Monday, October 31, 2005

halloween comes but once a year

For that I am thankful...actually Halloween has become one of my favorite holidays with the kids. We've had a blast each year and I think I love looking back at their photos from Halloween more than Christmas. Despite all the bad press, Halloween is mostly about being a kid. I think that's why I enjoy their glowing faces. Here is my wild bunch on the porch:

Our neighborhood had a gathering before the door to door fun began. Here is Grace with her friend McKenzie (aka Princess Leia). I think I could call this one "Tinkerbell meets the Princess".

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

birthday boy

Happy Birthday Drake!

Drake at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens - Thanksgiving week, 2004

My awesome nephew Drake just turned six. His mind is always thinking about deep thoughts and fun adventures. I think he's wonderfully creative. He's a great big brother to Alana, too. Jordan and William love to play with him a-n-y-t--i-m-e.

We can't wait to see you this weekend and be at your party.

15 month checkup

We just returned from Grace's 15 month checkup. Here are the stats:

Height: 31 inches
Weight: 23 pounds

50th - 60th percentile on everything. Perfect.
She got four shots today including the flu shot. We'll have to get a booster flu shot a month from now to make it complete for the winter. After that her next shots are when she is four years old. (Um, that reminds me...I guess William will have shots this time.) I commented that she was not running around like a maniac and the doctor had her walk across the room and declared her perfectly normal in that skill. I'm not normally one to hurry the walking, but I wanted to make sure that she was on track after her difficult arrival. Grace then showed off by saying "button" and "frog jump" (while pointing to the wallpaper in the office). The girl is doing just fine. Just fine.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

keeping me alert this week

How can something this cute --

Already be devising a scheme to escape?

And here is our trial run for Halloween. Last night our church had a Fall Festival. Grace is Tinkerbell, William is Woody from Toy Story, and Jordan is some kind of Tween Fairy from Disney. (All I care is that the costume is modest enough -- she choose this one on her own.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

mommy! i need help!

So, I come running like a crazy woman to the emergency and William says,

"Will you help me build the biggest spaceship in the world?"

welcome to the world little guy

Claudia had Theodore Joshua in the wee hours of the night-- around 1am or so. Dave was visiting Maryland on business and got to hold the little angel when he was just hours old. Theo was 8 pounds, 12 ounces and is reported to be adorable. New babies are a very special gift, aren't they?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

new parents

While living in Maryland we became particularly close to a cousin (actually the child of Dave's first cousin) from Dave's side of the family. Joshua and Claudia are a very special couple. Tonight, as I type this, they are in the midst of having their first child. They've been married for a while -- made it through grad school, law school, and first jobs -- and now they are moving onto a new stage.

I just got my house full of monkeys in bed. The house seems to breathe a sigh of a relief when this happens. Tonight I sat down and said a special prayer for Joshua and Claudia. She's currently at 7 centimeters after being induced this morning. I know from experience that is the time when they start hovering over your bed discussing options. I know this is when exhaustion and stamina are wearing thin. But this is also the point when you realize that God is in control of your life -- and the life of this little one. It's the moment (and aren't there so many to follow?) where you realize that you are not in control. And soon I hope they will be experiencing the absolute euphoria of welcoming a baby boy into this world. Becoming a family is a special thing. I'll keep you updated tomorrow -- but say a little prayer for them tonight. New parents can use all the prayers we can muster. ;-)

Monday, October 17, 2005

music, memories, and mooing

DH and I are trying to recover from our busy weekend...does this mean we are getting o-l-d? (rhetorical question only for all you smart alecks) Three busy days/nights and we are exhausted. We did have fun though.

Friday seemed like an odd day -- so many different things. In the morning we started out with a teacher conference for Jordan. (Good report and we got to discuss the bullying situation in depth -- Jordan is being bothered by both a boy and girl in the classroom. I'll save the details for another post.) Dave and I stole away to breakfast and then ran back to the house to gather up the kids for a chance to go see Wallace and Grommit at the movie theater. I thought it was really cute, but I only experienced 25 minutes of it because of Miss Grace's desire to walk and talk. This is the second "emergency replacement" ticket I've received in a month. Hmmmm, anyone have toddler movie watching tips? Babies are so easy to take into the theater. ;-)

Friday night was wonderful. Dave got us tickets to the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta. We saw a hip bluegrass group called Nickel Creek. (You should check out their music because it really might surprise you.) The Fox is just an incredible venue. I've heard about it for years, but never got to experience it. It's an old art deco theatre which has a fabric tent over the balcony. There are build up facades and architectural elements everywhere. Then, above all that is a ceiling which had a moving sky. The sun sets over that tent, the stars twinkle, and the clouds roll though like a normal sky. It's wonderfully dynamic. We were sitting about 14 rows from the front so we had awesome seats. Combine that with high quality music and it made for an awesome date. Nickel Creek has a really strong sound -- kind of a mix between celtic, bluegrass, and rock. I've heard them refer to themselves as "New Grass". Allison Kraus found them several years ago.

