Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bennett the Elf

Although Christmas is over for this year, I need to share one more story from this Christmas season that I have not taken the time to do. The story is that of Bennett the Elf.

From the start of December, Blake and Hallie had been telling us that they needed to set out some crackers, pretzels, candy canes, and a letter so that Santa Claus would send an elf to live at our house during the month of December. After a week or so of not knowing what they were talking about, we finally were able to get the official scoop. Apparently, a kid can write a letter to Santa asking him to send an elf to live at their house in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Once the elf arrives from the north pole, he comes to life every night while everyone is sleeping and does little things. Sometimes, he may do nice things for the kids or he may do mischievous things. You just never know. The kids then wake up in the morning and search for what the elf has done.
We decided to let the kids write a letter to Santa and our elf, named Bennett, arrived. Here are a few things that he has done. The first night out, he replaced all of the stockings with everyone's socks. After that, he made cookies for the kids, decorated the tree with underwear, led the kids on a scavenger hunt, gave the kids a gift, built things with toy blocks, and decorated the tree to look like Yoda, from Star Wars. (Blake loved that one.)

All in all, the kids had a lot of fun with Bennett and are hoping he will show up next year. We told them that we will have to see if Santa can spare him again during his busiest time of the year. Hallie's response was, "Of course Santa will let him because he is not a real elf. Bennett is a toy elf that comes to life at night. There is a difference."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas with the Echols

Well, Christmas is over and Santa got a work-out bringing gifts into our house and filling stockings for 9 people. It is a good thing that we have two chimneys into our house. Both Jaime's parents and my mother spent Christmas night with us.

We were expecting to be up at the crack of dawn, since 4:00 a.m. is usually the kids Christmas Day wake-up time, however at 6:30 we started to hear some people moving upstairs. Shortly after, little feet came running down the stairs to check out their loot. We held Blake and Hallie up to wait on everyone else. Once everyone was ready, we turned the tornado loose and they went running into the living and they all began pointing out what they had gotten in unisom. Blake had a Nintendo Wii, some Legos, a Haunted Mansion "Clue" game, and a few other little things. Hallie had a teddy bear dressed like a princess, a giant doll, a Disney Scene It game, and some other things. Andrew and Daniel ended up with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Little Einsteins Rocket, both complete with all of the figures, a Tigger game, and stuffed animals of Pooh and Tigger. They were all pretty excited, but couldn't wait until it was time to open the presents under the tree.

After breakfast and the rest of family arriving, it was time to begin the present opening. Wrapping paper flew in every direction. The kids unwrapped all of their gifts and then began to try and open the packaging so they could get down to playing with their new toys. Eventually, everything was opened, every game was played, and every box was carried to the garage, but the playing is still continuing today. This reminds me that I need to end this and go play the Nintendo Wii. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Looking out for one another

Being twins, Andrew and Daniel spend a lot of time together. They are in the same school class, the sleep in the same room, and usually, at home, if you are looking for one, the other is close by. A couple weeks ago, we had put up our Christmas tree. The next day, me, Andrew and Daniel were home by ourselves, so we decided to wrap some presents for Jaime, Blake, and Hallie. When we were done we put them under the tree and I started to do some other things around the house. About 30 minutes later, I hear the sound of paper ripping. I run in the family room, and see Daniel sitting under the tree with all three presents unwrapped. Needless to say, he was in trouble. I spanked his bottom, on the spot, and right in front of Andrew, who was watching the whole thing, and told them, "Do not touch the presents". Daniel cried and Andrew was really un-nerved about the whole thing. I think that is when they made a pact. I'll explain.

The next week, I had them alone at home again. I had sat them at the table to eat lunch. I gave them their pizza and told them to stay in their chair and eat their food. As with the previous week, I got up to do some things around the house. I finished upstairs and began to walk down the stairs. Daniel heard the sound of me walking and said, "Andrew! Daddy's coming!!" After that, I heard little footsteps go running across the floor and the chair being slid across the kitchen floor. As I turned to go down the last few stairs, where I can see the table, I see Andrew climbing into his chair. I ask, "What are you doing?". He looks up at me with a nervous smile and says, "Eating pizza.?.?." I replied, "That is what you should be doing". I never did find out what he was doing and it may not have been anything, but it was not what he was told to do, so he was trying to hide it. I knew the day was coming when they would start to try and do things without me knowing, but I didn't figure that it would be 2 years old. When I was a kid, I knew that I needed a lookout if I was doing something that I shouldn't, so I guess they figured it out too.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Blake the Egyptian and Hallie's solo

This week both Blake and Hallie had their programs at school. Thursday night, Blake was an Egyptian in the schools program of "Feeling Good". Blake's class talked about all the different parts of the Food Pyramid, hence the Egyptians. Blake had a speaking part and he did a very good job, singing and dancing like an Egyptian. Thanks to Bidee for sewing Blake's costume so fast. (Please be kind in you comments, I did the beading on the collar. ) After multiple hot gun burns, this was what we ended up with, and Blake was so proud. Below are the pictures from Thursday..

Today was Hallie's school program and she has a solo this year. She sang the verses to Mary had a Baby and the rest of the school answered her as she sang. She did a very good job and was very excited to get to sing in the microphone. She was not nervous at all and we were very proud. Chase always puts on a great Christmas program and this year was now different. At the end was a slideshow of the kids in Helena dressed in old fashioned clothes. They had taken the pictures in Black and White and then tinted in color. I will post some when I get the actual pictures. It was a great day.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The White House

Hi. It's Chad. I was in Washington, D.C., this past week for a training class. On Wednesday morning, I skipped out on training and went to take a tour of the White House. It was extremely cool. That evening, I called home and told Jaime about it. Hallie wanted to talk on the phone to me, so I began to tell her about it. Her response was, "That was cool. Did you see George Washington?" I told her that I did not, but I did see his picture. Blake was next to talk. I told him about going to the President's house. He wasn't quite as impressed at first. In an attempt to build him up to my excitement level, I told him that the President has his own movie theater and bowling alley in his house. He perked up at that point with an excited "Really?!?!" I then told him about the swimming pool, basketball court and tennis courts. Blake couldn't believe his ears and was amazed that someone could have all of those cool things in their house. Thinking of the best thing ever, in his mind, to have at your house, he then asked, "Daddy, does the President have his own McDonalds in his house?" After I quit laughing, I said, "No, but if the President wants McDonalds to eat, someone would bring him McDonalds." I guess even though you may have 5 star expertly trained culinary chefs at your service, there is no remedy for a Big Mac Attack.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Baking cakes

I have been baking cakes for about 25 years. When I was in 3rd or 4th grade I had a surprise Anniversary party for my parents, where I baked and frosted two cakes (from scratch) while Mom and Dad were not at home. I like to bake and have been doing it forever. Then this weekend, the kids and I decided to bake a Checkerboard Cake for Mom's birthday, again I have baked this cake before with no problems. I decided to do a cooked chocolate frosting, which is very simple, again something I have done before. Below you will see the results of my cake baking adventure. Let's just say, nothing worked right this weekend.

