Monday, January 28, 2008

A Day Late and A Dollar Short

Yesterday was Tara's birthday. It was a celebratory weekend because I also hosted a baby shower for her. She's expecting her second little boy on my Abby Grace's birthday.

It's really all very exciting.

We had the shower at her mother's house where I ate approximately 643 cookies. Because, really, the woman can just bake.

Anyway, I would have liked to post a "Happy Birthday" message yesterday, but I was very busy taking this picture...

And this picture...

And this one...

And this one...

And I couldn't forget this...

Clearly, I didn't take the next picture yesterday, but it just really goes along with the theme I have going here. It's of me. Early 80's. Dressed as my very favorite princess for Halloween. I can vividly remember my mother sewing this costume.

And the blue eyeshadow... I think I'm making a pretty bold statement with the blue eyeshadow and red lipstick. You gotta love the 80's.

And, my apologies to Uncle Austin for throwing him under the bus in this next picture, but I had to get the front view of the dress too.


Where was I?

Oh, yes, Tara's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TARA!

We really had a great time at the shower. Tara warned me she was going to wear jeans because she is just HUGE and cannot fit into anything she has. When I saw her "huge" 30-week pregnant belly, I sadly realized that it is very similar to what my stomach looks like after unlimited salad and breadsticks at The Olive Garden.

Or a good night at Outback.

Take your pick.

I spent some time with her while she was getting ready for the shower and she pulled out some really cute pants. She commented that she hoped they would fit and blah, blah, blah. I picked up those pants and looked at the size.

Size zero, internet. Size zero.

She was quick to point out they were "regular"pants rather than "petite."

I almost slapped her.

But, she's 30 weeks pregnant so I restrained myself. And told her that this information was totally going on my blog so everyone could dislike her as much as I do. But, she's really great, so it's difficult to harbor the bad feelings for very long.

The shower was so much fun. Lots of her family came into town, including two of her cousins who were a riot! We got into talking about weight loss (as women always seem to do) and one of her cousins said her strategy for staying thin was not to eat. Literally, only eats one meal a day. I wondered aloud if she was angry about this because that's what not eating would do to me. I would be very, very angry. She laughed, but I was completely serious. Someone else tried to help me by chiming in that mothers need lots of energy so we need to eat to keep up our strength.

Yeah, yeah. That's right.

I just prefer to get my energy from cookies 'n' cream ice cream.

And an assortment of fried foods.

Tara got me a little thank you gift - a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory. Because, cheesecake, as she well knows, is my love language.

Happy Birthday Tara!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

happy birthday daddy!

happy birthday daddy!

we took over mommy's blog today so we could wish you the happiest birthday ever. we think it is perfect you are 32 because that is how many times mommy taped us singing before she found one suitable for the world wide web. sheesh!

anyway, you are the best daddy in the whole world! we love playing fun games with you and we just wanted you to know that out of all the dads in the world we are so happy that you are ours. (and, mommy says she thinks you are pretty great too!)

happy, happy, happy, happy birthday!


drew and abby

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Vacation That The Blog Forgot...


So, Matt and I went on vacation last month. To Colorado. For the skiing. Without the kids.

I meant to write about our trip, but I just haven't gotten around to it. Last year, Matt kept asking me to send out pictures from our trip in an email and I never got around to that either.

Maybe I have issues about sharing pictures that don't involve my children.

We just aren't quite as cute.

However, the frigid temperatures in Central Florida this week brought back sweet memories of almost freezing to death on vacation this year.

Very sweet, indeed.

Don't get me wrong. I love skiing. I'm just a native Floridian. So, when I'm drinking my hot chocolate in the morning and the weather man in Beaver Creek, Colorado tells me it's -4 degrees outside, well, I started worrying that 64 layers of clothing just wouldn't be enough.

And, it wasn't.

