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Sigh…Another day at home with sick kids.  I guess this explains some of their less-than-ideal behavior over the last few days.

I feel bad that my frustration level (with the kids) has been so high lately.  Knowing they are sick makes me way more tolerant, but even so, there will be a glass of wine or 2 at the end of this very long day!  I worried about the kids all night.  When their temperatures jump way up I don’t sleep well…I’m listening for them constantly.  Anna had fallen asleep on the living room floor last night around 5:30, so I knew she must be feeling really, really bad.  She didn’t want dinner (even though I made strawberry pancakes for them).  She told me she wanted to play with her trains, so I told her that was fine.  I looked in her room 2 minutes later to find her lying on the floor *barely* moving a train back & forth on a piece of track…2 minutes after that she was asleep again.  I moved her to her crib & she slept until 7ish this morning.  I didn’t hear a peep out of her all night.  William seemed fine when I put him to bed, but was awake at 1am.  His temperature had shot back up into the 101’s.  A dose of Motrin and a bottle later he went back to sleep without too much fuss.  I checked on Anna while I was up.  She stirred a bit while I took her temperature (almost 103!) and asked for some water.  A dose of Motrin and a few sips of water later she went right back to sleep.  Me…not so much.  I slept lightly, I swear I heard the kids every time they rolled over in their cribs and I was up before 7 as usual…even though I knew I wouldn’t be going to work today.

We’ve already made a trip to the pediatrician since they are both so prone to ear infections.  Everything looks fine, so we’ll just have to ride this virus out I guess.

Here I sit with the laptop in my lap…typing a blog entry when I really have 100 other things I could/should be doing.  I really need to sit down and prioritize my to-do list!  Since we have a rather major home improvement project on the horizon I could be doing some early prep work for that.  I really should be doing laundry or cleaning the kitchen or picking up the toys that are E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.  I could sort through all the kids’ clothes that need to be prepared for consignment.  I could make Mark the music CD’s he’s been bugging me about for the past 6 months.  (Seriously, Mark, I know you know how to make a CD!).  I should also probably eat something today since it’s almost 1pm and all I’ve had so far is coffee.  But no, I think I’ll just blog.  About nothing.

I’m amazed at how my maternal instincts shift when the kids are sick…it’s so automatic.  I monitor temperatures, keep up with their Motrin/Tylenol dosing schedules, sponge their little heads with cool, damp cloths when their fevers spike back up.  I rub their little backs and brush the hair back from their faces.  I’m gentler, more patient…and I worry because I’m their mom and that’s what I do.

When each of my kids was born I felt that sudden, overwhelming feeling of responsibility…that rush of knowledge that it was my sole purpose in life to nurture and protect them.  If I step back and look at it, that responsibility is so monumental, so huge that it’s scary, but as I’ve learned since I first became a mother in June 2008, it’s something I just do.  One foot in front of the other…So when they are sick or hurt I’ve noticed that Mark and I both shift into auto-pilot.  We hold them and soothe them and check on them way more than normal…we make decisions on who is going to miss work, who will take them to the doctor, who will make a trip to the pharmacy.  And it’s no big deal anymore…not that we don’t worry about them being sick, it’s just what we do because we love them and because we are Daddy and Mama.

As my cousin was discussing on her blog the other day…parenting is largely instinctual…it’s innate or at least it should be.  This week the news had made me sick to my stomach more than once.  There’s the Casey Anthony thing…I’m not even going to get started on that, because it makes me ILL.  Then there were 2 kids (3 years old and 2 months old) that were left in a car one town over from here by their grandmother.  Thankfully someone called the police when they did because the little one was dangerously close to dying.  It’s not just intelligence that makes a person not do something like leave small children in a car with a window barely cracked in 90+ degree heat.  It’s instinct, it’s common sense.  It’s the internal drive to make sure your offspring survive and thrive.  It’s the natural order of things, at least for humans.

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It’s been a busy long weekend here.  The kids have been alternating between very well behaved and complete heathens.  Not always at the same time.  That’s been fun.  William has enjoyed (or not) many time-outs and Anna has been threatened with time-out several times.  Thankfully, threatening is all I usually have to do with her…it works, at least temporarily.  The other thing that’s suddenly working for her is counting.  I have officially turned into my mother with this one.  “Anna!  ONE…” (She gives me a mischievous look), “TWO…” (She usually starts doing whatever she’s been asked to do).  If I actually get to three and take a step toward her she scrambles to do whatever she’s supposed to be doing.  Why does this work?  I don’t actually threaten her with any sort of punishment.  I don’t say, “if I get to three you’re going to time out” or anything…she just somehow instinctively knows that if I’m counting I must mean business.  What the heck?!  Kids are weird.

