Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
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.
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.
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.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
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.
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!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
My Granny is an amazing woman. She has taught me about faith, hope, and compassion. She has taught me empathy, sacrifice, and service. Granny has taught me about living life to the absolute fullest and taking care of those I cross paths with along the way. She has taught me that it is the little things that make the biggest difference in the lives of others, and that prayer and trust in God can take you a long way. She has taught me about love...the unconditional kind....the kind that accepts everyone for who they are at their innermost core. The amazing part is, that to teach me these most important life lessons, she never spoke to me about any of them. She simply lived her life the best way she knew how. In doing that, she spoke volumes, without saying a word. My Granny is an amazing woman.
My Granny is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. This is a terrible disease with tremendous symptoms which effect not only the patient, but the entire family. The cause to create awareness, conduct research, and to find a cure for this disease is one that has become very close to my heart for obvious reasons. Granny has been a beautiful blessing in my life. I will never forget the lessons she has taught me. She may not always recognize my face, or remember my name, but I know that deep inside she still holds all of us close to her heart and she will never forget the love that she has for any of those precious to her.
On October 18th Steve and I (with the girls in tow!) will be participating in The Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk here in Atlanta in honor of Granny. (This also happens to be Clara's second birthday, and I can think of no better way to spend it!) Today, I am asking for your support to help raise funds and awareness for this wonderful cause. If you are able to make a donation, simply go to the link below, and click on 'Find a Walker'. Do a search for my name and follow the steps...it is very easy. If you are unable to make a monetary donation, I simply ask for your prayers for Granny, and all those who are suffering with this disease, as well as those who are caring for them.
Thank you so much in advance for your help, prayers, and support for this wonderful cause! Enjoy these photos of us with Granny from the last couple of years!
My Memory Walk website is:
Us visiting with Granny in July 2007, just before our move to Georgia.
(I love the photo above of Granny with the girls!)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
It is no secret that the girls have had a love for reading, music and dancing since they were born. Really. They both love to look at books (and for being so little they are really attentive to them), they sing and talk to themselves all the time (especially Lilly), and they are constantly (and I mean constantly) moving. Some of their favorite shows to watch in prime time this past spring were American Idol and Dancing with the Stars...they also liked So You Think You Can Dance once it started. A few months ago Lilly began to tell us that she wanted to take a dance class. I think she saw a segment on Sesame Street one day (thank you PBS) that took place in a dance class, and so the obsession began. Steve and I talked about it and decided if we could find someplace that had a class for her age we'd let her give it a shot. Most places required that she be three before the classes began in September, but one studio wrote me back and said that they have had some success in the past with 'almost threes' and they'd be willing to let her try it out with not obligation if she wasn't ready. Lilly was so excited...I can't stress how excited she was. It was really all she could talk about from the time we went to size her for her first pair of ballet shoes. I finally had to show her on a calendar how many more days we had before her first class so she would stop obsessing and asking me about it fifteen times a day.
Monday was her first official Pre-Ballet Class. Lilly couldn't wait to get dressed in her new leotard and tights. We got a matching set for Clara (along with her very own 'ballet shoes') so she wouldn't feel left out. They are quite adorable, I must say. Lilly even sat still for about thirty minutes while I tried ten different ways to get her hair to stay in a bun (lots of clips and hairspray people!). We had a long talk about how she needed to listen to the dance teacher and watch the dance teacher. 'We are not supposed to look at ourselves in the mirror, Lilly. You have to watch the teacher so you can learn the dance moves.' Okay, Mommy! This was my biggest fear along the lines of her not being ready for a formal class. She is quite obsessed with watching herself in mirrors, and with being in a room surrounded by them I figured it was sure to be an issue. The sermon was over, the hair was perfect, and we were off. There was a two-way mirror at the studio so we could see in from the waiting room, but the kids couldn't see us. Watching 12 three year olds attempts plies and the different positions was quite hilarious. (I'm sure just as funny was the 12 mothers crowed around a two foot by one foot window peering in.) I think Lilly's favorite part was the 'ballet run' and apparently there was something along the lines of 'bunny hops' as well. I think she did pretty good for the most part from the few minutes I watched. She was watching herself in the mirrors quite a bit (although she did try really hard to do it out of the corner of her eye) and walked away from the group a handful of times (guess she wanted to do a solo!). But I didn't honestly didn't see her doing anything that others in the class weren't doing too. After we had dinner that evening I asked her if she would show my camera some of the things she learned at class that day. She was pretty eager (as was Clara) to show me her stuff. Enjoy!
