Monday, November 30, 2009

So long November

For our Thanksgiving, we had some interesting guests.

An Indian . . .

an Uncle who was kind enough to wear jewelry AND look through the toy catalog for his niece and nephew . . .

an Aunt who tirelessly read through many, many, many books to keep said niece and nephew occupied while the turkey cooked . . .

and a Grandma (a.k.a. "Granmoll") who gave lots of hugs and snuggles and submitted to being a human jungle gym every so often.

We then took the whole crew for a quick trip to Asheville and stayed in one of the nicest hotels.

We have much for which to be thankful (not including a blasted turkey pop-up timer that failed to pop up, resulting in a sawdust-like turkey. Urgh.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cue the Hormones

So, the same weekend that Shawn was working on the "Extreme" house (see post below), I had the pleasure of visiting with some old and some very new friends.

Rachel and I have been friends for nigh on 100 years now, and while we don't get to see each other much anymore, we still keep in touch and make every effort to get together as often as possible. One of her younger sisters lives in this area, and she just had her first baby. So, Rachel was itching to make the trip to see her new nephew, and I was able to visit with her and her family and meet not only the newest baby but also Rachel's youngest son who was born this past summer.

Shawn was pretty adamant that I not hold the babies too much lest I return with my female hormones demanding that we have another baby. I think I escaped mostly unscathed, but gee golly were those little boys so darn precious!

Just look at this little peanut. My children were never this small, so I just couldn't get over how tiny and darling he was.

Proud momma, Sarah. I am still in awe of the Fletcher women who are able to give birth and just days (hours) later look so great. Apparently they have boundless energy too. Just three days after giving birth, Sarah was out shopping, and I will never, ever forget that Rachel had a yard sale (a YARD SALE!!) the week after having her baby! I can't even fathom finding the energy to have a yard sale now, and it's been three years since I last gave birth.

Here's Rachel holding her youngest, and I'm holding baby Gabriel. (and no we didn't plan to wear matching shirts).

It was so good to see them again, and I'm doing my best to resist the urge to have another baby. Though I will say it sure isn't easy when nearly everyone I talk to lately keeps asking me when we are going to have another one. Why is this, I wonder? I'm just going to assume it's because we totally look like we have this parenting thing under control and because our always well-behaved children are so grown up and mature acting.
(Like I said, I'm assuming here. Just go with me on this one, okay?)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Shawn's "Extreme" Weekend

Shawn has been working for MidSouth Irrigation and Landscaping for nearly 6 years now, and we have been really blessed by that company and the owner and his wife. The company celebrated its 10th anniversary this past Sunday, and they celebrated in a very unique and memorable way.

ABC's "Extreme Homemakover" was in the Triad last week, and Midsouth had the opportunity to contribute to the building of the home and landscape by working ALL day last Sunday (seriously, they were on site at 7 am, and Shawn got home at 12:30 a.m. the next morning). It was a long day for them, but one I think they will all remember.

Shawn and his office co-worker, Peggy, took tons of pictures, and I did my best to find the ones that most represented their experience.

The Midsouth Extreme team - Bryan and his wife Tina are the two in the middle, red and white hard hats.

These first few pictures give you an idea as to what the house looked like the morning they arrived on site. Still lots of building to do and no landscaping done yet.

Shawn with his back to the camera, holding the landscaping plan in his hand.

By the time they all left on Sunday night, they had completely landscaped the house, but for two small beds on the far ends of the property. But it was too dark for pictures.
Luckily, Peggy was able to talk Shawn into going back for the big house reveal on Tuesday. Shawn wasn't initially very excited about it, thinking that they would be in the back of a HUGE (and it was huge, like 4,000 people) crowd, but the volunteers were grouped in a separate location, so they were actually able to see quite a bit.

There's Ty!
One of the designers, Paul DiMeo

Shawn, Peggy, and Paul.

This isn't a great picture, but I wanted to include it. This is the family in the middle with Ty right at the moment the bus pulled away and they saw their house for the very first time. You can read about their story here.

The family running into the house. Look at that landscaping!!

The finished house!

It was a crazy few days for everyone, but I am so happy that Shawn was able to be a part of it all, and proud of all the hard work he and the other members of MidSouth were able to contribute to a very deserving family.
Oh, and don't forget to look for them on TV when it airs in February!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Risky Business"

Move aside, Tom Cruise.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We have two huge oak trees that border our back property line. I love these trees. They are the tallest trees in the neighborhood, and it's nice having that little bit of shade in the yard when the rest of it is so bare. However, come fall, the wind whips through our neighborhood, and our yard is filled with leaves. I'm fairly certain that we are one of maybe two people in the whole neighborhood who have to rake the leaves in the yard, but there is no getting around it for us. It's a HUGE job, one that Shawn hates.

But, the kids LOVE IT!

There's nothing like running and jumping in a pile of crisp, crackly leaves.

Burrowing under them, lying back and enjoying the beautiful blue sky.

Getting bits of leaf stuck in your nose and mouth, down your shirt, and in your shoes.
Pure kid bliss.

