Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

We had such a fun Memorial Day weekend! We've been looking forward to this long weekend for weeks -- and now that it's over we're counting down the days until summer vacation (and trying NOT to remember that if it weren't for all those snow days, we'd BE on summer vacation now.)

Our weekend started with a super-fun and much needed (by me!) playdate with some of our best friends on Friday morning. Of course, I have no pictures of that. :( The kids were both so tired after some good ol' playing and while Charlotte napped that afternoon, Harrison & I watched a movie and rested up for our fun evening ahead. Friday night we had dinner at the home of some of our good friends. Ryan & Sarah made such a yummy meal & even had s'mores for the kids for dessert! They've been such a blessing to both of us -- Ryan is in Ph.D school with Matt.....and I've been so blessed to find a friend in Sarah that truly understands how much work Ph.D school is! :)

Saturday morning, we started our day at Rick's for some yummy breakfast! After filling our bellies, we headed to see what the Farmer's Market had to offer -- sadly, it was mostly onions & lettuce right now...and a few flowers. Not so much luck there. The rest of our day was spent just mostly being lazy. Matt studied for his class on Sunday and we watch TV and rested. Perfect day. :)

Sunday afternoon and Monday we spent working in the yard and around the house. The kids loved every minute of playing outside and were worn out both nights. And, so so dirty. :) The signs of a good summer day: tired & dirty.

But, it wasn't all work that weekend. We did some good grilling and even made our first homemade ice cream of the summer. I was pretty pleased with how our low-fat, fresh strawberry ice cream turned out, and the kids like it too!

This is my often-view of Charlotte. Ha! She spends a lot of her time literally at my feet when I'm cooking or cleaning up after dinner.

We ended our weekend with a family walk. Matt and I used to walk for hours before we had kids & we've kept on doing it as our family has grown. This year both kids are finally big enough to ride their bikes as we walk. Yay!

This guy has a need for speed. He just can't go fast enough on his bike, it scares me a little sometimes. But, at the same time he's cautious too. And tough.

Sweet girl. She opted for the scooter this particular night.

Monday night was also a first for Charlotte -- she slept in big girl jammies. Her first night without footies. *Sniff, sniff* And, yes she's still taking a bottle. We'll be tackling that in the next couple of weeks. And, just to keep it real -- a picture of me in my workout clothes, no makeup, after our walk. :)

Fun, fun weekend! Now, I'm so ready for summer!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Charlotte at 16 Months

Oh my. So many days I feel like time is slipping through my fingers and no matter how hard I try to hold on, I simply cannot. Each day my babies are growing bigger and I see that the most in my sweet Charlotte.

Some days I'm amazed that you are the same girl that turned 1 just four short months ago. To say that you've "come into your own" would be quite an understatement! Your little personality has blossomed into a BIG character. You wake up each morning ready to greet the world and go go go at 110% until you just drop! You take a great nap each day. When we rock before nap/bedtime, after awhile, you will sit up and look at me and point to your bed. I'll ask if you're ready to go to sleep and you nod yes. You'll happily lay down and rub your blankie on your face until you're fast asleep. You still sleep 11ish hours at night and I'm always ready for you to wake up each morning -- I've missed you!

You have developed quite a personality and you're pretty full of yourself. I constantly hear you laughing to yourself at something you're doing. You love attention, but have become more shy around strangers lately. You've also become quite a Daddy's girl, too. As soon as you hear the garage door going up each afternoon you start running for the door yelling "dada dada dada." If you see him across the room at church or at school, you'll yell for him until he waves to you. :)

You still love your brother & sister and they both love you back so much! You've learned this month how to open the playroom door so you can "join" their games and they've had to learn to block the door to keep you out! This makes you very upset! You are quite a climber and can climb over your garden or toybox. You aren't afraid of anything! When Daddy, Madeleine & Harrison are wrestling in the evenings you join right in! You want to do everything that brother & sis are doing.

This month you've discovered the swing and slide outside. You squeal with delight when I swing with you on my lap or help you down the slide. It makes me laugh every time!

You may be rough and tough, but you're still such a girlie-girl. You don't like to have dirt on your hands. Each morning after I get you dressed, we look at your pretty self in the mirror. You immediately look for your hairbow and if you don't have one on, we have to get one. You'll actually wear it for a good while and if you take it out, you try and put it back on yourself.

