Wednesday, December 09, 2009

It's 3 days late, but Happy 4th Birthday, Anna Ruth!

Anna Ruth is becoming so grown-up! She is a sweet, very loving, talkative, emotional, expressive, opinionated, girly-girl. She loves to dance, sing, laugh, and be tickled. She is into all things girl: baby dolls, dress-up, jewelry, shoes, lipgloss, purses, barbies, dollhouses, princesses, etc. She has also gotten into horses recently. For her birthday, she requested a violin (which she did not get), a purple kite (which she did not get--I've had a hard time finding a purple one), a baby sister (which she did not get--that one's partly up to God anyway), and a horse cake (glad that I could come through on one of the requests!). I found some great directions online for making a horse cake, and it came out quite nicely, I think.
Anyway, we celebrated early over Thanksgiving with her cousins, and then we also celebrated on the actual day with both sets of grandparents. She got lots of fun stuff, including a great tutu made by Aunt Sarah! She loved wearing it to her ballet class.
She specifically requested a "man barbie" so that he could dance with her girl barbie. And she loved getting new outfits for her baby doll.

We love you, Anna Ruth! You're our little princess, and you bring so much joy into our lives. We are looking forward to another wonderful year with you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Like father, like son...

James got a handsome red tie for his birthday from Lita and Pop-Pop. Here he is all dressed up and ready for church.
Then Daddy got ready for church and wore a red tie, too. Here are my two handsome guys looking very similar! :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Couple Fun Videos

James thoroughly enjoying his birthday cupcake.

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James loves to play piano. And this is a good video of him walking!

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Happy 1st Birthday, James!

I can't believe my baby is 1! This year has flown by! James is such a joy. He's a sweet boy who loves to suck his thumb and twirl my hair while laying on my shoulder. He's always on the go, exploring everything around him. He is a really happy baby, and delights people everywhere we go with his darling little smile.

Here are some highlights from his special day!

James playing with his balloon
Thanks, Aunt Sarah, for the adorable bib!
James thorougly enjoyed his cupcake. Now his thumb tastes extra good.
James loved his new wooden block train from Memaw & Gramps.
We love you buddy-boy and look forward to another fun year!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Hamlin Happenings

Although you may not be able to tell from this blog, a lot has been happening in the Hamlin household. Even though I have lots of ideas for good blog posts, the kids are keeping me very busy, and I never get around to it. Here's a quick list of what's going on.

What Anna Ruth is up to:

She loves to imitate Mommy. She especially would love to be James' mommy. She keeps an eye on him at all moments to make sure he doesn't do something he shouldn't. Sometimes this is helpful, other times it is very frustrating and annoying. Thankfully she has dolls that she can role-play with. The other day she came up with tying her baby onto herself, since she has seen me put James into The Ultimate Baby Wrap that I have. She found a dress up scarf and showed me how well it worked. Some funny quotes from Anna Ruth:

--We recently heard that Rich's sister Judith is pregnant, and so Rich's mom ("Memaw") has been telling Anna Ruth that Judith is growing a baby inside her tummy. The other day Anna Ruth turned to me with wide eyes and said, "Mommy, did you know that Aunt Judith is growing into a baby?!"
--I sometimes like to watch the Rachael Ray show when I remember to turn it on, and one day I had it on and was feeding James his lunch while I watched. Anna Ruth was watching, too on the couch and I overheard her saying, " Wow, that tastes real good...thanks, Rachael."

What James is up to:

--He has four teeth--two on top and two on bottom.
--He gives open-mouthed kisses (but not always on demand).
--He can clap, and likes to clap to music and whenever he hears anyone else clapping.
--He loves to get into my "plastics" cabinet and take everything out. He even got inside the cabinet the other day.
--He has started trying to build towers with blocks and has been able to build a 2-block tower.
--He likes to drum on everything from tables, to bowls, to the floor.
--He says "Mama", "Dadda", "Anna" (for Anna Ruth), and sometimes will say "baba" (for Bye-bye).
--He has started walking!! It's been pretty gradual, but I think he's really getting the hang of it now. He takes 10 or so steps at a time and seems pretty excited with his accomplishment. He still crawls most of the time, but I don't think it will be long before he's an official walker!
--He likes to rock in his little rocking chair. He will hold on and bob his head back and forth to try and get it moving.

