Monday, September 21, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Logging Expo ~ 2015

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One of Eddie's big professional responsibilities in his new job as Forestry Program Coordinator for the North Carolina Forestry Association is to coordinate professional and educational opportunities for the Pro-Logger Association.  Loggers in the state must go through the Association to become certified in order to sell timber to mills that want to be certified as producing sustainable wood products, which most of them do because their wood products are much more valuable if labeled sustainable.  Products made from sustainable wood are labeled as such so I encourage consumers to look for this labeling.  Sustainable wood means it was harvested with appropriate techniques to allow and enable the replanting and replacement of the trees that are harvested.  It is the epitome of responsible, sustainable forestry and the most important goal of my husband's profession.  Eddie handles the production of educational material and coordinating educational opportunities across the state to train the state's loggers in the correct methods of cutting timber.  We will actually be embarking on a little trip this week back to the mountains where Eddie will be conducting some educational programs for pro-loggers in that part of the state.  Also included in Eddie's roles as the Forestry Program Coordinator is to assist the Carolina Loggers Association with organizing the Mid-Atlantic Logging Expo every two years.  The Expo is a trade show where big logging equipment manufacturers and vendors can display that equipment and entice the region's logging companies to purchase them.  They display huge half a million dollar machines for harvesting timber, tires for the huge equipment, tractor trailers to haul the equipment, and much more.  The Expo draws over 3,000 people from across the Mid-Atlantic region and is an entertaining two day event.  The NCFA and Carolina Loggers Association work together to procure the land for the event, including purchasing of timber tracts so that the equipment manufacturers can demonstrate their products by harvesting timber, and lay out and sell the spots for the Expo.  Eddie worked very hard and sold out all the spots for this year's Expo which was a very big feat.  They estimated over 3,500 people attended and over $10 million in merchandise was sold, including about 12 hauling trailers.  I was amazed at the success as were many of the vendors.  I think it shows the forest industry is still a booming business in this area and is actually growing.  For example, we are expecting a growth in some new lumber mills that will produce wood pellets that will be in high demand in Europe where they are strongly encouraging a reduced carbon output by reducing their dependency on oil, coal, and gas for energy.  Wood pellets will be one of the major options to replace fuel, and we will be working to supply that demand.  The boys and I enjoyed seeing all the neat equipment and demonstrations at this event.  Eddie also lined up some yummy food options to feed the crowd.  He had lined up several great food trucks from the area.  He was disappointed on Friday when two of the food trucks from very reputable restaurants in Raleigh did not show up.  They didn't call or e-mail.  I thought this was a terrible business practice, and Eddie was stressed out trying to figure out how to feed the crowd.  The options he had on Friday stepped up and were very pleased with the amount of business they received supplying the food.  On Saturday when the crowd doubled in size, Eddie arranged for the Association to sell additional food options, including barbecue sandwiches and pizza, and again there was plenty of food options for the crowds with no complaints from the food vendors who made a lot of money for the day.  All in all, I was very proud of how well Eddie's first big expo went and was impressed with how well it was all organized and set up.      

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John Deere, along with Tigercat and Caterpillar, make up the big 3 who do the largest presentation and demonstrations.  
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The boys heading to watch Caterpillar's big demonstration.  The big red equipment picture actually holds the tree and cuts it off right at the ground and picks the whole tree up and carries it.  We saw one of these in action. 

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The boys enjoyed playing with some Caterpillar toys under the tent in the shade.  In past years, they had a big sand box for kids, but for some reason, they didn't do that this year.  My kids were a little disappointed. 

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Mattox checking out the trucks.  I usually boycott the camouflage for my babies because I think they should dress in prettier clothes while they are young, but I made an exception for this event.  

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Caterpillar had a big chipper on site and was chipping some hardwood trees.  In our area, hardwood trees do not grow very well or make very good lumber so they are usually used for chips and sawdust.  Pine grows best in our state and is usually what is planted for optimal growth and profit. 
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Tigercat is another of the big 3, and they had a lot of big equipment at the show.  I liked their sign and display. 

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The week before the show, the boys and I went with Daddy to the site to watch them getting ready.  Mostly, we watched the big equipment being delivered that day.  The boys sat on some of the Tigercat equipment.
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We watched some of the hardwood trees being cleared from Tigercat's part of the site.  You can see the cutter carrying the whole tree over to the pile.  There is an old barn that is going to be torn down.  I have put in a request to Eddie to procure me some of the old barn wood for a little project.  He has yet to come through. 

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My forester at work.  I just liked these shots of Eddie. 
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These boys enjoyed the food at the expo on Friday.  One of the places Eddie had lined up was a great barbecue restaurant we have recently tried and loved.  It specializes in Memphis, TN style barbecue. 
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Oh look, we even got the first pumpkin pictures of the season.  I would say this was a good kick off to the Fall season.  Now, we are looking forward to spending the first week of Fall in the mountains.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Big 35!

