Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for January, 2006

Weekend Recap

30th January 2006

Saturday Woes
Brian was at my disposal on Saturday morning to do a few household projects. Tops on my list was to install a set of ingenius child-locks (magnetic Tot Lok’s) on our drawers and cabinets. He set out to tackle one drawer, only to find (after nearly 2 hours!!) that it wouldn’t work on our drawers. Cabinets, probably yes. But by this time, the morning was shot, and the safest thing for our relationship was to put the child-proofing on the back burner:) Maybe next weekend we’ll try it on a cabinet. I’ll let you know if it eventually works…
While Brian was attempting his project, I decided to rearrange the cabinets. Analise loves to open the pantry and pull all kinds of food out, bringing them to me to convince me it’s snacktime. Sundried tomatoes, one? How about some dried french onion soup? Those are what she finds when her graham crackers, fruit snacks and cookies have already been removed and placed on the counter out of reach. In lieu of a child-lock on the pantry, I decided I’d put tupperware and plastic dishes in the pantry and the food in a higher cupboard. While she was napping, I got the job done and I was QUITE pleased. Analise, on the other hand, was QUITE pleased with the new arrangement as well. She’s found tupperware to be much more fun, and it’s ended up strewn all over the house. *SIGH* At least I can hope she’s learning something as she tries to match the lids to the right container:)

By the way, her new word of the week is “stuck!”, which she uses very appropriately. For example when she’s being held down for a diaper change (doesn’t that sound terrible? but that’s how it works when you’ve got a squirming toddler!), strapped into her car seat, buckled into her high chair, wedged between the rocking chair and the magazine rack. I was just remembering that she has understood the concept of being stuck for a while, probably… you can see why in this post from 11 months ago!

Sunday was a busy day, but I’ll try to pull together a blog about that tomorrow. Check back!

Monday Morning Wake Up
This morning, thanks to the wonderful babysitting of my mother-in-law, I got to attend my first prenatal aquatics class. It was HEAVENLY! I have to say, if there’s one piece of advice I can give a pregnant woman, it’s to spend some time in the pool. It’s such a relief to the constant strain on your joints. You feel weightless:) The class wasn’t extensive, just a gentle workout and stretching, and it felt so good… except that it got rained out, believe it or not. Though it was in indoor pool, we couldn’t be in the pool after we saw lightning outside. The pool is grounded, but if the electricity were to go out, the grounding would be lost and we’d be in danger. It was a bit disappointing to have to get out after only half an hour, but it’s probably a good thing… I am so worn out today! The stretching felt so good in the pool that I might have overdone it a bit… I’m awfully sore tonight! Good thing the next class isn’t until Friday. I’ll have to reign in my exuberance a bit then, and hopefully save myself some post-workout aches and pains.

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Oak Mountain

28th January 2006

I just wanted to post a few pictures from beautiful Oak Mountain State Park. I
biked here today from our house and met my friend Bryant from Clearwater to go
on a bike ride in the park. The entrance to the park is only about 10 miles
from our house!

The first picture shows part of Oak Mountain Lake with Oak Mountain in the background. Look for the highest ridge. Most of the mountains here in Birmingham are very long ridges. The second picture shows the spillway that I had to ride through to get to the front of the park. Even though the water may look deeper, it was only about six inches deep.

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A belated Christmas arrival!

26th January 2006

Yesterday we got Analise’s Christmas gift from her Aunt Anna and Uncle Hal in Platteville, wI. Hal works as a Reisdence Hall Director at UW-Platteville, and during a conference with university vendors, he won a sample chair from one of the displays. He COULD have gotten a full-size chair (I think), but decided instead that this model size was perfect for Analise. So the chair arrived by FedEx this week. It’s heavy-duty… great so there will be no dragging it around to use as a stool. She’s quite happy in it right now, watching a Blue’s Clues video. It’s quality furniture! Thanks, Anna and Hal!

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A full car!

25th January 2006

Analise is helping me get prepared to have another little one to get into and out of the car. Yesterday she insisted on bringing her bear and her baby doll to the car with us. Not only did I have my hands full with my purse, bag and diaper bag, but I had her in my arms, carrying the 2 stow-aways:) I love having a garage in the basement of my house, but it’s HARD to get up and down the stairs with my hands so full. I’ve asked Brian if he can install something like a dumbwaiter so I can send the baby/groceries/etc. up by just pulling a rope! For now, though, Analise is trying to get me ready!