On Saturday we did all the usual gymnastic lessons and other chores. That night we dressed up again and went to Dave's 20th high school reunion at a downtown country club called Ansley Park. It was a lot of fun seeing him with his old friends. I especially enjoyed meeting the ones from his neighborhood. The whole party setup was beautiful -- the works right down to valet parking and the balcony view of Atlanta's skyline. So now he's started his reflecting upon old friendships. It's neat to see. Is there a difference between my reunion (small town) and his (big city)? Yes. Funny thing is that all the good things -- friendships and memories -- are still there.

Then on Sunday we went to church and then headed off to a Cagle Dairy Farm to experience Fall festivities. We ended up enjoying the dairy tour and animals as much as the pumpkins. Grace had an epiphany about animals that day. She was simply spellbound with the fact that cows really do make that "mooing" sound and that horses are beautiful animals. Her little brain was whirring. And, please give the best question of the day to my older daughter who asked the owner of the farm (after he shows us a border collie working the cows into submission), "When a cow is pregnant, what are the different stages she goes through until giving birth to the calf?" The poor man was so flustered that he simply moved onto the next question with an audible choking sound. Dave wanted to fall through the hay wagon at that point and he later suggested she visit wikipedia for the answer. ;-) Only my daughter.

So now you know why we are so tired. Dave is traveling on business tomorrow and I know he is secretly praying for some peaceful nights away from us. I'll get more pictures up soon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

where i come from - part two

Saturday was the day of the real reunion party. I stayed up on Friday looking at names and faces in the yearbooks. I was glad to have them. Its funny how people turned look at their 6th grade photo and you could never imagine who they would become. Apparently we all look pretty awkward and funny growing up -- didn't you always imagine that you were the outcast? I've got news for you: we all were outcasts in one way or another. Seeing how some people have overcome, some have matured, and some have softened was medicinal for me.

I spent most of the day Saturday letting the kids play with their cousins. (Dave and my brother-in-law escaped to a mountainous golf course in Tennessee.) My parents live in the country -- Try growing up on 300 acres of c-o-u-n-t-r-y -- just outside the city limits of my hometown. My kids love going there. It's a peaceful place. They can run, yell, and get dirty at will and they spend hours doing just that. Green space all around them as they play. My parents had to bring in friends for playdates (Did anyone use the term playdate in 1976???), but the little cousin set created by the two sisters who grew up here seem to thrive on each other. It's pretty loud, but fun. I hope they grow into great friends one day. My Mom and Dad love to let the kids gravitate toward them on these visits. At one point my parents had William in their bed, Jordan and Drake on the floor. I opened the door and laughed at the sea of bodies.

Later in the afternoon, I began to groom myself. By the time that Dave and I got ready we looked like a presentable couple. It was a bit hard to know what to wear to the Old Coke Factory, but from the looks of things we did fine. The classmate who owned the building now had probably killed himself getting it ready for the night. Everything looked great. We had a beautifully catered meal by a local restaurant which normally prepares the best barbeque in town. They often do catered meals minus the barbeque which rival some top restaurants. It's funny though, the food really did not matter since we hopped back into catching up with one another. It was a great night.

The funniest thing was seeing those boys who were such funny and immature pests in high school turn out to be great men. I kept thinking things like, "Wow, he's mature enough to run X?" or "Your wife is just a lovely person and you seem like a decent human being now...even though you tortured me in Physics class." 20 years makes a big difference. It doesn't matter who was a cheerleader (Not me!) or nerd now. What matters is that we've all survived a bit of life.

One of the most disappointing things was that many people went on Friday night, but did not attend on Saturday night. I'm sure the cost or babysitting kept many from it...still, I would have enjoyed seeing more or had more time with people I saw Friday night. I'm glad I went both nights. There were some of my best friends missing...and I'm hoping to reconnect with them soon. This reunion did fuel a fire in me concerning special friendships. When we all went to college it seemed like our lives shifted focus. High school remained locked in our memories...and for most of us college was better than high school so most of those friendships remained in that time warp also.

One of the best things about Friday and Saturday night was seeing my best friend Becky. We've been friends since kindergarten. I was wonderful to still feel that warmth and respect for each other. We kept trying to fill one another in on important moments in our lives -- births (we both have three children - one boy, two girls), jobs, and how we fell in love with our respective husbands. We both made an honest effort to get around to everyone, but by the time she left to travel it was obvious that we still had a special bond.

Dave was an awesome date for the whole weekend. He patiently waited while I caught up with each person and seemed to enjoy getting to know 'where I come from'. Though we've been married 15 years, this is the first time for him to meet many of my schoolmates. He was amazed at the bond between everyone. Basically, our class was together for 12 years...some of us for 13...and that may be one of the traits of a small town raising. We have so much history together. And more in common than I could ever imagine.

I left on Sunday satisfied. I was glad I had attended. Happy to be me.
Note to self: take more photos at the 30 year reunion.

photos from friday

These are mostly of the parade which was held downtown on Friday afternoon.
First a snapshot of my gang waiting for the parade. We picked a spot right in front of the Old First National Bank where my Dad worked for years. I've seen more than one parade on this corner. Jordan and William had a field day grabbing all the candy that was thrown from the floats.

