Heat Wave…

25 Jun

A funny story:

A few days ago, we were all four in the car, driving home from some errand.  Somehow our conversation with Ella turned from where she wanted to go to college (I encouraged Hawaii, because, hey…who wouldn’t want to visit there?) to her eventually moving out of the house.  She totally freaked out about this.  She was crying because apparently we are so cool that she wants to live with us always!  We told her it would be a long time before she would move out, and by then she wouldn’t want to live with us.  Still a no-go.  We told her she could live with Audrey, and they BOTH said no!  Which is a little extra funny, because they love each other so much that Audrey can’t go to sleep when Ella isn’t in the room with her.

Eventually, when we explained that neither mommy nor daddy still lives with their parents (Grandma & Grandpa, Nana & Papa), she decided maybe she would find a boy to marry.  She immediately decided upon Drew, her best boy friend.  Then she said, “Well, I don’t know what he’s going to look like when he’s older.”  And what do you say to that?  No, honey, I guess not.  And right after that, she said, “What if he finds a different girl to marry?”  Well, I guess that’s possible, too.

But at least she stopped worrying about moving out.  At age 4.

Lazy Days, Busy Nights…

21 May

Ah, summertime is arriving!

Hazy, humid days at the park.  Running through the sprinklers.  Swimming.  Barbeques.  Boat rides, fireworks, fireflies.

Our nights are busier this summer since Ella will be performing in Oliver in mid-June.  She has rehearsals several nights a week.  But she really does love performing.  She even likes practicing the songs at home.

After Memorial Day, some of our favorite things to do in the summer begin.  Friday night Zoo band/picnics.  Wednesday night Botanical Garden jazz/picnics.  Shakespeare in the Park.  The Muny.  All of the summer fairs & carnivals.

My baby turns 5 this summer, which is hardly believable.  I remember when I started this blog and she was just turning 1.  Time flies.

Audrey turns 2, also.  And great grandpa Morley turns 100!  It will be a summer to remember, for sure.

May Flowers…

7 May

Um, it’s MAY.

Sorry about missing that whole “March” & “April” thing.

Here’s the truth: I have an iPhone now, so I can take pictures and instantly upload them to facebook.  So now I am even MORE lazy (possible?) & don’t want to upload pictures to the computer, like, ever.  Which means they probably won’t make it to this blog very often until I (or Dave) figure out a way to instantly upload photos to my blog!  I’m sure there’s a way.

Our biggest news from the past couple of months is that our dog has cancer.  She got one round of chemo & is taking steroids to keep it at bay as long as possible, but we know that her time is limited.  The very hardest part was trying to explain this all to Ella.  We weren’t sure we would be able to bring the dog back home from the hospital, so we had to prepare her for what could be, and it was just so heartbreaking.  For now, we are all enjoying our time together.

I feel like our family is simultaneously doing well & in limbo.  We are all happy & healthy (for the most part).  We have a lot to look forward to this summer: Ella is in another local musical (Oliver), both girls will be taking swimming lessons & Ella will be doing a week of musical theater camp.  The summer is always filled with lots of outside fun, parties, friends, bbq, swimming.  I LOVE the summer!

We are in a bit of limbo, too.  We are waiting on a few things in regards to Dave’s job.  Hopefully soon we will get some answers that will let us choose a path for our family.  I know that sounds mysterious, but it’s because I don’t really know what to say about it until we have more information.

It has been a difficult few months for some of our friends, too.  It is not fun to watch those around you struggle with some of life’s most difficult problems, and it is even more difficult when you feel like there is nothing you can do to help.

On the brighter side of things, my brother & his wife moved to St. Louis this past weekend!  My brother starts his new job today & his wife has an interview today.  It is a good feeling to have all of your siblings in one place.  I know Ella & Audrey will love having more uncles & aunts closer!  We also started our sand volleyball league a few weeks ago.  While we are not doing so great as far as winning, we are playing fairly well together & having fun.  It is nice to do something active with your friends!  And it’s so much fun to watch Ella’s interest in volleyball grow.

Excited to see what our summer holds!