William couldn’t care less whether I’m counting or not…maybe he’ll catch on to that eventually.  I hope so because it’s almost kind of magic.  Much easier than listening to him scream through a timeout…he hasn’t caught on to that totally yet either.  There has been A LOT of, “William don’t throw that.  William!  DO. NOT. THROW. THAT!  William!  If you throw that you’re going to time out.”  He throws whatever it is about 75% of the time.  I guess 75% is progress from 100%, right?  Yesterday he pulled a whole handful of Anna’s hair out of her head.  I left the room, Anna started screaming, I run back in and her ponytail was all skewed on her head.  William had a big handful of hair and Anna was (rightfully) upset.  He went to timeout.  She got her ponytail re-done and after a little soothing from me she was ok.  Argh!  William is a terror lately.

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A quick recap of our weekend…Friday Anna had her last swimming lesson.  She loved getting a little pool time 4 afternoons as week.  She was already really comfortable with the water, so she didn’t need much (any) help with that.  She learned to paddle around using either a pool noodle type thing or a floaty ring.  By the last few days of lessons she was paddling around the pool (with one of the above floatation devices) without the instructor holding on to her at all.  She seemed a little resistant to the instructor letting go of her at first, but by the end she seemed to like it.

Saturday was a day of cleaning, grocery shopping and yard work.  Saturday night Mark and I had a date night.  We had a really good dinner at The Opera House and then a few drinks at The American Legion (OMG we miss The Pub!).  We were home by 10:30 and in bed not much later.  Man, we’re getting old!

Sunday we did more yard work and more housework.  We had some friends over for a little cookout.  The kids stayed up a little later than usual because our friends brought their daughter who is just a few weeks older than William.  They played in the sprinkler and had a good time.  We put William to bed an hour or so later than usual, but kept Anna up to watch some fireworks.  She was NOT a fan of the noise.  We were pretty surprised how freaked out she was by it…usually she’s so fearless.  Mark shot off a couple of things, but it was clear that Anna was just not having it, so we went ahead and put her to bed as well…about 2 hours later than usual.  She was ready to go.  We stayed up and sat around on the porch talking until 11ish before calling it a night ourselves.  We did a few more fireworks, but nothing spectacular.

Today Mark got up with the kids & I got to sleep in a little.  We did a little sidewalk chalk, we played briefly in the backyard, then the kids had snacks and went down for their naps.  Anna gave me a pretty hard time about naptime, but she went down eventually.  Mark and I rushed to the garden to do a little weeding & tie up the tomato plants that had started to sprawl everywhere.  We got most of it done…still some weeding left to do, but it was about to rain & we were hearing lots of thunder in the distance.  Mark managed to squeeze in a little more mowing & threw some fertilizer on the garden just before it started to rain.  The garden looks as good as it has ever looked.  Our corn probably get the award for most improved…we’ve never had much luck with it before, but it’s looking really nice this year.  We have 4 cantaloupes about  the size of softballs, so maybe they’ll be ready in a couple weeks.  We (finally) have tomatoes on our tomato plants, but they are still small and green.  I’m hoping we have better luck with those this year too…We never have much luck with our tomato plants for some reason.  We’ve gotten a few zucchini, one squash (just yesterday), a few jalapenos, maybe 1 poblano pepper and a TON of cucumbers.  Mark has made at least one batch of pickles.  We’re still waiting for the green beans and the watermelons.

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We’re in the process of preparing for a rather large renovation project.  It has needed done for a  very long time, but it’s kind of involved and I think Mark just wasn’t ready to tackle it until now.  I’ll post some after pictures once it’s complete, here are the before pics (excuse the mess on the indoor ones…this room has become kind of a catchall):

This is the back (or really the side) of our house.  That’s the main door that we use to come and go…

Facing the dining room…the interior window (why is that necessary?) to the right goes into Anna’s room:

The crappy door and windows (note the plastic sheeting over the windows and the exposed insulation that’s been stuffed next to the door – stylish, yes?):

The closed door here is William’s room.  See the square of wood screwed to the floor?  It’s covering a hole.

There are 5 doors off this room…the one to the left goes into a small hallway off of which leads to Anna’s room, our room and the bathroom.  You can just barely see the edge of the doorframe on the right…that one goes into our front foyer from which our bedroom is on the left, the living room is on the right and our front door is straight ahead.  Also…the blue ceiling?  That’s gotta go!

