Saturday, January 31, 2009

Traveling with Toddlers

Really early yesterday morning (and by early, I mean according to Libby "Mr. Sun is still sleeping, Mommy) , I loaded my girls into the van to go on a little roadtrip. For the next 8 hours, we drove the 600+ miles to Atlanta to visit our good friends, the Powells. This trip was made in honor of Melody P's 2nd birthday and without my husband. (I know, what was I thinking!) I actually spent a good portion of the drive thinking "How did parents do this before vehicle DVD players! I am sure we wouldn't have made it past Ocala without Miss PattyCake! And Mommy wouldn't have made it past the driveway with my ipod shoved into one ear so that I didn't actually have to listen to Miss PattyCake! For those of you not familiar, Miss PattyCake is actually a wonderful resource. She is a christian character who teaches biblical values through stories and songs. My girls absolutely LOVE her! In theory, I love her too, but unfortunately, Miss PattyCake has this high-pitched, nasaly voice that after about five minutes, makes me start praying for temporary hearing loss! So while my kids sang along to pint-sized praise and worship, I sang along to the opposite: Britney Spears! (Did I just admit that? Yes? Well, here it goes: My name is Lauren and I am addicted to teeny bopper music! Do they have a support group for that?)

We finally made it to Atlanta after just a few quick potty and food breaks and an abbreviated nap in the car. Since then, the girls have had so much fun playing with Jack, Melody and baby Charlie. And Mommy has had so much fun playing with Emily!

Other than a few instances of "that's mine!" from Emma Jane and Melody, the kids have gotten along great! Libby and Jack have always played and shared well together, but we noticed a new dynamic to their friendship with this visit. Both being first-born children, they are on the bossy side and both are very talkative! (And by talkative, I mean neither one shuts up from morning until night!) Most of their conversations consisted of telling the other one (who is too busy talking to be listening anyways) what to do, how to it, when to it, why the way it is already being done is wrong, etc, etc, etc!

After a fun day of playing with friends, Jack and Libby got to have their first official sleepover in the same room with sleeping bags and everything. It was quite an experience for all involved! Hop on over to Emily's blog for the full story, including pictures!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

PSF - Are you a tourist?

Going to the beach during the winter months just to people watch is really fun for me. (I know, weird!) It is just so obvious who is a local and who is a tourist at this time of year.

Those of us who are from the sunshine state, start to get a chill as soon as the temperature drops below 80. By the time it reaches 65, we are downright cold!! (Anything below 60 is considered freezing and on those days Target is bombarded my moms trying to find last minute jackets and sweaters to keep their kids warm during the freak cold snap!)

For those that live in parts of the country where the average winter temperature falls in the negative numbers, we Floridians are clearly wimps that don't know what real cold feels like! (That is probably true!) I am sure the snowbirds traveling to the beach to escape temperatures hovering at -30 are practically melting in the mid-sixties "heat wave" we have in January. Which is understandable when you do the math. It is a difference of almost 100 degrees!

I still think it is funny to watch the locals bundled up in their jackets (myself included) watching the vacationers splash around in the cold ocean like it is the fourth of July!

These people are clearly Florida natives:

These people are NOT!!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Fun Giveaway!

For all of those interested in cloth diapering, Moms and Buns is having a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate! Check out this link for details!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

For those of you that don't know my Libby, she is very tenderhearted and nurturing. She is sort of a little "mini-me" and by that, I mean she thinks she is the mommy too! I have heard it is common for first born children to view themselves on an equal level with mommy and daddy at this age. Libby definitely thinks that the three of us are in it together to raise "our" baby, Emma Jane. Her caretaker tendencies are not limited to her sister though. She wants to take care of everyone: dolls, friends, even mommy and daddy! One time during my first trimester, I was so tired I just couldn't even pretend to play with them so I sat down on the couch to watch my girls play together with some toys. The next thing I know, I wake up to find that Libby has covered me with a blanket and is giving me a kiss on the forehead! Around that same time, I was very sick. My sweet Libby started having sympathy sickness! Every time I was ill, her tummy mysteriously starting hurting too! She took these sympathy pains a step further when she announced one day that "my doggy is making my tummy so hurting!"


