Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Last year I noticed something kind of neat going on in the blogging world. Instead of making new years resolutions many were coming up with one word to describe how they wanted their new year to play out. I thought this was a fabulous idea. I mean everyone knows that most resolutions are going to fizzle out before February arrives so this seemed like a much better alternative. 
I thought about what word I would pick and it took me all of two seconds to come up with one. Family. My husband and children have always come before anything, but I wanted to extend it a bit. My mom and dad had both just recently retired from their jobs, my youngest brother was going through marital problems and my oldest brother seemed to have gotten in over his head with his new house. Not to mention it seemed like everytime I turned around I was having to attend the funeral of yet another family member. So I decided that I was going to make spending time with all of my family a priority this year and that is exactly what I did. Yes, there were a few times I wanted to ignore the phone, or grumble a little about having to pack up the kids to go to a family reunion, but all in all I think that I accomplished what I set out to do. 
We've hosted cookouts and birthday parties this year and my mom and dad set up a mini playground in their backyard for the girls to play in when we visit. 

The girls are constantly wanting to go visit everyone and tell me all the time how much they love going to visit granny and paw paw and that they have the funnest uncles in the world.

Looking back over the past year I feel really good about how things have gone. I feel like my family is closer and that is awesome. I've been trying to think of a new word for how I want 2011 to play out and have been kind of stumped. So I think I'm just going to take the easy way out and recycle last years word. Sounds good doesn't it?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Your baby can read. Really?

Recently my children have started watching a new channel on television called the Hub. It's a family channel with preschool type shows during the day and older sitcoms during the evenings. The cartoons aren't too obnoxious so I can't really complain too much about it. There is one thing that kind of bugs me about it though. The commercials. I guess I've grown used to Noggin which is commercial free so this world of commercials takes some getting used to. For the most part it's not too bad. I thought the kids would drive me nuts asking for toys they see advertised but so far they haven't. There is one commercial on there however that makes me want to run screaming from the room everytime it comes on. It's the one for Your Baby Can Read. That's right your baby. As in small child under one year old. Reading. Am I crazy or is this really something parents want for their babies? I mean whatever happened to getting excited over things like the first word or first step? Is that not a big enough milestone anymore? Not only that but how in the world are parents supposed to talk about things in front of the children if they can read? You obviously won't be able to spell things out anymore, might as well just tell them what they're getting for their birthday. Or am I the only one that does that kind of thing? 
There are just so many things that I think are wrong with this program I don't even know where to begin. But I'll try. 
  • Teaching by Rote. In other words memorizing without actually learning. You know like those little things called phonics.
  • The price. Sure the commercial will tell you that you can try it for $14.95, but to purchase the entire set will knock you back over $200. 
  • Studies have shown that children that begin reading early are no more advanced than children that begin reading once they are in school.
  • You have to plop your baby in front of the television twice a day to watch the video. Everyday. 
  • Two words. Baby Einstein. 
So feel free to call my a cynic, but I think this product is just another way to make money off of new parents that are nervous about not doing enough for their children. Trust me when I say you do not need this. Just spend some time with your baby and read to them for enjoyment, not in an attempt to create the next Einstein. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I feel a project coming on........

I hope all of you had a fantastic holiday (for those of you that don't celebrate I hope you had an awesome weekend). I'm a little slow getting back into my blogging this week. I've been trying to get my house somewhat in order and with toys for three kids I'm sure you can imagine that it's no easy feat! 
It seems like every year I tend to forget just how small my house is when buying for the kids and end up in a panic trying to figure out where to put everything. Audrey and Sophie received so many bulky items for their dolls that right now about half of it is sitting in the hallway outside their bedroom door. So I've been trying to think of a solution and I think I've found one. This....
 Now my husband loves me a lot, but he kind of balked when I told him how much this bed cost ($1399+$175 for shipping + tax). Also, the bed is currently sold out so even if he was feeling generous he couldn't buy it if he wanted to. So what did I do? Why I found the plans to build one of course! After Audrey looked at him with her big brown eyes and asked him if he would please build her a new bed he couldn't help but agree to do it. Now finding the time to do it is whole 'nother thing. We have another birthday coming up in January (eeek!) and in February Sophie and I will be making a trip to Texas (gulp!) and considering how long it takes us to complete even the simplest of projects I'm just hoping to get it done before the girls start high school. Wish us luck!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mommy's Christmas Wish List