It tasted great, but that was about it. At this point, I gave up frosting the rest of it and we just ate it as it was. Oh, well.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Chad vs. Hallie

Hi everyone. It is Chad. Hallie finished soccer a couple of weeks ago. After we had gotten home, she was a little upset that she had not scored a goal in any of the games this year. It definitely wasn't for lack of trying. She worked really hard to score a goal, but just couldn't do it. She came really close in the final game, but missed the net. Since she was upset, I had told her that next year, she would most likely score lots of goals because she would be older. I went on to say that when you get older, you get stronger and faster, so you will be able to kick the ball harder and run faster. She thought on this for a second and then replied, "Daddy, that can't be right because I am way faster than you." I told her, "No, you are not." She went on to say that she was and she has beaten me in a race. After that, I did what any dignified dad would do. I told her that she was wrong and the next day that we were outside, I was going to race her and prove to her that she was not faster than me. Race day arrived this past weekend. We were outside playing and I reminded her about our race. We lined up. Hallie said, "On your mark, get set, go!" and the race was on. One thing to remember when racing someone in a sprint for a distance of 25-30 feet is that the jump out of the starting gate is crucial. Hallie was a littler faster out of the gate than I was ready for, but I am proud to say that I won the race. Yes!!! You heard me right. I am a slightly faster runner than a 5 year old girl.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Andrew and Daniel!

On the kids birthdays I have been writing about the day they were born, but for Andrew and Daniel I need to start the story a little earlier. Because their birth story is the same, I will write to both of them together, I will write individually to them later.

When Mommy was about 8 weeks pregnant, I went to the Doctor. Daddy stayed at work that day because we knew all they would do was tell me I was pregnant. Before I saw the Doctor, they did an ultrasound and as soon as they lady put the wand to my belly she asked me how many pregnancies I had in the past. I told her 2, one for Blake and one for Hallie. She then asked me if I knew I was having twins. I was shocked!!! I started laughing and crying all at the same time. I kept on saying, but I already have two babies, I can't believe I am having two more. She kept looking at the ultrasound and saying everything looked great. Daddy had been teasing me ever since I got pregnant that it was going to be twins because I was so sick and I was not sick with Blake and Hallie. So they walked me back to the room and I called Daddy. He answered the phone and I said "Guess what? We are having twins." Daddy started laughing and said he knew I would try to tell him that because he had been teasing me for so long. I told him again I was serious and he did not believe me. Finally the nurse walked in the room and asked me if I had told my husband yet, when Daddy heard that he said,"You are serious aren't you?"

I said yes and we both started laughing. We were very excited, but also a little scared. Two babies at once was going to be a lot of work and we were worried.

Once I left the Doctors office, Daddy and I decided to go ahead and call family and tell them the good news. I called Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Brian and Aunt Dawn and they were all very surprised and very excited. Daddy called Poppa and Bidee, Aunt Julie and Uncle Jeremy. They were very excited too. I drove around in my car for about 2 hours before I went back to work because I could not believe I had two babies in my tummy.

Before long it was time for you both to be born. We were watching the Alabama/Tennessee football game and I was having lots of contractions, we called the Doctor and he told us to go on in to the hospital and get checked. When we got there they told me I was in labor and would be in the hospital until you both were born. That night they gave me some medicine to try to get my labor to stop so you would not be born yet, but you both were ready to be here.

So, they next morning we called all of the family and told them you would be born today! They all came to the hospital to wait. At 4:17, Andrew was born. Andrew, you were small 4lbs, 5 oz, so they took you straight to the ICU and I did not get to hold you right away. Then at 4:22 Daniel, you were born. You were small too, 4 lbs, 1 oz, but you were doing a little better so I got to look at you for a minute before you went to ICU. I was so ready to see and hold you both, but because you were so small I couldn't right away. Daddy and I went down the hall to see you about 11:00 that night. Andrew, we walked up to your crib and you looked just like Blake when he was a baby. You had brown hair instead of red, but you looked just like Blake. We walked over to your crib Daniel and we were so surprised. You didn't look like Blake or Hallie, but you did look just like your Daddy!

Andrew, when I first held you I could not believe how small you were. We had so much special time when you were still at the hospital. I would sit between you and Daniel all day long and alternate holding you and watching you. You came home when you were 3 weeks old and we were so excited. Blake and Hallie had not seen you yet and they wanted to hold you all night long. For the first two weeks you were home we went back and forth to the hospital several times a day to see Daniel and we had lots of special time together.

Daniel, when I first held you, I could not believe how much you looked like your Daddy. You were small too and so handsome. You had to stay at the hospital two more weeks after Andrew went home, but we came to visit you several times a day. I got to give you bottles and give you baths. We missed you so much when we went home at night, but before long you came home as well. Daddy, Andrew and I came to the hospital to pick you up and we were so happy to have you both in the car with us.

Here is a picture of you both on the day Daniel came home from the hospital. You were 5 weeks old and Blake and Hallie were so happy.

Andrew, you are such a wonderful boy. You are so happy and you love to cuddle and be held close. I love to sit and hold you as we talk or sing. I am so proud of all that you do, you love to play ball and you surprise me every day with the new words or songs that you know. I hope you have a wonderful, happy birthday and Daddy and I love you so much!

