Thursday, August 19, 2010

The cow.

We're Minnesotan's. We might live in Florida currently, but we were both raised in Minnesota. So it really shouldn't shock anyone that we do things differently. But I can't even explain this one! 

Gavin just "found" Matt's lucky cow. 

I'm not sure how it started, or where the cow came from. But for the last 10 years this cow has traveled the world with my husband! I assume it's lucky because my husband has always returned home safely to me. So you can bet that as Matt begins his next portion of flight school this month, he'll be carrying a cow in his pocket! We want him to return from every flight safely!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Have we really made it to Friday of the longest week of my life? YES!!!!

As Daddy and Gavin departed this morning on their way to school, with all smiles, I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride! In 5 short days my baby has turned into a school boy and seems to be adjusting well. I expect Monday might be a hard day again after 2 days off. But hopefully it won't take 3 days to readjust. In one week we have changed his sleeping habits, morning routine, have revisited potty training (and not had any wet diapers!), sent him to school for 7+ hours a day and let him ride the bus! That's a lot for a just-turned-3-year-old! Sure, he's walked away with a cold from all the exposure at school, but we can deal with that! 

Dinners at our house are now very interesting...After a long hard day, Gavin is READY for bed and asks to go "night-night".

Next week will bring more excitement with my 38 week OB appointment where we'll find out if induction will happen the following week, and Gavin's 1st field trip (And Daddy gets to go with!).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I feel like I just got fired...

So for the last 3 years my "job" has been full time caretaker to a needy but appreciative little boy. Now suddenly he's away at school for more than 7 hours a day. What am I supposed to be doing all day? I know in just a few weeks I'll have a new child to be a full time caretaker of. Meanwhile, expect that I'll have the cleanest (and most organized) house! Really it is great to have all the time in the world to "nest". But after a week or so I'm sure I'll be just trying to find more things to do. 

Luckily, last week when I still had some clarity, I decided to make a list of things to do while Gavin is away at school. I felt a little guilty at first putting the list together, but just knew otherwise I'd sit around wondering what was next. This list is comprised of all those loose ends and things that are accomplished much faster with out the assistance of a toddler. Yesterday, as I relied heavily on this list to get me through the morning it, affectionately became know as "The List". Sure, I still have regular household duties I can do, but these are more specific tasks. And while I don't expect to need it everyday, it sure was a lifesaver yesterday!

Gavin Goes to School!

What a change to our daily life! 

Over the coarse of 2 months we've been doing evaluations with the Santa Rosa Florida School District to see if Gavin would qualify to be one of their preschool students. After 4 evaluations with various specialists he was invited to be a student at Bagdad Elementary School and attend FULL TIME PRESCHOOL! His acceptance was based on his speech and language delay. While this is very exciting for a little boy, it's also a little scary as a 3 year old who's never attended daycare. For mom too! We were notified that he was approved to attend Thursday, April 27th and they requested that he start classes that next Monday, May 3rd. They did however offer us the option to wait and start him with the new school year August 23rd. With Laney's soon arrival we thought it might be good to give him an activity of his own and we decided to let him finish off the last 6 weeks of this year. 

School starts at 7:30 am and goes until 2 pm! During the day they have a packed schedule which includes Breakfast, music, P.E., crafts, Lunch, Playground, Nap, art, all academics, etc... Gavin has a male teacher, Mr. McDonal, and his female assistant (whom Mommy can't remember her name because she was trying to not bawl while being introduced). They also help work on potty training...which is great because they have Gavin for more awake hours than we do! This last weekend he started peeing in the potty at home with minimal effort! So far this week we've only had wet night time diapers. Amazing what a difference a month makes! 

In order to get to school for the 7:30 start time, Gavin gets on the bus at 6:10 am!!!!! And the bus returns him home at 2:36 pm. First one on and last one off! While we probably won't send him on the bus both ways every day, but we'd like him to be comfortable with it. In the future it might make more sense to let him sleep the extra half hour and have one of us drop him off at school. It's only 3 miles away.

While in school Gavin will also be meeting with the speech & language specialist for 90 minutes "one on one" per week. We've put his private therapy sessions on hold until school is out for the summer. Then we'll be returning to our twice weekly sessions with Ms. Katie. Also, he's eating school breakfast and lunch. A big thing if you have ever watched him eat! I'm not sure how much of those meals he's eating, but hopefully this will expose him to new foods and seeing other kids his age eat them.

Photos are still to come, it's still quite dark at 6:10 am! And so far there have been lots of tears at departure and arrival!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's already the middle of February?

This has been a busy month so far! Earlier this month I traveled alone to Virginia to do a newborn photo shoot of baby Olivia! She is the new baby to our friends Dave & Tara. Their son Davey is Gavin's age and now Olivia and Laney will be around the same age! We are looking forward to their family moving to Florida next month!

Monday, February 1, 2010


I failed miserably at flowered head bands. So in an effort to redeem my pride I've gone overboard with making booties/slippers for Laney. She'll have a bare head, but great footwear! Don't ask why I'm making pair after pair of wool &/or felt booties for my child whom is due May 26th, and we live in Florida. I realize the irony in this. But I need some project to be my creative outlet! We have central air...she can wear them indoors!


A Little Girl!!

Last week I had the great pleasure of 'seeing' our little girl again and getting the confirmation we were hoping for! She is indeed a girl! I had the ultrasound at a local Ultrasound Institute by some very excited new students and their instructor. They enjoyed it just as much as I did!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

I think of myself as a very creative and resourceful person. But I have declared defeat in the Baby Girl Flowered Headband department. I have a degree in photography, can draw well, enjoys sewing, etc.... Really my first indication to turn back should have been not being able to find the exact supplies I wanted for the job. After 3 stores, I could find any colored elastic band anywhere! So I then attempted to improvise and use stretchy fabric sewn to make a band...not pretty! So after a few hours of work and lots of running around I'm throwing up the white flag (for now) and will purchase these already made flowered headbands from the creative sellers.