For the past several months weeks I have been shopping, shopping, shopping for my loved ones. I love trying to find that perfect something for them and always get a kick out of their expressions when they finally get to open their gifts on Christmas morning. My poor family on the other hand hates shopping for me. Why? Because whenever they ask me what I want I can never think of anything. My husband has been going nuts trying to figure out what to buy me so I finally decided to take a moment and prepare a list of what I would really like to get this year.
  • No Christmas morning meltdowns. Usually my kids are pretty well behaved during the holidays, however this year child one is getting the gift that child two asked for so things may get interesting.
  • That Kyrie Irving's big toe will heal quickly so he can get back in the game. 
  • That mother in law will not ask me or Kylie what we thought of our gifts. Seriously, when you ask someone what they want and they suggest a gift card just get them a gift card.
  • For my little brother to miraculously grow up overnight so he doesn't ruin my parents Christmas like he did their Thanksgiving. One can always dream right?
  • That the weather here will not shoot back up again like it did on Wednesday (78 degrees in December?!?!). I know we'll never have a white Christmas here, but I'd rather not have to break out the tank tops and shorts. 
  • And if all else fails Cole Haan is always a good fall back. The black suede Denney bag would be a wonderful choice.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy birthday Sophie

It's so hard to believe that it's been five years already!






Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Weekend recap (a little late)

This weekend was one of pure chaos, but so much fun! On Friday I took Kylie to a sleepover at a friends house. She hasn't been to a sleepover in quite a few months so she was kind of excited. However, I think Audrey was probably more excited because this meant (in her words of course) that she was now the big sister. 
On Saturday after I picked Kylie up we had to run some errands. Not fun this close to Christmas obviously, but unfortunately it was a necessary evil that had to be done.  After we finished I took the girls downtown to a Christmas parade. Once again my husband was working and had to miss out. Sometimes I really hate his job. After the parade I took the kids to my mom and dads house for a visit. 
On Sunday we had some family over to celebrate Sophie's birthday. Her birthday isn't until Thursday, but we wanted to have her celebration over the weekend and waiting until the weekend afterward would not work out for obvious reasons. For the second year in a row she had a Hello Kitty theme. The child is obsessed with Hello Kitty for some reason. 
 She had a fantastic time and of course received a ton of presents.

 After everyone left we loaded the kids up and took them to Bellingrath Gardens to see their Christmas in lights exhibit. This year we were smart and decided to take the wagon for the kids. I told them that next year I'm riding in the wagon. My feet still hurt just thinking about all the walking we did!
 The lights were gorgeous of course and everyone had a great time.

 Today the girls and I plan on staying home all day and being lazy slugs and enjoying the last few days before Christmas. Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Slightly freaking out........

Everywhere I look lately I see Christmas countdowns. I see them on pretty much all the websites I frequent, at the stores and in the newspaper. It is freaking me out! Not because of Christmas, I'm totally ready for that. It is freaking me out because my baby, my sweet, precious little baby will be having her birthday just two days before Christmas. Everytime I see one of those counters and mentally deduct two days I whimper a little. Yes, I always get kind of nutty around the girls birthdays, but this one is really hitting me hard this year. This year Sophie will be turning five and that means that come August she will be *sniff* starting school. And I won't have my little buddy to hang out with anymore. I know, I'm pathetic. She of course is stoked over turning five. She makes a point of telling everyone she sees that her birthday is coming up (along with telling them that anything Hello Kitty would be fine for a gift) and how old she'll be. So be prepared because I'm sure I'll be inundating you guys with plenty of pictures in JUST SIX DAYS.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thank goodness for Granny's!