Fire trucks carried the cheerleaders. Somewhere on that last firetruck is my cousin's daughter. We also had family members in the band as a majorette and saxaphone player. Too bad I'm such a bad photographer for action shots or you would see them here also. ;-)

Then a truck carrying the football team. I've never seen 18 wheelers used in the parade like this. Those boys are really big. Most of them looked to be six foot or more and ready for a SEC team.

This year's float theme was based on reality shows. We built floats like this when were were in high school. After working on the floats we would then go roll yards with toilet paper. Ah, fun in a small town.

Here is a snapshot of my friends Becky and Kim. Kim is now a teacher at the high school. I think I'll stand for all photos after seeing this. ;-)

Monday, October 10, 2005

i'm behind again

Now see? This is how I get behind. Normal life just takes over and a week flies by again. Here are my excuses for not posting the second part of the reunion update (coming soon):
  • Laundry. Enough said?
  • Have you ever heard of an "Early Release Day"? Those of you with preschoolers should take note. These are planned days during the school year that rock your whole schedule. On Wednesday we had one for a teacher workday or something like that. Next week Jordan gets a whole week of early release because of conferences. That means having all three kiddos at home from 12:30 forward. I think I need to plan some productive motherly activities to survive.
  • William started his speech therapy on Thursday. Apparently he has made great strides since the evaluation in June. (I'm trying to figure out if I just got the new therapist who doesn't hear all his problems or if a miracle has occurred. More on that topic another day.) Normally our occupational therapy is on Friday, but we had it Thursday morning...that meant a marathon doctor's office day with Wendy's in between. It was so tight timewise that Dave met Jordan's bus here at home. I scraped in just before 2:30, but it was close.
  • We finally bought a fixture to go over the kitchen table. The former owners left us this lovely little stained glass thing that was the cheapest thing they could find at Home Depot. We've tolerated it since moving, but the time has come to move the fixture to the right location and have light. We are getting our new table set this week -- round to fit our growing family --and will install the light when it arrives. We finally found the one we liked at Restoration Hardware. I swear I am not high maintenance...we did look all over town for options. Maybe Dave was just ready to bite the bullet and have the search end. Here's the link: and the shades
  • Grace is moving around like a madwoman. We installed more totlocs this weekend. She now shrieks when she comes to a locked door. Did I mention how cute she is now though? She's big on charming Dave nowadays. There is a smile that is only for him.
  • And in the interest of making this an epic post: We have had teenagers break into the neighborhood clubhouse this week. It just happens to be by our house so we are ones who get to observe and call the police at 12am. Saturday night was a fun night. No, we don't live in a "bad neighborhood", but some teenagers felt like they could smoke and joke at the clubhouse as if they paid the rent. Never mind that they've broken two deadbolts to do it. Nice sense of entitlement.

I could have written part two of the reunion post by now. ;-)

Monday, October 03, 2005

where i come from - part one

We left on Thursday afternoon for the reunion weekend. The car was loaded with kids and lot of hanging clothes for the weekend events. On Friday I completed the last of the grooming necessities -- manicure, pedicure, and the ceremonial waxing of the eyebrows. (I don't have to color any grey yet, but the unibrow is an issue. Scariest thing is to have hot wax put on you by a stranger on the day of the event. Luckily it turned out alright.) I suppose these are maintenance issues I normally ignore.

We headed to the parade around 2:00 pm and it was fun to watch a small town parade with the kids. I could not believe the number of 18 wheel trucks which were used to carry the football team, little league, and other groups. I had relatives in the band and on the cheerleading squad -- neat to see my cousin's children growing up. The homemade floats of students made me smile. Homecoming week float building is a big part of my high school memories. One of my old teachers stood beside us at the parade while Jordan and William grabbed candy from the roadway. And then the "Class of 1985" truck came by with 25 or so riding. "Ann! Why aren't you up here with us?!? Are you coming tonight?"

We made it to the reception at the Field House and all my nervousness fell away. My best friend, Becky, arrived just behind me and it felt like old times catching up with everyone. (Can you believe they had NO NAMETAGS? Do you know how scary that is when you've been officially away for 20 years?) People still have the same eyes after 20 years though...and as you walk through a room it gets easier. I've known some of these people since kindergarten. That is what's special about going to school in a small town. Your schoolmates - as much as you hate them at times because of immaturity -- are like your brothers and sisters. It was just so freaky to see us all as adults. The night was filled with lots of talking and sharing photos. I couldn't even get around to everyone. A dog wandered onto the million dollar field and someone picked up the German Shepard and put him back outside. (Only in Russellville would and animal show up on the field.) Russellville won the game 55-0 against Curry.

After the game some of us headed to the old Golden Corral. Yes, the old steakhouse -- it's been remodeled into a restaurant/club of sorts. One of my classmates has a "little band" that has regional success. They play in the old steakhouse (and at big events) on the weekends. Get this - my county has always been a dry county. No alcohol can be sold. So we sat at that steakhouse, rocked out to his success (How could Kerry be so good? Amazing!), and enjoyed catching up with sweet tea as the only elixir. It was nice, really nice. That's how quirky my hometown is.

-to be continued-