Friday, January 28, 2011

Five on Friday

1. On any given night this is what you will see at our house....well, except Tuesdays because she is actually at gymnastics class.

video

2. Speaking of gymnastics...Leighton's coach wants to move her up to the next class (early). This means it is highly recommended that she attend class twice a week to prepare for competition...yadda, yadda, yadda. While I think Leighton has a talent in gymnastics (really, this girl has muscles in places I've always dreamed of having muscles in. She can do a 'bridge' (that's a back bend for those who may not be well versed in gymnastics) and with only a tiny bit of support can kick herself over. That's impressive for a 4 year old.) I also don't want to push competitive sports. Aaron and I would like her to be well versed and try everything. Come on, let's get real here...Aaron is really the athlete, not moi. Thespian, (drama queen if you really want to push it..ha) yes, but athlete I am not so his vote rules in this category. I digress. We are still up in the air about moving her up. But we do know this: Leighton loves gymnastics. She has done it now for two and half years and she loves it today like the day she started. We'll keep at it...one night (maybe two nights) a week as long as she continues to love it!







3. Ainsley, my sweet Ainsley. At 19 months she has about a 75 word vocabulary. She combines 2 and 3 words. Most of her phrases involve the word no. She has become very opinionated. She has gotten to be an even pickier eater. She loves yogurt and eats it almost every morning. That and chips are her "go to" food. Nice huh?

She loves babies.



She loves to read.



She loves shoes.



And she adores her big sister.



4. Ainsley wants to do everything Leighton does. I knew it would happen eventually but I am really surprised it has happened before she is even 2. I know I have said this before but I will say it again...I LOVE watching my girls form a relationship and know they will have a friend for life. It is the sweetest thing I've ever witnessed.

5. Week 4 of 52 in 2011. Working on a little macro photography (without a macro lens). Leighton was so nice to let me get so close while watching her shows. Thanks baby girl!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Five on Friday

1. We have been dealing with some mad separation anxiety (or something of that nature) issues with Ainsley this week. She doesn’t want to nap, isn’t sleeping soundly, and is waking in the middle of the night (or in the wee hours of the morning) just crying for mommy and daddy. She sounds pitiful and our hearts just break. One night it woke Leighton up so she ended up in our bed. Ainsley never could settle down so she and I ended up sleeping in the twin bed in her room. It really made me laugh as I thought about our sleeping arrangements for the night! One thing is for sure, we have now witnessed a little snippet of how strong willed she is!

2. I made this recipe Monday night and everyone loved it. Well, okay, I must confess that a certain little 4 year old wasn’t going to even try it because she doesn’t like "tomatoes"…she LOVES salsa. After a few minutes in her room she was invited back to the table and low and behold she loved it. Anyway, it is so simple that I thought I would pass it along.

MEXICAN CHICKEN
WHITE RICE
TORTILLA CHIPS

Mexican Chicken Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 jar salsa
1 (16 ounce) package Monterey jack cheese

Directions:

1. In a 9x13 pan, cover the chicken breasts with the salsa.
2. Cover with foil, bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 25 minutes longer.
3. Cover each chicken breast with Monterey jack cheese.
4. Bake for 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
5. Serve with white rice and tortilla chips.

3. I completed Leighty's transfer letter to come to Oak next year!!! I have to admit that it has caused me much anxiety. This picture pretty much sums it up for me....it is how I still picture my little Leighton and how I feel about her growing up! Really, Leighton is going to be 5 and start Kindergarten!?!?! When did THAT happen??


4. Here are videos of the girls cheering on the Patriots at about the same. It just makes me laugh to hear their language development and how similar it has been.


Leighton cheering...

video

Ainsley cheering...

video


5. It's Friday and I'm home again...due to some snow and ice. I could really get used to this! :) Today, the girls have been best friends. They have played together, laughed together, and of course, they've eaten junk food together! In the words of Leighton, it's been the best "relax" day! Or, to quote one of my favorite kiddos ever...we're just being "lazy bones" today. Either way you want to say it...it doesn't matter cause you get the idea!!!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's Official

“So, should we make it official?” I remember those words like he said them yesterday. I remember standing in his living room when he said the words. I remember feeling so content in my life at that very moment.


10 years ago to the day, Aaron muttered those words. 10 years ago, I was wrapped up in a romance. 10 years ago, we couldn’t wait to hold each other’s hands, to hear the other’s voice on the phone, to drive 2 hours to meet, to enjoy every second with one another. 10 years ago, I fell in love with the man I would marry.


I think back to the passion of 10 years ago and although there are times I yearn for the innocence of that relationship, our love now is mature and I wouldn’t go back for a second. Our love is deep. It encircles around trust. It provides emotional support. By definition it is:

A Friendship,

A Commitment,

Respect Between Two People,

A Caring Relationship,

Kindness,

Consideration,

Acceptance, and

Realizing that Aaron’s needs are just as important as my own.