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A mother’s thoughts

25th January 2006

You’ve probably heard me mention that my little one is not a baby anymore. She’s much more of a little girl than the baby it seems she was just yesterday. One defining aspect of that has come up just this week, as I think she’s finally stopped nursing. Yes, she is 18 months old. If that seems “too old” to be nursing to you, I’ll understand. I thought that before she was born, too. But a number of factors allowed us to continue this long, most of all that it’s just easy to quiet her before bed by snuggling her close to me.

Back before Analise was born, we were determined that she would be breastfed. Cheaper, better for her in the long run, easier… the benefits are countless. But it almost didn’t happen. In the first couple days before my milk came in, she latched on like a champ. But when my milk came in, she couldn’t get the hang of it. It was painful… physically and emotionally. There were many tears on both of our parts. She was a hungry baby, I was a desperate mom, and let me tell ya… that first week was pure misery. We finally called in the expertise of a lactation consultant (for a 3 digit price that has been worth EVERY penny, believe it or not) to help us find the problem. We ended up with me pumping and Brian feeding her through a syringe (this is one of my absolute favorite pictures of them, when she was just 5 days old).

He had to train her to suck correctly, and when she did, he’d give her more milk. It was tedious, but she slowly caught on. She still didn’t want to latch onto me, though, and it was wearying and discouraging. I debated just pumping/bottlefeeding her indefinitely. Someone asked me, “Won’t you miss that bonding experience of nursing her?” At that point, I had no idea WHAT that bonding experience was like, because trying to breastfeed her every 2 hours was a stressful and tear-filled experience. When she was 9 days old, we had to fly to Wisconsin for my sister’s wedding. I was armed with a breastpump, several bottles of milk, and all the paraphenalia we’d need to pump, bottle and syringe feed her. On the plane, she had a fussy period during which we couldn’t reach a bottle. So, desperate to quiet her, I decided I’d try to nurse her… and lo and behold, she latched on and nursed like a champ. That was the slow beginning of our long, sweet nursing relationship.

So here we are, 18 months later. That’s more than 550 nights of snuggling her into my lap, watching her relax and be comforted to be sucking and close to me, holding my finger tightly with her soft tiny hand. It’s amazing how a squirming restless child can melt into your arms. I didn’t know back then what the “bonding experience” was, but I do now, and I’m glad we hung in there. These quiet moments are some of my sweetest memories of being a mom. Yes, we do have another one on the way, so it’s not like I’m going to have much of a break from breastfeeding. It’s just that this is the end of “babyhood” for Analise, and it’s pulled at my heartstrings this week. The price of a breastpump ($200) + other paraphenalia to teach my little girl to latch on ($50) + $$$ to lactation consultant + pain of early days and teething = priceless moments with my baby girl.

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Pitter Patter

23rd January 2006

Analise had just fallen asleep on our bed… or so we

thought. I was in the living room, giving her 5 minutes

to fall deeper asleep before moving her to her crib.

Brian and I were talking when all of a sudden we heard

the pitter-patter of feet running down the hall.

Analise burst into the living room, fully awake,

squealing to find both of us there.
As Brian picked her up, I asked, “I don’t think you’re

going to take a nap now, are you?”
“No,” she said, as if she knew exactly what I’d just

asked. And she probably did.

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Mt. Cheaha

21st January 2006

Here amidst a flurry of blogging, I’d like to talk about the wonderful
trip I had to Mt. Cheaha on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Samford
hosted an orientation conference for new faculty at Bald Rock Lodge
located on top of Mt. Cheaha, Alabama’s highest point at 2407 feet.
I took these two pictures above on Thursday morning right before the
sun came up over the Georgia horizon (Mt. Cheaha is near the border
of Georgia). The first picture is looking northeast. The second one is
looking southwest along the ridge. You can watch a short video of
the sunrise by clicking one of the two links below:

Download mpg (4.15 MB) |
Stream real (6.70 MB)

The conference was to help orient / redirect new faculty after
completing their first semester at Samford. It was a debriefing time
where we could talk about what is and isn’t going well. We also took
time to create a vision of how to improve Samford through our roles
as professors. It was an awesome conference, and I learned a lot.

One of the major highlights for me, though, was my longest bike
commute ever — from Birmingham 78 miles due east all the way to
Mt. Cheaha (pronounced “Chee-haw”). Here is a funny story relating
to the unique weather we get here in Alabama. On Tuesday, the high
was 61 degrees and we got 1.69 inches of rain. By Wednesday morning
the rain was long gone, but the temperature dropped significantly
all the way below freezing. This led to a winter weather advisory
for icy roads and bridges. I thought that that might be a problem
for me on my bike, but at 5:30 in the morning I wasn’t about to
give up before I even got started!

