Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hokies Hokies Hokies

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!!!

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A Cheer and a Confession

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.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Don't sit on Homer!

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!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Picture Perfect

So a few weeks ago I took the girls to have new portraits made since Lilly's birthday was our last photo session. It is amazing how much they change at this age in such a short time. The photo session was a blast. We went to a local Portrait Innovations and they were amazing. I have heard wonderful things about them from several family members and friends who live in different states and a new studio was just opened here. I really think these are the best shots we've had so far. They worked fantastically with the girls, and were very patient with Clara, who was not the easiest customer. You could never tell it from the photos, but about 75% of the time she was crying or at a minimum fussing. Lilly thought she was a supermodel...no joke. She was throwing her pigtails around and striking poses...too funny. I had 90+ shots to chose from, lots of help from the professional deciding, and the cost of it all was very reasonable. They've got me as a customer for a long time and I would highly recommend them to anyone. Since I got word that all the Grandmas have received their photos now, I can post them here for everyone to see without any repercussions. ;-) They all turned out great, but my absolute favorite is the one of the girls on the beach scene with Lilly playing the bongo drums and Clara dancing to the beat...that one totally fits their personalities! Hope you like them as much as we did!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pea-School Days!

Howdy ya'll...so today was Lilly's first day of 'pea-school' and she couldn't have been more excited. She has been asking to go for weeks, and couldn't wait after we went to the orientation last night to see her classroom and meet her teacher. She woke up this morning ready to go...with her new bag (given to all the kids last night) and her new 'pea-school shoes.' Of course my camera is still not working (GGGRRRRR), but I do have the handy little video cam that Gamma JA gave to us last fall, so I took some video at the house and in the car this morning. The first one is in our driveway on the way to the car, and the second is in the car while killing time since we were a little early. You can hear Lilly at one point saying she wants to go inside...enthusiastic is an understatement!

Things went pretty much as I predicted...Lilly waltzed right in the classroom and sat at the table to play with play dough, as if she'd been there a million times. Clara on the other hand began to cry. I believe she thought I was leaving her there, too. Once I finally got her to realize that she was coming with me, she was better. As we walked to the car, though, she kept saying 'Lilly....Lilly....Lilly' like she thought I didn't realize we'd left her there. Off and on all morning Clara asked for her big sister. When I told her it was time to get our shoes on and go get Lilly I've never seen her move to the front door so fast. It was really very sweet.

When we picked her up, she was all smiles, and her teacher said that she'd had a great first day. After we got to the car, I took her daily report out of her folder and it said that Lilly's mood today was 'happy and chatty'...why am I not surprised! It also said that she had a good day and played nice with her new friends. We got home, ate lunch, and Lilly asked to go back to school...I'd say it was a success!

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Three Up...Three Down!

For those of you who don't know us personally...I have a big family...huge...and I love it. My mom has 3 brothers and sisters, for a total of 10 nieces and nephews, and now that we are all getting married and having babies the numbers are growing everyday (5 great grand babies and one on the way for my grandparents). My dad is the third child in a total of 10...I don't really want to take the time to sit and count all of my cousins, and their kids right now...but you get the picture. We are all spread all over the country now. I have family members as far west as Oregon and as far east as New Hampshire. Just a little tidbit of info about us! ;-)

Now for the real reason for this blog...one of my cousins on my mom's side of the family, Andy, is a fantastic baseball player. He always has been since he was a young boy. Several of my cousins are exceptionally athletic...I was not blessed with the speedy gene. I always had great rhythm and stamina for dance, and loved it, so that's where I stayed. (Couldn't even do that now if I tried, but that's another blog for another day!) Anyhow...Andy has always had a dream of playing professional baseball in the Major leagues, and he has taken one more step in that direction recently.

He graduated in May from Franklin University in Indiana where he played baseball for four years, and now he has been signed by an independent professional baseball team in Florence, KY...the Florence Freedoms. He is on their pitching rotation and starts about every fifth game as I understand it. Luckily he is close enough to Louisville (where most of our family is) that folks can make the trip to see him when he pitches at home. We obviously can't be there for it...but when we're really lucky, he starts on a weekend. Those games are aired on the local Fox network in Florence, and we can watch them online. Can I tell you how cool it is to sit on my computer here in GA and watch my cousin play professional baseball in KY? Awesome! We got to watch him play on Saturday and the girls got a big kick out of it. We were eating dinner when it started, so you can see in the attached video that we were watching from the dinner table. For days after that, Lilly would ask to watch the baseball game at dinner every night. The video is a little dark because of the lighting in the room, but I wanted to share anyway... In one of the first few innings, Andy got the first 3 batters out and we began chanting, 'Three up, three down." The girls thought this was funny, which is why I grabbed the camera. Of course they weren't nearly as enthusiastic about it when I started filming, but what can I say...at least we have it on tape! To translate a little 'Lilly talk' before you watch...in the beginning when I ask her who we are watching play baseball, she said 'Mommy's friend, Andy.' We tried to explain to her that he is my friend, but that he is my family too...my cousin...like her cousin Carson or Matt. I think we just confused her more though... Nonetheless...enjoy! And if this video attaches easily, I'll try to make a habit of filming more to post on here at times...we shall see...