They Say It’s Your Birthday…

21 Feb

I’m 30!!

When I was younger, even early 20s, I know being “30″ sounded old.  Not old in an aged way, just old as in “Oh crap, now I’m really an adult….no turning back!”

But I don’t feel any older, any different.  Not in any noticeable way.  It’s getting harder to keep up with pulling out my gray hairs (which I argue that I earned the hard way last year, with 2 hospital stays & 4 ER visits, among other bad news).  My body recovers slightly more slowly than before.  Time flies exponentially more quickly.  But, at least for now, 30 doesn’t scare me.  (Now 40 is a different story).

I accomplished a lot in my 20s.  I graduated from college, I got married, I became part owner of a house, I had a couple of jobs, and I had 2 beautiful babies.  I experienced lots of love, some loss, stress, joy, sickness, health.  I got to be there when both of my brothers & my brother in law graduated from college, 2 of them get married to lovely women, Chris play football.  There were lots of family gatherings, trips, growth.  I learned a lot about myself.  And I’m ready to see what my 30s have in store for me!

I have some hopes for the next decade, and some things I’m a bit scared of – like both of my babies starting school (by this time in 10 years, Ella will be a TEENAGER.  No. way.)  I hope that at some point before the next 10 years are over, we will have moved.  I hope to find a career path that will work for me & my family.  I want to find a good routine that allows me time for exercise, cleaning & hobbies in the same day!  I mostly want to spend as much time as I can with my family.

So bring it on, 30!  Show me what you’ve got.

Goodnight Sweetheart…

13 Feb

I just want to take a quick moment to appreciate how well my kids are sleeping right now.

It happens rarely that we get into a cycle where they are both going to sleep well & easily & staying asleep well, and we have been in an awesome cycle for a few months.

Both girls go to bed, in the same room, around 7pm each night.  Wake up time varies, and though we’ve had a couple of days of pre-6am recently, mostly we are all up around 6:30 (totally acceptable in my book).

Ella rarely takes naps any more, but she has quiet rest time.  We’ve had more failures than successes recently, because she rests in our room.  I don’t mind if she doesn’t sleep (actually, I prefer it because then she goes to bed easily at 7!) but she’s struggled to stay in the room & frequently comes out to ask for *insert random request here*.

Audrey, however, has been taking amazing naps!  She goes down right after lunch & sleeps for 3-ish hours, give or take.  Some days she sleeps closer to 4 hours!  And she’s still ready for bed at 7.

I love this sleep cycle!!

2 Feb

Audrey is learning new skills, words and ways to get into things every day!  I love this age.  She is so much fun, and even though she gets into trouble some times, she doesn’t talk back or have an attitude yet.  She’s the perfect combination of baby and little kid.  And she is so. stinking. cute!

Recently, Audrey has been doing the following:

  • The “ditch-and-run”.  She gets into the snack cabinet often (girl likes to eat!) even though she isn’t supposed to.  She grabs a bag of goldfish (or oatmeal, fruit snacks, chips…whatever).  When she hears us coming & telling her “no”, she throws the snack & proceeds to run away with her hands in the air, as if to say “I’m so innocent!”
  • Rapping.  There are songs being sung basically all day here, whether it’s one of us or other music being played.  Audrey has picked up some beat boxing skills from listening to us.  She is also starting to sing other things, too…mostly stuff from the Laurie Berkner Band because we listen to a lot of that.
  • Climbing.  On EVERYTHING.  She is so fearless…so much different than Ella.  Ella was not necessarily a fearful child, but she was cautious before trying new things.  Audrey just jumps right in.  She is very fast on the stairs (terrifying), she’s learned to climb up on to our bed, chairs, everything at the playground.
  • Learning sibling rivalry.  She is such a sweet snuggler, and she LOVES her sister so much, but Audrey is definitely learning to stand her ground when it comes to sharing mommy’s lap.  If she doesn’t want to do it, she will try to shove Ella off my lap and say “NO!”  She’s also learning things like pulling hair and smacking, for which time-out has begun.
  • Vocabulary explosion!  Audrey, though not completely understandable yet, is very close to speaking in sentences.  She repeats lots of words now, and she learns new ones every day.  Some of her favorite words are “brush” to brush her teeth, “beebee” for her binky (which we are trying to phase out), “sissy”, “dada”, “mommy”, “choochoo” for any vehicle, “cheese” for the camera, “please” for food, “tank you”, & “shhh” when we’re reading Goodnight Moon.

