Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Day of Kindergarten!

Last Monday, we took Annabeth to school for her first day of Kindergarten.  As someone who has always had a tough time with change, I really thought I would cry.  But when the big day came, I actually held myself together pretty well.  Brent, on the other hand, had a really rough time with it.  I have to say, my husband is pretty much the sweetest dad in the whole world (with the exception of my own Dad).  He told me how much he was going to miss our lazy mornings together with her, how this was the first step to her leaving us, and how bitter sweet it is to watch her grow from a toddler into a "real kid".  He wants to be the one to walk her to school in the mornings which is just fine with me.  He usually doesn't see them very many nights out of the week because of work, so mornings have always been precious time with his girls.

When we dropped her off the first day, my only fear was that she wouldn't make a friend.  I never had a lot of friends at school, and I just couldn't stand the thought of her eating lunch alone or not having anyone to play with at recess.  Fortunately, she is doing just fine in the friend department and seems to really be enjoying school so far. :)  Even though part of me is sad to not have her at home with me, I know that she is so ready for this.  I can't wait for her teachers to discover how amazing and smart this kid is! Blow them all away, Annabeth!

Summer Photos

We had a great summer this year.  We went to Orange Beach with Brent's family in July.  The girls had a blast with all of their cousins at the beach.
Big Daddy and Gigi with Rylan, Eden, Ava, Camilla, and Annabeth

We tried desperately to get family photos taken on the beach, but the girls refused to cooperate. 

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Big Daddy and Gigi with most of their grandchildren.  We had NINE children there all under the age of 6.  It was a zoo, but the kids had so much fun with each other.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

One of the girls' favorite pastimes is finding roly polys in the dirt.  They build little houses for them with their blocks and send them tumbling down slides.  The poor things don't last that long as Camilla usually pokes them too hard and brings them to me saying "It broke." When I took this picture, they had just gotten lucky and found a ladybug.  I love how excited they get about simple things like that.

Every time they say something funny, I tell myself I need to write it down but never do.  Camilla talks ALL the time about pretty much anything and everything.  She knows lots of animals and we are working on  colors.  Here are a few phrases Camilla loves to say:

1.  "What's that sound?"  - Any time she hears a loud noise
2.  "Whatcha doin?"
3.  "Dat's a BIG TRUCK!"  - hilarious because she says it in such a low voice (sounds like Fox :)
3.  "I can't reach!" - we hear this a lot
4. "MINE" - our least favorite
5.  "Where Annabeth?"  any time she realizes that Annabeth is at school.  She loves her sister :)
6.  "Tickle me, Daddy!"
7. "Scratch my back!"  - she loves getting her back scratched before bed and is very demanding about it.

There are a hundred more of these that I can't remember right now.  She is such a little ham, always making us laugh.  Annabeth started telling knock knock jokes (not my favorite thing) and Camilla has picked up on it and tells her own!  Funny girl.  She's such a tom boy and would be content to live in the backyard naked, playing in mud and eating the dirt.  Seriously though, she really does like to eat dirt.

Annabeth has been having lots of fun taking gymnastics classes. She also loves to sit at the piano and pick out melodies that she knows.  We started piano lessons and she is doing really well with her sticker chart!  She also just started swimming lessons and has finally started putting her head under the water.  She has come such a long way and LOVES going to the pool.  We have also been working on her reading skills.  She is doing awesome and can read the lowest level books at the library - with a little help from us.  She is really excited to start Kindergarten and talks about her "new school" every time we drive by it.

As for Brent and I, we are doing great.  Work, church, and family are keeping us pretty busy these days.  I feel like such a bum-of-a-mom because I usually sleep on the couch while the girls watch their cartoons in the morning, but I can't help feeling tired all the time.  I really thought we'd all be sleeping through the night by now, but it seems someone is always up wanting water or having bad dreams.  Annabeth has recurring nightmares about bugs in her bed, and just last night Camilla woke up telling me there was a snake in her bed!  That one really did kind of freak me out, but it turned out to be just her vivid imagination at work.  I don't think we'll ever have a full night's sleep again.  

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spring Photos

Lots has happened over the last couple of months, but I'm terrible about posting photos.  Here are a few from April and May.
We went to Annabeth's art show at school and watched her sing a few songs with her class.
Annabeth hunting Easter Eggs
Easter morning with the girls
Cute picture of Annabeth and Erin
Annabeth turned 5 years old last week! We had a cooking party with some of our friends and had a blast!  I can hardly believe she is getting so big.  Time flies!