You still love to read! We probably read 30 books a day, on average. Your favorites right now are "sleepytime dance," "goodnight moon counting book," and "baby at the farm." I read those dozens of times each week. If I even sit down for a second you come running to me with a book. You've been making a rearearearea sound for weeks when you have a book, and just this weekend we figured out you're trying to say "READ."

You've found your voice and you are LOUD. I guess you have to be to if you want to be heard! You can say a lot of words now:
*bubba (for Harrison)
*sissy (for Madeleine)
*moo, baa, roar, woof-woof, quack-quack, neigh, and monkey sounds. :) You say them when I ask you what that animal says or when you see a pic of that animal.
*yum yum
*baba for bottle or cup
*whoa (when you're doing something like sliding!)
I know you say more but that's all I can think of off the top of my head -- those are the most common.
You are still a great little eater. You like almost everything we put in front of you, but you definitely have your favorite foods. They are: spagetti, cheese, corn, grapes, oranges, grilled cheese, french fries, apples, yogurt, and peas. You like the yogurt puffs and will eat an entire bag if I'd let you! You'll try most any food and I love the face you make if you think it's yucky. :)Most nights you're happy to sample what we're having for dinner and you still prefer salty foods to sweet. You rarely eat more than one bite of any type of sweet.

You've learned some new tricks this month! You can pull the bathtub plug and you like to sit and wave to the water as it goes out -- you say "bye bye water." You like to open any and all cabinet drawers and pull out the contents, which you can do in a matter of seconds. Some days I feel as if all I do is follow you around putting things back into drawers & cabinets. :) You are obsessed with shoes! If you're not wearing any shoes, you'll raid you shoe bin and bring me some to wear. And, you think the squeaky shoes are hilarious! You laugh and laugh at them -- and just stand in one place and stomp up and down to hear them!

You are such a perfect combination of sweet and sassy, silly and serious and I love you so much. You make life so much fun.
This month you were perfectly happy to have your picture taken. At first.

Then you wanted down.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Harrison, Lately

Harrison is changing so much lately. There is so much that I want to remember about him right now. I wish I could just stop time and freeze him at this age! But, at the same time, I can't wait to see him grow and find out just what he's going to do next!
*When I tell him to stop growing he replies: "I have to grow up so I can be a daddy. Then I can go to work with Daddy." We're working on a way to get him to go with Matt to work one day soon!

*Sometimes he just throws out a random fact. When I ask where he learned it, he tells me, "I just know everything. Just like Uncle Stewart."

*He tell me that he loves me "like cats love mice." :)

*When I kiss him lately he's started wiping off my kisses. *sniff, sniff* I asked him why he wipes off my kisses and he told me that he can wipe them off "because they're in my heart now." I tear up every time he says that it's just so sweet and from his heart.

*He has a memory that makes even me jealous. He never forgets anything. Sometimes he'll mention something that happened even a couple of years ago that I'd forgotten about. That memory will serve him well as he grows.

*He has the most sensitive little heart. He gets MAD when he's embarrassed, which we're working on. But, if I fuss at him he gets upset and acts MAD, but I can see the little tears in his eyes. It breaks my heart. We pretty much never spank him because he's already so hard on himself. I love his sweet spirit.

*He still loves Grandad. He tells me that they are "buddies" and when Grandad's around Harrison is practically glued to him.

*He ends each prayer he says with "And I love you God."

There is so much more I could write about my favorite little boy...he starts the day by jumping out of bed and running to play....he's learned to play on the computer by himself....he loves his sandbox....he's decided he's not going to go to kindergarten ever....he'll only drink chocolate milk....he loves to go to Walmart & Target....he talks nonstop....he's discovered ketchup sandwiches are yummy (to him)....

That boy, how I love him.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

This N' That

I have some random pictures that I'm just going to combine into one post. My friend, AJ, does an end of the month random picture post and I think it's such a great idea that I'm thinking of stealing it. :) But for now, here's a few of the pictures hanging out on my camera.