What they're both into:

--One morning while I was trying to get some bills payed on the computer, Anna Ruth was watching Sesame Street and James was happily playing in her room taking things out of her toybox. I was going back and forth from the computer to her room to check on him. Then I got sidetracked and forgot about it for a little while. I suddenly remembered because it had gotten very quiet. I ran to Anna Ruth's room and did not see James. When I went into the living room I saw James seated right next to Anna Ruth on the floor very engrossed in the TV show. I managed to snap a picture before he got distracted.

--They love to take baths together now. Anna Ruth likes to pour water on his back, and James just explores all the toys that float by and then drops them out of the tub onto the floor where I promptly pick them up and put them back in. He thinks it's a great little game! Me? Not so much. Except that I get these cute smiles out of him.

--They have started playing together in Anna Ruth's room. This is very nice for me, since I don't have Anna Ruth constantly wanting me to play with her or James at my ankles wanting to be held. They actually get along really well; Anna Ruth loves it when James crawls on top of her. She just has to watch out because he LOVES hair and always wants to pull her long locks.

I love my little munchkins! They do keep me busy and test my patience and wear me out, but they fill my life with joy and laughter, and I wouldn't trade being at home with them for anything! It is such a blessing to watch them grow and learn and to be loved by them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Anna Ruth can dance! (well, sort of...)

Anna Ruth has really been enjoying her ballet classes (thanks, Memaw!). She really loves her teacher, but her favorite thing about ballet is wearing her twirly skirt. She twirls over and over to see it spin out. She is doing well in the class, but sometimes gets caught up in the twirling and misses whatever comes after that. Here's a little video of her in class today so you can see what I mean... :)
(Anna Ruth is the one with the ribbon headband, in case you can't tell.)
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James can walk! (well, sort of...)

James has started using his walking toy, and he really loves getting around by himself.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

This one's for Carol

Wow. It's been over 2 months since I posted on this blog, and I would like to apologize to all of you faithful reader(s) who have been checking back regularly for new posts, yet to no avail. I have taken a rebuke to heart and decided to post something before September catches up with me.


I recently signed Anna Ruth up for ballet lessons for the fall, and she has been getting excited about starting. Today I purchased her adorable little outfit, and when I got home I let her try it on. She of course loved it and immediately began practicing her twirls.


Introducing our little ballerina, Anna Ruth!


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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Great Kids Clothing; Great Givewaway!

Here is a website with a great giveaway of a dress and skirty by Amoretti. If you've never seen this clothing line, check it out; it is adorable!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mandarin Orange & Chicken Salad

Rich's birthday is on Sunday, June 21, so this week I am making some of his favorite meals to celebrate his "birthday week", as I like to call it. I think it's fun to make the whole week leading up to the birthday a special time. My earlier post about tortilla soup was a part of that. And now, I have another meal to share with you that is healthy, easy, and oh-so-good--Mandarin Orange & Chicken Salad. Doesn't it look fresh and colorful?
Here is the recipe:

1 bag baby spinach
1 can mandarin orange segments, drained
1 C chopped, cooked chicken
1 recipe carmelized sliced almonds (below)
1 recipe dressing (below)

Combine all ingredients and enjoy!

Carmelized Sliced Almonds:
1 C sliced almonds
1/3 C sugar
1 piece parchment paper

Heat small skillet over medium heat. Pour almonds in pan and then add sugar. Toss mixture continually until sugar melts and completely coats the almonds and they begin to turn golden brown. Pour out onto parchment paper and let cool. When cool, break apart pieces and use to top salad.

Dressing:
1/4 C veg. oil
2 T sugar
2 T apple cider vinegar

Combine ingredients in dressing container or any small container with lid. Shake well and pour over salad.

Serve King's Hawaiian bread or rolls with the salad.

Swimming Lessons

Anna Ruth has been taking swimming lessons for almost 2 weeks, and she is just now getting comfortable with it. The first few days were painful in several different ways. For one, Anna Ruth screamed bloody murder when it was time for her to go with her teacher. She yelled "Mommy!" over and over, and I know it was scary for her to go to a new place with a bunch of people she had never seen before. It was painful for everyone's ears as they heard the high-pitched screams all the way from across the pool. It was also painful to my pride, as I thought back to times when I have heard somebody's kid screaming and thought to myself "Whose brat is that? Seriously, get control of your kid!" Now it was my daughter making the scene, and I did the whole glance-over-your-shoulder move to make it seem like she wasn't talking to me. Anyway, yesterday she did a complete 180. She didn't cry when she had to go to her class, and she participated willingly in the activities and games. She ran up to me afterward and happily announced, "Mommy, I did a GREAT job today!" So I let her watch 2 movies, take a bath, and chew as many pieces of gum as she wanted to encourage her to keep it up. Today went just as well! She has 4 more days of classes left, and I think she will actually get promoted. Woohoo! Here are a few pictures I managed to snap towards the end of the first good day.
sitting on the edge listening

