Monday, August 31, 2009

a new era

Big day today...Mother's Day Out starts!

Nora is an old pro...she went one day a week last year and is thrilled to be going back.
She will get to go TWO days a week this year...which means I am going to have to wake her up two mornings instead of just one.

My baby girl is also starting MDO.

She is only going to be attending one day. And she is excited (although she has NO IDEA why she is excited).
Oh my goodness...what will I find to do with myself?
This the first time in 3 1/2 years that I have had a whole day to myself that has not involved a vacation. The hours from 9am-2pm are going to FLY by.
I am getting my hair done today and I am thinking about adding some auburn to it. (Matthew is not very sure about this decision. I have experimented with eye shadow recently and he has made it abundantly clear that he likes my beauty routine to remain the EXACT SAME as it always has...he's very fashion forward.)
Oh, and I'm going to the grocery store all alone.
As you can tell, I am know how to par-tay.
I can't wait to pick the girls up and compare our days.
I bet we'll all agree that we missed each other.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My sweet Elyn

I was in my bedroom tonight when in walks Elyn.

She is holding two dolls and looks very proud of herself.

I said, "Oh, Elyn...two babies!"
She looked at me and said, "No, two GIRLS". (Which actually sounded like "gools")

We got to babysit tonight for our little friend, Sydney. (It was a picture of our life a few years down the road...three girls.)
Sydney wasn't too excited to be hanging out with us. She was, in fact, HATING hanging out with us.
When my babies were little and they couldn't get it under control, I would put a pacifier in their mouths.
I LOVE that my girls took pacifiers.
Well, precious angel Sydney does not take a pacifier. (Which, in hindsight, seems like a fabulous idea too. I might lose my mind when we take away Elyn's.)
As she was LOUDLY CRYING in my ear I was racking my brain trying to figure out a way to calm her down. I looked at her and said, "Oh, Sydney, I'm sorry, I'm doing my best. If you were my baby, I would just put a paci in your mouth and hope that would work."
I continued to dance around the living room with Sydney when I looked down and saw Elyn coming toward me...
...with her paci.
She had overheard me talking to Sydney and went to her bedroom, got her paci out of her crib, brought it into the living room and tried to give it to Sydney to help her calm down.
That nearly made me cry because it was the sweetest gesture my almost 2-yr-old could have done.
I love Elyn!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

feeling silly...but clean!

At our house, when the babies are infants and require nighttime feedings, I jump out of the bed when I hear them cry. FLY out of the bed. I have spent many hundreds of hours waking from a deep sleep and caring for our young.

However, it seems that as soon as they are weaned and sleeping through the night, I no longer hear their pitiful cries. (I probably should have expected this because before we even had children it would take a literal tornado to wake me in the middle of the night.) Matthew is super-parent at this point. He hears the cries and occasional screams.

I sleep through.

At times Matthew has tried to make me feel guilty about my super deep sleeping.

It hasn't worked.

I like to point out that the best thing about me sleeping so deep is that I have a fabulous trait to pass on to our children. (I think we all want kids who are deep sleepers-don't we.)

It's a gift I have to give.

Last night though, Elyn decided to wake up EVERY SINGLE HOUR. Very unusual! She is typically a 12-hour girl.

(See, I've already passed on one of my gifts.)

Well, "Mr. Wake Up at the Drop of a Hat" got up a few times and then decided he'd had enough and started shoving me awake to assist in all the fun.

It wasn't all that fun and I wish he had just let me sleep.

Since Elyn woke up this morning with a disgusting nose and a very unpleasant personality I thought a little visit to the ole doc might not be such a bad idea. I was ready to nip this already-diagnosed-by-doctor-mom ear infection in the bud.

Guess what?

Both ears.

Crystal clear. No infection. Zero.

Sigh. I feel like a dummy. Bye-bye co-pay.

The good news is that Matthew won't wake me up tonight when she cries. Because she is FINE.

So, while I am incapable of using my x-ray vision to determine if my little girl needs a stronger medicine than tylenol, I AM capable of figuring out HOW IN THE WIDE WORLD I am going to keep this casa clean.

I yearn to have a clean house.

I desire to have a clean and orderly house.