It has looked like crap for a long time.  The wood siding has gotten so old that it no longer holds paint and it’s starting to rot in places.  The wood all around the eaves needs replaced.  The door was not installed properly and we have trouble with it constantly.  We either have a hard time opening it (it sticks) or we have a hard time getting it to close all the way.  It’s a completely energy waster in the winter especially…cold air just pours in around the door.  There is very little insulation in the walls and NONE over the ceiling.  The wood floor on the inside is old and soft…so soft that when I walked across it one day (carrying William no less) it cracked below my feet and I looked back to see a nice hole.  The windows are about as energy efficient as the door.  Oh, and where the door is positioned is awful when it rains.  All the water from that side of the house (a rather large area) runs into that valley of the roof and comes down in the corner right by the door.  We can’t get gutters big enough to hold all that water…so it all just pours off the roof…right on to the steps in front of the door.  It’s awesome!  So…here’s the plan:

I’m leaving town for the weekend on the 22nd, with both kids.  I’m really heartbroken that I’m going to miss all this fun, but someone has to take care of the children, right?  😉  My brother-in-law has so kindly offered to help Mark with this rather large project…we have an electrician friend helping with the wiring and a couple of other friends that will help other random manual labor tasks.  Thank goodness for friends and for a really nice brother-in-law!  I promise to make a grocery run before I leave town so they will all be well fed and there will be plenty of beer for AFTER each work day is done.  🙂  Anyway, Mark and I will prep the room the week before.  I’ll take down anything hanging on the walls.  We’ll move the computer desk into the living room (which we’ve been planning to do anyway), we’ll take down our dining room table and move it to the shop (it needs some work anyway) and move the big rolltop desk that is the bane of my existence into the dining room.  The bookshelf may go in there too and then a piece or 2 will temporarily reside in our bedroom.  Mark will take all the door & window trim down along with all the (crappy…there’s that word again!) molding.  We’ll also get all the new wood siding painted and ready to go.  After the kids and I leave the house Friday morning, Mark will start tearing out the floor and walls.  Hopefully (ha!) they won’t run into any snags, but with an old house you just never know what you’re going to find when you start a project like this.  It’s going to take weeks to finish.  The plan of the one weekend (when my brother-in-law comes over) is to get one wall reframed (we’re moving the door to the middle of that wall…it’ll have a window on either side), the siding up and the subfloor and wood floor in place.  If they work really hard, they can hopefully get the drywall hung inside too.  Mark and I will have to work on finishing the drywall (and floor) later.  I don’t even want to think about how long it will be before we’re able to actually get it all painted and get the trim and moldings back in place and painted.   Oh, and there will be a small deck to build too…at least eventually…it will be just sort of a long landing to provide a little space between the steps and the door…Can you tell I’m excited?  And a bit terrified too?  I’m looking forward to documenting it all here…Anyone have suggestions for wall color?  I’m still on the fence.  I do want a color more so than a neutral…but I want to keep it light because our house is so dark overall.  At the moment the front-runner is a very pale icy blue aqua color.  Is that weird?  It just screams old house to me.  🙂

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Well…Anna’s birthday has come and gone.  I don’t even think I cried at all…although I teared up a little a couple times during the day…especially when I posted on Facebook at 4:06pm…that’s exactly when she was born.

I didn’t take nearly enough pictures this weekend, but the few I did take I’ll share in a few minutes.  I think Anna had a good birthday.  This was the first year that she was actually aware that it was her birthday and that birthdays are special.  Mark & I both worked all day, so she spent the bulk of her birthday at daycare.  I made cupcakes for her class, and they sang to her (which she reportedly didn’t like much ), so at least her day was a little extra special.  I can’t believe how my baby girl has changed and grown…the obligatory birthday picture progression:

Sorry for the poor quality of the 3rd birthday picture, but I think it’s the only one I got of her on her actual birthday.  Mark took it Gran’s house that evening on his Blackberry.  She was feeling extra-sassy with her new sunglasses on…the jacket is a swimsuit cover-up that goes with her new swimsuit from Mickey.

We went to my mother-in-law’s (Gran) house after work/daycare on Friday & opened her presents there.  We also made an attempt at eating dinner there (not at ALL successful) and doing cupcakes (with candles & singing) there (slightly more successful).  We saved a couple presents (including her big one) for Saturday.  She opened the big present Saturday morning:

My sister’s youngest son handed down all his Thomas the Train stuff to Anna & William and they’ve really gotten into it.  We only had the trains, though, no tracks, so I thought I’d get her some for her birthday.  Unfortunately only 1 of the trains that were given to us fit on this set.  Ugh!  They’re even made by the same company!  They’re just a little bit off…Thankfully this set came with an engine and a car.  The kids haven’t really even noticed the others don’t fit on the track quite right.

Check this out…Anna’s not the only one getting big!