The temperature at our house was still 33 degrees, so that tempered
some of my concern as I left our house and rode down the very wet
hill outside of our house. Then I made it through the rest of
our neighborhood which also had very wet streets, but no ice! I
was running late so I decided to take the main highway, Us 280,
out of town all the way to Vincent — much farther than I had
originally intended.

The temperature reading on my new bike computer made it down to
30 and my feet were very cold by the time I made it to Vincent.
I noticed frost on the ground and ice in the puddles alongside
the highway. I also notice a couple bridges with a little bit
of ice on the shoulders — but no ice in the road! In Vincent, I
was able to pick up my intended route
on the next leg of my journey. I made it past Lake Logan Martin,
which was filled with sea gulls near the dam. Then when I was trying
to navigate through St. Clair county, I realized that I was having
to stop too often to pull out my map. I decided to go ahead and
take the short route directly to Talladega. I’m glad I did because
this route took me through the Sleeping Giants – a pair of mountains
separated by a road that goes right between them.

I flew through Talladega with a tremendous tailwind on the
last leg
of my bike ride. This was good because I knew by this point that I
wasn’t going to make it to the state park before 10AM when the conference was
supposed to start, and I knew that once I started climbing up to
the mountain, my pace would slow way down. I finally made it
up to the top and up to the lodge where I saw a large group of Samford
faculty members getting ready to enter the lodge. My first though
was that I had missed the entire first session! It turns out, however,
that they were just getting there, too. They had run into numerous
accidents because of ice on the interstate. So I wasn’t late
after all!

That was the funny story. Now for the pictures!

Right before getting to the top of the climb, I saw the remnants of a light
dusting of snow. The next morning before the sunrise I came across
a deer that leaped across the road in front of me. He/she stopped a little
ways into the woods. Can you find it in the center of this picture?

On Thursday morning, I got up early to go for a bike ride. When I realized it was
going to be a beautiful sunrise, I headed for the tower at the highest point of
the mountain so I could get some pictures. Here are the two best pictures I got
(one from the tower and one from the base of the tower). Also you can watch video by clicking one of the links below.

Download mpg (4.15 MB) |
Stream real (6.70 MB)

Finally, these are the two best pictures I have of the mountain. I took
the one on top first looking down the mountain towards a lake
that is also part of the park. You can see the road that goes
right up to the lake. The next picture (the one on the bottom)
is taken standing beside the lake looking back up at the restaurant
from where I took the first picture. The thing that I LOVE about
the second picture is that you can’t see the clouds and sky
above the mountain because of the sunrise coming up on the other
side, BUT you can see the clouds and the sky in the reflection
in the water. I think that’s cool. What do you think?

Well, I think this blog has gone on long enough. I’ll have to
blog about my ironman training later!

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Random Chatter and Recipes

21st January 2006

Sudoko Crazy
Have you ever played sudoko? This addicting little game involves a 9×9 grid, with 9 3×3 boxes inside it. In each box, row and column, you need to have the numbers 1 through 9. The puzzles vary in difficulty, due to how many numbers are given to start out with. It seems to be everywhere these days – Barnes & Noble has a whole table of books, there’s a daily puzzle in our newspaper, and I’m surprised at the number of people I know who are hooked on it. Brian and I got hooked a couple weeks ago. We used a Barnes & Noble gift card to get a Head-to-Head Sudoko game, that’s been fun. (Though my hubby is so quick at it, I think it might be even more fun if I played with someone more at my “logic level”.) We also found a Daily Sudoko calendar for 50% off that we’ve been working on. Anyway, though it was fun for me at first, now it’s just getting annoying because I seem to get about halfway through all my puzzles and then get stuck. GRr. Brian actually enjoys picking up my tossed-aside puzzles and finishing them:) But I needed an SFD (Sudoko-Free-Day) yesterday, as it had finally annoyed me just too much. It is good mental stimulation, though, and something fun for Brian and I to work on together. Try it… don’t blame me if you get addicted, though!