I do a decent job of keeping most things orderly and clean too. (Please do not EVER go in my closet.)

But I have to WORK at it. And frankly, this is not the job I want.

(I look forward to the day that I resume working full-time ONLY because that means I will get to hire someone to clean my house. I will give up drinking Diet Coke to pay for the housekeeper if that's what it takes-that's how serious I am. But it will not happen until all children are tucked away in elementary school.)

When I clean, I usually have a marathon day and knock it all out at once.

This is obviously not the most efficient way to get things done. Nora and Elyn don't like me ignoring them and yelling, "Stay away from the cleaners! Do you want me to have to call poison control? NOOOOO, don't put your hands near your mouth!"

Not to mention that I am wiped out for the rest of the day and barely have the energy to tell everyone to stop dropping crumbs all over my freshly washed floors.

So you can imagine how delighted I was to come across FlyLady. She has cleaning broken down into zones and I LOVE that!

She also has a lot of beginner steps, which are things I feel like I am already doing. (And you know who you are if you are a beginner cleaner...nothing to be ashamed of...check her out-your floors and bathtubs will thank you.)

But, her zone cleaning...changing my life!

I don't feel so overwhelmed by all of the deep cleaning and am breaking everything down daily instead of a big day once a week. Also, all the TOYS and daily clutter are not weighing me down as much.

So the morals of this post: don't take your kid to the doctor just because you miss a nights sleep (unless she/he is ACTUALLY sick) and check out my new friend, FlyLady.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a "model" figure


Way to go Glamour...that's what a typical model should look like.

Thanks for making me feel better about my "typical" body.

Monday, August 24, 2009

built in best friends

Have I mentioned lately how much I love having two girls? Love it.

Do I love it when they scream at each other? Not really. Do I love it when they can't share. No. Do I love it when they hit/bite/pull hair/push? Absolutely not.

Am I looking forward to several years of back to back hormones, followed by a few rounds of eye rolling, and topped off with some comments like "you don't understand" and "everyone else gets to". I'm already praying for those moments to pass as quickly as possible.

I love having two girls because that means they have a sister.

Is there anything better? Since I have no experience with boys/brothers (which I'm sure are fabulous too), I will focus on what I know...girls/sisters.

I have a sister. She's my first friend. My first memory is of her being born. (Not the actual delivery...I would be in therapy for that, I'm sure...the visiting her part.) I also have many, many other memories of her:

  • FIGHTING like cats. Once we even threw potatoes at each other...lock up those potatoes people, they are dangerous weapons.
  • riding bikes and playing outside
  • sleeping in the same bed at my grandmother's house...and her ending up sleeping on the floor because she thought my toenails were too long
  • hearing her talk in her sleep and carry on a conversation with her
  • her waking me up the morning of my senior prom, kidnapping me for a breakfast
  • her calling Nov. of '00

and so many more.

Here's the thing about matter how frustrated you get with them, no matter how upset, no matter long you go without talking to're connected for life.

I talk to my sister just about every day. Long or short conversations, doesn't matter.

We are as different as night and day, as apples and oranges. But that doesn't matter...we're sisters. We're built in friends.

When I found out that we were having a second girl, I was a little disappointed. Not because that I wasn't OVERJOYED that Elyn was on her way. I just thought...we have one girl, a boy would be nice, even things out.

But the second that her and Nora started interacting with each other, I knew that two girls is what I had always wanted. Sisters...nothing better!

I love when they laugh so hard at each other that they can't breathe. I love when they both play dress up. I love when they hold hands in the back seat. I love when Matthew and I have to leave them, they have each other. I love they are concerned with one another. I love that they are built in friends.

I hope they are always friends too. I hope they want to call one another first when something exciting happens. I hope they feel each other's hurts and always show sympathy. I hope they choose to live in the same part of the U.S. because they will see each other more often. I hope one of them names their daughter Dallas.

I realize that I will not have all of these "hopes" happen.