My stomach still gets butterflies when he gently lays his hand on my leg as we drive down the road. My heart beats faster when he wraps his arms around me after a long hard day. I am more in love with my husband today than I could have imagined 10 years ago. Despite trials and heartaches, our love has endured. Here’s to another 10…


"Love is a moment and a lifetime. It is looking at him across a room and feeling that if I don't spend the rest of my life with him, I'll have missed the boat.

Love is working together, laughing together, growing together. It is respect for each other and the people each cares about, however difficult it is sometimes to like his kinfolk or his friends.

Love is wanting to shout from the rooftops the successes, little and big of one another. Love is wanting to wipe away the tears when failure comes.

Love is liking the feel of each other. It is wanting to have children together because they are the exclamation point of love.

Love is laughter, especially in the middle of a quarrel."
Source: Liz Carpenter, Getting Better All the Time








Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 3

3 of 52 in 2011

It's a little early this week because of the holiday. I had fun adjusting the settings to capture this...



There is a ton of "noise" in the picture because my settings were so high...but in order to get the shutter speed fast enough, and get close to a correct exposure, I had to set my ISO WAY up. Oh well...it is what it is... :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Five on Friday

1. We got snow in Memphis this week!!! Yay! It was so much fun. Only three inches (for my Maine family you know 3 inches isn't even enough to cancel school there) but it was enough to play in, to make snowmen, to make snow cream, snow angels, and to eat! :) Leighton was so excited. She loved every second of it and it rubbed off on Ainsley...she hasn't stopped talking about it and asking for more!

The week before it snowed Leighton taught Ainsley how to make a snow angel in the house. In hindsight, it's a good thing she did! ;)



Because she was a pro when she had to do the real thing!



Leighton was first in the snow to show her one more time though!!



And this is the snowman, ahem, I mean "snow woman" that Aaron and the girls built. There is no denying Aaron is surrounded by girls now...he even adds purses to his snowmen!!



2. I just read on a friend's blog that it is "National Delurking Day." So, come out, come out, wherever you are!!! :) Leave me a comment and let me know who reads this blog.



3. I certainly am raising at least one southern belle. Tonight after dinner Leighton announced that she was sick of the snow (there are only patches left). Aaron and I cracked up laughing. She would never make it through a winter in Maine. But, truth be told, I don't know if Aaron I could do it again either!

4. My girls love Starbucks. It's our little treat on the weekends. Sure, we are Sonic addicts, we stop for happy hour at least once a week. But, Starbucks is also on top of the list. I just wish it were a tad cheaper.



5. Here is my picture of the week...2 of 52 in 2011.






You'll always be my little girl!

Leighton is a pleaser by nature. She is like a sponge and soaks up everything she hears…yes, even the things we don’t want her to hear! She wants to excel at everything she does. She is a perfectionist. Poor girl, she got that from me…along with worrying. I honestly feel bad for her because at the age of 4 she worries about things she doesn’t need to, things that don’t concern her, but she wants everything “perfect.” I fall into that pit of wanting everything perfect. At work, I have children who may have only one more sound to master, it doesn’t affect their intelligibility, social life, or academic skills, but I can’t bring myself to dismiss them from therapy because their speech isn’t “perfect.” At home, if something is out of order I need it fixed immediately. It puts me in a bad mood to even think something doesn’t work correctly, isn’t hung perfectly, or might not be what a buyer would want in a house (and our house isn’t even on the market!!!).


My perfectionism is something Leighton inherited (or learned) as well as her ability to “mother.” She is the sweetest big sister to Ainsely. To a fault. She has been taught not to hurt her sister, to be gentle with her, and she follows those rules. Ainsley is not a rule follower like her big sister (let’s hope that’s a learned trait). Ainsley hits, she bites, she pulls hair, she head butts, and Leighton never retaliates. Ever. That is what she was taught. Leighton loves on Ainsley when she gets hurt. She defends her when she’s in trouble. Daily, Leighton teaches Ainsley. Leighton gets picture cards and has Ainsley say the names of the pictures, she counts with Ainsley, she says the ABC’s with Ainsley…and it just comes naturally to Leighton. I love to watch her interact with Ainsley. It is exactly what I try to do with my children on a daily basis but have you noticed we aren’t as natural at it now? At least I’m not.


I call Leighton my little speech pathologist because that’s what she reminds me of. Maybe she’ll be one someday. Maybe she’ll be a teacher. I know she wants to be a mommy…and she’ll get no greater joy. But, for now, she is content being a little girl (and I am too). As we drove home yesterday, I complimented her on how well she interacts with Ainsley. There was silence (which I thought nothing of) and then a little voice piped up and said, “Mommy, maybe someday I’ll teach kids how to talk.” In response I said, “That would make me so happy.” There was another silence and that little voice spoke up again, this time with a quiver, “But Mommy, I want to be a little girl forever!”