Libby proceed to explain that I had a baby in my tummy but she had a doggy in hers! That's right, my three-year-old believes that she has a dog biscuit in the oven! My husband and I thought this was hysterical so we didn't correct her. I mean, what is the harm in her trying to understand Mommy's pregnancy by being "pregnant" herself. Well Libby started telling everybody, and I do mean everybody, about the doggy in her tummy! She told our pediatrician about it and poor Dr. L thought she was talking about a sick pet! She shares all kinds of details about it too, such as her doggy is really tiny but growing everyday, her doggy doesn't eat dog food yet but eats what she eats so healthy food is really important, her doggy can move around but is still too little to bark, etc. The amount of knowledge that my daughter has about pregnancy is probably not completely appropriate, but she has had so much experience with it in her short life, it really isn't surprising! Like I said, my husband and I have never discouraged Libby about the doggy in her tummy, but yesterday I realized that maybe we should have! While in the car, Libby hit me with this:

L: "Mommy, do we have a doghouse for my doggy?"
Me: "A doghouse? What do you mean sweetie?
L: "You know, Mommy...a doghouse for when my doggy comes out of my tummy!"
Me: "WHAT?!" (in my head, of course.)

With all of Libby's experience with pregnancy, I probably should have realized that she didn't think that doggy was going to stay in her tummy forever. She still remembers when I was pregnant with Emma Jane and that one day I went to the hospital and the doctor took Emma Jane out of my tummy and she came home to live with us. Of course she thinks that someday her doggy is going to come out of her tummy and come home to live with us!

I believe Charlie Brown said it best.

"Good Grief!!"

(So how many of you think I am going to have to get my daughter a puppy?)

WW- Is that New Kids on the Block's Jordan Knight? Nope, just Brad mid-haircut!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Top Ten Things a Mom Should Never Feel Guilty About

This top ten list was in my Parenting magazine for this month. It made me laugh, so I thought I would share it with you. (I am copying this verbatim from the magazine and I completely disagree with #5!)

1. Having the impulse, after discovering your kid has used your $20 lipstick to draw a giant plum-colored pig on your dining room wall, to call up Brad and Angelina and ask them if they'd like to take in one more

2. Returning the fancy but useless baby gift to the department store and spending the credit on shoes for yourself

3. Suspecting that those stars who got their prebaby bodies back in two weeks are on drugs

4. Feeling secretly glad when you catch your neighbor's "perfect" child in a nuclear meltdown

5. Introducing your sister's kid - little miss organic-only - to her very first Twinkie

6. Setting up playdates just with kids whose mothers you like

7. Calling your jiggly belly your "mummy tummy" ten years after childbirth

8. Noticing the hot dad at dropoff (hey, you're just lookin'!)

9. Insisting on grownup music in the car

10. Knowing, really knowing, with every fiber of your being, that your kid is the cutest one in her class picture

Monday, January 26, 2009

Not Me Monday

It's another Not Me Monday, courtesy of MckMama. My lips are sealed and I am admitting nothing!

I did not forget that Saturday was my real anniversary until almost lunchtime!

I did not spend a really fun day at the beach with my family.

I did not take pictures of complete strangers at the beach to use in a later blog post!

I did not make a yummy cheese danish for Sunday school.

I did not spending hours researching cloth diaper brands only to be more confused than ever!

I am not asking my fellow cloth diapering bloggers : which ones do you like best and why?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Day at Clearwater Beach

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in sunny Florida! Clear skies and a very pleasant 65 degrees, so we decide to load up the kids and head to the beach for a few hours.

(For those of you living under a mountain of snow right now, please don't get mad and stop reading my blog!)

I am not usually a fan of the beach, but I really love it during the "winter." For those of us that are locals, it is way too cold to wear bathing suits or actually go near the water, there is no needed to drag all of the cumbersome beach gear along! We just brought a bucket and some shovels and the girls were set!

Emma Jane soon tired of the pail and started pouring the sand directly on herself!

Then, she and Libby thought it would be a good idea to try to bury Daddy in the sand. I don't think it is working!