About two weeks ago Kylie brought home a note from school that struck fear into my heart. It was from her PACE teacher informing us that the class would be having a holiday party. No big deal right? Well...... for some no. You see one of the things the class is studying this year is ancient Greece and Rome. So naturally the teacher thought it would be neat if the kids had an ancient Greek/Rome themed party. See where I'm going here? I tend to go for easy when I bake. If it's not break and bake freezer cookies then it generally comes out of a box. Hence the fear. The note did say that we could just send chips or cupcakes if we wanted to, but of course that wouldn't do for Ms. Kylie. Yes, I even tried to bribe her. I know, I know tsk tsk and all that. So I did the only thing I knew to do. I called my mommy. She and my father are both retired now and tend to get a little bored so she was more than happy to help. Thank goodness.
Yes my mom is wearing a sweater vest. 
 They decided on Baklava and it took hours to make. I haven't tried any because it makes my teeth ache just looking at something that sweet, but I think it looks pretty good.
 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas toys 2009 - hits and misses

Every year when I'm Christmas shopping for my children I try to keep a list on my computer of what I've bought for each of them. With three children I feel that I have to do this to keep from overbuying for some and slighting others. 
A few days ago I was looking in my recycling bin (that I really need to dump, but am kinda scared to) and ran across last years list. I had to laugh when I read over it. Why you may ask? Because probably more than half of what is on that list is no longer in this house anymore. Sad isn't it? So I thought I would share some of the hits and misses of last year with you. Keep in mind that this is all girly stuff so if you have boys you can just read along, laugh and be thankful.
  • The doll bed. I bought this for Kylie because I'm too cheap to buy the real thing from American Girl I thought she would like it for her American girl doll. She liked it for about two seconds. I would say it's probably spent most of this past year gathering dust in her closet. It's okay, the canopy kind of droops which bugs me. I started to get rid of it, but then Kylie decided she would use it. For her webkinz. By the way I paid around $40 for this last year and now walmart.com has it for $19. Go figure.
  •  THE Fancy Nancy phone. For months Audrey begged and begged for this thing. Got it for Christmas and never even looked at it. Sophie on the other hand enjoyed it a lot. It went to goodwill a few months back.
 
  • Perfection game. I thought the girls would really enjoy this game. They do when we remember to get it out and play with it. Just to warn you, those 25 little oddly shaped pieces do not feel good when you walk on them.



  • The doll stroller. This has actually been kind of a hit. The only downfall is that it's kind of bulky. I could collapse it and put it away and it probably wouldn't be so bad, but I'm lazy. Also, I kind of wish that I had bought the fancy shmancy double stroller from Pottery Barn since we have this whole army of doll thing going on around here. 
  • The doctor kit. In pink naturally. This was Sophie's absolute must have for last year. From her point of view a definite hit, from moms point of view? There's only so many times a day I can handle getting a shot and having my temperature taken. 
  • The Best Friends Inc. Doll. One of Kylie's must haves. She currently resides in the toy bin under the bed naked. I would have to say that's a miss. 
 

  • The dollhouse. Hands down a hit. I was kind of worried the girls wouldn't care for it since the dolls are kind of funky looking, but they love it. I love it because it's not as big as a piece of living room furniture and doesn't take up a ton of space.
  • And of course the webkinz. My kids are crazy about these things. I was worried that they just wanted them for the codes, but that hasn't been the case oddly enough. They sleep with them and take them everywhere. The only problem is so many family members gave them to the girls last year that some of the codes got lost in the chaos which kind of stunk.
 

The girls received a few other toys as well, but I don't want to bore you senseless with everything. I have to admit that I'm slightly freaked out by how small last years haul looks compared to the list that I have for this year. I have a feeling that in a few months I'll probably be making several goodwill trips for drop-off.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Remembering

Disclaimer- Eleven years ago my brother died. This anniversary is always really hard for me, this year being no exception. The following is a letter I've 'written' to him and I fully understand if you want to hit your browsers back button now.

