November 30, 2010

Holiday Cards...Shutterfly!

Last year was our first year as a family of four so instead of a generic boxed card we decided to do a more personalized family photocard.  We had fun picking our clothes so we would coordinate but not be matchy-matchy.  My mom took the pictures for us and I had fun picking out which card I wanted to use.  It ended up being a very elegant card, everyone was dressed up and we were in front of the big Christmas Tree in the town center of our community.
I was already looking forward to doing a family photocard again this year but wasn't sure where to get the cards from, if I wanted to do a planned picture or a fun spur of the moment pic.  Then I read about a great promotion from Shutterfly on another blog I read.  If I blog about their promotion then I get 50 free holiday cards and you can get them too, just by blogging about it!   I went to the site and took a look around.  I got a little side tracked at first and found myself looking at all the calendars.  I'm a sucker for a calendar, I guess it's the mom in me.  And, if I can make it my own by adding pictures of the kids and our family, PERFECT!  What a great gift for grandparents!  Next, I moved onto the holiday cards to take a peak, such adorable designs!  I usually go for a Holiday card rather than a Christmas card because even though we celebrate Christmas we aren't religious and have friends of different beliefs so I like to get everyone in there with a Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings.  I also like that they include the New Year because who doesn't get excited about the start of a New Year!
I'd been looking around for a while and the kids were starting to climb the walls so I figured I'd better head on over to the photocards.  I loved every other design I looked at but soon I found my hands down favorite card.  It has a cute little snowman on it, I love snowmen!  Must be the snow deprived Floridian in me.  So, I had found my card but was still unsure about what to do for the picture to go in it.  We were going out of town for Thanksgiving so I figured I would just forget about it for now and decide when we got back.  What do you know, as I was going through my pics from the trip I found the picture that I am going to use for the cards!  The kids aren't wearing the shirts I got them for pictures and Jasey and I don't coordinate at all but the picture is perfect!  It's as if it was meant to be, all the pieces just fell into place.  And, now I can use the kids clothes for their Santa pictures!  Now excuse me I have to go order my holiday cards!

Thanksgiving Weekend Adventures...

We are in the process of rearranging the wireless internet connection at my moms house, and of course by 'we' I mean Jasey.  Everything is hooked up and working again, except for our computer which has a broken wireless card, we don't have the cash to fix it right now so we need a cable to hook it up, the one we have isn't long enough.  Anyway I am on Moms computer which means I don't have easy access to my pictures at the moment.  But I want to share the wonderful time we had for Thanksgiving.
We left early Tuesday morning to head up to Atlanta to visit with Marshall and Deri.  We were supposed to leave at midnight but not one of us remembered to set an alarm so Jasey and I woke up at 2:30, luckily I had already packed up the car.  We woke up mom got the kids ready and were out the door at 3:00, not bad.  Jasey, wonderful guy that he is, drove the whole way there so mom and I could sleep.  Stopped for breakfast a little more then half way, after the kids woke up and arrived in Atlanta at about 1:00.
We stayed at the Homewood Suites, which was right around the corner from Marshall's place, walking distance away.  We really liked the hotel, comfortable room, coffee and tea service all day and breakfast every morning.  Not having to make breakfast every morning, now that is a vacation to me!
It was such a relaxing time.  Tuesday we went to Marshall's and just hung out.  Wednesday we went to breakfast at Rise-N-Dine, did some shopping and after Deri got out of work we all headed to the Georgia Aquarium.  It was so much better then I was expecting it to be, not the Aquarium really but the time we spent there.  Ryan was happy in her stroller looking around, AJ wasn't throwing temper tantrums.  I was thinking that it would be pushing it if we were there for about 2 hours but we ended up being there for over 3 hours, it was awesome, such a great time!
Thursday of course was Thanksgiving.  Patrick drove over from Athens to spend the day and join us for dinner, which was nice since we hadn't seen him since Nana's funeral in May.  Everyone helped out with dinner prep, decorating and drink fetching.  It was the first year in about 10 years that I didn't cook Thanksgiving dinner and I was very thankful for that!
Friday was another full day.  We all piled in the car again and headed to Dahlonega, GA, about an hour north of Atlanta, to go hiking.  In Dahlonega we found an Irish pub to have a little lunch and drinks, walked around the town square, enjoyed the holiday decorations and got some chocolate.  Deri claims it was the best hiking trip she's ever been on!  From there we moved on to our our first actual reason for heading here.  Mining, we stopped at a place where you could mine for jewels or pan for gold, we decided to mine.  So they gave us buckets of dirt and showed us to the mining troughs, or whatever they are called.  We grabbed our screen boxes and went sifting trying to keep our hands warm, the water was freezing!  AJ and Ryan played, Deri checked out the donkeys, Jasey took pictures, mom and Marshall had a stone mining assembly line going and I stuck to my own bucket, I'm like that.  We laughed a lot and had a good time but here was one more stop before we headed back to Atlanta.  It was on to Amicalola Falls State Park.  We drove to the top of the falls had a look around and took a few pictures, then Jasey, mom, Deri and the kids drove back to the bottom and started walking up the trail.  Marshall and I stayed at the top and headed down the trail, I use the term 'trail' loosely here.  To climb down next to the falls you are walking down steps attached to the side of the mountain, a total of 604 to be exact.  The first 425 steps are all twisty and turny and crazy to look down on from the top, it's all sharp turns and weird angles.  There are usually no more then 2 to 8 steps at a time before you hit a tiny landing (sometimes barely enough room for one foot) and turn to go down more steps.  When you finish the first 425 you get to cross a bridge that goes right over the bottom of the main fall, it is an amazing site to look up and see.  Then you have to finish the rest of the steps, these not nearly as steep and finally a pathway that leads to the pool at the base of the fall.  Though don't be fool the pathway is not a whole lot easier then the steps, especially when it's rainy and the path is covered with a layer of dead leaves.  Marshall and I met up with everyone else on their way up, took some pictures together and headed back to the car for our ride back to Atlanta.  The next day we packed up, checked out and headed to Marshall and Deri's to have a Thanksgiving Leftovers Brunch before getting on the road.  Potato pancakes, eggs, turkey and mimosas, mmmmm.
I drove the first leg heading home and hit most of the traffic then, which luckily wasn't much.  Jasey finished the trip home and we got in at 11:30 at night.  It was quite a shock getting out of the car to muggy mid 70's weather considering when we got int he car that morning it was a crisp, clear 32 degrees.
All in all we had a great time and I was so thankful to be able to spend such a relaxing holiday with all the people that mean the most to me.