More Baby Boom notes
As I got to thinking about the “baby boom” at our church that I noted in my last post, I realized there are a couple more newborns, though not in our church. Missionary friends of ours just had a baby girl last week, a friend of Brian’s from UAB had their second son on Dec. 30th, and a couple down the street has a big pink bow on their mailbox:) I think I’m going to take some brownies down to them later this afternoon. We visited our friends Tim, Lindsay and little Bryant last evening. He’s so sweet! It’s funny to think we’ll be in their exact situation welcoming a little boy in just over 4 months! I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of having a boy!! (It helps that he’s getting a little lively lately, and I feel him kicking more often:))

White Chocolate Bread Pudding
A friend from church made this for a New Year’s Eve party, and I had to get the recipe. I tried it out for our home church gathering on Wednesday night. Huge success! Easy and incredibly delicious!

    Bread Pudding

  • 1 lb french bread, torn into small pieces (Pepperidge Farm is suggested, but I used regular grocery store brand and it was fine.)
  • 2 pints heavy whipping cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 T vanilla
  • Topping:

  • 12 oz. white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream

Place bread pieces in a greased 9x13inch pan. Pour 2 pints of whipping cream over the bread. Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla. Pour over bread mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until golden for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Melt chocolate chips and 1/2 pint whipping cream in microwave, at 50% power for 2 minute intervals, stirring between. (I’m not sure how long in total, but until the mixture is smooth.) Top individual servings of pudidng with sauce.

Taco Soup
I’ve honestly made this COUNTLESS times since I found the recipe about a year ago. Very tasty, just dump everyting into the slow cooker and enjoy whenever you’re ready. We LOVE it!

  • 1 lb ground meat (turkey or beef), drained, seasoned with salt, pepper and onions, if desiered
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (A total of 3 cans of tomatoes and sauce are necessary – if you prefer a chunkier soup, you can use more of the diced.)
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix (example: Hidden Valley Ranch)
  • Place in slow cooker, cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream, and serve with tortilla chips.

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Quiet week

20th January 2006

Nothing too exciting to relate from this past week. I can’t believe it’s the weekend already! Brian was gone from early Wednesday morning until yesterday afternoon for a faculty retreat at Mt. Cheaha State Park (Alabama’s highest point). He BIKED there, if you can believe it, all 81 miles up the highest mountain in the state. It was 29degrees when he left at 5:30am, too! I’m sure he’ll blog about it this weekend:) He’s busy getting ready for the spring semester to start next Wednesday.
We’re having a baby boom in our church. Baby Sara Beth was born on December 11th, little Parker was born on December 19th, and our friends Tim and Lindsay had their baby, Bryant yesterday. Another baby was born this weekend to a couple who’s been coming regularly. Toss in our little Toone-to-be and they’re going to have quite a full Sunday School class down the road!
Anyway, nothing else of note from the Toones. Analise and I are keeping busy – me, constantly tidying the house, her, un-tidying just as soon as I get something in order:) I’m very thankful to be feeling better and more energetic these days. I hope it lasts for a while! Have a good weekend!

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Awesome Saturday

16th January 2006

Here is our group after our “walk in the woods” posing
for a picture in my parent’s frontyard. Bryant and Lauren
Naile and their dog Ellie went with Kristine, Analise, and I
to explore the Woodmeadow Woods, which have just
received their death sentence in the form of a decision
to build 31 luxury town homes. My parents have lived
in the same house my entire life so I grew up playing
in these woods — riding my mountain bike on several
trails, swinging on vines, playing hide in seek, shooting
my bb gun, etc…

Every tree you see here in this picture will most likely
be gone before the beginning of Spring this year. The
tall pine tree you see in the middle is the state tree
of Alabama — the long leaf pine tree. The trails that
were in the woods as recently as seven years ago
were completely overgrown so we had a bit of a rough
time making our way through; but it was still an awesome
time. Bryant is a landscape architect, so he was telling
us about all the different trees and bushes. We also
found a variety of old goodies — an abandoned lawn mower,
a tennis shoe, several old tattered blankets. It was
great to reminisce and share old memories with our
friends from home church. Afterwards, we drove down
the street to
Aldridge Gardens
and had a fun time walking around.

All of this fun was followed later that evening by a fun
dinner at Cajun Steamers with several other
couples from our home church: Blake and Stephanie Basham,
Tim and Lindsay Lawson, Bryant and Lauren Naile, and us.
We listened to live music by a very cool acoustic guitarist.
I had fried alligator, and it was good. Then, to top everything
off, we walked down the street to Cambridge Coffee, had some
espresso, listened to more live music, and had a great time.
Altogether, it was an awesome Saturday.

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