Daniel, your smile lights up the room. You show every emotion on your face and when you are happy the whole world knows. You don't sit still often, but when you do I love to watch Tigger and Pooh with you. You are such a big helper, I love it when you help me do laundry or load the dishwasher. I am so proud of you and all of the new things you are learning ever day. I hope you have a great birthday and Daddy and I love you so much!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Hi everyone. It is Chad. As you probably can tell from the previous blogs, we all had a great time at Disney. One of my favorite parts, and I know Blake's too, was riding the rides. We basically rode everything we could and wanted. All of the kids showed a ton of courage to get on some of the giant rides and loved them. Blake and Hunter even braved the Tower of Terror with me and Jaime. Blake loved it, but it was definitely not Hunter's favorite. He did show more courage than his parents, who chickened out. (Just kidding Ed and Sallie.) Blake says that the Tower of Terror and Expedition Everest were his two favorite rides. I would have to agree.

The most favorite ride of all the kids was Splash Mountain. We ended up riding that about 3 or 4 times and we got wet every time. Soarin' was also a highlight. For those who don't know what that ride is, you are raised up in a row of seats to be looking at a giant movie screen. Then the movie starts and you are flying over California. The seats glide with you as you are flying and you feel the mist of waterfalls, smell the orange groves, and all sorts of things. All of us were amazed with this ride, but probably none as much as Hallie, who asked me, "Daddy, are we still in Disney World?" She really thought we had flown away.

The 3-D things were a little too real for Hallie. She loved the Muppets and was amazed at parts of Mickey's PhilharMagic, but the Bug's Life show scared her to no end. She was fine initially, but when the giant spider came on the screen and started throwing its deadly poisonous quills past our heads, she was ready to go. She sat in my lap with her eyes hid until it was over.

Another ride that everyone seemed to like, but it took a little time to get over it, was Dinosaur. It was a little intense and Hallie had to ride it with her head down. They take you picture as a big dinosaur is screaming in your face. We all looked a little scared, except for Hallie, who wasn't looking. After the ride, I asked Blake what he thought of it. He replied, "Whew. I thought that was real."

It was such a great fun trip that I could go on and on about all of the rides, but I will leave it here for now.

More Disney Pictures

Sallie has set up a photo album with a lot of the pictures they took when we were all at Disney. They are fabulous pictures. Here is a link to the album...


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Disney World

We are home and had a fantastic time!! There are so many stories to tell, I don't think I can write them all on the blog. The kids were wonderful, they had a great time and there was very little fussing the whole trip. Blake loved the rides, he rode every single one with his hands in the air. His favorites were Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest and Splash Mountain. Hallie rode everything she was big enough to ride, she loved Splash Mountain, the Goofy roller coaster and meeting all of the characters.
The lines were not bad at all, we did not have to Fast Pass many rides and were able to walk on lots of them. Some of the highlights of the trip were many, many, many knock-knock jokes told by Hunter, Blake, Brantley and Hallie. Everytime were were still for a minute, more jokes were created. Very few made sense, but they had a great time.

Another highlight was the fabulous food we ate. We had a fancy dinner at a Steakhouse and all of the kids were fantastic. They behaved very well, ate all their dinner, and stayed up way past their bedtime and never complained. We also ate at the Whispering Canyon Cafe, it was so much fun! The kids got to be loud and silly and no one cared. They got to yell for ketchup and everyone is the resturant brought their ketchup to our table. Then they got to bring our ketchup to someone else's table when they called for it. We celebrate Hallie and Brantley's birthday on several different days, and on the last night both got birthday cakes.

Too many stories to tell, I'll post more of them later, but here are some of the pictures.
The girls at their birthday dinner...

The boys on a Star Wars speeder..

Hallie with Snow White..

Blake with Goofy...

All of us at dinner...

More pictures and stories to come!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Walt Disney Day 1

I'm not going to post much, we are all anxious to get back to the parks this morning. We are having a great time and all of the kids have been fantastic. Here are some of the highlights from day 1.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

7 Minutes

When was the last time you got into an "yes it is"/"no it is not" argument with a kid? For me, it would be very recently. We were on the way home the other night, when Hallie asked how much longer until we get home? It was about seven minutes so I told her so. She then replied that seven minutes was a long time. My immediate response was "no it is not". She said, "Yes it is". I said "No it is not". You can see where this is going. Over and over we repeated our statement. I even tried the old Bugs Bunny sneak tactic by saying "yes it is", hoping that she would say "no it is not" so that the game could end, but Hallie was too smart for that. She thought that I had gotten confused and said the wrong thing, so she corrected me.

Seven minutes later, as we were pulling into the garage, I finally get the last word in with a resounding "no it is not", however Hallie had made her point, whether she knew it or not. The point that she made was that seven minutes IS a long time, especially when you are continually saying, "no it is not".

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Our 5 Year Old Soccer Coach

Hallie has started playing soccer this year. She has had a couple games and is doing really well and enjoying it. After each game, she always asks if we won. The league that she plays in does not officially keep score, but knowing that she wants to know if we win, I keep score. After the first game, she asked and I explained to her that we had lost. She was a little upset, but said that we would win the next one. A couple days later, on the way to school, she asked me if they would win their next soccer game. I told her that I hoped so. Then, in a very strong coach voice, she asked, "Do you want us to lose?" I said no. Then she said, "You want us to win, Right?" I said yes and then it began. She launched into an inspirational coach locker room speech that would rival the greatest coaches ever. "Well, then we need to run fast. We have to run fast and kick the ball hard. We have to kick it so hard that no one can stop it and we have to kick it in the net. If the other team gets the ball, we have to chase them down, kick it away from them and kick it into the net. We can't let them score. We will score all of the goals and they won't score any. We are going to win this week because we are the best." After that, I was fired up. I wanted to go an play some ball right then. Unfortunately, we lost the next game too, but Hallie played even better the second week and tried really hard. She even kicked the ball out of the pile of kids a couple of times and started to kick it toward the goal. We will get that win sometime.

Here are a couple of pictures of the little soccer dynamo in action.

Monday, September 17, 2007


I know I have a lot to catch up on after Hallie's birthday week, but I have to share this story while it is still fresh on my mind.