We recently began talking to the girls about Halloween and discussed how they get to dress up in costumes for the occasion. Then we asked Lilly what she might like to be and began to run through the gambit of possibilities...butterflies (no)...ladybugs (no)...puppy dogs (no)...how about favorite characters...Sesame Street muppets...maybe Elmo or Zoe...or Abby Cadaby (no)...princesses--Cinderella or Snow White (no). Then Steve said 'How about Nemo?' With this I know my face was quite shocked...why would you suggest this?? Where would we find a Nemo costume that didn't cost a fortune?? Are YOU going to make one?? These are just a few of the questions that ran through my head in about three seconds. But then I thought...she turned everything else down...no worries! With that Lilly yells, 'YEAH! I be like Nemo for Halloween!' This is just great! How in the world am I going to pull this one off?! Over the next days we tried to convince Lilly that she could be lots of other things for Halloween, to which her answer continued to be, 'Nope...I be like Nemo.'
It was time for a little coercion and manipulation...every mother uses these tactics from time to time, right? So I began talking to the girls about all the things that live under the sea...fishes, dolphins, Nemos!...Lilly would add, mermaids ...I would say (and the manipulation begins..he he he). Mermaids! Lilly and Clara would yell in unison. I began talking about mermaids a lot, and we played with Ariel toys and read mermaid books. Then we went to the bookstore one morning for story time, and I saw my opportunity. On a clearance rack was a set of mermaid stickers, complete with two sticker boards (perfect!)
Me: Hey Girls...look at this. Mermaid stickers.
Lilly and Clara: Ooooooohhhhh....Mermaid stickers!
Lilly: I want those, Mommy.
Me: Okay...Hey Lilly, what if you were a mermaid for Halloween?!
Lilly: YEAH!!! I DO be a mermaid for Halloween! Great idea, Mommy!
Score! I sold it! I will admit that I made an attempt a week ago to change her mind one last time to be Tinker Bell (her newest Disney fascination is Peter Pan). We decided that when we pass through KY for my friend's wedding in October we are going to extend our trip through Halloween and I thought it would be adorable for her to be Tink, Clara to be Wendy, and my nephew Carson to be Peter Pan (or Captain Hook if his daddy wouldn't let him wear tights!). But she has become quite obsessed and insistent that she is going to be a mermaid. Through all of this, Clara professed that she is Ariel. No surprise there since she is in love with Prince Eric. This I can do...mermaids shouldn't be too hard, right?!
Well...they are really easy for me, since my wonderful mother-in-law found the cutest ones ever on Amazon, bought them, shipped them, and they are already here. The girls were in love from the moment we opened the box, and they have been wearing the costumes almost every day for at least a few minutes since. They even wore them the other night to visit with Papa on the web cam to sing him 'Happy Birthday' mermaid style. Check them out below...there is a video of them opening the box when it came, as well as one of them trying the costumes on for the first time...adorable! Both of the outfits are a little big (Clara's needs to be taken up quite a bit in the length), but they look great and will be the best dressed mermaids on the block this Halloween. No doubt about that! So thanks Gamma JA...we love you!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
My mom has gotten a big kick out of sharing the story of Lilly's friend Homer with the family and her friends. We haven't heard much about Homer lately...just a handful of times. Lilly does still maintain her love of elephants though (as well as princess, babies, and dancing!). After seeing the video on here, a friend and coworker of mom's, who we fondly refer to as 'Aunt' Karen, decided to send the girls a package. If you saw us together it would be pretty obvious that Aunt Karen is of no blood relation to us, though she gets a HUGE kick out of seeing the reaction from folks when she tells them she's our aunt! She shares Lilly's love of elephants and wanted to send a couple of special ones to the girls. It was very sweet of her and greatly appreciated. Our new elephant friends have a new home here on top of out toy box and have received much love since their arrival. This particular video ends a little strangely because the memory on the camera was full. We still wanted to share it though, and send our thanks to our favorite non-aunt, aunt! Love ya!