Libby is so proud of her "sandcastle!"
Clearwater beach has a playground on the beach, so after the girls were finished in the sand, we played on the slides for a while:

What a great day!!

RPC- August 2007

Here is another random picture challenge courtesy of 4littlemen! This is the 30th picture from the August 2007 folder!

I had completely forgotten about this picture, so I had a good laugh recalling the memory! This is how I found Libby one afternoon after her nap. She is just over two years old at the time and was experimenting with undressing herself. She had a little trouble with her shirt!

Just so you can get the full length effect of what I found that day, I am also posting picture #29!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Five years ago today...

I married the most wonderful man!

Since then, our family of two...

has quickly grown to a family of almost five!

(Libby is hiding #5)

On the day we got married my ring looked like this.

(Yes, that is my right hand. We weren't actually married yet, I was just playing with it)

In honor of our anniversary, my sweet husband got me this!

I think I'll keep him! ;)

No, I'm the Princess

Libby is at that age where she loves to play dress up. And her favorite dress up attire is, of course, a princess!

This morning, as we were in bathroom brushing teeth and fixing hair, Libby (wearing her princess tiara and veil and a fancy scarf) commented (while admiring herself in the mirror), "I am the princess!"

I responded with, "Yes you are a princess." And then I said to Emma Jane, "And you are a princess. Mommy has two pretty princesses!"

Libby quickly replied, "No, Mommy, Emma Janie is not a princess. She's a drama queen!"

So true, Libby, so true!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

PSF- Saying Goodbye to the Mullet

I married a man with thick, curly hair. When he and I were dating and I was fantasizing about our future children, I always envisioned them with my husband's thick, curly locks. So far, I have given birth to two beautiful little girls who have definitely inherited my genes in the hair department! They both have thin, wispy, very straight hair! Emma Jane's hair is especially interesting because it grows forward into her eyes and back over her neck but not over her ears. The result is a look that was heinous even in its late-eighties heyday: the dreaded mullet!!

Now I admit it, I did push what little hair she does behind her ears in this first picture. But even without it pushed back, you can see the effect is pretty much the same.

"Mom, are you sure this is a good idea? I mean have you checked this woman's credentials at all!"

It was a good thing we brought Daddy along! He was a big help with holding EJ's head down so while the back was cut.

The finished product!

Like any woman, EJ is very attached to her hair and initially wasn't thrilled about having it hacked off.

Mommy thinks it looks beautiful now that it is almost even!!

Emma Jane finally realized the haircut was a good move. I believe her exact words were, "It is hard lookin' so fine!!"
Good-bye, Mullet! And good riddance!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, January 22, 2009

16 things about me...

Emily tagged me to do this, so I guess I have to play! Here are 16 things you may or may not know about me.

1. I hate everything about the beach: sand, waves, seaweed, salt, water
2. I have a borderline unnatural love of peanut butter
3. I read freakishly fast
4. I am not an animal lover
5. I am proud to be a Southerner
6. I cringe everytime my daughter says "you guys" instead of yall
7. I grew up in the small college town of Auburn, AL
8. But I spent my own collegiate years across the state at the University of Alabama
9. I come from a very close-knit extended family
10. I have lost someone I love to cancer
11. I am pregnant for the third time in under four years
12. I prefer the natural family planning method of birth control (see above) :)
13. I love to bake, but I don't do it much
14. I have no self control when baked goods are involved (see above)
15. I watch General Hospital everyday after the kids go to bed (thank goodness for dvr!)

and most importantly...

16. I am a sinner saved by grace!

And just for fun, I am tagging Morgan to play too!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One of those days...

Emma Jane started the day, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at 5:30 AM! By 8:00 AM, it had already been a long morning and it was starting to show:

(Sorry, you have to look sideways at the video! I didn't realize I wouldn't be able to rotate a video!)

Do you think this is her way of telling me this day is going down the toilet?!

Wordless Wednesday - Is the Big Girl Bed really that bad?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

Does anyone remember the Richard Scarry book "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go?" That was a favorite from my childhood. I loved that book so much, my dad nicknamed me Lowly Worm. My mother has held on to our old copy even though it is literally falling apart at the seams and several of the pages are missing.