Last night about 3 am, we woke up to Andrew screaming. He usually cries out about once a night and we just let him go back to sleep, but last night he kept crying and crying. So I went upstairs to try and calm him down. When I got up there, he had taken both his shorts and his diapers off. I found the diaper and it was dry, so I thought we were okay. I took him downstairs to get another diaper and when I turned on the light, I found that he had dried poop all over him. It was in his hair, on his face, all over his legs and pajamas and all over his bear he sleeps with. So while Chad goes to change the sheets and put the dirty ones in the wash, I have to run bath water and bathe him at 3 am. In the middle of this, Blake comes down and says he can't sleep because of all the noise. We finally get Andrew bathed and dried off and back in bed (where he screams for another 15 minutes until he falls asleep). Amazingly Daniel stayed asleep through all of this. After Chad and I trying to go back to sleep for about 45 minutes, we finally fall back asleep, and Blake comes back downstairs and says he is not tired anymore. I convince him to go back to sleep and when I wake up this morning, he is asleep on the floor next to my bed, with only one little pillow and no blanket! He is lucky I looked down before I stepped out of bed, because that would have been a big surprise for both of us!

Happy Monday!!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Hallie!

Today is Hallie's 5th birthday. I know I have a lot of blogging to catch up with, and hopefully in the next couple of days I can catch up, but since today is Hallie's birthday, I want to write about the day she was born.


When Daddy and I found out we were having another baby, we were so excited.. Mommy was hoping for a baby girl, so the day we went to find out if you were a boy or girl, Blake came with us and when the told us you were going to be a girl I started crying. I was so happy. Daddy and I decorated your whole room in pink and white. Daddy even painted pink and white flowers on the walls of your room, so when it was time for you to be born, you could come home to your own beautiful room.

Mommy had been to the Doctor several times the week before you were born, and even spent the night in the hospital one night, because we knew you were coming. The night before you were born, I cleaned the whole house and then Daddy and I walked and walked and walked around the mall, hoping it would make you come sooner. The next morning I went to the Doctor and he said, "Are you ready to have your baby today?" And I said "Yes!". I called Daddy and he headed to the hospital to meet me. I called Grandma and Grandpa and they got on a plane from Charlotte so they could be here when you were born. Daddy called Poppa and Bidee and they went and got Blake from school to bring him to the hospital so he could be there too.

We waited all day and then about 5 o'clock at night, the Doctor told me it was time for you to be born. Then at 5:30 you were here. Daddy and I were so excited. You were beautiful. Daddy went to the waiting room and told everyone you were here. He went and got Blake and Blake was the 1st one to see you. He was very proud of you. Everyone else came into the room and they could not wait to hold you. Grandma and Grandpa were there, Poppa and Bidee were there, so were Uncle Brian and Aunt Dawn and Aunt Julie and Uncle Jeremy. (Sorry Jeremy for leaving you out! ) That very night, you started talking to us. You were making the cutest noises as we held you.

Daddy and I love you so much Hallie. You are a very special girl. You love everything you do and have so much excitement about everything. You want to learn and grow so fast and you are doing that everyday. We hope you have a wonderful 5th birthday.

Here is a picture of you this morning with the big vase of flowers Daddy wanted us to give you on your birthday.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Yesterday Hallie and her friend Brantley started gymnastics. They had a fantastic time last night. There were about 50 girls in the gym at the same time on all of the different equipment, so it sometimes was hard for Hallie to focus but she did a really good job. They did 15 minutes on the floor, bar, beam and vault. Hallie was one of the smallest in the class, but she held her own. I think the girls are really going to enjoy it. They were busy the whole time and got to use all of the equipment. Hallie's favorite yesterday was the beam, I imagine that her favorite will be different every week. Here are some pictures of Hallie on the beam.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Shopping with Hallie

It isn't often that we all venture out to the mall together, but when we do, you can count on Hallie to keep it from being another dull shopping trip. Last weekend, we all headed to the mall to shop for some clothes for Jaime, which is even more rare. As we came off the elevator and walked past the lingerie section, there were two full mannequins in their underwear. Hallie walks right up to them, tilts her hips and head back, points at them with both index fingers, and says, "Looking good ladies". Jaime and I started laughing hysterically. Of course, that led to her saying it to every other mannequin in the store.

Well, this spot in the store has gotten Hallie's comments more than once. Several months ago, we were walking through the same store and Hallie spots a pair of leopard print underwear. She picks them up and tells Jaime that they look awesome and she should buy a pair. She then tells Jaime, "Mommy, if you had these, you could be just like a tiger. ROARRRRR!!!!!!" Jaime looked to get my reaction and I simply replied, "ROARRRRR". It was hilarious.

Later into the same shopping trip last weekend, Blake and Hallie decided that they wanted to go to the Disney Store. We say no because we knew they will want to buy something and we didn't want to have to drag crying kids out of the store. After much begging and promising that they will not ask to buy anything, we give in. As you know with everything Disney, customer service is top notch. The moment we walk in, a Disney employee walks up to us, with a big smile, and asks if she could help us today. The moment that those words left her mouth, Hallie looks up at her and says, "We aren't buying anything today. We are just looking". The employee was a little surprised, but thought it was funny. Of course, we were dying laughing and proud that she kept to her word. Blake did too. Neither asked for anything in the store.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

1st Day of School

Today was Blake's first day of second grade at his new school. He was so excited he got up at 5:30 this morning ready to go. I had to drop him off at 7:15 (as soon as they opened) because he couldn't wait to get there. When I picked him up, he said he had a great day. He likes his class and really likes his teacher. He already knew 3 boys in his class from Cub Scouts and 1 girl from church. Another one of his friends from Cub Scouts is in after school care with him, which is wonderful, because he already has a friend in after school care too! He has finished his homework already and I know he will sleep good tonight.

Here is a picture of him this morning. You can tell, he was not very patient as I took his picture.

Yesterday was Hallie's first day of 5k. The first day of summer care this summer she started asking her teacher when lessons began and has asked every day since the beginning of July. So yesterday she was beyond excited when she finally got to start her lessons. Here is a picture of her yesterday, she had to wear special clothes on the first day.