Audrey’s laugh is contagious, too.  She smiles and laughs to much.  She is so social, she loves people.  She is a sweet little mischief maker, and she keeps all of us on our toes!  I love seeing Audrey & Ella interact as Audrey has gotten bigger & more able to play.

So far, 2012 has been infinitely better than 2011.  Can’t wait to see what this year holds for my chunky little chicken and her smarty pants sister!

I Won’t Grow Up…

31 Jan

Ella recently had a 4 night run in the local middle school production of Peter Pan.  She was in the chorus, so her roles included Londoner child, pirate, lost girl, Indian and fairy.

When she first decided to try out with her friend Delaney (knowing they’d both be allowed to participate if they wanted), I was worried that she might be too shy or have trouble remembering all of the words to all of the songs.  After the first couple of rehearsals, I feared that I was right.  She would go to the front of the group & watch very nicely.  Occasionally, she would sing quietly, but almost always looking down.  We practiced at home with the help of the video blogs on the website (great idea!) & Ella would sing loudly & proudly in the car or at home.

But never at practice.

Then, as the show neared & practices increased to once or twice a week, & Ella learned that she was going to get to be a fairy, she started to perk up a little.

She saw the big stage at the high school and perked up a little more.

On the night of the dress rehearsal, as we were driving, all of our costumes in tow, I told Ella that she needed to sing loud enough for people in the audience to hear her.  She took it to heart.

No one was louder than my sweet little Ella Kate!  It was quite an amusing sight (& sound).  Ella was singing/yelling all the lyrics she knew, whenever she was supposed to sing.  Sometimes she would sing when she wasn’t supposed to and sometimes she’d just yell whatever gibberish words she thought were the lyrics.  And she was so proud of herself and had so much fun.  After the last performance on Saturday night, she was so sad that Peter Pan was over.  She asked if she could do it again & have a part on stage the whole time.

I have a feeling that I may be a stage mommy in the upcoming years.

As a post-script to Ella’s stardom-to-be, Audrey may try to give her big sister a run for her money some day.  Ella practiced at home with the videos enough that Audrey learned a few of the dance moves and songs.  During “Ug-A-Wug”, Audrey will cheerfully yell “woo!” at the appropriate times, and during “I Won’t Grow Up”, Audrey raises her hands up to indicate that she’ll “never grow up, not me” just like her big sis.

I have a couple of hams on my hands here.

Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmetic…

17 Jan

It happened.

I got an email yesterday about Kindergarten registration.  My heart just about stopped.

In the back of my mind, I knew she was going to go to Kindergarten at some point.  And truthfully, it’s not really Kindergarten that bothers me so much.  It’s everything that starting Kindergarten implies.

She’s starting school; we can never go back from here.  I will never get to have her at home with me all day.  I won’t get to take her places in the middle of the week just for fun.  No more snuggle sessions at rest time.  She won’t be home during the day to entertain little sis when Mommy needs a shower.

And what comes after Kindergarten is terrifying.  Elementary school, middle school, high school…then she will leave me.  And I KNOW it is several years in the making, it’s really not going to happen overnight.  But it SCARES me!  Once she starts school, it’s going to be a whirlwind of meet-the-teachers, school events, meeting new friends, growing, changing, gaining independence.  Once it all starts, it’s going to start flying by.  I won’t get these quieter, care-free days back.  And it definitely pulls on my heart strings.

I am excited for her, too.  I know she will love school, love her teachers, her new friends.  I hope that she learns new things everyday that she is excited to share with us.  I hope she gains confidence and independence and pride.  I hope that everything she’s been doing with me at home turns out to be helpful in some way.

