Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Baby Plothow is Here!

We have another boy!

Raphael Christian Plothow
July 24, 2015
6:17 pm
7lbs 1oz

Baby "Ralphie" decided to come very early (two weeks) and surprised us with his arrival over the weekend. Everything went smoothly with the delivery. We were really excited to find out the gender and the excitement grew when we found out we had another boy! God gives us these children to raise and we could not be happier to have another little boy. He and Henry are 22 months apart, so they will have a lot of fun together. And if you ever have a hankering for cake this time of year come on over to our place. It is officially birthday week at our house July 22-25 now. Cosette, Raphael, and my birthday all happen within a four day period. His birth is the greatest early birthday present I could imagine, although I did not enjoy spending my birthday in the hospital. At least I get one every year. We came home the following day and have been enjoying this period with our family of five.

Cosette and Henry have taken really well to Ralphie. When they came to visit me in the hospital the first thing Henry said was "He's so cute!" and gave him a big kiss on the forehead. Cosette has been a great little mama to Baby Ralphie, holding him whenever I need her to. She sings him songs, and bounces him on her lap. It's been a good adjustment. 
Ready to head home.
Me with my three angels. It kind of blows my mind that they are mine. I love them so much. This motherhood thing is pretty incredible.
 Welcome to the fam Raphael! We love you so. 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

No Tennessee Visit is Complete without a Zoo Trip

It would not be a complete trip to Tennessee without visiting the Knoxville Zoo. Especially when we are visiting Grandma. She really enjoys taking the kids here and I say that because both times we went were instigated by her. I think she kind of likes this place. This time we honored a Dunn zoo tradition and got some slush puppies. It was so hot/humid that day it was the perfect way to cool down and we were all so much happier because it cooled us off.The cups were so big that none of us could finish them off! And I really tried to because it was so refreshing in the summer heat. 
Purple tongue from her grape slush puppie. Sticking her tongue out is her new thing. She does it for almost every picture now even if her tongue is a perfectly normal hue.
Henry getting ready to pop out like the prairie dogs and get eye level with them. The tunnel goes through the prairie dog exhibit and there are viewing sections you can stand up (if you are kid height) and see the prairie dogs up close. 
Looking for elephants.
Found one!
These two cute girls got to ride on the camel! They had so much fun together this summer. We are lucky that we made a lot of good friends last summer. It has made this trip so much fun. 
The highlight was seeing the baby gorillas. There were two that were born this year and kind of the cutest thing. This probably sounds weird, but it made me excited for my baby to come. These baby gorillas were like the size of human babies and this one kept smiling in its sleep like it was having a baby dream. So cute and a little too relatable.  
I like how Henry is clinging on their friend for dear life. He was totally fine. It is just hard to get up there when you are not two. 
I am so grateful for this splash pad on hot/humid days like this one. I let the water get me a few times it was so hot. 

I love the way he walks. It's a mom thing. 
Dr. Cosette getting ready to take care of all her animals at the zoo. In one of the kids areas they had a animal hospital set up which she was very into. Those goggles are pretty freaking adorable on her. 

Besties taking care of the animals together. She did a very good job making sure the animals were fed, watered, and got all their medicine. 

I spy some rhinos. 
My three favorites at one of our favorite places, at least for me and the kids. I can't speak for Lyndon's love of zoos, but I do know that he loves spending time with us so he is pretty happy no matter what we are doing. I do sure love that guy.
The red panda exhibit is really well done here. The Knoxville Zoo breeds red pandas. 
Grandma and her grandkids. She was sweet and let them pick out a toy. Cosette chose a snake and Henry a camel. 
Family picture on the tortoise minus Cosette. Sad we could not get her on there. Next time we will have baby #3 with us! It's getting really close. Any day now.
My favorite picture of these two. That tortoise is really old, like older than my Mom, haha. The kids have gotten really into reptiles lately. We found a couple of snakes in Grandma and Grandpa's backyard plus a lizard and its eggs. Crazy things we were finding back there.

Knoxville Zoo we love visiting you! Thank you Grandma for always having a membership so we can go as much as we want whenever we come.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Our Tennessee Summer

Summer in the South is best described in Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird. I do not know the exact quote, but I remember an exert in the book where she describes the humidity being so thick that it's like everyone being covered in a layer of frosting. I love that vivid description and it is so true! Getting off the airplane with the kids and humidity immediately hugged us like a blanket. I get such comfort from that, funny how the things we grew up with stay with us like that. And call me crazy, but I love humidity. I makes my hair wavy, and my skin nice and soft.