And not to leave anyone out, here are some pictures of the boys playing outside this weekend. Normally they just play with the water in the buckets, but it was too hot, so they just got in the buckets! You can tell by the pictures that Daniel was the one who came up with the idea. Andrew just followed along and I'm not sure he really enjoyed it!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

. . . Take me out to the crowd. Buy me some nachos and a giant foam finger. Well that is how our version went. Blake and I went to his first major league baseball game on Tuesday night. That is one of the best father-son moments. We saw the Atlanta Braves put a whipping on the Houston Astros, 12-4, and had a blast. We got there early and was able to meet and get autographs from several of the Astros players. Two of the players that we met were centerfielder, Hunter Pence, and third basemen, Ty Wigginton. What nice guys. When we finally made it into the stadium we played a little homerun derby on an xbox 360, watched batting practice (almost caught a homerun ball), bought our foam finger, and headed to the Sky Field for a little fun. In the Sky Field, we were able to look out over the city and Blake was able to run down the base path.
After that, we got our pizza and drinks we settled into our seats at the very last row in the upper deck. When the game began, we joined in with the crowd. Although the Braves and Astros are my two favorites teams and I was unsure who to cheer for, Blake decided that we would cheer for the Braves and we cheered as loud as we could. Blake would even put on a dancing exhibition for the people in our section in between each inning. We were able to see the Braves belt 4 home runs and after a great and loud rendition of take me out to the ballgame, we headed to eat the second greatest stadium food. That is nachos for all of you amateur baseball fans. Blake played a little in Tooner Field, which is the kids play area, and then we watched the final 3 outs and the fireworks. We had a great time.
As fun as that was, there is one thing better than going to a baseball game and that is going to two baseball games. Tonight, we went to the Birmingham Barons game. Although the twins were determined to run all of the ballpark, we had a good time. Thank goodness for 25 cent hotdog nights. Blake and Hallie sat with their friends, Hunter, Brantley, Brandon, and Caleb, and cheered for the Barons. Hallie put on the foam finger and started chanting, "We're #1." Later the cheer turned to "Go Barons" and then "Biscuits are rotten", which I must give Blake the credit for coming up with that cheer. (The Barons were playing the Montgomery Biscuits.) They all had fun watching the game and eating their hotdogs, nachos, slushies, etc. Daniel sums up the night best as he says, "Baseball is #1."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Poo-Poo in the Potty and The " Tooter"

Yesterday was a very exciting day at our house. Hallie always gets "prizes" at school for good behavior and for napping and yesterday she got into the car and said, "Mommy, I got a tooter today at school". I said "A what?". I thought she meant a tutor and I could not figure out why she needed a tutor for something in 5k. She said " A Tooter, Mommy", the she held up a whoopee cushion and all of a sudden it made sense. All night long she talked about her "Tooter"!

On that same note (not to gross anyone out), Daniel was in the bathtub last night and he started to say Potty, Potty, Potty, so I took him out of the bathtub and set him on the potty and he went poo-poo in the potty!!! We were so excited, both Chad and I started yelling and clapping. He acted very nonchalant like this was an everyday occurrence. He wiped himself and we put him back in the bathtub, of course as soon as we did he pee-peed in the tub, but we have made the first step!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Echols Family Musical

Hi everyone. It is Chad again. Have you ever heard anyone say that they have a hard time watching musicals because people don't break into song in real life? Well that person has never spent anytime at our home. It is not uncommon to hear someone burst into song when going from room to room. It is usually Blake and Hallie singing because Jaime and I reserve our songs to each other when no one is listening. My love, there's only you in my life . . . Sorry about that. That is for later. Anyway back to Blake and Hallie. Today I asked Blake to wake up Hallie from her nap and he began singing a song about how he was going to wake her up and then kept singing his attempts to do it. One of the better songs in the Echols Family Musical occurred this week in the car on the way home. Blake had loaned a toy to a friend at school and she had lost it. He was upset and mad at his friend for losing it. We were having a discussion about how it is okay to be upset when something is lost, but it isn't worth losing your friends over it. Blake then asked, "what if someone lost Hallie?" I said that no one would lose Hallie. He asked, "What if someone lost me?" Before I could answer, Hallie began singing and Blake answered her in song and it went on for a bit. Here is what it sounded like:

Hallie: If you got lost, I would come and find you.
Blake: But what if I was super far away?
Hallie: I would drive a car and I would find you.
Blake: But you can't drive a car.
Hallie: Then I would wait until I was 16 and then I would have my driver's license and I could find you.
Blake: But what if I was in a bear cave?
Hallie: You could call me on a cell phone and then I would know where you were.
Blake: But what if the bear ate my cell phone?
Hallie: Then you could send me a map and I could find you.
Blake: But what if I didn't have a map? I'd be lost forever.
Hallie: Yep! You'd be lost forever.

And then the song ended. I reckon that not all musicals are comedies, although I was laughing my head off.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Blake's Birthday and the 4th

We had a fantastic weekend where we celebrated Blake's birthday all weekend. Blake decided he wanted to go to Laser Tag for his birthday, so we invited several of Blake's friends and their families to come play Laser Tag Friday night. We had a great time, it was fun for the adults and kids to run around a play together. We went to DQ afterwards and had dinner, cookie cake and ice cream.

Saturday, all of the family came over and we had dinner, cake and a birthday party for Blake. Again, we all had a great time. The babies loved all the attention and Blake wanted to play with all of his toys. He is the best present opener ever, he loves everything he gets, and gets so excited with every present.

Sunday we took a day off from birthday celebration, but on Monday I sent cupcakes to school for Blake and then we went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. Poppa and Bidee came over Monday night to wish Blake happy birthday and then the birthday celebration was finally over!!!:)

On the 4th, we went to Chad's aunts house and ate WONDERFUL BBQ and got to swim in the pool. Blake and Hallie always love to swim, they put on their life jackets and swim and swim. Andrew was really scared of the pool and would not get in, but Daniel got in and we had to fight to get him out of the pool. He loved to splash and play in the water. It is really strange, because Daniel hates the bathtub but Andrew loves it. I think they boys keep switching personalities, just to confuse me. We went to Poppa and Bidee's after swimming and got baths to get ready for school today. We had Andrew and Daniel out of the tub, with diapers and shirts on when they wandered into the bathroom where Blake was showering. Poppa decided Andrew wanted to get in the shower, so Andrew got into the shower with Blake, with shirt and diaper on. He had a great time, then Daniel had to get in too. They had a great time.