holding onto the kickboard and kicking

noticing me standing there taking pictures

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tortilla Soup

I first had this soup at my Mom's house, and I knew right when I had it that Rich would love it. I asked Mom for the recipe (which she got from someone, but I don't know who), and made it at home. Sure enough, it became an instant favorite for Rich because of how good it is and for me because of how easy it is to make. I end up having enough to freeze half of it, so it makes two meals in the time of one! If you like Mexican food, give it a try--you'll be glad you did!

Here's the recipe:
8 oz. diced carrot
8 oz. diced celery
8 oz. diced onion
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt/pepper to taste
2 T oil
4 cans (or 8 C) of chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles (mild or regular, depending on how spicy you like it)
1 packet taco seasoning
12 oz. cooked chicken, cut up
1 pkg. corn tortillas
12 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese (or Cotija, if you want to be more authentic)
1 C milk

Saute carrots, celery, onion, garlic powder, salt/pepper in oil until tender. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and tomatoes and green chiles, taco seasoning, and chicken. Add 5 cut-up corn tortillas and let boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Reduce heat and add 8 oz. of cheese. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add milk and simmer another 5 minutes.
Garnish with extra cheese, diced avocado, cilantro and sour cream.
Serve with warm corn tortillas on the side, spread with butter and sprinkled with salt.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

James has found his voice

James used to be our quiet little guy in contrast to our non-stop talker, Anna Ruth. But I guess he's figured out that he needs to be pretty loud to get heard around here, and this is the result.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

We Need Your Help!

As you may have noticed from the sidebar, I have entered James into Charleston's Most Huggable Baby Contest. The winner is determined by the number of votes each picture receives, so I'm asking all our family, friends, and readers to please help. You are allowed to vote ONCE A DAY until the voting ends on June 11. At that point, the top 10 babies will then be voted on again. (I'm not sure if it will be open voting again or just determined by the people running the contest--I'll let you know when I find out.) Please click on the icon on the sidebar, and it will take you directly to the pictures. You will have to scroll down to the bottom and hit "Next" because James' picture is on the second page. He is on the very far left of the third row down. When you click on his picture, you must click on the circle with the number 1 in it above the word "SELECT". It will turn from blue to red. THEN, click on the "Vote" button. It will not immediately show up on the number of votes below his picture, so don't worry about that. Anyway, if you could do that as often as you remember, and even pass the word along to others who may want to help, that would be AWESOME!
The winner will get a 2-night stay in the Grand Room at The Inn at Middleton Place including breakfasts, cocktails, and lots of other fun stuff and also a 1 hour massage! If we win, it will be just in time for our 5 year anniversary.
Let me know if you have any problems or have any questions. Thanks for taking the time to help us out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jumpin' James

This is what we like to call Jumpin' James...

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Our little boy never stops moving his legs, so this thing is great! No wonder I never got a rest from all that kicking when he was inside me! :) I know the video is a little fuzzy because of the movement, so I also got a couple snapshots.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

James' First Cereal

For about a week now, James has been showing a lot of interest in the food that I eat. The other day, he grabbed the cup I was drinking out of and tried to pull it to his mouth. And when I have him on my lap, he stares intently at each bite I take. So, I decided to let him try rice cereal since he just turned 5 months old yesterday. He ended up liking it, even fussing in between bites because I couldn't get it to him fast enough. We have a big eater...but I guess we knew that already!

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Foods you either LOVE or HATE

I found this article to be fun to read. It talks about the top foods people either LOVE or HATE. Here's the list, along with my opinions:


1. white chocolate--I generally don't like white chocolate unless it's melted on pretzels. It's just a little too sweet and makes your stomach hurt quickly.

2. cilantro--I really enjoy this herb on Mexican food, though I do often forget to include it.
3. eggplant--I haven't eaten much eggplant, but when I have, I like it. I've had it fried (which was really good, but I wonder how much nutrition is left in the vegetable if you fry it), and also in some Italian casseroles.
4. coconut--Mmmm...I really love coconut shrimp and coconut macaroons and Mounds candy bars.