I do know they will call each other in say, 20 years, and this is how the phone conversation will go..."Oh my goodness Nora, have you talked to mom and dad lately?" "Yea, talked to mom yesterday...why?" "Did she tell you that they are going TENT CAMPING to Yellowstone? What do they think, they're 30? They're probably both going to need oxygen tanks and we should probably make sure their will is updated...they are losing their minds!" "I KNOW. Did you know that dad is playing church league softball again? I'm sure we'll be called to the ER any day now because he is having a hip replaced."

They will have this convo because they are FLESH AND BLOOD sisters. And, unless God grants us another child one day, they will be the only two that can say unkind things about us. (Because they will fight to the death to defend our honor if someone else tries to say that we are not capable of tent camping or playing softball...which we WILL be able to do.)

I am so thankful that God blessed us with two girls. I pray that they always know how very special their relationship is and how blessed they are to have one another. Because it is a relationship that is like none other.

And if we're lucky, they will take very, very, very good care of us when we are old.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tiny Dancer

We bought some itty-bitty tap shoes last week...
Nora loved them and insisted on wearing them around the house...all. day. long. (Thankfully, the taps aren't too noisy, but if she continues to wear them 24/7, the "tap fairy" may remove the clickity clackitys.)

But, before she could sashay all over the house, she had to have the perfect outfit.

You might think, oh, a leotard...of course.

Nope, she needed a dress she could TWIRL in and that had black in it...just like the shoes.

She's so happy!

Oh, and Elyn needed new shoes too. I could eat up those little baby legs!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

the relaxing part...

Back to our vacation...(where we didn't take many pictures)

once we finally got on the ship, we had an extremely fabulous time.

On our first day, we boarded the ship, dropped our bags, put our swimsuits on and hailed a cab to the beach.
The water was so clear. It was amazing! Like standing in a swimming pool, we could see all the way to our toes. We spent a little over 2 hours laying out and swimming before we headed back to the ship.

On the way back Matthew found a coconut to drink out of... So tropical.

The next day, we stopped in Nassau. The day was PERFECT!
We chose to spend the day in Atlantis. If you have never been then you should start planning a vacation there! It is FABULOUS! So wonderful, that when we got home, we looked to see how much it would cost to take a vacation there.
This is a view from one of the bridges we were walking on...a shallow pool full of baby sharks and stingrays.
The bottom of the hotel is a huge aquarium...HUGE! There were people in these aquariums scuba diving and snorkeling.
Atlantis is a resort/waterpark/beach. The grounds are beautiful, so many flowers and trees.
This is a picture of one of the hotels.
Oh, and if you want to move to Nassau, this house is for sale for a mere 2 million dollars.
Obviously, we spent quite a bit of time on the ship too. Matthew wasn't crazy about getting too close to the rails. This picture is a little bit of a miracle. I'm sure the whole time we were standing there he was afraid the rail was going to break and we were going to fall in.
And, of course, on a cruise, the food is a big part of it. I love a cruise for the fact that I get to try foods that I have never tried. Matthew tried some different foods too. This is one of the appetizers that he had. Foie gras. I could not even try it.
And we loved coming back to our room each night to see what our steward had done with our towels.
Our last full day we spent at Norwegian Cruise Lines private island. Matthew did a lot of snorkeling (I quit after then first time out because the choppy waters were making me queasy) and I did a lot of reading and laying out.
It was a great trip and the journey home was much less eventful.
We hope to go on another cruise one day and maybe even take our girls...if they stay away from the rails.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

growing, growing

Sunday was "Promotion Sunday" at church.

Basically that means that Nora sits with us at "big church" before taking off for Bible Hour. We are now responsible for bringing money (for her) for communion and securing three seats instead of two.

(And she wasn't all that crazy about it either. She kept asking me when she got to go to class.)

Sunday was another reminder that she is growing up-despite all that I try to do to prevent that from happening.

She does not yet realize how lucky she is to have special friends at church. These three (Gibson, Sutton and Nora) are precious. They were all born within a month of each other. And they really love each other! Nora told me just the other day that she was going to marry out Dwight and Dallas! And she is constantly telling me that Gibson is her best friend.

Nora and Gibson, after FINALLY getting released to go to class, proudly showing us their new Bibles and pencils.
Our fuzzy family picture. (Matthew thought I should have followed the dress code for our family that day...I don't have a cute red shirt though, guess I need to go shopping.)