Maybe next year we will get to see fireworks. They are too late when we have school and work the next day. Hopefully next year the kids will be big enough to stay up to see the fireworks.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Happy Birthday Blake!

I have been thinking about what I would write on each of the kids birthday, and I realized I'm not sure if I have ever written down the details about the day each of the kids were born. So today, I will write about July 2nd.

It all started on Friday, 3 weeks before my due date. I rode MARTA into work that morning and was getting settled at my desk, ready to start the day. All of a sudden I needed to go to the bathroom (which was not unusual being 9 months pregnant), I won't share all the details about this part, but after going to the bathroom I realized that something was going on. I went back to my desk to call the Doctor and as I was talking to him on the phone, my water broke right in my chair. I ran to the bathroom and handed the phone to one of my co-workers. When I got back to my chair (with golf towels all in my dress), the doctor said it was time to head to the hospital. I called Daddy and he was at work so we decided he would meet me at the MARTA station where I left my car. One of my co-workers drove me to the MARTA station, where we could not find Daddy, we finally found him and Daddy and I headed to the hospital.

We got there and waited until noon, until there was finally a room for us at the hospital. They looked and me and decided that would be the day that you would be born. Daddy headed home to get our bags and everything we needed to stay at the hospital. While he headed home, he called Poppa and Bidee and they got into the car with Aunt Julie to head to Atlanta to be there when you were born. I called Grandma and Grandpa, and Grandma got into the car to get to Atlanta. Grandpa could not come that day, because he had to work.

Daddy got back to the hospital and after several hours it was finally time for you to be born. Grandma, Poppa, Bidee and Aunt Julie were in the waiting room and Daddy stayed with me. We were so surprised and so happy when they said , "It's a boy!". It was 8:31 pm. We had not decided on any names, because we did not know if you would be a boy or girl. So as soon as we saw you, Daddy said "How about Timothy Blake". I said that is perfect, and that is how we decided on your name. You were so beautiful, you had a head full of red hair, and pretty blue eyes. Daddy and I fell in love immediately. We couldn't stop looking at you, and everyone wanted to hold you at the same time. Grandma, Poppa, Bidee and Aunt Julie came in to see you and they were so excited to meet you.

After several hours, Daddy, Poppa, Bidee and Aunt Julie went back to our house to sleep and Grandma stayed at the hospital with me and you. Grandma got to feed you your first bottle. Mommy was too tired, so the nurses let Grandma do it. I will never forget laying in the hospital bed, watching you eat your first bottle, I was so proud.

We went home on the 4th of July and as we drove home, Mommy sat very close to you in the back seat, and we watched fireworks as we drove home. It was the perfect way to bring you home from the hospital.

Both Daddy's and my life changed that day Blake, we love you very, very much.

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New Home

We are finally in! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all that helped us move this weekend. I don't know what we would have done without everyone's help. Thank you to those who helped lift and carry, those who watched our kids and other kids so we could have help moving, and those who brought us food so we did not have to stop moving to worry about eating.

We are getting settled. The first night I don't think any of us slept well the first night, but every night after that has been better. We still have lots of boxes to unpack, but we are a good way through them. Andrew seems to have had the toughest time getting adjusted. I was most worried about Hallie being in her own room, but she has been fine. I laid with her the first night, just to get her to sleep, after that she has been great.

Daniel got in trouble at school yesterday. He was in time out a lot. Apparently a new little girl was in their class and she brought a baby doll with her. Daniel would take it from her every time she got close to him. I know Daniel loves baby dolls, he must take after his Dad! I have heard that Chad had a baby doll he loved when he was a child that he carried around. I'm glad he loves babies, but we need to learn about taking things from other people. I hope today was better.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Finally...a new post

I know it has been forever since I have posted, we have been very busy and I have not taken the time to write anything down. It has been a good few weeks. Chad and I had our 10th Anniversary on June 7th, we saw each other for about an hour on the 7th due to work and softball, but we took the 8th off and had a great day. We ate breakfast at Ranch House which is one of Chad's favorite places and then had a relaxing day, we went to the movies, looked at furniture and grocery shopped. It was nice to get it all done without the kids. It's hard to believe we have been married for 10 years, sometimes it feels like it was yesterday. I remember every detail of the day we got married, I was so excited and nervous. I cried the whole way down the aisle and through the whole service. I always cry at weddings, so it was only compounded on our day. I remember Chad being so happy. He smiled and smiled all day long. It was such a wonderful day. I am so blessed to have married such a wonderful man. He is a great husband and a fantastic father.

The big kids have had a fun couple of weeks, Blake has already been on many field trips with his school and Hallie is now in 5K and can't wait until the lessons start. On the second day of summer care, Hallie asked her teacher when the lessons start and she was very disappointed to hear that it would not be until August. Both kids have spent lots of time and both sets of grandparents houses. It has been great for us to have an opportunity to get the house packed.

The babies are good, they are growing so much every day. They love Little Einsteins and GO Baby on TV. Everyday they are saying a new word, we now say Elmo, outside and go baby. Hallie is LaLa and Blake is Blah.

We move on Saturday and we are very excited. There is a lot to do and I think today we have all of the new utilities turned on and all of the old ones turned off. I'll post more soon.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

DeSoto State Park

This post is about a week late, but I was waiting to get pictures developed before I posted. Last Friday, Blake and Hallie went camping with Uncle Brian and Aunt Dawn. They had a fantastic time. We sent cameras with the kids and below are some of the pictures they took.
I was going to post some pictures of Brian and Dawn with the kids, but the only pictures of them were in the tent in the middle of the night when Blake and Hallie were playing with the camera. I decided they probably would not want me to post them on the blog. Hallie informed us on Saturday that she slept "bare bodied" in the tent while camping and Brian and Dawn were quick to tell us that she did not sleep "bare bodied" but that Blake insisted on sleeping in his underwear, "just like his Daddy!". I think they all had a great time. Mom and Dad, Chad and I and the babies met them at DeSoto Saturday morning and we ate S'Mores at their campsite, had a wonderful picnic lunch Mom made and cooked for us. The kids were completely worn out after they played on the playground and swam with Chad in the river. Here are some pictures of all of us at the park.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Final Baseball Game

I am going to post pictures of the trip, there just has not been time to post them yet. I want to get them on the blog, I have run out of time. Saturday was Blake's last baseball game and I think all the boys had a good time. Blake likes to be on the team, but I don't think that baseball is his favorite thing. He likes hanging out with his friends, but when it comes to hitting or playing in the field he doesn't care much. Here are some pictures of Blake at the game.