Camilla's birthday was this week.  May is a crazy month for us since the girls are only a week apart.  We let her open her gift when she woke up in the morning.
She wasn't too thrilled about the candles on her cupcake and refused to blow them out.
This girl LOVES cupcakes. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Resolutions in April

I'm out of breath.  My heart is racing, sweat dripping from my forehead.  But I am delaying my shower because it is important to write down the way I feel RIGHT now, at THIS moment. Because if I don't, I'm afraid I'll forget how amazing I feel after working out. And I. feel. awesome.

When I'm running, I feel like I can do anything.  I'm a total rock star. Sometimes, I imagine that I'm outrunning a cheetah or a tornado, and I'm winning!  Other times, I imagine that someone tries to attack me while running, and I go all kung-fu on them and kick them so hard they don't have a clue what hit em. The cops come to the scene and congratulate me on my amazing ninja fighting skills.   I won't lie - when I'm listening to my workout music, I feel pretty dang bad-ass.  Especially when I'm jammin' to NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys.  Yea you read that right!  I work out to boy bands.  They make me feel good about myself.  Especially when One Direction calls me "baby" and tells me that I'm beautiful in my sweats.

Please don't think I'm kidding myself.  I am fully aware that I DO NOT look cool when I'm running...far from it.  In fact, I'm not even sure it counts as running.  To the teenage skateboarder that I passed tonight, I'm sure I looked to be near death - all bent over, holding my side, and gasping for air whilst still trying to hum the tune to "Raise Your Glass" with my my ear buds in.  I know I look ridiculous.....but I FEEL like a celebrity, and that's what's important.

I write this because tomorrow I will try to convince myself that today was a fluke, a mistake, a habit I knew I could never continue. When I eat that 2nd piece of chocolate cake that is sitting my refrigerator, I'll tell myself that it is pointless to go for a jog because I'd have to run to Oklahoma just to burn off a single piece.  And when I go a few days without working out, I'll try to convince myself that I was never really good at it, that it was never an attainable goal, that I was foolish to think I could keep up the act, that I was only pretending to be something I never was.

But that is total crap!  A few months ago, I gave up Facebook - something I thought I could never do because it was freaking hard.  And at first, it was.  But then, little by little, it got easier.  And each day that passed by without checking my newsfeed was one more small victory for me until eventually, I stopped thinking about it almost entirely.  I learned that I CAN DO HARD THINGS!  So here's to New Year's resolutions in April.  I vow to work out 3 times a week from this day forth.  Because, despite all the lies I will tell myself tomorrow,  I really do actually enjoy it.  And because it makes me feel good about myself, and because I want to be a healthy mom for my girls.  And because I need as many extra endorphins as I can rack up to help me stay happy for them throughout the day. :)  And of course, because I want to look hot in my swimsuit when June rolls around.

Writing this down makes me accountable.  No more excuses.  No more blaming others for my failure to act.  From now on, only action!  Here goes!

P.S.  What's your favorite song to work out to?  I'm taking suggestions!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week in Review

A few weeks ago, we finally broke down and bought a nice camera.  After practicing with it for the last few days, we decided to take it out for a spin.  We had been waiting for the bluebonnets to be in full bloom so we could get some nice photos of the girls. We waited for the light to be just perfect. I coordinated matching colored outfits for everyone, and spent WAY too much time on their hair. But when we got there, they went completely nuts!  Camilla refused to sit down and ran away from us the entire time. Annabeth complained that the flowers were making her itch and refused to smile.  It finally ended in hysterical tears when the two of them accidentally banged their heads together.  I am convinced that any time I attempt to take decent photos of my children, they conspire against me.  It is almost as if before every shot, they say to each other "Quick! Let's go crazy......wait for it........right now!"  Soo...unfortunately I have no photos to post today :(

