Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Connor and Logan play soccer - epic showdown

Today after Connor's outdoor soccer game he really really really wanted to play more. One hour of soccer just wasn't enough. Mommy and Daddy knew they wouldn't be able to keep up, but thankfully Connor's friend Logan was up for some sports. 
The two boys played in the backyard for hours tonight. They took a short break to eat Happy Meals, but then got back to business. I took some pictures and videos of them playing. Connor loves to look at all the pictures and videos of himself in action, so I decided to put them all together and make an exciting action movie for the boys.

Connor enjoyed it, but wasn't a fan of the music. I thought it made the whole thing seem super epic. Connor definitely did love the slow motion though, for him there's nothing cooler than slow motion replays.

SPCAA Outdoor soccer

This morning, Connor had his first outdoor soccer session with his SPCAA team. It is an outdoor league that plays on a field near Maplewood college. The setup is different than the last outdoor league we tried and it's much better. There is a coach for each team and they spend the first 30 minutes practicing and the second 30 minutes scrimmaging.

Connor's coach interacted well with the kids and had some good drills that challenged them, but were not too advanced for them. There are only six kids on the teams, so the coach is able to focus on all the kids and he did a good job explaining everything to them and keeping them going. The kids on Connor's team are all great too. They all listened well, cooperated with each other and were good teammates.

Connor scored a goal in this drill while the little girl tried to defend.

After he scored, he had to defend and he did a good job trying to be aggressive and get the ball, but he got unlucky when the little girl kicked it between his legs and it went in to the goal. 

Daddy took a quick picture with Paige before the game started.

After the drills, the real fun started! It was game time!

Connor ran well, stayed aggressive, and knew what to do when he got the ball. All that running made him super thirsty. Little sister snuck a drink from Mommy's bottle while Mommy was distracted.

Connor scored THREE goals during the game! Nobody was officially keeping score, but Connor's team scored somewhere between six and eight goals. The other team scored a couple. Connor did a good job on offense and defense. At one point he got the ball by his team's goal and Mommy commented later that it was a big moment because a lot of kids would have just kicked the ball in to the open goal. Connor stopped, turned the ball and went back in the other direction.

Here is Connor, a split second before he kicks the ball in to the goal.

Here's a quick video of Connor playing defense.

Just after that video ended, I started recording again just in time to see Connor score! Goooooaaaaal!!

Connor had so much fun and did such a great job at soccer. We are so proud of him. One of the other moms commented to Andrea that Connor is so athletic. Typically, during the game a couple kids would sit out while the others played, but Connor ended up staying in and playing almost the entire game. After one of his goals he got a drink and asked: "Mommy, was that a good play?"

After the game when we got in the car, Connor said: "My booty gets sweaty when I play soccer." Yes indeed Buster, truer words have never been spoken.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We're debt free! Including the house!

This month is a big milestone for us and our Dave Ramsey plan journey. We came across Dave Ramsey's radio show when he replaced Dr. Laura on a local AM station. We started listening and following his "Total Money Makeover", watched his TV show and went to see him live when he was in Kansas City. We really committed to the plan in January 2007 and have changed our lifestyle and paid off a bunch of debt.

By August of 2008 we'd finally paid off credit cards, 2 cars, and student loans for both of us. We were debt free except the house and Andrea called in to the Dave Ramsey show and we screamed "We're debt free!" on the air. Although we still had the house to pay off, that is typically the moment that Dave Ramsey encourages everyone to really celebrate.

Since then, we knew the next step was the house and for about a year we continued to pay for everything with cash, but didn't really try to tackle the house since it was so overwhelming. After we "upgraded" both our cars and bought some toys we decided that it was time to start paying on the house. This month we finally have the whole thing paid off! We're probably going to move soon, but it's neat to know that we achieved this milestone.

Our next house is going to probably be a bit bigger, so we'll end up with a mortgage again in the future. At least we'll have a nice down payment on it, hopefully we can pay it off eventually as well. We're proud of our hard work and commitment and wanted to be sure we remembered this moment!