5. tomato--I eat tomato all the time and love it!
6. anchovies--Here's the first one that I really hate. I have tried them, because my dad loves to eat them on his pizza, but they are majorly disgusting. Way too salty, smelly, and boney...
7. black licorice--I really wonder about people who like this stuff. Now, I love the red licorice, but black licorice is nothing like it. Just really really gross.

8. stinky (strong) cheeses--I really like cheese, but when it comes to the strong smelling ones, I'm not a fan.
9. mayonaise--Yes, I'm a wierd one for liking mayonaise. It's the only condiment I like on my meat sandwiches. I also like it on hamburgers and hotdogs along with ketchup.
10. bell pepper--Here's where I draw the line. I really don't like ANYTHING with red, green, yellow, orange (or whatever color they come in) peppers. I don't even like to smell them. That's why I don't make fajitas. (Sorry, Rich.)

11. beets--These things seriously make me gag.


I think brussel sprouts should have made the list. Those things are so horrible, that they became a punishment in my house growing up. If you complained about the food my mom made, you had to eat brussel sprouts and water instead. It only happened once; after that, we were always perfectly grateful for the food my mom put on the table (at least outwardly!). :)

What about you? Which ones do you LOVE or HATE? Which ones would you add to the list?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Three Bears Bread

Anna Ruth has finally been cooperating with potty training, and so I decided to do a fun little activity with her this morning while James was napping. I got the idea from her Highlights High Five magazine that she gets every month (she loves it!), and I just used my own recipe for the dough. We mixed up a huge bowl of bread dough that I normally use to make rolls, and made three bears--a daddy, mommy, and baby, of course. First, we shaped three bodies, then added a head, arms, legs, ears, and a nose. The instructions said to add raisin eyes, so we did that, but we also added belly buttons just for fun. :) We covered the bears with a towel to let them rise for about 20 minutes, and then baked them in a 400 degree oven for 7-8 minutes until they were golden brown. When they had cooled a little we added butter and honey for a "beary" good treat!

Friday, February 27, 2009

How bout dem Citadel Bulldogs?!

The Citadel basketball team this year is like something out of a dream. We were pretty loyal fans last year (resulting mainly from getting free tickets to the games), and we suffered through their amazingly horrible season of conference games ending up with only 1 win and 19 losses. We still had hopes, though, of a better team this year, and now we are seeing our hopes realized. Their season this year is so far 14 wins and 4 losses in the conference (in which they are now number 2). And we are on an 11-game winning streak. Pretty amazing since that has not happened in 75 years of the history of the school. Up until last night we had not been to any games this season because of a couple reasons (namely, a newborn and the result of a newborn--no sleep), but we finally decided we just had to make it to the last 2 home games. Last night they played Furman, and it was a great game! They were very close during the whole first half, but then Citadel dominated in the second half, giving us a big win of 75-54. We dressed the kids up in their Citadel shirts and brought them along, and Anna Ruth ended up really getting into the whole cheering and taunting thing. She was even yelling "airball, airball" with the cadets after one Furman guy airballed a 3-point shot. Fun stuff. Check out the cute pics.






Wednesday, February 25, 2009

With justice he shall judge the world, all men with equity

“It is the submission only of the body, not of the soul. Humbled before the God who chastises him, the Calvinist remains the relentless judge of the despot who oppresses him. There are submissions more deadly to tyranny than insurrections would be.”
Emil Doumergue

Calvin la fondateur des libertes modernes – pg. 14

H.T.: Iron Ink

Friday, February 06, 2009

Check this out!

Here's a site with some amazingly cute kids clothes and a chance to win every 2 weeks.

Little Mommy

I've been working with Anna Ruth since before James was born on not yelling inside the house or car. She is pretty easily excited and can get quite loud. I wanted her to get in the habit of using her "inside voice" so that she would not wake up or scare James (not to mention keeping me from going deaf at an early age).
Well, I had to lay James down for a little while this morning while I changed his crib sheet. He was tired and unhappy and so was crying rather loudly. Anna Ruth went over to him and said, "James, James--inside voice."
I guess she's getting it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"NBA, here I come!"

James is suited up and ready to be an all-star.
But James, you look so sweet; you're supposed to be intimidating...

That's much better, James.
Now that's a game face. Don't mess with James.