While I'm on the topic of crazy children, let me just tell you that this past week has been a real doozy.  Last Friday, as I was cleaning the bathtub, Annabeth pummeled over Camilla while running through the house. Camilla fell on the tile and busted her chin open.  (Annabeth actually has the same scar from busting her chin open right in the middle of Barnes and Noble when she was 3). Then on Sunday night, she decided to climb on the bed and re-opened the wound when she hit her chin on the bed rail. Luckily, we have a friend who works in the ER and he was able to glue her up both times.  On Monday, I didn't let her climb on anything or run anywhere. I tried so hard to keep her from picking at the glue so we wouldn't re-open the wound yet again.  We nearly made it through the entire day...until she somehow managed to pull her elbow out of the socket - something called a nursemaids elbow?  Since I didn't want to call our friend for a third time in less than a week, we ended up at a CareNow so the doctor could pop her elbow back into place.  By the end of it all, my nerves were so fried, and Brent and I both agreed that we had had enough emergencies to last us the rest of their lives!  

P.S.  I registered Annabeth for Kindergarten this week, and had to fight back tears while waiting in line.  I can't believe I am old enough to have a child in school!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

D.C. Trip

Over spring break, we had the chance to visit my sister Mandy's family in D.C.  I'll admit, I was pretty nervous about this drive since Brent didn't drive out with us, but it was great to switch out Mom and Shelley as my driving buddy.  The girls actually did amazingly well on the drive there, despite a few crying fits from Camilla. The drive was really LONG (about 21 hours) but totally worth it.  Once we got there, the kids had so much fun playing with cousins Fox and Eden.  Mandy cooked such delicious meals for us, you would have thought we dined at a 5 star restaurant! It was also pretty awesome to visit the national monuments and see all the historic sites. It was my first time to visit the capitol, and it was really an incredible experience.  The first night we arrived, we were able to see the monuments at night when they were all lit up.  The white stone against the light reminded me of the temples at night.
Jefferson Memorial
At the National Air and Space Annex.  Brent was able to fly out for the last couple of days of our trip!  We were able to see the Discovery Space Shuttle, Blackbird, Enola Gay, and lots of cool airplanes.
At National Botanical Gardens
Our feet on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, standing in the same spot that MLK gave his "I Have a Dream Speech."
Michelle Obama's first inaugural gown at the American History Museum.  
The 3 amigos
Lincoln Memorial.  Believe it or not, this was the best picture I could get  of our family thanks to Annabeth!
Our backseat :)  We loved having Erin in our car to keep us company. 
We got to see lots of dinosaur bones at the Natural  History Museum, along with  some authentic mummies and neanderthal skulls.  There were so many neat things to see here that we didn't get to all of it. Wish we could have spent all day here!
They had a live butterfly exhibit at the National History Museum.
Cute cousins ;)
The kids met "Officer Dookie" at the capitol.  Seriously, this is what his name-tag said.  He gave the kids stickers and  some cokes from his car.  Mandy reminded them on the way home that in the future, we should NEVER take gifts from strangers out of their car, but since he was a policeman we made an exception :)
MLK Memorial - this was one of my favorite memorials.  There were so many wonderful quotes.  Here are two of my favorites: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

"If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional.  Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective."
Giant pre-historic shark mouth at National History Museum

White House
We had such a great time with family and can't wait to go back!  Thanks to Mandy and Andrew for being such gracious hosts.  We love you guys. :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Best Buds

It's been really fun watching Annabeth and Camilla start to play together more.  With a 3 year age difference, it's taken a little time for Camilla to catch up to her big sister.  Luckily, she is pretty fearless and willing to do pretty much anything AB thinks is a good idea. They are pretty hilarious together.  One of their favorite things to do involves AB tying Camilla to herself with the tie from my bath robe. (She is totally into tying anything and everything) They think it's pretty funny to run around like that trying not to fall down. They also love to get all the instruments out and make marching bands, while singing at the top of their lungs.  We got a couple of microphones for Christmas and they sing in them daily, ON PITCH I might add.

 Their other hobbies are little more...... varied.  For example, AB loves to draw and color.  Camilla likes to eat the crayons. AB likes to play with princesses and barbies.  Camilla likes to put their tiny shoes in her mouth.  AB likes to cut and paste all kinds of creations.  Camilla likes to destroy them. All in all, they get along really well.  It makes me so happy to see them playing with each other.