I hope this isn't Mother Nature's way of telling me that our 2nd ultrasound next Tuesday will reveal a penis!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Change is hard...

Even for Mom! Today was our speech therapy evaluation at a new place, in a new state, with a new therapist. This is at a much smaller clinic than what were were used to. Also, the parents don't accompany the child into the room! Such a difference than our therapy experiences! The good news is that our Speech therapist has a lot of feeding problem experience. So she'll work on Gavin's feeding at the same time! Our new schedule has us going to half hour appointments twice a week. Long drive for only a half hour, but we're anxious for some improvements. In addition this therapist will provide us the information to get Gavin started in a Pre-K class for speech and other delays. These classes are all day 5 days a week! We'll see how he handles half days to start maybe. He has to be 3 before he can be in the program, so 3 months until he's eligible. I think he'll enjoy having something to do everyday!

Also, Matt came home today with a tentative start date for his first flight school (IFS which is 6 weeks long depending on weather). Right now his date to begin is March 8th. They might try to class him up early to ensure he'll be done before my due date, but we'd actually prefer to stick with the original date so we can enjoy more time off now!

A quick photo of Gavin picking his sock lint (a new pastime of his) while wearing Daddy's beanie hat!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Girls & I

This Summer/Fall I was thrilled to have another opportunity to have 2 of my best friends back in the same state as me. Jackie had moved away 4 years prior and I knew we would be moving away in October. So we tried to make the best of our few months together! This included redoing a photo shoot we had done 4 years earlier, right before Jackie moved. In our time "apart" so much changed in our lives. Jackie had a second child. I had my first child and was expecting my second. And Chrissy was nearly due with her first child! While we would have loved to also get a photo with all of our kids tangled in our legs, we had to think realistically...and opted to keep it just us girls. I am blessed to have one biological sister who I'm very close with, so I never expected I'd get two more bonus sisters! After 10+ years of friendship we are each others family...And I miss them so much!

Here is our original photo shoot from 4 years ago.

And here is a sampling of the photos from our photo shoot a few months ago. There are too many GREAT ones to post them all. Thanks to Jessica Sprowl for capturing the photographs. I thoroughly enjoyed editing and playing with them.


Potty, Potty, Potty!

I wonder if I'm the only Mom that's wished potty seats came with seat belts?

Seriously, how do you keep your kid on it? Gavin really isn't showing any interest...but his parents are! So in the next month we'll get brave and take a shot at it. Ideally, we would have tried it out at our house in VA with 100% hardwood floors. Now we have a 2,300 square foot home with 2,000 square feet of carpet! Our steam cleaner will be busy in the future! For now we'll casually encourage any potty time in hopes that at some point he'll accidentally deposit SOMETHING into the toilet and we can show him how exciting it is!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I've conquered the mountain...

at least for this week!

This is what happens when my the new laundry system I've recently implemented (on myself) gets thrown off track...10 loads of laundry to be completed start to finish in one day. The best way I know to catch up and force myself to get it all done today...PILE IT ON MY BED! That way I NEED to finish it before the day is over.

So what is this "New Laundry System"? Rather than washing once a week and conquering this mountain weekly, I've figured out that if I wash two loads every other day (a load of "lights" and a load of "darks") then I can get it washed, dried, folded and put away with out much trouble at all. Such a simple concept...One that has taken me 10 years of being on my own to finally implement and take charge of!

Spaghetti Night!

For those of you who are aware of Gavin's feeding challenges, you'll understand this post more. Tonight is Spaghetti Night in our house! Spaghetti is the only "Real food" we can get Gavin to eat. So it's a big deal when Daddy makes it...we try not to wear out it's effectiveness by making it daily!

Add to this the excitement of a suction bowl and it makes for a great night!

Unfortunately by the time I got to the table all the spaghetti eating was over.

Willardisms: Anecdotal stories about everyday life as seen through the eyes of a Willard

Welcome to the Willard Family blog! Although our life is no more exciting than any other American family, we tend to go about life in creative ways! Upon reviewing this years calendar it became clear that there are a few exciting changes we'll go through as a family. So now seemed as good a time as any to create a platform for sharing these

The Willard family consists of:

Matt - Husband/Dad. As a newly commissioned officer in the USN after serving 10 years as an enlisted sailor, he's learning a new role as well as being trained in a new field. Outside of work he's also adjusting to life not only as a Dad to one kid, but another that is soon to join us! His current hobbies include working on his "family car", driving and modifying his RC rock climber truck, and as always...movies.

Shelley - Wife/Mom. With the move to Florida a few months ago, work as a photographer has been put on hold to focus on raising kids and taking on more around the house. Also, she is currently growing a human being from scratch. 5 more months to go! Her favorite pastimes include reading, working on creative projects, graphic design 
work, and game nights with friends.

Gavin - Son/Soon to be big brother. Life as a toddler is hard. He is often misunderstood which then the only reasonable reaction is a Full Toddler Tantrum! He's told life will change this summer with the arrival of a "sister" but has no idea what that really means, or why Mom seems to be getting so fat! His current favorite things to do are playing outside, trains, trucks, cars, airplanes/helicopters, bubbles, and helping Mom and Dad. His new favorite word is "No".

Laney - Growing baby. While she has not yet begun life outside the womb, she is busy growing eyelashes to bat at her Daddy, perfecting her kick, and as seen at this month's ultrasound...playing with her feet! She enjoys when Mom eats Popsicles, listens to music, and reads books to Gavin. The doctors estimate her arrival to be May 26th, 2010. But she'll decide if that day works for her as it gets closer!