Didn't I just bring her home from the hospital? Isn't she still supposed to the be in the nursery? Sigh, you are growing up too fast!
A proud daddy with his girls.

We love you are such a big girl!

Monday, August 17, 2009

the journey

Remember when Matthew and I went on a vacation, all by ourselves, to the beach? Remember?

Well, guess what, we don't live beside the beach. It requires travel to get there.

And since our plan was to go on a cruise to the Bahamas, leaving out of Miami, it required a great deal of travel.

Our flight was scheduled to depart our little airport on Monday morning at 6:15am.

I had spent the weekend before in Texas, helping move my grandmother into an assisted living residence...working like a DOG (can I get an AMEN Julie and Marty?).

I arrived back in town on Sunday morning, just in time to finish packing the girls suitcases, hug on them for a little while and help Matthew load their stuff into the car and drive them to his mom's house.

We got back home Sunday night and started packing our bags. Matthew decided he wanted to carry all of our bags on the plane because he didn't want to pay the $15 per bag fee. I was a little annoyed because this meant I was having to stuff my carry-on bag and search for little bottles to carry our toiletries in.

In bed...11:30pm.

We set our alarms for 4:15 am and hardly reached the REM stage before we were up again.

We made to the airport in plenty of time and started to FINALLY get excited about our trip...we were on our way!

We made it to Memphis, no problem at all. We stopped to have a bite of breakfast, walked over to our gate, sat down to chat for a few minutes and I decided to make a visit to the ladies' room before we boarded our flight.

I walked out of the restroom and found Matthew waiting for me. "Our flight has been canceled."


We rush over to the ticketing agent and stand in a mile long line.

I pull out my phone and dial Northwest Airlines to see if a voice on the phone can get us a flight before the actual person can.

Matthew talked to the guy on the phone...who I'm pretty sure it was his very first day...and was having no luck. NONE of the flights were going to arrive in Miami in time for us to board the ship. Grrrrrrrrrrr...

I got on the phone to Norwegian Cruise Line to explain our dilemma and they said if we could get to our first port of call (Grand Bahama Island) then it would not be an issue at all for us to board.

FINALLY, we got to talk to a ticketing agent.

Let me back up and say that there were several families on our flight that were also trying to get to their cruise ships on time. Every single family unit was very frustrated...and some were very sad because their trips were about to be over.

For example, a single-mom and her three kids were going on a Carnival cruise, stopping for the first time in Cozumel (or Cancun). She called Carnival and asked them if Northwest Airlines flew them to Cozumel (or Cancun) would they be able to board the ship. Well, they could, but only if they paid $300.00 a person. I was heartbroken for the mom, because by the time we caught up with them and heard the whole story, they were catching a flight home. She was very teary-eyed (but trying to hold it together for her teenagers) and told me she has been saving for over a year and couldn't afford to pay the $1200. AWFUL!

Okay, back to our ticketing agent...we went up to him and waited (very quietly, mind you) while he tried to do his magic and get us to our cruise ship on time (we already knew it wasn't possible). He looked, for about 10 minutes, and then glanced at us and said, "It doesn't look like we can do anything...your done."


(Do you feel like you have taken this journey with us? I know this post is a teensy bit on the lengthy side...don't worry, it gets longer.)

At this point, I was done-DONE. I was absolutely exhausted, overly emotional and carrying my bags around the airport. I went off to the side, sat down and pulled out my phone.

Guess who I called? Oh you know, all you women, you know...

my Mom...and I started crying. Like I couldn't breathe kind of crying.

And guess what she said, "Don't worry, let me get on the internet and see how we can get you there." She's a saint! One day, I hope I'm a mom like that.
Meanwhile, back at the counter, Matthew was smoldering. It is VERY difficult to get him to the point of being upset...I know, I've tried. But, he was UP-SET. And not walking away until they figured out something for us.

And they did.

At first, they told us that they would not fly us to Freeport (Grand Bahamas Island) because we were not originally flying international and that would break some sort of rule.

Matthew kept standing there, smoldering, but being kind. Finally, they called the supervisor to see what he could do.

He changed our tickets to fly into Freeport the next morning. (Thank you very much.)