I was thinking the other day about how sweet and loving they are.  Christ said that in order to enter heaven, we must humble ourselves as little children.  Being the mother of these two sweet little girls has given me so much more insight into that simple concept.  I have been able to see how easily AB can forgive her little sister for doing any number of things - mostly hitting, or stealing toys, or clawing her face, or destroying her masterpieces  (she's almost 2 and isn't always a picnic to be around).  It's so amazing to see how she never holds a grudge, never tries to get revenge later.  In fact, most the time after a few minutes have passed, I see her give her a big hug and kiss on the cheek.  Likewise, when Camilla sees her big sister crying over something, she almost always comes over to her to give her a hug.  It humbles me every time and makes me realize I need to be more like them.

Camilla likes to try on everyone else's shoes


                                   We made a king cake for Brent's birthday!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Kicking the Facebook Habit

I realize it’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything on this blog.  If this blog even had any followers, I imagine they are probably long gone.  The truth is, it just seemed like such a hassle to upload photos and commentary on here when I could so easily post pictures to facebook with just a touch of my iphone.  Ah…yes…..Facebook.  How you've changed my life…..and not for the better.   You’d think that having instant access to hundreds of my “friends” would be wonderful.  And yet, it totally sucks.  This past week, I deactivated my account (which isn’t saying a whole lot since you can pretty much re-activate it whenever you want.)  Hopefully, this will help me to stop wasting so much time and do a better job of keeping up with our family blog.  Of course, judging by the single post in 2012, you can see that my track record isn’t very good - so I make no promises. 

When you are deactivating your account, Facebook shows you pictures of all your friends and asks “Are you sure you want to leave?  Susan will miss you.  Jonathan will miss you. Etc.”  It reminded me of the episode of Friends where Chandler tries desperately to quit the gym but keeps getting roped back in by all the hot girls!  The whole experience had a strange, cult-like feeling about it, as if they were saying “No, don’t leave.  We want you.  We love you.  We'll even save your information in case you change your mind.”  Before you leave, Facebook  asks you to provide your reason for leaving in the commentary box.  I wrote “Because Facebook makes me hate all of my friends.” That may sound harsh, but it is 100% true.  I realize I am guilty of some the following offenses, but it’s my blog, so I’ll do the complaining here.   I recently read an article 20 Things YourMost Annoying Friends Do on Facebook.  I've been thinking a lot about my own list of things-that-bug-the-crap-outta-me.  So here goes:

Facebook - How do I Hate Thee….Let Me Count the Ways:

1. Mom’s who post things like this: “Oh I just can’t imagine how I’d ever survive without my AMAZING housekeeper!  I’m off to my mani/pedi and then to do some retail therapy!”  I am so happy for you that you can afford not to work, all while being able to afford help for your amazing house and maintain your well-kept appearance.  I am lucky if I put on a bra in the morning, much less fingernail polish.  Of course, why bother with the nail polish since it would only come off from washing the dishes about 20 times a day.  Perhaps now you can see how reading about your expensive daily excursions really kind of pisses me off. 
2. The overshare: “Poor Benjamin hasn’t pooped all day.  When he finally went, he pooped through his diaper and all over the crib! Who knew corn looks the same coming out as it does going in! Hee hee!”  Nope.  We have enough poop in our home thank-you-very-much.   Yes, your kids may be darling, but no one cares what they ate for breakfast or when they napped, or when they made a poopy.  I don't go around telling folks the details of my last dump, so why do we feel it is ok to share so much information about our children's bodily functions? Spare us the details.
3. People who post political rants: “I just can’t believe there are IDIOTS out there who voted for THAT guy!  When will the other side realize how stupid they are?  We should line em' all up and run em' over!" Did it ever occur to you that you actually may have friends who didn't vote for the same person?  And when you insult a specific group of people, you are actually insulting those people as well.  I make no secret of my political beliefs.  But I don’t call others stupid for disagreeing with me.  While I’m at it, when you disagree with someone, you can’t just call them Hitler and leave the conversation.  Learn some other historical figures for pete’s sake! 
4. The sympathy card: “Ya’ll, please pray for me.  My best friends’, husband’s, sister-in law’s son MIGHT have cancer!  I’m just beside myself!”  Let me be clear - I’m really not cold and heartless.  I do actually pray for sick people.  But too often it feels as if folks just really really want you to feel sorry for them.  I’m not saying these people are lying, but it seems to me that most people who are in serious need of prayer are the ones who will never post their problems for all the world to see.  No more pity parties!  
5. Conspiracy theories:  “OMG!  I heard that Obama installed an electric chair in the White House! What do ya’ll think he does with that?!”  Seriously folks, if it sounds too ridiculous to be true, it probably is.  The fact that so many of my facebook friends continue to believe myths that have been disproved multiple times leads me to seriously question their intelligence.  Not only do you really seem to believe that Elvis might be alive or that the moon landing never happened or that the Sandy Hook Massacre was an elaborate hoax, you have now chosen to share your suspicions with a few hundred people who now know just how nuts you really are. 
6. Reposts:  “If you love your mom, copy and re-paste.”  Of course I love my mom, but I detest spam.  Seriously – just stop.
7. Swooning over all the amazing things your “hubby” does for you:   Let it be known that I also hate the word “hubby” or “the hubs.”  My husband would kill me if I ever referred to him as either.  He doesn’t send me flowers because we both agree it is a bad investment since they die so quickly.  Yes – I know this is totally un-romantic, but I’m married to a CPA.  When he does decide to surprise me with something, it is usually food – which I totally prefer.  (At least it is the gift that keeps on giving right?)  I have made the mistake of talking about my husband in facebook posts in the past, and it really bothered him.  Not because he ever logged on to read what I wrote, but because so many people approached him in person about the said post.  He was like "Why did you tell everyone I don't like biscuits and gravy?!  People keep asking me what  the hell is wrong with me!"  Lesson learned.
8. #imnotcoolenoughtoknowwhatthehellthismeans
9. Evasive posts: “We are going to have some big news coming soon!”  Really?  You really just announced that you are going to be making an announcement?  Are you pregnant? Are you moving?  Damn you!  The anticipation is killing me!!!
10.  The self portrait.  Did you really have to take this photo of yourself in the mirror? You  have pretty much just announced to the world that you have no friends since not a single creature with opposable thumbs likes you well enough to take your picture!