We have been meaning to get a video of Clara wearing this nightgown for awhile now, and finally did so a few weeks ago before Steve left for Kuwait. It has just taken me a little while to get it posted here. This particular gown was passed down to us from cousin Abby (we love that!) and it has been Clara's favorite ever since. Clara is a huge fan of the little mermaid (more on that to come in a later post), but it wasn't her fascination with Ariel that sparked her interest with this nightgown...it was Prince Eric. The first time we put the gown on Clara, her face lit up and she pointed to the photo of Eric on the shirt and chanted 'Eric...Eric...Eric!' Now it wasn't necessarily what she said, but how she said it, and the fact that for the rest of the night she kept pointing him out to us. We asked her if Eric was handsome and she responded with a resounding, 'YEAH!' Is he your prince, Clara? 'YEAH!' If she had her choice, I'm certain that she would wear this nightgown to bed every night. The video really doesn't do her initial excitement justice, but it is cute nonetheless.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
I guess if you've read my previous post, you know that we are Cardinal fans...but we are also college football fans in general. We love this time of year and watching any of the games that are on throughout the week. Steve, being from Virginia, has some ties there with schools and teams that we follow as well, and the biggest one would be Virginia Tech. His Aunt Carol went there, and is as crazy about them as my family is about UofL (maybe even more so, if that is possible). Well they kicked off their season yesterday and the girls and I were watching and cheering them on. At the opening kickoff, VT had a great run down field and Lilly began cheering "Go Go Hokies! Go Carol!" I think she misunderstood when I told her that Carol was at the game, and she thought Carol was actually playing. Either way we were cheering them on! They had a rough start to their season yesterday as well. There is still a TON of football to be played this year though!
GO CARDS!!! GO HOKIES!!!
We are a Cardinal family...no doubt that we bleed RED in this house! We'll see how that fares for us throughout football season this year. I'm afraid I'm not expecting much out of my beloved UofL team (especially since as I write they are losing to our biggest rival by 10...we haven't put a single point on the board in 2 1/2 quarters...woe is me). We will always support our team though. I had the girls practicing their CARDS cheer the other day in preparation for the big kickoff weekend. They are adorable...if I could only keep Clara in the frame of the camera instead of standing behind me trying to watch on the digital screen. Enjoy their little cheer...now its time for my confession...
Last week when we went to pick Lilly up at preschool one day, a gentleman walked by. He was there to pick up his grandson, as he had each day so far, and he was wearing a UK hat. I teased him a bit about it...that he surely wasn't a WILDCAT fan and shared with him that I was from Louisville. We chatted a bit, and went on our way. It was then that I decided I needed to make a phone call home. I talked to mom and asked her to pick up some new UofL tee-shirts for the girls and to try and get them to me before kick-off weekend. When we got up Thursday morning, I dressed the girls in their new shirts, jean skirts, and ponytails. Lots of folks complimented the girls on their Cardware, and told us how cute they were. "Getting ready for football weekend?" they'd ask. What they didn't know was my real motivation for dressing them in their cardinal red on this particular day. I couldn't wait to pick Lilly up at school and tease UK grandpa just a little. With our big rival game this weekend and all, it was just too tempting. Much to my surprise, UK grandpa didn't come to pick up Lilly's classmate that day. I guess it serves me right! With the way things are looking right now, maybe I should be glad that he wasn't there.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Get ready for a good laugh here ladies and gents! We went to breakfast at McDonald's this morning before taking Lilly to school. Steve had the morning off and was able to go with us. I took a potty break for myself, and when I returned, the conversation went something like this:
Steve: Be careful, Mommy...don't sit on Homer! (As he looked at Lilly.)
Me: What? Who's Homer? Lilly, who is Homer?
Lilly: Homer the elephant, Mommy. He my friend.
Me: Oh...your friend Homer the elephant. Can you see him?
Lilly: Yeah. He's right there. (As she points to the seat next to her.)
We proceeded to find out a little more about Lilly's new friend, Homer, as the day went on. This evening after dinner I asked her if she would tell my camera about him and she was excited to share so I'll let you enjoy the rest of the scoop via the video. In case you're wondering about the paper towel roll she's playing with...they learned about their mouths at school today and used the rolls as megaphones (like we need THAT in this family!). She and Clara had great fun with them this evening. Sorry if my 'interview' with her is a little redundant, too...in the midst of it I couldn't remember what I'd asked her and I think I ended up double tapping a couple of questions. Wanted to be sure you got all the details though!
On another note...Steve left this evening for Kuwait for a training exercise for a month. This is the first time in about a year that he has had to go anywhere, which was a big change from the last two units we've been in when he was gone quite often. We've gotten spoiled by having him home so much! It was definitely hard for him to leave this afternoon...Lilly was a little sad. I think she does understand on some level that he'll be gone for awhile. Clara kept asking for him at dinner. The month will go by fast for us, but probably slower for Steve. I am just extremely thankful that it is only a month and that its only Kuwait. Nonetheless, please pray for safe travels for Steve, and patience for me. Days with only toddlers can be long and tedious, but I thankfully have some great friends here who will help to give me some much needed adult interaction and/or Mommy time when I need it.
Hope you get as much enjoyment out of Lilly's video as we have today!