The kids and I are spending a few weeks here before I cannot travel anymore. That time is getting closer and closer, which means baby is getting closer and closer! I cannot wait! Give me back my body. I have been so active and then I get down here and I have been on the couch too tired to do anything. I guess since I can relax all that going and going and going we do on a daily basis in the city has caught up to me. I am couch ridden, and I need some lemonade.
The first weekend we were there we drove down to Cookeville where my Dad grew up for decoration at the cemetery. The kids are hugging in front of my Ma and Pa's grave. It was a really sweet day for me, not really sure why. I guess being there with family and honoring those family members who are now gone makes a person sentimental. It was a special day. I told the kids about their Greatma and Greatpa. We talked about the plan of salvation and why Jesus died for us.  
They found a little angel. 
Helping Grandma put some flowers on Ma's grave. I am named after her. She was such a sweet lady. Every time we would go and visit she would always tell me "Chrissy, you're so purdy". Not pretty, but purdy. We are Southerners. I miss her.
With Ma and Pa's grave. I bet they hung out with them in heaven before they came to Earth. 
We had fun playing with all the new toys that were at Grandma's.
Henry riding the horse. 
Cosette went the fastest!
We are soaking in all of the summer time goodness we can, swimming pools, festivals, homemade play dough, chick-fil-a, time with friends, and with family. Going along with the To Kill a Mockingbird theme, Cosette and Henry are the Dill of their group of friends. We made a lot of good friends down here last summer which makes coming to visit a lot more fun. Cosette especially looks forward to getting together with her friends. She still has not decided which of the boys she is going to marry, haha. There are two little boys here that she likes to play with and cannot decide which one to marry, so she says she is going to marry both of them! Funny if it actually worked out with one in real life.
We made it in time for the Secret City Festival my town hosts every year. This was the natural parks station and they had a few birds. We were lucky and got to pet the owl. 
Cosette went down the fire truck slide over and over again.
The Little Ponderosa came with a bunch of animals. 
They had the genius idea of putting the animal feed into ice cream cones which made it so easy for the kids to feed them. And the animals could eat the cone as well.

Favorite part of the day was the pony rides. Henry kept saying "I ride the pony". He was having the time of his life. If he had asked me to go again the answer would have been most definitely yes!
Cosette is pony riding champion. So good she can ride one handed.
There was a fantastic kids corner with the perfect toys and activities for them. We loved playing with these little cars.
It always takes me a few days to get adjusted to being back home. The kids too, well just Cosette right now. Henry on the other hand is good as long as he is with Momma, or Grandpa. He has taken up with my Dad so well. They are best buds, which my Dad does not mind at all. How could anyone, especially when this sweet boy runs up to you and gives you a hug? You just can't!

We got to be there to celebrate Aunt Ellen's birthday! Two years in a row now. 

Best Aunt award goes to her because she let Cosette help her blow out her candles. 
Henry's first selfie. I love how much concentrated he is on getting it right, haha.
The kids took swimming lessons while down here. They did a fantastic job! Cosette really took off. Before she was nervous to be let go even when she was wearing a life jacket. Now she will jump off the side of the pool without someone catching her, go underwater, swim underwater, swim by herself (with the help of water wings). I am really proud of the progress she has made and feels comfortable in the water. Henry did lessons too, with me. We did a Mommy and Me class. It was fun being with him and helping him get even more comfortable in the water than he already is (he will walk into the shallow end of the pool by himself until it is up to his eyeballs). He worked on his "swimming arms" jumping off the side of the pool, kicking (which he is was already great at), and going underwater. They both successfully passed and can move onto the next level! It makes me happy that they both have natural swimming ability, being an avid swimmer myself. First swim lessons, then onto the Olympics! 
Both kids participated in the library's summer reading program. We enjoyed reading a lot of books together. Some of our favorites were The Pigeon Needs a Bath, Edwina the Dinosaur who didn't know She was Extinct, Christmas in the Big Woods, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, and Mix it Up were some of our favorites that we read over and over.
Picnics with friends. I love all those kids!
Princesses at Market Square was the highlight of one of our outings. Thanks Ariel and Cinderella for hanging out with us.
Had a blast at the Market Square splash pad. 

Watching their leaves float through the tunnel and down the stream.
We are Star Wars fans through and through. The Children's Museum fixed up the space room and we felt like we were on Mars. 

We celebrated a really good friend daughter's first birthday and got to enjoy these amazing cut outs my friend made. She is so talented! I love my wild things.
Me and my Grandma. I love this lady so much! She is so good to us. The kids loved spending time with their "Baba" while we were there. I'm 35 weeks in this photo. I cannot wait for Grandma to meet our little one. 

Goodbye's are hard and no fun at all. We are going to miss all of our friends here. We are looking forward to our next trip down South.

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