Friday, November 13, 2009

How you know the Christmas Season has begun

It's two days after Halloween (note candy evidence in his hand), the first toy catalogue arrives . . .
And your normally wide-open, very loud, very active 3 year old son spends hours (yes, hours!) perusing the toy catalogue while sitting quietly on the couch.
I'm currently considering celebrating Christmas in February just so we can take advantage of the solace created by the quiet perusal and lust for toys. Just kidding (sort of).

"Here, mom. I want this!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Claire's Birthday

I'm still having a hard time reconciling the thought that on November 5th, it was 6 years ago that I became a mother for the first time. Some days it feels like it was just yesterday, and then there are other days when it feels like it was a million years ago. But, I do remember that day very well. It felt so surreal until the pain got to be really intense, and then it was a bunch of moaning and groaning and puking. It's funny that we celebrate birthdays with cake and presents when the first birthdays are so very, very different. And so very, very messy. (ew!)

And then I got an epidural. Bliss, and then it seemed like we did so much waiting for her to finally make her arrival. She finally did; we were overjoyed, and then I passed out.

But that's another story. :-)

I'm also resisting the very real temptation to get all teary and emotional and expound on how much I love this kid, how much she has added to our family and how much she, as her name suggests, brings light to our lives.

I could go on and on, but I won't. For your sakes, and because I really would get all weepy, and a weepy lady sitting at a computer desk while typing is just weird.

Anyway, my firstborn had a long list of things she wanted for her birthday. The list included this:

Flying Tinkerbell. Can you tell she is excited?

(She's either excited or imitating what her face would like if she hung it out the window while we were driving down the highway. )

And, just to prove that fairies do indeed exist and that they do indeed fly, I present the following video evidence:

Claire also needed a new winter coat. Here's hoping it actually gets cold enough for her to wear it some other time other than the week we will be in Ohio.

She also asked for this cake.
Or, rather, she asked for a doll cake and was mildly disappointed with my dressing of the cake. Not that I blame her. What can I say? My fashion sense isn't really up to date these days.

Blowing out the candles, or, actually, this picture is totally staged. She blew out the candles before I could snap the picture, so we had to have a "do over."

Ben was more that a little wigged out by the doll cake. I don't think he could grasp how we were going to eat it and not eat the doll. It made much more sense to him after I pulled out the top.
The picture that I failed to snap in time occurred about 5 seconds after I took this one. It involved a little boy, a tongue, and the icing coated boobs of a barbie doll.
Just use your imaginations.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This Face

This face. This adorable, handsome, big boy face. This face that can look just like his dad's OR just like his mom's, dependent upon who is holding him. This smiling, proud face . . .

is the face of an underwear-wearing, potty-trained big boy!

He had about 6 accidents on day one (and I almost gave up), 2 accidents on day two, 1 on day three.

And we haven't looked back since.

We are thrilled.

And I'm doing my best to reconcile my emotions so that I can joy in the accomplishment of my child and not sorrow at the end of his "babyhood" (it's hard, but I'm working on it).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Claire's Spa Birthday

Claire's actual birthday isn't until the 5th, but we celebrated with a party for her and her friends this past weekend. Upon retrospection, planning it for Halloween day and Fall Break weekend wasn't the best idea this mom has ever had. Of the 6 little girls Claire invited, only 1 showed up. Thankfully, that little girl brought along her older and younger sister who are close enough in age to get along with Claire too, but to say we were disappointed in the turn-out would be a BIG understatement. Many of the families were traveling for the weekend, and a few of the girls were "new" friends from her kindergarten class, and that's always hard when we haven't had a chance to get to know their families yet. In any case, I do think Claire had fun time, and I'm doing my best to not have my feelings hurt for her. :-)

And, really, what I can't fathom is why anyone wouldn't want to attend a SPA birthday party! How often do 5 and 6 year old girls get a chance to be pampered like little ladies with manicures, pedicures and a dance party infused with sugar-loaded cupcake goodness?

It's like a dream come true, right?

Well, not for this guy.
While he enjoyed running through the bead curtain, he kept yelling that he was NOT getting his fingernails painted. Despite his tutu-wearing past, I think this one is ALL boy.

Here are the girls getting their pre-manicure hand soaks in bubble-gum scented warm water. How cute are they in their spa bathrobes?

See my pretty nails!

All set for the pedicures!

Cute toes!

Yep, having fun.

Show me those fingers and toes.

Birthday cupcakes

All in all, it was a fun morning, and Claire really seemed to enjoy herself. And while big sister was having fun with the girls, little brother was trying on some shoes.

Or, rather, just one shoe.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

The kids have been planning their Halloween costumes for weeks now. In a dramatic departure from previous years, Claire branched out from her usual princess attire. Well, so far as she could still wear make-up, a long pretty dress and some sort of head gear. She settled on a bride.

And her groom?

A "nice" pirate.

"Oh, I am so pretty and sweet. And I know it, too."

Look at that "piratey face." Are you scared?
Shawn worked very hard to get Ben to say, "Arrrrr, give me all your candy" instead of what he and his sister had been practicing: "trick or treat, smell my feet. Give me something good to eat. If you don't, I don't care. 'Cause I can see your underwear!"
It was a tough call.

Most of the time, they just settled on, "trick or treat!"
Probably a good idea.
The innocent bride and the tough pirate.

This last one cracks me up.
I told him to act like a Pirate, and this is what I got.
And now we're off to brush our teeth.