opportunity to walk off those extra puggy pounds.
7. There is an awesome bookstore called "Little Dickens" which is geared towards children and families. This is sure to be an England family favorite.
8. Declan and I are going to take a water babies swim class at the Lynchburg YMCA.
9. This is an opportunity to make new friends and learn a brand new town.
10.  I will be with my beautiful husband and darling son. Really, isn't that the most important of all?

Monday, May 3, 2010

My heart...

Beats fast and hard....

for the beach...

And these two breathtaking men.

I think this may be the most beautiful site I've seen in some time. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

8 months...

We became parents 8 months ago. I am stunned that something can simultaneously feel so recent yet so far away but that is how I feel. Declan has grown and changed so much and so fast that it seems to have created a timewarp of sorts in my life. I can't believe how lucky I am that God chose ME to be his mama!

Declan has been super busy...
He doesn't crawl forwards or backwards but... he crawls in a circle like a compass.
He also rolls.
He also climbs.
In short, he gets anywhere he wants to go.
He can pull himself up on our fingers (not sure that counts but I'm counting it.)
He balances well.
He sits and reaches.
He opens and closes his fist for "bye-bye" but he doesn't quite grasp the "bye-bye" concept yet. The wheels are turning, however.
He does give high-fives.
He ADORES peek-a-boo (we say "pee-pie", though)  and will look around the pee-pie towel to try and find me.
He gives Mama super-sloppy kisses on the cheek but will NOT give Daddy's scratchy face any sugar whatsoever!
He LOVES to dance to music. He sways his little head and moves his hands and feet rhythmically to the music. It's so sweet to watch!
He LOVES the hammock and being outside.
He LOVES the girl dogs and pets them surprisingly gentle for someone his age. The sweet girl dogs are equally fond of their little human baby brother.
He LOVES food.
Speaking of food, we have now successfully added lamb, asparagus, cherries, blueberries and yogurt to his diet. This boy LOVES food (did I mention that yet? Ok, well, it just bears repeating!) and we have been truly fortunate to have no issues with food allergies thus far.

I will leave you with a few oldies of sweet Declan's first few days...

(Can you get over how different he looks? I certainly can't!)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Adventures in baby wrasslin'!

Declan was diagnosed with Pneumonia on Thursday
Ben left for a conference in Mexico on Friday morning 
Declan was put on Steroids an hour and a half later
Declan's antibiotics gave him diarrhea 
The 'roid rage started 
I noticed he was TEETHING.... 
I realized Declan had 3 more days of Steroids and Ben would be gone for FOUR DAYS.
It's been a LONG weekend. 

I was tagged...

Shell-bell tagged me several days ago and was interested in the contents of my purse... Lucky for me, I'm in the midst of changing over from my winter to my spring/summer bag so the timing couldn't have been better...
I'm transferring from the black patent bag to the discontinued vera bradley print that my brother and father bought me two Christmases ago. I've become less of a bag person since I've become a mother... probably because I have to carry more bags.  What you see before you are the contents of my bag.
*Zebra print wallet
*3 pens(one of which is neon orange)
*super-cute yellow change purse given to me by my dear friend, Molly. I keep $1 bills in it to pay for parking in the close garage (or when I hit up the mouse's ear... I KID!!!)
*1 zone perfect bar
*Sephora gift card/compact
*silver case that uses to hold gift cards
*burt's bees hand lotion. It's the world's STINKIEST hand lotion but it feels sooooo good!
*4 pink lip glosses and a tube of lipstick. (Don't judge me! I like variety. )
*Hand Sanitizer
*Nail Polish in "OPI Red". It's my signature red. I've worn it since High School. Opi discontinued the color for a while but brought it back (Thank the Sweet LORD!). I just keep my bottle in my purse so that when I gotta get a pedi in a hurry, I'm good to go!

Sadly, if you did a "What's in your bag?" diaper bag edition, you'd find much of the same stuff.
Now it's my turn to tag some people...
Meredith , JamieElizabeth and Allison.
I want to know what you girls are packin'!