This was our second annual (and last annual) ski trip with good friends of ours (with an awesome bonus couple this year). The ladies and I spent much of the trip planning the cruise we'll take this year for vacation. You know, with the sun and it's glorious warmth.

But, I do love the mountains. There is nothing like being at the top of one of the mountains and taking in the exquisite views around you. And, I've loved skiing since I was a little girl on our family vacations. So, Matt stepped out of his comfort zone to take me on my favorite kind of vacation, and let me tell you, he turned out to be a fantastic skier. I was totally impressed.

The interesting thing about the pictures is you can't tell which year they are from since we are wearing exactly same thing.

Trust me, if you saw the price tags on those ski clothes then you'd be wearing the same thing too.

Last year, we took all manner of pictures, because, LOOK, we were skiing! This year, we realized that frostbite is a very large price to pay for something as trivial as a picture.

We are nothing if not sentimental.

So, I'm going to pick the best photos out of both trips and leave you wondering if they are from this year or last year.

I know the suspense will just take you right to the edge...

So, here's the kind of view I'm talking about. Truly amazing.

And, here we are!

Yep, that's us again. It's just too cute a picture not to share with the interweb.

Ok...down to business. Here I am skiing through some trees. It's like I'm a professional or something.

Matt skiing through the same trees.

These next pictures are right before we got snowed off the mountain in what could only be described as a blizzard. I love how sassy we look!

I stopped halfway down a trail to take this next picture of Beaver Creek Village, which is where we stayed.

Here is Matt doing a jump. Seriously, he did so great for a beginner. I don't think he fell at all this year. (except upon landing this jump)

And, here I am doing the same jump. It's a set of three shots, courtesy of my personal photographer, Kari.

Please hold all applause until the end.

The only shot she didn't get was me wiping out .3 seconds later.

I think I'll call my travel agent...those cruise ships might be getting booked for the summer already.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Full Heart

Raising preschoolers is no easy task. There's not a lot of concrete evidence that my children are learning the things that I feel are valuable and important. In a typical career there are performance reviews, evaluations, and other assessment tools that let you know that you are reaching goals and doing your job well. It's not the same with parenting. The jury is still out on what these kids are absorbing on a daily basis and we mostly just try to survive around here. In fact, when Matt asks what we have done that day, I often reply "I'm just trying to keep people alive, okay?"

Clearly, I'm not defensive about this at all.

But, really. There just aren't many days as a parent when you can be sure that you are on the right track. There aren't immediate rewards. And, most of my time is spent in those daily tasks that feel so unimportant and that never change, but they are necessary nonetheless. There are things that I hope they are learning from me and, unfortunately, there are those days when I lose my temper and I hope that those are the things they will forget.

How can it be measured? How do I know what is being stored away in their little hearts and minds? I know these early years are critical as their personalities are forming, but what will be the end result?

Then, as if God knows I need some reassurance, I get a clear glimpse into the heart of my sweet Drew. He has such a tender heart. He shows love to others so easily. He forgives my mistakes so completely. And he takes care of his little sister with a protective spirit.

A few weeks ago, I went to visit my grandfather for the day. I was home in time to put the kids to bed. Drew and I snuggled in bed as we do each night. And, as usual, I asked him what his favorite part of the day was. He hesitated, so I tried to prompt him..."was it going to the park or playing video games..." He put his arm around my neck and said "No, no, mama. My favorite part was when you came back."

I love this age where he expresses his love so easily. For so long you ask them to say "I love you" or ask them to give you a kiss or hug. Drew has reached the age where he does it all on his own. And, let me tell you, it makes it THAT MUCH BETTER when your child gives you a kiss or hug unprompted. In fact, just this week we were at a doctor's appointment and the doctor and I were talking for a long time. Drew was being such a good boy considering the circumstances. Then, he crawled into my lap and snuggled up against me as I talked with the doctor. Every minute or two he would sit up and kiss me on the cheek and then snuggle back into my shoulder. When we were leaving I was sure to praise Drew for his excellent behavior and he replied, "Well that's ok mama. I just love you!"