Dear Eric,
Today marks eleven years since you have been gone. Everyone tells me that time is supposed to make this easier, but everyone is wrong. I still miss you so much. I still cry myself to sleep thinking about you and all that you have missed out on. My heart still breaks for our parents, Nikki, Jason, Wes and everyone that knew and loved you. I still catch myself wondering what you would think about different things such as the nieces you've never met and how you would handle being the father of a teenager now. Yes, a teenager! Can you believe it? 
I still have flashbacks to that night, hearing the news, seeing the ambulances everywhere (that could do no good). I still think about the next day when I went with our parents to tell your sweet little six year old that she would never see you again. Holding her, telling her everything would be okay knowing full well that things would never be okay again.
I still wonder what if I had called ten minutes earlier that night. Would you have answered the phone and laughed with me about my day? Would you have told me you needed to talk to me about something? Would we have made plans for Christmas, your upcoming birthday, the coming weekend? Would you still be here?
Most of all I just wish that you were here so I could hug you and tell you that I love. Tell you that you what a great brother, son and father you were. 
I think about all the good times too. Like the time you got a pony for Christmas and rode it into the house. I think about your first haircut. I was so upset that all your little red curls were gone that I cried because you then looked like a boy. The time you broke the coffee table with your head imitating something you saw on television (I always said you were hardheaded!). Your imaginary friend 'Little Eric', the way  you could never pronounce your th's and three always sounded like tree. I think about the last time I saw you, when I just got back from my honeymoon. I gave you a souvenir and  you were so touched that I thought about you while I was gone and couldn't believe I would bring you something back. You were always so giving and loving, never asked for anything or expected anything from anyone. 
I just love you and miss you so much Eric. 
Until we meet again,
Your big sis

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh what a night!

About every three months or so I go through the house and purge clothes and toys to donate to Goodwill. Yesterday evening I decided to go in Audrey and Sophie's room and get rid of some toys. Not only do we have Christmas coming up, but Sophie has a birthday this month as well so I kind of figured I better make some room. I filled trash bags full of toys. The kids didn't even blink. Sad isn't it? As I was finishing up I noticed Sophie's frog Hattie sitting on the top bunk naked. A few weeks ago I washed poor Hattie's dress and put it on a hanger assuming that Sophie would either put it on her or ask me to. Apparently she did neither. 
Sophie told me that she did not know where Hattie's dress was. Not good. See the company that made Hattie discontinued making this line of stuffed animals a few years ago. She now has a new line out, but they don't quite look the same so buying another replacement to sneak in was pretty much out of the question. So the search began. I looked through all the bags again to make sure we didn't accidentally put it in with the donations. I went though all the toy baskets, dresser drawers, shoe boxes, etc. No dress anywhere. Sophie ended up crying herself to sleep on the couch last night and I was pretty close to doing the same thing myself. Luckily this morning super dad found it. It was stuffed in a box with some dress up clothes that I looked through twice last night. I think I'm going to have one very happy little girl when she wakes up this morning.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Those &*@!* Christmas lists

I have to admit I am extremely lucky when it comes to my kids in that they rarely ask for things. When they do ask for things it's not for much and I try to get them what they ask for within reason. Usually when I ask them what they want for their birthday or Christmas they'll tell me one or two things. Three at the absolute max. For example Kylie has been wanting an American Girl Coconut dog for nearly a year. Everytime I ask her what she wants for Christmas this is the only thing she asks for. I've been asking her if there's anything else she wants and she consistently tells me there isn't. Audrey asked for the American Girl Ginger Cat and a leapster. Consistently these are the only two things she has wanted.
Well apparently at their school the classes are all making wish lists to put up outside their classroom doors. By the way don't even get me started on how their school never, ever does anything for the other holidays celebrated at this time of year because I'll rant for at least an hour. Kylie brought home her list to work on with her homework the other day. She was actually kind of upset about this list because as she told me there was only one thing she wanted, yet there were something like six or eight lines for them to write on. I told her she could leave the other lines blank if she wanted to, but that was inconceivable to her. Yes, sometimes I wonder if this child is really mine. She finally puts down that she would like some clothes for her dolls, the dog and then she pretty much fills up the rest of the form with books. Then Audrey proceeds to tell me that her class did the same assignment at school already. I ask her what she put on her list. And I am floored. She tells me that she first put a new coat on the list. Huh? That's funny since I just bought her a new coat a few weeks ago and it's hanging in the closet with the tags on it still. I tell her this and she says "Oh yeah, I forgot about that." I ask her what else was on her list fully expecting to hear her say Ginger the cat and a Leapster. She tells me that she can't remember everything that was on the list, but she knows that she wrote down that she wants a Baby Alive that bounces and a DS. Nice. First of all those dolls freak me out. We saw some in Target about two weeks ago and they were all going off like jackhammers. Creepy and weird and no way that thing is coming into my house. And a DS? Really? I had no idea she even knew what one was. The bad thing is that I've already bought one for Kylie and I bought Audrey a leapster. You can kind of see how Christmas morning is going to go here can't you? She'll open the leapster and be happy with it and then Kylie will open her ds and she'll got into typical middle child you don't love me mode. I totally expect to have a huge dent in my forehead by the time Christmas arrives from banging it against the wall.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And the craziness begins...........