These all seem like pretty harsh criticisms, but the worst thing about facebook is actually a criticism of myself.  Here is total honesty: Despite all the aforementioned reasons for hating social media, I hate myself even more for my obsession with it.  It was like I had to log on just to see what ridiculous things my friends were posting that day.  I just had to know what so-and-so did or what so-and –so thought.  It got to the point where I was wasting entirely too much time caring about the day-to-day first world problems and concerns of all my friends – who, let’s be honest, are mostly mere acquaintances anyway.   I realized that it completely tarnished whatever good opinion I had once held of the people that had come into my life.  I had always thought that if I ever happened to bump into someone from my past, I would want to remember that person the way they were the last time I saw them.  Instead, now when I run into a former Facebook friend in the middle of the grocery store, I fear I’ll only be thinking “This person once “shared” a picture of a sweet potato in the shape of a penis.  How can I be friends with this person?!”

And yet, I couldn’t stop checking my newsfeed.     Like an addiction to smoking, I had my favorite times of  the day to indulge…after breakfast, during the girls' naptime, after lunch, before bed.  Eventually, it begged the question “Why do I care?  What does it say about me if I can't go a single day without knowing what all my few hundred friends are doing?” So you see, the problem was really mine to begin with.  I am totally prone to addictions.  I always joke with Brent that it’s a good thing we don’t gamble because I would be in a lot of trouble! (I can’t even control myself at the arcade at Chuck E Cheese)  Having so much information at the tips of my fingers is a huge responsibility.  Just because I have the opportunity to know something about someone doesn’t mean I should!  Finding a balance between social media, and other online distractions is really really hard.  If it’s this hard for me as an adult, I can’t imagine how hard it will be for my kids.  I’m not looking forward to fighting that battle with them. 

Now before you start telling me how judgmental I am, (a fault to which I already freely admit) I do realize that I have not always been a model Facebok user myself.   And please know that I do actually like keeping up with my family and friends.  I just don’t care to know what my cousin-twice-removed had for lunch, much less see a photo of the kidney stone she just passed.  And so it is that I return to the family blog to keep in touch.  Most that read this are family anyway, so you know pretty much all there is to know about me, warts and all.  I hope this will be a place where we can continue to post photos of our family and be able to see some of yours.  We have a pretty great life here in Texas.  It's time to start enjoying it to the fullest instead of trying to keep up with the minute day-to-day details of a few hundred acquaintances.  Love you all!