And, the time a few months ago that I'll never ever forget. My mom was over visiting with the kids and I got a telephone call with some bad news. Since my mom was there, I had the luxury of going by myself to my room so I could just cry without worrying the kids. But, it didn't work out that way. Drew parked himself outside my bedroom door and kept calling for me. My mom tried to distract him, but he persisted. I could tell he was looking under my bedroom door as he said, "Mama, I can't see you. Mama, I need you. Mama, let me in." Frustrated that I couldn't even have a few moments alone, I went to open the door. I asked him, "Drew, what is it?" He ran in and said, "Mama, you need me. Can I snuggle you?" My heart melted at his empathy for me even in the face of my selfishness. And we did snuggle. And I felt infinitely better than if I had been alone. And my four year old knew it before I did.

So, I have to accept the fact that parenting offers no guarantees. And there may not be much evidence along the way that things are going to turn out all right.

But, I have to tell you, I'm getting less worried each day as I watch my precious son grow up before my very eyes.

I guess I don't need a performance review after all. I just need to know where to look.

His heart.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

In Related News, Disney Stock Continues To Rise.

Disney princesses. Best marketing scheme ever? I think so.

We are immersed in the world of Disney princesses over here and I will admit that it is mostly my fault. But, remember people, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Or something like that.


It's dress-up time all the time as far as Abby is concerned, and she recently took it to a whole new level. We had the clothes and the dancing down to a science. However, we had a playdate last week with a little girl who taught Abby all kinds of mannerisms and things to say if you are to be a proper princess.

Sherilyn, you rock my world.

So, now Abby twirls endlessly, she curtsies, and she clasps her hands daintily under her chin and says things like "I hope I meet the prince of my dreams" and "If you believe, then your dreams will come true."


We went to Disney on Saturday - along with the rest of the free world. It was so crowded that we took the kids on often-ignored rides like the Carousel of Progress (which they actually ended up liking), the Country Bear Jamboree, and that people mover thing that circles above Tomorrowland. It was on the people mover that I took these pictures of my princess with her first true love.

Though she was wearing her Snow White dress, she chose to re-enact Sleeping Beauty. It's exhausting when you have to spend the day being greeted and complimented by strangers who think you are the cutest thing they have ever seen!

Abby woke up in time for the parade though. It was a good thing too. This was when our frustrating, crowded day took a big turn for the better. We got a front row seat for the parade and I sat Abby up on top of the stroller so she would have a great view. And, everyone in the parade had a great view of her. She attracted lots of attention in her princess dress.

Snow White's float came by and Snow White saw Abby. She waved and blew lots of kisses at Abby and then pointed her out to Dopey who came right over to kiss Abby's hand. It doesn't sound like much, but it was terribly exciting what with all the Disney magic surrounding us. And, if Matt ever tells you that I had tears in my eyes from all the happiness then he is totally lying.

Next came Mary Poppins followed by the chimney sweeps. One of them saw Abby and came over to warn her that the Snow Queen was right behind them and was looking for her! The float with all the villains WAS next and the Snow Queen spotted Abby right away. She was making all kinds of evil faces, but she pointed to Abby and waved to her several times.

After the parade, I took Abby to meet the princesses while Matt and Drew went on a ride. We got in the 45 minute line, a little disappointed because Snow White wasn't there. It was finally our turn in the little room and Abby totally backed out. She got really shy and said she didn't want to meet the princesses. We let people go in front of us until finally we were the last ones of our group in line. I told Cinderella that Abby was feeling shy so she came over to the line to give Abby a big hug. That's all it took. Abby asked Cinderella to watch her twirl and then Cinderella twirled with her - it was so much fun!

Next, Abby met Belle. They talked about the Snow White ride (which was scary to Abby that day) and they talked about which dwarf was Abby's favorite (Dopey).