Thanks Dave!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Paige brushing her teeth

Connor's been doing great brushing his teeth for a while now and Paige recently noticed him doing it. She'd been grabbing at his toothbrush whenever she was getting her hair fixed and this past week we decided to get her a toothbrush to see how she would do with it. We were pretty surprised how well she took to it. With Connor we struggled and fought to get his mouth open and the toothbrush in to it. With Paige, she opens her mouth wide and really enjoys it. She always wants to do whatever brother does, so it shouldn't be a surprise I guess.

More Dinomites soccer

Connor's doing Dinomites again this Fall. It's probably the fourth or fifth time he's done it, and he still loves it. Coach Shawn makes it really fun and Connor is a great listener and really does well with the games and activities. We hadn't taken any pictures or anything for a while, so snapped a few this past Friday.

Connor using his feet in one of the activities.

Connor kicking the ball at Coach Shawn.

Daddy's new camera

This past week we got a new camera. I've been using a Canon Digital Rebel for the last 6 years and decided to give Nikon a try.

I've been mostly pleased with the Canon and I learned a lot about photography with it, but I've been needing a new camera for a while. The Canon's focus system is fairly out of date, and it doesn't have facial recognition and would usually pick the wrong focal point if you left it up to the camera. We've been using the center focus point to get acquire focus, then would re-frame the shot before completely depressing the shutter release. Also, the ISO range on the Canon only went up to 1600 and although it had a "fast" lens at f2.8, there were times I was disappointed I didn't have more ISO range. Lastly, the flash was not the best. I had a 430EX external speedlight, and there were quite a few shots I'd miss because it wasn't ready to fire again.

The new camera has a lot of features and the lens is quite a bit different than I've been using. The camera has facial recognition, much more ISO range, and can take photos very quickly. It also has a movie mode although the movie mode is not the greatest since it doesn't re-focus well during a video. The lens is the big change for me. Its focal range is awesome at 28-300mm vs the 28-75mm Tamron lens I'd been using. The bad thing is that the lens isn't as "fast" and doesn't go wider than f5.6 most of the time. Although the ISO range is much higher, you typically have to go into the higher ISO settings in most indoor situations if you're zoomed in longer than 60-70mm.

I'm still mulling around which flash to buy and playing with the camera. It's hard to relearn where all the buttons are and I'm not exactly what I think of the camera yet. It's got some great strengths, but I've been spoiled with the wide aperture on the Tamron lens I've been using. I may have to get that same lens for the Nikon.

I took a bunch of shots the first day I got it, most of them were throwaways, but I kept a few.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hot Mama!!!

Ever since giving birth to Paige, Andrea's been on a mission to lose all the baby weight and get in to shape. Giving birth to two kids has been hard on her and although she lost all the baby weight with Connor, the second pregnancy is usually harder. Andrea did a lot of running and exercising after Paige was born, but by the end of 2010 she had plateaued and couldn't seem to shake the last 10 pounds. I suggested she hire a personal trainer to see if it would give her a kick in the pants.

She asked Mandy who she'd recommend and Mandy recommended Jonathon. Andrea started strength training with Jonathon on January 3rd and based on her measurements and their consultation he set a 20 pound weight loss goal for her. Andrea didn't really plan to lose more than 10 more pounds, but went along with the plan. The exercises were high intensity and Andrea would come home aching from the weekly workouts. She stuck to the schedule, still running, eating better, started drinking protein shakes, and would also do the exercises by herself at home throughout the week.

On August 29th, she reached her goal of 20 pounds and 11% body fat lost! She is now back to her wedding day weight and we are so proud of her!  She took a picture with Jonathon to celebrate her weight loss milestone! Thanks Jonathon!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Avery's first birthday party

Today was Avery's birthday party! Avery is Jordan and Jenni's little girl and they hosted her party today at their house.

We got our little people dressed nicely for it and got a few pictures of them before we left.

The Millers had a great turnout and it was great to see they have so many nice people to share their big day with.

Avery helped Jenni open the presents.

Paige liked to help too!

Happy birthday Avery!!

Ear infections for Connor

Connor's gotten a few ear infections lately. He's had tubes in both ears for a while, but unfortunately the right tube has worked its way out partway and it's not allowing the right ear to drain. This past week, he was crying about it hurting and we had to put him on antibiotics. While he was on the antibiotics, somehow the left ear got infected. Thankfully the left ear's tube is still in place and although it was yucky and drained fluids, it didn't bother him.