There is still some debate in our house whether or not Ella will actually go to Kindergarten next year or not.  Her birthday is very close to the cut-off; she squeaks in just before.  But it makes her one of the youngest kids in the class.  She will turn 5(!) only a couple of weeks before school starts, whereas some other kids will have turned 6 just a few days after her.  Is she really ready for that?  Is she too young?  Will she be successful?  Will she get overwhelmed?  There are so many questions, so many concerns, so many possible outcomes.  And I’m not certain that there is one correct answer.  But Dave & I are trying to work out what will be the best for her, whether that is to start Kindergarten this fall or to wait and start her next fall.  There are pros and cons to both in my opinion. There are several factors to consider and hopefully whatever we eventually decide will work out the best for our sweet Ella Kate.

A tiny little greedy part of me wants to keep her at home for another year just because she’s mine and I don’t want to let anyone else have her yet.  I know that can’t be the deciding factor, but a mother’s love has to count for something, right?

525,600 Minutes…

1 Jan

I love seeing how much the girls have grown up every year!

Ella Kate

January:

Giant Ant!

February:

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March:

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April:

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May:

Baby, you can drive my car

June:

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July:

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August:

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September:

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October:

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November:

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December:

Audrey Claire

January:

Nom nom nom

February:

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March:

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April:

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May:

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June:

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July:

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August:

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September:

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October:

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November:

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December:

I have to confess, I can’t find any individual pictures of the girls from any time in November!  I don’t know what we were doing that we didn’t take any pictures, but there are none to be found.  So for November for each girl, I inserted an extra pic from sometime in the year that happens to be cute.

It’s amazing how much Audrey’s hair grew from August to December!  And Ella got so tall this year, losing that toddler/baby fat & looking like a little girl.

They both make me smile & laugh every day.  I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings for them!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

30 Nov

I realized today that I haven’t uploaded or posted pictures of the girls in quite some time.

I am lame, I’m sorry.  I will aim to get that done this week!

As November comes to a close (and with it, our free XM trial…sniff), the Christmas season really gets into full swing.  I love Christmastime & all that it brings!  I am excited for our upcoming travels, for all the visits we get to have with family & friends.  But for the first time that I can really remember, I am really ready for the new year!

2011 has been heartbreaking in many ways, in several lives around me.  I know that the new year is just arbitrary & it doesn’t REALLY mean that this bad streak won’t continue.  But I just hope that it brings change, fresh air, new perspective, less pain.

There have definitely been great moments, too!  We got to take 2 awesome trips to Disney World.  Both girls have accomplished several milestones.  We got a brand new car.  We’ve celebrated quite a few important birthdays.  We’ve had many fun nights with friends & family.

And we are lucky in many respects.  Dave has a steady, stable, pretty secure job that provides us with everything we need.  We have good insurance that helps take care of us when we do need healthcare, and great doctors to heal us.  We have great families that help us out with many things & love our kids as much as we do.

I took Audrey to an appointment with the immunologists at Children’s Hospital last week.  It was a follow-up; they are double checking some stuff, but she is most likely just fine.  But as we entered, the hospital was decorated for Christmas.  It was a bit surreal, because the first time Audrey was hospitalized last year, the Christmas decorations were up.  She went in on December 3.  It was strange, bittersweet, sad.  I’m so glad that Audrey is healthy right now, that we are not imminently approaching another hospital stay.  It’s strange to see the decorations up again…that a whole year has really gone by since then, even though it certainly doesn’t FEEL like it.  But Audrey herself is so much different: 15 months old, walking, talking, teeth, chubby, happy, lots of hair.  Ella is different, too.  Taller, skinnier, smarter, sweeter.  But I guess that week will probably forever live in my mind as something that “wasn’t that long ago”.  I hope that Christmas doesn’t always have this stigma for me – the thoughts of my sick baby.  I’m sure each year will seem a little better.  But since that first hospital stay is really what started the “crappy year” ball rolling, it just sticks out.

Right now, in this moment, I’m grateful for my 2 healthy children.  I will approach this Christmastime with all the hope & happiness I can, knowing that we are lucky & healthy, happy, well cared for, safe.

And here’s to a better 2012!