Here are Blake, Hunter, Riley and Brandon.

Here are the girls !! Hallie, Brantley and Reagan

This is the last week of school, so all they are doing is playing and watching movies. Blake came home tonight and at the dinner table asked Chad to spell "I cup". Chad didn't understand and Blake asked Chad again to spell "I cup". Chad said "what?" and finally Blake said "Spell 'I cup' I-C-U-P (spell it outloud and you will get it!!:)) Blake and Hallie just laughed and laughed. Chad and I tried to keep a straight face and we ended up telling him he should not share that joke, but I had to share it with all of you!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Hallie's 4K Graduation

I know this info is about 2 weeks old, but this is the first chance I have had to blog about it. Hallie's graduation was the day before we left for our cruise, we were all still battling the stomach bug, but we had a great day. She was very excited and looked cute in her cap and gown. She was one of the 4k's that got to have her own part of the graduation. She said her "Z" blends for the whole audience. Each child received a special award and Hallie got the award for Best Manners. I'm glad she is polite at school, I wish some of that would translate to home!!!

She sang lots of songs with her class, they said their ABC's frontwards and backwards. They named all of their presidents and said lots of different pledges. Here is a picture of the whole family from graduation..

Here is Hallie with her diploma..

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Home Again

We are home from our cruise and had a wonderful time. I will post more stories and pictures throughout the week, but we had a fabulous time. The islands were beautiful and we relaxed the whole trip. As soon as the ship left the port in Ft. Lauderdale we both sighed a huge sigh of relief, we knew we were on our way. It was really easy to slip into the relaxed mode of the ship, we ate all day, swam, slept in the sun and shade and watched a bunch of movies on the movie screen above one of the pools. They played movies all day and then at night, you could watch a movie and eat popcorn while sitting on top of the ship. It was really cool.

On the house front, we do (finally) have a contract on a house in Russet Woods. We are very excited. It is going to be perfect for our family, Blake will have his own room and we all will have lots more space.

The kids did a great job while we were gone. I think Mom will probably sleep for 3 days once she gets home, but the kids managed really well. They were excited to see us and we had a fun night just playing and doing what they wanted to do. I'll post more about the trip later this week.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

New House

We think we have a house! We are really close to having a contract signed on a house in Russet Woods. We are very excited. Hopefully in the next day or so, we will know for sure if everything is going to work. We have a few more details to work out. I will update as soon as I know for sure.

Daniel is still sick, he is home with Mom again today. I am hoping he will be better enough to go to school tommorow. Andrew woke up last night with a 103 fever, he was without fever this morning, then this afternoon it has started again. I need everyone to get well! I am hoping that all this will be over on Saturday, and Chad and I can leave on our trip and not worry about the kids. It's going to be hard to leave them when they are sick, but we will go and have a great time.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Stomach Bug and House Update

When it rains, it pours. That's what it feels like at our house right now. In the middle of the night Thursday, we woke up to Daniel throwing up. He threw up every 15-20 minutes all Thursday night and most of the day Friday. We went to the doctor and it is just a stomach bug. But, as of today, he still is not eating hardly anything. The throwing up has stopped, but now it is coming out the other end and he can't eat anything. He is sleeping a lot and I am worried about him. Mom was supposed to go home today, but is staying for a few days, at least. Daniel will not be able to go to school tomorrow, so it will be great for us not to have to miss work. Hallie started throwing up last night, but is better today. She just has a weak stomach.

On the house front, we had the inspection on Friday and I think everything is good. We are going to need to fix a few things, but they were all expected. We spent all day Saturday looking at houses and only found one that is a possibility. We probably will make an offer today, but the offer may be too low. We really like the house, but we aren't going to pay full price for it. More updates later..

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another Quick Post

It has been so hard to make time to blog at all in the last couple of days. Okay, to catch everyone up, we have a signed contact on the house. I can't believe it! I never thought we would have gotten this far, this fast. We have the inspection on Friday and that should be our last big hurdle. But, we have to find a house fast. The buyer wants to close the end of May, but we wrote into the contract the end of June, just in case we can't find something. The goal is still the end of May, but we will see. We are going out on Saturday to look, I'm sure the right thing will be out there. Everyone is fine here. We had 18 month old checkups for the boys yesterday, they are 31 inches tall and 23 pounds each. They are getting so big! I'll try to post again with more news about the house.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Weekend

It has been a very crazy last few days, and I am just now sitting down to blog for a couple of minutes. Blake and I had a good time together on Thursday and Friday. We went shopping, went to Toys R Us, went to lunch. On Friday, Blake got to go to work with Bidee for a couple of hours. She and Ms Ginger took Blake to lunch, then they had a fun couple of hours playing while Blake was at work. While Blake was at work, I went shopping for cruise clothes and got several things I needed for our trip.

Also, on Friday, we had someone come look at our house. We were very excited. During Blake's baseball game Saturday morning (which he did great at, he hit the ball from the pitcher every time, did not have to use the Tee at all), we got a call and the person who looked at the house Friday is going to make us an offer. I am waiting now for the offer and am very nervous. We are really excited, but also anxious about finding a house for us in such a short time.

Blake went to Huntsville to spend Saturday night with Aunt Julie, he is not home yet but I know he had a great time. I'm ready to hear about all he did with Julie. Saturday night, I had a bridal shower to go to, and had a fantastic time. The food was great, the company was even better, and we got to celebrate with Leah as she is getting ready for her wedding.