With tears in my eyes, “Baby, no matter how old you get, you’ll always be my little girl.” Oh how those words comfort me and thank you Lord they were just what she needed too!

Leighton almost one year with her daddy.

Leighton 4 years old with her daddy.

Leighton always willing to help Ainsley...I love Leighton's face...woah!!!

She is beautiful inside and out!

A short little video (I have about 20 of these). I chose this one because it shows just how loving and helpful Leighton is and a tiny bit of Ainsley's temperament! :)

video

Friday, January 7, 2011

Five on Friday

1. 65 days until we are in Disney! We are ecstatic! All of us. And lucky for you, you get to endure the countdown with us. My sweet friend, Katherine, made this adorable dress for Ainsley. Leighton will have one to match, too! :)



2. On New Year's Leighton got her first goose egg. I was panicked and my reaction must have been obvious because Isaac was trying to calm me down and quickly convince me to NOT make faces of horror in front of Leighton and scare her even more. She had been practicing her gymnastics...doing handstands, jumping, and learning to do flips. When Jim entered the room, Leighton got so excited she ran over to him and jumped up to give him a hug. At the same time she jumped, Jim knelt down and she literally jumped over his shoulder and her head was the first thing to meet the hard wood floor. Here is the evidence...one colorful head and two black eyes.





3. Ainsley seems to change constantly and learn daily...almost overnight, it seems. She has been telling us "no" for a while but suddenly her little "no" has become emphatic, and very drawn out, not to mention with a very nasal voice quality that just makes me laugh when I hear it.

video

4. Aaron is all consumed with Soup Sunday this time of year. For those in Memphis, please come on February 27th! It is a wonderful event that benefits Youth Villages and also features many (hoping for 60 this year) local restaurants in the area which includes their breads, soups, desserts, etc. Tickets are on sale on-line already! Please come!



5. I have challenged myself to take ONE picture a week this year. I contemplated doing a picture a day but that seemed like more of a commitment than I could make right now. So, 52 it is and here is week one.



Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ewww....

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home... I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby. ~ Nancie J. Carmody

"Ewww"...it's Ainsley's new word. She uses it when she blows her nose (or anyone else does for that matter), when she sees dirt, when she sees a mess, or when she touches Callie's wet dog toy. I can hear her sweet little voice saying it now as I type. And that is exactly what I want to say many times when I look around my house. I see toys, I see dog hair, I see tiny pieces of food that have dropped and been trampled on. I want to say "ewww" when I think about doing an IEP after my girls go to bed. I want to say "ewww" when I think about making dinner after a long day at work. Most days I want to scream "ewwww!!" Dang you, society and your pressures!

1.) I feel pressure to be the best mother I can be. I want to teach my children values. I want to be here to raise them and show them all they know, yet I have to work. So I feel that weight on my shoulders even more, kind of like I need to "make-up" for the time I am at work. I don't want my children to not excel because I haven't done something right.

2.) I feel the pressure to be the best professional, working female I can be. I love what I do but I also feel the pressure to stay current, to stay up-to-date in my field so I can be a good therapist. I feel like I juggle many hats all day long...trying new therapy approaches because research supports it, servicing my children better today than I did the day before, taking data, attending meetings and listening to parents, hearing their concerns, and taking action based on that.

3.) I feel the pressure to be the best wife I can be. Society expects women to take on that domesticated role. To do the house cleaning, to make dinner every night, to take care of children, and to be the perfect counter-part her husband needs. And always do it looking my best. Really, think about it. What happens in today's society when you hear of a divorce...you get one of two responses. "Oh, THEY are getting a divorce? She is so cute....she always looks great...her hair is always perfect, etc., etc." OR "Well, she had let herself go recently."

It's the pressure to do it all. I want to be the "all-American" mom, professional, and wife. I do...but sometimes something has to give. And yesterday, after my first day back at work in two weeks...it was my house. Yesterday, I didn't care about toys on my floor, blankets wadded up on the couch, dirty Dorito finger prints on my furniture, and the all encompassing "ewwww." I spent my afternoon playing with the girls, laughing as we ran around the house, tickling until our bellies hurt from laughing. It was the best few hours of my day. And the icing on the cake was my sweet Leighton, "Mom, this is a good day, huh?" as she got her jammies on for bed.

Sometimes we have to let our kids have Dorito's before dinner...



and just ignore the orange finger prints on the furniture (by the way, this is a slip cover...phew)



Because a game of "peek-a-boo" is a lot more fun and makes memories for a lifetime!