35!  Yikes!  When did that happen?  It feels like the big 4-0 is really sneaking up on me fast now.  Oh well, 35 is the new 25, right?  Right?  Come on, please agree with me here.  Oh well, my husband and kids did a good job celebrating me, and I know I am a lucky lady to be so loved.  I am always thankful that my birthday falls around a long holiday weekend which usually doesn't involve any major requirements to celebrate.  Labor Day may just be my favorite holiday.  Haha!  My birthday (and my birthday twin blogger Natalie's too) fell on Saturday this year.  It has been a rainy, cloudy September so far, and my birthday weekend was not an exception.  We just enjoyed a very relaxing, low key weekend together.  The boys took me to our now traditional birthday feast at The Cheesecake Factory.  Since it was on a Saturday and their busiest time, we decided to try eating outside since we could be seated right away.  Luckily, the rain held off, and it was cool and pleasant for outside dining.  It just started to drizzle when we finished our meal, but we had decided to just buy a whole cheesecake and take it home with us.  I think that was a perfect plan so we may replicate that next year.

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I left Mattie's birthday banner up, and my sweet husband bought me some pretty birthday flowers. They were lovely and lasted a long time, but they didn't smell the best. 

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And a birthday balloon which has me seriously wanting a margarita which I have not gotten yet.  Sigh. 

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Nope, still haven't gotten my adult beverage. 

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Pretty flowers with some blooms not yet open.  

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Since I didn't get my cake at the restaurant, my multi-talented husband plated my cake like they do at the restaurant and wrote my name in chocolate sauce.  Ha!  Yep, he even put a Godiva chocolate on top.  

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Yep, you know what kind of cake I picked.  I think the boys all thought it was way too sweet. 

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No, I wouldn't let them inundate my beautiful cake with 35 candles. 

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Me and my sweet little birthday gifts.  No picture with the husband though.  Boo!

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Caught blowing out the candle.  

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Mattox was wondering where his cake was. 
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My boys digging in!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mattox's 6th Month

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{Taken Thursday, September 3, 2015}

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{Tuesday, August 4, 2015}

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{Taken Tuesday, August 11, 2015}

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{Taken Tuesday, August 18, 2015}

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{Taken Tuesday, September 1, 2015}

What a big month for you!  Sitting up, rolling over more, playing with your toys, getting teeth, and eating lots of yummy food has really made this an awesome month for you.  We are so proud of our big, healthy, happy little boy!  

Size:  Even though I am a week late writing this post, you still haven't been to the doctor for your six month check up.  Bad Mommy!  Since we know that on August 13th you weighed an astounding 15 lbs. 13 oz. (30th percentile), we expect you are closing in on or have surpassed the 17 lb. marker and are above the 30th percentile now.  Big brother Brody weighed 17 lbs. 13 oz. at this age and was in the 69th percentile.  You have officially moved up to size 3 diapers, and I cleared your drawers and closet of all the 0 to 3 month and most of the 3 to 6 month clothes.  I only left a few light warm weather clothes to last you these last few weeks of Summer.  Most of your Fall wardrobe consists of 6 to 9 month clothes.  

Developmental Accomplishments:  You are still very happy and give us lots of big baby grins and giggles.  You have also been cooing and making baby talk a lot more, and it sounds like you will have a lot to say.  You have been rolling over onto your tummy since last month, and just this last week you really started being able to sit up on your own for very extended periods of time.  Before that, you were able to do so for only about 10 seconds.  The neurosurgeon at Chapel Hill was not worried at all about torticollis and was not really concerned about your larger than average head size that really grew a lot in the last couple of months putting you in the 90th percentile for head size.  Your head felt normal to him and is still following a good growth curve.  You definitely have mommy's head shape which is wider on the sides.  I say that is to accommodate our very large brains.  Haha!  Your favorite toys now are these little soft rattles that were your big brothers' favorites too.  One is shaped like a sun with a smiley face and little silky tags around it and a mirror on one side.  You love seeing your face in the mirror.  Teeth - you have cut your two bottom teeth just this week!  They are both popping through and showing more and more every day.  You are now long enough to fully touch the bottom of your exersaucer and can turn yourself around to face whatever toys interest you.  I put you facing one side and within a few minutes you have worked your way around to the opposite side.  You sit in it and happily play for a long time.  I caught you putting your head down and almost falling asleep in there the other day.  

Sleeping:  You are back to basically sleeping all night.  Yesterday morning, you let me sleep until after 8:00!  Sometimes, we give you a little extra formula at bedtime and that seems to help you sleep longer.   This month, the reality hit me that you will probably be outgrowing your bassinet soon and be needing to sleep in your crib in your room.  We often wake up to find you sleeping with your little feet sticking up over the sides of the crib.  You are getting so long!  It makes me pretty anxious to think of putting you in your own room even though I have the Angelcare monitor system.  I just can't imagine not having you next to me at night.  Sigh.  Hopefully, Mommy's anxiety will lessen in the next couple of months.