There was a method to our madness in withholding a couple presents until Saturday.  We had a birthday party to go to for a little girl who was born the day after Anna in the same hospital.  We had a couple playdates a couple years ago…before the girls turned 1, but we haven’t seen them since I went back to work.  Her mom & I (hey Cassie!) have kept in touch on Facebook since then and we were excited to be invited to Gabriella’s party.  All 4 of us went and William & Anna had a great time & really enjoyed playing with the other kids (and all the new & different toys!).  It was nice to get out of the house with the kids and we all really enjoyed ourselves.  We really don’t do that sort of thing enough…which was apparent in the end.  The kids did great the whole afternoon…even during the opening of presents, which I was a little worried about since Anna was still in “birthday mode” herself!  However, as it got to be around 5:00 I could tell Anna was wearing down and I knew we were going to have to wrap things up and head home.  I just didn’t wrap things up fast enough.  Anna finally had a meltdown and we left with her screaming.  Nice, huh?  She screamed the whole way home…it was unintelligible at first, but then we could make out that she was screaming, “Gabriella!  Gabriella!”  Over and over and over again.  She had a little time out in her room when we got home & finally settled herself down enough to eat a little dinner…and lick the icing off a cupcake.  *Eyeroll*  Oh, and she got to open her last present too…a sandcastle mold.  She couldn’t wait to get out to the sandbox today to try it out.

Anna starts swimming lessons tomorrow at our local pool.  I’ve been excited for her to do this, but I’ve also been a little uneasy about it…simply because I will have to take BOTH kids with me since her lessons are right after daycare.  I decided earlier in the week that I wanted to try to go to the pool today so I could at the very least familiarize myself with the layout of things and figure out what the heck I’m going to do to entertain William while Anna has her 3o minute lesson.  So, even though Mark didn’t seem overly excited about it, we headed to the pool today.  We really had a good time & the kids did well.  They have a toddler pool that is sectioned off from the big pool & the kids had so much fun splashing & scooting around in there.  William hasn’t quite figured out how to stand back up if he goes under the water, which, understandably, freaks me out, but I was right there to pull him up each time he went under.  I’m hoping he’ll get the concept after a few more trips to the pool.  Sunday afternoons seem like a good time to go.  It wasn’t that crowded in general, and we had the whole toddler pool to ourselves most of the time.  Both kids had a slight meltdown when we had to get out of the pool for the required 10 minute break.  Thankfully, one of my co-workers was there & Anna was more than willing to go right to her.  She calmed right down after that & I got William calmed down too.  We managed to leave without a meltdown at all, shockingly enough…just the promise of a popsicle at home & some playtime in the backyard was enough to convince the kids that going home was a good idea.  🙂

They did play in the backyard when we got home…Anna finally got to try out her sandcastle mold, which she really seems to like.  They were both so tired by 5pm that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep them up until their usual bedtime at 7:30.  The water really tires them out quickly!  At just after 5:00 William was barely holding himself together…he was hungry and tired.  I took him in and gave his bath early since he was covered in sweat and sand (not a good combination).  Then he snacked until dinner!

They did end up both going to bed a little early, which is fine because tomorrow is going to be an early morning for me & Mr. William.  He’s getting tubes put in both ears & we have to be there (30 minutes away) at 6:30.  Ugh!  On that note…it’s 9:55 & I have to get up at 5am.  I should probably think about getting some sleep!

Although I mentioned nothing about it previously in the post…Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, especially my 2 favorite dads…My Daddy & my husband!

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Anna’s birthday is coming up and, once again, I’m having a hard time with it.  It’s not that I don’t want to celebrate her being another year older because I do!  I want her birthdays to be special and fun and memorable in the very best way.  I just have a hard time wrapping my head around how fast she’s growing and changing.  She’ll be 3 this week.  How on EARTH is my baby girl 3??  I got a little weepy about it last night.  Mark and I sat outside after the kids went to bed.  I had a margarita, Mark had a beer & we were just chatting.  It just hit me suddenly and it hit me hard…she’s going to be 3.  THREE!!  I cried for a few minutes thinking about when she was brand new…how tiny she was, how difficult her birth was, how strange and wonderful it felt the first time I got to hold her, knowing that she was mine.  I had waited so long.  I commented to Mark that 3 years ago on June 11th, 6 days before Anna was born, we had no idea.  No idea how our lives would change, how we would change.  We didn’t know then that her birth would be the ordeal that it was.  We didn’t know that she would develop colic when she was 2 weeks old and that it would last for months.  We didn’t know how little sleep we could actually survive on.  We didn’t know she wouldn’t talk until she was 2 years old and how that would worry us.  We didn’t know she would become a big sister at 18 months old.  We didn’t know how much we would love her.  We didn’t know how much we could love really.  We didn’t know what a sweet, quirky little almost 3 year old she would become.  It’s been quite a ride these last 3 years.

There’s a line in a Keith Urban song that I just love, which is weird, because I so DON’T love Keith Urban.  I find myself listening to that song when it comes on just to hear this one line, because it just sort of sums it up.  “Along comes a baby girl, and suddenly my little world just got a whole lot bigger.”  That’s a good description of it really.  I wouldn’t have thought so 3 years ago maybe, but in retrospect, that’s exactly what happened.  We went from our little Mark & Stephanie-centric world to one that was about so much more than just us.  A whole lot bigger for sure.