I couldn't help thinking about that story as I watched my children playing outside yesterday. They definitely fall into the category of "things that go!" Here are a few videos of my kids "going" in the driveway. (I realize that statement could be taken more than one way, but I couldn't think of another way to word it!) This first video is Emma Jane driving her little tykes car. She prefers reverse to forward as you will see. At not-quite two, she is already a little speed demon behind the wheel!

Next, is Libby riding her bike. She has gotten so good at pedaling by herself and she also loves to go fast!

The girls have so much fun playing outside. This time of year is so nice because it is not hot and we can play outside for more than 5 minutes at a time!

But for me, the best part of this vehicle themed day was the addition of my new car. I have joined the ranks of the minivan mommies! Brad and I have been discussing the need for a van for a while now. It seemed like the most practical option for our growing family, but we wanted to wait until we found the perfect one. Yesterday we found it!

A 2006 Town and Country Limited, fully loaded with under 15,000 miles! Brad and I absolutely love it!!

The girls love it too!

Quick funny story about power sliding doors: This morning I took Libby to school for the first time in the new van. When it was my turn in car line, I hit the button to open her door and...NOTHING HAPPENED!! I started to have a mild panic attack because I was holding up the line, when the parent volunteer who waiting to walk my child in to school yelled through my window "You have to put the car in park first!"
Has this happened to anyone else? I hope it is not just me!

A Trustworthy Friend

I have the BEST best friend!!! Not only is she the coolest, most fun person I know, she is completely trustworthy! In fact, I have trusted her with my biggest secret! This secret is so big I don't even know what it is! What is it, you ask? Most of you know that I am pregnant with my third child and that my husband and I decided not to find out the sex of this child. Well, this decision was a major blow to Emily, who thinks you are not really pregnant if you don't know the sex! JK! So I did something I would only do for her! I had the sonographer write down the sex, seal it in an envelope and mail it to Emily. That's right! My friend knows the sex of my baby and I don't!!

Which brings me to the point of this post. My sweet friend promised to have everything I would need (gender appropriate bedding, clothes, etc.) ready when the baby comes. So she is asking for your help! On this historic inauguration day, Emily is hosting her own historic election! Click on this link and you can vote on my baby's nursery bedding! (BTW, this was totally her idea, not mine!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not Me Monday

This fun idea came from MckMama. This is a list of all the things I "did not" do this weekend!


did not stand in line in the freezing cold for two and a half hours to register Libby for preschool.

did not fail to dress my children appropriately for the above outing.

did not buy an awesome jogging stroller off of Craigslist.

did not drive to a part of town so sketchy it required leaving the paved road to buy said stroller.

did not do the above outing by myself

did not "forget" to tell my husband the details of the stroller outing

did not have dinner in a restaurant that was way too cool for me

did not find my younger child had fallen half way out of her bed and was sleeping soundly upside down

did not seriously contemplate leaving her like that while I ran to the kitchen to get my camera

did not eat leftover tortellini with alfredo sauce for breakfast.

did not wash my spectacularly healthy breakfast down with a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk

did not let my child watch Barney twice while I took a nap on the couch

did not fail to get the laundry done

did not pull the least dirty item out of the hamper for Libby to wear this morning

did not have a wonderful weekend with my family!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A night out with my man

Have you ever been to one of those restaurants where they serve you really tiny food on oversized plates and then charged an arm and a leg for it? Brad and I experienced just such a restaurant last night. We were celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary, which isn't actually until next week, but we had a free babysitter last night so we took advantage! (Thanks, Nana.) The restaurant was this small, really trendy place in South Tampa called SideBerns. They offer a six course tasting menu that is just that: a taste! After the second course, Brad ask me if he was going to be able to get full. He is a steak and potatoes kind of man! Luckily, there was a really good bread basket too! It was pretty fun getting to try a lot of different things that I have never tried before. (Or even heard of! Anyone know what bronzini is? It is a fish, similar to sea bass so the waiter tells me. It was actually really good, but I would never have ordered it because of it's name!) It was also fun watching my husband try to make each tiny portion last as long as possible. He actually managed to turn his one little pheasant ravioli into six bites! Watching Brad eat has always fascinated me. I noticed on our first date that he eats in a pattern! But that is another story for another time. By the end of the meal, we both agreed that the food was good although not worth the pricetag. It took my man most of the car ride home to wrap his head around what we had spent on dinner. We rarely splurge. In fact, the last thing he said to me before we got home was (completely seriously), "So can we go back to being middle class tomorrow?" Even after five years, he still makes me laugh!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tossing and Turning in Tampa, Part 2

