Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wedding Bells

The real reason for our trip North the end of October was for my dear friend Heath's wedding. Heath and I have been friends since almost the first day of high school at good ole Holy Cross in August 2003, and I had the honor of standing up in his wedding as a 'groomswoman'. ;-) He and Nicole are perfect for each other, and will no doubt make one another happy for the rest of their lives. I was so thrilled to be able to be a part of their special day, and really to just be there to celebrate with them.
The wedding took place in Sterling Heights, Michigan (just outside of Detroit). We decided to leave the girls with Mom and Dad as we passed through KY and hitched a ride with Amy and Tim (the BEST traveling companions!). It was a wonderful, kid-free weekend, with lots of friends, food, drinks, and an indoor water park! Ya can't beat that! It really was a beautiful weekend and we wouldn't have missed it. Thanks for letting us be part of it guys! Here are a few photos of the fun...

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid!

I just wanted to share some more of the photos from the fun we had at Chuck E Cheese for Clara's birthday celebration in KY. As I was going back through the shots from that night, and looking at the ones on Debbie's facebook page (thanks for those!) I couldn't help but smile remembering what a great time it was for all of us. I'll let you decide who the biggest kids are!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Halloween

This was the first Halloween that the girls have really understood a little about the holiday. They were VERY excited about dressing up like mermaids (as you will recall), and had been practicing their 'Trick or Treats' for weeks. At the first mention of getting pumpkins, Lilly began BEGGING to paint hers. (Which amazed me that she remembered we had done this last year after pumpkin picking.) It was especially fun for the girls this year I think, because we were still in KY, so they got to go trick or treating with Carson (and Gabby since Tom, Joyce, and Emily stopped by with her!), and they enjoyed all the holiday festivities with Gamma and Papa. I think this meant as much to my mom and dad as it did to the girls. As you will see in the photos, Papa definitely gets into Halloween!

The girls were masters at trick or treating after the first house they went to, and when we got back to mom and dad's house they got a huge kick out of watching my Grandpa Clark give out treats to the neighborhood kids. Before giving up the treat, he would make them watch his trick of wiggling his teeth (his dentures to be more exact!). It really was a riot to watch the reaction of the kids as he did this and by the end of the night, Lilly was trying to do the same thing with her teeth...very funny! Grandma and Grandpa Clark came out to spend some time with us and to enjoy the kiddos on this fun holiday. They actually stayed over and we were all able to go out to breakfast the next morning before heading back to Georgia on Saturday. Enjoy these photos of our Halloween festivities. I absolutely loved this Halloween and reliving all the fun and excitement through the girls. It was amazing to experience something as little as putting your hand in a pumpkin for the first time and dressing up as a favorite imaginary character with the two of them. They are special treats themselves!

Lilly and Clara painting pumpkins that Gamma and Papa picked out for them.

The girls helping Papa decide what kind of face 'George' (our pumpkin man) would have this year. Lilly decided it should be a fun and silly face. ;-)

Lilly putting her hand in a pumpkin for the first (and only!) time. She decided it was 'yucky' and that she'd leave that to Papa.

Clara giving 'George' a kiss before Papa put him on his scarecrow body.

The girls hanging out with Carson before we went trick or treating.

Papa wearing the Cowboy costume that Lilly picked out for him. He was a good sport, though I'm not sure he was crazy about what she picked! Maybe next year we'll let Carson decide what he should be. ;-)

Our gang starting on our trick or treating adventure!

The girls going up to get 'More Candy!' as Lilly would say. After each house she would announce, 'Let's go to another house...and get MORE CANDY!' Clara was Papa's buddy that night. She would not hold hands with anyone else...she was his girl.

On the Move!

Most of you probably read my entry from a month or so ago about my Granny Randol and our plans to walk in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk in Atlanta. We did do the walk as a family on Clara's 2nd birthday, and had a really nice morning. Also, with the help of many of our closest friends and family, we were able to raise close to $1000 for this wonderful cause. I wanted to share some photos with you from that morning, While we were traveling through KY a couple weeks ago, we were able to visit with Granny for dinner one night and took a few photos as well. Thank you so much to those of you who supported us not only with your donations, but with your thoughts and prayers for my Granny, and all those other individuals out there who are struggling with this terrible disease.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Clara!

So now that you all know how Clara made her grand entrance, we spent the last two weeks of October celebrating her second birthday. Well, at least it felt like we celebrated that long!

We had our first party on the day before her birthday...Friday, the 17th. We already had plans on the 18th to participate in the Alzheimer Association's Memory Walk in Atlanta, so on Friday night we had a mini-party at our house to let her open the gifts from us, as well as the ones from family and friends who had shipped things her way. We had a couple friends over for pizza and wings, and I made (yes...you read that right...I actually baked) her a chocolate fudge cake. It was a great evening...very laid back and fun.

On Saturday morning we got up bright and early to make the drive to Atlanta for the Memory Walk in honor of Granny Randol. It was a little chilly at first, but ended up being a beautiful day, and it was a very special way to spend Clara's birthday. We attached a birthday balloon to the stroller and took her birthday princess crown with us (though she wasn't really too interested in wearing it that morning). It was a great day.