Ah…let me switch gears for a moment before I reduce myself to tears again!  We’ve had a laid back weekend.  The usual playing in the yard in the morning (at least until I felt like I was going to melt into a puddle of sweat), naps for the kids & a grocery run for me.  Garden tending (we ate our first cucumber of the year last night!) and pool time in the afternoon.  Today I washed dishes and did laundry, vacuumed the whole house, took the van to town to vacuum and Armor-All it.  Then lots of toy cleanup and re-cleanup.  Lots of playing with the little ones.  Oh, and we took some pictures!  William was 18 months old last week & Anna will be 3 this next week…it seemed like a good time for some new pictures!  Here’s a sampling…

 

And since my internet connection is not the best tonight…I’ll post some more pictures later in the week!  Goodnight for now!

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Weekend projects

We could do a whole year full of weekend projects and still have some left over…such is life with an old house!  We didn’t do anything major this particular weekend, but I got things done that I’ve been meaning to do for months.

As I mentioned a couple posts back, I’ve been planning on making some small changes in William’s room to make it feel more like his and less like it used to be his sister’s.  Thankfully not too much needed to be done & it’s complete with the exception of getting a new changing pad cover (in a color other than pink).  The first thing I did was rework the valance that’s been in there since Anna was born.  Here’s what it looks like now:

The green stripe was already there, it had a wide pink stripe underneath it.  I just removed the pink stripe and added the yellow and blue (both grosgrain ribbon).

I did that to match his quilt (made by my mother):

I also hung one of the extra quilt squares that didn’t make it into the finished product:

Last but not least I framed the painting I had done to match the one my sister gave me for Anna’s room.  I’ve had it since William was a month old…just now got around to framing it:

And that’s about it for William’s room!  Woohoo!  He’s only been in there for like a year!

Oh, and this finally happened this weekend too…Mark bottled his very first batch of homebrewed beer.  Look how proud he was!  😉

My last (and largest) project of the weekend was our “picture wall”.  As you may have guessed, photographs are really important to me.  I like them a lot!  We had a wall of family pictures in our old living room which is now Anna’s room.  They had been hung on that wall since before we had the kids.  Most of them were old pictures of Mark’s family.  Actually I think all of them were of Mark’s family.  Anyway, they had all been sitting in our roll top desk since we moved the living room to its current location.  I’ve been meaning to swap out some pictures and rehang them, but there are a lot of them (as you’re about to see) and I wasn’t looking forward to it.  It’s done now, and there are more pictures than ever.  🙂  I know some people might find it a bit much, but I love a good picture wall.  I love it even more now that I’ve mixed things up a bit.  There are pictures of the kids, pictures of our parents, grandparents, my sisters and their kids…a good representation of our family as a whole.  Lots of love on that wall…

Yeah, it all looks crooked because I took that picture at an angle to reduce the glare (I was only partially successful).  Now if I could just get rid of that freaking striped wall paper I’d be a really happy girl!  The stripes, flowers and picture frames kind of compete with each other, but until I can get rid of the wallpaper there’s just not much I can do about it.  😦  I’m still happy to have these pictures back on display.

So, nothing major, but all things I’m so glad to have done!  I really feel like I accomplished a little something.  Woohoo!

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I’ve been known to over-think and over-analyze, so bear with me here…This line of thinking was brought about by a couple of different songs I’ve heard recently.

There is a 9 year age difference between Mark and I.  He was born in Chicago, I was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  He lived in Chicago for the first 12 years of his life and then moved to Martin (where his mother’s family was and where she grew up) about 2 years after his father passed away in 1978.  When Mark was going through the awful experience of losing his father at just 10 years old, I had just turned 2.  When he moved to Tennessee at 12 years old I had just moved to Tennessee myself a few months prior, and I had just turned 4.  Both of us moved in 1980.  So, for the duration of the 80’s we grew up in our respective towns…he was a teenager, I was in elementary school.  He left for college in Florida just as I was starting in 4th grade.  He moved back to Tennessee & continued going to college at the University of Tennessee – Martin I believe at some point in 1987.  I had never even heard of Martin at that point in my life.  In the 90’s I was in high school and Mark was in college at some points at just working at others.  I made a trip to Martin in 1994 for some sort of band competition I think.  I remember that trip vaguely.  I think it was on that trip that I got back together with my on again/off again high school boyfriend Joe.  I don’t remember much about the town from that trip.  I remember sitting in the stadium at the college and I remember being unimpressed by the University here.  Martin was not a place even remotely on my radar for college, much less as a place to live permanently.  Looking back now, I wonder where Mark was that day.  He was probably in town.  Was he working?  Did he pass our school buses driving down the street in town?   Little did I know my future husband was somewhere in that little town that I couldn’t have cared about less.  Little did I know that I would be living, working and raising my 2 children in that town.  This town.  Little did Mark know that his future wife, the mother of his children, was playing in some band competition in town that day.  Funny that we could have run into each other at the local McDonalds and not thought twice about it…we would never have known that 11 years later we would be husband and wife.  Funny how life works.