We were very irritated that we were missing the first 1/2 day of our cruise and the first morning and wanted to know what else they could do for us.

They gave us food vouchers (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and a hotel voucher for the evening in Miami. We were supposed to arrive in Miami at 6pm and I thought, Great! We can explore Miami...we'll still make the most of this vacation.

We head over to American Airlines (because Northwest Airlines decided to just wash their hands of us...don't worry, we have washed our hands of them too...FOREVER!) and caught a flight to Dallas.

Easy flight to Dallas. And we have plenty of time to use our first food voucher! Yea!!!!
And we are so excited to head to Miami!!!!!
But sadly...we were not that lucky. The traveling gods were not smiling upon us this day.

We board our flight, buckle up, pull out our books and settle in. Moments later, we hear the captain tell us that there is an issue with the brakes and is going to take a little while to fix. He will keep us updated every step of the way.

It is 2:15pm at this point.

Two and a half hours later, one nap and a few visits to the bathroom, we have still not moved.

They get us all off of the plane and have us stand in line to rebook our tickets to Miami. Ugh!

Deja vu.

We get back on the phone, this time to AA and figure out if there are any other flights heading to Miami that night. The lady says to me, there is a flight leaving in 15 minutes...if you hurry you just might make it to the gate...and we take off (carrying all of our luggage).

Two very-near heart attacks later, we get to the gate 2-3 minutes too late. Awesome.

We slowly walk back to our original gate (begging the oxygen to quickly re-enter our lungs) and wait for plane #2 to take us to Miami.

On our final flight...we don't believe it is really about to happen.
Guess what time we get to Miami? 11:30pm. No nightlife happened that night.

We found someone who worked for Northwest Airlines (not easy) and got our hotel voucher. We went to our hotel (which, surprisingly, was VERY nice) and crashed!!!!!

The next morning, we drug our tired, useless bodies out of the bed and headed for the airport again. After checking in, we used the last of our food vouchers and sat down to wait for our plane.
You can tell, by this picture, that the travels from the day before were so hard on us that we both had mini-strokes, making it possible to really only smile out of one side of our face.
Seriously, if we don't board that ship TODAY, I'm going to lose my freaking mind!
Good news though! Our little propeller plane took us on a 30-minute journey and touched down in Freeport at 11:00am. YEA!

Going through "customs" was a piece of cake since there was only 15 people on our flight. And the lady checking our passports even knew we were headed to board our ship. Small town, I guess.

And if you think our trip up to this point was brutal, I think you will agree that things immediately began looking up for us.
A limo, circa 1985, was waiting to take us to our ship. We are pretty fancy. The good people of Freeport spare no expense when it comes to the rich Americans.
It was classy.
The first view of our ship...the vacation was about to start!
Remember how we had to carry all of our belongings with us?

Well, thank goodness for my thrifty husband. Had we checked our bags, who knows were they would have ended up due to all the flight craziness.
So there you have it...our journey to our vacation. If you made it this far, well, you are probably family. I promise the vacation was not nearly as eventful and will not require me to write a novel to tell you about it. I'll post about it some day...hopefully in the near future.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Oh, peanut butter...

Friends whose kids have food allergies...I NEED YOUR HELP.

(Really, it's not as big as a deal as making "I need your help" in all capitals, but now that I have your attention...)

I have been blessed with children who can eat anything-including dirt and flowers on occasion. Neither one has any food allergies.

I know, my life is easy.

Because they have no known allergies to food one of the main staples at our house is peanut butter. My girls eat peanut butter and honey (jelly is too messy and does not comb out of hair easily) sandwiches at least 4 times a week. And they love them.

At the end of the month, they are both going to Mother's Day Out-Nora is going two days a week and Elyn is going once a week. And they both have to take their lunch.

There is a strict "no peanut" policy at their school.

Which means I have to think outside my box for lunches. I don't enjoy thinking outside of the box on some days.

I have sent rolled up turkey meat, mac and cheese, quesidillias, pieces of chicken and even one time, a Lunchable (which I'm not crazy about doing because they can get pricey).

Believe it or not, all of the above items required thought. There is nothing easier than slapping some peanut butter on some bread and shoving it in a sandwich bag.