I'll post more later, I hear the babies upstairs crying, they just woke up from nap!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Quick Post

This is going to be really quick, I have been working from home after work for about 2 hours and it is time for me to go spend some time with the family. Chad had to stay home with Daniel today, Chad took him to the Doctor and he has bronchitis. They put him on an antibiotic and even tonight he is feeling much better. Blake went the Barons game today with day care as a field trip, he could not tell us the score or who the Barons played, but he had a great time anyway. Andrew and Hallie are fine, normal days for them. I liked posting the old story about Hallie, I'll have to keep thinking and post some more old stories.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hallie's Fish

They have limited our Internet access at work, so now I am going to be blogging from home, which will be a little more challenging, but I will do my best. We have had a pretty uneventful two days, just the normal stuff. Blake is out of school for Spring Break, so I am taking Thurs and Friday off and we are going to play for 2 days. I am excited, it will be fun to do some stuff just with him. I think I am going to have to show the house a couple of times on Friday, but I am glad to do that.

Since there is nothing going on, I decided to post an old story about Hallie that I still laugh about whenever I think of it. This happened when Hallie and I were driving home from day care one day, it had to been when she was 2, because it was when she was potty training. As Hallie was learning how to use the potty, especially going #2, she would always say when she was done that she was "making fish". A common quote from her was "Look, Mommy, I made some fish!". On this day when we were driving home from school, Hallie (how do I say this nicely?) pooted in her car seat. She started laughing and said to me, "Mommy, my fish are talking. My fish are talking!"

That is one of my favorite Hallie stories.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lost Tooth

Blake lost his first baby tooth on Friday! And when I say lost, I mean lost. He was walking down the hallway at school and it just fell out of his mouth. Blake and his teacher looked and looked but could not find his tooth. I was disappointed, but Blake was fine with it. He wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy and she came to our house Friday night. She left Blake $3 and he was very excited. Saturday, Blake played in his first coach pitch baseball game, I was not there, but I was told that he did a good job. Chad said he fouled lots of balls, but he did hit one, he got thrown out at first, but Blake has never been concerned about winning. Other than Saturday morning we had a very relaxing weekend, I was able to nap both afternoons and the kids got lots of rest as well. We had several "Movie Nights" with the kids. It was a great weekend.

Andrew and Daniel are fine, they are saying more words everyday, Daniel's newest words are balloon and Poppa. Andrew says light all the time. Hallie helped me cook dinner tonight, she peeled half a potato and cut that half of a potato into chunks with a butter knife. She was very determined and got it done, even though it took her a really long time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Home Sick

I just now have a chance to blog today since I was working at home, Hallie was sick. As I write this now, Daniel is sitting in my lap drinking a sippy cup and pressing letters on the keyboard. It is really hard to type. He also is singing to the music that is playing from the toy Andrew is riding around the room on. Hallie is upstairs with Chad as he gets Blake is the shower. We just got through the "fun" that is homework every night, Blake only missed one of his bonus words and got the rest right, so it was not so bad. He brought tests home tonight from last week and he got every answer right on every test. He is doing a great job.

We had a realtor call at 5:15 and said they were sitting outside our house and wanted to know if they could bring someone in to look. I hated to say no, but I dinner on the stove, Chad and the boys had just gotten home, and Hallie and I were both in our pjs. The house was also a mess, so I had to say no and watch them got see the house across the street. Oh, well, surprise visits are one of the reasons we did not put our house on with a realtor.

Saturday, Chad and I took the kids to see the new Disney movie, Meet the Robinsons in 3D. We had a good time and the kids liked it, but the funniest part was when we got home and the babies got a hold on the 3D glasses.



Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter Weekend

I know it has been forever since I have blogged, for some reason I have had a hard time getting motivated to write. It has been a good couple of weeks, we got the house on the market and have had one person look at the house. We have lots of people slow down and look and pull the brochures, maybe the right person will come along soon.

We had a really wonderful Easter weekend, Mom and Dad came in Thursday night, we sent Blake to school on Friday and had a fun day with the younger ones. Mom, Dad and Hallie went to eat lunch with Blake at school, and he was thrilled. He had fun showing off more of his family. Chad was in Atlanta on Friday, so the rest of us dyed Easter Eggs Friday afternoon. The babies each dyed one as well. They had fun putting their hands in the dye to get the eggs out. Both of them kept calling the eggs "balls", so of course as they dyed them, they got thrown on the table and broken, but they had a great time. Blake and Hallie are expert Egg dyers and theirs were beautiful, I will post some pictures when I get home.

Saturday, we stayed inside and tried to stay warm. Chad and I took the big kids to see a movie in the afternoon and we had a nice time with the big kids. Both Blake and Hallie commented how nice it was to go somewhere without the babies. It's fun to spend time with the big kids and do "Big Kid" things. When we got home Hallie got to cook in her Easy Bake Oven, or her "real kitchen". She made My Little Pony Cookies with frosting and cookies, she has not let us eat them yet!

Blake got to go to his own Easter Egg Hunt Saturday night, he had lots of fun. I'm glad there are kids in the neighborhood for him to play with.

Sunday morning, the kids discovered the Easter Bunny had been to our house, they had fun with all the candy. Daniel realized he loved Cadbury Caramel filled eggs, and ate his share Sunday morning. Andrew went straight for the lollipops. The big kids had a little more control. Again, I'll post pictures later.

We all got dressed and went to church. Mom and Dad visited Blake's Sunday School class with us. The 1st graders have done an amazing job understanding about Easter. They could tell us in very specific detail about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins and also about the miracle of Easter morning. I am amazed every week about how much these kids know and how eager they are to learn. They teach us every week with their insights and they way they interact with each other. Everyone of them is coming to hold a very special place in my heart. I have become very attached to my class and look forward to them every week. After a wonderful Easter service, we headed to The Echols' for Easter Dinner.

After lots of good food, we had an Easter Egg hunt with all of the cousins and lots of games for the kids to play. Blake and Hallie look forward to this day every year. Hallie and her cousins Emma and Avery, had on the same dress as she did, so they had lots of fun taking pictures and being "twins". The boys hunted lots of eggs, Daniel had an "eye" for them, and found lots of eggs. Andrew had more fun just throwing the eggs like balls once he found them. There will be lots of pictures coming soon!