So I shared my bed with one of my children again last night. For someone who swore she would never be a co-sleeper, I sure do seem to be doing a lot of that lately. This time it was Emma Jane. She started out the night in her own bed. But around 10:30, just as I was headed to bed, she started crying so I went in to her because I didn't want her to wake up Libby. I got her calmed down and back to bed, so I left. Before I can even get one contact out, she is crying again and this time, Libby joined in. Now my Libby is like her mommy; she does not appreciate being woken up, so her crying was especially loud! I took Emma Jane out of the room to rock her for a while. She fell back to sleep but of course when I tried to take her back to bed she woke up and started again. At this point, I realized there was a good chance I could end up sleeping fully dressed, contacts in place, and holding my baby in the glider all night. So, I took her to my room and put her in the bed with Brad just so I could change my clothes and get ready for bed. When I came out of the bathroom, she and Daddy were sound asleep, so I thought, "whatever, I am not moving her again." I actually slept surprisingly well until Brad poked me at 3am and asked me if I could move EJ over because he was falling off the bed. Little Emma Jane did to Daddy what Libby did to me a couple of weeks ago, but Brad was too afraid to disturb her to shove her over himself! I am hoping EJ doesn't try to make this a habit, but my big softy of a hubby has already said that if she cries tonight he doesn't mind if she sleeps in our bed again. Libby agrees with Daddy. She asked me how long until Emma Jane stops sleeping her room!

Random Picture Challenge

This is another random picture challenge from 4littlemen. This is the #8 picture from my January 2008. This is my sweet Emma Jane learning to use a spoon! I had completely forgotten about this picture! I can't believe how big she has gotten!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photo Story Friday - He's Got the Whole World in His Hands!

When you have to stand outside for over two hours with two small children in 40 degree weather (which is freakin' freezing to those of us in central Florida!) just to register your child for preschool, it is nice to remember:

He's got the whole world in His hands...even me!!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Taking back the castle

Have you ever had one of those moments where you put your child on the changing table to change a poopy diaper and reach your hand into the diaper basket only to discover that you used the last diaper the last time you changed one? That's happened to me this afternoon, which is why I found myself making an emergency trip to Publix with two cranky kids at 4:30. I wish someone had been following me with a camera just so you could see me holding EJ in one arm and a giant box of Pampers in the other. Especially when I turned to say something to Libby and ended up smacking her in the face with the box of diapers I didn't know she was "helping" me carry! I almost started crying myself. It was one of those experiences that could happen to anybody and probably has happened to many and yet I couldn't help feeling like every eye in the place was on me and my crying children. I couldn't get out of there fast enough!

This morning at MOPS, the topic was about organizing your life, being productive instead of busy, and "taking back the castle" (i.e. your home.) I left feeling so motivated. By nature, I am a procrastinator and a clutter queen but I so want to organized and "together." I spent most of the afternoon being productive, but you know what? I still ran out of diapers, I still had to make an emergency run to Publix, I still had to handle a double meltdown with no free hands and I left feeling completely "untogether." So I have had a moment of clarity this evening: I don't need any more lessons on getting organized. Because I already know what to do. I have read the books and heard the talks. I am completely ready for tomorrow: I have my list made, deposit slips filled out and directions printed. I am ready to go. And while that makes me more organized, it doesn't make me a better mother, or wife, or person. Letting go of the self-imposed pressure and being content with the life and trials and gifts that God has given me will. I am going to try to cut down on the clutter and stacks, because I am sure that will reduce my stress level and the frequency that I perform my frantic, flight-of-the-bumblebee-like search for whatever. But I am also going to challenge myself not to get caught up in trying to be perfect. No one is perfect. It is all about balance!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Two Steps Back