So my question is this...does the "no peanut policy" usually mean that ALL nut spreads are out?

Obviously, I will be asking the director, but wanted to get an idea from you guys on how far I was going to have to stretch my "lunch making" brain cells.

Let's hope not too far.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The end of my summer reads...

I have enjoyed my summer of much! And I have written this post, once already. Blogger hates me and would not let me publish, so here it is again...less satisfying, but it's hard for me to leave things undone. And in my mind, this post was "undone".

Okay, first book...This book came recommended by Kristen O. She recommended another book that I loved, so I figured she must have good taste. And she does. Although this book has a crazy title the content is delightful! I really (REALLY) enjoy historical fiction. This book takes place shortly after the end of World War 2, in London and the small island of Guernsey. The characters are endearing and very likable. I want to go to the island on my next trip. The author describes it with such detail and charm that I think you would want to visit it too. Maybe we can all take our breathtaking passport photos and go together. Thank you Kristen for another fabulous read!

So wonderful. I heard rave reviews about this book back when it made its debut. The title and the adorable white dress on the front of the cover made me want to read it (hey, being honest). This is a book about a set of twins that were born, in the 60's. One boy...perfectly healthy, and one girl...with downs syndrome. Their father, a doctor, knew about all the health problems that could follow his daughter and instructed his nurse to drive her to a home-thinking he would save his wife years of heartache by sparing her all the medical issues that would surround them. The nurse decides to keep the little girl and so begins the journey these two families family full of sorrow and one full of hope. If you haven't read it!

I finished this book last week on our trip...and then wanted to come home and cook French food. This book (which has been recently made into a movie...maybe you have heard of it) REALLY, REALLY makes me want to cook duck and lamb and crepes. There are several reasons why I could never cook through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in a year, like Julie Powell did: our budget would never allow that; my children would have to live somewhere else because I would be very negligent; calf brains kind of scare me. This week, while cooking my meager dinners, I imagine that I am Julie (or Julia) and trying new techniques or wielding my knife in a strictly professional way. I admire Julie and her dedication to her project (although I do not admire her sailor mouth). Several times while reading it I thought, "Wow, she's semi-famous now because she had an almost nervous breakdown...I could do that." or "Wow, she started a little blog and now she is making big bucks...I could do that." (By the way...Matthew is strongly encouraging me to brainstorm potential ways to make this blog famous and make us big bucks). I'm excited to see the movie...and hope to get "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" for Christmas (along with a budget to cook the recipes).

Okay, so of the four books that I am highlighting here, this one was my least favorite. DEFINITELY my least favorite. Remember how I mentioned that I like historical fiction? Well, this one is. I really thought I would enjoy it. And I really TRIED to enjoy it. I even finished it. But, I just never got involved and developed a love for the characters. It is interesting and I learned some things, but it's just not a strong recommendation from me. Maybe you'll like it. Read other people reviewing it here.

I also read: The Joy Luck Club; Take Two (Above the Line Series); American Wife-actually still reading, and LOVING; and various other fluff books.

I have really enjoyed my summer of reading and hope to inspire others in my house to do so. Let me know what you read this summer...I'm always looking for new ones!

Saturday, August 08, 2009


Back from this paradise...
Home to this one...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

wrapping up summer

I'm sitting on my couch right now...wishing I were asleep. But a little girl keeps coming out of her bedroom needing to tell me something.

I really don't mind though because I have been gone all weekend. I flew to Texas to help my family move my grandmother into a "memory impaired" assisted living home. My cousin, Julie, my sister and I pretty much moved all of my grandmother's furniture, pictures, EVERYTHING, in less than 36 hours. All by ourselves.

And my arms, back and shoulders are feeling it today.

I am a little emotional because I did spend all weekend away from the girls AND Matthew and I leave tomorrow for an "end of summer" vacay.

It should be awesome:
But, I know I will miss the girls.

I know once I board the plane tomorrow I will make myself go into vacation mode and let my worry meter turn down (by not all the way off...come on, I'm a mom, that's impossible.).

Traveling away from them always makes me a little anxious...I'm glad they have each other though.

Happy end of summer to you...see you next week!

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