Harrison is such a bath-boy. He loves loves loves to take a bath. Some days he'll stay in there for an hour if I'll refill it when the water gets cold. If this is during Charlotte's nap I can get so much done! One day last week he found his toolbench goggles in the playroom and suddenly he just had to have a bath. Little did I know he intended to use them as underwater goggles. I peeked in there & saw this picture of him and it made me laugh! He was finishing off the last of the bathfoam that the Easter Bunny brought him....it's such fun and even turns the water blue!
Charlotte has a new trick! One day last week I let Charlotte in the playroom to play with Harrison since it was all nice and clean and I'd just vaccumed (so there wasn't any chance of her getting something in her mouth). A few minutes later I peeked in there to check on them and couldn't find Charlotte anywhere. I was about to panic when I noticed that Harrison was sitting on the rug giggling his little giggle and trying to hide it. He pointed to the TV cabinet. I didn't notice anything unusual, then suddenly it hit me: one of the cabinets is empty. Both were closed, but when I opened the empty one I saw this....

Miss Charlotte was happily sitting there in the dark. She thought it was SO funny! She and Harrison played peek-a-boo for the longest time. He tired of the game before she did. :) Now she's learned to open the door and crawl in there herself.

Charlotte loves spagetti! She makes the biggest mess of herself with it! What is it about spagetti that makes toddlers want to use it as hair gel? :)

One night Matt went in to check on Madeleine before we went to bed and he found her like this. I think she must have fallen asleep while saying her prayers. It was the sweetest pose. She's growing up so fast right now and I just want time to S.T.O.P. I love these days!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Goin' Buggy

Madeleine had her first grade end of the year program a couple of weeks ago -- the theme was "Goin' Buggy". We'd been looking forward to seeing her say her lines & had been practicing them daily. She did great, of course! It was so neat to see the difference between this year & last years performances. Last year they were all pretty shy and it was hard to understand a lot of the kids. But, this year they knew their lines & said them with feeling, the singing was great, and it was such fun to watch!

I have a video that I'm going to post soon that cracks me up every time I watch it. Madeleine did not have a solo, but if you watch the video, it looks like she does. She's lip-synching to the kid doing the solo & with such feeling! That silly girl!

My mom came into town to be there for Madeleine's performance. It was so nice to have an extra set of hands so Matt & I could enjoy the show too! And, it made the night extra-special to have Mimi there to share it!

Madeleine has had the BEST teacher this year! We had pretty high standards after having Ms. Simpson last year, but Mrs. Austin has been wonderful! She's given Madeleine such confidence & constantly challenged her.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

I had a great Mother's Day this year! Matt & the kids spoiled me so much!

Matt sent me some beautiful tulips & chocolates and got me the BEST gift that I've really been wanting -- a shopvac! Yippee! I've spend the morning today cleaning out my car & our couch. :)

Madeleine also picked me out a gift this year. Matt has been talking to her on the way to school this week about Mother's Day & he said she knew exactly what she wanted to get me. She got me some new notepads & pens. I love that she's so observant that I'm always making lists and never go anywhere without my notepads & favorite pens! So so sweet!

I got to open my gifts when we got home from church since the mornings are usually a bit crazy. Harrison was insistant that I get in the bed to open my gifts. He also wanted to fix me breakfast (even though it was almost 1pm) so I could have breakfast in bed! Such sweetness! They were so so so excited to give me their gifts!

The kids all made me cards and drew me pictures. Harrison told me yesterday that he loves me "like the cat loves the mouse." That made me smile, that silly boy! Matt also made sure that I got a good workout yesterday afternoon and he did all the housework too! :) And, yes, I chose a workout over a nap!


This year our Easter was the best ever!

The kids were so excited about the Easter Bunny coming to visit them! Madeleine even left a note for him -- and the Easter Bunny left her one back! I know for a fact, that our Easter Bunny has such fun filling the kids baskets. :) Madeleine was soooo excited to find Tangled in her basket, along with an Easter Fairy book.

Charlotte had fun as well checking out her basket!

Harrison was super-excited to find a DVD of He-Man in his basket!

Our Easter Bunny always fills & hides the eggs the kids leave in their basket the night before. Charlotte quickly discovered that some of the eggs had M&Ms in them--- yummy!

This year I really wanted to coordinate the kids for Easter. It's not so easy to do with Madeleine & Charlotte being so far apart in age. While we were in Orlando, I went to a Hartstrings store with the specific purpose of finding Easter-ware (and some other sunday clothes for Madeleine) and I was NOT disappointed! I found the perfect outfits for all of them! Harrison's shorts matched Charlotte's dress which matched the flower on Madeleine's dress! Yay!