I will get some pictures up as soon as I can!

November 20, 2010

I just wanted to share some random pics since I haven't posted any lately.

He insisted on a band-aid, it was the only way we could take his picture.

Mowing the lawn.  He is such a big helper.

I was getting some 1 year pics and the wind started blowing through the trees, she was in awe.

Kirby starting to become an adult puppy, he's almost 4!

Our 1 year old on her birthday.  "Today, i eat cake - yum yum"

Her first time eating cake, of course she liked it!

Their first pumpkin patch together!

AJ decided to help Ryan out with her cake 

Flowers and Bugs Birthday

Spookyville at the Fair Grounds
AJ was Buzz Lightyear (of course) Ryan was a chipmunk

AJ loves tractors!

Now no one can say I haven't posted any recent pics.  I'll try and be more organized next time though!

November 19, 2010

I love my babies...

I love babies, that really isn't a secret, but I don't just love them in the babies are so cute and soft, kind of way.  Of course, they are cute and there really in nothing in the world softer then a new babies cheeks.  Either pair.  There are so many things that make babies, of all ages, wonderful.  Although, there is one thing better then babies...your own babies.

I love...
Your newborn squishing into the tiniest ball on your shoulder and snuggling into your neck.  
Kissing the palms of those chubby little hands.  (Even when one of the babies is three and a half.)
The giggles of anticipation when they know you are going to tickle them again.
Chubby Cheekys.  Luckily I was blessed with two chunkers that have cheeks for days.
The crazy hair, bleary eyed, smile on their faces when they see you for the first time in the morning.
Watching them imitate something you do everyday.
Hearing the sounds of ma-ma and da-da for the first time.
Waking up in the morning to find them snuggled up next to you.
The wonder in their eyes when they see things like a tree blowing in the breeze.

Oh goodness I could go on forever.  That doesn't even begin to put a dent in what I love about babies and my children specifically.

simple and extraordinary...

Almost every day I watch AJ playing or just walking around and I think "I can't believe how big he is".  He is such a big boy, a little man, a big brother and to this day completely amazing.  I constantly have to remind myself that he is not even 4 yet, there is still so much for him to learn.  He has come so far and seems so much older.  He has really gotten into play acting.  He plays with his little people and figures and pretends they are blasting off into outer space or going to rescue someone from a fire.  He tells me that I am in trouble and he is going to rescue me or pretends that he is a gate keeper letting Kirby pass after the gate opens.  I like that he is so interested in helping, though he does still pretend to be 'the bad guy' sometimes.

This morning Ryan was supposed to be napping, instead she was standing in her crib, without any support, clapping her hands.  So I started clapping with her and said "yeaaa!".  She stopped clapping, laughed and put her hands to her side, still standing.  I stopped too.  She giggled and started clapping again, so I did too.  She stopped and laughed.  We went back and forth like this for a couple minutes, each time she would laugh harder and harder until she threw herself down to her mattress and started playing peek-a-boo, which really gets her going.  It is so cute that something as simple as clapping her hands and getting mommy to play along was such a delightful game.