To Andy...we are so proud of you and pray that all your dreams come true!

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sending a Little Love

A few weeks ago my dear friend, Amy, sent us a care package. It is always fun to get mail from family and friends...the girls are especially excited these days if we get something out of the mailbox and give it to them (they appreciate the junk mail and credit card offers...at least it can make their day!). After opening it, I left the box in the living room and went to make dinner. When I returned, this photo is what I found. We asked Clara what she was doing and she just looked at us and grinned (that dimply, I know you think I'm cute grin). I asked her if she was sending herself to someone. "Yeah" was her reply. Who are you going to see, Clara? "Papa." Do you even have to ask if they have him wrapped around their little fingers? Silly question...of course they do. So here is Clara...sending her love to you Papa...and all of our other family and friends that we wish we got to see way more often than we do.

Monet at work...

I will openly admit that I am not the best about doing arts and crafty type things with the girls. It is because I'm lazy. And I don't look forward to the prep work, or the clean-up, that inevitably comes along with the project only for them to participate for three minutes and then declare that they're 'all done' and want to watch Sesame Street. It's just not my idea of a good time most days. Don't get me wrong...we color, and play with play dough, and occasionally get out the crayola toddler paints (more like funny shaped markers) that we have. One recent day though, I got a wild hair up my bottom, and let them finger paint. I'll admit that it wasn't so bad and I actually enjoyed it. What amuses me the most about this, thought, is how differently the girls approached the activity. Both were very excited, but the similarity stopped there...

Notice Lilly...paint on her face, and all over her fingers and hands...she dove right in, mixed all the colors together and continued to paint in the same spot on a piece of copy paper (a side note...not the best for finger painting, but all I had handy). She declared that she was painting a picture of the cow jumping over the moon. This is the only thing that she ever colors or paints...thank you Elmo's World. Months (and I mean months) ago, on Elmo's World, a little boy showed Dorthy how he drew a picture of the cow jumping over the moon. Now, anytime we are doing anything artsy and you ask Lilly what she is making, this is what she says. Every now and then I can really encourage her and get her to declare that she has made something else...but those instances are few and far between. What can I say, except she sadly may have inherited my lack of artistic ability and creativity...

Now...let's take a look at my dear Clara-belle. Focused...engaged...tidy. Her colors are still perfectly in neat puddles on her plate, and she slowly places one finger at a time in each color before gently touching them to her paper. Very dainty.... Clara is still not talking a ton, so sometimes there is no telling what is going on in that little mind of hers. Maybe she is our creative genius. Or if she is lucky she got her daddy's artistic abilities instead of mine. Only time will tell! How differently she attacked the task of painting than her sister...at least she painted all over the paper, instead of in the same spot the whole time. Clara seemed to be the more contemplative one in the project, taking her time before delving into things. Lilly, on the other hand, jumped right in with both hands. It kind of makes me wonder if this is a sign of how they will approach other things in the future...



Monday, August 4, 2008

Giddy-up!


I don't think you need much of an explanation to go with this photo. Lilly climbed on Steve's back and he started to give her a ride around. It only took about 30 seconds for Clara to start yelling "Please, Please!" Being the great daddy that he is...he let them both climb aboard and gave them rides while they waited for me to finish cooking dinner. Good times...

Reading time with Lilly

Well, since I took such a long break from blogging, I do have some stories and photos that I can share from the last month. Just because I stopped writing about things, doesn't mean it is any less interesting around this house! So over the next couple days, I'm going to try and take some time to share the goods on the last few weeks of activities from our little piece of the world. Here goes...