As I have undoubtedly said before, I hated this area when I moved here in 2004 (10 years after that forgettable band competition).  It’s so unlike where I grew up in so many ways.  The people are different.  The socio-economic climate is, um…different.  The topography is even different.  It didn’t feel like home until I met Mark and moved to the farm about a year later.  Even then, I struggled a bit to get used to the lack of…stuff.  We don’t have a lot of stores or restaurants here…we don’t have a mall.  We don’t have much really…and there’s more here now than there was just 6 years ago.  I have adjusted slowly and now I’m not sure I could ever go back to a place like the one I’m from.  When we visit, I enjoy it for a while, but then I get tired of all the people and all the traffic and, yes, even all the stuff. 

As for Mark, I’m not sure that he ever really saw himself getting married, much less having kids.  Both were quite an adjustment for him, especially since he had lived in this house alone for probably 10 years before I came along.  He’s still adjusting…and so am I.  Kids seem to cause endless “adjustments”.

So, I guess where I’m going with all this is…What if just one seemingly little thing had happened differently?  If either Mark or myself had made a different decision here or there along the way would we have ended up somewhere else entirely?  We started out over 400 miles and 9 years apart.  It seems kind of lucky that we managed to end up working in the same little office in the same little town almost 37 years after he was born.  I hated him when I met him and yet for some reason, there always seemed to be something familiar about him somehow.  Not like I had met him before, but like there was something special about him, something I liked about him on some subconscious level because goodness knows it was NOT on a conscious level!  I guess it was just meant to be…it seems so impossible that we should ever have met…out of all the people and places that both of us saw before we met, how did we ever end up together.  I guess some people call that fate.  I don’t know that I would go there but, it’s certainly a remarkable coincidence.

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It was another warm, sunny, busy weekend. Busier for Mark than for me.   He barely sat still!  Here’s a quick recap of our weekend:

Anna woke up Saturday around 7:15. I was really hoping Mark would go in there to get her, but I waited for quite a while and it didn’t happen. Turns out he wasn’t even in the house…he was waaaaaay across the farm getting a spot ready for planting gourds & pumpkins. So I got both kids up and got breakfast ready. After breakfast I got the kids dressed and took them out to play in the backyard. Mark built the kids a new sandbox Friday evening and got the old one out of the way. This one looks WAY less redneck than the tractor tire sandbox and the kids love it!  It’s got twice the space!

new sandbox

While the kids played, Mark and I took turns watching the kids so we could both get showered & dressed. We took a trip to a local nursery to buy flowers for the flower beds. By the time we got ready & out of the house we were cutting it REALLY close to naptime. It turned out fine, even though I had to work at keeping William awake in the car. I didn’t want him ruining his real nap! The kids were well-behaved and liked looking at all the flowers. We made it a quick trip and got the kids back home in time for lunch and naps. While they napped we planted flowers. We also did loads & loads of laundry. I filled the water table up for the kids & when they woke from their naps, outside we went!

The kids played together (nicely even!) for a little while:
Playing together

Then Anna decided her fishies need to swim in water:
Fishies swim in water

There were some sibling spats after that.  Anna doesn’t want William to have even ONE of her fish!  She didn’t want him to have either of the boats either:

Anna with boats

Don’t worry, though…I intervened enough to allow William to have lots of fun!  He loves putting his face in the water…
William close up copy

Once William does it, Anna has to do it too:
Anna close up copy

I tried so, so hard to get a good picture of Anna, but she wanted nothing to do with looking at the camera.  The picture above was a fluke…because I had just taken one of William.  Ugh!  William on the other hand, I can get a picture of…look at my handsome boy!
Handsome boy copy

Sunday we were up & out of the house by 9:30…went to Lowe’s for more plants.  Played a little outside before naps, and did more planting while the kids slept.  I took pictures too!

Our iris have taken off…at least the purple ones.  These are old-fashioned purple Tennessee iris, and when I say old-fashioned I mean old.  These have been around the farm a long time, I just moved them.  They like their new home a lot.  There are probably 20 stalks with 3 buds each in this one place and the bed is maybe 18 inches square.
Here’s one: 🙂
iris

One corner of one of the small beds at the front of the pergola…I sure hope all this fills out:
Flowerbed 1

The shade garden gets the award for most improved! It’s filled almost completely with perennials, so aside from weeding, it’s pretty low maintenance. We have added new things this year to go with all the hostas!
Here is the shade garden on February 20th:
shade garden

And here it is on April 10th:
shade garden

Big difference! Here’s the sun garden on February 20th:
sun garden

And on April 10th:
sun garden

That’s a pretty big difference too!

Mark and I were absolutely beat by 5pm yesterday. The kids played in the wading pool AND the sprinkler yesterday afternoon, so they were pretty worn out too. They went to bed early and I think were in bed around 9pm. It was a big weekend for us all!