Every time I see that simple joy in either of their eyes I step back and remind myself, yet again, of how simple it is to be happy.  One child is happy clapping her hands and laughing with mommy and another is happy because mommy helped him out of the mud puddle that developed in the middle of the living room.  I am happy to be there for both of them but I need to remember to also be happy for myself.  It can be so simple, you just need to find your own reason to laugh or game of pretend.

November 16, 2010

Mommy Ramblings...

I am such a moocher when it comes to blogging, I have so many thoughts about things to write about but when I sit down to do it they all disappear.  Then as I read others blogs I think 'hey I have some thoughts on that or my own spin on that subject', so here is one.  My friend Jenn's newest post about becoming a mom got me thinking.

I had my first kid before quite a few of my friends and family, actually my second came along before most of them, too.  That is far from saying I am an expert, but there of course are some bits of wisdom that I can pass on and am always very open and willing to be as straight forward and answer any questions that anyone has.  A few mommies-to-be took me up on some of this advice.  I would answer their questions and go on little side ramblings that I hoped would be helpful but never wanted to ramble too much.  Some mommies, I knew might scare, which is not something I wanted to be responsible for.  Others appreciated the info but I knew they also wanted to experience things for themselves so I wouldn't reveal too much.  I would listen to their ideas and thoughts of how it was and how it would be but didn't want to sound like I was preaching so wouldn't offer info unless I was asked.  I always hoped some would ask more questions, but knew I shouldn't push it.

I talk to those new mommies now and they tell me their stories like I'm not a mom myself and I think 'yeah, I know, I was just there'.  I don't shake my head and mutter 'see I told you', or stare at them in disbelief and say 'are you freaking joking me, you think it was easy for me', even though sometimes that is exactly what I want to do.  Everyone handles things in a different way, a way that seems right to them at the time.  You do what you think is best, the key word of course being 'think'.  Because even the second time around what worked last time and you 'think' will work again, won't.  These are all things that have to be figured out by trial and error, like everything else in life.

Not including my own, I have attended two births.  I was there when my youngest cousin was born and was also present when my best friend gave birth to her second daughter.  As long as I can remember I've wanted children.  I didn't just want to have a baby.  I wanted the whole experience.  From finding out I was pregnant and watching my body grow, to experiencing the pains of labor, knowing that my body was doing what it was meant to do as a woman, to becoming a parent and growing with my child watching them become a person I helped mold.  To me that was what having a baby meant.  Even after seeing first hand, at the age of 12, what giving birth was, I still wanted to experience it all and wasn't one bit afraid.

I knew I could do it, as I said this is what my body was meant to do.   I had the picture in my mind how it would happen (with variations of course, I wasn't a total fruitcake).  Though when the time came, nothing happened.  Next thing I knew I was having a c-section.  It was difficult for me and took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I would never experience labor, which was something that I always wanted and for a while it felt like I had been denied something as a women.  I didn't really express these thoughts for a while, knowing that I had nothing to complain about.  Though I have always believed that if it's something that bothers you then it's something worth dealing with, not pushing to the back of your mind.

So I started talking about it and now I look at it like this...First, there was obviously some reason that I wasn't supposed to labor and I realize that I may never know what that reason is.  I also know that worst case scenario that reason could involve me not being here today.  Second,  I had no problem getting pregnant, pregnancy was relatively easy, delivery went well and I had no major problems after.  So if the only hiccup in the whole thing was that I had to have a c-section, I'll take it.  Third, a c-section is no easier then labor, sure the getting the baby out part may be quicker, but recovery sucks.  I'd say they are pretty even since both have their good and their bad points.  Lastly, and most importantly, I got two beautiful babies out of it and a heck of a scar to use as a major guilt trip on them in their teenage years when they give me crap.

It is so easy to feel completely alone as a mommy.  You wonder how so many moms manage to get up and shower and even put on lip gloss, when you are dealing with the newest stage of clingy, not eating, not sleeping, temper tantrum craziness.  So you avoid those put together mommies because you think that they will look down at you like you are a bad mom because you can't even handle your own kid.  I will tell you now that if any mother tries to claim that little Suzy or Tommy has been a breeze since day one, she's lying.  Plain and simple.  I had a pretty easy time with AJ as an infant but man am I paying for it now in the preschool age.  Ryan is not afraid to tell you what's what so I'm hoping that she will be a bit more mellow in the next couple years *fingers crossed*.  