The final celebration took place while we were visiting our family in KY. Since we were coming through town anyway, they held onto their gifts there and we went out to Chuck E Cheese one night and had a little party for Clara then. It really was a lot of fun. Sometimes Clara gets a little overwhelmed in new situations and will become quite clingy, but not that night! She was trying out all the little rides and slides. She really was having a fantastic time. Lilly and Carson enjoyed the trip too. They all especially loved the 'dance cam' where they could see themselves on the televisions as they danced. This was the first time that we have taken the girls someplace like that...I'm certain we'll be doing it more often now though!

I think Clara definitely appreciated how special she felt throughout her birthday celebrations. She is certainly enjoying her new arsenal of toys (as is Lilly) and clothes! We only had a couple of minor meltdowns with Lilly being slightly jealous...she was a very gracious big sister for the most part though. She has already told us what she wants for HER birthday and can describe to anyone when it is going to take place (First we have Thanksgiving, THEN Lilly's birthday). She was very sweet with Clara though...she was the best 'Happy Birthday' singer, and provided an assist with blowing out the candles. And considering she is only two herself, she has done a really great job of respecting that the new things in the house are Clara's new toys, and in turn Clara has been great at sharing her goods. We are so blessed by both of them!

So Happy, Happy Birthday, Clara! You were a beautiful surprise from God, and our lives are enriched each and everyday with your sweet smile and gentle heart. We love you very much!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Look out World...Here I Come

We recently got to celebrate Clara's second birthday. Before I do a post about all the partying we did with her, I wanted to share about her exciting entrance into our lives. Clara was due the weekend after Thanksgiving...but she had another idea in mind!

It was a Wednesday morning (October 18th), and I was up early with Lilly as usual. (Remember that she was only ten months and ten days old at the time!) We had plans to go into Louisville that afternoon to meet my sister in law and nephew for a photo session of the kids in their Halloween costumes. Through Lilly's breakfast and playtime that morning, I was feeling a little under the weather, and while she was taking her morning nap I decided to take a bath and get ready for our trip. I began having some mild aching in my back, and at the risk of being gross on here, lets just say I thought I had to use the bathroom...and just couldn't. When Lilly woke up, instead of having lunch and playtime at home, I went ahead and began the drive to the city. My doctors were there anyway, and I thought that if I didn't feel any better by the time I reached my parents house, I'd give them a call and see what they suggested. About ten minutes into my drive on I-65, I realized that there was more going on than I'd originally thought. The cramping got worse, and closer together...and even though I wouldn't admit yet that I was in labor...on some level, I knew it. So here I was...in labor, driving in the car with my ten month old, and nothing else but her diaper bag, and a chicken costume.

Upon arriving at my parents house, I put Lilly down for a nap and called my doctor. He suggested I come on in to see how things were. I still fully expected he would tell me it was nothing and he'd see me at my next appointment in a week, and I'd be done just in time for our photo session. I called my dad, who came home to sit with Lilly while I ran to the office and ended up filling my mom in...she met me at the doc's office. Boy am I glad she did. Steve was on his way home from work, and I'd told him not to worry about it. I was sure it was nothing, and he should go home and let the dog out. Luckily he decided against that and ended up meeting me at the hospital. It turns out that I didn't have any water left, and Clara was coming early...Mom and I made our way to Labor and Delivery.

Now, here I am in pre-term labor (I probably have been at some level for at least eight or nine hours) and I'm waiting for a C-Section. There are a million things I could be worried about surrounding Clara's delivery and the fact that she is early. But that is not what is on my mind. I am concerned because she is going to be born before Halloween, and she won't have a costume. Stupid, right?! I know. I think on some level this was my minds way of preventing me from focusing on all the things that could be wrong with her, and concentrating on something really trivial. So while we waited for surgery, we decided that since Lilly was a chicken for the holiday, Clara would be an egg. It was very cute...and now you know the answer to the old adage of what came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the chicken, by ten months and ten days. ;-)

Clara was born around 8:30 that evening, and was beautiful. They did watch her breathing closely for the first 24 hours, and we had to work with her eating. She was also a bit jaundiced...but she was perfect. She came home with me on Saturday to meet her big sister. And that was the very fist time that Lilly pulled up...to meet her baby sister, and welcome her home. It was a beautiful moment that I will always treasure.

Clara is still full of surprises, and I'm pretty sure it will stay that way for quite some time. I've yet to decide if that is a good or bad thing, but it adds to our adventure nonetheless, and I wouldn't have her any other way.

Is Anybody Out There?

Howdy all! I know, I know...I never update this thing anymore. What can I say...life happens, and blogging gets placed lower and lower on the 'things to do' list. I'd like to say that will change, but it probably won't. I can only promise to do my best. ;-)

What I can tell you now, is that I am going to do several posts over the next couple days to catch you up on what we've been doing...so stay tuned!