Eating:  You are doing so great with eating and are still primarily breast fed.  You still average about 4 oz. at each feeding.  We were giving you a 4 oz bottle of breast milk with cereal and a 4 oz. bottle of formula with cereal a day in between direct breast feedings, but lately, you don't always want the formula bottle during the day although you will be hungrier at night and will supplement an additional 2 oz. of formula then before you go to bed.  You definitely don't spit up like you used to.  You are still loving eating solids and have really been doing well with every food you have tried.  Like with Brody, we are making your food and follow the Baby Bullet feeding system and guidelines which seem to work well.  You have now tried avocados, peas, squash, apples, pears, bananas, sweet potatoes, and peaches.  Peaches were on the Baby Bullet guides recommended list for 7 months, but I didn't see any reason to try them now while they were in season at our local grocery store from local growers.  You loved them!  We have just started mixing some oatmeal or rice cereal into your food to add some texture and thickness, and you love that too.  You definitely seem to prefer a thicker texture to your food.  We still do a fruit in the morning and a vegetable in the afternoon.  I have been thinking of adding a third feeding to get you on a breakfast, lunch and dinner schedule, but I am afraid that would keep you from drinking as much milk so I have been holding off.  So far, I haven't really seen any negative reactions to any food we've tried.  

Nicknames:  Mattox Pattox (Mommy's nicknames for your brothers are Evan Pevin and Brody Pody so yours goes with theirs); Matt Matt; Matt Patt; Matty Patty.  Also, we call you "Squealie Pig" because you love to shriek and squeal really loud, sometimes happily and sometimes when you want to get our attention.  I love my little squealie pig!  

Here are some of your cute pictures from this month.  I just love taking pictures of you!  

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I love those big smiles! 
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Sweet silly boy! 

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Of course, I had to get pictures wearing his little hat.  He doesn't wear hats unless we are going to be in the sun a lot. 

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We also tried pictures in the chair in our room, but he wasn't quite ready to sit up yet. 

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Trying some pictures in his crib that he doesn't use yet. 

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Looking just like Daddy wearing his outfit!
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I love seeing all of my boys wearing the same outfit.  Thanks, Grandma, for saving this one! 

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For posing, I usually just go with whatever he likes now.  Obviously, he likes being on his tummy so those make the best shots. 

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I thought he just looked like such a little man in his polo shirt and plaid shorts so I gave him his toy hammer as a prop.  He'll be quite the handyman someday. 

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I could not resist trying this new outfit on him.  I mean, how could I wait a whole year for him to wear this cuteness?  It is a 12 month outfit, but it really didn't look that much too big on him.  These outfits are made to be a little loose.  I just hope he can still wear it next summer.  The other new smocked outfit we got him was 18 months. 
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He sat up by himself for some of these. 

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I thought the doggy on his outfit called for pictures with his doggy.  I would have used the real dog, but she is still a bit too crazy.  I bought this stuffed chocolate lab for Eddie on our first trip to NYC because he always dreamed of having a chocolate lab.  He didn't get the real one until last year, of course. 
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Big brother Brody has really come a long way in showing you love.  He asked to push you in the swings at the park.  He is sneaky about expressing his affection though.  He sneaks you little hugs and kisses while you are watching him play games on the computer and shows his love in cute little ways.  Just this morning, we awoke to find your little elephant stuffed toy tucked into the foot of your bassinet.  No one else could have put it there in the wee hours of the morning except your big brother Brody.  He didn't deny it when we asked him about it.  He obviously wanted you to have your little toy to sleep with.  
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I am a fat happy baby after I eat my food, and sometimes, I don't want to give up the spoon.  No, I am not naked in the middle picture although I know it looks like it.  

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I just loved the way you looked outside one evening at big brother's soccer practice.  Your eyes just sparkled and you were giving me these cute looks. 

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Evan is more outwardly affectionate and loves to hold you.  He thought it was fun to put you on his chest one evening before bedtime. 

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Like big brother Brody, you love your exersaucer entertainer.  You can now move around to all the different toys.  I usually put you on the side with the little giraffe and pandas, and you will quickly turn until you are facing the little bird on the opposite side.  You love all your little "friends." 
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Talking to your lion puppet and looking so grown up. 
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We are getting you ready for soccer a bit early, but you enjoy cheering for your brothers at their games.  Apparently, it does tire you out though!  
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This is the last month of the year we will be enjoying our neighborhood pool.  You love the water as long as it isn't too chilly. 

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Mommy just loves you! 
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I wanted to do a comparison of all three boys riding in the laundry basket because I know I did this with all of them.  I mean how else do you do laundry and care for a baby?  Mattox wasn't very happy with his ride.  I could not seem to find the picture of Brody for this one which upsets me of course.  I swear I took his picture like this.  Sigh. 


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