Last week when my sister was here, I moved Emma Jane into Libby's room in the pack-n-play, so that Catie's baby could have the crib. Since Emma Jane slept pretty well in the room with Libby, and since they will eventually be sharing a room when baby #3 comes along, I decided not to move her back. We have spent the last few days transitioning from the pack-n-play to the big girl bed and she successfully spent last night and the last two naps in the twin bed. So I felt that it would be safe to take the pack-n-play down tonight. As soon as it was gone, EJ grabbed all of her blankets, pillows and loveys off of her twin bed, ran back into her old room and threw it all into the crib! When I explained to her that she still had to sleep in her big girl bed, she sat down on the floor and burst into tears. Drama Queen!! Luckily she was really tired tonight and didn't put up too much of a fight. She is currently sound asleep in her new bed!

Correction to an Earlier Post

I have been informed by my brother-in-law that I left out the best part of his park story. When Catie and I finally agreed to let him take all four kids to the park he reassured us with the following words: "Don't worry, even if I lose one of the kids, I will still have 75% and that's passing." Pat really cracks himself up! :)


So this is a cute idea that I got from my friend Emily who got it from 4littlemen. The idea is to go to your May 2008 picture folder and post the 21st picture. Well it turns out I didn't actually take 21 pictures last May, so I has to move on to June and this is what I got:

This is Libby (and her friend, Katie Howell) about to blow out the candles at her third birthday party.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Socks Off!

Apparently Emma Jane had a dream that she was wearing socks to sleep. I woke up at a quarter of six to her crying and when I went into her room she was sitting in her bed pulling on her big toe (oh yes, she inherited my feet but that is a whole other post) and saying "sock off, sock off." I spent a couple of minutes trying to convince her that she wasn't wearing socks before I realized that she wasn't actually fully awake yet. So I just patted her back and told her to lie down. She is currently snoozing away and hopefully having more pleasant dreams!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dad of the Year

We were so sad to say goodbye to our cousins, the Caseys, this morning. Although not at sad as they were to go back to 15 degree weather and a fresh blanket of snow!

I have to give a little public shout out to my brother-in-law, Pat. On Friday, the first day of their visit, I really needed to go to the grocery store but the weather was so beautiful the children wanted to go to the park. So I decided that I would drop Pat and the two older girls off at the park and then Catie and I would run to the store with the two little ones and then come back and let them play for a little bit too. But of course, as soon as Emma Jane saw the park the started itching to get out and run around. Pat offered to watch all four children so that Catie and I could go do the shopping. My sis and I were instantly skeptical about the wisdom of this idea and spent several minutes debating the options. Finally Pat wore us down. I believe his argument was something along the lines of "I can handle this. Even if one of them falls and breaks a bone, I am qualified to fix it!" (He's an orthopaedic surgeon.) So Catie and I reluctantly left him with four children and went to the store. We quickly returned less than an hour later and found Pat standing between the swings and the slides, surrounded by other mothers, calmly watching as our children played happily. Pat told us later that the mothers at the park could not stop commenting on the fact that he was watching four kids by himself and that he was not even stressed about it. And when the women found out that he offered to do it so that his wife and her sister could go shopping by themselves, as he put it, his "stock went way up." I am sure that when we go back to the park this week, I will hear tales of the superdad with four kids!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Children's Garden

We spent a fun Saturday morning in Sarasota, just an hour south, at The Children's Garden. We met up with a friend of Catie's from high school, who she found through facebook. The kids had a great time playing dress up, "watering the weeds" (Morgan), and exploring the enchanted gardens. And because no outing is complete without it, we ended the day with lunch at Chick fil A.
Libby's extreme fashion sense!!
Libby and Emma Jane all dressed up
There's a new sheriff in town!
Morgan and Libby
Emerson and Emma Jane
Catie and Holly DuBois

Feeding the kids (and Brad) at Chick fil A!

Ryan and Emerson

The end of a very fun day!!