Abby ran over to Sleeping Beauty next and gave her a huge hug. The shyness was all gone now as Abby wanted to show her how she could curtsy just like a princess. It was precious and everyone in the room was appropriately impressed. Sleeping Beauty taught her how to hold her dress like a princess for the picture.


We were thrilled.

Met princesses, took pictures, gave hugs - mission accomplished.

Then I heard the man who manages the line in the room say, "Excuse me? Snow White? Could you please come over here for a moment?"

We turned around to see all three princesses standing together. The man asks, "Snow White, would you do us the honor of taking a picture with all the princesses? We need a Snow White to complete the picture."

Ummmm, would we mind???

Abby ran over at lightning speed and grabbed Cinderella's hand. She held up her dress just like Sleeping Beauty had taught her and smiled her biggest smiles.

Even Austin, aka, guy who knows everything about Disney characters said that a group shot like this rarely ever happens.

And, friends, the moment was not lost on me.

Oh no, it was not.

Abby waved goodbye to her new friends and we were finally on our way to tell Daddy and Drew all about our experience.

Matt smiled at me as I gushed with excitement - he knew I had as much fun as Abby did. Or maybe even a little more.

As I marketing scheme ever.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

If You Own Stock in Disney, Your Welcome.

Or, I could title this post, "Blog O' Pictures." Because there are just that many pictures. And, I tried to narrow them down. I really did. But, it's my blog and I make the rules so I will tell the story of our Christmas with pictures rather than words. And, I better get on with it because it's already New Year's Day!

Here's my sweet firstborn wearing a shirt he made for me at school. It's his handprints! Placed strategically to form a Christmas tree! I shall forever treasure it.

And, here's my sweet baby all ready for her first Christmas recital. Let me tell you, this girl rocks her little ballet class - she is awesome. But, stage fright pays no attention to level of talent.

Believe you me.

And, look! Well, you can't really see what is so I'll tell you. Drew made a snowglobe for me with his school picture in it. Doesn't he look so proud??

Abby made so many crafts this holiday season that we ran out of places to hang them around the house. She said this one was her favorite because "I get to use glue, mama!"

On to Christmas day. This is a picture of Abby at dark-thirty in the morning. She is ready to go as the rest of the world sleeps.

Drew joined us a few hours later.

Everyone is beginning to arrive. Would they hurry up already?!

We had an aunt...

And an uncle...

And, another uncle...

And, a Grams...

Oh, and parents too!!

Let the present-opening begin!

And, here's where you'll begin to be glad that you never sold that stock in Disney. It's been "Disney mania" at our house for a few months now, and Christmas certainly reflected our new interests.
We got the kids season passes to Disney World for Christmas and Grams supplied them with everything else Disney they could ever want or need.
Including these princess dresses - she was beyond excited!

She tried on each dress with the matching pair of shoes. I don't know if she had more fun or if I did.

Drew's big gift from Grams was the monorail and castle set from Disney World. He first played with this at a friend's house about a month ago.
I told Grams it was a must-have after he spent the entire two hours of the playdate enthralled with this set.
His reaction did not disappoint.

Drew's favorite ride at Magic Kingdom is the Buzz Lightyear ride. And, we are huge fans of the Toy Story movies. He loved this costume even more than I thought he would!

I love that he's totally checking himself out in the mirror!

This is their new thing. The dancing. Abby dresses up as a princess and asks Drew to be her prince. They dance, he twirls her, and then he yells "It's midnight!" Abby runs away and kicks off one of her shoes. Drew picks it up and runs after her. She sits down and he places the shoe on her foot and declares it a perfect fit. They live happily ever after.
They love to re-enact all the Disney movies. I woke up this morning to Matt and the kids acting out almost every scene from Aladdin.
Have I ever mentioned that Matt is much more fun than I am?

And, here is some video of them singing Happy Birthday to Jesus.