Most of the fluid's stopped coming out, but you can still see some residue inside his ear canal. It's not real easy to clean it up, but it's getting better.

We took him to the ENT and the doctor said that we should just wait and see if he'll do OK without a functioning tube in his right ear. Hopefully he's outgrown most of the need for a tube, but based on this most recent infection it's obviously possible and definitely bothers him when infected.

Paige and her books

Paige is really in to her books right now. She will flip through (and tear up) books on her own, but she really loves to sit in your lap and read them. By far, her favorite is the history of the Universe book. It's a pop up that Grandpa and Grandma Vernon bought for Connor a few years ago. It's seen better days, but most of the pop ups still work and Paige loves them.

Paige and her chair

Paige is very smart about her high chair and where we keep it. Since our house is on the market and we have showings from time to time, we'll often put her chair in the coat closet. It's a booster seat that we put on top of one of our regular chairs, and Paige knows exactly where it is. If it's not strapped to the chair, she'll hoot at us and will point to the closet until we open it. Then she'll haul out the chair and will drag it over to the chair so we can set her up and get her fed.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Connor's favorite things

Over the weekend I asked Connor a number of things just for fun to see what he'd say. Although I think he missed the mark on a few answers I decided I'd just write down everything exactly as he answered.

1) What's your favorite color? Purple and Pink like Mommy.
2) Favorite Drink? Apple juice, chocolate milk, ice water, Capri Sun
3) Favorite food? Tiger food (Frosted Flaked). When I asked if there was anything else he said "Just only Tiger food".
4) Favorite Animal? Puppy dog
5) Connor said: Who's my favorite Baby? I said "Who?" Connor said it was Paige. Even though she yells at him and hits sometimes.
6) Favorite Toy? Gun. A Pretend Gun.
7) Sport? Blue sport. Means when he tackles. Because he plays football and he tries to tackle the bad guy. And that's what football players do.
8) Song? ABC's (he seemed irritated that I wouldn't know this)
9) Best friend? Connor Reid and you Daddy.
10) Clothes? Jammies.
11) Favorite thing to do? Play with you
12) This is going to take a long time (he was getting irritated, so we took a break)
13) Favorite place to go? At Hooooome.
14) Favorite game? Spiderman on Nintendo DS
15) Favorite thing to say? I like to say "Daddy I love you"
16) Favorite story at story time? Football stories
17) Favorite book? Dinosaur book.

Fresh Beats dancing

Connor's new favorite show seems to be "The Fresh Beats Band". It's a group of silly twentysomethings that string along a tenuous story line interspersed with upbeat songs. Connor has been watching it for a while and recently he'll get up and dance during the songs. He's typically too shy to dance at weddings or in public, so it's really cute to see him get in to the songs. He loved when I recorded him today and liked watching himself afterward.

After Paige woke up from her nap, she joined in too. So much energy!

Awesome dance moves!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lucas Ramon

Today we went over to Scott and Lindsay's place to meet their new little man, Lucas. He is one of the cutest little babies we've seen. We were especially partial to him since we really reminded us of Connor when Connor was a baby.

We all posed with the little guy, but Andrea was the only one to hold him. I've gotten a little nervous about holding other people's babies again. Just too scared I'll drop them or break them. It's been a while since Paige was so little.

The girls checking out the new baby.

Connor enjoyed playing with Mr. Scott. They did dramatic ball throwing and catching with a lot of falling down, slow motion replays and sound effects. When we left, I asked Connor if he thought Scott was nice and Connor said: "Yes, he was very nice. Number one nice guy!"

Scott's going to be a great dad!

BBQ at the Vernon house

Yesterday, we had the Gobles, Rudolphs and Grandma Genie over for a little BBQ at our house. We made brats and hotdogs and of course all the yummy sides.

Mommy looked cute with her little man.

Baby sister was in a good mood.
Daddy getting the grilling done in the rain.

After we ate, everyone played some baseball out front.

We had lots of fun! It was a great visit with everyone.