A big new library recently opened up about 5 minutes from our house...and it is wonderful! I can't wait for their story hours and toddler programs to begin in the fall because I think we are going to be there a lot and the girls are going to love it. In the meantime, we have been going there every week or two to get some new books for the girls. They love going into the kids section and sitting there reading before we decide which ones to check out and take with us. As much as they have enjoyed books before, they are loving them even more now. About a month ago we went on one of our visits and met my friend Mary there with her infant, Benjamin. (I think he was only 2 or 3 weeks old at the time.) Anyway...Lilly decided that she was going to read him a story. It was so cute, and I actually had my camera in my purse, so I was able to capture the moment. I am amazed at how much she already knows how to 'read'. She has been able to recite the alphabet for awhile now, but she can also identify all of the upper case letters and some of their sounds. I'm sure she isn't much different than other 2 1/2 year olds now, but I'm pretty certain I wasn't doing that at two! She can hear me read a story one time, and retell it using the pictures with almost perfect accuracy. Can I just say she is really cool?! I love how much she enjoys reading too, and I hope it stays that way!

July 4th Fun!

I know its more than a month coming, but I said I'd show off some photos from the fun we had in North Carolina over the holiday weekend...so here goes! The kids all loved playing together, and I think that dressing up was their favorite pass time. The girls especially enjoyed Abby's vanity and all of the cool princess dresses she has.
We did have some traditional July 4th fun too...we went to the neighborhood pool one morning (VERY nice) and cooked out for dinner one evening (thank you Hal!). And July 4th wouldn't have been complete without watermelon and Apple Pie! Wendy made a beautiful (and extremely yummy) pie with the help of all the toddlers.

The subdivision that Wendy and Hal live in had a parade the morning of the 4th. All the neighborhood kids decorated their bikes, scooters, wagons, etc. and paraded around the central square in the subdivision. It was very cute and fun (but HOT!). Lilly and Clara got a kick out of using their best 'princess waves' to the folks who gathered in their front yards to watch. I believe they thought they were real celebrities! We did try to see fireworks that night, but got rained on...BIG TIME. Luckily we hadn't gotten out of the car yet when the storm started so we were able to just hop back on the interstate and head back home.


We certainly didn't forget the real reason for the holiday, and the sacrifices that have been made so that we can enjoy the freedom that we have (and that we so often take for granted). We did have a fantastic time and can't wait until we can spend some quality time playing with them again!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Howdy from HOTlanta

What can I say?? I was pretty honest from the beginning of this adventure in blogging, that I may not be the most consistent with it. But I am back. Hopefully on a more regular basis...but as always...no promises!

We have been really busy this summer with all of our travels, some of which I did take time to blog about. We did take one other trip over July 4th weekend to see Steve's twin sister and her family in Raleigh, NC. We had a really great time visiting with them and giving the girls a chance to hang out with their cousins. I'm not on my desktop now so I can't attach any photos, but I will do that in the near future for you to see. Now we are just hanging around home and enjoying what is left of the summer...and trying not to melt in the heat and humidity that has become the norm here.

In other news...the girls continue to amaze us every day. Clara is not only walking now...she is running...everywhere. Her little (sometimes very BIG) personality is showing itself to us more and more everyday. She has officially learned that her job as the little sister is to do anything she can to get a rise out of her older sibling. She does it beautifully...and Lilly reacts every time. Lucky me...I get to be the referee 95% of the time. I've got a feeling that's not gonna change anytime soon though so I guess I'll just have to get used to it! She has also developed an opinion...about everything. We don't always know what she is saying to us...but she is definitely giving us her thoughts on what she wants. She is still very sweet and gentle, though...and adorable...and she knows it!

Lilly is thrilled...and I mean really thrilled that she is going to start preschool in a couple of weeks. She kept telling me that she wants to go to school and play with other kids. We had been debating the idea of school for her. There really wasn't an apparent reason for us to send her since she can stay home with me, but many of our friends and family had opted to send their kids. We were still talking about it when she really began to express an interest. We'll see how it goes! I honestly think she is going to love it and that she will do great. Now every night before she goes to bed, she tells me "Mommy...tomorrow I get up, have breakfast, get dressed, go to school!" Then she gets a big cheesy grin on her face. We keep trying to explain to her than she still has 2 weeks to go, but she doesn't quite understand that. I don't think we are going to have to worry about separation anxiety with her on the first day! Maybe on my part though...and Clara's! She's not going to know what to do without her big sister for a few hours on those days!

I guess that's it for now from me. I will try to do better about posting on here...and I will get some new photos very soon. We are finally starting to fall into a normal rhythm again since public schools start around here this week. Isn't it funny how even though we don't have school-aged kids, life still seems to revolve around that schedule?!

Until next time...