Oh, and I forgot these pictures…The kids had picture day at daycare last week. Strangely, Anna did really well & William didn’t…which is the exact opposite of how they do with pictures at home! I had Anna try on her dress the night before just to make sure it still fit. She loved that dress & the poor girls at daycare had a hard time getting her out of it and into play clothes after her pictures were done! “Red dress! Red dreeeessss! Red dreeesssss!” Imagine that in a really sad, whiny voice. Argh! It did look cute on her though.

Here she is waving to her loyal subjects
Anna's red dress

And then taking a bow…look at that grin! I love this girl!
Smiley red dress

I’ve been composing blog posts in my head for that last 2 weeks, but nothing much seems to come to me when I sit down to write. 😦 Hopefully I’ll have something more than my a-day-in-the-life posts really soon. Thanks for reading!

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As we were driving home today…I decided the kids needed a little lesson is Music History.  Specifically the history of Rock n Roll.  Lucky for them I took a class on just that very thing in college!  No, really.  I did.  It was a really fun class!  And that’s the kind of curriculum you get when your college major involves recording music.  Let me tell you that Bachelors of Recording Industry Production & Technology (with minors in both Mass Communication and Music) is really taking me far!  Yay for useless degrees!   But I digress…

We were driving home from daycare and I played The Beatles.  I mean, really, what better place to start, right?  I started with Hello, Goodbye…not because I love that song.  I’m really rather ambivalent about that song, but I knew Anna would like it and she did!  When we got home we played a little fill in the blank game…”I say yes, you say ____”  She’d say “No!”.  “I say stop, and you say _____”.  “Go, go, gooooo”.  “I say goodbye, and you say ____” “Hello!”.  It was kind of a fun game until I started saying, “You say goodbye, and I say…”  Her answer became “great!”  every time.  I think she got tired of the game.  🙂  It’s a Paul song…Paul was not my favorite.  So the next 2 songs I played were John songs.  I played And Your Bird Can Sing and Dear Prudence.  Anna seemed to like both songs and William was cool with all of it.  Considering our drive home from daycare takes only 10 minutes or so, I thought it was a pretty good little lesson in The Beatles.  We covered songs from 3 albums…Magical Mystery Tour, Revolver, and The Beatles (aka the White Album).  The kids love music, especially Anna, and this is important stuff!  I’m shaping young minds here!  I’m being totally sarcastic, but not.  Music is important for lots of reasons.

I’ve always loved music.  I started piano lessons when I was 1o or 11.  I started playing clarinet when I was 13 or so.  I played both until my junior year of college when I switched schools and majors.  I started out as a Music Education major and I’m glad I have a little bit of that background.  It may come in handy with the kids later…it already does to some extent.

The reason I love listening to music with my kids, even at their young ages, has nothing to do with form and composition or any technical aspect.  It’s a bonding thing.  It’s a fun thing.  I want them to love it as much as I do.  I want it to be something we share always.  Part of that for me is that it’s something I share with my dad.  As long as I can remember he played music.  One of my favorite memories of childhood trips was the tapes he would make to play in the car.  I can’t say I always liked all his music…I remember a lot of New Age stuff and I wasn’t much of a fan of that.  Still he played some good stuff…songs I still listen to today.  Old Jimmy Buffet on our way to Florida…I still LOVE Tin Cup Chalice.  None of Jimmy Buffet’s party music can top that simple song, it’s perfect.  I remember Kenny Rogers, Anne Murray and The Carpenter’s.  I’m not a fan of any of that these days, but you know, sometimes The Gambler is just a cool song.  🙂  I remember Dan Fogelberg, Jackson Browne, The Eagles, The Beatles and The Bee Gees in his collection too…and for some reason I still enjoy some Dan Fogelberg…which seems kind of weird to say.  Actually, minus The Bee Gees, I still like all of the ones in that list.  I used to love flipping through his album collection and later his CD collection.  I love that it did (and still does) run the gamut from classical to rap…from country to jazz.  I think his influence is the reason that my life has always and will always have a soundtrack.  That’s something I want my kids to have…and I figure it’s never to soon to start!  I try to watch what I play for them…I mean I want to keep it somewhat age appropriate and all…Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side in retrospect was probably not what I should have been listening to as a kid, but I didn’t know that then.  I didn’t understand the lyrics & it didn’t matter.   But there’s nothing wrong with a little Beatles…there’s nothing questionable in Dear Prudence.  It’s just a pretty song about asking a friend to come out to play to Anna.  And she likes it, which I love.

Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It’s beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence won’t you come out to play

Dear Prudence open up your eyes
Dear Prudence see the sunny skies
The wind is low the birds will sing
That you are part of everything
Dear Prudence won’t you open up your eyes?