I'm not a very big extrovert but even the occasional chat with a mom at the playground can make you feel so much better when you share stories and woes about how your 3 and a half year olds won't eat anything but cheese pizza and strawberries once a day or how they have the ability to throw a fit about what shirt they have to wear after you have given them the choice and they've changed their mind three times.  It's that small conversation that puts a smile on your face and has you wandering back to your purse to dig out your lip gloss.

Every story and experience is different.

November 03, 2010

Sometimes, you know...

I always strive to be happy and positive and optimistic.  I know that there is good with bad.  I understand that when I am having a bad day it is not the fault of other people.  I realize that there are things that annoy me but what difference does it really make.  Just because I have the ability to talk and the freedom to say what I am thinking doesn't make it right.  Sometimes I really want to tell someone to stuff it or to shout at another that I just don't care.  But, unlike those people that feel the need to say every little thing and think they have the right to be as rude as they can possibly be, I instead tell myself that they are not worth it.  The argument is not worth it.  The strain that I would put on myself and the neglect that my family would bare just so that I could get my two cents in is just not worth it.  If those people want to go out and say whatever they must say because they think it will make them feel better or show people how smart they are, then so be it.  I will not let the ignorance of other people, that mean nothing to me, bring me to a place that is not healthy.  I will continue to smile, say please and thank you and respect the beliefs of others even if they are not my own.  I only wish that those people that are so quick to judge and ridicule and lash out would take one moment before speaking to step back and think about what they are going to say.  Does it matter?  Will it hurt another person?  Will it actually change anything?  Are they showing the same consideration that they want for themselves?  Of course they don't ask themselves these questions because for the most part they don't care about the person standing across from them.  They don't care what the other person thinks or feels or has to say, as long as they get out their own opinion.  So even though I strive to be positive I, too, have moments of weakness that makes me want to spit out the thoughts in my head, I guess this was one of those times.  

I contemplated not even publishing this post, I feel like I am doing exactly what I just ranted about.  But doesn't that make me the person I hope others would be?  I'm actually thinking about what I'm saying and not just spewing out to intentionally harm someone.  I don't think it will change anything, but I'm not hurting anyone and I'm hoping it will get other people thinking.  I definitely took other peoples feelings into consideration or I wouldn't be writing this.  What do you think?

November 02, 2010

Daddy's on an 'adbenture'...

It is Tuesday and we have been without Jasey for 2 days.  He left Sunday morning for what AJ calls an 'adbenture', I think that's the Latino in him coming out.  You know, V's sounding like B's...  Anyway, Jasey is on a little road trip.  We were all going to go but after talking we agreed that Jasey going alone would be better for many different reasons.  There was going to be a lot of driving in not a lot of time.  Throw in two kids cooped up in car seats and hotel rooms and I could see my sanity flying straight out the window somewhere along Interstate 81, and that would just be no good.  So, I helped pack and load up and sent him on his way.  

He drove all day Sunday to be ready for his first stop on Monday in North Carolina.  Then he hopped back in the car for a short drive to Virginia.  After a long day there another longer drive awaits him as he crosses a time line and heads into Tennessee.  Next will be a drive into Georgia and a two night stay there before he finally heads back home on Friday.  That is four states in four days, not including Florida and other states that are driven through along the way.  Just thinking about it I am glad for the decision we made to leave me and the kids at home.  Of course I miss him and would love to be with him but I think he is, at this very moment, on that fateful drive from Virginia to Tennessee that would claim my sanity.  Instead I am calm, cool and collected, ahhhh.  Oh wait, excuse me while I stop the children from climbing the bookcases.  

The whole point of the trip is to visit schools that he is looking to attend.  He has already had interviews with some of the schools, as part of the application process.  During this trip he is meeting with students, having lunches with them and sitting in on classes.  He is also trying to get a general feel for each town and if it would be a good place for our family.  We will most likely be taking another trip in the coming months that focuses mostly on exploring the cities and towns that the schools are in.  Though as it stands the only thing we know for sure it that we will be moving sometime next summer.  If it will even be one of the four places that Jasey is visiting right now, I can't say 100%, though I would be willing to say it with 95% certainty.  

So we wait for daddy to return from his 'adbenture' and hope that it is a success and not too tiring, he has school the day after he returns and it's mid-term week.  We talk each night and get the scoop on how each others day went, that is if we aren't cut off by screaming kids or failing phone reception.  I even sent him pictures of the kids sleeping the first night, they were so cute I had to share.  To be honest, during the day there isn't much difference from when he's in town and at night i'm kinda digging sleeping sprawled out in the middle of the bed.  But, I will be very happy when Friday rolls around and drives up in front of the house.  Even better, I know the kids will be very happy to see him and there is nothing cuter then seeing kids excited about seeing their daddy.