This weekend seemed to be the kick off of the holiday madness for us. It was a lot of fun, but I'm kind of happy that today is just plain old Monday with nothing scheduled. At the beginning of the December my husband and I have always given the girls matching pajamas for Christmas. We wrap them and put them under the tree so they can open them and then wear them all that month. The funny thing is even though they know pretty much without a doubt that their present will be pj's they still get extremely excited. Since at least one of my girls is asleep in the evenings before her father gets home from work we decided to wait until Friday to have the opening of the pj's. 

 Since I was kind of worried that they would open their gifts and start to moan, "great. pajamas again." (which they didn't by the way) I had another little something for them to open. I picked up some of the little webkinz for them thus earning my spot as mom of the year. I know most kids are kind of over the whole webkinz thing, but mine are still crazy over it.

 Then on Saturday I decided to take the girls to a parade in a nearby town. My husband was working so yeah, not a very smart decision on my part. Luckily my mom and dad met us when we got there so it wasn't too bad. Kylie and Sophie had fun, but Audrey did not. As I've said before she tends to be super sensitive to noise, textures, etc. and the noise level was really bothering her. 
 Naturally my family being my family the parade was not without incident. First we parked in a church parking lot. The girls were playing in this little garden area while we were waiting for the parade to start and I was standing a few feet away with my mom and dad talking. Some woman that apparently had no clue as to how to drive an SUV pulled into the parking lot. She swung out to try to park and came within inches of hitting my mom, dad and me. Then she almost mowed down my kids. Needless to say mama bear was pissed. Then when the parade ended I put the kids in the car and Kylie immediately began to cry that she needed to go to the bathroom. I told her I would drive her to a nearby McDonalds. Umm, yeah that didn't happen. I pulled the car out only to find that someone from the sheriffs office had pulled their car in front of the exit and I couldn't get out. So I started to back up, but a line of cars had formed behind me so I was stuck. So I'm sitting on a street stuck in traffic with a crying eight year old. Then the parade doubled back so I had to wait for that to clear. Finally the bands and floats went by and the officer moved his car and pulled out into traffic. A few other officers were bringing up the rear of the parade and one let me out into traffic. No sooner had I pulled out into the street than lights and sirens came on. Naturally since I had done nothing wrong I ignored them. Then the car next to me turned on his siren, flashed his lights and CAME ON THE BULLHORN and told me to get off the road until the parade cleared. Two words. NEVER AGAIN. 
Sunday luckily was much better. We took the girls to the Shriners Christmas party. They had a great time and I almost got a picture of all of them with Santa. 

Two out of three's not so bad. Oh, and apparently Santa wears an earring. Weird huh? Then the girls went out in the 40 degree weather with no coats (because their mom totally sucks) and road a train. 
 They felt like popsicles when they got back, but they had fun. Then we left the party and took the girls to see Tangled. If you haven't seen this movie you really need to. It was really cute. Kylie has despised pretty much anything princess-y since she was about six (weird kid, I know) and even she loved it. All in all it was a pretty good weekend I think.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Open Letter Friday

Dear Amazon,
I am begging you please stop it. The sales that is. You are killing me and my husband is about ready to. I mean it. Really. I finished all of my Christmas shopping ages ago. We do not need anything. As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure that I've got all three girls birthdays covered as well. So for the sake of my marriage go back up to your usual prices. Thank you very much.
Mommy
Disclaimer: The gray bag is actually from Gap. They're having a sale today too. God help me.