I love this picture! It shows off each of their personalities so well!

Matt's parents were here some that weekend to celebrate with us too. I wish I'd taken a picture of our house on Sunday lunch. We ended up with 16 (including kids!). It was such fun! Matt & I invited some of our friends that weren't going to be able to be with their families that day to come & join us for lunch -- and we're so glad that they did! It was wonderful to be able to make memories with them!

I love Easter. I love that it means that Spring is just around the corner. I love all the fun activities that go with it -- and the chance to spoil my kids just a bit! I also love what it reminds me of, as a Christian. Because, while the world celebrates this day as the Resurrection of Christ, I am reminded -- again -- that in modeling the 1st century church, we are to remember Christ's death & celebrate his resurrection EVERY week. Not just on Easter. Every week. So to me Easter Sunday isn't any more important to celebrate the resurrection than any other Sunday. I am thankful that I get to stop and remember his sacrafice each week, not just one day a year. But, it's always a good reminder of how we are "set apart" from the world. And, I always seem to need that.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cloudy With A Chance of Sunshine

This has been such a crazy week around our house. I know I still haven't even gotten around to posting about Easter, but I wanted to take a minute to remember this week.

First, let me say that I'm not complaining about any of this. This week was the result of choices I've made & I'm a big advocat of not complaining about the choices we make. You just have to live with them, even when maybe you haven't made the best choices.

So, this week. Well, first of all it was Teacher Appreciation Week. As the PTO president at Madeleine's school, I knew this was going to be a busy week for me. But, a few weeks ago it got even busier when our Teacher Appreciation Chairperson moved her kids to a private school & left a vacancy in that position. Unfortunatly, it was a little late to find someone to fill the spot, so the VP & I agreed that we'd just do the work ourselves. Madeleine's little school is also wonderfully blessed to have a great fundraiser with Razorback Parking (since we're located practically on the UofA campus, we park cars for home games) and it allows us to have quite a nice amount of funds to work with during TA week. :)

We'd planned some fun events -- something for each day:
Monday: breakfast (made my us), notepads & pens
Tuesday: lunch (made by us -- assorted salads & breads), candy in boxes
Wednesday: sonic drinks & cookies, candy in boxes
Thursday: lunch (catered by flying burrito & hosted by us), treats in boxes
Friday: candy buffet (by us), monogrammed bags in boxes, sundae coupons in boxes

By the end of the week, I'd spent over 20 hours at Madeleine's school. I enjoyed every moment of getting to show those teachers how special they are & how thankful I am for their hard work. However, it also made for a crazy busy week around our house....a "cloudy" week, if you will.

Some of the clouds in my week:
*Not sitting down to dinner as a family even once
*Having Harrison & Charlotte up at the school for most of each day. I held Charlotte most of the time we were up there & I have the backache to prove it today!
*Charlotte completely missing her nap 2 days this week....let me tell ya that made me feel like a great mom.
*Matt not getting home until bedtime or after every night this week.
*Having to tell our PTO Treasurer (who is 30 years my senior) that I pushed through a PTO Grant for $15,000 to renovate the school library. Needed, but certainly caused me some anxiety.
*Getting waaaaay behind on laundry and as of this morning we didn't have any bread, milk, or other basic foods in our house.
*Having to tell Madeleine's principal that I just wasn't going to be able to "reprise" my role as PTO president next year like she wanted. That was tough.
*Trying, along with Matt, not to get discouraged about our Sunday morning class. Matt spends so much time working on his lesson -- precious time that could be "family time" -- and yet, so many people skip out on class & just come for worship time.

However, I do think that it's important to remember the good things this week as well. The "sunshine" in my week:
*Charlotte started giving me HUGS this week.
* Harrison did an amazing job while at Madeleine's school. I'm so proud of him!
*The teachers loved all of our hard work.
*Harrison & I each made a good friend through all of this: our PTO VP, Sara & I have spent so much time together she's on my speeddial. :) Her little girl & Harrison have become good buds & will be in kindergarten together in another year.
*Matt finished most of his work & we should have plenty of family time & relaxing time the next few months!
*Madeleine's principal & I settled on me staying on the PTO Board as Secretary -- a very easy job. :)
*I am reminded of why I chose to stay at home & raise our children -- and the important work that I'm doing there.

So. That's our week. This week is going to be so easy compared to last!