Look around round round
Look around round round
Oh look around

Dear Prudence let me see you smile
Dear Prudence like a little child
The clouds will be a daisy chain
So let me see you smile again
Dear Prudence won’t you let me see you smile?

Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It’s beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence won’t you come out to play

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Well…it’s March 23rd.  The anniversary of my first marriage…which was (somehow) 9 years ago.  I kind of like to acknowledge this day still, but this year I am just kind of looking back laughing at myself…and him.  We had no idea what we were doing.  🙂

I’ve rehashed the whole thing in posts in previous years (you can read those posts here and here), but I just don’t feel the need to do that this year.  This year it’s enough to just look back and smile at how sweet and idealistic our ideas of marriage were.  This year I’m just glad that I made the decision I made and we’re both happier people because of it.  Still…even thought my 1st marriage ended after just 3 years, I wouldn’t have missed those 3 years for anything.  So Happy Un-Anniversary Lee…wherever you are.  🙂  And happy real anniversary to him too!  I think he & his wife have been married for 6 years sometime this week…I can’t ever remember the date exactly.

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Moving on… 🙂

I just found this picture of Anna.  I took it on March 17, 2009.  She was 9 months old:

Oh my she was precious!  Still is.

Here’s William at 9 months (this past September):

I can’t believe how big they are both getting.  Seriously…Anna told Mark she had to go pee-pee tonight then actually went we he put her on the potty.  I hope that trend continues!

William walked all the way to the barn with Mark the other day & most of the way back.  He’s starting to say more words & he jabbers all the time.  He’s learning to use a fork & spoon.  He does really well with both.  He’s messy, for sure, but he definitely knows how to do it.

I’m going to sell our infant car seat soon & find myself getting kind of sad to think that we won’t have another little one.  I’ll never say never, but I do know it’s not likely to happen.  So as William hits all these milestones, I get kind of sad.  Proud of him, but still a little sad.  At the same time I’m excited for the coming years and all the things we’ll be able to do as a family as the kids get older.  But how I can look at pictures like this and NOT want another one!

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I had one of those days yesterday that I wanted to just tuck certain moments away and keep them forever.  It was a gorgeous day and we all spent the majority of it outside.  My mother-in-law dropped by just as we finished getting the kids dressed, so we all went out & watched the kids play in the backyard.  The kids enjoyed seeing their Gran & I know she enjoyed seeing them too.  Even after she left, I stayed outside and watched the kids play.  I pulled them both around the yard in Mark’s old wagon, I pushed them on the swings, I broke up little sibling spats in the sandbox.  I looked at the flowers on the trees with Anna and watched William tell me where the “tishees” (that’s fishies) are.  We played all morning, right up until naptime, only stopping for a short snack.  I did my usual grocery run while they napped, then once they were both up and fed, right back outside we went. After a little more time in the backyard, we moved around to the front sidewalk & broke out the sidewalk chalk.  This was William’s first time with it, and aside from trying to eat a couple times, he did really well.  Although he really preferred running up & down the sidewalk most of the time.

Anna loves to draw & impressed me with her new skills…She drew a house…

And a fish…complete with eyes, nose and mouth (it’s still in progress here):

Daddy got down there with them too:

These were my favorite times of the weekend.  I really love when all 4 of us get out and do things together.  It’s those family times that make me want to stop and soak it all up.

The best thing yesterday I didn’t get any pictures of because I was too busy participating…which only stinks because I wish I had pictures!  It was pretty windy yesterday, so Mark got one of his kites out…We all walked to the field next to our house where there is plenty of tree-free room to run and flew the kite.  Anna held the “handle” and was so proud of herself.  William ran around and squealed and had such fun just watching the kite fly and twirl around in the air.  I have no idea how long we were out there, but I loved every single minute of it.

Of course, when it was time to put the kite away, Anna had a bit of a meltdown.  I ignored it for awhile and let her get it out of her system, but as it turns out she was really sad.  So I just told her that the tiger (the kite is a tiger) needed to rest for awhile.  She seems to get that, but wasn’t happy about it.  I told her we would fly the kite again another day…and we will.  I love how much she loved it.

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The rest of the weekend was a bit of a blur…Anna and I made a quick trip to Hendersonville where she hung out with her Granddaddy and my mother and I hit a consignment sale.  It was a successful shopping trip too!  We made it back home around 4pm Saturday.  Once the kids were in bed, Mark and I sat in the pergola, with the chimnea going.  It was the night of the “supermoon” and I got a few pictures.  It was cloudy, but the clouds were thin and hazy.  The moon was orangey and kind of spooky looking as it rose:

The haziness did prevent me from getting a good, clear picture, but I gave it a shot anyway.  Once the moon rose, it didn’t look much different than a normal full moon, but it was really bright:

That’s all for tonight…I wanted to get this up last night, but our internet connection doesn’t always want to cooperate.  😦  Happy Monday night!

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